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primadog Aug 23rd, 2014 1,023 Never
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  1. 150 Mushoku Tensei
  2.  
  3. Old Kishirisu Castle.
  4. Its appearance, in a nutshell, of a demon castle.
  5. Constructed from special masonry, a black gold castle.
  6. Its one glaring flaw is a gigantic hole on the castle tower.
  7. Although not as sophisticated as Perugius' Sky Castle, it still is a very beautiful structure.
  8. It's probably more desirable for those interested in the practical.
  9.  
  10. Normally it serves as a tourist attraction, open to the public, a castle that charges admission fee.s
  11. Apparently divided into tourist section and resident section.
  12. We're brought to an audience hall.
  13. Not the great throne room that's open to the public.
  14. A narrow and practical audience hall.
  15.  
  16. In this narrow hall, black clad soldiers line up shoulder to shoulder.
  17. A tight squeeze, and hot too.
  18.  
  19. And then, on the jade throne in this stuffy hall, no one's there.
  20.  
  21. I been waiting for over two hours here.
  22. Outside, the sun has set long ago.
  23. Although standing isn't much of a torture, but would it hurt if they prepare a seat for me?
  24. By the way, right now only Zanoba and I are present.
  25. Elinalise and Cliff were led away by some soldiers underground to gather the medicine.
  26.  
  27. "Hey, where is Atofe-sama?"
  28. "I told you, we already called for her."
  29. "This is taking too long, don't tell me she left town already..."
  30. "She's loose with time, even inside the castle she might be a day late."
  31. "But it's not good if we keep the guests waiting..."
  32. "You there, be quiet."
  33.  
  34. The soldiers whispering among themselves.
  35. A rather uninhibited bunch.
  36. Somehow looking at them like this is rather reassuring.
  37. When I checked, the old soldier has been staring at us.
  38.  
  39. "Atofe-sama will arrive soon, please hold on for a little more.  By the way, don't ask for a reward."
  40. "Ha?"
  41. "We won't able to help if she offers you a reward."
  42. "Eh... Okay, I understand."
  43.  
  44. I nod candidly.
  45. Even though I don't know what the reward might be.
  46. Well, I wasn't planning for a reward in the first place.
  47. A reward for selling out Kishirika, I don't want something so wicked.
  48.  
  49. Kishirika is currently tied up, squirming on the floor like a Caterpillar.
  50. Looks like punishments are in store for her.  Spankings?  Scrub the toilet?  Hopefully nothing too serious...
  51.  
  52. Regardless I should watch my words.
  53. The opponent is a Demon Lord.
  54. The only ones I have met so far are Badigadi and Kishirika.
  55. If those two get angry... well?
  56. Probably not a good thing.
  57.  
  58. "Out of the way!"
  59.  
  60. Suddenly, a sound from the back.
  61. I turn around to look and see a woman standing there.
  62. Out of all that I have seen so far, that woman is the most demon-like of all.
  63. Blue skined, white hair.
  64. Crimson eyes, bat wings.
  65. And then, from her forehead, a pair of great horns.
  66.  
  67. Her body is clad with black armor like the soldiers.
  68. No, her armor looks well worn, far more than the soldiers'.
  69. Covered in scars, all the decorations peeled off.
  70. It has seen its share of battles.
  71.  
  72. Hanging off her waist, a great sword too big to imagine for her slender wrists.
  73. Even its scabbard looks more stylish than the soldiers'.
  74.  
  75. Not particularly tall.
  76. About normal for a mature woman.
  77. A little taller than Ariel, a little shorter than me, around there.
  78.  
  79. But the thing really worthy of note.
  80. Is the unspeakable anger and killing intent radiating from her.
  81. A difficult to explain sense of violence.
  82. Basically, kind of like Eris.
  83.  
  84. Like a female knight.
  85. No, more appropriately a female knight commander.
  86. Probably better I avoid her bad side.
  87.  
  88. "Were you not hear me?  Out of the way!"
