The city was full of life.
Although it was close to midnight, the lights were shining brightly and the dark elves, who were sleepy during the day, were completely different at night. The adventurers also go to work one after another.
"Everything is so different at night."
"That's what I said. Besides, we can see better and our senses are more heightened at night, so there's no need to be active at a time of day we don't like."
"True, but there are several creatures that are active during the day."
"Are you talking about how we keep our city protected? That's not a problem, there are people like me who adjust their activity time. The rest of us are asleep, but half of our brains are awake."
They are different after all.
Frau, who was drinking alcohol at the table, exhaled.
"The fruit wine in this city is so good. It doesn't beat the mead from my village, though."
"It's very delicious. Try it, Master."
Probably a little drunk, Kaede seems to react like a child to my compliments.
I took a sip and realized that it has a high alcohol content. It's best not to let her drink too much.
"Is there anything interesting to see near here?"
"A dungeon. Although it's somewhat different, since it's an above-ground maze."
Oh, that's interesting.
I've only been in an above ground dungeon once, but it was a different thrill than the underground kind.
Not a bad idea to check it out while sightseeing.
"Has it been explored yet?"
"It's not the hardest place in the world to get through, but no one has completed it in 20 years."
"I want to go there tomorrow, can we go?"
"No problem. I'll be there to support you every step of the way."
Ultina lightly smacked her fist against my chest with confidence.
"Do you want water?"
I returned to the inn and entered the room with Kaede, whose face was on fire.
In her drunken state, she wrapped her arms around me and sniffed my neck over and over again.
She smiled happily and her fox ears drooped.
Fruit wine is too delicious, so she ended up drinking too much. It pained me to see her ignoring the high alcohol content.
"Kaede is still a child, isn't she? She shouldn't get drunk like that."
"Frau-San, please don't go on."
"Who are you calling [san]!?"
"It's funny, Frau suddenly got drunk ~"
She averted her gaze at the same time as she said; "I'll go to bed."
In my mind, I saw Frau drinking some delicious sake straight from the bottle.
"Master~, I love you~, I will always be with you~"
"I will also be with you forever, now sleep."
"Master~, we'll be together~"
"Yes, we will."
I laid her down on the bed and covered her with the sheets.
As I sat on a nearby chair, Kaede reached out and took my hand.
Then she rubbed it on her face.
"Master's scent~, it's my favorite scent~"
"You're so drunk."
Both Frau and Panda were shocked.
This is cute.
I'd like to see my pretty slave drunk from time to time.
It's a long trip we're going on. I guess it's okay to let loose a little.
Kaede held her head, her brow furrowed.
She was suffering from a hangover.
"Are you okay? If you think you can't go out, you're free to stay."
"No problem. I've been drinking a lot of water, and also..."
Kaede turned her head and stared at Frau.
"I'm not going to throw up on Panda. Just let me lie down for a while longer... Ugh."
Frau lay down on top of Panda, looking as if she was about to die.
After I brought Kaede over last night, Frau begged me to visit another bar.
She drank a lot there, and that's why she's in that state.
I stopped when I felt I reached my limit.
"Are you guys hung over? We're about to go to the dungeon and if you don't pull yourselves together, you'll die."
"I'm sorry. I'll do my best not to be a hindrance."
"It's not a problem, I'll fight for the both of us. Kaede, Frau, if you two feel like you can't go on, please tell me and we'll take a break."
Kaede's eyes grew moist.
Well, she's not sick.
She'll be fine by noon.
There was a dungeon three hours outside the city.
It is commonly referred to as the "Flower Garden Maze."
It is an above-ground dungeon formed by hedge-like walls of trees.
It is not like the underground dungeons where the internal structure changes over time. When it comes to those, it's common to hear that a map from a month ago is useless now.
According to Ultina, the internal structure of this place changes of its own free will every week, and the difficulty level is just above medium.
"The interior has just changed, so we have a week to complete it."
"Isn't this a superb view?"
"No, what I want to show you up ahead is even better. In the Garden maze, there's an area with beautiful flowers, and it's really spectacular. I've been wanting to see it for a long time, but I haven't been able to find it yet."
A mysterious area deep within the dungeon?
In a way, it has a passionate feel to it. I'm curious about it.
"Can't you enter from the top?"
"There's an invisible wall at the top, so you can't get in and out from above. This is what the man who had the unique experience of walking above the dungeon said."
Ultina entered the dungeon while saying, "Here we go."
I was about to walk when someone grabbed me by the hem of my shirt and stopped me in my tracks.
"Just for a bit, please."
"Okay, you can hold on for as long as you need."
Kaede's expression lit up.
On the other hand, Frau was still half-dead on top of Panda as she tortured him with her groans.
It had been an hour since we entered the place.
Frau was still dead tired on top of Panda.
Kaede is using healing waves on herself and is slowly recovering.
She's also using her healing magic to help Frau recover, but it seems that the alcohol affected her too much.
Ultina cuts the demon in half with her one-handed axe.
In addition, enemies approaching from behind are bitten and killed by a 'Wanger', a dog-like creature summoned by Ultina.
This explains why she is able to complete quests alone.
By using summoning magic, she has established a method of fighting in which she can have her summoned creature defend her while she attacks.
The wanger looks like a combination of a lizard and a dog.
It wagged its tail after Ultina stroked its head.
"You've done well. I'm going to need your help a little while longer."
Wait, why does it sound like a cat?
And it's washing its face with its paws. I'm not even sure what kind of animal it is anymore.
"How do you like my fighting style?"
"I'm surprised. Can you summon more beasts?"
"I can, but that would require having to keep it up for a long time, and I'm already at my limit. Sometimes you need to be aware of how far you can go."
Yes, she's right.
I'm tempted to ask her to show me the other beasts she can summon. But I don't think I can make that kind of request because of our current level of trust.
Besides, it's a bit much to ask what tricks she has up her sleeves.
However, she is a good guide. I believe she is someone who can be trusted.
Since I'm going to need her for a while longer, I think I'll wait a little while longer to create a solid friendly relationship and then have her show me her other beasts.
"All right, good boy."
The wanger rubbed his head on my feet, and I patted his head.
He looks rough, but he's tender.
"It's rare for a wanger to be attracted to someone other than the summoner. From the moment I met you I knew there was something different about you than the other humans I knew."
Ultina began to get curious about me and moved closer to my face.
But Kaede stepped in the way.
"Don't get any closer than necessary."
"Fufu, are you jealous?"
"You have nothing to worry about, I'm not going to try anything. He's not my type."
Ultina turned around and kept walking ahead.
The haggard Frau extended her trembling hand towards us.