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“Let’s check out the situation in front of us for the time being.”
“Roger, I’ll go ahead then.”
“Yep, Luciel and Bucchi are going to wait here with Mie-san. And, Professor Domidon, you stay here as well, of course.”
“Leader, please be careful.”
“It’ll be alright. I’m Sarah Florayd, am I not?”
“You got a point.”
Those are the voices Sarah and Red Tiger Storm! How nostalgic…
While spontaneously cracking a smile, I look at Rollodeen who’s accompanying me. My partner is tilting her head, meowing something along the lines of 『Are these possibly ~nya…?』
In the meantime, I erase Baldok from my right hand.
“Yep, it’s Sarah and her gang.”
“Haha, you’re so impatient, Rollo.” At that point, I look towards Helme with her extended <Lapis Lazuli Flower> strings and everyone else. “Helme, Puyuyu, acquaintances of us are in the nearby forest, so we’ll go meet them. Quema, Solobo, that’s fine with you as well, right?”
“Understood, but we’ll remain bound?”
“You’ll be okay as long as it’s Helme’s strings.”
After informing them, I ran ahead with Rollo accompanying me.
It’s not my trump card, but! I use Magic Combat Style at full throttle, and while at it, also add <Blood Acceleration> of <Blood Path – Open Third Gate> on top of it. Advancing in a slouch as if trampling the fallen trees with my feet, I leave bloody footprints with Arzen’s Boots on the ground and trees.
While running, “Rollo, I’m racing ahead――”
I leave her in the lurch, weaving my way through the gaps between the cluster of thickly growing trees. Soon, I spot two women in front of me who are carefully making their way through the forest with lowered, combat-ready stances.
――That appearance…red hair, and a scarlet muffler! It’s Sarah, the leader of Red Tiger Storm! Bellize, the elf with the enormous boobs, is with her as well!
Sarah and Bellize lower their weapons in surprise.
“Yo, as always you two beauties are a sight for sore eyes, aren’t you?” I greet while raising a hand.
“――S-Shuuya! Is that you, Shuuya!?” Sarah runs up to me with her long hair fluttering.
Arriving in front of me, she brings her small face close as if to check whether it’s truly me. Her cat ears look the way they used to look as well. Her eyes, combining red and light brown colors, are trembling. And then tears run down from them.
“…Right, it’s me. I’m glad to see that you’re doing fine, Sarah. You being in the middle of the Sea of Trees means you’re working on a request?”
“Yep. Oh, is that black panther Rollo-chan by chance? There’s also a small bear cub with her I’ve never seen before.”
Rollodeen bumps her head several times against Sarah’s leg. Next, she moves it up and down, rubbing her whiskers against Sarah’s shin, though I don’t know whether she’s trying to mark the leg with her scent or fawning on Sarah.
“Ahahaha, even while having become big, you’re still the same old Rollo-chan!”
Sarah’s shin is covered by a protective gaiter reaching up to the knee. It’s a piece of equipment I haven’t seen on her before.
Then Sarah hugs Rollo, “How fluffy! Hehe～ You’ve grown up as well, haven’t you Rollo-chan?”
Rollo has licked Sarah’s cheek.
“Mmh? Nice to meet you as well, bear cub…”
Seemingly curious about Sarah’s cat ears, Puyuyu tries to poke them with the tip of its staff, but Rollodeen extends a tentacle, flicking away the wand.
Puyuyu’s wand stabs the ground after being repelled. Probably wondering what the deal is, Puyuyu nimbly climbs on top of the wand and screams out a tirade. Adopting a “Greek Pose,” it looks up to the sky above the forest.
…I really don’t get it. Is it praying to its god?
“Not in my wildest dreams had I expected to run into you this deep in the Sea of Trees, Shuuya…” Bellize comments, her long, blond hair swaying.
