Chapter 13: Event?
The next morning, Dia and I met up in front of the Labyrinth.
By the way, I’d already finished my pre-exploration shopping.
Now that I had some extra money, I’d just finished getting the necessities and the armaments for the Labyrinth.
My left hand was adorned with a cheap gauntlet, and I had a spare sword in my ‘Item List’.
I also bought Dia a lightweight breastplate as a gift.
At first, he was reluctant to take it, but I stressed that raising his defense was an absolute necessity, so he ended up accepting it.
In other words, both of us had very different ‘Statuses’ than we did the day prior.
“Christ! I asked a priest, and he said I’m level 6! 6!”
“Isn’t that great, Dia? I’m level 6 too.”
Dia was elated that the result of our exploration had begun to take shape.
I focused on him as I watched his smiling face and checked his ‘Status’ and my own.
Name: Kanami Aikawa
HP: 189/197 MP 262/262
STR: 4.12, VIT: 4.21, DEX: 5.11, AGI: 7.24, WIS: 7.23, MAG: 11.43, APT: 7.00
Iron One-handed Sword
Name: Diablo Sith
HP: 98/112, MP: 631/631
STR: 3.62, VIT: 3.43, DEX: 2.14, AGI: 2.98, WIS: 5.67, MAG: 34.35, APT: 5.00
Divine Protection: 1.00
Araith Household’s Treasured Sword
Both Dia and I had leveled up steeply, and all of our stats had nearly doubled.
Incidentally, all my bonus points were allocated to MP to increase my capability of using magic in succession.
Surprisingly, Dia’s STR and VIT growth was good.
This was a relief since he was so specialized in MAG that I suspected that he wouldn’t grow in any other aspects.
If there was one thing I was concerned about, it was the ‘Class’ field.
I had it blank, while Dia had ‘Swordsman’ in his.
Perhaps Dia’s STR and VIT had increased due to the benefit of his class.
If there was a thing such as a class bonus when leveling up, I would have been wasting that class bonus up to level 6.
I needed to solve that problem as soon as possible.
However, I still had no clue on how to fill the ‘Class’ field.
It wasn’t written in the book, and if I asked around about it in the tavern, they would ask me if I was talking about their professions instead.
Dia claimed to be a swordsman, but when asked how he became one, he replied, “You’re a swordsman if you have a sword.” I could see the trend of what kind of people had what kind of class, but I didn’t have a clear picture of the conditions to fulfill.
As I wrinkled my brow and pondered about ‘Class’, Dia, in his excitement, made a suggestion.
“Hey! Since we’re level 6, doesn’t that mean we can dive even deeper than before?! Let’s take our time exploring the depths!”
That sounds good.
Today is my day off, too.”
You’re taking a day off from the tavern?”
“Three days work, one day off.
They said Hihouri days are off days.”
It was, most probably, the equivalent of a weekday in my world.
Well, let’s spend the whole day here and go as far as we can!”
I didn’t disagree with that notion.
I had already devised the plans for us to fight up until the 10th floor.
Originally, anyone of the same level as us would be far below the appropriate level to challenge the 10th floor.
However, the two of us, with our extraordinary growth in abilities and skills, didn’t have that problem.
At level 6, we had reached the parameters of a level 10 adventurer.
I suspected that it had something to do with the value of the Aptitude.
Other than Dia and me, not many people even had 1.00 APT—I had 7.00, and Dia had 5.00.
“All right! Onward, onward, onward!”
Thus, Dia entered the Labyrinth with great enthusiasm.
That day, we would be taking the Main Road, the path that had been conquered by the country, so it would pose no problem if Dia lead the way.
I followed behind Dia as if I were watching over a mischievous little brother or sister.
* * *
“It’s the 3rd floor!”
After an hour or so, we reached the 3rd floor very easily.
I didn’t even feel tired yet, probably due to the increased VIT.
