43: Festivalpreparations and Lapisia levels up

The next day.
One more day until the last day of the festival.

The birds are singing early in the morning.
Celica is already up when I awake.
She reads a book which is lit by the lamp on the sidetable.

"You're up early. How are you feeling?"
"I simply woke up...."
Celica smiles lonely.
She still seems to be shaken by the words of Etoile.
Moreover, Etoile even went so far, that she tried to kill Celica. I can't forgive her.

I moved to Celica's bed and gently hugged her shoulders.
"It's alright. You're not at fault. I'll make her realize that as well."
"Thank you, Keika-sama. I'm happy just by hearing these words."

--Should I change it just in case?
I touched her smooth hand and erased "Light" and "Sinner" from Celica's status.

I noticed the unusual book she had.
"A book?"
"Yes, I found it when I was walking the town without you, Keika-sama. They had a continuation of my favorite book."
"Is that so. Is the story nice?"
"Yes, veeery"
Celica answers bashful like a little girl.

"Yeah, a smile fits you best after all, Celica"
She was leaning against my chest.
I embraced her for a while to comfort her.

I went to the mayor's mansion early in the morning.
I was let in without any questions after showing the "Proof of Hero".

Then I met Lionel who came down from the second floor. He wore shabby pajamas.
His blond bed hair was disheveled. His brown eyes looked a bit sleepy.
"Good morning, Hero-sama"
"Yo, Lionel. Is Jean here?"
"Brother sleeps in his room. He always gets up very late."
"Which room is it?"
"This way."
We go to the back of the ground floor.

"It's not on the second floor?"
"Stairs are difficult for him to climb because his knees will hurt."
"Is it so bad? He really should lose some weight."

I was guided to a small room next to the servant's rooms.
"It's here"
"Thank you"
"Yeah, see you later"
Lionel showed his white teeth when he was yawning and walked back while stretching his delicate arms.

I heard a fat snore when I entered the room.
The bed on which Jean sleeps is greatly bending under his weight.
"Oi, wake up, pig!"
I kick his side hard with a *doss*. His belly fat is wobbling.

"Uwa, it hurts...what? Hyaa, Hero-sama!"
"There's work."
"Eh? This early in the morning!?"
"Shut up, don't anser back. I'm quite irritated since yesterday."
"I'm sorry. What shall I do?"
Jean sits on the bed with a meek face. The bed creaked under the weight.

I took a daunting pose in front of Jean and spoke up.
"Contact the demons and report that the offered sinner is a fake and that the real sinner is the visiting princess."
"Eh!? Why such a!"
"Um? Didn't you listen? That you'll also be a sacrifice? This might save you. Or would you rather be made into a candle right here right now?

"Higii! I, I'll do it! Let me do it!"
"Well, do it. Hurry up, it has to be done before the festival tomorrow. But do it the way you've done it until now. Be careful not to be suspected."
"Ye, yes, understood!"
Jean relaxed his face and nodded many times.

I leave the room and go to the second floor.
When I entered the mayor's room, Frank had already dressed and had a smoke before work.
But his eyes were empty. He murmured..."Jean"..."Lionel"...over and over.

I approach and talk to him.
"How are you, Frank?"
"...Ah, Good morning, Hero-sama. Sorry for not noticing you. What can I do for you?"
"Sorry, but it's about the sacrifice show tomorrow. I'd like to change it slightly."
"In what way might that be?"
"Put the position of the royal seats in the front row"
"Eh?, isn't that dangerous?"
"If you build a wooden stage, they'll believe that it's safe. They love to look down from above after all. Especially that girl."
"No, don't mind it. This isn't a request but an order."
"Yes...I'll handle it..."

Ah, this is bad.
I threatened him too much and now he's lost his enthusiasm.

I scratched my head and said.
"Ah--, right. If you'll listen to me, I'll help your sons."
"Is that so...eh!? What, what did you say!?"
"I scared you by taking them hostage but I said that I'll save them. Jean might be too heavy though... --How it is? Will you put the royal seats into the front row?"
"...Understood. I'll definitely get it done."
Light returns to his eyes. Now they don't have the radiance of a mayor but that of a father.

"Well then, work hard."
I nodded and left the room.

Lionel, who was climbing the stairs caught my eyes.
The bed hair was fixed and it became silky blond hair.
"Lionel. Are you bored today as well?"
"I guess so. But when thinking about dying tomorrow, I'm a bit nervous."
"Is that so. Then, would you like to play a game with me?"
"A game?"
"Move as I say. If you do, you'll be saved. If you fail, you'll die."

Lionel curiously tilted his little head.
"Hmm? That seems to be thrilling. It should be at least?"
"OK, I'll contact you later to fill you in on the details."
"Understood. I'm looking forward to it"
Lionel smiled with his well aligned teeth.

"See you"
"Yeah, see you later"
I parted with Lionel and left the mansion.

The only question left is what to do with Lapisia.
I think leveling up might be possible now, but I want to be thorough. Or should I teach her attack magic?
After we had breakfast, I went to the cove with Celica, Lapisia and Minya.

On the way to the cove, Driad came speaking to me.
"Hero-sama, I brought you what you asked for"
"Oh, really? Where is it?"
"It's at the side of the shop."
I asked Driad for measures against jellyfish.

At the shop's side was a rolled up fishing net. It was a rough net with fist-sized holes. There were also a hammer and nails.
The fishing net had already been cut to a size that covers the entrance.
"Oh. It's just right. ...wind that abides by my name, streams that abides by my name, whirl with grudge and hatred, stay at the gathered eternity--'Curse Sealing Blade'"

The fishing net glowed blue and black when I touched it with a finger. An eerie color sticked to it.
Celica quietly frowned beside me while watching.
"Somehow, this feels dreadful"
"Curse, hate! Scary!"
Lapisia screamed and ran into the booth.

