“… Which reminds me, I feel like they said something similar to that.” (Shuuya)
“Yeah, well, now we will swiftly dive into the labyrinth by touching this.” (Rebecca)
Rebecca and I touch the water crystal.
The instant she mentioned “Leap” — we warped.
The place, where we leapt to, is an eight-sided-shaped room just like the one before the leap.
It’s unexpectedly bright. The height is around 20 meters?
There are arched entranceways with no doors at the four cardinal directions of the room. Passages continue ahead within each.
A dazzling light is created by light sources in the shape of geometrical patterns, similar to those of magic crests, at the walls and ceiling.
The crystal we are touching stands towering in the middle of the octagon-shaped room.
“Today it’s this place, huh…?” (Rebecca)
Rebecca murmurs a brief comment.
She surveyed the surroundings of the room we were transferred to.
She has dived many times after all, hasn’t she? She wore the expression of a veteran.
She removes her hands from the crystal she had touched with a calm expression and starts to walk while holding her long wand in front of her chest.
“Are there cases where you are attacked by monsters right after the transfer?” (Shuuya)
I try asking while fixing my sight on her blonde hair.
“There are. But I never heard of even one occasion where monsters appear in the rooms with these crystals. But, monster killers are different.” (Rebecca)
“Monster killers?” (Shuuya)
“People with evil intentions who run away while dragging along a large amount of monsters to dump them on other adventurers.” (Rebecca)
“That’s nasty.” (Shuuya)
“Yes, I don’t know about parties, but adventurers that hunt by themselves fear those people…” (Rebecca)
Rebecca’s face became pale.
It appears that she has experienced that.
“But, adventurers doing something like that will sooner or later be denounced and defeated by honest adventurers, right?” (Shuuya)
“It would be great if that was true, but I didn’t hear about it happening all that much. There are situations where monster killer’ing is caused even by adventurers who can dive into deep floors.” (Rebecca)
It’s not like there are video cameras installed. I suppose it’s a difficult issue?
“Victims are unavoidable then, right? It’s even nastier if it happens right after the transfer.” (Shuuya)
“Yeah, it’s dangerous, but in that case you can escape by transferring right away if you touch the crystal. There are almost no victims due to a monster killer right after a transfer. The problem is if it happens in a monster room connected through passages once you leave the crystal and advance further in. Since scum adventurers, who possess hiding skills beyond <Hide>, and who act while filled with ill will, exist anywhere… you have to be careful. You never know what might happen inside the labyrinth.” (Rebecca)
She explained with a serious look and a sharp glint in her blue eyes.
Though the warning is accompanied by an unpleasant conversation, it still makes my heart feel slightly warm and fluffy. Rebecca is a really nice person.
This meeting with her might be a good omen for me who challenges the labyrinth for the first time.
“… If that’s the case, you mentioned it before as well, Rebecca, but the probability is high that one becomes a monster killer by just running away from monsters, even without any evil intentions.” (Shuuya)
“Yeah. I hear those incidents often occur at the warp points of the sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth floor. There are also many clans that end up eventually creating large armies of monsters by continuing to run away from monster groups without actually having any evil intentions.” (Rebecca)
“… I will remember it.” (Shuuya)
While saying that, I check out the vicinity.
The building materials of the floor and walls are big stones, huh?
They seem to form a space that covers the surface without leaving any gaps.
They look like concrete and block material. It gave the spacious room an air of being artificial.
It really gives the impression of a labyrinth.
Passing through the arched entrance way located in the direction ahead, Rebecca walks into the passage there.
The passage’s width seems to be more than ten meters.
It’s sufficiently wide.
“… I will also teach you about the Rampage Surge. It refers to the situation where large amounts of monsters spawn from passages, rooms and spaces which occurs sometimes.” (Rebecca)
“Ho, such a phenomenon exists, too?” (Shuuya)
“Well, it’s alright since a Rampage Surge doesn’t happen often.” (Rebecca)
Rebecca talks while smiling.
“Let’s advance through the passage this way then. Since there are stairs, I think we will run into adventurers fighting monsters after going down.” (Rebecca)
As she said, there were stairs leading downwards.
