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Chapter 496

“Faeyna, will you be okay by yourself?”

“Yes, Master, I have done this kind of thing before. I’m more worried about Master,” Faeyna flushed and then looked at me through her long eyelashes. “You’re always managing to do such dangerous things. It makes my heart ache. You sure know how to leave a girl waiting.”

I didn’t really get what she meant by that. Was she really that worried about my death? She seemed ready to leave my employ before when the Prince gave her a better offer. She had suddenly changed her desires, but I never really understood why. If it was as simple as gratitude for saving her, I’d rather she do what she wanted than be miserable fulfilling some debt she felt she owed in her mind.

 Although I liked Faeyna, I felt like there had been a distance between us ever since that act. I had hoped to fill some of that gap on this trip, but pressing matters seemed to be determined to keep us separate. Thus, I traveled with Faeyna. A younger and more inexperienced Blue Mage sent us on to the ocean city of Kingsport. I could smell salt in the air once the teleportation was over. I would love to have had some time to explore the place, but I had to help Lord Tibult first.

After bringing out the cart and making sure everything was set up properly, I hired a guard to watch over her. This was another service of the Traveling Guild. She would be alone in this city. Last time, I had just left her alone, but I realized that this was actually pretty careless. The guards the guild offered would watch over the carriage and protect Faeyna if needed. I didn’t have anything against men, but I did end up selecting a female. She wasn’t pretty and had as many scars as some of the men, but that only reassured me that she knew what she was doing.

Once everything with her was settled, I looked out over the ocean. The Traveling Guild was strategically placed on a hill facing the ocean so that upon leaving the door, you saw a very scenic beach and dock down below. I really wanted to take all the girls to the beach. Faeyna in a swimsuit on the beach would do the Church proud. Ah well, I’d have to put off that religious ceremony for another time.

Opening a portal, I headed back to Nyphal. I hadn’t brought the girls with me on this trip, saving a bit of coin. I should have done that from the get-go, but there was something to be said about travelling with company. Since I wanted the girls with me in Nyphal, it didn’t make sense to blow through Portals and DP just to save a few coins. I was past the point where I could argue over coppers.

The sun was only a bit past noon at this point. I could probably say it was around 3 pm, although this world didn’t have clocks.

“Master, what will we be doing until tonight?” Shao asked, a blush betraying her lewd expectations.

I was sorry to disappoint her.

“There is still some time. Let’s check out the Mirror Labyrinth.”

Chapter 497

I had a natural curiosity about all of the dungeons and their subsequent curses. I wanted to visit the Mirror Labyrinth before we left. It was a dungeon that apparently had adopted the labyrinth name. That likely meant it had a lot of confusing passages and didn’t focus as much on monsters. It was only about thirty minutes when we found ourselves boarding a ferry. We found out at the Traveler’s Guild that there was actually a ferry that left for the Mirror Labyrinth four times a day. That’s right, a ferry.

As it turned out, the great labyrinth was in the middle of a river, in a small islet that was isolated from the rest of the world. It was for this reason that a city didn’t sprout around the dungeon directly since there simply wasn’t the size to support it. Instead, a city was built nearby, and a travelling service to and from the island was established.

This got me excited and asking about a Shipwright. Perhaps I could knock out two birds with one stone. Regrettably, the ship was built in Kingsport and was transferred via the Traveling Guild. So, I would have to depend on Faeyna to get that order set up and make the referral. Her job tonight other than to sell the goods on her person was to get a place and establish contact with the Shipwright recommended to us by Mary. We’d meet her tomorrow, presuming everything went well tonight.

The ship rocked along the river for nearly thirty minutes before it finally docked on a small island. I was surprised to see that the island wasn’t filled with people. In fact, the place felt surprisingly barren.

“No bazaar?” I asked the ship’s captain. “I really thought there would be people selling stuff, even if the island is small.”

It was true that the island was exceptionally small. Other than a large cave head, the entire place was only about 500 square meters. That still allowed room for countless tents, gates, guards, and so on.

The man shook his head immediately. “Too many people this close attracts monsters.”

“Huh? Monsters?”

He pointed down. “In the depths. This river is filled with strong creatures. There is a reason the city was built in the distance and not along the river.”

“Is it safe?”

He shrugged. “There is a reason we make so many trips. As long as the groups are small, they don’t seem to mind. It’s when people try to congregate that they… um… get hungry. Your group of six is about as large of a group as I’ll carry through. You’re lucky no one else had reserved.”

“Ah, yes, thank you.”

“How long will your journey be? A week or two?”

Most expeditions to the dungeon aren’t planned on a daily basis like with me. Anyone who wanted to enter would need to plan for several weeks or even a month, even if they didn’t plan to dive very deeply. It was simply the cost of dungeon diving. These were expeditions requiring a great deal of thought. Well, with a portal that entered and left dungeons, I didn’t possess this restriction, but that wasn’t a skill I advertised.

“Not long…” I said. “Just getting our feet wet, so to speak.”

The man nodded and said no more. We finally docked at a small wooden dock only large enough for maybe two small boats. We had arrived. It was time to see the next dungeon.

Chapter 498

After tipping the boat captain, the group of us departed from the boat. Since there was nothing of any note outside the dungeon, we headed straight to the entrance.

“Upon entering the Mirror Labyrinth, the first thing you notice is the massive, crystalline structures that make it up,” Miki read from a small book I had bought.

It was called, “What You Need to Know About the Mirror Labyrinth” Her reading had improved substantially over the last few months. The pair of us had worked together to learn the language, and we were both at a level where it was no longer a challenge. Lydia had become envious of this and was expressing an interest in reading as well. Terra and Shao already knew how to read and write, so they had nothing to gain.

For Terra, she had learned this stuff when she was growing up. For Shao, it was more forced, a desperate skill she learned from other captured slaves in the hope that knowledge would be power. Celeste was the only one who showed no interest in furthering her education. That wasn’t quite right. It wasn’t that she showed no interest; it was that any attempt to teach her ended up disastrously. She didn’t have the patience to sit down and work on it, and after giving her pages of letters to work on, I’d come back hours later to find nothing had been done but aimless doodling, and she had already forgotten why I had even given her the page.

As the book suggested, when we walked into the dungeon, the environment immediately changed. It wasn’t dark like most dungeons. Rather, innumerable crystals lined the walls and floor and reflected light. Where that light came from was anyone’s guess, because the second you entered a dungeon, you entered a different world. Only blackness could be seen behind us from the moment we stepped in.

{You have entered the Mirror Labyrinth. Defeat the lore or complete it for greater rewards.}

“Beautiful!” Celeste cried out, fluttering around amongst the columns excitedly.

“Stay close, don’t get lost!” I warned her.

I was beginning to understand why this place got its name. It was, for better lack of a description, a crystalline cavern. It was incredibly beautiful, filled with large and small crystals that jutted out of the walls, floors, and ceilings. There was a fair amount of space in the hallways here, but I imagined they would be tighter on lower levels.

These crystals reflected all light, including ourselves. It wasn’t as disorientating as a mirror house, but I could see how it’d be easy to get turned around and lost. Furthermore, those crystals seemed sharp and dangerous. In a battle, this cave would definitely be a challenge. It’d be all too easy to hit a wall and end up impaled by a large, protruding crystal.

“Does the book contain any maps?” I asked.

Miki nodded. “Maps were included up to the twentieth floor, although I heard you can buy the next ten. As for how deep the Dungeon is, the book says they predict it to be 100 to 150 levels deep.”

“Do they block the safe room like in Dirage?”

“No… it says the safe room is… um… safe to use.”

“Alright, let’s head there, shall we?”

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