One summer day, the beating of a drum arrived from the inn town at the base of the mountain.
Boo Boo was still young then as he watched from a small hill a short distance away.
The people’s faces could not be seen from there, but the lights of the bonfire and festival stands looked like a jewelry box and let him know that a large number of people were enjoying themselves from the bottom of their heart.
Gray Boo Boo had the back of his round stuffed-animal body to Beatrice who sat nearby, so she asked him a question.
“Aren’t you going to join in, Boo Boo? I don’t know what this festival is for since I only just got back from the Labyrinth, but I can show you around the inn town.”
He shook his head without looking back her way.
“I’m fine on my own.”
“Everyone’s afraid of me. If I went to the festival, it would ruin their fun. So I’m fine on my own.”
His round back looked small and that was likely due to more than his short height.
Beatrice sighed and sat down right next to him.
“That isn’t true.”
She smiled and stroked his head with her gauntleted hand.
“If you clear up any misunderstandings and let everyone know what kind of person you are, you won’t have to think like that anymore.”
“How do you know?”
“Because there’s at least one person here who’s accepted you.”
The beating of the festival drum continued and Boo Boo said nothing for a while.
He stared at the distant flickering lights before finally speaking again.
“I want friends.”
“I want to go to a festival one day.”
“You can. You can now if you want to.”
He shook his head.
“Of the humans?”
“I’m scared of everyone being scared of me.”
Nothing anyone said was going to help with that. Boo Boo would have to overcome it himself and continue forward. Meddling and dragging him in front of everyone or pushing him forward when he was not ready would be useless.
So Beatrice said something else.
“Then let’s start with the two of us and go from there. We’re already friends, right?”
In the dark forest, a Shining Weapon much like a steel beam took out a Great Rocky Mountain King Bear. The Merchants and Couriers who travelled through Grandnir called those bears a “fickle roll of the dice”. The bear was large enough to knock over a moving four-horse carriage, but Boo Boo slammed it back-first into some rocks and jumped before it could even groan in pain. His knee slammed into the monster bear’s nose and took its life before it could put up any kind of resistance.
He was three if not four meters tall.
With extremely powerful muscles covered with plenty of fat, his entire pig-faced humanoid body was a deadly weapon. He attached his metal Shining Weapon to the crude belt around his waist and wiped the sweat from his brow.
“That was some good work. I can eat for three days with this. Hm? What is it, Beatrice? Does your stomach hurt?’
“Ah…ah ha ha…The flow of time really is cruel. I’m starting to wonder if my love is being tested…”
“Hm? I’m not good with complicated things like love.”
“What you say is exactly the same, but it seems so different now that your body’s changed! Wahhhhhh!!”
Beatrice covered her face with her gauntleted hands.
The stuffed animal that would squeal when she hugged it had vanished in the world of the past. Now she could feel an invisible wall of pressure even from a short distance away. Not to mention his bestial stench. She had even heard rumors that some pioneers would cover their hair and clothes in Boo Boo’s scent to ward off beasts.
Meanwhile, he only understood that something was troubling her.
“When you’re worried, a full stomach will get rid of it. Beatrice, I brought a lunch with me.”
“Oh? Good job, Boo Boo. You’re so civilized.”
“I feel like you’re making fun of me.”
“You’re imagining it. I’m not all that hungry right now, but I am curious what’s inside your lunch.”
Some might wonder why he would need a lunch when he had the Great Rocky Mountain King Bear in front of him, but it was only natural to make sure he had food in case he could not find any prey. Plus, the captured beast’s organs and blood had to be removed, so it could not be eaten right away.
As for the prepared lunch, Boo Boo opened a green basket made from a large leaf with disinfectant properties that looked like something found in a rainforest.
“Raw fish and raw meat.”
“B-Boo Boo! W-wait. Why not try cooking things every once in a while!?”
Beatrice quickly stopped him, but he tilted his head.
