After returning Adombraly into the ring of <Demonic Armament Spirit – Ruby Loop>, I grabbed Iglued’s seed.
“Helme, Kisara, I’ll pour mana into this one in front of everyone on the training ground. This seed contains a being that used to be Evil Spirit Spear Iglued. If it develops into a battle, we’ll annihilate her together.”
“Shall I use my water jail?”
“Rather than that, prepare 18 ice spears.”
Helme creates ice cocoons on both her hands and feet. Wait, so she can use the cocoons on her feet as well? Her color also changes from an Asiatic dayflower blue to a deep gray-blue, and since it’s bordered by a peacock blue, the blue and its graduations look very pretty.
“…Shuuya-sama, are you sure?” Kisara asks with a warning tone.
I’ve heard about her clash with Iglued. But, it’s worth a try.
“Yep, I plan to pour mana into this seed, stone, or whatever.”
I exchange a look with Rollo.
After a short meowing, she gets off my shoulder. As soon as her four paws touch the ground, her figure grows with a poof. In an instant she transforms into something resembling a bobcat. Running while letting her fur flutter, Rollo leaps straight towards the window which Helme and Kisara used to enter, and then jumps out of that window.
Once I tell Lash-san that I’m going downstairs, she nods after tilting her head. She has apparently understood after watching Rollo’s actions. After a quick glance at her chest, I jumped out of the window together with Helme and Kisara.
After landing, “――Yo, Solobo, Quema, we’re heading over to the training ground.”
“Shuuya-dono, I’d like some more of the vegetables, if possible.”
The orcs have finished eating the vegetables from Hekatrail.
“You like vegetables, Quema? But, that has to wait for later.”
“…Alright. I’m looking forward to it. The vegetables on the surface are quite delicious, I must say.”
Thereupon, Solobo, who’s wearing his umbrella while standing next to Quema, says towards Kisara, “――I hope to have a rematch soon, Kisara-dono. I haven’t had an opportunity to show you all of my swordsmanship yet,” while hoisting up his silver sword.
“Solobo, even if you talk to her, I doubt that Kisara understands orcish.”
Upon my retort, Kisara asks, “――Shuuya-sama, what did the orcs say?”
While looking straight into her eyes, I answer, “It looks like you have ignited Solobo’s warrior spirit. He mentioned that he’d like to have a rematch with you.”
“Is that so…? I benefit more from my training with Rotalz, though.”
“Well, humor him if you feel like it.”
I approach the training ground while talking with the orcs. Without using the wicket gate, I place a hand on the wooden fence surrounding the ground, and nimbly leap across it.
“How smooth, Shuuya!”
“Shuuya-san, thanks for this black sweetwater!”
“Ah, I also like this sweetwater quite a bit. Storing away the snake’s sweetwater was a nifty idea.”
“…” Muu repeatedly bobs her head next to Sarah.
“Your Excellencyyy, those orcs will be quite useful!”
“It’s just as Adomos says! But, I’d love to show you my new Love Shield – Black Bone Cluster Soul technique, Your Excellency!”
“Ah, Emissary-samaa～ The cheese & bread is wonderful～ But Riedel-chan’s sweet with the name apple pie is much more delicious!”
Everyone greets me with various comments. I inform all of them about the contract with Adombraly and Iglued.
“So, as you’ve heard, I’m going to pour mana into Iglued. Be on your toes.”
“Wait a moment. Before that I’d like you to show me the ring that’s connected to the skill <Demonic Armament Spirit – Ruby Loop>…”
The bearded dwarf draws close to me. His eyes are glittering while fixed on my finger. It looks like he’s curious about Adombraly.
“Is it something similar to a magic tool?”
“I’m also curious about the other ring, or rather, finger protector.”
“You mean Dark Hell Bone Knight? This is――”
“Dwarf, for you to hold such interest in the ring-shaped magic tools of His Excellency…”
“I see you have quite the keen discernment.”
Just when I’m about to explain, Adomos and Zemetas cut in. The Burning Knights step up to me, positioning themselves on my sides as if to protect me from Domidon.
“…Umm, Bone Knights, if you stand there, I can’t see anything…”
“You may examine us instead.”
“Indeed. I heard from Moga-don that you’re a mad professor who tried to cut off Nemus-dono’s arm and leg.”
“That’s why we cannot allow you to get close to His Excellency.”
“You see, that was…”
“Professor, I’m very interested in those beings called Bone Knights, no, Burning Knights. Please look at the smoke in their chests.”
