I had Ekdoik cast the invisibility magic and we moved through the city.
The spells that interfere with the mind and the healing ones take effect on the mana of the person, but this spell is the type where the created mana blends with the materials in the surroundings or whatever, and the mana sticking on your body is gradually consumed.
By the way, it feels as if a transparent cloth had been placed on me and I can feel it all the way to my legs, so it makes me worry whether I can accidentally step on it.
“There’s most likely going to be search parties really soon for slipping out of the castle without permission.”
“Right. I think you have already noticed, but there were knights of Mejis mixed within the soldiers of the castle, you know?” (Ekdoik)
“Seriously? So there really were, huh.”
“Judging from your reaction, you didn’t notice, but considered the possibility?” (Ekdoik)
“You could say that.”
They know I am a coward, so they don’t know when I might run away.
Moreover, I am showing a forbearing attitude towards the Demon Lords. It is natural for them to place surveillance on me.
Pope Euparo is not the type that would lower his guard just because I am in the castle.
I thought he would use Anbus for their surveillance, but it was the disguises, huh.
Now that I think about it, there might have been unfamiliar faces…
With how things have been going, there’s the possibility of there being surveillance hiding inside the city too.
I would like him to use a warding barrier if possible, but if a skilled one were to detect it from the outside, it would notify them of our location instead.
They wouldn’t approach the area near the Purple Demon Lord’s lodging, but let’s consider the possibility that there’s a good deal of lookouts in the wealthy sector.
They probably have also predicted that this is the place I would be heading straight on.
Hmm, but considering the personality of Pope Euparo, the first thing he would try to stop would be an escape from the country?
Fortunately, I have the stealth pro, Ekdoik, on my side. There’s Anbus in Mejis, but considering the fact that they were keeping an eye on me through disguises, the chances of there being Anbus is low.
It wouldn’t be good for diplomatic relations if they were to bring the Anbus that caused trouble in Taizu after all.
Even if there are, I know their habits now.
Rather than moving carefully, we should take advantage of our initiative to act swiftly.
I can just leave it to Ekdoik if they find us. It is great to have outside help.
“And we are here.”
Our first destination: the house of Ilias which I have not returned to for several days.
I obviously won’t be challenging the Purple Demon Lord without any plans.
I need to do the appropriate preparations in order to bring about a chance for victory.
Now then, the key…of course it is locked.
I opened the lock with a duplicate and stealthily entered.
There’s no one on the 1st floor. Looks like everyone has returned to their room and is sleeping.
“Alright, now’s our chance.”
“Why are you acting like a thief here?”
Ilias showed up inside the darkness in her pajamas.
She has a drawn sword in hand. Looks like she completely noticed the intrusion.
That’s weird. The invisibility spell should have been casted on me and she shouldn’t be able to see me though.
“I am impressed that you noticed. There was the possibility of it being a thief, you know.”
“Where would you find a thief with a duplicate key?” (Ilias)
“Also, the sound of your footsteps has not been erased at all. You should learn from Ekdoik by your side.” (Ilias)
“Don’t ask for the impossible.”
She turns on the lights of the room. I was acting in pitch darkness, so this was somewhat dazzling.
“Ekdoik, please undo your spell for now.” (Ilias)
“Good grief—what happened to your face?” (Ilias)
“I was punched by Marito.”
“By His Majesty? What did you do?” (Ilias)
“Aah, oh well, I will explain.”
“Ah, it is Shishou. What a terrible face.” (Wolfe)
“What, and here I was wondering who it was. So it was ya, Ser—pfft, what’s with that face?” (Gold)
“Counselor-sama, you returned? Wow, your face looks a lot better than usual.” (Rakura)
The others came down, most likely noticing a presence. Even Rakura, who is usually sleeping, had woken up.
But I will need to interrogate her about that last statement later.
For now, I kept my promise with Ilias about there being no secrets, and explained the situation to them. It is really embarrassing to report my faults with a gallery.
“I see, so His Majesty did first what I should have done, huh. I would have done the same.” (Ilias)
If Ilias were to punch me, it wouldn’t just wrap up with a broken tooth. My neck would break along with it.
