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「What are you doing here, Epi?」
Her twin-tailed silver-grey hair, strong-willed crimson colored pupils, and her attitude and expression that’s brimming with confidence.
No doubt about it, she’s Epi.
Epi replied to my question with her transparent voice.
「Why? It’s because this is my hometown. So, it’s natural for me to be here. Rather, you humans could be considered the strange ones for having come to this place」
Ah, come to think of it.
She did say that she came from Unholywoods.
「Certainly. So, does that mean you’re just strolling around?」
Epi suddenly turns her face to the side.
Her cheeks swell as if she’s pouting.
「What do you mean you don’t know?」
「For what reason must Epi tell you, a mere human, about her reason for arriving here? It’s because of you that Epi’s plan failed and has no choice but to wander in this place again; moreover, I displayed such an unsightly figure in front of Higan-sama. You’re an enemy, my sworn enemy!」
She’s glaring at me with a loathsome expression.
Geez, do you hate me that much? It’s your own fault for hijacking the academy.
While I’m pondering about that, Jackrosa and Suu gaze at me as if they want to hear my explanation. Come to think of it, they almost never saw Epi’s appearance.
The duo exhibit surprised faces when I explain about Epi.
Yup, that’s natural.
「This person was the one who hijacked our academy?」
As they shifted their attention toward Epi, she nods at them to affirm their guess.
「Yeah. Could it be that you guys are members of that academy?」
「Yes. I’m a student of the academy」
「I see. My apologies for the troubles that I brought upon you」
Suu’s face is filled with surprise, again.
Hey, I should be the one who’s surprised by her apology.
Rather, I’m already surprised by it.
「Somehow, you seem to be surprised by it, but can we talk normally with Epi? She’s the culprit who hijacked the academy, after all… 」
「Well, there’s almost no one that was injured during that hijacking event and none of the monsters attacked people save for the ones putting up a resistance. Moreover, the case is over since she also returned the stolen goods. So, it’s not a big deal」
Epi is walking toward us while
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showing a complicated expression for some reason.
Though slightly vigilant toward us, it seems she has no intention to fight us.
Though Jackrosa’s slightly surprised by that fact, it seems he also possess no intention to blame her after hearing my words.
That’s a relief since I want to avoid unnecessary arguments.
「Rather, why are you humans in this kind of place? Are you grave robbing? 」
「No, that way of putting it is a bit…」
But now that she put it in that manner, I can’t refute her.
Maybe we really are grave robbers.
「Well, maybe we are grave robbers. We came to explore the dungeon, you know. Thus, we’re thinking about gaining treasures while sightseeing」
「Fu~hn. This is a dangerous area for unskilled individuals since there are high ghouls and dullahans working together here. Well, since this is coming from someone who defeated me, I think it’s just natural」
「No, we were almost done for」
Epi is looking at me with a flabbergasted expression as if she couldn’t comprehend what she just heard and comes closer to me with a somewhat displeased face.
「What are you saying? Are you trying to gloss over the fact that you were defeated just by some common undead in this area even though you beat this Epi? I can’t accept such an uncool thing! Please beat everyone to dust!」
You guys belong to the same hometown, so are you really okay with that?
When I am inserting such tsukkomis in my heart, Suu starts speaking.
「Everything is because of my lack of experience. I’ve heard that the undead of this area are really powerful, and despite it being dangerous, they fought while protecting me」
「Hmph. Is that so. Are they that powerful?」
「Then, are you going to go back? I mean there’s a teleport crystal on the next right turn」
「EH!? We can go back using that?」
「Ye… Eh, could it be that you were planning to return by foot? …It seems that humans have a lot of free time, huh」
「It’s not because we have a lot of free time, it’s because we couldn’t find the teleportation crystal!」
「Ah, I see. Then, it’s a good thing that you found it. You can go back from there, you know」
When my eyes look at the direction she’s pointing at, there’s a
a cave that separates into three paths, and it seems that we have to take the right one.
「Thank you very much. To be honest, I did think that going back and forth by foot is truly a troublesome thing」
In the time I am thanking her, Suu has already headed toward that place to confirm it.
Jackrosa is following him so as to protect him.
In the case of Suu, contrary to his attitude, I think he is fairly excited, so I am the only one left gazing at Epi.
「Thank you very much for your kindness」
「I won’t lose anything by informing you about that anyway. You can return if you want to return. But, if you want to really convey your gratitude, I’ll allow you to bow down and praise Epi♡」
Epi was smiling from ear to ear while responding as such with a soft voice.
Was that her character setting!?
Somehow, I feel this fluffy feeling when I talk with Epi.
To do something like this rather than attacking me, how should I say, it feels like she has no ill intentions against me, and she does not seem to be a bad person.
Is she actually an airhead?
