Section 6: Grimoire
“What, hold…….what is this!?”
“UWAaaaaaaaaaaa! I’m so sorry, I won’t do it again! I’ll never steal another thing again as long as I live, so please help meeee!”
Toslin and Carol were looking over the broken fragments of the statues as well when this intense, blinding light began, and they were now running around screaming “Kyaa, Kyaa” close to me.
“Don’t joke about that! Nobody is going to burn us to death for stealing such a small sum of money!”
“What are you talking about!? We should just obediently apologize here and……….Kyaaaaaaa! I can’t see in front of me! Where are you Toslin!? Uwaaaa, this is scaryyyy!”
The two of them were bursting with energy as they kept yelling and screaming, but after a moment the light finally started to dim. I could open my eyes just a little and took the chance to look around the room.
“What, it’s subsiding………?”
I could make out Toslin’s dumbfounded expression as she glanced over towards me while holding on to Carol.
“Is it finally done? Am, am I still alive? Do I still have my tail?”
Carol was half-crying while snuggling up to Toslin’s chest. Like a child that’s suffered through a scolding, Carol’s usually perky ears were hanging low, making it really easy to understand just how scared she was from a glance.
“It’s okay. We’re all alive, and all our limbs are still attached.”
I tried giving Carol some peace of mind, but when I looked around us, I saw it was the broken fragments of the statue that had glowed so brightly and were even now giving off a dim light.
“H-Huh…………. The statue………….fragments…….”
I couldn’t believe what I was seeing with my own eyes, and my voice came out as a chopped, garbled mess. And then I saw Rose-san, kneeling on the ground. Her eyes were opened wide, and she was holding up both her hands in reverence.
“It, It changed………. Hey, Hey Toslin…….that…..”
“I, I can tell……I’m looking, so I can see……”
The broken head Rose-san carried in her hands was wrapped in a golden light, and it began to change. Slowly but surely, what could be described as a miracle was happening before my very eyes.
“I have heard Your will, My Lord.”
Rose-san bowed deeply as the change came to an abrupt end. There was a crack in the air as if someone had shattered a piece of glasswork, and the light was lost. What remained in the palm of Rose-san’s hands was a single book with a solemn, silver adornments.
I, no……..we couldn’t believe the miracle that had taken place as each of us stood in dumbfounded silence. Only Rose-san was any different as she remained kneeling with a mystified expression on her face.
“This is a fairy village.”
Rose-san’s murmur broke the silence.
“The Goddess Illya told me……… No, to be precise, the vision this statue showed me informed me as such.”
She slowly stood up and began stroking the book that had been bestowed to her.
“Perhaps, that fairy had lived here as well. And then, the dark elf came forcing them all to scatter.”
Rose-san turned towards me, wearing her usual gentle smile.
“W-What the……..why are……”
Rose-san didn’t bother explaining anything to me, only silently offering me the book. I don’t understand what’s going on though and end up drawing back out of fear.
“One reason for the seal here was for the fragment of the Grief Sphere that locks Osnell away. The other reason, was for this.”
“What the what? I don’t really understand books, but maybe this is some great treasure?”
Carol was starting to get exciting while looking at the book in Rose-san’s hands.
“Sweeeet! I don’t get it, but it looks like an old book. If we sell this, wouldn’t it make all of us super rich?”
Carol’s tail was doing a dance, but Rose-san calmly turned her down.
“No, this is a grimoire from the Goddess Illya. Trading it for money is absurd.”
Saying that much, Rose-san grabbed my hand and forcibly passed along the book. I still don’t know why though and helplessly looked towards Rose-san.
“But it also makes no sense for me to hold onto something I am unable to use. And it is you who responded to the Goddess’s call Iris-san. I was unable to feel anything until it had already happened. Surely the Goddess was calling you, so this was meant for you as well.”
A leather-bound book that’s age was apparent. An old book such as this with such intricate silver decorations is something I’ve never seen before at the bookstore. When I traced the cover with my finger, writing magically appeared on the surface.
“So this is a grimoire. A-And this, it says Hadion!?”
I was astonished, and Rose-san nodded her head as well.”
“For a thousand years this fairy village has been guarding this book per the Goddess’s request. It seems that while the dark elf was capable of undoing the magic protecting this village, it was impossible for them to break the Goddess’s seal.”
Hadion. Despite being a hyurian, she swore allegiance to the Primordial King Osnell to become a knight with supernatural powers. It’s said she was defeated in battle by the Goddess Illya a thousand years ago and has been imprisoned in darkness ever since. It’s a name that often appears in the books I’ve read. This book is all about summoning that legendary Hadion and having her serve you. Giving such a precious treasure to somebody like me who cannot handle even rudimentary magic is like putting make-up on a pig.
“This, There’s no way I can keep something this important! Um, I really wasn’t lying when I said I couldn’t use any magic.”
I tried desperately to return the book, but my objections uselessly bounced off of Rose-san’s usual smiling face.
“Even if you say that, the only one among us who has any magic power to speak of, is Iris-san.”
“Well, that’s just how it is. It can’t be helped if we can’t sell it. I don’t really get it, but I guess it’s something important? In that case be careful not to lose it.”
Even Toslin was patting my shoulder while laughing.
“It’s fine. You’re just taking what the Goddess is giving you. I approve too~”
Carol was having fun laughing to herself as she watched me squirm. But her eyes quickly took a turn to the serious.
“Although, if it’s Osnell, wasn’t he killed in battle to the Hero a thousand years ago? But, he was actually sealed?”
Rose-san nodded meekly when Carol asked.
“In general, the story is that he was defeated all those years ago. However, the truth is Osnell still lives even now.”
