I didn’t know when and where it all started, but I witnessed the results. Ellen had attacked Aaron Mede and made him go for the secret entrance, but I caught him as I was about to enter.
However, that wasn’t all.
Eleris already knew about Ellen, but Sarkegaar didn’t.
She was holding Lament in her right hand, and Sarkegaar wouldn’t be as ignorant as Loyar.
We needed to get Ellen out of there quickly before Sarkegaar managed to figure things out.
“Let’s talk about this later.”
Taking action against Aaron Mede was my top priority.
I pulled off his robe and shook out the scrolls from its inner pockets.
He couldn’t teleport through his own power, so I looked for his scrolls. While I didn’t know the details, I heard the rough story.
“You came here with Harriet?”
“Bring her here.”
“It’s dangerous. I’ll stay here…”
“Bring her here.”
Ellen looked at me silently after I used a commanding tone.
Her getting Harriet wasn’t my ultimate objective.
I was sending her away because what I was going to say from that point on were things she shouldn’t hear.
“Okay. Be careful.”
Ellen went back through the secret passage, leaving me alone with Aaron Mede. Eris and Sarkegaar were still near me, of course, but she wasn’t able to see them.
“Th-this is a misunderstanding. I… I don’t know what this is about, but it’s a misunderstanding.”
Aaron Mede tried to say some bullshit about it being some mistake or something.
“So what if it’s a misunderstanding?”
I laughed as I held him up by his collar.
“Whether you actually tried to kill me or not doesn’t change the fact that you’re a bastard who deserves to die.”
Aaron Mede was something like a mad scientist, a certain criminal who deserved to die regardless of whether he was my would-be assassin or not. I made sure Ellen was far enough away.
If she were to hear any of what we were about to discuss, things would get annoying.
I also had something to ask him.
It was rather fortunate that Aaron Mede ran away so desperately.
Had he been stabbed by Ellen, he wouldn’t have been able to give me an important piece of information.
“I don’t really care about anything else, but I need you to tell me how to contact the Black Order.”
“What…? Contact the Black Order?”
“Hurry up. If you don’t tell me by the time my friend comes back, I’ll kill you in the most painful way I can imagine.”
The Black Order…
Since I knew that magic was the most likely source of the Gate crisis, I needed to locate and figure out what the various magic societies were planning.
One of them could cause a terrible accident.
There were also some magic societies I hadn’t set up, so I could only investigate the ones I knew about.
Magic societies did show up in the original, but they weren’t treated as anything important, so I knew next to nothing about them.
The Black Order was the first one that came to mind.
Fortunately, I knew a little more about them than the other ones.
Aaron Mede was positively shocked that I was already waiting for him at his escape exit and even knew that he was part of the Black Order.
“Y-You… Who the hell are you?”
He began to think that I was someone far greater than he thought.
Well, he was right.
“You don’t have to know.”
I lifted him up by his collar and gave him a fishy smile.
“Do you think I’ll kill you? No, I won’t do that.”
I recalled one of the few facts I knew about the Black Order…
“If you don’t tell me, you won’t die by my hands. I’ll hand you over to Cantus Magna.”
They were the magic society known as ‘The Taboo Hunters’ to the public.
Their real name was Cantus Magna.
The Taboo Hunters, Cantus Magna, and the Black Order, which broke a lot of taboos…
They were eternal enemies.
He’d rather die than get handed over to Cantus Magna, and his complexion turned paler.
Normal people might know the term ‘Taboo Hunters’, but they wouldn’t know the name ‘Cantus Magna’.
The fact that I knew their name would be shocking enough.
As long as he was aware of the relationship between the Black Order and Cantus Manga, he’d think I was even stranger.
“If… if you let me go, I’ll let you contact the Black Order! I can introduce you to our members! I… I’ll do anything! You can even become a member of the Order if you want—!”
Like that, Aaron Mede’s head exploded with no warning whatsoever.
I stared blankly at the blood spurting from the headless corpse’s throat.
It was my first time seeing something like that.
I was really getting to see all sorts of things…
I could roughly tell what had happened.
I turned around and saw a wizard staring at me who was fully shrouded in a black robe.
I was expecting them to show up. No, I figured they’d observe the situation without showing themselves.
