Chapter 3 - The Underground Library and Horror
Since then, I've come to library several times. I left 【Atelier】's sales to the Kyouko-san the NPC and without any troubles I read a book with an elbow on the counter.
I went to the library, read a variety of books, and was finally able to read a book series as thick as a dictionary outside of the crafting books corner.
『Sense Course for Beginners〜 Book About Weapons〜』 in other words, a book about armour, a book about magic, a book about physical abilities, a book about auxiliary operations, a book about daily living and such.
I took various books in my hand while thinking about my own status and playstyle. I looked at the table of contents for the book about weapons, and opened the bow's description.
"『The bow and arrow are two in one, you need to prepare both to use them.』 Ain't that obvious."
As for other valuable information in there, the automatic recovery feature of the arrow has been described. That's all.
Also generally, when the weapon Sense exceeds 30, the Sense derivation will occur.
For example, a sword is derived into a one-handed sword or a two-handed sword, which are two of several types of sword derivations. However, this derivation doesn't consume the Sword Sense to become a different Sense, but rather allows retaining the Sword Sense and acquire a new One-Handed Sword Sense. That's how it is.
In other words, if you have 【Sword Lv30】, it will allow you to equip 【One-Handed Sword Lv1】. In this case, you can continue to use all the Arts one has learned with 【Sword】 Sense.
The 【Sword】 Sense can be equipped and mastered. Because there's a possibility to do that, the taken derivation of the original Sense has low performance. This seems to prove what Myu said from her experience with β version. If possible, then changing a Sense into a derived one is a good idea.
"The derivations ahead are, Long Bow, Short Bow, Compound Bow... there's a lot. My weapon is a long bow, so let's take the Long Bow Sense. Even so, the official book admits there's a low hit rate with a bow as well."
In the book, it's written that the further enemy is, the harder it is to hit him. Amateurs are recommended to use a short bow or a rapid fire bow and proceed ahead starting with that. That's what was written in there.
"Well, I don't feel like changing my weapon. Also, is there any other usable information here?"
Although I skimmed the tables of contents, most of them had 'beginner' in title, all the useful information were the derivations from the initial Senses.
Even as I read the other books, all Senses were derived roughly at level 30.
However, in the book about magic there was additional information on the elemental magic up to level 30.
"My earth element's skills are... 《Bomb》, 《Clay Shield》, 《Mud Pool》. These are the ones I learned so far. Other than that there's 《Earthquake》, 《Rock Burst》 and 《Explosion》 huh."
It's good to learn the description of skills that I'll acquire. The first one I'll acquire will be a skill that makes the earth swell and bulge out, 《Earthquake》. The skill that makes a 1 kg rock explode and scatter around like shotgun pellets , 《Rock Burst》. The last one was an enhanced version of Bomb, 《Explosion》. The skills are learned every five levels.
After reading this far, I think the earth element magic is interesting as well. However, I could understand the reason why it is unpopular compared to other elements.
"As I thought, there's a possibility that earth element skills would inhibit comrades' movements."
Solo-oriented, a magic which seemed like that. I don't know what's the higher Sense magic of it, but it would probably retain the charac
teristic object-like property and strong interference with the field.
If one uses 《Earthquake》 or 《Clay Shield》 in a narrow space during battle in a party, they can accidentally divide the vanguard and rearguard, it falls into a rather unwieldy category. However, as a solo player, I like it.
"Since it's the type that has an effect on natural objects and the field, I think it's good to slow enemy down and delay them to buy time. It has a good compatibility with me."
My way of fighting is to use surprise attacks, as well as hit & run tactics. Given that, the magic of earth attribute which can interfere with the surroundings is something preferable to have.
"I want to try using the new magic."
I muttered so, closed the book loudly and spat out a sigh. Because my ability to read was still unstable, I was quite tired mentally.
"Wassup. Is Yun in?"
"Oh, Taku huh. Welcome."
Since I closed my eyes, placed a hand on my forehead and looked up at the ceiling, I didn't notice Taku who entered.
After coming, Taku called for me specifically.
"What is it? You told me 'if you have some time then stop by the store' haven't you."
"Yeah, I'm going to put a new item for sale in 【Atelier】, I wanted your comments on it."
"Ah, so it's like that. What kind of item is it?"
"It's a stat-rising pill made from common monster's meat. The price has been decided on already, but I want to improve its usability as much as possible."
"I see. Hey... what's this, it's made from that trash mob Rock Crab material, how did you make it."
He received the Boost Tablets made from Rock Crab, and checked their stats. What pulled him in was the name 'Rock Crab', as expected I thought, but it seemed like Taku didn't know how to make these. Books are really handy things aren't they.
