Chapter 42: Cave
As I roll down the slope while pounding my whole body, I think that this time will last forever, and then we are thrown to the ground.
“…Uh… Ah… Ugh…”
I groan with pain as I am slammed onto the ground.
Although my consciousness was about to fade for a moment, I somehow managed to keep my consciousness connected in order to check the safety of William-sama in my arms.
“…Ugh, William-sama, are you okay?!”
When I called out to him, he blinked and looked up.
“…I’m somehow okay. It’s thanks to you that I was protected.”
I feel relieved by his response.
As I comfort my painful body and stand up on the spot, I extend my hand towards William-sama.
“William-sama, can you… stand up?”
I ask with anxiety, wondering if he may have broken bones or injuries, but William-sama easily stood up by taking my hand.
We look up at the cliff we just fell from together.
“We seem to have fallen from quite a height. It’s strange that we don’t have serious injuries.”
“Yes, that’s right. As long as we don’t have injuries that hinder the maintenance of life, such as bruises and abrasions, it’s the best.”
“That’s really true. Well…”
William-sama looks around and sighs as he looks up at the top of the cliff again, then turns his face towards me.
“Normally, I think we should try to search for a way to return to everyone, but considering that the sun is already setting, it will be difficult to return to our original place before sunset. It is dangerous to act without visibility at night. I want to find a place where we can safely spend the night before the sun sets, but is that okay for Leah?”
I have no objections to his idea.
When I nod to his opinion, he nods back.
“Okay, then let’s look around. According to the map of this mountain attached to the practice materials, there should be a cave around here. I’m sure it was in this direction…”
William-sama grumbles as he enters the forest.
I follow him, keeping an eye on the wild animals around us.
To our surprise, there was a cave in the place William-sama remembered.
When I praise him, he smiles awkwardly and says,
“I’m glad the map in my memory was accurate.”
The small cave surrounded by the forest had a hole in the entrance that was only waist high.
If we looked inside, it was wide enough for four people to crouch in. It was surprisingly warm when we entered.
“William-sama, please sleep in the back. You may not be able to sleep in this situation, but please try to conserve your strength as much as possible.”
Saying this, I sat at the entrance of the cave, hugging my spear close to me.
“What about Leah?”
Turning towards William-sama’s voice, which sounded curious from the back of the cave, I smiled.
“I’m watching at the entrance. If anything happens, I’ll wake you up, so please rest easy.”
After a short silence, William-sama came over to the entrance.
The moonlight shining through the entrance of the cave illuminates his body.
Then he sits next to me and snuggles up to me.
I ask him with a question about his strange behavior.
Turning his face towards me, he smiles softly.
“It’s relatively warm in the back of the cave, but it will be cold at the entrance. If we share each other’s body heat like this, it won’t be cold.”
He says this and smiles.
His body temperature reminded me of his voice before we entered the dormitory.
[Don’t go to anyone but me, I love you…!!]
A sincere declaration of love.
Those words, “I love you”, were definitely directed at me.
The image of him at that time overlaps with the one next to me now, and my cheeks become hot suddenly.
“What are you thinking in this emergency situation?”
Despite reprimanding myself, my cheeks don’t cool down, and I involuntarily lower my face.
“…If you react like that, I might misunderstand.”
A small mutter that sounded from above my head.
Before I could chew those words in my head, a hand stretched out from the side and gently scooped up my chin.
Our eyes met under the moonlight that was shining through. His shaking iris eyes were gazing at me.
“I thought my love was something that couldn’t be allowed. I thought it was something I had to give up if I wanted to be with you.”
The hand that was holding my chin slides along the contours of my face, stroking my cheek.
“But when I see that face, I can’t help but think that there might still be hope for me… Hey, Leah. Could it be that I don’t even have a little bit of hope?”
His wet-feathered hair rustled in the breeze.