“From this moment on, I am Leihanaluka Heikreuz Shi. I will be [One Who Serves]…… and you will be my Master, Oluri [Lord of Wanderers].” (Leiha)
The fact that [Curse Break] was effective means that she was under the influence of a brainwashing or curse wizardry.
I say wizardry also because of the fact that Claura couldn’t detect it, which ruled it out as a magic of this world. Of course, I’m not 100% certain of this inference, but that makes me all the more curious about the origin of this ‘curse.’
Either way, with the curse lifted, this dark elf is supposed to have returned to her senses.
“Though under a demon’s control, I fully remember my offenses against you. Such transgressions cannot be forgiven even after a thousand sword cuts. I beg of you, please punish me until your rage subsides.” (Leiha)
She gets down on both knees and lowers her head so low that her voluptuous breasts touch her hands.
I’ve seen it a few times in this world already, but this position has the nuance of ‘falling prostrate’ even back in Japan. Furthermore, in those light purple eyes that look up at me time and again, I see a strong enough light of attachment and dependence that gives me the shivers. Directing these feelings so directly at me seems even more unnatural than her emotionless state before.
More like, weren’t all four of her limbs tied up? She’s already shrugged out of them like they didn’t even exist.
“What does does that mean??” (Gio)
This situation is clearly much weightier than the time Claura expressed her respect for me.
At a complete loss, I mutter to no one in particular.
“If I remember right, Oluri [Lord of Wanderers] is a ruler from dark elf legends whose position is even higher than clan chiefs. Rather than that, she’s offering to serve you, so isn’t that a great thing in and of itself? A dark elf assassin is going to be quite helpful in various capacities from here on.” (Sedam)
So says Sedam lightly while showing off his extensive knowledge as usual. Who are you calling a ruler.
“Look, I don’t want to rule over anyone. I’ve already dispelled your curse, so you’re free to go…… Oh wait, no, you still have to answer for all the crimes that you’ve committed so far……” (Gio)
I don’t think I’m saying anything strange. This city has a proper courthouse. It should be common sense to bring her there to receive the appropriate punishment. Because she was in a brainwashed state due to a curse (or whatever that was), she probably won’t get the death penalty.
“Whatever you command of me, I would gladly carry out. But……” (Leiha)
The dark elf beauty remains on her knees while desperately sidling up to me with tears in her eyes.
“I am your Shi! If you order so, I would even kidnap the infants of my clan and wring them to death before your eyes! If there is a plot you wish to further, I will manipulate any organization for you! If you tell me to kill myself, I will swiftly do so! If you lust for this odious body, then I shall gladly offer all of it to you. All I ask in return, beg in return, is for you to never again say that you do not want to rule over me.” (Leiha)
“Every single one of your examples is so sinister! And erotic! Why do you even want to be something like that?!” (Gio)
“‘Something like that’?!” (Leiha)
Letting out a wail of despair, the dark elf turns pale enough to be noticeable despite her tanned skin and throws herself to the ground.
“Come, come, Margils-dono. It makes her seem so pitiful when you put it that way.” (Sedam)
Sedam throws an arm across my shoulders, then steers me to a corner of the room and whispers to me.
“But, I mean, it makes her sound like a slave!” (Gio)
“That’s where your misunderstanding lies. Slavery is when two parties exchange a contract dictating ownership over a third party whose will is disregarded. But in this case, she is trying to enter your service of her own free will, right? How about honoring that request of hers?” (Sedam)
“Rather than ruling and whatnot, why can’t she just be an ally?” (Gio)
“What are you two whispering about over there?!” (Claura)
A sharp pain runs through my left ear. Of course, it is Claura’s work.
She is smiling like a hannya. Does anyone else find it strange that she isn’t already growing horns?
(T/N: Hannya: a mask used in Noh theater representing a jealous female demon, with the characteristics of two sharp bull-like horns, metallic eyes, and a leering mouth)
“You…… Even though you claim to have lifted her curse, didn’t you actually just cast your own brainwashing spell on her?!” (Claura)
“I didn’t, I didn’t!” (Gio)
“What a shameless man you are! It’s so pathetic that I’m almost going to cry.” (Claura)
“It’s a misunderstanding, a misunderstanding!” (Gio)
“If you didn’t brainwash her, then this must be a trap to ensnare you! Stop drooling!!” (Claura)
Before I knew it, her usual attack of ‘one sharp pull’ has evolved into an unending hell. At this rate, my ear is going to get stretched.
“P-, please wait a moment!” (Leiha)
“…… Eh?” (Gio)
Help has come from an unexpected source.
The dark elf draws Claura’s attention by kneeling in front of her.
