Yuusha no furi
37: The gods and the Demon Lord
In the afternoon, a gentle sea breeze blows accompanied by the warm sunshine.
I returned to the bay.

The people of the town immediately started to swim. The quiet cove is overflowing with voices full of fun.
It made me happy as a god that the people enjoyed what I did.
Unconsciously I started to smile.

Then I looked around the beach, searching for Celica.
But, she wasn't there. There is only Minya, who wears her regular clothes and sits with her legs crossed.
I was startled for a moment but was soon relieved when I found her at a different place.
She was in the sea together with Lapisia. Lapisia was immersed to her chest and Celica until her hips.

I listened to them using "Attentive Ears".
"Ooh, you were able to hold your head under water for a minute, you're amazing Lapisia-chan"
"Lapisia, amazing!"
"Next, do you want to try rolling your body around under water?"
"Like this."
She breathed in with a *fuu*, brought her face to the water and then hugged her knees while doing a roll. Her golden hair spread out like a fan and her white back was floating between the waves.
After a while, she raised her face with a *puhaa*.
"You do it like this"

It made Lapisia's golden eyes sparkle.
"I'll try! *Suuuu*"
She breathed in and brought her face to the water. Then she made a roll. Her blue twin tails spread among the waves.
Her petite body first sinks and then floats.
Then she raised her face. She breathed in with a large movement.
"I did it!"
"Very good, you've done well."
Celica stroked the head of Lapisia, who smiled all over her face with a *ehehe*.

-- It seems that I should leave them for themselves for a while.
Because I am a river god, I can do lots of things and they've come just natural to me.

For now I should go swimming.
I swam towards the deeper water using slow breaststrokes.
Even though it's a cove, it's still pretty wide. It feels pleasant, whenever the gentle waves hit my body.

And then, I arrived at the opening.
Beyond the entrance that's just wide enough for a ship to pass through, a majestic ocean spreads far and wide.
Unlike inside, the waves thrust forcefully.
On a rock next to the entrance, Ieturia was a sitting there with her white body. She wore her silver bikini and skirt and held a harpoon in her hands.

"Ah, it's you, Keika-sama. It seems the people have increased"
"Please help them if anyone drowns"
"Yes, I know"
A sharp light rose from her red eyes while she alternatively watched over the ocean and the bay.
"It's hard to pay attention to both people and demons, isn't it."
"It's for the sake of our tribe. Doing just this much isn't anything at all. Moreover, since our tribe leader subjected completely to you, it seems that the others are also gathering from afar."
"That's good. The people here will also increase. I'd like to set up a two-person system to watch out for demons and to rescue people."

"I also thought about that. --But"
"What is it?"
Ieturia looked down at me with eyes full of respect.
"I thought that the heroes only exist to defeat demons and the Demon Lord, but you also give joy and other things to the people."
"That's no big deal, it only serves towards my goal."
"Why is that?"

I was troubled for a moment, whether I should say it or not.
However, it should be OK since she realized that I am a god.
"I want to become a god"
"I am not a god in this world. In the previous world I failed to gather believers and couldn't become a god respected by the people, so once again in this world I want to be a god that is loved by the people this time"
"So you can't defeat the Demon Lord so fast.... You are a wonderful person, I'm sure that you will become a god in name and reality"
I was somewhat embarrassed, when she told me that so honestly.

I scratched my head, looking at the horizon.
"Thank you. I'll give my best... Oh, that's right."
"I wanted to know about the gods of this world. I went around the temples and the shrines, but there were none of them, is this the Demon Lord's work?"
Ieturia nodded while sinking into silence.
Are there some reasons why she can't speak about it?

I climbed up to the rock and sat down next to her.
"Is it a difficult question?"
"No, there is no doubt that they were sealed or neutralized by the Demon Lord"
"So it's like that after all. Do you know how he did it? The earth goddess Lupersia was made into an apparition after her child Lapisia was taken hostage by the demon lord."
"Is that so. It seems that there isn't even a bit known. Even gods are not all-knowing. The Demon Lord takes advantage of the enemies' weaknesses, creates disadvantageous situations or incapacitates them."
"That's... irritating. It's a valid strategy though. I'd rather like people who exchange blows with all their power however."
"You are usually thinking things through well, but sometimes you seem quite hasty, Keika-sama."

