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Knight Leader Cody’s Request
1 – Hero of the Holy Sword’s Visit
One week later, Mylarka, the princess, and also Eileen, came by again during the night shift. The room that I brought the three of them to was covered by a curtain so that other people can’t peek inside, but it was still pretty close to the counter, so I could listen to a part of their conversation.
“Mylarka, how has the academy been recently? Though I heard that you were doing some flashy experiments.”
“I destroyed some buildings with various materials using magic, I’m researching methods to efficiently siege a castle. But the only one that was able to execute it was me, so I’m just trying to find a more generalized method.”
“Even though the demon lord was subjugated, the group of monsters called [Strays] still remained, and they built a fortress. When they started troubling the townspeople in the area, Mylarka raided that fort and…”
“Orcs and Ogres, and Troll-types have high reproduction capabilities, so it’s dangerous to leave them alone. To be honest it should’ve been the guild’s job, but it seems like the request fee was too expensive so they couldn’t put up a request.”
Mylarka actually helped people like a proper hero huh, that’s pretty admirable. Though I was eavesdropping on them, I didn’t really want to hear about the magic experiment.
“Even though the demons in my kingdom aren’t acting violently anymore, they still do some damage, huh…”
“They’ve decreased by a lot, though. There are some demons coming in through the national border as well, and some also come from the sky. There is no other way but to defeat them whenever they come.
“Is that so? Also on the topic of flying monsters, recently there have been sightings of a firedrake in the forest near the capital. It’s breeding season, which made them leave the scarce volcanic area and fly over here to find food.”
There have been talks about a pair of firedrakes appearing and causing trouble for the people who work in the forest. If there was a request brought in to the guild I would react, but there’s none so far.
“Master, do you have no interest in hunting firedrakes?”
“It’s kinda hard to get dragon materials around here… I guess I do. But, doing something like that stands out. Even if I were to make a move I’ll need some preparation.”
“Preparations… I see. The firedrake that’s making the people suffer, you can’t leave it alone is what you’re saying.”
“Verlane-san, here’s an order~. Please chat with the “Customer” in moderation, and do your job~”
When it’s night shift, the waitress that I’ve hired part-time came to work. Originally she was a pickpocket from the slums, she was also registered a thief by the guild members.
“I’ve received the order. Dear customer, please excuse me.”
“Yeah. I’ll drink adequately.”
She is called Verlane Elsane, it was the demon lord’s real name. The people in the capital only recognized her as [Demon Lord], so even if she called herself that, nobody should realize that she is the demon lord.
“Hey, Eileen. That elf maid, she’s been working regularly for some time, but does it really not bother you?”
Noticed as expected—even if she disguised herself her face didn’t change. And Mylarka didn’t overlook that.
“You’ll find out if you talk to her, but Verlane-san is a good person, ya know. She saves the bar a lot of trouble, and Dick is also happy, no?”
“…Hmmph. Maybe she’s trying to trap Dick, Don’t you feel the danger?”
I felt a shock from Mylarka’s intuition. Seems like Verlane remembered the apron attack incident as well, from the inside of the counter her cheeks slightly reddened.
“Isn’t it fine? Since she’s trying hard every day in order to be recognized by Dick.”
“Recognized…Oh, um, you two. That elf lady, is she trying to win over Dick-sama’s affection?”
Was it fine for the princess to be in the bar at this time? I worried, but it seems like today she’s staying over at Mylarka’s place in order to consult her about her studies. Although it’s no different than nightlife, I guess as long as they don’t get found out it’s fine.
“hmmmm, I wonder. Seems like she’s just trying to take back an item that she left in Dick’s care, though.”
“She’s just using that as an excuse to work, I wonder if Dick realized it yet… Sometimes he can be pretty stupid. I need to tell him properly.”
“Mylarka, There’s something called freedom to work, so isn’t it fine? If possible, I would also be in this bar with Dick-sama…”
“As I thought… You really don’t think about anything else but Dick.”
“S-Sorry. Because Dick-sama helped me with the Duke problem, I was happy…”
I’m just glad I’m not being called over to that girl’s gathering, if I were to be called I wouldn’t feel like I can run away, in a lot of different meanings.
And so, when I tried to run away from my problems with booze, the bar’s doorbell rang—a customer with a plain dark brown overcoat came in, their face was hidden by the deep hood, and he approached me at the counter.
“The seat next to you, it’s free, right?”
“Yeah, it’s free.”
“When you come to my bar, make sure to not stand out”—one of the customers that I told that to.
[Sparkling Holy Sword – Cody]. To me, he was a friend that I would welcome anytime.
Taking off the hood, Cody showed his refreshing smile as usual. His complexion as well, compared to the last time he came by, it looked much better.
“Customer, what will you order?”
“Can I get some cold ale?”
Even without saying anything, Verlane-san already understood and gave me another serving of ale. We toasted our jockeys together, and then Cody drank about half of his ale in one go.
“Phew… That was great. As expected, this bar’s ale is special.”
“The supplier is from a different source compared to the other bars after all. Depending on the materials and the one making it, the taste of ale can be greatly altered.”
“You’re as obsessed with it as usual, Dick. If it’s you, no matter that kind of store you decide to open, it would definitely be unique.”
“I just felt like drinking some good liquor. The better the bar’s service gets, the harder it is to see its original state.”
I chat with Cody without concealing anything. Disguising as a bar, it was a ploy to conceal the superiority of my guild—that fact was not something I’ve said to a lot of people.
Cody drank the remaining ale, and started eating the side dishes that were served. Looking at him while he was doing that, rather than a knight leader, you really can’t see him as anything other than a knight drinking together with his friend.
“About the princess, that was your doing, wasn’t it?”
“Mylarka also said that she saw the match, so I thought that there was a chance that you saw it as well… So to the people who know of my magic, it’s clear as day, huh.”
“Nah, I didn’t sense any traces of magic. But looking at that [Feeling of enhancement], it made me remember the old days. It was completely just my intuition, though.”
“And so you went to find me, huh. Jeez, you really are an honest guy.”
“Hahaha… But wasn’t it the same with Mylarka? If you show something like that, it’s inevitable that she would come here. Being interested in what you’re doing and all.”
Cody said all that, but she has always been regularly showing coming in the bar. Her handmaid was gone so the amount of times she’ll show up here should increase.
“hn… This side dish is also delicious. Are they some kind of fried fruit?”
“They’re deep-fried blaze walnuts. You can eat it raw, but it stings because of how hot it is and leaves a spicy taste.”
“eh… This spiciness is pretty addictive.”
I also brought the blaze walnuts to my mouth, and savored the spiciness—this was definitely the best cooking method for it. It also goes perfectly with the ale.
But as if he was thinking about something, Cody was looking at the small plate that held the blaze walnuts without doing anything. When he had this face on, it usually meant he has something serious to discuss—this time was no exception.
“Dick, There’s one thing I would like to ask of you. If possible I didn’t want to trouble you by bringing you work, but it was something that I couldn’t request to anyone but you.”
“I refuse. Is what I want to say… but it depends on the details. There’s nothing impossible for my guild, but that doesn’t mean we will do anything.”
I peeked at Mylarka and the others wondering if they heard us, but they were still gossiping about the recent stuff, they still haven’t realized that Cody came in the bar.
“So, what did you want to ask?”
“One of my subordinates, a female knight called Timis. She leads an army of a hundred soldiers, but now she’s trying to hunt the firedrake that appeared in the east forest of the capital.”
“A hundred troops… Um, what’s that knight, Timis’s combat power?”
“1840 points. Her number equals a C-ranked adventurer.”
If they lead a thousand troops, they barely rival a B-rank adventurer in combat power.