"How did I make it... eh. Well, it's thanks to books?"
Hee, he raised a voice impressed, and after checking the pills he stowed them in his inventory. Then, he looked at the book placed on the counter.
"Is it from that book?"
"No, this is an illustrated encyclopaedia of basic Senses, I guess? I wanted to know ahead how the Senses will look like after I level them and what choices are ahead."
"Hee... I can't read squat."
Taku didn't have 【Linguistics】 Sense so he couldn't read it. However, just by looking at the illustrations he could tell what Senses it was about.
"This one is about shields huh. What's written in there?"
"The basics about 【Shield】 Sense. What Arts can be used with it, and what are the derivations."
That being said, it was only on the basic level, the skills and arts that can be learned by meeting certain conditions weren't mentioned in there.
"Oh, there are all six 【Shield】 Arts. Even so, the ones that are usable are actually only two or three of them."
"Is that so?"
There's a lot of Shield's arts that passively take on the attacks, but all of them seem tricky and interesting. However, in fact half of them are unusable in actual combat, is what Taku says.
"Yeah, if you think only about battling in a party, it's better to have easy and simple Arts to use. There are many with weird effects that take a long time to activate and deteriorate the battle tempo."
"There's a lot of them, so I don't know about that many available Skills and Arts yet..."
"In fact, it's all up to people's own preferences."
He said so, and once again looked at the book's contents, in fact the contents about solo and party combat were different. Especially the Arts that are used in Hate management are useless when playing solo. On the other hand earth element was just the opposite, although the inhibition could have an effect on the party, as long as the effect is under control it's reassuring to have in solo play. Also, combining it with the targeting ability of 【Hawk Eyes】 I could cast it with considerable accuracy, although I still had problems with power and activation timing. However, it was limited to my field of vision.
"I've learned something. Thanks. Sorry to make you think about that."
"Well, these things are a child's play so it's fine, but you would learn more seeing the actual thing. How about you go for some light hunting with me?"
"Ah, sure. Well, I guess it's fine from time to time? But I have a little errand to do before that."
"Got it. And the errand is?"
"I need to return this book."
"I'll go with you then. After that, let's go hunt outside."
Is waiting okay with you? I asked. No problem, when he answered that I took advantage of it.
Hunting with Taku was still too early for young Ryui and Zakuro, so without summoning them I only took equipment I had already prepared and headed to the library.
Although Taku attempted to enter the library together with me, he was asked for admission fee at the door, as he didn't want to pay I told him about the square beside the library as he decided to wait outside.
I returned the book I borrowed earlier, and headed to the crafting books' corner to pick up a new book. This time I picked up a 【Craftsmanship】 Sense handbook, and when I went back to the reception I waved my hand to Taku who was outside the window. And, probably because he noticed, Taku started a conversation through the friend chat.
『"What is it? Did something happen?"』
"No, you were looking this way so I just waved. Did something happen on your side?"
『"I didn't know about this square next to library."』
"I chose a book already so I'll be coming out right now."
『"Got it. I'll wait over here."』
I said so, and hurried to the reception at quick pace to borrow the book, then headed towards where Taku was.
The library's interior had bookshelves installed symmetrically right from the entrance, the bookshelves by the wall were low as not to block the windows, and the bookshelves on the inside were taller. When one enters between the bookshelves, they can feel the tight walls of book approaching them from both sides, it was narrower than it looked like.
In one part of the library there was a door leading directly to the square, I used it to go outside.
"Sorry. I made you wait."
"You took quite a while, is the library that wide?"
"Oh, the part you called me through friend chat is the deepest part in there. It should be that one?"
I said so to Taku and pointed at the window through which we spoke with friend chat. It was the very end of the building. In response to it, Taku tilted his head puzzled.
"Yun. What 'deepest part' are you talking about, was the window adjacent to that one."
Impossibru. The corner with crafting books is in the innermost part. There shouldn't be another window next to it. In the innermost part there were bookcases on the entire wall. There was no space for anything beyond.
"It can't be helped. Let's check it out."
"Check what out..."
"Obviously, what's inside of that window!"
Taku said so, and called me, we peeked in through the window. Certainly, through the third window we could see the place I was in earlier. And when we looked through the innermost window, we could see space that shouldn't be there.
"It's riddled with bookshelves and I can't see well."
"No way, hidden space? Why is such a thing..."
To think there's a place like that inside of the library I'm so familiar with.
"Hey, how are the library's bookshelves installed?"
"They're installed in few columns of tall bookshelves."
Indeed. They're installed like that to make it impossible to see what's behind.
"That's it then. They're making an illusion of distance with all the bookshelves? In order to make people not realize that's the actual size of the building."
