In the dungeon surveillance room―――
So, Elibel decides to return to the lab to get in touch with her.
Yes, with her———Léna-Lloyd.
Léna-Lloyd Reynolds is the head of one of the Three Great Noble Families of the Borhelic Kingdom, and one of the few acquaintances Elibel knew “before death.”
At first glance, she looks like any other plain woman wearing glasses.
The word “ordinary” couldn’t fit her appearance any better.
But she’s far from ordinary. With the ominous moniker of “witch,” she boasts combat abilities that are said to rival those of Elibel at her peak. It’s rumored she even beat up Wald. A dragon-slayer.
Furthermore, her intellect is as formidable as her strength. She came up with the idea of using the Vajra for a surprise attack in the recent fight against the Death Dragon.
At first glance, she seems incredibly competent.
However, it appears she’s somewhat disappointing in a way that cancels out her abilities.
Rumor has it, she’s taken being a loner too far.
But that’s beside the point.
Unlike Elibel, she’s not “dead,” yet she’s lived for over two hundred years.
How is that possible? What exactly is she?
Even Elibel doesn’t seem to know much about her.
She says, “If you ask, she’ll tell you,” but she’s never been particularly interested to inquire about her background.
『I’d think that’s something you’d be curious about… but she seemed off-putting』
Elibel muses with a grimace when she talks about her.
When asked why she dislikes her so much, Elibel simply says, “Just because.”
According to her, they’re hopelessly incompatible.
Yet, it seems Léna-Lloyd is quite fond of Elibel.
Though Elibel gets angry when that’s mentioned.
From the very first moment they met, it was clear she was wary of me.
…Could she be a lesbian? I wouldn’t know anything about same-sex love.
Anyway, I’m waiting for a call from Elibel.
So, let’s put the matter of “Thunder Slash” on hold.
I don’t like overthinking things.
Yeah, on hold, on hold.
Well then, maybe I’ll make a golem after a long while.
What should I make?
If I had some of the strange materials from the aberrations we fought in the imperial capital, I could make a new golem, but unfortunately, they all vanished.
I want to try something new.
…I can’t think of any good ideas.
Alright, I might as well go for a walk in the dungeon for a change of pace.
If I move my body, maybe a good idea will come to me.
So, off I go.
Eh? Don’t you usually go outside for a walk?
Haha, I really don’t understand what you mean by that.
And so, I roam around the dungeon.
It feels like it’s been a while since I’ve done this.
It’s only been a month since the fight with the Death Dragon, but it feels like it’s been over half a year since I last returned to this dungeon.
…No, it’s just my imagination.
For now, I’ll head to the training ground.
When I arrive at the training ground, I hear the sounds of battle.
Looking over, I see Ann and Rasetu engaged in a mock fight.
I don’t want to interrupt, so I hide and watch.
「…Now, here I go!! …indeed.」
It’s not just sound effects.
Let me explain.
First off, when Rasetu swings his sword, the ground splits open for over twenty meters.
What is that? Some kind of vacuum slash?
And these attacks keep coming, one after another, gouging and erasing the ground in an instant.
But Ann, she dodges it effortlessly.
She flows into a counter-attack, and Rasetu narrowly evades each time.
Hold on a sec.
Rasetsu, why are you changing directions in mid-air like it’s no big deal?
And hey, you were definitely kicking through the air to move just now, weren’t you?
How does that work?
Did the Earth Dragon materials have that kind of function?
Rasetu is a golem homunculus made from my full-body armor.
His basic specs are far higher compared to the others.
So, maybe it’s not so strange that he can do that… right?
Whoosh, whoosh, whoosh!
Wait a minute, that’s odd.
I see multiple Rasetus.
…Oh, afterimages. Ha ha, that’s amazing…
Swoosh! Swoosh! Swoosh!
Hey, how many feints was that now?
It’s incredible, the numbers just keep increasing.
And they keep getting faster.
Ha ha, unbelievable.
But Ann sees through the afterimages and lands a precise attack on Rasetu’s real body.
What? She can actually see him?
The armor Ann is wearing, that must be the Ragin-empowered armor she mentioned before.
It’s made of Ritual Stone, right?
That’s the one with the ridiculous ability to nullify magic.
That’s seriously impressive…
And it’s not just nullifying magic; it seems to boost her sheer physical strength too.
Because I can see Ann’s figure blurring as well.
The clanging and clashing sounds keep coming!
Swoosh, swoosh, swoosh!!!
And then a thunderous slam!!!
Every time the two of them move, there’s a sound like something is shattering.
…Are they breaking the sound barrier?
Is that a sonic boom?
Is that kind of speed the norm here?
That’s something I’d only see when I’m in my specialized speed state as an Earth Dragon golem…
Ann and Rasetu, when it comes to close combat, they’re undeniably the strongest among my subordinates.
Even I, in my Earth Dragon golem form, would have a hard time against them.
「Wow, go Ann, go Rasetu!」
A little distance away, Tres and Pururu are watching the fight.
Pururu looks incredibly cute nestled in Tres’s arms.
This is such a soothing scene after a long while…
「That’s amazing, huh, Pururu?」
「What did you just say? ‘Maybe, just maybe, I could handle that much too’? Wow, Pururu, you’re amazing too.」
「Yeah, amazing, amazing! Pururu, you’re so cool!」
…I definitely heard something, but let’s pretend I didn’t.
Yeah, Pururu is plenty cute just as she is.
While I’m musing over this, Ann and Rasetu seem to be gearing up for their finishing moves.
