15-10. Phantasmal Labyrinth (2)
Satou's here. It's said that there are three people who have the same face in the world, but looking at the likelihood of those people meeting with each other, I think accidental resemblance is more common.
"U-um, this is, uh"
Lady Karina is flustered to see Lady Liedill who appeared from the opposite side of the Iron Golem.
However, there's something else that has caught my attention.
"H-hey, Master, what should we do?"
I lightly cut off Arisa's worry, pats her shoulder and points at Liedill.
"Y-yes. Shall I do it instead?"
"No, I'm happy with just the thought."
I don't really want to do it but it'd be a mistake to let the children to.
This is something that I must do.
After nodding at Lady Karina who looks uneasy, I step forward in front of her.
A groan came from the golem's wreckage.
Oops, I've got to deal with that one first.
I chantlessly healed the trampled adventurers who were dying and then I made them sleep with mind magic chantlessly too.
After I'm done with the emergency task, I head to Liedill.
"Oh? Perhaps you'd be the one explaining--"
Without waiting until the end, I kick Liedill's stomach, flinging it away at the line of the escort who are standing still behind.
As an insurance, I also use earth magic's [Toss Drill Stone] to skewer it and the escort together.
Seeing my brutality, Liza and Lady Karina are shaken.
The other girls are also shaken with different reactions.
"Don't worry be happy~?"
Only Arisa and Tama are reacting differently.
However, besides the two's, the voices tapered off.
"Uhyaa, so that's what Doppelganger like."
"It dissolves like, slush nodesu."
"Master, requesting provision of information."
I explain to the girls while glancing at the log.
The brief words from Arisa already explained it all though.
"The monster earlier is called Doppelganger, a monster that can steal a part of someone's memory and assume the appearance of a person."
Arisa was deceived at first, but she realized immediately once she appraised her.
In the first place, there's no way that I won't notice Lady Liedill, who has been marked, once she enters the Radar's range.
"You can't let your guard down with people you meet in the labyrinth even if you know them okay?"
The girls cheerfully replied me positively.
The reason why I'm telling the girls that is because judging from the fact that there was no one we met who warned us about the monster and that there is no other Doppelganger inside the labyrinth, that means it was probably prepared by the Dungeon Master who got flustered since some high level adventurers entered the labyrinth.
There's a room fully loaded with water and paralyze traps at the end of one of the long passages from the large room where the Doppelgangers and the Iron Golem appeared.
The Doppelgangers earlier were probably going to lead us there.
Further, there might have been a gentler way to defeat them, but I did what I did since I wanted to defeat them before my companions did.
I don't want to see the girls killing beings that look like people after all.
"Putting your name in your technique's name is really not a good idea."
"It's cool nodesuyo?"
Lady Karina faltered with Arisa's frank advice, Tama and Pochi covered for her.
"Even after you hide your figure, if you shout a technique name like that out loud, you can end up in trouble like just now right?"
Tama and Pochi who heard the explanation were surprised.
Don't tell me, they only noticed it just now?
"Recommending to change the name so I advice."
Nana spoke calmly, Liza hesitated.
As for me, I don't intend to force Lady Karina to correct it since her clumsiness is within my tolerance, but it appears the other girls don't think so.
"Sa-Satou won't tell me to change it too right?"
"Yes, it's fine--"
Lady Karina looks relieved when I affirm her.
"--As long as you stay behind when we're on missions where we need to disguise ourselves that is."
Even though I followed up with a smile, Lady Karina's face looks like she's having a monologue, "I've been betrayed."
"Then, since Karina-sama agrees too--"
Arisa begins to take ideas for the new technique name beside the dispirited Lady Karina.
"The first meetiing~ Karina Kick new technique naame~ Naming conventioon~"
She's using some strange intonation, it must be some kind of reference.
"The safe one would be 『Oppai Kick』 I guess?"
"Arisa, take this seriously. How about 『Jump Kick』?"
"『Inazuma Fall』 is nice so I suggest."
