People got altitude sickness even if they were just leisurely climbing up a mountain. The battle against thin oxygen was brutal.
However, this was a world of magic. Perhaps by relying on the power of wind magic, it would be possible to deal with that problem.
It was with such thoughts that I made my way down again. And while I had assumed Daniela would be busy working, she was for some reason busy making a snowman. Snowmen. There were five of them in various sizes.
“Ahhh… These are…decoys. There is strength in numbers.”
“These are snowmen. And they’re not very intimidating.”
She was playing. When I was suffering from a headache and nausea… When I asked her about it, she said that she was clearing the area of snow and just happened to create a large ball, and then one thing led to another.
“Besides I had already finished exploring the area and was bored…”
Daniela pouted a little sulkily as I sighed.
…But I understood how she felt. It seemed like there weren’t any monsters nearby, and it was too late to go out too far. The western sky would be turning red soon. And so the spare time had lit a fire in her playful heart. I couldn’t complain. Well, maybe I could.
“So? Since you are clearly so annoyed with me, I suppose you have made much better use of your time?”
“On your high horse already? …Well, something odd happened.”
I sighed again and told her what I had seen. The mountain that looked a lot like a wall… What did it mean?
“Hmm… Perhaps this mountain is not really a mountain.”
It was clearly a mountain… I thought as I looked back at it. Yes, it was a mountain.
“You do not know about them, Asagi? About the rocks known as meteorites that fall from the sky.”
“I know about them… But, wait… Are you saying that it’s a crater?”
Daniela nodded. But I wasn’t convinced. Of course, I had never seen a crater in person, which meant I had little right to argue. But it just seemed a little far fetched.
The mountain was ridiculously tall. And wherever you looked there was rock. A meteorite that was massive enough to make this would have made a hole in the planet.
“Or it was made with magic… Or a volcano.”
“Those seem more likely…”
Caldera made more sense. And I suppose magic could also explain it.
Still, a crater, huh… Could there really be a meteorite in the center? If it was a caldera, then we would have to be careful, as it could be active or dormant. An extinct volcano would be amazing. Now, if it was magic… Well, the easiest explanation would be the ancient elves.
“I’ll take another look tomorrow. Ah, that’s right. I’m going to need your help, Daniela.”
“But I am quite busy, Asagi?”
“Then stop making snowmen. The thing is…”
After that, it was decided that Daniela would accompany me as an anti-altitude sickness measure. She would make a shield of wind magic that would protect us. That meant our campsite would be empty, but there wasn’t anyone or anything to protect, so we figured that not much damage could be done.
“Alright, we’ll set out in the morning then. I’m counting on you, partner.”
“Understood. Leave it to me.”
In spite of everything, she was probably bored, and seemed enthusiastic to go. Yes, I was looking forward to tomorrow as well. What was on the other side of the mountain…? How had Arthur and the others made it through…? It was difficult to sleep when I thought of such things.
“Hey, why don’t we just go now?”
□ □ □ □
The next morning, I quickly prepared and then waited for Daniela.
Daniela yawned and rubbed her eyes as I tried to get her to move faster. But Daniela was a staunch believer in moving at your own pace.
“You are particularly annoying this morning…”
Daniela muttered. But my pestering resulted in her finishing everything in just thirty minutes, which was a great surprise. It was most likely a new record for her.
“Alright, let’s go. Let’s go now. Hurry up!”
“Do not rush me any further. Or else I will thin the air around you this instant.”
I suppose I pushed her a little too far. In fact, I could see that she still had bed hair. I felt so bad for her then, that I tried to flatten it with my hand.
“Wh-what are you doing!”
“Huh? Your hair…”
“Ah, my hair… You surprised me. Patting my like that out of nowhere…”
Daniela looked quite red and angry. I would have thought she was a bit old to be reacting like that… Well, as long as she wasn’t in a bad mood anymore. As we were finally finished preparing, it looked like we would be able to go now.
And so I picked her up and surrounded my legs in platinum and jade wind. The wind lightly carried us up and invited us to the sky. Once Daniela saw that we were rising, she gathered energy into her hand. It was green. The power of the wind.
She chanted, and a green shield that was in the shape of a plate appeared. Before I knew it, they had multiplied all around us, creating a protective sphere.
“While it is still called ‘Wind Shield,’ I have made many adjustments to it. I use the power of the wind spirits to bring in air from outside and dispose of the old air. So we will be able to breath in fresh air all of the time.”
“It’s so brilliant that I’m speechless…”
How did she… I was quite jealous that she had spirit friends. Where were the ice and water spirits that were fond of me?
We slowly started to ascend. First, we went straight up. And once we had risen to a certain altitude, the ground started to blur and become paler. The trees started to blend in with everything else and I realized that we were up in the sky.
“Hmm… You seem to be fine for now.”
“Thanks to you, Daniela.”
Very quickly, I reached the same height I had been at yesterday. The gentle slope of the mountain was far away. It was the scene I had seen before. The steep slope that looked like walls. Seeing it again after Daniela suggested it could be from a crater gave the whole thing a heavier impact.
“A crater… Surely not.”
“Very well then. What if there were already mountains here, and then a meteorite hit the center?”
I listened to this new theory and tried to simulate it in my mind. Of course, with what knowledge I had, and not with Jack of all Trades.
There was a huge, huge mountain. And then a meteorite fell in the center… It blew away and gouged out so much of the surface and… Hmm… It was too ridiculous. But what if it had a sharp point? Or it exploded upon impact? Perhaps it would be possible then.
“If that were the case, it would not be so symmetrical. How could it turn into such smooth walls?”
It was odd. It looked like it had been pushed back by something. And then perhaps it had become a little uneven with the passage of time.
“Well, it could just be a great coincidence.”
“That would be…kind of disappointing.”
“Hahaha. The truth is often not very exciting.”
Perhaps… Still, it was interesting and exciting to think about. That was what adventuring was all about.
“Over the mountain.”
I wanted to see what lay beyond all of this. Of course, there was Arthur too, but I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed with curiosity. And before I knew it, I was moving as fast as I could.
Up and up we went. We were suddenly inside of a snow storm. But thanks to Daniela’s magic, it didn’t bother us, but our vision was covered in white.
“Maybe we should move closer to the mountain’s surface…”
“Alright. I’ll slow down from here.”
As we had been moving away from it, I slowly started to go forward. But it was scary when you couldn’t see anything… If it was just mist, you would be able to at least see a few feet ahead of you, but this was a snowy mountain and there were no obstacles. And so it was hard to measure the distance. And so I slowed down considerably.
“Asagi. You can hold your spear up ahead. Then you will not crash into anything.”
“But I won’t be able to hold you properly…”
“It is fine. I will hold onto you.”
Without waiting for a response, she wrapped her arms around my neck and held me tightly.
“What kind of sound…”
I was squished by her warm and soft body. And my clothes did little to block off the sensation.
“I’m not sure that’s a good idea…”
“I told you. It will not be a problem.”
“Yeah…maybe for you…”
I was a healthy young man. And I had nothing but problems.
“Now, stick out your spear.”
“Hey, hey. We’re outside, you know?”
“Not your short spear. I am talking about the long one.”
My spear snapped in half and I sighed while I produced the Cocytus Lance and held it in front of us. Well, at least we’d be a little safer now. I sighed and then raised my speed.