Chapter 63: Sometimes, People just Need to Walk Away from Things and Punch Something
Kong kong kong
It’s been one day since we started dungeon diving.
Seimei-san’s guards were really against him staying overnight in the Labyrinth, but when Ragnall suggested they come with us if they were so worried, the Captain said,
“Hmph! What do you think we are? We’re only guards of Sir Baronet’s property!”
… What exactly do you want, oi.
Kong kong kong
“Seimei-san, don’t slip. You don’t have anything that can help you survive this fall, right?”
“Hm… it would be … improvised at best. But don’t worry about me, you two just worry about yourselves.”
“We were fine the first time, so it should be fine even if we fall.”
Ragnall, I didn’t actually want to tell Seimei-san that… Ah, don’t look down at us, Seimei-san, keep your eyes on the rails.
As expected, Seimei-san has no idea how to respond to that.
We’re climbing down the shortcut made by the Crystal Python down to the 3rd level, our steps on the metal bars embedded in the side of the stone sides echoing through the tunnel. The Guild works fast … no, I think it was some Kobold miners who put a huge reward on the commission to put these rails in. It will reduce the distance to get to the 4th level mines greatly.
But beside that … the sides of the tunnel really are stone, huh? It’s not compacted dirt at all, it’s genuinely stone. So this is the power of Earth Magic. The bars were put in with Earth Magic too, from a construction firm.
That firm does a lot of mine fortification too, so the rails … shouldn’t collapse.
From the end of the tunnel to the floor of the 3rd level, that is, from the ceiling to the floor, a long, gently winding staircase spirals down a man-made stone mountain. Although a ladder would probably be more efficient, after 4 hours of vertical climbing, it’s a welcome break.
Because Ragnall said, “The Labyrinth is big enough that you won’t run into too many parties below the 2nd level. I’d suggest the 4th level, if you’re just interested in touring.”
Ah, because he’s used to leading high-paying Nobles around the Labyrinth, he knows all the “tourist” spots, huh? So I thought, but it’s all information he’s heard from Adventurers that specialize solely as guides.
The 3rd level, the one that snake dropped us to previously, is a bunch of ruins so difficult to navigate that there are many people who make a living just guiding people through to the further levels.
But, maa, the major paths are clearly marked, so we won’t get lost easily.
“Haa… I don’t know how you two are able to do it. I’m exhausted just coming down the tunnel. Is this why you predicted a full day for moving to the 3rd floor?”
Seimei-san is breathing heavily. Well, yeah, a 2 hour descent, a half hour rest in the shallow cave dug out halfway down, and then another 1 hour descent … normal people would have collapsed of exhaustion from the first 2 hours.
Like his avatar, Seimei-san is only strong in magic attacks, huh?
“Yeah. They’re thinking about putting a wind-platform in to make it easier to use this shortcut, but it will take some time, so we can only climb.”
A wind platform is basically an elevator using wind power. There are some problems with mounting the tracks and platform on the side of the tunnel, so they’re boring a smaller tunnel into the rock just beneath the surface.
If they discarded precision and just smashed through like the Crystal Python, it wouldn’t take a year of construction… aah, well, it’s impossible to expect the force of a creature designed to bore through rocks while chasing their prey in a bunch of construction workers.
The gnome and dwarf mechanics have been enthusiastically working on the project, which is why I heard about it. Maa, to be honest, most of the miners stay in the base-camp in the mines on the 4th floor for months at a time, so this shortcut is more just an extra convenience. It will be nice for running supplies though…
With baggage, the trek to the 4th floor through the original route is 3-4 days. When they can finally use this shortcut, once they get the wind platform built in, it will probably be reduced to 2 days for a supply run.
By the way, I will probably just drop from the 2nd level to the 3rd in the future. I don’t think I will ever be able to ride that wind platform, encased in a rock tube.
I can survive the fall pretty easily, and it would be a good chance to practice various emergency landings.
By no means am I just making excuses because of my claustrophobia…
“The ground really is covered in several centimeters of water. Amazing that the ruins aren’t just eroded away.”
