18-34. A Boy in Labyrinth City (8)
"Beginner Course is now starting!"
The instructor shouted at the crowd of rookie explorers.
There's about a hundred boys and girls in the open space here.
"We'll start with indispensable goods! Do you know what are they?"
At this question, the rookie explorers began speaking up, 'Weapons!', 'Smoke bombs!', 'Flash bombs!', 'Carving knife!' and so on.
Smoke bombs and flash bombs... Oh right, my little sister told me to make sure to get those first thing first.
Looks like I've gotten careless since I got here.
"Well yeah those are important, but there's an even crucial object!"
The instructor made a 'quiet down' gesture and waited for the silence.
"And that is water! You must make sure to bring a water flask with you! You can find spots where you can draw water in the labyrinth, so make sure you memorize the map of your destination first. Humans can survive without eating, but not drinking water is a death wish!"
Someone protested, 'You'll die if you don't eat too!'
Dying of starvation is not unusual for mountain village dwellers during poor harvest seasons after all.
"My bad, I mean in a matter of degree. You can keep moving for four to five days without eating, but you won't last that long without water."
Afterward, the instructor taught us point of notes about flasks.
"You must wash your flask upon coming home! Dirty flasks are a source of illness! Forget about fighting when you're coming down with a stomachache!"
It's the same thing my little sister mentioned.
She would always tell me to keep my surroundings clean as much as I could.
"I heard some high level explorers even have magic tools that produces water by pouring mana."
The knowledgeable Zaki sitting nearby whispered to me.
Water is relatively heavy, must be why they came up with such magic tools.
"Also, don't forget to bring a torch or a lantern!"
"Eeh, it's bright anyway near the sign monuments."
A rookie explorer with experience in the labyrinth rebutted right away.
"Do not be misled thinking you're always gonna find a sign monument around! Besides, even in sign monument areas, places where lights do not reach always exist! Monsters that lurk in the dark like Shadow Goblins are not uncommon. Always check the surroundings by bringing lights to darkness! There is no such thing as being too careful! In fact that's exactly the crossroad splitting explorers who survive and those who don't!"
I recalled the first time we got in the labyrinth as I listened.
There were lots of dark shadowed places for sure. Cracks in the walls, darkness behind pillars and under wreckage, lots.
If a monster were to lurk in there and ambushed us, someone would probably get hurt.
"Lanterns break easily when you roughhouse them, so you newbies should bring a torch instead. Torches double as a weapon and they also work well against slimes!"
"Eh, slimes are just small fry anyway!"
"You ever fought a slime?"
The protesting explorer shook their head at this.
"Don't liken labyrinth slimes to the harmless slimes cleaning the town waterways and garbage. Defeating them with weapons is a hard task in itself and if they manage to latch on you, the toxin they secrete will send you straight to a world of pain."
I get it. Even at our village, we got constantly warned about slimes when trekking mountains.
Leeches are bad, but slimes are even worse. Tales of a rookie hunter going alone into the mountains getting eaten by slimes is traditionally narrated to children before heading into mountains.
"Don't sit on labyrinth floors even when you're tired. Depending on locations, some bloodsucking insects would crawl out of the stone pavements to suck your blood. If you do get bitten, shake them off using a fire right away. If you leave them alone, they're gonna penetrate through your flesh and bury themselves in your body."
Uwaah, an image of that flashed in my head.
Labyrinths sound like a much more dangerous place than I thought.
"Get a piece of leather to wrap around your butt and waist if you can afford it. Some of those insects may crawl around the leather, stand up right away if you feel something amiss around your butt."
The instructor laughed after he said that.
According to him, we should use rocks or our luggage as a chair replacement for now.
He continued on.
Every single thing taught is useful for us beginner explorers, it feels like we're truly lucky to have them handed out to us like this.
Just as Luram and the knights recommended, this course really is a necessity.
There's still days of lessons left yet even the first day alone feels like it's worth a thousand gold coins.
--Nii-san, knowledge is power.
My little sister is right.
The readiness to challenge the labyrinth between knowing and not knowing is completely different.
According to the instructor, this beginner course was started by Sir Pendragon around seven years ago, the mortality rate of rookie explorers saw a huge decrease once it was introduced. Apparently the rate was more than ten times of today back then.
