With the first day of the Labyrinth conquest ending, our party returned to the Spring. According to the Guild Staff, the other party – Rafflesia – had already returned ahead of us. They occupied half the spring, luggage in one corner and campfire at the other. They talked and ate around it.
“Finally back huh, mapper? Hm-? Wow, you not only keep she-foxes on leashes, but you also babysit now?”
Linel greeted us the moment we came in. This guy looked down on the Sasanqua members and since I was working with them, I couldn’t stomach him, but babysitting? I turned back and saw Lali hanging her head.
“All of these women are wonderful and reliable adventurers. That aside, Linel, whats with you defying the campsite allocation decided by Headquarters?
To be honest, I didn’t plan to mention it at all, but it just came out of my mouth. I also wanted to give him a warning about his rude behavior.
“What are you talking about? Didn’t you say you didn’t need mapping space down here? So we’re only making proper use of the space.”
That… How was it acceptable because of that?! I was about to retaliate, but Frau grabbed my shoulder from behind. “Just leave it,” she chided.
“I’m sorry Frau, seems like I’ve said more than I should have.”
“Don’t worry about it, Schwarz. But where do you plan to draw your map?”
“I plan to clean up the small room just before this room and draw in there. I don’t want others to see my mapping space.”
Our talk didn’t reach Linel, so he thought I was ignoring him and raised his voice to continue the conversation.
“Hey, Mapper! You’re going to draw your map right? Show us how you do it. Letting the she-foxes see your mapping is a waste. At least teach Will your drawing technique!”
“Linel the stupid, what’re you saying, nya? Disclosing Schwarz’s mapping method is forbidden. Didn’t Varold and Keith tell you, nya? Or did up forget because you’re too stupid?”
Mitche retorted sharply. That said, Line the stupid… Could it be that Rafflesia and Sasanqua have some sort of connection? Behind me, Ruu looked like she was about to blow up any minute, her face red with puffed-up cheeks. She still kept her countenance expressionless though and it made her look rather dreadful. Lali and Miranda were making tea while ignoring us completely. No, Lali looked a bit concerned, but Miranda was all smiles and kept chatting while preparing ingredients.
“Shut up, cat woman!”
“Linel, just as Mitche said, didn’t Varold say not to mention anything about Schwarz’s drawing technique or the man himself? Besides, sharing mapping intel is fine, but there isn’t a need to go as far as sharing mapping techniques.”
The one who said this and abated Linel was Will, Rafflesia’s cartographer.
“Well Schwarz, welcome back. From now on, we’ll stay here together for a while, so let’s stop these useless quarrels. You’re going to draw your map right? After, let’s share what we found with each other. I also want to know what kind of goblins you found and such.”
I agreed with Will, but I still felt uncomfortable. For now, I returned to our campsite and drank tea with Lali and Marinda. The sound of Linel clicking his tongue echoed loudly in the space…
We rested by the campfire sipping tea, for half an hour. Then I went to the small room just before the Spring to do my mapping. The other members proposed to help, but I politely refused and asked them to rest. The others would prepare dinner while I worked on my map. Since I couldn’t cook at all, the arrangement really saved me. Even in my world, I had mostly eaten out at restaurants, but I always looked forward to a homemade meal prepared by a woman.
There were 3 goblins in the room. I killed them before they could do anything, then activated the TSS. I summoned the Gift Box from my inventory and took out the desk and tools I brought from the tent back at the main camp. While I was working, some goblins appeared again. Kept on hiding my “abilities” like this was useless, but on the other hand, I didn’t want to be seen by Rafflesia. I gave up…*
To secure a safe working environment and to also test my security measures, I made up my mind to summon a vehicle. I selected the Garage in the TSS and picked a large vehicle with a sealed cabin, the AEC Armored Command Vehicle Dorchester, a vehicle manufactured by the British during World War II. It was all green, with a short anteater nose. You could say it was an armored bus.
It was an old model and wasn’t manufactured anymore. I chose it for two reasons: One, it was welded with 9mm thick rolled steel* with no glass windows aside from the one in the driver’s compartment. You could only see through the small peephole, but it was very secure. The other reason was that it was comfortable. 4/5 of its 6m length was living space, there were 3 chairs surrounding an L-shaped desk and 2 more outside. The interior design was like a military camper and it had enough space to draw maps.
Avoiding the room center, I summoned the car at a spot by the wall and climbed in through the rear door. The interior was the same as when I saw it in VMB. The shelves and cupboards also operated properly. “What if I put things in there and returned it to the garage?” I thought. I took out a mana stone from my waist pouch, put it in the cupboard, then exited the vehicle and put it back in the garage.
I watched the vehicle become wrapped in light particles and disappear. I paid close attention to see whether the stone would drop, but nothing was left where the vehicle had been sitting. I summoned it again and checked the cupboard. The stone was still where I had placed it. It seemed like I could put things inside and stored them along with the vehicle.
This gave me a smile. I summoned the Gift Box, took out all the mapping tools and put them in the cupboards and storage space of the car. I sat down at the desk inside the vehicle and began drawing the map of what we explored today. Tracing the area didn’t take much time, but there was the party member part, meeting General guild staff part, and the Rafflesia’s part. It took more time than I thought.
Listening carefully, I heard strange voices outside of the car. It seemed like goblins had come again. I peeked out through the peephole and saw 3 goblins having some sort of conversation (?)* while seemingly ignoring the car. It looked like these goblins didn’t understand that the car was something peculiar. If they noticed any presences like human or beast-men, they’d become hostile.
This was a discovery.
I picked the P90 from the shelf I had placed it down on earlier, released the safety, and opened the side door. The moment the 3 goblins turned their head at the sound, I opened fire. I picked up the dropped stones and saw 2 light points moving this way on the map inside my goggles. There were coming from the Spring, and by the sounds of their steps, one heavier and one lighter, it was Marinda and Lali.
“Schwarz! Dinners’ ready!”
Seemed like they came to call me for dinner. Ah, the Dorchester was still out…
“Schwarz, has the map-“
They entered the room, stiffening when they saw the car parked by the wall. Lali’s mouth hung open.
“Ah- uhm, I just finished drawing the map…”
“Schwarz, what is this?!”
Marinda shouted while pointing at the car.
This is… yours, Schwarz?”
Lali also pointed at the car and asked.
“U-hm, well yes, it’s mine. Let’s not go into details now. Please head back first, I’ll clean up and follow right after.”
I hadn’t thought of how to explain this. So I took them by the shoulders, turning them around and pushed them back the way they came. They both exclaimed in confusion “Eh? Eh?” while being pushed back to the Spring. I immediately took the complete map from the car, then put it back into the garage and headed to the Spring.