As for the difficulty level of a firedrake subjugation, with a party of six A-ranked adventurers, they could barely complete it. In other words, that female knight called Timis, if she goes on a firedrake hunt like this she will definitely fail, and if she wasn’t careful she could lose her life.
“If she wants to do something that reckless, as long as you don’t allow it, its fine, right?”
“That is… His Highness the King himself gave me a direct order. To let Timis do what she wants as long as it’s possible. If she works hard enough for a promotion, he wants me to give her my aid.”
“… I don’t really want to ask, but what’s that Timis’s relationship with the king?”
“She’s the daughter of the king’s concubine. Ever since a young age, she’s had talent for martial arts, and as a spear user she is superior compared to officers of the same rank. She is too impatient on gaining glory and achievements, though.
Seems like to Timis, the firedrake appearing in the forest was a convenient source of glory.
“The legal child of the legal wife… Other than Princess Manarina, there is no other successor to the throne. So That’s why she’s trying to distinguish herself. But if you act by the king’s order and get Timis killed, that in itself is an issue.”
“Yeah… That’s why, I considered defeating the firedrake myself. But I’m the knight leader. I can’t really prepare a body double either, if I leave my post everyone around me would instantly notice.”
“…Well, I guess you’re right.”
“Timis’s party, they were looking for crucial information on hunting a firedrake, and they found their way to this bar. Can you make her able to win?”
Compared to the princess’s duel, the difficulty was on a completely different level—the opponent wasn’t a human, it was a firedrake. Going by combat power, an adult dragon would be at least 12,000 points. If against a 1,840-point knight, a single hit would destroy their armor, and a second would send their lives flying.
Even if Timis brought her subordinates, against multiple enemies the fire dragon would definitely use it’s breath to defeat them in a single swoop. If that happened, there would be a huge amount of casualties.
—but, there was a trick in hunting a firedrake. As long as they take that into account, being able to overturn the gap in combat power would not be strange.
“I can make her win. That Timis, let her get in contact with my guild members. “If you don’t want to sacrifice your subordinates pointlessly, borrow the strength of the guild on the 12th street”, tell her that.”
“…Thanks. Something as crazy as this, refusing would be the normal thing to do. In spite of that, you…”
“Nah, if it was impossible I would just refuse normally. If it’s absolutely impossible I won’t accept it, that’s my principle, after all.”
“Even so, I’m indebted to you. I put Timis’s life as my top priority, so I can’t grant her desire. Even if I were to put us in the same team, and let Timis get the last hit, I can’t erase the danger of her getting caught up in the firedrake’s last frenzy.
Regarding that, Cody being able to calmly decompile all of that was amazing—Just as he said, if a firedrake was driven into a corner, It would attempt to resist one last time, it going on a frenzy wasn’t all that rare.
Just when It’s about decided that Cody’s request was going to be accepted, Mylarka and the others came out of the private room. They found Cody, had a short greeting, and filled the open seats on the counter. The seats were crammed with me, Cody, Eileen, Mylarka, and Manarina.
“Ah, Cody’s complexion got better, did your worries go away?”
“Nah, this guy got involved with some troublesome stuff again. With Manarina’s arrangements, seems like everything more or less got easier for him, though.”
“Princess, I really caused you some trouble. Giving a report to the king, about the relationship between the nobles and the knight order…”
“It’s not good to keep talking about that, you’ll get Dick’s attention-phobia disease.
“The heck kind of disease is that… Well whatever, It’ll be great if you could stop talking about royal family stuff here.”
“Ahaha, although it surely is nostalgic. It’s been a long time since the four of us have been together, right?”
It could be said that the last one among the “Miracle Children”, Yuma was the busiest out of all of us. Even though she was only 14 years old, being the director of an orphanage, and also studying to be the next archbishop of the church, she barely has time for herself.
Though, it seems like Eileen and Mylarka visit her sometimes. I would also like to visit her, but only visiting her after hearing about that was slightly embarrassing.
“Customer, It’s almost time for the last order, but how may I help you?”
“U-Um… Dick-sama, may I ask you one thing? The liquor that you made for me, the [Special alcohol], can you make it again…?”
“Y-Yeah… Well, I don’t really mind. Now then, give me a few.”
I stealthily went into the kitchen, and blended enough liquor for the four of them.
I put my feelings of wanting to see Mylarka be a calmer lady in her drink, I made hers from cured Moonlit grass, and some Royal papain1 fruit juice.
Eileen liked strong alcohol, so I mixed the high alcohol content of dwarf fire booze, and some permafrost ice crystal for her drink. For Manarina’s, one of Albein kingdom’s finest sake, Cherry sake with cream, and in order for it to make it easy to drink, I added some syrup.
For Cody who loved ale, I just gave him a second serving of it. I also planned to just stick with ale for myself today.
“…Dick, where did you learn these recipes?”
“I tried a lot of stuff while self-studying. I have free time, after all…Oh, that’s right. Mylarka, I’ll ask just in case, but you’re old enough to drink, right?”
Mylarka looks like she realized something. Today should exactly be, Mylarka’s 16th birthday.
“…Ah! Mylarka, Isn’t today your birthday? Around a year ago you said that you still can’t drink alcohol, and if it’s next year then you would be able to drink, right?”
“Y-Yeah. It seems to be so.”
“I’m glad, it’s a coincidence but we’ll be able to celebrate together, huh. Ah… Maybe Dick knew that?”
Of course I didn’t, but Mylarka looked at me with eyes full of surprise.
The Sweet Disaster, thinking that I celebrated her birthday, and explosively raised her evaluation of me— if it comes to that, maybe she’ll get embarrassed. Something like that was too good to be…
“…Eh, Mylarka, What’s wrong?”
“Uh… N-No, Nothing. Just, something got into my eye…”
Eileen was worried, and Mylarka wiped her eyes with a handkerchief. Even so, seems like her tears aren’t stopping, and she kept her head hung low.
Everyone but Mylarka was staring at me intently. Even Cody who was useless with women himself, “Say something” was what his face was saying, what a meddlesome guy. Eileen also had the same face on.
“…U-Um, We-ll you see, err, If it’s your birthday, it’s something to be celebrated for, right?”
“Uwaa, He’s being crazy vague. He’s doing all he can to hide his embarrassment.”
“Mylarka, Happy birthday. At a time like this, shouldn’t we bring our glasses together and say “Cheers”…?”
With the princess’s words, seems like Mylarka noticed that she couldn’t hide it anymore, and raised her head while her eyes were still red, and with a face that says “Do you have a problem?” glared at me. I couldn’t do anything but return her an awkward smile.
“Customer, I’ll let you take the lead.”
“Why the hell are you drinking? You’re on duty, aren’t you?”
“I’m part of the bar’s staff, Even if I were to join and drink, wouldn’t it be fine?”
While she was saying that it was her privilege as a bar staff, Verlane poured expensive liquor in a glass and brought it over. Coupled with her transcendental elf aura, she looked exceedingly fitting for the occasion.
2 – The Young Female Knight and Two People’s Request
And then, 2 days later during the early afternoon. Wearing the special-colored dark brown overcoat to signify a client like a haori2, a single female knight, and a single tiger beastwoman, and lastly, a man that seemed to be an archer who was in his late-20s came in.
Looking at the female knight’s physical appearance, I can clearly see—her face looked similar to Manarina’s. but wearing an armor, and carrying a spear on her back made her look manly. She stuck out her magnificent chest with pride while walking, which made it clear that she took pride in being a warrior. She is most likely Timis.
The beastwoman beside her was carrying a [Katana]—a blade that was made from a Far East country using a special forging method, its strength and cutting edge was way different compared to the common longsword in this country. It showed that her job was a Sword Master.
