<Message from the translator:> I’ve been trying to sneak in translating a couple of lines during work, but we’ve been getting so many big projects that I could only write 1 word then it’s back to work. So, sorry for the delay, but please enjoy~
Chapter 3: Mentos and Cola
The stone door resembled a giant lily with its four edges rolled outwards.
That ominous black color faded and the door returned back to its original color before I had realized it.
Nevertheless, it turned into quite the sorry state. While still flabbergasted at the gruesome scene of the accident, I peered inside the cave, looking through the center of the hole created by the lily.
“Guess I’ll take a look around for a bit…”
Although this task wasn’t supposed to be something difficult, I’ll be frank here and say that entering inside such a suspicious hole was quite scary.
But it was certain that the burgundy line I had followed did continue beyond this hole.
The mysterious barrier released from the strange magic array and the mysterious line coming out from there…piqued my interest.
My curiosity easily conquered my fear.
To tell you the truth, this wasn’t a very praiseworthy course of action.
There was a famous English saying that curiosity killed the cat.
Being too curious would only hasten your time of death.
But I want to reassure you—this place was the safe Japan.
An English saying? Fufu, never heard of it.
Right before I entered the cave, I had wandered around the entrance for a bit. After all, I needed to waste some time while I waited for the residual heat from the wreckage to cool down.
There was no other cave entrance on this side of the outer wall of the basin, thus making this the only place nearby that I could investigate.
Because the small tunnel on the other side of the basin that I found first felt like it could only fit one person, the opening of this cave entrance was much bigger.
Well, the original size of the gate was around 5-6 meters after all. Even with the gaping hole created at its center by the lily, the entrance was still a grand size of over 4 meters tall.
Additionally, the sun was currently diagonally above this location right now, bathing the walls with light, unlike the dark, backlit tunnel. Surprisingly the inside of the cave allowed for light to enter. Therefore, even without carrying any lighting contraptions, there was enough light to properly explore the inside.
In short, now was the perfect time to explore the inside.
Lightly stepping over the ruins of the door, I climbed inside the cave.
The air inside felt slightly chilly.
There was nothing beside the entrance as it was only a long hallway that stretched farther inside.
The walls were made of stone and different from the burgundy cliff outside. They were most likely made from the same stone as the outside gate though.
As I was examining the walls, an impressive engraving on one of them caught my eye.
It was a pattern I had never seen before, but it was quite intricate. This place felt more like the ruins of a historic structure than a cave.
The first impression I got was a temple, or possibly even a nobleman’s tomb.
A tomb, huh. Please give me a break and don’t curse me.
Or rather…was this…really…Japan…?
If I calmly thought about it, the thing I was currently doing was pretty close to that of tomb raiding.
No, it couldn’t be helped. I only followed the line coming out from the magic array I was standing in before. There was nothing else I could do but find some other clues about my current situation and the inside of this place.
Did I really have no other choice? Well…
As I started to lose confidence in the morality of my own actions, I dropped my gaze down to the burgundy line at my feet.
That’s right. It was this. The one responsible for everything was this. This line!
This burgundy line connected to the magic array headed straight through the stone hallway and continued inside.
Unlike the tunnel on the other side of the basin, this ruins-like cave didn’t appear to have a light at the end to signal an exit.
This may be bad. If this line continues too far inside, I would lose the light coming from the entrance.
“If I had at least my smartphone with me, I could use its light…”
As you could see, I had gone to bed last night in just my pajamas.
The only thing on my body was these lame pajamas.
“Well, if I did have my phone, I wouldn’t have to be investigating the inside of these ruins in the first place…”
That’s right. I currently had nothing on me.
No bedding, change of clothes, or even the minimum amount of food.
Luckily, this place was rather warm.
If I were to remain in this state at night, I don’t think I would have to worry about freezing to death in my pajamas.
As for food, I had spotted edible-looking fruit trees scattered around the area.
If I become a little peckish, I could just gnaw on one and satiate myself, so things looked pretty optimistic to me.
And there was also the tunnel on the basin wall that most likely connected to the outside. I believed that as long as I could leave this basin, there should be a house nearby.
And if I could reach that house, I could contact the police at the very least and leave the rest to them.
Following this line of thought, this word popped into my head and pained me.
