Section 13: The Name of the Girl Who Fights Back
*Kiiin*…..Unicorn’s hooves bounced off the barrier panels laid out like a rising spiral staircase.
[Rose]: “This shaft is running through each of the dungeon’s floors. Seeing these different layers lying on top of each other is making me think of mille-feuille.”
Rose-san murmured her thoughts aloud right behind my ear.
[Lapris]: “Stop that. You’re going to make me hungry.”
And Lapris snapped at her. She was currently sitting on top of Unicorn’s head alongside Linzflare-san.
[Iris]: “When this is over, let’s get some to celebrate.”
[Lapris]: “Eh, really? It was worth bringing it up then.”
Sanz Wanz is trying to break through the ceiling and rise to the open world above.
We’re following after, meaning we’re earnestly aiming for the top of the dungeon.
[Iris]: “And Linzflare-san will be joining us right?”
When I asked, Linzflare-san turned around towards me and blinked a couple times.
[Linzflare]: “……is that okay?”
Linzflare-san is accompanying us just in case Sanz Wanz thinks to close the hole behind it. She is a great earth spirit, so even if we do run into some kind of blockage, she’ll be able to pry it open again.
[Lapris]: “Of course. At this point, you’re already one of Iris’s companions.”
[Iris]: “Mippo and Moppo seemed to really like sweets, so I’m sure they’ll be happy too.”
They both absolutely loved the cookies Saluena made and completely devoured them. It’s easy to imagine what their reaction would be to mille-feuille.
Side note, Mippo and Moppo were told to stay with Toslin and the others so they could return to the surface through the transporter.
[Linzflare]: “……Okay. Once I have finished cleaning away my mistake, I shall accompany you.”
[Lapris]: “Too stiff, you. You’ve gotta loosen up. Oh, but keep in mind I’m the senpai here. Whenever you address me, you better add either ‘senpai’ or at least ‘san’ to my name.”
[Linzflare]: “Understood, Lapris-senpai.”
[Iris]: “Stop, don’t make Linzflare-san say something weird.”
[Lapris]: “What are you talking about? A party is essentially a mini-organization, and in an organization, hierarchy is very important.”
[Iris]: “Or in your case, you just want to act big.”
[Lapris]: “Yeah, so? I just want a child who will smile at me unconditionally. What’s so bad about that?”
[Iris]: “I didn’t expect you to feel so strongly about this.”
[Lapris]: “The outside world is just too harsh for me. Well, these last few days have been better…….”
Lapris sighed loudly.
[Lapris]: “Haa, I wonder what those kids from the village are doing now….. Maybe that dark elf really did kill all of them……”
[Linzflare]: “There are still dark elves?”
Lapris nodded at Linzflare-san’s question.
[Lapris]: “Ah, yeah. I saw them. When they were attacking my village.”
Seeing the two of them sit across from each other on Unicorn’s head, Lapris looked almost like an older sister to Linzflare-san.
I know fairies and spirits are different species, but they don’t look that different.
Lapris looked back up towards me.
[Iris]: “Hold it. Don’t say it.”
Does Lapris really understand what we’re doing here right now to make that face at me?
[Lapris]: “No, but. How much farther is it? Aren’t we at least halfway through?”
[Iris]: “That’s why I saidーーーーー! I told you not to say anything! You idiot, why would you bring up how high we are right now!?”
[Lapris]: “Huh? Oh…..well, whatever. I can fly anyway, so I don’t really mind.”
I glanced down. Below us was an unending darkness with nothing else in sight.
My legs are shaking while my lips quiver.
[Rose]: “I have been keeping count, and we have already passed the twentieth floor. So we have already passed through over half the dungeon. Let us keep going just like this.”
[Linzflare]: “I wish there was something I could do to help……”
Normally, even if we were to screw up and fall head over heels, you shouldn’t die as long as we have Linzflare-san close by to shut the hole right away.
But right now Toslin and the others are traveling through the dungeon by way of a separate route.
If we were to change the dungeon’s structure, at worst, we might end up trapping them in the walls.
When Linzflare-san told me that, I made the decision not to resort to that no matter what. And as a result, I’m doing everything I can to not look down.
But…..that stupid Lapris……
[Iris]: “D-Don’t worry about it Linzflare-san. Please stay on alert in case of an emergency though.”
Twenty thin barriers that looked like they were made of ice kept appearing and disappearing before my eyes.
This indescribable instability of our scaffolding is gradually chipping away at my nerves.
(Sorry for this Unicorn. Just a little farther……)
But the one suffering the most here is Unicorn. She’s is worse with heights than I am. I’m sure her legs are shaking right now too. And yet, she has continued facing this danger head on and climbing to new heights.
After that, we reached the tenth floor.
A few more minutes of bravery and we’ll reach solid ground again.
*Kiiin, Kiin, Kiin…….*
The rhythmic sound of her hooves continued plucking away at the barrier.
[Lapris]: “Ooh!? Look, is that light up ahead!?”
