(407) The Magician’s resolve
I saw the uninhabited island which was our destination.
It was a moderately sized island.
Before landing on the island, I let Flute return to My World for a change in environment. I thought that Carol would return as well but she wanted to accompany me so she tagged along.
After the small landing boat was lowered and everyone boarded it, Miri magically stowed the sailing ship.
Space-time Magic was convenient as it could store large objects, unlike the item bag.
Using the small landing boat, we landed on the island and she stored that too.
Driftwood and seaweed were washed ashore on the unmaintained sandy beach and creatures resembling wharf roaches could be seen peeking out of the cavities in the driftwood.
Wharf roaches made me feel squeamish.
“Miri, where are we headed to?”
“Into a cave further ahead.”
Miri replied before entering the forest on the island and we followed suit.
“But why did you hide this island?”
“There are places in the world that are gathering spots for earth veins. On this island, there was a sealed Leviathan and the level of miasma was similar to or even denser than that island that was used as an experimental ground. There are no dungeons nearby so the miasma is left alone to gather as much as it wants.”
“Why didn’t the Goddess-samas create a dungeon?”
Don’t they usually create a dungeon to circulate the miasma if it gets too strong?
Dungeons exist for that function after all.
“Because nobody lives here. Even if they make a dungeon, monsters will overflow from the dungeon over time. Even the man-made dungeon I created required a person to maintain it and it was a lot of work.”
“Can’t they just leave it to an automata like Sheena No.3?”
“You know, a lot of rare materials and 50,000 gold coins are needed to create just one automata.”
50,000 gold coins meaning 500 billion Japanese yen?
I turned around and looked at Sheena No.3.
“Why are you staring at Sheena No.3 so passionately desu? Has master fallen for Sheena No.3’s charm desu?”
Sheena No.3 covered her cheeks with her hands in embarrassment.
This thing cost 500 billion yen …?
“Neete, how much does it cost to make a homunculus?”
“Hn? Homunculus were made by Tet-sama so that she could concentrate on her work. They don’t need money to be made.”
“Ah, I see.”
“However, she mentioned that it needs around 100 years to make. In order to form ego from magical power, patience as though dripping water onto a stone to bore a hole is needed to mutate the magical power. Furthermore, only one can be made at a time.”
It takes such a long time!?
In that case, Pionia, Neete and Sheena No.3 took 300 years when combined.
In Japan, 300 years ago would be the first half or middle of the Edo period?
It must have been when Shoguns were warring around.
So if she started then, she would finally form three people now.
At least if a town was built in this place, it would be possible to create a dungeon and have people manage it but there was no valuable resource here to cause the formation of a town so it would be difficult.
“But that miasma is perfect to conceal the jewel that is the source of my power. It is hidden in good condition within the miasma.”
Miri commented and continued further into the depths of the forest.
Along the way, a small clearing appeared and there was a cave in front of us but it was apparently just a bat’s nest and we proceeded further.
Past beast trails and over small streams.
There, we saw a cave.
A natural cave with a dark interior, unlike a dungeon.
I was fine with my dark vision skill but I should use Light Magic for the others’ sake – – but just as I had that thought.
“I have a flashlight desu.”
“I have it too.”
Sheena No.3 and Neete’s chests gave off strong lights.
“Why are your chests shining?!”
“That’s a given. It is a flashlight after all. A light from chest so it is natural?”
(TL: The joke is lost in translation. Basically, in Japanese the word for flashlight is ‘Pocket Light’ and ‘Pocket’ can also mean ‘Chest or Breast’.)
If that was natural then a pocket watch would be a watch on the chest.
A chest watch would then just be an internal clock.
“I can emit light from my entire body too desu.”
Sheena No.3 said and her entire body started shining.
I felt that was better.
“Neete too, please shine with your entire body.”
“I can but the fuel economy is terrible. Master, could you replenish my magical power later?”
“Sure, I’ll give you as much as you want.”
I was mentally tired so I promised her without considering it.
I was finally able to relax with Haru and Carol yesterday night but now I accumulated mental fatigue from this meaningless banter.
We entered the cave while having those pointless conversations.
Perhaps because it was above a stream, the inside of the cave was a little damp and mushrooms were growing here and there. The mushrooms were red or purple so they were probably poisonous.