While Dia was happily fussing about reaching the 3rd floor next to me, I didn’t lower my guard in searching for enemies.
To be honest, monsters rarely appear on the Main Road.
This was because the country had set up barriers for humans using the magic stones.
Since I had suffered a painful experience regarding Main Roads before, I had learned about this in detail from the people at the bar.
In the Labyrinth, the shortest distance from the entrance of one floor to the next had been was the Main Road.
In other words, if you followed that path, you could easily reach the next floor.
Incidentally, the Main Road at that time extended up to the 23rd floor.
It was the achievement of one Glenn Walker, who was said to be the strongest human explorer, that the Main Road had been established up to that point.
However, it was said that the Main Road’s continued progress had stagnated in recent years.
The level of the enemies was on a different spectrum from the 20th floor onward, according to what I had heard.
Furthermore, even though they had succeeded in placing the Main Road up to the 23rd floor, not all of the floors had been completely cleared.
It was well known amongst explorers that Glenn, the supposedly ‘Strongest’ explorer, was unable to defeat the boss of the 20th floor and had been putting off defeating it for a long time.
“Dia, we can go even deeper, you know.
From my calculation, we should be able to dive up until the 10th floor.”
“10th floor?! R-really?!”
“We’re just walking down the Main Road, so it shouldn’t be a problem.
We can defeat a monster on each floor to get their general level.”
If that’s what you say, Christ, then I’ll believe you.”
For some reason, Dia’s trust in me was abnormally high.
This was very helpful, so I proceeded with the conversation without paying particular attention to him.
“It’s time for me to lead the way.
Even if we’re on the Main Road, it’s not like enemies don’t show up at all.
In case of an emergency, I have to be a shield for you.”
“—! No, you can still rest, Christ! Now that I’m at level 6, I think it’s time to show you my swordsmanship, so—”
“Okay, up until the 5th floor then.”
“I know I shouldn’t! I know, but I still want to train the… er, what?! I-it’s okay…?”
Just until the 5th floor.”
I had anticipated Dia’s request in advance and had prepared an answer.
When I looked at Dia’s status at level 6, I calculated that he should be able to fight with my support, at least up to the 5th floor.
Dia’s STR was already close to 4.
Unlike when he was at level 1, there shouldn’t be a situation where his attacks wouldn’t connect.
According to the information I obtained at the tavern, I had confirmed that a warrior with STR between 3 and 5 could fight up to the 5th floor.
Besides, having Dia experience melee combat would be advantageous later down the road.
If I thought of it as an investment for the future, it didn’t sound like a bad idea.
“Christ! Thank you!”
“No, I only judged that it won’t pose a problem if it’s only up to the 5th floor, so I don’t really—Wait, don’t cling to me! You’re too close!”
Dia came up to me as if he wanted to hug me, grabbed my hands, and swung them around.
I hurriedly shook his hand off.
Dia had short hair and called himself a man, but his face was of a fair-skinned beauty.
Being that close to him made me pay attention to things I had been trying not to be aware of—more than anything.
—That kind of exchange reminded me of my own little sister.
That was the biggest taboo for me.
Remembering the former world distracted me.
Thinking of my family drove me crazy.
It made me want to plunge headfirst to the 100th floor that instant, hell’s care for eating or drinking.
And that wouldn’t be good.
At that moment, I only needed to proceed with one floor a day.
If I could reach the 100th floor within 365 days, I would be content.
There was no point if I lost my cool and had to activate the ‘???’ Skill or took on a reckless challenge and got seriously injured.
Don’t think too much about your little sister until you get there.
The Aikawa Kanami from the previous world doesn’t need to show up here.
At the very least, not for a year.
All you need to focus on is getting to the deepest depth of the Labyrinth—just the deepest depth and nothing else.
I repeated it in my mind and calmed myself down.
“Ha-ha! Alright! Let’s get off the Main Road for a bit and fight some monsters!”
