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We are currently walking in the dungeon’s valley after coming out of the cave.
But our pace has become noticeably slower than our pace in the forest. There are dead end caves and go through caves; moreover, it does not seem to be a mere labyrinth considering the fact that there are ways in the valley that branch into different paths. Though there’s no problem with the valley, we lose our sense of direction and distance when we enter a cave. In addition to that is the presence of extremely complicated pathways.
Well, that’s still okay.
While it might take time, it’s not troublesome at all. It’s not like I’m restricted by something.
Suu seems troubled about something, though.
It seems that students in the magic academy can choose their own holiday. Thus, Suu is making full use of that. Well, despite saying this as a holiday, since he had reported to the academy that this is, in fact, a form of training, half of it will be regarded as studying.
Well, that’s why he’s troubled with such a prolonged holiday.
But it hasn’t been prolonged too much.
That’s why the time applied for holidays is just right, but our foremost problem is the fact that we forgot the way to return.
We kept on repeating and the route became even more troublesome as we advanced further, that’s why it’s hard to find the correct path to advance forward.
It’s as if we’ll lose our way once we are careless.
Thus, we are advancing slowly while mapping the region. Maybe it was a blessing in disguise that I did not forget to bring along paper and pen for this exploration.
It’s just like we were experiencing the dungeon exploration in a game.
Though a handwritten map seems hard to read and understand, it has its own charm. The handmade map is quite complicated, though.
「These findings could already be considered precious」
Suu speaks what’s in his mind while gazing at the drawn map.
「Maybe we’ll get a good sum of money as long as we transcribe a copy of this map and sell them to the ones who dive into this place」
「To think that Suu’s a money grubber, I have seen an unexpected side of yours」
「Uhm, that’s natural. My reason for learning magic is to become rich」
It seems his goal isn’t to research for the root of magic.
He’s more worldly than I thought.
Well, I don’t hate such easy to understand guys, though.
「Nevertheless, monopolizing information about this place is also a way to earn some income」
「Certainly. In that case, do you mean that we shouldn’t sell the map as a way to monopolize the information?」
「Ooh, I see. Suu is smart when it comes to this, huh. You’ve quite an evil mind」
「Hahaha, it’s still nothing compared to Eiji-san」
Fufufufu, and Jackrosa was staring expressionlessly at us letting out such wicked laughs.
With such events happening in the middle, we continue to slowly but steadily advance into the valley.
Though it takes time, it’s far better than losing our way.
Maybe it’s because of the dense concentration of demonic elements, we obtained magic crystals while fighting the monsters that appear in this area.
We found magic crystals that are said to have earth element, and our loots keep piling up as we advance forward.
We finally reach the end of the valley.
But, it doesn’t mean that we came to an open space.
The innermost part of the valley seems to be a cave without a tunnel.
Rather than a tunnel, it seems that it’s morphing more into a cave as we continue forward.
The cave suddenly became vast while we were discussing whether we reached a new floor.
「This is, a cemetery?」
Someone muttered so.
This place, having the luminosity of twilight thanks to the abundance of demonic elements, is as big as a big conference room with moist lands spreading far and wide below our feet while accompanied by lingering thin mist.
There are few caves on the walls of this room.
But then, the most peculiar one is the stone pillar that standing in the middle of the room.
The stone pillar which almost as tall as a person, some of it completely broke while the other one barely. It’s completely similar to a graveyard that has been abandoned for a loooong time.
「Quite the scenery, huh」
「But then, it doesn’t seem like we can lower our vigilance either」
Someone had already come to this room ahead of us.
Three silver-colored skeletons, three zombies with sharp claws, and a headles soldier.
They’re definitely monsters without even need for us to confirm it.
Especially, the seemingly powerful headless soldier is readying his sword and shield. It was that, the so-called Dullahan.
「That one looks powerful. Be careful」
Jackrosa raises his spear.
I also draw my sword and utilize strengthening magic that I never used till this point.
Both us and the monsters commence the attacks at the same moment.
Jackrosa is tanking the attack of the monster, I’m the vanguard, and Suu’s covering for us from behind.
Their movements are different from the monsters that we faced against so far.
We might end up screwed with just one moment of carelessness; moreover, the matter of cutting through the hard skeletal body is the most troublesome task.
