Chapter 9 : You did well
Dust drifted in their vicinity, and numerous cracks were carved on the ground. On the floating block that had crashed was a large crater, and on top of that laid a gigantic golem with a jet-black stake sprouting from its chest area.
On top of Miledi Golem, Shia let out, "zehaa zehaa," gasping breaths while being supported by Doryukken. Hajime narrowed his eyes in admiration, while Yue looked at her with gentle eyes.
"You did it Shia. The ending was filled with great vigor. It made me think better of you, right?"
"... ... Nn, you've worked hard."
"Ehehe, thank you very much. But, Hajime-san, it's okay if you put "I've fallen for you" instead, you know?"
"From the beginning, I would never fall for you."
Even with her exhausted appearance, Hajime and Yue's praise made Shia feel shy. Actually, until just recently she didn't think anything about battle. She only single-mindedly wanted to stand on the same stage as Hajime and Yue and to always be together with them. Those were Shia's wishes. With those deep and strong wishes, Shia faced one of the Seven Great Dungeons' trial with her potential, and it resulted in her delivering the finishing blow.
Even for Hajime, the last scene where Shia delivered the finishing blow was something he had predicted. Because he expected the pile bunker's power to be insufficient, he already had other means to drive it in. However, although the Rabbitman tribe was gentle and not good in combat, Shia never whined, saying "I want to go back", while she fought, but surely she must have felt anxious and scared entering the depths of a Great Dungeon. That's why he thought to leave the finishing blow to Shia.
The result was magnificent. She delivered the last attack with great vigor, it was so splendidly done that it even made Hajime praise her. Shia's desire to become strong surely reached him. Even so, Hajime's feelings did not reach the level Shia wished for. But, her perseverance and will-power certainly made him feel their bonds. That's why Hajime gazed at Shia with gentle eyes.
"Fue? So-somehow... ... Hajime-san is looking at me with such gentle eyes... ... I-is it a dream?"
"You know... ... No, well, although it can't be helped when I think about how you were usually treated..."
Because the way Hajime gazed at her was unbelievable, Shia pinched her own cheek. Although Hajime wanted to complain about her reaction, once he thought of how she was treated until now, he could only think it was the natural reaction.
Yue tokotoko, approached Shia who was still pinching her cheek. Then, Shia's clothes were pulled to make her bend down and her head was patted slowly. Her disordered hair was fixed, slowly and gently.
"... ... Because Hajime won't pat you, although it's regrettable, I'll do it instead. You did well."
"Y-Yue-sa~n. Uu, huh, I wonder why? Somehow I can't stop crying, fueee."
"... ... Good girl, good girl."
At first, Shia was confused by Yue's sudden actions, but when she understood she was being praised, as if the string of tension was cut, Shia began to weep and immediately hugged Yue. As expected, she was trying to endure herself with her first journey suddenly becoming against the Seven Great Dungeons. That's because she was determined to go together with Hajime and Yue. To be praised and acknowledged, she couldn't stop her tears because of the relief.
By the way, Hajime surely wouldn't pat her, as Yue said. Shia was the type that easily got carried away, if Hajime awkwardly patted her it would result in troublesome things like Shia misunderstanding his feelings as love. This time, although Shia would be treated comparatively better by Hajime, there was no reason for multiple people to have the same feelings as Yue. That was her "special feeling." More or less, Hajime never considered how Yue would be saddened by that.
Moreover, "Fueee~n", there was a happy cry from Yue's chest. It was Shia crying out of relief while being spoiled. That's why, when Yue who patting and looking at her with gentle eyes was seen... ... well, somehow the future could be predicted.
Yue was spoiling Shia while embracing her, and Hajime watched this with an indescribable expression. While that happened to the trio, suddenly, a voice rang out.
"Ummm~, although it's such a good atmosphere~, it's about to get dangerous for me, so can I have some of your time~?"
It was a truly familiar voice. Hajime and his party let out "Hah," then looked at Miledi Golem, unbeknownst to them, the light in her eyes that was previously gone has returned. Immediately, Hajime and his party jumped back to put their distance. Because they were certain that her core was destroyed, they could only take stances with wariness in their minds.