Considering that, it might have been good that it was Marito.
“Marito purposely pushed me away without saying anything. ‘I will be able to testify to Pope Euparo that I was not involved in this, so do as you please without minding’.”
The people of the Yugura Church can see through lies. If it were to be known that Marito instilled something in me and had a hand in this, it would create problems in the relationship between Taizu and Mejis.
It is an action with that in consideration. It can also be taken as ‘you will be shouldering all of the responsibility’ but that’s its own thing.
“Then, what do you plan on doing?” (Ilias)
“I will go to the Purple Demon Lord’s place -in order to end this competition.”
“And so, what did you come back here to do?” (Ilias)
“Came to pick up something I forgot. There’s someone I need no matter what in order to face the Purple Demon Lord seriously.”
“…I see. Got it.” (Ilias)
Ilias seemed convinced. Looks like she won’t be reprimanding me here.
Then, I will say what I have to say and have her come with me.
“That’s why, please come with me, Gold Demon Lord.”
The 3 of them looked at each other. I understand the Gold Demon Lord, but why is even Ilias making that face?
“This one?” (Gold)
“Yeah, I need your help. Let’s go.”
“Umu, it is the makings of a good woman to answer the call when needed!” (Gold)
“Wait a moment.” (Ilias)
I pulled the hand of the Gold Demon Lord and was about to leave, but Ilias grabbed my shoulder. It has been a while since I have felt this pain.
“What is it?”
“Isn’t this where you rely on me?” (Ilias)
“No, you are a knight of Taizu. Wouldn’t it be bad to rely on you here?”
“…Right. No, but who will you rely on if not me in this scenario?” (Ilias)
“The Gold Demon Lord and Ekdoik.”
Ilias is a knight of Taizu, Rakura is a priestess of the Yugura Church, Wolfe is being taken care of by Ilias as her guardian.
When speaking of helpers that won’t cause trouble to Taizu and Mejis, there’s only the Gold Demon Lord and Ekdoik.
“Ah, right, there’s Gradona too. Thanks, Ilias.”
“Wait a moment.” (Ilias)
“What? I escaped from the castle, so I have to go quickly or they will catch up to us. Also, my shoulder hurts.”
“This is- where you- rely on me- right?” (Ilias)
It has been a while since I have seen a smile that can freeze my spine. That’s seriously scary.
“Even if so, they have Dyuvuleori who is close to the level of Lord Ragudo, you know?”
Ekdoik said he could manage somehow if he brings him down with him, but I can’t make him do that.
It would be safer to act in a way that doesn’t turn into a battle.
But Ilias puffed her chest after hearing this.
“Then even more of a reason to bring me. I have already won once against Lord Ragudo.” (Ilias)
“It is.” (Ilias)
Against that Lord Ragudo… I can’t believe it, but I doubt Ilias would lie.
“But it is only one win, right?”
“Lord Ragudo knows my sword style completely and can read it; it is a win with that in consideration, you know?” (Ilias)
“I see. That’s impressive progress, but…”
“You are someone who has escaped from the surveillance of Taizu and Mejis. It won’t change anything even if you were to cause trouble for someone at this point, right?” (Ilias)
“So you say, but won’t you get punished once this matter is over?”
“It is okay. I was simply instigated by your silver tongue. I heard nothing about you having escaped.” (Ilias)
“You have turned into quite the sly knight.”
“Call it flexible.” (Ilias)
—That said, I am grateful that Ilias is coming too.
I am settling matters with the Purple Demon Lord with everything I have. No amount of allies would be enough.
“Got it. I will be relying on you.”
“Shishou, Wolfe will come too!” (Wolfe)
“Wolfe…I am thinking about bringing Gradona this time around, so I would prefer it if you stayed back.”
Wolfe must have grown too, but I would like to rely on Gradona who is on the same level as Lord Ragudo.
“Gradona-sensei is sleeping at Ban-san’s place.” (Wolfe)
“If it is about Gradona-san, he hurt his waist in the middle of training Wolfe-chan today, so he is recovering.” (Rakura)
What unbelievably bad timing. I don’t mind it breaking, so couldn’t you have at least done so tomorrow instead?
