「Oh? You look better than I expected.」
Aur was in this room and a woman was speaking to him. Placing her arm in a relaxed manner on a chair with an armrest, the woman was sitting with her legs crossed. Judging by her looks, she seemed to be around 22-23 years of age.
Her silver hair neatly landed just above her shoulders, she was wearing a tight fit army uniform without a single crease or wrinkle, her appearance seemed to indicate that she did not have any weaknesses. Her eyes shined with an abundance of intelligence and she was inspecting him closely through her glasses. Just from seeing her in a glance, Aur was convinced that this woman was the one who came up with the strategy to capture him.
「Nice to meet you, Demon King Aur. My name is Cass, I am the strategist of Figuria Royal Army.」
The person named Cass haughtily introduced herself.
Hearing an unfamiliar word, Aur asked in confirmation.
「Ah, I’m probably not very famous around this area. My occupation specializes in assisting the Royal Army by giving out strategical directives and or drafting tactics for the military.」
「Hmm. ……. By the way, do you not even provide chairs for your guests?」
Seemingly uninterested in Cass’s explanation, Aur had his hands tied behind his back when he asked her this question.
「…..It seems that you do not understand your current position.」
「It’s because I understand, that I’m asking.」
Looking at her in a gaze that implied he looked down on her, Aur answered confidently.
Hmph, breathing out of her nose, Cass ordered one of the soldiers to bring a chair.
「As expected of the Demon King, how commendable. If you understand what we require, then things should proceed smoothly.」
「Are you trying to indirectly praise yourself for succeeding in your strategy?」
“Without a doubt the exit is over there”, Seeing the chair being carried from the door, he confirmed the location of the exit without moving his eyes. Furthermore, after sitting down on the chair he asked Cass a question to banter with her.
「To think that there would be another person who is capable of grasping the location of the Dragon Veins aside from me. What kind of magic did you use, to be able to achieve such a feat in only several months?」
「I wish you wouldn’t make light of me as a woman who would reveal such information from a cheap provocation like that. However, since I don’t think the method would work a second time, added to the fact that I have no intentions of ever letting you go, I don’t mind telling you.」
Cass had a grin on her face.
「It’s a simple thing. I knew that you were using the mana from the Dragon Veins as an energy source, However, I had no idea where the Dragon Veins flowed. Therefore, I prepared the same trap across the whole area of your dungeon in innumerable locations.」
He was outwitted. Aur grimaced in his own mind. He shouldn’t have revealed any change in his expression, but Cass was able to catch wind of the disturbance in his aura and she was smiling pleasantly.
「How do you feel, are you frustrated? How does it feel to be defeated by mere manual labor, when you are normally so careful in your calculations?」
Even though she says that she used the “manual labor” of her workers to set up these traps, she still needed to first grasp the fact that Aur was drawing his energy sources from the Dragon Vein, and no normal person could have come up with such an idea.
「Your weakness is that you do not trust in others. When the magical energy supplied by your Dragon Vein runs thin, I knew that you would definitely come to investigate personally.」
Using a metal pipe that sucks out the mana from the ground and poking it in countless different locations, she was able to draw the magic from the earth. In theory this was an extremely reckless move, but it was pretty much the same as what Aur had to do to create his dungeon.
「For these past several months, I have been investigating your every move. Thanks to that, even though I’ve only met you for the first time, it’s almost like I’m meeting an old friend.」
Cass stands up from her chair, drawing herself closer to Aur and gently strokes his chin.
「If it was really possible, I wanted us to become both friends in name and in reality. Do you not think the same?」
Cass instantly touched the heart of the matter. Aur laughs scornfully.
「Friend you say? Are you sure it isn’t your subordinate or your slave?」
Cass stamped down the heel of her foot on the chair that Aur was sitting on.
「Of course, if that is the kind of relationship you desire, I wouldn’t mind humoring you.」
To put it simply, Cass was implying that she wanted him to “Hand over his dungeon and all the techniques required to create it”.
That’s the reason Aur has not been killed yet thus far. Guessing that this was the case, Aur demanded for a chair. He was implying that if she wanted to hear what he had to say, she should at least treat him with due respect.
However, if he went too far with it, there was also the possibility that Cass would cut off his neck without hesitating too much. He wasn’t going to die if only his head was chopped off, but if she then proceeded to cut apart his whole body piece by piece and then burn it to cremate it, then things may become slightly ugly.
“Well then, what shall I do?” Aur thought to himself. The situation was considerably bad. First of all, there was barely anything that Aur could do himself. The chains binding both his arms was a cursed item and it had quite a strong magical seal on it. The cursed rings on his fingers was a simple matter of just biting off his own fingers, but the bracelets on his wrist was not really something he could just bite off.
In this case, there was probably no other way but to deceive the enemy via eloquent words, but the woman in front of Aur was probably even smarter than he was. The probability of succeeding will be fairly low.
「Although it may be presumptuous for me to say this but rather than being stepped on, I much rather be the one doing the stepping. If you want to start off by licking my shoes, I don’t mind considering it.」
「Well I already expected this but, it seems that you have no intentions to cooperate with me?」
Without having her expression effected, Cass lifted her foot of Aur’s chair and returned to sit in her own chair.
The moment she said this name, Aur’s expression took a sudden change.
He had been relaxed all this time but suddenly he was glaring at Cass with a gaze as sharp as an arrow. If Lilu, Yunis or Spina ever saw him looking like this, even they may be surprised.