“…I see. This trench…rib cage trench is alive?”
“You can also slightly see what appears to be intestines. Ah, black smoke is…”
“You were called Mie, weren’t you? I’d like you to stop tickling me.”
“Mie-san! They might be Shuuya’s subordinates, but that doesn’t change them being Spirit World Knights! Don’t provoke…them too much.”
“It’s alright, Butch-san.”
The Burning Knights shower him with a glare. But then again, his burning eyeballs look like they’re glaring to begin with…
“I’ll punish Iglued with my Moga Sword Style.”
“I am, Nemus.”
Moga and Nemus are standing along the fence.
“Okay, you done then? Burning Knights, you guys step back a bit as well. However, since it might turn into a battle, you should get ready in advance.”
“Leave it to me!”
“Leave it to me! Emissary-samaa! I’ll beat her black and blue!”
“Catiza-chan sure is lively. Shuuya, we’re here as well, so it’s okay.”
Muu holds up her wood spear.
“With Red Tiger here, I can feel relieved. Muu as well.”
After addressing Sarah and Muu with a smile, I walk up to the center of the training ground. On the way, I summon Baldok. And while repeatedly summoning and erasing Ganghis in my left, I also invoke <Magic Hand guided by Thought>.
<Magic Hand guided by Thought> is a crooked hand consisting of fine mana streams. I play around by having it move high above my head as if to check it out. Rollo and her squad are lured in by the movements of the mana hand. They intently gaze at it.
Anyway, no time for cats now. Currently Iglued is up.
I stare at the seed and erase the light-based wood surrounding Iglue at the same time. At this stage I could already communicate with Adombraly-kun, but…Iglued’s seed doesn’t show a single response.
There is a mark of a small lute and trees on the surface of the seed. Still, the pretty seed doesn’t move at all as it lays on my palm. Has she died after all? I mean, I’ve enveloped this seed with the light-based trees of <Tail of the Crushing Evil Spirit Tree> after pumping quite a bit of mana into it…
Her not moving like this like a dead rock means…it might not have bore much meaning. <Tail of the Crushing Evil Spirit Tree> can generate light-based trees despite them originating from Hellrhone. It’s a skill I acquired after multiple Extra Skills had a chain reaction.
Well, the proof is in the pudding. I amass my mana in my right hand, and drive a great amount of it into Iglued.
“…W-What terrific mana… Various spirits are congregating around His Excellency’s right hand…”
“Spirit-sama? Sure, I can sense mana pressure, but…”
Helme and Kisara mutter.
“I can’t tell much more than the fact that he’s gathering mana in his right hand either.” Sarah adds.
“I cannot even tell that much, but…the needle of this “Precise Magic Examinator Prele” is reacting quite intensely.”
“…Professor, this value…is similar to the ancient ruins.”
The professor holds one of the book-like items that are hanging from his waist. It looks like a bound book, but upon closer look, it’s more like a small, square box, I guess.
“…Yeah, it’s a mana value I haven’t seen often. It resembles that of the people who caused a dispute inside the ruin. I’d love to recruit Shuuya-dono for my exploration party by all means…”
“I think you’d need to pay twice the amount of gold coins of Red Tiger Storm’s wage to hire Shuuya-san…”
Professor Domidon and his assistant Mie-san chat.
“If you’re going to hire Shuuya, you have to pass it through Günther Moga who’s in charge of negotiations in his clan, you know?”
“I am, Nemus!”
Moga, just when did you become the one in charge of negotiations!?
Nemus expresses her intent by loosely moving an arm, as if asking me to forgive Moga, but…in the end I’m not quite sure what she wants to tell me.
“Mie-san, please leave the persuasion of Shuuya to me. If we have Shuuya with us, the success of the ruin exploration party is as good as guaranteed. After all, he’s the sole adventurer who contributed to the Evil Dragon King subjugation as a solo adventurer, you know? Leader also mentioned that he killed it in fact all by himself. I’ve personally seen him coming out of the dragon king’s mouth with my own two eyes. Back then I was deeply moved, or rather, trembling in excitement…”
“Okay, thank you, Butch-san. Our research of the ancient letters is still only at its beginning.”
“Butch, if you manage to persuade him…”
The professor and Butch reveal weird smiles. Exactly because Butch’s mustache and goatee are connected, it makes his face look weird.
An exploration party, huh? I do have interest in that, but…
“Just like the ring of <Demonic Armament Spirit – Ruby Loop>, this mass here also…”
“Quema-sama, our lord…”
“…I know. It’s shaking your belief in the Eight Greater Orc Gods, isn’t it?”
