Chapter 12 – I Became Acquainted With Grandpa Reindeer
I flew up from the Exceed Cruiser and landed on Mahoros Island.
A short distance away from me was an old man with antlers like reindeer. His wrinkled face was covered with a gentle smile, giving him the air of a good-natured old man.
The old man approached me, waving his right hand in the air.
“Oh, you have come well! It’s a long way to this place, isn’t it?”
He seemed very friendly…
If I were to use an analogy, it would be like an old man welcoming his grandchildren back home.
At least, I don’t get the impression that he is hostile.
“You already have the arrogant dragon in your place, don’t you? I, like her, was born as a human being, albeit a calamity. I usually hide my horns when I go out on the town.”
The old man patted himself on the head. As soon as he tapped his head, the antlers shrank and were hidden by his fluffy gray hair.
When he tapped his head again, the antlers grew in the opposite direction this time.
It was quite a strange thing to see.
As I gazed at the antlers, the old man said.
“Well, first of all, let me introduce myself. I am the Faraway Lazy Dragon, and I often use the name Tidal in public.”
A lazy dragon and Tidal. It sounds like a pun, but it is easy to remember. [T/n: Taida (怠惰) means Lazy in Japanese.]
Above all, the somewhat relaxed sense of naming matched the old man’s friendly atmosphere.
I nodded my head in understanding.
Then, let me introduce myself next.
“My name is Kou Kousaka, and I am a D-rank adventurer.”
“Umu, of course, I know who you are. You are a [Transmigrator] who possesses the three powers of the “Hero,” the “Demon King,” and the “Sage,” and also has the power of [Creation], aren’t you?”
“…You know a lot, don’t you?”
When I replied with some surprise, Tidal smiled cheerfully and told me.
“This Lazy dragon has a unique ability called [Thousand-Mile Sleep], which allows me to see and hear various things in the past and the present by sleeping.”
“You mean that you have grasped me with the power of [Thousand-Mile Sleep]?”
“That’s right. Of course, I also know why you came to Mahoros Island. You are investigating the ancient ruins, right?”
“Yes. I heard that the pirates took an ancient weapon from here.”
“That is correct. Mahoros Island is a place with which I have a deep connection, and it was a real surprise when I came back after a long absence to find that the ruins had been razed to the ground by pirates.”
Tidal sighed sorrowfully.
The gesture was so human-like that he didn’t seem like a calamity at all.
“I am grateful to you, Kou-dono. You did a great job of beating up those pirates. I was thrilled when I watched you in the [Thousand-Miles of Sleep]. Kakakakaka!”
Tidal laughed with genuine amusement and clapped me on the shoulder.
His behavior was exactly like that of a “cheerful old man.”
“I’d like to show you around the ruins of this island if you wouldn’t mind as a thank-you.”
I decided to return to the Exceed Cruiser with Tidal.
Before I could ask him to show me around the ancient ruins, I had to introduce him to everyone.
Tidal also seemed to be able to fly, so we headed back to the ship, both of us floating in the air together.
“Even so, your ship is magnificent. Just looking at it makes my sailor’s blood boil.”
“Were you a sailor before?”
“It was a long time ago.”
Tidal suddenly looked nostalgic and said.
“As I said before, I was born a human being. I did not know that I was a calamity, but I worked diligently as a sailor and tried to be happy like anyone else. But…”
“Was there an incident?”
“That was when I was eighteen years old. The ship I was on capsized, and when I was on the verge of death, that was the moment I remembered that I was a calamity. Since then, I’ve been traveling around, away from home.”
Despite his words, Tidal looked somewhat sad.
His gaze is directed across the sea in the direction of… Fort Port.
But he eventually shook his head to shake off the sentiments and grinned.
“Sorry for the gloomy talk. Kakakaka!”
“No, I don’t mind.”
While we were talking, we approached the Exceed Cruiser.
I went down to the ship’s deck and introduced Tidal to Iris and the others.
It didn’t take long for them to lower their guard, probably due to Leticia being a precedent as a “human-born calamity.”
“I’m Irisnote Fafnir. You can call me Iris. Nice to meet you, Tidal-san.”
