“Uuu… I don’t care anymore, do whatever you want…”
For a while, Lady Saintess’ eyes were rolling around, but the minute she woke up, she burst into a flood of tears and raised a white flag. It seemed that the moment she saw me, who had returned to his original size, she had lost all of her fighting spirit. Even though I wasn’t strong at all.
“Listen, Lady Saintess.”
“I understand… As you wish, I’ll enter the Demon King’s army or whatever, so please, just don’t lay your hands on the townspeople.”
“Stop arbitrarily creating an evil story and listen to what someone’s saying. You listening? I am not a member of the Demon King’s army.”
When Lady Saintess heard that, she energetically did a kick-up jump.
“You’re not a member of the Demon King’s army―― t-then, that rumour really was true? One that, Evil Dragon Rēvendia has been dissatisfied with the seat of a top executive and began a rebellion, turning on the Demon King and attempting to take over the world…”
“It’s not even remotely true.”
There wasn’t anything correct in her sentence. First of all, my name wasn’t Evil Dragon Rēvendia. I also never was a top executive of the Demon King’s army, not to mention rebelling against him. Practically everything was thanks to the harmful rumours brought about by Rēko.
“Actually, I’m pretty similar to a huge lizard. I’m far from what you’re taking me for. I’ve no intention to do anything to this town, so you can calm down.”
“Ah…? Then, what about that terrifying girl…?”
“Regarding that, I also have trouble dealing with her.”
I collapsed on the floor and started worrying. I wonder what Rēko is doing right now. It’d be nice if she hasn’t brought a lot of trouble to the townspeople. I told her to play freely, but since I’ve had her out of my sights for so long, I have gotten really worried.
“…? Well, so basically, that child is the real Evil Dragon Rēvendia?”
“Your way of thinking is quite weird, but after doing a whole circle you’re actually not that far off.”
“In that case, you’re something like a sacrifice given to the evil dragon?”
“Ah, yeah. You’re pretty much right.”
Lady Saintess straightforwardly prodded the heart of the matter. Surprisingly, she might be pretty smart. If she were to say that in front of Rēko though, it’d end with an instant execution.
“By the way, that thing you said before, you were invited to the Demon King’s army?”
Lady Saintess, wiping her tears, answered,
“Yes, that’s right. I was told that, if I were to become a member of the Demon King’s army and shoulder the burden of being an accomplice in exterminating the humankind, this town would be spared… Still, if the whole world were to become a den of demons and only this place would be safe, wouldn’t that be even more horrifying? It’d be hard to live peacefully, wouldn’t it?”
“It’d become an immensely bizarre town.”
At the very least, I absolutely wouldn’t want to live there. Anyway, with this I could rest easy. The remark Rēko said, that Lady Saintess was a member of the Demon King’s army; after inferring with her sixth sense the surrounding it circumstances, she must have jumped to the wrong conclusion.
Even I thought that bringing the sixth sense as the basis of an argument broke the rule of common sense, but I decided to stop applying reason to her.
“That’s why I refused their invitation. However, I heard that a few days ago the neighbouring adventurers’ town has suffered a large fire, caused by the demon invasion. Apparently the Demon King’s army has put there a lot of effort and filled everyone’s hearts with dread…”
“If we’re talking about that place, everything’s okay. Quite a lot of buildings were burned, but it seemed like there were almost no human casualties. The reconstruction probably shouldn’t take long.”
“Oh, is that true?”
“Yep, it is. As luck would have it we were there, and Rēko lent a hand. Even though she’s like that, she has her kind side.”
Lady Saintess gleefully stood up, clenching her fist.
“Then, that Evil Dragon Lord disguised as a young girl Rēko is planning to defeat the Demon King, right?!”
“Rēko is Rēko, she’s different from an evil dragon, so don’t lump them together.”
However, it looked like the words of an animal, who was nothing more than a sacrifice, were of no concern to Lady Saintess.
“Since it’s decided, I’m leaving the subjugation in her hands! Just you wait, wicked three-heads―! You’ll learn the fear of a genuine Evil Dragon, serves you right―!”
“I think I happen to know who you’re talking about, but if it’s that elephant, he should’ve already returned home.”
He couldn’t have been a run-of-the-mill demon, so saying a three-headed elephant 9 out of 10 times had to be about that pitiful fellow.
“Oh? Has Lady Rēko subdued him already?”
Lady Saintess, who abruptly turned around, was now naturally calling her Lady. A dangerous sign. It might spur Rēko’s delusions even further. Above all, if she were to disregard me and treat Rēko like an Evil Dragon, her neck would be sent flying.
“Ahh, as one could expect from a fellow demon. I’ve nothing but respect for her!”
Now she had finally been categorized as a demon. I cried a little when thinking about Rēko’s future.
“Ah, by the way, lizard.”
“Make sure to never call me that in front of Rēko, okay?”
“I’m really sorry for putting you in danger because of a simple misunderstanding. Forgive me.”
One could say it was sudden, but Lady Saintess obediently lowered her head. Since I only thought of her as a bit of an unfortunate idiot, I was slightly taken aback by her admirable action.
“Is something wrong?”
“No, I’m just a bit surprised. I always thought the demons were only atrocious, but it seems like you’ve been friendly with humans from the beginning.”
“That’s not true. Even I started off as a really fiendish demon. Thanks to the townspeople I was able to change for the better.”
“It’s hard to believe.”
It was like I couldn’t imagine her as a fiend. Even when she was trying to drown me, what stood out was her desperation rather than atrociousness.
Anyhow, I was glad that now we could afford to have a friendly chat. It seemed I’d be able to leave town peacefully.
“Well then, shall we return to town? I’ll open a passage to the spring.”
When Lady Saintess had clapped her hands, an extra-large door matching my body size appeared in the space. Once the double door had opened soundlessly, what stretched before my eyes was a view of the spring shrine.
At that time, something flew in here from amidst that scenery. It was an emerald green grasshopper. I thought it was a normal insect, but I realized otherwise when he passed through the door. Because a queer rotten smell followed him.
“That’s a putrid corpse locust, isn’t it? A low grade demon, which flocks to crops spreading around a rotten smell.”
It was a popular demon, so even I had knowledge of it. As long as it wasn’t a swarm, they were basically no different from the usual pest.
“Oh, but wasn’t there a barrier preventing demons from entering this town? Hey, Lady Saintess, what happened to――”
There was no answer. Lady Saintess had petrified. When I looked closely, the putrid corpse locust was sitting on her head.
“… Is she bad with bugs? Oi, if you’re troubled I can drive it away.”
I plodded slowly, moving to rescue Lady Saintess. However, when I looked upon her once she turned around, I was so terrified that my knees gave way.
Her face was dyed purple, and her eyes shined bright red.
The moment she had raised her hand, the whole surface of the ground outside transformed into a swamp.