Depths of the Otherworldly Labyrinth
[Translator – Mab ]
[Proofreader – ilafy ]
Chapter 1: Lost in the Otherworld Labyrinth
There was opaque darkness no matter where I looked, without a speck of light.
The first thing that bothered me was the smell.
It smelled so rancid that I wished I could cut my nose off. My throat felt like it was chocked full of mud. Startled by the discomfort, I jumped to my feet, and my eyes jolted open.
The first thing that jumped into my sight was a dark corridor. It was a stony space that seemed vaguely luminous, despite there being no apparent sources of light.
I looked around and saw a small mound-like structure sitting behind me. After taking a closer look, I finally recognized it as an altar, though it was so weathered down that it was about to collapse. On top of the uppermost stone was the lumpy residue of two candles; there was also what seemed to be an offering that looked like an animal skin with an old arrow stuck in it.
"What the hell…"
For someone like me who often spoke to himself, those words naturally spilled out of my mouth.
"Th-this is insane… I feel sick…"
The more I spoke, the faster my heart thumped in my chest. My heartbeat was getting louder and louder in my ear.
This is insane. I don’t understand what’s happening.
I had simply gone to sleep and then… woken up?
But there was no warm bed there. There was no noisy mechanical alarm clock, no morning sunlight that slipped through the curtains, no light bulbs on the ceilings.
What there was, however, was a dirty, cold, stone floor.
There was that strange odor that wanted to make my nose shrivel.
And there was that faintly luminescent, stony space.
I felt sick…
I covered my mouth and waited for the nausea to pass; then, I heard a distant roar—
It was a wail without any shred of reason.
It was an echo of fever and killing intent, akin to the fury of a wounded beast.
"H-hold on… Wait, wait, wait, wait…!!"
I didn’t know what I was talking about, as I had no idea what was happening.
I let myself be swept up in my own confusion and started running in the opposite direction of the roar that I had heard.
"Haah, haah, haah!"
I ran through the stone corridor, my breathing ragged with exhaustion. The path turned several times, but I didn’t put any of it in mind. as all I cared about was getting as far away as possible. My frustration mounted as every turn seemed to look identical.
…Then, I heard an uncanny crunching sound.
It felt like I had stepped on something jagged, so I checked the sole of my shoe. What I saw was an insect the size of my fist, writhing and squirming as it let out a death cry—
I yelped at the terrible spectacle.
It’s not like I was bad with insects. That being said, I felt a strong physiological aversion to such large insects that no one would ever meet in a human city.
The insect chirped.
It sounded as if it was shouting for help.
Suddenly, a chill ran up my back, and I looked up to the road ahead.
There, peeking out from the next turn in the path, was an insect the size of an adult human.
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Translator - Mab
Proofreader - ilafy
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The size of the creature was unbelievable.
Its jagged limbs, characteristic of insects, moved around with a crackling sound.
At a quick glance, it looked almost like a stag beetle. However, its abnormal size and similarly abnormal dual horns were shaving away at my sanity.
I couldn’t even scream.
The monster would jump at me if I did, leaving me no choice but to run back the way I came.
—I ran, and ran, and ran even more still.
The thought of choosing which path to take didn’t occur in my mind at all, as all I could afford to focus on was my own continued movement.
I kept running until I hit the bottom of my stamina, and I naturally slowed down.
Then, as I almost regained a modicum of reasoning power—
The beast’s angry holler struck my ears again.
And it was much closer that time.
I, in my stupidity, had ended up turning around somewhere in the maze-like pathways and sprinting back towards the beast.
The color drained from my face.
Confusion continued to brew inside my head.
However, the closer I got to the angry roar of the beast, the more I could pick up other sounds in the same area.
They were the sounds of human speech.
"P-people! The sound of people!!"
Like a moth to the light, my body started moving in the direction of the voices.
My slightly spinning brain was yearning for another person—other ‘humans’.
The closer I got, the louder the beast’s angry roars sounded, but the sounds of speech became clearer as well.
"Keep it away! Keep it away and buy us some time!!"
It was the deep voice of a grown man.
The man sounded to be giving orders to other people nearby.
When I arrived, the scene I witnessed was like something out of a fairy tale.
Some wore leather armor and wielded wooden bows that you would usually see in a museum.
Some brandished rugged iron swords with all their might.
Some others spewed fire from wooden staves that didn’t seem to have any mechanical inner workings.
Those bizarre people were engaged in a struggling fight with a wolf two meters tall.
I didn’t have the courage to jump into the middle of it.
I could only freeze at a distance and spectate as the battle unfolded.
"So long as we have time, we can pull through! Hold out!"
The man with a deep voice, who seemed to be the group leader, gave his instruction to a greatsword-wielding warrior.
The warrior swung his greatsword wide and tried to strike down, but the huge wolf hit him with lightning speed before he could finish his attack. The warrior was blown away like a bouncing rubber ball.
The wolf’s next target was a woman with a flame-spewing staff. When the other humans noticed this, they shifted their formation to protect the woman.
As they did, the fight changed locations closer to where I stood.
I was baffled at first.
Then, I was terrified.
If I had been calmer and had more thinking room, I would have been moving the hell away from there. But at that moment, all I could do was stand there in a daze.
The eyes of the group leader, the man holding a rapier, met mine.
"Wha?!! Who are you?!"
The man yelled at me, looking just as surprised as I was.
"I-I’m lost… P-please save me!!"
I called for help right away.
At best, my words were choppy, but my intentions had surely been conveyed.
—The man’s response to my SOS, however, was extremely cold.
"…Oi. Save you, you said? What are you, stupid?"
He hadn’t given me a yes or no answer.
He gave me contempt, as though the very idea of such a request was out of the question.
In retrospect, I should have realized:
Those people couldn’t afford to help anyone.
Their attire, their weapons, the crazed beast they faced, and that perilous situation—how could I not notice any of it?
At that moment, however, I didn’t have the ability to think that far.
—The man’s next words were even colder.
"This is a Labyrinth, and we’re in an ‘Unauthorized Area’. You should have your will in order already, brat!"
Then, the cool iron of his rapier stroked at my thigh… and slashed it open.
『First Day in the Other World』
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