Tsutomu fell onto the wooden floor and screamed, much like a crushed frog, in surprise. Loud, unorganized voices entered his ears. And after some time, he found himself in tattered, plain, light-brown clothes.
He checked around his body and was relieved to see that his hands were still there. While he was checking for any other abnormalities, the man beside him grabbed him by the collar and picked him up rather forcefully.
“Hm, this is the first time you’re respawning after death, isn’t it? Can you stand properly?”
The man was dressed in high-quality indigo clothes, with a gold star affixed to his chest, much like a soldier. As he got picked up by the man, Tsutomu managed to prop himself up with the black cane that he dropped.
Tsutomu was around 170cm in height, but after getting on his feet, he found that the man stood at around 190cm. He felt, at that moment, as if he was being interrogated by someone of the police.
“Hey, you. Where’s your status card?”
“You’re a Diver, aren’t you?”
Suspiciously, the tall man narrowed his eyes at him, and Tsutomu shrunk away in fear. The man stared at Tsutomu and sighed.
“This is the Dungeon of the Gods. Everybody has the right to enter… You’re likely an orphan, though. Anyway, where’d you get that cane?”
“…guess your memory is still a little fuzzy. Anyhow, if you don’t have a status card and you dived into the dungeon with that cane, then people would’ve talked about you. It’s probably not your original equipment. But nobody’s dumb enough to just leave something like this in the plains, which means you probably got this from a treasure chest. What color was it?”
“Uh, it was sparkling and shiny. Almost like it reflected light from the sun.”
Under rapid interrogation, Tsutomu responded without grasping the gravity of the situation. The black cane Tsutomu held was a high-level cane made from a rare drop from the ancient city on the 90th floor. When Tsutomu described the treasure chest that held the cane, the man’s expression showed hints of excitement.
“That’s… the kind that gives out divine gifts! You’re really lucky!”
Tsutomu gave a fake smile when the man clasped his shoulder and, finally, he could look around. There were dragonewts with tightly packed red scales on their limbs. There were also beastmen nimbly moving about, all of them with bearing various characteristics from animals. The man that clasped his shoulder had black dog ears on his head and a black tail wagging to and fro.
Of course, there were also plenty of regular humans. There were people ogling the reception ladies and people polishing their armour. There were also people inquiring as to where they were around Tsutomu.
“Sorry. I got a bit too excited. Should we get this item appraised?”
Tsutomu felt slightly scared due to the curious looks he got, but he kept walking, as if being led by the dog man. While doing so, he looked as far out as he could into the distance. Everything he saw was straight out of fantasy – there were elves with sharp ears and blonde hair, old men the height of grade schoolers, and even people with feathers.
The buildings were a bit strange too. For the most part, they were wooden structures. However, the place that Tsutomu came from was now a pitch-black door, as if cutting a hole through space itself.
As Tsutomu looked, the black door opened. Five people wearing similar clothes to him were thrown out and to the floor. Then, just like what happened to him, guards in indigo uniforms escorted them out of the building.
Catching his eye, there were fantasy-like monitors in midair. In the holographic floating monitor, a party fighting goblins was projected.
“We’re here. Please enter.”
Before he could respond, he was pushed into a private room. Behind the counter sat a cat girl dressed in indigo, leaning on her elbow in boredom. Then, almost as if waking up, seeing Tsutomu and the dog man, she called out to them almost in admiration.
“It’s rare for the clever puppy to come here.”
“I don’t want to see you either, but appraise this guy for now. I don’t know if it was divine providence, but he managed to get that thing in his dive.”
“Is that a cane? Lemme see!”
The catgirl’s ears stood up erect and her almond-shaped pupils narrowed as she appraised the cane that Tsutomu handed over. “Mumumu,” the catgirl recited softly as she channeled magic power into the cane and spoke in shock.
“This is the most valuable item I have ever appraised.”
“Because my skill level isn’t high enough, I could only see the Quickspell (lit. chanting abbreviation) effect; it most likely has more effects than just that. On top of that, its magical power conductivity is at the highest level. Even with just this, it has considerable value. 10 large top quality magic stones… wait, plus 2 extra fire magic stones! That should be the value as of now! Actually, using such a simple appraisal spell on an item of this quality is sacrilegious, so why not make the appraisal fee free of charge?”