"We're taking a lunch break! The food is free of charge, one portion per person! Those who try to line up again and eat someone else's portion are gonna get kicked out, you've been warned!"
Participating explorers ran off at once afterward.
Zaki and the ratkin Neze we just got acquainted with ran out too. The big dogkin, Tegu moved calmly and slowly but since he's got a huge stride, he's keeping up with their pace.
"Let's go, Sharon."
Called by the quiet Rasa, I too stood up.
Then I realized the girl sitting next to me unmoving.
"Lachesis, let's go together."
"I will catch up later. I'm not good with crowds."
"It's gonna be fine, you'll be with us."
I grabbed Lachesis' hand and went after Rasa.
I got to know this girl just a bit earlier too, but I can't leave her alone since she reminds me of my little sister.
Lachesis really is not good with crowd, she'd dramatically look afraid and cling to my arm whenever someone almost bumped into her. She doesn't seem to be fine with me as well, she'd start panicking when she realized what she did.
"Next one please."
Oops, it's our turn.
A long black haired onee-san poured soup on a bowl I submitted.
The same onee-san who tends the food bank. I thanked her and took the bowl with me.
The menu is a hearty bowl of soup and one big piece of bread.
The bread seems to have been freshly baked, it smells nice of wheat.
I went back to my chair and had lunch together with everyone.
Lachesis seemed to be hungry as well, she started chomping down once she took a seat.
"This is really good. Might be even better than some random restaurants."
Seemingly taken a liking to it, she broke into a smile.
"But of course. Unlike the food bank, the lunch for Beginner Course is the true recipe concocted by the [Miracle Chef] himself."
A boy in a noble-like attire sitting nearby smugly said that.
He kinda looks like that plump knight Luram-san. Maybe his little brother.
I spooned the soup too while replying half-heartedly.
Unlike the lightly flavored food bank one, this one is really good.
"Rumors going around, there are even some troublesome bunch who slip into this course just to have this meal."
Good grief, what a deplorable bunch, thus spoke the noble boy.
"Young master, it's gonna get cold if you don't eat it."
The noble boy hurriedly resumed his meal after a rustic looking boy reminded him.
"Phew, that was really good. Getting used to this gonna inflate my dinner cost."
Zaki spoke contently as he put his emptied bowl into his bag.
Since we get lunches during the course, we only have to pay for dinner every day, but we also can't get to work during the day thus we're gradually losing cash on hands. Gotta spend less for a while.
"But the lesson is important."
"Hmm yup, it is."
"There really were signs before we got raided by Lost Bandits, it's now clear to me after this lesson."
I agreed with Zaki while recalling that moment.
"Eh? You guys got raided by Lost Bandits?"
"I-I'm amazed you made it out alive."
Neze and Lachesis sounded surprised, Tegu was amazed slowly.
"Someone saved us."
"We'd have died a moment too late there."
We talked about how Gerritz-sama's group saved us.
"Oh! You were the group anii-sama and the others saved then!"
The noble buy butted in.
"I'm Luram-niisama's kid brother, Rojim. And this here is my servitor, Sagu. Despite his plain face he's capable of scouting and even Livelihood magic!"
"Young master, you don't need to put [Plain Face] there."
As expected of Luram-san's kid brother, he even got a mage as his, servitor?
"That's incredible. This would the second time I came across a mage."
The only mage who would visit my village is Talbec-san.
No one in our village can cast magic. Not even the old apothecary lady.
"Gather round! We're starting afternoon class!"
I was gonna ask Sagu-san to show us his magic, but class resumed.
I'm feeling super sleepy from full stomach, but I gotta give my all to attend the class.
<TLN: Catch the latest updates and edits at Sousetsuka .com >
The second day of Beginner Course is a practice session with wooden swords and spears.
I moved my body around as a warm-up.
"R-radio calisthenics? There really are a lots of crossover from my old world here, aren't there."
Lachesis whispered something.
I couldn't her well since it was noisy around.
"Alright, start with practice swinging! Your instructors will correct your posture, so take it seriously!"
The instructor from yesterday shouted out loud.
Several ladies wearing the same sashes as that instructor slowly walk between us as we practice swing.
They must be instructors too.
