「……And so, the expeditionary force was annihilated. I believe that the Spider Princess will return by tomorrow.」
The Assassin’s Guild assembly hall was an underground storage room that had the width of a small pub. Diana stood at the center of the room, and was explaining the situation to the members that were sitting scattered around her. Of course, the contents were 「the results were continuing just as the Assassin’s Guild hypothesized」 when in fact it wasn’t. The ones surrounding her were three people that seemed like low class leaders, and about eight men that felt like they were about to go into a fight who seemed like common members. Chana was confined in another room, and I was unable to understand her state from my side. ……Just as I had heard, it would seem that the Assassin’s Guild doesn’t have that many people in their actual work unit. At the back of the room, there was a hole covered by a thin curtain, separating it from the rest of the room. The hole wasn’t small, and most likely, it had a width that was about twice the size of underground storage room. It seemed that a small torch was lit inside of it, and the shadow of someone that existed inside of it swayed.
If said in a sloppy way of speaking, it was strange-looking. Maybe because it was stretching out from the underground waterway, there was the waist of a large snake that looked like it was the size of a Human torso or maybe larger. At the tip of it, the upper half of what seemed to be a female was attached. Because only the shadow could be seen, I was unable to infer an accurate size, but the intimidating air was quite strong.
「……Diana, that must have been arduous.」
The voice that resounded from the other side of the curtain was high like the chime of a bell, and it felt that she was young just from hearing her voice. However, that voice held a cruel feeling that she would innocently take a life, and gave a kind of fear different from that of Arachne’s.
「That expeditionary force’s woman commander, she must have been played with by Arachne, and died after knowing pleasure. Honestly, that girl is a kind fellow……In any case, our nest is secure with this. Once Arachne has returned tomorrow, we shall have to give you all a reward.」
The Lamia’s tone felt as if it had the elegance of some foreign country. It might be an aristocratic wording, but I haven’t heard Olivia using this sort of wording.
(T/L note: The Lamia speaks in a regal, elegant way. Similar to the Miko in No Game No Life.)
Chana stuck her head out from the room, and made a small nod to Diana. It would seem that the preparations were completed.
「……No, there is no need for that. Besides, Grandol’s Dungeon Master was quite an excellent person.」
Diana saw that, and continued the conversation. Hearing those words, we also started our preparations.
「Fumu, it is good that you were able to obtain his cooperation. What sort of fellow was he?」
Without noticing Chana’s movements, the Lamia invited Diana to continue.
「Yes, he was a user of fearsome magic, and was a Mazoku that employs demons. Even his subordinates, they were capable enough to not let down their guard but……」
……Somehow, she was treated as quite the big shot in a place that I’m not at. The members listened to her story as if taken in by interest, and the Lamia made a face that was only a bit puzzled. The topic of demons other than herself, well, it was probably something rare for them as well.
「Fumu. The expeditionary force being dispatched was inevitable, I suppose that it could be described as such. So, what happened to that fellow?」
「In the battle with the expeditionary force this time, I received a lot of support……And our Assassin’s Guild has gone under his protection.」
「……You bitch, what are you saying?」
Irritation and bloodlust instantly blended into the Lamia’s voice. It seems that she was an opponent with a short fuse. It seemed that the surrounding members were also startled for an instant, but they started to move to try and surround Diana who was the target of that bloodlust.
「That person had said this. That if there are those that do not oppose him, then do not kill them!」
However, together with those words, Diana dropped a glass container that she carried onto the floor. A clear sound was made, and the thin glass broke. What was inside of the glass container was a volatile paralysis poison, Stunner. Matching up with that timing, Chana also unleashed a large amount of paralysis poison.……Together with Diana, she got paralyzed herself and collapsed. ……In regards to Diana, probably half of this was an act. Since after that girl turned into a demon, her resistance towards poisons had increased even further.
Meanwhile, inside the carriage above ground. Almost simultaneous with when Diana started, I gave the order to the war potential that lurked inside of the carriage. Having confirmed that there weren’t any people in the vicinity, the entrance guard was mesmerized by Astarte in advance, and was made powerless.
I had a unit of Skeletons that I called forth beforehand barge in. After that, I had mask-wearing Orcs barge in. Naturally, the medicinal plants that would be an antidote were plaited in the masks as a countermeasure against the paralysis poison. With this, they will probably be able to fight once the gas fades a bit. With the Orc Leader at the lead, the unit of five Orcs chased after the Skeletons, and barged in. In the fight with the expeditionary force, the former Red Crow Orcs had decreased considerably. They weren’t strong in terms of physical strength, but there were ten Skeletons that the volatile gas had absolutely no effect on. After them, there were five Orcs that came in after the gas weakened a bit. The other party had a total of eleven assassins, and one Lamia whose true strength was unknown. I don’t know how much of an effect the paralysis poison will show but with this, we had no other hands to play other than to press and cut our way forward.
