ãWhat lay beyond the gate was a reasonably large room.
ãIt was about the same size as Rin's room, so it was probably no less than twenty tatami mats.
'The room is .......'
'...... is a safepoint, I guess. If you clear the room, you might be sent back here.
'That's right. A foreign traveler.
ãSuddenly, a voice from behind us made us turn our heads.
ãA nun, who was certainly not there when we had looked around the room, was standing behind us before we knew it.
ãJust as he was about to raise his weapon in alarm, he realized that the face was a familiar one.
'Uh, you're the navigator, right?
'Yes, it's been a while, Skuna the Traveler.'
ãThe nun who smiled at my words was ......, the NPC who had guided me through the initial setup, and whose name was Iris, I believe.
ãIt was an NPC commonly known as a navigator.
ãIt had only been two weeks since I had last seen her, so I remembered her, but Rin seemed to think about it for a while before finally realizing.
'This is the Room of Peace. It's a space where you can get ready before challenging the dungeon.
'Even if I say prepare, there's nothing here, is there?
'That's to be expected. The Room of Peace is a space where many functions can be released for the price of a Piece of Stardust.
ãThe answer to Rin's question was, in essence, to collect the stardust shards.
ãI see, this empty room is a safe point that you can customize yourself.
'Oh, I understand ....... So, what do you do if you want to go back to Pheas?
'By collecting a certain number of stardust shards, you can exchange your return ticket. This is a measure to prevent monsters from crossing from this world to the other world. I hope you understand.
'How can I exchange them?
'I will exchange all items, not just the return ticket. If you need anything else, please contact me.
ãFrom what the navigator said, that gate seems to be a one-way street. It's a way to keep monsters from crossing, which means that if the road is connected, monsters could flood the city.
ãBut I think the reason why they put the gates in the city is because they have to.
ãWouldn't it have been better if it had been placed in a more remote area?
ãThat's what I thought, but I didn't say it out loud.
ãThere was no way that Rin could not think of something that even I could think of, and aside from the location of the gate, the reason for the one-way traffic itself made sense to me.
'Well, if that's the case, fine. That door over there is the dungeon, right?
'Yes. Please take that path to the Stardust Labyrinth. You can defeat the master of the labyrinth or turn back the way you came to reach this space.
'Okay, okay. Let's go, Nana.'
ãWe waved to the navigator, who bowed, and went through the door to the dungeon.
ãWe went through the door and landed on a grassy field with a starry sky. It was a field that didn't look like a dungeon at all.
'Hmm, ...... Nana, can you throw a projectile into the sky as hard as you can?
'Hold on a minute ...... Serya!
ãI threw it straight up. The iron ball I threw with all my skills hit 'something' and bounced back without traveling 100 meters.
ãBoom!ãAs I was retrieving the iron ball that was buried in the ground with a thud, Rin opened her mouth.
'I see. So this place is also 'in the dungeon'.
'So that's the ceiling you just hit?
'Probably. It's too open to be called a labyrinth, but it's certainly a convenient terrain to spend a moderate amount of time exploring.
ãAlthough the moonlight and starlight illuminate the surroundings more brightly than I expected, the ceiling seems to create a 'night' environment, and it is still dark.
ãEven so, the field is very flat, except for some woods in places.
ãWith such a clear line of sight, you can see well enough.
'Lin, there's a hole in the wall about a kilometer that way.
'Nice work, Nana. I don't know if it's a staircase or not, but let's go check it out anyway.
ãI found a large hole in the wall, and Rin reacted happily to my words.
ãNot only in WLO, but some dungeons have a clear hierarchy, while others do not.
ãFor example, the Scorching Rocks Cave that I visited with Toka was a type of dungeon where there was no hierarchy and the interior of the cave gradually descended. If I had to put it another way, I'd say it's a type of dungeon that divides into upper, middle, and lower levels.
ãNot to mention the hierarchical type. It's a dungeon where the strength of the enemies and the environment changes every time you go down a level.
ãThis event's dungeon, the Labyrinth of Stardust, is a dungeon that we were sent into without any prior information.
ãTherefore, we don't know what kind of structure this dungeon has, and we don't know what we're going to find.
ãAll we know is that it is a dungeon for players after Fierce.
