Edit: Reis -> Wraith; Thanks for those who mentioned it.
As we completed our preparations, the time to enter the labyrinth finally came.
When speaking of labyrinths, you might imagine something grand, some exaggerated image, but this labyrinth isn’t quite like that. This labyrinth does have a tinge of melancholy to it, but from the outside, it’s really nothing more than ruins.
With a light slime on my head, and a king scavenger slime following along, I entered the labyrinth along with everyone else.
The labyrinth is mostly rectangular in shape. Going deeper into the labyrinth from the entrance, one could see the lodging for the executioners and the convicts. And then, there’s also a place for waiting during work, and a reception center for the convicts. The execution grounds themselves are divided in an order, and no traps or treasures could be found in the area.
The interior of the labyrinth was dark, having no light. But with a portable alcohol lamp or light magic from either ours or the light slime, we had no difficulties finding our way.
As we continued to walk, a wraith suddenly slipped through the walls. But with a single shot from my ‘Light Shot’, I made short work of it. The rest of the zombies and skeletons that were in the area were taken care of by the king scavenger slime who would swallow and melt them.
Since the path was small, the king scavenger slime could easily fill the path with its ‘Enlarge’ skill, and with its ‘Overeating’ ability, it could freely feast on the undead, and protect us at the same time. The sight of us moving forward with the king scavenger slime in front like that looked much like a tsunami.
Thanks to that, we had little burden on our end, and the only thing we had to do was dispose of the wraiths that would pass through the walls.
“And here I thought we’d have to work our asses off since we didn’t thin them out enough.” [Rheinbach]
“Indeed, we’re barely lifting our fingers here.” [Remiri]
“I did think the slimes would be a strong hand after seeing them fight yesterday… but I didn’t expect that we’d end up walking through this labyrinth so comfortably.” [Shiva]
“Ah, Sebasu-san, please give the slime some water.” [Ryouma]
“Understood, ‘Water’” [Sebasu]
Sebasu-san conjured some water with his water magic, and the king scavenger slime happily drank it. After 10 seconds, the king scavenger slime’s body shook, indicating that it was full.
“Thank you very much, Sebasu-san. That’s enough water now.” [Ryouma]
“If it’s something like this, please feel free to ask me anytime.” [Sebasu]
After that, we continued to walk a bit more.
I don’t know what it’s like for the other labyrinths, but this labyrinth is quite spacious. But then again, perhaps it’s only expected. After all, the place needs to accommodate the convicts on death row and the employees. Just the lodging alone would take a lot of space, but then they even have other facilities too.
“Shiva, the herbs (eternal darkness) are down at the basement right?” [Rheinbach]
“Yes, they should be growing at the execution site in the basement. I’ve gone there plenty of times to train the new recruits, and have seen those herbs a lot, so they should be there.” [Shiva]
The eternal darkness (herb) that we’re looking for is a kind of herb that grows gregariously in places with no light like caves. When Shiva-san heard that, he mentioned that he had seen such herbs before by the execution site down the basement.
Speaking of which, there are various methods by which execution is done in this facility, so the place that the eternal darkness (herb) is growing in is one of those.
That area is an execution site with nothing but an ever extending spiral staircase going deep down into the ground, a hole, and an apparatus for restraining the convicts. Also known as the execution grounds of starvation. As the name implies, the convict is left within the execution site with no food or water, leaving him there until he dies of starvation.
The other execution sites also appear to be equally cruel, but they are not being used in present day.
“This is also something related to the godchilds. They said that it was inhuman, and most of the godchilds, along with Masaharu and Shuu, protested against it in the past.” [Rheinbach]
“Punishment nowadays is mostly limited to fines or forced labor. Intensity of which varies according to the weight of one’s crimes.
For example, a mere fight in a town would only get one fined. Pickpocketing and theft on the other hand, would be forced labor for the first time. The second time around would just increase the duration. But robbery and banditry would have one penalized to an indefinite period of forced labor. The sentence can be reduced with some negotiation, so the exact period can’t be defined.” [Shiva]
Since we weren’t having any trouble with the undead at all, I spent the time talking with Rheinbach-sama and Shiva-san about the execution grounds and its history. As a result, this entire trip has started to look more like a tour rather than a dungeon search.
Halfway to the execution grounds of starvation, we entered the reception center for the convicts, and the path suddenly grew bigger.