  89. "Ah, yes."
  90.  
  91. Following her instruction, I made way for her.
  92.  
  93. "Good."
  94.  
  95. The female knight commander flicks her hair, unceremoniously walks up to the throne, and turns around.
  96. Unsheath from her waist the great sword, she slams it on the ground standing arrogantly.
  97. Then, after a deep breath, said.
  98.  
  99. "It is I, Immortal Demon Lord Atoferatofe Raibaku."
  100. "... Eh?"
  101.  
  102. While I was bewildered, the black clad soldiers hurriedly raises their sword in salute.
  103. All, except one adjacent to the throne.
  104. The old soldier from before.
  105.  
  106. "Atofe-sama!  Why did you came from over there?  How many times do I need to remind you?  When you arrive at the throne, come from the back.  "
  107. "I have decided that the front is better."
  108. "Don't be so reckless!"
  109. "Do you know?  After an arduous journey to challenge the Demon lord, the moment when the hero comes face to face with the Demon Lord at the throne, that feeling is exhilarating."
  110. "So what!  Think of how disappointed your father, one of the five Great Demon Lords, would be!  Not only that, think of your husband Raibaku-sama!"
  111. "Shut it!"
  112.  
  113. Atofe raise her sword, faster than the eye can see swings at the old soldier.
  114. The old soldier instantly tries to parry, but it was too late.  His helmet flew off, and collapsed.
  115. The black clad soldiers around him hurry over to help.
  116.  
  117. "Don't be so angry in front of guests!  Your dead father will roll in his grave!"
  118.  
  119. The helmet rolls in front of me.
  120. In the dead center it has split in two.
  121. What terrifying power.
  122.  
  123. Nonchalant I take a look at it, the interior is covered in blood.
  124.  
  125. "Ugh!"
  126.  
  127. Eh?
  128. Ah?
  129. Did she cut his head...
  130. Don't tell me, that guy, he's...
  131. Dead?
  132.  
  133. "I get it.  Be more considerate next time."
  134.  
  135. While I was thinking, the old soldier stands up like nothing happened.
  136. Smoke coming from his head as he bow to Atofe.
  137. Don't tell me, he's also from the immortal clan?
  138. Or rather, they are all?
  139.  
  140. "That's fine.  Alright, let's start from the top."
  141. "Okay!"
  142.  
  143. Atofe sheaths her sword and takes the Highlander pose.
  144. The old soldier takes a helmet offered by another, and stands at the head of troops.
  145. Then, once more, the soldiers straighten up and raise their swords in salute.
  146.  
  147. "It is I, Immortal Demon Lord Atoferatofe Raibaku."
  148.  
  149. Zanoba kneels down on the floor, his head in a bow, I follow suit.
  150. I'll be fine as long as I copy Zanoba, probably.
  151.  
  152. "First, allow me to thank you.  Thanks to your assistance, we were finally able to catch that idiot Kishirika."
  153.  
  154. Atofe said whiling looking at Kishirika.
  155. Rolled up like a sausage, she stares at the ground, resigned to her fate.
  156.  
  157. I feel a bit sorry for her.
  158. Throwing her under the bus after helping us out, but it can't be helped.
  159. We have our own problems.
  160.  
  161. "I don't a portrait of this one when she's younger, so the search was a waste of time, but we finally found her!"
  162.  
  163. Ah, so that really was the case.
  164. How careless.
  165.  
  166. "Well then..."
  167.  
  168. Still in that pose, Atofe stares off somewhere.
  169. Then, nothing happens.
  170.  
  171. 5 minutes passed.
  172. Still in that pose, unmoving.
  173. Like her breaker has tripped.
  174.  
  175. "Moore, now what?"
  176. "Reward."
  177.  
  178. Looks like she forgot her lines.
  179. Also, that old soldier is apparently Moore.
  180. Like he's about to make a "muhaha muhaha" laugh at any moment. <ref>Dragon Quest: Legend of the Hero Abel reference.</ref>
  181.  
