Part 1 The Collapse of Ciel-Terra
[1-16] Sophistication, and thus elegance
Translation by Glass
In the dead of night, Adan and Jonas returned to their hideout after a private conversation with a Night Python liaison.
"Those bastards sure have a lot of excuses......"
Adan, face filled with indignation, roughly shoved the door shut out of frustration and barely made it.
He had reported on how the mission failure came about and even brought out the protection charms as evidence, but all he got was the evasive response of 『that simply cannot be true』.
They thought that Adan and Jonas were also at fault , so they couldn't help but defend themselves and in the end the matter was left unresolved. It seemed that the liaison would report their story back for consultation, so it was likely that later on they will investigate the matter again.
"More importantly, what about the next job,"
"I know. That will be the first thing I prepare tomorrow."
However, at that point the two heard footsteps approaching through the hallway. Then something knocked at the door to their room.
"...... What the? Who's there? At this time too....."
Suspicious, Adan asked Jonas in a whisper. Of course, even Jonas didn't know who it could be.
"Could it be a neighborhood resident? Coz you shut that door real loud earlier."
"What a bother..... Hey you, get out there. You're better at lyin' anyway."
Jonas clucked his tongue quietly, quickly transforming into someone who looked like they had just shed their travelling clothes and was now in their casual wear.
Then he stood in front of the door and called to whomever is knocking.
"What do you want...?"
At almost the same time that Jonas collapsed with a thud, the door lock opened by itself.
Adan raised his voice in alarm.
Something impossible was occurring.
Jonas, who had answered the door, collapsed as if paralyzed. And beyond him, in the open doorway, the form that came into view was something like that of the eastern ninja, a small figure that hid everything in black except for the clear, bright eyes.
However, even drunken eyes would not mistake this for the other party encountered just a few hours ago. The blond girl magician, Iris of "Dragon's Throat." Of the two parties in the encounter, she clearly should have been the escapee of the failed attack.
"Wh-- Why are you here ......!"
While escaping, the two had hurriedly erased their traces, and furthermore, travelled back in a complex route. Only a thief who could get up faster than the two would have caught up to them.
"Such a simple hideout...... Actually, it's a nice little bunker you have here."
"You, you bastard!"
The moment Adan* tried to draw his sword, his world spun. As he though, the girl had used magic, their arms and legs had stiffened suddenly as soon as they heard her finish speaking.
*T/N: the text said Jonas but I think it's Adan because Jonas is already unable to move at the door
Both Adan and Jonas had been adventurers for a while. However, 『Curse Bind』 was a magic spell they had never heard of before.
Looking down upon the two unable to to move were light lavender eyes devoid of any emotion.
"Thanks to you, I've found their den. You don't have any other use for me anymore. While I don't expect to harvest anything special, I'm going to make you spit out any information you have before you die.
You have no right to remain silent. I'll let you choose whether you want to die after suffering horribly, or vomit everything you know then die immediately without suffering anything.
...... 『Deadly Poison』."
* * *
The area was filled with the silence of death.
That place is a hidden room located before the backdoor exit of the exclusive club called 『The Golden Bird』, situated in the busy shopping district of El Taref.
Its interior is illuminated by moody lighting, the furnishings consisting of a lavish sofa, a table typical of the tastes of the nouveau riche and countless liquor shelves.
Corpses are scattered about the room.
Minions. Bodyguards. A recently-summoned prostitute. An (unscrupulous) merchant who had come to talk shop. Everyone in there had been beheaded and killed by magic borne by the wind.
All except for Jason, the middle management executive appointed by Night Python for the city of El Taref.
"Who are you...... why in this place......"
Jason moaned and muttered, his throat being squeezed by the small hand holding him aloft.
For a muscular skinhead covered with tattoos, Jason is a hard-working warrior forged within the ranks of Night Python itself.
Right now, however, Jason together with all his minions had been mowed down by a single girl, with the former currently at the brink of death.
Jason's limbs were currently being squeezed by the restraints he had brought himself 「for that kind of play」(since the size is originally meant for women, the restraints bit into his flesh after being forced into it).
Even in this state it shouldn't be a problem to knock a little girl off her feet but the manacles were so heavy he couldn't even lift his arms.
Jason didn't know exactly what happened (there's no way a single spell would be able to do this much) but he understood that he had been weakened by some devastating debuff magic.
"I'm the one asking questions here. Better be quiet and only answer when I'm asking you something."
As the girl coldly declared this, she hollowed out Jason's eye using the knife in her hand without any hesitation.
Jason was terrified. Out of all people, the other party is a girl about a third of his age. Even though she kept her face and body covered in a thieves' black outfit, she was a magician. Her chilling lavender eyes rested on Jason, the glow of madness dwelling within.
――What is this, what kind of monster......!!
Strength so overwhelming that it made no sense, and held no humanity in it. No indications that she had any sort of mental brakes with regards to harming others.
Even for those who resided in the underworld, such a point could only be reached after witnessing countless scenes of carnage. But for this girl, she was already well past that.
There could be no words other than 『monster』 that could describe such a warped existence.
To verify that this is indeed, a monster, all you had to do was look around the room.
