The Weakness of Beatrice the Level Cap Holy Swordswoman -
Volume 7, Chapter 2: Bonus Scenario Unlocked
Volume 7, Chapter 2: Bonus Scenario Unlocked
Abyss// What I would like for you to do is search for mistakes.
Abyss// There are no obvious hints.
Abyss// There have been six incidents before this.
Abyss// Review all of those materials and locate anything that does not seem to belong.
Halfway up a Ground’s Nir mountain, the nearly-4m pig-faced giant named Boo Boo tilted his head like a small child in front of the brick house that the palm-sized Fairies had built for him during the nights.
“What are you drinking, Beatrice? It’s so dark.”
“Hm? This is coffee☆ Making it from scratch here in Ground’s Nir wasn’t easy.”
He was answered by Holy Swordswoman Beatrice whose long red-and-silver hair fluttered and who had added a tattered gray cloak to her bright red armor and pure white miniskirt. She held a wood-carved mug in between her hands and smiled while seated on a nearby stump.
To make real coffee, you had to harvest the beans, roast them, crush them with a mill, heat up a syphon, and go through a long and arduous process, but she had received some interesting information from Iroka, the capable young woman of the three maid sisters back on Earth.
…Dandelion coffee was apparently a thing.
As its name suggested, it was made from the plant’s roots instead of special beans. It was no more than an imitation that provided a coffee-like flavor, but it was still a relief to have something. There were no actual coffee beans or dandelions in this world, but that was a separate issue. After a lot of trial and error that occasionally ended in a grimace or in writhing on the ground, she had discovered that the Fluffy Male Flower’s root was similar to a dandelion’s. This was the fruit of her blood and tears. Humans were about the only living things willing to die for their hobbies.
(I thought Philinnion would know since plant roots are so often used as medicine, but that glasses cow can be careless about the details.)
“Tremble tremble. So what is this about? Some weird human food thing???”
Boo Boo sounded cautious, so how was she supposed to answer him? She recalled hearing that he had had a bad experience with an energy drink made by Mixing Expert and White Witch Philinnion. The Iberian Orc’s sensory organs were as sensitive as his muscles were strong, so he may have had trouble with stimulants.
“It’s more of an indulgence than a food. You enjoy the flavor and aroma instead of filling your stomach and gaining nutrients.”
“Boo. Humans have such strange rituals.”
Boo Boo groaned in confusion. He seemed excessively fixated on food, but he was only ever searching for what he needed to survive. He may have never come across snacks or indulgences before.
Small children could drink dandelion coffee just fine since it had no caffeine, so Beatrice made a casual suggestion.
“What to try some, Boo Boo?”
At times like this, it was best to fill an empty mug with the dark coffee while asking with a smile. With needlessly nervous newbies, you could not give them time to think!
Boo Boo was more fixated more on the color than the flavor or smell. He sniffed his large nose with a skeptical look on his face.
“Boo… Is this really okay to drink? It’s so dark and it smells burnt. It’s like the potion used to protect my wood house from bugs.”
“Ah ha ha. There’s no need to drink it black as a sign of maturity, Boo Boo. I have milk and sugar here. You’re supposed to enjoy it as an indulgence, so forcing yourself to drink it is pointless.”
Level Capper Beatrice made it sound simple enough, but that milk and sugar were the result of opposing nature using brute force. There were no supermarkets or convenience stores in Ground’s Nir.
“Squeal. Is this boiled down Blessing Maple sap?”
“Yep. I boiled it until the syrup turned into a white powder. It still has a bit of a unique flavor, but actual pure white sugar is pretty hard to make. It’s a miracle the Farmers can do what they can.”
“The elder said this is really nutritious! Wow, it’s so sweet. I could eat these forever. It’s like they soak into my body.”
“Wait, eating just the sugar cubes is against the rules, Boo Boo! That doesn’t give you a mature atmosphere at all!”
“Squeal. I bet that drink is really good with this in there.”
The star of the show had clearly shifted. Boo Boo loved the sweet flavor so much he could not stop smiling as he threw a few sugar cubes into his mug. And…
He tilted his head back and drank the whole thing in one go. It was a lot like swallowing a pill using a cup of water. White steam had still been rising from the mug, but he had not even blown on it to put his mind at ease.
“Boo- wait, Boo Boo!?”
“Hm??? What’s wrong, Beatrice?”
“Open your mouth! Hurry! You aren’t burnt!?”
Beatrice got up from the stump with the large Shining Weapon shaking from its diagonal position on her back, but Boo Boo did not seem to understand why she was panicking. Iberian Orcs must have been made different from humans on a fundamental level.
“Why are you so freaked out?”
“Well, um…you’ve never had coffee before. Was it too bitter for you?”
“Everything’s sweet with those things in it, so I couldn’t tell.”
Abyss// You have just one chance.
Abyss// Look to the center of what does not seem to belong. You will find the answer there.
“Oh, what’s this? Are you drinking coffee, Boo Boo? When did you get so mature?”
“Eh? Did you make that yourself? I knew you had started working in the field, but getting a pure coffee tree here in Ground’s Nir is quite an accomplishment!!”
The nearly-4m giant only tilted his head.
His new visitors were Fighter Priest Hermelina, the brawler with short green hair and a priest robe with a bold slit (and a flat boob window), and White Witch Philinnion, the healer with fluffy blonde hair, glasses, and a pointed white hat. They normally tried to act like the more mature ones, so Boo Boo finally realized something when they began complimenting him.
“I was happy with just the sugar, boo, but it looks like everyone praises you if you hold this bitter stuff like you know what you’re doing.”
“Well, sounds like you understand how the adult world works. You’re right about that. Everyone actually loves sweet things, but all the respect goes to brand names and social status. It’s the same with bags, houses, cars, and boyfriends. Money is meaningless if it doesn’t bring you prestige.”
“Hermelina, fill Boo Boo’s pure mind with any more of your dark worldview and I will roast you. Just like a coffee bean.”
Beatrice’s fiery response was to be expected at this point, so no one bothered taking it seriously.
Philinnion, the young glasses woman with suspenders-bound boobs, glanced over at the row of wood-carved mugs and other cooking equipment.
“Huh? If you’re enjoying some coffee, then where are the snacks? What food do you have to go with it?”
“Squeal, these are sweet and tasty! I think they go perfect with coffee!!”
“Those are 100% pure sugar cubes, aren’t they!? Even those brutal British snacks are only half sugar and half butter!!”
The college girl bristled and raised her voice as she began her usual complaints about fat, sugar, and carbs (despite ending up eating more of them than the others), but Boo Boo only tilted his head since he was a mysterious lifeform who could convert anything he consumed into the energy he needed to live.
“Is there any kind of…you know, a snack we can whip up real quick?”