The stairs’ width is the same as that of the passage.
As we descended the stairs at a light pace, it became gloomy and cold.
“The temperature fell, but the labyrinth sustains this brightness?” (Shuuya)
“Correct. There’s a difference in temperature. Such short stairways are all over the place, but lighting isn’t necessary because the walls and ceiling are basically bright. However, there are special rooms, spaces, traps and passages. Since there are also cases where it becomes pitch black making one feeling chills, it’s essential to prepare light sources and heat tools that can warm your body.” (Rebecca)
The low temperature pricks my skin while I listen to her explanation.
But, this cold lets me actually feel that I’m diving into an unknown dungeon.
I even have goosebumps as I tremble in excitement.
Once we descended the stairs while I’m harbouring those feelings in my chest, we came out in yet another room.
Huh? It’s strange, but feeling the wind, it has suddenly become mild.
Besides, there is the presence of magic sources.
— I discover beasts. It is a flock of three big rats with fangs growing out.
They still haven’t noticed us.
The room with these monsters in it is quadrangle.
There are passages continuing deeper inside ahead of us and on the right side.
The room’s impression is dreary due to the grey stone paving.
“— There they are. The small fry monsters of the first floor. Big Rat.” (Rebecca)
Having noticed the monster presences, Rebecca explains.
She moved her white hands while making her beautiful blonde hair sway.
She holds out the long wand with the small red gem attached at its tip in front of her chest.
Preparing her wand, she moves her lips as she reveals a smile while seizing her targets with a sidelong glance.
“— I will swiftly get rid of them, okay?” (Rebecca)
Her bells-like voice resounds.
“Oh Fire Spirit Ilness, feed on my mana and display a fraction of a fire spirit’s power. Please manifest a fireball—” (Rebecca)
She started the chant of a language spell.
She spins mana and words together.
Together with Rollo I observe Rebecca’s language magic.
I follow the movement of her mana with my Magic Observation.
Rebecca’s mana manipulation is quick.
It’s just as she said; that she has confidence in her magic.
I had understood that her mana manipulation is smooth, but…
Her actually invoking the magic is something different altogether.
『Your Excellency, she’s a mana user worthy of special mention. The fire spirits are happily gathering around her. Although chanting is considered as being of lower rank, it’s obviously different from normal. She will create a beautiful fireball.』 (Helme)
Is that so? I can’t see those fire spirits at all, but it seems like Helme, who is a spirit of water and everlasting darkness, can see them.
Rebecca is poor, but her real rank as a magician seems to be that of someone possessing the skills of a master in manipulating mana.
As the rhythm of the chant and the mana overlap, they vanish and sublimate into a flame.
A large fireball got completed after the flame was moulded into a sphere.
Rebecca dons a stern expression.
Reciting the name of the spell, she released it.
Heading towards the flock of big rats, the well-kneaded fireball soars while buzzing.
The fireball crashes into the flock of big rats.
The big rat that was in the middle was completely devoured by the fireball. While turning into something black in an instant, its body scattered and vanished.
The momentum of the fireball doesn’t lessen and it clashes against the labyrinth’s floor. The flame spreads in a fan form with its strength reduced.
The flames also extend to the big rats in the vicinity. Their bodies got wrapped up by the fire and stopped moving.
It’s slightly overkill.
What about the magic stones? But then again, I can see small magic stones sticking to the scattered corpses.
Rebecca swiftly retrieved the magic stones from the charred corpses.
So the magic stone is left behind even if the monster burns down?
Well it’s unexpected, but it doesn’t look like it will explode after getting in touch with fire.
“It’s a good sign. We got three small magic stones.” (Rebecca)
“One shot with a fireball, huh? Way to go!” (Shuuya)
Rebecca puts the magic stones into her bag while in a good mood.
