“You never know what can happen in life. Half a month ago, I never expected to be here digging my way into a legendary labyrinth.”
Seran wore a headband with a luminescent rock placed into it as he was digging.
“After I swore to be a hero, I never thought my first task was to dig a tunnel.”
Kyle also had a band with luminescent rock strapped to his head.
The two used shovels to dig through the rocks and placed them in a wagon. Occasionally, they wiped their sweat away with the towels they had around their necks.
“You fools. You two of all people should not be complaining.”
Behind the two boys stood Ulza, also with a band strapped to her head. She was giving orders from the back as she checked the map. She was also using the help of the Earth Spirit Nome.
“I can’t believe I’m helping you guys… Hey! Seran! Don’t dig there! We haven’t hardened the surroundings! Kyle! Use Detect Magic once you finish hauling the dirt outside! Things might be misaligned!”
Detect Magic was a spell that detects magic power. The three used that magic to detect the power coming from the treasure inside, and adjusted their movements accordingly.
“I feel like Ulza is putting in the most work here…”
Kyle simply nodded to Seran.
“She’s a very serious person. She hates people who slack off.”
“Quit talking! Keep working!!”
“ Yes ma’am!! ”
The two decided it was better to not talk back.
The Sanguld mountains spanned an area as large as a small country. Kyle and his friends were deep in the mountains where nobody dared to travel. The mountains were like a staircase. The plateaus in between each step had goats grazing on the grass. The steep areas, however, were very dangerous.
Kyle was at the rear entrance. The real entrance of the labyrinth was on the other side of this mountain.
This area was also the closest to the treasures, and the perfect place to start digging.
Although if they decided to actually dig through the stone, it would take years.
This is where Ulza comes in handy.
Using the Earth Spirit Nome allowed her to make the stone into a softer dirt-like substance so it’s easier to dig.
At the same time, to prevent any avalanches, she hardened the surrounding stone and made it sturdy. Finally, by using the Wind Spirit Silfeed, they were all able to breathe without a problem even if they were deep in the mountains.
As a result, they were extremely efficient.
Kyle’s original plan was to fight at the arena to collect funds so he could buy magic tools that did what Ulsa was currently doing. Thanks to Ulza, there was no need for that anymore.
Kyle could have asked others for help or hired others, but he wanted to do it with as few people as he could. In fact, he originally planned to do it with Seran alone, but that would take much longer.
“Good work all three of you.”
Lize greeted the three as they walked out of the tunnel. She was in the middle of cooking something.
The base camp was right near the entrance of the tunnel and there were two tents.
Kyle, Seran, and Ulza were in charge of digging, while Lize handled the cooking and other miscellaneous jobs.
It’s been five days. They were getting used to this lifestyle.
“The laundry is all dry, and I’m sure you don’t want to eat in those clothes, so why don’t you all go change? The food will be ready in a bit. Oh, and I’ll wash the clothes you’re wearing now so just put them all together, okay?”
Lize was giving out orders and the three went into the tents to change.
“I’m so tired~ I can’t move~”
Seran was done changing.
“Keep it up, we’re almost there.”
“You too. Your legs are shaking.”
As Seran pointed out, Kyle’s legs were shaking. But he pretended that he was fine.
“My body is fine, but calling the spiritual apostles has drained me mentally.”
Ulza sat down and let out a sigh.
Using apostles differed from using contracts to summon the powers of the spirits. With the apostles, Ulza was able to give direct orders. For example, she could command the Fire Spirit Salamander to “light 100 candles individually.”
There are certain things each spirit can and cannot do, and depending on the level of the person using the spirits, the commands can be quite detailed. This is one of the reasons why spiritual magicians are still considered useful compared to the ancient magicians.
Lize set out all the food in front of the three.
“I must say. Lize, your cooking skills are amazing. I’ve been on long journeys, but all the food outside the city tastes bland…”
Ulza seemed surprised.
There was a stew, grilled chicken, and fruit. All of it tasted quite delicious. The meals brought excitement every day for the three working in the mountains.
Ulza knew how to cook, but not in the wild like this. During her journey, Ulza normally ate preserved food.
“There happened to be a really fat bird so I used that.”
“Hmm…huh? This meat over here is different?”
“Oh that one is bear. I killed it just a while ago so that’s fresh as well.”
“When did you….”