"Mwuu, Swooping Kick Strike."
Liza reproved Arisa for her joking remark, Nana and Mia suggested some acceptable names.
"Hamburg Steak sounds stronger nanodesu. Hamburg Steak Kick is good nodesu!"
--Triggered by Tama and Pochi, the suggestion for the technique names all became of dishes name, so the naming convention came to a close prematurely.
"This is the place where the figurines were found?"
Arisa tilted her head at a shrine-like place inside the labyrinth.
She probably feels the gap between the anime figurine and the place.
"Nope, there's a hidden passage inside that shrine, and that place seems to be at the end of that passage."
The inside of the shrine is decorated with many stone statues.
"Uwaah, the Star Oni Girl Lovely Momo, and there's even Mecha Girl Version of the Space Warrior Random. The guy who created these must be quite an enthusiast."
Arisa voiced her admiration, but I don't know the sources for half of the statues.
I pulled the excited Arisa's hand and we entered the hidden door.
"The fog is thick. Tama, Pochi, be on the lookout."
"Aye aye sir~?"
Tama puts her hands on her ears strengthening her hearing, Pochi closes her eyes and sniffs the surrounding smell.
Before long, we see the shadow of buildings beyond the fog.
This place seems to be a phantom town block filled with gray rocks.
"This looks like a gray rock street doesn't it."
"Yeah, it's like a petrified Akiba."
This place is not that large, yet there are several multi-floor buildings and asphalt-like road carved from gray rocks.
A familiar townscape with unfamiliar signboards--the one who created this real-sized models of the street is probably a reincarnated or a transported person from Japan that resembles mine.
"This upright cabinet is empty inside too."
"That seems to be the case."
Apparently there's nothing of worth here.
"Master, a discovery so I inform."
When I turned toward Lulu and Nana, I saw half-petrified manga books on the ground.
Many badly made figurines are piled up beside them.
It looks like they're transformed into stone from material build-up.
Arisa pointed at a scribble-like brush writing.
"『I want to go home』 huh--"
The scribble is hard to read, but that's certainly what's written in Katakana.
We didn't find a gate that connects to our world, but it's certain that a reincarnated or perhaps a teleported person had come here.
Perhaps, the demon lord in this labyrinth created weapons using the same mean.
"That reminds me, is the real Kukkorosan in the labyrinth?"
"Yes, it seems they're exploring in the middle layer."
They were already there when we entered the labyrinth.
They must have gone into the labyrinth not long after their intrusion incident yesterday.
Lady Liedill's stamina gauge has decreased more than half, it seems they're forcing themselves.
Lady Liedill's state on the map has changed to [Panic].
When I peer the room where she is with space magic [Remote View]--.
"They are in serious trouble somehow."
The scene and sound projected by Remote View magic in mind is just like pandemonium from a disaster film.
『U-uwah, there's something inside the slime.』
『Ma-magician-dono? Where are you Magician-dono!』
『Th-there's snakes inside the slime!』
『Liedill-sama, please escape alone!』
『I will not abandon you guys.』
Lady Liedill and her party are sinking into a sea of slime inside a room that's similar to the room we were going to be entrapped earlier.
Furthermore, there are tentacle-shaped monsters called [Slime Leech] that are in symbiosis with the slimes, they appear to coil around their enemies and pull them into the symbiotic slime to suffocate them to death.
Defeating the slimes is easy by using ranged attack, but unlike in the game, their bodies won't disappear even after they've died so it won't really help the situation.
It's as it were flooding by slimes.
Im addition, the slimes are called Lake Slimes, they seem to be of a different species than the common slime.
『This level of slimes, I'll just burn them down!』
『Fool! We're in underground here!』
『Suffocating to death would be better than getting eaten like this!』
This is bad.... The desperate magician has begun to chant an advanced fire magic spell.
If she used that in such a closed room, every one of them wouldn't come out of it with just major burn.
『Don't give up! We are not warriors that will fall behind this degree of enemies!』
Lady Liedill's clear voice remonstrates her companions who are consumed by despair.
