71 – Investigating the Home of the Monster

We headed northeast, towards the forest.

We received information that the giant centipedes originally dwelt in it.

 

Princess Sophia informed us of the reason the giant centipedes had attacked us.

It seems that some of their soldiers set out to investigate the ‘dormant monster’ without permission and encountered the giant centipedes there.

The giant centipedes, with their territory invaded, left the forest in pursuit of the fleeing Imperial soldiers.

After that, they proceeded in the direction in which they sensed people, in search of a meal.

 

The onus was completely on the Imperial side.

Princess Sophia insisted that she was responsible for the incident, but Rukie and I were both aware that she was in a sickly state until recently, in no condition to command others.

Therefore, we decided to hold another discussion regarding where the responsibility lay.

 

Rukie and Chancellor Kelve stated, “Rather than pursuing responsibility, investigating the giant centipedes is of greater importance.”

The reason why the Demon Lord’s troops entered the forest was to investigate the origins of the centipedes.

 

Incidentally, the Imperial soldiers, led by Captain Isaac, entered the forest beforehand.

“”

They had other matters to investigate.

 

So, I entered the northeastern forest with the soldiers of the Demon Territory.

 

It was obvious where the giant centipedes emerged from simply by observing the ground.

 

It was a terrible mess.

Toppled trees lay everywhere, all surrounding a massive track gouged into the ground.

Considering that the giant centipedes went on a rampage, it wasn’t strange that the forest was in such a state.

They really were terrifying monsters, ones that I never want to reappear if at all possible.

 

“This [Security Buzzer] made that terrifying monster flinch.
You have created a marvelous item, Thor!”

 

General Reisenga said as he walked beside me.

The general held the buzzer in his hand and stared at it with interest.

He was like a child who had received a new toy.

 

Mabel chided him, saying, “If you become too excited, Agnis will laugh at you later.”

However, the general just laughed and held the buzzer upside down.

 

“This small item prevented a massive monster from moving.
It’s quite the item.”

“Its weakness, though, is that it consumes a lot of magic power.
Its magic power is almost depleted, so it only releases a sound now.”

“Hmmm.
When you pour magic power into it, it creates the sound, right?”

“Yes, it does.
But, please don’t make it sound out right now.”

“I know… Oops.”

 

General Reisenga climbed over a fallen tree while his finger rested on the [Security Buzzer].

At that moment, it seems he applied too much force, and…

 

 

 

『Omawarisan!』

The buzzer emitted a loud sound.

 

 

 

“What can I do for you, Thor Canaan.
And you, General Reisenga.”

 

Isaac rushed over.

 

“Eh? Eh? W-why?”

“I told you not to press it…”

 

Of course he would rush over.

Isaac changed his name to Isaac Omawarisan Mueller.

If he hears a voice saying, “Omawarisan,” he’ll assume that someone is calling out to him.

 

“I apologise for bothering you.
We mistakenly called you over, Isaac-dono.”

 

I bowed to Isaac.

 

“I was wondering if any other giant centipedes have been discovered since then…….
Also, it’s been quite some time since the Imperial soldiers entered the forest.
Is everything alright?””

“A fourth centipede has not appeared.
There seem to be no particular monsters in the forest either.”

 

Isaac dismounted from his horse and said.

 

“However, please don’t call this minor official’s name too often, and if you do, please do it by means of a messenger.
We are also quite busy.”

“I am sorry, sir.”

“No, I just want to ensure that you understand.”

 

Nodding, Isaac mounted his horse again.

 

“I am indebted to you, Thor Canaan, for rescuing Her Imperial Highness.
And to General Reisenga as well.”

“Uh-huh.”

“The minotaur unit headed by you was truly valiant and daring.
The courage they displayed when they refused to retreat even a single step while facing that giant centipede is worthy of respect.”

“I, too, have once again confirmed the strength of the Imperial Guard through this battle.”

“I hope we can maintain an amicable relationship.”

Saying that Isaac left.

 

I sighed.

Isaac was one of Princess Sophia’s subordinates.
She trusted him, making it clear that he was not an evil person.

However, I…… was still not skilled at speaking with Imperial military officers.

 

“Please be more careful next time, General Reisenga.”

“You mustn’t play with Thor-sama’s items unnecessarily, General.”

 

Mabel and I stared at General Reisenga.

 

“No, no! I apologise.
I hadn’t imagined this would occur.”

“You shouldn’t activate the [Security Buzzer] unnecessarily.
Otherwise, Omawarisan will arrive.”

 

I retrieved the buzzer from General Reisenga.

 

This is the reason I could not offer the buzzer to Princess Sophia.

If she activated it in the Empire, Isaac would come rushing to her.