“Eh, I’m not sure I want to detour… It feels like it will waste our time—”
“But at this rate, we might not meet any enemies until we get to the 5th floor!”
“Hmm… Well, there’s no helping it, then…”
Seeing that it would waste even more time trying to convince the excited Dia, I reluctantly agreed.
Dia stepped off the Main Road and went to look for a monster.
I was right behind him, searching for an enemy with the use of «Dimension».
A few minutes later, I detected one isolated monster.
It was a large fish with wings that swam in the air.
There were many lakes and rivers on the 3rd floor, and aquatic monsters were highly prevalent.
Amongst them, that monster, Skyfish, appeared particularly frequently.
That name alone would have raised a commotion if we’d found it in my previous world.
“Dia, there’s a monster beyond that corner.
It’s called a Skyfish.
Basically, a fish that swims in midair; it can bite, so be careful.”
“Yeah, got that.”
Just having that much information was enough to decide the outcome.
It was no exaggeration to say that most battles were decided by the time either side grasped the information of the other.
I recalled something like that was written in Art-whatever by Sun Tzu and confirmed it through the cheat-like «Dimension» ability.
Dia turned the corner and quickly closed the distance and slashed at the monster.
However, perhaps because he exerted too much force, his first blow was dodged.
The Skyfish moved to bite its sudden assailant; Dia caught it with the flat side of his sword.
It seemed like he could see the movements of the Skyfish without any problem.
I moved on to chanting attack magic, thinking that even if it hurt someone, it wouldn’t be me.
“—Applied Magic, «Ice Quick Arrow».”
* * *
Translator – Mab
Proofreader – ilafy
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* * *
I concentrated and casted the magic to create ice in my hand.
That was an application of «Ice», which was meaningless before because all it did was make a chunk of ice fall.
However, the density of ‘Magic Power’ that I poured in was different from before.
My level was low before, but above all else, my imagination was lacking.
The most important thing was the image, or so I was told by the magicians who dined at the tavern.
When I created the ice, I imagined something with a sharp point—something long like an arrow with an ice arrowhead at the end.
And after a few seconds, an ice arrow was created at the tips of my hands, just as I had imagined.
However, I couldn’t just shoot it like in a video game.
If I did, it wouldn’t be an ‘Ice Quick Arrow’, but just an ‘Ice Arrow’.
The ‘Quick’ part was important.
I picked the ice arrow in my hand and called out to my vanguard.
“Dia! I’m throwing an ice arrow, so take half a step back!”
“Eh…? G-got that!”
Dia pulled himself back a little.
When he did, I threw the ice arrow while using the spatial awareness of «Dimension».
My projectile, then at level 6 with increased STR and DEX, struck the Skyfish with frightening speed and accuracy.
However, the Skyfish was not a monster from the 1st floor but a monster from the 3rd floor.
It noticed the flying ice arrow and twisted around to dodge it.
The ice arrow only grazed the wing of the Skyfish a little.
However, it caused the Skyfish to lose its posture.
Dia, the vanguard, took advantage of the opportunity and drew his sword close in on the Skyfish.
His sword successfully cut the Skyfish in half.
For Dia, whose STR had increased, the Skyfish only needed a single blow to be defeated.
In front of the disappearing enemy, Dia mumbled, and his body trembled.
“I did it… I defeated it…”
He stared between the bisected monster and his sword in disbelief.
Soon after, the Skyfish disappeared completely into the light.
“Yeah… Thanks, Christ.
How do I say it, well… I’m moved.
I’ve always dreamed about this moment since I was a kid.
Slaying a monster with this sword…”
Saying thus, Dia gripped the sword in his hand even tighter.
He must have had some kind of attachment to the sword.
The sword was old and worn, and its ornaments showed that it was more of a work of art.
【Araith Household’s Treasured Sword】
Attack Power: 5
Add attack power equivalent to 20% of the user’s Dexterity
“Then let’s go with this pace and slay more monsters as we go.”
