Chapter 55.1 : Labyrinth City, Labyrinthos
◆Black Haired Sage, Chiyuki
「How’s the situation, Nao-san?」
「Doesn’t seem to be good, Chiyuki-san. This place is sealed. We can’t find any exit at all. Right, Ruby?」
Nao replied as she caressed the head of a rat. It was her pet and she called him Ruby. The rat was probably named after its fiery red hair which resembled a ruby. For some reason, it seemed like Ruby had given up. He hated at first but has become docile lately.
「I see… There’s none in this area too, huh?」
It’s been five days since we came to this place. Right now, Nao and I are looking for a path to descend to the lower floor. We can’t use teleportation, since this floor seems to be surrounded by a barrier. That’s why we’re looking for a possible hidden path. Although… we’ve only ended up with failure so far.
We tried escaping by digging a tunnel with the help of Rio’s earth spirit, but we couldn’t even make a small crack in the ground since the labyrinth’s built from special materials. Only weak spirits reside in this part of the labyrinth, so it seems impossible to be able to break through the floor. In fact, the barrier even prevented Nao from using her perception to its full ability.
We thought if we combined Reiji and my magic, then it would be strong enough to break the floor. But the labyrinth’s too sturdy. Even if we did manage to demolish the labyrinth, the other people here would be buried under the rubble. Thus, we were stuck.
I was too careless when we entered that transfer magic circle…
Well, we might have ended up with nothing unless we entered it. Regretting it now won’t change anything. We should focus on finding our way out of this situation.
「What should we do, Chiyuki-san?」
「Can’t be helped. Let’s go back to Uz.」
We decided to go back to Uz. I activated my flight magic while Nao sprouted a pair of wings from her back. Unlike Shirone’s snow white wings, Nao’s are pale blue and her flying speed is slower than hers as well. Nao thinks it’s unfair that only Shirone gets to have angel-like wings, but I think Nao’s wings are beautiful too.
After a while, we could see the city of Uz. Because there were no demons on the 5th floor, no rampart built around the city. We descended right in the plaza in the middle of Uz. The people in the plaza started running away as soon as they saw us. Every citizen was scared of us.
They retreated to a distance and stared at us. None of them attempted to speak to us, all because we killed the minotaurs ruling this city. The citizens feared retaliation from the minotaurs living on the lower floors.
The lifestyle of the humans on this floor was no different than that of a human living outside the labyrinth.
Uz is a city located on the 5th floor of Labyrinthos. The minotaurs live in their own city right below the 5th floor. After we came here, we learnt that the minotaurs lived in Labyrinthos and the city of Uz was built by the minotaurs and is the sole living place for humans.
There a total of forty thousand people living in Uz and each person is the descendant of a person kidnapped from the surface by the minotaurs. In short, they’re slaves to the minotaurs… or rather, they’re livestock.
The humans are forced to offer sacrifices to the minotaurs. Some of them tried resisting against their tyranny but weren’t capable of fighting. In the end, the ones who resisted only ended up as sacrifices. This way, they learnt that as long they didn’t go against the minotaurs, they’d be able to live somewhat peacefully.
Their stone houses are fully equipped with flowing water and could rival the high-end residential buildings in Ariadya. The giant crystals that hang from their ceiling simulated night and day like conditions in accordance to the time flow outside the labyrinth. The whole place is abundant with fresh water and plantations. They even use magic to gather the dragon vein in the Minon plains in order to enrich the soil of the plains.
It seems like the humans living on the 5th floor are reared with great care. As long as they agree to turning a blind eye towards some sacrifices every year, they’ll be able to live luxuriously. Looks like their living standards are better than those living on the surface. Compared to the goblins enslaved by humans, they’re spending an amazing life. On top of that, they don’t even have to worry about any demons attacking them because of the minotaurs. They’re safer than the humans living outside of the labyrinth.
