Data.51 – Old Bowman, The Twelve Labyrinths
On the day of the event, I logged into the game as usual.
Just like the announcement, it would start at 7 AM.
This wasn’t the best time for the majority of working adults, but this event wasn’t about speed or competing with others.
If anything, it might be easier to work your way through it once more information had come out.
Of course, I meant to be one of the first, and walk down the path of thorns.
“That being said, the location of the final battle, the Serpent Palace, is the same as the first town… But I wonder where they will make the stage, since the buildings are so close together?”
This question was answered as soon as the event started.
A giant disk had appeared in the sky above the town.
And the twelve constellations were depicted on its base.
While I couldn’t see the top part of the disk from where I was standing, my guess was that it would look like something from ancient Greece.
So that’s the Serpent Palace.
A place that was modeled after the Ophiuchus constellation.
In order to go there, you had to overcome the trials and collect all of the medals.
There were 12 medals in all.
Of course, there were also 12 labyrinths where the trials took place.
Aries Labyrinth, Taurus Labyrinth, Gemini Labyrinth
Cancer Labyrinth, Leo Labyrinth, Virgo Labyrinth
Libra Labyrinth, Scorpio Labyrinth, Sagittarius Labyrinth
Capricorn Labyrinth, Aquarius Labyrinth, Pisces Labyrinth
So, which one should I start with?
The places that were the closest to this town would likely be crowded.
I instinctively wanted to avoid places with a lot of players.
That being said, traveling far away would be troublesome.
I wanted to dive into the event as soon as possible.
It was because my curiosity and motivation were so high that I wanted to choose a labyrinth that was close and yet still wasn’t crowded.
What about the Cancer Labyrinth that was located near the sea?
As I could fast travel to the port town, it was close enough for me.
But…for some reason, I had the feeling that it was the place a lot of players would choose as a warmup.
There was something about it that seemed weak.
So what were my other options…
Alright, I decided!
“The Aquarius Labyrinth it is.”
It was on the Sacred Mountain Kikuri, which was just barely in the map for the surrounding area of the first town.
The fact that it wasn’t based on something living was interesting to me. But I doubted it would be the first choice for many people.
Of course, this was all just a guess.
“It looks like the other players have decided on which Labyrinth they will go to as well.”
I started to see other players walking out of the town or opening up their maps and fast traveling.
While this event would be long, and we weren’t fighting other players, I couldn’t help but feel impatient.
And so I ran as I left the first town behind me.
◆ ◆ ◆
Sacred Mountain Kikuri, where the Aquarius Labyrinth was located…was very crowded.
Well, it was probably like this everywhere, since the event had just started.
However, it was a lot of excitement for a weekday morning.
But these days, there are many different ways to work. So it wasn’t as if everyone worked from the morning, even on a weekday.
Perhaps management knew this, and started the event in the morning.
If they started at night, when more people were playing, then it could result in the servers being overloaded.
In any case, it seemed like there were no problems for now.
There was no lag or connection errors.
And so I could take on the trial without worrying.
But, how did one start it?
In such times…it was best to go with the flow, and follow the direction where other players were headed.
‘Yes! Yes-nyon! Over here, I am passing out the explanations on the rules and items you will need for the trial-nyon!’
There was a glorious fountain that didn’t seem to really match a holy place like this.
And in the center, sitting like a statue of some goddess, was the sponsor of this event. The high performance AI, Charin.
Her hair and clothes were different compared to the livestream.
her ponytails were gone, and her long blonde hair was gathered together and ran down over her shoulder.
She was wearing a white cloth wrapped around her like some kind of angel.
And she was carrying a water pitcher on her shoulder.
Yes, it was the image of Aquarius.
Apparently, she had a different outfit for every labyrinth.
This was something that would make her fans very happy.
‘First, have a glass!’
A glass cup appeared in front of every player.
Not quite a beer mug, but it was rather large. And quite heavy.
‘Now, the rules are simple! Near the half-way point of the Sacred Mountain Kikuri, you will find a rocky area where holy water flows out-nyon! Use your glass to carry the holy water and bring it back while spilling as little as possible-nyon!’
I see. While it was a labyrinth, it wasn’t like an ordinary dungeon.
