After Ragne-chan left, we returned home.
Maria notices us as she was cleaning and she makes a troubled face.
「Welcome back. You were quick today, I still didn’t prepare your meal……」
It seems we came earlier than expected, so the meal still isn’t ready.
Since there’s free time, I think of going shopping and visiting India while there, but Lastiara stops me.
「Hey, Seig. Let’s go to the festival」
While sitting on the living room chair, Lastiara cheerfully invites me to a festival.
「Un. Right now, Whoseyards is in the middle of a festival. In four days, we’ll have the once a year Christmas, and for the week leading up to that, the country throws a big festival」
「Aah, I feel like I heard of it」
If I recall, it’s something I heard from Dia.
Since the day she’s discharged is on Christmas, we made a promise to leave the hospital together and enjoy the festival.
「It’ll be my first time participating in a festival, so I’m really interested in it」
「It’s not like I’m not interested in it」
I am interested in the festival of a different culture.
To begin with, even in my original world I don’t have much experience with festivals. Even if I wanted to go I couldn’t go.
Therefore, the event known as a festival is charming to me.
「Then it’s decided. Let’s go let’s go」
「Aah. Either way, I have to go out to buy water」
It may be a meaningless event, but with the extra time we have, a change of pace is perfect. As for the thing I have to do, for now it’d be replenishing the water.
While thinking that, I agree, and Maria who’s about to start cooking raises her voice.
「Pl, please wait. Is that, the so called ――」
However, that voice stopped midway. When I looked over at Maria, for an instant I thought I saw vexation on her face. However, that expression immediately disappeared and she kept quiet.
Maria must’ve thought we were going to leave her behind. Lastiara only endured her laughter without saying anything. It can’t be helped, I’ll be the one to say it.
「Let’s go together Maria. Get ready」
「…… Eh, is it fine for me to go?」
「Of course it is」
If I don’t invite her here then I can’t call her a friend or companion. It was something natural for me, but that wasn’t the case for Maria.
「But, the preparations for the meal――」
「Let’s eat out today. Together」
I push Maria to agree. And so, I pull on her hand and head outside.
「Let’s go. Lastiara, please guide us」
With a grin, Lastiara slowly gets up.
Wanting fun above all else, she really is a troublesome one. Even though she intended to take Maria along, she didn’t say anything. For her own fun, she made me go and invite her.
「Stop laughing, and start guiding already」
I hit the head of the snickering Lastiara as we exit the house.
Whoseyards isn’t too far from my house. And since it’s close to the labyrinth, it also means it’s close to the other countries.
After walking for about an hour, we were able to feel the energy coming from the festival. There was no denying that the country Whoseyards was throwing a festival. I could feel the enthusiasm even at the edge of the country.
There are many food stalls lined up on the main street, and the shopkeepers raise their voices to attract customers. There were shops that sold food, and shops that sold small accessories, there were all types of shops.
The first thing that catches my attention is the food culture, so I observe what food is in the stalls.
There were small candies like the one in my world, and lots of dishes I’ve never seen. In addition, the cooking utensils were all things I haven’t seen. The special characteristic of this world is to use magic stones as a fuel, there are even knives that are operated with magic, this really gave off the feeling that it was another world’s festival.
Unidentifiable dishes, assortments of strangely shaped berries, peculiar skewered meat, a giant bread that isn’t fit to eat while walking. It’s full of new sights.
I couldn’t hide my excitement when faced with all these foods that I don’t know the taste of.
「Master, you’re looking at the stalls far too much……」
I was acting like a country bumpkin that couldn’t calm down, so Maria give me a warning.
「N, no, I was just a bit curious……」
「The Christmas festival is something that’s done every year. And it’s always full of stalls……」
This is something Maria is already used to seeing. And it seems like she doesn’t feel anything in particular to this sight.
But, it’s different for me. Since it’s a festival from a completely different culture, everything is new to me. Maria doesn’t know about my circumstances, so she’s curious about why I find it interesting.
「No, in my birthplace, we didn’t have these festivals, so everything feels fresh to me」
「Eh, isn’t Master from Fania?」
「A, aah. But I lived in a remote region in Fania, and there were no festivals there. That’s why it’s my first time at a festival」
「Remote region―― Is it?」
Maria repeats my words. The more we continue the talks of my birthplace, the sooner my life will collapse. I pretend to enjoy myself in the festival’s atmosphere and use that as a chance to separate from Maria.
While observing my surroundings, a group in costumes passes by.
They wore headgear shaped after beast. It’s probably supposed to be a bear and wolf. In this festival, those costumes might have some sort of meaning.
I ask Lastiara who’s knowledgeable of Whoseyards.
「Hey, Lastiara. Those costumes just now, do they mean something?」
Lastiara who is in the lead turns back to me and answers in an excited manner.
「I don’t know! What is that!」
「Eh, you also don’t know?」
「Un, it’s also my first time!」
With a lively voice, Lastiara looks at her surroundings in the same way as me.
I didn’t notice because I was excited, but Lastiara also can’t calm down.
Not being able to believe what she heard, Maria opens her mouth in shock.
「Eh, is it really your first time?」
「It’s embarrassing to say. A lot happened, this is the first time I’ve ever came into the city during the festival. That’s why, the only experienced person here is Maria-chan」
「Th, that can’t be…… There are two people who haven’t experienced a festival……」
「That’s why, those costumes from before, I’m also interested. Teach me, Maria-chan~」
Lastiara stops guiding and movies besides Maria. And so, while we walk along with the crowd, we listen to Maria’s explanation.
「Those costumes from before are a prayer for good health. It’s origin is a myth handed down in the continent. By dressing as the companion of the Saint Tiara Whoseyards, that Saint will bestow divine protection. As the day of her birth gets closer, it seems like the power of the Saint returns to the continent, so there are many people who dress up during the festival」
「Aahー, that’s right. Now that I think about it I feel like it was like that」
After hearing Maria’s explanation, Lastiara claps her hands as if she just remembered.
「Speaking of which, Lastiara-san’s name, it’s similar to the Saint’s name. Did your parents give it while hoping for the Saint’s divine protection?」
「Oh, as expected of Maria-chan. That’s right」
「It’s a nice name with good luck」
Lastiara nodded as if it was nothing, and Maria makes a small smile.
However, I didn’t smile. Maria doesn’t know, but I know that Lastiara’s surname is『Whoseyards』. As such, I have some suspicions towards the situation.
We continue listening to Maria’s explanation while walking around the streets of Whoseyards.
The most popular area of the festival is the center, and our feet naturally moved there.
「All right, Maria-chan. Let’s go buy some snacks」
「Eh, I don’t want to. It’d be a waste since the festival food is relatively expensive」
「But if you don’t eat, then there was no meaning in coming?」
「I’m fine with just looking」
What Maria said is correct.
I don’t know the details of this world market prices, but even then I knew that the prices lined up on the stalls are high. For Maria who’s used to festivals, the expensive things here have no special meaning to her. It’d be too pitiful for Lastiara if it stays like this, so I decide to send her a lifeboat.
「Lastiara, give up. I’ll go with you instead」
「It can’t be helped can it」
It seems like Lastiara wanted to go more with Maria than me.
In a discouraged state, she reluctantly agrees. For the time being, we decide to walk around while buying food.
I could feel the enthusiasm of the festival on my skin. Just walking around managed to cheer me up.
It’s because I didn’t have any close friends in my original world that within an hour, Lastiara and I have already reached max tension. When we find an unusual food stall, I get closer to it and raise my voice.
「Oi, Lastiara~. There’s something strange here!」
「Uwaa, amazing~. What is this!」
I tried to put on a cool pretense from the start, but there are just too many unusual things and I couldn’t hold my excitement back. Lastiara also had the same reaction as me, and our excitement kept rising. As I thought, it’s fun because there’s someone who feels the same.
「…… That, isn’t it a children’s game?」
The cool headed Maria behind us looks at us with eyes of pity.
But for us who have already gotten used to Maria’s cold gaze, we ignore it and continue having fun.
As we kept buying food and progressing, we managed to arrive at the central part of the town. What’s there isn’t stores that sell things, but something like the attractions in amusement parks. Though I say that, it’s not the wonderful modernistic one, it’s simple things like target practice and die cutting.
However, that was more than enough to stimulate our excitement.
I’ve never experienced playing around like this. And since it isn’t modern times there are all sorts of new things. My curiosity keeps growing.
And so, for now, I direct my curiosity into the otherworld target practice.
In place of having an arrowhead it has an arrow with a cloth wrapped around. It’s a game where you have to shoot animals that are running inside of a fence. There’s paint on the cloth, that way they can judge if the animals were shot. In my world, this couldn’t be implemented due to safety concerns and matters of animal rights.
The animals lightly run around inside the fence. Those movements were nimble, to the extent that it made me think they were actually monsters instead of animals. But, I couldn’t judge them with my shallow knowledge.
The reward isn’t anything great, but my body aches when I see that target that won’t be shot so easily.
But, as Maria said, this game isn’t something for grown men to do.
In other words, Lastiara and my height are taller than average, so it’d look like an adult was playing.
I want to avoid standing out, so for now I’ll recommend Maria to start.