“Yeah. If it’s big rats who appear on the first floors, I can defeat them with my magic without them counter-attacking as long as I manage to get in a preemptive strike. However, once we advance a bit further in, it becomes hard without a vanguard as the types of monsters increase and the numbers appearing at once grow. Since you possess magic as well, Shuuya, I think that we can defeat them without getting attacked back as long as we attack together first.” (Rebecca)
“I guess so. I plan to test out magic as well, but me and Rollo are basically vanguards. Next we will take the initiative by going to the front. Please also leave the search for monsters to me.” (Shuuya)
“Got it. I’m looking forward to what you will show me.” (Rebecca)
Seemingly having the feeling of a senpai, Rebecca hums a song apparently looking forward to judge our performance.
Inside the passage splitting to the left and right, she advances after choosing the right pathway.
When we are walking down the square passage, I once again sense magic sources.
There are several small magic sources. I guess it’s those rats again.
『Your Excellency, I won’t lose to Rebecca! I will show her how I eradicate them with my magic!』 (Helme)
The small Helme stretched out her small hands towards the rats while assuming a characteristic pose*. (T/N: A reference to “The bizarre adventures of Jojo” who apparently assumes weird ass poses, check out this: http://kajipon.sakura.ne.jp/jojo.htm)
『No, I will do it. Helme, you will just watch, okay?』 (Shuuya)
Helme vanishes from my sight while looking disappointed.
At the same time I summoned the Magic Halberd into my right hand.
“Rebecca, there are enemies ahead. I believe them to be big rats. Me and Rollo will plunge into them.” (Shuuya)
“Okay. I will watch from behind.” (Rebecca)
Let’s show Rebecca a bit of our skills as vanguards.
And thus I start running—
Rollo also got off my shoulder and ran ahead of me.
She transforms into the middle-sized black panther with a billowing sound while running.
Her figure of dashing with large strides is as beautiful as ever.
I confirm the big rats at the location where I sensed the magic sources.
A flock of five rats.
I don’t mind the big rats in front of me noticing my approach.
Swinging my Magic Halberd diagonally from the right top to the left bottom at the big rat I targeted, I bisect it.
The diagonally-cut cross-section turns pitch black as it carbonizes.
When the corpse that got split into two parts tumbled to the ground, a small magic stone rolled onto the floor from within the corpse.
Rollo, who was at the right side, stabs a big rat with her tentacle bone swords and easily kills it. She starts to play around by using the corpse to roll it around similar to ice hockey.
Even as I wryly smiled at her playing, I targeted the big rat remaining on the left side.
Switching my hold on the Magic Halberd, which I lowered after defeating the previous rat, into a backhand grip, I perform an irregular golf swing.
If you put it into tennis terms, the Magic Halberd drew an arc as if adding a drive spin with a backhand and crashed into the head of the big rat.
A large quantity of the big rat’s spinal fluid clung to the Magic Dragon Gem that collided with the rat’s head as if grazing it.
— There are still two rats left in the back.
Being unconcerned with such gore, I rotate the Magic Halberd.
While advancing with my body in a forward-bent posture, I perform a side step rotation like the famous soccer player Zi○ne from a while ago. (T/N: No idea why author censored the name, but try guessing. Hint: a famous French matchmaker)
I swing down the Magic Halberd with the force of the rotation added to it onto a big rat and crushed its skull.
The red axe blade clashes with the surface of the labyrinth’s floor, sinks in and a shock wave clad in flames spreads from the point of impact.
It’s only for an instant, but the red crest of the Evil Dragon King I obtained after easily bisecting it with my ancient magic surfaced in my mind.
At this point I make the Magic Halberd disappear for the moment.
— Last one.
I run up to the last remaining big rat, and kicked the bottom of its stomach with all my power as if scooping the rat up with an instep kick of my Magic Step.
The big rat that was squashed with a thick sound reverberating is whirled up into the air as it had its inner stomach caved in greatly.
The first-rank mark created by the Evil Dragon King has been properly imprinted. The big rat was crushed to death making a sound of being even further smashed in the air similar to dull sword-slashing sounds.
The crushed corpse falls to the ground.
Rebecca, who had seen the chain of actions, revealed an expression filled with astonishment.
Her blue pupils have dilated.
Without paying attention to that, I recover the magic stones. But apparently the magic stones in the crushed parts of the corpses were broken. They turned into charcoal as if they burned up…
Oops, I ended up smashing them into pieces.
