Fortunately, no one tried to attack us until I reached the train station while carrying Ellen on my back.
Did they give up on the opportunity because they thought I noticed them? An assassin literally specialized in assassination, not fighting… The possibility that they thought I noticed their plot and just stepped off was pretty high.
Even after I arrived at the station and boarded the mana train, I didn’t neglect to harbor a continued wariness towards my surroundings.
We obviously overcame the imminent assassination. However, there was a high chance that only the location of the assassination had changed and that it would still occur elsewhere.
“What’s wrong with you, Reinhardt. What happened?”
When we got on the mana train I kept watching my surroundings while dripping cold sweat, so Ellen could only watch me with a worried look.
I had been carrying Ellen on my back up to that point, but then she stepped down. The mana train wasn’t full, so there were some empty seats, but I still decided to stand.
Without saying a word, I grabbed Ellen by the scruff of her neck and pulled her into my arms.
“Why are you… so suddenly…”
“Stay still for a sec. Don’t do anything.”
Ellen seemed surprised when I suddenly hugged her.
That girl was weak at the moment. Ellen couldn’t fight in her state.
I decided it would be best to go to whichever place was nearest. If anyone tried to attack us, I would immediately summon Tiamata. None of the other passengers seemed to particularly care about Ellen and me.
I could only feel the gazes of those wearing Temple uniforms wondering whether we were dating.
I kept my distance from the other passengers so that I could keep an eye on them as I held Ellen in my arms.
As for Ellen, she did as I told her and stayed silent with no questions asked.
It was a cool day…
And yet, I was swearing all over.
“Smells like sweat…”
Ellen, who had her nose right up to my chest, grumbled softly.
At my sharp words, Ellen replied in a slightly hesitant voice.
Nothing happened on the train until we reached Temple Station.
Unlike the Rotary Gang’s headquarters, Temple Station had a very large floating population.
I waited for the crowd to disperse when we got off. Ellen knew that I was serious, so she stuck to me without a single question.
Slowly, after I looked in every direction, I left the station. While the assassin might not be there, there was a chance that they were still following us.
Night had already fallen, but there was still a huge amount of people coming and going around Temple.
Still, I couldn’t feel relieved yet.
That person was a madman who would simply kill people on the roadside. If they judged that it was impossible for them to assassinate us in secret, there was a good chance that they wouldn’t hesitate to just try offing us anyway.
I supported Ellen on my side as we slowly headed towards Temple’s entrance.
I didn’t know if we would be safe inside Temple, but I at least hoped so. If the assassin was an outsider, they wouldn’t be able to get in.
Even if we couldn’t feel relieved yet, we could at least eliminate some possibilities by choosing to return to Temple.
I slowly but surely headed towards Temple while preparing to summon Tiamata the moment anyone from the crowd got too close to us.
It felt like a thousand years passed.
As I went through Temple’s entrance, a familiar view unfolded before me.
Only a few faculty members and students were walking about; no one looked suspicious.
However, even when we were outside, no one looked particularly suspicious either.
Did the assassin give up?
Did they return because it seemed like I noticed them?
Even while taking the tram to the Royal Class’s dormitory, I still kept my guard up.
I was finally able to relax when I arrived at the dorms.
My heart, which felt like it was about to explode before, beat even harder.
The assassin hadn’t made a move on us. Whatever it might have been, I was able to avoid death for the day.
My legs felt weak.
“Is it… okay now?”
Ellen didn’t know what was going on, so when she saw that I was relieved, her anxiety also flew away.
I silently hugged Ellen.
“Wh-why are you doing this…?”
Ellen hugged me, who was still trembling, back. It seemed like she was trying to tell me to calm down.
I didn’t say anything.
I couldn’t say anything.
Was I afraid of my own death or Ellen’s?
Anyway, that fear was gone for the moment.
That was it.
With the priest on duty’s help, Ellen returned to her original strength.
I explained the situation to her in the training room in the middle of the night. I couldn’t tell her everything, though.
“Who tried to kill us?”
“I don’t really know the details, but it’s just how it felt back then.”
“…Shouldn’t you get counseling?”
Ellen couldn’t help but feel like I was just paranoid.
I couldn’t explain the “Preview” function to her, so in the end, other than telling me to go get some help for my neurosis, she didn’t have anything else to say.
If the assassin had attacked us, she would have known that I was telling the truth, but since nothing ended up happening, it was no wonder she didn’t believe me.
That assassin must have been quite the prudent person.
Even after thoroughly thinking about it, anyone would suspect schizophrenia or paranoia if someone just suddenly stopped in their tracks and said someone was trying to kill them.
“To be exact, they were probably trying to kill me, not you.”
