Entrance, Garden, Path, Valley, Maze…
In the grand labyrinth of Yaso-Katsui, each floor has their own trait and, with that as a guideline, they have their own ‘general term’ for it.
Aside from Entrance which we are currently in, it seems like all floors are different depending on where you descent from, but the floor shares similarities to a certain extent.
And this information is thanks to the hard work of the Wise, and it is how the information brokers can live by.
“Thanks for the help, Gonzou. If there’s anything more, can I rely on you again?” (Makoto)
“Of course! You can search for me here or you can call me at the Adventurer Guild and I will be there!” (Gonzou)
Gonzou was chuckling to himself and all smiles. There’s not a single trace of him being dissatisfied as he nods at my words.
…The effectivity of silver coins is…incredible.
The information as well, it felt as if he said everything he had to say and has finished his job.
We were able to ask quite a lot of things, so we didn’t feel like it was a loss either.
“Now then, Hokuto, have you found a number of paths that can take us until the 5th floor?” (Makoto)
I try asking about the mapping progress of our teammate that has been endeavouring on it while we were hearing the information of Gonzou.
“There’s around 40 routes that can take us to the 5th floor, around 20 routes that can take us to the 10th floor; this is only a conjecture, but I have found 3 routes that can take us even further down.” (Hokuto)
“Promising routes that can take us further down after the 10th floor huh. Nice. Let’s go with those. Mio, can you choose which one of those 3 look like the best?” (Makoto)
“Understood. Hokuto, which ones?” (Mio)
“Yes, it is these 3 that I think are good…” (Hokuto)
If the stairs were physically connected to the floors, I would be able to use [Sakai] to investigate.
But with a system that makes it so you get teleported to the lower floors, even if I were able to check how much of a distance there is between floors, I won’t be able to check the pathing.
If I activate it in a limited range, I would be able to investigate it in detail, but I feel like it would be the same as having Hokuto do it.
If it’s the guess of Hokuto who is currently making a map as he advances, I feel like it is a good choice to abide to what he says.
If we add the instincts of Mio, it would give me even more peace of mind.
“Ah, now I think about it…”
Gonzou tilts his head as if he had suddenly remembered something.
“Did you know that there’s talk of the master here, Doma, being slayed and that this place has become unstable due to that?” (Gonzou)
“Yeah, we have heard about it to a certain extent. If I remember correctly, it was done by an adventurer that was called Dragon Slayer.” (Makoto)
“Yeah, the blue haired one. A dangerous woman. Was her name Sofia? It seems like she was the one who slayed Doma. Since the time those rumors began, the inside of the dungeon has been filled with earthquakes and cave-ins. Also, the types of mamonos changed and a lot of things happened.” (Gonzou)
Because the owner has been lost, the dungeon is unable to hold itself.
This hypothesis of mine is pretty simple.
“At times, this would stabilize completely. If I remember correctly, it was the time when the hero called Hibiki-sama was at Lorel. For us, the bad mood of the labyrinth affects the business, so what Hibiki-sama did -what the hero did was something we were grateful about.” (Gonzou)
“Heeh, the time when the hero came huh.” (Makoto)
Did Senpai do something?
Thinking about the unstable labyrinth and the busy Hibiki-senpai, I just can’t picture that person coming here…
“Yeah, but since that happened, reports about things that have never happened before were beginning to arrive at the adventurer guild.” (Gonzou)
“Things that have never happened before? If it’s okay, I would want to know.” (Makoto)
“This information is not certain, so listen with that in mind. The first one is that all the floors below the 10th floor have changed their structure greatly. Regarding this, the frontline for the exploration are members that were chosen by the guild, and it is a matter of absolute secrecy, so there’s no certainty in that. It is simply a bit of information that entered my ears.” (Gonzou)
“The structure changed…” (Makoto)
“This is just complementary info but, in the past, the guild sold maps that reached till the 13th floor, and yet, the maps they sell now only reach the 10th floor.” (Gonzou)
“I see.” (Makoto)
Maybe it is related to the labyrinth regaining its stability, or maybe there’s a completely different reason for it.
No way to know right now.
Things like the structure changing certainly sounds more believable when we combine the talk about the maps at the adventurer guild.
