Chapter 31 At The Bottom Of The Dark Water

 At the bottom of the dark water

"Hey, she's trying to go over the length of the rope! I stopped her once, but she's forcing her way through!"

 Some time after Tien went under, the rope ran out.

 The rope was definitely more than 30 meters, almost 40 meters.

 That means it's gone,

"Perhaps... the depth of the submergence is so great that it is not long enough to get to the surface."

"Astrid! This is no time for calm analysis!"

"We have to take our hands off her."


"She's going, isn't she? I'm pulling her because I think she can. Maybe there's not enough air to go back."

"And, but..."

"Let go. Then we'll see how far the end of the rope pulls."

 Astrid waded into the water.


"I'll go as far back as I can . These things are better for taller people."

 Astrid grabbed the end of the rope until her neck was just above the water.

 However, in spite of her efforts, the rope was pulled further and further, and finally she was forced to let go of it.


"...dive down and check it out."

 After a time, Astrid dove into the water and poked around on the ground.

(No . No...! Nothing...! Where'd it go, kun? )

 But there was no end of the rope anywhere.

 That was the limit of Astrid's diving ability.

"Well, how'd it go?"


 Astrid, who had come up soaking wet, shook her head at Emily.

"The water's coming up... it should be pretty tough on the way back."

"Oh no...!"

 The two of you are in a hurry to discuss it.

 What about magic?

 Can we do something with the drill machine?

 Is there anything else we can use?

 But all of them were useless.

 Emily was using all the magic she had to get rid of the water, but it didn't seem to help.


 Astrid looked up at the high, high ceiling.

 When we reach this point, there is nothing more we can do.

 All we can do is bet on Tien's vitality.

 That's when Astrid heard a noise.

 It was not the passage Tien had dived down, but the one they had come from - the entrance to the mine.


 Underwater is not silent.

 Rather, sound is transmitted well.

 I heard a thump, thump, thump, thump, thump, thump, thump, thump, thump, thump, thump, thump.

 If you dive 2 meters, your ears will hurt from the pressure change.

 Even if you can remove your ears, it is painful enough to make an untrained diver feel that it is impossible to dive any further.

 Even so, the foreman will go under.

 Follow Tien, who will be going ahead.

 I knew she was there because she was moving through the water, and I could feel it in the current.

 Only the faintest hint was a guide for the foreman.

 My head hurts, not just my ears.

 I can't stop thinking about my family, but I'm starting to lose consciousness.


 At that moment, he grabbed me by the arm.

 And your hand touches the rock wall.

 This must be the passage.

 Thirty meters to go.


 Another... 30 meters?


 Impossible, I thought.

 I'm already at the end of my breath.

 If I were on earth, my face would be soaked with tears.

 Still, at least.

 Even if he is to become a corpse, he wishes to leave behind at least the image of him--that's all he wants--and the foreman gathers his last strength.

 Tien was nearing his limit.

 On the way back, the water was deeper than on the way there, and we had to dive with the foreman in mind.

 Once I had entered the passage, all I had to do was to keep going, but there was only 30 meters left...just barely, just barely, I could make it.

 It's straight ahead from here, so there's no need to worry about the foreman.

 Tien will go through the darkness.

 We have to make it back alive.

 Go back and thank -chan and Emily and Astrid and Nina.

 And I'll tell the monastery doctor.

 --I'm leaving town. I'm going to find my parents.

 and .

 That was Tien's resolve.

 I didn't want to abandon the foreman because he was the only one left behind, and he reminded me of myself when my parents threw me out.

 Helping him is the only way to put my mind at rest.

 Then we'll be able to leave this city.


 Tien looks back in the dark.


 You're not keeping up.

 What that means is that the foreman has run out of breath.

 We're only about halfway down the aisle.


 Tien didn't hesitate.

 He turned back to the road.


 He was about five meters away.

 Tien grabbed his body and shook him off with a feeble effort.

 --And if I'm out of breath, you go ahead. You can leave me.

 That's what he just said.

 I heard a thump.

 I think he's trying to tell us to leave him behind because he's reached his limit.


 Tien, however, reached out his hand again.

 Pull his body closer.

 Grasping the wall with your free hand, you move forward by brushing the water with your feet.

 The foreman patted Tien's body vigorously.

 --Leave him. Why are you taking me? You'll die too.

 I can feel you saying that.

(We don't abandon them.)

 The foreman also said earlier.

 --It's better than both of us dying. Isn't that right, Tien (・・・・)?

 Tien," he called out.

 -I know it's Chan. His name. You used to call him the ghost dog.

 When he realized that, Tien realized that this foreman was - indeed - "supervising" with Chan.

 His language was bad, his use of quotas was terrible, and he was aggressive toward Tien.

 Still, he tried to supervise the site and used all his strength to achieve the quota.

 If you think about it, there was no unjustified mean-spiritedness.

 Even though he was called a ghost dog, his salary was commensurate with his work, and Tien was never banned from the mine.

(Maybe that's why. I don't know. I can't breathe. How far now? I can't see the end yet. I can't keep going...)

 Even Tien couldn't swim the rest of the distance with the foreman.


 You're not in the dark, you're in the red.

 Every cell in your body needs oxygen.

 My hands and feet hurt like they're about to be torn off.

(I'm sorry... teacher, Nina, Emily, Astrid... everyone...)



 The rope's been pulled.