“Boo, when did we start talking about cooking? There are some cooking tools I don’t use in the house.”
When they visited the brick house, they found it had more stuff than before.
“Oh, Boo Boo. Have you started using a mirror?”
“The Fairies attached that to the wall. They say I have to look after my appearance now. Life is hard sometimes.”
“Oh, there’s a bookcase too. Boo Boo, you’re turning into a stylish and intellectual urbanite.”
“The Fairies brought that too. I can’t read all the tricky words, but I can understand the stories with lots of pictures. Those are fun.”
It sounded like most of them were picture books. Had palm-sized Meridiana and Alice invented the stories, or were they legends and old stories passed down by the Fairies? But while Beatrice wondered about that…
“But, yeah, some are missing.”
“Sometimes, some of the pictures books go missing. Like the one that goes here or here. See all the holes? And I was hoping to read that one soon.”
“Hm, so do you have a thief? Although I think only the Fairies are here very often.”
“Boo, it’s strange. Where did ‘Studying Alone Together’ and ‘Secrets of the Female Body’ go?”
“What!? I-I’m not sure whether I should be mad or not! It was those palm-sized things that came up with that ridiculous lineup, but they’re also the ones who confiscated them! Are two different factions of Fairies in disagreement about this!?”
At any rate, they were interested in the cooking equipment.
They checked the mountain of pots and pans gathered in a corner of the rectangular room.
“I see, I see. A pot this deep should do. I have some Rising Powder and Doodle Doo Eggs…oh, and you have some vegetable oil. I think we can make do with this.”
“Hey, Philinnion, you can use this trip to another world to show off your feminine side if you want, but you aren’t planning to bake cookies or a cake, are you? That would take way too long.”
“(Heh. That’s the problem with this unfeminine and so very flaaat person.)”
“Do I need to grab you by the ankles and swing you around, glasses cow?”
Boo Boo’s house did not have a kitchen, so any cooking generally began with stepping outside and placing a pot over the fire. The White Witch seemed to have a good idea, so she filled the metal pot with vegetable oil and placed it on the fire. While it heated, she mixed together some white powder, bird eggs, tallow butter, and clear drinking water.
“You can’t hope for the regulated temperature of an oven in this wild environment. And if you want it done quick, isn’t frying something the simplest choice?”
Once she stuffed the goopy dough inside a leather bag with a single hole, the preparations were complete. She did not bother shaping the dough and simply squeezed it into the boiling oil.
Boo Boo watched with eyes wide.
“Squeal? What’s that stretchy stuff? And why is it hardening so quickly!?”
“These are called churros☆ If we had time to let the dough set, I could have made round donuts, but I thought the immediate effect seen here would be more fun.”
The process did not have many steps and it looked simple enough, but getting the moisture of the dough right was tricky and they would fall apart if you got it wrong. Beatrice and Hermelina stared into the distance while seeming to fade away. That glasses girl really had needlessly shown off her feminine side.
Feeling like the shining sun, Philinnion pulled the golden brown churros out of the oil and sprinkled some of Boo Boo’s sugar on them.
“All done. Well, what do you think? You don’t see churros as often as normal donuts, do you? It feels like a special event, doesn’t it? Hwa ha ha! Don’t underestimate a young woman who has a decent repertoire of skills to draw on!!”
“Squeal, these are the snacks?”
“Yes. You eat them with the coffee.”
“Why eat them together?”
“Because those are the rules.”
“Well, if it’s the rules,” said Boo Boo as he grabbed some of the human-size churros. Incidentally, Beatrice was curled up inside her tattered cloak after the attention was stolen away from her coffee, so she was not paying very close attention.
The person who was more interested in food than sex appeal tried eating the mysterious new food.
“S-squeal. They’re poking my mouth…”
Boo Boo tearfully grabbed his wood-carved mug to have something to wash the food down and then he tilted his head back.
“Wahh!? A-a-all at once!? That was bubbling hot water!!”
“Beatrice, what were you teaching Boo Boo!? He’s turned coffee into some kind of coming-of-age ceremony using fire!”
Beatrice was unsure what to say since Boo Boo had a tendency to do that. The first way he learned to do something tended to stick with him for a while.
It was the middle of the night.
“Pu pu pu. Squeal, squeal.”
A soft light from the fireplace illuminated the inside of Boo Boo’s brick house. He was sitting on the floor with his mug while he threw some premade firewood into the fireplace.
This was unusual for wild(?) Boo Boo.
He was no longer afraid of fire. In fact, he seemed to enjoy looking after the crackling flame. He was apparently afraid of the dark because of the possibility of ghosts, but he may have overcome that fear by controlling this light source.
A small girl walked in without even knocking first.
“Oh, what’s this? It isn’t often that you are still up at this hour.”
She had long silver hair and an undeveloped body. A black ribbon dress and decorative flowers covered youthful skin that seemed to directly reflect the moonlight. That dress was an invaluable item that the Fairies had woven from Ground Spider silk. She was the Fairy Queen and one of paradoxes with a soul who were called Break News because seeing them was enough to make the news. Her name was Strigona and she could envelop everything with her toxic wings if she let loose.
However, she was accompanied by someone else at this late hour. This fellow Break News was Kallikantzaros, the Vampire who claimed the lunar eclipse as her own. Her small body was wrapped in a black swimsuit and a red negligee, she wore a nightcap on top of her long and fluffy blonde hair, and she held a gray pig doll under one arm, but no one would take her lightly because of that appearance. The fangs visible at her mouth were far too sinister for anyone to let their guard down.
She frowned a bit when she saw the mug Boo Boo was holding.
“Coffee? You have my praise for choosing an uncaffeinated variety, but that dissolved smell still bothers me. Boo Boo, you are meant to offer me your blood, so take care of your blood composition.”
“Ignore that fool who wants to suck you dry. I see, I see. So is that really coffee? Whenever night falls in the inn town, they always take the mug away from me! Now, hurry up and give me an offering. Honey or bread instead of sugar would have been better…but make sure to add plenty of milk! Do not forget that part!! Wow, wow!!”
“How are you and your sweet tooth any better than me!?”
The Vampire made that biting observation while the Fairy Queen was leaning out toward Boo Boo’s extra-large mug to smell the contents.
By the way, Strigona’s insistence on honey or milk may have been connected to the unverified stories of the palm-sized Fairies secretly doing people’s work in the night in exchange for such things.
“Squeal. I tried to give this to the vegetable in the field, but she got really mad at me.”
“Is that coffee replacement made from a plant root? I almost feel bad for that perverted carrot if you essentially offered her a relative to drink.”
Strigona sounded somewhat exasperated as she rudely licked her lips and reached for the milk pot.
