Admiration, Wonder, Grief
It was a dragon.
A land dragon (Reirnote).
Four legs, black scales, a thick, long and strong looking tail as well as peculiar aerodynamic wings.
A radical form that would leave an impression of strength and sharpness.
――Compared to that, quite the idiotic cry.
For a moment she thought that idiotic cry was slightly cute but then the rest of its features immediately showed that it was, unmistakably, a land dragon.
Even if she could use techniques, she would have to be prepared for death if it recognized her as an enemy, that was the kind of creature it was.
Matching that cry, Lilium almost screamed out 「Gyaaa」 but she covered her mouth with her hands and somehow managed to hold that scream down.
As expected, she hesitated to raise a voice.
A woman’s scream really could resound after all and it may just end up jolting the land dragon after all.
Not to mention, there were still people on the other side who were sleeping soundly.
If the first thing they heard, the moment they woke up was a woman’s scream then it would definitely end up being a horrendous way to wake up.
Around 10 seconds passed with her in the state of holding her scream down.
After watching each other for a while, Lilium finally let her breath go.
Her desire to scream seemed to have disappeared and she finally dropped her hands from her mouth and spoke up.
「D, don’t startle me like that!」
In the end, she still spoke in a rather loud voice.
Well, it probably didn’t echo that much.
She decided to be satisfied with the fact that, at least it wasn’t a scream.
The reason Lilium managed to speak to it in that way was because, in those 10 seconds she figured out, from its eyes and gestures that it meant her no harm.
In fact, it even seemed to have a rather intimate air around it.
As far as Lilium was concerned, that was an extremely strange situation.
There had never been a situation where she had even faced a land dragon from the front, let alone have any as acquaintances.
The truth of the matter was that, the reason the land dragon meant her no harm was because the land dragon remembered having seen Lilium.
Incidentally, that land dragon was the one that Merea had saved in the basement of the Sherwood firm from the fatal draconic disease.
Lilium, on the other hand, had been sleeping during that situation that had happened in the firm since she had overused her living flames technique.
Although she heard about what happened from them later on but she hadn’t actually seen it.
Which was why, she did not notice that the land dragon in front of her was the same land dragon that came out in Merea’s story.
The land dragon raised a happy cry and then immediately stretched its neck and looked around restlessly.
It looked like it was looking for something.
「Are you searching for something?」
The purpose of that land dragon was to find the human who had helped it.
Which was why it had chased him and arrived at that point.
After smelling the smell of that human from his cast off clothes in the Sherwood firm, it chased after him based solely on that smell, though it had some troubles but it somehow managed to reach the current vicinity.
Seeing Lilium at that place was the first time that the land dragon had the feeling of, 「It’s definitely this place」.
The land dragon remembered seeing Lilium before.
There was no way that it would forget about Lilium who was sleeping near the person who it desperately wanted to find.
The dragon tribe had intelligence that far outstripped humans.
Although that land dragon was young, it still had a really high intelligence.
「Speak human language」
Lilium as well, if she had but 10 seconds, she would return to her usual self.
Having gotten back to how she was, having retrieved her innate vibrant air, she spoke even to the land dragon how she would to anyone else.
Although they had a language barrier and she didn’t precisely know what the other side was talking about but, since the other side was a smart dragon she could somehow make out what it was trying to say with the tone of its voice.
It was to the point where she even thought that the land dragon may even understand the meaning of human languages.
In contrast, the dragon seemed to be a little pressured by Lilium’s air.
Facing that woman with crimson hair, who looked directly into its eyes, the land dragon unconsciously started stepping back.
Seeing the land dragon like that, Lilium spoke,
「Ah… Sorry. I’m sorry i spoke that strongly」
She saw a childishness in that dragon.
At the same time, she felt a sense of guilt as one would feel when they unconsciously scold a child.
Lilium herself felt rather startled with how she had reacted and ended up wondering whether that reaction was the right one or not.
「Seriously…why is a human consoling a dragon…?」
She realised that they would make no progress in this way.
It seemed that the land dragon had some business in that area and coincidentally, there was a weirdo among them who could speak dragon tongue.
Although it was slightly early, since it was an emergency situation, she had no other choice but to wake him up.
With those thoughts, While heaving a sigh, Lilium floated a gentle smile on her face to calm the land dragon down.
She looked like a sister who would always end up listening to what her brother wanted or like a woman who got hooked by a good-for-nothing gigolo that she could not get rid of.
