Hello, Ankydon is here.
Only took me a month
Water droplets fell down the roof of the church.
Iris almost heard the winter’s footsteps getting further away.
Spring was already at their doorstep.
For Iris, who was still less than one year old, this was her first spring.
Nevertheless, the newfound warmth was always welcome.
「It’s so much better to sleep when you don’t have to fight the cold all the time. Aah, so nice…..」
Iris opened her eyes to watch the rising sun before closing them again.
「Iris, let’s go play outside. There is only so much snow left. Let’s have the final snowfight~」
「This is our last chance! Let’s go outside!」
Eclipse and Muriel pulled on her blanket trying to get in the way of her second nap.
Punigami also jiggled in agreement.
「Un……I’m in a mood for a little nap…….」
「How long is a little?」
「……Until noon or so」
「No ja? Can you really get up once it’s noon?」
Iris didn’t have much confidence in herself but decided to put up a strong front to reassure them.
「Yay! Did you hear that, Punigami? She’s going to wake up at noon. Let’s all play pranks if she doesn’t~」
「I have so many ideas」
The three seemed to be looking forward to it.
Iris regretted making a hasty promise.
However, none of that would matter once she wakes up at noon.
It’s not I’m sleep deprived. I can get up any time I want.
I’m simply not in the right mood.
Therefore, when they come at noon once again I’ll easily wake up. Probably.
「We’ll be playing outside until noon. Be sure to wake up, okay~?」
「Punigami, Muriel, let’s go to the village」
「This Mistress shall snow you an ultimate snowball of them all」
Eclipse, Punigami, and Muriel went outside.
Having seen them off, Iris pulled the blanket over her head.
Sleeping under a fluffy blanket. A pinnacle of happiness.
Even still, so many things happened over this winter.
The original goddess’ revival.
A visit from an inquisitor.
Meeting with the neighboring Guardian Deity.
Fighting the perpetrator behind Muriel’s seal.
For a shut-in such as Iris, this winter was way too busy.
Let’s relieve the accumulated fatigue over the course of this spring.
Not so much as hibernation but deep sleep.
Having decided so, Iris proceeded directly to execute the plan.
However, Eclipse and the rest, who went outside just a moment ago, came back in a panic.
Punigami being the prime example of said panic.
As swift as the wind, he jumped onto the bed and clung to Iris.
「Eh, what is it? What’s happening?」
Failing to comprehend the situation, Iris hugged Punigami and directed her gaze to Eclipse and Muriel.
「There is trouble!」
「Pervert! It’s a pervert!」
「Trouble」 says Eclipse, 「pervert」says Muriel.
Those words do sound similar though, not that it matters at the moment. 1
Still clueless, Iris tilted her head.
「Puni! Punini! Punipuni!」
「Hm? A pervert came to the village and caused trouble……?」
「That pervert touched your body with an indecent gleam in her eyes as she drooled!? Even going as far as licking you?! We have a tremendous pervert in our land! Muriel, Eclipse, are you okay?!」
「We are fine~」
「Punigami was the only victim」
「Eeh!? A pervert that only has eyes for Punigami……is that even a pervert?」
Iris thought there was a dangerous molester on the loose.
However, the girls didn’t catch her attention, the slime did.
She felt pity for Punigami, but as long as the girls weren’t assaulted it was acceptable.
「Ah, sorry. You’ve been through a lot, Punigami. Still, that pervert…..what did she try to achieve by touching Punigami?」
「This Mistress thinks that touching Punigami was the true goal. She suddenly came at us with an ecstatic face, latched onto Punigami, and tried to lick him. This Mistress chose to gallantly rescue Punigami and escape here 」
「I was too surprised to do anything~. Punigami might’ve still been in danger if not for Muriel」
Punigami readily sang praises to Muriel.
Apparently, the pervert was that dangerous.
「Anyway, is this pervert still in the village?」
「She probably is. Having safely secured Punigami, we now can deliver divine justice!」
「Indeed. I shall personally protect Punigami, the pervert is all yours」
Iris dragged Punigami under the blanket and turned him into a hugging pillow.
At that moment, the door of the church opened with a bang.
An unfamiliar girl came inside.
With black hair braided into pigtails, she looked like a serious kind.
Her age was about fifteen years old.
She had no distinctive features, save for a slime behind her.
Its size was about the same as Punigami’s but pink in color.
The moment Punigami saw the girl, he dug under the blanket in horror.
Iris followed suit.
After all, she was in the presence of a stranger.
「Here comes the pervert!」
「Did you come to bully Punigami again? You can’t do that~」
The girl looked nothing but ordinary but turned out to be the rumored pervert.
For Punigami’s sake, she had to go away.
「Strangers are scary…..」
The usual Punigami would’ve said something like「pathetic」, but today they were on the same page in that regard.
A subordinate requested a meeting with the Great Demon King as he was busy lamenting his idleness.
「It’s been a while, Great Demon King-sama」
「Oh…..Development Head! It’s been a while indeed!」
The same elderly demon who created Iris and Eclipse.
He didn’t see that guy since his last『Ultimate Biological Weapon』.
「What were you doing these days? You probably put a lot of your personal time into developing a new biological weapon. Admirable」
「No, I’ve been playing with my grandchildren because it’s cold outside」
Great Demon King thought of rebuking him, but he didn’t leave the castle either, so he wasn’t in the position to do that.
Instead, he suppressed himself and took a deep breath.
「Well, Development Head. Since you came here in such a cold that must mean you have something to report」
「I thought of a way to capture or, if necessary, eliminate Iris-sama and Eclipse-sama. This time for sure」
「Your confidence proved to be far away from reality…..however, since it’s you, I shall at least hear you out」
「This attitude is somewhat irritating. I’m leaving」
「Stop right there! It’s my fault. Please tell me」
「Great Demon King-sama. You must be quite bored since no one comes. I recommend reining that arrogance in」
「Hm……I was wrong」
Thought he felt somewhat unresigned as he said that.
「So? What’s your foolproof plan?」
「Numbers. The battle is a game of numbers. I’ve been trying to create one strongest unit before but couldn’t quite get it right」
「Hoh. A reasonable opinion. In other words, create multiple biological weapons and send them…..where was that again? Silverlight Barony? Nice idea!」
「Exactly. As perceptive as I expect of Great Demon King to be!」
「Hahaha! Who do you think I am? The King of Demons, Great Demon King Berberos!」
Great Demon King laughed out loud.
While Development Head stood there with a smug face.
「Alright. I understand the concept. How many are were talking about?」
「First and foremost, let’s analyze the combat power of Silverlight Barony. As a matter of course, I should begin with Iris-sama and Eclipse-sama」
「Yeah. Those two are much stronger than everyone else. With them on our side, we can lay waste to humanity in a day」
「Let’s stop crying over the spilled milk. After them, there are dragons. They have powerful dragon breath on top of their huge size. These four are the main fighting force of Silverlight Barony」
「On the second look, the power is too concentrated for a single small village. Perhaps we should start elsewhere」
「You can’t shy away from this. When it comes to destroying humanity, we are destined to clash with Iris-sama and Eclipse-sama one day. Might as well settle this first. If everything goes well, those two might even join us」
「I see. There are four opponents, which means five biological weapons should suffice. If even one wins, the balance will tip into our favor」
「No, no, Great Demon King-sama. Overconfidence is a slow and insidious killer. 1. Let’s send six!」
「Oh! This will work for sure! But will we manage to create the whole six of them?」
「Leave that to me. My grandchildren lifted my spirits. Besides, it’s not the first one. This time I’ll manage even faster」
「Well, I might have to sacrifice quality a bit」
「…..Well, the battle is a game of numbers after all. It’s better to make a few average ones instead of fussing over every single one」
「I’m going to start right away, please look forward to the project’s completion!」
Having said so, he left the throne room.
For some reason.
Great Demon King couldn’t help but be anxious.
No, it was justified.
Considering none of the previous project succeeded.
However, with six of them going against four it should produce at least some results.
「No ja. Oden is indeed the best when it’s cold」
「Ufufu, I’m glad you like it so much」
Muriel, who was invited to Jessica’s house was busy eating steaming hot oden with a happy face.
Of course. Muriel wasn’t the only one invited.
Iris, Eclipse, Punigami. Sheryl.
「Never thought I’d one day go to all the way here for some oden」
The Guardian Deity of Cunningham Viscounty – Roshe.
I’m hosting an oden party so call Roshe-chan too, Jessica told the Three Pillars
「Hafu, hafu…….It’s sad you can’t get many ingredients in this village but it turned out surprisingly well」
Sheryl said as she munched on some radish.
Exactly as she said, they could only procure potatoes locally at the moment.
Wheat would be added to the roster next year, but that is a matter for another time.
People are also growing chickens, cows, and pigs.
The chicken meat used in this oden comes from the village.
「How good having every ingredient here would be? munchmunch」
「Hey, hey. Can I add chocolate to oden?」
「Of course not, Eclipse. It’s a bit too incompatible」
Marion immediately rejected Eclipse’s proposal.
「Just a little test~」
「Some things are obvious without any tests. If you insist, you can drink some soup with chocolate in your mouth」
「Didn’t I tell you?」
Marion faced Eclipse with the face of a winner.
Punigami came next to Iris and asked for oden.
「Wait a second. Which do you want?」
「Chikuwa? Alright……is it even a vegetable? Is anyone bothered by it?」
Iris saw chikuwa for the first time in her life and couldn’t help but doubt.
「Mn? You don’t know? It’s made of fish. Definitely not a vegetable」
「Oh, so it’s made by people. You sure know a lot, Roshe. Are you a chikuwa enthusiast?」
「No……it’s not a great piece of knowledge, you know……?」
Iris nodded while deeply impressed.
「Sorry, here is your chikuwa」
「Too hot? Come to think of it, you do have a cat’s tongue. Not like I know where your tongue is……fuu…..better?」
「Still hot? Then time for some magical cooling. Here」
「It’s delicious but it looks even better when it’s hot? Are you going to try one?」
「I see…..a challenge」
To grant his wish, Iris pushed a piece of chikuwa inside Punigami.