“This guy went diving. Don’t you think he has money?”
“Right… However, my skill level might increase if I appraise this, hmm… Hey, you! I’m fine if you pay later on, but do you mind leaving this with me, For now, one medium-sized medium-quality magic stone should be enough to cover the fee!”
The white-haired catgirl leaned over the counter. Even though she offered to only accept just one medium-sized magic stone, Tsutomu still vaguely disapproved and looked up at the dog man involuntarily. “Hmm,” the dog man mumbled and scratched his chin, before crouching a bit to be on eye level with Tsutomu.
“This person is a degenerate but she’s the best at appraisal. Just one medium-sized stone is an unprecedented fee in her case.”
“There was something unnecessary in there, but oh well! How about it~? Onee-san normally offers appraisals at one large magic stone~”
“What I can tell you is that even though she said she could wait for the rest of the money, she usually waits for only half a day. In other words, you’d be better off selling it right now.”
“Hey, which side are you on, puppy? I’m guild staff! The same guild as you~! Benefitting the guild should be your top prio~rity!”
The dog man ignored the catgirl even as she slapped the counter, and continued to talk.
“That cane is probably a top-tier item. Maybe if you use it, you could surpass the 50th floor wall, and get great riches and great fame. Do you still want to sell it?”
Tsutomu thought to himself. This might not just be a dream, but it could be reality. He felt pain that he had never felt before when he was hit by the breath of that Festering Ancient Dragon. And now, there was a dog man staring at him with a serious expression. There was no way that this was a dream.
If this wasn’t a dream, but rather reality, then he should make a realistic choice. If this was actually a dream, then he could laugh it off. Tsutomu took in a deep breath, and shut his eyes. A few seconds passed, and then opening his narrowed eyes, he calmed down and spoke rationally.
“I’ll sell it.”
Though the creation process was tough, the cane was not all there was to him. Besides, the cane would be useless without good armour or tools. Gold took precedence.
“…I see. If that’s the choice you pick, that’s fine.”
The dog man looked at the decisive expression on Tsutomu and stood up, telling the catgirl to appraise the item. The catgirl simply said that she was waiting for it, and held on to the cane, her supple white tail swaying as she made her way behind the counter.
“The appraisal will take a couple of hours, so you should create your status card first. Even if you don’t plan to keep diving, it’s useful for storing your gold.”
“Ah, alright. Thank you.”
The two of them left the private room and headed for a busy counter. Tsutomu felt glances as he passed them by from afar. It seemed as though he was bathed in attention and his previously laid-back expression stiffened.
Then, they walked towards an empty counter. The dog man placed his hand on the counter and jumped into the opposite side, laughing at Tsutomu’s surprised expression.
“Well then. Welcome to the guild reception of the Dungeon of the Gods. We welcome you. Now then, I’ll create your status card. Is that alright?”
“The fee will be 100,000 gold, but I’ll cover that first. I’ll subtract it from the sale price of that cane, okay?”
“Now then, please place some bodily fluid on this card.”
The dog man slid a white cutting-board-like object onto the counter and began to rummage below the counter.
“Basically, blood or saliva or such.”
The dog man came out from below the counter and handed over a thin needle-like object, but Tsutomu dripped the saliva he had accumulated over the status card on the counter. As that happened, the status card glowed white. The light was not dazzling, but gentle. When it subsided, the dog man wiped the saliva off and looked.
“Kyotani Tsutomu… Ooh. LUK and MND are the same, huh. Class is White Mage. Pretty decent for a LV 1.”
Tsutomu tightly held the status card with both hands after the dog man evaluated it and passed it to him.
STR (Strength) D-
DEX (Dexterity) D-
VIT (Vitality) D-
AGI (Agility) D-
MND (Intelligence) D
LUK (Luck) D
Class – White Mage
Skill – Heal
[White mage, huh. That must mean it’s my main account.]
“Was it because the one that accepted the god’s invitation was my main account?” Tsutomu thought as he placed the card back down.
“Next time, please entrust this to the receptionist before entering the dungeon. Divers (people who have no status card) will still receive God’s gift, but not God’s rule.”
“Huh? God’s gift? God’s rule?”
“Even if you die within the dungeon, you will be revived at that black door. However, you will lose everything except your most valuable item. Everything else is trapped inside the dungeon.”