ãProbably, Rin is assembling the information for the attack at an alarming rate.
ãI'm sure she's thinking in that direction, given that this event is geared towards roundabouts.
ãThe only thing I could do was to tell her the information I got from my primitive information gathering using my five senses.
'...... Rin-chan, diagonally backwards, two reasonably fast monsters are coming.
ãI didn't need to use my spotting skills, I could tell by the sound of the grass being stepped on that monsters were coming.
ãWhen I reported this to Rin, she stopped me with her hand as I tried to pull out my shadow stitch.
'Two wolf-type monsters,' she said.
ãA black-colored wolf is approaching us, blending in with the darkness of the night.
ãShe drew letters in the air with her magical fingertips, without even holding her wand.
'Run, Lightning, Petit Bolt'.
ãThe <> is a stalling spell that paralyzes the opponent for a very short time. I'm not sure what to make of it, but I'm sure it's a good idea.
ãShe did not stop her fingertips from drawing the words, presumably to activate some kind of magic.
'Lightning bolt, run, petit bolt.
ãAs another petit bolt struck the other wolf, the letters in the air glowed intensely.
ãA thunderbolt that split the heavens burned the two Wolves to the ground. This powerful ranged magic, with a power that was probably above the intermediate level, inflicted a great deal of damage on the two Wolves.
ãAlthough it was a powerful spell, both of the wolves were still alive despite taking about 80% of the damage. However, perhaps they were too numb to move, and there was no sign of an immediate attack.
ãThe two Wolves were pierced by Lin-chan's elementary thunder magic and died easily.
'Well, it can't be too tight from the first floor, can it?
ãLin-chan said, lowering her outstretched hand and smiling.
'What were you doing just now?
'Multiple activations of magic ...... No, it should be called parallel waiting. In this game, chanting and other methods of activation are compatible.
ãWatching Lin's battle, I had no idea what she was doing, so I honestly asked her what she was doing.
ãAccording to Rin's explanation, there are several different ways of activating magic in addition to chanting.
ãFor example, there are writing spells, music spells that use musical instruments, and formation spells that use items, which Rin was using.
ãWhile chanting, you prepare powerful spells at the same time, and strike them into the gap created by the chanting spell. Or vice versa, while chanting a powerful spell, defend yourself with another spell.
ãIt's about as difficult as playing the piano,' he said. I can play the piano too, but I didn't think I could handle the skill of handling several spells in parallel.
'Well, ......, you now have eight pieces of stardust. Now, I wonder how much one of them is worth.'
'I'm also curious about the efficiency. If the bosses are strong, it might be more profitable to go around Trillia's.'
'I'd like to think it's not that bad.
ãFor example, if a dungeon gives you 10 stardust shards per round but takes 2 hours, and a dungeon gives you 1 shard per round but takes 10 minutes, the latter will be more efficient.
ãThe difference between the two is very small, but if you think about the fact that you're going to be doing it for seven days straight, you'll get your money's worth.
ãHowever, I don't know the actual difference in efficiency.
ãIt may be that Fierce is the most efficient, or it may be that there is no differentiation by difficulty level.
'Anyway, let's head for the hole we just found. I'll memorize all the details of the terrain, so Nana, please just search for the enemy.
'I hope it's not randomly generated.
'Still, there are patterns. Let's just get a feel for it today.
ãThere is a reason why Rin-chan is able to say that she can remember everything as a matter of course.
ãRin is able to maintain her concentration for nearly 80 hours, and perhaps because she spends most of her waking hours concentrating, her memory far exceeds that of normal people.
ãThis is one of the reasons why Rin-chan's grades in her lessons and studies are so high, and her ability to concentrate on things is fundamentally different.
ãThat's why, basically, Rin never forgets anything she sets her mind to remember.
ãHowever, she tends to only vaguely remember things that she thinks she doesn't need to remember.
ãI think the reason why I forgot the navigator's face earlier is because I'll never see that NPC again.
'Oh, that's just a normal staircase.
'Let's go down for now. We're going to go around anyway, so let's explore later. Let's save as much energy as possible and head for the boss.
ãAs we descended the unnecessarily wide and small staircase, we headed for the second level of the Labyrinth of Stardust.