Yuusha no furi
95: Harvest Festival 3 (Arc 4 Epilogue)
The harvest festival at Keika Village is still ongoing.
The last event of the festival was held at night.

Bonfires were set up here and there along the roads and they were burning grandly.
Lots of buckets filled with water have been put up and the red light was reflecting in them.
Then, dry straw was spread out on the harvested fields.

The mayor speaks with a hoarse voice.
"This year, when this became the Hero Keika Village, we had a good harvest. This is also thanks to Lupersia-sama. Let's give our gratitude so we'll have a good harvest next year as well -- Start!"

Along with the signal the fields were set ablaze.
The fire spreads because of the straw and turns the fields into a sea of fire.
The men who are carrying Lupersia's altar are walking along the road between the fields with the fires.
The red flames let the white marble of the goddess's statue sparkle.

It was quite a fantastic scenery.
We had blended in with the villagers and were watching as well.
Celica stands beside me and speaks.
"This is a superb sight, huh."
"Yeah. And there's also a practical reason."
"Eh? What do you mean?"

"By burning the fields, you can erase insects, fungi and weed sprouts, which will lead to a good harvest next year."
"Oh, is that so?"
"The practical reason has disappeared into the nonchalant festival ceremony. In this way it'll be passed down to the generations to come."
"...people are, wonderful."
Celica leaked a voice a admiration together with a sigh.

Then the ceremony ended and the goddess's statue was brought back to the courtyard of the mayor's house.
The mayor speaks to the gathered villagers.
"With this the festival is over. However, there's still lots of alcohol and food, so today you can make merry all night."
"*Waaa*". Cheers of joy are raised.
Then, the people restarted to drink and enjoy themselves.

--The time should be right.
Let's give this the finishing touch to gather believers.
It'll also be some good practice.

I approached the goddess's statue.
"Mayor, can I take a look at the statue?"
"Ah, yes. Please, Keika-sama."
The mayor stepped back.
I put my hand on the goddess's statue. It's a beautiful stone statue with a compassionate smile.

--Lupersia, are you there? You should be awake on the day of the harvest festival, right?
--You seem to be awake, huh. Lapisia wants to see you.

A smile was floating on the corners of my lips when I cast a spell.
"Oh earth goddess Lupersia, respond to my call and show yourself-- 'Earth God Descent'"
My magic power is sucked up with a fierce force and Lupersia's statue begins to glow yellow.

The villagers are starting to make a fuss.
"Eh?" "The statue is...!" "Ooh... it responded to the hero's call..."
And then, in the night when the bonfires were burning, the goddess's statue was engulfed in a divine light and raised her head.
She lowered her hands that were put together in front of her chest, turned to me and smiled. It was a much more dazzling smile then when she was only a stone statue.
"... it's been a while Keika-san"
"Yeah, you seem a lot better now."
"Thanks to you I was able to sleep with a peace of mind."

The villagers were noisy due to the unbelievable scene in front of them.
The mayor, who's close, falls on his backside out of surprise.

"I called for you today because I thought that you might want to see your daughter since it's been a while."
"Lapisia seems to be doing fine, huh."
"Heey, Lapisia"
Before I realized, Lapisia had run to my side with the "Create Hammer" on her back.

Her mother bent slightly down and stroked her head.
"You look well, Lapisia. Have you been a good girl?"
"*Uu*... Mother"
Lapisia looked up at me with self-confidence.

I answered with a wry smile.
"She was a very good girl. About 200 million times more useful than Lilille."
"Is that so, you've been a good girl, haven't you, Lapisia. You've worked hard..."
"*ehehe~*, thank you, mother."
Lapisia's cheeks blushed and she shyly cast her eyes down when her head was patted. Even though she looked flustered, she seemed to smile from the bottom of her heart.

Lupersia raises her head and looks up at me.
"So, that's not the only reason why you've called me today, right?"
"Hm--, I wanted to ask about Vanus and stuff, but... frankly speaking, this is more tiring than expected."
My magic power continues to decrease.
It seems that she still can't maintain her form by herself.

"*giggle*, so that's your answer? Well, I might be of some help if you keep it up a little longer."
"...you've seen through me after all, huh."

Suddenly Lapisia raised her voice.
"Mother, this!"
She takes the "Create Hammer" from her back and presents it.
Her mother tilts her head and receives it.
"Is there anything with it?"

Furthermore, Lapisia removes the ring from her finger and hands it over.
It doesn't have any effects, it's just an ordinary ring.
"Ah, I see. --Let's do it together."
An affectionate smile is floating on Lupersia's face as she puts the ring on the ground.
Then she let Lapisia hold the hammer and supported her hands.

"Pour power from the handle to the tip as if you'd pour water in a bowl and then gently hit."
"I'll do my best!"
The hammer that's being held by them glows yellow from magic power.

My face becomes pale and I'm staggering, but I endure it.
--*Woah!* The magic power is pouring into Lupersia like a blood transfusion and my magic power is violently sucked up! ...At this rate I won't last even five minutes!