Lady Liedill fills her two-handed magic sword with magic power, the red light shines on her companions.
『True Temple Knights are--』
And then, the Slime Leechs twine on her legs while her expression is still serious and pulls her into the Lake Slime in an instant.
I don't know how to react since it was too embarrassing.
『Revenge for Liedill-sama!』
The magician fires the advanced magic and shouts while crying bitter tears.
No no, she's not dead yet.
I put Lady Liedill and her companions I pulled here using space magic on the floor.
This is one of the room at the end of a passage from the place where we defeated the Doppelgangers earlier.
It's not the trap room one of course.
Just as Arisa said, on top of their disheveled armor and clothing, they're covered in slimy liquid, so they look like inhabitants of the 18+ world.
The slimy liquid is the remain of the slime which had undergone change after getting burned by the fire magic.
I entrust Lulu and the others to care for Lady Liedill and the female magician, while I recover the burly men with healing magic and life magic in a pack.
Half of them were charred by the advanced fire spell, but they all barely made it thanks to their levels, resistances, equipment and support magic.
I recovered the people who were drowned in the slime with my original magic [Lifesaving: Respiration].
I also have a magic to shock the heart [Lifesaving: AED] though there's no opportunity to use it now.
"T-this place is--"
"Have you awaken?"
Lady Liedill who woke up first muttered with hoarse voice.
Lulu and the others have fixed up their clothing as much as possible.
They'll get undone if they move too much, so I probably have to warn the careless Lady Liedill.
"--Did I survive."
Lady Liedill stares at the finger in front of her face, gets half of her body up painfully and looks around.
Her body seems weak, so I support her back.
"Good, everyone is alright..."
After putting her companions into her view, she breathed a sigh of relief.
I offer Lady Liedill whose voice is hoarse a cup of water.
"Ah, thank you--"
Our eyes meet as Lady Liedill inclines the cup.
Her relaxed expression changed in an instant, her eyes opening wide.
While gushing water out of her mouth, Lady Liedill stepped back vigorously enough to use Flickering Movement.
As promised, her armor and clothes which were only fixed as needed couldn't endure the inertia and scattered away.
She covered her thin breasts in a hurry.
I hand over a cloth I took from the storage bag to Tama who was watching on the sideline.
"I'll leave it to you."
Tama used Flickering Movement while crouching, moving next to Lady Liedill.
Is she mimicking Lady Liedill's movement earlier?
After I've made sure that she's finished wearing the cloth, I step forward while being careful not to alert her.
"It was really surprising. Just when were taking a break in this room, Liedill-sama and her companions appeared out of thin air."
"--Appeared out of thin air?"
Hearing my fabricated story supported by Deception skill, Lady Liedill's raised her eyebrows as if she couldn't believe it.
"Yes, you must have an excellent space magician."
"N-no, none of my subordinates can use space magic."
"Then it was a Weasel Empire's magic device for emergency escape wasn't it. Giving such an important item like that, His Majesty the Emperor must really cherish the Temple Knights."
I forcefully steered the talk to a good story type.
We're in the upper layer, so normally one wouldn't think that the we saved them who were in the middle layer.
"Then please excuse us. The exit is nearby, but please be careful."
"Ah, you too be careful. There's something different about this labyrinth--"
Lady Liedill leads her companions who have woken up toward the exit.
"Satou, if you're interested in Temple Knights--No, you're an authority of Shiga Kingdom aren't you. Our gratitude for the support and treatment earlier. We will properly thank you later."
Lady Liedill tried to invite me, but she changed her mind and stopped in the way.
Her gaze feels like they've softened up somewhat, is it just my imagination I wonder.
"Wait now~ stop raising flags here and there please."
"You're right, I'll be careful."
I lightly waived off Arisa and Mia's complaint, and we went back to the labyrinth exploration.
Our destination today is the hero's relay base.
While watching the girls' peerlessness, I think hard about what kind of Japanese sweets should I serve to commemorate our reunion with the hero.