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59 Part 2

“Isn’t it tempting for a man to turn the world against himself for love?”

“If that’s the kind of guy you like, you might want to look elsewhere.”

“No, I don’t want to deal with someone like that, because it would be difficult for me.”

Then don’t say it.

I let go of Iris’ body.

Iris was stroking her pearly scales in an affectionate manner.

“Let’s get this straight.”

“Yes.”

“I’m a certified Hero because I’ve defeated the natural enemy of Sea Dragons without even knowing it.”

“Yes. I know.”

“So, you are seeking connection with me in order to step down from your role as Shrine Maiden. This is because a deep connection between the Shrine Maiden and the Hero in front of the Sea Dragon “Kerukatoru” will allow the legend to be recreated. Then the ‘Festival of the Sea Dragon’ won’t need to be done until Iris dies, is that correct?”

“Yes.”

“But we don’t have to be connected by a ‘Master-Slave Contract’, do we?”

“It would be the quickest way.”

Iris said, then pinched the hem of her dress and bowed.

“The “Soul Engagement” and “Spirit Linking” rituals have long since passed into obscurity, and no one knows the exact rituals. In fact, if someone were to recreate it, it would become a legend. That would be a mysterious existence beyond the brave.”

“…Heh.”

It seems that I’ve done a lot without even knowing about it.

“So, what are the chances of me and Iris having a ‘Master-Slave Contract’ and the Sea Dragon Kerukatoru recognizing it as a ritual re-enactment?”

“It’s 50-50, maybe less.”

Iris slumped down and sighed.

“But I don’t want to do this anymore. Being kidnapped, involved in a conspiracy, to put her friends in danger. I want to be a nobody.…”

“I also want to fall in love”, she murmured in a small voice and turned her back to me.

“Anyway, I’m going to go into the center and rebuild the barriers first. It would be better if everyone except Nagi went out into the corridor. If you go outside the hall, the effect should be lessened.”

With that, Iris put her hand on the door at the back of the hall.

The door, which had not been shaken even when the Golem punched it, began to move easily when Iris pulled on it.

If you stay here, you’ll take a direct hit from the pressure of the divine realm.

I looked at Cecil and Aine, who was waiting in the corner of the hall.

“Then Cecil and Aine, you go outside.”

“Wherever Nagi is, there I will be.”

“It’s impossible for your sister not to be next to you.”

Let’s listen to what they have to say.

“If you are going, then I’ll be experimenting with the effects of the pressure.”

“Experiment? Okay.” “Yeah. I don’t mind.”

I see. Then I won’t hesitate.

I pulled Cecil and Aine closer to me.

I wrapped my arms around them tightly.

Just right.

The last time I opened the central door, Cecil and Rita reacted differently. I wanted to find out why.

“I like it.”

Iris was staring at us.

“What?”

“It’s nothing. I’ll open the door.”

I heard a sound.

The huge door at the back of the hall opened.

What lies ahead of us was a shining white room.

There was a lake and an altar in the center. That’s the heart of this dungeon. Is that where the Sea Dragon Kerukatoru appears?

“It won’t take long, just you wait and see.”

The door closed.

Well, and.

“Cecil, Aine. Are you both okay?

“Oh, yes. Huh…?

Cecil’s red eyes widened, and she shook her head.

“It’s funny. I don’t feel scared at all.”

“What about Aine?”

“It’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay. It’s nothing, it’s okay, it’s okay…”

She was trembling.

The chestnut-haired maid was clinging to me with tears in her eyes.

“I’m sorry. I guess I couldn’t save you.”

“It’s okay. Aine belongs to Na-kun, so it’s okay. You must have done this for a reason. You don’t do things like this for no reason.”

Well, yeah.

“By the way, did you and Iris take a bath together? Why? Why did you take a bath with Iris when you refused me to wash your back? I’m a strange woman. I’m so scared that I am being unreasonable.”

Aine’s trembling hands gripped my collar.

