A quest appeared as if it was natural.
[Quest – Rescue the Demon Prisoners]
[Description: During the Victory Festival, Demon prisoners are to be sold on the black market somewhere in the Capital. As the Prince of the Demons, decide whether you want to rescue them or not.]
[Reward: 50 Achievement Points per rescued prisoner]
However, to my surprise that quest was pretty good.
The source of that information was Sarkegaar, not Loyar. Everyone couldn’t hide their sadness.
“It seems like there are auction tickets secretly traded among the nobility. Of course, the prisoners will arrive here through the Warpgate in time for the Victory Festival, so the auction hasn’t started yet….”
I didn’t quite understand why people would want to buy demon slaves, but it seemed like Sarkegaar caught some rumors about the black market auction tickets passed around among the wealthy.
“Why would they sell demon prisoners on the black market? What are they going to use them for?”
Loyar answered my questions..
“……It could be out of a desire to collect…. Aren’t those usually the reasons for people buying things in auctions?”
“What do you mean, usually….”
They would buy demons like Goblins and Orcs because they want to have them in their collection? Saying that these were usually the reasons….
It was then that I realized why they were making these faces. Eleris nodded at my absentmindedly spoken words.
“The demons with the highest price are, of course, succubi.”
The most sought after item was, of course, a succubus, and the reason why was really obvious. It was then that I understood why Eleris was talking to me about the wickedness of humans yesterday.
“Damn it, I’m not quite sure, but succubi…. wouldn’t that be quite dangerous?”
If my common knowledge was correct, weren’t succubi the ones that stole a human’s life force through their desires? But they want to buy a succubus exactly for that purpose? Did they want to die?
“Succubi obviously take away life force, but there must be a way to indoctrinate them to prevent them from doing that or even surgical procedures, perhaps.”
They were able to eliminate the aspect that made a succubus dangerous and turn them into slaves. So, they would sell completely harmless succubi, with their only means of defense removed.
“The prisoners may not have arrived yet, but we estimated there to be a huge number of them. There aren’t only succubi, but incubi and many other races that would make hot commodities for others as well.”
I nodded with a firm expression on my face at Sarkegaar’s words.
Dyrus thought that most of the captured demons would be killed and so did I. But there was no end to human greed. They were literally trying to sell humanoid demons that were almost indistinguishable from humans like that.
They were only of a different race, and yet they got sold on a slave market.
In the original, I wrote that there weren’t things like demon zoos. Considering this, that meant there might have been people who raised monster-type demons in some dark place I had no idea about. These things never reached the surface world at least.
And it was clear that the ones who got sold would be used for sexual purposes.
Loyar, Sarkegaar and Eleris all wore different expressions, but they all held similar emotions.
“So, do you want to rescue them?”
As I asked them that, all three had sombre expressions on their faces.
Sarkegaar shook his head.
“It’s excruciating to watch those human bastards’ behavior, my lord. But I know the weight of our situation. It’s saddening, but if we go out to save them and we fail, not only will their anger fall onto us, Your Highness would also be at risk.”
“……I think the same. Of course, they might not harm Your Highness, but we are the only three demons who can support you. If we lose even one of us, we’d suffer a lot more by having a weakend foundation.”
Loyar didn’t want to admit that what Sarkegaar said was right, but she had no other choice but to agree.
Eleris also nodded her head while slightly biting her lip.
All three of them wanted to save the captured demons, but they had a much more important goal than that. My safety.
If it weren’t for me they would have jumped in to rescue the demons like moths flying into open flames, as the Demon Realm had collapsed anyway, and they just couldn’t stand seeing the humans’ shameless behavior.
They were three demons that didn’t even appear in the original.
That said, if I wasn’t around they would have lived in a place completely unrelated to the main story. If I hadn’t interfered, they would have lived their lives in places that had nearly no connection to the main plotline. Of course, there was also the possibility that they ended up dead somewhere along the line.
I didn’t know everything about this world. I knew the rough framework, but I had no idea about the details. I didn’t describe passerby 1’s life story, but that didn’t mean he didn’t have one.
They probably would have somehow entered the black market where the prisoners were being auctioned off and tried to rescue them.
The plot of the original was just in it’s very early stages. If these three demons actually infiltrated the black market held in a secret place in the Imperial Capital, were caught and ultimately killed while engaging with the humans to retake their comrades, the main character and his party wouldn’t have necessarily known about these happenings. The beginning parts of the novel only dealt with the main character’s daily life at Temple, which had absolutely nothing to do with events happening outside of Temple.
The most that could happen right now was Delphine Izadra getting kidnapped while Ludwig was out playing with his friends and Ludwig somehow ending up rescuing her. Although it was said that the safety of the Temple students was the guards’ highest priority, this was just too harmless an incident…. I believed that the probability of such an incident happening was quite high. I didn’t interfere much with Ludwig and his party, and Charlotte, B Class’ anomaly, was at the Imperial Palace.
Ludwig would have to run around to find his kidnapped classmate, while I had to find a way to save my people who had been taken prisoner.
