The dragon needed less than a few hours for the distance that took us a week by foot when we went to Green Mountain.
Soldiers shot at us with bows and magic when we approached the capital.
They hit the dragon's body.
I spoke to her as I stroked her neck.
"Don't hurt any humans, otherwise we won't be able to negotiate."
"I understand-- 'Wind Shield'"
The flow of the surrounding wind changed when she cast the spell.
The arrows and magic that came flying at us were abruptly deflected into various directions.
"This is quite the useful magic, huh. Maybe I should also memorize it"
"Do as you like."
"Okay, let's descend onto the balcony on the third floor. And put Leo into your mouth. It might be bothersome, but please pretend to be fainted, Leo."
Then we landed on the balcony on the castle's third floor.
I jump from the dragon's back and enter the castle while holding the "Proof of Hero".
I arrived before the throne room.
"The King! I want to meet him! This is urgent!"
One of the soldiers comes rushing.
"He-Hero-sama! Just what is this all about?"
"There was a misunderstanding and I came to resolve it. Where is the king?"
"If you're looking for me, I'm here."
The king came with his walking stick out from behind the door to the throne room.
My wooden clogs are making sharp sounds as I rush to his side.
"King-sama. I have to talk to you regarding Leo's subjugation and the dragon's extermination."
"It looks like that"
The king said this while he looked at the dragon that was on the balcony and Leo, who was in her mouth.
"It wasn't the Demon Lord who attacked and freed Leo, but the dragon who lives in the western mountains."
"Oh. But why?"
"It seems that Leo stole a treasure from the dragon's place and the dragon wanted to find out its whereabouts."
"What! Is that true?"
"Yes. By the way, the dragon came to inquire whether Leo acted on his own or whether the country was involved."
The king grabbed his beard and stroked it.
"Hmm. That would be another... difficult problem"
"She'll understand it if you talk to her. Please talk to the dragon in person. You can save this country simply by severing your connections with Leo."
The king nodded and spoke to the knight commander standing next to him.
"I'll try to talk to the dragon. Let the knights and soldiers lay down their weapons."
"Eh, but, if something happened to you..."
I speak from the side.
"Wasn't it already proven that neither arrows nor magic work? Don't you think that it makes no sense to further enrage the dragon with useless things?"
"Ah... Hero-dono, will this really be okay?"
"Believe in me. I came back alive because she really just wants to talk to the king."
The knights were scattering.
"Well then, shall I see if I can to talk to her?"
The king went out to the balcony.
He stood in front of the dragon with his walking stick.
"Oh Dragon of the western mountains, this is the first time we meet. I am Daphnes the third, the ruler of this country."
"Oh human king, haven't we decided that us and the humans won't interfere with each other since ancient times? This person broke that rule. Do you have a relationship with this person? I'll burn this country to ashes with the breath of god, should he have acted on your command. Oh king, choose your words wisely."
The king glanced at me.
The king answered in a dignified voice.
"There is no relationship whatsoever. This country does not know this person."
"Is that so. Then I will only let this person know the pains of hell. I'll also stop to punish the villages. I hope that we will continue to not interfere with each other."
"I'll keep that pact at heart. --However, it's the truth that a human has troubled you. We'll cooperate if there is anything you need help with."
"In that case, my eg--"
I interrupt her in a hurry.
"King-sama, please leave this for another time. I'll forward her request to you."
"Hm, I see"
Because the dragon tries to speak, I telepathically talk to her.
--Don't speak. There are people with connections to the Demon Lord here.
"*zaza*...It can't be! *za*...Understood"
The dragon looked at me and spoke.
"You're rude, Hero. I'm talking to the king right now."
"I'm terribly sorry, Dragon-sama. But their existence may bring chaos to the human countries."
"I see, this was careless of me. --Well then, I'll send the hero as a messenger."
"As you wish. And I am sorry that my subordinates attacked you."
"No, there's no problem since I wasn't hurt at all. But you should tell them to refrain from such foolish acts in the future."
"Understood... I'll pass it along"
"So, get on, Hero"
"Well then, King-sama. We'll meet again."