"Why would they do..."
Such a thing. I wanted to ask, but Taku raised both of his hands.
"No idea. We can't do anything about it now, let's go hunt!"
"Y-yeah, you're right."
"What's with your disinterested reply. If you're that worried than I'll try researching it a bit. Don't worry. I'll tell you later what's the result so let's go hunt for now."
"I'm not worried. I get it."
I shook off Taku's hand who was lightly patting me on the head, and as if to run away, I started moving my legs faster.
And like that, we went out for some light hunting. I was a little tired afterwards because I had to match Taku's a 'bit too fast' pace.
At first I felt concerned and fuzzy because of the library's mysterious space, but since there was no room for that during high-speed hunting with Taku, I forgot about the library before long.
A few days later, Taku came to deliver the results of his findings.
Summer vacation has ended, but September still displayed signs of lingering summer heat. I fanned my flushed body as I walked towards the school, hoping to cool off in the classroom, my bad friend Takumi approached me immediately in the entrance to classroom.
"Shun. Do you have some time available tonight?"
"What, suddenly coming at me with no greeting. Well, I don't have anything planned."
"So can you leave some time open? The results of the research from before are prepared."
I said and sat down on my seat, then, Takumi hit my desk loudly.
He gave off an atmosphere that hinted an all-nighter to play the game. I judged so. Since summer vacation has ended, we need to fix that lazy attitude and match the school life's rhythm right. And thinking so, I started to listen to the homeroom which has started.
Then, after seeing that Taku has been dozing off for two hours I spat out a small sigh, I need to photograph the notes for him, I muttered quietly. In the end when 'show me' came I spat out a sigh again.
Then, after school finished and I went home a mail from Takumi came with details on the meet-up.
"Uhh... 『I'll pick you up at 【Atelier】 at 10 p.m.』 huh, deciding one-sidedly again."
However, my reply was short. Roger. A single word.
I checked the current time, then made dinner, cleaned up after eating, spend some time for bath and school preparations, when I finished it was about the specified time.
After I prepared dinner in a hurry and the time for it has come, Miu came down from her room on the second floor.
"Yahooo! There's a sweet and spicy chicken for dinner!"
"The dinner's almost ready so go ahead and sit down. I'll be finished here soon."
I cut the chicken, and for finishing touch I soaked it in a soy-based sweet and spicy sauce.
Meanwhile Miu ate the sliced cabbage that was served, and then started to eat the fried chicken dipped in sauce I put down.
"Not everything is prepared yet."
While I was preparing garnish, spinach and miso soup, Miu stuffed herself with rice. Seeing that energetic way of eating I made a bitter-sweet smile.
"Onii-chan, add more sauce."
"My share would decrease then..."
I only made two peoples worth of sauce, since there was no way around it, I poured some of my share into the outstretched bowl.
"Food dipped in sweet and spicy sauce is delicious after all."
"Good grief, make sure to taste it properly."
"Anything that Onii-chan cooks is delicious."
As Miu said with a smile, the uncomfortable atmosphere completely disappeared and I took a bite as well. It was a bit sweet and spicy, there wasn't much of the sauce, just the chicken itself seasoned with pepper and salt was delicious enough.
After the meal we drank tea together, relaxing.
"Haa, this is happiness."
"You're happy with just a cup of green tea. If there were some sweets to come with it it would be even better..."
"No, if you eat too much you'll get fat."
"Don't tell girls they'll get fat! Theeeen, after this I'll come to 【Atelier】 so prepare some snacks! We'll continue the tea party over there!"
"No can do. Also, I've already got something planned with Takumi."
"Mhh... Takumi-san huh... it can't be helped then."
After I said so, Miu quietly backed down. Ohh? I was a bit surprised, but Miu immediately made a bright expression.
"Then I'll excuse myself first."
"Yes yes. Put the cups inside the sink."
I said so and looked at Miu's back who was going into the bathroom. Geez, you could act more calmly in the house. I worried as her elder brother.
After that, I washed the dishes and got in the bath. I went back to my room around half past eight. I killed some time before the appointment for meeting with Takumi by preparing for tomorrow's school, and lied down on the bed leaving well before the appointed time.
I put the VR gear which was beside my bed on my head and started it up. My relaxed consciousness dimmed and sank into darkness because of the hypnotic induction.
When I next woke up, I was inside of a dim stone workshop. From the workshop part of 【Atelier】 which I had set as my login point, I moved out to the store.
Because Kyouko-san the NPC only acted as a salesperson during the day, instead of having it open at night-time, 【Atelier】 door's was firmly locked when the darkness came and a 'closed' sign hung at the entrance.
Waiting by the entrance of the store was a familiar boy.
