Three Lamias appeared in the village. One man and two women.
Looking at them now, I was reminded of how big they were. And they were quite intimidating.
As they were now, they were about the same height as me.
This was in spite of their lower half being that of a snake, and most of their bodies were currently hidden in the grass.
And they were so stealthy that I hadn’t even noticed them until they were so close. Had they been wielding weapons and attacked us from the back, we would have likely been killed.
I instinctively felt a sense of danger and went into a battle stance. But then I remembered.
They had no reason to be hostile against us Ogres. Besides, there were only three of them.
And they didn’t seem like they wanted to fight.
So, why had they come then?
The Ogres now realized what was happening. But they just gulped and watched to see what I would do.
The woman in the center nodded.
The representative of the Lamias.
While she didn’t talk a whole lot, she always answered my questions.
“Dalmia. I thought we had an understanding. You are not to come close to this village.”
“Because I smelled the red rats…”
According to Dalmia, they had all discussed the matter after I had left the cave.
Previously, I had tried to suggest that they live in separate places, but the Lamias tended to be very united as a group. And once they decide something, they kept their word.
I had only gone to tell them that I would be leaving for a while, which wasn’t really a problem.
But our conversation had gone on for longer, and then I had run out of the cave in a rush. This had apparently greatly alarmed the other Lamias.
I was a little surprised to learn that they had all been watching us from below the surface of the water.
Dalmia then told them that she told me about the red rats and the story of how they had lost their old home.
Why had she done it? It was because she could smell the red rats on me.
It was possible I had come in contact with them in some far away place.
Maybe I had rested by some road and just happened to come upon a red rat.
—But what if that wasn’t the case?
And so the Lamias discussed the matter for a day and then decided to send representatives to go out of the cave.
Of course, this was against the terms of our agreement.
But what if the plague was to spread?
And what if it happened close to them?
It would mean that the Lamias would lose their home once again.
That was enough to make them act, even if it meant a breach in the agreement.
Dalmia was accompanied by a man and women who were the most knowledgeable about the red rats.
It took a while for them to finish explaining all of this.
And while Dalmia spoke very falteringly, I was able to understand her meaning.
“As you can see, this village has had an outbreak of red rats. Can you do anything?”
“We will kill the red rats.”
Lamias lived by catching small animals near lakes and rivers.
They were skilled hunters. If they wanted to, they could hunt little critters to extinction, which was something they carefully avoided doing.
Because of this, they sometimes strangled to death animals that came to drink water, and other times they would eat water plants.
In any case, while catching rats was difficult for us, it was nothing for the Lamias.
“Still, if you go around catching rats, you might get infected.”
“It will be fine, since we know what to do.”
They would wear thick gloves so that they could not be bitten. And they certainly would not try and bite the rats.
The Lamias insisted that there would be no problem.
After all, the only reason that the Lamias had been driven out was because things had settled down enough for people to concentrate on finding out why it had happened.
In other words, the Lamias had found out the reason and finished exterminating all of the rats in the area.
“Can I count on you?”
“It will be possible with the help of the others.”
So many of the Lamias would have to be accepted into the village in order to exterminate the rats.
I turned around and asked the others.
“This town is filled with disease carrying rats. We caught quite a lot in just one day. But there are still more in this village and the surrounding area. The Lamias say that they will catch them all. Do you agree to let them into the town?”
I waited, and one by one, they nodded.
Please kill the rats—everyone present felt the same way.
“Please help us.”
Guinida said as a representative of the village.
“Dalmia. Do it. Bring the others…and save this village.”
“Very well. These two have brought water grass that will help the sick.”
Back when they had been searching for the cause of the disease, they had also searched for medicinal plants that were effective.
And since these had been growing near their cave, they had brought some with them.
“Thank you. Two have fallen ill so far. Sisters. Come this way.”
Things moved quickly after that.
Dalmia returned to the cave, saying that she would call the others.
The two that remained began to boil the water grass. They were going to make some medicine.
After a while, the Lamias arrived. There were more than a hundred of them.
They wore masks made of woven water grass, and leather gloves.
Every part that might touch a rat was protected.
“Now that I think about it, how are they going to do it?”
As I wondered this, I saw one slither silently towards a rat that was hiding.
The rat darted away and tried to escape, but the Lamia caught it.
In the battle between snake and rat, a rat could not win.
They said that they found the rats through smell and heat. Not only that, but they moved stealthily the entire time.
It was impossible to sense their presence when they were behind you.
“We might just have a chance now.”
I had been quite worried, but the Lamias were exterminating the rats at a speed that exceeded my expectations.
“Sir Golan. There is nothing to worry about now. Please go and prioritize your work.”
Guinida urged me.
“But I have to make sure of the results…”
“It will be fine. I can handle the rest. After all, now that the Lamias are here, the red rats in this area will be wiped out soon enough.”
“The Lamias really are brilliant hunters, eh? I’m surprised.”
“As am I. Sir Golan, you must go and do what only you can do.”
“…Are you sure?”
The Lamias had spread their field of search to not just the village, but the area outside of it as well. And they were moving quite far out.
Indeed, it was best to leave the rat hunting to them. There was no need for me to stay.
They were even making medicine for the patients. But it would take a while before we saw any results from that.
It would take days, really. And there was nothing I could do in the meantime.
“Very well, Guinida.”
“I will leave the rest to you then.”
“I will protect this village until your return, Sir Golan.”
“Alright. Then…I will go.”
“Yes. Be safe.”
Guindia would protect the village as Dalmia and the Lamias hunted the rats.
It was time for me to gather my men and head towards Demon King Tralzard’s land.
That was my duty, and I had to accomplish it.
Still, it was with some feelings of regret that I left the village behind me.