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Chapter 44

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In the Tunnel
Pechi.
N?
Pechipechi.
What?
Pechipechipechipechipechipechipechipchipechipechi…

“That hurts!!”

I brushed barrage of something soft off my face.

Because of the sudden movement, dizziness attacks me.
Uu, my body feels heavy… there’s no power in my body.
What? Do I have a fever? My eyelids are heavy as well.

Pechi.

N~ Something is on my forehead, isn’t it?
It’s not unpleasant, it feels rather comfortable.
This soft and warm feeling is somewhat immensely healing.
Is it just my imagination or has my body became lighter? No, it might not be just my imagination… I feel like the heavy eyelids are lifting up naturally.

Thus, I slowly open my eyes.

…… Dream? I’m seeing an unthinkable spectacle.
Yep, it’s a dream. Let’s sleep one more time.
I must be probably half asleep. That’s right! That’s the case! Good night~

Pechi.

Pechipechi.
……
Pechipechipechipechipechipechipchipechipechipechi…

“I understand already! It’s not a dream, right! It’s all right to escape from the reality just for a bit, isn’t it!?”

Black and white object was squatting and looking at me with reproachful gaze beside my pillow.

The adorableness which was enshrined there was…

“It’s a panda, isn’t it? Like not a stuffed toy, but a living thing, right?”

Why, a panda? Were there pandas in this world?
And, why, is it sitting beside my pillow!? I don’t understand what’s what, though!?

“Okusama!? Have you woken up!?”

While the confused I and the panda blankly staring were staring at each other, I heard Berta’s surprised and relieved voice.

Light leaked from behind the door Berta has opened, and the dim room became a little brighter.
Yep, seeing it in a bright place, it’s a panda, after all. Well, there’s no doubt it’s adorable, though.

“Okusama, do you remember?”

Berta follows my gaze and asks while looking at the panda.

About the panda? If I remembered I wouldn’t be this surprised! I was rolling in confusion!

“Right now… is it a night? Where is Wirbel?”

“Yes, Okusama has collapsed during the day and has not woken up until now. Wirbel-sama was concerned about Okusama at your side all this time, but it was already late at night, so I send him to sleep in another room.”

“Is that so, is Wirbel fine?”

“Yes, he was very worried about Okusama, but he’s fine.”

Hearing Berta’s words, my heart felt relieved.

If Wirbel is safe then, well, panda or two are nothing.
No, I don’t need two, though? It’s true! Don’t go suddenly multiplicating, okay? I beg you!

Now then, now that I have calmed down, let’s remember.
Why did I collapse?

Certainly, we went to the mines in the morning, right?

I was guided by Gill whom I entrusted the town and the mines.
Wirbel and Berta also rode in the carriage together with us.
We arrived at the mines which were slightly away from the town and met the workers who were busy working there.

Everyone was lively, they had bright expressions.
When I arrived, I was welcome in the same way the town citizens welcomed me and received everyone’s smiles.
Because Gill requested I say a few words of greetings, I told them that a little carelessness leads to serious injury, so they should be careful.

For some reason, Gill was so impressed by my suitable speech he burst into tears.
Although the miners did not cry, they had a similar reaction to Gill.
I wonder why? As I’m accustomed to very low evaluation, I couldn’t conceal the embarrassment. I was a bit puzzled, wasn’t I? Is it because I got used to it? I’m not an M, though!

Now then, the problem is the gem, but after properly hearing about it, it was apparently still being mined, I’m told that it’s stuck on the mines’ inner wall.
I thought it wouldn’t be possible to carry it out because of its size, but that wasn’t apparently the only problem as there was the problem of digging it actually up first.

I wanted to go to the mines at once, but because it was most likely dangerous, I left Wirbel together with Berta back in the carriage and let some of the Knights accompany me.
I wanted to leave all of the Knights behind to protect Wirbel, but that was denied, so Dominic and Carl who I’m familiar with followed me inside.

I had the Platoon Captain who seemed to be the most reliable stay with Wirbel.
When I tried to soothe Captain who was looking very uneasy and displeased with “I will be all right” he replied “Mines are very dangerous, so please be earnestly careful please” with a serious face.

N? Was there some hidden meaning?
When I tilted my head, Berta gave me a supplementary explanation.
“Mines are(Okusama is) very dangerous” that’s what he was apparently trying to say.

No, no, how rude! I won’t do anything, you know!? Eh? Destroying it with magic? There’s no way I would do something like that!
Dominic! Carl! Even Gill, please don’t look at me with uneasy expressions like that! I won’t destroy it, okay! Even if I do, it won’t be on purpose, you know? Oy, I’m just joking, alright! You don’t have to part with me with tears! Good grief!

I took the tragic three and set foot in the tunnel.
I had all the miners take a break from mining. Well, just in case.
Guided by Gill, we advance quite far into the tunnel.

“Okusama, here it is.”

When Gill raised his lantern fueled by magic over his head, a turquoise gem buried in a rock wall shone.
Because the light of the magic is similar to sunlight, it will probably have the same turquoise color outside.
Then, Gill held out a lit candle next.

“It’s red, huh.”

“Yes, the color changes in this way depending on the light.”

A color-changing gem.
I’m afraid to say that Gill and the miners have not made a mistake.

This is the “pyroxene”?

I had seen the crown jewel up close when I was young.
If to say if it’s similar it is, but the size is so different it’s hard to say.
Besides, it’s not possible to carry it to the capital in order to compare.

It must be first dug out of there, but the miners told that it’s too hard and they can’t dig it up.
Now then, what should I do?

“Is it really that hard?”

“Yes, besides, it’s of this size so if we forcibly destroy the wall, the tunnel will be in danger of collapsing.”

I see… that is troubling.
After all, I should probably report to Ojisama.
If this really is “pyroxene,” it would be better to leave such precious gem to Ojisama to deal with.
There’s nothing I can do if it can’t be moved.

“It’s very beautiful, but it’s slightly oversized, isn’t it?”

I look at the gem buried in a wall.

Although it has not been polished yet, it’s surface is beautifully smooth.
It has a lovely oval shape, strangely smooth for a natural mineral.

In the first place, what is “pyroxene?”
The first King had already this “pyroxene” on his crown.
The first king of Morgenrot was a swordsman called the founding hero. It’s said that he saved the world together with the magician Joerg Ballschmiede who also helped with the founding of the country.

Was the “pyroxene” attached to the crown also found like this?
However, the crown’s jewel is not this large.
It’s probably impossible to process this very hard gem into a smaller one. Or, would it be possible with magic?

I trace that shining smooth surface with my finger.

Beautiful… while absentmindedly staring, a light suddenly erupted from the place I was touching.
What? As soon as I thought, the strength of the light increased, it was so dazzling I couldn’t open my eyes.

“Okusama!!”

I heard Carl’s worried voice from behind, that’s where my consciousness suddenly snapped.

Thus, I woke up lying in this bed with a panda poking my head.

“That’s right. Okusama has collapsed in the tunnel.”

“Yeah. I made everyone worry, didn’t I?”

I must have put in chaos everyone that time.
I have also made Wirbel worry a lot.

Nevertheless, what was that sudden light? And, this panda?
It surely is not really a sacred beast, is it? No, but, why a panda? As expected, I don’t understand.

It’s unknown whether Berta understands the situation more than me since she has an equally confused expression, but she has probably tried to gather information while I was collapsed.
Please teach me! Berta-san!

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