Depths of the Otherworldly Labyrinth
[Translator – Mab ]
[Proofreader – ilafy ]
Chapter 43 - Three Days before The D-Day
“It’s about time I head home.”
The sun was setting and the night was falling, and Alty expressed her intention that she didn’t have much time. With puffed-out cheeks, Lastiara responded.
“Eeh, let’s play some more.”
“No, no. I have to show up for my class at the Academy tomorrow. I can’t play out for long.”
Alty answered apologetically.
“Ah, I’m going home too. There’s nothing I can do here, and I can walk home with Alty-san.”
After having a meal once, Maria didn’t spend any money at all. Perhaps that was why she spent so much time talking with Alty, who also didn’t want to spend a single coin on the stalls. Maybe she wanted to go home together because they became good friends during that time.
“Fumu. I’ll take the responsibility of sending Maria-chan home. The two of you can enjoy the festival a bit more.”
Alty offered to take her home, which Maria accepted with a smile. Apparently, while Lastiara and I were competing, a friendship had developed between the two of them. Lastiara still made some fuss after that, but Alty and Maria managed to leave for home without any trouble.
Being left alone, Lastiara called out to me with a grin.
“Now that Maria-chan isn’t here, wanna go crazy?”
“Hmm. Well, I’m getting a bit tired”
My base stamina had been fortified due to my high level, but even that had its limits.
“I bet. So am I. Why don’t we look for a funny-looking food to snack on while we chat a bit then?”
“That sounds like a plan… Right. If possible, why don’t we talk some more about this world? I can’t ask this kind of question to anyone but you, so there isn’t a better time.”
“Sure, we can, but… This is because you hide the fact that you’re a ‘Foreigner’. You don’t have to hide it that much, you know?”
“There’s no precedent to this. I’m being cautious since I don’t know what will be done to me if people know… so please don’t say that word in such a crowded place.”
Lastiara had uttered the word ‘Foreigner’ openly in a crowd.
In my world’s past, there were things like witch hunts and pagan hunts. Even in the modern world, if extraterrestrials were discovered, there was a high possibility that they would be used as guinea pigs. Even with my limited knowledge, I knew that ‘Foreigners’ were no better than extraterrestrials. It was enough of a possibility to make me step back in fear. So I appealed to Lastiara to refrain from using the word.
“You’re really spineless, Christ. I got it. I’ll refrain from using the word as much as possible, but I think it’d be better to break it to Maria as soon as possible.”
“To Maria? Why?”
“Why else? She’s your companion, right? Companions tell each other secrets.”
“She is my companion, but that’s a separate matter from this.”
“Ah, huh… So that’s what you are, Christ. Fufu, if that’s what you say, then very well.”
Even if they were my companions, I wouldn’t reveal my secrets to them so easily, but when I expressed that idea to Lastiara, she nodded her head repeatedly in a happy manner.
The more happy Lastiara was, the more uneasy I felt. Whenever she looked happy like that, that meant she was up to something no good. I asked her to pry out what she was thinking.
“What is it? Is it bad?”
“No, no, it’s not bad. If anything, it’s good. You’re right, there are things that can’t be talked about, even amongst companions.”
When she said good, it meant it was good for Lastiara, aka very much not good for me.
If Lastiara happily endorsed the idea, that meant it was best to avoid it as much as possible. I had only known her for a short time, but I had learned that much.
So I retracted my previous statement.
“…I’ll talk to Maria when there’s a chance. She’s a companion, after all.”
“Eh, you will? …Well, that’s good too, I guess.”
She looked a bit dejected, but she quickly bounced up and brightened up her face.
And then she began to talk about this world, as I first suggested.
“Well then, let’s talk more about this world, shall we? That being said, I don’t know where to start, so it’s a bit hard.
She had a point. I would have a hard time trying to explain my world as well.
“You don’t have to tell me everything about it. I’m sure it will be hard, and I’m not confident I can understand everything at once. Just start from something we have at hand and expand from there. For example… let’s expand from the story behind this festival. From there, I can learn a little bit about customs and common sense.”
