Editor: Ghost Ape
Surprisingly Rēko only stared in puzzlement. She often said disturbing things but she wasn't a wicked child. She most likely didn't quite get Sheina's suggestion. Therefore I undertook means to smoothly get things done instead of trying to clumsily control the situation.
"Hey Rēko, could you act like a spirit real quick?"
"Like a spirit… is it…?"
All of a sudden a creaking noise blended in Rēko's movements. Her eyes shifted around as if looking for help, and finally settled down on the actual spirit munching on rocks. Then she asked,
"So I have to imitate this, is that right?"
"You don't have to necessarily imitate this spirit. Ah, eating rocks is banned, it'll upset your stomach. You can just behave like a spirit as you see fit, using some other actions."
Rēko immediately discarded the stones she was drawing near her mouth and turned stiff for a moment. Then dap, she lowered her fist onto her palm as though she thought of something, saying,
"I am a spirit of Mother Nature with an extremely pure heart. If I were to compare my strength to this honourable Evil Dragon Lord it'd amount to nothing but garbage, but I have some magic power. I am harmless to humans. I am no different from Nature's trees and stones. Please rest easy."
"To try and put the whole setting into words in one go - that's some powerful acting alright."
Also, her speech closely resembled the time she tried to pass off as a sorceress at Peryudōna. Her acting range was queerly limited.
After ascertaining the preordained conclusion of my suggestion myself, I turned around to face Sheina.
"It's exactly as you saw. Rēko is simply allergic to acting, so playing as a spirit in front of a large crowd of people is definitely impossible. If she's exposed not only you but also Haizen will be blamed for that, so I'm telling this for your own good, but maybe you should give it up?"
"Pretty pleeease! I'll properly take care of teaching her to act! Besides for now I know she's no good if she speaks, but she's got a mysterious atmosphere if she just keeps quiet!"
"But still, deceiving people is a little…"
It wasn't good for Rēko's education. After all she has already been moving in a misguided direction, so I at least wanted the trivial aspects of her daily life to be kept as an irreproachable conduct. Quite keenly, at that.
"Well Rēko, in short Sheina's saying she wants to take you along as the spirit's double. She wants to play up to the military bigwigs by showing them that she turned the spirit into an ally."
"I see, so that's what it was all about. Although belatedly, I've comprehended it now. If that's how it is―― I can only refuse."
Oooh, I broke into a wide smile. Rēko really did have an upright heart. She judged that it was wrong and made a right decision as a person by herself.
The parent's heart rejoicing due to the child's growth―― that must've been it, because the warm feeling spread through my heart like gently flowing tears.
"My strength belongs to none other than Evil Dragon Lord. Lying that it belongs to the spirit couldn't possibly be forgiven. After all I think this is the time I should declare as kin that『Evil Dragon Lord walks on this earth』and flaunt enough strength to shake the whole world. Putting pressure on the dignitaries with the Evil Dragon Lord's overwhelming might as the background, we'd make them support our future journey on a full-scale. Of course including money."
"I wonder what I should do with these faintly sprouting warm feelings of mine."
"Ah, if that's the course then let's go to the headquarters together Rēko~. I'm sure the military people will also get a big shock once they see the Evil Dragon Lord's strength up close, right?"
"You want to make use of the confusion and treat Rēko like a spirit, don't you? I absolutely won't let such schemes through, you hear me?"
"Ahaha, busted? Still, let's go either way. You got no other plans right?"
"Well… That's true, but…"
Now that we let the demon slip away we had pretty much no business at the former mountain's site. Haizen left a fixed number of soldiers for investigation and lookout behind and made everyone else prepare to return to the camp.
"At any rate, isn't it bad now that the gold mountain, which previously was in one way or another part of the border's mountain range, is missing? Like a potential quarrel between nearby countries."
"No, it's fine. It might be even for the better, because as long as there's no gold the trade will become much easier. Beyond this point there's also Seiren, the town famous for its agriculture. It's likely to be cheaper rather than transporting goods all the way from our home country… Although seeing that the target of our surveillance, namely the gold mountain, has disappeared, this camp will also be abolished, or maybe it'll receive orders to fall back."
Contrary to expectations, a part of soldiers even raised cheers of joy, shouting "We're finally free!" Only Haizen had a pained face, since he was in a position where he had to take responsibility. I suffered too much hardship lately in one way or another, so I was running out of guilt.
Haizen must be thinking how to earn some merits from now on, so he also might be secretly wishing he could earn the achievement of turning a spirit into an ally.
"Jeez! Hey, I'll wash your body once you come to my house, so let go of that rock!"
On the other hand, Sheina being Sheina, already had trouble taking care of the spirit. She couldn't quite tear the little spirit girl off the large boulder she bit into, which apparently was a splendid meal. There were no signs she'd listen to her.
"Hey Rēko, is communication with the spirit difficult even for you?"
"I'm sorry. Somehow I can't converse well with her."
"It's hard, huh. Spirits were between Gods and demons, weren't they? Be it Gods or demons, we've talked with them many times till now――"
In the middle of saying that I suddenly remembered something. It looked like Rēko also thought of the same thing.
"Come to think of it the other day, we met the water demon that switched her positions from a demon to a God. Was there a period during her switch when she was a spirit?"