The “vegetable in the field” here would be Ileana, the brown beauty who was a plant Break News and the greatest Mandragora. She was very interested in all “noble pastimes” that came in the form indulgences not needed simply to survive, but on a more fundamental level she preferred humus to a T-bone steak. You could not expect a normal sense of taste from her.
“Strigona, if you’re here to sleep, the sheets are folded in the corner.”
“The room is warmer than normal today, so you may not need to fold the blanket over for two layers.”
“…Why is this house equipped with so much bedding that Boo Boo never uses?”
Kallikantzaros asked that with a small sigh. Boo Boo generally just lay on the floor without a blanket or even a pillow, but there were also some human-sized items here and there. This was quickly becoming a second home for that silver-haired girl.
“But you should brush your teeth before going to sleep. The elder said you have softer teeth than us.”
“Yes, yes. I know.”
“Squeal. Strigona, you always go right to sleep once you’re full.”
“I! Said! I! Know!! When did you turn into my caretaker priestess or Morgan, Boo Boo? It saddens me to see my precious utopia taken from me! Where am I supposed to relax now!?”
“You really are a queen deep down, aren’t you?” said the Vampire.
“What about you, Kallikantzaros? There’s still plenty of coffee.”
“No thank you. Unfortunately, I choose not to consume anything that does not taste of rust.”
The Vampire pulled a small bottle from her large chest. It contained what seemed to be dried red leaf flakes. If she was to be believed, they had to taste of rust. She removed the cork, sniffed at the contents, removed one flake, and placed it on the tip of her tongue.
“The Iberian Orc village has returned and I no longer need to use tablets or tea as a replacement, but I can’t seem to change. I left my old routine and rhythm for so long that I can’t seem to return to it. I feel like someone who started a vegetarian diet to lose weight and then never stopped.”
Boo Boo’s predator was discussing whether or not she would eat him, but he did not seem to recognize the danger.
With a mug between her hands, Strigona gave her old friend a suspicious look.
“If there is nothing here you want, why did you come here at all?”
“I have business with the bloodless one. It concerns the world outside my control.”
Boo Boo and the silver-haired girl tilted their heads in unison.
The palm-sized Fairies had built the brick house without asking first, so it sometimes gained new functions and rooms Boo Boo was unaware of. One of those was the attic. That was where you could find Ground’s Nir Abyss, the ultimate weapon girl who had been built in the deepest part of this island that was actually a giant armory.
Kallikantzaros and Strigona were not your normal girls, so they jumped up to the attic instead of using the ladder. And sure enough, a very human-like figure lay on her back there while surrounded by lots of flowers, small objects, and a wood-carved human statue. Two strands of mottled silver hair passed in front of her shoulders and she wore a one-piece swimsuit cut down to size. She was wrapped in bandages and - while it was hard to tell with the poor lighting - one of her arms had been severed at the shoulder and her neck was bent at an odd angle. The sweet floral and fruity aroma mixed with a coffee scent did not just come from the super-sweet mug in Strigona’s hands. It had gone cold, but an identical mug was sitting next to the bedridden girl’s pillow.
This was Ultimate Weapon Abyss.
Although she had already been destroyed.
The Fairy Queen frowned.
“She can eat and drink already? Actually, could she even do that before the damage?”
“Boo. But Beatrice said you can enjoy the smell of coffee too!”
Kallikantzaros brushed her beautiful golden hair off of her slender shoulder.
“I would like to greet her, but I do not know how. What is the proper way to speak with her?”
“Squeal. Beatrice and the others connected their beepy things with a metal string.” Boo Boo poked his giant face up from where the ladder came up and sniffed his nose as he spoke. “But I can speak with her without doing anything. Heh heh.”
“Hm, then it might be faster to use you as a translator. Unless…”
The Vampire girl pulled the small bottle from her cleavage again. She placed it next to the cold mug by Abyss’s pillow. This was of course not just an offering.
A cloud fell over Boo Boo’s face which was larger than an upside-down wok.
“Abyss seems a little uncomfortable.”
“I imagine so. These flakes are made from dried Liver Cabbage which gathers plenty of iron from the ground. …When you get down to it, she is a machine. Even if she pretends to be a living creature and no matter what she hides in her heart, some slight magnetism leaks out when she thinks. We do not know yet whether or not you are the only one she can communicate with like that. At the very least, I think we can read a yes or no answer from the sign created by the shaking of the leaves in this bottle.”
“Don’t get upset, Abyss. They’re my friends, so try to get along.”
The dried leaf flakes in the bottle were already stirring to show the thoughts of the girl lying next to them, but it stopped when Boo Boo made his troubled comment.
Strigona leaned over the ultimate weapon with a curious look on her face.
“Ho ho? Boo Boo, you’ve really tamed her, haven’t you? You damn gigolo.”
“Abyss, stop beeping and entering combat mode! Squeal, and stop making red lights appear everywhere!!”
Abyss appeared to just be lying there with her eyes closed, but a lot seemed to be happening inside her.
Kallikantzaros crossed her arms and pushed her unnaturally large chest up from below.
“I will keep this short. I am Kallikantzaros, the Break News who controls the lunar eclipse. You should be able to quickly calculate out just how cataclysmic a power that could be.”
Boo Boo tilted his head, which did not make for much of a translation. The Vampire looked down at the small bottle by Ultimate Weapon Abyss’s pillow and observed the stirring of the dried leaf flakes inside.
“Was that a yes? Then let us continue. …Have you noticed the situation that draws nigh?”
“Wait, Kallikantzaros, is something new beginning? At least inform me first!!”
Boo Boo and Strigona questioned her in their own ways, but the negligee girl’s response was an exasperated one.
“This is nothing new. In fact, it is quite old. Cutting down the grass on the surface is useless when the roots remain. Simply put, Boo Boo, you might think you have solved everything, but you missed something. You missed the very core of the issue.”
He could only tilt his head at that.
The Iberian Orcs had been saved from the Red. Boo Boo had saved Beatrice after she lost her Shining Weapon. And the others had worked together to save Boo Boo after he collapsed.
What more was there? He could not think of any remaining issues.
“A lot is about to happen. You will be forced to pay for rushing your solution to those problems. It is possible none of the knowledge you previously relied on will apply.”
The Vampire spoke with a calm conviction in her voice.
“But if you understand what the problem is at its core, you will not lose sight of yourself. Boo Boo, the times will change whether you like it or not. Instead of lamenting, you must adapt while staying true to yourself. To be honest, I have grown fond of you. Do not let this turbulent current change who you are.”
Boo Boo had no idea what she meant.
So Kallikantzaros summed it up in a way even he could understand.
She could not have made it simpler.
It was like a sinister prophecy.
“You never solved the problem of the Hero, did you?”
At that very moment, a tremor and impact seemed to shove the entire island up from below. Kallikantzaros breathed an exasperated sigh while Boo Boo and Strigona looked around in a panic.
