Depths of the Otherworldly Labyrinth
[Translator – Mab ]
[Proofreader – ilafy ]
Chapter 34 - Three-Person Party
As we reached my house together, Maria opened the door for me. At first, she was bewildered to see Lastiara fumbling with her words as she greeted me, but she then promptly treated her as a guest.
And that led to the next moment.
Maria, Lastiara, and I shared the table to have our dinner.
Maria’s homemade dishes were lined on the table—they were simple but elaborate dishes. I’d guess that Maria used her own money to buy the ingredients and spent a long time preparing them.
—Obviously, there was only enough for two.
I couldn’t possibly take Maria’s food from her, so I passed the dish before me to Lastiara. While it was true that she had become a member of our party, Lastiara was still a guest in that house. The guest should always be offered first.
However, when I passed my dish to Lastiara, somehow, I felt like the temperature dropped a few degrees. I felt especially cold from Maria’s direction. When I looked at her, a brilliant smile greeted me back—a smile so wide it almost touched her eyes, the eyes which wouldn’t stop glaring at me.
‘Th-that smile means it’s okay, right…?’
“Wah, amazing…! This is what I meant! This kind of dish is what I always wanted. Oh, so warm. Hey, hey, can I really have this?”
Lastiara gleefully asked for permission to eat. Maria’s home cooking hit right in her strike zone, it seemed. Perhaps that kind of commoner food was just that unusual for some sheltered young lady like her.
“Eeermm…Well, I think you can? Right, Maria?”
“…why, of course. Help yourself.”
I timidly sought Maria’s approval. Maria’s smile was as flawless as ever to the point of alarming, seeing that it was Lastiara who was crashing in as our guest.
“You heard it, Lastiara.”
“Well, then, I won’t reserve and help myself.”
Lastiara put her hands together before she reached out to a wooden spoon. Maria then spoke up.
“However, this would mean the Master won’t have anything to eat. Master, please eat my por—”
“You prepared it with your own money, Maria. I can’t have it if you don’t eat it. I still have my emergency rations stacked up, so don’t mind me and help yo—”
“Exactly what I thought you would say, Master!!”
She interrupted my interruption. Her tone was unusually harsh. I could guess that she didn’t like my response.
Well, sure, I understood that she’d get disgruntled if I ended up not eating the dish she did her best to cook for me. but she didn’t have to get so angry about it…
“Hmm. It sounds like I shouldn’t eat it, after all.”
“No, please don’t mind us and enjoy the meal, Lastiara-san.”
Unable to watch us any longer, Lastiara stopped her hand from picking up the spoon. Maria replied to her, saying that it was okay for Lastiara to eat.
“Right. It’s bad to leave someone out. As companions, we have to avoid compromising each other… Well then, Christ, why don’t we eat together? Sharing what little food there is with one’s own companions is something the adventure tales often depict too, you know?”
“W-wait a minute. You mean the two of you are going to share one dish together?”
“That’s right. From what I know, it’s common amongst companions. Also, it sounds fun. Come on, Christ.”
Saying so, Lastiara pulled her chair and the dish closer to me. It seemed like she didn’t question the common sense those adventure tales told her.
“If… if that is the case, then let me share my dish with my Master! Lastiara, please enjoy your food! We can’t be so rude to the Master’s guest!”
“Oh, you, a guest, you said… If anyone, it’s you who shouldn’t be reserved with me. We are going to be companions, after all.”
“I-I see… Companions?”
I could see that Maria thought Lastiara was going to be a guest who’d crash in just for the night. Lastiara, however, was ready to see the both of us as companions who’d go through thick and thin together.
That was a good chance.
“If that’s the case, why don’t you two share with each other? You two still don’t know each other much; it can be good to get to know each other. As for me, since I am being treated as the host of this house, I will enjoy myself with my dish.”
With that, both Maria’s demand and Lastiara’s demand could be fulfilled at once. I sure came up with the best ideas.
“Nice suggestion, Christ!”
“Haah?! Wait a minute!”
As if to say that everything had been solved, Lastiara stood up and moved next to Maria.
“Alright! Let’s eat together, Maria-chan!”
“No, thank you, I should—”
“You shouldn’t be so shy. Come on, let’s feed each other!”
It looked like they had finally come to terms with the dish.
That was a relief. If they could continue to get along well, then all the best. I started with my own food leisurely as I watched the two girls be merry with their meal.
“I like her~ She’s so small and so cute~ And then, even though she doesn’t have the collar, her class is… fufu, her class is—ufufu, fufufu, so interesting~ Oh, you loveable creature, you—”
“Uwah! Wait, don’t tickle me, please! Ah, don’t touch any weird places—”
I thought that the more party members there were, the more trouble came. I was glad I was wrong. As it stood, Maria’s troublesome aspects were offset by Lastiara’s troublesome aspects, leaving my hands free of their individual troubles. I could concentrate on my meal alone and think about the Labyrinth without being disturbed.
—Thus, by leaving those two girls who became much closer than I thought, I finished my elegant dinner alone.
Seeing that I came back late, we decided we would go to bed right away. Right then, like it was the most obvious thing, I made a suggestion to Lastiara. “Right, Lastiara. Why don’t you and Maria sleep together? Companions sharing the same room and chatting is like a common trope for a story, don’t you think? There won’t be a problem since you’re both girls.”
