That day, Melby suddenly broke.
I ended up screaming unintentionally due to the “loud voice” I suddenly heard through [Telepathic Communication].
“W-what’s the matter, Fellow believer Orochi!?”
I replied to Donna, who spoke with concern, then panickedly rushed out of the children’s room.
Ascending the nearby stairs, I head to the field below the big hole where I encountered Elemia before.
Today, Elemia had an engagement with the special forces and was away from the Nest, so I don’t have to worry about coming across her.
……When I think about it, we were able to speak with [Telepathic Communication] so there was no need to change locations, but I grabbed Melby and ran off by reflex.
Even in the meantime, Melby’s Uwaaahhh…… continues.
Ah, my head feels like it’s going to split……
After checking that there was no one in the field, I address Melby.
“W-what’s wrong, Melby!”
“Uwaahhh~~n! I want no more of this dirt-filled place! I wanna lie in a flower field and bathe in the sunlight~!!”
I release the kicking and struggling Melby.
“What’s with this place anyway!?
Dirt, dirt, dirt in every direction, I feel like I’m suffocating!”
“That is… certainly true.”
“Uu.. (sob). After all, it’s already been…… a month and a half!?
We returned to the hamlet many times en route, but only for short intervals…… Apart from that, we’ve been underground this whole time!
I’m going crazy!? Is that wrong of me!?”
“N-no, you’re not wrong! You’re not wrong so calm down!”
Watching Melby throw a tantrum in the air, I thought,
――This was my mistake.
After all, I’ve often been associating with the emissaries and haven’t made much time to talk to Melby.
Even though she stays by my side the whole day.
Since Melby is very diligent, she probably sympathised with my circumstances and endured it.
She had lasted one and a half months in a place that would make Secel and Secela say “I’m bored~” within a few hours.
“Even with Master, there’s no progress at all! I get it! You’re in no state to be told that! But…… but…… uwaahhhh~~~n!”
I kneeled on the ground and lowered my head to the ground towards Melby, who was wailing once again.
――Right, it was a dogeza.
Illuminated by moonlight, this scene of an infant prostrating himself before a fairy at the bottom of a large hole might appear a little surreal when seen objectively.
Melby stopped bawling, startled.
“Wha…… wai.. stop it!
Even though I’ve been talking so selfishly!”
“But, what you’re saying is right.
I’m sorry for not noticing.”
“I-it’s fine! I’m sorry for speaking such nonsense too……”
In response to Melby despondent uttering, I stand up and say,
“――Alright. Then let’s head outside for a bit.”
“Naturally, via this big hole.”
“But this hole is full of barbs, and steel wires are laid out on every level with clappers set up.”
“I’ve thought about that already.
I have a plan especially for escaping in a pinch.
―― Melby, take that out, the thing I made the other day……”
We were talking so in sync like a middle-aged couple, and Melby took the requested implement out from the dimension storage.
A large hook retrieved from the historic relics was attached to the end of a durable yet flexible wire also from the historic relics ; it was the so-called grappling hook.
It was one of the tools I made myself, welded together by means of the equipment from the historic relics and 卜 (flame).
“Of course, you might be able to climb up if you use that, but what are you going to do about the clappers?”
I used [Psychokinesis] to “fix” the clappers in place.
I usually used [Psychokinesis] for moving things but now, conversely, I used it to “stop it from moving”.
It’s the concept of reversal.
While making my body float with [Psychokinesis], I hook the grappling hook onto the steel threads and boulders and pull, rising higher and higher with the counterforce.
Checking the clappers with [Night Vision] and [Farsight], I fix them in place with [Psychokinesis] while moving so they were very sensitive, but I somehow reached the end of the hole after tens of seconds and managed to go out above the surface.
Of course, the flying Melby was following behind me.
If Melby was alone, she could go outside this way and return to the Fairy Hamlet, but she was worried about me and tried to stay with me as much as possible.
“―― It’s the stars.”
“You’re right, how pretty.”
Being unable to see the stars underground was natural, as there were few chances to even see the sun directly.
We’re not moles, stress would accumulate even for someone other than Melby.
“Now then, let’s look for flowers.”
“Eh, flowers? I-it’s fine, you don’t really…….”
“It’s not fine. Since the princess finally expressed her wishes, I’d like to grant it.”
You should let those words flow out smoothly there.
Now then, despite having gone outside, the vicinity here is all wasteland.