However, they intervened.
They wouldn’t have minded if I didn’t know about the Order, but I definitely mentioned it.
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Eleris and Sarkegaar remained passive, but they were on high alert.
The person wearing the black robe was staring at me from the darkness of their hood.
“At least say something after suddenly showing up.”
Although Aaron Mede was a member of the Order, he was a low-ranking one.
Even still, that person immediately disposed of him, and he probably had a high ranking.
I didn’t know who they were, though.
“Hey, can’t you talk? Why are you just staring at me?”
“Do you have any information on Cantus Magna?”
I smiled inwardly when that guy finally spoke.
I didn’t actually believe that I could get in contact with the Black Order through Aaron Mede, but I knew that if I mentioned Cantus Magna in front of members of the Black Order, they would be the ones to contact me.
While I’d arranged the details rather arbitrarily, there were still things I knew, and that helped immensely.
The two magic societies hated each other to the core; destroying each other was more important to them than anything else, so it was only natural that they would clutch at any information they could get on each other.
A young Temple student actually knew about Cantus Magna…
A normal person knew about a secret magic society whose name shouldn’t even be known.
That alone made them contact me.
“Aren’t deals about equal exchange? I can’t tell you for free.”
“…What do you want, boy?”
I looked at the hooded mage.
The numerous forbidden arts the Black Order possessed…
They may have been the origin of the Gate Incident.
To prevent the Gate Incident, I had to walk on yet another tightrope.
He didn’t seem to mind executing some petty underling. He appeared not because I threatened Aaron Mede but because I mentioned Cantus Magna.
“It has to be useful information for that, boy.”
“Do you know enough to tell whether my information is useful or not?”
The Black Order were bad guys, but they weren’t really bad guys.
They had their own principles that were just different from the world’s principles, which was why he didn’t react to my sarcastic remarks.
“We shall meet again in due time.”
“That’s not difficult for us.”
Were those guys able to directly enter Temple? I was slowly realizing that I was getting involved with people I shouldn’t be touching. My skin stung due to all of the tension, but I had to do what had to be done.
“A boy who treats a Vampire Lord as his underling wouldn’t try to tell some pathetic lie.”
Of course, he was already aware of Eleris, who lay in waiting with invisibility magic cast on herself.
If that was the case, he might have already known about the talking sparrow as well.
Although I was completely unknown to him, he already had some strange kind of trust in me.
The wizard belonging to the Black Order disappeared like he had been nothing but an illusion.
The realization that I was really traversing dangerous waters made shivers run down my back.
I had to see things through to the end.
Even if I were to stumble and fall in the middle of it, I still had to pull through.
Translator – KonnoAren
Ellen thought that I might be in danger, so she hurried back with Harriet.
The wizard of the Black Order had already left, and we had removed Aaron Mede’s corpse.
Harriet’s expression seemed very bad, perhaps due to the things she saw there.
“What did you do?”
“…Do I have to tell you?”
I pretended that I was trying to not use the words, “I killed him”, however, in fact, it wasn’t me who killed Aaron Mede.
Bloodstains left behind by Aaron Mede’s corpse were scattered all over the ground, so they could roughly guess what happened.
Harriet didn’t see the corpse, but she couldn’t find any words to express herself when she saw I had supposedly killed him without hesitation.
Rather than angry or afraid, she seemed sad.
About the fact that I had become that kind of person.
“Let’s talk about what happened later.”
I put off telling Ellen and Harriet why I was there alone and didn’t ask why they were there.
“I need to solve this problem first.”
We had killed a Temple teacher, so we had to figure out what we were going to do.
I sent Ellen and Harriet back first and told them that I would try to figure things out.
Both Ellen and Harriet seemed to have a lot of things they wanted to talk about with me, and they also seemed rather anxious, but I stayed stubborn. They couldn’t just force me to go back with them, after all.
I was actually pretty mad that those two were even there.
Back outside Aaron Mede’s mansion on the outskirts of the Imperial Capital, Eleris lifted her invisibility and Sarkegaar turned into something different, but it wasn’t the appearance of Count Argon Pontheus.
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He looked just like an ordinary adult woman one could find anywhere.
It seemed like Eleris and Sarkegaar had a lot to say.
