Someone walks at a fast pace in the dim stone paved pathway.
The steps that have anger mixed in them, his rough breathing, and his clearly bloodshot eyes that were looking right at his front, with that bald head of his having sweat flowing down, the old man, Erac, pushes on with violent breaths.
“What is the meaning of this?! …What’s this about the Empire’s army retreating?!” (Erac)
“Erac-sama, please lower your voice.”
“Shut up! —At this rate, the plan will go completely down the drain!” (Erac)
Shouting at the maid that is walking by his side, Erac complains with the temper of a child.
Erac received the notice of the Empire’s retreat when the date had changed at 1:00 a.m. A notice wouldn’t have ever come at this kind of late hour unless it was an urgent matter, and Erac listened to that with tension, and was at a lost for words.
The Garusha Empire’s army that is said to be the strongest in the continent has retreated.
Having several tens of thousands of soldiers, knights, and mages, it is said to be an invincible army. Moreover, the one who was their commander was the number one knight of the Empire, the General that holds the title of Sword Saint, Latius Shutard. There was no room for failure.
However, reality is the epitome of uncertainty.
Someone had a one on one with Latius and won. Moreover, the one who achieved this said he is a wanderer that is using the Motoyasu Kingdom as their base, so for Erac, that’s a bad current state.
The black clothed man introduced himself with that name, and he was told that he also has a Cait Sith girl in maid clothes accompanying him.
“…Who is it? Just who in the world is he?” (Erac)
Erac mutters deliriously as he walks. The maid by his side didn’t reproach him for this and simply follows in silence.
“In the first place, I told you about the King…and yet, why didn’t they know about it?!” (Erac)
Being questioned with a sharp gaze, the maid was struggling to answer. To begin with, the job of messenger was given solely to Mishta in order to avoid information leak, so asking her was honestly troubling for her.
Mishta can only think about the possibility that the ‘grass’ who received the message changed the contents of it on their own accord. However, Erac who had lost his composure, was disappointed with Mishta. This is a conclusion he should have been able to arrive to if he were to think calmly about it, but for the current Erac, that’s impossible to ask of.
The maid simply held pity towards him and silently walked by his side.
“Makirus… Makirus, wake up!” (Erac)
At the end of the pathway, what was in front of him were sturdy iron bars and a thick iron door.
Second underground prison.
A stone wall that’s covered in a high tiered magic barrier, and magic tools that disrupt magic are set up everywhere; it is a place that’s also called the Mage Killer. No matter how great of a mage they are, in this place, they are basically babies. No one can use magic here.
“…It is still too soon for breakfast.” (Makirus)
“Are you half-asleep, you idiot?! It is already past 8:00 in the morning! Wake up already!” (Erac)
“…Ara, Primer Minister-sama. You are quite early.” (Makirus)
On the other side of the iron door, the faint silhouette of someone moved slowly, and in time, shows her face from the peephole of the iron door. Even though she has been imprisoned, she is still quite the stubborn woman, which Erac was internally admiring and at the same time irritated.
“Good morning. What brings you here this early in the morning?” (Makirus)
Erac felt resentment at Makirus who seemed to not show any place to latch onto, but this is not the time to be caring about that.
“Ah, by the way…what happened with my experiment? Was it born already? …Aah, I wanted to see it with my own eyes.” (Makirus)
But the one-sided questions of Makirus continued, and Erac speaks with a wince.
“I don’t know what it is you were trying to do, but all the maids are fine. Of course, the princess too.” (Erac)
“…What did you say? —What’s the meaning of this?! There’s no antidote for that! It is impossible to cure!” (Makirus)
“Even if you tell me that, I don’t know. As a matter of fact, the princess and the maids are having breakfast as normal.” (Erac)
Makirus couldn’t believe what Erac was saying and she began to mutter things at the other side of the iron door. He thought she had gone mad, and at that time, she began to tear off her hair and rampage inside her cell.
“Makirus, calm down!” (Erac)
“Shut up! Do you think I caaaaan?!!!!” (Makirus)
“I came here to ask you something. Answer!” (Erac)
“Shut up! Don’t order me!” (Makirus)
Screaming her lungs out, Makirus continues rampaging inside her cell. There was no pride as the Magic Division Head in that and was only the temper tantrum of a child.
Without any other choice, Erac shouts in a loud voice so that Makirus hears him.
“Do you know something about the black clothed man, Crow?!” (Erac)
In a moment, Makirus turned her eyes, and pushed her face against the peephole of the iron door, and hit the door hard with her fist. It was such a look that even Erac shook at it and took a step back.
“That guy is my prey! …I won’t let anyone have him!” (Makirus)
“I am not going to take him from you. What I want to know is his identity.” (Erac)
“He took my magic! The summoning magic that I finally finished was…because of him…!” (Makirus)
The look of Makirus as she hits the iron door and complains was a ghastly sight, and the maid that was together with Erac let out a short scream at this. However, there was something that bothered him in what she said, and he speaks in order to question about it.