“The path suddenly became wider.” [Ryouma]
“There used to be rooms for the convicts at both sides in this reception center, but after the entire facility was shut down, they took away everything that could be used.” [Shiva]
“With all the cells gone, the path became bigger. And if you look closely, you’ll notice that there are also unnatural holes both on the floor and on the ceiling.” [Rheinbach]
Now that he mentions it, there are definitely holes on the ground and on the ceiling.
Around that time, undead with a different atmosphere from the others suddenly came out.
The zombies until now have only been groaning at most, but these ones were actually repeating comprehensible words!
“These are zombies with attachment to the world when they were alive. That attachment has just been passed on their zombified forms. They’re not any stronger than their normal zombie counterparts, but to differentiate them from the others, we call them Intellizombies. This isn’t an official name however.” [Remiri]
After Remiri-san’s explanation, we quickly exterminated the Intellizombies with the king scavenger slime’s help. The king scavenger slime took care of the center, while Shiva-san and I disposed of the undead attacking us from the flanks.
And just as Remiri-san said, the intellizombies weren’t any stronger than the normal zombies.
After that we continued to walk again, and after some time, we left the reception center and reached a boundary leading to an execution site. Suddenly, the atmosphere changed. The atmosphere hasn’t changed at all since we entered the labyrinth, so the sudden change gave me a bad feeling.
“Come to think of it, it’s your first time, right, Ryouma? The change in atmosphere is because we’re near the center of the magic labyrinth.” [Rheinbach]
“It feels different because it’s the place where the magic is gathered. Magicians in particular feel the change in atmosphere the strongest.” [Remiri]
“Because the magic power in the surrounding area is stronger normal, there’s also a chance that a powerful magical beast might have been born, so be careful.” [Shiva]
Like that we proceeded with careful attention to our surroundings. After a while, we entered a hallway with windows. From the window, a courtyard-like area with gallows could be seen along with a great number of undead prowling it vicinity.
We continued to walk as we followed the hallway, and eventually the sound of metal entered our ears.
“This sound is most likely a roam weapon. It’s getting nearer.” [Shiva]
“Then I guess it’s my turn to shine.” [Remiri]
A roam weapon is a weapon that floats and attacks living beings by itself. It’s an undead-type magical beast.
Weapons that have killed many men and beasts alike that have been left for a long time in places with dense concentration of magic power have a tendency to become roam weapons.
And the only way to defeat these roam weapons is by destroying them. Either with magic or by physical attack. However, being a weapon by nature, they are quite tough, and difficult to destroy with physical attacks. Because of that, magic is generally the common approach to subjugating them.
“It’s here.” [Remiri]
Suddenly, 2 maces, an axe, a spear, and two one-handed swords suddenly came flying at us at running speed.
We were also ready to fight, but with the magic Remiri-san calmly invocated, there was no need for us to fight.
“’Shadow Bind’” [Remiri]
The surrounding shadows in the ceiling and in the wall suddenly extended themselves as a number of black ropes, binding the roam weapons. The bound roam weapons tried to break free, but with several shots of ‘Light Ball’, the roam weapons stopped moving, and as soon as they were unbound, they fell down to the ground.
“And it’s ove~r.” [Remiri]
After easily defeating the 6 roam weapons, Remiri-san threw us a huge smile. I congratulated Remiri-san for a job well done, and then I asked her what that magic was just now.
“That just now was ‘Shadow Bind’. It’s a magic resulting from the fusion of light and shadow. A magic that requires a super high level of control.” [Remiri]
Remiri-san puffed her chest out as she said that. According to her, there are actually few people that could use this magic. And her being able to use this magic is one of the biggest factors contributing to her being invited to become a royal court magician.
After that, she showed me another spell known as ‘Dispel’, which was needed in order to recover the fallen roam weapons.
While it’s possible to just pick up the defeated roam weapons, and sell them. There are times when the remaining dark magic in the weapons curse its owners, inflicting mental and physical damage to them.
‘Dispel’ is needed in order to remove that curse. And after dispelling he roam weapons, the weapons will be safe to take back home.
“Curses can also be caused artificially, so you should learn dispel too as a precaution. I’ll teach you later.” [Remiri]
“Thank you very much. I’ll be in your care.” [Ryouma]
After that, we continued to walk while defeating the undead that came our way, and after 10 minutes, we finally reached the execution grounds of starvation.
