The Mirror Lake and the Dungeon
The next morning, aside from an incident where an elf tried to blend in with the soldiers in order to receive soup from Maki and Chiharu, and was escorted away by the prince of Midland, things went relatively smoothly. And so the party was able to leave Epina for their next destination safely.
“Why did he think he could do it secretly?”
“He already sticks out for being 2 meters tall.”
Chiharu and Maki were exasperated at how Aeris put them on a pedestal.
“I’m glad that he looks better now.”
“Yeah. His face seems brighter.”
They were glad that they didn’t have to hide from someone who was important to them anymore.
The had left Lapondo and gone through Epina. The next town was Shiel. You reached it by passing the high mountain pass of Epina, where it lay in a deep valley. There was a small dungeon in this town, and a lake that appeared to have flowed out from the dungeon. And just in front of it, lay the lively little town.
From on top of the mountain, it looked like a bowl with a mirror on the bottom that reflected the sunlight. Maki and Chiharu watched from the wagon, enjoying the view as the lake slowly became level with them.
“I wonder if we’ll have fish tonight?”
“Oh, do you like fish, Ryan?”
Paulo had heard Chiharu’s mutterings.
“I do. But we haven’t had much fish since leaving Noir.”
“What did you have in Noir?”
“Fried fish! I sandwiched it in bread.”
“Ah, that does taste good. Now listen to me, Ryan. This mirror lake, you can catch sea fish in it.”
“Uh, but isn’t the sea like 10 days away?”
“It is. And while the water is from the dungeon, there are rumors that it connects to the sea somewhere underground. They even say that merfolk come out at night.”
“Exciting, isn’t it?”
If anything, it was chilling! Chiharu thought for a second that she heard the scales jingling in her pouch.
“What? You two look strange all of a sudden. Who doesn’t want to see a mermaid?”
“Well, they were very pretty.”
But they also wanted to take us into the sea.
“I’ll send someone to go ahead and buy some fish for dinner. We’ll have deep-fried fish tonight!”
Chiharu and Maki were now very much looking forward to dinner.
But traveling on the mountain pass was slow, and it wasn’t until the evening that they arrived in Shiel. The cooks had to start making the soup in a hurry. Tonight, it would be a soup made from the dried meat, mushrooms and wheat noodles they had bought at a town on the way there. They just had to put all of these dried ingredients into boiling water and add some salt. And then some herbs were sprinkled over it to finish it off. While they did this, filleted fish from the lake was covered in flour and thrown into a shallow pan with oil. And like that, the fish was fried.
Then they passed them out to the soldiers as soon as they were cooked. The warm soup and hot fried fish was very effective in relaxing their bodies which were tired from the journey.
Maki and Chiharu knew they were being ill-mannered, but they sandwiched their fish in bread as they talked.
“I thought someone might come today. But they didn’t.”
“I didn’t even see Sauro.”
They lazily enjoyed another dinner that night.
As for the leaders, they had been invited to the mayor’s house. And a very serious discussion was under way.
“Of course, I understand that you wish to hurry to Gromble. But as you know, what is happening in Gromble, is also happening in this dungeon. Please, if you could only lend us your soldiers for just one day.”
Apparently, there were monsters constantly coming out in their dungeon. They did not have enough Adventurers here to deal with them. And there were many monsters from the very depths that were coming up. The mayor continued.
“Not only that, but as the danger in Gromble increases, fewer Adventurers are coming to us. Monsters have never come out of Shiel’s dungeon up until now. But now it is very possible. As you can see, Shiel is right next to the dungeon’s entrance. Please, please consider it.”
Kaider folded his arms upon hearing this. The others all turned their eyes towards him.
“Kaider, what do you think? You know the most about dungeons. Midland’s soldiers weren’t sent to Gromble alone. They were sent to the dwarven lands. We will follow your orders.”
“Yes. Nyran, what do you think?”
“While this is unexpected, considering that we had assumed that help from Midland would come much later, I do think we could spare a few days.”
“So you think Gromble is still fine?”
Kaider unfolded his arms.