It can also be seen as those conspiracy theories that are made often.
“The other thing is about talk that the guild is soon going to make a move. Seems like when they have people go to the lower parts of the labyrinth, there are pretty rare times when they reach a strange floor.” (Gonzou)
“A strange floor?” (Makoto)
“Yes. The conditions to reach it are completely unknown, but according to the people that have gone there and returned, the strange floor exists from the 3th floor and below, moreover, when you head down, there’s times when the floor returns to normal, and there’s also times when you are thrown into another weird floor.” (Gonzou)
“It is not like the floor itself is different?” (Makoto)
Like for example, going down the 1st floor and suddenly arriving at the 5th floor.
“No, at each floor there’s a number that denotes the floor you are in, and a strange symbol carved, but the floor itself is the same.” (Gonzou)
“Fumu…do you know what symbol it is?” (Makoto)
“For now, from the four parties I have confirmed with, all of them were the same symbol so I remember it. I can’t read it, but if I remember correctly…” (Gonzou)
Gonzou writes in the notebook he had, and showed it to me.
This is from the alphabet.
Also, this is a word I have seen before. If I remember correctly, it was at the keyboard of computers.
The Alt key.
…This is bad.
I have never used it aside from games, so I don’t know the meaning of it.
If I remember correctly, it was used for displaying things and changing the skill panel…
I had a friend that was good with computers, but I don’t have the knowledge.
But well, if the alphabet is appearing here, it means that the Wise are definitely involved in this.
It wouldn’t be strange at all if there’s a Wise that has been deeply involved in this dungeon, so I feel like he has told me something pretty important in a nonchalant manner.
That was helpful.
“I see… a mysterious symbol. In that case, if a person arrives to this strange floors, there would be a writing like ‘3 Alt’ somewhere around that place.” (Makoto)
“Seems like it is engraved right at the pillar you see when you arrive. The details of these floors are being sold at a pretty high price currently.” (Gonzou)
“Then, if there’s a chance where the Kuzunoha Company goes there, I will have Gonzou buy that information from me.” (Makoto)
“I will be waiting expectantly for it.” (Gonzou)
…As I thought, he doesn’t look like the age to have a grandchild.
“Waka, it is about time.” (Mio)
Tomoe who was looking at the state of Mio and I, whispered at me.
Seems like the first route has been decided.
“Understood. Gonzou, sorry for taking so much of your time. This is a token of my appreciation. Also, I don’t think we will be encountering those mysterious floors, but if there’s a time that happens, I promise we will call you. Well then, see you later.” (Makoto)
“!!! No, sensei—Raidou-sama! I can’t take this—” (Gonzou)
I give him 5 more silver coins and walk towards the direction Hokuto and Mio point.
“You can use that money to treat your child and grandchild something. Now then, Gonzou, thanks for the help.” (Tomoe)
Tomoe follows after my words.
As she suggests him a way to use the given money.
“The next time we meet, prepare information about things that are tasty.” (Mio)
After that, Mio.
Even if he is an information broker, is that type of information also counted?
Hokuto follows us silently.
“…You will probably become an incredibly fortunate information broker.” (Beren)
Beren places a hand on his shoulder deeply emotive and then chases after us.
“Well, there’s nothing to worry about. In the time Waka was speaking to you, he was earning several hundred times more than that. You have told Waka the information you have without lying. Good for good. This is a reward for being able to act in the most effective manner towards our company and Waka-sama. Ah, you should save money too, old man. See ya.” (Shii)
Shii probably felt a sense of camaraderie from a fellow chibi <small person>, she spoke with Gonzou in somewhat familiar terms.
And then, she waves her hand and follows after us.
But, Alt huh.
“…Let the Kuzunoha Company have the blessing of Futsu-sama.” (Gonzou)
Now that he mentions it, that’s also something I still don’t know much of yet.
The words of prayer that Gonzou directed to us, reminded me of the dragon called Futsu, and then, before long, we arrived at the second floor of the labyrinth.
Inside the dungeon, it is incredibly hard to tell the passing of time in one day, but the time is flowing as normal.
At the Adventurer Guild, they square the accounts of that day’s ventures and training, as well as the materials that were brought that day. One day there is filled with busy times.
