“You sent Arcreal? I don’t know about that, Ritial-san.”
“It is just in case. There’s a high chance there are really skilled ones within the people chasing after Seraes.” (Ritial)
Raheight looked at me with a baffled face.
I understand what he is trying to say. Using Arcreal would be like using one of our trump cards, and it is not a method we can just utilize thoughtlessly.
Arcreal Aishia is the one with the highest fighting capabilities within the Illegitimate that I have found.
What he has is the talent of battle. He is a battle genius that is comparable to Yugura who overwhelmed Demon Lords as a hero.
Nektohal said that he could fight on even grounds against Yugura if it is with the condition that it is a pure battle.
“Seraes is a desirable talent, but it is too premature for the world learn about his existence.” (Raheight)
“It is not only for the sake of Seraes. Molari and Yasutet are important talents for me, too. Especially Molari, her talent has outstanding versatility. You should be able to understand as someone who has acted together with her, right?” (Ritial)
“Well…teleport magic is convenient when our headquarters are not known.” (Raheight)
Taizu, Gahne, Mejis, and Kuama are searching for us.
The reason why they couldn’t even grab a foothold of us is greatly due to the teleport magic of Molari. The possibility of being followed remains no matter what if we go by foot.
Losing Molari would hurt us greatly in our future actions.
“Right, you hate using trump cards before your enemy.” (Ritial)
“Depends on the trump card. Arcreal’s strength is overwhelming to a point where everyone has to admit it, but it is not like it is all-powerful.” (Raheight)
“I agree with that. Not giving the enemy leeway to deal with you is important. But Arcreal is not a one-time use card. They won’t be able to carelessly take actions if they learn about his strength, right? We can obtain the ability to keep them at bay, so it is not all bad.” (Ritial)
“You could say that. But I personally think sending him alone is an issue. Because he is—” (Raheight)
The door opens as if cutting off their conversation.
The one that showed up there was Arcreal himself.
He is showing a big innocent smile as usual.
“I am back~! I just got back, Ritial! What, you are here too, Raheight.” (Arcreal)
“Of course I would be. I am not the type for physical labor like you after all. I would like to avoid battles as much as possible.” (Raheight)
“What, you are still bothered by the fact that you lost to Archbishop Ukka?” (Arcreal)
“I am not. It is true that I let my guard down, so I admit my defeat. There’s no next time though.” (Raheight)
“So you are bothered by it.” (Arcreal)
“And so, Arcreal, how did it go?” (Ritial)
“Aah, they got away!” (Arcreal)
Raheight let out a really heavy sigh. My head hurt a little too.
“…Give a detailed report.” (Ritial)
“Uuh, I headed to the place I was told. When I did, a single humanoid monster in butler clothes got in my way. It was pretty strong.” (Arcreal)
A monster in butler clothes.
Those words reminded me of the subordinate of the Purple Demon Lord I met in Kuama. It is most likely that one.
A Great Devil that is far stronger than your average Unique. It really is just like him to be unscathed even after fighting that.
“So that monster bought them time.” (Ritial)
“Yeah. He regenerated immediately despite me slicing him over and over. He ran away just when I was thinking his mana to regenerate would run out. I arrived at the location where I was supposed to regroup with the others when I chased after him. Everyone had been defeated though.” (Arcreal)
“Does that include Molari and Yasutet?” (Ritial)
“Yeah. Being able to defeat even Yasutet is pretty impressive, right?! That’s why I was eager to fight them, but they threw a whole ton of crazy stuff like poisonous smoke, and when I cleared away the smoke, everyone had run away! I just caught a glimpse of it, but there was the Blade of Annihilation.” (Arcreal)
Mix Taizu… Taizu really was involved just as I thought.
But considering her strength, even if she can defeat Molari, it wouldn’t be as smooth against Yasutet.
It should be safe to assume there were several skilled individuals there.
“And so, you came back with your hands completely empty.” (Raheight)
“Don’t come at me like that, Raheight. I did pick up Seraes and his disciples, you know? I hid them close to the national borders though.” (Arcreal)
“…What about Molari and Yasutet?” (Ritial)
“They got taken. Some exquisite technique!” (Arcreal)
The problem Raheight mentioned was that Arcreal has nothing in his brain aside from fighting. He would be a legendary warrior that could be even stronger than the Scarlet Demon Lord if it is in a straightforward battle, but…he is stupid and inflexible.