「Can’t a child like Maria do it? That way we can naturally participate as well」
「I, I’m not a child! I’m already thirteen~」
I thought she’d say something about my pathetic words, but Maria instead objected about her age. She took offence at being treated like a child.
Hearing thirteen years old, she was older than I thought. But, for me a thirteen your old is still well within the range of a child. To begin with I don’t think of myself as an adult, naturally, I confirm this with Lastiara.
「Lastiara, is thirteen when you become an adult?」
「Nnn, over here they’re treated like one」
「Is that so……」
I confirmed that the age your an adult here is low when compared to mine, I give a light apology to Maria. And so, Maria brings up a question as if she just thought of it.
「Come to think of it, how old are the two of you?」
If the language translated accurately, taking the current day on the calendar into account, I shouldn’t have spent much time in this world. It should be fine to answer with the age from my world.
「I’m sixteen. Probably」
Maria was surprised at my age.
My height is tall, but my face should be appropriately childlike, this is the first time someone was this surprised.
「Eh, is it that strange?」
「No, I thought it was probably around twenty. You’re tall, and you’re demeanor is kind……」
She thought I was quite old. It’s possible that the standard height in this world is low. However, hearing demeanor as the second reason was unexpected. Lastiara is the next to answer.
「I’m also sixteen. More or less」
Once again Maria let out a voice in shock.
Lastiara’s height is also tall. Furthermore she has proportions that’d put an adult to shame, she looks even more like an adult. Maria must’ve thought Lastiara was older as well.
「Hmm, is it that surprising?」
Lastiara looks over here in wonder.
With a slight smile I shake my head. I wasn’t that surprised.
But, Maria couldn’t keep her surprise under wraps.
「Just a three year difference, and, this much…… her height, and chest……」
Her body trembles, she’s comparing her own body with Lastiara’s.
It’s true that it doesn’t look like a three year difference. To think there’d be such a difference in growth.
I look at Maria with pity, Maria who notices this renews herself and gives us a warning.
「An, anyways age isn’t important. You two look like proper adults, so doing these kinds of things is no laughing matter!」
In the end we arrived at that. If I look old, then my real age has no meaning.
「I didn’t think it’d matter that much……」
「Please feel these warm gazes, it’s embarrassing」
Certainly, there are people with warm gazes looking at us who were making a ruckus. However, those were gazes of looking at someone excited by the festival, not eyes of pity. In addition, no matter which it was, there were many people that were charmed by Lastiara’s beauty.
Peoples attention would be attracted simply with Lastiara being there. That beauty wouldn’t be permitted to be lost in a crowd of people. For that reason, there are also many gazes of envy directed towards me. At first I wanted to play games without standing out, but because of this it wasn’t long before I gave up on that idea.
「Fufufuuu. Maria-chan is embarrassed, while our tension is only rising. Maria-chan, did you think you’d be able to hold your ground against me with only that?」
While cherishing the embarrassed Maria, Lastiara triumphantly moves towards the counter of the target practice game.
Maria tries to stop that, but in front of Lastiara who only gets happier with that, she quickly gives up.
Soon after, Lastiara gets a bow from the uncle at the reception and begins playing.
The contents of the game is to shoot as many animals that are on the field as you can from a fixed position. The prize you get changes depending on how many are shot in the alloted time.
Lastiara fixes the arrow on the bow, she takes her time shooting one at a time. That scene was elegant and unrivaled, it was like the divine scene of a bowman in a heroic tale.
If someone with an appearance to the degree of Lastiara did it, then it’d naturally draw the gazes of the onlookers. First it was the kids who were curious at the one who kept shooting animals one after the other, then it was the adults in the surroundings, finally it was the ones who couldn’t keep their eyes off that beauty.
When the hourglass signaling the end finished, almost all the birds and beasts in the field were shot.
At the same time she finished the kids began an uproar going「Amazing amazing」, the adults further off also clapped their hands and praised Lastiara.
「Fuu. It was more fun than I though……!」
Lastiara muttered in satisfaction, she then spins the bow as if dancing, and at the end she strikes a pose to respond to the crowd.
And so, Lastiara moves along with the applause, and she receives the price from the receptionist with a cramped face. But, because he knew something was off, it wasn’t a prize with a high price, but instead a lovely necklace that could be obtained with a low score.
It’s almost all wood, but in the middle there is a magic stone. An object which was neither too cheap or too luxurious.
After Lastiara takes the necklace, she puts it on Maria’s neck.
「A present from me. Maria-chan」
「Ha, haa……, Thank you very much……」
Maria give a slight thanks. The people in the surroundings look on with a smile.
I see. If it’s a present for a kid, then Lastiara can negate her immaturity. Like that, it probably isn’t embarrassing.
If I challenge it in this situation I’d probably stick out. But, since Lastiara already stood out this much, we probably can’t avoid standing out anymore.
In that case, I’ll just do what I want.
「All right, I’m also not gonna lose. In order to get a present for Maria, I’ll show off my skills」
In reality I just wanted to try it, it’s an excuse for the people in the surroundings.
「Ah, no. It’s not like I really want――」
「Now then, here I go!」
I don’t let Maria finish her rejection, and I walk to the receptionist. Seeing Lastiara do it, made me unable to bear so it can’t be helped.
To play after that divine scene, it’d take a considerable amount of courage and the receptionist knew this so he let me go.
I receive a bow and arrow, and after the targets are washed, the game once again begins.
I receive a bow and arrow, and after the targets are washed, the game begins once again.
I use my magic in a way he won’t notice. If it isn’t someone powerful then they probably wouldn’t notice, if there was someone powerful here then they probably would’ve noticed Lastiara’s magic and done something.
Since I can’t bring the animals down in a beautiful way like Lastiara, I decided to collect more points than her. But, since I had no experience with the bow, my first few shots missed. Even if I have magic and my status is blessed, I couldn’t shoot like Lastiara.
But, after finishing my adjustments, I’ve already gotten used to it. With my unworldly sensory organ and ability, I accurately hit my targets. I copy the way Lastiara did it and then I left the rest to my status and shot the arrow. And so, I successfully managed to get more points than Lastiara.
The people watching in the surroundings applause, and the atmosphere in the area becomes even more heated up.
When I went to pick my price, I was at a loss for what to choose. If Maria can wear it than anything fine, but there aren’t many accessories to choose from. Not having much of a choice, I take a bracelet that was similar to that necklace from before. Like that, I walk towards Maria, and hand it over.
Maria receives it with an amazed expression, I then turn my back and try to get away from the spot.
I want to avoid standing out anymore than this. It might also be because I can’t get used to this noisy atmosphere.
「Wa, wait. Since Sieg passed my score, let me go again!」
Lastiara who hates losing wished for a rematch. However, Mara ignores that and separates herself. In this way she was stuck in a pit, and I chide Lastiara.
「Only once. Lastiara, let’s go already」
「No no! Quitting while ahead, that’s not allowed!」
「If you want another match, then I’ll be your opponent in the next festival. So hurry up already」
「……Impossible. I can’t wait for the next one」
Lastiara grimaces when she hears of the match carrying into next year.
「Don’t be selfish. If you still are, then I won’t mind leaving you」
「Mumumuー……, your quitting while aheadー……」
In a reluctant manner, Lastiara begins moving.
We quickly move through the crowd of people and I keep a careful eye on Maria in order to not lose her.
Once we caught up to where Maria was, there were no longer any people paying attention to us. We gathered a lot of attention, but in the end it was only a single uproar in the festival. Once we slipped into the crowd of people, other than eyes of envy there was no one else paying attention.
Lastiara calls out to Maria who is moving ahead.
「Hey, you don’t want to try Maria-chan? You don’t have to worry about money since I’ll pay. I am the one who invited you」
「Haa…… As if I can do so after that. I’m fine without it. I already did it when I was younger」
「Ah, so you’ve done it before. In that case, it might be fine」
With that Lastiara walks in front of Maria.
With restless eyes she searches for something fun, and looks through each crowd in the festival. After talking for some time, I was able to see the riverside. There was a noticeable amount of people gathered there, there must be some kind of event going on.
Lastiara spots that and pulls my hand in high spirits.
「There’s something happening by the river!」
「Hee. It looks like something they can’t do if they’re not at the waterside」
I remember the goldfish catching from my previous world, and with growing expectations I follow Lastiara.
So that she isn’t lost, I grab Maria’s hand with my hand that isn’t held by Lastiara. And so, the three of us walk to the shop at the riverside.
A net was set up upstream and downstream of the river and inside of the enclosed area are many fish. As the depth only reaches to an adults knee, many children are trying to catch fish.
「A game of catching and eating all the fish you can…… perhaps?」
I’ve seen these types of games in my original world, so I was a bit disappointed. But, with sparkling eyes Lastiara wanted to challenge it.
「I’ll do it! I won’t lose to Sieg again!」
It looks like she’s fired up in the competition against me. That loss from before must still be affecting her.
「It can’t be helped. If I don’t participate, then there’ll be no competition for Lastiara」
Although it’s a game I’ve seen before, it’s not as if it’s actually something I did. It’s true that it looked interesting, and there’s no reason for me to refuse.
We line up and wait for our turn while talking.
I teach Maria about fish dishes, and hear about the things Lastiara wants to eat in order to kill time. And then, when we progressed about halfway through the line, a voice called out.
