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Depths of the Otherworldly Labyrinth

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Depths of the Otherworldly Labyrinth

[Translator – Mab ]

[Proofreader – ilafy ]

  

Chapter 52 - Collaborator

 

I walked past the reception area and towards the wards.

The breezy path had been patched and was just barely functioning as a corridor. Proceeding through such an unattractive space, I entered Dia’s room.

Inside, Dia wasn’t alone, there were also some unknown faces.

“Visitors, Dia?”

I asked Dia, who was sitting on the bed, then I turned to the three unfamiliar men who were standing around in his room.

Those three visitors were dressed like priests. I focused my gaze on them, and sure enough, their classes also stated Priest. Over their clean, light-colored garments, they wore what looked like patterned stoles draped over their shoulders. Parameters-wise, they were a bit stronger than the average person.

“Christ…?! Ho-hold on a minute.”

“Yeah, sure.”

I replied calmly and stepped out. I was still angry, but no thanks to the «???» Skill, I wasn’t in a hurry.

After spending some time in the hallway, the three priests came out and greeted me as they left. Seeing that, I entered Dia’s room.

“Heya, Dia.”

“Christ, it’s rare you come over this early in the morning…”

DIa looked troubled. He probably didn’t want me to see that scene. I’d guess that Dia was tied by a lot of circumstances himself, seeing from the fact that he was acquainted with Lastiara.

To begin with, Dia was marginally more talented than Lastiara. It would be strange if someone like him suddenly existed out of a vacuum. Putting that in mind, I started talking.

“Were they priests from Whoseyards?”

“Uuh… They’re not from Whoseyards, but you guessed pretty close.”

“Don’t force yourself to tell me if you don’t want to.”

“No, I’ll spill it. Those Fathers are from my country… They came chasing after me.”

Dia didn’t even try to hide it. He probably thought he could no longer hide it—either because I learned he was an acquaintance of Lastiara or because the Holy Birthday was coming up… I had no idea.

“Chasing after you?”

“I’m sorry I kept it a secret. Actually, I was someone important in a certain country and am a fugitive from said country…”

Dia told me honestly what had happened to him.

An important person… I knew it, he must have had some special circumstances around him. Otherwise, there was no other explanation for his talent surpassing even the artificially perfected being that was Lastiara.

Dia might think he was telling a shocking truth, but for me, I was finally able to see some sound reason. Unable to see Dia looking so guilty, I answered him gently.

“…I see. But don’t beat yourself over it. Whatever happens, Dia is still Dia.”

“Christ…!!”

Dia looked at me, awestruck. I assumed he was prepared to be condemned to some degree.

But I was having none of it. My freezing rage urged me to quickly move on to the next topic.

“So, Dia, you’re not going back to your own country right away?”

“No, I am supposed to, but not right away. I have to attend the ceremony of the Holy Birthday tomorrow. I was assigned to represent a religious faction.”

The fact that Dia belonged in a higher position than I expected raised my heart more than a little. I couldn’t blame it. Dia had looked nothing more than a ragged little girl about to starve to death when I’d first met him. First impressions really were important.

I suppressed my desire to ask for more details and talked only about the technicalities of his situation.

“Are you going home after you attend? Is there anything I can do to help?”

“No, I won’t go home, of course. I’ve decided I’ll make a killing here. Besides, I don’t need your help to convince them, Christ. I don’t want to bother you. I want to handle it on my own, at least for now.”

Dia expressed his intentions clearly.

He was very different from a certain person. If only she and I had been as honest about our feelings and as decisive as he, things would have been much easier.

“Got it. But I want to help you as much as I can. You can count on me if you need anything.”

“Yeah, Christ. Thanks.”

The trouble Dia might have had been concluded in just a matter of seconds. Of course, that shouldn’t be all Dia had to deal with, but the immediate problem had been talked over. I got right to the point then.

“And so, I’m really sorry to trouble you with this, but… There’s something I need to ask you.”

“Ask me?”

Dia wasn’t insane like Lastiara and I were, and neither was he trapped by strong personal feelings like Maria. Not to mention, there was the difficult situation of Dia as the only person in this other world I could trust.

