Chapter 48: Different Worlds have Different Technologies that Take Off and Grow
Undead … huh? So these are also considered undead?
The Graveyard is much darker than the rest of the tunnels, for all that it’s much bigger. It feels like light doesn’t travel quite as far in this area; even though we have all taken light magic stones out so that there are 6 light sources floating around our heads, the darkness still feels oppressive.
There’s also a cold chill coming from this area.
Even so, these skeletons are considered undead?
I pick up a bone fragment from a downed skeleton.
This … no matter how I look at it, this isn’t bone…? The fragment glitters in my hand. It looks like a cut, clear gemstone. No, it’s slightly blue-ish? But it’s clear, and sparkles brilliantly. A slight chill seems to come from it, but I can’t tell if it’s truly coming from the fragment or if it’s just because the entire area is covered in this cold.
Well, into my inventory it goes …
“How many grams do we have?”
Sorry Ragnall, Inventory doesn’t count it in grams, even if that’s how it’s sold.
“We have about 15 full skeletons worth?”
Well, I have 8 stacks plus 61 skeleton parts, 15 stacks plus 38 skeleton parts, and 10 stacks plus 40 skeleton parts. Ignoring the excess, 8+15+10=33, 33×99= … uh … 3,267. About 200 bones in a human skeleton, so 3,267/200=about 16. Minus 1 for margin of error for broken bones, since each one counts as a single skeleton part in Inventory …
The skeleton parts are split up into 3 groups in my inventory. I’m keeping them separate based on who killed them; Ragnall, me, and the Valor of Arms brigade.
Ragnall was adamant on keeping count of the kills this time in the Labyrinth.
Since all the skeletons are the same size, or like, they’re direct clones of each other, they were going to divide them up by grams of bone at the end … well, I didn’t tell them, but that’s unnecessary with my cheat of an Inventory.
Still, I have 36 slots taken up … it sucks that the bones don’t go in all as 1 skeleton. Once you destroy the icy-blue core, the skeleton comes apart, and a lot of it shatters on the ground. Since I have to touch each part for it to go into my inventory, it seems like only things that are connected together can go in as 1 set. If I tied them together it would go in as a full skeleton, but who has time for that?
I still have a lot of slots open, though. After the beetles incident, I thoroughly investigated my Inventory, and I didn’t notice that Inventory had a page 2. To think I had 150 slots… way cheat.
After fighting our way through the Graveyard, we finally reach a “safe area”, where we take a quick break before heading to the next level.
“…This really is a lot of monsters. It’s actually pretty rare to run into any skeletons, let alone over 10. You’re usually stuck fighting wraiths.”
Jericho frowned, reflecting over the amount of monsters we had to fight to get here..
Yeah, we fought a lot of wraiths too. More than I could count… it was a little terrifying at first, because even my electricity-type Air Magic didn’t really work on them, and weapons just whiffed right through, but in the end we were able to manage.
Ah, to be correct, Miina cast <Destroying Light> on all our weapons, and then we were able to fight the incorporeal wraiths.
I totally want her to teach me that later.
“They say that wraiths and skeletons in the Graveyard only increase if there are more monsters and people to prey on.”
Miina said with a frown.
“Yeah, the amount of wraiths were ridiculous. This is why it’s hard for me to hunt the Khrystel Skeletons by myself; I can’t do shit about the wraiths.”
Ragnall laughed and tapped the back of his short-falchion on his shoulder. He’s in a really good mood, having run into so many skeletons.
“Well, you can just outrun the wraiths if you just wanted to get to the 2nd level, so this area really isn’t as bad as it seems, if you ever have to run it alone, Jun-chan.”
Niera says, patting my shoulder.
I see. It’s true that the wraiths were only scary because I couldn’t fight them, but they mostly just cast Cold Breath and light ice-type Water Magic, so if you could outrun them, a hit or two isn’t really too bad. Even though there were almost too many to count… I guess it won’t turn into something like a monster train?
But something else I was wondering was,
“Are the skeletons really worth so much? And what are they?”
