For a moment, they were surrounded by light. Next thing they knew, they were standing in a well lit corridor. There were torches hanging from the brackets and they illuminated the corridor.
“Wow…! So this is a Labyrinth…!” Ondine said in a voice full of wonder.
“There’s not need to be so surprised about it, Ondine. It’s just a Labyrinth. There’s nothing special about it,” Tetra said in a dull voice.
“Ah! Shush, Tetra! Unlike you, I find it wondrous how these things are built and maintained!”
“Then go become a nerd and discover then!” Tetra scoffed.
“Okay, you two. Looks like we’re in the Base Level,” Lakshman said as he looked around.
Ahead, he saw the way lit by the torches hung on the walls. Turning around, he saw a wall. He walked over and started rubbing it. The feeling was the same as rubbing any other wall.
“Stand back, girls. I want to experiment something,” Lakshman said and pulled his fist back.
The next second, he delivered a powerful blow to the wall. Wild wind escaped from the release of the power and the area shook slightly, but nothing else happened.
“Oww…!” Lakshman said and he began shaking his hand after pulled it back.
“Master, what were you trying to do?” Ondine asked curiously.
“Oh. I was just testing to see if I can break the wall open,” he said as he checked his hand.
Tetra laughed and said “Master, that’s a really strange idea.”
As Tetra nodded, Ondine said “Yes, master. We’re not inside an egg to crack open. That’s the job of newly hatched chicks.”
“I know, but it was just something I wanted to try,” Lakshman said and he shrugged his shoulders.
“Yes and you hurt your hand in the process. Very clever.”
Ondine and Tetra began laughing. All the negative air surrounding them was dispelled. The two girls found his attempt at breaking the wall a joke. Although he felt embarrassed, he smiled at seeing them laughing happily.
“Okay then. Let’s get some work done today!”
Ondine and Tetra together said “Yes!”
Together, they made their way through the corridor. It amazed Lakshman how the torches just seemed to be lit and he wondered if someone came ahead to lit them. He ruled out that possibility because the Labyrinth is a changing space. It would be dangerous for anyone to risk just to come and lit the torches.
He concluded that it was the power of the Elemental Spirits. It made sense since, unlike the living beings, they are one with nature. They live with nature and die with it with creates new ones to take their place. He did not fully understand, but theory made sense.
“What’s wrong, master?” Tetra asked as they made their way through the corridor.
“N-Nothing,” Lakshman said distractedly as he was suddenly pulled into the present.
Lakshman decided to set those thoughts aside and focused on what they have to do. They were searching for a staircase that would let them go to the next level. It was several minute later, they found a pair of stairs leading downwards.
“Somehow I’m getting a feeling this will be like the Monster Dungeon,” Ondine said as they looked at the stairs.
“Why is that, Ondine?” Lakshman asked curiously.
“Well, for one thing, Monster Dungeons uses Floor Numbers while Labyrinths uses Levels. They also have similar monster summoning. The only thing different is normal Labyrinths have only four levels. The floors on Monster Dungeons contains Magic Circles, traps and extra stuff it has.”
“Ah! I see what you mean. There is quite the similarity between them, aren’t they?” Lakshman said and he finally understood what she meant.
“So what if they are similar? We still need to be as careful as we would be when entering a Monster Dungeon,” Tetra said and she scowled at Ondine.
“Yes, yes,” Ondine said and she sighed before leading the way down the stairs.
A few seconds later, they arrived at what looked like another corridor. It looked no different from the one they were in just now. Same torches on walls and bricked wall design.
Lakshman knew they were in Level D. This meant the monsters they will be facing are the D-Ranked monsters. So he remained on guard and kept a watchful eye at the back while Ondine leads from the front.
At one point, Ondine asked him to lead. He disagreed and told her and Tetra to go first. This way, if anything suddenly appears from their rear, he can react instantly. Understanding the idea, they did not complain and moved on.
Normally, Lakshman would lead, but he chose not this time. It was not just to protect the rear, but to get adjusted to the Labyrinth. Rumble told him the Labyrinth changes depending on the time of day. Knowing that, he kept an eye in case their back gets cut off.
On the way, they faced a few monsters. The monsters suddenly materialised meters ahead from a flash of light. Their first encounter was against six One-Horned Rabbits. Ondine, wanting to prove herself in front of him, went ahead and took them all out.