「Well whatever, ――Just wait for a bit. There is a weirdo who can speak dragon tongue so I’ll go get him now」
「It’s fine, I’ll properly go and get him. So, you just stay over there. If you come with me, then everyone’s hearts might just jump out of their chests」
At the land dragon’s questioning look, she spoke up.
There was definitely no way that she could bring it along with her.
The demon lords who are confident in their strength may end up collapsing on the ground from fear and not to mention the demon lords who have no confidence in their strength, they may just end up fainting.
While thinking that, as Lilium turned around and walked away, she heard the sound of something heavy scraping across gravel.
Turning towards the land dragon which tried to nonchalantly follow along, she strongly told it off.
As if it was overpowered by her tone, the land dragon quietly sat down in that place.
「Seriously…, just play with that」
Saying that, Lilium created a large living flame from her right hand and threw that towards the land dragon.
It was a living flame that hopped along.
It was considerably larger than the one that was used as a light during the lookout and it could even be called to be for a dragon.
Having realised that the living flame that was meant for light had been turned into a plaything by those 『two idiots』, she tried it out and threw it towards the dragon.
「――Yup, you’re basically just like those two huh? I’m glad that you are easy to handle」
She was happy and sad.
Lilium couldn’t help but heave a sigh along with a bitter smile, seeing that land dragon happily playing with the living flame.
Leaving the land dragon that was happily playing with the living flame behind, Lilium advanced into the thicket where the demon lords were sleeping.
While advancing, she could hear quiet whispering voices.
It seemed like there were already some who had woken up.
Predicting that, she moved the exceptionally large leaf in front of her aside and finally reached the spot where everyone was resting.
「Hey, listen up――」
While speaking up, Lilium turned her gaze towards the group and in the next moment,
What entered into her line of sight was,
「Wh, wh, wh, what’s the matter, Lilium-sama?」
The sight of Marisa trying to place the sleeping Merea’s head onto her lap.
Trying to put both her hands on Merea’s head, the one who had stiffened in that pose was the beauty in maid clothing.
Next to her was a delicate young woman with twinkling eyes, Aiz. Along with them, having already started playing with Merea’s snow-white hair, making braids out of it were the blue haired twins.
Lilium decided to leave the twins be and turned her gaze towards Marisa, who had gotten stiff in the state of preparing to give Merea a lap pillow. ―― 「What are you doing」 is what Lilium’s long silence seemed to say.
「Well you see, I figured that Merea-sama would be inconvenienced since he didn’t have a pillow and well, if I was going to provide a pillow then I might as well use my own thighs――I have quite a lot of confidence in the softness of my thighs after all, so you see…」
Marisa, who usually never let her cold expression change and remained impassive most of the time, might have been that flustered for the first time.
Same for the fact that her face was quite red.
While Lilium looked on at that unexpected side of Marisa, she suddenly noticed a lump of cloth rolling around near them.
That was a 『pillow』.
That was probably the pillow that Merea was using.
Marisa had removed that pillow from under Merea’s head for her own convenience.
Which would mean that her excuse of, 『I figured that Merea-sama would be inconvenienced since he didn’t have a pillow』 was just…
Marisa kept looking all over the place. It was extremely clear that she was flustered.
Aiz, who was next to her, quickly tried to hide the pillow behind herself.
――I see, she’s an accomplice.
She already knew that Aiz had a strong curiosity and she was probably just interested to see someone give a lap pillow, or something of that sort.
Actually, if it was turned around, it could be that Aiz was the one who innocently suggested that to Marisa in the first place.
It was the general opinion of the demon lords that, despite having such a delicate form, that girl was surprisingly bold.
First, she couldn’t help but sigh once.
In that time, Lilium reviewed her impression of Marisa once more.
「…You’re surprisingly 『normal』 huh」
「I, is that so?」
Looking at Marisa, who still had a slightly red face, Lilium spoke up.
「I don’t mean it in a bad sense. If anything, I’m complimenting you」
Although Lilium had thought that she was an extremely unique kind of maid but it might just be that, when it came to certain things, she may just be the most normal.
――Well, that maiden-like response may just be the kind of 『reaction』 she, as a demon lord would make.
She knew that Marisa had one-sidedly sworn her allegiance to Merea.
Although she didn’t know the precise reason for it but, she did guess that the reason originated from the fact that she was a demon lord.
Although she wasn’t close enough to her to ask such things but, after the current sudden situation, she felt that the distance between the two had shortened considerably.
――Not to mention, it feels like it’s not only a sense of loyalty that she feels.
Seeing her like that, Lilium couldn’t help but think that.