“You sometimes ask for hard things.”
“Uuh… That counts as ‘hard’?”
“I know food tastes good when cooked over a fire, but it’s hard to get it just right. When it’s all burned black, it makes me sad.”
“H-hmm. Well, setting aside whether it’s cooked or not, what kind of meat is it? I’m pretty sure it’s twitching.”
“I don’t know how to answer tricky questions like that.”
“Let’s at least know what it is we’re putting in our mouth, Boo Boo!”
Her desperate plea only made the nearly four meter Orc tilt his head curiously.
“Hmm. Having too strong a stomach may be a problem. I’ve heard necessity is the mother of invention, but does this mean Orc civilization never developed because there was no necessity?”
“I’m not just an Orc. I’m an Iberian Orc!”
Boo Boo pulled out his log or steel beam of a Shining Weapon and showed her a spot near the base.
“Iberian is the most amazing kind. It even says it here, so it has to be true!”
The word “Iberian!” was carved there by some kind of blade.
It was in a wild sort of handwriting.
(W-well, that is the best kind…or rather, it sounds tasty. But I get the feeling he’s being made fun of. What happened, Boo Boo?)
There was a big problem here, but getting bogged down in it would not help.
He got back to the lunch issue.
“I recommend the meat. You have to remove the bones for the fish, so it’s only for experts.”
“S-sure. But this is your lunch, so I’ll pass.”
She politely retreated and he closed the lunchbox.
“Why are you here, Beatrice? To play with me?”
“While I would love to, my main goal at the moment is to ‘wait’. I’m waiting for information.”
“We’ve run into a problem in the Labyrinth and can’t move on. They’re discussing it in the inn town and I don’t want to rush randomly in before they find an answer. I’m not about to become a fatal test case.”
“I don’t get why humans go to that scary place. I’ve heard the rooms and passageways change. I’d get lost in there.”
“Heh heh. Maybe so. …In fact, there are times when I have to eat the pizza or grass fallen on the ground to survive. But Boo Boo, the treasure in the Labyrinth really belongs to all of you. Aren’t you mad we’re taking it?”
“I never go to the Labyrinth, so nothing there is mine. I don’t know what’s there, so it doesn’t matter to me who takes it.”
That may have been how it was.
Grandnir was a small island that a human could walk around in about three days. It was filled with diverse nature, but its biggest feature was the giant entrance leading underground.
Despite being a small island in the middle of the ocean, there was a vast and immense Labyrinth that stretched belowground like a spider web. It was rumored to be at least the size of a country if not an entire continent.
The humans saw that as the whole value of Grandnir, but Boo Boo and the other Non-Humans who lived on the island rarely approached the Labyrinth.
The Labyrinth was scary and its structure changed at random, so not even drawing a map would help for long and it was easy to get stranded. But besides those more direct reasons, the island itself had everything they needed to live.
“In that case, I guess not even you would know how to get through Cave 25.”
“Hm? I’m not sure what you mean by Cave 25.”
“Sorry, sorry. That’s the name we humans gave it. Um, every surface looks like it’s made of crystal, steep cliffs continue as far as the eye can see, and there’s a single stone bridge across.”
“What’s the problem?”
“When a human tries to cross it, the bridge rotates around. In other words, it drops them into the abyss. It’s a simple but dangerous Trap. Plus, it bans flight Magic for a double punch. …We really might have to wait until the next transformation. We might just have to pray Cave 25 itself disappears next time the Labyrinth’s structure changes at random.”
The Labyrinth was protected by two different things.
One was the Gimmicks, extremely elaborate contraptions that mimicked existing plants and animals. The other was the Traps embedded in the floors and walls to stop intruders.
“I heard something long ago,” said Boo Boo.
“The big traps in the underground Labyrinth are linked to the extraordinary monsters wandering on the surface.”
“Oh, you mean the ones known as Break News? I’ve also heard that the giant Dragons and Krakens have some kind of occult link that lets them power the giant Traps.”