“What do you mean by that? You can’t use summoning magic?” (Erac)
“No, I can’t! Because of him…because of him!! When I try to use it, pain runs through my whole body and…!!” (Makirus)
“…W-What did you say?” (Erac)
Once she says that much, even Erac could understand. Makirus is facing the same thing as him.
That pain as if your whole body is tearing off is unbearable to even imagine. Just by remembering it sweat would flow down and his body would shake in fear uncontrollably. That’s how deep this fear is edged in his body. Just how would he be able to forget about it?
Seeing as how the maid had a pale face as she hugged her body, she must have had that same experience. While feeling slight sympathy, he suddenly rethinks.
(Have I met him before?)
In other words, the reason why his plans -that had been going well before- suddenly began to crumble was because of Crow.
Erac grinds his teeth as he reached that conclusion, and grabs onto the iron bars.
“W-Who is it?! Who in the world is Crow?!” (Erac)
By the time he noticed, Erac was shouting at the top of his lungs with spit flying out.
“…That man didn’t refute it.” (Makirus)
“That he is the ordinary man that had been caught up in the summoning.” (Makirus)
Erac didn’t understand what she was saying for a moment there. But the words ‘ordinary man’ made the face of someone surface in his mind.
“It was HIM! Aaaaah!!” (Erac)
His eyes were opened as wide as feasible and he shouted as if crushing his throat.
“That man…everything…he got in the way of everything… Then, it was his fault as well that the King was cured?!” (Erac)
“Fufu, right… A single man we thought was an ordinary person has played around with us to this extent. Nothing but laughable.” (Makirus)
“How can this be… Damn it, damn it, DAAAMN IT!!” (Erac)
“I think he knows everything about what you are planning, you know. And yet, you are still thinking of going on?” (Makirus)
Makirus laughs as if this were amusing, but the eyes looking at Erac were showing something similar to dark bloodlust, and the face of Erac was slowly rising in anger, and in time, it was the very definition of rage.
“That bastard! That bastard!! Aah, the things I will do to him…!!” (Erac)
Everything has been destroyed by him. Pushed by that feeling, Erac stomped the stone paved floor, and spits out insults to the seven winds.
“Damn it…that damn brat! Everything!!” (Erac)
Rage. That’s the word that best describes the current Erac, and this drastic change in him scared the maid and made her run away. Without even noticing this, Erac just continued shouting insults to the limit of his voice as he left the place of Makirus.
“Fufu, what a real idiot. Do your best…” (Makirus)
Those eyes of hers that were watching his back were shining with some sort of magic pattern in them, and the smile in her face drew an even deeper arc as she laughed.
Her voice echoes in this underground prison where only she resides, and while spreading an ominous atmosphere, her voice fades away.
☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
I went to check the state of the princess and the others, and it seems like, thanks to the magic of Katsuragi and the treatment of Dorui-san, everyone managed to get away from it without any permanent damage.
“—Are you listening, Prim-sama?”
“Uwu… I get it already.” (Prim)
“No, this time around, I will say it as many times as it takes!”
At a part of the third medical office, the Princess is on her knees on the sheets with her back curved down, and Miyuna is reprimanding her furiously.
The maids were flustered wondering if this is something that’s okay for them to be watching.
“Oi oi, you are dealing with a patient there, you know?” (Makoto)
“Ah, Makoto-dono! —S-Save me!” (Prim)
The Princess stretches her hand in a really pitiful manner, and I gave her an immediate answer of ‘Can’t’. She powerlessly flops over and sorrowfully feigns to cry.
“Don’t seek salvation from a simple visitor. It is great to see that you are healthy and well, but if there’s anything weird, don’t hesitate to say it, okay? If doctors don’t work at times like this, they would just be eating away resources, ya know.” (Makoto)
“It is a painful topic to hear. Can you please not have those kind of talks when the person himself is present?”
“Isn’t it meaningful exactly because they are present?” (Makoto)
“You have a nice personality there.”
I will take that as a compliment.
I face Dorui-san and have a conversation about the patients in a separated location from them.
The maids here were given a gag order, so my information probably won’t leak outside. I don’t mind it leaking though, but it looks like the Queen and the others don’t see it that way. When I said that it would be easier to just cast Chaos Reverse on them in that case, the Queen said that doing that would be too harsh on them, so that idea was a no go.
But well, the mouths of people cannot be controlled. Allow me to set Markers on everyone here. If I see any strange movements, I have received permission from the Queen to provide punishment proportional to it, so no problem.