“It is my mistake for thinking that Yasutet could use you effectively as long as you managed to regroup.” (Ritial)
“We should have at least made him go together with Molari. He was on a different mission, so it is a difficult thing to ask though.” (Raheight)
“What. I headed straight there once I finished the mission, you know?” (Arcreal)
“I don’t expect you to deal appropriately with sudden happenings… They are probably around the Kuama Castle.” (Ritial)
“Right. They are either going to interrogate them or be worried about us trying to rescue them and move them to either Taizu or Gahne.” (Raheight)
Those two have received special training.
I don’t think they will say anything that would be detrimental for me, but…
“Then, should I march into the Kuama Castle?” (Arcreal)
“Please don’t. The unity between the other countries will strengthen if we were to attack a country from the front. The country we are currently in might even cooperate too.” (Ritial)
“Aah, I see.” (Arcreal)
“…Ritial-san, I will tell Nektohal-san. Please go retrieve Seraes.” (Raheight)
“Yeah, counting on you.” (Ritial)
Raheight exited the room with a face as if saying he didn’t want to stay here any longer.
Raheight sets minute schemes in all places, so his compatibility with the personification of tactless honesty, Arcreal, is terrible.
As for me, I am used to being in a party with idiots like Gradona. The spectrum of his idiocy is different, so it is hard to say I have complete immunity to it.
“So I will be on standby for a while then?” (Arcreal)
“Right. We will have you rampage when the chance comes, so rest your body.” (Ritial)
“…Sorry, Ritial. I increased the amount of work you have.” (Arcreal)
“Don’t worry. I am used to it.” (Ritial)
Arcreal is making an apologetic face, but I can easily tell that his intention here is to apologize early or he will get scolded later.
People like this don’t improve from just mere scolding.
I would like to avoid using my energy pointlessly.
“Anyways, you have changed, Ritial. You talk like that to me, Raheight, and Nektohal, and yet, you speak super kindly to Molari and the others.” (Arcreal)
“A matter of standing. Nektohal and Raheight are people that walk in the same path with me, but Molari and the others are ones that come together with me for my sake. They are working under me with the resolve of becoming cornerstones for the path I am aiming for. I have accepted that resolve and would use their lives like tools at times depending on the situation. In that case, I should at least do my utmost to speak to them in as humane of a way as possible. It is my way of showing respect.” (Ritial)
I would like to think of a way to rescue them if possible.
But when that’s not possible, I will have to resolve myself to abandon them.
That doesn’t feel too good.
“You don’t seem too kind to me though?” (Arcreal)
“It doesn’t feel like you would crumble even if I tried to use you to the ground after all.” (Ritial)
“I see… I see?” (Arcreal)
After regrouping with Ekdoik and the others in the Kuama Castle, I confirmed the details of what happened with them.
At the time when Ekdoik and the others were fighting Seraes and the Illegitimate to secure them, Dyuvuleori ended up encountering a person calling himself Arcreal when he was trying to group up with them.
Dyuvuleori thought he was reinforcements sent by Raheight and his group due to the strange atmosphere he had, and entered battle to prevent him from getting to them.
Arcreal’s strength could only be described as unreal, and in the stage when Dyuvuleori had barely any energy left to escape, he switched to regrouping with Ekdoik and the others.
They were done with battle at that time, and Dyuvuleori proposed to escape from the pursuing Arcreal.
They all agreed to escape, entered preparations, and Mix and Ekdoik were the main ones utilizing several methods to escape.
“Dyuvuleori placed the Illegitimate into his stomach after Mix scattered smoke bombs. They took as much distance as possible until the smoke was cleared, and I dug a hole to hide. He didn’t use detection magic despite the use of the smoke bombs. We hid for a while, and then dug all the way to a settlement in Kuama.” (Ekdoik)
“We only managed to secure the two Illegitimate. Sorry…” (Haaku)
“There’s no need to lower your head, Haakudoku. If you were to fight against an opponent that can injure Dyuvuleori one-sidedly, there would have been casualties.”
I did predict the teleport user would be coming to enable the escape of Seraes. Also the barrier user that is always accompanying her.
But according to Haakudoku, a guy on the same level as Yugura showed up. That was outside expectations.
Dyuvuleori is currently sleeping in a room of the castle.
His wounds are serious, and he is exhausted to a degree where he can’t heal himself properly. There’s the need to call Purple to perform direct treatment to him.
“And so, Haakudoku, in what realm do you mean when you say he is on the same level as Yugura Nariya?”
“In what realm, you ask… It is the same as the Yugura that I felt in the Hero Index. It is pretty dangerous.” (Haaku)
“Is he on the same level as a hero, as a warrior, as a mage? There’s a lot, right? Wolfe is on the same level as Yugura when it comes to the amount of mana alone after all.”