She’s a pretty, big-boobed elf with the atmosphere of a big sister. At the banquet she wore a “fabulous,” gorgeous dress. Now she holds her small lips with trembling fingers. Even she, who’s always acting like a confident big sister…has started to cry after tears collected in her quivering eyes.
“What’s going on? A friend of yours?”
Luciel, Bucchi, and an unknown, old dwarf with close-cropped hair were present as well. The dwarf’s long beard is very typical for his race.
Luciel has put on even more of her Egyptian make-up compared to before, giving her a mysterious look. A new hair ornament is stuck in her hair with its blue, close to navy blue, color.
Bucchi is carrying someone. All of them have run up to us.
“Yo, everyone. Long time no see.”
“Your Excellency, who might these people be?” Helme asks me while floating in the air.
Quema and Solobo, who are bound by her strings, are smiling…for some reason.
“There’s a nice fragrance coming from those strings.”
“An aroma I’ve never smelled before…are we in paradise?”
Previously Solobo had been looking rather grim, but now he seemed as if he had ascended to heaven. I don’t really want to stare too much, but now I’ve ended up doing so. I thought about taking a peek at Quema as well, but I must give Helme an explanation first.
“…Yeah, they’re members of an adventurer clan called Red Tiger Storm. Just like with Quiche, I met them when I was working as an adventurer in Hekatrail. We’re comrade-in-arms who have completed an emergency request and the Evil Dragon King subjugation request together.”
“Comrades-in-arm…isn’t it wonderful to be called something so great…?”
“Bucchi, I’m also happy to see you in good health.”
“Shuuya-san! I wanted to see you again!” Luciel exclaims, grabbing my arm.
The soft sensation of her boobs is something I couldn’t forget. Surprisingly, she’s got quite a rack. I can also sense her styling sense from the trimmed forelocks. The gem circlet visible in-between those forelocks is something she wore before, too. The new hair ornament, which is connected to her earrings through a chain, has a color that fits with her overall style.
“――Luciel!” Sarah roars at Luciel in anger after pulling away from Rollodeen.
“Of course, I missed you as well…” The one grabbing my left arm with that passionate confession is Bellize.
Her tits are as enormous as ever. The softness, which exceeds marshmallows, applied to my arm…is very dangerous. Superb…
And on top of that, her nostalgic, sweet, citrus-based perfume…
“Aaahhh! Bellize! What are you touching there!?”
“Aww, leader, your ears are bright red, you know? Does it really matter? Not like I’m losing anything by holding his arm like this.”
“She’s totally right!”
“What’s with that cheeky cockiness of yours!?”
Didn’t such an exchange somehow take place in the past as well? When I looked at Helme while pondering that question in my mind, her eyes were somewhat narrowed down.
“…You’re acting awfully intimate with His Excellency, aren’t you…? But, I’ve deemed all of you to be excellent women. That means, we’ll secure new personnel! And, sooner or later, new bloodkin!”
She’s left out Bucchi though…
After nodding in satisfaction, Helme throws her right arm into the air as if to make a triumphant pose. Hanging at her strings, the two orcs are also dragged into it.
Rather than some silly jealousy, the idea of a new, epic, different world simulation game “Helme’s Ambitions,” or rather, “Mahaheim’s Ambitions” seems to be of more importance to Helme.
“Seeing how she’s calling you Excellency, have you become a noble, Shuuya?” Sarah asks while pulling on Luciel’s hand.
“Well, he’s managed to kill the Evil Dragon King all by himself, so it’s quite possible.”
“He’s the adventurer who slaughtered an ancient dragon. Not only Oseberia, but also Zamalia, Radford, the Far Eastern Relic, and the island nations should have been interested in inviting him over as soldier.” Sarah comments with a nod.
At the same time, she tears Bellize off me.
“Wait a moment. It’s only Spirit Helme who calls me Excellency. Well, I’ve become the guildmaster or president of a dark guild, but basically I remain an adventurer. I turned down all invitations from countries.” I concisely explain with a casual tone.
