“It’s Schwarz, you needed me?”
After shooting practice, I returned to camp. When I was having a late lunch, a guild staffer told me that Varold and Keith were looking for me. I finished my food in a hurry and went to headquarters. Aside from them, there were a large number of Adventurers and guild staff inside the tent.
“You finally come, Schwarz. Seemed like you weren’t in the camp. Where’d you go?”
“Sorry to keep you waiting. I went out to… do some practice.”
“Heh, I’ve heard about your mapping. Such an admirable attitude you have.”
The one who spoke was an adventurer standing by Varold’s side. He was large with short brown hair and wore plate armor. He seemed to be in his thirties, and among the adventurers in the tent, he was the burliest with an energetic aura.
“I’m Linel, an A-Ranked Adventurer of Rafflesia.”
“Nice to meet you. I’m Schwarz, D-Ranked adventurer.”
An A-rank… Mitche and Frau were B-Rank, but there were even higher ranked adventurers in the camp? And Rafflesia… It was probably a clan name. I only knew of two Rafflesia. One was a plant in Southeast Asia with big red flowers that smelled like rotten flesh, and the other was a white flower used as an ingredient in some soup I had eaten when in China for a tournament. It was said to be dragon fruit flower or something. I was sure it was written as Night-Blooming Cereus, but called Rafflesia.
“Will you also join the attack party, mapper?”
“Yes. The plan is for me and some Sasanqua members to form a full party.”
“Those she-foxes huh! Ain’t that nice mapper, you’re the only guy allowed in the party, you-“
“Linel, let’s end our business here. Schwarz, we called you here about the attack tomorrow. The Sasanqua members won’t be able to join us until tomorrow, and we’re not sure if they’ll come in the morning or afternoon.”
Linel’s snide talk was stopped by Keith, but I couldn’t stomach the guy. As if he still hadn’t said enough, Linel clicked his tongue while moving away from the desk.
Keith and Varold were looking for me to discuss tomorrow’s schedule. I would have to wait for the Sasanqua members, but tomorrow morning, two other parties would go into the labyrinth ahead of our team. One was the Rafflesia members’ party and the other was a party of General Guild Staff.
The Guild party would stop at the Spring and set up a base there. The Spring wasn’t very spacious, but we still didn’t know the true extent of this labyrinth and having a place to recover our strength was necessary. The Guild would be in charge of this. Once the base was complete, they would return to camp, gather supplies and go back to the spring.
The Rafflesia party would go past the Spring, explore deeper into the labyrinth as well as make another map. They would take a day of rest at the camp every 3 days during the exploration. Our attack party would start the day after tomorrow and would follow the same schedule as Rafflesia’s party. At the same time, a group of knights that formed up to conquer the labyrinth would come from Barga. They’d also follow the same schedule to ensure there would always be one attack party in the labyrinth.
While we were discussing these things, Linel was talking to the other members of Rafflesia. Their lineup was like this: Linel as the Vanguard and the two female mages as rear guards. Of the remaining three members, two were in light equipments and the third was a guy who was almost 2 meters tall in plate armor. He looked even bulkier than Linel. All the Rafflesia members were human.
One of the guys in light armor approached us when he noticed our discussion had finished.
“You must be Schwarz. Do you have a minute? I’m an A-ranked Adventurer of Rafflesia, Will. I’m the one in charge of mapping in our party. I’ve seen your map.”
He extended his hand to me.
Does this world also have handshakes? Well, probably…
I clasped my hand with his. We agreed on a mutual provision of the map, shared some information about cartography and confirmed a non-interference agreement with each other.
(T/N: They acknowledged and respected the fact that both of them would draw the map of the Labyrinth.)
Unlike Linel, this young man Will had good manners and seemed quite smart. His short brown hair was well cared for and had a shine that didn’t suit an adventurer at all.
So such an adventurer also existed… But deep down he probably was like Linel. He kept talking as if Linel’s lack of manners earlier was nothing. Seemed like it was a normal thing for these fellows.
“Will, please feel free to use the Spring to draw your map. I will clean up a small room in front of it to use.”
“Is it alright?”
