The End of the Mines
I feel the sensation of something shaking me, and my eyelids slowly open. A warm firelight appears in my vision. The ground feels rough under me. A decapitated monster lies close by. …A monster?
I quickly get up. Why was I sleeping!? We are in the depths of a cavern!
“Are you awake then?”
“…! Ah, Daniela… Sorry, how long was I asleep?”
I shuddered and looked behind me. Daniela was staring at me, blood stained her cheeks.
Yes, I had asked Daniela to dismember it and my consciousness had left me as I watched… Damn it, I needed to be more careful.
“Only half an hour or so. I just woke you up, now that I am finished. Do you want to sleep some more?”
“No, I’m fine. Sorry about that… I’ll put everything in the bag, you take a break. Also…”
I wipe her cheeks with my sleeve. Now she was the same beauty that she always was. There may have been something violent, sadistic and exotic about a beautiful woman splattered in blood, but I loved Daniela as she always was.
I took out a blanket from the bag so she could lie down and rest. The cloth had become quite worn over the past few days. It would not last much longer. I wrap the assault kobold parts up and put them inside of the hollow bag.
The long, sharp claws were wrapped separately. The thin, prickly fangs were put in a leather pouch. We also took his armor after taking it apart. The black fur was rolled up and stuffed in a bag. The untanned skin was stiff but fit in the bag nonetheless. The meat…? I had no idea if it was edible. Daniela was lying on her side with her eyes closed. I didn’t want to bother her… I would just take it with us for now. The bones should at least be useful. It was amazing that the hollow bag could take all of this stuff. I could not be more grateful to Russell.
Now, we had everything we needed. Daniela is still sleeping. My side still hurts, so I think I’ll lie down a bit… It only took a few minutes for me to fall asleep once again after I lay down next to her.
□ □ □ □
“Mm…ah, I must have fallen asleep…Asagi? Hmm?”
When I woke up, Asagi was gone. A quick scan of my surroundings did not bring him back. I frantically got up and took one step forward. And I immediately found him.
He was under my foot. I had not noticed that he was right next to me. I realized just how tired he must have been.
“I beg that you be gentler when waking me next time…”
I apologized as he rubbed at his chest and got up. Gentler next time, huh. It was good that there would be a next time. Good that we would sleep together again. Though, I wasn’t sure if it would be a peaceful sleep.
We both picked up our bags and decided to enter the hole that the assault kobold had come from. It was something that I had insisted on.
‘There should be no more danger now, and this is an opportunity to see what is at the end, is it not?’
Such had been my advice. Asagi gave me a surprised look then, but I had quite the adventurous spirit. It was a rare thing to come to a place so deep underground, and after all, this was near the dragon vein. I just knew that there would be something of interest down here, and it excited me. Leaving without seeing the end was not an option for me. There was, of course, a risk of danger, but that was part of the adventure.
The path that led away from the great hall was a single one. The kind of path that may have been dug to reach a specific place alone.
We continued on for a while after that, and then I saw that my predictions had been correct. Because Asagi and I both detected the strong presence of magic. This was clearly from the dragon vein. We look at each other and cannot help but smile. Then we run as if racing to a finish line. I ignored the shaking light of the lantern as we moved.
And then we were greeted to a most strange sight. It was a dead end. However, there were pale, purple specks of lights floating up from the ground. Once they reached the ceiling, they would vanish as if being absorbed. In the walls, there were purple chunks of what looked like some kind of ore. There was strong magic emanating from these as well. These had to be somehow related to the dragon vein. Asagi agreed, and we continued to search the area.
“Hey, Daniela. Do you know what kind of ore this is?”
“Hmm…the magic in it is tremendous. It must be a magic stone. But I have never seen one of this size before.”
“Is size the only thing that is different?”
That was a good question. Yes, they were larger than usual, but that wasn’t the root of the problem.
“This color. This dark purple is the color of dimension magic.”