“The gods are angry. I forgive Na-kun for everything, but it seems that Gods are angry at me. I’m scared. What should I do, Na-kun? I’m scared and I don’t understand. I can’t stop thinking about the fact that Na-kun took a bath with Iris.”

“Please calm down, Aine.”

(Cecil points to herself and Aine, then nods)

Yeah, yeah, yeah. (Aine points at me and Cecil, then nods.)

(Pause as if tying someone up)

(Pause as if washing the body)

Aine, who was still pale, and Cecil, whose cheeks were red, clasped hands firmly in front of me.

…I wonder what convinced them to do this.

“So, Nagi. What was the reason you held us in your arms? It’s not like you need a reason. You’re more than welcome, but…”

“I wanted to see if there was a connection between the pressures of the divine realm and ‘Soul Engagement’.”

I lowered my voice and began to speak.

This is about the secrets of the party, you know.

“…The Soul Covenant?”

“The reason I’m okay is that I’m a certified ‘Sea Dragon Hero’. And when I opened the door earlier, Cecil and Rita reacted differently, right? Cecil was less affected, but Rita was in a state of drooling.”

“Oh, yes. I certainly do.”

I thought that Cecil was the one who blew up Leviathan, and that’s why she was also recognized as a Hero, but then I thought it was strange that she was under pressure at all. So I thought that being in close contact with me in the state of ‘Soul Engagement’ might have made her more resistant.

“Are you holding me in your arms to see if the ‘Master-Slave’ connection also has a similar effect?”

“Yes. Cecil was immune earlier while she was attached to me. I’m sorry about Aine, though.”

“It’s okay.”

Aine shivered a little and rested her cheek on my shoulder.

“Because I belong to you.”

“Thank you. So, back to the story.”

“Iris said earlier that if I make a ‘Master-Slave Contract’ with her, we will be recognized by the Sea Dragon Kerukatoru, right? However, now we can say that the connection of the ‘Master-Slave Contract” is weaker than that of the ‘Soul Engagement’ because the immunity of ‘Hero’ was not transmitted to Aine.”

“So you’re saying that even if you make a ‘Master-Slave Contract’ with Iris, it won’t be able to fulfill her wishes?”

“Most likely.”

The dragon who will come to the center on the day of the festival will probably recognize me at a glance.

I mean, in order for Iris to get what she wants…

“I have to make a ‘Master-Slave Contract’ with Iris and even perform ‘Soul Engagement’ with her.”

“Is it possible?”

“It’s hard to tell.”

The ritual of “Soul Engagement” is quite difficult. Even Rita failed at it.

I don’t think the ritual will be successful if I suddenly signed a ‘Master-Slave Contract’ with Iris and then performed ‘Soul Engagement’ with her.

“The only way to make Iris’s wish come true is to connect with her outside of the ‘Master-Slave Contract’, or to convince the Sea Dragon Kerukatoru.

“I wish there was a better way.”

As I was talking about this, a crack in the central door glowed softly.

The air in the dungeon changed as the green light flooded out.

It was stagnant earlier, but now it’s like after running an air purifier at full capacity.

It seems that Iris’ barrier revival ritual was a success.

After a while, Iris emerged from the door and Aine clung to me again.

I told her to go outside.

“I made a small connection with Kerukatoru the Sea Dragon. I’m sure he was aware of the abnormalities in the dungeon as well. I could feel his anger and sadness.”

Iris told me, wringing out the hem of her soaking wet dress.

“If they tear up the dungeon anymore, I probably won’t be back this year.”

“Master! Message for you!”

It was out of the blue.

Rafilia emerged from the entrance of the great hall.

“Rita has detected someone. There’s an intruder!”

“I just re-established the barriers.”

“The intruder is human! A man with gray hair and blue eyes, and… and… and…”

Rafilia told me, with a look of heartfelt disgust on her face.

“There are twelve masked people with him. The Order of Divine!”

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