|Author: Ryuusen Hirotsugu||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 2556 characters|
|Translator: Nomad||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1437 words|
Their night inside the Crystal Temple of the Abandoned City in the Sky passed, and the sun was already slowly illuminating more spots of the ground.
Gilbert and Heinrich were about to start their preparations to begin their actual investigation of the Earth Eater phenomenon that had shown up close to the temple. At the same time, Mira was going to head into the depths of the temple to gather the items she had come for, and with that their respective goals would be accomplished. And in other words, it was time to say goodbye.
「I feel like I burdened you two with many troubles.」
Mira spoke to the two as she extended one hand to them. Gilbert had just finished checking the tools he would use for the investigation, so he firmly shook her hand back.
「The same goes for us. If you hadn’t been with us, we would’ve had a tougher time going through the Staircase to the Sky. The fact that all the medicine I had prepared remained untouched is a happy miscalculation from my part.」
「Yeah, I feel like I was forced to endure certain stimuli, but I also am glad I was able to meet you.」
Heinrich blushed a bit as he replied, but his words were genuine. He also faced her straight on and shook her hand.
「Well, I hope you remain in good health then.」
「Thanks, same to you.」
「I’ll pray for your safety.」
With those words, Gilbert and Heinrich left the Crystal Temple and headed into the forest. It had been a short time, but Mira had enjoyed their company. After watching them fade into the distance with a smile on her face, Mira headed back into the temple.
Mira began descending the floors underground, which would lead her to her goal.
The light from her Concept Arts shone blankly on the old, inanimate and expressionless stone walls. The sound of each of her steps on the stone stairs were repeated multiple times, fading into the darkness deeper inside.
She had already gone two floors down, and was on her third one. That floor held the deepest room of the Crystal Temple, the Chamber of Intersecting Light Crystals. Mira was just one room away from it, in the Room of Purification.
In the center of that room, so enveloped in darkness it was almost suffocating, stood an altar. It looked like it had been built by gouging out a spot in one of the pillars holding the ceiling, and in its center it held a single orb of stained crystal.
With only the light from the Light Orb helping her, Mira arrived at the altar. There, she pressed down on the Crystal orb.
As she did that, she felt like something had fallen in place under her hands.
A second later the device was activated and a dull sound like that of countless moles digging randomly through the floor and hitting the walls resounded from all around the room.
The noise crept up the walls, finally converging on a single spot and then something that sounded like a leather bag being dropped. After that, a slight breeze like a sigh blew into the Room of Purification.
Mira left the altar and headed deeper into the room. There she encountered a wall built with stone blocks, an unnatural gap opened on it. The gap was big enough for a grown adult to pass through, and as she walked into it, she felt a gentle wind on her. A scent like that of a summer thicket, but also somewhat mossy, was mixed into the wind.
The passage inside that gap was as wide as the entrance, continuing deeper and deeper. Mira kept walking further inside it without any hesitation, until she finally could start seeing some light trickle from the other end.
「That was strangely long.」
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Grumbling that idle complaint to herself, Mira entered the deepest room and the source of that light.
The Chamber of Intersecting Light Crystals looked exactly like its name suggested.
The chamber was around ten meters long and wide, the ceiling almost completely covered in crystals, and a lump of crystals as large as Mira scrunching down stood in the center of it. Thick rays of white light could be seen, shining like pillars from the ceiling and directed towards the lump in the center. From inside the crystals, something that resembled thin shattered glass grew like branches pointing to the corners of the room, their tips shining more brightly like spots of sunlight.
「Where is it now…」
Mira began walking through the countless streaks of light filling the room, heading to the lump of crystals in the center. Certain spots on the floor had small lumps of a short grass-like moss growing on them, and from time to time drops of water would fall from the ceiling.
Lured in by the light shining onto the lump of crystals, she reached her hand towards it, a gentle warmth like that of direct sunshine touching her in return. That was the light that could turn black crystals into white ones. Thinking how to find her objective the fastest, she figured that the chances of it being close to that light were the highest.
Mira pulled her hand away from the light, then squatted down and began removing the gravel, dust, and moss covering the floor.
She spent longer than she wanted going in a full circle around the lump of crystals in the search of the shavings, she then put her elbows on the lump and closed her eyes, her fingers running along her chin and muttering a low grunt while frowning.
She had found nothing that resembled the shavings she was looking for.
But refusing to go back empty handed after coming that far, Mira squatted down again. At that moment, a strange looking patch of moss entered her view, it was taller and looked like the head of a child that just cut his hair short.
Betting on that small ray of hope, she reached towards the moss, it peeled away like the bark of a rotten trunk, and under it she saw a pile of scraps that looked too fresh to be mere shavings. They had a scent similar to that of the forest of praying children, so Mira was certain that they had to be the shavings of the sacred tree.
(Will these be enough to ascertain the era, I wonder.)
The shavings were supposed to help infer the date when Soul Howl had visited that place, but from the looks of them they looked like they had been made just the day before, even the grain of the wood was still visible, so Mira felt a bit unsure.
But it was impossible they had been placed there just the day before, considering the moss that grew like a wig on top of them.
(Well, these things are out of my area of knowledge, so I should just do what I’m tasked to.)
Mira quickly stopped thinking about the minor details and took out the bag she had been given and shoved the whole mount of moss with its contents into it.
After a bit of searching she found another mount, so she also shoved that one inside the bag. With that, she left the Chamber of Intersecting Light Crystals without looking back at it once and returned to the Crystal Temple.
「Coming here was just a bother after another though.」
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Now that her only goal of collecting those wood shavings was accomplished, she had nothing else to do so she mounted on her pegasus and left that silent and grave-like city under her, going back to the stairs they had descended before entering the Abandoned City in the Sky.
That was because she knew there was a one-way shortcut to return close there.
When the stairs were just in front of her, she dismounted the pegasus and sent it home, then she walked to the side of the stairs. A dark hole, larger than Mira, was there, hidden under the shadows of the stairs.
Inside the hole, there was a large dome-shaped room that housed a magic circle.
Mira stepped into it without hesitation, and after a few seconds the magic circle began glowing. A floating sensation, as if gravity had just been halved inundated her body, and both the floor and she herself began sinking down.
Ten minutes later she had arrived at the lowest floor.