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Epilogue – I Returned To The City of Aunen
After a few days, the safety of the area around Aunen was confirmed, and the residents returned to the city.
However, it seemed that life in the underground city was very comfortable, and the people seemed to regret leaving.
“This place is better to live in than Aunen, isn’t it? There are also the Helper Slimes…”
“When I go back, I’ll have to do all the housework again…”
“I wonder if I could move here in my old age. It’s so nice and relaxing to live here.”
Judging from these responses, it would be a good idea to sell the residential areas of the underground city as lots. It would be a solution to the overpopulation problem in Aunen, and it might kill two birds with one stone.
In the absence of the residents, the city of Aunen was protected by the Destroyer Golem, but it seemed that the mercenary guild had come to cause trouble.
“Master, please don’t worry. The mercenaries were all defeated. Would you like to see the video record?”
The Destroyer Golem’s left eye is a video camera-like magic tool that vividly records the mercenaries’ crimes. The faces could be seen perfectly. I plan to submit this video to the lord later. The mercenary guild will be dealt with severely.
Aside from that, thanks to the Destroyer Golem, the city of Aunen looked almost exactly the same as before, and the residents were pleased. …It was nice that they were happy, but I was surprised that they were planning to build a statue of the Destroyer Golem and me.
Please don’t do that.
As for me, I’d rather not. At least just the Destroyer Golem will do.
“That won’t work. I’m just following Master’s orders.”
…Well, I’ll politely decline the statue.
About ten days after the residents returned to Aunen, a victory party was held when the city had finally regained its footing.
The venue was the fountain square in the center of the city, with stalls and tents lined up all over the place, all of which were crowded with people. Most of the residents seemed to be participating in the event, making it feel like a festival.
At the back of the square, a makeshift stage had been set up, and Chief Zitan was giving the opening speech.
“Thanks to the work of Kou-kun and Iris-kun, we were able to overcome a major crisis! In honor of both of them… cheers!”
The shouts echoed loudly under the blue sky. Of course, the guest of honor at the victory party was Iris and me.
Immediately after the party started, we were surrounded by adventurers, and we were in a frenzy of excitement.
“You did a great job again this time, Bear Killer! No, you killed a dragon, so it’s the Dragon Slayer!”
“Drink up, drink up! You are the star of the show today!”
“Hey, Kou-chi, Kou-chi, good work! Yes, cheers!”
The blonde-haired adventurer seemed to have already had a drink and enjoyed herself with a ten-fold increase in tension.
After that, not only the adventurers but also various other people approached me.
Milia, Chief Zitan, the old man of the Golden Bear Restaurant, the foreman of the expansion project, the Dwarves in the workshop, etc.
As night fell and the victory party was drawing to a close, the merchant Chrome-san called out to me.
“It’s been a long time, Kou-sama. Thank you very much for protecting the city. You have been just as good as I expected, or even better.”
“Um… well, thank you very much. But I think I was just lucky.”
When I look back, I can see that in much of this battle I was aided by coincidence.
For example, if Iris hadn’t brought up the subject of ancient civilizations, I wouldn’t have discovered the underground city. And when the Black Dragon returned, I don’t think we could have won without Gram or the Dragon God’s shield.”
Or what if I hadn’t gotten the Spirit Ring from Milia?
In the end, the [Spirit Blessing] would not have been activated, and both Iris and I would have been burned by the heat rays.
When I think about it, I feel like the only reason I could beat the Black Dragon was because I was lucky.
I’ve been thinking about this inwardly, and then Chrome-san told me with a serious expression.
“As I mentioned before, pulling a good card is completely different from using a good card. And those who can use a good card will be able to get a better deal. …You could say that fate is on your side.”
“Does that mean that luck is part of my ability?”
“That’s a nice phrase, exactly that. Kou-sama was able to pull off miracles and accomplish great things by using his good cards. That is something to be proud of. Please have confidence in yourself. I’ll be looking forward to your future endeavors.”
After saying that, Chrome-san left.
I guess luck is one of my strengths. I didn’t understand this when I was in modern Japan, but now I understand a little more.