“This festival, huh… That’s easy to talk about. I don’t have much experience in the festival itself, but I have a good knowledge of it.”
With a compassionate gaze, Lastiara looked at her surroundings, her eyes reflecting deep affection.
“The festival is a prelude to the Holy Birthday of a certain person. It lasts about a week, and on the day of the Holy Birthday, a huge ceremony will be held in the cathedral of Whoseyards. It is said to be a festival of thanksgiving to God, and all the merry is to attract good things in life.”
“I see now. We have something similar in my world, so I understand that. Does this kind of event take place several times a year?”
“Yes, it does. There are a lot of saints in the orthodox of the Allied Nations—the Levantine Church. We have three holy birthday festivals, and a lot of minor festivals, to honor God. This one is one of the big ones.”
Although the customs were different, it was similar to what we had in my world. Even with different planets and roots, people still think the same way.
“This time, we are celebrating the birthday of the saintess Tiara Whoseyards. She is a saintess who’s said to have laid the foundation for the magic that has been handed down across the continent, and—”
“Hold on. It bugged me for quite a while, but… isn’t the name, well, a bit too similar to yours?”
I promptly stopped her talking. Lastiara was already suspicious as hell, even as she was then, her having practically the same name as the saintess gave me a bad feeling.
“Well, of course. That saintess is me, after all.”
And to my surprise, Lastiara answered my bad feeling.
I managed to dampen the utter shock of that bombshell of a confession because I suspected that that was the case. However, there was no doubt that it meant she would bring so much trouble to the table. I let out a sigh, then asked Lastiara to continue.
“Of course, I’m not the person herself. She is several hundred years old, after all. This body itself is her body, but the spirit is totally not.”
“The body, you said… That’s terrifying in its own right. What, you can do that using magic whatnot in this world?”
“Yup, you could. Apparently, with a huge enough amount of money, time, and magic power, you can recreate the body of the legendary saintess. Oh, dang, the deeds of humanity can be scary!”
It was equally scary as it was dismaying. Ultimately speaking, it worked on the same idea as the technology of cloning and cell manipulation back in my world. Even with different civilizations, our ideas ended up in similar places.
“Magic can do something like that… So, what is the purpose of regenerating the body of Saintess Tiara? There has to be a purpose, right?”
“Well, there are a lot of purposes, sure. But I can’t tell you further. After all, that will spoil the fun of exploring my mysteries yourself.”
When it came to explaining things about herself, Lastiara began to become evasive. It was mentioned before, but she seemed to be romanticizing the idea of revealing her true identity little by little. However, I was curious as to what she really kept from me, so I used her own words at her.
“Oi. I thought you said companions were meant to tell each other secrets?”
“Yup, I did. And I meant it. So, this is how it is going to be: if you tell Maria-chan your name is Kanami, I will tell you the whole thing about me being Tiara.”
“Kgh, So that’s how you want to play…”
While I had said that I would talk to Maria when the time was right, I hadn’t decided when that time would be. The deal was a tough one, so I tried to stretch it out if possible.
“Fine. But I decide when, and I think It’ll be quite a bit later.
“Why not just tell her today? You’re such a bum, Christ.”
“I’m not. And it’ll confuse Maria if I told her right away. Maria is under a lot of turbulence right now. She became a slave, she lost a lot of things, telling her my circumstances would only bring her trouble.”
“Fufu. If you say so, Christ, so be it. Stall it as long as you want.”
As I was bringing up Maria’s situation, Lastiara looked at me lukewarmly.
“I’ll do what I want. But when I do, you will tell me your secrets too.”
After I made my promise to Lastiara, we found a weird food stall. They sold deep-fried nuts with a spicy smell. I hadn’t eaten something like that before, so I suggested to Lastiara that we get in the line.
We both ate the nuts as Lastiara continued to walk and chat. She wouldn’t talk about herself, but she liked to talk about history.
“While I can’t speak about me being Tiara right now, I can tell you about Tiara in the past. After all, learning more about the great people of the past is tantamount to learning more about this world.”
“Huh, so saintess Tiara was such a prominent figure?”
