The Results of the Southern Investigation
Now, what could be happening at the base of this valley? We were here to find out…
“There doesn’t seem to be anything here.”
“No figures as far as I can see.”
We were getting further from the hang bridge, but nothing really caught our eyes.
This valley cut diagonally through the land between Replant and the craggy rocks. Even the hang bridge where we arrived at was set up diagonally. Looking forward at the southern rocky area, it started from the back on the left and came up front to the right. Or you could say it slashed through the earth from the southeast to the northwest.
And we were here to investigate the base due to sightings of eerie shadows, but there was not even a hint of it that we could find. What did this mean? Where did these shadows go?
“Why don’t we just go down there and look?”
“It will be dangerous…but it seems we have no choice…Asagi, go slowly.”
I adjusted Legs of the Forest Wolf and started to descend. As the floor of the valley came closer, we could see it much clearer.
Daniela raised her voice and pointed, and so I stopped in the air. I stare hard at where she is pointing …But, I can’t see anything.
“You cannot see? Look, there is a footprint.”
I tried hard to see it, but could not make anything out. And it was kind of dark as well.
“I don’t know.”
“Well, we could get closer…”
Daniela sighed, and I felt a little bad as we moved closer. I continued to squint and also scan the area with Presence Detection. When we were three meters away, I finally saw it.
“See, can you see it?”
There was a single footprint that was mostly covered in the shadow of a rock. How the hell was I supposed to see that!
“Truly? Well, in time.”
“How many years, I wonder…”
“Hey, we will not talk about that here.”
Daniela scowled and poked me in the throat. It was oddly irritating and I didn’t appreciate it.
We landed next to the footprint. It was much easier to see from this angle and distance. Daniela knelt down and began to inspect it.
“Hm…Asagi, look at this.”
“This is not the print of a boot. A barefoot.”
“I can see that.”
As far as I could see, it was pressed hard into the ground before twisting to the left. The toes may have slipped in the ground, obscuring the shape, but it was clearly not the shape of a shoe. And there was something that looked like a big toe. This appeared to be a right foot.
“And look at this.”
“Hm? …Is this, a hand?”
There was what looked like a handprint slightly apart from the footprint. This…
“So, someone slipped here. The mist is very thick, after all. Perhaps they bumped into this boulder.”
“And that’s why their foot dug into the ground as they tried to catch themselves with their hand?”
“That is likely…”
Daniela said as she continued to look around. But it seemed that she didn’t find what she was looking for, and so she stood up and brushed the dust off of her knees.
“Barefooted and walks on two feet. A humanoid. It seems that this must be the figure that the merchant saw from the bridge.”
“Yeah. But who would be down in a place like this… Were they headed over there?”
The footprint and handprint were pointing towards the northeast. In other words, there must be something in that direction.
“Let us go then. Prepare your sword, just in case.”
“Understood. I don’t know if there’s enough space for my greatsword though…”
I put Schwarz Tempest back into the hollow bag and unsheathed the Glampanzer, that hung on my belt. It had a comfortable weight that I was accustomed to. I’m sure my raised stats helped also. Now, if only my skill with it had gone up too.
Daniela unsheathed her rapier and we nodded at each other before moving forward.
□ □ □ □
“If only I had Nighteyes…”
I smirked as Daniela grumbled. She was not able to acquire this skill because of Fresh Green Eye, which was a different skill that affected eyesight. And so I stood in the lead as we explored.
I feel like we’ve moved quite a bit since discovering the footprint. Partway, the valley split into two sides. One side led to the southeast, and the other turned to the right and continued south. Looking up, you could see that the path to the south was eventually covered by earth. Maybe it was a path made by wind and rain over time…
I talked about it with Daniela, and we decided to continue, and then turn back after a while if no more footprints were discovered. First, we would go down the southeast path. After half an hour of walking, we had still not found any footprints or traces of something being dropped. I felt like there may be something if we continued just a little further, but Daniela insisted we turn back and try the route to the south.
The south path was very dark, and the ceiling came down lower until it was as low as three meters. Until the ceiling had come down so low, it had been difficult to walk due to all the fallen trees and boulders, but the path became shockingly smooth after that. Just as I was starting to wonder about this, Daniela called to me with an alert expression.
“This path, does it not seem familiar?”
“Remember, the mines that we entered together. The depths.”
The mines we descended into in Spiris. Deep down, there was a maze-like dungeon created by monsters called hole moles.
I looked at the walls again. And think back to those mines. And yes, these walls looked familiar, like they too had been carved by something. I had not noticed it until it was pointed out, but now it seemed obvious. This was a cave carved and dug by hole moles.
“So, they’re the ones who dug this…? Wait, Daniela, but that footprint and handprint looked human.”