So that we wouldn’t be found even by chance, I used [Sense Presence], [Night Vision], [Farsight], and the [Spy Techniques] I learned as we walked, but it was hard to even find any vegetation, let alone flowers.
Tumbleweed, wasn’t it.
The thing that appeared in Western films, rolling in the night wind. Seldom thicket-like things were there but winter has begun approaching so we weren’t able to find any flowers.
Meanwhile, the horizon was faintly growing lighter.
“I-if we don’t return quickly…… If you’re discovered, your efforts so far will be for naught!”
“It’s still fine for now.”
While pacifying the hasty Melby, I strain my eyes and continue to search for flowers.
“――Hm? That is……”
In order to ascertain the true identity of the thing I caught a fleeting glimpse of, I approach a rocky mountain that lay around a kilometre ahead.
From the base, I intently surveyed the top of the rocky mountain that looked like a miniature Ayers Rock standing approximately 20 metres tall.
“……What’s the matter?”
“Look at that.”
“That, you say…… Uh uh, I can’t see anything.”
It seems Melby’s eyes were usually good as a fairy, but it’s not like she had the [Farsight] skill.
I use [Psychokinesis] to reduce my body weight, then swung the grappling hook that played a big role tonight and threw it with a whoosh and the hook caught on the edge of the rocky mountain.
After that, I climb to the summit of the rocky mountain as though I were doing a rope climbing exercise.
Melby released a shout of joy.
What was there was somewhat plain, but it was a flower field.
The thing blooming flowers were plants that resembled cacti, growing en masse.
Yellow, Pink, White, Aqua…. They bloomed multicoloured flowers as if they had good taste.
The sizes of the cacti-like plants varied from the size of a palm to around my height (a little over a metre).
The size of the flowers was constant regardless of the size of the plant it was growing on, somewhere between the size of a dandelion and Japanese morning glory.
At a glance, yellow was the most commonly seen, followed by light green, white, pink, light purple, but the aqua flowers were few enough to be counted.
Compared to the flower field beside the Fairy Hamlet, it was inferior in terms of the vividness of colours and density of flowers, but the fact that it was accustomed to the wilderness was enough.
From the top of the rocky mountain, the first rays of light from the dawning sun was just able to be seen clearly.
In that morning sun, the fairy skipping about from flower to flower in high spirits was Melby enjoying the flowers’ fragrance.
I made a rectangle with my fingers and captured that scene within the frame.
Yeah, it’s a nice sight.
It’s too bad I don’t have a camera.
I wanted to look at it indefinitely, but unfortunately there wasn’t much time.
I squat down beside one of the palm-sized cacti and carefully dug it up from the ground using the knife at my waist, leaving the roots intact.
Then, I gather the surrounding sand using [Earth Spirit Magic] to make an impromptu potted plant.
While I’m at it, I use [Carving] and add a simple ornament to the circumference of the potted plant with my knife.
A carving of cacti, flowers, and a fairy.
Melby floated to my side unnoticed and peered at what lay in my grasp.
“――Here, take it.”
Saying this, I presented the potted plant to Melby.
I was worried about a place to hide it, but Melby should be able to put it away in the dimension storage.
“With this, you can look at it any time you like, right?”
Melby stowed the potted plant away with [Dimension Magic].
“Well then, sorry but we’ll be rushing back.”
I descend from the rocky mountain with [Psychokinesis].
“O-kay…… um, thank you.”
I reply while running through the wasteland as if jumping, using [Psychokinesis] and [Leap].
“If we get the chance, let’s come look at them again.”
“Remember this place, okay?
Ah, Melby has no sense of direction so that’s probably impossible……”
I may be a tiny bit ignorant about geography, but I do have a sense of direction!”
“A tiny bit?”
In the morning sun, we returned to the big hole in the Nest in a great hurry while making trivial conversation like that.
I was supposed to not get fatigued thanks to [No Fatigue] but this time, it gave me a very nice, refreshed feeling.
――That’s right, after returning to the Nest, I suddenly thought of using [Appraisal] on the cactus.
This was because I thought I might be able to grasp the cultivation trick.
In doing that,
《Rainbow Cactus: A succulent plant of the Cactus genus. Only inhabits special regions In the desert known as “attribute pools”. Grows by absorbing the mana in its surroundings, and the flowers it blooms changes colour depending on the attribute absorbed. Means “Indestructible Friendship” in the language of flowers.》
The first half was also on my mind, but the important bit was the last line.
It was a little too good to be true.