8-Hidden Palace

"Huh, good morning.

 One night after the welcome party.
 Before I knew it, I was drunk and had spent the night on the floor of the tavern.
 The delicious smell tickled my nostrils, and I got up, stretching.

"Good morning, my dear.
"Good morning, my dear.

 There were no villagers in sight, but Paula and the demon children greeted me cheerfully.
 I saw that they were cleaning up last night's mess and wiping down the table.
 She seemed to be cleaning up the dishes that had been eaten last night and wiping down the table. She seemed to be working hard, not unlike a daughter of a noble family.
 The two little ones had been clinging to her feet, but when I woke up, they came trotting over to me.

 When I picked them up, the hairy one sniffed my neck eagerly and the feathered one started chewing on my collar.
 While I was enjoying their morning activity, Paula smiled and handed me a mug of water.

Here you go. Please rinse your mouth.
"Oh, thank you.

 My mouth was at its worst, probably because I had drunk so much alcohol and slept so much.
 I sipped it gratefully, and my eyebrows arched at the taste.
 It smelled a little like mud.

"Doesn't it suit your taste buds?
"No, it's fine. No, I'm fine. I feel better now.

 I gargled the water into my mug and thanked Paula.
 Just then, the owner of the bar, Mr. Ute, brought a large pot of steaming water to our table.
 The smell that had been wafting through the air earlier was a kind of barley porridge that seemed to be gentle on the stomach.

 As he served the porridge on a wooden plate, Mr. Ute apologized to me.

I'm sorry the water tastes so bad. I've tried to get as much as I can out of it, but the source is so bad, please forgive me.
This is river water, isn't it?
Yeah, it got muddy all of a sudden this year. We're in a lot of trouble because of it.
So you've been digging a well.

 I remembered the dug well in the plaza, and the barmaid nodded with a troubled look on her face.
 In the first year of the Dragon of Doom Awakening Route, the most noticeable change was in the water.
 It became abnormally muddy, prone to decay, and even caused a drought.
 This will have a direct impact on the crops, leading to crop failure.

 "There is a river that flows from the Dragon Arm Forest into the Dragon's Inner Sea a little south of the Beginning Village.
 I learned from Grandpa Eugen, before he got drunk at last night's banquet, that they use it to water their fields as well as for domestic use.
 Also, the most important information.

"Thank you for the food. How much do I owe you for breakfast?

 The porridge was moderately salty, refreshing, and quite tasty.
 When I tried to pay for it, Mr. Ute laughed and shook his head in amusement.

You can't take money from a teacher like that.
"No, sir, you can't. I'll pay you.
You're young, don't be shy.
I can't be so generous. And look, ......
Oh, my God, you've eaten so much!

 When Ute noticed my gaze, she rolled her eyes at the empty cauldron.
 While we were talking, Paula, who had been requested to do so, had been busy serving the two of them.
 The demon children, who had devoured the large bowl of porridge with gusto, squealed with satisfaction.


 As expected, a large pot full of food can't be eaten for free.
 Mr. Ute pondered for a while, but then, with a snap of his hand, he came up with a condition.

So, in exchange, I'll give you ....... That lantern from last night. Can you lend it to us?
It's okay, but it won't work without someone with magic.
Oh, really? Mia, come here for a minute.
What is it, Mom?

 A young woman, no more than twenty years old, came out from behind the counter.
 She had curly blond hair and a well-built body.

I'd like to introduce you to our new girl.
"Nice to meet you. Oh, you're the alchemist I've heard about? You're better looking than I thought.

 It's surprisingly flattering when a cute girl says so.
 And it's even better when it's a character you know from the game.
 In Dracula 2, Mia is a clerk at a general store, and we often talk to her when we buy and sell.  

You have magic powers, right? "You've got magic powers, don't you?
"Oh, what's this?
Put your finger in the hole, touch the stone and pour the magic into it, and it will move.
Really? It's like this: ...... Wow, it's glowing!

 Shirasho stone has the property of collecting magical elements of light, and when you pour magical power into it, it activates and has the effect of emitting light.
 However, since it is large enough to be lifted with one hand, the amount of light it emits is only moderate.
 Also, once the light is turned on, it stays on and cannot be turned off.
 Therefore, the only way to turn off the light is to adjust the amount of magic power poured into it or to cover it.

That's what you have to be careful about.
"I see. Yeah, it's bright enough.
Cities have so many conveniences, don't they?
And can I borrow it only at night? I'm going to be using it for a while.
Oh, you're coming now?

 The sun had just risen and Ute was looking out the window, muttering in wonder.

Yes, I have to go somewhere.
Well, that's good. You can show him around.
"Oh, me?

 I was a little nervous about the road, so it was nice to have a local to follow me.
 I also wanted to make sure of something.

Are you sure?
"Yes. Okay, I'll wait.
Thank you for coming. I'm sorry for your troubles.
I'm sorry.

 So, after being handed a loaf of black bread and a bottle of wine for lunch, we decided to get going.
 After leaving the tavern, the three of us and two animals headed straight south.

 In the plaza, men were working around the well.
 As if they had noticed me in the lead, they stopped their work and waved at me.

"Sir, where are you going?
I'm going to take a look around the village.
"Okay. I'm going to have a look around the village.
Yes, thank you.

 After last night's party, he seems to have settled in well.
 As we passed between the houses, a large field appeared in front of us.