“We arrived a lot faster than expected.” [Ryouma]
“It’s thanks to Shiva, who knew the place well, and Ryouma’s slime. Normally, it would have taken a lot more effort.” [Rheinbach]
“True, I definitely don’t remember having this much of an easy time when going here. But it’s still going to get harder from here on.
Zombies are born easily at the center of the execution grounds of starvation. Amongst the zombies are also the higher ranked variety, ghouls. The ghouls regenerate faster than the zombies, they move faster, and they have sharper claws. And while there are D Rank adventurers that can beat them alone, there are also a lot that can’t.” [Shiva]
After making sure to heed Shiva-san’s warning, I asked the light slime to light up the area, and then I carefully entered the door.
What greeted us on the other side were three zombies. With my sword wrapped in light attribute magic power, I made short work of the zombies.
As we entered the execution grounds, the spiral staircase they spoke of came to sight. It was much bigger than I expected. Each step was 7m wide and 3m tall, extending downwards in a counter-clockwise spiral, while spacious landings could be seen here and there.
“They’re here again.” [Remiri]
As if the zombies were reacting to the sound of the door opening, the zombies down below started to climb the stairs. I ordered the king scavenger slime to defeat the zombies, but three amongst that blob of zombies jumped over it.
“Ghouls! ‘Light Shot’!” [Remiri]
Remiri-san immediately fired of a ‘Light Shot’, stopping two of the ghouls. Then with another shot, she subjugated them.
The remaining ghoul was pierced by Shiva-san’s halberd, and then cut to pieces by the following consecutive casts of ‘Wind Cutter’.
The ghouls are less grotesque compared to the zombies. They look a lot more like humans. The king scavenger slime wasn’t having any difficulties with the zombies, so I just left those to him, while I went ahead and fought the ghouls.
The oncoming ghoul raised its claws, and slashed against me.
It’s definitely faster than the zombies, but–––
“You’re still too slow.” [Ryouma]
Before the ghoul’s claw could descend, I cut its torso, and then cut it down from its head down to its neck. The ghoul then fell down to its back, and never regenerated again.
Good, it’s working. It’s true that they’re fast, but compared to Shiva-san, they’re still something I can handle. With the battle magic technique, I’ll have no problems fighting them.
“We’ll descend the stairs gradually like this, and then hit them back hard once we get to a landing. Also, have the slimes eat the corpses. Fighting will get difficult once the corpses accumulate.” [Shiva]
Following Shiva-san’s orders, we descended the stair case as we defeated the attacking zombies.
Once we got to a landing, the ones to fight in front were me, Shiva-san, and the King Scavenger Slime.
Rheinbach-sama, Sebasu-san and Remiri-san were to cast magic from up the stairs, whittling down the number of the undead that were climbing up.
In order not to let the undead reach the three up the stairs, I made sure to put to practice the advice I got from Shiva-san a few days ago.
After defeating the ghouls in front of me, a group of ghouls tried to jump over their corpses, but I quickly fired a ‘Lightshot’ towards them, causing them to fall down to the ground. More ghouls came to attack me in that window, coming from the right. So moving my blade up from the right shoulder to my left flank, I cut the ghouls apart. The ghouls’ claws came slashing at me, but I dodged their claws, and at the same time, I wielded my sword at my left flank, fired a ‘light shot’ to the ghouls that fell before and were now trying to stand up, and then cut the ghoul that was in front of me from its waist.
There are still holes in my swordplay and magic, I thought.
In the next moment, two zombies came attacking at me at almost the same time from both sides from diagonally in front. The one to the left was closer, so I dodged its attack first, and struck it with my blade, and kicked it, making some distance. The one to the right came almost right after that, so I cut that one’s arms, and then severed its body with a swing of my sword. But they weren’t down for the count just yet.
Then I faced toward a ghoul that entered from my left while I was fighting the other two. I wielded my blade on my shoulder, casting ‘Lightshot’ from the tip of my blade, extinguishing the ghoul behind me. The ghoul before me came slashing at me with its claws, and with a flick of my magic and the swing of my blade, I extinguished the ghoul to my right, and severed the ghoul to my left. And the ghouls did not stand up again.
Was that good? Normally, it’d be impossible to show my back to an opponent I couldn’t cut, but with magic, I could kill my opponent, and wield my sword to face another at the same time.
Like this, I fought the ghouls while combining my magic and my marital arts, honing my abilities as I did. From time to time, I would also get advice from Shiva-san during the fight.
After 20 minutes of continued fighting, we finally finished killing all of the undead.