It was night time. Illuna was asleep and the maids had already returned to their room. Lefi and I were bored. We didn’t really have anything better to do, so we had started playing board games.
That was when it happened.
I reacted with a jolt as my menu system suddenly activated and pulled up a map of the dungeon.
“Whatever is the matter, Yuki?”
“It looks like there are some uninvited guests headed our way.”
“Yeah,” I frowned.
There were two scenarios in which my map would open on its own accord. The first was when something hostile got too close to the dungeon core. The second was when the dungeon’s territories were invaded by anything that generated more than a certain number of Dungeon Points. The amount of Dungeon Points something was worth was directly proportional to how powerful that something was, so in essence, both cases served to indicate that the dungeon was in danger.
One of the warning system’s most interesting features was that it was flexible. It could trigger based off both individual enemies and groups of enemies. That is, it could still activate even if we were invaded by a large party comprised of weaker entities so long as the sum of all their individual Dungeon Point values exceeded a certain threshold.
And this time, that was precisely the case. My territory had been invaded by a swarm of weaklings.
The only reason I was capable of discerning that the individual invaders were weak was because my map had recently undergone an upgrade. It was now capable of showing me detailed information about each invader, with one of these details being the trespassers’ races. This time, they were all human. There looked to be about four to five hundred of them in total.
“Have you any knowledge of their identities?” asked Lefi.
“Well, they’re all wearing similar equipment, so they probably belong to an army.”
“Remember how we attacked some human town in order to get Illuna back? I’m pretty sure the country that town’s affiliated with dispatched their troops because they weren’t happy with what we did.”
“So the fools failed to learn their lesson?”
“Pretty much, yeah.”
“Shall I destroy them?”
A cold, dark smile made its way across Lefi’s face. The humans knew that she ruled the Wicked Forest’s deepest parts. Their invasion demonstrated that they no longer respected her authority. And that, she would not stand for.
Lefi was capable of resolving the situation with ease. In fact, letting her lose would have been the most efficient way of dealing with our “guests.” But still, I shook my head and rejected the offer.
“Nah,” I smiled. “I’d rather not have to rely on you if possible. This is my dungeon, defending it and everyone that lives in it is my responsibility. Besides, this is the perfect opportunity for me to try something I’ve been meaning to test.”
I had already known that this was going to happen.
The city’s governor was willing to comply with our demands. It was clear that he understood our power and didn’t want to challenge us. There was, however, no guarantee that his country would feel the same. As far as they were concerned, we were in the wrong. We had crossed their borders, threatened their citizens, and even occupied one of their towns.
I was certain that some hot-headed higher up would ignore all the governor’s warnings and send troops at us for the sake of retaliation. There was no way that mentioning the Supreme Dragon would be enough to pacify all the idiotic patriots at the country’s helm.
They were sure to challenge her; they were doomed to repeat their predecessors’ mistakes.
But in essence, that was precisely what it meant to be human.
My knowledge of my old world’s history was enough to inform me that, for humans, forgetting the past was normal. Humanity had always continued to make the same mistakes over and over. The lessons our ancestors left us would always fade with time and be left forgotten in the annals of history.
It was precisely that bit of knowledge that led me to expect this invasion. And since I expected it, I was ready for it.
I’d been expanding the amount of territory covered by the dungeon at almost every given opportunity. I had already integrated a fair part of the forest into my domain. My plan was to have the invaders assist me in testing out two of the dungeon features that I wished to further explore.
The first of these features was setting traps through the dungeon’s interface. I had already used the function to prepare everything ahead of time, so I knew how it worked. However, I had no clue how effective the traps were. I needed to see them in action. The second feature was altering the lay of the land that I had acquired through the expansion of my domain.
I took a deep breath and stopped thinking about the dungeon as I took turns glancing at Lefi, who was staring straight at me, and Illuna, who was still asleep.
My second life was… an enjoyable one. I spent most of my time effectively doing whatever I wanted. I could waste days just messing around without having to face the consequences.
I never ended up finding myself wanting to be human again. I never once yearned to be a part of human society. Nor had I ever wished that I was still back in Japan.
And it was all thanks to them.
Lefi and Illuna were why my days had always been so filled with joy. I was certain that I would have longed for my homeland had they not been there for me.
That was why I had no mercy to show for those that threatened them, for those that threatened to take away the happy days I spent with them by my side.
If the soldiers were our enemies, I would destroy them. No questions asked.
“But, I guess I’ll at least issue them a warning first.”
I was prepared to do whatever it took to protect my dungeon and its inhabitants. But I too had once been human. I couldn’t help but feel a slight tinge of lingering compassion for the intruders that I had once shared a race with. So I decided that I would at least offer them an opportunity to leave.
I got up and materialized my wings as I began to speak.
“What is it, Yuki?”
She spoke in her usual, casual tone—
“I’m going to step out for a bit. Could you do me a favour watch over the dungeon for me while I’m away?”
“Very well,” she nodded. “I… will await your return.”
—Or at least she tried.
“Be quick about it. The next turn is yours, and I fear my impatience may drive me to make your move for you should you not return at once.”
Her voice wavered and conveyed to me the subtle emotions behind the words she’d chosen not to say.
Thank you, Lefi.
“I swear, you better not.”
I smiled wryly and did my best to stop my emotions from surfacing as I left the throne room and readied myself to confront the intruders.
Translator’s note: This is the first time I’ve ever experienced not being good enough at English to translate something properly. For that, I guess I need to apologize to the readers, the author, and the novel itself. I can’t do this scene justice. I tried to convey all the subtle emotions it’s filled with, but I don’t think I got them across very successfully.
Long story short, Lefi is both aware that Yuki is taking a risk. He is placing himself in danger of either dying or suffering psychological damage after the conflict. Both are trying to speak to each other in such a way that provides the other party with peace of mind. Lefi understands that this is something Yuki has resolved himself to do, and knows that he needs to do it himself. This is why she never once directly tells him she is concerned for his safety. She doesn’t want him to be worried about her being worried about him. The lines at the end reek of subtle romantic feelings, but I can’t get them quite right, even after staring at them for like 12 hours.
Tl;dr. Sorry I’m bad at English.