Ann is in her weaponized form, her armor gathering towards her sword.
Rasetu, what’s that? His sword is glowing golden.
Did the Earth Dragon’s sword have that function?
The magic power of both distorts the space around them, filling the training ground with an incredible light…
Wait a minute—hold up!
This is bad!
If they use those moves, the training ground will be destroyed!
The dungeon! The dungeon will be damaged!
And we just got it fixed!
『Hey! You two, stop—』
I lean forward and shout, but they’re so focused, they can’t hear me!
No, no, no, wait aaaaaaah!
Well, that’s that.
I think it’s great that my subordinates are getting stronger every day.
I decided to act as if I didn’t see what happened at the training ground and made a quick exit.
By the way, the result was a double knockdown.
It seems Gijie and the drawing mannequins will finish repairing the training ground in two days.
Apparently, this kind of thing happens all the time.
I resume my stroll through the dungeon.
Along the way, I bump into Gonzo the rhino and Tsumugi.
Gonzo, with Tsumugi perched on his head, is running around, and he’s gotten even bigger.
He’s about the size of a large truck now.
Is he still a rhino, or has he become a dinosaur?
After the fight with the death dragon, his body grew rapidly to this size.
Looks like we might need to expand the dungeon.
By the way, the drawing mannequins and the Animal types have also grown.
The Animal types have gotten larger and more distinctive, while the drawing mannequins have become more refined and human-like.
I guess they all grew through that battle.
It’s more like evolution than growth, but let’s put that aside for now.
It’s supposed to be a good thing that the dungeon is getting stronger.
…But why is everyone growing so fast?
I’ve molted a few times since the fight with the death dragon, but nothing special happened.
Plus, lately, I’ve been sleeping like a rock.
『Well, I’ll ask Elibel about it later.』
Time to continue my walk.
Just as I start walking again―――
『―――Earth, it’s terrible!!』
A voice echoes in my head.
Direct thought transmission doesn’t work anymore, but apparently, through Gijie, she can still use a limited form of thought transmission inside the dungeon.
Has something happened?
『What’s going on, Elibel? Why the panic?』
『Just come to the surveillance room quickly!』
She’s not her usual composed self.
I immediately use a nearby teleportation gates to move to the surveillance room.
Entering the surveillance room, I’m struck dumb by what I see.
Displayed before me is a view from outside the dungeon.
It’s the mansion of that woman, Léna-Lloyd Reynolds.
A Renaissance-style edifice, symmetrically constructed.
If this were Earth, my previous world, it would probably be registered as a tangible cultural heritage site for its grandeur.
And that mansion is―――
Yeah, the image on the screen shows Léna-Lloyd’s mansion engulfed in flames.
Black smoke rises from various points, and the spreading fire isn’t just consuming the building; it’s devouring the surrounding trees in the garden as well.
What’s going on here?
The screen also shows many people who look like knights and nobles.
But they’re not attempting to fight the fire at all.
Instead, they’re armed and vigilantly watching the mansion burn down.
This implies they’re the ones who orchestrated this scene.
『Elibel, what’s this footage…?』
「My undead units are relaying their visual feed… It’s happening in real time, not recorded.」
But this looks just like…
「A rebellion, I suppose.」
Elibel voices the very thought that flickers through my mind.
「Ever since that damn hag became prime minister, the country’s reputation has plummeted. It was only a matter of time before this happened… but still…」
Elibel mutters in disbelief.
And I can’t blame her.
It’s hard to believe someone as overwhelmingly powerful as Lena Lloyd would allow a rebellion to happen so easily.
She should have the power to face down a country single-handedly, just like Elibel did in her heyday.
「There must have been something… Though I doubt that old hag would die from something like this.」
Elibel scratches her silver hair and sighs.
This complicates getting in touch with her.
And she was such a good lead, too.
『What do we do?』
「There’s not much to do now. My undead units have already spread out around the mansion to stay hidden from the humans. We have to find that old hag at any cost.」
Even without my personal stake, Léna-Lloyd is an acquaintance of Elibel.
I hope she’s safe.
And I owe her for the time with the death dragon.
It’d be a nasty wake-up call if she were to die.
『That’s right, she’s an important lead. Is there anything I can do? I want to help.』
Hearing my offer, Elibel’s face breaks into a slight smile.
「Fufu, thanks. Then let’s get to it. Earth, we’re heading to the lab!」
Elibel must be worried about her, despite her complaints.
I activate the teleportation gate to move to the lab.
That’s when it happens.
『―――Urgent report. A person requesting an audience at the entrance of the Eld Desert Dungeon. I repeat. A person is requesting an audience at the entrance of the Eld Desert Dungeon.』
Gijie’s announcement rings out.
What now, in the midst of all this chaos?
「Who could it be at this critical time?!」
Elibel’s irritation is palpable.
But yeah, this timing is the worst.
Who could it be…?
『―――Answer. The person claims to be Léna-Lloyd Reynolds.』
Just when we were about to start looking for her, causing such a fuss…
Wait a minute?
Did I hear that right?
『―――Answer. Léna-Lloyd Reynolds is requesting an audience.』
It wasn’t a mistake.
Elibel and I are in perfect sync with our disbelief.
Léna-Lloyd: “R-Rugios! There’s nothing wrong, right? No bed hair or anything with my clothes! Oh, wait! I forgot the souvenirs for Eli! What should I do? What’s the best move here?! Ah, damn! Was a surprise visit too ambitious?!”
Rugios: “……..Sigh… (This is why she’s a loner.)”
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