Chapter 191 – I Dug in a Foreign Country!
I was advancing through Alanberc’s underground passages.
The rocky walls were black and rough, as the place had been dug without much thought. And from what I had seen, there were no rare stones here.
Alyssa walked in the lead, but she turned back to look at me with a suspicious expression.
“Hmm? What is it, Alyssa?”
“No, it’s nothing. Well, I just thought that you seemed different, Lord Heal. You seemed to be in a good mood.”
“Huh? Am I really acting differently?”
“I’ve never seen someone hum while down here.”
I was surprised as well, as I hadn’t even realized that I was humming.
Not only that, but apparently, I was tapping my shoulder with my pickax as if to the rhythm of my humming.
“I suppose I am in a good mood. I’m just looking forward to it.”
Alyssa tilted her head at this.
“I-I see. It is already so dark and dreary in Arancia. So everyone hates the mines and underground, where it is even darker. Especially since we cannot use much fuel. People do not want to work down here.”
“Dark? Yes, now that you mention it…”
But for me, it was rather bright, since I had the night vision abilities of Cave King.
However, it would look very dark to anyone else.
Alyssa looked puzzled by this, but we eventually hit a dead end and we stopped walking.
“This is as far as it goes. However, are you really going to ‘dig’ here?”
“Aye. Because we’ll need a great amount of rock. Besides, there might be something rare hidden down here.”
Perhaps there was something valuable that only existed in Arancia’s underground. It could help them get out of their current situation.
That being said, this wasn’t Sheorl. I very much doubted that there would be special stones that increased your magic energy or revived living creatures.
But the fact that this wasn’t Sheorl, and that I would be digging in a distant land really roused my spirits.
Besides, we needed a great amount of rock materials in order to expand the walls of Alanberc. So it would not be a problem even if we didn’t find anything rare.
“I see. However, there really isn’t anything buried down here. We can’t even mine iron.”
As Alyssa said, the rock walls in this underground had been the same the whole time.
And while the passages had split like an elaborate ants nest, everywhere we went, it was all the same.
However, there was one thing that I did notice. They had not dug downwards very much.
“I intend on digging downwards a little bit.”
“That is fine, but I think it will be rather difficult for you. These rocks are already hard, but they will get even harder the deeper you dig.”
“Well, that will make things more rewarding for me.”
I said, and then started to swing my pickaxe.
Because of Cave King, the parts of the wall that could be dug safely would glow up.
And so I targeted the spot and swung vigorously.
And then, in a flash, more than an entire room’s worth of rock fell away.
Alyssa sputtered and then shouted in amazement.
This was because the rocks that had fallen away had then disappeared.
“I forgot that this is the first time that you’ve seen me dig. Remember how I took out the rock materials when building the wall? This is the same thing.”
“I see… So if you can take them out, you can also put them back in. In the first place, I can hardly believe that such a space even exists.”
While I listened to Alyssa talking, my arms didn’t stop.
I continued to dig through the rocks.
Alyssa watched this and muttered.
“Still, we couldn’t dig much in a whole day, and yet it’s so easy for you…”
“Like I said, you just leave the rocks to me. And my friends will also come and help later on.”
“Hehe. You are so reliable. Maybe I will do a little digging too.”
“I don’t mind, but are you sure? Didn’t you put an investigative team together?”
Alyssa had decided to assemble an investigative team that rode the Mado Armors.
They would be composed of personnel that were veteran fighters, as well as Guardians.
Their mission would be to investigate and scout out the lands outside of Alanberc.
“Ogus is the captain. He is much more thoughtful than I. And he’s carried out dangerous missions before we had Mado Armors. I have no need to worry.”
“Yes, I would be relieved to have him on the mission. Well, here you go then.”
I handed Alyssa a spare pickaxe that I had attached to my belt.
“Woah…it’s lighter than I was expecting. Can you really dig with this?”
“Well, I can only share my power with people that have been tamed. So you’ll have to dig in the places that I tell you to.”
And so Alyssa and I started to dig together.
While Alyssa couldn’t receive the benefits of Cave King, she was able to dig well with my guidance and the help of the mithril pickaxe.
And since Shiel would deliver anything that was out of range of my auto-gathering, things went very smoothly.
“…That being said, it does seem like it’s getting harder. And it also feels harder than the rocks at Sheorl.”
As I dug, I checked my inventory.
“This… It’s almost all charcoal. Well, there is some rock mixed in as well.”
Apparently, the blackness was the color of charcoal.
