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New Game – Chapter 44

Predicting the number of people – Part 2

While Elvis and Lux faced each other, Suzuran’s members were meeting in their own headquarter.

“Takumi has been taken into custody like Elsa reported.”

Mirta looked her comrades in the eyes one after the other with a serious expression.
The most important members of Suzuran – Karin, Kunon, Jil and Geiz – along with a couple of girls who ‘contributed’ in someway to this situation – Elsa and Lize – sat around the table.
Everyone was visibly worried. Wrinkles dug their brows.

“This is a delicate matter. If we were to rescue Takumi, the entire Suzuran would be charged with treason and get arrested.”

Killing the son of an overlord was a serious matter, but everyone knew that this time it was a groundless charge against the kind-hearted slave merchant.
Rescuing him now that the army was involved and the inquisition would hold his trial was going to be hard.
Their fate would’ve been sealed if they failed in the attempt.

“This decision cannot rest on my shoulders alone. I gathered you here today to hear what you all want to do about this. Shall we save Takumi or—”

“Of course we will!”

Lize stood up from her chair and interrupted Mirta.

“He saved me! He jumped head first into danger and taught me how to start walking on my own… I am the reason he is now in jail too.”

“Well… yes. Takumi has done the impossible to save you, and it brought Fortesea to take action against him… but you are currently here on behalf of Her Highness. Don’t forget about it.”

“Y-Yes… I beg your pardon.”

Mirta spoke calmly, trying to explain the situation, and Lize, feeling too much pressure from her friend’s serious tone, hung her head in shame like a child who gets scolded.
Now Lize was speaking as the Archbishop and as Queen Eluria’s messenger, and she was now responsible to gather information and grasp the current status of the capital, for Her Highness couldn’t move around freely. She wasn’t the only one to benefit from attending this meeting.

“Please, make sure that we understand what you meant just now. Did you mean that you, Lize Crest, want to save Takumi?”

The child rose her head again and took a deep breath to get into playing her role.

“I do, and so does Her Highness. Losing him is not in Her plans. I would help him even if I had to disobey our Queen. I will do all I can to hinder the inquisition.”

Mirta’s lips curved into a warm smile as she heard that.

“I see. Thank you, now I understand your intentions.”

The leader of Suzuran took a brief pause to look at everyone’s face. The silence filled the room for a moment, which lasted long enough for her smile to disappear.

“I have a favor to ask you all…”

The seriousness of her request loomed over them. It was like the air had turned denser, and everyone caught their breath.

“Can’t we just leave things as they are?”

“What?!”

All the people in the room said the very same thing at the same time, except Lize who slammed her hands on the table wearing a troubled expression.

“Yaaay~! We can’t help or save him! Meeting’s over, see ya~!”

“No, wait up, Kunon! Why is that?!”

“Because we’re six against one. The majority wins.”

“Karin, what are you…?! Mirta! Not even you want to do anything?!”

“I think he doesn’t really need our help. He can handle this on his own…”

Mirta’s dumb face didn’t show any worry and neither did Kunon’s, who looked bored, or Karin’s, who looked calm.
Lize was now pouting in dissatisfaction.

“What about everyone else?! Like… you, sully man!”

“I’m Jil. At least remember my name, Archbishop. We already met many times.”

“I have always seen you as a dangerous and scary man I occasionally meet up.”

“Am… Am I that scary?”

Jil’s sharp gaze pierced the child who hurriedly ran to hide behind Mirta’s back.

“Well, you do have this dark and scary aura.”

“Milady, you think so too…? Anyhow, I would just leave Takumi alone.”

The man lowered his tone of voice with a sour look on his face.

“If we fail and slip-up even once, the consequences of our actions will not fall on our shoulders alone. If Suzuran gets wiped out, our country might try to do the same with the rest of Listina’s slums. We’re deeply rooted within them, after all.”

“Her Majesty would never allow something like—”

“Let me make it clear now: Lord Elvis holds the military power of this city, not our Queen.”

Elvis Fortesea was Listina’s strongest and most influential Overlord. He was one of three and the city’s power had been divided between them.

As a former guest of Fortesea, Lize had the chance to meet him every now and then, and now she pondered on Jil’s words: what he meant was that there wouldn’t be any mercy for them.

“We’re talking about that guy. He will surely have a trick up his sleeve to make things go his way.”

Once Jil had mouthed his statement, all the people in the room nodded at the same time.
Lize, who was cracking under her pessimism, couldn’t hide the uneasiness darkening her face.

“None of you know the inquisition… do you?”

The Archbishop read as much as she could about them, taking advantage of the documents she could access thanks to her status.
Whenever someone was charged with treason against the country, the inquisition held a ‘trial ceremony’ where the Holy Knights gathered to ‘purge the sins’ of the ‘criminal’.
They interrogated the suspect, who had to answer their every question pledging on the name of their Goddess, and then started the purification ritual.
At least, that’s how it looked like to people.

“They apparently hold a trial, but the truth is they borrow their pledge in the name of our Goddess to do whatever they want to get rid—which means execute, so killing—every traitor of the country.”

No one could tell if the charge was groundless or not.
It didn’t matter if the defendant was right and innocent: they would be condemned anyway.
Those guys hid all of this behind the name of their Goddess they sullied.

Lize never took part in their trials.
Calling them ‘trials’ was absolutely misleading—they were so gruesome that ‘lynching’ would’ve described them better.

“If none of us does anything to help him, he will never come back home! Is that okay with you?!”

“Nah, he won’t die even if he gets killed.”

The five members of Suzuran spoke again at once while shaking their head.
Lize couldn’t hide her anger and disappointment in front of the uncooperativeness of the other members of the meeting, and the sour taste in her mouth only spread faster as she looked at Mirta, who looked like she hadn’t a worry in the world, Kunon, who looked even more happy-go-lucky than ever, and Karin, who was drinking some tea with a surreal calm.

“I have had enough! If none of you want to save him, I will do it by myself!”

She then strode across the room, trying not to spill the tears that were welling in her eyes, and slammed the door behind her back.
For a short time, no one moved an inch or dared to make a sound.
Then, everyone sighed and let go of their facade.

“You know… Lize is so pure I feel guilty right now…”

“Seeing her so determined to save Takumi hurt more than expected…”

Karin and Mirta looked exhausted as they limply sank in their chairs.
Everyone in that room wanted to pursue Lize’s will, but… Takumi didn’t.

“Fairstadt, I want to hear it again. He wanted you to take him away, right?”

Elsa frowned in front of Jil’s question.

“Yes… I behaved accordingly to the guards’ orders, but if he really wanted to escape, I would’ve figured out a way to help him… and yet, he chose to be taken away.”

She started to push on her hurting stomach, maybe trying to quell her nausea and pain.

Takumi had probably readied everything in advance to escape from this situation, but he didn’t warn anyone or change anything either.
That probably meant that this time the best choice was not to act.
Everyone was sure that Takumi had a plan, but that wasn’t enough to wipe away the growing worry in their heart.

“Karin… did he tell you anything about rescuing him?”

“Do you really think he could be so honest with someone, Elsa?”

The captain of the guards closed her mouth for a brief moment, then tried to speak again after shifting her gaze to Kunon.

“Wolf-girl, what about you?”

“Lately he spoke a lot about the sauce for meaty food!”

“What the heck is he thinking…?”

Elsa’s tone was somewhat pitiful as she let her head limply fall on the desk. It gave off a loud ‘bonk’ on impact.
This time, it was evident that Takumi wanted to be framed, but everything else was unclear. This situation was just too delicate to dare a blind move and hope they got it right—the smallest slip-up could lead them all to ruin.
Their morale was slowly falling apart.

“Karin, Kunon… today you have to depart for Renunt, right?”

“Yes. We also have to appear somewhat like feudal lords, so we cannot help it.”

“I can’t wait to see what’s going on in there~!”

Now that Karin and Kunon were official knights of the Holy Kingdom of Richtert and got assigned to Renunt Village, they had to govern it and fix any problem that would ravage the place.
This was also a direct order from Elvis Fortesea. The demi-humans didn’t know why he did so in person, but their gut feeling spoke loudly: they were better not to go against him.

“Well, I guess that making us move away from here was just another step in their plan.”

Takumi was put in solitary confinement, and his ‘right arms’ – a significant part of Suzuran’s war potential – had to travel away from the capital. It took two days to reach Renunt by horses-pulled wagon, which meant a ‘round trip’ of four days, and they didn’t know how much it would take them to defeat all the monsters.
The best case scenario was to be away from Listina for about seven days.

The inquisition would presumably execute Takumi during their absence. Breaking through the countless magic knights who attended the trial was going to be quite the hard fit without Karin and Kunon.
They couldn’t stay in the capital and turn their back to their duties as knights either, since it would lead them to getting charged of treason due to leaving innocent people dying at the hands of monsters.
In the end, they only had one choice.

Takumi’s last words echoed in Karin’s mind—I leave everything specifically to you.
She took a few moments to reflect and rose her head.

“Geiz, how are you doing with the major company’s management?”

“Iiih! I-I’m doing exactly as Lord Takumi requested! Why is that?!”

“I’m asking for the details. You received the record books, right?”

“Y-Yes… The agreements with the maritime states are sealed and so is our commercial route. What’s pressing us the most right now is to keep the other major companies under control…”

Karin’s lips curled into a smile. She finally got to hear something positive.

“Mirta, can I leave Lize to you?”

“Eh? Well, I was worrying about her anyway…”

“No, I mean, I’d like you to help her doing what she wants.”

“Helping her…?”

Mirta tilted her head in thinking and Jil wore a sullen face.

“Wait. Suzuran just decided not to act, didn’t we?”

“Exactly, Suzuran won’t act. But if the messenger of Her Highness is moving, don’t you think that we, as a major company, should support her as we can?”

“Do you really want the Archbishop to shoulder all of this on her own?”

“I’m not. We’re just deeply impressed by an innocent girl who is trying her best to save the benefactor who saved her. As a virtuous major company, we’re only doing our best to support her.”

Jil held his breath when the elf tapped on her temple.

“Are you trying to mimic him?”

“This is not about me. It’s all about meeting his expectations. Do you really think that our current situation is just a coincidence? Geiz can take a breather from the exhausting negotiations between the companies, and we hardly have work with the slums’ relationships right now.”

She understood that this ‘coincidence’ wasn’t a stroke of luck at all.
It had been created by her boss, the same man who assumed that Lize would decide to rescue him on her own.
She was sure that he didn’t wish for a simple rescue, but since she had yet to grasp the full picture, she had to figure out the right thing to do too.

“Takumi might think that Lize’s actions are essential. This means that we should let her do whatever she wants and support her as much as we can.”

“And… will we rescue Takumi like this…?”

“Honestly, it doesn’t matter.”

“Wow, you said it for real…”

“It would be great if we did, but it doesn’t matter if we succeed or fail in the attempt. He will surely figure out something on his own. I bet he’s in jail right now, grinning as he whispers that everything’s going according to his plan or something.”

“That’s… indeed very easy to picture…”

Mirta smiled wryly at Karin, who shrugged her shoulders.

“He doesn’t need to be saved. Just do your best to support Lize, okay? Send us a report or contact us with this if anything happens.”

“Lize made that, didn’t she? Is it the improved version of the bug tool she used before?”

Mirta rose her face lightly as she recalled that matter: they found out that Kiad had installed a bug in every defensive tool they made.
Lize proceeded to dispose of both their data and materials. Then, Takumi asked her to drastically change them to create a tool that could make people keep in touch with each other no matter the distance, and so she created a new law formula.

“I-It won’t break if I touch it, right? Right?”

“It might break if it was built by an amateur, but we’re talking about one of the Archbishop’s creations here. Do you really think one of her tools would break so easily? If you’re so afraid, ask Lize or Killfer for help.”

“Wait, what? Killfer knows how to use this?”

“That bookworm reads mountains of books, he is pretty knowledgeable. Also, he copies law formulas and transcribes stuff related to the Holy Text, so he will surely be of help.”

“O-Okay, I got it! I’ll go ask him!”

Mirta brought a hand to her chest and let out a sigh of relief. Karin succeeded at convincing her and looked more relaxed.

“Now… Elsa, can you come with us?”

“Mh…? Shouldn’t I stay in the capital as well?”

The Captain of the guards was somewhat thrown off by that moment.

“I mean, we’re demi-humans, right? No matter our status, no villager would accept us, let alone listen to our management orders or suggestions… especially when the most influential member of our company has been thrown in jail.”

“I see… So you’d like one of the Fairstadt to substitute him to prove everyone that we’re supporting you…?”

“I knew I could count on you.”

“You look just like him right now and it creeps me out!”

