After taking care of the two demons and continuing to walk, I came upon a small door.
There was a single number written on the door.
I didn't know what the number was indicating, and my curiosity didn't go away as I opened the door.
As soon as I opened the door, a small room appeared.
If I were to tell you how small it was, it was about as small as the single room apartment I used to live in.
And in that narrow room, twelve demons were gathered and facing each other.
It was an entertaining scene.
The demons were divided into two crowds, and each of the demons was carrying a weapon; they were thrusting their weapons forward and at the edge of confrontation.
One side had five and the other side had seven.
It seemed like I had opened the door and come in at the moment a fight would break out.
The agitated demons' gazes gradually centered on me.
"Ah, don't worry about me, and keep doing what you were doing. I'll wait a bit."
Based on what the two demons had previously told me, the rules of this event are similar to a battle royale.
You have to kill a thousand demons and take their tokens in order to pass the preliminaries.
However, the two demons had said that most demons were already forming their groups and within these groups, there were large groups that fought intensely amongst themselves.
If that's the case, how should I analyze the conflict in this tiny room?
There was a lot I was curious about.
Therefore, rather than meddling in their fight, I decided that I would take a step back and watch.
I'll be able to more or less sate my curiosity if I were to ask about this and that to the victor after the fighting is over.
With that in mind, I closed the door and leaned on it.
The twelve demons were still staring at me idiotically.
Perhaps there's a rule that states that an outsider can't watch while they're fighting.
"Why aren't you guys fighting?"
I'd prefer if they started fighting immediately.
I wasn't just curious about this place; I was also curious about the demons' strength.
Of course, I had easily beat up the two demons from before, but since they were roaming around the entrance, they might've just been nobodies.
Both the demons I had met prior to the 31st floor and the ones I had just met had considerable mana.
But I didn't feel a chaotic spirit or a wicked demonic energy.
I was also curious as to why I couldn't feel that from the demons.
At that moment, one of the demons spoke to me.
"Please help us!"
Among the demons with red skin, the demon with blue skin spoke out.
It was a delicate blue-violet color skin.
The demon was wearing a skull necklace around her neck.
Amongst the demons here, she was the shortest and also the only woman.
She was part of the larger one of the two groups.
In other words, she was part of the group that held the advantage.
Thus, when she spoke, I couldn't immediately understand the situation.
"I-I'll give you a token!"
I wanted to ask why she had such a desperate expression when she had the advantage, but it seemed like the girl was under the impression that I'd ask for compensation to help.
I briefly thought about it.
Is giving me a token synonymous to dying for me?
She'll give me a stone piece that she's keeping, so she's asking me to fight with them.
At that moment, the group of demons that the girl's group was confronting yelled.
Their voices overflowed with composure, unlike the desperate-looking girl.
"You actually came from that direction. Are you perhaps a newcomer? Or are you one of those lousy demons who were thrown out to the entrance? Regardless of which, stay out of this, if you don't want to die with them."
I was right; the demons that I had met nearby the entrance were lousy, as expected.
[These demons don't look much different from those demons before,] Seregia said.
Even if there were, they'd be minute differences.
That small difference looked a little suspicious to me.
I felt like it was the difference between a normal person who trained in a training hall, and a normal person who hated exercising.
The demon that threatened me looked displeased when he saw how I didn't respond to him.
"You should choose well. We have an alliance with the Kraagor group. If you defy us, you'll have to pay the price. No, that's not it. If you chase these guys out and capture this room with us, I'll also give you a position. This room can accommodate seven people anyway."
Kraagor group. Room. Accommodating members.
They are keywords for information that can satisfy my curiosity.
I would decide my next move, and would then enact that move.
It seemed like the silent holy sword realized that, and started droning, emitting a vibrating sound.
And that vibrating briefly stopped.
[Warrior, may I try it? As a performance test. Yes? Please. Teehee.]
This bastard always readily makes a "cute expression" mixed with a nasally voice.
Aside from his manner of speaking, he had the voice of a middle-aged man’s, so I feel goosebumps whenever I hear it.
I wanted to shove him into my inventory immediately, but I also agreed that I needed to test its performance, so I let it go.
Right before entering the 30th floor, Kiri Kiri had told me that I could now buy the items that were locked.
In the meantime, I had gathered a lot of points, so I bought several items.
The first things I bought were books regarding magic.
Aside from that, I bought elixirs, liquid medicine, and basic gear.
Finally, I bought a weapon enhancement scroll.
It wasn't a scroll that would strengthen a normal sword's sharpness or durability.
When I thought about the holy sword's performance, I didn't think that I needed to strengthen those.
Instead, the scrolls that I had bought were all scrolls that would endow an exclusive magic onto an living sword.
I had applied two of those scrolls onto the holy sword.
They were the fly magic and the blink magic.
Since both of them were high-rank magic, the holy sword hadn't been able to use those skills himself; using the scrolls, I had increased the abilities of the holy sword.
