Chapter 67 : The Company Chairman’s Abnormal State
A woman ran at top speed toward her enemy, releasing a war cry. Her target was the bosom of a Giant Ape.
The monster showed no signs of movement, despite noticing its opponent closing in, due to a huge cut on its side. That wound was inflicted by Stella, using her greatsword.
Also, the Giant Ape’s shoulders and arms were pierced by many of Aria’s knives.
With a complicated move, the knives in Aria’s hands pierced right into the Giant Ape’s weak point: its heart.
「Fuuh, our cooperation became even better, right?」
「Huhm! I can do at least this much!」
After obtaining the Droplet of Truth, the group encountered a few enemies, but they easily slaughtered them with their teamwork. Despite having worked together for only a short time, their cooperation evolved at an astounding speed.
Faeri started looking around relentlessly, trying to locate another box.
「Let’s see… It should be somewhere around this area~…」
「Look over there, Aria!」
Lily suddenly pointed in a direction and sure enough, there was another ornamental box there.
Another treasure box.
「Fufufu… Shall we see what’s inside this one?」
Aria stretched her hands toward the treasure box with an expectant look on her face. Of course, Tama was right beside her just in case the box held a transfer magic crystal.
The treasure box was quite small and fit easily in Aria’s hands.
「Is this… A key?」
Inside the box, there was a huge key, almost as big as Aria’s hands. It was crafted from what appeared to be some sort of black mineral. It could be a magical item.
Its surface shone blue, with a strange ripple spreading intermittently through the key.
「Oh my… Why did we find a key in a treasure box?」
「Lily-chan… Could this key have something to do with the big gate in the labyrinth?」
「Yes. That key is a magical item needed to open the〝Boss Room〟.」
「… BOSS ROOM?! That means there’s only one floor in this place. We won’t find any stairs no matter how far we advance through the forest.」
The Boss Room was here the most powerful monster in the labyrinth resided. In Labyrinth City, it was the room where Stella used to live in as the Earth Dragon.
Boss monsters were existences that were above normal monsters, a non-standard type of creature that ruled over that floor.
Since the labyrinth had only one floor, the Boss Room was separated from the rest of the floor by a gate.
And the key in Aria’s hand was the magic item they needed to enter that room.
「Lily-chan, Faeri-chan, do you know what kind of boss monster resides in this labyrinth?」
「Hmm… I know it’s a giant tree monster, but I can’t remember what the last adventurer called it… Do you remember, Faeri?」
「They called it 〝Treant Drake〟〜.」
A Drake was a wingless bipedal monster that greatly resembled a dragon. They were around 4 to 6 meters long and, according to researchers, Drake races were divided into elements.
Their ranking also depended on it, ranging from Ｃ＋〜Ｂ＋ depending on their elements.
「Drake, huh… There’s a chance we can defeat it, but…」
Aria worried about the difficulty of killing a Drake. If they succeeded, they would profit a lot from the corpse’s materials. There was also a high possibility of them finding an exclusive treasure box. It would be hidden in the deepest part of the Boss Room, containing a very rare item.
Under normal circumstances, anyone would be tempted to defeat such a foe.
「Let’s retreat for now. Everyone must be tired, and we don’t need to fear someone stealing our bounty since we already have the only key that opens this door.」
(As expected of my master, she has such clear judgment.）
Aria’s orders made Tama purr in admiration.
Stella followed obediently if one didn’t count her complaints that she hadn’t yet rampaged enough.
But she quickly forgot about such insignificant things once Aria mentioned eating something delicious soon. The dragonewt’s eyes were almost ablaze in expectation, glued to Aria’s back.
The two fairies began fluffing Tama again.
「Hey, Aria. Please take us too! 」
「We finally became Tama-chan’s friend! Please don’t leave u~s.」
「GUNUNU! I wish I could order you to let go of him, but I must hold myself back. After you’re done, Tama will be mine to fluff.」
Stella still remembered Aria’s promise.
She cooperated a lot while in the labyrinth, which earned her one fluff after they arrived in the city.
「Yes, we’re indebted to Lily-chan and Faeri-chan for guiding us through this labyrinth, after all…」
Aria made a troubled face as she stared at Tama, who still didn’t know what was so fascinating about his fur. She secretly wanted to fluff the Fairy duo.
She was very much on board with welcoming Lily and Faeri to their party, since it would be much easier to navigate in the labyrinth with their help.
