Previously, this town had suffered an incident involving red rats.
Rats that carried a plague had spread throughout the village.
And it was the Lamias who realized this immediately after I told them.
After all, the red rats were the hated creatures who were the cause of their exile.
Since they had studied them for a long time, they had a wealth of knowledge.
And in the end, the rats were exterminated, and great losses were avoided.
I shudder to think about what might have happened without the Lamias.
Residents of the Demon World were strong when it came to diseases.
That being said, it also seemed like the diseases were stronger.
It was the same with the red rats.
Aside from them, I had heard stories from merchants about towns being wiped out from other diseases.
Most people here did not have any knowledge about illness.
They could not tell if something was serious or not.
Sometimes they would assume that a little rest was all that was needed, and things would just get worse. And if it was especially contagious, then it would quickly spread throughout the village.
As the Lamias had prevented such a catastrophe, they were welcomed by the Ogre village.
And now I was going to meet them for the first time in a while.
I went up the gentle slope and headed for the highlands where the swamps were.
“I suppose they are all…in the caves.”
Water grass covered the area, and it was hard to see anything in the distance.
As you continued farther in, the lands turned into bogs, and your feet would sink.
The center of the swamplands was a great lake.
And it was connected to the water source from the caves.
I then entered the cave.
Once I was quite deep inside, I sensed the presence of the Lamias.
“Hey, it’s been a while…”
I tried to greet them, but they were cautious.
The Lamia seemed quite young.
It thrust out both hands, showing me its claws.
But why was it being hostile to me? I needed to do something about this misunderstanding.
“Now, wait a minute! I’m Golan. Don’t you remember me?”
I could hear my voice echo in the cave, ‘me…me…me…’
The Lamia tilted its head and stared for a while. Then it finally seemed to calm down.
It really was nothing. It just hadn’t recognized me at first due to my evolution.
From the Lamia’s point of view, I was a combat-type person with a lot of mana who had suddenly entered their cave.
It must have assumed I was here to attack them.
As one of them stood there and tried to stop me, the other had gone to call for backup.
It might have led to a battle.
Now that I thought about it, the Lamias were not connected to my mana.
They had fled from another country, and were still not a part of this one.
In other words, they were like a group of rootless trees.
For instance, even though I had evolved, the Ogres of the village would be able to tell who I was.
Even if they initially thought, ‘who are you?’ A closer inspection would show the connection to our Orbs of Control, and they would be able to guess who I was.
But since the Lamias were not from this country, they could not tell who I was.
If my appearance changed, they would not know.
“I thank you for what you did during the red rat plague. And I hear that you’ve started to trade with the village?”
“Yes. Weapons. We need. And armor.”
I was now talking to Dalmia the Lamia. She hadn’t changed at all.
Before, the other Lamias all treated me the same, but now that I had evolved, it was like we were back to square one.
As Dalmia had been the one to talk with me first, it seemed that role had been pushed onto her again.
“Was that weapon also acquired through trading?”
“Yes…it’s good…for hunting.”
Dalmia was carrying a longspear.
As the Lamias were uniformly quite large, it appeared small. But it was also the right length so they could still swing them around in the caves.
I had thought that Lamias fought with their claws and fangs when not strangling things, but it turned out that iron weapons were also very useful when hunting wild animals.
“It’s a good spear.”
When it came to the high-ranking races, there were times when iron weapons were not enough to inflict damage.
So this would be strictly for hunting.
Still, it was impressive considering where it was made. I had no idea they were capable of this.
It was probably because Ogres did not use weapons very often.
And it also took skill to wield one. And so many Ogres felt that using their fists was quicker.
But if they could make fine weapons like this, perhaps I should put together a unit of spearmen.
As I thought of such things, I noticed that Dalmia was staring at me suspiciously.
“What is it? Is there something on your mind?”
“When? The evolution.”
“Evolution? Ah…it just happened naturally while I fought on the battlefield. It’s easy for Ogres to evolve.”
And even easier to die.
“In the back…they are calling me.”
Dalmia said, and then she disappeared to the back of the cave.
“Calling? Who is calling?”
Before leaving, Dalmia had put a hand up to her ear.
But I had not been able to hear anything.
Perhaps it was at too high a frequency.
As they could not talk to each other underwater, perhaps they used sonic waves to communicate their will.
I waited for some time, and then Dalmia returned.
“We finished talking. My people. Will become subordinates.”
“You’re saying that the Lamias will become my subordinates?”
So Dalmia had been called back to discuss that matter.
“For our people.”
Perhaps because they had lived in the water for so long, but I found it difficult to understand Dalmia.
But with some patience, I learned that the Lamias had decided to make this country their final resting place.
This experience of persecution and having to flee their country had made them very cautious when choosing who they would serve.
Now that I thought about it, she had said something about wanting to live quietly when first coming here.
They had just wanted to live here, without being subordinate to anyone. And they asked for my permission.
And I had agreed to this wish. In the meantime, the Lamia had been trying to determine if I and the surrounding villages could be trusted.
“And so you decided that we could.”
It likely had a lot to do with how they were accepted by the village after the red rat plague.
And then, today, they saw me in my evolved form. And they had made their decision.
When I thought back on it, I had only met with them as an Ogre.
And I suppose they were not enthusiastic about putting their whole population under the control of an Ogre.
“I understand. And I welcome you.”
And like that, it was decided that all of the Lamias would be connected to me through the Orb of Control.
“We would like to call the others who are still in the other country.”
“I don’t mind.”
Some of them had not been able to cross the border, and were hiding in the mountains.
And they wanted to call them here.
“And the Darc Lamias as well.”
I had never heard of them before.
“They are large. And dark.”
So they were just dark Lamias.
And they were also longer.
Differences in environment could give birth to different types within a race.
This was especially true for magic beasts, as there were different types in every location.
“Yes, bring anyone you like. If they want to live here, they should come.”
According to her, the Darc Lamia had also suffered persecution in different lands.
The Darc Lamia were sometimes called ‘Horse Drinkers’ as they were known to swallow horses from villages.
Well, that wasn’t something you should do.
And apparently, they couldn’t actually do it. But they did eat a lot to earn that reputation.
“Anyone can come if they want. But if they cause trouble, they will be judged just as harshly as anyone else.”
If they did cause any mischief, I might have to set the idiot siblings on them.
Yes, that would straighten just about anyone out.
After my talks with Dalmia were finished, I took half a day binding the Orb of Control contract with all of the Lamias.
In all, there were over three hundred of them.
Wasn’t that more than before?
Had more of them arrived?
Or did they lie about their numbers? I wasn’t sure.
I didn’t bother to ask them about it. The important thing was that they were now part of my fighting force.
Not that I planned to fight in any wars, but it was good to know that they would be there if I needed them.
Now, as long as the Darc Lamias didn’t cause any trouble…
“If others appear who want to join, contact me through the Ogre village at the bottom of the mountain.”
I said, and then left the Lamia village behind me.
After that, I finished my round of the Ogre villages and returned home.