A Former Child Soldier Who Uses a Magic Sword Wants to Live with an Older Sister of a Former Enemy Executive - Chapter 26
- Chapter 26 : Beyond the totems standing hidden inside the cave.
Satis also swooped down to take a look inside the hole.
The light shining through it allowed them to see the interior.
They could faintly make out the murals through the dusty air.
And there were “totem poles” covered in dust and cobwebs lined up along the back of the tunnel.
[To think we’d find a space like this inside the hill… This is incredible, right? Satis.] (Seto)
[Y-Yes , it is indeed.] (Satis)
Inside this obscure room, Satis had a slightly gloomy look on her face.
It reminded her of that one time she was tortured and lynched.
[…Are you okay?] (Seto)
[Yes. Don’t worry. …What is this place, anyway?] (Satis)
While trying not to worry Seto, she turned her attention to the unfamiliarity of this place.
During the times she worked in the village mayor’s house, Satis had heard about the natives who lived in this land.
They were said to live far away from the village, in harmony with nature, and were famous for their totem poles.
However, she had never heard of historic ruins being located inside the hills.
[It appears this extends all the way to the back.] (Satis)
[Judging by all the dust and cobwebs… Looks like this underground tunnel has been abandoned for ages.] (Seto)
A picnic followed by an exploration.
In response to Seto’s curiosity, Satis used a light-based spell to produce a light to use as a torch.
The air grew colder and dustier as they went deeper.
And above all, the numerous totem poles illuminated by the light created an eerie atmosphere in the middle of this darkness.
These totem poles were representing animals such as white-shouldered eagles, otters, bears, and coyotes, but most of them were faceless.
Either that, or they had unusual faces.
[Those weird things are still standing.] (Seto)
[You mean the totem poles? But… These ones are fairly old. They are basically the prototypes of the totem poles of our time, so to speak. They’re not supposed to be standing in a tunnel like this.] (Satis)
[Totem poles? I’ve heard about them. If I remember right… They’re statues sculpted by the natives of certain lands to worship their ancestors and spirits, right? …But, these ones…] (Seto)
[Yes, the least we can say is that they’re nothing like the ones from our era. …The word totem originally meant “Dimension and Causality”. If these statues were built with that in mind, then what could be the meaning of carving those strange animals in them? …Even the wood feels more rock-like than plant-like.] (Satis)
The mystery deepened as they went deeper inside the cave.
They were plunged into the illusion of being stared at by countless faceless totems.
A world of death where there was no sign of life.
These ruins felt so quiet, dark, and cold that the pair could not help but get that impression.
[Hm? I think I see something further ahead.] (Satis)
[Is that… an altar?] (Seto)
They had been walking on a straight path up to this point, then they finally arrived at a spacious room that seemed to be the end of the tunnel.
What they found there were mural paintings of trees, animals, and humans in traditional costumes.
As well as faceless totems, and a spot used to worship something.
[I see…! Could it be…!?] (Satis)
[You know something, Satis?] (Seto)
[Yes. This is a tale of monsters, though. …All monsters are divided into several factions, or rather, they were. Centuries ago, many of those factions united under the Demon King’s banner to form the Demon King’s army. However… There was one faction that didn’t come under the Demon King’s wing.] (Satis)
[Monsters who didn’t come under his command? Are they related to the religion of the natives who built all this?] (Seto)
[Indeed. I’m… not sure if referring to them as monsters is appropriate, but to humans at least, I suppose they’re the same as any other monsters. …They were called Wendigos, and they were known as a variety of spirits who embodied the will of nature.] (Satis)
[Wendigos… So this means that this place was built to worship those beings?] (Seto)
[Most likely. They were considered to have existed since the dawn of time. …I see now. So it was here. The land of the Wendigos…!] (Satis)
Illuminated by the light, Satis’ eyes sparkled with wonder as she contemplated a part of history.
She, too, had developed an intellectual curiosity, and like Seto, she was interested in seeing the unknown.
[So these are the ruins of their civilizations, huh. You know… we might actually meet the Wendigos and the natives in the future.] (Seto)
[Meet them, you say…?] (Satis)
[If we suppose that those totems of dimension and causality beckoned us here… then they might also lead us to that kind of future.] (Seto)
[…It sounds romantic when you say it like that, but I’m afraid it might also be a future with conflicts.] (Satis)
[If it ever comes to that, I’ll deal with it somehow!] (Seto)
Satis unconsciously burst into laughter at Seto’s confident reply.
She smiled not because she found him funny, but out of relief.
[What are you saying now? I’ll have you know that I’m plenty strong too when I get serious! …Please rely on me more often. I’m not the same woman I was back when we met in that forest anymore!] (Satis)
[You’re right. …Okay. I’ll be counting on you from now on too.] (Seto)
Their smiles illuminated the dark cave.
Seto thought that it was time for them to leave, but Satis’ burning curiosity motivated her to stay.
[So hey, can we go home now?] (Seto)
[I can’t! I could never leave such a wonderful historical legacy unattended!] (Satis)
[Err, we could also check it all another day, no…?] (Seto)
[Wait for me, I’ll just need a few minutes…!] (Satis)
With a twinkle in her glasses, she began to examine the murals, the altar, and even the totem poles that creeped her out so much.
Thinking that it was probably the first time he had ever seen her so absorbed in something, Seto watched over her with a fresh feeling.
This… might be the first time I see Satis so full of energy about her own hobbies. Usually, she gets like that when she does all sorts of things for m–… (Seto)
He stopped himself from remembering.
His memory of all of Satis’ alluring gestures up to this point were ruminating in his mind.
Hobbies, huh… What hobbies do I have, actually? …Come to think of it, I’ve never thought about it before.
As he pondered that question, something entered Seto’s field of vision.
He walked toward the altar.
Then he found something huge painted on the wall behind it.
It was a mass of tentacles… that looked like a man in a yellow cloak.
The more he stared at it, the more he felt drawn into the painting.
It was as if it was calling out to Seto from the shadows hiding its face.
[Seto? …–Seto!] (Satis)
[Whoa!? What the!? What is it?] (Seto)
[I’ve been calling out to you for a while, but you weren’t responding at all.] (Satis)
[Eh? Ahh, sorry. I was looking at that thing.] (Seto)
Satis looked in the direction he was pointing.
However, she simply squinted her eyes while maintaining a dubious look on her face.
[But… there’s nothing there.] (Satis)
He took another look in that direction, but it was Satis stated.
————There was not a single trace of that mural painting he had seen.
[…Sorry. Maybe it was just my imagination.] (Seto)
[Hmm… Well, it’s dark down here, after all. I guess people are more likely to hallucinate when the light is so lacking. Now, we’re done here, so let’s head back up. Let’s rest under the sun one more time, okay?] (Satis)
[Good idea. Yeah, let’s do that. I’d like it if you could give me another lap pillow, maybe…] (Seto)
[Fufufu. Of course.] (Satis)
After that, the pair returned to the surface.
They reported their discovery to the mayor as soon as they returned to the village.
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