「Nuuu……! There is going to be a Noble Blood: Judge Duel held as part of the ascension ceremony jyato!?」
「Do you know what it is, Palmyra?」
While sipping on her apple cinnamon tea cup, the goth loli demoness opens her eyes in a thoughtful manner.
Including Kirika who was the one who asked Palmyra the question, everyone else in this needlessly large western-style room had their eyes glued to the demoness.
……It was the kind of scene that occurred in one of those shonen manga’s.
「Umu…. So that the conflicts between the Eight great houses can be settled in a relatively “peaceful manner”, we are supposed to choose several representatives from the two candidate families and hold a duel in a public place to decide the winner…… It is a strange and ridiculous solution to all of this.」
「Eh, what’s with that?! That’s kinda cool! I feel like we are in a manga or something! Hey, Tooru-chi what do you think?」
「Ah……. Yeah, I guessed that Tachibana-san would react like that. Indeed.」
「Hmm, so it’s like a battle tournament?! It really gets my Knightly blood boiling! 」
「E-Even Celesta is…..」
Both the Hero Gal and the Woman Knight had sparkling eyes (Or more like, your fighting style is totally different from a Knight you know?), I ignored these two girls and proceeded to explain the concepts that was conveyed to me by Mikura.
「Well, although it is something that was established as a rule, it has never been applied up until now, it’s a sort of outdated rule. The Iblis faction brought this method out and suggested it because she wants to decide the election as the next Archduke in one fell swoop.」
「Ohh, she likes to solve things quickly! Isn’t that fine Master? I also like that kind of thing you know!」
「Amelia-chan you’re getting too fired up…… But yeah, this might actually be a good chance for us right?」
「…….. Nina, what do you mean by that………..?」
Sierra was puzzled by the statement and her elder sister Dianne was the one who explained it to her.
「In other words, could it perhaps be this? Iblis likes to conspire and plot strategies behind the scenes and rather than fighting her in a battle of the wits, this kind of straight forward duel that is going to be judged by an impartial third party will be comparatively safer for our faction and increase our chances of winning….? 」
「Uh-huh, I see….. As expected of Anee-sama」
The big breasted elf behaves well as she sits on the couch and listens to her elder sister’s explanation while nodding her head expressionlessly.
「It is just as Dianne-san has said. The problem is how many strong individuals can be obtained to participate as our representatives.」
「If that’s the case, then we don’t have anything to worry about right? Both Mikura and Vladoveri have countlessly strong military type demons that can be prepared for this duel jyana?」
Palmyra’s words were quite reasonable but I slowly shook my head.
「No….. That’s where the problem lies. I think you may have already known this, but there is a special rule to this fighting competition. Both sides can only select contestants from their related factions and they must be part of the Eight great houses.」
「Umm, Tooru-kun, what you mean to say is? The only people that can participate are those parties directly related to either the Iblis faction or Bell Foizon’s faction and they must be one of the chosen parties?」
「Yes. Not only that but their representatives are highly skilled demons.」
Kirika and the other girls still have not completely understood the gist of the situation so I added a simpler explanation. Facing towards Palmyra direction,
「Bell Foizon has already chosen her partner for the occasion….. And that is none other than you Palmyra of the Eight great houses.」
「W-Wait a minute!?」
Pfft, the goth loli demoness spurts out her tea in an un-ladylike manner.
Well, it’s understandable…
「Wait, wait wait waitt!? I am a mere newcomer that has recently been named as one of the Eight great demons, only the minimum amount of forces has been gifted to me by Mikura and there are no high-ranking demons under my control who can fight the strong enemy force you know!? 」
「Ahh……. that is precisely what Iblis is aiming for. As one of the penalties for attempting to refuse her candidacy, Iblis has demanded that she retain the right to choose Bell Foizon’s partner. Regrettably, it is unfortunate that Mikura was not able to reject this proposal.」
Normally, this kind of a concession is actually pretty fair after making such a ridiculous statement to decline the seat of the candidacy.
