“And so, why is Lady Ratzel here?” (Marito)
The very first thing Marito said was understandably not one that welcomed Ilias.
He is the last barrier to keep Ilias from getting involved. I would like him to try a bit here.
“She told me to let her get involved, so I brought her with me. She got persistent and I failed to persuade her.”
“Even though it should be easy for you to push her away.” (Marito)
“Yeah, it is not like I can’t. But I chose to get her involved rather than cutting off my connection with her.”
“That’s weak.” (Marito)
“I have no recollection of saying I am strong.”
Marito went ‘fumu’ and faces Ilias. His face isn’t the light one he directs at me. It is the face a king shows a knight.
“Lady Ratzel, the problem we both are carrying is an extremely problematic issue. If you get involved in it, Maya from the Yugura Church you are close to, and your relationship with the members of the Ragudo Division might crumble too. You will end up having to put your relationship with him and the ones who you have been together with until now on a balance and, at worst, you might end up losing both.” (Marito)
“If that happens, it will simply mean that’s just how much I amounted to.” (Ilias)
“It is not like this is weakness from having fallen in love. What makes you step so deep in?” (Marito)
“…I don’t know. However, the resolve alone came out.” (Ilias)
“—I see. If you don’t even know the reason why, it won’t be possible to argue.” (Marito)
Marito faced this way and sighed. Ah, his face is showing disappointment.
“You are going to take responsibility.” (Marito)
“Seriously? Even though I was thinking about leaving it to the King-sama.”
“Even if the reason why Lady Ratzel got involved isn’t clear, you are certainly the reason behind it. You should reflect on the unreliable part of yourself that she saw in you.” (Marito)
“It pains my ears… Well, fine. I will begin talking then. Ilias, if you want to ask something, please raise your hand.”
“Got it.” (Ilias)
“First, I would like to do something about the possibility that Rakura might get killed.”
A hand was raised immediately.
“That was fast, oi. I was surprised.”
“That topic came so out of nowhere, I was shocked too, you know?!” (Ilias)
“Lady Ratzel hasn’t heard anything, so you have to take the proper steps to explain.” (Marito)
“Right. Then, I will explain from a slightly earlier point.”
“Yeah, please.” (Ilias)
“Due to the Demon Lord believers in the Yugura Church—”
She immediately raised her hand.
“It hurts. Ilias, it hurts.”
“Do you want to use this opportunity to make fun of me? Is that it?” (Ilias)
It can’t be helped, so I will explain. That said, Marito doesn’t have any intentions of stopping this.
“If I have to explain it from a perspective where Ilias can understand it, it would be…from the very beginning, huh. —Such a drag.”
“The words at the end may have been in a low voice, but I heard them clearly, you know?” (Ilias)
“This is about the next day Dokora was subjugated. I retrieved the parting gift he left together with Cara-jii. That’s the book Rakura was searching for. It is the day when you were sitting alone at the entranceway and getting all depressed.”
“From that way back…” (Ilias)
“The title was giving off bad vibes from the very beginning, so I gave it to Lord Ragudo without reading it. But after that, Marito requested me to decipher the book at the banquet. Because we didn’t want to get discovered by Maya-san, who is a Yugura devotee that hates taboos, I at first was set as a court jester -reformed to a counselor candidate- and ended up beginning to commute to the castle. This is recent.”
“Something like that happened… But to decipher a book of necromancy is just…” (Ilias)
“At that time, we didn’t even know it was a book safekept by the Yugura Church, but the chances it was being kept by a country were high. And so, in order to investigate the dangers hidden in the book…is basically how it went.”
“True. It can’t be ignored if other nations are involved.” (Ilias)
“At the time when we were about to begin the decoding, Rakura arrived at Taizu. Thanks to her being so shockingly airheaded, we discovered the one who possessed the book was Mejis. We couldn’t hide the book forever, so we began deciphering the book.”
Let’s not mention the fact that I had a serious discussion with Marito about how her super airheadedness might be a trap.
