The Thing Lurking in the Oasis
The thing appearing in the oasis was 10 meters in length, it has numerous tentacles wriggling around, and a magic stone shining in red was inside of it. A slime… it was the most suitable word to describe it.
However, its size was abnormal. Slime-type demonic beasts were normally one meter in length, at best. Moreover, there should be none with power to manipulate the surrounding water. It should only be capable of manipulating the tentacles that were part of its own body.
“What the… what’s with that demonic beast? Is it… a Vachram?”
Randzi muttered in blank surprise. Vachram itself was a slime-type demonic beast of this world.
“Well, I don’t care whatever it is. In the end, isn’t this the thing polluting the oasis? So, it is most likely to have a peculiar magic that excreted the poison.”
“… What you’re thinking should be right. But, can Hajime-dono defeat it?”
While Hajime and Randzi were conversing, the Oasis-Vachram was still attacking in anger by using its tentacles. Yue and Tio were dealing with those tentacles with ice magic and fire magic respectively. Hajime was also intercepting while talking using Donner-Schlag, and though he aimed at the core-like red magic stone, he could not easily hit it since the magic stone moved around the body, as if it had its own will.
Seeing Hajime’s artifacts and the magic from Yue and Tio, Randzi had given up being surprised and decided to just ignore them which resulted in him being capable of calmly asking Hajime that question.
“Nn~… yeah, there’s no need to worry. I’ve caught it now.”
Replying casually to Randzi’s question, Hajime quietly put Schlag back into its holster and used both hands to ready Donner while narrowing his eyes, following the track of the moving magic stone. His right arm thrusted straight forward and left arm’s elbow slightly bent. His feet, one positioned forward and one backward. It was the shooting posture called Weaver Stance, the pose to accurately fire Donner.
Hajime’s eyes sharply narrowed just like those of a hawk’s, completely capturing the movement of that magic stone. Then…
With a dry explosive sound, a line of flash cut through the air as though they were pulled by a magnetic force. The moving magic stone, while ignoring the law of inertia, was shot through by the flash, and it could be said that the magic stone was being voluntarily hit.
The impact and heat from the railgun instantly annihilated the magic stone, and at the same time, the Oasis-Vachram lost its power and the water it manipulated returned into normal water.WoOoOoOSH~! A large amount of water poured down. Randzi and his subordinates were watching the generated rough waves.
“… Is it over?”
“Ah, there’s no more magic power reaction from the oasis now. I don’t know whether annihilating the cause is equal to purifying it though.”
With Hajime’s words indicating that he easily repulsed the cause of Ancadi’s desperate situation only made Randzi and his subordinates puzzled. Even so, because the cause was certainly annihilated before their own eyes, one of Randzi’s subordinate came to examine the water’s substance in a panic.
“… How is it?”
“… No, it is still polluted.”
Randzi asked with an expectant tone, but his subordinate was shaking his head in disappointment. They knew the people were infected by the water drawn from the oasis, but they could not conceal their disappointment after finding out that it was still polluted even though the Oasis-Vachram was no longer there.
“Well, there’s no need for thee to be disappointed. With the cause gone, the pollution won’t advance. And the water from the oasis comes from the fresh water in the underground water pulse, so the oasis will be able to return to its normal state if the polluted water is exhausted.”
Tio told Randzi and his subordinates to comfort them, thus Randzi and his subordinates began to pull themselves together, displaying their wills. Their appearances, with Randzi, ruler of Ancadi, in the center showed how much they loved this country. It was a country that existed in a severe environment, so the patriotism was high.
“… But, I wonder just why that Vachram-like demonic beast is doing in the desert… Was it a new kind of demonic beast that came from the underground water pulse?”
Having pulled himself together, Randzi tilted his head while looking at the oasis. And Hajime was the one who answered him.
“It is just my guess, but… it was probably the work of the Demon race, right?”
“!? Demon race? Hajime-dono, you must know something to be able to say that, right?”
Randzi was surprised by Hajime’s words, but he instantly regained his composure and urged Hajime to explain. Randzi was looking at Hajime, the one who secured the water and annihilated the cause of pollution, with respect and trust. There’s no more trace of the suspicion that he had in the beginning.
Hajime guessed the Oasis-Vachram was a new demonic beast created by Age of Gods magic that the Demon race had. There’s the peculiarity of Oasis-Vachram, coupled with the fact that the Demon race was also aiming at Aiko in Ul and the Heroes in Orcus.
It was probably one of the Demon race’s scheme, using demonic beast. The Demon race was investigating and erasing dangerous, unknown elements and key points in the northern region of the continent before the war. The proofs were how they aimed at Aiko, an existence that could affect food supply, and the Heroes from another world that the Church of the Saints summoned to fight against the Demon race.
