I escorted the beastfolks back to Roni Village.
The villagers had gathered at the church.
I'm greeted by an elderly man in a priest's attire. He's the mayor.
"Hero-sama, thank you very much for rescuing the village."
"Are the villagers okay?"
"It ended with only a few casualties. There are two adventurers and two villagers. Lots of people were injured but got away with their lives. Some of them are still unconscious though."
"Ah, I see. Where are they? I should be able to heal them."
"Eh, is that true, Hero-sama? They are lying on the benches inside the church."
I quickly entered the church.
Since most people only have some shallow injuries, I'm chanting while i'm walking past the benches. "'Recovery'."
"Ooh!" "The pain is...!" "Is this for real?" "Hero-sama!? Amazing!" "Thanks!"
Voices of amazement and praise resounded in the church.
The people who were lying on the benches in front of the altar were certainly about to die.
There are a bloodstained young man with a deathly pale face and a boy whose neck and spine are broken. A priest was stabbed through his chest. A middle-aged man is suffering while his guts are spilling out.
"Although I talked big, this might be tough even for me --'Recovery'!"
I treat them while I touch them.
The young man was quickly cured. The boy was healed after reconnecting his bones and nerves. Because his heart was still beating, the priest was healed after fixing his lung.
The middle-aged man was in the worst condition. Before I could heal him, I had to put his intestines back to were they belonged and close his stomach. It ended with an additional chant of 'Recovery' to prevent a peritonitis (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peritonitis).
Although it took some time and their pulses and breathing were shallow, they were alive.
"Very well, --They shouldn't move for a week, but their lives should be saved."
"Eh!? That hero-sama did... wasn't that person over there already dead?..."
"Ah, did you think that? I'm certain that he was still breathing..."
"Did you really save them!? --No way! How? Although my prayers didn't reach..."
"Well, I'm a hero after all."
A woman who was near the boy expressed her gratitude with "Thank you so much!" while spilling tears.
The other villagers were also amazed.
"Amazing!" "I can't believe it!" "That's a hero for you!" "Is that really the power of a hero...?"
I really might have overdone it, but I don't care because it saved some lives.
I left the church after seeing that everyone was healthy.
The beastfolks stood stiff.
I speak to the mayor.
"That's been taken care of. It seems that the beastfolks want to return the grains. They were threatened into subordination by the demons."
The mayor's face gets cloudy.
"Is... that so."
"I understand your feelings of disbelief. There might be people who won't be able to forgive them. But in my name of Hero Keika, I want you to forgive them. In exchange, they pay by fixing the damage to the village."
"That's..., a grateful offer, but... right now, we're in the middle of discussing whether to abandon the village..."
"Abandon the village?"
"We don't have the expenses to request the restoration of the barrier around the fields. It was steadily created over decades, but.. it's already..."
Probably because the mayor couldn't bear it, he covered his eyes. "*Sniff*", he sniffled his nose.
"It is done for, if a rural village can't cultivate its fields, huh."
"Yes...*aah*, to think that it became deserted when I was responsible for it..."
The mayor's eyes get red as he cries.
The beastfolks cast their eyes down in grief.
"Well, if it's just the barrier, I can restore it, so don't worry about that. Of course, I'd like a bag of grains... of soba in exchange. By the way, I extended the barrier around my village by five times."
The mayor raises his head.
"I-Is that true, Hero-sama!? Thank you very much! Then we can rebuild the village!"
"Then we should probably begin at once. You beastfolks will carry the debris out of the village!"
Suddenly, a boy jumped out to the front. He points at the beastfolks and shouts.
"These guys! They were the ones who broke the barrier! I saw it!"
"What!?" "For real!?"
"A beastfolk that looked like a pig broke it!"
The adults are calming down.
"That wasn't a beastfolk but a demon. I know it's confusing, but there are beastfolks and beast demons. They're different."
"But, but, even so!"
I glared at the boy who was still speaking with the coercion of a god.
"Be quiet. You'll go to jail if you doubt my - the hero's - words. Do you get it?"
The boy fell on his backside and was shivering.
Then I glare at the adults.
"You as well. The beastfolks were forced into submission and really didn't want to do this. Do you get this?"
The men were shivering.
The hooves of horses could be heard.
When I looked there, Bailey, some villagers and swordsmen entered the village while riding on five horses.
Minya was running next to them in her Miko dress. Her ears were standing happily.
"Thanks for coming, Minya, Bailey and everyone else. We were just about to clean up the village, so please help together with the beastfolks."
They nodded and headed to the beastfolks.
I look at the mayor.
"Then shall we go restoring the barrier?"
"Yes. This way please."
I was guided by the mayor and put up the barrier.
Some remaining Lizardmen and Fire Lizards were still lurking in the pond, but Minya took care of them when she found them. She gutted them afterwards and turned them into raw materials.
After that she went on to silently gut the dead demons.
It was decided that half the materials were left to the village while the other half would be brought back by Minya.
