52: Pickle the dwarf


It's been an hour since we left the town of Kerkia on our horses.

I mounted a Boo Horse together with Minya who sat in front of me.
Celica was riding with Lapisia.
Because only Celica and I are able to ride.
The Boo Horses have keen noses, so we went straight to the destination.

Then we could clearly see Green Mountain with its pointy peak looking like a blurry spear above the clouds.
Near the forest spreading at the foot, there were many wolf-like demons surrounding a few other demons.

There was a tall Wolf Beastfolk on the surrounding side leading the command.
"Absolutely don't let them escape! Kill the traitors!"
He shouts with his wolf face. It is completely covered in fur. He's different from the usual Beastfolk.

I looked at him with "Truth Sight".
--------------------
[Status]
Name: Gowra
Race: Wolf Demon Race
Job: Commanding officer of the western Demon Lord's army
Attributes: "Darkness"

Attack strength: 1100
Defense strength: 300
Vitality: 600
Mental strength: 200
--------------------

Heh. The Demon Lord's army?
What about the attacked side?
Apart from ordinary wolves, two small persons stood out.

--------------------
[Status]
Name: Gow
Race: Demon Wolf Race (TN: different from Gowra's Wolf Demon Race)
Job: Fugitive Soldier of the Demon Lord's army
Attributes: "Dark Wind"

[Status]
Name: Pickle
Race: Dwarf
Job: Fugitive Soldier of the Demon Lord's army
Attributes: "Earth"
-------------------

The surrounding wolves were of the same "Demon Wolf Race".
Gow is hurt and his life force is less than half.
Pickle is also hurt.


At any rate, they are fugitive soldiers.
--This is an opportunity to get some information.


I issue instructions while I gallop on the Boo Horse.
"Don't get caught in magic attacks! We'll help the surrounded and hurt demons!"
"Yes!" "Understood"

Minya who was still sitting in front of me jumped down in her Miko dress.
She unsheathed her kitchen knives and kept running beside me at the same speed as the horse.

I pulled out my sword and applied some water from my gourd.
"This should do the trick... Obey my name of Keika Hikonomikoto, winds that ferry across the ravines since ancient times, gather and form a gale--'Roaring Blade Storm'"

A countless number of water blades are appearing and attacking the group of demons.
"*Gyao!*" "*Gea!*"
The wolves are chopped up by the wind blades.
Blood rises like smoke and and the violent wind is dyed in a dark red.
The screams of the wolves echoed in the high blue sky.

I skillfully adjust the power so the fugitive soldiers in the center aren't exposed to the wind.
Therefore, it did not result in complete annihilation.
There are still dozens remaining.


A wolf man platoon commander is shouting.
"What's this! Who, the hell are you?"
Minya rushes in like a gale. Her black hakama flutters as if it's lifted.
"This is...Keika-oniichan"
"--*ga!*"
The kitchen knives drew a gleaming arc, and the neck of the wolf man was cut off.

Celica dashes forward after she got down from her horse.
"*Ha!* *teea!*"
Her slender sword is gleaming and her blond hair is dancing. Her red skirt opens up like a flower.
Each time a wolf is killed.


I arrived in the center of the fight while cutting down some attacking demons.
The fugitive soldiers who were injured have gathered together. A seriously injured wolf is snarling at me with a *grrrrr*.
"Are you okay? -- 'Recovery'"
The wound of the fugitive soldier is quickly healed. He stared in astonishment and looked at me.

Then, Pickle the dwarf who is only about fifty centimeters tall stands up.
"Why did you help us? We are also demons."
"You're fleeing from the Demon Lord's army, right? Maybe the enemy's enemy might be your friend"
"Are you believing that?"
His round eyes are shaking uneasily.

I took out the "Proof of Hero" from my chest.
"I am a hero. I won't kill unnecessarily"
"He, Hero-sama!? --I'm not a bad demon, it's the truth!"
Pickle put his fist to his chest and appealed to me.

I nod.
"Understood, I'll believe you-- For now, I will end this fight. You only have to think about protecting yourself."
I cut down demons even while we were talking, they aren't really causing any trouble.

I truncated the rest of the wolves that didn't flee together with Minya and Celica.



The battle ended in less than ten minutes.
It took a little longer because I had to protect Pickle.

No one got into a life threatening condition.
Minya already started to collect materials. She nimbly pulls the tusks and flays the wolves.
The fugitive wolves looked at it with frightened eyes.


Then Celica approached. She is holding her left hand. She seems to have been injured.
"Are you okay, Celica?"
"I'm terribly sorry, Keika-sama. I suffered an embarrassing defeat."
"It can't be helped with this many opponents. They worked well together as expected of wolves.
"Yes, I will be careful next time"
"Let's see... show me your injury"
I take her supple hand. Her palm is smooth.
Celica's cheeks are blushing.

But just when I was about to treat her, Lapisia came.
"Lapisia cures!"
"Oh. Have you become able to use recovery magic?"
"I learned from Fal!"
"Very well. --Yup, then please try it"
"Yup Understood"

"Lapisia puts her hand on Celica's wound. A bright light starts leaking from her fingertips before she starts chanting.
"--'Cure'"
An intense radiance is born to an extent you wouldn't believe that it's just her first magic and Celica's wound is healed in an instant.