With it not being just me, I gave the instruction for the remaining members to put on masks, and we all marched into the Assassin’s Guild ourselves. Sending fifteen soldiers ahead of us, we only went in behind them. It was a fight that was sufficiently in our favor but……I can’t let my guard down. After all, I’m not suited for battle.[Illustration]
The fight progressed favorably. With the surprise attack by means of the paralysis poison, Stunner, that had become gaseous, about five of the assassin became unable to move. Even the remaining members, they struggled against the Skeletons that didn’t receive any effect from the gas. Most likely, there were probably several people that possessed the ability to easily defeat things on the level of the Skeletons mixed in with the group, but there was no way for them to demonstrate those abilities until the gas weakens.
Against six assassins, there were ten Skeletons and five Orcs. If we press and cut through with roughly twice their number, as long as there isn’t a large difference in their strength, our victory is assured.
With Astarte at the lead, we advanced through the conquered passage. When we entered the room, the Orc Leader’s brand new large mace meant for narrow passage use had smashed half of an opposing assassin’s face like it was an egg.
「Cease your resistance! If you get down and stop moving, we will not attack you!」
At the same time that I shouted that, two of them cast away their weapons and got down. There only remained three more and then the Lamia. I had instructed the Skeletons beforehand to not attack those that got down or collapsed. I had commanded the Orcs to do the same, but since they don’t listen all that well when they’ve gone into a bloody frenzy, there was a need for me to go out directly. And then, what I had the biggest concern about was……
「Hou, so you are Grandol’s Dungeon Master? I had heard you were a Mazoku, but you have an appearance that is almost no different from a frail Human. Could you show me the face that is underneath that toy-like mask?」
It was this girl. The curtain was already torn away, and her figure was illuminated by the faint cellar lamp and had dimly stood out. The upper half of her body, her back and the backs of her hands were covered in small scales, but it was that of a beautiful woman. The lower half of her body, from her waist to the base of her thighs were a blend of Human and snake, and from there it lead to a body of a large snake. Behind the curtain, there was a deep hole where several wooden logs and stone pillars were installed horizontally and diagonally. Most likely, the Lamia used these to move about in the hole.
The Lamia had already risen up to our side and with a tail thicker than the Orc Leader’s arm, she had already knocked three Skeletons into a wall and destroyed them. She had prepared an oriental falchion in her hand and was exchanging blows with an Orc, but seeing that she had no problem with hurling words at me in the middle of that, the difference in our strength was clear. At the very least, it would be tough unless we surrounded her with several people including the Orc Leader. I had anticipated this, but similar to Arachne, her battle ability is incomparably high. No, compared to Arachne who relied on poison and using weak points, Lamia might be higher in direct battle ability.
「Aah, that’s right, Snake Princess. If I were alone, I would be frail. That’s why, I want you and the Assassin’s Guild. That’s why, I came here like this to show you our abilities.」
Although I hit her with frivolous talk, the possibility of bringing her to the negotiation table is exceedingly low. The Assassin’s Guild was managed by Arachne and Lamia, and one of the sources of money was the Lanvelt House. On top of that, I have killed Arachne. I don’t know how deep the relationship between Lamia and Arachne is, but even if she calculated it calmly, or if she succumbed to fury, the possibility of proceeding with negotiations amicably is extremely low. That’s why, there is no other choice, than to make her submit by force.
「Ho, so you dare say that. This is why the likes of Humans are so……Mu, nevertheless……Could it be.」
It seems that Lamia has noticed. Why, was the Dungeon Master here. Why, was her own pawn obeying me. In that case, there was no time. Until the preparations are complete, let’s stall for time even if it’s just a little bit.
With those words, the Orcs attacked Lamia all together. Even the remaining Skeletons, half of it was to obstruct Lamia.
In that time, while calling out in order to throw Lamia’s concentration out of order, we scattered gunpowder that we ourselves had compounded. At the back, Sara had started the aria for her spell. Astarte used an illusion spell, making the surroundings blurred.
「Yeah, Snake Princess. It is that possibility. It would seem that the gears in Arachne’s head turn faster than yours.」
A Skeleton that was on standby at the back stealthily approached me. Having clothes that imitated mine, wearing the same mask as me, and having a Slime mixed together with large amounts of iron scraps, pebbles and fine gunpowder entwined around its entire body, it was a misshapen scarecrow. Naturally, I had it carry a magic tool that transmits voices.
The falchion glimmered, and the Orc Leader bore an injury on the tip of his shoulder and let out a voice of rage. Arrested by her strong tail, one Orc raised a grating scream.
「Arachne, fought against me, and died.」
Before the opponent could comprehend it properly, I declared that with a loud voice so that she wouldn’t refuse that comprehension.
「……Wha!? Impossible, there is no way that Kagome would lose to a fellow like your damned self!?」
Lamia’s face was dyed scarlet. It was anger. Kagome, that was probably Arachne’s real name. However, that fact no longer held any meaning. It seems that Lamia isn’t as composed as Arachne. Just as she appeared, she might be a young demon. ……In that case, is there an opening I can take advantage of?
