Actually, the riddle in the door was just a joke of the developers. To open the door you just needed to do an intimate act. Even holding hands would do.
Of course, kissing was even better.
Fortunately, Lena stopped asking for the answer soon enough. Rather, she started to give Louise and me strange looks.
Thinking about it, if even Claire deduced that something happened between us, Lena could also do the same.
But although Lena never asked about it, her piercing gaze was enough to chill one’s spine.
She seemed like a wife that discovered her husband cheating on her and was waiting for an explanation.
I was smart enough to not speak, though. Instead, I feigned that I did not notice her gaze.
But Louise was much more awkward. She avoided Claire and Lena’s gazes and walked ahead of us. But instead of reducing the girls’ suspicion, it only made them surer than something happened.
Strangely, no monster attacked us after we passed through the door. In silence, we walked through a dark corridor for five minutes straight without finding a sign of danger.
Before long, one of us was unable to remain quiet.
“What is happening? Where are the monsters?” Lena asked with a frown.
“I’m sure they will appear soon.” I replied off-handedly. “Just continue walking.”
“… Perhaps the door was the final trap? We were attacked by a group of powerful enemies there after all. What do you think, brother?”
My lips twitched. No Lena, those five were real.
Unable to tell Lena the truth, I could only give her a vague answer. “… I’m sure there are more enemies. We are still halfway the exit.”
“Mmm… Anyway, I’m already bored. How I wish something happens…”
*Clank!* Suddenly, we heard a metallic sound, and Louise, who was walking ahead, froze.
… She had stepped on a trap.
I looked up and heaved a tired sigh.
“Lena, you are such a jinx…”
All of a sudden, a rumbling sound came from behind us.
“… How cliché.” I heaved another sigh and looked behind me. As I expected, a giant rock suddenly fell from the roof.
“… Big bro?” Lena gulped down a mouthful of saliva.
“Why is the rock filled with spikes?”
“Is it not obvious? It’s to make sure that you don’t survive it.”
“… Do you think it will be painful?”
“Probably not, it’s an illusion after all.”
“Huff… What a relief…”
“Hey you two, what are you doing!? hurry and run!” Louise shouted exasperatedly and started to run. “Can’t you see the rock is rolling towards us!”
“And who do you think is at fault?” I retorted.
“How could I know there were traps!” Louise shouted back and turned around to look at me, but when she saw the speed of the rock, she instantly continued running.
At that moment, though, I noticed something wrong.
Claire was not running with us.
Looking back, I realized that she was looking at the rock with a terrified expression.
“Claire, what happened!?” I asked in concern, but when I saw her eyes, I realized.
“Dammit!” I cursed under my breath. I should have realized before.
This girl, she was more affected by the assassination than I thought.
Without hesitation, I turned around and sprinted towards Claire. In one second, I appeared before her, and before the rock could crush us, I lifted her in a princess carry.
Claire yelped in surprise and tensed up. Her face was completely frozen in fear, and her legs were trembling fragilely.
When she saw my face she calmed down slightly, but her body was still trembling. She then closed her eyes and started to cry.
“Sorry, sorry, sorry…”
I sighed. “Don’t worry, it’s alright.” I said and stroked her head. Claire hid her face on my chest and continue crying.
“What happened?” Louise asked in concern, but I just shook my head and did not answer. It was better not to talk about it in front of Claire.
Louise understood my meaning and stopped asking, but she could not hide her concern towards her sister.
Lena also understood the gravity of the situation and stayed silent. The three of us then concentrated on escaping from the rolling rock.
PTSD, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.
Seeing Claire’s symptoms, I was sure it was the problem.
Not long ago, Claire had received the overwhelming killing intent of a powerful assassin head-on and her life had been at risk of death.
Even although we lied and told her that the assassins were not real, it’s obvious that she discovered the truth.
Moreover, the overwhelming killing intent and malice had left a deep scar in her mind.
The current Claire was filled with fear of death due to the memories of the assassin’s attack. And when she saw the rock rolling towards her, she probably remembered the fear she felt when the assassin was in front of her and her body froze.
Actually, I should have realized before. A young and sheltered girl like Claire, that had never faced danger before, suddenly saw herself in front of such powerful malice. Developing a trauma from that was normal.
However, when I saw her strong front after the attack, I thought she was alright. I never would have expected that she was simply hiding her fear from us.
At least, I discovered it now. Otherwise, this fear could have destroyed Claire’s life.
Escaping the rock was a bit hard. Many traps such as arrows from the walls, spikes from the floor, and spears from the roof, Attacked continuously. We had to avoid them while making sure of not being caught by the rock.
Fortunately, the escape only lasted a few minutes. After running for a while, we saw a door that led to a big hall.
The three of us did not hesitate to enter. The rock then crashed against the door, but it was unable to pass.
Seeing it, the girls sighed in relief.
Lena panted heavily and put on a happy smile. “… So close. Although I guess it worked out pretty well.”
… Please no.
“Lena, stop tempting fate.” I gave her an annoyed look
“Pfff… Brother, do you believe in that? What could possibly go wrong now?”
“… Such a jinx.” I sighed tiredly and hugged the girl on my arms.
The next second, the floor disappeared.
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