I will apologize about that to the spaced-out Rebecca.
“Rebecca, sorry, I crushed the magic stones into pieces.” (Shuuya)
“Eh? Ah, well, I’m pretty sure it will turn out like that, or will it? However, that doesn’t matter. Such things also happen to first-class adventurers, is something I heard.” (Rebecca)
“I see. Then it’s okay. It looks like we will easily gather the share of magic stones for the request if we defeat monsters at this pace, right?” (Shuuya)
Rebecca answered my question while blinking in surprise,
“T-That’s true as well. To be honest, I didn’t expect you to be a warrior of this calibre, Shuuya. If you like, it would be okay to choose a more difficult request…” (Rebecca)
“Oh well, isn’t it fine? Even without taking a request, we can sell the magic stones, can’t we?” (Shuuya)
“That’s certainly so, but if you accept a lot of requests, the number of completed requests will increase as well, won’t it? However, since it’s like this now, should we try to challenge a rare monster room where C-class monsters appear?” (Rebecca)
Ooh, it’s a room name that really befits a labyrinth.
“Rare monster room?” (Shuuya)
“Yeah. Before reaching a rare monster room, one has to pass through several rooms where monsters spawn, but on each floor there’s a special room where several inherently strong monsters spawn. There are times when a treasure chest spawns if you defeat those strong monsters, and there’s the chance of a rare item being inside those treasure chests.” (Rebecca)
It appeared! The standard of a labyrinth, a treasure chest!
I wonder what kind of items those rare things are.
“Ooh~, that sounds nice. What kind of rare items appear?” (Shuuya)
“For example accessory types. On a glance they are common items, but it often happens that they are surprising items once you check them with appraisal.” (Rebecca)
Appraisal, huh? I wish I had that skill.
“Hee, so you say that there’s also cases where high-class items appear?” (Shuuya)
“Yeah. But it’s the first floor after all, so there won’t be anything that doesn’t correspond to that fact. But, you know, there are fights over that room among fellow adventurers, too. Thus we have to be careful if we head towards that room, alright? Mostly one can hunt safely by keeping the sequential order with all the other parties though.” (Rebecca)
Dispute, eh? Such developments are my speciality.
“I see. It’s fine with me. If it’s fine with you as well, Rebecca, I’d like to challenge it.” (Shuuya)
“… Understood. Let’s go then. Once we pass through three open spaces which are ahead of here if we continue to advance in the right passage, the room after those will be the rare monster room.” (Rebecca)
Hee, she apparently remembers the route perfectly.
Rebecca has really gone many times into this labyrinth.
“I guess you have memorized the map around this area?” (Shuuya)
“Yeah. It’s nothing to boast of, but to a certain degree it’s all inside here.” (Rebecca)
She raises a slender, white finger while smiling and lightly taps her own head.
“As expected of Rebecca-senpai.” (Shuuya)
Rebecca becomes bashful due to my light joke.
“Fufu, thanks. This is the third area of the first floor. More than ten crystal rooms to where you can be teleported have been confirmed on the first floor, but one is often sent between the first to third area. What I have memorized are those three areas. For the fourth area and above even I need a tool to not get lost or a map. Though it would be easier if I possessed a skill such as <Map Creator>.” (Rebecca)
She has diligently crammed a map that seems to span from the first to the third maze into her head?
I think that’s quite amazing.
Even so, there are people possessing skills to create maps? Normally it’s a safe bet to say that those are the people you’d definitely want in your party.
However, in my case I have the mirror. Since I can dive into the labyrinth for as long as I have blood, I can progress through the labyrinth perfectly fine with just Rollo, Helme and the burning knights although it will take time without a map.
“… There aren’t all that many people possessing such a skill, are there?” (Shuuya)
“Yeah. Most of them belong to major clans.” (Rebecca)
Since the same big rats appear inside the passage as we continue our conversation, we advance while defeating the small fries and collecting their magic stones.
An open space that seems similar to the first room comes into sight.
We check that room from the entrance that has an arched shape.