「Wawawa, don’t struggle so much. You brought it upon yourself!」
「Sorry, I’ve said too much…….still, your body isn’t something that can withstand hot oden」
Just like fish that can’t live on land.
Just like birds that can’t live underwater.
Slimes aren’t made to eat hot oden.
「Sorry, Punigami-chan. I forgot about your cat’s tongue. I’ll make you something cold and delicious next time around, okay?」
「Don’t mind」he sent the apologizing Jessica some words of encouragement.
Just as they were in the middle of their party, a few presences approached the village.
「Six……something is coming from six different directions」
「Big sis, aren’t they biological weapons?」
「Six biological weapons!? W-What should we do!? We have to evacuate somewhere…….awawa」
「Relax, Sheryl. There are six enemies. And there are…..This Mistress, Iris, Eclipse, Jessica, Marion……and Roshe! Six of us. Easy-peasy」
「My my. To be forced to fight in the middle of the oden party」
「Isn’t it fine? Friends should help each other」
「Fine, I guess. Father gave this village a fair share of trouble. Might as well help out a bit」
Despite what she said, she didn’t look all that reluctant.
She had a chance to repay a favor and was rather happy about it.
「Enough! They shan’t be forgiven for disturbing our party!」
「Mother is mad! Heee……I pity our enemies……」
「Punigami are Sheryl are watching the house」
「Punigami-sama. Let’s practice eating steaming hot oden while they are busy fighting」
With everything settled, six faced against six.2
There was a squid-like one amongst them, so it was turned into oden ingredients as an experiment.3
Everyone was reluctant at first but it turned out rather nicely.
「Is there another one out there somewhere?」
Iris whispered as she looked at the sky.
「I hope it’s a cow-type biological weapon next. We’ll make a beef stew」
Or so Jessica said.
It’s a scary village if you think of it.
「About the squid-type biological weapon. Apparently, it was cut to pieces and eaten by Iris on a spur of a moment, Great Demon King-sama」
「That’s pretty amazing, you know!?」
Just when Iris wondered what to do with Gashe, Roshe appeared on the scene.
「What are you doing here, Roshe?」
「I’ve sensed father’s power so I came rushing here. What happened here anyway…..? First, there was lightning, then sudden nightfall, then it was day again, and now my father is seeing stars…..」
Too many things happened in a short span of time leaving Roshe confused.
That’s why Iris and the rest explained things in order.
Well, Roshe already knew he used radiant magic stones to ascend.
He wanted for Iris and the rest do disappear to prevent the records about his deeds from appearing.
The lightning was Gashe’s offensive magic and nightfall happened due to Eclipse’s ability.
In the end, Gashe was beaten into unconsciousness.
「…….Power and fame. When did my father become such a person?」
Roshe looked at her father in disbelief as she stood on Jessica’s back.
「This Mistress feels the same…..Gashe wasn’t a person too attached to those. There must be a reason」
Muriel thought with a serious face.
For those who knew Gashe in the past, his current state seemed hardly acceptable.
「….If I may. As far as I know, your mother, Plutofina-sama, ascended to Heaven too. Did she ascend with radiant magic stones too?」
Katie voiced her doubts.
「Gashe’s wife, huh. If the memory serves me right, Plutofina was a Guardian Deity of another land and she ascended soon after giving birth to Roshe. This Mistress hasn’t had an opportunity to meet her……Roshe. So what is it?」
「I don’t know…….mother ascended when I was five, even before, father was the one who brought me up as I couldn’t meet mother often. However, according to the records, mother……performed well a Guardian Deity」
As Roshe told her story, Gashe opened his eyes once again.
「Yes, you’re right. Plutofina was outstanding. Unlike me!」
In a blink of an eye, the orb shone with lightning.
Iris enveloped everyone in a protective barrier.
However, Gashe immediately fled to the sky using that opening.
「Ah, I see. I’ve sucked out his magic but there is still some in the orb」
Eclipse said in disappointment.
Come to think of it, every time he used magic, it came from his orb instead of himself.
In other words, his fighting style heavily relied on radiant magic stones.
Unless you can do something about that stone, you won’t be able to defeat Gashe.
「Roshe, my daughter. I didn’t wish for you to see me like this」
「Then stop! Why did you…..」
「Why? The answer is simple, Roshe. You mother, Plutofina, has always been overwhelmingly stronger than me. Strong enough to use her divine power without any faith. After giving birth to you she went ahead and became a god of Heaven. I was left behind by the woman I love. I wasn’t capable enough to follow after her. All my hard work took me nowhere. I couldn’t gather enough faith with a city of this scale. I was on the verge of giving up. At that moment, the viscount of that time pleaded with me. To destroy Silverlight Barony’s apples. But Silverlight Barony was under Muriel. There was a need to seal her power before I could affect her land. I didn’t have that kind of power. Therefore, I ordered the viscount to collect radiant magic stones. And then it came to me. Perhaps I can follow after Plutofina to Heaven if I can gather enough of them. In the end, it worked out. For the viscount as well as for myself. The end, or so I thought. You just happened to suddenly revive, haha….」1
Gashe looked at Muriel in sorrow.
「So that’s what it was. This Mistress thought of you as a serious god……who was seriously blinded by love instead. However, Gashe. Isn’t it fine letting This Mistress revive? Even if your prestige down below suffers a blow, isn’t it fine as long as you get to spend time with Plutofina?」
「If I could remain in Heaven then sure. However, the gods of Heaven observe the world below. With my infamy growing, it’s only a matter of time before they find out that I’m not worthy of staying there……」
「Fumu. So you’ve tried to make us disappear before that happens…..however, aren’t they watching even this very moment? If so, erasing us has no meaning」
「Perhaps. But the probability is rather low. After all, the surface world is big. It’s hard to imagine they conveniently happened to observe me right this moment. However, the probability grows the longer I stay here. That’s why I have to bring this to an end as soon as possible!」2
The moment he hollered.
A black crack appeared in the sky.
A voice was heard.
「No, I’ve seen everything. Ah, how stupid. You were worried about that all along. Did you really think Creator-sama and I didn’t know about you radiant magic stones?」
A beautiful woman walked out of the crack as she casually bound Gashe’s body with the whip she held in her hand.
Roshe and Gashe simultaneously screamed.
「Oh, it’s been a while, Roshe. I’ve been observing you from time to time. You are properly fulfilling your duties, which is very admirable. You aren’t any worse at it than your father was. Compared to you…..Gashe. You are such a bad boy. Punishment is in order」
Plutofina smiled bewitchingly as she licked Gashe’s cheek.
「S-Stop……not here….our daughter is watching!」
Having said so, she pulled another whip out of empty space and hit Gashe in the back.
Gashe’s face distorted in pain……yet there was a tinge of pleasure in his voice.
「T-This is bad for your education, Eclipse! Don’t you dare look!」
「Because I say so!」
Iris covered her little sister’s eyes with her hands.
This way, Eclipse won’t see something she’s not supposed to.
However, Iris herself was less than one year old.
She falls in the same category too.
「Someone! Cover my eyes! It’s bad for my education!」
「I-I’m on it!」
Sheryl came to the rescue.
「Can’t you simply close your eyes?」he asked.
However, although Iris knew she shouldn’t look, she was still curious.
She would definitely try to peek.
There was no other choice but to use someone else’s hands for that.
「It’s bad for Katie’s education too」
「I’m fifteen so I’m alright!」
「Barely passable…….This Mistress shall remove your glasses just in case」
「Ah, I can’t see anything! Please return them」
Apparently, her raw eyesight was way below expected.
She waved her hands like a drowning person even with Muriel right before her eyes.
「Marion, you shouldn’t watch that too」
「I’m not a kid!」
「Just close your eyes」
While the party was busy solving educational problems, they heard strange sounds mixed with sweet screams coming from above.
「Good grief. You sure made humans run around a lot to collect radiant magic stones for you, Gashe. Going wild for some small bits of fame. You’re in for a scolding from Creator-sama and another punishment. Anyway, it seems I’ve troubled you, Roshe」
「Wait, Mother. Father made quite a mess and you are simply going to take him away…..?」
「Quite a mess? Doesn’t seem that big of a deal to me. How many thousands died? Did a volcano erupt?」
「He didn’t go that far……」
Plutofina’s words easily silenced Roshe.
She thought on a much greater scale.
And she wasn’t trying to tell a joke.
She was definitely serious.
Plutofina truly didn’t think much of Gashe’s deeds.
「A-As expected of a Heavenly God……the scale is just too different……!」
Katie spoke to the sky above her.
However, she couldn’t tell where Plutofina was, so she looked somewhere else entirely.
「Plutofina. This Mistress suffered a lot because of your husband. Aren’t there any reparations?」
「None. Alter all, you lost to Gashe, got yourself sealed, and lost all your faith. And now, Gashe lost to Iris and Eclipse here and got himself caught by me. Isn’t this how it works between us gods?」
However, Iris was a demon and couldn’t relate.
Even Muriel had a difficult expression on her face.
Only one person, Katie, fiercely nodded.
「Gods have been fighting each other since time immemorial. Of course, there were also those who cooperated with each other. The history of gods is an interesting subject!」
「Are you affiliated with Great Temple of Divine Will? Thank you for keeping records about us. Actually, we peek at your records from time to time. That’s a great timesaver. Keep up the good work. Goodbye then」
Plutofina entered the crack in the sky with Gashe in tow.
「That said, Gashe, you’ve always tried to show off before me even despite the circumstances……when you chased after me all the way to Heaven, you really send my heart aflutter. I’m going to spoil you lots……」
There was a voice that could badly influence someone’s education coming from the crack.
As the voice faded, the crack malted into its surroundings leaving everyone with a sight of the blue sky.
「…..She came suddenly, she left suddenly」
Having finally relaxed, Iris fell on Punigami.
「Sorry, everyone……my mother can be unreasonable sometimes……」
「That’s not something you should apologize for……can we finally consider the matter closed?」
「I guess so….」
Sheryl sat on Punigami as she said so.
