The Judgment for the Hero Cadias, hmm?
Well, I guess among us he was the biggest victim in a way.
『But what exactly are you gonna do? I mean, you ate Cadias, right?』
I got the details from the memory transmission, so I know what happened.
While I was asleep, the other me devoured Cadias and took his power.
On top of that, he ate my previous life’s body too.
Well, I don’t really have any lingering attachments to my old body, so no big deal.
『Yeah, he’s still inside my belly right now.』
The other me pats his own stomach.
「I know, I know. I already contacted her. ‘She’ will probably come here soon」
Elibel says as she turns on her heels.
Huh? Does Elibel already know what’s going to happen?
『Where are you going?』
Don’t leave me hanging!
「I’m going to check on everyone else. I’ve made the preparations here, so there’s nothing left for me to do. It’ll be more efficient if I help the others… What’s with that lonely face?」
『Nah, it’s nothing…』
I desperately hold back saying, Tell me now!
Somehow being left alone with the other me feels awkward, but that ship sailed long ago.
「Well alright, see you later」
Elibel says and disappears through the teleportation gate.
『Nah, it’s nothing… So what’s the plan now?』
『Someone else is coming here soon, I’ll explain when she arrives.』
Tell me now! I want to yell but force it down.
『You’ll see when she gets here.』
Again I barely stop myself from shouting, Tell me now!
―――And so several minutes passed in silence.
『Oh, looks like she’s here.』
The teleportation gate in the corner lights up.
Ah finally, this awkward atmosphere can disappear.
But who could it be?
He said “she” so it must be a woman.
Which means someone like Léna-Lloyd?
We’re both reincarnators, and she has deep ties with the Demon King and Hero as well.
But the one who appeared was someone completely unexpected.
「―――Is this…inside the dungeon now?」
「….yes. Watch your step.」
「Ah, it feels strangely nostalgic to be back.」
There were three who appeared.
Two of them I recognized well.
『Una? And Dos too?』
「…papa, it’s been a while」
「I missed you, father.」
Una rushed to hug me tightly.
Though since I’ve grown so large, she can only wrap her arms around my ankles.
「Ah father’s warmth…it’s been so long…sniff」
Una buries her face against me, seemingly tearful.
I see…she really missed me――wait, what’s she smelling!?
「…I’m happy to see you again after so long too…」
Dos still has his usual stoic expression, but his voice seems livelier than normal.
Though I’m happy to see you two again as well.
But it’s too soon to celebrate this reunion.
First I need to figure out why she came here with Una and Dos.
『―――You’re Orion, right?』
The ‘Holy Ark’, Orion Karla.
The big-breasted blind sister Una and Dos were guarding in the Holy Kingdom during the Continental Congress.
Why is she here?
『Orion, thanks for coming.』
But the other me greets her as if he was expecting her arrival.
「That voice echoing in my head… Yes, you must be Earth the earth dragon. I’ve heard about you from Una and Dos. Thank you for inviting me to your dungeon.」
Orion greets him casually as well.
Huh? What’s going on here?
And wait, is she just ignoring me!?
『Alright, shall we begin, partner?』
At least explain to me!
Why is everyone around me leaving me out of the conversation!?
Is there any point in me even being here!?
『Oh right, I said I’d explain once Orion arrived.』
Finally the other me seems ready to explain.
『We’re going to use her ability “Holy Ark” to speak with the dead. That’s how we’ll fulfill Cadias’ wish.’』
My eyes open.
I slowly blink and see the familiar ceiling of the dungeon above me.
「Huh…? Didn’t I…」
Holy Dragon Elja murmurs as she slowly sits up.
「I was in the sixth area…fighting one of the Demon King army’s commanders…and then―」
A sharp pain pierces my head.
I remember. My condition right before losing consciousness.
「That’s right! I was―!?」
I bolt up and frantically check my body.
During the fight I let my guard down and was cursed, an extremely powerful one that even my purification abilities couldn’t remove.
The curse markings that had been corroding me, the agonizing pain tearing me apart from inside, all of it has vanished.
What is going on?
「―――Looks like you’re awake.」
I turn to see Elibel there.
After parting with Earth, she was brought to the deep layer’s treatment room.
「Elibel…? What is…?」
「Try focusing your senses on your body. You’ll understand then」
Doing as instructed, I concentrate my mind.
A strange discomfort comes over me.
Despite it being my own body, it feels like I’m controlling it from afar by strings.
