“A friendly match, you say?”
The next day after seeing an absurd dream like becoming the next Demon Lord, the Demon Lord Zef said one of the things I kinda expected.
Yesterday he was repeatedly saying ‘power’, after all.
“The type of battle that probes each other’s personality, right?” (Makoto)
Leaving aside the way of putting it, he is telling me to fight while being treated as a guest.
I ended up asking for a confirmation.
“Yeah. Don’t worry, a bit of spectators will gather, but it is fine for Raidou-dono’s group to fight as normal.” (Zef)
It is fine, he says.
I can kinda predict who my opponent will be.
We did say that as long as there’s merits for us, we wouldn’t mind accepting, but…what should I do?
Currently, it would only scare them, so I just have to properly hold back and act in a gentlemanly way. In that way, their impression of us would actually get better.
“By the way, who will be our opponent?” (Makoto)
“The opponent this one will be assigning will be a Demon General or someone who has an ability close to that. Even if this one says it is a friendly match, it is only that this one needs some sort of proof of friendship with the Kuzunoha Company. In truth, it would be troublesome if you get too serious and it turns into hatred.” (Zef)
“…A proof of friendship. Yesterday’s banquet was plenty enough to tell us about your friendship though.” (Makoto)
The Demon Lord and everyone else made a banquet, and there wasn’t any people looking down on us.
Actually, it was so friendly to the level that I am scared of ulterior motives.
“That makes me happy. Well, today’s plan is to guide you to the Spirit’s temple; if there’s extra time, look around the area of the castle, speak with the people of the castle, you can spend it however you wish. If your side accepts the match, this one would like to begin tomorrow.” (Zef)
“Tomorrow. Understood. I will consult this with my followers and consider it positively.” (Makoto)
“Please do so. This one won’t be able to guide you, but this one will have my two daughters, Sari and Lucia, go with you. Send my greetings to the Spirits.” (Zef)
“…Eh? We will be meeting the spirits? I mean, we can meet them?” (Makoto)
“Of course. It seems like they took an interest in Raidou-dono. Fire and Earth High Spirits. They are not our allies only, but they are generous people that don’t hesitate in assisting us. Maybe you will end up meshing well with them.” (Zef)
Spirits… When it comes to High ones, I have not met any.
I had the impression that they were all from the side of the Goddess, so it was hard to get close to them. And most of all, I had no opportunity to.
Meeting one at the demon race territory for the first time, feels quite mysterious.
“I thought we were going there to pray or something. Learning that I will be meeting with a Spirit makes me nervous.” (Makoto)
I thought it would be like going to a Shinto shrine.
Not only am I going to a place where they reside, but I am going to be meeting them in person. Moreover, with how things are going, it is as if meeting them is already a set deal.
“Your Majesty, it is almost time.”
“Waka-sama, the preparations are ready.”
Oh, the Demon Lord is busy every day, that’s obvious.
Rona lowers her head and comes to get Zef-san.
Is she filling the job of secretary at the times she is in the castle?
“Good work, Rona. This one will be going soon. Raidou-dono, the guides this one told you a while ago are waiting at the main gate. This one hopes you will enjoy the demon race’s city today as well. Then, this one will be excusing himself.” (Zef)
“Thank you very much.” (Makoto)
I see off Zef-san who is leaving along with Rona.
“Shiki, is Mio already outside?” (Makoto)
I ask Shiki who came to call me, and ask him about Mio who I can’t see.
“Yes. Mio-dono is also enjoying the area around the castle. It is a section that she didn’t check yesterday, it seems.” (Shiki)
“I see. You probably heard already, but it seems like there’s guides at the main gates waiting, so let’s hurry. Sari-san and Lucia-san. If I remember correctly…two children of the Demon Lord.” (Makoto)
“Yeah, those two huh. Going through the trouble of choosing two women, I wonder if there’s some sort of reason behind it.” (Shiki)
“…I don’t think so. And what about you Shiki? It seems like you were together with Rona, could it be you two get along better now?” (Makoto)
I could tell Shiki was trying to tease me.