No matter how I looked at it, I felt like I was getting caught up in a more protagonistic plot line.
The only problem was that this incident felt far from something out of a slice-of-life novel. Well, a kidnapping case couldn’t be called the epitome of that genre either.
I was just a high school student, you know?
Without me, those three would have tried rescuing the demons, and they probably would have failed. If they were successful, there would have been a huge commotion within the Imperial Capital about the demon captives having escaped.
Now, I was their highest priority, so they were probably only carrying their resentment in their hearts, being unable to even try.
How should I go about this?
To be honest, I wasn’t even an actual demon, so I didn’t really know why I had to do this. I had no intentions of actually rebuilding the Demon Realm. However, I didn’t believe that only humans could be counted as “human”. Those three in front of me weren’t humans, but in my opinion, they were no different from humans. And in the end, they were bound to be much more important to me than others simply because they were absolutely on my side.
Demons possessing intelligence, who were essentially my people, would be sold into slavery in the Capital and would end up leading miserable lives.
Regardless of those various concerns, it was true that I would like to do something if I were able to. If I rescued them, they would also be absolutely on my side.
However, the risks were just too great. If these three got arrested or their identities were revealed, there would be a high probability that they would all die.
I sincerely wanted to save them, but it was also true that I was hesitant about risking my life for them. Because I knew best that I wasn’t that great of a person after all.
That was why this uncle who was able to return back to high school was nothing more than a common delinquent who had a bit more guts than others, but overall just ended up being a rude brat.
Just thinking about infiltrating that black market, where numerous millionaires and nobles were sure to be gathered, to rescue those prisoners, I couldn’t even imagine a way to get out of there unscathed. Security would be tight, and we might not even be able to enter in the first place.
Even those three, who were much stronger than me, would have failed.
Everyone had gloomy expressions on their faces as they had to accept that they couldn’t do anything. Because protecting me was their highest priority. They didn’t want me to make a decision on this, they were merely reporting to me what happened in the Capital.
“Still can’t we think about it a little more? Whether we should rescue them or not.”
No matter what I thought, I only had those three who absolutely trusted and followed me. And now those exact three wanted to do something so desperately, I couldn’t just tell them not to do it outright.
At my words, I could feel a rush of emotions rise in everyone’s eyes.
“No, Your Highness. The safety of the supreme ruler should be our absolute priority. It certainly is heartbreaking and excruciating, but the weight of it is completely different.”
Sarkegaar was still against it, regardless of his emotions. He was someone who put my safety and the future first, so it made perfect sense that he would say something like that.
“It’s okay. I haven’t decided yet whether we should do it or not, let’s just see if we have any good ideas.”
I didn’t even ask for Loyar’s or Eleris’ opinion and just said that we should talk about it at least. I certainly wouldn’t even consider trying if only risky ideas would come up. If it’s something that just can’t succeed, that would be suicide.
Eleris opened her mouth first.
“Assuming that you want to do something, there are three things you have to know beforehand. The location of the black market, the number of prisoners and their security.”
If we didn’t even know that, we would just poke at bare ground. First, we had to know where the black market would open. At Eleris’ words, Loyar nodded her head.
“Although we might be able to somehow find out, information related to the black market is high-level information that is spread secretly, even among nobility.”
That was right. There was no way that information about the black market, which was only supposed to reach the ears of nobility, would float around the streets so it was highly unlikely that the Rotary Gang could gather that kind of information.
“I think it would only be right for me to find out these things, as it was me who brought this information in the first place, but we need a ticket to enter the black market first.”
As it was a fairly covert market, one could only obtain information by getting a ticket. Sarkegaar could obtain information that only floated around the aristocratic circles. That was why he took on such risks to play the role of an imperial noble.
“How much is a ticket?”
“40 gold coins, as far as I know, Your Highness.”
The entrance fee alone was already 40 million won. If one were to just go there to take a look, that would be a great loss, so they would try to bid fiercely to get at least something out of it. It was a psychological trick to make people want to spend huge amounts of money to not have wasted that entrance fee.
“Of course, currently we don’t even know who exactly is selling the tickets, but I believe we can figure that out. Also, if you are fine with a bit of risk, we could steal the ticket from someone else and enter the auction in disguise. Of course, we first have to determine from whom we would take the ticket and what to do with that person after….”
It was possible to get a ticket, but the problem was the money, and if we enter using someone else’s ticket, there would be the problem of what we’d do with the person we stole the ticket from. No matter if we use deception magic or hypnotic magic, we’d still create a situation where a person who can’t remember ever attending the auction actually attended.
We still wouldn’t know where the black market was, and we didn’t know the number of prisoners either.
So, who were those great people who opened that black market anyway?
“What about those who opened the black market?”
That was my next question. At that, Eleris answered me.
“There’s nothing too difficult about that, Your Highness. It can be deduced that if a person was able to siphon off prisoners of war like this they’d have a close relationship with the Allied Forces, because only then they’d be able to take away prisoners to sell on the black market.”
“If information about prisoners, who haven’t even entered the city yet, getting sold on the black market is already spreading, that would mean that this plan had already been made long before the Demon World Conquest Army returned.”
