Chapter 1 – Exile and Zamaa(This is an offensive expression similar to “you reap what you sow”)
I longed for her.
In the dungeon, which was dimly lit, she cut down a demon twice her size with a single sword, with her long, waist-length hair that still shone brightly.
I was no match for the creature, but she cut it down as if it was nothing.
I was in awe of that scene.
I long to be like that beautiful, maybe even horrifying sight.
I want to be that kind of explorer someday, and I want to be able to fight such beautiful battles.
I wanted to fight as if I were watching a beautiful dance as if petals were falling.
But I didn’t have the talent.
I was ostracized, fired, and ridiculed for my incompetence.
So I gave up on that dream once.
Still, I want to try one more time, one last time.
For my family, for my sister, for money.
And above all, for myself.
That is why I am going to try one more time.
To work in that exciting world.
My dream of being a dungeon explorer.
“Everyone! Happy New Year!”
A well-known TV presenter wished the New Year with a conventional greeting.
Behind her is a nice middle-aged man, a nice guy with a beard that doesn’t fit the variety show.
A man who looks like a mercenary sits down.
“Today, we have invited the most powerful man in Japan or even the world! He is the leader of the guild [yoi no myōjō(evening star)], Tendo Ryunosuke-san!”
The man who was introduced with a crackle and a clap did not move at all.
However, the man slowly opens those eyes that had been closed.
His eyes were sharp, and even through the TV, they were like those of a hawk aiming at its prey.
“Tendou-san! Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to come here today!”
“No, it’s my job too…”
His low voice was not the cheerful variety of the New Year’s holiday season.
The moderator throws a question as if a little troubled.
“I heard that you conquered the 59th level of the big boss the other day and broke the record for the highest level reached by mankind! How did you feel?”
“…… is the worst.
It was a terrible battle, and one of my friends died.”
Silence envelops the program.
An atmosphere that was hard to watch enveloped the audience.
Even the presenter seemed to be at a loss for words.
I, too, found it hard to watch and changed the channel.
The channel I changed to started a special end-of-year mail-order program.
“Even in the top guilds, people are still dying…”
It has been 20 years since a huge tower called a dungeon appeared in Tokyo Bay.
A huge tower with a radius of 10 km.
The tower has been there since before I was born.
At the time, Japan was in a panic.
The military was dispatched to the tower to see if a demon would appear, but nothing happened.
There was nothing to be done, so a survey team was formed and began to investigate the tower.
The investigation revealed that there were imaginary monsters called “demons” and a dungeon-like labyrinth spreading inside.
If they did no harm, they could have left it alone, but the world was changed forever by something the survey team brought back with them.
“A knight’s gauntlet…”
Those gauntlets are introduced on TV shopping shows.
An exaggerated commentator sells the product with an exaggerated reaction.
“Aaah! The sound of a knight’s gauntlet!”
“Look at this body!”
The president of the company, whose voice sounds like an aunt’s high-pitched voice you’ve heard somewhere else, frantically advertises the product.
Then the lady equips her gauntlet.
And a rice bale is placed in front of her.
“This rice bale weighs 50 kilos!”
It’s quite a heavy rice bale for just an old lady to hold.
The lady lifted the rice bale.
Not quite light, but it was stiff enough to be seen in an ordinary way.
This is what is called [equipment], an artifact unearthed in the dungeon.
This equipment, brought back by the first survey team, changed the world.
The gauntlet I mentioned earlier is called the knight series.
It is an equipment without much power that falls under rank D, but even so, anyone can obtain this kind of supernatural power.
The world sought this equipment.
Celebrities used them for self-defense and as collectibles.
Rebel groups used it as an armed force, and countries used it as a deterrent and a military force.
Equipment export has now become a major Japanese industry, surpassing that of cars.
No one would have thought that the day would come when Japan would hold the balance of power in the world’s military power.
Such a dungeon appeared 20 years ago.
It was also 20 years ago that the profession of dungeon explorer was created.
It was one year ago that I decided to become a dungeon explorer.
And it was six months ago that I gave up.
I was ostracized, fired, laughed at, and belittled as incompetent.
But I decided to chase my dream once more.
To have ordinary happiness.
“There’s only one way for a high school student to make a lot of money, right?”
I get ready and head out.
Even from here, a huge tower pierces through the clouds and into the heavens.
And beyond that tower, an illusory star.
No one knows what that star is.
No one knows what the star looks like.
A star that looks like the earth, a star that looks like an illusion, a star that looks like nothing from space.
No one knows what it is, or whether it is possible to find out by going to the top of the dungeon.
Still, people go to dungeons.
They go to dungeons to pursue their dreams and get rich.
And I, for my part, seek ordinary happiness.
The second level of the dungeon.
In a dimly lit room surrounded on all sides by stone, two creatures put their lives on the line.
Two dead goblins are already lying there, and the remaining goblin has wounds all over its body.
I, by the way, am also fully wounded.
I was bleeding and fighting for my life.
“I have to earn my money!”
Then I cut off the head of that last one with my iron sword, and I was victorious.
Wiping the blood stain from my sword, I sat there.
“Hahaha, I did it! Now I’ve accomplished my quota for today.”
I whipped my tired body and after defeating the third one, a copper treasure chest appeared, and then a gate.
