“Hey, Makoto, you will catch a cold if you sleep in a place like this, you know?” (Lucy)
When I opened my eyes, I saw the face of Lucy in front of me.
It is already dark around.
“Aah, my bad. I have been sleeping for quite a while, huh.” (Makoto)
“What are you doing? Even though it was dinner already, you didn’t come at all… I was worried, you know.” (Lucy)
Lucy had a kind of angry and sad expression.
“I was meeting with the Goddess.” (Makoto)
“Eh?! I see. What did she say?” (Lucy)
What should I say?
I am not sure.
I should tell her secretly later regarding my Soul Book.
“I was told to go to Laberintos.” (Makoto)
“Laberintos? Nice! My arm is itching!” (Lucy)
“You are coming too, Lucy?” (Makoto)
“Eh? I-I can’t?” (Lucy)
It troubles me if you look at me with those teary eyes, you know.
“You are not a believer of the Goddess, so there’s no need for you to follow what she says.” (Makoto)
“It is okay! The monsters around here felt lacking lately!” (Lucy)
Well, she blasts them all after all.
It was to the point where I pitied the monsters.
“Then, let’s go report to the guild we are gonna go.” (Makoto)
“Yes! You are a bit more spirited than before, Makoto.” (Lucy)
“Hm? Really?” (Makoto)
“You have been down lately after all.” (Lucy)
I worried her, huh.
I scratched my cheek.
The position is reversed from last time.
“Eh?! Why suddenly Laberintos?!” (Mary)
Mary-san, that’s too loud.
“You have other dungeons aside from that one. The Salamander Valley of the Fire Country; the Forest of the Lost in the Wood Country where the Dryads are; you could also go to the Ice Lion Cave of the Water Country.” (Mary)
“Well, normally, intermediate dungeons like those would work fine.” (Makoto)
“That’s right!” (Mary)
“But I decided so already.” (Makoto)
Mary-san is making a troubled expression.
“Hey, Lucy-chan, say something to Makoto-kun.” (Mary)
“The leader of our party is Makoto, so I will follow his lead.” (Lucy)
I was the leader?
I didn’t know.
For now, it seems like Lucy agrees.
“Mary-san, I count on you with the paperwork.” (Makoto)
“Wuuh…Makoto-kun and Lucy-chan are Iron Rank, so according to the rules, there’s no problems though… Haaah…” (Mary)
She was complaining, but she did the process for us.
I wonder why she doesn’t recommend us to go to Laberintos?
“Ooh, Makoto, I heard you are going to Laberintos?” (Lucas)
“It will be lonely here.” (Jean)
I was called out by Lucas-san and Jean who were drinking in the guild stalls.
Information passes around fast.
“Jean, where’s Emily?” (Makoto)
Even though they are always together.
“She said she would be going to eat together with Lucy outside.” (Jean)
“Now that you mention it, I don’t see Lucy either.” (Makoto)
So you two really do get along.
“So, when are you going to go?” (Lucas)
“It hasn’t been settled at all yet. Old man, one ale.” (Makoto)
Let’s eat together since I am here already.
This stall uses a whole lot of oil to fry stuff.
It is kinda like chinese food.
The cold ale really goes well with the food.
“You have been to Laberintos before right, Lucas-san?” (Makoto)
“Of course. There’s no Gold Rank that hasn’t challenged Laberintos.” (Lucas)
“How far did you go?” (Jean)
I also want to know.
“Hmm, Laberintos is not a normal dungeon. There’s no 10th floor or 20th floor. It is Upper, Mid, Lower, Core, and Deepest Floor; 5 in total only. I could only reach till the Core, but…don’t go there yet, Makoto.” (Lucas)
“I know. The Lower and Core are called the Dragon Nest, right?” (Makoto)
It is popularly known.
I was taught this in the Temple.
“Yeah, there’s a whole lot of Earth Dragons, Water Dragons, and Fire Dragons.” (Lucas)
“…That sounds dangerous.” (Makoto)
“But the monsters in the Upper Floor are all small fries. The only thing you should watch out for would be the Minotaur.” (Lucas)
“The watchman of Laberintos’s Upper Floor.” (Makoto)
“Well, if it is the current Lucy and Makoto, you should be able to manage somehow unless you are surrounded by several at once.” (Lucas)
Lucas-san munches on his fried meat while drinking ale.
