Chapter 4-42 : Looking For An Exit Ⅵ (part 1)
At first glance, the place where Kurumi stopped looked just like an ordinary passage. It was not that wide. You could touch its walls and ceiling by spreading your arms.
The difference from other passageways was that this one turned sharply to the right.
「Ku, Kurumi-kun, why did you bring us here? Is there something in this place?」(Nord)
Nord, who was still trying to catch his breath, asked Kurumi curiously.
Kurumi then answered him and tapped the wall next to her.
Iris, Kate, and Nord turned their gazes to the wall but even though they stared at it closely, they didn’t find anything weird about it. It just looked like a normal cave wall.
「Hmm… Perhaps there’s something valuable buried in this wall?」(Iris)
「Yeah, like a gold vein, maybe.」(Iris)
「That’s certainly valuable but I don’t think that’s the reason why Kurumi led us here.」(Kate)
「That’s right. Besides, I don’t think there’s a gold vein either judging from the condition of this wall.」(Nord)
「Then, why did she lead us here?」(Iris)
「I don’t know.」(Nord)
「But I don’t think she led us here without reason…」(Kate)
While the three were tilting their heads, wondering, Kurumi slowly moved both of her arms up and down, making a gesture as if she was trying to calm them down.
「I’m sure there’s something here but… Not knowing about it makes me a bit uncomfortable…」(Iris)
「I can understand… Hm? Hold on. I think I hear something…」(Kate)
Seeing Kate’s ears twitching, Iris turned around and looked at the surroundings in panic.
「Hey, don’t tell me there’s a Salamander nearby!」(Iris)
「That would be bad! We should prepare ourselves in case the ceiling collapses again!」(Nord)
Right after Nord said that and lowered his waist, bracing himself for the worst case scenarioー
ーGara gara, gara garaー
A rattling sound was heard from the wall that Kurumi tapped earlier.
A moment later the lower part of the wall collapsed and revealed a hole.
The diameter of the hole was less than one meter but they could feel a cold wind coming from it along with the cloud of dust.
「This cold air… D, Does it lead to the outside!?」(Iris)
「Yup. You’re right, Iris-san!」(??)
As the cloud of dust began to disappear, a nostalgic voice was heard.
The moment Iris and Kate saw the face of the person the voice belonged to, tears flowed from their eyes.
◇ ◇ ◇
*/TL : The POV changed to Sarasa’s from this point.
「Long time no see, Iris-san, Kate-san! I’m glad you both are okay!」(Sarasa)
「「Store Owner-dono (-san) !!!」」(Iris & Kate)
As soon as I crawled out of the narrow hole and stood up, Iris and Kate hugged me tightly while crying.
I somehow managed to keep my balance so we didn’t fall.
「Hwaaa~~!! It’s really you, right!? I’m not dreaming, right!?」(Iris)
「This warmth… It’s really Store Owner-san… Hiks…」(Kate)
「Don’t worry. I’m real.」(Sarasa)
I hugged them back and stroked their backs to calm them down.
I saw Nord-san, who was smiling wryly while watching us hugging each other. He seemed somewhat relieved.
「Umm… Sarasa-kun, I think you forget someone.」(Nord)
「Hm? Aah, now that you mention it, there’s another person who’s trapped in this cave. Who was it again…?」(Sarasa)
「Come on, don’t be so cold.」(Nord)
「Fufu. I’m just kidding. I’m glad you’re okay too, Nord-san. Well, if you were the only one trapped here, I might not have come to save you. You’re lucky to have Iris-san and Kate-san with you.」(Sarasa)
「A… haha… I guess I have to thank Iris-kun and Kate-kun…」(Nord)
I might be a bit cold toward him but it can’t be helped, right? The cause of this incident was him after all.
After hugging me for a while, Iris-san and Kate-san stepped back and looked at me with watery eyes.
「Store Owner-dono, we thought we were done for…」(Iris)
「You have been trapped here for more than a month after all. But it’s alright now. It’s a bit narrow but this hole is connected to the outside.」(Sarasa)
Iris-san took a handkerchief from her pocket and wiped her tears as she smiled at me.
Kate-san was crying too but she seemed to be fine.
「Store Owner-san, thank you for coming to save us. I’m sorry if… We troubled you so much…」(Kate)
「Please don’t say that. There’s no way I would abandon you both. Ah, before we get out, there’s something I have to do.」(Sarasa)
I crouched down, picked up Kurumi who was sitting by the wall and replenished her magical power.
She barely has enough magical power to keep her existence going… I’m glad I made it in time.
Lorea-chan would be very sad if we lost her.
After replenishing Kurumi’s magical power, I patted her head and complimented her.
「You did very well.」(Sarasa)
She then replied to me with a nod.
She… She’s so cute~!
No, no. It’s not the time for this. We have to get out of here.
「Sarasa-kun, did you control this little bear’s body and led us here?」(Nord)
「Yup. We can talk in more detail later. Let’s get out of here first. There are people who are waiting outside.」(Sarasa)
「Eh? So you’re not alone?」(Iris)
「Of course. It would be tough for me if I came to this forest by myself.」(Sarasa)
「Forest…? Where are we?」(Iris)
「You will know soon enough. Let’s go!」(Sarasa)
I crouched down again and started crawling through the hole, leading Iris-san and the others out of the cave.