Chapter 120: Existence that Spirits fear
The keepsake of his son … I purified the magic stone and softly handed it over to King Rockwell.
“I’m worried about the fact that these people could come all the way here. There’s a chance that Grand-san and the others are injured. Let’s quickly return.” I announced to everyone.
At that point, Lionel asked about the treatment regarding the former slaves.
“These slaves, no, former slaves, what should we do with them?”
When I glanced over at the former slaves, the former slaves stared at me with frightened looks while trembling.
“We’ll return first. Former slaves, it doesn’t matter to me if you escape if you intend to. However, I will not guarantee your lives.”
“No, no way.”
“Please save us.”
They clung to us but these men and women were those who did not raise their hands at that time.
Even though they had their chance … but, if I could have demarcated it like that, it would have been much easier.
As I was having that thought, I pondered about how we should treat the former slaves if they came along with us but rather than that, I was more concerned about Grand-san and the others now so I conveyed my intention to immediately begin moving out.
“King Rockwell. Wouldn’t it be better to mourn after you confirm that your other son is alright?”
” … Okay.”
King Rockwell kept the magic stone that was once Guraios close to his bosom, wiped his tears and stood up.
Once I used 「Area High Heal」, the injuries on the former slaves and the dwarves were all completely healed.
“This time, we will cut down anything comes up. We’ll proceed with that intent in mind. Cathy, Kefin, please lead the way.”
Thus, we aimed for the cave entrance and begin moving.
“There are still monsters here and there huh.”
“But, it’s only a handful nya.”
As the 2 people walking in front exterminated the monsters, they retraced the path we came from.
Along the way, I didn’t forget to retrieve the Object X placed at the branching paths.
The dwarves and King Rockwell were roused and they were following at the tail end of the group.
“The dwarves should be able to defend if this is all that is left right?”
” … I guess so.”
King Rockwell maintained his solemn expression and was taciturn.
“However, it looks like it would take a considerable amount of time to dispose of this amount of ant carcasses.”
“Yes. It would be fine to leave it to Paula and Rician regarding the magic stones. Also, won’t the people in Rockford be delighted if we offer them the monsters carcasses?”
“That’s a great idea, Lionel. Well, even if we hold on to the magic stones and carcasses, in terms of utilizing them, it’s both impossible and unnecessary.”
“Yeah. Rather than holding on to them, it’s better to earn the gratitude of the receiving party and should be a more practical way of using it.”
“These magic stones can be used as reserve funds for the former slaves as well though …”
“Besides, as long as Grand-dono and the others are safe, right?”
While feeling myself naturally tighten the grip I have on the illusionary cane in my hand, we continued to hurry back to the Dwarf Kingdom.
The scene we saw after we exited from the passage was the same cozy atmosphere we saw before we departed.
Moreover, a couple of the dwarves noticed us and looking at their appearance of letting everyone else know that we have returned, I was honestly relieved that I could put an end to my needless worries.
I found Grand-san and approached to speak to him.
“Grand-san, so you’re safe.”
“Yeah. Nothing happened here … or rather, we were safe since the monsters retreated back into the cave.”
“I see. That’s great but … Guraios and the others didn’t pass by here?”
“Nope, they didn’t?”
His expression didn’t look like he was lying and Lionel and Cathy shook their heads as well.
“It’s fine if that’s the case. We’ve defeated the queen that gives birth to the ants. Furthermore, we defeated a considerable amount of ants there so once the soldiers from the Dwarf Kingdom defeat the remaining ant monsters, the threat should be completely gone.”
“That’s amazing! Then, are you intending to return to Rockford immediately?”
“I very much wish to do so but treating the injured and getting our treasure takes priority.”
“If there are injured people, I’d like it if you prioritize them first.”
I grinned while Grand-san gave a bitter smile.
Perhaps thanks to the emergency food provision, I heard words of gratitude from all sides when we moved to the Dwarf King’s abode.