“The Mid Floor has so many different types that I can’t say them all. Goblins, Orcs, Man-Eating Giants, Zombies, Skeletons, Vampires, Lamias, Arachnes, Harpies; anything goes.” (Lucas)
“But there isn’t an overly strong monster.” (Jean)
‘If that’s the case, even I would be able to’, is what Jean probably would think.
Do you want to come with me?
“Naive. The Mid Floor monsters are all in ‘packs’.” (Lucas)
“There’s a boss in the packs, and they give orders to attack all at once or retreat. Your regular adventurer would get surrounded in an instant and eaten.” (Lucas)
As expected of the biggest dungeon of the continent.
The difficulty is high.
I have never met monsters who come to attack us with group coordination.
“That’s not the only thing you have to be careful about” (Lucas)
“There’s still more?” (Makoto)
“This is important. In Laberintos, there’s newbie hunting.” (Lucas)
“Uhm, as in, scary veteran adventurers kicking cocky rookies?” (Makoto)
If it is that much, it sounds like every city would have that.
“It is not like that at all. Laberintos is the aspiration of adventurers. There’s adventurers that do their best in the dungeons at their area, gain confidence, and then buy some nice equipment to challenge the dungeons, right? They hunt them.” (Lucas)
“The easily targeted ones are the sons of nobles that become adventurers to get their name out there. The rookie adventurers that have visibly good equipment are nice suckers for them. They have their equipment taken away from them, and become food for monsters.” (Lucas)
“Makoto! Don’t go to Laberintos!” (Jean)
Jean is completely scared now, he tries to stop me.
No well, my spirit has gone down all the way with this talk.
“Ahahahaha, if you got scared from that, give it up. I have told every single adventurer that is aiming for Laberintos the same story.” (Lucas)
“Well, I am still going though.” (Makoto)
The Goddess gave me a specific instruction which is rare.
I can’t let this event go.
But what’s this meeting she is talking about?
“Then I won’t stop you, but make sure to do your preparations properly, okay?” (Lucas)
Lucas-san tells me that with serious eyes.
I really owe this old man a lot.
Same with the adventurers of Makkaren.
After that, I was made to listen to the adventures of Lucas-san and scary stories about Laberintos.
Let’s go for round 2, is what Jean and Lucas-san said, but I was on my way to train for a little bit, and got caught by Mary-san.
“Accompany me for a bit.” (Mary)
The place Mary-san brought me to was at the outskirts of the city, a bar called Asakusa.
This name…oh well.
A quiet establishment.
It is different from the guild stalls and Cat Ears Garden, it is an adult establishment.
I don’t know the etiquette of this kind of establishment, so I ordered the cocktail they recommended to me.
It is a bit rough on the alcohol.
The color is a beautiful blue though.
“Hey, you heard about stories of Laberintos from Lucas-san, right?” (Mary)
“Yes, it looks like there’s a lot of dangers there.” (Makoto)
“You are going no matter what?” (Mary)
“Are you against it?” (Makoto)
Mary-san didn’t answer that question.
She finished gulping down the cocktail that has a high percentage of alcohol and mutters this.
“You know, I had a little brother.” (Mary)
This is the first time I have heard of that.
“Is that so. An adventurer?” (Makoto)
“That’s right. He went to Laberintos 3 years ago.” (Mary)
Could this be…
“Right after becoming Iron Rank. He said he wanted to get a name for himself quickly and was pumped up.” (Mary)
“What is he doing now?” (Makoto)
I somewhat have an idea, but I end up asking.
“I don’t know. I haven’t been able to contact him.” (Mary)
Mary-san drinks around half of her second glass.
Can’t…contact him, huh.
“He promised that he would be coming back one time each year to Makkaren. The leader of the party was Silver Rank, and at that time, they were called the Rising Rookies.” (Mary)
“I see…” (Makoto)
“They defeated a Griffon with 4 Iron Ranks, isn’t that impressive?” (Mary)
“Fufu, there’s a party of 4 Bronze that defeated a Griffon recently though. The record of my little brother has been broken…” (Mary)
Uuh, what should I say…
Having communication problems is tough.
“Are you going no matter what?” (Mary)
She asked the same question.