Similar to what happened until now, I can’t land a clean hit due to its high defense. The hard body of this skeleton guy itself is its shield and armor.
It’s body isn’t just for show.
The zombie with sharp claws is also jumping around with agile maneuvers.
The most dangerous thing about that zombie is the fact that it’s aiming for the rear guard.
Since magic users like Suu are weak at close combat, Jackrosa and I have to do our best in dealing with the monster that’s aiming for our rear guard as well as the other monsters that are attacking from the front without a single failure.
Though we managed to somehow cope with that situation, it will turn into a dangerous scenario if we make even the slightest mistake.
The dullahan rushed ahead with the preparation to take some damage and was already in front of Suu. Though I managed to push it away at the last moment with the hammer that I made with magic craft, the quantity of strong monsters keep increasing, and I’m starting to feel the difficulties of fighting while protecting someone. Stopping few of them that are coming toward me is already really troublesome.
「Fuuh. That was quite difficult, right?」
「Yes. Ha~h, they’re on a completely different level than the monsters we fought so far」
We catch our breath after somehow managing to beat all the monsters in this room.
Suu’s drenched with cold sweat.
Well, he was put into an extremely dangerous situation, after all.
「Are you okay, Suu?」
「Yeah. I’m okay, you guys are protecting me, after all」
When Jackrosa asks with an anxious expression, Suu displays a slightly dissapointed look but still nods toward him.
「I have been trained thoroughly in magic, but I never faced against a monster so close to me like that. They won’t fall even after getting hit by magic skills or arrows, and even my shield broke immediately」
「It seems the monsters are more powerful in this place」
「Moreover, my magical power had also almost exhausted. I still have a long way to go. I won’t slack on my training anymore」
Suu mumbles in a self-admonishing tone.
Certainly, that was quite a close call.
「What shall we do then? Are we going to go back? We’ve already come this far and we’ll lose everything if we were to get a wound in the coming battles」
「That might be a good idea. However, let’s continue for a little longer. I’m sorry for bringing a lot of trouble to you guys, but how about we explore this place? We managed to come this far, after all」
Naturally, the answer for that question is obvious.
We advance through the graveyard cave while continuing to maintain taut vigilance so that we’re prepared for battle anytime.
After walking across the graveyard for a while, we discovered a lot of treasure.
We acquired things like solid will-o’-the-wisp, skull of curse, bone of land whale, black steel, and keel - something of higher purity than a regular magic crystal.
Though Jackrosa remains oblivious to some of them, Suu is gathering them with an extremely delighted face. It seems those items are precious catalysts for manufacturing magic items.
I’m also collecting them while thinking how delighted Phillipe would be if I meet him with these materials.
I also obtained several swords and shields.
Though majority of them are used items from skeletons or dullahans, there was even one that was stuck on the grave. But, since the black silver-coloured sword I’m using right now is stronger, I’ll sell all of them rather than using it for myself.
「We should be return soon, right?」
Suu queries Jackrosa and me.
「We have been attacked by monster for few times already, but I realized that I’m not that much of a help to you guys; on the contrary, I have become a burden since you need to protect me. Let’s go back, I can’t bring myself to drag you guys down anymore than this」
「Are you sure? I don’t mind about that, though」
「No, Jackrosa. It’s definitely not alright for me. I was just an inch away from danger in several occasions. It should be too much for you guys. Above all, I also care about my life」
Certainly, we almost fell into dangerous situations a few times.
Suu doesn’t seem to be hurt by it, or should I say that he only received several scratches. It’ll get healed just with simple recovery magic, but I think it’s about time for us to leave.
「Well then, we shall leave the dungeon, then. We can come back anytime since we have this place’s map」
One thing led to another which made the entire team to slowly agree to leave the labyrinth.
And then, when we were enjoying a pleasant conversation on the way back about what shall we do about those treasures that we found in the valley.
「Wait, something is nearby. Maybe it’s another monster」
When we were making our way back toward the cave connected to the open space, I heard footsteps heading toward our direction.
We halt at our place, with weapons in our hands.
We didn’t meet any monsters in this passage before, but they finally came for us, huh.
After waiting at the corner of the passage――
「As I thought. It was really the voice of a human being」
My voice echoes throughout the passage.
The mastermind of the magic academy’s hijacking incident, Epi is standing in front of us while folding her arms.
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