This was without a doubt an expression of anger on his face.
「Why does somebody like you know that name?」
「I definitely had a hard time finding it.」
Cass takes the report from her desk and laughed thinly.
「Golden brown hair and brown eyes. Well, it wasn’t that rare of a combination and nowadays many people have similar features but, this was a story that took place several decades ago. Roughly 70 years ago, my Figurai Kingdom destroyed the neighboring country Praeti and colonized them, but at this point in time there were few people with golden brown hair much less those with brown eyes. I’ve also seen the letter you sent out to the town. 『Oulu』The character “O” in your name brought a sense of incongruity when I first saw it. It was like you weren’t used to writing it down. That’s because your name starts with the letter “A” doesn’t it? The way it would have been read in Praeti would have been『Aur』」
Neither denying or affirming her words, Aur just stared at Cass.
「The eyewitness testimony claimed that you were a man in your twenties, but I had doubts that a magician so young would have such a large amount of magical power. I went under the premises that you rejuvenated your youth via magical means, and I took the liberty of increasing the range of my investigations to several decades. And then I found it. A magician by the name of Ein Sof Aur. Well, it seems that your name was Ein back then but…」
「…..You seem to have excellent deductive reasoning. But what of it?」
Aur had already regained his calm. But Cass made it known that this was in fact something she could take advantage of.
「The young boy Ein…… Yes, 70 years ago you were without a doubt that young boy. He was picked up by a witch that lived in Praeti Kingdom, her name was Radix Fullman……. Her nickname was Raz. This is the oldest record of the existence of the boy known as Ein.」
As if he was uninterested, Aur snorted in response. Cass didn’t seem to worry as she continued.
「Apparently, she had the same golden brown hair as you. And perhaps she sympathized with you because of it. In any case, Rax made the boy Ein into her disciple. Her specialty in Magic was Magical Endowment. In saying that, it wasn’t just your usual enchantment of the sword or the spear. She specialized in charging up her magic and imbuing it into Castles or Siege weapons and other such large-scale weaponry. Even though she wasn’t a State Magician working directly for the country, her name still remained in history. The fortifications and arms that she created with the help of her magic contributed great achievements for the war and the reason a small country such as Praeti could even show such resistance against our Figuria Kingdom was because of her.」
Ignoring Aur’s attempt to stop her, Cass fluently recited all the details in the reports that she had already memorized.
「Nevertheless, ever since she took in the boy Ein. Raz started to decrease her cooperation with the country and she finally ended up shutting herself in her own tower. The Kingdom of Praeti considered this as her revolting against the country, so soldiers were sent to surround and exterminate her. ……….The result of that is…..」
「I told you to stop it!」
Cass shakes off Aur angry voice and continues to speak.
「The disciple Ein betrayed his own master, and sliced her head which put the matter to a close….. Hii……!」
Making it to the end of her sentence, Cass’s body shook in fear.
When you start working for the army, you get used to seeing both the hateful gazes of your enemies and even your allies. Up until now, she has seen plenty of humans who have become angry at her and glowered at her with hatred.
However, comparing it to what Aur’s face looked like right now, it was the difference between night and day. She felt like even if she were to chop his head off right now, his head would come flying and try to bite off her throat. His face was so twisted in anger that she was convinced such a thing would occur.
It was clear that negotiations had failed. Cass thought that she was clever and that this would be a trump card against him, but it was in fact Aur’s reverse-scale that incurred his wrath.
「K…Kill him! Tear him from limb to limb!」
At Cass’s orders, all the soldiers moved simultaneously and plunged their spears into Aur’s body. Having this many spears pierced into his body, any normal human being would have already died from the huge amount of blood loss, but Aur just continued to glare at Cass without leaking a single voice of agony.
Cass pulls out her sword and holds it aloft.
Amongst Aur’s seething emotions, the calm portion of his mind seemed prepared for his own death.
His initial plan was to make his opponent angry and make her draw her sword to provoke her. Even if his shoulder is dislocated, or if both his arms were cut off, he can still use magic. He would be left injured and unable to reattach his lost limbs. He was deep within the Royal Palace and it was nearly impossible to escape from this place. However, the chance would still not be zero.
The reason that this chance turned to zero was because he, himself became angry. Having all these spears embedded within his body, Aur could not move even an inch of his body. If it was only his arms that were dislocated or his bones that were crushed, he may still be capable of doing something, but in the current situation, it was physically impossible for him to move his body.
Cass’s sword approaches Aur. As a strategist, she probably never gripped a sword herself before. Even if she’s wielded her sword before, her grip was poor and he swing was slow. If she tried to cut Aur’s neck with her swing, she probably wouldn’t be able to slice it off cleanly.
But still, a major artery would still be severed and large amounts of blood would spout from his neck. Aur’s body would absolutely be drained of blood and he would soon be unable to move. He wouldn’t die, because his soul was never in this body in the first place.
But, he would be in a perpetual state of stagnation and it would be akin to death. His body would be torn asunder and burnt to ashes. He wouldn’t be able to see anything nor feel anything, he soul would just be stuck in a cold glass bottle forever loitering in that dark secluded place.
To be precise, this was supposed to happen, however….
He could hear a familiar voice calling out to him. It was a powerful voice that could change fate itself. A power that could ruin hours of calculations and go over the boundaries of logic and common knowledge.
「I’ve come to save you!」
When Aur looked up, he saw the Heroine girl with a blazing red hair beaming a smile at him.