Once Renya quickly cleaned up the place with the finger-like object by brushing the soil away with his hands, he managed to confirm that it was without a doubt the finger of a young man. Estimating the position of the head from the finger’s location, Renya dug up the ground with a wooden splinter, which must have belonged to a piece of furniture or similar before. After a while of digging, he found the head of a person with violet hair.
The world was vast, but only demons had bizarre hair colors such as violet. In short, what was completely buried under Renya’s feet right now was a demon.
As far as Renya knew, the demons in this world should be quite powerful when you only compare the races by ability. He didn’t know the reason behind it, but in front of him such a dangerous being had been completely buried.
Just as Renya was about to consider what it could mean, he noticed how Frau and Shion, who had been watching Renya’s work in disgust from a slight distance, were both pointing at something.
“Master, I feel like…that finger is moving ~no.”
Being told so by Frau, Renya looked down at the finger he had just dug out. The finger, which protruded out of the ground like some kind of joke, hadn’t moved at all when Renya dug it free, but now it moved as if scratching at something, albeit slowly. The head next to Renya also started to move as if writhing.
It was creepy, or rather it felt really wrong. Either way, Shion uneasily called out to Renya after seeing something that would make anyone want to get away as quickly as possible.
Renya looked up at the sky, closed his eyes while feeling like something completely irrational was going on, and after thinking for a while, opened his eyes and headed over to Shion and Frau with a sigh.
“Well, it’s as you can see. I guess we’ll run away…”
The instant he started to speak, a flash that seemed to burn one’s eyes and an explosion that tore at one’s eardrums hit Renya’s group. With a ripping shock wave, several of the buildings that had barely managed to remain standing crumbled apart with a roar after succumbing to the vibrations.
Once Renya looked in the direction, which was most likely the explosion’s origin, after everything settled down, he saw how black smoke billowed into the sky with the flames, which Croire should have extinguished earlier, igniting once again.
“What was that? What do you think, Croire?” Renya asked Croire, who had drawn close after being surprised by the noise, trying to check back with her, although he somehow had an idea as to who was behind all of this.
Having become teary-eyed, probably because her fine ears were fully affected by the explosion just now, Croire answered while rubbing her long ears, “It’s just a guess, but…wasn’t that Dra-kun’s breath exploding over there?”
“Because of this, huh?” Renya pointed at the thing squirming at his feet.
Croire lowered her eyes while wiping the tears from her eyes, and immediately backed off in surprise.
“It’d be weird to call it alive in a state like this, wouldn’t it?”
“I-In other words, it’s undead…”
Renya also didn’t know what triggered it to move. However, since one was buried beneath his feet, it wouldn’t be strange for others to be buried all over the town either. Rather, if he assumed that the town’s residents hadn’t vanished like smoke, the natural conclusion would be that they were all buried in the town.
“Demons as undead…that’s the worst.”
“I’m with you there.”
Even though he didn’t know what logic it followed, the demon buried at his feet dragged its body out of the ground in one go, and tried to stand up. In an instant, Renya’s katana flashed after he drew it from his waist, drawing a scarlet line on the demon’s neck. The demon’s head slid down while following that line, falling to the ground.
The headless torso stopped moving, and when it collapsed on the ground, Renya’s katana, which he should have drawn moments ago, was already hanging at his waist again. Due to the speed of his technique, which not only included him drawing the sword but also sheathing it in a single fluid motion, Croire stared at Renya’s face, having completely forgotten about her earlier surprise.
“It looks like they’ll stop moving if you behead them.” Renya commented while kicking the head away, probably for caution’s sake.
The demon’s head, which drew a parabola in the air, dropped to the ground without flying too far, and the area where it fell suddenly bulged.
“Ah, just as expected, more of them are buried around here…”
One hand after the other was thrust out from underground while clawing at empty air, just to hold onto the ground’s surface to drag up the bodies attached to them. Similar scenes could be seen around Shion and the other women, causing Rona to yelp next to Shion.
