The〈Sword Emperor〉Elma, leaving the other Demon Lords be, was lost in her own thoughts the whole time. Although she paid very slight attention to her surroundings but she was mostly absent-minded. Elma started to notice that she was regretting the actions she had taken so far.
――Because of my fault, especially with that Mūzeg…
It was a huge worry that nothing could be done about. She felt like scolding herself for having created this kind of a situation.
Although, earlier, she was completely absorbed in running away so she didn’t have any time to think about things but not that they had some time, those thoughts came back to plague her.
If you think about it, then the reason for Mūzeg to be after them was with herself. She was the one who got the other Demon Lords...involved.
It might be true that the other Demon Lords were being pursued by some hostile forces. The〈Alchemy King〉Shaw was being chased by the countries of Saisalis and the others should be the same.
The circumstances of the people who gathered there might have been extremely similar.
However, Mūzeg was in a completely different level. Rather than being pursued by Mūzeg, it might have been better to be pursued by several of the other countries instead.
And the one who brought Mūzeg into this situation, was her.
「Elma, Elma, Let’s go to the basement. Seems we can see a lot of things there!」
「Eh? ...A, ah, that’s right…」
Suddenly, an excited voice interrupted her thoughts. Merea was standing next to Elma with a cheerful expression on his face. This was probably what it meant to have a face full of excitement. It was an easy to understand expression.
「Is something the matter?」
「No, nothing is wrong」
His strange red pupils seemed to pierce through her and for, but a moment, she felt like he may have seen through all the way to her heart.
That was how straight forward his gaze was, with a flash of brightness in it that seemed to be ascertaining something or at least that’s how she felt when she looked into his eyes.
However, seeing him tilt his neck and ask her, made her realise that it was a needless worry.
Feeling slightly relieved, Elma followed after Merea.
Elma’s worry was actually not needless. Although to a vague level but Merea had an inkling that Elma was blaming herself.
On the mountain top of Lindholm Sacred Mountain, he had seen that kind of an expression quite a few times. The heroic spirits who had regrets in the past would sometimes make that kind of an expression and Elma’s was quite similar to that.
Over and above that, Merea had noticed Elma’s self-reproach and he also noticed that she didn’t seem to want to talk about it so he decided not to ask her anything. There was also the reason that, even if he did ask, he didn’t really have a decent reply to provide.
He didn’t plan on leaving her be but right now, he wasn’t sure how to get rid of her worries. When and how.
Even to the heroic spirits it was hard to ask, so how could he just casually ask that of her when he had only just met her.
How could he get her to express her mind without any fear. Actually, should she really express her mind at all?
Merea felt slightly annoyed at himself for not being able to decide.
Afterwards, Merea followed Shaw’s lead and stepped into the basement of the Sherwood firm’s branch office.
「There really are a lot of things, both 『animate』 and inanimate」
There were various that had been procured from several regions in the basement of the firm’s branch office. Merea gently laid the sleeping Lilium on a soft sofa, in a corner of the basement and started looking around at the items.
Starting with minerals and plants that clearly have a lot of value, to fine arts that don’t seem to have a clear price, till tools that was hard to understand why they were even created.
――There are even cages to put livings things in.
The term diverse mess would be the perfect way to describe that basement.
Since they had to wait till that middle-aged monocle〈Zaido〉prepared the transport for them, Shaw also patiently explained about all the products lined up.
For Merea, most were items he had never seen before.
Although he was extremely curious and his curiosity only grew every time he saw the actual items but he still kept thinking back on Elma’s anguished expression.
Every now and then he would glance at Elma but as expected, even during Shaw’s explanations, she seemed lost in thought.
「Ohh, there’s something rare here」
As they were nearing the end of their tour through the warehouse, Shaw suddenly raised a slightly surprised voice.
In front of Shaw, who was looking ahead with an astonished expression, was a cage. The animals which were supposed to be trade goods, at the end of the day, were all safely kept in cages.
They had seen quite a few cages so far but this particular one was considerably bigger than the rest.
Merea approached the cage and followed Shaw’s gaze. When he did that, he immediately understood why that cage alone, was considerably larger than the rest.
It was similar to that. Inside that cage was a creature, similar to the〈Sky Dragon〉Cortista, sitting down heavily.
Compared to Cortista’s white body, the dragon inside the cage had a black body instead.
「It’s probably an infant Land Dragon (Reirnote)」 Not a〈Sky Dragon (Teishia)〉but a〈Land Dragon (Reirnote)〉.
Now that he was told, he finally realised what felt off about that dragon. The 『wings』 were too small.
Cortista’s wings were exceptionally humongous. To make that huge body fly, the wings were probably required to be that size at least.
However, the land dragon in front of them, its wings were somewhat smaller than its body. In exchange, its legs were much better developed than Cortista. Clearly to run really well on land.
「Land dragons don’t fly right?」
「That’s right. They don’t fly. ...They do 『jump』though」
Land dragons don’t fly, they do jump though. They leap.
With their overwhelming leg strength and their wings that they use to stabilise their posture, they are able to easily 『leap』 through the sky.
On the other hand, it was obvious that they were excellent at running on the ground as well. Their speed was something that horses could never compete with and it was at the level where they might be considered one of the fastest moving creatures in the world.
Also, their small wings would help them when they would run at those frightening speeds and it could be said that their wings were never for flying but were made for running instead.
「Hmm, where did the buy something like a land dragon, I wonder. It’s not something that you see very often」
Shaw himself didn’t seem like he had a clue. At that time, the middle-aged monocle, Zaido, returned with ragged breathing.