“No problem at all. I can’t concentrate when being watched, so I’ll prepare some quiet place to work. Varold. Keith. Excuse me, but is it alright if I bring some tools from my mapping tent into the Labyrinth?”
“Ah, Remi especially prepared them for you, so use them however you want.”
“Thank you. Then please excuse me.”
The Rafflesia and Guild parties headed to the labyrinth the next morning. I was to leave the day after, and I also had some free time until the Sasanqua members arrived. I used that time to sweep the area around the labyrinth in place of the Rafflesia team, crushing the monsters being called in by the labyrinth.
I also took this chance to get some practical training with the Scar. How it felt maneuvering while carrying the P90 and how to switch magazines; whether or not a goblin could be killed with a single headshot; how the gun’s penetrating power is. I needed to verify those things to see if the rifle was a good choice or not.
In my original world, everyone in the hunting scene knew that intermediate rifles weren’t sufficient for large beasts, but 7.62×51 NATO rounds in VMB were surely more powerful than anything a real gun could fire.
How do I know this? Because goblin heads would burst open when I landed headshots. Human heads didn’t get blown clean off the necks when you shot them using a real firearm with the same caliber. I found its power reliable, but frightening… This couldn’t be used on people. That time in Barga when I had gotten into a scruff with a group of adventurers at the second-hand shop, I had shot them in the knees with my 5.7.
5.7s used the 5.7x28mm NATO rounds, which had decent penetrating power, so they went cleanly through the knees. If I had used the 7.62x51mm rounds, there was no doubt that not only would the knees have burst, but the whole leg would also have been blown off…
Not just this caliber, but I also had to confirm the power of my shotguns and sniper rifles as soon as possible. I had so many small-arms that I didn’t even remember the amount anymore. To choose the most suitable firearm, not only for this labyrinth but others I would conquer in the future, I needed to fully grasp the power of the VMB system.
With these thoughts, I hunted the monsters in the labyrinth’s vicinity. I didn’t take any of the raw monster materials though. I tried to skin a glass wolf, but my hands and the surroundings were covered in blood half-way in – I ended up vomiting. So I swore to take only the mana stones. I cleaned the labyrinth’s surroundings for the whole morning before returning to camp at noon for a break. There I found a group of female adventurers in the dining tent, two of whom I recognized.
“Ah! He’s back, nya!”
“Welcome back, Mitche, Frau.”
“We just arrived a little while ago. Let me introduce you to our Sasanqua members. Marinda, a heavy combatant; Ruu, a swordswoman; and Lapitilica Barga, a magician.”
“I’m Schwarz, a D-Ranked Adventurer. Nice to meet you.”
“I’m Marinda, A-ranked adventurer of Sasanqua. Nice to meet you, Schwarz!”
It was rude to say, but it was difficult to think that Marinda was a woman. She was even taller than me – probably 190cm in height or so- with close-cropped red-hair and tanned skin. Maybe she was from the same town as Remi? She had well-defined features, but exceptionally big physique. Her arms were several times thicker than mine…
“Ruu, A-ranked adventurer from Sasanqua. Nice to meet you.”
Ruu, on the other hand, was slender, with long black hair pulled together to rest at her back. She felt like a Japanese black-eyed beauty… She had an intense gaze when she looked at me. She was a swordswoman, but the sword at her waist didn’t look to be Western style. There was a slight curve to it – so maybe a katana?
“I’m Lapitilica Barga, C-Ranked adventurer from Sasanqua. Please call me Lali. Nice to meet you, Schwarz.”
Lapitilicia was the youngest of the group. Everyone including myself being over 20, but she still looked to be in her teens, and not even 150cm tall. She had short blonde hair and wore a white priestly robe.
And her name was… Barga? She used full name so maybe she was from a noble family. Was the Barga in her name the same as the Fort City of Barga? So this girl was the daughter of a Lord.
“Lali is the third daughter of Barga’s lord, Duke Franklin Barga, nya. But she is training with Sasanqua so don’t care too much about that, nya.”
“I-Is that so… Nice to meet you.”
Mitche probably had sensed my astonishment and decided to mess with me. We discussed the exploration in the tent, confirmed each other’s skills, and the team’s lineup. When arrangements were completed, the sun had set completely.