To The Village of Melte Again




  It was the moment I was about to take off to the village of Melte when I heard that voice.


  As I looked over there from on top of Clau Soras’ saddle, I saw that Miroslav was running to me in a hurry.


  Unlike her usual self who cares a lot about her appearance, her hair was unkempt and her clothes were wrinkled.
It looks like she ran straight to me after waking up.


  There’s no way she came here to say good morning or something.
With that thought in my mind, I got off the saddle.


  「I-I’m sorry to bother you when you’re in a rush…」


  Miroslav was gasping heavily for air.
When I took a closer look at her, she was holding a large tool bag in her hand.


  I wonder if she had already finished the item I asked her to make――An antidote that’s mixed with my blood.


  When I asked her that, Miroslav nodded.


  「I-I have confirmed that having your blood mixed in will improve the antidote’s effectiveness and it has no harm on the human body.
This is far from a finished product, but at the very least, it will be more useful than the union’s antidote」


  「You confirmed? In this short amount of time?」


  It hasn’t even been a day since I gave her the order to improve the antidote.
From what she said just now, it sounded like she only did the minimum of confirming that it’d be safe for use, but even then, that’s quick. 


  In order to confirm the effects of an antidote, a patient who is infected with poison is needed.

  Normally, you start off with gradual tests on small animals like a mouse and such, and you’d have human trials at the very end, but――


  「I confirmed the effects by poisoning myself.
There’s no mistake about it」


  The red-haired magician said something so ridiculous without any hesitation. 


  The reason why she was sleeping like a corpse was not that she was tired from working all night, but it was because she was using her own body as an experiment.


  I knitted my eyebrows together instinctively.


  「……Nobody told you to go that far, you know?」


  「It’s a desperate time.
We don’t have time to start testing after we slowly pick some mice out, right?」


  Miroslav giggled playfully.
After I heard what she said this time, the bags under her eyes made me feel really bad for her.


  Perhaps she had noticed my line of sight, she shook her head as if she was telling me not to worry about it.


  Then, she started talking again with “More importantly-”.


It’s true that your blood has a great effect on the human body.
Depending on how we use this, it could become a powerful trump card against the deadly poison that I heard from Luna.
However, please do not easily give it out to other people.
Master’s blood is too strong」


  「Too strong? What do you mean?」


  「Please think of it as a dangerous drug.
If it’s used on a sick person whose body strength has waned, it might harm them instead.
And at a life-threatening level too」




On top of that, it’s possible that it could revitalize some other illness that’s rooted in the sick person.
They say that the blood of dragons can cure all diseases, but in reality, it doesn’t just conveniently get rid of the illness.
Please do not forget about that」


  「I understand」


  I nodded a few times in acknowledgment at Miroslav who warned me seriously.


  According to her, if she succeeds in mixing this antidote and healing potions together, she should be able to raise the efficacy of the product alone, but such delicate adjustments are not going to happen in a few days. 


  This time, she skipped the adjustment procedure and confirmed the safety of the product with her own body.


  In her hand holds the result she got by putting her life on the line.


  After I received that with gratitude, I got on the dragon again.


  「Please be careful, master.
I look forward to your safe return」


  Miroslav bowed deeply.


  To me, the sight of her being courteous to me still makes me feel like something’s off.


  Well, we already lived under the same roof for about half a month, so I’m not going to act flustered now, but it’s probably going to take some time still for this strange feeling to disappear completely.


  As I thought about something like that, I gave an additional order to Miroslav in the end,


  「I hope everything goes well too.
Oh, and human experiments are now banned, got that?」


  「Ah……Yes, understood!」


  Did she notice my intention? Miroslav smiled with delight.
She answered in a more lively way compared to usual too.


  I gave Clau Soras the order to fly up so that I could escape from the way she was looking at me.


  By the way, regarding my trip to the village of Melte, I have already let the major institutions of Ishka know about the deadly poison.


  And so, even if I’m heading south to go sightseeing with Clau Soras, there was no need to worry about people thinking something like “A dragon rider had run away from Ishka!”.


  Some civilians who don’t know about the circumstances will probably misunderstand, but it’s probably not going to become a big problem.


  In Ishka’s government office, there are some who showed disdain towards me for leaving at a time like this, but nevertheless, I convinced them that I was going in order to bring Larz, Iria, and priest Sarah to help with the city’s defense. 