Maybe I can admit that to myself a little more.
After the victory party, I decided to walk Iris home.
“…It was fun, but it was hard work.”
Since we were both guests of honor, we were busy talking to people anyway.
It would be an extravagant wish to enjoy drinks and meals a little more comfortably… wouldn’t it?
“If you don’t mind, do you want to go out tomorrow?”
That sounds like a good idea.
“If I had to give it a name, I would call it the “victory celebration party (?).”
Neither Iris nor I had any particular plans, so we decided to meet at the fountain square at 6 p.m. tomorrow.
The place was “Silver Stag Restaurant,” a small restaurant that Iris had shown me around before. It has a relaxed atmosphere and is a good place to spend a leisurely evening.
“We arrived at Iris’s house when we had reached an agreement.”
“Then, I’ll see you later. Good night.”
“Yeah, see you later.”
Iris saw me off, and I left the place. When I returned to my room at the inn, I immediately felt sleepy. I lay down on the bed to take a rest, and then I lost consciousness.
Apparently, I was so tired that I finally woke up just before noon the next day.
Thanks to a good night’s sleep, I felt light-headed.
I thought I’d go out and get something to eat. I took a bath, prepared myself, and left the room.
As I was descending the stairs to the first floor, I came across a tall young man with glasses ── it was Relic.
That guy, Relic, seems awfully agitated.
“Uwaaaa! I’m sorry! I’m sorry! I missed the victory party yesterday!”
“…Speaking of which, I didn’t see you there.”
“I was actually going to show up at least, but I had too much to do…”
When I looked closely, I saw that Relic had dark circles under his eyes. His hair was shaggy, and he’s obviously not sleeping well.
“What’s the matter?”
“Um… it’s a long story. Can I come to your room for a minute?”
Apparently, he wanted to keep the conversation private.
I took Relic and headed for my room. I led him to the living room on the right as we entered and sat down on the sofa facing each other.
Relic began to talk with an unusually serious expression on his face.
“I’m a professor at the Royal Academy, and I’m personally close to His Majesty the King, you know.”
I remember that I had heard such a story before.
“I’ve been exchanging letters with His Majesty from time to time, and he seems to be very interested in this case and has asked me for a detailed report.”
“Did you have to stay up all night to make the report?”
“Yes, that’s pretty much it. I’ve also written down all the details of your activities, so you might get a prize or a medal from the country.”
“I’m looking forward to that. …By the way, Relic, can I ask you a question?”
“Yes, what is it?”
“The mention of the country reminds me, what does the lord of this place do?”
It had been about ten days since the residents had returned to Aunen. The lord must have heard about this incident.
The Great Flood and the Black Dragon.
The city was on the brink of extinction, and shouldn’t the residents at least be comforted?
…When I asked Relic about this, he answered.
“I’ve been wondering about that too. The lord of this place is named Count Maillard, but he is a serious man, and normally he would have rushed to Aunen right away. I think I’ll go to the lord’s mansion tomorrow.”
“Is it really that easy to meet him?”
“My parents’ house… the Duke of Hubert has a long-standing relationship with Maillard House. At least I don’t think they’ll turn me down. If I find anything, I’ll let you know right away.”
“Alright. I’m counting on you.”
Maybe something is happening to the lord without my knowledge.
Well, let’s just wait for further news.
Relic seemed to be going to sleep now and went back to his room.
I had a quick lunch at a nearby restaurant and decided to wander around the city until the meeting time.
“…It’s so peaceful.”
The city was enveloped in a calm atmosphere, and the people’s expressions were very cheerful. Carriages came and went in the streets, and street vendors shouted cheerfully here and there.
Cheers and applause flew every time a street performer performed a trick.
It was the same lively scene as Aunen before.
If I had been defeated by the Black Dragon, this would have been lost forever.
It may be an overstatement to say that I saved everyone’s smiles… but I’m sure I can be proud of that as an achievement.
As I was walking around the Golden Bear Restaurant, thinking about this, I happened to run into Milia.
