Section 17: Mippo and Moppo
[Rose]: “It appears as if these gnomes were brought here long ago. I cannot say this with the utmost certainty, but if I had to take a guess, Oshunel may have brought them here to help build the dungeon itself.”
Rose-san presented me with a cup of tea. I carefully took it with both hands and gently blew away the steam wafting off the surface. Ah, it’s delicious.
The farther down we descend into the dungeon the colder it gets. Even with the light bit of exercise we just went through, my body is still craving some extra warmth.
[Iris]: “Hm? But that would’ve been a thousand years ago!?”
Hearing Rose-san’s impressions a little after the battle ended had left me surprised. The gnome sisters were sitting right beside me, and it made even them jump.
[Saluena]: “Is it true?”
When Saluena asked the gnome sisters to confirm Rose-san’s theory, their stone boards popped up like usual.
They raised and lowered their stone plates as if they were semaphoring.
With the fighting done for now, we gathered together for a break. We broke out Saluena’s cookies to have together with Rose-san’s tea, and we talked about the current situation. Or well, I just listened.
Anyways, we managed to reach the following conclusions.
• There are three gnome sisters, and they were brought here a thousand(estimated) years ago.
• As for who brought them here, “Bird,” is the best we got from them.
• The eldest sister is Linzflare, the second sister is Mippo, and the youngest sister is Moppo.
• Somebody magically imbued them with Primordial energy. They don’t have many memories after that.
• The three of them made this dungeon together, but soon after it was finished, they were sealed away.
• They’ve been floating in darkness for a thousand(estimated) years now, but they recently woke up.
• Their minds remained murky even after they woke up which is why they ended up attacking us before.
• Afterwards, for some reason they weren’t sure about, they began regaining their sense of self.
[Iris]: “…….is there anything else that needs answering?”
We were all sitting in a circle with Phoenix resting in the middle. She was doing us the favor of acting as a makeshift bonfire, and it was only thanks to her that we were able to boil up some water.
Lapris was lying on her back, enjoying the warmth of the fire as she kept a watchful eye on the gnome sisters sitting next to her.
[Lapris]: “What’s with the difference between your names and the older one? Aren’t you three sisters?”
Mippo and Moppo were sharing a cookie between the two of them. They kept taking turns throwing up messages on their stone slabs while the other one took another bite of it.
≪What is this≫
≪ (。>ｖ<。) ≫
≪ ( ‘༥’。 ) ≫
Just from their expressions you could tell how much they cared for their older sister Linzflare-san.
(And yet, she tried to kill them both……)
Mippo and Moppo went to see their sister as soon as their minds had returned to them.
However Linzflare-san was still a primordial spirit and attacked them as soon as they got too close.
They would return to see her after escaping day after day, but it always ended with them being attacked. Until today when their luck finally ran out.
[Litzreich]: “Good thing we happened to be passing by.”
If not, then by now they’d be……
≪Munch Munch Munch（‘ヮ’*）≫
It was the girls’ first time eating cookies, and they were really being taken in by them. Their eyes were shining brighter than any star.
Mippo was wiping off the crumbs clinging to the side of her sister Moppo’s mouth and eating them herself.
She was also taking the time to wipe off the crumbs that were falling down and dirtying Moppo’s clothes. She was doing a great job taking care of her little sister.
[Iris]: “Here. If you like them so much, you can have my portion too.”
I broke my cookie in half and handed each part over to the sisters. They stared at the cookie for a moment before turning their wide eyes up towards me.
≪Are you sure?≫
After accepting the cookie from me, Mippo gave the larger half to her little sister.
Honestly, they’re so adorable it hurts. If we had come by a little later, or if Moppo hadn’t made it, I would be a tear-stained mess right now.
Then again, I’m still worried about Linzflare-san.
[Iris]: “Uuu, *sniffle*…….”
When I spontaneously began to weep, the two of them rushed over to me.
But seeing them like that just makes it even more painful. I try to fight them back, but I couldn’t stop my tears from oozing out of the corner of my eyes and pooling around my feet after falling to the ground.
Rose-san almost dropped her cup of tea when she saw.
[Iris]: “Sorry, I’m sorry, but……. Mippo and Moppo were…..hurt, but they kept worrying about their sister, went to see her again and again, their love, so I…….I’m a big sister too, and……to have those three together again, Uuu, Uuu~”
I couldn’t get a good grasp on my emotions, and words kept randomly spilling from my mouth as easily as the tears fell down my cheeks.
[Saluena]: “Ah…..Of course.”
Saluena came up beside me and silently nodded. She wrapped her arms around my shoulders as I continued wailing aloud.
She stroked her hand down my back as if she were pacifying a small child.
[Saluena]: “You have your own little sister. It’s only natural you would feel more strongly for these gnomes.”
[Rose]: “Here, please use this Iris-san”
I gratefully accept a handkerchief Rose-san held out for me.
[Iris]: “Thank you……*sniffle*…….”
The rush of emotions that overcame me gradually subsided as I wiped away my tears. My sadness didn’t disappear completely, but as it faded away, it was eclipsed by the rising shame.
[Iris]: “U-Uu, s-sorry about that…….I just suddenly, *sniffle*, started crying out of nowhere”
I have Saluena hugging me and Rose-san helping me with the handkerchief. Meanwhile everyone else is staring at me from their spots around the campfire.
[Ashel]: “There is nothing to apologize for. It is simply a sign of your pure heart.”
P-Pure!? My embarrassment exceeded the max levels after being praised like that by a prince.
There was steam coming out of my ears my face felt so hot. Thereafter the two gnome sisters popped up right in front of my face. I guess I really did worry them.
They looked confused, probably completely clueless as to why I was crying in the first place.
[Iris]: “……No. It’s nothing. But, I want to help you both see your sister again.”
After saying(?) that much, Mippo and Moppo broke out into a pair of large smiles.
It was the first time they had smiled since we met, and they looked far purer than I could ever be.