Chapter 108: The Sage’s Hypothesis

Dragon Slayer.

That was the title bestowed upon me upon my return to Ishka.
To slay a dragon as a human was a great feat that rivaled that of the heroes of the mythical age.
As an adventurer and a warrior, I had achieved the highest honor that one could possibly imagine.

However, the “solo” part of the achievement had been removed, meaning that my accomplishment was reduced to a quarter of its original value.

In other words, the Hydra subjugation this time was recognized as the work of a four-person party – myself and the three-person group from Demon Island.

Well, it was only natural to doubt the claim of a human who had been despised as a “parasite” just a few months ago, even if they claimed to have single-handedly defeated a dragon species.
Although I had gained some fame recently, most of it was attributed to my status as a dragon knight, meaning that the power of the blue-winged beast, Clau Soras, played a significant role.

On the other hand, the trio from Demon Island had been exerting themselves to suppress the stampede even before the dragon’s roar and demonstrating superhuman strength in front of the crowd.
The soldiers and adventurers who participated in the defense team held them in high esteem, and it was thought that “those three could certainly defeat the dragon.”

As a result, it was concluded that the defeat of Hydra was the work of the four of them.

In defense of Claira, she strongly denied this conclusion.
She claimed that they had not done anything to defeat Hydra and that it was all her achievement.

However, few accepted this statement at face value.
In particular, the adventurer guild knew that the trio had attacked Suzume in my house during the Stampede.
Among the guild members who knew me as a “parasite,” rumors circulated that “Claira and her team, who defeated Hydra, shared some of the credit with me as an apology for the incident.”

If you know about the attack, you should also know that I repelled the three of them, but did Ridel not report it, or did the side that received the report not believe it? Either way, some people think that I got the honor of killing a dragon as a result of negotiation, not as a result of combat.

These people called me a fake dragon slayer.
A fake who did not participate in the Hydra battle and stole only the merit.

It’s a very annoying story, but in fact, it was easy to dispel this kind of misunderstanding or malice.
All I had to do was pull out my soul equipment in front of everyone and show them my current strength.

If I could kick Claira or Elgart in front of them, I could shove ice magic into the mouths of those who mocked me.

But I didn’t intend to take that measure.

Shall I say that rich people don’t fight, or that compared to the huge amount of souls I got from Hydra, fame in Ishka is like copper coins in front of gold coins.
I didn’t want to be stubborn about something that I could get as much as I wanted in the future.

Above all, I had a lot of things to do right now, and I didn’t care whether my nickname was “Dragon Slayer” or “Fake Dragon Slayer (Dragon Liar)”, which was the honest truth – of course, I intended to give appropriate retribution to those who called me a fake dragon slayer and belittled me someday.

Anyway, when I returned to Ishka, I started my next action in a situation where fame and infamy were competing to rise.

One of them was to investigate the dragon’s den and monitor it for the rebirth of mythical creatures.
This also included an investigation of the Hydra poison that invaded Titis Forest.

I didn’t think that dragon species would appear again in a day or two, but as long as there was a possibility that it wasn’t zero, I had to be prepared.

So, I decided to move into the former nest of the king of flies with Claira.
Well, moving in meant living a life of going back and forth between Ishka and the deep area on Clau Soras, so I was in Ishka for about half a day.

There were three reasons why I decided to leave Claira in the nest of the king of flies.

One was to consider the feelings of Suzume, Ciel, and Miroslav.
After all, Claira had just attacked Suzume and cut Ciel a few days ago.
As for Miroslav, She had suffered a near-fatal injury by using a suicide magic to protect them.
There was no way I could ask them to live under the same roof with such an opponent.

Another was simply the result of calculating the combat power.
In case mythical creatures were reborn by any chance, the only one who could fight them properly besides me was Claira.
Considering that I would go back to Ishka occasionally, I needed Claira to stay in Titis.

The last one was for my personal purpose, which had nothing to do with dragon’s den or mythical creatures.
Both Claira and I were popular people in Ishka.
Wherever we went, wherever we stayed, people’s eyes always followed us.
We could block people’s gaze by staying at home, but then we would be constantly visited by visitors.

In that sense, the King of Flies’ nest was the best environment to exclude others.
Here, just like when I was with Miroslav, I could torture Claira to my heart’s content, with all my strength, from morning till night! ――Well, torturing her is a joke, though.
No, to be precise, it’s not entirely a joke because there is a possibility that it could happen, but at least as long as Claira obeyed my orders and the guys from Demon Island didn’t interfere, I had no intention of abusing my white-haired classmate.

So what do I do with Claira? In a word, it’s a match.
A serious fight with real swords.
It can also be called a death match.

Unlike me, Claira Berch officially joined the Phantom Blade Style school after passing the trial ceremony.
By fighting seriously with her, I polish my own swordsmanship which is close to self-taught.

Of course, even if I say seriously in one word, it’s not a killing match where I open up my soul equipment completely.
And to be honest, if I fight against Claira, it will be over soon.

So, we fought without using our soul equipment, or without using kei techniques and purely with swordsmanship, or even without using kei to enhance our bodies and fought completely barehanded.
As we got used to it, we also had handicap fights where only I didn’t use soul equipment or kei techniques.

