Depths of the Otherworldly Labyrinth
[Translator – Mab ]
[Proofreader – ilafy ]
Chapter 46 - Capturing the 24th Floor
When descending to the 24th floor, what surprised me first was the size of the space.
Until then, the Labyrinth had been living up to its name, and there had never been a large space outside of the boss’s room.
However, the 24th floor defied that. There were no corridors on the 24th floor, but rather, it was a wide space like the 10th and 20th floors. However, it wasn’t a space with a clear view. There were numerous rock pillars standing, giving the entire floor the impression of being inside a cave, with its most distinctive feature being the lava—boiling lava flowed and made several red rivers.
The 23rd floor was unbearable for ordinary people as it was, but the 24th floor, where lava flowed on the floor, was already a hostile temperature.
No, perhaps an ordinary person wouldn’t even be able to breathe down there. We were able to stay on our feet because both Lastiara and I had received the benefits of our elevated levels and our bodies had been consequently strengthened.
“Please tell me you can find where the staircase is…”
Instantly, with few words, we finished deciding on a course of action for the floor. Neither of us objected to skipping it through. Both Lastiara and I were united in our desire not to linger.
I deployed «Dimension» over a wide area and searched for the location of our flight of stairs. However, after not finding any staircase within a radius of one kilometer, I figured we had to move some distance further to find it.
“There’s no staircase nearby. Let’s go deeper.”
With Lastiara unable to respond properly, we proceeded through the 24th floor. Lastiara was sweating like a waterfall, so we really needed to find those stairs soon.
We walked faster, avoiding the lava. The number of monsters on the 24th floor was extremely small. Fortunately, the only thing to watch out for was the lava, so we were able to proceed without running into any obstacles.
About 500 meters from the starting point, I stopped to cast the magic again.
“I’ll use the detecting magic again, okay?”
As I passed the water to Lastiara, I concentrated on the magic.
At that instant, I heard a sound like bubbles in boiling water popping nearby. When we weren’t paying attention to our surroundings, a monster jumped out from the liquid lava nearby, catching us off guard.
The monster looked like a lizard, but it was dozens of times larger than the lizards of my world. With the momentum of its leaping out, the lizard tried to slice at the distracted Lastiara with its claws.
Lastiara dodged the claws just in time. She also dodged the lava that scattered as the monster appeared with her amazing reflexes.
The lizard monster, after having been dodged, stared at us from a distance before expelling colored breaths. I calmly focused on the monster to verify its details.
【Monster】 Poison Salamander: Rank 23
Seeing that it had Poison in its name, it gave me the idea that it posed a danger of poisoning. Its breath was the most suspicious, so I told Lastiara about it.
“Lastiara, it’s possible that its breath has poison—”
“Ah, sorry. I’ve inhaled quite a lot.”
Being in closer proximity to the poison salamander, Lastiara stood in the breath of the oncoming enemy. It seemed that she wasn’t able to hold her breath as quickly as she was able to fend off the incoming attack.
I checked Lastiara’s Constitution, and——
I confirmed that she was poisoned.
After a closer look, I could see that her face was paler. The unusually high temperature had made her ill, and then she had to inhale the poison on top of that. Even someone like her would be in pain.
In order to reduce Lastiara’s burden, I slashed at the poison salamander at full speed. However, the monster had been alerted by my onrush and immediately retreated into the lava. Of course, leaving behind its poisonous breath.
By then, neither of us had any means to attack it; we couldn’t even get close to it.
Leaving me no choice, I tried to locate the poison salamander with «Dimension». However, the magic didn’t penetrate well into the flowing lava, and I couldn’t get a clear picture of its movements.
For the moment, I covered my mouth with the edge of my cloak and approached the pale Lastiara.
“Shit, I can’t get to it if it dives… Lastiara, how are you with the poison?”
“Mn, I’m feeling a bit dizzy. Maybe it’s the heat that makes the poison worse… But I’m fine. I can cure it with magic right away… ‘untangled water is an illusion, while the blood shall never return’…”
Lastiara casted her magic and tried to cure the poison, but as though to prevent her from finishing her magic, the monster jumped out of the lava again—two of them that time.
I pulled a spare sword from my ‘Item List’ and struck at both of them so they wouldn’t get near Lastiara.
After which I quickly tried to give chase—but of course, those damned lizards once again distanced themselves. After glaring at us, they exhaled their breaths and fled into the lava, leaving a poisonous fog behind. Gradually, the fog around me and Lastiara thickened.
Lastiara finished casting her magic, but it was moot at that point. Even if she was cured of poison, she would be poisoned again with all that poisonous fog around us.
Even I, who was holding my mouth with a cloth, couldn’t seem to escape the poison in the middle of that fog.
“Lastiara…! We won’t be able to recover well if we can’t shake these guys off. Let’s go back.”
“Sadly, you’re right… Just so you know, I can finish them off the next time we meet them.”