“No one knows for sure how they’re formed, but the Labyrinth births their bodies somehow. That’s why they’re not true Undead. The wraiths lack the negative aura of grudges most evil spirits carry, too. Lor says that it’s possible that the Labyrinth is mimicking the Undead from some of the lower levels, making copies of it from the Labyrinth’s form itself.”
Miina answers with that kind of response. So Lor was researching these things too.
“They’re pretty expensive, since they’re rare. 2,500 ecrue a gram. They’re used for windows, mostly, then transparent labour tools, and finally trinkets for rich peoples’ amusement.”
“Um, Kristaf. Is there no … glass?”
“It’s the clear, fragile stuff that Harulf-san said he was going to work with when he got to town. At that weird, little factory workshop in the south end of town.”
Niera chimed in when Kristaf made a face like he didn’t know what I was talking about.
“I take it that glass isn’t very popular here.”
“Well, it can’t compare to khrystel, which can be formed like metals. Also, glass prohibits magic from passing through, so it’s extremely unpopular for anything other than containers to hold magic volatile solutions. But even then, it’s so fragile that people would rather grease a jar with magic-prohibiting salve than use those things.”
Glass is like an anti-magic Barrier? Doesn’t that seem kind of useful? Why would it be so disliked?
“Does Jun-chan’s hometown use a lot of glass? What for?”
“Um… cups or something like that?”
Glass was something considered more valuable than gold in my former world. At one point long ago, anyway. To think that here, it’s something basically worthless.
“Ah… people have tried, but it’s not good to make cups out of glass. They say if you’re served with glass cups instead of khrystel, you can bet that you’re going to be poisoned. Since you can’t use drug and poison detection magic discretely through glass.”
“Yeah, if someone goes through the trouble of making such expensive glass drinking vessels, you can be sure it’s not for any sort of good reason.”
“Basically, anything transparent that’s glass is assumed to be for something bad.”
“Nn. Well, it’s easy to tell if it’s glass or khrystel, since glass isn’t perfectly clear and usually has all those defects and cracks easily and stuff.”
In my old world, glass is pretty common now, you know? There are a lot of simple, perfectly clear things that are only worth a couple hundred yen. And at the same time, treated and cut glass could be worth tens of thousands of yen. Things like stuff made from that foreign Sw○r○ski company.
But here, there’s a clear, malleable material that can be handled like metal, with magic qualities that are more highly preferred than glass. I guess it’s not really that weird that the glass technology in this world never made it that far.
It seems like there are still some people stubborn enough to try to improve glass technology, but the overwhelming majority is definitely in khrystel manufacturing.
Fumu. I can’t think that the ability to completely block magic wouldn’t be useful in any situation … like a shield or something against magic attacks…
Ah, nevermind. Let’s ignore the fact that I just wanted to promote a glass shield.
But then … what else … like, a greenhouse-like room to avoid detection magic? Or …
… I guess there isn’t that much I can think of.
I get the feeling that it’s not just that there aren’t uses for glass. For glass technology to remain undeveloped while this world’s metal technology has skyrocketed, it has to be a combination of problems. Like there being a rare, but much more easy to use and more durable alternative, and that glass is really expensive to manufacture, difficult to handle, AND doesn’t have many uses.
Even though glass isn’t something I’ll probably end up using a lot, I still want to make a mirror for The Queen Mary’s. I guess I’ll have to check out how far glass technology is in this world, or figure out how khrystel manufacturing works.
But it’s not like I know much about glass making …
Well, let’s just set it aside for now.
At the end of the series of caverns is a slope downwards. We descend down into the 2nd level.
As we descend the tunnel to the 2nd level, and it’s probably a good, moderately steep 5 degree slope, I can see ahead that the path widens and light shines in from the opposite end.
Stepping out of the tunnel felt a lot like exiting a cave into the sunlight.
Or like, what’s with this scenery?!
A vast forest greeted us, sloping downwards into a valley. The sky above was like it was mid-day, and only if you looked far, far above the clouds could you see the ceiling.