The dog man pointed at the place Tsutomu fell on as he explained. Tsutomu shuddered, recalling the breath of the Festering Ancient Dragon, but the dog man kept going.
“There is only one God’s rule – thou shalt not hold malicious intent and kill others.”
“Basically, don’t murder anyone in the dungeon. If someone kills another person inside the dungeon, they will never be allowed to reenter. Being forsaken by the gods is a fate worse than death. Don’t even try.”
He brought his face closer and Tsutomu shrunk back like when he faced the Festering Ancient Dragon.
“However, if you don’t register for a status card, the gods won’t recognize you as human. As a diver, you would be treated the same way as any other monster in the dungeon. Even if a diver is killed in the dungeon, God’s rule won’t apply to them.”
“In other words…”
“When a diver is murdered, they dissipate into particles like any other monster and there is almost no evidence that they died. There are some idiots who like killing divers too. Starting from next time, please make sure to bring this status card to the receptionist. If you do that, people won’t murder you. Worst case, you’ll be murdered but someone will revive you in there.”
The dog man seemed satisfied with Tsutomu’s reply and he held on to his status card.
“That’s all for accountability. Are there any more questions?”
The dog man said as he brushed away a long lock of black hair. Tsutomu raised his hand after thinking for a while.
“…Is it alright if I ask a few questions?”
“About God’s rule. Is it violated even if the person in question isn’t killed? Such as causing pain or luring monsters towards others?”
“Ooh. You’re so young but your mind is so twisted.”
“Why, thanks,” Tsutomu replied as the dog man folded his arms.
“Unfortunately, as long as there is no death, God’s rule doesn’t apply. In addition, accidental attacks with no ill intention do not break the rule. Even if you died like that, God’s rule wouldn’t apply and you’d still respawn at the black door. However, regarding luring monsters…”
“Ah, does that trigger the rule?”
The dog man seemed like he had a hard time saying it. He shook his head.
“Luring monsters doesn’t violate the rule. However, there are some idiots that still do it due to rare drops and don’t think of the consequences.”
“…because of that, huh?”
Tsutomu pointed at the floating monitors, and the dog man silently nodded.
“God uses those items to display the progress of parties within the dungeon. Basically, they show the parties that are the furthest in the dungeon, or parties in combat. There are about 50 of them being shown at a time here. If they did something like I mentioned…”
“They would lose credibility. Nobody would enter those parties on purpose. There would also be punishments.”
“That’s right. That’s why people in clans normally don’t fight others. If they did, the clan’s reputation would suffer and they’d be expelled. Every clan strictly imparts that rule to their members.”
“I see. Is it alright if I ask two more questions?”
Tsutomu looked around before speaking in a soft voice.
“I want to hire escorts or similar, but does that sort of thing exist within the guild? If so, I would like to hire you.”
“Hoho. It’s surprising that someone without a status card knows about that.”
“It’s easy to infer after seeing that.”
Tsutomu noticed that the guards that dressed in indigo and the individuals that respawned often went around in tandem.
Those that exited the black door, with only one weapon or a piece of armour, and the staff guiding them to the outside of the guild. Tsutomu wondered why they would go so far as to guide them to the guild entrance, not to mention guiding them to the reception.
However, hearing about diver hunting from the dog man, he could guess that public safety here wasn’t good. He could immediately imagine the malicious stares one would get coming in here so poorly equipped.
“Also, if it’s possible, can I have a tutorial of the dungeon, if you get what I mean? I’d be thankful if I learned what to do and what not to do in the dungeon, as well as how to effectively conquer it. It’s because, uh, I’m an orphan so I don’t know much about that.”
“Uh, such systems don’t exist, but since guild staff can personally accept requests, and I understand what you need, I’ll accept.”
“Thank you. One last question.”
“Umu, I’m looking forward to it. I can answer almost anything you ask.”
The dog man pounded his trained chest as Tsutomu asked his last question.
“What is your name?”
“…I’m Garm. Best regards, Kyotani Tsutomu-dono.”
“Ah, just Tsutomu is alright.”
Tsutomu’s narrow eyes narrowed even further and he let loose a smile as he saw Garm radiate a slightly poisonous atmosphere.
Silavin: A ton of people are hating on the fact that he was so willing to sell his cane. I don’t think it is an issue though. A legendary item in the end still just an item. He could always get it back from that person.