Eleris probably wanted to know why I wanted to contact the Black Order. Her attitude was rather cold because, no matter my intentions, it couldn’t be anything good.
Sarkegaar was even worse.
“Your Highness, if my eyes weren’t mistaken, I believe I saw that one of the two children helping you was holding Lament.”
Of course, Sarkegaar was bound to ask about Ellen. Sarkegaar, who had always obeyed me and followed whatever I said, looked different.
His eyes were completely expressionless.
While he looked like an ordinary person, facing him felt incredibly terrifying.
That’s a Dreadfiend, after all, they were demons that ruled over fear.
I couldn’t come up with many explanations for Sarkegaar.
The Holy Sword of the Moon God, Lament, along with Alsbringer, was known to be the sword of Ragan Artorius.
He didn’t use it during the Demon World War, so its whereabouts were unknown, and then Sarkegaar suddenly saw a girl with a lot of power for her age holding it.
Sarkegaar could probably make some speculations from that, and they would probably be pretty close to the truth.
Sarkegaar looked at me.
His glaring, which was void of expression with their whites exposed, made my hands and feet feel numb just by looking at them.
“Even if you don’t tell me, I have many ways to find out.”
“Please, tell me everything now.”
What the ever-loyal Sarkegaar needed from me was neither money, praise, nor any other reward whatsoever.
He just needed me to have the will to rebuild the Demon Realm.
Sarkegaar would be willing to give his life for that alone, and without it, Sarkegaar would do anything to see me harbor such a will.
Ellen was in danger.
If I didn’t say anything, Sarkegaar would figure out on his own that Ellen was, in fact, Ellen Artorius.
Of course, the thing Sarkegaar hated the most in the world was Ragan Artorius—the warrior who’d killed the Demon King.
Artorius’s sister was slowly developing into a monster inside of Temple, so he wouldn’t be able to leave her alone.
If I didn’t talk right then, if I couldn’t convince Sarkegaar…
Ellen would die.
If Sarkegaar decided to kill Ellen, I wouldn’t be able to stop him.
“Yes. That was Lament”
“The girl’s name is Ellen Artorius. She is Ragan Artorius’s younger sister.”
Sarkegaar’s eyes widened at my words.
“Why on earth does Your Highness share the bond of friendship with the blood of that damned hero?”
Not only did Sarkegaar’s eyes turn bloodshot, but the color of his skin was turning blue and red.
Could he not control his form properly because of the excessive anger he felt? Eleris’s hands were also shaking as if she was nervous.
She also felt rather suspicious of my intentions for contacting the Black Order.
Sarkegaar wanted war, Eleris wanted peace, and both of them were suspicious of me right then.
However, first, I had to convince the overexcited Sarkegaar.
He was furious at my failure to inform him about Ellen and that we were close enough that she was willing to risk her life for me.
Just one wrong word…
If I just said one wrong word, it would be Ellen’s death. That might have been even worse than if he killed me.
Just like Eleris was on my side but still dangerous, Sarkegaar was also on my side, and he was also still dangerous.
I was feeling it first-hand.
“Isn’t it obvious?”
“She’s the sister of Ragan Artorius, so why on earth shouldn’t I get close to her?”
“Are you telling me that your desire to rebuild the Demon Realm stems from emotions such as base vengeance?”
Sarkegaar’s expression didn’t improve.
“Wasn’t it you who told me to go to Temple to learn how to defeat the humans with their own methods while using human weapons?”
‘You should enter Temple and thoroughly learn the ways of the humans! Wouldn’t it be truly satisfying to defeat them with their own weapons?!’
Sarkegaar was the first to suggest that I enter Temple.
In the end, wasn’t it just an extension of that?
“Why are you so angry when the sister of the hero, who is sure to become the most powerful weapon of humanity, risked her life to save me?”
“The situation today wasn’t what I planned, but I thought you’d be overjoyed upon seeing it.”
Sarkegaar shook his head.
“You’re using the flesh and blood of that damn hero… Is that what you’re saying?”
Sarkegaar watched me silently.
He took a step forward and brought his own face towards mine.
He was so close that the tip of his nose almost touched my own.
“Your Highness, you’re a terrible liar.”
Sarkegaar’s sanpaku eyes seemed to look right through me.