“So you were buying time by dealing with Rakura… No, wait, Rakura should have the power to see through lies just like Maya.” (Ilias)
“I fooled her by using only the truth. Maya-san discovered the trick thanks to that though.”
“Speaking of it as if it were so simple…” (Ilias)
“But Rakura reported to them honestly, so a higher-up from the Yugura Church ordered Rakura to reveal the details of the book and ask the nation to help out. Everything after that is basically what you already know, Ilias.”
“So the reason why you were staying at night elsewhere was because of the decoding, huh… But wait, why are you helping out in deciphering it?” (Ilias)
When she mentioned this, Lord Ragudo took out the book in question and placed it on top of the desk.
“That book is written in a language from Earth, in Japanese which is a language from my homeland.”
“It is true…that it is a language I have not seen before.” (Ilias)
Ilias stopped talking for now and began to arrange things in her mind. I proceed with the details together with Marito.
“Alright, I have arranged things for now. But, even with that, I still can’t reach the point of the beginning…” (Ilias)
“Even if we ignore the deciphering of the book, it is certain that information regarding necromancy is recorded in it. The objectives of the Yugura Church are to make sure such a dangerous book is not found and to clear the suspicions of Maya-san who reported about this. And, it is the opinion of everyone here that we can’t leave such a dangerous thing to an airhead like Rakura alone.”
“That’s…true. I can understand that feeling.” (Ilias)
The sad amount of trust Rakura has. It can even persuade Ilias!
“In other words, there’s a high chance that they used Rakura as bait, and there’s different searchers infiltrated in Taizu. But there was no mention of it when they requested cooperation the other day. The reason we could think up with the assumption they are here is: the searchers are in a position that must definitely be hidden. If we are to consider they are people who can search with certainty, it is most likely the Anbus of Mejis.”
“Right. If they are going to be retrieving the book in secret, they would use them. So they were the ones who did that to the man in the morning… Judging from their skills, the chances are high.” (Ilias)
Ilias seems to understand the situation, but this is where things get musty.
“The one giving orders to Rakura is the archbishop of Mejis called Ukka. And then, those orders to Rakura changed after she gave the report. In other words, after receiving the report of Rakura, Archbishop Ukka moved the decision to someone in a higher post than him.”
“If we are talking about someone higher than an archbishop, it would be…the Pope Euparo, huh.” (Ilias)
“That’s right. It should be safe to assume that this Pope Euparo has ordered Rakura to disclose the details of the book in order to not worsen their relationship with Taizu.”
“No, wait, then the man this morning—” (Ilias)
“Yeah. The order of Pope Euparo came the day before Gazen was killed. A murder happened after the top of the organization gave an order to resolve things peacefully.”
“Something like that…” (Ilias)
“Gazen is a man that wanders around the city at night. He most likely unluckily found the Anbus…and was killed to keep him silent. If they are to respect the intentions of Pope Euparo, the Anbus infiltrated in the country should have retreated at once. The reason they are using Anbus is in order to slip through the eyes of Maya-san. Now that they have disclosed things, there should be no need for that anymore.”
“And yet, they continued their infiltration, and ended the life of a citizen on top of that…” (Ilias)
“What can be surmised from this is that there’s someone else giving the orders to the Anbus -someone who would go against the intentions of Pope Euparo despite being from the Yugura Church.”
“But the one who dispatched Rakura was Archbishop Ukka. Then, doesn’t that mean the one who dispatched the Anbus was also Archbishop Ukka?” (Ilias)
“No, it is most likely someone else who is connected to Archbishop Ukka.”
“Why do you say that?” (Ilias)
“As I said before, the one who sent Rakura here was Archbishop Ukka, he then told Pope Euparo who has a favorable opinion of Taizu, and seems to be loyal to his orders. However, the one who is ordering the Anbus seems to be slighting the intentions of Pope Euparo. There’s too much of a difference in their modus operandi for them to be the same people. It would be strange for Archbishop Ukka to not have withdrawn them in his position. That’s why, even if Archbishop Ukka is the one giving out the orders in foundation, it should be safe to assume that the dispatch of the Anbus and communications to them is being done by a separate entity.”