「I’m tired. I want some chocolate~」
「Here you go」
「Chocolate is a good conclusion for everything for you…..I definitely need more than one day of rest」
Marion’s shoulders drooped and Jessica felt the same as her.
「Me too. That Plutofina was dangerous. How should I put it…..unlike Iris-chan, I couldn’t even see a chance for resistance. I’d be dead in a second」
As she listened to Jessica, Iris finally understood why she felt so tired.
Iris fought multiple times against someone.
She won every single time.
However, she didn’t fight to kill.
She was proactively avoiding that.
But that Plutofina won’t hesitate to take a life.
Iris barely knew a thing about her, but she could tell from looking into her eyes.
She was a scary god.
But she wasn’t evil.
She just existed literally above the clouds, her common sense from the surface world underwent some changes.
Those eyes were the eyes of a true god.
A step up from your normal down to earth gods.
「Mn? Yes, let’s go back. I’m missing my bed. Spending this much time on your legs takes its toll」
A single dragon walked through the snowfield.
As promised, Jessica became a mount on the way back instead of Marion.
「I couldn’t do it the last time, but I’m participating this time! Alright, bring out the cards!」
Marion was in high spirits.
Iris had no objections. She only learned the rules recently and haven’t played enough.
「Fine, come at me」
「Let’s start with Old Maid!」
Having said so, Marion shuffled the cards.
「Eh……Old Maid, huh…….how about something else……?」
Sheryl was on the verge of crying.
After all, Sheryl is a person who wears her emotions on her face.
Her personality was extremely unsuitable for Old Maid.
「Sorry Sheryl…..however…..I’ve always wanted to play it since the time you started playing it on my back!」
「I-If you say so…..please be gentle…..」
「I won’t hold back. It a serious match!」
And so it begins.
The last place fell into Sheryl’s lap once again….or so it should’ve been.
There was one more person who wore emotions on his face.
The initiator, Marion.
「Yay! It’s my first time winning in Old Maid!」
Sheryl rejoiced with the biggest smile possible.
Although 『victory』 for her didn’t mean obtaining the first place but not obtaining the last place.
Even so, she felt like the biggest winner.
「Gununu…..I thought I could win against Sheryl!」
「Fufu. Marion has always been rather weak at Old Maid. Was there ever a time where you actually won?」
「You don’t have to tell them that! Even I won before……about three times!」
However, Marion should be fifteen years old.
Even so, she only won three times in fifteen years……
「By the way. Marion. Did you claim first place those three times or simply didn’t lose?」
Marion answered in a whisper to Iris’ question.
Sheryl’s eyes sparkled as she clasped Marion’s hands and brought her face closer.
「I have a sudden feeling of camaraderie with you! Let get along even better than before!」
「So let’s go for another round!」
Does she think she’s on the winning streak?
Sheryl intended to stage a comeback.
Unfortunately, the last place was obtained by none other than her once again.
「Fufu….I’m starting to feel that camaraderie you were talking about」
「You are asking for it!」
A battle that could only happen between the two of them.
As if wanting to prove something, the two launched an all-out war on each other.
Even when Iris and Eclipse got bored, the two continued on their own.
「Hey, let’s forget about those two and play something else~」
While idling, Eclipse put her head on Iris’ lap and spoke somewhat annoyed.
「Might as well…..the two finally discovered a worthy rival for themselves……I feel bad getting in their way, so let’s ignore them」
Muttered Iris as she rested her head on Punigami.
「Mu. You are my pillow so you can’t move~」
「Can’t you use Punigami too?」
「I don’t feel like it today~」
Having said so, she climbed on Iris.
However, she wasn’t heavy at all.
She was nothing but adorable.
「What a beautiful sisterly love. This Mistress doesn’t have a sister and a bit jealous of you. This Mistress shall grant this duty to Katie」
Hearing something unexpected, Katie dropped her glasses.
She poked her cheeks in an embarrassing matter before saying 「e-excuse me」 in a mosquito-like voice and dropping her head on Muriel’s lap.
「Umu. This is a comfortable weight. This Mistress shall pat your head」
「A lap pillow from a goddess……wawawa what an honor……!」
As a member of the Great Temple of Divine Will, Katie had a great deal of heartfelt respect for the gods.
Being patted by Muriel was enough to send her heart racing.
「This Mistress only recovered her power because you pointed us in the right direction. Don’t hold back. By the way, Katie. How would the Great Temple of Divine Will treat this case? Would they acknowledge Gashe as an evil god?」
「…..Who knows. Gashe-sama didn’t harm any human beings directly, only sealed Muriel-sama’s power. In other words, it was a matter between two gods. There were no casualties, so he probably won’t be recognized as one. Well, his evaluation is bound to drop a few degrees」
「I see. That Gashe, even though he finally made it all the way up, his reputation will be in tatters down here」
Muriel sighed as she looked up at the sky.
「That act helped him to ascend though, perhaps it was fated to be……or so he says」
「Ah, I see. Punigami is an intelligent slime. Still, why did he want to ascend so badly? It’s quite an achievement but This Mistress thought she knew Gashe better than that. This Mistress doesn’t remember forming any grudges. Was there a reason to sacrifice me for power?」
Muriel didn’t feel hatred towards Gashe even now.
Iris even though she felt nothing about it.
However, that might’ve been her putting up a strong front.
「Muriel……come here to be spoiled~」
「Can’t help it, I’ll do it too」
「No ja……you can’t do that all of a sudden…..it tickles」
Muriel wiggled to resist the tickling.
After all Iris, Eclipse, and Katie went all out patting her head while Punigami touched her neck since there was no space on her head for more patting. Which was quite ticklish.
「Oh my….what are you doing on my back? I want in」
Jessica said the same thing as Marion.
As expected of her relative.
「I’ll let you later. Just walk straight for now, Jessica-san」
「It’s a promise」
「Are we doing this again!? It’s too embarrassing」
「But I feel bad for leaving only Jessica-san out. You can do that sneakily when no one’s looking if you’re so embarrassed……」
「Ara. It sounds like we are about to do some bad things. Fufu……」
「Hey, Iris. Don’t give her the unnecessary ideas!」
Iris apologized, but, in the end, it was nothing more than patting. It wasn’t particularly shady.
「No ja…..This Mistress is a Guardian Deity. And Jessica is one of the residents of Silverlight Barony despite being a dragon. Which means, I can’t ignore her wishes. You are free to pat This Mistress later!」
Muriel said with a lot of determination.
「Ufufu, I look forward to it」
Jessica introduced some dancing steps into her walking.
And when a dragon does that, things start to shake.
As well as those riding it.
The shockwave assaulted everyone’s rears.
Everyone clung to Punigami in a panic to lessen the shock.
In a matter of shock absorption, Punigami was the undisputed number one in Silverlight Barony, this much of an impact was nothing to him.
「Don’t suddenly go on a rampage, mother. I’ve almost won against Sheryl!」
「No no. It’s me who was winning….that being said, please stop skipping!」
With their match interrupted, Marion and Sheryl joined the others on Punigami.
From Iris’ standpoint, their match couldn’t have been more irrelevant, but the two were serious about it.
「Ara, sorry. Muriel-chan is so cute and I couldn’t help myself…..ah, I want to adopt her~」
「Stop! I alone am enough! I’m your only daughter!」
「Mmm, Marion is such a spoiled child. You would always be my cutest」
「T-That’s not what I’m talking about!」
Being told as such, Marion turned red as an apple.
No matter how you put it, Marion is definitely Jessica’s favorite.
That being said, Iris could only imagine her feelings since she was born in a capsule.
However, Iris at least has a father.
He is the Great Demon King with an uninspiring expression, good-looking face, and splendid horns.
What is he doing right now? Iris remembered her relatives and hometown first time in a while.
At that moment.
A sudden lightning bolt came down from the clear sky.
And it wasn’t a normal one.
It headed straight for Jessica.
Even before landing, it emitted dense magical power from it.
In other words, it was an offensive spell.
Iris and Eclipse simultaneously reacted and wrapped Jessica in a magical barrier.
Their field of view was full of blinding light.
Accompanied by a tremendous boom.
「Iris, this is……」
「Yes, it’s not your average lightning. Not an average offensive spell either. It took too much effort to block!」
This lightning bolt packed quite the punch.
Strong enough to fry Jessica if it could land a hit.
What kind of being could possibly release that lightning bolt?
Why did it target Jessica?
Everyone looked up.
They saw a single man in his thirties standing there.
He had a long cane with a gold orb on its tip.
Tremendous magical power radiated in the air.
Mostly from the man himself than his cane.
Muriel screamed as she stared at the man.
Roshe’s father, previous Guardian Deity of Cunningham Viscounty, the god who should’ve ascended to Heaven long ago as well as the reason behind Muriel’s seal.
「Muriel, it’s been a while. I’ve always wanted to see you again. If only you could stay powerless. You just had to tell an inquisitor about my deeds. Aren’t you simply forcing my hand? 」
The orb released a bright light.
Followed by another lightning strike.
This time they saw it coming and had no trouble conjuring a barrier.
That said, they couldn’t keep this up forever as their magical power wasn’t limitless. 1
Gashe might run out of magical power first, but Iris wasn’t a fan of battles of attrition.
Too much of a hassle.
「Gashe-sama! Why are you doing this!? You are covering your face in mud!」
Katie screamed in resolution.
Gashe answered her with a snort.
「Yeah, something like that. My reputation will fall to the ground. That became an inevitability once you discovered that I used radiant magic stones to fuel my power. Fortunately……only you know about it. As such, disappear. None of this shall make it to the Great Temple of Divine Will’s archives. Am I correct?」
「Gashe……are you trying to erase This Mistress for your own fame!?」
「Please reconsider, Gashe-sama! You’ll become an evil god if you kill us!」
「I’m killing you precisely because I don’t want to be recognized as one!」
A sea of lightning emerged from the orb falling downwards intending to burn everything.
However, Gashe picked a fight with a wrong opponent.
Only Muriel and Katie caught his eyes.
