Maseki Gurume – Vol 6 Chapter 8 Part 2

It’s Ko-Fi’s Supporters’ chapter (112/121), enjoy~

ED: Lonely-matter



Part 2

 

When they arrived in front of the sanctuary, Ain could not believe his eyes. He was speechless at the sight of this sanctuary.

The road to the sanctuary was shrouded in a deep fog as they walked along.

The fog was even thicker and whiter than the dense fog that Ain had used with his skill, and it was so thick that he could not even see one step ahead.

What appeared before them was a wall. It was as transparent as glass, and when Ain reached out to touch it, it vibrated as if you were touching the water.

“This is the barrier. If you take one more step, you will enter the sanctuary.”

Chris said as she touched the barrier. Her hand slowly inserted itself into the wall.

“The chief told me that only qualified people can pass through this wall. I don’t know why my sister and I were qualified, though… ahahaha…”

“…I wonder why?”

Although he tries to concur, Ain has an idea of one of the qualifications.

It’s the Wernstein bloodline.

Or perhaps the blood of the first King Gail is the reason for this. It was not surprising that they were qualified to enter the sanctuary because of that bloodline.

That is if Ain’s prediction was correct.

(I should be able to enter, too.)

Ain suddenly reached out his hand and touched the barrier.

The wall shook, just as it did for Chris, and his hand went inside.

Chris, who was watching next to Ain, was strangely proud.

“Ain-sama, Ain-sama, do you think we are actually related?”

“Actually, you might be right.”

“Geez… I’m just kidding!”

From Ain’s point of view, who heard the story from the chief, it was no joke.

Chris, who is laughing, is a full-fledged royalty, and even though they are far away from each other, they are both descended from the blood of the first king.

(As for me, it’s not a laughing matter.)

It helped that they couldn’t see each other’s faces clearly due to the fog. If so, Chris would have been able to see the complexity of his feelings.

 

As they proceeded over the barrier, the fog thinned with each step.

But a new sense of discomfort struck Ain. His feet were strangely gray, and he could sense no other color.

“Chris, something seems off──.”

“It’s alright. Don’t worry.”

Eventually, the fog dissipated completely.

What came into view was a world without color. It was not a metaphor; there really was no color. Everything was in black and white, and the sanctuary was a world far removed from the reality that Ain had come to know.

“Everything is covered in black and white, isn’t it?”

As he looked to the side, he saw Chris in black and white as well.

“Why? What is this?”

“I’m sorry. Actually, I don’t know, and the chief said she doesn’t know either. But it’s okay; it’s just a little poor in visibility.”

Although it was not something that could be dismissed lightly, Chris was comfortable with it, perhaps because she was used to it.

It must have always been this kind of place.

(I don’t know why.)

Once and for all, he had no choice but to put it apart.

If Chris and the chief didn’t know the reason, there was no way he could understand it himself. If there is no negative effect on the human body or if they are not trapped in this world, then…

“So that’s how it is.”

“H-huh…? Isn’t it too soon to break it up?”

“Well, there are places like this, I’m sure.”

It is trivial compared to the fact that he was reincarnated.

With Chris, who is surprised to see Ain surprisingly calm, at the side, Ain calmly looks around the sanctuary.

If there had been color, he would surely have been surprised by the spectacular view even more than he is now.

(It’s huge!)

This area is large enough to fit a village.

The terrain was surrounded by sheer cliffs, with a semicircular waterfall at the back and a large vertical rock in the center.

The shrine was located on top of a large rock.

The upper part of the large rock was split in two, and the shrine was on the higher part. The lower part of the rock was not empty, and even from here, one could see that a small terrace-like seating area had been set up. An arched bridge over the crack leads to a spiral staircase along the rock’s perimeter.

──The whole structure looks like a small castle.

The moss on the stone walls and floor and the cracks in places remind him of the history of the place.

“You can reach Suiseiseki on this bridge.”

Chris directed him to a bridge that extended up to the rocks.

It is made of stone, just like the arched bridge built on the large rock. It had both a solid appearance and a sense of purity.

“Is Suiseiseki the name of that big rock?”

“Yes. The chief said so. …Oh yes, be careful under the bridge, there’s a river! It would be dangerous if you fell in!”

When warned and peering down below, there is indeed a river.

He could see that the river extended from the waterfall’s basin and led to somewhere.

By the way, it seems that water is also flowing from somewhere into Suiseiseki. There is a hole under the pillar supporting Suiseiseki for drainage, and the water flows into the river.

“It’s so high, isn’t it? As Chris said, it looks dangerous if you fall down.”

“You shouldn’t even think about trying.”

“Even, I wouldn’t want to do that.”

Ain had a sense of deja vu about the height from the bridge to the river.

“I think this is what it looked like when you were looking down at the castle gate from my room.”

Now, a fall from that height would not kill or injure him. But from Chris’s point of view, it would be disturbing, and he wouldn’t want to be swept away by the river.

“Would you like to go ahead for now?”

“Right. Let’s open the entrance and go inside.”

“I told you before, didn’t I? My sister and I couldn’t figure it out after all these years, you know?”

“It might open by chance, you know.”

While exchanging light banter, they proceeded to the bridge.

After all, if there had been color, it would have been an amazing view. But the current view was not to be discarded either. The view was nothing short of spectacular, and Ain was overwhelmed.

First of all, it is not only large in size but also has a solemn appearance built from a large, long, vertical rock.

“The entrance is at the top.”

“Hmm, the top is… over there.”

A stone shrine resembling a pavilion with a celestial roof sits at the top of a spiral staircase.

“Shall we go see it first?”

“I think we should look at it from the bottom anyway.”

“I understand. I’ll show you around.”