"I'll be careful. ...Might it already be known to the Demon Lord that I am a god? You saw through me immediately after all."
"It would be a disbelief if you'd say that I am a special case. How did you spent your life before meeting me, Keika-sama?"
"Hm , it started with..."
I talked about everything since I came to this world.

Ieturia wrinkled up her eyebrows while letting out voices of admiration.
"Well, it should be OK for the time being. It might be a problem that Greyhades of the Four Heavenly Kings was slain by a sword. Edged weapons shouldn't have had an effect on him."
"I disposed of the corpse by melting it into a muddy shape when we left, so it should look like he was killed by magic"
At that time I thought it would be better to not only not take the head with us but also to destroy the evidence.

Ieturia made big eyes.
"Oh! That was a prudent move. In that case, you'll be in peace until you defeat the next one of the Four Heavenly Kings. You probably can't win unless you use the power of a god."
"You mean Evil Squid?"
"He's formidable. Not only are fire and your strong fortes of water and wind magic ineffective, he also has infinite regeneration from physical attacks."

"Would he multiply if I split him right in half?"
I was thinking about the black earthworm that I defeated back then.
"No, even if severely cut, he should return to the original state."
"So his only weak point is earth, huh... well, then I'll resort to that I guess."

I looked over to Lapisia who was doing special training on the beach.
When Celica dropped silver coins into the water, Lapisia looked at the water and picked them up.
"So that child is Lapisia. She seems still inexperienced as a god."
"Her mother left her education to me. --Whatever, just by telling me this, it's possible to make a counter-plan. It might even work without getting exposed as a god. Thank you."
"Is that so? What other things would you like to ask"
"Let' see. Do you know the Demon Lord's aim? It's different from world conquest as far as I can see it."

Ieturia casts her eyes downwards. A dark shadow appeared on her graceful face.
"The Demon Lord is seriously sinister. His objective isn't to kill or to rule. He torments the weak only to see them suffer and struggle."
"For example?"
"A long time ago, a certain tribe of our Naga race was deified as gods. However, the Demon Lord's underlings came and massacred the whole tribe and spread the rumor that it was our doing. The previous family heads who tried to explain where cruelly tortured and killed by the hands of the people."
"So you lost your home and then were chased by the demons and people?"
"We had to flee without getting any help...it was hard"
She murmured while looking at the ocean. Her monotonous voice sounded lonesome.

I reached out and stroked Ieturia's silver hair. Her silky hair feels great when touched with the fingertips.
"Don't worry. I'll protect you."
"Thank you"
She leaned coquettishly against me. I spontaneously embraced her closely. Her cold and soft skin felt good when glued to my hot body. Her silver hair gave off the lovely fragrance of the sea.

After a while, Ieturia separated her body from me, probably because she has settled down.
"I caused you trouble. Should I ever hurt you reputation please don't hesitate do cast me away. I'd gladly die for your fame."
"Is it possible that town's residents are killed and then blamed for it again? No, that shouldn't be it."
"How can you say so?"
"He might simply be tired of his toys. And of this country. I wondered for quite some time, why Greyhades of the Four Heavenly Kings was in the forest in the north. Might the goal not have been a pincer attack together with the ocean in the south. And also from the the west."
"The west?"
"It seems that the dragon is acting violently. Although I learned during the hero exam that the dragons are neutral."
"Because a dragon is active in the west, even the Demon Lord shouldn't have been able to reach out his hands to there."
"She'll surely meet a miserable end before you. It'll kill two birds with a stone if you defeat the dragon."
"Is that so? That dragon would? ... ... You don't have to say more"
While she seemed to express some compassion, I shook my head.

I laughed and said.
"It would help, if he really isn't a bad guy. So, the Demon Lord is in the north? "
"According rumors, everything is built in an ice field in the freezing north. Because ice storms are constantly blowing, there's no one who trespasses it."
"That reminds me, all the previous generations of heroes were defeated when they encountered the Demon Lord during the journey."
"Probably because they'd be troublesome if they grown up."
"Encountering the last boss right after stepping into the field, with that kind of level, what kind of shitgame is this?"
Ieturia curiously titled her head. Her puzzled face looks cute.