The female knight and beastwoman gave the me who was just sitting on the counter a glance, but they didn’t perceive me as anything but a customer. Then the female knight initiated a conversation with Verlane.
“This is the [Silver Mug] correct? I am the Albein kingdom’s knight order—“
“Customer, there is no need to reveal your identity here. This is a place solely to enjoy liquor to the fullest.”
“Y-Yes… I’m sorry, I’m not used to places like these.”
“May I receive your order?”
“[Milk]. If there’s none [Something that I can only drink here, your recommended liquor], please.”
“Understood. Is [This store’s special blend] fine?”
“Yes, make it [An original just for me].”
The passwords were fulfilled, the female knight was gazing silently at Verlane. Verlane smiled, and then the female knight breathed a sigh of relief.
“Aah, I’m glad. As expected this place is real.”
“…Timis-sama, as I suspected there is no need for us to make a request in this kind of run-down guild. That firedrake, I’ll cut it down with my katana.”
“Raia, I also think so. If you and I work together, a firedrake is no match for us.”
I listen to their conversation and think. This is the reason why Cody was troubled.
Although Timis only had power equaling a C-ranked adventurer, she had absolute confidence that she could defeat a firedrake. Seems like she also believed in the tiger beastwoman. Even just from my eyes alone, she had power rivalling an A-rank— but that meant she only had a combat power value of a mere 6,000.
Assembling 6 A-ranked adventurers, and if they demonstrated great teamwork, only then with their party combat power could possibly turn over a victory over the firedrake. But if it was only Raia, then it wouldn’t even be close to being enough. Just by looking at the other male member, I could see that his combat power was only around a B-rank’s at best.
“Raia-sama and the man over there, what is your relationship with Timis-sama?”
“Raia and McKinley are my guards. Is there any problem?”
“No, there is no problem, just before we can accept your request, we will need to be informed of your party, was what I was trying to tell you.”
In the first place, a knight having guards was pretty weird, but I guess that was because she is the daughter of the king’s concubine.
Anyway, that beast-human called Raia, she had tiger-like ears on top of her head, and parts of her body were covered with hair, but she mostly looked just like a human. She seemed around 20 years old, her hair was short, and she had an eye patch on one side.
Her equipment looked a little light for a vanguard, but I guess it’s because she doesn’t want her speed to be slowed down.
McKinley had a medium build and his muscles were so-so. He had a heavy-looking crossbow-like weapon—an arbalest3 on his shoulders. An arbalest could shoot larger arrows than a normal crossbow, so it can be used in a firedrake hunt which the bow and arrow was useless in.
“The one who recommended this bar was my trusted colleague. That was why I came here to give it a look, but I did not come here to beg for help. If you possess advantageous information for a firedrake hunt, that was enough.”
The “Trusted colleague” Timis mentioned, meant that she really was Cody’s loyal subordinate. A knight order member acting for their own sake, this hot-blooded female knight was someone that I couldn’t understand at all.
“In order to lessen your worries, I assure you that the information in this guild will definitely be useful. If you wish to successfully subjugate a firedrake, I would like for you to promise one thing. That you will definitely obey our orders.”
Verlane wasn’t budging an inch. Raia’s gaze was getting sharper by the second, but she didn’t say anything. Timis also seemed like she was deep in thought, I don’t think she is hasty enough to just leave without making a request here.
“I need to hunt a firedrake no matter what. In order to gain father’s recognition, and for my mother as well.”
Raia was truly concerned about her master’s well-being. She really should have stopped Timis from doing something this reckless, but she probably prioritized fulfilling her master’s wish.
“If you follow our orders, Timis-sama’s 3-man party will survive, and we guarantee the firedrake subjugation will be a success. I can reveal to you half of our plans, and then you can decide for yourself.”
“…No, just the information itself was already worth it, so if I listened to half of your plans and refused, it would be unbecoming of me. Your sincerity, I will answer it with my own. Sorry for our impoliteness.”
“If you’re going to say it that way, it makes us happy as well. Please seat yourself over there. I will prepare your drinks.”
Timis wasn’t just overflowing with confidence, she had enough composure to try to find a way to raise her chance of victory. As long as they obeyed the orders, their chances wont decrease.
3 – Firedrake’s Ecology and Subjugation Instructions.
“First I would like to confirm, how much do you know about a firedrake’s ecology?”
“Ecology and whatever, why do we need to know those? Originally, they are magic beasts that inhabited the dangerous volcanic region. Just observing them was already dangerous.”
Verlane listened to that response, and took out a parchment book. And then, showed Timis the cover of the book.
“..…[Guide on How to hunt a firedrake]…?”
“Tch… Are you mocking my lady? What is the meaning of this notebook?!”
Raia was even easier to piss off than I expected, she roughly stood up from her seat and started hounding Verlane. But because she was a former demon lord, she wasn’t concerned and received Raia’s gaze head-on.
“The one who wrote this… Duke Solver was without doubt, the one who is the most knowledgeable about firedrakes. Thus by utilizing this notebook, a B-rank adventurer would be able to subjugate a firedrake.”
“…Duke Solver…I haven’t heard of him.”
“A B-rank adventurer winning against a firedrake… If something like that was possible, Duke Solver should be more famous. And so, that notebook should be more widely circulated.”
There’s no way it would be widely circulated—even if you were to try and find someone named Duke Solver, they won’t be able to find him.
“That Duke Solver, does he possess enough power to hunt a firedrake alone?”
This was the first time McKinley opened his mouth. He was silent so I thought he had a tough man’s tone, but unexpectedly he spoke like a normal young man. You really can’t judge someone based on their looks.
“What do we need to do in order to borrow his strength… was what I wanted to say, but that’s impossible, in order to raise the Ojou’s achievements, that method is unusable.”
“McKinley, call her [Ojou-sama]. How many times do I need to tell you to call her Ojou-sama until you understand?”
“Eh alright, Ojou-sama. Please forgive my impudence.”
Raia was the serious-type, while McKinley seemed to be the easygoing type. He finally took off his hood. His hair color was in the middle of gray and black, his eyes looked very calming.
Timis took out a ribbon, and held it in her mouth, and then raised her long black hair, and started arranging it. And then with a face that looked deadly serious, she received the book, and flipped its pages.
The hand that flipped that page trembled. And so, she kept turning the pages—.
“This is… S-Something like this, how in the world did he investigate this…?”
Timis opened a certain page, and showed it to Raia who was sitting next to her. Raia saw that, and then opened her eyes wide in shock.
“…Three times a day, at set times, firedrakes will definitely drink water… the watering place was limited, it can’t drink water except ones with a special type of underground water with a certain mineral in it. In order to create new scales, firedrakes needed to absorb that mineral…”
Raia kept reading while being unable to suppress her voice, was the situation at hand. I guess that was just how much the content shocked her. It was the same for McKinley who was looking from the side.
“This guy is amazing… Duke Solver, who in the world is he? Thoroughly investigating the firedrake, giving a detailed analysis of its ecology, and transforming it into useful hints. How was he able to study them this much?”
Their respect for Duke Solver was skyrocketing. It would have been a pain if they said that the notebook was full of bullcrap, so this is favorable.
“Do you understand now? If you knew of the firedrake’s ecology beforehand, your subjugation success rate would rise by a lot.”
I also had an opportunity to study them before, but because this subjugation request came in, I went to Belforn forest in order to see the firedrake that flew over and revised the information in the notebook. The time for when the firedrake went for a drink was a bit off, and I updated some parts of the map of the forest where there was a huge change, so that the notebook was fine-tuned for this subjugation.
However, if the C-ranked Timis was to participate as-is, it wasn’t something so easy that she will be able to come out unscathed. With her only having a combat power of 1,840, There was still a need to raise her power to a B-rank’s—3,000 points.
