“Alright, got to Taizu!”
I pushed open the lid of the cask, crawled out from inside, and stretched widely.
The idea of Bro Gestaf was to hide us inside the cargo and transport us.
Bro Gestaf has exchanges of goods with Taizu regularly using his merchants.
The idea is that we wouldn’t be noticed if we were to hide there.
The one receiving the merchandise is someone who Brother trusts in, a merchant of Taizu called Ban-san.
We are inside the company of Ban-san that he manages.
Leitis can’t infiltrate this place at a moment’s notice.
“Haakudoku-san, good work enduring the long travel.” (Ban)
“That really was suffocating-ssu yo, Ban-san. Also, I am super hungry. Do you have anything?” (Haaku)
“Of course, I have prepared food for you. Ah, and who may that be?” (Ban)
“W-Where’s the bathroom?!”
“Exit here to the left—” (Ban)
That Masetta, she dashed off with a super frantic face.
She was in a cask for several days, so I told her to keep the ingestion of liquids to the bare minimum though.
The adventurers of Morgana are no good on that front as expected.
Well, it was pretty refreshing inside the cask despite there being two people thanks to her magic, so I have to be grateful to her on that front.
“Ah, right, can’t stay put here. I should go to the place of the Taizu King at once and—” (Haaku)
“About that, I have been left with a message from His Majesty.” (Ban)
How can this be?
Sis and the others left Taizu just a few moments before I arrived and headed to the Taizu Nether where the Green Demon Lord is to heal Brother.
I was left behind? Come on.
“They are heading there with all the other Demon Lords.” (Ban)
“I see. Makes sense why they would leave me behind then.” (Haaku)
I might be fine with 1 within my sight if I brace myself the whole time, but 3 is impossible.
They can’t just drag around an unconscious guy in the Taizu Nether which is rumored to be a hellhole.
That said, it is still sad. *Sniffle*
Masetta returned with an awfully relieved face while I was getting all sad.
“Haah… That was close… I was about to lose a lot of things there…” (Masetta)
“You would let things out, but you wouldn’t be losing anything though?” (Haaku)
“I would lose a lot! And so, are we going to the place of that person?” (Masetta)
“About that…” (Haaku)
I told Masetta about the situation.
This girl stiffens up often.
“Then, does that mean us coming here was pointless trouble?!” (Masetta)
“That might be the case.” (Haaku)
“Even though I went through such a painful experience…” (Masetta)
“Actually, there’s a different request His Majesty wants you to do. He has entrusted me with the letter.” (Ban)
Ban-san said this and gave me a letter.
They are using quite the nice paper -wait, this is…
The letter explained that the culprit that heavily injured Brother was Archbishop Seraes, and the next plan of the Taizu King was written down.
“I see, this would require him to talk in person. I have to return to Bro quickly, but… Hmm, there’s a lot of things I have to put in my head. Masetta, give it a good read and memori—wait, oi?” (Haaku)
Masetta froze again.
It can’t be helped. Let’s put her in the cask just like that.
This time around, she won’t have to hold it in anyways.
We continued getting through the fierce attacks of the dragons, and continued to the center of the Taizu Nether.
Their size is increasing bit by bit, but that also goes for their individual strength.
They are already stronger than your average Unique, and their movements are battle seasoned.
Even if the mana of Daruagestia is massive, the pressure of enemies with a difference in size is quite the thing.
“Just how many are there…?”
“I don’t know. Just thinking about going by foot makes me shiver.” (Gold)
We are riding the back of the giant Daruagestia to travel in the sky. That’s why we are currently only encountering dragons.
If we were on land, we would have encountered a lot of wyverns who can eat humans whole.
If these many monsters were to obey the call of the Demon Lord and were to attack human territory…
“I see something ahead.” (Ekdoik)
I react to the voice of Ekdoik and direct my attention to the front.
There was a far bigger tree compared to the ones around. It seems like there’s a building inside it. It is most likely the castle of the Green Demon Lord.
“We finally see the destination! Daruagestia, lower the speed. We are charging in in one go!” (Blue)
Daruagestia flies as if slipping through the pack of dragons.