As for Ancadi, it was the key point of food supply since it was the relay point of marine products from Elisen and it also produced large amounts of fruits and other food ingredients. Moreover, if Ancadi was attacked, it was hard to call for help because it is located in the middle of the Great Desert. So, it wouldn’t be odd for the Demon race to aim for Ancadi.
Being told so, Randzi raised a low groan with a bitter expression.
“I’ve heard about the demonic beast. We also did our own investigation about it but… I’ve never expected they could create such a thing… how naive of me.”
“Well, it isn’t something you can help, right? After all, even the Imperial Capital didn’t get information about new kinds of demonic beasts. Furthermore, the case where the Hero’s party was attacked was only recently. And that must have created commotions everywhere right now.”
“Maybe it is about time for them to make a move, huh… Hajime-dono… although you introduced yourself as an adventurer… those artifacts and power, as expected, you are the same as Kaori-dono…”
Without saying anything, Hajime shrugged his shoulders, thus Randzi stopped asking, thinking Hajime must have his own circumstance. No matter what the circumstance was, it didn’t change the fact that Hajime’s party saved Ancadi. There’s no need to make any useless inquiry to their benefactors.
“… Hajime-dono, Yue-dono, Tio-dono. Let this Lord of Ancadi, Randzi Fuad Zengain, show his gratitude on behalf of this country. You have saved this country.”
Saying so, Randzi and his subordinates bowed their heads. It wasn’t an easy thing for the Lord himself to bow his head, but regardless whether Hajime is one of the “God’s Apostles,” Randzi would still bow his head. And although only a short time had passed, Hajime understood Randzi held an extraordinary patriotism. This was also the reason why his subordinates didn’t stop Randzi from bowing his head to someone who introduced himself as a mere adventurer, and they also bowed their heads. Such personality was also passed onto his son, Viz. Their gesture, speech, and behavior were alike.
Towards them, Hajime was smiling broadly while saying,
“Ah, you have expressed your gratitudes. Also, please don’t forget about this huge favor.”
He expected them to return this favor. Well, it was not something new. Hajime said, “No, please don’t worry about that. This is something natural to do as a person,” clearly and humbly, thus Randzi was inadvertently dumbfounded thinking Hajime had casually said he wanted something. Randzi himself actually didn’t mind giving him anything as his thanks towards the country’s saviors, but he didn’t expect it to be said straight to his face.
Hajime had thought there’s no need for gratitude since it was necessary for him to make Ancadi secure because he needed to entrust them with Myuu, and there’s Kaori’s request, too.
However, because they made their way to express their gratitude, it wouldn’t be bad to have more people as allies in a time of emergency, so he clearly told them it was a favor. Hajime thought Randzi would sincerely correspond to it, but he was also a politician, so Hajime needed to make sure of it.
“Ah, ahh. Of course. It will be remembered forever… But, there are still many people suffering in Ancadi, can I ask your help in their behalf?”
It was something Randzi was used to, as a politician and as a noble, but Randzi was a little perplexed due to the too straight forward words said by Hajime. Before long, as if he had come to an agreement, Randzi nodded with a wry smile. Afterwards, he requested Hajime to procure “Serene Stone” for the sake of saving those infected.
“My original objective was «Guryuu-en Great Volcano». Thus, there’s no problem in getting it at all. However, just how much should I gather?”
With Hajime easily accepting his request, Randzi patted his chest in relief, next he told Hajime the current number of patients and the amount needed to be gathered. Although it was a considerable amount, it was not a problem because Hajime possessed “Treasure Box.” Normal adventurers might not be able to save all of the infected, so Randzi was thanking God to have met Hajime’s party.
* * *
Accompanied by Shia inside the medical center, Kaori displayed storm-like activities. She simultaneously extracted magic power from the more urgent patients and filled the Magic-crystallization stones. She also delayed the progress of disease for the patients gathered within radius of ten meters from her and used healing magic at the same time to recover the patients from their weakened state.
Shia was using her herculean strength to move the immobilized patients at once. She wasn’t moving using the wagon, but she lifted the wagon filled with the patients and jumped above the buildings, going back and forth the medical facilities. It was because it was more efficient to gather the more urgent patients around Kaori than her going around each of the facilities.
This method created an unbelievable spectacle starring the should be incompetent rabbit-eared girl, made a lot of patients begin to think their disease had gotten worsen, and thus created such illusion. Despair poured into the medical facilities, creating unnecessary chaos.
The medical staff themselves had used high-ranked magic in succession, and they became astonished when they saw Kaori using several healing magic simultaneously as if it was a natural thing. Once their astonishment passed, they now held deep respect towards Kaori, and treated the patients according to Kaori’s instructions.
