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674 – A Certain Girl and the Rumours of the Evil Dragon (side: Miria)
Having reached the Holy City of Ridom and acquired lodgings, Meltia-san and I are wandering around town in order to gather information about Saint Lilixira. Then, in a wide open square with a fountain, we succeeded in asking Gram-san, an elder disciple of the Holy God religion.

“You have heard nothing, esteemed travellers? In order to settle things with the evil dragon Demon Lord, Saint-sama headed towards the Easternmost Strange Land together with the Holy Knights.”

“N-no way… Saint Lilixira is aiming for Irushia-san…”

Not satisfied with framing Irushia-san as the mastermind behind the turmoil in Ardesia, Saint Lilixira is apparently set on subjugating him, even if it meant chasing him to the ends of the earth. Meltia-san’s face turns bitter as we hear about this.

I don’t know why everything turned out this way. Only, there are some things I’m certain of now.

Saint Lilixira is a champion of humanity, with the greatest fighting strength in this world… So even if Irushia-san is victorious against her, it’s possible that he will end up being seen throughout the world as an absolute enemy of humanity. There are only two outcomes possible. Irushia-san will be killed by Saint Lilixira, or if he will truly be recognised as the Demon Lord and be hunted forever.

“Why did she do such a…! T-this is, it’s definitely strange! Because at that time, Irushia-san… that dragon was fighting to protect Alban!”

“H-hey, Miria, calm down! Ahaha… sorry, Gram-san, she can get a little excited…”

Meltia is signalling to me『That line of conversation is bad』using her eyes.

“Haah, that’s some nonsense you said.”

“I-I happened to be there! I was at the royal castle as Meltia-san’s attendant, who had been invited…!”

“What…?”

Gram-san frowns at my unexpected declaration.

“So, that’s definitely wrong! If you hear accounts from anyone who was in Alban, or who had been invited by the royal family, I’m sure you’ll understand there’s something strange going on! We need to stop this battle before it’s too late!!”

Gram-san slams his staff on the ground.

“I-it’s one falsehood after the next out of you! Firstly… That abominable dragon had already murdered the Hero of Harenae in cold blood!”

“Y-you’re lying…”

My words catch in my throat. I knew that the Hero had given his life in the defence of his desert-bound homeland Harenae against monsters. However, not only had I not asked around to see if Irushia-san could have been behind that, I hadn’t even considered it.

“Is that true, Gram-san…? Umm, could that have been another dragon or something…?”

Seemingly bewildered, Meltia-san inquires further.

“Yes, it could have been a different dragon. Another one that happened to enter the domain of humans, one with indigo scales, a white mane, and two heads. After all, dragons like that are oh-so common, aren’t they!”

Gram-san yells at me in exasperated indignation. Passersby are startled at his outburst and glance over curiously.

I can’t say anything in reply. If there truly was a dragon with the same characteristics that appeared and killed the Hero, there would be no doubt that it was Irushia-san. In the first place, it’s not common for monsters to assault a city.

Monsters without intelligence can be repelled with protective charms and wards. Back in my village, Mariella-san prepared protective charms almost entirely by herself, but even so monster attacks were few and far between. If a large city were to make similar preparations, they would gather excellent mages and maintain multi-layered protective barriers over the city.

Moreover, the monsters with enough intelligence to bypass the wards usually wouldn’t choose to assault a large city, since if the entire city rose up to subjugate it, it wouldn’t be able to put up a fight.

For a dragon to have descended on the city, it could have been either to kill the Hero, or to take over the country. Either way it would be a crisis on a historic magnitude. If the Harenae dragon and Irushia-san had similar characteristics, then it’s near-impossible that they could be different dragons.

“S-surely there’s some mistake in the passing of information… so… T-that’s right! For the sake of pushing the blame of the Alban incident on the dragon, Saint Lilixira deliberately spread false….!”

“…Miria, let’s go already.”


