Parting with Vermudol, Ykslaas walked down the hallway of the Demon King’s Castle. Randomly waving at the Magic Operated Armor patrolling the inside of the castle, she climbed up the stairs to the second floor.
As she looked out the window towards the back court, she saw Vermudol swinging his sword again. Watching him from afar, she smiled wryly at the visitor near the window.
「If you’re going to watch him from over here, you should go join him.」
「I’m just passing by. I wasn’t really watching him.」
「Oh, is that so?」
It was Ichika. Out of everyone in the Demon King’s Castle, she was the closest to Vermudol, but despite being such a prominent figure, she didn’t really have an established position.
However, judging from the type of work that she does, in other kingdoms, she would probably be considered to be in a secretarial position. In addition to supporting and managing the roles of each division of the central army, she also takes care of all the miscellaneous work around the castle. It seems that she tries to rely on the Maid unit whenever possible, but even then, she handles incredible amounts of work on her own.
Also, being a Mazoku Maid Knight, she was one of the top fighters among the Demon King Army. Though the near-perfect Ichika swears loyalty to the Demon King Vermudol, Ykslaas has noticed that she’s been showing signs of feelings towards him that could go beyond loyalty.
The first time these feelings came to the surface was when she went out to the city with Nino and Rokuna.
Well, it isn’t just Ichika. Rokuna is the same way, and Nino as well. Many of the people in the Maid unit, even Crim, Marin, and Lemon, had some sort of liking for Vermudol. They were attracted not by the charisma of being a Demon King, but by some charm of Vermudol’s personality.
「Well, it isn’t my business, anyway. Good night, Ichika.」
「Good night, Ykslaas.」
After she watched Ykslaas walk away, Ichika left as well.
Not even imagining that such a conversation was being held, Vermudol continued to swing his sword in the back garden.
Gordy, who had been flying through the skies around the castle, was now nowhere to be seen. Vermudol remembered the shape of Gordy’s sword and kept practicing, adjusting his stance every second. After repeatedly practicing the same movement, Vermudol lowered his sword and took a deep breath.
「…Ichika. Are you there?」
「Yes. Are you in need of anything?」
Without turning around, Vermudol asked this of Ichika, who had instantly appeared behind him to answer his question.
「I remembered something that I needed to ask you.」
「Ask me… What is it?」
Vermudol says this as if he were trying to make small talk, shortly nodding his head.
「It’s about Reina.」
Hearing these words, Ichika froze… However, her expression unchanging, she waited for Vermudol to continue.
Ichika had been used by the God Philia, reincarnated countless times with her memories still intact. In one of the many lives that she’s lived, she met the legendary Maid Knight Reina and studied under her. To Ichika, who had been living as a human girl named Lia at the time, Reina was her master, and Reina was one of the people who gave her the hope to live.
「I’ve gotten reports that she’s currently in the Canal Kingdom. I assume that she’s looking for your reincarnated self.」
「That’s… I wonder if that’s so.」
Upon hearing Ichika’s words, Vermudol stopped swinging his sword and turned around.
「If she really were to be trying to find me, she would have gotten here already.」
「Well, I guess, since she is your master. And not only that, it’s hard to tell if she’s really human or not.」
If it actually were the real Reina, it would mean that she’s been alive for at least a hundred years. If that was the case, she had to have Sylphid blood mixed in her body for her to be human.
「I can’t figure out what kind of being she is. So I’m going to ask you.」
Vermudol sheathed his Bale Blade and looked towards Ichika with a serious expression.
「Do you want to meet Reina?」
「I only know of Reina through the fragments of your memory and through descriptions in books that might not even be true. Therefore, I have no intention of directly interacting with her… But, if you want to meet her, it’d be a different story.」
Reina was the first and most powerful Maid Knight to ever exist, and she is the woman who first made the position known. There were rumors that 「Reina」was a name that was passed down and that she had already been succeeded, and others claimed that she was half Sylphid.
However, one piece of information that all of these rumors had in common was that Reina still has never established a host. The other clear fact was that she was the master of the previous Ichika—which was Lia. If Reina was one person, and not just a name that was passed down, it’s certain that she’s considered the possibility that her apprentice 「Lia」had been reborn as a different person.
