Chapter 135: Once again into the Labyrinth of Trial
Arriving at Granhart-san’s room, I knocked on the door.
However, as if they could not hear the sound of the knockings, there wasn’t any reaction from the inside.
However, I did not call out to the people inside and merely waited in front of the door.
It was merely a gut feeling but a strange sense of tension was being transmitted to me as if asking me to patiently wait before entering.
After waiting for a short while, I once again knocked on the door and this time, I called out.
“It’s Luciel. Granhart-san, or Estia, please come out.”
Perhaps because they knew it was me after I knocked and called out, the room door opened the instant I felt the atmosphere transmitted from within change.
It was Estia who opened the door and inside, Granhart-san was pitched forward and face down on the table.
It seemed like he was asleep.
Looking at that situation, I questioned Estia.
“What happened here?”
“That man’s tone was way too strict. I accidentally made him sleep.”
It wasn’t Estia herself, I didn’t imagine that I would be speaking with the Darkness Spirit that possesses Estia right off the bat but I questioned the Darkness Spirit without hesitation as if it was nothing.
“Inform me why you, the Darkness Spirit, possessed Estia this early in the morning?”
“Because that man was persistently questioning Estia and focused on her words whenever she stammered. That’s not an inquiry but an interrogation to find a suspect.”
Certainly, in addition to being stiff, Granhart-san’s inquiry totally ends up as interrogations. He strangely takes on an authoritative attitude so it’s not surprising that Estia got frightened.
“Is that why you made him sleep? It’s just my guess but perhaps not much time has passed since today’s interrogation begin right?”
“I have to take into account Estia’s feelings of going through an interrogation within the same oppressive space since the day after arriving here. I wonder how many times did Estia think of breaking down this room.”
Although I can’t understand why Granhart-san does his inquiries in an interrogative manner but I guess it is reasonable for Estia to want to escape.
Wouldn’t it be better for a female to do the inquiry for a female?
I thought up until that point and then abandoned the idea.
Since the inquiry itself would be in vain either way.
“Ha~. Oh well. Follow me then.”
The Darkness Spirit gave a curious expression … actually, it’s Estia’s face but it gradually changed to a look of apprehension as she began staring at me.
“You’ll know if you follow me. I’ll say it beforehand, your sister is also at that place.”
” … You are strangely understanding. Perhaps you have fallen for ane-sama? Or have you fallen for Estia? Or perhaps … surely you did not fall for me?” (TL: Ane-sama = respectful way of addressing an elder sister or a respected elder female character)
I’ll admit that I like Fornoir.
But, what’s with after that? She’s flying way off the rails.
Why’s the spirit of Darkness such a pain?
Since I don’t have the confidence in using indirect expressions, I took a deep breath and calmly replied.
“Considering the actions we’ve taken until now, have there been elements that showed that I have fallen for Estia or you?”
” … Please recognize that there are differences between the values of humans and that of spirits.”
Feeling mentally tired, I secretly felt envious of the sleeping Granhart-san as I left a note for him behind.
“Even if there would be another inquiry later, don’t worry as I won’t let it be done in an oppressive space. Now let’s hurry up and leave.”
“You are really considerate. Perhaps you’ve really fallen for me?”
While handing the noisy Darkness Spirit, we once again returned to Pope-sama’s personal room.
“Isn’t this gate-like door the door to the Pope’s room?”
” … You’ve seen it before?”
“Yeah … to me, as a spirit, it was a brief moment but there was a human that I could share and have fun with … it reminds me of such fond memories.”
The Darkness Spirit possessing Estia laughed gently.
Maybe she had strong memories together with Sir Rainstar?
While having such thoughts, I stopped in front of Pope-sama’s personal room and called out after knocking on the door.
“It’s Luciel. I’ve brought Estia along.”
When the door opened after the voice was transmitted from within, the female attendants left the personal room and we entered as if exchanging places.
There was a horse beside Pope-sama … personally, I knew but for the female attendants who do not know about the circumstances, it must have been a surreal sight.
I was uneasy thinking about what the female attendants were feeling looking at Fornoir but I calmed myself down and gave my homage as a vassal. At that instant, Fornoir stepped in front of Pope-sama.
I judged that there was danger and wanted to stand in front of Pope-sama but she placed a hand on my shoulder and confronted Estia herself.
“It’s been a long time, Darkness-chan.”
“Ha~, the crybaby Fluna has seriously become a splendid Pope.”
Perhaps because she was possessing Estia, they were conversing regularly in the shared Galdardia language.
” … So you 2 are normal acquaintances?”
“Of course. All spirits are acquainted with me. However, at that time, I didn’t have enough power so …”
“Guys who pry into the past are disliked you know.”
That’s right … that’s what I felt Fornoir was saying as well.
To be treated this poorly just for asking if they are acquaintances or not, I decided to only talk about the labyrinth.
“So? I take it that you wouldn’t purposely send Luciel all the way to where I was just to exchange greetings right?”
“I wasn’t lying when I said that I wanted to see Darkness-chan. I’d like you to listen to Luciel for the reason for calling you here.”
Even though she has a mystical voice, I ended up thinking that Pope-sama was somehow cute when she talks for a long time as I conveyed the matter on hand.
“Firstly, do you know of the labyrinth within the church?”
“A labyrinth in the church headquarters? … I do sense fluctuations of Darkness from the facility that was used in the past though?”
Once the Darkness Spirit closed her eyes, she immediately sensed the Labyrinth of Tribulations.
“That’s right. It appeared slightly less than 50 years ago but thanks to Luciel clearing the labyrinth on his own a couple of years ago, we were able to perform the funeral for many of our brethrens.”
