V2 Chapter 60: Illusion and Reality

Lascaris’s magic completely transformed the landscape.

Both the horde of monsters and the Behemoth’s carcass disappeared, even the terrain itself changed. A large hole, funnel-shaped in the middle of the desert, reminded one of an antlion’s nest.

The explosion just now could probably have been seen even from Berka, and for a while, it seemed like it would become a topic of discussion about the old era or ancient weapons among the people. The officials of the Reero Oasis, including Joel, know that I, the dragon-slayer, was at the scene. There’s no doubt that they will ask me all sorts of questions about what happened.

Well, that’s neither here nor there. I will return to Ishka immediately. I have neither the time nor the obligation to explain the situation to the people of Berka in great detail.

The problem is that the reason why I came to Berka—the Behemoth’s horn—was blown away in the explosion earlier.

I don’t know whether it’s the king of the Golden Empire, Imperium, or the host of the Night Assembly, but what the hell are they doing? – I sent such a message to the other party, and the response I got was quite simple.

“If that’s the case, I’ll offer you something else in its place. How about this?”

With that, Lascaris casually tossed over a magical stone about the size of a child’s fist. It’s a typical size. However, its purity is off the charts. Here, purity refers to the amount of magical power the magical stone contains.

This stone is on a level that would not surprise anyone if it was said to be a national treasure of the Kingdom of Canaria—no, the Adoastera Empire.

Not that he seemed to have read my inner thoughts, but Lascaris’ next words affirmed my speculation.

“It’s a Philosopher’s Stone. That’s what they call a treasure. They range greatly in value, but this one is a top-notch product from the Golden Empire, Imperium. Even Pope Noah wouldn’t have any complaints.”

“……You seem to be quite well-informed about the situation.”

“Probably more than you. That’s why I know about this too.”

Lascaris continued.

When maintaining a barrier spell for a long period of time, there’s no doubt that a catalyst is needed. However, it didn’t have to be the horn of the Behemoth. It could be the inverse scale of Leviathan, or the tail of Jizou, or even the whisker of a white whale. Even a Philosopher’s Stone would certainly suffice as a catalyst.1 2 3

While all of these are difficult to obtain, there was no particular need to limit it to the horn of the Behemoth.

However, Pope Noah deliberately chose it. Why?

“It was to guide you, the dragon-slayer, to the desert and to eliminate the Behemoth. When the Pope of the Holy Kingdom speaks, most people simply take it as it is. There wouldn’t be many people who would consider if there was another way. Especially when the Pope herself is the practitioner.”

I suppose you were the same.

As Lascaris said this in a teasing manner, he continued.

“Also, in your case, if you hear about the horn of the Behemoth, you can’t help but think about the Kijin who is under your protection. In that sense, the chances of being led are high.”

“You sure have a smooth tongue. I’ll ask just to try, but what would the Pope do after I eliminated the Behemoth?”

“Of course, she will try to take control of Andra. There’s something there that the Temple of Law desperately wants.”

“The Temple of Law desperately wants something?”

“You already know what it is. To add to that, the Temple of Law has already secured two of them. One is in the imperial capital of Adoastera. The other is in the great Rotten Sea of the Holy Kingdom Caritas.”

“The capital of a superpower that controls world hegemony, and the rotten forest of the Holy Kingdom where the mythical creature Hydra once appeared. Two places that couldn’t be more different, and the country of the Dark Elves deep in the Catalan Desert.

That is–“

“A dragon’s lair, right?”


Lascaris claps his hands,

As I mentioned briefly before, a dragon’s lair, where the energy of the earth erupts, is a symbol of prosperity. It is also said to ward off calamities, and since ancient times, the heroes who founded nations have always placed their capitals near a dragon’s lair.

Honestly, I hadn’t thought much of this story, considering it no more than a fabrication to enhance the authority of a country or king. However, I discovered a large hole in the deepest part of the Titis Forest, which can only be called a dragon’s lair. Dragon’s lairs really do exist.

So, it’s not surprising to think that there might be one in the capital of a great nation like Adoastera.

As for the rotten sea of Caritas, if the legend of Hydra’s appearance in that land is true, the likelihood of a dragon’s lair existing there is high. Just like the Hydra that appeared in Titis Forest, the Hydra of Caritas would have manifested itself using the magical power of the dragon’s lair as nourishment.

As for Andra, it goes without saying. The existence of “Abyss” that Wisteria mentioned corresponds to that.