No, it wasn’t painful. It felt more like a sharp sense of something being off.
What exactly was it?
I couldn’t fully understand it…
This thought continued to stew in the corner of my mind as I proceeded to silently follow the line.
The stone floor felt cold and icy.
I believed that it would only get darker from here on, but it was at that moment.
The inside of the ruins was enveloped in dim light.
This unexpected turn of events made me look around in a panic.
The light filling this place cleanly illuminated the dim depths of the ruins.
I could even make out the vast hall that opened up farther down the bright hallway.
Was that the end of the ruins?
The burgundy line on the ground also continued straight ahead into the interior of the hall.
When I looked up, I caught sight of the engravings on the area near the ceiling’s surface that faintly glowed.
So these were the light source, though I couldn’t fully comprehend how they were giving off light.
I called out to the inside of the hall.
There was no response.
Rather, I really couldn’t sense any person’s or living creature’s presence.
Not only within these ruins, but I hadn’t been able to sense anything since I was outside.
“Is there a sensor for them or something? For something that looks like the remnants of something, it’s quite high-tech, ain’t it…”
I wonder what this place really was.
I took another look around the illuminated interior, and the architectural design didn’t really give off the impression of being old.
Rather, the condition was good and even clean if I do say so myself.
My eyes wandering around as I continued to walk.
I soon arrived at the hall at the end of the hallway.
This circular hall was rather wide.
From the looks of it, it was about the same width as the field I woke up in.
The burgundy line at my feet continued to proceed straight to the center of the hall.
There was another magic array ahead.
The burgundy line was directly connected to this burgundy magic array.
This meant that this line had connected the magic array in the field to this one inside the ruin.
I have uncovered the endpoint of this line.
The issue now was…
I grasped the circumstances surrounding this the same time I grew pale and showed a stiff smile.
On top of the end magic array was an imposing chair.
And sitting on top of the chair was someone.
However, there was no sign of life here.
That’s right. Who was sitting there was the deceased.
A skeleton of a corpse.
This…was totally tomb raiding right now!!!
I’m sorry I entered without permission! I won’t do it again!
But the one who busted your gate wasn’t me! That was some mysterious phenomenon!
The corpse sat on the chair and had a high-class-looking robe wrapped around its body.
Since it was just bones, I couldn’t tell its age, only that it was most likely a male, as by its tall stature even though it was sitting.
There were several jeweled rings on its fingers, so this body probably belonged to someone of high position.
Above all else, the thing that caught my attention was the extreme cane gripped in the corpse’s jewelry-covered hand.
There were jewels similar to the ones of the rings embedded into the cane, but the number of extraordinary crystals that were each the size of a battery was ridiculously a lot. It gave off the image that they had all gathered at the end of the cane.
I’m just reminding you that I’m not a tomb raider. Of course, this meant that I did not have the slightest desire to steal it.
I guess the impression of a tomb I got when I entered the ruins was not far from its mark.
Regardless, for the first person I met after such a disaster to be the skeletoned remains of someone…
In any case.
The magic array I was standing in at the beginning was connected to the one at the feet of Old Man Bones (nickname) here. I should search to see if there was some kind of relevance to this.
It was true that my encounter with a skeletoned remains was shocking. However, I had a reputation for being quick to change gears.
Now then, shall we look down and observe the magic array?
They were similar…similar to the sinister magic array on top of the red stone in the field.
From first glance, it looked to be exactly the same, but I felt that this one had less intricate patterns in it.
The one in the plain had minuscule patterns drawn in even its gaps, but this one here was blank in its spaces, making the difference quite noticeable.
If you were to ask me which of the two was the main one, I would have to say that the one I was standing on felt more like the main. Old Man Bones’ one felt like a sub.
“Though I’m not really a magic array maniac, so I can’t really go around saying this and that…hm?”
I noticed the giant stone pedestal diagonally in front of Old Man Bones.
No, I think that the plan was for the people who entered the hall to see this stone pedestal in front of them first. The old man’s chair was much farther in compared to the pedestal, making it much harder to see based on the position of the lights.
In my case, I was completely transfixed on chasing the burgundy line, and furthermore, as soon as I discovered the magic array that resembled the one in the field, my entire attention was shifted there.
Then, there was the impact of discovering Old Man Bones’ corpse sitting enshrined on top of the magic array.