  182. "Ah, right.  They deserve a reward."
  183.  
  184. Atofe suddenly said.
  185.  
  186. "No, reward is unnecessary."
  187.  
  188. I said the refusal I have prepared.
  189. Everything said so far are merely ceremonial.
  190. That's why Moore told me to "not as for a reward" earlier.
  191.  
  192. Despite what I thought, Atofe instead stumps her feet.
  193.  
  194. "You mean a reward from me isn't good enough?"
  195.  
  196. Atofe glares at me with killing intent.
  197. My legs begin to quiver.
  198.  
  199. That killing intent is the real deal.
  200. Not like Rinia or Pursena.
  201. More like Orsted's.
  202.  
  203. "No, no, it would be a honor."
  204.  
  205. I better don't get on her wrong side.
  206. If she want to give us something, I better just shut up and accept it.
  207. Like that I start looking for excuses.
  208.  
  209. "What will be our rewards?"
  210.  
  211. Hearing this, satisfied Atofe squints her eyes.
  212.  
  213. "Strength."
  214.  
  215. Strength.
  216. Strength?
  217. It'd be a lie if I say I don't want it.
  218. But Moore-san told me to refuse it.
  219. Maybe I should change the topic and tell her that we need to leave once my friends got the tea.
  220.  
  221. "I award you the honor of joining and training my private guards!"
  222. "Eh!"
  223.  
  224. What?
  225. So she isn't going to put a hand on my forehead and unlocking my hidden potential.
  226. Or give me a demon eye like Kishirika?
  227.  
  228. "You are a bit soft, but are 10 years of training, you definitely will reach that level."
  229. "Ah, em."
  230. "I will train you day and night for the next 10 years.  What a honor, right?"
  231.  
  232. 10 years day and night...
  233. No, I have wives and kid at home, that kind of training I have to pass on.
  234. It's true, if I train for the next 10 years, I can definitely get stronger.
  235. But I'm not about to throw everything else away just for strength.
  236. Abandoning the home I have to protect, for what?
  237.  
  238. I look over to Moore-san, he shakes his head to resign.
  239. What do I do?
  240. No, I have to refuse her.
  241. I don't want to join some private guards.
  242.  
  243. "I'm very sorry, but this honor is beyond me."
  244. "No need to be polite!  Go, get a suit of armor and contract for him!"
  245.  
  246. Several of the private guards left as Atofe instructed.
  247.  
  248. "The strongest armor of the Demon Continent, the best training of the Demon Continent, and the most famed private guard of the Demon Continent.  There's no greater honor than that.  Although once contracted you can never defy me, but it's not like you could even if you didn't.  Doesn't that make you happy?"
  249.  
  250. Cannot be defied...
  251. I'm not happy at all.
  252. But of all the Demon Lords I have met thus far, this is the Demon-ist.
  253. I guess in some ways, having a chance to meet a Demon Lord like this, is something to be happy about.
  254.  
  255. Wait, did all the private guards get forced into a contract like this?
  256.  
  257. "No, I must refuse.  I have family at home, so I cannot stay 10 years here."
  258. "... Don't mind the family.  I haven't seen my son for over a hundred years.  No news is good news."
  259.  
  260. So I have to be separated for 100 years too?
  261. Don't joke around.
  262.  
  263. "F-for humans, 10 years are a very long time.  I told my family I'll be back soon.  And..."
  264. "And?"
  265.  
  266. Atofe twitches her forehead.
  267. Doesn't look very happy.
  268.  
  269. "And I have a sick friend waiting.  I need to hurry to find a cure for her and return.  There're also many other things that must be done.  I cannot just think of my own strength right now."
  270. "Shut it!"
  271.  
  272. Atofe shouts in anger.
  273.  
  274. Terrifying, so terrifying.
  275. Truly terrifying.
  276. What?  Why?
  277. Why does she have to shout?
  278.  
