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Chapter 295

    The Day of Departure

    (One Night Two Days at Most)

    Gozoh, the adventurer representative, came to the village chief's office. Putting down the unfinished Beddhist scripture, I listened to what he had to say. The first thing Gozoh opened with was this.

    "I'm gonna rout that dragon, Kehma."

    "... So there's really no getting around that, huh."

    The village's executives had gotten together for a meeting when I was talking with Ontentoo.

    "Kehma, you knew?"

    "Did you think of anything else?"

    "No. We'll have to drive the dragon away or kill it if we can, even if it'll cost us dearly-so, that's why I came to ask you, our village chief, if you knew of a way to decrease the number of sacrifices there'll be... Wozuma said he was sure you'd have a plan, but... do you really have one?"

    "I do."

    I responded quickly... but wait, Village Sub-Chief Wozuma, what're you on about?

    Still though, I have to be confident here.

    "Seriously?"

    "However, this specific method is my secret. I'd like to keep it to as small a number of people as possible so that it doesn't leak out. In truth, I'd like to keep it to just me, Kuro, and Ichika. We should be plenty."

    It's hard to move about with a lot of people. More so when there are secrets to keep. If possible, I'd like to make it done with just us...

    "Kehma, even if it's you, there's no way. At least let Roppu and I help."

    Tch, so three people taking on the dragon was stretching it too much huh.

    Not trusting his figurehead of a village chief that far was probably natural, though. Particularly when the only one who could really hold their own in a straight up fight among us would be Meat. Meat's the strongest adventurer in Golen... a young girl being the village's strongest has got to say something about the village.

    "And you should get Setsuna, that part time worker of yours to help out too."

    "... Oh, yeah, I'll have her defend the village."

    Come to think of it, Setsuna's a thing that exists, huh. She's an adventurer comparable to Meat... She and her sister know about dungeons and it'd just get confusing and troublesome if I brought her along, so let's keep her on house-sitting duty.

    "And there's him too yeah? Wataru's going right?"

    "... I'm not planning on sending for him though?"

    "Eh, but I saw him outside the inn a bit ago? You didn't ask him to come?"

    Nope, definitely think I'd remember doing that.

    That debtor hero, why'd you have to come so early this month-

    "Kehma-san! I just heard, a wild dragon cropped up!?"

    -Ah, speak of the devil. Wataru entered the room, not even bothering to knock on the door first.

    So he's really here... I was hoping it was a false alarm.

    "Oh, hey Wataru. Yeah, well, it's not something you need to worry about. It's our village's problem after all."

    "What are you saying! I already feel like a resident here! See!? I have a Beddhist symbol!"

    Saying that, Wataru took out a Beddhist symbol from his breast pocket. It was the most supreme type, the gold one. I heard that some merchants and aristocrats had bought some, but you bought one too?

    ... Are you planning on buying a matching one for Nerune too? Eh, you already did? Thanks for the patronage~

    "Oh, by the way, I've also been spreading the word of Beddhism!"

    Oi, stop being such a busy body!

    "Rather, it's not an exaggeration to say that I, a Gold Beddhist, am practically already a member of this village's top brass!"

    "Gold Beddhist... what? Beddhism is a religion, so you're a believer, not some gym member. We don't make distinctions between followers based on the symbol they buy."

    "Okay sure, but I definitely think I can help you! I may act like this, but I'm a hero!"

    Sure, that'd normally be right, but it's annoying for me if you just act on your own...

    ... If that's how you're going to be, guess it's best for me to get you under my thumb at least.

    "Alright. Let's include you in the subjugation group then... Gozoh, you agree that we'll be fine with just Wataru and us then yeah? A single hero's got to be worth at least a hundred people."

    "Yeah, then let me, Roppu, and Wataru all go with your team."

    "Oooh, then this is Team Bacchus'1 first job! Let's give it our all, Gozoh-san!"

    A drinking team? You get along so well. Though really, I guess Gozoh and Roppu will be joining because of that [We].

    I didn't think that Gozoh and I were on such different pages with that [We]...

    In the end, it was decided that Hero Wataru would join the lineup... Hmm, let's think about it another way. If I figure that I can push all of the merits over to Wataru when push comes to shove, it's not such a bad turn of events. In fact, let's do just that.

    ... I guess the whole [That flame dragon's still a whelpling so my team should be able to handle it ourselves] plan we came up with is going to go to waste.

    That strong opening and follow-up conversation flow is something only a hero could do.

    *

    Since forming the Flame Dragon Subjugation Group came together quickly, I decided to have us finish up our preparations and go to Tsuia Mountain's summit. Using climing equipment. We wouldn't have needed to climb all the way up if it weren't for Wataru and Gozoh, but oh well. Let's focus on the reality of it.

    "Go for it, village chief! Avenge my radishes!"

    "The hero's here too, so it'll work out. Maaan, so our village chief's gonna be a dragonslayer... how prestigious."

    "I wonder how dragon steak tastes? Village Chief Kehma, it'd be great if you brought some treats back..."

    The villagers were waving their arms and rooting as we departed.

    I can't bring any steak back... Meat? Could you please stop drooling? Beef raised for food is way more delicious. Just because its huge, strong, and rare doesn't make it tasty.

    "Kehma! Are you alright? You didn't forget anything?"

    That voice quieted everyone else down right away.

    But the person to do it was just Rokuko. Huh? Did something weird happen?

    "Hey, Kehma, did you hear me?"

    "Huh? Yeah, I heard you, I heard you. Don't worry, I'm ready."

    "Do you have your weapon? Food? Handkerchief... that Meat's using right now, right. Here, take mine."

    Saying that, Rokuko took our her lacy white handkerchief from her breast pocket and pressed it against me. It smelled nice and sweet. Ichika secretly gave Rokuko a thumbs up. So she's behind this? I can see you, you know?

    "Really, no having an affair with other girls just because I'm not there, alright?"

    "Uh-ummm... affair? I'm going on a dragon subjugation though?"

    The surrounding villagers all started murmuring when she said affair... Huh? It's not like they don't know about Rokuko, she's definitely interacted with the villagers and adventurers as the inn's owner and dining hall waitress...

    "A-Alright Kehma, set off! ... I-I'll g-give you a, a... k-ki...! Anyhow! See you soon!"

    "Yea-ow, I'm off. Really, that hurts, you don't have to hit me because you're embarrassed."

    The red-faced Rokuko was knocking me on the chest with her fists. What's she doing, seriously? A goodbye kiss? I don't know who told about that, but there's no way I'd do that in front of so many people.

    And Ichika's dinner is now forfeit.

    With all that done, we set off to climb the mountain.

    By the way, once I checked with Gozoh on the mountain, the cause of everyone murmuring was, apparently, natural, since Rokuko, my legal wife gave me a warning to not have an affair since I was taking Meat with me. Apparently. Apparently.

    That's not it though!? Rokuko's my partner and Meat's my hug pillow though!? I'm not doing anything to feel guilty about though!? ... I'm not, really!

    1. The name Hero Wataru gave the Wataru/Gozoh/Roppu drinking group after getting drunk with them many moons ago!

    
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