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On a dimly lit path, Sylvia was walking alone. Although it was a path that she knew, she became helpless because she was alone. When she thought so, she slowly and carefully move on further.
It was dangerous in many ways especially when passing through the side of monsters So, if she relaxed for a bit, she felt like she couldn’t stand up if she sat on the spot.
While encouraging her heart, she took steps as much as she can. She suppressed her presence and advanced a step forward.
— All-Round Talent Intermediate Rank (Presence Blocking Intermediate Rank – Imitation): Concealment.
Then, she finally arrived there.
It was still early to be relieved, but once she thought some more, it felt strange to feel that she could do her best. Even so, she braced herself even more, and she certainly went down the staircase little by little.
Soon after she reached the lower layer, she knew that place. No… strictly speaking, it was probably the place she thought it was.
Certainly, this was her second time, and it was a place similar to anywhere else. She couldn’t affirm her memory that this was the place.
But, going her twice, she thought that she made no mistake.
— Royal Academy dungeon, 3rd layer.
Finally, she visited the place. Then, she took a deep breath once.
Speaking of why Sylvia came to this place alone, the letter she had was the cause. It was delivered with the headband on the other day. In the letter, it was written that she should come here alone today. The letter also included the shortest path to reach this place.
Of course, if it was normal, she wouldn’t have done such a thing. She wanted to find out what would happen at that time if she wasn’t careless. Sylvia wasn’t stupid to repeat the same thing.
Nevertheless, it was written in the letter. There was a reliable evidence. If she showed it to someone, they probably would help her. If the headband wasn’t there…
On that matter, the letter didn’t mention it. It wasn’t normal since it wasn’t mentioned.
But Sylvia wasn’t foolish enough that she couldn’t understand its meaning. In fact, when she checked it, she couldn’t find the owner of the headband, Maria, anywhere. Although it wasn’t normal, but it was probably such a thing. After all, Maria was just a maid. Even if she suddenly gone, she wasn’t a person anyone would worry too much.
But it was different for Sylvia. For Sylvia, she was an irreplaceable and important friend. Especially… she didn’t mind putting herself in danger.
Sylvia met Maria for the first time when she was three years old. At that time, she was having hard time staying in the royal castle. But now, she wasn’t treated similar to that time.
Simply put, she was treated as a nuisance. As a member of royal family, she was at the end of the family line, but she wasn’t too treated badly because she was still a royalty. If she had to say it, it might be closer to being approached cautiously, but those, who work for the royal castle at that time, were having trouble dealing with three years old child.
Accordingly, the one dedicated to her was a girl who had just turned nine at that time. If people thought about it, it felt strange. Maria’s mother was a maid, but even though Maria was already working as maid apprentice at that time, it couldn’t be considered a proper treatment for a royalty. Perhaps, it was something expected, but… anyhow, this story didn’t relate much to what she was doing now.
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By the way, when that girl, who was six years older than her, became an attendant, Sylvia’s feeling at that time… well, to be honest, she was simply happy. It might because there was a glimpse of skills from that time, Sylvia was quite precocious at age three. Nevertheless, she was still three years old. She was bored in an isolated environment where she was almost alone with her mother. Above all, she was lonely.
She didn’t even see children of the same age around her. At that time, her brothers were also born. Due to useless attention of the surroundings, it wasn’t possible for Sylvia to watch them, much less came closer.
Relatively speaking, Maria was a girl quite close to her age. The desire to be close to someone was reasonable. Plus, it was also normal to tell that she wanted to make friends.
Sylvia still clearly remembered Maria’s troubled expression at that time. Maria had that expression, as if she didn’t know what to do. Well, that would be so. Even if she was looked down, it was a friend request from a person who was at the end of the royal family line. Maria couldn’t allowed to refuse recklessly, but she couldn’t afford to accept it thoughtlessly. Sylvia understood her request even until now, but she knew that she was asking for something unreasonable.