“Shopkeep, give me [The special] milk. And also, another two.”
The milk that was prepared this time, was one rank above what Manarina drank.
Giant behemoth’s milk. As long as it had breasts, you could attain the tremendous life force and preservability of the behemoth, with my buff magic as an intermediary the milk became a top-class drink. If I don’t use this, I wouldn’t be able to raise her combat power by 1,500
“…Milk? I wanted to order some other drinks, though…”
“Ojou-sama, don’t pay any attention to that drunk. Right now we need to focus on the request.”
“I’ll treat you guys as well. Being so on edge all the time, it must have been hard.”
For McKinley’s I ordered [Secret pomegranate with syrup]-flavored rum, for Raia, [Salamander’s kotsuzake5], and for Timis, behemoth milk.
Looking at the glass sliding atop the counter, McKinley raised his voice to let out an [Ooh], Raia had a look of confusion, Timis—unlike her sister, looked my way and let out a laugh.
“You were worried about my age, so you ordered milk, huh. In the knight order there is no age discrimination, though.”
“It’s a bit early for the missy. You should eat some cookies alongside that milk.”
“…What a rude man. Do you think your rude behavior is allowed just because this is a bar?”
“Well, isn’t it fine. This bar seems trustworthy, there is no way the mister put any poison in it, anyway. I can do the poison testing for you if you want, what will you do?”
“If this is the bar’s way of doing things, then we will do as the Romans do.”
Timis said that, and brought the milk to her mouth. With this, the first stage was cleared—nobody but I knew this, but compared to a few seconds ago, she is twice as powerful now. Even then, she was still the weakest in the party, being on the vanguard as the tank was still a tall order for her. Though, the cookies got that covered. The more you fry the blaze walnuts, the better the smell gets, and the spiciness also go away. Knead those blaze walnuts in paste to make marble cookies—while it also improves the taste, it also improved the enhancement properties even more depending on how it was cooked.
“hm… Delicious. Are these walnut cookies? But I’ve never tasted something like this. It smells nice, and tastes slightly bittersweet.”
“I’m glad it suits your tastes, dear customer.”
Verlane smiled sweetly. Timis took the initiative to eat, and so her guards followed suit—McKinley was slightly happy, Raia still had her strict look, but at the moment she drank the liquor, it seemed to loosen.
“Uoooh, It’s spreading all over my body… it’s refreshingly sweet. This booze is pretty nice.”
“Raia, you drank it in a single gulp… I know I’ve said this already but you’ll destroy your body, you know.”
“I beg your pardon, Ojou-sama. But the liquor was better than I expected so…”
Raia’s face reddened, she felt a bit loosened up now. The tiger beastmen were supposed to be able to hold their alcohol, but it seemed like it didn’t mean they were unable to get drunk.
“…We, in order to hunt the firedrake, we just need to read this notebook?”
“Basically, yes. But let me warn you in advance. This is the only time you will be able to hunt a firedrake using the method in this book. Since the forest’s condition changes quite frequently.”
“I understand. Even if we can only hunt it once, that is enough.”
With this the request was completed—sike.
I was interested in the firedrake’s materials, so just subjugating it wasn’t enough.
“There is another condition. The plan is not to subjugate it, rather, please attempt to capture it. As proof of Timis-sama being successful in repelling the firedrake, we will let you bring back the drake’s scale. As for the handling of the captured firedrake, please leave it to our guild.”
Being able to repel a firedrake, Timis should receive considerable merits. And also, the knight order usually doesn’t have any interest in raw materials—and as expected, Timis and the others accepted that condition. I had no intention of working for free, so with this, I should be able to achieve my goal as well.
4 – Magic Runes and Commencement of the Strategy
days after the request in my guild, Timis’s group received an
explanation of the strategy for the firedrake subjugation from
Verlane, made proper arrangements beforehand, and used a map and
pieces to recreate a virtual battleground on the table, and started
conversing to reach a successful conclusion.
“For a method to prepare a strategy like this to exist is… It’s as if we’re playing sugoroku6.”
“Rather than sugoroku, it’s more like an examination board. I’ve memorized the firedrake’s movement patterns. But well, being able to actually pull it off is…”
McKinley was shouldering an important role. A B-ranked adventurer didn’t have perfect aim, but he needed to get in a sniping position, and when Timis draws the firedrake’s attention and makes it do a specific action, launch a special arrow—that was the vital point of the strategy.
the firedrake doesn’t move according to our predictions, I will
prioritize Ojou-sama’s safety. Though I don’t want to think about
the chance for this much compiled information to be useless …”
“No, please don’t think too much about me. At this rate I’ll only be holding everyone back… Just by hearing the explanation, I can already grasp the firedrake’s true power… it is on a whole different level than the low-class monsters and orcs that I’ve defeated up until now…”
Looking at the Timis who was saying that with a docile face, Verlane asked her a question.
“Timis-sama, excuse me for inquiring. Why are you so obsessed with the firedrake?”
“That is…It’s the knight order’s rule. If I don’t defeat a monster on par with a firedrake, I can’t receive a promotion review to become the vice-leader of the order of the knights.”
“A position… is it. Timis-sama, what do you plan on doing with the position of vice-leader of the order of the knights?”
“…There is someone that I want to meet. It’s someone so grand, to the point that I cannot meet her face-to-face, but I respect that someone a lot.”
Surely there’s no way it’s a love affair—well, her being a girl around that age then it’s not impossible I guess. Being in their youths meant that they keep going left and right according to their instincts, it was a delicate period.
“Wielding the blade by her own will while being a woman, disagreeing with the marriage and dueling the duke with her pride on the line, the magnificently triumphant Manarina onee-sama, with the position of vice-leader of the knight order I would like to meet her for just a day…”
My prediction was destroyed instantly—to think the one that Timis wanted to meet was Manarina.
Timis and Manarina were sisters from a different mother. Seems like Timis held no negative feelings for Manarina, who was the daughter of the king’s legal wife, instead, she held deep respect for her.
“…The matter of me being Princess Manarina’s sister, I wasn’t trying to hide it. My mother was a regular woman, she received the king’s backing, but she received the jealousy of the other concubines who were of noble origin. With the achievements I’m trying to raise, I want to change the situation, and protect my mother.”
The second reason, it was fitting for someone trying to raise their merit by defeating a firedrake.
If Timis said she wanted to see her older sister, then I can make sure she will be able to meet her. As for the situation with Timis’s mother, changing it in a day would be difficult—though it wasn’t impossible.
“Timis-sama’s resolution, it has been properly conveyed. The plan will be carried out tomorrow. Please relax yourself today, in order to prepare for tomorrow’s trip. I will pray for your safe return.”
“Yes, teacher! …just kidding, receptionist lady!”
“O-Ojou-sama…even though you already behaved like a knight, if you do that, your efforts would be in…”
“Hahaha, isn’t it fine? It’s been a while since I felt like I took a lesson.”
After asking Timis for her age, she said she was still a young 14-year old. Leading a hundred men at that age was pretty incredible, even without subjugating the firedrake, she will definitely become a big-shot in future.
—whoops, almost forgot. I tapped the counter two times, without being noticed by the three. Verlane noticed that signal, and approached me.
I pretended to give her my order slip, and let Verlane handle a [Certain magic]. When our hands touched, Verlane’s cheeks reddened a bit, but she pretended to be calm and passed me some liquor and side dishes, and then went back to Timis’s group.
“A-Ahem. Timis-sama, before hunting a firedrake, there one last thing we need to do. On that body, will you let me write runes on your body?”
“Runes… after we do that, will it be effective in the firedrake hunt?”
“Yes. Due to unavoidable circumstances, we need to write it around Timis-sama’s chest. I’ve prepared an exclusive room for it, may I lead you to the room?”
