Chapter 50.3 : Cockatrice’s Garden
The light faded out and Novis’s leg returned to normal.
「Eh? It’s healed.」
「I didn’t think the situation would be this severe… Looks like we’ll have a hard time advancing.」
Sage-sama analyzed the situation in a low voice.
I turned to Reiji-sama and his team and bowed my head.
「Eh, what’s with the apology? 」
Rino stared at me with a curious expression.
「I was the one who told you there were only Cockatrice on the ground floor, so… Uh… 」
「Aah, that… That wasn’t your fault. This situation was beyond anyone’s prediction. Not to mention, with the recent events, we should’ve expected that a large number of Goblins would take refuge in this place.」
It seemed like Sage-sama forgave us.
「That’s right. You shouldn’t worry about this matter, Shizufae-chan. Since there’s no trap here either, leave the rest to us.」
Reiji-sama comforted me as he and the others went past us.
My comrades and I couldn’t do anything but watch their backs.
「What was that… It was so cool…」
Novis muttered, sounding amazed.
Reiji-sama’s move was indeed amazing. It wasn’t something I could do even with a magic weapon. The Cockatrice was a fairly powerful demon and it was defeated in one blow.
It made me realize the vastness of the world.
「He’s so strong… And the women following him were extremely beautiful…」
I was so immersed in admiring Reiji-sama’s looks that I didn’t notice that fact until Nora-san pointed it out.
Novis seemed to be charmed by Saint-sama, the one who had just healed his foot.
「Yeah… They were beautiful indeed.」
I said in a whisper.
I felt like I couldn’t disrupt the moment.
「They are amazingly… Beautiful.」
Novis commented while standing beside me. I sure hope he didn’t mean to say that out loud.
Then I noticed that he was staring at my chest.
「WAIT A MINUTE, WHOSE SIZE ARE YOU COMPARING ME WITH?!」
Good grief. Who was he comparing me to?
It wasn’t like I could compete against Saint-sama or anything. In fact, I doubt there was a woman anywhere in the world with a breast size that could rival Saint-sama’s.
「Eh? No, I… Just suddenly remembered something.」
Novis smiled at me as he spewed out an excuse made on the spot. It seemed like he needed a beating.
Suddenly, Big Sis Kenya embraced him from behind.
「Oioi, Novis. Don’t you just need to make them bigger in this case? 」
「Wha-! Big Sis Keyna!! 」
I objected to Big Sis Kenya’s suggestion. Reiji-sama aside, I didn’t want Novis to make my breasts bigger!
But it was as if I hadn’t said anything. Novis rubbed his hands together obscenely.
「Nice, I like it. Leave this job to me, then.」
「What are you thinking about?! You――!!」
I shouted at Novis. My comrades watched our banter with a warm smile on their faces.
After we started following behind Reiji-sama’s party, we didn’t encounter any more demons.
◆ Black Haired Sage, Chiyuki
「How is the situation, Nao-san? 」
I asked Nao, who had just returned from scouting the first floor of the labyrinth. But she just shook her head.
「No signs of people on the surface flo~or.」
The ground floor had a lot of buildings. It might have been the capital of the Minotaur Kingdom that ruled here a long time ago. But all that remained of that country were ruins. Numerous ruined buildings that held no trace of any living creatures aside from the Goblins.
As we expected, the kidnapped citizens must have been taken underground.
But what should we do now? Half of the Freedom Fighters had dropped out of the search.
If our opponents had been just the Goblins, we wouldn’t have taken so much damage. But the surge of Goblins had enraged the Cockatrice so much, they tried to drive the Goblins away from their homes.
We had invaded the labyrinth at the exact moment the Cockatrice were fighting off the Goblins, hence why so many Freedom Fighters got injured.
Since Nao alone was enough as a scout, those guys were just baggage. I wanted them to be useful in the basement.
After the petrified Fighters were healed by Sahoko’s magic, we headed to a certain building in the middle of the ground floor.
The stairs to the underground floor were inside that building.
I turned to Nao, our best scout.
「Sorry, Nao-san. Even though you just came back, can you check whether there’s any signs of people passing by this place? 」
「Leave it to me. Hmm… It seems many people passed through here a little while ago. It’s definitely the kidnapped citizens of the Pashipea Kingdom.」
「I see… We’re going in, then. Shizufae-san are the demons in the underground floor as dangerous as the Cockatrice? 」
I asked Shizufae.
「No, Sage-sama… They’re only Giant Bats, Giant Rats, and weak Undead.」
Shizufae replied in a small voice, a little timid.
「Right. Come to think of it… Starting from the first underground floor, the path diverges into a maze. Do you have a map?」
Shizufae then handed me a map she had prepared.
In total, there were four maps, one for each underground floor until the 4th. There were no maps for the 5th underground floor and beyond.
The maps seemed to be issued by the Freedom Fighters Association. I had heard they rewarded anyone who reported an unexplored area.
It was how they updated the maps.
「It seems there’s still a blank space here and there, but… What is this? 」
「That’s the location of a dangerous trap. The inside is a total mystery.」
I wondered if we could just break through the trap. It could be hiding a shortcut to the lower floor.
「By the way, do you know what kind of trap is in there? 」
「Yes. The first is a giant bug in a giant blank space.」
「Yes. The ones who entered came out half-eaten. They barely had time to explain to the others what was inside before they died.」
So that was how they knew what was inside the blank area.
It seemed like any information made public by the Freedom Fighter Association was committed to memory by every Freedom Fighter in Teseshia.
According to Shizufae, the bug had quite the grotesque form.
I looked at Nao, Sahoko, and Rino. They all had their arms crossed and seemed to have the same opinion I did. Thus, I looked at Reiji.
「Let’s take a detour, Reiji-kun.」
◆ Death God, Zarxis
「We lured them in, Labrys.」
「I know, Zarxis.」
Labrys had a huge smile on his face.
「Now we just need to lure them to the 5th floor. Once we lock them inside that cage, they won’t be able to escape.」
We were the only ones inside the throne room located in the 18th-floor if the labyrinth.
A normal human wouldn’t be able to advance beyond the 4th-floor. The 5th-floor was a jail, a structure created solely for detaining intruders.
To reach the 6th floor, one needed to use special means. If they didn’t notice that fact for the 1st floor, they would never be able to reach the 13th-floor.
Labrys laughed with an excited face.
「Kukuku. Wait for me, Rena. You’ll be mine soon enough.」