"Wait, wait a sec, it's okay~. The trial was cleared! It's your victory! Because there is some power left inside the core's fragments, I wanted some time to talk~, it'll only take a few minutes."
As if to prove those words, Miledi Golem was completely unmoving, while the lights in her eyes parts were repeatedly blinking. It seemed to disappear at any moment. That's why, it must've been true when she said she only needed a few minutes.
Hajime relaxed his mind and continued to talk to Miledi Golem.
"So? What is it? Undead? To be incapable of reading the mood even after death... ... Although it's regrettable for the future "Liberators," maybe I should help you pass on."
"Wa-, stop it~, what's with that obvious harassment. That was completely unpleasant."
"Well? I won't hear anything about killing "those shitty bastards," you know?"
Toward Hajime's authoritative speech, Miledi somehow gave out an atmosphere as if she wryly smiled.
"I won't say that. That's not necessary after all. What I want to talk about... ... is more like advice. Even if there is no age of gods magic that you're looking for in the dungeons you visit, try to obtain all of the age of gods magics... ... because they are necessary for your wish..."
Maybe because Miledi's power was almost exhausted, her words gradually became blurred and more intermittent. But, without worrying about that, Hajime told her his problem.
"All of them huh... ... then tell us the locations of the other dungeons. Because they were lost in legend, I truly don't know anymore of it."
"Aa, there is that... ... I see, the other dungeons' locations are unknown... ... it's been a long time after all... ... Un, the locations... ... the locations are..."
Gradually, Miledi Golem started to lose the power in her voice. Toward her voice that somehow contained sentimentality, Yue and Shia wore serious expressions. After a long time, for her duty, rather for the sake of her wish. To have put her soul inside a vessel was an act that made them stare at her with respect.
Miledi slowly talked about the whereabouts of the remaining Seven Great Dungeons. Inside her words was a place that seemed to surprise them.
"That's all... ... Good luck."
"... ... You've become completely modest. What happened to those annoying lines and that infuriating tone?"
Just as Hajime said, the current Miledi gave out an atmosphere as if she had no relation to the Miledi that prepared those annoying sentences inside this dungeon, with a completely different tone, filled with sincerity and seriousness. She had also displayed it before the fight when she wanted to hear Hajime's objectives. This was probably her real self. It was as if there was no more need to hide it before she completely disappeared.
"Ahaha, I am sorry~. But... ... those shitty bastards... ... were truly unpleasant fellows... ... they only say unpleasant things... ... that's why, even just a little... ... I want you to get accustomed to it..."
"Oi, you. I already said I won't defeat the Gods. That's why, don't say it as if I'll fight against those guys."
Toward Hajime's unpleased voice, Miledi replied with unexpected conviction and seriousness.
"... ... You'll surely fight them. As long as you are you... ... For sure... ... You'll, kill those gods."
"... ... I don't understand what you mean. Well, if they try to obstruct my path then it can't be helped..."
Hajime was somewhat perplexed. Miledi who had seen his appearance let out a joyful laugh.
"Fufu... ... that's good... ... it's okay as long as you live like that... ... your choice... ... will surely... ... be the best... ... for this world..."
Afterwards, Miledi Golem's body was wrapped in a pale light and glowed. As if it became fireflies, the light separated into smaller lights and ascended towards heaven. It was similar to how a dead soul ascends to heaven. A very, very mysterious scene.
During that time, Yue slowly approached Miledi Golem. Then, she stared at those lights.
"What is it?"
Came Miledi's whispery voice. Similarly, Yue whispered words, a present for a great "Liberator" that was about to disappear.
"... ... Thanks for your hard work. You did well."
Those were words of appreciation. For her alone, a great existence that kept waiting for hope at the bottom of darkness, a small present from the one still alive. Normally, they might be improper words that came from a younger person. But, as expected, those unexpected words were the only ones that came to Yue's mind.
Those words might also be unexpected for Miledi. Without saying anything, her blank surprise could be felt. Before long, Miledi muttered in a soft voice.
"... ... Thanks."
"... ... Nn."
By the way, behind Yue and Miledi who were exchanging words, Hajime spoke with an irritated tone, "That's enough already, so quickly disappear.", while Shia who heard that said, "Who's the one incapable of reading the mood now!? Please just be quiet for now!", and covered his mouth. Fortunately, the other two didn't notice, so their solemn atmosphere was preserved.