Lakshman patted her on the head while Tetra looked unimpressed. However, this made him realise something he had never noticed before. Ondine was cute looking when he patted her. Then he quickly let go because of the dangerous glare Tetra had in her eyes.
He shook his head to clear his thoughts and focuses on the monster. After that, they hit a few dead ends and faced against several more rabbit monsters. He understood the similarity between the Monster Dungeons.
“Master, your Adventurers Card is glowing for some reason,” Tetra said and she pointed at the glow from his pocket.
Pulling it out, Lakshman was amazed to see that his points have increased greatly. Because Ondine and Tetra were at the front, he had not had the chance to defeat any of them. Never did he expect them defeating the monsters actually got added to his points.
Lakshman frowned and said “This somehow feels wrong…”
“What’s wrong with that, master? We’re doing all the work which leaves you peacefully!” Ondine said brightly.
“Yes, but I’m not peaceful. I came here to do some work, not have you girls do everything!”
“You’re being picky, master.”
“I think master is correct, Ondine,” Tetra told her with a severe look on his face.
“Eh? Really?” Ondine said in surprise.
“We’re doing all the battles for him and that makes him do nothing. If this continues, he will become weaker and idle which is a bad thing!”
“Oh…! I see what you mean, but wouldn’t that be the same for us if he charges ahead?”
They fell silent and began thinking. Ondine had a point and Lakshman understood it. He was thinking hard as to what should be done so none of them get left behind.
At that moment, there was a flash of light and a Beast Dog appeared behind them. They quickly tuned around as the two monsters growled at them before charging at them.
“Tetra!” Lakshman shouted and Tetra instantly transformed into her sword form.
Ondine stood next to him and they both held their weapons at the ready. The monsters were letting their tongues flail around their mouth as they ran towards them.
“Ondine! Take care of the one on the right and I’ll take the left!” Lakshman ordered her.
“Yes!” Ondine said and they charged at the monsters.
Lakshman and the monster he was aiming for met. With an easy swing of the sword, Lakshman cut the monster’s head clean off its shoulders. The dead body hit the ground with a thud.
He quickly turned around to see if Ondine needed an assistance. Ondine did not have any sort of difficulty with her monster. She easily cut the monsters legs off before stabbing her sword into the monster’s head.
The two dead bodies of the monsters vanished in a bright light. All that was left was a box along with some gold coins.
“Hmm? What’s this?” Lakshman asked when he picked up the box after pocketing the coins.
“It’s an Item Box,” Tetra said when she transformed into her human form.
“Item Box?” Lakshman and Ondine asked curiously.
Tetra suddenly looked superior as she said “It’s a box adventurers use to put their items. So items like bottles, medicines and such that appear after defeating monsters. Very handy to have around if our bag is not large enough.”
“That’s cool! I actually wondered what we would do if items appear. This is so lucky we got this!” Lakshman said and he sounded relieved.
As he held it in his hands, it suddenly flashed brightly and became small. Tetra then explained how the Item Box would shrink so it can easily be carried. Feeling happy, Lakshman pocked the tiny thing.
“Alright! Well, I think we should share our fighting. I take care of some and Ondine take care of others. Let’s work together on this!” Lakshman told them cheerfully with a bright smile on his face.
“T-Thank you, master!” Ondine said appreciatively.
“Okay. Now that that’s settled, Tetra! Transform back into a sword!” Lakshman ordered her.
“Eh?! Why, master?!” Tetra said and she looked shocked.
“I just realised that you don’t need any training or anything since you’ve lived over eight-thousand years! It’s actually unfair to have you fighting alongside us. So it’s best if you fought with me as the Phoenix Blade!”
“B-B-But…!” Tetra stuttered in alarm.
“No buts! Just do it!” Lakshman ordered in a firm voice.
Looking very unhappy, Tetra transformed into her sword form. As Lakshman grabbed it, he thought “I’m sorry, but it’s better like this for me and Ondine to gain experience.”
“Yes, master. I understand, but I wish you didn’t sound so rude!” He heard Tetra said mournfully.
“Come on! Compared to you, I’m a weakling! With that in mind, how do you expect me to be any nicer?!”
For a moment, there was silence. Then he heard Tetra burst into laughter and he smiled involuntarily.
“Anyway! Let’s get going! Let’s try and see if you can reach Level C today!” Lakshman told Ondine.
“Let’s do our best, master!” Ondine said confidently.
Nodding at each other, they continued along the brightly corridor.