Episode 56

Goblin Slayer (5)
1 week ago
Click or tap inside the chapter body to show/hide the bottom settings

Selly hugged Hans, who was unharmed(?)—without a single bite mark—and sobbed loudly.

She administered an antidote and the lowest-grade healing potion to the other prisoner, who was still in a daze.

I wasn’t sure if the antidote would work for drug poisoning, but the potion definitely seemed effective, as his bruise marks quickly faded.

Meanwhile, we butchered the dead Hobgoblins to salvage anything valuable.

Each was weaker compared to an Iron Wolf, and their by-products were less valuable, but catching so many would surely sell for a good price.

Moreover, the loot from the Hobgoblins wasn’t just their carcasses.

“Miss Lydia, this is equipment from adventurers, right?” I asked.

“Yes. Goblins can handle stone and wood but not iron,” she replied.

“It seems more have died than I thought.”

The adventurer equipment found in the building they used as a warehouse amounted to enough for a total of nine people. Typically, three to four people formed one party, so it seems reasonable to assume that, including Selly’s party, three adventurer parties were annihilated.

“…Are Hobgoblins really that dangerous?” I mused aloud.

“Not every adventurer is like Jonah, after all,” Lydia reminded me.

That’s true. I was well-versed in the habits of Hobgoblins and knew exactly how they lived within a certain level of civilization and system.

On top of that, I had skills drawn from my gacha ability, and I was wearing good equipment.

Just this alone put me in the top ten percent of the adventurers on the first floor, and in addition, I had Lydia to help me out when necessary. In other words, I could afford to be a bit more bold and aggressive.

As I blankly stared at the helmet that had lost its owner, Lydia tapped me on the shoulder.

“Don’t worry too much. After all, countless people die in the labyrinth every day. You just happened to see some of them die in front of you,” she said.

“That’s true.”

Among the settings of the labyrinth, the first floor was known to have the highest mortality rate.

While other floors were accessed by clearing the previous one or being led by a teammate who had cleared it, the first floor was unique in that anyone could enter without any conditions.

Since many more entered the first floor, it was natural that just as many died.

Moreover, the first floor was designed with a ‘purpose’ in mind, where it allowed adventurers to train skills that were both common and essential.

Against Wandering Goblins, one learned the method of killing living creatures, and against Horn Rabbits, one practiced party play.

Against the Iron Wolf, one learned how to strategize against monsters, and against the Hobgoblin, how to overcome a vastly superior number of foes.

Though I hadn’t encountered them, against the Giant Mantis, one learned how to defeat an opponent stronger than them in every aspect…hammering the basics of raiding into oneself.

Additionally, you would learn the fundamental rules applicable anywhere in the labyrinth, strategies for finding one’s way, and so on.

There was no shortage of things to learn outside of combat as well.

And if one fails to learn these in time? Simple. You died right there. Even the first floor was still part of the labyrinth. It wasn’t an easy place.

That’s why I made a setting where even reaching the second floor earned one recognition as an adventurer. After all, you needed to have the basics down to clear the first floor.

It wasn’t for nothing that Lydia said she would make me clear the first floor before using me as a porter.

Anyway, I knew in my head that the labyrinth was a place where you risked your life and earned rewards in return.

But it was also true that it made one’s heart heavy to see the traces of someone who’d died.

I’d been navigating the labyrinth quite smoothly so far, and I thought being an adventurer might actually be an easy job.

But I belatedly realized that it wasn’t such a happy workplace after all. Though, I wasn’t going to get scared and stop now.

I opened my mouth with a slightly sullen voice.

“…What should we do in cases like this, Miss Lydia?”

“The loot is basically ours. However, we have to report it to the guild properly. If there are items that can identify the person, we also have to show them that,” she explained.

“Ah? Is this a process to check whether we killed them or not?”

“Yes. It’s not that there haven’t been cases where adventurer parties entered together and saw another party get annihilated right before their eyes, but most of the time, they were found quite some time after they’d died. It’s just a simple comparison with the guild’s list of missing persons.”

“Comparison… You don’t mean to say guild have to search through every single name on the list, do you…?”

The thought of comparing lists in a world without Ctrl+F. Just thinking about it made me feel nauseous.

However, Lydia just tilted her head as if she didn’t understand what I was saying.

“Jonah. Have you forgotten? The guild is an institution operated by the temple.”

“Ah! Does that mean they think it’s okay to exploit all those people because there are so many of them!? And if someone collapses, just heal them, and that’s the end of it! How cruel…!”

“No, I meant they spent a fortune to build a search system with magic. There’s even a rumor that the mage tower grew 30 floors taller thanks to that commission.”

“…Hmm. Indeed, the clergy. The temple strives to reduce the number of people dying unjustly, even if it’s just by a little!”

“I think I’m starting to understand a bit why Jonah hates going to the temple so much,” Lydia said, narrowing her eyes as if she had seen something blasphemous. Avoiding her gaze, I collected all the remains of the last party that was eradicated.

There was not only equipment, but I also found a pouch full of magic stones, which should be quite profitable.

However, I couldn’t see any other monster by-products. Perhaps the goblins had used them.

Just in case, I stomped on the empty ground, searching for any hidden spaces. Meanwhile, Lydia was shouldering a bag heavy with all sorts of equipment.

“Thank you for carrying it, Miss Lydia. If I were alone, I couldn’t have taken even half of this.”

Since we were planning to make Selly somehow move Hans and the other unnamed prisoner, we had to figure out a way to move the items ourselves.

Hearing my words of gratitude, Lydia cocked her head with her usual expressionless face.

“Well, it’s my money too, so of course.”