“Wh-what!? What in the world just happened?” 𝒊𝒏𝒏𝙧𝗲𝓪𝙙. c𝒐𝙢
“This did not come out of nowhere. A situation that has long been underway has finally made itself known.”
The negligee Vampire looked down at Abyss.
“I planned to use your processing power to predict whether or not the coming disaster would require assistance from my power…but it would seem that is no longer necessary.”
“But what actually happened!?” shouted Strigona.
Her old friend shrugged.
“They have descended,” she said. “They cushioned their fall by surrounding themselves in the same substance as the artificial atmospheric barrier surrounding this world. I imagine that umbrella was about the size of an entire continent.”
“Now, I have a question for you. It seems the Hero wished to complete an artificial atmosphere to fully surround this world, but where did they obtain the materials for it? A transparent artificial object would primarily be made of silicon, which means ordinary sand and dirt, does it not?”
She could think of two possible sources.
The first was the continents which had sunk when the Underworld Lord had destroyed the ancient humans. Since they were at the bottom of the ocean, no one would notice if they were missing.
The second was from another astronomical body or meteor located outside the artificial atmosphere.
But in either case, one question remained.
No one had ever found even a tooth belonging to the Hero, so where had they been all this time?
And what if they used that glass barrier to accomplish some kind of goal?
They could use that to directly strike the surface and to cushion themselves from the impact.
Or they could use it to construct a great continent to use as their own base.
And they could cause a certain phenomenon immediately after setting foot in the middle of the ocean.
“The Red that afflicted the Iberian Orcs was not a disease caused from within. The transformation came from the slight changes to the planetary environment brought by the artificial atmosphere surrounding Ground’s Nir. The Hero, that human who wandered here centuries ago, was attempting to remake Ground’s Nir into an environment identical to Earth. That was why destroying their artificial atmosphere was necessary to stop the Red. But what if the person controlling that artificial atmosphere was still alive? Would they really let you do that without any kind of response?”
Boo Boo’s face clouded over and red lights once more shined from Abyss to protect him. The dried leaf flakes in the small bottle stirred disconcertingly.
Kallikantzaros herself did not seem to care.
“I am saying a paradigm shift has arrived. The appearance of a new continent means this world is no longer small enough to walk the perimeter in three days. It has grown as far as the eye can see.”
“And that’s what’s causing this tremor?” asked Strigona. “No, wait.”
“If the direct hit caused a massive wave, I thought I would have to negate it by moving the ocean with my power to control the lunar eclipse.”
Everything should have been fine. Nothing should have happened.
But Kallikantzaros’s expression was grim.
“No real damage to the surrounding area, hm? That mass is the size of a continent. That level of control is actually terrifying.”
But it was not over yet.
This vast new field rewrote the assumption that Ground’s Nir was an island small enough to walk the perimeter in three days. And yet this was no more than the signal meant to announce the presence of the great catastrophe known as the Hero.
Boo Boo’s head shook a little. He could directly communicate with Abyss, so she had sent a small warning to him.
The ultimate weapon had sent him the following message:
They still live.
Abyss// Did you find any mistakes?
Abyss// Then let us review the answers.
A paradigm shift.
Vampire Kallikantzaros’s words were proven true by the following morning.
The small island of Ground’s Nir and the Labyrinth spread out below had hidden so much possibility, but the advantages and power balance had grown stagnant thanks to the overwhelming individual power of the Level Cappers and the organized Guilds. When dividing up the limited resources, everything ended up being an extension of the situation on Earth. …That might sound shocking, but Beatrice’s Party tended to use that environment to stop technological development from running wild.
And now a vast continent had appeared.
At its closest point, it was visible from the island.
The estimated amount of resources was unknown.
How much was buried there, the cost of excavating it, the return on investment, and the human risk were all unknown.
Would the challengers become filthy rich, or would they be worn down in a worthless battle of attrition?
Either way, there was hope. This uncontrollable dangerous hope was similar to the Age of Exploration or the Gold Rush.
It probably shined so brightly because it was so very thick and because it reflected the sunlight.
The greedy people tried to guess at its nature from afar:
“All the land there looks transparent. Is it ice or resin? No, is it silicon!?”
“We could travel back and forth if we had a simple ship. Acquisition Team, get on it!!”
“Don’t be dumb! Why bother going to some risky new continent full of who knows what kinds of dangerous toxins and pathogens? We need to buy wood. Or the ropes and waterproof fabrics used for sails! We want everything used to build ships because that stuff is going to sell like hotcakes!!”
It was truly a turning point.
The human inn town was abuzz with energy.
They could not bring material things back to Earth, but if they found new laws and formulas in the materials hidden on that new continent, they could send that data back. And the materials would be useful for building new buildings and vehicles on the Ground’s Nir side of things. Plus, there was no longer a need to stay in the small island’s inn town if they built a trading post on the vast continent and set up a Gate there. And if they could control a cornerstone of travel, a mine, or a grain-producing region, their future possibilities were endless. This other world was looking much more like a “world” now.
The palm-sized Fairy named Meridiana literally hid behind the grass to spy on the humans. It was obvious if you paid attention, but there were small trees growing quite near the inn town as a form of decorative landscaping. The dexterous Fairies would help grow the plants in order to ensure a hiding place for themselves.
Meridiana’s cheeks were currently puffed out like rice cakes.
“They’re all so excited about that new land. They make it sound like no one wants this island anymore.”
“What’s the problem with that?”
Alice, the younger sister with hair tied to either side, was using her dragonfly wings to buzz all around her older sister to gather her attention. This entirely defeated the purpose of hiding.
“If the humans leave, that just means fewer predators.”
That was not the point.
Boo Boo, Meridiana’s savior, had finally woken back up, but now his human friends might invite him to leave the island. And would he ever return? The humans might need the island for a while longer because they had to periodically return to Earth using the Gates, but Boo Boo could stay here forever since he had been born in Ground’s Nir. Also, the Fairies like Meridiana were at the bottom of the food chain, so they could not join this kind of expedition. She could never let anyone know how lonely she had felt during the Underworld and Red incidents.
That was why Meridiana was terribly distracted by something other than the fate of the world or the paradigm shift, but then Elder (but still a girl) Morgan flew over to them.
“What are you two doing here?”
“Oh, Elder Morgan.”
“Hm, are you interested in the humans?”
Their elder took a much, muuuch wider view of the world. She was sure to have some wonderful idea that would eliminate Meridiana’s worries…or so Meridiana thought, but a mature look of ennui entered Morgan’s eyes.
The cicada-winged elder’s voice was soft.
“This island might just start feeling a little lonely before long.”
“Meridiana!? Eek, have you gone mad!?”
