18

After passing the gate protected by two statues, they arrived at their goal, the final area.

When they took a look around, they saw faint lights in a few places which were wavering both near and in the distance. Although it was dim and the contours were blurry, they grasped that this area was fairly wide.

However, this state only lasted for a short moment. The light born from Cleos’ special ability spread like a wave and pushed the darkness back.

The light that passed through the entire space gradually made the contours appear. And when the location was filled with light, the sight in front of Mira made her heart beat faster and made Hinata stand astounded with fascination.

There, was a space that so vast that an entire village could fit inside it.

“This is so mad it overshadows everything on the way here.”

“This dungeon also hold the name of a room of menace, apparently its a name pointing at this deepest part.”

“So up until now were mere storage rooms, huh. Calling him a fool is well said.”

On the countless shelves that stood in well-organized lines and extended nonsensically tall, were countless books and things that looked to be plant samples and similar. However, because shelves capacity was greatly surpassed, they spilled in some places. Because of that, the deepest part was completely covered by plants. And yet, there was not a single scratch on the shelves and the items that were on them.

In the middle of the area were shelves piled up one on top of another like a tower, and surrounding it, there were even more shelves. This scenery that looked both like a library and a museum at once, could be called a forest of shelves.

“Searching from among all this might be hard, mm.”

Feeling like she would forget all about the search just by looking around at the scenery, Mira muttered so with a sigh.

“Speaking of which we came to search for documents, haven’t we. What kind of documents are they?”

Recalling all of a sudden, Cleos spoke so. Apparently he forgot their original objective due to all the things happening one after another leaving a deep impression on him.

“It’s this.”

From the poach Mira took out the memo with required documents noted down on it and passed it to Cleos. He said “I shall hold onto it” as he received it and lowered his gaze at the content.

"These are about plants growing in the Southern part of the continent, aren’t they. The sixth section, is it. Which would be..."

Cleos who raised his gaze from the memo muttered so and started walking, he stood by the entrance gate and looked up at a large signboard that was there.

“What’s this. Why is something like this in a dungeon...?”

Ahead of where Mira followed Cleos’ gaze, in front of her there was a guide map of the deepest part of the dungeon.

 

“Although it is now classified as dungeon, it used to be used as a storage in the past, or rather, as a museum. With that said, it was something for kindred minds to enjoy.”

“I see, mm. So this is the remnant.”

While Mira’s heart for adventure throbbed at the sight of a new dungeon, she ended up smiling bitterly hearing this very human facts.

“It should be about there.”

Cleos said so and pointed at the upper part of the guide map. On it “Sixth section, land plants” was noted, it was the place noted on the memo.

Based on what the map displayed, it was pretty much on the opposite side from the entrance and also in the biggest section at the same time.

“That’s far, mm. It would be faster to fly over there.”

Although everything in the location was dense, the part near the entrance was in the highest place and there was a great view from it. Straining her eyes to look ahead of randomly standing shelves, Mira confirmed a section even more filled with greenery than the others and muttered.

“I wish we could do that, but Mira-sama, please look here.”

Said Cleos and pointed at the corner of the guide map. Mira who turned around, traced ahead of his fingertip and there she saw text written in awfully small letters. The text said “If you move away from the regular route, defense mechanism will activate”.

“When we first came here it was really troublesome. When we moved out of a route suddenly numerous golems fell from above and defensive walls emerged all over, it was really terrible. Therefore, it would be difficult to fly here”

It appeared that Cleos happened to activate it, and as such, he explained a little embarrassedly.

When Mira looked at the guide map, the route was certainly marked there.

“Well, it can’t be helped, mm.”

Moving her sight from the distant sixth section she sought, Mira looked toward the stairs that were the beginning of the route. She thought back upon the fact it was her first time in the dungeon and took a step forward.

 

As they walked down the route specified by the guide map, her adventurous spirit was gradually shaved off. But Mira still progressed down the route between shelves.

When she looked to the side, there were simple stairs here and there, and when she looked up she could see bridges suspended between shelves connecting them.

If I went up there and passed them I wonder where would I arrive. She would wonder, but the answer was splendidly written on the guide map.

The monsters that appeared from time to time made Mira feel a little like it and she used them to vent her frustration.

“Nhm, what’s this? It’s not open.”

Ahead of where they progressed following the guide map, there was a double door with a horizontal bar locking it. Moreover, this bar was affixed and completely blocking the door.

“Like this, the final part of the dungeon has partitions between sections. In order to go further it’s necessary to solve the mechanism.”

Cleos said and pointed at the pedestal by the side of the door.

On it placed was a cubical metallic block. Looking well at this block, each surface was split into five vertical and five horizontal lines of pieces, and each piece had a figure engraved on it. There were six different figures in total.

“Rather than a mechanism, this is more of a puzzle..."

Although it used figures instead of colors, this cubic puzzle was something Mira knew well. It was Rubik’s Cube.

“Five rows is a little...”that” for me. What about...you?”

Moreover it was one on a completely different level from a regular Rubik’s Cube. Mira who was not too good at it made a clouded expression and turned her gaze toward Cleos.

“It’s not like I can’t do it. However, it will take me about six hours I believe.”

“Hm, six hours, huh..."

It was not like they were hurrying, but taking so long on a puzzle would be tiresome. It was when Mira started to worry like that.

A heavy blunt sound rang out and the mechanism activated, pulling out the bar that blocked the door.