“…What?”

“Jonah. The accounts between adventurers must be precise. Jonah assassinated half of the Hobgoblin tribe, but I killed the other half. So, naturally, the rights to the spoils are half and half.”

“Agh!”

It’s infuriating, but she was right so I couldn’t argue. Instead, I decided to bring up a slightly different topic.

“Miss Lydia. About the floor guardian of the first floor that you mentioned before. I’m thinking of starting preparations soon, so could you help?”

“???”

“The new equipment I got this time turned out to be stronger than I thought. With this, we can definitely inflict damage on the floor guardian, so I think it’s worth a try.”

“…No. Wait. Wasn’t that just a vague goal or a symbol of your resolve?”

“Not at all. I was totally serious. I even think I know how to summon the floor guardian.”

“…Normally, I would have told you to stop talking nonsense, but somehow, what Jonah’s saying feels real.”

“Ahem!”

“That’s not a compliment.”

“Aw, you’re getting all shy again! I know you say that, but you’ll help anyway!”

“Well. Even if there really is a floor guardian of the first floor, it wouldn’t matter since I can take it down by myself.”

The floor guardian was a sort of boss. Naturally, it was much stronger than other monsters on the same floor and often had tricky abilities, not just in strength.

As one descends the labyrinth, the strength of enemies in the labyrinth increases, so at best, the floor guardian of the first floor would be similar to or slightly stronger than monsters 2~3 floors below.

In other words, the floor guardian of the first floor was as strong as the monsters from the third to fourth floors.

For a high-ranking adventurer like Lydia, it wouldn’t be as difficult an opponent as I’d expected.

“Are you saying you’ll help? Thank you! Then let’s talk about the details later and start heading out now.”

“Okay.”

There was no secret space in the warehouse, so with regret, we just stepped out. There, we found Selly awkwardly carrying Hans, then the prisoner, who still hadn’t regained consciousness.

“Selly! Do you think you could carry him too?”

“…I’ll try.”

With a grave expression, Selly nodded and adjusted Hans on her back. Though his tendons were cut, his forearms and thighs were intact, so it seemed they were managing somehow.

Hans carefully reached out to the man with a dazed expression and lifted him princess-style.

I wondered if his arms would hold out until we got out of the labyrinth… But it wasn’t me who was suffering, so he’ll work it out on his own.

“Shall we head back now, Miss Lydia?”

“Lead the way.”

“Okie.”

Although we still had some strength left, with both luggage and people aplenty, it would be best just to return.

After walking for a bit, I asked Lydia in a soft voice.

“So, what do we do about those people now?”

“First, we report them to the guild. Selly and Hans may be injured, but their minds are fine, so they’ll have to manage on their own. But that man is a different case.”

“He seems completely broken, so if we just leave him to fend for himself, it would lead to disaster.”

“Yes. That’s why we have to leave that man at the temple. Taking care of those severely injured in the labyrinth is also a role of the temple.”

“…Do we really have to go?”

“Yes, we really have to go.”

“How about Miss Lydia goes instead of me?”

“Didn’t you say you didn’t want to entrust another man to me?”

“Then let’s ask Selly.”

“You’re not planning to take the rescue fee?”

“Ugh…!”

If you saved an injured person found in the labyrinth and admitted them to the temple, you could receive a rescue fee.

Of course, this wasn’t anything like human trafficking. It could be called a kind of labor fee.

First, the temple paid the fee, and then the patient, once treated and recovered, worked at the temple to repay that money to the temple.

Having such a system ensures that the injured, who could be considered burdensome, were not abandoned in the labyrinth but were properly rescued and returned to the surface.

However, there were times when people died even after receiving treatment, and those who survived may suffer from severe aftereffects, rendering them unable to repay the money.

But the temple took that into account when offering a reward for those who made the effort of bringing them in. After all, if someone could be saved, shouldn’t they be saved?

Befitting those who served the Goddess of Love, they were people overflowing with the spirit of philanthropy, after all.

“…It can’t be helped then. Let’s go together.”

“Okay. Good thinking.”

Being an Inquisitor was not a leisurely position, so it was unlikely to encounter one, but still, I sighed, worrying that we could, by chance, meet Karen.

Suddenly, my gaze shifted to Selly and her group behind us.

Putting aside the nameless prisoner who was still unresponsive, Selly, who was carrying Hans on her back, was still too gloomy for someone who had just narrowly escaped death.

Reflecting on it, Selly, in her panic, had chosen Hans as the one to be sacrificed in her stead.

What would it feel like to watch the lover you vowed to protect being violated by oblins, powerless to fulfill that vow?

And what about the guilt of having nominated such a lover as a sacrifice to save yourself despite the panic?

Then, what would it feel like to have that lover, oblivious to everything, weeping on your back, showering you with thanks and apologies?

Treating a severed tendon required either a high-grade potion or long-term care at a temple.

Either option would incur a significant expense, which Selly likely couldn’t afford.

That meant she would have to care for a lover who was incapacitated for an indefinite period…

Then what must it feel like to confront one’s sins every time she looks at him? Can one still love their lover purely as before?

I didn’t know the answers to these questions.

I just hoped their future would be somewhat bearable.

“Ah.”

I suddenly felt like writing for the first time in a while.

📢 New! Donation Section - Support early translations!

👀 Seeking Korean Translators - Get paid per chapter!

Your support helps keep our chapters free. Consider subscribing, purchasing, or joining our Discord for updates and discussions!

Enjoying the series? Leave a rating or review on Novel Updates.

⚠️ Do not post a spoiler without a spoiler tag ⚠️

<spoiler>INSERT YOUR TEXT</spoiler>