“First, we’ll need to get you some gear. The labyrinth is nearly impossible to navigate without certain tools. I’ve seen countless intact skeletons delving into the labyrinth. Nothing suggested they were killed by brute force. No beast marks, crushed bones, or punctures could be found on their remains. It took me a while, but I came to realize the deadliest thing inside the labyrinth isn’t the creatures that roam its hall or even the treacherous terrain. Becoming lost is the largest killer in the tunnels.”
I took John’s words to heart. He had experience down here that I sorely lacked, the experience that had allowed him to survive down here for years. I knew if I wanted to get out of this cave alive I’d have to take his advice to heart.
Soon I stood before a small modest building. I watched as John swung the door wide open, leading into a shed full of tools and instruments that I had no idea what they did. Some were simple while others were so complicated I couldn’t even imagine a use for them. Square wooden shelves were filled with spools of string made with who knows what. I figured there weren’t sheep or goats down in the labyrinth.
On the opposite end of the large wooden shelves was a small desk, with papers messily spread across its surface. Schematics of various objects were piled on the table as well as a homemade map. There was not ink on these papers, only dull gray that comes from charcoal.
I watched as various things were tossed onto the floor as John dug through the somewhat unorganized shelves. While the shelves looked unorderly man seemed to know where to find everything he was looking for. He was efficient and it wasn’t long before he had everything he wanted to grab in a pile on the floor.
He began to pick up items from the pile. In his hands were a large bundle of spooled chord and small spikes with rings on the end.
“This is key to your survival. These small spikes can be found within all of the tunnels I have searched. Their purpose is to secure the string in place, which is how you’ll be able to find your way back here. The string is woven tightly from giant mole spider webs, so not much can break or cut the string. Make sure the spikes are securely hammered into the rock. This is important because if your string is cut or too many spikes are unearthed, you’ll end up lost.”
John handed me my own spool of string. The string was thin on a long thick spool. There must have been miles of string attached to the spool. John had a similar spool of string except for the color of his string. It was dyed a bright red rather than the basic white one I had. I wondered if this was to differentiate between our two lines or if I had some earlier prototype that wasn’t as effective. I didn’t have much choice in the matter so I decided not to bring it up. I hoped the difference wouldn’t become a problem in the future.
I was shown a small rack of weapons that looked more like toothpicks than killing instruments. John warned me that having a strong weapon would be vital for my survival, but I had never used a weapon in the past. I wasn’t going to start now, not when my fat hands had trouble even picking them up.
There was a time when my master had attempted to fit me with weapons. He had recently convinced me to join him in human society and was trying to find the optimal place for me to fit. At first, he was going to have me work manual labor but the oxen had a monopoly on physical labor. I should have known they would try and sabotage my progress and work twice as hard as they normally did. They weren’t going to give a golem a position in the fields, not when it threatened their existence.
It was a tale as old as time. All kinds of creatures becoming outdated and replaced with new more efficient models. I remember when it happened to the goblins. They lasted three weeks before they were replaced by jackals. The goblins got lazy and took too much time to do their work. One slip up led to no more goblins. That’s not what the oxen wanted to happen to them. They had farm work locked down for decades. I don’t blame the oxen for constantly taking turns ramming me with their horns into me but I felt it wasn’t a fair test of my abilities.
On the day I stood before the Guard Captain, I thought I would end up like the goblins, completely useless. I couldn’t even firmly grip these tools. Luckily my fists were enough when I was thrown into sparring. I wasn’t going to turn back on what got me to where I am today, not when I couldn’t even hold the damn things.
John grabbed a sack full of food for himself before we left the small warehouse. I hooked my rope into the first spike. It was time to enter the labyrinth. I stayed close behind John as we entered convoluted tunnels that spread in many different directions. All the entrances looked similar, there was no way I would be able to travel back to the small village without the rope. I really hoped my rope didn’t break.