  And then after I departed from Ishka, I did not run into any trouble that’s worth mentioning and arrived at the village of Melte quite ahead of schedule.


  It’s thanks to Clau Soras’ effort that we got here faster than expected.
He probably misses priest Sarah’s food.
I think he really liked the boar dishes from before.


  Looking down from the sky, the view of the village looks the same as before.
It doesn’t look like they got attacked by monsters or fought the other villages over the spoils of the orcs.


  However, I noticed that there aren’t that many people going out of the village.
The atmosphere somewhat feels the same as the time I came here before.


  With a vague sense of unease, I got off Clau Soras just outside the village.


  I realized that uneasiness wasn’t just me overthinking things when I heard the voices of those kids that I knew coming from afar.


  The little brats number 1, 2, and 3――Ain, Zwei, and Dora who I reunited with were all crying their eyes out.


  At first, I jumped to conclusions and thought something had happened to priest Sarah, and I got goosebumps over my entire body. 


  What filled my mind was the horrible faces of the people who were infected with the poison.


  However, I don’t know if I should call this lucky, priest Sarah was not infected by the deadly poison.


  ――The one who was infected was her daughter, Iria.




  There is a type of phantom beast called the aquatic horse.


  This beast that is known by the name “Kelpie” has the appearance of a horse like its name suggests, and it appears by rivers.


  It has a mane of aquatic plants, a tail of a fish, and countless scales on its torso and four feet.
It can run on the surface of the water as if it’s on the ground, swim in water like a fish, and it can also submerge underwater for long durations without running out of breath. 


  Moreover, a Kelpie has the ability to shapeshift; it can change its appearance to a normal horse’s.


  Why does it have such an ability? It’s so that it can trick humans to ride it as a horse.
The aquatic horse’s back is sticky, so once people get on, they wouldn’t be able to get off on their own.


  The appearance of a normal horse makes its prey drop their guard, and the aquatic horse will go deep down into the water and drown its prey.
After that, it will take its time to devour the prey whole.


  Basically, the phantom beast known as a Kelpie is categorized as a man-eater type of demonic beast.


  There is a theory that says Kelpies don’t eat human livers, but even if that’s true, that is no consolation to the people who were eaten by one.


  While Kelpies do exist, just like the term phantom beasts suggests, they don’t really show themselves before humans very often.


  There would be sighting reports that come up in rumors once every 10 years or so.
Their appearance rate is around just that.


  For an extremely rare demonic beast like that to appear in Melte at a time like this…It is no doubt the influence of the anomaly in the Titis forest. 


  The ones who discovered the Kelpie first were these children.


  One day, when Ain and the others were gathering fruits and nuts from the forest located on the edge of the village, they noticed a horse walking toward them slowly.


  Wild horses are careful and timid, so it’s rare for them to show up where humans live.
They would almost never get close to humans on their own.


  However, even the oldest one out of those three was only the 10-year-old, Ain.
It would be too much to expect from him to know that something was not right. 


  Ain and the others naturally brought the horse back with them.
Not only are horses good for farming, but they can also be sold for a high price――They weren’t thinking that deep into it, it was a reason much simpler; they just wanted priest Sarah to praise them.


  After that, the Kelpie revealed its true colors and ended up forcefully carrying Ain and Zwei to the Kale river.
Dora, the only one who was safe, ran back to the village in tears and told Iria and Larz, who would occasionally visit the church, about what happened.


  To be exact, Dora wasn’t able to tell them what happened properly since she couldn’t stop crying, but those two determined that something had happened from the way Dora was acting and the fact that the other two kids were missing and rushed to the scene in a hurry.
It was surely due to their intuition as veteran adventurers.  


  And so, Iria and the others ran to the river following the footsteps that the Kelpie left behind, dove into the water, rescued Ain and Zwei who were about to drown, and exterminated the Kelpie as well.




  If the story ended there then it would have been a happily ever after ending, but later on that day, Iria’s body condition suddenly started to deteriorate.


  Antidotes and priest Sarah’s healing magic would help her momentarily, but the symptoms would return before long.


  Kelpies have the power to curse, and they can curse the ones who killed them too.
priest Sarah who is aware of that tried using decursing magic as well, but even that had no effects. 


  While that was going on, more people in the village with the same symptoms as Iria started to appear.
Each one of them had been exposed to the water of the Kale River for some kind of reason. 


  It was at that time that I arrived at the village.

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