  279. "Are you joining the private guard, or are you not?  What will it be?  Give a clear answer!"
  280. "I, I must refuse."
  281.  
  282. After my answer, Atofe turns stiff.
  283. Her cheeks turn red.
  284.  
  285. "Why?  Why do you refuse?"
  286.  
  287. Eh?
  288. Didn't I just give a bunch of reasons?
  289.  
  290. "Em..."
  291.  
  292. At this moment, Zanoba suddenly steps in.
  293. I glance back, he's a face of calm.
  294. Ah, the whole time we been speaking Demon God, so he doesn't know the conversation.
  295.  
  296. What should we do?
  297. How do I convince Atofe?
  298.  
  299. I look around.
  300. Without realizing it, the mood in the room has changed.
  301. The sympathy coming from the soldiers has congealed into something strange.
  302. Also, feeling a little alienated.
  303.  
  304. "You see!"
  305.  
  306. Kishirika suddenly yells out.
  307.  
  308. "That one is an idiot.  Don't get involved with her.  You can't talk sense to her."
  309. "Shut it!  I am not an idiot!"
  310.  
  311. Atofe suddenly roars and unsheaths her sword.
  312.  
  313. "That's right.  You treated me like an idiot!  You said you want a reward, then you said you don't!  You played with my head like an idiot!"
  314.  
  315. Then she start to head menacingly toward us.
  316. Eh?
  317. What?
  318. Hey, calm down.
  319.  
  320. "Atofe-sama! We're inside, please calm down!"
  321. "I am not an idiot!  I'm not!"
  322.  
  323. Swinging her sword wildly, she angrily approaches us, but the black clad soldiers try to stop her.
  324.  
  325. "Stand aside."
  326.  
  327. Atofe send the soldiers flying like a Russell Snow Plow Train.
  328. Ah, crap.
  329. Do I attack with magic?
  330. No, if I attack now it just escalates the situation.
  331.  
  332. "I'll handle this."
  333.  
  334. During my moment hesitation, Zanoba stands up and takes a step forward.
  335.  
  336. "Hah!"
  337.  
  338. Zanoba grabs Atofe tightly by her wrist.
  339. Atofe, thinking she can send Zanoba flying like the rest of them, continues ahead.
  340. But, as expected of the strength of a miko, Zanoba manages to stop Atofe's advance.
  341.  
  342. "Oh!  You are unexpectedly strong!"
  343.  
  344. Atofe smiles in wide eye admiration at Zanoba.
  345. As if to admonish her, Zanoba speaks.
  346.  
  347. "Let's calm down.  It was not our intention to bother you.  It's all a misunderstanding."
  348. "Quit saying words I don't understand!"
  349.  
  350. Atofe ignores Zanoba's words.
  351. Rather, more like she can't understand human language.
  352. Atofe swings at Zanoba's foot with her sword, and when it doesn't work, she exclaims.
  353.  
  354. "Oh, you're tough.  Wearing a particularly strong touke!  Interesting!"
  355.  
  356. While shouting those words, Atofe cuts off her own arm that was held by Zanoba.
  357. No hesitation.
  358. Her own arm.
  359. Just because it was a hassle, she cut it off.
  360.  
  361. "MMph!"
  362.  
  363. The moment it separates from Atofe, the arm dissolves into soft chunks of meat.
  364. Zanoba lets go, and the meat chunkcs splatters on the ground.
  365. The meat squirms near Atofe, sticking to her arm.
  366. Then, in an instant reform into its old shape.
  367. Just like Badigadi.
  368. Physical damage is useless.
  369.  
  370. "I am the Immortal Demon Lord Atoferatofe Raibaku!  Wife of the original North God Kalman Raibaku!  I shall show you the truth North God Style!"
  371.  
  372. Atofe raises her great sword ready.
  373. Zanoba clenches his fist, is he really going to fight her?
  374.  
  375. "..."
  376.  
  377. In this moment, I feel a chill down my spine.
  378. Not good.
  379. I have a bad feeling.  Zanoba will die.
  380.  
