Half-Dragon Slave Life Ch. 36

Author: Kaburagi Haruka

Translator: ShiroiKaze/Soyokaze Translations

Chapter 36: Cause

Translated by Soyokaze Translations: soyokazetranslation . Com

Reunited with Haumea, we checked on the villagers.

Likely because they first thought we were the cause, the distrust of the elves was on full display. But Master went around detoxifying them, and upon seeing their symptoms dramatically improve, they became a bit more relaxed with us.

“…and so we’re thinking of searching for the cause of these symptoms, but…”

“Of course, helping you out will be no problem at all. But if that place is the cause of this illness, then I’d rather not go there again.”

The symptoms of the bedridden elf woman in front of us improved under detoxification, and she’s able to sit up and sip at porridge now.

A small girl, possibly her daughter, was charmingly and bravely taking care of her.

“You can’t! I won’t let you go back to where you got sick!”

“I know. I don’t wanna go either.”

“I’m not planning on asking you for that much. I want you to tell me about anything that seemed strange. Before you got sick, when you headed off to gather, when you came back, anything is fine.”

“Don’t think there’s much to say… but now that I think of it, there seemed to be oddly few animals in the forest.”

“Animals?”

“If they appeared all the time, then it would be too dangerous to walk there. Shouldn’t there have only been a few from the beginning?”

“Eir, for us elves, getting right up near those animals without them noticing is considered a right of passage you know?”

“The rumored stealth of the elves…”

Haumea’s mentioning of it made me recall Cole’s stealth techniques. He was very well hidden within the forest.

I would love to learn that.

“Well, there you have it. We were taking on giant bees, so we hid ourselves well. Considering the circumstances, there should have been more animals who came near, not realizing we were there.”

“Which means there were fewer animals than normal in the area already? It wasn’t because of the giant bees?”

“I’ve helped out with exterminating giant bees plenty of times. I can get a good read on how much an effect they should have on their surroundings.”

“I see. Thank you very much.”

After that we went around healing several others, but the information we got was all similar.

They would say, “there weren’t many bugs,” or “I didn’t notice any birds”. They just felt something was off.

We decided the cause would only be discovered if we went on site.

~*~

Translated by Soyokaze Translations: soyokazetranslation . Com

Under Haumea’s guidance, we headed deep into the forest where the honey was gathered.

Cole is coming along as an escort too, but neither of them seem to be adept at close combat.

Then again, that’s compared to us, which I don’t think is a very helpful point of reference.

“We gathered the honey a little further in, near the base of a rocky mountain.”

“It’s a place your school’s students often use for tests, so it should be safe.”

“So there’s quite a few people who come this way?”

“Indeed, it’s normally used as a hunting ground.”

“And any cases of diseases there up until now…?”

“In my hundred years here, none.”

A place often visited, with no known occurrences of infectious diseases, and then a sudden outbreak.

Looking at it as there being something that caused it seems reasonable.

As we approach the gathering area, Yig started reacting oddly. She started scratching the tip of her nose repeatedly.

“What’s wrong?”

“My nose is getting all itchy—“

“Your nose? Mine is feeling fine.”

“Same for mine.”

“Me too.”

“Mine as well.”

Starting with Master, then Haumea, and Cole, none of them feel strange it seems.

Is there something here that only Yig is feeling?

“It’s just barely noticeable, but still—. It smells a little burnt, and a little metallic… kinda like the smell of when the forest is burning I guess?”

“A burning forest? Is there a charcoal maker’s hut near here?”

“No, nothing of the sort. We’re careful not to use strong flames in the elf village.”

“Yeah, for cooking and the like, we usually use magic.”

“Hmm?”

Master puts his hand to his chin and sinks into thought, in his usual pose.

“Yig, can you tell where the smell is coming from?”

“To faint for me to tell, Boss.”

“How about you, Eir?”

“I don’t even smell it… but there’s a faint magic response, maybe?”

My half-dragon parts improve my sight and the information my brain receives, but my sense of smell isn’t particularly effected.

But when I tried searching for a magic reaction, there was something drifting thinly in the atmosphere. This isn’t the density a living creature gives off, is it?

“So there’s a reaction when searching for magic… Is it safe to say a magic beast is the cause then?”

“Master Rimuru, it’s not from a living creature. It feels like the magic is flowing through the air.”

“Wow Eir, you can find magic power?”

“Eh? Ummm… it’s this horn.”

“Oh, that’s amazing.”

Haumea knows I’m half-dragon, so there’s no point in hiding it.

“Magic searches at no cost. As an adventurer, I’m jealous.”

“Even as a non-adventurer, I want that. For keeping watch over the forest.”

“In any case, if it’s not because of magic beasts, we’ll just have to comb the area.”

“Actually Master Rimuru, if there’s a burnt smell, shouldn’t we search over there first?”

While saying that, I point toward the huge rocky mountain, often used for gathering rignia stones.

~*~

Translated by Soyokaze Translations: soyokazetranslation . Com

Rignia stones were the material gathered by class 3.

Used as catalysts for magic, they fetch a high price, but are easy to gather if you know where to find them.

There’s a vein in this mountain, and the academy uses it to replenish their teaching supplies, while also giving it as a gathering test for students every year.

And that particular task is taken on by either class 2 or 3; slightly below the top class. It’s never given to the lowest class.