“Eh? Spirit? That means you’ve employed her?”
“There are orcs dangling underneath Spirit-sama, though…”
Just as Bucchi, who’s carrying a female dwarf on his back, has pointed out, Quema and Solobo are completely under the influence of <Lapis Lazuli Flower>’s effect as they’re hanging in midair. They are motionless while pulling weird faces. You could describe it as them looking like they’re walking through paradise…or maybe, like they’re on a trip.
Given that Quema-san is a beauty, I’d love to carefully observe her while next to her in bed, but Solobo…
“A Spirit…-sama…and the guildmaster of a dark guild!?”
“I’m also surprised about him being a dark guild’s master, but for such a pretty Spirit-sama…”
“That’s not at the level of surprise anymore! A live spirit! Is the black-haired human over there employing a spirit with a will!? Maybe it’s an enslavement based on him having understood ancient magic books?”
Everyone was surprised in their own way. The old dwarf has become exceedingly excited, though. He’s wearing brigandine armor. Various things are affixed to his thick waist leather belt. There’s also a bundle of books that contain mana. What also stands out are quills, glass poles and a saw, but…the group of bound books – maybe the same as Kisara’s favorite grimoire – looks more valuable than any of the other items.
I shift my eyes from the dwarf to Bucchi.
“…Bucchi, is the dwarf girl on your back injured? Is she alright?”
I can use healing magic, and I also got some healing potions with me. I stare at the woman, willing to cooperate if it’s curable. I also checked out the woman’s knapsack. It’s a model I haven’t seen that often yet. Countless small pouches and metal harnesses are attached to it.
That and her cotton-based outfit make for a somewhat refined outfit… Is she possibly some kind of specialist?
“It’s okay. Mie-san is just sleeping.” Bucchi answers with a somber tone while inclining his head, seemingly looking lovingly at Mie-san who’s placed her cheek on his shoulder.
It looks like he’s a different man when compared to the time when he was head over heels for Sarah as a boorish guy.
“…I see.? Does that mean the sleeping Mie-san and the old dwarf are your clients?” I ask despite being able to guess myself more or less.
“Correct. My name is Domidon. I’m the leader of the ruin exploration party! Moreover, I’m an underground ruin researcher and a B-Rank adventurer. At some point I even defeated several dozen guefin in a row!” Mr. Domidon proudly brags.
This geezer is the Domidon Exploration Party’s…
Moga and Nemus mentioned that they lost sight of his party.
“Yep, it’s a request to explore an unknown ruin and at the same time escort Professor Domidon. As the request exceeds A-Rank in difficulty, it was a super hard request which ought to be carried out with several clans and parties. The professor’s assistant ended up getting injured, and we didn’t manage to get our hands on the professor’s desired rock letter carving, so I guess the request is a failure this time. Still, those humanoid, dragonfly-rabbit-hybrid monsters were awfully powerful…” Sarah admits full of regret.
“Leader, just the group of dragonfly-rabbit-hybrids was already a big issue, but since swarms of new species crawled out of the cave, it was inevitable for us to flee.”
“Yep. The cave’s appearance was scary as well. I might not be very good with that place.”
“I agree with Luciel. That sickening gate was shaped like a sculpture…the dragonflies with legs and the huge frogs were quite severe as well… Though I took down a few of them with <Strong Severing Arrow> though.”
“At any rate, it’s fine like that since Mie-san was saved by it.”
“Indeed. By the way…Shuuya, are you doing some special request so deep in the Sea of Trees while having a Spirit and the cute, grown Rollo-chan with you, and having taken orcs as prisoners?”
“Well, let’s leave the details for later. For now…”
I shift my eyes to Rollo who’s playing around with the butterfly magic released from Puyuyu’s wand.
“Rollo, we’re returning to the village, so please turn into a divine beast.”
Rollodeen immediately turns huge with a poof. Now she looks almost like a dragon.
