133. Chapter 133
Quickly raising the arms to the ceiling to stretch the stiff body was Merrill.
Next would be to open the window, and let the bustle of the city pour into the room along with the outside air. People chattered like birds, hooves pounded on the cobblestones, and merchants called hoarsely for customers.
Merrill had been born and raised in this walled city for 18 years, and it was a sight that never changed.
“Today’s going to be a good day.”
Merrill pulled up a chair, sat down, and drank water from a water bottle. Normally, drinking water was created with water attribute magic, but even a small amount of mana shouldn’t be wasted. After all, today was the day to challenge the bottom of the Labyrinth.
Merrill recalled the labyrinth days and thought that all the experiences as an adventurer and challenger would soon be called into question.
Thinking about the party members, Merrill noticed that among them, the presence of the mercenary who had recently joined was increasing day by day inside and outside the labyrinth.
The first encounter took place on the mid-rank floor of the Labyrinth. Merrill, attracted by a supposedly rare challenger who dived to the mid-rank floor alone, learned of the mercenary’s existence for the first time that day.
Just by chance, Merrill exchanged a glance with the man, and that alone made Merrill shudder.
Merrill didn’t know exactly the vibe that the mercenary wore. A fiery strength could be felt, but at the same time, he had an air of decadence and rejection. Merrill thought he felt like a Hungry Wolf.
The next time Merrill reunited with the mercenary was in a sea of bloodshed.
The body of the mercenary, who had engaged in killing with the oldest group of the guild, was in a complete mess, and was forced to move even after vomiting blood. Strangely, his golden eyes, which could only be described as muddy, had lost none of their fighting spirits despite the severe injuries.
If Merrill hadn’t started arguing with Fausto, the fight would have continued until one of them ran out of strength or was completely annihilated.
Merrill sensed that this mercenary was exactly what the party, which lacked in the vanguard, needed.
Speaking of miscalculations, the mercenary jumped into the Labyrinth immediately after his release from house arrest. Even the so-called Labyrinth Maniac would take a rest period. However, as if in a rush, the mercenary threw himself into the Labyrinth.
Fortunately, the destination was the same. Merrill dived into the labyrinth with the other party members with the aim of chasing after the mercenary.
The prediction hit the mark. Even the high-rank adventurers had to carefully prepare their equipment and thought of a formation, more so a lone wolf. And at last, the mercenary was seen standing on the floor they could reach.
From the side, Merrill, who pretended to meet the mercenary by chance and persuaded him to join the group, must have looked really funny. Because even though Merrill had never had a romantic relationship with anyone, Merrill went to great lengths to persuade someone else in this way. At least that was the intention.
For better or worse, Merrill’s intentions were ruined by the interference of the insensitive dwarves. It got to the point where Merrill almost did a facepalm.
Merrill, who somehow managed to regain composure quickly, lured the mercenary to a familiar shop. Fortunately, the interest and purpose coincided and the invitation to the mercenary to join the party was successful.
During the Labyrinth dives with Walm, he showed more than Merrill had expected.
Walm showed that he could suppress and restrain the enemy with fire and wind attributes magic before contacting the enemy. Even if he was in hand-in-hand combat, he skillfully used his halberd to keep monsters at the range, demonstrating tenacity in actual combat. On top of that, he could overwhelm his opponents with the brute force of his 《Strike》.
Seeing this performance, Merrill was stunned, and even more so when Walm said that if his eyes were in normal condition, he would have been able to use a skill that could affect a wider area.
As the days went by, the impression that Merrill had associated with Walm as the Hungry Wolf when they met for the first time was immediately revised. Especially knowing that Walm was sociable enough within the people in his circle. He also showed a good sense of humor in the gloomy Labyrinth and maintained a good relationship with the other party members. Even with Hari.
Merrill began to suspect that the sense of distance Walm exuded and his rejection of strangers was due to the Catastrophe that happened in the Northern Countries. Of course, this was only Merrill’s prediction. Although Merrill was praised by the Guild as the Trimagitack, in reality, Merrill had no experience in war. Therefore, Merrill couldn’t carelessly and recklessly dig deeper to get more information. Even if Merrill was curious.