“It is okay, Wolfe has gotten stronger! I would be able to butcher Cara-jii now!” (Wolfe)
“Don’t butcher him, don’t butcher him.”
Hmm, she is this confident. I doubt they are empty words.
Maybe she can manage a lower rank Great Devil and High Devils that have been given Pawn Masks?
“Please bring her. If you were to lose here, she won’t be able to meet you ever again, you know? If this is your last moment with her, Wolfe wouldn’t be able to regret it enough.” (Ilias)
“Even if you say so, Ilias…”
I look at the eyes of Wolfe. She is always serious.
I would always block the shine of her eyes by petting her head because of how dazzling they are, but I can’t avert my gaze anymore from them, huh.
“Got it. Do as you wish, Wolfe.”
Wolfe responds energetically. Ilias was nodding over and over from behind.
It can’t be helped with her guardian being like this.
Even further back, there’s Rakura nervously raising her hand.
“Uhm, Counselor-sama, it is okay for me to not go, right?” (Rakura)
“If Ilias and Wolfe didn’t come, I wasn’t planning on bringing you with me, but now that it has come to this, might as well. Come.”
“Isn’t your treatment cruel?!” (Rakura)
“Then, Rakura, I need your strength. Please help me.”
“Uh…that in itself is also hard to accept.” (Rakura)
“Shut up. There’s no problem even if you get excommunicated from the Yugura Church anyways!”
“It is a problem! How will I bring food to the table?!” (Rakura)
“I can take at least that much responsibility. Let’s go.”
“…Can’t be helped. I shall accompany you.” (Rakura)
I wanted to wrap this up without dragging them into this, but it seems like I can’t cut off my connection with these 3 with my strength.
Regardless of whether it is out of worry or out of trust, I am honestly happy that they are helping out in this fashion.
“There’s no time. Please hurry and prepare what you need. If you don’t care about going in your pajamas and loungewear, I will bring you as you are right now. Rakura, just come as you are.”
“I will obviously change!” (Rakura)
“I will be ready at once!” (Wolfe)
“I wouldn’t like to head to the Purple Demon Lord’s place in my pajamas either.” (Gold)
“Then, I too will get my armor—” (Ilias)
“Ilias, I have something to talk with you about before you go prepare.”
I called Ilias alone to a stop within the people who were heading to the 2nd floor to ready themselves.
One of the reasons why I came here was to retrieve the Gold Demon Lord, but there’s actually one more thing.
“What. Wearing armor takes time, you know?” (Ilias)
“I have a request before you go do that, you see. Can you give me permission to use that?”
It goes without saying, but I am referring to the comprehension. The method to project myself on the opposite party’s position and predict their moves.
In that process, I would need to erase my own existence, my own sense of worth, as if it didn’t exist. It is one of my few specialties that Ilias forbid the use of because she couldn’t forgive that I was disrespecting my own self.
“I don’t want to pull any punches when I am going to be fighting the Purple Demon Lord seriously.”
“…I can’t agree. Even if it is the method that brings about the highest chances of victory for you, it is not a good reason to disrespect yourself.” (Ilias)
“I won’t disrespect myself. The comprehension this time is not one to deceive an enemy. I want to use it to understand her heart and I also want to use it in part for my own self.”
If I get used to the standing of the other party, I can set traps.
However, in order to face them, I need to add myself to the equation.
In order to have a serious showdown and win, comprehending my opponent well is absolutely necessary.
“…Fine. But the moment I judge it is too much, I will prioritize protecting your dignity even if it means victory will slip away from your hands. Also, you can only use it once. Please promise me you won’t use it on anyone aside from the Purple Demon Lord.” (Ilias)
“Yeah, got it.”
With this, the preparations I can do from my side are almost perfect. Who cares about Gradona.
Everyone finished their respective preparations, had Ekdoik cast invisibility magic on us again, and leave the house of Ilias.
It was silent on the way. Signs of searches…aah, I can faintly see the light of an illumination stone from afar.
The fact that they are searching around so brazenly must mean they are from the Chivalric Order.
We observe their movements and try not to bump into them.
I began feeling the search even more frequently once we arrived at the wealthy sector.
