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‘Ouranos.’ The large man towered over his messenger as he clenched his chair arm. ‘Fels. What is it?’ The god awaited the robed man’s updated report. ‘It appears they have reached the 60th floor.’ The mage removed a crystal ball from his back pocket. An image of the young white haired boy filled the orb. The boy zoomed through hordes of monsters, he swiftly eliminated the enemy vanguard. Loki Familia pursued along with the Freya Familia, they broke through into the forest. They made their way through the trees and found an open area. The edge of the forest interlaced with an open beach area. The beach encompassed the rather large lake, the lake expanded far beyond what the eye could have seen. Since Bell had yet to have determined how far the island was from the mainland, he decided to build a raft. They found some fallen trees and rolled the four logs into a single spot. Bell remembered a story his grandfather told about a hero named Odysseus, aided by Zeus’ messenger, he built a sturdy raft and escaped the island.


Bell removed both a rope and some salamander wool, he wrapped the rope around the four logs, however, the rope needed to be tied, Bell struggled and struggled but he had forgotten how Odysseus had done it. ‘Listen Bell.’ An image of Eina filled Bell’s mind, ‘if you wanted to build a tent, tie a knot like so.’ Bell followed her instructions exactly. ‘This knot is strong enough hold logs together too.’ The boy made the base but needed an oar and a sail. He found three thin logs and rolled them towards the beach, where he left aside the thinnest log and formed a mast with the other two. He used more rope and tied the logs tightly, he used the salamander wool as the sail and used the remanent  bits of rope to secure the mast to both the sail and the raft. Bell pulled out the Hestia knife and carved the larger side of the log into an oar. ‘Resourceful, isn’t he?’ ‘Quite.’ The two onlookers looked on.


‘Umm… There isn’t enough room for three people…’ The boy awkwardly regretted the size but his companions forgave that flaw and entrusted him with the mission. He sailed off towards the island, he held out the map and continued eastwards. He managed to find the island, stood before him was a labyrinth. Bell approached the maze fully prepared for anything, however, he quickly lost his directions, he slowly retraced his steps towards the entrance. He marked the dirt with his knife and marked every direction he went, a failed/ dead end route had an X, a successful back route had been marked with an O mark. Bell steadily progressed towards the center of the labyrinth. He encountered his greatest rival, the minotaur, Asterius. They stared each other down and Bell noticed Ais laid unconscious in the corner. He called out to her and she never responded. Bell was infuriated, he looked at the minotaur and calmed down. ‘Stay calm…’ the words Ais said during their training sessions filled his mind.


He inhaled and exhaled, he removed both of his knives and readied into a combat stance. The bull charged at him, fully prepared, Bell cast firebolt at the ground and propelled himself into the air. He hopped from wall to wall, he disorientated his for before he landed a direct blow into the minotaur’s hand and severed a finger nerve. ‘Tch. Not deep enough.’ Bell grit his teeth and swung his body around to dodge the merciless onslaught. Asterius’ hand was stuck in the wall. Bell charged his knife with a firebolt, ‘Theseus, in order to save his love, he entered the maze and severely injured the bull creature.’ The extended red knife blade extended and changed white. Bell felt a burn on his back, ‘Ox Slayer’ his Argo Vesta grew in length, the sword’s intense white blade extended further than ever. The blade was the length of a normal sword, he grabbed the handle with both hands. Asterius plunged his fist into the ground retrieved a large sword which felt reminiscent of their first fight.


He dodged his opponent’s next attack and rushed in closer, his body began to glow white, the white particles had a subtle hint of gold to it. He knocked the minotaur’s arm away and slashed his chest. ‘Yes! This was the fight I was looking for!’ Asterius welcomed his pain with a smile. Bell smiled too and the two rivals fought hard. Each strike Bell felt something, the intense emotions he had experienced through his journey. The hardships, the friendships and his relationship. His passionate strike destroyed Asterius’ weapon and cut through his flesh. ‘Well done.’ Ais awoke to see the  minotaur kneeled before the boy. The minotaur dropped his weapon, however, before he could have been slain by Bell.


Another monster appeared and ambushed Asterius. ‘Fool! You shall never lose to an adventurer!’ They removed his own stone from his head. The minotaur grew in size and his skin became dark red in pigment. He stabbed the assailant with his left horn and they disintegrated. The minotaur towered over Bell, he stood fearlessly at the bull. ‘Asterius? Are you okay?’ He enquired but the opponent had ignored the question and approached the boy. ‘Bell, my rival, please, it’s too late for me… Finish me off before I kill you…’ Bell shook his head and clenched his fist in denial. He stood before a warrior worthy of his respect. The minotaur edged closer and lifted his arm.


‘No! Bell! Tempe-’ The boy disappeared and had managed to break past his opponent’s guard. He held out his knife and the combination of his three abilities enveloped both the boy and the weapon in a bright white aura, the maelstrom of white particles sparked the room. The blade grew in length, he held out and screamed ‘I’m sorry, but I will try to save you! Asterius!’ He dealt a critical blow which injured the minotaur’s hand. Blood splattered onto the boy’s snow white hair. The bull charged recklessly at Bell. He held the initiative and shot himself into the air. He propelled into the closest wall and darted across and flanked the minotaur. The monster crashed head first, the wall chipped.


