The Girls Make Their Decision – Part 01

The captured Beastmen, lured into a trap by Gogo and his lackeys, found themselves within a dim warehouse. Blindfolded since leaving the dungeon, they were clueless about their whereabouts, but the unmistakable scent of seawater suggested it was a warehouse near the port.

As soon as his restraints were loosened, the black panther Beastman made a desperate attempt to escape, only to be struck down by an arrow from behind. The arrow remained lodged in his back, searing him with pain. Cold sweat beaded on his forehead.

“Is everyone accounted for?”

“Yeah. Let’s seal it shut.”

The door creaked as it closed.

“Hey, are you all right?” asked a comrade. “You were hit.”

“Y-Yeah… I’m… I’m fine. It stings a bit… What about Jillarte?”

“I don’t know. I hope that woman didn’t sell us out and run off.”

“I doubt it. Michael clearly backstabbed us, though.”

“As soon as I find him, I’m tearing him limb from limb.”

A chorus of agreement came from the others.

“What’s gonna happen to us?”

“I don’t know… As long as they haven’t caught Jillarte, I think we might be fine.”

Silence descended upon the warehouse. Screams and sounds of battle was coming from outside.

Soon silence also settled out there. No one inside the warehouse exchanged words. Unable to move, they didn’t want any further trouble.

Footsteps resounded, weighty thuds accompanied by the sound of metal scraping against metal. Armor and sword sheaths. The footsteps stopped right outside the warehouse.

The door creaked open. The Beastmen could feel the light touching their bodies.

“Well, well, well. What do we have here? Some filthy Beastmen.”

Whether they liked it or not, they knew that more trouble had just arrived.

The curtains billowed as the distinctive dry breeze of the land blew in through the open window.

“This document has errors.”

“Huh? Really? Sorry, which part?”

“The numbers. How do you not get it?”

“Your calculations are just lightning-fast. How do you do it?” She lifted her face from the document. “Silver Face.”

“Hah! A-A dream…”

“Lord Hikaru!” Paula threw her arms around Hikaru.


Hikaru realized they were on a staircase landing, and that he had been sleeping with his head on Lavia’s lap.

Hikaru learned he had only lost consciousness for a few minutes. Paula had Healing Magic capable of neutralizing poisons, but she could only perform basic spells. Jillarte, endowed with robust vitality, had swiftly recovered, while Hikaru couldn’t wake up immediately. His condition was likely more severe due to directly confronting the whip-wielder and being exposed to a higher dose of poison.

“Lavia, where’s Jillarte?”

He had a strange dream. In it Jillarte seemed to know that Hikaru was Silver Face. But thus far, he hadn’t done anything to reveal that, and Jillarte had not shown any signs of knowing.

“You’re up.” Jillarte ascended the stairs. “Thank goodness,” she said with a smile.

She appeared to be acting the same as before. No, she seemed friendlier? He couldn’t tell.

“There’s another door up ahead,” Jillarte added. “It needs to be unlocked. I know you just woke up, but can you do it?”

“Of course.”

Nothing seemed to have changed about her. Hikaru thought he heard something prior to losing consciousness, but he concluded it must have been his imagination. They needed to focus on moving forward at the moment.

As they descended the stairs, Hikaru noticed that each step was about twice as high as before. Additionally, there were three landings, and at the staircase’s end, there stood a door he hadn’t seen before.

“There are two keyholes. One is red, and the other is blue. What’s this about?”

Upon closer examination, nothing seemed particularly odd. Hikaru unlocked it as he had done previously, and the door creaked open.

“Seems good… Huh?!”

Hikaru froze in place. He saw a blue light, gentle yet chilling.

It was a small room, and the thing in the center made it feel even more cramped. A massive stone, or rather, a boulder, rested on a pedestal, emanating a blue light.

Using Mana Detection, it became clear that it was a massive rock imbued with magical energy. The door had prevented him from sensing it until now.

“I-Is that what I think it is?” Jillarte said shakily. “A water elemental magic stone?!”

“Probably,” Hikaru replied. “It’s huge. I’ve never seen one this size.”

“Th-This is incredible! Imagine how much water we can get out of it!” Jillarte turned to Hikaru and the girls. “I-I can’t have this all to myself. Let’s split it four ways.”

“Breaking a elemental magic stone this big would be a huge loss,” Hikaru said. “Besides, water rightfully belongs to you, so please take it. We would’ve taken it if it were a different color.”