Pope-sama spoke of it happily and the Darkness Spirit looked towards me.
“It’s because luckily for me, only undead appear inside the labyrinth.”
The Darkness Spirit possessing Estia nodded when I said so and for some reason began to murmur.
” … If that facility turned into a labyrinth, either demon-type or undead-type monsters would appear. If Luciel cleared it then it means it was only an undead-type labyrinth? … Does that match?”
It looked like the spirit was deep in thought.
Or perhaps she was analyzing it via reports picked up by small particles of Darkness sprites?
While restraining myself from dwelling in delusions, I continued the conversation.
“As expected of a spirit but I also did dive into the labyrinth yesterday. At that time, I noticed that the labyrinth has once again become active. Do you have any idea why?”
“None. I can’t take such careless actions and involve Estia in danger.”
“Don’t you think in this situation it is plausible that a Darkness Spirit entered the labyrinth and caused the labyrinth to become active?”
“It’s true that the Darkness attribute is the magic used by the Demon Lord but it’s not as if it scatters miasma and such!!”
Instead of anger, it sounded more like the suppressed voice of a sorrowful cry from the heart.
” … Even though I was not aware of that, I’m sorry for causing unpleasant feelings.”
“It’s fine. It’s been passed around among the human race like that since long ago so it doesn’t matter. Rainstar and Fluna’s mother … Fluna were my only allies.”
Looking at her show the same gentle expression as before, I could surmise that Pope-sama’s parents, Sir Rainstar and the High Elf lady, were very dear existences to the Darkness Spirit.
“Darkness-chan, have you manipulated people lately?”
“I’ve done it to remove memories of me and Estia as well as make people fall asleep but even if I want to toy with their spirit, the suitability of the host has been low so I’ve not been able to do so. Even if I can do so, I won’t do anything that will cause Estia to suffer.”
It’s said that spirits don’t lie but even if she did, Fornoir will definitely be able to see through it.
Taking that into consideration, my successor exorcist becomes more suspicious by far but even if it is a labyrinth that has lost its strength, is it something that can be cleared by a regular healer?
Then, it dawned on me.
“If that’s the case, then my successor exorcist becomes suspect but I’ve thought of one other possibility.”
“What is it?”
“There’s a possibility that there might be an Empire spy within the church among the healers.”
” … Luciel, what do you mean by that?”
“There was a man within Ienith who acted as a spy while being a slave dealer as a front for several years. If you think about it that way, it wouldn’t be strange if there are spies from the Empire among the Knight Corps, Healers and staff. Well, the talk about the possibility is totally unfounded though …”
With multiple people guiding the way into the labyrinth and by equipping magic tools to counter the Wraiths, it won’t be impossible to break through this labyrinth.
My thoughts ended up bringing me to such a conclusion.
“I will leave this matter to Catherine. Can I leave the labyrinth to you, Luciel?”
“I don’t want to go on my own but if it is Pope-sama’s order then I’ll do it.”
Unlike in the past, my equipment and level have increased so I can have an actual feel to the labyrinth.
If this was any other labyrinth, I would have rejected it without any thought but I have good compatibility with an undead labyrinth so I accepted it.
However, there was a single difference this time.
“I’ll go along too.”
The Darkness Spirit raised her hand.
“I can’t bring people unless the Mind Magic used by the Wraith is not effective on them. I’d prefer not to have the friendly fire.”
I expressed that after judging that there was no merit in going together with the Darkness Spirit.
“Such magic do not work on me. Naturally, even if I am not possessing Estia’s body, due to the influence of me dwelling within her, Estia herself cannot be controlled by others.”
If that’s the case, I’d like Lionel and the others to use that too but I remembered that I had to keep the fact that the labyrinth itself is within the church a secret.
I can’t talk about this matter but I wanted to explain it to them using a similar matter so I decided to request for a delay in time we set off.
“I’ll need to inform my retainers that I would be diving into a labyrinth so would it be fine if we carry out the plan after lunch?”
“I’ll leave everything up to you.”
“It’s similar to Fluna’s request but I have memories in that building as well so leave it to me too.”
“You be careful too, Darkness-chan.”
While Estia act of patting Pope-sama’s head was an act of disrespect, I had no way of stopping it.
When we were having our lunch, I told Lionel and the others that Estia had nominally become my subordinate.
However, I didn’t mention about the labyrinth and instead told them that I had purification ritual training as an S-rank healer.
While looking at the 3 of them happily begin making plans when I ordered them to thoroughly beat the Knight Corps into shape until I get back, I understood that they knew that it was a lie and they were playing along with it.
“Please return safely, I want to quickly have a rematch with Whirlwind.”
“I’ll work hard for the sake of the new armor nya.”
“To not put Luciel-sama to shame, I will do my utmost best as well.”
While feeling extremely thankful for their concern, I replied with a simple,
Since it felt like something warm would flow from the corner of my eye if I continued talking, I smiled as I rode the magic-driven elevator down to the labyrinth entrance.
From yesterday’s experience, the problem would be the 40th floor and 50th floor boss rooms.
In addition to … would it be better if I remain wary of the Darkness Spirit?
When the magic driven elevator opened, instead of the Darkness Spirit, Estia was waiting there.
“Are your preparations complete?”
“Yes. I’ll be in your care, Luciel-sama.”
“Hn? What about the Darkness Spirit?”
“She won’t interfere unless it becomes dangerous but she told me to convey to you that she will completely cut off the miasma so do not worry.”
Looking at her give a troubled smile, I wondered why do I feel a sense of guilt budding even though I did not do anything wrong?
“Let’s go then.”
Thus, we stepped foot into the Labyrinth of Tribulations.
Thank you for reading.