Chapter 113: Final Episode

“I see. So this is how it came to be.”

I read the letter that arrived from the Mitsurugi family and shrugged my shoulders slightly.

If you want me to leave Suzume to you, come to Demon Island and prove your strength—essentially, they implied they would consider my proposals if I visited them.

The other party was my father who had given up on me. Even though I had taken a hostage, there was a possibility that they would reject my proposal from the start and attack me without any discussion. Considering that, being invited to the island was a relatively better outcome.

However, they didn’t write anything about how or under what conditions I should prove my strength, which meant that they had set up favorable terms for themselves. This could mean that even if I went all the way to Demon Island, they would give me unreasonable demands and say “We will dispose of the Kijin here after all”.

They made no mention of how Claira, who was taken hostage, would be treated. It wasn’t something to which I could easily respond, ‘Yes, I understand.’

However, I didn’t have the option of refusing in my mind. It was because the date that my father had instructed me to come was my mother’s death anniversary.

I had been disowned by the Mitsurugi family and exiled from Demon Island. I had never set foot on the island until today. Disownment and exile were punishments by the head of the family. If I returned to the island without those punishments being revoked, I would face even harsher penalties.

They were not the kind of people who would give me special treatment just because it was my mother’s death anniversary. That’s why I had been spending her death anniversary in Ishka until now.

But now my father had clearly opened a door for me. Whatever his intention was, there was no choice but to take it.

I naturally considered the possibility of a trap. For example, they might target Suzume, who stayed in Ishka, while they were calling me to Demon Island.

Traps are set for those you fear. It seemed impossible for my father to fear me, no matter the circumstances.

More importantly, if my father had decided that he had to kill Suzume no matter what, he would have sent some Green woods flag bearers even if he had to loosen the defense of the demon gate temporarily. He wouldn’t have waited a month to match my mother’s death anniversary. Therefore, this guess was wrong.

Another possibility was that they wanted to lure me to the island and kill me.

If they wanted to kill me in Ishka, they would have to divert some personnel from the defense of the demon gate. But if they invited me to Demon Island, they could kill me without reducing the defense of the demon gate.

They judged that just calling for him wouldn’t make him come out since he was on guard, so they’re trying to lure me out by using my mother’s death anniversary as a pretext – yeah, that seems very plausible.

Now, as for countermeasures, to be honest, my true feelings are “I don’t really care either way”.

If my assumption is correct, my father’s target has shifted from the Suzume to me. That’s something I should welcome. What I urgently need to secure is Suzume’s safety, not mine.

If I am their target, I can easily handle it. Having defeated Hydra, I’m confident in a one-on-one fight, and should my father and others confront me with numbers, that’s acceptable as well. That’s because it would mean they have recognized my strength.

The same people who spat out that they didn’t need weaklings and abandoned me, decided that they couldn’t handle me one-on-one and attacked me as a group – damn, I can’t help but grin just by imagining it. If that happens, I might not be able to stop laughing from the sheer joy. Cause of death: laughter. This is what they call a bad joke.

I trembled with excitement and enjoyed the afterglow of pleasure for a while.

“Now then, there’s no point in laughing forever. Well, we still have a month, so let’s wait and see what happens with Demon Island. I’ll read the letter carefully and they might move to rescue Claira behind the scenes.”

There was no need to panic either. Claira was located in the depths of the Titis Forest, making it difficult to determine her whereabouts.

Furthermore, there were few visitors to Ishka with any interest in her currently. It wouldn’t be too difficult to find suspicious characters.

–No, it might be a good idea to move Claira to Ishka and expose her to such people.

If Claira leaves Ishka without permission, it means that she has broken her promise with me. I can eat her without hesitation. It’s better to raise your level before you go to Demon Island!

In that sense, I should decide on my attitude towards Iria soon. She is also a valuable supplier candidate.

And deciding on my relationship with Iria means deciding how to build a relationship with Priestess Sarah.

If I’m serious about courting that priestess, I can’t touch her daughter Iria. Of course.

Geez, I have a lot of things to do and it’s troublesome. And there’s still more trouble…

“I have to hurry up and deal with Duke Dragnaut’s matter as well.”

He mentioned the name of the leading noble of the Canaria Kingdom and tightened his expression.

Duke Dragnaut had two messages, and one of them was about his second daughter, Claudia.

The talk of taking care of Claudia at his house came up when he killed Jijinbou in the capital city. It seems like a long time ago now.

