Extra chapter sponsored by Deepak! Thank you and sorry for the delay!
(330) Big catch
We landed just before Mount Landau.
We walked through the deserted village and went in the direction of the fields, noticing large hemp bags that were not there previously.
I could guess the content of the bags from its size.
They were probably killed by the Demonic King Dragon.
We placed our hands together and prayed silently.
Only Talwi was not interested as she looked in the direction of the village without praying.
A Shiraraki Kingdom soldier came up to us.
I remembered him.
He was the soldier in the guard station who hailed me when I was on my way to the Dwarf village after exiting the Great Forest.
“Why are you here?”
“We heard that the Ancient Dragon was subjugated and we were called to carry the raw materials since we were nearby but then the Demonic King Dragon appeared ─ ─”
“I see ─ ─”
So he was among Marquis Yutings’ soldiers who witnessed the Demonic King Dragon.
“I’m glad you guys are safe.”
“Actually, after the Demon King Dragon appeared, it headed to Lake Landau so thankfully there were no casualties ─ ─”
“No casualties? But these hemp bags?”
I pointed at the human-sized hemp bags placed on the fields.
“Ah, those are the fertilizers we carried over on the request of the villagers.”
“That’s so misleading!”
So we were praying to the fertilizers?
Maybe Talwi didn’t pray because she could smell it.
“Haru noticed as well?”
“Yes. Master has Koshmar-sama’s divine blessing so I was certain that Master was praying to the fertilizer and, in turn, to Koshmar-sama as she is the Goddess of Farming.”
There was no way I would do that.
I only just recalled that Koshmar-sama was the Goddess of Farming after she mentioned it.
In my heart, she is only known as the Orc Goddess after all.
“So the Demonic King Dragon is at Lake Landau?”
“Yes. It entered the depths of the lake and has not surfaced.”
“The depths of the lake ─ ─ perhaps it went into the cave in Mount Landau from the lake entrance.”
We headed toward Lake Landau.
We had Miles wait at the village.
I thought that Pochi was a little cute as it had folded its wings and was walking with tottering steps.
Sugyu were eating the water plants as usual around the lake but something was strange.
“Their numbers decreased.”
They clearly had fewer numbers.
There were probably about two-thirds compared to before.
“There’s a lingering scent of blood.”
“I sense it too. They were probably eaten by the Demonic King Dragon.”
Haru and Talwi’s sensitive noses picked up the scent and commented.
“But why would the Sugyu not flee when the Demonic King Dragon ate their fellow herd. Normally they would all run away?”
But I already had the answer.
“It’s the Sugyu disease. It is a disease that only infects Sugyu and would make them lose their sense of fear. They would not flee even if they watch their fellow Sugyu get eaten in front of their eyes. How about it? Take some for Pochi as a meal. There’s no harm in consuming them.”
“ … No thanks. I don’t wish to anger the Demonic King Dragon by having a meal here.”
Suzuki shook his head.
Well, that’s true.
I said that jokingly anyway.
But only Sheena No.3 didn’t take it as a joke.
“Beef hotpot desu! Hitting a bald head will taste like cultural enlightenment desu!”
“You really love hotpot.”
“Haha, the taste of cultural enlightenment? The original phrase should be ‘If you hit a head with half a head of hair, you’ll hear the sound of dilly-dallying. If you hit a head with full hair, you hear the sound of the restoration of the monarchy. If you hit the head of a bald head, you will hear the sound of cultural enlightenment.’.” (TL: This is a phrase from the Japan Meiji era westernization movement. The bald head is after shaving off the topknot that most Japanese men have in that era, signifying forward progress.)
Suzuki corrected her.
Was it such a long poem?
I only knew about the last part about the bald head.
“What does it mean?”
Haru asked and Suzuki replied her.
“It is a poem on how significant hard work is needed to change established customs.”
“It is true that changing old systems is hard. Whenever we make something new, something existing has to be broken.”
Talwi said knowingly.
Something has to be broken … huh.
I believe it is possible to repair and reuse it rather than just breaking it though.
“Now then, I guess we should let that automata investigate the lake first.”
Talwi said but I denied it.
“No, I will investigate from above the lake.”
I said before,
I froze a portion of the lake where there were no Sugyu and leaped onto it.
Then, I activated Eagle Eye.
I switched my vision into the water.
“Hey, what are you doing?”
“I’m checking the inside of the lake with my skill … ah!”
“Kusunoki-kun, what did you find?”
Suzuki called out.
There were Sugyu bones as well as a portion of meat.
They retained their original forms and were still fresh.
It seemed that they were just eaten.
“I see the remains of the Demonic King Dragon’s meal.”
It seemed likely that the Demonic King Dragon was here.
I looked deeper into the lake.
There was a side cave and half-eaten Sugyu were there as well.
The side cave was a different cave from where the Ancient Dragon nested. It was probably hidden by water plants so we didn’t investigate it the other time.
“There’s a side cave.”
I returned to my regular vision and used Wind Magic to move the ice to stop directly above the entrance to the side cave.
I looked deeper.
And I found it.
“It’s here! The Demonic King Dragon!”
I saw a shadow move in the water.
“Then it is my turn now desu!”
Sheena No.3 tied a rope around her body and she seemed to have wound water plants around her waist to conceal herself as she said those reckless words.
“This time is different from the Jewel Turtles.”
“It’s alright desu! Sheena has an emergency escape method desu!”
Sheena No.3 jumped into the lake without listening to my command to stop.
“Haru! Suzuki! Pull her up immediately!”
I told Haru and Suzuki to pull Sheena No.3 up but ─ ─ eh?
Nobody was holding onto the rope. Then who did she pass the rope to?
“Eh, it’s with Pochi!”
That Sheena No.3 actually tied the rope around Pochi’s tail of all things. Just when did she do that.
Pochi quickly flew up.
At the same time, the presence from under the lake approached.
Due to Pochi’s pull, Sheena No.3 rapidly surfaced. However, the presence I sensed did not belong to Sheena No.3. I could not detect Sheena No.3’s presence because she was an Automata.
In that case, the presence I felt was the Demonic King Dragon.
I called out but it was strange.
The approaching presence was not just one. It was three.
By any chance ─ ─ were there three Demonic King Dragons?
The next instant, Sheena No.3 surfaced while holding that 3 presences.
“I don’t really understand but I caught them desu!”
Sheena No. 3 announced from high above.
─ ─ She was carrying Centaur, Jofre, and Elize.
“Why were you guys fished up!?”