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ITK C119: Peeking into the Abyss

Hi. It’s me, Kidan.

Orkubo and the others have finally returned!
Their supposed day trip turned into four days of not hearing from them. I was already crying from extreme worry! 

Geez, I can’t believe they made me worry like that.

They were able to bring home a big catch after being out in the sea for days. 

The fish they caught were well-preserved as they had been wrung out and frozen according to the instructions I gave them beforehand. 

We stored them in the massive fridge in the meantime. Afterward, we can prepare it in any way we want; steamed, grilled, or even dried.
But what caught my attention, so much that the fish doesn’t bother me, is the mermaid in Orkubo’s arms.

Naturally, I don’t know her.

“…Is that your prized catch?”

“No, My Lord, actually…”

Orkubo starts breaking out in a cold sweat.

The mermaid is no exception to the beauty her race possesses. Although Orkubo is carrying her with the lower half of her body having a fish’s tail, she has her arms wrapped around his neck, so it doesn’t look like she’s some princess kidnapped by him.

It actually looks more like a hero who rescued a damsel in distress while he was out adventuring.

“…Huh? Are you perhaps the “Witch of the Abyss?” asks Platy.

Do you know her, Platy?

“She’s one of the other mermaids belonging to The Six Mad Witches.”
“Don’t utter that name; it’s embarrassing!” objects the mermaid in Orkubo’s arms.
“I don’t like it, either. It’s like some kid was trying too hard to come up with a cool name…”
“You’re the Crowned Witch, right? The identification potion engraved on this ship confirms it.”
“You sensed it and helped Orkubo figure out their way home? Thank goodness.”

I see. So that’s how it is.

Mermaids are known for their ability to make potions and use them in various ways, but this holds even truer for the mermaids called witches.

“Allow me to thank you for bringing home Orkubo and the others safely.”
“There’s no need for thanks. They were the ones who saved me…”

She said something after that, but it was hard to hear or even understand her mumbling.

“A-Anyway, what is this place?! It’s so magical!”

She immediately changes the subject as she looks around our farm in an attempt to hide her embarrassment.

“From the goblins weeding in the fields to the hyelycaons running around in the garden, everyone’s mutated here! You can’t fool my eyes, especially after meeting these orcs!”
“Calm down, Lady Zoth Syra…”
“There are even materialized earth spirits?!”

I can see Orkubo being stumped.

The mermaid, who seems to be called Zoth Syra, is still in her mermaid form, so she can’t go around on land on her own.
Her flailing made Orkubo hold her more tightly, closing the distance between them…

“…What is up with this rom-com?”

I started feeling nauseous from the overly sweet atmosphere.

“Okay. This place is teeming with good material for my research. Let me use everything here! I won’t take no for an answer!”

What research?

“You’re not getting anywhere on land in that form. Drink this, and know your manners.”
“A quality product of the Crowned Witch, the latest humanizing potion. Are you fine with letting me have something so valuable?”
“It’s not that hard to get materials on land. Well, at least within Dear’s farm. So, don’t worry about it.”
“Hm, if you say so.”

Zoth Syra takes the small bottle from Platy and drinks its contents in one go.
That’s the extent of what I saw because Platy covered my eyes soon after.

“You do know what happens next, right? It’s not for your eyes, Dear.”

Of course, I know.
Why make her drink the potion in front of me, then?

“Lady Zoth Syra…Huh, a butt?!”

I heard a maiden’s shriek as well as a cry from Orkubo that sounded like a pig that was about to be butchered.

“What a kick. As expected of the Witch of the Abyss and the eldest of the Mad Six, she was able to master land-dweller legs right away!”

She’s the eldest?!

After all that sappy stuff?!
You’ve got to be kidding me…

Thus, Zoth Syra, Witch of the Abyss, began inspecting everything on our farm.
As the usual pattern goes, she was also surprised by Sensei and dragon Veil.

“Guess it’s time for me to leave.”

She seems satisfied.

“Huh? You’re leaving?!”
“Why would you think I’d stay?”

Well, everyone who came here lately eventually settled on our farm, so I thought the same thing would happen this time.

“The Witch of the Abyss has a secret laboratory somewhere deep within the ocean floor,” says Platy. “I’ve heard rumors about it being far larger than a school or a hospital and that only she can control the uncountable lab specimens there. If even one of them escapes the premises, they say it will end up in a catastrophe.”
“That’s right. If I don’t go back soon, one of the more clever ones is going to escape.”

For real?!
Okay, go back right this instant!!!

“Then again, this farm has piqued my interest. I’ll drop by now and then to do some research.”
“She’s a witch, all right. She didn’t even ask for our opinion.” 
“Of course, I’ll give you something in return. How about the medicines I cultivate at my lab and the XXX, XXX?”
“That would be helpful!”

I have no idea what they just talked about, but it seems Platy is delighted. 

“We can’t cultivate those on land, so I’ve been wondering how to ask my brother about it. I can’t make the merprince violate the laws, can I?”

Just what exactly are you asking from your brother, Platy?!

“That settles it. Make sure to prepare my lodging, research area, and equipment by the time I come again.”
“Tsk, okay. I guess it’s a fair trade for the medicines.”

These two started and ended their negotiations all without me, the farm owner, knowing about it.

“All right, I’m leaving now…” says Zoth Syra as she drinks the potion to revert to her mermaid form. “Orkubo!”

Orkubo had been accompanying Zoth Syra the entire time she was inspecting our farm.

“Don’t you ever forget about me until I come back, you hear?! Never!”
“Y-Yes! I promise!”
“I’m holding you accountable for that!”

I’m starting to think that she didn’t just come here with Orkubo and the others by chance. 

After all the mermaids I’ve met thus far, I’m convinced that they’re not the delicate kind of people who would settle for an unrequited love that would just fizzle out.

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2 years ago

You can’t be too timid if you earn the moniker of a witch, right?

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