“Did you really think I wouldn’t realize how worried you are about her?”
I’d lost my composure at Ellen’s sudden appearance.
I couldn’t help but be genuinely shocked because it was completely unexpected. Sarkegaar had picked up on those things earlier.
Me using Ellen… Getting her on my side just to use her…
Sarkegaar couldn’t believe those cold words from the start. Sarkegaar had already realized just how important Ellen was to me through my reactions alone.
Just as Ellen valued me, I also valued her.
He had already read me.
I was looking straight into Sarkegaar’s eyes.
I was afraid, but I couldn’t back down.
“So what if I do?”
Sarkegaar was rather shocked by my confident words, and even Eleris seemed surprised because she didn’t expect me to say something like that.
“Was it Ragan Artorius who killed my father, or was it Ellen?”
“F*ck, can’t I just like humans? Is that such a big deal? Huh?”
At my sudden rant, Sarkegaar’s eyes widened in a different way.
“Your Highness! Ragan Artorius is the mortal enemy of the previous Demon King. Even killing the seed of the Artorius clan wouldn’t be enough. How can you treat someone of such a disgusting and filthy bloodline as precious? This shouldn’t be!”
“I don’t know, damn it. It’s true that I planned on using her, and it’s also true that she’s important to me, so what do you want me to do about it?”
“Oh, for F*cks sake. Hey, are you supposed to yap on about what a Demon King should or shouldn’t do?”
Sarkegaar took a step back as I glared at him. Looking at him retreating backward, I shook my head.
“Hey, I can’t do it.”
“Wh-what do you mean by tha—”
“You should just become the next Demon King.”
“You just be the Demon King, you punk. Since you always tell me to just do this or that, why don’t you just become the Demon King, huh? What is it? Just do it, you bastard. Transform into an arcdemon and do it yourself, bitch.”
“Your Highness! You know that’s not what I intended! I don’t covet your position, nor can I!”
“Yes, Your Highness!”
I approached Sarkegaar, and as I got closer, he took a few steps back.
“Then shut up and do as I say. Do what I tell you to do. So what if I’m being nice and doing things you don’t understand? So what if I’m friends with the hero’s sister or whoever the F*ck else I decide to associate with? What are you going to do about it? So what if you don’t get it?”
“I’m the only arcdemon. It doesn’t matter if my qualifications or intentions are questionable!” I said, pushing my face right in front of Sarkegaar’s.
“You have no other option but me.”
“Don’t touch Ellen.”
Sarkegaar’s eyes were shaking.
“Don’t do it if you don’t want to receive an arcdemon’s corpse. Do you get what I’m saying?”
I can always just kill myself.
I didn’t want it to be like that.
I was threatening my underlings with my own life while Ellen wasn’t there. I could clearly see Sarkegaar’s eyes tinged in fear, anger, and sadness.
“Your Highness… No.”
Eventually, tears flowed out of his passionate eyes.
“Does the girl know anything?”
“I don’t understand, but even if you’re able to accept her, she won’t be able to accept you.”
Sarkegaar’s tears were, in the end, tears of genuine concern for me.
“Your Highness, this is… This is an extremely dangerous relationship you’re having, and it’s a gamble that you shouldn’t take.”
Sarkegaar cried and begged me to stop.
Eleris had said something similar. She hoped that our relationship won’t come to a tragic end.
Just because I was able to treat the relative of my father’s killer kindly didn’t mean that Ellen would be able to accept the son of her brother’s killer.
—We wouldn’t just be mere enemies.
While I was the flesh and blood of humanity’s greatest enemy, I was also a seed that could lead to another Great War.
It was completely impossible for Ellen to accept me.
Sarkegaar’s tears, worries, anxiety, and words were all more than understandable; there was no way I couldn’t understand him.
However, while I could understand, I would never be able to accept it.
“Silence. I don’t care about anything else, but if you touch even the tips of Ellen’s hair, that’s the end.”
“That’s the only thing you have to keep in mind.”
“Your Highness… please.”
“Tell me you understand.”
“No, please. Just this… I don’t care about others, but this…”
Sarkegaar sobbed and nodded.
“I understand… Your Highness.”
I couldn’t convince him, but I succeeded in subduing him at least.