Section 11: Dream Gem
The cold wind brushing against my hot, blushing face felt pleasant. Elzella-san had burst into the guild, that wind at her back kicking up her robe. Due to the temperature difference between outside and in here, her normally white cheeks quickly grew to a light pink.
“…….eh? Why is a sister here? And what does she mean by Iris ‘sama’?”
“Shut up Peachseed.”
“T-That’s right…… I usually have a hard time reading the air, but even I understand. We better keep quiet and be as still as a shellfish…….”
With the sudden appearance of a sister, not just Kutuna-san, but everyone throughout the guild froze in place.
They say that a sister’s robe is meant to be a symbol of peace and serenity. Not the kind of thing you would expect to see in a place where the clamor of people never seems to end. Nevertheless, Elzella-san ignored the numerous stares she was getting from all over, weaving through the tables dotting the dining area until she was standing right in front of me.
“Your sister informed me you were here when I visited your home, so I rushed here as fast as I could.”
Elzella-san pinched the ends of her robe and performed a small curtsy just as I had seen Rose-san do before. The remnants of the cold air she had brought with her brushed against my face.
Does this mean that everyone finally came back? And they stopped by the church first instead of here? No, if that were true, it would be weird that Elzella-san is the one to come summon me.
Despite appearances, Toslin is quite the attentive person. If they really had stopped by the church first, I’m sure Carol would’ve immediately made her way here to get me.
Then, why is Elzella-san…….why, oh, I see…….it must be because of that.
I rose to my feet as the answer popped into my mind.
“You found it then?”
“Yes, just now. But we were hoping Iris-sama would confirm our results. I have a carriage ready just outside, so would you mind accompanying me to the church?”
“I understand. Thank you for going out of your way to get me.”
After saying my thanks, I reached for the coat I had hung on the back of my chair……only to find that Saluena had already grabbed it and was holding it out so that my arm could pass through the sleeve.
“It’s cold outside. You need to stay warm.”
Saluena already had on her own coat with her sword hanging off her waist at the ready.
“Sorry Kutuna-san. I really have to go……..”
“R-Right….. Please, don’t mind us…….”
“Peachseed-san and Plumseed-san, thank you for the meal. I’m glad we could talk.”
I thanked them both and bowed.
The Seed sisters didn’t give off the greatest first impression, but I’m glad I got to meet them. It’s not like all my anxiety and worries have up and disappeared, but I was at least able to calm myself to the point where I could laugh again thanks to them.
“Ah, sure……likewise, but…….”
“Peachseed, now is when you should be keeping quiet. Iris-san, I’m not sure what’s going on, but please do your best.”
“Yes. Thank you very much.”
Do my best…….? Elzella-san and the other sisters are the ones who discovered a description of the spirit in that huge collection of data. Maybe we’ll find the reason why Toslin and the others haven’t returned yet.
Then after that, it will surely be my turn. I have to think about what it is I can do, and……help my party members.
“Right. Saluena……let’s go.”
“Yes, let us go my master.”
The impatience I felt when I ran all the way here was edging its way back into my heart. My feet stepped forward without hesitation and carried me away. Right now, there is only one place I want to be.
Hearing Saluena and Elzella-san’s footsteps behind me, I walked outside, seeking the only path to get there.
Making our way into the church’s library, we found Aronda-san already there waiting for us.
Her usual cheerful and welcoming smile was now fraught with anxiety and worry.
“Aronda-san, I heard you found out something about the spirit…….”
Elzella-san gave me a few rough details inside the carriage, but there’s no way we could’ve gone over the whole story about the spirit and those ruins in such a short amount of time.
“Oh, Iris-san…….thank you for coming…….”
“No, I’m the one who started all this after all.”
“So, gentle maiden. What have you discovered?”
With a book in hand, it looked like Aronda-san had just finished reading. She passed said book over to me before gravely answering.
“Apparently……there is a carbuncle sleeping in those ruins.”
“A carbuncle? I’ve never heard of them.”
As I skimmed through the book I was given, I quickly came across the description of a spirit which dwells inside gems and other jewelry.