「――mu. Isn’t that Sieg and Maria-chan」
A girl with a beast mask attached to the side of her head, after finding us she draws closer.
Wearing many layers of hot clothing, it was the labyrinth guardian Alty.
I strengthen my caution and survey the surroundings. After confirming that Alty is alone, I let out a sigh.
「Why are you here? Alty」
「Why you say, is it bad for me to play around?」
「No, it’s not bad but」
It isn’t bad, when I see a labyrinth boss simply loitering around, it isn’t good for my heart.
「I was just playing with my school friends not too long ago. Aah, Fran-chan who you aren’t good with isn’t there, so you can relax」
「Aah, that’s a relief」
With Alty and me talking, Lastiara who was in the back began smiling. And so, thinking it’d be interesting she gets closer.
「Pupuu, what a shock. You’re cute, I thought you had it in you, but after seeing with my『Eye』, it can’t be it can’t be, fufufufufuu」
Her face was smiling, but her gaze was sharp. She let off a fighting spirit all around her.
Most likely, she saw that Alty isn’t human and thought she was a strong boss monster. In order to explain it, I cut in between Alty and Lastiara.
「Wait, Lastiara. This persons cooperating with me」
「I know. I can tell just from seeing that she doesn’t have that atmosphere. Ummm. Is Alty-chan fine? I’m Lastiara, nice to meet you」
Lastiara interrupts my words and greets Alty
「Hou, so your that……――Nice to meet you, Lastiara. But it’s embarrassing so please don’t attach chan to me. I’d like for both of us to talk without honorifics」
「Umu, nice to meet you. Lastiara」
The two shake hands with a smile.
I fearfully watch over that scene. Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if the two began killing each other right now. At that time, I’d only take Maria with me and use《Connection》to go back home.
As if noticing that I was watching with those eyes, Alty smiles and bring the conversation to me.
「You really worry too much. Sieg」
「Because I’m normal. Also, what does Alty plan on doing from now on?」
「 Let’s see. Maybe play with you all for a bit. But I can’t stay long」
「Well, if it’s just playing……」
Honestly I wish she just went somewhere else, but bluntly refusing her here would be to cruel as a cooperater. I unwillingly permit her to accompany us. Lastiara who heard that became even happier.
「How niceー. Then, Alty, Sieg, and me, the three of us will have a competition. I also want to see Alty’s true ability」
She’s looking forward to competing with the labyrinth guarian Alty.
「I’ll have to pass. I’m bad with water. At the very least I’ll be cheering」
But with a bitter smile, Alty refused to participate.
As expected by the theory, a fire monster like Alty should be bad with water. She begins talking with Maria who stayed behind.
After that, when our turn came around, only Lastiara and I had the competition.
I use my full strength and make a plan to beat Lastiara. Since I knew that’s what she wished for.
In the end―― Lastiara’s wish is to always play around at full strength. It’s because she knows I can do that, that she stays by my side.
I have a duty to let Lastiara enjoy herself. That’s part of the contract.
Nevertheless, it’s not as if everything comes from a sense of duty. Deep inside, I also wanted to enjoy this world. Accompanying her is not particularly troublesome.
As long as I have the fighting power of Lastiara, then I have no complaints.
I freely make use of my dimension magic to try and grasp victory.
In the end, it became a competition that dragged the other customers in and caused the shopkeepers face to go pale. It ends with Alty using force to stop us and it turned into a neverending lecture form Maria.
But even then Lastiara was having fun. I was also somewhat enjoying myself.
And so, when it’s not about the labyrinth, I found out that Lastiara and I get along pretty well, and I thought it was a bit of a waste.
Aah, if there was nothing to anguish about. If there was no time limit.
Then with Lastiara――
So I though. But, those emotions soon sunk to the bottom of my heart.
Just like with Maria, I had no choice but to do so.
And so, the festival continues.
Putting a lid on those fleeting emotions, I continued enjoying the time with Lastiara and the others.
「Nnn, it’s about time I return」
The sun has fallen and night has arrived, and Alty declares that she has no time. In repsonse, Lastiara puffs out her cheeks.
「Eehh, let’s play more」
「No no, tomorrow, I have to show my face in the academy. So I can’t play for long」
Alty answers apologetically to Lastiara. In response, Maria also says the same thing.
「Ah, I’ll also return. There’s nothing I have to do, and since I have the chance I want to return with Alty-san」
Other than using it once to eat, Maria didn’t use any money. Because of that, she spent lots of time with Alty who also didn’t spend much money. Since she wants to go home together, they probably got along during that time.
「In that case, I’ll make it my responsibility to see Maria home. Sieg and Lastiara, it’d be fine for you two to play a little more」
Hearing that Alty would take her until the house made a smile appear on Maria.
No matter how much Lastiara complained, Alty and Maria safely went back home. And so, with it being only us two left, Lastiara began talking with a smile.
「With Maria-chan not here, do you want to go at it seriously?」
「Uuun, I’ll decline. I’m also a bit tired」
「Right. Me too. Then let’s talk while searching for some interesting food」
「That sounds reasonable. …..But, if were going to talk, can it be about this world. I haven’t told anyone but Lastiara, so the current situation is perfect」
「It’s fine but…… That’s only because you’re secretly hiding your『Foreigner』. It’s not like there’s a need to hide it is there?」
「There is no precedent of this in the past. So I have to be careful because I don’t know what would happen if I’m exposed. ……That’s why, please don’t say that word in this crowd of people」
Lastiara brazenly used the word『Foreigner』within the crowd of people.
In the past of my world, there were things like witch hunts and heretic hunts. If an extraterrestrial was found in the current era then it’s highly likely that it’s body would be used as a『Guinea Pig』for research. Even with my shallow knowledge, I know that the『Foreigner』I have is not inferior to the body of an extraterrestrial. It’s also possible they’d put me down due to fear. Thus, I appealed to Lastiara to refrain from saying those words.
「Sieg really is a coward. Okay, I won’t say it as much as I can. But, I think it’d be better to tell Maria-chan as soon as you can」
「Why, because she’s a『Companion』right? Companions should disclose their secrets to each other shouldn’t they?」
「She is a『Companion』. But, even then it’s still different」
「Hee, fuun…… So that’s what Sieg thinks. Fufuu, well, if that’s what Sieg says, then it’s fine」
Even if it’s a『Companion』, I still don’t think you should easily expose secrets. When I say that, Lastiara happily nods her head a number of times.
I felt uneasy at that happy Lastiara. At times when she’s this happy, it’s when she’s thinking of something a normal person would consider to be bad.
「What is it. Is something bad about it?」
「No no, it isn’t bad. In fact, it’s good. That’s right, even if it’s among『Companions』, you don’t have to say everything」
In other words, it’s something that is『Not Good』for me. If Lastiara is happily recommending something, then I have to do my best to avoid it. We weren’t associated long, but I at least understand that.
Therefore, I retract my previous statement.
「…… Fine. I’ll talk to Maria if there’s a chance. Since Maria is a『Companion』」
「Eh, you’ll talk? Well, that’s also fine」
Lastiara showed her disappointment.
But she immediately pulls herself together. And so, she begins the talks of this world that I first suggested.
「Then, I’ll be talking about this world. But, even if I say that, where it’s good to start…… It’s difficult」
That’s true. In my case, if I were asked to explain about my world, then I wouldn’t be able to immediately give an explanation.
「No, it’s fine to not explain it all at once. It’s probably difficult, so I don’t expect to get everything at once. It’s fine to begin with things you’re familiar with. For example……, about this festival, and then you can spread out. From there it could go to customs or common sense」
「This festival…… In that case it’ll be easy. My real experience is shallow, but I do have proper knowledge of it」
「I’m especially curious about the Christmas that happens at the end of the festival」
「……Christmas at the end, is it. That’s fine, I’ll teach you」
A fleeting smile appeared on Lastiara when she heard the term Christmas. To her, Christmas may have some special meaning. She continues her words while looking at the surroundings in as if deeply moved.
「The festival that’s happening right now, is pre-festival before Christmas for a certain person. This pre-festival continues for a week, and on the day of Christmas a grand ceremony is conducted in the Whoseyards cathedral」(TL: Christmas also means holy birthday/Nativity festival)
「My world has something similar so I understand it. Are there events that happen several times a year?」
「That’s right. There are a lot for the bishops―― the saints of the Revan Faith’s of the allied nations. There are three for Christmas, and there are also a lot of other festivals to respect the gods. This time, we’re in one of the big Christmas festivals」
The customs are different, but it’s similar to my world. The stars and origins are different, but as long as people are living they might just end up thinking of the same things.
「This Christmas is for the Saint Tiara Whoseyards. The Saint is said to have been the foundation of the countries magic ――」
「Wait. There’s something I’m curious about, the name, that, isn’t it too close?」
I abruptly stopped the conversation. I already was suspicious of Lastiara’s origins. But with her name so similar to that Saint, I had a bad premonition.
「That’s right. Because that Saint Tiara is『Me』」
And so, Lastiara hit that bad promnition on the mark.
I expected something like that so I was able to keep my shock in it’s limit. Even then, it’s definitely going to be something annoying. After letting out a sigh, I urge Lastiara to continue.
