Chapter 15: The old man challenges the Gate of Trials

I was a lil exhausted when editing this chapter. There were also several parts of the chapter I couldn’t understand clearly so do let me know if there were any awkward sections in this chapter.

Hope you enjoy this chapter!

<Start of Chapter>

We began heading towards the Gate of Trials.

Due to the lack of time, Princess Aure began her arrangements immediately and thus we set out for the dungeon before sunset.

Originally, Lutra wouldn’t be able to gain access to the dungeon due to her brother, Prince Aleck’s influence. However we managed to gain permission due to Princess Aure pulling some strings behind the scenes. Although we wouldn’t be able to raise our levels before the inheritance ceremony, members of the royal family gained a special bonus whenever they cleared the Gate of Trials for the first time, meaning that this was the only way Lutra could become stronger in time for the ceremony.

…however there were also several troubling points.

When Lutra brought up the point about using the Return Stone to return to the castle for the inheritance ceremony, she failed to notice that Princess Aure was genuinely smiling brightly.

[Yuuya, it’s a castle’s dungeon.This is exciting!] (Luna)

[Uhn uhn, if we don’t seize this opportunity we may never get to enter again.] (Til)

The bright voices that came to me felt like they were blowing my troubles away as Luna and Til were both full of energy as usual.

[It’s an interesting dungeon. It looks exactly like a castle.] (Lutra)

This dungeon was exactly as Lutra described, a castle.

[Considering the dungeon looks like the same castle which the battle princess Renoir stayed in, it’s a given that the castle looks similar to the dungeon.] (Yuuya)

During the game, the dungeon had looked exactly like the castle back then. However the castle had gradually changed over the course of several centuries.

[Everyone listen up for now. Since there wasn’t enough time and too many people around us, there is something that I have to say. It’ll be great if we could explore the dungeon to our heart’s content, however there are most likely traps placed around the dungeon by Princess Aure. There could be assailants waiting to ambush us or assassins that are going to be sent after us while we are exploring.] (Yuuya)

Aside from Phil, everyone’s expressions darkened drastically, especially Lutra who was dealt the largest blow.

[That is impossible! The Gate of Trials is restricted to the party members of the royal family. The only person capable of doing something like this at this timing would be my sister. There is no way she would do such a thing!] (Lutra)

Lutra’s response wasn’t baseless. In fact it was exactly as she said. The only person in the royal family who knew about our entry into the dungeon was her, which meant that if something were to happen to us in the dungeon, the first suspect would be her.

[I have my reasons for doubting her. Why didn’t she warn you about using the Return Stone in the dungeon? The Gate of Trials is a special dungeon, rendering Return Stones useless. Why didn’t she warn you about it? If she was truly worried about you then she would have cautioned you about this matter when you brought it up.] (Yuuya)

[That, what if aneue didn’t know about that too…] (Lutra)

[She cleared the dungeon too didn’t she? She should have received a proper explanation about the dungeon.] (Yuuya)

[Couldn’t she had just forgotten about it?] (Lutra)

[This is something that could cost her sister’s life. Forgetting something as important as this, does that really sound plausible? Especially when the person is you, someone who is widely known for her innate combat talents?] (Yuuya)

I warned Lutra with a rather strict tone however it seems that my words weren’t being registered in her mind. “I can’t believe this” , Lutra’s feelings were being transmitted to me through her words.

  [Even so, I believe in my sister. When my brother began treating me coldly, sabotaging me and ignored me no matter how much I reached out, I had no choice but to keep my distance as I was afraid of making the person I respected the most from disliking me. In such a dark time, it was my sister who reached out to me….. That is why. She had so many opportunities to kill me back then. What reason does she have to put me in a trap now of all times, when I was going to pass the crown if I won regardless.] (Lutra)

Prince Aleck was also a favourite in the battle for the throne. If he were to seriously view Lutra as an enemy and began sabotaging her even further, the friendly version of him that Lutra knew, would likely disappear. 

Lutra was already an illegitimate child of a concubine. Lutra who was just a child back then must have been extremely lonely.

  [Which is why she took advantage of Lutra who had been left all alone knowing fully well that if done right, she would have an important piece in the battle… It’s also easy to imagine why she changed her mind about killing you. Lutra before meeting me was weak. Realizing that you weren’t useful to her cause, she decided to eliminate you. Or perhaps she has obtained a different trump card, one that could defeat Prince Aleck.] (Yuuya)

This was the most reasonable conclusion I could draw. I wasn’t just idling around until daybreak.

  [There were still several suspicious points. I went out and gather information from the knights and soldiers that I had fought together with. Prince Aleck never had a change in personality. He was a prince who continued loving his country and people, doing everything he could to his country’s benefit. It’s always possible to manipulate a person’s impression of you, but his achievements were written in black and white. I heard that he was working harder than anyone for the sake of his country. Then what reason did Princess Aure have, spreading negative information about Prince Aleck behind his back?] (Yuuya)

  [Yuuya-ojisama!] (Lutra)

This was my first time ever seeing her shout.

