Exploring the Labyrinth for the First Time
Opening the huge gate and looking down the long stairs, the walls and ceiling gave off a pale luminescence. In front, there was something like a big metallic mirror.
“When you touch this and recite the spell, you’ll enter the maze. Is everyone ready?”
I see, is that why there was a six person restriction?
Each person nodded, touching the mirror.
“Then, let’s go. Labyrinth, open your gates before the explorers.”
Waves spread out from where we touched, and our bodies teleported to another location.
The next thing I knew, though the passage was similar, we stood at a spot that split left and right. Even if I looked behind us, there was no mirror.
“What do we do to return?”
Lulu asked timidly. If she didn’t say it, perhaps no one would have worried about it.
“Along the outer sides of the labyrinth are mirrors to return. From here… the distance should be a bit of a walk.”
Maal had memorized the map up to the third floor.
“What do we do? For now should we look for monsters to accustom ourselves to the labyrinth? There are almost no traps on the first floor and there are a lot of monsters that can be killed even I can kill by myself.”
“Hmm,” Ria folded her arms and became lost in thought.
Her goal was the last floor. She found no meaning in staying here to get used to it.
“First of all let’s decide our order.”
Serge said that in a tone that showed he was still excited. It was definitely important though.
Ria also had a plan for this.
“Maal and I as vanguards, then Carlos, Lulu, and Serge in that order, with Gig bringing up the rear, alright?”
“Ojou is going to be in the vanguard?”
Carlos showed disapproval, but there was a perfectly good reason for it.
“First of all, Gig is in the back to cope with attacks from behind. Maal is guiding us and paying attention to traps so we don’t walk into them. Moreover I’m so far up in the line next to her since I can notice enemies easily. It’s natural for magicians to be in the center, and when a fight happens Maal and Carlos will switch locations. Is there a problem?”
It was well-reasoned, so they decided to go with that for now.
At at rate, since this is a labyrinth that you can’t die in, it might be good to experience death once.
“Which reminds me, Serge. Can’t you use space-time magic to teleport to the surface?”
Like Evac for example, though I didn’t say that. [TN: A spell from Dragon Quest. Teleports you out of a dungeon to the entrance.]
“Unfortunately not. I can only teleport myself to places I can see. In addition, since it’s a hard magic to use, it’s difficult to use in a fight.”
“Ah, so how long will it take to get to the second floor?”
“It generally takes about half a day while being careful. While hurrying, about half that?”
“Alright, then let’s advance carefully while also adjusting our levels on these small fry enemies?”
The party formed rank and advanced.
The passage was wide enough for five adults to easily fit side by side. Occasionally hearing the sounds of fighting from far away, probably other explorers.
“Couldn’t we join up after coming inside?”
“That’s right. But considering the size of this place, I think it would be difficult. The spot the mirror transfers you to is random.”
The labyrinth seems to narrow the farther down you go, but for parties with the strength to go down that far, it’s difficult to work together.
Before long, a presence crept up from inside the passage.
Ria and Maal noticed quickly.
“Serge, stop it’s movement with magic. Maal, finish it off with an arrow. Let’s raise our levels with this for a bit.”
Something at this level was like a game. Even if you lived an ordinary life, this would come up.
Although you could earn a lot of experience by special practice and training, the fastest way was to kill monsters.
When you kill a monster, the source of its magic power–also called the Magic Source–is absorbed by people nearby. Though it’s said to reinforce your power, the experience is a definite.
The main monsters were meter long monitor lizards, snakes, and human-sized insects. There were nothing like goblins.
Because they were equivalent to minor demi-humans, even if we kill them though we don’t get any magic stones, but it’s fine.
“Treasure chest detection. How does it work?”
The wall faintly sunk in, there was definitely a treasure chest there.
She asked Maal while moving her hands across it. Though she thought it would open itself, Ria’s guess was incorrect.
“Would you like to try it out?”
“Yeah, it’s locked, so it may be trapped and dangerous though.”
“That’s right. Everyone go back a little.”
Standing before the treasure chest, Ria put her hand on her waist katana, unsheathing it to try and sink it in.
The metal part of the treasure chest was severed. Opening it, smoke flew out.
“It’s poisonous! Use anti-poison magic!”
Maal cried out in a hurry, but Lulu calmly stopped her.
“It’s alright, Ria has poison resistance.”
“Ah~, my tongue stings.”
Emerging from the smoke, it didn’t look like there was anything wrong with Ria. She was holding a small bottle that looked like a magic potion in her hand.
“Serge, what is this?”
“It’s a magic potion. It recovers a small amount of magic power.”
At times like these, the Identify Skill is convenient. Since it’s magic that uses magic power, it’s surprisingly difficult to use.
Whenever a treasure chest appeared after that, it was dealt with in a similar way.
Maal began to doubt the meaning of her existence on the way, but Lulu comforted her.
“Since Ria is like that, there’s no helping it.”
Even traps felt like they would broken through in a similar way.
When Maal found a trap using her Fairy Eyes, Ria would purposely stomp on it.
Spears protruded out, arrows came flying, and she fell in pitfall traps, but she was completely unhurt.
There was a pitfall trap with spears lining it, but she grasped them tightly with her hands and didn’t let her body touch them.
“Though the spears aren’t that good, I wonder if we can throw them. We have a good arrow reserve as it is.”
Then about one hour of walking later, she knocked on the wall and spoke.