Alyssa picked up a piece of charcoal and said,
“I knew it. Once, someone lit a fire down here as they couldn’t dig through. But the fire wouldn’t go out, and it kept spreading…”
“We’ll have to be careful about handling fire then. However, was charcoal really this hard? And is it really not coal? No…ah, I see.”
I thought of the tower that stood in the center of Alanberc.
“This is where the World Tree is, right?”
While it was surrounded by rocks now, the tower was originally a World Tree that had died.
And so it would not be surprising if its roots had spread out in Alanberc’s underground.
“Aye. And my ancestor…the king of Arancia long ago, burned it.”
One of the ways to make wood charcoal was to burn trees after covering them with dirt.
“Then this charcoal is likely what was left of the roots after the World Tree was burned.”
Alyssa looked at the charcoal with a conflicted expression.
Had the tree been left alive, then Arancia might not have found itself in this current state.
That was how great the power of the World Tree was.
And so the now gray Alanberc might have looked very different.
That being said, Arancia lacked all kinds of resources.
And charcoal was a great resource.
In fact, she had even said that they were saving fuel a short while ago.
“We will make use of it then.”
“…Yes. Charcoal is also rare.”
Alyssa nodded and we continued to dig.
However, after some time had passed, a rich smell began to waft around us.
“What is… No, it’s…”
I turned to look at Shield.
The smell was something that we had smelled before.
Alyssa took in a deep breath and said,
“It is a pleasant smell… Hmm? I smelled this when I went to your island, Lord Heal.”
“That’s right. This is the smell of the leaves and sap of the World Tree… But it’s even sweeter and stronger… Ah.”
As if suddenly remembering something, I put on the mask I had hanging on my belt.
Mappa had given it to me in case something like this ever happened.
And it wasn’t just me. I had also seen others who started acting strangely because of the sap of the World Tree.
However, I only had one mask.
Shiel should be fine, but this was bad for Alyssa.
And so I created wind by using magic and said,
“Alyssa! This place is dangerous! We have to go back for now.”
“But it smells so good? …Sniff.”
And then Alyssa took a deep breath.
“Alyssa, Stop! We’re leaving!”
It would take some time for a person to start acting oddly.
And so I pulled Alyssa’s hand and retraced our steps.
But just as we were about to reach the stairs…
“Wait, Lord Heal! Surely it’s fine now.”
“Haa…hahh… Yes, indeed.”
I couldn’t smell anything now.
We were far enough then.
“Alyssa, do you feel strange at all?”
“I do not feel strange. If anything, it is you who are acting strange, Lord Heal… You should be more gentle when holding the hand of a lady. I am a woman, after all.”
Alyssa pouted and turned away.
I had never seen her this angry before.
“I-I’m sorry. But it really was dangerous.”
“Will I die if I breathe it in?”
“No, not exactly… It…has a kind of medical effect.”
“But that doesn’t sound very bad.”
Alyssa sounded exasperated.
“In-in any case, I’m sorry. We’ll come back here once we have more masks. Mappa should be on the surface now, building the Mado Armors.”
I said, and started to climb up the stairs.
But this time, it was Alyssa who grabbed my hand.
“First, Lord Heal… There is something that I would like to discuss with you.”
“Huh? Discuss? We can do it on our way back up.”
“It is something very important to this country. So I want to discuss it here.”
So saying, Alyssa took my hand in both of hers. Her expression had never looked more serious.
But when I looked closely, I saw that she was blushing.
“Lord Heal… It is very crucial for this country, no, for me!”
Alyssa usually acted so cool. But now she was fidgeting uncomfortably.
“Lord Heal, I would like to propose…that we get married!!”
So saying, Alyssa spread out her arms and attempted to jump on me. She puckered her lips, but her usually sharp and beautiful face looked slack and drowsy.
“You really are affected by it then.”
I stepped out of the way and swiftly began to pull her up the stairs.
However, Alyssa’s physical capabilities were far above my own.
She pulled me back, and my feet had to stop.
“You are terrible, Lord Heal! I am a woman who is beseeching you! Am I really so unacceptable to you!?”
“Th-that’s not it! however, you are not speaking from the heart.”
“No, I am! I’ve been holding it back all of this time! Lord Heal, I love you!!”
She clutched onto me with tearful eyes. And my arm was enveloped by her voluptuous body.
Damn it! If we were to be seen by someone… Ah…
When I looked up, I saw that Rienna was holding a basket as she stood near the top of the staircase.