Bonus chapter. Thank you for your donation
Itai no wa Iya nanode Bōgyo-Ryoku ni Kyokufuri Shitai to Omoimasu 385
Defense Specialization and The Crevice 3
Maple and Sally kept exploring in the unchanging underwater landscape for far longer than they had originally expected to, as they had managed to replenish their oxygen without having to resurface.
“How long have we been down here?”
“Looking at the map, it seems that we’re about to reach the middle of the crevice. We’ve been on an almost straight path, so there are many places we haven’t checked yet, such as near the walls and everything in between from here to there.”
It wasn’t visible until they dived into the crevice, but the bottom seemed to be made up of several types of terrain, and there were places with different characteristics, such as the rocky and sandy areas that the two of them had just passed through.
“The sandy spot seems to be like that main ambush area, so whatever we’re looking for might be somewhere else.”
“Nothing but sand around here, huh?”
“There might be something buried here, but there’s no point trying to dig here.”
It wasn’t a good idea to start digging this whole area without any landmarks, or anything to prove that there was indeed something buried underground. They could end up wasting a lot of time on a wild goose chase.
“We should be able to deal with any monster that comes our way here!”
“Let’s get out of here quickly. Since we know their patterns, we shouldn’t need to be afraid of getting surprise-attacked from underground, and besides, we’re not here for the drops or the experience points.”
With nothing more to do in the sandy area, the two headed towards the next terrain while repelling every monster that jumped out of the ground at them. Eventually their headlights cast light upon a hard, rocky ground.
“According to the map, we haven’t backtracked or anything, so it has to be a new spot. Besides, I can’t see those tall rocks from before.”
“Yeah, you’re right.”
“It’s pretty difficult to stay hidden in here, and like before, I don’t think we’ll find anything here… Unless the difficulty here rises somehow soon…”
“Not being able to hide as easily as before makes things harder for us…”
“Well, let’s proceed with caution. Our oxygen is going down as we speak.”
“Right! We can’t afford to explore in a relaxed manner!”
They couldn’t help but remain overly vigilant as they proceeded through that new area. Then, among the rugged rocks, they found something that looked like a worn-out stone brick.
“Sally, Sally~! What do you think?”
“Looks like there might be something here. Don’t you think exploring this area takes way too much time? Most of the time would be spent on roundtrips to the surface for oxygen…”
“We don’t know what kind of monsters we’ll face here, so we’d better stick to each other.”
“Sure! I’ll do my best to protect you!”
“I’m counting on you.”
As they continued to search for any leads, they found what seemed to be evidence of other people having been there in the past. Though they were tattered, those things showed signs of having been made with sturdy materials, they seemed to have been designed in such a way that made would make it clear to see what they used to be before they became mere traces.
“There’s more over here, Sally!”
“We seem to be getting closer to the middle of this area.”
Finally, some good news. Maple had been swimming all over the place, but as she turned her headlight forward, something was revealed in the darkness.
“It’s a house!”
“It’s in shambles… but it’s definitely a building. Is this some kind of town?”
They were at the entrance to what had once been a town. Upon pointing their headlights towards the buildings, they could see that most of them had already collapsed, and only a few of them still were in a barely recognizable state. However, the amount of debris laying around evidenced that the town was medium in size.
“Let’s get in!”
“Yeah. It looks like there are no monsters in here.”
They had no reason not to enter the ruined town after coming this far. There could be more enemies lurking underground in the sandy area, ready to jump at them as they proceeded, so Maple and Sally headed into the town while being alert about possible surprise attacks.
“Are there any buildings we could get in?”
“Any building that seems to be too buried under the rubble to be explored would be our best bet.”
“Hehe, I’m experienced at exploring ancient ruins!”
“W-Well, we’ve explored our fair share of ruins, haven’t we?”
“Yeah. We’ve been exploring even more than usual. We might now be able to tell if there’s something as soon as we set foot into a building.”
Sally left the exploration to Maple, thinking she’d let her conduct her search however she saw fit.
Motivated, Maple headed towards a nearby building.
She found herself in the ruins of a now roofless house that had no doors or furniture, but couldn’t find anything inside.
It could be safely assumed that being submerged under this large amount of water for who knows how long had already destroyed everything that could have been found inside.
“Aw, there was nothing in there.”
“Then let’s check out the next place.”
“Yeah, let’s keep it up!”
They couldn’t give up after only searching for a little while and not finding anything. The only time it would be okay for them to give up would be after searching and searching and still get nothing out of it.
Sally followed after the lively Maple to make sure she hadn’t overlooked anything.
After having come all the way to the bottom of the crevice, it would be a shame if they had to go back empty-handed.
Though they had been swimming around for some time, there seemed to be no monsters in the ruined town, so they would be able to search within a larger area, increasing their efficiency. Of course, the field of view granted by their headlights and the distance their voices would reach one another didn’t change.