Beatrice sighed, accidentally breathed in a lungful of Boo Boo’s bestial stench, and used all of her strength to keep it from showing on her face.
“But the Break News have so much power it’s said each one has a soul. They were born in a certain environment, but they grew to the point that they can produce that environment. Both sides of the equation exist on equal footing. It’s like the chicken or the egg problem. But it would be foolish to think about defeating one of those to stop the Trap. For one, we don’t know which one is linked to cave 25, so-…”
“Hey!! Don’t fall asleep while I’m talking to you. That’s rude, Boo Boo!”
Beatrice’s raised voice popped the large bubble coming from Boo Boo’s nose as he fell asleep on his feet. He rubbed his pig-face’s eyes with his huge hands.
“Yawn… Yeah, but gathering the seven crystals is too hard for me…”
“How much of that were you asleep for, Boo Boo? I won’t get mad, so be honest.”
Suddenly, a deep rumbling sound reached them from the distance.
The two of them looked over and grimaced in unison when they saw the shadow beginning to cover the entire sky.
“Looks like it’s going to rain.”
“I’ll take this home.”
Boo Boo picked up the Great Rocky Mountain King Bear’s giant body like it was a thin blanket.
“What about you, Beatrice? Will you hide from the rain at my house?”
“Hm? Your house? That sounds fun. I accept your invitation.”
With that, the two of them walked quickly through the forest as if fleeing the dark shadow approaching them.
That shadow brought destructive rain.
However, it was not a dense layer of thunder clouds.
It was one of the Break News that moved freely through the outskirts of Grandnir.
It was the Thousand Dragon.
As its name suggested, it was the king of flying dragons and it had an abnormal body that measured at a thousand meters.
In what may have been a habit picked up from exploring the Labyrinth, Beatrice called up a map in the air in front of her using illusion Magic. Or perhaps she simply could not relax without checking that kind of convenient service, just like with a cell phone.
“I see…” she muttered.
Boo Boo’s house was near a mountain river yet not exposed to flooding or landslides. It was a decent location. It was not entirely safe as it could easily invite in bears, wolves, or other wild animals, but perhaps none of the forest or mountain creatures wanted to disturb Boo Boo’s territory.
The house was made from the large leaves seen in rainforests arranged into a triangular silhouette, so it was really more of a tent than a house.
“Hyah, it’s really coming down. Over here, Beatrice.”
Boo Boo carried the gigantic Great Rocky Mountain King Bear as he stepped inside the even larger house. Unsurprisingly, the house made of leaves had no lock.
Beatrice belatedly looked up at the house.
“Hm. This is better made than I expected, Boo Boo. You did a real civilized job here.”
“I feel like you’re insulting me.”
“You’re imaging it. Oh, and it looks like you’re actually cleaning the place.”
“About every three days, I destroy my house tossing and turning in my sleep, so it’s always brand new.”
It was not just like a tent; it was a tent.
There was no furniture inside and it was relatively cozy if one ignored his bestial stench.
“I’ll do something about this once the rain stops.”
Boo Boo set the Great Rocky Mountain King Bear down in one corner of the leaf house.
As Beatrice looked around, she noticed something.
“Oh? Boo Boo, there’s Fairy in your house?”
“There’s a Fairy Ring here. That means there’s one nearby.”
Her steel gauntlet pointed at a ten centimeter circle cut directly into the leaf house’s leaf floor.
“You normally see these in a bush, though.”
“I don’t think I’ve seen any Fairies. They always run away when I chase after them, so I don’t know any.”
“H-hmm. They are pretty rare to begin with and they don’t like being seen, so they have a tendency to run away regardless… And you have an intimidating presence even to me, so I can’t imagine what you look like to a palm-sized Fairy.”
If Boo Boo knew nothing of the Fairy, then it might be secretly living in the house to prevent other predators from attacking it.