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Translator - Mab
Proofreader - ilafy
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* * *
As a result, Lastiara abducted Maria with the most radiant smile she had ever shown. I had a feeling that Maria, that girl who always had her wits around, was seeking help from me, but I pretended not to see it.
With that, I could rest easy. Besides, that would deepen their relationship. What a win-win.
I chose the room farthest from theirs, leaned my sword against the wall, and succumbed to bed. I was running low on MP, so I couldn’t experiment with magic before bed. I drifted off to sleep, focusing only on healing my physical exhaustion.
Early the next morning. While I was experimenting with magic in the living room, an emaciated Maria showed up and greeted me in low spirit.
“G-good morning… Master…”
I would not pry too deeply as to why and how she could become like that. That being said, she’d bore a hole on the back of my head with all the staring, so I decided I should probably try to somehow get her into a good mood later.
Seeing that Maria had woken up, I ended my magic experiment.
For the time being, I was able to fix «Connection» in the corner of the room, so the experiment was a success. However, I did not expect that my MP would be drained all the time to maintain the magic. Just maintaining one door, my max MP was reduced by about 100 points. It seemed that there were various conditions for the use of the magic.
Just when I thought Lastiara had gone so early in the morning, she returned a little later with a large jute bag with her. Apparently, she had packed the tools she assumed she’d use in the Labyrinth.
I wondered how much I should tell her about my ‘Item List’ system. Dia might have been aware of it the whole time, but even if he was, I hadn’t actively told anyone about that ability. At the very least, I didn’t want to reveal all of my cards to Maria and Lastiara just yet.
However, judging from Lastiara’s motive, I could predict that there would be a time we were stuck in a prolonged battle down in the Labyrinth at some point in the future. When that time came, there would be occasions when I had to make use of the ‘Item List’ system in front of both Lastiara and Maria. If that was the case, it would be better to present a part of the whole truth ahead of time to avoid any trouble down the road.
“Lastiara. If your luggage is too bulky, give it to me.”
“My bag is a Magic Item Bag that is quite spacious inside. You can entrust some of your less important items to me.”
I didn’t reveal the whole truth, just a part of it. Through the proxy of my bag that I dubbed as Magic Item Bag, I demonstrated the power of my ‘Item List’.
“Huh, hmm… Magic Item, huh? I’ve never heard of an item like that, you know…”
“…Are you or are you not going to entrust your items to me?”
“…I’ll trust you. It’s good to have your hands free, after all.”
I guessed that she was aware of the true nature of my lies. However, she didn’t pursue it further and only took out water and food from her jute bag and handed them to me.
I put them in my ‘Item List’. Added with Lastiara’s belongings, the number of supplies in my ‘Item List’ was enormous. With that amount of supplies, both Maria and I shouldn’t have any trouble exploring the depths of the Labyrinth.
With that, we were all set. I called my party members to set out to the Labyrinth.
“Let’s go, Maria.”
“Ah, yes, Master.”
I had Maria get her equipment ready, and we both headed out of the house together. Once we were out, Lastiara followed us.
“—Hey, Christ. We’re bringing Maria-chan with us?”
“Mn, as far as my ‘Skill’ can see, it will be hard for Maria-chan with her ‘Status’ like that. Seeing that she has the ‘Cooking Skill’, I had thought she was your housekeeper…”
While I had no idea if it worked the same as my ‘Display’ system, Lastiara was able to see ‘Statuses’ too, and she seemed to be anxious when she looked at Maria’s ‘Status’.
“Maria is a Labyrinth exploration companion.”
“But her talent is really lacking, you know? She doesn’t have that many ‘Skills’, and the most important parameter, ‘Aptitude’, is also low. She won’t be of any use as soon as we hit the deeper floors. Is that okay with you?”
Lastiara nagged me for my choice of companion. I could sort of tell that she was implicitly recommending that I should leave Maria back at home.
“I didn’t choose people solely on the basis of their talent. There are things that even Maria can do in the Labyrinth.”
“Hmm… is that right? Well, I’ll do as you say. Don’t blame me if Maria-chan dies, okay?”
Lastiara casually, off-handedly spoke that she wouldn’t care even if Maria died. I would have taken issue with her view of life and death, but… the cold truth was that it was Lastiara’s strict mindset that was more appropriate to explore the Labyrinth with. I took her advice head-on, then replied willfully.
“I won’t let her die. No matter what.”
“…That’s good too, I guess. I fancy that kind of dramatic stuff a lot. I love both bad ends and good ends, you see. Ufufufu.”
“Putting that aside, do we have an actual goal for the Labyrinth? Diving in thoughtlessly doesn’t strike me as fun, so I hope we get to about the 30th floor.”
“The 30th floor is basically a world foreign to humanity as a whole, you know… For the time being, we’re aiming for the 20th floor, but considering Maria’s level, it might take several days to reach there.”
“Several days… That’s a bit troubling for me. Personally, enemies up to the 20th floor don’t really give me any fun, you know, so I want to go further than the 20th floor as soon as possible.”
“Well, I want to progress our exploration too, but—”
“If so, why don’t I give you an idea?”
Lastiara smiled and picked up the sword at her waist.
The entrance to the Labyrinth was close to my house, so it didn’t take us long to get to that big, ostentatious hole. Lastiara drew her sword out of its scabbard in front of the entrance and declared.
“I’ll deal with all the small fry. Christ, you and Maria just need to watch.”
With that declaration, Lastiara took the lead, and we entered the Labyrinth.
『Tenth Day Starts』
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