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I switched the tense around to being present tense for the most part. In the earlier chapters I used a combination of literary past and present tense, but I recently started to feel like present tense suits First PoV stories better. 🙂
A few red dots are displayed on the simple, three-dimensional map. Given that I’m in a forest right now, I concentrate on the Lytep Recoil System at this point. As soon as the front and back tires transform into globes, the orbital floats up.
The bike begins to weave its way through the trees. Riding this orbital…rocks! It feels extremely nice! I have lots of fun passing through the trees while steering the bike.
Rollo, who’s sitting at the tip of my seat, instructs me to head right by pointing a bean-sprout-like tentacle in that direction as if saying 『Go this way nya』, then, in the next moment, she shifts her tentacle towards the left as if saying, 『Now this way nya』.
I suppose I’ll humor Rollo for a bit.
After having satisfied her playful mood for some time, I slightly increase the pressure on the accelerator.
Just as the bike speeds up all of a sudden, it almost crashes into a huge tree reminding me of a Yakushima cedar, but the embedded radar has apparently detected the obstacle, and automatically changes the bike’s course, avoiding the tree.
――Well done, Tiny Orbital!
After praising the bike in my mind, I check my back to get a reading on the identities behind the red dots. Just then, the creatures that have been pursuing us are visible in-between the trees.
They are three-eyed evil races riding gray, horse-shaped magic beasts. As their mounts are armored, they remind me of cataphracts of East Rome or the Byzantine Empire.
『The equipment of the riders is pretty decent. Judging from its quality, they don’t seem to be related to the village from before』
『Looks like it. They’re also wearing several items filled with mana. They remind me of the elite class Evil Domain Monk Kire』
『Are you going to fight them? I can put stakes into their butts』
『Nah, they’re quite fast, but…』
My orbital is faster. The evil races gradually become smaller as if merging with the trees. The red dots also vanish from the map.
『I guess they can’t keep up with us. We’ll ignore them』
It looks like they’ve only been fast in the beginning. Well, their magic beasts are living beings, so yeah. The magic beasts looked quite excellent, but they got to have their limits as well.
…Let’s just forget about the guys behind me. I’m going to enjoy the quick ride as I press down on the accelerator.
“Nyaaaaa.” Rollo looks like she’s also been having fun for a while now. “Nn, nyaon, nyaa,” she meows as she places both forepaws on the display in the middle of the handlebar.
Cute tentacles have extended to the left and right from both sides of her neck. The small pads on the underside look like they’re swimming in the wind.
As I proceed through the woodlands while gently stroking Rollo’s head, the view in front of me suddenly opens up. The map also changes in real time. It’s an area with gently sloping hills.
I feel a faint breeze tickling my cheeks…wonderful. Let’s continue the trip through the unexplored 20th floor for a bit ― it’s going to be a Different World Tour.
I pass through a region with a waving terrain where one hill follows the next. On the way I spot a huge sexual orgy where a flock of monsters with two heads, which seem to be cleaved open to the sides, and the upper bodies of kangaroos is copulating en masse with a herd of horse-shaped magic beasts possessing rhinoceros heads. A sickly, sweet and weird smell is hanging in the air around here.
Rollo reacts to that display of nature’s desires. But I stop her since she’s trying to reproduce it with her tentacles. It’s really nothing she needs to learn.
I press down on the accelerator, rushing through this area. Then I pass an area where a bear-like monster is fighting against a big bird of paradise. I ignore the scene of mysterious, armless monsters with five squirming eyes, a torso, and several broom-like legs, pretty magic beasts with curly hair, and huge spiders duking it out. Same can be said about a place where huge grasshoppers and a crowd of moon-shaped rocks clash against each other, with the rocks exploding for some reason.
I watch the battle between a group of three-eyed evil races and shady plant monsters, which breathe green mist out of their grassy mouths, for a short moment before safely passing them. I drive past the mysterious scene of a long-armed, legless monster repeatedly colliding its torso against that of a long-legged, armless monster. I’m also trying to go past a herd of running magic beasts resembling Rollodeen in her horse lion form…but I fail.
Rollo is excited, asking 『What are those nya』. She begins slapping the lower part of the orbital’s seat with her tentacle just like she does when sitting behind Popobumu’s head.
Okay, okay, I got it.
As she’d keep bugging me about it, I humor her by having the bike run next to the herd of wild magic beasts. Rollo doesn’t try to get off the orbital, but she points the cute tip of her nose towards the beasts. I pull the orbital over, bringing it close to one beast’s back. Given that the bike is running silently, the beast doesn’t notice us.
Rollo sniffs the beast’s butt with her nose twitching. Noticing the orbital, the beast in question gets startled and quickly distances itself from us.
We continue our trip in such a tune. Aimlessly crossing hills, and plowing through plains and wastelands.