Different from the big rats, a great number of small human-shaped monsters had spawned in that room.
In total there are 8 monsters.
“Those are Buundel, a small goblin type living underground. They appear in groups.” (Rebecca)
“Goblins, eh… I guess their perception range is low?” (Shuuya)
Rebecca answered my question after lightly chuckling with a “Pfft.”
“The opponents are small goblins, no? They aren’t all that formidable monsters. Their movements are nimble, but normally you won’t be noticed unless you enter the room. As they are small, their field of view is narrow. Even their thinking is just foolish. Still, they are dangerous since they are faster than big rats, I suppose.” (Rebecca)
“Roger. Then they are the perfect experimental subjects. Please let me handle the preemptive attack. I will test the spells I learned.” (Shuuya)
“Yeah, yeah. I will just watch.” (Rebecca)
I don’t pay attention to her becoming slightly disgruntled.
The spells I learned are as follows,
Elementary level: Water attribute, Frozen Bullet
Elementary level: Water attribute, Frozen Sword
Intermediate class: Water attribute, Frozen Arrow
Intermediate class: Water attribute, Purifying Water
Advanced class: Water attribute, Water Cure
Advanced class: Water attribute, Frozen Snake Arrow
Extreme class: Water attribute, Frozen Dragoness
Water attribute, Water Wall Array.
Water attribute, Water Resistance.
Water attribute, Freezing Splash.
The strongest spells among those are…
The language spell, Frozen Dragoness.
The crest spell, Freezing Splash.
I decide to first test Frozen Dragoness.
『I’m happy. I will be able to see your magic, Your Excellency.』 (Helme)
Helme appeared while swimming in the right upper part of my sight.
Why is she swimming with a breaststroke while showing off something similar to panties? Without mentioning my concern regarding that, I explain the magic skill.
『… That’s right. I own the high-level skill <Instant Staff of Water>. For only water-attribute spells it becomes possible to use no chant and crest simplification. Therefore it should activate in an instant if I think of it.』 (Shuuya)
『Yes. The mana is thick here, too. You can expect your magic output to be increased, Your Excellency.』 (Helme)
I’m looking forward to that.
『Alright, I will step inside to test the magic.』 (Shuuya)
Helme vanished from my sight.
Then I look at Rebecca.
“What! Won’t it be fine if you shoot the spell!?” (Rebecca)
I nod at Rebecca, who is pouting her lips cutely, with a smile. Leaving Rollo behind, I walk towards the centre of the room where the buundel have gathered.
Once the small buundel goblins noticed me approaching, they began to shout with strange voices.
I cast the spell after assuming a pose of raising my right arm overhead.
— 《Ice Dragon Column》.
At that moment, alongside a sudden drop in the temperature of the room, a column of ice shaped like a “dragon head” is created and pours towards the centre of the room from my hand.
Countless ice fangs have grown out from the lower and upper jaw of the ice dragon. Fins are created at the rear of its head.
Showing that mouth with its sharp-looking fangs, the ice dragon head plunged forward towards the centre of the open space as if devouring anything in its path.
Due to the change in temperature, the air felt really clear.
And, while swallowing the buundel as if devouring them between its upper and lower jaws, the ice dragon crashes into the floor.
A diamond dust-like storm is created around the centre of the place where the ice dragon struck. The buundel, who were swallowed up and devoured by the magic, have their bodies turned into ice, crumbled and got destroyed without any traces left.
I was the one who destroyed them, but it was amazing, right?
… A hill of ice columns that tells the story of its power was created in the centre of the room.
『How terrific. I don’t even have any words for it. As expected of your magic, Your Excellency.』 (Helme)
『You are flattering me Helme, you know? It’s better if you don’t praise me too much or I will end up getting carried away.』 (Shuuya)
Helme quickly bowed her head in her deformed appearance.
『Ha! I’m sorry.』 (Helme)
『No, don’t mind it since it’s not like I’m telling you that strongly off.』 (Shuuya)
The deformed Helme disappears from my sight.
However, this spell, as expected, it was just right to name it Extreme class.
There’s nothing to criticize about its looks and power. The range of the effect is wide, too.