「It’s fine if you don’t believe me, however……Diana?」
In order to cut off Lamia’s gaze, I had the secret weapon that lied in wait make a move.
Lamia raised a small scream, and arched her back backwards. It was a shooting from above, which was normally impossible. Reflexively turning towards the origin of the shot, what was at the end of Lamia’s gaze was the figure of Diana having changed into a Spider Mazoku and clinging onto the ceiling with the power stolen from Arachne. When Diana ungrudgingly abandoned her small bow, she escaped from Lamia’s attack range, and retreated to our direction. By that time, I had already returned to the entrance of the room and switched places with the Skeleton that was on standby.
Diana got down behind the scarecrow that imitated me, and while minding the line of fire at her back, she turned about to Lamia.
「This, is the power that I gave to Diana.」
After provoking Lamia through the magic tool, Diana then made the final blow.
「The Spider Princess was defeated, killed, and had that power stolen by Goshujin-sama……Goshujin-sama, gave this power to me. He plundered it from the dead Arachne, this power!」
While saying that, she separated from the Skeleton, and slowly evacuated to the passage side.
「Tis a lie! Tis a lie, clearly a lie, there is no way that is true! Kagome, something like leaving me behind, that would never happen.」
Since it seemed that Lamia fell into a half-panicked state, her scarlet-dyed face had become pale as if the blood had been drawn back. For just a little bit, it wasn’t like I didn’t feel sorry for her but……I am unable to stop my hand.
「It’s the truth. Arachne fought and lost against me, and the niece of Count Abram that she had targetted, she cooperated with me and survived. ……Tomorrow afternoon, the expeditionary force will probably return bringing along Arachne’s head.」
「……! You bastard, YOU BASTAAAAaaaaaRRRDDD!!!!!」
When Lamia forcibly tore away the Orcs that surrounded her, in one bound, she jumped towards me……towards the Skeleton whose outward appearance closely resembled me and had become a clump of gunpowder and iron scraps.
「……Fulfill thy contract, come forth from the staff of stars, stalwart Salamandra!」
The magic of Sara, who had the arrangements readied up until now, was released here. We all stuck close to the wall simultaneously, and made it so that we couldn’t see inside of the room.
A thunderous roar resounded, and a fierce scream was raised. The room’s air was instantly consumed, and air from the passageway replaced it. Scattered iron scraps and pebbles rolled about even in the central part that was close to the passage room. ……As expected, for something that was hastily made, there wasn’t enough might to make those pieces pierce into the stone floor, but there were probably no complaints.
The theory was something like this. I prepared a scarecrow that had a similar physique to mine. This time, I used a Skeleton. Arranging it so that we would have the same clothes and masks, and inside of that, I had it carry an 「easily flammable Slime」 that I obtained from Chana’s place. By nature, Slimes aren’t very strong against fire, but I had chosen one that was easily flammable even among those. Moreover, putting in gunpowder, I mixed in a powder that would make it explode. For the gunpowder, I myself know about the compounding of it in my knowledge, but actually making it is still difficult. I used up all of the reserves which I had bought and saved up in the past, which I had done because it wasn’t something that I could obtain in the Grandol mine. But even so, since it was still far off from exploding all at once, I made it so that the initial firepower it possessed would be the greatest as possible.
Most likely, there wouldn’t be much of an effect unless she was right next to the scarecrow. Nonetheless, once she knows that I’m the leader, she will attack me in some form. That’s why, I also put gunpowder at my feet, and made it so that it would give as much damage as possible. ……Most likely, if we had personnel that was proficient in mechanisms that used gunpowder, they probably would have produced something that would perform many times better than this. However, not having such personnel right now, we had no choice but to do what we could. Having Sara who could summon Salamandra here is probably our sole advantage.
「It hurts! It hurts, it hurts, it really hurts! I cannot see! I cannot hear anything! Someone! Someone! Kagome! Help me, Kagome!」
At the center of the room, bleeding from several places on her body, Lamia raised a crying voice, and was writhing in pain. The sword blade of her falchion distorted from the instantaneous heat and impact, and looked like it could no longer be used.
Burns, beatings, and gashes in several places. Since I hadn’t heard that Lamia used projectile weapons, unlike Arachne, this was the trap that I prepared, but it exhibited a result much better than what I expected. There was no doubt that she was seriously wounded, but even so, she still had enough strength to shout and writhe about. Her eyes are temporarily blinded by the effect of the explosion, and it seems that she’s become unable to hear, but that is something that she will probably recover from in less than a few minutes. ……The prospects made a sudden change, but it wasn’t a situation where I could let my guard down.
I was assaulted a bit by feelings of guilt from the screams and crying that sounded like they came from a young child. Gritting my teeth, I forcibly swallowed down something that was coming out from the inside of my stomach.
「Now’s our chance, surround her! Kill the Assassin’s Guild Chief, the Snake Princess!」