Even though Silverlight Barony had two more Pillars supporting it.
「Eclipse. He’s all yours」
「I know, big sis Iris」
No matter how adorable she looked, no matter how gentle her personality was, no matter how much she loved chocolate.
Her body housed the power of a biological weapon.
In other words, the power of Eclipse.2
A wave of magical power spread from her body turning the day into night.
Complete darkness void of even the moonlight.
「What!? My lightning was destroyed!?」 3
Gashe was apparently more concerned with his magic than natural abnormalities.
This was the true purpose of Eclipse’s ability.
As long as you stay in the darkness, your magic would be disassembled and absorbed by Eclipse.
Both, the barrier and offensive magic disappeared in a moment.
A cheat that allows Eclipse to power up the moment her enemy tries something.
The moment it’s used the fight becomes a pointless struggle.
However, this ability has a number of drawbacks.
First, Eclipse can only disperse the magic power outside the body.
Eclipse has to have direct physical contact in order to absorb the magical power within.
Second, her absorption capacity isn’t limitless.
On most occasions, this limit doesn’t count as a weakness.
It was only discovered due to Iris’ absurd amount of magical power.
Presently, even Gashe’s divine lightning couldn’t resist disappearing.
Thus, Gashe couldn’t overcome her ability and had no choice but to retreat.
However, Iris had no intention of giving him enough time to think about something like『retreat』.
「With projectiles dispersed, nothing stands in my way now」
Iris unleashed her black wings and appeared behind Gashe.
The moment Gashe tried to turn around it was already too late.
The power difference was too great.
Apparently, Iris’s magical power was stronger than that of a god from Heaven.
On top of that, Gashe was in a state of panic due to Eclipse while Iris stayed calm since the beginning.
A right straight full of magical power heavily collided with Gashe’s cheek.4
Just in case, she held back.
So he won’t die.
He only fainted with his eyes rolled back.
「He’s falling our way!」
The unconscious Gashe rammed into Jessica’s back to his own misfortune.
He might’ve been able to wake up and escape had this been a snowfield.
「Now to suck up all the magical power」
Eclipse touched Gashe’s shoulder.
Upon contact, his magical power began flowing from him to Eclipse.
He immediately woke up from the suffering of his magical power being drained before fainting again from magical power exhaustion.
「……It ended as suddenly as it begun」
Spoke Muriel as she poked Gashe with her finger.
「Well, that’s what happens when you pick a fight with Iris and Eclipse」
「Fufufu……as expected of Eclipse-sama and Iris-chan!」
Said Marion and Sheryl with a smug face as if they contributed to their victory.
「I’ve had the opportunity to witness a battle between the gods! I have to properly record it once I go back to the headquarters…….!」
Katie was excited to the point of nearly dribbling saliva as she fixed her glasses.
「What a miracle……the dragons escaped without fighting….. Guardian Deity Iris……her power is beyond imagination……」
The viscount said as he admired the dragons’ retreating figures.
Of course, it was the power of friendship that sent them away, but no one bothered correcting the misunderstanding.
「Well then. Let’s break some pots. Suspicious pots only」
Muriel took the initiative in entering the mansion.
「Let’s see. Which pot should This Mistress break?」
「Ah, Muriel-sama, there is no need to be hasty! This floor is full of expensive articles……the pot received from Gashe-sama is in the basement!」
The viscount rushed inside in a panic.
Iris and the rest chased after him.
Then everyone together descended into the basement.
The viscount tried lighting up a candle, but, since Iris created a magical light, his efforts went nowhere.
「Oh, Iris-sama can even create light on top of repelling the dragons……」
The viscount completely became one of Iris’ believers.
「Hey there, Viscount. Even I can create some light, you know?」
「This Mistress too. As long as This Mistress restores her power」
The two Guardian Deities retorted.
「I can do that too, even while being a human…..」
Katie hesitantly added.
The viscount noticed his blunder and spent the rest of the journey in silence.
A gray basement waited for them at their destination.
It had the appearance of a storage room with all kinds of bottles, barrels, and boxes arranged inside.
There was a locked door deep inside where the pot was kept, according to the viscount.
「I can feel the flow of magical power from that room even without my detection magic」
「I think so too~」
「Viscount, hurry up and open it!」
The viscount opened the door as he was told.
There was a small room inside.
It was only big enough for two humans to lie down.
A plain pot stood there.
It didn’t look like a valuable collectible at all.
There were no guards stationed near it either.
However, it was indeed a pot connecting Heaven with the world below.
「No jaa! Guardian Deity Punch! Guardian Deity Kick!」
With a furious roar, Muriel slammed the pot with her fist.
Following with a swift kick.
The pot broke in pieces without any suspense.
Apparently, its durability was on a level of ordinary porcelain.
「Ah, the flow of magical power disappeared~」
「True. How is the seal, Muriel?」
「Mumu……the power is welling up within. Let’s test it out!」
Having said so, Muriel jumped.
As a result, she smashed headfirst into the ceiling and fell down.
「Hey, Muriel. Did your two hundred years of stupidity come back together with your power?」
Said Roshe in exasperation.
「No ja……it doesn’t hurt as much as I thought. Great power flows within This Mistress’ body! Godly power, restored!」
Muriel twirled around in joy.
「I’m glad for you, Muriel-sama. As a member of Great Temple of Divine Will, I’m honored to be a part of this」
Spoke Katie with tears on her face.
Is Great Temple of Divine Will full of weirdos who are moved to tears looking at the sight of a goddess smashing into the ceiling?
Well, perhaps Katie is a special case.
「I’m happy for Muriel-sama too! This is the true birth of Three Pillars of Silverlight Barony! Amazing! Accept a prayer from me! Hyahhou!」
Sheryl took Katie’s hands as she danced while screaming.
Katie followed the flow while lacking a complete understanding of the situation.
「My my. Come to think of it, Silverlight house has always been known for its unrestrained positivity. The lord and Guardian Deity are both oddballs. Are they related as a family?」
Roshe shrugged to the side.
Iris agreed with her opinion.
「You aren’t wrong」
「…..Iris. You are one of the pillars of Silverlight barony too」
「That’s true…..are you grouping us together!?」
「Considering your background, you are quite an oddball of a goddess yourself, don’t you think?」
Roshe grinned as she replied.
Punigami couldn’t help but agree.
Indeed, Iris is a demonic biological weapon of Great Demon King’s origin.
After a sudden twist, she became a Guardian Deity.
Rather strange development, if you think logically.
However, she refused to accept being lumped together with Muriel.
Not as a god but as a single individual.
「She’s family! Sis Iris is family too~」
「…..Eclipse. Do you even understand what you are saying?」
「I do. Everyone living in Silverlight Barony is a friend, right?」
She said with a smile.
A ridiculously adorable smile.
Being treated by Eclipse this way is a matter to be happy about.
「By the way. What are we going to do with this viscount?」
Muriel pointed at the small figure of the viscount the moment she finished her dance.
At that time, the viscount visibly trembled.
「Un…..the deeds of his ancestors are beyond forgiveness, but the current viscount is an unrelated party. How about we forget about it?」
Sheryl, who was furious just a little while ago, calmed down as time passed.
The tone of her voice turned mild once again.
However, a certain Guardian Deity voiced an objection.
「No. Knew the purpose of this pot all along. It’s the same as maintaining the seal. Didn’t you think that by restoring Muriel’s power you’ll put your precious apples in danger?」
Bullseye, the viscount couldn’t find the words to retort.
「Calm down. Isn’t it fine, Roshe? It took a while but This Mistress’ power is back. Iris revived the land while I was out of commission. Eclipse is adorable. Everything is great.」
「Is that so?…..If the lord and Guardian Deity say so, I have nothing to add. My father is at the root of this problem and I failed to notice that. And besides, were I a better Guardian Deity, the viscount wouldn’t have relied on that pot」
「Don’t beat up yourself. Let’s get along as neighbors. Both Gashe and his ancestors aren’t present anymore, let it slide!」
「…..Thanks, Muriel. I’m glad to have you as a friend」
「 No ja! Besties forever」
「Why are you grumpy all of a sudden!?」
Muriel screamed unexpectedly.
Iris and the rest laughed at the side when they saw that.
You could look at her antics forever.
Silverlight Barony of old must’ve been a wonderful place under her protection.
Of course, it’s fine as it is now, but with the addition of Muriel, it’s bound to become even better.
「Alright. The lord and Guardian Deity can’t be absent for too long. Let’s go back to the village!」
「Come out, come out」
Same as before, Muriel pounded on the door.
There were screams of the citizens coming from behind them, but Iris and the rest didn’t pay it any attention.
I apologize for scaring you but it’s harmless, so put up with it.
「Noisy. I have nothing to say to you!」
Viscount’s voice came from inside the mansion.
His voice was loud, but there was more fear than anger to it.
There must be something inside the mansion he doesn’t want anyone to see.
「Don’t say that and come out already. Do this and This Mistress shall stop. Otherwise, This Mistress will pound nonstop」
This proved convincing and the viscount showed his face as he opened the door ever so slightly.
In the next moment, his eyes opened wide in shock.
The viscount didn’t look and Muriel, or even Iris. His gaze was fixed behind them.
There were two large dragons in his garden. 1
The moment one of them noticed the viscount, it raised a scream on top of its lungs.
The dragon in question was Jessica.
As a matter of course, the other one was Marion.
Both of them are reasonable dragons, they won’t attack people and buildings out of nowhere.
However, the viscount, being an ignorant party, trembled in horror.
「W-W-Why are there dragons here!? I-I’m going to be eaten!」
「Who cares about that. Let us investigate your mansion」
「It’s the other way around! Roshe-sama! Please protect this city!」
The viscount kneeled and prayed to Roshe with his hands put together.
However, the Guardian Deity shook her head.
