The Six Explorers
“First thing is a bath.”
When Ria returned to the mansion she borrowed a bathroom and easily carried a barrel filled to the brim with water in by herself, filling the bathtub. Then by using fireball once, the water boiled in no time.
Closing the room, Ria energetically stripped.
Seizing Maal’s clothes who was darting her eyes about, she energetically stripped her as well.
Warm water was thrown at the confused Maal.
“Cover your ears so water won’t get in.”
By using soap, Maal’s fur was evenly foamed up. Of course, her squishy paws were washed elaborately. [TN: Word for wash here also means investigate.]
When the pretty bubbles were cleaned off, she lifted her up from behind and entered the tub.
“Puhaah~, baths refresh the spirit!”
Saying that, Ria stroked Maal’s body, enjoying the short and soft fur.
“By the way, I’m going to capture the dungeon but…”
Maal was already relaxed.
“When my wish comes true, Maal will be freed. Even if it isn’t fulfilled, you can go anywhere you want after two years.”
Maal’s ear twitched.
A cat beastkin’s ear said things like a mouth.
“However, I want you to cooperate with me until then. Since this labyrinth lets just six people go in together, with this we have a complete set of people.”
“Maal’s role is to be my comrade, and my hug pillow!”
Declaring that, Ria hugged the soft and exhausted body.
“I think we’re good. Sneaking, keen ears, lock picking, she seems to have all of the skills necessary to be a scout.”
Using Identify, Serge agreed from the start. Originally, this party didn’t have someone in the scout position.
However, Lulu and Carlos objected negatively.
“You’d bring such a cute child into the labyrinth?”
“That’s right. Such a small child should be a house maid.”
The elf lover seemed to be a furry lover too. A sinful man.
Lulu removed the scar on Maal’s ear and was already attached to her.
But in the end, they went with Ria’s opinion. The Identify showed that Maal was level 20.
“Well then, we’ll prepare our equipment tomorrow morning and leave for the labyrinth in the afternoon?”
It was decided.
That night, according to her declaration, Ria made Maal into her hug pillow.
She pulled Maal into the bed after she’d tried to reservedly lay on the floor. They were both in their underwear and Ria caressed the coat of fur.
“Why did Maal become a slave?”
When she asked while stroking her head, Maal’s mouth opened lightly.
“I lived in a village to the south-east of here, but one day when I went to collect medicinal herbs, I was caught by slave hunters…”
It’s tragic, but sad stories like that aren’t uncommon in this area.
Maal had an ability called ‘Fairy Eyes’ that could see magic power, a convenient existence in the labyrinth. She was bought for a party of explorers, and went into the dungeon for two years.
Just recently, the party was defeated inside the dungeon and she was sold to fix their equipment.
“Is that so? That’s serious. But don’t worry. I’m not in a situation where I’d have money problems.”
The fact that I’m staying at a mansion like this shows that.
“Come to think of it, Ria-sama…”
“Don’t use -sama. If you want to call me that, then by all means say ‘Ria-chan’.”
“Umm, what is Ria-chan’s situation?”
“You know the country to the south of here called Casalia?”
It’s a large country, so Maal knew the name.
“My father is the king.”
Tensely, Maal’s tail became stiff.
“Casalia is a good country. Though there are slaves, slave hunting is a crime. I’d like to show you it at least once…”
While patting her and saying so, Maal fell asleep.
It was the first peaceful sleep she’d had in a long time.
The next day, the party moved as scheduled. Serge, Lulu, and Carlos went out to buy supplies.
Serge’s storage space was convenient in that it didn’t let time pass. He could store enough fresh vegetables and meat to feed six people for months.
Facing Ria and Maal, Gig acted as a guard as Maal got necessary equipment for the labyrinth.
Maal wore matching black leather armor to Ria, two knifes and a crossbow. She also had seven tools for opening treasure chests in the labyrinth.
“There aren’t any dangerous monsters until the fourth floor. Of course, that depends on your level.”
Now then, why else are we going into the labyrinth?
Instead of science in this world, magic supports life. Materials for magic tools, and their fuel, magic crystals.
The magic crystals are found in areas where there is an extremely large amount of magical power. Although you can refine the magic stones found from inside monsters, there are few monsters in the wild with them.
But labyrinths are different. Monsters grown there, without exception, have them.
In other words, labyrinths are areas where there are both dangerous monsters and magic stones are produced.
Moreover, for some reason labyrinths produce valuable ores, weapons and armor inside of treasure chests, and store magic tools.
Although it’s said that the labyrinth’s master lays them out, the labyrinth’s master was called many things. A dragon, a fallen god, a fairy, it was extensive.
Each time you enter the structure completely changes and most haven’t been traveled.
Again, Shashmeer’s labyrinth’s master was a mystery.
Thinking that it appeared a thousand years ago, perhaps it was the surviving demon, unexpectedly kind towards humans.
Anyway, you can’t die.
Dying explorers would be robbed of all but their minimum equipment and teleported back to the surface.
Then, since magic power and life force are stolen, perhaps the treasures are produced here…
“And now, this is the Labyrinth Guild.”
By Maal’s guidance, the party went to the west side of town, the entrance to the labyrinth.
On the gently sloping hill, there was a gigantic gate. Next to it was a large building.
“Explorers must first register with the guild before going into the labyrinth. Magic stones obtained in the labyrinth, as well as raw monster materials and magic tools, are sold here.”
Though only Serge openly showed his excitement, Ria and the other men were also restless.
Exploring labyrinths was a man’s romance.
Opening the door to the building, the area was filled with the smell of sweat.
There were coarse men inside and the figure of a female explorer was rare. As expected, there were many warriors and few magicians.
From a inside the receptionist’s counter came a voice from seeing Maal.
“Isn’t it Maal. You were able to come back?”
They probably know her circumstances.
“Yes. This is my new master. Since we’ll be going into the labyrinth, please register us.”
“Umm… I assume that the ogre, elf, and knight are fine but… two children?”
“Is there a problem?”
“There’s no problem but…”
The receptionist saw Ria’s figure, probably thinking she was an aristocrat.
It wasn’t unusual for an aristocrat’s child to admire heroes and recklessly challenge the labyrinth. Since there were no deaths in this labyrinth, it was suitable in that respect.
Without saying anything else in particular, the five people other than Maal showed their wooden certificates. Making another for Maal took ten coppers.
When you submit a certain amount of magic stones, the certificate would become made of metal, and coming and going from town wouldn’t cost money anymore.
At any rate, preparations were complete.
“Our exploration starts now!”
“No Nii-chan, it’s this way.”
Serge pushed Carlos.