As a result, I was slow on noticing the stone pedestal.
It appeared that there was something on top of the pedestal in question.
“Is this a stone…book?”
A stone book.
It seemed that this was a book composed of stone slates bound together.
It was pretty well-made. Unlike a paper book, this one could probably last for thousands of years, though it also looked heavy and hard to read.
Since it was in the shape of a book, I had supposed that one was supposed to open up the pages in order to read it, but it was sealed with a tough, stone restraint, fixing it firmly to the stone pedestal.
My gaze was locked in place when I saw the pattern carved in the restraint.
It was the same magic array.
I’ve already become accustomed to it. At this rate, I could even become a magic array sommelier in the near future, especially for those that weren’t sinister and had a geometric pattern.
The one on this restraint appeared to be the same type as the one drawn on the entrance door.
On the gate that was just opened.
In front of me was the same type of magic array.
“‘A spell to release a seal,’ right?”
To tell you the truth, I didn’t want to play this hand. If this successfully works, then it would confirm that I was the culprit who destroyed the stone gate before. On the other hand, if I seriously try to do it and it fails, that would be the end and I would get a sense of defeat.
“…Guess I have no other choice.”
I closed my eyes and took a deep breath.
The same time I opened them, I spoke those words.
…Well, let’s change the subject for a bit. Have you ever heard of ‘Mentos Cola’?
Mentos is a chewy candy that is loved in both Japan and over 140 countries in the world. However, when you drop that into a plastic bottle filled with Cola, it suddenly vaporizes into carbon dioxide and spews out of the bottle in the form of bubbles.
Incidentally, in English-speaking countries, this phenomenon is known as a ‘Mentos Geyser,’ and its explosive power is not to be trifled with. The height achieved by the gushing bubbles can reach several meters, and if you accidentally drop a Mentos in and seal the bottle with its cap, the bottle will burst, which is very dangerous.
Promise your big brother here that you’ll be careful.
…Ah, let’s return back to the story.
It happened practically the same time I chanted the spell.
The restraint sealing the book had ‘turned black’ and inflated like a balloon for a second. Then—
Certainly, just like a Mentos being thrown into a bottle of Cola, it was sent rocketing through the air towards the ceiling in a grand spectacle.
It was a black bullet that flew in the exact opposite direction of gravity. The vibrations from it were enough to shake my eardrums.
I was frightened, thinking the sound was a sudden gunshot. My balanced crumbled as I leaned back, causing me to flop down on my butt on the floor.
In that position, I looked straight up, and there was a fragment of the restraint skewered right into the stone ceiling. In the ceiling made of solid stone.
“A…ain’t that a bit too much…!”
You gotta be kidding me! I’d thought my back was about to give up, eh!!!!
Plus, that happened way too fast. The busting down of the door took a lot more time if I recall correctly.
You enjoy watching my scared reaction? Well, do ya?
But really, what was this? For the state of things, it practically confirmed that I had mastered the invincible destructive spell [Open Sesame].
And at the same time settle the case that I was the true culprit behind the terrorist incident that destroyed the ruins’ stone gate…
I pulled myself together, stood up, and faced the stone book.
Even though the restraint fixed on the book blew up in such a grandiose manner, the book remained unscathed.
Even the stone pedestal the book was on was healthy and without a single scratch.
That reminded me. When I destroyed the stone door, its surroundings weren’t damaged in even the slightest bit. [Open Sesame] was quite the exceptional skill, won’t you say? Though its modus operandi was in the worst taste.
Now that the restraint covering the stone book had been blown away, the letters inscribed on its cover could be read.
Geh. What the heck was that? It was a bunch of letters from a language I didn’t know.
Far from Japanese, it felt different from even the Latin alphabet and Arabic script.
What was it? Some kind of ancient language?
Destruction of property (the entrance) + trespassing the ruins + destruction of artifacts (Mentos Geyser)…I’ve come this far to only encounter incomprehensible letters…Ain’t this a bit too pitiful?
My heart hurt so much from the guilt…
My teary eyes ran across the stone book’s cover, scanning the mystery language.
‘Summoning the Sorcerer King and the Theory of the Destructive End of this Two Thousand Year Old World’
The meaning behind the string of letters flooded into my head.
What was this?
I can read. I can read this…
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