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Chapter 508: Alone Time

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Author: The Sole Survivor Original Source: SFACG
Translator: CatatoPatch English Source: Re:Library

“Thank you.”

As expected, Nicole came up to me to express her thanks when I gave the command to protect the other villages. A shred of liveliness seemed to seep into her eyes as well. Her change in attitude was especially a relief for me given her opinion of me had worsened thanks to that little incident of Devil summoning. Truly a close call there…

Seeing as we had time to spare for once, I found a random empty patch of grass to sit down on, took out some of the dry rations I had stored in my dimensional ring, and invited everyone for a quick snack. A brief moment later, the creases on everyone’s eyebrows lessened noticeably.

However, the way Neneth vacuumed down the food I gave her was a little worrying. At this point, I wasn’t even sure if I should be worrying about our dry rations running out, or her bursting at the seams first…

“Sister Mo Na, why are you looking at Neneth like that for?”

“I was just thinking to myself, how can such an adorable girl have such a big appetite, that’s all.”

Faced with that potentially sensitive question, Neneth merely laughed and proudly smacked her chest. “That’s because Neneth is strong, that’s why she needs more food!”

You eat more because you are strong… I can’t even refute that…

Now that our meal was over, it was time for serious business.

We still had no way of confirming whether or not the mastermind behind this whole incident was watching us from the shadows. The steps we took next would likely be crucial.

As of right now, there were two choices facing us. First, all of us could head to the nearby towns to notify their local leaders for aid. However, the fact that there was an Undead horde running amok unchecked, there was a high likelihood that the local nobility had been compromised. Perhaps the lord of the land had been bribed, or perhaps he was one of the evildoers to begin with. There was a chance that the lord wanted us dead as well. Even so, given Nicole’s unique status, all we had to do was report the situation to a nearby Demon Hunter branch. The lord would surely be indicted then, though there was still the possibility of the nobility acting to silence us.

The second choice would be to send a small detachment to the neighbouring towns to report the situation while most of us stayed behind to contain the situation. This way, the nobility would find it harder to kill us all, since they would have two groups to deal with. This method would allow us to gain the aid we wanted as well. However, there was a glaring risk in that if another Dracolich were to pop up… well… we would be done for then…

Both choices had their own strong points, and were valid in this situation.

“It’s fine if we just wait here.” Just as I was mulling over which decision to take, Nicole coolly interjected, “I’ve already sent out a message with my magical tool. My teacher should be here soon with reinforcements.”

Huh? She did that? Everyone was equally surprised as they turned to look at her. The ‘I didn’t even see you doing that’ look was clearly plastered on everyone’s face.

“I used it last night. When I returned to our room.”

So that’s why. Still, that teacher she’s talking about should be the branch leader of the Demon Hunters’ Guild. A bigwig of the Demon Hunters. If someone like that were to come over, then there’s no need to worry. All we gotta do now is hold the line for the reinforcements.

However, I couldn’t help but notice the awkwardness of my situation right now. After all, the Demon Hunters were an association dedicated to slaying Devils. And, this wasn’t me bragging or anything, but I was the proverbial wild p0kemon to their eager trainers.

Even so, the fact that I assisted Nicole so much should work highly in my favor. If I was lucky, I might even get in her teacher’s good graces. That would allow me to accompany Nicole long term. I still had my transformation magic to cover up my Devil scent, at the end of the day. I just needed legal status for my Occultist practise.

What followed next was a lull period where we really did not have much to do. Nicole mentioned her teacher would arrive soon, but she did not tell us how quickly. Minutes? Hours? Perhaps tonight?

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Truthfully, there were still a bunch of questions left unanswered regarding the village saga. Who released that Dracolich? What was Umbra even after? And that barrier too…

I had next to nothing on the identity of the mastermind. Actually, I had nothing at all. I had no way of investigating either. As for Umbra’s goal, the signs were pointing to him trying to get Nicole to kill those villagers. Was that perhaps how they would seduce her to join the dark side? Probably. Next was that Anti-light Barrier. Umbra mentioned that this was the first time they had used it in such a public manner. Were there many Anti-light Barriers deployed in secret then? That would be a pretty logical deduction.