Meanwhile I surrounded the village with a large barrier and the fields with several barriers.
I returned to the village's entrance after several hours.
Minya, Bailey and the beastfolks were standing in a row.
The mayor speaks while handing over a bag of grain. It's heavy. It seems to be about 25 or 30 kg.
"Hero-sama, thank you very much for rescuing the village. Please take this soba as an expression of our gratitude... I hope that you're really fine with it since it's not wheat."
"Soba is fine. It can be harvested after 75 days after all. I plan to sow it immediately."
"Immediately!? You won't make it in time before the first snow!"
"Well, it'll work out one way or another. Then, about the barrier..."
"Yes, what is it?"
"I set it up to be quite strict. It forbids demons, monsters and also people with ill-will towards the village to enter... And starting tomorrow also beastfolks won't be able to pass. Are you fine with that?"
"Yes... I'm sorry for the beastfolks, but I hope for their understanding after what had happened."
Mahal, the leader of the foxfolks, who was waiting behind, lowered his head.
"It's only natural. We're really sorry."
The other beastfolks lowered their heads as well.
"Sorry" "We're sorry" "Please forgive us"
"Well, it can't be helped that it will take a long time for them to be forgiven... Next, it might be need to be discussed first, but..."
"What might it be?"
"Would you like to have a device that immediately tells you whether a strong demon, that can't be stopped by the barrier is around?"
-- Like the pig Gurumon who lead the invasion.
I don't know how strong the previous barrier was, but it should have been like non-existent to a higher demon.
"Is there something like that!? Yes, by all means!"
"Very well. I'll let it deliver to you once it's finished-- Now then, shall we go home everyone?"
Minya nods as she walked to my side. The beastfolks are following behind.
The villagers are waving their hands.
"Thank you, Hero-sama" I'm grateful that you saved my husband" "You're truly a hero!"
We cross the hill and advance to Keika Village to the southeast.
I shared a Boo Horse with Minya.
Bailey, who also rides a Boo Horse, approaches.
"Keika-sama, will the beastfolks live at the village?"
"Won't the villagers be afraid?"
"They might be--"
"Maybe you should make them into slaves, or at least into fake slaves..."
Hmm, I was in thoughts.
Mahal approaches from behind.
"I overheard your conversation. While we don't plan to cause any trouble, we'll become slaves if it reduces the anxiety."
"Yeah. But then the prejudice won't ever disappear. I'd like you to coexist if possible."
Mahal's and Bailey's eyes went wide.
"Humans coexist with beastfolks!?"
"Aren't you already living together? -- Minya?"
She nodded expressionlessly. Her black hair flows silkily in the wind.
Bailey scratches his head.
"I see, I'm sorry. You are around after all, Minya-san."
"Keika-oniichan. I know of a good way."
"What is it?"
"Beastfolks are obeying the strongest one of them. So there won't be a problem if I win against them."
"No no, ...I'm the strongest among the beastfolks here and I won't lose to any children."
"Keika-oniichan made me strong. I won't lose to anyone."
"You wouldn't be able to win against Keika-sama even if he did a handstand..."
Minya glares at Mahal.
"Doubting my strength is a disrespect against Onii-chan."
"No, it's the truth though..."
Mahal drooped his ears and asked of my opinion.
"Isn't this fine? Just fight it out when all the villagers have gathered. You can go all out."
"When you say that we can go all out, Keika-sama... but wouldn't now be fine as well?"
"No, you'll fight on the day of the festival when the people have gathered."
--Moreover, some betting will liven things up even further.
That'll become a nice performance.
Minya murmured with a prickly attitude, not knowing my inner thoughts.
"I'll win... for sure!"
The shock of a heavy impact ran through my head.
"Keika! Something big has arrived!"
Lapisia telepathically contacted me.
--*Ouch*, something big, you say?
Might the main body of the army have acted separately after all?
I quickly looked at the village with "Clairvoyance".
There certainly was something big.
A huge body like a green jewel was at the western side of the village at the new pond.
--Isn't that the dragon from Green Mountain!?
--No no. You've met before. She's the mother of the eggs.
"I can't tell the faces of dragons apart."
--Well, I can't really argue against that. I also couldn't tell even if lined up. ...For now I'll quickly head back to the village, so please tell the villagers to be at ease.
I jumped off the horse.
"I've got business at the village. I'll go ahead. Please take your time to return."
Minya nodded expressionlessly.
Mahal and Bailey also nodded.
"Yes, Keika-sama. We'll come later."
"Shouldn't you ride the horse?"
"I'm faster when I run-- I'm a hero after all."
Bailey tilted his head but I had already started to run.
--At any rate, just what the hell had happened that she came to the village by herself.
I hope there isn't anything wrong.
I hurried to Keika Village with a bad feeling. I chanted "Gale Legs" as soon as I was out of everyone's sight.
Yuusha no furi
86: It's one thing after another