「Impossible. I can’t do that」
「W-Why!? Is a Guardian Deity weaker than a dragon!?」
「No, I’m stronger. No Guardian Deity will fall behind a dragon. In theory, that is」
「Ah, right. When did you visit my church last time? Don’t remember anymore? A Guardian Deity draws his power from faith. Yet you neglected to pray despite being a lord. It took a dragon for you to start praying again. With you as their leader, the citizens lost their faith in me. That’s why I can’t win against a dragon」
Hearing Roshe’s words, viscount’s face alternated between blue and purple.
However, Roshe was lying.
The apple pie they were treated with in the church was truly delicious.
She has believers who make such delicious apple pies for her. There is no way they lost their faith in her.
But the viscount had no way to know.
As the lord, he lacked the understanding of his own people.
「T-Then what is going to happen to this city!?」
「Everyone will be eaten or incinerated, I guess」
Roshe coldly proclaimed.
「It can’t be, I beg you! It’s the land of my ancestors! I’ll pray daily from now on! I’ll do anything! Please drive the dragons away!」
I’ll do anything – that’s what she wanted to hear the most.
「If it’s me and big sis Iris we can do that~. Will you really do anything~?」
Eclipse said the rehearsed line.
The reason Iris chose Eclipse for this was that she was too nervous to say it herself.
「I-If it’s something I can do!」
「Then let us inside~」
「Also, if we find what we are after, you are going to tell us everything」
「R-Right now!? What about the dragons…..!?」
「Spill the beans. if you don’t hurry up the city is done for」
The moment Muriel threatened as such.
The dragons roared.
To Iris, this roar seemed rather dull, but to everyone else, it must’ve been a ferocious roar.
「Gyaaa, I’ll speak! I’ll tell you everything! E-Everything was according to the contract between my ancestors and Gashe-sama!」
The viscount readily confessed everything.
It was so easy, Iris found it underwhelming.
However, faced with a dragon in his garden, the viscount was desperate.
Exchanging a secret regarding his ancestors for his own like seemed like a nice deal.
「Contract? Tell me the terms. Or I’m so going to eat you. Gyaoon」
「Hiyaa, save me!」
Not only dragon, but even Muriel was frightening enough to him now.
「As the inquisitor mention, the city was in trouble because of the apples two hundred years ago! My ancestor pleaded with Gashe-sama……to destroy the apple production of the Silverlight Barony」
Sheryl, the current Baroness Silverlight, screamed with wide eyes.
「I’m sorry! It’s my ancestors’ doing! I’m innocent!」
「Relax, Sheryl. Let’s hear him out first」
「Muu……If iris-sama says so……」
Sheryl reluctantly agreed.
She had a hard time staying calm knowing the reason behind her own ancestors’ downfall.
Even though the criminal wasn’t this viscount but his predecessor.
「Come on, viscount. I’m very much interested in this contract between them and my father」
「Y-Yes……Gashe-sama said『If we seal Muriel’s power, the problem will solve itself』. However, sealing another god’s power is difficult even for another god. That’s why Gashe-sama tasked my ancestors with collecting radiant magic stones. As a tribute for sealing Muriel-sama’s power」
「Radiant magic stones!? Ah, I see. So that’s why father suddenly became so much stronger…..」
Said Roshe downhearted.
「What’s a magic stone?」
Eclipse asked, Iris too didn’t know.
But considering how Gashe explicitly told them to gather those, they didn’t seem to be ordinary pebbles.
It sounds pretty powerful going by its name.
「Radiant magic stone is a stone that naturally emits magical power. If you combine your own magical power with that of a radiant magic stone you would be able to cast powerful spells. However, it’s rather rare and precious, not many even know of its name」
「Mmm……Muriel is so knowledgeable」
「Fufu. This Mistress hasn’t been alive for three hundred years for nothing!」
Being praised by Iris, Muriel unreservedly bragged with her humble chest puffed out.
「The ancestors spent great sums of money to collect radiant magic stones across the world. After taking possession of the radiant magic stones, Gashe-sama amplified his own power……and sealed Muriel-sama’s. Thanks to that, the Silverlight Barony went out of business and the Cunningham Viscounty’s apple sales reached its previous values. The funds spend of purchasing radiant magic stones were made up in a short amount of time」
「…..And so father became a strong god thanks to the radiant magic stone doping and ascended to Heaven. After leaving the city to me」
「Yes…..such is the story passed down in our family」
The viscount sat on the ground and nodded listlessly.
A Guardian Deity sealing the power of another Guardian Deity.
Whether it’s humans, gods, or demons, they have all kinds of personalities, thought Iris.
「Then what about magical power coming from this mansion?」
「About that……two hundred years ago, Gashe-sama passed my ancestors a certain pot. This pot allows for Gashe-sama’s magical power to fuel the seal all the way from Heaven」
「So that’s the trick behind it……This Mistress is breaking this pot. Got a problem with that?」
「I understand….but please do something about those dragons first!」
The viscount glanced in the dragons’ direction before trembling all over.
Disregarding the viscount, they couldn’t keep people in the city frightened.
Since he confessed everything, Iris and the rest honored the deal and drove the dragons away.
「Fly outside the city, you two. Wait for us near the gates. In human form, as to not to scare the gatekeepers.」
The dragons nodded and flew away.
The mansion of Viscount Cunningham was quite spectacular.
It was a two-story-high brick building with a pond in the garden.
Of course, there were guards stationed around the gate, but they immediately let the group pass the moment Roshe said 「Baroness Silverlight came to visit Viscount Cunningham」.
「Iris. Is the source of magical power really here?」
Roshe asked as they walked through the garden.
「There is no mistake. I can feel it even stronger here」
「Why does magical power flows from the mansion? Is the viscount a magician?」
「No, just a mediocre person that inherited the title. There is nothing magical about him. That being said…..I still can’t feel any magical power flowing Muriel’s direction」
「This Mistress doesn’t know either」
Roshe and Muriel observed the mansion with questioning eyes.
「Mm. I can easily feel it though」
『Why can’t you feel?』Eclipse wondered.
No one besides Eclipse and Iris could feel anything.
Forget about Punigami and Sheryl, even members familiar with magic like Marion, Jessica, and Katie couldn’t feel a thing.
「Charge inside? No, our opponent is a viscount. He is higher than a baron. Let’s follow the proper etiquette」
「Indeed. Let’s follow the etiquette and knock…….come out, come out!」
With a yell, Muriel pounded the door.
Did she come to pick a fight?
Her manners might be a little off the mark.
A white-bearded man appeared from the mansion. About fifty years old, he boasted a magnificent beard.
He had an air of arrogance to him. He looked much closer to the image of nobility than Sheryl.
Recognizing this person as an actual Viscount, Iris hid behind Punigami.
「It’s been a while, Viscount. I’ve brought visitors」
「Oh…..Isn’t it Roshe-sama. You could’ve just said if you were coming…..」
He was about to throw a tantrum but his posture immediately deflated when he saw Roshe.
「I know it’s sudden. This blonde girl is Baroness Silverlight. This is Muriel the Guardian Deity」
「Pleasure to meet you, Viscount-dono. I’m Sheryl Silverlight」
「This Mistress is Muriel. This Mistress has been a Guardian Deity well before Roshe became one」
「My my. I’ve heard about the recent revitalization of Silverlight Barony……but I had no idea such a beautiful lady was its lord. I’ve also heard Muriel-sama went into hiding about two hundred years ago」
「This Mistress has been revived recently」
「Revived, is it? I don’t quite understand but you have my congratulations」
「Umu. This Mistress shall accept your sentiment. Be that as it may…..the culprit behind This Mistress’ sealing is located in this city」
The viscount’s cheek twitched.
Is it a coincidence? Or a subconscious response?
「Well, that’s rather disturbing, How come the criminal is in my city?」
「Umu, about that. You should ask this inquisitor」
「An inquisitor?! From the Great Temple of Divine Will?!」
Iris didn’t even bat an eye, but, as expected, the Great Temple of Divine Will had quite the reputation.
Hearing its name, the viscount stood there trembling.
「Correct. This glasses girl, Katie, is the inquisitor in question. She came to question Iris on the matter of evil gods while This Mistress was absent…….things happened and she decided to investigate This Mistress’ case. Right, Katie?」
「Ah, hello! I’ve checked with our archives. I’ve learned that the Cunningham Viscounty had its apple sales reduced because of the Silverlight Barony. However, Muriel-sama suddenly lost her power in a mysterious manner, the Silverlight Barony became a no man’s land, and the Cunningham Viscounty occupied the apple market once again」
「I see. Such an event has indeed happened. Although I wasn’t even born at that time, my ancestors must be relieved. Is that all? My ancestors must’ve been glad at Muriel-sama’s sudden plight but is that a sin?」
The viscount laughed as he approached Katie.
The inquisitor’s reasoning turned out to be much less substantial than he expected, which allowed him to act tough.
「N-No….I mean, yes. That’s the only thing I’ve managed to uncover. That’s the reason behind my suspicions but there is no proof」
「Is that so? You came all the way here without any proof?」
「No, apparently that’s not all there is to it, Viscount」
Roshe entered the conversation.
「You did hear the recent rumors about the Silverlight Barony, right? About the grassland, forest, and lake appearing out of nowhere. Iris was the goddess who did all of that. Iris and her sister, Eclipse, discovered a suspicious flow of magical power from Muriel. The source of said magical power appears to be in this mansion」
「Roshe-sama…..are you suspecting me….?」
「I don’t want to suspect you. However, Iris is a goddess capable of feats I mentioned before. To put it bluntly, we aren’t even in the same league. I can’t just ignore a goddess of such a caliber. Well, if you don’t have a guilty conscience how about we search around?」
「…..Roshe-sama. You might be a Guardian Deity, but even you don’t have the right to force people like that!」
「Yep. Consider it a request」
The viscount screamed as he shut the door.
「…..His behavior is a bit too shady, don’t you think?」
Said Jessica in exasperation.
「What are we going to do now? This is the place, right?」
「That’s the place~」
「Eclipse and I sensed it coming from here, but it doesn’t appear to be a sufficient proof」
「We were so close. We have to do something」
「Let’s barge inside with force!」
Katie said something dangerous as she fixed her glasses.
「I don’t mind」
Roshe didn’t seem to mind it either.