The king spoke while having a bitter smile.
"Would you tell me everything in detail in some night?"
--The king looks like he cheered up.
After the king returned to the castle, the dragon spread her wings and took off.
In the blink of an eye, the castle below us becomes small.
"This was dangerous. I should have told you more about the state of the country beforehand."
The dragon laughs through her nose.
"What kind of cheap drama play was that? 'Dragon-samaa~'"
"Shut up. I did that for you. You'll be attacked again if the Demon Lord doesn't think that you've given up on the eggs."
"You think fast as ever"
"Naturally. Now then, let's quickly return to the mountain"
"Yup. Hold onto me tightly. We'll be back soon."
And then the dragon flew to the west again.
We returned to the cave in the evening.
The dragon let us off and went somewhere.
"How was it, Keika-sama?"
"Don't worry, it worked fine. The king himself has pledged, that the country has no relationship with Leo."
"Then I'm glad"
Celica breathed a sigh of relief with her hand at her chest.
Leo comes forth while he stretches his neck.
"That made me quite dizzy after all. However, thank you very much, Keika-san. Thanks to you, it ended without me having to die."
"Once this is over, you can come to my village in the north of the capital and show your face to your sister."
Leo bowed deeply as I said this.
"Thank you very much. ...Then, what shall we do next?"
"First, let's split up and search for the eggs, because it seems that terrible monsters will be born. You should have friends among the demons, right, Leo? Can't you use them to gather intelligence?"
"I guess so. I'll try to ask them."
"Well, I guess that the remaining two guys of the Four Heavenly Kings each have one."
"You might be right with that. So, this leaves three..."
"Then, should I collect the eggs from the Four Heavenly Kings first...?"
I thought with my hand on my chin.
Hmm, what to do from now on?
My name should spread, now that I got rid of the threat of the dragon to the west of the capital.
They'll probably now erect the bronze statues.
My name should also spread in the south with Doruas in the center.
It's about time that my residence in the village should be completed, so I'd like to develop the village.
I plan to make a holy ground for Hero Keika.
I can steadily make preparations.
-- I want to quickly gather a lot of believers and want to become a true god.
Well, for now I'll take down the rest of the Four Heavenly Kings and recover their eggs.
I can look for possibilities to further spread my name along the way.
The question is, where they are.
Then Lapisia and Tilt came near.
"Welcome back, Keika!"
"This is one of the eggs that we are looking for, right?"
Tilt pointed at Lapisia's round egg.
"Yes, that's right."
"I, might have seen one with a different color before."
"The saint who let me change my Job had one on her back. It was more white though"
"I see. She might have snatched it away from the demons... this is bad."
Celica, Leo and the others exclaimed in chorus.
"The saint is already targeted by the Demon Lord because she can change Jobs. If she now also has one of the eggs..."
"The Demon Lord's army will go after her in full force, right?"
Celica frowns to Leo's words.
"This is dangerous. We have to safeguard her as quickly as possible."
"Do you know where the saint is?"
"I guess so. She couldn't board a ship, so she should have walked to the country in the west."
I thought with my hand still on my chin.
--The reason why she couldn't board a ship was because Evil Squid caught and sunk the ships.
He didn't do it only to frighten the people but also to minimize the saint's range of actions.
Really, the Demon Lord is quite cunning, doing two or three things with one strategy.
"Helping the saint has the highest priority. While I go there, Leo's party will search for the remaining eggs."
"Yes, leave it to us"
Leo and Tilt nodded.
"Ah-,that's right. Leo might get in trouble when he's judges as a sinner again-- I don't really know what to do about that though."
There might be no other choice but to alter his attributes.
But I don't know what to do if the Demon Lord creates even more of the new judgment devices.
At the moment I'm not able to change them on an essential level.
Then Celica spoke from the side.
"In that case... Might you be able to use this?"
She held a pendant in her hand.
"This was given to me from my mother when I was young and she said that I should never ever let go of it and wear it even while bathing. It might be that it can hide attributes to some extent. But it's not absolute."
Tilt looks dumbfounded.
"Eh? Celica-oneechan was a sinner!?"