“Hello, Kou-san! Thank you for your hard work at yesterday’s victory celebration!”
“Good work too, Milia. It’s unusual to see you here. Are you on your way home from work by any chance?”
“No, I had a town management meeting today, so I was just there. Now I’m going to go back to the Adventurer’s Guild to do my normal work. Phew…”
“It’s tough being an assistant branch manager.”
“It’s a lot of work, but it’s also very rewarding.”
Milia smiled softly. I’m sure she loves her job at the Adventurer’s Guild.
“By the way, Kou-san, I have an important announcement to make.”
“What is it?”
“I have decided to return to the guild headquarters in the royal capital in the near future.”
“You mean you’re moving there? …I’m going to miss you.”
“I’ll feel the same way, Kou-san. …So, let’s go to the capital together.”
Wait a minute.
The story is too abrupt, and I am a bit confused.
“I think you’ll receive an invitation from the Adventurer’s Guild headquarters tomorrow or the day after. They will also provide you with the money to travel to the capital, so don’t worry.”
“Invitations? Is it like a party?”
“When I reported Kou-san’s achievements to the guild headquarters, they decided to give you a big award in the royal capital. Of course, Iris-san was also invited. If your schedule allows, the three of us can go to the royal capital together. It’ll be fun!”
Milia told me that and walked away with a light step.
The royal capital, huh…
I wonder what kind of place it is.
It’s the center of the country, so I’m sure there are many good restaurants there. I’m looking forward to it.
I arrived at the fountain square at 5:50 p.m… just before the appointment, and Iris was already there.
She was not wearing her usual attire but a white, neat dress.
Iris was looking around in a somewhat nervous manner, but when she noticed my presence, she rushed over to me with a bright expression on her face.
“Kou, take care of me today.”
“Yes, me too. …I know it’s a little early, but do you want to go to the restaurant now?”
“Yes. Let’s do that.”
The Silver Stag Restaurant was about a five minute walk from here. It seemed to be empty today, and we were taken to a private room in the back.
Iris and I both ordered the restaurant’s signature dish, the “Toue Beef Stew.”
Just like last time, the beef was thick and tender. The sweetness of the beef stew soaked into our tired bodies.
“…Delicious. Just like last time, I have no complaints.”
“Come to think of it, it was in this restaurant that I told Kou about ancient civilizations, wasn’t it?”
“That brings back memories.”
With a slight chuckle, I activated the [Auto Mapping]. A translucent window appears in front of me, and a map of the area is drawn on it.
“This skill helped me to find the location of the underground city, didn’t it?”
“It’s a crazy skill to find the entrance without doing any research. I was really surprised.”
“So we actually went there and found the Orichalcum Golem.”
“Kou played a big part in that, too. If I had been alone, I never would have won.”
As a result of defeating the Orichalcum Golem, I was registered as a master of the underground city. Thanks to it, I was able to secure shelter for the people of Aunen, and I was able to obtain various items from the vault.
If any of them had been missing, the city would have been badly damaged.
“Aside from the Great Flood, the Black Dragon was a truly formidable foe. …Honestly, I wouldn’t want to fight it again.”
“I agree with you. I only want to deal with that monster once.”
If I were ever to be challenged to a rematch, I would run away with every fiber of myself. I’m not the kind of character who enjoys battling for my life.
“But there are more calamities than just the Black Dragon, aren’t there?”
The Slime in the underground city was saying that.
There are several calamities that have destroyed ancient civilizations.
“It’s also possible that the resurrection of the Black Dragon may be the catalyst for the awakening of the other calamities.”
“…When that happens, I’ll have the Black Dragon do its best with [Summoning Calamity].”
At this point, Iris had finished her stew and was wiping her mouth with a napkin when she stopped moving for a moment. She froze for a few seconds and then asked me.
“Kou, did you get another new skill?”
“I guess I haven’t explained it to Iris yet. Sorry.”
I apologized lightly and then told her about the [Summoning Calamity]. It’s a skill that was released when the Black Dragon was defeated.
It can be used to summon a defeated ‘calamity’ by consuming magic power.
