"Thank you for taking care of me today."
I greet the daughter of Baron Muno in front of the explorer guild.
She splashed her luxurious golden-colored hair to the back, slanting her body while looking displeased.
Even if I'm referred by Satou-san, it must be unpleasant when an outsider suddenly takes part after all.
"It's nothing. Just don't become a drag."
"Tsuntsun is no good nanodesu."
"Zena-sama is a master of wind magic. She will not be a hindrance."
Karina-sama criticized me with some harsh words, but she begrudgingly accepted my participation with Liza and the others' mediation.
My chest feels slightly fuzzy when I see Karina-sama who's reddened as Satou-san whispers something on her ear.
"It's a Maze Moth nanodesu!"
The two featherkin infants shoot their light crossbow toward the direction Pochi and Tama, who are acting as the vanguard, point at.
The Maze Moth got hit with the two arrows and fell to the ground.
Their aim is as good as Lilio even though they're so small.
They must have undergone strict training ever since they're aware of oneself, no doubt.
We have only fought weak ones like maze moths and goblins during the journey so far since other explorers worked hard (to cull monsters).
Gina-sama of [Moonlight] has said to me that there are only a few monsters in the main corridors that connect between areas.
"Be careful, we're going to arrive at our objective Area 19 soon."
Everyone including me nods at Satou-san's warning.
We go through the crevice of a row of rocks that block the main corridor.
Tama who's going first says, "Trap", and then she goes to a corner of the corridor with careful steps.
"As expected of Tama nanodesu!"
To cancel it just by rustling a bit in the shadow like that.
"Monsters are coming from the front nodesu."
"It's a needle caterpillar (Needle Crawler). They can shoot needles that can paralyze you, so don't let it hit you okay."
"It's alright if they don't hit you nanodesu!"
Despite the Needle Crawler's dull-looking appearance, it's coming to us faster than a running man.
"Zena-san, please put up defensive magic."
Oh no. I should've chanted it before Satou-san urged me.
I began to chant [<<Wind Protection>>] wind magic in panic.
However, the Needle Crawler that's approaching faster than the magic taking shape, stops, then it spreads its body and readies itself to shoot.
--I won't make it.
But, I can't stop the chant.
I'll stop a few of them at least!
"Caterpillar! Shooting needles, acting like you're an archer, how ridiculous so I mock!"
Nana-san who held a great shield came to the front and provoked it.
Countless needles shot by the Needle Crawler rush toward her. I feel chill down my spine as the rapier-sized needles fly one by one.
The dying figure of Nana-san who has been pierced with countless needless along with her great shield.
--such hallucination did not happen fortunately.
Her great shield which is made from material I've never seen before bounces the hitting needles while leaving heavy sounds.
Pochi and Tama skillfully intercept some needles which have missed her great shield.
The [<<Wind Protection>>] magic that has finally been invoked block the second volley of the needles.
"This monster is a bit dangerous huh. Sorry but let's not use this monster for the [Power-leveling]. Take care of it with Nana's magic before it approaches if you find one."
One term that I don't understand is mixed among Satou-san's talk.
However, I think this isn't the time to have a chat.
"Pochi, Tama, let's destroy it. Follow me."
"Don't worry be happy sir~?"
Liza and the others rush toward the space where the third round of needles are flying.
They're too reckless no matter how you see it.
Karina-sama told them to halt, but Liza and the others aren't stopping.
But, I've misunderstood.
Karina-sama joins the battlefield where the needles are flying around.
With her golden-colored hair fluttering from her helmet, her beautiful limbs dance in the air as if she's the incarnation of beauty itself.
Satou-san stopped me who was lured and had made a step forward.
"It's dangerous. Those four should be able to handle it."
Just as he's said, Liza and the two others handily beat the monster.
Not only Liza's spear, Pochi's and Tama's weapons also shined red light, so they must be magic swords.
Karina-sama swings the Heavy Hammer she's shouldering, knocking the entire body of the monster to the ground.