“Chris hasn’t been here in a while, so let’s take our time and look around.”

“Mm… you think that means I might get lost?”

Chris, her lips pouting, gave him a jittery look.

“No, not at all! Chris hasn’t been here in a while, so let’s not rush up there; let’s just take it easy and feel like tourists!”

“I-I’m sorry… I just couldn’t help myself.”

“I’m counting on you, Chris. If I ever get lost, I know you’ll find me.”

“Leave it to me on that one! I can find you even if it’s my first time in a new place!”

“…That’s impossible, isn’t it?”

“Don’t be so calm all of a sudden! I didn’t lie! I’m absolutely, positively sure I can find you!”

“Confidence is great, but how do you do it?”

No way, it would be lax. As they continued on the bridge, they talked about the mystery.

“The scent.”

“──I see.”

Right, the scent.

“──Hmm? Scent!”

“Scent, you know? I can tell if it’s Ain-sama.”

“I take a bath every day, you know.”

“No! That’s not what I meant… How should I explain…”

Let’s just call it a doggy-like trait.

The revelation surprised him, but if it were said so, it was Chris. The canine attribute was definitely there, and with that in mind──.

(No, impossible, right?)

Ain twitched to himself and looked up at the sky. It was a little sad to see nothing but gray skies here, whereas there were blue skies when he left Chris’s house.

“You’re doubting me, aren’t you!”

“That’s… as expected.”

Then Chris said, “Well then!” and brought her hands to her chest and made a clenched fist.

“Then I’ll show you! Let’s see if I can find Ain-sama!”

“What, here?”

“Of course, it’s here!”

“Can we play around like that in the sanctuary?”

“It will be fine! I used to do similar things with my sister!”

“…Ah, yeah.”

He didn’t know what they were doing. It’s what little girls did when they were still young.

“I don’t know if it’s okay for me to move around the sanctuary as I please.”

“Yes! And I will find you so you can hide or do whatever you want! Oh, but please don’t dive into the river or anything.”

“It’s obvious that the scent would be lost.”

“No, it’s so that Ain-sama doesn’t catch a cold.”

So that means she can tell even if he is in the river?

The confidence was great, but Chris’s face was still serious.

(As you can imagine, it was a little awkward to be playing with her.)

It would mean leaving Chris and going for a walk around the area.

Although it is only a matter of mood, as the crown prince, he hesitates to play “hide-and-seek” in the sanctuary. Or rather, he would not know how he should look at the chief later on.

“Well, I’ll go check out the sanctuary first.”

“I understand. I’ll be there in three minutes, so please take your time and have a look.”

Then she turned from Suiseiseki toward Sith Mill.

Ain made sure Chris was not looking and looked around the perimeter of the Suiseiseki.

He added, “Let’s go to the end of that broken rock.”

He wants to see the terrace at the end of the arched bridge.

(Where should I go from?)

It is not a place that can be reached in three minutes if you were to walk normally, and he has no idea how to get there.

But Ain had a flash of inspiration. Why doesn’t he just climb up along the rocks?

First, he would put out his illusory hand from his back. Then he stretched out his hand along the rock and climbed vigorously.

In no time at all, he was running up the rock face and approaching an arched bridge. As he landed, the bridge scraped against the soles of his leather shoes with a thud.

“Alright.”

“Let’s go,” he said and proceeded to the bridge.

Within a few dozen seconds of walking, Ain arrived at the terrace and sat down on a stone chair there.

A round stone table is placed in the center of the terrace, but the area is deserted.

“…..”

From here, he could see the entire sanctuary.

The waterfall, and where the entrance is located on the uppermost level.

“I wondered why the shrine was built.”

But whoever built it, or had anything to do with that shrine, was certain. It was Gail, the first king.

Only those with the blood of the first king could come. That meant that, just like the villa in Magna, this was also a place associated with the first king.

The only thing that is unknown is the reason why the shrine was built.

He can understand the importance of the sanctuary, which is the center of the barrier, but there must be more to it than that.

──The door that won’t open.

The barrier by the sanctuary is not to escape the threat of monsters but because it hides something beyond the door that does not open. Ain thought about it this way.

“Tomorrow, I will ask the chief.”

He muttered something he thought she might know, and then he put his arms sloppily on the table and lowered himself to his face. The coolness of the stone felt good, cooling his overthinking head.

“Speaking of which──”

He had forgotten to set a time limit on how long it would take Chris to come.

He would not be alone here forever, but it would be undesirable for them to be separated for too long, and it would shorten the time for them to solve the entrance puzzle together.

Then, he could not help but think that he should have stopped this kind of game.

He didn’t want to put a damper on the fun because Chris seemed to be enjoying herself and was even more spontaneous than when they were in the royal capital.

“Let’s take our time.”

He thought that after about ten minutes, Chris would be able to join him.

“You’ve used your illusory hand.”

From behind him, he heard her voice.

“Have I been found out?”

“Otherwise, you could not have made it this far in such a short time. If you knew the way, you could have done it, but Ain-sama wouldn’t have known.”

“I don’t know. Why do I feel so defeated?”

“There’s nothing to win or lose… If you know I can find Ain-sama. That’s good enough for me.”

“Is there anything you’d like me to do for you? I’ll just say I’m sorry I doubted you.”

“…Anything?”

“Anything I can do to help.”

Ain then looked behind him.

Where in the world did she come from here? Seeing Chris crouched on the railing on the terrace, Ain’s cheeks twitched for a moment.

“I’ll put it on hold! I’ll use it when I have a favor to ask!”

“It’s limited to what I can do!”

“Fufu, yes. I know!”

Chris was dazzling like the sun and smiling as dainty as a flower, even in this monochrome world.

 

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