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Upon exiting the labyrinth, we find the building that covers it hermetically sealed with thick steel doors.
The interior is filled with thousands of bodies of assorted small monsters littering the floor.
And, at the same time we exit the labyrinth, we see large groups of people fighting enormous monsters.
As we walk over the fallen bodies of various monsters, we approach one of the groups to ask what's going on.
"Hi. I'm Octavo, a missionary from the church. My partner is Xelean, adventurer of vanguard rank. Could you explain what is going on please?" says Octavo, speaking to an archer from one of the groups.
The archer fires arrow after arrow at the minotaur his group is facing, but the projectiles don't seem to affect the monster in the slightest. For they manage to pierce only very slightly through its skin.
"It's an outbreak, sir. We are following the standard procedure. The alarm was raised, and the guild closed the barrier doors of the labyrinth. A sleeping gas was released inside the barrier. When only the largest monsters were awake, the guild sent out the groups of adventurers and soldiers they could muster to finish off the threat," says the archer, as we watch a group of four people get into position to block the monster's attack.
After listening to the explanation, we join the fight and, half an hour later, we manage to finish with the last of the enemies.
Having been fighting these days with Roran and company has made me lose perspective of how hard it can be for average adventurers to face this kind of monster.
As we left the building, we headed to the next building and delivered the corpses of traitors to the guild.
We did not strip them of their equipment, nor did we keep any of their items, which came out of their storage abilities when they died.
Because, since the betrayal was something that happened in the labyrinth, and they were adventurers registered in the guild, it should be administered by the institution. That will deliver the belongings and corpses of the deceased to their next of kin.
That was Octavo's decision and, although I would have kept all their belongings, I decided not to say anything since he is the leader of the group.
For my promotion, I received a paper accrediting it. A paper that I must take to the capital, as the guild cannot change the rank of adventurers here.
I could have let the guild take care of the procedure of sending the paper to the branch in the capital. But, since I was planning to go anyway, I decided to offer to take it.
We decided to spend the night at an inn before leaving for the capital, since after so long in the labyrinth we had a somewhat special smell about us.
After getting cleaned up and eating something, Octavo paid me 23 platinum coins for the mission.
He added a little extra to the payment because I was attacked by people who were hired by him.
That, plus what the guild paid me for the loot of these weeks and what I already had, makes 53 platinum coins in total.
When I go to my room to sleep, I dedicate myself to distributing the status points I got from taking care of the outbreak in the Intelligence stat, which reached 52.
The classes that were already at a high level did not go up one level, but Explorer went up 13 levels.
As soon as my new class went up to level 10, I acquired two new active skills that are exclusive to the class.
And both of them, as in the case of what happens with Adventurer and its skills, are tied to the level of the Explorer class.
The first skill is called Holographic Map and its description says that it 'opens a map in front of the user showing the surrounding terrain. Range: 100m. Cost: 1 mana per second. Improving the level of this skill will improve the range of the map'.
The second skill is called Radar and states that it 'Allows the user to see on the holographic map any of these options of choice: enemies and allies, animals, plants, and known objects. Range: 2m. Cost: 1 mana per second. Improving the level of this skill will improve the detection range'.
It seems that the two abilities work especially well together, and require very little mana to activate.
Although I can use Radar directly with my interface map, I find very little use for the Holographic Map.
The only thing I can think of it being useful for is to show others information about the terrain that, otherwise, only I would be able to see.
I find it odd that only Adventurer and Explorer have exclusive abilities since the other classes only give passive benefits.
Hmm, I guess it's part of the gods' plan… As I ponder this, questions keep popping up in my mind.
Why would they have done it this way? Will the classes exist for everyone even though only I can see them? And if so, why keep them a secret?
Anyway... I can only trust that there will be a good reason for everything, as Regis told me.
At least, until I reached the top of the labyrinth.
The next day, we left in the direction of the capital, riding Azur in his dragon form.
As I imagined, a lot of people gathered to see us off, since a dragon mount is something you only find in fantasy stories.
And that's something that will obviously draw attention.
But, having spent these past few weeks with Roran and company, I think it is better to show my strength.
That way, there won't be people treating me in a derogatory way because of my age.
We fly at high altitudes and, during the flight, we see at the distance a griffin attacking travelers on the royal road.
But it seems that the travelers have hired adventurers as escorts.
Because we see them fighting with crossbows and bows against the monster, while the people in the carriage watching from inside the vehicle.
