Chapter 8 Night Stroll and Exam Countermeasure
In the bedroom of the inn
Exhausted after teaching me, Celica is sleeping in the big bed.
It seems she's having a nightmare, her noble face is warped and she sometimes tosses over while groaning "Uuun."
Her clothes are in disorder, her white skin and collarbone are peeking. Her blond hair is spread.
I kindly pat her head with my hand.
And then, Celica mutters sorrowfully.
When Celica talked about the histories of countries and demon king's deeds, there were times when she creased her forehead.
It was about Adelstein Kingdom.
It seemed to be a kingdom in the mountains to the northwest, a beautiful country surrounded by greenery.
The kingdom was able to keep its independence since it was situated in a hard-to-approach location. Rather, apparently it was deemed unworthy to be occupied.
However, the moment they found a gem mine, the demon king attacked and destroyed it in no time at all.
--It'd be nice if I can get her back there someday.
As I muttered that in my mind, Celica twisted her body while groaning, "Uu...n" again.
Unlike before, her face is smiling beautifully.
A voice that sounded spoiled leaked from the red lips.
Since she seems alright now, I separate my hand.
And stand up.
I put on my Geta and leave the room.
I'm going to investigate the reason for Gaff's composure.
In a street corner late at night.
Magical lights are illuminating the stone pavements at equal intervals.
Only clip-clop sounds from the Geta echoed.
I peeked at several taverns and diner that were still open, but I only saw the underlings, not Gaff himself.
--He must be plotting something.
I walked around in the city leisurely while following Gaff's dirty presence.
And then I arrived at the hero registry. A massive building that looks like a temple.
Of course, the huge double gate is shut tight.
I check that there's no one around. There's no presence either.
"O wind, carry me."
I put some strength in my legs and fly
I jumped to the stone roof at the third floor.
Views of the townscapes in the darkness surrounded by tall walls can be seen below.
I keep my eyes open and look at the registry's rooms one by one.
There's a large hall with a lot of desks on the second floor.
This seems to be the exam room.
I look at another room.
A parlor with carpet spread.
It's the staff room.
There are two men in a large room with only a desk on the back of the third floor.
A bald old man with good physique and a filthy unshaven man--Gaff.
They're talking about something.
I could hear their conversation immediately.
"I've got you the money right. You can arrange that much."
"Even if you tell me that. I'm telling you that it's impossible."
"I want to kill that guy asap! I ain't gonna forgive him."
I'm with you.
Rather, he bought the hero qualification with money huh.
He's going to do as he pleases if he becomes the hero.
The bald old man pats his head.
"Then we can just make you two meet in the first round of the tournament."
"Nah. I couldn't see the that guy's depth. I'd surely be killed."
Hoo. He's got good eyes even though they're rotten.
The bald old man shakes his head.
"For putting instant death traps in the tower, I can't say that it's not possible but it's not enough."
"How about this!"
Gaff took several big gold coins from his pocket.
The bald old man smiles while picking up the gold coins.
"Is this all?"
"Damn! Looking down on me!"
Gaff took all his money from his pocket. Creating a hill on the desk.
The bald old man speaks while pulling them.
"Fine then. I'll arrange it."
"Ou. I paid a lot 'fter all! Do your job!"
It's probably stolen money.
Gaff left the room. And then he left the registry from a back door.
I thought of the insult for an instant when I saw his defenseless back, but I held myself back since it was not the right time.
It really makes me recall just how much of a quick tempered malevolent god I was in Japan.
Instead, I keep watching the bald old man with good physique.
The bald old man gathered the gold coins and went to one corner of the room.
There's a big iron box as tall as a person. It's probably a safe.
He mutters while putting the money inside.
"I just need to reconstruct one place. It's cheaper that way."
The bald old man laughed, kukuku.
This raccoon dog seems to be one step ahead the other one.
Serves him right.
Still, an instant death trap in one place huh.
It's probably either crushing by walls, poisonous gas or drowning.
No, it seems he's trying to make it as cheap as possible, so it might be just some flying arrows or spears coated with poison.
Where is this Tower of Trial. I can't see any tall building besides the castle in this city.
Judging by the date, the reconstruction should start tomorrow.
Well, I think I'll be fine but Celica who will be going with me might be in danger.
I'll go see it just in case.
Or rather, I noticed a bunch of papers inside the safe.
I carefully looked at them and learned the questions.
Then I went back.
The next day.
I went to see the Tower of Trial at once. Walking in the lively main street.
Celica is beside me. Her blond hair bathed in the morning sun looks like it's shining.
Minya who's guiding us are walking with her tail tucked between her legs and looking frightened while watching the surroundings.
I call at her small back.
"What's wrong? Are you afraid of something?"
"N-no... I'm fine."
Even though she said that, her triangle ears were flopped down and her body were curled up while walking.
Celica puts her face beside mine and whispers. Her breath tickles my ears.
"Beastfolks like catfolks are born in the north."
I got what she was trying to say since she taught me many things yesterday.
"I see. They're thought as the demon king's underlings and are persecuted huh."
"That's right, Keika-sama."
I stared at Celica's blue eyes. Stared by me, her big eyes blinked.