“But if there’s a Fairy living here, does that mean some Crimson Heaven Flowers are growing nearby?”
“I’ve heard of those. Crimson Heaven Flowers are pretty and smell sweet, but you can’t eat them.”
Only one other thing caught Beatrice’s attention.
“Boo Boo, what is this?”
The house did not have a dresser or closet, or even a pot or a frying pan, but there was one object carved from wood. It was about thirty centimeters tall.
“That’s a human statue.”
“Humans suddenly appeared here one day and some people say they’re messengers from heaven. We’re all too scared to go to the Labyrinth, but it’s said the humans enter the Labyrinth to suppress the catastrophe spewing from that hole in the earth.”
“H-hmmm. We aren’t that noble a people.”
Beatrice placed her hands on her hips and made a suggestion to Boo Boo.
“Now, then. Boo Boo, this is your house and I know an unplanned guest like me shouldn’t be saying this.”
“What is it? If you need something, just tell me.”
The soaking wet swordswoman nodded and continued.
“Boo Boo, can you step outside?”
“Eeee!! I-I know you might be jealous, but stealing people’s homes is wrong! I worked hard to make this house!!”
“No, no. It’s not that.” Beatrice waved a slender hand protected by a gauntlet. “As you can see, I’m soaked. I can get rid of the surface moisture with my fire Magic, but I still want to wipe myself down properly.”
In truth, the combination of armor and moisture was disastrous and ignoring the issue would leave her entire body covered in athlete’s foot, but for the sake of her feminine pride and her sweet dreams, she had decided not to tell Boo Boo that. In a way, it would be even more embarrassing than being seen in the nude.
It was unclear if Boo Boo understood or not, but…
“Okay! Then you can wipe yourself off with this! I always use it to keep my Shining Weapon especially shiny!!”
“Oh…thanks. I know I shouldn’t be picky as a guest, but let’s keep at least a towel on hand from now on, Boo Boo.”
This was her only option, so she accepted the “Item Name: Cloth”.
However, Boo Boo showed no sign of leaving. He simply stared at her from directly ahead.
“Yeah? What is it, Beatrice?”
“You have to know what clothes are since you have that cloth around your waist. This may be selfish since this is your house, but please leave for a moment!! And don’t come back in until I say you can! You can’t look at humans when they’re naked!!”
“Okay. I knew human skin had no fur and isn’t very tough, but I didn’t know you couldn’t expose it to light either.”
Boo Boo readily turned around and walked toward the exit.
Beatrice glared at him as he left, but he showed no sign of turning around.
Not in the slightest.
It had been too easy.
“Squeal!! Wh-what was that for, Beatrice!? Why would you grab my back fat like that? It hurts, it hurts!!”
“Boo Boo, I’m not saying I approve of the cowardly action known as peeping. But…”
“Oh, no!! That isn’t a concept I should be teaching you!!”
“You said I couldn’t look, so I’ll keep my promise.”
“Yes, but…there’s more to it than that! You can’t treat a girl like she’s some old fish bones lying on the ground!! You need to look more disappointed!!”
She knew she was being unreasonable, but she still blushed and lightly punched Boo Boo’s waist a few times.
Once Boo Boo left, the rest was easy.
The clothing she wore was really Percentage-type Magic, so it was only an effect used to adjust her physical abilities. While real armor required a helper to remove, she only had to stroke a finger along her rapier-style Shining Weapon to remove each piece of Magic until she was in her birthday suit.
(Your appearance in Grandnir is supposed to be dependent on the equipment, but while you’re here, it doesn’t change even when you strip down.)
She used the cloth (meant for Shining Weapon maintenance) that Boo Boo had given her to wipe all the moisture from her soft and slender body. Then she switched the Magic back on to don the equipment-shaped effects once more.
“You can come in, Boo Boo.”
