<Message from the translator:>It’s been over a month sweats …Sorry about that. Work has been so draining, and I’ve been feeling burnt out every day because of it. And it doesn’t really help that chapters just get longer, but don’t worry. I’m still continue to translate. The only reason why I can post this chapter now is because it’s a day off today 😛
Chapter 10: The Second Encounter
“Alright, Goltarou. ‘Hurray!’ Raise your arms, ‘Hurray!’”
Underneath the clear blue sky, I was polishing Goltaro’s pristine white body with a rag.
Goltarou obediently raised his arms. Good boy. I’ll polish your underarms until they shine white.
…Damn, I think I understand how those hot-blooded bikers feel when they care for their vehicle.
It’s been three days since I tested [Create Golem] in the back garden.
Though, I’m not sure of the exact time since I was still unclear on exactly how long I was unconscious. I know that I was bedridden for a whole two days, so I assumed that the time had to be at least three days.
While I was bedridden and confined inside the hidden house, Goltarou was the one who went outside to pick fruit for me.
This guy was so dexterous, beyond what you could imagine given his large size. Even though he moves his arms like a humanoid robot and looks like he could swing a mean punch, he could also move extremely delicately. If only his fingers were thinner. Then, he probably could even sew. I’m sorry for my lack of crafting skills…
Also, because I had wanted to eat some cranberry apples, this guy had already grasped and started to master a method to pick the delicious ones. He’s so clever…
In any case, let’s step away from how baffling his abilities are.
I had spent practically two full days in bed, but since I was telling Goltarou various things about Japan, I wasn’t the least bit bored. I was glad for this aspect. For some reason, whenever he listened to my stories, his face got awfully close. What a super serious guy.
Even so, to be bedridden for two days…
Before, I had turned the Grand Rock Door into a sloppy mess when I tried to open it and created a Mentos Geyser reaction when I tried to remove the restraint on the stone book.
Continuing that streak, I created a catastrophic natural disaster.
The last, [Create Golem] was especially awful. After losing consciousness, I was bedridden from the damage…
I have no choice but to admit it now—I have no aptitude for wizardry.
In any case, I’m thinking I won’t cast [Create Golem] for the rest of my life.
My body’s practically recovered by now. The fatigue was almost gone as well.
By the way, I had quite the “wild” look with just a pair of underwear on.
I was stuck in bed until this morning after all. The first thing I did after I recovered was to wipe my whole body in the garden.
Which also meant that polishing Goltarou came next.
“Alright! Lower your head, Goltarou.”
Goltarou curled his back and bowed. Yup, what a good boy.
With the rag, I rubbed Goltarou’s back of the head squeaky clean before giving it a slap.
Then, I patted him.
“Great. All done! Your head is really smooth, hehe!”
Now then, let’s get down to the real business at hand today.
…Hm? Wait, I felt something off about that exchange just now.
However, I didn’t think too much about it in the end.
Why? Well, because I had noticed something even more out of place.
Right now, the two of us were by the fountain in the back of the house since we were cleaning ourselves.
On the ground near the trees a little ahead of us, a gaping hole caught my attention.
Oh? Was there a hole there before?
After wracking my brain for a bit, I remembered.
If I recalled correctly, that was the place the white stone pillar stood. The same pillar I had used to create Goltarou’s base.
Was there such a hole underneath the pillar?
I wondered what kind of hole was it. At first glance, it looked like a well of sorts.
I approached it in hopes of checking its state.
However, Goltarou didn’t move from his spot by the spring.
“…What’s wrong, Goltarou?”
This guy had always stuck behind me like a baby chick wherever I went. He had even tried to follow me to the bathroom, but as you would’ve guessed, I stopped him by the door.
…Wait, thinking back on that, Goltarou had been trying to keep me away from the back garden for the past two days.
He had often gone out to fetch water, ensuring that it never dropped below a certain level, so I never had the need to go near the fountain. Additionally, right before coming here to bathe, he had lightly pulled my sleeve, showing a faint sense of resistance. However, because I was trapped in bed for those two days, my entire body felt a little gross, so I ignored him and forced my way through.
Rather, I thought the act of him pulling on my sleeve was a sign that he wanted to play.
You know, the thing that dogs often do. I usually just ignore it.
