(298) Belasra’s hidden labyrinth
“Oya, did you forget that I said I don’t accept return goods?”
The bewitching owner of the slave dealership who was smoking her pipe just as before — Quince said when she saw Carol.
She tapped the pipe to remove the ash and she seemed to comprehend after seeing Haurvatat and Carol.
“I see, I understand the situation a little. Do you have authorization?
Authorization — the documents Ichinojo prepared to release Carol from slavery.
She took out a couple of documents and the required gold from her item bag.
” … Are these sufficient?”
“There’s no problem with these. It will take some time to prepare so you might want to take a stroll through town.”
Quince said and started preparing the documents.
Carol fidgeted as she looked slightly up toward the ceiling.
The ceiling had turned black due to the smoke from the pipe.
“I left your room untouched so you can take a look if you want.”
Quince commented as she wrote on the documents and a big smile appeared on Carol’s face.
“Thank you very much.”
She thanked her and went up the stairs.
In the tiny room, there was a bed made for children and a large bookshelf that was clearly a failed work which didn’t suit the room.
The window frame for the small square window was nailed shut such that it would never be opened.
“There are all kinds of books … it looks like there are more than a hundred.”
“These are Quince-sama’s personal items. Originally this room was used as a storeroom and although the items were shifted to another room, there was nowhere else to place the books so they remained in this room.”
Carol laughed as she said that.
She flipped through a book with nostalgia. Even if they were books, most of them can’t be said to be meant for children. The one that would probably interest children the most was the thick travel diary.
Carol’s knowledge mostly came from that book.
“This could be said to be Carol’s prison. I occasionally performed my job as a rental slave and I was able to move about freely to some extent in the shop. If I head to the facility at the back, I could play with the children of the other slaves. However, at nights without any work, Carol would stay here alone. I was forbidden from opening the door and the windows and just looking at the moon from the window was all Carol had. I am always thankful to Ichinojo-sama for saving Carol from those lonely nights.”
However — Carol looked around the room and said.
“I understand now. How much thought Quince-sama put in when preparing this room. So Carol is thankful to Quince-sama for this room as well.”
Rather than not having a place to put them, the large number of books spoke of the considerations that were put in to distract Carol from boredom.
“That’s a nice story. I was treated well by Matthias-sama as well so not only were we purchased by a wonderful master, we were also purchased by wonderful slave merchants.”
Carol showed a bashful smile and nodded.
Then, she took out cleaning tools from the item bag and started cleaning the room.
They were normally on a journey so there was no need to clean.
Pionia cleaned My World and when it came down to it, Ichinojo’s Lifestyle Magic Clean would render cleaning tools unnecessary. Nevertheless, the cleaning tool that Miri brought from Japan which was many steps ahead of those that could be found in Otherworld was able to clean the abandoned room in an instant.
“It’s become so clean. I’ve completed the preparations for the slave release.”
Quince said and took out a red book from the shelf.
It was a bible published by the Lakont Church.
“Before that, I have a mountain of things I want to talk about. Why did Demon Lord Famiris‧Raritei reincarnate as a young girl in another world? What is Daijiro’s aim? What is Daijiro’s reason for bringing Miri away now after all this time?”
“” — !?””
Those were the answers that Ichinojo needed and the information that Haurvatat and Carol wanted to find.
“Sorry if you expect anything from me. I have left the Demon Lord Army for a long time. I still get information now but it doesn’t mean I know everything.”
“So it’s true — Quince-sama was together with Demon Lord Famiris‧Raritei.”
“A lot of things happened. Let’s switch location. I have something I want you to see before I talk. I have things I want to ask too. Follow me.”
Quince said as she led the two of them out of town.
After leaving town, they headed north.
It was quite a dangerous road but Haurvatat was around, Carol’s level was somewhat high, and Quince was walking at a relaxed pace.
Or rather, she was walking gracefully although the path they took could be called a hike.
“This place is —”
Haurvatat muttered as she looked at the rock wall.
” … I smell ink from beyond this cliff.”
” …? The other side of this cliff is indeed our destination but the smell of ink?”
Quince exhaled smoke from her pipe as she touched the cliff.
Upon doing so, her hand entered the cliff.
“This is — an illusionary wall?”
It resembled the illusionary wall that they saw when they helped Norn when she was kidnapped by the bandits in Florence.
“That’s right, dungeons are famous for having such illusionary walls but there are some that conceal the entrance in such a manner too.”
Quince said before entering the illusionary wall.
Haurvatat and Carol followed suit.
The next instant, the tobacco pipe in Quince’s mouth slipped out.
After all, there were words written in ink on the labyrinth walls that she had never seen before.
【Welcome to Centaur’s Labyrinth!】
Quince picked up the dropped tobacco pipe.
“What’s the meaning of this? Centaurs are a race from more than a thousand years ago and are closer to chimeras than beastmen …”
Quince was deep in thought but Haurvatat and Carol realized the secret behind the words.
“Erm, Quince-sama. By any chance is this labyrinth connected to the labyrinth in Belasra — moreover to the Goddess Statue room?”
Carol asked with a certain conjecture in mind.
” … Hn? You know about it? If you pull the sword stuck here, it opens a pitfall and if you are lucky you will be able to travel to that Goddess Statue room.”
From the exchange between Carol and Quince, they finally solved the mystery — in other words, they found the answer to how Jofre and Elize were able to get to the Goddess Statue room in Belasra.
“Quince-sama. did you want to show us this sword?”
“No, not that. There is a different mechanism in place here. Well, the Hero had plenty of tricks set up but what I wanted to show was this.”
Quince said and walked toward the wall opposite where the graffiti was.
Then, she jumped.
She jumped three meters — just as they thought she would collide with the ceiling, her figure disappeared as though she was sucked into the ceiling.
“It looks like that is an illusionary wall too. Quince-sama, could we jump up too?”
“Wait a moment. I’m lowering a rope ladder so you can use that.”
A rope ladder fell from the ceiling.
Haurvatat climbed up.
It was a wide empty space.
She pulled up Carol who followed behind her.
Then, they looked at the Goddess Statue placed in the center of that space.
” … That is … the Goddess Statue of Metias-sama.”
Standing there was the seventh Goddess they have seen before — the Goddess Statue of Metias.