Was it a regular delusion? Or a sixth-sense like hunch? Thinking it through reasonably, it should be the former, but taking into account Rēko’s strange ability I couldn’t rule out the latter option.
“Rēko, to tell you the truth, I’ve met Lady Saintess just now.”
Based on her behaviour, her nature in no way seemed like that of an evil being. If she could act well enough to hide her true identity of a demon, then she should’ve been able to put more of a show as a child.
“I see. In that case, it was just a groundless apprehension on my part. Since the Saintess has already been obliterated there is no problem.”
“I didn’t obliterate anyone though?”
“Then you let her free because she still has her use―― is that right?”
“That’s not it. Listen, Rēko. You have to start properly considering things in a peaceful manner. If you always have this bloodthirsty way of thinking, sooner or later you’ll really turn into a villain.”
I raised my limb and lightly patted her on the shoulder. She tilted her head for a while, before nodding slowly.
“I understand, Evil Dragon Lord. Competent evil dragon’s kin can’t be caught up in calculating profit and loss like a small scoundrel, but rather has to look at the grand scheme of things.”
“Yeah. I don’t really understand but it should be close enough. And so, I’d like to hear your story step by step; on what basis are you saying that Lady Saintess is a demon?”
There might have been some misunderstanding, the same way she started treating me as an evil dragon. In which case, if I didn’t rectify it, she’d cause some inconceivable disaster.
“A basis? It is the kin’s intuition.”
I made a sour face. There was no room for a misunderstanding. Since the basis was too weak, I couldn’t even contradict her.
“Um… Let’s calm down Rēko, shall we? Isn’t it too early to decide she’s a demon based on just that?”
“If a confession is necessary, I can capture her and make her spit it out.”
I didn’t have to hear it to know. She no doubt intended on conducting a vicious interrogation. If that wasn’t true, why would she have moved her hand towards a dagger on her hip? If Rēko were to seriously interrogate her, she’d have confessed even if she wasn’t a demon. Actually, even though I wasn’t an evil dragon, I was getting screwed over by her insisting that I were one.
I wondered whether Lady Saintess was eavesdropping on this conversation. If so, she might be trying to run away from town all over again.
“Anyhow, I’m telling you, you’re overthinking it in the wrong direction.”
“I would be glad if that was the case.”
“If you’re that worried, I’m going to speak once again with Lady Saintess tomorrow. Despite looking like this, I’ve some confidence in my power of insight, so once we speak facing each other I should be able to discern whether she’s good or not.”
“Since Evil Dragon Lord says so I can be at ease.”
Telling the truth, I didn’t think there was any need to confirm that. After finally being able to catch a breath, I drank a drop of medicine from the small barrel and lied down in the corner of the room.
“In case you couldn’t fall asleep on the floor, please use this bed.”
“It’s fine, it’s fine. I wouldn’t fit in a human bed either way. You can use it.”
“However, in that case I would have to sleep in a higher position than the Evil Dragon Lord. A kin mustn’t sleep somewhere higher than the head.”
“You often sleep on my back though.”
I wondered how she’d explain that, but Rēko just nonchalantly ignored it and laid down right next to me. How insipid was sleeping on the floor stuffed together in a corner, even though a spacious room had been prepared especially for us.
“At least spread a blanket on the floor. You mustn’t catch a cold and harm your health.”
“Then, Evil Dragon Lord also…”
While thinking how spreading some dry grass would have been more to my liking, I obediently wrapped myself up in the blanket Rēko covered me with.
The next morning.
“Dear guests―. The breakfast has been served―. May I bring it inside―?”
I’ve woken up to the sound of knocking. Looking outside through the window’s curtains, the sky still had a deep blue colour, so unless I were a dearly valuing time peddler it was too early for breakfast.
“Why is it so early…?”
I woke up my aged body by rubbing my eyes hard with my foreleg. It seemed the muscle pain still hasn’t subsided yet, but it couldn’t be helped considering my age.
“… I won’t forgive disturbing the Evil Dragon Lord’s sleep.”
And from my back Rēko’s still-waking-up voice could be heard. Given the circumstances I didn’t ask why was she there and just crawled sluggishly on the floor, saying,
“For the time being, it’s fine to leave it in front of the door. I’ll eat it when I get hungry.”
“But that is…! At this inn, eating a freshly made breakfast is the most vital!”
The overbearing knocking continued along with loud sounds. Awfully pushy. Did the inns really go this far in their guest service?
“Should I silence her?”
“It’s fine, just open the door.”
Since Rēko was emitting a disturbing presence, for now I decided to open the door. Thereupon, as soon as the door opened, what leapt to my eye was――.
“He―llo. It’s this inn’s specialty, a fresh pot-baked fish―. What’s more, only today, we’ve prepared a helpful for our travellers’ journeys preserved food, such as the dried fish―. Oh my, what great weather we have today, so beautiful, that it makes one want to leave town first thing in the morning, right? Now then, please fill up your bellies quickly and let’s depart vigorously!”
Wearing an apron dress and pushing in a cart with a huge plate, as if supplying a banquet―― was a woman with long blue hair. When I listened closely, it was the same voice as the last night’s child.
Similarly to last night, I realized everything but deliberately decided to pretend I didn’t notice anything.
“Thanks. But I don’t really like fish. Rēko, how much can you eat?”
“I can finish this much by myself.”
It was quite a huge fish, around the size of an adult’s arm, but it seemed to be a piece of cake for Rēko. I already surmised it from the meals in the last few days, but Rēko ate quite a lot.
“T-then… That’s right! Please wait a moment! Dorado… Sorry, I’ll right away prepare a meal to the liking of our guest!”
“You better hur―” I barely managed to restrain Rēko, who was trying to use threats. However, after a few dozens of second, Lady Saintess dropped an even bigger bomb.
She came back carrying a woven bamboo basket, full of muddy and tattered vegetables, saying,
“These are the vegetable scraps picked up from a nearby field! You like this, right?!”
At that time, I couldn’t bring myself to look Rēko in the eyes.