“Yaaay~! I’m so glad you’re coming with us, Captain~! Now we’ll have a lotta fun~!”

“Can you please calm down for once…?”

Kunon didn’t hide her enthusiasm, moving her ears in a funny circular way, unlike Elsa, who let out a breath so heavy that it sounded like it escaped from lungs of lead.

“Look forward to the reward. Let me write a few info.”

Karin’s pen raced so fast on the paper that everyone could barely follow it. The next moment, she tore the page and handed it over to Elsa, who blinked a few times to realize what just happened. Her big jade-colored eyes scanned through it the next moment, and they started to sparkle.

“Karin, is it…?!”

The elf brought a finger in front of her lips to interrupt her.

“It’s your reward. I’ll fill you in once we’re on the wagon.”

Then, she got up and looked everyone in the face.

“That’s all. Let’s work hard to support Lize as much as we can.”

The people in the room nodded firmly.
That marked their decision—Takumi was to be left alone.


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Guild Master – Chapter 48

The SSS rank territory

‘Spirit limit holder’ is the debuffing spell that always limits my power.
It affects my body, my mind and my abilities.

I heard that the human brain has a lot of natural limitations, so it can’t be used at its full potential, but what would happen if someone could daily train its unused part…?

To put it simply, they’d acquire the ability to always make the best decision by analizing any situation in an instant.
The ‘absolute right choice’ doesn’t exist, and the average guy hardly keeps up with their surroundings. They might even get themselves into some insane or surreal situation, which are very hard to analyze… but not me. Especially when I remove my limiter.

The blond guy dressed like a god of death had probably yet to notice how much I had changed.
He only looked confused, but his face soon warped due to the rage steaming into him. He realized an unknown enemy had just put him to shame.

“YOU PIECE OF SHIIIT!”

He swung his scythe by his side and sprung forth—his wind spirits helped him close the distance between us in a blink.
He probably thought that a close combat could’ve helped him getting the upper hand, since I could drive him into a corner from the distance.
It’s essential to study the enemy reactions if one wants to breach through them and win. They also have to estimate if they can handle their foe by taking their response directly or avoiding it and hope they didn’t make a slip-up.

The matter is that no one can figure out what’s standing in front of them before the very first exchange of blows.

The man let out a loud scream during his charge and slashed his scythe horizontally to mow me down. I readied myself to intercept his attack with my longsword, then I saw his lips curl into a grin—I was about to fall in his trap.

“Randomizing scissors!”

His scythe was a magic weapon. After being infused with Spirit Magic, a blade suddenly sprung from its top, transforming his scythe into a sort of kama-yari1.
That weapon was enchanted with ‘Elemental frame’, which granted it a powerful affinity to elements, allowing him to frequently activate skills based on wind spirits.
The torrent of magic he poured into his weapon turned into a jinn2 that spiked his wind slashes output—a cutting storm was approaching me.
If I had to physically block that weapon now, its wind slashes would’ve cut through me.

In a split-second, I smiled back at my arrogant enemy.
I only had to react properly. My counterattack had to be a single blow.

“Spirit blade – Attack rise.”

The man’s smile faded away as he goggled his eyes. The next moment, I feigned to slash him from the side, and successfully distracted him from my kick that, hitting his leg, made him trip on the ground.

I wanted to destroy his ego—he wasn’t strong. His ability and the strength of his wind attacks was absolutely noteworthy, but he had yet to breach through my defense.

“Your wind slashes aren’t half bad… but slashing more won’t make you win.”
“Tch! Fuck…!”

He got on his feet right away and started to attack again.
No matter how bold or savage his assault was, all he was doing was rooting me on the spot with an endless stream of attacks.
I could tell he had practiced a lot with spirit magic, since the average adventurer below the S rank could smoothly chant another spell only after overcoming the infamous lingering sense of blankness.

“I’ll raze this guild…! Wind spirits! Break out into a storm! Destroy everything and return this place to nil! Storm tempest!”

“Dick!”
“What?! Big Sis, that masked guy is Dick?!”

Sherry’s voice sounded worried as she called my name. It was understandable given that she had only seen a small part of my power so far.

The former heroes were surely very strong, but seeing them in action was a totally different feeling.
This reminded me of the time I told her I would’ve shown her my real strength if I ever had the chance to, and I still remember how uninterested she looked back then.

Well, the time had finally come. I also had to brand my foe’s memory with dread.
I didn’t really have to go all out while facing someone below the SSS rank, but this guy deserved it.

The man’s blonde hair turned upside as he gathered his magic power within him, creating a little storm all around—the wind spirits were resonating and they started to rampage to mow us down along with the entire building.

“As if I’d be scared by the likes of you!”
“By the likes of me? You mean those who can do this?”

I slashed my sword down, imitating the action that Cody did whenever she used ‘Spirit edge’, one of her sword of light techniques. With that, I sent off something only I could see.

Have you ever wondered how magic works? Many people seal a contract with the spirits and draw some magic power from them when needed in order to change the environment around them.

If they were to ask the fire spirits for help, they would spawn flames.
Water spirits would generate water or crystals depending on the average temperature of the place they’re summoned to.
Earth spirits would rise walls from the soil or create golems that can move.
Wind spirits could trigger even storms if they were drove on a rampage.

However, the caster had to provide the spirits a solid pattern for the attack, otherwise it would fail.
To put it simply: they had to decide how the spirits would act, otherwise nothing would really happen.

In this specific case, I used Sabotage Magic to meddle with the spirits’ course of action. It was very effective to fight ‘modern magicians’ like this, as they hardly knew how to simplify the spirits’ pattern according to their pledge. Sometimes it led them to be unable to do what they had in mind or use magic at all.

“What… what the fuck…! How is it possible…?! I can’t fail…!”

Nothing happened when he activated his spell. If only he had taken a moment to carefully look around him, he could’ve seen that I had literally cut through his magic pattern with my magic blade, but he was clueless.

“Shit…! Wind spirits, come forth and smash these guys! Torn them to pieces! Spirit tempest! SPIRIT TEMPEEEST!”

That spell could’ve razed the entire building to the ground.

It’s said that a SS rank adventurer could raid and conquer a fortress defended by an army of one thousand men in one hour.
The same feat would take only about one minute for an adventurer whose score was above 100.000 points.
Mylarka, Cody, Aileen and I have tested it on some fortress prototypes.
We also were part of that territory.

My score couldn’t be measured, but theoretically, if I had a score of 90.000 and engaged Aileen in an hand-to-hand fight under normal circumstances, I might win. Let me clarify: that score would’ve to take only my physical prowess into account, not my magic power too.

A SS rank adventurer is nothing compared to a SSS rank, and no matter how easy they went on an A rank, the latter would never win.

Finally, the scythe-wielding man figured out that he couldn’t use his magic because something was wrong within him.
He slowly pointed his weapon to Sherry and Lotte, looking at them with mad eyes.

“If this guy minded his own damn business, I would’ve manipulated both of you filthy bitches until your end!”
“Big Sis, leave him to me!”
“No, Lotte! He’s too much for us…!”

A party of six S rank adventurers could defeat a lone SS rank. If Sherry and Lotte attacked simultaneously, maybe they would’ve won with a single attack.

This guy was only a S rank adventurer now that he couldn’t use magic, but it wasn’t enough for me. I wanted him to be even more miserable.

“Spirit rising. Spirit reduce.”

I lent some of my power, around 50.000 points, to Sherry and Lotte for a short time, and terribly weakened our enemy.
His condition wouldn’t have improved any significantly even by asking his spirits to power him up as much as they could.

He tried to attack Lotte without noticing that his fate was already sealed, and let out a groan as he felt his scythe many times heavier than usual.
When I cast Spirit release and used a debuffing spell, I sank the average adult’s strength so much they almost returned to having the strength of a child.
A SS rank adventurer could fall back to be a B rank. It would be anyone’s nightmare.

Lotte steeled her resolve and shouted while attacking her opponent with her chain-flail3. The man blocked the blow but he couldn’t handle the impact and the weapon fell from his hands.

“Big Sis, now!”
“Y-Yes…! Whip bind!”

Sherry’s whip hissed through the air and passed over a wooden ceiling beam, then it descended and coiled around the man, making him hang loose in the air.

“YOU PIECES OF SHIT! I’M GONNA SLAUGHTER YOU! YOU’RE DEAD!”

Maybe being humiliated like that was too much for him to bear and he snapped way beyond the limit that would’ve made me feel any sympathy for him.

As he wriggled and struggled to get free, something fell from his leather belt. I picked it up and confirmed its nature—it was a magic tool. To be precise, it looked like the broken collar that Aileen had tore from Mizuha’s neck.
The only difference was that this one was still untouched: it could still work.

“You said you would’ve manipulated them, right…? Then this works on humans too now, huh? What do you even need this for?”
“MIND YOUR OWN FUCKING BUSINESS! GRRR! LET ME DOWN! LET ME DOOOOOWN!”

The man kept struggling, but as weak as he was, Sherry’s whip showed no sign to lose against him.

“Is that the magic tool you asked us to try…?”
“It makes you control people, right? You wanted us to try it out so that you could control us…? That isn’t fun to imagine. Thinking what would’ve happened if you succeeded at controlling Red Gemini like that is quite scary.”

Sherry and Lotte looked very much alike. The only differences stood in their proportions and hair: Sherry had long hair hanging on her back and a curvier body, while Lotte kept them shorter, about shoulder-length, and had an admirable figure.
They both wore a circular hairpin4 which made them look somewhat coquettish and fresh, especially thanks to their young age.

Lotte coiled her arms around her body as if she was trying to hide it. She was looking at the man hanging from the ceiling beam like he was some sort of filthy beast.
She was a mysophobe5 and she never let her guard down around people, especially men.

The hanging one was now struggling so much he looked about to spit his own saliva, and after a little while he realized that his resistance was futile, and hung his head dejectedly.

“You filthy bitches… I’m gonna rape you…! I will kill you and rape your corpses…!”
“How brave of you not to break down in this situation, but stop spitting those disgusting words. I’m not a saint, you know.”

Yuma would’ve tried to persuade and teach her God’s teachings to any enemy, even a scumbag like this one… but I wasn’t so magnanimous.

“YOU’LL BE THE FIRST ONE I’LL SLAUGHTER! TAKE THAT STUPID MASK OFF AND SHOW ME WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU!”
“Silence! You have no right to speak. You will pay for any other offence to any of us.”

Sherry wore a deadpan expression while looking up to the man who was glaring at her. Still, his gaze gradually lost his strength.

Sherry, the head of Red Gemini, had a unique magic—Aroma. She could control people with that.
She sealed a contract with the spirits of flowers, which allowed her to summon specific plants and make their aroma waft around her. If I was to smell it carelessly, it would’ve been a huge problem even for me.

“It didn’t sound right to me that you want to mimic what I do. Now tell me more about your plan.”
“Yes… Your wish is my command, Milady… Use me as you want…”

Hearing that horrible guy talking so meekly was unsettling. Her power was truly scary…
If she attacked me with it, I could’ve isolated her from her spirits, making her assault ineffective, but she was simply unbeatable for this man. Especially right now.

Wait, thinking about it, a wind spirit user could scatter her aroma, so he might have had the upper hand if they fought alone… but surely not now, so the problem doesn’t arise.

Sherry breathed her aroma on the blonde man’s face, who inhaled it, and something changed drastically in his behavior. When she let him go, he groveled in front of her of his own free will and tried to lick the very same whip that had constrained him until that moment.

“Stop doing this. It’s disgusting and unsightly.”
“Yes… forgive me, Milady…”
“Show me your guild tag and tell me why you came here.”

Sherry took his guild tag from his hand, read it quickly and handed it over me.

Clave Garland.
He was a SS rank adventurer and member of White Aries.
Everyone in the room had already heard about him.
Why was White Aries doing this? And what did they use their collar for?

Before inquiring him, Sherry and Lotte looked at me without hiding their admiration.

“I couldn’t figure out who you were due to your mask, but… you really helped me back there.”
“I feel the same. You had to be Sir Dick… or rather, you had to be someone special. Your fight was so mind-blowing that I thought I was looking at a play.”

I could feel that there was some lingering tension in the air, but they were fine, so I didn’t have to worry too much.

Then, looking at them, I remembered that I had yet to cast the limiter on myself again.

Spirit limit holder.

I constrained my abilities as usual. If I didn’t, my senses would be way too sharp.
My sight would improved so much I might’ve seen way too far in the distance and analyzed way too many things. I could see the real body of anything through their clothes or masks as well, thing that I absolutely didn’t do with the two girls before limiting my powers again.
I swear.

Then, I noticed that Sherry was staring at me.