“Yes. To be honest, I didn’t give much of a damn about the many, many gods of the outside world, but…that and the existence of Spirit-sama…I…”
“Solobo, let’s watch Shuuya-dono for now.”
I can’t see their expression, but it sounds like they’ve been shaken in their beliefs.
A pause opens up…everyone is standing around, stirring, as they sense my mana with their bodies…
As time passes on, they begin to sigh.
Is it a lost case after all?
The instant I think that, Iglued’s seed bounces. Leaving my palm, it floats up into the air. Its shape deforms audibly and becomes bigger by one full size. Having said that, it’s still small.
But, it appears that it’s not floating. Rather, Iglued’s seed falls towards the ground thanks to gravity. As soon as it lands…eh?
It ends up digging underground while rotating.
“Your Excellency, this is…”
“So it means it was a seed after all?”
Muu hops up and down, trying to approach it.
“Muu, stay away. We don’t know what might happen next.”
Once I warn her with a stern look, Muu almost starts crying, but returns behind Sarah. There she sniffles Sarah’s red muffler. Without me noticing, she’s become attached to Sarah, it seems.
Is it because Kisara and Helme, who have been training her, are as strict as Master? Then again, it might be simply because she was happy over receiving black sweetwater from Sarah.
Just like Muu, the others around me are noisy as well.
Suddenly, the ground, where Iglued had dug itself in, bulges unnaturally.
“Don’t tell me…”
But it was just that.
A green leaf suddenly pops out of the ground. Apparently it has started to bud…for it to really have been a seed and not a stone…
“The leaves are growing in number. The stalk is getting thicker too. That goes way beyond 『Dormancy Breaking』, doesn’t it?
The stalk has exceeded 30 cm by now, I think. Since it’s obvious that my mana would become a trigger, I could have anticipated as much, but…the roots are also spreading while rising to the surface…
There’s a handprint in the center of the stalk. A depression for my hand?
Still, if it grows this quickly…
Oh? The growth has halted.
Its appearance is similar to a miniature version of a banyan tree, but it’s quite thick. I guess it was a tree that was previously reflected in Iglued’s eyes.
There are no gross blood juices or blood-stained magic circles, but…
A pretty, green flower has bloomed next to the hand print. Its balance of dark and jade green is lovely.
“Your Excellency, that’s a dreamy plant…” Helme places a hand on the Iglued tree that has stopped growing.
“…For that Evil Spirit Spear Iglued to become a tree…” Kisara is dumbfounded because she fought Iglued in the past.
“Still, this is quite the pretty flower. And…that flower resembles the face of the woman when Iglued materialized as steam at the end. In contrast, the one over here is smiling though.”
Back then her face was filled with grief and sadness. Right now, it looks more like she’s smiling.
“Your Excellency, would it be okay for me to water it?”
“Sure. You want to foster it like you did with the two big trees and the Millennium Plant at my mansion in Pelneet, right?”
Helme revealed a pretty smile.
“Just when I wondered what kind of monster would come out, a tree grew out of the ground… Shuuya, you had us get ready to fight, but it seems to be alright now, yes?”
“I also nocked an adamantine arrow on my bow, but it looks like it won’t get a turn this time.”
Sarah and Bellize commented. Luciel put her wand away after casting a smile in my direction.
“Sorry, you three.”
“It’s not really a problem. Adamantine arrows are expensive after all.”
“But, it sure is weird…a tree on a training ground. Ah! Is the soil going to be alright?”
“Going by its size, it’s possible that roots would dig their way out at the hill’s side, you know?” Sarah warns while agreeing with Luciel’s question and looking at her feet with worry written in her eyes.
“Well, it was a dreary training ground anyway, so I think it won’t hurt if a stylish decoration gets added in its center.”
But, I should still check the surrounding area later on. I’m also curious about the hand print in the tree’s center…
“Muu, I think it’s okay now.”
Muu smiles and runs up to the Iglued tree.
“Muu-chan, do you want to pew-pew the Iglued tree together with me?” Helme releases water from her fingertip.
Muu nods cheerfully, but then trips over a root, and tumbles over.
“Oh my, oh my.”
“…Hehe, Muu-chan, your training is still lacking.”
Kisara runs up to Muu while Helme caresses her head with her <Lapis Lazuli Flower>. It’s almost as if Muu is surrounded by mothers. It’s an extremely heartwarming scene to watch.
