A silver-haired girl looked at the tunnel in front of her with an enraged and worried expression on her face.
She created a sword of energy on her hand and used it to slash the debris blocking the way in the tunnels. However, no matter how much she brandished her sword, she could not find traces of her master.
Right now, she had already dug fifteen meters of debris. However, she had failed to find anything.
And with each second that she failed to find anything, the expression of the silver-haired girl turned colder, angrier, and more worried.
"Regina, have you not found them yet?"
"Did you find my brother?"
Another two girls asked at that moment.
This first girl had black hair and black eyes, together with a beautiful horn on his forehead that identified her as a demon.
She was so beautiful that most women would feel ashamed to compare themselves with her.
However, her current appearance was a disguise.
In truth, she was a red-haired and amber-eyed demon belonging to the previous Demon Imperial Family.
Her name was Liu Ying.
As for the other girl, she was just as beautiful as Liu Ying.
Black hair, black eyes, and a dignified appearance.
She was called Eres Skysword. Bloed's sister and the princess of the Kingdom of Alterna.
And right now, both Liu Ying and Eres had faces filled with worry.
After all, Bloed and Aya had fallen in the tunnel, and the tunnel had collapsed after that.
Regina frowned. She looked at Liu Ying with a gaze so cold that Liu Ying's shivered. Fortunately, Regina's gaze softened quickly and turned into a look of worry, making Liu Ying sigh in relief.
"I can't find master. The only thing that I found was collapsed tunnels. Moreover, the tunnels branch out several times, so I can't follow the traces of the collapse to find him."
"Then…" Liu Ying's expression was pale. If not even Regina could find Bloed, then she did not know what to do.
Regina frowned as well. Her communication with her master had been cut off when the tunnels collapsed, so she could not locate him.
For an instant, Regina wondered if something bad had happened to him. However, she shook off that thought at the next instant.
Her master still had [Overdrive]. If he was truly in extreme danger, he would have activated it and used [Molecular Disintegration] to create an exit from the tunnels.
However, she was still worried.
Taking a deep breath, Regina closed her eyes and focused on her senses.
Regina was a Valkyrie. A combat doll created by Bloed's foster mother, Camilla Norman, to protect her son.
But before becoming a Valkyrie, she was a human ESPer.
A powerful ESPer that died fighting against the Devourers.
And when she became a Valkyrie, she inherited the ESP ability of her human days.
S-Grade [Energy Materialization].
This ESP ability allowed Regina to wield, control, and materialize energy in many shapes. Usually, she used it to create energy weapons.
However, her ESP ability had many other uses.
Such as sensing energy.
Regina could feel the slightest fluctuation of energy in kilometers, regardless of the kind.
And right now, she was focusing her senses underground.
She was trying to feel the energy fluctuations belonging to her master. It was not easy, but she knew that she eventually would find him using this method.
She could only hope that her master used his abilities while underground. The more he used them, the easier it would be for her to find him.
Meanwhile, Bloed was inside the tunnels, seated against a wall and panting with a pale face.
"… Bloed, are you alright?" Aya asked with a concerned expression.
Bloed smiled softly and nodded, indicating to her that there was nothing to worry about.
Inwardly, though, he was cursing his bad luck.
Just now, he ran almost one kilometer while carrying Aya.
Normally, running one kilometer would have not been hard for him. However, he was running at full speed, moreover, he was carrying Aya; so it was normal that he was tired.
As for the reason why he was running? It was due to the collapse of the tunnels, obviously.
When the magic circles on the walls activated, several spells attacked the tunnel, followed by the tunnel's collapse.
Fortunately, the spells were not very powerful, at most at the B-Rank. And with Leto's barrier protecting Bloed and Aya, they just suffered a few scratches.
However, Leto had been greatly damaged due to it. Most of Leto's metallic sand was destroyed due to the spells, turning the originally four-meter-tall wolf into a one-meter-tall wolf.
Well, a part of Leto's metallic sand was outside the tunnels (Bloed protected Liu Ying and Eres with it, so it did not fall in the tunnels together with Bloed). But even with that, the metallic wolf would need to be repaired after this adventure.
Plus, he still could not communicate with Regina, so he could not tell her about the changes in the situation.
'Dammit, I think that Regina will have trouble finding us, huh.' Bloed smiled bitterly to himself.
At that moment, he felt Aya gripping his clothes timidly.
Bloed looked at Aya's downcast expression and sighed.
"It was not your fault."
"… No, it was." Aya shook her head firmly. "… If I would have not been so rash and I don't enter the tunnels, this would have happened."
Bloed wrinkled his brows and stared at Aya fixedly. For some reason, he got the feeling that Aya's mental state was unstable.
As though to confirm his suspicion, he saw tears accumulating in the cat girl's eyes.
Then, the first tear fell on the ground.
Followed by another, and another.
Bloed was stunned. For an instant, he did not know how to react.
"A-Aya, w-what is wrong? W-Why are you crying?"
"… I'm useless." Aya murmured in an almost inaudible tone. "Regina is strong, Liu Ying is lively and brave, Gina can see the future, and Sara is the best assassin I had seen… As for me, I have nothing… I am the weakest of the group, and even now I ended messing everything up."
"Aya, that is not true." Bloed denied it firmly. "You have helped me a lot, and you know it. Even now, the reason why we were able to follow the abomination was that you were guiding us."
"But it was my fault that it escaped in the first place!" Aya shouted angrily, angry with herself. "If you would have not had to save me, the abomination would have not escaped! And after that, If I would have not failed to contain the other man, the abomination would have not escaped to the tunnels!
"Even after that, it was my fault that the tunnel exploded! You are trapped here due to me! You even had to carry me when the tunnels collapsed the second time!"
Hearing Aya's words, Bloed sighed softly.
It was Bloed's first time in this kind of situation. And even though he had two lovers, his experience with women was not enough to tell him what he should do right now.
After thinking for a few seconds, he decided to start by changing the topic.
"It was not your fault, Aya. Just now, the reason I carried you was to stop you from activating your mana. If I'm not wrong, what triggers the collapse of the tunnels is the activation of mana."
Bloed then stood up and took out a small lantern from his storage device.
Using it, he illuminated the walls of the tunnel, showing Aya the magic circles engraved on it.
"Truly a piece of art." Bloed sighed. "They were set up to activate if a fluctuation of mana different from the ones previously specified showed in the tunnels. The first time, they were activated by your use of body-reinforcement; and the second time, they were activated when Eres used her mana to scan the tunnel and try to find us."
"… In other words, I can't use mana now…?" Aya asked with a soft tone.
But one second later, she put her head between her legs. "As I thought, I'm a burden."
Bloed's expression stiffened.
It seemed that his attempt to change the topic did not work.
Slightly flustered, Bloed coughed and smiled at the cat girl.
"Don't worry, I know a bit about magic circles. Look." He then took out a scalpel from his storage device and used it to trace a line in a part of the wall. "Done. With this, the magic circles in this zone should not be activated anymore."
Aya was slightly surprised, but she then smiled bitterly and lowered her head.
"… You can do anything, huh… Perhaps, you would be better without me."
Taking a deep breath and with tears in her eyes, Aya looked at Bloed and smiled self-deprecatingly.
"… That must be the reason why you have not accepted me yet, right?"
"Aya, that is…"
"Bloed, I like you," Aya said suddenly. "You know it, right?"
Bloed froze. For an instant, he did not know how to reply.
After all, this was the first time that Aya expressed her feelings directly.