Rockwall Lou – V8 Chapter 3

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟑

(3)

“Not yet.”

From inside the hood, Funyapippi mutters.

“Yeah.”

Luo swallows hard.

“The pollen lizard is a timid, nimble creature. Easy to take down in one go.”

A flower, so large that even an adult could not hold it, rustles and moves. Hanging from between its petals is a long tail, with a round ball-like structure at its tip.

When the flower stops moving, the tail retracts, and in its place, a pollen-covered face emerges.

It looks around vigilantly.

When its tail is retracted, it’s about three times the size of a person. According to Funyapippi, it’s the weakest demon beast at the bottom of the “big hole”, but it’s big enough to swallow Luo whole.

The pollen lizard, which descended to the ground along its thick stem, checks its surroundings once more before Funyapippi signals.

“Now.”

“Hand of Earth.”

Luo claps his hands together.

Simultaneously, the ground behind the pollen lizard rises, forming a hand. This overly detailed earthen hand grabs the lizard’s tail. The startled pollen lizard wriggles, and its tail is severed.

“Secured!”

Funyapippi, who leapt out from the shade, bravely holds down the tail. The ball-like structure at the end of the tail swells and bursts, sending a massive cloud of pollen that engulfs Funyapippi.

“Ah!”

It seems not to be poisonous, but this is unbearable.

After waiting for the pollen smoke to settle, Luo cautiously approaches and grabs the tail.

The hunt was successful.

Tweney was waiting in the underground home.

“I’m back.”

“Had quite an experience.”

“Welcome back.”

Luo presents the flower he had hidden behind his back. It’s a single bloom, too large to hold.

“I found this while working. But of course, it can’t compare to your smile.”

Luo always brings back flowers. Some looked like poisonous carnivorous plants, but this time it’s a beautiful flower.

“Thank you, Luo. I’m very happy.”

“And this too.”

He offers the tail of the pollen lizard that was hanging over his shoulder. Funyapippi, from inside the hood, excitedly raises a paw.

“Meat!”

“We did it.”

Though initially startled and scared, the children have high adaptability and quickly got used to their new environment.

The one most likely enjoying this life the most is probably Funyapippi.

“Cooking. Start cooking quickly.”

Even if it’s a Sacred beast, it needs to eat. Previously, Funyapippi would just tear the meat from the demon beasts he defeated and swallow it. But after tasting grilled, stewed, and seasoned food, it seems Funyapippi has discovered a whole new palette.

Luo is in charge of the preparations. That means simply cutting the pollen lizard’s tail to the desired size with a stone knife.

There are venom glands inside the demon beasts, but the tail is non-toxic. Luo learned this from the elderly women responsible for dissecting them.

Tweney makes soup. It’s simply boiling the tail meat Luo cut, skimming off the scum, and seasoning. That’s the best Tweney, who lived as a princess with attendants, can do.

“Add lots of blue moss.”

 ㅤ

And Funyapippi just makes whimsical demands.

After eating, they relax with a cup of purple moss tea.

“It’s an indescribably unique scent.”

At first, Funyapippi scoffed at the idea of moss being edible, but now it seems he’s completely smitten.

They prepare a bath before bed.

Luo transforms a well into a bathtub, and Funyapippi spits fire into the water, instantly boiling it. Tweney was both astonished and delighted at the luxury of having a bath every day.

Although Funyapippi has shrunk, he hasn’t lost all his powers. He can still breathe fire, and while he can’t fly, he can conjure wind.

“Now, let’s dry off.”

A whirlwind envelops Luo and Tweney as they step out of the bath. Their hair and bodies dry, but the wind takes away their warmth, prompting them to quickly dress and get into bed.

At some point, Luo stopped having nightmares in the middle of the night. Next to Luo, Tweney sleeps soundly. Alone, it would’ve been too distressing to sleep.

The next morning, they return everything to the earth and set off.

Every day was filled with surprises. There were dragons that swallowed giant trees, gem-like serpents that slept coiled in flower fields, demon beasts that looked like fish and caused huge waves in crystal-clear lakes, and there were times when moving mountains turned out to be the shells of giant turtles.

About a month since they descended to the bottom of the “Great Hole”.

Changes were gradually appearing.

Breathing became difficult.

Funyapippi explained that there’s a buildup of malicious energy inside them.

“Even with the goddess’s power, it can’t be fully negated.”

The body feels heavy.

“Peppoko, are you okay?”

Luo was consistently worried, but Tweney never stopped walking.

As the external pressure grew stronger, the inner voice also grew louder.

Hurry, hurry.

Sacrifice yourself.

And then, finally—

“We’ve arrived.”

The view suddenly opened up before them.

“Is that it?”

“Yes, that’s the ‘Miniature Garden’.”

It was a fascinating sight.

In their line of sight was a beautiful fountain and a large silver tree. Yet strangely, the sky and ground seemed inverted.

“It’s because of the double barrier.”

According to Funyapippi, the outer barrier confuses intruders. The inner barrier reflects all attacks, including magic.

“This is the ‘Miniature Garden’, protected by the goddess.”

Holding hands with Luo, they cautiously advance.

The moment they touched what felt like a membrane in the air, it suddenly became night.

But the sun was still in the sky, looking like a sunset floating in shadows. And on the ground was a single path, shimmering in rainbow colors.

“We should follow this path.”

What would happen if we strayed from the path? Tweney wondered but never dared to find out.

She walk carefully with Luo.

Suddenly, strength was lost.

The strength in the hand holding Tweney’s.

Tweney instinctively supported Luo as he fell, but both ended up collapsing.

Luo was gasping for breath.

“Hey, hang in there!”

 ㅤ

From the hood, Funyapippi emerged, tapping Luo’s head with its front paws.

Tweney was stunned, trembling without realization.

Just moments before, he had been fine. Despite his suffering, he had always been concerned.

Tweney wondered, is that really the case?

Even though he was suffering so much, Luo couldn’t have been unaffected.

He had been holding back the whole time.

Putting on a calm face, not to worry others.

“Luo, Luo!”

Among the distraught and tearful Tweney, Funyapippi was more composed.

“Were you affected by the dark energy? If we have the goddess’s “blessing”, it should help.”

Tweney wasn’t listening.

“Funyapippi, what should we do?!”

“Calm down, Peppoko.”

Funyapippi pointed to the end of the path of light.

“Inside the barrier, the dark energy shouldn’t reach. If we carry Luo there, he should be saved.”

Staying here would only make things worse.

There’s no time to cry or hesitate.

Tweney removed Luo’s backpack, slid under her body, and lifted him with all her might.

“Luo. It’s going to be alright. Just a little more. It will definitely get better.”

As if reassuring herself, Tweney continued to walk step by step along the path of light.

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