“What? Did you hear that?”

Seeing the door completely open, Mira turned around to check what happened and ahead of her sight she saw Hinata’s figure who was staring at the door, her tail’s bristling. Moreover, Hinata was clearly holding the Rubik’s Cube with all figures on all six surfaces matching.

“Can it be that you solved the puzzle?”

It appeared that Cleos was also surprised by this as he focused at the puzzle Hinata had on her hands.

“Puzzles are kind of my specialty. I wondered if I could be of help and..."

Hinata said so while blushing and put the puzzle back on the pedestal.

“That’s a wonderful specialty. It is greatly helpful.”

“Mm-hm, you did well. I’m surprised you had a specialty like that.”

Being praised by the two, Hinata raised her tail and smiled happily. Then, in good mood she spoke of the reason she became good at it.

The reason was the Summoning curriculum having few classes and that she had a lot of time to spare. As a method of using this time in a meaningful way she started solving puzzles, since she heard they have an effect of training the brain. From there on, the Wizardry curriculum’s teacher Siegfried started giving her various puzzled saying “this is good”, “this works" and so on.

And after solving numerous puzzles it eventually became her specialty, Hinata said.

“Is...that so.”

Hearing the unexpected reason for blooming of her talent, as the substitute of Summoning, Cleos could only smile dryly.

 

Thanks to Hinata’s feat the three passed the open door to enter the next section.

It appeared to have been the place with research on aquatic life. While being all covered by thick vegetation, the shelves piled up as usual, and in addition to that there were giant water tanks lined up there.

“It feels like we wandered to the bottom of the sea, mm.”

Peeking into one of the water tanks, Mira muttered so, impressed. Even now there were fish swimming inside among swaying aquatic plants. A circle of life was firmly prepared inside the water tanks. To say, they were completely self-sustained ecosystems.

“The castle’s researchers also were surprised at this. Apparently ecosystems from over a thousand years ago are remaining here.”

“Oh hoh. That’s outstanding when looked at from archeological perspective.”

First of all, this world had a completely different ecosystem from the one Mira’s original world, so she did not understand the difference. However, by drawing a parallel it was possible for her to imagine what historical value it had.

Naturally, it seemed to have had an anti-theft spell placed on it and it was impossible to open the water tanks.

Because it interested her, Mira looked at the water tanks. Beside her, Hinata also stared intently at the fish, but apparently her cat eyes were pointed at it for a reason different from curiosity about history.

Other than that, in this section there also were specimens’ skeletons, stuffed specimens and other things. And naturally, there was a guide map in there as well.

Enjoying it as a museum rather than as dungeon, Mira left dealing with the monsters to a Dark Knight and looked at various things as Cleos guided them.

And speaking of Hinata, walking behind them she stared at the Dark Knight with excitement and took detailed notes. Her expression was seriousness itself and gave off pressure that said she will no longer lose to the allure of the fish.

From time to time they went up ladders, in some places they passed through bridges connecting shelves and went downstairs to progress further. Like so the three have arrived at a deep chasm that partitioned the road forward making it a dead end.

“I don’t think this is over, is it.”

When they investigated the end of the passage, by the side they found round stairs leading lower ahead of which they found an ostentatious mechanism. There were multiple bridges supported by pillar extending from below. However, they were not normal bridges. They had various shapes such as L-shape and similar, and they were split into five horizontal and ten vertical blocks of them.

It was clearly the checkpoint for entering the next section.

“Looks like another puzzle, mm.”

Looking well, on the other side of the stairs on the side there was a pedestal on which were lined up fifty levers.

“This mechanism causes the bridges matching the position of levers to rotate by ninety degrees and then further rotate the bridges surrounding it by minus ninety degrees, then furthermore turn around the ones two positions from the middle in four directions by ninety degrees.”

“I see. So it’s this pattern. So, how long did it take you to resolve?”

Although it was an often-used puzzle, the number of blocks that moved with each action was high making it very difficult. While thinking she could do it but it would take time, Mira thought it was a pain in the ass and tried asking Cleos.

“This took about three hours.”

Cleos answered somewhat boastfully. It took less time than the puzzle from before, but three hours was still a lot of time.

“Hmmm. Hinata-sensei, what about this one?”

Moving her gaze from Cleos to Hinata, she asked with high expectations.

“Umm, it’s my first time doing one like this, but... I think, I can do it!!”

Hinata recalled the rules that Cleos explained and after looking at various levers, she thought for a moment before she answered.

“That sounds very reliable. Well then, can we leave it to you?”

“Yes, I’ll do my best!!”

She must have been happy to be relied on by people of overwhelming skill, as she nodded with a smile. However, the moment she stood in front of the pedestal, this atmosphere of hers changed completely and she started staring at the bridges. This appearance of hers was full of motivation and looked like that of a Meijin1https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meijin_(shogi) or https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meijin_(go) holding a high-level battle of brains.

Seeing Hinata like that Mira and Cleos gasped as they felt like they saw a glimpse of her genius.

After about a minute of staring at the bridges, without hesitation Hinata started pulling levers one after another.

The corresponding bridges continued to turn to right and left and about ten seconds later, bridges connected to form a splendid path to the other side.

“I solved it!!”

Speaking in a happy voice Hinata turned around. Her expression no longer had the pressure from earlier and she made her usual charming smile.

“You did well. That’s a wonderful talent!!”

Mira said so and influenced by Hinata’s straightforward expression, smiled back to her.