76: Returning to the east


It's been several days since the criminal organization was destroyed.
The rain that started at dawn stopped in the morning.
The cleared up high blue sky made the atmosphere glitter.

We headed east under the morning sun.
To return to the Daphnes Kingdom.


I was called to the royal palace after everything was over and got highly praised by the king.
I received ten holy gold coins (50 million yen) and the permit for Melvius to leave the country as a reward.

After that, the people gathered at the plaza and honored my success.
Word about the incident seemed to have already spread, so they rewarded me with great cheers.
--It was perfect for selling my name.


And then, to build a foothold, work began at the three city walls that surrounded the royal capital.
To create gigantic murals of my achievements so far.

About how I defeated Greyhades in the north and single-handedly repelled the invading Demon Lord's army, how I protected the princess while defeating Evil Squid, how I defeated and tamed the rampaging dragon, how I defeated Barrier Muuk and saved the World Tree. And finally, how I freed Industria from the clutches of evil that were lurking in the shadows.
Of course, there are also love romances with a mermaid lady, an amazingly beautiful princess, an elf, an angel and a goddess.
Celica complained, that it would be quite the stretch from the truth, but I don't care.
History is made by the winners after all, so there's no problem.


Anyway, why murals?
Industria is a manufacturing city.
That's why I thought that leaving something made by craftsmen behind would be the most effective way to sell my name.

Moreover, the wall is high and wide.
I also decided that all the craftsmen of the capital should work on it.
Then their families and they themselves will brag about the great work that they had participated in.
My name and achievements will surely be passed from parent to child, from grandfather to grandchild.


--Everything is as planned. My believers should increase as well.
I mean, they have already increased by about 300 people. The number of believers is now in the four digits.
I feel like dancing with joy.

Well, it took the complete ten holy gold coins that I got from the king to finance the construction.
It's an extra expense that is needed to spread my name.

I thought, that the king might refuse, when I asked him about the murals.
But it seems that the magic blocking cloth, that I had handed to the king, helped. I told him, that it would be dangerous, if it isn't replaced every three years, so I was able to persuade him quite effectively.

The final push was that the large amount of money would be returned to the country, so he pleasantly accepted.


I had finished everything I wanted to do in the Fabrica Kingdom.

And since I got a master blacksmith and a fairy, I decided to return to the Daphnes Kingdom.

======

It's been one week since we headed eastward.
We arrived at the border.
Lilille continued to teach Lapisia in the meantime and Lapisia learned several God Art magic techniques.

I had actually also learned a new skill.
[Justice Slash] Cuts through evil without harming the good. Twofold damage against demons.


The checkpoint could be seen in the distance.
Lilille spoke.
"It's time for me to take a different route."
"You could come to the village though."
"Well, I want to look around the north."
"...at Edelstein?"
"That as well"
"Don't get lost. You're quite clumsy after all."

Lilille inflated her cheeks. It still doesn't hurt her beauty though.
"I'm not clumsy. I only have to think a little before I act."
"Won't that make it even worse?"

"Shut up. And I taught Lapisia everything I could for now. --Lapisia, you'll obediently keep up your practice, right?"
"Yup! ...also"
"What is it?"


Lapisia held the egg in both hands.
"Became white, so please..."
"Ah, the purification. ...you'll also might have to do it in the future. --Let's do it together."
"Yup!"

Lilille put her hands on Lapisia's small hands and began to stroke the white egg.
"Lapisia, please repeat my words --Oh peacefully sleeping soul..."
"Oh peacefully sleeping soul..."
They continued the chant for a while. It ended with a faint glowing of the egg.

Lilille pats Lapisia's head.
"Very well. Good girl."
"*ehehe*... worked hard"


I tilted my head while pondering.
"Should we return the eggs to the dragon? They might get stolen again though."
"Once they are purified, they won't give birth to calamities anymore, but it's certainly a difficult question."
"If they won't cause any calamities anymore, it's the dragon's own responsibility. So let's give them back. Are you also okay with that, Lapisia?"
"...Yup! Give children back to mother! Will give birth to your eggs, Keika."
Lapisia looked sad for a moment, but soon after smiled happily.

"*Sigh*... do you know where eggs come from?"
"Wrong?"
"Ah--, I'll tell you once you've grown up."
"Understood, looking forward!"
Her blue twin tails swung as she nodded.


I looked at the elf Nebula.
"Nebula, you also take care."
"Yes. Thank you very much, Hero-sama"
Her green hair swung as she bowed.

Lilille will accompany her to the elven village since she is also heading north.
However, Fioria and Rii will go with us because Rii's status is still worrying.