  381. Zanoba is a miko.
  382. Typical attacks won't faze him.
  383. But he is not invincible.
  384.  
  385. Even that Dragon God Orsted can be hurt.
  386. This world has no absolutes.
  387. Zanoba is also weak against fire.
  388. He may be strong against blunt force, but it's not completely harmless."
  389.  
  390. "Grr."
  391.  
  392. I immediately begins to gather magic.
  393. As fast as possible, as hard as possible.
  394. Stone Cannon... won't be enough.
  395. But my magic also have improved from back then.
  396.  
  397. "Wuhahaha! Die!  North God Style Secret..."
  398. "Electric!"
  399.  
  400. Purple lightning flies from my palm to Atofe.
  401. It snaps in instant.
  402. Atofe falls backward.
  403.  
  404. "Ugh!"
  405.  
  406. Falling back, the great sword slips from her hand.
  407. Meanwhile, a numbness from my left hand,but it should be fine.
  408. I didn't put enough magic into it to kill.
  409.  
  410. "Ha!"
  411.  
  412. Zanoba isn't giving Atofe any room to spare.
  413.  
  414. "Kaboom!"
  415.  
  416. Zanoba's steel fist hits Atofe in the face.  
  417. Instantly Atofe's head crumbles, flying off in a beautiful parabola.
  418. Fling pass the throne.
  419. With crumbling sounds breaking the back wall.
  420. She flew out of the castle.
  421.  
  422. "A-Atofe-samaaaa!"
  423.  
  424. The black-clad soldiers swarms toward the hole in the wall.
  425.  
  426. "Eh, ops... I was trying to protect Shisou and moved without thinking.  Is she dead?"
  427. "No, I don't think she can."
  428.  
  429. Well, she is an Immortal Demon Lord.
  430. Problem is, what do we do now?
  431.  
  432. "Wow, they actually did it."
  433. "Did they really..."
  434. "What just happened?"
  435.  
  436. We are surrounded by some 20 black clad soldiers.
  437. Bickering among themselves, they have us surrounded.
  438. Now that we knocked off their master, of course they have to do something.
  439.  
  440. "Ha."
  441.  
  442. I raise my staff.
  443.  
  444. This is my responsibility.
  445. This happened because of what I said.
  446. ...No, was I wrong?
  447. I don't think I do anything wrong... Eh?
  448.  
  449. "..."
  450.  
  451. But the black clad soldiers did not raise their swords.  They're only looking.
  452.  
  453. "You..."
  454.  
  455. Zanoba in a fighting pose.
  456. Maybe he should grab a weapon too.
  457. But right now we don't have the luxury to look for one.
  458. Is there a wooden pole they're not using?
  459.  
  460. Moore approaches us.
  461. Representing the private guards, he speaks to me in Demon God language.
  462.  
  463. "Let me ask you again, do you want to be our comrades?"
  464. "No, we don't."
  465.  
  466. I answered him clearly this time.  Moore replies.
  467.  
  468. "Master likes strong people.  After getting stopped by such a strange power, then send flying out the castle with one punch, she will definitely want to keep you."
  469.  
  470. Are all Demon lords of this world like this?
  471. Can't they be more serious?
  472. Still, the black clad soldiers don't look like they plan to capture us.
  473. All they said after seeing Atofe flew off was "Wow!" "Atofe-sama really did it this time!"  "Haha!"  That kind of banter.
  474.  
  475. "We private guards will not move unless instructed.  But once commanded... we cannot refuse."
  476.  
  477. After Moore said that, many among the private guards look sharply at us.
  478. Nothing funny about a group that does nothing unless they're told.
  479. But we should be thankful that this is the case.
  480.  
  481. "Afote-sama probably won't let you get away given the situation."
  482. "What happens after she catches us?"
  483. "Probably force you duel her."
  484. "..."
  485. "And when you lose, force you into a contract while unconscious.  Once contracted, you can never defy Afote-sama again."