Naturally, she understands that you are merely receiving a portion of Mikura’s forces and the fact that she planned this in such a timely fashion just means that Iblis is truly going to be a hard foe to handle.
「Well, won’t this all be solved if the two present heads of each faction battle it out in a dignified manner? This is a matter of honor, if there is some sort of issue, even my father would have done something for the faction.」
「It’s just like Cele-pyon has said! In fact, won’t it be brilliant, it can be our debut as one of the new Eight Great Houses!」
「Y-You guys!? Are talking like this is not your problemm!?」
「Relax a little, Demoness Pal. If this Bell Foizon can head out to battle herself, or perhaps she can have one of her strong generals participate in the duel, won’t it all be solved?」
「T-that’s also true jya! Sometimes you also say some pretty good things don’t you? You blockhead golem!」
「Do you want to be beat up right now?」
「There there, wait a moment. Truth be told, that is not something that will happen.」
I interrupted the comedic quarrel that both Palmyra and Nana were having and spoke with a somber tone of voice.
「This is a closely guarded secret but…… In truth, most of Bell Foizon’s most trusted subordinates are actually magical living beings. Even though the numbers of her troops may be vast, but their individual fighting power and ability to think for themselves are close to none. Moreover…… Bell Foizon’s actual combat power is likely to be much lower than your estimations of her. At the very least, I know that if she were to fight with Iblis and her faction, there would be no way she would win.」
「W-What did you just say!? This is the first time I’ve heard such a thing jyazo…… Y-You since when did you obtain such information!?」
「…….Well, don’t worry about that for now. After all, it’s top secret information.」
I was evasive about the subject.
There is no one else in this room that knows about the truth.
Yes….. Nobody is aware that the “Silent Demoness” Bell Foizon is actually a human who has tricked the other demons into thinking that she is one of them, in fact, she is my former homeroom teacher “Suzu-chan sensei”.
The one who set her up to seem like a demoness is none other than the deceased Archduke Aloysius with the help of the magical staff: Rafu Atei.
Because of this, most of her main subordinates are magical beings that can be ordered and controlled via her magic staff, her own individual battle power is likely to be very miniscule. Rather, if she were to be matched up against a demon with pure raw power, it is likely that she will be erased from existence in a single blow.
(……Iblis this fellow, without a doubt she’s realized something about Bell Foizon, or at the very least she is suspicious about her circumstances. Therefore, in order to ascertain the truth, she has used this type of method to “open the stove” and placed this kind of condition for the deciding factor)
So in effect, there are no representatives available from the Bell Foizon faction.
And to make matters worse, the only parties that can participate as determined by the old rules are those which are vassals under both Bell Foizon and the Iblis faction. It is not allowed to borrow personnel from the powerful Mikura and or Vladoveri.
「…..We have no choice but to participate. After all, we are treated as Palmyra’s retainers.」
There is no longer any options other than this and I quietly voiced out my thoughts.
「Ah, I understand! We can also be considered in this sort of manner!」
「Ohh! In that case I can fully accomplish my Knightly dreams! Mufufu, just as I had hoped!」
「Wait….. Tachibana-san, Celesta, are you guys really fine with this!? O-Our opponent is definitely going to be Iblis’s hand-picked elites!?」
The two carefree girls were interrupted by the logical speaking Kirika.
On a certain level, I also want to sympathize with her way of thinking but……
「Well, but there is no other option than this right, Master? You’re making that kind of face after all.」
「Please leave it to Nana as well, Goshujin. I don’t really care if Demoness Pal wants to participate or not, but I will be sure to make myself useful for Goshujin! Please allow me the opportunity.」
「Is there a possibility to go out in teams or a tag system? If so, both Sierra and I may have the opportunity to participate.」
「As expected if you guys don’t have a vanguard….. It will be difficult to battle…..」[1. Nef: Both Sierra and Nina are long ranged casters, so they obviously work better with someone acting as a vanguard to draw the attention away from them.]
