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Depths of the Otherworldly Labyrinth



Depths of the Otherworldly Labyrinth

[Translator – Mab ]

[Proofreader – ilafy]


Chapter 37 - 21st Floor


For the explorers, it was the norm for the difficulty to spike from the 21st floor and on.

The Allied Nations spent less than a year to conquer up to the 20th floor, and yet it took them more than ten years to conquer the 21st to 23rd floor.

One of the reasons was that they apparently lost many of their elites to Tida on the 20th floor, but above all, the main reason was that the very nature of the Labyrinth had completely changed from there on.

There were no large monsters appearing on the shallow floors, but once you got past the 20th floor, countless large monsters sprung up. Constructing the Main Road whilst fighting off such monsters would prove to be extremely difficult.

Obviously, the Allied Nations began to ease up on their conquest. It was simply ‘not worth it’ to proceed past the 20th floor. At the same time, the issue of funding was coming to the fore, and the teachings of the continental bishops were no longer enough to push people forward.

—The Allied Nations changed their mind.

Those who had reached the deepest floor of the Labyrinth would be granted legendary honors—but after they learned that it was obviously impossible for anyone to proceed further, they decided on something more concrete.

As far as locations went, this land was great. It was right in the center of the lands open for reclaiming, close to the sea, and had a friendly climate. Thus, the Allied Nations built around the Labyrinth. Everyone decided that it would be better for the countries to take advantage of its economical boost instead of simply conquering the Labyrinth. The lure of the sweet treasures of the Labyrinth attracted people, and there were countless ways to take advantage of people’s attraction. The comings and goings of people were fatal for a vibrant economy. This land met all such conditions.

The kings of each country began to focus more on economy instead of strategizing a conquest for the Labyrinth. It was no exaggeration to say that the entire Allied Nations had changed direction. 

Once that happened, it was all over. The conquest by the countries was completely discontinued after the 23rd floor. 

All I could derive from that story was one thing. It all boiled down to one simple thing:

The 20th floor and down were ‘not worth it.’

Anyone who chose to fight down there was either a freak beyond help, an idiot, or someone loved by the heavens—that was common sense for the Allied Nations.

And yet, there on the 21st floor, there was a girl dancing around happily against monsters while shouting for joy.

“Aha, AHAHAHAHA—! So strong! Oh no, oh no no!! Ah, they’re going your way, Christ! HAHAHA!!”

A freak beyond help, an idiot, and someone loved by the heavens all in one, Lastiara.

We were in the middle of exploring the 21st floor of the Labyrinth. Two monsters that slipped by Lastiara were coming toward me.

Both were large monsters. I had a hard time with a single minotaur not that long ago, and yet there came two monsters much stronger than that.

“Maria, don’t ever move from behind me! We have multiple enemies incoming! It’s dangerous to move away from me!”


Our enemy was a four-armed, four-legged monkey wrapped in jet black fur, Fury. They were slow, but they literally had more arms than I did, making them a really bothersome enemy.

I met the oncoming powerful arm of one of the Furies with a flash of my sword. I continued striking the sides of the arms with all my might to parry, and at times, I retreated with Maria in my arms.

I couldn’t fully utilize my mobility against them. On that floor with a high rate of monsters, I couldn’t keep Maria far from me. Inevitably, I had to fight while covering for Maria.

—“Don’t blame me if Maria-chan dies, okay?”

Lastiara’s words before we departed came to my mind. I judged that I couldn’t be sparing with my MP.

“—Magic, «Dimension Gladiator», «Multiple», «Foam», «Ice», «Freeze»!!!”

I unleashed all of my magic. What came forward was a torrent of magic orders of magnitude different from my first day.

A large number of magical bubbles were released, giving me every little detail of the space around me. Of course, I also mixed in bubbles containing Freezing magic. The purpose was to freeze the enemies whenever there was an opportunity. At the same time, I lowered the temperature of the entire space. The aim was to transform the space into one that was conducive to Freezing Magic. By doing so, refining «Ice Quick Arrow» and «Daytime Snow» would be much easier.

I parried the four arms of an oncoming Fury with a flurry of my sword. 

I hadn’t swung my sword that aggressively since my fight with Tida. I rarely resorted to brute force due to the nature of my magic. That situation proved that I was losing my advantage.

I had no advantage—which meant that the next reasonable thing was to use Maria as bait to escape.


My heart twinged at the thought. It wasn’t that long ago that I was ready to sacrifice others for my own sake. I was able to calmly calculate the gains and the losses in pure numerical values and made my move calculatingly. But I found that I no longer could. 

‘Since when? Why am I so concerned about Maria—?’

I became much more frustrated with the newly budding problem right when I was in dire straits. The irritation slowed me down, letting one of the Fury’s arms scratch at my shoulder.


A mere scratch and it was enough to tear the cloak, peel my skin, and send blood flying. 

