327 Part 2
“We really do look the part now, don’t we? Well, maybe not our clothes.”
Their clothes for sightseeing on the early layers were the same clothes they wore while playing in town. They were just normal clothes.
“Maybe we can prepare some next time.”
“That might be cool.”
“Uhh, so we should go to the deepest part?”
“Yes, that should do it.”
“Alright! Let’s go!”
Maple thrusted the torch up into the air and then marched forward excitedly. As this was the second layer, there were no complicated gimmicks or powerful monsters. And their exploration continued smoothly. Even Sally’s magic was strong enough on this layer, and she was able to kill monsters before they could get close.
“Be careful so you don’t slip.”
“Yes! I’ll shine the light down here….oh, it keeps going down.”
“I think things should start changing soon? Maple. Try turning off the torch once.”
The two made sure that there were no monsters around before turning off the lights. They were immediately surrounded by darkness, however, when they looked down at the ground, they now saw that it was glowing slightly. It didn’t look like something was releasing the light, but more like some mysterious power was causing the light itself to be suspended there. Maple squatted down and inspected it.
“Oh, I can see it. So this is the sign?”
“I see… It’s something you could easily miss when exploring.”
“You often miss things even when you think that you’re being thorough. I bet there’s a lot of places that no one has found yet.”
“Hmm. I guess we’ll have to keep looking then!”
Maple smiled as if to say, ‘and we’ll do it together!’ Sally laughed and said, ‘yes, yes.’
“So you see that there’s a sign, right? Now you just need to find it whenever there’s a branching path.”
“Okay! Now it’s back to the torches!”
As long as they could find the signs, they would not get lost. Like Sally said, they checked every time there was a branching path, and continued to make their way through the cave. The paths gradually became narrower, and there were some places where they had to duck in order to get through.
“Phew. We’ve gone pretty far now, haven’t we?”
“Yeah. There should be a crack in the ground up ahead. We just need to go down it and we’ll be there.”
“Yes! Finally! Alright, let’s do it!”
“Yeah, I’m going to use this so you don’t fall…well, maybe it’s not necessary, but just in case, okay?”
Maple got on Sally’s back and then Sally secured her with a rope. Then she took out another rope and tied it around a nearby rock and then dropped the other end into the crevice. As she was always jumping off of Syrup and exploding, Maple would have likely been fine if she just jumped down. However, they had come all of this way while relying on torches, and they didn’t want to breeze through the last stretch.
“Hold on tight.”
“If any monsters come out, I’ll paralyze them!”
“Thanks. Alright, I’m going down!”
Maple held on tight while making sure that she would still be able to use her sword and activate Paralyze Shout if necessary. When Sally saw that she was ready, she pulled the rope taut and put her feet on the wall as she slid downward.
The surface of the rock was dry, and Sally didn’t need to worry about slipping as she descended. Occasionally, she would point her headlight down in order to ensure that it was safe. Sometimes bat monsters would fly towards them, but Maple knocked them out of the air with paralysis attacks. And like that, the two succeeded in reaching the bottom of the pit. First, they took care of the paralyzed bats, and made sure there were no other monsters nearby. Then they rested.
“Phew. Good work. I’ll put you down now.”
After killing all of the monsters with magic, Sally put Maple down. Now that they were at the bottom, a narrow tunnel stretched out in front of them. And they could see the glowing marks on the walls and floor.
“They look like fireflies.”
“They do. We should reach our destination once we get through this tunnel.”
As she said this, Sally turned off her headlight and instructed Maple to do the same. The marks that would lead them were no longer vague. In fact, they offered them enough light to see, and they would have no trouble walking.
Like this, they walked through the glowing tunnel until they reached the farthest depths of the cave, their destination.
This chamber was shaped like a dome. And in the air were floating balls of light in various colors. There were even more lights on the ceiling and floor than there had been in the tunnel. And the two felt like they were in a planetarium as they walked to the center.
In the center, there was a single pillar that connected the ceiling to the floor. And this pillar was unleashing an especially strong glow. When the two stepped closer to get a better look, they saw that unlike the other lights, this pillar was glowing due to a precious stone.
“Maple, Why don’t you try taking it?”
“Hm…oh! It came off! Uh… ‘Heavenly Body in your Hand’?”
The sphere that rested in Maple’s palm did not look like it did anything special, but her eyes lit up all the same.
“Ohhh! It’s so pretty! I’m glad we came here!”
“Hehe. Really? That’s good. Apparently, no one knows what these are for yet.”
“And since it’s kind of hard to get here, they aren’t very popular, even though they are pretty.”
“Oh, so it’s like a hidden location!”
“Exactly. So we can relax here all we want.”
The two sat down in the quiet chamber, and looked up at the ceiling as if it was a night sky. That’s when Maple realized that she had guessed right.
“Oh, so it is a night sky after all!”
“Yeah. An underground night sky. I did some research, and it’s said that every layer has a spot that is themed after the night sky.”
“Ohh. Then we should go to all of them!”
“That’s a good idea. As long as you’re having fun, I’ll go exploring with you whenever you want. Besides, maybe there will be something special for people who have seen them all?”
“That would be so cool! But, I don’t care if there isn’t…”
“Yes. Just getting here was fun enough!”
For Maple, this scenery and the fun they had on the road was a big enough reward. And that was not likely to change.
“I…see. Yes, I think I feel the same.”
“Ah! That’s right, Sally! We only got one suveniir this time. What should we do?”
“…You can keep it, Maple.”
“Yeah. So you can always look back and remember this.”
“But don’t you want it too, Sally?”
“Hehe. I won’t need that to remember this.”
“Huh? Hey, I’m not that forgetful!”
“Are you sure?”
The two faced each other, and though it was dim, they could tell that the other was laughing. As the time passed serenely, the two gazed up at the underground night sky, and ate the lunch boxes they had bought.