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59 Part 1
Shrine Maiden, Hero and Slave Connection Experiment
After returning to the surface, we entered the dungeon again.
This time with the whole party and Iris as well.
There were no monsters left, so we arrived at the center hall in no time.
I asked Rita and Rafilia to guard the passageway, and Cecil, Aine, and I decided to guard Iris.
However, we’re done with the monsters.
So, if Iris can re-establish the barriers at the center, the quest is over.
“But first, I want you to see this.”
I pointed to the floor of the hall.
There are ice limbs and scattered pieces of magical power crystal lying around.
It’s the wreckage of the Ice Golem.
“When we came here, this Golem was still alive, and it was trying to pry open the door to the center. We managed to defeat it, but it took three of us to do it.”
Iris listens to my explanation in a daze.
“Does Iris have any idea who this guy is?”
“No, there’s no way such a magical creature could be in the sacred land of the sea dragon!”
As I thought.
In the first place, a Golem that big can’t pass through this dungeon’s passageway.
So that means someone got in here and created it.
“I also found this on the floor. I think it was probably inside the Golem.”
I handed Iris the ring I had picked up earlier.
“There’s a name engraved on the inside. Do you know someone named ‘Marquis Eterina Hasburg’?”
Iris opened her eyes.
Oh, she knows.
And she looks really uncomfortable.
“She’s the woman my brother’s been obsessing over lately.”
“Yes. The Marquis is a traveler from the royal capital and lives in the villa area of Irgafa. My brother often goes to see her, hoping to use her as a foothold for his own expansion into the capital.”
“Does Iris recognize this ring?”
“No. But it’s engraved with a pattern that the master craftsmen of the Irgafa family is very good at.”
“Sounds like a good gift for a woman.”
“It should cost around 400 Arusha.”
That’s the same as my initial amount. That’s amazing.
“One last question. Besides Iris, who else can open the entrance gate to this dungeon?”
“There is a spare key in the house. It’s in the treasury, but any member of the lord’s household could take it out at any moment..”
I heard that Iris is in charge of everything related to the Sea Dragon Festival, but she was out of town until the other day.
It’s not impossible to take the key and get into the dungeon during that time.
“We’ve got everything we need.”
So here’s the thing.
Only Irgafa Lord’s family members can open the gates of the dungeon.
I found a ring here with Iris’ brother’s – apparent lover’s – name engraved on it.
And according to Iris, her brother was pushing her to let the Order of Divine handle this quest. But now the person himself is coming.
“I am going to question my brother! If my brother is involved in this matter, he will be punished by the laws of Irgafa!”
Iris grabbed the hem of her dress and looked up at me.
Her dress was soaked in seawater and smelled of the tide. But Iris didn’t seem to care about that. She also didn’t seem to mind that her bare shoulders had green scales peeking out from them.
“It’s all my fault. If anything had happened to Souma and the others, it would have been irreversible. You’re my friends. No, you’re more than that.”
Iris took my hand in hers and bowed deeply.
She was smaller than Cecil, and her actual age was as much as she looked.
“It’s all part of the job for us, so don’t worry about it.”
Iris shook her head at my line.
“You will be paid an additional fee! Souma and his party did their job perfectly. They did a perfect job and gave us all the valuable information. I am very grateful. I don’t even know how to respond to this trust.”
I felt embarrassed or even ashamed when I heard that.
The whole way here, Cecil was using [Light] to illuminate our way so that Iris wouldn’t notice the Legend of the Sea Dragon mural. The four of us also walked along the wall to block the mural from being seen.
It’s best not to mention the “Sea Dragon Hero” right now.
The situation with Iris’s brother and the Golem – it’s very complicated right now. If I add the “Sea Dragon Hero” to the mix, it will only make things more complicated.
It’s the best way to be considerate, isn’t it? Yeah.
“I can’t hold back any longer, so I’ll tell you! In fact, Souma is the ‘Sea Dragon Hero’!”
And just like that, she wasted all my efforts.
It was out of the blue.
Iris clasped my hand and declared firmly.
“Of course, being as wise as you are, you already knew that!”
“No, no, no, no, no, no.”
“You were so concerned about me that you kept quiet about it! I’m so proud of you!”
Iris was staring at me with enraptured eyes.
“Yes, my Hero.”
“Can’t I give away my title of the ‘Sea Dragon Hero’ to someone else?”
“If the ‘Shrine Maiden’ does not recognize the ‘Hero’, then the right will be lost, but if not, the ‘Hero’ certification will be confirmed for the rest of his life.”
“So, let’s say I’m the hero of the sea dragon, then Iris…”
“You don’t need to say “if” anymore…”
A small body collapsed towards me.
A relaxed body just plunged headfirst into the floor.
Reflexively, I pulled Iris’s body closer to me…
“…Hmmm. Do you know how many times I have fantasized about these situations? It’s probably enough to make even Souma lose interest.”
You can say lines like that too, Shrine Maiden.
After all, she’s too good a person to be locked away.
Iris was in my arms, giving me a thumbs-up.
Her scales were shining pearly.
“I have had my life saved by Souma twice. Even if the Sea Dragon Kerukatoru doesn’t approve, Souma is my Hero. We even took a bath together.”
“You did a lot of scheming, Iris.”
“What else can I do? I am basically a caged bird. I had to read books to know about the outside world. It’s okay to be a little devious, isn’t it?”
“What’s your favorite book?”
“The Legend of the Sea Dragon in Five Minutes, Complete Edition”, “The Book of Awakening into a Hero Just by Reading”, “A Tomboy Princess Conquers an Insensitive Hero”, “The Basics of Ship Trading and Profit Seeking”, “Easy Conspiracy”, and “Lordship Theory”. My recent favorite is “A Book to Read the True Feelings of the Man You are Interested in From His Facial Expressions”. Also, “The Art of Living Alone as a Runaway Girl” is a favorite of mine.”
Then she smiled fearlessly again.
If you run away here, I’ll come after you with plots and connections. I’ll even run away from home. That’s what she meant.
‘The Sea Dragon Hero’
I’d decided not to be the Hero.
Well, I’m a Hero only for the port town, so I guess I’m lucky I’m not asked to defeat the Demon King.
Iris is very protective of her secrets, so I’m sure she’ll keep the fact that I’m a certified “Sea Dragon Hero” between us. Well, this may depend on negotiations.
“All right. I’m a certified “Sea Dragon Hero”.
“Then let’s make a ‘Master-Slave Contract’. Please become Iris’s master, Souma.”
“No, I can’t do that.”
If I enslaved Iris, a Shrine Maiden, and daughter of the Lord, the whole Irgafa would be in an uproar.