Editor: Ghost Ape
“Rēvendia! Separate yourself from the kin girl right now!”
Ariante, who had returned on her horse without bringing anyone, shouted rushing over to me. I was already falling asleep, so I rubbed my eyes and groaned out “What’s the rush?”
“Good, it looks like he hasn’t seized her yet. Anyway, separate yourself right now. It’s possible that the previous spirit demon is still lurking in your body. I’ve called experts as reinforcements from the town, and until they’ve verified the spirit’s presence, I want to isolate you inside the barrier.”
“If that’s the case it’s fine. He attacked Rēko just a while ago and died… Poor thing…”
Sighing in relief, Ariante’s expression loosened up.
“So that’s how it turned out. Your kin really is something else.”
“Although I’m glad she’s safe… it’d be better if he just listened to me.”
“That’s asking too much. Demons are fundamentally different from normal animals, since the main principle governing their conduct is bringing harm to humans. They just can’t be reasoned with.”
I looked at Lady Saintess single-mindedly building a tower out of mud.
“What about her?”
“She’s a rare case. She was born as a demon, but had obtained people’s faith by chance and switched over to being a deity. In the first place, there’s no clear distinction between demons, spirits and gods. We tend to brand the ones helping humans gods, the ones bringing harm demons, and neither of those as spirits.”
In short, the distinction seemed to be like one of poison and medicine.
“The ones born naturally with an amassed animosity towards humans are demons. Still, it’s not like the chance of turning out like her after being revered through a long period of time is non-existent.”
“Then what about him?”
I pointed my claw at the silver dragon that was still lying unconscious. The three-headed elephant too, despite not being here, was forced by Rēko to mend his ways. What happened to the rule of them having to harm humans as demons? Ariante continued earnestly,
“The answer is even more simple. Demons have the instinct to obey the more powerful of their kind. Even for an advanced demon possessing intelligence, going against it is hard.”
“Rēko is included in the demon hierarchy?”
Moreover, reigning near the top.
“She’s the Evil Dragon’s kin after all. She probably belongs to the demon category.”
The basis of that argument was weird. To begin with, how could a kin exist despite there not being an evil dragon?
I looked at Rēko’s sleeping face. Even though she looked like a common child, she was immensely more troublesome than one.
Suddenly, Ariante stood up. Lady Saintess also had demolished the mud tower and started accumulating demon repelling water in both of her hands.
“Eh, what’s wrong you two?”
“The flow of clouds has sped up. Besides, an enormous magic power is approaching. Rēvendia, if you’re a wild animal, don’t you have even a little intuition?”
“Well, I can grasp someone’s general strength if the target is before my eyes, but I’m not able to sense rough hints like that.”
“Okay, stand back.”
After being branded as useless I steadily retreated between the tall grasses. The sky, dyed red by the setting sun, very quickly started losing its glow. Covering the skies was an eerie, purple-coloured lump of clouds. Drifting heavily but not shedding a single drop of rain was just all the more queer.
“I get it. It’s a very big demon.”
Lady Saintess faced the enemy with a menacing, tense edge, like a hissing cat. Ariante had already prepared her sword and was adjusting her breathing. Before long, the purple cloud started descending to the ground. With such movements one couldn’t possibly mistake it for a common cloud. Before I knew it, the music accompanying the festival had ceased. Most likely the townspeople had noticed the peculiarity and evacuated indoors.
The cloud came down threatening to crush everything in its path. As it approached ever closer the line of sight of the two combatants on either side of me slowly crossed and then――
『Shit… Damn you! You wicked child, do you intend to swallow even my main body?! You guys! Don’t just stand there, stop her!』
The purple cloud started talking. The two girls were facing me now―― or rather, faced Rēko on my back. She was still asleep, but if one looked closely the purple cloud was certainly flowing right into her.
“I can’t believe she’s even absorbing his main form…”
Ariante sheathed her sword and with her finger lightly poked the sleeping Rēko’s cheek.
『What is she…! Just how can this child’s darkness be so oddly enormous…! Moreover, her darkness is so exquisitely abstract for no particular reason…!』
“I’m also curious. I’ve wondered why for a long time.”
『Stop playing dumb, you good-for-nothing lizard! There has to be… Something! Like her past, which enabled her to have so much darkness!』
I nodded very, very deeply. I was filled with remorse and an enormous amount of sympathy in my heart. However, such thoughts didn’t continue for long.