While the inn town was excited with the arrival of a new continent, Beatrice’s Party was focused on a different issue. Well, it was not an entirely different issue.
The person to blame for everything was still alive.
“Um.” Summon Hunter Gruagach hesitantly spoke up in the kind of restaurant found anywhere in the inn town. “It isn’t much, but I found a few references to the Hero in old Religious Society documents.”
“Y-you mean on the Earth side of things? Wouldn’t those documents be from more than 300 years ago?”
“Also, you’ve still been in contact with the Religious Society, Gruagach? We can put together a plan and infiltrate them, so don’t do things like that without backup!”
The mourning clothes girl dodged Hermelina’s scolding with an unreadable smile and continued on.
“According to contemporary texts, the Hero was a woman also known as La Signora. Although that is not an actual name either. She was supposedly an outside military advisor for the Religious Society at the time. However…”
Red-and-silver-haired Beatrice frowned and looped-braided Gruagach breathed an elegant sigh.
“She was apparently an expert in the struggle for existence, but there are many different legends about her. Like that she tore down an old monarchy and introduced capitalism to replace it or that she stood at the turning point that ended the age of knights and replaced it with the age of mercenaries.”
“When she helped the Religious Society by killing a great many witches, it was also a certain kind of turning point. Whether or not any of it was true, it seems Hero La Signora was using that situation to help the witches grow within society. The more they were persecuted, the more their momentum would build. She apparently wanted to create a situation similar to the early days of the Religious Society.”
“She helped with the witch hunts that used anonymous informants, torture, and executions to leave the poor victims with no escape and she claimed it was to help the witches?”
Even Hermelina was dumbfounded by that twisted thought process.
“I read that her motto was ‘win whenever possible’. When there was a usable method, she would wonder why no one else was reaching for it. So La Signora only takes action when she has a clear vision of victory in her mind. She does not do anything out of desperation. Since she has returned now, we must assume she has some sort of plan.”
Boo Boo had arrived on the white beach.
He brought a hand to his mouth and spoke nervously while viewing the giant transparent land towering up on the horizon.
“I really hope this doesn’t turn out like it did with the Underworld.”
This might seem normal enough, but Boo Boo never would have done this in the past. The inn town’s humans had gathered on the coast out of both hope and fear. The beach was more crowded than an Earth beach during the summer. Before, Boo Boo would never have gone somewhere so full of humans.
But he had changed.
He had asked to borrow their Shining Weapons so he could save Beatrice. He gradually walked over to the people who had answered that request.
Someone spoke to him.
The black-haired young man’s looks were a bit harmed by the look in his eyes, but he was known as a Pure Knight. He wore silver armor polished like a mirror and carried a distinctive shield that would fully hide him when held in front of him.
“God, and just when I thought things had calmed down in this world. Is your bunch part of this like usual?”
“Squeal. I don’t really know. Beatrice and the others all look scared.”
“For real? Those overpowered chicks? And I was only joking. I thought we had an unlimited gold rush on our hands, but is there something dangerous waiting for us there? Why don’t they sell life insurance in Ground’s Nir?”
“Are you going there too?”
“If all goes well. Some people are hoping to make a quick buck by buying up and reselling ship materials, so it’s in the acquisition team’s hands now.”
The Pure Knight wandered off while grumbling. He may have had other people to meet as he vanished into the crowd. Boo Boo tilted his head and then resumed walking along the white beach instead of toward the ocean. The crowd of people gradually thinned out and had entirely vanished by the time the fine sand was replaced by jagged rocks. He walked below the sheer cliff and entered a lyrical world of waves crashing against rock before finally arriving at his destination: The Cave of Tears.
The cave’s entrance was located at the base of the cliff, but it did not flood because it sloped upwards once inside. It was safe enough for Demon Lord Tselika to have hidden her collection here.
He did not head into the very back this time.
Some familiar girls were struggling on the rocks near the entrance.
“Dammit, Wildefrau! How many times did I tell you that wouldn’t work!? Wahh!!”
“You were the one that told me to do this!! Kyahh!?”
There was a loud splash as the small boat floating in the ocean lost its balance and capsized.
“Squeal. It’s always so hard to believe that heavy metal can float in the ocean.”
Gruagach, with her mourning clothes and with her long blonde braid worn in a large circle, Rusalka, who wore a skintight leotard with solid armor and boots added on, and Huldra, who wore a cheerleading uniform, waved when they noticed him.
“Are you sure about this, Rusalka? You’ve been in Ground’s Nir this whole time. Aren’t you missing out on your once-in-a-lifetime school trip?”
“An eight-day trip is way too long for something in the country, so I’m fine. Besides, I’m busy making memories with you, Onee-sama!”
Hermelina, who wore a priest’s robes with a slit in the sides, had apparently created the base with her metal boat and then Wildefrau, who was naked save for a cross-shaped sword and some belts, used her ice to make floats and a sail, but it was either poorly balanced or they did not work well together.
Hermelina somehow managed to get her head above water after falling into the actual ocean out past the rocks.
“Cough, cough, cough!! Dammit, I’m soaked now. Although I guess a perverted exhibitionist wouldn’t understand the see-through issues wet clothing can cause!!”
“Pant, pant. Oh? You say that, but your clothes are quite something too. My, my. This priest has her robe full of slits and what she is wearing below is even more interesting. You went to the trouble of customizing the underwear, didn’t you? My, my, my.”
“~ ~ ~!?”
With her face bright red (and her flat chest partially exposed by a boob window), Hermelina remade the boat into a giant metal ball to make her idea of a rebuttal, but the weight was too much for her and she sank into the water.
Boo Boo could only tilt his head further.
Now, the humans were not the only ones who wanted to avoid getting wet. Boo Boo had a strict no baths policy and he washed himself using sand, so he took up a position on the taller rocks that had not been swallowed by the white waves.
Beatrice and Philinnion did not seem to be here.
It was Hermelina, Wildefrau, Gruagach, Rusalka, and Huldra. Someone familiar with the situation on Earth would know that was primarily the group that gathered at a certain PI office.
The pink-twintailed girl crouched on the safe rocks and cutely formed a megaphone with her hands to make a somewhat exasperated suggestion.
“Chieeef. I feel like going the DIY route for getting a boat to the new continent is going to be too hard for us.”
“Don’t you dare look this way, you fake girl. Besides, we spent quite a lot of gears on the information warfare over the Shocking Tingle Peppers, remember? We can’t afford to join the auction-like negotiations over a boat. Our budget is all spent!”
Earth’s harsh side made an appearance in this world as well.
Hermelina’s boat had slid down a snowy mountain, crossed a lake of lava in the Underworld, and defended against the beam bombardment created by the three royal treasures. It had a pretty good track record, but they had never actually seen it floating in seawater with an ordinary relative density. That might seem surprising when it handled lava just fine, but the large waves of the ocean may have made a difference.