"... ... Well then,... ... it's time... ... from now on... ... you should freely... ... do what you want..."
Those words that were similar to Oscar's were presented to Hajime and his party, one of the "Liberators," Miledi, became fleeting lights and disappeared into heaven.
Silence wrapped their vicinity, Yue and Shia followed the trail of lights as it went to heaven while soaked in reverberation.
"... ... In the beginning, I thought she was someone with the worst character. But, it was just her trying her best."
"... ... Nn."
Yue and Shia exchanged those words in the quiet atmosphere. However, there was a man that didn't think of Miledi like they did, Hajime talked to the two with a fed up expression.
"Haa, isn't it enough? It's about time we moved on. Also, did you really think that fellow's mischievousness a lie? That kind of mischievousness isn't at the level of an act."
"Wait, Hajime-san. To say that about the dead. That's cruel. Hajime-san truly can't read the mood."
"... ... Hajime, KY?"
"Yue, even for you... ... haa, well, that's okay. But for your information, it's not like I can't read the mood. I just don't want to."
While they were talking, Hajime and his party didn't notice a light shoot out from a corner of the wall. When they noticed, they moved toward it. They jumped onto the floating block on the upper part of the wall, so the trio jumped onto the same block. Then, when they landed, the floating block that served as their foothold shii—, started to move, it carried Hajime and his party toward the shining wall.
"Wawah, this thing suddenly moved. How convenient"
"... ... Service?"
Because the floating block suddenly transported Hajime and his party, Shia was surprised while Yue tilted her head in doubt. Somehow Hajime wore an unpleased expression. They advanced toward the shining wall in ten seconds and completely stopped five meters in front of it. Following that, the shining wall, as if waiting for that timing, started to lose its radiance. With a suh- sound the part of the wall that was still shining started to split. In its place, a passage with glossy white walls appeared.
The floating block Hajime and his party were on advanced into the passage. Apparently, they were going into Miledi Raisen's dwelling. After advancing for a while, just like the door leading to Oscar's dwelling inside Orcus Great Dungeon, there was a wall with the same seven distinct patterns engraved on them. Hajime and his party approached the door and, as if the wall was waiting for that exact timing, the wall slid to the sides and they advanced towards the interior. The floating block was advancing without stopping towards the wall on the other side.
Slipping through from the wall on the other side was...
"Yahhoo, short time no see! It's Miledi-chan!"
A small Miledi Golem.
"Come on, look. I already knew this might happen."
Yue and Shia were speechless. Hajime who already expected this showed a fed up expression. Hajime was able to expect this because he saw through that both the frivolous Miledi and the serious Miledi were the real her. Those annoying sentences and unpleasant traps were not at a level a truly serious person could conceive. Also, Miledi chose to leave her own soul to test the challengers herself. That's why it was impossible for her to pass on after being defeated just once by a challenger. If that truly happened, the last trial would be gone after just one clearing.
Because of that, Hajime expected that Miledi herself wouldn't disappear even after Miledi Golem was destroyed. His expectations became conviction when the floating block started to move to guide Hajime and his party. After all, Miledi was the only one that could move the floating block.
Toward Yue and Shia who were looking down silently, Miledi talked to them with a very casual tone.
"Aree? Aree? Isn't the tension too low~? It's okay to be more surprised, you know~? Ah, is it that you are so surprised that you can't say anything? If that's so, then my surprise is a bi~g success ?"
The small Miledi Golem was designed to be more human-like compared to the gigantic one. It had a slender body clad in a milk-white, long robe while wearing a white mask. Its Niko-chan mark was slightly irritating. Along with Miledi's words that ended with kira!, a twinkling star, she came in front of Hajime and his party. Even now, Yue and Shia looked down, their expressions hidden behind their bangs. Because he could read the development that might happen next, Hajime took a step back.
It wasn't known if it came from Yue or Shia, but a question was muttered.
"... ... Before?"
"Nn~? A while ago? Aa, did you really think I was gone? No way, no~ way! That's impossible~!"
"But, didn't you disappear into the light?"
"Fufufu, isn't that well prepared? That "production (of play)"! Oh my, Miledi-chan truly has talent as an actress! What a frightening woman!"