“Prim-sama and the others here are smoothly heading to recovery, so there should be no problems. What’s left would be to provide them that medicine bit by bit…and we are thinking about giving treatment to the infected at the city beginning with the most serious ones.” (Dorui)
“I think they are also fine, but the numbers are definitely not enough.” (Makoto)
“Just leave those kind of things to Niva.” (Dorui)
Niva-san is currently accompanying the first knight division in the hard investigation of Makirus’s residence. Regarding the basement, I have unlocked the respective things, so they are most likely already thoroughly searching her house. Traces about her personal route for materials should remain, so once that’s clarified, preparations to stop it have already been made. I was thinking of tagging along as well, but Niva-san told me ‘please rest for a bit’, and had no choice but to comply with her. I will move immediately if something happens though.
Anyways, with this, retribution has finally come to that Granny, but…it is probably not my imagination that I feel as if this won’t just end like this. My [Gambler] skill is still activated, and it bothers me that it hasn’t deactivated yet. It may be plain, but it is a problematic skill.
“Well then, I’ll be going.” (Makoto)
“Once everything is over, I want to have a good talk with you.” (Dorui)
“Right, at that time, treat me to something.” (Makoto)
I wave my hand, and after greeting the Princess and the others, I left the third medical office.
Returning from the separate building to the castle, I walk the corridor, and Toto came out of nowhere, ran up to my head and landed on top.
“What, nothing to do today?” (Makoto)
He hits me with his front legs and waves his tail, raising a happy cry. I don’t know what it is saying at all, but it is better than being alone.
“Then, let’s randomly walk around.” (Makoto)
Bringing along Toto who let out a cry as if saying ‘let’s go~’, I move around the castle in the time until my turn comes.
☆☆ ☆☆ ☆☆ ☆☆ ☆☆
It has been a few days since I haven’t had the chance to lazily walk around.
But it is not as if everything has ended, so I can’t lower my guard. Just in case, I am checking the Markers. It seems Kirzam had gone to Erac’s place, but has now left the room and is heading this way.
“…This is strange.” (Makoto)
However, it is quiet.
It is already forenoon, so it should be a little bit more lively in the castle, and yet, I am passing by only a few knights, and I don’t see maids.
Thinking about the happenings of yesterday, there should be a lack of personnel, and the first knight division has more than half of their members out, so the members of the second division should be moving around. The Queen was talking about how there’s a need to rethink the patrolling routes in the castle, so the top and the lower posts are in an hectic state.
“Hmm, let’s go eat.” (Makoto)
For now, let’s go fill our bellies. I began to walk, and then a familiar face walking this way entered my field of vision. There’s several Markers.
“Good morning~” (Makoto)
“…Ah, good morning, Kamiuchi-dono.”
The third knight division, Kirzam, also noticed me and responded with a greeting together with a displeased face. And there’s also his lackeys.
“How to say this, you are always moving around with the same people.” (Makoto)
“We are in the same division after all. It is obvious to act together.” (Kirzam)
“And you…seem to be doing nothing.” (Kirzam)
“Well, yeah. I was thinking about going to eat.” (Makoto)
It is harmless talk, but his words having thorns must be out of love and respect, yup.
“Ah, right.” (Kirzam)
Kirzam raises his voice in an intentional manner as if he had remembered something.
“I told you it is okay to have a look at our training, but we are kind of occupied, you see. It doesn’t seem like it will be possible for a while.” (Kirzam)
“Ah, is that so. That’s a pity.” (Makoto)
“Right. Well, you will be able to experience a special training in the near future, so just wait.” (Kirzam)
“Yeah, I am looking forward to it.” (Makoto)
What a cheap provocation.
By experiencing special training, he must mean that I will be seeing a battlefield. I confirmed using the Markers that the Bald Geezer went to the second underground prison to meet with Makirus. I already saw that coming, so I didn’t seal her mouth in any way.
Since the last battle is close, I gave them a big service there, but it looks like they are biting better than expected. Kirzam must have heard about me from the Bald Geezer. However, in the time while he was still skeptical about it, he encountered the person in question.
“Well then, we will be taking our leave.” (Kirzam)
Snorting slightly, Kirzam and his lackeys walk pass.
“Ah, right.” (Makoto)
But I am currently holding a campaign of buying all fights that come my way.
“Tell the Bald Geezer that…there’s still time to withdraw. —Make sure you tell him.” (Makoto)
I release killing intent higher than that I directed to the Empire’s army, and stomped the ground lightly. And then, with a refreshing smile, I say something that I don’t even feel like doing.
A declaration of war in the guise of ‘provocation’.
Toto who was on top of my head was surprised by this and ran off somewhere. I should apologize to him later. Of course you would get surprised if you get hit by killing intent all of a sudden.
“Well then, counting on ya, okay? —Third knight division captain, Kirzam-san.” (Makoto)
I wave my hand to Kirzam who is weak on his knees and the lackeys that had lost strength and fallen to the floor, and began to walk to the cafeteria while searching for Toto.