  486. "T-that contract, how long does it last?"
  487. "Until you die."
  488.  
  489. Gulp, I can hear the sound of me swallowing.
  490.  
  491. "But every 10 years, you get a 2 year break."
  492.  
  493. 2 year break every 10 years.
  494. So like a day off every 5.
  495. But some how that doesn't feel very restful.
  496.  
  497. "Most of the people here volunteered to join Atofe-sama's private guards, but many didn't.  Especially the Human Race ones.  It's rough.  We can sympathize."
  498.  
  499. Among the private guards, a few droops their head.
  500. So like us, they also felt like they got forced into the contract.
  501. The contract is an euphemism for forced slavery.
  502.  
  503. So that's what happened, when Moore warn me to not take a reward, that's the reason...
  504. He should have explained it better.
  505. No, I can't blame him.
  506. It's my fault for not asking.
  507. I wanted to be careful, but I was careless from the start.
  508.  
  509. "... What's our chances in the duel?"
  510. "Oh, chances?  Do you think you can beat our master, who has lost only to North God Raibaku and Dragon God Laplace in the last 5000 years?"
  511.  
  512. Oh, basically zero.
  513. Immortal is in her name.  Her durability probably match that of Badigadi's.
  514. No, she's probably better than Badigadi when it comes to fighting.
  515. Badigadi never used North God Style or anything.
  516. At least, he never did when we practiced.
  517.  
  518. "If it was a tie, what happens?"
  519. "Rematch if an enemy, mutual respect if a friend."
  520.  
  521. In my situation.
  522. Probably a rematch.
  523. Feels like I already made myself an enemy.
  524. Then, after a couple fights, I'll definitely lose eventually.
  525.  
  526. "T-then, what should we do..?"
  527. "Run away."
  528.  
  529. Moore says bluntly.
  530.  
  531. "Your friends should have gathered enough Sokasu Grass by now.  Under the castle is a tunnel out the town.  Please escape from there."
  532.  
  533. The black clad soldiers around us plead.
  534.  
  535. "Don't follow our footsteps."
  536. "If you ever head to the Holy Kingdom of Milis, please go to Wako Village..."
  537. "Idiot, stop that.  You can head back in 7 years."
  538. "But..."
  539.  
  540. That sort of grieve coming from behind us.
  541. Eh, I'll pretend I didn't hear anything.
  542. I don't know even know where Waco Village is.
  543.  
  544. I start running out as I thank the soldiers.
  545. Incidentally, i caught a glance of Kishirika.
  546. She pleads with her eyes.
  547. Now, she and I are the same, both fugitives.
  548.  
  549. "Can I bring Kishirika-sama with me?"
  550. ...Well, our command was only to capture her."
  551.  
  552. The private guards decide to overlook this too.
  553. Look like Atofe never command them to prevent Kishirika from escape.
  554. What happened to punishing her?
  555. How easygoing.
  556.  
  557. Quickly I burn off the robes tying up Kishirika.
  558.  
  559. "Ohh.  Thank you very much!  This one will definitely repay you!"
  560.  
  561. We escaped from the throne room.
  562.  
  563. ---
  564.  
  565. We made contact with Elinalise and Cliff inside the castle.
  566. Carrying a sack full of tea leaves on their back, and each with a sapling in their hands.
  567. Ocher colored leaves, reminds me of shriveled aloe.
  568.  
  569. "Because they're weak against sunlight, they must be grown underground.  I also got a notebook of instructions, but I can't read them."
  570. "I can have Roxy take a look at it after, let's hurry."
  571. "What happened?"
  572.  
  573. I explain to them the situation.
  574. Elinalise has a "I knew this would happen" look on her face.
  575.  
  576. "I heard something like this before.  Like Kishirika gives demon eye, Badigadi gives wisdom, and Atoferatofe gives strength."
  577. "If you knew, you should have told us!"
  578. "I don't understand Demon God language, maybe you should have translated better."