“…Is it a must? If you try anything strange…”
“Raia, It’s fine. Since we’re both girls, it’s not that embarrassing”
“I’ll be using a brush so it might tickle a little, but it should end quickly” was what she explained, and Verlane brought Timis away.
“…Raia and I have no need for it, right?”
“Wha-What are you expecting. McKinley, if you dare to imagine Ojou-sama’s state while having the runes written, I’ll cut you down.”
“N-No… I was just a bit curious. Can you not glare at me like that?”
The runes use a special type of paint, it goes away after a few days so there should be no problem. While I tell myself that, I also thought that I may be worrying too much—but, I’ve already promised him so it can’t be helped.”
I already said “I definitely won’t let Timis die”. The runes were insurance in order to keep my promise with Cody.
By the way, I could eavesdrop on the conversation during the process of writing the runes that the two in the treatment room were doing using magic, so I thought I might as well listen in for a bit.
“You can’t move, with this paint, unless a certain amount of time passes it’s inerasable…That’s good, good girl…”
“…It’s embarrassing, receptionist lady… I’m a knight, unlike miss receptionist, so I have some muscles…”
“It’s something inevitable due to getting stronger. You have trained well for being so young. Since you exercise, the parts below your chest is pretty thin, you are growing healthily as well.”
“It gets in the way when I swing a sword, so I don’t really want it to get any bigger than this… but does this guild also receive that kind of consultation?”
“My master knows of a real way to make them bigger, but I don’t believe he knows how to make them smaller.”
“I-Is that so… What do you do when you want them to get bigger?”
“Using the skills called “The God’s Right Hand”, and “Satan’s Left Hand”. In order to make a woman’s breasts get bigger, they need to be in a constant state of ecstasy, The master was also called by his title of [The forgotten fifth]…”
“A-Amazing… someone like that was in this guild? There is also Duke-san, it’s a gathering of great people…”
The demon lord was feeding bullshit to Timis, thinking that I wasn’t there. Where on earth did she get that kind of delusion? I need to make her confess to it herself later—
Raia and McKinley were silently staring at me with a weirded out look while I decided that.
The next day, when Timis’s group started the firedrake hunt, I was sitting at the bar’s counter.
Half past six in the morning, there was still time before the bar opens. While Verlane was preparing to open the bar, she lightly put a jockey of black ale in front of me. The black ale was of finer quality than normal ale, but the production output was little, so I can’t drink it except when it’s stocked.
I brought the jockey to my lips, and let the bubbly cold ale flow down my throat. For me booze was pretty much a substitute to water—all thanks to the godsend that was healing magic.
“…Master. Compared to last night, seems like [Your magic decreased]. Is it better to just believe that it’s just my imagination?”
Verlane was a former demon lord, of course she would be able to sense changes magic. I laughed, I didn’t give her an answer.
“It’s been five years since my fight with master… [Miracle Children] sure are scary. Against master whose magic power was for some reason decreased, even I…”
“…Verlane, Give me a bit. I’m [Drunk to hell and back as usual]. Call me again when it’s been about [One hour].”
The elf with flax-colored elf was slightly slow on understanding my words—and then she smiled.
“Don’t worry, Even if master was [Not here in mind], I wouldn’t even think of stealing the amulet.”
“…Yeah. I’ll trust you…”
“…I might pull a prank or two, though. Until the store opens, it’s just me and master, after all.”
“Do it in moderation…As long as I don’t receive a shock…”
“A drunkard losing consciousness”, that was it.
Even though it coincided with Timis and the others’ firedrake hunt—it was all just a simple coincidence.
—The firedrake hunting team’s morning was early.
When Timis’s party arrived at Belforn forest, they admired the terrain, which was accurate to what they were told, but they immediately pulled themselves together and headed to the place of their objective.
The contents of the notebook, and the tabletop drill, I remember them clearly. I will definitely pull this off.
While heading to the designated spot, Timis re-remembered the contents of Duke Solver’s book.
During breeding season, there was a period when male firedrakes leave the forest in order to check the situation of their nest in the volcanic area. According to that, the other half, the female firedrake will be the only one left in this forest.
The female firedrakes made their nest in one of the many caverns within the forest, and laid eggs. From that egg, a dragonling would soon be born. Firedrakes took care of their eggs inside their womb, they laid their eggs right before they hatch.
In order to restore their physical power after giving birth, the mother drake hunts forest animals, and it was also to provide their child with prey. It takes about three months for a dragonling to be able to spread their wings, and become able to fly and able to sit on top of their parent’s back. Around that time, the scarce season in the volcanic region should end, and they will go back to the volcanic region.
Firedrakes only act based on their instincts. Even then, the people were left with no choice, having their living place which was the forest get raided, sometimes they couldn’t do anything but fight.
Capture…that already hard-to-repel firedrake. Regardless, I’ll show them that I can do it…!
At this time, the firedrake leaves its cave. It’s leaving in order to do a ritual and to replenish its water supply.
6:36, the firedrake arrives at the watering place. Before that, Timis’s party arrived at a position where they could look over the watering place. In order to hide themselves, they covered themselves with a grass-woven mantle, and hid in a bush.
At that moment, Timis felt a bad feeling around her chest—and then, from inside her breastplate, something popped out of her chest with a hyun sound.
“A lampbug…? Did it enter Ojou-sama’s chest?”
“Entering her chest, what a great… er, no, I didn’t say anything.”
McKinley started blurting something out without thinking, and got glared by Raia. Timis was lightly bothered, she looked at the small glowing bug-like thing for a while, but didn’t pay much attention to it.
Before long, at the exact time that was written on the notebook. A firedrake flew down.
Thud, it landed magnificently on the ground and caused it to shake. The firedrake with about five times a normal human’s height, brought its neck between the boulders that had water streaming out of it, and started drinking the water.
“I’ll go out first, and attract the firedrake’s attention. The two of you, please act according to the plan.”
The three of them nodded together, and according to the notebook that they’ve read multiple times, jumped out of the bushes.
The firedrake noticed, and turned around. And after it spotted the spear-wielding Timis, it opened its huge mouth—in order to intimidate the enemy that it spotted, it released a roar.
McKinley already set up his arbalest, and fixed his aim.
What he aimed for was—the firedrake’s big, open mouth. He relied on his experience and corrected the trajectory, and he pulled the trigger, and the arrow flew. Timis stepped to the side to make way for the arrow. The arrow was unobstructed, and hit the firedrake square in its mouth.
“Did it hit…urk!”
“GRRGAA… GRRFF, GRKRRF!”
McKinley shot one of the special ammo given by [Silver Mug]. It was a [Silence Bullet]—it sealed the firedrake’s roar.
The firedrake, which had a body so large that you have to look up to see, was trifled by a single shot. At that moment, Raia already dashed—she dashed behind the carnivore, and brandished her katana.
Raia’s single strike chipped the scales at its feet, and the firedrake stumbled. The firedrake flapped its giant wings and floated up into the air.
The firedrake increased its altitude, and started to fly away. Even its destination was exactly like what they studied, it wasn’t hard to chase after it.
5 – Frenzied Firedrake and the Lampbug
Duke Solver’s work, [Guide on how to hunt a firedrake].
Within its second chapter was, the sequence of hunting a firedrake written in detail.
First, firedrakes are wide open while they are replenishing their water supply. The firedrakes had superior eyesight, but its field of vision is small. If you close in on it from its back, as long as it does not turn around, you will be completely unnoticed.
Starting from that, everything that followed was also scarily accurate. It was as if the firedrake was moving according to Duke’s script.
Timis’s group took advantage of the animal trail written down in the notebook, and took the shortest route to the firedrake’s destination to arrive before it. The moment the firedrake landed, Timis prepared her shield, and started ramming the firedrake’s head.