The adventurer trio along with Nana are showing their motivation as per usual.
Perhaps they cannot feel how serious this event is? Or perhaps they just have a very reliable amount of mental fortitude.
In any case, the form the duels will be held in is going to be officially announced at a later date. According to Mikura, there is a possibility of a team vs team battle, as one would expect the girls have quite the experience in working together so there may be opportunities for them to shine.
「To be honest, I am quite worried in sending Sierra to a place like this…. But Tooru-dono has probably calculated the highest chance of victory as per usual, right? In that case, we as your Magical Slaves will abide by your decision.」
As usual she speaks with farsightedness, the dark elf priestess has a calming voice as she summarized her views.
Well, there is definitely a chance of winning…… That’s why I’ve gathered everyone here to talk.
And it is likely that Iblis has also anticipated our participation before even suggesting this form of resolution.
In the Devil Kingdom, if one of the participants were to turn out dead, they would continue on as if nothing had happened, they have merciless and unforgiving rules.
It seems that she plans to snatch the position as one of the three Archdukes and at the same time she wants to eliminate us and removing any obstacles in her way, she plans on killing two birds with one stone.
However, on the other side of things, we also have the opportunity to eliminate her important war potential and if we get lucky we may be able to strike a big blow to her personally.
「Ahh, naturally since I am doing this, there is a method to our victory. Therefore, although it may be bad for me to say this but Kirika and Palmyra, I want you to prepare for the things to come. I plan on giving you both a very important role in all of this.」
I stared straight into her pupils which still looked uneasy.
She was staring back at me and indeed she has a really beautiful pair of eyes.
It was there for a little while but the look of confusion in her eyes faded away abruptly.
「Fuuu…… I understand. If with this fight we can lessen the bloodshed and or confusion, I have no qualms in doing it. Besides, I know that you will take command and lead us to victory as per usual, isn’t that right, Tooru-kun?」
「Oh, now you’ve said it.」
Kirika had a fearless smile as she looked at me.
I would have never imagined the stiff class prez from my previous world would ever have such a fine expression, it felt like she really understood me and it was like she was my long time partner.
Now that I think about it, there has been several changes in the status of our relationship ever since I met her in this different world….. We have a complicated relationship that cannot really be defined with just mere words.
「M, Muu……! Eei, if you’re going to go that far, then I also have no choice but to participate. After all, I cannot afford to have my household painted as a coward, when it has just been named as one of the Eight great houses……」
Haa……. I let out a sigh, it would seem that Palmyra who has the natural constitution of a scaredy-cat has finally accepted her role and was stepping up to the task.
「That’s the spirit. Thank you the both of you.」
And then, Riruna who had seemingly been frustrated with something whilst I was in the middle of interacting with Kirika raises her hand up high.
「Hey, heyy, me too, what about me! I will also do my best in this tournament battle thing! Although I don’t want to brag, I am a capable Hero that is able to fight her own battles, therefore, please do select me as a participant, okay Tooru-chi!」
Shaking her side tail hair and big breasts from side to side, she was breathing roughly through her nose with a *Mufuu* and she seemed to be really motivated as ever.
Is this perhaps her sense of rivalry to Kirika……. in action? No for a pure and innocent girl like her, she doesn’t seem like someone who would have those kind of thoughts.
In any case, I had to tell Riruna a difficult piece of information.
「Ahh…….. in regards to this, Tachibana-san. I cannot let you participate in this battle.」
「Eh, Ehhhh!? You’re kidding right, why!?」
The Gal Yuusha was staring at me pop-eyed and her whole body gave the impression that she was shocked and confused at my statement.