“I am Lily Luna Lunaria. I am accompanying Kou-san as the [God of War’s Shrine Maiden].”
“I’m Dest. Welcome to the Exceed Cruiser.”
“I am Surara! Grandpa, your antlers are so cool! You look so strong!”
“The only reason I look strong is because of my appearance. To be honest, I doubt I could even beat a Lonely Wolf, kakakakaka!”
No, no, no, wait a minute.
How can a calamity be weaker than a Lonely Wolf?
As I tilted my head, Leticia opened her mouth.
“Indeed, it seems that Tidal-sama has lost most of his power as a calamity now. …I am Leticia di Meteor, also known as “The Brilliant and Arrogant Dragon.” Pleased to meet you.”
“Oh, I know you from [Thousand-Miles Sleep]. You are looking for your brother, aren’t you? Have you found his whereabouts?”
“I have a pretty good idea where he is, don’t worry. …May I ask you about the reason why you lost your powers?”
“Of course. It’s quite simple, though.”
With that said, Tidal cleared his throat.
“As the name implies, the lazy dragon gains its power by being lazy. But I’ve been very busy these past few days. I’ve had minimal sleep.”
“In short, you are saying that you are too fatigued to exert yourself?”
“Yes, you are right, Kou-dono. I would need three years of sleep to recover to my full potential.”
Tidal nodded in response to my words.
“I am fine with just spending my days in peace and quiet. I’m not interested in power. I just want to be able to protect myself.”
“Are you sure you don’t intend to act as a calamity?”
“Of course not. I’m a lazy dragon; there is no way I would do such a troublesome thing. Kakakaka!”
Tidal laughed cheerfully.
Now that the greetings are over, it’s time to head for the ruins.
I called out to Dest and asked him to move the Exceed Cruiser.
“Well then, we’re off!”
“I’m counting on you!”
The sound of the engine’s drive echoed as the ship entered the cave below the cliff.
The cave’s ceiling was like a stalactite cave, and it was quite impressive.
There was a huge gate at the back.
The Orichalcum Rox and the unmanned assault cruisers that accompanied it must have left the island from here.
Beyond the gate was a ship’s dock.
Or should I say, the wreckage of the dock?
Everywhere was so badly destroyed that barely anything remained of the dockyard.
The site was in such a state of disrepair that it could not have been caused by weather over the years alone.
When I said this, Tidal looked down with sadness in his eyes.
“The pirates have been raiding the ruins and even stealing ships. As you know, the Orichalcum Rox is a weapon with terrible power. And I never thought they would target Fort Port… That city is my birthplace.”
I was surprised, but at the same time, I was convinced.
I guessed that Tidal was thinking of his hometown when he gazed in the direction of Fort Port earlier.
We then chose a spot on the dock with the least amount of damage and disembarked from the Exceed Cruiser.
“Yes! Let me know when you’re ready to return.”
I nodded at Dest’s words, and then I activated my [Item Box].
A magic circle floated on the sea’s surface, and the Exceed Cruiser was sucked into it.
Tidal rolled his eyes at the sight.
“Kou-dono, that was…”
“It’s an [Item Box]. It has unlimited capacity, and a ship of that size can be freely inserted and removed.”
This explanation has become somewhat of a standard.
Thinking this, I looked at Tidal, who, for some reason, had his arms folded and a thoughtful expression on his face.
“What’s the matter, Tidal-sama?”
When Leticia called out to him, Tidal suddenly came to his senses, smiled a good-natured smile, and said.
“No, no, no, I was just a bit dazed. I’ve been busy the past few days restoring the ruins, which were ravaged by pirates. Those guys are so good to make me, a lazy dragon, clean up after them. At this point, I’m tempted to call myself a ‘dried-up, overworked dragon.’ Kakakaka!”
This dragon had a look that was very common in Japan…
My co-workers and I all worked with dead eyes, and I think our company was a den of dried-up, overworked dragons.
Aside from this personal experience, Tidal’s loss of power as a lazy dragon was probably due to the fact that he was working on repairs to the ruins facility.
“Grandpa Tidal, are you alright?”
Surara called out to him with concern.