「Is this… a substitute?」
「That’s right. And your real body is over there.」
Elibel points in a direction where I see my own body floating in a semi-transparent capsule.
Grotesque curse markings are etched all over the shapely naked body, and decay spreads across every part of the flesh.
But even more eye-catching is the orb that seems forcibly embedded in her chest.
That’s―――a magic core?
Moreover, the magical power I sense from it is on a completely different level.
The magic core in Elja’s chest pulses, and with each beat, the curse markings on her body fade bit by bit.
「…Is that magic core purifying my curse?」
Seeing that, Elja can’t help but gasp.
Purification power great enough to undo a curse even her holy dragon abilities couldn’t purge.
The tension she felt resigning herself to death instantly melts away.
「As expected of Miss Elibel. To have prepared such an amazing trump card. But staying silent about it was so cruel. I nearly died you know!」
Her hesitant response makes Elja tilt her head in confusion.
Something seems off.
What could be the matter?
Come to think of it, Elja wonders…
「By the way Miss Elibel, where did you get this magic core? For it to have such potent purifying power, the monster it came from must be…」
She trails off as her expression shifts.
Elja’s body shakes unnaturally.
She feels cold sweat pouring out impossibly.
And she arrives at the possibility.
But that can’t be.
There’s no way.
After all, that monster is still―――holding up the barrier protecting the holy land, her home.
At her murmur, Elibel nods and then―――tells her the cruel truth.
「It’s true. Holy Dragon Harsha Lude is dead. He fought Emperor Beast Agil.」
Elibel explained to Elja in detail the battle between Harsha and Agil, and the subsequent all-out fight against Earth and the others.
Surprisingly, Elja listened to it all silently.
「I see…that’s how it was.」
After hearing everything, that’s all Elja can squeeze out.
「It was because he released the ‘Holy Barrier.’ Harsha had almost no strength left. That opening allowed Agil to defeat him. …But he was still able to fight well because he had awakened as a true dragon king…」
A period of silence.
Then slowly, Elja asks,
「If I hadn’t been cursed…might Father have survived?」
「Who knows? If Harsha had continued maintaining the barrier―」
What might have happened?
It’s meaningless speculation, but Elibel considers the possibility.
If the Holy Barrier hadn’t been released, the war with the Demon King’s army would have only intensified. They would have continued pressing deeper into the dungeon, causing even more damage.
Not only that, Agil’s massive body would have likely decimated the middle layer areas. The deep layers would have suffered extensive damage as well. Some of the major subordinates may have died, and saving Elja would have been virtually impossible.
Looking at just the ‘result’―――because Harsha released the barrier, the decisive battle was moved outside to the Ford Desert, saving Earth’s dungeon and subordinates, as well as Elja’s life.
You could see it that way.
But even Elibel hesitated to say that here.
It sounds like I’m saying, thanks to your father dying, everyone else was saved.
What to do?
Elibel furrows her brow, scratching her head in thought. When―
Elja, who had kept her head lowered until now, suddenly lifts her face.
She has an incongruously bright smile.
Then she claps her hands decisively.
「I’ve decided, Miss Elibel! I will become much, much stronger! This battle made me realize how powerless I still am! So I’ll grow stronger and stronger until I surpass even Father―yes, until I become a true dragon king!」
「Once I’ve decided that, I can’t just sit around. First I must hurry and help repair the dungeon. In this substitute body I may be lacking in power, but I will assist however I can.」
「After that, I must beg your pardon, but I will need some time away. I must return to the holy land and tell the Holy Dragons and Pororo about our plans going forward. Now that Father has passed, as the new leader I must bring everyone together. Oh I’ll be so busy!」
「Once the holy land and dungeon restorations are complete, we’ll have to deal with the Demon King’s army too. What are your plans for their dungeon? Oh right, we captured the Emperor Beast and some of the captains alive, didn’t we? As expected of Master Earth, so powerful. I hope to become that strong one day―――」
Elja flinches violently when Elibel shouts.
「M-Miss Elibel, what’s wrong? Yelling so loudly all of a sudden…」
Elibel walks briskly over to Elja and firmly grasps her shoulders.
「You don’t have to force yourself to be strong.」
「What? No, what are you saying…?」
「It’s alright to not endure when you’re hurting.」
Elibel embraces Elja and gently pats her head.