“Anything yet, Maple?”
“I think I found something here!”
“I see… Wait, what? You did!?”
Having been half-expecting Maple to say that she hadn’t found anything as usual, the surprised Sally turned to face the light of Maple’s headlight and quickly headed there.
“So where is it?”
“Ah, Sally! Here, here!”
“This is… Some kind of stone monument? Doesn’t look like a regular stone to me.”
The rubble of a nearby building had created a slope, and a stone monument as dark as the water surrounding it could be seen among the stones and iron scraps. It somehow seemed as if it didn’t belong there.
“Something seems to be written here… Let’s see…”
“They look like those letters…”
Some of the letters engraved in the stone monument seemed to have been damaged by the debris, but still most of them looked similar to the ones that Kanade had taught them about.
“Can you read these, Sally?”
“Well, no… Only just a bit. But I can’t really understand what it says here.”
“I know Kanade has taught us so much about these characters… but there were so many lessons…”
They weren’t slow learners or anything like that, but it was far too much to expect them to learn an entire language just like that.
They looked at each other, and without saying anything, agreed that no one was better suited for the job as Sally opened a message window and started typing.
After a short while, they received a reply from Kanade.
“It looks like you’ve found something interesting. Sure, I’ll help you out if it’s too hard for you to read something like that. It seems to be chipped here and there, so I had to fill in some blanks before I could translate it. There seems to be something in the center of the town. It seems to be important and it is sealed away, and tightly protected. Why don’t you go check it out? I’m looking forward to seeing what you find there.”
“I’m glad he replied quickly… So, a seal, huh?”
“So there’s something up ahead?”
Depending on what kind of thing was being sealed away, they might have to fight their way through. In that case, knowing how much oxygen they had left was essential.
“Can you fight, Maple?”
“I have plenty of skills left that I can use! I think I should have enough oxygen as well!”
“Then let’s head for the center of the town. Let me send a quick thank-you to Kanade… Done.”
Since their next destination had been decided, they quickly set out for the center of the town. They had also suspended their exploration for the time being.
Since they had already been close to the center of the town, they arrived at what seemed to be their destination quickly enough.
“Could that be it?”
A building made of black stone was there. However, it seemed that it had been closed tightly long ago, same as when the stone monument was made. The main entrance had probably collapsed when the city was completely submerged. But there was a tear in the wall where they could slip through and get inside.
“It doesn’t seem to be too big inside judging from the outside. Let’s get inside.”
“The monsters in this area are quite large, so I don’t think they’ll be able to fit inside.”
The two go inside, thinking that there would be nothing in there waiting for them. thinking that they will never be waiting. As expected, there was nothing in particular, and the inside was enshrouded in silence.
The interior was about 5 by 5 meters, and they couldn’t find anything that looked like a trap.
Looking around the walls found them nothing but a single pedestal and the characters written on it.
“Ugh, we’re gonna have to ask Kanade again!”
From now on, they would have no choice but to reach out to their teacher, since they wouldn’t be able to decipher those characters on time no matter how much they could have spent taking those special lessons.
Kanade’s reply came immediately, almost as if he had been expecting them to contact him more than once for help with deciphering those pesky characters.
“Umm… So we should hit each wall with a spell of its corresponding attribute?”
“That’s what he said… I’ll do it. You don’t have those kinds of magic skills after all, Maple.”
Maple could only use the poison magic, so she didn’t have the means to solve this riddle. It might have been possible to meet the conditions with items, but since Sally was around, there was no need to worry about that.
Sally had access to enough spells to solve it without any problems.
Sally prepared the spell and shot a fireball at the wall. As soon as it hit the wall, the fireball exploded and disappeared, and a red magic circle appeared on the wall.
“Oh! Looks like it worked!”
“That’s right. Let’s see about the other ones.”
Then, Sally casts her spells on the remaining walls. Thanks to Kanade, they already knew which attribute corresponded to which wall, so there was no need to worry about that.
Then, as soon as a magic circle emerged on the last walls, the black pedestal cracked open and split into two while emitting blue light, creating a sphere that seemed to be about to burst from its center. The light continuously burst into flying sparks, which made Maple and Sally feel a strong energy coming from it, but it seemed that nothing more would happen after that.
“…Nothing happened? Should we try touching it?”
“But it’s sparkling quite heavily…”
“Activate ‘Pierce Guard’ just in case. I can recover quickly just in case.”
“Sure! Let’s try that!”
Since her “Stout Guardian” passive skill was still active, Maple wouldn’t be defeated no matter how things could get, so at least they would be able to escape to safety.
Maple activated her skill as suggested by Sally, and tried touching the sphere. Immediately after that, a magic circle of the same color as the sphere was deployed on the ground, and an intense light started to shine at their feet.
At the same time as Maple activated that skill to protect Sally, the two of them were swallowed into the magic circle’s light and disappeared.