「Mu, I can understand it, after all…. You are known as the Hero jyana? You have the ability to reflect all types of magic that will give away the fact that you are the Hero. We are in a place with a lot of eyes and some demons that even participated in the previous Demon King war, if your identity was to be revealed that would be a really big problem jya.」
「Ah!? I-I see……!」
The only one in the demon world who knows of Riruna’s background other than our group here is Mikura. And Mikura has declared that it is impossible for her cover for Riruna once it has been revealed that she is indeed the Hero.
No matter how impressive she is as a war potential, it won’t be possible for me to let her participate in this battle.
No….. This might in fact be one of Iblis’s idea in order to seal the “tiger” known as Riruna.
「Don’t get so depressed, Tachibana-san. I still have something for you to do…… I will tell it to you later.」
「Eh, is that true! Yeah, alright, then I will try my best in doing that!」
Riruna’s face instantly glowed.
It appears that she really wants to be useful to me in some way. As expected of her instinctively loyal-dog-like characteristic towards me.
「Nevertheless, this would mean that Kirika would be our strongest war potential in the battle to come? Of course, I would also be on par with her myself….」
「Oi, don’t forget about Nana, Demoness Pal.」
「Eei, you think too highly of yourself. … Well, for a junk machine, you still have various junk parts that have changed to become more useful but…… I think that Flamia will be next after me jyaga.」
Palmyra’s line of sight is directed towards the wall of the room.
Over there, a black haired girl wearing her Japanese-style clothing was strangely sitting silently on the sofa since a little while ago.
The other girls also worriedly looked in Flamia’s direction.
「…….If it means that I have to participate…」
After a while Flamia opens her mouth but speaks in a subdued voice.
「This might mean that I will have to fight against either Strahl…… or perhaps even Iblis Onesama…..?」
An awkward silence fills the room.
Even though her sister is technically in a hostile relationship with her right now, it was after all her real blood sister. It is likely that she was her only living relative and it was the person Flamia was dependent on in the past.
No, just looking at Flamia’s appearance, the biggest part in all this is that she has a “fearful outlook” towards her sister.
Although I have been somehow making it this far up until now with both luck and trickery, I do wonder whether I can directly confront such a foe head on…..? Will I really be able to fight against Iblis and prevail….?
「……. I am sorry, Oniisan, and also everyone else. I already know that person has never thought of me as part of her family since the beginning. I also feel that I need to repay the kindness Oniisan and everyone else has showed me. But…. Even so, I’m still not sure…. Whether or not I can fight against her.」
「Well, I thought you would say something like this. At any rate, we still have time to decide the contestants, so I will put this matter on hold so that we are able to think it over for a while.」
「……Thank you, Oniisan.」
There was another concerning matter.
There is one other important person who was not here, it was Princess Sistina.
Since the morning, she has stayed in the meditation room prepared for by Mikura. This is because…. There were signs that a new and important prophecy was about to take place.
It is unknown whether the results will favor us……. or perhaps.
(Either way……… there is a grace period of about half a month to prepare for the fighting competition. I need to be able to decide everything by then and prepare for any type of outcome….!)
I folded my arms and looked up at the ceiling.
What kind of opponents will the other party come out with?
It is highly likely that the Demon Swordsman Strahl will make an appearance, but what about Cruz….?
Or will it be someone else….?
「I see…… for things to come down to the Noble Blood: Judge Duel competition….!」
The giant demonic swordsman Strahl was prostrating himself towards a magical device that was reflecting his master.
The grand demoness Iblis was leaning on her chair leisurely, she had skin and hair that held no pigmentation and she had a pure white body. She was currently looking down on her retainer Strahl.
She looked exactly like Flamia apart from her pigmentation, but even if their facial expressions were supposed to be similar, her face looked too cruel and cunning in comparison with her younger sister.
She was currently staying at the Abyssal Pandemonium Palace and using a form of magical communication to give Strahl instructions. Strahl was made to stay behind in order to guard her Haze Castle.
「I understand the situation fully. Then, I shall prepare an elite group from our subordinates that excel in single combat….」
『There is no need for that, Strahl.』
The lion headed Strahl had a bewildered face. Without explaining herself, she continued to speak.