They slowly swung the hammer down. It hits the ring and a *gotsun* resounded.
The ring starts to glow yellow.
"You did well. Remember that feeling."
"Yep! Mother!"
Lapisia tightly grasps the ring and she's so happy that her golden eyes are getting wet.

I looked at the ring with "Truth Sight".
[Earth Ring] Magic Power x3, Exclusive equipment for Lapisia.

By the way, Lilille had the exclusive ring "Tidal Wave Ring" equipped, which tripled her magic power.
"Lapisia's ring was incomplete, huh."
--Certainly, it was a little strange that a god's child had an ordinary ring.

"Yes, things went suddenly haywire after all. Taking my time has backfired."
"I guess it's no wonder that she wanted the hammer. Well done, Lapisia."
Lapisia's young face slackened when her head was patted by me and Lupersia.

At that time, Lupersia's beautiful contour flickered a little.
"Hm? Are you alright?"
"Yes...it was short, but it's time..."
Lapisia caught her breath to Lupersia's words.
"Do you have to go already...?"

"I'm always there, Lapisia. I'm the earth itself after all."
"...Yup. Understood."
"Good girl, Lapisia. Please keep listening to Keika-san and work hard for the sake of the world. --I'll probably be healed in about a year"
"Really!? I'll work hard! I'll work hard and be a good child!"
Lapisia clutched her small fist and spoke with determination. There were lots of tears in her big eyes.

"Please take care of her."
"That wish, I heard it."
"*Hehe*. Those words are more reliable than Lilille."
Her beautiful face distorted as she laughed like a mischievous child.
--Just how low is your reputation, Lilille?

Lupersia separated from us and stepped towards the villagers.
"In my name of Lupersia. I bless this village and Hero Keika!"
For a moment the surroundings were dyed in a bright light as if fireworks went off.

The light fades away and Lupersia turns back into a stone statue.
The quiet courtyard gradually became noisy.
"It's the goddess" "It's the real goddess!" "This village and Keika-sama were blessed" "It's thanks to Hero-sama"

Exclamations of worship towards me were mixed into the people's voices.
It doesn't feel bad. Lupersia has left a big present behind.
The people had received the assurance that Hero Keika is worthy of their prayers.

Well, of course I wanted to let Lapisia meet her mother, but I thought that the descend of a god would also increase my believers.
Lupersia easily saw through my ulterior motive and splendidly supported me by giving her blessings.
Am I in her debt now? --No, I take care of Lapisia after all.

Then Lapisia put her thin arms around me and hugged me.
"Keika, thank you. Thank you for letting me see mother."
"Aren't you glad?"
"Keika, amazing. Keika, love. Really, really, thank you"
Finally she began to burst into tears from her big eyes.

I'm quite pleased with how it turned out.
The power of the earth was the strongest during the harvest festival and I thought that she might come if I'd call out to her for Lapisia's sake.
-- I'm glad that I did it.
"Well, it's time for children to go to bed. Let's go home."
"Yup! Keika!"
Lapisia wiped her tears, smiled and took my hand when I began to walk.
Celica and Minya followed quietly behind.

We left the crowded center of the village and headed to the residence. A large plot surrounded by a hedge.
I stopped in front of the entrance.
Lapisia tilts her head.
"What's wrong, Keika?"
"-- There are three people behind the hedge."
Celica and Minya suddenly went into battle mode.
Lapisia also separates her hand and takes a fighting pose.

Then, there was a rustling sound and three men wearing robes appeared. They were standing there in silence.
I casually speak.
"It's been a while, Leo."
"You've noticed? As expected of you."
A cold and clear voice resounded and the man in front took off his robe.
His blue hair flutters in the night wind.
--Even though he hid himself, I knew who it was at a glance thanks to "Truth Sight".

"Huh? What's up with those masks? Are you going to a masked-ball?"
They were wearing masks that only hid their eyes.
Leo giggled happily.
"That's, a secret for now. Rather than that, we've brought information, Keika."
"What is it?"

"--We've found an egg."
"Well done. Where is it?"
"It seems to be in the possession of a demon called Hell King in the wetlands in the southeast. He's an extremely strong vampire with more than 3000 subordinates."
"It's the guy you've talked about the other day, huh. Shouldn't the king make him an extermination target if he's that strong?"

Dark speaks while he pushes up his mask-shaped glasses.
"Maybe, but that Hell King and his subordinates are hiding from the people and are also not a part of the Demon Lord's army. That's why it was extremely hard to gather information."
"He's not a part of the army?"
It's said that even the Demon Lord turns a blind eye to him.
He seems to be quite the big shot.

"Very well. I'd be uneasy if you'd go. We'll take over."
"Thank you, Keika-san."
Leo lowered his head sincerely.

I nodded once when I heard his heartfelt request.
--I'm done with everything I wanted to do at the village. It might be time for some traveling.
While I was in thoughts, Celica snuggled up to me to support me.
Did she know what I wanted without me having to say anything?

"Well, please tell me the details at the mansion."
"Yes, understood."
I walked while holding hands with Celica. Leo followed behind us.