|Author: Kobayashi Homare||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 3393 characters|
|Translator: Nomad||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1492 words|
Without caring about the shards of glass all over the floor, I quickly surveyed the room trying to find anyone, without much luck…until I saw one man resting leisurely against a large couch in a corner of the room.
“That’s quite an entrance. Or do humans have a custom of entering through windows?”
Saying that, he, the demon, chuckled to himself. Somehow…I had been unable to read his presence. There had to be something at work here. Before I entered the mansion I could feel a presence here, but the moment I made it through the window it became vague and I was unable to track it. If he was proficient enough he would have been able to mask his presence even from those outside the mansion, so he probably had some magical item that hid him. Even when I could see him, I barely could identify him as a demon.
“You’re looking quite perplexed there, but this isn’t the first time we’ve seen this tactic, you know? We’re also capable of learning.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, you humans like using barriers of holy magic to weaken us, yes? So, we figured we could simply nullify such spells. I don’t know about other Demon Kings, but my master Aprila can easily get rid of such weak magic.”
I was lost for words. If they could do that here, then there was a chance Luvias was also struggling in the palace right now. But he did not seem to notice my worries, continuing to talk.
“But oh well…sadly enough, there was little time to prepare these nullifying rings, and only I obtained one for this mission. In other words, you drew the short straw, and now you have to fight against a demon without help from your little holy magic. And did I mention this ring masks my presence as well? It also strengthens me a bit, so you really have everything turned against you here.”
He seemed fully confident in his own skills, chattering away details I did not need to know. Thanks to that, I was able to calm down a bit. Luvias and the others would fight against weaker demons, and I knew my strength, so I knew I could handle this.
But I was still a bit surprised. It had only been a handful of days since the other battle, and as far as I know that was the first time Freya used that weakening spell. And in such a short time frame they had already come up with counter measures.
It seemed he was done talking, as he unsheathed two daggers and rose on his feet. Because of the short reach of daggers, warriors seldom selected them as their primary weapon and instead chose safer options, only carrying them for emergencies.
Only assassins favored them, since it made slicing a scout’s throat in the dark much easier. But there was one thing that they did better than any other weapon, conserving agility. They were light and easy to handle, making them extremely useful in an enclosed space like this. Long swords and spears could easily get caught in the ceiling, giving an opening for the opponent to knock one’s weapon away. I knew I was skilled enough to not get my weapon stuck like that, but it still diminished my range of motion.
(He knew that so he lured me inside here instead of going outside to fight. He’s actually got a brain, I’ll give him that.)
He was still smiling like before, but his eyes were dead serious. He was probably trying to lower my guard somehow, which was a very different tactic to the other demons I had encountered before, and I was not sure how to respond.
We held our weapons ready and slowly closed in on each other. I wanted to take him down quickly and leave the mansion as soon as possible, but he was looking stronger than I anticipated. He walked into the range of my halberd, so I had to do something before he got even closer. I firmly gripped my weapon and swung it.
That was fast enough to decapitate an average demon, but he threw his head back to barely dodge it and then stepped closer to counterattack, aiming straight at my neck. I calmly evaded that, then tried to impale him on the tip of my halberd, but he also dodged that. He did not step back though, staying right in front of me and constantly trying to hit me with his daggers.
If we were outside, I would swing my halberd with much more power and put an end to this, but we were indoors, with hostages nearby and in a mansion that looked like it would crumble easily. I could not get carried away and end up harming Bacchus and the others. As a result, I could only give half hearted attacks while staying defensive.
“What’s wrong? Is that all you have?! Show me your full power!”
“You’re really getting on my nerves..! Shut up already!”
I realized we would never go anywhere if I kept using my halberd, so I threw it aside without much care and punched him aiming at his nose.
“Dang! That barely hit!”
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My fist had only grazed against his eyebrows. Still, that was enough to make a gash, blood trickling down the demon’s face.
“I wasn’t expecting you to fight barehanded..! You’re actually full of surprises!”
“It makes it easier to move!”
I punched the flat side of a dagger, knocking it off trajectory and I punched towards his chest, which he stopped with his elbow. Still, I could feel bone breaking under my knuckles. He barely seemed to flinch and continued his barrage of attacks. He tried slashing my guts open again, but I threw myself on the ground to evade that, while attempting to trip him up, which he dodged by jumping back. Having put distance between us, he used his own magic to heal his wound while taking deep breaths.
“Alright, I admit you’re stronger than I expected…but it makes sense considering you made Lacus run scared s̲h̲i̲t̲l̲e̲s̲s̲.”
“Lacus? Who’s that?”
I tilted my head hearing that unknown name. I could not remember anyone called that amongst my acquaintances.
“Oh, I guess you never heard her name then. Lacus is that female demon you fought before and ran away. We kinda go way back, and she’s pretty strong, but I heard she was no match against you.”
“…Ahh, her, I see…that demon, huh.”
There was a time when Luvias stayed back while Freya and I fought against demons alone. He was probably talking about a female demon I fought that time. But there was something else I wanted to know now.
“So…are you and Lacus working for the same Demon King then?”
I wanted to make sure that it was the same Demon King who organized the invasion and now organized this plan. That way I would know which region to attack first once we marched into the Haunted Lands. He did not seem reluctant to talk, so he began speaking while keeping his stance ready.
“We’re part of different factions. She works under some guy called Trianf, but my master Aprila is the true Demon King. Trianf is pretty dumb, so he tried using all his troops to conquer this country, but you stopped that.”
“And then you took all those hostages trying to make us fight…”
“Trianf, of course. Humans are so dependent on authority figures that we figured we could get rid of both you and the big idiot at the same time if we manipulated the king…though that didn’t really work out, did it? But oh well, the plan fell apart when you arrived here, so I’ll just go home after this.”
He said with a disinterested voice. I had not expected there was such a story behind all this…but they seriously underestimated us then. I slowly let magic flow to every fiber in my body. I wanted to avoid doing anything that could destroy the mansion, but I also wanted to let him feel how powerful my punches could be. I had to give him payback for all the pain he caused everyone he manipulated. He seemed to notice that change in me, so his gaze turned sharp as he looked at me.
“Are you mad? To be honest, that’s something I simply don’t get about humans…or are you so emotional for people you don’t even know only because you’re part of the hero’s party?”
“That’s not it, almost anyone would react this way. At least most humans. And get ready too, I’ll make you taste some of the suffering you put so many innocent people through.”
I kicked off the ground in a powerful jump, my fist aimed straight between his eyes.