“What do you mean?”
I pretended to be ignorant and asked him, but his sharp gaze remained fixed on me.
“I’m asking who the woman is.”
“…… What kind of woman do you look like?”
I dare you to ask. He said he had silver hair, but that was it.
“A maid with long hair…Isn’t that what it seems like?
“You’re not wrong. Come on out, Rena.”
As planned, Rena soon showed up.
Long silver hair and a black maid’s uniform. No matter what great nobleman’s mansion she was in, it was not appropriate for her.
The only place Rena deserves to be is next to me.
With that in mind, I looked at General Duras’ expression.
He lost his expression a little. There was a hint of astonishment on his face, just like the one he had shown me that day when we first met.
But that was just the beginning. Rena said.
“My name is Rena. I am a maid in the service of my master, …… Theodore-sama. Pleased to make your acquaintance.”
“… Are you really that Rena?”
When General Duras heard that name, he thought of a certain person.
Well, she’s famous, isn’t she?
“Yes. As General Duras thinks, she is the very person who was brave enough to invade Tenebrae 500 years ago. Now she is my maid and my beloved wife.”
“I see. So you’re a demon after all?”
“Well. Should I tell you my real name, too? It would be nice to at least know the name of the person who will kill you in the end.”
Instantly, I condensed the magic power in my body to create a strong pressure on the spot.
It’s the same one I once performed at Mildiana’s entrance ceremony.
There are fewer sorcerers here than in Mildiana, but that doesn’t mean I can be careless. It would be troublesome if anyone in the city detected us, So I have to restrain myself.
Of course, after doing that, the great hero stands there as if nothing happened.
I mean, it’s not working, this. Even the most disciplined warrior should feel at least a little bit of pain.
It’s just that with his left hand, he lightly touches the scabbard that holds the divine sword.
I’m on alert. Is it possible that that divine sword is mitigating or even nullifying the effects of magic? And if he were to slash at me without question, I doubt that my current body would be able to see through the blow.
But no need to worry.
It’s obvious what will happen if you handle the divine sword in such a small place.
But more importantly, he has a situation that makes it difficult for him to take advantage of such a provocation. That’s also a big part of her presence.
“Lady Rena. I would like to ask you a question. Why are you supporting such a demon race?”
“Because I lost the battle. That’s how it all started. But now it’s different. I adore this man more than anyone else.”
“Do you say that the one who is called the Hero has succumbed to the demons?”
“You can be a hero, but you’re still just an ordinary person. You know that very well without me telling you, Great Hero.
The gazes of the heroe of long ago and the great heroe of today meet.
I don’t know …… the difference in their abilities. However, General Duras has that divine sword in his hand.
The one and only absolute divine sword that is said to have once slaughtered the Dragon God King.
The situation is not in Rena’s favor when it comes to actual fighting.
And that sword had never chosen Rena. The sword that rejected even the hand of a being with absolute power, also known as a hero.
Even if she were to create a sword with her magical power, she probably wouldn’t be able to even stop a blow from the divine sword.
If it’s a “divine artifacts” used by Royals – the highest-rangking Majin, it might be a different story.
But even from my point of view, it’s difficult to gauge the difference in their abilities.
From General Duras’s point of view, it would be a shame to start fighting in a place like this, all over the city.
I don’t think he can afford to set the whole world on fire.
“Well, enough joking around. It’s true that I’m a demon. I’m not like you humans. But I’m not going to do any harm to this town unless you do something unnecessary. At least for now.”
“…… Let me be frank with you. I believe that the Final Droplet incident in Mildiana and the recent attack on the temple were orchestrated by the same ideologues.”
“What’s your basis for that?”
“I can’t tell you that. The only thing I can tell you is that that case and this one started almost simultaneously. If someone had succeeded in summoning Sky Demons in Mildiana and dealt a heavy blow to the southern territories and the kingdom of Tsefte Aria, the empire would have been in immeasurable danger. It’s reasonable to think that they was planning to cause more chaos in the Empire by causing the attacks that are happening in the vicinity of the Granden territory at the same time.”
“Well, if they know what will happen if they storm the temple, then that assumption makes sense. So, who’s the culprit?”
“Unfortunately, we don’t know. We have conducted a joint investigation with the High Magic Court in Granden’s territory, but they all had no idea.”