Mini Miledi's tension rolled up. It shot up in proportion with their annoyance. In front of that Mini Miledi, Yue thrust out her hand while Shia prepared Doryukken. As expected Mini Miledi stopped moving while thinking, "Are? Did I overdo it?"
Towards Yue and Shia who were swaying as they approached her, Mini Miledi moved her head kakukaku, in hesitation then said the words she had decided in her mind.
[T/N: Head bonk with tongue sticking out to the side, really annoying Japanese gesture.]
"... ... Die."
"Wa-wait! Please wait! This body is weak! It'll be truly bad if you destroy it! Please calm down! I will apologize!"
For a while, dotabata, dokanbakih, sounds of destruction and "Iyaa—", a scream could be heard, Hajime who ignored those sounds was observing the room. The room was white all-over, there was nothing except a magic circle that was carved on the floor in the center of the room. The other one was a door-like thing on one part of the wall, Hajime guessed that Miledi's dwelling was on the other side of it.
Hajime slowly approached the magic circle then arbitrarily examined it. Mini Miledi saw that and panicked while drawing near Hajime. From behind her, the expressionless vampire princess and rabbit-ears approached while making dodododoh, sound effects.
"You~ it's not good to examine it without permission. Rather, they are your companions! Please don't just ignore them, stop them!"
While saying those complaints, Mini Miledi hid behind Hajime and made him into a shield against the devil duo.
"... ... Hajime, please move aside, I won't kill her."
"Please stand back Hajime-san. I will kill her. Here and now."
"Surely, I never thought of hearing those materials at this timing. Rather, stop playing around and do it already."
Hajime gave his advice with a somewhat amazed expression at Shia and Yue's softness. Behind him, Mini Miledi said, "That's right, that's right, do it seriously!," only to get iron clawed by his artificial arm. He ignored the Niko-chan mark that was distorted into a bitter expression. Just as it is, he put more power and mekimeki, sounds of something cracking came from Mini Miledi's head.
"It would become an unpleasant design if this keeps up, so hand over the age of gods magic already."
"Ummm~, did you notice your speech and behavior are villain-lik- [Meki meki meki] Affirmative! I'll immediately hand it over! That's why, stop! I truly will break if this keeps up!"
Maybe because their bitterness had decreased having seen Mini Miledi being capable of little more than flailing around, Yue and Shia regained their composure. Mini Miledi who understood that she truly would be destroyed if she kept joking around, finally began to activate the magic circle.
Hajime and his party entered the magic circle. This time, because Miledi herself knew they cleared the trial, there was no need to search their memories like that time in the Orcus Great Dungeon, and the information and how to use the age of gods magic were directly carved into their brains. Although Hajime and Yue who already experienced this didn't show any reaction, Shia who experienced this for the first time bikunh, jumped.
The carving ended after a few seconds, Hajime and his party easily obtained Miledi Raisen's age of gods magic.
"This is... ... magic to manipulate gravity as expected."
"That's ri~ght. Miledi-chan's magic is gravity magic. Use it well... ... is what I wanted to say, but you and that Usagi-chan don't have the aptitude~ it was at a level that even I was surprised by it!"
"How noisy. I have understood that much."
Just as Mini Miledi said, Hajime and Shia who had the information of gravity magic carved into their brain were unable to fully use it. It's the same case as how Yue is only able to use a little of Creation magic, it was a matter of aptitude.
"Well, Usagi-chan should be able to use it if it's only to adjust weight. For you... ... because you can use Creation magic, just do something about it yourself. Blonde-chan alone has the aptitude. With training, you can master how to use it."
Having heard Mini Miledi's somewhat serious explanation, Hajime could only shrug his shoulders, while Yue was nodding, and Shia was brokenhearted. It was because she was judged to have no aptitude for the age of gods magic that she had finally obtained. She could only use it to adjust her weight. She was truly disappointed. Moreover, it was out of question to make herself heavier, but there was also a problem to make herself lighter. If she was negligent, it would only make her figure bad. Rather, burdened by the demerits... ... Shia could only feel depressed.
Having cast a skeptical gaze toward the depressed Shia, Hajime immediately made further demands. There was no need to be reserved at all.
