Chapter 124: A Connected Story
Translated by Zzonkedd
Edited by Gumihou
As soon as we decided to head towards the maze, I made sure to leave large amounts of food and drink for the residents and Hyurumi. Enough to last them nearly two months. That way, we won’t have to worry about the people left behind even if the search happened to last a long time.
We were hesitant about letting Hyurumi know where we planned to go but were afraid that she would just follow after us later out of sheer fit of pique and decided to try and talk to her first.
 The end result was…
“I know there’s no other way, but this is kind of reckless… sigh.”
 …a rather lacklustre reaction.
Well, now that I think of it, she is our most logical and intelligent member and would immediately understand why we had to do this. There was really no other viable option, so why would she strongly dissuade us when there was no better solution going forward?”
“I’ll just get in the way if I go with you. Yes, yes, alright, just promise to return quickly if it turns out to be too dangerous, please.”
The person in front of me is gazing seriously at me. It was a look that would not allow for a rejection.
It’s fine though. I definitely won’t die there. I might suffer some surface breakage, but after dying once, I won’t easily give up on life.
“Ou, it’s a promise.”
I still can’t give a proper reply, so please excuse my short answer.
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Once preparations for our mission were done and sufficient food had been left for the residents, Director Bear carried me towards the entrance of the maze.
Although there were no gates in front of the Labyrinth, there was some kind of invisible wall or barrier blocking the opening. Monsters crowding the doorway could not push out beyond the maze.
“Looks like the Labyrinth Barrier is still in place even with the increased number of monsters rushing it.”
As Director Bear approached, the monsters became even more excited and some started to hit the invisible wall.
Director Bear casually waved his arm and his claws were suddenly enveloped with a reddish-black light. Then, he swung one arm down with great force, causing the red-black light to streak out from his claws towards the monsters. Every monster touched by the red-black light was torn apart.
With that one swing, the majority of the monsters that had been crowding the entrance were dismembered and collapsed into pieces.
Ramis’ Gift was more like a pure destructive strength, while Director Bear wielded his power with skill and precision. He seemed to know when and where to strike for the best and most efficient attack. With just two swings of his arms, all the enemies at the entrance were annihilated.
“Well then, shall we go?”
Although the invisible wall does exist, we were able to enter without any problem. Just to be sure, Director Bear walked through the barrier twice to make sure that we were not stuck like the monsters. Fortunately, it looked like the Labyrinth Barrier did not hinder us.
I thought we would take the widest road that runs through the middle of the maze, but to my surprise, Director Bear took a side path without hesitation.
“Normally, enemies don’t tend to approach the main path. However, with things in chaos like this, we should avoid fighting against an overwhelming number of enemies. Taking a narrower path so that fewer enemies could attack at once is the better choice.”
Although Director Bear was strong, if we were attacked from all sides it would be a tough fight. Although I could protect us with the <Barrier>, after encountering the  <Shattering Eye> it’s better not to take any risk.
When we advanced along the narrow path and reached a branching path, Director Bear took out a map from his inner coat pocket and carefully confirmed our current location.
“Thanks to Hakkon’s information, conquering the labyrinth’s layers has become much easier. I appreciate it.”
I wanted to say “You’re welcome,” but I couldn’t find the words. The map was a replica of an aerial view I had of this place, so it was quite accurate. It even showed the location of traps and a distribution chart of monsters.
“We should be encountering some Rock Demon soon, right?”
The ‘Rock Demons’ are basically golems. Ramis had pulverised some with her fists before.
From what I know, bladed weapons aren’t very effective against rocks, so it’s best to smash them to pieces with brute force. I wonder whether Director Bear’s claw slash attack counts as a blade attack or not. If so, this could be a little tricky.
We advanced forward cautiously. Even so, I was quite shocked when the Rock Demon appeared from the side. It must have been lurking in place, blending in with its surroundings since we did not hear any footsteps.
It looked vaguely humanoid and about the size of an adult human. Director Bear towered over this lump of human-ish shaped rocks.
The grating of stone against stone was loud as the creature charged forward. Director Bear’s paw swung down and… my worries were unfounded. The Rock Demon split into two from head to groin and fell apart on the ground.
“This level of hardness doesn’t seem to be a problem.”  Director Bear murmured as he flexed his claws.
The next two monsters were dealt with quickly through rapid use of heel-palm attacks and a couple of kicks.
It was a very precise and energy saving way of fighting. After that first attack, Director Bear must have understood just how much force is needed to take these monsters apart and made use of his strength in the most efficient way possible. It was completely different from Ramis’ overwhelming force. Which she had to reign in in case she damaged her surroundings.
We continued to advance for the next two hours, eliminating monsters that got in our way one by one, before deciding to take a break.
I prepared some sports drinks and snacks as Director Bear settled down for a breather. As he leaned against the wall to catch his breath, he said, “Thanks, Hakkon. Carrying you around has made me realise just how extraordinary Ramis’ strength is. While it’s possible to pick you up, it’s not as effortless as she makes it look.”