Lately, I have been able to not take things seriously and deal with them, so I think I am getting a bit used to it.
“It was a stupid confrontation between a fox and a racoon. No matter how friendly they get, they won’t be able to match. With Kuzunoha Company and Waka-sama’s matter, their amount of information is so low it couldn’t even be called a match though. Even if she looked like that, she was quite mortified.” (Shiki)
“Ahaha… I am kinda scared of the future. The grudge of a woman. Ah, by the way, Demon Lord-sama said that he wanted us to do a friendly match with them but, is it okay to accept?” (Makoto)
“…Yes. Please accept it. I have a slight idea of what they are trying to stick their nose into. If that’s the case, we will be able to obtain something that will not be a loss for us.” (Shiki)
“Is that information something you got from Rona?” (Makoto)
“Yeah. She probably purposely leaked out the information to have us accept the match. Their aim is not really disadvantageous for Waka-sama, so in this occasion, let’s receive everything they give us.” (Shiki)
“Understood. Then, we will have to tell Mio as well. I am counting on you for the follow-up so that Reft-san doesn’t end up against Mio.” (Makoto)
“As you wish.” (Shiki)
While walking together to the outside of the castle, I enjoyed a morning talk with the dependable Shiki.
It calms me.
Fuh~, no matter how frankly Zef-san smiles, just speaking with him makes me tired.
“Then, Raidou-dono is putting special effort in developing a medicine for the curse disease?”
“Yeah. That’s where we are putting most of our efforts in. If you need medicine, order it from us.” (Makoto)
“I am the person tasked to guide Raidou-dono today. Even if that weren’t the case, you are a guest invited by his Majesty, so there’s no need to speak formally. Please speak to me without worries like you do with your followers.”
…The youngest girl I know here is probably Rinon.
This girl called Sari is probably in the same age.
Her appearance is similar to that of Rinon, a primary schooler.
Lately, that girl has grown a bit bigger and her appearance has begun to look more curvy like that of a woman, so when thinking of that point, this girl Sari actually looks younger huh.
Her way of speaking is incredibly mature though.
Her matureness makes me think of a feudal lord that has been appointed at a young age.
The maturing speed in this world is honestly faster than that of Japan.
A bit of time has passed since I have gone to Tsige. When I went, I remember Rinon told me: ‘Rinon is already over 10 year old, so Rinon is not a kid anymore.’.
I think that a 10 year old is still a kid, but in truth, Rinon is keeping tabs of her sister’s expenses, earning herself, and she is already skilled at housechores.
If she were in Japan, she would be an incredibly level-headed girl.
I don’t want to compare her to my 10 year old self, I would feel pathetic after all.
“Even if you say so, it doesn’t sit right to speak with the two Demon Lord candidates in the same way as I speak with my followers.” (Makoto)
“I didn’t really tell you to speak with me casually though.” (Lucia)
Lucia-san is hard to deal with in a different meaning.
This one responds with a smile when I speak to her, but that smile of hers feels completely business-like.
But aside from that, there’s no other action.
When I glance at her expression for a bit, I could see that she also had a discouraged expression at times.
From the four successors, she is the one that looks like a military person the most, so maybe she is displeased in guiding a merchant.
“You are…” (Lucia)
Interrupting my apology, Lucia-san speaks to me for the first time without a smile.
“A person that has been recognized by my mentor Io, and also my father and Lord Zef who excels in magic and spear.” (Lucia)
So it is not like she is angry?
It feels like she is in ill humour, and yet, the contents of her words are just…
“It is vexing, but I still can’t measure the limits of your power, or how much it is at all. But if you have that much power, don’t you think you should learn to have more pride and attitude befitting that power?” (Lucia)
“Pride and attitude huh.” (Makoto)
Is she telling me to appeal by saying things like: ‘I am strong!’?
