Translator: Denryuu; Editor: Ryunakama
All the men I had just killed appeared to be assassins as well.
Believing that it takes one to know one, I had once suggested to King Randolph that assassins would make the best bodyguards against other assassins. Leaving the dead men behind, I headed for the room I had spotted earlier and opened the door.
「Who… who are you!?」, came a voice from below the desk.
「If you indulge my curiosity, you will not be met with violence. This is a promise.」
He gingerly poked his head out. When our eyes met, I raised both hands to indicate that I had no hostile intentions as I had done with Veskoda. Looking afraid and dripping with sweat, he slowly crawled out and sat on the chair.
I pointed at the sofa.
「May I? Former Lord Ben Amstel?」
「Ah… yes. That’s me…」
Seeing him at a loss for what to say, I got the ball rolling.
「I heard about you from an employee of the underground guild. It’s about the bounty head quest. Did the destruction of the underground arena inconvenience you in any way?」
「Oh, that place…」
Taking a deep breath, the former baron wiped his sweat with a handkerchief.
「Did you come all the way here because of a quest you were given?」
「I did. I came to ask how you got hold of such precise information.」
Is that so, said Amstel.
「I’ll be frank with you — I was not inconvenienced in the least. In fact, I had no idea that piece of underground infrastructure even existed.」
「Then why did you submit such a request?」
「I’m nothing more than a proxy. I know none of the details you’re talking about. I was just asked to submit a request on their behalf…」
「On whose behalf?」
「Looks like you know nothing too. I thought you belonged to that side at first.」
That side? What side?
Aware that I could make neither head nor tail of his explanation, Amstel started from the beginning.
「It was about two months ago that my daughter was abducted.」
「Mhm. The kidnapper didn’t reveal their identity. They demanded that I submit their request to the guild under my name. I had no choice but to acquiesce, of course. I was told that once the quest had been completed, I would receive the reward — and have my daughter returned to me…」
The person who knows too much about me is another guy, then. The only opportunity for anyone to have noticed me was at the underground arena, because I used my skill in front of the entire audience.
And could someone in the audience have known about me…?
「Tell me more about your bodyguards.」
「Ah… those guys. Not only were they bodyguards, but they were also here to keep an eye on me. To make sure I don’t try anything funny.」
「Where did they come from?」
Amstel shook his head.
「No clue. They just… appeared in this mansion one day. But since you’re here… does that mean they’re gone?」
「Yes. I killed them all.」
「Could you be… powerful?」
「I have never thought that of myself.」
With apparent understanding on his face, the former baron nodded a few times.
「I’m relying on you. Please save my daughter.」
Could those kidnappers be affiliated with the original requestor?
「I’ll give you as much as I can in return…! Please…!」
He got to his feet and bowed so low his torso was almost parallel to his desk.
Someone there knows about me. Although I couldn’t put it into words, that fact alone made me sick to the stomach. Simply knowing that such a person exists makes me want to erase them from existence.
「I don’t have enough information. For starters, I’ll find out where they are.」
「Will… will you really?」
「I too have a stake in this matter. Can you do me a favour, though?」
「What is it? Please speak your mind.」
「I’ll leave you to dispose of the three dead bodies.」
「Lowly peasant. Your word is worth less than a ha’penny」, spat Lyla when I returned to the castle in Izalia.
Seeing that she had waited for me the entire time, I told her what had happened.
「I had not intended to deliver a rash promise.」
「So you rescued a hostage this time. You have really been busy as of late.」
The black cat turned her back to me.
「I’m busy right now. I’m a guild employee in the afternoon and an adventurer working for the underground guild otherwise.」
「Doesn’t that leave you no time to sleep…?」
Using her hind leg to paw at her collar, Lyla indicated that she wanted me to revert her to her human form. I touched the collar, and with a faint golden glow, Lyla was the Demon King again.
「What, are you concerned about me?」
「There is no use in doing that… and yet I am concerned for you all the time.」
Sitting on the bed, Lyla knocked her knees together.
「I allow you to use my lap.」
「A pillow would be better if I needed rest.」
「How rude of you to reject my kindness.」
Not wanting to tick her off any more, I placed my head on her lap and laid perpendicular to the bed.
「It feels as though you are flustered.」
「Flustered? Not at all.」
「I too hope it was just another baseless fear.」
I suddenly felt my ear being tugged at.
「Your punishment for falling for other women and placing me on the sidelines」, she crooned, kissing me on the cheek. 「Just because I allow it doesn’t mean I feel good when you do so.」
She gave me another kiss.
「So what are you planning to do?」, she asked.
「If I write off my present worries, they may come back to bite me in the future. I want to remove the seeds of chaos from the soil before they have a chance to germinate.」
「You mean something’s disrupting your ‘Normal’ life?」
「Does it or does it not, that is the question.」
「…Is there a place for me in your vision of a ‘Normal’ life, then?」
「Why do you ask that now? I do intend it.」
Having maintained a certain stiffness throughout our exchange, Lyla relaxed, lying down beside me. She then rolled over to face me and pinched my nose.
「What are you doing?」
「You pamper that Dee too much.」
「I believe I have said it before — I don’t care what you do or where you do it. But you must give me more of your love than to anyone else.」
Looking at her properly, I knew that both her cheeks and the corners of her eyes had turned red. She rolled back to her original position. Now that she had spoken her mind, she probably felt embarrassed.
I hugged her from behind, and placed a hand under her dress.
「I’m taking it off.」
「Your whispering is too much for me… don’t skip steps, you idiot…」
She trailed off. I made her roll around to face me again, clutching her delicate shoulders and giving her a kiss. Drawing my hand away from under her clothes, I brought my face away from hers.
Lyla angled her head upwards, looking at me with pure desire.
「W-why did you stop…?」
「You’ll know soon enough.」
As soon as I had finished my sentence, we heard someone knocking on the door.
「Lylael-samaaaaa? That human seems to be running late, so I, Rodje Sandsong, have come to pick you up!」
「Really, now? Damn that Rodje…! She couldn’t read the atmosphere even with a magnifying glass!」
The Demon King cleared her throat.
「…Oh, hi. You can leave for today. I’d like to spend the night here… and won’t be returning for the time being.」
「Who gives a shit!」
「Huh…?」, said Rodje in utter confusion. 「If you say so…」
Nevertheless she left, and I felt her presence disappear into the distance.
「Unbelievable. Absolutely unbelievable. Hmph.」
Dee immediately appeared after that.
「Ara-ara, maa-maa. Me and Lylael-sama today…」
She peeked into the room.
Lyla rapidly headed for the window and drew the curtains.
「What a way to ruin the mood. Absolutely unbelievable, these serfs.」
「Lylael-sama…? Is there enough love to go around for both of us?」
「There’s barely enough for me!」
She rolled her eyes as she shouted at the nymphomaniac waiting outside.
「If you insist. I will make do with the sounds I hear, so please don’t hold back!」
After chasing Dee away, she returned to the bed panting.
「You know, I can handle three easi –」
I took a slipper to the head.
「Didn’t I just tell you to take the love you give others and multiply it for me?」
「You never asked for a multiple.」
「Shut up. You’re busy even at home…」, she said with evident sorrow.
I ruffled her hair, and she came over to bury her head in my chest.
「It’s fine. This is all I need…」
Though there were only two or three hours left in the night, we made do with the little time we had and slept together until the dawn came.