Now that the party had Walm, who was ripe enough for the role of vanguard and middle guard, Merrill’s mana could be conserved even further. The skill that earned Merrill the name Trimagitack would use up half of the mana pool if fired just once. And there was certainly something big waiting for them at the bottom. How much mana Merrill could save would be the key to the conquering strategy.
“uh, oh, OOOOHHH, HHHAAAA!!”
Merrill, who was diving into the sea of thoughts, heard a scream. And clearly, the owner of the voice was Walm.
Quickly, Merrill jumped out into the hallway and saw Marianthe and Yuna coming out of each room. The missing members were Walm and Hari. There were still vacant rooms available in the rented house that belonged to Merrill’s party, and so Walm, who had joined the party, had also begun sleeping under the same roof.
“What about Hari and Walm!?”
“N-no no way, did he finally do it!?”
Marianthe’s voice trembled. It was a situation she didn’t even dare to say in a joke. Even Yuna, who was bad at showing facial expressions, looked a little uneasy.
Merrill felt restless, but as the person in charge of the party, an affirmation must be done. So, Merrill pushed open the door of the room assigned to Walm.
For some reason the hinges and boards squeaked harder than usual, ringing in everyone’s ears.
When the three of them slowly peeped, they saw two intertwined men rolling around on the floor, making loud noises.
Merrill’s consciousness wandered into the faraway place for a moment.
Marianthe quickly screamed.
As for Yuna, she couldn’t prevent her mouth from opening.
“W-what are you guys doing?!!”
“Ugh, noooooo, uugghh. Help! It’s a misunderstanding.”
Hari refuted the false accusation, but no one seemed to want to defend him because of his usual behavior. The three looked at each other and thought about how to clean up the mess.
“Oh, ooooh, my, mind’s, fa, ding.”
Hearing Hari’s anguished voice, Merrill finally realized that Walm’s right arm was wrapped around Hari’s neck while grabbing Hari’s left arm, and tightened his left hand against the back of Hari’s head.
Hari’s consciousness was rapidly threatened by the so-called bare tightening.
“Walm, stop there!”
“More than that, even Hari will die, you know?!”
Merrill and Marianthe rushed over and pulled them apart.
Walm, who had regained his wits, and Hari, who had taken some fresh air, sat down. And with a headache, Merrill began the questioning.
“Ahmm, so, what happened? Let’s start with Walm.”
Prompted by Merrill, Walm embarrassingly began to explain.
“When I woke up, Hari’s face was right in front of me, and I couldn’t help but strangle him in surprise and fear.”
“Guilty!! As expected, you tried to do it after all!!”
Marianthe raised her voice of condemnation, and Merrill was at a loss for words in sorrow.
Hari hurriedly apologized.
“It’s a misunderstanding. When I heard a noise and looked into the room, Walm was moaning in sleep, so I shook him to wake him up.”
Hearing this explanation, Merrill and the others breathed a sigh of relief. At the same time, they were angry and wondered why such a thing had to happen early in the morning on an important day.
“……Certainly, Walm often groans in sleep.”
“Still, there’s this thing called, “a sense of distance”. And Walm, to strangle him immediately, you’ve gone too far.”
The two men, forced to sit on the floor, bowed and apologized sincerely.
“I’m sorry. I made a ruckus. Next time, I’ll pay attention to my sense of distance. I accidentally pushed my body forward. I couldn’t control myself any better.”
“I’ve a conditional reflex, and my body moved on its own. I’m sorry.”
Merrill felt rattled by Hari’s apology, but for the time being, it could be said that the matter was settled. If something worse had happened and there had been no choice but to disband the party. This would be the worst joke of the year, especially since this should be the day to aim for the bottom of the Labyrinth to become the conqueror.
Yuna’s weak voice made the exhausted Merrill smile.
“Fufufu, that’s right. Let’s have breakfast first. Today is an important day. Well, I’m glad it’s just a joke.”
“Right. I thought it was a big deal. Oh, but the tightening technique was effective on Hari too, huh? I’ll keep that in mind for sure.”
As the party marched out into the hallway, Marianthe began to imitate Walm’s choking technique. Of course, Merrill couldn’t relax, but at least the stiff tension had gone. And since this happened before the dive, Merrill was grateful. Still, Merrill told no one about it and kept the feelings inside.
Felling the breeze and warm sunlight coming in from the open windows, Merrill thought once again that it was certainly a good day to challenge the bottom of the Labyrinth.
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