Dia responded with a face cleared of doubts.
I’d rather not have him get a taste of sword fighting too much, but seeing him like this made me happy too.
Thus, our third exploration of the Labyrinth proceeded.
As I had expected, the monsters on the 3rd floor didn’t fall too far below us.
Although it did take some time and effort, they were all monsters that Dia could handle, even as a vanguard.
We cleared the 3rd and 4th floors without any problems and proceeded to the 5th floor—
* * *
We were in the middle of clearing the 5th floor.
“—Watch out! Dia!!”
I quickly intervened in front of Dia and used my sword to catch the monster’s attack.
Dia, who was almost hit by the attack, rushed backward.
After confirming that Dia had moved back to a safe distance, I switched my «Dimension» to «Dimension Gladiator» and slashed at the monster with all my might.
Realizing that Dia could no longer cover me, I turned to the offensive.
I evaded the enemy’s attack with my sword and then aimed at its vital point and struck.
The sword pierced deep into the monster’s vital spot, and it finally turned into light and vanished.
That was close.”
“You saved me… Thanks, Christ…”
Dia looked at me fearfully, expressing his gratitude.
From his position, it might look like I, too, was in danger in his eyes.
“No, it was no problem.
“But because of me, you were in danger too…”
I was about to respond to Dia, but then another voice rang.
“Oi oi! You were just about to die, haha!”
A throaty male voice interrupted our conversation.
Dia reacted to it faster than I did.
Ain’t you that level 1 brat.
I was right.
You were this close to dying facing an enemy beyond you!”
A man carrying a greatsword appeared from the depths of the corridor.
Surrounding him were about three explorers who appeared to be his party members.
I actually wasn’t surprised since I was able to sense them approaching through my magic.
I hadn’t paid them much attention, thinking that people of their levels wouldn’t have a hard time exploring the floor.
This guy, isn’t he… He’s the guy who made fun of Dia for being level 1 back at the tavern.
“Shut up! I wasn’t close to dying! I was only a bit careless!”
“Hahaha, don’t make me laugh! Just a little bit careless? In the Labyrinth? Well, ain’t you a happy, carefree brat—one that could die at the drop of a hat!”
The man was not saying anything wrong, but his words had too many thorns.
It seemed like Dia and the man weren’t on very friendly terms together.
They had been at it with each other for a while, leaving me alone.
Incidentally, I checked the man’s Status—his name was Arken, and I found that he was a level 9 swordsman.
His friends were not so different, and they had nothing noteworthy in terms of talents.
I watched their squabble from the sidelines, confident that I alone could handle their whole party in case a fight broke out.
“You son of a bitch! You want a piece of me?!”
“A piece? Hell naw, I ain’t here for that.
Even if we fought, that’d just be bullying the weak.
This place is close to the Main Road.
A fight between explorers would be discovered in an instant.
We don’t want to get caught yet.”
Arken basically said that a conflict on the Main Road would be found out.
I knew it.
The Main Road had a function like that, too.
“I’m not weak! I won’t lose even if I fight all of you!”
“Oi, oi, you’re the one who’s fanning the flame here… Sorry, but we’re not so free to deal with brats like you two.
We’re in the middle of a quest commissioned by the guild.”
Arken shrugged his shoulders.
Indeed, it was Dia who was picking a fight.
He was quite conceited, even though his abilities were definitely not suited for interpersonal combat.
It seemed like the unwavering belief he had since before was showing in a bad way.
But what bothered me more was the phrase ‘quest commissioned by the guild.’
A community of explorers who had common interests and cooperated with each other.
According to what I knew, there were various types of guilds, ranging from those established by the country to those formed by beginners.
Seeing that Arken’s guild was entrusted with a quest, he must belong to quite a large guild.
A guild’s quest… As a vidya maniac, those words sounded really attractive.
“Don’t think I’m the same as before! What, you running away from me?!”
“Running away…? Now that you’ve said those words, don’t expect me to back down easily… Right.
