Editor: A s h e s
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Upon returning to camp, we reported back to Varold and Keith at the command tend.
“You’ve worked hard. How was the mapping?”
It wasn’t me who answered the question.
“Schwarz is a very capable explorer, nya. But today we only explored. Nothing related to mapping yet, nya.”
“Eh? No mapping today yet, Schwarz?”
“Yes, I did some mapping today. I can’t explain how I do it, but after this, I’ll note down the area explored today. Have you been able to set up a place for me to do up the map?”
Varold seemed a bit perplexed thanks to Mitche’s unnecessary reply, but I denied the remark with a wry smile. In the labyrinth, I didn’t say anything about mapping at all to Mitche and Frau. So from their points of view, we probably were just exploring the area.
“It’s ready, I’ll take you there. Varold, let’s leave the detailed report until after the mapping is done.”
When I first entered the camp, I heard from Keith about the tent that was being set up for drawing the map. Mitche whispered to Frau, “Have you checked it, nya?” Of course, she hadn’t, since they weren’t to inquire about my methods. Frau whispered back, “I haven’t, but seems like there won’t be any problems.”
“Schwarz, how long will it take you to draw the map?”
“If I have 1 hour, I can draw something simple.”
“Well then, come back here in an hour. Dinner will also be brought here.”
“Understood. Then, if you please, Keith.”
I bowed lightly to the other 3 before following Keith to the mapping tent.
“Mitche. Frau. Thank you for your hard work. How was he?”
“He had no problems exploring the labyrinth. Rather than that, he was so capable that we had it quite easy. About the mapping, you can see for yourself once it’s done.”
“Schwarz wants to hide his skills, but it’s useless, nya. Rumors will spread soon and then the competition to recruit him will start, nya.”
“Competition? He’s just a D-rank with no achievements, isn’t he?”
“His ability to track enemies is on par with Beastmen, and his ability to see in the dark is better than the average Beastman. His long-range attacks are powerful, faster and stronger than a bow. He can even draw maps. Of course, there will still be PT, but the number of clans that want him won’t be small.”
(T/N: Probably probation time)
“If Schwarz was female, I’d definitely recruit him to Sasanqua, nya.”
Unaware that my worth was being discussed, in the tent Keith led me to, I was “mapping”. The tent was rectangular and about 4 tatamis wide. Aside from a desk, they also prepared several candle-lit lanterns in consideration of me being unable to call up light with magic.
“Looking at this, the Labyrinth is just like a maze at a theme park…”
The Emerald Demon Labyrinth was wide and full of weird turns, many of which led to dead-ends. You’d just get lost in some dead-end if you didn’t go in with an accurate map. No wonder they couldn’t even explore the first floor completely.
But it was different in my case. The auto-mapping function could automatically display the area within a 150m radius. I didn’t need to take a turn to know if it led to a dead-end or not. We probably wouldn’t have any trouble getting to the 2nd level staircase.
Actually, we had avoided all the dead-ends during today’s exploration: As I understood, what they expected from me was to extend the exploration range ASAP, even if it was just a little bit further into the labyrinth. (T/N: meaning he deliberately avoided all dead-ends so they wouldn’t waste time wandering around).
The map was completed in exactly 1 hour. Once done, I headed to the command tent along with the finished result: a map of the area explored today.
“I’ve made a map what was explored today.”
Varold, Keith, Mitche and Frau were waiting for me inside. They took the map from me immediately and checked it out together – humming their approvals all the while.
“As expected from someone whose assistance Remi has specifically requested. It is the first time I’ve seen such a detailed map. Schwarz, we’ll rely on your help again tomorrow. And later too. Dinner is on the desk over there, please eat while it’s still warm.”
I moved away from the group to the desk with dinner laid out on. Seemed like it was bread and soup today. It was some kind of stew that reminded me of tojiru. (T/N: Pork & vegetable miso soup) The broth was white with big chunks of vegetables and some kind of meat. The other 4 were still standing around the map, talking in low voices when I started to eat. Normally, you wouldn’t be able to hear anything from this distance, but my ear-pads picked up their conversation perfectly.
“Seems like there’s no question about this map’s effectiveness, Varold. The ones we have so far are unsatisfactory…”
“That’s also my thought, Keith. We’ve been asking the monster-sweeping teams to map for us, but it’s unreasonable to expect something so detailed from them. We’re going to have to rely on Schwarz to map the whole place.”
“We didn’t take this path at all.”
“This one too, nya.”
“What do you mean? He can map a route he did not take?”
“Well, Schwarz took the lead while exploring. At this intersection, he was the one who decided to take this path. But according to this map, all the other paths were dead-ends.”
“The map is full of dead-ends, but we didn’t run into any of them – not even once, nya.”
“In short, you mean that he knows where a path leads without taking them?”
“No. It’s possible that we just had good luck, and the dead-ends were drawn based on his guess. We need to verify how accurate his map is.”
“I see. I’ll have the map copied before tomorrow. Aside from Schwarz’s Exploration Party, I’ll send another group down into the labyrinth to verify it.”
“It’s better to send some other cartographer and his guards to verify this map. They can confirm the accuracy themselves and they won’t complain if they have to adjust their maps.”
That… They became suspicious of me, didn’t they? We were able to avoid all the dead-ends because I knew where the paths led to using the mapping function, but it indeed seemed weird that we didn’t meet any dead-ends at all. Should I deliberately lead them to some dead-end tomorrow? No, let’s not consider that. I had been insisting on not talking about my mapping skill, and making people uneasy about my obscure method was not good. Maybe it was better to let them think that I had the ability to somehow know a path’s destination without actually walking it.
“Thank you for the meal. What should I do with the dishes?”
“Ah, please put them over there.”
“Understood. I’ll be in your care tomorrow too. Let’s start exploring in the morning. Now, if you please excuse me.”
“You know the sleeping quarters, right? Beds aren’t specifically assigned so just pick whichever you want. Rest well.”
Of the 4, it was Keith who responded to me. I gave him a light bow before exiting the command tent.
On the way to the sleeping quarters, I thought more about my ability. About the VMB system and its power. From their point of view, my mapping method was probably cheating. Cheating, huh…? It was something FPS players avoided and hated. The so-called program tampering, which destroyed the game’s balance purposely, also led to the demise of many players.
To this other world, I was a foreign existence, a cheat rather than a bug. I was not someone who used bugs to dupe, but a cheater who intentionally used external tools to alter the world…
I felt nauseated…