Translator: Adam Seacord Editor: Weasalopes
Dance Macabre: Setting the Board
「Master Lubreo, all preparations are in order. All that is left is to reap the Roland girl.」
Gratina, House Lambert’s housekeeper, reported. Many wouldn’t notice the hint of lust in her matter-of-fact tone. And, even if her master on the receiving end of her lust noticed such an inclination, he ignored it as he pleased.
「Will that lowly noble girl take her orders? She might choose to choke on her own tongue.」
「Then it shall be so. Her house has a lot of debt to our lenders. If we offer to pay for the funeral, her father would gladly introduce us to her schoolmate.」
After pondering this course a moment, Lubreo gave a subtle nod in satisfaction.
「I knew it would take a while, but we’re cutting it close to the parade?」
「Shall we postpone? It would be beneficial to finish before the parade, but it won’t be worth forcing it through.」
「No, we already prepared for this. Breaking that feisty girl will take some work, but it must be done. Depending on how things go, we might have to have her play the First Lady.」
「It should work out that way.」
Only Lubreo and Gratina occupied this room. The gem placed on the window sill occasionally emitted a magical blue light. It protected them from intruders using magic; one with a particular set of talents could decipher that the item was used to detect any unwelcome guests.
「….And for the parade?」
「Looking at the route and the guards’ placement, One-Eye will be in the location we spoke of. The Twins will be in the crowd, and Number Three will be on the corner of the plaza, and I have order The Quartet to hide in a location of their choice.」
「Is anyone but Number Three aware of our actual client?」
「No, sir. Even if anyone would suspect it, they can’t prove it. Of course, The Twins would pay it no mind even if they knew… Those two, we need to be careful how to handle.」
「Only murder arouses them. A tricky fetish, for sure.」
「If you’re interested, would you like to try them? They’ll have to kill at least one person in the process, but…」
Shaking his head to his Housekeeper’s proposition, Lubreo finished the little wine he had left in his chalice, then stared down the map. A very intricate map that showed Abram’s geography.
「Watch the entrances to the underground waterways. The monsters will come from there. That Lamia is a handful.」
「It wouldn’t be too productive to have the private soldiers guard each and every waterway… But it is concerning. If that young Roland brute hadn’t decided to turn guarding the parade into a competition, we wouldn’t have to worry about such a thing. 」
Down on the map, a row of pieces representing the parade were placed in the plaza in front of the castle gates. The carriage to host the master in the center. And in front of them, two messengers from House Blare (painted green). On either side, there were numerous pieces in either red or blue. Observing this, Gratina, with remarkably overt irritation, said:
「It’s a waste of our official manpower and budget for such a vapid show. All they want to do is appease the Blare girl and taunt House Lambert.」
With half of a chuckle, Lubreo responded:
「That boneheaded boar is planning to ask that woman’s hand in marriage. He’s not a bad man, though. Just honest with his desires. As for his brains…」
「I had heard that he has many lovers, but we haven’t been able to find anyone worthy of blackmail…」
「He likes bedding his subordinate knights and adventurers. Nobles aren’t as easy to deal with after they leave the bedroom. In that sense, he’s not an idiot.」
「…We could have one of our female soldiers play the part of adventurer to bait him.」
「Not bad. But we needn’t delve into that now. Potentially, he is my future brother-in-law. Keep a face ready to wear when you see him.」
With that, he slowly moved the pieces on the map, through the route he was already notified that they would take. Through the main street of Old Town, which would undoubtedly be flooded with spectators, across the bridge to New Town. The New Town, constructed under a semblance of a infrastructure plan, had wider roads and a bigger plaza. After contemplating for a few moments, he glanced at Gratina, who had been mumbling some incantation for a while. She placed the black pieces around the city.
「These are our current positions.」
「…Hmm, not terrible. But forget New Town. The roads are wider and the allies are paved. So… We’ll save One-Eye for last. Lead with Number Three… The Blare girl would be accompanied by Layla, and a Roland lady knight. He shouldn’t have a problem with one knight.」
「No, and we’ll notify The Twins to initiate at the same time. While we won’t have to worry about Layla… I believe the magician girl will ride within the carriage for protection.」
「…Right, the one with blue hair who came to Elliot’s shop.」
「Any magician that handles spirits would rarely need a catalyst to call their djinn. She is but an ex-adventurer amateur. Number Three will snap her neck on the way out.」
「…How much does he know about this?」
Suddenly, Lubreo lowered his voice and asked.
「He knows his own role, and that the Twins would assist before he engages. He’s a cautious man, so I doubt he took our word for it.」
「In that case, tell him to immediately leave the city and disappear, even if he fails. Have some food, his reward, and some change for the road. Tell him to go on the run alone, and we can’t help him there.」
「My, that’s very distant of you, Master. Are you sure?」
「After Number Three completes his mission, notify One-Eye of his new target.」
「…Understood, Master. If you’ve planned for that, I have no more to say.」
「Now, just in case… You’ve already took care of things at the House, and we’re ready for Layla?」
「Without a hitch.」
Her response was short, but the housekeeper’s eyes were soaked in lust.
「Very well. Gratina, something light to drink… For me, and you. You were calling the Twins black… But as always, the only time you go into heat is when you think about killing.」
「And you, my master, are the only one who knows that. Besides, everyone floats their boat a different way… You yourself, when you plan your strategies, or when you discuss things with that poor mind-controlled enchanter… Your face is almost unrecognizable.」
He chuckled to the woman’s rebuttal, and admitted it.
「That’s true. There are few men who can keep up with me, know things I don’t, and point out things that I don’t see. Not an ambitious man, but a useful one both as a conversation partner and a consultant for expanding uses of magic. If all things go well, I would like to have him marry Layla to keep on her good side, but… Things don’t go that well, too often. 」
「Sir, to have a prey at the tip of your fangs, then pitying them, is a vice of yours. Although… You’re don’t go into heat unless there’s fire. I’ve known that well since that day…」
She pulled out the pitcher and bottle of a distilled spirit from the cabinet, and laid out two silver-gilded goblets, decorated in detail. The housekeeper dropped her robes. She was as skinny as a tree branch, save for her breasts, which had been constricted, now protruding almost unnaturally.
「As many times as you would kill… Shoot it inside me. Your seeds, although they may never bear fruit…」