“What’s wrong?”
“Oh, nothing at all. Let’s inquire this guy.”
“My… oh my, you are so graceful when you’re this clueless… That’s why people like you would suit my Big Sis so much…!”
“Keep that to yourself, Lotte. None of us want to face a misunderstanding now.”

I could see through her words if I released my limiter again… but sadly, whenever I did it, I kinda stepped out the ‘territory’, or maybe I should call it ‘nature’, of a simple human. I had to pay extra attention to it.

Then, I turned to look at Clave. I was a bit surprised that he was still motionless on his knees.
Despite being ‘only’ a S rank adventurer, Sherry’s powers were quite otherworldly.


1 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kama-yari

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New Game – Chapter 43

Predicting the number of people – Part 1

“What is the meaning of this, Lord Elvis?!”

Lux slammed his hands on Elvis’ desk, anger painting his face red.
The Fortesea’s head was sitting on the other side of the desk while wearing a stony and collected expression.

“My, why are you so indignant?”

“It’s for that slave merchant! Do you understand what you have done?!”

Lux, the creator of Richtert’s Guards, heard that Takumi had been arrested, and he couldn’t accept it.
That slave merchant was surely a dangerous guy, but he was trustworthy and useful every now and then. That’s why Lux tried to create a relationship where they could both gain from each other.

He was dead serious when he thought he would willingly smear his own family name to overthrow Elvis, but his plan had crumbled to pieces.
Because after the fight in the arena… the Fortesea’s head acknowledged Takumi as a danger.

Lux wanted to keep Takumi’s existence somewhat concealed, then come up with a scrupulous plan that not even Elvis could predict to overthrow Fortesea…
But saving Archbishop Crest took priority and he couldn’t really decline a request from the Queen.
That was just another reason to save Takumi, and exactly because Elvis had probably figured everything out so far, he wasn’t budging.

“The aforesaid slave merchant has been seen by many witnesses, though.”

“The slums’ guard wrote that he followed them and didn’t resist! Nothing else counts!”

“I see. However, many witnesses say that he approached the east tower, where Kiad has been found lifeless in his basement room, and then they’ve seen him walking back. Their testimony counts as evidence.”

Lux balled his fists. The old man’s statement was too prompt and precise. He wasn’t fooling around.

“Are you trying to frame him for something he didn’t do and send him to prison?!”

“Yes. Do you have a problem with it?”

Elvis replied with unexpected honesty.

“That slave merchant is a traitor of our country, who dared to attack and shake the pillar that sustains us all—magic. It should be clear even to you that his actions were other-worldly foolish.”

Lux didn’t know how to answer and pressed his lips tight together, his expression warping.

Takumi had surely spread doubts about the almighty of magic by showing everyone that ‘mere’ demi-humans could defeat magic knights.
Kunon could smash magic by using her demi-human skills, and Karin could pierce through magic tools by taking advantage of their flaws.
Those facts were the ultimate proof that magic in itself wasn’t almighty, so the deterrent that kept their country safe until now had been proven beatable.

However, putting Takumi in jail right now meant rising a death flag, since he could still come in handy to prevent a disaster.
Elvis had framed the slave merchant for Kiad’s murder and was now planning to make the Inquisition punish him according to Filia’s teachings, which meant erasing his very existence.
The head of Fortesea had chosen to sacrifice his own son to eliminate any other threat.

“Is that your point…?!”

Right after Lux slammed his fists on the desk, his body stiffened.
Elvis’ glacial gaze was piercing him like an ice cold knife.

“My son has died. Would there be any other reason to do this?”

A sharp light shimmered in his uninterested eyes.

“You improved quite a lot… Lux Fairstadt.”

Those words made the young man notice the cold sweat running down his back.

“You are not to be underestimated. You earned your position despite your young age and you never smear the ‘righteous’ title you have inherited from your predecessor, Zeruel Fairstadt, with inappropriate actions. Our people strongly support and respect you thanks to your hard work…”

Elvis took an awfully long pause before opening his mouth again.

“…and yet, you are hopelessly boring.”

“What do you mean?”

“Exactly what I said. You are holding on to the ambition, or perhaps I should call it ‘secret plan’, of overthrowing Fortesea, the family who sits atop Richtert. Watching you act for such a trivial objective is merely pitiful.”

The two men’s gazes clashed against each other.
Lux was peering into unreadable mysterious eyes… they looked terribly similar to someone else’s.

“Elvis… what are you planning to do?”

“Now that you have asked, you are better to wash your hands of that slave merchant. At least, that guy could figure out something you do not.”

Lux was dumbfounded.
It was exactly because Takumi had figured it out that he was bearing a false charge and was imprisoned.
Still… if he could break free, Elvis’ plan would be doomed.

“You are not good enough to control him right now. He will consume you and you will soon watch your country weaken and die. This is why I have to handle him before everything is doomed.”

“I see… there’s only one thing I can do, then.”

Lux showed a bold smile while facing the man who sat atop Richtert.

“I will save him and drag you down, Elvis Fortesea.”

After his declaration, Lux turned on his heels and left the room.
Elvis, watching him from behind, couldn’t help but smile.


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1+

Guild Master – Chapter 47

The invaders and the limiter removal

After we disbanded our meeting and my nightshift at the bar was over, I got ready to visit Red Gemini’s guild in the dead of night. Mizuha and Verlaine came to say bye at the door.

“Sir Dick, it must be rough for yer ter go this late. I wish I could ‘elp yer…”
“Don’t worry. It’s been a long day, you two must be tired. Go get some rest. I only drank the day away, so I’m pretty full of energy.”
“Be careful on your way there. I would love to talk if you come back within two hours.”
“I would luv ter wait for yer ‘ere as well. Cor guv, would I lie to you… but me brother would worry. Tomorrow can I stay over, isit?”
“Yes, feel free to stay whenever you want. Our master will be happy to have both of us at the same time.”
“Why the heck did you stress that ‘at the same time’ so much…?”
“Verlaine and I at the same time…? Yer must mean in that way, i’n it…?!”
“Mizuha, we shall discuss about it in the next days.”

I didn’t know what Verlaine was scheming, but she was having fun. Since she wanted to drag Mizuha into it as well, I bet she wasn’t going for something extreme.

◆◇◆

Red Gemini’s guild was located in the 9th Street, which ran through the ninth block from North to South. Their headquarter was in the southernmost part, a bit far away from residences and shops.

Red Gemini, as opposed to me, thought in big: they owned offices, training schools and restaurants in the zone, and they usually had guards patrolling their perimeter… but no one was around this time.

Then, I saw that a part of the road wasn’t lit by the streetlamps. When I got closer, I noticed the moonlight dimly shining on a destroyed guard station—all the lanterns had been cut in half and were now hanging loosely and empty.

I entered to see what happened, and there I found a man sitting on the floor, one of his hands pressing on a deep cut on his shoulder. He was bleeding from his head too.

“Hey, what happened? Who did this to you?”

I cast Healing Light on him to make him recover a little from his wounds, and the pale man turned to face me with frightened eyes.

“T-There were six of them…! They entered our territory without permission… and when I tried to stop them, they… destroyed the door… and trashed me with their Wind Magic…!”
“I got it, now calm down. This isn’t your fault. Can you tell me who did this?”
“I… I don’t know… Lady Sherry said White Aries might come… she said I had to call her right away if it was to happen…!”
“So they might be the perpetrators, huh…?”

He cast his gaze down and nodded as his body was shaken by shivers. He must’ve gone through a hell of a minute.

There wasn’t time to waste, I had to hurry. They were aiming to something.

“You’ll be safer if you stay here until it’s all over. Just stay put, okay?”
“I… I failed to stop the invaders…!”
“Well, this is pretty normal when you get raided all of a sudden. Write an apology and you’ll be fine.”

After I calmed down the man and slapped his shoulder a few times, I got out the door and cast Hiding and Mute on myself to completely hide my presence and deaf all the sounds I could make.
Then, I ran at full speed towards Red Gemini’s headquarter.

As soon as I saw the building, I could hear the noise of fighting coming from the third floor. The doorway of the ground floor had been destroyed by Wind Magic. The average adventurer wasn’t able to do something like this, so one of the two SS rank adventurers of White Aries was probably behind it.

The sign of destruction they had left behind was a clear message for Red Gemini: they couldn’t sue White Aries to the authorities—this attack was a show of force, an attempt to silence them.

This is awful… Why are they doing this? Is this revenge against Sherry because she refused their request?

I couldn’t jump to conclusions until I was sure of our enemies’ identity.
Before stepping in the building as the masked savior, wearing a full iron mask instead of the usual one that left my mouth and chin uncovered, I steeled my resolve.
I knew I wasn’t going to see anything good in there.

Verlaine’s words echoed in my head: you should extend your control over the others too.
If White Aries wasn’t this crazy, I wouldn’t need to take her suggestion into serious consideration.

“This is bad… and I have no choice.”

I let go of my hesitation. Now it was too late to chicken out.
No matter who was going to face me, I had to silence them and carve the horror of my mask in their mind forever… although I didn’t like to act like this.

When I stepped into the building, I saw many members of Red Gemini sprawled on the ground.
Guilds usually have some active members during the night to defend the place against intruders and attacks, but now only two men from White Aries were standing in the hall—one was a mage, the other one a swordsman.

When the mage noticed me, he rose his guard ready to fight, and the other unsheathed his sword and charged at me. I avoided the attack by reading his movement and whacked him from behind with the back of my sword, sending him flying.

“Ugh!”
“W-Who the heck is this guy…?! Was there a masked man in this guild?!”
“Who cares about me. What are you doing here?”
“Fireball!”

I changed my voice to make it sound terrifying, but the mage still had enough resolve to cast a spell. Given the output power and the huge dimension of the fireball, I had to admit he was quite a capable guy, but using Fire Magic in a building wasn’t very smart.

“Protect prison.”

If I were to erect a barrier, the explosion would’ve scattered the flames around. I didn’t want to set the entire building on fire, so I locked the fireball away.

The prison wrapped around the fireball and tightened quickly, making the flames vanish the next moment. The mage goggled his eyes at the scene.

“This… This can’t be…!”

I took advantage of his astonishment to close the distance between us—the moment he blinked his eyes, I was already at his side.

“Silence rune.”
“UGH…! N-No…! I…! I can’t use my magic…!”
“You don’t deserve to if you wanted to use Fire Magic indoors. Now reflect on your actions for a while.”
“You… bastard…! I’LL KILL Y—”

Thinking about a way to make him shut up, Mizuha’s words resounded in the back of my mind—Are yer thinkin’ o’ flickin’ me ‘ead?
I readied my fingers, used Support Magic on me, and hit the man.

The blow sent him flying with a loud bang and he crashed on the floor far in the distance, smoke coming from his forehead. I then walked to him and made the magic-sealing rune surface on the back of his neck.
Some runes had to be written with special paints, like Small Spirit, but some others could just be written like that.

The effects of my silence rune could last only for one week for the moment, which was a short but risky time for an adventurer… but he deserved it.
Sending him to prison for a while would’ve been a great atonement for his attack.

Now, everybody except me had fainted on the ground… or so I believed.
As I thought about what to do with the two men, a girl slowly rose to sit while covering her body with her arms—some of her equipment had been torn away from her body and what was left on her was in tatters.

I had been way too nice with those two scumbags. A bitter taste spread all through my mouth as I faced that kind of scene again.
A man who forces his way on a girl isn’t worth living.

“M-Masked man… please… save our Guild Master…! Save Lady Sherry…! Their comrades are… way stronger than them…!”
“Don’t worry, leave it to me. Will I find them all in the upper floors?”

As I asked, I cast Healing Light on her and one of her nearby comrades. She looked very surprised.

“T-Thank you very much…! O-One day I will return the favor…!”
“Sorry for leaving you behind, but I must hurry to your Guild Master. Scream loudly if anything happens, I’ll come back and save you.”
“Okay… Be careful…! I hope Lady Sherry is safe…!”

I cast Hiding on myself again, then hurried to the second floor.

There were many more members of Red Gemini than I imagined despite being night… Sherry was probably trying to ready some defense against White Aries.

Three men, the only ones still standing, were rummaging about as if they were desperately looking for something. Sometimes they looted gold and items from fainted people too.

My heart froze in front of that and a glacial question flashed through my mind.

Did we really risk our lives fighting the Demon Lord to earn an armistice for scum like this?

This was absurd. I couldn’t accept it. I approached one of the looters and kicked him on the flank with all my strength.
A gasp escaped from his mouth before he collapsed on the floor, and the other two finally noticed me.

“When did you arrive?! And what the heck are the guys on the first floor doing?!”
“Shut up and don’t panic! Let’s just kill him!”
“Kill? Do you think killing someone comes without consequences?”