“Most of the strong people have reached that strength by defeating many. Then isn’t the duty of the strong to engrave their feelings and accumulated experience, and act confidently? But you are actually trying to hide that power. I can’t comprehend that, and I can’t consent to it.” (Lucia)
“Lucia-anesama, that way of speaking is rude towards Raidou-dono.” (Sari)
“Sari, you have a tolerant mind like Rona, so you can endure it, but for me, I can’t bear the way Raidou-dono acts. I find it hard to believe that my mentor Io was defeated by someone like this. He most likely used an underhanded…” (Lucia)
Maybe she doesn’t like me, because she is the disciple of Io.
It is certainly true that sending him flying with a Rocket Punch can be considered an underhanded method.
I did accept the friendly match, so as long as I properly proof my ability in the fight, I feel like I can clear the misunderstanding.
“The weak really do bark a lot.”
“…What did you say just now, follower-dono?” (Lucia)
Since when did you return from the food cart?!
Mio who had both hands filled with snacks, cuts into the words of Lucia-san..
“You are not even in a position to speak about this and that of Waka-sama, and don’t even have the power, and yet, only your words are splendid huh. That’s all I said-desu.” (Mio)
Your words are harsh, Mio.
Lucia-san is trembling.
I don’t even need to try reading her emotion, it is clearly anger.
Would it be bad if I don’t stop it?
But I kinda feel it is unnatural.
Hm, in these moments, it is better to take a step back and increase my field of vision as much as possible.
I will take care of not acting by reflex.
…Ah, it is Sari.
She is way too silent.
It is strange that she only tried to control the situation by doing a light interruption.
Maybe it is all a play?
Or could it be that Lucia-san’s speech and conduct are real, but Sari is plotting something?
From how the conversation went, it seems like Sari is similar to Rona, so it might be possible.
Then I should be careful that Mio doesn’t go way too overboard…
“…I have done my best in training everyday under the tutelage of Io and Reft, two Demon Generals. Since the day I grasped a sword, there hasn’t been a single day when I haven’t trained. And Mio-dono is saying that I am weak? If you don’t take back those words, I will take this as an insult.” (Lucia)
She is seriously angry.
As I thought, maybe Sari is really the one utilizing this situation.
Don’t hurry it. Calmly look over the transition of the situation.
“Reft…You are receiving instructions from a person of that level-desu ka? I am sorry for the rudeness. It seems like it wasn’t even a point of being weak or strong, but simple wailing of a baby. I wasn’t mature enough. I take back what I said-desu wa.” (Mio)
“It is an insult huh.” (Lucia)
“Ara? Didn’t you hear me saying that I take it back? Do you have ears?” (Mio)
…Mio has gotten better at stirring things up.
Women are scary.
If I was told that using my bow was playing with a toy, I would most likely get angry by reflex.
“Get ready. There’s no need to wait for the friendly match. I will confirm that strength of yours here.” (Lucia)
“You will gaze upon your own figure that will not be able to recover anymore, and regret your rude remarks of Waka-sama.” )
An atmosphere that things have gone to a critical point was enveloping the surroundings.
I even feel like sparks are flying.
Yeah, this is as far as it goes.
Let’s stop it.
There’s still something that is in my mind after all.
Sari seems to be seriously looking over the situation and has not noticed, and Shiki seems to have already made a slight investigation about it.
“Hold it.” (Makoto)
“…Uh, Waka-sama.” (Mio)
I restrain both of their bodies by grabbing them with the magic armor that is currently invisible.
Mio can escape if she wanted to, but she understood what I was trying to do, so she didn’t escape.
Lucia-san was… not only unable to escape, it also seems like she doesn’t understand what is restraining her in the first place.
I grabbed her the moment before she drew her weapon, so physically speaking, she can’t move at all.
“Lucia-san, Sari-san, my companion has been rude, I apologize in her stead. And Lucia-san, even without drawing your sword in the middle of the city, we intend to participate in the friendly match, so please wait until tomorrow. More importantly, I have something that has been slightly bothering me for a while now.” (Makoto)
“Raidou-dono, this restrain…is it your doing?” (Lucia)
“…At what moment were you able to use such a spell?” (Lucia)
“I will release it soon. But first of all, there’s something I want to ask the two of you. I believe that those two big temples that are lined up are the temples of the Spirits, but is that place always ‘like that’?” (Makoto)
This atmosphere, it feels like some sort of incident is happening?