「When you’re sad, it’s fine to cry into someone’s chest.」
「W-what are you saying? I’m not sad at all! And I’m not enduring anything either! Father died because he was weak―――」
「I’m not lying―――」
「I can see it. You’re forcing yourself, Elja.」
「When you’re truly hurting, don’t rush to stand up. Rely on someone, stand up slowly. It’s fine to lean on them, to let them support you. No one will blame you for that. It’s only natural.」
「The important thing is to not be ashamed of it. Otherwise you’ll keep it pent up, until one day you’ll burst out uncontrollably, and end up causing everyone even more trouble.」
―――Because that’s how I used to be, she thinks to herself.
「Well, it’s unfortunate the one comforting you is me instead of your beloved Earth, but still.」
When Elibel jokes like that,
「That’s…that’s unfair…saying something like…」
「It’s fine to be unfair. So stop forcing yourself.」
Elibel says and hugs Elja even tighter.
「Uwaa…aaa…aaaaaa!! Father! Father, I’m so―…I’m so sorry. Always being cold…this happened…I’m sor…sorry…I haven’t repaid you at all yet…I’m sorry…Father…Fatherrrrr!」
Like a dam bursting, Elja continues crying and sobbing for her father over and over as she weeps endlessly into Elibel’s chest.
「（Really, what a crappy role…）」
Comforting others isn’t my style at all.
No way is this in character for me.
But back then―――
『―――Don’t push yourself.』
『What are you talking about? I’m not pushing myself. Who do you think I am?』
『Right… My bad. But I’m pretty tired. How about we rest a bit before we do anything else?』
During the battle at the capital, when I had killed my master Rias, that idiot said that and clumsily tried to comfort me.
He didn’t blame or attack me for losing control, endangering the dungeon, and acting alone. He made lame excuses and waited until I stopped crying.
So this is returning the favor.
Since I did something stupid, the least I can do is play this ridiculous role.
Elibel stayed by Elja’s side until she cried herself to exhaustion and fell asleep… Surprisingly without teasing the sleeping girl for once.
Ann was standing in the Eld Desert.
Before her was Heleb, chieftain of one of the two major factions in the Eld Desert, Accurate Crow. He rested his body against a giant rock like a chair.
『You helped us greatly this time. Let me thank you again.』
『Hmph. Don’t worry about it. We have our own grudge with the Demon King’s army. Our interests simply aligned.』
After speaking, Heleb regretted revealing something unnecessary.
『…We of Accurate Crow were once part of the Demon King’s army as well.』
『Is that so?』
『Yes, in my father’s time―the previous chieftain―before they were sealed in the dungeon. My wise father foresaw the tide turning and led our clan here, away from the Demon King’s army. This land was once a lush forest.』
This barren wasteland?
『That’s right. Over four hundred years ago, this was a bountiful forest rivaling the great Yuguru Great Forest in the west.』
Heleb speaks nostalgically.
『Well, there’s no sign of it now. That’s why I was so surprised. For your master to have created a forest again in the underground Eld Desert, it is truly a grand accomplishment.』
Ann feels a bit embarrassed at Earth being praised like this.
It was really just a hobby of gardening, though they don’t know that.
『I wish I could have shown my father that sight.』
『…Excuse me, but what happened to your father?』
『He died. He passed leadership of the clan to me. A great man he was. I can confidently say no one will surpass him…』
For this arrogant Heleb to speak so highly of him, he must have been quite the powerful monster.
Ann thinks it’s a shame she didn’t get to meet him.
『But still, between the Dragon Slayer, Divine Catastrophe Dragon King, and Emperor Beast, just how much trouble will you bring to these Eld Desert until you’re satisfied? Any one of them could have destroyed this land if handled poorly.』
Heleb grumbles, and Ann feels a little guilty.
『I have no excuses for that…』
Ann is the same way, but Earth especially is a magnet for trouble.
Things come looking for him even if he does nothing.
Well, at least it’s unlikely anything worse than this will happen again.
『You’re all so noisy. I’d take the turmoil from four hundred years ago over this mess.』
Though he grumbles, Ann senses Heleb’s words aren’t how he truly feels.
Despite his complaints, this crow clearly cares for all who dwell in the Eld Desert.
『Four hundred years ago?』
『Didn’t I mention it before? There was another black ant (Imperial Ant) like you here four hundred years ago.』
Ah that’s right, Ann recalls.
She remembers Heleb saying something like that when they first met―――or rather, fought.
That’s how he knew her species name right away at their first encounter.
『Though unlike you, that bastard had lost her mind. Even so, she possessed extraordinary power. Both as an individual and as a swarm. Her name was…what was it? I believe…it was…Myu…Mýrus…was it?』
Ann feels her heartbeat quicken.
