There was a lot more that I wanted to say to Guden, but there wasn’t any time. But more importantly, he himself assured me that he wouldn’t remember it.
And so it was better to leave that responsibility to the Kobolds.
Besides, he had managed as Commander in the past.
Surely I should be able to trust him to handle matters outside of combat. Yes, outside of combat.
“Well, I’ll be leaving now. But if you start seeing more rats around here, I want you to exterminate them without touching any.”
“Gahaha. I know. Leave it to me.”
Now I had finished visiting everyone that I needed to.
“Though, I would have liked to go to the Lookout Hill as well.”
But it was a little too far from here.
It would take me a few days to reach it on foot.
By now, the town would have been restored and the Tree Fairies returned.
I wanted to know how the old Cherry Ent was doing, but I couldn’t take such a long detour for a personal matter.
“I might have been able to go if I knew that about it earlier.”
But the old trees wouldn’t wake up until the end of the year.
It had been my intention to visit them during that time, but that would not be possible now.
And so I left Guden and rushed back to the village with the red rats.
On the way, I thought about what could have been the cause of their appearance.
At first I wondered if they could have been brought with the Lamias, but it made no sense for them to bring infected rats with them.
After all, they would be the ones in danger of getting the disease. Besides, the red rats had only appeared quite some time after the Lamias had settled.
“There was no reason for them to want a disease to spread so close to their home.”
Besides, if it had been them, they would not have told me about the red rats.
In that case, it could have been a coincidence that they came from the same place that the Lamias had. Either that, or they had always been here.
“But what has changed in these parts recently…”
This country hadn’t experienced war for many years.
And it was only recently that we were invaded by another country.
There had been two defensive battles at the Lookout Hill, which was about two days away from here on foot.
Ogres from the surrounding villages had participated.
“I suppose it could be because of the war.”
For instance, the disease-ridden rats could have been living in the mountains all of this time.
But they were so deep in the mountains, that they had never come close to the villages.
And so these rats would die from the disease without anyone ever knowing about it.
But war caused a change in their environment.
The animals that lived near the Lookout Hill would have ran away.
Wild dogs, foxes and rabbits existed in the Demon World.
Perhaps they fled from the battlefield and went to the mountains.
Once they did, they would have to find food. Would the rats just sit there and be eaten?
No. They would run.
And in order to escape these predators that were so much stronger and bigger than them, they would have to go down the mountain.
Like that, the number of rats in the village increased. But some of them were sick.
That seemed like the most reasonable explanation.
“Wars are happening everywhere in the Demon World now.”
And so just like here, there would be changes in the ecosystem, and other unknown diseases might begin to spread.
“Is this just another result of war?”
War took people’s lives both directly and indirectly.
Perhaps it was no different in the Demon World.
“I just got back. How are things going with the rats?”
I arrived in the village with the red rats, and so I asked the first youth that I saw.
“We caught a lot of them!”
“I see. How many were exterminated?”
“I didn’t count them, but there are a lot!”
While they hadn’t really thought about the rats all of this time, they ended up catching a lot more than they were expecting.
I suppose it was just different when you were actively searching for them.
Because there were so many, they said that they weren’t sure that they could exterminate all of them.
“I see… If only there were other good traps…”
They had used all of their buckets.
Which was more than sixty in all.
And just like I had told them, they were dumping the contents into the pit without touching the rats.
As there were so many of them, I wanted to increase the number of traps, but there weren’t enough buckets.
“And we can’t use any that leak…”
The rats would escape if they survived after falling in.
Eventually, they would start to learn, and the traps would no longer work.
When I looked around, I saw an open space that was filled with objects that had been gathered to make traps, but turned out to be useless.
Most were baskets. While they did have holes in, they weren’t large enough for rats to get through.
“Can these really not be used?”
They wouldn’t be able to hold water. And the rats would be able to climb out if they were empty.
It was as I thought of just using a lid, that a certain thought came to me.
“It’s an old method, but it just might work.”
I turned the basket over and lifted it with a stick. A string was attached to the stick and I held the other end.
“Then I just put some bait inside of the basket and hide until a rat comes…”
Once the rat was inside, I just needed to pull the string.
When I tried pulling it, the basket fell.
“Alright. Let’s try it out then.”
Most rats hide during the day, but would come out looking for food at night.
And we Ogres could get by without much sleep. People could take turns pulling the string.
And so I decided to have more of these traps installed. There were fifty baskets in all.
I would have them put in places where rats were likely to appear, and then have the string pullers hide.
After doing this for one night, we caught seven rats, and saw that it was effective.
“We should continue to use this method as well.”
It was just as I thought this, that I heard news that someone had fallen ill.