Editor: Ghost Ape
“Well, you see, the beings known as demons and spirits are fine even without eating food. They can live as long as they replenish magic power.”
The tavern’s tent turned into a hastily made interrogation room, but the taken away Lady Saintess didn’t seem dissatisfied, instead she had the same look of triumph on her face as before. In reality it was an investigation filled with impatience and a sense of urgency, but Lady Saintess perhaps misunderstood being surrounded by a crowd as them fawning over her.
“Ooh… What exactly is the replenishment of magic power?”
Haizen skilfully encouraged Lady Saintess without cutting her off, even though he should’ve had some own prior knowledge about it, most likely to make her speak more freely.
“Well, let me see… For example, demons attack human settlements, right?”
Everyone nodded with grave expressions. I remembered the fight when Rēko first awakened. If at that time the Kuragari wolves hadn’t come, I might’ve safely went back to my cav―― No, it wasn’t possible anyway. It’d have absolutely turned out like this one way or another.
“That sort of thing is basically a way to turn humans into a source of magic power by preying on them. Looking at it like that it doesn’t differ from carnivores living in the wild. Still, the ones replenishing their magic in such a simplistic way are mainly low-class demons.”
At that time Lady Saintess stared off into space. She might’ve recalled the times when she spread the bottomless swamp right in the middle of the plains but nobody fell in.
“But you see, there’s a separate method of magic replenishment for stronger demons.”
“Ahem! That is『doing nothing.』The terribly strong demons cause dread amongst humans even when they keep quiet, right? When a lot of such thoughts gather, this in itself becomes a powerful source of magic power. Trying to trap and drown humans in a bottomless swamp is after all nothing but the act of a second-rate demon. The genuine first-class ones earn magic power effortlessly.”
Saying proudly, Lady Saintess brazenly puffed out her chest. Sheina sighed wistfully with envy written all over her face.
Whereas Rēko nodded as though she grasped something,
“So that’s why Evil Dragon Lord doesn’t eat people carelessly. You can only eat them once, but if you make them live long time you can squeeze out feelings of awe infinitely…”
“I simply like grass though.”
“I see. Not only humans, but Evil Dragon Lord also drums fear into all beings of nature, even plants. As expected, Lord makes sure to bleed the dread dry even from a roadside grass… All creation trembles in fear of Evil Dragon Lord…”
“Then I wonder whose strength exactly gains from this kind of fear that I’ve been feeling lately.”
Lady Saintess, who proudly spouted forth a torrent of information, pointed her finger at the spirit eating a stone in the corner of the room.
“It’s true this child is a spirit and not a demon, but both have a lot in common. The gold mountain mesmerizes humans, so they inevitably bathed it with their attention. Throughout many years it must’ve been an environment with no lack of magic power for her.”
“But she turned out like this in the morning.”
Haizen turned around to the spirit with a hint of panic. She was still carefreely masticating on a rock.
“After all with this figure she can’t collect the thoughts of awe as a golden mountain. Well… nevertheless, just what circumstances could make her turn out like this? It’s hard to believe that she suddenly became like this.”
As far as I knew, spirits seldom revealed their figures as physical entities. They melted in the world as one with nature, so it was extremely rare to find a person who even heard a spirit’s voice.
Then Sheina raised her hand.
“Excuse me teacher. What’s likely to happen if we leave her like that?”
“Teacher? Did you just call me a teacher? Please call me that some more!”
“Lady Saintess, I get it that you’re happy, but could you stop walking on air and answer the question properly?”
Disregarding Lady Saintess, who was persistently demanding to be called a teacher, Rēko muttered quietly under her breath after fixedly observing the spirit.
“If it goes on like this she’ll eventually vanish.”
It was a bombshell of a statement. Everyone left Lady Saintess aside and instantly gathered around Rēko. Sheina was the first to express her disbelief.
“Disappear? The spirit will? You for real, Rēko?”