Taking Lash-san with me, I move over to the edge of the training ground.
Thereupon, “――Shuuya!” “Oh, when did this happen!?”
Quiche and Higlia have apparently rushed over. Both of them are panting hard as they stop in front of the fence around the training ground.
“Yo, I ended up growing out a tree.” I answer them.
“…Tree…don’t tell me, you’re connected to the Goddess of Plants Sadeyula-sama?”
Quiche turns her eyes to Rollo who’s absorbed in following my <Magic Hand guided by Thought> with her eyes. I’ve previously told her about the revival of Holker’s Tree in Demonic Steel City Holkerbaum and the great adventure of regaining Rollodeen’s true form by going north. That’s probably why she associated it with Holker’s Tree after suddenly observing a big tree growing out on this training ground.
Lash-san tries to say something to her big sister, but…Quiche doesn’t notice.
“No, it’s the treasure I had entrusted to Gramps Ton. I obtained it during the battle against Schmihazar.”
“Ahh, that item, huh?”
“So that imprisoned thing was a seed!?”
Higlia leaps across the fence ahead of Quiche, and runs over to Helme. Seemingly having given up on talking to Quiche, Lash-san follows Higlia out of curiosity.
While thinking that Quiche’s surprised face has its charm as well, I tell her, “Yep. You can also take a closer look, if you want. And, just a little while ago, I succeeded in forming a contract with Demonic Marquis Adombraly. When I poured mana into Iglued’s seed next…it resulted in the tree over there.”
“Oh, okay! If it’s grown up after absorbing your mana, does it mean that it has a light attribute now? If that’s the case, it’s unlikely that it’s going to oppose us as wicked Evil Spirit Spear, I guess”
“…Probably. It seems to also absorb Helme’s water. Its growth appears to be rather quick, too.”
As I answer her with my own impressions…Quiche jumps over the fence like a long jump athlete. Then she approaches me while holding her shield.
“…Is that ring with the red wings Demonic Marquis Adombraly?”
“Aye, I obtained the <Demonic Armament Spirit – Ruby Loop> skill alongside the ring.” I explain and pour mana into the ring while placing my elbow on the fence.
The instant I focus on the skill, the ring’s surface puffs up, and then the swelling transforms into Adombraly’s globe.
“――Milord’s friend, nice to meet you! Really! I’m happy! I’m Demonic Marquis Adombraly, albeit now a Magic Spirit Armament!”
Quiche is surprised by Adombraly’s response, but she brings her face close while brushing her hair back, commenting, “O-Oh, that’s a remarkably quick way of talking, isn’t it?”
She peeks into the one-eye globe that’s connected to the ring. It would be great material for a picture if he licked Quiche now.
“You have lovely, jade eyes. It wakes the urge in me to kiss them.”
“Hey, perverted eyeball, what’s that about kissing her!?”
“――H-Hiii, i-it was just a joke, milord. Don’t crush my eyebaaaaaall!”
I press against the round eyeball with the thumb of my other hand.
“Haha, it looks soft.”
“Want to try touching it?”
“No, I’m fine. Rather than that, I have to talk with Red Tiger Storm about the village.”
“Roger.” I agree and leave Quiche while having Adombraly return into the ring, heading towards the Iglued tree.
I walk up next to Helme who’s continuing to water it. Higlia has been talking with Kisara.
“Your Excellency, do you want to water the plant together with Muu-chan and me?”
“No, I was thinking of placing my palm onto the hand print.”
“The hand print…with the deeply meaningful presence next to the pretty flower, right? Its size seems to fit your hand, Your Excellency.”
“Yep, at once―― ”
Once I press my hand into the hand print, the bark wriggles underneath my palm. The gaps between my fingers are filled with bark. …It perfectly matches my hand’s shape and size.
“Your Excellency, I can’t feel much mana from it…”
“Shuuya-sama, the tree and your arm…”
“Shuuya, that tree…was Iglued whom you fought before, right? Is that really smart…?” Higlia looks at me anxiously.
But, I answer her, “It’s alright――”, and remove my hand again.
I wave my hand to show everyone that nothing has happened.
“So you’re free to remove your hand as well.”
“Probably…the Iglued tree desires my mana.” I speculate while taking a distance from the tree.
“A tree that grows up while being fed with Shuuya’s mana…sounds like something strange is going to happen again.”
“In my eyes, it’s also strange how the claws of ancient wolfmen can turn into armor, you know?”
