Arriving at the entrance of the village with Marielle-san, who was currently still unconscious on Lode-san’s very broad back, I look up towards the sky.
When I saw the darkness of the time that was last night, slowly disappearing into the western direction, due to the sunlight’s rays illuminating the surroundings, I exhaled a sigh of relief. The sun was rising in the east, so that meant that the directions of this world, and also most of the laws of the universe did not differ from Earth.
At least, I hope it did.
The reason why we had only just arrived now, as the sun was rising, was because Lode-san was injured, and Marielle-san was being carried. Otherwise, we would have gotten here even faster with my absurd speed and movement skills.
It definitely wasn’t because of the two trouble-making birds on my shoulders, that were always flapping their wings, releasing gales of wind and ice mixed with fire, destroying the landscape the more we moved closer to the village.
Nope, that definitely wasn’t the reason at all.
Although, I did have quite a hard time calming them down.
Greeting the village guard who looked like a nervous wreck, as he anxiously told us the state of the village evacuation, we entered the village and proceeded to walk towards Marielle-san’s house. Do your best guard-san.
Naturally, my appearance had reverted back to its original state. With my silver hair, turning back to its nostalgic black color, and my red irises that finally lost its luster after decapitating that guy’s head, had finally turned into the dull color of night.
And finally, my status that could have been called too absurd in the literal sense, still remained absurd. I meant that it was too absurdly pitiful to look at now.
In the future, I hope I find a way to somehow give me a little more base stats at least.
Since this world was built almost exactly like the game I played, being weak during the day was really a major setback. But first, finding a place to live in, would have to take priority. I can start making countermeasures once my life would be more or less stable.
With all the events happening as soon as I arrived in this strange world, I haven’t even caught a break yet. The time in prison doesn’t count since well…it was prison.
Hoping and wishing for a peaceful future, we had finally arrived outside the house.
I hope Elle-chan wasn’t too scared.
Or maybe she evacuated along with Roy-san and the villagers? That, I still didn’t know.
Regardless, we had to set down Marielle-san somewhere and let Lode-san rest.
So, I put my hand on the door handle, while simultaneously activating my <<Lock Picking>> skill, and pushed it forward.
With a clicking sound, the door was opened slightly. When I ascertained there was no other presences inside the house except some normal flies in the corner of the back room, I fully opened the wooden door. But just as I did…
Sounds of glass shattering heavily resounded inside my head. A trace of magic being used and was currently dispersing around me, was seen through by my <<Dragon Eyes>> skill.
When I looked closer, a fragment of the broken magic formation was floating in the air, and when I identified it, it showed as ‘Broken Magic Lock Lv2’. Apparently, those who try to get in without the key to the house which Elle-chan had with her, a magic trap would activate and try to eliminate the intruder.
In this case, me.
But, since my <<Lock Picking>> skill was at level 5, even complex traps and locks like these are nullified in an instant. I feel thankful for my skill, but at the same time, guilty about breaking into their home, but it couldn’t be helped. I could only show a wry smile to my conflicting inner thoughts.
Entering the house, the two birds which I didn’t name yet for many reasons, mostly because they were hard to handle, separated from my shoulders and flew around the interior of the house. Were they searching for food, or were they surveying the room?
Either way, it was a needless effort. My mapping skill was useful after all.
Signalling to Lode-san who was right behind me, we went into the living room and let Marielle-san lay on the leather-covered couch in the center of the room.
The room felt small now, because Lode-san was easily the biggest thing here. It was as if, when you tried to avert your eyes, they would naturally come back to staring at the hulking giant, that is Lode-san. Honestly, how did you even fit through the doorway?
This world sure is wide, huh.
As I was idling around in my own thoughts, Lode-san, who was quiet until now, finally spoke. His voice sounded tired, but it was still full of seriousness.
“…Kyouya-dono, thank you very much for saving Marielle and I.”
He said, as he lowered his head in front of me.
“It’s really no problem at all. It wouldn’t do if you both were gone. I only did what was needed, though…I would appreciate it if you would keep my strength a secret.”
When he heard what I had said, his eyes suddenly turned wide…
“O-of course! I swear it upon my life. Someone who has the strength to even harm one of the ‘Demon Kings’, is something very rare. Even though that is the case, to have met one who has brought down the ‘Demon King of Gluttony’, is unprecedented. Even one such as I, who had killed countless demons before, couldn’t possibly imagine having the strength to take on those hailed as ‘Disaster’ themselves. I promise to keep your secret for as long as this one shall live. But….is that even enough to repay this favor?”
As soon as I asked him to keep my power a secret to avoid future troubles, as I couldn’t use it anytime I wanted to, Lode-san had made an overly big deal out of it. I mean, for a ‘Demon King’, it didn’t even feel like I fought that hard.
Maybe it was because of the new skills I had bought? Or maybe I was getting too used to my strength, that I felt as if I didn’t even do that much? Nevertheless, I had to reply.
“It’s fine. As long as you keep your promise.”
I had a slight urge to finally use the <<Contract>> skill to make sure that he doesn’t spread it around, or tells someone about me, but I refrain from it.
It was because I felt that Lode-san was someone who I can trust.
“Your words are wasted on me, Kyouya-dono. But, I will make sure to keep my word. I can tell you this. Now, I have something to ask of you, shameless as it may be.”
“What, what is it?”
Oops, I got slightly nervous there with Lode-san suddenly adopting a serious expression as he narrowed his eyes while looking at me. Get it together, me.
“Now that the demons have found this place, it is only a matter of time before they come back again. Even more so now, that you have just eliminated one of their leaders. It will become dangerous to stay here in the near future, and I also know that you had already noticed Marielle’s state on the way here.”
