I’ve awoken in the gloomy depths of the earth. When I fell into the pitfall I’ve prepared myself for death, but surprisingly, once I tried to move my body it didn’t hurt at all. Seemed like the reason I’ve fainted was a psychological shock.
Looking at the hole I came from it wasn’t a vertical drop, but rather a long slide. In addition to the steep slope, the slide’s stones were polished smooth, so unless I had suction cups chances of me climbing up didn’t seem high.
“… I’m screwed.”
Stretching ahead in the underground space was an obscure tunnel. On the surface of the walls grew glowing moss, which served as a natural light source. Based on the incessantly trickling water from the ceiling, it might be a passage utilizing the grasslands rain flowing into the water vein.
Is there no clue how to get out — taking one step forward with such thoughts, —snap— I stepped into something.
While stifling a stupid cry, I shrank away and violently crashed into a wall. After I started taking deep breaths to soothe my thumping heart, I noticed those were most likely animal bones. They’ve had the shape of a four-footed animal, like a horse or a sheep.
“Did it get lost in the cave and fell down here…? Poor thing.”
It probably wasn’t long ago since the bandits made this cave into their headquarters. If it was abandoned previously, such tragedy might have played out.
“It’s okay… It’s fine. If I wait one day Rēko will return and immediately find me. At that time I’ll just fool her, saying that I’ve been taking a nap at this cosy-looking place…”
It was quite pathetic, but I was already giving up the option of proceeding deeper into the cave. As far as my nose could tell, there was no beasts’ or monsters’ stench ahead. Having said that, blindly moving forward without any guarantee would just be inane. And scary, above all.
However, when I’ve sat around for a while, I noticed that lying right next to the hole I slid down through was a single book. Coming closer to take a look, it turned out it wasn’t damaged at all, despite being neglected in a damp cave. It seemed to be made out of a special paper. Written on its cover in the ancient human language with glowing ink, so as it could be read in dark, was the following title.
『Exploration Notes: God of Hunt Sacrificial Grotto』
Since it was made for humans to read, I had to be delicate with flipping its pages. Still, its contents gave me a huge hope.
After all, this book contained notes of adventurers written down for exchanging information, probably before the so called guild was even created.
『——This grotto was built by the race of hunters once living in this area, as a temple for worshipping their God. Capturing their prey alive, decorating its body with treasures and sending it underground as an offering to the God of Hunt was a custom of theirs. However, its treasurers were lost by the hands of past robbers, what remained was nothing but partly weathered animal bones. As a result of the complete closure of ancient ruins, the inhabiting it monsters or dangerous life forms were not confirmed.』
There was even a courteously drawn map, pointing out the route robbers dug out, going as far as the cave’s exit. Looking at the last page listing out the vicinity’s precautions, there also wasn’t much to worry about.
『In case of heavy rain there’s risk of submersion.』
『Slippery moss, watch your steps.』
『It’s a dungeon with slim risk. Consequently, it’s often used as a playground by the adventurers’ children. If one finds something moving, refrain from immediate attacks.』
Charming precautions from which one could surmise those times living conditions. After it completely dispelled my tension, I nodded in acknowledgement.
“Since it’s such a peaceful dungeon I should be able to escape, even by myself. Trying it out a bit as a test of courage isn’t a bad idea, especially since I want to avoid making weird excuses to Rēko as much as possible.”
This book supporting my nose not sensing any monsters was effective. Since it was a safe place, to the extent that children used it as a playground, excluding any danger except for the likes of slipping and falling down seemed like a good idea. Today was also a clear weather, so there was no need to worry about submergence.
Because of that, against my better judgement, I skimmed over the last sentence without thinking much about it.
『Thing to keep in mind for the adventurers’ using beasts. There’s no harm if they enter with a person; however, if the beasts walk inside the maze alone, they will, without exception, turn to bones.』
The me of that time, because of the sense of relief has completely forgotten about it. The fact that, speaking of human standards, I also entered the beasts category.