The dragons also increase their speed to give chase.
“Hey, Blue, it is fine to hurry, but how do you plan on landing?” (Purple)
“We should be able to think of something if we get closer, right? The dragons won’t be able to chase after us once we are inside, and Daruagestia can also hide by burrowing into the ground.” (Blue)
“Have you not thought of the possibility of Green intercepting us?” (Purple)
“…W-We will manage somehow! There will be no end to the dragons at the rate we are going!” (Blue)
The Green Demon Lord intercepting us…
We still haven’t encountered any monster that could be considered a Unique since entering this Taizu Nether.
They were all gigantic, but all of them were similar and there wasn’t a single one who had any special traits. We should be wary.
“Just a bit more. At this rate… Wait, isn’t this looking strange?” (Ekdoik)
“What, Ekdoik? The surroundings are already teeming with screaming dragons, you know?” (Blue)
“I am talking about those dragons. The amount of them chasing after us has decreased.” (Ekdoik)
I directed my gaze to the back and the dragons were certainly dropping their speed one after the other, stopping in place.
Their hostility towards us has decreased…or rather…are they scared?
“That’s true. But isn’t that a chance instead? We can just—” (Blue)
At that moment, the giant body turned into a mountain.
The trees around the castle stretched up, and turned into a giant wall that blocked our path. No, this is…
“Figures there would be one, huh? A Unique dragon.” (Purple)
If Daruagestia is a slightly elevated mountain, the dragon in front of us would be a giant mountain range.
Even though Daruagestia is flying at a pretty high altitude, it was meeting eye to eye despite not even flying.
The Taizu Nether’s forest was growing on its back, and its whole body was rustic as if it were a cut through mountain.
“A-A creature this big can exist?!” (Blue)
“Uwaah…this is what the word big is used for, huh.” (Rakura)
“This is not the time to be getting impressed, Rakura. With a size like this, it is questionable if even our attacks will work. I would like to go around it, but…” (Mix)
The Unique Dragon roared.
The roar alone pushed Daruagestia back, and the barriers Rakura and the others had placed were screaming.
“Looks like it has judged us as enemies. It is that big, so its speed won’t be that high. We have no choice but to compete in flexibility.” (Ekdoik)
“To think a day would come when I would hear advice like that despite the size of Daruagestia… But it can’t be helped. Daruagestia, fly in a way that we won’t get caught!” (Blue)
Daruagestia spins as if to escape from the vision of the Unique Dragon.
Its speed should have been quite high, and yet, the Unique Dragon just moved its head a bit to catch us in its sight without difficulties.
And just when I thought it opened its mouth, I felt a high concentration of mana gathering.
“A breath attack! A breath attack of that size would erase our barriers in an instant!” (Ilias)
“Daruagestia, raise the speed!” (Blue)
Daruagestia raised its speed further, but the Unique Dragon followed after its movements with just slight adjustments.
Things will get ugly like this. I have to block this attack as much as possible—
“Okay, okay, stop, stop. You shouldn’t kick our rare guests no questions asked, you know?”
A mysterious voice echoed.
Even though they are not nearby, that gentle voice reached our ears clearly from the air.
Are they sending their voice through the wavelengths of the mana?
The Unique Dragon undid the concentration of mana as if reacting to this voice, slowly closing its mouth.
“Did you all…hear that voice just now?” (Ilias)
“Yeah, I did. I don’t see the owner of the voice though.” (Blue)
“If you are referring to me, I am here.”
This time it is a normal voice.
I directed my eyes towards the voice and there was a single woman standing still in midair.
She is wearing clothes like those of a male noble in a sloppy manner, but what stands out the most is that she has the same black eyes and black hair as that man -also darkish skin.
“I won’t deny it, but it is a bit sad to be called by my race. My name is Niruryates. The number one subordinate of My King, the Green Demon Lord-sama.” (Niru)
Niruryates bowed with a bright smile.
But the tension of the people around rose sharply with a demon of the Green Demon Lord showing up.