—And thus, I wanted to ask for his opinion.

That was the purpose of my visit. For that, I began to explain the relationship between Lastiara and the Holy Knight. Dia, with a quiet look, listened.

* * *

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Translator - Mab

Proofreader - ilafy

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* * *

“—I see now.”

After giving a general overview, Dia examined the information I’d provided him with. He wasn’t at all unfamiliar with the Holy Birthday of Whoseyards and readily embraced the ridiculous story. He then went on to express his opinion.

“I don’t think it’s all on the part of her education. There must be some kind of mental magic involved. A spell that has been casted on her since she was little. Otherwise, she wouldn’t be so stubborn.”

Dia pronounced just how far worse Lastiara’s condition was than I had thought. He was the one who was most familiar with Holy Magic, and he seemed to have a spell in mind.

However, I had checked Lastiara’s ‘Constitution’ in her ‘Status’. At the very least, there didn’t seem to be anything odd there. If I had to guess, I would say that her «Doll» and «Fake God’s Eye» Skills would be the most sketchy.

“If she was indeed under some kind of mental magic, would you be able to break it, Dia?”

“No, I don’t think so. If it was something obvious, I would have disabled it the first time we met. My guess is that it’s a level of magic finesse that is ingrained in her flesh and blood. Whoseyards’ higher-ups should be able to do something like that with ease.”

Dia spoke so surely as though he had Lastiara in front of him.

“Which means I’ll have to give up on breaking it…”

“But I think they will disable it before the ritual of Saintess Tiara’s descent. It’s hard to think they would give a body riddled with a spell that makes you think lightly of your life to a great person of the past.”

“Before the ritual, is it…”

If so, then the ideal would be to take Lastiara out of there after the magic was disabled. Failing that, the only other way was to get someone who knew how to disable the magic somehow.

“So what are you going to do, Christ? I’ll help you out. I’m back in top shape, you see.”

After Dia finished listening to me to the end, he asked me what I wanted to do. He even hinted that he was willing to cooperate, despite himself going through a hard time. As always, he was such a good kid. 

Unfortunately, I didn’t have any concrete answer to his question. No, to be precise, my answer had been changed by the «???» Skill.

“…Dia. Can I ask something weird?”

“S-sure.”

“What would you—no, what would someone in their right mind do, normally? Would you help her?”

I asked the bare question.

I no longer trusted my own judgment. Everything I had ever had in my mind seemed to be decisions manipulated by the «???» Skill.

“Huh? Me…?”

“Yes. Even if I have an obligation that takes precedence over everything else… Should I still go to save Lastiara…?”

Dia was startled and looked at me as if he was looking at something odd. However, he then took a breath and gave his question with a serious expression.

“Right… As for me, even if I had an obligation that needs to take precedence, I would go to save the person irreplaceable to me. No matter what… But that’s me. I don’t know if that’s the normal thing to do.”

Dia insisted, looking at me passionately.

—Dia would go to save them, but he didn’t know if that was the right thing or not, huh…

I had gained an answer, but not enough to make my own. With no other choice, I spilled the beans.

“Then… Say, what if… Just, what if I loved Lastiara, then should I go and save her?”

“Eh…? H-hang on…? EH?? Christ, you love Lastiara?”

Dia suddenly panicked and tried to get confirmation. Yeah, it was understandable to be surprised when he was suddenly presented with an analogy like that, but I had to know the answer with love as an added presumption.

“No, I don’t… love her. Just what if, just a hypothetical question, what’s the answer then?”

“I-I see… A hypothetical question, huh…”

“Yes, hypothetical. Hypothetical is fine.”

“Then… If you loved her, then I think you’d go and save her. If you loved her, then regardless of your obligation, you’d go running to her side, normally, I think… Hypothetically speaking, that is. Only hypothetical!”

Without a cloud of doubt, Dia answered. As I had guessed, if I loved her, I wouldn’t hesitate and would go and save Lastiara, no matter what I’d lose in the process… That must be why the «???» Skill erased that emotion from me.

“…Got it. I’ve decided I’ll save Lastiara then”

After confirming that my thoughts and Dia’s opinion matched, I made up my mind.

