Last Embryo Volume 1 Chapter 4 Part 4
Her height and stature indicated that she was about 10 to 12 years old, but her way of speaking was much too fluent and sophisticated for that to be the case. He couldn’t see it clearly because he was lying down, but she might actually be a bit older than what he anticipated, probably because her face and expression looked way more mature than a typical child’s. Homura was certain that in a few years she will surely become a first-class beauty.
「Okay the, uhh, Kuro Usagi, would you mind if I asked you some questions?」
「Of course. But before you do that, I think it would be best to randeavouz with you friends first, don’t you think?」
「Oh, of course, I guess you’re right. Well, lead the way then.」
「Yes! Just follow me and you’ll never get lost!」
Kuro Usagi’s ears perked up again with another *Usaaaa!* sound as she walked out of the room with energetic steps. Putting on his already dried raincoat, Homura followed closely behind her.
It turned out that just like with the room he woke up in and its furniture the corridors of the building they were currently in were really carved out inside of the giant tree, which would explain the unusually high humidity of the air he felt ever since waking up. When he focused and listen closely, he could even hear the sound of the flowing water somewhere in the distance.
(The texture of the grains is similar to that of a Camphor tree, but there’s no way it could have been grown to such ridiculous height by any normal means.)
Whatever it was that made this tree grow so much, it had to be some unnatural force different from the forces of nature he was familiar with. It continued to make his sense of curiosity itch mercilessly, but for the time being it would be better to follow the rabbit-eared girl without any unnecessary detours. After all, the last thing he wanted was to get lost in this unknown place.
Glancing back at Homura’s confused expression over her shoulder, Kuro Usagi continued to giggle happily as she covered her mouth with her hand.
「Fufufu, I have to say, I am pleasantly surprised. I have heard a little bit about you from Izayoi, but contrary to his words you’re quite obedient and well behaved, despite that crime against my ears you’ve committed when you woke up, but I guess it can be attributed to confusion, so I am gratiously willing to let that one slide.」
「You know Big Bro Iza?」
「YES! Because he is the member of the same Community as I. If memory serves me correctly, he was summoned here around 3 years ago along with the other 2 problem children.」
3 years ago, that’s the same thing that Izayoi said, but that doesn’t match with the knowledge possessed by Homura and the others at the orphanage. According to their memories, it has been 5 years since Sakamaki Izayoi disappeared, not 3.
(Maybe the flow of time in this place differs from ours in some way? And speaking of time, we were lucky all of his happened right at the beginning of the Golden Week, but we still cannot be sure that someone won’t report our disappearance to the authorities.)
Not to mention that the middle school building has been levelled to the ground, so even after the Golden Week is over, it will probably still take some time for that branch of the academy to resume its normal operations. Thinking about such things, Homura continued to follow after Kuro Usagi through the corridors of the great tree. After a while, he heard something akin to a steam whistle coming from the opposite side of the tree. Listening in to that unexpected sound, Homura inquired about it further wit his guide.
「Was that… a steam whistle just now? Is there a train here?」
「YES! That was the whistle signaling the departure of the Spirit Train, a method of transportation that has become popular quite recently. Do you want to see it?」
A Spirit Train, huh? Those two unfamiliar words made his curiosity itch so much more that he was unable to hold the urge to scratch it. Kuro Usagi just held back her laugher and cheerfully took a turn at the next intersection, taking the road which led them outside of the great tree.
At that moment, after being exposed to a gust of wind, Homura’s field of vision was stolen by a serene scenery filled with crystal blue water and the deep shades of green.
In the middle of the tree, 250 meters above the ground the wind was so strong that it threatened to blow him away if he didn’t grab the hand rail in time. He bend forward over the rail to see the train Kuro Usagi was talking about at the same time as the second whistle’s sound cut through the air. Them he was taken aback by the sight before him for the second time.
He couldn’t see it clearly enough, but it looked like the entire tree was spreading across the surface of the great river. The water which was sucked up by the tree’s trunks and branches was falling like a waterfall towards the town which was spreading below. Or maybe it would be more accurate to say that it wasn’t waterfall, but rather the droplets of rain or a mist-like drizzle that made its way downwards to the city of water which must have taken advantage of this natural resources, building a plethora of water wheels and water-powered elevators. Once he looked close enough, he could even see something reminiscient of an old city beneath the water’s surface.