While I was still confused about Goltarou’s behavior, I nonchalantly peeked inside the hole regardless.
Then, I felt a slight sense of regret.
Goltarou, you were right.
—At the bottom of this dark hole was the shape of a person lying on the ground.
I hurried back inside the house.
I immediately changed clothes and gathered up some equipment. After putting on a robe lying nearby, I rushed back to the garden.
There was no way I was going to enter a hole with just a pair of underwear on.
Besides, that was the minimum requirement for a gentleman to appear before others.
Eh, what about Goltarou, you say? That’s fine. Because he’s family, I could even hug him with just my underwear on.
“Hey, you in the hole! You okay?!”
I stood at the edge of the hole and called out several times to the person inside.
Just as I had expected, there was no response.
To tell you the truth, the probability that the person down there was still alive was practically zero.
But, it wasn’t zero…
It would be against my aesthetic as a gentleman to ignore such a thing.
The depth of the hole from what I can see was probably over 4-5 meters.
The inside was so dark that I wasn’t quite sure, but I think that the inside of the hole was wider than the entrance.
At the very least, the possibility that this was a simple well had disappeared.
This hole originally housed the stone pillar, which meant that the entrance was also roughly 1 meter in diameter.
That should be enough space for me to enter.
I took out the long rope I had grabbed from the closet in the house.
I had Goltarou hold the rope for me at the top while I descended.
Although Goltarou was so hesitant to approach the hole before, he saw how resolute I was to enter that he accompanied me all the way to the edge. Seriously, what a good guy. You got guts, Goltarou!
I wrapped one end of the rope around Goltarou’s waist while I grabbed the other end.
The rope was quite old, but do you think it’ll hold?
W-well, if the rope snapped and I fell, I probably wouldn’t die.
But, it’ll definitely lead to broken bones.
Heh, maybe I won’t go down…
At that moment, I saw Goltarou’s face.
That’s right. Why the hell am I getting cold feet all of sudden?
For the sake of Goltarou’s education and my duty as a man of culture, I must see things through.
And practically speaking…as long as even the slightest possibility that the person lying inside the hole still had life in them remained, I wanted to do whatever I could for them.
The only person here that could do anything was me.
I steeled my nerves and resumed my descent down the rope.
It was a surprisingly smooth way down. Of course, if you leave out every time I got scared when the rope creaked.
On my way down, I strove to avoid looking down in more ways than one.
I should be reaching the bottom by now.
From the state of the inner walls I saw from my side as I descended, the structure of the underground space really did resemble a decrepit well of several meters, and it wasn’t particularly wide.
My feet had finally touched the bottom.
My eyes had become accustomed to the darkness by then.
I should have landed right next to the place where the person lay.
Just as I readied myself to look in the direction, I heard a sound from above.
I looked up to see Goltarou attempting to enter the circular opening right above me.
With your size, ain’t that a bit impossible?
…Oh? Looks like there’s enough room for him.
No, wait, wait wait!
If you come down, then who’s going to pull me up???
Wai, wait, Gol! No!
I was a second too late.
Goltarou had placed his hands on the edge of the hole and pushed off, jumping diagonally down the hole.
Then he lightly kicked the inner wall of the hole and did a quick flip in the air, landing right beside me.
I was speechless.
When he landed just now, he didn’t make a single sound.
“What kind of motor skills do you even possess…?”
W, wait. Sigh, whatever. Going by his movements just now, I’m sure Goltarou would be able to easily get out from here.
The fear I had disappeared now. For the time being, I should be happy about that.
I pulled myself together and took a quick breath.
I resolved myself as I turned my gaze towards the person lying at my feet and opened my eyes widely.
Would you have imagined that—
—a skeleton of a person was there…
DAMN IT!!! Another goddamn skeleton?!?!?!
I had expected this, but… Given all the circumstances, I did see it coming, but come on!!!
So far, all the human beings I’ve encountered in this other world have been 100% skeletons!!!
…Sorry, I lost my composure.
At that moment, I felt a sudden strong gaze pointed at me.
The owner of the gaze was Goltarou.
Of course, Goltarou didn’t actually have eyes.
In actuality, he only faced me. Just that.
But, it felt like Goltarou had fixed his attention on me, gauging my reaction.
And for the first time, I had sensed an unusually strong fluctuation in his emotions coming off of him.
