1

After twists and turns, the unplanned party arrived at the top floor of the "Sage's Playground."

Although there was a sense that teamwork had improved somewhat, the feeling of it being unplanned could not be erased. It was a pleasant surprise that Electra could move, but there was also a sense that Ciel was holding us back. She should have had considerable potential as the main heroine, but her airheadedness became evident.

Well, it is not impossible to advance to the "Eternal Library" in this party, but there is a considerable amount of anxiety.

"We're at the top floor. This battle will be the watershed for this unplanned party."

"Are you okay, Ciel?"

"...I'm fine. Your Highness Electra."

Ciel answered Electra's question with a nervous expression. Ciel is probably aware that she is the one holding the team back the most. She tightened her grip on her staff, trying to calm her nerves.

"I'm going to help Leon. I'll definitely help him... I can't stumble here!"

"If you can become strong with determination, no one will have a hard time... But if you can't perform well here, I won't take you to the library. Give up on Leon."

"......!"

She glared at me with a strong gaze, but soon looked downhearted and averted her gaze.

"Alright... You won't have any complaints if you show results, right?"

"That's right... Do your best."

Ciel fell silent with a troubled expression at my answer. It seems that the scolding had a good effect. If she can't produce results now, there's nothing she can do. It will be difficult to enter the "Eternal Library," and she should give up on Leon.

'Enemy presence confirmed. We will now proceed with elimination.'

As we stepped onto the top floor, a flat and mechanical voice echoed in the circular room. A giant artificial object descended from above in the center of the room.

'Activate Destroy Mode. Begin combat.'

What appeared was an entity out of place in a fantasy world. It was what was commonly called a "robot." A three-meter tall metallic lump in the shape of a clay doll floated in the air, with a single eye in the center of its face glowing. It had two pairs of arms protruding from its torso, with weapons such as swords and axes attached to their tips.

This monster's name was "Machine Orfred." It was a golem made of metal by the school's founder, "Sage Orfred." Orfred's brain was transplanted into it, and it was used to test students who came to this dungeon, the "Sage's Playground."

'If you want to proceed further, defeat me!'

"Well... Everyone, hurry up and get your weapons ready."

"I know! I'll definitely defeat it!"

"Of course. I'll do my best."

Ciel and Electra each readied their staffs.

"But I'll tell you this, I won't lift a finger this time. Including Aeris, the three of you should do it without me. This is a test to see if you're qualified to enter the 'Eternal Library.' You can get help from Aeris, who is a healer, but show me that you can defeat it without me. If you lose, I'll beat your ass."

"~~! I'll win without you!"

"Hm? You talk like a child. I never thought I'd hear such a thing at my age."

"Probably, it's different from what Your Highness Electra thinks. By the way, if it were me, I'd offer you my ass anytime you want, so you can beat it as much as you want. Zenon-sama"

Ciel, Electra, and Aeris all say something different as they face the machine Orfred.

The mechanical golem is politely waiting for them to make a move.

They do not attack people by surprise, since they are there to test the students' abilities and give them a trial.

"Now, let's go... 'Flame Shot'!"

Ciel took command and prepared her staff.

A mass of flames was released from the tip of the staff and hit the head of the mechanical doll.