I had already used it in a test run on the 30th floor residential district, and all that was left was a field-test of its performance.
"Fine, try it."
[Yes. Hoo. Hoo. Hoo. You know I love you, Warrior, right? Yes. I also know that you love me too. You're so shy, acting like you’ve never met me!]
The holy sword activated the magic as he spoke some nauseating phrases.
When I clear this floor, I have to find a scroll that can apply silence.
While I was thinking that, the holy sword applied the fly magic, and slid out of the sheath all on its own.
And said dismally.
[I can kill them all, right? Hoo. Hoo. Hoo.]
"Eh, nope. Only kill the five on that side, the ones that said something or another about a group such and such."
[I'm sorry? But that side has fewer people!]
"Yeah, the smaller group."
The demons momentarily stiffened.
It was way too easy to tell that they were terrified and tense.
When the demons saw the sword leave the sheath by itself and fly into the air, the demons simply shook.
Their composed attitude just a little while ago disappeared.
[Holy sword Ahoubuch, taking off!]
The holy sword that had been drifting in the air suddenly accelerated and flew towards the demons.
Even to me, his speed was quite fast.
The first demon he targeted was somehow able to react to the holy sword's speed.
The demon raised his shield and brought it before the holy sword's path.
However, the holy sword used the enchanted magic.
The holy sword leaped over the shield, piercing cleanly through the demon's neck.
The demon's endurance or mana hadn't been a problem at all.
The holy sword's aura was flowing.
As soon as the first target toppled to the floor, his comrades turned around and started to run away.
However, they couldn't shake the holy sword's pursuit, and he hunted them down, one-by-one.
The holy sword had completely changed his stabbing pattern, and even suddenly stopped in the midst of flying and slashed at them using the hilt as a pivotal point.
The performance test was a success.
It didn't even take the holy sword thirty seconds for it to take care of the five demons.
[Hoo. Hoo. Hoo. Demon's blood! I need more warm demon's blood!]
This insane holy sword had used magic, and unlike usual, loudly yelled out with his voice.
Because of that, the remaining seven demons could also hear his voice and were soon struck with fear and began shaking.
"Stop it, you crazy bastard."
I grabbed and retrieved the holy sword that was acting like a blowfly that had eaten mosquito repellant (flying in the air and emitting light)
* * * * * *
"If it's that important, you don't really need to give it to me."
"No, we'll give it to you! Please let us give it to you!"
'Please let us give it to you!' was what came out of the desperate demon girl's mouth.
With this, I've gotten a total of eight tokens.
If I add the token I had from the beginning, I have a total of nine.
Among the six tokens that I had received, I stored five of them into my pocket.
The tokens disappeared immediately after I put them in my pocket.
I put the remaining token into my subspace bag.
Based on the demon girl's explanation, there were a couple of rules regarding the tokens.
1. The tokens will be automatically set to the location that you first stored your tokens.
2. The set tokens cannot be removed until you die.
In my case, my pocket in my pants is that set location.
It didn't matter whether I needed to store a thousand or even ten-thousand tokens; my pants pocket have become able to store an indefinite amount of tokens.
And they can't be retrieved until I'm killed and they drop.
Therefore, if I want to exchange them or sell them, I have to store the tokens somewhere else.
The final rule regarding tokens was...
"I also said this before, but the value of the tokens is tremendous. You must take up our request without fail..."
"I get it. I said I heard you."
The demon girl kept repeating those words.
She says that the tokens have tremendous value.
If you're in a life-threatening scenario, she says that if you give a token to your enemy, in most cases, you can beg your enemy for mercy and come out alive.
It's not official, but it seemed to be an unspoken rule.
By giving up a single token, you treat a difficult matter as if it never happened. It felt something like that.
It actually is worth your life.
The tokens that the demon girl had passed to me was also dropped by someone they had killed.
"Then you didn't think to give your tokens to those guys back there?"
"Can I ask why?"
"It's because those guys would've just come back later. Or they would've sent their other comrades. If you lose your tokens like that, you'll ultimately be left with nothing."
I had already heard why they were fighting in the first place.
As there are rules regarding the tokens here, there are also rules regarding the 'rooms.'
Each room has a limited amount of people it can accommodate.
Just like it said on the door, this room can accommodate seven people.
Next, a minimum number of people are guaranteed to live.
You won't feel hungry and you won't use up your stamina.
You don't even need to sleep.
That means that the activities that sustain your life are unnecessary.
It unexpectedly seemed to have the same effects as the waiting room.
Though, it was different in that it didn't have a healing function.
In this place without light, crops, or even animals, meekly shutting yourself inside these rooms is the most surefire way to survive.
That's why the demons fight over the rooms.
"But you managed to obtain a pretty good room," I said without thinking much.
The demons gathered inside the room weren't very strong.
Honestly, they were really weak.
It didn’t matter if their bodies were durable, if they had sharp senses, or if they had an overflowing amount of mana that was characteristic of their race.
