We conducted a few trial runs, and completed adjustments on Porter, so I went over to the smithery in order to fetch my own weapons.
In the miscellaneous town of Arumsaas, it was as if the city itself was a sort of maze.
But there was the fact I was living here, so I was able to visit the places I conducted business at without getting lost.
I have to be thankful for Clara, who drew maps, and Miranda, who led me around the streets.
And as I was walking, I found the signboard hung over a slightly narrower road.
It was the smithery I utilized in Arumsaas, and not just in weapons, they also dabbled their hands in armors. As it was easy to obtain metal here, there was an abundance of metal workers in this city.
But when it came to those aimed at adventurers, there were few to find on the main roads.
While it wasn’t rare in the city of Arumsaas, the shopkeeper was a dwarf.
With a scraggly beard, and a characteristic reddened nose.
As I greeted him, he directed a smile at me.
“How is it? The order I placed?”
“It’s long finished. But are you sure that’s alright? I definitely made them sturdy, but… for a sabre, they’re on the heavy side.”
As I was alright if it was heavy, the sabre I specially ordered had an increase in thickness. The current me could wield a heavier one more or less fine.
Of all else, the mass produced ones would always snap soon enough.
There was an abundance of monsters armed with iron, so good qualities sabres weren’t an easy buy in Arumsaas. Even if they were available, they were mostly too expensive to consider purchasing.
I accepted the five sabres, and looked over the other goods.
Arrows equipped with magic stones on their ends to combust.
A product made to raise the pocket change of the town’s students.
However, we couldn’t get together the numbers this time, so I asked one of the blacksmith’s acquaintances to have them manufactured.
“… The numbers are more than enough.”
“We’ll properly do the work we’ve been asked of. If the customers drift away, then with this shop location, my store will close before you know it. Even so…”
The shopkeeper looked over the arrows I purchased.
“No, it’s not like there’s a large-scale party labyrinth raid, or a war happening here anytime soon. Despite that, our stock of these sorts of weapons is running low.”
The arrows rigged to trigger explosions fetched quite a price.
Even if purchasing one or two wasn’t a problem, to get sufficient numbers, they cost several times the amount of normal arrows.
What’s more, if they were of bad quality, they wouldn’t explode, the output would be lower, or other defects might occur.
It was hard to control that.
They weren’t fit for long-term storage, so it was normal to decide the required amount, and have an order sent in for them to be made.
They could also explode if you were to be attacked, so managing them was a pain.
If a party didn’t have a baggage carrier, they would be too scared to use them. But they were reliable in the labyrinth… that sort of weapon.
“Someone must have bought them in mass. Because of that, I wasn’t able to buy any at the place I patronized before.”
I said that with a wry smile, and the shopkeeper cautioned me to handle them with care as he handed them over.
He addressed me.
“Come to think of it, what happened to that side ponytail girl that came with you before?”
He asked about Novem, so I told him she wasn’t with me this time.
He seemed a little sad.
While a dwarf’s and a human’s aesthetic senses differed, it seems he had taken a liking to her.
“If she was here, I’d have offered a discount. How unfortunate.”
“Yes, how unfortunate. I’ll be sure to bring her along next time.”
As I said that, the shopkeeper broke out into a smile.
“Even mother took a liking to that girl. Have her drop by sometime.”
I took the merchandise, paid a large sum, and exited the blacksmithery.
… Aria was performing a check on her own equipment before challenging the labyrinth.
The ones checking the contents of the stock loaded onto Porter were Lyle and Poyopoyo.
Everyone else was confirming their own belongings.
In the Circry House’s mansion’s yard, everyone had woken up early, and eaten breakfast.
The sky was still dim, but Clara deployed a light as she looked over her own supplies.
Everyone else also used that light to do the same.
(She’s quite considerate, that girl.)
Aria looked at Clara, and thought something like that.
She confirmed her provisions, and inspected her equipment. Her spare weapons were loaded onto Porter, so she made sure to take a look at those ones first.
“Okay, that’s the last of it!”
In plans this large in scale… when they would be staying over a few days in the labyrinth, it would really be a problem if they didn’t get their supplies in order.
Forgetting a single piece of baggage, and leaving regrets as they die.
For that sake, it was important to perform various checks, starting the previous day.
While recalling Lyra’s teachings, she got her things together as she looked around.
Miranda had been an adventurer for even less time than herself, but she was calmly going through herbelongings.
“Hey, you forgot your canteen!”
“Eh? But there’s water loaded onto Porter, and… Hiii! I’m sorry!”
“Go get it at once. Make sure you check its contents too.”
Miranda was even doing Shannon’s checks for her.
They had locked up the mansion, so Shannon borrowed the key before running off.