Seimei-san lightly splashes in the shallowly submerged floor of the ruins.
It’s limestone and marble, but it’s enchanted limestone and marble.
Because the floor and toppled buildings are all white, it kind of feels like the ruins of some ancient, advanced civilization, but I’m not sure how “advanced” it is in relation to today’s city construction. Certainly, people don’t build solely in stone anymore, but I feel like the brick and wood houses aren’t lacking in magic technology, at least.
Well, it might just be a lost history, like the pyramids or something.
“I think the Labyrinth itself is maintaining it. I noticed it before, but it’s an eerie space that pulsates in magic…”
I lightly tap the side of a stone column as I say it.
Nngh, it has a really “sticky” feeling. I mean, not physically. It’s slick and cold physically. But with my ability to sense magic … un, it has a really sticky feeling.
Is Ragnall ok with this-?
Is what I thought, but he was fine before and he looks like he’s fine now. Even the Crystal Python’s miasma didn’t affect him too poorly.
The extent of Seimei-san’s magic aura is seriously terrifying. Demon King, aren’t you going to become the Demon King?
I was joking when I asked him that, but he seriously considered it.
Seimei-san, when we get to the hunting spot in these ruins, please relieve your stress all you want …
“… There’s nothing left.”
Ragnall looks mournfully at the splatter on the side of a ruin.
Although we haven’t reached the hunting spot yet, of course there are still monsters around.
Marble Lizards blend in with the ruins and attack out of nowhere. Though, with Ragnall and my magic detection, we can spot them before they attack.
Watching Ragnall mourn the lack of materials to bring back and sell, I have a little pity on him and turn to Seimei-san.
“Ok, Seimei-san, sorry, but I’ll have to ask you to hold back a little…”
“… That was my lowest level spell though…”
Yes, but there isn’t a thing left of the lizard the size of a small car. Although I tried to teach him how to adjust the magic power released in a spell, it looks like Skills brought over from the game in the other world are kind of on auto-pilot. He only needs to yell out the name and perform the maneuvers from the game, and it casts.
How cheat … but how inflexible.
When your weakest spell disintegrates your prey … well…
In the first place, was Dark Magic something that could vaporize things? What is “Dark Magic”, anyway?
Out of the elements, Earth, Air, Water, Fire, Light, and Dark, Light and Dark are things I don’t really understand very well. In a game you can use it without worrying about exactly what it is, but when it’s reality … somehow, not understanding doesn’t feel too good.
“It’s fine Jun, this is part of the job, right…”
I feel like you’re going to cry rivers of blood though, Ragnall… He was probably excited to be taking Seimei-san to a more dangerous hunting spot full of rare monsters, since the prey can be considered a side profit, but if the monsters just go *poof* …
I mentally add, try to train Seimei-san in magic control, to my list of things to do. Although … I might not be the best teacher. Since I have to introduce Lor to him anyway, I’ll let Lor do it.
And if that doesn’t work, I guess I should ask Old man Harulf.
I hadn’t been there myself before, but the hunting grounds Ragnall is leading us to is deep in the heart of the Water Maze.
Technically, it’s an easy path to remember. You just keep taking the stairs downwards.
I’m still relieved that there are markings that direct us there, because the staircases aren’t always right in front of you.
As for why they bothered marking this path, of course it’s because the tough monsters are rare materials and delicacies highly prized by Craftsmen and chefs above ground, but also because there are few guides who desire being in such close quarters with death.
It’s a dangerous place, ne?
This dangerous place is called the Water Corridor.
I remember idly thinking that it was an uninspiring name. Because there’s water on the ground they call the 3rd level the Water Maze, so because there’s water on the ground, they’ll call it a Water Corridor, huh?
“Yeah, so here’s the spot.”
… Ah. The Water Corridor. I see.
Ragnall stood in the entrance of the vast expanse of decorated marble. Over it, wide walkways crossed the skies with stoic pillars that no longer hold the roof overhead. In the center of the room was a hexagonal pavilion with marble pillars stretching to the sky, and a spiral staircase spun upwards in the center of it.
