There was a black spider spinning thread in front of Loren’s eyes.
The thread spun out with a rustling sound was binding Loren’s body firmly, though not too tightly. It made him wonder if this was the kind of scene he would see before being eaten by a spider’s prey.
He was currently in a hospital room.
The doctor had told Loren that he needed complete bed rest, and Nig, the black spider dwelling on his shoulder, had understood this in his own way and had come to the conclusion that he should be tied up with threads. At first, he had tried to spin the thread in a way that not only would bind Loren tighter, it would also wrap around the bed, but Loren had stopped him.
After a series of commotion, it seemed like Loren and his group had returned to the town of Kapha as if they were running away. ‘Seemed like’, because Loren had no memory of what happened during that time.
According to Lapis’ explanation as he had regained his consciousness, after the battle with Magna at the ruins, she, as the only one who could move well among their group, was assigned to investigate the room with the coffins, the very site of the battle.
“I don’t understand anything at all.”
And that was the only thing she could say.
According to Lapis, that ruin was filled with even more advanced technology than other ruins of the Ancient Kingdom, and even the knowledge of a demon like her was not enough to understand the technology used there.
“Then shouldn’t we ask scholars and such to investigate?”
It seems that Klaus, who was able to move to some extent, had made such a suggestion, but Lapis shook her head.
“If it were a normal ruin, I would have agreed. But as you have seen, this seems to be a place that remakes people into something different. I don’t think we should leave it as is.”
“Hm, I wonder?… You might be right.”
“We are in agreement, then. Well then, let’s get to work on destroying it.”
Loren had asked Klaus about what happened after that, but he still couldn’t get much more information. At any rate, it seemed that the ruin was completely destroyed and lost its functionality as a result of Lapis unleashing the full range of her atrocities with the help of Klaus.
“This time, she sensed the mood and was quiet, so it was a good stress reliever for me.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, you see, Gula…”
Gula, who could be considered the interested party of this ruin, did not have much to say about it.
She simply said that she had not become an Evil God because she wanted to, and that Evil Gods were originally created as a force of war against foreign enemies that threatened the existence of the Ancient Kingdom. However, in the middle of the war, the power used to enforce their subservience to the Ancient Kingdom was somehow lifted, and the Evil Gods all rebelled, which triggered the destruction of the kingdom. And finally, she briefly explained how they came from barbarians to being revered as Evil Golds as a result of the various things they did during their battle against the ancient kingdom.
“That was not mere old information. It’s practically ancient. I don’t think you have much interest in it, do you? I don’t want to talk about it, either.”
“No, I think we’ve just heard some incredibly important information, especially about why the Ancient Kingdom was destroyed.”
That was the information that could not be spread once known. If it was spread, people would ask where they got this information, and in the process, they would inevitably have to reveal the existence of the Gula and her comrades.
“I would have been happy to spread the word before they do all kinds of terrible things, though.”
If the names of the Evil Gods and their powers were to be known, now that there have been multiple incidents that might have been caused by them, they could become a target to be defeated by adventurers and governments.
“That’s not cute at all, Gula.”
Watching this exchange between Lapis and Gula, who come to visit him every day, Loren, who was still being wrapped in Nig’s thread, let out a soft sigh.
This was not a very fruitful job. He didn’t think it was right to be concerned about the results since they originally went there for a vacation, but he didn’t feel good if they didn’t get rewarded for the work they did.
But he was pleasantly surprised to know that they had received the reward from the spirit of the lake.
The lake spirit was pleased to hear that water quality would definitely improve now that only clear hot water would flow into the lake. Just like it had originally been as there was no more contamination
taking place. Apparently, in addition to the gem that sealed part of Lapis’ body they had received from the beginning, the spirit also gave them a small amount of coin that she had collected from somewhere.
‘Apparently’, because Loren did not witness the thing. Lapis and Klaus had taken care of it for him.
Lapis told him that at the time, Loren and the others, conscious and unconscious alike, were all wrapped in Nig’s threads and transported in a cocoon-like state. It was very troublesome to carry unconscious people while their arms and legs were hanging freely, and as they were wondering what to do, Nig, who was clinging to Loren’s shoulder, packed Loren and the others up really quickly. This made it much easier to carry them, but Gula, who was still conscious, said that although she had no choice because she had not recovered enough to walk on her own, she wanted that to be the last time she would have to experience being packed like luggage.
Then, they returned to town with considerable regret for having come to the lake on foot, and after placing the cocoons in a suitable place while being looked at oddly, Klaus immediately went to town to arrange a carriage for the return trip, and Lapis went to see the Lord to report the details of this commission.
Lapis felt that if she honestly told the Lord what had really happened, it might lead to a troublesome conversation about the ruins and such, so she simply reported that there was a dilapidated ruin upstream of the lake and dirty water from there had flown into the lake, which caused the hot-spring pollution.
Lapis did not know if there were other entrances to the ruin besides the underwater one they used, as she was not looking for them. But would not be surprising if there were, given the fact that there were black goblins on the ground, probably brought by that Magna, when they camped by the lake at night. She didn’t know if the Lord would go so far as to search for those entrances and check inside the ruin, but even if she did, it would take a considerable amount of time. And in fact, the ruin itself had been destroyed so completely that even Lapis herself could never use it again, so it was not exactly a big lie to say that there was a dilapidated ruin.