Clara looked over a memo as she went over her items one by one.
With her finger pointed, she through them carefully, before checking them off.
“Okay, I’m done here as well… the second check also checks out.”
It seems she had already gone over it twice. She started checking her things once more, as she stuffed them into bags.
(I’d never be able to imitate that one.)
She didn’t look that methodical, but perhaps due to her pro mentality as a support, she made sure to properly check her things.
And Aria turned her eyes to Novem.
Perhaps already finished, she was heading to Lyle to load her luggage onto Porter.
Her feet stopped, and she suddenly turned towards the wall.
Aria also tried looking in that direction, but as the lighting was dim, she could only fear Novem was seeing a sort of ghost.
(She doesn’t have an extra sense or anything, right… but it’s Novem, after all.)
To Aria, Novem was an opponent without anything to grasp at.
She knew Miranda was wary of her. For some reason, a tense atmosphere would often build up between the two of them.
But as Aria looked over the wall, she suddenly felt a presence.
(Eh? Something is… ah.)
On top of it was a small bird.
After looking at Novem, it flew away.
(I wonder if Novem is nervous.)
Not paying mind to it anymore, Novem continued pulling her luggage over to Lyle.
Running from the mansion, Shanon came over to Miranda key in hand.
“You made sure to fill it with water, right?”
Miranda snatched Shannon’s flask, opened the lid, and took a single swig at its contents.
“… This definitely isn’t water, right?”
(TL: ( ・ف≤)9☆)
She tried making a cute gesture of hitting herself with her small hand, but with a smile, Miranda’s fist came down on her head.
“If you want to bring this along so bad, then bring another flask of water too. You’ll be carrying your belongings on your own.”
On Miranda’s words, Shannon pointed at Porter.
“Can’t we just stuff it onto Porter!?”
“We have plenty of things to load onto him! Anyways, go get water again!”
While watching over the sibling fight, Aria thought.
(Somehow, Porter’s already being treated as a comrade…)
She was just slightly unsatisfied with that.
And she looked over at Lyle.
“We have a little extra space.”
Looking at the luggage loaded onto Porter, he was making a fully satisfied expression.
Lyle was delighted enough about toe completed porter to brag about it, but to Aria, he looked like a child bragging over a toy.
“We’ll be loading the collected magic stones and materials onto it, so isn’t this fine? I wanted to make it bigger, and let it be able to serve as a lodging. Having this frail chicken dickwad camping out just seems too pitiful…”
Having been called frail, Lyle shot back.
“Oy, who’s fragile? We’re inside the labyrinth, so it’s not like we’re exposed to the elements or anything. There’s no rain or wind.”
(As I thought, there something a little off about Lyle somewhere… and wait, within this party, there isn’t a decent person besides me…)
Aria had become much sturdier, and she was definitely becoming decent as an adventurer.
But how about as a woman? She was much more of a man than ever before.
(Hah, I’ve got to keep it together.)
She thought something like that…
Having entered Arumsaas’ labyrinth, we had gotten together the members and equipment, so I was finally able to take on the challenge presented by the ancestors.
I spent a few months on completing Porter, and I get the feeling I also earned an allowance.
I think I’m growing a little as well.
Aria and Miranda-san were stationed at the front, and I was directly behind them.
The center held Novem and Clara, and Porter followed up in the rear.
As Porter proceeded along the passages that were relatively wide, Shannon sat atop its roof.
Next to Porter, Poyopoyo was attempting to pull her off. She looked at Shannon, and warned her to dismount the ceiling, and sit on the loading cart if she had to.
Clara spoke to me.
“We’ve been diving in a lot as of late, so we should be able to make it to the fifth lower level quite quickly.”
I challenged the place numerous times, carrying belongings and personnel back and forth.
That being the case, I remembered the paths to the fifth floor.
Even if the labyrinth shifted, and the passages changed, they shouldn’t differ too much from the last time I was here.
“Well, I have been challenging this place a lot.”
As I told Clara that, Novem looked at me.
“Lyle-sama, please don’t push yourself too much.”
She appeared to be worried.
“I’m not pushing myself at all. I’m just having Porter transport luggage and people. 『Lyle, the Burden』’s Porter has become quite popular among adventurers.”
The reason I said that with a little pride behind it was so as to soften this tense atmosphere.
Novem cautioned me.
“That’s no good, Lyle-sama. The leader can’t grow lax here.”
Clara agreed, and Shannon, who had been looking down on us from Porter’s roof started to smile.
“No good leader.”
She pointed and gave an annoying smile, so in response, I…
“Hey, they’re coming! Two ahead. They’re goblins.”
Aria raised her voice, I drew a sabre, and issued orders.