Rather than a vessel, it was originally a torture tool meant to slowly crush the victim lying below it, so it may not have been designed with balance in mind.
Mourning clothes Gruagach spoke up with an index finger on her slender chin.
“But we have business on that continent, don’t we? Beyond the simple paradigm shift, I mean.”
“If we returned to the inn town now, we would only find the price of boats had skyrocketed. Honestly, I shouldn’t have come with you just because you sounded so confidant you could easily get us a boat!”
Rusalka had done nothing to help, yet she sounded the most full of herself. That rolled blonde ponytail girl may have been the type who left nasty reviews on restaurant rating sites.
Hermelina shook her head side to side like a wet dog and spoke in a voice so low it sounded like a curse.
“Damn…what was Abyss talking about? If it turns out she was wrong after all this, I’m really gonna let her have it. Since she can’t move, I’ll doodle on every last part of her body.”
“The Hero still lives,” muttered Boo Boo.
She was to blame for everything. She had covered the heavens with an artificial atmosphere barrier to secretly remake Ground’s Nir’s environment and that had caused the Red disease to spread among the Iberian Orcs.
Beatrice and Philinnion were not here because they were searching for some kind of supporting evidence on Earth.
“Phew.” Soaked Wildefrau sat on a random rock. “Making one ourselves is too hard and we waited too long to buy one in the inn town at anything halfway resembling a reasonable price.”
“Squeal, should we just ask the Thousand Dragon?”
“Deep down, she’s actually very cautious…or, cowardly really. Getting shot down by the Underworld may have traumatized her. Whatever the case, she hasn’t even tried to approach the new land and we can’t force her.”
Hermelina was a kind soul, but that was not the only reason. If they tried to force that 1000m dragon and she panicked and went on a rampage, there was no way to stop her.
“Then do we have to try for that?”
“Are you serious? That means going up against a Break News.”
“It is true we might not stand a chance in a direct fight, but there are other ways. Now, we are short on time, so we need to act as soon as possible. Once night falls, it will be too late.”
Wildefrau brushed back her wet blue curls while looking to the south.
There was a mangrove there, but also…
“The Next Voyager. That Vampire is living there now, but it was originally a giant research ship the Stars and Stripes group built to explore the oceans here. If we act during the day while she is still inside her coffin, don’t you think we could take the ship for ourselves?”
The Ushigashira Shrine was in Akasaka, Tokyo.
The busty shrine maiden with swirly glasses and long fluffy blonde hair lay sprawled out on the great expanse of tatami mats. A wrinkly old woman’s voice reached her from the orderly arrangement of joists on the ceiling.
“Honestly, is eat and sleep all you ever do? Do you need a reminder what time it is? The sun is high in the sky.”
“Bleh. You might be too out of touch to know, grandmother, but I am trying to recuperate after returning from another world. Getting my rest in the limited time available to me is an important job!”
“What about college?”
She had no answer for that.
That was why she could not hear the noisy voices of the children from the shrine grounds. It was 10 AM on a weekday, so the elementary school kids would be studying instead of playing.
Generally, anyone involved in Ground’s Nir was forced to live a double life. Keeping up with one meant falling behind in the other. The busty shrine maiden only had to make sure she passed her classes in the end, so it could have been worse. In fact, not many people could fully focus on exploring the other world like Beatrice could thanks to the government sheltering her and forcing her to give up on any kind of normal life.
(I can’t let myself envy that, though.)
Her phones were lying on the tatami mats too. Yes, phones. Quite a few were lying around.
“You have five of them now? What a waste.”
“College girls have a lot of people to keep up with. People have as many phones as they have identities. You need to keep your email addresses and social media accounts separate too.”
One of them rang: a super cheap smartphone with a free SIM she could dispose of at any time. Without getting up, her right hand wandered over and grabbed it.
Instead of an email or a social media message, it was a free voice call using an app. Using the app’s proprietary compressed format instead of a usual phone connection apparently prevented anyone from intercepting the signal, but how useful was that really? If things like that could completely avoid Hermelina and Huldra, it seemed like the country would have been overrun by spies and terrorists already.
“Hi, got an answer yet?”
“This is dangerous stuff! This tech can be put to military use, can’t it? Using university equipment to prove a theory about Ground’s Nir is definitely getting me put on some kind of watch list.”
“Oh, don’t worry about that. I’ve got a friend in the secret police, so she’ll remove your name from the list before things get bad. You’re not doing anything wrong, after all.”
“You’re a weirdly mysterious person, you know that? I’m honestly kind of scared of you.”
“But you got the job done, right?”
“Don’t forget what you promised me for this. You’re coming to the next party! The grade of guys we get goes up two or three levels when you’re with us.”
“Sure, sure. But I’ll be getting something to eat and drink and then leaving before the last train, okay?”
“Oh, and wear contacts. Those swirly glasses are not allowed!! Even pre-transformation Cinderella looked after her appearance more than you!!”
“But it’s so much easier this way. And should a priest-in-training really be going to hookup parties?”
“Eh? All the others say I’ll be in trouble if I don’t land a guy before I lose the ‘in training’ part.”
…This really highlighted Earth’s harsh side (even though Japan’s Shinto was not all that into asceticism compared to the Buddhists). Miss your chance and lose any place to meet people and you could easily end up like the priests who try hitting on the girls visiting a grave at the temple.
“Right, the ridiculous theory you brought to me for verification. Is it or is it not possible for a human from Earth to live long-term in Ground’s Nir?”
The shrine maiden with fluffy blonde hair and swirly glasses finally sat up from the tatami mats. That was enough for her large breasts to jiggle alluringly.
“And…what did you find?”
“Humans cannot survive that world’s environment because the atmospheric composition and the gravity created by the planet’s rotation and revolution are slightly different from Earth’s. The slight difference between the body’s rhythm and the surrounding environment damages the autonomic nerves and more. The current academic theory is that a human can only stay there for a few days at the longest.”
Normally, there would be no way to pass that barrier.
If it was possible, the Hero, Omega, and Beatrice would not have suffered so much.
This college friend was not done speaking.
“In that case, there is a way. …If you launch the human from the planet, expose them to a weightless environment, and have them breathe artificial air fine-tuned to match Earth’s, they could at least ignore the standards of Ground’s Nir. From there, it’s the same as living long term on a space station. That would break the rule that you can only survive for a few days.”
They had been looking at it wrong.
Thinking of Ground’s Nir as a flat place was no different from the people who believed you could fall off the edge of the Earth. They had been trapped by their own assumptions about a world of swords and Magic. Yet that Earth-born fantasy worldview was not native to Ground’s Nir. It was the humans who had brought it there.