This was practically recreation.
‘However! The holy water you bring back must be a certain amount or more! The water will be poured into my glass, and I will judge whether or not you pass the trial by seeing if it reaches the line carved into the glass-nyon!’
There was a red and gold line in her glass.
The red was the passing line. You would receive a medal.
The gold line above it was the extra prize line. You would receive a medal and an extra reward.
The rules really were simple and direct.
‘There are two other things! You may not cover the top of the glass-nyon! Not with your hand or with any skill-nyon!’
Well, that would defeat the purpose of the challenge.
So it was a limitation that made sense.
‘Furthermore, you can attach the glass to any part of your body or equipment! So players who dual-wield their weapons will not be at a disadvantage-nyon!’
To test this, I tried pressing the glass into my stomach.
Woah. It really did stick to you and was completely stable…!
I’ll be able to keep the water in while shooting with my bow.
‘That’s all for the rules-nyon! Now, now. Do your best and bring me the holy water-nyon!’
And like that, the players who had been listening to Charin all started to climb up the mountain.
As there were so many of them, I thought that I would wait a bit before heading up. But then new players started to appear and gather around Charin.
Once she finished talking, a new group of players would be unleashed into the mountain.
It would keep repeating.
And so I had no choice but to go with the crowd.
Thinking this, I started to climb up the mountain. However, the higher I got, the fewer people there were around me.
It wasn’t that they had been defeated by monsters.
As the mountain was very big, people just naturally started to spread out as they climbed.
So I too climbed the mountain as I wanted, and then after a while, I discovered the area where the water was flowing out of a rock.
Apparently, there were several spots where the holy water flowed from.
Charin hadn’t said that there was only one spot.
I filled the glass with holy water and fixed it to my stomach.
There, it wouldn’t get in the way when I used the bow. And in emergencies, I could curl up and protect it.
“There is no time limit, so the key would be to descend carefully and not rush.”
The glass was designed so that the liquid wouldn’t spill from it too easily.
So if it did spill, it would mean that you made a mistake.
As long as you kept it level and moved slowly, the glass and water would not betray you…!
That being said, there were also monsters on the mountain who would try and stop you.
There were even traps that had been set. And I saw a few players spill their holy water after getting caught in nets that sprung out of the ground.
Was there a safe route where I could avoid traps and monsters?
It would be easy if I could fly… Or could I?
“Now that I think about…they didn’t forbid me from using Warp Arrow.”
I might have just won this.
I climbed up onto a rock that jutted out, and looked down towards the base of the mountain.
From here, I could shoot Warp Arrow towards the fountain where Charin was waiting.
And there was no shaking or impact when warping.
So I wouldn’t have to worry about the water spilling.
What should have been my victorious arrow, had been snatched out of the air by a sparrow that suddenly flew out from the trees.
It was holding the shaft of the arrow.
With Warp Arrow, the effect was only activated when the arrowhead hit a certain spot.
And so it wouldn’t activate now…!
After flying for a while, the sparrow spat the arrow out in disgust.
And then I warped away. Into a lake…
I was soaking wet, and the glass was filled with lake water.
I see… So you could try to warp, but they had ways of stopping you.
Still, there was water in the glass.
Maybe I could just say that it’s holy water…
‘Too bad! That is just lake water now-nyon! Unfortunately for you, the eyes of an AI cannot be fooled-nyon!’
Charin had suddenly appeared in front of me.
I see. Because she was an AI, she knew what was happening in the whole game at all times. And she could duplicate herself and talk to individual players.
There was no one more fitting to be able to manage a VRMMO where tens of thousands of people were playing at once.
‘By the way, you can use the glass as many times as you want, as long as it doesn’t break. If it does break, you’ll have to come back to the fountain and get a new one-nyon!’
“That’s uh, very generous of you.”
Charin disappeared when she was finished.
The trial might be a little more difficult than it first appeared.
Well, I suppose that made it more interesting.
I just need to take my time and keep trying until I make it…
Was the reason that these ‘protagonist-like’ lines appeared in my head, because my mind was getting younger?
“Now, time to get out of this cold lake and try again…!”
And so I dashed up the mountain as if to warm up my chilled body.