The end of the Illyarian War as I know of it concluded when the Hero Ranroot defeated Osnell with a sword of light.
“The conclusion of the Illyarian War wasn’t as clean as is told. The Hero managed to weaken Osnell, but he couldn’t beat him completely. And so the Goddess pulled out an orb which we now know as the Grief Sphere, and personally challenged the Primordial King.”
We all listened in mute amazement as Rose-san went on.
“However their powers were too evenly matched, and as a result, the Goddess could only seal away Osnell in a world of darkness……..we call that realm Endura, but apparently even then he couldn’t be sealed away completely. They say even now you can hear the spirit of rampaging madness that still resides in this world sealed away deep below the Goddess’s silent castle.”
Toslin sighed, unable to keep up with the scope of the tale, and brushed her hair behind her ear. Of course I was so surprised as well that I couldn’t say anything.
“Yes. After that, the Goddess smashed the Grief Sphere, the only way to open the door to Endura, and scattered the pieces to fairy villages all over the continent to prevent him from returning ever again. A piece would have resided in this place as well.”
“Which means, what happened here could be happening somewhere else.”
Rose-san nodded her head at Carol’s words.
“Yes, it would be reasonable to think so. All at the hands of the dark elves who wish for the Primordial King Osnell’s revival.”
“B-But, is it really okay for you to be telling us all of this? Wouldn’t this cast a shadow over the Goddess’s religion?”
“……Through this statue, the Goddess must have seen that a dark elf has taken a shard of the Grief Sphere. In that case, the church will already be moving to prevent the resurrection. And I, as a priestess, cannot remain silent on the matter.”
Rose-san started picking up the broken fragments of the statue, getting to work at trying to piece it back together. I tried helping out as well. When our eyes met, Rose-san seemed to have remembered something and made a small laugh.
“As soon as we’ve wrapped up this matter, I’ll head to the church for instructions. At that time, the church will either charge me with subjugating dark elves or investigating this matter further. That being the case, neither are missions I can handle on my own.”
“Ahaha, you’re already pulling a head count for a job you haven’t even been given yet?”
Carol was laughing, but Rose-san gave a confident nod.
“Yes. Whether it be now or later, the story won’t change. Is it a bother?”
“Nah she didn’t mean it like that. I hear the church pays really well to boot, so we should be the ones asking you to let us help.”
I simply watched from the side as Toslin lightly laughed and Carol hummed cheerfully to herself. I’m not included in that head count. Even if I did come, I don’t have the strength to join in any fighting. “Leave it to me,” or “I want to go too,” they’re not something I can say as a joke.
“Heeey~. Are you all right Iris? Come back to us.”
“Awawawa, wh-what? S-Sorry, I was just thinking about something for a bit.”
While I was thinking about things by myself, Toslin’s face suddenly appeared really close to my own, and I almost fell over from the shock.
“Are you getting tired? Maybe we should take a short break here.”
“T-That’s okay! I’m completely, utterly fine!”
Worrying everyone is the last thing I want. My reliance on everyone else is what makes me think the way I do in the first place.
“Are you sure? Don’t push yourself.”
Rose-san was being kind as always, but I can’t let those words keep spoiling me forever. Even if it’s just this once, somebody else’s life is in my hands.
“All right, let’s get looking again. All this talking made me almost forget, we have to go find that guy……….um”
“Quinn-san. It’s about time you try and remember it.”
Yes. We still haven’t achieved our objective here.
“But, this is strange. There doesn’t appear to be any other rooms to this cave. Are we absolutely certain Quinn-san is here?”
Rose-san tilted her head and began to ponder.
“No, I don’t think he’d be anywhere else. We followed his footsteps here after all.”
Carol had absolute confidence in her tracking skills.
“Well where is he then? It’s just been a straight road until now right? Were there any other places where a person could hide?”
“Even if you ask…….I’m not wrong.”
Toslin was giving a doubtful glance, so Carol puffed out her cheeks. Whenever Carol’s stomach starts rumbling, she loses concentration and gets easily distracted, but she never loses her head when it’s something important. That’s why there’s no question in my mind that the person that bloodstain belongs to is in this cave.
“Is it possible he was already moved someplace else?”
“Nuh-uh. The injured person walked into the cave but never walked out. That is absolute. If I’m wrong, I’ll do whatever Iris tells me.”
“But I’m the one asking?”
“Toslin’s no good. I don’t want to get married yet.”
“Wha- What are you saying idiot!? I mean, what, are you lacking in self-confidence?”
“Rude. I have plenty of confidence.”
Carol was pouting again and turned away from Toslin.
“Look me in the eyes and say it then.”
“No no, that’s impossible, really impossible. If I look at Toslin’s face right now, I’ll start laughing, and we’ll get distracted.”
“Then here you go.”
Toslin picked Carol up and held her body with one arm while digging her fist into Carol’s head.
“KYAaaaaaa! Ow, wai………that hurts! Help, help me Iris!”
Carol’s pained screams resounded in the cave. Meanwhile Rose-san had finished reassembling the Goddess’s statue and prayed for Quinn-san’s safety.
“Well, that is the way things stand. And we never encountered any kind of hidden door.”
Suddenly raising her head, Toslin stopped noogying Carol for the time being and nodded.
“I never noticed anything either. I kept an eye out as we walked, but nothing jumped out to me at least…….”
Still being held under Toslin’s arm, Carol listlessly shrugged.
“A hidden door? Mm, yeah.”
And then I remember. Before we got here, there was that strange premonition I felt back in the cave’s straightaway.
“What is it Iris-san?”
It was the same as that uncomfortable feeling I got when I looked at the Goddess’s statue here. In that case, there must be something there as well.
“Rose-san, there’s a place I’d like to check for a little bit.”