"Norma-dono. What is this something you need to talk about?"
"Townlord-sama. During the time I and Eda nursed Zack-san, he would keep rambling on and on in his delirium."
"Ah yeah, I heard about that."
"I have written down his delirious ramblings. I had also told Eda to write down what she heard."
"Piecing together these fragmentary words made some important matters come to light. That said, as the source was from listening to incoherent rambles with many ambiguous points, it is just not possible to be absolutely certain on the validity of this information. There are some things that I might have misheard as well. Some of his words may be mere illusions and assumptions mixed in the truth."
"Well now, that sounds quite grand. Just what was he on about anyway?"
"That's what I'm about to disclose. Eda."
"Can you point it out if there are inconsistencies that don't match up with what you heard."
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"First of all, Zack-san, no, Zaikaz Family is most likely aware where Earth Dragon Toron dwelled."
"As he had a bout of delirious rambles on how his grandfather found Toron, it might be the second head of Zaikaz Family who did. I believe it was around 50 years ago. The only I thing I could associate the name Toron with would only be the Earth Dragon Toron."
"It cannot be. Earth Dragon Toron."
"And I also believe Zack-san had made plans to exterminate Earth Dragon Toron. No, the preparations itself likely had gone through three generations."
"Exterminating the Earth Dragon huh."
"Apparently Zack-san had commissioned the creation of a sword known as Dragon Destroyer. I suppose it's meant to destroy dragons. It probably took him many years."
"Dragon Destroyer? Fumu. I shall take a look into it. Anything else?"
"But then Toron went missing."
"Zack-san frantically looked for Toron's whereabouts everywhere. It seems he dispatched many search parties."
"I've heard that dragons do not change locations once they have settled down in one. I wonder if something went amiss."
"That I'm not sure. Anyway, he sent out many search parties. This search effort likely took places over many years."
"What happened after that?"
"Almost forgot, apparently Earth Dragon Toron was living inside the Great Forest."
"Fumu? Kogurus to Great Forest is quite a distant away though. Well, no matter. Then what comes next?"
"I'm not certain in how it's connected to Toron's matter, but I think Zack-san had discovered an Ancient Temple-like structure inside the Great Forest."
"An ancient temple?"
"Yes. Although, it may also be that Zaikaz Family had known about it long before the issue with Toron arose."
"Nuh uh, I don't think so."
"Eda. What don't you think so?"
"He said 'It was I who found it'. So Zack-san probably found it himself."
"Ah, right yeah. So he was talking about the Ancient Temple. I see. That does make sense. Thanks, Eda."
"So what is up about that Ancient Temple."
"It seemed to house an unfathomable amount of wealth inside. Zack-san made every last bit of it his own. This likely happened around 17 years ago. Medic Aterna-dono had solid proof that the curse started 17 years ago. Hence, Aterna-dono believed that the curse gnawing on Zack-sama must have originated from the Ancient Temple."
"Goodness gracious. I see. So that's how it was."
"Is something the matter, townlord-sama."
"I always found it odd. That guy is simply way too affluent. He went and messed around in so many places, which sometimes ended up in failures and was forced to withdraw, yet instead of shrinking scale, he'd expand out even further. I always wondered just where did he got all that money from."
"Has it always been like that?"
"No. It started a few years ago."
"Is that all the information you have?"
"Right well. If there's one thing, it's the fact how the things I talked about weighed on Zack-san's mind so much he would ramble on about it in delirium. His mind is tormented by it."
"Oho. Intriguing. But to think the dot connected to Earth Dragon Toron. It can't be that Zack is seriously thinking of seceding from Zaka Kingdom, can it?"
"What does that mean?"
"Hahaha. So not even the encyclopedic Norma-dono knows this eh. Earth Dragon Toron is known as <Dragon of Abundance>, it is said the land where it resides shall prosper."
"Yes. I'm aware of that alias."
"Then did you know that this Zaka Kingdom was founded in the very land where Earth Dragon Toron was felled?"
"It is said the place where the founder king defeated Toron is now presently the Royal Capital Finkel."
"I had no idea."
"Apparently Toron once resided in Marl Kingdom as well."
"Did Zack-san believe that defeating Toron would allow him to found a nation?"
"Not exactly. By defeating Toron and taking its magic stone into his possession, he would have a just cause to secede from Zaka Kingdom. He'd probably garner a huge support from the public if he showed off Toron's dead body."
"Ah, I see."
"Kogurus was originally an independent territory that had no connection to Zaka Kingdom. Its integration to Zaka Kingdom came very late. Every townlord around here is aware how much that place loathes the capital's interventions. But, I see now. Toron huh. I see."
"Err, may I?"
"Of course. What is it?"
"Does it have to be Toron for nation founding thing to work? Like, don't we know where other dragons live at?"
"Indeed. Where Sovereign Dragon Atracia and Soaring Dragon Rudd reside in our kingdoms are known. No one is to get near those places."
"Can't you defeat those dragons instead?"
"I am unsure as for the reason why, but among the Six Sui Generis Dragons, only Toron is a symbol of nation founding. Although it's not like all countries were founded by defeating Toron either."
"Six Sui Generis Dragons?"
"Earth Dragon Ogd. Earth Dragon Imamu. Earth Dragon Toron. Soaring Dragon Yog. Soaring Dragon Kodan. Soaring Dragon Rudd. In every age, it is said that only one individual of each of these six dragons exists. We have their paintings in this mansion's entrance even."
"Hahaha. You never realized in the many times you visited here?"
"Huh? Wasn't there Atra-something dragon you mentioned earlier?"
"You're referring to Sovereign Dragon Atracia. This one isn't just some unique dragon, it's a Deific Beast."
"In the sense that it's a deity of beasts. I don't know if it's true, but it is said that Deific Beasts are capable of speaking human language."
"Eeeh. Even though they're beasts?"
"Haha. No one can say for sure. For Sovereign Dragon Atracia, its gigantic figure can sometimes be seen from afar, so its existence has been confirmed, but I just can't believe it can speak human."
"Dragons eh. Must be super strong."
"We've been passing down history of how the army of the kingdom before Zaka was annihilated by Earth Dragon Toron. Had Zack tried to take on Toron, Kogurus could have been in ruins by now."
"Lecan would win."
Eda spoke without any basis.
"Uhahahahahaha. Right yes. 100 Lecans might have a chance surely. Hahahaha."
Norma spoke in a slightly different tone.
"This time, Townlord-sama offered your cooperation in Zack's treatment. I'm in awe of your broad-mindedness."
"Yeah! You even clapped at the end of the operation even though he's your enemy. That was so cool."
"I myself find it strange. However, I won't deny how moved I was when that operation was over. But now, thinking clearly, this was the once in a lifetime chance to get him. No, killing him in this town would be bad, but I should have dispatched an assassin on their trip back. Just what am I doing anyway."
"Yeah, don't think it's doable."
"What? What do you mean by that?"
"Those eight bodyguards were really really strong."
"I did think they seemed adept."
"I'd get killed if I fought anyone from that group."
"What'd you say? You, a conqueror of Dungeon Ninae, would lose?"
"And two of those people are always around guarding Zack-san. It was super scary, I was so tense all the time."
"Which means I should count myself lucky I did not get murdered then."
[Episode 32 A Request from Kogurus's Town Lord] End/ Next [Episode 33 Hidden Stairway]