Chapter 59 – Omen

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“This is too outrageous even for a misunderstanding! The castle lord Margils is the hero who destroyed a Shadow Demon nest on this very land and eliminated all Demonists from the city of Lelis!”

The voice of Claura, who was glaring at the War Tribe warriors from the lookout, surged out with almost enough heat to set the air on fire.

The sharpness was such that it made even the 2 dark elves by her side quiver briefly, but the hulk that was the target of her voice — Head Warrior Leid — did not even flinch.

“It might very well be a misunderstanding. However, by meeting him directly, we will be able to determine whether or not he is a Shadow Demon or Demonist. If he is innocent as you claim, then we wish for him to comply.”

“You cretin! Is that the attitude of someone requesting something?! But if you really must, first have that ill-mannered mob behind you stand down!”

In the face of Claura’s {Fire Arrow}-like sharp tongue, Leid merely stood in place, letting the tirade wash over him as if he was a rock.

After a period of prolonged silence, Claura gestured towards Sasara with an almost imperceptible motion.

“…… Understood, Okugata-sama. I will hurry to inform my lord.”

♥♦♣♠

After the young girl with tanned skin slipped out of the castle with the help of invisibility magic that allowed her to almost melt into shadows, there was also movement among the War Tribe members standing by behind Leid.

Behind the man with the most eye-catching armor, there appeared several warriors wearing strange equipment.

“There was movement?”

“One dark elf, heading west. My partner is tailing her.”

“Good. Most likely, that’s where Margils is. If he heads back here, don’t do anything. If he flees, report back immediately. Don’t lose him!”

“Yes, sir.”

The lightly armored warrior who bowed to the warrior with the eye-catching armor was wearing a face mask that was strangely enlarged around the eye area. He, and the few others with him, were War Tribe spies called ‘Ear-Eye’s.

Whereas normal men would have difficulty even seeing a dark elf in action, these men were capable of not only seeing, but also tailing said dark elf.

“Call the Head Warrior back. We’ll all rest until the next report comes.”

“Yes, sir.”

The warrior with eye-catching armor — both of his shoulder guards were decorated with a figure made up of 6 eyes, and there were bird tail feathers attached to his back — also gave instructions to a few other warriors.

He was the one who had the highest authority among those present, War General Kanbelis.

♥♦♣♠

In Sedia, naughty children are often threatened with “bad children will get eaten by Shadow Demons~!” The phrase said with the next highest frequency is “children that stay up late will be hunted down by the War Tribe~!”

Despite the absence of any large scale Shadow Demon attacks and overt Demonist activity in the past ten years in the areas around Lake Liuus, this was one thing that had not changed.

No one knew the location of their base, nor their exact number.

What was well known, however, was not only that every single one of them was the equal of a thousand men, but that they possessed unique skills that enabled them to track and hunt down Shadow Demons and Demonists with great efficiency. If that was all, then they would have been esteemed as the guardians of humanity by one and by all. But no, they were also famed for their ruthlessness. When they discover a Demonist, they would expose him, with zero regard to how well the Demonist had integrated into society, before mercilessly cutting them down. Even for those dreaming of a world without Shadow Demons, the War Tribe was an evil omen of fear.

This was the price that they had to pay for growing to look down on the humans that they had been tasked to protect, as they had come to place supreme priority on “crushing all Shadow Demons and everything else linked to Shadow Demons.” But most of them had yet to realize this.

♥♦♣♠

“Has there been any reaction from the ‘Sight Demon’?”

“None, as of yet.”

After informing the chamberlain lady of a temporary suspension of conversation, Leid had come back. Ignoring Kanbelis, he went straight towards another War Tribe member.

His target was the only person among the group who was wearing a robe instead of armor. In his hand rested a crystal ball the size of a child’s fist. His name was Kyuil, and he was a War Tribe Diviner.

If one took a better look, they would have seen that there is a dark red mass sealed within the crystal ball. This was a secret War Tribe magic item called a ‘Sight Demon’ that possesses the ability to recognize Shadow Demons and those who’ve been affected by Shadow Demons. The mass sealed inside the crystal ball was actually Shadow Demon blood.

“Head Warrior. Shadow Demons and nests aside, in order for the Sight Demon to distinguish a Demonist, direct contact is necessary.”

“…… Which at least means that there are no Shadow Demons nor nests in the vicinity, then.”

