Translator: Denryuu; Editor: Ryunakama
Unfortunately, my killing intent affected not only Barbatos and his men, but those on my side as well. I turned around and noticed that Rabi had fallen to the ground too.
「Y-You’re scary when you’re angry, Roland…」
「I’m not angry」, I said, helping her to her feet.
The young mage hesitated a little before speaking again.
「Thanks for that.」
「I didn’t say it for your sake.」
Standing at the periphery of Rabi’s force field, Barbatos barked orders at his men.
「Incinerate the entire place! Raze it to the ground!」
「I beg your pardon, Barbatos-sama… but the village…」
「So what? If we have to burn a few villages to win the war, then away with those villages!」
The men around him nodded dutifully. Perhaps they were still fiercely loyal to their lord, or simply bedazzled by his talk of the big picture. Looking conflicted, though, the mages behind Barbatos glanced at each other uneasily. One of them nevertheless dispelled Rabi’s force field again, and the others began casting their own spells.
「Roland, at this rate…」
Rabi activated her skill a third time, and her force field crumpled instantly once again.
「I know」, I replied, making eye contact with Barbatos.
Still spooked by my ‘loud’ voice, he stumbled back by a few more steps.
「Hey! Come out and protect me!」, he hollered at nobody in particular.
I knew, however, that there were three men hiding in the shadows observing the entire spectacle. They all looked adept at their job, and it wouldn’t be a stretch to think of them as his personal bodyguards. In fact, even I would have trouble if I had to take them on in unfavourable conditions.
One of them stepped out of his hiding place nonchalantly and strolled over to his lord, who stuck a finger in my direction.
「It’s that guy over there! Get him!」
「Barbatos-sama. We formally relinquish the duty of protecting your Lordship.」
「Huh…? What did you just say?」
「It is true that we were tasked with protecting your Lordship, but I’m afraid that walking into certain death isn’t part of our job scope.」
「But that’s the whole point!」, retorted the helpless baron. 「How do you know whether you’ll die if you haven’t even tried?」
The man simply shook his head.
「No. We are fully aware that if he makes his move, none of us can even hope to lay a finger on him. The way he carries himself, his piercing gaze and his paralysing killing intent — they are certainly those of a pro. On top of that, the girl behind him called him ‘Roland’. Without a doubt, he must be the one and only ‘Demonic Regicidal Killer Phantom’. His name is oft repeated among those in our profession.」
‘Demonic Regicidal Killer Phantom’… a strange title, but still better than the ‘Roland Group’.
「And how strong are you making him out to be!?」
「At the very pinnacle of the pyramid. I believe he is about as powerful as that person.」
「Impossible… impossible! That’s a blatant breach of your contract! I paid good money for you to protect me, and you choose to treat the contract as toilet paper!? Don’t use your profession as an excuse!」
「We understand, of course. If we were to follow through with the contract, however, then the only thing that awaits us is death. We have chosen to forsake our reputation and our working relationship in favour of staying alive. That’s all.」
With that, the leader of the trio disappeared. The other two also vanished without a trace.
「Wait…! Don’t go –」, wailed Barbatos, turning around as if to see where they had gone.
I walked up to him and tapped his shoulder.
「Call off the assault.」
「Okay… I will…」
He immediately ordered a ceasefire. Thanks to Rabi repeatedly activating her skill, none of the fires had gotten out of control.
「There’s a place I’d like to bring you to. That okay with you?」
I tied his hands behind his back.
「But who are you even…?」
「What do you mean? I’m the one you’ve been looking for.」
「Me? Looking for you?」
「I’m the one who has a bounty on his head for destroying that underground arena.」
「Ah… so it was you!? You’re the one that caused me to lose a fortune…!」
「That loss will pale in comparison to what’s about to come.」
「Eh?」, grunted the baron, tilting his head a little.
「I’m taking you to King Randolph, for he too has suspected you for some time now.」
「There’s no way his Majesty will believe a word from someone like you…」
「Then I’ll let your letter do the talking. All it needs is some moonlight, am I wrong?」
「Please, I beg you… anything but that…」
I spread the envelope flat in front of him.
「Didn’t you know nothing about his envelope?」
He moaned loudly.
「All would be well if you could just get away with capital punishment, but… a full nine familial extermination is entirely plausible. The young and the old… all of them, regardless of their age.」
「Isn’t this what you always wanted? Your name will go down in history」, I replied. 「Although how your name ended up there will be rather regrettable.」
[T/N Note: Nine familial extermination refers to the most severe form of capital punishment in feudal east Asia, where your ‘nine families’ — great-grandparents, grandparents, parents, children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, siblings, uncles and aunts as well as their children — are all executed. This aligns with Confucian values, where it is believed that the actions of a single person can and will implicate their clan as a whole.]