Five days have passed since the 1st Unit reached the 93rd floor.
During these five days, together with the people from the Exploration Support Department, we were quite occupied with putting together the contents of a report for the Guild, receiving inquiries and receiving sponsors other than that old man Eddington.
As an explorer, I’m happy that the descent record has been updated, but famous explorers parties such as the Hero Party or from “Night Sky’s Silver Rabbit” have to deal with various things afterwards, and this is honestly a hassle.
Things having settled down after these past five days, I decide to resume instructing the 10th Squad.
I enter the usual room in the Exploration Management Department and find all three of them already there.
“Morning, the three of you.”
“Ah, Master! Good morning! And once again, congratulations on reaching the 93rd floor!”
After confirming I had entered the room, the three congratulate me.
This makes me much happier than being congratulated by sponsors or reporters.
“Thanks. Next is your turn. It’s time to conquer the last of the upper layers, the 30th floor.”
In this past month, the 10th Squad had cleared the 1st to 29th floors.
I’ve followed them along, but I’ve only been watching over them and haven’t done anything with my hands or mouth.
The three of them have grown again over the past month.
They are all still like unrefined ores, so they will still continue to grow.
“Regarding that, there’s something we want to consult Master about.”
“Yes. We would like to challenge the 30th floor with just the three of us.”
“……Just the three of you, in other words, you don’t want me to accompany you?”
“No! That’s not exactly what I meant! It’s very reassuring to have Master accompany us. With Master watching over us, we are able to take on labyrinth challenges with peace of mind. However, we don’t think we should depend on Master forever! If Master continues to accompany us, I think that even if we continue to clear the Great Labyrinth, it won’t be a true challenge……”
Are they being provoked by the 1st Unit’s descent into the 93rd floor?
“W, we’re not saying this out of arrogance.”
Following Log, Sophie speaks.
“During these five days, the three of us have been discussing how to clear the 30th floor. Last month, during the guided exploration, we also watched how our seniors fought against the 30th Floor Boss, so it won’t be our first time seeing it. Comparing objectively the strength of the demonic beasts and Floor Boss with the three of our abilities combined, I don’t think clearing will be a problem!”
It’s rare for Sophie to take the initiative to speak.
That means they’re serious.
“I won’t do reckless things anymore! I won’t do things that will get rid of their smiles anymore! I’ll properly cooperate with the two of them! So please!”
Carol also asks for permission with an earnest expression.
The 10th Squad’s coordination has been getting better.
They are already capable of performing well in the middle layer.
However, there are also some points of concern.
The fact that there are only three of them.
With such small numbers, they may not be able to cope with unforeseen situations.
This is what worries me the most, but I wonder if I should disregard the will of these children, more earnest than ever, just because of my anxieties.
(Would doing this be too overprotective?……)
“…….Got it. The three of you can go challenge the 30th floor on your own.”
When I give my permission, these three light up.
“Thank you very much–“
“However! Earlier, you mentioned that the three of you discussed how you would attack the 30th floor, right? Tell me the details of that first, if it’s extremely off, I will revoke permission.”
Then I hear the three of them explain their strategy.
I must admit that I had underestimated them.
Even though they’d said they had constructed a plan, it was still their first time drawing one up.
I thought there would be many holes in the plan.
However, their plan was almost flawless.
The route they would take, countermeasures for each of the demonic beasts that might appear in the 30th floor, and all the other basics I had taught them over the past month while taking into account the disadvantages of being a three-person team.
Perhaps it might be due to the fact that the upper layers are relatively easy to gather information that made it possible to assemble this plan, but if beginners are able to create this sort of plan on their own, I think it’s safe to give them a near perfect score.
If I were in the position of the 10th Unit and had to put together a plan, it would have been almost the same.
“That’s all. Master, what do you think?”
“……Who came up with the foundation of this plan?”
Sophie answers my question.
Maybe she thinks I’m going to get angry, her head is hanging down as if she’s very afraid.
Am I that scary right now……?
I relax my face, approach Sophie, and pat her head.
“Well done. I didn’t think you could come up with this much of a solid plan. You can have more confidence in yourself.”
Then Sophie’s face turns bright red and I can see her smile broadly.
“Aaah-! Sophie only is unfair! Master-, there are also some parts that I thought of-!”
Carol appeals to me with the feeling of wanting to be pat.
“Yes, yes. Carol also did your best.”
With a wry smile, I pat Carol’s head as well.
After I finish patting their heads, I approach Log, with a dissatisfied look on his face, and then pat him on the head, and his expression changes to a happy one.
“With that strategy, it should be fine. You’ve done well to gather this much information. Once again, I give permission for the three of you to take on the 30th floor. Just don’t expect that your labyrinth challenge will definitely go as planned. There will always be unexpected things that happen. Never be overconfident.”
Since they will now be challenging the 30th floor tomorrow, today has been changed to a free day.
By the way, since Selma has gone to visit a sponsor in a different region, we temporarily have no plans to explore the labyrinth with the entire 1st Unit.
(I think I’ll use today to improve [Magic Sword Unification]. –Ah, I should probably prioritise making that thing I was going to give them, huh. Let’s go to Grandpa’s place and borrow his workshop.)
“Ah, uhm, Orn, can I have a bit of your time? I, um, have a question I would like to ask you.”
As I’m about to head out to accomplish my other plans, Sophie calls out to me from behind.
“What’s the matter?”
“Um……, Orn’s Talent is [Magic Power Convergence], right?”
“……That’s right. It can gather the surrounding mana to a single point. What about it?”
“Ah, Orn, how were you able to use that Talent?”
Sophie is interested in Talents?
Well, having a Talent by itself is enough to give an advantage.
Who isn’t interested?
But as for what Talents are, no one can say for sure.
Whether they are innate or acquired is also unclear.
The current theory is that Talents are innate and through some trigger, one becomes aware of their Talent.
I’ve been aware of mana since I was a small child.
And for reasons unknown, I felt like I could interfere with mana.
When I tried it, it felt different from the way I manipulated mana for channelling, and somehow, I understood that I could gather mana to any place through my will.
“Mm, well…… It’s hard to put into words, but there are times when people with Talents think they can do something even though they have absolutely no basis for it at all. And then when they try to do it, they can actually do it, and they grasp their own Talent. By any chance, Sophie, do you also have that feeling?”
“Maybe, a feeling, or something uncomfortable, that, you know, I can suddenly affect things somehow…… But, nothing happens when I try, so maybe I’m wrong…….”
Sophie chuckles in self-deprecation.
“There’s a lot we don’t know about Talents. After all, they are unique powers that belong to specific people. It might just be that in Sophie’s case, you haven’t got the hang of it yet. It’s better if you don’t ignore that sense of discomfort. No need to hurry. Take your time and find out what that uncomfortableness is.”
I pat Sophie’s head and give her encouragement.
“T, thank you very much. The fuzziness in my head is clearing up a bit……!”
Sophie smiles at me.
Yeah, after all, this kid’s smile is very cute.
I get why Selma dotes on her so much.
The next day, the three members of the 10th Unit head to the entrance area of the Great Labyrinth.
“This is for you guys. A charm.”
I give the three of them the necklaces with coloured pendants that I had made yesterday.
Sophie has a red one, Carol a green one, and Log has a purple one, each matching the colour of each of their eyes.
There’s a mechanism in them, but I hope it doesn’t activate.
“Wow! Master-, thanks-!”
I’m glad they look happy.
“You’re welcome. Then, go and conquer the 30th floor. And come back safely with the three of you. I look forward to hearing your reports.”
“””We’re heading off!”””
Then the three of them turn their backs to me and enter the Great Labyrinth.
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