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Chapter 1: Let's Tame the Restive Horse-Girl, Part 5
「 Well then, here goes nothing!」
Aur nodded at Mari, who was holding swords in her hands.
When she swung them at the same time, shockwaves erupted from them and hit the labyrinth's ceiling, creating large hole in it.
「 Okay, now climb! Keep going as long as you can!」
At the same time, Aur manipulated the cube in his hand to create a cylindrical pillar and a ladder, creating a way to reach the ceiling from the ground level.
「 What is it? Something wrong with the ground?」
Halfway up on the ladder, Mari suddenly stopped and looked back at Aur.」
「 The s.e.m.e.n that Lord Aur gave to me… it's going to spill out.」
「 Just hurry up and climb, you fool!」
Aur shouted at the embarra.s.sed girl while she was murmuring with her cheeks dyed beet-red.
「 This doesn't look like the part of a dungeon at all.」
「 No, look closely. It might seem like an ordinary forest at first glance, but it is in fact the dungeon wall.」
They were now in a forest, densely populated with tall trees.
Aur was pointing at a certain intertwined tree branch.
「 But it looks like just another ordinary tree branch.」
When Mari swung her sword to try and cut the branch off, it dug halfway into it.
「 Just hurry up and do it already!」
Surprised by Aur's outburst, Mari pulled her sword out. When she did, the wound she inflicted on the branch healed without a trace. If she wasn't fast enough, her sword would have been trapped inside the branch and she would be unable to pull it out.
「 It is a ranch infused with magical power, although it's not as strong as it initially seems to be. But it's a good enough of a countermeasure to prevent the wall from being destroyed.」
「 Understood, I'm sorry for doubting your work, Lord Aur.」
Aur stroked Mari's head gently.
「 Don't beat yourself over it. You did a good job earlier with that ceiling.」
Mari looked at the place where the holes she made were just a few moments ago and tilted her head.
「 I guess so. That way we can have a hidden entrance to the dungeon, and it is well hidden from prying eyes. As expected of Lord Aur, you're a great Dungeon Master.」
「 Something like that is a given when you live in the dungeon as long as I did.」
「 But I also lived in it for most of my life.」
「 But there is a huge age gap between you and me, and with age, comes experience. I'm sorry to say that, but currently you're too young to make a good Dungeon Master.」
Telling her not to worry about that, he pushed her from the back.
「 We're probably all set here. We have a base for the dungeon and some measures of defense, but we should probably check whether or not there are monsters lurking around this forest.
He was pleased by her enthusiasm, but sighted in his mind.
In and out of itself, Mari possessed a very high level of abilities, and she was a very fast learner with good memory. She was very interested in all the things that happened around her, and she learned a lot from the other denizens of the Dungeon.
Yunis taught her swordsmans.h.i.+p, Aur and Spina showed her magic, and she got acquainted with the Laws thanks to Melizand. Even Aur was not entirely sure what was the full extent of her actual abilities, as she probably learned much more form different people, including ghosts, demons and adventurers.
And as was already stated, in terms of fighting prowess, she was almost at Lilu and Aur's level.
But, because she spend most of her life in the Dungeon, she had nowhere near enough real battle experience.
「 What is that?」
And that boundless curiosity of hers was especially problematic at times.
「 What have I told you about leaving my side, Mari? If you were an intruder you would've died by now.」
They were now some distance away from the newly created dungeon.
「 What is this, Aur? Some kind of demon?」
Mari was surprised at the eyebrows that grew on the trunk of a tree and a spear-like branch protruding from it like a weapon ready to be used.
「 They are bound to be monsters and demons here that we have never seen across the ocean on our continent, so yes, it might as well be a demon.」
Aur was muttering to himself while he examined two other branches that were growing from the tree's left and right sides. But before he could have a closer look, the tree was felled by a swift sword strike.
「 Oh, this one is not as hard as that other one, well what do you know?」
Then suddenly, branches of another tree started to move silently. They've divided into four
like tentacles, aimed at Mari and rushed out.
Mari crossed her swords to make a s.h.i.+eld and took the attack head on. Aiming for the moment when she'll stop moving, more roots sprouted from the ground.
「 Waa, so you come from there too?」
Mari was surprised at that sudden surprise attack.
The roots came for her eyes, trying to pierce them, but they stopped moving just as they were about to reach their target.
「 Ah, that surprised me. For a second I didn't know what to do.」
Two swords were stuck in the eyes of the tree. It was the third and fourth sword that Mari was using.
With the main body dead, its roots and branches soon crumbled into dust.
「 Thank you, Lord Aur.」
The stone plating that appeared on Mari's belly during the fight melted and returned to the box that Aur was holding in his hand. He did that to protect her from that surprise attack, but thankfully it turned out that it was not needed.
「 The trees are not supposed to be moving. How did you know what it was going to do, Lord Aur?」
「 I didn't. I noticed it just as it was about to attack you.」
The old sorcerer explained while shaking his head. Truth to be told, his heart was racing a bit.
「 In the Dungeon you have to be constantly wary of your surroundings, otherwise you'll fail to notice any abnormalities and it will cost you your life. And remember: overconfidence is a slow and insidious killer.」
Mari took Aur's criticism to heart.
「 I understand. I will try to be more careful.」
And she concentrated, looking around her with a tight expression.
And as she said so, one of the trees behind her slowly opened its eyes and stared at her.