Mana has been consumed within limitations as well.
However, if it’s only this much, it’s possible to chain dozens of shots.
“— Shuuya! You, just now, did you chant?” (Rebecca)
Rebecca runs up next to me while revealing an amazed look.
Rollo came running as well.
“No. It was without chanting.” (Shuuya)
I calmly responded.
“Eeeh!? Really, just who the hell are you!? The magic just now looked like it had the scale of king class I think. I was wondering whether you would use that unique-looking halberd as intermediary, but you fired off magic at the scale of king class without holding anything. … And in addition, without chanting? A special skill possessor on the rank of having been chosen by a god or such… geez, I’ve gotten really tired of getting stunned… Shuuya, you might be able to normally finish off unknown monsters that are said to appear in the vicinity of the Ten Heavenly Evil Statues, right… you could possibly even defeat Barbaroy’s Envoy.” (Rebecca)
I wonder, what’s that Barbaroy?
Though I’m also curious about the Ten Heavenly Evil Statues.
Going by her reaction… I will only use safe spells at the start since I will otherwise oddly stand out.
As Rebecca says, it might be the best to pretend using the Magic Dragon Gem of the Magic Halberd as intermediary.
Actually it’s possible to manifest the hidden sword from the Magic Dragon Gem at the lower part of the Magic Halberd.
That or holding up the Blue Eyes of the Evil Dragon King or something like that. Let’s stop at the range of little elementary spells if I decide to use no chant.
“… Sorry. I will be careful from now on.” (Shuuya)
“No, it’s fine… it’s your true ability after all. But, I have lost a bit of confidence.” (Rebecca)
I ended up hurting her pride.
I have to follow up here…
“But, since I can’t use high-ranking fire magic like you, Rebecca, I will leave it to you when fire magic is needed.” (Shuuya)
I kept silent about Rollo being able to use a high-level fire breath.
“Y-Yeah. There’s that too. Leave it to me…” (Rebecca)
“Fire and wind are important, right?” (Shuuya)
“G-Guess so. You realized, didn’t you?” (Rebecca)
I humour Rebecca in a casual manner.
While replying back to her suitably, I broke the ice by melting it with the red axe blade off the corpses that have been buried in ice, and hurried to retrieve the magic stones.
Rebecca whittles down the ice with a small hammer that hung at her waist belt.
Rollo helped with the retrieval by shaving off the ice with her tentacle bone swords without using her breath attack.
Well, I guess at that scale its use is limited?
However, the room is still a bit cold.
Ice Dragon Column was too powerful.
We retrieve all the magic stones inside the unpleasant cold.
The magic stones’ shape has changed from being diamond shaped in various ways.
They also had an extreme unevenness.
“We finished retrieving them. Let’s head further inside.” (Rebecca)
Taking Rollo along, I pass through several rooms and passages together with Rebecca.
Defeating all the small fries spawning in the rooms and passages, we collect their magic stones.
We easily finished gathering the amount of magic stones necessary for the request.
Moreover, we were able to procure extra magic stones exceeding thirty stones.
“We have enough magic stones.” (Rebecca)
“Yeah, I will use them as reference for my next dive.” (Shuuya)
“Yes, that’s a good idea. However, in your case I believe that you will be able to hunt on the third floor with leeway rather than the first or second floor, Shuuya. You will be able to earn a lot. It’s likely that you will be in great demand for parties once other people see your strength.” (Rebecca)
“Great demand… I might be happy about that, but it looks like it will get difficult then. As for the third floor you mentioned, Rebecca, the monsters get stronger the deeper the floors one goes to, right?” (Shuuya)
“Correct. They will get stronger after the inner part of the first floor.” (Rebecca)
“I see.” (Shuuya)
Should I try soloing until at least the third floor next time?
“So, don’t stop. Our targeted monster room is inside this. We have to go down this passage.” (Rebecca)
We advance without getting lost as Rebecca is guiding us.
We proceeded to the inner area at a good pace.
“There’s a hall ahead of here and beyond that is the rare monster room.” (Rebecca)
We will arrive very soon, huh?