「This is strange.」
Inside the Dungeon Core room, Aur was muttering to himself as he observed the waves of magical energy undulating inside of the core.
Lilu had come to report to Aur about a new demon that appeared recently, but she ended up approaching him from behind to take a look.
「The amount of mana in the core has decreased.」
「Eh, I wonder if I used too much magical energy this month?」
There are many things that can affect the magic inside the Dungeon Core. Starting from maintaining the bodies of the demons such as Lilu and Logan, heating the water in the bathroom, lighting up the residential areas, even just doing cooking and the laundry, all of these things required magical energy to perform.
「No…. rather than saying that the core’s magical energy was being used its more like the amount of magic energy its absorbing in the air has drastically reduced.」
「Then do you think there is a cave-in somewhere? When I went around the dungeon yesterday, everything looked fine though….」
Though it wasn’t supposed to be enough to effect the dungeon, when the dungeon either increases or decreases in size, the amount of magic that flows into the dungeon can also increase or decrease according to the scale of the dungeon. Ever since Kobolds and Dwarfs have been employed there has practically been no cave-ins, but if a large cave-in really did occur then there would be a large amount of magical energy being spilled, and this in turn would reduce the amount of magical energy stored in the core by a huge margin.
However, Aur shook his head.
「No, just by looking at the amount lost, I can tell that it’s been decreasing since a couple of days back. Using my magic to scan the flow of magic in the dungeon, I could not find any evidence of a cave-in occurring within the dungeon. …….It may be that the Dragon Vein itself has changed the flow of mana.」
Aur grimaced. If that were truly the case, it would be quite troublesome.
「The Dragon Vein is that isn’t it? The thing that flows in the earth, it’s like a big streaming river of magical energy. Is that thing easy to change?」
「No, normally it doesn’t change. However, it’s not like it never changes either.」
Just like how a river gradually changes the way it flows, the Dragon Veins also changes the way it flows steadily via the passage of time. But, this occurs over a period of hundreds of years, this is not something that can change within several days or even several months.
「……There may be a some sort of subsidence in the land occurring somewhere we don’t know.」
That’s the only reason that came to Aur’s mind. The Dragon Veins flows through the earth, so if the structure of the ground itself were to change then the flow would also change.
「Well, if we can just locate where the change has occurred and expand the Dungeon in that general direction, that would be ideal. But, we still need to examine the direction the flow has changed to. Let’s go for an investigation.」
「……Shall I also get Yunis and or Spina?」
Lilu asks him and Aur thinks for a little while.
「……No, it’s fine. We can just investigate it from the sky and if we brought too many people along, it would alert the people at Figuria Kingdom and that would cause trouble instead.」
「ight」[1. Nef: Lilu is probably saying “Alright!” in a low whisper as she gets to go on a “date/trip” with Aur alone]
Lilu muttered something out in a low voice and clasps her fist near her waist.
「Then, I’ll go and prepare okay!」
「Prepare? There isn’t really anything we need to bring…. Oi?!」
Ignoring Aur’s words, Lilu cheerfully returns to her own room.
「…….I give up.」
Watching Lilu’s figure disappearing into the dark passageway, Aur muttered out and sighed.
A long time has passed since the both of them left to go out into the sky for surveillance purposes, Lilu had a dissatisfied look on her face and her cheeks were pouting as she flew across the sky. She was carrying him within her arms and Aur was just staring fixatedly at the ground.
「Lilu, change our course. Turn 2 o’clock from this direction.」
At Aur’s instruction, Lilu changes her direction in silence. Lilu’s mood was excellent before she left and when she said that she would “prepare” she put in a lot of effort and changed into a white dress, she also brought a bento box so that they could eat lunch together.
But if Aur allowed her to fly in the air wearing that kind of outfit, it would stand out way too much and it wasn’t like they were going on a picnic. Therefore, Aur scolded her and told her to change. Lilu’s beautiful eyebrows was raised in anger and she changed back to her usual clothes and threw the bento box away.