「Even if Roshe-sama doesn’t mind, if a baroness like me suddenly invades a viscount’s mansion, that might escalate very quickly. I really want for him to confess on his own volition」
Sheryl being Sheryl sometimes says something reasonable, today is such a day.
Being in a lord’s position, her brain cells tend to activate in a moment of need.
Everyone fell deep into thought as they listened to Sheryl.
Seeing Punigami thinking, Iris chose to follow his example.
And then there was a flash.
「This might be a bit too forceful but it’s still better than charging inside. Lend me your ears…..」
「Eh. Isn’t it just a display of force in the end? Was there a need to be so secretive about it?」
Said Marion in discontent.
「Ara, isn’t it fine? I don’t hate this approach」
「Everything is fun to you, Mother……but that’s fine. I don’t want to watch from the sidelines at a time like this」
「Count me in. This viscount doesn’t show his face in the church too often. I was thinking about tightening up his leash for a while」
Roshe seemed to derive some fun from the situation.
「Iris is scary~」
「As expected of my Guardian Deity!」
「This might not work, but everything goes at this point. Let’s see it’s done」
「That works, I guess」Punigami also gave his seal of approval.
Commence the operation.
Although it wasn’t nearly as intelligent to be called that way.
There was a barrier sealing Muriel’s power.
This barrier was supplied with magical power coming from the direction of Cunningham Viscounty.
This much was an established fact.
However, neither of those could be seen with a naked eye.
Only Iris and Eclipse could feel it.
That was not enough to serve as proof.
They needed a piece of actual evidence or the criminal’s confession.
Iris and the rest headed to Cunningham Viscounty once again.
This time they weren’t making a snowman, so there was no need to roll snowballs.
Everyone simply went on a dragon’s back.
「「Rock paper scissors!」」
As a result of a match, Marion turned into a vehicle for the rest to reach Cunningham Viscounty.
「Muu…..even though mother’s back is wider」
「Isn’t it fine? I’ll support you with Giga Inferno Flame. You won’t get cold」
Iris tried to cheer her up.
「Well, you aren’t wrong…..」
But she was still grumpy.
Why was she so against it?
「Fufu. Perhaps you wanted to play with Iris-chan as we go?」
「It’s not the case, but….!」
「Is that so~? Well, you’ve lost and have to bear with it. I’ll carry everyone on the way back」
Marion transformed into a dragon outside the village.
The residents of Silverlight Barony weren’t a sort to be surprised at a mere dragon.
Adaptability is frightening.
Although there was still one surprised person.
Katie the Inquisitor.
「Dragon! Marion was a dragon all along!」
「Mm? Did you perhaps not see this before?」
Said Marion with her big mouth.
「I didn’t! No wonder you have horns and tail attached. I thought they were for decoration」
「Fufufu. It’s not accessories. Gaooon!」
Marion roared towards the sky.
「Oh, so cool!」
Perhaps this particular inquisitor was a dragon maniac.
Although it’s unknown whether dragon maniac is a proper occupation.
「Don’t dilly dally and get on. We are going to confirm if the culprit is really in Cunningham Viscounty!」
Muriel circled behind Marion and tried to climber her using her tail.
However, even though there were scales to grab, a dragon is a big and breathing creature.
「N-No jaa! Stay still, Marion!」
「Don’t ask the impossible」
Without any other option, Iris flew up, grabbed Muriel as she clung to the scaly tail, and carried her to Marion’s back.
Following, Sheryl, with Punigami’s help, and Katie, with Eclipse’s help, climbed too.
In the end, Jessica, who retained her dragon power, easily skipped on her daughter’s back.
After Muriel’s command, Marion walked forward through the snowy field.
Even on a dragon, the trip would take about an hour.
However, if they try to approach the city from above, people might treat it as an attack. They chose to walk and transform back as they got close.
To kill time, they decided to play cards on Marion’s back.
「Let’s start with basics. Like poker」
「I don’t know the rules」
Iris and Eclipse spoke in synch.
「I see…..then let’s go with Old Maid!」
「Don’t know that either…..」
「Eeh…..then what do you know?」
「….Actually, that’s my first time playing cards」
「Un, first time seeing them~」
「Alright then. Let me explain the rules」
It hasn’t been a year since Iris and Eclipse were born.
They were just out of the lab.
They were taught enough information to live their lives, but it didn’t include card games.
They started with the basics.
Having two cards with the same number was a good thing, Iris and Eclipse easily remembered that.
「Clairvoyance magic is forbidden」
Indeed, it won’t be enjoyable if you know the numbers of others.
Thus, they decided to rely only on their memory.
Katie looked unexpectedly confident.
「Fufufu. I have confidence in my memory」
「You were amazing gathering those numbers. Let’s make a rule that relies more on luck. Even Iris and Eclipse should be able to play Old Maid」1
「Are you perhaps aiming at me with Old Maid?」
Jessica looked at Muriel as she laughed.
「No ja!? There is no such intention! This Mistress was born three hundred years ago. Same as you」
「Come to think of it, that’s true. I was nervous since there are only younglings around me. Let’s get along, Muriel-chan」
Muriel sat close to Jessica.
The two were in the same age group.
Iris never noticed since Muriel always acted so childish.
「Uu……so nice……you seem to be having fun riding my back……」
Marion spoke full of envy.
She was pitiful, but there was nothing Iris could do about it.
She had no choice but to play Old Maid while wishing Marion all the best.
「Sheryl is so easy to see through」
Said Eclipse as she took on of Sheryl’s cards.
「A-Am I that easy…..?」
「Yep! Easier than with clairvoyance magic」
Sheryl’s shoulders drooped.
「Sheryl seems like a person that will lose a hundred games out of a hundred」
「Even Iris-sama….then let’s play something other than Old Maid next…..」
「Then let’s play seven in a row」
As they played and Marion grumbled, they eventually saw the wall of Cunningham Viscounty.
「Marion. It’s about time you become human. Else, they’ll think it’s a dragon attack」
「Alright. Get down from my back everyone」
They climbed down the same way they got up.
Together with Marion in her human form, they walked towards the gate.
「No ja no ja. We came from the neighboring Silverlight Barony. Let us pass」
Since the gatekeepers remembered her face, they were easily let inside.
They could now investigate inside the city now.
That being said, Cunningham Viscounty wasn’t a village.
Its population is about two thousand.
Investigating by just walking around wasn’t a great idea.
Since they didn’t have any clues they chose to go to the church.
The Guardian Deity of this city, Roshe, might be of help.
And so they told her everything.
「…..I see. So Muriel’s seal receives magical power from this city」
「But I don’t know anything about it」
「It’s not like we are suspecting you. However, no average magician can seal a god’s power. That’s why we are searching for a non-average one」
「……Are you sure this town is the source of magical power?」
「According to my detection magic it is. Well, it’s more like it comes from this direction….but there is nothing else here except this city」
Iris answered Roshe’s question.
「Detection magic from someone who can turn a wasteland into grassland can’t be underestimated….」
Roshe thought with her hand on her chin.
Alter all, Muriel and Roshe are friends.
She probably doesn’t want to suspect her own people.
However, Iris didn’t lie. She had no reason to.
「My reasoning tells me this city is suspicious!」
Said Katie with a great deal of confidence.
Which earned her a glare from Roshe.
「Oh…..to be suspected by an inquisitor this city must’ve become famous. Are you saying I’m an evil deity?」
「N-No…..no such things……it’s just about apples, two hundred years ago apples GAA!」
The trio of deities from Silverlight Barony might be carefree but Roshe is different.
She’s a Guardian Deity that actually guards.
Being glared at by Roshe, Katie screamed something incomprehensible as she trembled.
Roshe raised her eyebrow.
「Y-Yes! Apples from Cunningham Viscounty became popular again when Silverlight Barony turned into a wasteland, so I thought it’s a good lead」
One must have considerable courage to say something with so little basis.
Though in her case it was of a panic than courage.
However, Roshe wasn’t offended and thought it through seriously.
「Two hundred years ago, apples……I thought it was strange……which means the culprit is…..」
Roshe began talking to herself.
Iris and the rest had nothing to do except being dumbfounded.
Only Katie thought she worsened Roshe’s mood and swung her hands in a fluster.
「Emm, I mean, you know. My conjecture is weird, right? I mean she’s been sealed for two hundred years, but magical power still flows……it surpasses a human’s lifespan and ability. Only a god could possibly do something like that…..」
Then she noticed she said something even more offensive and hurriedly sealed her mouth.
「Katie-san. You better apologize……most likely Roshe-sama won’t take your life if you do so……」
Sheryl whispered to Katie.
「Please don’t take my life….」
Katie almost prostrated on the floor as she cried.
She did well working as an inquisitor alone all this time, no, perhaps she’s alone because no one wants to work with her.
「Katie, was it? As you’ve said, only a god could seal another god’s power for two hundred years. Since you are affiliated with Great Temple of Divine Will you must know. Back then, I wasn’t a Guardian Deity, my father, Gashe, was」
「T-That’s right….that’s right. You predecessor managed to ascend to Heaven despite being born on in this world. It’s a famous topic in Great Temple of Divine Will!」
「Yes, it’s a rare occasion for a god to ascend. Gashe grew in power with great momentum. It was my honor to take his place. But I have no idea where did his power come from. It’s strange if you think about it. His was about as powerful as the current me until the moment he ascended……」
Roshe spoke in a low voice.
Silence enveloped the room.
It’s not like her father sealed Muriel’s power.
She only wondered how her father suddenly became so strong.
You couldn’t help but think.
「Nothing will come out even if you sit here all day~. I think investigating the surrounding will be more productive」
Jessica nonchalantly interrupted everyone’s train of thought.
「Mother. Where are we going to search if we don’t even know where to start?」
「Ara. We do have a clue, though」
Having said so, Jessica pointed at Muriel.
「We came here following traces of magical energy from Muriel-chan. Since we are now much closer to the source one more use of detection magic might just do the trick. don’t you think? Even if we only cut off the source without finding the criminal, Muriel-chan’s power might come back」
「Umu, I see. It’s worth trying. Iris, use detection magic again」
If the source is in this city, she may be able to find it.