Hmm, there’s a remarkably high hill over there. I think I’m going to scale it.
I weave my way through rocks scattered at the foot of the hill, and then begin to head upwards along the slope. The orbital hums deeply as it floats with the support of the Lytep Recoil System.
Oh? There’s something looking like a historic ruin with small sculptures on the summit.
I approach that place with my bike, and stop. Remaining seated, I stare at the sculptures. They depict a couple of three-eyed evil races. A round, white stone has been added between the two figures as decoration. I can feel a great amount of mana from the stone. The mana isn’t leaking out, though.
This white gem…it reminds me of the violet-white crystal in the Ragni Village.
『Your Excellency, it resembles the Ragni Village’s crystal that seals the deidan』
『I just had the same thought』
『Fufu, knowing you, you’re going to touch it, aren’t you? Please be careful, okay?』
『You say that, but you know that I’ll be alright』
Recently Helme has been getting better at reading me. Anyway, before touching it, I need to get off the bike first.
Right after dismounting, I let my eyes wander…enjoying the scenery around here. On the left I see dampness…a white mist, looking evil and ominous as it appears to expand its domain while melting the remaining snow, enveloping a part of the area.
There’s also a streamlet, though its water looks to have a somewhat different color? Not only the current on the brook’s surface, but also its color, which is contrasting the fog, are beautiful…
『Your Excellency, I’m also bothered by that evil-looking mist, but I wonder, what kind of water is that?』
『It piques your curiosity as water spirit, huh?』
In my case, I think I’d be fine even if I drank the water. Maybe I’ll descend the hill and head over to its shore later…I kinda want to try dipping my hands in the beautiful water.
While indulging in such fairy-tail-like thoughts, I look on my right side. Contrary to the left area with its dense mist…the right is flat and overgrown with plants. There are a few ups and downs, but the plains-like terrain reminds me of the grassland around the 【Evil God Hill】. It might be a region crowded with monsters different from the Guniguni cows.
“…Let’s check out the water later. Right now, I’m more interested in the white stone. I guess I’ll try sending some mana into it.”
The tiny Helme-san in my visual field makes her bum jiggle. Her feeling of excitement over me touching the stone might have triggered her to come up with a new, spirity inspiration. I think the completion of her second volume of new poses related to Evil Domain Hellrhone is close at hand.
I touch the stone while watching Helme’s butt. I feel a rough surface beneath my fingertips. It has a faint depression?
I attempt matching my palm with the depression on the stone’s surface. Immediately following, my mana is sucked out, and the earth begins to tremble. There’s sound from beneath?
Just as I wonder about that, the stone breaks right in half beneath my hand. The sculptures automatically slide to the left and right accompanied by the noise of something heavy scratching across the ground. Once they stop sliding, a gate-like pit becomes visible right in the middle between them.
I guess rather than a pit, it’s a path descending diagonally below…either way, it’s a hole big enough for a person to pass through.
“Nya?” Rollo peers down into the hole, asking 『Are you going to go in there nya?』, after getting off the orbital.
『It might be a trap to lure you in, Your Excellency』
『I’m not sure about that. It could be a sacred site of some evil race, or an ancient ruin』
『Ancient ruin…Your Excellency, I got it! We’re going in, right?』
『Sure thing, just as usual』
“Nya――” Rollo looks back at me, and then climbs on my shoulder, resting in a cat-loaf posture on her regular seat.
Smiling at her while feeling her precious body weighing down on me, I proceed into the hole. The inclination isn’t overly steep, but…it’s a cave sloping downwards to an extent that I naturally start to walk at a quicker pace. The floor is flesh-colored, and the tunnel’s width is rather small. The ceiling consists of bones, and seems to arch downwards under their weight. This curving, caving bone structure of the ceiling reminds me of a giant’s throat. The air in here is dry and cool. Moreover, for some reason, a salty breeze is blowing alongside the walls.
As I keep going downwards while scratching my nose tip…paintings start to appear on the walls. They’re drawings created with something similar to ink, depicting the silhouettes of ancient people, tyrannosaurus-rex-like dinosaurs, big cows – must be Guniguni, various monsters, and humanoids appearing to be evil races…
As I hurry downwards while looking at the frescos, I arrive at an underground area.
…Is this a forgotten historic ruin, temple, or graveyard? It’s filled with an eerie silence. …The high ceiling continuing from the walls with its conspicuous, jagged cracks is circular. Light shining into this place from below is being reflected by the ceiling as a pale moonlight. It gives the whole an amazing ambiance. But, there’s also black, shadowy objects.
The pale, reflected light pours down on me, causing bluish-white shadows to be created on my hands. And, what I considered to be jagged cracks at first are actually wall ornaments upon a closer look.
A molding of three-eyed, evil race women mourning has been added to the ceiling. Graven images showing waves swallowing women are protruding out of the ceiling.
