The Saintess' Observations
The saintess' steps as she advanced through the dungeon were uneasy.
She didn't believe that she could manage to win against the black wolf. But even so, she wouldn't run away, either.
The Holy Kingdom had a saying: [Nothing ventured, nothing gained]. Accordingly, the saintess challenged this dungeon with that intention. The saintess, unable to perfectly get over her worries, easily defeated the golems while dragging her feet.
"... Oh? Was there a wall here?"
No, that definitely shouldn't have been there. Something was off. According to the [Mapping] skill, there definitely should have been a passage there. The labyrinth's walls should have been fixed in place through [Treaty]'s effects, did the effect already run out somehow?
... That wasn't it. The power hadn't left into the dungeon's surroundings in a recoil as it would when the effects end. It hadn't turned into a situation where it contained none of the power.
There was no helping that there was no path, so she took a detour.
There were walls in places that shouldn't have had walls, as well as passages in places that should have had walls.
... For some reason, neither [Mapping] nor [Dungeon Trap Detection] worked properly in this dungeon.
(... Really now, this is a mysterious dungeon.)
... And then she arrived at the black wolf's room. It just wound up happening.
She took a decent amount of time being reluctant to go in.
"... Now... what do I do?"
Before she went inside, she stopped moving and decided to think of a strategy.
(Should I start the incantation...? Or maybe I should spend a little more time on it?)
She heard a voice from somewhere... was it an adventurers? Had adventurers other than herself made it this far in? She didn't see anyone... but she heard a terrifying voice coming from a shadow.
"... Where are you?"
Told that, she looked up... and right there... was the black wolf.
It stood with all four legs on the ceiling.
It walked in such a dignified manner that it gave her the illusion she was the one upside-down.
No, there was something even more important weighing on her mind.
Was it... the owner of that voice? No. Her imagination had already connected the two. This place was an area where no one else was. Above all, the wolf's mouth was moving.
[Good job, coming, human.]
It wasn't barking, but its manner of speech was clumsy, like it was cutting parts short. There was no doubting that the words were coming from its mouth.
"Y-you understand human speech...?"
[What, is it something, strange? I can talk in, others, too. Guru ruru... gau. See?]
"I don't understand wolf language."
Certainly, monsters with high intelligence could understand human speech, some could even talk. For example, dragons were well-known in being able to. It wasn't impossible for a strong wolf to talk using human speech like this.
Moreover, the saintess' thought of this black wolf coming from outside the dungeon was once again reinforced. It was hard to believe that a monster that only ever stayed in a dungeon would interact with humans enough to learn their language. Besides that, very few humans would come here.
The black wolf abruptly parted from the ceiling, making a half-turn midair and landing on the ground. Instinctively intensifying her vigilance, the saintess took a stance. However, it didn't appear as though it was about to attack.
"... Why were you on the ceiling?"
It didn't appear there was any deep meaning behind it.
(How in the world... did it stick up there?)
If it had made a surprise attack from that position, she would've died without even making a sound. In other words, it didn't intend to kill the saintess... for now, at least.
She couldn't figure out what its reason was. Maybe it was merely a whim, just it playing with an enemy that it could kill at any moment. Not much different than a cat playing with a ball of yarn. All of the decisive power were in the black wolf's paws.
Even so, that was good. This was a good opportunity for the saintess to observe the black wolf. Even if the hero would be the one to come and defeat it in the future, she could contribute by leaving behind information.
She had already obtained new information: it could understand human speech. Conversations could be held as well-she was establishing that right then.
Even if it was due to her negligence, she was gaining valuable time and information.
"... So, what do you want?"
[You are, tasty.]
"... Well, unfortunately, I haven't eaten myself before."
[In other words, to me, it's like, you're giving, food.]
The saintess smiled wryly to herself. In the end, this wolf only ever saw her as food. While she was fighting desperately, thinking about actual life and death, thinking that her attacks might do something-as far as the wolf was concerned, her efforts only wound up being at the level of food resisting adorably and jumping from its plate towards its mouth, ready to be eaten.
Moreover, she was delicious food that went out of its way to be eaten.
The difference between their strength was too great.
"H-hmph. So, you intend on doing something?"
The black wolf laughed.
Catching glimpses of the fangs that could easily deprive her life in an instant, the saintess felt a chill creep down her back.
[I'll make you, my follower.]
... Why did it just say?
The saintess took almost half a minute before she registered what the wolf just said.