The kids closed their mouths at my shout.
I quickly added onto that before one of them says anything.
“Who I am and who you guys are aren’t important right now. The problem is that you guys are trying to break that precious relic!”
“Don’t you guys have pegs and hammers? Did your master ordered you to break that ice like that?”
I was asking from pure curiosity but the kids lowered their heads, taking my words as a scolding. Then they muttered.
“Actually, sir sang-dan-ju gave us this before he left…… .”
The kid showed an awl and the hammer small enough for them to use.
The other kids saw that and showed me their’s, too.
“The ice was too thick and hard that it was impossible to break with these!”
“And the ice has a spell cast onto it so that the broken spot regenerates back to its original shape after a few minutes!”
“I thought we could quickly pull this off since we can use magic like sir sang-dan-ju can…… .”
The kids let out all their sorrows. I sighed and reached my hand out to them.
“Hand that over.”
I approached the giant ice with the awl and the hammer in my hands.
The kids followed after me, clearly curious.
The carved place on the ice started to grow back to its original shape again.
I stared at the process.
I watched to the end and saw that the regeneration had a limit. The carved place wasn’t completely covered back.
‘I might be able to do this if I do this right.’
I asked the kid with the lion mask.
“Do you have some hot water?”
“Yeah! We can make some with magic!”
“Can you spray a little around the edge without it touching the edge? Since the relic could get worn out.”
The kid powerfully nodded and pointed the want out to the ice.
Water started to come out from the end of the staff.
A moment later.
“Now stop. Wait until I tell you to and spray it again when I do.”
I stopped spelling out what they did wrong and instead, helped them.
The surface of the ice melted a little because of the hot water.
I set the awl on the ice and hammered it, careful to not touch the box.
Crack-. A long crack was formed on the ice around the box.
I hammered around the crack a few times and got rid of a lump of ice.
The edge of the box was revealed again.
I didn’t touch anything further and stared at it. It was just as I thought.
The ice regenerated far slower than the first time this exact same place was curved.
“……There’s only one way to use if I want to break the ice without damaging the relic.”
“What is it?”
I announced to the kids whose eyes were shining.
“I’m saying that we shouldn’t use magic but slowly carve and melt it ourselves.”
The kids were very disappointed. They probably thought that they could easily break the ice apart.
“But the place that was already carved and regenerated once, regenerates slower than before.”
“Then we should keep carving the same spot, right?”
“Yes, that’s right.”
I nodded my head.
“I will carve the ice with the lion mask, and the remainders carve that spot continuously after that. ‘Kay?”
I started to feel bossy at all the shining gazes on me.
I also felt excited since this was something I was good at and well-knowledged of.
I started working with the ice with the kids.
To be honest, I read a lot about this from a book, but never once tried it myself.
‘I thought I was going to do this kinda thing until I get sick of it when I get into university…… .’
I smiled bitterly.
I didn’t think that I would be doing something I wanted to do in my life in a game.
“Now. Hammer this part. Don’t make the pointy part point on the box. It’ll leave a scratch if you do.”
“I want to try!”
The kids I thought were reckless were more cautious and detailed than I was while working on this.
I didn’t know how much time has passed after that.
The box was half out the ice when I and the kids were about to faint from tiredness.
I thought the floor would be a mess with all the water, but it was just as clean as before.
It was because the ice didn’t melt that easily with the magic casted.
“Ahh, my back…… .”
I got up from crouching on the floor.
It looked like the kids were also in pain because they were muttering complaints while punching their sore spots with one hand.
“I’m tired…… .”
“But we made it through half!”
One of the kids shouted while looking at the relic.
I also moved my gaze onto the relic and smile, finding that there wasn’t a scratch on the relic.
“Good job, guys.”
“It’s all thanks to auntie!”
“Yeah! It’s thanks to auntie who showed us how to do it!”
The kids gathered around me and clapped.
‘I told them that I’m not an aunt.’
I felt the sorrow rising in me, but I clapped along. It was only a mask anyways.
“You, who are you.”
Behind me, I could hear a very cold voice enough to give me goosebumps. I froze on the spot with my hands in a clapping position.
I totally forgot about it. The reason I came here.
“What are you doing here?”
I turned around like a robot that needs some oiling.
Not too far away from me stood a man with a white rabbit mask.
“I cast a spell so that no normal people could come in or even notice this place.”
The ultramarine blue eyes which were visible through the small hole on the mask was as cold as ice.
He reached a hand towards me while he said that.
A big and prosperous staff incomparable to the ones that the kids had was pointed directly at me.
“Judging from you wearing a mask, are you a sorcerer?”
A white light started to form at the end of his staff. It looked like it was going to shoot me at any moment.
I gulped and tried to think of something.
I couldn’t straight on say ‘I came here to complete the hidden quest’.
Just what should I do in this situation?
‘Should I take my mask off right now? And just show him who I am?’
I was hesitating.
The bar shined dangerously, and then…… .
My jaw dropped at the small letters appearing suddenly above the bar.
‘What the? What’s that!’
‘No! No, please-!’
His interest that was 9% suddenly started to drop.
That wasn’t all. It didn’t completely stop at 3% as the letters were still dangerously shining as if it’d drop more.
I bit my quivering lower lip.
‘There wasn’t any penalty. The system didn’t say there was going to be any penalty, but why!’
It was fortunate that my face was covered with this mask.
If I didn’t, I would’ve cried while staring at the interest bar.
Vinter didn’t move an inch, waiting for my answer.
“It would be best for you to start explaining how you got in here, immediately.”
“Th, that…… .”
My mind went blank at the sudden interest drop that I’ve never experience since I came to this world.
I couldn’t think of anything to say because I was too flustered.
My mouth would move to try and say something but nothing came out of it.
“We took her in!”
The kids dashed over in front of me and shielded me.
“Auntie seemed to know a lot about relic excavation that we brought her in and asked for help!”
“We almost finished it thanks to auntie’s help! Look, sir sang-dan-ju!”
The kids covered for me and pointed the ice behind us.
Vinter’s eyes widened for only a moment before scolding the kids.
“Didn’t I tell you guys so many times that you guys should never bring an outsider in here?”
“Auntie said that she wasn’t an outsider but a customer!”
“And the homework you gave us was too difficult…… .”
I didn’t know that the kids I met just a few hours ago would cover for me like this.
But I didn’t have the time to say thank you right now.
Vinter’s cold gaze changed at the word ‘customer’.
He looked at me and the relic back and forth a couple of times before setting his staff down and politely bowing.
“I was impolite to a person who helped the children. I apologize. No one can usually come in here.”
This was the first apology from one of the male leads after Eclise’s insincere apology.
No one apologized to Penelope here.
However, it wasn’t like I was happy to hear an apology for his impoliteness.
I found myself pathetic to carve some ice from being excited at the excavation scene that I’ve never really seen in my life before, and because.
I was scared to die.
COMMENTS (On the raws):
– Why did you have to make the happy Penny, who can be happy with only an awl and a hammer, all sad?
– Every day is a deathmatch for Penny
– It’s not really Vinter’s fault though. It’s his secret base after all. And he finds a stranger in there.
– Cute kids.
– R.I.P (Vinter’s 9%)