"Taku, sorry. I made you wait."
"Ah, no problem. You're just on time."
I was a bit worried that I had him wait, but it seemed like I was more or less on time. Taku too, had a radiant smile on his face.
"So, what 『Results』 did you talk about."
"Eh? Didn't I tell you?"
"You didn't, did you. Something about research results, you didn't tell me the reason for calling me one-sidedly. Good grief."
I folded my arms amazed. Trying to recall it, Taku twisted his neck left and right. After a while, he concluded 'probably haven't told you', and wondered 'where to start'. And as an introduction he started to talk about the investigation's results.
"Yun, do you remember when I went together with you to the library? That unnatural space in there."
"Ah, yeah I remember."
"There's a hidden space inside the library's building visible from the window."
"That's quite classic."
In the old mansions and buildings there's a hidden space. It's the type of content that exists in many games.
"So it's an area that can't be simply entered? My 【Discovery】 Sense didn't give any reaction. Or maybe my 【Discovery】 level isn't high enough to give a reaction?'
【Discovery】 is an auxiliary Sense which allows sensing hidden objects and the like, is what I meant. In the library, there was nothing like that. There's a possibility something will be added in future update, but it was still unknown.
"It's a pity. But I have managed to get inside yesterday."
"Well, you'll understand once you come."
With that said, we headed towards the library together, at this time of the day the entrance should be closed... or not?
"Hey, why is it open. This door."
"There's no way we could enter if it was closed, right."
"No, but isn't it closed in the evening..."
"Oh, despite the closing time you're free to go in and out. However, if you try to take out a book from library you'll be forced to pay fines. The resistance is pointless."
"What's that, scary."
"Well, it's a system-based thing. There's no problem if you escape outside without doing anything."
"That sounds even more scary..."
Since I had 【Hawk Eyes】 I could see in the darkness, but there was a certain atmosphere in the library at night. Taku took out a lantern from his inventory and lit it.
And, facing the bookshelf deepest in, when I pressed strongly on the second bookshelf——
"A rotating bookshelf, is it a ninja mansion or what. Moreover, during the day 【Discovery】 Sense didn't react, and now it could be seen clearly."
"Entering is limited from 8 p.m. after closing until 4 a.m. in the morning. If by chance you're trapped inside, you'll be forcibly removed and transferred to the library."
"Hmm. Why is that?"
"When I tried various things which took me entire night, I was removed."
So that's why he looked so sleepy. Hey, if Taku couldn't complete it then I wonder what's in there. I shivered slightly.
And when I glanced inside through the rotating bookshelf entrance, I saw a spiral staircase leading to the basement.
"...hey, is it underground?"
"Who knows, let's go."
"Somehow, I've got a bad feeling."
In a place the moonlight didn't reach, underground the only source of light was the lantern, Taku and I walked down the stairs. And after we proceeded to a certain extent and left the stairs, atmosphere has changed.
The air felt dusty and chilly.
"Somehow, it feels kinda haunted and I don't like it..."
"Right. I think so too, what I investigated yesterday was up to this entrance."
I immediately turned to the right, and tried to run back the way I came from, but my shoulder was caught by Taku and I failed.
"There's no need to be that scared, is there."
"Release me! I've got a bad feeling about this!"
"Well, you're necessary to me though."
Taku said such a thing with no hesitation, but I have no intention of getting dragged into a place with such haunted atmosphere. No thank you.
"I will be going home. Uuu, let's hurry back to 【Atelier】."
"Give up I said, also——"
I didn't listen what Taku was saying to stop me until the end and went back to the spiral staircase. He was holding the lantern, but since I had 【Hawk Eyes】's night vision capability I could go back without a problem. However, everything felt unclear, hazy and colourless.
As I headed to the stairs Taku followed me from behind, when I moved there, ahead was.
In front of the spiral staircase there was a wall, the road we used to come down was closed.
Taku who caught up to me from behind uttered continuation of the sentence I didn't listen to earlier.
"Also——it's impossible since the entrance is blocked by a wall."
Seriously. I tried touching the stone wall blocking the staircase, hitting it, it didn't even budge as I pushed it.
When I took a few steps back from the wall, Taku called out to me.
"Now, let's go back and search the library's underground."
"Why do you look like you're having fun."
Feeling gloom because of the haunted atmosphere I spat out a sigh, and when I attempted to descend down the stairs a light was emitted from the wall behind me.
When I looked back, slipping through the wall was a party which came to this side.
"...ah, eh? M-Myu? W-why——"
"Aah... we've been found! Everyone hide! Hide!"
Why are you here. Before I could say that, Myu released a light sphere from her finger, dazzling me. It's already too late to hide! To begin with, there's nowhere to hide on this spiral staircase!