It was dangerous to continue on. It was physically and mentally demanding. If I felt any more threatened, the «???» Skill would be triggered. My ‘Confusion’ would increase again, even though it had been naturally lowering. 

My impatient, mixed thoughts and hesitation clouded my judgment.


“I’m fine, Maria! Lastiara will sort it out soon enough!”

I looked at Lastiara fighting in the distance. There she was, slaying monsters one after another like a god of destruction.

That was alright with me. It was a fight that could be won by stalling time. There was no need for the «???» Skill to clear up my doubts.

I could wait until Lastiara, who was free of burden, eradicated them all. Lastiara continued weeding out Furies all by herself. If I could buy time, she would break through this crisis. 

So hold your ground and get ready for a prolonged battle.

I thought to myself, concentrating on parrying only, but the two Furies sandwiched me.

However, their positions were good for me. I activated some of the «Daytime Snow» bubbles that were near my enemies. The Furies’ bodies suddenly froze and they lost their balance. The two giant monkeys collided with each other with the same momentum.

In the meantime, I scooped up Maria and distanced us from those two, then shouted to Lastiara.

“Not yet, Lastiara?!”

“Yes, yes! Sorry for the wait~!”

At last, Lastiara turned all the Furies she fought into light and rushed to our aid. 

From there on, it was just a matter of seconds. The two Furies were completely defenseless to Lastiara’s sword after their movements were blocked by my Freezing Magic. 

Lastiara’s sword pierced the Furies’ vital spot.

Lastiara relentlessly pursued the screaming Furies. She made her sword dance like a whirlwind that clung to her. Her speed was too fast for the Furies to keep up—her sword hit every single vital spot of its target.

Soon, the last two Furies fell, splattering a large amount of blood. 

After confirming that all hostiles had vanished into light, I immediately sent out my order.

“—We’re retreating!! Retreat! To the 20th floor!!”

“Yes, Master!!”

Without bothering to pick up any magic stones, we went back the way we came and headed for the 20th floor. Lastiara complained with an “Eeh”, but I ignored her.

«Dimension» helped me avoid enemies, so we ran to the empty space of the 20th floor.

“Haa, haa…”

“Haah, haah, haaah….!!”

Once we reached the safe zone, Maria and I sorted our breathing. That was where Lastiara came in with her frustration.

“Heey. Why did we retreat?”

“You didn’t tell me the enemies would be that strong…”

“But I did? I told you to be careful since they’re going to be a bit stronger.”

I was a fool for taking her words up front and had thought to grind Maria’s level on the 21st floor. More than ever, I realized I had to keep in mind that her values were way off the mark.

“That’s not a bit. That’s a lot, a whole lot.”

“A lot? Is it, really…?”

“Either way, the 21st floor is something else entirely, so we’re done for the day. Maria can’t participate in a battle like that.”

“Hmm. Don’t you think it would be better if we have Maria wait at home after all?”

“…Maria is a companion. I can’t leave her behind.”

“You can’t? Really, Christ?”


My words stuck in my throat.

* * *

Reaper Scans

Translator - Mab

Proofreader - ilafy

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* * *

My brain understood it. If only Maria weren’t there, those Furies would be just right as far as enemies came. I also understood that if my goal really was to conquer the Labyrinth, then it was correct for me and Lastiara to challenge the 21st floor…

Hence, unable to answer her question, I fell silent. Maria looked vexed. Her voice was small, but it was carried out clearly.

“I-I’ve leveled up… My level isn’t that different from Master’s, but I couldn’t do anything…”

Maria was growing rapidly at a rate that shouldn’t have been possible. In just a few days, she had reached the level of a top-class explorer. However, that was in the category of ordinary—far from the non-ordinary Lastiara and me.

She couldn’t reach us. There was an absolute, gaping difference between her and us. We were almost at the same level, and yet she couldn’t partake in our combat. That was the difference in talent. That was the difference of ‘Aptitude’ between those who were blessed and those who weren’t.

Unable to see Maria get more depressed, I put aside Lastiara and called out to her.

“Don’t worry, Maria… If your level goes up even higher, even you will be able to fight—”

“Y-you’re right. As long as my level goes up—”

“—It’s the other way around.”

Lastiara, however, brought herself into my conversation with Maria. She continued speaking as if she couldn’t bear watching us.

“The higher our levels, the harder it will be for Maria-chan to keep up with us. Maria-chan will never be able to catch up with us.”

Lastiara flat out declared it. She told Maria a fact that I was dimly aware of but couldn’t put into words.


Maria seemed unable to immediately swallow what Lastiara said.

“There is an overwhelming difference in growth rate between Maria-chan and us… That’s why, the higher our level, the further we’ll become. There will never come a time where Maria-chan can save Christ from a crisis. On the contrary, Maria-chan will only drag Christ’s feet and may even put his life in danger.”

Lastiara pressed on Maria, who grew much more confused. I couldn’t bear to look at them.

