The Demon Lord’s visit and the new contract
Before I noticed, the dawn’s light pierced through the window. I woke up rather early.
I laid my gaze on Beatrice, who was sleeping next to me, and saw her eyelashes quiver. She probably sensed me moving.
She turned her face up. Her body, who had sucked enough of my energy, wasn’t transparent anymore, but looked exactly like a human’s.
I sneaked away from the bed and let her rest some more time.
It was pretty hard to fall asleep that night, but since she didn’t tease me too much, nothing strange happened.
I wondered what the others would’ve thought if they saw us now.
Seeing Beatrice’s defenseless state could create a big misunderstanding.
Maybe wraith queens didn’t need to be vigilant around guys…
“Master… are you going already?”
“O-Oh, are you awake? I’m going to bring the Demon Lord here, so wait for me.”
I tightened the necktie over my shirt and then put on my jacket. I had to look like a noble’s retainer, so I asked a famous dressmaker. They didn’t only look good, but were also comfortable. They cost me a total of fifteen gold coins, maybe a bit too much, but given who made them and the cloth they were made of, I’d say it was a suitable price.
Beatrice pulled the sheets to cover the upper part of her body, and I looked at her disheveled hair… I guessed they too gained substance.
“This nearly slipped my mind, but how many months will that take?”
I thought briefly about it. Since I didn’t know if the Stollen family could acquire information through Beatrice’s contract, I decided to keep secret the fact that the former Demon Lord was actually living in my guild and worked as a bartender, at least until Verlaine overwrote it.
“Don’t worry, it won’t take long. We were members of the expedition party that defeated her, after all. We did tell her to never leave her territory, but we can ask her to come here once.”
“Is that really possible…? Was it specified in some contract?”
“Well, it wasn’t put on paper, but Verlaine kept her word so far. Also, if we were to raze her entire region to the ground, the lords who rule the other demonic regions wouldn’t ignore it. We wanted an eternal armistice.”
We all agreed on that, and Cody decided in advance to make the dark elf surrender.
Before monsters learned to not assault humans, incidents were common. Demi-humans raided humans’ cities daily, and even the village I grew in fell victim to those fiends. Because of what happened, I started to study the art of war… but this is another story, so let’s not digress.
Everyone understood how useless was to go against those who defeated Verlaine.
After that every territory in Elsain, the demonic region, surrendered, the requests to kill monsters dropped sharply and were soon replaced by requests to kill dangerous beasts. Still, the possibility of monsters attacking our country wasn’t zero, so adventurers kept seeking for power and remained vigilant.
“…I am glad you were the ones who defeated my Lord. If you planned to exterminate each and every demon or monster, even I would not have had a choice but to fight. I would have tried to ease the chagrin of my race.”
“I’m sure about that. Still, a wraith queen doesn’t usually fight, so I think yours would’ve been safe, but I won’t bet on it.”
“Once my contract is voided and I will be able to leave this mansion again, I will return to visit my relatives. My family is the Rokuma1, so when I will tell them that I am obliged to Master, they will think about a proper reward…”
“No, wait, I only helped. If possible, I’d love you to keep working as the manager of this mansion, but I can’t force you to. Feel free to choose what’s better for you from now on.”
I told her to think about herself. If she had remained here, thanks to her powers, Yuma would’ve been able to vent every once in a while.
However, this secluded girl still had a family who was waiting for her.
“I understand. I will think about my future by myself.”
“Great. Be sure to not catch a cold… wait, can wraiths get sick?”
“Yes, undead can contract diseases, but we do not have an illness like that. Anyhow, thank you for worrying about me.”
Her negligee, which was now tidily folded on the chest near the bedside, was made of a special fabric called ‘ethereal cloth’.
It was the only material that could dematerialize like her body.
If an undead was to join my guild, I could have accepted more requests. Still, I didn’t ask her to. I didn’t want to limit the freedom she was finally going to taste again.
Yuma erected a barrier, and ghosts stopped gathering in the mansion. Before noon, the girls returned to their respective houses, and after I saw Yuma off, I got back to my guild.