I would have to create a [Security Buzzer] exclusively for Princess Sophia later.
The kind that rings out, “The Omawarisan that’s not Isaac.”

 

‘”No…… I’m terribly sorry.
I will send a formal apology to the Imperial commander later.”

 

General Reisenga’s shoulders slumped.

 

“Don’t be so downcast.
I’m partially to blame for not explaining it better.”

“……”

“The Chancellor’s calling you.
You should go.”

“I understand.
I’m sorry for the trouble I’ve caused Thor-dono.
We will talk later.”

 

With these words, General Resienga ran towards the fore of the army.

The troops of the Demon Territory were delving deeper into the forest.

 

Suddenly, I noticed that the Imperial soldiers had gathered by the bank of a river flowing through the forest.

A horse was lying on the bank, the saddle being of Imperial make.

It was likely that this was the horse of one of the soldiers who provoked the giant centipedes.
There were several other horses lying on the ground, but no sign of the riders.
On the riverbank, an Imperial soldier was frantically calling out to them, but receiving no reply.

 

An Imperial soldier was attacked here…….

 

Mabel’s body trembled as she walked beside me.

 

“I too…… saw that monster up close, so I know how terrifying it is.
This giant centipede is a new species, but where did it come from?”

“We don’t know where the monster Gargarossa came from either.”

“Yes.
It’s a new type of monster, and it’s quite terrifying.”

 

Mabel gripped my hand tightly.

We chose a path that was easy to traverse and continued deeper into the forest.

After a while, we were welcomed by a high rock wall, at the base of which we found the entrance to a large cave.

 

“We have arrived, Your Majesty.
It seems this is where the monsters dwelt.”

 

General Reisenga announced at the front of the group.

At the same time, the soldiers of the Demon Territory came to a halt.

 

They saw a large hole in the rock wall in front of them.

It seems that this was the dwelling of the dormant monster.

 

Nearby, Imperial soldiers were conducting a meeting.

Both Captain Isaac and the soldiers were glancing in my direction.

It seems they wanted the people of the Demon Territory to hear what they had to say.

 

“From here on, the cavalry will search for Mariella and her men.
They should return by sunset.
The rest of you will enter the cave.
Then…”

 

With these words, Isaac walked toward us.

Kneeling in front of Rukie, the Demon Lord, he declared,

 

“My name is Isaac Omawarisan Mueller, the one in charge of the border troops of the Empire.
I would like to propose that the people of the Demon Territory enter the cave alongside my humble army.

“May I ask why?”

 

It was Chancellor Kelve who responded.

Rukie was on horseback, quietly looking down at Isaac.

“I have never received such a request before, so by all means, present your reasoning.”

“It is because the residents of the Demon Territory may be able to comprehend something that this minor official and his soldiers cannot.”

 

Said Isaac.

 

“That giant centipede is a new species.
We aren’t even aware of why it appeared.
If there are any clues in the cave, it would be best if more people examined them.”

“Do you believe you can trust us?”

“This officer is Her Highness Sophia’s subordinate.
It is my mission to support her.
Since Her Highness trusts the Demon Territory, it is only natural that I follow suit.”

“I understand what you are saying.
Please wait a moment.”

Chancellor Kelve turned to Rukie.

“We agree.”

 

Rukie immediately made her decision.

After a short discussion, the procedure for searching the cave was decided.

 

The two parties would enter the cave, the Demon Lord’s party and the Imperial party, each with a few men.

If any danger was detected, they would immediately retreat.

Soldiers were to stand guard in front of the cave, so that they could intercept any monsters.

 

“Thor-sama is…… going to participate after all?

“Yes.”

 

I nodded at Mabel’s question.

 

“If we can discover the cause behind the monster’s appearance, I may be able to do something about it with my [Creation Alchemy].
If any clues remain, I would like to examine them personally.”

“I understand.
Then, I will accompany you.”

“Thank you.
But, before that….”

 

Receiving Rukie’s permission, I separated from the Demon Territory’s army.

I moved with Mabel, stopping in the shade of a tree and calling the pixies.

 

‘Yes, benefeactor-sama.
Soleil is here.”

“René is here, too.
How can I help you?”

 

Soleil, René, and the other pixies were all disguised as owls in their [Onesies].

I had them follow me secretly since we began moving, as the Imperial soldiers saw them using the [Chain Lock].

I’ll have to mend their pajamas later.

 

“I need you to assess the magic power surrounding that cave.
Is there a monster possessing strong magic power in the cave? And what attributes of magic are emanating from the cave? Could you do that for me please?”

 

「「「「 Of course – 」」」」

 

With a whirr, the pixies flew up.

They then quickly neared the cave, before returning to me.