However, there was an even scarier implication if that was true. That Anti-light Barrier basically allowed a Vampire to walk around in the sunlight like a normal person would. That meant they could be that handsome villager next door and no one would realise. That barrier most likely blocked out the ultraviolet rays in the sunlight. In that case, normal people wouldn’t notice the difference even if the barrier was deployed in, let’s say, a town.

Since ancient times, the fastest way to differentiate a normal Human from a Vampire was to roast him in the sun. But if the barrier rendered this method useless, then that begged the question: how many Vampires are hiding out in, or even controlling, the various Human settlements?

Of course, Umbra could be telling the whole truth as well. And it could just be that this was really the first time they took it out to use. However, I was more likely to favor my earlier theory.

Vampires were creatures that relied on Humans for sustenance. They would want to have some Humans living near their nests. What better way to ensure a constant supply of blood then to control the Humans like sheep?

If that was the case, this Undead horde made sense. The nobility was under their control, or maybe they were the Vampires…

Crap. It just gets more scary the more I think about it…

It was at that moment that one of the Dark Elven Assassin came up to me and handed me a tiny bottle of white powder. I gave the bottle a quick look then gestured for everyone to have a break first. Having done that, I threw a look at Nicole, signalling for her to follow me to the forest.

Having understood my intentions, she stood up to follow me. Neneth initially wanted to come along as well, but was stopped by Regine.

Regine shook her head at Neneth who pouted in response but sat down in the end.

As we walked towards the forest, I turned around and asked Nicole, “what are your opinions on the Lord’s inaction this time around?”

“Suspicious.” A straight to the point answer.

“Yes. I suspect that the nobles of this territory have some sort of underground dealings with the creatures of darkness. Perhaps the lord himself might be one of them.” We continued onwards.

“That Anti-light barrier intrigues me as well. That’s why I had my subordinates take a sample of it. They found unusual traces within a five kilometer radius of the village. According to them, there were a lot of traces left behind, so you can just get your Demon Hunters to retrieve them as well. But for even the lord of the land to be a suspect…”

“I understand.” Nicole coldly cut me off.

“Here’s a sample I just received.” I took out the bottle I just received for her to see. “You can use this as a future reference.”

“Thanks.”

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“There’s no need to thank me, because…”

I stopped talking at that point. Rather, I couldn’t. Because I was no longer the person I was before. None of us were. Nicole was now a Demon Hunter, while I was a Devil. Two entities doomed to be at odds with each other. Even though I had faith that she would still accept me even after knowing of my identity, now wasn’t the time to tell her. I could tell she held a deeply seated hatred for Devils. Until I gained enough trust, I mustn’t reveal my identity.

“How about we talk about you instead? I’m quite interested in what you have to say.” She suddenly threw me a curveball after a deathly long period of silence between us.

“I… guess I’m an Occultist who wants to be a productive member of society?” Awkward silence once more… I couldn’t figure out what else to say to her question, thanks to how different Nicole was from before. In the past, I could fairly accurately predict how she would react to my words; I was just that familiar with her. Now, however… I did not understand her at all. The only thing I knew about her was that she was searching for ‘Mo Ke’.

“Productive member of society?”

“That’s right.” I nodded my head. “We might not be able to choose how we were born, but I firmly believe that we can choose how we live our lives. I wish to be someone useful, and I think I’ve accomplished that today.”

Having said that, I turned to find Nicole looking at me, a little misty eyed as she muttered, “So similar…”

“Similar?”

“Similar to what my younger brother said in the past.”

I began to sweat a little. Did she find out already? “Which part?”

“The part about choosing how we lived our lives.” She then mimicked the voice I had when I was young. As she did that, a smile crept onto her lips. “Just like that.”

(TL: Quite sure he never said that. I checked the previous chapters from 2 to 7. I doubt he actually said the following phrase as well, so I’m not going to bother searching…)

I dryly laughed. “…A coincidence, I’m sure. Just like being struck by lightning, a pure coincidence…”

“He used to say that too.”

“…”

Why am I even bothering at this point? Talking to her is tiring…

Thankfully, this atmosphere did not continue for long.

“They address you as Her Holiness. Those Dark Elves all seem to be experts in their own right. If I were to go up against them, I don’t think I can win in a one on one.” She suddenly stopped walking and looked me right in the eyes with an empty expression. Finally, in no uncertain words, she said, “You’re some kind of big shot, aren’t you?”

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