"Oi, Miledi. Pass us the proof already. Then, give me all of your convenient artifacts and all of the unusual materials you have such as the Induction stone."
"... ... You, aren't your lines completely the same as a robber's? Are you aware of it?."
From the distorted Niko-chan mark mask, a glare could be felt, but Hajime ignored that. Mini Miledi pulled out a ring after rustling her chest pocket, then threw it toward Hajime. Hajime received it with a pashih, sound. Raisen's ring had a design of upper and lower ellipses with a stake piercing them.
Mini Miledi immediately made a large amount of ores appear from empty space. She probably had a "Treasure Box." The ores that were taken out was kept inside of it. Having seen that she obediently took them out, she probably had already decided to hand them over beforehand. That's because Miledi was convinced Hajime would fight those mad gods, that's why she wouldn't mind cooperation of this level.
However, to not be satisfied by this much was Hajime's quality. After putting away all of the minerals inside his own "Treasure Box," Hajime turned cold eyes toward Mini Miledi.
"Oi, isn't that "Treasure Box"? If so, hand that over too. There are probably some artifacts inside."
"O-oi you~. I won't hand over anymore than this. The "Treasure Box" and the other artifacts are necessary to maintain the dungeon."
"As if I care. Hand them over."
"Ah, oi, I said no!"
Because Hajime truly tried to snatch it away, Mini Miledi retreated with an impatient expression. All of the artifacts that she owns were things necessary for the dungeon. Rather, they were only useful for that, so they were no use for Hajime to have them. Having heard that explanation, Hajime, "Hou hou, I see. Then, hand those over.", said that demand without any mercy. No matter how it was seen, it was a robbery.
"Ee~i, I already said I won't hand them! Mou, go back already!"
Currently, toward Hajime that impatiently approached, Mini Miledi turned on her heel with all of her might and ran toward the wall, then elevating the floating block, she moved into the ceiling.
"Don't escape. For me, I just want to get the rewards for conquering the dungeon. That's a legitimate demand from me."
"Having the nerve to say that, please do something about your sense of value! Uu, to make me say something that O-chan usually said..."
"By the way, my sense of value was cultivated inside that O-chan's dungeon."
While she continued looking at Hajime with a shocked expression, Yue and Shia who still held a grudge after being toyed with entered the fray, they narrowly encircled Miledi. Although half of it was because she reaped what she had sown, Miledi felt the other half was her former comrades' fault for making this dungeon.
"Haa~, to have these abnormals as my first challengers... ... mou, no more. I will send you outside by force! Don't come again!"
In front of Hajime and his party who seemed to jump out at any time, Mini Miledi grasped the string that unbeknownst to them hung down from the ceiling, then gui, pulled it.
For a moment, Hajime and his party let out expressions wondering what she was doing. But, an unpleasant sound they've already heard before could be heard by their ears.
That's right, it was the sound of an activated trap. At the moment the sound rang out, accompanied with a roar, water gushed out of the four walls with tremendous velocity. A large amount of water gushed out like a flash flood, not from the front but diagonally above, and the room was filled in no time with a rapid current. At the same time, the magic circle in the center of the room sunk like an antlion's nest, there was a hole in the center of it. The rapid current rushed toward the hole.
"You! This is—!"
Hajime who had noticed something stiffened for a moment, he instantly wore a distorted expression filled with humiliation.
A white room with a hole in the middle of it, also a large amount of water whirled and flowed into it... ... That's right, this was just like a "toilet"!
"Unpleasant things should be flushed?"
Mini Miledi gave out a wink. Yue immediately tried using magic to jump up. Because there was an age of gods magic circle, there was no magic power disintegration. That's why, even with only a little amount of magic power left, Yue could use magic to help everyone escape the rapid current.
"I won't let you~!"
However, the moment before Yue said "Soar" to activate the magic, Mini Miledi thrust out her right hand, at the same time an extraordinary pressure attacked Hajime and his party. They sunk inside the rapid current as if being pressed by something gigantic. She was probably using gravity magic to multiply the gravity several times.
"See ya~, good luck on conquering the other dungeons~."
"Gopoh... ... you, did you think we are filth!? Someday, I'll surely destroy you!"
"Kehoh... ... Unforgivable."
"Now you've done it! Fugah."
