The Road to the Labyrinth
The party ‘Thunder’s Fangs’ consisted of eight people.
First was Vargas, the leader, and his daughter Shizuna. Vargas specialized in greatswords and Shizuna in longswords.
There there was Vil and Gates who used shields. With his stature, Vil used a huge shield and held a maul. Gates used a one-handed sword and an ordinary shield, the same style as Carlos.
The scout was Shar, a cat beastkin like Maal. However, his fur was white with black spots.
As for the three people in the rear, the first was Zoro, using a bow. It looked like he could also use a sword. He was also in charge of creating the map.
The mage, Jason, was skilled in support and recovery magic. Excluding Shizuna, everyone this far was all around forty years old. The party had been together for ten years.
The last person, Celfelminto, nicknamed Cell, was an elf spirit mage. Three hundred years old. Still young for an elf.
All of them other than Shizuna were men. She was flower of the group.
The afternoon meeting came to an end and the group went shopping once again.
After seeing the veteran party, Ria’s group felt they were lacking preparation. Then, saying the shopkeepers were their acquaintances, they took out some prized articles.
In this area too, it could be said they couldn’t compete.
Incidentally, Ria looked for a caravan heading to Anise, entrusting it with a letter to the royal palace.
Including everything from Ogre Village to Labyrinth City, even the quarrel they had against Cordova’s army, it was a very long letter. In addition to the relevant facts, it became like that after she also added her own opinions.
She put the letter into a package and sealed it with wax. She securely made it so they hadn’t seen the contents.
Of course, it took a suitable amount of gold coins to entrust it with them. Moreover, they would receive an additional reward on delivery, writing a few lines separately for that.
Worried about taking too long and earnest to deal with Cordova, she wanted to send someone to the country.
With Ria’s sense of values, even taking Casalia’s national interests into consideration, she felt the Cordova problem would be bad if it wasn’t dealt with immediately. Of course, Ria’s intuition was very likely spot on.
Then, at noon the following day, the group left Jaeburg. Reaching the labyrinth’s entrance half a day later, it looked like the plan was going to be heading in and defeating it after one they stopped for a night.
Actually, there were several parties in front and behind them on the same road. Nevertheless, they kept a distance from Ria’s group.
“The area around here has strong flying type demons. I’ll help when push comes to shove.”
As for whether or not he’d actually help, that’d depend on the situation at the time.
According the Vargas’ explanation, they would be attacked by a lot of demons.
There weren’t any Goblin settlements nearby. The reason for that was entirely due to the becoming food for the demons.
It seemed they would frequently encounter Gryphons, Wyverns, and Salamanders around level 70.
When a Wyvern attacked, Thunder’s Fangs fought it as an example. The two shield bearers prevented its attacks while Vargas and Shizuna gradually cut it down. The mages provided minimal aid, preserving their magical power.
Though it was simple, it really wasn’t that dangerous of a fight.
“Show me your skill on that next one there.”
Seeing another Wyvern heading towards them, Vargas spoke.
Vargas’ reason was probably to see the group’s roles and cooperation.
However, there was a single guy that couldn’t read the atmosphere.
With a single space-time magic, the Wyvern’s torso was torn through.
“It’s not easy to eat Wyvern meat since it’s so tough~”
Serge muttered in a carefree manner. He was riding on Rudolph’s back, and though he was the most comfortable among them, it couldn’t be helped since he was a child.
“W-what was that magic just now…”
“I don’t get it. It felt like a mixture or fire and wind magic, but it also could’ve been physics magic…”
Despite the murmurs of astonishment, Ria took the magic stones out of the crashed Wyvern with a hatchet. It was pretty big, one step short of a magic crystal’s purity.
Regarding Jason’s view of preserving as much magical power as you can, in addition to Serge’s Magical Power Cost Reduction Skill, he took it back since he remembered the Magical Power Recovery Speed Increase Skill.
Day after day, although he used his magical power to the limit, he kept doing it. His Natural Talent in Magic Gift was probably playing a big role.
The group resumed walking. They still had to pass the halfway point.
At sunset, they finally neared the summit of the mountain they aimed for.
When descending deep underground into the mountain, it’s said that one would arrive at the Dark Dragon’s abode.
“F-finally, we’re here…”
Lulu was dead tired from the unfamiliar mountain road. Though she occasionally changed with Serge on Rudolph’s back, it seemed the swaying motions made her feel sick.