“What’s their objective?” (Ilias)
“Almost certainly the book. And so, who is the one who has the highest chances of obtaining the book as of present?”
“That’s of course Rakura… I see, it is finally connected.” (Ilias)
“Good work. Feeling feverish?”
That’s right, the reason why the Anbus are going out of their way to infiltrate the place isn’t to bring the book back to Mejis.
“Now then, we will be entering a slightly more dangerous topic now.”
“It should be safe to say the reason why the Anbus are aiming for the book is because they know the contents of the book.”
“That’s what bothered me. Are the contents of it…not necromancy?” (Ilias)
“We have deciphered most of the book even if just roughly. This book isn’t about necromancy. It is a book about Demon Lords.”
“Demon Lords… The biggest of taboos, resurrection magic!” (Ilias)
Ilias understandably got flustered with the mention of Demon Lords.
“Yeah, but there wasn’t much information regarding the resurrection magic. The contents were about one of the Demon Lords that was born from resurrection magic, the Blue Demon Lord; their birth and their observations.”
“Observations of the Demon Lord…?” (Ilias)
“I will explain the details to you on a later day. It means that this book is riddled with important information about the Demon Lord.”
“I don’t really want to kno—no, it is nothing.” (Ilias)
“That could have served as an excuse to drive you away. Too bad. And so, about this book, Pope Euparo and the others most likely haven’t deciphered this. It is not the time to be using Rakura on an incident that might entail information of the biggest taboo spreading after all.”
“Right. They would have either explained the situation of the necromancy book from the very beginning to ask for help, or only used the Anbus to investigate in secret.” (Ilias)
“But it is a book that was originally in Mejis. There’s a book that the people of the Yugura Church know, and it is a certain number of people that know the truth of the contents in that book which not even Pope Euparo knows about. The existence of people who know in detail about the circumstances of the Demon Lords in the Yugura Church surfaces.”
Ilias was taken aback as she nodded. I am feeling like drinking some water right about now.
“So this is what you meant by the Demon Lord devotees?” (Ilias)
“I don’t know if they are devotees though. They ignored the orders of the Pope, had the Anbus infiltrate Taizu, and are holding their breaths in order to steal away the book related to the Demon Lord from Rakura. They aren’t a decent bunch.”
“By the way, can I say something for a bit?” (Ilias)
“What is it?”
“The talk has gotten a bit complicated. Can you please summarize it for me?” (Ilias)
“There’s someone in the Yugura Church that is moving the Anbus on their own whim and we have to do something about them.”
“Alright, got it. You could have said so from the very beginning.” (Ilias)
“Give me back my effort to chew the information in a way so that you could understand the details!”
If we didn’t know how dangerous the book is, the conjectures until now would have simply been forceful assumptions. It is exactly because we have deciphered the book that we can judge these conjectures are correct.
The knowledge of the Anbus that I was taught from Anbu-kun, the dark side of history that I read from the book; those points are telling me this.
That there’s enemies I haven’t seen yet and that they are sharpening their fangs as they hide in the shadows.
“And so, today is the day we plan on telling Rakura that the book was in the treasury room and returning it. What do we do?” (Marito)
“If we return the book, it will fall under the jurisdiction of Mejis. There shouldn’t be any issues in simply guarding Rakura though…”
“It might end up obscuring the existence of the Anbus that killed the civilian.” (Marito)
“It wouldn’t be a good look for Mejis either.”
“Then, what do we do?” (Marito)
“It is not like I don’t have any plans, but…well, I feel like the success rate will increase with Ilias here.”
I gathered the group and began telling them my ideas in a low volume.
“Fumu, I don’t mind, but is that okay with you?” (Marito)
“Yeah. To be honest, I am pretty pissed after a friend of mine was killed. I have to avenge him at least.”
“I see. Got it. I will leave it to you.” (Marito)
“Ilias. Do you think you can do a difficult job?”
“Don’t underestimate me. I will hold the sword if you so wish, and then, I shall show you results that surpass your expectations.” (Ilias)
I am trying to live safely here though…
No, if I wish for true safety in this world, I have to do some preliminary investment first.