Of course, the members of Red Tiger Storm and the old dwarf scream while rooted to their spots out of fear. Taking all of them along after they calmed down, we headed straight for Cydale on Rollodeen.
I briefly explained things to Quiche as my very first deed after coming back to Cydale.
“I understand Red Tiger Storm and the dwarven professor, but orcs…?”
“While training Saraten, I spotted a unit that looked like it’d be annihilated while fighting the Tree King’s forces. Taking that opportunity, I captured two of that orc unit.”
“You’re saying all of this as if it was a walk in the park…”
“You won’t put them on trial or anything like that, right?”
“No. Though it might become necessary to do so in the future…”
“That in itself sounds like a real hassle…”
“Yeah…they could become like those sham trials held in kingdoms with widespread corruption.”
Though I believe government offices responsible for justice exist at such places… Then again, they might be embroiled in power struggles over posts and interests.
Oh well, I guess that’s life for you.
“But, we’ve already processed a part of the orcs into food, you know? You think your two prisoners won’t act up if they see that?”
Quiche looked worried.
“…I doubt they’ll be fine with it. I’d be grateful if you could stop turning orcs into food for the time being. I’ll also do my best to compensate you accordingly.”
“…I don’t think that you have a duty to help them to such an extent…”
At that moment, as if having realized something, Quiche’s expression suddenly changed.
“Ah, no, I guess you’re doing it for my sake…” Her cheeks blushed.
At the same time, I felt passion flicker in her eyes.
“Who knows. Just, orc personnel seems like it’d be quite useful.”
“Hehe…indeed. But, thank you.”
“I told you to not mind such things. But, I forgot to ask them whether they can speak Common.”
“The language, huh? The ancient wolfmen can talk with us, but we’re talking about orcs here, so…”
“Maybe Quema can speak Common as leader of a small clan.”
“…You say so, but to be honest, there’s many uncertain elements. Then again, learning of the orcs’ internal state in addition to the wolfmen we befriended is a huge gain for us. I feel like this time’s matter is going to become a crucial turning point. If there’s a chance for another orc attack, I’d like to talk to them in advance by all means.”
Looking thoughtful, Quiche rolled a quill around on her palm.
A crucial turning point, eh? But sure, the value of knowing the enemy’s main strategic plans, the locations of the underground passages used by the orcs, information about infighting among the orcs, and intelligence on the enemy forces’ weaknesses in regards to things like equipment would be immeasurable. It might also allow Cydale to stop being on the defensive, and instead go on the offensive. And it’s probably closely related to the village’s growth.
“…If you’re worried, I’ll take care of the orcs from my side and won’t allow them to leave my house for the time being. I obtained some information from those orcs. Quema’s group was a commando unit with the name 【Fierce God’s Squad】. The main force of the orcs, who attacked Cydale, belonged to the orc clan of Hexa Ghul Gungh. He apparently commanded the army. And the orc clans seem to have complicated political situations as political power is divided among their clans.”
I informed Quiche about what I heard from Quema.
“…I understand. The Eight Great Gods worshiped by the orcs, huh? Many people have commonly referred to them as one orcish empire, but for them to be split into many clans… And Hexa of the Gunghclan has attacked this village…still, for him to desire Hardelende’s treasure 【Tool of Bee Style】…I wonder where he obtained the information about its existence. I didn’t know about it until just recently either.”
“I’ve told you earlier, but there are many underground cities. There should exist dozens of people with foresight and prediction skills.”
“Hmm.” Quiche nodded deeply while brooding.
“Is it okay for me to assume that you’ll accept the two orcs, including the matter with the food?”
“Pfft, you don’t really need to ask the obvious, do you? We’ll stop with the orc meat. Besides, you having brought them here means you felt some kind of connection or sympathy with them.”
As expected of Quiche. She’s read my mind, huh?
Also, she gave her go on the food matter as well. Even though she should actually hate the orcs enough to keep using them as food.