The prisoners hadn’t even entered the city or had been siphoned off yet. However, there were already rumors about the black market opening, albeit not far spread yet. Among those who have such shady desires….
I nodded at Eleris words.
“That means that there had already been talk with the side managing the Empire’s prisoners. The soldiers part of the unit managing the prisoners probably have something to do with some sort of organization, correct?”
“That’s right. Even if not all soldiers at the commander level knew about this, any soldier with a rank capable of making decisions would surely know.”
It would be impossible to siphon off prisoners of war without the permission of a commander or the leader of the prisoner management unit.
“Damn it, this is so high profile….”
I couldn’t help but sigh. Although the Prisoner management unit may have some status different from the conquest forces, it was almost certain that someone close to the top was involved in this.
“There’s a certain possibility that it might even be related to the Imperial Family.”
“We can’t rule out that possibility.”
Loyar nodded her head at my words.
If left alone, they would be destined to be beheaded anyway. I couldn’t deny that it was rather common to think of selling them on the black market and sweeping away the money of some rich deviants. Therefore, there was a certain chance that the Imperial Family itself was already planning to sell some on the black market. It was obvious that a lot of money would flow into their pockets after all.
They might think that selling demons, who had their fangs pulled and weren’t dangerous anymore, would be a much more viable business than just killing them.
This black market might be an underground event to commemorate this festival held by the Imperial Family. Taking away prisoners of war was certainly possible for someone of commander rank, but it was still quite risky.
So it was very unlikely that the Imperial Family was unaware of the matter of that black market. One could come to that conclusion simply by knowing that such rumors were floating about noble circles.
In fact, Bertus and Charlotte might already be aware of this.
“We aren’t sure, but the people involved in this are just too high up.”
It wasn’t something so simple mere gangs could touch, including the Thieves’ Guild. This was something planned by the Imperial Family, or a huge group with massive power.
If so, then we’d also be able to estimate the level of the security forces, the last thing we needed to know. I was sure it would have an incredibly high level of security.
“We would have to circumvent extremely tight security, rescue the demon prisoners of whom we don’t know the number of, and then hide them somewhere….”
None of those three steps seemed feasible.
“Would that be possible with magic?”
In the end, I had to fall back on that cheat again. Eleris shook her head as I gazed at her.
“As it should be a place were a lot of important guest are expected to come to, they would have a lot of security measures. There probably will be wizards among the security personal.”
“Would they be on the same level as you?”
Eleris seemed like a pretty high-level wizard to me.
“I’m not quite sure. All the forces of the Demon World Conquest Army, including the forces of the Empire, should have been seriously weakened, and there shouldn’t be too many elite forces left. But their wizards could be of similar level to me, and even if they aren’t mixed in with the security personal, I’m sure they don’t not expect that someone might want to interfere with the auction using magic. They might use an Anti-Magic Barrier. After all, they wouldn’t just be concerned about someone rescuing the prisoners. They might be more concerned about someone moving the auction to their favor using magic.”
There might be someone trying to use a large-scale hypnosis or hallucination spell or similar mental magic to make their bid go through. Magic was rather flexible, so it was quite ambiguous what one might try using it for. They should have installed some countermeasure against it at least. No matter if it was because of the prisoners or some other reason.
What would those three even have done in a situation like this? It might seem that they tried to do something in the original, but they might have just recklessly attacked the venue as they weren’t able to bear their anger anymore.
However, even after thinking about it, it was still really reckless. There were only the three of them and things wouldn’t really change much even if I was added into the mix.
Did those three really jump right into something that was logically impossible to achieve? Did they go through with their reckless attempt even though they knew they would most likely die?
If it was Sarkegaar, he would have immediately rushed in out of flaming rage, not having any hope of reconstructing the Demon Realm, and Loyar would have thought that something like that just shouldn’t happen. I didn’t know what would have happened in Eleris’ mind that she decided to go along with them in the end. Although it did seem that she felt a certain sense of guilt towards the Demons.
However, because of me, they didn’t decide to immediately jump into the fire.
It was almost impossible to infiltrate the auction house and rescue the prisoners, and even if we somehow managed to do it, where should we take them? Even if we succeeded there’d only be problems, because we didn’t even know how many prisoners there were.
However Eleris, who had been immersed in her thoughts for some time, tilted her head.
“Do we have to do it while the black market was opened?”
Huh? What did she mean?
“Wouldn’t it be the worst time to rescue the prisoners while the black market was open, Your Highness?”
I then realized what Eleris was talking about.
The moment the auction started would be when the security would be the strongest. So, we were more or less talking about jumping in recklessly while it was the most dangerous for us.
“Wouldn’t it be easier to start our operation before the auction started or after the sales were over and the demons got handed over to their buyers? There would still be some precautions taken before the sale, but after the ownership was transferred to another individual, they had to manage their slaves on their own, so I think it would be easier to get them at that moment.”
“Ah…. You’re right.”
Loyar nodded her head slowly as if she hadn’t thought of that before.