|Author: Sasaki Ichiro||Original Source: Syosetu|
|Translator: Mab||English Source: Re:Library|
“How did it come to this…” While I knew it was too late, I was still tormented by regret all the same.
I was planning to search for the teleporter starting from the center of the town, and if I couldn’t find it there, I would gradually expand my range in a spiral shape 50 mertes outward, which was the bare limit of my mana detection, until I fully covered the whole ruined town. I just didn’t expect the extras would be with me— needless to say, the extras were Eren and Bruno.
As Vier and I walked off, the two of them came following us. “You don’t know what’s lurking out there. It’s not safe to go alone! I’m coming with you,” said one. “You might need muscle work, so I’ll be coming too,” said the other. Both of them tugged at the sleeves of my robe and wouldn’t listen otherwise. After trying to argue with them for a while, Regina, sullen-faced and closing her ears with both hands, scolded, “Stop yapping, just bring them with you!” With that, the two were allowed to accompany me.
And because of that—
“S-, something’s moving there, Jill! Is-, is that a ghost?!”
“That’s just fog.”
“I-, I heard something! Are the ghosts whispering?!”
“Leave it to me!”
“That’s just dry leaves rubbing.”
“Eek! J-, Jill, I saw a specter there!!’
“That one, huh?! Hyaah!”
“That’s a withered willow trunk.”
Every time something moved or looked out of place, Eren would tug on my sleeve and yell, trying to get my attention, and when she did, Bruno would swing his dulled training sword at whatever it was, trying to recklessly fight the illusion… This routine had become a headache, it was exhausting and a waste of time.
(Finding the teleporter in an hour seems impossible now…)
I felt like more than 30 minutes had passed already. So, I was walking with these bundles of nerves who got worked up over nothing and went nowhere, still hadn’t reached the town center. I could feel a soft sigh escaping me.
(We didn’t come here to sightsee and picnic, but then again, they are still 11 years old after all…)
I mean, in Japan, they would be at the age of 5th graders in elementary school. Because I had been playing with them for some time, I had come under the impression that we were all the same age, but I, for one, had the knowledge and decision-making skills equivalent to a high school student —or, at least, that’s what I thought, but with how vague my memory of my previous world was, it was very possible that I was actually some senile old gramps who was lost in memory lane reminiscing about my glorious high school days and died a peaceful death due to my advanced age, there was no telling really— so I understood my assignment well and acted on it. However, for the two of them, they were not yet old enough to act with a clear awareness of the difference between work and play.
(There’s no blaming them, I suppose. My accuracy is still off, but doing this here should be fine. …Come to think of it, now seems to be the perfect opportunity to test on this art.)
With time running short, I was forced to adopt a last resort.
I stopped in my tracks and stuck the tip of my staff into the ground, and then I called out to Eren, Bruno, and my Sirius familiar who was trying her best to be of help by sniffing around the debris like a disaster rescue dog—a truly helpful and bestest girl she was—Vier.
“I am about to use an art called Force Sonar with my full power, so please stay still where you are.”
“Sure. I’m as still as stone!”
The two plus one stopped, replying to me uniquely.
After making sure there was nothing moving around me, I began to knead the mass of mana I had stored in my dantian. “Hyaaaahh!” By performing a breathing technique where I momentarily exhaled all of the breath I had using my abdomen—some school named this technique ‘Explosive Breath’, some named it ‘Thunder Voice’, some other called it ‘Use-Your-Damn-Guts’— I released a wave of mana in the form of vibration around my staff onto the ground.
This art that I named Force Sonar was basically an imitation of the regular mana detection art, Search. However, what made it different was, while Search picked up the vibrations emitted by substances and organisms like a signal, or a passive sonar so to speak, Force Sonar emitted its own vibration and determined the distance to the object from the reflected vibrations, or an active sonar.
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While it was good and all when I suddenly came up with it while picking medicinal and poisonous herbs every morning, but as I actually used it, I realized the many drawbacks it had —The range of detection was proportional to the amount of mana used to activate it. Also, if my target’s mana wavelength was small, it couldn’t bounce back the vibration I emitted. Also, also, I was basically setting off fireworks to inform every demon beast in the area that I was here. And so on and so forth— which made this art something that was completely useless to help me pick medicinal herbs. Because of that, I had shelved the idea halfway through developing it, but now I thought that this was the perfect chance to test the art, and thus I basically performed it the first time without ever properly practicing it.
“…Is it…this one? I can detect a pretty strong mana vibration 80 mertes to the southwest, and 5 mertes underground. …it’s pretty massive.”
I received various mana reactions big and small, but it was the only one that was emitting such an overwhelmingly powerful vibration.
“You found it, Jill?!”
I chuckled at the beaming Eren. “Why don’t we go and see?”
Nearly an hour later—
In front of the excavated transporter, Eren, Bruno, Andy, Chad, Vier, and I were slumped down in utter exhaustion, using the piles of rubble as chairs and backrests.
Well, in terms of removing the most debris, the contributing powerhouses were mainly the four~five mertes long caru, Maya, with her herculean strength in her tentacles, and the tireless simple golem Regina created on the spot…
However, obviously, the detailed work had to be done by human labor, so Regina assigned work equally to everyone, regardless of age or sex (including herself), as she had declared. As a result, by the end, everyone was so exhausted none of us could even speak, and just limped along.
“By the lords, why would you youngsters be so out of shape?!” Reprimanded Regina as she gave us a glance.
She was engaged in the same amount of physical labor as us, and yet Regina showed no sign of fatigue whatsoever. She kicked aside the debris in her way and headed towards the teleporter to examine it with Maya in tow, her strides steady and wide.
“““““…(what a monster).”””””
I knew it, she’s not a human. All five of us were horrified by how much of a witch Regina was.
Bending down to the base of the 5 mertes long and 4 mertes wide gate, which was made neither out of stone nor metal, Regina pressed her cane towards it and mumbled some incantation. From the looks of it, it didn’t appear to be particularly broken or damaged.
As we watched with fascination, more or less recovering from our fatigue, we soon heard a buzzing noise like insect wings, and soon the entire transporter began to glow with a blue-white phosphorescence.
“Hmph. Up and running, eh? Talk about a robust thing.” Regina’s lips curved as if to blame the gate for needing her to activate it personally.
Meanwhile, the five of us exchanged glances and wordless smiles, relieved to know that our hard work had apparently paid off.
“…but, lord, the settings are all over the place. It needs to be initialized and tuned on the other side before it can see any use.”
“What do you mean, the other side?”
“The other end of the gate, obviously.”
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Regina pointed to the inside of the teleporter, which glowed with light.
“Isn’t that… dangerous?” This device had been left unattended for three decades, it’s hard to imagine what kind of malfunctions it had in store.