The next line made the faithful Stahl even more shocked.
『……. You can lift the seal from the Imperial Prison: Prison Volt.』
「W….What !? Did I perhaps hear incorrectly!?」
Strahl was just dumbfounded as he stared at his master and a shadow from behind of Iblis walks into view.
A silver mask covers his face, it was her mysterious confidant, neither the age nor gender of this person was clear.
「I presume that your big ears haven’t grown deaf? Have they Demonic Swordsman? Iblis-sama has ordered you to release the prisoners, do you not understand?」
「Cruz…..dono….! B-But Iblis-sama, those “guys” are! Abominations that are supposed to remain in prison for all eternity, are we really going to use them in such a public place where the other Great houses along with the Archdukes will be watching!?」
『Strahl. If I remember correctly, this is the second time?』
Her thin white body spoke with a quiet voice but it was an extremely chilling voice that took things to the freezing point.
『This is the second time…….. you’ve made me repeat my words, the previous time was when you questioned my method of dealing with Flamia.』
『There will not be a third? Do you understand, Strahl?』
She was exerting a merciless amount of pressure. He felt like his body was being pressed down by the vast ocean gradually and slowly being crushed without mercy.
Even though she was separated from him by a vast amount of distance, it felt like she was directly in his presence and Strahl’s huge body was nailed to the floor being unable to move. Cold sweat breaks out of his whole body.
「Well you’ve heard her, so please do it quickly in accordance with her orders, Demonic Swordsman. Then, I give you my best regards.」
Gnashing his teeth at Cruz’s superficially polite attitude towards him, Strahl lowers his head towards his master.
Within his own mind, even though he did not favor his orders, he was helpless in trying to oppose his orders.
(The Imperial Prison……No matter how important this battle is, using those crazy bastards with no sense of honor to represent us in this fight……?! This will only make our household lose face…..!)
The Imperial Prison: Prison Volt.
This place is a gigantic underground prison located in the basement of the Haze Castle.
The demons in here were all rebels and or traitors that once tried to assault Iblis’s territory. These demonic nobles were the survivors and they have been imprisoned within her Castle to be tortured for ages to come.
Rather than putting them in prison for the purpose of punishing their crimes and defending public peace, it was more for the purpose of her own amusement and pleasure in hurting those who had once been hostile towards her.
There are those placed within the “eternity” category and these demons are those that have committed a much heavier crime. They are beings who possess a terrifying amount of power…. They were the type of demons that required Iblis herself to come out and capture, being extremely dangerous and boasting a high war potential these demons were locked for all eternity.
Put in another way, they were like ticking time bombs sealed within her territory.
Because Iblis wanted to release these types of individuals and place them in a public setting as a representative to their household, it was natural that Strahl would be puzzled by her decision.
(Why, would she bother exposing her own dark side to the public…..? Isn’t what Iblis-sama desires, the honor and glory of being one of the next three Archdukes….?)
There were also other things that Strahl did not understand.
In the past, Cruz had reported to Iblis that Palmyra and the other group of people were caught up in Flamia’s reckless self-destruct bomb and had all died.
However, they were in fact still alive and Palmyra was actually introduced as one of the recent Eight Great Nobles, joining Mikura’s faction.
Although Strahl was actually pleased with the news that Flamia was in fact safe from harm, he still anticipated that Iblis would get extremely angry with Cruz for the fact that he falsified the report he gave to her and that she would at least punish him with the show of pressure she exerted against him moments ago.
(Even when the news of her inauguration came through… Cruz that fellow was always calm, furthermore Iblis-sama did not particularly say anything to Cruz….. Has Iblis-sama perhaps taken everything into calculation? Did she know of Cruz’s disloyalty towards her and still let him off easy…..?)
Stahl was the kind of military man that would devote all his strength to serving his master, living with this kind of motto, he did not really understand how to make schemes and plots.