 

“I felt a little bit of dark magic power.
There’s also earth and water magic power.”

 

The other pixies nodded, agreeing with Soleil’s words.

 

“I don’t sense any strong magic.
I don’t think there are any monsters in there.”

“I understand.
Thank you.”

“We’re going with you!”

 

Soleil and René declared as they spread their owl wings.

 

“Soleil can use light attack magic to protect her benefactor!”

“René feels the same way.”

“Then, I’m counting on you.”

 

I don’t know what we’ll find in the cave.

I would feel more secure if they accompanied me.

 

“Then, here’s something for both of you, Soleil and René.”

I pulled out items from my [Ultra-Small Simple Warehouse] and handed them to Soleil and René.

Then, I went to Rukie and told her the information I had obtained from the pixies and that I wanted to accompany her for the cave exploration.

 

“If that’s what you want Thor, then I have no choice.”

 

Rukie pondered for a moment and then nodded.

 

“But you must return immediately if you sense danger.”

“Yes, Your Majesty.”

“Mabel, you will escort Thor.
Also, Reisenga…”

“Yes, Your Majesty.”

“You are in charge of the search party in the cave.
If you notice anything suspicious, let Thor examine it.
I’m certain that he’ll be able to best determine what to do.”

“I too would feel safer if Thor-dono were with me.
By the way…”

“What is it, General?”

“What are those cats on Thor-dono and Mabel’s shoulders……?”

“They’re our escorts.”

 

As I said that, the kittens on my and Mabel’s shoulders flew through the air and landed on the ground.

 

“I’m Nyan?”

“I’m Nyan Nyan, Your Majesty.”

‘”Are you Soleil and René?”

“Yes.
They said they wanted to escort me, so I gave them cat [Onesies].”

When I asked them to infiltrate the town of Nosa, I designed both owl-shaped and cat-shaped [Onesies].

In the end, the owl-shaped [Onesies], which allowed them to more easily fly in the sky, were used.

However, this time, they wanted to come with me, so I asked them to wear the cat-shaped [Onesies].

These were better suited for smaller locations, and more importantly, less conspicuous.

 

“It’s the first time that you’ve taken them out.”

“”

“Do they look good?”

“Of course they do.
They are the [Onesies] that Thor-sama created.”

 

Mabel stroked the heads of the cat-like Soleil and René.

 

“…… They’re adorable.”

 

She looked at Soleil and René with a pouty face.

 

“………… Adorable.
How…… cute.”

“Your Majesty?”

“N-no, it’s nothing.”

 

Rukie coughed in a panic.

 

“The most important thing to remember is to remain cautious.
Thor and Mabel, as well as Reisenga, ensure that none of the soldiers come to harm.
May the odds be ever in your favour!”

“Yes, Your Majesty.”

“We will do as you say.”

“”

“Understood, Your Majesty!

“Nyan!”

 

And so Mabel, General Reisenga, Soleil, René, and the Minotaur Corps entered the dark cave alongside myself.

 

 

 

 

 

At the rear of the cave was an immense cavern.

It was approximately the size of the great hall of a castle, and one of its corners was adorned with a pile of withered grass.

Perhaps that was the bed of the Great Dark Bear.

 

There was also the fur of the Great Dark Bear.

It was in tatters, seeming to have been chewed apart by a giant centipede.

I took a piece of it just in case, but I don’t believe it’ll be of much use.

 

All that remained were traces of the Great Dark Bear having lived here.

 

“I give up.
There are no clues about the centipedes…”

 

General Reisenga scratched his head.

The minotaurs around him were also scratching their heads.

 

I examined the surroundings with [Apraisal], but found nothing that caught my attention.

Did those giant centipedes originate from another location and simply stop by here to feed on the Great Dark Bear?

If not, where did they come from?

 

As I was thinking that…

 

“Nyah, nyah, nyah.”

“…… Soleil? René?”

 

─ ─ Soleil and René, in their cat forms, were scratching at my shoes.

 

“…… What’s wrong, you two?”

“There’s something drawn on the ground.”

“It has decayed, so it’s difficult to see.”

 

The cats whispered in a hushed voice, so as to avoid the notice of the people of the Empire.

Soleil and René were pointing at the ground with their tiny cat paws.

There seemed to be something there.

 

“Mabel, can you illuminate the area near my feet?”

“Yes, Thor-sama.”

 

Mabel brought the [Magic Lamp] closer to the floor of the cave.

 

When it was examined closely, there was indeed something drawn on it.

It seemed to be lines or figures.

Could this be a magic circle?

 

Did someone try to invoke large-scale summoning magic in here?

 

The Great Dark Bear that originally inhabited this place was a dormant monster.