Restricted area annihilation n°66 – Disintegration field.

All the metallic components of their equipment started to turn into black lumps of metal before crumbling into pieces.
I had countless ways to make them inoffensive, but I wanted to hear them out before proceeding to the third floor.

“H-How did he do this in one move…?”
“Monster…! He’s a demon! A demon, I tell you!”
“Don’t jump to conclusions. There are demons way less repulsive than the likes of you. Now answer my questions. Are you from White Aries or—”

One of the two men shouted loudly and charged at me while wielding a short sword he had probably hid for situations like this.1

When I sparred with Aileen, she was always bare-handed. She taught me that facing a foe like that meant using their flaws against them.

I read his movements and got ready—the man tried to stab me, but I successfully locked his dangerous arm under mine before punching him at full strength on the solar plexus. He let go of the weapon and fell on his knees, then I forced him to the ground by kicking his back and stomping it with my foot.

“I said to answer my damn questions.”

The man was now motionless, but he wasn’t dead… probably. He surely was unable to fight now, so I got my foot off him.

I didn’t care if they were A rank adventurers: although I should’ve refrained from beating them too hard, a part of myself didn’t agree with it.

“Did White Aries order you to do this?”
“Even if you beat us, you won’t be a match for him…! It will serve you right…! Hahaha! Hahahihhh!”

The last man standing burst into a desperate laughter before his voice stiffened and deafened as he collapsed on the ground. He probably cracked under fear and stress and lost the will to fight.

“That was the last one. Who should I finish first? Go ahead and choose for me.”
“N-Nothing will change if you kill us…! Nothing! Wait, no, stay away from me! Don’t come any closer!”

The first one that had collapsed on the ground was still conscious and looked at me with frightened eyes. I was only walking towards him, but he looked horrified.
I almost felt nostalgic.
Everyone looked at me like that before my teacher taught me how to use magic.
Recalling those times, especially those where I was feared by everyone without realizing it, brought a smile to my face.

“If you’re writhing on the ground now, it’s because you’ve walked on the wrong path so far.”

He started to foam from his mouth before fainting.
I was failing to keep calm.

I somewhat hoped that White Aries never forgot about their status as the top guild… but I was naive. And now I felt betrayed.

They tried to stomp on Red Gemini? Good, it was time to follow my ideals.

I would destroy White Aries and make it anew.
Steeling my resolve, I stepped into the third floor—I had to save Sherry.

“Lotte! I’ll hold him still!”
“Yes, Big Sis! Yaaah!”

Sherry and her little sister Lotte were fighting against something in the darkness. Only the moonlight was dimly shining into the Guild Master’s room.

The insides of the room were completely destroyed. It looked like a storm had wreaked it havoc.

“Nice try, sisters. What about this? Sonic blade.”

Judging by the name of the spell, I guessed he was going to swing his weapon, creating a wind slash that would’ve cut through his opponents.
Given that he had drove Sherry and Lotte in a corner so easily, I assumed they were fighting an SS rank adventurer with a score above eighty-thousand points—his attacks might’ve been deadly for them.
I had to prevent that outcome and act before him—I could deny his spell.

Protect prison double.

“What the…?”
“This is… his magic…!”

The man started to unleash his attack, which shattered once it touched the magic walls surrounding him. He then laughed amusedly.

“Interesting!”

He didn’t care that I had denied his attack—the man with golden spiky hair kept swinging his weapon again and again. The wind he was unleashing was storming into the barrier, but the slashes bounced on it and returned to him. It looked like he wasn’t affected by those wind spirits.

He was wielding a huge scythe. Along with his blackish overcoat, he looked like a god of death, and I guessed that was probably what he wanted to look like.

“It’s getting annoying…! Burst! Sonic blade!”

With his sheer power, slash after slash, he managed to break through the barrier. He then looked down on me with a triumphant smile, but something else had already stolen my attention.

The moonlight filtering from the window shone on Sherry and Lotte’s wounds. I cast a healing spell on them while facing our enemy.

“Did you really think your barrier could stop me? I didn’t even get serious against them, but you look stronger… like you’re on another level.”
“Oww, poor whining boy… Your rank doesn’t matter if your world is that small.”

I mocked him, and it was super effective. His expression changed right away, rage painting his face while a vein popped angrily on his temple.

“I killed all of those tawdry bastards who made fun of me so far. You’re going to meet them all soon!”

Thinking that he resembled so much the stereotype of a crazy killer made me smile wryly.
I didn’t have time to waste on someone like him. I had to finish this battle as soon as I could, but not in one hit.

The man rose his scythe over his head, and I readied myself by unsheathing my sword. Sherry understood that I was going to take this fight seriously.

“I-I can see him fighting with all he has…! Lotte, watch carefully!”
“O-Okay…”

I want to break the heart of those who believe they’re strong—those who picture themselves above the clouds, watching the world from the sky. I can’t say I’m fond of this habit of mine, though.

The time had come. I had to go all out and free myself from the chains of Support Magic.

Spirit release – Limit burst.

“What?!”

The face of the man standing in front of me warped. Now his expression was very similar to that of the man who foamed from his mouth on the second floor before collapsing.


1 It’s written the very same thing on the light novel, so I guess this knife isn’t made of metal or the spell is limited to the things he can perceive (I mean, those he can see or those he knows the target has on them). Or both.

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2+

New Game – Chapter 42

Great minds think alike – Prologue

Takumi stood in a snow-white room.

“Hello. You never called me in seven years and now you bring me here twice in a few weeks? What’s up?”

His vision was filled with too much light to see anything, but he knew someone was listening.

“Nah, we’re just getting used to see each other.”

A carefree voice bounced around and reverberated in the room, which distorted slightly before outlining a humanoid figure appearing from the blinding white.

“Hey there~! Your dearest Goddess’ speaking~!”

“Can you greet me like a proper Goddess for once? Like, try to be a bit solemn.”

“Solemnity isn’t part of me~! Also~! There’s a certain someone who knows I’m a Goddess~! But he keeps staring daggers at me like I’m some happy-go-lucky idiot~!”

“Oh, nice catch, Goddess. I’m impressed you could tell what I’m thinking.”

“Guessing right hurts all the more…”

As the woman drooped her shoulders dejectedly, Takumi cut the conversation short.

“So, why am I here? Tell me if you need anything. I won’t get mad.”

“Why’re you treating me like I’m some mischievous child?! Also, it was you who caused a mess, not me! Why the heck did you get arrested?!”

She was about to snap—her anger was evident on her face as she jabbed at him with her words.

“You only have a big-ass mouth, you brat! You even fell into the schemer’s trap! Gosh, it serves you right to be—OUCH!”

“That’s the right reaction for a happy-go-lucky girl like you.”

He commented while pulling the Goddess’ cheek, her eyes welling with tears.

“It’s going all according to my plan. Everything’s fine and dandy so far.”

“Eheheh, that’s what you believe, but you’re actually in a tight spot, aren’t you? It so happens that you have a free coupon for a super-broken and cheating ability, so…”

“Sorry, I don’t have any coupon. I can’t accept it.”

“You’re not supposed to have a flier. Also, you have smartphones nowadays. Who would keep a stupid flier? Let’s talk seriously. No matter how powerless you want to be, the moment you get isolated from your comrades, you might face your end. Do you understand it?”

He didn’t deny her words. She was right—he had survived in that world starting as a powerless slave only thanks to his comrades.
His current situation did sound very bad.

“A little discount is a thing, but I don’t need any cheat-like ability.”

“Are you absolutely sure about it~? Whenever I grant one, my chest warms up~!”

“How can it warm up in that revealing dress?”

“With my bountiful breasts, of course!”

“Stop puffing your chest out, you showpiece of a Goddess. I don’t need any lukewarm cheat-like ability.”

She was dejected again as she started to stutter.

“I-I see… I-I get you’ve been suffering due to your deep regret, b-but is it so bad you have to refuse my offer? None of the guys before you has refused it so far.”

“I know what you’re aiming for and why you want to grant me some broken ability. I also know why you keep trying to meddle with me and my choices… you need to give me this thing to reach your goal, right?”

Then, the Goddess lips curled into a smile.

“Well, I don’t really give a damn about you guys’ regret, you know?”

“I figured. You want them to take the chance to save the world, am I right?”

The Goddess fell silent for a few moments. That was the reason she was giving another chance—another life—to people who had died.
Given her reaction, Takumi knew he hit the bullseye.

“You want to save your dear world, don’t you? I guess your efforts will be wasted if the people you reincarnate end up dying, though.”

“Indeed. You know, lately a certain powerless guy has appeared from nowhere and he keeps refusing my help. He’s the worst fail I found so far.”

“If you welcomed someone who has failed to reach the top, what’s the problem in reincarnating the worst fail around?”

“Well, for starters, if I reincarnated everyone blindly, I would affect my own world for the worse.”

“That’s exactly what you did with with Elvis, right? Or someone like him.”

Takumi noticed that the Goddess’ expression had stiffened at his words and he smiled brightly in front of her renewed silence.

“You know what? I’ll take the chance to save your lovable world.”

“Don’t talk about love when you don’t have the sliiightest ounce of it within you!”

“I’m talking about the world, not myself.”

A happy smile cracked his face.

“Call me again when you want to talk.”

“Sure thing. Let me figure out a way to make you break free.”

“I already figured it out by myself. You can free your schedule.”

“So that we can have another date like this one?! Oh my, I already have someone in my heart, what should I do~! Hey! Stop right there! Don’t leave in silence! It’s making things awkward for me!”

Takumi ignored her complaints and briskly walked towards the light on the other side of the room.

“See you, Filia.”

She heard his farewell right before his figure was engulfed by light.


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0

Guild Master – Chapter 46

The three guilds’ meeting and a Guild Master’s pride

Mizuha and her brother came to live in our guild’s dormitory. I suggested Zect to mainly accept the dungeon-exploring requests, and he looked fine with that, so I put him into the ‘scouting unit’, while his sister became a trainee in the ‘intelligence unit’.

The young girl wanted to work as an employer for our bar too, so Verlaine took care of her preparation. Mizuha could rarely leave her house before she joined our guild, so she was pretty overjoyed to work outside. I’m sure she didn’t want to feel caged anymore.

“You handle customers and regulars very well, Mizuha, and all of them appreciate you so far. You are doing very good, keep up the hard work. Remember to speak properly to our guests when you talk to them, okay?”
“Yep, ma’am! As yer wish! I’ll do me best!”

Verlaine praised Mizuha as they opened the bar, and the next moment a couple of guests entered the room.

One of them was a girl with long black hair tied up with a red ribbon. She wore a dark brown overcoat covering her blouse and skirt. Evidently, she was trying to keep a low profile.

The other one was a tall brawny middle-aged man with silver hair tied like a warrior. His blue eyes gave off a light so sharp that Mizuha, seeing him, jumped a little in surprise. He wore an almost black overcoat as well, but his frame was so big it was impossible for him to keep a low profile.

They were two Guild Masters: Sherion Heartis from Red Gemini and Leonid Ballanche from Black Leo.

“Welcome~! I’ll take you to your seats!”
“Hey, Dick! I didn’t know you had a daughter! When did it happen? Going for the fox tribe is quite the smart move.”

Leonid had a very bright personality that didn’t fit his frame at all. Also, how could Mizuha be my daughter? She could’ve been my sister if she had to be blood-related to me… but that thought made me sorry for Zect.

“Sir Dick’s daughter…? Verlaine, wotcher think about it?”
“If it would imply that I helped him having you, it would be totally fine with me.”
“That’s not fine at all. Leonid, we last meet half a year ago. No matter how fast demi-humans grow, she couldn’t have grown this much in such a short time, so she can’t be my daughter. Also, stop calling me by name when you’re here, please.”
“Oh, please, at least be grateful I put on this cloak. It’s so hot outside I thought I’d be baked by the time I entered your bar.”

Sherry—it was Sherion’s pet name—started to fan herself with her overcoat. She was quite weak against heat, and the weather today perfectly fitted the criteria of the sixth month’s standard day.

“Oh, don’t worry, Dick. I only met her outside.”
“I’m quite younger than you, I doubt anyone would think we’re dating or something.”
“Hahaha! Why don’t we have a date where you pretend to be my granddaughter, then?”

Leonid was the oldest among the Guild Masters. He was old enough to have a grandchild. His adventurer score lowered over time and it was now settled at 54820 points, but he was still a veteran lancer in Black Leo.

Sherry was a red mage. She used same kind of abilities I used, but her magic was different.