My body is weak, but luck has taken my side. An understanding king and reliable knights are on my side. Aah, how blessed am I.
If I am so blessed, I have to answer them with that gratitude of mine.
I have to help them out in protecting a safe future for not only me but the ones around me.
“Alright, that seals the deal then. I will expose their schemes.”
Now, let’s stand out for the sake of the future.
After that, I exited the castle, separated from Ilias, and called Rakura to a plaza in the city.
“Counselor-sama, why the sudden call?” (Rakura)
“I was thinking about telling you where the book is. It is currently in the treasury room of the castle.”
“Oh my! So it was in the castle just like you predicted, Counselor-sama!” (Rakura)
Rakura jumped happily. Don’t make such a happy face.
Even if I was prepared for this, it still hurts my conscience.
“According to Lord Ragudo who is knowledgeable in that front, he said there’s certainly information necessary to learn necromancy in it.”
“Ah, so you looked inside…” (Rakura)
“The language written inside of it is not a language of this world. It hasn’t been deciphered in Mejis either, right?”
“Yeah, I have heard that. However, you apparently can learn about how to use necromancy from the information in the illustrations.” (Rakura)
“Aah, there certainly were such illustrations there.”
“You must not learn it!” (Rakura)
This reaction towards forbidden magic; their hatred towards the forbidden must be stronger the more you treasure the teachings of the Yugura Church.
“I wouldn’t go out of my way to step in the wrong path.”
“…So, they will be returning the book, right?” (Rakura)
“Yeah, it is a book that Mejis was originally safekeeping. They might talk about the administration of it, but they have no intention of claiming ownership of the book.”
“That’s a relief!” (Rakura)
“However, there’s something I would like you to tell Archbishop Ukka first.”
“I don’t mind, but…what is it…?” (Rakura)
“Please tell him that there’s hope for Taizu to decipher the book. We would like to share that information if you so wish.”
Rakura must not have understood those words for a moment there, she froze.
But she slowly understood the meaning of it and the danger it entailed.
“That…must not be done! Knowledge of necromancy must not be touched upon carelessly!”
“They wouldn’t have brought out a proposal like this if it were only about knowledge of necromancy. There’s even more vicious taboos written within that book. This was made certain when revising that book.”
“Why does the Counselor-sama…” (Rakura)
“That’s the reason why I became a counselor candidate. I was hired by Marito as someone who can decipher that language.”
“…It is…not a lie, huh.” (Rakura)
“Yeah. If the Yugura Church thinks that the knowledge inside that book is only mere necromancy, they should take this offer -in order to prepare yourself for even deeper taboos.”
It is easy to tell if you know her, but Rakura is truly worrying about me here.
Yeah, it prickles. I have to finish this talk quickly.
“I have no intention of hearing your decision, Rakura. Just tell Archbishop Ukka. If they refuse cooperation there, we will immediately return the book.”
“We will have your answer at zero o’clock today. We will bring the book regardless of the answer. I have discussed this with His Majesty already, so there’s no need to worry about that part.”
“—I see. Understood. I will contact him at once.” (Rakura)
The clerics can see through lies, but if we turn that around, it also means it is easy to gain their trust.
That’s why they don’t suspect you too deeply. They don’t distrust whatever may be lying ahead of that thought.
“Yeah, but I want to tell Archbishop Ukka something else. That this matter might influence the standing of Pope Euparo.”
The usual optimism dimmed from the face of Rakura. There’s no doubt she will do her job here.
Now then, let’s close the distance, Mastermind-san.
The urgent contact from Rakura was regarding a proposal from Taizu.
When I heard that proposal, I was on the verge of rejecting it.
It is true that the worth of the book would be even higher if this book stored for countermeasures against necromancy had even worse taboos written in it.
There’s a limit to things that are worse than necromancy. Within those, resurrection magic which created the worst history is included in it.
Is it really okay for me to decide whether to use this chance to get ready for it? No, it is not possible.
I troubled the Pope-sama the other day. I should consult with him.
I told Rakura that I would be making a decision by evening, and hung up the call for now.
