Just then, someone knocked on the door.
“Sam, it’s me, Alicia.”
“Wait a second.”
I replied and opened the door and stepped aside to let her inside. The moment she saw Chloe in a haze, she frowned and asked me cautiously.
“What happened…..? Why is everyone here? I heard a commotion outside and saw you get dragged somewhere by Cornellia. Then you came back to your room with everyone in tow. Is everything alright? We aren’t been attacked by demons, are we?”
Ah, so she saw everything, yet she didn’t carelessly follow us. A wise decision.
“No. We have a bigger problem on our hands right now.”
“A bigger problem than demons?”
She asked anxiously.
“Simone has been murdered.”
I decided to just tell her directly. There’s no point in going in circles just to avoid telling her directly.
She exclaimed in disbelief.
“W-what do you mean by Simone has been k-killed? This is the royal castle under King Reishu’s command, there’s no way she could have been killed. Right! There’s no way!” She sighed in relief. “Please don’t joke with me like that.”
She started rambling, and then reached a false conclusion due to her wishful thinking. Her eyes were imploring me to laugh and say something like ‘You caught me.’ Of course, there’s no way I can do that.
“No, it’s the truth.”
“The truth. Simone has been killed in this castle, right under everyone’s noses.”
“J-just what……. Why, how….?”
Her eyes widened and she started mumbling incoherent things. Seems like Simone was a dear friend to her, as her head drooped and I could hear her crying softly.
Soon, she raised her head and with eyes full of tears and voice full of rage, she asked me.
“Who did it?”
“For now, we believe it’s a demon.”
“Jack here says that he sensed demonic mana from her wounds.”
Alicia looked towards Jack, and he simply nodded.
“I see……. Where is Simone?”
“In her room. But Reishu is there right now, repenting in solitude. I’d say it’s better to leave them alone right now.”
With a voice full of pain, she managed to reply.
Cornellia walked to her and gently patted her shoulder trying to console her. Alicia looked at her, and was hugged by Cornellia. Alicia cried in her chest.
Now then, what to do?
｢Jack, what do you make of this?｣
I decided to talk to him using magic, just in case he made some baffling revelation which others are not supposed to know.
｢This is probably the work of some other party. And I think that this party is not connected to the two main factions right now. It’s possible that the killer did it for his own agendas which are different from that of both mankind’s and demons’.｣
A third party?
｢And why do you think that?｣
｢It’s simple. Anyone on mankind’s side wouldn’t kill Simone, while the demon faction doesn’t benefit from killing her.｣
I see, he just reached the same conclusions as me.
｢Well, that’s true.｣
｢This is more than just a murder. There is a clear conspiracy behind this. For now, we should focus on handling Reishu. It would be detrimental if he went insane in his rage and decided to attack the demons on his own.｣
｢I also think the same.｣
｢Good. Then, for now, you should focus on how to do it. Since he is blinded by his emotions right now, it’s a good chance to make him our pawn.｣
｢Yeah, I’ll do just that. Meanwhile, you stay on high alert for now. The murderer may still be lurking around. In case you find anyone suspicious, apprehend them without killing them so that we can interrogate them.｣
I stopped the magic spell. What Jack said is right. It could be an unrelated person who has committed the murder. But what bugs me is the presence of a demon’s mana. It points to the perpetrator being a demon, but it’s entirely possible for a human to collect some demon’s mana and make it look like a demon had murdered Simone.
But for now, I should focus on Reishu. Simone’s death saddens me, I’m full of rage over that, but experiences have taught me that I should never let my emotions cloud my judgement. For now, I should think of how to make Reishu into a pawn.
In fact, turning him into a pawn isn’t really necessary at this point. If I can direct his hatred and wrath in just the right direction, I would be able to manipulate him without directly involving myself with him.
Forgive me Reishu, for using your grief over your daughter’s death.
Just then, someone knocked on the door. Given the timing, it’s probably Reishu. I signalled Shiggurath to open the door.
As I had expected, it was Reishu. However, the mighty Reishu who walked with his chest out and his head held high, was now a dead man walking. Seems like his daughter’s death has hit him harder than expected.
“Are you fine now, Reishu?”
“Yeah. Thank you.”
He replied weakly. Well, doesn’t really look like he is fine.
“So? Did you find out what happened to Simone?”
I know that’s a heartless thing to ask, but I have to ask anyway. It’s crucial.
“Yes. The cause of her death was impalement. She had been stabbed by a sword in the back which destroyed her heart. According to my calculations, she died two hours ago.”
Huh? Two hours ago?
If she died just two hours ago, then I still have time to try that. But I’ll have to wait to be alone.
But, if she had been stabbed in the back, that would mean that she at least wasn’t killed in her sleep. Someone killed her somewhere else, and then dropped her on her bed. Probably, the killer entered her room, stabbed her when she was sitting or standing, or when her back was open, put her corpse on the bed, and then ran out.
Then he banged Cornellia’s door to lead everyone to her. But that two-hour gap is unnatural. There’s some hidden meaning behind that gap. Well, I’ll be knowing it soon so there’s no real need to worry about it right now.
“More importantly, I could sense a demon’s mana from her wound.”
Reishu spoke up once again. The moment he did, his demeanour completely changed.
“Those filthy demons……. I’ll make sure that I kill every single one of them, no matter the cost!”
He snarled while clenching his fists. As I had thought, he’s frustrated over his daughter’s death.
“I see. Don’t worry, I’ll help you in your cause.”
“You will. Thank you. Let’s go right now. The demon country is across the plains behind that mountain, right? Let’s ride dragons to reach there quickly. If we attack them in the night, then they won’t even see us coming. It would be easy for us to just annihilate everyone there.”
He spoke in a frenzy of rage.
“Everyone, can you please leave me and Jack alone with Reishu for a moment?”
Everyone knew that attacking the demons on their turf was the height of foolishness, and that Reishu was about to commit that act. So they complied by walking out of the door. Just before she left, Alicia turned to me and nodded, silently implying that she’ll leave Reishu to me.
Reishu looked at me with doubtful eyes, as if he couldn’t understand why we hadn’t already left for the country of demons.
Well, seems like I’ll have to put him back on track. I can’t have him dying meaninglessly, after all.