「Of course, I’m not the person herself. At any rate, she’s someone from hundreds of years ago. Just the body, is the same as that person. The spirits different」
「The body itself…… Even then, it’s still something freighting. What’s with that, is that type of thing possible with the magic of this world?」
「Un, it is. With vast amounts of money, a vast amount of time, and added with vast amounts of magic, they were able to make the body of the Saint. Reallyー, a human’s work is scaryー」
I was in fear and amazement. In the end, it was the same as cloning and genetic manipulation of my world. The cultures are different, but the place they arrived at is similar. It’s the same as our conversation of the festival.
「So magic can do that much…… And, for what reason was saint Tiara’s body resurrected? Is there some kind of objective?」
「Uuun, of course there are a lot of objectives. But, I shouldn’t tell you any more than this. If I teach any more, than my mysterious and interesting parts would be explained」
Lastiara suddenly becomes reluctant when it’s about her. She did mention it before, that there’s romance in explaining your true identity little by little.
But, after being led this far, I grab onto the words that Lastiara had said before.
「Oi, aren’t『Companions』supposed to confide their secrets?」
「Un, that’s right. I also think so. That’s why, let’s do this. If Sieg properly tells Maria about 『Kanami』, then I’ll tell you about 『Tiara And Me』」
「Guu, that’s where you went……」
Although I said I’d tell Maria when the opportunity comes up, I haven’t decided when that opportunity was. If possibly I thought of stretching it out, so this trade was harsh.
「Okay. But, I’ll chose the timing」
「It’d be fine to do it today. Sieg really is a good for nothing」
「I’m not a good for nothing. If I suddenly spring that conversation then Maria would be troubled. Maria already received a lot of shocks. She became a slave, and lost many things, if she listens to my circumstances on top of that then she’d be troubled」
「Fufuu, if Sieg says so, then it must be that. It’s fine to take as much time as you like」
I desperately explained Maria’s situation, and Lastiara watches with a lukewarm gaze.
「Aah, I’ll do as I like. And at that time you’ll have to tell me」
After exchanging promises with Lastiara, we discover a strange food stall. It’s a spicy smelling berry that was fried in oil. It was a type of food I don’t think I’ve eaten before, and I suggest to Lastiara that we should line up.
While eating the berry we bought, Lastiara continues the conversation. She won’t talk about herself, but it seems she likes talking about the history.
「I won’t tell you about the current me,but I will tell you about the Tiara from the past. It’s perfect timing since if you learn about the great figures in the past, then you’ll naturally learn about the world」
「Hee, is the Saint Tiara that great a person?」
「Really really great. It’s the person who created many foundations. At any rate, this person did create the first magic. Also, that person made Whoseyards」
「The other saints are also amazing. Generally they made countries, or saved the world」
「Saved the world….. The saints are humans right…… ?」
「Yup human. But, it looks like the saints can hear a voice that can’t be heard. In that voice, they gain knowledge not from this world, and perform miracles in the continent. As a result, they end up saving many people, and of course they’d be called saints and be revered」
It seems the definition of a saint is『A Person Who Can Hear The Unheard Voice』.
「That unheard voice, is it something like God’s voice?」
「No, what they hear, is the voice of the huge tree in the middle of the continent……. So it should be. It’s called Yggdrasil, and it seems the Saints hear a voice from that tree. Rather, Sieg and me might be able to hear it. Since we’re quite that」
Certainly, we do have special circumstances, so it wouldn’t be too strange to hear it. If there’s a chance then I might test it out. If I can get knowledge from that voice, then it’s more than worth trying.
「And where is that world tree?」
「Far. One way or another, the allied nations are in a remote region. Since it’s at the center of mainland, Whoseyards’s home country, it’d take several tens of days」
The five allied nations have a home country. And they aren’t connected to their home countries by land.
If looking at a world map then these allied nations would be at the edge. The continent that’s called the mainland is far. Certainly, from the knowledge I gained in the library, you’d have to be prepared to travel several tens of days to get to Whosyards’s home country.
Since the five countries all have a home country, there’s no need to set up a capital at the ends of the continent. In essence, the condition to participate in the allied nations, you can’t hurt the others.
「It’s unfortunate. If it was close, then we would have listened to that voice and gotten a miraculous power」
「That’s true. If it’s us, the like Saint Tiara, we might’ve even gotten all the knowledge of the foundation of magic」
Lastiara and I drop our shoulders. I was half joking, but it looked like Lastiara was truly thinking we’d hear the voice.
It was only a moment ago that Lastiara was discouraged, but she soon lifts her face and continues. As usual, she’s a person who quickly recovers.
「If we’re talking about Saint Tiara, next would be the nine magic attributes she made. Since our livelihood is found in fighting this is something important to us」
「I’d be thankful since I’m using magic on intuition. There wasn’t any magic in my world」
Magic existed in games, but they didn’t in real life.
It was quite fresh hearing about the history of a world with magic.
Lastiara’s eyes were abnormally sparkling when she heard that.
「Eh? No magic? In Sieg’s place」
「Aah, no magic and no monsters」
「A, amazing! I want to hear about that now!」
「Eh, but I’d like it if you tell me about magic ――」
「That sounds more fun!」
I wanted to hear the continuation of the magic, but Lastiara’s interests completely went to my world, what to do.
At this rate it’d be too much effort to explain to Lastiara. It can’t be helped, I begin talking about the science in my world that replaced magic.
After talking about science for a good amount, I then move onto the heroes in my world.
It seemed like Lastiara liked hearing more about the heroes, and she listens to the epics of my world in an enjoyable manner. If the person listening is having fun, then the one talking can’t help but enjoy it as well. I get carried away and continue telling Lastiara about the history of my world.
After more than ten epics, the amount of food we bought also exceed that number, in the end, Lastiara and I return home.
Of course, I didn’t manage to hear about the magic in the end.
Everyone was tired after returning home, so Maria and Lastiara immediately went to sleep.
I’m also tired, maybe I’ll be able to sleep well today too.
「Please take me along to the labrynth……」
The day after enjoying the festival, we were having our breakfast in the living room, and Maria asked with resolve to be taken to the labyrinth.
「Eh, eh? Why….. ?」
I was bewildered at that sudden desire. After what we discussed, I thought Maria’s position was finally settled. But it was unexpected for Maria to be this concerned about the labyrinth.
「Just a little is fine. Please test me. I, in these past two days I’ve become stronger……」
It must mean she was training when I wasn’t watching. In other words, Maria hasn’t given up on the labrynth search.
As usual, I don’t understand what Maria’s thinking. Even if a woman’s heart is as fickle as autumn weather, I can’t keep up with the rate it’s changing.
I was worrying in my mind when Lastarria raises a small voice from behind.
「Look at Maria-chan’s skills……」
I『Observe』as I’m told.
Innate Skills : Insight1.45
Acquired Skills : Hunting0.67 Cooking1.08 Flame Magic1.00
「F, flame magic…… ?」
『Flame Magic』was added to Maria’s skills. A skill that wasn’t there too long ago.
I was shocked at that truth. I’ve seen the skills of many people in this world, but I haven’t seen any people whose skills have increased. From what I’ve heard, it might only be a once in a lifetime that this happens. It is labeled acquired skills, so I can understand that skills can increase. But, to think that Maira, in just these few days would increase her skills.
With my mouth open in surprise, Maria guesses my surprise and begins talking about the flame magic.
「Ah, Master can see it…… That’s right. I’ve been taught flame magic and I practiced it……」
「Yes, Alty-san taught me」
From that answer, a question inside me was cleared up.
However, the timing’s the worst.
Maria had just resigned herself, this small glimmer of hope would at best be trouble. Thanks to that, Maria’s now brimming with the intention to go along with us.
「Alty-san taught me a magic that’s popular to use even in the floors after twenty. There are also other ways to use the magic……」
She really did something unnecessary…… !
If you wanted to teach someone then you should’ve been fine with me, why was it Maria who was taught……!?
「Since you were taught, did the magic you can use increase?」
「Yes. It’s no longer just《Firefly》」
「And, does that mean you received a magic stone?」
「…… yes. I received a magic stone」
It felt like Maria hesitated to say her last answer.
A magic stone is an item with a price. She must feel guilty about being given one.
「Certainly, if your magic increased, I want to see how far……」
That magic may be a way to oppose the Rio Eagles on the twenty-second floor. Taking Maria until there is unrealistic, but there is a way to call her at that time. It’s not impossible to make a《Connection》on the twenty-second floor to bring Maria, and then make another《Connection》right before the twenty-third floor to return her home. Depending on the situation, it could be a great help. But, even then―― Honestly, I don’t like it.
「Please. Please test me out. If it isn’t good, then I’ll immediately return」
Maria petitioned me with a stronger will in her eyes.
Maria petitioned me with a stronger will in her eyes.
I think. About what would happen if I agree, and what would happen if I refuse.
I try to calculate the gains and losses of both but―― no matter what, some feeling didn’t let me.
I give up on the optimal solution and present a compromise.
「…….Okay. But, we’ll first confirm your gained magic on the lower floors, we’ll plan our next steps from there. Also, if I don’t think it’s a safe situation for Maria, then I’ll return you at once」
「Yes. That isn’t a problem」
Maria strongly nods. In those eyes, was the will to be helpful in the labyrinth.
