The Monster Was Laughing
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It was an intense roar that made you feel like it would crush your heart just from the sound alone, as if being urged on by instincts.
In the lounge, upstairs in the Sherwood firm, after hearing that roar, Aiz unconsciously took two steps back and as if that wasn’t enough, she wrapped her arms around her body and crouched down.
The first roar was the most intense.
After that, as if it were being obstructed by something, there were intermittent voices that came up and also, there were sounds of something hard being hit hard which would weakly resound.
Since they were able to hear the sounds this clearly even though it was from the underground, it went to show just how loud the actual sounds were.
Elma hugged Aiz from the side and thanks to that, Aiz finally managed to calmed down a little and was able to hear Shaw’s sigh.
With a fed up look, Shaw shrugged, no, rather than shrugging, it looked like he dropped his shoulders and then he continued speaking.
「That, just now, definitely resounded right? ….Definitely resounded」
While asking by himself, he chimed in with his own reply, which looked rather funny.
「Well, the pursuers from Mūzeg probably haven’t found their way here yet, and you usually wouldn’t think that, this kind of roar would have anything to do with us Demon Lords…
However, I still wanted to avoid standing out much…」
The reason they didn’t get close to the first town was so that, although a little, they could give themselves some leeway.
That was also the reason why they didn’t spend more than an hour after coming to this〈Duchy of Neuce Gauss〉.
If it wasn’t for that, they would have definitely been much more flustered and tried to quickly get past the eastern gate while being worried about being found out.
That being said, they definitely did not consider this as time wasted.
That plan to meet up at the eastern gate in one hour was quite the tight schedule but they had already completed their job of arranging transport quite well.
After having completed that, the 10 minutes they had left before meeting up with the other Demon Lords was a valuable rest period for them.
That’s right, a mere 10 minutes.
「It’s quite the reckless thing to do, trying to heal an ailing dragon in under 10 minutes」
Shaw heaved another sigh.
Even Shaw knew that Merea did not fit into the normal standards but, since he was, once again, trying to do something out of the ordinary, he no longer knew how to handle it.
「Seriously though, what do you need to do to make that weak a land dragon to raise this loud a roar?」
The floor of the firm was shaking with a slight crashing sound while the walls were creaking loudly.
Just what kind of magic did he use?
Shaw had not heard anything about a medical technique being discovered that would work on the fatal draconic disease so, most probably, he might really be using an unreasonable 『magic』 instead.
「Just in case, I’ll once more but, a medical technique that would work on the fatal draconic disease hasn’t been discovered yet right?」
Shaw asked Zaido, trying to confirm what he already knew.
「Yes, first of all, samples are just not enough. Only dragons can contract this disease after all. Being able to encounter a patient before it died of fatal draconic disease――Calling it a patient just doesn’t sit right――could be considered to be a rather lucky situation. Since one a dragon dies of fatal draconic disease, it doesn’t leave much of a trace behind, or so it’s said.
Also, another reason why it’s really difficult to find a medical technique that would work is because, the root bacterium goes through a troublesome denaturement from generation to generation」
「I’m extremely glad that this disease does not affect humans」
――If that is the case, then it is probably magic after all. No, it could also be sorcery.
Half jokingly and half seriously, Shaw thought.
In any case, if it was writhing that violently then it was probably not a medical technique that had to minutely calculate matters.
He might have used a toxic substance or possibly used shock treatment, there was the possibility that he aimed for such a method that aimed at a remedy through the mind.
「…well, fine. …Another five minutes. If Merea doesn’t return after 5 minutes, while I don’t want to see it, I’ll once again go downstairs and call them back.
Also, the horses wouldn’t have run away right?」
「They would not have. In the first place, if 15 horses walked through town, it would definitely stand out. So, I had them sent to the east gate directly」
「Very good」, Shaw said with satisfaction.
Afterwards, for several minutes, the Sherwood firm’s building experienced the aftereffects of the shaking.
Gradually, very gradually, the shaking and the roars quieted down and they all waited for Merea and Marisa to come back upstairs.
Merea and Marisa walked back upstairs, roughly 4 minutes after the first roar was heard.
After Shaw finished speaking, the shaking and sounds gradually reduced and finally it fell silent.
Merea, who had just climbed up the stairs, had countless cuts on his face, arms and almost every other part of his body.
Over and above that, even his clothes were ripped in several places.
Marisa as well, unusually, had her clothes in disarray, however, by the time she reached up the stairs and turned towards them, she had already put her clothes back in order.
The first one to notice the strange amount of damage on the body of Merea, who was walking next to Marisa, was Aiz and she immediately ran over to him.
「Ar, are you okay…!?」
Even while she got her tongue all tangled, she asked concernedly.
Her face was colored with impatience and the fist she had clenched was shaking.
Seeing Aiz like that, Merea showed her a smile and to make her calm down, he spoke up.
「Yeah, I’m fine I’m fine, I just had to duke it out a little with the land dragon」
「If a normal human duked it out with a land dragon then it would, in a very easy to understand, and to an extreme sense of that word, definitely mean 『death』, you know? That doesn’t become a testimony to your being fine, right?」
The one to speak up to Merea next, was Shaw who shrugged his shoulders.