“A while ago, I went to the Sponsorship Meeting to get research funds for the Magic Research Society, right?”
“Yes. You did.”
“I met a person named Saviolon Turner there.”
“I know her. The Captain of Shanapell.”
Ellen showed that she recognized the name.
“She told me that, due to the incident with the Orbis Class, I had made a lot of enemies.”
The massive restructuring of the Orbis Class and the damages caused by it… The displeasure of its sponsors and supporters… Saviolin had told me that there had to be a lot of people who hated me because I was the cause of it all.
However, I never thought that they would try to kill me. Of course, those people weren’t the only suspects. Maybe someone was trying to kill me for a completely different reason that I was unfamiliar with.
“I don’t know…”
Ellen still seemed to find it difficult to understand why I’d suddenly acted the way I did in that situation.
“Still, if you’re in danger, you shouldn’t leave Temple.”
Ellen wasn’t really sure if there had been an assassination attempt on me, but she agreed that I was in danger.
She looked at me in silence.
After all the trouble I caused, I ended up making numerous enemies that I couldn’t handle on my own.
“I won’t die.”
“If you die, I’ll die as well.”
“What are you saying all of a sudden?”
“I’ll kill the person that killed you, and then I’ll die as well.”
Ellen silently looked at me with her usual calm expression.
“So, please, don’t do anything dangerous.”
That was the main point she wanted to convey. Ellen held my hands as she spoke.
“I don’t really know what happened, but… You suddenly felt that someone was going to kill you and me as well… that’s how it was, right?”
Ellen seemed to think that I was trying to protect her from start to finish.
“…If I ever become a burden to you in that kind of situation, just leave me. I’ll be fine…”
“Don’t spout bullshit.”
With those words, I pulled Ellen away from me and looked into her eyes.
“You aren’t the only one.”
Ellen said that she could die for me.
Just as Ellen had found conviction in the Darklands, I had realized during that heart-racing return to Temple, even though nothing happened…
“I can die for you as well.”
I couldn’t take back those words anymore.
At my words, Ellen’s eyes shook greatly. She suddenly raised her hand as she looked at me.
“What nonsense are you spouting?”
Then, Ellen smiled, returning the flick and answer I gave her in the past.
“Make something. I’m hungry.”
I couldn’t look at the smiling Ellen properly.
* * *
Translator – KonnoAren
Proofreader – ilafy
* * *
Just because nothing happened didn’t mean that it was the end of it.
[Event Quest Appeared – Assassination Threat]
[Description： Someone is trying to kill you. Crush or subdue the origin of this threat.]
[Reward: One related trait]
An Event Quest appeared after such a long time.
Its compensation was quite abstract. However, quests that gave traits as rewards usually weren’t lacking.
Still, that situation in which my life was at stake couldn’t be measured by mere compensation. It was something I had to do even if I didn’t receive a reward for it.
Preview didn’t only help me to avoid death, but it also created a problem for me to solve.
Someone, or some group, was trying to kill me. I needed to identify them. They might have been a huge group or just some vengeful individuals.
But just who the hell was trying to kill me and for what reason?
The biggest suspects were the Orbis Class supporters. However, in that case, it would be simple revenge. Killing me wouldn’t necessarily change anything.
No one else came to mind off the top of my head, but I wanted to at least make sure that I found the assassin that tried to kill me.
While it didn’t actually happen, he would have killed both me and Ellen.
I had to find them.
I didn’t care whether it was right or wrong to take revenge for something that actually didn’t happen.
Someone who did those kinds of things deserved to die.
He didn’t kill me, and he didn’t kill Ellen either, but he’d tried to.
I had to find and kill them.
…And I would find out who was behind it and make them pay as well.
It was the first time in my life that I had such cruel thoughts, but I didn’t feel any aversion to them.
I didn’t feel relieved. I didn’t feel comfortable knowing that I was surrounded by enemies as soon as I stepped outside of Temple. There could’ve also been someone inside of Temple who was trying to kill me.
I couldn’t let my guard down.
I always wore the disposable protection bracelet.
While listening to my classes and walking around campus, I always paid attention to my surroundings.
I didn’t know whether I’d be given one more Preview if a threat was approaching me again. I couldn’t just trust that bastard.
I felt like I was slowly drying up while still alive.
The only place I could feel safe in was the Royal Class dormitory.
I was already familiar with the faces of the staff there, so it was a place where strangers would stand out to me.
Unfortunately, it was rather difficult for me to use my personal connections in that situation.
Even Ellen, who had been with me, thought that I was simply paranoid.
Not only had nothing happened, but I also didn’t have any evidence, so even if I went around and said that there was someone who wanted to kill me, they’d just think the same.
I’d just end up getting treated like a madman after all the trouble I had caused all over the place.