What can I do to extinguish those determined flames, I worry in my head.
It can’t be helped that the snickering Lastiara was getting annoying. If you don’t plan on helping then please stay quiet.
After that, I hear in detail about Maria’s flame magic, and its usefulness surprised me. From what I heard, it wasn’t a power that could be dismissed sa「it’s useless」or「it can’t keep up」.
I had no choice now but to take Maria to the labyrinth.
And so, we pass through the《Connection》in the living room, and we move to the twentieth floor.
Since the twenty-first floor is dangerous, I decide to test it by taking the stairs above to the nineteenth floor.
I lure a reasonable monster the Carmine Minotaur, once I made sure it’s safe we enter combat.
Maria begins chanting her new magic from behind, Lastiara in the vanguard nimbly moves around the corridor.
First, the Minotaru swings down it’s big axe at Lastiara. That strong blow, hits Lastiara’s body dead center, her body is all too easily torn apart―― and Lastiara’s body disappears.
It disappeared――. The body of Lastiara that was torn apart, had disappeared in midair.
In reality, that Lastiara was a fake. Lastiara’s real body was in fact uninjured and running far away.
During that time, I hear the voice of Maria who was constructing her magic to my side.
「――《Firefly Mirage》,《Firefly Phantom》」
While dripping with sweat, Maria adds even more magic into it.
That Lastiara who disappeared, was in fact a phantom constructed from Maria’s magic.
《Firefly Mirage》is a magic that refracts light by changing the temperature and it can cause confusion,《Firefly Phantom》is a magic that can create a human shaped phantom.
Combining those two magics caused the Minotaur to miss it’s attacks.
Through the assistance of Maria’s magic, Lastiara is able to continue running around the surroundings with no danger.
Ss planned, Lastiara is only acting as a nuisance. She won’t go on the attack.
The goal for now is to test.
To confirm Maria’s support magic. And also, to confirm Maria’s greatest flame magic――《Midgard Blaze》, Lastiara won’t attack until then.
On that note I’m acting as Maria’s bodyguard.
「『Embers of judging flames』『Mercy through staggering visions――」
Maria chants a verse I’ve never heard. She didn’t do it before. This is probably something Alty suggested. The more Maria chants, the more the temperature of the surroundings rises.
And so, her verse ends, and the magic is fired.
「――『Swallow The Stars』!《Midgard Blaze》!!」
Along with those words, the magic that Maria been compressing turns into a flame.
A pillar of fire rises behind Maria, and those flames take on the figure of a giant serpent. And so, the giant flame serpent opens it’s jaws, it was as if a living snake was swimming through the air.
Lastiara who felt that surge of flame magic takes distance from the Minotaur. The Minotaur also notices the flames made of magic.
However, it was already too late.
Intending to endure those magic flames the minotaur readies it’s tough body.
The giant serpent of flames merciless bites down on it.
It’s flame fang bores through the Minotaur’s body, and its long body wraps around its enemy. The meat is burned, and the flames kept burning until exhaustion.
The Minotaur let out a sorrowful voice as it’s turned to charcoal and crumbled.
The remaining charcoal turns to light and vanishes, only a magic stone remained.
「Haahaa, haahaaa…… ! H, how was it, Master……!」
Maria asks for my impressions while catching her breath.
However, I was more worried about Maria than that. That magic from before had considerably deteriorated her condition.
And even if she’s able to use magic, Maria’s HP decreased.
My impression is a single world. It’s simply, abnormal.
I can’t really speak for myself, but it’s clear that that isn’t a magic that can be mastered in such a short time.
――The magic is too strong. And also, the『Compensation』isn’t normal.
The《Firefly》she already had was also quite abnormal, but that last《Midgard Blaze》is especially abnormal.
An abnormal attack that doesn’t match her level. And there was a change in Maria’s body after using it as well. No matter how high ranking the magic, it’s strange for her to lose this much stamina just from using it.
There was a time where my max HP was shaved off when chanting magic, but that’s something else. At that time I had no remaining MP, and as a result I had to use my maximum HP as a substitute.
But, this《Midgard Blaze》, in spite of there still being MP, it took HP. A magic that needs to use HP. Although it wasn’t max HP that was lost, it still isn’t right that it normally takes HP.
I was speechless at that all too special magic, I sought help from Lastiara.
Lastiara sensed my gaze and returns an answer.
「…… It’s also a magic I’ve never seen. Also, a method of activation I’ve never heard of. I also see it, this magic doesn’t only consume MP」
Lastiara held the same impressions as me.
Maria who heard that begins explaining her magic.
「That’s correct. The two magics I received from Alty-san《Midgard Storm》and《Flame Flamberge》are magics that use HP and MP. But, at any rate, if the enemy lands a direct hit on me then I’d still die, isn’t it fine to not worry about HP?」
Maria explained it as if it was nothing.
There was not even a hint of hesitation in that. As if it was something natural.
Certainly, her reasoning is correct. If this were a game, for max efficiency you would choose actions that use HP. But, Maria is living flesh and blood. Maria is living right there.
I’ve once seen death approach as my HP decreased. That’s why, I object.
「…… No, that might be true but it isn’t realistic. From what I saw, your condition worsened. If your health deteriorates, then your concentration and judgment would fall and that’d be an obstacle in battle. It’ll be too late once something irreparable happens. And it isn’t a magic that can kept on being used」
「My job is to construct magic from the rear. It’s not like you two who fight for every moment in the front line, so having my condition change a little won’t have an affect. To begin with, isn’t it too naive to think that HP won’t decrease in the labyrinth」
Maria slices my opinion apart.
It’s as she said. Maria is the one who makes more sense. If we’re to efficiently search the labyrinth, then that’s correct. My opinion stems from, I have a bad premonition so let’s stop―― an emotional argument.
Maria and I glare at each other, and then Lastiara cuts in between.
「Sieg, what Maria’s saying is right」
「It may be right……, but……」
「It’s fine. She only managed to fulfil the minimum requirements. It’s nothing to worry about, it still isn’t enough to follow in our battles」
Lastiara coldy evaluates Maria.
Even after seeing that powerful magic, Lastiara evaluated it as「Not enough」. In other words, although it’s fine in the nineteenth floor, from the twentieth floor and above she can’t keep up with the battles.
Maria bites on to that.
「Then, please test me. Once more, on the twenty first floor. I’ll show you that it’ll be more efficient with me here」
Maria’s will is tough. She desired a battle at the very front lines. Lastiara pleasantly replies to this.
「Un, of course we’ll test you. You’ll soon find out that it’s still not enough」
Saying that, Lastiara walks to the twentieth floor. Like that she plans on bringing Maria to the twenty first floor. With strong steps, Maria follows after Lastiara.
I don’t stop that. I also understood Lastiara’s thoughts.
Once we take her, it won’t be long before Maria realizes.
It’s because we saw the same thing that Lastiara’s thoughts matched with mine.
Only a few shots.
When I think of Maria’s limits, I repeat a simulation of our retreat numerous times, and I slowly follow after the two.
And so, we arrive at the twenty-first floor, we use the same formation as before.
In the same way as the nineteenth floor, Lastiara is the vanguard, and Maria concentrates on forming magic from the back.
It’s possible that an enemy that can hurt Lastiara will appear this time. At that time, I plan on carrying Maria who’d be in the middle of an aria and retreat.
Maria has the utmost trust in me, and she「Entrusts her life」to me. When Maria gather her magic she can’t pay attention to the surroundings. Her life is completely in my hands.
We take our formation and my 《Dimension》discovers a single Fury. We then take a sniping posture.
This is an adaption of the link with Dia from before.
The enemies distance is several hundred meters. Only a single corner is between us. From the great operation in Maria’s magic, it looks like it’s possible to turn the corner.
I explain to Maria the position of the target, and she chants her magic.
The flame serpent that had taken Maria’s MP plunges through the corridor.
There was no problem in hitting the target. The flame serpent bit down onto the slow Fury and burns it.
However, it wasn’t an instant death.
It give’s it’s deathcry, and finally dies after calling other monsters. This is the start of the performance.
「All right, one down. But, it’s voice should’ve called other monsters. Let’s change our location」
I convey the results to the two and urge them to move. Maria became happy after hearing the result.
「Haaahaaa, I did it…… !」
Her breathing is rough. It’s only natural after losing MP and HP.
Maria walks with tottering steps. Lastiara looks on as if it’s fun, and I coldly look at that.
And so, with cold thoughts. Only a few more battles―― We have to take a position that can retreat to the twentieth floor at any time. By no means should we seriously try to fight.
「Over here, you two」
With Lastiaraa and Maria, I run to the position of the next battle.
After moving several hundred meters, we were unable to shake off the monsters that gathered, and we are now between two Furys.
Maria immediately unleashed her support magic《Firefly》.
Like that Maria then switches into the aria for 《Midgard Blaze》. Lastiara and I are each in charge of one of the Furys.
The Fury aim for us who are in front of them while disregarding Maria. But, once Maria’s magic swells up, the Furys change their priorities.
Just before Maria was able to finish her magic, betting they’re lives, the Furys ignore our blocking.