I could deceive her, but…
“I am. But I won’t do anything reckless.” (Makoto)
“But you want to gain fame, right?” (Mary)
“Not really.” (Makoto)
Don’t have much interest in that.
“Liar! You are going to Laberintos, yet talk about not caring about fame. In the end, you will just be reckless and won’t return!” (Mary)
“I don’t want this anymore! Waiting for someone that won’t return! Don’t go anywhere!” (Mary)
The loud voice of Mary-san made the customers in the bar look at us dubiously.
“What? Lover’s spat?”, “Quite the childish-looking guy for a beauty”, “Do that elsewhere”.
For now, we pay the tab and leave the bar.
Mary-san is crying.
She is muttering the name of someone, probably her little brother.
I have her sit on a bench to calm her down.
I stand up for a bit and speak to her.
“Mary-san, I am a coward, so I will adventure at the Upper Floor of Laberintos for a bit and return real quick.” (Makoto)
“I am going to Laberintos because I have an acquaintance there, you see.” (Makoto)
I actually don’t know who yet though.
This is just what the Goddess said.
“Acquaintance… A woman?” (Mary)
“Eh? No no no, it is not.” (Makoto)
Which is it, Goddess-sama?
“Hmmm, then say that from the beginning.” (Mary)
It seems she is in a better mood now.
“Aah, sorry about that. Making a fuss all of a sudden.” (Mary)
“No, after hearing your story about your brother, I can understand why you are worried.” (Makoto)
“Uhnn, we left the bar. What should we do now?” (Mary)
“It is already late, so let’s go back.” (Makoto)
“Eeh? Even though it is so rare for us two to be alone?” (Mary)
It is the usual Mary-san.
What a relief.
“Hey! As an apology for the trouble I caused you at the bar, how about drinking again at my home?! I will cook for you.” (Mary)
The room of a woman at this late of an hour?
Or more like, this would be the first time I go to the room of a girl in my life.
“It is settled then! Now! Let’s go!” (Mary)
She is pulling me.
Due to her being drunk and having heard the story before, I couldn’t reject her strongly.
If I were to refuse, Mary-san might drown herself in alcohol thinking about her little brother that won’t return.
That would be a bit sad.
I might as well accompany her for a while.
I won’t be able to tag along with her till morning though.
“Okay, we are here~.” (Mary)
The house of Mary-san was a short walk from the bar of before.
An apartment complex made of bricks.
It is a bit old-fashioned, but it is a fancy building.
“Now now, come in, come in.” (Mary)
“No need to push, I can walk on my own…” (Makoto)
I was going to enter while being pushed by the flow, but…
We were called to a stop.
What is she doing in a place like this?
“Geh, Lucy-chan.” (Mary)
“Hey! Where are you taking Makoto?!” (Lucy)
“Now now, Lucy, Mary-san is sad because of her little brother that won’t return. Give this one a pass.” (Makoto)
“Mary’s little brother? He made a name for himself in Laberintos, and right now it is said that he is playing around flashily in the capital; you are talking about that Kyle-san?” (Lucy)
It is kind of different from what I heard though?
“Mary-san, didn’t your little brother pass away?” (Makoto)
“What are you saying, Makoto? The little brother of Mary, Kyle-san, is part of the famous party, Golden Claw, and is called the Emperor of the Night in the capital, you know?” (Lucy)
“Wuuuh…my cute little brother is no longer in this world.” (Mary)
“Hey! Your little brother is healthy then!” (Makoto)
Even though I was pretty worried here!
“Makoto, you are easily deceived.” (Lucy)
“I didn’t deceive him! I just didn’t tell him!” (Mary)
She is saying something similar to the Goddess.
“Or more like, what are you doing here, Lucy?” (Makoto)
“T-The inn I am staying at is around here! And then, I heard the voice of Makoto and Mary, so…” (Lucy)
“Lucy-chan, stalker…” (Mary)
“I am not! Don’t say weird stuff!” (Lucy)
“Uhm, then, I am already sleepy here, so I will be leaving.” (Makoto)
The two grabbed me from both sides.
I want to go back already though.
In the end, Mary-san, Lucy, and I drank till morning in Mary-san’s apartment.
Accurately speaking, I knocked myself out after drinking for one hour though.