Thus, we parted with Lilille and Nebula and crossed the border.


We were warmly welcomed by the villages that we were passing through.
It seems that the villages that were damaged by the dragon received some treasures from the dragon.
I received their gratitude because apperantly it was thanks to Hero Keika. I got some believers.

The mold for the statues was made in Kerkia, the village further to the west.
My bronze statues will be finished within this year.
Everything is working well.
And while I was at it, I decided to let them make another statue for my village.


After that, we met the dragon and returned the two eggs.
We could now use the shortcut though the dungeon.
"Oh... it's a beautiful white. You have my gratitude."
"Don't let them be stolen again, okay?"
"Ah, yes... I'll give my best"
"Also, since you have an agreement with the kingdom, don't leave the mountain area for a while"
"I know.
Then I conveyed another idea for a dungeon and we finally were on our way back.

======

It's been two weeks since we left Industria.
We had returned to the royal capital Chloe of the Daphnes Kingdom.

We go to Kynmerick's inn which is located in a back street.
The tavern's floor was clean and it was thriving although it was already past noon.

Minya speaks.
"It's so clean..."
"It seems, that the dirt at the walls was hid by hanging cloth at the walls, and the tables are now covered with marble to make them easy to clean"
Celica was impressed.


Lionel, who was serving customers, noticed us and came with a refreshing smile to the entrance.
"Keika-san, everyone. It's been a while, hasn't it-- please, take a seat wherever you like"
He wears a white shirt and black trousers, and the bow tie gives this juvenile with his delicate body a somewhat adult-like atmosphere.

"We have already eaten, so we don't need any meals. We also won't stay the night since we'll go to the village."
Lionel looked lonesome when I said this.
"That's a pity. I'll serve you tea and sweets for now."
"Did you come up with that?"
"Yup, I have many ideas. It's fun to make everyone happy. Thank you for introducing me."
He answered while letting his white teeth shine. His straightforwardness seems to be his main strength.
-- It's a good trend.

"So, have you found a goal for you?"
"No, not yet. But I can also think about that after I've rebuilt this run-down inn."
"Hey, hey. You don't have to call it run-down"
Kynmerick scolded him while he was peeping from the kitchen.
Lionel stuck out his tongue.
"Sorry, master. The earning are only dropping when Minya isn't here."
"You're too cruel. Rather, Keika, thanks for coming--oh"


Minya rushed into the kitchen and hugged him.
"Dad... I'm home"
"Oh! Welcome back, Minya! Above all, I'm glad that you're alright... or rather, have you gotten even stronger?"
"Yeah. I worked hard... this, is the menu? I'll help out"
"Ah, yes- Lionel, please teach her how it's done."
"Yes"

I called out to Lionel before he was about to return to the kitchen.
"Lionel. I'll take back what I said earlier. We'll stay the night after all and go to the village tomorrow."
--This is Minya's home as well.
It might be nice for her to spend some time with her father when we're visiting the capital.

"Got it... ah no, thank you very much Keika-san. I'll immediately prepare the rooms, so please wait a moment."
He swung his hair, bowed like an adult and quickly returned to the kitchen.
Some women at the other tables murmured "Cute", and I could somewhat understand them. The gap that is created by this boy who acts like an adult might be quite popular.


Celica and I sat down at the counter.
Everyone else sat down at a table.
I wonder whether the fairy in Minya's bag is still okay.

I talk to those at the table.
"Rii, are you alright?"
"Yup. I'm okay."

"Melvius, how is your wife?"
"She seems to be fine. I'm sorry for the trouble."
Melvius and his wife nodded with a smile.
I took a quick look at his tired wife. It was the right decision to stay the night after all.


Then Kynmerick came out of the kitchen.
His formerly wildly growing beard was now neatly trimmed. He wears black trousers and a white vest and shirt as well, and hesitatingly speaks.
"It's been a while. It must've been about a month"
"The impression of the inn changed. Your appearance as well."

I look around the shop. The number of rough men has decreased and the number of female customers has increased.
"We sell meals at daytime and alcohol at nighttime. We also decided to serve tea and confectioneries. It was Lionel's advice."
"Were the beard and clothes also Lionel's idea?"
"Something like that, because he said that this makes more money-- I don't really care about my looks though."
"No, it suits you"
"It looks very nice, Kynmerick-san."
Celica also praised him from the bottom of her heart.

Kynmerick shyly stroked his cheek.
"It's embarrassing to be told that by a beautiful woman. Well, thank you. --So, how was it, the west? There was quite the uproar when the dragon came to the castle."
"Ah, that was..."
I told him about everything that happened while concealing the parts that couldn't be disclosed. Celica occasionally supplemented.