The two of them look at that ‘distortion’, and seem to be surprised.
At the place where I pointed my finger at, at the place where the two temples are lined up, the landscape at its surrounding seems to be distorted.
It was an unnatural feeling, like seeing something through the filter of a camera.
It looked like the place where the Spirits are supposed to be, so I thought it normally looked like this, but it seems that’s not the case.
I release the hands that were grabbing Mio and Lucia-san.
“Shiki, did you find out anything?” (Makoto)
“I can feel thick Spirit power. The power of fire and earth. It is rising as if trying to compete with each other, meshing with the surroundings, and seems to be affecting it. I don’t know the reason of it yet.” (Shiki)
So the power of the Spirits is so thick that it is distorting the landscape huh.
It wouldn’t surprise me much if this were a secluded region, but it is right in the middle of the city.
I feel like this is a serious matter.
“Just in case I will ask but, it is not always like this, right?” (Makoto)
“Of course. If it were always like that, it would be a struggle to even go there to pray.” (Lucia)
“This is the first time I have seen it become like this.” (Sari)
It would be better to return to the castle and report to Zef-san.
“Then we should go report to his Majesty. The faster the better.” (Makoto)
“No, wait.” (Lucia)
“Please wait.” (Sari)
I think I did a reasonable opinion, and yet, the two of them stopped me.
Lucia and Sari look at each other and nod.
“Raidou-dono, by the name of the Demon Lord’s children, I assure your safety. I want to enter the temple like this to investigate. Can I ask for your cooperation?” (Sari)
“I concur with my sister’s words. As an apology for the rudeness just now, we will show you our strength, and we will also protect you.” (Lucia)
“No, if it is something important, I think that having his Majesty decide is more important.” (Makoto)
“…I don’t see people inside the distorted space. This is probably something planned. The Spirit temple is a popular place for us you see. In normal circumstances, it would be impossible that no one’s there at daytime. There’s only a restricted amount of people that know that we will be heading there today. In that case, this is…” (Sari)
“It might be the order of his Majesty telling us to deal with this situation. Raidou-dono, please.” (Lucia)
The younger sister complements the words of the elder one.
But if there’s some sort of coup d’etat going inside there, it would be no joke.
Even if he is the Demon Lord, would he really put the successors in a dangerous situation when there’s an army he can mobilize in this city?
Or maybe he is trying to make us do something as well?
If I comply here, I will be able to obtain a bit of good will from them, but it also feels like it will become messy.
“Waka-sama, it may be presumptuous of me to say this, but in this abnormal situation, if there’s citizens dragged in it, it would be terrible. The residents that are supposed to be passing their lives out of harm’s way, it would be bad if by any chance, they were to lose their life. Lucia-dono and Sari-dono must be saying all this because of a sense of responsibility as successors of the Demon Lord, so I think that it would be good to listen to their proposal.” (Shiki)
This is not like Shiki. It is quite a humane speech.
Regarding the residents of the demon race, not only Mio, even Shiki most likely thinks of them as being worth as much as dirt.
At the very least, it felt that way in all the conversations we have had till now.
And yet, he suddenly says something that was as if stating lives are heavier than the world.
“Shiki, did you go crazy or something? For us, no matter how many people in this city die, it would be of no consequence. Only these two want to save them, and it is actually a bother to Waka-sama-desu. AL-SO! You must have heard the rude-beyond-belief words of this woman, didn’t you? There’s no need to accommodate to their circumstances.” (Mio)
Mio has said too much.
Way too much.
“Mio-dono, it is true that those words of hers were rude. But, right now we should forget about such trifle, and secure the safety of the demon residents as fast as possible which would show Waka-sama’s good will towards the demon race. Waka-sama is not a person that would think of people’s lives as a bother.” (Shiki)
Did he reach some sort of enlightenment?
