Chapter 85 – Critical Hit
“A top secret mission. Investigating the unexplored parts of the Viceroza Grand Dungeon.”
I was stunned by Luke’s words.
The Viceroza Grand Dungeon was infamous for being one of the most difficult of all dungeons.
And its unexplored territory…the 80th floor that no one had been able to reach for over a thousand years.
But what really got my heart beating excitedly, was a certain possibility.
“…It’s possible that I might just find some relic that is so valuable that I could live in luxury for the rest of my life.”
“Yes. That is true.”
“Being rich… I could eat steak for every meal, along with fried chicken and hamburgers and…!”
“You have a unique way of looking at things.”
“I will do it, Luke! Make a fortune in a single stroke!”
A great adventure filled with excitement!
I will have to put my all into this!
And so I rushed back to my house and began to pack my things.
When I told my mother that I would be leaving, she looked at me with great emotion.
“Oh? You are traveling with him?”
“How amazing… You really are an expert in the art of romance, my girl! He is in love with you!”
She sounded very impressed.
“Make sure to wear your very best undergarments. Don’t choose random ones, like you always do. Make sure the top and bottom match. Well, I’m sure an expert like you already knows that.”
It really wasn’t like that at all, though.
I shrugged with a sigh, and packed clothes that would be easy to move in.
The real problem was what to wear while I was investigating the dungeon.
The uniforms of Royal Magicians would attract attention, and we would stick out amongst all of the Adventurers.
It was best to follow the customs of the place you were in, and it was known that one should wear Adventurer clothes when entering a dungeon.
…But this feels a little too mature.
The Adventurer clothes I had not worn once since buying them.
I had bought it for when I would go dungeon crawling with Nina. And since it was right after receiving my pay, I got a little too excited and forgot myself completely.
Oh, this would look very nice on someone like Ms. Leticia!
Wanting to be like her, I bought it without even trying it on. And it was only later, when I stood in front of the mirror back in my room, that I felt some regret.
I felt like I was trying too hard…
It would be embarrassing to wear this.
But wearing the clothes I wore as a student would also be embarrassing.
Still, they had been expensive, and I did not want the clothes to go to waste.
It would only be embarrassing at first.
I just had to have the courage in the beginning. And in the end, I would not look strange, and people would get used to seeing me like this.
The next morning, with this resolve, I put on the Adventurers clothes, and headed to the place where Luke would be waiting for me. However, my spirit broke as soon as I saw the surprise in his eyes.
“Don’t tell me! I already know! I know it very well! Just leave me alone!”
Oh…this was so humiliating.
It hurt even more with Luke, because I had known him for years.
He must think that I’m getting ahead of myself.
Just kill me! Kill me now and be done with it!
Still, I pushed back the feeling and forced myself to step into the carriage.
◇ ◇ ◇
The hired carriage then departed for the Viceroza special ward.
As the carriage rocked, Luke Waldstein held the side of his head and sighed.
Their conversations did not last long.
And he knew that the reason was with him.
He had decided on going to the Viceroza Grand Dungeon in order to stay with Noelle.
But it was only now that he realized what that really meant.
(…It means that it will be just us two, traveling together.)
A possibility that he had not seen, due to desperately facing the obstacle that was right in front of him.
And by the time he noticed it, things had advanced to a point where there was no turning back.
(That’s why he looked like that…)
He recalled how Gawain had a suspicious smile after they had talked.
(Creating this time together, while saying it was for a job…)
He had not meant to do it, and so it troubled him. Still, he decided on the direction he would take for this journey.
First. As it was just a job, he would maintain a distance that was appropriate for a coworker.
Second. He would not betray her trust, and treat her as anything more than a friend.
Three. Maintain the proper distance at all costs.
Even though he had decided to care more about his own happiness, it did not change the fact that her happiness was still more important to him.
He did not want her to get hurt, or feel troubled because of his actions.
Just friends. Friends. Friends…
He repeated in his heart as he arrived at the meeting place.
And then she appeared. Luke froze.
‘Don’t tell me! I already know! I know it very well! Just leave me alone!’
She said desperately. Clearly in great distress.
And then he breathed a sigh of relief.
She looked more beautiful than usual, as she appeared in those clothes.
But if she suspected his thoughts on the matter, then his plans and show of calm would all come crumbling down.
And so he kept quiet in the carriage and sighed.
It was almost exasperating, how much he liked her.