“Just what on earth is her problem?” Aur was lamenting in his own mind. Lately, he understood that Lilu was expressing her affections towards him quite frankly. But, he didn’t understand the reason that she became like this. For Demons, a human was normally akin to livestock, or at best they were considered as pets.
Although feelings may become heated to some extent, there has never been a demon that seriously fell in love with a human being. Even less likely for Lilu, as she was a succubus who manipulated men via their sexual lust; capable of turning men into her slaves. This all piled up for an improbable scenario. In saying this, it really did not seem like she was trying to trick Aur nor to manipulate his mind. To begin with, she probably knew that those kinds of methods would not work against Aur.
At first, Lilu was just simply showing her dislike for when Yunis openly demonstrates her love and affection for Aur, but recently, he’s started to feel like Lilu is working in cahoots with Spina in order to seduce him. He didn’t understand it at all.
「I’ve been flying around as you’ve ordered since a little while ago, but have you actually been able to discern the flow of the Dragon Vein?」
「No, I haven’t.」
Perhaps her mood was getting better, but Lilu asked Aur a question and he replied very flatly.
「Right now, I am following the path of the Dragon Vein that I checked earlier. If there is a change in the Dragon Vein that shifts the alignment for a couple of days, it should be clearly evident even looking at it from this distance.」
Hearing Aur’s words, Lilu also turns her attention towards the earth, but she could not spot any unnatural scenes occurring before her. Grassland, forest, mountains, villages……. Flying across these types of things, the two people keep talking.
「How do you examine the flow of the Dragon Vein? If it flows inside of the earth, then a Magician or someone with “Magical eyes” would still be unable to see it right? Even I find it really hard to spot.」
「By digging a hole deeply and checking the quantity of magical power included in the soil. Generally, if you dig 3 chains length into the ground and it exceeds at least 100 times the normal amount of magical power within the ground, it is safe to assume that the Dragon Veins runs through that area. If you dig more holes in the ground within a mile radius and then connect a line between two holes in the ground that both have the Dragon Vein’s energy, you can predict the path of its flow.」
3 chains length is about 60 meters. 1 mile is approximately 1.6 kilometers.
「Isn’t that….. Really troublesome to do?」
「”Really troublesome” is not the word I’d use. When I was investigating where the Dragon Vein might be, I was constantly treated as either a madman or an eccentric. Although the place where I created my Dungeon has three different Dragon Vein points intersecting with each other, this took me at least 20 years to calculate. Even if someone were to be able to pinpoint a special place like that, without a Dungeon Core, all that research would have been meaningless.」
“Well the part about you being an odd ball, is quite true though”, Lilu barely managed to swallow down these comments back into her mouth.
Instead she started sniffing around with her nose, in order to try to detect the scent of magic mixed in the air.
「Master, I sense a faint scent of magic around.」
「What did you say? Where is it?」
「Mnn…… I think it’s from over there.」
Lilu flutters her wings and turned towards a sparse forest and lowered her altitude. The smell of magic in the air grows stronger with every passing moment, and when they landed on the ground, Aur notices this fact clearly as well.
「What is this?」
In front of them was many iron pillars buried across the ground. When looking at it from above, it was in fact a cylinder pipe and not a pillar. Apparently, mana seemed to be leaking through from the ground out of that pipe.
「This is….! Damn it!」
Aur immediately pushes Lilu to the side. At the same time, a bright light shines beneath his feet. Aur’s figure was wrapped up by the pillars of light and all Lilu could do was watch the scene before her.
「Don’t come any closer! Lilushana,『Escape』!」
Lilu extends her hands towards Aur, but he shouts out an order filled with his magical energy. Activating the contract between them, Lilu’s body acts contrary to her intentions and she flees from him with her full power.
In front of Lilu, who was shouting out his name, Aur’s figure vanished.