This gate is the gate to go one level up.
I then open the treasure chest.
There is a [soldier’s gauntlet] in it.
These gauntlets sell for 500 yen each.
After a day of hard work, I earned a total of ten of them.
That’s 5,000 yen.
“Wow, 5,000 yen for half a day’s work….
That may be just barely enough for a high school student to earn…”
The boy collapses on the spot.
“I’m not making this much~, I’ll try the third level….”
Then he lifts up only his upper body and swings his head around.
“No, no, no.
What if I die? With this status, I’ll end up as dungeon nourishment.”
Then I looked at the soldier’s bracelet I had equipped and chanted.
A status window appears in front of me.
Name: Kenya Mitsurugi
DP: 100 pts
Alchemy Lv9: 100pt to the next level
(Can smelt rank E weapons 9 times a day)
Weapon: 【Iron Sword Lv 2】.
Head: [Soldier’s Helmet Lv9]
Body: 【Soldier’s breastplate Lv9]
Hands: 【Soldier’s gauntlets Lv9]
Foot ：【Soldier’s boots Lv9]
Offensive ability: 0 (+14)
Speed: 0 (+10)
Intelligence: 0 (+10)
This is my current status, visible from the day I equipped my first piece of equipment.
Even the easiest tier is a status that I struggle with solo.
The status is like a game.
But in this kind of status screen, there is absolutely no such thing.
It is my own level.
So how do I get stronger?
One is to put on equipment that is found in the dungeon.
The other is to raise the skill level of my occupation, which can be done with DP (dungeon points).
DPs are points that you receive when you step through a dungeon level.
So, in this dungeon, only equipment and occupation determine all stats.
“At least if my occupation was a swordsman or something like that – I can’t believe that an alchemist, which I thought was a rare job, is so useless.”
Some professions affect status, while others compensate for the improved abilities of equipment.
Some professions, such as swordsman and hero, are examples.
There are also blacksmiths who make equipment from materials and monks who heal wounds.
These professions cannot be changed.
The moment this status is displayed, it is automatically determined, and in some cases, you may not even be given an occupation in the first place.
Therefore, it is not an exaggeration to say that it is the occupation, after all, luck that determines whether you will be a great explorer or not.
I was the first person in the world to be given the profession of alchemist.
At the time, I was excited by the prospect.
It was hailed as a rare job, and I was even in a guild where there were heroes….
But I was discarded as an incompetent job.
It was inevitable.
I joined the guild with high expectations, but what do you think when you open the lid?
Smelting the same weapons that fall under rank E (the lowest rank) together to raise the weapon’s level.
Even if I raise my skill level, the number of times I can smelt a weapon per day has increased….
There was no change in status or ability.
Even now, I am equipped with a soldier’s gauntlet Lv 9 and an iron sword Lv 2, etc., which were strengthened by that power.
So now I have a total of +10 attack power from my gauntlets and +4 power from my iron sword.
“If I had a D-rank weapon, I might be able to make more money on the third level~”
E-rank equipment is nothing compared to D-rank equipment.
However, if I wanted to get D-rank equipment, such as the knight series, it would probably cost me close to 500,000 yen.
There was no way I, a poor high school student, could afford that kind of equipment….
There was no use in begging for something I didn’t have.
I’ll save up the money somehow and buy even a single D-rank equipment.
If I do that, I might be able to go to a higher level, because I need the money…”
Kenya spread out nine soldier’s gauntlets on the spot.
Then he began to smelt them one by one.
Level up♪ Soldier’s gauntlet Lv 2
Level up♪ Soldier’s gauntlet Lv 3
Level up♪ Soldier’s gauntlet Lv 9
A level-up sound like a certain famous game is played in my brain.
That sound is exciting no matter how many times I hear it.
But how many times have I done this alchemy level up today….
Now I have made a soldier’s gauntlet Lv 9.
This is the end of the smelting process, as the number of smelting times per day is set at nine.
“This is 10,000 yen! Something that cost 5,000 yen has doubled in value! This is truly alchemy.”
The equipment that has been leveled up to Lv.
9 after alchemy is bought at a higher price, so it is alchemized.
It’s the only advantage I’m glad I have in this profession.
“Now I’ve managed to save up for another month, and…”
The points, called dungeon points, reached 100.
This is one point earned for having stepped through two levels.
Combined with what I had saved up until now, I was finally able to save up to 100.
What I can do with these points, that is.
“Come on, demon or snake, please!”
Increase the skills of my profession.
The only skill in my profession – alchemy.
I needed 100 pts to improve this skill.
I kept raising it until now, lvl 9, and the only thing that changed was the number of times I could alchemize per day.
This time, I prayed to a god I didn’t even believe in, hoping that something would change this time.
[Skill level up♪ Lv10 now.
Alchemizable rank will increase to D rank]
With this announcement, Kenya’s world changes forever.
The world of Kenya Mitsurugi, a high school student who was poor and incompetent, changes drastically.
Outlier job? Incompetent job?
No, [alchemist] was a genuine rare job that leads to the strongest.
He was the only one in the world who could grow and create equipment.
[In addition, E-rank equipment +9 will evolve to D-rank if it is additionally alchemized.]
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