I looked at them with Plant Appraisal from Harvester and sure enough, they were poisonous mushrooms so I left them alone.
After advancing further, I felt a strong presence.
While proceeding carefully, we came across a huge dragon lying down.
In conditioned reflex, I tried to cast magic but Miri stopped me.
“Onii, it’s all right. This dragon is a race that only eats mushrooms.”
“But there are broken swords and such on the ground. It seems to have been from a fight against this dragon …”
There were not only swords but also other objects that were clearly dropped by humans.
“That was in self-defense. It doesn’t wish to fight but it must protect itself if danger approaches. If I was in its shoes, I would fight too.”
“Dragon scales, horns, bones, flesh, blood, and internal organs especially the heart are traded at exorbitant prices. This may have been the work of adventurers aiming to strike rich quick.”
I see. They probably chose this dragon because it was a peaceful dragon that only eats mushrooms.
The dragon probably found it troublesome.
“Oh right, we still have some mushrooms left.”
We should still have the mushrooms that I collected in large quantities with Carol when I was traveling with Haru and Carol and camped out.
“Carol, could I take some? Maybe it would be happy to try mushrooms that can’t be found around here.”
With Carol’s approval, I took out the mushrooms from my item bag.
Upon doing so, the dragon slowly opened its eyes and approached me.
“Here here, you want to eat this, right? Here, try it.”
I said and tossed the mushrooms at the dragon. It opened its mouth to catch them and started chewing.
It seemed quite cute when it did that.
I see. This dragon was likely to be the guardian god of this island.
“How about you defeat this dragon after becoming a Demon Lord? Your level would shoot up at once.”
There was no way I could kill such a harmless dragon.
Miri replied with ‘what a waste. The wasteful ghost will come and haunt you.’ But I can’t kill what I don’t wish to kill.
In that case, our goal was deeper in the case.
“There’s nothing at all.”
“There isn’t even a cat desu.”
Neete and Sheena No.3 commented as their entire body glowed.
After reaching this deep, no mushrooms were growing.
“It is a dragon’s cave, even though the dragon is gentle. Beasts won’t be able to approach so easily.”
Carol’s reasoning was sound.
If I wasn’t strong, I wouldn’t want to enter a dragon’s cave.
“Miri, so is the jewel located at the end of this cave?”
“Yes, probably near that wall.”
Miri said and started feeling around the rock wall.
Was there a hidden button? I thought but it was just a normal blind spot on the rock wall and she took out a jewel from the gap in the wall.
“ … It feels strange to get our hands on it so normally.”
I was prepared for at least a fight with a strong boss.
Well, it was good, I guess we can return from there.
“Miri and girls, hold onto me.”
All members grabbed hold of me after I said that.
Haru and Carol were in my party so I could transfer without them grabbing me but it was okay.
I cast the spell … but something unusual like accidentally transferring to Margaret-san’s place instead of returning to My World didn’t happen.
Or rather, nothing happened at all.
“The magic didn’t activate? In that case, Haru, please open the door to My World.”
I couldn’t use my Hikikomori skills for certain reasons so I request Haru to do so.
Haru tried opening the door to My World but it didn’t work as well.
Neete’s Escape didn’t work either. Well, we were not in a dungeon so that was expected.
I tried casting Petite Fire but it didn’t activate either.
Did this cave have the ability to seal magic?
There was no other way than to walk out.
I started walking with that thought in mind but.
I sensed a presence.
I see, it seemed that the effects of my skills other than magic were still working.
But it was not the presence of a dragon.
I cautioned everyone and climbed up the cave before encountering somebody I didn’t expect to see.
“Yo, hasn’t it been a long time?”
The man said and scratched his head like it was a hassle.
A bald man – – Hag, the magician who traveled with the Hero.
Why was he here?
“You look like you want to ask why I am here? Of course, it is to defeat you lot. Alle that bastard is still a Hero. If he met you guys, he would probably fight you all fair and square. But you guys are not only borrowing the power of four goddesses, one of you is a former Demon Lord. Besides, you have recovered two of the Demon Lord jewels. We won’t be able to beat you if you gather any more power. So I will crush you here.”
“That’s a devilish strategy unthinkable for a Hero’s companion.”