Merea looked towards him and in the same way, smiled.
「That land dragon, in time, it should heal. Well, I saved it out of my own selfishness so I don’t plan on giving any opinions on how it is treated after this」
It should heal.
Hearing those words, Shaw was once again, amazed.
He really did not think that Merea would be capable of cure the fatal draconic disease.
As a matter of fact, over 70 percent of people would have personally taken it upon themselves to offer it its final 『peace of mind』 in order for the dragon to not suffer any longer.
「Being told that, do you really think we can do everything as we please now?」
Shaw heaved another sigh.
「Recently, you have been intervening with my standard money principles you know? Not to mention, while having me create debts left, right and center」
「Haha, that wasn’t my intention though」
「Even if you’re like that, I mind it quite a bit though? Since I have a standard money principle, I’m quite particular when it comes to lending and borrowing」
That was what Shaw truly felt.
Shaw himself knew that, he was a shrewd and cunning person but, even then, if he had borrowed or lent to the level that he couldn’t ignore, then it led him to feel rather nervous.
『I dislike owing someone』, those words from Shaw were actually words that accurately expressed his personality.
He was that persistent with 『deals』 that used money because he couldn’t shirk on paying back a large debt.
If he couldn’t shirk on paying back a large debt, then he shouldn’t create such a debt in the first place.
However, this Merea alone, had kept having him create debts.
A healthy land dragon, the price of it as a merchandise, would probably be astounding.
The value of the land dragon, which had been at rock bottom due to the fatal draconic disease, had, in a mere 10 minutes, skyrocketed.
It would end up bringing an enormous amount of profit to the Sherwood association.
「…Another debt」, Shaw said quietly.
He slightly hated himself for lightly saying, 「Fine, go ahead」 to Merea’s suggestion.
His understanding towards Merea, was insufficient.
He had thought of Merea to be a combat-oriented 『demon』 but he turned out to be an even bigger monster than he had first though. A humongous monster who had dabbled in a wide array of matters.
He had no idea what had been done to that land dragon but, from that point forward, it would be better not to use standard common sense with him.
Ever since the encounter with Mūzeg’s army, he had told himself that multiple times but his guard against Merea’s nonsense was completely shattered from an unexpected source.
「…This is troubling」
Shaw said that in a very soft voice, such that only he would be able to hear it. Though, he had to admit that, his tone of voice had some excitement mixed in it as well.
Shaw, once again, turned his attention towards Merea.
The wounds on his face and body, had already disappeared.
When he had wiped his face, the wounds had already disappeared.
Although they weren’t deep wounds, they healed a little too fast.
However, Shaw did not get surprised at that speed.
In exchange, he wondered if the clothes that had been ripped would fix themselves or not.
He then walked over to one of the walls of the firm and picking up a slightly expensive native clothes of some region’s people, he threw it over to Merea.
「Change into that」 was what he motioned with his eyes, looking at Merea who had caught those clothes.
Merea, noticing that intention, slowly started taking his clothes off, at that place.
「So, is it about time now?」
Embarrassedly asking, 「How do you wear this…?」 he held up the unfamiliar clothing and with Marisa’s help he somehow managed to wear the clothes before he turned to Shaw and asked.
「Yeah, if we run, then we should be able to make it to the east gate, 2 or 3 minutes before the deadline」
「Then, shall we go?」
As soon as he heard Shaw’s reply, Merea went over to Elma and took Lilium from her and once again, carried her on his back.
Looking at her sleeping face from the side, he spoke,
「…haha, even with that roar she didn’t wake up, Lilium really has guts huh」
While laughing happily, Merea headed towards the exit of the Sherwood firm.
After Merea, Elma, Aiz and Marisa followed after him, in that order and finally Shaw,
「…Haaa. …This is no good. Recently I feel like I’ve been sighing too much…」
「You have my sympathies, Sherwood-sama」
Zaido, also seemingly having understood the abnormality that was Merea, turned a pitying gaze towards Shaw.
As merchants, for them 『things that do not stick to expectations』 are not something that they particularly like.
During large commerce deals, they predict what other merchants would do and accordingly transport goods to the places they decide on but on the other hand, when those predictions are off, they end up making a large loss.
Which was why, they did not like elements they could not predict.
Having understood that is why he looked at Shaw with pity.
「Well, the fact that he can’t be predicted by anyone would also lead to large amounts of profit though」
Reading between his lines, 「that sort of thing is also not bad」, was he seemed to be trying to tell himself. He waved towards Zaido and started walking after Merea and the rest.
「I’ll leave the judgement of the merchandise to you as usual. Pursuers from Mūzeg and other countries may come here, in that case…」
「I’m well aware of what to do. I have a 『debt』 with Sherwood-sama that I could never repay. Even if I were to die, I will not say a word」
「That makes me rather happy but, to a moderate degree, make sure to watch out for yourself. If you die, you won’t be able to earn any more money after all」
Saying that, Shaw walked out of the exit and disappeared.
「Those people were like a storm huh…」
Saying that, Zaido fixed the position of his monocle and while shrugging,
「Well, certainly, sometimes, that kind of thing isn’t all bad」
He seemed to be rather happy.