“Hey, are we not allowed to break this to shorten the distance?”
She said something completely countering the concept of a labyrinth.
“Break it? With a hammer or something?”
Towards the moderately amazed Maal, Ria shook her head.
“No, how you’d normally do it.”
She bashed the stone wall with her fist. It collapsed.
“Yup, it wasn’t that hard.”
“Y-you shouldn’t do that! When a passage is broken, monsters will gather! If we don’t hurry and–”
Putting her hand on the upset Maal’s shoulder, Ria spoke calmly.
“It’s fine isn’t it? Let’s raise our levels. They’re only going to come from in front and behind us.”
According to Maal’s common sense, it was ridiculous.
Heading farther into the labyrinth, one would be careful, be serious, sneakily slip through traps and rejoice at getting treasure.
But Ria was different.
“Since the monsters from this way will all be handled by me, take care of over there. Oh, Maal, I’ll be relying on you to finish them off since I’ll be half-killing them.”
In the straight passage, they divided into two groups. Maal a little behind Ria. The other four stood in a line about twenty meters away.
Before long the first group arrived. Twenty monitor lizards.
Ria severed their limbs, causing them to hop about as Maal was able to easily deliver the fatal blow.
On the other side was Carlos skillfully using his shield in the center, with Gig and Serge’s firepower overwhelming the enemy.
Lulu occasionally used offensive magic as well. Though she had waited for something to heal at first, reducing the number of enemies took priority.
As many as one hundred reptile and insect enemies were killed, and the wave finally ended.
Everyone other than Ria were gasping for breath.
“N-Nee-chan, next time let’s think before fighting a bit more…”
Though Serge was proficient in the offensive fire magic in addition to space-time magic, it seems he was still tired.
“Did your level increase?”
“Yeah, mine and Maal’s went up by three, with Lulu’s group going up by two.”
They collected the magic stones for now, stripping them for raw materials such as the insects’ blades. The party then moved locations to try and recuperate.
Ria wiped down her katana, but there was nothing besmirching the beautiful blade.
“Apart from their strength, the number of them was a problem. It’s not like they’ll disappear when you defeat them like in a game.”
“Yeah. Since I’ve always fought in open areas, I didn’t consider that.”
When she fought against the army of orcs, it was in an open space in the town.
“Fighting in an open area, you’d be crushed by the numbers instead.”
Carlos said wearily. He’s probably really tired. Using his shield to keep the enemies from getting to the magicians in the rear, a good way to fight.
“Then let’s go down a floor now that the distance is shortened a lot.”
“Before that, let’s eat.”
Everyone nodded towards Lulu’s words.
“Geh, you eat monsters?”
Though Serge grimaced, they weren’t any different from normal monitor lizards.
“But, there are rations…”
Serge came to store it expressly.
“Of course, those are also good. But in case an emergency happens that causes us to leave them, I’ll eat anything in front of me.”
“Even if we leave them, you should ignore the slimes though…”
Slimes are a small fry monster that became famous due to a certain nation’s RPG, but in reality it’s a terrifying foe.
Since it has a viscous body, it can soundlessly creep up and absorb it’s prey whole, digesting it.
Especially for magicians who can only use magic by chanting it, just getting attacked on the face is a definite death.
“Nn, lizards are delicious. Even this place’s insects… yup, they have a shrimp-like texture. They’d be good with just salt.”
When there’s a poisonous part, her tongue would sting and she’d learn it. Poison resistance is convenient.
Maal moved towards the insects without poison. It seems this happened often in her previous party.
Surprisingly, Lulu also didn’t resist against eating insects. She said that she often ate them in her hometown.
Serge, who’s memories of his past life coerced him, and Carlos, who was raised in a city, were disgusted after all. After trying a bite though, it was alright.
“But we killed too much. Slime-kun will have to do his best.”
The party relieved its thirst with water that came out from magic and advanced further toward the interior of the labyrinth.
As planned, shortening the distance by breaking walls shortened it.
Of course monsters would crowd up again and attack, but they disposed of them in the same way. As they became accustomed to it, their speed rose.
Without coming across another explorer, they arrived to the center of the first floor much faster than first estimated.
The room was wide and made out of the same material. The passage had one way to go. On the opposing wall was a mirror with the floor guardian lying in wait in front of it.
“Skeletal Swordsman, level 35.”
Serge used Identify as usual. Even if we fought as is, it would be an easy win.
“With that sword it would be a hard fight huh.”
Carlos frowned. The skeleton wielded just a sword and shield, definitely a bad match for him.
“Guess I’ll do it? It looks like he doesn’t even have long distance attacks, I’ll finish it in one shot.”
Offensive space-time magic rips apart space, so if the enemy doesn’t have resistance against magic they’ll be killed in one hit.
However, this skeletal warrior is something made of magic and probably has some magic resistance.
“Gig’s compatibility is probably good. Hit him lightly. Just in case, Lulu, prepare to use healing magic.”
Speaking of unexpected, the fight was unexpectedly a bit of a struggle.
Gig attacked with his warhammer with all his strength, the Skeletal Warrior sidestepped, caught it, and warded the blow off.
It was a good fight until Serge blew off one of its legs with magic.
“Magic stone, GET~”
As expected, the magic stone was a different size than those from average monsters. The color was red, too.
“Incredible. Everyone is so strong.”
Though Maal felt admiration, there was still a long way to go.
When the party touched the mirror with their hands, they teleported to the second floor.