But I must say, the ceiling is really high. This place seems to be considerably huge. I feel like a dwarf in comparison.
When I look at the center of this huge space, I spot a platform being one level higher than the rest. A white gem shining in an ominous light is floating on top of the platform. One ray of light is beaming towards the ceiling from the gem. The dust dancing in the air as it’s illuminated by the ray looks like mesmerizing silver dust as it reflects the dazzling light. Combined with the bluish-white light reflected by the ceiling, the whole space appears as if it’s been cut out from the scene of a fantastic fairy-tale.
The foundation creating this scenery is the dubious white gem. A magic crest has been drawn in white on the floor right below the gem. Similar to shadows, thin, black smoke wafts up from the crest.
At that moment, all the shadowy objects that have been covering the ceiling are simultaneously drawn into the magic crest. The crest’s shape resembles the one I’ve seen in the Ragni Village. Continuing to the left and right from the crest are paths, or rather, depressed, conduction tracks with a crooked guillotine being installed at their end.
Given that the guillotine is placed on a somewhat elevated podium, this must be the root of it all, I think. Isn’t this…rather an altar for sacrifices than a historic ruin?
Aged blood traces beneath the podium tell of what has happened here in the past. The tracks connected to the magic crest also have stains of blood. The white gem located in the center of the magic crest…it has the same shape as the white stone that split apart after sucking up my mana above…very suspicious.
『Your Excellency, I can distinctly sense mana from the gem. Please be careful』
『I know. I’ll summon my Magic Halberd, just in case』
I approach the crest after summoning Baldok into my right hand. Rollo has remained on my shoulder. It doesn’t look like she’s overly wary, seeing how she hasn’t jumped down on the floor to adopt a combat stance.
As I consider all this, I step on the magic crest carved onto the stairs ascending to the platform. Even though I walk through the black smoke blanketing the crest’s surface…nothing of particular interest happens. It has a peculiar, slimy touch, though.
“――Stay thee away from me, tainted outsider,” echoes from the gem.
Something like a mouth with the shape of a sausage split in two forms on the gem’s surface. That gem’s material might be as soft as clay.
“…Pardon me. I won’t come any closer.” I apologize to gem-san, since it looks like I’ve done something rude.
“――Visitor, what is thine objective in having come here? Thee have not come to offer thine life to me, have thee? Besides, why has the barrier proved ineffective against thee?”
“It’s simple curiosity. This magic crest was a barrier? Well, you’re right, it’s not repelling me.” I swing my arms within the crest.
“…Abnormal visitor, desist from touching me.”
“If you put it like this, it wakes my human nature of going against it.”
“Thee may not…I still have a duty to perform. Moreover, sacrifices are soon going to arrive here. It would be best for thee to leave this place as soon as possible.”
An evil spirit or god desiring sacrifices?
“…What’s that duty of yours?”
“I must suppress the encroachment of the white mist polluting the lands.”
Does he possibly mean the mist expanding on the left side?
“Correct. Now, be gone.”
“Nyao.” Rollo joins the conversation as well.
“Small black beast, thee should leave as well.”
It seems to be an important job. I suppose I’ll refrain from doing anything unwanted, and leave.
“Got it. Farewell.” I turn around, descending the small stairs.
『I thought that you’d touch it, Your Excellency』
『To be honest, I want to, but it’s not like the white gem has launched any attacks against us. In reality, we’ve seen the white mist from atop the hill. The river having changed its color might be connected to that as well』
『Possibly. Seeing how it talked about encroachment, it might truly be suppressing the white mist』
『Yeah. Saying that sacrifices are necessary…that part weighs on my mind, but…』
Going “I won’t tolerate lives being sacrificed!” would be totally out of character for me. Though, I’d hate women being sacrificed. Our conversation didn’t give me the impression that it was lying. Rollo didn’t get angry either, so it might be true.
I return to the hilltop while chatting with Helme. Once I leave the hole, the split stone parts naturally join together. The sculptures also move back to their former positions, returning the whole site to the state before I touched the stone.
Rollo has already gotten ready to continue the ride by sitting down atop the orbital’s seat. Well then, I think it’s about time to join up with my <Servant Leaders> and return to the surface.
At least that’s what I had planned, but suddenly I see a cloud of dust billowing up on the plain. The ones appearing beneath the smoke…is a swarm of monsters resembling Tyrannosaurus Rex with silver horns dazzlingly glowing on their heads. The dinosaurs are in a delirium, saliva dripping from their muzzles. Are they chasing something?
Then I spot a carriage ahead of them. The magic horse pulling it looks like it’s going to collapse from exhaustion any moment…
The carriage has been heading this way, so I guess I’ll save them.
『Your Excellency, you plan to save that carriage, aren’t you?』
『For one part』
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