* * *
Translator - Mab
Proofreader - ilafy
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* * *
“As prominent as one can be. She was the one who created the foundation of many things. She created the first magic, she was also the one who built Whoseyards.”
“That is indeed amazing…”
“The other saints are just as amazing. Most of them either built nations, saved the world, or changed the course of history.”
“Saved the world, huh… Those saints are human, right…?”
“They are. Although, apparently, they could hear voices that couldn’t be heard by others. Those voices taught them knowledge that didn’t belong to this world, and using that, they brought miracles to the continent, saving a lot of people as a result, so there’s no wonder people call them saints and worship them.”
The definition of a saint seemed to be similar to what I knew. However, to be honest, I didn’t exactly remember what made someone a saint in my world. I only had a vague idea that a virtuous person might be called a saint if he or she fulfilled certain conditions.
In this world, that condition seemed to be ‘people who could hear the unheard voice.’
“Is this voice… the voice of God or something?”
“No, what these people heard is the voice of the huge tree that grows in the middle of the continent… supposedly. It is called the World Tree, and apparently, the Saints can hear voices from that tree—Or rather, maybe both you and I can hear those voices too, Christ. You know, we are quite that after all.”
Indeed, the both of us were quite special, so it wouldn’t be surprising if it turned out that we could hear the voices too. I would be tempted to try listening to the voices if I had the chance. If I could gain knowledge from that voice, it was well worth a try.
“So, where is this World Tree?”
“Quite far from here. What’s more, the Allied Nations are located pretty much on the edges of the continent. It’s in the heart of the mainland, in the suzerainty of Whoseyard. It’d take dozens of days to get there.”
As I recalled from my library knowledge, there was a considerable distance from us to the suzerainty of Whoseyards, not to mention it was a cross the ocean. It was so far away that I would have to prepare for a trip for many days.
Incidentally, the suzerainty, or the home country of all five Allied Nations, were all far from the Labyrinth. Since they were all large countries, it was simply not possible to have their capitals at the edge of the continent. In effect, the condition for joining the Allied Nations was that one must not lay hands on each other’s vassal states.
“That’s a shame. And here I thought I could get some miraculous power if I could hear this voice.”
“You’re right. And as for me, maybe I can receive the knowledge of the basis of all magic, much like saintess Tiara.”
Lastiara and I dropped our shoulders. I was half-joking, but Lastiara seemed to be talking on the assumption that we really could hear that voice.
Lastiara was discouraged for but a moment, as she quickly looked up and continued her story. She recovered quickly, as usual. Her emotions were all over the place, making her someone uneasy to be with.
“Since we talked about saintess Tiara, let’s talk about the nine attributes of magic that she created next. For people like us who live in the rough of battles, knowing more about magic is crucial.”
“As someone who has to use my own senses to use magic, I’m glad you chose this topic. After all, back where I’m from, there’s no such thing as magic.”
Although, strictly speaking, the idea of magic did exist in video games and other forms of entertainment, learning about its history in this world would be refreshing.
“—Mn, Christ, there’s no magic in the place you’re from?”
“Yeah. No magic, no monsters.”
“Whoa! Now I want to hear about that more!”
“Eh, I’d rather have you teach me more about magic, though—”
“But your story sounds more fun!”
I wanted to hear more about magic, but Lastiara’s interest had turned completely to my previous world, leaving me at a loss for words.
It was hard to persuade Lastiara after that. I had no choice but to start talking about the science and technology of my world as opposed to the magic in this world.
After talking about science to some extent, I next told her about the heroes of my world. Lastiara seemed to prefer epics and heroic tales, so she listened to the stories I told with zeal. It made me that much more enjoyable to tell stories when someone listening to it was enjoying listening to me. As a result, I got carried away and kept on telling Lastiara about the history of my world instead.
The next morning after the festival, while we were having breakfast in the living room, with a determined look on her face, Maria asked me to bring her to the Labyrinth.
“Please let me go to the Labyrinth too…!!”
“Eh, huh? I thought the deal was Maria would prepare the meal for me at home?”
