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Chapter 19 – Clearing the Labyrinth With Grace
Now then. I’ve paid the rent and tuition.
I only had 1838 Kilig left after ordering the magic beast and picking out furniture.
The large amount of expenses I had expected prior to this had been spent. As for our food expenses, the two of us could preserve our eating habits if we had 2 Kilig. For the time being, if we were to waste our money, it wouldn’t be a problem for our daily life, but if something urgent happened, then we would need money.
I plan to pay the 450 Kilig rent again in half a year, and I haven’t found anything worthy of attention regarding Staffs, Robes, and the like. If I were to seek out ranked Magic Staffs, thousands of Kilig would quickly disappear. If I were careless, my money might even vanish in the blink of an eye. I should proceed further in the labyrinth when I’m not too busy.
The furniture would arrive tomorrow, so I decided to descend down into the labyrinth with Grace. My goal for today was to continue until the sixth floor while using a map.
“Is there something to take note of?”
“The number of monsters will increase slightly, but it will be fine if we use our method from before. The fourth floor split by stairs that lead downward and doors that lead into other areas. If you see doors you aren’t familiar with, please be careful to avoid proceeding through them.”
Next to the stairs, there was a path that descended into the ground. The door that branched off from there lead to a path that passed through an area, which had turned into a maze of sewers, and ran towards the Old Mine.
As for me, I was aiming for the Twilight Forest. We should dive underground without considering the by-roads. I should descend using the shortest route as usual, since there weren’t any points we needed to search for around here.
Grace’s axe literally crushed a goblin, creating a wind-cutting sound. Despite the obstacle of the bow-wielding rearguard Goblins vanishing, I called forth a Cyclone, a wind spell, with my Circulation. Two Goblins, who had gotten jumbled together, were blown away, slamming into the wall and ceiling of the labyrinth, forcing their flesh to tear and bones to break.
Grace looked back at me, and then threw her axe at a Killer Ant that had come in pursuit from the opposite side of the pathway. The ant lost its head and stopped moving after suffering from her axe.
Continuing from earlier, I had adopted a strategy of crushing demon ambushes by sending a Light Ball ahead of us. Although bow-wielding Goblins had appeared, they weren’t really a problem. I could blind the Goblins that tried to move around with a Light Ball, since Goblin eyes were only effective in the dark. It was normally dark inside the labyrinth, so they had probably never seen such intense light. Even if I were to be hit by an arrow, it would still easy to defend against and dodge them. That being the case, our exploration had been smooth. Although we collected Dimension Stones and stripped materials off demons in moderation, we were able proceed halfway through the fifth floor without any particular trouble.
“Is your blood-sucking fine?”
“You don’t need to worry about me. The blood of Goblins and Kobolds is… smelly.”
Grace furrowed her eyebrows slightly. My intuition didn’t really know it well, but there were clear differences, considering her view as a dhampir woman.
Well, there was also this. Vampires probably had their reasons for attacking humans when they knew there is risk involved.
It was more proactive to attack Demons if they could use them as a substitute. If this filled their urge to suck blood, vampires would surely be appreciated, and would never have become targets of subjugation.
When we caught up to the Light Ball that had traveled ahead of us, it became noisy on the other side of the corner.
We could hear running footsteps approaching from the other side, and to counter this, I swapped with Grace. She became the rearguard and I was the vanguard.
Personally, I was capable of close combat, which relied on Joujutsu and martial arts, and didn’t use magic. I wanted to polish these skills more, and Grace could switch out on occasions like these, since she could do long-ranged attacks with her axe-throwing.
As for the demons, they were camping around the corner. I struck the windpipe of the Kobold that came flying at me, and just as it flinched from the attack, I made sure to trap it, and it got knocked down. I used my weight to help pierce the inside of the Kobold’s mouth, who then raised a muffled scream from its blocked throat, and then I ended its life. The other Kobold, which had come too late, was taken care of by Grace. I glanced at her and saw Grace throw her axe at it. The axe hit the mass of crimson metal on its chest, and it was blown away into the wall.
As easily as if she was rolling up a yoyo, Grace pulled at the chain in her hands. After considering the sounds which came from the rusted chain, she moved in the direction her axe had flown with an intense force.
Well…it was generally like this. There weren’t any problems at all. When Grace encountered the swarm of Killer Ants before, she got a bit carried away while trampling on many weak opponents, which awakened some of her vampiric tendencies. However, it seemed that this hadn’t occurred yet, since the encounters were sporadic.