When she realised that, she felt a faint discomfort deep within herself, however since it was too faint, she herself did not know what that feeling actually was.
So she decided to ignore that feeling and instead, spoke to Marisa in a teasing tone.
「―――At any rate, you’re rather bold huh?」
Hearing Lilium’s words which were accompanied by a grin, Marisa’s body bounced back.
Merea’s head, which had had half lifted up at some point, was let go and it hit the ground with a dull sound.
Marisa’s and Lilium’s dumbfounded voices overlapped and in the next instant, with very natural movements, Marisa quickly picked up Merea’s head and placed it on her lap.
「I, I humbly apologise! A, ahhh! What have I done…!」
While looking greatly flustered, she gently stroked the part of his head that hit the ground.
As a result, it had ended in the kind of situation that she had wanted but she, herself, was probably not thinking about that anymore.
As she watched that scene of Marisa showing her maiden-like cute appearance, Lilium suddenly remembered the reason she had gone back and once more spoke up.
「――Sorry for disturbing you but I want to borrow Merea for a while」
While Lilium explained about that land dragon, along with Merea, the other demon lords also woke up one after the other and it was decided that they would all go to see that land dragon.
Merea felt a little awkward to leave the other demon lords behind while he, who had the highest power amongst all the demon lords went on ahead. Since it was possible that when he went his separate way something bad may happen.
That being said, from the point of view of powerless demon lords, they would be at the epitome of fear to go and stand in front of a land dragon but after being told by Lilium that it probably didn’t mean them any harm, they resolved themselves to follow along.
Being guided through the thicket by Lilium, Shaw who run up next to Merea, suddenly spoke up.
He already had pressed his finger onto his forehead as if he were suppressing a headache.
「You know? I feel nothing but bad premonitions about this. I’ll say this once more but, from what Ms. Lilium has said so far, it is definitely that land dragon you know」
「It’s no longer a premonition huh…you just said definitely…」
Merea unconsciously hung his head at Shaw’s forced words.
Similarly, Merea was in mind to accept what Shaw had said.
「I have a question for you Merea. Do you think that, that land dragon peacefully left the firm?
In the first place, Zaido wouldn’t have let merchandise like that dragon just run away without any resistance.
Since he’s also a merchant like me, if it wasn’t a large issue, he wouldn’t have let it go」
Shaw placed his elbow on Merea’s shoulder and while leaning on him while tottering, he continued speaking.
「So, if that land dragon is the same land dragon with black scales then Zaido may have reached a point where 『he had no choice』 but to let the land dragon escape right?
――If it was to the point where the firm had no other choice, so I wonder what kind of situation it had ended up in」
Merea imagined the situation but he hesitated to tell Shaw the conclusion he had arrived at.
「Ahh…, weakened by the fatal draconic disease, unable to have food pass through its throat and even unable to have water pass through it. However, that was healed by a certain someone. The moment it was healed, since it was not able to eat properly until then, it would end up feeling rather hungry.
At that point, mysteriously, there is a lot of food lying around all over the place」
Shaw suddenly started speaking rather dramatically.
Merea remembered that the basement of the Sherwood firm was full of many kinds of food which were stocked up.
He felt cold sweat spout out.
「Just right, let’s eat the food around there. ――A dragon does not consider the profit and loss of humans. If it had been an adult dragon, it may have considered it but this one seemed to be rather young. ――Ahh…, Uwaa…」
Shaw’s speech did not continue till the end.
Having imagined it by himself, he suddenly had a sunken expression.
Merea felt the weight that Shaw had placed on his shoulder get heavier and he support him in order to console him.
「What exactly are you doing, you two?」
Lilium looked back and asked with an amazed expression.
「O, there it is」
When Lilium turned back, she raised her voice and pointed.
In front of her was,
「Ahh, as expected, that’s the one」
Although it had gotten considerably bigger since the time when they had seen it in the basement of the firm but Merea did not mistake it.
Scales that shone black like obsidian, with a certain noble feeling and pupils which he remembered well.
Merea who had know many sky dragons while he had been living on the mountain top of Lindholm sacred mountain, knew that dragons, like humans, had faces that had their own individuality.
Having heard Merea clearly say that it was definitely the same dragon, Shaw who had been leaning on his shoulder,
「Hasn’t it become really large…did it become that large from having eaten all the merchandise from the firm’s basement?
――Aaaaahhh…, uwwaaaaahhh…! …We’re definitely going to be at a loss now!!!!」
While collapsing on the ground, Shaw was unable not to raise a cry of grief.