Most of all, she liked those two pure and cute spirits. Living together didn’t seem to be a bad choice.
「I don’t mind if you come with us, Lily-chan, Faeri-chan. But a human city is a dangerous place, you know? Do you still want to come?」
Just as she said, human cities were a dangerous place for people of the Fairy race. Their rarity made them into livestock to be traded amongst human collectors.
Although such an act shouldn’t be committed, it wasn’t forbidden either. Especially in the case of faeries like Lily and Faeri who had extremely cute appearances.
The people who sold Fairies for cash would surely aim for them.
「Don’t worry about it!」
「We have combat skills, and we’ll be safer if we come along with Tama-chan and the others.」
Lily and Faeri replied so to a worried Aria.
There was no way someone who lived in a labyrinth didn’t have a skill or two.
Both fairies had their own fighting methods.
「Understood. Then come back to the city with us! I’ll treat you to many sweets when we get back.」
Once they heard Aria’s words, both fairies jumped in happiness. They celebrated by dancing around Tama.
It seemed that they really love sweets.
Well, not a surprise. They look like children, after all.
Tama quietly nestled between Aria’s melons when he spotted a party of adventurers coming toward them from the direction of the city.
(Huh, a party of adventurers… Kukuku… They’re going to be very surprised when they spot us.)
They were probably heading toward the new labyrinth to capture it. They had set out the moment they heard the news of a newly born labyrinth. Thus, the party was startled to see Aria and co walking from the opposite direction that they headed to.
「Hey, you guys. Could it be you’ve already explored the laby―― EH, Fairy race!?」
The leader of the group couldn’t hide his surprise when he saw the two fairies accompanying Aria’s group.
「Yes, we were exploring the labyrinth till just a while ago. We met them during our exploration, and they helped us.」
「Y-You were assisted by fairies?! And you all look so satisfied… You guys must have hauled many treasures…」
It seemed like the male adventurer who spoke to Aria was capable of judging their harvest just by paying attention to how she spoke to him.
It was a base skill that every leader should have.
「Oh, well. That doesn’t mean we lost our chance since it’s impossible for a small party like yours to explore an entire labyrinth. RAISE YOUR SPIRITS, EVERYONE! THE REST OF THE TREASURES ARE WAITING FOR US!」
The man turned out to be the leader of his party. With a few words of motivation, he successfully changed the mood if his comrades. The entire party brimmed with vigor as they continued toward the labyrinth.
The leader stayed behind for a while longer to talk to Aria.
「My apologies for stopping you.」
「Don’t worry about it. Just please be careful, the labyrinth is filled with Giant Apes, Small Treants, and Poison Bees, okay?」
「I see. Thank you very much for the information. My name is 〝Joey〟. Let me treat you to a round of drinks when we get back from the labyrinth!」
「My name is Aria. This girl is Stella-chan, and this kitten is Tama. These two fairies are Lily-chan and Faeri-chan.」
Introductions done, each party went their separate ways.
Joey was unaware that Tama, still between Aria’s breasts, had formed a high opinion of him.
(Hmm… That Joey fellow had an earnest expression. He didn’t even look at my dear master with lust-filled eyes. What a wonderful guy.)
The group’s first stop, once they arrived at the city, was Reis’s firm. Upon entering, they were cheerfully greeted by a saleswoman.
「Welcome back. Aria-sama, Stella-sama. I’ve heard about you from our president. Please follow me, this way.」
The saleswoman guided then toward Reis, who welcomed the group with a bright smile.
「Welcome back, Aria-san, Stella-san, and Tama-chan. How was your explorati――ON!?」
Reis was shocked when he saw Aria’s group in the company of fairies.
「Ah… M-My apologies. A Pixie and a Dryad―― This is my first time seeing members of the Fairy race with my own eyes… That aside, I just remembered I have an urgent matter to attend. I’ve already reported that you completed the commission, so don’t forget to collect your reward at the guild later. Also, inform my employee about the item you acquired from the labyrinth. Well… Eh.」
Stella was about to ask why he was behaving so strangely when Reis suddenly bid his goodbyes and left the room, retreating to his back office in a hurry.
The scene left Aria and the others speechless. It was so sudden that they couldn’t discern a reason that Reis would act like that.
For a moment, when Reis looked at Lily and Faeri, his pupils which usually were like deep stagnant pools… shone brightly.