As I raised my hand to block the light, Taku's eyes adapted to it and he asked Myu the same question I did.
"Eh? Myu and the others. What a coincidence. No way, have you been following us?"
Although Taku spoke as if poking fun at them, several of Myu's party members shoulders trembled. Seeing that reaction, when my eyes got accustomed to the light I stared at Myu intently, although I didn't ask she started making excuses.
"No, that's cause, if Taku-san and Onee-chan are going alone, something's going on! Is what my intuition said."
"I'm sorry, I tried stopping her."
Lucato averted her line of sight and apologized. Well, there's no way around it if Myu strongly insists, but it seemed she didn't want to stop her all that much. I thought.
"Well, explore all you want. I'm going back."
"Why! After putting so much effort to follow I want to go with Onee-chan!"
"No, I'm good. Rather, I'm logging out and escaping now!"
I really didn't want to go, but Myu grabbed my hands not letting me go. Seeing this situation, Rirei's breath turned suspiciously rough which made me want to retort.
"Why is Yun-san so much against it?"
Why, is what Lucato asked Taku.
"Yun is scared of ghosts and the like."
Lucato tilted her head as if she didn't really comprehend that, Hino and Toutobi responded with "so undead-type mobs like those from a haunted house appear here" which was quite accurate.
"Come on, it won't be scary with everyone here! It's okay, it's okay."
"Haa, geez. Why did it turn out like this."
I leaked out a sigh, I wanted to shout at Taku for involving me in such a thing, but I was thankful for Myu and the others to jump in and participate together. With just Taku and me it felt discouraging, but if Myu's here then it'll be much brighter and something to laugh about later.
When we went down the stairs, a sudden quest's announcement has been relayed to each party.
【Quest: Obtain the Underground Library's Treasure】
We stood at the entrance of the underground library. It seems like there was a condition for this hidden quest, Myu and the others felt like going on adventure to explore it, but I didn't feel like it at all.
When we proceeded to library and everyone received a quest, I let out a sigh.
"So, what do we have to do to escape? Also, what was it that you needed me for."
"Rather than treasure, it's escape for you huh. Can you read this with 【Linguistics】? You should be able to."
Saying so, Taku pointed at the letters carved into the stone wall of the entrance.
Myu and the others all looked at it, but since they didn't have the corresponding Sense, they tilted their heads in puzzlement.
"Umm... 『Returned to place with correct colour』 it says."
"So it's like that after all. To put it simply, these are the hints to complete it. It means to find a mismatch on a bookshelf and return it to the matching correct bookshelf."
Oh, I see. So we have to look for a book on a wrong bookshelf and return it where it should be, is what it means. Then, Taku pointed at some spaces on the shelf with books missing.
"Hey, how do you know that despite not being able to read?"
"I investigated it by brute force yesterday. Even if I can't read, I could tell it's probably the type of quest that requires you to place something, but in the end I was stuck."
No, being able to infer that much is amazing right. Is what I wanted to retort, but several people seemed to understand immediately.
"I see, if the right book is placed in the right spot, the bookshelf will move allowing us to progress?"
"Correct. Lucato-chan is very perceptive."
"Thank you very much."
"Grr, even I do know that much."
Myu puffed her cheeks towards Lucato who answered Taku, though, she spoke with a refreshing smile on her face. Sorry, I didn't know.
"And so, to proceed further in I want Yun to help out."
"...in order to escape, I will do my best to help out."
This place had a lot of fine details like spider webs everywhere and piled up dust, in order to escape quickly from this grim underground it would be best to help out Taku. I was not good with the eerie atmosphere of this underground library.
I moved to a single bookshelf in the corner and after finding a single red book, I put it on the bookshelf with missing red books.
It was the so-called tutorial of the underground library's challenge.
"If you can tell the book colours, why were you stuck?"
"I couldn't find the missing book. I must have overlooked it."
Taku responded to my question. So even Taku fails sometimes. I thought that's quite unusual and stared at the moving bookshelf. From here onwards we have to start searching the library seriously.
"So, with this many people, how are we going to arrange the groups?"
Since Myu and us two are in different parties, if it turns into a battle we'll get a penalty for joint struggle if we're not careful.
And what we decided on was, me and Taku, Lucato and Hino, four of us. And the other group was Myu, Toutobi, Rirei and Kohaku.
Although I felt there was a huge bias when it came to fighting power...
"I want to stay together with Yun-san. Also, I want a certain someone to be with us. Ah, we don't need men here so Taku-san can go away somewhere."
"Rirei, what'ya selfish thing ya sayin' with a serious look!"
"I don't want to! Yun-san's side is loaded with things happening! Fufufu, I'll see some lucky lewd situations!"
