Story Of The Ancient Demon King
After Alto finished telling Hakuto about today’s events, he repositioned his greatsword again.
“I checked that priest with the spell light stone when I interviewed him, but there was no sign of a curse. There were no signs in the church either. We found residue of a curse in the examination room at the entrance of the…. church, but there was a person who had been lifted from a curse just before, who we also checked as well, and found nothing suspicious with him. The person has been confirmed to have been cursed before.“
“…I think it’s still possible that the Madame or Shock could be the culprit.”
“Yes. There are still other lines of inquiry to be explored. I hope we find a clue somewhere.“
According to Alto’s theory that the culprit might have put multiple curses on himself, if Madame and Shock were the culprits, the spell stones should have reacted to them.
Because that had not been the case, other possibilities had to be explored.
However, Madame was a person who attended the party and had access to the castle, and the fact that Bishop Yang escaped suggested that Father Shock, also an Angel Cultist, had a motive. The two suspects were still strongly under suspicion.
“The other one is…”
“Let’s see. I don’t think they’re the type to use…. curses, but when I heard they could kill a knight without batting an eye, they were the first person that came to mind.”
“Could it be today!?”
During the day, he visited Madame and Shock, and at night he planned to go see them after a deep training session.
He also has his normal duties and work to do in Kujaro and other places.
‘Busy’ barely scraped the surface of his current schedule.
“Yes. I can’t go in there lightly. After a couple of hours have passed, and they’re about to close, I’ll sneak in and hide.”
Suspect number three.
They had grown the gambling house they inherited from their predecessor, and no matter how many criminal gangs and hitmen targeted them, they fought them back head on and won.
They were a charismatic fighter who was admired by the members of crime syndicates.
Known as the “Undefeatable Fighter,” he carried the legend of being undefeated on his shoulders and lived grandly with his sheer prowess in the entertainment district.
At that very moment…
In the tower, there was a figure that was neither a prisoner nor a guard present.
The claw marks the mysterious intruder left had been completely restored (1), and tranquility had returned to the circular prison.
The steady sound of a pair of footsteps reverberated, and when they ceased, an out-of-place figure appeared in front of one of the cells.
“Good day to you.”
Juan, who has been silently reading through documents in his cell that were made visible by the faint moonlight, immediately knelt down.
“…I apologize for not recognizing you immediately. Please forgive me.”
“No problem. It’s not a public place, and I just wanted to ask you a few questions. I’m just taking a break.”
Celestia… smiled at Juan as he knelt down on one of his knees and bowed his head.
“You are not the kind of person who would harm your kingdom, after all. The lord was right.”
In the dimly lit corridor of the prison, Juan was unable to look up due to the beauty of Celestia, who looked so divine.
Even though she was the first princess of the kingdom, she felt uncomfortable with the words “the lord (・・・・)”.
She wondered if either King Light or Alto had told Juan that.
“So, did you find anything yet?“
“Before I answer your question, let me ask you something rude. Do you have permission from His Majesty…?“
Juan’s allegiance was still to the kingdom and to King Light.
Even a princess cannot discuss sensitive manners without the permission of King Light or his representative, Alto.
“Hmm. I knew you would ask that. Marie?”
With a smile captivating enough that even Juan could be ensnared if he wasn’t careful, she motioned behind her, and Marie responded by stepping forward and showing him the Royal Decree.
“I see… indeed.”
“Do you really have no idea who the culprit is?”
“Yes. Curses take many forms depending on who’s casting the curse. However, it’s hard to believe a direct effect such as the destruction of the tower was caused by witchcraft.“
Juan checked the permit and answered truthfully.
“If the site was preserved, I might have been able to find out something, but from this document alone, I can’t deduce anything more…”
“I see. Curses are troublesome, after all. Especially when there are so many unknown factors like in this case, there are no leads at all.“
Celestia had a rough guess of who the suspect was.
“However, Gerald, the head of the Hermit, who’s in the list of suspects, may have nothing to do with this case.“
“….Why is that? You seems very sure of it.“
Celestia and Marie were reminded of their past struggles with that man, though Juan did not know of their experiences.
“If he really wanted to, he could get into the castle without needing to use curses. No matter how strong our knights are, they will not be able to hurt him. I am sure that he would be able to kick through the walls of that tower.“
Juan’s words had respect imbued in them.
“…I’m sure he’s a fearsome man, given what you said about him. I hope we don’t run into him by accident.“
A man who has yet to be defeated, whose steel body could not be properly pierced by a blade, and whose monstrous strength made one wonder if he is even human.
He is a true monster who fought with both Celestia and Marie and did not back down even a single step, even though they forced him to settle for favorable conditions that led to a win-win situation.
“Even though you are are said to be the most skilled swordsman in the Kingdom of Light, please be prepared for any eventuality. I ask you to put your own safety first when you encounter him.“
“Thank you for your concern. I will do so.”
Celestia muttered coldly in her heart, ‘No matter how strong he may be, he should be careful to not let the casino’s sales drop… or else he’d face severe consequences.’
Juan, still kneeling on one of his knees, discreetly broke the brief silence.
“….That man is…”
He was not referring to Gerald who he warned about earlier.
Both Celestia and Marie immediately guessed that his words, which seemed to have leaked out of curiosity, referred to… Glass.
He must have been curious about it since he had experienced his technique.
“Wasn’t he amazing? He is a servant to whom I’m indebted. I’ve been thinking about you too. I’m sure there must be some reason for your experiments with curses.”
Celestia, who naturally assumes that he wants to ask her who he is, blocked out his inquisitiveness, indicating that she did not want to answer.
“Let’s leave Glass-sama aside… and let’s think about your current situation. Your in a very dangerous position since you showed your blade in front of Erika, the princess. You have worked in assassination missions, and you are even suspected of being a spy of another country.“
With a warm and loving smile on her face, she spoke plainly and flatly.
Celestia was a beauty that captivated everyone, but Juan had an unknown uneasiness about her perfection and his inability to see the true thoughts of Celestia, even in this situation where he knew she had no hostile intentions toward him.
Being an “ally of the kingdom” was not enough. She was not a person who deserved to show her innermost side and to have a conversation fueled purely by emotions.
Such a thought came to his mind, even though it had no logic and was impossible.
“….I have made a mistake, and I am prepared to face it. But, I will always tread through only one path. I will serve His Majesty with all my heart and soul. No matter how you deal with me, that will never change.”
In a roundabout way, he expressed his loyalty not to Celestia but to King Light.
“Hmm… you’re really excellent, aren’t you? Father would be pleased.”
A cold sweat broke out on his back.
Celestia’s cheerful words were supposed to be a compliment.
“Your fate depends on the effort you put to solve this case. I can’t do anything about that, except hope you will be able to achieve something significant.”
“…I’m thankful and happy…”
There were tales of a greedy Black Demon King, a noble black knight, and a monstrous orc that appeared to be a composite of a dragon.
…but to Juan, this goddess whose cold smile he admired was not only incomprehensible and unfathomable, but also the most terrifying.
(1) I think what this part means is that the claw marks she had left suddenly disappeared (as in, they were fixed).