Chapter 134: Abnormal change to the Labyrinth of Tribulations
Similar to yesterday I spent the day with everyone until dinner but after dispersing I headed to the Labyrinth of Tribulations on my own.
While feeling relieved that I could use the card meant to operate the magic-driven elevator without issues, I advanced to the entrance of the labyrinth.
“I might find it slightly smelly inside the labyrinth … very well, I’ll drink Object X and pump myself up before plunging in. My level has not been rising at all recently and I won’t necessarily be going anywhere later anyway.”
While grumbling slightly, I took out Object X and poured it into a jug and began drinking it for the first time after a long time.
The next instant, the taste felt as if it caused my consciousness to retreat far away and I somehow regained consciousness just as I dropped to one knee.
” … To think that my consciousness would fly away just because of the shitty bad taste … I’ve certainly become quite weak.”
Muttering to myself, I passed by the shop and opened the door leading into the Labyrinth of Tribulations.
Just as I began threading the Labyrinth of Tribulations, I encountered a ghoul right away and I defeated it with 「Heal」 and picked up its magic stone. However, I realized a crucial point at that moment.
“Why did a ghoul appear on the first floor?”
That’s right, originally, it’s a monster that one would not encounter unless they pass through the 20th floor but now it suddenly came out.
“For it to be like this from the beginning, this is suspicious … I can only pray that this is not something done by Estia.”
The monsters increased each time I descended to a lower floor. After defeating those monsters as I advanced, I finally arrived in front of the boss room on the 10th floor.
“So if there is a considerable amount of monsters inside, then it would most likely mean without a doubt that the labyrinth has become active once again.”
I opened the door to the boss room and traveled to the center of the room. Upon reaching the center of the room, the lights lit up and the monsters appeared.
“So the number is smaller compared to when I first visited here … huh.”
Applying purification magic, I immediately ended the combat.
However, the memory of dying … to be exact the memory of feeling like I was about to die came back to me.
“At that time, I entered here with the condition of not being able to use magic, I’m surprised I didn’t die. I somehow could defeat the boss but if I took even the slightest difference in movement or thinking, I would have already left this world.”
As I picked up the magic stones while vividly remembering the past, I felt relieved that the boss has not respawned and advanced forward.
“I don’t understand why the monsters that shouldn’t normally appear in the upper floors are being revived here. Since I did conquer the labyrinth normally, the labyrinth’s strength should have decreased. If that’s the case then why is it like this now?”
While unable to put my thoughts in order, I further descended into the labyrinth for now.
Swinging the illusionary cane filled with Holy attribute purification magic, the undead turned into magic stones without any suffering.
“I know that the labyrinth the Fire Dragon was in became active because the adventurers touched a trap magic stone. However, this location is off limits to anybody except for church personnel. Furthermore, it is difficult to conquer this labyrinth as long as a person does not have high mental resistance.”
If that’s the case, then the people who made this labyrinth active are people who infiltrated this labyrinth, have high mental resistance and have high combat ability.
And with the current situation, the most suspicious individual would be Estia.
If she is being manipulated by the Darkness Spirit, what exactly is the aim of the Darkness Spirit … dispelling the dramatic delusions that were floating in my head, I hastened my footsteps in the earlier floors of the labyrinth … but my time was up before I could obtain any notable information.
“There a danger I might alert the criminal if I dive any further and if, by chance, Estia is the criminal …”
The boss in the 30th floor boss room was also not present. Feeling relieved, I decided that it would be better to inform Pope-sama about the situation of the labyrinth becoming active and turned back.
The next morning, I visited Pope-sama’s personal room after breakfast.
“Thank you for clearing out the people.”
I gave my thanks while paying homage as a vassal.
“You don’t have to worry about it. I could not speak with Luciel much the other day. Moreover, for you to come visiting alone would mean that there’s probably something significant?”
As Pope-sama passed through the dividing cloth, I told her about the situation within the Labyrinth of Tribulations I saw yesterday as well as requested for her to investigate Estia’s case.
“Thank you. To be honest, there are signs of … the Labyrinth of Tribulation becoming active.”
“Wha?! For the Labyrinth of Tribulations to become active … do you have any clue as to why this is happening?”
From Pope-sama’s shocked reaction, I could tell that this report has not reached her ears.
If Pope-sama is unaware of the activation phenomenon, Pope-sama may not actually know much regarding the labyrinth.
I thought as I began explaining.
“Yesterday, I entered the Labyrinth of Tribulations and noticed that it may have become active … just that, an example of a similar situation would be the Labyrinth of Astray in Ienith with the Fire Dragon whereby the labyrinth became active after it was conquered.”
“What’s the reason for that case?”
“There’s a trap laid at the very end … the trap is a large magic stone that, upon contact, it notifies the Evil God and the adventurers were found in an undead state.”
“Does that mean that Luciel speculates that … somebody had entered the Labyrinth of Tribulations?”