「Sherwood-sama, the preparations for horses are done. They are swift horses, I have prepared 15 of them in total」
「Is that so. If a few of them ride together, we can somehow make it. Thanks for the hard work. ――By the way, there is something I wanted to ask」
「That land dragon, where did you buy it?」 「...Ah」
At Shaw’s question, Zaido raised a voice of conviction and then in the next moment, with a 「u~n」 he raised a troubled groan.
「Actually, a few days ago, at the central commercial district’s auction I saw it. Thinking that if we handled it well, it might sell well but…」
Zaido kept glancing at Shaw’s face as he spoke up as if it was extremely hard to say. Shaw lightly asked Zaido to continue and as if serving a duty, Zaido continued.
「...It was sick. When I purchased it, it was perfectly healthy but it seems to have been a latent sickness. There were no symptoms of sickness. ...2 days after we carried it into the basement… Dear me…『we got done in』」
「I see, there is a need for more diligence huh. Should I hire a biologist?」
「No no, I can’t make the same mistake twice. I’m studying myself now」
「Good, that is exactly why you’re a merchant with Sherwood firm」
Shaw seemed to be lenient with Zaido’s mistake. After knowing the reason, Shaw turned his gaze back to the land dragon.
「Nevertheless, a sickness huh. Can’t we treat it medically?」
「That’s probably impossible. Even if we say that it’s sick, since it’s a land dragon, a normal human would never be able to cure it. Not to mention that, the disease that this land dragon has contracted, is a〈Fatal Draconic Disease〉that has no established treatments. I investigated the fatal draconic disease to see if we could treat it but in turn, I ended up finding out how troublesome it actually was… I’ve gotten to a point where I’m already giving up. Though I really don’t want to lose such a nice merchandise but…」
That land dragon was indeed limply lying down inside the cave. Having approached the cage, Aiz looked at the land dragon with sad eyes.
Elma as well, cleared away her absent-mindedness from before and looked at the land dragon with a gloomy gaze. Seeing the land dragon that was gradually becoming weaker, as if seeing her own future in it, Elma had a really sad expression.
「...Well then, shall we try to cure it?」
However, only the man with white hair said words and showed an expression completely contrary to everyone else there.
「If there’s no helping it then, at least let me help out in the end」, Merea replied.
「I don’t know if I can cure it or not but, if you’re giving up anyway then won’t you let me have a shot at it?」
Merea’s gaze, like his words, were stupidly honest and straightforward.
What exactly will that man end up doing, everyone thought that as they looked on. At that time, Merea walked over to Marisa and spoke up.
「Could you lend me one of those daggers on your back?」
Marisa tilted her head.
「Do you plan to do something to the land dragon’s body with this blade? You won’t be able to pierce through the land dragon’s body with such a blade though?」
「Ah, that’s not what I need it for. It’s to stab myself with」
「I, now, have an extremely strong urge to not lend it to you…」
Seriously, what exactly was he saying. Marisa lost her usual cool and with a troubled expression, she frowned.
However, Merea did not lower his hand, he had an expression that said, 「quickly, quickly」.
「...Seriously, such a selfish master…」
Saying so, Marisa seemed to have been worn down. Although she was confused, her giving into Merea’s request was just like a sweet maid who couldn’t refuse her selfish master’s requests.
Marisa took out one of the daggers from its sheath and handed it over to Merea.
「Just so you know, it’s just a sturdy normal dagger」
He replied somewhat absentmindedly and then he approached the cage the land dragon was in.
「■■■」 Right afterwards, Merea said something. It was definitely, 『something』. What it may have been, was something no one in that place understood.
It wasn’t a language of humans.
With a 「Oh!」, the first one who seemed to realise something was Shaw.
「Is that, by any chance, 『Dragon Language』?」
「Hm? ...Ah, that’s right. A sky dragon I’m friends with taught me」
「...Wai, wait!! Just hold on!! The very fact that you’ve been taught by a sky dragon is strange to an extreme extent though!!」
Hearing Shaw’s protest that accompanied his impatience, 「Just let it slide」, Merea tried appealing that with a fed-up look on his face.
However, Shaw spoke up with a look that said, 「That’s something I definitely cannot overlook」.
「However, isn’t dragon language something you need a special organ in your body just to be able to pronounce?」
「What do you mean, that’s right…?」
「The vocal cords were something...I received from an acquaintance. Among my acquaintances there was an idiot who, wanting to get power, had aimed to become a dragon」
「That is definitely an idiot. Without a doubt, an idiot. A person becoming a dragon...that idea itself is idiotic, there’s no way to become successful…」
「Although his body did not transform into that of a dragon but he did, apparently, succeed in integrating a part of a dragon’s power into his body」
It was extraordinary.
Shaw, despite having a cramped expression, could not form any words. Marisa had her eyebrows lifted and was, unusually, showing an astonished expression, Aiz, on the other hand, tilted her neck and spoke in a dazed state, 「Eh? Ehh? A person become a dragon? ...Ehh?!」
「So in that way, I somehow managed to get the vocal cords because of that acquaintance. After that, I basically just had to learn dragon language. I worked hard to learn the language though. It would have been a waste of a treasure if I didn’t learn after all. Cortista was extremely strict though…」
While speaking in a light manner, Merea smiled bitterly as he remembered the past of that person.
Although what he was saying was something that was not easily believable but in fact, when Merea spoke in the dragon language, the land dragon reacted to him.
「...I’m not really fond of situations where I have no choice but to believe but…」
They still had no choice but to believe in his words.