"This is, awesome"
"Healing this wound in an instant is... amazing"

I thought that it would be strange no matter how I looked at it, so I looked at her skills.
--------------------
[Status]
Name: Lapisia
Gender: Female
Age: 257
Race: Half-God
Job: Earth Mother God Lv 3 (Raising)
Class: Healer, God Art User
Attributes: "Fertility" "Radiant Soil" "Sacred Ground"

[Healer Skills]
Cure: Restores an ally. (Proficiency Level: 35/100)
Blurred: It makes your body blurry and more difficult to hit. (Proficiency Level: 5/100)
Decline: Softens your opponent. (Proficiency Level: 1/100)
Sleep: Makes the opponent sleep. (Proficiency Level: 3/100)
--------------------
She has skill levels!
It seems that the effect will become stronger as the skill level increases.

Isn't Lapisia somehow playing a different game? Just as expected of a god.
Although she has "Healer" skills, there aren't any for "God Art User". Hmm, I can't teach her because I'm a god from a different world and the magic system and techniques are different.
Well, I don't have any trouble with it.


For now I stroked her head.
"Well done, Lapisia"
"*Ehehe~*"
She was smiling with her whole face and made her blue twin tails sway in delight.

By the way, Lapisia didn't really aggressively fight but everyone who came at her had their tables turned on them.
The wolves she kicked or hit with her full power teared to pieces and the lumps of meat flew far into the distant.
It should be raining blood dozens of kilometers afar.
I just pray that there are no people at the falling points.


"Well then"
I turned to Pickle.
Pickle bowed deeply.
"Thank you for your help, Hero-sama."
"No, it's fine. Rather, tell me what happened. Why were you attacked?"
"The truth is, we selfishly acted against the orders..."

I nodded while I was already expecting this.
"Are you the ones who attacked the capital?"
"Eh, you know?"
"You wanted to help Leo. Am I wrong?"
"That's right... bu, but! Leo isn't bad! He really is a good person!"
Pickle frowns while he is appealing.


I smiled with a cheat smile.
He will probably guide me to Leo if I can relieve him.

"Ah, I also know that. I only came to meet and speak with Leo."
"Yup, leave it to me! He's in a cave at the foot of Green Mountain! I'll guide you!"
Pickle went like he was hopping in front of me.

--That was simple.
I broadly grinned in my heart.

However, the wolves are getting close to him. It seems they are saying something.
Then Pickle shook his head and got angry.
"Didn't he save us? He's a real hero! Why are you doubting him!"
The reprimanded wolves dangle their tails.

--The wolves are correct though. Because I have the mission to subjugate Leo.
But Pickle seemed to believe me completely and walked like he was jumping in front of me.


We got on the Boo Horses and followed.
Only Minya was on guard and walked next to us.
She was carrying about ten furs from the wolves that she procured while I chatted.
--She works fast.

By the way, Minya rose two levels in this battle and became a "Dance Warrior" Lv 17.
"Thief" rose by one to eight.
She got a new skill.
"Gale Thunder": Absolute preemptive strike. Chance that the opponent is perplexed by surprise.
It might be because of my protection and my own attributes, that she gets many skills related to wind.

======

We entered the forest at the foot of the mountain and dismounted from the horses.
The branches are likely to hit our heads otherwise.

I ask Pickle who is going ahead.
"So, is Leo fine?"
"Yup...but he's a little depressed."

"But why did you try to help him?"
"Because I'm a friend... A long time ago, he saved my life. We dwarfs are tasked to collect ores and gems, but when I was found by humans and they nearly killed me, I was saved by Leo. He also told me about a place where I can safely gather ores."

"Heh. So something like this happened?"
"That's how it is for everyone. They got saved by Leo... So now it's our turn to save Leo!"

--Just that it was a mistake.
But I couldn't say it.

Even though he was identified as a sinner, I could have done something one way or another.
I could have helped him by taking him into custody. Or buy him if he'd be sold as a slave.
Or just like I did at the time with Evil Squid, defeat the appearing Demon Lord's underling just when he appears and free him.

If only he wouldn't have been determined to be an underling of the Demon Lord and become a subjugation target.


I asked while sighing.
"If you were in the Demon Lord's army just until recently, do you know about the Demon Lord's movements? Is he aiming at me as expected?"
"I don't think that this is possible at the moment."
"What do you mean?"
"Demon Lord-sama is desperately trying to capture the saint. We got the order but don't know her whereabouts."
"The saint?"

"The person that troubles Demon Lord-sama the most. But we can't capture her. The search for the saint has the highest priority."
"I don't know the details, but she's more important than I, who has killed one of the Four Heavenly Kings?"
"Eh! The Four Heavenly Kings!? ...I wonder, isn't the person who can 'Class Up' more dangerous?"

"'Class Up'...she can change Jobs, this saint?"
"Yes, that might be it. It looks like she makes people who she thinks might be able to defeat the Demon Lord into strong 'Holy Knights' or 'Grand Wizards'. She has already changed the Jobs for dozens of people."
"So it's a matter of which has priority, someone who can mass-produce high level Jobs or the uncertain information that a strong hero might have been born, huh?"
I guess he thinks that it's thanks to her that I became a hero and could defeat one of the Four Heavenly Kings.


I asked about another thing I was worried about.
"Do you know why the dragon is rampant?"
"I don't really know about Dragon-sama. But she seems to search for something."
"Is that so"
I guess I have to ask the dragon directly.


While talking about that, we headed deep into the forest.

Then it was about the time it became evening.
The entry to a cave opened up behind a slope.