Ball of the Witch and the Beast – Part 03

Translator: Kell

The priest had conspicuous features—jade-green hair, an eye patch, a staff—but his plain, server’s uniform suited him so well that the people didn’t notice him.

Albus let out an appalled sigh. “That priest’s like a sorcerer,” she said. “Personality-wise, and I think he has the talent as well. Probably not the Chapter of Protection, though.”

“You best not say that in front of him,” I warned. “Or he’ll cut your head off with his scythe.”

Speaking of not being noticed, I turned my gaze down to my arm. Lily hadn’t said a word nor moved a single muscle. Is she asleep? I shook her a bit, and her ears perked up. She looked at me with uneasy eyes.

“Oh!” the governor exclaimed. “So that white thing was a living creature! I was wondering why a huge guy like you was carrying an adorable, fluffy object. Let me take a closer look.”

“H-Hey, wait a—”

Before I could say anything, he grabbed Lily by the sides and lifted her up. Since I was carrying Zero, I couldn’t stop him, allowing Lily to fall into the pervy man’s hands.

“Whoa! So tiny! I’ve never seen such a small Beastfallen before! Not even scary at all. In fact, I find her adorable. As a sailor, I dislike rats, but if I had a young daughter, I’d take her home to be her playmate.”

Lily was so shocked that she became completely still for a moment, like an actual stuffed animal, and immediately afterwards she started squeaking and flailing.

“Hey, old man! She’s not a toy. Put her down. Oh, and she might look weak, but she can be quite scary when angry. So unless you want to be killed by rats, you better drop it.”

“I-I would never do that!” Lily said.

“She talks!” Torres exclaimed once more. “I can’t believe it! Oh, I’m sorry. Some Beastfallen can’t talk, you see. I thought you were one of those because of your squeaking. I like you more and more! Forget my daughter. You can be my playmate. What do you say, little girl? Wouldn’t you like to live in luxury in my castle?”

“Stop it already!” I let Zero down on the floor and snatched Lily back from the governor. “What kind of games are you planning to play with her, huh?! You’re obscenity personified!”

Lily was trembling. Clinging to my arm, she looked around restlessly.

“Look at her. She’s scared.”

“Because of your dirty mind,” Torres said. “I genuinely just want to play with her. Do I look like someone who would abuse such a little girl?” He raised an eyebrow.

“N-No!” Lily cried.

I looked at her, and she became more and more scared. “What’s wrong, squirt?”

“I’m not sure,” she said, fear on her face.

Zero gently grasped her hands and peered at her face. “You do not need to explain it in detail,” she said. “What should we do?”

Lily looked at her, then at me.

“Can you hear it?” she said.

“Hear what?” I asked, raising my ears. I focused for anything strange.

Loud music, countless footsteps, the din of conversations, laughter, the clanging of tablewares, and a dog barking. Mixed in with all of this was the sound of something being dragged.

“What the…”

The moment I perceived the sound, a chill crawled up my spine.

I sensed something coming closer. I couldn’t feel any hostility or malice—just a ravenous appetite.

I hadn’t even noticed it until a moment ago, but now that I did, I couldn’t get it off my mind.

“Mercenary? Do you hear something?”

“I don’t know… But something’s coming from the courtyard.”

A man screamed. A window shattered as something was tossed into the hall.

It was the corpse of a Beastfallen guard, with all of its bones crushed.

“I’ve never heard of an assassination executed out in the open,” I said.

I wouldn’t even call this an assassination. It was more like a direct attack.

As screams and panic filled the hall, I looked at the broken window. My gaze rested at the assailant standing outside.

I was expecting a large enemy. If they were strong enough to kill a Beastfallen and throw him into the hall, he must be huge.

“Is this some kind of a joke?”

It’s a monster, I thought to myself, despite myself being one technically.

A huge snake was looking down on us, its upper body swaying. Its waist was as wide as mine, its tail incredibly long that I couldn’t even see its tip. Its flat head was so high up that it almost touched the chandelier. But the most bizarre thing of all were the “human shoulders and arms” on which the snake’s head rested.

It’s clearly a snake, but why does this thing have arms?

A snake’s head, a snake’s neck, a human torso, and a snake’s lower body.

Raul, the horse Beastfallen we met in Black Dragon Island, had a human upper body and a horse’s lower body, but this thing’s freakish nature was beyond compare. Its body made a dragging noise as it slithered forward.

Zero lifted the veil covering her face and stared at the figure. “Astonishing,” she said, sounding deeply impressed. “It is huge and sinister. Beautiful, even.”

“I think you mean disgusting! What the hell is that thing?! Where’d it come from?!”

“What’s it doing here?” Albus muttered.

Startled, my gaze darted towards her.

Albus frowned and clicked her tongue. “We locked it underneath the castle. It had lost its human self. A merchant came to sell it, but no would buy it, so they abandoned it in the woods. It then attacked a village. We captured it then locked it up.”

I wanted to yell, “Why didn’t you kill it right away?” but now was not the time to argue about that.

The governor was already shouting orders at the guests to leave the hall. Guards assisted in the evacuation. The number of people in the hall dwindled quickly.

In an attempt to prevent their escape, the snake extended its arms to the guests, chasing them like a child chasing ants.

However, its hands froze midair. An invisible string constricted its entire body, and the snake let out an agonized cry and fell, writhing.

The moment I realized it was the priest’s strings, I pushed Lily to Albus and pulled out my sword.

“Kid, go with the guests!”

“I-I can fight too!”

“That won’t do.” Suddenly, the governor grabbed Albus by the arm. He must have noticed that we were taking so slow.

Albus glared at the governor and brushed his hand away.

“I can’t run away! I have to protect everyone!”

“Your bravery is commendable, but you don’t seem to understand the situation. Your reputation will depend on how this situation is dealt with. You’ve already let an assailant in. You must lead the guests to a different room, serve them tea, and act as if this were just a form of entertainment. Otherwise, you will lose your reputation as a person of power.”

“What he said,” I added. “Besides, we have the Murky Darkness Witch here with us who’s much more reliable than you. Take care of the squirt. Go!” I gave her back a push.

Albus let herself be pulled away by the governor. She walked slowly, though.

“Politics is such a pain in the ass,” I spat.

“I wholeheartedly agree,” Zero said. “I changed my mind. I do not want my own nation. On a different note, the ball turned into a brawl in the end.”

“Quit standing around there, and help me!” the priest demanded. “It’s too strong. I can’t hold it back by—”

Before he could finish his sentence, the snake threw the priest in the air, but just before he slammed into the wall, he unraveled his strings and landed spectacularly in front of me.

“Its scales are as hard as metal,” the priest said. “My strings won’t work. How about using your brute strength to rip its head off?”

“When cooking a snake, the traditional way is to cut into the neck, peel off the skin and grill it, but it doesn’t look like there’s any gap that a knife can pierce through.”

“Mercenary, even I would not wish to eat that.”

“You better not! If you even say a word about wanting to eat it, it’s over between us—Whoa!”

The snake lunged at us at an incredible speed that belied its massive size. I quickly grabbed Zero and leaped to a corner of the hall.

I’m sure the priest can dodge it. If he actually died, we’d just chalk it up to an unfortunate accident. I turned around.

The snake’s thick torso coiled around the priest’s body, threatening to crush every bone in his body.

“You fuckin’ idiot! Why’d you let it grab you?!”

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