“Aria and Miranda-san, take care of them. Everyone else, remain vigilant.”
Miranda-san and Aria easily dealt with the monsters rushing at us. This shallow into the labyrinth… anywhere before the fifth floor, we could proceed onwards just be rotating the frontlines.
The two members of the female army were generally lightly armed, but the goblins were defeated immediately.
Aria impaled the first one, while Miranda used one dagger to slash at the other one’s eyes and dull its movements, before stabbing her second dagger into a vital…
(What, with that… it was over in an instant.)
I thought it would take a little more time, but the two’s movements had become much sharper than before.
Aria stood to keep watch of the surroundings, and Clara started moving.
As we would be going in quite deep, we would only be collecting magic stones here. If we had a large amount of materials flow into our hands here, we would be fully loaded before arriving at the thirtieth floor.
I was assisting with the stone collection when I heard the Second from the Jewel.
『It sure is a wonder.』
The Third spoke as well.
The Second went on.
『Humans, you know. Someone who wasn’t standing out up to now, when you leave work to them, you see they can suddenly accomplish it?』
The Fourth agreed.
『Yeah, that happens. Up to that point, they thought it was fine if they didn’t do anything. But when work’s left to them, they suddenly feel no one but them can do it. That type.』
The Fifth also spoke up.
『If there are ten people, then of them, two to three of them will become no good. In exchange, of the remaining members, two to three of them will persist on.』
The Sixth addressed me.
『In that case, up until this point, Lyle’s work was making the other party members no good.』
My heart hurt a little.
As plenty of instances came to mind, I couldn’t say anything in response.
The Seventh followed up.
『It’s because the performance of the Skills is extraordinary. It’s not just Lyle’s fault, is it? The fact that Aria has become more aware of herself also instigated a large change.』
He even followed through for Aria.
While she had become quite masculine, her movements had gotten much more adventurer-like.
She didn’t just do what she was told, she did whatever she could even before asked.
Because of that, I didn’t have to focus on orders, and I could concentrate on other tasks.
But… the Second spoke.
『But I’m starting to get a prickly sensation in another sense.』
The Fourth spoke.
『What is it? That sort of intuition the First had?』
I was curious, so I concentrated on their conversations as I assisted Clara with her work.
『No, Miranda-chan is overly wary of her surroundings, Novem-chan’s atmosphere today is a little… well, it would be nice if it was just my imagination.』
I looked over my party.
Truly, they looked much tenser than usual.
(Isn’t it just because we’re aiming for the thirtieth floor without Skills?)
But stopping here to talk wouldn’t’ get us anywhere, so I signaled for us to move onwards.
“Collection is finished. Now then, let’s get moving. We have to get as far as we can today.”
Saying that, I I started walking forward, and everyone took up the same formation as before to follow.
We were on the way to our planned rest point.
There was a nice spot on the fifth floor, so we headed there, and found the inside of the room was bright.
I scratched my head.
“We’re out of luck. It’s already booked.”
A different party was taking a break there.
They may have been planning to leave shortly, but we didn’t intend to wait for that.
“The right of priority lies with the first party to find the spot. Do you want to try negotiating? They may be preparing to depart.”
I confirmed the time that had elapsed.
(It was relatively smooth sailing up to here. I also remembered the path, so… I guess we should proceed further in, and secure an appropriate spot.)
With the Fifth and Sixth’s Skills, we had rarely ever met another adventurer party.
But these sorts of small unplanned occurrences were common in this job.
“No, let’s go on. We’ll take a longer break next chance we get. Miranda-san, swap out with me. Aria, can you still go on?”
Miranda-san mulled over it a little, but it seems she was going to abide by my directions.
“… Well, it’s the leader’s orders. I’ll fall back.”
I took up her front position, and resumed movement.
The Second spoke.
『Your lack of numbers is definitely a disadvantage. And wait, a break here…』
Regardless of whether we went on, or backtracked, there were a large number of adventurers on rest here.
Like us, there were parties resting a night to prepare for a longer journey.
(Since those sorts of adventurers are numerous, I wanted to find a rest point here, though.)
Because there were so many adventurers securing their own safe respite, most of the monsters would already be defeated. Therefore, if we found a space in this area, we wouldn’t have a high chance of being attacked.
(But sudden changes in plans are a pain.)
Thinking that, I started descending to the sixth floor.
The Second spoke.
『Somehow~ I have a bad feeling about this. A feeling someone went ahead of us.』
There are quite a few parties that complain when they find others in the same business occupying their planned rest points.
But that’s just pointing fingers.
While I did want to say a thing or two, I didn’t think I would actually say any of it.
(I do have an ominous feeling here.)