「I’m not going to tell her to join our side, or anything like that. It’d be hard to think that she’s the kind of person who would blindly follow us, either.」
As Vermudol smiled bitterly, Ichika had a troubled expression.
「Well, that’s true, but…」
「Is there some kind of problem?」
「It wouldn’t call it a problem, but…」
Ichika looked unusually worried. She looked at the ground doubtfully.
「…If I met her, what would we talk about?」
Hearing her faint voice, Vermudol stood wide-eyed. He had never imagined that Ichika would ever say something like that. As he tried to think of an answer, he froze.
「Now that you mention it… I wonder what you would talk about.」
Just a minute ago, Vermudol said that he had no intention of trying to get her to join their side. Therefore, there wasn’t a good reason for them to go out of their way to meet her.
What were they supposed to talk about? But before that, what kind of look should they meet each other with? It seemed reasonable to have doubts like that.
「That’s…um. It’s been a while since you’ve seen each other, so wouldn’t you have a lot of things to talk about?」
「There are too many things that we can’t talk about. Where are we supposed to start our conversation?… No, before that, what am I supposed to say when I meet her?」
That’s a problem as well. Ichika and Lia are different in many ways, including appearance. It may be strange for Ichika, who looks like a completely different person from Lia, to say that
「it’s been a while.」
「…Maybe you’ll be able to think of something to say once you meet her?」
「Are you sure?」
「I have no idea.」
Tilting their heads at each other, Vermudol and Ichika both sighed.
「Well, you should take some time to think about that. So, do you want to meet her?」
「…I don’t know.」
Giving this answer to Vermudol’s repeated question, Ichika looked at the ground.
However, what she didn’t know was what she would say when they met each other. Even if they met, what would change? And if something were to change, what was it?
No, before that—what exactly would Reina think of Ichika, who turned herself against God, willing to kill anyone and anything in her path in order to exact her revenge?
Reina was the one that saved her during a time when she had given up on everything. That’s why Ichika was scared of meeting her. She was afraid that Reina was going to reject her.
Vermudol watched over her in silence. He could somewhat understand that Ichika was afraid of meeting her. It seemed like it would be too late, but he thought that it might be better to try to create a reason for them to meet.
「Have you heard about the state of the Canal Kingdom?」
Vermudol shifted his gaze as Ichika looked surprised at this unexpected question.
「Well, okay then. Depending on the situation, I might have to go over there.」
Stopping there, Vermudol cleared his throat.
「If that happens, I’ll ask you to guard. Well, I just need you to remember that.」
Ichika stared intently at Vermudol. Eventually, she let out a small giggle. Even though it felt really forced, Ichika realized that Vermudol was trying to be thoughtful for her.
「Okay, if that happens, I’ll make sure to be the perfect guard.」
「Yeah, I trust you.」
After answering, Vermudol began swinging his sword again. Watching him from behind, Ichika grasped her hands together near her chest.
Vermudol responded without turning around or stopping his sword. Ichika tried to say something… After a short silence, she opened her mouth again.
「Do you want me to bring you something cold?」
「Oh, sure. Just bring me whatever.」
After making sure that Ichika left, Vermudol stopped swinging his sword and looked up at the sky.
「…I wonder if their relationship is like family.」
Vermudol was a bit jealous of the relationship between Ichika and Reina. Of course, he cared for Ichika, Nino, Rokuna, and everyone else like they were his family. However, looking at Ichika’s reaction just now, he couldn’t help but notice that it was a bit different.
He cares deeply for her, but something is different. Maybe it has to do with the fact that Vermudol is drawing a line before them.
Maybe it’s something else. For example, it could be the effect of Vermudol being the only member of the 「Demon King」race. Demon King—it was particularly special, even among the Mazoku, and it was a race of only one person, destined to be followed by all Mazoku.
「…Huh, I let myself think of something stupid.」
Blurting that out, Vermudol went back to swinging his sword. Doing this, he tried to blow away the thought that had popped into his head just then.