"Yes, I was a sinner. Keika-sama saved me just when I was about to become a sacrifice."
"...But why? Leo and Nee-chan are extremely good people!"
Tilt was gritting his teeth just as if he was the concerned party.
"Ah. The sinner system was created by the Demon Lord to kill everyone with the 'Light'-attribute."
"What did you say!?" "That's what's going on!?"
Tilt and Leo were shocked.
"Well, this also means that saving sinners is a way to trouble the Demon Lord. Now then, let me take a look at the pendant..."
I looked at the pendant with "Truth Sight".
[Memento Pendant] Mother's memento. Hides attributes to some extent.
"You're right, it has the effect to not let them discover you as a sinner. But it became useless now. In fact, you were already found out at the village. After the Demon Lord released new devices, it can now be seen through."
"Is that so... I'm sorry for not being of any help"
Celica was depressed.
She wanted to do something since she has suffered as a sinner herself.
Leo smiled and shook his head. His blue hair sways smoothly.
"Isn't that your treasured keepsake? It's something that your mother gave to you, and you are alive precisely because of her love. I feel truly grateful for the offer, but I just can't accept such a precious item. I'll try my best on my own."
He can't accept things filled with parental love, huh. He's such a fine young man.
"Celica, lend it to me for a moment"
I thoroughly looked at it. A drawn magic circle was mixed into the flower and plant patterns.
"This indeed deceives the old judgment devices...yes. If you're examined with the new devices... no, even if it would work on the new devices, it would just be a game of tag-- Dark, can you please come here for a second?"
"What do you need?"
He pushed up his glasses with his finger while he approached.
"Can you strengthen this magic circle which hides the attributes? I think we have to at least double it..."
"I see. You're not thinking about preventing the judgment, but to shift it, huh. In that case, we'd better triple it and..."
We discussed for a while.
An idea came to mind and we came up with a theory.
Next we simultaneously burn magic circles into a stone about as big as the palm of a hand. As a finishing touch, I write "Keika" and make it into an amulet.
I pass it to Leo.
"Keep this close to your body. It should almost certainly prevent you from being judged as a sinner."
"Thank you very much, Keika-san, Dark"
"Don't worry about it"
Then, Minya came along with the dragon.
Next to them was Gelato, the rabbit chef.
"Keika-oniichan, I made dinner"
"Oh, perfect timing. But, why is the other cook there?"
"I made it together with Gelato"
Gelato's long rabbit ears were hanging as she bowed.
"Thank you for the recipe. I thought that I'd take the opportunity since I'm also handling the meals for the dragon."
"Is that so. You're not just living in the dungeon, huh."
"Of course. Well then, please eat before it gets cold."
Tilt jumps up and down.
We were guided to a table that was prepared for eight people. It was covered with a white table cloth and there were mountains of meat, fish and other meals on top of it.
"Okay, shall we eat?"
As soon as everyone started to eat, voices of admiration arose.
Tilt shouted when he ate some soft meat that was coated with bouillon.
"This meat, it's so soft! And it's seriously tasty when you dip it in sauce."
"And this soup also seems to seep through your whole body."
Celica smiles while she eats some soup that exudes the aroma of seafood.
The bread is freshly baked and soft. It resembles a croissant.
Minya's ears are lively moving.
"This bread is... it's like a sweet"
"It's made by folding the dough and butter over and over before it is baked"
Gelato was impressed.
"To be able to see through it with just one bite. As expected of the one who made that sauce"
Just listening to me while we are eating lets Minya's cooking level further rise. It's now at Lv 23.
This is good. She'll soon overtake her father.
Lapisia's eyes are sparkling beside me.
"It's like your magic recovers with every bite".
"I now understand how that old man got so fat."
"There are also seconds. And we have prepared the hot spring after you have finished the meal. Please use that door over there to go out."
"Oh, a hot spring! I wonder how many years it has been."
"For me as well"
"I guess I should also take a little more"
The tiresome travel through the dungeon fell into oblivion as we ate.
I wanted to discuss our next actions while eating, but I also forgot about that.
Yuusha no furi
63: The dragon at the capital