“Eh…?”

“I’ll go to the cathedral in the Whoseyards for a bit.”

I leaped to my feet.

Perhaps I had always known the answer that whole time. Even with my lacking experience in life, I had found my answer.

It was not normal to abandon the person you love. It was only right to save her, step through the Labyrinth, and return home to my family with a chest filled with pride. It wasn’t rational, but it was the right thing to do as a rational person.

“Wait, Christ! That’s too sudden! Going there now won’t help! I just told you that the mental magic will be dispelled right before the ritual! Lastiara might fight you back if you force yourself to bring her out, that’s what this Hein person worried about, isn’t it?! What would you do if the spell caused Lastiara to change suddenly and she said she’d undergo the ritual, no matter what the cost?! Could you handle her then?!”

Right. That was why Hein-san had set me up and tried to get Lastiara out of the country, even if he had to chop my leg off in the process.

In that situation, I would be in danger of being confronted by Lastiara herself.

Seeing as though I just recalled it, Dia sighed. Then, muttering “there’s no helping it,” he continued.

“Now I’m painfully aware of how much you want to save Lastiara, Christ… If so, what you need to do is wait.”

Dia told me not to take action. He continued.

“—I will be the one saving her,” Dia declared with as much determination as I did.

“You will, Dia…?”

“I can be right where she is right before the ritual is completed. At the moment of the completion of the ritual, I could collapse the cathedral and approach Lastiara in the confusion. I would ask Lastiara, after she’s unbound by any of her obligations, what she really wanted. If she has any wish to escape, the both of us will head to you immediately.”

What a bold and reckless plan. However, it was also true that it was the only time when Lastiara would not be bound by any ties of obligation.

“If I succeed, Lastiara and I will surely be hunted by Whoseyards. We’ll immediately flee to the maritime nation of Grillades to the south, and we can start exploring the Labyrinth together again.”

Dia continued to talk matter-of-factly. He was so casual about it that I almost couldn’t believe my ears.

Still, I couldn’t understand why he would go to such lengths. I wondered if Dia and Lastiara were closer than I thought. However, seeing how both of them were being reserved to each other just the other day, it didn’t seem likely.

When I began to question Dia’s reason, he noticed it and spoke up.

“Well, it’s just an extension to my own fugitive life thing… Not to mention, someone as strong as Lastiara is reliable to have as a companion, too…”

“But if you help Lastiara, you’ll have more enemies. A huge enemy, in fact. Dia, are you really resolved to save Lastiara, even if it means making an enemy out of a country…?”

“Resolve? I have my resolve. If she is a companion that you are willing to go to such lengths to save, then she is obviously someone I need to save, too. I’m fine with making an enemy of one or two countries, don’t you worry about it. Our exploration in the Labyrinth is just beginning, you see.”

Dia immediately answered with a smile.

Even though he himself had the dream of making a fortune in the Labyrinth, he still decided to help Lastiara, fully knowing that it would increase the obstacles to that dream.

I felt incredibly small in front of such a large character as a human being. I was so ashamed of myself, I froze from all the self-pity.

Dia was too dazzling. How I wished I could be like him.

“Thank you, Dia… But you don’t need to do that, Dia. I will. That’s my role, I’m sure of it.”

“Christ?”

“Let me be the main culprit. I’ll jump in just before the ritual is completed and kidnap Lastiara. I can’t have you go that far, Dia.”

I copied Dia and pretended to be confident in my answer.

Hearing that, Dia simply said, “that’s the Christ I know,” showing no sign of disagreeing. As always, he seemed to have an excessive amount of trust in me.

“—Got it. If that’s what you want, then let’s do it that way.”

Thus it concluded.

After that, I asked Dia for as much information as possible about the cathedral. However, Dia wasn’t very much informed about it either. As a guest of honor, he only knew the schedule of the ceremony and the minimum floor plan.

However, that information would make a huge difference.

It told me when and where to jump in. It was many times better than raiding the cathedral while I was in the dark.

After exchanging as much information as we could and confirming each others’ plans, I parted ways with Dia and headed off to Whoseyards, alone.

____

 

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