Just as I thought, she’s a kind woman.
“Hehe, I should be the one thanking you. Friend, I feel deep gratitude towards you…” Quiche puts down her pen, and bows.
“Don’t mind it. You’re just embarrassing me. Please raise your head.”
She smiled at me, but then said, “To be frank with you, I’m not all that happy about it. I think the children will also reject the idea. But, we’re in the Sea of Trees. Besides, I can understand your idea behind having brought the orcs here.”
She stared at me as if to probe my heart. I smiled faintly.
“Hooh, should I give you a present, if you’re correct?”
“You got a deal! You estimate that we’ll be able to leave out hatred behind without discriminating against the orcs, if we can perceive their side as a race and not just some monsters, right? At the same time, that’ll be connected to the development of Cydale…it’ll make it very likely that the orcs are going to become powerful neighbors of Cydale and not just pests. That’s the idea behind it, isn’t it?”
“――You’re spot on. Nothing less of a Commander-in-Chief.”
I reflexively did the Ra Kelada upon Quiche’s keen discernment.
“The reward is going to follow later.”
“Haha, I’ll look forward to it then.”
Afterwards, I kept talking about various things with Quiche. Beginning from ascertaining that it’d be bad to always rely on Catiza as gatekeeper, she told me that she’d like to negotiate the village’s defense with Red Tiger Storm since they got excellent range fighters, seeing how I made a new gate just recently.
“…I’ll talk to them from my side as well. But, Red Tiger Storm is an adventurer clan. I think it’d be tough to get them to permanently stay in the village.”
“…Although it’s different from her hometown, Bellize Marphon is an elf like me. She’s a superb archer, waking the wish in me to let her form a new archer unit as core part of Cydale’s defense.”
Just like I turned down Red Tiger’s invitation, I think it’ll be hard to headhunt Bellize from Red Tiger Storm. Things might change though if Quiche hires her alongside Red Tiger Storm.
Afterwards, we discussed contacting Sherry about the trade with Hekatrail through Hino, the request of Professor Domidon and his assistant Mie-san, ranking up at the adventurer guild since it was similar to having pioneered a part of the unexplored areas in the Sea of Trees, and her wish to negotiate with Duchess Chardonnay of Oseberia…
Although she has reclaimed some land, the current situation, where all kinds of monsters with different quantities and qualities vie for supremacy, won’t allow for this Sea of Trees to function as a single nation, so I don’t really think she needs to talk with Chardonnay.
I told her so, but Quiche said that it’s a step she ought to do just in case for the sake of future developments. It’s a view very befitting of a village chief and Commander-in-Chief.
“It’s a bit hard to say with negotiations with the wolfmen around the corner, but…”
Quiche timidly asked me whether I could be present during the negotiations with Hekatrail.
Once I get back to Hekatrail, I’m going to meet up with the 【Wind of Bloody Long Ears】 Ledond. Additionally, I’d like to investigate Kuna’s store as well. I’d also love to meet the booby receptionist.
That’s why I agreed to Quiche’s request.
Then Quiche told Kisara and Rotalz to go train somewhere else because they were being too loud. I should have a word with them later on.
At the end, I snuggled up to Quiche who seemed exhausted after writing many documents. After making sure that no one would disturb us, I gently massaged Quiche’s shoulders.
“…This is your reward? Thanks.” Quiche placed her fingertips on the back of my hand.
“How about taking a little break?”
While stroking Quiche’s fingers after turning my hand around…I clasp her hand with a lover’s grip.
“I’ll finish up with this. Then I’ll eat some sweets Gramps Ton made for me.”
A big amount of sweets was placed on her work desk.
Are those also sweets made by the children? Arry’s sweets…those seem like they’d spoil one’s stomach.
“There’s quite a lot of them.”
“…Usually I pay attention to my diet, but Gramps Ton’s skills are terrific.”