「Well? How do you like the scenery of Underwood, a Reborn City of Water?」
「YES! You see, one year ago when the Great Tree’s Spirit awakened, the amount of water falling from its branches increased drastically, flooding the old city as a result. But thanks to the efforts of Izayoi and his companions followed by the aid of other Communities, it was possible to rebuild the city in its current form.」
「Big Bro Iza took part in creating this city?」
He muttered while looking around in shock. Then, along with the third steam whistle, a giant train emerged from beneath the water’s surface.
「H-Hey! That train just came from under the water!!!」
He exclaimed excitedly while pulling on Kuro Usagi’s ears.
「Y-YES! That is the Spirit Train, a method of public transportation moving at extremely high-speeds across the special tracks system called Spirit Veins! If you are interested, we can go have a closer look, but before that, can you please let go of my lovely ears?!」
「Yup, I so want to see it up close! Let’s go right now!」
Still clutching onto Kuro Usagi’s ears despite her rampant protests, Homura rushed down the wooden stairs towards the train station with unrestrained excitement. On his way he jumped into the water elevator and vigorously pulled the lever next to its entrance, descending towards the ground with such speed as if he was falling from the sky once more, but the further down the went, the water’s current adjusted their speed properly.
The buildings of the city itself looked like they were taken straight out of the middle ages, but it was obvious that there was much more to it than initially meet the eye. Compared to the modern-day elevators this one moved more loudly, but riding it brought much more joy.
After they finally descended down to the ground level, Homura left the elevator and continued to run downtown towards the city’s center, which was littered with waterways at every step. The streams of water bursting from the fountains were also a sight to behold, gleaming with changing colors due to the refraction of the sunlight which shone down on them from high above.
The open-air markets were filled to the brim with crowds of people, shopkeepers selling their strange wears and food stalls filled with all kinds of food, like a strange mixture of a deer and a bird which he had never seen before, overloading his senses with a myriad of new sensations all at once. Having never visited such a place even back in his old world, all that Homura could do was to stare at everything around him while being completely speechless. And then, from the other side of the crowd, he heard a very familiar voice.
「Ah, Look Aya, it’s Homura! Looks like our Sleeping Beauty finally decided to wake up!」
「You can say that again. Making not one, but two ladies wait so long, you really are a failure as a gentleman, senpai.」
Both Suzuka and Ayato seemed to be in very high spirits, the former dual-wielding candy apples and the latter holding a crepe with strawberries and whipped cream. As soon as they noticed him, they approached him while squeezing through the crowd, but Homura was still overwhelmed by the sights around him, and it must have been reflected in his face, because when she saw it, Kuro Usagi asked while tilting her rabbit ears a little:
「Is something wrong, Mr. Homura?」
「What? N-No, of course not, I am fine, perfectly fine. Or rather, I want to comment on this world, but I cannot even begin to search for the right words to do so.」
Simply put, he was dumbfounded, and that threw him in a state of confusion where he didn’t even know what to say anymore.
Aside form normal looking humans, there were also beastmen present, and even spirits, as was evident by a ghost of a young child playing in the fountain. When faced with such otherworldly concepts taken straight out of fairy tales and legends, his own train of thought has grinded into a complete halt, but that would be everyone’s reaction, right? So it was not like he was being the weird one here, right?! So what should he do? Just accept it all and have fun together with Suzuka and Ayato? Kuro Usagi just smiled at his dilemma and shook her ears.
「I see that the mountain of your questions only continues t grow, so why don’t I answer them while we have ourselves some lunch?」
「Yeah, right, I… I suppose we could do that. Are there any good restaurants nearby?」
「Let me think… in this season, a grilled Sakami Bird and Peryton’s ham with fried eggs should be especially good, so we can start with that!」
(Wow, looks like we have ourselves one hell of a carnivorous bunny.)
Homura wanted to say that out loud, but he stopped himself, because truth to be told, he was really hungry himself.
And so, the first thing they were about to do after being dragged to another world, was to have a meal.
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