“Leid! That conclusion is for me to make.”

“I get it.”

In contrast to Kyuil, whose voice was dispassionate and matter-of-fact, Kanbelis’ was cautionary. Leid turned towards the War General who was only about as tall as his chest and bowed slightly.

“Considering that the Miko had imparted a prophecy about this, we must be doubly and triply cautious. If Margils is a mere braggart, or if he — though I find this unlikely — truly is a ‘Great Wizard,’ either way he would be of no concern to us. However, in the one in a million chance that the Sight Demon shows any reaction whatsoever……”

(T/N: Miko: shrine maiden or priestess)

Hidden underneath heavy armor and thick plating, his throat rang loudly.

“Then it would confirm that he will be the focal point of the next Bleed. Even if we all lose our lives in the process, we must eliminate him here and now.”

♥♦♣♠

After hearing about the state of affairs from Sasara, I pressed on towards Jiiteias Castle with both impatience and anger.

Of course, we did not go in straight from the front like fools. Having heard from Sasara that she had been tailed here, I activated the [Move Outer Plane] spell, then led everyone through the alternate plane.

The negotiation — or whatever that was — had apparently been frozen temporarily, but above anything else, I was just relieved to see that nobody was hurt.

“Rather than that, we should now be thinking about what kind of response to make.”

“…… Yes, let’s.”

While feeling both gratitude and respect towards Claura, who is pale-faced but still level-headed, I went straight to the Command Room.

The people that I brought in with me were Sedam, Claura, Torad, Jiruk, and the 5 dark elves.

“When the War Tribe has their eye on you, things get troublesome. Even if we successfully drive them away this time, if word of this gets out, our reputation would take a nosedive.”

“More like, hasn’t it been 10 years since the War Tribe’s shown up in that large a group? All I’m feeling is foreboding from this.”

“In the first place, what is their basis for claiming that Margils-dono is a Shadow Demon?”

“I don’t know the full details, but they apparently have some special technique or tool that can make the distinction.”

While listening to the conversation between the adventurers, I somehow try to calm my flustered mind.

I drained the cup of Shil tea that Mora had poured for me with a face close to crying in a single gulp. However, I still feel rage boiling deep at the bottom of my stomach.

“…… If that’s the case, then all I need to do is have them use that technique or whatever it is they have to establish that I’m not a Shadow Demon. That’s only if that technique is real, of course.”

“It would indeed be best if everything would be resolved with that. What if they’re just finding something to fault you for in order to remove you from the position of castle lord?”

“If that is truly what they are aiming for, then it would make everything so much simpler. I can just kindly allow them to choose whether they’d prefer being a stone statue or a pig or whatever else.”

“……”

Everyone’s eyes gather on me, colored with surprise from hearing me express an anger-affected opinion.

“When you stop being calm, things can get out of control, fast. I understand how you feel, but will you please calm down?”

“…… Though in actual fact, we will need to exact some form of reparation for this.”

In response to Sedam’s worried words, Claura shot her own opinion out.

When I take a better look, I realize that the veins on her forehead are clearly bulging. I can tell that she is also currently suppressing a lot of anger inside.

“But with that in mind, I also advise that we aim to build a cordial relationship with them.”

“……”

Everyone silently nodded agreement to her extremely calm counsel.

She is right, of course. The War Tribe is a group of seasoned warriors who’ve been fighting the Shadow Demons for generations. Considering what my own goal is, they should be people that I would be willing to go to great lengths to acquire.

If they had offered a friendly hand at the very start, I would have taken that hand with nothing but joy in my heart.

Techniques to discover Shadow Demons and Demonists. The know-how regarding how to fight them. There are very few existences who would be more reliable as collaborators in the cause that we share.

“Only if we manage to first clear this misunderstanding, that is.”

“Her earlier point was also quite valid. After having done this much to us, how can we let them go home just like that?”

Reparation, huh.

No matter how strong they might be, it is easy for me to turn them into rocks or pigs. It would be even easier to exterminate them. But well, however full of anger I might be, I’m not actually considering the extermination option.

Of course, I will indeed exact some form of ‘reparation’ for having frightened everyone at the castle. Since, as the castle lord, working on our public image is also part of my duties……

“Whichever way, it seems that we all agree I must at least first meet with them face to face.”

Everyone exchanged uneasy looks at my conclusion. Oh don’t worry, I won’t suddenly call down a meteor with no warning.


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