Ulza was enjoying the meal, but the two boys just stuffed food into their mouths. The combination of exhaustion and hunger left them with no energy to talk.
Lize refilled their bowls as if it was a routine.
“How much longer do you guys have to dig?”
“Well, at this pace, we’ll be done by tomorrow or the day after.”
Kyle answered while drinking his after-meal tea.
The Detect Magic spell was returning very faint signals at first, but as they dug further, the signal strength increased.
“I see. Go take a bath once you’re done, and get ready for tomorrow~”
The bath was a little far away, and it was big enough so that several people could go in at once. It was a hot spring, but it wasn’t natural.
Ulza used the Earth Spirit Nome to create a crater and the Water Spirit Undeene to summon the spring water from below while Kyle used his fire magic to heat it up.
“I never expected to be able to take a bath everyday in the mountains like this. When I went to the mountains before, all I did was wipe my body.”
Lize stretched her body and relaxed.
Lize’s body showed the effects of her training. There was not a single bit of fat and her body was in a nice streamlined shape.
Her legs had just a bit of muscle, but it wasn’t too obvious. Her skin had a healthy tan and looked beautiful.
When she flipped over, her large ass floated on the water.
“I’ve also been on a long journey. This was a long overdue bath.”
The elves were a delicate species, but Uzla was an exception.
She had a very balanced body. Her breasts weren’t huge, but they had a beautiful shape.
If she was a statue, she’d probably be placed in some king’s room.
She rested on the edge of the bath, and tied her blonde hair. Her skin was white and glowing.
“I envy you.”
Lize had an average sized chest, but Ulza had a rather large one.
“Really? Where I grew up, those kind of hips are envied.”
Thought Lize had an average chest, her hips were larger than most girls her age.
“Yeah, you look like you could rear a lot of healthy kids. Look at me….”
Ulza stood up, got close to Lize, and looked at her own skinny hips and small ass.
“…The old women in our town tell me the same thing. But it’d be better if it was more like you Ulza-san…oh…a heart!”
There was a heart shaped area with darker pigmentation on Ulza’s white ass.
“D…don’t say it. I don't like it.”
Ulza hid the scar by going down in the water.
Her face was bright red, but Lize thought it was cute.
They both laughed and Lize thanked Ulza again for the hot bath.
“I didn’t know magic could come in handy like this. I can’t use magic so I’m really thankful.”
“Don’t be. Besides, you killed a bear with your bare hands. That’s much cooler.”
Ulza got a glimpse of the bear carcass before going in the bath. It was as big as two grown men and weighed as much as 7 or 8.
“I’m also in the midst of training, so it’s no big deal.”
“Eh?...Ah…yeah…I mean, this is the only thing I excel at so…”
Lize rubbed her cheeks. She was shy.
“Hey Ulza-san. I know this won’t sound convincing coming from me, but….I don’t think you should worry that much.”
“I know that Kyle is hiding something, and I know that whatever it is, it’s got something to do with your Mana.”
Ulza’s face tightened. The only reason Ulza is here is because somebody else has access to her Mana.
“All I can say is, that guy does a lot of things that pisses me off, but he would never do something to make me cry. So I’m certain that he would never do anything to hurt you Ulza-san. I’m just going to wait until he speaks up.”
When Ulza saw the smile on Lize’s face, she knew that Lize trusted Kyle. That eased some of the tension.
(or she just couldn’t believe how Lize was so dumb)
“Either way, I just tagged along because I was uneasy about letting him go alone. Ah. But don't worry. If he does anything stupid, I’ll take responsibility and…”
Lize had her fists clenched.
“Just call me Ulza.”
“What I’m saying is, drop the san.”
The two laughed.
While the girls were bonding, there was some commotion.
“Let me go!!!! I’m going to go see!!”
“Stop! Aren’t you ashamed of yourself?!”
Seran was trying to peek at the girls taking the bath, and Kyle was doing everything he could to stop him.
“It’s an open air bath! Of course I’d look! What’s wrong!?”
Seran screamed with everything he had.
“You’re not going to look?!”
“Of course I want to look!” Kyle replied and began to speak.
“There’s no way I’m letting you see those two! That’s my…”
“Did you just say two?! So it’s not just Lize but also Ulza-chan!!”
“Why are you suddenly quiet?”
“You’re annoying! It’s gonna affect our work tomorrow! Just go and sleep already!”