If I remember correctly, Gramps Ton’s handmade sweets are… You can tell at a glance that they’re special. They contain faint traces of mana.
“…The results of the cooking class, huh?”
“You’re right. I wonder just what ingredients Gramp Ton’s sweets use.”
“They look quite tasty, and for them to even contain mana…I’ve eaten high-class dishes in Pelneet and Holkerbaum, but…Gramps Ton’s sweets give me a completely different impression.”
“He’s not only good at baking, but also a trove of knowledge. He’s a truly weird gramps. He originates from the depths of the Sea of Trees, an area at the bottom of the bottoms. A place with lots of differences in elevation. He apparently lived in a small village inhabited by demonoids, but…”
“Hee, a demonoid settlement, eh?”
“You didn’t hear? Not just Gramps Ton, but all the people you rescued and brought with you have some kind of redeeming feature. They’ve got cheerful characters, and although they’re of different races, they’re all wonderful people.”
Since Quiche was so lovely as she explained all this with a smile, I answered, “That’s great to hear. Then, before I go home――”, and stole her lips.
“I have two rewards for you. Gentleness, and your beloved…”
Quiche asked with a smile, her eyes filled with nothing but love.
“Haha…you got it.”
After finishing my flirting with Quiche, I used <Magic Hand guided by Thought> to dash through the village in order to go back to my home. I could see Helme, Rollo, and the two orcs standing at the entranceway. Alray and Hueremy were laying sprawled at their feet.
Helme was pointing a finger at the Wave Gourd that’s decorating the foyer. I’m sure she’s exaggeratedly explaining the gourd to the orcs.
“Shuuya-sama! Welcome back!”
“Did you make out with someone?” Kisara’s tone was oddly shrill.
I’ve got no doubt that me flirting with Quiche weighs on her mind. Rotalz was being poked by Kisara.
“…Indeed. So, what have you been up to, Kisara, Rotalz?”
“Using <Magic Breath>, I’ve been helping Muu-chan downstairs with her training.”
She’s right. I can see Muu moving her body on the training ground in front of my house. In the end, she stayed here without joining up with the other kids, I suppose.
However, despite the short period of time, she’s become quite good at using her artificial limbs. Is it because Kisara helped her with the training?
Hmm? Small origami humanoids are dancing around Muu. The origami people are assisting Muu with her movements. They’ve been supporting her body. The origami people have all kinds of shapes. They look quite mysterious.
They remind me of Rasheena’s Bracelet which Viine uses. In the past I called the darkness spirits from that bracelet tiny old men and urban legends.
The origami people over here seem more humanoid than the darkness spirits, which used to be no more than arms. Originally they’re humanoids made out square pieces of decorative paper. I can also see cutouts.
The possibilities of origami are infinite.
“…Oh, magic based on your grimoire, Kisara? Incredible. I didn’t expect such a training method to exist. You might say this and that, but in the end, you’re a kind woman as well.”
“――Thank you very much.”
“In reality she’s――”
Rotalz tries to provide some additional information about Kisara, but that settles his fate. Thanks to a heel drop by Kisara. The mid-kick strengthened by her twisting her body cleanly lands on his belly.
His huge torso bends. He falls while revolving around his own axis like a shot airplane, finally crashing into a rock.
The cliff’s rocks are being scraped off. The cliff located on Cydale’s right side might have become even more rugged thanks to Rotalz.
“Kisara, surprise attacks are unfair!” Rotalz’s energetic voice can be heard from further away.
His durability is truly terrifying.
Muu points in the direction of where Rotalz’s voice came from. Once his voice fades away…Muu looks my way with a broad smile.
I stare at her artificial arm. A wooden spear has been inserted into its tip. Apparently relying on her string magic, she compensates the joint parts connecting the artificial arm and the spear through her own strings. With awkward motions, she lifts the spear up as if thrusting it upwards.
It looks like she wants me to watch her spearmanship. Very well, I guess I’ll take a look for a bit.
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