They were ordinary people.
Before the event had started, they said that they were demons who were involved in business.
The seven demons gathered here said that they were from the same town.
Demons running a business? It feels like something's out of focus.
I could understand the reason that they had shrunk before their enemies, despite them having a numbers advantage and not suffering from an immense level difference.
Thus, I was surprised that they had actually occupied a room.
It looked like it was in quite a good location too; I wonder how they took possession of this room?
"We paid the rental fee… with tokens."
"Is there perhaps no rental service for guards?"
The demon girl pointed at the sprawled corpses on the ground and spoke.
"These demons work under the guy who leased the room."
I didn't understand immediately.
Only after the demon girl had elaborated on her explanation could I understand.
The demons that had died over there had leased the room to these guys but returned to launch a surprise attack.
If they didn't want to die, they would have to leave the room, or continue to give them tokens.
It was a really effective way of collecting tokens.
If you're given a token, you have to either let them go on their way, or you have to reimburse them for its value. As long as they don't break either of these rules, it was a method that enabled them to scrape up and gather all of their remaining tokens.
I stood up.
The demons' eyes reflected terror at my sudden movement.
Despite helping them, they were afraid of me.
It felt strange.
The fact that demons look at me and feel afraid in itself felt strange to me.
And it also felt unfortunate.
"Do you have a map by any chance?"
They had one.
I received a map that detailed the rooms, as well as the passageway that connected these rooms.
"And tell me where the group that that guy was talking about is."
The demon girl looked at me quizzically and marked their location on the map.
I checked the location, took out the token that I had put in my subspace bag, and returned it to the girl.
I left the room after telling the flustered demon girl that it was the price of her map and information.
[Where are you going?]
"Where the groups are."
The groups stockpiled several tokens in order to advance together with their comrades.
Plus, the tokens are used for trading and can be used as a method of bail for one’s life.
Even the groups who had no interest of advancing were stockpiling the tokens.
The bigger and more powerful the group was, the more tokens they'd have.
A little while ago, the tokens that I could acquire from that small room was seven at the minimum.
At most, it would be ten, maybe twenty.
I didn't want to gather a thousand tokens that way.
It was tiresome and it would take a long time.
I have to rob from those who had hundreds of them from the start.
I told Seregia and the holy sword my idea.
Seregia was momentarily silent and asked me.
[Is that really the only reason?]
I wanted to know the reason why she asked.
It's already been three months since I've started traveling with Seregia.
She always stayed together with me.
That was plenty of time to know me by now.
That's why I responded honestly.
"I don't want to attack people who aren't my enemies."
[Among the enemies up till now, there have been some who have begged for mercy, Warrior.]
Of course, I killed them without thinking.
[There were also a lot of people who turned their backs and ran away.]
I obviously chased and killed them.
[There were also people who would die just from being grazed by your sword winds.]
I didn't concern myself with their weakness.
[I want to know what the difference is between those demons and the others.]
If I look back, I feel like I've been like this.
Seregia always wanted to learn more about me.
Therefore, after listening to the reason behind my decision, she should use that reason to infer my aim and my personality.
Maybe that's her habit.
"Enemies are people who try to kill me, attack me, try to steal from me, or get in my way. I haven’t considered the circumstances of my enemies in the past and that's how it’ll continue to be."
A person who appears as my enemy even once, or members of that group, had all been considered my enemies.
And I've never compromised with my enemies.
Even after an interrogation, I would always kill them.
It wasn't an issue of morality.
This was a an issue of survival.
This is the Hell difficulty, where even the smallest weakness can lead to a life-threatening consequences.
Being merciful to those who were my enemies, or those who have the possibility of becoming my enemies, is too dangerous.
[I see. I understand.]
After finishing our conversation, I started walking again.
As I walked and walked some more, I started to doubt my own answer.
There was an exception.
The people I had met on the 16th floor.
Though they were definitely my enemies, I reconciled with them and spent time with them in peace.
Even though one of them was a doppelganger who had hidden itself.
It was confusing.
That line that I had drawn wasn't as clear as I had originally thought.
I looked inside for any hidden reasons.
Rather than reflecting on my thoughts, it felt like I was inferring the principle behind my own conduct.
A little bit later, I had to correct my thoughts.
This was a problem of morality, but at the same time it was a method of survival.
I did this to keep myself sane.
After what happened on the 18th floor, I wanted to minimize the harm to people who weren’t hostile.
The things that happened that day had traumatized me.
Therefore, I divided people into two groups: those who are enemies and those who weren't.
And I was even more ruthless to my enemies, in exchange for not hurting people who weren't my enemies.
Due to those hidden reasons, I didn't pursue the, at minimum, seven tokens that were right before my eyes, and just left.
I even returned one of those tokens in exchange for their information.
It got deeper and deeper the more I thought about it.
This will definitely become a weakness.
Do I have to deal with this newly found issue, or ignore it?
Buy us some coffee!