“Isn’t this your field of expertise, seeing how they’re undead and all, Rona?” Renya said wondering whether right now was the time to be screaming around.
In response, Rona complained while smashing the head of a demon that emerged from the soil with her mace, “Even if I’m a saintess, the visual impact of stuff like this is just too intense!”
“You can complain all you want, but you do have some at disposal, a divine art against undead, or something similar, right? Please use that.”
Kicking down a young female undead demon, who had approached him, Renya crushed her forehead with his heel after she fell face-up. Next Renya sent the arms of another undead, who came grabbing at him, flying by cutting them off at the shoulders, and then he blew the torso away with a turning kick that used plenty of strength and centripetal force, resulting in the undead drawing a bloody flower on the wall of a worn down building after slamming against it.
“O-Okay. Umm…Impurity, leave in the name of Giliel-sama!”
In accordance with Rona’s hurried divine prayer, her mace started to gleam as she held it up. Renya wondered whether some kind of holy seal would appear at a time like this, instead of normal light, but once he considered it, he corrected his way of thinking since the goddess Giliel, whose name hadn’t been worshipped so far, might not have something like a holy seal.
Anyway, the divine art unleashed by Rona continued to fill the vicinity with pure light, and the undead began to groan in anguish as soon as they were touched by the light. However, while things appeared to proceed smoothly, only Rona raised her voice in panic.
“It’s useless, Renya! The divine art is being resisted!”
If the undead had been normal humans, the light Rona released should have been enough to purify them. However, even if their enemies were literally rotten, they were still demons. To begin with, they had much higher abilities than humans before they died, which apparently endowed the undead with a high resistance against magic and divine arts.
“They’re getting damaged, but…I can’t burn them to cinders!”
At a glance, it was obvious that white smoke was rising off the skin of the undead, who were touched by the light, which meant that their skin had begun to burn hideously, but although it was only slowly, their bodies had started to move within the light even while being burned.
Renya thought about the fairly delicate issue of whether this was due to Rona lacking power, a lack in Giliel’s ability since it was her wholent Rona the necessary power, or the demons’ extremely strong abilities while cleaving yet another undead apart.
“Renya, there’s too many of them!” Shion yelled while randomly slashing the undead, who were trying to surround them, with her katana.
Even if her enemies looked somewhat gross, Shion didn’t seem to have an issue with it as long as she could cut them with her katana. With her movements being completely different from when she was trembling in fear of ghosts, she slew one undead demon after the other as they crawled towards her from the ground, but still, the number of undead went beyond what she could handle with her katana. While yelling with panic clearly dyeing her voice, she ran behind Renya.
Frau, who had been continuously scurrying around Renya’s feet, seemed to be weaving her way through the undead encirclement unarmed while capitalizing on her small body.
“Retreat to the plaza! We’ll join up with Liaris, Az, and Dra-kun, and escape! I don’t know how many residents have been buried in this town, but it’ll be endless if we try to take on all of them!”
Another flash and explosion reached them, this time it came from the plaza’s direction. Apparently Liaris’ group was also engaged in combat with the undead who had crawled out from somewhere, but that was all Renya could tell from where he was.
Given that Liaris herself shouldn’t possess any abilities that would allow her to cause such a large explosion, Az and Dra-kun ought to be frantically pushing back the undead with their magic arts and fire breaths. Renya believed that nothing extreme should happen if the two of them worked together, but in some cases, numbers could easily bridge the gap in individual ability. If they were to lose Dra-kun here, they’d also lose their means to travel across the vast demon country, thus Renya couldn’t afford to be careless.
“Shion, Frau, guard Rona! Rona, release as much light as you can!”
“Okay, master ~nano.”
“Croire, we’ll open a path together.”
While catching how Croire silently nodded out of the corner of his eye, Renya silently cast <Flame Lance>. Renya invested a great amount of mana into the fire spell, which had even overpowered an evil dragon, causing countless lances to appear above his head.