"Please hold it for a moment. Be careful"
"Yes, Keika-sama"
Celica and Minya helped me carrying it to the edge of the beach.
"Oooi, Naaaga, come here!"

Immediately, the green body of a snake surges and divides the water surface while pushing through it.
Her physique is good and her green hair is flowing. It was Dhalia.
I can't find Ieturia today.

She climbs onto the edge of the beach.
"Did something happen, Keika-sama?"
"Fixate this with nails at the entrance to the ocean"
"This is...it's sinister"
"Be careful. It works by reversing the recovery ability. Don't get injured."
When a jellyfish tries to pass, it turns into a jelly and dies.
It should also give considerable trouble to other demons.

"Well, it's not that strong. The curse can be lifted if you chant magic cancellation so it should be save."
"That you've even thought so far ahead, as expected of you, Keika-sama. I'll install it."
Dhalia took the net and the hammer and returned.

Then I took off my clothes.
Minya rents a beach parasol and stabs it into the sand.

"Well then Lapisia, today I'll show you how amazing the ocean is.
Lapisia took off her dress and was now wearing her white school swimsuit.
I put my hand on her head. Her twin tails are swinging in the wind.

"--'Water Breathing Zone'"
I and Lapisia are wrapped in a bluish membrane.

"what's this?"
"We can even breathe under water now"
"Wooow, amazing! Keika, let's go!"
I stretched my hand out and we went into the water.

The pleasant feel of dashing against the water.
When we dive, the sun hits the white sand on the bottom of the sea and fish swarms are swimming through the blue water.

"Yeah, you're right."

We hold hands and go deeper. We're now twice as deep.
The light rays enter the water and sparkle in the shape of the waves.

"Shall we go out to the ocean?"
"S, scary"
"Of course it's scary. It's the ocean after all."
"What do you mean?"
"You'll know if you follow me."

The entrance was blocked by the fishing net. Only the upside is open by about 1 meter for the Naga to pass through.

Dhalia sat on a rock at the side while keeping watch.
"Keika-sama, are you satisfied with this?"
"It's perfect. You work fast."
We pass the net while I answer.

"Where are you going?"
"We'll go playing for a little bit"
"Have a nice trip!"
"Take care. Please immediately call me if something happens."
"Yes, understood"

I took Lapisia's hand and we got out into the ocean.
And we dive again.

The ocean is wide and deep.
Lots of fish swarms swam around, chased by bigger fishes while the light was swaying like a curtain.
Aquatics that look like squids, shrimps and snakes are swimming around.

All 360 degrees are filled with living beings.
"A, amazing"
"Only this place brings forth so many creatures. This is the ocean. That's why it's scary."
"What do you mean? "
"The ocean, is scary. Humans are easily dying. But the ocean is gentle. It holds so many living beings."
If you only see the scary part, you don't notice the other side.
It's severe for beings that can't swim. But if you can swim, it's fun.
It always has two sides. That's the ocean.

"Scary and gentle...severe and fun"
"That's it. Similar to a mother"
"I, the ocean, I love it"

Lapisia looked at me with a bright smile.

At that moment, a bright light shone.
The "Proof of Hero" hanging from my neck was flashing.
"Member (Lapisia) has risen a level"
"Acquired a new skill"

Name: Lapisia
Gender: Female
Age: 257
Race: Half-God
Job: Earth Mother God Lv 3 (Raising)
Class: Healer, God Art User
Attributes: "Good Harvest" "Radiant Soil" "Sacred Ground"

Muscle strength: 70K (20K) (+0) max ∞
Agility: 40K (10K) (+0) max ∞
Magic strength: 140K (20K) (+0) max ∞
Wisdom: 60K (10K) (+0) max ∞
Luck: 999 (0) (+0) max ∞
Believers: 0

Earth Spirit Gathering: Collects the power of the earth at yourself or another god. Attack power * Lv. value
Earth crust turn: Reforms the earth by pulling the surface and putting it back.

Next is "Raising"... is it fine if she raises the rhinoceros beetle or a Japanese morning glory?
I have the feeling that this isn't what's meant by it.

There's a new skill, Earth Crust Turn... she learned an earth-based attack as I wanted but I have the feeling that this just has too much power.
Does this mean that the part of the mantle that's connected to the earth is turned to the outside?
So the towns, forests, mountains, and living beings on the surface are then tens of kilometers underground?

No no, I can't use this.
Although it might be possible to specify the range, it's too unpredictable to give it a try.
Perhaps she only learns skills for the creation of heaven and earth?
To start over again if she failed with the creation of the surface.

I wanted her to learn something more ordinary like rock bullets or earthquakes.

I took Lapisia to the surface.
"Listen well, Lapisia. Absolutely don't use the skill you just learned."
"Understood, won't use"

She answered straightforwardly but looked displeased. She looks at me slightly sad.
Ah, I see.

I stretch out my hand and stroke her head with her twin tails.
"Well done though, Lapisia. You now understand the ocean."
"Ehehe~, I worked hard"
She smiled over her whole face in delight.

After that we returned to the land.
Since the new skill can't be used, there's no choice but to rely on the Earth Spirit Gathering.
Some preparations and training will be neccessary.
Well, the target is big, so we'll manage somehow.

Tomorrow is the final day of the festval at last.
And I made a strategy to make Etoile suffer a hundredfold for each pain she caused to Celica.