“There’s no guarantee that there will only be two of them. My magic has a hard time penetrating the lava, so I don’t know exactly how many there are.”
“Mn. I guess we have no other choices then…”
The both of us then started to run back the way we came. However, as if to say they wouldn’t let us leave, the poison salamanders attacked us the moment we showed our backs.
I had expected that, so I used my sword to strike down the poison salamander that had popped out. I could deal with them from any direction they thought was my blind spot as long as it wasn’t the lava.
After fending off the pursuit, we continued running. We could see that the poison in our bodies continued to reduce our HP as we ran.
I thought about retreating to the 20th floor, a safe zone, but there was little lava and few enemies around the stairs connecting the 23rd floor and the 24th floor, so we decided to recover there.
“—«Cure Full». Once again, «Cure Full».”
After Lastiara’s magic removed the poison, she repeatedly cast recovery magic to restore her HP to the maximum, but at the cost of losing a lot of MP. There was also that battle on the 23rd floor, she had relied on magic so much that her MP was about to run out; I didn’t have a lot left either.
“We’ve both lost too much MP, should we head home…? I can deploy «Connection» here and we can go home right away.”
“I guess we should…”
I thought Lastiara would whine, but it seemed that fighting with no MP was not what she wanted. Perhaps her usual composure and confidence had something to do with the amount of MP she had left.
After that, Lastiara took vigilance of the surroundings as I built my magic. Heading through the hastily constructed door, we concluded our exploration for the day.
* * *
Translator - Mab
Proofreader - ilafy
Join our Discord for updates on releases!
* * *
“You’ve returned early again…”
We went back from the 24th floor to find Maria waiting for us, in the middle of preparing a meal, just like the day before.
“…Yeah. It didn’t go quite as well as expected.”
I complained to Maria about our unsuccessful exploration. Hearing that, Maria laughed and replied.
“Yes, I can see that.”
She then pointed to our attire. The cloak I had worn was gone, and both Lastiara and I were burnt and tattered in various parts of our clothes.
From Maria’s point of view, it must have looked like we had escaped from a bad beating—which was exactly what happened.
Lastiara threw down her tattered clothes and changed back into her changes. While she didn’t go as far as taking off her underwear, I wished she would stop doing that kind of thing, as it made me troubled as to where to look. Maria also hurriedly stood between us so I wouldn’t be able to see her.
Lastiara then sighed deeply and took her place at the table in the center of the living room.
“Haa, that was hot~ I’m tired~ That was hot~”
It seemed that the hot 23rd and 24th floors were the devil’s gates for Lastiara. She seemed to have run out of steam and nodded languidly on the table.
“Lastiara. I’m going to go and procure some items to counter heat. Want to come with?”
If we were to rechallenge those floors, we would have to buy a lot of things. I also wanted to gather intel about the lava fields, so I wouldn’t stay idle in the house. I asked Lastiara if she wanted to go shopping with me.
“Hmm, I guess I should go with you.”
Lastiara staggered out of her seat.
“Don’t force yourself, just tell me what to buy…”
“No, I still can move around.”
Lastiara and I left the house while Maria was preparing our meal.
At first, we went to the stores to procure more water and foodstuff, and then to the tavern and library to find out how to capture the lava zone.
The shopping itself went without a hitch, but we didn’t get any good information on how to capture the lava zone. No matter what we asked or researched, what we got was a warning to stay away from the lava zone and that there was no information that would be useful on the 24th floor.
If there was any lead at all, it would be from Glenn Walker, the most powerful explorer and an acquaintance of Lastiara, but meeting him wouldn’t be so easy.
In the end, it seemed that the only strat we could do was ignore the monsters altogether and just plow through the area.
And when we were about to head home, having finished shopping and gathering information, Lastiara made a suggestion.
“Maybe we can try asking Alty about the lava zone? She is a fire boss monster, right?”
Lastiara spoke about it like it was a good idea that just came to her, but it was a means I had been shoving into a corner of my mind.
I didn’t know how to respond. It was probably because I had been beaten black and blue by Tida, a Guardian just like Alty, that I wanted to have as little to do with her as possible.
But it was indeed an idea that could work. It was as if she was an NPC who was specially designed for us to overcome this roadblock. If it were a game, the first thing I would do was go talk to Alty. But in reality, my feet refused to go to her.
“Eh? I thought it was a good idea? Is it bad?”
Rather than a good idea, perhaps it was the correct idea.
Since we finished our exploration of the day, we had time to go to the 10th floor where she resided. Besides, I had some questions I wanted to ask her about, mainly the matter of teaching magic to Maria and Dia.
I had no reason to refuse Lastiara’s proposal. Reluctantly, I nodded to it.
“You’re right… let’s go…”
With that, I decided to take Lastiara to the 10th floor from the entrance of the Labyrinth. Since both of our MPs weren't ideal, we chose to go on foot from the entrance, which was less difficult than from the 20th floor.
Join our Discord for updates on releases!