As they worked out the details of the match, their conversation with Wilma was coming to an end.
“Both parties will begin their conquest of the labyrinth a week from today, early in the morning. The party that defeats the monster at the top, Ushikawa, wins. Only people present here today can participate, no more helpers will be allowed.
Use of tools and items is allowed. Fighting between parties is prohibited. Any questions?”
“Isn’t it possible that another party defeats it first?”
Nick asked, and Wilma nodded.
“On the off chance that it does happen, we’ll take responsibility and start over, but it will probably be fine. All the adventurers ranked D and higher were sent to another labyrinth.”
“…Are monsters rampaging in some other labyrinth?”
“Yes. According to one of the parties there, it’ll probably die down in about two weeks. So you see why it’s a problem for us that a named monster appeared during this busy period. Your match couldn’t have come at a better time.”
“What if we reach the top at the same time? And if we’re following the same route, won’t we be butting heads the whole time?
“No problem. Thousand Sword Peak has many paths. Maybe you’ll bump into each other on the way, but you’re not going to be together the whole time.”
“And what about the boss?”
“Obviously, whoever deals the final blow wins.”
“What if we fire magic at the same time and hit it at the same time?”
“Magic? You’re not going to take it down with magic. Maybe two people will strike it down with swords at the same time, but that’s not very likely. If the decision is split, we’ll have to start over.”
Tianna twisted her neck, not understanding what Wilma was saying.
Nick had the answer to her question.
“…Magic doesn’t work in Thousand Sword Peak.”
“Eh? Are there more lightning rods or something…”
“Worse. It’s hard to even cast a spell in the first place. I’ll explain when we get back.”
Tianna looked to be grinding her teeth, and Nick tried to calm her down.
Bellochio then spoke.
“Ah, y-yes master?”
Just as Bellocchio was about to start speaking, he shook his head.
“…No, forget it.”
Rather than answer Tianna, Bellocchio cleared his throat and changed the subject.
“In any case, this seems to be a difficult labyrinth for sorcerers. Let us all have a clean and fair match.”
Bellocchio said in an innocuous response.
Tianna felt there was some sort of message in there, and quietly said what she had to say.
“Very well. And master… I won’t lose.”
Bellocchio looked at Tianna and quietly nodded.
Although they were on opposite sides, there was still a kind of respect between them.
Not too far from them however, it almost felt as though sparks were flying as Suisen and Karan glared at each other. Unlike Tianna and her master, the two sisters could not wait to start their match.
“…We’re not starting yet. So, get ready.”
“You get ready.”
“Let’s leave at that. Go home and start preparing for the match next week.”
Said Wilma, and everyone left.
Survivors gathered once again in Tianna’s apartment.
Everyone was sitting at the table, except Nick, who was standing. It was the same scene that could be seen every time they were working out a strategy.
“So Nick. What did you mean when you said magic doesn’t work there?”
“It’s simple, the whole labyrinth is covered with a magic sealing barrier. Blazing Bird Peak weakens fire magic, but Thousand Sword Peak basically nullifies all magic.”
Said Nick, much to Tianna’s shock.
As the name implied, a magic sealing barrier completely sealed off magic. If even just a bit of magic energy was released from someone’s body, it would evaporate before it could actually take the form of magic. It was something that sometimes appeared in ruins or high level labyrinths.
“W-well, that also means the monsters can’t use magic.”
“I guess… Ahh…”
Tianna’s shoulders dropped in disappointment.
Karan suddenly realized something, and asked Nick with a quizzical expression.
“Nick… Does that mean my Breath won’t work either?”
“It doesn’t matter if it’s spells or techniques characteristic of a certain race, anything that involves releasing magic energy doesn’t work. Because of this, only magic that activates by touch and magic that strengthens people will work.”
“That’s not fair. So it’s all up to you and Sem again.”
Nick received Tianna’s prickly stare with a bitter smile.
There was still more.
“Karan, think about not using the Dragon Bone Sword.”
“Hn? I need a sword, even if it doesn’t have divine protection.”
“There’s swords in the labyrinth.”
“For some reason, swords grow out of Thousand Sword Peak. Though, only inside the labyrinth.”
Everyone looked at Nick with a blank expression.
“You’re making it sound like they grow like apples on a tree.”
“I’m serious! They really do just grow out of the ground!”
It seemed Bond remembered something.
“Hn? Do you know anything about this?”
“I know nothing of the name Thousand Sword Peak… But I do recall hearing about a training area that matches your description long ago. Could it be that said training area has turned into a labyrinth?”
“If I remember correctly, this training area should contain weapons that can only be used inside it. It was created as a way to allow people to hone their skills, and not use those weapons for anything else.”
“Yes, it’s like that.”
Karan saw Nick nodding, and the gloom on her face matched Tianna’s.
“So… I can’t… Use the Dragon Bone Sword?”
“Well, it’s not like you can’t use it, but the swords on Thousand Sword Peak are the most effective against the monsters that appear there.”
“So… We will enter this labyrinth, pick up weapons found inside it, and defeat monsters using the labyrinth’s own weapons? And we have to abide by the labyrinth’s rules regardless of whether we are in the vanguard or back row? Is that it?”
Asked Sem in place of Karan and Tianna, who were completely taken aback.
“Doesn’t that put us at a disadvantage? I guess it doesn’t.”
Tianna asked a question and disagreed with herself.
“Is your teacher good with anything besides magic?”
“I’ve seen master Bellocchio fight monsters many times, but always with magic. So I don’t really know.”
Tianna responded with a shrug.
“What about Karan’s sister?”
“She’s especially good at using Breath, and she uses a spear, not a sword.”
“So, she knows how to fight at close range?”
“She was never very serious about training with the spear… But that was five years ago, I don’t know about it now.”
Karan shook her head.
“They’re fighting under the same conditions as us. And the monsters too I guess.”
“They use swords too?”
“They do. There’s a lot of oni type monsters, and some ogres too.”
“It sounds like it could turn into a hard fight… Nick, speaking in practical terms, can we do this?”
Asked Sem, and Nick responded with a low voice.
“We can, but…”
Nick looked at Tianna, and all the others followed.
Tianna said as she backed away with an uncharacteristically timid expression.
“…We’re going to have to train in a hurry.”
“I also think it’s better than doing nothing. I’ll do some training as well.”
“All we can do is train to you.”
And thus, they started making plans for Tianna’s close quarters combat training.