Continuing further on inside this building, there were the big shots from Kannaoi’s adventurer guild, a number of staff members, and a number of outsiders as well.
It is rare to see people that are not personnel at the deep parts of the adventurer guild.
“And so…how’s the Kuzunoha Company that was called here by Sairitz?”
The first one to open his mouth was a person that seems to be an outsider.
A man in the prime of his life.
His personal appearance is good and the other people were obeying him.
Even if the guild staff members are not, they still seem to be showing a certain amount of respect.
“In the morning, they finished their preparations and have headed to the labyrinth. Seems like they are still inside the dungeon. Hey, what’s their progress?”
The guild leader responded and inquires the details from a subordinate.
“They are currently in the third floor, but…it seems like there’s already one that has dropped out. There’s no response.”
“They arrived at the 3rd floor in the first day. It is a pace comparable to a Dragon Slayer, but…they might have hurried too much, someone died. Kougetsu-sama.”
“For people that came here by the recommendation of Sairitz, they are not the big deal huh. But it is true that since the time they were involved with princess Iroha, no one has been able to put a hand on her. We can’t be negligent, but…” (Kougetsu)
What came out from the man’s mouth was the name of Iroha.
It can be understood that the objective of the man called Kougetsu was not directly the Kuzunoha Company but Iroha.
(Buying the most expensive map and reaching the 3rd floor on their first day, isn’t that only on the level of being a bit competent? Moreover, they have already lost one of them, probably already dead.)
(I am of the same opinion, but don’t say it. We are simply devices that answer what we are asked. Understood? I want to continue working here tomorrow, you know.)
The two staff members of the adventurer guild brought their faces near each other and exchange whispers.
They are in the same room, so there’s no way that would go unnoticed. The gaze of Kougetsu was directed in an instant to them.
However, there was no further allusion to it, and his gaze returned to the guild leader.
“If possible, I would want everyone to disappear and dress it as an accident inside the dungeon though. Can you return the people at the foremost line?” (Kougetsu)
“Kougetsu-sama, sorry for the rudeness but, are you sane? They are the most competent team in this guild, and they are doing their best to clarify the situation of the grand labyrinth. This is a mission of the highest priority.”
“I am talking about a high priority mission that involves this city and this country though. The scales of your and my high priority missions are totally different.” (Kougetsu)
“…Please don’t mistake our priorities. We are not interested in the political fight of Kannaoi and Lorel Union.”
“Because no matter the result, our situation won’t change much anyways. I wonder if a country on the scale of Lorel Union can maintain its livelihood without the adventurer guild. If it is gone, who knows how much national power decline it will invite. There’s not even the need to think about it, right?”
“It is true that the adventurer guild is necessary. It is unthinkable to have it disappear. But you know, for example, if there’s no need for you to be the representative, and there’s no need for the staff members to be the ones there…” (Kougetsu)
The two staff members clearly jumped at those words.
“Kougetsu-sama, leave it at that. If you say any more than that, we will have to turn into your enemies.”
“It is a situation where the result is already clear, and yet, you are siding with the princess? Are you sane?” (Kougetsu)
“I didn’t say anything about taking Iroha-sama’s side. The people that turn their fangs at us are deemed as enemies. As long as the Adventurer Guild is not touched, we are neutral.”
“Of course, if we were to be requested cooperation by a person that possesses the same influence as Kougetsu-sama, we would have acted the same way as today. I will say this bluntly, if you want to assassinate the people that Sairitz-sama has personally told the country to make accommodations to, go ahead and do so by yourself.”
“Hmph. Neutrality.” (Kougetsu)
As if saying how worthless that is, Kougetsu raises both hands up.
There’s no reaction from the guild’s side.
“Even if they were given to us, the contact with the Shadowless has been severed. Princess Iroha not only has not returned to the castle, she is staying in a facility that has the same stance as yours, the Chihiro Man Rai restaurant. They had to reunite today of all days with Shougetsu and his group, and until the very end, they were persistently running around. Seriously, how annoying!” (Kougetsu)
“It is already a hopeless situation. This city and the Osakabe’s era. It is already settled who will be guiding in the future, and yet, no matter how many times I brush them away, those damn flies keep flying around…” (Kougetsu)
“If they are flies…”
“If you are unable to even brush away something like that, there’s no way you can guide the future of the old family. This is not a matter I should relate with religion, but don’t you think this is an ordeal that you have to surpass with your own strength?”