“Aah, so that’s what you mean. Wait for a moment, I will try to remember… The amount of mana wasn’t on the level of Yugura. The danger of that man was his danger as a warrior.” (Haaku)
“A warrior, huh… In that case, he is an Illegitimate with the talent of battle or something.”
If there’s the ability to generate mana, the ability to detect danger, the ability of spatial awareness, it wouldn’t be strange for there to be an ability to adapt in battle.
Raheight and his group have quite a lot of pawns.
But well, there’s a lot of things to think about here.
“Brother, your expression is lighter than expected.” (Haaku)
“There’s no doubt he is someone we have to be wary of, but it is not to the degree of being despairing.”
“No, no, it is despairing! Even Dyuvuleori couldn’t match him!” (Haaku)
“If he were completely on the same level as Yugura Nariya, you guys would have been wiped out right then and there. The reason why you guys managed to escape was because he didn’t have the ability to chase after you. It is natural to think that.”
The moment the smoke cleared and Arcreal noticed that Molari and Yasutet were gone, he would have moved to try and get them back.
He would have swiftly found Ekdoik and the others hiding nearby and corner them.
“What are the chances he purposely let us go?” (Haaku)
“There are limited reasons why someone would let their enemies escape despite an absolute advantage. Either you have something to get from letting them escape, or there’s no reason to kill them. They already know about our forces, and just a bit of thought would tell you that you would be escaping to the Kuama Castle, so using you as a source for information would be pointless. He obviously has a reason to defeat you since you have taken his comrades.”
“Then, does that mean that he only has the brains for one thing alone like me?” (Haaku)
“Probably. Even so, I think his other abilities are pulled up as well since his talent is battle.”
“Pulled up?” (Haaku)
“This is the natural progression, but abilities that resemble the talent you have are easy to raise. For example; Haakudoku, your strength isn’t only your ability to detect danger. There’s also your ability to analyze your opponent using detection magic, right? Wolfe also doesn’t only have her ability to generate a high amount of mana, her fighting techniques to utilize a lot of mana are also pretty high. If he has the talent of battle, his abilities that assist in this will naturally be at a high level, too.”
However, Arcreal having pitiful degrees of ability in pursuing his enemies means that he is incredibly strong against enemies that challenge him from the front, but there’s a chance he is weak against attacks from the back.
Well, he must have pretty high specs, so it would be pretty hard to corner him in battle.
“I see. He had quite a lot of mana too. Him being able to catch up to Dyuvuleori when he was running away was also because of that, huh.” (Haaku)
“He probably isn’t intelligent either. If he were an intelligent guy, Raheight would have happily acted together with him.”
“I suddenly feel he is a kindred spirit… Ah, but wouldn’t an idiot come marching in here?!” (Haaku)
“I think he will be consulting with an intelligent person after retrieving Seraes. Ritial and Raheight would definitely stop him.”
“W-Well, that means it should be fine for now!” (Haaku)
What must be avoided the most for Raheight and his group is to not let their hideout be discovered.
The reason why they used Arcreal was most likely because they wanted to avoid losing Molari who enables them to do so by using teleport magic.
Their miscalculation was that he encountered Dyuvuleori before getting there.
They managed to avoid battle against him thanks to Dyuvuleori buying time, and succeeded in capturing the Illegitimate.
I gotta have Purple tell Dyuvuleori some words of appreciation later.
Mix and Rakura showed up while we were talking.
Molari and Yasutet still have the paralyzing poison in their system and can’t talk, but we can do the preliminary preparations.
I asked Mix and the others to do this, but it seems like it will be difficult judging from their expressions.
“Mister Friend, those two don’t have magic seal stones embedded in their heads, but their resistance to mind manipulation magic is extremely high-desu zo.” (Mix)
“So it is not possible to charm them or brainwash them, huh. They seem to be subordinates of Ritial, so they probably have fitting amount of training.”
“Must have. In that case, we are only left with physical interrogation though…” (Mix)
“I feel like they will have an even higher resistance to that.”
The two of them seem skilled, and I feel like waiting for Dyuvuleori to recover and reading their memories will have a low chance of succeeding.
It makes me grieve just how ineffective the interrogations of this world are.
Well, a certain someone would spit out all the information before being tortured though.
“In that case, what about the interrogation Counselor-sama did to Raheight-san before?” (Rakura)
“That’s something I can only pull off when I have a certain degree of prior comprehension and knowledge. It is not suitable for attempts at asking blindly. Well, let’s try doing what I can.”
Also, I can’t switch to me.