The swarm of flame lances followed Renya’s will, rushed off, and stabbed the area in front of Renya’s group, as if performing a carpet bombing all over the place. Buildings, undead – anything and everything that the lances touched was swallowed up in a vortex of red flames. At the same time, the wind spell cast by Croire produced a squall which blew through the thunderously roaring flames, creating a wind corridor.
With the flames that could burn anyone’s skin being reflected, everyone ran through Croire’s wind corridor upon hearing Renya’s order. Some of the undead tried to break through Renya’s firewall, relying on the high resistance and stamina they had while alive. But, their movements became sluggish as soon as they suffered the effect of Rona’s divine art which she kept up desperately, and with Reny continuously shooting new flame lances at them, they turned into torches before disintegrating into ash.
Buildings blocking their path were burned away by Renya, and lost their shape after being blown away by Croire’s wind. Renya’s group ran in a straight line towards the plaza, and as soon as they arrived, they became speechless upon seeing the spectacle unfolding in front of them.
A fireball hurled by Az caused an explosion, mowing down several undead. Dra-kun’s breath pierce into the middle of the undead who were trying to advance further while stepping over their fallen comrades. The undead, who got roasted by the high-temperature flames, lost their shape within the conflagration, not even having the chance to groan.
And yet, more undead appeared to replace those turned to ash. Due to the swarm of undead that endlessly flowed into the plaza trying to completely surround them, Az and Dra-kun were evidently worn down. Liaris gave instructions to Dra-kun while overseeing the situation from atop his back. Dra-kun mowed down the undead with his tail and pushed them back by powerfully flapping his wings, somehow managing to avoid getting surrounded.
Neither Az nor Dra-kun used any big techniques since they didn’t know where Renya’s group was, and thus feared dragging them into it. But, even if they could get rid of a large number of undead with a big technique, the number of undead was simply too overwhelming. Renya realized that both of them had judged that using small and compact techniques to prevent the undead from approaching was the smarter option.
“Az! Sorry for making you wait!”
Noticing Renya’s group as they approached while cutting open a path, relief washed over Az’s expression. Dra-kun breathed through his nose as if saying, “You finally showed up, eh?”, and Liaris loudly yelled from his back.
“Everyone! Hurry and get on Dra-kun’s back!”
“It’ll be a pain if they cling to Dra-kun. I’ll unleash one big shot. All of you, use that opportunity to get on Dra-kun’s back!”
“”””””You’re the wrong guy for this!””””””
Everyone besides Renya stopped him from preparing a full-power shot with the intent to buy everyone enough time to get on Dra-kun’s back. While Renya froze as he hadn’t expected to be voted down here, Rona swiftly climbed Dra-kun’s back, and released a brilliance that greatly overshadowed the light she had been releasing so far by investing a huge amount of divine power. With a sidelong glance at the undead whose movements had grown slow while being burned by Rona’s dazzling light, the other members jumped on Dra-kun’s back as well.
Once Renya jumped on Dra-kun’s back as the last one while still feeling somewhat dissatisfied, Dra-kun immediately kicked off the ground, and soared up into the sky while flapping his wings.
“Renya-san, please create a path to Dra-kun and lend him some mana!”
Doing as Liaris said, Renya connected a path to Dra-kun, and infused it with his mana. While combining Renya’s mana with his own, Dra-kun poured it into his muzzle, kneading a high-power fire breath that he would otherwise be unable to create.
“Dra-kun, shoot as you see fit!”
As Renya had experienced a disaster when he did something similar with Rubydra before, he had somewhat lowered the speed and amount of mana he poured into Dra-kun. After having gained enough altitude and extensively refined the mana, Dra-kun spat the fire breath out of his mouth at the exact moment when he was about to lose control over it. The breath transformed into a red flash, burned through the atmosphere, and pierced into the plaza where Dra-kun had just taken off. One beat later, a deep crimson flower, big enough to swallow up the whole town, bloomed.