It was very versatile: she could use it offensively, defensively, and for healing. Her magic worked especially well against men, who she could bind to her will. I was immune to it, but the average guy couldn’t stand a chance against her. Her adventurer score was 33927, making her a S rank adventurer.

The only condition to become a Guild Master was to be at least a S rank adventurer, but given that they couldn’t take many missions themselves, a guild couldn’t be judged by the strength of their Guild Master alone. Both Red Gemini and Black Leo were not to be underestimated.

“Mizuha, show them to their private room, please.”
“Yes, Ma’am! Please, follow me.”

After glancing at me, the two Guild Masters followed our new waitress. Even during lunchtime, when a few people started to enter the place to grab some food, no one noticed their presence.

◆◇◆

Funnily enough, Sherry liked sweet sherries1. To quench her thirst, I recommended her a cocktail made with her favorite sherry, some lemon juice, and a tiny bit of gin and sake along with some sugar cane syrup.
Leonid asked for a jug of brown ale and I ordered the same. I didn’t call them over to drink together, but we were still in a bar, so why not take the chance to drink something?

“First, let’s toast to our prosperous guilds! Cheers!”

Leonid rose his jug in high spirits and started to chug his ale down. Sherry sipped her drink the next moment and let out a soft ‘nice’.

“Great! The ale in this bar tastes very good!”
“So, Dick, why did you want to talk to us?”

Sherry asked with a deadpan expression on her face. Now that she had took off her overcoat, she was leaning over from her torso up, letting her huge breasts rest on the table. Maybe she didn’t notice or she wasn’t paying attention to it, and Leonid, who sat in front of her, didn’t care in the slightest, so I kept it to myself and let the conversation go on.

“Sherry, what kind of requests does White Aries hand you? I’m not asking for any secret detail, I’d just like to know what you can tell me.”
“Actually… I was waiting to get a better picture of the situation before talking to you. but I guess you noticed it already, huh?”
“What are you talking about? Is White Aries up to something? Those guys are no good…!”

While Leonid started to get irritated, Mizuha entered the room with another jug of ale for him. Verlaine must have guessed he was going to flare up soon and prepared him a refill in advance.

“Mister, I brought you another jug.”
“Oh, thank you, I appreciate it. Here, have a tip. Go buy something you like with it.”
“Wot?! A-Are yer right sure I can ‘ave it?! I-I mean, a-are you sure I can have it?”
“Of course, feel free to keep it. None of my chips has been wasted so far.”

Mizuha bowed politely before accepting, then left the room. Leonid never had bronze coins with him. He only paid at least with silver ones and never accepted any rest, so he often finished the money he brought with him.

Sherry waited a few moments before resuming our conversation. I guessed it was going to be something quite serious if not even my guild members had to hear it.

“Lately, we received a job that looked like an experiment.”
“An experiment…?”
“I think it’s about some magic item that has yet to be released on the market. It isn’t very clear on the request form, but that’s what I understood from what I read.”

The discussion turned for the worse in a moment. My trust for White Aries was starting to crumble to pieces.

One could own magic items, but they were absolutely illegal depending on their effects. Without a certification that stated a certain object or item could be used in the capital, nothing could be legally used or owned, and White Aries was now making their affiliated guilds experiment with some kind of unknown magic tool.

“Can you tell me more about it?”
“I refused to accept the request, so I don’t know the details and I didn’t see it myself. I think it’s something to control people, judging by the stuff written on the request form.”
“A mind-controlling magic item?! Like, an hypnotizing something?! What the hell is wrong with them?! It’s obviously bullshit!”

Leonid flared up again. Talking about White Aries must’ve put him in a bad mood.

Sherry’s words made me connect the dots… my guess was right.
White Aries was probably behind the demi-human traffic too. The item Sherry had mentioned could be the same contraption that was used to control Mizuha and the other demi-humans.
If that kind of item was improved and could extend its control over humans as well… the consequences would’ve been catastrophic.

“Did someone accept it, in the end?”
“All of this sounded wrong to me, and I couldn’t get it out of my mind, so I asked all the other guilds. They told me they had refused, but Purple Scorpio never answered.”
“Lady Sherry, are you alright? Probing into their private affairs could mark you as their target.”
“So be it. If they want to dirt their hands, I’m ready to do the same. No matter how bothersome it will be.”

I knew she was a prideful Guild Master ready for anything, but she still looked slightly sleep-deprived. She gulped down some of her drink before facing me with her tired gaze.

“Dealing with White Aries is hard. The request form stated that those who accepted were going to work hand in hand with them and that no information had to be leaked. That’s probably how things are currently going in Purple Scorpio.”
“So now that you asked around, Lady Sherry, it’s like you’ve stepped into their territory?”
“I believe so. White Aries’ strongest adventurers are SS rank. If both of them were to raid our guild at the same time, they’ll play havoc with us…”

Zect would’ve never bothered to do that despite being as strong as them, but White Aries’ heads would use any means to make the other guilds behave.

Sherry’s lips trembled slightly. She was living in fear of that possibility.

“I should’ve noticed their actions sooner. Sorry I’ve been this slow, Sherry.”
“No problem… I cannot disobey their orders anyway, since we’re affiliated to them. But I must admit they did a lot for us, although things have changed now.”
“Maybe something happened to them, otherwise their Guild Master shouldn’t have reasons to do this… or was it just a change of mind? Maybe talking to them could help us getting the picture better. What’s your opinion, Dick?”
“Maybe it would be better if we keep our doubts a secret for now. It would be annoying if they dispatch too many people to keep an eye on us all.”

Still, given Sherry’s circumstances, we had to make her feel safer… or at least better.
I could read on Leonid’s face that he was thinking the same, and after gulping down what was left of his second jug, he folded his arms.

“As an adventurer guild, White Aries said they want to keep the order in the capital… but now I believe there’s something more in their words, or they just distorted them.”
“I don’t know… maybe I’m just reading too much into it… By the way, they’ve left a copy of the request in our guild. Dick, could you come to my guild to take a look at it?”

I’m sure she had already made it read to her intelligence team, but I really appreciated the honesty she was showing me.
If I had to go to Red Gemini, I could just pretend not to know anything about this. Maybe keeping this a secret even to the members of my guild and moving on my own would’ve been better.

“Sure, you can count on me.”

For the first time since we sat around the table, she looked relieved. I thought she was hiding to her guild members that she was actually being crushed by stress, and seeing her bring a hand to her chest and sigh only confirmed my guess. This meant that she accepted to come here to look for help.
A Guild Master bears the burden of all their guild members’s life. Sherry was a strong woman, that’s why she never let her distress out in the open.

She tried to reach out to her glass again, but her hands were shaking. As soon as I noticed it, I grabbed them and cast Mind cure.
The effects kicked in right away, and she lowered her gaze sneering at herself.

“I’m pathetic. I shouldn’t be afraid of something like this.”
“There’s nothing wrong in being afraid of something, Sherry. We can trust Dick in times like this. He would never leave a beauty like you alone.”
“Actually, I help everyone, no matter the beauty. I’m sure if I had any problem, you would help me too. Anyway, do you want some food?”

Sherry looked surprised by the sudden question, and her stomach grumbled. That’s the answer I wanted to hear.

“I… I forgot to have my breakfast… How embarrassing.”
“That’s the proof you’re still alive! Don’t be embarrassed! I’d like some meat, anyway! Dick, go cook something for us!”
“Don’t worry, we hired an expert cook. You won’t be disappointed.”

Verlaine was great at cooking, but we also had other cooks. A few minutes after we ordered, a nice smell of food started to waft from the kitchen. I ordered some roasted walnuts as well, given how talkative Sherry’s tummy was.
Leonid asked for a third jug of beer, gave another tip to Mizuha with a huge smile on his face and started to drink in high spirits.

Luckily, I was right about White Aries. Thank goodness I didn’t wait to ask about them.

I still didn’t know if Sherry’s guild was their accomplice, though… I had to lay my hands on White Aries’ unknown magic tool to figure it out.

Who built it? Where was it now? When did they want to use it? What did it do, specifically? Why creating it, in the first place?

Could my information network help me figure out everything about this matter?
The time had come—the investigation started.


1 He means the wine https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sherry Also, I asked a friend of mine who works as a bartender some help with the drink Dick prepares her, and he ended up insulting the author and suggesting me to change the drink because the thing described in the original doesn’t work. I’m not a bartender and I don’t get the mechanics behind drinks, so I trusted his words and I wrote about a drink he suggested that contains the very same ingredients described in the original webnovel plus some additional ones. Hope this won’t bite me back in the future.

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2+

New Game – Chapter 41

What was of the man who opened the birdcage – Part 3

Takumi returned to Suzuran after the meeting.

“Hi guys, sorry it took me so long… what’s going on here?”

A loud noise invested him when he opened the door.
He saw a little crowd cramped in the dining room. Suzuran’s three most famous members Kunon, Karin and Mirta, the special tasks’ team Jill and Geiz, the demi-human force’s honor members Aigle and Levin, their lifelong friends Lilia and Killfer and many others were gathered in there.
For some reason, Lise was being thrown high up in the air from the middle of that crowd.
Karin turned around to see who had come, and there stood Takumi who was looking at the scene dumbfounded, probably wondering within him what on earth was going on.
She approached him.

“Welcome back. How was your talk with Lux?”

“Oh, we talked about territory and stuff… wait, why the heck are they throwing Lise in the air?”

“Weeell… when we started Lise’s welcome party, Lilia shouted that the winner of the drinking game would’ve won the right to hug Lise, but then Jill won and Aigle started crying and begging him to hand over the right, aaand… things ended this way, I guess.”

“I don’t get how it came to this. I’m getting the chills…”

“Honestly, I don’t really get all this either…”

Karin pointed at the crowd just in time to see Lise, who had been released in that very instant, running to them to look for help.

“He-Help me! They will break me if this keeps going!”

“NHHH~! Only touching Lady Lise makes me burst INTO JOY!”

“Stop it! Especially you, bird! I want you to stop coming at me!”

Lise hid behind Takumi as the huge frame of Aigle closed their distance.

“NYUUUHHH! WHAT SHALL I FOLLOW NOW, THE FAITH IN MY HEART OR THE LOYALTY IN MY BRAIN~?!”

“Dammit, does your faith ask you to chase after children? Also, keep your stupid voice down.”

“HAAAHHH! I BEG YOUR PARDON!”

“Levin, punish this boisterous bird.”

“Whaaat?! That’s a punishment for me as well, isn’t it?!”

“If you don’t behave, Kunon is gonna kick some discipline into you.”

“LORD LEVIIIN! I DO WANT TO DIE NOOOW!”

“Then leave it to me, Aigle! Let’s get our prize from Sis Kunon!”

The people watching them laughed soundly.
Takumi ignored them and turned his gaze to Lise, who had tugged his sleeve up to that moment… and there she was, with her arms wide open.

“What is it?”

“Everyone hugged me all together… now it is your chance to fulfill your duty.”

“Who decided that hugging you was my duty…?”

“It would be unfair if you were the only one who didn’t.”

She blushed slightly as she turned her face away from him, but she kept her arms wide open.
Takumi smiled wryly as he lifted her up quickly.

“Look how high you fly~!”

“This has been way more cringey than expected. Let me down, please.”

“Oh, c’mon, don’t say that. Can’t you see?”

Takumi pointed at the crowd with a nod of his head, and Lise turned her head to peek that way: everyone was smiling.
The closest people and the two clowns were laughing loudly at the funny scene, the ones who had ignored those dummies were wearing a wry smile, those who had kept a little distance were dragged into the mood by the liveliness.
Different races had broken down the walls dividing them… it was very nostalgic, as if the entire world had forgotten about that feeling until that moment.

“It’s a great view, right?”

Lise smiled happily in front of Takumi’s grin.

“Yes, it is wonderful… and you are too, since you have made it come true.”

Her words were soft as her lips curled into the most pure and innocent of smiles.
The person in Takumi’s arms wasn’t the gloomy child who was always afraid and worried by her surroundings: she was the little girl who earned her freedom after being caged for so long.
Thinking that, he couldn’t help but smile her back.

“I fulfilled my duty now, right? How long should I keep hugging you like a child?”

“…I am not a child. But I will turn a blind eye for this time.”

“Oww, thank you. This is your welcome party, isn’t it? Go have some fun with everyone.”

He let her down and pushed her slightly towards the lively crowd. Lise nodded before approaching the people happily.
The next moment, Takumi turned on his heels.

“Karin, I’ll leave the rest to you.”

“Okay, but… where are you going?”

“Elsa is waiting for me. I have to go with her.”

“Oh, do you have a new job? Then let me…”

“Nope, I’m going alone. ‘I’ll leave the rest to you’ means that you have to stay here.”