I am not in a state where I can corner someone mentally. Even so, nothing will progress if we don’t do anything, so let’s do what we can.
The next day, I head to the prison cell where Molari, who is not paralyzed anymore, is in with Mix.
She has a restraining tool with a magic seal stone embedded, and her arms and legs are locked and fixed in place tightly.
The only thing that’s free is her head.
Hmm, this feels immoral on a lot of fronts.
“Yo, you really took care of us before.”
“I heard you were seriously injured, but you seem energetic.” (Molari)
Molari was glaring at us with bare hostility.
I feel like she would bite me if I were to get close to her, yup.
“A lot happened. Leaving that aside, I was thinking about having you tell us a variety of things.”
“There’s nothing to tell you. Buzz off.” (Molari)
“There should be a lot, right?”
“There’s nothing.” (Molari)
She is making a face that’s saying ‘what’s this guy talking about?’.
I feel like Mix is also making a similar face behind me.
“Well, just answer what you want to answer. First question.”
“As I said, there’s no way I will answe—” (Molari)
“Do you have any food you hate?”
“Food you hate. We have no intention of killing you since we have captured you to obtain information. It is natural to know those things if we are going to be bringing you food, right?”
The poison in the eyes of Molari was somewhat gone now. Her wariness is still there, but it seems like she has forgotten to put killing intent in them.
“Are you joking around?” (Molari)
“I am super serious. I wasn’t even given food when I was captured by you guys. I want to show you the difference in treatment of our prisoners, you see. And so, today’s menu is apparently vegetable soup. What do you want to do?”
“Just do what you want.” (Molari)
“You are the one that can make requests though.”
“Then, put some meat in. A large portion.” (Molari)
Alright, she bit.
She is in the conversation now.
This is the first step.
“I don’t know how large of a portion I can make it, but I will tell them. Also…aah, is this place not cold? Do you need a blanket or something?”
“…Give it.” (Molari)
She seems to be baffled by what I am saying.
It is about time for her to be thinking that it should be okay to talk to me if it is to improve her current state.
“I shall arrange it so. By the way, Molari, you definitely wouldn’t say anything inconvenient for Ritial, is that correct?”
“Then, I will ask you unrelated stuff. At the time when I was caught in the base of the Scarlet Demon Lord, were you the one who attacked me?”
“It wasn’t me. It was Yasutet.” (Molari)
“I can’t say I respect that way of answering. Shouldn’t you have answered with Raheight there even if it was a lie? Yasutet has been captured too. There’s no assurance I wouldn’t vent my anger at him for what he did to me, right?”
“I don’t care.” (Molari)
Well, I am not thinking about getting back at him though…probably.
Now then, I have a general idea of what kind of person Molari is after talking to her personally.
It should be safe to assume she has absolute loyalty to Ritial considering this and the conversation of before, but it seems like she doesn’t have that much comradery towards the others.
Such people never leak the most important info. I should slowly shave away her wariness, but I feel like it would take time.
“Alright, that’s the end of today’s interrogation. Thanks for your cooperation.”
“Are you looking down on interrogations?” (Molari)
“I hate violence. If you want to be punished, the most I can do is tickle you.”
“You must be looking down on it.” (Molari)
“No, your armpits seem to be a weak point of yours.”
“…Argh, just disappear already.” (Molari)
Ah, this girl has weak armpits.
Well, I doubt she will spill the beans with tickles, so I won’t do it though.
I exited the cell and analyzed her in detail, thinking back on the conversation I had with Molari and her changes in expression.
“Mister Friend, that was a pretty anti-climatic interrogation. I thought you would do a variety of things…” (Mix)
“It is good for the first time to be moderate. She even moved me elsewhere after all.”
“Even though you suffered afterwards…” (Mix)
The reaction of Mix… It seems like she has quite the pent up anger for what happened to me.
“Thanks, Mix, for having that much of a grudge for me. That alone is already relieving enough for me.”
“…It may be for you, but it is not for me though.” (Mix)
“It would trouble me if the hostage were to get injured for just aimless interrogations. There’s no issue if it’s just light touching though.”
I tap the head of Mix lightly and smile with an evil face.
“You have quite a bit of freedom in your schedule today, so you can do as you please. Don’t try to coax her into anything though.”
“I can’t really see where this is going though…” (Mix)
“Right, right, I could tell from the reaction to the conversation just now, but it seems like the armpits of Molari are a weak point of hers.”
“—I see. Then, I will go let off some steam!” (Mix)
Well, there’s no issue in Molari hating Mix.
It would overall improve her opinion of me after all.
“As I said before, keep it moderate.”