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≪31≫ – The Helmet’s Origin

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Author: Kisasaki Suzume Original Source: Syosetu
Translator: Mui English Source: Re:Library
Editor(s): Deximus-Maximus

Floating amidst the submerged forest, a solitary island.

The cold, solidified gray lava rock island was gradually expanding. Along the outer edge of the island, lava flowed like veins, burning as it seeped outward, enlarging the island bit by bit…

Steam rose from the boiling water surrounding the island.

Kafal stood as the linchpin in the plan to confront the rampage of the Regalia.

Though the situation had drastically changed, she continued to meld her own flames with this land, replenishing her strength.

“Kafal, do we have any pepper?”
“Probably in Lucella’s stash.”

In such a place, Kafal and Monica, who were left behind, busied themselves with cooking.

While Kafal herself coiled at the center of the small lava island, silently breathing in the flames, her clone continued to assist Monica.

On the raised lava “table,” Monica awkwardly used a knife to slice the baguette.

Beside her lay a variant of a fish monster caught by Lucella on her way out. It was a weak magical creature that had been washed ashore with only minor waves.

Monica hung it in the boiling water surrounding the island, and it boiled perfectly.

She planned to filet it, shred it, and knead it with salt and oil.

“Are you making sandwiches?”
“There was some bread left.”
“So you brought it because you wanted to make them.”

Their conversation seemed disjointed yet cohesive.

Monica attempted to deny something but gave up on misleading. Although her command of human language was limited, Kafal’s insight was formidable, akin to the gaze of a god looking down from above.

Their camp supplies were swept away in the flood, and the remaining food consisted mostly of compact, portable emergency rations for adventurers.

However, Monica brought out the impressive bread separately, treasuring it herself rather than tossing it into the common supplies. As Kafal had anticipated, her purpose was indeed to make sandwiches, although the ingredients ended up being locally sourced.

“…The first time I ever thought ‘delicious’ was when I ate a sandwich. The one my sister made and Lucella brought me. Until then, everything I ate felt like it was poking around inside my mouth, irritating me… I used to prefer simple, unobtrusive flavors…”

Monica resignedly expressed her feelings.

However, explaining her own emotions to others was still a challenge for Monica, who lacked such experience. It was unexpectedly difficult and frustrating.

“…So, I don’t think it’s just about liking it… Even if I make it, it won’t taste the same, but… I don’t necessarily want to eat it, um…”
“Take your time, it’s okay.”

Struggling to articulate her thoughts, Monica was met with a reassuring smile from Kafal. It was a smile different from Viola’s enchanted smile. It was designed to reassure the other person.

“I understand.”

Emotional resistance in her, saying, ‘What do you even understand?’ clashed with rational analysis, saying, ‘She probably sees through things I don’t even realize I’m thinking’ within Monica.

For now, Monica was calm enough not to lash out at Kafal. She felt there was no point in getting angry. Perhaps because Kafal was a dragon. Much larger and stronger than herself… That’s the kind of opponent she was.

“Don’t tell my sister or Lucella about this, okay?”
“Why not? They’d probably be happy.”
“What do you mean why…!”

As Monica was about to retort, she suddenly thought.

Dragons communicate through emotions. If that’s the case, dragons wouldn’t hide their feelings from each other, nor could they. So, they wouldn’t even think about hiding them in the first place.

“…Dragon packs might actually feel quite stifling.”
“W-Why do you think that?”

Monica briefly considered it was a good thing she was born a human.

The adventurers returned, and the base camp became lively.

“Delicious.” Viola, who ate the shredded fish sandwich Monica made, was the first to speak.

Monica, fidgeting with the hem of her skirt, didn’t say anything in response but seemed quite pleased.

“This looks good too. …Surprising, isn’t it? I didn’t expect Spitternewts to taste this good.”
“It might be because it’s a Variant. I’d like to try the regular ones too.”

The Spitternewt they had dragged along this far was cut into chunks and cooked on a lava stone pot placed overflowing lava.

Lucella also tried some. The meat was light yet had sweet fat.

“Lucella, can we eat this?”


“And this?”

“I think it should be fine.”

The trees around them, submerged up to their hips, bore colorful mutated fruits influenced by dragon aura.

Wein gathered them, and Lucella tasted and tested them for poison. Though they resembled existing plants, each fruit might have different properties. Lucella was confident in herself being fine, but she carefully judged whether the others, particularly Monica, could safely eat them too.

