10-7. Labyrinth Exploration
Satou's here. The labyrinth from the classic masterpiece, the one that has been made into its own game genre, seems to impress people. Although, in the other world, it has stronger implication as an American dream than a romance.
"Uwah, this time it's stairs huh..."
"Arisa, maybe it's good for you to start weight training or jogging to build up your physical strength."
I lightly push the back of Arisa who looks like she's about to cry, and advance on the stair.
There's a broad stair beyond the labyrinth entrance. It's not a normal or spiral stair, but a meandering one. The stair probably has been installed on this place with its broad winding slanted path and high ceiling.
There are crenels along the stairway rails on fixed intervals for shooting arrows below.
They're most likely used to cope with monsters invasions. There is a barbette on the center of every stair step, enshrining artillery wrapped in a cloth. Two soldiers are standing by on each barbette.
They seem to be free as they're playing a board game similar to Shogi. It's probably better than drinking liquor or dozing off. The soldiers aren't human but beastkin such as wolfkin who look strong.
Since I'm free while we're descending the stair, I try to use All Map Exploration for a bit.
Even compared to the withered labyrinth of the duchy capital, it's unbelievably wide.
Even only three areas of this labyrinth can completely swallow the entirety of Seryuu city's demon labyrinth.
The search only ranges to [Labyrinth of Selbira: Upper Stratum], yet it's likely that there are hundreds of areas. Just like the demon labyrinth and the duchy capital labyrinth, the labyrinth has lower stratum that extends underground, there must be at least twice the areas more.
In one area, there are roughly 100 corridors and rooms connected three dimensionally. There are also an area where there is only one room, or one that contains 1000 small rooms only among those areas.
And then, despite such vastness, there are 30 areas which have explorers within. Most of them are in the first area and the seven areas that adjoin it. In the underground, there are around 2000 explorers, 500 soldiers, 300 baggage carriers, and 400 lost thieves. There are also several dozens other people beside those.
Arisa and Lulu have become tired along the way on the stair, so Liza and I carry them. Lulu who's burying her embarrassed face on my back is ticklish. Leaving Lulu aside, I think it's better for Arisa to train her physical strength.
There are many people in the first room of the first area. This room is bright since there are lighting from magic tools-like things that have sprouted on the wall. As for its size, I wonder if it's easier to understand if I say that it's about the size of three standard gymnasiums connected?
All of the soldiers beside the ones on the stairs are here in this room. About 90% of the soldiers are doing practice swings commanded by senior-like person on one section that's on lower elevation. It's not just soldiers as there are also magic soldiers like Zena-san among them, but there are few of them compared to Seryuu city.
However, the [Red Ice] people earlier should have reported about the monsters outbreak, yet they're so carefree. Maybe something like monsters outbreak is just a daily happening huh.
There are also stallholders beside them. I'm amazed that they're doing business in this place.
Most of them are food stalls, grinders, equipment repairmen, or general stores, but there are also some interesting ones.
"The noble-sama over there, would you like to touch someone who bears the 『Item Box』 gen before you level up? One touch is one silver coin, but if you're lucky the 『Item Box』 may dwell in your slaves or subordinates you know?"
That seems interesting, but every one of us has already touched Arisa who has [Item Box] herself, so it's meaningless.
"Noble-sama do you carry enough food and water? It's one copper coin a meal. How about it?"
"Noble-sama, do you have the map? We're selling the first area map for one silver coin."
They promoted it as such, but I declined since I wasn't interested. I was slightly interested with the take-away food, but since its ingredients were unknown, I passed on it.
In this room, there are three big corridors that are five meters wide each. There aren't just big corridors, small ones also exist. There are more than 10 of them, but none connects to other area. There are armed staffs of explorer guild before the door that leads to the interior of the main big corridor. There's a spiral stair that leads underground in that interior, and it continues to outside of the map search range. Let's invade it alone next time.
We're walking to the big door that leads to the [Area 1-4] that Jeje of the [Red Ice] earlier has mentioned. The soldiers who had made military encampment by piling sandbags in front of that door also warned us not to get close to area 1-4 since there was a rumor about ants outbreak there.
"It's alright. We're only going to see things today, we're going back after going around the first area."
