Part 13: Meanwhile, Elsewhere...
I'll take door number two, Monty!
And here we find the familiar motley crew of characters...
Why did you do that, woman?
That was a foolish move, coming after me like that.
I don't know what happened between you, but this is going too far!
Huh? You want some of this too?
This is no time to be indulging in petty fights. We need to appraise our current situation.
Yes, exactly. Where in the world are we?
Hmph. How should I know?
As before, we have some time to explore the surroundings and talk to other people now.
Let's first talk to Garrick and Alto.
Who are you?
My name is Garrick. I am the head of my order.
Night fell upon us suddenly as we were attacking the castle. Friends and foes alike stopped moving, as if frozen in place... Then we found ourselves here.
Night... eh? It grew dark in an instant right before we were brought here too.
Judging from your appearance, you must be from the far-western continent.
Which means this same phenomenon occurred there as well...
I have also been wondering where this is. I can't tell if it is my country, or some other, foreign land...
Not only that, it seems like all 10 people here are couples...
Some of whom immediately try to kill each other. I doubt there is a simple explanation for this.
Couples? That's impossible. Zhamo and I are nothing like that. If anything, we're...
Yes...? Finish the sentence, please! You won't, will you?
When you consider the couple factor, this situation becomes truly fascinating. Don't you agree?
Are you aware of the dangers of this situation?
Of course. But who says I can't enjoy myself too? I haven't felt this kind of excitement in a long time.
In fact, I was just getting good and tired of my life.
Hey... can you feel that?
Yes. Someone is watching.
It must be the host that invited us here.
And it doesn't look like they want to throw just any old kind of party.
I can't wait to see what they have to say.
As always, people have dispersed around.
Before talking to others, we can go and grab that bottle of mulled vine again.
And then let's see what is going on with Mana and Ayuta.
Perhaps we've been spirited away.
Spirited away? Maybe that's why it became dark so suddenly?
I don't know. But I can say this...
This place is extremely dangerous...
Don't worry, Princess Mana. I will protect you with my life.
Ayuta... I am counting on you.
What is this presence I feel... Is a human capable of this?
Next, our two mysterious friends...
Although we have a slightly better idea what they may be talking about at this point.
I'm thinking about our current situation. I don't feel like talking to you now.
I have nothing to say to you.
Finally, on the other side, we find Escher and Musiea in a not so friendly stance.
Hey, I'm used to women hating me. But if you try anything like that again... I will kill you.
And you won't be able to stop me.
The boy here is the one who stopped you. This matter has nothing to do with me.
Go ahead and kill each other.
...Please don't talk to me...
Where the hell are we, anyway? You're not even from my country.
And finally, we should go talk to Zhamo.
After all, I am here too.
Eluca, did you just wake up here too? How did we get here from... there...
From where? Why does nobody finish their sentences here?
I don't know. But just because you're still alive, I would relax just yet.
Wait, what? What kind of situation WERE these two in before they ended up here?
Not with this overwhelming sense of... oppression...
What is this feeling?
I'm not sure yet. But perhaps you'll end up wishing that you were dead after all...
And finally the voice from above makes itself known.
Escher and Musiea. Zhamo and Eluca. Ayuta and Mana. Garrick and Alto. And Olgar and Vahti.
And where you will now fight for your lives.
Did you say... fight for our lives?
All of you here are but one sheep in two bodies. The person standing next to you will be your partner on this journey.
Of course, we do not ask you to do this for nothing.
You may not refuse to compete in the Ark Arena. Likewise, you are prohibited from fighting until I allow it. If you break either of these rules, you will pay with your lives.
Stop! Before you speak further, answer me this! Where are we?
Why do we have to fight each other?
I am under no obligation to answer your questions.
Hmph. You really think we're stupid enough to fight each other just 'cause you say to?
You may be the chosen warriors, but you are not yet qualified to fight in the Ark Arena.
In order to qualify, you will first need to find and equip the rings beyond this door.
One is the Warrior's Ring, the other the Companion's Ring.
These two rings will prove your eligibility for the Ark Arena.
And then he's gone.
Why do we need those?
It doesn't matter. If we don't play along, we'll all be killed.
That much is certain.
Looks like we'd better listen to him for now.
It seems that we must work together. I can't believe they're making me take this child for my partner...
So you are really going beyond that door...?
It's pointless to stay here and do nothing.
Just don't get in my way.
We have another chance to explore now...
C-come on out already. This isn't funny, okay? You promised we would always be together... Garrick...
(Garrick... He was a highly skilled fighter. I hate to admit it... But there is no way we can defeat the Agent now.)
Ayuta and Mana are no better...
...My country... What happened to my country?
I just pray it's all right...
But of course you are.
Still, now that I am here, I must keep Princess Mana safe...
We don't have to listen to that monster. The fact that we came here from the outside means there must be a way to get out.
All we have to do is find it...
But, the only thing in this room that looks like an exit is that door.
I guess... We have no choice but to do what it says....
Olgar and Vahti, as buttoned up as always...
Also, let's not forget about Piu-Piu!
You won't find better selection or service anywhere else. Not that there IS anywhere else here!
Anyway, looking forward to your business.
I've got all kinds of great stuff here. If you see something you like, don't hesitate to snatch it up!
And don't worry about the price! This is no time to be cheap.
Eluca may have the hots for your now, but that'll change if she sees you being stingy!
And now for some very good news!
All the money we earned in the previous chapter... CARRIES OVER! So we can already go shopping for better weapons and clothes!
As for weapons, Eluca uses twin blades.
...and Zhamo some kind of spear.
As for clothes... interestingly Eluca was wearing by default a Bodyguard uniform. Hm.
But even more intriguingly, check out what Zhamo was wearing originally--Prisoner Outfit! Could it be...
I also buy a Moonstone for Zhamo (Eluca already comes with one).
Before we venture beyond the door, let's just check in once more with Escher and Musiea.
(I can't imagine why these two have been paired up. Come to think of it, why did the Agent make us pair up in the first place?)
(If it wanted us to fight to the death, it could have easily made us fight one-on-one.)
The spirits must be punishing me... I knew I shouldn't have left the children on their own while I search for him...
Eternal life and youth. This is starting to get interesting.
Interesting? How can you say that?
That thing told us to kill each other!
Laying life on the line to obtain immortality? I don't see a problem with that.
Life has value because it's finite. Immortality will bring you nothing but pain.
There are some things you don't want until you've lost them for good.
I don't expect you to understand.
So I'll do whatever it takes. And if I were you, I'd pray that you don't have to fight me in the first round.
Ok, so much about that, we can now go through the door...
...and there of course awaits the first dungeon. Looks like the order is different now.
Unfortunately, our levels do not carry over, so we have to start at the beginning again. But, more good news: other than innate genes (human warrior/mage), all other abilities that we have learned DO carry over! So we already start more or less fully equipped!
And here we are in the first dungeon.
There is nothing like this in our country. I wonder when were we brought here...
...And not only that, they say we have to participate in this crazy tournament...
The Agent's rules are unreasonable and incomprehensible.
We can't believe we'll really be granted immortality either...
But it seems clear that if we don't win this tournament, we'll never be able to go home.
Do you want to go home?
Of course. I am a servant of the Divine King. You know that just as well as I do.
Let's just worry about our current predicament.