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Depths of the Otherworldly Labyrinth

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Depths of the Otherworldly Labyrinth

[Translator – Mab]

[Proofreader – ilafy]

  

Chapter 38 - Interval

 

After escaping from the 21st floor, each of us began to rest. Maria retreated to her room and laid down, while Lastiara went out right away, saying she had something to do. 

I could have used that time to talk with Maria about her future prospects, but she bluntly refused me, saying that she wanted to be left alone. I had something I wanted to think about myself, and I didn’t want to force myself on her, so I agreed.

After that exploration, there were really a lot of things to ponder. I had to consider more about ‘Skills’ and magic, as well as my and Maria’s immaturity.

The new magic, «Daytime Snow» was working fine, «Connection» had been a success, and I had also covered the door I placed on the 20th floor with black cloth for camouflage, so it shouldn’t have been broken anytime soon. No high-level explorer would search every nook and cranny of the 20th floor unless they really had to do it, after all.

More importantly, the «???» Skill. After a few days of not using the «???» Skill, the abnormality of that power became much more noticeable. Perhaps I shouldn’t have been so optimistic to think that the ‘Display’ would show everything that the «???» Skill took away from me. By using the «???» Skill, my doubts cleared and everything became much more logical and rational, but that meant that my own values would be changed by it. I hadn’t thought how terrifying the idea that my very own identity could be changed so easily without my own consent or knowledge was. 

I had been avoiding using the «???» Skill so that my confusion wouldn’t reach the 10.00 milestone, but I gained one more reason not to use it. That being said, I probably wouldn’t use it unless there was a fight as hard as my fight against Tida’s had been or topics regarding slaves were brought up again. As long as I didn’t lose my cool, it shouldn’t be hard for someone as strong as I was to get out of a tight spot.

I finished formulating my future plans for magic and ‘Skills’ and checked the time. It was still a little early in the evening, but I decided to go to the tavern to work anyway—time wouldn’t be wasted if I used it to gather information.

I told Maria I would be going out, changed into fresh clothes, then headed for the tavern.

Nothing happened on the way there, but just as I was about to enter the tavern, I bumped into Lastiara, who was just coming out. She opened her mouth, looking surprised.

“Ah.”

“Eh, Lastiara? What are you doing here?”

“Ah! Right, I’ve got something to do. Laters.”

Lastiara strode away. It seemed like she wasn’t supposed to meet me there.

I thought about going after her, but I decided against it. I didn’t know what she was doing at the tavern, but if I chased after her, I might miss my shift. I had no choice but to leave her be, so I just went in through the tavern’s back door.

“Christ-kun? Ehh? Why did you come?”

Lynn-san was preparing in the back room. She looked at me questioningly as I came in.

“Am I not supposed to come?”

“Err, I was told that you’re going to be taking a leave starting from today…”

“Huh? Who told you?”

“The manager.”

“…I should go and ask him about it.”

“You should.”

‘Taking a leave starting from today?’ I had no plan to take any long-term leave.

But I had a feeling that Lastiara had something to do with it.

I walked past Lynn-san and went to the manager in the kitchen—he was there preparing food.

“Manager. Lynn-san told me she was told I was going to take a leave…?”

“Whoa! Dang it, Christ. You scared me.”

When I called out to him from behind, the manager answered in surprise. He must have been so focused on the pot that he didn’t notice me approaching.

“I’m sorry.”

“Don’t sweat it. So, about you taking a leave. That Ojou-chan from Whoseyards told me that you were going to. Are you?”

“By that, you mean Lastiara?”

“Lastiara? That’s her name?”

“Why didn’t you at least ask her name?”

“She told me she couldn’t reveal her name, y’see…”

“I’m asking you, please don’t trust people who act like that.”

That smelled like Lastiara doings. There was also the fact that I had just passed her, so I was sure that she was the one who spoke to the manager.

“No, well, she called herself the lady from Whoseyards that you seduced, so I couldn’t ask any further.”

“That bitch…”

“She said it saddened her that her people brought troubles to the store, so she suggested that you, Christ, should take a leave until her people settle down. Well, I don’t want people like that Radiant lass coming around too often either, so I agreed right away. She was polite and knowledgeable about the situation, so I knew it was a no-brainer.”