Hajime and his party let out sharp parting remarks, then were swept by the rapid current into the hole. A moment before they entered the hole, only Hajime tried to retaliate by throwing something. Along with Hajime and his party that were flushed into the hole, the water flowed out at the same speed, then the floor returned and the room regained its former form.
"Fuu~, what strong fellows~. Even so, a synergist master just like O-chan huh. Fufu, somehow it feels like destiny. Keep struggling for your wish... ... well then, I'll be busy for a while to repair the dungeon and the golems... ... nn? What was, that."
Even without the ability to sweat, Mini Miledi made a gesture of wiping her forehead. After that, she discovered an object that she was not used to seeing at the edge of her field of vision. A knife was pierced into the wall and a black object hanging from it. "What is it?", as she approached, having recalled it she finally realized.
"Heh!? This is, don't tell me—!?"
A black object, it was Hajime's handmade grenade. It was the only form of retaliation that he could have done; throwing a knife with a grenade attached, just before being flushed into the hole. Because he had used it many times inside the dungeon, Miledi already judged that it was an explosive, she immediately floated to take refuge in a hurry. Actually, the current Mini Miledi had bad magic power consumption when using gravity magic, she already spent most of it bringing them down. That's why she was unable to hold down the explosion.
Although Mini Miledi watawata, turned her heels, it was too slow. At the moment Mini Miledi turned her heels, the white room was kah, filled with a flash, and followed by an intense impact.
Inside the dungeon, "Hinyaaa—!!", a woman's scream resounded. Afterwards, there was a small golem that was seriously in need of repair, weeping, or there wasn't, was there...
On the other side, Hajime and his party that got flushed like filth were swept into the tunnel-like place by the rapid current at tremendous speed. It wasn't a place where you could breathe either, so they could only advance while submerged in the water. Somehow, although unskillfully, they desperately tried to control their bodies so they wouldn't crash into the wall and lose consciousness.
Then, at that time, in the view of Hajime and his party, many shadows passed them by. Those were fishes. It seemed the place they were swept into was an underground vein that connected to rivers and lakes. However, unlike Hajime and his party who were washed away, the fishes were boldly swimming inside the rapid current and came to pass them by.
Unbeknownst to them, one of the fishes swam beside Shia's face who had stopped her desperation to breathe. Somehow, that fish looked toward Shia.
There were eyes.
The fish. No, the human-faced fish had oldman-like eyes. Because it probably didn't know how to speak, it didn't say anything. In conclusion, Shia met the eyes of the human-faced fish. The old man-like face of the human-faced fish displayed impudence and lethargic feelings, it was reminiscent of the nostalgic Shi-ma**.
Shia who was surprised, opened her eyes wide. She panickly tried to cover her mouth with her hands after unintentionally letting out her breath. However, she was so surprised she didn't avert her gaze. Shia and the old man (fish) continued to advance inside the rapid current while staring at each other.
And, the flow of time that seemed to continue forever between Shia and the old man (fish) was abruptly ended. A voice resounded inside Shia's head.
—- Just what are you looking at.
That was added with a click of the tongue. This time Shia was unable to endure any longer. Inside the water "Bufoa!", she grandly exhaled. Certainly, the old man (fish) might be a kind of demonic beast. It probably had the special magic similar to "Telepathy." But, without being able to confirm it, the old man (fish) started to swim through the rapid current and went ahead with surprising agility.
What it left behind was a rabbit-eared girl who lost her power while displaying the whites of her eyes.
* * *
From town to town, a carriage and several horses advanced peacefully on the highway that connected villages with pakka pakka, rhythmical footsteps. Certainly, there were people riding on the horses. There were three men and a woman who were dressed as adventurers. On the carriage, sitting on the coach seat was a 15-16 year old girl and a monster... ... a giant shemale.
"Souna-chaa~n, because we'll reach a spring soon, let's rest a little there~."
The shemale called Crystabel was the manager of a dress store in Brook town who Yue and Shia were indebted to. Also, the girl that sat beside Crystabel was the inn girl of "Masaka Inn"; Souna Masaka. Although for some reason her name is always able to surprise anyone, she is only a normal girl who has a lot of curiosity and too much pink elements in her brain.