When he stepped back inside, he did not care at all about how wet he was. It seemed a solid Iberian Orc could not catch cold and never felt chilly. Beatrice had no choice but to use the cloth to take care of him as far as she could reach. He seemed like a small child as he let her do as she pleased.
“C’mon, Boo Boo. Don’t complain.”
“But there’s nothing to do until the rain stops. I’m bored.”
“Well, this rain has to do with a Break News, so it should let up once that passes by. Let’s preserve your catch before it rots.”
“There’s nothing to do at home. All I can do here is nap.”
“That’s fine. I’m not about to head out into the rain eith-..”
Beatrice trailed off and froze in place.
Sleep with Boo Boo?
An invitation to his house?
When they had once promised to get married?
But she still had an unmarried body. She wanted him to think that even roughly holding her in his arms would break her. Had she been too careless in accepting this invitation from a gentleman?
“W-we can’t do that, Boo Boo! I probably need to create some kind of specialized Magic before we can become one! In fact, if you lie on top of me, you could easily crush me to death!”
“Hm? Why are you shouting with that hair sticking up from your head on fire?”
As Boo Boo lay down on the floor to nap (yes, his house lacked even a blanket), Beatrice blushed and cleared her throat to disguise her runaway imagination.
She hid the Illumination Magic lighting up her ahoge and she lay down next to him.
Only the sound of raindrops striking the leaf roof continued.
Meanwhile, Boo Boo asked her something.
“Why do you go to the Labyrinth?”
“I don’t want you to get hurt and you don’t have to go to that dangerous place. Only humans go out of their way to go there.”
“Well, Boo Boo.” She rolled over to look at Boo Boo who was lying on his side. “We humans go to the Labyrinth because it’s filled with things we can never make ourselves. Yes, it’s to acquire Experience Points.”
“Nonhumans like you use inborn Skills but can’t grow beyond that, so it doesn’t have much of anything to do with you. But humans aren’t born with anything like that, so we need to learn Magic somehow or another.”
“I don’t like studying.”
“We earn Experience Points from just about everything. Even from eating meals, dancing, or just speaking with you like this. But those only provide miniscule amounts. If we really want to learn Magic, it’s best to acquire a whole bunch of them at once. That is why we attempt to conquer the Labyrinth.”
“There is a lot to do there: fight Gimmicks, disarm Traps, and find Treasure in treasure chests. …There are even some who specialize in drawing maps or filling up an encyclopedia. None of that data will be useful forever since the Labyrinth’s structure changes at random, but that’s actually preferable when the goal is to earn Experience Points.”
People grew stronger the more experience they earned, but they could not properly receive the experience earned in a different world like Grandnir.
That was why they used Shining Weapons.
Only once the experience was sorted and converted was it taken into their bodies.
That might sound roundabout and inconvenient, but it provided a groundbreaking side effect. Simply put, the experience obtained in this other world could be converted to numbers and artificially distributed. That allowed one to freely extend their Parameters that were displayed on the kind of hexagonal or octagonal graphs seen in baseball video games.
This even allowed a free conversion of effort where studying at a desk improved one’s skill at baseball or cooking food made one better at karaoke.
And that allowed people to reach the Magic that they could not use in the real world.
“That is why there is no end to our adventure. We continue advancing through the infinitely-expanding and ever-changing Labyrinth to obtain the Magic we want and to earn as many Experience Points as we want. That said, experience is a form of stimulus. If you eat curry every day, you get tired of it. The areas that provide plenty of Experience Points change based on the daily trends, so there is more to it than simply continuing as deep as you can. Even Cave 25 that we’re currently stuck at-…”
Beatrice trailed off when she heard Boo Boo’s regulated breathing. She had scolded him for being rude earlier, but manners were not something one could learn in a day.
(Honestly, at times like this, he isn’t that different from back then.)