————— End of Part 1 —————
It was something Renya had always thought about ever since coming to this world: in short, this world was way too big. It was so tremendously huge that any idea of traveling it on foot was bound to make anyone give up on the idea right away. Occasionally Renya also happened to feel fed up by this fact, but even if he complained about it, he wouldn’t be able to do anything about the reality stretching out widely in front of him anyway.
He felt like punching the little goddess once again, and telling her to do her best at making the world a little bit more compact, if he could visit her space ever again. Either way, right now it was fine since they had Dra-kun around, but Renya shuddered at the thought of having to walk throughout the demon country in search of Emil.
Even though Dra-kun did his very best at flying, he still had his limits. After Renya’s group turned the demon town into embers, around the time when the sun began to sink, Liaris appealed that Dra-kun had reached the limit of his flight time, and that it would be dangerous to keep flying during the night. This resulted in them searching for a suitable camping location, and soon after, following Renya’s recommendation, she had Dra-kun land on top of a slightly elevated hill.
“Doesn’t this place stand out too much?”
“Well, we can’t avoid standing out since we have Dra-kun with us.”
Since they were in enemy land, Shion’s worry was very reasonable. But, hiding Dra-kun’s huge body so that he wouldn’t stand out was next to impossible, and thus Renya decided to prioritize a place with a good vantage point over an inconspicuous location. He believed that surprise attacks would be difficult as long as they could properly keep watch from somewhere with a good overview of the area, but you could also claim that they didn’t have any other choice.
“Can’t he shrink down through magic arts or something?”
“It’s a different story if it comes to magic, but magic arts aren’t almighty.” Az curtly answered Renya who tried asking since he had nothing to lose by asking anyway.
Given that he couldn’t change the situation, Renya decided to set up camp while using Dra-kun’s body, whom he had sprawl down on the ground, as a windbreaker.
“Renya-san, what are we going to do about Dra-kun’s food?” Liaris approached Renya, who was getting dinner ready by digging a hole, and setting up a cooking stove after having put up the tents.
A dragon like Dra-kun didn’t give much importance to what he was fed, but Renya couldn’t help but deeply nod at Liaris comment – very befitting of a dragon’s owner – that it’d be pitiful if Dra-kun was the only one not eating anything while all the other members were dining next to him.
First of all, eating a proper meal is important. Moreover, even if he’s a dragon, Dra-kun is still a member of this search team, so it’d be too evil to simply leave him out in the cold, Renya judged.
“Aren’t any evil dragons flying around in this area?”
“You’re telling him to eat his own kin!?”
“Huh? That’s a no-go?”
After Liaris timidly checked with Dra-kun, he told her that he’d like to be spared from that option, if possible. According to Dra-kun, even humans would avoid eating goblins and kobolds although it wasn’t as though they couldn’t eat them either, if they tried.
Since Renya could fully understand Dra-kun’s feelings on this, he couldn’t force Dra-kun to eat an evil dragon either. You like this story? Support the translation by reading it at infinite novel translations.
“Didn’t several of the demons from that town cling to him?”
“Honestly, even dragons would get a stomach ache if you make them eat undead…”
According to Frau’s diagnosis, the demon-based undead, who attacked Renya’s group, were buried underground after having previously been killed by some method, but on top of them not having received a proper burial ceremony, many ghosts infested the area, which pointed towards the demon country being in a very bad state. Those ghosts must have possessed the corpses, and turned them into undead.
“Usually demons cremate their dead, I heard ~no.” Frau passed on information she had very likely obtained through Emil.
“Burning the corpses, how savage.” Croire said without even trying to hide her disgust.
The elves believed that the dead would return to the forest. Hence they buried their dead in graveyards within forests, and customarily judged anyone meddling with the corpses in any way as savages.
Since it was normal for corpses to be cremated in his former world, Renya sided with the demons on this one, if he had to pick, but he deliberately didn’t comment on the matter, thinking that this was yet another difference in customs between the races.