“I am brainwashed no longer. Actually, even if I am, if the one controlling me is Oluri, then such would be my heart’s desire! Therefore please quell your anger, Okugata-sama!” (Leiha)
(T/N: Okugata means ‘my Lady,’ as in ‘wife of my lord/master.’ Going to keep it as transliterated because ojou also translates as ‘my Lady,’ but has the connotation of ‘daughter of my lord/master,’ and this distinction can’t be expressed through ‘my Lady.’)
Hold on a-, just wait a moment. For various reasons, give me a moment.
If my memory serves me, we were supposed to be interrogating this dark elf whom we suspect of attempting to poison me and kidnap Mora on behalf of the Demonists that she works for. Right?
So how on earth did the conversation jump to the dark elf wanting to become my slave and Claura being my wife?!
“Th-, this person’s…… I, I’m n-, not rea, really……” (Claura)
“No, as someone capable of conversing so casually with my lord, who holds as much power as he does, who else can you be but Okugata-sama?” (Leiha)
Aren’t there many other possibilities?
Claura’s usual sharp tongue appears to be failing her, as she is mostly just fiddling with her long hair while her face is all red. The corners of her eyes, which had been drawn up to the very limit just a while ago, are now drooping down as if she is close to tears.
I’m the one who’s going to have to listen to all her complaints later, aren’t I.
“Alright, listen. She is not my wife. She is Claura, a friend and nakama. Same goes for Sedam over there.” (Gio)
“………… Th-, that’s right! This person and I are friends. Friends, you understand?” (Claura)
“As they’ve said. Nice meeting you, [Shi]-san of my friend.” (Sedam)
Anyways, my first priority is in defusing this situation.
Afterwards, we need to draw out as much information as we can from this dark elf—she’s called Leihanaluka, right?—for the sake of capturing the mastermind. There are still 4 more dark elves out there, and the mastermind might be attempting to flee the city already.
Ignoring Sedam, who had thrown in that unnecessary comment as an attempt to calm everyone down, Leihanaluka turns and speaks to me directly.
“So that is how things are. Please pardon my earlier discourtesy.” (Leiha)
“…… Exactly why on earth do you think of Margils as that Oluri?” (Claura)
As if that ‘Okugata-sama’ remark earlier had drained all the poison from her fangs, Claura’s question was posed in a small voice.
“For several decades, my everything had been ruled by the demon that had been lurking inside my heart. The one who schemed to poison my lord was that demon. What I now find most repulsive is how, after so many years, I myself had grown acceptive of the demon’s rule. However, as of just now, I have been set free through my lord’s tremendous power.” (Leiha)
Demon…… was it really the doing of the Shadow Demons after all?
Is it that Shadow Demons have managed to slip into human society and are scheming from within the populace, or are there humans somehow borrowing the power of Shadow Demons? Either way, the situation is grave.
“The fear I felt when the demon was obliterated, and the joy I felt when I was saved—neither of these can be fully expressed with words. Dark elves value the continuation of one’s clan above the fate of the individual. However, when an individual is done a favor weightier than the fate of one’s whole clan, the individual is free to accept that benefactor as their Oluri and enter the benefactor’s service.” (Leiha)
“The logic seems sound, doesn’t it?” (Claura)
“I, I suppose……” (Gio)
This is Sedia, not Japan.
Sedia has Sedian standards of ethics, and I shouldn’t force my own on these people.
That logic, I can see how it flows.
“…… Either way, you will cooperate with us from here on, right?” (Gio)
“Not just from here on, but forevermore I will swear my allegiance……” (Leiha)
“Let’s leave that aside for now. Firstly, provide us with information so that we can find the mastermind who manipulated you to feed me poison. After we safely capture that person—Ahh, if your nakama are in the same situation, then we ought to save them too—we will have you judged by this city’s criminal system. After you’ve paid for all your crimes, if you still wish to come to me, then feel free.” (Gio)
Before anything else, drawing out the necessary information is the highest priority. Afterwards, whatever the judgment is, some time will have passed, and she will most likely have changed her mind by then.
“Good for you.” (Sedam)
“Well…… if she earnestly swears her allegiance to you, you can’t really reject her, can you?” (Claura)
“Th-…… Thank you so much! Thank you so much! I will prove my usefulness, definitely!” (Leiha)
In this world, aside from the primary frameworks such as family and country, there is also the concept of [allegiance], where one fully devotes oneself to another by their own will. Looking at the Carbanera Knight Order, I thought I had already known that fact though……
Now I feel like a petty person for having entertained the thought “Let’s read her mind with the ESP Medal just in case.”