Hikaru stepped into the room. Knowing her, she wouldn’t accept it unless he phrased it that way. For Einbiest, this elemental magic stone would serve as an immense source of power.

The stone easily met Hikaru’s requirement of being over twenty centimeters in diameter, but taking it back with them was impossible. He decided to search for a different one.

“Another debt I can’t repay,” Jillarte murmured, but her voice didn’t reach Hikaru’s ears.

“Hikaru, look,” Lavia said.


Lavia and Hikaru stood at the back of the chamber. Apart from the elemental magic stone, two doors adorned the opposite side of the room—one blue and one red. A metal plate hung between them.

“Challengers of the Maze of Magic Locks,

First, I congratulate you for overcoming the trial of the door. This room can only be reached by those who have passed it. The elemental magic stone placed on the pedestal is a modest gift, but I ask you to hold off on taking it.

Allow me to explain these doors first. Opening the blue door will lead you back to the entrance. Opening the red door will lead you to a trial of the passage. If you open one, the other will close. Do note that they are not locked.

Lifting the elemental magic stone will count as choosing the blue door, and the red door will be closed. Furthermore, if you take the elemental magic stone outside, the trial of the door will reset, and everything will be rearranged, so please exercise caution.

Carlsen Nielsen.”

After reading the notice on the metal plate, Hikaru let out a small sigh.

“The creator of this dungeon is quite nice. He who chases two rabbits, catches neither, huh?” Hikaru turned around.

Jillarte had already removed the elemental magic stone from the pedestal and was attempting to fit it into her bag. She emptied her bag beforehand, or else the stone wouldn’t fit.

Hikaru chuckled. “Can you carry it? Let’s head back, then. Exit’s through the blue door.”

“I’m sorry.”

On the way up the long, long staircase, Jillarte apologized multiple times for acting without reading the notice first.

“It’s fine,” Hikaru said. “We were planning to return to the surface anyway.”

“Sure, it worked out fine, but still…”

“No one has a problem with it, so this discussion is over.”

Jillarte’s actions were understandable; she was only thinking about Einbiest’s residents. If anything, Hikaru found it somewhat endearing.

Meanwhile, Lavia and Paula remained silent—the staircase was too long, and they were running out of breath.

The rumbling sound they heard was likely the shifting of the floors. Hikaru had no idea how it worked exactly, but now the Maze of Magic Locks had been reset as the notice said, rendering their previous map useless.

After taking one break along the way, they continued climbing for about thirty minutes until they finally reached a familiar passage. The walls were well-lit, and the passage didn’t require the illumination of magic lamps. The monsters that spawned were small Golems—they were back on the first floor.

As soon as the group arrived, the passage behind them closed and never opened again.

Daigo, collecting garbage at the back of the inn, lifted his head. He calmly watched Hikaru’s group emerge from deep within the uncharted forest without displaying any signs of surprise. He was as composed as ever.

When the group made it to the back of Biltappo el Debab, the sun was already setting.

“Welcome back,” the boy said in his usual tone. “Dinner’s ready.” He entered the inn.

“Hikaru, are you sure about this?” Jillarte asked, concerned. “What if they work for Gogo?”

“It’s fine.” Hikaru assessed from Daigo’s demeanor that there were no issues. It goes without saying that he was also using his Mana Detection to monitor their movement.

“Anyway, I’m bushed,” Hikaru said. “Let’s rest for today. We’ll search for your companions afterwards.”

“No, that’s my problem. I can’t drag you all into it.”

“It’s too late for that. If freeing them is impossible, we can buy some time and contact Einbiest. Now that we’re back on the surface, your situation should greatly improve.”

“Wh-When you put it that way…”

Jillarte should be mentally exhausted. That’s why Hikaru wanted to let her rest properly today.

If she could just sleep, Hikaru could use his Stealth later at night to gather information and take appropriate action. The Beastmen were both hotheaded and skilled, so if he could discreetly cut their ropes and provide them with weapons, they should manage.

Hikaru remained optimistic. While he could get outsmarted in unfamiliar environments, once on the surface, he believed he was unstoppable.

“Oh, my! You look awful. Why don’t you take a bath first?” Daigo’s mother suggested as they entered the inn.

Hikaru stayed at the front desk to arrange accommodations for Jillarte, and told Lavia and Paula to take a bath first. Since there were no other guests, accommodating one more person was not an issue.

Daigo approached Hikaru. “Hey, mister. I have something to tell you,” he whispered. “There’s a bit of trouble downtown.”

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