Takumi showed her a troubled smile while ruffling her hair.

“Stop it! How many times must I tell you I’m older than y—”

“This is why I leave everything specifically to you.”

He then flicked her on the forehead and left her behind. The elf looked puzzled as she stared at his back until the door, shutting behind him, hid it from her sight.

The slums were noisy as always. Takumi took a deep breath of air – which not even a flatterer could describe as ‘clean’, ‘pleasant’ or ‘fragrant’ – before facing Elsa.

“Thank you for your concern, Elsa Fairstadt, Captain of the Guards.”

He tried to be funny, but Elsa, who was waiting for him outside the door, didn’t change her expression.

“I already told you to stop acting like we don’t know each other. This is why I am concerned.”

“I see… but aren’t you going a bit too far?”

Takumi looked around them shrugging his shoulders.
Dozens of soldiers had their eyes on him, all of them with the same gloomy expression she was wearing. They were all guards of the slums.

“I took this measure not to make you run away from me. If you try, I’ll be forced to take your head.”

“That’s quite brutal, but I guess you’re just doing your job. Don’t worry, I don’t plan to resist. I’ll behave.”

“…Thank you for collaborating. Follow me according to formalities, then.”

Elsa pierced Takumi with her sharp gaze after taking a deep breath.

“Takumi, slave merchant of Suzuran, you are suspected of murdering Prince Kiad Fortesea. You are to follow me to the central and attend the inquisition’s trial, where your guilt will be discussed.”

Elsa then bit her lip as she understood she had just announced a death sentence.

“You’re under arrest.”

She spoke loudly, a sour expression on her face as she faced Takumi’s smile.

“Okay. I’ll come with you.”


Afterword (November 1st 2017)

Hey there, I’m Fujiki Washiro. Thank you for letting me publish the second volume of Saiteihen kara New Game. I’m really grateful to share this story with everyone and I’m glad I can keep working on it.
Since this is the afterwords of the second volume, let’s talk a bit about its contents.
Warning: this afterwords contains spoilers.

I introduced Lise Crest, the unfortunate key character of this arc, in this volume. She can hardly be herself with people, so she shows a lot of different parts of her personality or none at all.
Living her situation must be unfortunate and pitiful… that’s why I pictured her like ash.
I believe that being accepted and understood is a form of freedom too.

By the way, Mr. N – who was in charge of me this time – said ‘Lize is adorable! I sooo want to bully her!’
As the author of this novel, I would’ve never expected someone to get excited about seeing a little girl being treated like that.
Oh, but let me clarify: Mr. N is a very diligent and serious person.
When he informed me that ‘I really enjoyed choosing Lise’s pictures for this volume! Especially those where she gets beaten!’, I could hear the excitement of a diligent editor who took his job very seriously.
I also have to say that the e-mail where he said ‘Nice! There’s quite some bullying on Lise all through the volume! I like it!’ made me understand how serious and gentle an editor he is.

It is exactly because he’s that serious… that he must be really tired right now… (Me looking in the distance…)

Thinking about it, the first time I handed him the script he said ‘Wow, Mister Fujiki, you really like to bully little girls, huh?’ and well – no. That’s just a misunderstanding.
I like the latter part, which is ‘despite being an unfortunate little girl, once Lise got saved, she could finally show an innocent smile to everyone’, which means that I don’t strictly like the process that brings to that ending, but the ending in itself. It’s a different literary current.
I hope you enjoyed the Lise my editor Mr. N got so excited about.

Now I need to talk about the structure of magic in this world.
Rather than flashy scenes with magic, I pictured magic simply.
The characters will have a lot to do with it from now on in this story. I’m planning of writing at least ten volumes of this novel, and to do so, I needed to define it early in the story.
I’m hoping I can reach my goal, so I introduced it in this one.
I hope I explained it well… I’m still a bit worried about it. I’ll keep doing my best.

Okay, now I’m done with the serious part of the afterwords and I’m a bit tired, so think of the rest of this part as the author being an ass.

Maaan, the Goddess’ tiddies’ size was suuuper appreciated!

Yeah, in this novel there are a lotta characters with big breasts!
In the first volume, the only small-breasted girl was Kunon, that’s why I tried to balance the ratio with Lise and the Queen in this one. I’m the worst, huh?
On the other hand, the Goddess’ grew bigger. Let me be honest about it, I even set a reminder that explicitly stated ‘Make the Goddess’ breasts bigger, please’ for both the illustrator and I.
The girls’ breasts aren’t filled only with dreams, but they also foreshadow—
Crap, there isn’t enough space for it! Oh well, don’t mind my inclinations too much, please.

Enough with the stupid talk, it’s time to thank everyone who’s helped me so far.
To the person in charge of me, Mr. N: I picture you as the man who enjoys seeing little girls being bullied. Our literary schools might differ, but we share similar tastes, so I’m looking forward to working with you again.
To the person in charge of the illustrations, Yuzuka: thank you very much for all the illustration you did. When I first received your design of Lise, both my editor and I talked so much about how cute she is that we didn’t have more time to talk about the rest of the story. In a way or another, you demonstrated perfectly how cuteness can be a destructive power.
To the editorial staff and the people who allow me to publish this book: I’m grateful to all of you from the bottom of my heart.
To you: I hope you enjoyed this volume. I would be very glad if you did.

Fujiki Washiro


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0

Guild Master – Chapter 45

Tl note: I hoped I didn’t get anything else wrong, but then I noticed that Aileen actually has two little pink horns on her head, so yep, she’s actually a demon, not a spirit. Fml.
I changed the following chapters to fix it: prologue 1, chapter 6, c.14, c.27, c.28, c.29, c.40. Now I seriously hope I fixed all my derpy old choices.
Oh, I decided to translate Mizuha’s accent with cockney’s (thank you Background Character for suggesting it). Hope she sounds enough cockney-ish.


The tipsy fox and the demon form’s after-effects

As Mizuha emerged from the bathtub, I secured my towel around my waist.
How did I end up in this situation?

She was stark naked. If I had to compare her with Yuma—and I won’t specify what part I’m talking about—I’d say it was evident that she had been blessed with curves more generous than the youngest miracle children’s. If her most private parts weren’t hidden by her hair, I would’ve fled from there at full speed… but I was barely safe for now.

I knew she enjoyed her coconobi shake, and I guessed she felt grateful since I asked her brother to join my guild, but waiting naked in the bathroom for a random guy she had just met was a little too much… and to make things worse, it looked like we were at least ten years apart.

Maybe I was jumping to conclusions, but it felt like Mizuha had truly waited in there.

“Aaah~! There are two Lord Dicks~! Oh, three! Struth! Oww, wot should I do~? Put the mockers on multiplyin’~!”
“What? Wait, your face is kind of red… the water is barely lukewarm, how can you feel dizzy from it…?”

Then, the answer flashed in my mind.

“…Oh no. Did Zect let you taste his drink?”
“Ehehe~! Sorry~! Me brother ‘as left the coconobi fruit behind… I thought it were a waste ter leave it there, so I took a bite from it and it were sooo good~!”
“Y-You ate the coconobi…? The one soaked in rum?”
“It tasted somewhat bitter at first, but then it were sooo sweet~! It’s been a long time since I last ate sumfink so tasty! Blimey!”

Rum’s abv, or ‘alcohol by volume’, is quite high. For example, it’s way easier to get drunk with rum than with beer given the latter’s low abv. An adult probably wouldn’t be affected by eating a coconobi fruit soaked in rum, but that isn’t the same for someone around Mizuha’s age.

“’E ‘as left a bit o’ ‘is drink too, so I finished it for ‘im~! I luv milk, but I might luv drinks more than that~! I ‘ope me brother leaves more for me next time~!”
“Honestly, I don’t. Minors shouldn’t drink, so you’re forbidden from doing that.”
“Okaaay~! Yer ‘ave a look somewhat like me brother, yer know~? I’m so glad ter spot this many brothers and sisters ’round me, as well as Verlaine and yer…!”

Wait, what? No one’s around… oh, right, that’s just drunk gibberish.

I could make her recover from her condition by touching her stomach… but what if she sobered up and accused me of laying my hands on her? It was better to let the alcohol run its course.

“I like this bath! Blimey! I couldn’t ‘ave any wheh I stood before, neither I could enter many public ones… many blokes think it sucks ter enter a bath that’s been used by a demi-‘uman…”
“Is that so…? I heard that Lia used Timis’ bath.”
“Right? That tiger miss said I should’ve told ‘er if anyfink arsed me. Right… I’m lovin’ this guild more and more~!”
“This guild doesn’t discriminate demi-humans, and this will never change.”
“Lord Dick…!”

I wasn’t saying something particularly touching, but tears welled in her eyes as she looked at me deeply moved.

She was probably younger than Yuma… wait, maybe they were the same age. Even Yuma, who was four years younger than me, lately looked more like a lady, and Mizuha—despite looking a bit younger—was evidently growing too, so maybe…
Wait, what the hell was I thinking. I didn’t have time for this!

Zect had entrusted me his sister so he could go take the things they had left in Blue Sagittarius’ dormitory, and I was indeed taking care of her in some way or another, although I didn’t want to end up in this situation… But a good Guild Master should play well their cards—I still had some way to escape from all of this.

“Mi-Mizuha, I think you might want to dry yourself up and go to sleep before you catch a cold.”
“I’m not cold~! ‘Ot baths make me feel dizzy, but I’m arright now~! This water’s warm and pleasant~! By the way, let me show yer me gratitude~!”

She then climbed on the bathtub’s edge, splashing water around. Now, that was dangerous and very careless of her, and I couldn’t tell if that unwise move had been dictated by the alcohol or by her need of showing me her gratitude.

I mean, it wasn’t that far in the past that I had seen Beatrice, Aileen and the others naked, and Mizuha’s beauty wasn’t that far from theirs given the charm of her fox traits and her small frame, also…
Okay, no. I really had to calm down.

She shook the water off her tail and ears, then she showed me a pearly smile.
Suddenly, a thought flashed through my mind rivaling the speed of my eyes scanning her body: if her sense of shame was being dulled by alcohol, wouldn’t she going to feel horrible once she sobered up?
I couldn’t ignore it.

“Lord Dick, yer sure ‘ave a solid build~! Yer almost ‘ave a look more muscular than me brother~!”
“W-Well… Guild Masters should be ready to face emergencies at all times.”
“I spot~! If yer was stronger than Aileen, yer could ‘ave me dahn wiv a single flick on me ‘ead~!”

I kept casting Support Magic on myself to keep my muscles trained despite being sitted all day at the bar. Zect’s body was very well built and I thought mine was less sturdy than his, but Mizuha’s ecstatic gaze made me guess she would’ve disagreed with me.
She wasn’t looking at me as she looked at her brother… and being stared from head to toe like that was unsettling in its own way.

I had seen many girls becoming very straightforward when they were drunk, but that kind of temper was dangerous on many more levels when the involved parties shared the same bathroom—I was starting to feel nervous and somewhat filthy.

Aileen lent Mizuha one of her dresses because the demi-human’s only garment was her brother’s overcoat at first, but I would’ve never expected to see this girl in her birthday’s suit.
I let this be a lesson—I had to be extra-careful when the girls slept here. Who knew how could they act.

“Oh, right? Are yer thinkin’ o’ flickin’ me ‘ead? Feel free ter give it a go if it’s only for once~!”

She got closer nonchalantly with a smile on her face, and her hair, until now covering her delicate parts, swayed along with her movements, failing to cover what they had to.

“I, huh… I-It’s better if I don’t. Yeah, sorry, let me leave. Zect might get unhappy about this…”
“Me brother still treats me like a child, but I’d like ‘im ter put the mockers on it… I’m plenty grown up right now. I’m bloody well not a child anymore.”

She mouthed those words with a sour expression on her flushed face.
Alcohol probably contributed to her little burst of anger, but the very next moment she smiled to me so kindly I felt my strength melt away—her face was now bright, no shades of negativity tainting it.

“Enough wiv that go on, it’s time ter show yer me gratitude~! I actually ‘ad a plan ter do this in some uvver way later, but well, right, yer shouldn’t ‘ave enter the bathroom wen I were in~!”

I was really glad for her feelings and I felt like young demi-human girls quickly became affectionate to me… Riko did too. There must’ve been some reason behind it… maybe my smell?

“Chuff~! Yor back’s so broad~! Even more than me favver’s~!”
“Did you wash your father’s back? What a devoted daughter you are.”
“’Uh, I didn’t. I seen it wen I were yornger, I were just recallin’… Me favver ‘as quite a big body compared ter the average ‘umans, and yet yer…”

The back of a man speaks for them, huh? That’s not very true, but Mizuha, after walking around me, stopped behind me and somewhat confirmed that figure of speech.