Hajime and the others arrived at the group gathered around Kaori. Afterwards, Randzi spoke out loud about the water being secured and how the cause had been annihilated which resulted with everyone shouting out of joy at the same time. Smiles began to return to the people who were despairing from the amount of death and how they could not secure safe water in the middle of the desert.
The information was immediately conveyed to the other facilities. The infected people regained up their energies because they only needed to endure a little while and they would be saved.
“Kaori, we are going to challenge «Guryuu-en Great Volcano». So, how long can you hold on?”
Inside the medical facilities filled with shouts of joy, Hajime walked up to Kaori, who didn’t stop treating the patients, and asked.
Kaori was so glad once she saw Hajime’s figure, but she immediately made a serious expression, watching an empty space. Next, she finished her calculation, turned to look at Hajime and answered with, “Two days.” She might have judged that was the very limit regarding both her magic power and the patients’ endurance.
“Hajime-kun. I, I will stay here and treat the patients. Please gather the Serene Stone. It seems to be a valuable mineral… but no one except Hajime can do it because a large amount is needed. I am sorry… even though I know Hajime-kun doesn’t concern himself with this world…”
“If it’s just that much, then I can just gather them while entering deeper into the volcano. It doesn’t matter if I need to search on the surface… In short, I only need to conquer the dungeon faster. Also, there’s no need for you to apologize. After all, it is something I decided myself… Besides, I couldn’t just leave Myuu in a place where people collapsed and died, right?”
“Fufu… I see. Then, good luck, and leave Myuu-chan to me.”
Kaori had heard about the Mad Gods and the purpose of Hajime’s travel on their way to Ancadi. She also heard Hajime would return to their original world even if it means to abandon this world. He also told her to return to Kouki and the others if she couldn’t agree to his way. Having heard all of those, Kaori’s will didn’t waver; she wanted to continue following Hajime.
Even in this current case, if Hajime decided to abandon Ancadi, and although she would try to persuade him, she would just give up if there’s no effect.
However, it was the truth that she wanted to become the strength for the people of Ancadi, if she could. She was inadvertently looking at Hajime with a petitioning gaze at that time when Hajime was thinking about his decision. She wasn’t conceited that her desire would be the same as Hajime’s decision, but Kaori’s gaze must have influenced Hajime’s decision since he shrugged his shoulders a little with a wry smile when he received her gaze.
That’s why, the way it seemed that Hajime was going along with her selfish desire made Kaori hold a complex feeling.
However, Hajime only indifferently shook his hand towards the apologizing Kaori. Having seen through Kaori’s feeling, he told her not to mind since it was something he decided on. Kaori smiled at Hajime, who was worried about her although he said so in a blunt manner, and who casually showed a father-like attitude. She looked at him with a gaze filled with trust and affection.
“I will also do my best… so please come back safely. I will be waiting…”
Kaori, who narrowed her eyes dearly and exuding an aura of a wife who sends off her husband to the battlefield, made Hajime stammer inadvertently.
Since before, Kaori had been a straightforward person. Even when they were in Japan, Kaori mercilessly cut down Kouki’s misunderstanding, dropping bomb onto Hajime which resulted in the classroom to suffer the storm of jealousy… those had become their daily life. And she was being even more frank since the day she confessed to him.
Hajime somehow managed to avert his gaze, but the place he averted to was… where Yue was. He saw it; Yue was watching Hajime in silence with dead, inorganic eyes. It was really terrible. He instinctively changed his gaze to the other way, and Kaori was there smiling with affection…
But seeing Kaori’s atmosphere, our idol, Myuu dropped a bomb.
“Kaori-oneechan, Kaori-oneechan looks just like Yue-oneechan from before. Is Kaori-oneechan going to kiss Papa~?”
“Oya? So thou saw it, Myu?”
“Uh~? Myuu saw it from the gap between the fingers. Yue-oneechan looked so lovely~. Myuu also wants to kiss Papa~.”
“U~m. Even this one hath not done that, thou know? So, Myuu need to wait until Myuu is bigger.”
Myuu’s innocent words made Hajime say, “This good for nothing!” an unjust anger towards Tio. As expected, with “Those eyes! Those eyess! Tres Bien!” Tio began to be aroused, but it was something trivial this time.
As for the reason, a katana-shouldering Hanya appeared right beside Hajime. Of course, it was Kaori.
“…What does that mean, ah? Wasn’t Hajime-kun going there to work on something? So, why did you kiss Yue? Tell me, how did it come to that? Was there any need to do that? While I was desperately treating the patients, the two of you were enjoying yourselves, ah? Did you even forget about me? Rather, did we separate just so you could be alone?”
