|Author: Ryuusen Hirotsugu||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 2975 characters|
|Translator: Nomad||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1369 words|
It was the morning of Mira’s third day on the Ancient Underground City’s sixth floor. She quickly got everything ready to resume her trip, heading down to the lower levels.
The complex network of pathways of the sixth floor made it so that the route to Mira’s destination changed depending on how she went down the levels. Adding to the annoyances of the floor, if she headed straight down from the second spherical shrine, she would have to take a large detour on the lower level to reach the initial glyph for the third spherical shrine.
But if she chose a different path down, she could avoid that large detour and have a shorter path there. The route Mira was most familiar with was one that had carefully studied all those alternating paths, and took the most efficient ones.
Mira thanked the group of volunteers who had researched that path in the past, and went on her way.
There were multiple variations of the route. One which favored consistency, one that avoided as many monster encounters as possible at the cost of time, one that visited all discovered functional facilities, and the route with many shortcuts which included jumping off one mezzanine to another. Mira was following the latter one.
「Hmm… I’ve gotten quite hungry. I should take a break here.」
A few hours passed after Mira began her descent from the middle level, it was a bit past 2pm now. She had just obtained the glyph to enter the shrine, so she sat down there and brought out some bread and cheese. The building housing the third initial glyph was a safe zone from monsters, making it an ideal location to rest.
(I used to log out here to get lunch back then.)
Mira enjoyed her simplistic lunch, looking back to those days when everything was still a game. She was also surprised to find the cheese she bought as a side dish was quite dense with a rich flavor, making her write down a mental note to stock up on more of the same type.
Done eating lunch, Mira headed to the third spherical shrine, a trip which took 4 hours no matter how many shortcuts she took. She reached roughly the halfway point.
「Hm? This presence…」
As Mira hopped around to pick up the Magic Stones left behind by the Dark Knight, she heard something, or rather felt a presence. It was similar to how she found the mansion’s spirit just a few days ago.
「Hmm, I can’t really ignore that.」
There was a possibility another weakened spirit was nearby. Thinking that, Mira abandoned her route and began searching around, relying solely on her instincts.
She wandered along a corridor and checked each smaller branch, looking into the cramped houses and rooms. The presence was so faint that all she could tell was that it was nearby, and had no other choice but to search randomly.
She walked along a street with many buildings with large openings, similar to a commercial district, saw random stairs, dead ends, and buildings piled above each other. It was a strange and almost comical sight that could never be seen unless one strayed from the optimal route.
As she walked there she would constantly stop and focus on the presence. It was so faint she could not even tell what it was, but as long as it did not feel even more distant, she continued walking in that direction. That went on for some time.
「It decided to spawn here, huh.」
An eardrum shattering roar assaulted Mira’s ears as soon as she stepped in there.
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She had just descended a helical set of stairs, leading her to the lowest area of the lowest level. It was a large open space, around fifty meters long in each direction. The presence had seemingly guided her there, where she faced a Skull Dragon in an area that was hard to leave easily.
Skull Dragons were like the bosses of the sixth floor, they would rarely spawn in certain locations there. They were quite powerful, usually a group of A rank adventurers being necessary to take them down, making them the hardest foe to defeat in the sixth floor which was ranked B. To make things worse, the only item they dropped was a very large Magic Stone, worth around thirty Magic Stones from the skeletons that spawned regularly on that floor. But defeating thirty skeletons was far easier and safer than fighting a single Skull Dragon, and they would only spawn in large open areas with nothing else around, making them easy to avoid. Skull Dragons had a reputation of being some of the most unlucky monsters, more than often being left abandoned like the one Mira encountered..
(Hmmm… there’s other things I should be focusing on now.)
Skull Dragons were powerful foes, but that was compared to regular adventurers. All Mira saw in the monster were thirty Magic Stones, which could make her pocket feel a bit more plump. Rather than trying to obtain easy money or completing her mission, she was more worried about the spirit that seemed to be weakened somewhere.
「I wish I could sense where to go at least…」
The Skull Dragon continued roaring menacingly, so Mira retreated back into the path she came from and closed her eyes, focusing on the presence she felt. The Spirit King had told her she would be able to pin-point directions better once their bond grew stronger, but it was still difficult in their current state. His perception of the world came from Mira’s senses too, so there was nothing he could do to point her in a direction. Mira could only rely on herself.
At least the presence was stronger, she had gotten closer. Mira could almost feel the outline of the presence.
She focused even more. The location was still too vague, but she had a far stronger response than before. A distinct shape floated in her mind, she could see an image of the spirit. It was a Primitive Spirit, she could see the characteristic humanoid silhouette. But its face was still too blurry.
「Where… where are you…」
At least the spirit did not look weakened. That made Mira feel relieved, but she felt like the spirit looked lonely, so she tried speaking to it.
The spirit raised its head and turned around, it had either noticed Mira’s presence as well, or it had heard her voice. Mira felt a faint connection with the spirit, so she tried to trace that connection to find the spirit’s location. Her focus moved to that.
「Argh, shut up already!」
Mira shouted back at the Skull Dragon that kept roaring in the distance.
The constant roars distracted her focus, making her grow increasingly annoyed with the Skull Dragon now that she was so close to finding the spirit. Eventually that annoyance turned to hostility.
Mira stopped searching for the spirit, deciding to take out the biggest obstacle in her way first.
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As she stepped back to the open space, the Skull Dragon glared at her direction, the only entrance and exit of the place. It roared yet another time, as if it had been waiting for her to return.
(Maybe it has a lot of pent up rage and resentment.)
The Skull Dragon’s empty eye sockets had a red glow in them, looking menacingly at Mira. Either it was annoyed with her attitude, coming there, leaving, and then walking back like she owned the place, or it was angered at the fact he could not leave that location. Or maybe that was just its normal appearance. Whichever the case, the constant roars finally stopped the moment Mira faced the monster.
「Well, at least you’ll become a good experiment subject.」
Mira had not faced such a large enemy ever since Chimera Clauzen’s defeat, so she had no chance to test all the new abilities and moves she had come up with. But there was an aggressive Skull Dragon there, the perfect training dummy for Mira.