However, after having met with the masked Cruz…… He instinctively understood that this person was not someone he could trust or be careless around.
Unlike himself, it was impossible to think that this Cruz would ever act with loyalty for Iblis’s cause. Moreover, the fact that he may not even be a demon makes it even more improbable that he is a worthy ally to depend on.
(But…. What about Iblis-sama…..? She has started to use the “Divine Corpse” incorporating it into her own body and she plans to release to wretched demons from the eternal prison…… Is she really trying to make our household flourish and prosper?)
The Demonic Swordsman quickly shakes away the thoughts of suspicion that were beginning to bud in his mind.
When he raised his face to look upwards, the magical projection above him had already ended.
「Also Flamia-sama…. If she is going to participate in this fighting competition, I truly cannot bring myself to release the assassins from the Eternal Prison to fight against her…..!」
Iblis did not say a single remark in regards to Flamia.
In other words, for his master, it would seem that she thinks that the life and death of Flamia is a trivial matter.
「At the very least….. I want to make sure with my own hands that she is safe from harm and will be able to live freely……! Yes, even if I need to disobey Iblis-sama’s intentions…..!」
After speaking with a determined and bitter face, he leaves the hall in silence.
「I’m coming in okay, Tooru-kun….?」
「Yeah, please do.」
Kirika was called to come into my room, she had her dark blue skirt and white blouse and there was this nice scent of some kind of soap or perfume on her.
When I looked closely, her long black hair was quite damp and wet.
「So what did you need me for? Asking me to personally come in here?」
She was standing near the door and I was sitting on the bed, her expression flickers as she looks at me somewhat suspiciously. It feels like she is wary of me or something.
「In terms of why I’ve called you here, don’t you already have an idea as to why that may be, Kirika?」
「Eh…. Wa-Wait a minute!?」
I closed our distance in a dash and scooped a portion of her flowing hair in order to smell her fragrance and Kirika was in a panic.
「As expected, you’ve just taken a bath haven’t you? In other words, you must have had a slight premonition as to the direction things will be going from here on out…. Or were you perhaps hoping for it?」
「Uhnn…..!? W-Wait are you saying, Tooru-kun you bakaa!」
Noticing the meaning behind my words, her face blushes and she tries to escape into the distance, but because a door is directly behind her, she can’t go far.
Showing this kind of cute reaction, doesn’t she know by now that this will only make me even more interested in her.
「T….That’s because you suddenly called me into the room without saying much…… uhnn, I….I bet you wanted to do something weird to me again…. !」
「Fufun, in that case why did you purposefully come here after cleaning your body?」
I asked her in a teasing manner and my former class prez was biting her lips in frustration as she looked at me with upturned eyes.
「T-That’s because the other day Tooru-kun kept on….Sm….smelling me and stuff…. like that!」
「Oh, where did I start smelling you again?」
「〜〜〜〜〜〜〜〜〜Uhnn！！？ I-I’m going to get angry you pervertt！？」」
Indeed, her shyness was reaching a critical point, her eyes were darting about as she raised her hands.
However, I already predicted her behavior and I quickly grabbed her thin wrist pulled them towards me, I whispered into her slightly red ears which smelled really good.
「Come on, don’t be angry. The things we are about to do from here on out are really important you know? Before the fighting competition happens, it is necessary to strengthen Kirika’s Holy Sword techniques even more than before.」
「Yes, in order for us to win. And for that end…. It will be necessary for us to increase our connection together with you as my love slave to an even greater extent.」
「As a… Love slave.」
Kirika who had just gotten out of the bath seemed to be dubious of the situation and she was covering her own very rich breasts with her hands as she wrapped her arms around her white blouse standing in a defensive position.
Looking at such a marvelous sight my face could only distort into an impish grin.
「That’s right. A new type of system that was explained to me by the “manager” of that place. Finally…. You will have the opportunity to experience it with your body. Are you ready for this, Kirika?」