“Because you lot are sneakily conspiring. Even though we left a message telling you to stay in the Kingdom of Arundel, you came to such a place. Are you lot Amanojaku?” (TL: Amanojaku are demons capable of seeing into a person’s heart and provoking a person’s darkest desires.)
“We are making our preparations as well. Even heroes have to prepare to fight the Demon Lord, right?”
I said as I slowly closed the distance.
It’s okay, the opponent is a magician.
In a place where magic can’t be used, he can’t compete with us.
“You lot are imagining that I would be weak because I can’t use magic, right? Have you considered that I was the one who made it such that magical power couldn’t be used in this cave? I alone am enough to crush you lot.”
Hag said and took out a magic talisman.
Shit, even though magic can’t be used, he could still use magic talismans.
I was wary of the magic talisman that would fly toward us as I held my sword.
“You’re mistaken, Onii! He is not aiming for us!”
Miri said at the same time Hag threw the magic talisman.
The magic talisman Hag threw flew toward the cave ceiling.
Shit, does he intend to cause a cave-in and bury us alive!?
Just as I had that thought.
Three arrows flew, one of which struck the talisman Hag threw.
I used magic talismans as well so I knew that they would not have any effect once the part where the characters were drawn was torn.
Hag turned around and saw the elite Dark Elves including Rarael.
“We’ve been fighting for years, Hag. I knew that you wouldn’t miss this perfect timing. I didn’t imagine you would directly do it but thought it would not be strange if you at least sent some assassins.” (Miri)
“To be safe, I deployed the Dark Elves in a separate squad and had them standby once we landed on the uninhabited island.”
The island was mostly forest after all.
For them who live in a large forest, it was not difficult for them to hide their presence in the forest.
I didn’t use the Hikikomori skill because I already used it on the island so if Hag didn’t attack, the Dark Elves would withdraw using that door.
I didn’t expect them to come to our aid at such opportune timing though.
“As expected of someone who stayed on the Demon Lord throne for over a thousand years. But, I am not rendered worthless so easily – -”
Hag said and tried to use another magic talisman but froze.
“You’re probably working on a spell to transfer but you know that won’t work, right?”
“Miri, what’s happening?”
“Skill 『Demon Lord Barrier』 – you often see it in games, right?”
Miri explained while exuding intimidation.
“You can’t run from the Demon Lord. It is a skill that deprives the opponent of the energy to escape.”
“You remembered that skill?”
“Yup, just recently. Hag, you may have wanted to trap us but I have plenty to ask you. You will be coming with us. You can forget about escaping.”
“I see, the Demon Lord’s strength is weaker now but it is still powerful.”
Hag commented and took something out of his sleeve before crushing it.
“Master, I sense an intense stench.”
“Poison!? Do you plan to bring us down with you!?”
“No, some of you could probably detoxify an airborne poison. You may have the skill to extract information from a corpse. So I have decided to leave the stage.”
“I told you it is impossible to leave.”
“Yeah, you did.”
Immediately after Hag said that.
A Dark Elf noticed it.
“Everyone attack! Protect Ichinojo-sama!”
Under Rarael’s command, the Dark Elves shot arrows toward the back.
Was it a new enemy!?
The gentle dragon from before appeared.
The dragon charged while ignoring the Dark Elf arrows.
No, that was wrong.
It was not attacking us. It was aiming straight for Hag.
That figure reminded me of Centaur running toward tomatoes.
Don’t tell me – –
“You – -”
“The conversation ends here. A big fish came after catching this scent – -”
Hag couldn’t continue his sentence.
He was completely swallowed by the dragon.
He probably had a strong-scented mushroom like matsutake mushroom or truffles. The dragon loved it and swallowed him with it.
“Why did he go that far – -”
“That was how serious Hag was. If he wanted to lock us in, he should have destroyed the entrance before meeting us. The reason he took the trouble to fight against us was that he wanted to show his resolve to me. Something along the lines of ‘The Hero and Demon Gods are trying to protect this world with this amount of resolve. Do you guys have the same resolve?’”
Miri said as she picked up the unused transfer talisman on the ground.
Isn’t that fighting on the premise that you expect yourself to lose?
If that was the case, if Miri allowed him to leave without using Demon Lord Barrier – – no, if his transfer talisman destination was this island, Hag would probably attack us to the bitter end.
In the end, this journey to become a Demon Lord has left us with lingering unpleasant feelings.