|Author: Ryuusen Hirotsugu||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 2464 characters|
|Translator: Nomad||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1087 words|
The underground tunnel spread to both the right and left from the stairs. Its walls were reinforced with stones, a couple dim lights sprinkled along it like ghosts inhabiting the tunnel. The air felt chilly and seemed to cling to their skin as they silently walked through the tunnel, only their footsteps echoing in the distance.
「I think we should be safe from here on out, there’s no need to hide anymore. Take a good rest, you’ve earned it.」
Mira looked front and back, making sure they were alone, and made Worthramble dispel Complete Suppression. Angelique and Anne had been in its effect since they left the mansion, so only Mira and Sasori knew where they had gone.
「I just wish I could help more reliably.」
Worthramble looked disappointed as he deactivated his powers.
「Don’t worry, don’t worry. You still have plenty of skills aside from Complete Suppression you can use, yes? Those ought to be helpful still, so let’s keep working together and strengthening our bond.」
「That’s true, I’ll always be at your disposal.」
He smiled saying that, unloading Anne and giving her back to Angelique.
Next he shook Mira’s hand, getting ready to be sent away but knowing his skills would be needed again soon enough. Before he was gone, Angelique bowed deeply and thanked him. 「You’re too kind」 he replied, shaking his head, but smiled back at her. After that Mira noticed her eyes glistening like a maiden’s, even though she was married, so Mira decided to forget she saw anything while feeling pity for Johann.
「Man, that looks like such a nice relationship.」
Maintaining a strong bond was important for summoners. Sasori had managed to notice that much from how Mira and Worthramble interacted, so she muttered that to herself.
「I know. If you become a summoner, you get to make a lot of friends.」
Now that the game period was over and all her bonds had been translated to reality, Mira had noticed that much more strongly than before. Happy with that new development, Mira felt much pride in her accomplishment.
Only their footsteps disturbed the silence of the tunnel, Sasori leading them deeper inside.
「By the way, Sasori. You don’t get the creeps from places like this?」
Mira asked, remembering how she reacted seeing the armor in the mansion. A tunnel hidden as an emergency escape, so dark it was impossible to tell what was ahead and the reverberation of footsteps, that sounded like a scene straight out of a horror film.
「What do you mean, places like this?」
Yet Sasori seemed completely unbothered. While she had been terrified in the mansion, now she looked completely fine.
「Well, you were really afraid when we saw the armor in the mansion, so I thought you were scared of ghosts and the like, or am I wrong?」
As soon as she heard that, Sasori’s steps turned unsure and her gaze focused more on the path ahead. Somehow Mira’s words had crippled her confidence.
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「Err, that’s… you see, at the time, it looked like a person was there… it’s not like I’m scared of the darkness okay, I pretty much live in the shadows. But I just had to be more careful in case a suspicious person was there.」
Sasori began surveying the tunnel for any suspicious figures, her back and tail stiffening as she tried to convince herself. From the look of things, Sasori was scared not of dark places, but whenever something made her start imagining uncertain figures.
「Listen carefully Sasori, dark and secluded places like these are the favorite spots for vengeful spirits to live, and I heard the most powerful ones are invisible from afar, they only appear suddenly when you’re right next to them.」
Trying to test her theory, Mira decided to whisper into Sasori’s ear to influence her view of the tunnel. It was like making up a story about a haunted house on the fly.
「Wh-what are you talking about? I wouldn’t get scared by something like that. My eyes are adjusted to the darkness, so I would notice them way before they got close.」
Sasori quickly responded, mostly trying to convince herself of that. She had just experienced Complete Suppression, so imagining other entities hidden in plain sight was much easier for her now, making her keep her guard up.
Seeing her reaction, Mira felt even more playful, lowering her voice as she instigated Sasori further.
「That might be harder than you think. Usually they’re completely invisible, except for one instance… when they attack…」
Mira was getting carried away with her fun, when suddenly a door opened beside them and a girl wearing a white robe with stains of dark blood appeared right next to them.
Mira and Sasori instantly clung to each other in a tight hug, jumping away from the girl while screaming loudly and bumping their backs against the wall before sliding down to the ground. Meanwhile Angelique who followed them a few steps back, not hearing their earlier exchange, was more shocked by their reaction.
「What are you doing?」
Mira and Sasori let out pained moans trying to stand back up while Angelique rushed to them looking slightly worried. At the same time, they heard a calm and composed voice they were familiar with.
Tears welling in their eyes from the pain, Mira and Sasori looked up towards the owner of the voice, Hebi, who was staring down at them with a slightly puzzled and exhausted look.
It had been mostly a coincidence that Hebi opened the door at the exact moment when they passed by it. Behind the door were the pursuers they had captured in the inn earlier, who Hebi had just finished interrogating when she heard Mira and Sasori’s voice in the tunnel.
Deciding to greet them, she opened the door, which resulted in the earlier scene. Mira and Sasori laughed emptily, trying to appear normal and pretend nothing had happened, mentioning that sometimes coincidences were a thing, and quickly continued walking through the tunnel. Behind them Hebi and Angelique introduced themselves to each other.
Angelique was slightly hesitant to talk with Hebi at first due to the stained white robe, but once Hebi took it off she was able to calm down. Obviously, the blood was fake and was a prop Hebi used to threaten people she interrogated, with great success.
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