An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, and a calamity for a calamity. If another calamity appeared, I would attack it with the Black Dragon.
“So you can increase the number of calamities you can summon. Could it be that Kou is the true calamity?”
“You have it all wrong. I’m just an ordinary human being.”
“Fufu, I’m just kidding.”
Iris chuckled happily.
“Whether you are a normal person or not, I know you are not a bad person.”
While we talked about that, the meal was over, and a glass of sweet wine was served instead of dessert. The wine was made from iced grapes and was very sweet yet very refreshing.
It’s the kind of wine that you can get into trouble for drinking too much of. I’ll be careful.
Iris and I continued our conversation with a glass of wine in our hands. Maybe we’re trying to make up for not being able to talk at the victory party yesterday.
The topic of conversation soon shifted to the future… about the matter of going to the capital.
“An award at the Adventurers Guild headquarters…? It’s getting awfully big, isn’t it?”
“That’s how much work we did, I guess.”
“I don’t really feel it.”
“Yeah, me neither. You never know what’s going to happen in life.”
“When I left my homeland five years ago, I didn’t expect this to happen.”
Iris muttered and let out a sigh. She seemed to be looking back at the distant past, and her crimson eyes were gazing into the distance.
“──I’ve told you before, I’ve always been treated poorly in the land of the Dragon-folk.”
“Can I ask you the reason?”
“Yes. It is a long story, but I don’t mind telling it to you.”
Then Iris began to talk about her past.
“I’ve never told you this, but I had a twin sister named Felice. She also had the [Dragon Shrine Maiden].
“…Isn’t that pretty rare?”
[Dragon Shrine Maiden] is a rare skill that appears only once every few hundred years, and it would be unthinkable for two people to own it at the same time.
“Yeah. You’re right, Kou.”
“When the twins were born, not only the parents but also the elders of the Dragon-folk were surprised.”
How should they treat the two shrine maidens?
It was on the evening of the day they turned six that they came to a conclusion. The elders spoke to Iris, Felice, and their parents.
The elders told them that Felice was the rightful priestess. It is only a coincidence that Iris has the [Dragon Shrine Maiden] because they are twins.
“They didn’t tell me any of the details, but I think it was probably based on our skills. I had [Spearmanship] in addition to [Dragon Shrine Maiden], but that girl had [Foresight].”
[Foresight] is a skill that allows you to experience future events in your dreams, and although it cannot be activated at will, its accuracy rate is over 90%. In fact, Felice seems to have been able to predict the arrival of natural disasters on numerous occasions.
“On our sixth birthday, the atmosphere in our house changed completely. My mother and father were obsessed with Felice, and I was completely ignored.”
“That’s a terrible story. Didn’t any of the other adults say anything?”
“Some people tried to warn them. But it didn’t have much effect…”
Her mother, in particular, was very arrogant, saying, “I gave birth to the shrine maidens, and you’re going to oppose me?”
After about three years of this situation, Felice and Iris were sent to live in a temple in the country.
The elders decided that it would be bad for the shrine maiden’s education to grow up with such parents.
“The treatment at the temple was not bad. As a backup in case something happened to Felice, I was trained as a shrine maiden too. That’s when I learned about the lore of the Dragon-folk.”
That is why Iris knows so much about the past.
“The next change happened six years later when I was fifteen. ──Felice died.”
“The temple was attacked by a horde of monsters. I was in a different part of the temple, so I survived, but she was…”
“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have made you talk about it.”
“No, don’t worry about it. It’s just one of the stories I wanted you to hear.”
Iris lowered her eyes for a few seconds and then looked at me again.
“Felice had a cheerful personality and was loved by many people. Everyone mourned her death. The problem was what happened afterward.”
With Felice’s death, Iris was suddenly treated as an official shrine maiden.
However, there was a great deal of opposition from the Dragon-folk, and she was heavily criticized.
“I wasn’t planning on becoming a shrine maiden at first either. …But Felice had left me a will. If something happened to her, she wanted me to fulfill the mission of a shrine maiden instead.”