However, she also clearly remembered the expression that Maria displayed shortly after. After a brief silence probably because Maria was thinking a lot, she let out a breathe and laughed as if to say that it couldn’t be helped.
Sylvia remembered that she was so happy to hear that like it was yesterday.
From that day, Maria was really a friend, and her companion. After being officially a maid, she was dedicated to Sylvia and that continued to this day.
That headband was sent as a celebration when Maria became an official lady maid. Sylvia couldn’t send anything else other than the headband, but she thought that Maria was pleased from the bottom of the heart.
At the time when Sylvia’s skills were revealed, she was already recognized as a member of the royal family, but… this was probably the case this time. Those who approached her wanted to gain something. So, there was no one she could call friends. And it was Maria was the one who warded them off.
She believed that Maria was her only companion, and she couldn’t think same with her family. She respected, valued and loved her father, but it was a feeling toward the royalties of this country in a true sense. If it was necessary, they would or absolutely sever their relationship. That was why they were called kings, and what they had to impose on themselves.
Perhaps… yes, perhaps, her mother was also in similar situation. It was scary, and she couldn’t confirm it, but she convinced herself that her mother was in that situation.
At the end of the day, the only companion she had was no one but Maria.
That was why–…
“…It is obvious that I need to rescue Maria, right?” (Sylvia)
The letter didn’t say that no one should know about this.
However, it was certain that the letter was implicitly telling her again and again to come alone. If Sylvia made light of this matter and couldn’t return, it would be a problem then.
Therefore, she didn’t show this to anyone or let others know. It was dangerous when she met Soma earlier, but she managed to endure it somehow. If she kept talking as it was, all of these would leaked from the mouth, and the situation would be rounded up quickly.
There was a possibility that Soma noticed what she wanted to say, but she couldn’t imagine that Soma would do something like this. For that reason, he might end up blaming her, but she was really sorry about that, but… she had no other choice.
This would cause trouble to her father as well. But… but still, Maria was important. Even if she understood that the possibility of dying was high…
Then, she finally arrived there.
This time, it was the exact destination. This was the place where Sylvia found the white ball.
As if to reproduce what happened last time, there seemed to be the same thing there, and it was casually placed.
There was nothing written about this in the letter. Even without saying it, she could understand various things with that alone.
After all, the owner of this letter could be the person who set the trap. The meaning of this letter was to come here and to touch it.
There were other things to consider, but… eventually, Sylvia approached it.
She took a look at it before touching it. She wasn’t sure whether the same thing would happen again. It was probably a magic tool, but she didn’t recognize it.
This should be similar thing as before, but it should be a very rare item. Sylvia also remember hearing the existence of magic tool that could make spatial transition in the dungeon. Even if it was single-use item, the value should be equivalent, and… to use this thing twice, did the enemy wanted to kill her?
Sylvia didn’t remember any grudge against her, but… whatever it was, it didn’t matter. She made up her mind as she let out a breath. Then, she touched it.
At that moment, it was similar to that time. She remembered the dizziness she had. The surrounding space distorted, and… eventually, when it settled down–…
There were two reasons why she unintentionally leaked out that voice.
First, it was a different place from the place she expected. She thought that she was in the 40th layer, but obviously, that wasn’t the case. She understood in a glance that this place was a different place than the 40th layer.
The first thing that caught her eyes was the bare rock surface. The impression she had when seeing this was a cave. However, that wasn’t the problem. Although it was dim, she understood since she could see the surrounding area clearly. In other words, this was also a dungeon.
But, to be honest, it was a good thing when compared to the second reason. The second reason was–…
What was spread in front of her was a space of a certain size, and at the very back, there were two figures.
She had already expected it. Yes, the first figure was Maria.
But… the other person was… someone who she knew–…
“Uhmm… we haven’t seen each other for short time, but… well, it’s fine, I guess. Anyhow, long time no see, Sylvia-sama.” (??)
There was not a mistake. He was really the other person.
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