I wondered what kind of image Rirei has about me. But I was too scared to ask.
And Kohaku dragged Rirei the rest of the way deeper inside of the library. After that Myu followed, and in the end I saw off Toutobi who first deeply bowed her head towards me before leaving.
I turned towards Lucato who smiled wryly and Hino.
"Now, let's go as well."
"E-ehh? Ignored that? Did you completely ignore Rirei's reaction?"
"For us, it's just the usual."
After Lucato and Hino spoke with a smile, I once again realized that it was normal for them.
"Now then, let's g——hiii!"
Seeing a white ghost appear a little bit behind Lucato and the others, I stiffened on spot. Everyone noticed it when the ghost let out a wailing sound.
"Haa, so ghosts like this appear as well."
"That's right. When I was trapped yesterday, I was stuck until the very time limit and saw these ghosts many times."
As Taku said that calmly, Lucato and Hino stared at the ghost with interest, and before long moved their gazes to me.
I, who have stiffened after seeing the ghost, relaxed as tension left me and chuckled.
"It's all right Yun-san. You can't help it that you're bad with these."
Being told that by Lucato, my face started burning hot because of the embarrassment.
"Somehow, I feel like I lost."
I was also called cute by Hino which was extra embarrassing. Also, the sight of Taku looking at that and having fun, grinning was really hateful.
After that, we continued to examine the bookshelves and look for clues we need to complete the quest.
There weren't many books that worked as keys, but we finally found a green book and placed it on a corresponding bookshelf.
"It does seem hard to find the missing books among many books on the bookshelves."
"Well, at least it's comfortable with no enemies coming out."
That's right, since there was no enemies like the white ghost we saw at the beginning, I was at ease if anything.
And, from time to time we could hear footsteps in the distance and sound of wind which seemed like ghost's voice. No, that was definitely not a ghost's voice! In middle of such atmosphere, a sound of footsteps has approached us.
Moreover, it wasn't just a few of them. The footsteps numbered ten or twenty.
"W-what?! What's this voice."
"Yun-oneechan! We found books!"
Pulling a wet sound after them, like wet clothes hitting against one another was a group rushing through the underground library. Myu was coming over with two books in her hands, but what I was bothered about, were the purple ghost-shadoma's that were chasing after them. They had red shining eyes on the sides and a black mouth peeking out which looked like a tear. That Shadoma all chased after Myu through a narrow passage and trampled each other, the sight of them going through on one another had blood leave my face and pale.
"Myu! Behind you, behind!"
"Oooh?! They're still chasing after me!"
"...it's not time to act carefree is it."
Toutobi cut apart Shadomas that approached from behind one after another, not allowing any to approach she continued to defend Rirei and Kohaku who were the rear guard.
"Myu! You'll get it for this laterrr!"
Kohaku directed her anger towards Myu, and Rirei escaped with an unmotivated expression.
"Then, let's wipe them clean. ——《Light Wave》!"
A wave of light was released from Myu and rushed through the narrow space, the Shadomas in the front that were chasing her disappeared, blown away.
As if it was just a momentary illusion.
"Myu! What's the meaning of this!"
When I demanded an explanation from Myu, she held out the books she had in her hand and explained.
"No, um. We found two books and when we were on our way back to rejoin with you, we found a bookshelf with the same colour. And when I put it in, it turned out to be a dummy."
I didn't think that if I put a purple book on a bookshelf with purple books, it would change to yellow. Myu reported with a wry smile.
"Speaking of which, when you place a book on a wrong bookshelf, a large amount of mobs will appear."
"Too late to tell us now!"
I threw a thick book taken from Myu towards Taku's face, but he caught it with ease.
"Geez... but, is there a way to tell apart dummy books and those with spoofed colour?"
"Well, try until it works if there isn't!"
"...Myu. If you're doing that, finish them before returning to where I am."
*Swshh*, Myu saluted cutely, but all I felt was anxiety.
Worried, I gathered everyone's books and divided them by colours then checked the titles, several dummy books have been mixed in. There were black and red books that had the same title. Some of the volumes could be distinguished even without the proper Sense by inscription, but it was impossible to distinguish the ones with wrong titles. If not for the 【Linguistics】, the dummies would cause a considerable loss of time.
"Every time you turn in a dummy ghosts come out, gruesome."
I muttered to myself, and deciding to be sure I don't make a mistake, I went back to searching.
I found a bookshelf with a gap in which a single book could fit, read a number of book titles with 【Linguistics】 and put in a book which seemed to be correct. When I filled the gap on the shelf, the bookshelf has slowly slid to the left. Until the bookshelf moved, I was worried that I might have put in a dummy book, but it seemed like it was a correct one and I breathed out with relief.
