07-08 The Mine
The tunnel had narrow spots too, but generally it was wide enough to easily walk in. Perhaps this place had been redeveloped for the sake its tourism use.
At first the tunnel was level, but gradually it sloped down. Everyone was grateful for the lights that had been installed here and there.
“Mother, aren’t you cold?”
The boy asked his mother. Inside the tunnel temperature was around 15 degrees Celsius, and if you wore a long-sleeved shirt you wouldn’t get cold. However, the madam wore only short-sleeved spring clothing.
“Yes, it’s a little cold here.”
She answered as a matter of course.
“In that case, have this.”
The butler took a half coat from the luggage the large man had been made to carry and presented it to the madam.
“Oh my, thank you.”
The madam said and put on the half coat.
Elsa, who was watching the exchange felt somehow regretful thinking about the long-sleeved coat she was herself wearing.
She then stared at the back of Jin who was walking in front of her. Jin was wearing his coat that he had given for Elsa to wear several times.
Going down a short ladder, then again walking downhill, they arrived at a slightly more spacious place.
“We’ve arrived, here’s the last stop.”
It was an unexpected and a too quick end for the tunnel. Well, there was no way in the first place that they’d be taken to depths deep enough to be dangerous to ordinary people, so it had to be like this for tourism use.
“There are a few branching tunnels, if you’re lucky you can mine ore containing gemstone.”
The guide said. The tool he had was a Magi Tool resembling a chisel.
“Pushing the tip of this thing against rock and pouring in Magic Energy, it digs into the rock it’s pushed against.”
Maybe it could be called a mini rock drill that utilized Magic Energy.
“Mother, I want to try it for a bit.”
The little sister suggested that. It may be that she desired the gems the guide had spoken about.
“You do? Then, just a little bit okay?”
The madam said and the guide took one Magi Device from the large man’s burden.
“Ah, then me too.”
The boy also said, and the guide took out one more. It didn’t look like it came at an extra cost, so three people from Jin’s group, meaning Jin, Reinhardt, and Elsa also decided to give it a try.
Each one entered a separate branching tunnel.
All of which were short, in addition to having several dug-out spots left from previous tourists.
“I wonder if you really can find gemstone here? [Ground Search].”
He used the [Ground Search] magic for the first time in a while.
“…Hm? Eh? What’s this?”
In several places in the walls and the ground there was ‘buried’ raw ore containing gemstone.
At a guess, they were planted there for the tourists’ amusement, or maybe they could be called free gifts. Jin had also heard that the matsutake mountains with paid admission also do a similar thing.
“There’s no ore vein here any longer, huh.”
A magus who could use [Ground Search] could immediately tell. Well, because much deeper there were places with large ore veins, you couldn’t call this mine a fake one.
“Oh well, since it’s a tourist attraction, let’s enjoy it.”
After such a monologue, Jin put the Magi Tool against the area where the ore was buried.
＊ ＊ ＊
When Jin had dug out several pieces of ore.
“Aww~, I can’t find any.”
A voice could be heard. Turning around, Jin found the daughter of the viscount family from earlier.
The girl noticed Jin and,
“Ah, so, there was someone here already. My apologizes.”
She said and began to go back. Jin called her to stop.
“Miss, it seems that you can find comparatively a lot of ore over here. Go ahead if you’d like.”
Then the girl stopped, and timidly turned around. In the light of the dim magical lamps Jin could see that she was a cute girl around eight or nine years of age, with blond hair and blue eyes, much resembling her mother.
“Umm, are you sure?”
When she asked that, Jin smiled and nodded, then showed the pieces of ore he had dug out.
“Woow, there’s a lot. Is it really okay if I dig here too?”
“Yes, go ahead. Around here looks good.”
Jin pointed near the place where he had found ore using [Ground Search].
“Okay, I’ll give it a try.”
The girl said and pushed the excavating Magi Tool she had in her hand on the tunnel wall. Then she poured in Magic Energy.
The Magi Tool vibrated finely, and the tip section that had been coated with Adamantite broke through the rock. Then, a piece of ore broke out and fell.
“Ah, something came out. Onii-san, this, what is it?”
The girl picked up the ore she had mined out and held it out in front of Jin. Jin took a glance at it and,
He taught her what it was. Then the girl made an expression that was sort of half happy and half disappointed,
“I’ll look harder.”
She said and was once again about to press the Magi Tool on the wall. Then Jin said,
“Instead of digging just there, why don’t you give a try over here too?”
And he pointed at another location where ore had been buried.
“That’s right, isn’t it, I’ll try there.”
The girl obediently went to dig at the wall Jin pointed at. Then once again a piece of ore tumbled out.
“Ah, I found another one. Onii-san, you’re amazing!”
This time Citrine had come out.
“Aww~, this isn’t the one I wanted either.”
The girl said. Then, Jin tried asking,
“Well, what kind of ore do you want?”
The girl then replied,
“A pink gem!”
There are few pink gemstones. Pink sapphires, tourmalines, and kunzites to name a few. Even topazes were exceedingly rare finds with a high value, so there was no way you could find such a thing in a faked mine for tourists like this.
“Hmm, it would be a nice find, wouldn’t it.”
Jin said while thinking.
A pink sapphire he could somehow manage.
In the first place, sapphires were of an aluminum oxide’s crystal form called corundum. It was a mineral that this place didn’t lack. However, here its purity was just not enough to form a gem.
And so Jin decided to stealthily find a lump of corundum using [Ground Search]. Luckily, he found one in a shallow spot.
Since it was a little far away it was difficult, but he somehow managed to extract the impurities little by little with the [Extraction] magic. Of course, leaving behind the main ingredient aluminum dioxide. And also chromium.
As by nature the rock contained just a bit of chromium, somehow he was able to finish the processing.
“Aww~, I can’t find it~.”
The girl complained. Jin once more called out to her and,
“It looks like there’s something here.”
He told her.
“Onii-san’s predictions have been on the mark. I’ll try there.”
She said and pushed the Magi Tool there. It was a bit deep so it took some time.
“Nothing seems to come out.”
“It seems that it’s just a bit deeper.”
It looked like the ore was deeper than he had thought. After spending three times longer than in the previous attempts, finally the gem tumbled out.
“I did it! It’s a pink gem!”
The girl happily picked up the gem and held it close to her chest, then quickly bowed.
“Onii-san, thank you. You can have the other gems.”
She said, and went back through the tunnel carrying only the pink sapphire she had discovered.
Jin also thought this was enough, picked up the gems the girl had left behind, and leisurely walked the tunnel back.