Bang, a loud sound was made, and the firedrake took a step back.
It’s actually stunned—when Timis realized that, Raia unsheathed her katana and slashed the firedrake.
“I’ll bring you down…! Haaaa!”
Although the firedrake was full of openings, even though she slashed it all around its body, its scales weren’t being cut off. Nevertheless, it’s definitely affecting it, Raia believed that to be the case and continued to shower it with attacks.
“Me too… Hyaaa!”
Timis stabbed the firedrake’s side chest, but couldn’t leave a single wound. Even then, damage was still getting through was what the notebook said and she believed it, she pulled her spear and twisted her lower body, and once again struck with all her strength.
The firedrake once again took a step back—at that moment, McKinley shot at the wounded firedrake.
In order to slow its movement, the arrowhead had a mix of sleep poison and paralysis poison, at first it was repelled by the scales, but the next shot, it hit the spot where the scales were shaved off thanks to Raia’s attacks.
“We can do this… at this rate, we can win against the firedrake…!”
McKinley felt a response, and loaded the next bolt.
And then, while he was taking aim, something that they did not expect happened.
The firedrake that was supposed to be stunned, sent Raia and Timis who were showering it with attacks flying, and forcefully fluttered its wings and went into a rampage.
Timis was struck by the wind, and her posture was broken—and while she was defenseless, the firedrake’s tail indiscriminately struck her.
With Raia’s instant judgement, she collided with Timis and pushed her out of the way, Timis was pushed away and lied on the ground.
But Raia couldn’t dodge the firedrake’s tail— Raia’s flank was cut to pieces, after a short moment, she was struck by intense pain.
“What the hell happened…shit!”
McKinley lost his composure. The bolt that he desperately shot was blown away by the rampaging firedrake.
The stunned firedrake regained its senses. Within its eyes was rage that looked like it was burning, its scales became red hot—the area around the firedrake started swaying due to the heat, it caused a heat haze.
They weren’t making light of the firedrake’s attacks. But due to pain beyond her imagination, Raia truly felt like she was dying.
She propped herself up with her katana and stood up. While she was holding down her wound with one of her arms, she couldn’t take another one of the firedrake’s attacks, while she realized that.
“Ojou-sama, please run away…this place, I will…!”
“As long as there’s a shield, I can take a single attack. Raia, please use that moment to run away!”
“Guh… That’s crazy! The firedrake is angry, its rampaging…its next attack will be multiple times…!”
“Even so, I can’t let you die…Yaaah!”
Timis prepared her shield, and started a charge to confront the firedrake.
—Just a little bit more, and they may have been able to win.
As for why that didn’t happen, it’s because the firedrake was a living being, it fought desperately to protect its child.
(Mother…Father. Please forgive me. Here, I will…)
“—Don’t give up! Have you forgotten everything you have learned up to this day?!”
From somewhere, a voice could be heard. A gallant, encouraging voice.
Timis’s attachment to life returned. She threw away her spear, and held the shield with both her hands—and then.
The firedrake’s roar shook the air. While hearing that, Timis put her body and soul into believing the shield and kept her stance.
The sound of water flowing down a river could be heard.
Warm light was flowing in. from the position of the sun that was visible up in the sky, it showed that it was still just before noon. From the start of the hunt, not much time had passed.
At the start, it was going well. Chasing after the firedrake that was running away, battling—and then, getting pushed into a corner.
Swiftly springing up, Timis was calling her party members’ names, and looked over her surroundings.
On the ground was a spear and a shield. And then—directly near it was a collapsed Raia, McKinley was hidden near a thicket, collapsed while lying face down.
“Raia…aah…I’m glad. Seriously, Thank god you’re safe…”
Raia’s flank which was bleeding profusely from the wound, now was sealed up.
A tiger beast race had high regenerative power, external wounds were quickly closed up. In spite of that, it was way too fast—but since Raia was safe, Timis was relieved, and shed tears.
“…A knight…cannot let themselves be seen crying. A soldier… needs to always have a firm heart…”
“Yes… I know, Raia. I’m sorry…”
In order to show that she was fine, Raia showed a slight smile.
And then, Timis trembled with fear once again.
“That firedrake, what happened to it?” the answer to that, was behind her.
She looked over her shoulder, feeling like her heart was about to stop. Then, after understanding the situation, she was relieved, and at the same time the feeling of unable to comprehend something was welling up inside her.
The continuation of Duke Solver’s hunting plan was as such:
If the firedrake moved near a river, if it was weakened enough, it was possible to trap the firedrake.
Near the river, traps that were set up by the [Forest hunters] were left behind. If you led a weakened firedrake above it, traps called [Binding chains] will activate, and the firedrake will be able to be captured.
(With the [Binding chains], the firedrake was caught… McKinley shot paralyze and sleep ammo…no, that’s wrong…that doesn’t explain it.)
But the fact was, in Timis’s line of sight, there was a firedrake that was bound in chains, and it was sleeping. But, the shield that Timis picked up, it was certain that it was hit by the firedrake’s charge, even then, there were no scrapes at all. She herself didn’t feel like she just received the firedrake’s attack.
If McKinley was successful in capturing the firedrake, then there was no reason for him to be lying down unconscious.
(In this forest…There was somebody other than us here…?)
While the mystery deepens, Timis suddenly turned her sight—and saw a certain thing.
The one that came out of Timis’s chest plate. The one that inhabited this forest, according to Raia.
“…Don’t tell me…”
Timis put her hand on her chest that was covered by armor. The rune that was supposed to be there—what happened to it, she wanted to make sure as soon as possible. But she was unable to make herself expose her skin while being outside, so she had to give up for now.
The rune that she had painted on her, because she heard it helped with the firedrake hunt.
If it was in fact, the thing that saved them, when they were driven into a corner.
Even the traps that were set up by the [Forest hunters]. They still needed more paralysis and sleep ammo shots than the ones McKinley fired. The firedrake’s charge from a little while ago as well, the one that saved Timis. The one who healed Raia’s wound as well—all of that.
“…Duke Solver…was it you…?”
The lampbug appeared one last time in Timis’s field of vision, before vanishing like an illusion.
What’s left was the sound of the river flowing, and the sound of the forest animals.
Timis was feeling bewildered, but she picked up a single firedrake scale that was chipped off by Raia’s attacks. And then, she held it close to her chest and prayed—to her inexperienced and undeserving self, this was a precious gift.
And then, Timis remembered a certain description in the notebook.
That a firedrake hunt should be done with at least a party of four. If you fought with a party of five or more, the firedrake will realize its disadvantage in number, and take flight to escape, and conceal itself. If it’s just four people then the firedrake will gladly fight on land. It doesn’t mean that you need to have four people, but if you had three people or less, there was a plus to having a fourth member to be on support duty. Don’t take it the wrong way, this was purely from experience.
Whether or not the fourth member was here, that fact was uncertain. But Timis chose to believe it. That the phantom fourth member was definitely here.
It may not be him. But there’s nobody else that comes to mind but him.
It was similar to her adoration for her sister, but even so, there was another different feeling carved in the young female knight’s chest.
6 – Princess Sisters
Something soft was holding up the back of my head.
Someone was touching my hair softly like it was melting. This was the second time something like this was done to me.
“…Laying your hands on me while I’m sleeping, as expected of a former demon lord.”
I open my eyes and, as I predicted, there was a flaxen-haired elf’s devilish smile there.”
Seems like she moved me while I was sleeping, and gave me a lap pillow.
“You’re leaving the aftermath to me after all, I have the right to do this much at least. And also, if the master didn’t wake up then there would be little to no reason for me to work.”
