Saturday, January 7, 2023 @

Chapter 204 New Puzzle

Monica Brave
Job: Valkyrie
 Swordsmanship 19
 Cleaning 32
 Hero's Blood 7
 Light Magic 2
 Physical Strengthening 3
 Magic Enhancement 2
 Through the dungeon, Monica has been growing up.
 Among the skills she has acquired, 'Light Magic' was learned when she changed her class. The 'Physical Strengthening' and 'Magic Enhancement' were learned with skill orbs.
 From the way Monica fights, it seems that 'War Maiden (Valkyrie)' is similar to 'Magic Swordsman (Rune Knight)'.
 She is a bit more of a swordsman, but her fighting style is similar to Leon's before the class change. The skills that buff physical and magical abilities will not become useless.
 "You are really a backward compatibility with Hero... for better or worse."
 Since she has the most necessary skill for a hero, 'Hero's Blood', I feel that I don't need Leon anymore.
 Of course... I would be sorry to Monica who is looking for her brother and to my friends who are worried about Leon's situation if I say that I don't need him.
 "Onii-san, how far does this dungeon go?"
 "Well... I know what's at the bottom, but I don't know why Leon and the Four Heavenly Kings are moving on..."
 At the bottom of this dungeon, there are only the 'cores' that created the dungeon and the reward items.
 Although they were valuable items in their own right... it was hard to believe that Leon and the Four Heavenly Kings were moving forward in the dungeon in search of them.
 "Anyway... fortunately for us, I know most of the tricks in this dungeon. We should be able to catch up with him eventually."
 It's all or nothing... but once we catch up with them, we'll know what they want.
 Whether the demon or the snake would appear... there was no choice but to move forward.
 "Soon we will reach the deepest part of the dungeon. You'll get your answers soon enough."
 I patted Monica's head lightly and continued down the stone corridor.
 We had to fight monsters a few times but they were not very strong. Rather, they were just fertilizer for Monica.
 And before long, we arrived at a spacious room.
 The floor of the room was again covered with numerous panels. What was different from the last time was that the panels were painted not with arrows but with patterns that might represent animals.
 "Another puzzle, desu~no? I don't understand."
 Urza is the first to throw up her hands when she sees the structure of the room.
 She gave up too soon. She really is a muscle-brained girl.
 "The trail... leads to the back of the room. The door is closed, but..."
 Nagisa checks the floor and walls of the room and tilts her head, "Hmm?" But when she tries to step out of the room unprotected...
 Nagisa's figure disappears.
 In an instant, she was gone without a trace.
 "She's gone! It's like an illusion, desu~no!"
 Aeris and Urza shouted in surprise.
 They looked left and right for the missing Nagisa, but in fact, she was standing behind us.
 "This is... Why am I at the entrance of the room...?"
 "Whoaa! Why are you behind me!?"
 Monica jumps in surprise at Nagisa's sudden movement.
 But then, I explain the mechanism of this room to Monica as she clings to my coat for some reason.
 "In this room, if you don't step on the panels in a certain order, you will be sent back to the entrance of the room."
 "In a certain order...?"
 Nagisa squints her eyes and stares at the panels on the floor.
 "Hmm... are those animals on the panel? This is a rat. This is a dog. And this figure over here... is it a monkey?"
 "There seem to be twelve different panels. But I don't see my favorite cat."
 "Onii-san, there are some animals I've never seen before. Is this a dragon?"
 Aeris tilted her head in disappointment. Monica also looked disappointed and groaned with a difficult expression on her face.
 Both of them were thinking hard, trying to solve the puzzle.
 On the other hand, Urza seemed to have given up from the beginning and was munching on a piece of dried meat from her portable rations.
 Presumably, they will never figure it out, no matter how much they think about it.
 After all, this room is designed for game players...in other words, Japanese people. But...
 "Ah... Could it be...!?"
 Nagisa's eyes widened.
 Yes... Nagisa is the only one in this group who has the basic knowledge to solve the mystery, except me.
 As a native of Zipangu... a country modeled after Japan, Nagisa should be able to solve it.
 "Twelve different animals... Uhhh. It's a zodiac!"
 Nagisa finds the answer.
 That's great. The twelve animals are depicted on the twelve panels covering the floor. In other words, they are the 'twelve signs of the zodiac."
 If one does step on the panels in the order of the zodiac signs, he/she will not be returned to the entrance of the starting point of the room.
 "In other words, we have to step on the floor in the order of the zodiac signs, huh? I guess it was rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig, right!? Isn't that right!?"
 "Yes, that's right. From there, I don't need to explain anything else."
 "Well, then, let me take the lead!"
 Nagisa stepped out again and got on the panel on the floor. She stepped on the panel with the picture of a rat on it. This time she was not shifted.
 "Next is the Ox. Then the tiger..."
 Nagisa stepped on each panel in turn, and the others followed her.
 Once they realized that these were the twelve signs of the zodiac, the puzzle was as good as solved. After a few minutes, we reach the door at the end of the room.
 Everyone has reached the goal, and Aeris opens her mouth, her heart pounding in her chest.
 "Geez... it's a very tricky dungeon that only the Zipangu people can solve it. But how did Zenon-sama know about it?
 "...well, because it's me..."
 "As expected of Goshujin-sama! Not only strong and cool but also erudite, desu~no! A man of both literary and military prowess, desu~no!"
 Urza praised me.
 I know this because of my knowledge of games. But when she praises me that much, I feel awkward instead.
 "Onii-chan is just down the road... But, why are they going so deep?"
 Monica's lips pout in disbelief.
 It is a question we all have. We've followed blood trails and footprints all the way here, but... really, why would Leon or the heavenly king be so deep in the dungeon?
 "And why, too...? How did they manage to solve the mystery of this room in the first place?"
 Thinking about it again... it doesn't make sense.
 This room is a riddle that cannot be solved without the unique Japanese knowledge of the 'twelve signs of the Chinese zodiac'.
 Not only Leon but also the four heavenly kings, Bolfeduda, would not have such knowledge.
 "I smell... mystery and intrigue..."
 The further we advance through the dungeon, the more disturbing the atmosphere becomes, instead of solving the puzzle.
 Still... there's nothing else we can do but continue on through the dungeon.
 I slowly shake my head and open the door that leads to the lower floor.

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