I headed to the cave where the Lamias lived.
Well, I almost wanted to say ‘lurked’ instead of ‘lived,’ but perhaps that would be rude.
It was just that I didn’t get the impression that their lifestyle involved anything cultural. Like the place was their nest.
But the Lamias were half human and half snake, so it would be difficult for them to live like most others.
So in a way, I wasn’t wrong.
That was fine. As for how I came to be acquainted with them, it all started when I had come down here to investigate this supposed tribe that was not under Lesser Demon King Melvis’s control.
The Lamia’s territory was the cave, the lake near it, and the surrounding swamp.
I said that as long as they stayed there, I would allow them to live in the cave.
I had felt that if something were to happen, they would lend me their power in order to protect this new home of theirs.
“They are one of the more powerful races, after all.”
I had done some research after meeting with them.
And what I discovered was that their power was beyond what I had imagined.
Surprisingly, they were able to use magic. They were especially adept with water magic.
Now that I thought about it, the outside lake and the lake inside of the cave were connected underground. So they would have been able to move in and out with ease.
Yes, they were also able to breath underwater.
And much like us Ogres, the Lamias used mana to strengthen their bodies.
The lower snake half was made almost entirely of muscle, and it was enhanced further with mana.
Even an Ogre would be in trouble if they got caught and strangled by one of them.
They were able to move very swiftly in the swamplands, and they were good at swimming. Apparently, they also had no trouble in deserts.
It was rare for people to be so multi-talented.
Of course, the biggest thing was their poison.
The Lamias created poison within their bodies. Just like a snake.
As this poison caused your blood to coagulate, it was incredibly dangerous.
There were hardly any antidotes or serums in this world. At best, you might crush and apply or drink some leaves to help disinfect the wound. That was it.
I highly doubted it would be enough to handle a poison that coagulated your blood.
And so it was important to avoid getting bitten.
“Though, I think the higher races have a resistance to poison.”
Once you reached that level, even poison wasn’t a threat.
When their bodies detect the substance, it can be nullified or discharged.
I couldn’t help but feel like it was a cheat skill.
It was like they could do anything.
“…So, here we are.”
I was at the entrance to the cave.
Now I just had to enter and talk to the Lamias.
There must be a reason that they still haven’t accepted Lesser Demon King Melvis’s control.
But I didn’t ask. It wasn’t as if I’d be able to do anything about it, anyway.
And so, while the Lamias were not our enemies, they continued to be in a neutral position.
I didn’t know when they might change their minds and attack me. And so I had to stay on my guard.
As I slowly walked through the cave, I saw that the path ahead was blocked by a fence. It hadn’t been there last time, which meant it was built recently.
“Was there some kind of trouble here?”
I had stopped by the other Ogre village on the way, and they had told me that the Lamias never attacked them.
Even if they couldn’t live together, they could live in peace separately. That’s what I believed.
And so I had been quite relieved.
“This fence…I probably shouldn’t break it.”
Perhaps the Lamias had installed it to prevent any accidental contact that could result in something unfortunate.
The fence went into the wall and was made of logs and planks of wood tied together.
After thinking about it for a minute, I took down some of the planks and entered through the crack that was made.
Then I walked farther down the passage until the sounds of water entered my ears.
It was proof that the Lamia were here.
“I’m Golan the Ogre. I came here to talk to you.”
I stopped and shouted. I could hear my voice echo down the passage.
After hearing hurried splashes, everything became quiet.
“Hmm…I guess I should go.”
I waited a few minutes before I started to walk again. Up ahead, a Lamia was waiting for me in the water.
I couldn’t see the others. They were probably hiding below the surface.
They were just as cautious as the last time I came here.
“It’s been a while, Dalmia.”
The Lamia was the same one I had spoken to before.
And like the last time, she was wearing something that stuck tightly to her skin, much like a bathing suit.
Since I had done my research, I now knew that it had been weaved from seaweed.
While these weeds grew in freshwater, I assumed it was something like kelp.
Not only would it not interfere when they swam underwater, but it was also very durable.
“Has anything happened here? Have you attacked anyone or been attacked?”
“I see. That’s good to hear. Anyway, there’s something that I need to talk to you about. If you will listen.”
Dalmia’s pupils narrowed.
Perhaps it was because I was extra attentive, but those eyes were frightening when seen close up.
“I’m going to be leaving the village for awhile.”
It would have been easier to just say that we were off to war. But I couldn’t tell them, since they were not under Lesser Demon King Melvis’s control.
“For how long?”
“I don’t know. It could be as long as a year.”
As the Demon World had many races that lived long lives, there was a difference in how everyone felt the passage of time.
I remember talking to someone once, and they had said, ‘Oh, we were fighting the neighboring village recently.’ But when I asked about what had happened, it turned out to be an event from a few hundred years ago.
A year was a long time for me, but would it be the same for the Lamias?
“That is a long time.”
Oh, so they felt the same. I was glad that they felt things in a similar way.
“In the meantime, someone else will be in charge of all the villages in this area. But I will tell them about this place, so don’t worry.”
However, they would not be able to contact me.
I just needed them to understand that.
And I also wanted them to avoid clashing with any of the other races while I was gone.
The answer was short and honest. Well, I wasn’t sure how much she really understood. I had had the same feeling the last time we talked.
There was something overly brusque about the way that she talked that made me nervous.
However, they had not fought with anyone all of this time, so it seemed safe to trust them.
“If you do happen to be troubled by anything, go to the Kobold in the village for help. He will know what to do.”
Do you? Do you really?
Why were the Lamias here?
I knew that they had come searching for a safe place to live, but I didn’t know why they had to abandon their previous home.
Were they driven out? Or did they leave of their own accord?
Was someone chasing them?
As it seemed like they were hiding, I had felt that it was best not to bring it up. However, the time would likely come where the question would be unavoidable.
Perhaps it would have been wise for me to force them to accept Melvis’s control or make them leave. But I just couldn’t bring myself to do that.
“That’s all I have to say.”
How long would it take for us to meet again?
As I pondered on such things, Dalmia approached me without making a sound.