She looked interested in washing my back to show me her gratitude. This whole situation was a bit embarrassing, but if that was all she really wanted, there was no reason to panic.

I untied my towel, paying attention not to show her anything, and sat on a bath stool. She then grabbed a soapy towel and started to rub my back so gently I thought she was trying to tickle me.

After a little while, when I thought she was done and I could stand up, I froze in place.

She had now passed from my back to my arm, leaning on me—her hot body was pressing against mine, and I could distinctly feel something particularly soft rubbing my back.

“Lord Dick, I can’t reach well yor arms from ‘ere… could yer raise them up for me?”
“L-Like this…?”

I did what she asked not to deepen the embarrassment of the situation, and the next moment, she rubbed my armpit. That’s when my body started to writhe due to the tickling.

It didn’t matter if I was a SSS rank adventurer who had defeated the previous Demon Lord: being tickled under the armpit was one of my weaknesses. There was nothing wrong with it. A man with insensible armpits is a mere golem.

“Ugh! Mi-Mizuha, I think you did enough…”
“I can’t put the mockers on it now, right, I still ‘ave ter wash the uvver side~! Amazin’, yor muscular even ‘ere…! Me arms are so puny compared ter yors…”

Her comments made me feel like I owned Zect an apology. Enduring the tickling was a sort of torture, but I was sure my endurance had hit a level up, and it didn’t last long. Humans sure grow fast…

“This should do~! Let me ‘ave some water ter wash it all away~! Mhhh… Oookay, Lord Dick~! Here I cooOHHH—”
“Ugh—!”

She had slipped on the floor and my body moved on its own: to prevent her from falling and hitting her head, I flashed on my feet and held her in my arms.

“I… I’m sorry, my foot slipped…”
“It’s fine. Are you hurt?”
“N-Nuffink ‘urts, right, but… me chest feels sort of…”
“…”

My hand was touching one of the soft things she had pushed on my back a few minutes before.

“Lord Dick…”

It was the second time she had whispered my name with her sweet voice.
I knew I should have left right after the first one.

It didn’t matter if I held her to prevent an accident: the moment she was in my arms, I had touched something I shouldn’t have, so I had to take responsibility for my actions.

Her face flushed a bright red when she looked straight at me, her eyes wet again, her quivering lips slightly parted.

“Chuff… I feel so dizzy…”
“Mi-Mizuha?”

Her body went limp.
I guessed she gave in to drunkness and sleepiness the moment her brain registered that she had completed her task.

Now I had to ask one of the girls to come dress her up and get her to sleep, but… how would I ask them?
Like, if I were to tell them the truth—meaning that she got drunk because she ate the coconobi fruit her brother had left in his glass—and they didn’t trust me, it would make me look like a disgusting pig who seduced a young demi-human girl and took advantage of her in the bathroom.

“Lord Dick… your back’s so… big…”

As I wondered how big she thought it was, I mustered my courage and lifted her while trying my best not to take advantage of her condition to look at her. I then carried Mizuha to the warm bathtub again, where I left her, and exited the bathroom without the slightest shade of guilt in me.

◆◇◆

My head was filled with terrible outcomes as I walked to the livingroom praying any superior entity not to make things go as bad as I was picturing them.
Dick, what did you do to Mizuha?
I would have never expected you to have such a sinful soul. I should lead it to Heaven once and for all.
Disgusting. My trust was wasted on scum like you, Dick.
Wow, so you’re like that… disappointing.

“Nh~! Yuma, your hands are so warm~!”
“Aileen, stop moving… It will be over in a minute… amazing, this is so…!”

The chain of events I had pushed through that day etched in my mind that very moment—Aileen had stripped and was lying on the sofa while Yuma touched her belly.

My gods, that couldn’t be true—they couldn’t have gone that far already… but as I took a peep at them, I noticed that Aileen’s body was producing red magic power which looked tainted by some big and little black spots. It all flowed into Yuma and then returned into its owner without impurities.

Yuma was… probably purifying her soul.
Aileen’s demonic powers were the proof her soul was getting slowly consumed by the wrath it housed. However, thanks to Yuma’s soul-purifying abilities, she could keep it at bay.

“…Thank you, I feel sooo much better now. Sorry for bothering you when you’re tired, Yuma.”
“Do not worry, I will always help you. One of the missions in my life is to keep your soul clean at all times.”
“Oww… that would make you my best friend. If it wasn’t for you, I might’ve already become a Demon Lord myself…”

That was the consequence of using her demonic power against Mizuha.
Aileen’s ‘standard’ adventurer score was around 95.000, which didn’t make her a real SSS rank adventurer, but it rose drastically when she used her demonic powers. To put it simply, her ability was like Mizuha’s: they both could turn into their ancestors’ form and use their powers.

The demonic race was the strongest on the battlefield, and Aileen housed their prowess within herself. However, the demons’ urge of destruction was so dreadful it consumed their owners’s soul, so using their power too much meant tearing oneself apart.

Once Yuma was done with treating Aileen, the demon put on her clothes again and patted her ‘nurse’ on the head. The younger girl accepted her gratitude with an embarrassed smile on her face.

“…Aileen, sorry for having you use your powers. I didn’t think you needed to.”
“Hey… d-don’t worry. I won’t become a monster as long as Yuma’s with me.”
“Yes, there is no need to worry. I purified her soul… and… when it looks so pure, it reminds me… ahh… I would love to purify yours too, Dick…”

Yuma could see through everything—she could see the soul of people. There was no guilt within me, so it looked like she didn’t notice anything strange, but Aileen was staring at me in silence. The pressure of her gaze was slowly crushing me… was there a man who could withstand it in the world?

“Dick, I don’t see Mizuha… don’t tell me you…”
“N-No, let me explain. She has drunk some of her brother’s drink and she’s now a bit more than tipsy. Could you go help her?”
“Right away, Master.”
“I’m coming too… by the way, why are you all still awake in the dead of night?”

Mylarka and Verlaine had returned from the floor below just in time: the next moment, they were heading to the bathroom to take care of the matter while Mylarka searched for an answer to her question.
The genius girl often ended up drunk herself, so leaving Mizuha to them should’ve been fine.

“Dick, you look quite tired. Should I quell your soul?”
“Yuma, you know that ‘should I quell your soul’ gives off a funny vibe, right?”
“Mh…? Quelling souls is wonderful for me… what kind of funny vibe does it give?”
“Well… hahaha~! Nothing, I was just reading too much into it!”

Yuma was seriously puzzled and Aileen, who couldn’t bring herself to explain what she meant, just masked her comment with a smile.

Aileen was now looking a lot better. Maybe I should’ve asked Yuma to clean my impurities away… without letting her lead my soul to Heaven.


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New Game – Chapter 40

What was of the man who opened the birdcage – Part 2

The dark basement room was painted with pale shades of melancholy. The dim sources of light glowing around were scattered magic tools. Natural light never reached that place.

Kiad was cowering on the floor, his body shaking. What had been of his brawny figure was now gone. He looked one or two sizes smaller and weaker than before.
No light shone in his dead-looking eyes as he scanned around the room.

What was placed on his desk was now littering the floor. All his documents were torn to pieces and chunks of wood lied nearby the walls—they were probably former chairs he had smashed.

Kiad had been deprived of his magic power. Takumi cast him in that hell after their fight.
He could no longer active any of the law formulas his father had researched for so long.
Despite being blood-related to Elvis, he never tasted his father’s benevolence or mercy. All he had to do was not to fail, and if he did once, he wasn’t allowed to a second time.

Elvis, who only cared about the sheer power of people, wouldn’t let his children inherit the family’s headship only because they were his legitimate sons. Sigurd—Kiad’s younger brother—had been chosen to be the heir to the throne given his diligence to his father’s orders.
He never failed to complete one.

On the other hand… Kiad’s destiny was to become a miserable laughing stock if people came to know he had lost his magic power.

“I… I won’t fail again…!”

He squeezed those words out of his throat, but his hand tremors betrayed his confidence.
The afterimage of that obnoxious, triumphant smile was burnt in his mind—it flickered endlessly, and so did his fortitude.
He had walked on his path through life by believing in himself and acting as he wanted… but now he couldn’t take a single step forward—no future pictured him victorious.

“If only… If only I had won that battle…!”

He firmly believed he could win the match Elvis had stopped. He knew he could’ve won against Takumi back then. This wasn’t his arrogance talking, it was just a matter of fact—Kiad was definitely strong and possessed the strongest magic in the entire Kingdom, the valiant Fortesea’s. That slave merchant didn’t stand a chance to win against him.
However, Elvis wasn’t sure of it, so things turned out like this. His father had denied him that victory.

“Right… it wasn’t my fault…! I wasn’t the cause of my defeat…!”

Yes, his father had just grown old and coward… he didn’t need to care about him.
He only had to be himself… and act as he wanted to.
The moment a breath of relief blew into him, he heard someone knocking on the door.

“I SAID I DON’T WANT TO MEET—”

“Don’t you dare to speak to your father like that.”

Kiad grasped right away who was talking and shrunk even further.
The door opened slowly, letting in the ticking sound of his cane tapping the floor.

“I haven’t seen your face in a while… you look awful.”

The man’s grave voice fit his stony expression, as he looked down his pitiful son.

“Father… why are you here?”

“What a strange question. A father should visit his sons when they’re moping.”

Kiad clicked his tongue in his mind at those shameless words. He knew his father had just lied. Elvis Fortesea didn’t have the slightest ounce of familial love within him—his sons were just useful or useless beings like any other.

“I ordered Suzuran’s slave merchant and his attendants to hunt some monsters.”

“Hunt some monsters…?”

“Yes. This time I’m worried, so I took the right measures.”

Strangely enough, there was a shade of emotions in Elvis’ voice.

“Putting your failure aside, my blood runs through your veins. As opposed to Sigurd, who would be a mere nobody without me, you have the makings of a Valiant Fortesea… I’m here to grant you a chance to redeem yourself, although I never invested my time on you so far. Help me, instead of rotting away in a place like this.”

Kiad raised his head, light returning to his eyes—his father had praised him.

“Will you… let me redeem myself?”

“Why wouldn’t I? This is my consideration for my son.”

“I… I will surely repay your kindness.”

Kiad bowed his head down.
He didn’t expect his father to show him any mercy… but now, he could have his revenge. He could fan its flames by seething anger and hatred. That obnoxious slave merchant would pay for what he had done.

“I already sent a message to Sigurd. He’s incompetent but he obeys my words. He should be heading to Renunt by now.”

“Sigurd…? So will he use Denmerg’s monsters?”

“Of course. That slave merchant might hinder my plans, so burning his surroundings to the ground and letting him squirm in despair is the least he deserves.”

Tack, tack—Elvis repeatedly stabbed the ground with his cane.
Takumi wasn’t someone he could just mess around with, so he carefully gathered enough resources to take him down.

“If I use the magic crystal that Archbishop Crest made for you, our plan will be perfect… and there’s no way it won’t be, so there’s nothing to fear.”

Kiad was paying particular attention to his father’s words. When he perceived the glacial tone in the old man’s voice, he suddenly understood that something was off.

“So… what should I do for you, father?”

“Mh? Do you not understand?”

“I apologize… As far as I grasped, the plan is to make Sigurd crush them. That’s why you ordered him to go to…”

“Do you not understand, Kiad?”

His father interrupted him brazenly and stabbed him on the chest with his cane, a brimming smile distorting his face.

“Ouch…! What…?”

Kiad let out a dumb voice when he looked down to see the butt end of the cane piercing him.

“I see… so he did something to you. Given that you can’t use magic or activate magic tools, he must have messed up your magic formula, huh…?”

Elvis kept stabbing his son’s chest, his expression never changing. His heartless gaze made him look like he was looking down on a worm.

“This is my consideration for you. My plan would be flawless without you… so don’t be afraid of the future and depart to the same sky all the heroes are sleeping in.”

“Don’t… mess with me…! Are you saying I should die here…?!”

Kiad grabbed the cane that was stabbing him, trying to defend himself, but the slender arms of the old man were insanely strong, and gradually his stabs became harsher.

“You are miserable, Kiad.”

When his cane impaled his son, he twisted it and saw Kiad spitting an ominous amount of blood.

“You’re way too incompetent and you’ve always failed to notice. You’re just a worthless nobody who thinks too much of himself, and you even failed to follow my steps. Your smoldered, almost non-existent ambition is but a fragment of wisdom… but let me tell you something.”

His cold words cut Kiad like a knife as he readied to stab him again in the hole he had dug on his chest.