“Aah, I see.”

In other words, that wolf bitch covered herself in sheep’s clothing to win over the manager. What could I say, the manager had a soft sport for beauties. Radiant-san for one, Lynn-san for another… everyone who was close to the manager knew about it.

He must have been touched by Lastiara since she was beautiful and didn’t bother to ask deeply enough.

I understood the situation, but then, I had to think about why Lastiara acted that way.

Perhaps it was to extend the time we would have exploring the Labyrinth. She did seem dissatisfied when I cut off our exploration for work, so there was no doubt about it.

And one more thing: She might also have done it to cut off the source of where I collected information. She did have the tendency of disliking spoilers. It was possible that she didn’t want me collecting information up to the 23rd floor that might reduce her enjoyment.

What a pain in the neck.

But the real troubling thing was she probably wasn’t fully aware of those two reasons, and she thought she had done it with all the best intentions for me. The more time I spent with her, the more I learned a little more about how her mind worked.

I could bet Lastiara was thinking ‘spending time in the Labyrinth is much more efficient than spending time working in the tavern,’ or ‘if he got too used to collecting information beforehand, challenging the 23rd floor and beyond would be dangerous.’

I let out a deep sigh, then continued the conversation.

* * *

Reaper Scans

Translator - Mab

Proofreader - ilafy

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* * *

“Yes, she is the lady from Whoseyards. What she said wasn’t wrong either, so let’s go with that…”

“Oh? You said it. I’ll have you take a leave, as per the lady’s suggestion.”

“Okay…”

The level-up on my first day, matching me up with the Celestial Knight, participating in my party, and giving her mind on Maria, all of it had started from her own good intentions as well. 

While, indeed, what she did was unnecessary, once I realized that, I was hesitant to reject her good intentions.

That said, I would still reproach her for being so selfish. I knew she ran away from me because she knew she was being overbearing.

“Well, I guess I have some free time now…”

“Ou. Sort out your affair first, lady killer.” 

That’s a title I’d hate to bear… Which reminded me, one of the knights had also called me with that in the Labyrinth, huh…

Putting aside all the other troublesome things Lastiara brought me, that one dishonorable title alone was something I should make sure to return the grudge of. I vowed it to myself.

***

I looked for Lastiara after I left the bar, but she wouldn’t rear her beautiful head, perhaps out of guilt. Maria also wouldn’t come out of her room.

With no other choice left, I decided to go where the last party member, Dia, was. 

I walked past the hospital reception area to the ward where Dia was admitted. As I walked down the corridor, I noticed the area looked different.

Mainly, about how it was full of holes…

After timidly walking down the newly well-ventilated corridor, I entered Dia’s room, and it was in a much worse shape.

Despite all the differences in his ward, Dia was still relaxing on his bed.

“Dia…?”

“Oh, Christ.”

Dia and I exchanged greetings. He didn’t even seem to care about the disastrous scene.

“Uh, Dia. What happened?”

“O-oh, this room…? Sorry. It looks like you need to pay for the repairs because of me. Can you pay it to the receptionist from my share?”

“Don’t be sorry, it’s your share to begin with. More importantly, can you tell me what happened here?”

“Hmm… enemy raid?”

Dia asked me back, half believing his own words. Well, even if you ask me.

“An enemy came to the hospital?”

“Yeah, that Alty girl. You know, the one who was watching in the back when we fought Tida. I fought her.”

“Ah, her.”

That made sense. Only guardians could move outside the Labyrinth, and Alty’s magic was fire-based—that would explain the scorching of the floor and walls.

“Alty attacked you?”

“Eh, erm… She didn’t exactly attack me. All of these are from my magic attacks.”

“I knew it…”

If so, then it wasn’t a fight.

It sounded to me that Dia overreacted to Alty’s attempt to mess with him. 

Come to think of it, when I tried to place «Connection» on the 10th floor, she had said her main body was a bit busy. Perhaps she had been in the middle of dodging Dia’s attacks.

“I’m sorry. We settled, but by then, it was already this much of a mess.”