“I’m certain. Most likely this human-like form is a puppet container created by demons. The real mountain had to be spatially compressed and sealed inside this puppet as the spirit’s source of magic power. However, the energy consumption is abnormally quick. Like this the spirit will vanish along with the gold mountain in under a month.”
She said it with a nonchalant look. I already didn’t intend to ask for the grounds of her claims, because they no doubt were about right.
“It’s extremely hard to tame a spirit using normal means, so they must’ve went with a strategy to imprison it in a disposable puppet and brainwash into going on a rampage. Of course the brainwash part ended up as a failure.”
“Then Rēko, can you bring back the mountain sealed inside this―― puppet with your power?”
“I’m able to gouge and return the space where the mountain is sealed, but it’d require of me to destroy this doll. At that time I’d be unable to guarantee this spirit’s safety.”
“Yeah, we want to avoid that.”
All the soldiers were making a fuss, saying “As expected of the Evil Dragon and his kin, what a high-level conversation…” but I’ve simply became numb to Rēko’s remarks.
“So we really have no other option but to capture that demon and make him turn it back to normal, huh. Rēko, can you still catch him?”
“With no effort.”
“Even though I’m the one asking, I’d have preferred you struggling a bit.”
Just when I thought she was going to promptly sprout wings and fly off like she did when kidnapping Lady Saintess, it turned out I was wrong. Rēko extended her left arm into the empty air――
And she deliberately bent space.
No one spoke a word towards the sudden development. Only Rēko, as though beating on a slit drum, thrust her hand into the warped space and ransacked inside with a rustling sound like scrounging through a box full of toys.
“Evil Dragon Lord, I caught him.”
When she forcefully pulled her arm, only the purple long hair was dragged out of the space vortex. No doubt the hair was swaying because the body on the other side of the vortex had to be struggling frantically.
“Ermm, Rēko, this skill is?”
“I started thinking about a more efficient way of seizing opponents when I was tasked with bringing Lady Saintess over here, and this is the new skill I came up with.”
“Is that so… Still, from now on before you attempt a new skill discuss it with me first.”
Me keeping her in check was becoming more and more futile. When she pulled her hand even further, this time a freshly severed Mr. Adonis’ head appeared from the space. It was a genuinely grotesque image.
“I was wondering what’s going on since the subspace has appeared so abruptly, but after all it’s the Evil Dragon’s doing…”
“That’s right. Now, spill how to return the spirit back to normal. As long as you do I’m going to let you go.”
“It’s useless. I told you I’m a disposable pawn.”
For some reason Rēko scowled at the triumphantly smiling demon.
“I see, you’re also a puppet.”
“Exactly. Only a duty of sealing the spirit in the puppet was bestowed upon me. From the beginning I had no other information.”
“Then connect me to the executive you contacted before. I’ll ask him directly.”
“No use. I’ve been told that I no longer can be used since my identity was leaked to the Evil Dragon and expulsed just a while ago. The communication magic must’ve been blocked by now. I’m already nothing but a stray doll.”
Unwittingly I’ve become overwhelmed with sorrow.
“Evil Dragon Lord, it doesn’t look like he’s lying.”
“Yeah, even I’ve noticed that he’s giving off a terrible air of melancholy.”
“Come now, kill me.”
“You be quiet for a moment. Stop tenaciously boring into my heart any more than that. Rēko, you can release him already. We can just pull him in when we need something again.”
Plop, after making sure Mr. Adonis’ head was thrown back into the subspace, I crouched down in worry. It didn’t seem like we’d be able to gain any particularly useful information. However, if we left it like that, both the spirit and the gold vein, everything would disappear.
“It’s hopeless, with my brains I can’t come up with even the slightest hint of――”
『The mountainside became fertile.』
The spirit abruptly dropped the rock she was holding onto. Sitting down like an adorable animal, she started spacing out as if she was content.
“It’d be troublesome if she disappeared along with the gold, so I imparted her just a little of my magic power. For the time being she should be fine for the next 300 years.”
On the other hand, ‘for the time being’ I’ve decided to cry myself to sleep.