When night fell after the tournament, illumination magic went out all across Kashnart. With nothing to light up this cloudy, pitch-black night, the city was completely engulfed in darkness.
Considering that the Canal Kingdom worships Raidolg, the god of light, this is something that should never have happened.
So what was the cause of this phenomenon?
It was very simple. Someone had deliberately planned for this to happen.
Ein, who had been taking care of her weapons in her room, immediately noticed this strange occurrence.
Not even bothering to look, she used her dagger to intercept the strange needle-like object that flew toward her from the darkness.
Clink. She heard a small sound. The window opened and someone crawled in. She could sense their breath in the dark room.
「Sneaking into a girl’s room this late at night… Is something the matter?」
The unidentified intruder remained silent.
More needles flew through the darkness toward Ein. She deflected every single one with her dagger.
These needles were painted black so that not even the slightest ray of light could make them visible in the darkness. They were weapons that require immense amounts of training to use, designed solely for the purpose of assassination.
「I’ll warn you right now that there’s no point in throwing any more of those at me.」
The intruder’s response to Ein’s warning came not in the form of words, but even more needles.
Ein struck them all down and immediately delivered a powerful roundhouse kick directly behind her.
She could sense movement in front of her.
Behind her, she felt resistance… Her attack had definitely hit someone, though it might have been blocked.
「Two people… no, three. I see that you’ve got a lot of backup.」
Ein let out a small laugh as she noticed one more man sneak in through the window.
「Was it that stupid Sergey kid that hired you?」
After a long silence, she finally got a response.
「…And what if it was? You’re about to die, so there’s no point in asking that now.」
It seems that they had been hired by Sergey Karkinos, her opponent from this afternoon. Hearing this, Ein sneered.
Of course, it was still very possible that it wasn’t him. They could be trying to hide the true identity of their client by pretending that it was.
Though Ein wasn’t sure who it really was, she assumed that it must be someone participating in the trials. At this time, there was no reason for assassins to be sent from Princess Narika’s quarters. Therefore, she came to the conclusion that they had been sent by another participant that wanted her out of their way.
…If that was the case, there must be assassins sneaking into Kain’s room as well.
The moment she realized this, she heard the sound of explosions coming from Kain’s room.
He must have used magic… Ein predicted that this was the source of the sound. She had no problem with him blowing up the assassins. However…
「I wonder where that idiot plans to sleep tonight…」
Taking a deep sigh, Ein shrugged it off and shifted her attention back to the man who stood before her. Even though she was full of openings, the man did not move.
No, it would be more accurate to say that he could not move.
He had been struck down by the black-clothed man that appeared behind him… He collapsed onto the ground, face first.
「…Hey, you should really think more about how you take people out. Are you trying to make me sleep in a room stained with his filthy blood?」
「I know you weren’t planning to sleep anyway, so I’m not quite sure what you’re talking about.」
Standing over the collapsed man was Zwei. He appeared to be in Majin form.
It seems that someone had recognized Ein’s power and sent in the assassins to deal with her. However, it was clear that the assassins had not anticipated that their target would be from the same world as them. On top of that, having to also go against another man just as powerful as Ein, it was pretty much impossible for them to complete their objective.
The man closest to the window began to turn around to escape. The next moment, his legs were pierced by a knife thrown by Ein.
Yanking the knife out of his leg and hurling it back at her, the assassin leaped out of the window.
「I know. I’ll take care of him.」
Zwei vanished, chasing after the fleeing assassin… A mere seconds later, Ein could hear a muffled scream coming from their direction.
The last assassin, who remained in the room, began to chant an incantation. Hearing this, Ein hurried to interrupt him, but at that exact moment—
With a powerful thud and a yell from Kain, the room’s door was knocked down.
Startled by this sudden intrusion, the man stopped his chanting for a brief moment.
Ein swiftly put away the throwing knives in her hand and picked up a chair. She hurled it at the man.
He flinched from this unexpected attack. Ein drover her knee into his chest.
Having the air forced out of his lungs, the man crumbled to the ground, unconscious, and Kain, rushing into the room, swiftly restrained his limbs.
「So they came for you as well…」
「What, did you think that I was gonna get killed?」
As Ein glared at him in irritation, Kain scratched his nose, not knowing how to answer.
「Well, uhmm… uhhh」
「I don’t think I’m weak enough for you to really worry about me like that… You aren’t making fun of me, are you?」
「Wh-what!? Why would you think that?」
「Why, you say? You don’t know how insulting it is to be seen as so weak that other people worry about you…?」
After a short pause, Ein softened her expression.
「Well, well… I guess you wouldn’t really understand. Now that I think about it, you are human, after all.」
There were very large differences between humans and Mazoku. One of these differences lies in how they view their strength.
Though “strength” was certainly a trait that humans admired, to the Mazoku, it was something much more than that. You could even say that they were followers, worshippers of this coveted “strength.” To them, to be “strong” was to be “happy.” Even though “weakness” might be attractive to some humans, to the Mazoku, it was the equivalent of being “miserable.”
Therefore, there were very few Mazoku that would ever think or say that they were weak. The standard way of thinking was “I’m strong, but there are also many people stronger than me.” The pessimistic idea of being “weak” simply did not exist within their minds.
「Sorry, I was being inconsiderate. I understand that I’m your friend and you were just trying to look out for me… I appreciate that.」
As Ein tried to end the conversation, Kain fell silent. He understood that no matter what he said right there, his words would go over Ein’s head. But still, he had to say something. Even if it meant being hated by her.
「It’s not like I came here because I thought you were weak.」
「In fact, I think that you’re a lot stronger than me. But even then… Even if you were a hundred times stronger than me, I would still come here.」
「Because you’re my friend. I don’t know how you feel about me, but that’s just how I feel.」
Kain turned to face the door.
「Well, good night, Ein. I’ll see you in the morning.」
As Kain began to walk out of the room, Ein called after him.
「You blew up your room with magic, right? Where do you plan to sleep?」
「Uhh. In the h-hallway, I guess?」
Clicking her tongue, Ein kicked Kain in the rear.
「You should try to think more about the consequences of your actions. I’ll let you borrow my bed, so sleep there for the night.」
「Wha-what!? But where are you-?」
「Don’t worry about me. Either way, I’m gonna have to take these two scumbags to Zwei.」
「I see. Well then I’ll stay up until…」
「…If you don’t want me to kick you in the butt again, get to sleep within three seconds. One, two…」
After making sure that Kain was tucked in bed, Ein took a deep sigh.
The night was still young. She predicted that there would be at least one or two more people coming to kill them.
Ein stood, thinking.