"Wh-what's the matter Keika-sama?"
"Do you hate beastfolks?"
"There is no way! My country was near the beatsfolk's dwelling, so we got along very well. You'll know that they're all very kind once you associate with them."
"Is that right. I'm sorry for doubting you."
"Please, I'm happy if Keika-sama understands me."
Her words had no lie.
I think her truly honest and kind personality is her cute side.
After a while, Minya stopped before an open space that looked like a public park. The place with Fido Grill stalls.
She pointed at the back of the open space.
"Keika onii-chan.... there."
Beyond a water fountain, there's a round building that looks to be two-story high by appearance. There's a flag on its flat roof. There's an exit on the second floor.
I thought it was a toilet or a water tower when I saw it yesterday.
"The inside is put under magic so... wide."
"Is that right. --Thank you for guiding us."
I patted her straight black hair while thanking her. She, who was feeling tense, squinted her eyes and purred, funya~, looking comfortable.
"However, why did Keika-sama suddenly want to come here?"
"I wanted to check it out before the exam. It might be in the written exam right?"
Not might, it actually does.
Celica nods admiringly, hoo hoo~
"As expected of Keika-sama. You haven't neglected the measure for the exam."
"Can we see it closer?"
"Yes, please. I'll go with you."
We approached the tower.
Soldiers are guarding around the tower. Looks like it's a no-entry. I guess it's obvious.
After circling the tower, I see that there are several entrances along the outer wall. There are numbers stuck on the entrances. From 1 to 32.
"What are those numbers?"
"I wonder? I just learned of this now."
"Do you know about it Minya?"
Minya shook her small head. Her shoulder-length black hair swayed.
"Different, from last year."
"I see.... No wait, I see."
It's most likely done to ensure me getting to the trap by having a drawing lot this year and 'accidentally' get me to the prepared entrance.
Rattling sounds of a carriage being carried by pig horses--Buu Horses arrived at the open space.
It stopped beside the tower and then men wearing worker clothes begin to work.
On the carriage, together with the construction tools like hammers and pickaxes, there's a one-meter tall gray box of stone.
I can see malice-like negative aura just by squinting at that stone box.
--What the heck is that. No, it's probably the instant death trap, but it's way off than I expected y'know?
And, just when I thought of checking the inside.
『!!! Don't look!!』
Suddenly, a shock as if my head was pummeled ran through me!
A voice echoed directly in my brain. A high-pitched child-like voice.
I got goosebumps the moment it reached my brain.
I reflexively put my hand on my forehead and endure the headache.
--Giving this much mental damage to a God like me.
It's an existence equaling me no matter how you look at it.
In other word, the owner of this voice should be a 『God』.
The voice still continues to echo.
『Don't look! Don't touch! Please, run away!』
I search for the origin of the voice.
I looked around the open space with fountain, at the crowd walking on the main street beyond that, at the surrounding houses, and then at the water tower-like round tower--and I finally found it.
Inside the stone box, I could hear a voice mixed with begrudging wails.
.....Are you confined together?
『Don't look!! ....You can hear my voice?』
--Yeah. Who are you?
『Anyhow, don't look! Don't look, don't look at Lapisia!』
I tried to ask other things, but it single-mindedly said, "Don't look", I couldn't hold a conversation.
For now it seems I can't look. I should obey a Warning of God this desperate.
But then the situation won't be resolved.
I used <<Truth Sight>> instead of Senrigan.
【Coffin of Lapisia】
・A coffin confining a God possessed by wrath and hatred. Anyone who sees the figure will turn to stone.
Uwah. A God that has been turned into vengeful spirit huh. Moreover, petrification.
An absurdly troublesome existence.
They got a power up just by becoming that so even I would definitely be turned to stone.
Or rather, I'm just too weak since I only have one believer.
What should I do. Rather, why is there a child with the God. And is the child safe.
As I groan, Celica puts her hand on my forehead. I'm healed by the soft kind warmth.
"What seems to be the matter Keika-sama?"
"Ah, right. nothing I can do worrying about it alone. Does Celica know a God called Lapisia?"
"Lapisia....? I'm sorry I have never heard of that god."
She never heard of it? That's impossible. Is it a forgotten god?
"Then, is there any place where we can investigate myths?"
"There might be old records in the royal library."
Celica looks straight at me with her blue eyes.
Right at that time, several workers lift the stone box and enter the third door.
I ask while pursuing them with my eyes.
"I also want to see the appearance of a monster called Octopus Ton."
Since it's in the written exam.
"I think we can read that too in the illustrated book in the royal library. Let me guide you there."
"Alright. Let's go there."
Minya speaks remorsefully while looking frightened.
"I, have to work, so...."
"Shall we escort you?"
Minya walked at a quick pace with her tail upward while being cautious of the surroundings.
Celica and I are walking on the stone-paved main street in the refreshing morning air.
We're not conversing much.
I continue to be deep in thought.
For now I have to investigate this God called Lapisia, otherwise I can't become the hero. I won't be able to protect Celica. I won't be able to become a God.
I have a way, but if possible I don't want to use that.
Now then, could we find the way to deal with it before the exam?
No, that's wrong. I absolutely have to find it!
I walked while biting my molars.