At the town’s centre was a spring temple deifying the Saintess. Although saying a temple, it wasn’t much of an extravagant structure.
Around the spring copiously welling up with water were build four pillars, as if encircling it and supporting a half-spherical roof. That was it. One might as well see it as a slightly luxurious rain shelter with a water source.
However, it seemed like people’s faith was genuine, since everyone without exception was coming to offer their prayers. An outwardly zealous old man could be seen kneeling for a very long time with his hands joined.
“Now, there’s no main form of the one called Saintess here. I can feel a strange presence wandering aimlessly throughout the town, so she probably has to be running around the waterways.”
“Since everyone’s praying, stop saying such things. Also get out of that temple. It’s rude.”
Meanwhile, Rēko could be seen brazenly breaking into the temple and peering inside the spring. She pouted her cheeks in displeasure, not knowing there was a reason for the Saintess’ escape.
It goes back to the Saintess requesting help.
—— Please, Pet Dragon. That little girl appears to have opened up her heart to you. If you were to try to persuade her, she’d surely think over the town’s subversion.
It seemed like the Saintess has mistaken me for Rēko’s pet. Though taking into account our power relationship, I couldn’t say it was necessarily a mistake.
Not especially aiming to correct her misunderstanding, I planned to answer in my mind that, “for now I persuaded her not to invade it”. Yep, it was exactly at that moment.
“You bloody fool. Understand just who exactly this Lord is. He is the great Evil Dragon Lord Rēvendia — of all things, to brand him the same as a trivial pet. You bastard have just now, committed a sin deserving worse than hell.”
Somehow, she heard it. Rēko just normally listened in to the Saintess’ voice, that should have been spoken directly in my mind.
And, since then, Saintess has been on the run. No matter how I shouted, it didn’t yield any response.
That was a given. She started a conversation since she thought I was a harmless pet, yet now that it turned out I was a real end-boss (falsely charged), there was no way she’d sit back and talk.
Rēko, who came out of the temple ignoring the surrounding her hostile gazes, said,
“Damned Saintess. On top of insulting the Evil Dragon Lord, you don’t even intend to show your face. How insolent.”
“No, look. If you get angry like that anyone would be scared. Try smiling, smile. It’s not like we came here to fight.”
“—— That’s right. Not to fight, but to deal divine punishment.”
“A divine punishment while smiling, that’s a psycho for you.”
In the vicinity, guards were on standby, holding their spears. They might’ve been keeping watch, but their faces only held looks of resignation. They probably must’ve acknowledged that, were the Evil Dragon and his kin to rampage, they didn’t stand a chance. In reality, setting me aside, it should’ve been no trouble for Rēko to take care of those guards in one move.
One soldier ventured,
“S-Since it seems like you already paid your respects to Lady Saintess, if it would please you, I can guide you to your desired lodging…”
“Not to pay respects, but to declare wa——”
“Let’s do that! It’s been a while, you also probably want to sleep in a proper bed! Rēko, let’s hurry!”
My loud voice just barely managed to drown out Rēko’s improper remarks. It seemed like the guards became more wary after my sudden loud shout, but it still wasn’t enough for them to attack us. With their guard raised they took us to the inn.
On the way, I admired the town’s landscape.
Stores and houses were located only in the central part of the city surrounding the Temple, from where radially extended the waterways, around which were pretty much only fields and pastures. Normally, large-scale plantations were administered by powerful, at least to some extent, entities like royalty or church, to prevent crop plundering and to manage the land.
However, here it was different. Just by extending the waterways, in which the Saintess’ divine protection dwelled, plunderers and vermin wouldn’t be able to come near.
Rarely one could find such a convenient plantation. As a result even an amateur could see, that it was becoming a splendid grain producing region.
“The Saintess’ presence is getting more and more distant. She can’t intend to run away from this town, can she?”
However, the next harvest has already become worrisome. Thanks to the carriage swaying, no one noticed my legs trembling from guilt.
“Listen well, Rēko. Hatred yields nothing.”
“Evil Dragon Lord…?”
“I comprehended it at the end of my life full of strife… Well… I mean that… Discussing things through is good.”
“I see. As expected of the Evil Dragon Lord. Negotiations backed up with an overwhelming power sometimes yield better results than war.”
“Though I’d prefer to go with no overwhelming power backing it up policy.”
Moreover, the discussion with Rēko was a negotiation where the table has already been flipped over. In addition, one after the other, weights were being piled up on the table’s back, so that it couldn’t return to normal.
Heaving a sigh, I continued,
“… Ah, Rēko. I’m going for a walk. You listen well to the guards, keep still and wait for me at the inn. Don’t you think about doing anything reckless.”
I’ve had the carriage stop and I got off the wagon. My four limbs still ached acutely, but I couldn’t allow myself to take it easy.
I moved to the nearby waterway on my four limbs, as if grovelling, and said,
“He—ey, Lady Saintess. It was a misunderstanding. I’m simply a powerless, good-for-nothing dragon, while Rēko won’t do the city any harm. After resting for a few days we’ll leave, so please, for the townspeople sake, don’t run away.”
There was no answer. It seemed like I lost her trust completely. Besides, honestly saying I also didn’t have the confidence that Rēko wouldn’t cause trouble.
And, just when I was at a loss at the side of the street, I heard voices behind me.
“Wow amazing! Dragon, a dragon!”
“Awesome—! A real one?!”
When I looked back, a few children bustling jumped out of a roadside house and, all of a sudden, swarmed around me.
“Is it a dragon raised by a merchant?”
“Maybe it’s lost?”
“Could it be hungry?”
And yet again I was mistaken for a pet. Seeing in my head the scene of Rēko losing it and raging, I hurried to explain myself.
“Erm, I’m not a pet you see——”
Carelessly speaking out just caused more confusion. From the kids’ point of view, a dragon able to comprehend the language had to be a suitable toy. Given the situation, I was treated as a circus animal, with no chance to forcibly escape the small encirclement. Although I was weak, if I bumped into a small child I might’ve made it fall over.
—— That was why…
“Here you go, Doradora—. Our vegetable scraps—. Delicious, right?”
“Aah—, not fair—. Eat my potatoes too—.”
“Uh huh, either is tasty.”
Being fed like this was an inevitable outcome.