「Was it really alright, King Akudos」
In Ergland Kingdom’s throne room.
A black-bearded Prime Minister asks the elderly man sitting on the extravagant throne──The King of Elgrand『Akudos』.
Akudos puts down the documents and answers the Prime Minister.
「There are still more than 30 people to substitute the hero. Losing one of them won’t hinder our plans against Maou」
「No, that’s not what I meant」
The Prime Minister──Gasquet explains with an uneasy expression.
「Certainly, that person…… The location where Takuma-dono is heading is the location where the ancient legendary dragon lies」
「I understand that. That is the reason, ja」
A smile floats on Akudos’ face.
「The legend about an Earth Dragon being sealed there is just a worthless fairy tale yogin. Jaga, the uneducated people are seriously believing that. Because of that, I can’t harvest Magic stones at large-scale」
It’s said that plenty of high-quality Magic stones are buried in the sleeping dragon’s grounds.
It’s certain that full-scale digging with bear a lot of financial benefits.
「That person’s skill is『Drilling』. It’s a skill that can do a few day’s digging instantly」
Akudos is saying that he is sending the right person to the right place.
「Even if the Earth Dragon is sleeping there and that person wakes him up, we have more than 30 hero candidates, we can take it easy ja」
Today, Ergland’s war potential increased dramatically.
Heroes summoned with Summoning Ritual in order to oppose the menace called【Maou】.
32 powerful Hero candidates were obtained through that ritual.
Although everyone is still young, every one of them possesses master class or even legendary class skills.
…… With one exception.
「I would be more thankful if the Earth Dragon revived. Defeating the Earth Dragon would cause a tremendous rise in the status. The legend says, that drinking its blood would significantly improve one’s status. If we defeated the revived dragon and let the Hero candidates drink its blood……」
「Making a strong person even stronger, huh」
「That’s why it’s just a fairy tale ja gana」
Akudos laughs scornfully.
However, that scornful face had signs of expectations.
「Now then, having finished talking about that problem, let’s focus on the problems before us. Let’s go, Gasquet」
The two people stand up.
They head towards the room where the Hero candidates stay.
There are still some hysterical people who desperately wants to get home among the summoned Hero candidates.
They must first convince them.
They know that what they are doing is selfish.
Akudos and the others understand, but they are already committed.
Summoning Hero candidates from a different world.
And 32 of them.
Forcibly taking them for their own selfish reasons, Akudos and the others know that they are no better than kidnappers.
But, they convince themselves that they had no other way.
For their future, from now on, Akudos and the others must decide how to treat and how to utilize the Hero candidates first.
「Like this and we are done」
The location is the church on the outskirts of the city.
After washing the scars that crawled all over Tina’s body, I disinfection them and applied a bandage.
I cleaned her dirty body with a wet towel and dressed her in my spare shirt.
The sun has already begun to go down.
「Thank you, very much nanodesu…… Really……」
「You’re welcome. However……」
I apologetically open my mouth while tidying up the first-aid kit.
「The whip traces will most likely remain. That…… sorry」
「P, please don’t apologize nodesu…… healing wounds of a slave like me is, quite unbelievable desu……」
Tina lowers her head.
I have a feeling that life filled her withered away cat ears again.
「Ta, Takuma-sama, why are you in this church?」
「Ah, umm. There’s a reason deep as the sea, you see……」
I was summoned from a different world along my classmates.
Having a hole digging skill, I was certified as useless.
As a result, I was ordered to collect Magic stones in this area without any further explanation.
「Different world, nodesu ka……」
「Un. I am not from this world, but a different one」
「Although it’s hard to believe, all of sudden…… but, if it’s Takuma-sama who is so kind to me, I can understand nodesu……」
Tina is saying that people from this kingdom wouldn’t do such thing.
「Slaves are supposed to be…… Cough! Cough! Cherished. If I leave a cute girl covered in bruises like Tina alone, my heart won’t be able to settle down」
「I am not c, cute desu…… a filthy demi-human like me……」
「Is that so? Although I think you would look really cute in a lovely dress. And I love the cat ears」
Right, a maid dress for example.
Tina’s face turned red when I strongly disagreed with her with my thumb up.
「Ar, are there no slaves in Takuma-sama’s world?」
「N~. Although I can’t say that there aren’t any, at the very least, slaves are prohibited in the country I came from」
「No slaves…… that’s a wonderful country desu ne……」
Tina mutters sadly while gently patting the bandages wrapped around her.
Somehow, I wasn’t able to bear it anymore and spoke without thinking.
「Won’t you dig holes with me?」
I left out too many details.
「Ah, umm. I told you a little while that I came here to dig Magic stones, right? I was wondering if Tina doesn’t want to help me?」
Tina looks at me with bewildered gaze.
「…… Are you okay with someone like me?」
「Of course. I will do the digging myself, so I would like if Tina could pick and classify the Magic stones. Because I don’t know the market price of Magic stones and the trading routes, I can’t promise a sufficient reward, but I can guarantee food and other neccesities」
After thinking for a while, Tina asks me timidly.
「Are you saying that…… you will stay with me?」
「If Tina is alright with it」
All of sudden, tears started pouring from Tina’s eyes.
「Wh, why are you crying!? Did I say something wrong!?」
I asked like a beast without integrity.
「W, wrong desu……」
Tina says to the flustered me.
「I…… I…… already, thought that…… sniffle…… I was going to die alone like that…… therefore……」
Tina said that she’s very happy.
The word “alone” struck me in the brain like a lightning.
I have neither parents nor friends.
I understand the pain of loneliness.
Unable to say anything, I hug Tina tightly.
While stroking her fragile, trembling head, I say to her.
「It’s alright, be at ease. Tina is not alone anymore. I’m here for you」
It was so embarrassing to say it that my voice lowered with each word.
Still, it properly reached Tina’s ears.
「Yes nanodesu…… thank you, very much……」
Tina started sobbing while clinging to my chest.
I continued gently patting Tina’s small head until she has calmed down.