Eh? What? Demons? Coming here?
I don’t get where this conversation is going but since it sounds serious, looking at Lode-san’s expression, and hearing the part about Marielle-san’s state, I guess I had to play along. Maybe I can somehow understand the gist of it after he’s done speaking.
Umu, let’s do that.
“Indeed. It looks pretty serious, what do you suppose we should do then, Lode-san?”
I decided to bluff my way through this conversation, as I always do.
This time, I used the guise of an all-knowing being that sees through your thoughts.
I slightly put emphasis on the words, ‘Indeed’ and ‘we’ as to give the illusion that I had already formulated a solution, but am making him say his own opinion, deciding whether it was correct or not. Countless hours of studying and practicing this, did not go to waste.
“As expected of someone that had killed one of the demon race’s leaders, your intelligence is staggering. As you know, Marielle had been affected by the [Curse of Famine] when the miasma of demonic energy had seeped into her body.”
I didn’t, in fact, notice that at all. I assumed Marielle-san had only fallen asleep until now.
But as I glance at Marielle-san secretly in the corner of my eye, I see that Lode-san was telling the truth. Using <<Dragon Eyes>>, I found out that the abnormal status effect named [Curse of Famine] steadily drains the victim of his/her stamina and health.
Proving this, was the slow but steady drop of health points, and Marielle-san’s skin complexion slowly growing paler. This meant that as long as she had this curse, her death was still possible when her health dropped down to zero.
The details pertaining to the curse, which was found in the description column of the skill’s result was that it made the body crave more food than usual. About ten times more than the average need. But, if she remains unconscious like this, she could not eat.
Thus, resulting in her health dwindling down even more until there was nothing left.
I unconsciously grip my fingers into a fist, as I got slightly anxious and angry at myself. The thought that I could have gotten the cure out from that guy before killing him, fills me with regret. I didn’t let it show on my face though, as to let Lode-san be at ease at least.
I said, hiding the fear in my voice.
“At this rate, it would only a matter of time before Marielle’s life ends.”
As if a cruel verdict had been announced, I could feel my anger surging, but my strength this time did not rise, not even one bit. I could also feel my calm facade breaking as struggling and conflicting emotions washed over me.
“But, there’s still a way to remove the curse before that time.”
Suddenly, it was as if a shining ray of hope was right in front of my eyes. The words Lode-san had just said, made me listen to his next ones with great anticipation.
“As far as I know about curses, they have a tendency to grow stronger as each day. This means that there is no time to lose, so we have to act now. This is where you come in, Kyouya-dono.”
“I want you to go take Marielle to the city of Lavis, where an acquaintance of mine lives. Maybe, no I am sure he has a way to remove Marielle’s curse.”
Lavis, the city east of Edoria.
That city was where I initially wanted to go to since I registered for the carriage ride with the merchants, having the ‘Association’ as escorts.
If I remember correctly, they were scheduled to depart a half-hour from now. I hope they weren’t postponed by the evacuation order though.
If that happened, I would have to wait for another group of merchants, or I could just walk there together with Marielle-san and the two birds…
On second thought, let’s not do that. Both are options I don’t want to have to make.
“Hou, then who is this person you know, who has knowledge of curses and the like?”
I wondered why I was suddenly being haughty for some reason, but since I already said it reflexively, let’s leave it to fate. I await Lode-san’s reply with bated breath.
“The one that knows the answers to almost any question you ask him, and someone that I could never drink under the table in our bouts, his name is Weiss Chronos.”
Chronos, that name sounds familiar somehow but I can’t seem to recall where I had seen it. For now, let’s just keep the name in mind.
Weiss Chronos, the one that could maybe find a way to remove Marielle-san’s curse.
The sooner we meet, the sooner Marielle-san wakes up to reunite with her daughter.
Speaking of which, I also had to find Elle-chan quickly before I leave.
If I didn’t, who knows what she’ll say to me when I come back…
‘Kyouya-nii, I hate you!’
Ah, even just imagining it stings so much. I might have taken damage from that.
“I see. Then, I will accept your request. But, aren’t you coming with us? It might get dangerous for you also since you were there with Marielle-san in the forest, no?”
“You are right. But, I still have something to do here. Since I’m the only one left among the village officials, I have to take care of the village proceedings for a while, at least until the city guards arrive to control and assess the situation. But don’t worry because as soon as I’m done here, I will come and find you guys in Lavis.”
I see. In my rage before, I seem to have forgotten the existence of the people who came together with Marielle-san and Lode-san during the so-called ‘meeting’.
I wish them a peaceful rest in my heart, as I reinvigorate myself once more.
“If that’s the case-”
Before I could finish the talk with Lode-san, I could hear the sound of tiny footsteps slowly coming closer to the doorway. Looking at the map, I was slightly delighted to see who it was. But, when I saw her, that feeling doubled, maybe tripled in fact.
With a short exclamation, Elle-chan, who had just arrived, followed by the village guard leader, Roy-san, ran to my chest and buried her head in it.
I could feel my shirt, particularly in the chest area, was gradually getting wetter.
Towards the cute Elle-chan, that was releasing her pent-up feelings to me by letting out her tears, I could only put on a gentle smile and place my hand on her head.
As the sound of sniffling and muffled cries filled the silent living room, I continued moving my hand to and fro, ruffling the hair of Elle-chan as to calm her down.
When suddenly, I remember the words my mom used to tell me whenever she came back from a trip overseas. Back then, I was a crybaby wasn’t I?
Well, it can’t hurt to try…
“…I’m back, Elle-chan.”
Saying these words as slowly, and as gentle as possible, I wait for her reply.
“….*Sniffle*….Un, welcome back Kyouya-nii…”