A beacon of light pierced through the darkness.
It was a good, clear indicator that tells us the earth is nearby.
*Kiiin, Kiin, Kiin…….*
Unicorn continued up even higher. Each step forward without any shortness of breath.
[Iris]: “A little more, just a little further…… Keep it up Unicorn……. Do your best…….”
I accidentally let my thoughts slip out. That probably only put even more pressure on Unicorn. It’s me, not Lapris, who’s the idiot.
The barriers we’ve been using as footholds were late to deploy by half a beat. That alone caused us to stumble through the air and upset the balance.
Rose-san and I were thrown forward and began to fall.
[Linzflare]: “I will……”
Linzflare-san flew after us and hurriedly began morphing the dungeon’s walls to close the hole.
[Iris]: “Stop!! Toslin and the others!!”
……Suddenly, something grabbed my hand and pulled me close.
As she fell with me, Rose-san had scooped me into her arms and held me to her chest.
[Rose]: “Please calm yourself. There is still time before we reach the bottom.”
[Rose]: “It will be fine. We will simply have to climb up once again.”
That’s right. As Rose-san says, there’s no reason to panic. If we fall down, we just need to climb back up again.
When I called her name, Unicorn came galloping to our sides while trotting over her barriers.
And as my eyes met hers, a voice reached my ears.
[Unicorn]: “Onee-chan!! I’ll save you right now!!”
I have no idea what’s going on.
But Unicorn slipped underneath us and caught Rose-san and me on her back.
And after making sure I had a tight grip on her mane, she began racing upwards once again to regain the height we had just lost.
[Iris]: “……Impossible, that voice…..Sarah?”
[Sarah]: “Impossible nothing, is there anyone besides me who calls Onee-chan Onee-chan? Or did you get another little sister while I wasn’t looking? If you did…..”
[Iris]: “Wel-, that’s…….no of course not!! There’s no way that’d happen!! I’m just confused because I can suddenly hear your voice……”
Sarah’s voice is echoing inside my head. I thought I was the only one who could hear her, but judging by their expressions, Rose-san, Lapris, and Linzflare-san can hear her too.
[Lapris]: “Explain things later!! Sarah!! Carry Iris to the surface as fast as you can!!”
[Sarah]: “Right, OK. Is everyone holding on properly?”
*Kiiin, Kiiin, Kiin, Kiiin……”
*Taka, Taka, Taka, Taka, Taka*
Without any hesitation, Unicorn’s hooves lightly played across the barriers as if she were dancing across a piano.
[Iris]: “Y-Yes? What is it Sarah?”
[Sarah]: “You absolutely have to beat that bad dragon.”
At that, I understood the approximate reason as to how this miracle occurred.
Sarah was watching too.
She saw everything that had happened underground.
[Iris]: “Yeah, I promise. If I let that thing run free, Sarah might end up in danger.”
[Sarah]: “Fufu, thank you. Now, we’re coming up on the surface Onee-chan”
Unicorn’s front hooves finally touched ground at the end of the long tunnel.
[Iris]: “This is…..the noble district?”
The hole Sanz Wanz made led straight to a section dotted with noble mansions between the fifth and sixth walls.
Fortunately it doesn’t look like anyone fell in when this gaping space suddenly formed in the middle of the street.
[Iris]: “Sanz Wanz!?”
I didn’t have time to feel relieved over my feet finally touching ground, so I immediately began scanning my surroundings. I didn’t see anything in the sky when I looked above us. However the thin clouds dotting the blue sky were slowly turning dark which did worry me. The capital might see rain today.
Sanz Wanz has had more than enough time to reach the surface after flying from that empty enclave. At least five minutes have already passed since it took flight.
[Rose]: “Iris-san, there!”
[Iris]: “…..so it really did…..”
Where the sixth wall once stood there was now a pile of rubble. I could see black smoke and flames rising from places along with the sound of people screaming. And there at the center of all that destruction was Sanz Wanz.
Its wings were spread out wide to show off its majesty, and with a single flap, it created a tornado capable of blowing away buildings that helped to spread the fire at the same time.
[Iris]: “Sarah!! Quickly!!”
Unicorn took to the sky once again.
Scores of knights and soldiers had gathered on the seventh wall. They were using bows, cannons, magic, and everything else available to hold Sanz Wanz there at the last fort and keep it away from the castle.
Meanwhile tufts of fire continued to sprout here and there, destroying buildings and collapsing houses. It looks like the nobles and servants who would have lived nearby had already been evacuated to the castle for the time being.
Sanz Wanz mercilessly attacked the knights and soldiers who were desperately trying to protect people and save civilians. It’s like it was enjoying the hunt.
[Lapris]: “Oi, look over there Iris!!”
And in the midst of that terrible situation, I found a familiar face.
Nearby an already collapsed mansion. A girl stood in front of a group of injured and scared people who had most likely been late to escape.
With torn spellbook in hand, the girl tried casting magic while protecting the people behind her.
That girl’s name……Grides Montifi.