“Even if you didn’t try to charm me while I was sleeping, there was the option for you to search for the talisman, y’know.”
“I would never do something as unsophisticated as that. For a woman like me, I would never go back on what I’ve decided for myself.”
Verlane seemed like she wanted to continue to groom me, she continued to feel my hair while still having her kind eyes. The lap pillow also felt good, almost good enough to make me go back to sleep—but if I do that, it will deviate the relationship between the employer and the employed shopkeep.
“At first, I thought about taking the opportunity while you slept, though. But if a demon lord such as myself were to do something like that, it’ll make my disposition as a king questionable.”
“… ‘I’ve worked enough, so give it back’, you won’t say something like that?”
“For an elf who has a long-life, the time spent since I’ve come here was as short as blinking one’s eyes. And that’s why, let me take care of master until he becomes old as bones, only then will I have spent a long enough time In my opinion.”
“I don’t really want to imagine me being an old man that much, but…as expected, even for me, I won’t delay returning it for that long you know. If you’d like, even now was…”
While I was saying that, Verlane used her fingers to stop my lips. She shook her head as if to say that I shouldn’t say more than that.
“I’ll say this to master just in case, but I really hate losing.”
“W-Well, That…Verlane is strong, so instead of doing it for pride, it’s more like because you have a core.”
“Fufu…you’re saying things that make me happy. It’s rare for me to get complimented.”
“Urk… O-Oi, Ver…”
While I was trying to call out to her, she pushed something soft with all her body on top of my head. Even through the apron of the dress I knew, those abundant mountains—it was pushed to the point it’s taking the shape of my face.
“hng…that was pretty exciting. I wonder how’s master fee…?”
Being unable to speak, when I tried to breathe, Verlane let out a somewhat lewd moan. Unable to take it anymore, I somehow pushed Verlane’s body back.
“M-Master. Y-You can touch… but if you do it so suddenly, it’ll confuse me…”
“Uoh… T-This is, um, an accident…”
If she tried to push those things that she pushed on my face again, that part will surely touch again.
Verlane straightened her body, and looked at me with a troubled look while covering her chest.
“M,Muu… Trying to win over a man is really hard in practice, huh. If I’m ever able to pull it off well enough, I would’ve asked master to return me my amulet, though…”
“It’ll be fine even if you don’t put your efforts into something like that, though. You somewhat won me over just now, y’know.”
“Is that so…? It seemed like I was the only one disturbed by that, so I felt a bit bitter, but…”
Verlane was saying that while still giving me a lap pillow. I wondered if it was fine staying as it, but when I tried to get up she looked a bit sad, so I’ll go along with this position for a bit longer.
“A-And so… how did it go?”
“What are you talking about? …ah, You’re wondering what was I doing while sleeping, huh.”
“I’m the representative for when master uses his magic, so I know what the master was doing. Did Timis’s group not notice you?”
“They called me a [Lampbug], so It’s fine. Well, it seemed to be so at least.”
I intended to say more, but Verlane held down my mouth and laughed.
“Certainly, that [Lampbug], master’s body double…possessing the power of an SS-ranked adventurer, they certainly have never even thought about that.”
Yes—the rune that I asked Verlane to bestow to Timis, was in order to activate the magic called [Small Spirit].
It took a part of my power to create a body double, but because of that, it was possible for me to become a quite small ball of light. When I did that, I was similar to a lampbug, so I was able to finish without being noticed
With [Small Spirit], it was possible for me to transfer my consciousness and control it myself. Springing forth from Timis’s chest where there was a rune painted on it, after getting out, I watched over the three of them.
The strength that the small spirit held, was a mere part of my power—within the Adventurer’s strength score, it was equal to 50,000. Combat power 25,000, and the remaining 25,000 were from healing magic and support magic combined.
“Looking at the situation, the strategy seems to be successful. Should I go look at the captured firedrake’s condition?”
“No, leave the firedrake to my guild members. I’ve prepared it beforehand, you see.”
“Hou… In case Timis’s group gets into a pinch, you’ve thought about letting them rescue her, huh.”
“Nah, that’s definitely unacceptable. If I do that much, it’ll go against the goal of the request this time around.”
As I say that, I’m finally allowed to get up. Verlane seemed unsatisfied, but I can’t let myself be spoiled in that position forever.
“…Well, I guess I should’ve been more patient. They were so close, really.”
“It could be said that master intervening there prevented their party from being annihilated. If you were still able to calmly look at them, then I’ll need to change my perception of master. Even if master was a cool-headed spectator, there are definitely some things that will stir you up regardless.”
“It’s pretty complicated, huh. In order to understand more of the firedrake’s random actions, I want to research it a little bit more.”
“Research… That notebook, you want to make it even more complete? Even though, it could be said that it was close to being perfect. You’re saying that it’s still not enough…?”
If it was perfect, it would’ve ended successfully, with me only watching over them.
The [Silver Mug] accepts any requests, and to complete them without problems, I need to do everything I can beforehand.
Even if it was difficult, I plan to be able to observe the firedrake’s long-term migration ecology. In order to do that, I’ll need connections with certain people in power, though—and while I was thinking about that, the bar’s doorbell rang.
The shop was still closed, but the man with a green overcoat came in the bar, and sat beside me.
“Thank you for your continued patronage, I am from Weltem Company. I have finished the delivery of the liquor and food you’ve ordered.”
Verlane signed the delivery notebook that the man presented and returned it. The man’s name was Joyce Weltem. A merchant that frequents my bar.
His main job was, the sale of liquor and foodstuff—which was their public image. Weltem Company’s underside was the sale of precious goods that usually isn’t circulated in the capital, a [Rare items dealer].
Joyce sat beside me and started drinking rum, before he started speaking. Drinking alcohol, even when it’s still early in the morning, though I don’t have any right to say this, but that was his habit.
“Boss, about the matter from before. I have already hired a manager, and started maintenance of the area.”
“Yeah, leave the firedrake and its child to someone reliable. Do you have enough food and other things?
“Yep, I’ve gone to take a look as well, it’s a pretty good place, you know. to the point that it makes you wonder why did the firedrake choose a forest with humans in it, instead of that forest.”
“The people, they probably came in the forest after the firedrake did. The dragons shouldn’t have a reason to choose a specific forest over another. As for the environment, it’s because it wasn’t that much different to them.”
“It would be fine if that was the case. In spite of that, boss, you really gave it some thought, huh. Managing a forest that nobody visits in it’s entirety, and creating a pasturage for the firedrake…this normally isn’t possible, you know.”
Listening to the conversation between me and Joyce, Verlane had her eyes wide open, but she quickly understood the situation, and continued checking the delivered goods without saying anything.
Timis, who was returning, would show up in the bar during night shift.
And then, after confirming that the other customers are unable to listen in, she showed the scale that she brought back to Verlane. I was drinking ale as usual.
“The firedrake, it was brought away by people from the guild, but… where did they bring it to?”
“I can’t tell you the specifics of the matter, but the firedrake this time is not allowed to be hunt—killed. Because it was moved from that forest, I will consider it [Successfully repelled]
“Y-Yes. I believe the people who live near the forest will be relieved as well…”
Timis, Raia, McKinley. The three of them, their attitude after entering the shop were different.
Somehow, they felt more upright. The slightly more easygoing McKinley, his face right now was the embodiment of seriousness.
“Regarding the request’s payment, I think we still haven’t precisely decided on it yet…for me, whatever it may be, I will pay anything to you as long as it is possible. I’m glad I brought my request to this guild, truly from the bottom of my heart.”
“…We fought with the firedrake, but we didn’t give it that much damage. Even then, the firedrake was knocked out, and was trapped within the [Forest Hunters]’s trap. Even now, I’m still not sure what in the world happened…but…”
McKinley continued Raia’s words, which were full of regret.