I can feel the grip of my sword growing tighter than necessary.
“To think there would be reception. I didn’t expect Green to send someone.” (Gold)
“My King has told me to guide you if you were to reach all the way to the castle, but I thought it would be too much to have you fight that child, so I have come to get you on my personal judgment. A fight where you lose so much regardless of whether you win or lose is just sad.” (Niru)
“There’s no need to be so on guard. The knight over there seems to be specially tense, but I am not the demon that attacked Taizu.” (Niru)
Niruryates looked at me, said this, and waved her hand lightly.
“And so, you will be guiding us, right?” (Purple)
“Yes. It doesn’t seem like you are hostile towards My King, and it might be a good stimulus for him to meet other Demon Lords in a while… No idea about that one though.” (Niru)
“Doubt it will be. On the contrary, he might try to kill us depending on how the conversation goes.” (Gold)
“I can’t deny that.” (Niru)
“So you can’t deny it…” (Blue)
“Now then, I shall guide you. Ah, can I ride on the back of this bone dragon?” (Niru)
She got the agreement of the Blue Demon Lord and landed in front of us.
She doesn’t seem to be the type that is good with fights judging from the light inspection I did.
“Fuuh, it has been a while since I have moved in the sky, so I am a bit tired. Now then, please head to the castle as it is. The monsters around won’t attack if I am around, so you can move while descending.” (Niru)
“It really is okay, right? The dragon of before won’t be attacking, right?” (Blue)
“That child is a dragon that was born for the sole purpose of eliminating the ones who get in the way of My King’s sleep. Despite appearances, it is decently intelligent…I think…” (Niru)
“Can you not say something that would make me uneasy?! Rakura, there’s no lie in what she is saying, right?!” (Blue)
“It doesn’t seem like she is lying.” (Rakura)
“Aah, you must be someone from the Yugura Church? Aah, having someone like you around makes explanations go faster. It is great.” (Niru)
The Blue Demon Lord has Daruagestia lower the altitude while still on guard.
The scenery that was only the two colors of the sky and the forest had switched to only grass and trees.
Niruryates is touching the spine of Daruagestia with interest.
“…Niruryates, can I ask you something?” (Ilias)
“What is it?” (Niru)
“You said you are not the demon that attacked Taizu. In that case, do you know who that demon is?” (Ilias)
“I do. They are a demon of My King just like me after all. But they are not in this Nether as of present.” (Niru)
“Then, where are they?” (Ilias)
“Is that an important question?” (Niru)
“Aah, I didn’t phrase it properly. Is that question more important than an audience with My King?” (Niru)
Niruryates’s face still had a smile. However, there was an ominous presence contrary to before.
“No, our objective is to meet Green and negotiate with him. There’s no objective more important than that, you know?” (Purple)
The Purple Demon Lord interjected faster than I could answer.
The creepy feeling coming out from Niruryates pulled away after hearing this response.
“That’s good. Aah, if you were a bunch that would put My King for later, I would have had to eliminate you.” (Niru)
“You seem to be pretty confident? Are you implying you can deal with all of us alone?” (Blue)
“I didn’t say I would win though? But if you are people who insult My King, I would have you pay for that sin even if my life is snuffed out. That’s my job.” (Niru)
From what I can see, Niruryates isn’t that strong. That goes the same for her mana. I don’t feel the gait of a person with a lot of battle experience.
But I can tell plenty enough that she doesn’t falter for a bit in front of us.
“Sorry for the unnecessary question.” (Ilias)
“No, no, this is advice from me as well. You are all going to have an audience with My King, so you should concentrate solely on that. My King will eliminate anyone he doesn’t like without hesitation -even if that’s a demon who has vowed absolute loyalty. Who knows how many times I have almost died. Being alive is wonderful, don’t you think?” (Niru)
Can you really speak in this manner about a king that tried to kill you without hesitation?
She has a gentle smile, but now I feel madness in it.
No one spoke anymore and directed their eyes to the front.
The light of the sun was drowned out after entering the forest, and darkness covered most of our vision.
What was lying ahead of this was a castle eroded by trees.