The search as a whole is being performed by the Chivalric Order of Taizu, and the Holy Knight Order is moving with the worry that I will be making contact with the Purple Demon Lord, I guess.
I can’t read the movements of the Holy Knight Order well, but it is not like they are acquainted with the nights of Taizu.
We moved through the back alleys and Ekdoik stopped the movements of everyone.
“Wait, Comrade, there’s someone.” (Ekdoik)
I strain my eyes and take a good look. There’s certainly someone who is standing inside the back alley without holding a light.
“—Mix Taizu, huh.” (Ekdoik)
Ekdoik told me the answer before I could tell. Now that he mentions it, that certainly is Mix.
“What should we do?” (Ekdoik)
“We have no choice but to pass by silently. Can’t you erase the sound of footsteps?”
“It is possible. Wait for a bit.” (Ekdoik)
Ekdoik touched the mana for the invisibility spell respectively, and then moved his hand away after a while.
“Try taking a step.” (Ekdoik)
After confirming this, I try taking a step. There’s no sound at all.
“You really are versatile.”
“Don’t trust on it too much. They can notice you if you make too loud of a noise.” (Ekdoik)
I held my breath and tried to silently pass by Mix, but…
“Muh, there!” (Mix)
Mix accurately jumped my way.
You could have just grabbed me; what’s the point of jumping?
It is not to the level of the superhuman strength of the gorilla knight, Ilias, but I can’t run away from Mix with the mere strength of an Earthling.
“Seriously? How could you tell?”
“You shouldn’t underestimate adventurers. I can do something as trifling as distinguishing the scent of Mister Friend!” (Mix)
“Are you a dog?”
“Wolfe can do that too!” (Wolfe)
It can’t be helped, so I faced Mix.
But was this arranged by Marito? It must have been.
“The handiwork of Marito, huh.”
“Yes, Ani-sama told me to search for you, Mister Friend. He also told me to not let you escape.” (Mix)
“I see. It can’t be helped then. Let’s go together.”
“Hm? What do you mean by that?” (Mix)
“Marito told you to not let me escape, but he didn’t tell you to capture me. There should be no issue with you acting with us. Marito must have given you to us for the sake of that.”
There was no assurance Ilias would come with me. If that happened, I would have found it hard to bring Wolfe and Rakura with me.
In the case that happened, I would end up with just Ekdoik.
He must have given me Mix as insurance in that aspect.
“Ooh, so that’s how it was. I did think something was off.” (Mix)
“Pope Euparo was nearby, right? Or maybe someone from the Yugura Church.”
“Exactly as you say. It is the former-desu zo.” (Mix)
I managed to get a general idea of the castle’s state with what Mix told me. The reason why the country is pretty short on hands is apparently because Marito is in charge of this.
That said, Pope Euparo has spread search parties in the capital as if it were natural. He really doesn’t let anything escape.
“Good grief. To think he would make his precious little sister accompany an idiot that’s heading to a Demon Lord…”
“That’s just how important you are, Mister Friend.” (Mix)
“So…you are really coming along?”
“Of course. Allow me to accompany you-desu zo!” (Mix)
“I see, then let’s do this again… Mix, please lend me your strength.”
“Yes, with pleasure!” (Mix)
“It has turned into quite the big party.” (Gold)
“I doubt it will get bigger than this. If Nora were to appear, I would shoo her away.”
“Nora-dono should be sleeping at this time after all.” (Mix)
And so, we finally arrived at our destination: at the lodging of the Purple Demon Lord.
The surroundings are dark. Even the street lights set in the surroundings with illumination stones are not turned on. The Great Devils that don’t like light must have purposely made them malfunction.
Marito has given the excuse that the whole area around here is under inspection and has evacuated the citizens here temporarily.
There’s no one left around to complain about the lights malfunctioning.
When I approached the door, someone surfaced from the shadows. It is Dyuvuleori.
“What business do you have here so late in the night, human?” (Dyuvuleori)
“The Purple Demon Lord was sleeping all the way to the afternoon. She still hasn’t gone to sleep, right?”
“I asked for your business.” (Dyuvuleori)
“I came here to settle things. Please tell her: Let’s have our last match.”