I shook my head as I made the comparisons. No matter how enriched and safe their lives are, they’re nothing more than livestocks. Naturally, this kind of a life was unacceptable. Moreover, we needed to find an escape route. We’d promised to bring back the citizens of Pahipea who were kidnapped and brought to this city, after all.
Although, not all of them made it to the city. Some were killed along the way and a few were taken to the 6th floor. The queen of Pashipea, Euria’s mother, isn’t in Uz either. If she’s still alive, then she’s probably on the 6th floor. Currently, there are 3000 citizens of Pashipea trapped in Uz. This is less than the number reported to us. We have no clue as to why there’s a huge decrease in their numbers.
So far, every single Pashipea citizen who we’ve met has had a gloomy look on their game. Well, considering the situation they’re in, it’s only natural. The humans who up until now were enslaving goblins on the surface are now mere livestock in Uz. What an irony…
Nao and I headed towards the temple in the center of the city. On the gate of the temple, we found a crest with two axes criss-crossed. It’s the holy crest of evil god Labrys and also the weapon of choice of the minotaurs. But it seems that no one but the ruling class can use the double-headed axe.
Someone called out to me as soon as I entered the temple. I turned around to find a cute girl who didn’t seem to be older than 10.
「What’s the matter?」
I asked with the kindest voice possible.
「I-I brought vegetable and bread for you.」
The girl held out the basket in her hands.
「I see, thank you.」
As soon as I received the basket, the girl turned around and bolted. Just like the girl who gave us this basket, the citizens are extremely afraid to approach us. I heard that, a month ago, the girl’s older sister was to be sacrificed to the minotaurs, but we came and saved the day.
I remember when she and her sister came to thank us. Ever since then, she brings food for us. Although some of them did help us, most thought that since they needed help, we’d naturally save them. Even though they never wanted to save those enslaved goblins, they’re impatient now that they’re the slaves.
I entered the temple with Nao. On the top of the temple was a ten meter tall statue. It was a monster with the head of a cow, body of a human and six arms. It was evil god Labrys. We saw someone standing in front of the statue. It was a two meter tall minotaur.
「Well, if it isn’t Chiyuki-sama and Nao-sama. Welcome back, moo~」
The minotaur bowed when he saw us coming.
「Yeah, we’re back, Zuun. Where’s Reiji-kun and others?」
Zuun was one of the minotaurs who ruled over Uz. But he used to be persecuted by his fellow minotaurs. The minotaurs have a hierarchy based on strength. Thus Zuun, the weakest minotaur in the labyrinth, is the bottom feeder.
As soon as we’d arrived at the city, we fought with the minotaurs ruling the city and defeated them. At that time, Zuun grovelled before us and begged us to spare his life. And that’s why he’s alive right now.
Rino used her charm magic and extracted information out of him. According to Zuun, the door that leads to the 5th floor is a one-way door that can only be opened from outside. We also found out about their hierarchy. Amongst the minotaurs, the weak must obey the strong. It seems they have a cannibalistic nature since depending on the situation, the strong might even devour the weak ones.
Even back on earth, the minotaur from the myth preyed on humans despite being born from the womb of a human. It seems that both the earth’s and this world’s minotaurs have a cannibalistic nature.
Zuun was going to be eaten if he didn’t raise the humans properly. The other minotaurs treated him so cruelly that his life was even worse than the humans in Uz. He was like the employee who managed a black, evil company. The living standard was below that of a human in Uz. Zuun didn’t have any value as a hostage either, so he was abandoned by the others.
「My apologies, Chiyuki-sama. I haven’t met them today, so I don’t know their whereabouts. Maybe they’re still sleeping, moo~」
Zuun apologized to us with the usual ‘moo’. Considering his cow head, it seems rather eerie.
Ah, what should we do now? I guess I’ll think about it during lunch.
◆Black Haired Sage, Chiyuki
Save for Zuun, everyone was gathered in the dining room for lunch. We had lightly toasted bread, cheese and vegetables.