“But, what are we going to do, Renya? Do you have any food that you could allow Dra-kun to eat?”
“That’s gonna be a bit difficult, I think.” Renya checked his inventory upon Rona’s question.
Since Renya had prepared everything without knowing how long the search for Emil would take, he had stored a fairly large amount of food in his inventory to cover for all seven members, excluding Dra-kun. However, if they started to share that food with Dra-kun as well, the stockpile wouldn’t last long.
“We will attack a demon city around here…”
“Let’s stop that, okay? I’m pretty sure explosive traps are just going to be waiting for us there anyway, so let’s choose another method.”
The demons were their enemies. Attacking a city just to procure Dra-kun’s food caused Shion, who seemed to have reservations towards this idea, to frantically stop Renya who brought up something so dangerous. She feared that it’d result in them leaving Dra-kun’s strengthened fire breath as a parting gift again, when they escaped after attacking the city. Moreover, in Shion’s eyes it’d make it difficult to differentiate between the good guys and the bad guys, if they eradicated a whole city each time they took some kind of action.
Even Renya couldn’t force the matter after being entreated by Shion to give up on that idea if he didn’t want to be referred to as demon king by the demons. He sank back into his thoughts with a scrunched up expression.
“Then we’re in a deadlock, no?”
“Renya, I see a flock of something over there.”
“Alright, I’m going to hunt those.”
As soon as Az informed Renya that he had discovered something, Renya broke into a run without even checking what it was. Since the sun had completely sunk below the horizon by now, the area had turned dark. So, even if Renya’s group might have realized that something was afoot, it was impossible to know what it could be by solely relying on the moon’s and the stars’ illumination.
And yet Renya ran off by himself. Everyone else agreed that Renya would be able to handle anything as long as he didn’t run into the demon king. Thus they returned to their previous work, trying to finish setting up the camp before Renya came back.
Even with my draconic knowledge, I find it difficult to judge whether the humans are acting like this because they trust him, or because they’ve given up on him, Dra-kun pondered.
Before long the tents had been put up, the preparation for a cooking stove were finished, and even a toilet consisting of a hole surrounded by a partitioning screen of sticks and cloth had been created. Renya returned just when Frau and Rona were clinging to Shion to stop her from digging a bath.
“I wonder, can you actually eat this?”
What Renya dragged along while asking with a lack of confidence were two huge turtles. They were several meters long. Two bloody trails, that seemed to continue endlessly, followed Renya as he dragged the shells along after having cut off their heads – obviously because it’d be impossible to bring them along if they were still alive. Usually one would prevent the stench of blood to hang in the air as much as possible since it’d lure other predators, but Renya apparently let the blood flow freely since he carefreely believed that any carnivore that approached would just serve as another meal for Dra-kun.
Seeing the huge turtles under the light of the campfire, Az named them, “I think those are young Land Emperor Turtles…” Az further explained that it was a species of turtle that lived on land, growing larger and larger throughout their very long life span. According to records, adult turtles could exceed a length of 100 meter. They were so big that a whole forest would disappear each time they ate, and that they looked like walking mountains.
“There exist such specimens, but since the turtles have many natural enemies during their infancy where they don’t go beyond several centimeters in length right after birth, the number of turtles that reach adulthood is fairly low,” Az supplemented. “Even here, two of them died.”
“You’re the natural enemy of most edible creatures, aren’t you?”
Because of its excessively large body and its sturdy shell, despite being younglings, it wasn’t easy to hunt those turtles. Given that the turtles would cause quite a lot of damage to forests and fields if they were allowed to mature, and as their meat was fairly delicious despite its toughness, the young turtles were immediately hunted down on the human continent. It wasn’t a prey that could be hunted easily as it often took the lives of its hunters, but with Renya as their opponent, their heads had been swiftly cut off before they could withdraw them into their shells, and even assuming that the turtles had managed to withdraw into their shells, Renya’s katana would have most like chopped up the turtles alongside their shells. In other words, they were simply unlucky to have encountered Renya.
