11/13/2019 Kay: commented issues fixed.
Four days had passed since I had begun my exploration. On the eighteenth subfloor, I had taken a quick break before I had set out again. My goal was to scout out the twenty-first subfloor, though, I had half-given upon conquering it despite its small size. I passed through the empty Gatekeeper. I gave a sidelong glance to the teleportation circle and headed down the 21st floor.
There was a loud sound as I stepped down the stairs, something that repeatedly hit the ground. It was similar to the night forest, but it rained on this level. The rain was so heavy that I couldn’t barely see a few meters ahead. It was like a squall that could knock out things, and the forest path was muddy. Even the corona flowers were dim in the rain.
“This is terrible…”
Field dungeons mimicked weather patterns, and this rain had happened decades ago. Other labyrinths mimicked heat waves, snowstorms, and rainfall, though not as heavy as this. The small arms I was used couldn’t fire without gunpowder, and I think they could be fired when wet, but I needed to test it.
The stairs that connected the two floors were covered by a large rock. The rock blocked the rain, so I stuck out the AA12 in my right. I held the shield in my left for protection. I pulled the trigger while keeping most of my body behind the shield; I also watched through the shield’s window. I watched as the rounds flew through the heavy rain.
After I confirmed that FRAG-12 rounds worked, I returned to the twentieth subfloor. I was relieved that the AA-12 worked without any problems. After the Emerald Demon Labyrinth festival, I’d prepare my conquest strategy for the twenty-first floor.
My journey to the surface took two days, and that included rest. I had summoned the KLR 250 and passed through them since I already knew the path. I ignored all but the monsters that attacked me. Like that, I left the labyrinth with a minimal amount of battles. By the time I had reached Barga, the Emerald Demon Labyrinth had been declared safe, and the Harvest festival was about to reach its peak.
I had some time to go to the inn, though, I had to go to the Marida Company to sell the stones I got. I also had to purchase more non-attribute stones and talk to Malta-san about the Rot Poison dagger. I was slightly worried that I would run into Alm and Silvara there, but after some thought: I had never seen a personal escort greet a guest. Even when I approached the company, I hadn’t seen them at all. Maybe they went to the warehouse or were at Malta-san’s side.
I greeted the staff at the front desk.
“Is Malta-san here?”
“Yes, I’ll call him immediately, so please wait inside.”
This scene played out so many times, but it still built human relationships. I also wanted to have a good relationship with Bill-san, the branch manager of the Barga branch. Bill-san was a man with a healthy appearance. His hair was ash-grey and swept back, and he was slightly taller than me. He had a gentle feel to him while also the firmness of a career-minded person.
Malta-san came immediately after I called for while I waited in the usual reception area. Bill-san tried to leave, but Malta-san stopped him and even asked him to sit with him.
We had already talked about this on the way back. With Malta-san frequently going back and forth between the Capital this season, he would stay for good in the capital after the festival. With Malta-san not here, it was necessary to increase the number of people I could transact with. They’d also have to know about some of my secrets.
That was why I decided that I would deal with Bill-san in the future. I explained to him how I was a Manuke, and also about the Gift Box. Afterward, I made him promise not to talk about it before we moved onto our other topics.
“It seems like you went to the deep bottom again, eh.”
Both men looked at the stones with magnifying glasses to appraise them. It was almost like a gem appraisal.
“Schwartz-san, does this magic stone come from… an ogre?”
“I don’t know which one I took from an ogre, but I also subjugated ogres.”
“That’s wonderful! As expected from the gentleman, the chief does business face to face!”
“Schwartz-san, were you already on the twentieth subfloor when you killed the ogre?”
“Yes, I’ve taken a look there. It seems like it’d be hard to move around there.”
“I heard the reason why they hadn’t conquered the Wolves’ Labyrinth was because of the heavy rain. Visibility is too weak, and they can’t hold their weapons properly. The floor is taxing, and they can’t rest. It’d make their conditions deteriorate.
“Yeah, its surprising that there was a party that had reached the twenty-fifth subfloor after all, though.”
“It happened twenty years ago. The part had challenged the labyrinth had come from the best Barga clan, but they couldn’t defeat the gatekeeper. They had to withdraw.”
“Does that mean that no one had managed to reach the gatekeeper other than them?”
“The clan disbanded after that expedition. After that, the leader joined the Guild. There was even a time when they had banned exploration beyond the twenty-first subfloor.
“Banning exploration? Well, it’s certainly suicidal to go through that rain without any preparations.”
“That’s right. However, they had found out that the rain that falls from the basement is magic water. Now, they’ll sometimes release the ban so someone can collect some of the water.”
“Yes, it contains magic, and it’s a valuable raw material for recovery medicine and alchemy.”
“I see, will you buy it if I bring some here?”
“Yes, of course, we will! But how will you… ah.”
After that, I sold my stones, and half of it was paid in coins. The rest was with non-attribute stones. They also prepared a large box to collect the magic water with and waterproof cloth bags. If I used my Gift box, I could ignore the limited space of the box and store it that way. There was a limit to the number of toolbags an ordinary adventurer could carry, and they couldn’t move items that were too large.
I thought about the additional income aside from the magic stones, but this was like having gold just fall right into my lap. I wanted to delay my subjugation schedule and just start counting my chickens before they hatched, and I almost forgot my other reason for coming here.
“That’s right, Malta-san. I picked up a magic weapon in the labyrinth. It’s already appraised from the guild with a certificate, but I’m troubled with how to sell it. Can you give me some advice?”
“Oh! Magical weapons have different properties, so their values vary. Can you let me see it first?”
I had already taken the dagger from my gift box before I came and pulled it from my field jacket. Since it had no sheath, the blade was covered with cloth. I handed it over to Malta-san. He asked for permission before he removed the fabric, then he carefully inspected it with his magnifying glass. For some reason, I felt like I understood how someone who had their antique appraised long ago.
“Can I also take a look at the certificate?”
I showed the certificate to Malta-san, and he nodded. Bill-san also examined the items.
“This was appraised by Lesmond-sama, so there shouldn’t be a mistake. The blade is only ten centimeters in length, so it can only be used as a concealed weapon. The design is good, though. Can you keep it for a while? I’ll try asking some nobles who collect magical weapons.”
“Sure, if you can do that, I’ll have to trouble you. Even if I have it, I can’t use it. I don’t have that sort of hobby, and I don’t own a place to keep it as decoration.”
With that, I finished my business with the Marida Company. It’d be late soon, so I thought of going home, but Malta-san invited me to dinner together with Bill-san. So we headed out to eat