Or at least there will be a new clue.
A great deal of wishful thinking was involved, but it was worth a try.
Once again, she put her hands on Muriel’s back while activating detection magic and pointed a direction.
Then Roshe muttered.
「It’s in the direction of the Lord’s mansion」
「So? What about apples?」
「Emm. Before we talk about that……where did Muriel-sama go?」
「She’s probably playing with the children in the village」
「Un….Muriel-sama is a key point of this conversation, so I would very much like her to be present」
The moment Katie made a troubled face, Muriel coincidentally came back.
「No ja. Marion came running down the hill in tears. Did you lot bully her?」
「Bully? We only licked her tail then she ran away」
「So that’s what it was. She’s surprisingly sensitive….mm? Are you that inquisitor, Katie?」
「Yes. It’s been a while, Muriel-sama. Actually, I might have uncovered the reason behind your loss of power. In order to confirm it, I came here to Silverlight Barony to ask for everyone’s assistance」
「No ja!? Are you speaking the truth!? You’re quite something」
「I’m honored to receive your praise!」
Hearing her praise, Katie’s face slackened.
「So that’s why you came here. I thought you just wanted an apple」
「Thought so too~」
「Katie is bad at talking. Were you to say that in the beginning, we would’ve listened with all due seriousness」
The moment Sheryl said that
「I didn’t have time to talk!」
Katie lashed out in anger.
「Everyone with their chocolate and licking…..you could’ve spared at least some attention to me!」
「Oh, good girl, good girl. You’ve been through a lot. Iris and Eclipse are both young. However, the only true Guardian Deity, which is This Mistress, cares about you」
When Muriel patted her head, Katie clung to her pitiful chest.
Muriel must’ve appeared as the ideal goddess in Katie’s imagination.
However, were she to be present since the beginning, she would’ve said something along the lines of 「This Mistress wants an apple too」no doubt.
「So why did Muriel lose her powers?」
「About that. As I said earlier, it all revolves around apples! Baroness Sheryl. Are you aware that two hundred years ago apples were a specialty of Silverlight Barony!?」
「More or less. We had a rivalry with our neighbor, Cunningham Viscounty」
「Right! Cunningham Viscounty entered the apple market way before Silverlight Barony, which reduced their share. However, Muriel-sama suddenly lost her power two hundred years ago and Silverlight Barony became abandoned. Following these events, Cunningham Viscounty once again occupied the best position on the apple market….doesn’t that make you suspicious!?」
「…..Eh? That’s it?」
「What do you mean?」
「There is no actual proof, right?」
「The proof……I’m about to uncover!」
Katie answered as she struck a pose.
It’s nice to be motivated.
However, at that point, Iris has already lost interest in the conversation.
「Good luck investigating, Sweet dreams」
「Are you going to sleep!? Iris-sama is a Guardian Deity too! Do you not want to learn the reason behind everything!?」
「I want too…….but the success rate of your plan in a bit too low」
「I shall succeed! I believe in myself!」
「I do not」
「Those who believe shall find salvation!」
「…….I think it’s a god who should say this line」
「Don’t mind the details!」
「You shouldn’t forget about the details while investigating」
As Iris pointed out the flaws in her line of thought, tears welled up in Katie’s eyes.
「Big sister Iris. Bullying is no good~」
「That’s right, She worked hard to come up with the slightest of clues, let’s at least pretend we believe her. I’ll do my best to pretend!」
「Pretending, Sheryl, you are……..」
Mentioning that in front of the person in question seems crueler than simply ignoring her.
Iris suspected she did that on purpose, but apparently, she is just an idiot.
The moment Sheryl noticed her slip of a tongue, she immediately tried to cover for herself.
「I’m not pretending. I properly believe. Cunningham Viscounty is suspicious」
「I’m grateful for your concern….but I’m fine. I have Muriel-sama! Muriel-sama definitely believes me!」
「Umu…….however, to sever a god’s power is not a feat normal people are capable of. That’s a god’s work. Which means This Mistress has to suspect the gods she’s acquainted with……umu」
Muriel folded her arms as she spoke in a troubled voice.
Which in turn made Katie feel troubled.
「Hey, hey. Unless we have a better clue why not accompany Katie in her investigation? We have nothing to do during winter anyway」
Hearing Eclipse, Punigami nodded saying「You’re idle anyway」.
「Well, we are…..we have too much free time…..but that’s the best situation for me…….」
「Stop saying something unreliable and properly investigate」
「You’re quite disobedient today, Eclipse. Are you out of sweets today?」
Eclipse, just as her looks tell, she is innocent to the core.
However, that’s only true when she has sweets.
The moments its effect fades, she turns into a biological weapon faithful to her mission.
The last time that happened, she took Sheryl hostage in order to bring Iris back to the Kurifot continent.
Her disobedience might be caused by the lack of chocolate.
「Sheryl. Chocolate please」
「Eclipse. Eat this」
「Yay…..munchmunch. Yummy! Don’t ignore Katie’s opinion please~」
「She’s like that even after she ate her chocolate….alright, if you insist so much」
「Good for you, Katie」
Eclipse smiled. Bright as a sunflower.
A goddess in the flesh.
Recently, she might have acquired enough faith from the villagers to be a real goddess though.
Iris too had some divine presence to her…..but not as much as Eclipse.
No, perhaps she was a goddess, after all, considering how she made forest and lake with her magical power.
「I’m not going to lose to Eclipse!」
「It’s a fool’s errand」Punigami couldn’t help but say.
Iris’ posture immediately deflated.
However, since she was aware of it herself, the damage wasn’t too great.
「Well, for starters. If someone interfered to steal Muriel’s power he must’ve left some traces behind. Like a seal or something. In other words, Muriel, come here. I’m going to investigate your body」1
「Investigate This Mistress’ body!? S-Should I take my clothes off!?」
「How did it come to that!?」
「But, you know, when This Mistress sees you beckoning with your finger on top of the bed and wanting to investigate her body, This Mistress can’t help but associate…..」
「I-Is that so…..no, don’t make careless assumptions!」
Seeing Muriel and Iris screaming at each other with red faces, Eclipse tilted her head.
「What did you imagine~?」
「No jaa……..it’s hard to explain….」
Seeing Iris unresponsive, Eclipse pulled on her pajamas.
However, she couldn’t honestly answer her.
It was too early for Eclipse.
As she thought how to gloss over it, Sheryl came to her rescue.
「Eclipse-chan. Muriel-sama and Iris-sama must’ve thought something bad. They feel embarrassed and can’t tell anyone」
「Is that so? You can’t think bad things」
When once gets scolded one apologizes.
「Back to investigation」
Iris put her hands on Muriel’s back and focused her consciousness.
When Muriel was only a soul, Iris discovered her with detection magic.
This time she used detection magic on her body.
The lesser the area the bigger the accuracy.
As long as there is something “else” she should be able to discover it.
「……Ah. There is something」
「No ja!? That came out of nowhere!」
Muriel jumped in surprise as she couldn’t stop with no ja, no ja.
After all, this problem bothered her for over two hundred years.
Iris discovered it by only lightly touching her back, of course, she would be surprised.
「There is an enchantment resembling a seal….pretty strong one too. I’m not able to solve it」
「Eeh!? Is there something Iris-sama can’t do!?」
This time it was Sheryl who jumped in surprise.
「Of course there is」
「Well, I guess I do know about your inability to talk to strangers and get up in the morning」
「……In other words, if I can’t undo the seal, there is nothing to be done about it」
「Undoing the seal seems harder than waking up in the morning after all」
Sheryl nodded as if convinced.
Sheryl’s interpretation was convenient for Iris, but she didn’t find this outcome satisfactory.
「I’ll also try~」
Eclipse put her hands on Muriel’s back instead of Iris.
「Un, un…….impossible. That’s terrible. Who did that to Muriel?」
Eclipse puffed her cheeks and spoke as she gave up.
She wasn’t frustrated because of her failure, but because there was someone out there who intentionally sealed Muriel’s power.
「I don’t know who did that…….but the spell receives a steady supply of magical power. From that direction」
Iris pointed with her finger.
Everyone looked in that direction.
They only saw the walls of the church, but Cunningham Viscounty was also in that direction.
The inquisitor of the Great Temple of Divine Will looked through the information in the headquarters.1
She was searching for the records regarding Silverlight Barony.
However, the archives were rather badly organized on top of Silverlight Barony being abandoned or two hundred years. She had a hard time finding relevant material.
But Katie finally managed to find a thin file regarding Silverlight Barony
Apparently, the first Silverlight Baron was an outstanding knight and received the territory three hundred years ago as a reward for his efforts against monster threats.
Silverlight Barony put a lot of effort into cultivating apples.
The neighboring Cunningham Viscounty had been in the same trade for longer, but its sales fell short of Silverlight Barony.
However, from a certain year onwards, Silverlight Barony failed to obtain great harvests due to irregular weather.
On top of that, the water source dried up and the land followed suit, which brought us to the present day.
Thanks to that, the apple sales of Cunningham Viscounty reached their previous values.2
Katie’s glasses shone brightly as she looked through the file.3
Katie’s intuition told her there was something suspicious with Cunningham Viscounty.
However, she had no idea what that was, so there was a need for her to personally investigate.
She felt uneasy about doing it alone and decided to enlist help in Silverlight Barony.
「…..And here I am」
「I see. Were you to come a bit sooner, you wouldn’t have missed on udon」
「Ah, you don’t know about udon. You are so behind the times」
Iris answered halfheartedly as she lied on her bed.
Katie, who sat in the chair, expressed her lack of understanding.
「You had no idea about udon before going to Wagaka village yourself though」 Punigami, as Iris’ pillow, answered in exasperation.
However, such a thing didn’t matter.
Only present held importance.
Iris knew about udon, Katie didn’t.
Therefore, Iris had the right to be smug.