  […Yuuya-ojisama’s words aren’t mistaken. I am definitely suspicious about the situation with my sister. But it is also possible for those people who were supportive of my brother to be ignorant of his actions. Above all, my sister was always supportive of me unlike my brother.] (Lutra)

Persuading her is only going to get harder from this point on.

Their bond was something that was cultivated over several years.

  [In that case you don’t have to believe whatever I say. This dungeon is the perfect location for setting up a trap. It’ll be better for us to be on guard for any surprise attacks.] (Yuuya)

  [My sentiments as well.] (Lutra)

I ended the conversation there as I continued to explain the countermeasure against any possible ambush. If we were being chased by any assailants then we’ll be utilizing Luna’s Presence Detection to avoid the monsters as much as possible while progressing into the dungeon at top speed. Our party was quick and it’s highly unlikely for the assailants to keep up with us with the monsters in the vicinity. 

The only problem was if the assailants were waiting in ambush. The only thing I could do was to warn everyone to keep an eye out for any possible ambushes.

Let’s overcome this dungeon as quickly as possible.

.

.

.

The Gate of Trial was a dungeon which tested the royal family’s ability to lead.

The monsters which appeared here were strong and required power to defeat. Wisdom was required to clear the numerous puzzles that were present as well as courage to cross the unstable wooden bridge that hung over a mountain of weapons.

With power, wisdom and courage, overcoming every obstacle in your way and arriving at the depths will grant you a special ability befitting a king.

After defeating several monsters, we arrived at a dead end.

  [Yuuya-niisan, there are three doors in front of us.] (Til)

Just as Til said, there were three doors presented with a picture propped against the wall. There was only one correct door, and entering the wrong door means death.

『33 33 44 ◇ 66

 22 11 22 22 55

 Please enter the correct two digits.』

Luna and Til began talking as they noticed the question.

  [Uhn. No clue.] (Luna)

  [I don’t understand what it means. Is it 33? 33 looks correct.] (Til)

It looks like this problem was too difficult for the two of them as the three doors had the numbers 77, 88, and 33 engraved into each of them.

  [It’s 77.] (Yuuya)

  [Yuuya is amazing!] (Luna)

  [How do you know that?] (No idea who this is)

  [The hint is addition and subtraction. Now, let’s go on ahead.] (Yuuya)

If we had enough time, I would have allowed Lutra to solve it alone however I’m hoping to clear the dungeon as soon as possible.

There were a total of three puzzles to solve in the Gate of Trials.

Although the questions may seem random, the three questions were selected from a pool of seventy two questions. Regarding the pool of questions, I had memorized all of them which meant that I wouldn’t be able to get any of them wrong. Although the question we got this time was simple, there were several very difficult problems.

  [I understand now. Although I heard the answer, the next number is 11.] (Lutra)

  [Correct. It seems that you would had got it even without me.] (Yuuya)

Lutra’s expression seemed stiffer than usual ever since I mentioned about the assailants possibly being sent by Princess Aure.

  [Muu, Luna will solve it too.] (Luna)

  [I’ll work hard too. However if I don’t understand then please tell me the answer.] (Til)

Sometimes what’s important isn’t your body but your head. I’ll continue to let the two think about the problem.

.

.

.

It has been about two hours since we entered the dungeon.

We’ve been running about the dungeon at a speed where we wouldn’t be exhausted. Thanks to that, our exploration has been going smoothly.

  [Ah! Understand.. Luna understands now!] (Luna)

  [Truth is I already got the answer awhile ago.] (Til)

  [Eh, lies!? Was Luna the only one who didn’t know? Luna definitely solved !] (Luna)

Although it was bad to be distracted during an exploration, it looked like they are properly paying attention to their surroundings so it was fine to let them be. Although we were prioritizing our clear speed over unnecessary battles, there were several battles that couldn’t be avoided.

… Just like now.

There was a new enemy awaiting for us, a Shadow Cat. Just as it’s name implies, it’s a black cat monster which was capable of diving into the shadows which allowed it to hide even from Luna’s Presence Detection. The monster was currently hiding in the shadow of a pillar, waiting to launch a surprise attack. Since it was a cat, it had large and sharp fangs and claws and often targeted a person’s vital spots, however it didn’t mean that it’s prey were just sitting ducks.

Although Presence Detection was a convenient ability, if you relied on it too much and lowered your guard, you would be eventually fall prey to this type of monsters. As if to prove my point, it attacked Luna.

However Luna responded immediately as she launched a counter towards the beast.

  [Uhn. Luna was prepared.] (Luna)

A short dagger was penetrated into the mouth which was wide open, attempting to rip into Luna’s neck.

Luna’s growth was progressing smoothly as she was properly watching her surroundings even while utilizing her abilities. Even if that wasn’t the case, at this short of a distance the rest of us would be able to react accordingly. An arrow pierced the Shadow Cat which was on the verge of death, sticking it’s body onto the pillar as it’s body slowly turned into blue particles.

  [This is my first time seeing such a monster. As expected of the royal dungeon.] (Phil)

  [I know right. There are many monsters here that you can’t find anywhere else. If it’s possible I hope to collect some materials here, however our priority is to clear the dungeon as soon as possible.] (Yuuya)

The Gate of Trials contained monsters and materials which I hoped to obtain however in this situation we didn’t have the time for it.

