Inside the limestone cave. I was listening to Ravi sleeping breaths when I heard a sound coming from the inner cave.
I held my breath and peered in deeper. It sounds like something is collapsing on the ground. Is it the stalactites falling?
As I pondered if I should go check it out, another different sound resounded in the silence.
It’s sound of a beast! I immediately raised my body.
「Nn……. ……Daddy……? 」
The sleepy Ravi rubbed at her eyes and asked.
「Sorry, Ravi. For waking you up」
I took a new candle from the bag and transferred the fire, while telling Ravi about the sound I heard.
「I’m going to take a look deeper in the cave, what about Ravi?」
「It’s fine if I go together……?」
「Yeah. That would be less worrying. 」
While holding the candle on my right hand, my left hand carried Ravi and we proceeded deeper into the cave.
The path is seriously bumpy. There were also places that is barely wide enough to squeeze through one at a time. And finally, we reached a place where the ground is split into two. And a stream of shallow water flows in the crack.
The land opposite had rocks that was around the size of a human head dropping to the ground. And surrounding it was pulverized powders and shrapnel.
Was the sound from here.
「Daddy, that……! 」
Ravi called me with a soft voice. I looked towards the shallow water flowing that Ravi pointed out suddenly. Through the darkness, I could see a figure of a bird floating on the water. The water is mixed with something dark. It’s probably blood.
「It’s hurt because of the collapsing huh. But, that bird――『Tri-color Gallo』. To think that seeing one here is……」
『Tri-color Gallo』 is a bird registered as rare species. Its feathers are a pretty mix of red, blue and yellow, and its head has a majestic cockscomb.
I see, its rumored beauty shines through the darkness too. But is it really three colors? I felt a little doubtful as I peered my eyes, but the surroundings are so dark I can’t see properly.
No, rather than that, treating it is first. I stretched my hands towards the bird and chanted the aria of recovery skill.
《The benevolent goddess that treasures all life, the blessing of your healing light―― Full Recovery!》
The bird’s body is covered in a warm light, and the bleeding stopped. The frightened bird flapped its wings as if to check their state. I was relieved to see there isn’t any awkwardness in its flapping.
「Daddy, it’s like when you saved me……」
The memories of the first days came back to me. Just like what Ravi said, I’ve encountered various humans or other creatures that were injured. Maybe I’m born with such a star guiding me to such things.
It gave off a joyful cry while looking at our faces alternatingly. And then it leaned its head forward slowly.
「It’s like it’s giving a thanks……! 」
I smiled as I patted Ravi’s head. At that moment, the bird spread its wings and flew. The water splashes as it flapped its wings with strength, before flying past us, soaring high. Looking at the bird that flew pass my eyes, I unconsciously swallowed my breath.
It’s not just tri colored. The feathers covering the bird’s body was made of myriads of colors.
「Wa……! Pretty……! 」
Ravi let out an exclamation. We both looked up at the bird. It flew in circles elegantly high at the ceiling, with a beauty that’s heart-stealing.
「Ah……! Daddy, look! 」
Looking at where Ravi pointed, fluttered a single feather that danced in the air. I caught it on my palm.
「It’s really light. 」
The color changes every time the angle of viewing changes. That’s right. I should try my appraisal skill on this feather. Maybe that could determine that bird’s officially registered name.
I held it above my head and activated the appraisal skill.
《The all-knowing god, turn the pages of the book of wisdom and grant me insight ―― Appraisal Judge 》
Item : Feather of an Unknown Organism
Rarity : ★★★★★★★★★★
「……Wha!? Unknown organism!? 」
「Daddy, what happened? 」
「I’m surprised. That bird, apparently is an undiscovered creature. That means that it had never been biologically confirmed. 」
If a creature that lost it ways in the limestone cave made its nest here, eventually, it might’ve achieved its own evolution. For example, its eyesight would worsen but instead, it’s hearing would improve compared to the species that live under the sun. And someday, following this chain, giving birth to an entirely new species. I’ve seen such story before in a document I’ve read before.
Looking closely, the ears it has is a little unusual. The birds living in the outside world would of course have ears too, but not as standing out as this one.
But the larger the ear is, the more it will catch the wind. That’s why a bird normally has ears small enough not to be noticed. However, there’s no wind inside the cave. But of course, there’s still air resistance when it flies around, so the evolution only left its ears to that extent.
It might’ve been a new species that had been born through this flow.
「Unknown organism……Does that mean it’s a bird only daddy and I know……? 」
「Yeah. Only us in the entire world. 」
「Is that so……. But it’s so pretty……I want to show it to everyone……. Won’t anyone would be filled with happiness looking at those wings……」
Ravi who smiled innocently asked. The kind heart of this child is very precious. That’s why I thought I’ve ought to teach her the ways of the world.
「If we take it to a large city, and register the feather in the biology research association. It’s even possible to name it after Ravi’s name. 」
「My name……? 」
Ravi’s eyes become round and blinked a few times. Rather than a happy face, she’s showing a confused expression.
「You can get a huge sum with the feather. It’s the same with your necklace, Theo-jiisan appraised it with a high price, right? An undiscovered organism would fetch multiple folds of that. This is the merit if you take it to the association. 」
I recalled as I said that. We hurriedly left Milton and forgot about selling the necklace again. It felt like something had always happened when we tried to let go of it. Is it possible because it’s a cursed item……?
「If we registered it with the association, what will happen……? 」
Ravi didn’t show interest in naming the bird after herself, or even the huge sum that she can possibly get. I smiled wryly as I thought our personality was similar. Many would find satisfaction in getting a huge sum of money or getting famous in the world. As our nature is similar, the current situation is really making it more complicated.
「Oops, sorry. I spaced out a little. Regarding what will happen if we registered it, right. That’s a really pretty bird, so the biologists, hunters and the likes would desperately find for the real thing. But that would be just causing the bird troubles. 」
Of course, there’s some amongst them that would be satisfied with just looking. But there would be dozens more people that want it as a pet, selling it to the zoo, or using parts of it as accessory. Unfortunately, just the fact that it’s rare, it would get chased around, and get hunted. Hearing my explanation, Ravi’s expression trembled.
「Getting chased by hunter, pity……. I don’t want it to be like that…… 」
Tugging my coat, Ravi told me while pitying the bird. I nodded back as well.
「Do you want to protect the bird’s peaceful life? 」
「I want to do that……」
「Then it would be Ravi’s and mine secret. 」
「Unn……. Our secret…… 」
Ravi’s cheek reddened slightly and smiled with happiness. It seems that she’s rejoicing over the little secret. Yesterday, because of the scared face that Ravi showed, her bright smile now reassured my heart. I carried her back up without thinking, Ravi raised a child-like laughter and clung back.
「Without giving that feather to the biology research association, let’s keep it as a bookmark. 」
I let Ravi down, and took out a leather notebook from the bag. I turned the page around and slipped the myriad colored feather in the last page that I wrote.
「Daddy, thank you for telling me……. The good and bad things, I’m thankful that you taught me…… 」
It looks like my judgement wasn’t wrong after all. I was relieved as I smiled to Ravi.
To think that not reporting an undiscovered organism, if the association were to come to know about it, they would probably explode with rage. To reject fame and money, they would probably think we have a loose screw.
But I’m not a biologist or a hunter, not even an adventurer. I’m just a wanderer with his child. What is precious is only the smile of my lovely daughter.
「Rest assured. I won’t do anything to disturb your life. 」
I said while facing the bird. It doesn’t matter if the words go through or not. The bird raised a single cry like a reply, before diving in deeper into the limestone cave.