376. Land Ho
The sun begins to rise in the horizon and the sea in the distance becomes dyed in vermillion.
For some reason, even in this flat world, the sun rises in the morning and the stars move in the sky.
I stopped for a while to admire the rising sun alongside Treant who is still nodding off at the sunrise, looking all sleepy, before resuming my journey.

We saw a few military stationed in the distance so we had to take a big turn to avoid them, and we even got a bit lost for a while, but after flying all night, we’re finally near the shoreline that’s the closest to the royal capital of Ardezia.
After seeing the military being near the shore, I resorted to swimming on the ocean waters, then after a while, I saw an open land in the distance without any humans in sight.
Alo, Nightmare, and Treant all look towards the land where we’ll be disembarking.

The lush greenery of the trees that extend all the way up to the mountains was a sight to behold.
Neither I nor Alo could read the characters written on the map, but I received some pointers from Lilyxila in advance like writing us a star map and which route to follow, so using those bits of information and navigation help, I was still able to barely grasp the general direction of where Ardezia might be.

What I do know is that the place where we’re clearly headed to land is one of the three largest labyrinths of Ardezia, the Great Alban Mine.
The Great Alban Mine is also called the Mythril Mine and it’s practically the main reason that turned the Kingdom of Ardezia into one of the largest military force in the world since they’re able to mine rare minerals, like Mythril.
However, now that the country is fully developed and the safer areas have mostly been mined already, the project is currently being put to a halt seeing as the only areas left to mine are at the deeper parts of the tunnel where dangerous monsters are lurking, and unless you’re a daring adventurer, the place is forbidden from entry.

Ardezia was originally a small country and it was only thanks to the Alban Mine that they prospered, so it’s not too far from the royal capital.
It’s named after the royal capital of Ardezia, Alban.
Lilyxila suggested that I hide there in the meantime since it’s close to the royal capital while at the same time being inaccessible to common folks.

She said that I should lay low at the deeper areas of the mine even though that’s supposedly where the dangerous monsters lurk.
Well, even if I encounter one, I can just escape from it if I want to, and even Lilyxila said “If it’s you, you’ll be fine” with a thumbs up of approval.
After seeing how Lilyxila got surprised when she saw Eldia’s stats, I’m guessing the monsters here are at least one rank below Adams.
Which isn’t much of a problem for me, but is definitely a threat to normal people.

Lilyxila said it’ll take her about three days to catch up to me to Ardezia.
I wasted the first day flying just to get here.
I’d like to spend this second day gathering information in the royal capital Alban together with Alo and Nightmare, who has〖Human Transformation〗to disguise as a human and〖Nekomata〗to reduce the MP consumption of the transformation.

…… Wait a second, won’t that mean Treant will get left behind?
Will he be okay on his own?

A-Anyway, let’s sort out the plans for the day.
The first thing we’ll do is to rest the weariness from the long travel.
Then, since I can’t use〖Human Transformation〗for a long duration of time, we’ll need to find the shortest route that leads to the royal capital Alban.
I really need to nail this schedule in my head so I don’t forget.

On the third day, which is practically tomorrow, once we’ve confirmed Lilyxila’s arrival, then along with the information I’ve gathered on the second day (if any), we’ll storm the royal palace and subdue the Demon King who is pretending to be the royal family.
Even if I don't end up defeating the Demon King, as long as I manage to reveal its identity, Lilyxila will come to back me up.
If the Demon King is somehow in the state of humanization, then its HP, attack, and defense stats will be halved.
Surely the Demon King isn’t strong enough that it can take me on with halved stats. It’ll definitely need to revert back to normal against me.

Since the Demon King continues to remain in hiding, I can’t help but wonder if it’s stats are even that high.
The Demon King hasn’t taken any drastic actions such as fighting openly against the humans or going after the Demon Beast King or the Saint.
Meanwhile, the Saint on the other hand has already tamed the Demon Beast King, recruited the one who stole the Hero’s skills, which is me, and has even discovered the Demon King who went in hiding and is currently setting up an assault operation.

I only know little about the Demon King, but based on just that, it’s clear to see that the Demon King is really behind.
The reason why it’s hunting down humans in secret must be because it’s the only option available to it.
Well, taking over a whole kingdom and calling in strong humans to kill and gain exp from them is kind of giving itself away, but does that mean it’s unable to fight equally against those of the same rank?
Then again, it could also just be timid in nature.
If anything, it definitely can’t keep up with the Saint’s progress, which is working out efficiently so far.

I can’t see how the Demon King can beat the triple threat combo of me, Lilyxila, and Lilyxila’s trump card, the Demon Beast King, Beelzebub.
Lilyxila is definitely the one with the upper hand here.

I land near the mine while keeping watch of my surroundings.
On certain parts of the beach, there were piles of black sand just stacked here and there.
They must be the residue after refining the minerals back to when this mine used to be active.

I put Alo and the others down and shake my body to remove any seawater clogged in my scales.

Entering the mine, the first thing I see are the many holes leading to different paths.
Some paths have broken rails and mine carts, and others look naturally made.
There were even a few that were big enough for me to go through.
…… For now, let’s take a breather first, devise a strategy, and find a place for Treant to hide in safety while we’re away.

【“Dont forget breakfast”】

Partner puts her face close to mine.

Ee~eh…… is there even anything edible in here?
Besides, you already ate a giant squid and even a weird-looking fish monster on our way here.
Just be patient.

Once we get to the big city, you’ll get to eat all kinds of delicious food.
Although, even if you eat your fill while in a humanized state, I’m sure you’ll just get hungry again when we revert back to our dragon body, but I bet your taste buds will never be the same.
It’ll be as if the food we’ve been eating until now will taste like sand compared to what you can eat there.

When I said that in a half-hearted tone, Partner’s eyes began to widen.

【“I-I guess I can wait……”】

…… Uh, sorry, I didn’t mean that.
Considering our situation, I’ll be the one who’ll humanize and stroll in town……
And, I don’t even have money, so I can’t buy anything there, meaning we can’t bring back food. And, we won’t even be there for very long since our MP won’t last, so…… you know, sorry for getting your hopes up.

Upon hearing that, Partner’s face went blank, and in the next second, her eyes started to glow.
With〖Demonic Eyes of a Ruler〗, Partner controlled my body and moved my claw against my will, clenching it into a fist and hitting me with an uppercut straight to the jaw, breaking several of my fangs and splattering blue blood over the sand.


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