Did they cast sleeping magic first to prevent the monster from waking up, before drawing a summoning magic circle? Did the giant centipedes appear here due to that magic?

 

I don’t know.

To begin with, this magic circle may have nothing to do with the giant centipedes.

….Yeah.

 

“General Reisenga, Mabel, can I have a word with you?”

 

I told General Reisenga and Mabel about the magic circle.

 

“Of course, this doesn’t guarantee that magic was involved.
However, I think it’s possible that someone could have entered this cave.
What do you think, Mabel?”

“…… It’s not a magic circle that I know of.”

“There isn’t any such figure that comes to mind.”

 

Mabel and General Reisenga shook their heads.

Neither of them had any idea what it was.

Well, it couldn’t be helped, as most of the magic circle had almost disappeared, only a part of it remaining recognisable.

 

“I’ll transcribe it and have Chancellor Kelve take a look.”

 

I removed a piece of parchment and a pen from the [Ultra-Small Simple Warehouse] and started to replicate it.

 

“Someone from the Empire may be able able to recognise it.”

 

General Reisenga suddenly proposed.

 

“This is the territory of the Empire.
Then, it must have been a human who drew this.
Why don’t we ask the commander?”

“I don’t mind, but is that all right with you, general?”

“I don’t mind.
Thor-dono taught me that there are good humans as well.”

 

General Reisenga laughed.

 

“Besides, the commander of that unit suggested conducting a joint investigation of the cave because he has faith in us.
If that is the case, then we too must trust him.”

 

General Reisenga seemed to have no hesitation.

The general is truly amazing.

 

I still don’t trust the Empire’s people very much.

So far, the only person I placed my faith in was Princess Sophia.

Commander Isaac is a close confidant of Princess Sophia, and he cares for her greatly.
If that’s the case, I don’t mind revealing information to him.

 

However, Commander Isaac is currently at a different location, surrounded by many soldiers.

If I approach him, the other soldiers might follow me.

 

“It can’t be helped.
I don’t feel comfortable doing the same thing twice, but……”

 

I took out my [Security Buzzer].

 

I’m not sure if I’m going to be able to do it again.

 

 

 

『Omawarisan!』

 

 

 

“How may I help you?”

 

Only Isaac came.

 

“I’ll be troubled if you keep calling me without a reason.”

“I’m sorry, but I had something I wanted you to see, Mr.
Isaac.”

“This little officer?”

“It’s this.”

 

I pointed to the magic circle on the ground.

Isaac drew his face closer to the ground.

 

“U-umu..
It certainly appears that a magic circle was drawn here.
I think I’ve seen this somewhere before…”

“Do you know its purpose?”

“No, I do not.
I am a military officer, not a magician…”

“I see.
That’s unfortunate.”

“However, Her Highness Princess Sophia might be able to provide more information.
Why don’t you meet with her and discuss the matter?”

“…… Are you sure?”

“There is no problem.
The two of you may be able to identify the magic circle.
Would you be willing to make a trip to Nosa?”

Then, Isaac shook his head.

 

“Besides, I believe it is best that this one remains unaware of this magic circle.
There are people I would prefer not to provide information to.
I didn’t see anything here.”

“I understand.”

 

I nodded.

I knew there were many different factions in the Empire.

Isaac doesn’t want to provide the information to Princess Sophia’s enemies.

 

“It was my mistake to call you, Isaac Omawarisan Mueller.”

“Thank you.”

“Are the two of you okay with this, Mabel and General Reseinga?”

 

I glanced at Mabel and General Reisenga.

They both nodded.

 

“I will send a letter to Her Highness Princess Sophia later.
After that, I will come find you.”

“Then, I will return to my investigation.”

 

With a wave of his hand, Isaac returned to his unit.

 

A short time later, the investigation ended.

“”

In the end, all that was discovered was the pelt of the Great Dark Bear.

The Imperial soldiers were kept in the dark regarding the magic circle.

 

We parted ways with Isaac’s group in front of the cave.

They intended on continuing the search for their missing comrades.

The troops from the Demon Territory, including Mabel and myself, returned to the Demon Territory.

 

“Everyone! Thank you for your hard work! The meeting with the Empire experienced some hiccups, but it has reached a favourable conclusion.
This is by virtue of the effort of all of you!”

 

 

They received a word of gratitude from Demon Lord Rukie.

 

“Now, we will return to Reisenga’s mansion.
After that, we will rest for a few days.
I hope you will all spend your time freely and recover your strength.
Thank you for your hard work this time!”

“”Yeahh!””

 

Thus, the meeting between the Demon Lord Rukie and Princess Sophia ended as a great success.

That evening, we returned to the Demon Territory.

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