Higlia’s armor has been faintly changing each time I meet her. Her fashion sense is unexpectedly strong. I guess it’s because she’s a princess.
“This armor here? Certainly, in the eyes of other races it must look like that, I suppose.”
“Indeed. I have accompanied His Excellency on his travels through the cities, but I don’t think I have ever seen anyone among humans and beastmen who was capable of changing their nails into armor, except for His Excellency’s blood chain armor.”
“I’ve see someone like that at Lake Rhinoceros. He was called Bone Manipulator Yun Gen. He was wearing a flashy happi coat despite being the guard of a medicine seller. He was famous for looking like one of those monks of the eastern demi-human temple. He used the Sand Claw Sword Style…and was commonly called Bald Mountain or Great Mountain Genji.”
“It sounds like the great desert region has many martial artists.”
“Well, back when I was still there, it was an era of warring states.”
“Kisara, your life is full of stories I know nothing about. It’s super interesting!”
Higlia is a princess who grew up in the Sea of Trees. She’s always listening to stories about the outside world with keen interest.
“Now then, I wonder how the Iglued tree is going to develop in the future. I’m looking forward to that and the Wave Gourd. Having said that, I won’t use mana today anymore. Time to take a smoke break.”
“I’ll join you as well! Daon and the others are in charge of patrols for today!”
“Sure. I don’t mind that, but…the other day you had a coughing fit when you tried to smoke a magic cigarette. Are you sure you still want to go ahead with it?”
“…I’ll do my best!”
Oh well, whatever. Magic cigarettes permeate your body with mana and they’re healthy.
As time passed on, I spoke with Mamani and the others through blood messages, and also contacted Eva. We decided that she’d come here together with Rebecca, Dee-san, and Lily tomorrow, but…right now, the members of Red Tiger Storm – minus Butch – have gathered in front of the mirror, or rather, next to my bed.
“What is it so early in the morning? The sun isn’t even up yet…”
“…That’s why. Come on, leader, it’s your chance while no one is here!” Standing behind Sarah who was fidgeting around, Luciel urges her leader as if to give her a push.
“I yielded the first round to you as friend and leader, but…you’re dilly-dallying, so I’ll…”
Sarah, Bellize and Luciel have lined up in front of my bed. Rollo’s Squad is at their feet.
“What is it…for all of you…to have gathered…like this…?”
Yep, their clothes make it hard for me to know where to look. Unconsciously I rub my eyes…staring at the high-class outfits of the three beauties. Moreover, all of them wear see-through clothes…I can even see some underwear-like frill there!
“You can probably tell from us wearing these clothes, but Shuuya! I’d like you to accept this.”
“The one you bought at Phenimur Village?”
Not only Sarah’s cat ears, but also her cheeks are bright red.
I gratefully accept the string bracelet from her, and pull the adorably squirming Sarah into my embrace.
“…By the way, the clothes we’re wearing are magic underwear we specially bought from the money we got through selling a part of the Evil Dragon King materials, believing that they’d please you, Shuuya. They’re rare items said to have been created by a tailor belonging to the Odeburry family.”
“Hee, they’re nicely emphasizing your pretty bust too, Luciel.”
“Hehe, thanks. But, this time…”
“True. Leader, go for it, okay?”
“We’ll wait outside…”
Bellize and Luciel give each other a high-five while smiling, and go downstairs. Probably for Sarah’s sake.
“Ah, you girls, wait!”
The cats also follow the two while Sarah’s voice echoes through the house.
In the meantime, I put on Sarah’s bracelet. Sarah has separated from me, moving close to the stairway.
『…I’ll also go outside…』
I ignore Saraten.
“Now it’s just the two of us.”
“Yeah…” Sarah casts a glance at my face, just to avert her eyes right away.
At that moment, I put an arm around her waist and pulled her close to me.
“Leader, you’re full of openings.”
“…Mmh, I’ll always make that kind of opening available…for you…,” she says and closes her eyes.
Her small lips are trembling. But, just as she desires, I steal those lips of hers. Sarah’s nails dig into my back.
Then we pull our lips apart. Sarah smiles at me. But, immediately following, she looks surprised and traces her own lips with a finger.
“I…kiss…” She stammers with her eyes shaking and her ears trembling.
“Haha, it’s no dream, mind you.” While laughing, I pick up her body, and carry her over to the bed.
On that day…Sarah’s carnal moaning continued until early in the morning, so loudly that Rollodeen felt inclined to roll her eyes.
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