It was a ridiculous scene. It could be said that guards transporting the taken under protection people on wagons was a matter of course.
However, the sight of bandits without any restraints binding them getting on the horses of their own volition and dragging themselves to town could only be described as queer. Moreover, after coming near, far from running away, they continuously beseeched the guards, saying “Please let’s go faster” and “Put us quickly in jail”.
In contrast to them, who were already emitting the air of model prisoners, were the riding on a jail wagon Rēko and I.
“Of all things, pushing the Evil Dragon Lord into a cage…”
Towards Rēko displaying her irritation,
“It’s fine. Since this carriage is wider it’s more comfortable, besides riding with other hostages would just be awkward.”
My identity of an “infamous Evil Dragon” was quickly conveyed by guards to the hostages. Even the adventurer who yesterday had an attitude full of sympathy, today couldn’t stop his eyes from wandering about, while stating that “Me being grateful didn’t change” during his release.
That day I learned just how much movement could human eyes achieve.
Surely, if we were to board the same wagon, on the surface everyone would have treated me with kindness. But that kindness would have instead dealt serious damage to my heart.
In that case I preferred to ride on the borrowed jail wagon, so I asked the guards for the unreasonable.
Actually, the most natural choice might have been to part ways with the guards at the hideout and return to traveling with Rēko. However my muscles ached awfully because of Hunt’s gruelling training, so I didn’t feel like moving for the next two days.
“By the way, Evil Dragon Lord. There’s a matter I’d wish to bring to your knowledge.”
“Hm? Did something happen?”
“It is about the town this wagon is heading to, namely it seems to lack combatants — such as adventurers and soldiers — in comparison to its size. They already had trouble with sending out this small number of guards. To make matters worse, there are no defensive structures, such as ramparts, to protect it. It is to the extent of only a waterway enclosing the town.”
“That’s really careless of them. If monsters were to attack, it’d probably be captured without any resistance.”
“I also think so. Supposing we’d leave a town this incompetent alone, it’d just get occupied by demons and become an encampment of the Demon King’s army. Therefore…”
Rēko, without a change in her expression, continued with a serious face.
“—after reaching the town, I am thinking about making a declaration of Evil Dragon Lord’s rule. If we were to use the Evil Dragon Lord’s authority, no demon would dare to interfere, surely ensuring the town’s prosperity through all eternity. It would by no means be an act of aggression, but protection due to a kind heart, so there is no risk of harming our relationship with mankind.”
“Erm you see, Rēko. I’m sure you’re saying that with pure intentions for the town’s sake, but I’m positive it’d develop into an all-out war between us and that town.”
“Victory and justice is on our side.”
“It’s not about winning or losing, but about fighting itself.”
If we were to aggravate the situation, I’d just wind up dead. Supposing my body lived, my heart would surely die from the heavy feelings of guilt.
“May I not? While returning from town, I have even polished this draft of rule declaration.”
Rēko pulled out from her pocket a roll of paper and spread it on the wagon’s floor. Since the first line of the opening passage was『Informing the foolish humans』, I stopped my reading there and then.
To begin with, wasn’t she running all the way back from town? Don’t tell me she did it while running?
“Anyway, no means no. I won’t do any ruling.”
“… I see. I sincerely apologize for my officious behaviour. As expected, there’s no place for being concerned about a single small town in the midst of Demon King’s subjugation. A cold-heartedness to forsake things is also required.”
“No, no way do I mean anything like abandoning that town. Seeing that it was established until now, I think it has to have some means of protection. For example, supposing it really was that much of a wimpy town, shouldn’t the now being dragged to jail bandits have aimed at it?”
Rēko’s nose twitched, as if she was sniffing something.
“As expected of the Evil Dragon Lord’s keen insight, there certainly appears to be something protecting it. The town’s people called it『The Water Saintess』.”
“Yes. It is said that, the soul of a departed on that land Saintess to this day dwells in waters circulating the waterway, repelling wicked beings. I certainly felt some feeble resistance when I tried to enter. However, since it wasn’t too strong I just pushed my way through.”
I nodded silently, but in my mind I trembled — This child has been recognized as evil. Moreover, on top of being recognized as evil, she just simply passed through.
“Soon this wagon should be crossing the waterway’s bridge. I believe that Evil Dragon Lord also, despite it being just a little, will feel its power — however, saying bluntly, it is a being too inept to protect even one city.”
Even though there were no windows in the wagon, she seemed to have an accurate grasp of our progress. Before long, just as Rēko have said, the smooth swaying of the wagon traveling through the grasslands changed to a violent ride when we stepped onto the stone bridge.
Then, a voice started speaking directly in my mind.
—— Help me.
—— Please stop that child.
That clearly was the Saintess’ voice seeking help.