「I’m not sure how should I face discrimination on the food basis. More importantly, apples! Apples!」
「Apple are good too, but I want some chocolate~」
Muttered Eclipse as she rolled on the very same bed.
「Yes, here some chocolate」
Sheryl, who was sitting on the edge of the bed, pulled out chocolate from her pocket.
「Yay. Munch munch……yummy~」
「Ah, Eclipse-chan is so adorable! I almost want to eat Eclipse-chan who eats her chocolate!」
「I don’t think I’m that tasty though~?」
「I wonder about that. Let’s try it. Licklick~~」
「Hiyaa, it tickles」
「Hey, Sheryl! What are you doing to my sister!」
「I’m licking her cheek, nothing much!」
「I can see that! I’m telling you to stop!」
「Understood. In that case, I’ll lick Iris-sama」
「Eh? Stop….hiyaa, it tickles!」
「Sister Iris is so cute. Then I’ll lick the other cheek」
「You too, Eclipse!? Someone save me!」
The moment Iris screamed on top of her lungs, the door of the church opened with a bang and Marion rushed inside with great momentum.
「What’s happened, Iris!? The scream just now…..what is this situation?」
「As you can see, I’m under an assault of Eclipse and Sheryl」
「How enviable…..I mean, sloppy! Stop this instant!」
「But Iris is so cute……」
「Yes, I can’t agree more. We aren’t at fault. Iris-sama is unbearably cute」
Sheryl said with a serious face.
「Um……you might be right…..」
Marion tilted her head and muttered lacking in confidence.
「No, don’t be deceived, Marion! Sheryl’s logic is twisted! Save me!」
「Ah, sorry! I’m going to save you now!」
Marion jumped on the bed, threw Sheryl away and put Eclipse in a Nelson hold.
「Mumu. I can’t lick Iris like that~」
「You don’t have to! Sisters aren’t something you lick!」
「Is that so? Do you not want to lick Iris?」
Innocently asked Eclipse.
Unlike Sheryl and Jessica, who ask such things to tease, Eclipse was genuinely interested.
Which made it rather embarrassing to answer.
「I-I don’t want to lick her a-a-at all!」
Marion immediately stuttered.
Eclipse looked at her in suspicion.
At that time. Sheryl made a sudden comeback by circling behind Marion and licking the tip on her tail.
「Umu…..that’s the taste of lie」
「Really? I’ll try too」
「Sure, go on」
「Licklick……I don’t understand」
「You have to try harder than this」
「Is that so? Licklick」
Led by Sheryl, Eclipse kept licking her tail.
「Ticklish! Stoooop it, save me mother!」
Marion escaped the church on the verge of crying.
「Excuse me……isn’t it about time to hear me out?」
Katie, who stayed silent until now, cautiously asked.
Iris completely forgot she was present.
「……You could’ve saved me from this licking hell anytime, you know?」
「No, with my power it wasn’t possible…..besides, you looked happy despite the thing you’ve said….」
「There’s no way that’s true!」
Even Punigami voiced his doubts.
Why was she doubted?
There’s no way something like that is pleasant.
She felt ticklish and disgusting…..supposedly.
However, the more she thought the more she felt strange, so she changed the topic and decided to hear Katie out.
Iris, Punigami, and Sheryl on top of Marion.
Eclipse, Muriel, and Maruka on top of Jessica headed to the cave.
The cave was located relatively close, so they chose not to fly.
It was enough for dragons to simply roll it with their front legs.
「See, that. That’s the cave’s entrance」
Maruka pointed ahead of her from Jessica’s back.
There was a hole in a cliff in a place she pointed at.
Large enough for a dragon to fit through.
Much less snowballs.
「Marion. You’re almost there. Do your best」
「Un……rolling it with just the front legs is unexpectedly exhausting……」
「How about pushing it with your hind legs?」
「That’s what dung beetles do!」
With a furious cry, Marion pushed the snowball into the cave.
Jessica followed right after.
Once they did their job, the dragons transformed into humans and breathed in relief.
「It’s hot outside but it’s cool in this cave」
Said Sheryl while impressed.
「It’s quite comfortable here. This Mistress almost wants to live here」
「Are you going to quit being the Guardian Deity of the Silverlight Barony, Muriel? You’ve done your part. Leave the rest to me and Eclipse」
「Even though we became friends. Too bad」
「I-I won’t quit! This Mistress shall protect the Silverlight Barony!」
Muriel denied in a hurry.
「Hey, hey. Can I take a bit of snow home?」
Muttered Maruka as she stood before the snowball.
Maruka drew a circle in the air a size bigger than herself.
Compared to the snowball it was indeed “a bit”, but it wasn’t something you can easily carry in your arms.
For normal humans that is.
「Everyone, step aside for a second. I’m going to cut it……ei!」
Iris put magical power in her arm and carved a block with her handsword.
She further cut it in easy to carry pieces.
Every piece put together should be about enough to fulfill Maruka’s request.
「Amazing! Not only dragons, but Iris is also strong!」
「S-Something like that……」
Iris blushed as she was praised.
Then she carried the snow blocks to the village together with everyone.
She felt cold, but with Giga Inferno Flame’s protection, it wasn’t a problem.
「By the way, Maruka-chan. What are you going to use this snow for?」
「To boil udon. You’ve helped us all, so you must stay for udon!」
「Udon, is it?」
Apparently, 『udon』is a type of food.
Perhaps a specialty of this village.
Screamed Maruka as they neared the village.
Her parents and the village head were waiting for her there.
「Oh, Maruka! Did you guide them properly?」
「Nice work, Maruka. You’re our pride」
「Mou. You’re exaggerating, mother, father. I’ve only gone there and back」
「Umu. Maruka has always been a responsible child. I wasn’t worried at all. That being said…… is it snow you are carrying?」
「Un. I wanted to treat everyone some udon!」
The moment Maruka said udon, her parents gently smiled.
「I see. You are our benefactors. Treating you with udon is the least we can do」
「Village head. Let’s have an udon party this evening」
「Umu. Very well. You’ve heard her. How about staying overnight in our village and eat some udon? I’ve never tried udon boiled with melted snow water myself」
Having said that, the village head swallowed.
This udon must be quite tasty.
Iris and the rest swallowed in anticipation.
「I understand. Then we shall impose on your hospitality」
Sheryl selfishly accepted. However, no one was against it.
Their heads were already full of udon.
They had no idea what kind of food that was but since Maruka and the rest recommended it so much.
It had to be good.
Udon seemed to be a noodle dish made of wheat flour.
A relative of pasta, you could say.
The villagers gathered in the center of the village and boiled udon in a ridiculously large pot.
It didn’t look like their first udon party.
Both, the elderly and the children participated.
However, only boiling wasn’t enough to surprise Iris.
But then they washed udon in cold water.
While they were at it, the village head gave instructions.
Then they warmed udon in the hot water and put it in a bowl together with soup.
「…..I can see how the water shortage can happen」
「There is no other way. To prepare delicious udon one must not be stingy with water!」
Replied Maruka as she slurped udon to her side.
Iris answered half-heartedly as she tasted her own udon.
Iris was puzzled at the udon eating technique at first, but it was surprisingly easy.
Chopsticks are rather convenient once you get used to them. 1
It went well with udon.
Tasty. Tasty indeed.
No wonder Maruka bragged so much, it’s taste was above Iris’ expectations.
However, the way they use water……
No, udon must be essential for this village’s survival.
More so than water.
That’s why water shortage was inevitable.
Punigami, who was Iris’ chair, wanted to try udon too.
「Ah, sorry. Wait a second…… Here, Punigami」
Punigami didn’t like hot food, so Iris blew at it before spilling it at Punigami’s body.
Punigami took udon inside and dissolved it.
Apparently, udon felt good even for slimes.
He wobbled in delight.
It lessened his capability as a chair, but Iris felt happy when her friends were happy.
Therefore, she fed him more.
Then, Punigami’s body color changed for blue to white.
「Here you are, Iris. As antisocial as always…..」
Marion walked closer with a bowl.
As Marion said, Iris was further…..no, much further away from everyone else.
After all, the majority of people were concentrated near the pot.
They had fun in their own loud ways, so Iris couldn’t possibly join.
「Because you looked lonely, I’m going to eat together with you」
Maruka said with a smug face.
「I see….thanks Maruka. For taking care of Iris」
「I-I’m not lonely! Punigami is with me so it’s okay!」
「Iris. I think having a slime as your only friend says a lot by itself. You need some human friends too」
Punigami too wobbled in agreement.
「No, no, no. I have friends besides Punigami. Like Marion!」
「Marion is a dragon. Do you have any non-monster friends?」
Iris was at a loss of words.
Indeed, Marion was a dragon, as well as her mother, Jessica.
Eclipse is a demonic biological weapon, Muriel is a Guardian Deity.
「Sheryl is a human. See, I have proper human friends」
「You thought so much and only one came out」2
Iris honestly nodded.
「Then I’ll be your friend. So you have to come and play again」
「Alright……Maruka is a good girl」
「You are welcome. You should talk with others more when you come again」
She answered in a small voice.
「You should try harder than that」
Marion and Punigami spoke in exasperation.
But for Iris talking with strangers was a big hurdle to overcome.
After all, not every human is a nice person.
They also tend to die to monsters and demons due to the difference in abilities. 3
They have to be treated with care.
More than anything, the notion of humans being scary was firmly imprinted in her mind.
She couldn’t do much about it.
Iris’ illness could only be cured in a century.
「Iris-sama, how about more udon? Ei!」
「Udon is tasty, Iris. Next after chocolate!」
「The world is vast. One day, we’ll be able to eat udon in the Silverlight Barony」
「Fufu. Should I open an udon shop?」
The rest came to Iris’ place.
Everyone seems to like udon.
「Eveyone become prisoners of udon. It’s tasty though…..maybe we should eat it like once a month?」
She would have to talk to people if she comes again.
Even so, udon is tasty and she had to get used to having conversations, or so she thought.
Today marks the day of the book’s official distribution.
You might see it on the shelves already.
It may differ depending on your region, but treat me well nevertheless.