Beatrice kindly narrowed her eyes and touched the Shining Weapon she had removed from her hip and set down next to her. It looked like a Western rapier with the tip removed. She activated it, called up the Magic she wanted, and opened an orange film of light around her. The tiny barrier was meant for getting some rest within the Labyrinth, but the people who spent all their time underground could not relax without it. It was known as sleeping bag magic at the inn town and there were quite a few variations depending on Element.
They lived a life of survival from the moment they entered the Labyrinth to the moment they returned home.
No matter how deep they explored and no matter what legendary treasure they discovered, they gained nothing if they did not bring it back with them.
When exploring, it was more important to master these means of preserving strength than how to swing around a sword or staff.
The temperature and humidity were optimized and Boo Boo’s bestial stench was driven out. Her back sank softly down and her mind itself seemed to melt away.
(Why do I go to the Labyrinth, hm?)
She reflected on the question Boo Boo had asked her and her fingers stroked the Shining Weapon that represented her Magic.
(That’s a good question. Why do I keep doing this?)
And as she began to nod off, the end suddenly came to her world.
“Bghohh!! Bghohhh!! Bshrrrr…fshhhh!!!??”
“Uuhh… Wh-what!? What is going on!?”
The sleeping bag magic was meant to provide the short-term sleep needed to safely yet quickly recover the Willpower at the core of one’s Magic while inside the dangerous Labyrinth. But even inside that, Boo Boo’s snoring mercilessly pierced Beatrice’s eardrums.
“Bffhhh!! …mumble, mumble… What do you mean it only truly begins once you get the boat…? Bghohhhhh!!”
“Wh-what is this!? Is my l-love being tested!?”
And it did not end there.
The second trial arrived.
Boo Boo’s nearly four meter body suddenly rolled toward her.
The orange film of light might as well have not been there at all.
The sleeping bag magic shattered with the sound of breaking glass. She had never seen it break before, so she was almost impressed as his giant form rolled her way.
“Wait, you idiot! Stop, stooooooooooooooooooooop!! B-Boo Boo! I’ll be crushed! My body will be crushed!!”
Once the residents of the leaf house fell asleep (although it looked like only Boo Boo was asleep and the scarlet Holy Swordswoman’s soul was escaping her mouth as the giant orc crushed her), a tiny form appeared through the gaps in the large leaves.
It was a girl of only about fifteen centimeters.
She had four dragonfly wings on her back, she wore a white and pink dress, and she had short pink hair.
The red ring wrapped around her right ankle jingled as the Fairy observed the leaf house from near the ceiling.
She was generally checking over the house’s condition.
“Oh, dear. Boo Boo accidentally damaged his house again.”
The ribbon on the small Fairy’s head fluttered as she flew outside, scooped up some mud that could be used to mend the house, and packed it into the gaps in the leaves forming the floor and walls. She tore away the leaves growing mold and added new ones in their place.
This fairy protected Boo Boo’s house without his knowledge, but the entire house would occasionally collapse when he made too sudden a turn in his sleep. That was not due to the house being fragile. He was simply too dynamic in his sleep.
However, the Fairy did not seem to mind.
In fact, she even seemed delighted to have more work to do.
Fairies were often depicted as pranksters, but her race at least placed a strong emphasis on repaying both good and bad deeds in kind. This Fairy had once been saved by Boo Boo. He had rescued her while she was caught in the web of a giant spider known as a Ground Spider. …Then again, it had looked a lot like Boo Boo had gotten his head caught in the spider web as he walked through the forest. He also looked nothing like the princes in fairy tales, but the fact remained that he had saved her life.
“That should do it.”
That was why she had been living in Boo Boo’s constantly destroyed and remade house for about a month. She would repay her debt by secretly helping out in a variety of ways once he fell asleep, but…
“Hm? Who is that lady?”
After finishing her work, the Fairy flew around the house and spotted the Holy Swordswoman in red armor and a miniskirt who seemed to be wrestling with Boo Boo (or rather, was being crushed by him).