I immediately put my sword back in『Items』, and run to Maria’s position with all my strength. And so, I princess carry Maria and take distance from the Fury.
While moving away, Maria finishes her magic.
Maria manifests the flame serpent while I carried her, it’s then fired at the chasing Fury. The Fury that was running straight for us had no way to dodge and the flame serpent landed a direct hit.
In the same was as the Minotaur, the fury that was swallowed in the flames struggled as it died.
The flame serpents attack still hasn’t ended. After finishing off the Fury, Maria continues maintaining the flame serpent. And so, it attacks the Fury that was fighting Lastiara. I call to Lastiara who was blocking it.
「Lastiara! Magics coming, get back!」
Lastiara had enough time so she takes her distance before the magic makes it.
It’s then that Maria’s flame serpent attacks. In the same way as before, the Fury’s life is taken in one blow.
With this, we’ve annihilated them. While in my arms, Maria gazes at the traces of the burned monsters in satisfaction.
However, the amount of sweat on her isn’t normal. All her nerves are worn out. Above all, the HP on『Display』had drastically decreased.
She needs a break.
With the voice of the Fury, even more of the surroundings monsters are called. At this rate we’ll be surrounded by the ever increasing monsters.
I deduce the location of the enemies and plan a safe route to return to the twentieth floor.
I carefully examine the route I made, and I then call out to Lastiara who is collecting the magic stones.
「Even more monsters are coming! Lastiara, we’re moving!」
I run while carrying Maria. Maria who’s in my arms is trying to refuse, but with her breathing there’s no way I’d let her run so I ignore her.
After moving for a while, three Furys blocked our path. This time we weren’t surrounded, thus Lastiara and I stand in the front while Maria stayed behind.
I confirm that Maria began her magic aria, and concentrate on the Fury in front of me.
Together with Lastiara we fight so that the three Fury’s don’t make it to the back.
On top of being on a straight path, the monsters position is good, we should be able to buy time with no problem. And so, from behind, as if swimming, the flame serpent heads to us.
Because I have《Dimension》, I was able to match my timing and successful move away. However, because Lastiara didn’t have a way to grasp what was behind, her timing was off.
I thought it’d be fine without calling out other. She always moves as if she knows, I had too much confidence in her believing that she’d match the timing.
While the flame serpent captures one Fury, as a result the link between Lastiara and me collapsed. Sensing that our link had collapsed, one of the Furys runs to Maria. I see that and immediately try to catch up, but the final Fury blocked my way.
Lastiara immediately runs, but Maria who confirmed the situation puts a stop to it.
「Lastiara-san, don’t worry!――『Run Flames』!」
Maria releases the control on her flame serpan and begins a different aria.
Lastarya was told to stop, but in the unlikely chance of something happening she kept running to Maria. After finishing the aria Maria unleashes her next magic.
Flames spout out of Maria’s arms, in an instant it condenses, and takes the form of a sword.
From that flame sword even more flames came out, it extends out to the attacking fury.
The Fury’s body was magnificently pierced through, and like that it burned. But, the fire power wasn’t enough.
It may be because the aria was short, but to put it simply the power of this was of lower rank than《Midgard Blaze》. While it was pierced by the sword, the Fury continues to move forward.
However, Lastiara’s sword puts a halt to that advance. Having received the attacks of the flames and sword, the Fury collapse and turns to light.
The only one left is the one I’m facing, together with Lastiara and Maria, it was no longer a threat.
After defeating the three Furys, we gather up the magic stones.
However, only Maria didn’t move. Short on breath she couldn’t even move a step.
「Maria, we’re returning to the twentieth floor……」
Maria didn’t respond to my words.
She tried to respond. But her labored breathing did not permit that.
In just a few battles, Maria was exhausted to the point she couldn’t reply.
I take Maria on my back, and with Lastiara we move to the twentieth floor.
Maria tries to say something while in my arms, but I couldn’t hear those words.
「――in short, your ability for successive battles isn’t enough, Maria-chan. If it isn’t a magic that fits, your MP will immediately run out」
Lastiara explains to the out of breath girl, Maria.
The location is in front of the《Connection》on the twentieth floor. We obtained our safety and were now in the middle of an evaluation meeting.
「I, it looks like it…… It looks like it was useless……」
Maria agrees with her head hanging down.
Maria had fully realized what Lastiara was lying through her own body. There was no way to object. Maria slowly stands up, and with a smile, she continues her words.
「It looks like it’s still useless, I’ll return for today. I’ve taken up your time…..」
But, she is smiling. It couldn’t be helped that a smile stuck on a pale face felt eerie. What emotions Maria has when agreeing with a smile, I’m not able to understand.
Losing my words to respond, Lastiara replies in my place.
「Un, see you. Maria-chan, today I want to eat meat. Like, that popular, good tasting, and firm to bite thing, please」
「Yes, understood. I’ll be waiting with a delicious meal」
The two laugh together, and tonight’s meal was decided.
―― I couldn’t keep up.
I couldn’t understand those nerves.
And so, only Lastirara and me remained on the twentieth floor.
Lastiara lightly stretches and begins talking to me.
「ufuu. That was quite interesting」
「…… How. I was in a cold sweat the whole time」
「With that sword like flame magic, it’d be fine even if the monsters get close to Maria on the twenty first floor, isn’t it safer than before?」
「It’s scarier with halfhearted attacks. I’d feel better if she didn’t do anything」
Although she obtained a powerful magic, Maria’s status is still not fit for the twenty-first floor.
Maria can’t keep up with the Fury’s speed, and she can’t recieve an attack, really, with a single mistake she’d be dead. There’s no way I’d be relieved with that.
Damn Alty……, you really did more than you should’ve.
I take a breath, and walked to the staircase of the twenty-first floor.
Lastiara follows and confirms our goal.
「Is today the day we aim for the thirtieth floor?」
「No, if possible I’d like to continue hunting monsters on the twenty-first floor…..」
「Is there an enemy we need to raise our level for?」
「That’s not the case but……」
There’s no problem with the enemies strength. One way or another, I never received a straight on attack.
「If were going to raise our level, then let’s move a bit further in. After confirming the levels of the next enemies, won’t it be easier to level up?」
「That’s true but……, I can’t put it into words well…….」
Lastiara probably just want to go deeper in. she tries to attach a reason to anything in order to progress. I lose to that enthusiasm and nod my head. It’s true that I haven’t felt any dangerous enemy.
「Fine. Let’s move forward」
「Just like I wanted」
Lastiara and I progress deeper into the labyrinth.
There were no abnormalities from the twentieth to twenty-third floor.
These floors don’t have many kinds of monsters, so we continued through the『Correct Path』without encountering a new monster. Of course, we did our best to avoid enemies. That’s so we can have enough energy to search for the twenty-fourth floor.
However, even though we began our search of the twenty-third floor with lots of spare energy, we were unable to find the staircase to the twenty-fourth floor.
「Nope…… Aahh, I’m getting irritatedー……」
It’s our second time searching, so we thought we’d immediately find the staircase to the twenty-fourth floor, but it didn’t go as smoothly as we thought. After walking around for an hour, there was still no sign of the staircase.
With the situation as it is Lastiara’s frustration continues accumulating.
Lastiara calls out after running out of patience.
「Sieg, make your perception magic even bigger!」
It’s something I’d like to avoid if I can.
Right now I have《Dimension》spread only a few meters. Depending on the situation I’ll even cut it. I only use my perception magic at fixed intervals. It’s mostly only used to check for any nearby monsters.
Conserving MP is one of the reasons, but I don’t consider being lost like this a bad situation.
Although we’re lost I’ve made sure to properly fill the map, and we’ve been fighting a moderate amount of monsters. The more time we take, the more experience and funds I’m able to gather. Without risk, step by step I’m able to fulfill my goal of 『Returning』.
However, Lastiara is different. She reached the limits of her irritation from the heat and humidity of the twenty-third floor.
「We have no time! At this rate it’ll end with me completely dried!」
「Can’t be helped……」
I have no idea what Lastiara would do if she gets any more irritated than this. There’s also the fact of wanting to go one floor a day.
I use《Dimension Gladiator》, and I find the next staircase. After finding it, the rest is easy. Reaching it took no time at all.
As Lastiara was saying「Finally the next floorー」, we descended the stairs.
But, the moment we descended, we swallow our breath.
When descending on the twenty-fourth floor, the first thing I felt is it’s vast space.
Until now the labyrinth was like a maze as its name implied, other than the boss area there weren’t any open spaces. But, the twenty-fourth floor ignored that theory.
The usual corridors don’t exist, only the vast space of the tenth and twentieth floor was the same. Nevertheless, it isn’t as if it’s a space with a clear view. Stone pillars were lined up, and it looked like a cave. And so, above all it’s special characteristic is lava. The boiling lava forms several rivers.
If the twenty-third floor was a temperature that normal people couldn’t bear, then the twenty-fourth floor with lava is deadly. No, if it was a normal person then they probably wouldn’t be able to breathe. It’s because of the strengthened bodies we received from leveling up, that Lastiara and I can stand here.
「You can find the staircase with your perception magic can’t you…… ?」
In a moment, with few words, we decided on our course of action for this floor.
Our opinions didn’t differ. We became one in not wanting to stay on this floor more than needed. I spread《Dimension》over the area, and search for the staircase.