“No, don’t blame yourself. It’s my fault too for not explaining about Alty.”

I was too optimistic to think Alty was only interested in me. But on second thought, I wasn’t the only one who defeated Tida, Dia had too. It wouldn’t be surprising if she approached Dia, as he also had granted Tida’s wish, to negotiate with him.

As I regretted my inadequacy, I asked Dia what Alty was doing there.

“So… what did Alty want?”

“Hmm. We chatted about some stuff, and she even taught me some magic. She was a nice person.”

“Magic?”

“She said she couldn’t bear watching my flame magic and all that. The scorching in the room is mostly from practicing flame magic.”

“Well, she is an expert at flame magic, but…”

But from the looks of it, she probably didn’t say anything about the love fulfillment thing.  Perhaps, knowing Dia’s personality, she decided he wasn’t the kind of person she could discuss love with and whatnot.

“So, is there a change to your magic?”

“Yes, a huge change. I can now adjust the firepower of my «Flame Arrow». I’ve also regained my senses for ‘Holy Magic’ back. I’m not the same person I was before.”

“Ooh.”

Adjusting the firepower… Since Dia had an inexhaustible supply of MP, he could always shoot as hard as he could, but it was always better to be able to adjust firepower.

“It’s just that… I got carried away with my practice, the doctor scolded me and said I’d die from the Magic Power Deficiency if I kept it up.”

“I already told you, don’t push yourself too hard—you’ll only prolong your hospitalization period.”

“Uu… I don’t want that. I’ll try to be as calm as possible.”

Dia became much meeker when I told him his stay could get prolonged. It seemed like he didn’t want to be there any longer.

After that, we passed the time by exchanging updates on each other. During the conversation, I broached the subject of our companions.

“—Ah, right. We have new companions, I’ll introduce them to you once you’re out.”
“Companions?”

“Yeah, we have more people helping in our exploration now. I wanted to tell you as quickly as possible.”

“Ooh, that sounds great!”

Dia was happy to hear we had gotten more companions. When we had first met, he was strangely insistent on a solo challenge, so I thought that he might object, but it seemed my fears were unfounded.

From how he looked, he seemed to have a mild yearning for a large party, perhaps because he couldn’t get a party together before. However, since his long-awaited companions were those two with their problematic personalities, I decided to lower the bar so as not to create undue expectations.

“But they’re quite a bit quirky, so don’t expect too much.”

“They are the people you chose, right, Christ? Then of course they will be wonderful companions for me as well.”

As always, Dia put his trust in me for the whole length. He was just so different from the bitter Maria and the crazy Lastiara. His naive eyes on me just felt comfortable.

“…They have problematic personalities, so I’m worried you won’t get along with them.”

“I’ll do my best to get along with them. I need to polish my magic for their sake too.”

“Now that’s the Dia I know… But don’t push yourself, okay?”

He’s just too dazzling… What a good kid. Thank you, God, for letting me meet Dia.

“—but if they are going to interfere with Christ’s dream, then I will have a little talk to them.”

As I was thanking God, I overheard Dia’s little murmur.

“Eh?”

“Yeah, if they’re going to interfere with our exploration, then we’re talking on a different page.”

“A-aah. That’s obvious.”

If I hadn’t misheard it, he had just spoken about ‘my dream’. I knew Dia was a thoughtful guy, but that expression made me a little bit uncomfortable, just a little bit.

“Christ. Since we’ve got new companions, does that mean your exploration has gone further, then? Tell me about it.”

“Sure.”

But soon, Dia begged me to talk about our exploration, I didn’t have time to pin down the discomfort.

Sharing information about the Labyrinth was a high-priority matter. For a magician as talented as Dia, I needed him to be able to cooperate as soon as he recovered. 

I began to talk slowly and carefully about the monsters up to the 20th floor. There was much to talk about. I explained what kind of monsters we fought, the characteristics of each level, the situations in which I struggled, and various other information in bite-sized pieces.

By the time I spent all I could talking about the Labyrinth, it was already dark outside. 

Lastly, I left Dia’s room with a promise to bring him a gift the next time I visited. On my way out, I paid for the damages to Dia’s room and returned home.

____

 

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