There were two missions for a shrine maiden.
One was to find the Dragon God’s Shield. The other was to give the Red Jade to the [Transmigrator].
In order to fulfill this mission, the shrine maiden was required to leave the country at the age of 16.
In accordance with this rule, Iris left the land of the Dragon-folk on her next birthday.
However, it is said that she was met with strong criticism and was almost exiled.
“Originally, a shrine maiden’s journey is accompanied by three guards. In my case, they were all women, but on the third day, they all disappeared.”
“What a bunch of scumbags…”
“And then they ran away with the money for the trip, so I almost lost my mind at that time.”
But Iris didn’t give up. She decided to take the registration test at the Adventurer’s Guild that day and raise money by defeating monsters.
Fortunately, she possessed [Spearmanship] and she has never lacked training since she was a child.
She defeated one monster after another and rose to the rank of A-rank adventurer in just three years.
“How many years does it usually take to become an A-rank adventurer?”
“The average is ten years. The shortest record is two years, but I think Kou could easily break it.”
“No, I don’t think so.”
“There are a lot of conditions to be met when moving up the ranks, and there is also a promotion test for C-rank and above.”
With that in mind, I think I should work steadily on a long-term plan.
In any case, the Iris of the past continued her journey to fulfill her mission while continuing her activities as an adventurer.
In the end, she ended up here in Aunen.
“Thanks to you, I was able to fulfill my mission as a shrine maiden, and now I can finally show my face to that girl. Thank you, Kou. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
Iris smiled quietly and drank the rest of the wine from her glass.
Her face looked radiant.
“Can I ask you something?”
“What is it?”
“What is Iris going to do now? Now that your mission as a shrine maiden is over, are you going back to the land of the Dragon-folk?”
“…It’s a complicated question.”
Iris sighed as if she was troubled.
“I’ll write to them about the mission, but I’d rather not go back. …Kou, what about you? Are you going to continue to be an adventurer in Aunen?”
“No, I’m going to travel sooner or later. I want to travel around the world.”
Iris narrowed her eyes with interest.
I wondered if it was because of the alcohol that we were both drinking that her gesture seemed so sexy.
“If you don’t mind, can you take me with you?”
“I don’t mind, but… it’s almost like sightseeing; it might be boring.”
“Don’t worry. It’ll be fun.”
Compared to when I first met her, I think she’s become a different person and more expressive.
“Iris has changed too, hasn’t she?”
“Is that so? …Maybe I did.”
She nodded a few times and then lightly lowered her eyes.
“Nobody is going to help me. Nobody in this world is on my side. So I’m going to live on my own. …That’s what I’ve been thinking until recently.”
That is an extreme form of distrust for people, but it may be natural considering her circumstances.
She’s been treated poorly in the land of the Dragon-folk, and just as she set out on her journey with her sister’s dying wish, she was betrayed by the women who guard her.
It’s really a terrible story.
“But I’m not that desperate now. Thanks to Kou.”
“When I was almost killed by the Black Spider, you came to save me, didn’t you? I was really, really happy, and you saved my life again and again in so many ways. Not just my life, but my heart.”
Iris stared straight at me and said.
“I’m so happy to have met you. I hope we can stay together for the rest of our lives.”
After paying the bill, we left the Silver Stallion Restaurant.
I’m in the mood to talk some more tonight, but I’m not sure about Iris.
“About our conversation earlier, I hope you can forget it…”
Iris was red up to her ears and covered her face with her hands in embarrassment.
“It’s because of the alcohol. I slipped up in the heat of the moment and, well, you know…”
“Don’t worry. I was so drunk that I don’t remember much either.”
Actually, I remember everything, but I think it’s human nature to pretend to forget.
“What do you want to do after this? Do you want to stop by at least one more place?”
“Yes, let’s do that. I’ll leave it to Kou.”
The two of us walked down a narrow alley under the starry sky.
I was on the right, Iris was on the left.
Suddenly, the back of my left hand and the back of Iris’ right hand touched.
Iris and I kind of looked at each other and giggled.