“Oh, my. Did Boo Boo bring a woman home with him? My, my! Now this is a surprise. This might be a night to remember!”
The Fairy initially placed her hands on her cheeks and rejoiced, but…
“This delicate lady and Boo Boo who is larger than a Great Rocky Mountain King Bear?”
When she thought about it more calmly, that pairing did not seem possible.
Also, one of the monstrous bears she had mentioned was lying dead in a corner of the leaf house.
“D-don’t tell me she’s supposed to be a snack for Boo Boo! No, I believe in you, Boo Boo!!”
Boo Boo’s rhythmic breathing came to a stop.
He snorted from his porcine nose and rubbed his eyes.
“What is this glowing thing?”
The eyes of that vast and exceedingly brutal pig face stared at the airborne Fairy.
The Fairy immediately screamed and made an emergency evacuation of the leaf house.
Just as Beatrice (who was currently being crushed below Boo Boo) had said, Fairies did not like being seen.
The giant dragon Break News left.
The pouring rain let up and a large rainbow appeared in the blue sky.
Beatrice and Boo Boo dragged out the Great Rocky Mountain King Bear and removed its organs and blood to help preserve it. Once they were done, Beatrice left Boo Boo’s house.
She used Magic to call up a map as she walked.
Grandnir was a small island that one could walk all the way around in just three days, so the only human settlement was the inn town near the center.
It contained brick buildings and fairly well-maintained stone-paved roads. Beatrice really did believe that necessity was the mother of invention. Even if exploring the Labyrinth was not a direct necessity, people were willing to put any amount of effort into making themselves comfortable.
When she returned there, the town seemed noisier than usual.
She visited one of the inns that were more used to gather a party than to spend the night and a familiar White Witch soon noticed her. Her name was Filinion. The woman had long fluffy blonde hair and wore thin-framed glasses. To match her Job, she wore a white cloak. She also wore a far-too-short dress and low-rise shorts. Finally, she wore a white witch’s hat with small rings and decorative cups attached to the brim like earrings. However, there was an unnatural slit opened at the chest and the front was too tight to close properly. Yes, leaving the cleavage of her ample bust in plain view!
(N-no, I don’t care. I’m above average too! And the Magic I’m wearing has made them even bigger!!)
The White Witch specialized in recovery Magic, but her Sparkling Weapon was not a sword or a spear. It was the white first-aid kit sitting on the table in front of her. The box did not contain a variety of medicines. It was a Mixing device that combined multiple ingredients to produce the necessary medicine.
She toyed with the key that hung from her neck by a thin chain.
“Beatrice, it looks like things are on the move.”
“What happened, Filinion? If it’s about Cave 25, weren’t our discussions at a standstill? I thought we had to wait for the Labyrinth to transform and randomly alter the layout.”
“That’s the thing.”
“Did they find a way to get through?”
Beatrice took a seat and placed a stack of gears on the edge of the table in place of money. They came from within the mechanical monsters known as Gimmicks and they were convenient as currency because they could be broken down and converted into Experience Points (as experience in learning how they were structured on the inside) or they could be Mixed to create rare items for even more Experience Points (and the more complex the item the more experience it was worth).
The waitress carried over the usual drinks. The White Witch named Filinion reached for the cup with her glove that left only the ring finger exposed.
“First, a Party seems to have figured out the power source for the stone bridge Trap in Cave 25.”
“You mean the Break News?”
Beatrice sounded annoyed and she activated some fire Magic that created an illusion. It was essentially a generic memo pad that auto-mapped the Labyrinth and helped with the discussions held before fighting the giant gatekeeper Gimmicks that appeared and attacked with incredible firepower to punish anyone who stayed in an area for too long.
A hologram-like image appeared above the table which displayed a diorama of Cave 25, a black form labelled “Break News”, and a red thread connecting them.