Lapis told the delighted Lord that this was a casual request and that they had received a reward from the spirit of the lake they encountered along the way, so they did not need another reward from the Lord again. She shook off the Lord’s attempts to make her stay, and as soon as she left the Lord’s mansion, she jumped into the carriage that Klaus had prepared and returned to the town of Kapha without looking back a single time.
“Why did you hurry? Why couldn’t we just enjoy our vacation again after the pollution from the hot springs had stopped?”
Gula asked with a curious look, and Lapis replied with a big frown on her face.
“We needed to get out of that town as soon as possible.”
“What did we do?”
Gula thought that at least in that town itself, they must have done nothing, and Lapis turned to her like a teacher would to a student with a bad classroom attitude.
“The hot water flowing out into that lake was clear, wasn’t it? They said the hot springs in town were cloudy white.”
“And what about it?”
“That ruin was probably discharging white water before it was put into operation. It was mixed with clear hot water and became the town’s hot spring. And the water discharge from the ruin has completely stopped now.”
This meant the previously cloudy hot spring water would be replaced by clear, colorless water, but Lapis believed the story wouldn’t stop there.
“That clear water doesn’t have any special properties. In other words, most of the benefits of the hot spring probably came from the water discharge from the ruin.”
Loren interrupted, knowing what Lapis was trying to say.
“And since that water discharge has stopped…”
“It’s very likely that it is just hot water now.”
That would be fatal for a hot spring, Loren thought, but they couldn’t let the ruin continue to operate. It just couldn’t be helped, and they couldn’t be held accountable for it. If there was anyone to blame, it would be Magna, but he wasn’t sure if that would convince the Lord.
“The only other positive thing that came out of this was that we now know the names of all the Evil Gods.”
Before destroying the facility, Lapis had obtained the names of the Evil Gods from the coffins that had been placed in that room.
Gula said that the Ancient Kingdom shouldn’t have created any other ‘Evil Gods’ besides her and her comrades, and that there were only seven of them. Aside from the ones they had already known, Gluttony, Sloth, Lust, and Greed, there were three more Evil Gods that Loren and Lapis had not encountered yet.
“They are Wrath – Rage Dragonia, Envy – Envy Bridgegard, and Pride – Lucie Supervia.”
“Male, female, female, in that order. There’s no one else like Luxeria, so don’t worry.”
“You already knew this, didn’t you, Gula?”
Loren glared at Gula with half-lidded eyes as she proudly listed out the genders of the remaining Evil Gods, and she replied with a flustered wave of her hand and an embarrassed look on her face.
“I only remembered when I heard the names. I really did!”
“Well, that’s all right.”
Gula must have her own agenda, and although they were working together for the time being, there was no telling how long they would continue to do so. Since there was a possibility that they would eventually part ways, it was not strange if there were one or two things she hadn’t told them, and Loren had no intention of pursuing the matter any further.
Rather than that, he had a feeling that he had heard something import, but he couldn’t recall what it was right away, so he stopped thinking about it for the moment and poked Nig, who was still spitting out threads, to make him stop and put his back on the bed.
“Loren, are you hurt that bad?”
“I just hurt one rib, but… The magic power my greatsword consumed and such are much more serious.”
While fighting Magna, Loren had twice sent forth flames from his greatsword. The second shot was hardly a shot, so only the first shot was truly of use, but that one shot alone consumed most of Loren’s power.
“That’s Mother’s weapon for you. I think it’s amazing that you could even use it once.”
“I can’t afford to be hospitalized every time I use it.”
“It doesn’t have any safety mechanism. If the user doesn’t have any restraint, it will really take all of the user’s energy.”
Feeling the weariness that remained in his body, Loren thought that it was just like a Demon King’s weapon to kill its user if the person was careless. He should refrain from using this weapon unless he really had no other choice.
As Loren closed his eyes, he heard Gula’s voice.
“So, Loren. Uhm… There’s a good chance that you’ll run into that Magna or whatever it is again. So, I’d like you to let me stay with you for a while longer…”
“Do whatever you like. I don’t particularly want to kick you out or anything at the moment.”
It seemed that Magna had recognized Gula as an enemy because of the incident this time. As this might cause more trouble, Loren could consider kicking Gula out to make it disappear. But from Loren’s perspective, trouble would come up no matter where he went and no matter who was by his side.
As Loren told Gula that there was no reason to force her out of the party, and that she didn’t have to worry about it, he could feel a hint of happiness coming from the direction where Gula probably was.
It seemed to be the same for Lapis, who asked the following, in a bit of lively voice:
“Now that we’re all settled, what’s the next step?”
“Let me take a break for a while…”
Haven’t you just finished your vacation?”
“That can’t be called a vacation.”
As he said so, Loren wondered gloomily if it would be possible to retake the vacation somewhere else. But even if he were allowed to do so, he somehow had the feeling that the vacation would be just as bad as this one.
“I’m supposed to be an adventurer for a living…”
But he was constantly bombarded with one troublesome situation after another, while hardly making any money at all.
As Loren muttered to himself that his life had strayed so far from his original goal, Nig stopped spitting out threads and clung to Loren’s right shoulder, his usual position, and tapped his legs in a somewhat comforting manner.