Eyes without light, Kaori was looking at Hajime with a Hanya behind her. Cold sweats ran along Hajime’s cheeks. Hajime wanted to say it was because of the bloodsucking act; he and Yue wouldn’t be separated unless they kiss. But faster than him, Yue advanced.
Hajime had expected her to solve the misunderstanding, but he was a fool to expect that from Yue in this kind of situation.
Yue and Kaori looked at each other, and Yue puffed her chest in a dignified manner. Smiling after saying fu,
“… It was delicious.” She informed Kaori.
Eerie laughter coming from the two beautiful girls was echoing inside the medical center. Up until now, the staff of the medical center and patients thought of Kaori as a saint, but now they were taken aback and turned their faces away so their eyes would not meet hers.
It was something they couldn’t help. No one would think a person with an katana-swinging Hanya behind then was a saint. Moreover, the one confronting her had a dragon clad in black clouds and thunders. They couldn’t help but wanting to look away.
Towards Kaori and Yue, who were staring at each other while laughing, Hajime sighed and quickly decided to approach them to deliver forehead flicks. Shwip! An unbelievable sound rang out from the impact of the flicks. Yue and Kaori spontaneously groaned and squatted. With teary eyes, they looked up, expressing, “What are you doing,” which made Hajime raise an amazed expression.
“Kaori. It’s not like I and Yue had wanted to do such an act. You understand it, right? Besides, Yue is my lover. We don’t need your permission to do such a thing.”
“Uh… that is so… but I don’t think it is the real reason…”
Angered by that, Kaori objected to Hajime. Hajime sighed again and said, “Yue, too, there’s no need to always bicker like that.” However, hmph!, Yue turned her face and refused to listen to him, “This is a woman’s fight… there’s no need for Hajime to interfere.”
Randzi and the others could only stand in place by the suddenly generated carnage. Shia reflected, “I noticed that recently my presence had been thinned.” Tio was still panting hard, while Myuu turned into angry mode because Yue and Kaori were quarrelling again.
Hajime gave up on controlling the situation and decided to go to «Guryuu-en Great Volcano» as fast as possible. Kaori was not the only one being busy in the medical center, since although Hajime had told Randzi beforehand, he once again told Randzi to take care of Myuu. Smiling wryly at the relationship between Hajime and his party, Randzi readily agreed to take care of Myuu.
Myuu had been persuaded beforehand, but as soon as she guessed Hajime was going to leave, Myuu looked down with a lonely expression. Hajime kneeled to match Myuu’s eye-level and patted her head.
“Myuu, I am going. Be a good girl and wait for me, okay?”
“Uh, Myuu will be a good girl. So come back quickly, Papa.”
“Ah, I will return as fast as possible.”
Grasping the end of her clothes tightly with both hands, Myuu was enduring her tears. And the appearance of Hajime gently patting Myuu, even if they weren’t related by blood, made everyone see them as nothing but a father and his child. The cold, post-carnage atmosphere has turned warm. Hajime pushed Myuu’s back towards Kaori’s side. Yue, Shia, and Tio moved out in order.
Hajime was about to turn on his heel, when Kaori called out to him.
“Ah, Hajime-kun… that’s, have a safe journey.”
“Ou, please take care of Myuu.”
“Un… also, that is… can I ask for a, kiss? Like… a kiss to pray for a safe trip.”
“… Of course you can’t. Rather, what’s with that?”
“On the cheek is okay, too, you know? Still no?”
Although she was fidgeting with flushed cheeks, Kaori’s tone was unexpectedly a strong one. Apparently her rivalry with Yue made her think she must not back out at such a time. Hajime recalled that he noticed Kaori was rather proactive at the time they were still in Japan, but the Kaori after confessing to him was even more proactive.
Hajime ignored the rabbit-ear who said, “Ah, then me, too!,” from behind him and decided to flatly refuse Kaori, but he was attacked by an unexpected enemy.
“Myuu, too~. Myuu wants to kiss Papa, too!”
Kaori took an advantage of Myuu, who innocently reached out to Hajime. Hajime wanted to say a lot of things and evade her (Myuu isn’t that strong after all), but finally,
“Papa, Papa hates Myuu?”
Saying so with teary eyes, Myuu endured herself from crying.
In the end, Kaori, Myuu, and somehow Shia were kissed on their cheek. And this time, in a place where a lot of patients were lying down, they were watched with warm gazes although they didn’t know why. Afterwards, Hajime, as if running away, went towards «Guryuu-en Great Volcano».
By the way, although Tio also wanted a kiss, Hajime rashly insulted her because she was being too cocky which resulted in her being even more excited. Let just say it turned into something disgusting.