It wasn’t difficult to infer the existence of the dragon’s lair from Lascaris’s words.

Of course, it’s all conjecture. The only dragon’s lair I’ve seen with my own eyes is the one in Titis. My knowledge about the other dragon’s lairs is merely pieced together from hearsay and bits of information.

More than anything, it would be too naive to take at face value the information about the Temple of Law that Lascaris, who is antagonistic to the Temple, provides.

Ever since coming to Berka, it’s true that I’ve glimpsed parts of the shadow side of the Temple of Law. Considering this, there could be some meaning in hearing the side of those who oppose the Law God Church.

Lascaris continued his story while I was thinking about such things.

“As you know, the Adoastera Empire is using the chaos of the Hydra’s emergence to increase pressure on the Canaria Kingdom. They’re forcefully pushing forward the marriage between the Crown Prince and the third Imperial Princess, which once seemed to be falling apart. This is not unrelated to our current topic. This country doesn’t have the Temple of Law as its state religion, unlike the Empire. The church’s intentions don’t go as far here.”

“So, it’s inconvenient for the Temple of Law to secure the dragon hole in Titis. The Canaria Kingdom, once aware of the dragon hole’s existence, could potentially attempt to manage it themselves instead of the church. Therefore, the Temple of Law is trying to control this country by moving the Empire.”

“Again, you’re correct. By the way, it’s not just the Empire that they moved. It’s also the Canaria Kingdom. There are nobles who support the upcoming wedding who are not part of the Empire’s faction, right? This is not merely because they desire assistance to overcome the domestic crisis.”

“It may sound plausible, but the Crown Prince’s wedding had been in motion long before the Hydra’s emergence. I don’t believe the Temple of Law, which jumped on the bandwagon later, could lead the wedding.”

“The answer to that doubt is this – the Temple of Law has been involved from the beginning. Or perhaps it would be easier to understand if I put it this way. They knew about the dragon hole in Titis long before the Hydra appeared. And they were working to acquire it. It was the gatekeeper Moribito who destroyed the clan of Kamuna who were protecting that forest, but it was the Temple of Law who manipulated it from the shadows.”

“…How many years ago do you think that was?”

“Forty years. Hehe, it might seem like a long time to you. But it’s been three hundred years since the Temple of Law started expanding its power through the Adoastera Empire. They’ve been striving towards their goal for that much time. Don’t you think forty years is not such a significant time compared to that?”

Once he said that, Lascaris began to move away from me while still floating in the air. It seems he intends to disappear after saying what he wanted to say.

I didn’t feel a particular need to stop him, so I didn’t move from my spot.

However, there was something that bothered me. I decided to ask about it in the end.

“So, in the end, what is the Temple of Law’s aim? They get their hands on the dragon hole, and then what are they trying to do?”

Nowadays, the teachings of the Law God are widespread throughout the continent, and they have even gained secular power. The question is, what is the goal that the Law God’s religion, capable of fulfilling most desires on its own, is trying to fulfill by desiring the Dragon’s Den?

Lascaris’ answer to this question was as follows.

“‘Law’ is what maintains order. And ‘Order’ is the light that illuminates the darkness of the human world.”

“……Is that a verse from the Law God?”

“That’s right. And this verse is the answer to your question. If you want to know more, you should research the term ‘Light God Religion’.”

I inadvertently furrowed my brows because it was a familiar phrase.

I’m not sure how Lascaris took my expression, but in the end, he left these words and disappeared.

“Just be careful when you’re researching. For some reason, those who I’ve shared this information with tend to die young.”

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  1. Leviathan’s scale may be related to the Japanese myth of Ryujin, the dragon god of the sea. Ryujin is said to live in a palace under the ocean, where he controls the tides and storms. He can also transform into a human or a giant serpent. Ryujin is sometimes depicted as having scales that reflect the colors of the rainbow
  2. Jizou’s tail may be related to the Japanese folklore of Jizo, a bodhisattva who is revered as the guardian of children, travelers, and those who suffer in the underworld. Jizo is usually depicted as a Buddhist monk with a halo and a staff. He is also associated with animals, especially dogs and foxes
  3. White Whale’s whisker may be related to the Japanese legend of Umibozu, a sea spirit that resembles a giant bald monk with long arms and legs. Umibozu is said to appear on calm seas and capsize ships with its huge hands or waves. It can also ask sailors for a barrel, which it uses to drown them. Umibozu is sometimes described as having white skin or hair.