“I must report to the Pope-sama at on—”
“Ukka-sama, what’s the matter?”
I was called to a stop. This guy is always around me.
Hmm, who was he?
“Aah, right, you are Priest Raheight.” (Ukka)
“You are still young, so such a manner of speaking makes me worry, Ukka-sama.” (Raheight)
True. Forgetting the name of someone doesn’t normally happen for me, but I often forget his name.
I doubt I would forget the aesthetic face of Priest Raheight though.
If I am to remember people, it really gotta be cute ones like Rakura and her curvaceous looks!
…Speaking of which, what was his family name? Oh well, let’s try to remember it later.
“—No good, no good. I have something I have to hurry and tell the Pope-sama about.” (Ukka)
“Oh, is it about the book Rakura is searching for?” (Raheight)
“You are perceptive… Well, lately, we have only been talking about that, so you could say it can’t be helped though.” (Ukka)
Hm? Did I talk that much to him? I feel like I have forgotten something important…
“Can you please tell me if it is okay?” (Raheight)
“No, this is something…well, it should be okay if it is you, huh.” (Ukka)
“Yeah, there might be something I might be able to notice.” (Raheight)
I tell Raheight exactly what Rakura told me.
“I see. Well well.” (Raheight)
“Rough, right? That’s why I must tell the Pope-sama immediately.” (Ukka)
“You are saying quite the weird thing, Ukka-sama.” (Raheight)
Raheight chuckled. He laughs like a child. I don’t hate that kind of laughing though.
“Haven’t you already told the Pope-sama about it, Ukka-sama?” (Raheight)
“What are you—y-yeah, that’s true. And so, the decision of the Pope-sama—” (Ukka)
“‘As if we can believe the nonsense of strangers. Discard the cooperation and get the book back’ -is what the Pope-sama said, right?” (Raheight)
“—Right. That’s right. I must tell Rakura quickly.” (Ukka)
“Yeah, that’s why you were hurrying, right?” (Raheight)
“Y-Yeah, that’s right! Well then, I will be excusing myself, Rahe—” (Ukka)
Hm? What was his name? Uhm…wait, who was I speaking with just now?
No no, there’s no one here. Hmm, am I going senile?
“Oops, this is not the time for this!” (Ukka)
The man called Raheight activates a crystal in the room.
The voice of a man was heard from the crystal not long after.
“Is there an extra order?”
“It has been decided that Rakura will be receiving the book today at midnight.” (Raheight)
“Hoh, that’s impressive. Even though we haven’t been able to grasp the location of the book yet.”
“The book was apparently in the castle.” (Raheight)
“What. So Taizu really was hiding it. So, when should we steal it?”
“I was thinking about doing that when she was returning, but let’s change plans. Please kill Rakura and obtain the book when she gets it. There’s apparently a negotiation with Taizu at that place. It will be a good cover if we kill her and make it look like it was them, right?” (Raheight)
“That’s horrible. But what about the negotiator?”
“You obviously kill them too. I don’t mind the eventuality of Rakura coming out alive, but I won’t forgive you if you don’t kill that one. Please bring their body back here.” (Raheight)
“I don’t know the circumstances and I don’t wanna know either. Got it. It is okay to cut them in pieces to make it easier to carry, right?”
“Yeah, but make sure not to break the brain. As for anything else, you can use it to play around with the animals on your way.” (Raheight)
“Only the head, then. Got it, got it. You are a peculiar one yourself.”
The call was hung. Raheight sighed.
“If I remember correctly, the helper is someone with black hair and black eyes… Could it possibly be…? It would be interesting if he is an Earthling.” (Raheight)
Raheight placed a hand on the crystal again and activated it.
A voice resonated again from the crystal, but it wasn’t from the man of before.
“Raheight, huh. What’s the matter?”
“We have discovered where the book Dokora took is at. We are going to be obtaining it tonight, so I am reporting this.” (Raheight)
“Do that for when you have actually obtained it.”
“There’s actually something else I wanted to report… Scarlet Demon Lord-sama.” (Raheight)