Also, Myu and her group went back to look elsewhere, although I heard screams and sounds of explosions in the distance, I didn't bother with it.
"This is another broad location.'
"The objective is to find books in this place, how troublesome."
"In that case, how about we split up and search."
Ahead of the bookshelf which slid to the side, was a maze with a huge number of bookshelves deployed inside, Lucato put a hand on her cheek troubled.
"Then Taku and I will look on the right side, Lucato, Hino, I leave the left side to you."
"Yup. Leave it to us."
We left the search of the wide space on the left to the two, and together with Taku we went to investigate the bookshelves on the right. I went up the ladder that was casually leaning against a passage, and searched every nook and cranny.
And we found a dark grey-coloured book laid down messily on top of the bookshelf.
"That should be it. Taku, I'll reach out to take it so can you hold the ladder?"
I took a step up the ladder leaning against the bookshelf, and after climbing I reached out to the sideways towards the book, I almost could grasp it felt like it was stuck.
"It seems like its stuck. Wait a moment."
I was warned by Taku, but even though I put strength into the fingers to pull the book, it wouldn't come off. I got annoyed and grasped it with both hands, trying to pull it out. That moment——
"?! What... is this space?!"
Darkness spread out in front of my eyes, I felt as if I was floating for a moment, and immediately after my body that was on top of the ladder, appeared on the ground. The height should have been a few dozen centimetres, but unable to respond to sudden event I fell on my knees.
『"Put it away, put it away."』
Somehow, after getting this classic, it has an opposite effect and it's no longer scary."
I recalled the famous 'put it away' chant and turned around, the sight stunned me, what I saw was a book-type mob, Ghost-of-Books which had a full lineup of sharp fangs.
In the pitch black space only the head portion of the book mob continued to speak 『"Put it away, put it away. Put the book away."』, I thought it was quite surreal. But if that was the only thing, it would be nice. Dozens of mobs started to attack me in droves. What I did was——to run away for the time being.
It was considerably scary. Different from fear of ghosts and spiritual things, it was fear of something chaotic beyond human understanding that made me run away.
Seemed like I could use speed enchant even in this mysterious space. However, the mobs which seemed to be still far away slowly closed the distance on me.
"What's this! What the hell's this!"
Not embarrassed nor caring about how I look like I continued to run through the darkness, I wonder how long did it take. I think I escaped far enough. The only thing that answered me was my heart beating strongly in fear of being chased, it's sound had resonated painfully in my ears.
And when I turned around to look behind——the book mob has opened its mouth widely and——
My name was called, and I was suddenly pulled back into reality, the book I was pulling on has slipped out.
The book which was pulled with a strong momentum opened wide, the pages inside were pitch black and from the page's dark space the Ghost-of-Books which as been chasing after me has popped out.
As if that nightmare spectacle I've seen earlier was to continue in front of my eyes.
"Yun! Tch, a mob too."
With the momentum after pulling the book, my body's posture and balance broke, and I swam in the air towards the back. The Ghost-of-Books that jumped out danced in the air, and Taku threw his sword in the air to take it down.
I felt my body fall down from the ladder in slow motion, and I could see that I properly grasped the book with both hands. That's great, it finally came off. Thinking something out of place like that, I prepared for the shock.
Certainly, there was an impact. But it seemed like my back hit the bookshelf behind, and a dull sound could be heard of something reducing the shock, I didn't feel any pain in my back.
"That hurt... Yun, are you okay?"
"Y-yeah, I guess I'm okay?"
"What happened. I tried to calling out to you but there was no reply at all."
"...Taku, how long was I acting weird?"
"About ten seconds?"
The time I experienced and actual time differed. It was more like a daydream, no, to think that the time spent in that nightmare space was only tens of seconds is...
"Yun, are you really all right?"
"Ah, yeah. I was pulled into the quest's gimmick and surprised, that's all."
Probably, that pitch black space had its time stretched out just like the summer camp event had. What was transferred into another field was my consciousness, leaving my character's body intact. And when that ghost book has approached my consciousness was placed back in the character and the ghost appeared outside.
I breathed deeply several times to calm myself. As I felt my heart throb slow down, I picked up the book which slipped out with one hand.
"Yun-san, Taku-san, are you all right?"
After hearing us fall down and cause a ruckus, Lucato and Hino rushed between the bookshelves to us. Seeing us in the state we currently were in, they have quickly averted their eyes. I had a feeling that my face turned red.
"Y-yun-san, also Taku-san. Um, wh-what to say..."
