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Chapter 072: Missing advance party, capture meeting to ensure safety
When I woke up, almost all the others were still asleep. Looking at that, I began stretching and thought about what I should do with the criminal slaves.
I think that their abilities are pretty excellent.
Although they do not stand out like Lionel and others, the whole organization display exceedingly high level of cooperation by working together.
Once the Healer’s Guild is rebuilt and the Ienith healer clinic is established, I would be able to journey out.
When that happens, I feel like it would be a waste to keep them there at Ienith’s Healer’s Guild.
” … As might be expected, it would be difficult to bring all of them along, but I wonder if I have any way to do so~.”
I murmured as I began my magic training after my stretches, but Naria woke up before I could start so we made breakfast together.
I considered who to bring along for my future journey.
After having our breakfast and confirming every squad’s condition, I announced today’s goal.
“From here on it will be the labyrinth that has activated. Monsters like Fire Lizardman and Fire Bear have been reported to appear. It should take longer to search compared to yesterday but that’s fine. We will aim for the 40th floor but today as well we will carefully advance with safety as our priority!”
After applying 「Area Barrier」 on each squad, I added.
“If the monsters become too strong and searching becomes difficult, I will have to consolidate the squads. I believe the traps will become more heinous so do earnestly take note of your surroundings.”
Kefin and others were momentarily baffled but began laughing soon after.
” … Did I say something funny?”
“No, we’re just happy that you worry for us. Because if there are more people that are like you S-rank-sama, I believe slaves like us would be able to live a bit easier.”
Kefin and others grinned as they set off to explore the 31st floor.
I thought that I would be angered by that, but for some reason, I could not get angry with that smile.
As I sighed, I applied 「Area Barrier」 on my group as well and began searching.
Judging by my body sensation, the temperature had rose by about 10 degrees. It wasn’t the heat like being shined upon by the sun, but more like the heat from moving close to a stove.
“It would be good to diligently drink fluids. Don’t refrain and call out to me if you all want to have a water break.”
I said to Lionel and group. Due to my temperature regulating equipment, I only felt the heat on my face, but their whole body was subjected to that heat so it should be unbearable.
As the labyrinth floor spanned 400 square meters and was made up of nothing but branches in paths, we proceeded while waiting for each other. We gradually filled in the map as we advanced, but although our speed had not changed, we gradually had more members injured with burns and scratches.
However, after casting 「Area Heal」, they happily embarked on further exploration.
“I somehow feel like I’m doing a devil’s deed, is this really fine?”
“I also want to explore like them.”
“I also want to go nya! It would definitely be double the fun nya!”
Said the combat maniac-combi.
Their wish will definitely come true. Since there isn’t a map from the 40th floor onward.
I advanced through the labyrinth without saying that.
Although it took an hour to climb a single floor, I took a full day to circle a floor in the Labyrinth of Tribulation, so I realized the effectiveness of a human wave technique on a labyrinth.
We had our lunch in front of the stairs leading up to the 36th floor. To keep the monsters away, I slightly opened the lid on the barrel of Object X before returning to the place everyone else was, upon which they looked at me with puzzled expressions.
” … Even though that is fine to drink, I did not place it there for others to drink. Doing so would keep monsters at bay. That’s why there’s no need for lookouts. I did it because it’s more effective for all of us to rest all at once.”
Upon saying that, everyone looked astonished at the barrel of Object X.
When I was cooking, when we were eating and even when we were resting after our meal, they looked in the direction of the barrel the whole time.
When monsters did indeed not come close, it looked like they had changed their perception of Object X due to Object X’s greatness.
However, what do they think about me who can drink Object X with a composed expression when it is even avoided by monsters? I did not have the courage to ask that.
Just like yesterday, I retrieved the maps from each of the squads and filled in the blank area, discovering that it was once again filled with an abundance of traps.
“Is it fine to continue advancing forward with it being like this?”
When I asked the leader of each squad that, Kefin answered as the representative.
“It can be done up until the 40th floor. However for advancing beyond that, to be safe, with our abilities we would need to increase our numbers.”
After saying that, Kefin and the others all revealed a face of frustration.
“Is that so … understood. Well then, I will reorganize the squads from 3 squads into 2.”
After saying so, they had a look of surprise, but that was my intention since the beginning.
” … It can be done up until the 40th floor.”
I felt that Kefin had a tinge of anger in his words, but I answered while smiling.
“I assume that you all would not be able to cooperate well if I reorganize the squads upon arriving at the 40th floor. It’s not that I don’t trust you, I just wish to avoid pointlessly facing tough battles. Moreover, it’s been a long time since I’ve had stress-free days. Please let me enjoy it a little more.”