These two were currently returning to Brook town from a neighboring town escorted by adventurers. Because it could be understood that Crystabel was as strong as an oni, it harvests a lot of clothing materials by itself. To get all of the materials at the same time, it left the town. Souna was taking advantage of it hearing that a relative in the neighboring town was injured, she represented her parents who were unable to leave the inn to deliver a get-well gift. The adventurers originally came from Brook town, having finished their job, they incidentally became their escorts.
There was only one day of travelling left until they returned to Brook town. Crystabel and the others decided to rest at the spring on the side of the highway, at noon.
Crystabel and the others who had arrived at the spring were preparing to have lunch on the spring's levee after letting the horses drink the water. Souna who wanted to get some water approached the side of the spring. Then, the moment she scooped the water by dipping the container in the spring,
GOPOh! GOPOGOPOh GOPANh!!
Those sounds suddenly rang out, then bubbles suddenly started spouting from the center of the spring.
Souna raised a scream and fell on her butt, Crystabel immediately carried her in one arm and returned to where the adventurers were. Even at that time, the bubbles that spouted out became more intense, until finally a water column with a height more than ten meters appeared.
This spring was commonly known as a resting place along the highway, and this kind of phenomenon had never once been reported. Therefore, Crystabel, Souna, and the adventurers could only open their mouths in surprise while blankly staring at that, without being affected by the rain-like drops of water, they only looked at the huge water column.
"... ... ... ..."
From the water that spouted out without losing momentum, three people... ... the screams of two people could be heard as they came out. Spontaneously "What the-!", said Crystabel and the others with their eyes popping out. The trio of humans that came out were blown off ten meters above while screaming, and just as it is, they were thrown to the opposite side of Crystabel and the others and DOBONh!, fell while making that sound.
"Wh-what on earth happen-..."
The adventurers and Crystabel were speechless. Souna's mutters represented everyone's feelings.
* * *
"Gehoh, gahoh, ~~kh, that was awful. I will surely destroy that guy next time. Yue, Shia. Are you okay?"
"Kehoh kehoh... ... nn, I am okay"
Having somehow managed to get into the water's surface, Hajime confirmed Yue's and Shia's safety after cursing. However, only Yue replied to him.
"Shia? Oi, Shia! Answer me!"
"Shia... ... where are you?"
Even as they called out to her, there was no sign of her in the surroundings. Hajime hurriedly dived underwater to search for her. Then, as he thought, Shia had sunk to the bottom. Having lost her consciousness, she was unable to float because of Doryukken's weight.
Hajime took out a compressed super-heavy mineral from "Treasure Box" and used it as a weight replacement to immediately dive, then he carried Shia up.
He went to shore while dragging Shia. Shia was laid upside down, her face was pale with the whites of her eyes showing, while her breathing and pulse stopped. Maybe because she saw something unpleasant, she had lost consciousness with her face looking like it had a cramp.
"Yue, do CPR!"
"... ... C-... what?"
"A~, like I said, secure her breathing..."
Having seen Shia's condition, he told Yue to do CPR, but Yue only had "?" floating overhead. In this world, there was probably no such thing as CPR. Because there was no wound, drinking the Holy Water wouldn't help, and would just hydrate her even more. Yue was weak at healing magic, she couldn't possibly know any magic that was capable of making Shia let out water or to pinpoint massage her heart.
Although the exact moment when she lost her consciousness wasn't known, there was no time to argue. Hajime, with grim determination performed CPR to the unconscious Shia.
And naturally, well, there was mouth to mouth, Yue who saw that immediately became displeased, but because she understood that was the only way to save Shia, she could only quietly watch. That's right, she only jii and ji-, stared at him.
Hajime tried to ignore Yue's inorganic gaze with all his might and repeatedly performed CPR.
"Geez, when I think back, to be dying right after everything is over... ... you're truly a regrettable fellow.'
In his mind, he let out those abusive words, and after doing artificial respiration for who knows how many times, Shia finally vomited water. Hajime turned her sideways so the water wouldn't block the trachea. It was a situation where he completely covered her body.
"Kehoh kehoh... ... Hajime-san?"
"Ou, it is Hajime-san. Geez, don't die because of somethi-!?"