“Yes. There’s a high chance that it would either be my exorcist successor who dived into the Labyrinth of Tribulations lately or Estia who I brought along.”
I was considering if it was alright for me to talk about it but I did consider that she might not be affected by the putrid odor if she was possessed by the Darkness Spirit and the wave of Darkness may have caused the activation.
However, that hypothesis immediately collapsed when Pope-sama gave her counterargument.
“That can’t happen. As long as she is a Spirit Magic Swordsman. If that’s the case, there’s a need to investigate Luciel’s successor.”
“Please wait a moment. Why is it that she can’t enter the Labyrinth of Tribulations if she is a Spirit Magic Swordsman?”
“That’s because I am a Spirit Summoner. Of course, I also hold the blessing from the Spirit King but I am not your fated person, instead, I carry the responsibility of selecting your fated person.”
It can’t be helped that I thought that Pope-sama was my wife candidate for an instant.
It’s a secret that my chest was pounding loudly.
It’s unknown if the pounding was due to shock from hearing the words from Pope-sama or from the Object X that I had been drinking since yesterday.
However, because just by looking at her appearance, she was at her early 20s, extremely beautiful and my type so I ended up thinking like that but …
While feeling astonished that Pope-sama was more like a mother-in-law existence, I felt a sense of discomfort knowing that Pope-sama held the final deciding right but I stopped my pounding heart and decided to listen to what I have to listen to now.
” … Is the reason why Pope-sama hold the blessing of the Spirit King because of recognition from your predecessor?”
“That’s right. The Spirit King’s Blessing cannot be inherited if the person can’t use Spirits. I was truly surprised when I saw Spirit Knight appear in your jobs. Since it would be contrary to the intentions of the Spirit-samas if I hand you the Blessing of the Spirit King.”
So I would hold the Blessing of the Spirit King if I become a Spirit Knight huh?
To be honest, is it my ego for thinking that there’s no need for a blessing if there’s no way to use it?
“Is that why you postponed the promotion that time?”
“That’s right. Of course, it was also the truth that you would not be able to use Holy attribute magic when that happens. Since Spirit Knights can only use Spirit Magic.”
“I’d prefer to remain as I am now if that’s the case.”
My identity is my ability to never die.
If I could not use Healing Magic in this world, I don’t know how many times I would have died.
How would I even let go of such an ability?
“You’re still the same. Leaving that aside, shall we return to the main topic?”
Pope-sama gave a gentle smile and began speaking, returning to the meat of the story.
“As I hold the Blessing of the Spirit King, I know the approximate location of those who hold the Blessing of Spirits. The accuracy even rises the nearer they are.”
” … Does that work even if Estia is possessed by the Darkness Spirit?”
“So you knew that Estia was possessed by the Darkness spirit. The reason why I called Estia to the church headquarters is because I wanted the Darkness Spirit to know that I am watching. That’s why it is pointless as I can track Estia when the Darkness Spirit possess her and use Darkness Spirit Magic.”
As expected, Pope-sama also knew about spirit possession.
However, just as I was about to feel relieved, I thought of the worst case scenario.
” … Would you be able to tell if the Darkness Spirit uses temptation, induction and slavery?’
” … I won’t be able to tell. That’s bad. There’s a need to immediately verify all staffs. Also, Estia must be taken into custody and Fornoir be brought here.”
Even though she could tell the whereabouts of the person holding the Blessing of the Spirits, she doesn’t know the location of the actual Spirit.
While making a new discovery, I released Fornoir on the spot.
“Fornoir is in the Hermit’s stable. Should I immediately bring her out here?”
“What!! Seriously? Please let me see Fornoir.”
Pope-sama who became like a child lost the grim feeling she had until then and showed an expression befitting of the word innocent.
When I turned the Hermit’s Key, Pope-sama called out into the stables.
Perhaps because she heard that voice, Fornoir immediately came out from the Hermit’s Stable.
Different from usual, Fornoir also approached Pope-sama happily and began licking her.
“It tickles. Fornoir, I missed you.”
Pope-sama began talking as she hugged Fornoir’s neck but even though it was in a voice that I couldn’t hear, it felt different from the communication light emitted by the Darkness Spirit and Fornoir a day ago.
For a while after that, Pope-sama and Fornoir continued to talk. Then, possibly after their conversation had ended, Pope-sama requested to take custody of Fornoir.”
“Could I take care of Fornoir for a while?”
I did not even think of going against Pope-sama’s words.
Since I felt that Fornoir also wished for it.
“It seems like Fornoir also wants that so I will visit again at a later date.”
“Thank you. Also, I want you to head to where Estia is after the attendants enter. She is currently in Granhart’s personal room.”
Personal room meaning that torture room huh?
While having nothing but foreboding feelings, after leaving Pope-sama’s personal room and telling the attendants that Fornoir is inside, I headed to Granhart’s personal room.
Thank you for reading.