I don’t know how much my excuse convinced them, but they looked at me with eyes filled with pity and agreed.
I filled in the blank spaces in the maps until the 40th floor, but we did not find a single treasure box.
I don’t know if they have already been collected or that we would not encounter a treasure box even if we enter a new floor, but we arrived at the 40th floor boss room.
“They’re not here huh.”
“Yeah. I guess they went ahead.”
“Maybe they’ve already found them nya.”
“… Is there a high chance of that happening?”
I thought that they would be here by the time we arrived here, but Jasuan-dono and group were nowhere to be seen. Lionel and Cathy heard my mutterings and gave their respective replies which matched my thoughts.
“We’ll rest after we’ve annihilated the monsters in the boss room. From tomorrow onward, depending on the situation above, we will set our base here and search for Jasuan-dono and group as we advance.
Lionel bowed and Cathy followed suit.
The 40th floor boss was not the Chimera that Jasuan-dono fought, but 5 Sabertooth Tigers clad in flames.
They were extremely fast and had very strong offensive power, but Lionel blew them away with his large shield and Cathy and the others attacked together in one swoop to finish them.
When I was casting 「Heal」 on the criminal slaves remotely, Naria restrained the monster that was approaching me while Dolan held his maul and Paula created a 3 meter Golem to protect me.
It would have normally been a tough battle, but today it ended within a few minutes as well, causing me to experience a sense of reliability as I applied 「Purification」 and 「Area High Heal」 to heal everyone at one go, before beginning to prepare dinner.
The dinner passed with a relaxed mood as I praised each of them for the well-fought battle, causing them to get excited.
After I had dinner together with everyone and finished drawing the maps, I began a labyrinth capture meeting with the leaders of each squad, Kefin, Yarubo, Baderu and Lionel.
“Well then, let’s begin the meeting. I expect the monsters to get stronger and the labyrinth to widen when we enter the 40th floor tomorrow. Please suggest how we should advance upwards.”
Lionel raised his hand and announced, asking for permission and I nodded.
“I believe the plan is to proceed with 3 squads from tomorrow onwards, but I wish to reorganize the search party such that Cathy and I join separate squads and the remaining squad will be made up of the bodyguards for Luciel-dono.”
After Lionel said that a voice of dissent sounded out.
“Old man, we will be able to somehow fight if our number increases!”
Kefin exclaimed and I felt slightly uneasy due to the increased danger from the lack of those 2 members, but I took into consideration the most efficient choice.
” … It’s so that the search will be more efficient and even if we suffer injuries, it would reduce the probability of death right?”
“Yes. If the monsters that regularly appear on the upper floor stalks the floor, it would be good if we only get injured, but it is also conceivable that we face instant death.”
Kefin had a sour face after hearing that and looked downwards. Looks like he is, at least, aware of his own abilities.
“If Luciel-dono gets attacked, as long as you continue healing them, they should be able to act as a shield. There’s a Golem as well so it wouldn’t be that dangerous.”
“I can somehow make do if there’re enough magic stones.”
Paula grasped her hands and said.
I recalled a certain individual from my previous life, but I immediately shook my head and accepted that suggestion.
” … Understood. I will entrust the reorganization of the squad to you. Next, we’ll have to discuss measures against the heat and about the search, but we’ll tackle the heat measures first. Can you create a magic tool to combat the heat?”
“I can. But is there a need for it?”
Paula tilted her head.
“We’re accustomed to heat so we can’t sense any difference.”
Dolan replied in afterthought. If that’s the case, then does it mean they are weak to cold? I wondered in my mind but I looked around and the others also replied that it was not needed.
“Is that so. However, if you sweat then do replenish with liquids. Next, it would change depending on the labyrinth capture situation, but I think we should limit ourselves to 5 floors a day. Judging by each squad’s level of exhaustion, I don’t mind if we even search a floor a day. Any objections?”
Nobody raised any objections.
“Dolan and Paula will check on the ruined equipment. Later, please discuss formations etc. with your respective squads.”
After the meeting ended, I performed some magical manipulation training as I muttered grudgingly for the fact that I recalled that I took a hundred times longer to reach the 40th floor of the Labyrinth of Tribulations.
“If that’s the case … No, it’s just because we’ve been lucky. Continuing to progress in such a good manner indefinitely would be doub…” (TL: He basically stops himself so that he doesn’t jinx it. Thanks Anonymous and Will for the suggestions.)
I stopped myself from speaking any further as I prayed to the Gods and my ancestors that the exploration tomorrow proceeds safely as well.
Thank you for reading.