I found out that the ant monsters also retreated from the remaining 2 caves so I was relieved that it did not fall into the scenario that I was worried about.
When we arrived at the Dwarf King’s abode, King Rockwell walked ahead until the center of the audience hall, stopped, turned around and prostrated on the ground.
“Luciel-dono, please treat Aresurei’s arms. I beg of you!”
Although I’ve treated him to the extent that he would not die, the current Aresurei was in a condition where he did not have both his arms so I could understand where he was coming from.
However, no matter what, I can’t imagine forming a good relationship with them if Aresurei succeeds this country.
” … Why do you go so far for him? Forgive my rudeness but isn’t it better for the sake of the Dwarf Kingdom if a person with high ability and clear character is placed as king?”
“It’s a problem prior to the talk about becoming a king or not. He may be an idiotic son but Aresurei is my only heir left. It has no relation to the king’s position.”
“Then, when do you intend to entrust the king’s position to him?”
” … After I entrust my whole body and soul to make him a respectable king. If I deem that he does not have the qualification before I pass away, I vow to the Spirits and Gods that I will concede the king’s position to another.”
” … Are you serious?”
He was speaking of casting aside the king’s position.
Furthermore, to wager the country’s future, just how does he intend to support Aresurei?
“I have caused such trouble to Luciel-dono and the citizens. It is not something that can be forgiven so easily.”
I saw that his appearance didn’t look like he was lying and I decided to acknowledge it.
Of course, with conditions.
“Very well. Spirits, are you listening?”
” … Looks like they would not turn up.”
“Is there some trick set up?”
“No, if there was …”
King Rockwell didn’t say any further.
But, I noticed his intent.
“Apart from Lionel, Cathy, and Kefin, everyone else are to return to the slave room. Including Estia and the ones related to the church. This is an order.”
I was expecting objections but they obediently … only Estia didn’t move.
“Hurry up and go nya. Or do you have something to say nya?”
” … No.”
I stopped Estia as she was about to leave.
” … Estia, leave the magic tool and equipment behind before leaving the room.”
” … Understood.”
She left the flashlight, sword, and shield there and exited the room.
Then, King Rockwell made an earth door and made sure nobody could infiltrate.
“Earth Spirit-samas, it’s fine if you don’t show your appearance. Please at least let us hear your voice.”
The moment King Rockwell spoke, the Spirits appeared and began speaking.
《Who was that?》(TL: There’s no indication of gender)
《It was as if it was a shadow.》
《I could sense nothing but the creeps from it.》
《Muscle-brain, Goofy face, that was our natural enemy.》
《Is it alright for us to note the vow you did earlier?》
《Even though the threat to the earth is gone, to think it would be accompanied by a threat to us.》
“I have something I wish to ask. Why did you all not notice the change that was happening to Guraios? It should be possible that it aroused the attention of Spirits right?”
” … Is it related to why Spirit-samas didn’t turn up recently?”
King Rockwell interrupted after me.
《It’s not my interest to be manipulated.》
《I took note of Guraios countless times.》
《It approached without us noticing.》
《That is dangerous you know. You should kill it before it gets out of hand.》
《Lately, because of that, we’ve been afraid of manifesting.》
《That thing swallows us.》
“Who are you referring to?”
King Rockwell asked for its name but it can only be one person.
” … It should be Estia.”
When I said that, Lionel asked.
” … Luciel-sama, who is this Estia you speak of?”
“I’ve not heard of that name nya.”
“Was she among the former slaves?”
“Why are you all playing dumb with a straight face? She’s the Spirit Magic Swordswoman that came along with us to defeat the queen ant.”
However, they replied with different reactions from what I had expected.
“Didn’t we plunge in with only the 5 people here?”
“That’s right nya. Did Luciel-sama see that in your dream nya?”
“Maybe you should take a nap if you are tired?”
The 3 of them … King Rockwell was also making a strange face so it looked like the 4 of them totally did not remember.
