“Ahhhhhhhh!” Claire, who was on my arms, cried in fear. I held her body tightly while getting ready for the impact.
But after five seconds, the impact did not come.
Instead, we fall inside a deep body of water.
Letting out the air on my chest, I let my body sink while holding Claire. Then, when our bodies had reached the bottom, I put strength on my legs and swam up.
In less than one second, Claire and I left the underground lake.
“Hahh! Cough cough cough…”
Claire took a deep breath, but in the next second, she coughed a few mouthfuls of water.
“Are you alright?” I asked her softly while patting her back.
“… I am, thank you.” Claire said and took another deep breath.
I nodded and looked around. Louise and Lena were nowhere to be seen. Apparently, we had been separated during the fall.
The only reason Claire and I remained together was that I was holding her.
I shook my head with a bitter smile. “I had to admit that Hidden Cave truly did a good job with this game. It’s worthy of being the highest difficulty.”
Claire frowned. “I don’t like it. We could have died if we didn’t know how to swim.”
I smiled bitterly.
Actually, the underground lake had a magic formation below. When someone enters the lake, he will automatically be thrown out after 30 seconds. It’s a security measure.
Surely, someone so smart like Claire must have realized that the lake was safe, after all, Hidden Cave will not risk the death of the participants. However, she still complained about it.
It looks like she is not in a good state of mind right now.
“Can you walk for yourself?” I asked.
Claire nodded. She then tried to stand up.
But at the moment when she tried to take a step forward, her legs gave in.
“!!!” Claire’s expression froze. She tried to stand up again, but her legs shook and she fell to the ground once more.
I sighed and crouched in front of her. “Come on, I’ll carry you on my back.” I smiled.
Claire looked at me and bit her lips. She then hugged my neck and allowed me to carry her.
“… Sorry.” Claire whispered and put her face on my back. Despite my wet clothes, I could feel her tears falling on my shoulders.
I could not help but sigh in pity. A lively girl like Claire, unafraid of seeing the world burn, had ended like this.
No monster attacked us for a while, maybe because we just escaped from the traps. But it only made the silence around us heavier.
Finally, after almost five minutes, Claire opened her lips.
“… The assassin, he was real, right?” She asked.
“How did you notice?”
“… When he attacked me, I somehow knew I truly was going to die.” She said.
I fell silent.
Claire chuckled bitterly and shook her head. “How useless. To think that just an assassination attempt left me like this.”
“Silly girl, don’t be so hard with yourself. It’s normal to be scared of something like that.”
“… You don’t understand, cousin. I’m a Riea, a swordsman! I’m supposed to always be calm! However, I’m afraid, I’m very very afraid! When I close my eyes, I see the man stabbing my heart! I can see his eyes looking at me with hatred… I’m afraid, cousin, I don’t want to die.”
Claire started to sob. Her beautiful blue eyes turned red due to the tears, and her petite body shook in fear. A feeling of pity surged inside of me when I saw her state.
If she doesn’t overcome this trauma, it will chase her forever.
I stopped walking and hugged her. At the same time, I sent a thread of my mana inside her body. I very carefully circulated the mana inside her to cause a calming effect.
Soon, Claire started to calm down.
“… Sorry again. You must think I’m a crybaby.”
“I don’t mind. Lena was like this until not long ago.”
Claire smiled. “I’m jealous. You sure you don’t want to be my boyfriend? We can keep it a secret if you want.”
“Little girl, if you continue teasing me I’ll devour you whole.”
Claire was startled before chuckling. “… Now I understand why sister likes you so much.”
“Is it so obvious?”
“Her gaze betrays her. One look to her eyes full of longing when she looks at you and I know what she is thinking.”
“Please keep it a secret.” I told her.
Claire nodded. “Don’t worry, I’ll also keep your strength a secret.”
“Thank you very much then.” Of course, I did not forget to put a seed on her.
“… How long have you been with my sister?” Claire asked.
“Not long. Actually, she insists that we are not together.”
“Oh, and… have you kissed?”
“… You are a very curious kid, huh. Yeah, we kissed before.”
“How nice, I also want one.”
I looked into Claire’s eyes and smiled. Suddenly, I kissed her small and soft lips.
Claire opened her eyes wide, but before she could realize what was happening, our lips had separated again.
Surprised, Claire touched her lips and opened her mouth. The next second, she turned completely red.
“Did you like it?” I asked with a smirk.
“… Idiot.” Claire said, but her lips curved into an imperceptible smile. I could feel her mood was much better than before.
At that moment, I feel the presence of a monster close to us.
Looking a Claire, I stroked her head softly. “Let’s go, it’s time to help you with your fear.”
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