|Author: Ryuusen Hirotsugu||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 2313 characters|
|Translator: Nomad||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1166 words|
There was a small room surrounded by stone walls, shrouded in a stillness that was broken by slight tremors in the floor. The second floor of the Libra Fortress appeared devoid of life, having not a single soul to take notice of those rhythmical tremors. As they got closer and stronger, a metallic clang could be heard together with them, making the floor and walls shake with the movement of a heavy mass.
When those sounds became the loudest, a black knight’s silhouette covered in blades and a humanoid shape that shone like iron appeared, bringing with them light that illuminated the small room. They were the Dark Lord Mira summoned and Hebi’s golem.
The two walked until they were in the room’s center, then a group of people walked up the stairs behind them and entered the room.
The room had other doorways that led to more rooms, all of them looking the same as the entrance. The boorish walls had no form of decoration to them, except for the blue flames characteristic of dungeons. There was no way of orienting oneself inside there, so if someone was dropped inside a random part of the building they would be utterly lost.
The second floor of the Libra Fortress consisted of hundred identical rooms, connected by narrow passages, and there was only one correct path through them that would lead to the third floor. A spell was cast on the maze during the great war of the past, which was still active and made it so that taking one wrong turn would make the trespassers walk in circles until they arrived at the entrance again.
「First we go right.」
Saying that, Hebi quickly made her golem move towards the corridor to their right. She held another map in her hand, showing a grid of ten rows and ten columns representing the maze, with the correct route highlighted in red.
「R-L-L-R-F-R-F-R-L-L-R-F was it? That brings back memories.」
When the players first arrived at the second floor, they were stumped by the ridiculous difficulty of going through it, but a couple of dedicated and curious players continued working on mapping it until they finally figured out the right route, selling maps of it for a decent amount. Hebi held a map like that, at which Mira looked while remembering the sequence that was repeated amongst the Libra Fortress Explorers like a chant.
With the golem leading the way, the group followed after. They followed Hebi’s instructions, going right, left, left, right, front, right, and front to go through the rooms. As they moved, they encountered another type of monster that was one step above the Knight Ghosts, Elementors. Those were similar phantom type monsters, but they had a specific element imbued into their bodies. Still, the phantasmagoric black blades, iron fist specialized in destruction, two daggers that swept in every time there was a chance, and an ax with a coating of magic power, made quick work of them.
「Now this is more like it.」
Arlon spoke with a voice full of emotion. While they moved through the first floor, he had stepped aside from all fighting, but now that they were in the second floor he took the lead swinging his axe to his heart’s content. He had been observing the movements of the other three and the two creatures so far, so now he started linking his own attacks with them. That was Arlon’s most powerful weapon, being able to thoroughly examine others and adapt his fighting style to them.
Every swing of his axe felt like he was still learning what kind of response he got from the monsters.
With him, their fighting power increased even more and they breezed through the groups of monsters and stepped into the next room.
「Hm, what’s that…」
Mira noticed something in the room and silently muttered that.
「A sword? Did someone leave it here?」
Sasori spoke as she jumped down from the ceiling.
In the very center of the room lay a lone unsheathed sword. Most of it was dark and red from rust, but the edge itself was still in good state, sharp like a beast’s fangs starved of blood. But what was most noticeable was its guard, shaped like the head of a lion. It covered most of the grip, which could protect the user, and even be used for certain attacks.
All the rooms they had passed through looked all the same, and even were symmetrical, but this one was clearly different with the presence of the sword.
Mira had entirely devoted herself to being a spellcaster so she did not even know what that type of sword was called, but she knew it was a rather powerful one, simply because it had made it all the way to the Libra Fortress’ second floor and was left there untouched.
「Well, looks like we just hit the jackpot.」
Arlon had a hunch about what the sword meant, so he happily said that while looking at the girls.
「It’s just more bothersome.」
Mira also had the same hunch, replying in an annoyed voice as she watched the sword float up into the air. Beside her Sasori’s ears and tail shot straight up, shocked at the sword’s sudden movements, though she tried to mask her surprise by assuming a fighting stance.
The usually unexpressive Hebi had a slight smile on her face as she took out a dagger from her pocket. Its blade had a wavy appearance, covered in sanskrit characters. It was clearly a cursed dagger.
As the four reacted in their own ways, multiple clumps of something that looked like dark mist formed around the room and began joining together in the center of the room, on the sword, showing that it really was not a mere forgotten sword.
The mist in the center swelled up like a balloon, its color turning darker into a black orb. Even though it was still floating in the air, the orb appeared to be very heavy, starting to pulsate sending black waves through the room. Those beats made it look like a demon’s heart, each pulse like hits of a hammer pushing its true body into the real world.
Eventually the sphere began changing shape, stretching and contracting like a molten glass sculpture. It stretched up into the air, the four watching as it grew even taller than Arlon, when together with a wet noise something forced its way out of the black clump. The four’s eyes were drawn into that figure then.
「It looks like a magic type.」
「Hoh, you can tell just by looking?」
Mira scoured through her memories to recall the different features that identified that creature, while Arlon continued glaring at it while exclaiming in admiration.
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「The warrior types are larger, and more importantly they have five fingers.」
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