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 Introductions

Led by Hero Wataru, the group made its way to the corner of the former riddle area, a place called the [Avarice Lodge].

"Huh, there's a shop in a place like this?"

"Oh? ... Preserved food and rental books? Heeh. It's pretty expensive, but it's nice to have."

Although there was a room with the main cubicles lined up, there was a place in front of it inside the range of the safety zone for people to shop.

"I can't even think of this place as a dungeon with this shop here."

Wataru spoke with a wry smile.

The Dyne Firm, well, our village's ministry of finance put a serious shop here when I was talking with them about something that reminded me of those cafes that let you rent manga while you're there. I was the one talking about it, but it surprised even me.

I wondered how they'd make a profit from consumers with something that shouldn't exist like that, but it appears they make a profit by only keeping the store open for a short window of time. It goes by following the idea that its main consumers will match their timing up with it.

"So you have to pay in advance or show your Adventurer Guild Card to rent a book, huh. You can't skip your bill that way."

"They have hard bread and jerky... haven't seen this kind of bread recently, huh..."

Nayuta and Setsuna paid for books and food respectively. There were both textbooks and storybooks there to rent, but it looks like Nayuta went with renting a storybook.

"This has got to be the weird facility that was discovered recently~"

Nerune already knew about the facility, but only from the management side of it. This was the first time she'd gone the normal way.

We were going with her really wanting be brought there to see it, so she was looking at the small rooms like they were super interesting to her.

"Well, let's give them a go. Twelve hours is a bit long, though."

"Maybe it'll be easier to kill time if we split into pairs?"

Nayuta responded to Wataru's statement with an extremely proper idea. After all, spending twelve hours alone is quite a long time.

"Please wait~. Our time is limited~, so wouldn't it be better to get more chances in one try~? There's enough rooms for it~"

"Y-yeah. It'd be bad for me to make a pair among those here wouldn't it!"

"... Right. Let's go with one person per room then."

Thanks to Nerune's intervention, we succeeded in safely breaking everyone up. Now we're done with the first step.

"I borrowed some futons from Kehma-san, please use them."

"Oh? How thoughtful."

"Okay~, let's meet again in twelve hours~"

The four each entered a stall after Wataru laid out a futon in each of them.

With the hourglasses turned upside down, the twelve-hour timer began.

*

Only a single hour had passed, but Setsuna was already getting bored. Giving up, she decided to try and get into her futon and sleep, but it didn't look like she was tired.

Is it about time?

I called Rokuko over. She joined me in the Master Room within three seconds of me calling her.

"The true identity of those sisters will finally be revealed!"

"Maybe."

Manipulating the Golem, I prepared a letter from the backside of the room Setsuna was waiting in. The timer was still going, but I dropped the letter down into the place that the items come out from. I hadn't put the letter into an envelope and just folded it twice, but it still rang out as it hit the bottom.

It looked like Setsuna, who didn't know what to do with her spare time, noticed it.

[Nn? ... It hasn't been twelve hours yet has it?]

Setsuna reached out for the letter timidly.

The letter was written in a very official manner, reading: [If you wish to have a conversation, please press against the wall beneath the hourglass.] Looking like she'd figured it out with that, Setsuna didn't looked worried in the least and pressed against the wall.

The wall shifted backward. Once it had moved around twenty centimeters back, it started sliding sideways. The wall with the hourglass on it was a Golem, so it could move on its own. The gimmick was just so that I could operate it from here and see Setsuna's reaction.

The other side of the wall had a passage, followed by a stairway after a little while. It was originally a passage meant for employee-use only, but I redecorated it a bit for appearances.

[I guess it wants me to advance?]

She advanced slowly.

Then, Setsuna arrived in the small room that I'd ran the Golem back to wait on standby in. It's the Messenger Golem with the ability to talk that I'd made a while back.

I put it there to stop her in the off chance she went to destroy the Dummy Core.

[A... Golem?]

Setsuna tilted her head upon seeing the golem sitting with its back against the wall. Activating the golem, I used it to talk to her.

"Yo. Nice to meet ya, how're you?"

Hearing the thick voice that sounded like it had been run through a voice changer, Setsuna reacted with a start.

[The Golem talked!?]

"Hahaha, what's so weird? You came to talk yeah? Wouldn't it be impossible if I couldn't talk?"

[Ah, un... I guess?]

Setsuna nodded in doubt. She was wary, but it looked like she did intend to have a talk with me.

[What are you?]

"I'd like to check with you first, what do you think I am?"

[... ... A Golem?]

"It's as you see, but is that all?"

[Umm... a dungeon monster?]

"That's also correct... is that all?"

When I emphasized that last part, Setsuna thought for a moment before speaking like she was having to squeeze her voice out.

[... Are you-a Dungeon Core?]

"Well, it's that kind of feeling."

It looks like Setsuna concluded that the Golem was a Dungeon Core. Cores and bosses being one-in-the-same is a commonly known 'fact', so I still can't make a judgement on her identity... nn? Weren't they called dungeon bosses? I could narrow it down further if she'd said Dungeon Master, but... yeah, this is taking too long. I'll try asking her myself.

"Please, call me Euma. So, what are you?"

[I'm Setsuna. Just an ordinary adventurer~!]

"Let's try asking again-what are you?"

[Asking again? A Wakoku spy!]

"That's not all, is it?"

[That's right, I'm actually...! A certain Dungeon Core's child!!]

Setsuna declared it with an unnecessary pause. Ah, so she was connected to a dungeon after all-wait, did she just say... child?

Oi hold up, Dungeon Cores can reproduce?

I looked toward Rokuko. Realizing my thoughts, Rokuko blushed and started banging her hands against me.

Judging by her reaction... she can? Or not? Which is it?

... I take it Haku-san knows? Yep, can't ask her. She'd kill me.

She'd said that the Emperor had the founder's bloodline, but I don't know if that meant Haku-san's bloodline since she didn't say.

Alright, let's ask clearly. Can Dungeon Cores have children?

"Ummm, was that a metaphor?"

[It was literally.]

"While we're on the subject, what's the core's name?"

[... Ummm, Core 410-I think that's how you all say it? He's my papa!]

A number I don't know. I'd thought that she was definitely involved with Core 4, but I just heard it from Ontentoo. I guess the timing was just too good.

Incidentally, she said that she had a different father than Nayuta, but I'm convinced this is the reason she's worth 0 DP.

"Rokuko, do you know about Core 410?"

"Nn~... nope, sorry!"

Yeah... there's not even much known about the famous cores.

It was clumsy, but the self-introduction ended like that. I already learned the gist of what I was wondering though.

Ah, I still haven't asked what her goal is. Well, she's talking with me like this, so although I don't think it's going to be a violent goal-let's try asking bluntly.

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