Kay: Please note that I ‘made’ an error in regards to the APC’s caliber. It’s 762, not the .30. Apparently, NATO changed the caliber to cartridge in question, but the A4 is listed as a .30.
NATO forces cal-swapped the M1919s, changing them to 7.62 from the .30, and that was in the 90s; M1919s have been in service for a very long time and the author failed to mention this tiny little detail, the JPN gods only know why considering how much he loves to prattle on. So, I will not be editing the previous chapter to cal-swap it like NATO.
For those who’re wondering ‘Lovely Editor Kay, how long is a long time?’
Well my little children,
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Currently, I am inside the Wolf Fang Labyrinth, traveling down a forested road on the 24th floor. While it rained heavily, I used the LVTP, an armored personnel carrier (APC) while relying on my map display. Throughout the ride, otter-like monsters had surrounded and attacked me during different points. It reminded me of the monster manual I’d read in the General Guild’s library back in Barga, where I’d screenshotted every page, and so I pulled it up as I drove.
Those monsters seemed to be a monster called Aquatura, often encountered within the surrounding areas in Barga. It used its small but sharp claws, as well as water magic, to attack; oftentimes in large groups. Certainly, they’ve attacked me en masse every time I’ve encountered them and once they’d run out of magic, they’d resort to their claws. Their claws weren’t strong enough to penetrate the APC’s armor, a scratching blow at most. Once they ran out of steam, I’d just crush them with the tank tracks.
Aquarturas weren’t the only monster I encountered once I got past the 21st floor. I also encountered a giant salamander-like beast, known as an Aquadorias. It was 2 meters long with a black glossy body covered in red spots. It moved as though it was swimming across the muddy terrain. They never actually attempted to attack me, preferring to down their own thing. However, sometimes, they’d stop in my path and leave me with no choice but to run them over.
Finally, when I looked at the map, the stairs leading to the 25th finally appeared on my map.
From the 21st to 25th floor, the heavy magical rain had been the only major obstacle – it being an environmental hazard – and despite how often the Aquaturas attacked me, they weren’t that strong individually. Aquradorias didn’t fight and considering that I could easily run them over, firearms would’ve dispatched them easily enough.
I drove the APC over the stone staircase before I switched to the machine gun controls. I turned toward the flock of Aquarturas that’d been following close behind, then tapped the fire button. The LVTP-5’s mounted Browning machine gun was chambered in 7.62x63mm with an effective range around 1300 meters, but of course, it was difficult to accurately hit a target beyond the 1000 meter mark without a scope. In any case, it would easily take down any target since its stopping power only dropped slightly at range.
Since I was using the TSS UI like a tablet, it made me feel like I was playing an old game. That being said, I moved the crosshairs quickly, only stopping for a moment on target before moving onto the next one. The turret moved left and right with precision, taking down the monsters as fire burst out the barrel with a roar.
After cleaning up the monsters, I opened up the hatch and exited the vehicle before returning it to the garage. While I waited for it to recover its fuel and armor, I let myself get drenched in the rain as I collected the dropped stones. It’d been only 4 floors, but I’d consume quite a lot of CP to arrive here – most of it being spent on fuel and armor.
If it was mostly just fuel, then the maintenance cost wouldn’t be so high. VMB provided a wide range of vehicles, but the CP required to buy and maintain each vehicle was no laughing matter. It was to prevent players from treating the vehicles as disposable items, like using them for suicide car bombs.
Although I had plenty of CP left, it was only because of a one-time event. If I didn’t find a regular source of income soon, I’d really need to worry about my future. Maybe I should talk to Mr. Malta-san about it… No, I’m an adventurer, surely there was some exploration or other requests I could undertake to make a living.
Map-making for instance – I could sell the labyrinth map to Remy-san, the guild worker from the General Guild. But wait, if I sold a map that depicted the entirety of the Wolf Fang Labyrinth, people would find out that I managed to reach the final floor, though if I were to try and sell it after sometime before the harvest festival, it’ll be too late…. What should I do then… Fumu, maybe sell a map up to the 20th floor then take my leave…?
I’ll be going south to assist Ashley after I’m done with the labyrinth anyway. I won’t be around for the harvest festival. I should just sell the map as soon as possible, and take what I can get. While thinking so, I walked down the stairs towards the 25th floor, the guardian room. Beyond this, there should only be the Labyrinth Master’s room…Even on the 25th floor, the heavy rain was unending.
I summoned the LVTP-5 and set out to end this.
I traveled down another forested road for about an hour, crushing flocks of Aquatures along the way. It would’ve been quite the battle if I weren’t inside an armored vehicle. Now that I thought about it, even if I removed the labyrinth core to stop the monsters from spawning, it’ll take a considerable amount of time to subjugate the remaining monsters in order to have the harvest festival.
There, I could see it now. The map showed an unnaturally looking square section and beyond it, a large gate supported by white stone pillars. It was the gate that led into the guardian’s room. I stopped the APC before the gates and checked my equipment. Unfortunately, there was no information on this floor guardian in the library. It seemed to me that the guild was hiding information, perhaps as a measure so that no random explorer could get past the guardian easily, or maybe that the guild planned to conquer the labyrinth itself one day.
But seeing that the labyrinth has existed for the past 25 years, I doubted there was such a plan…
Since this was my first time soloing a guardian, my main weapon was an MPS AA-12 with FRAG-12 shells. The SCAR-H was my back up along with 2 of each of the 3 different special grenades. The Five-SeveN was my secondary, along with a ballistic shield to complete it – Now I was ready to go.
According to the information I had, it was apparently possible to retreat from the guardian room. My plan was to retreat and rearrange my loadout if it was found lacking. I stored the APC in the garage, then looked to the gate before me. The white pillars, and the gate itself, was decorated with carvings. Upon close inspection, I noticed the carvings depicted a battle between humans and monsters, giving a hell-gate vibe to it. On the top of the gate, there was a throne shaped ornament, on which a monster sat on while it looked down over me.
The monster’s head was a wolf, its eyes gave off the feeling that it was watching with intent. I tried to ignore it as I pushed the gate open.
The room beyond the gate… Was flooded with water. To be exact, the entire room was a pond — Huh?
Judging from this, could it be that the guardian was some sort of monster that lived near water like the rest of the monsters I encountered so far…? I thought so as I observed all the water inside the guardian room. The map displayed showed the walkable parts of the pond and I walked the obscured path covered in water – water splashing with each step. As if attracted by the racket, a large black spot emerged from the pond.
The guardian was here.