I was puzzled. Maria’s role had finally been finalized after we consulted. Her suddenly wanting to be involved with the Labyrinth again was a surprise.
“J-just for a little while. Please, let me try it. I’ve gotten stronger in the past two days, after all…”
Did that mean she was training behind my back? Had Maria never given up the idea of exploring the Labyrinth?
As usual, I couldn’t read what was inside her mind. People say that a girl’s mind is an enigma, but how am I supposed to solve it if it changes every second?
As I was puzzled over that, Lastiara called to me with a whisper from behind.
“Christ, look at Maria-chan’s ‘Skills’…”
As was told, I focused on Maria.
Fire Magic: 1.00
There was an addition to her ‘Skills’, and it was ‘Fire Magic: 1.00’. She didn’t have that ‘Skill’ the last time I checked.
It surprised me deeply. I had seen a lot of ‘Skills’ of a lot of people in this world, but I had never seen someone whose number of ‘Skills’ increased. As far as I had heard, it was said that an increase in ‘Skills’ might happen only once in a lifetime. Seeing that there was a separate column with the name ‘Acquired Skills’, I had thought that it shouldn’t be impossible for Skills to increase, but I hadn’t expected Maria to increase her ‘Skills’ in just a couple of days.
Seeing my jaw drop, Maria began to talk about the fire magic.
“Ah, right, I forgot you can see it too, Master… That’s right. I was taught fire magic and practiced it for quite some time…”
“You were taught…?”
“Yes, Alty-san taught me.”
That cleared the doubt in my mind. Alty could even teach Dia. She should be able to teach Maria and Lastiara too, given the chance.
—But there was no worse timing for this.
Her giving a shine of ray to Maria right when she had finally given up on the Labyrinth was past the line of a small trouble. No thanks to her, Maria was all gung-ho to follow us.
“Alty-san taught me magic that will be effective even on the twentieth floor. She also taught me a lot of other magic tips and tricks.”
She’s overstepping her bounds…! If she wants to teach someone, she could have taught me…!!
“By taught, you mean you can use more spells?”
“Yes. I can use more than just «Firefly» now.”
“That means she gave you a magic stone, right?”
“…Yes. I received a magic stone.”
I almost caught her mumbling her last words. Was she feeling guilty about receiving the magic stone because she knew how expensive it was?
“Well, if you have more to your arsenal, then I too want to see what it is…”
Depending on what kind of magic she received, we might have a means to counter the leagles on the 22nd floor.
It wasn’t realistic to bring Maria through the 21st floor, but I did have a method to summon her when and only when we reached the 22nd floor. I could activate «Connection» when we reached the 22nd floor, bring Maria out, and return her home through the same magic right when we reach the 23rd floor. It might save us a lot of trouble, depending on her newly found magic… but still—
“I’m begging you. Please let me try challenging the Labyrinth. If it turns out to be no good, I’ll return right away.”
Maria pleaded, her eyes reflected a strong will. I looked at Lastiara, at a loss for a response. She looked amused, smiling, and was not going to say a word.
I mused. What would happen if I gave a yes? What would happen if I gave a no? I tried to calculate the profit and loss of both options, but inevitably, a certain emotion manipulated the scale.
I gave up on trying to choose the optimal solution and presented a compromise.
“…Fine. But I will see how your newly found magic performs on the shallow floors first, and only then we’ll formulate an effective tactic. Also, as soon as I deem that you are in danger, you leave. Is that clear?”
"It’s more than enough.”
Maria nodded emphatically. There was the will to be useful in the Labyrinth reflected in her eyes.
I racked my brains to figure out how to extinguish that will. I couldn’t help but get annoyed when Lastiara giggled behind me. If she wasn’t going to give advice, then she should be quiet.
Maria told me further about the fire magic she had, and I was surprised by how convenient it was. It was a power that couldn’t be dismissed with excuses such as ‘it’s useless’ or ‘you still can’t follow us.’
Thus, reluctantly, I took Maria to the Labyrinth. Again, to the Labyrinth, with Maria in tow…
『12th Day Finished』
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