“I don’t care about tomorrow! I’m living this moment right now!”
There was tension building between the two.
“Ugh. Damnit. I failed again today.”
“…you…you’ve wasted my energy…..”
“What are you two doing!? I just washed these clothes you know?!”
Lize came out of the bath and saw the two were grappling. In the process, they had dirt all over the freshly washed clothes Lize had provided.
Needless to say, she wasn’t impressed.
Around noon the next day, Ulza approached Kyle, who had resumed digging after having lunch.
“I never thought to conquer the labyrinth like this. I still feel uneasy about doing it this way….”
“There’s no other way. If we go in from the front, we’ll be destroyed for sure.”
Kyle remembered the time he went through the front.
Although he had a map of all the traps, it wasn’t easy getting through. Plus, not all the traps are on the map.
The map itself is a trap as well.
There’s some magic infused in the map. Basically, the map is accurate for most part, but once you get to the layer with all the treasure, additional layers appear on the blank areas.
The layer with the treasure can’t be reached without going through those layers, but the traps are some of the worst.
Just thinking about how hopeless that experience was sent shivers down Kyle’s spine.
He took a look at the signature on the corner of the map.
The signature was written in ancient writing: Sildonia Zares.
The reason for all this digging was simple: Kyle never wanted to enter the labyrinth again, but at the same time, he wanted all the treasure.
“By the way, is Seran back yet?”
Seran took off after having lunch and hasn’t returned since.
“He has a nasty habit of slacking off. I remember him saying he’d find a place where he could see from far away…I wonder what he’s talking about…”
Ulza tilted her head.
“Don’t worry about that. I’m gonna strangle that guy later.”
Kyle crushed the cup he was holding in his hand.
“I’m confused. Anyway Kyle, there’s something I want to ask you.”
Ulza explained that she’d rather ask now since Seran was gone.
“I’m a down to earth kind of person, so I’ll get straight to it. Lize and Seran have known you for a long time and they trust you very much, but I’m different. I don't know you very well. So tell me. Why do you want to become a hero?”
When Ulza heard about Kyle’s intentions on the way over here, she initially thought he was some weird kid with unreasonable ambitions.
But as time went by, she realized that Kyle was serious. He had a clear goal in mind, knew what he could do, and what he needed to do. He also hadn’t slacked off one tiny bit.
“Your ring. That’s part of your training right?”
She looked at the simple ring on Kyle’s left hand.
“I see you’ve noticed. It’s a ring that has the gravity spell.”
Gravity adjusts the weight of the target. It’s normally used to weaken beasts by draining their energy and rendering them powerless. It’s also called the Ring of Promise because it’s used to take away the power of criminals.
The type of ring that Kyle had on his finger could be instantly deactivated if he wanted to. And unless it was a complete surprise attack, he would have no problem with it.
“With that ring, your weight is probably 2 or 3 times the normal amount right?”
“You’re just about right. According to my master, constantly putting on weight is helpful in increasing my base strength. It’s simple, but very effective nonetheless. For now, I just want to raise my basic strength. By wearing the ring and digging, it’s two birds with one stone.”
“At first I thought you were into masochism…”
“Um… like… you know… You have those weird sexual fantasies… with Lize and… the way you flirt with her… is your method of…. foreplay?”
“What kind of misunderstanding is that!?”
“I mean.. Seran told me that..the way you two flirt is a very high-level type of foreplay… so I shouldn’t really take it seriously…”
“That guy… always speaking nonsense…”
“At first I thought it was a very rare type of fantasy… so I was looking down at you while feeling sorry for the human race for being so strange… but it looks like I was wrong. My bad.”
“No, don’t be. Don’t worry about it.”
Somewhere inside, Kyle felt like crying.
“I’m gonna ask you again. Why do you want to be a hero?”
Just as Kyle was about to say something, there was a loud noise. The shovel hit something very hard.
“Is this….metal? W…We’ve made it!”
The metal was very hard and cold.
The Detect Magic spell was giving it’s strongest feedback so far.
“It’s time for the final approach. We’ve got to tell Lize and Seran.”
Just as Kyle was about to go out, he turned back and told Ulza.
“I’m sorry. I can’t tell you right now. But I promise, when the time comes, I’ll tell Lize and the rest of you.”
Ulza looked at Kyle as he walked out and decided not to press further.
She said to herself,
“For some reason…being with these guys is messing with my mind…”