“Wait bastard. Just now, what did you call the Evil Dragon Lord?”
The God of Death had awoken. Rēko got off and stood on the ground, looking up imposingly at the purple cloud with her blue eyes shining brightly.
『Oh… You woke up, little girl! I told you to stop and you dared to sleep like a log! Hurry up and stop pulling me in!』
“I haven’t done anything. Only a weak insect threw itself into a windmill and is dying of its own accord――”
That metaphor was pretty cool. It appears she’s in high spirits after a short nap.
“It seems like the Evil Dragon Lord in all his kindness let you off after erasing only a part of you, but I won’t forgive you. You committed blasphemy against the Evil Dragon Lord. Know here the folly you committed is the ultimate sin.”
『Don’t mess with me! As a demon I am prepared for death, but do you think I am going to accept such an unreasonable way of dying?! Being swallowed up by an unreasonably abstract darkness… Since it has come to this…!』
Along with the spirit demon’s roar, the purple cloud started whirling like a tornado. Then it rushed at Rēko trying to pierce her with all its might.
After Rēko murmured that, Ariante, Lady Saintess and I uniformly nodded in agreement. Just the air pressure from Rēko’s punching fist had scattered the tornado and restored the clear evening sky.
『Shit… Is this how far I go…? However, at the very end I will at least peak inside your darkness… Your genuine darkness…』
The last traces of the cloud, torn to shreds, uttered its dying words. Looking closely, the countless fragments of the cloud coiled around Rēko, putting up its last resistance.
“I see. You want to know my darkness that badly? Then I shall tell you. I have――”
Rēko raised a wicked smile, as if she had come so far by killing countless people, and declared.
“―― not been able to suppress my anger after Raiotto tried to expel me from the mansion, so I secretly put the lima beans he hates inside his meal.”
『Her too! She’s the same as him! Damn it all! I told you to stop screwing aroun―― Aaagh…』
The spirit demon’s voice was suspended like a string snapping off and the purple cloud fragments disappeared without leaving behind any trace. I felt really bad and decided to at least offer a prayer.
“I am terribly sorry, Evil Dragon Lord. I got carried away by the demon’s provocation and have revealed disgraceful behaviour against my better judgment. Even if that may be something I did in the past as a human―― to act rudely against the household head’s child, was an act not befitting a proud slave.”
“Isn’t it fine? I think it’s good to fix someone’s pickiness.”
“That in itself is a problem too.”
Rēko tilted her head and made a perplexed expression. I guess the fact it was ultimately for Raiotto’s sake had to annoy her.
“Well, with this we’ve exterminated the demons aiming at this town and can finally say the case is closed. So how about we all return to the festival and eat something? And then Rēko, we’re going to depart once again and head for a suitable town.”
“Regarding that, Evil Dragon Lord…”
Rēko began to talk as though she wanted to discuss something trivial.
“Hm? Is something wrong?”
“As a matter of fact, after swallowing that demon I am filled with more magic power than usual.”
“In addition to that, as a result of revealing my heart’s darkness the control over my power has slightly weakened.”
“Right, that was your darkness. And then?”
“Being still inexperienced, I feel like I just might fail to keep my magic power under control, so if it’s not too much to ask, could Evil Dragon Lord lend me his strength to suppress it?”
“Ah, so it’s something like that. Yeah, it’s fine. Let me see… hm?”
I had said it too lightly since I didn’t really digest the contents. At that time, a group of flustered soldiers came running probably because of the purple cloud.
“Miss Ariante! Just what in the world was that purple cloud――?”
“Step back! Something much more dangerous is coming!”
Not leaving me any gap to stop her, Ariante, without any hesitation, dashed at Rēko swinging her sword. Moreover, it wasn’t the harmless sword she used before but a genuine one.
Rēko stopped her blow with one finger.
There was no answer. Rēko swayed left and right like a drunkard, with her head hanging low.
Then in an instant, a dramatic change took place.
Scales had emerged on Rēko’s limbs, as though imitating mine, and from her back sprouted black wings. On her slowly rising face was a pair of dazzlingly shining blue eyes, and her lips were sealed shut.
“Stop it Rēko. Forget what I just said. There’s no way I could do something like――”
“It’s no use Rēvendia!”
What Ariante had said was correct. As soon as Rēko had flapped her wings, a shockwave like impact spread through the area, sending everyone flying.