Translator: Jimi Editor: Ryunakama
In the end, I again missed out on handing over the crystal fragment to Silverie, and had to return to my tent.
The next time I meet her, I ought to just force her to take it before she escapes.
Well, I’ve thought of doing that a couple of times though. Somehow things never went smoothly.
I entered the tent just as the meal was ready, so we began to eat together.
Frankly speaking, Shirushu’s cooking was not great, and the fact that the children had to scrounge for food in the shopping district was, well, understandable.
It’s likely that until now, she probably hasn’t eaten any delicious food, since she certainly hasn’t developed a discerning palate.
Perhaps she was able to tell that something was off by tasting it herself, Shirushu’s expression was clouded.
「S-sorry, I couldn’t make it taste good…」
「Now now, Shirushu-san, we’ll teach you another time.」
「Yup yup ♪ With practice you’ll get better, right?」
After finishing up our meal, Milly and Shirushu fell asleep, while I went for another session of manipulating Claude’s and Lydia’s magic lines.
Speaking of which, Shirushu has yet to learn the growth rate enhancement magic, Growth.
The Growth Scroll had been returned to its owner and is currently not on hand, but it should still be possible to directly engrave it into her body by meddling with her magical lines.
Although it would take a considerable amount of time, it would also help to suppress Shirushu’s rampages, therefore it’s something we should do.
Thanks to the magic lines manipulation session every night, the two ladies’ Growth levels have been steadily increasing too, while it would be undesirable to have too much difference in levels within a guild.
As I was pondering, my fatigue eventually caught up to me.
Late into the night, I was awoken by the feeling of something dripping onto my cheek.
In the darkness where everyone was supposed to be asleep, I could hear the sound of heavy panting.
Something leaned onto my body, completely restricting my movements.
This presence is…
As my eyes gradually adjusted to the darkness, I saw the thing which fell onto me. It was Shirushu.
Her hair was dyed red and her eyes were vacant. Although it seems like she did not undergo beast transformation, her consciousness was not present.
Sleepwalking or something huh?
「Shirushu, oi get a hold of yourself.」
「…Heh!? Ah! Zeph-sa..?」
I called out Shirushu’s name several times, while lightly patting her cheek, and Shirushu woke up with a start.
However, she did not move away from where she was on top of me.
I mean, I am desperately trying to move my body, but things aren’t working out the way I hoped it would.
「I’m sorr… I-I’ll move away immediately…!」
「Are you alright, Shirushu?」
I propped myself up with my elbows and touched Shirushu, intending to move her away, when she hugged me with all her might.
「I’m sorry… My body moved on its own…」
Seeing that I was bewildered by the sudden hug, Shirushu apologized while still in the embrace.
As if in heat, Shirushu rubbed her body against mine.
Her rough breath was felt on my shoulders.
I see, Shirushu’s beast nature must have overpowered her sense of reasoning when she heard the moans from Claude and Lydia during their magic lines manipulation session.
This situation is somewhat similar to what happened the other day in the inn, when I was manipulating Claude’s magic lines.
Come to think of it, it would seem that whenever she loses her mind, Shirushu’s hair turns a deeper pink.
「…Please tie me up. At this rate, it’s too tough…! I can’t hold on…!」
「Got it. …My bad, I should have predicted that such a thing would happen.」
Shirushu’s whole body had already turned red and it feels like she would soon be at her limit.
I forcefully peeled Shirushu off me, and sat her down.
From my pouch, I took out the rope which we used to restrain Shirushu the other day, and used it to tie up Shirushu’s hands, feet and body.
Using the method taught by Lydia, as I bound Shirushu’s body up tightly, she let a sweet sigh leak from her lips.
「It’s almost done, so endure it for awhile more.」
By the time I finished binding Shirushu up, she was completely dazed.
Even when I called out to her, she only gave half-hearted replies, as she was squirming about and twisting her body.
Her rationality may have already been flung out of the window.
Sleep Code wouldn’t have worked on her in this state, and in the first place, she probably wasn’t even conscious…
After tucking Shirushu, who looked as if she was delirious from a high fever in, I also fell asleep.
The next morning.
「…Ah…Good morning, Zeph-san…」
「Morning…Eh, you alright? Shirushu, your eyes are red.」
「Ahaha… I haven’t been sleeping…」
When I woke up, I found Shirushu under my blanket.
Her hair was back to her normal color, but her eyes were bloodshot and red.
「Fua… Good morning, Zeph-kun…」
「Eh… What are you doing!?」
Seeing the bound Shirushu who was under my blanket, Claude’s eyes were round with surprise.
Claude looked as if she had seen something which she shouldn’t have, and immediately averted her eyes.