It felt really shitty.
I really was in a situation where someone was trying to kill me, but to others, it just sounded like nonsense.
I needed proof, so I really needed to be attacked by an assassin. However, it was unclear whether I would survive that or not.
Of course, I could forcibly ask for help from Bertus, Charlotte, or Temple, but if I did that, they would probably take measures to stop me from leaving Temple.
If that were to happen, I wouldn’t be able to make use of my strongest card.
I also had allies that only I could control.
I sent a letter out of Temple. It was too dangerous to go out in person because I had yet to find anything out.
A few days later…
Something knocked on my window.
It pecked my window as if it had some business with me.
When I opened the window, the little bird flew into my room and closed the curtains.
The time before, he’d disguised himself as a maid, but that time, he was a bird.
As the small bird chirped, its appearance turned into that of a graceful maid wearing a dress.
“Your Highness, it has been a while.”
It was Sarkegaar.
I had sent the message to Loyar, who was at the Rotary Gang’s headquarters, with the following orders in it: “Send Sarkegaar to Temple.” I had written it in a secret code we had agreed upon beforehand, and so Sarkegaar arrived in front of me.
I didn’t think I was a good leader.
To put it bluntly, I favored some of my subordinates over others. Not for business-related reasons but personal ones.
I was literally a perfect example of the direct opposite of a boss.
I tended to go visit Eleris for no other reason than to chat about my Temple life with her. She was a very good listener.
Though I did visit Loyar for more work-related reasons.
On the other hand, I rarely saw Sarkegaar, who worked under the pseudonym of ‘Count Argon Ponteus’. I didn’t even know where Sarkegaar lived.
And his tension was always so high. Additionally, I felt like he would end up noticing that I didn’t actually intend to rebuild the Demon Realm if I got more involved with him, so I tried to put distance between us.
So that was why it had been so long since I last saw Sarkegaar. Of course, although we were in my private room, we were still in Temple, so I didn’t want to say anything unnecessary.
“I knew that you were doing exceedingly well. For you to already have taken over the transportation system of the Imperial Capital—”
I interrupted him.
It’s been a long while since I’d seen him, and he was already babbling about useless things. He seemed to be very elated that I’d called him.
“Your Highness, for your sake, I would even go through the pits of hell. You can order anything of me.”
I would have liked it if he didn’t say that in such a beautiful and gentle voice.
“I don’t want you to go to the pits of hell, but I might get sent there soon.”
“…What do you mean, your Highness?”
“I think someone is trying to kill me.”
“Are you saying there is a group of vagrants planning such things in this world?!”
His tone of voice was very low, and he spoke very violently, but in the end, he still seemed rather cute in his appearance.
“If you say the word, I will tear them limb from limb and hang them from the gates for daring to plan to kill the heir of the Demon Realm…”
“Why would you do this when we’re in the Imperial Capital?”
I then told Sarkwgaar, who was more than livid over the fact that my life was being threatened, the details of the incident—even what happened before and how I managed to make so many enemies.
“Well, in that case, does Your Highness mean that you don’t know who is threatening your life?”
“Yes, but I’m sure that there is someone. I have a very strong feeling that it’s like that.”
“Intuition… amazing intuition is something all great monarchs have. If it’s Your Highness’s feeling, then I’m sure it’s accurate. I’ll make sure to find the assassin and his contractor, Your Highness.”
It sure was nice to have someone who unconditionally trusted me.
I hadn’t called him because I needed his power, but I’d called him because he needed to act as a messenger to contact the others outside.
Count Argon Ponteus might be quite recognizable in his own right, but I still had other groups.
“Tell Eleris and Loyar about my situation. Also, contact the Thieves’ Guild. They might know which assassin organization was behind this.”
“Yes, everyone shall work together to corner the evil forces that tried to kill Your Highness.”
By human standards, if they tried to kill the Prince of the Demon Realm, they wouldn’t be considered evil, rather, they would be seen as heroes of mankind.
Sarkegaar was on my side, so that was why he could say things like that.
My connections in Temple wouldn’t believe my words and said they weren’t credible enough, so I had to do what I could with those on my side.
Things would have been a lot easier if the assassin had attacked me that day.
—It was so frustrating that I even started to think like that.
If that happened, I would have been able to gather up all of my allies to look for the assassin.
It was also possible that the assassin wasn’t sent from an organization but was just a single individual who had a grudge against me. In that case, it would be pretty hard to locate them.
It wasn’t like I didn’t have a list of suspects in my mind.
However, there were just too many.
There weren’t just one or two people who held a grudge against me.
Therefore, I had no choice but to investigate step by step.
After checking every possibility, I would be able to find the culprit by process of elimination.