|Author: Himezaki Shiu
|Original Source: Syosetu
|English Source: Re:Library
It was around the end of the song.
Just when those who seemed to be at the greatest risk started to look better, I felt an enormous presence from the deeper stratum drawing nearer.
All I could perceive was its magic power, but it had about as much magic power as both of ours combined.
『Ciel, can you sense something approaching?』
『Somehow… I suppose? It’s pretty strong. At the very least, the spider from earlier is likely no match for it.』
『I feel the same way. Whether we run from it or try meeting it, it might be best if we move from this place. What shall we do?』
『In that case, let’s go to the next stratum.』
『So we’re meeting it, then.』
I personally wanted to run away.
However, since Ciel wanted to see it, I conceded.
After all, even if it is, hypothetically, a Fii-class being, we should be at least capable of escaping from it.
Our choices of action become rather limited when I’m outside, so I switched with Ciel, and she then headed to the next stratum.
What we saw there was a vast open area covered in grass. A grassland, I suppose.
We entered through a cave, and yet there’s a sky.
Had we brought lunch, we could have a picnic here.
『It’s such a mysterious place.』
『That’s true. The den should have been leading underground, and yet there’s a sky here.』
『There’s wind too. It’s like we’re outside; are we really still inside the den?』
『I can still sense the approaching thing drawing nearer, so it should be alright.
The den seems to be made by the Creator God; maybe she’s just capable of feats like this.』
『In that case, maybe we’ll end up underwater as we continue deeper.』
Ciel seems to be excited about it, but I’m not looking forward to that.
If we were underwater, would I be able to protect Ciel?
It isn’t like it’s now certain that there will be an underwater stratum, and we’re unlikely to go deeper today anyway, so I guess there’s no need to ponder it now.
『By the way, are there no monsters here?』
『Now that you mention it, I haven’t seen any yet… It seems like they’re in hiding.
They’re likely afraid of whatever’s heading towards us.』
Checking through detection, I don’t sense any monsters observing us. In the first place, none of them are even looking our way.
They are all staring at the place that should connect to the next stratum.
I wonder why the monsters are reacting like this. It’s like how animals act differently in response to an upcoming disaster.
I have a bad feeling about this, but Ciel was calm as usual.
『Come to think of it, Ciel, why didn’t you choose to run away?』
『Isn’t it bad to abandon the people above and leave?』
『It might be bad, but I believe protecting your own life should be of the utmost priority.』
Besides, if you start helping everyone without any self-moderation, there’ll be no end to it.
I should ask Ciel about her thoughts on that topic later.
If Ciel wants to help people, I’ll assist her in that endeavor… But I’ll probably be conflicted about it.
『Ufufu, I have no idea what you’re thinking of, Ain. But you probably have the wrong idea, you know?』
『What do you mean by that?』
Called out by Ciel, I reflexively replied.
Hearing Ciel’s delighted voice, my slightly glum thoughts were cleared away. I really am simple to please.
『Fii told us, didn’t she? That even reaching the deepest depths shouldn’t kill us? In that case, then don’t you think it’s unnecessary to be afraid of the thing coming from the depths?』
『… Yes, she certainly did say that.』
Now that she mentioned it, I do recall Mother saying something similar.
In that case, as long as I protect Ciel, there shouldn’t be any danger.
『So as for why I’m not running, it’s just because I’m curious about it.
If we can face it safely, I don’t find encountering it to be a bad choice.』
『Then it’s not because you wanted to help the people above?』
『I don’t particularly want to help them. ‘Why do I have to go out of my way to help them?’ is my honest thought.』
Perhaps it’s inhumane of me to feel relief from Ciel’s words.
Still, whether inhumane or not, I just want Ciel to live happily.
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『Besides, Ain. Didn’t you tell me before? Return goodwill with goodwill, and malice with malice.
But that doesn’t apply here this time, right?』
『Then what are you going to do?』
『Nothing in particular. I might help out if I feel like it, I might leave things be.
For me, everything else other than being with Ain is generally unimportant.
But if I had to say, if the people of the manor, Carol, Celia, and the Fools’ Gathering are in trouble, I might be more inclined to help out.』
After saying that, Ciel showed a contemplative expression.
『Assuming there’s no danger, Ain, aren’t you curious about the thing that’s coming from deep inside the den?』
『I am a bit curious.』
『Then the other stuff doesn’t really matter now, do they?』
Ciel replied with a mischievous expression.
Faced with that charming look, I decided to stop thinking about the possible complications.
After all, no matter what may come, all I need to do is protect Ciel.
And so our curious little princesses continue on to meet the ominous presence.
As usual, Ain is a bit too overprotective. Basically “What if Ciel wants to be a hero? Not that I’ll stop her if she really wants to do it, but I won’t be happy about it.” Meanwhile Ciel is like “Ain, whoever that Ciel you’re imagining is, that isn’t me, lol. You think I care that much about other people?” Exchanges like these are always fun. A smidgen of fluff on the way down, I suppose.
Now then, I hope you enjoyed this chapter. Please feel free to comment. Stay healthy, stay safe, and have a nice day~!