She can’t believe that name would come up in this place.
『…Heleb, could you tell me more about that story in detail?』
『Hm? I don’t mind, but it may take some time.』
“I’m happy to listen for as long as needed,” An says as she sits down there.
In the detention facility set up in the middle layer, Emperor Beast Agil lies sprawled inside a magic circle sealing his magical power, physical strength, mobility, and other abilities. With most of his essence devoured by Earth, Agil now has the power of only a intermediate-class monster at best.
Considering that, this level of restraint may be overkill, but better safe than sorry as Elibel judged.
「Man, you lost huh, Agil.」
Speaking to him from outside the magic circle is a plain-looking woman wearing cracked glasses.
The witch, Léna-Lloyd Reynolds.
「What do you want?」
「I can’t come by unless I need something? That’s cold, considering our relationship, right?」
Agil makes a complicated expression at her words.
Including their time sealed away, they’ve known each other for over five hundred years.
Though some like Zahak and Anri have known each other for over a thousand.
Agil turns his face away from Léna-Lloyd’s wry smile.
「―――Anyway, good news… Halwart not dead after all.」
So first Léna-Lloyd passes on her report.
Another of the Demon King army’s commanders who defended their dungeon, like Anri.
「After sending Anri over here, looks like he kept fighting Berg and Silver Demon alone. He’s pretty close to dead but still kicking.」
His tone is aloof, but she senses clear relief in his voice.
「In the end only three commanders survived. Zahak, Anri, and Halwart. The rest are all dead.」
「They were strong huh, Eli and Earth, and all their subordinates.」
「Hey, how are you feeling right now? With your comrades of centuries dying, what are you feeling now?」
Léna-Lloyd relentlessly questions Agil, and even the unflappable Emperor Beast scowls.
「…Are you here just to mock me?」
「Well, that’s how it turned out, right? Though I don’t have the right to say that.」
「After rejecting our invitation.」
「If you had come directly, maybe I would have accepted? Your laziness is to blame.」
「Lies. Even if I had approached you directly, you would have refused. Because now you have―――」
「That’s right, friends more important than you, Agil.」
Léna-Lloyd cuts off Agil’s words.
「…I couldn’t believe it when I first heard.」
「Right? I bet the old me wouldn’t have either.」
When she had her pact with Agil, Léna-Lloyd was completely unhingled.
She gleefully provided the Demon King’s army knowledge from her past life in Japan, fanning the flames of war between humans and demons.
「…So did you come here just for small talk?」
「Of course not. I’m here because I want to ask you something. I figured I should do it now before we get busy with the aftermath.」
「What do you want to know?」
「It’s about Earth.」
Agil isn’t surprised.
「No matter how you look at it, he’s too abnormal. Even discounting him being a reincarnator and Jibru’s son, his strength and growth are crazy. He can fight Evil God-class beings like you and Ouronus after just three years of life? Impossible. He’s clearly not ordinary.」
「I agree. So what do you want to know? About him?」
「My hunch is, that’s the key to everything. His growth, his connections to you and Jibru, all the events up to now. So tell me.」
「What will you do if you find out?」
「Well, I’ll think about that after learning. Together with Eli.」
Léna-Lloyd stares straight into Agil’s eyes.
「Those are the eyes of someone who absolutely won’t back down until told. …Fine, I’ll tell you. Not like I can do anything anymore anyway.」
「You gave in easier than I expected.」
「Well, I did lose after all. And the hero who beats the Demon King gets rewarded, right? That’s video game logic.」
「Following the usual tropes, huh… You remembered.」
Looks like Agil recalled all the talks they had about Japanese games and manga too.
「As if I could forget the time we spent together. Or anything we discussed. Those memories are all precious to me.」
「I see. So, about Earth’s father?」
「No more beating around the bush then… Well, whatever.」
Agil pauses for a moment.
「―――Zepar. That was the dragon’s name.」
He speaks the name.
「Zepar, huh… Never heard of him.」
No monster by that name exists in her knowledge.
「It took me centuries of research to dig that up.」
In other words, he must be quite the existence.
「Zepar―Earth’s father, the Alchemy Dragon who forged all the sacred weapons. And the previous Divine Catastrophe Dragon King who created the Stellar Vein Dungeon.」
Sub29: Hey there! If you enjoy the content and want to stay updated with all the latest, make sure to follow my channel on WhatsApp! Click here to follow
January 2024 Patron: GoatBeards