As Lucato spoke hesitatingly, I checked on my own appearance and saw that when I fell down Taku has embraced my body from behind. And I was raising both of my hands. Taku's one hand was wrapping my body at the chest, the other one was supporting my butt. I'm a man, but since my body was subjected to feminine modification, OSO's character editor has rounded certain parts and added certain softness to it. And above all, I had a sense of shame. I instantly brushed away Taku's hands and stood up.
"Taku. Although I'm grateful for helping me, but where are you touching."
"Sorry. But since your balance has broken in the air, I couldn't catch you too well."
Taku stood up, worried about his back which was struck, and went to recover the long sword he threw in order to defeat the flying mob.
I turned away from Taku, feeling my face burn up, and I held the book which slipped off earlier against my chest.
"Geez, touching me in strange places damn it. People are looking."
My mutter didn't seem to reach Taku's ears, but Lucato has heard it. She blushed even further in consternation, and muttered "so it's okay if other people don't see it". No, that's wrong too. Hino alternated between staring at me and Taku, then I felt like I heard a sound of her swallowing her saliva.
"Come on, we've finished investigating here, let's proceed further."
Acting as if nothing happened, Taku went ahead. In fact, because Taku and I are both men, nothing has happened really. Aahh! I'm thinking about strange things. I shook my head once to dispel that thinking.
After that, the search of the underground library proceeded. There was a book ghost that jumped out from a wall of bookshelves, a key book required for proceeding held by the lying down skeleton which has suddenly grabbed our arms, there was a lot of haunted house-like gimmicks. Ahead of us were Myu and the others who continued indifferently. Taku too, when he was grasped by the skeleton he didn't let out any sound, and with a cold gaze he directed towards the inorganic object, he cut its skull apart.
And despite finding several dummies, we finally arrived at the deepest part while holding two books.
"So here's the deepest part. Hey, there's a staircase in the back, can I go back?"
"Before that, there's a pedestal here. We need to examine that first."
Although he suggested that, I was the only one who could examine it. I traced the sentence carved in the rectangular pillar all around it with a finger.
"...『The gold book is the treasure of knowledge. The silver book is the treasure of knowing. Choose one of the two.』 that's it, well, there are two books remaining."
The book Taku held was a golden book with red letters written on it. And Myu was carrying a silver blue with blue letters on it. Both books were of the same size.
"So, which one do we put in?"
It seems like we'll get a reward if we put a book onto it, although the party getting the reward will differ depending on the book we choose, and he asked which one will take it. I myself, was invited to search this place by Taku and just wanted to leave it as soon as possible.
"Hmm. I don't really care, I'll just hand the right over to Myu."
"Yun, are you fine with that?"
"We can just come here again. Next time, we can check the other half of treasure."
At that time, help me out. Taku said so. Go there alone. I wanted to say.
"Myu-chan, which one do you choose?"
"Hmm. Then, the silver one."
No one seemed to object, and Myu put the book on the pedestal, she took a step back and——
"Ooh?! The pedestal moved."
The pedestal with the book on it has sank in, and in exchange a pedestal with something else has come up. It looked like a handball-sized crystal, there were clearly three items listed as treasure of knowing.
The crystals were probably auxiliary items of divination or magic. At the moment, we didn't know what use it had.
"Hmm. The reward isn't affixed to any party?"
"No, even if you ask me, I don't know."
"But if there's multiple of them, we can split them up."
"No, since I don't need it, Yun and Myu's party can split it between each other."
"I'm the same as Taku and don't need it..."
"No! Onee-chan needs to take it! It's because Onee-chan was here we could acquire it! If you don't take it I won't let you out of this underground library!"
"Why turn to threats... haa, fine."
Since Taku rejected the reward, me and Myu's party discussed how to split up the three crystals. Because I was fine with a single one, the result was that Myu's party will divide the remaining two amongst each other——
In the end, Myu took one, and the other one was given to Toutobi.
"Grr, because it's thanks to Onee-chan's 【Linguistics】 we obtained these, she should request more."
"I'm fine with having just one. Also, it's not like we can't get our hands on more of these, just obediently take them."
Not satisfied with the allocation, Myu tried to pass her worth of reward to me, but I gave her a good reason as to why not, and continued to act evasive.
Myu said that it was thanks to my 【Linguistics】 Sense that we obtained them. But there are things I can't do alone. That's why, that crystal should be Myu's reward.
And like that, the night search of the underground library came to an end.
The quest to search the underground library, was one restricted to be done by a player once a day.
Moreover, after some time, the information about a quest inside of the town has started circulating, whether it's fighters or crafters, the amount of people visiting the library at night increased, probably wanting to feel an atmosphere of a haunted house...
Well, since I'm bad with ghosts and the like, I have no intention of getting involved with it ever again.