“If you’re tired, I can give you a massage.”
“Oh, you’re so kind, Surara-chan. I’ll ask you to give me a massage someday.”
Tidal replied and began to walk slowly.
“Well, this way. Follow me closely, so you don’t get lost.”
Tidal led the way as we walked through the ruins.
The pirates had raided not only the ship’s dock but also the corridors and rooms along the way, making it look as if a storm had passed through.
“They are really reckless… I wonder if they don’t know the difference between adding and subtracting.”
Iris muttered sadly, and next to her, Lily nodded her head.
“I am so glad that the pirates were caught.”
I agree with her.
Dox and his crew had acquired the weapons of an ancient civilization and were intoxicated by their power.
They were looting and destroying everywhere, and many people could have been killed.
It was meaningful to have prevented that from happening.
After walking through the ruins for a while, we eventually arrived at a very large room.
The atmosphere was similar to that of an airport control room.
A large monitor was attached to the front wall, and the screen was divided into three sections. On the upper left was a map of the surrounding area, on the upper right a schematic diagram of the volcano, and on the lower half a graph of complex waveforms.
Looking down, there were several shiny, glowing machines like the ones we had seen in the control room of Orichalcum Rox.
What in the world is this room for?
As I wondered, Tidal turned to me and began to explain.
“Kou-dono, you know there is a volcano on Mahoros island, right?”
“Yes. …I saw smoke coming out of the crater earlier.”
“Then that makes it easy to talk about. There is a magic formula under the island to suppress volcanic eruptions, and the equipment to control it is gathered here.”
Tidal looked around at the machines.
“The pirates are really quite indiscriminate. They are destroying every piece of equipment in this room. That’s why we’ve had more earthquakes lately and smoke has been coming out of the crater.”
“…If the equipment is broken, doesn’t that mean there’s a danger of an eruption?”
“Kakakakaka, there is nothing to worry about.”
Tidal assured me with a confident smile.
“I’ve been up all night repairing the equipment. The magic formula is functioning properly, and the smoke from the crater should dissipate sooner or later.”
…I wonder if this is true.
Rush construction without proper rest is very prone to problems.
When I was in Japan, there were many times when I led a “fire-fighting team*” to extinguish a fire. [T/n: The fire fighting team is like a term for when he worked at the IT company in Japan to solve a problem that might arise immediately.]
The sense of smell I had developed through that experience alerted me to the situation.
Iris quietly whispered in my ear.
“I have a bad feeling about this…”
“What a coincidence. Me too.”
I nodded in a hushed voice.
That’s when it happened.
An alert sounded, and suddenly there was a huge earthquake.
My feet were shaking violently.
I often learned in school that… you should hide under your desk when an earthquake occurs, but unfortunately, there was no place around us where we could hide.
Moreover, the ruins themselves were in danger of collapsing.
I shouted as quickly as I could.!
“Yes, I know!”
Just by calling her name, Iris knew what I was thinking.
She took out her Dragon God shield and deployed a barrier to surround all of us.
After a while, the shaking stopped, but a second or third earthquake might come.
“Iris, please keep the barrier in place.”
I checked my surroundings as I called out to her.
Nothing seemed to have fallen or toppled over.
The graph on the lower half of the screen fluctuated wildly. There was a sense of danger in the air.
“Master-san, we are in trouble!”
I looked at Surara, who was perched on a nearby machine with a serious expression on his face.
“I’ve accessed the system at the ruins, and it looks like the volcano is getting very active! It may erupt soon!”
With Surara’s voice, the monitor in front of us blacked out.
The number “120:02” appeared in the upper right corner, and the countdown began.
What will happen when the number reaches zero?
It is ominous.
“This number is the estimated time until the eruption.”
Surara said, his eyes fixed on the monitor.
“It may actually be sooner, but… the volcano will erupt within two hours from now.”
“What did you say…?”
Tidal’s voice was mournful, and he covered his wrinkled face with his right hand.
He was so shocked that he fell to his knees.
“Don’t tell me there’s something wrong with my repair work…?”
“No, you didn’t.”
Surara consoled him.