How about we have just a bit of a race completing my quest?”
Arken’s face contorted as if to say he had an interesting idea.
“A quest race…?”
We’re being asked to slay some troublesome monsters.
You know, the country often requests competent explorers to thin out monsters.”
Competent explorers? Who, you guys?”
“Aw, don’t jump at that.
So, if you’re not so weak as you claim, how about we compete on how many of that monster we kill? Sounds fun and easy to understand, yeah? That should show the clear difference in our abilities too.”
Dia agreed with the condition as is.
I didn’t intervene in that sequence of events.
To be honest, I really thought it would be fresh and fun to see that kind of event happen.
“—So, what do you bet?”
Arken’s face contorted more and more wickedly.
For me, that one word was just unacceptable.
My whole body heated up.
“I bet anything…!”
“We’ll give you anything you want.
But yeah, there’s nothing that we want from you… Usually, we’d bet money on it, but I doubt you even got the money.”
“Kgh…! Right, I don’t have money…!”
“How ‘bout this.
If you lose, I’ll have you make money even if you have to sell your body.
You’re tactless and rude, but at least you got the looks.
If you know where you can sell, I’d bet you could get some pretty sum.
“Fine by me.
Do what you want if I lose.
But if you lose, you’ll have to leave all the money you have; I don’t care even if you wail or apologize or crap.”
That’s a deal.”
I wanted to respect Dia’s wishes as much as possible, but I obviously couldn’t overlook this.
It’d fine and all if he was just betting his pride, dignity, or other intangible stuff, but I wouldn’t tolerate anything that might cause actual harm.
“Dia! …You mustn’t bet anything.
It’s a different ballgame if you do.”
“Aahn? What the hell, man? This is between me and this brat.”
I won’t trouble you with this, Christ.
This is a contest between these guys and me.”
Arken glared at me, looking offended.
While Dia was so lost in his temperament, he couldn’t even see me.
I wouldn’t stop them if all they wanted to do was brawl after the race ended.
So long nobody died, things would stay peaceful.
It would be just some light-hearted event.
However, I couldn’t approve of a match like that.
—Dia is mine.
I would never allow him to be preyed upon by men like Arken.
“…First of all, Dia.
These people came here all prepared to do that quest, you know that? All four of them, all geared up for this one quest.
That’s a huge difference to make.
Above all else, Dia, you fundamentally can’t win against them.
Sure, people have strengths and weaknesses, but they have the experience we are lacking.
Their guild chose those guys as the most qualified for this quest, so it’s a given that they are good at this kind of match.
And yet, you even staked your own body…that is stupid.
I tried to persuade him quickly so that he wouldn’t be taken away from me.
Hearing the severity of the conditions that I brought to his attention, Dia clammed up.
I was relieved he lent an ear to my words without getting agitated.
Perhaps because of his recent achievements killing monsters, he seemed to be unable to ignore my advice.
“And what’s most stupid is that you didn’t even consult me… If you don’t involve me, you won’t even stand a chance to begin with.”
Arken then interrupted in so neatly as though to appeal.
I see your point.
We’re not saying it’s a match one to four; we can go with two against two.
What else do you want to add?”
The man seemed to see that I wanted to compete and suggested two against two.
I, however, denied it.
“No, that’s not what I meant.
I’m saying that we shouldn’t do this kind of match in the first place.
We don’t have any chance of winning.”
“Wha?! Christ, that’s not——!”
When I tried to be humble, Dia tried to argue.
I restrained him with my hand, then I pulled him to me and whispered so that only he could hear.
Don’t tell me you’re going to reveal all of our cards before we start the match? …I’ll be frank, these people aren’t worth it.
Say we won… Next they’ll question how they could lose to some low-leveled nobodies.
Our unique Skills should be kept secret as much as possible.
If this were to trigger some kind of troublesome problem, it’d be too serious even for a joke.”