A donkey’s back is for these kinds of things, but that was impossible. There was no place to safely keep a donkey.
They entered the gaping and gloomy entrance. There they came to a vast room where a group was already camping.
“We’re not camping outside?”
Though they had occasionally camped in the labyrinth, Ria asked curiously since she knew demons would appear. Vargas’ answer was simple.
“It would be unfortunate if a surprise attack from above happened. Being in here is safer.”
Right. So it was a matter of which was more dangerous.
“Well, how about taking a bath?”
When Ria said that, the members of Thunder’s Fangs had looks on their faces as if to say, “What’s this person saying?”
“A bath. Bath. We’re sweaty from walking along the mountain road. How ’bout an open air one since it’s a special occasion? Serge, please take out the tools.”
Next to the cave’s entrance, Ria built a bath. Earth magic, water magic, fire magic. With her technique it wasn’t an exaggeration to call it bath magic at this point. Though that wasn’t an actual magic, it was an advanced magic.
Since there were people looking, she set up a proper wall. It was perfect.
“You know, if you have magical power to make something like this, you should properly preserve it…”
Jason repeated his ‘common sense’ thing again.
“If you rest after cleaning yourself in a bath, you’ll recover your endurance and magical power faster. Don’t you know that endurance isn’t completely recovered from just camping?”
That was a fact. However, no one had verified something like that up to now. Therefore, considering the amount of time to prepare and make it, it was common to not go out of the way to build a bath.
Then again, Ria was anything but common.
“Since I made it a bit bigger, all women go in at once.”
“I’m fine. We could be attacked while bathing.”
Though Shizuna said something fairly commonplace, Ria was proof against commonplace.
“At a time like that wouldn’t it be fine to just fight in the nude?”
“Don’t say something unreasonable!”
Though it was unreasonable, it wasn’t impossible.
Because there were so many people, even without the women, it could be managed somehow or another.
“What about you? Vargas.”
Shizuna didn’t have the right to make decisions. Knowing that, Ria asked him.
Vargas slowly shook his head at his daughter’s desperate gaze.
“You should give it a try.”
“Alright! It’s decided, let’s go in together!”
Grabbing onto the waist of Shizuna, whose face was dyed in despair, Ria disappeared onto the other side of the wall. Maal quickly followed with toiletries and changes of clothes.
After examining the surrounding eyes, Lulu slowly entered as well. She judged that there was very little danger of being toyed with by today’s Ria. She calculated that.
Meanwhile, Shizuna was miserable.
“Stop! I said stop! Where are you touching!”
“You don’t like it? You don’t like it?”
“Gya—! Stoo—! Daaad!”
“Maal, strip her starting with her socks. It’s the aesthetics of it.”
“Understood and agreed.”
“By the way, it’s erotic so leave her with just socks. I remembered.”
The sound of the hot water splashing could be heard.
“S-since I get it… I’ll do it myself, so…”
Giving up everything before long, Shizuna’s voice could be heard.
However, Ria didn’t spare her.
“Don’t hold back. I’ll wash you.”
“Gya—! Hold up! Seriously stop it! I apologized—!”
She probably didn’t understand what she was saying at all by this point.
“Wha—! Where are you touching—!”
“Eh? Your abs.”
The men outside shuddered at Ria’s obviously amused voice.
Just Serge was about to die from the moe.
“Gya—! Why are you touching a place like that!?”
“Nn~? You might get sullied here.”
As one would expect, Vargas became worried at that.
Shizuna, who appeared from the other side of the wall, crumbled down on the spot while crestfallen.
“Uuu… I got polished…”
To the last, Ria’s hands were gentle. She had no intention of damaging a girl’s body.
However, it left a deep wound on her heart. It left a scar.
“Ah~, the hot water was so good.”
Towels covering to their necks, Ria and Maal appeared. Lulu also came out after a slight delay.
Ria’s expression was refreshed, as though she somehow accomplished something.
“Well then next is the men’s turn to head in. I just warmed the water back up.”
Vargas and the others looked at each other. Then, looking towards Carlos and Gig, they confirmed something.
“Umm… you guys, are you interested in that stuff like her?”
Carlos and Gig’s voices were in sync.
“Please pardon me from homos.”
Serge said that unpleasantly.