“Wait a minute, Lastiara!!”

“I won’t wait.”

“Even if it’s little by little, Maria is getting stronger for sure, and there are also jobs we can entrust to—”

“I thought I could bear watching Maria getting more tragic because of you indulging in your delusions, Christ, but… you know what? I’m done. It seems like I like Maria much more than I thought I would.”

Me? Delusions? That’s…

…not something I want to admit. And yet, Lastiara’s dead seriousness wouldn’t let me off the hook.

“That’s not true… that’s not…”

“You can see Maria’s Aptitude too, Christ. If her Aptitude is low, then there’s nothing we can do. No matter what, the base rate that our power increases at is just that different. Taking Maria around the Labyrinth despite that is nothing but insanity. Why do you do it? Do you even know it yourself, Christ?

I knew. I had noticed that APT was involved in the increase of parameters. It was obvious when I compared my and Dia’s growth with Maria’s. Maria majorly lacked APT. Nevertheless, I brought Maria with me because—

“It’s… enough… don’t say it…”

Before I could fully answer Lastiara’s question, Maria stopped me. Her face was white as a sheet. That was a look that understood what I was about to say.

I knew about this too.

When Maria saw Lastiara fighting, when she saw me battling—she understood that she was no longer useful. I had been pretending not to notice it the whole time. Lastiara was right—I was indulging in my own delusions.

Maria turned her face down, dejected. Her eyes were as dark as the bottom of the sea.

Her gaze was empty, like his that one time.

Aah… stop, don’t…

It’s a trauma. I don’t want to remember the time he lost it.

That was probably why I had always favored Maria. I had been selfish, and my self-satisfaction had gotten the better of me again. And that time, I was doing it while unknowingly deceiving myself… I’m really a coward, stupid, and disgusting…

“Fufu, fufufufu… Hm, hm, I see now. Aah, how enviable. The two of you really are enviable. I’m so jealous… Fufufu.”

Maria and I were devastated by the answer we had arrived at, and yet Lastiara began to express how envious she was of us with excitement. 

Those golden eyes of hers were the same innocent, merciless eyes that I had seen on day one. Those inhumane, inconceivable eyes. 

With those eyes, she watched us, envied us… loved us.

“…You’re really nasty.”

“It’s your fault. Who told you to live such a barely interesting life?”

“Sorry then… for being barely…”

“But that’s what makes it interesting. The two of you are so good at deceiving yourselves, I can still enjoy it much more. But be at ease. I’ll be watching from the side to make sure neither of you dies or breaks down!”

Lastiara smiled at us, madness in her eyes.

I had thought I was getting to know what Lastiara was thinking, but it seemed like I still had a long way to go. However, I was getting a little used to her madness, so I sighed before replying.

“How can I be at ease with you around…?”

“…I suggest you learn some prudence, Lastiara-san.”

Maria, next to me, responded with the same expression as I did. Although the fact that had been presented to her shocked her, she seemed to have enough energy to talk back to Lastiara’s audacious words.

“Aha. Yup, yup, that’s good. Both of you can still abuse me with words, so it’s still all good…! I mean, I’m pretty sure it would have gotten so much worse later down the road! If anything, both of you should be thankful since I have more experience being in a party thanks to reading the adventure stories!”

Lastiara laughed her heart out, not caring about what we said.

“Like hell I can be thankful after all you just said…”

“There is obviously no chance for me to thank you…”

Maria and I talked back to her at the same time.

What Lastiara dragged out of me wasn’t just a broken heart, but also a bitter smile that far surpassed my exasperation with her.

Perhaps it was her ruthless yet innocent cheerfulness that such a smile needed to show up.

Lastiara had made me despair, but it was for sure her as well who helped to lift me back up.

With the bitter smile refusing to leave, I opened up my mouth, trying to keep that slight moment of blithe from disappearing.

“Haa, geez… You’re as scary as ever…”

“Eh, wait, I’m scary?”

“You have zero common sense, are crazy, and don’t know any self-control. So yes, from my point of view, you are scary. Right, Maria?”

With a faint smile, I light-heartedly turned the conversation to Maria.

“Y-yes… I can’t tell at all what you’re going to do, Lastiara-san, so it makes me nervous all the time.”

“Eh~ Not you too Maria-chan…”

Maria adapted to my pleasantries. The three of us gradually brightened up the atmosphere, exchanging light banter, even if it was only in a spirit of cheerfulness. Problems were piling up, but somehow, my spirits were getting lighter.

“—Well, let’s go home. Lastiara, you can stay here if you want.”

“NO, I don’t want to do it alone! I’m going home too!”

“Fufu. For someone so strong, you’re quite the lonely person, Lastiara-san.”

After that, we successfully turned our despondent feelings around by continuing to make jokes about Lastiara. Thus, through the use of «Connection» on the 20th floor, we were able to return home safely with a smile on our faces, fake or not notwithstanding. 



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