When I tried to go with the group, Selen stopped me.
“Why not? Come on, Selen, just this once let me go into the dungeon.”
“Do you want me to tell you a story of a dead man?”
“T-that’s a story of a man who didn’t prepare and recklessly went deeper into the dungeon, right?”
That was my rebuttal to Selen’s threat.
“Listen, Luke, even careful and seasoned adventurers can fall in a dungeon. On top of that, we’ve just discovered this dungeon, meaning we don’t know anything about it, especially the dangers it has. So, at least for now, please just wait in the village.”
“…I think you’re being a tad overprotective…”
I would be turning 13 this spring. By that age, Selen had already experienced her first real battle.
When I told her that though…
“It was alright for me because my Gift is suited for combat; I can fend for myself. You, on the other hand, will need others to protect you.”
“I…don’t have anything to say to that.”
In the end, Selen won the argument and I decided to stay in the village.
I was expecting this to happen, so I prepared a secret plan. While pretending to give up, I stealthily put that plan into action.
◇ ◇ ◇
Selen’s group once again arrived at the entrance of the dungeon.
This time though, they were prepared. They have carefully selected the few members that would go in, have the necessary tools for dungeon exploration, and even have the elves’ potions on hand in case of emergencies.
“Everything seems to be ready. …Kamuru, are you alright?”
Nervous and with a quivering voice, Kamuru answered Selen.
Selen subtly rolled her eyes as though to say no, you don’t look alright…
“Don’t worry so much. The plan has always been to proceed extra carefully, all while keeping our eyes peeled for any danger.”
Selen thought Kamuru would eventually get used to things.
And so, without further delay, they stepped foot inside the dungeon.
While traversing the initial slope…
“By the way, Goate-dono, that’s quite the large luggage you’re carrying this time.”
“Yeah. The village chief prepared this for us. He thought we should bring food and water just in case.”
Philia asked so to Goate.
Goate was carrying an awfully large bag that was filled to the brim, yet he made it seem like it didn’t weigh much at all.
“…hold on a second.”
As though she noticed something unusual, Selen stared at the bag that Goate was carrying.
“Do you hear that? It almost sounds like breathing…”
“…hahaha, how can that be, captain? It must have been just the contents making a rustling sound or something.”
“I wonder. For now, mind letting me check?”
“No, no, no, please don’t. I mean, we’re inside the dungeon and all…”
“Then let’s go outside and check.”
“I don’t think we have to do that much for a bag of provisions, right?”
To Selen’s probing, and Goate clearly became flustered. Given his current state, even the others grew suspicious.
More and more, it appeared to them that Goate wasn’t great at lying.
“Hmm, yeah, a bag of food isn’t worth that much effort to check.”
After making Goate drop his guard down, Selen suddenly closed the distance and grabbed the bag he was carrying. While holding on, she began rubbing it for some reason.
“…! Ah, wai–! Ahahaaha…! Ahahahahahaha!”
When she did so, laughter came from within, startling everyone.
“Did a voice just come from the bag!?”
“I feel like I’ve heard that voice before…”
Some asked so while the laughing continued.
“Se–Selen! That tickles! Ahahahaha!”
“That’s weird. Provision shouldn’t mind what I’m doing, right?”
“Alright, alright, I get it! Stop already! Ahahahahahahahahaha!”
“Then come out right now.”
When Selen stopped, a young man—who recognized he couldn’t keep hiding anymore—emerged from the bag.
“Haa, haa… I thought I was gonna die of laughter…”