Editor: Ghost Ape
At the site of the vanished mountain, in order to sort out the convoluted circumstances, I made everyone settle down on rocks creating a big circle.
Standing imposingly at the center of the circle and observing was Rēko (and I). Incidentally, the feral child who seemed like a mountain spirit reclined comfortably on my back. She wouldn’t move an inch unless one specifically made her, so it was easier to leave her on my back.
“Well then, we’ll start with you and your objective.”
Rēko thrust her dagger before the demon bound in chains on a rock, looking for an answer. The soldiers readied their spears in his proximity, in order to prevent his escape this time.
“What a blunder. To think I’d have let myself get cornered so that I can’t even self-destruct…”
“I’ll just put it out there, but you shouldn’t even think about slipping out like you did last time by dislocating your joints. There’s no way out for you anymore.”
“Ah, I was wondering how he managed to leave that stretcher, but he actually just used force huh.”
“Now tell us everything. Otherwise, I’ll let you taste eternal agony.”
The long-haired demon fixed his sharp gaze in our direction. However, what he set his eyes on wasn’t us but the mountain’s spirit.
“Tell me why, spirit. You were burned by the Evil Dragon, threatened by humans; you should’ve amassed plenty of hate. Even though I’ve buried a nucleus here with that Sir’s sealed form…”
That Sir? I took a step forward after recalling something upon hearing that phrase.
“Say, were you perhaps working on brainwashing the demons and spirits in this area into joining the Demon King’s army?”
“There’s no way I’d disclose that.”
“You already half did though? On the other side of the mountains there’s a town worshipping Lady Saintess. You guys were also after her, weren’t you?”
“I refuse to answer.”
Although he was saying so, his face was pale. It was actually pale ever since we first met when he got done in by Rēko, but now it was white like a sheet of paper.
“So that’s what you were scheming. A pity, but that cowardly spirit demon has already been erased from this world thanks to the Evil Dragon Lord. As a matter of course, along with all of his forms.”
The demon turned calm after hearing Rēko’s verdict. However, I became worried something inside him might’ve snapped since he was too composed.
“Wait. It can be for just a while, but can you free me from these restraints? I want to confirm the truth of the matter with my direct superior.”
“Make it brief, if that’s going to persuade you.”
Once Reko gave her permission, the demon slipped out from the chains like a mollusc with disgusting movements and drew some kind of a strange array on the ground. After he glued his ear to it, he began communication with some distant place.
“That’s correct… Yes… Yes… I just got the information from the aforementioned Evil Dragon under observation that the dispatched district executive, Sir『Void』has died… Yes. ‘If the Evil Dragon says so, I guess he is?’―― Is that right? I understand. Yes. Since the dispatch is dead I’ll make my return.”
The demon promptly erased the array with his foot, saying,
“Apparently it’s true. Well then, we can agree it’s my loss. Let us meet again Evil Dragon. Farewell.”
A stone thrown by Rēko hit the back of his gallantly leaving head, making him fall over tragically.
“Why are you trying to leave like it’s a given?”
“There’s no more value in keeping me. Throw me away.”
“Usually that would be the line of the one doing the throwing.”
I walked up and crouched down in front of the demon, who now looked like the personification of a loser.
“Well, I won’t really tell you to get lost, but I want you to return the mountain. Because that way, this child? Ms Spirit will be pleased, and we can also excavate the gold.”
“It’s exactly as Sir Evil Dragon says.”
The one who agreed without a moment’s delay was Haizen.
“From the exchange just now I understood very well that the Demon King army’s chain of command is exceedingly crude. There’s probably no one to punish you for your little slip of the tongue. Let’s say nothing happened here―― if we were to make a concession, could you return everything back to normal?”
“But papa, even if you go easy on him, you actually intend to take Mr Demon to the army’s headquarters once it’s over, don’t you? As an intelligence source, that is.”
After the unexpected surprise attack from behind, Haizen looked over his shoulder to Sheina.
“What are you saying now Sheina?”
“I’m sorry Mr Demon. My dad is a one sly fox, you see. Whereas I’m just as I look – a gentle, tender and simple girl, so you can rest easy―― and so, how did you turn the spirit into a human form like this? While we’re at it, how do you tame it? Tell me all you know. Come, tell me, tell me now, tell me everything you know right now.”
Rēko muttered menacingly,
“No way. I’ll have the spirit returned to normal. Otherwise the Evil Dragon Lord’s statue won’t be built.”
It was as if a whirl created from unsightly human greed could be seen with one’s own eyes. Mr Adonis breathed a long sigh.
“So I can neither run nor self-destruct… I shouldn’t have tried to scout carelessly. It’d have been my win if I had just run away with her after successful spirit materialization.”
Surprisingly Rēko nodded.
“Indeed. Thinking about it now, your means of concealment were quite excellent. I could sense that something was near the mountain, but I only took it as a largish piece of trash rolling around.”
“Being able to trick the Evil Dragon’s eyes means my stealth techniques aren’t that bad, huh…”
“I think she’s dissing you, but seeing how happy you seem I’ll leave it at that.”
Even so, I was troubled. Maybe because his psyche was tough, Mr Adonis didn’t yield mentally even in front of Rēko’s pressure or power. His actual abilities might be questionable, but his spirit was unmistakably strong. At this rate, this heart wrenching torture might go on endlessly.
“Say, Haizen, how about we bring this demon back as a prisoner of war for now? I think bullying him here will bring no merit at all.”
“I guess so… Since even Lady Rēko with her strength cannot beat the information out of him, we might’ve no choice…”
『The mountainside is hollow.』
The spirit muttered quietly on my back. I instantly had shuddered thinking she wanted to disclose yesterday’s case of Rēko and Sheina threatening her. However, I was wrong. After a small delay, a growl escaped from the spirit’s stomach, breaking the silence.
“I’ve got it! Your belly right, your belly is empty~! Alright, I’ll share with you my lunch! Say aan, aan!”
Without wasting any time Sheina tried to force a cracker into the spirit’s mouth, but she ended up only pushing it on her cheek. To test it out I bit off some nearby weeds and tried passing them to my back, but there was no response.
“Then eat me, spirit…!”
At that time Mr Adonis screamed while tapping out, put in a boston crab hold by the mute Rēko.
“In exchange, please lend us, the Demon King’s army your strength to destroy the Evil Dragon…!”
“Why are you being so selfish? There’s no way the spirit would want to eat you. Don’t spout selfish crap with no consideration for the other company’s preference.”
“That’s right. A sound argument. Now you just have to put this mindset to practice yourself.”
It happened at that time.
With no warning, the spirit opened her mouth and snapped at the back of my neck.