“Carbuncle……a spirit that lives inside gems and other jewels. They especially like living in red colored minerals, and in the past were known as burnt coal…….”
“…….you mean a carbunculus¹?”
“You know about them?”
“Yes, they’re a troublesome opponent whose abilities change depending on the stone they are inhabiting.”
“Then has Hadion-sama fought a carbuncle before?”
“Several times. However each one of them had a different ability. I personally consider a carbunculus to be a more dangerous opponent than a dragon.”
The dragon we encountered in Relton village wasn’t just a lesser species, it was already gravely injured as well. Even then though that dragon had the power to easily level a village, so for this to be something beyond that…….wouldn’t something like that be seen as a natural disaster at this point?
“So, what does the book say?”
“Oh, right. Um……..”
There were a couple words I didn’t recognize, but I could infer their meaning. I quickly flipped through the pages, drawing and sorting the information in my mind, only answering after I’ve understood what it all means.
“Dream Gem. Apparently that’s what they called the jewel that was dug up here three hundred years ago.”
In the past, this city flourished because of the gemstones our mine produced. Numerous high quality gems came from St. Noglint, and this specific jewel was one of them.
The crystal was processed into a cut gem before being set in a ring and being distributed into human hands. It was from that point on that tragedy unfolded.
The people acquainted with the ring’s owner began to die one after another, finally ending with the owner’s death as well. The cause of death was a sudden decrease in health, and with several people all withering away at the same time, blame inevitably fell on the ring.
However, there would always be someone new who was fascinated by the ring’s radiance, so for the next several years, the ring would pass from person to person with each new owner meeting the same fate.
Each time the person wearing the ring would look as if they had just fallen asleep and would then never wake up again. That was how the jewel came to acquire the name of the Dream Gem.
The mayor of the city at the time decided to have the ring destroyed. But just as the hammer came down on the gem, a brilliant light suddenly sparked forward, and the gem turned into a carbuncle.
“The spirit claimed to be a being leftover from the Primordial World. He survived the Illyarian War, hid himself inside St. Noglint, and rested to heal his wounds……..is what’s written here…….”
“So after 700 years, the citizens back then awoke it from its slumber?”
“Seems like it. I wonder if my ancestors had already moved to town back then…….. If so, then I’m not uninvolved in this situation.”
The carbuncle’s wounds from the Illyarian War were deep, and even after seven hundred years they hadn’t fully healed. It was further weakened by ⊕⊕⊕⊕⊕, so with the combined efforts of some adventurers and soldiers stationed here, the Primordial World spirit was defeated and sealed deep inside St. Noglint by a priestess once again.
“…….huh? There’s a ⊕⊕⊕⊕⊕ part here that’s completely blacked out.”
“Censored, probably. Most likely the passage originally read, a shard of the Grief Sphere before such information was hidden.”
“The one that was shattered after Osnell was sealed away.”
I heard about it from Rose-san. The official story is that Osnell has been slain, but the truth of the matter is that his body and soul have simply been separated and then sealed away.
His body has been locked away in another realm known as Endura, and the only way to get there is with the Grief Sphere.
The Goddess Illya must have smashed it and then scattered the broken shards in fairy villages across the world so that nobody could ever travel there and break the seal……was how the story went.
“Huh……wait a minute. But a dark elf stole the shard of the Grief Sphere from the fairy village in the Swansea Forest right!?”
“And the disappearance of that shard most likely freed the Carbunculus’s power, allowing it to undo its seal.”
The book goes on to say that the mine was closed after the carbuncle was successfully sealed away. What the hell? You mean Toslin, Carol, and Rose-san walked into this kind of dangerous place without any information?
“So tell me, what kind of gems did St. Noglint produce?”
I could feel my quivering lips dry out as I answered Saluena’s question.
And upon hearing my answer, Saluena quietly closed her eyes.
…….a small, grief filled whisper escaped her lips.
1. So first of all, don’t look up carbuncle in English. It’s a medical term and looks gross. Carbunculus is latin and refers to small red rocks like rubies and garnets. Japanese shortened carbunculus to carbuncle which is the word they usually use.