"Ah, that's fine then."
I tell so to the soldier who's giving us warning, and go through the door that Liza and the others have opened.
When we're advancing through the big corridor, leaving the big door behind, Liza verifies our formation.
"Master, what should we do about the formation?"
"When we're moving, the center is Lulu with Mia and Arisa on her sides, the advance guards are Nana and Tama, the rear guards are Liza and Pochi."
With this formation, we'll be fine even if we get attacked from the front and the rear.
Moreover, they should be able to fight without me, and it might be better if I don't act too overprotective and let them grow up.
"Mia, use 『Bubble Searcher』 magic, and confirm the frontward okay."
Mia replies Arisa's request in short, and invokes a magic. It seems that they always use this magic first and foremost in the Spriggan training grounds to search for enemies.
This magic produces around 30 bubbles that float in the air. They're brittle as they will break if you just touch it, but you can feel the things around it like feelers. The detection range is only about 30 centimeters from the bubbles, but the bubbles can be separated several hundreds meters away from the user. Moreover, the effect lasts for about 2 hours if the bubble doesn't break, so it's quite useful for exploring labyrinths.
However, its weakness is that the magic will be canceled if the user uses other magic.
"Should I use lighting magic? I don't have light magic skill, but I can do at least that much you know?"
"No, there's no problem even though it's dim, so it's alright."
There are dim lighting equipments on one side of the corridor that illuminate only from knee-high to the ground. That's probably the Sign Monument. Just like what I've heard, its color changes from white to blue when we're approaching.
Moreover, Pochi and Tama can detect monsters and traps, while Mia's search bubbles can detect things that approach from outside their ranges. There are small passageways and cavities and shelters indistinguishable with the former piled with spiderwebs and dust on the corridor's wall that appear at fixed intervals.
"I hear sounds of battle from beyond the path nodesu."
"Nn, a battle."
Pochi and Tama noticed the battle ahead, and slightly later, Mia's bubbles seemed to have caught on the battle between six demi-goblins and five explorers 300 meters ahead.
There are air holes on the ceiling of the labyrinth corridors that constantly emit low-pitched noise, as the consequent, it's difficult to sense presences from faraway sounds. In fact, even Pochi and Tama seemed to be slower than usual to notice it.
The explorers and the goblins seem to be in a small corridor branched from the big corridor we are in. They're not too far away from the big corridor. They seem to have noticed us approaching, one of the explorer raises his voice to warn us.
"These goblins are ours. You go over there."
I don't want to distract them too much, so I answer shortly.
It seems to be quite the melee battle as the explorers are hurt equally, even though they're only up against level 1-2 goblins. These explorers are around level 3, so they're probably newbies. Like I've thought, they're all warriors. Explorers that have magic skills are only around 5% of the whole, so they're probably scarce.
There are hardly any monsters in this first area we're in, maybe because there are too many explorers.
There are some corridors where monsters are moving within, but it seems they're not connected to where the explorers are, so we never meet it. After observing it for a while, battles begin in a faraway corridor that's connected with that corridor by the tunnel.
I see, so monsters POP up with this mechanism.
Fly-type monsters came out of the small tunnels around the ceiling. There are three of them. Every one of them is level 3.
"You insects! So I declare."
Responding to Nana's provocation, the flies made nose dive attacks.
Even though this was a commemorative first battle, it's over before Arisa took off the cloth wrapped on her wand. It was settled with Pochi's and Tama's stone throwing, and Liza's spear attack.
"Uu~, the enemies are too weak~"
I comfort the vexed Arisa by slightly roughly patting her head. I praise Pochi and Tama who are wagging their tails, and Liza who looks like it's obvious yet also slightly triumphant.
After one hour, we're getting close to the big junction that connects to [Area 1-4]. We've gathered nine magic cores while passing through several rooms and junctions to here. Since one person should need five magic cores to raise their rank, it will be for two people's shares one more.
We've only encountered fly-type monsters like the ones from the beginning. We also came across normal rats, insects and bats that weren't monsters, but since they wouldn't give much EXP, we left them alone.
A lot of monsters are reflected on the radar at last.
Around 300 ant-type monsters, and 12 people from three explorer parties and baggage carriers are coming to where we are.