Both Claira and I can fight for a long time by using kei, so we often forget about time when we get into it.
Today was no exception, and when I realized it, Claira had reached her limit and was lying on her back covered in sweat.


“Welcome back, Master.”

The one who greeted me when I returned to the nest with Claira on my back was Lunamaria.
Right now, there are only three of us in the nest: me, Claira, and Lunamaria.

I brought Lunamaria here because she was the only one who didn’t fight Claira directly.
Lunamaria fought only Klimt.
Of course, that doesn’t mean she can be indifferent to Claira’s existence, but at least she should have less fear of Claira than the other three.

Also, I wanted to hear Lunamaria’s opinion on the deep area that was invaded by Hydra’s poison and the dragon hole in the deepest part, as she is a forest elf and a sage.

Lunamaria seemed to sense the situation at a glance when she saw me carrying Claira on my back, and tilted her head slightly in a troubled way.

It’s not the first time Claira has collapsed from exhaustion after a match with me.
Every time, I order Lunamaria to change her clothes and wipe her sweat.
Lunamaria must have a thing or two to say about it.

Of course, Lunamaria never complains or grumbles to me, and even if she said something like “Please be more considerate of her condition”, I wouldn’t nod.

I’m pretty persistent, you see.
I have no intention of letting go of what the trio did, and I’ve retaliated by hurting Gozu and Klimt.
The reason I didn’t do that to Claira was partly because she knelt down on her own, but also because I had this intention of making use of her in this way.
For a while longer, she’ll have to play the role of my sparring partner.

By the way, when I go back to Ishka, I’ll take Lunamaria with me, so Claira will be the only one left in the den.
Of course, she could escape if she wanted to, but if she tried to flee, another role would be added to her – the role of soul supplier.

To be honest, I also wanted to try eating the soul of a human who harbors an Anima, so I couldn’t deny that I was deliberately placing her in an environment that was easy to escape from.

As I was thinking about this and that, Lunamaria, who had finished taking care of Claira, came up to me and opened her mouth with a serious expression.

“Master, I have something to talk to you about.”


I thought it was about Claira, but I realized that was wrong with the next sentence.

“It’s about the dragon hole you took me to the other day.
It’s also related to the demon gate on Demon Island.”


As Lunamaria said, I had already taken her to the dragon hole once.

Claira also accompanied us, and she had asked me about the meaning of my words the other day – calling the dragon hole a demon gate.

That being said, Claira’s story was quite vague, and to put it bluntly, Claira, who had woken up, didn’t remember her words very well.
She seemed to be quite unconscious by the time we reached the dragon hole.

What Claira remembered was that the sensation she felt when she got close to the dragon hole was very similar to the sensation she felt when she passed through a demon gate.
Perhaps that was what she meant by saying “… Is this a demon gate?”

I, who couldn’t pass the trial ceremony, wasn’t even allowed to approach a demon gate, let alone pass through it, so I didn’t know if Claira’s words were true or not.

However, there are some common points between dragon holes and demon gates, such as bringing about major changes in the vegetation and ecology of the land.

I told Lunamaria about these things and took her to the dragon hole.
I hoped that the elf sage who noticed my anima faster than anyone else might notice something that I couldn’t.

Apparently, Lunamaria seemed to have met that expectation.

“What I’m about to tell you is a guess that I’m hesitant to call an inference.
Please listen with that in mind.”

“I understand.”

“First of all, about the dragon hole, it is a spout point where the power of the earth gushes out.
What was overflowing from there was a muddy stream of pure magic.
Think of it as a volcanic eruption or, otherwise, a river that has broken its levee.
It is not something that should be touched by human hands.”

“I see.
I thought that if possible, we could use it to get rid of the poison of the hydra in the depths…”

When I said that, Lunamaria shook her head left and right firmly.

“If we touch it, we will cause a disaster worse than the hydra’s poison.
That abnormal magic is undoubtedly a poison for ordinary plants and animals.
The scene you saw in the deepest part is proof that it is a poison more than anything else.”

After saying that, Lunamaria said “This is where my guess comes in” and continued her story.

“I have never seen it, but if the demon gate on Demon Island has the same function as the dragon hole, it can be assumed that it is also a poison for plants and animals.”

I have heard that the vegetation on the island has changed greatly since the demon gate was created.
The strength of the monsters is incomparable to that of the continent.
It’s all because of the demon gate.”

“Then, Master.
Don’t you think it’s natural that there are some effects on the people who live there?”

At Lunamaria’s question, I frowned.

It was not because I thought her words were wrong.
I wondered why I hadn’t noticed such an obvious thing.

However, when I thought about it again, the answer was obvious.
The residents, including me, knew that there was no effect on the people who actually lived on the island.

For example, I have never heard of any abnormalities such as a person suddenly becoming a monster or a baby with horns being born.

The residents of Demon Island can live their daily lives with peace of mind because they have established the recognition that the demon gate does not affect humans.

In response to my opinion, Lunamaria appealed to me with a frighteningly sharp gaze.

“Master, I only know four residents of Demon Island.
And all four of them had powers that were incomparable to ordinary people.
The dragon that dwells within you… That existence that you call an anima of the same origin, it looks abnormal to my eyes.
I also enjoy archery.
There is certainly a realm that one can reach as a result of mastering one school.
But your power is too great.
Have you never thought that it is a power that surpasses the human species?”

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