I quickly finished stripping the Kobolds, and then the stairs that led to the sixth floor appeared further ahead, beyond the corner.
We didn’t have the maps from earlier, so I could say that the Labyrinth exploration had become a game to me.
“Two new types of monsters will begin to appear from the sixth floor onwards.”
“What are they?”
“Wood Puppets and Wisps.”
“I’ve never fought them before.”
“Puppets don’t exist naturally. Meanwhile, Wisps choose the locations where they will appear.”
Although they had a few habits that differed from the Monsters that had appeared until now, both of them were still fundamentally weak.
Wood Puppets were autonomous wooden dolls.
They didn’t feel pain, fear, or the like, and although they were superior to Goblins and Kobolds, they weren’t anything special.
Wisps were pale blue fireballs. They didn’t have real bodies, but they still received damage if they were dispersed. They were also really weak against magic attacks. This opponent was easy for us to handle.
“It’s okay to not change what we’ve been doing until now. Instead, the problem now is how to proceed in the Labyrinth…There still aren’t any traps, and the structure is still tame, so it’s fine to keep at it.”
“Stick on the left side of the wall as you proceed, is it?”
“The right side is fine as well. It’s simple, and it’s hard to get lost.”
Grace nodded after I explained the important matter to her. Although there were also other methods that weren’t in popular use, this explanation would become a guideline for her.
After proceeding through a passage in the Labyrinth, we immediately encountered a Puppet. Although it tried to lightly cross swords with us using its spear, it was a puppet after all. It was completely child’s play.
I rotated the Staff in my hands a bit, and as it drew in with its spear, I swung it up, and was easily able to steal its weapon. Then, it was grabbed by Grace, thrown into the wall, and ended up not being able to take things into its own hands, since its limbs were destroyed.
The areas of the Puppet that would be stripped were the chest or the head, where a glass sphere was situated. Although one could stop it from moving by destroying this, since it was their weakness, you would find that the harvest material would vanish.
Wisps…were pretty easy. With one swing of Grace’s axe, a magic stone appeared where the Wisp dispersed. The moment it appeared, its existence had become one that could only be killed since Grace’s axe blade was thick.
Although the Monsters that had appeared until now were formed in ranks, they would only attack you with magic if they had massed together, and if that wasn’t the case, they would vanish at the start. I didn’t feel anything in particular.
There wasn’t a need to search the small rooms in the area, since we were on a higher floor. After walking around the passageway, we arrived at an area that was wider for a short bit, and discovered a stele.
“What should we do?”
“Shall we return for the time being? It’s a policy of mine to make good use of maps.”
I loaded the necessary number of Dimension Stones onto the Goddess statue’s palm that was engraved on the stele. At that very moment, a magic formation composed of light expanded onto the floor of the labyrinth, surrounding the stele.
Within seconds, a transfer dimension rose. After a moment, we rose into the plaza where the shrine entrance was located.
…Like always, it was clearly visible to others. Whether or not the matter regarding turning the tables on Snakebit had spread, the guys who saw me and gossiped about it were there.
Since Grace hated to be exposed to the public in her Released State, perhaps the place we were heading to, where we would receive less attention, was a better place to operate her ring. Firstly, we returned to the stable where our carriage was parked, and then I led her inside the carriage by the hand before activated her Cursed Artifact.
Grace, who was sitting on one of the seats, closed her eyes and leaked out a small sigh.
Though, I could only hear it as a sexy sound from her.
Well…it couldn’t be helped.
It appeared that in returning to an ordinary human from her powerful Dhampiric state, there was a sense of exhaustion. The difference between the two states was rather big, even if she got used to being in her released state for long periods of time
It was also easy for her to lean towards her vampiric-tendencies, since we were in the darkness of the Labyrinth. Her reactions to her blood-sucking impulses could also appear.
Grace breathed in deeply and slowly, in order to calm down.
Well…having her collect herself and return to her original state inside the carriage was correct.
Let’s do it like this in the future. Grace also hated showing others her defenseless side.
“How do you feel?”
“I’m fine. It helps to not feel too hungry.”
Grace met my eyes and smiled at me. Somehow, the atmosphere was calm.
Yeah. It seemed like there weren’t any problems. Next, should we go convert our loot into money at the Guild?