This … are we still in a Labyrinth?!
“This is the 2nd level? Or like, we’re still underground?!”
“Haha, it doesn’t feel like it, huh? A lot of the Labyrinth remains largely unexplained.”
I feel like that’s the best answer I’m going to get, so I just keep my mouth shut and look around at this weird level while Jericho draws the plans.
Seriously. It looks like we’re on a mountain in Japan, looking out over the land.
“Right, so we need to cover at least the parts of the forest both around this slope up to the 1st level as well as the tunnel down to the 3rd level.”
“Jericho … it will take us half a day just to reach the exit to the 3rd level.”
“Well, it would take US half a day, Miina.”
At that, the Valor of Arms Brigade all looked at me and Ragnall.
“How confident are you with speed, Jun-san?”
Um … with Augment Body-sama, no problem.
“Then … yeah, we’re counting on the two of you to check that out. Meet at Emerald Lake in 3 hours.”
“’Kay ‘kay… c’mon then, Jun-san, try and keep up!”
“Ah … hang on, do we have a clock? Wait, hold up!”
Ah, Ragnall took off before I could make sure we had a time piece, and to keep up I had to charge right after him. Maa, I have a digital clock in the Inventory interface. Though it’s not set to the correct time of day, and I don’t know how to fix it, I can still use it to tell how much time has passed.
… Man, he’s fast. Ragnall I mean. He’s not using any magic to boost his abilities either. What ridiculous specs.
I guess I’m not one to talk about someone being ridiculous though, since I can keep up with him like this and still hold a conversation.
Ah, but I’m using Augment Body, so I wonder if that counts.
“So what are we looking for?”
“Ah … well anything unnatural. Like a lot of corpses, or monsters not really known to be in this area. Whether there are new predators or an epidemic going around … that kind of thing.”
“I see …”
It’s not like I’m going to know about what’s normal versus what’s not, since this is my first time on this level. I guess I’ll leave most of the real work to Ragnall and just focus on defending against monsters.
“Aren’t there a lot of monsters attacking us?”
“… yeah. This isn’t normal.”
An hour later, Ragnall and I can see the cliff where the exit to the 3rd level is located. We’re halfway there, at a speed that would put a sports car to shame.
At the halfway point is Emerald Lake.
I wonder if the reason it’s called “Emerald Lake” because of the green crystalline structures that line the shore, as if they were lakeside plants.
My Inventory now has 2 Nightstone Ocelot corpses, 3 Rhodonite Mantises, and 26 Carnelian Howler Monkeys added to it. In general, Ragnall and I can outrun monsters trying to attack us, but the monkeys can call down hordes of their comrades on us, so Ragnall bothers to stop and take them down every time.
Of course, I help. Between the two of us, it’s usually 1-hit-1-kill, though the speed of the ocelots startled me at first.
As we take a few minutes to stretch our limbs, Ragnall sighs.
“Hmph. It’s too bad about those Moonstone Moths, but those monkeys are too damn persistent.”
“You wanted to catch those moths in the middle of that attack? You’re kidding, right?”
“Well, that’s why I gave up. Aaaaah… they would’ve gone for a million, together.”
“…Seriously … you already have all those skeleton parts, right?”
“There’s no harm in aiming for more~!”
“Geez… Hey, Ragnall, is this kind of amount of monsters normal?”
“No way. The monsters on the 2nd level usually prefer to be left alone. It’s weird that they’re all coming out to attack. Something is frenzying them…”
“There haven’t been any monsters that look like they’re starving, and there aren’t dead or sickly animals just lying around, so I guess it’s migration due to predators or some change in the environment at another level or something.”
“Change in the environment … like an earthquake or flood?”
“Maybe. If it’s something on a lower level, we might not get to the bottom of it today … Haaa… I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not, with me running all these errands … I might as well be Guild staff, bleh. You okay to keep going?”
“Ah, yeah. Let’s go.”