But, I couldn’t find it. The radius of information gathering for《Dimension》is about 1 kilometer, so from this I could tell the staircase wasn’t within one kilometer.
We’ll have to move a good amount.
「Lastiara, the staircase isn’t close. We’ll have to move deeper in」
We progress through the twenty-fourth floor with Lastiara unable to complete her answer. Lastiara is sweating like a waterfall, I have to find the staircase as soon as possible.
We raise our walking speed, and progress while avoiding the lava.
The monsters on the twenty-fourth floor are very few. Luckily, the only thing we have to be careful of is the lava, so we’re able to progress without any obstacles.
We moved about five hundred meters from where we started, and I come to a stop in order to use《Dimension》.
「I’m going to use my perception magic again」
I pass water to Lastiara while focusing on my magic.
It was then. A sound like a bursting bubble rang close by.
It was at the moment that the caution of Lastiara and I grew thin.
Taking advantage of that negligence, a monster from inside the nearby lava jumps out.
The monster had a shape like a lizard. But, with it’s big size, it is several dozens of times the size of the lizards in my world. With the force it jumped out with, the lizard aims to tear it’s nails into the unfocused Lastiara.
But, Lastiara manages to repel it just in time.
Lava scattered as well along with the monsters appearance, and with her astounding reflexis she dodges it.
While surprised, the fact that Lastiara managed to dodge made me relieved.
The lizard monsters with claws lets out a colored breath and then glares at us from a distance. I immediately『Observe』it and assertion the details of the monster.
【Monster】Poison Salamander : Rank23
I confirm the name Poison Salamander, and the fact that there’s a high risk of poison enters my mind.
The breath the Poison Salamander let out is the most suspicious, I inform Lastiara.
「Lastiara! There’s a high chance that there’s poison in it’s breath!」
「So, sorry. I already breathed in a considerable amount」
Lastaira who was close to the Poison Salamander stood in the middle of the enemies breath. After having staved off the enemies attack, she wasn’t able bring her breathing to an immediate stop.
I check Lastiara’s condition.
It’s now definite that she’s been poisoned.
Taking a closer look I could see that lastiara’s face was in a terrible condition. Along with being weakened form the abnormal heart she was also poisoned. That was hard even on Lastiara.
In order to lower Lastiara’s burden, I go to stab the Poison Salamander as fast as I can. However, noticing my approach the Poison Salamander jumps into the lava. Of course, it leaves it’s poison breath as a parting gift.
Like this, we no longer had a method to attack it. I couldn’t get closer because of the lava. With no other choice, I use《Dimension》to at least check for it’s position. However, my magic couldn’t completely pierce through the lava, and I couldn’t completely grasp its movements.
For the time being, I use the edge of my overcoat to cover my mouth, and get closer to Lastiara who has an ill complexion.
「Damn it, nothing can be done once it goes under. Lastiara, are you fine with the poison?」
「Nnn, my heads hurting a bit. It might be because it’s hot, but the poison is rough…… But it’s fine, I’ll cure it with magic now…… ――『Like An Illusion, Turn The Soothing Water To The Unreturned Blood』」
Lastiara chants her magic, and she tries to treat her poison.
However, that wasn’t permitted, a Poison Salamander one again flies out of the lava. In addition, this time there are two.
So that they don’t get close to Lastiara I take out my spare sword from my『Items』, and I repel them with both hands. And so, I immediately try to counterattack. But, once gain the Poison Lizards leave their poison breath as a parting give and escape into the lava.
The surroundings of Lastiara and I are now covered in a poison mist.
Lastiara finished her magic’s chant. However, that magic is futile.
Even if it’s cured, inside of this poison mist, we’ll immediately get poisoned again.
「Lastiara. For now, we can’t land a clear hit on them, and we can’t heal properly. We’re running」
「It’s frustrating, but it looks like it. But I have confidence that I’ll bring them down the next time we meet……」
「I don’t guarantee it’ll be the same two. It’s difficult for《Dimension》penetrate through the lava, so I can’t get a clear count on their numbers」
「Then it can’t be helped……」
Lastiara and I run back on the path we came.
But, as if to not let us leave, a Poison Salamander rushes out at us.
It was an attack within expectations. Without effort, I clear away the Poison Salamander that came out. If it isn’t from the lava, then it can be handled even if it’s in my blind spot.
While avoiding their pursuit, we turn our bodies and bear the poison while we continue running.
I thought of evacuating to the safe twentieth floor, but because there is few lava and enemies near the staircase from the twenty-fourth to twenty-third floor, we decide to recover there.
「――《Cure Full》. And also《Cure Full》」
With her magic Lastiara removes the poison and recovers our max HP. However, as compensation she lost a large amount of MP. In my case as well, I also don’t have much to work with.
「We both used too much MP…… Let’s return for now…… If it’s now, I can make a《Connection》here, and we can go back immediately」
「Let’s do that……」
I thought Lastiara would grumble, but she was strangely obedient. It seems that it isn’t only MP that the poison wore out, but also her stamina.
Lastiara keeps watch of the surroundings, and I construct《Connection》.
Like this, we go through the improvised door, and we end our search for the day.
「……That was fast, welcome back」
After running home from the twenty-fourth floor, in the same way as yesterday Maria was on her way to prepare dinner.
It looked like she was preparing other housework as well.
「Well, it didn’t really go as expected……」
A complaint of the labyrinth search that didn’t progress well spills out.
Maria who heard that chuckles and returns an answer.
「I can tell from seeing」
And so, she points at our clothing.
Lastiara and my clothing had burned here and there and was thoroughly worn out.
From Maria’s view it probably looks like we had the tables turned on us and ran home.
In reality, that wasn’t wrong.
Lastiara immediately throws away her worn out clothes and goes to change into a replacement. Although she didn’t take off her underwear, I’m troubled for where to look so please stop that. In a panic Maria stuffs Lastiara in the nearby room.
And so, after changing her clothes Lastiara lets out a sigh, and she sits in the table at the center of the living room.
「Ha, it was hotー, I was tiredー, it was hotー」
It seems the high temperature of the twenty-third and twenty-fourth floor are Lastiara’s worst enemies. In a state with no energy left, she places her head on the table.
「Lastiara, I’m going out to buy an item to deal with the high temperature but do you want to come?」
If we’re going to challenge that floor again, then there are a lot of things we have to buy. I also want to gather information on that lava area, so I have no plans of stopping at the house. I check with Lastiara if she wants to go shopping together.
「For now, I think I’ll go」
With a stagger Lastiara stands from her seat.
「Oi, you don’t have to force yourself. If you tell me what you want then I’ll buy it……」
「No, I don’t want to stand still so i’ll go with you」
Maria who’s preparing dinner sees us off, and Lastiara and I leave the house.
For the time being, I have to go around and buy more water and food, I’ll also check around in the library and bar for a method to deal with the lava zone.
The shopping itself finished without incident, but I wasn’t able to get any good information regarding the lava zone. Whether asking or reading, it ended with don’t get close to the lava zone, there was no useful information of the twenty-fourth floor anywhere.
If there was an aim then it’d be Lastiara’s acquaintance the strongest searcher Glen, but he’s not such an easy person to meet.
In the end, the method to capture the lava zone, is to run while avoiding the monsters.
After shopping and information gathering, when we were about to return home, Lastiara suggests something.
「――Ahh. If it’s the lava zone, can’t Alty do something? That girl, isn’t she a flame boss monster?」
I rejected the method that was in the corner of my head, but Lastiara though it was a good idea. As a result, I was too embarrassed to reply.
It’s because I went through a terrible experience due to that guardian Alty. Although she’s a girl she is a monster, I’d like to associate with her as little as possible.
But, it’s true that the idea has value.
As if it were a character prepared for this hardship. If this were a game, then the first thing you’d have to do would be to talk to Alty. however, in reality my legs didn’t want to move there.
「So it’s Alty……」
「Hmm? I thought it was a good idea, is it no good?」
Rather than good idea, that’s probably the correct action.
Since we ended our search early today, there’s more than enough time to go to her home in the tenth floor and contact her. Also, I want to heart about the matter with teaching Maria magic.
I don’t have the resources to reject Lastiara’s plan. So I reluctantly consent.
「That’s true…… Let’s go……」
Like this, we go to the entrance of the labyrinth and aim for the tenth floor. Since our MP isn’t reliable right now, we chose to go for the entrance with the easier difficulty.
It should be safe walking on the『Correct Path』from the first to the tenth floor. Without any problems, we arrive at the burning tenth floor.
In the same way as before, I talk to the flames.
「Alty! Are you good right now!?」
I have already confirmed that there weren’t any other searchers in these surroundings. And without reserve my loud voice echoes in the tenth floor.
Showing it’s results, it wasn’t soon before Alty answered.
「Aah, I’m fine. Do you need something? Sieg, Lastiara」
The flames sway, and I’m able to hear the voice of a cute girl.
I already got used to it after having seen and heard it before. I lower the volume of my voice and talk about what happened today.
「Some trouble popped up. It’s about the labyrinths twenty-fourth floor――」
I explain the trouble in the labyrinth as easily as I can.
After hearing that, Alty pleasantly undertakes it.