While continuing to display an amazed expression near Shia who was laid down and choking, Hajime showed a somewhat relieved expression. Shia who could only blankly look at Hajime, suddenly, gabacho!, kissed him as she embraced him. It was an unexpected action, so Hajime who was close to her failed to avoid it.
Shia held Hajime's head with both her hands, wrapping her legs on Hajime's waist to keep a hold on him and without any reservation her tongue invaded his mouth. Hajime was unable to shake off Shia who used her herculean strength to hold him.
To tell the truth, during the many repeated artificial respirations, Shia somehow knew she was kissed by Hajime. Although she was unable to move her body, her consciousness had already returned. It was probably a situation brought by her using body strengthening the moment she drowned.
Having kissed many times, Shia's feeling-o-meter was blown off. To not let him escape, she completely held Hajime's body then losing herself, she returned Hajime's kiss.
On the other side, Yue who saw such a spectacle... ... was perplexed and displeased. Although she was displeased by it, she didn't try to stop it. She whispered, "Only this time, as a reward...", in small mutters. Apparently, she took Shia's feelings into consideration and seemed to allow it as her reward for working hard inside the dungeon.
"Wah wah, what!? What's with this situation!? A-amazingly... ... wet, while entangled with each other... ... so, so intense... ... even though it's outside! H-how abnormal!"
That was the conclusion that came from the excessive delusions of Souna-chan; the inn girl. Following that, "Ara? Certainly you are...", Crystabel tried to remember Yue and Shia while wriggling its body. Then, with flames of envy inside their eyes, the male adventurers desperately tried to control themselves from drawing their swords, while the female adventurer looked at them with cold eyes.
Now, with Shia stuck to him, Hajime lift his body up. Then, he intensely grasped Shia's plump butt.
Shia unintentionally let out a gasp. In the next moment, without loosening his grasp, Hajime PEIH!, pulled and peeled Shia off then threw her into the spring just like that.
Looking at Shia being dropped into the spring while screaming with a skeptical gaze, Hajime fixed his hair while breathing roughly.
"Th-there is no time to be careless at all. Attacking right after resuscitation... ... even I can't read that move."
Towards Shia who was immediately crawling out from the spring like Sadako, Hajime displayed an expression as if he was shivering.
[T/N: Sadako is Japan's female ghost equivalent of the grudge.]
"Uu~ that was cruel~ even though Hajime-san also did that~."
"Haa? That was just a life-saving action... ... rather, you, were you already conscious that time?"
"U~n, although I could only feel it... ... I somehow knew what happened. For me to be kissed by Hajime-san, uhehe."
"Stop that laugh... ... listen, in the end that was a life-saving action, there is no other meaning, you know? Don't expect anything weird, okay?"
"Is that so? But, a kiss is a kiss. The time for dere will come faster if this keeps up."
"Never. Rather, Yue. Help me stop her."
"... ... Only this time... ... but, because Shia had worked hard... ... No, but..."
"Yue~? Yue-san Ya~y"
Toward Yue who kept looking at an empty space while continuing her murmurs, Hajime was only able to let out a sigh while thinking, "This one is also hopeless." Then, he looked toward Crystabel and the others that had come near to check on Hajime and his party.
His gaze moved from the adventurers, it stopped for a moment toward Souna. Then when he saw Crystabel, he returned his gaze toward Souna. It seemed he preferred to not see that.
Having been gazed at by Hajime, Souna's body twitched then shook, and her face immediately blushed.
"So-sorry for the interruption! P-please don't worry about us and continue!"
Crystabel picked Souna up by the scruff of her neck, who tried to turn her heels after saying those words. Then, they came straight toward Hajime and his party as it is. Because of the monster approaching them, Hajime tried to pull out Donner, but Shia next to him said, "Ah, manager-san", with a tone as if they were acquaintances and they continued talking.
As a result, their current location turned out to be one day away from Brook town, Hajime and his party decided to revisit the town. Taking advantage of Crystabel's carriage, they were spoiled by it. Their wet clothes were changed on the way. While talking about various things, they advanced under the warm sunlight with the horse's footsteps as the BGM.
Together with a new companion, Hajime conquered the second dungeon. While laying down inside the wagon and watching the sun shining brilliantly, Hajime thought about what might happen on his journey from now on and a smile floated on his face.
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