  579.  
  580. Ah, true, I was at fault too.
  581. But I am not a translator.
  582. I don't know what I'm suppose to do.
  583.  
  584. "No time to fight.  Hurry and run.  Then, that underground tunnel?  Should we go?"
  585.  
  586. I come back to my senses after hearing Zanoba.
  587. Right, right now Atofe may have already healed the face Zanoba smashed open, and is on the way to kill us.
  588.  
  589. "No, better avoid going underground."
  590.  
  591. A voice from behind my legs.
  592. When I look back, Kishirika has been staring at me.
  593. When we last met, we were roughly the same height, but now I can't help but stare down at her.
  594.  
  595. "This one didn't say anything earlier, because this one was mad of your betrayal, but Badi destroyed that tunnel during the Laplace Campaign.  It hasn't been fixed yet."
  596. "Really?"
  597. "Really.  That guy is a liar.  Moore lies to help Atofe.  He's basically her right hand.  He might have said that, but he's probably planning something once you start to fight Atofe."
  598.  
  599. Even if Kishirika is lying, that sounds plausible.
  600. Moore want to deceive us and capture us underground.
  601. That bastard...
  602.  
  603. ... But he was kind enough to not attack us immediately.
  604. And he kindly prepared a cultivation notes for the herbs for us too.
  605. Betraying that kindness, pissing off Atofe, that's all my fault.
  606. I should just hand over Kishirika and cleanly refuse the reward.  
  607. Maybe they would let me go.
  608. Although Moore might grumble about Atofe, he's definitely not on our side.
  609.  
  610. "But if that's the case, then why not catch us right then."
  611. "That's Atofe you're talking about.  She definitely wants to catch us herself."
  612.  
  613. I see.
  614. It's just a game.
  615. As a confidant of the Demon Lord, this is part of the job.
  616. Do the other soldiers know?
  617. Maybe some did, and some didn't.
  618.  
  619. "I understand.  Then, we escape from above?"
  620. "Yes.  There shouldn't be any inspections right now."
  621.  
  622. Inspections at the entry points.
  623. Indeed, with the private guards all inside the castle, there shouldn't be any inspections.
  624.  
  625. "Perhaps things changed when Kishirika-sama was in hiding.  Maybe they have already fixed the tunnels?"
  626. "If that's what you think, then either way is fine right?"
  627.  
  628. True.
  629. Is the enemy above or below ground?
  630. Um.
  631.  
  632. "Elinalise-san, which would you pick?"
  633. "I definitely won't pick the path that might be blocked."
  634. "Zanoba?"
  635. "Narrow areas are easier to fight in."
  636. "Cliff?"
  637. "I, I pick above ground.  I hate dark places."
  638.  
  639. It's decided.
  640. Democratic rules.
  641.  
  642. "Then let's escape above ground.  Elinalise take the front.  Please lead us straight to the magic teleportation circle.  Cliff and Zanoba in the middle, and I'll take rearguard.  Zanoba and I will handle our baggage."
  643.  
  644. I take what Elinalise was carrying.
  645. Better to let us hold it than them.
  646. I can use magic, so I don't need much mobility.  Zanoba don't mind a little weight.
  647. Cliff isn't very strong, so better off if he doesn't carry anything.
  648.  
  649. "What about this one?"
  650. "Your majesty, you can sit with Zanoba's luggage."
  651. "Understood."
  652.  
  653. As instructed, Kishirik climbed up Zanoba like a small animal.
  654. I was kidding...
  655. AAh, oh well.  That's probably the safest.
  656.  
  657. "Alright, let's go!"
  658.  
  659. We run out the castle.
  660. From within, the sound of "Mooreeee!  Chase themmm!" can be heard loudly.
  661. Terrifying.
  662.  
  663. ---
  664.  
  665. Desperately we ran through the night streets.
  666. Although it ought to be dark now, it's actually quite bright.
  667. Brilliant lights pour down the cliffs of the crater.
  668.  