“So it is just a speculation? It’s not worth discussing … but regarding the current situation I have same thought as yours. Then I’ll ask you again, Great Hero.”
This is the information that currently most want to know.
“Do you have any idea what a ‘goddess’ is?”
“To us, the people of the Empire, a goddess is synonymous with Orphelia, the Great Goddess of Creation. There’s no way I could have any idea. From my point of view, it’s most realistic to think that you and your people took the name of the Goddess and caused the Final Droplet incident.”
There was no falsehood in Claude Duras’ sharp gaze.
“What good would it do us demons to do such a thing?”
“You will exhaust the Elberia Empire from within, and when its military power is weakened, you will be able to use it to your advantage. Isn’t that a very reasonable thought?”
“This is bullshit.”
When I laughed it off, Claude Duras’s eyes grew sharper. I continued without regard.
“You can reap what you sow without any trouble. There’s no need to sneak around and make careful preparations. All we have to do is attack head-on and conquer this Granden territory in half a day.”
“…… You’re quite a force to be reckoned with, aren’t you, demon?”
“For us, power is everything. In that light, the earlier attack by the Sky Demons was a mere trifle. If I unleash my power, I can unleash more destruction and carnage than all of them in a matter of minutes. In the face of absolute power, you have no choice but to die or beg for your life. To the demon race, humans are nothing more than dust.”
Now, can you understand what I’m saying so far?
What the demon race is thinking. After a moment of silence, the blonde general said.
“You don’t have to go to all the trouble of fiddling, you can just go on killing. You can destroy an empire with a single stroke. You mean to tell me that’s what a demon race would do?”
“I don’t need to think about how to crush ants crawling on the ground. If they’re in your way, you just trample them down.”
“I don’t know what your true name is, but I think you’re underestimating humans a little too much.”
I knew you’d respond like that.
“So it seems. Among humans, there are those who are better at playing conspiracies than us demons, especially in your Empire.”
“What do you mean the mastedmind is a human?
“I think it’s a human… or something similar.”
It’s something I’ve been thinking about ever since I arrived in this empire.
The entity called “Goddess” is trying to weaken the empire.
If you think about it simply, that would be the case.
But can we really say that the person who made such a big deal of it has only that much desire?
That thing must have an immense amount of planning to do.
I believe that weakening the empire would be just the beginning.
What I fear the most is the impact it will have on the Tenebrae Demon Kingdom. If the Elberia Empire falls, the next one to rise will surely be that Zenan Dragon Kingdom.
The country becomes the Dragon Kingdom.
The power of the dragon race is great. Not only are they powerful, but they are also wise enough to use the legacy of prehistoric civilization in the form of airborne mobile fortresses.
In the past, when the Dragon God King was still alive – 1500 years ago.
It was in the Zenan Dragon God Realm that my predecessor, Lucifer had been most wary of, and had thought would be the most fun to attack.
Even the mad king, who was hungry for carnage and wanted to overrun everything, did not attack easily. The power of the dragon race is that powerful.
The current Zenan Dragon Kingdom does not have the power it once had. ……
In fact, by the hands of this great hero in front of me, the war has been stopped. But even so, in terms of strength, they are almost as powerful as the Empire.
The Dragon Kingdom may try to wage war on Tenebrae at any time.
No, I can say that if the Empire, the biggest obstacle in their way, were gone, they would surely attack us.
Of course, I think that they are insignificant if I go at them with all my might, but that is what worries me.
I believe that the Goddess wants to turn this entire continent into a crucible of warfare, the worst war in history.
But if that happens, Tenebrae will be left in the end. There’s no way anyone other than the demon race can benefit from this. Then why?
I don’t know who the culprit is, and I don’t know what she want. That Gislain’s master.
The woman that I glimpsed looked like an ordinary human. Why would a human being choose a path where only the demon race remains?
My thoughts stop there.
And it would be the same for the great hero in front of me.
From this man’s point of view, it makes sense to think that the ultimate purpose of “Goddess” is the prosperity of Tenebrae. That is why it is natural to suspect the demons.
In the end, no matter how much I thought about it, I still had no idea what was going on at this point. That’s why I told him this.
