|Author: Ryuusen Hirotsugu||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 3054 characters|
|Translator: Nomad||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1547 words|
While it was impossible to see anything below them, her voice still rang clear to them.
「Looks like everything’s fine so far.」
Arlon relaxed his shoulders as he stood upright saying that. Mira, who was leaning over the edge to look down, also straightened her back as she agreed with him, climbing on a Dark Knight’s shoulder afterwards.
「How’s the situation there?」
Hebi looked slightly relieved, but she instantly rid her face of emotion as she spoke to Sasori below.
『Ohhh, I can’t see a thing above me but I can hear you. This is so crazy weird-』
『Okayyy. Let’s see, I fell onto a stair landing, so I guess we’re in the right place. There’s stairs going down, and after a corner there’s stairs going up. The ones going up get split into two stairs further away. Does that sound like the correct place?』
Thanks to Sasori’s description of what she saw, Hebi could tell where she was. She sighed in relief seeing that the description matched the route marked in the map, and she nodded in approval.
「Looks like we’re at the correct spot. We’ll jump down, so watch out above you Sasori!」
After Arlon warned her, Sasori replied instantly. The group waited a couple of seconds after that, and then Arlon quickly jumped down, followed by Hebi who appeared to simply step into the void, vanishing down below.
(What a lively walkthrough.)
Before that, Mira had always ventured into the Libra Fortress’ third floor alone, so now she smiled happily as she jumped down together with the Dark Knight.
「Now we go up the stairs, then the right path at the intersection.」
Soon after reaching the landing, Hebi quickly checked where to go next and departed in that direction.
「More or less how much time did we save?」
「Around six hours.」
「Ohh, that’s a lot.」
As they spoke, Arlon walked right behind Hebi, peeking at the map from her shoulder.
「We’ll be there in no time then.」
Sasori realized it was best if she also pretended not to see, acting like Arlon and Hebi as she followed them with a forced tone.
In the very center of the landing was Mira, lying on her side with her spine arched back as she rubbed her rear with teary eyes.
That was the result of the fall. Sasori had said it was a relatively short fall, but it still packed quite a punch. It was like a fall from the second floor of a house, so for someone with a trained body it was an easy jump.
Sasori was very used to physical stress, Arlon had a very well built body, and Hebi had trained enough, so all three were fine from the fall. Mira had her sage skills so a small fall like that ought to not bother her either.
The problem stemmed from the Dark Knight she was sitting on. While it had a humanoid shape, some of its actions were quite different to those a human would take, like not needing to bend one’s knees to absorb the impact from a fall. As a result, all the momentum from the fall was directly transferred to Mira, who was sitting on the Dark Knight’s shoulder.
The other three were a bit worried seeing her like that, but her appearance was so pathetic and clumsy they could not think of a single reassuring word, so they opted to turn around and walk away, pretending to not see her writhing in agony.
The group moved up the stairs, and a while after they went through the right path Mira revived and caught up to the three of them as they slowly went up the stairs.
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「There are two more shortcuts ahead.」
「So we’ll get there in time for dinner.」
Hebi spread the map to look at it as she spoke, while Arlon once again used that opportunity to peek at it from behind as he spoke. All that was purely an act to make things seem natural so their adventure could resume without issues. Hebi was still as expressionless as always, so there was nothing off about her. Arlon’s movements were a bit stiff, but overall he played his part really well too.
「That is right. I am looking forward to dinner.」
The only issue lay on Sasori. Rather than simply being a novice, there was not a single shred of acting ability in her, so coupled with her bland, tasteless and completely devoid of life sentence, it was enough to annihilate any hopes of fooling Mira, the sole reason they were acting in the first place.
Yet she smiled with peerless confidence, believing she had fulfilled her role flawlessly.
Though either way, Mira had probably already realized that the three were trying to make her feel more relaxed around them by pretending they had not seen her earlier.
「Alright, let’s keep moving then.」
「There’s a left turn ahead.」
After that they remained silent for a while. They had silently agreed to not speak of that incident again.
「Hebi is amazing. Her cooking is too.」
Except Sasori, who continued her monotonous acting.
「I see. I’ll be looking forward to that…」
Mira forcefully hid a grimace that tried to form on her lips as she replied to Sasori, who was still oblivious to the fact she was making the situation worse. Meanwhile Arlon and Hebi refused to turn around, their eyes glued to the map as if their lives depended on it.
Around four hours passed after Sasori exposed her overly-confident acting skills. During that time the group had already passed through the second shortcut, continuing their trip while taking short breaks every once in a while, and now they had reached the third shortcut.
「This is the last one. According to the map, down here is the platform at the feet of the large stairs leading to the last floor.」
They were in a landing where six different stairs leading up and down converged, Hebi stood at the only side without a stair and said that was the place.
「Ohh, is that place so close already?」
Arlon had been through that maze once in the past, and he still remembered how he walked for almost an entire day just to get through it. At the same time, he went to the ledge and jumped down, already used to that motion.
「So it’s finally over, I really want to eat already…」
「That’s all you’ve been saying.」
Her acting aside, Sasori appeared to actually be hungry as he urged the group to move forward. Hebi resigned herself to sighing and replying with 「Will curry satisfy you?」 before walking off the ledge.
「I love you!」
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Sasori’s tail sprung to life as she exclaimed while smiling brightly, leaping off from where she was.
Mira came down from the Dark Knight’s shoulder to follow them down below, but just as she was about to jump down the ledge she stopped instinctively.
(That reminds me… I think it was best going down from the left side here.)
A faint memory from her past experiences crossed her mind. She walked as far left as she could, and then she finally jumped down.
As she passed through the refracting barriers, the large platform below came into view. An instant after it became visible, she landed on the round platform, the Dark Knight landing with a muted thud behind her.
The large platform at the feet of the stairs leading to the last floor was the last defense line where the decisive battle was fought. The entire place was made of stone, ruins and vestiges of the war scattered around it narrating the battle.
There were countless watchtowers to protect against a monster invasion, filled with rotting ballistas in them.
Even though the entire place was ruined and broken, it did not look desolate in the least. Instead it was an impressive sight, as if the courage of the warriors that gave their lives protecting that place still permeated the air.
Mira had landed on top of one of the watchtowers, which stood at around ten meters tall and offered a clean view of the location. A bit to the side of it were the other three members who jumped first.
Arlon was hunched over and holding his back, covered in cold sweat while trying to resist something. Sasori kept jumping a little while saying 「I didn’t expect that」, and Hebi was in a similar pose to Arlon, her eyes slightly watery.
The last shortcut jump was around three times taller than the previous two, so it was impossible to evade feeling the fall. Only jumping on the watchtower like Mira did would allow one to jump down safely.
Mira descended the spiral staircase from the tower to reunite with the other three, a restrained smile on her face.
「Sorry… I only remembered that after you all jumped.」
Arlong and Hebi remained motionless, as if rooted in place while in that unnatural pose. Only their eyes turned slightly to Mira in protest, to which Mira responded with that excuse and looked away and towards the stairs.
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