But his expression and the light in his eyes are the same Shiki.
Hm…then, let’s try betting on it.
To tell the truth, I did consider it slightly bothersome, so I wanted to ignore it. But instead of concurring with Mio that has made an extreme statement, it would be better to concur with Shiki who has made a humane statement. In this occasion, it might become a plus.
“Mio, bear with it please. It is something that’s happening in the middle of the city, so since Lucia-san and Sari-san feel like this is an emergency that demands this sort of action, we as the guests should not go against it. They did say that they will be protecting us, so let’s continue on like this.” (Makoto)
“…If Waka-sama says so, I don’t mind. I will protect Waka-sama, so there won’t be any danger anyways.” (Mio)
“Great judgment, Waka-sama. I will also be protecting Waka-sama with all I have.” (Shiki)
“Thanks, both of you. Lucia-san, Sari-san, just as scheduled, we will be counting on you to guide us to the temple.” (Makoto)
“I am grateful, Raidou-dono. I apologize for my previous rudeness.” (Lucia)
“Thanks, Raidou-dono. I promise you that I will have you return without any injuries, even if I have to risk my life.” (Sari)
What exaggerated words.
It really doesn’t feel like the words of a kid.
The gap with her appearance is incredibly.
I look at the temples that are within the swaying landscape.
I wonder how strong a High Spirit is.
In case it ends up in a fight, I should have my bow Azusa ready at any given time.
I was able to fight pretty well with Athena-sama, so I think I will be able to handle this.
There’s no way they are stronger than Gods after all.
Well, it should be fine.
The chances are low, but it might be like a welcoming of the Spirits.
The Goddess is like that, so it wouldn’t be strange if anything happened.
Let’s hope it is some sort of surprise for welcoming us.
“Then, let’s go.”
“Now then, I will be opening a path to enter. Please wait for a bit.” (Sari)
From here on it’s the distorted space. When I suggested we enter, Sari answered me.
Mio was about to say something, but I stop her.
‘Can’t we just enter from here? It feels like we can though.’, is probably what Mio was going to say as well, so I stopped her.
Sari faces the space and concentrates. She makes a long chant and is interfering with it.
“Sari-dono seems to be a proficient magician. Even though you are still young, you have amazing potential.” (Shiki)
“Thanks, Shiki-dono. She may be my little sister, but she is a talented mage that even within the demon race, there’s few who can teach her magic. She is not specialized in barriers, but she will definitely open a path.” (Lucia)
Shiki and Lucia-san were speaking of that topic in a low voice.
Lucia-san is definitely a swordswoman, so one would be a swordswoman and the other a magician huh.
I don’t know if they are related by blood, but those two would be able to team up as vanguard and rear.
“…Okay, open!” (Sari)
As if acting in concert to Sari’s words, a part of the swaying space was cut open.
It is small, but we can somehow pass through.
At the other side, it isn’t distorted and the same landscape is seen.
“Well done, Sari.” (Lucia)
“This much is obvious.” (Sari)
It is a pleasant conversation between sisters.
Then, let’s quickly cross.
“It is a bit narrow. Let’s widen it.” (Shiki)
“Waka-sama, enter from here.” (Mio)
I was thinking about continuing, but two voices reach my ears.
There was no need to say, it was Shiki and Mio.
Shiki instantly expands the opening that Sari-san had opened.
Mio’s hand had shot darkness, eroding the distortion of space, and made an entrance that was a lot bigger than Shiki’s.
Lucia-san and Sari were silent.
They were silent, but it was a silence that said a lot.
“Shiki, I have already created a path for Waka-sama to take, so you can use that one with the other girls.” (Mio)
“Since they went through the trouble of opening it already, we should use…No, it doesn’t seem like we will be appearing at a different location anyways, so there should be no problem in having two openings.” (Shiki)
Shiki complies in an instant.
“Now now, the objective is to confirm the situation of the temple, so let’s get along.” (Makoto)
My words felt somewhat futile.
…By the way, I entered from the opening that Mio made.