“Of course, this is all assuming that island’s resources and technology are enough to safely launch a manned rocket and prepare a livable environment outside the atmosphere. It’s true Ground’s Nir is a world of possibility, but I doubt anyone could do that with handmade equipment. It’s only a theory. Just because something is theoretically possible does not mean you can actually do it.”
…But was that the case this time?
Beatrice had since destroyed it, but that world’s planet had been entirely surrounded by a transparent glass artificial atmospheric barrier.
It was unknown why the Hero had descended.
But if she only acted when she knew she could win, she would have some kind of plan in mind. Whether or not that plan would succeed, she would not just sit idly by and wait for death.
The witch hunts had used violence and humiliation to draw false confessions out of tens of thousands of innocent people and had them executed. It was hard to believe that every last person responsible had honestly accepted the excuse that they were protecting society from an unseen curse. They had felt guilty, but in that mad age, questioning it meant being ostracized. But La Signora was different. To achieve her own goal, she had crushed people and plunged them into fire or water without feeling any guilt whatsoever.
Now, let us look back to the present.
That glass continent had to be a way to cushion her from the impact with the ocean and to give her a foothold for whatever her plan was.
She would have already launched whatever worker device had continued following her orders for hundreds of lonely years.
If that worker device could create such a vast outer shell, then adding a small shelter would be nothing.
Just like the shrine maiden’s “grandmother”, she had been hiding in the starry attic of that world.
(The only other problem would be how to survive for hundreds of years.)
According to Boo Boo and Strigona, Ultimate Weapon Abyss had said that the Hero still lives. And since Beatrice had damaged the artificial atmospheric barrier, she had descended to the ocean to fight back in some way.
Time travel was tricky when it came to moving back into the past.
But if you only needed to move forward into the future, it was perfectly possible if you were only worried about your own point of view.
(The barrier of time can be broken using cold sleep, vampirism, or a dried state of suspended animation similar to a water bear.)
The Hero had responded.
Whether or not the current situation worked in her favor, there was bound to be some kind of trouble. The upcoming battle would be even greater than those against the Underworld Lord or the Red Iberian Orcs.
“How screwed are we?” asked the college friend.
“Pretty damn screwed. The world is caught in the fever of a gold rush, but they should really be staying away from that world at all costs.”
With that, they had to seriously consider the possibility that the Hero awaited them somewhere on that unnaturally-born new continent.
She would stand at a turning point and win whenever possible.
That sounded fine enough, but in the distant past, she had in fact accused innocent people of being witches and had them executed. And in Ground’s Nir, she was the one who had ignored what all other forms of life might want and infected the Iberian Orcs with the Red disease. The scale of each event and the number of victims she was willing to accept were far too great. Nothing was taboo for her. Leaving her to her own devices was almost guaranteed to end badly. They had to visit the new continent and find her before she could infiltrate the island. No matter what. Even if it was just to put their minds at ease, they needed to investigate her actions and possibly even fight and neutralize her.
However, Boo Boo and the others had no boat.
Their last hope there was the Next Voyager, the ghost ship run aground on the coast by the southern forest. So the only course of action was to borrow the ship and row out to sea during the day while the ultra-scary Vampire was asleep in her coffin!!
In her red armor, white miniskirt, and tattered gray cloak, Holy Swordswoman Beatrice put a hand on her hip and sighed when they told her the plan.
“Just to double check, Hermelina: you are the oldest one here, aren’t you? Back on Earth, you’re not actually a 5-year-old genius girl with no actual life experience? C’mon, old lady, I want to hear it directly from you.”
“And I’d like to hear from you what the point of that icy sarcasm and scorn is! You’re just a little girl who should be taking her high school entrance exam right about now!”
They bickered as they crossed a narrow bridge through the mangrove forest. Shallow bridges made of a special material called Diamond Salt branched out all over the place.
“Oh, do we have guests?”
“Hermeli, we aren’t very nice to people who arrive without gifts!”
The voices of some puppies and kitties reached them from the branches overhead.
The bridges and treetop houses made from Diamond Salt were built by the Cat Sith and Cu Sith who lived in the forest. Just like with the Fairies, powerless species that wanted a way to protect themselves would become quite dexterous. That seemed to be a fascinating rule of evolution.
Boo Boo’s great strength and simple loin cloth seemed to be the other side of that coin, but now he brought a hand to his mouth and spoke.
“Boo. Borrowing without asking is wrong. Kallikantzaros will be upset when she finds out!”
“Ugh… I can imagine how dead we’ll be then. She’s a legit Break News after all.”
The glasses girl with her chest bound by her own suspenders was already getting cold feet and scooting closer to the Iberian Orc, but unlike Boo Boo, her concern was not for the victim of their theft.
As for Beatrice…
“It’s more important to find out whether or not the Hero is alive like Abyss claimed. The Red incident affected the Iberian Orcs because their senses are far more sensitive, but they were only the beginning and it may have spread from there. If the Hero goes further with the environmental changes, all life in Ground’s Nir could die out, Boo Boo. And Kallikantzaros is no exception.”
“Everyone in this world is in danger” and “so hand over everything you own” was not really a logical progression, but then Hermelina lightly cut in.
“Well, that bully of a Vampire can’t move during the day, so we win if we get the ship out to sea in that time.”
“Ch-chief, doesn’t that just mean we’re trapped on the ship with her when she wakes up mad!?”
“I don’t know how much Earth’s legends apply to Ground’s Nir lifeforms, but I have heard Vampires fear water. Especially flowing water like rivers and the sea. Once out on the water, she might start trembling and tearfully beg for help. Bwa ha bwa ha ha!!”
Summon Hunter Gruagach calmly elbowed Wildefrau in the side.
“(Um, how likely is Hermelina’s plan to succeed?)”
“(Did you really think she was a winner? She’s a brute force lunkhead who doesn’t even try to get clever. Whenever a new boss shows up, she’s sent out to test their strength.)”
“I can hear you, Wildefrau. You too, Gruagach! I’m a winner at life. After all, I’m one of the powerful Level Cappers. Have you two already forgotten how I beat up an edgy Japanese doll with a crazy eyepatch in order to rescue a bondage girl kept in a bathtub full of ice!?”
They left the southern forest while the arguing continued. Overall, a river parted in a Y-shape to create a triangular sandbank that bordered the ocean. A very old luxury ship sat up on that beach.
That was the Next Voyager ocean research ship.
Pink-twintailed Huldra spoke while hiding her mouth behind her pompoms and giving an upturned glass. The pose was as flimsy as the free samples at the entrance of a grocery store.
“Umm, it might be made of wood, but the ship is more than 100m long, isn’t it? It’s completely beached, so how are we supposed to get it back in the water?”
That was a sensible comment, but her question was not enough to stop the Level Cappers who had a habit of ignoring limits.
