Chapter 66 : Droplet of Truth
They had been walking for a while, advancing through the labyrinth with Lily and Faeri guiding them when monsters intercepted them. Four small treants were ahead of Aria and co, blocking the path. They had probably tracked their scent through the forest.
Small Treants were plant-type creatures that ate meat and usually had brutal personalities.
They wanted to hunt Aria and the group and feast on their meat.
Tama aimed for the thick branch-like arms of the Small Treants and used one of his 《Elemental Howl》.
「Nyan~!《Water Howling》! 」
The highly compressed water broke the branches with a “Snap!”
Lily and Faeri quickly went to Tama and fluffed his fur, marveling at his strength.
「Tama~! You’re so cool! 」
「He’s so tiny and adorable, and yet so stro~ng! 」
Tama could have used《Flame Howling》instead of《Water Howling》to dispatch those Treants, but it would’ve been a bad idea. Using a fire attribute spell on a plant-type monster while in a forest-type labyrinth would’ve started a forest fire. If they didn’t die of suffocation, they would have been burned alive.
The Small Treants screeched loudly, but if it was due to pain or anger, no one knew.
They charged ahead mindlessly. With their branches all snapped off, they had lost their primary means of attacking.
Unfortunately, they were intercepted.
「NOW IT’S MY TURN! 」
It was Stella’s job, as the vanguard, to finish off the incoming Small Treants.
Although it could barely be counted as a formation, she stepped forward and set her Mega Shield in front of Aria and Tama. It did not take long for the bodies of the monsters to collide with the shield.
The Small Treants were astonished that Stella was able to withstand their attack. They could only see the thin limbs of a young girl but surprisingly enough, she easily defended against their ramming attack.
Not only defending, but Stella also started pushing back, overpowering them with her shield.
The monsters lost their balance and fell backward, rolling over and dragging down the other Treants behind them.
Tama took the opening Stella gave him and quickly summoned a predator skill.
Several tentacles rose from his shadow, seizing the Small Treants from behind.
「Nyan!《Summon Tentacles》! 」
Since the monsters were all wrapped up by Tama’s tentacles, Stella quickly moved toward two bound Small Treants and swung her greatsword at them. Such a bold move was only possible thanks to Tama’s tentacles.
The two Small Treants were neatly bisected in half.
Their death throes resounded in the labyrinth.
Another shadow quickly approached the last bound monster at a breakneck speed.
It was Aria, who had activated her《Acceleration》skill. In her hands were the knives personally forged by Vulcan.
She jumped on the Treant’s restrained body and quickly stabbed her knives into the left side of the monster, on the chest area.
Located in that spot was the Treant’s core. It was necessary for them to live, the equivalent of a heart in a human body. Aria had heard that fact from Vulcan, who taught her about many monster weaknesses.
The last of the Small Treants, with its core pierced, convulsed pitifully.
It died without even one last punchline.
「Uhm… Well, it’s not perfect, but your cooperation is much better now. With Stella-chan as the tank, me as the speed attacker and Tama as support, we make a great team.」
Ever since Aria dangled in front of Stella the carrot named “Tama’s Hug Ticket”, she had become much more cooperative. Although she still focused on the front and disregarded anything that came from behind them, that degree of growth couldn’t be criticized.
Moreover, there was plenty of room to improve while they were inside such a low-level dungeon and Tama acted as a backup. At that pace, they could steadily improve their cooperation level.
If they added Vulcan, who was house-sitting in Labyrinth City, as another vanguard, their party would become even more ideal.
「Fuhe~! What a surprise! Turns out Tama isn’t the only strong adventurer here, Aria and Stella are plenty strong as well!」
「Aria moves like the wind while Stella is as strong as a dragon.」
Lily and Faeri commented with astonished looks as they saw Aria sheath her knives back into the scabbards strapped to her hips.
「What’s your evaluation about the adventurers who fought in this labyrinth before it reincarnated, Lily-chan and Faeri-chan? 」
「Let’s see~… From what I could see from the shadows, everyone was working together! 」
「Even so, I don’t think any of their fighting power surpassed Aria and the others.」
Lily and Faeri replied to Aria’s query with sincerity.
Naturally, it was rare for parties to have all the members with advanced skills.
「Putting that aside, is that the treasure box Aria was looking for?」
Lily pointed at a box ahead of them.
When the rest of the party turned their heads, there stood a little ornamental box. Its size fit Aria’s hands perfectly.
「This is… The treasure box!」
Aria ran ahead and stretched her hands toward the box a bit reverently.
Tama, fearful that his master would be teleported somewhere else without him, swiftly jumped on her shoulder. He stared at Aria with a vigilant look on his small, adorable face.
He had personal experience with being transported to a lower layer of the labyrinth without warning. It had happened before, back in Labyrinth City when he hadn’t yet met Aria. If that happened to his master and he wasn’t with her, she wouldn’t make it back.
Aria picked up the box. It was made of metal, with gem-like ornaments over its surface.
Selling that box alone would already bring her huge profits.
「Ahahaha! Humans always have the same reaction whenever they find that box, right! 」
「Most seem delighted, inde~ed.」
Lily and Faeri saw how Aria’s hands trembled while she held the box and couldn’t help but crack jokes. That scene had repeated itself many times since the labyrinth was created.
「Well then, let’s open the box and see what’s stored inside…」
Aria lifted the lid of the box carefully, a look of expectation illuminating her face.
「Huh! What a letdown. It’s just a little bit of sparkling liquid.」
Stella peeked inside the opened box and commented dismissively.
As she said, the treasure box contained only a small, transparent glass bottle. The glass itself was beautifully decorated, holding a pale blue liquid inside. Whatever was inside that bottle, it sparkled like a sea of stars.
However, someone else had recognized the contents.
(This color… And the sparkling… Don’t tell me!）
「〝Droplet… of Truth〟? 」
Just as Tama realized what the liquid was, Aria arrived at the same conclusion.
The Droplet of Truth was an extremely rare potion. A single drop of it could make anyone speak their most hidden secrets.
「According to what I’ve heard before, the manufacturing method was never revealed. That means… This is…」
Aria’s hands shook as she carefully lifted the bottle from the box.
The potion was simply too valuable.
With its recipe lost, it was hailed as the most secret of all potions.
That Droplet of Truth had certainly not come from the labyrinth.
「Stella-chan, you can’t tell anyone that we found this, okay? If people know, bad guys will target us to steal it.」
「Whatever, I don’t care about the liquid. I’m only interested in Tama and food.」
The effects of the Droplet of Truth were simply amazing. However, it could easily be misused.
Aria had warned Stella not to mention the potion to others, but Stella acted as if she truly didn’t care about it or its effects.
「He~y Aria, you look extremely excited by this finding, but…」
「There’s still another treasure box, you know?」
「…!!? There are still other treasure boxes?!」
Aria’s eyes shone even brighter once she heard the two fairies’ remark.
The party quickly followed them further into the labyrinth in search of more treasure boxes.