Kynmerick let out sounds of admiration while he gently stroked his trimmed beard.


--Then.
Minya came out of the kitchen.
She wore a white apron over the Miko clothes. It goes well with the slender legs, that are extending from her short, black skirt.

She served tea and pancakes without any unnecessary movements.
"Here. I brought tea and sweets"
"Thank you"
"It looks delicious"
Celica smiled and elegantly took a bite.

I also drank some tea because I got thirsty from talking. The refreshing fragrance moisturized my throat.
The pancakes weren't really big, but the dried fruits, that were mixed into them were sweet.
"It's delicious"
"Is that so"
Minya expressionlessly went to the table where Lapisia was sitting at, but her tail was joyfully swinging.


Kynmerick suddenly raised his voice.
"Ah, that's right. We got a report, that the residence at the village is ready."
"Perfect timing."

"Also, let's see... ah, it seems that the merchant Driad wants to talk to you."
"Hmm-- He still hasn't paid back the money I lent him and I wanted to meet him as well. Shall I meet him somewhere?"
"No, he should come soon. He comes every three days to see how Lionel is doing."
"I see. It might've been his father's request"
"He also delivers goods from Doruas to me."
Kynmerick laughed. It seems that he found a business opportunity. That's nice.


A voice came from the inn's entrance.
"Heeey, Kynmerick-san, I brought the usual things."
"Ah, sorry for all the time-- and, here's someone who was looking for you..."

When I turned around, Driad was standing in the entrance.
"Ah, Hero-sama... I wanted to meet you"
"It's been a while, Driad."

Driad came to the counter and sat down next to me.
"I'd also like a tea please, Kynmerick-san".
"Yes"
Kynmerick returned to the kitchen.


Driad lowered his head to me.
"Sorry for not contacting you until now."
"Did something happen?"
"The high speed transportation is going really well and here is the dividend for this month-- sorry that it's somewhat late."
Driad took a pouch from his pocket and took out 18 big gold coins from the inside.

"That's everything?"
"No, but that's all I have at the moment. There are the income from the swimsuits and the booth at the Keika Beach. Also I'm now making 5 trips each day with the high speed transportation ship for twice the charge. But because the Naga increased, I had to buy equipment..."
"There should be 35 or 36 by now, right?"
"Yes. At the moment, about half of them are left over even if I include the guards at the Keika Beach. It feels like quite the waste..."
"Hm..."
I was pondering.


Kynmerick brought the tea and served it to Driad.
Driad sighs while he took a sip.
"So the ship can't make any more trips..."

A sudden idea flashed in my mind.
"How about adding some local transportation?"
"What do you mean?"
"Currently, you're just offering a direct trip between Doruas and the Capital, right? So how about adding some stops at the cities in between."

"I, I see! I should be able to expand the market by using the river to ship crops along the way. I can also transport fresh vegetables."
"The direct trip will have red headbands and red ships. The local ships blue headbands and blue hulls."
"A color code! That should avoid any confusion for the customers! As expected of you, Keika-san!"
--Well, it's a rip-off of Japanese trains.


"It might be good to make a route further to the north of the capital as well."
"That sounds good. I can get marble and wood from the city Kuryuu that lies at the northern end of the big river."
--And as the number of customers increases, the name of Hero Keika should further spread as well.
However, we'll have to first construct new ships for the Naga, so I have to postpone the collection of the investments again.

"The north... There is a large river to the east of my village if I remember correctly."
The river curves to the northeast from the capital.
"Is that so."
"It might also increase the number of people who come to my village"
"The village was about half a day to the north from the capital, right? Maybe I should also try to invest there if there is a route."
"Please do so. And don't forget to spread the name of Hero Keika."


Driad strongly nods.
"Maybe we should rename it to 'Hero Keika Transportation'. Quite a few people might be afraid when the Naga increase."
"I see. They should have a peace of mind if it is named after a hero. Let's do this. You can leave the dividends at this inn for the time being."
"Very well. I'll immediately arrange for that. -- Well then, I'm off"
He drank up in one gulp, placed a silver coin on the counter and went out at a quick pace.
He seems to be a businessman through and through. I could entrust it to him.

"Celica, please take the money."
"Yes, Keika-sama"
Celica collected the big gold coins and put them into the bag at her waist.


Lionel came.
"Keika-san. I prepared the rooms. You have the usual room on the third floor. Your companions have the room next to it and Melvius and his wife have a small room on the second floor.
"That's very thoughtful. Thank you."
Lionel laughed shyly when I praised him.
"I was taught by master after all. Please take a good rest."
I nodded and turned back to the cake and tea.