  [Ahh, Yuuya-niisan. It dropped something over there.] (Til)

  [It’s a rare drop, Chrysobell. It’s a jewel that’s used for staff. It’ll sell for a large price.] (Yuuya)

Chrysobell was also known as the Cat’s Eye Jewel. This jewel would fetch a large price from anyone who required a magical staff.

  [Hurray, this is a huge haul!] (Luna)

  [We have to go and search for a good restaurant in Laluzulu.] (Til)

Since we were in a rush, we continued to run as soon as the battle ended. However Luna and Til began to dance even while we were running.

They were just wasting their energy.

.

.

.

We had finally solved the third puzzle as well as the test of courage. We entered finally arrived at our goal as we exited a corridor.

  [Once we reach the end of this road and enter the audience chamber, we’ll be done with the dungeon.] (Yuuya)

Our exploration went extremely smoothly as we took full advantage of my prior knowledge. The final riddle was extremely brutal as we would have been hard pressed if we couldn’t answer it. We had to distribute eleven horses according to a will.

The eldest son is to receive one third.

The second son is to receive one quarter

The eldest daughter and second daughter receives one sixth.

Is it possible to follow the will?

That was the question.

  [The previous question, I understand it. It’s impossible because it was eleven. If you assumed there was an additional horse from the beginning then there wouldn’t be a problem.] (Lutra)

  [That’s amazing. Even I couldn’t solve it the first time I saw it.] (Yuuya)

After reading how the will was designed, you would assume that it was impossible with eleven horses but as Lutra mentioned, you had to assume the number of horses to be twelve instead of eleven.

Solving the question with twelve horses, the eldest son receives four horses, the second son receives three and the two daughters receives two horses each, totalling eleven horses. If you knew the answer then it’ll be easy to notice, however the difficult part was thinking of dividing according to twelve horses instead of eleven.

  [However I’m relieved. We made it to the goal unscathed.] (Lutra)

  [That’s true.] (Yuuya)

She was relieved due to the fact that our suspicion towards her sister was cleared as we had reached the goal without any troubles. Contrary to my expectation, we did end up arriving at the goal without any assailants.

Luna’s fox ears began to jerk.

  [Ahead of us, two monsters. Eh.. It’s a gorilla and a goblin.] (Luna)

A gorilla and goblin? That’s weird, there shouldn’t be any in the Gate of Trials.

  [Fufun,  I can see it. I don’t even have to get closer!] (Til)

Til fired an arrow towards the heart of the two monsters more than a hundred metres away, inflicting a lethal wound as the two monsters turned into blue particles.

At that moment, I was sure of it.

The moment the gorilla and goblin received their lethal wounds, they continued to run towards us as their muscles began to swell, pushing the arrows out of their body and closing the wounds. Not only that, their magical power jumps drastically as they seem to enter a frenzy. Their body became bigger, their colour changed and their expressions became excessively aggressive.

Til fired a second arrow as Phil supported her attack with her own arrows, however the monsters merely grabbed the arrows with their hands.

  [I can’t believe it!? How did that monster!?] (Til)

  [If it’s able to stop an attack at this level,… It must be a high-rank monster.] (Phil)

When Til struck their hearts with her arrows, they were definitely upper level thirties monster corresponding to the dungeon. However, it grew into a level 50ish monster… No, it evolved.

This was something we had experience before, similar to the Killer Ape which I fought back in Rumberg. 

After looking at this phenomenon, everything began to make sense. Princess Aure had tried to control Lutra back then because she needed an important tool to defeat Prince Aleck. The reason she tried to eliminate Lutra back in Greenwood, was because she didn’t need a useless piece that couldn’t achieve her goal. If she was confident of defeating Prince Aleck on her own, then the popular Lutra would merely be a nuisance.

Her new trump card must have been the evolving monsters.

The moment Lutra entered the dungeon, two evolving monsters coincidentally appeared at the end of the dungeon. Although Prince Aleck was strong, he wasn’t strong enough to defeat even a single one of these monsters. 

Furthermore, the presence of these monsters answered another major question.

… Nobody could enter this dungeon unless you possessed the royal blood.

Which meant that someone from the royal family came along with these monsters.

Since Prince Aleck wasn’t around nor did he condone allowing Lutra into the dungeon, he was innocent. On the contrary, my suspicion towards Princess Aure who was encouraging Lutra to enter the dungeon grew even stronger. Lutra is a smart person, after witnessing this situation there is too much evidence supporting this no matter how much her heart rejected this.

  [Firstly, let’s put these monsters down.] (Yuuya)

  [Uhn. We’ll defeat them.] (Luna)

  [It’s a chance to show off my triple shoot that oneechan taught me!] (Til)

  [Til, they are dangerous opponents. This isn’t the time for jokes.] (Phil)

  [….Anueue, this isn’t the case right.] (Lutra)

If the five of us are here, then we won’t lose.

No matter how strong these monsters are, we’ll show you how naive you are, thinking that these two were enough to kill us.

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