“Big words there. I wonder how Sairitz will see you guys when she knows that I had you investigate the movements of the Kuzunoha Company. Isn’t that already a betrayal?” (Kougetsu)
“Are you saying we are accomplices in crime? Are you trying to threaten us?”
“I am just speaking the truth.” (Kougetsu)
“…Truly a pity. You are obviously lower than Sairitz-sama, but it seems like you are lower than the Kuzunoha Company too. You are dancing on the palm of Sairitz-sama, and your existence has already been noticed by the Kuzunoha Company. The Kuzunoha Company already has foreknowledge of the ones that are trying to investigate their movements. Seems like they have no problems in others knowing their movements. Not only that, they were concerned for the standing of the Guild. About a lot of things, they even mentioned you by name.”
“Now then, I wonder who’s the one that’s the most out of the loop. Looks like the problem of your household still has no settled winner. Do take care.”
“…Remember this. I will never forget today’s disgrace.” (Kougetsu)
“If by chance you win the political strife, I will remember. The door’s over there.”
Kougetsu was displaying his anger and leaves the room together with his subordinates.
“…A storm is coming.”
The representative looks at the door where Kougetsu left and mutters this.
The staff member girl reflexively answered those words.
“Kannaoi will be in a dangerous state for a while. Don’t think you are safe just because you are office personnel. With how he is, it looks like he won’t hesitate in dragging us as well.”
“If princess Iroha is able to turn around this situation, that would be pretty…no, it would be engraved in history, you know.”
“But she has the Kuzunoha Company–no, she has the Wise with her. We are witnessing the beginning of a legend. It might be the moment when history moves.”
“A Wise-sama?! That Raidou…-sama?!”
“According to Sairitz-sama, that is. Seems like he is the second Wise-sama that exists in the current age. No, maybe he is the third one.”
“Does that mean…the Empire’s hero might be one as well?!”
The male staff member was also listening and enters the conversation.
The representative just sighs at it.
“…Yeah, so it seems.”
“But if that’s the case, that means Raidou-sama who is working at a company, is the one who is the least powerful among them. It seems like he has already lost one member after all. Both hero parties were the very definition of dazzling after all.”
“About that information…is it reliable?”
“I didn’t ask before but, who’s the one that was lost? Is it known?”
“I can check right now. Let’s see…Eh?”
“You are kidding, right?”
“What’s wrong? Who’s the member that the guild card signal was lost?”
“From the members of the Kuzunoha Company that are currently in the third floor, the one that we lost the signal of was…Raidou-sama.”
The representative looks at the information he was presented, with eyes as if he was trying to eat into it.
No matter how many times I read it, it is still 3-Alt.
The third floor area that’s called ‘Path’.
“I heard it was a strange floor. I also heard that its existence was known from the 3rd floor and below. And just as told, the symbol is engraved here.” (Makoto)
My thoughts were leaking from my mouth.
To think I would draw it so suddenly.
“I have been separated from everyone. Even though we advanced through the same teleport formation…why did it turn out like this?” (Makoto)
I was standing at a long corridor. Ah, so ‘Path’ refers to a corridor huh.
When we went down to the second floor, there was a teleport formation to return to the first floor.
But there’s none here.
In other words, there’s no way to return.
The floor shines a dim red light, and at the ceiling, there’s also a round light bulb-looking thing that’s shining a red light too.
The floor is wide enough for 5-6 people to walk side by side.
The light continued forward and looked like a path.
Must be the direction I have to progress.
From the sides, there were cylindrical pillar lights lined up.
It felt like neon lights.
After that, there’s pitch black darkness.
From here and there, I could feel the presence of mamonos. Quite the numbers.
Even if there’s not as many as the 2nd floor Drake Garden…no, that one was excessively spacious, so in terms of density, this one might be higher.
“How to say it…it feels cools, slippery, and made of inorganic materials. Like tiles.” (Makoto)
This is not the time to be making calm observations.
Yeah, I have ended up in that strange floor.
I didn’t expect it would even separate us.