"Too tense so I inform. Strengthening your grip the instance before you hit your target is better so I advise."
"Ou! I'mma give it a try!"
A blond beauty with twin rolled hair instructed Neze.
She's got an odd speech pattern.
"Do not look away and swing your sword so I pointed out."
Someone tapped my head from the side as I was looking away at Neze.
"I'm sorry--wait, same face?"
The one who gave that warning was an onee-san with the same face as the instructor teaching Neze.
"Yes, student. Toria and Yuitto are sisters so I inform."
After saying that instructor Toria went to teach Lachesis.
I thought they were twins, but then I saw several other onee-san with the same faces as well. How many sisters are there?
I could only afford that wondering during the early part before I quickly got overwhelmed.
After practice swinging and some simple forms lesson, we started mock battles.
The rule is to have you replaced with the next person if you lose, I got through three matches before losing to the noble boy Rojim. Apparently he's been taught in warrior way since childhood. He was told to change place after winning ten matches more and got praised by the instructor.
"Student Zaki, your strength is weak, you are not fit to be an explorer."
Zaki looked like it was all over when an instructor told him that but then she added, 'Eat a lot and train a lot more. Doing thus will improve your situation.' which restored his enthusiasm.
Undaunted by my loss, I tried again and managed to keep winning against all my opponents beside Rojim.
"Student Lachesis, losing on purpose is not encouraged, so I inform."
"It's not on purpose."
Lachesis was a total defeat.
There were something amiss with how she swung her sword, and how she dodged.
She whispered something about [Kotakkuto] or [Meane] after losing. Maybe words to distract herself from chagrin?
"My body's hurt all over from bruises and muscle pains."
"Let's grab something to eat."
"Tomorrow's gonna be a group battle practice, so today we gotta eat good food to power up!"
Us members of the same group for the group battle are heading to the food stalls together.
"Huh? Aren't those Gon's group?"
We found Gon's group sitting in front of the guild.
The big Gon, grumbler Keros and stylish girl Shina are full of scratches, Gon even has a bloodied cloth wrapped around his arm. Labyrinths really are a place you can never be too careful at.
"Gon, you're hurt. Is everything all right?"
When I called out to him, Gon lifted up his irate face.
"Keros and Shina don't look good either--"
The moment Keros said that, Shina glared at Keros.
"You're awful! Are you saying her death is nothing to you, Keros?!"
Shina grabbed Keros by his chest and wept.
Apparently a girl who came from the same village as Shina and got invited into the same party was killed by monsters.
"I mean, what else could we do!"
Keros shouted at Shina.
"That's how labyrinths are! That's how explorers are!"
The shouting Keros had scary bloodshot eyes.
"Shut up, shut your mouth."
Gon silenced Keros by punching him.
Gon grabbed Shina by hand to pull her up and said, 'Let's go', to Keros, taking him away with them.
We arrived at the food stalls but thrust by the reality of Gon's group, whom were together with us, in the labyrinth, the meal was wrapped in a gloomy atmosphere.
I felt bad for those who didn't know about our situation with Gon.
◆◆◆At a certain village◆◆◆
"What is your objective?"
"My objective is--You, Reina-san."
Akindo-san said I'm his objective.
"Akindo-san, are you a lolicon?"
"Please perish the thought."
Akindo-san shook his head with a seriously hurt expression.
"My objective is to watch over reincarnated people like Reina-san to make sure they live in peace."
"No. I'm simply keeping you away from the likes of demons, authoritative figures and demon lord believers."
Despite my use of sarcastic remark on purpose, Akindo-san didn't seem to get mad at all.
Is this like some sort of free security service?
Well, I'll take Akindo-san over those three types he mentioned any day for sure though.
"On another topic, Akindo-san, have you been to the labyrinth city before?"
"Oh yes, I even came across Sharon-san the other day."
"You did? Tell me! How was he? Did he have a stomachache? Any injury? Did he mention about how anxious he is being apart from me? Is he eating well? Has he managed to find somewhere to sleep?"
"Let's calm down a bit, Reina-san. I'll answer all your questions one by one."
Akindo-san informed me about nii-san's situation.
I was relieved to hear he was together with party members but got peeved to hear a girl (bad bug) among them.
"Akindo-san. Do you have blue and red candy on you?"