He gave a wry smile as he chugged his sports drink in one go.
To me, it was already quite a feat of strength to carry the over 500kg of me, but the fatigue accumulated through travelling, fighting and the stress of being attacked must have been more acute than I had imagined. I must have developed some misconception since Ramis always seems to carry my body around so effortlessly. Normal people would struggle to even lift me off the ground.
“I must say, it’s great to have the <Barrier> around us. To be able to rest peacefully and not worry about food is really helpful.”
Leave the defence to me, and please focus on recovering your stamina slowly.
I was unable to voice my thoughts, but I think Director Bear understood some of it since he closed his eyes and started to snore a little. He must have lost a lot of stamina while getting us here. With the <Barrier> up and nothing better to do, I took a look around at my surroundings.
Come to think of it, I wonder if the floor boss has revived. If the Flaming Giant Bone Demon happened to revive again, I don’t think the Director could handle it alone. Things are going fairly smoothly, but I am not naive enough to believe that it will continue this way.
What I really wanted to do was find Ramis and the rest as soon as possible. Still, it would not do to be hasty in a place like this. I must suppress my eagerness and continue to be vigilant. That was when I heard a faint sound
Is that the sound of many different footsteps and striking? A fight?
The monsters on this floor consisted of Rock Demons, Fat Hog Demons, Flying Head Demons and of course, the Flaming Giant Bone Demon as the floor boss. It was difficult to judge from sound alone, but they did not sound like they were too far away.
The decision to help or not is not in my hands, but I should first wake Director Bear and let him know what was happening.”
“Mu, did I fall asleep? Apologies, what is it?”
As expected of a former Hunter, he was up quickly and was immediately on alert.
“A noise? Yes, I can hear it too. Sounds like a battle of some sort is happening over there. Monsters fighting each other is unthinkable, especially if there’s a Commander around. They must be fighting against hunters. Let’s go!”
Director Bear quickly organised his thoughts out loud, allowing me to ready myself as well. We did not hesitate.
Director Bear grabbed my straps and began to run. However, his speed was drastically slowed by my considerable weight. Thinking that the matter might be urgent, I quickly changed my form to the lightest <Cardboard Vending Machine Form>.
“My back is saved, Hakkon.”
With the weight on his back gone, Director Bear fell on all fours and accelerated drastically.
The sound gradually grew louder and more intense. If it was really a hunter that had been lost to the Labyrinth over a month ago, they must be quite good at surviving.
Although my desire to help them was real, it was also true that I wanted their help in obtaining magic stones as well.
After turning a corner, we arrived at an open area. A girl was surrounded by a herd of Fat Hog Demons.
Wait, is she the only survivor?!
From appearance alone, she looked to be about five or six years old. She was also wearing a fluffy white coat with grey gloves and boots. In short, she looked like she was dressed for winter.
Her face was as white as snow and her eyes showed no fear. A strong will shine through the eyes over a pair of small, cute lips that were flattened in concentration. Her hair was also pure white. She looked like a little snow fairy.
The girl’s appearance alone was eye-catching, but there were other noteworthy points as well.
Next to her was a cart and a white  Unasus. It looked like the Unasus was being used to pull the cart, but was now freed to fight next to her.
An Unasus is a boar-like creature with a single horn growing from its head in this world—but this Unasus was quite different.
First, all the Unasus I have seen so far had brown fur, but this Unasus was pure white like the girl. In addition, the single horn growing from its head was thick, long and sharp, giving it a powerful and lance-like appearance.
Then, there was its enormous size. It was easily twice the size of any Unasus I had ever seen. One could easily imagine the power contained in its body just by looking at it.
“I shall lend you my strength!”
The Fat Hog Demons which had their backs to us were dismembered and blown away by Director Bear as he tore through their bodies. Finally, Director Bear was next to the girl.
“Thank you… very much.”
The girl stiffened when she had a proper look at me. I supposed, given that she’s from here, while it was not surprising to see a talking bear, it was surprising to see a bear running around with a <Cardboard Vending Machine> on their back.
“This child is my ally. And that one too,” The girl looked up as she spoke to a large bird, as black as though it had been formed from darkness itself.
It was shaped roughly like a giant crow, however, a single glance was enough to tell that it was no ordinary crow. It had a third eye in the middle of its forehead and three legs.
The only three-legged crow that comes to mind is Yatagarasu from Japanese mythology, but I don’t think it had three eyes.
“ Kuroyata, Botan, these are our allies. Don’t attack them. Oh, and apologies for the late introduction. I am Kikoyu.”
With a polite greeting, I couldn’t take my eyes off this girl’s mysterious atmosphere for some reason.
[Gumihou: Okay, we have a new character to the party! Also, I think these ‘Fat Hogs’ are actually orcs.]
 Some additional details to smooth out the text
 The exact term is ウナスス or Unasusu, nothing came back from aside from this particular chapter. It is described as ‘a boar-like creature with a single horn growing from its head in this world’
AI also gave me back this description, like, what the heck?
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