Cole leads the way up the mountain, where we see something peculiar.

A single signpost.

“… Rignia stone mining spot?”

It was unmistakably written on the old sign.

In other words… this is…

“Cheating?”

“The vein’s location is marked for the next group to smoothly clear the test…?”

“I’m appalled. I can’t believe they’re cheating like this.”

“Seeing as it has been left alone, that means fellow villagers have silently consented to this trickery… How deplorable.”

“I did think they dug up a surprising amount in just a few days, but it turns out they had this little trick… Yig, how’s the smell?”

“Getting a lot stronger—”

By now I noticed something off about the smell too.

I can’t say if it smells like something burning, but every time I breathe, there’s a slightly odd smell in the air.

Following the signpost further forward, the smell became clear and strong.

“Looks like we’ve found it.”

“I guess the ones in class 3 did something here?”

“Most likely.”

Upon arriving near the summit, a tunnel appearing to be a mine was set up, with a cottage for camping placed nearby.

Getting this far takes a long time, so they wouldn’t give it as a test for the top class. But the area and environment are already set-up, so they wouldn’t give it to the lowest class either. In other words, this is how they do things.

“To keep class 5 down, they give easy tasks with good environments to the rest, eh. They’re really messing around.”

“I’m at a loss for words. So this is how Raum’s most prominent school is run.”

“I’ve heard the adventurers have had a harsh drop in quality recently, but if this is how they do things, that makes sense.”

Mguugurrrr…

The test is just to come to this pleasant area, and take back the readied supplies. While those two displayed their disgust at this peek behind-the-scenes, Yig was clamping down her nose.

“Boss, Boss! This smell is dangerous. If you breathe this air in, you’ll get sick.”

“So this is the source of it then?”

“Absolutely! Mixed in with the burnt smell, there’s an awful iron smell too.”

“So there’s some gas coming out of here, and drifting down to the base of the mountain on the wind, then.”

“In that case, isn’t it bad for us to stay here too long too?”

“Probably. We can’t block only that air, so this is problematic. In any case, let’s get away from here for now.”

Yeah, we can’t just stop breathing and keep searching.

So for the day we descended the mountain, took plenty of distance, and stood by for now.

~*~

Translated by Soyokaze Translations: soyokazetranslation . Com

While camping out, we wrapped cloths around our faces and made simple masks.

We can’t stop from breathing, so we could only compromise with these for some peace of mind.

For our campsite, we chose a place where Yig could tell the smell didn’t reach.

“I’m thinking we should try going in the tunnel tomorrow, but this is all we could prepare. So if you start feeling strange, tell me immediately. We already know detoxify magic can relieve the symptoms.”

“Understood. Is it not a problem for you?”

Cole, while replying, has a black cloth cloth wrapped around the lower half of his face. He gives off the impression of an assassin.

Just looking at him feels unsettling, and I can’t keep calm about it.

“Of course I’ll be as careful as I can. But if you notice anything off when you see me, please let me know.”

“Well, Rimuru is always being watched by Eir anyway.”

“Seriously? That’s scary!”

Grh, Master Rimuru, does that bother you?”

“N-no, that’s not what I… ahem, anyway, just in case we should detoxify everyone once an hour, and even if nobody is feeling strange, we’ll get out of there after four hours.”

“Don’t change the subject.”

“I’m not changing anything! I’m not afraid of you, Eir, okay?!”

My unusually sharp gaze put Master into a panic.

“Stop it with that glare already. You look like you’re about to vent at me.”

… Apparently my “sharp gaze” looks like a glare to Master. Darn you.

~*~

Translated by Soyokaze Translations: soyokazetranslation . Com

The next day, with masks on, we headed up the mountain.

If you saw us passing by, we’d look like a very suspicious group, but sacrifices must be made.

Plus our break ends today, so we have to solve this today if we can. Otherwise we won’t make it for classes tomorrow.

We determined a safe distance by using Yig’s sense of smell, but the stink disappeared just a little ways from the mountain, so it doesn’t seem to spread too far.

We took a quick breather outside the tunnel, readied lights, and made preparations.

“All right, we’ll head in now, but everyone be very careful about how you’re feeling, okay?”

“Right.”

“Yig, you seem to have the sharpest senses here, so if there’s anything… anything at all, let me know.”

“You got it, Boss!”

After double-checking safety points, we stepped into the tunnel.

Students come here for tests, so there probably aren’t any monsters, but our enemy this time is invisible.

Walking into there was more pressure than I expected.

Inside the tunnel I was surprised to see it wasn’t just dug out, but the cavve had wood frame reinforcements, and carefully prepared footing.

Almost like it’s a cave for tourism.

“With it this well maintained, we can move forward easily.”

“But it’s narrow—”

“Sorry Yig, but we don’t know if there’s anything in here, so you’ll take the lead. Eir next in the line, if you would.”

“I don’t need to protect behind us?”

I’ve heard being prepared for surprise attacks from behind is important in caves.

Putting Yig in the front as our strongest is fine, but as the next strongest, shouldn’t I guard the rear?

“Size-wise, you two are the shortest. In a place like this you’ll have the easiest time moving. Cole can be our rear.”

Grgh, fiiiine.”

And so, from the front it’s Yig, Me, Master, Haumea, and Cole in line as we go in to search.


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