I don’t really know how these relationships between Adventurers and the Guild work, but it seems to be difficult. Though from what I understand, there’s just something going on lately that’s pretty bad in the background of Nyl City’s daily life– and I mean in the town, not just all this monster ruckus in the Labyrinth.
I suddenly skid to a stop. It seems that my hearing ability reaches further than Ragnall, because he looks at me, puzzled, as he stops running as well.
The two of us stand still for several minutes until Ragnall can hear what I hear. A low rumbling and the sound of distant crashing.
“This… could be bad,”
He mutters, then uses his super-human strength to dart up a tall tree in a second.
I follow him and we break through the top of the trees, looking intently in the direction of the noise over the see of treetops.
Something is coming.
How can I tell?
The trees are being heaved to the side of the path of whatever’s coming. You can see them just being bowled over. Like blades of grass being pushed aside.
… Um. What the hell is that going to be? Or like, how big is it?!
“Hey, Ragnall. What. Is. THAT?”
“… … … … Well. Fuck.”
I guess that about sums it up.
It’s coming at a pace faster than the one Ragnall and I were going.
Yeah, it’s that fast.
Ragnall gnaws on his lower lip for a moment.
“… I don’t know if we should regroup with the others first or go scout it out, but I think it will get here sooner than I’d like.”
He drops to a lower branch, amidst some bunches of leaves for cover, crouching and shifting into a battle-ready stance. He slowly moves his blade into a position that would allow him to cut at any moment. It’s the first I’ve seen him go into any sort of stance.
Looks like he’s expecting it to be a tough battle.
I drop to a branch close to him.
“So any guesses on what’s coming?”
I ask, because I really have no idea.
“… Yeah. I hope it’s not what I think it is, because that will seriously be a pain in the ass.”
That’s all he can say, before that something tore through the trees, barreling towards us.
A snake, is what I want to say it is, but that doesn’t really do this justice. It is a train in the shape of a snake. The train, writhing from side to side as it bull-rushed the trees and toppled them, came barreling down towards us, hissing like a kettle.
Ragnall clicks his tongue and shifts out of his battle-stance when he sees it, leaping backwards from tree branch to tree branch to take some space.
Naturally, I follow him. I might not have been run over by Truck-san to get to this world, but that doesn’t mean I’m willing to try a run-in with snake Train-san.
As we retreat, Ragnall yells,
“Oh, fantastic. It’s not what I thought it was. It’s MUCH WORSE!”
“… That’s great. What is it?”
“A Crystal Python. What the hell is it doing on the 2nd Level?! It comes up to the 5th Level, at the highest!”
“So this … could be bad.”
“Against the two of us … yeah. Its scales are a rare material, and they’re basically unbreakable. Doesn’t matter how hard you cut or bash.”
“… That IS bad.”
In game terms, we’re two hack-n-slashers against a physical attack immune monster.
Sure, I can use magic, but I’ve only used it against a beetle the size of a large dog. And it didn’t phase the wraiths at all. How the hell am I supposed to use the correct magic and adapt it to something of this size?
Ragnall mutters to himself as he watches the movements of the train.
“Tch, it’s a pity to just run off, Crystal Python materials are rarely brought in so we could make a ton, but I’m not suicidal enough to take it on without some insurance. We should regroup and head back to report this to the Guild … whoa!”
“Ah, it noticed us.”
“Seems like, dammit.”
Even as Ragnall tried to move back towards the exit into the 1st Level, the train hissed and swerved in front, cutting us off. Its tail lashes out, pulverizing the spot Ragnall had been a few seconds before.
Ah, I’m sorry, did I say pulverize? It’s more like the part of the tree Ragnall was standing on has disappeared in a tail-shaped wedge. It no longer exists.
Fumu … yeah, I’d like to make some preparations before I have to fight this thing, so we should definitely retreat. I am not 100% confident my Barrier Shield can stand up to that kind of force.
There is little doubt as to why the monsters are frenzied and fleeing upwards through the Labyrinth towards the surface.
That’s the kind of aura this train, no, this Crystal Python is giving.