“Claude Duras. Give me all the information you can reveal on the recent attack on the temple.”
“Are you going to tell me that you’re going to scramble to fix things like you did in Mildiana?”
“I may do so, if I wish. I’ll say it again, we demons had nothing to do with this incident. If you still don’t believe me, just keep your mouth shut, I’ll give you ten seconds.”
Now, what do you do? Big hero.⁰
“…… Okay. That’s fine. I don’t believe in demons, but I heard firm General Lambert said that you were the one who saved Mildiana. I want you to take a look at this first.”
Claude Duras pulled out some parchment from a drawer in his office desk and handed it to me.
I skimmed through it.
“Dancing Nun …… This again?”
“You know about this?”
“Clarice told me, though she only had fragments of information.”
I read the entire report as I said it.
The nun who was dancing in the temple where the tragedy occurred were detained and interrogated by the military.
However, it didn’t bring any useful information to the table.
“‘The nun who became the most important witness starved to death’? Doesn’t seem to be any specifics, does it?”
Claude Duras crossed his arms and remained silent for a while. Then he spoke, as if choosing his words.
“The nun continued to behave strangely even after she was discovered by the military, but this was true even after she was taken into custody. Without the shock of witnessing the tragedy, to those who interrogated: I heard she said:”
“Father and Mother are coming back.”
“I made a very nice soup today. Would you like a sip?”
“Meals ……? I don’t need that. I’ve already had dinner. I’m already full.”
“I’m happy. I wish time would stop like this.”
This is what I felt when I heard those words.
“… She act like she’s in the middle of a happy dream or something?”
“That’s right. It is written in that report that the nun’s parents left this world when she was still very young because of the war with Zenan. There’s no way they could have come back.”
“Did she says she didn’t need to eat?”
“Yes. Shortly thereafter, the nun starved to death from malnutrition, which was not surprising since she had not eaten for more than ten days.”
“Do you think this nun is confusing dreams with reality? Do you think it’s possible that this nun is the culprit behind the crime?”
The great hero immediately denied it.
“The magic that nun could use was limited to the second level of the sacred arts, which could only heal minor wounds at best. When it came to swordsmanship and physical skills, she was no different from ordinary women.”
“There was no way such a woman could kill the well-trained temple guardians, huh? I heard that the people in the temple looked like they were being eaten alive, but what did they really look like?”
“Even the word “eaten to death” was not enough to describe the thing. Most of the corpse was damaged to the point of being indistinguishable, and it was so shredded that it was difficult to even examine the wound.”
“Was there any sign that it was destroyed by magic?”
“As I said before, the results of the joint investigation with the High Magic Court showed that no magical reaction could be detected. And as for the nun in question, there were no signs of hallucinations or brainwashing.”
It’s not something that can be accomplished by a single person going crazy.
Moreover, there was no trace of magic. It was impossible to believe that the nun was the murderer. I looked through all the other documents and found that there were no survivors, except for one nun. There were no witnesses.
“It has already had that happen in three temples, hasn’t it?”
“That’s as far as I can tell from my research ……”
As the big hero slurred his words, there was a thumping sound of something hitting the floor. Was it coming from the front door?
“I don’t mind, please go.”
“Then, excuse me.
When the Great Hero was out of my sight, who immediately ran out of the room, I turned my head to Rena, who had been silently accompanying me all the time.
Sure enough, I see a girl with bitterness on her lovely face and biting her lower lip.
“I told you in advance this would happen.”
“I do understand …….”
This is the second time that a human has discovered her stealth technique.
No wonder Rena, who had absolute confidence in herself, was frustrated.
Especially considering the person who taught Rena the technique. Rena respected ‘her’ a lot. Unlike my first wife, Lumiere, she adored her from the bottom of her heart.
I guess she feels bad for the person who taught her the technique.
In fact, she had been overconfident about stealth techniques until then. She may need to be a little more cautious from now on.
While I was thinking about this, Claude Duras came running into the room.
“I’m sorry, but I’d like to end this conversation now.”
“What’s the matter so sudden? What’s going on?”
I asked him, returning to my human tone, and he nodded.
“There was another incident at the fourth temple.”
Finally, the fourth one. I’m not sure how long the remaining two will last.
I looked at the great hero who was about to leave the room and said.