「――Fumu. I get the gist. It’s fine to leave it to me. If you want I can teach you magic to avoid lava. Also, magic that can protect you from heat. Since that temperature is probably a deadly weapon to humans」
Lastiara who is standing behind raises a delighted voice.
「Thank youー, Alty! That heat brought me to my limits!」
Lastiara accepts without any suspicions, and gives her thanks to Alty.
However, unlike Lastiara I couldn’t easily accept it.
I still haven’t said my worries. The conversation still hasn’t finished.
I ask Alty who she’ll teach those magics to.
「Hey, Alty. Who’ll you teach that magic? If possible I――」
「Not you and Lastiara」
Alty splendidly responded to my worries.
「Wh, why, not Lastiara or me……?」
「First of all, you aren’t fit for it. You can harass me as much as you want, but since you specialize too much in dimension magic it’s impossible」
Alty declares that I specialize in dimension magic.
It’s something I vaguely realized in that time at the magic shop. I have no specialization other than dimension magic, and it’s possible that I can’t learn magic that isn’t dimension magic.
While clenching my teeth, I make sure of the next idea.
「Then, why isn’t Lastiara good?」
「She has no room to learn magic. She’s already full so it’s impossible. That’s something Lastiara should already know right?」
Alty’s flame mouth declares towards Lastiara.
In surprise, Lastiara consents to that.
「I not too sure. But it’s true that I can’t learn magic. It’s because in my blood, there’s no more room to learn a new spell」
That was the first I’ve heard of it. I was no less surprised than Lastiara.
And so, Alty continues her attack while I was still surprised.
「That’s why, I thought of teaching it to Maria, how about it?」
It’s not good at all
The worst proposal.
I thought Lastiara and I were well rounded, but to think that our magic was this inflexible.
However, I quickly recover myself. In regards to the magic, there is no other person we could trust.
「Please stop it with Maria. If possible……――teach it to Dia. If it’s Alty then you should know about her. Maria’s no good. She isn’t fit for the labyrinth」
In a loss I gave Dia’s name. Even if Lastiara finds out about Dia here, I’d like to avoid having Maria’s abilities strengthened.
If possible I Wanted to carefully choose the setting for the meeting between Dia and Lastiara, but it wouldn’t work out like that in the end.
「That’s no good. I’ll teach it to Maria-chan」
Alty denies my plea.
Unable to bear it I raise my voice.
「Why, well that’s, because Maria-chan is awakening to her love for you. I have to support that. Well, I’ll put aside whether her love is innocent or impure」
On top of that, she even dropped a bomb.
For an instant, the insides of my head went white.
I couldn’t process Alty’s words, and I couldn’t return any words.
Alty ignores my confusion and continues talking.
「As a guardian, I have to support Maria-chan’s『Fulfillment of Love』. Also, if possible, I’d like it if you cooperated. Cooperator Siegfried Visitor」
The guardian asked for my cooperation. But, that’s not possible.
――「Maria is awakening to her love for me」
From just that , it’s out of the question.
If I try to understand it, my brain refuses.
It didn’t want to recognize it.
I can’t believe that Maria is in love with me. I don’t want to believe.
The first time we talked, Maria said I was the worst. She’s always rebellious, there was no sign of yearning for me at all. Towards me she’s always harsh, cheeky, that’s definitely not the state of a girl in love. From the ones here I’m the one whos been with Maria the longest. And I haven’t acted cool or anything, so there’s no way maria could be in love. absolutely, no way. Absolutely, that kind of thing――!
「Alty, h, how could you! Maria-chan, she was trying so hard to hide it! And for you, to reveal it in this place!」
But, while desperately resisting, Lastiara denies me in a cheerful voice.
「But you know, Lastiara. There are also times where a third party meddles and they become a couple. At least to me, I’m not the type to watch a devoted girl never reveal her feelings in her life」
「But I am. That type, begin unable to endure, being unable to do it, being irritated, a never ending love is good!」
「Your taste are really bad. Your sense differs from me」
Alty and Lastiara’s conversation enters my ears. Lastiara also doesn’t deny Maria’s love. They spoke as if it’s a given.
It sounds like they knew since a while back, but they kept quiet.
Then that means, from Lastiara’s view there’s no doubt towards Maria’s love?
In that case, what’s the correct way for me to respond.
What’s the correct way to answer.
I have to first think of the gains and losses―― No, I have to first think of my stress―― No, I have to first think of my morals and Maria’s feelings―― it’s wrong, it’s wrong it’s wrong. It’s wrong.
My objective is to return. What I have to first think of is how to『Return』.
I have the reason of returning. I tried not to think of it, and kept in a place deep inside of me, but I certainly have the reason of returning.
That’s right. If I don’t return, if I don’t return my family, her, my sister――
――No good. Any more than this is no good.
If I think of that, then I won’t be able to hold it back. In that case, it’d be the first day all over again
I’ve already used the skill『？？？』a number of times.
Of course, using the skill here to regain my calm wouldn’t be bad.
Even with my worries of confusion reaching 10.00, thanks to my patience in these past few days, it was recovered to a point it wouldn’t reach the 10.00 mark with a single activation.
If I put it to use, then all my emotions would calm down, and I’ll be able to give a reasonable answer. That is, to『Return』, and it isn’t a bad one.
That is, something I don’t believe is good to do as a person.
If it activates, then I’m certain that I wouldn’t accept Maria’s love. If I were to rationally answer, then it’s something completely unnecessary for『Returning』.
With this skill the foolish love of a single girl would come to an end. But it’d be terribly insincere, and the lowest act. If, if Maria really did hold feelings of love towards me, then I have to answer her by deeply thinking about it thought my own power.
With my shallow life experience of close to ten years, that’s the answer I come up with, there’s no need for any further confusion. It’s not unbearable. It still isn’t an urgent matter.
I let out a large breath to calm down.
Alty who notices that talk in an admiring tone.
「It seems, like you’ve calmed down」
While making an effort to stay calm I reply.
「I’m not calm. I’m shocked」
「But it looks like you’re calm」
「…… Anyways, I get that Maria might be in love with me. And also, that Alty has no plans in backing down. Then it can’t be helped. I don’t feel like being a nuisance in Alty’s wish, and it’s fine to teach Maria magic. But, please promise me that you’ll teach that magic to Dia later. Since I took on a policy of not involving Maria with the labyrinth」
「Fumu…… Sure, I’ll also teach Dia. Since I’m the two’s Teacher」
「In fact, in a place you haven’t seen, I’ve already met with the two a good amount. Now we’re even close to the point they can call me Teacher」
Once again a new truth is disclosed, I begin getting confused. However, I firmly preserve my conscience and continue the conversation.
「…… Ah, you should be prepared for Maria’s『Fulfillment Of Love』wish to not have much resolution. I didn’t say it as coldly as that time with Franruhle, but, it’s true that I have no intention of that. This isn’t about Maria or anyone else, I simply don’t have the time for that type of ting. I have to get to the deepest part of the labyrinth as soon as possible. That takes priority over anything else」
「I thought you’d say that. Well, it’s not as if I’m planning to force Sieg and Maria together. Since for these things both of your feelings are important」
「…… All right. Don’t be unreasonable with us. Is that fine?」
All right, I managed to get over it.
Though shaken, I managed to prevent the course of the conversation.
After finishing the negotiation with Alty, I then move onto when she plans to teach the magic to Maria and Dia. However, Lastiara who was behind us began meddling.
「Funfun. And, in the end what does Sieg think of Maria-chan?」
「What. I like her quite a bit, as a companion. But, our ages are separated, and I don’t think of her as the oppposite sex」
「Heee, will you tell that to Maria-chan when we return?」
「I won’t. Since it’s not one hundred percent guaranteed that Maria is actually in love. This is something that Alty and Lastiara see. If I say it, it’d be embarrassing if I get told she doesn’t like me, and also awkward」
「Uuun, but I think it is one hundred percentー」
「If Maria herself reveals it, then I’ll properly answer. But, I won’t say anything for anything other than that. I’ll act the same as always, and interact the same as always」
While I was talking, Lastiara nods several times while closely examining mywords.
And so, after some time passes, she speaks with a smile covering her face.
「A Sieg like answer. And, it isn’t bad for me. It’s delicious」
A smile I can’t stand.
Lastiara was very satisfied. But, there was a voice that wasn’t quite so.
I could understand only form her voice that she was dissatisfied with my position.
「No, it’s nothing? More importantly, let’s talk about the magic. When is it fine to teach it?」
She had no intention to say the reason for it. And the derailed conversation goes back on track.
「Uu, uuum, as soon as possible would be good. For us at least」
「Fumu. Okay. Then―― 」
Leaving Lastiara out, I begin discussing the details with Alty.
And so, it became that the magic would be taught to Maria and Dia on today and tomorrow. If it’s those two, then it won’t take much time for them to learn the magic.
We confirm the smaller details at the end, I give my thanks to Alty and I go to leave the tenth floor.
「Thanks for everything, Alty. Then, see you……」
「Aah, let’s meet again, Sieg. ――I’ll be expecting it」
At the time of our parting, Alty shows a bit of her desire.
And that desire, weights on my heart. My thoughts become heavy.
Even though I didn’t want to think of love, Alty makes sure to remind me.