We left the city and continued on through the empty desert.
I could see a kind of mirage on the horizon. The distance was so long that the distant mountains looked like floating islands in the sky.
It is a dry and hot place.
The area is not inhabited by demons or monsters, only by small creatures.
Panda was flying unsteadily, carrying Frau on top of him. He seemed to be at his limit.
Besides Kaede had been walking all this time silently without saying a word.
I hear a noise and turn around and see, much to my horror, that Kaede was lying on the ground.
I rush over and carry her in my arms.
«Don’t give up now, Kaede.»
«Master… I’m seeing three more like you.»
«Hey, here, drink some water.»
As if putting all her strength into it, Kaede drank water from my bottle weakly.
Her skin is damp with sweat and her face is completely matted by her white hair.
Despite hydrating regularly, she was still quite weak and unwell.
Could her hair have anything to do with it?
«Let’s take a break in the shade of that rock over there.»
«I’m so sorry…»
I approached the rock while carrying Kaede on my back.
«You don’t have to apologize. It’s natural for a master to take care of his slave.»
«I’ve always thought that Master is too kind to his slaves.»
«Hmm… Not to be arrogant, but I think I’ve actually been behaving rather selfishly. Lately, I’ve been letting you and Frau take care of everything.»
«That’s not good enough. You have to lean on us more – much more!»
«I see you’re feeling better already.»
How is it that she can have so much strength in her voice to speak in that tone when she is so weak?
Well, I guess it doesn’t matter.
This is the only way to repay you for all you’ve done for me.
By the way, what happened to Frau and Panda?
I stopped and looked back, and saw both of them also lying on the ground.
«… Hey, you guys too.»
«Master ~, No ~, I can’t anymore ~»
I managed to bend down and tied Frau and Panda to my waist with a piece of rope I had pulled out.
«Haah ~, haaah ~»
Frau and Panda were emitting small sounds of exhaustion at the current situation.
We were able to reach the shadow of a rock. I then gently placed Kaede on the ground, and then did the same for Frau and Panda.
«Thank you very much.»
«Don’t worry, it’s time for you to rest.»
I’m starting to get hungry, but I’m too tired to eat.
I heard that months can pass without any rain in this area.
But when it does, it rains so hard that it can create a river.
I’d like to see something like that, but I’d risk getting stranded in this place. It’s a situation I’d like to avoid if possible.
*Ploc ploc ploc ploc*
An eerie sound came from the distance and I looked towards it.
There was a black cloud in the sky up ahead.
Every now and then there was a flash of lightning and a clap of thunder that shook the air.
What a timely situation… I literally did not expect it to rain any time soon.
I quickly grabbed Kaede, Frau and Panda and looked for a suitable place where we could take shelter from the rain.
The rain did not seem to stop. Lightning and strong blizzards were battering the area.
We had taken shelter in a cave and were very surprised at what our eyes were witnessing.
«It’s amazing how hard it’s raining.»
«I like the fact that it’s cooler now, but with all this rain we’re stranded here.»
I’ve never seen it rain like this before. The amount of water is such that a small river is forming on the site.
It would be very unwise of me if I tried to escape in a situation like this.
Everything indicates that we’ll be staying here for a while.
I go back to the cave and look at the pot on the fire.
The temperature has dropped and it’s gotten cold.
Hot soup is what we need.
Suddenly, a loud clap of thunder is heard nearby.
Kaede’s tail stiffened, as did all her hair.
She immediately ran and hid behind me while holding her tail.
«Are you afraid of thunder?»
Funny, I had no idea Kaede had those kinds of fears.
Well, I used to be afraid of thunder when I was little, too.
I remember my smiling mother threatening me at all times by saying «Thunder-sama will pinch your belly button and rip your guts out.»
As I was lost in my thoughts, I saw something like a spark near the fire.
…What the heck was that?
«Frau, let’s eat.»
I decided to pay no attention to what I had seen, and called Frau and Panda to eat.
Five days have passed and it’s still raining.
Even though it was daytime, it was as dark as the night outside. The water flowing on the ground was getting heavier and heavier.
Luckily we are high in the mountains, so we don’t have to worry about flooding, but we have nothing better to do with our time.
«Ruru, Ruru, Ruru ♪»
«Kyu, Kyu ~ ♪»
«Chupipi ~ ♪»
Frau, who was in her human size, was sitting at the entrance watching the rain fall.
Next to her were Panda and Chupibi.
Outside, Kuratan was flying merrily in the air, Sharkboy was playing in the puddles and Rousuke was fighting against his fear of water.
Kaede and I are wrapped in a single blanket, her head resting on my chest as she sleeps soundly.
I didn’t expect the temperature to drop so much all at once.
It’s so cold that I can see my breath.
I couldn’t help but gently rub my cheeks against Kaede’s head. She is so soft and comfortable.
Her fox ears are so fluffy that it makes me feel twice as good.
Her fox ears twitched.
Oops, I’m going to wake Kaede up if I get too carried away.
She always gets up so early in the mornings, waiting for me to wake up. The least I can do is make sure she gets a good night’s sleep tonight.
Suddenly, an electric light ran across the floor. There it is, that freaky thing again.
Could it be that there’s something we can’t see?
When I activated the dragon’s eye, countless translucent creatures appeared.
They were like insects. They looked like a firefly, their backsides emitting a small light.
Could it be a lightning spirit?
One of them notices my gaze and sneaks up on me.
I held out my finger and it wagged its antennae, leaning on it at the same time.
It’s a very pretty creature. And if I look closely, I can see that its color and size are a little different from the others.
Other spirits would flee just by sensing my presence, but this one approached me on its own.
I feel an electric shock in my fingers, but it doesn’t hurt at all.
I proceeded to check for other spirits, but even although I saw some water and earth spirits, there were no fire or wind spirits anywhere.
Well, Alusha said something about spirits having compatibility with humans.
I wonder if that’s why I can’t find any nearby.
Kaede looks happy as she sleeps.
It’s really nice to have a relaxing day like this.