“I seriously doubt they are, but they aren’t planning to put together a large-scale force for a Break News subjugation quest, are they? Surely not! That wouldn’t be possible. Those things are paradoxically thought to have a soul. Not even those of us at the level cap can hope to face them, so no one would accept that reckless of a request.”
She created a representation of the inn town a short distance away and connected it and the Break News with a red line. She of course added a giant x-mark on top of that line.
Filinion pulled out something like a thick encyclopedia that was hanging from the side of her leather belt. Rather than purchase the information with a giant stack of gears, she had filled the book herself. She earned Experience Points by healing others and creating collectable encyclopedias rather than fighting.
The White Witch opened it to a bookmarked page and showed Beatrice.
“I’ll start with the details of the Break News. The one connected to Cave 25 is known as the Thousand Dragon.”
“The Thousand Dragon… You mean that one?”
Beatrice recalled the pouring rain and Boo Boo’s leaf house. She also changed the “Break News” label to say “Thousand Dragon”.
The task seemed even more hopeless now.
“It is a giant Dragon over a thousand meters long. Simply splitting the air with its great form is enough to create something like a contrail that forms thick clouds. That water dragon lord creates irregular downpours like that. …But what are humans supposed to do about something like that? We aren’t the mysterious Dragon Eater from some dubious legend. We research and research some more to figure out how to avoid those things. Making contact yourself is suicidal.”
“Yes.” Filinion gently traced her fingers along her glasses. “But word is getting around that we might be able to neutralize it without defeating it. Look here.”
“Once every ninety days, the Thousand Dragon enters an unexplained state of intoxication. It flies in unpredictable paths, so be careful. Probability of occurrence: 78.8%. You mean…”
“People decided to search out what exactly it is that causes that state of intoxication. And after discussing the weather conditions, the ecosystem, and people’s movements, they think they’ve found the answer.”
Beatrice drew a red thread from the Thousand Dragon, but it led nowhere. She created a box containing only a question mark. Did that monster really have a weakness?
“What exactly is it?”
“This.” Filinion opened a different page of her encyclopedia. “But let me warn you: you aren’t going to like it.”
The Fairy secretly flew back to Boo Boo’s leaf house.
His brutal pig face was certainly frightening. Her mind went blank if he so much as glared at her. But he had saved the small Fairy’s life regardless.
It did not matter if that had been a coincidence or not.
What mattered was whether she could repay him with her own hands or not.
“The roof still looks okay. The rope supporting the column hasn’t come loose. Okay, there shouldn’t be a problem.”
She checked over everything, but something was different from before.
She seemed somehow reluctant.
It looked like she could no longer follow her normal routine like normal.
Someone called her name.
Not only was it another Fairy, it was the leader of their group.
The woman had large cicada-like wings, she wore orange clothing, and she had lime green hair tied back.
“Are you about ready?”
“Yes, Lady Morgan. I reinforced the house quite a bit, so not even Boo Boo should destroy it for seven…no, five days.”
That leaf house was constantly destroyed and rebuilt, so this method of repayment may have been entirely meaningless. When Boo Boo destroyed the house in his sleep, he would rebuild it without a second thought, so he had been living in complete ignorance of Meridiana’s actions.
But that did not matter.
It only mattered that she could convince herself that she had done something for the person who had saved her life.
“I feel bad having you do this.”
“Please, raise your head Lady Morgan. This is what I wanted and it had already been decided. You didn’t actually order me to do this, right?”
“The humans said that foul dragon grows drunk on the toxin in Fairy blood. That Dragon constantly feasts on our kind, but that pigment gradually builds up inside its giant body. I agree that we are just a step away from defeating that foul dragon.”
Fairies enjoyed eating the red petals of the Crimson Heaven Flower. The flower itself was not very toxic, but a dreadful change occurred when it was broken down within Fairy blood.
The Fairies themselves were unaware, but it was enough to intoxicate even a Dragon that was one hundred, one thousand, or even more times their size.