The monster dropped his weapon and pulled himself out of the wall. Bell dodged the next onslaught of punches, he grabbed the large sword, the sword would not budge. Cunningly he used the immobile sword as leverage and pushed towards the ground with full force. He used the momentum as the driving force behind this attack. Bell looked at the girl who was restrained and unarmed, ‘Ais-San! I will protect you!’ Unfortunately, the rampant minotaur was too strong to keep restrained, Bell opted to have killed the minotaur. The attack connected and in a desperate push, the maelstrom of white light fluttered from the knife. The minotaur erupted into a sea of white fire. The dust cleared and the deed was done. Stood the lone boy, fatigued and upset.


The remains immediately turned to dust. A single tear shed from both eyes, he walked towards Ais and removed her restraints. ‘Um… Bell, are you okay?’ Bell nodded before he hugged the blonde knight. Ais patted his head, ‘there wasn’t much you could do, he was unstable…’ Bell cried before Ais and soon rubbed his eyes. ‘I’m sorry, I’m showing you my weak side.’ Ais disagreed,’It’s good that you can show emotions like that. It really shows you cared.’ Ais smiled and smothered Bell’s face into her chest. His face lit a bright red and he bashfully pulled his head out of her breasts. He shook his head ‘So… Ais-San, should we get going now?’ Bell grabbed the Left horn drop, however he also put away the magic stone removed from his head. Ais nodded, the two made their way out from inside the maze.


It became a lot easier since Bell marked the escape route. Bell hopped on the boat and noticed the sword princess stayed away from the water. Bell had not known that she’d be afraid of water, specifically, swimming. He extended his arm but she had not grabbed in response. Bell decided to have her aboard by force. He swept her off her feet and awkwardly held her in a princess carry. The two blushed but Bell put her on the raft and they set sail for the mainland. Ais felt jumpy and Bell decided to hold her hand. ‘I never knew Ais-San had a side like this…’ Bell smiled at the gap between her normal self and the current Ais. Her grip strength almost crushed his hand but he endured, the two eventually made it back safely.


The werewolf noticed their hands intertwined and began to walk away, jealously. The entire raid party decided the best plan of action was their departure upward. After a few days, the large group returned to the surface. Bell made his way towards the minotaur nest on the 17th floor, there, he held out the mind stone and a minotaur slowly approached him, he sniffed his hand before Bell forced the stone into the minotaur’s head. The minotaur’s bellow echoed throughout the cave, blood gushed out of its head. The wound soon regenerated and the minotaur silenced its cry.


A light enveloped the minotaur before he started to speak. ‘W-where am I?’ Asterius had been reborn into a new minotaur. ‘Welcome back, my lifelong rival!’ Bell smiled and the minotaur laughed. The two bumped fists before they made their promise ‘I will fight you again, Asterius.’ The minotaur nodded ‘same to you, adventurer Bell Cranel.’ The two warriors parted ways, after another epic fight, the Xenos went off to train by its lonesome. Bell smiled as the minotaur’s silhouette dissipated into the dark cave. Bell returned to the surface after the hectic journey into the unknown. At last, he was home, exhausted, glad and sore.


A knock on Bell’s bedroom door, Bell greeted his goddess who seemed distraught and tired. The goddess dropped some of her blood on his back. ‘Huh?’ Bell asked if there was something wrong. Hestia shook her head, did a double take and reread to have confirmed what she read was true. ‘Level… 6?! Bell-kun! Congratulations!’ The entire manor filled with cheers as Bell had officially reached Ais’ level. He felt more determined than ever, he looked at his goddess who seemed both happy and sad.


‘What’s wrong, Goddess?’  Hestia shrugged off his question and answered appropriately. ‘Uh, it’s nothing! Really…’ Bell felt more suspicious, ‘if it has to do with taxes, don’t worry, I’ll work more harder!’ Hestia sighed and thought to herself ‘typical Bell-kun…’ Bell grasped his hand, and remembered what happened on the boat trip, he blushed redder than a tomato. ‘So… Was that the real Ais Wallenstein?’ he inadvertently thought aloud. ‘Did you say something, Bell-Kun?’ he shook his head and rolled onto his side. He smiled and held up the ruby red horn, his thumb pressed against the side. ‘I wonder if Welf can make a new knife with this!’ Bell felt Hestia’s hands brushed through his hair and she whispered silent words and Bell soon fell into a slumber.


Bell Cranel:

Lv 5 > Lvl 6

Strength: I0

Agility: I0

Endurance: I0

Dexterity: I0

Magic: I0

Luck: E

Abnormal Resistance: F

Escape: G

Abilities:

Liaris Freese:

Quick Growth. Effects remain if feelings remain. Effects increases if feelings get stronger.

Argonaut:

The desire to be a hero. Increases damage at a cost.

Ox Slayer:

Increases damage when against a raging bull-type monster.

Magic

Firebolt:

No Cast Fire Magic.

Equipment:

Pyonkichi Mk IX

Lightweight armour made by blacksmith Welf Crozzo. It is the lightest and strongest in the series.

Hestia Knife

A knife worth 200 million valis,  forged by Hephaestus the forge goddess, the stronger its wielder grows, the stronger the knife gets. Weapon only works for Hestia Familia members.

Asterius horn

Unlike the chrimson color of normal minotaur horns, it’s ruby red complection shows less impurities. Bell received it as a reward drop after the long battle.

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