Did something like a memory rewrite happen?
“Spirits, what’s the meaning of this?”
《Lapse of memory.》
《It seems like Goofy face possesses power and blessing that counteracts it so it wasn’t effective against you.》
《Then it’s thanks to us so we’re fine with honey or magical power as payment.》
《It’s strong so I advise you to be careful.》
“But, didn’t you Spirits manifest once at the slave’s rest area?”
《That was because we didn’t notice that it had became a slave.》
《The pressure that was released when you dispelled it’s slave seal was dangerous.》
《It was as if my body was being pulled by it.》
《I’d prefer not to approach it ever again.》
《Be careful and give us honey and magical power again next time.》
《It’s also aiming for your life so be careful.》
The Spirits disappeared while leaving ominous words.
King Rockwell gave a look as if words of the Spirits were unbelievable but he immediately decided to believe it.
“I don’t know which one is it among the former slaves but it should be the enemy of my soon … I will take the responsibility to deal with it.”
He looked like he was fired up.
As I relayed the conversation I had with the Spirits to Lionel and the others as well as retell the whole battle with the queen ants, I noticed that the 3 of them felt like there was something out of place.
“To think that we had fallen into a spell without noticing …”
“Darkness spirits are scary nya.”
“Rather than an illusion, maybe it is more like telepathy?”
While the 3 of them all were feeling depressed, they looked like they were thinking of strategies to not get caught in it.
I once again relayed that to Pope-sama with the magic communication bead and verified if those 5 really belong to the church.
After I made contact and conveyed the information, I was told that it would be investigated and also that the case with the Empire was not drawing near for the time being.
After ending the communication, I made my move.
“King Rockwell, as promised, you have kept your promise but … first, please remove the earth wall after checking if Estia is not there.”
King Rockwell nodded and the earth wall collapsed.
“We’ll first force Estia until she is unable to fight. We’ll interrogate her after that.”
I had considered if she was my fated partner chosen by the Spirits so I was slightly hurt.
It’s true that they did not mention that Estia was my fated partner but for that reason, I was blaming myself for trying to look cool when interacting with her as we moved to the slave resting area.
When we entered the slave resting area, there was no sign of Estia.
I supplemented with investigating if there were unfamiliar faces among them but there weren’t any changes apart from the absence of Estia.
” … Did she notice that her suggestions were not working on me?”
With no choice, I headed toward where Aresurei was and applied 「Extra Heal」 after clearing the room of others.
After confirming that Aresurei had regrown his arms, King Rockwell thanked me.
“No need to thank me. At a later date, Dolan will be coming here so please apologize and pass him the contents of the treasury at that time.”
“I understand. So, are you returning immediately?”
“I very much wish to do so but I have to discuss the treatment of the people I removed from slavery and speak with Grand-san once to think of equipment to counter Estia’s ability.”
“Understood. So you’re going to take the former slaves but what do you intend to do?”
” … I don’t want to bring the former slaves along with me to Rockford. Therefore, could I leave them here for the time being?”
“Are you sure that’s a good decision?”
“Yeah. There shouldn’t be any problems as they can earn their living expenses by suitably defeating the remaining ant monsters here. I will come pick them up as soon as possible.”
” … Understood. I’ll obey your order.”
King Rockwell acknowledged and we once again moved to the slave’s rest area.
Then, when I contrived an explanation of having to prepare carriages and money, there were some who wished to quickly go out to the surface so I left it up to themselves.
“As long as you pledge to not trouble the dwarves or us, you can freely leave.”
Just by saying that, several people pledged and left the room.
“I leave the meals of the remaining people to you.”
We parted with King Rockwell there and Grand-san was waiting when we left the King’s abode.
“Why didn’t you come in?”
“This is my hometown so there were many things that I was feeling nostalgic about.”
“I see … well then, let’s head back to Rockford.”
Thus, we were on our return journey from the Dwarf Kingdom to Rockford.
Thank you for reading.