Chapter 4-43 : Looking For An Exit Ⅶ (part 1)
「Ugh… He likes to show off his muscles as usual…」(Sarasa)
Looking at Nord-san’s arm muscles, I squinted my eyes.
His face is not bad and his body is not too big even though he has a muscular body. Some women might think that he’s kind of attractive, but I don’t think so.
「But, thanks to Nord-san’s muscles, we were able to survive.」(Kate)
「Eh? What do you mean?」(Sarasa)
「Sometimes he gave me and Iris boosts to climb up and jump over walls. He also removed big boulders that were blocking our way. It helped us a lot. If he were a frail researcher who needed us to babysit all the time, we might not have been able to explore the cave and find an exit.」(Kate)
「I see. You may be right. The path was dangerous and difficult to walk after all.」(Sarasa)
「Store Owner-dono, you only synchronized with Kurumi a few times but know the situation in the cave?」(Iris)
「Yeah, more or less, thanks to Kurumi. Right?」(Sarasa)
I haven’t done a complete synchronization with Kurumi since we built the exit detector tool to minimize the usage of Kurumi’s magical power. However, I synchronized only my hearing and sight with Kurumi from time to time for collecting information.
A true exit detector artifact can give information about the shape of the paths in the cave but the tool we made can’t unless you know the magic formula. To make it work, I transferred the knowledge I got from Master about the exit detector’s magic formula into Kurumi’s mind so that she can use it herself.
「If you know the situation in the cave, then do you know that Kurumi sometimes made some weird marks on rocks?」(Iris)
「Yeah. She’s helping me grasp the shape of the underground cave.」(Sarasa)
Before I came here, I made an artifact that is useful for a Homunculus owner. With this artifact, I can learn Kurumi’s exact location. In other words, I can know where Iris-san and the others are.
By making a rough map and identifying Iris-san and the others’ location, I was able to guide them here.
「I see. So that’s how you rescued us.」(Iris)
「Yeah. Understanding the situation in the cave took a long time but we couldn’t just dig holes at random places, right? It would take a longer time for sure and could damage the environment. 」(Sarasa)
Drawing a rough map of the cave by only depending on Kurumi’s senses was very hard and required a great deal of scrupulousness.
I gave Iris-san the emergency box with a lot of rations, so I wasn’t too worried about them starving to death.
However, I was worried about Kurumi because they only had a few magic stones left. I was worried that Kurumi would run out of magical power and die, so I got a little impatient.
「Store Owner-dono, thank you for rescuing us, but… You must have spent a lot of money to do all of that…」(Iris)
「She’s right. Look at this hut. It’s small but building it wasn’t cheap at all, right?」(Kate)
「Well… Yeah, it wasn’t cheap…」(Sarasa)
Honestly, I don’t want to think about how much money I’ve spent on this rescue mission.
I muffled my words and averted my gaze from Kate-san and Iris-san who were asking me questions.
At least for this moment, I want to forget about the expense and immerse myself in the joy of being able to save them.
「Let’s not think about money for now. Lorea-chan is worried about you, so let’s go home and show her your faces. She will be relieved as soon as she sees you guys are doing well. Of course, she will be very happy to see Kurumi is doing well too.」(Sarasa)
Kurumi, who was clinging to Iris-san’s backpack, raised her hand as if she also couldn’t wait to see Lorea-chan.
「Fufu. You’re right. By the way, we’re still in the Great Sea of Trees, right?」(Iris)
Iris-san looked around as she asked. I replied to her with a nod.
「Yup. We’re at the foot of the volcano, to be exact.」(Sarasa)
「I see. Then we can’t rest easy yet.」(Iris)
「Yeah. We need to go back home while bringing all this equipment. Moreover, it’ll be tough to camp when it gets colder, so we should hurー …Hm?」(Sarasa)
When I was about to tell everyone that we should hurry, I turned my gaze outside the hut and saw an incomprehensible situation going on there.
For some reason, Gray-san and Nord-san were shirtless. They were making various bodybuilding poses while glaring at each other.
「…What are they doing…?」(Sarasa)
I blinked several times, trying to understand what was going on.
Seeing my confused face, Andre-san approached me and explained while smiling wryly.
「For some reason, Gray and Nord started arguing about muscles.」(Andre)
「I don’t understand…」(Sarasa)
I couldn’t understand what was happening even after Andre-san explained it to me.
「Those two looked very close to each other a few minutes ago but why are they arguing now?」(Sarasa)
「They seem to understand each other in terms of muscles in general but it seems that they have different perspectives on which muscles are more practical. Gray thinks that muscles that are built during actual battles are the best, but Nord has a different idea.」(Andre)
「I… still don’t understand… I thought Gray-san was a quiet and cool person, but…」(Sarasa)
As I was perplexed, Gil-san approached me and laughed.
「Gahaha! Sarasa-chan, you don’t know him. Certainly, he rarely talks but he sometimes laughs like crazy and does stupid things too.」(Gil)
「He’s our party member after all! Gahaha!」(Andre)
「Ah, I see. Finally, something that I can understand.」(Sarasa)
I was a bit surprised but now I understand that Gray-san was actually not a quiet and cool person like I thought.
Anyway, we can’t just watch this bodybuilding performance forever. We have to stop them and begin the preparation to go home as soon as possible.
「Iris-san, Kate-san, can you tell them to stop?」(Sarasa)
「Umm… Store Owner-dono, we’re grateful to you for rescuing us, but I’m sorry. I don’t think we can do it…」(Iris)
「Yeah… We’re just fragile girls. A daughter of a noble and her attendant. There’s no way we can stop those beasts.」(Kate)
Does she mean that I’m not a fragile girl…?
If I’m not mistaken, Iris-san once told me that she and Kate-san used to train with knights before. She also said they were used to seeing shirtless men.
Umm… Do I remember it wrong…?
「Gil-san, Andre-san, can youー」(Sarasa)
「ーNah, they won’t listen to us.」(Andre)
「He’s right. Sarasa-chan, you’re the strongest among us. I think they will listen to you.」(Gil)
Why are these people so unreliable at a time like this?
Well… I can understand though…
Looks like I have no choice.
I let out a deep sigh and reluctantly approached the unpleasantly warm and humid sweat-smelling space.