“Let’s dig into the sand below and lift the ship to create a gap.”
“Got it. Then we can add a layer of water between to slide it on out into the ocean.”
If no one stopped them, those ridiculously-powerful Magic users really would steal the ship. Boo Boo began grumbling a little.
Beatrice noticed the change while watching the others work, but it was too late by the time she tried to ask what it was about.
“This isn’t right. If we’re going to borrow her tool, we need to ask Kallikantzaros first. So let’s do that. Heyyy! Kallikantzarooooos!!!!!!”
Philinnion and Hermelina tried to cover the law-abider’s giant mouth, but he was nearly four meters tall and his face was far too high up.
A moment later, darkness covered Ground’s Nir like a worldwide blackout.
This was a solar eclipse.
Apparently, but how exactly had the moon moved just now? This was more than a curveball or forkball; it was well beyond understanding. And since the sun island was no longer functioning, this darkness had enveloped the world by the actual moon hiding the actual sun in outer space.
Beatrice’s Party looked up to see the Next Voyager’s small master on its side deck.
Keeping the gray pig doll on her lap and petting it like a noble with their cat must not have been enough for her. The blonde negligee girl gave the world below a scornful look and spoke with a voice low enough to sound like a curse.
“Not only do you disturb my sleep, but you fail to follow my dress code too.”
Come to think of it, that Vampire did not underestimate humans, so she required any visitors to wear swimsuits, thus rendering them nearly helpless. A fully-equipped group with Shining Weapons at their hip attacking while she was asleep was entirely out of the question.
Hermelina and the others had insisted it was fine since she would be asleep during the day.
So a question.
What happened if she was awake?
A splashing sound rang loud in the extreme tension of the atmosphere. Vampires cannot cross quickly moving water. Since sunlight was not as effective as hoped, their minds naturally turned toward finding another weakness, so Hermelina must have considered that dubious legend. Her bullying boots stepped out into the crashing waves.
That snapped the thread of tension.
It was like an eruption.
“I hope all of you have written your wills!!!!!!”
The next thing they knew…
…there was a gap…
…in their memories???
Philinnion was stuck in the sand with her shorts-wearing butt sticking up into the air, Hermelina was caught on a branch in the forest with her bare legs sticking out from her robe’s slits, and the rest of them were in a similarly hellish state. Beatrice had only fallen down onto her butt and Boo Boo’s large back stood protectively in front of her.
Unarmed Boo Boo was waving his giant hands.
“Calm down, Kallikantzaros.”
“Mh? Are you the only one who came unarmed? You also have no excess clothing and don’t seem to have anything hidden. So you are following the dress code. You were also the one to warn me, weren’t you? Very well, what is it you wish to say? Those rude humans lost their chance, but I will hear you out.”
“We want a boat, but can’t get one. So we want to borrow yours.”
The girl tilted her head on the side deck.
“And what is in it for me?”
“So we can’t use it? How petty.”
Boo Boo said it without really thinking, but Vampire Kallikantzaros’s small shoulders shook.
“What…did you just call me?”
“If you’re not willing to share, that’s fine. We won’t force you to give it up, so don’t worry, Kallikantzaros. Squeal, this ship belongs to you and we won’t take your treasure from you, so there’s nothing to be afraid of. But I am surprised. I thought you would be more mature than this. Boo.”
She hung her head and seemed to be laughing.
Beatrice could not even guess at what was causing that straining sound from all around them.
Then the Break News raised her head and roared.
For some reason, there were tears in her eyes.
“A-are you kidding me, you fools!? Y-y-you think I am petty? You think I am immature? You think a Vampire living on her own can’t be considerate of other’s circumstances and can’t even complete a child’s errand!? Y-you think that silver-haired one is better than me!!!???”
Her voice was cracking, she kept stuttering, and no one had suggested most of what she said. Her face was bright red and she trembled as she shouted, so it was not a pretty sight. Boo Boo had apparently scored a critical hit on her heart.
Boo Boo brought a hand to his mouth with a sad look in his eyes.
“Squeal. Sorry, Kallikantzaros. If I did something wrong, I apologize.”
“Then stop looking at me like that! I have done nothing warranting that kind of pity!! S-s-something so trivial could never get to me. I am not crying!!”
“If I did something wrong, tell me what it was so I can do better next time.”
“I am saying you did nothing wrong! I-I…yes, I am a very generous person, so I am more than willing to lend you the Next Voyager!!”
Thus, Boo Boo became a sailor.
Starting from the southern forest required going the long way around, but it meant a lot that they had acquired a ship off the other humans’ radar and could use it to get to the new land.
The solar eclipse had vanished with mysterious ease and the blue sky had returned. Vampire Kallikantzaros was sulking inside her coffin on the bottom level of the ship.
“Wh-wh-what happened to water being her weakness? And come to think of it, she’s wearing a black bikini below that see-through negligee. She’s a beach girl!!”
“Chieeef, hadn’t we heard that she can control the lunar eclipse to use the moon’s gravitational pull to submerge every last bit of land? We probably shouldn’t have tried to apply Earth’s legends to her…”
After taking such a solid beating, Hermelina leaned over the railing like a blanket hanging out to dry, but that aside…
The stage was finally moving to the new land.
Hero La Signora awaited them on that mysterious field.
“It’s okay, Boo Boo,” said Beatrice while leaning against that pig-faced giant from the side. “The Hero might not be doing anything bad. And even if she is, we won’t lose. Isn’t that right?”
“Oh, no. Oh, no, no.”
Then they heard an odd voice from the side.
White Witch Philinnion had been pacing back and forth across the deck with a pale face for a while now.
“What’s with you, cow? Don’t tell me you can’t swim and the ocean scares you.”
“Um, this is a bigger issue.” The glasses suspenders cow looked terribly troubled. “Not only was this ship sitting on the beach for decades, but didn’t the Sage and Sibyl strip off a lot of its parts to use as the interior of the Girl’s Grill?”
“C’mon, it can’t be that bad. I mean, Kallikantzaros is onboard with us. She would’ve stopped us from setting sail if there was a hole in the bottom.”
Hermelina had a good point, but Philinnion poked her index fingers together in front of her large chest as she got to the crux of the issue.
“Kallikantzaros gets mad if you approach her ship without permission, but did she really know that the Sage and Sibyl came here? If they snuck aboard and stole the wood, wouldn’t she be entirely unaware of any holes in it?”
Their elegant journey was at an end.
They all grabbed pots and buckets to use as bailers.
They were too far from the island to turn back, so they split up and ran around the large ship to check for holes.
Abyss// If you view a calm and unchanging scene for long enough…
Abyss// …you may eventually begin to suspect everything you see there.
Abyss// But do not worry. There are indeed mistakes.
Abyss// Now, let us review the answers.
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