  669. But choosing above ground was the right now.
  670. Not a single black clad soldier in sight.
  671. No one chasing behind us either.
  672.  
  673. Just as Kishirika predicted.
  674. They are probably searching the tunnels right now.
  675. No, maybe Atofe gave up already.
  676. Impossible.  Think about it, we even have Kishirika with us.
  677. Atofe has no reason to give up the chase.
  678.  
  679. We ran through the main road, passing by the Adventurer's Guild.
  680. Nokopara is probably still inside.
  681.  
  682. I never expect to be headin back already.
  683. Our rooms have been paid for.
  684. Our change are still inside.
  685. It's unfortunate, but not a big loss.
  686.  
  687. We passed the empty marketplace.
  688. Briefly, I spot the alley where we dye Ruijerd's hair.
  689. Back then we were ran out of town just like this.
  690. All in all, not a single happy memory from this place.
  691.  
  692. We came to the city entry, a crack in the crater.
  693. No black clad soldiers, but there're guards.
  694. A lizard head and a pig head.
  695. They watch us but doesn't show any suspicion.  We easily passed.
  696. We're almost there.
  697.  
  698. We follow along the edge of the crater.
  699.  
  700. "Ehh?  Where are we going?"
  701. "A magic teleportation circle we used."
  702. "Oh.  Magic teleportation circle.  That thing's still there?  But, em.. Oww, This one bits its tongue..."
  703.  
  704. We marked the location on the way out.
  705. We'll be fine.
  706. It's a little dark, but Elinalise won't make a mistake.
  707.  
  708. Make a left turn on the mark, then head straight uphill.  We stop our steps.
  709.  
  710. "Well, well, it's about time."
  711.  
  712. Up the slopes.
  713. The entry way to the magic teleportation circle.
  714.  
  715. Atofe stands proudly there.
  716. Around her around 10 black clad soldiers.
  717. Another hole can be seen near the magic teleportation circle entrance.
  718. Don't tell me, the underground tunnel exits... here?
  719.  
  720. "As expected of Moore.  It's just as he said.  I'll have to handsomely reward him."
  721.  
  722. Were we tracked?
  723. No, they even got here before us.
  724. They even knew where we are going?
  725.  
  726. "How, how impressive... How did you catch up so quickly?"
  727. "Hah, easy when you can fly.  I can see you running."
  728.  
  729. Atofe flexes her wings as she speaks.
  730.  
  731. "Moore has arrived."
  732.  
  733. I turn to look.  Black clad soldiers appear near the corner of the crater.
  734.  
  735. Atofe follows from above.
  736. Ten black clad soldiers follow from below.
  737. And more follow above ground.
  738. Attack from three sides.
  739. ... If you think about it, it only makes sense.
  740. They're not Inspector Zenigata, <ref>Lupin III reference.</ref> of course they'll split up to search.
  741. Not just that, they knew where we were heading, so none of the paths would work.
  742.  
  743. The black clad soldiers behind us have us surrounded.
  744. With the escape route cut, there is no escape.
  745.  
  746. "Moore.  Well done.  It's just as you said."
  747. "If you think so, then listen to my request."
  748. "Refused."
  749.  
  750. After the short conversation, Atofe claps her hand.
  751. Thus, the black clad soldiers, all together, unsheathe their swords.
  752.  
  753. "Well then..."
  754.  
  755. Atofe takes a step forward, her sword unsheathe.
  756. Then, from the high ground with sword pointing she speaks.
  757.  
  758. "Wahahaha!  I am the Immortal Demon Lord Atoferatofe Raibaku.  Defeat me and people shall call you a hero!  Lose to me, you shall become my puppet, follow my every command until you die!"
  759.  
  760. A grim smile.
  761. A overwhelming murderous intent.
  762. The Atofe who's shorter than I looks like a 5-meter tall giant.
  763.  
  764. "..."
  765.  
  766. Sorry, Sylphy.
  767. I might not get back.
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