"Don't worry about it. Rather, please continue to be on guard."
"Leave it to me. I'm glad to be of use to someone."
She brought her hands to her breasts and puffed her chest up with pride. Her delicate limbs were emphasized.
I nodded and jumped into the sea.

I am deep in thoughts while I swim.
I now know the weakness of this guy of the Four Heavenly Kings.
Depending on Lapisia's growth, I can make a strategy to win as a hero.

What's left is to save the sinner at the final day and kill the guy of the Four Heavenly Kings.
However, I'm worried that I can't find the sinners. They were neither in the mayor's mansion, nor in the lighthouse.
They should have been escorted here after they were purchased, itt'd be strange if they weren't in this town.

Shall I meet the mayor to get some information out of him?
No, even though the hero has the privilege to freely reign over the sinners. I could use them as bait to hunt down demons for example.

However, they seem to want to make a show out of a massacre of the sinners in this town. They wouldn't let me rescue them.
Otherwise I have to do it from a place that can't be seen from the lighthouse.
It should be to defeat that guy while protecting the sinners, but I'd like to meet them beforehand if possible.

Should they become aware of my position as, I might be able to search the premises.
However, the hero only has the right to investigate things related to the Demon Lord.
If the mayor is the one who sends information to the demons, it's easy to explain but there is no evidence.
Shall I fabricate some appropriate evidence to trap the mayor?....I have to think of something.

Be that as it may, the Demon Lord is truly troublesome, I thought.
He probably lives at the last floor of a dungeon similar to the Tower of Trials.
There are probably traps all over the place that rotate the floor and change the direction when you step into them.

In that case he should just wait for the hero to conquer it and come from the other side.
I have to learn the Ultima Slash soon.

While I was thinking I went back to the beach.
When she came to Celica and Minya, Lapisia held out her hands with the silver coins.
Her young face is filled with a smile.
"Keika! I picked up 20! 20!"
"Oh. Well done. Amazing."
When I caressed her head, she started spinning around on the spot.
Her heavy water soaked twin tails hit my body with a *batsu batsu*.

And then they also hit Celica's large chest, sending her swimsuit flying. The red cloth dances in air.
Her exposed big breasts are bouncing.
I immediately caught the swimsuit, and held her tightly, hiding her slender body. Her breasts were squeezing against me and let me directly feel their softness.

I quickly made her crouch in the water and covered her with the swimsuit.
"It's all right, you weren't seen by anyone"
"Uuh...the string, the string is"
"Please wait a moment, I'll tie it"
I move my hands around her to her back and tie the string. I held her delicate body tighter and tighter. Celica was trembling within my arms.

Lapisia glares at us with her golden eyes and tilts her small head.
"What's wrong, Celica?"
Speechless, Celica shakes her head. *shake shake*

With a dumbfounded face, I speak to Lapisia.
"Lapisia, you're forbidden to spin around in the sea for now"
"Eeh-- Don't wanna--"
"It's bad because it is dangerous if you hit people with your hair. Or shall we shave your head?"
"That's ... .. No-! --Understood"
Lapisia was unhappily protruding her lips, but she seemed to be convinced.

I finish tying the string and stand up.
Celica's face was blue.
"They really are dangerous after all, these swimsuits"
"Please endure it until Lapisia has leveled up. Be patient."
"I understand"
Although she said so, she looked up at me with tearful eyes that seemed to show some bitterness.

When I avert my gaze, Lapisia was standing in the water by herself. Her face was glued in place while she looked around the bottom of the sea.
Her body was faintly shining in her white school swimsuit.
"Thank you for letting Lapisia get used to the water."
"I wonder how to conduct the swimming practice from tomorrow onwards."
"Maybe I can carve a swimming board out of a wooden plank."
"What might that be?"
"It's a small float you can hold onto."
"I see. You're amazing as ever."
Celica snuggles up to me while her blond, wet hair was glittering.

After that, we went back to the inn.
On the way, I procured a wooden board.
I made it easy to hold onto and scraped off the corners to not cause any injuries.