|Author: Kobayashi Homare||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 3884 characters|
|Translator: Nomad||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1769 words|
“Hmph… We know you’re there. Show yourselves already.”
After receiving the map from the guild master, we spent the next three days constantly loitering around the places with most incidents, trying to lure the demons out. We would also interview the people living nearby, and greet the guards who occasionally walked by, making ourselves as conspicuous as possible. I felt a bit bad for abusing my status as a hero to constantly bother lower ranking guards and soldiers, but it greatly helped my plan.
Hearing my voice, around twenty figures crawled out of the shadows. Most of them clearly were demons, they did not even attempt to hide the black aura surrounding them, but a handful of humans were there too. They were knights, and judging from the design of their armor quite high ranking ones at that, all glaring at me menacingly.
“It seems I guessed right.”
The soldiers had been instructed only to clean up the crime scenes, without conducting any further investigations. The only explanation I could find for that, was that those in command had been corrupted and were letting the demons do as they pleased, and to my regret, it seems I was right.
From what I could see, those knights did not look like they were being manipulated. Either they had been bribed long ago and were in full support of the demons, or they simply had an evil nature and enjoyed it. Still, I could not help but feel bad for their stupidity. Demons never kept their promises, and it was likely they would kill the knights once they were done here. Only foolish people would throw away their entire lives for a momentary pleasure.
“…Did you cause this?”
One of the knights raised his voice while glaring at me.
“Hm? What do you mean?”
“Don’t play dumb, did you do this? Yes or no!”
He angrily pointed to one of the demons who was oozing miasma. Now it started making sense, I did not know much about magic, but they had probably used some form of it to hide or camouflage their true appearance. That was gone now, and they thought our group had done it. I figured I could be honest with him.
“If you mean the holy spell enveloping the entire city, that was done by some of our allies. All I want to do is hunt the demons in the city and not spare a single one. That extends to any humans helping them as well.”
Saying that, I unsheath my sword from my back, Sweelen and the others following suit. The enemy saw that, and also mirrored our actions instinctively.
“I won’t hold back any punishment until you confess why you’re siding with them. I hope you’re ready.”
“Hah! You think you can win with such a small group?! Heh, you’ll learn your place soon!”
The knight who seemed to lead them yelled that and they charged ahead. He and ten demons targeted me, so I picked up my spear and swung it around, which they tried to stop but were sent flying instead. There were some who dodged instead, and quickly rushed ahead trying to get a hit on me. Rather than interrupting my attack, I put more momentum into it, going full circle at a higher speed.
Other men tried to attack me from behind, thinking my back was unguarded, but I just swung my tail, hitting all of them and sending them flying back while their bodies seemed to fold in half. They had completely ignored the fact that I was a reptid and had not expected that counterattack. The fight had barely started but they had already lost half their numbers, the remaining members looking nervous. I did not let that time go to waste, rushing towards them and swinging my spear again.
There was almost no person strong enough to defend from a reptid attack. Even amongst trained warriors, there was a biological difference in strength between reptids and humans, and from what I could see, demons as well. On top of that, I was fighting while powering my body with magic too, so there was almost no one who could stand in my way.
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Their weapons broke trying to stop me, and the sound of their bones breaking kept resounding through the dark alley. I looked back and saw Sweelen was also fighting wildly, so it was fine for me to let her finish.
“H-how! This isn’t possible…”
The leader of the knights looked in terror at the huge gap in ability between us, watching his followers fall without being able to put up a fight. There were two demons standing with him, who also were losing their will to fight, slowly stepping back and retreating. I would not allow that though.
“Tsk! Like hell I’m going near that beast!”
“You all hold them here!”
“W-wait! Are you trying to leave me to die here?!”
The demons chose to flee faster, but they could only take a few steps back before they fell, my spear boring a hole through the two after I threw it.
The knight’s brain struggled keeping up with everything he saw. He stared at the fallen demons, his mouth agape, not realizing I was getting closer until I punched him in the face and made him roll on the ground.
“We’re done on our side, sir.”
“Good job. Tie up anyone who’s still alive, don’t let them escape.”
Sweelen and the rest had either killed the others, or rendered them unconscious. It seems the guys causing so much trouble around here only amounted to this.
“I was expecting a more powerful fighting force. Maybe they just sent the lowest ranking demons for this mission. Anyway…”
I went to the knight who had passed out and forcefully lifted him from his collar, slapping his face over until he woke up.
“You awake? I want answers.”
From everything I had seen so far, he was obviously human. I needed to figure out what wicked reason he could have to join hands with demons like that. There had been plenty of casualties already, and he had probably covered up more of them, so I felt not even a smidge of mercy for him.
“Now tell me. What evil deeds did you help those demons with?”
“I-I don’t know! I don’t know any-”
I decided to slap some sense into him again, strong enough that some of his teeth came out flying and his entire face began swelling up.
“Lie, and it’ll get even more painful. Either way, you’re already under arrest and soon the law will give you what you deserve. So don’t waste your breath coming up with excuses. Unless you’re some pervert who enjoys pain and wants to come clean about it.”
Somehow every time I found a weak person abusing others for their own pleasure, they always faltered as soon as they got slightly hurt. He was no different, trembling the moment I lifted my fist.
“What’ll it be then? Will you talk?”
“I will! Just don’t hit me please!”
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I felt queasy hearing what he said next. In short, he was guilty of robbery and kidnapping. All the knights in charge of watching over that part of the city worked under the demons’ orders, stealing from the houses that looked wealthy and kidnapping any young women. Then they took any valuables to contacts in the black market to enrich themselves. Some of their victims would try to seek help from the government, but he and the other knights made sure that never got anywhere.
“How did you get so much authority? And how did you even meet the demons?”
“M-my father is a count. So it was easy to get away with small crimes like that! The demons recognized my power and authority, so they looked for me personally!”
I strengthened my grip around his neck hearing that. Small crimes? Did the people who were ransacked and left to live in the streets out of the blue think it was a small thing? Or those poor girls who were sold off in the black market? The knight could feel I was getting angrier than I was during the fight.
“W-what are you getting so mad for? They were just some peasants, who cares about them. It’s not like you knew any of them. Look, let’s make a deal! Let me go and I’ll make you rich in the blink of an eye! Okay? Just let me down now!”
It was obvious…he did not regret his actions in the slightest. In his eyes, there was nothing wrong with abusing and torturing the common folk. I could not understand how a person could think that, and it made me sick. It made me doubt if he was truly human. He thought my silence meant I was considering his offer, so he decided to keep running his mouth.
“So? What do you say? Not a bad offer, right? If you just look away for a bit, I’ll get you piles of gold! You won’t even have to bother being a hero or whatever for the rest of your-”
Before he could finish his sentence, I could not control my anger anymore and I punched his remaining teeth off and threw his body against a wall. His body slid against the wall, plopping on the ground like a marionette with cut strings.
“I’m not a hero because I want money, I want to use my power to help people. Don’t even think I’m scum like you!”
I yelled at the knight, even though he was completely passed out. Still, the demons had far more influence in the country than I expected. And they were not the only threat, there were humans working with them too.
“It seems killing the demons won’t be enough to get rid of their influence.”
Cutting off the demons would not be enough to close this infected wound. It would take a long time to carefully examine everyone and sniff out anyone who abused their authority, but that would be the government’s task. We could only help when it came to physical conflict.
“We’re done tying up the survivors, sir.”
“Good, let’s wait until guards arrive so they watch over them, and we can head out to other parts of the city.”
I was getting worried about everyone else who was fighting now, so I constantly looked at the streets hoping the guards would arrive sooner.