Was this fear…maybe extreme unease?
But, the target of Goltarou’s strong unease wasn’t directed towards the body on the floor but me.
Why was he concerned about me rather than the corpse in this kind of situation?
I can see that he’s scared of me, but there’s definitely something else…
It’s almost like, how can I put it, a child curled up and about to cry, expecting to be scolded by their parent.
Does he think that I’ll be angry at him now about the fact that he wouldn’t let me go near the back garden?
And the reason why he came down here, to the bottom of the hole he didn’t want to approach so badly, was to just confirm that?
—No, that’s not it. I don’t think that’s the case.
Then, why exactly are you scared of me…?
…I give up. I don’t know.
My train of thought had completely hit the brakes at that spot.
Well, duh, of course! Anyone would be scared encountering a skeleton for the first time!
I’m sure even golems could feel uneasy. This often slipped my mind, but technically this guy was still a baby.
To be frank, because I had suddenly encountered the bastard Zairein’s skeleton right after being summoned and spent a couple of hours in the same room as it, I was strangely becoming accustomed to such a sight. However, if I carelessly show complacency to these kinds of stuff, it may lead to unnecessary misunderstandings later on.
Therefore, as a veteran in encountering skeletoned remains, I must alleviate the beginner Goltarou’s unease.
I lightly placed my hand on Goltarou’s shoulder and gave it a few soft pats.
Then, I looked into Goltarou’s face and broadly smiled.
Hey, don’t worry. I, the skeleton veteran (*in comparison to you), is here with you.
Just then, the air around Goltarou softened, as I imagined it turning super light-hearted and gentle.
At the same time, his anxious gaze directed towards vanished in the blink of an eye like an illusion.
It was so quick that I had to really wonder if all the events that just happened were just my imagination.
In any case, it looks like Goltarou is fine now.
I returned my attention towards the corpse on the floor.
The corpse—as I had already described, was already turned into just bones.
As such, I couldn’t tell its age or sex.
Unlike the time with Luvel Zairein’s body, the clothes covering the body were damaged beyond recognition. It was difficult to make any judgments based on outward appearance.
However, my gaze was fixed on certain points on the body.
Both hands and feet of the body were restrained by handcuffs and shackles.
Large, metal restraints.
And attached to these restraints were chained connected to the ground.
This reminded me of a passage Luvel Zairein had written.
In preparation for the summoning ritual, he required not only his own life but the blood sacrifice of another one.
That person must be the one in front of me now.
My eyes were glued on the body, unable to look away.
If I had slipped up anywhere, I would have been like this.
A future me who had decided to go through that tunnel that day.
“Let’s remove these chains and make you a nice grave outside in the light.”
Seeing how short these chains were, the person must have spent their last moments lying on the cold, hard stone floor, unable to lift their body up.
It wasn’t like my echoed muttering in this silent underground hell was meant to illicit an agreement from Goltarou next to me.
I was only talking to myself.
“…—I wouldn’t want to stay sleeping here in such a dark and lonely place.”
I took off my robe and wrapped the body with it.
Goltarou silently helped me from the side.
His nimble fingers were as delicate as usual as he handled the body.
When he lifted up the bundle that was much lighter than a person should weigh, something small fell out from one of the tears in the body’s ruined clothes.
I noticed it and immediately regretted it.
There, a barrette with a floral decoration attached to it, like the ones young girls wear, fell out.
In the end, there was nothing else of importance in the hole beside the victim’s body.
There was no doubt that this space was connected to the summoning ritual.
I had discovered a small spell circle on the ground where the body had lain.
If I had to say if it was similar to the other two spell circles I had found related to the summoning, then yeah, it resembled them.
However, there wasn’t much to be said with my current knowledge.
When I was leaving the hole, I had noticed for the first time at my feet, in other words, directly under the opening, a shallow 1 meter wide circular groove in the ground.
Ah, could this be where the base of the white pillar was…?
So, does this mean that the stone pillar didn’t sit on top of the ground, but actually penetrated much deeper underground and touched the corpse?
However, if that was true, then the amount of material I had used to create Goltarou’s base was much more than I had anticipated…
Just when I had started to consider all the factors, Goltarou gently pulled the rope in my hand, lifting me up.
That act interrupted my thoughts, and they were pushed aside for the time being.
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