Verlaine accepted to see Beatrice.
The next evening, as we stepped into the mansion’s garden, I saw the wraith queen, who was standing behind the dining’s room window, bow deeply to us.
“You don’t have to bow, I’m not the Demon Lord anymore. I left the kingdom in my younger brother’s hands.”
“Lord Verlaine, you abdicated…?”
“Yes. Your family helped me a lot for the almost thirty years I’ve been the queen. Don’t worry, they’re fine, I ordered them to protect the rearguard when I fought the expedition party.”
“Wh…?! The Rokuma should serve as the shield of the Demon Lord. Why did you give such an order…?”
Verlaine canceled the Illusory Magic that was changing her into an elf. Her dark skin and purple hair made her look like a succubus… Normally, she appeared like a graceful elf, but now she resembled the very embodiment of a devilish maid.
“Because our former enemies tried to not attract attention and moved stealthily. They raided important places and just disappeared afterwards. Then, when your relatives were absent, they broke into my castle and defeated me. Honestly, I couldn’t believe how strong the five of them were, and I found absurd that they were only children.”
“That day dates back to five years ago… The people who bought this mansion at the time spoke about it.”
“Back then I was thirteen, and Yuma, the youngest among us, was nine.”
When Beatrice heard that I and Cody were the oldest members, she fell silent, and Verlaine looked emotional.
“Dick… no, there’s no reason to hide it here, so I’ll call you Master. He took something really important to me, so I swore loyalty to him in order to retrieve it.”
“Does this mean that Lord Verlaine promised to be his servant?”
“…Not precisely, but I won’t be specific about it.”
“No, wait, you didn’t promise anything… right? I mean, there shouldn’t be a contract or anything of the sort around, right?”
“Speaking of which, let’s cancel your contract right away, Beatrice. I will make you return under my control, but that means that you will also be under this human’s. Is that fine with you?”
I kept thinking about her words. When did she make a promise like that…? Did I misinterpreted her words and created a chance to be bound by an oath?
When did it happen? Maybe the answer was…
Her pendant. That was the only thing that might have bound us.
“…Mh? N-No, it’s not my intention to put her under my control… If she just changes her Master, wouldn’t she look like a servant?”
“Didn’t you think that it might be fine with her? Why should a wraith queen leave you, now that she tasted your magical power? Maybe it’s just me, but your energy is really relaxing.”
“Lord Verlaine, I know that… very well. There is plenty of his energy within me…”
It looked like she was fine with it.
I was thinking to scout her another time, but this isn’t detrimental to me.
“Let’s start, then. When Master’s reserve of magical energy has run out, you will supply him with yours, and you will have to answer his summons no matter what. Do you understand?”
“If he is okay with it… I will gladly accept these conditions…”
She said while blushing. I didn’t think Verlaine wanted to bind other monsters to me… was it because she wanted us to coexist?
“Hereupon thy words, I, Verlaine Elsain, borrow the ancient power of the Devil to renew thy oath!”
Verlaine touched Beatrice’s throat, and a bluish-white symbol shone on her pale skin. The same thing appeared on the back of my hand, but it didn’t feel hot or cold. It was the bizarre feeling that only Binding Magic could cause.
“Engrave thy new name onto thy soul, Beatrice Silver – handmaid of Dick Silver – as thy former bound hath torn asunder!”
“…I humbly accept Beatrice Silver as my new name.”
As the rite came to an end, the wraith queen looked at me happily while caressing the nape of her neck.
“I am now yours, Master.”
“As summoner and summoned, yeah. It’s nothing that might destroy my everyday peace.”
“Who knows. You spared her life, but she might take yours in the future, just like I might do… Meanwhile, let’s watch over each other as we love our Master.”
“Again with that nonsense… Don’t think I’ll make you love me that easily.”
They both laughed. The former Demon Lord and her retainer overcame the social wall that divided them, and were finally able to become friends.
1 Written as “六魔公”. We didn’t know if we should have translated it or not, but since it should be a name, we decided to leave it like this for now. It might change in the future.