「Ah~ this is uh… Shirushu crawled under my blanket…」
「I-I understand. Shirushu-san sometimes slips into my futon too… but even so, tying her up for that…」
「…Shirushu told me to tie her up.」
Claude and I were frantic, while Shirushu simply looked vacantly at us.
I guess her mind isn’t functioning due to a lack of sleep.
With an absent-minded look, Shirushu was glancing between Claude and I.
Then, when she finally understood the situation, her face and hair dyed red and she let out a wordless shriek.
Then, she jumped up to her feet and was about to run away from us, when she fell grandly on the floor.
She probably forgot that she was tied up with rope.
「A-are you okay, Shirushu-san?」
After I helped Shirushu up and undid the rope, she wrapped herself in a blanket and curled up in a corner of the tent.
She did not respond despite being called multiple times, and stayed huddled even after everyone had woken up.
「Shirushu, what’s wrong?」
「Various things happened, please leave me alone.」
「Various things were done, isn’t it, Zeph-chi~」
Lydia was grinning as she examined me. I averted my eyes from her.
The tough part is not being able to deny it completely.
Milly’s gaze was also burning into me.
「I guess that’s just your usual behavior?」
As Claude was speaking, she turned towards me with a pleasant smile on her face.
Ugh, what a refreshing smile.
Claude didn’t back me up this time either. Damn.
As expected, Shirushu’s nature as a beastfolk is somewhat troublesome. It would seem that we cannot afford not to conduct the sealing again as early as possible.
As I was bathed in the cold stares from the three ladies, I began my morning preparations.
In the end, Shirushu, who had stayed up all night, fell asleep while sitting in the corner. It would feel bad if we woke her up, so only the rest of us would go into the Cresta vast cavern today.
As for Shirushu, I guess she’ll have to work hard starting from tomorrow.
After finishing up a light meal, we got ready to leave the tent.
「Alright then, we’ll be back, Shirushu.」
Milly waved at Shirushu who was in the tent.
The tent was different from the pouch, in that when there was something in it, it was not possible to carry it around.
It creates a space by using magic from the place where it was set up, so I guess that is pretty obvious.
People apart from your comrades were not allowed to enter, and we also left a note behind.
Telepathy could still be used too, and even if monsters come, Shirushu has her Beast transformation to rely on in the worst case.
There shouldn’t be a problem.
「The Cresta vast cavern is separated into ten floors in total, while the Rock Dragon resides in the center – the fifth floor. Until then, there are no monsters which we ought to take special caution of, but let’s be careful anyway.」
「For now, let’s start descending ♪」
Following Milly’s carefree declaration, we entered the cavern.
The strategy for defeating the Rock Dragon was discussed the day before, but it’s probably better to mention it again right before we fight.
I’m afraid that Milly, for instance, could’ve forgotten what we had discussed, so it’s just to be sure.
「Wahh~ It’s spacious inside~」
「There aren’t any particularly strong monsters around here, but don’t let your guard down alright?」
「Milly-san may stand behind me.」
「Hehe, thank you Claude ♪」
「Wasn’t that such a gentlemanly thing to say?」
When I said that to poke fun at Claude, she glared at me somewhat sullenly.
To avert her gaze, I let my eyes drift elsewhere, and just then a Rock Golem appeared.
「Zeph-kun, don’t think I’ve forgotten what you said, you know…」
「Ahaha, Clau-chan is easy to bully I guess~」
Lydia patted Claude’s head, while each of us moved into our battle positions.
It would be the usual formation, where Claude and Lydia will attract the monster’s attention, while Milly and I will use magic to attack it.
The Rock Golem’s attack was parried by Claude’s sword and shield, and Lydia aimed for the gaps between its rocks, dealing consecutive hits in the meantime.
When Milly estimated that the duo was sufficiently distanced from the Golem, she held her hands up, ready to cast magic.
To match her attack, I also cast Blue Gale.
「Blue Gale, double!」
With Milly’s shout, a gigantic water dragon wound up around the Rock Golem, causing it to break into pieces.
Using Blue Gale double, it’s a one-hit kill huh.
It seems like the probability of combining attacks has increased considerably huh.
If that’s the case, we could probably incorporate it into our future battle tactics.
「We did it~♪」
Raising both hands in the air, I high-fived with Milly, and walked towards Claude and Lydia.
「But Milly, it’s better to shout out the attack name only after confirming the success of the combination magic, you know?」
「It would be embarrassing if we failed, I guess?」
「It’s fine as long as we don’t fail, right~♪」
Saying that, Milly hooked her arm around mine.
It still fails frequently though… where does your confidence even come from…
「Zeph-kun, Milly-san, thank you for your hard work. 」
「Ahaha~, the two of you make the perfect team, don’t you~」
While being teased by the two ladies, we proceeded further into the cavern.