We are at a corner on the high class residential street where Baron Koval’s mansion is located.
On that wide street are currently crowds of Lelis citizens belonging to a large variety of social statuses and professions.
The reason why they are here is to watch the scene of a Great Wizard (me) taking revenge on Baron Koval, who is a Demonist.
Probably because of how flashy my actions have been, I have completely become the main topic of gossip flying around the city these past few days.
And not just among the citizens—the gathered adventurers and city guards are also looking my way with great interest in their faces. They probably are curious what kind of person the ‘Great Wizard who destroyed an anki nest’ is like.
In that case, then I have no recourse but to show them.
“Beloved citizens of Lelis. I am the wizard Gio Margils.”
Putting strength into my abdomen, I speak out in as dignified a voice as I can muster. My surroundings fall silent.
“Apologies for the commotion. As all of you already know, I am now about to accompany the city guards in requesting an audience with Baron Koval. The purpose is because of the suspicion of him being a Demonist.”
When I speak aloud what has previously only been hearsay, the crowd begins to buzz again. There is fear in a lot of their expressions.
“This is at most a suspicion. There is still the possibility that we learn from our talk with the Baron that all this was merely a misunderstanding. However, IF—if he really is a Demonist……”
The crowd has returned to being deathly quiet. Everyone is waiting for my next words with bated breath.
“I will apprehend him and protect you all, without fail! Know that the wizard Gio Margils is an enemy of Shadow Demons and everyone involved with Shadow Demons!”
After speaking loudly for a while, my throat’s gradually doing better.
I think that last line reverberated quite well. But it made me remember that time when I newly joined the company and was made to sing out loud at an intersection in the city, so I feel terrible.
“Please protect our children from the Shadow Demons!”
Unlike the lukewarm gazes of the passersby from that time, the Lelis citizens’ reactions are fervent. Even the city guards and adventurers are pumping their fists into the air and shouting.
Though I was the one who caused this, it still doesn’t feel very good.
“You’re starting to get quite accustomed to your role, Great Wizard-sama.” (Sedam)
“That’s the way to do it.” (Claura)
“Thank you for saying so.” (Gio)
I feel relieved as Sedam and Claura act like they’re praising a stupid child who’s finally made some progress.
“Wizard-dono, we are ready to move at any moment.”
So says the warrior Gad, who towers at least a head over me, with a fierce smile. His whole body is covered with rugged metallic armor, and he has a double-handed axe over his shoulder.
When I had looked at him with [Sense of Adept] back in the Adventurer Guild, I had noticed that he was the highest level among the adventurers, at level 8. He does not look pressured by the current atmosphere nor by me.
“You all, don’t you drag down Wizard-sama’s feet!!”
“Leave it to us!”
His subordinates (according to how the Adventurer’s Guild is set up in this world, they’re more like his subordinates or disciples rather than nakama) are mainly warriors who wear equipment heavier than the members in Sedam’s party. Of course, as it is a party selected for the purpose of stepping into the mansion, there are a few scouts, and also one cleric.
“Well then, let’s go.”
Accompanied by the cheers of the crowd, the adventurers, city guards, and I make our way into Baron Koval’s mansion.
True to the scouts’ reports, the inside of the mansion is empty.
There are strange books and idols all over Baron Koval’s personal room and study, but we don’t have time to examine them in detail and thus leave them alone.
After quickly sweeping through all the rooms, we head for our main target, the underground room.
According to the adventurers who’d been in the investigative group, the entrance to the underground room is hidden behind the huge wall painting in the parlor.
The painting depicts a goddess wearing an armor made of ice and snow striking down Shadow Demons and other monsters. It seems that this is Ashuginea, the Goddess of Winter that I’d heard mentioned a few times before.
“It’s now open, Wizard-dono.”
So says the scout with a self-satisfied face after unlocking the hidden door.
“Alright, I will take the lead from here on. Wizard-dono and guards, please slowly follow behind.”
“Very well, the lead is all yours. But before that, can everyone gather around me for a moment?”
With puzzled faces, the adventurers and guards crowd around, specifically within a 3m radius from me.
We are 12 full grown adults armed to the teeth, so this is a bit tight, but there’s no helping it.
“By means of this spell, may all these heroes within 3 meters of me have their physical strength, stamina, explosive power, durability, and 5 senses enhanced for 1 hour. [Physical Boost]”
After I finish chanting, blue-white sparks jump around within the 3m radius circle centered around me, significantly increasing everyone’s physical capabilities upon touching them.
“ Oh…… Ohhhh?!”
“What is this?!”
“Power…… I feel power welling up inside……!!”
“My spell has enhanced everyone’s strength. It only lasts for 1 hour, but this job will be finished within 1 hour, will it not?”
“Awesome! So this is the power of wizardry!”
“Long live Great Wizard-sama!”
“This is indeed quite something.” (Gad)
Suddenly feeling strength coursing throughout their whole body and their five senses sharpened, the adventurers and guards once more pump their fists into the air and roar excitedly.
We found an underground tunnel in the underground room.
The situation almost felt like dungeon crawling but for the fact that, for good or bad, neither monsters nor drops showed up.
We came upon several forks, but the adventurers always managed to figure out the correct direction without me having to use Mapping Scroll.
Our progress was almost disappointing in how smooth it was. Eventually, we noticed the air growing increasingly humid.
“Perhaps this route leads to an underground waterway. Either that, or it connects to Lake Liuus……”
So commented the scout at the head.
His words were proven right several minutes later.
We came out to an open area about as large as a gymnasium, but the deeper half of the area was a dark, muddy-looking water surface.
Somewhere close to the edge of the shore was a sinister altar, surrounded by several human silhouettes poised in preparation.
“…… To think that you yourself would come all the way here, wizard Gio Margils……!”
One of them, a man wearing a black robe with the hood pulled forward so that only his eyes were visible, addressed me with a torch in hand.
“It seems that we’ve finally met the Baron, Wizard-dono.”
Gad sounded slightly excited while readjusting his grip on his double-handed axe, but I couldn’t manage to say anything.
To the left and right of Baron Koval were 5 or 6 people wearing similar attire, but my attention was drawn by the thing behind them instead. The pitch-black altar that looked like it had been painted over with tar, and the ‘thing’ that laid on it.
On top of the roughly 3 meter tall altar with a distorted shape, the skull of a colossal animal was enshrined.
It was clearly not something alive…… but despite that. Within those empty eye sockets, a golden glow was flickering and showering us with a hatred powerful enough to prick our skin.
There is no doubt whatsoever in my mind.
That thing is neither a handmade item nor a mere imitation.
It is either an actual Shadow Demon, or an equally ‘bad for all humans’ existence.