And then, there was silence.
Survivors had a look on their faces as if they were wondering why it would ask something so obvious.
It was the Sword of Bonds that broke the silence.
“W-Who do you intend to sell me to!? Official authorities? The country itself!?”
“The adventurer guild.”
Said Nick, and the Sword of Bonds was even more irritated.
“N-No way! I am finally leaving this place just to be sealed or put in storage!? You do know I am the strongest sacred sword!? It is in a swordsman’s instincts to try to use me is it not!?”
“Eh… Even if you say that…”
“I waited and waited, even in sleep mode, and no one came…! After all this time, a party deemed worthy by the labyrinth appeared and it is just going to sell me!? This is awful!”
“Even if you say that, we are only here because we were asked to come look for a sacred sword and bring it back.”
“Do not hand me to some liars like the adventurer guild! Do you have any idea how many years I have wasted waiting for someone to come after they tricked me and threw me in here?”
“Now what do we do…”
Nick didn’t have an answer. He didn’t feel right about just wrapping it in cloth to shut it up.
“What is it Tianna?”
“Can we at least listen to its story? It said something about being lied to and tricked…”
After hearing that, it didn’t feel like just someone else’s problem.
“Well, we don’t know anything about you, so tell us from the start.”
“Ahh… the world of humans is so fickle. Do you know how much was put into my development, and how big was the uproar when I was completed, and…”
Yes, yes. Just tell us.”
“You impatient… Fine. I, the Sword of Bonds, was forged for the final battle against the demon god 【Schiaparelli 】.”
“Demon god Schiaparelli?”
Tianna answered Nick.
“I’ve heard of it. The ancient civilization fought many times against the demon race that stood on top of all demon races, the demon gods. From what I remember, Schiaparelli was especially brutal towards humans.”
“Yes, it truly was a terrifying and hateful being.”
“But it was killed or sealed wasn’t it?”
“Yes. The heroes of the time 【 Instant Shukuchi 】, sealed it after a heroic and almost suicidal counteroffensive… I was supposed to be one of the main weapons in this counteroffensive, but another sacred sword was deemed ready for practical use before I… And thus, I lost my chance to become famous.”
“Eh… That ancient civilization sure was amazing, pumping out sacred swords like it was nothing.”
“They were not ‘pumping us out like it was nothing’. The sacred sword forge was a horrible place where sages of the time would bleed out from their noses and even die of insanity. The working environment was horrible as well.”
“If there are dark circumstances like that, say so sooner.”
“Anyway. Even if I did not become famous, my catalog specs were top of the line. Whoever wields me can focus their partner’s strength and amplify it. Two people multiply it by four, and three multiply it by nine.”
“So it multiplies strength by squaring it… That’s impressive.”
“Yes, in theory.”
Whispered the Sword of Bonds.
Karan tilted her head.
“Y-Yes. Partners that trusted each other to the point where their hearts were one, could bring my full strength to bear, but…”
“What? Just say it.”
Nick prompted it to continue, and the Sword of Bonds hesitantly continued the story.
“There were not many people that fit the bill… At most, two swordsman who went on adventures together were on the same wavelength. The biggest group we had on record was three people that could combine their strength. A whole party was nothing more than a dream.”
“By the way, what was the relationship between those three like?”
“…It was a party of triplets.”
“If triplets could just barely get there, there’s no hope for normal adventurers.”
Nick was shocked, and the Sword of Bonds flusteredly responded.
“T-That is not true! There should be adventurers bound by true friendship or love…! There have to be, but…”
The Sword of Bond’s tone became quieter.
“…After the war was over, I was sealed in this labyrinth for many months and years, in an attempt to discover an adventurer suitable for me, but no matter how long I waited, no one came. It shouldn’t be too surprising, after all, the guild’s intention from the start was just to use me to attract people here. They had no plan to let anyone grab a hold of me, and they sealed me here without telling me, or the adventurers after me.
“A prize you can never get.”
Tianna and Nick murmured.
“…I could not do anything about it, so I went into sleep mode, and did not wake up until recently.”
“Ah, did you open the door that door we found on the way here?”
“Yes, because I noticed that recently adventurers had been in here. I was relieved when you showed up. Having that said…”
“Ahem! Adventurers! After overcoming many trials and tribulations together, you have finally reached my hallway. You have been deemed worthy of wielding me have you not? You should know that you will be unbeatable, and I will grant you glorious victory over any opponent that stands in your way!”
Said the Sword of Bonds loudly, as if it were singing, but it didn’t immediately receive a response from survivors.
The other three looked at Nick as if pressuring him to say something, and Nick obliged.
“…Like I said, our job is to take you to the adventurer guild…”
“No no! I am a sacred sword meant to be held by brave and righteous people! The thought of serving as a decoration for someone who sits outside of the field of battle getting fat while others fight sends a shiver down my spine!”
“Even if you say that…”
“No no no!”
It was weak.
After all, it was a sword and not a person, it had no legs to run away with, and could only run its mouth.
No matter how great of a sacred sword it was, it could not go against its master.
It would be easy to trick it and take it to the adventurer guild, but it would go against their values.
Nick had no intention of doing such a thing, and he was sure the other three would agree.
“Hum… Nick? Generally speaking, if an adventurer finds something in a labyrinth, it’s theirs. We can sell this sword, but we don’t necessarily have to do it right?”
“No… The objective of this quest is ‘Search for the Sacred Sword’… If we take it with us but don’t sell it, it will be a problem.”
“C-Can you not do something about that!?”
“It’s not that I don’t want to but…”
Nick sighed, not knowing what to do.
“What’s wrong Karan?”
“Shaking… Hey is it a cave-in?
Nick anxiously asked.
Usually, a cave-in wouldn’t occur in a labyrinth.
The exact principles behind it were unknown, but the miasma maintained the labyrinths and protected them from things like cave-ins and fires. This was why monsters didn’t die from natural phenomenons, and invading adventurers also didn’t die from that sort of accident.
But this wasn’t a natural labyrinth full of miasma, this was a man-made labyrinth.
Nick realized that there was no telling what accidents might have occurred,
“This is bad, something’s coming.”
Tianna cut in.
“It can’t be, this ruin is a lot sturdier than modern day buildings.”
“Apparently, the ancient civilization understood how the miasma maintained labyrinths.”
As Nick was about to speak, everyone felt the ground shaking.
“Hey, did you just say ‘Ah’?
“N-No, calm down. This is no accident.”
“Then what’s happening?”
“This is the true final floor of the labyrinth, and not a place that normal adventurers can reach.”
“Now that I think about it, you did say you were tricked and sealed away.”
“Yes. The people managing the labyrinth feared that some stray adventurer might take me for themselves, and secretly blocked the door. They even went as far as to make a false final floor to trick me and adventurers. I finally succeeded in tampering with the security function to make it so the door could be opened but…”
“I could not deactivate the guardian of the real final floor…”
“What do you mean guardian?”
Everyone noticed the loud sound echoing throughout the room, and survivors slowly turned to look.
It was unlike the other golems. It had a big, beautiful glossy silver body, and no joints.
It was like liquefied metal constantly moved around its body, and it felt alive.
Its face was featureless, or at least it appeared to be. For a second, Nick saw it smile as it looked at all the adventurers in front of it, almost like hallucination.
“This is the strongest golem in this labyrinth, the amalgam golem.”