Translator: Kurehashi Aiko
Volume 4 Chapter 25: Child Dragon and the Day of Tranquility
After most of the annual events were finally over, most of the Shrine Maidens returned to their original duties.
「Aru, did my sister tell you anything about her condition?」
Mikoto asked him that while they were busy cleaning, and Aru answered after a moment of hesitation.
「Mako-san says that she’s feeling fine. But she also said that she probably shouldn’t try to use magic forcibly for the time being.」
It would be impossible for Aru to say anything more to Mikoto.
Makoto really seemed to be fine, just like she was claiming to be, but that doesn’t change the fact that they found her collapsed on the floor just a few days ago.
After Aru and Mikoto were abducted by Ten-san, she used a Teleportation spell to bring them here, into the middle of a place called Taisha. Almost immediately after arriving, she left Makoto’s body and changed into her spiritual form, vanishing into thin air.
After that, Makoto fell onto the ground on the spot.
That moment was probably the best opportunity they would ever have to escape.
However, both Aru and Mikoto simply couldn’t leave Makoto alone, not when she was laying powerlessly on the floor with her eyes closed and her face completely pale.
Also, when Ten-san was leaving Makoto’s body, she looked as though she was genuinely worried about her.
After that, Makoto slept for three days and three nights straight, and when she finally woke up, both Mikoto and Aru felt relieved. Still, Makoto didn’t wanted to talk about the reasons for her collapse.
「Mako-san probably collapsed because of Ten-san hijacking her body. Also, she used some truly advanced magic that is not meant for humans to use. She must have exhausted her magic reserves, but it should only be temporary.」
「I think so as well. My sister would never lie about things like that.」
Seeing how worry was casting a shadow over Mikoto’s face, Aru asked her another question as to distract her a little.
「Yes, you’re right. Let’s focus on whatever we can do right now.」
Mikoto no longer looked as if she was about to cry, and shook her head to switch her thinking.
「I didn’t know that my sister had already became the Head Shrine Maiden. There are so many things about her that I don’t know.」
「Right. So, while we’re still here, let’s try to obtain as much information from the Taisha as possible.」
Aru remembers one of the things that Nectar once told to him.
Whenever there’s something you don’t understand, just try to collect as much information about that as possible.
Even if you don’t know anything yourself, collecting information from your surroundings may shed some light onto the problem at hand, and you will eventually know what it is that you must do.
Aru was also feeling like crying, but that doesn’t mean that he was going to just sit in one spot and cry all day.
「I’ll go to the same place that I went to yesterday: to the library. I’ll see if there’s anything I can find regarding Ten-san or Innocent Chaos.」
「And I’ll try to investigate the structure of the Taisha some more, see if I can find a way out of here.」
For as long as they were doing their job properly, they had no restrictions regarding the places they could go.
The reason why they were allowed so much freedom was probably because their captors were convinced that they wouldn’t be able to get away anyways.
「Also, today some of the Shrine Maidens promised me that they will teach me some of the language that they use here if they are free after work. I’ll see if I can get something out of them as well.」
Deciding on their plan of action, Mikoto looks Aru in the eyes.
「Let’s both do our best, Aru.」
「Sure, thing, Miko-san. I shall do my very best!」
With that being said, the two of them ran alongside the corridors in the opposite directions.
After they ate their breakfast, Mikoto and Aru began to walk around the Taisha.
After a few days of practice, Aru got pretty much accustomed to eating the staple white rice and rice porridge here using nothing else but a pair of chopsticks.
He really wanted to eat some bread instead, but it looks like it wasn’t going to happen anytime soon.
Since everyone knew they wouldn’t be able to go outside of the Taisha, no one was delegated to keep watch over them throughout the day.
However, without Ten-san’s permission, they couldn’t use the teleportation gates.
「Muu. I knew it, it’s impossible.」
Said Aru while standing at the Taisha’s main entrance, with the teleportation gate being right in front of him.
The Shrine Maidens didn’t even bat an eye at him being here, but the gate itself presented quite the problem.
It was a huge column right in the middle of a carefully planned garden.
Its cylinder, which was the width of Aru’s chest, had a bowl like container on top of it, with water collected inside of it.
The water that was gathered here was spread throughout the whole garden, by the system of intricate ground canals.
The letters carved into the cylinder, as well as the traces of magic in the water, pointed out that they were connected to teleportation magic and passing through some sort of force field.
However, Aru had no idea how to invoke the teleportation, and where was the tunnel leading to.
In the case of normal teleportation, the elements of the invocation schematic were connected with one another, since otherwise it wouldn’t be possible for the gate to tap into the leylines.
However, here, in this place it was pretty much impossible to detect the presence of the leylines, probably because Ten-san was obstructing their presence. Aru felt pretty much at a loss here, especially with just how dense the magic here could be.
Walking around the edge of the garden, there was no way leading outside, so it seems that the Taisha was somehow being isolated from the outside world.
So, the only possible way out of this place was via the gate, but they had no idea how to operate it and where would it leave them.
「I must come here later with Miko-san. I really can’t read any of those symbols.」
Right about now, Mikoto was looking through the Taisha’s archives in order to dig out some information that could give them an advantage over Ten-san or the Shrine Maidens.
The Archives and the Library were established around the same time as the Taisha was created, and as such they contained lots of books, scrolls and texts about various subjects.
Inside one of them, there may be a way for them to open up the gate and escape.
According to the other Shrine Maidens, the only ones capable of opening the gate were either Ten and Makoto.
Makoto once showed Mikoto how she opened the gate and let some people through it, as well as making them leave when their visit was over.
At that time, Mikoto was able to sense the presence of the leyline, but only when the passage was open.
Be it either day or night, the garden was always clean, its air was filled with magic and its atmosphere was calming.
However, there was no presence of leylines to be felt there.
You could feel one point, but Aru wasn’t sure where it was exactly.
「But I know that this must be connected somehow, so I’ll do my best to read them.」
When Aru shook the sleeves of his kimono and activated his magic, the water filling the cylinder became strangely light.
The cylinder’s teleportation spell was activated.
As soon as the magic spread across the cylinder, the water began to raise inside of it.
It created a sort of a watery wall, in which the water was bursting.
Knowing that it was connected to somewhere, Aru thought about jumping inside of the portal for a short second.
If he were to leave now, he could have brought back some help.
However, if he did that, Mikoto would be left here all alone.
They promised themselves that they would leave together, not leaving anyone behind.
While Aru was pondering that, a lonely figure came out of the portal.
As it appeared, it sent ripples across the water’s surface.
「Good grief, I know that I can go to the Taisha as I please but what is this Ten thinking, summoning me like that…… Hm? Eh?」
It was a young man who came out of the portal, mumbling to himself.
On a side note, he came out of the water, but neither his clothes nor skin were wet.
However, that man wore the clothes of the Western continent and was speaking in western language.
Furthermore, Aru was surprised to discover that the man was in fact a spirit, and when Aru raised his face, he could see his pale hair and pale eyes staring right at him.
While repositioning the lute on his back, the young man looked at Aru with surprise.