“Hey, great hero.”
“…… What is it? If it’s something trivial, you can ask it right away.”
“So let’s get to the point. You told me to come alone, but you said, “You weren’t alone.” I think that’s a little unfair, don’t you?”
General Duras’s blank expression wavered slightly.
“I just want to warn you. If you are a great hero, you will naturally have a lot of opportunities to talk with the emperor and other important people, so I’ll just give you some advice. You’re not very good at telling lies, so you’d better train yourself to do something about it. If you don’t, someone you don’t expect will try to catch you off guard. Well, I don’t hate that kind of stupid and honest personality, though. ”
I left the room.
I didn’t need to see General Duras’s expression to know that. Maybe there would be a big crack in that blank expression.
The soldier in front of his residence – who had probably come to report an anomaly – was light. After bailing out, I walked around the city for a while until I reached a secluded spot.
“…. Ah, what it is, Lucifer-sama?”
Rena, who had disappeared before we left the mansion, asked me with a puzzled look.
“Rena. How did you feel about Claude Duras?”
“Well, ……. In all my life, I’ve never seen anyone with such a strong sense of intimidation. That sharp look in his eyes almost frightened me.”
“Have you been thinking that ever since you entered the mansion?”
I said to Rena, who seemed to be confused.
“Claude Duras couldn’t see you.”
“What ……? But, that person clearly guessed that I was there. ……!”
“Didn’t you notice the way he was looking at you? Until you showed up, he was ‘only looking at me the whole time’. He didn’t even see you when you jerked around or followed behind me, or rather, he simply didn’t see you.”
No wonder Rena was confused.
I didn’t even notice when I first saw him.
“Then Lady Charlotte must have told him beforehand.”
“When he invited me to the mansion, he said, ‘I’ll send Charlotte to visit the grave of my late wife, so you don’t have to worry about anything’. It’s too unnatural for him to say such a thing if his daughter, who could see you directly, told him your existence. He wouldn’t have bothered to send Charlotte away.”
“But …… Lady Charlotte could see me, couldn’t she ……?”
“That’s for sure. That girl’s throwing of the wooden sword was definitely aimed at you.”
“So the daughter could see me and the father could not? And she, Charlotte, did not tell her father about me? Then why did General Duras knows about my existence?”
“When he saw you, the color on his face was astonishment. It was as if he had suddenly been shown an existence he had only half believed in. So I thought, “There’s someone else besides Charlotte who can see you.””
“…… So, that leads us to the story that General Duras was not alone. Was there really someone else in the room?”
“If you couldn’t see it. It would be more impossible for me to see it now. But it was there. Do you remember how he muttered, “Are you really that Rena?” In other words, that being not only could see you from the beginning, but even knew your true identity.”
It’s very interesting.
There was someone who had deceived not only my eyes, but even Rena’s eyes, and that person had been working beside Claude Duras all this time.
If it’s a stealth technique, then it’s a very advanced technique. Who the hell are you?
The only thing I know is that that person is not hostile at all, but other than that I have no idea.
In the face of an unexpected harvest and the possibility of more turbulence to come, I
was naturally in a high mood.
In the Supreme Commander’s office, the military department of the Granden territory.
Claude Duras muttered as he entered a fleeting moment of rest.
“….. What is that man? I knew he was outstanding because he was the man that Ludio praised so much, but I didn’t think he was the kind of person who would even notice your existence.”
At that moment, a gentle breeze blew through the room.
He heard voices from the wind blowing in the closed room with no windows open.
“He couldn’t just a mere demon. Is it possible he’s a high-ranking Majin?”
“Possibility of….. being Demon King….. Is it even possible?”
The gentle breeze continued to speak in an interesting way, and he listened to it for a while.
“Char is not aware of your existence. There’s no one else who can see you but me. …… It’s not a play I’m used to.”
The wind laughs in amusement.
“Yeah, I know. The man was not hostile. I think he just wanted to see how I’d react to his magical pressure.”
Taking a breath, Claude said as he looked up at the starry sky from the window.
“Demons, huh? It’s hard to get a sense of this just from hearing about it from you, but …… he seems to be a terrifying existence. It’s not something you want to make an enemy of.
As if in agreement with his words, the wind made a whistling sound.