“If people can eat them, it shouldn’t be an issue for you, right Dra-kun?”
Being asked by Renya in a way that made it clear that he wouldn’t allow pickiness, Dra-kun quickly nodded his head in panic. However, it wasn’t as though he could sink his teeth into the turtles just like that, and thus it created the additional task of dismantling the turtle shells, which didn’t seem edible regardless of how you looked at it. Since the shell wasn’t something that could be removed simply with a knife, Renya silently cut the turtles up into suitably sized chunks with his katana, strengthened his knife with mana, and dismantled the meat.
“Umm, it doesn’t look edible even if you beat it into dumplings…unless you cook it with fire like grilling it on skewers or cooking it in a soup since the raw meat looks a bit too scary ~no.”
Once turned into chunks of meat, the turtles could be cooked normally. Frau began to briskly make dishes out of it while complaining about the turtle meat Renya had finished up in succession. Since the turtle’s intestines weren’t eaten on the human continent, all of them became Dra-kun’s dinner, and the other parts like the skin, bones, and shells were tossed into an appropriate hole and buried. The skin and shells were valuable crafting materials, but since their objective on this trip was to search for Emil, and not to gather crafting materials, Renya decided to not take along what appeared to be troublesome to carry.
“I’ll store the rest into my inventory, so you don’t need to force yourself to eat everything, okay?”
Because there were a lot of intestines and since they wouldn’t always be able to hunt for Dra-kun’s food, Renya offered to set aside some of the intestines for later consumption.
One of many other scenes in this whole turtle meat business was Frau attempting to roast a big chunk of meat whole by stabbing it on the katana she had stolenfrom Shion, after feeling that it had become a chore to carefully prepare the meat, and then giving it back to Shion, who was on the verge of crying, with the meat still stuck to it.
“Just don’t let her take it away from you so easily…”
Renya turned a fed-up look at Shion, who had approached him with the meat-laden katana in both hands, and once he understood that she apparently couldn’t get the meat off of the katana thanks to its toughness, he took the katana from Shion, and carelessly swung it sideways with a flash. With just this one swing, the meat slid off, and flew towards Frau, as if Renya had aimed it at her from the very start. With another swing of the katana, he flung the grease and blood off, and returned the katana hilt-first to Shion.
“Make sure to maintain it. Also, if you call yourself a swordswoman, then don’t allow your katana to be stolen so easily, got it?”
“Okay, I got it. Thanks.”
“Wai-!? You’re terrible, master ~no!”
Hit by the chunk of meat that had unexpectedly come flying at her, Frau screamed in protest while covered by blood and grease, but immediately fell silent when Renya sent a glare her way. She apparently understood in an instant that it was her punishment for having tried to use a katana in place of a skewer.
Despite being hit and consequently utterly covered by the chunk of meat, Frau didn’t allow a single piece of it to fall on the floor, probably because of her disposition as a fairy specialized in housework. After completely wiping the blood off her face with a handmade towel, she capitalized on her traits as a silky and made her clothes return to their previous, clean state without even taking them off.
For Frau it took some time, but it didn’t require much of an effort, and thus it was a much better option than being scolded by Renya.
“Tentatively…we’re in the demon country, in enemy land, right? And we just eradicated a demon town, didn’t we?” Liaris asked Az, who was diligently preparing grilled meat next to her, with a voice that lacked confidence.
Az stabbed the meat on proper metallic skewers he had brought along for camping, and after adding some seasoning, stabbed the skewers around the campfire.
Without stopping what he was doing, he answered, “I’m sure you might have some things you want to say about the situation right now, but I suggest you just give up. We’re dealing with these kinds of people, after all.”
Az passed a skewer with nicely roasted meat to Liaris before stabbing a new skewer to replace it. After staring fixedly at the skewer which gave off a fragrant aroma and was covered by a sheen of savory grease, she silently bit into the roasted turtle meat, seemingly having lost out to her appetite.