This matter was postponed due to the outbreak of the Stampede and officially disappeared with the appearance of the Hydra. No parent would send their beloved daughter to Ishka in its current state. The Duke’s letter was filled with polite apologies.

Regarding this matter, the Duke’s concern that it may displease me was unnecessary. I had no intention of involving the Duke’s family in the troubles with Demon Island, so I welcomed the letter from the Duke.

Moreover, now that I have defeated Hydra and become a “Dragon Slayer,” I no longer need to use the Duke’s family’s influence to restrain the adventurer’s guild. In that sense, Claudia’s situation was not a problem.

The problem was the other matter written in the letter.

Needless to say, this entire series of events has also spread to Horus, the capital city, and the court nobles seem to be pale at the severity and complexity of the situation.

The duke was scolding and encouraging those people while trying to settle the situation. And among the many troubles, what the duke valued most was dealing with the poison that was polluting Titus Forest and Kale River.

The expansion of the poison was prevented by the fall of Hydra’s main body, but the effect of the remaining poison alone was enough to collapse Canaria Kingdom.

In response to this situation, Duke Dragonote sought a solution outside his country. The Holy Kingdom, located south of Canaria Kingdom. It is said that there is a vast rotten sea spreading south of this country, caused by the corpse of a godly Hydra.

I had heard about this before when I exterminated Basilisk, but anyway, Duke Dragonote thought that Holy Kingdom knew how to prevent the expansion of rotten sea and sent an envoy to request cooperation.

The pope of Holy Kingdom – it seems that pope is the supreme authority in Holy Kingdom – responded kindly to this envoy.

According to the Pope’s words, the means possessed by the Holy Kingdom is large-scale barrier magic.

Of course, a barrier made by humans cannot contain Hydra’s poison, which is a manifestation of incurable and impure.

What is needed is a catalyst.

The horn of a rhinoceros, an animal horn revered as a tool for detoxification since ancient times, but the horn of an ordinary rhinoceros is insufficient as a catalyst. What is required is a legendary beast’s horn that enhances the effect of rhinoceros horn by tens or hundreds of times.

That is, the horn of Behemoth, the king of beasts.

Speaking of Behemoth, the king of beasts, it is a super giant monster with a body size equivalent to a city. Because of its size, there are very few places where it can live. As far as Canaria territory is concerned, there was only possibility in Catalan Desert, which is one of the monster habitats along with Titus Forest and Skim Mountain.

Of course, possibility does not mean that it definitely lives there, and even if it does live there, it would be extremely difficult to subdue it.

A large number of soldiers, a large amount of supplies, a large number of transportation means. It was hard enough to get them all together, but the destination was a huge desert that had not been explored by humans and whose total area had not even been measured. At worst, they might lose all their soldiers and all their supplies in one morning.

“…In a situation where we are already confused by hydras and whatnot, we can’t do such a big expedition.”

If that’s the case, then something that can replace the horn of Behemoth, the king of beasts, is needed, but of course there is no way to find such a thing easily – or so I would like to say, but in fact, I have one clue.

Right now, there is a girl living in my house who has a powerful magic medium on her forehead. And she has two of them.

I don’t know if the horns of the kijin can replace the horns of Behemoth, the king of beasts, but it’s not impossible that someone will try it out anyway.

Suzume’s human rights were recognized by the king of Canaria himself, and she has no obligation to comply with unreasonable demands, but given the situation, there might be someone who goes berserk.

The words of Dragnaut’s lord were, “We will do everything we can, but please also take care of yourselves.”

“It’s easy for me to cut down anyone who goes berserk, but how do I tell her that…”

If I tell her, that gentle girl might feel some strange guilt. She might think that if she endures it, other people will be saved – she might even break her own horns.

I want to avoid that at all costs. I’d rather ride on Clau Soras myself and go to slay the King of Beasts Behemoth, but it’s very bad to leave Ishka for a long time in this situation. Even a child would understand that.

“If only there were three of me—one to accompany Claira, another to protect Suzume, and a third to slay the King of Beasts, Behemoth. That would resolve everything.”

While saying something impossible, I scratched my head roughly.

Well, there’s no point in complaining. For now, let’s do what we can one by one.

First of all, I need to check the consciousness of the people in the house. Especially those who were almost killed by Claira, I have to make sure they can live under the same roof as her.

I stretched out big and then got up from the chair with momentum.

And then, I slapped both of my cheeks lightly. When I looked outside the window on a whim, I saw a clear sky with no clouds. For some reason, I felt a little relieved by that fact.

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