“The equipment is fixed, and the technique is working. But the volcanic activity seems to be more active than ever. …There have been some unusual events happening all over the world recently, and this may be one of them.”
But… Surara continued.
“If the device had remained broken, the volcano would have erupted earlier. But thanks to Grandpa’s efforts to fix it, nothing happened until we got here.”
“So Tidal’s work was not in vain.”
I said this, and Tidal, who had been feeling disappointed, looked up.
“I’m sorry to have bothered you, Kou-dono. I’m fine now.”
“I’m just telling you the truth. …By the way, Surara, do you know what the damage will be when the volcano erupts?”
“Wait a minute. I’ll put the information on the monitor in front of you.”
A beep sounded, and a map appeared on the screen.
In the upper left corner was Mahoros Island, and in the lower right corner was the coastal terrain centered on the city of Fort Port.
“If the volcano erupts, the entire surface of the island will be coated in magma, and I don’t know if these ruins will be safe…”
What’s more… Surara continued.
His tone is completely different from his usual one, and he is very serious.
“Fort Port is also in danger, although it is a long way from the island. The damage could be devastating.”
“Because of the earthquake and tsunami?”
“Yes. You’ve got it all figured out, Master-san.”
Surara sounded impressed.
This is knowledge I got from TV. In Japan, earthquakes and tsunamis caused by volcanic activity are rare. However, they do occur with some frequency overseas, and the number of victims is not small.
Perhaps this is a similar case.
“I’ll put the projected extent of damage on the monitor.”
Around the time Surara said this, the lower part of the map was painted bright red.
The entire city of Fort Port was included in the area.
“Although the Landscape Pavilion where we were staying is on high ground, there is a strong possibility that the tsunami will engulf the entire city, including that place…”
Surara’s words took my breath away.
If even the Landscape Pavilion was unsafe, there was no choice but to flee inland.
“We need to get back to Fort Port as soon as possible and call for the evacuation of the people of the city…”
“But will we make it in time…?”
While listening to Leticia and Lily’s conversation on the side, I turn my gaze to the upper right corner of the monitor.
The countdown to the eruption was at 116:08, and at that moment, I felt a small tremor in my step.
I braced myself so as not to fall, and for a moment, my gaze wandered away from the monitor.
I looked at the monitor again and saw “86:56” in the upper right corner.
Wait a minute.
Aren’t the numbers jumping too quickly?
I looked next to me and saw that Iris also had a puzzled expression on her face.
“Hey, Kou. The countdown time just suddenly dropped, didn’t it?”
“Yeah. What’s going on, Surara?”
I asked him that, and he answered with an apologetic look on his face.
“I’m sorry, Master-san. That was the estimated time remaining before the eruption, so it could change depending on the situation…”
So it’s just an estimate.
Even if the countdown was correct, the time limit was less than an hour and a half away.
Considering that it took two hours to get from Fort Port to Mahoros Island, even if we return at full speed now, the evacuation will not be completed in time. The earthquake and tsunami will destroy the city.
The only way is to stop the eruption itself if we want to reduce the damage to zero.
What comes to mind is the people who live in Fort Port.
After the pirate extermination, many people came to my place and thanked me for my work.
They started to lift their arms in the air, and it was like a day of festivities.
…To be honest, I didn’t feel bad about it.
It’s nice when people appreciate what you’ve done, isn’t it?
It wasn’t exactly a way to return the favor, but…
I want to protect the people who live in Fort Port.
I don’t want to leave anyone behind.
I’m a real softy myself. But this is who I am.
Everywhere I’ve gone, I’ve tried to save everyone I see.
So I’m sure I will continue to do the same in the future.
I affirm that answer.
As long as you are you, [Full Assist] will spare no expense to help you.
I heard a voice in my head.
It was inorganic, as usual, but unlike usual, it was filled with something like emotion.
Currently, with the cards in Kou Kousaka’s hand, it is not possible to stop the eruption of the volcano.
The city of Fort Port will be destroyed, and many people will lose their lives.
What is needed to change the future is to create a new hand.
In the time you have left, please look for materials for [Creation].
You can do it ── no, we can do it.
That is the conclusion of [Full Assist].