Meltia-san pats my shoulder and shakes her head slowly.

“Harenae and the Holy City of Ridom are the two great sacred lands of the Holy God religion. In addition, the Holy Country Liarm had been providing considerable support to the resource-starved Harenae as the place where the Hero was born. Harenae has few other links, but there’s nothing strange about information flowing from Harenae to Ridom. On top of that, there would be many witnesses if a dragon were to raid the city. It’s not realistic to think its characteristics could have been misrepresented.”

“M-Meltia san, even so…”

“I’m sorry, Gram-san. As travellers, we don’t know much about this land. We apologise for our rudeness.”

“Hmph! As long as you get it! Good grief… To hold the Saint in contempt and to revere that evil dragon! Uncouth, and without education or faith! I made the mistake of speaking with you two, thinking you were passing adventurers!”

I lower my head as well, apologising to Gram-san, and quickly leave the place.

“I’m sorry… Meltia-san. Even though I knew I shouldn’t have said that…”

“I guess you were too shocked. Even I was surprised, so it can’t be helped that you couldn’t hold your tongue.”

“…Hearing about the Hero incident, and that Saint Lilixira had set out to subjugate Irushia-san definitely shocked me. But, more than that… I was saddened that Irushia-san would be spoken of in such a bad light, without even having seen him, much less actually having met him… I wanted that elder to consider the possibility that the dragon he was talking about wasn’t evil.”

Meltia-san strokes my head.

“Everybody has their own value system after all. It’s easier to arbitrarily decide how to view things that are unknown. If you wrack your mind thinking from every angle about everything you aren’t familiar with, you’ll reach breaking point and won’t be able to accomplish anything. It’s not good to be disparaging about those you’re unfamiliar with… Well, even I… from the point of view of the people of Liarm, we’ve been talking badly of their revered Saint Lilixira, based only on rumours of her from foreign lands, and not having actually met her.”

“…That is true.”

“I’m sure it’s depressing to hear your friend rejected like that. But, the Irushia that that old man is slandering as an evil dragon is the Irushia in his value system. The Irushia that you actually met is completely different. It’s better to differentiate the two. Even after hearing what that old man said, having actually met the dragon before, you still believe in him, don’t you?”

“Thank you. I’ve… calmed down a little.”

I say and bow my head down, causing Meltia-san to break into a wide grin.

“Fufu, how’s that! Even I can say something respectable from time to time, right!”

Caught up in her delight, I begin smiling too.

“Meltia-san… Again, you’re poking fun at yourself to gloss things over.”

Meltia-san coughs in order to hide her reddening face.

“…But, the fact that Irushia-san is in great danger hasn’t changed. What should I do… From the start, someone like me might not be able to do anything at all to help, though…”

“Well, even if you were to head to that Great Monster Domain… the end of the earth… it’s probably impossible for you to intercede in the fight with Saint Lilixira. You should do what you are able to. In the first place, you’ve been travelling all this while in order to meet with said dragon and learn the truth, haven’t you? If the Saint returns here, you might even be able to speak with her and learn the truth. If she doesn’t, the time might come someday when you get the chance to speak directly with the dragon, as long as you continue your journey.”

“That’s… true.”

I nod, gazing out over the rows of buildings in Ridom. If Irushia-san wins… Or if Saint Lilixira wins, either way I should probably remain here until the battle is over.

The cathedral and the palace. After staring at the two great edifices that stand out even among the Holy City Ridom’s breathtaking scenery, I turn my gaze to the giant Angel Lumira statue.

“Huh…?”

I rub my eyes.

“Muh, what’s wrong, Miria? Did something get in your eye?”

“No, well… There’s someone standing. Could it be a ritual of the Holy God religion?”

“What…?”

I’m not seeing things. A woman clad in robes is standing on the head of the Angel Lumira statue.

The people surrounding us gradually begin to take notice of her, and start to clamour while pointing at the statue’s head.




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