That’s also a bit off.
An impish girl?
That also doesn’t seem to fit her.
This is really a difficult question.
「Come to think of it, why are you in this place? I’ve answered your question, so I guess you should answer mine too, right?」
「Epi’s also treasure hunting. Thanks to a certain someone’s interruption, I am still scouring for a substitute」
Her words pricked my heart deeply.
But, you’re also at fault, right?
「Treasure, that means you want “Treasure”?」 [T: Treasure here is used in different contexts, the first one is “宝-Treasure”, the second one is “秘宝- Treasure Item”, I’ll translate 秘宝 as a relic from now on]
「It would be for the best if I managed to acquire a relic, but it’s not a necessity. In short, I just need the item to be fully packed with demonic elements」
「Fully packed with demonic elements… Why are you looking for such things?」
「You’re the type who likes to meddle with others life, human?」
「I’m just the type who can’t sleep at night while being anxious about something」
「Well, Epi will answer your question since you kindly overlooked Epi and
Epi and the other undead during the previous incident. In short, it’s because I’m living outside」
Epi seems to have guessed that I couldn’t understand the meaning of her word ‘outside’, so she supplemented it with an explanation while heaving a sigh.
「Monsters become more powerful along with an increase in the concentration of demonic elements; on the contrary, the lesser the density of the demonic element, the weaker they are. It’s okay if they just come out for a while but, they will continue to weaken continuously if they remain outside even just a bit longer. Just like what happened to Higan-sama」
I heard about this before. It seems to be the reason why the deepest parts of the dungeons are filled with a rich variety of powerful monsters.
I heaved a sigh when Epi suddenly mentioned Higan’s (a.k.a.) Risa Haruna’s name.
Though I more or less understand her reason, it doesn’t mean that I completely agree with her.
「That’s why I need something powerful to maintain my supply of demonic elements. Since I can draw demonic element from a relic, I can remain in top shape even when I am outside the dungeon. Epi needs a relic since she’s going to go outside」
「A~h, I see. So that’s the case. Outside the dungeon」
Epi nods in affirmation.
Then, is she wandering here for the same reason? It’s not like she knows everything about this place even though this is her hometown; this place is so damn huge, after all.
Something from which a lot of demonic elements can be extracted from, huh…
Could it be?
「If that was the case, how about I lend you this?」
I presented my anti dispel bracelet to Epi.
Epi’s tilting her head while staring intently at my bracelet.
「This is？Is this a magic tool?」
「Right. It uses a part of a relic as it’s core. It’s not at the level of a relic but still quite powerful by itself」
Epi extends her arm to take the bracelet and grips it tightly.
Her face became redder with each moment.
「Oo~h! It’s so warm! This is good! I can tap on the demonic elements present in this. I won’t lose my power as long as I have this when meandering outside」
「Oh, as I anticipated. I don’t know what’s your goal, but I
goal, but I will lend that to you to use when you’re outside」
「Really？Is that true?」
「Yeah. You taught us the way to go back, after all. At least don’t use that in the middle of a town」
Epi brings her face, filled with desire, toward me.
She squints her eyes, and there’s a wrinkle on her forehead. It’s as if she’s looking at some sort of endangered species.
「Say human, aren’t you a strange one?」
「I tend to become one once in a while」
And then, she displays an ear-to-ear grin on her face.
「But, I don’t hate that kind of a strange person. My gratitude then, let me borrow it for a while. You better remove your bracelet when I’m outside.」
That really surprised me when she smiled from so close.
Crap, I’m gonna be in deep trouble if I continue to stare at her any longer. Calm down, me.
「Su~… Ha~… Yosh. A crafty one, aren’t you?」
「Fufufufu, well, it’s okay, isn’t it? Moreover, it’s not just this bracelet, you know」
「It’s because you are a human; a mere mortal and yet so powerful. I also know that you are more powerful than what you have shown until now」
「What a troublesome thing, but yes, it’s something like that」
Epi smiles in delight.
I wonder why she’s so happy with such simple things; oh whatever, as long as she’s happy with it.
… Naturally, I won’t hand it over to her just to make her happy.
I felt that it’ll save us from a lot of trouble if we gain cooperation from a vampire living in this Unholywoods.
I definitely won’t give my bracelet to her no matter how much of a cute vampire she is.
「Well then. Shall we travel to the city of humans?」
Epi walks in the direction of the teleportation crystal while raising such a question.
While pondering about how fast she made her decision, she already disappeared from the corner of the passage when I try to find where she is.
「What’s the matter, human! Come here quickly!」
She went while leaving such words―― or so I thought. She approaches me again and then utters the following words from her mouth.
「Come to think of it, human. I forgot to ask about an extremely important thing」
「What’s your name, human?」
「Okay. Let’s get going, Eiji」
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