A whip-like tentacle sprouting from the Needle Crawler's head is going toward Karina-sama.
However, a small shield that appears before her blocks the tentacle even though it's cracked because of it.
Is that magic?
Or a magic tool?
Satou-san who has noticed my line of sight calls out to me.
"Karina-sama is fine since he has the protection of the Magic Creature Raka."
It seems the decorations on her neck and limbs are Intelligent Item.
To have a family heirloom that only appears in fairy-tale like that, as expected of a territory-holder lord.
--She's rich on top of being that beautiful, it's really enviable.
"....■■ Air Blast"
My magic intercepts the Armor Moth who was rushing here.
Slightly later, the featherkin infants shoot their light crossbows.
Liza's spear and Nana-san's great sword cut its armor, Pochi and Tama's stone-throwing create holes on its wing.
Karina-sama and her two female soldiers take turn to hit it once, and lastly the three beastkin girls finish the battle.
Even though my magic and the girls' attack were repelled by its armor, Liza, Nana-san and the others easily cut through it.
I think this is the difference between us and Mithril Explorers.
One needs that much strength in order to stand by Satou-san's side....
I feel uneasy about my remaining magic power after doing so many battles, but it should have run out faster if not for the wand I've received from Kuro-san.
Although I feel dizzy after overusing my magic, I won't be able to catch up to Satou-san and the others if I rest.
I will fight with the Magic Short Sword I've received together with this long wand if I run out of magic power.
"Are you tired?"
I muster up a bravado as to not worry Satou-san.
"You would collapse if you overexert yourself you know. Go ahead and refresh yourself with this."
I receive the small bottle that he's presented to me worryingly, and drink down the citrus flavored liquid.
I feel that magic power wells up from within my body, subsiding the dizziness.
--Don't tell me it was a magic power recovery potion?
My question was quickly affirmed, but the magic potions that I know are hard to drink with strong grass flavor.
Moreover, even though it should be several silver coins worth even for one, he said, "I have a lot", and gave me more bottles.
"Recovering magic power with meditation will use up the time, so please drink it freely."
Although he said that, I don't think I can drink these expensive magic potions so readily.
Even in territorial army, it's a valuable item that's supplied to me only one bottle for emergency...
--I feel like it'll make my sense of value go haywire.
I wonder how many monsters we've defeated.
I understand why the eyes of the two Karina-sama's guards looked like a dead fish's when they were entering the labyrinth.
They've been repeating this absurd ways of fight day after day.
The two guards expressed their poor physical condition right after the featherkin infants, so we're taking a break in a small room called Safety Zone, guided by Satou-san.
Come to think of it, Satou-san has been guiding our journey so far, but I've never seen him use luminance stones to check the course, nor did he check map even once.
I wonder if he has memorized all of the routes?
Satou-san has never pulled the mithril sword on his waist so far.
He must be in charge of direction and mapping.
I receive the honey cake that Pochi presents and put it into my mouth.
It's sweet enough to be too sweet, but right now, this sweet spreads out deliciously.
....Looks like I had gone to sleep before I knew it.
I was laid on a carpet with tender felt that had been put on the ground.
When I look up, I see Pochi and Tama silently playing signal-like game with their hands.
"Have you woken up?"
I receive the tureen and a spoon that Satou-san, who says "You're hungry right?", presents me.
The tureen is warm with appetizing steam rising.
I see a hot pot that's being heated on fire behind Satou-san.
It looks like he's cooking inside the labyrinth. The people of [Moonlight] have taught me that it's an act that must not be conducted since it'll gather monsters.
"It's alright since this is a safety zone."
As if reading my worry, Satou-san informs me with his usual calm tone like he's whispering.
When I'm with him, I feel like I'm hallucinating we are in the middle of the city.
The thick vegetable stew that I have is more delicious than any other dish I've ever had.
That's why, I involuntarily asked for a second helping.
--To be that much delicious is unfair.