But the sheer majesty of the marble and stonework wasn’t what took our breaths away.
Floating blocks of shimmering water are stretched through the air like the walkways.
Other than the floor, ah, the corridors in this room are made of enchanted water … is what it looks like at first, but the longer I look at it, the more I realize that those blocks feel like they’re more magic than water.
I’m sorry, I don’t really understand the composition either. All I can say is that it’s not water that’s been enchanted, but magic that’s something like water.
But you know, there’s only water-like substance and marble in this hall. To call it a hunting ground…
“Seimei-san and Jun stay here, behind the doorway.”
Cautioning us with one hand, Ragnall throws the body of a Marble Lizard out into the center of the glistening “hallway” in front of us.
A few short seconds passed, then…
A large glistening, fish(?) like monster leapt out of the water-like substance and snatched it up, disappearing with a splash into the water-like substance on the other side.
Although that “water” looks transparent, there’s no sign of the monster other than the ripples it left upon re-entry.
“So yeah, it’s like that. The monsters in this room are known as Mage Hunters. They’re nasty things that love to devour anything with magic and mana. The only place in this room that’s safe is the center, with the stairs.”
Come to think of it, there aren’t even plants growing in this hall.
Seimei-san looks around, interested.
“Are they from another dimension?”
“Um … there are people who think they’re monsters that dwell in magic itself, and can only take shape through this water. By the way, the water is also an expensive and rare ingredient for potions and material refining.”
“Is it because you’ll immediately be attacked if you try to get some?”
“Yes. Though, thanks to that, anytime there’s a slow time for commissions, it’s an easy way to make money. Though I have to be careful not to flood the market.”
“Ragnall-san doesn’t have trouble getting the water?”
Ragnall walks straight out into the corridor.
After 15 seconds, there’s still nothing happening.
“I wonder if I don’t smell tasty or something.”
Ragnall shrugs carelessly.
“Oh, I see…”
Fumu fumu. Yeah, I understand. It’s not like it’s repulsive or anything, but everytime I happen to catch Ragnall in sight when using Magic Sensory, there’s just something wrong. Like, a flicker of static or something that runs through his mana. Although his magic aura seems normal.
I haven’t asked about it yet.
Ragnall gives me a look, like, what’s THAT supposed to mean?
I change the subject.
“So … I guess most of the commissions that are directed to you are for hunting here then.”
“Yeah, although people who enjoy tackling these monsters are rare, and I can’t hunt them myself since they won’t come out for me. I’ve gone fishing before with monster corpses and the like, but the big guys don’t show up for small prey like that.”
“Ragnall. Don’t tell me you’re using Seimei-san as bait.”
“Of course not. Since we’re looking for tough monsters in the first few levels of the Labyrinth, this place is a natural candidate.”
You’re avoiding looking at me, though. Ah, your eyes are swimming!
“Fufufu, it’s fine. It sounds like a lot of fun, to be honest.”
Seimei-san steps up with a grin.
I forgot, he has a lot of stress built up, huh?
Ragnall, I don’t think you’ll be getting a lot of materials off the monsters this time down… It seems like he’s already resigned himself to that.
“Alright, well that central spot with the stairs is a safe zone, so when it gets too bad, run for that and the monsters will disappear.”
“It’s kind of like survival mode in Hunter’s Drive, huh? Aggro everything and the run into the tower when you’re swamped”
“Oh, Jun-kun, you played that MMO too?”
“Masaki dragged me into it.”
“Ah, I see.”
“… Ok then.”
Recently, Ragnall has become quite good at ignoring things Seimei-san and I talk about when it consists of terms he doesn’t understand. It’s a blessing, but sometimes I worry that he’ll call us out on something one of these days.
I wouldn’t be surprised if he suspects us of being from another world.
<A/n: thanks draugor for the donation!
… The cutoff seriously makes this chapter kind of short. I didn’t realize that at the time… >