“The only reason you are alive was to breed so that the blood of Fortesea could keep flowing through this world after my death… that was the only expectation I had for you, and yet you couldn’t live up to that too. You’re just a useless pig groveling on this earth.”

Elvis never stopped stabbing his son while talking.

“Still, I found some worth into your uselessness. Even a waste like you could be a pawn against that obnoxious slave merchant. Rejoice, for your end has now a meaning that it wouldn’t have had otherwise. First, you let that slave merchant get the better of you—dancing on his palm like a puppet has been ridicule of you—then you let him take Lise away from you, and lastly you let him destroy your magic formula, which was something inviolable. No one must know about it.”

When his son’s consciousness started to dim, Elvis remembered something and stopped for a moment his lunatic assault.

“Right… I almost forgot to tell you. This is the first time you’ve been of any use to me, dear son.”

His expression was stony and cold as he watched the light in Kiad’s eyes die out.


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Guild Master – Chapter 44

TL note: it only took me two years and a half to notice that the 12 guilds in this novel are actually references to the zodiac costellations, sooo… yep, some names are going to change:
Silver Mug –> Silver Aquarius
White Goat –> White Aries
Purple Scorpion –> Purple Scorpio.
Mhhh… taste of epic fail…


The king of guilds and the underwater danger

The second floor of our guild’s dormitory was almost empty, but the rooms were ready to host people, so I proposed Zect and Mizuha to sleep there.

“Tomorrow I’ll officially leave Blue Sagittarius. I’ll also take the stuff I’ve left there back. Not like there was anything important, but still…”
“Let me come too! I’ve left some of my stuff there as well.”
“Leave it to me. You didn’t have much stuff with you, I can handle it by myself. Go rest for today.”

Zect then shifted his gaze from his sister to Verlaine and I.

“Thank you for everything. I’ll leave her in your care.”

The next moment, he turned around to leave the room.

“Zect, the guys from Blue Sagittarius who guarded the demi-humans’ prison are just sleeping, right?”
“Yes. I made them faint with a blow from behind, so none should’ve seen or recognized me. Thinking about it, all of them might become homeless once we sue Blue Sagittarius…”
“We could say they were obliged to Blue Sagittarius, as it was the place they worked in, but they reaped what they sowed. They might get employed by another guild, anyway. If we exclude ours and Blue Sagittarius from their options, they still have ten other chances in the capital.”

Garamdoor imprisoned and sold demi-humans as rare articles. Their actions were extremely illegal by the law of the capital, so their trading license was going to be blocked and their organization dismantled. Blue Sagittarius was their accomplice, so its Guild Master probably had to dismiss from their position as well.

The Royal Court, an organ of state under the direct supervision of the King, would declare it in the court hearing.1 If necessary, the Royal Court could even mobilize the army and the royal knights to make the population abide by the laws. A guild could try to fight back, but that would’ve potentially made them face the knights—their end. We can say there wasn’t any organization in the entire capital who could escape the law’s iron grip.

Actually, my guild and White Aries had enough power to withstand them, so what I just said isn’t entirely true, but doing something like that would plunge the entire country into chaos… that wasn’t exactly what we hoped for. I wasn’t unsatisfied of the laws yet.

“We should assume that Blue Sagittarius’ Guild Master knew what Garamdoor was doing and accepted to collaborate. If that’s the whole point of this, Blue Sagittarius will either be forced to stop any activity for some time or have their Guild Master dismissed from the position.”
“Our former Guild Master resigned due to the bad results the guild was achieving, right, Master? In that case, replacing a Guild Master should not be that much of a hurdle.”
“I’ve been here for five years now. I’ve seen people retiring by themselves, but none of them have resigned from their position before. This is going to be on everyone’s lips… although it won’t last forever, I guess.”

Then, a thought crossed my mind.

Blue Sagittarius was affiliated to White Aries. What would the top ranking guild think of us when they knew we were the cause Blue Sagittarius’ wrongdoings had been found out? Once their activity were officially suspended for some time… how would White Aries react?
I couldn’t stop thinking about it.

When I first became Guild Master of Silver Aquarius, all the other guilds were affiliated to White Aries except mine. Up until now, I made three guilds withdraw from that affiliation.

Vinceburg’s underlings were part of Purple Scorpio, which was just another guild affiliated to White Aries… thinking about it, I had to gather some more information about White Aries’ Guild Master. Maybe they were behind this case too.

What if White Aries was planning something obscure along with the seven other guilds affiliated to it…? I didn’t like conspiracy theories, but what if that was actually true…?

“What’s up, Guild Master?”
“Oh, nothing, Mizuha. Leave Blue Sagittarius and Garamdoor to me. I only have to show the Royal Court the proofs our intelligence has gathered.”

Anyway, this wasn’t probably going to end only by pointing the wrongdoings of two organizations out.

I felt like somebody had pulled the strings of this matter… but who? White Aries’ Guild Master? Or… someone else?

I had to research the influential guilds of the capital, which meant paying extra attention to everything. It was time to gather my intelligence team and talk things over with them.

◆◇◆

I knew some of the guilds that were affiliated to White Aries. When we had to rival against Red Gemini, I met their Guild Master to talk it over. I heard from White Aries that she was perfect for the job, but it had been a while since I last saw her.

I knew Black Leo’s Guild Master too. His guild wasn’t affiliated with anyone and they were rivals of White Aries, so I could’ve probably earned their help if I played the right cards.

If we found out that White Aries was planning something darker than expected, the capital would’ve become a sort of war zone. Was it worth to keep investigating, knowing that it could’ve caused a disaster like that?
I kept racking my brain over a solution, and time went by slowly in my office on the second floor…

“Master, what is it? You look lost in thoughts.”
“Purple Scorpio is affiliated with White Aries. We might have to face them.”
“…I see. Are you worried about our guild members and their closest relatives? I don’t think we’ll face a foe that wicked, and if there was someone pulling the strings of the demi-human traffic, that someone would be like cancer for this city. I understand and share your worries on the matter.”

Verlaine’s words made me feel somewhat better.

I didn’t fear White Aries. The city could’ve took their side, but that wouldn’t have stopped me from fighting them with all my might.

“There might be more victims if we don’t take care of Mizuha and the other demi-humans. This is what bothers me the most. If what you addressed as cancer really does exist, it will surely keep this up.”
“Then push onward your researches. Ask the intelligence team to move as you’ve done so far. As long as it’s within this capital, it can’t hide forever. If Dick Silver from Silver Aquarius means it, he can reach even the top secrets information, isn’t it?”

At first, I created our intelligence team to search for requests that only we could fulfill.

Even if I knew about the internal condition of other guilds and that led me to some other additional information, I never ordered to search a guild specifically.

There were twelve guilds for a reason—they all had a role. As I didn’t want anyone to nose around my guild, I made a taboo of investigating the others.

And yet, this time I had to break it. I had to interfere with them and gather information about them.
Furthermore, I needed to pry into all the other guilds.
I thought interfering from the shadows was right… Everything could go my way, but that had never been my intention… so far.

The next moment, I understood that something had changed inside me.

I noticed that… to stop demi-humans from being assaulted, I couldn’t just deal with every single case about them. That wasn’t a solution to the problem.

“I might say too much as a mere maid, Master. Forgive me in advance, but as the former Demon Lord, I will speak my mind freely. You should rule over all the guilds of this capital.”
“What?! W-Why should I? I’m fine with being Guild Master of the 12th guild. I would be arrogant just by considering your suggestion.”
“I wouldn’t call arrogant those who stand above the others and have the ability to be so. What we call a king is something that people want to be led by… and you, Master, should become the king of all guilds. It doesn’t matter if you seem to only keep the twelfth, I believe you should extend your control over the others too. I feel like everything will surely bend to your ideals.”

Never before had I heard words that straightforward… and frustration started to well within me for having thought about it in the past.

I wanted the best outcome without standing in the limelight.
I wanted to live quietly and egoistically like I had been so far, accepting jobs I was interested into and drinking all day.
My guild had finally grown closer to the ideals I embraced.
That’s why there was no reason to extend my influence over the other guilds… or at least, that was what I believed up to that day.

I wanted to fix the ill feelings between humans and demi-humans. That was the cause I wanted to follow although it didn’t suit me at all.

“Right… I don’t need to rule over them… I can just influence them.”
“Eheheh… I’d call it a great step onward. I always believed you could have the capital in your hands, Master. Information are a strong weapon, and no one is better than you at gathering them. No one has better instruments than you to do it. Your influence might reach the farthest place in the world if you only wanted to. The Transfer Magic circles are just proof that this guild is already working on it.”

Having the capital in my hands…? Becoming someone who rules from the shadows, leaving the center of attention to the real King and becoming in turn a secret King…?

That thought made me crack a smile. Wouldn’t people call that… a Demon Lord?

“Grrr… what’s so funny? You think I’m speaking the absurd?”
“No, not at all. I just thought you’ve really been the Demon Lord, Verlaine. Of course, I mean it in a good way.”
“…I might speak like one, but currently I’m just a failed Demon Lord—I moved into the house of a human I rigorously serve every day due to my expectations. Thinking about it, I look like an impulsive girl who’s run away from home.”

She laughed at herself. Phrasing it that way probably made it sound funnier than expected for her.

“Let’s keep doing things our way for now… and let’s act when it’s needed. I just hope the top guild doesn’t have any rotten egg among their members.”
“If that will be the case, you should just extend your hand to grasp all the guilds in this capital from the shadows, Master. It would be better to do it for your just cause.”

Verlaine’s opinion of me never wavered. She was unbelievably strong, and yet she was now my subordinate. Was she actually fine with wasting her life on someone like me? I couldn’t stop that thought from surfacing in my mind.

Her purple irises shone like amethysts the moment we locked eyes with each other, the color of her hair darkening.

She said she liked to talk to me. That was the key to know someone better… and I believed her words nailed the situation.

Why did she want to dispel my doubts?

She mentioned her expectations. If I betrayed them, would she have returned home to the demonic region?

“S-Stop looking at me like that… I’m good at attacking, but defending is hard…”
“I see… that’s why we won back then, huh?”

I knew she meant something else, but I still wanted to crack a joke. She let out a soft chuckle, her eyes still locked with mine.

We couldn’t look away. If one did, our relationship was going to change forever.

In the end… I doubted it would’ve been a turn for worse.

But… was that thought really mine… or was it just the thought of a lone guy?

Clack.

The sound of the door opening behind us blocked my train of thoughts.
I was so used to being interrupted at that point that I guessed the Goddess of Destiny was just fooling with me.

“Grrr…! L-Lady Mylarka? What is it? Weren’t you sleeping in the living room?”

Right. Mylarka, Yuma and Aileen were spending the night here and they should’ve been sleeping on the sofa in the living room. What was the genius girl doing here, spacing out still half-asleep?

“I need the toilet, where is it…? Gosh, my head hurts… It won’t explode, right…?”
“W-Wait, Mylarka! I’ll heal your headache right away. Sorry, I forgot to sober you up before.”
“No problem, I enjoyed it anyway… You didn’t do anything funny while I was sleeping, did you?”
“BHHH—W-What do you mean?! Oh, right, you’re still half-asleep… I won’t take it seriously.”
“Master, I’ll show Miss Mylarka to the toilet. It would be better for a girl to help another now.”

Verlaine arranged her look quickly, made Mylarka hold onto her and helped her walk to the floor below. The only toilet in the entire building was on the first floor, so she had to use that.

When I looked at my desk, I noticed the red mark of Verlaine’s lips on the cup of tea she had left behind.

What I felt a few minutes before resurfaced within me, and I ended up wondering… what would’ve happened if Mylarka didn’t interrupt us?

◆◇◆

It was pretty late when I went to take my bath.

The water was very hot when Mizuha took hers, so now it should’ve been just lukewarm. It was probably better to heat it again.

“…Mh?”

I entered the bathroom without thinking and I noticed a bit too late that there were bubbles popping on the water surface of the bathtub.

Who the heck was hiding underwater?! Was it some assassin?! No, wait, let’s think about it rationally… it was surely someone who was sleeping here, and the only two persons small enough to fit entirely in the bathtub were Yuma and…

Splaaash~!

“Hey there~! It’s me~!”

Looking at the humanoid figure who emerged from the bathtub, I thanked any superior entity for making Verlaine and Mylarka go downstairs. I was reminded again of how fleeting the sense of relief was when someone could finally satisfy the eager of bathing.


1 I’m not good with law-related stuff. The original (国王直属の法務庁の審問官たち) actually says “ministers meeting/hearing under the direct supervision of the king”, but I thought it would be closer to the Supreme Court, where they just do the trial under the supervision of the King. I’ll probably keep Supreme Court given the Japanese one, but feel free to suggest something that works better!

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