My body feels light thanks to the light sleep.
I have a feeling that my magic power has increased somewhat.
We continue the same kind of series of battles after the break, but we are now able to reliably defeat the enemies since everyone has grasped their role.
That appeared from the Gushing Hole as if to prick such carelessness.
Its very long body looks like a tower when it stands up, sharp claws on the tip of its countless legs are shaped like swords.
And, its crab-like pincers on the sides of its head are emitting fiendish red light.
That pincer swings down toward me who's frozen over the centipede's gigantic body.
We are currently fighting nearly 10 powerful monsters.
There's no one that can prevent that fiendish blade--
Even though I know it's futile, I holds my long wand up to block the swinging-down pincer. Another enemy would skewer me if I were to avoid to the side.
--Just before the pincer bisects the wand in two, a black tornado cuts in.
After kicking away the swinging right-pincer, Satou-san who had appeared out of nowhere brought me to a safe location.
"It's alright now."
Satou-san smiles refreshingly as if to make me feel relieved.
He still looks relaxed even though he's just saved me from danger. Nimbly so, like he always is.
"Insolent fool who tried to put their hands on Zena-sama."
The left pincer which pursued us is warded by a red spear, making it pierce the ground instead.
Liza holds the red spear in one hand, and uses her other hand to push the left pincer into the ground.
That hand seemingly glow red.
"A mere centipede trying to fight Master and Zena-sama, you're a hundred years too early."
The moment after Liza's words, the left pincer is destroyed with a boom sound.
Was that magic just now?
"Liza, I leave the rest to you."
Liza's spear which is clad in red light emits even stronger red light--is that Magic Edge?
I wonder if her secret skill is [Magic Edge]?
She pulls back the spear to the limit, and then thrusts it toward the centipede in one go.
It's not a distance that a spear can reach no matter how long it is.
A lump of red light flies from the tip of the spear like a cannonball, hitting the centipede's head.
When the light disappear, the figure of the centipede with a large hole on its head remains.
Is that perhaps, the shooting [Magic Edge] technique that appears in the hero story I've read in my childhood.
I thought that was just a creation, I've never thought it actually exists.
However, there was no leeway for me to be perturbed from that miscellaneous matter.
The centipede that had lost its head split on its joints, and came attacking like different creatures.
"Magic Edge Cannon nanodesu!"
"Majin Cannon~, How many~?"
Blasting with carefree voices, Pochi and Tama wreck the BlockPedes with countless red light bullets they shoot from their locations.
--Am I watching a dream I wonder.
I forget to support them with wind magic, as I can only watch the spectacle, dumbfounded.
I was shocked when I checked my growth in the explorer guild.
My level has increased from 17 to 24 in just one day.
It's said that growths are fast in the labyrinth, but this is just too fast no matter how you look at it.
It shouldn't be strange for Liza and the two others who were powerless to turn into superior explorers in just several months.
Probably, Satou-san's guidances and commands are amazing.
Except in that one Gushing Hole case, I never felt that my life was in danger even after we did such continuous battles.
When I was in the labyrinth with everyone from the Selected Corps, I felt that every battle had my life on the line even though we only fought minor enemies.
We need knowledge and experience to cover this difference.
I will ask if I can enter the Training School that Satou-san manages next time.
During the labyrinth exploration, I tried to converse with Karina-sama many times, but she only ever replied with, "Yes", or "You're right" short.
Once, we had a conversation that continued on for a bit with Satou-san as the topic, but her guards poked fun at her, getting it interrupted.
Even though she looks like a gaudy beauty, she seems to be surprisingly pure.
I think that I want to become friend with her for sure.
During that labyrinth exploration, I remember sympathizing with her who earnestly wished nothing but getting stronger, without complaining even once.
She might be my rival in love, but someday I want to have an all-night talk about Satou-san, accompanied with drink, with her.
And then, someday, together the two of us will arrive at the height where Satou-san and the others are!