“Being aware that we were still inexperienced, and even then, still guided us in order to complete the request. The man called Duke Solver, I can’t shake the feeling that he’s been looking after us.”
—Them idolizing Duke that much was unexpected.
In reality, I was just looking after them—or more like, I threw sand at its face while it was attacking Timis, dealing damage to it while it was faltering with a magic bullet, led it on top of a trap to capture it, and shooting the leftover paralyze and sleep ammo in McKinley’s place.
Staying unnoticed after doing that much, guess that’s impossible. but the saving grace was using Duke as an alias. Them finding out it was me, was completely impossible.
“for the reward…I’ll pay with everything I have on me. That’s why, please. Let me meet Duke-sama. I want to meet him directly and give him my gratitude…!”
—Even though I already said it was completely impossible.
Timis appealed to Verlane while her eyes were getting wet with tears. Even then, Verlane didn’t turn her sights over to me at all, that was probably her way of being kind to me.
“I’ve also felt the true extent of my inexperience. I need to train from scratch under Duke-dono, and get stronger in order to protect Ojou-sama…If it’s to meet Duke-dono, I will do anything…!”
“I will also ask of you, please let me join this guild! I don’t mind even if it’s only odd jobs!”
When they realized that the firedrake was knocked out with someone else’s power, them believing it as something Duke did right from the start, means they held respect for him—in other words, respect towards me.
And so, if Timis was unable to meet Duke then she would be depressed, it could be said to be like she got dumped, and it might even make her feelings of respect for duke to grow violent. Even the dense me knew that much.
“My life, it’s only thanks to Duke-sama’s teachings that I’m still here. This firedrake’s scale as well, I should just present it to Duke-sama…let me meet him once to than…urk.”
While Timis was desperately pleading, Verlane kindly smiled while listening.
“…Well then, Timis-sama. If you are able to become stronger by your own strength, and rise to the position of vice-leader of the order of the knights. As celebration of that, I will ask for him to reveal himself in front of you.”
“Certainly. But, please don’t do something unreasonable. No need to hurry, you are still young. I believe Duke-sama will also wait with ease.”
“Yeah… If Duke-sama will wait, I will definitely become stronger…!”
While wiping her tears, Timis made a new vow. From now on, she should be on the road of steadily polishing her skills.
I really need to thank Verlane, but there was one more hurdle that we need to clear.
Cling-clang, the doorbell rang. The ones who came in the bar—were Mylarka and Manarina.
Timis who turned around, immediately noticed. That the one who she loved and respected, her sister, was there.
“Onee-sama…Manarina Onee-sama, why are you here…?”
“It’s been a long time, Timis. I heard you were here, so Dick-sama called me over.”
“…Dick? This Dick-sama, who is he?”
For Timis’s sake, I contacted Mylarka and Manarina so that they will be able to meet here today—but thanks to that, I fell into a crisis where my true identity might be revealed.
“The one who’s sitting over there. Dick-sama is my benefactor, so…”
“Dick…so that was his name. I thought you meant Duke Solver, but I suppose it was my misunderstanding.
“I-Is that so…right. He’s a generous and kind man, but he’s really just an alcohol-loving customer.”
With the two of them not revealing my true identity, I let out a sigh of relief within my inner thoughts. Mylarka seemed like she figured out everything, and looked at my direction, and then, sigh, she let out a sigh.
“Generous Dick-san, can I get some liquor? Your recommendation would be fine.”
“erk…Y-Yeah. I’ll treat you all, so how about you sit at the table over there?”
“Dick-sama…never mind, I get it. for today I’ll take you up on the offer with my little sister.”
Guessing my intentions, Manarina brought her sister along, and walked towards the table behind a curtain. Raia and McKinley sat on a seat near a table for today, and interacted with the other customers while drinking. Her master, Timis was able to meet her big sister, Raia was overjoyed to the point that it seemed like she was the one who was reunited, McKinley was drinking alone, but he had a happy look on his face for some reason. About him wanting to join my guild, seems like he was being serious.
I was left behind, Verlane looked at me for a bit while working, but she only spoke after leaving some space between us.
“Dear customer, It seems now you bear the responsibility of revealing yourself to Timis-sama sometime.”
Why the hell does she only treat me as a customer at times like these. I brought my face down to the table, and shook the ale jockey which was empty. While feeling like I’m waving a white flag.
“Gaining the adoration of the Princess Sisters…the day when the [Phantom Fifth] rules the kingdom from the shadows may not be far, huh.
“Even though I never intended to do that…I really don’t understand a woman’s heart.”
“Maybe I should teach you about it? Maybe I should make a notebook called [Understanding A Woman’s Heart] or something.”
“…If you have the free time, then I would gladly buy that book.”
Looking at me who couldn’t resist replying with sarcasm, Verlane happily laughed. From the seat of Timis and the others, voices of the sisters happily reuniting could be heard.
The day after, I brought Mylarka along to the forest which became the firedrakes’ pasture. The one who was hired by Joyce as the manager of the pasture, was an old man who had experience being a dragon master. Joyce wasn’t aware of that, he just put up a recruitment for someone with knowledge relating to dragons, he hit the jackpot. The old manager gave us a warm welcome, and led us to the dragon’s nest. Seems like the female dragon that Timis fought loosened up around the dragon master, even though we came near the dragonling, it didn’t attack us.
“The firedrake’s young form, It’s crazy cute. That’s why, I thought I’d show it to you.”
“Hmph…Is that so. I didn’t think a dragon’s child would be cute, though…”
It was a nest made with wooden branches found within the cave, there were three dragonlings which were the size of a human baby, Pii Pii it cried. It walked with tottering steps with its round body, climbed the edge of the nest, and it fell at Mylarka’s feet with a bechi sound.
In spite of that, the dragonling stood up, clung on Mylarka’s feet and cried pii pii.
“Ooh, it became attached real quick. Even though this one’s the most wary of the three of them.
“Is that so? …Mylarka, what’s wrong?”
Without saying anything back, Mylarka brought up the dragonling up on her arms. And then, she started petting the obedient dragonling.
“…Cute. I want to raise it…for something to be this cute is…there there, who’s a good kid.”
The dragonling cried happily, Mylarka was already infatuated with it.
She loved cute things, so I just brought it up on a whim, but seems like she loved it more than I expected.
“…haah. You, don’t tell me you’re imagining you and me having kids, and doting on them like this. If you are, I’ll annihilate you.”
“Even I’m not that much of a daredevil…rather, why the hell are you in a bad mood?”
“S-Shut up… aah, I’m sorry, did I scawe you? There’s a scawy Onii-chan here, so let’s play over there.”
Mylarka was cuddling the dragonling while walking and using baby speak. Behind them, the other two dragonlings were following while crying pii pii.
While looking at them from behind she seemed to fit the mother role well, though if I were to say that, it won’t be strange for Mylarka to be mad at me.
From a slightly detached place, the mother drake watched over Mylarka and her kids playing together, while sometimes making a grruuh sound with her throat.
1 Papain is a proteolytic enzyme extracted from the raw fruit of the papaya plant
2 Without buttoning/tying up the coat, just simply putting it on the shoulders.
3 The arbalest was a late variation of the crossbow coming into use in Europe during the 12th century. A large weapon, the arbalest had a steel prod. Since the arbalest was much larger than earlier crossbows, and because of the greater tensile strength of steel, it had a greater force.
4 Ojou-sama = Mistress/young lady.
5 Sake with fishbone in it, you can read more on it at https://www.tenkarausa.com/kotsuzake-a-ceremonial-cup-of-sake/
6 A Japanese board game using dice, like Backgammon and Snake&Ladders.