 If you look closely, you can see that the field is divided into two parts, one with blue wheat on the verge of growing and the other with only brown soil.
 As we gazed at the empty farmland, Mia answered our question.

This is a fallow field, Sensei.
Oh, fallow land. You're using the three-field method.

 The three field system is a farming method that divides a field into three parts, one for winter wheat and black wheat, another for summer barley and beans, and the last for fallow land.
 It was a familiar method in the game, but it seems to be widespread in this real world.

I've never met a demon before. I've never seen a demon person before. You're so beautiful!

"Isn't it? You look lovely, Mia-sama.
You can call me by my name. I'm ticklish. Your hair is really silky. How do you take care of it?
My hair? Yes, it is. ......

 At first, Miss Mia gave me a lot of explanations, but she soon got bored and started to exchange information with Paula.
 Well, it was a good thing that I asked her to follow me to make sure I didn't get lost.

 As I walked, I thought back to the discussion I had with the village chief and others last night over drinks and decided to summarize it.
 It seems that there are three main roles expected of me in this village.

 The first is to acquire foreign capital.
 Currently, Hans-san is selling almost all agricultural products to the capital.
 However, this village is located at the border of the Longarm Forest and the Longback Mountains.
 The Dragon's Inner Sea is just a short distance away.

 It is also a place where you can get plenty of blessings from forests, mountains, and lakes.
 In the game, the basic idea was to go around the area and collect various things.
 The idea was to increase the value of the goods by processing them.

 The second is to help with the development of the village.
 The village is prone to inconveniences such as the ongoing drinking water problem.
 So, like the lantern last night, it's my job to come up with a suitable solution.

 The third is to act as a doctor's substitute.
 In this remote area, where there is no satisfactory medical treatment, even a minor illness or injury can cause serious damage.
 In order to prevent this from happening, there is a lot of expectation on me to be able to mix various kinds of remedies.

 The chief of the village, who is a demon, can also use a medium level of cleansing power, but it seems that this alone is not enough.
 In fact, there are a few important characters that we haven't met yet, but when I asked them about it, they said they were recovering from injuries or illnesses.
 We need to take immediate action in this area as well.

 To be honest, there are too many things to do.
 I think it's too much to ask of a pan-racial alchemist, but apparently the head of the workshop, Barnabas, gave me a big lift in his letter.

 Oh, my God. .......
 In the past, I would have turned pale, but now I'm different.
 Now that I'm not under the scrutiny of other alchemists, I'll be able to do whatever I want.

 But in reality, I don't have the time to go around the forests and mountains to collect materials.
 Besides, the things that anyone can collect are not worth much money.
 In order to make plenty of money while helping the village and preparing for a bad harvest, it is impossible to do ordinary things.

 Something special is needed.
 And now, I was heading there, full of expectation.

 In about ten minutes, I seemed to have arrived at the vicinity of my destination.
 I checked my location on the world map and took another look around.

 I looked to the west, and saw a black mass covering the edge of my field of vision.

 And beyond that is a mountain range so majestic that it pierces the clouds.

That's the Longji Forest, and the mountains in the back are the Longji Mountains.
That's right. That's the Dragon's Inner Sea over there.

 On the other side of Mia's pointing finger, to the east, the surface of a sparkling lake stretches far into the distance.

So, is this the river ......?

 No wonder I'm wondering.
 At the bottom of the hollow that meanders between my eyes, there is only enough water for an adult to stride across.
 Most of the shore was bare brown ground that had dried up completely.

I should have brought a water bucket if I was coming to the river. That's a shame.
Is there any other water here?

 The water stagnating at the bottom of the river was murkier than I had imagined, and it took some courage to touch it.

"No! I've talked to people who've been to the ocean, and they say it's pretty dried up there too.
It's more serious than I thought. It's going to be bad if we don't solve the water problem as soon as possible.
Oh, can we get this river back to normal?
Don't be absurd. Being an alchemist is a much more humble job.
Sir, there's something over there.

 Paula, who had the demon children clinging to her feet, suddenly pointed to a corner of the shore.
 It's a wasteland on the riverbank, deep in the thickets of thorns.
 There was a large hole in the ground.

"No way!

 Mia shouted in surprise, covering her mouth with her hand.
 Covering her mouth with her hand, Mia let out an exclamation of surprise and then, with a roll of her eyes, said the reason for her exclamation.

I've been coming here every day and I didn't even notice. I've been coming here every day and I never noticed.

 As Mia stared at the black hole curiously, I was certain of one thing.
 There must have been some kind of boundary in that cave that prevented me from recognizing it until now.
 Now that we're here, it's been lifted.

 The reason for the disappearance of the invisible wards is simple.
 It's because I asked Grandpa Eugen about the river last night, and set up a flag.
 He told me that he had seen a strange hole in the river a long time ago.

 It may seem like that's all there is to it, but it's actually the way to make this cave appear in the game.
 And he succeeded in the same way in the real world.

 The slapstick of Paula's demon egg hatching was also just like the event in the game.
 I thought there might be other game-like elements in the game, so I gave it a try, and it turned out to be a great success.

 This is a very important discovery when you think about it.

 If the progression is the same as in the game, it is still likely that the Dragon of Doom will not be able to resist the flow of awakening.  

I'm not sure what this hole is all about. I can feel the presence of evil.
This? This is the entrance to the Dragon Ball Palace, the hidden dungeon of Dracula 2.

 This is the entrance to a hidden dungeon in Dracula 2.

And this is the last hope we have left.