She scooped out just the stems of the fruits and added them to the pot where the fish(?) was being fried.

As the fish and fruit pulp simmered in the juice, a sweet aroma filled the air. After a taste, Lucella added salt. Having learned from their survival experience on Mount Kuguse, she always made sure to carry seasoning with her.

“Can you make another pot, Lucella? I want to extract oil from the subcutaneous fat of this creature.”

“Understood. It seems suitable for frying, doesn’t it?”

“That’s one use, but it could be used for other things too.”

While nibbling on her sandwich, Viola began simmering the fat from the huge Variant.

As the oil seeped out, Viola cast a spell on it to check its reaction, and she grinned mischievously.

“As I thought. It has properties similar to potent water enchant magic. Applying it to armor would be helpful in battle.”

“It smells awful… but I guess I’ll have to endure.”

The tissues of creatures transformed by absorbing dragon aura generally possess powerful properties. In reality, they were too valuable as materials to be used as makeshift armor reinforcement.

By the end of the meal, they had collected plenty of oil.

Wein and Viola applied the oil to their cloaks. They let them dry and then layered them. Just with this, their simple rain gear became sturdy armor.

“I’ll help.”
“Sure, sorry.”

Tim was applying oil to his entire suit of armor.

It became apparent that his workload was too much for one person, so Wein began to assist him.

Tim wore a huge and rugged suit of adamant armor, like a mountain range. The transparent blue armor shimmered like sapphires when coated with oil.

…However, only the helmet was hiding its beautiful blue under gold plating.

“Tim, why is your helmet gold?”
“Hm, this one?”
“It looks cheap, not good.”
“Ugh… you’re really not holding back there.”
“Truly the discerning eye of a dragon.”

Kafal, observing the work, said with a frustrated expression.

Dragons, to put it simply, loved ‘treasure,’ and Kafal was no exception. Despite adamant armor being an incredibly luxurious item, the fact that it was adorned with commonplace gold plating was intolerable to her sensibilities.

Tim’s face indeed showed discomfort at the pointed remark.

While a full suit of golden armor might have been more acceptable, a gold-plated helmet with adamant armor felt unbalanced and gave off a sense of imitation.

Moreover, adamant was far more valuable than gold. Specifically hiding the brilliance of adamant with gold plating would surely anger even a dragon.

“The reason for the gold color… the ‘golden helmet’ is something from a local folktale or legend around here. Well, it’s a story from the post-human-dragon war era, during the human resurgence period. There were no big kingdoms left, everything was in ruins, and humans were living in fear of monsters, surviving in secret.”

Tim held his helmet, facing it, as he spoke.

Lucella had only recently learned the origin of the party’s name. It seemed to be a rather localized legend, as Lucella had no knowledge of it until Tim explained.

“As people were cornered by monsters and on the brink of despair… a knight in a golden helmet swooped in, effortlessly defeating monsters with terrifying strength before departing. Nobody knew who they were, but they appeared everywhere. Eventually, the golden helmet became a symbol of hope for the people. Everyone gained hope to live. At first, it might have been someone’s tall tale or a case of mistaken identity. But as rumors spread, meddlesome individuals hiding behind golden helmets began to appear, fighting for the people. …The knight in the golden helmet didn’t actually exist. Well, maybe they did. In the end, everyone became the knight in the golden helmet.”

In an era where human survival was much more challenging than the present, there were still those who risked their lives, without expecting anything in return, simply because it was the right thing to do for someone else.

It was hope. Proof that humans could be noble.

“I’m just a mercenary fighting for money. Not like the knight in the golden helmet. But still, I want to be someone’s hope.”
“Understood. I said something wrong. The helmet isn’t cheap.”

After hearing Tim’s story, Kafal seemed to acknowledge the value of the golden helmet.

Dragons favored rare and valuable items. Anecdotes and sentimental value also held worth. The name of an adventurer party was a manifestation of their pride. Even though the gold-plated helmet may look cheap, it was the soul of the party.

“Speaking of which, what about Emeralda’s ‘Blue Flag’? Does that have some significance too?”
“Oh, that. They’re all massive drinkers.”
“It means a liquor store in a specific region.”

However, not all party names had significant origins.

“…I decided to never visit a night tavern ever again.”
“Yeah. That was quite the scene. My condolences.”

Lucella couldn’t help but recall that one night she wished she could forget. The night when she had come to learn that the quiet, book-loving white witch turned out to be a bomb ignited by alcohol.


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