“But…! I still want to beat these people with everything I got… I want them to get back at them.
That might seem too childish for you, but for me, being acknowledged is more important than anything else…!”
Dia snapped back, albeit in a low voice.
It seems like that was something he could not compromise, even at the cost of his own life.
We should have backed down.
The best thing to do was not to play with their games and get back at them with our own success in life.
However, Dia couldn’t accept it.
With how long I had gotten to know him, I understood how he ticked.
If Dia didn’t get his acknowledgment right there, right then, he wouldn’t be content.
I guess there’s a day like today too.
Let’s do it.”
I was defeated by Dia’s fervor and folded.
It wasn’t that I was smitten by Dia’s face, which really looked like a beautiful girl’s, with his teary eyes looking up at me… I want to think it wasn’t.
I was also under no small amount of stress.
In that case, I just thought that it wouldn’t be a bad idea to showcase our strengths and make Arken and his goons cry like little bitches and create an obligation from Dia at the same time.
“Oi! So how is it?! You gonna tuck your tails and run, or you gonna take it up?!”
Arken yelled, seeming to grow impatient.
I gave Dia a look that told him that it was best to leave it to me.
Dia immediately nodded.
We’ll take it up.”
“If you won’t—wait, you taking it? You look like the clever type, so I didn’t expect that.”
It seemed like Arken was caught off-guard with my answer.
He had been observing me closely.
Above all else, he was the leader of his party in that deadly Labyrinth.
“Now, let’s lay out the rules for the race.”
I smiled and continued our conversation.
At that moment, I caught Arken and his goons gulping.
Then, the match is—”
“The match will be determined simply by the number of kills.
So long as you tell us the characteristics of the monster in question, that will be enough.”
“You sure? That sounds like we’re not giving you any leeway.”
“Ah, do give us some leeway—just one.
Please let us set the time limit of the match.
We want one hour.”
“Oi… Just an hour won’t let either of us defeat even a single one, you know?”
“No, I’m sure you people will have enough time to kill one within an hour, correct? The question is whether we can kill one or not in that time limit.
So, let’s make that the bet.
Time is precious, after all.”
Based on experience and the flow of the conversation, I proposed the most advantageous condition for us.
It was appropriate to assume that one could spend an hour running around looking for a specific kind of monster and defeat it.
They would have information on the distribution of the monsters’ habitat, so they would surely find one.
Then, using the speculation they had—that Dia and I wouldn’t be able to defeat even a single monster, either way, I would make it a short battle.
Even they couldn’t afford to waste time on that mess.
It was hard to think that there was no time limit on the all-important quests commissioned by the guild.
“Aah, you’re right… Yeah, time’s precious.
Fine, let’s go by your proposal.
So, what’s the stake? You seem like the type to be fussy about it.”
Arken seemed wary of me as I presented him my terms casually.
“Before that, though, are you guys really going to pay for it if you lose? I feel like, in this kind of thing, the stronger one can just feign ignorance and assume the match’s all over even if they lost.”
Right, you came from a faraway country called Fania, so you didn’t know, huh? In big countries, if you swear an oath to fight a duel on the Line, it will be recorded in the national record.
It makes it impossible for either party to flee, and if you did, you’d become a major criminal.
We can do it on the Line on the Main Road just fine.”
Arken gave me a clear explanation.
If he knew I was from Fania, he must have noticed that I was a waiter at the tavern.
It was well-known in that tavern that the waiter with burn marks came to this country from Fania to make a fortune and got into trouble.
As I was processing this explanation, I had my doubts regarding this duel and oath system.
Although, I had no interest in pursuing the matter at that time.
Being in the allied nation sure is convenient.
So, for our stakes, let’s see…”
“For our stakes?”
“How about all the money we have at hand? As for what we’re lacking, you can just have us work like what you mentioned earlier.”
What I had to do was is give Dia the best victory he deserved.
So, with a big smile on my face, I suggested that we should put all our chips in.
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