After I returned to Duke Dragunaut’s residence from the national cemetery, I immediately requested an audience with Astrid.


  Her little sister’s medical condition has taken a turn for the worse, and that same little sister’s engagement with the crown prince was called off.
In addition, she has her duties in the dragon rider corps, so it was lucky that Astrid was there.


  And it was extremely lucky that Duke Dragunaut, who should probably be even busier than Astrid, was there.  


  Looking at it from a different angle, that might just show that Claudia’s condition was that severe.


  After Lunamaria and I were guided into the duke’s chamber together, I got the unnecessary formalities out of the way and started to get straight to the point.


  When I finished talking, Duke Dragunaut asked me suspiciously,


  「You’re asking if I know any priests who can use『Sense Lie』, huh? Of course I know some, but why are you asking me something like that?」


  「I would like to have your grace believe what I’m going to tell you next」


  「Mm…So you’re saying you’re going to tell me something I won’t believe unless it’s deemed as the truth with “sense lie”?」


  「It is as you say」


  I lowered my head to show my respect for his superb deduction skills.


  Duke Dragunaut’s gaze was still a little dubious as he looked at me.
The same goes for Astrid who was standing next to him, and Lunamaria who was standing behind me.


  The fact is, I haven’t told Lunamaria about why I’m making such a request to the duke either.


  I then continued to speak further,


  「I understand that every single second the two of you are giving me is worth as much as jewels.
Also, I know it’s extremely rude of me to ask you to get a priest from a temple out of nowhere, but I would like you to accept my request」


  「Oh no, you don’t have to be so humble.
You are a guest in this country as well as my family’s benefactor.
Not to mention, I’m personally thankful for the information you gave me regarding your indigo wyvern.
I don’t have a problem listening to your request, but…」


  Duke Dragunaut glanced at Astrid.

  Astrid nodded at him as if she shared the same thought as her father, and then she looked at me with a sincere gaze.


  「I also agree with my father.
And to add to that, even without “Sense Lie”, I would not doubt the words of our benefactor.
If there’s something you want to say, you can just tell us here, okay?」


  「Hm, I see.
I will be frank then.
I have a way to help Lady Claudia.
I would like to have your permission for this, so I came to make my request as such」


  Since they insist, I’ll just try telling them.

  After they heard that, the Dragunaut father and daughter looked at me with a blank look.
Well, they immediately came back to their senses as their eyebrows furrowed since it’s a problem that they have to decide with caution.

  I have no doubt that they have heard a lot of people telling them that before and then have their expectations and trust betrayed.


  Duke Dragunaut then spoke in a heavy voice,


  「……Are you telling the truth?」


  「At the very least, I can say with confidence that it’ll be a better method than using Tanasia to cheat out the pain.
Since you’ll probably ask me how I will treat her next, I will answer you ahead of time.  I’m going to make Lady Claudia’s level go up.
Of course, I won’t be taking her anywhere, I will make it happen with her remaining in your residence」




  「You probably can’t believe me at all.
Actually, I couldn’t believe it myself either when I found out the other day that I could do something like that.


  That’s when I took a look at Lunamaria who was behind me.


  「Lunamaria here can testify for me.
Her level went up by one yesterday because of me.
Although a slave confirming the words of her owner doesn’t really prove anything.
That’s why I wanted to request for a priest who can use “sense lie”」


  When I finished speaking, the room was covered by a curtain of silence.


  The length of the silence from that point on was proportional to the shock the Dragunaut father and daughter received…or to the depth of suspicions they have.

  After a little while, Astrid asked me awkwardly,


  「 I’ve never heard of any magic or items that could raise other people’s levels.
Just how do you raise someone’s level?」


  「I split my soul and give her parts of it or something like that.
Actually, I don’t even know how it really works.
However, the simple fact is that I was able to raise Lunamaria’s level.
If so, I should be able to raise Lady Claudia’s level as well.
I believe that if her level goes up, her resistance against the curse will go up too」


  「…That’s your way to help my little sister, huh? What if I tell you that I can’t entrust her to you on such an uncertain basis of yours?」


  「I think it’s reasonable that you wouldn’t be able to entrust your dear family member to someone you just met recently.
I will just go back to Ishka if that is the case.
I never intended to stay in the royal capital for long in the first place」


  I responded like that and lowered my head.


  Since I lowered my head, I couldn’t see what kind of expression Astrid had on her face at that time.

  Then, instead of the daughter, the father opened his mouth next,


  「Raise your head, Sora」




  「I’m shocked…really shocked.
Honestly, I couldn’t believe everything you just said.
However, I have met a lot of people as a duke.
I can at least tell that you are not trying to dupe me with your words.
An indigo wyvern would not be attached to someone like that」


  Duke Dragunaut chuckled after his last sentence.


  He was like this as well when he pryingly asked me about Clau Soras.
It looks like when it comes to an indigo wyvern, this duke’s tone and attitude changes.


  Or maybe it’s because he noticed that I went a step further for them, so he’s taking a step further for me as well.


  The next words out of the duke confirmed my guess.


  「Therefore, let me first thank you for revealing your secret for my daughter.
If someone else finds out that you possess the ability to raise someone’s level, you will probably never be able to live a peaceful life again.
On top of knowing that danger, you acted for Claudia who you have no relation to.
I’m truly thankful for your kindness」


  「…It’s my pleasure」


  「It’s just that I don’t know why you are going so far for us.
You said this just a moment ago yourself as well, but we just met recently, right? Why are you doing this for us?」


  If I was a mere adventurer, he could make sense of this as I’m just trying to get some connection to the duke’s family.


  However, he doesn’t think that the person who tamed the indigo wyvern, defeated two types of king-class monsters, and was honored at the royal palace after saving Ishka, would reveal their secrets after all that to get close to the duke, he said.


  Meanwhile, I just answered him straightforwardly without needing to think about it.


  「Your grace did me a favor in the incident regarding Suzume.
Also, I know this is imprudent of me, but I was deeply impressed with your grace, Lady Astrid, and Lady Claudia as people.
Above all, if I have a way to help with the curse, it’s natural that I’d want to help as a human being when I see a girl younger than me cry out as the curse ate away at her」


  Like Suzume, Claudia is about 12 or 13 years old.
That’s the age when I was exiled from the island.


  A child that old is suffering and gasping for air without doing anything wrong.

  I don’t need to give a reason for wanting to help her or need a reason to help her.

  But if I have to give one…


  “I will devour everything, that’s all”


  Once upon a time, I had that strong thought in a place that was neither a dream nor reality.


  All I could do when I could neither fight nor protect was to eat.


  So, can’t I just eat a curse or two?


  Can’t I eat the injustice that was making such a girl cry and scream?




  That is why I’m going to help her.
If necessary, I’ll use my slaves or anything else.

  In the first place, slaves are meant to be used in situations like this…However, not only was Lunamaria not angry, the fact that she was happy to help me was a huge surprise.


  In any case, I had made up my mind to help Claudia.


  I didn’t say this to them just now because it’ll complicate things, but if Astrid and her father rejected my proposal, I intended to sneak in Claudia’s room at night to ask her if she wants my help or not. 


  It may seem like I don’t need to ask the Duke and Astrid for their permission to begin with if I had planned to do that in the first place, but truthfully speaking, I have a reason for wanting to strengthen my ties with the duke…or more specifically, with the Kingdom of Canaria. 


  It’s for that reason as well that I want to do things as perfectly as I can.
That’s why I’m standing before the Duke and Astrid.


  After Duke Dragunaut and Astrid heard my words and saw my attitude, they stared at me in thought.

  Then, the duke’s mouth opened slowly.

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