I say adventurers because that's what people call those who fight monsters, either inside or outside the labyrinth, since the people do not know the classes as shown to me in the interface.
But they are two Hunters, a Scout, an adventurer, and three Warriors.
The griffin is a creature whose front side is that of a giant eagle, with white feathers, a sharp beak, and powerful talons. The back is that of a lion, with yellow fur, muscular legs, and a long tail. Its size is slightly larger than a horse, which makes it a rather dangerous monster, but it seems that the adventurers can defend themselves with their bows and crossbows.
So, after watching for a few moments, we thought we would continue our journey, having seen that they can defend themselves.
But then we see how the griffin dodging an arrow catches one of the fighters and, lifting him into the air, throws him to the ground.
The man's body falls with a shrill cry to the ground, where he lies writhing in pain.
Seeing this, we swoop down with Azur on the griffin, which the dragon slightly exceeds in size.
And, seconds later, my partner knocks the monster to the ground.
A few moments before we hit the ground, we dismount by jumping to the sides and split up.
I jump in to help my partner finish off the griffin, while Quinto helps by throwing fire projectiles at the monster.
And Octavo runs to help the fallen adventurer with his healing magic.
Once on the ground, the griffin lost much of its combat power. Since Azur keeps smashing it into the ground, holding the monster's head between its jaws. So, we defeat it without much trouble.
When the battle ends and the group that was being attacked see their fallen companion get up unharmed, they thank us for the timely help.
The adventurers were surprised that the griffin decided to come out of the forest to attack humans since they are creatures that usually live peacefully in the forest.
At first, they had tried to chase it away by shooting at it with no intention of hurting it, since the griffin is a protected animal by the kingdom, due to being half a lion.
But, seeing that the monster did not move away and that it had wounded its companion, they decided that the monster must die.
So, our intervention was more than welcome.
After saying goodbye, we continued our journey in the direction of the capital.
We are camping by the side of the road by the light of a small fire that we are using for cooking.
As we wait for the food to be ready, I tell Octavo about my run-in with bandits when I went to Flower Village.
"Yes. The roads have been quite unsafe lately" he says in response to my account "it's largely due to the presence of the new labyrinth, although the poor organization of the kingdom also has a lot to do with it… The other races are not having these problems happen to them even though they face the same challenge, as the Crossroads Village labyrinth has not only released monsters in our direction."
"And, is it so hard to organize the army to adapt to the new situation?" I ask quizzically.
"No. It's just that lately most of the nobles are focusing a lot on magic, and are leaving non-magical combat aside. And since most of the kingdom's army fights without magic, they get very little attention and support from the nobility..." he says and sighs. "Luckily there are some promising youngsters who are not swayed by their parents' ideas. Lilian Estella, for example, is only 15 years old, but she has proposed an initiative to decentralize the army and have each village have its militia funded by the kingdom. This would greatly facilitate the protection of the roads. This initiative has already been approved by the heads of the three noble families and will be tested these days. All thanks to the will of a 15-year-old girl, while her mother remains stubborn in the supremacy of magic."
"Ahh," I say tersely in reply, distracted by the mention of that name.
The girl I met a few days before I left the capital was named Lilian according to the information Sophia gave me, but the headmistress didn't mention anything about the girl being a noble.
What are the chances that they are the same person?
Did I mess up when I told her Julia's story?
Hmm, I hope not... Anyway, I didn't tell her any names during my story…
After a few minutes of silence, Octavo speaks again "You are not very talkative.... You tend to get very absorbed in your thoughts. I hadn't noticed it these past few days as our companions were quite talkative," he says saying the word 'companions' with a growl.
"I still don't understand why they betrayed us..." I say, diverting my mind from the ramblings about the girl I met. "They were strong.... what need did they have to betray us?"
"They were very strong, indeed, but some people's greed and ambition know no bounds. People are unreliable in many ways. But there is one thing you can count on, their greed." he says, starting to smile. "They probably wanted to upgrade their equipment or buy themselves a fancy house. Anyway, we'll never know exactly."
"But if the payoff was already pretty good..." I say, muttering to myself. I don't see the point in them risking their lives and reputation like that for a little more money.
"Yes, it was," he says with a growing smile. He seems amused by my confusion. "But they would have to spend a good chunk to repair their equipment. And that didn't leave them so well off compared to you, since you could take the full bounty thanks to your auto-repairing equipment. Envy is dangerous… No offense, but you're a bit naive, Xelean."
"hmt, I think the food is ready..."