"For the information needed to track down the upper echelons, the Earl can just read the letters and records left here...... But even so, I've noticed a couple of things.
Point One. How did you know that the 'Dragon's Throat' was hired for the job?"
"Hu~h?? Why is that so impor—ahhhhhhh!!"
"Answer the question, don't blabber otherwise."
The remaining eye was hollowed out, and at last Jason could no longer see anything.
Why would I keep quiet on such a thing in this situation, especially since I have no choice but to answer, thought Jason, so he raised his voice on instinct.
" It, it was Wayne from the adventurer's guild and Danton, a servant in the Earl's household!! There might be other traitors in the Earl's family but I don't know the details!"
"...... I see. So there was an informant after all. And there are separate informants not only from inside the household but also on Night Python's territory being managed within the city.
Well then, on to the second point. Was it your decision to aim for the 'Dragon's Throat'? Or was it an order from above?"
"Oh, me! It was me! I received an order to interfere with the Earl's affairs but which method to use was at my discretion!"
"So that's it."
Even though Jason couldn't see, he felt the monster smile.
"Then once I kill you, no one else would know that the 'Dragon's Throat' had been targeted.
Now I don't have to worry about the members who don't want to stop working at this job. And since the dead can't talk, then go ahead and die."
* * *
After slipping out of bed and becoming a ninja, it became the morning after. Iris (Rene) is in the room allotted for the party.
By this time, the quest she had received from the guild was already underway. The short training period was over, and by noon of today she will truly begin her career as Catherine's shadow double. Before that, however, the party had a short break in order to regroup.
"Heh. 'The Imprisoned Rose Princess of Grudge*.' That's the second nickname they've given a ten-year old girl, and it's just as grandiose as the first."
*T/N: More literal translation is Rose Princess of the Grudge Prison but I thought that sounded ridiculous.
Hugh displayed a grim face at the named warrant that Diana had brought. Even Benedict's ears drooped and he bared his fangs.
"That's the first princess who got shunned and consequently abandoned, isn't it......"
"Did the original person even know anything when they were still alive?"
"Well, that was the rumor. What they did to her was terrible though."
"That was definitely nothing but a demonstration of power and for clearing out loose ends. Whether it was even for a good cause or justice or whatnot, the coup d'état's all smeared over with mud and I don't know why."
The members of "Dragon's Throat" felt compassion for Rene. It was probably the presence of Iris, who was of the same age as Rene, that made them feel sympathy for her.
Iris (Rene) could read their emotions.
Their compassion and pity felt like sweet syrup permeating through the pit of her stomach. I want to savor this compassion forever, she thought.
However, if a comparison had to be made, in a sense it was more like her throat was parched but no matter how much water she drank her thirst would never be quenched.
Even if water was poured into a broken cup, none of it could be collected. It was too late for all of that. Both compassion and pity were useless sentiments to a revenge demon.
"......By the way Iris, what're you doing?"
Iris (Rene) displayed a crystal ball to Diana who peered at her hand.
While at work, Iris' personal belongings had been placed in this room. This crystal ball was one of the magical tools that she had taken out of her things.
"Ah, so it's a 『Crystal Eye』*?"
*T/N: Long Distance Seeing Crystal
"Yes. Pretty soon they're going to protect the whole castle with a detection-blocking ward so I thought I'd take a look for now, check their security defenses, that sort of thing."
The inside of the crystal ball reflected an image of the castle walls lit up by the morning sun. A sentry that looked soon-to-be relieved from the night shift stood there with drooping eyes.
As the name 『Crystal Eye』 suggested, this magic utilized the crystal ball to look into the distance. Even so, one usually can't see that far. It was said that, for most magic to extend the range of vision, magical energy needed to be consumed in proportion to the square of the distance required. 『Crystal Eye』 is mostly undetected, and its principal use is to safely scout short distances.
"There isn't anything interesting to see, isn't it,"
"Yeah, we even asked about the preparations...... Hey, what are you looking at?"
"Uwa~h, I made a mistake!"
The moment she had taken off her eyes from the crystal ball to answer Diana, Iris pretended to fumble her control and instantly shifted the point of view.
It was the interior of a dimly lit room with poor sunlight. While it seemed to be a room within an apartment house, it looked too drab. Whatever furnishings that could be called as such there seemed to be none, and within that room lay two men who had fallen.
"Quick, change this to somewhere else. Peeking at this is just in bad...... taste......"
In the midst of talking, Hugh went silent.
The men in the crystal ball were clearly dead.
Their skin had discolored to a purplish-black color, and whoever the sculptor with poor taste that had made this had molded their death masks with horrifying expressions of agony.
"What...... the hell is this,"
"What, you think these fellas died while having sex?"
"That's not it...... look over here."
The three beside Iris peered into the crystal ball she carried. Diana paused for a breath.
"Iris, where is this place?"
"Well, I only moved it around a little just now. I think it should be pretty near the castle but,"
"Hey, I think we'd better inform the Earl......"
Benedict left the room in a rush.
T/N: If you're looking for the next chapter, I'll post the next one within a few days. I was midway through it when I got a vaccine jab and the side effects kicked my ass (was bedridden with pain and flu symptoms for two days), that's why the next chapter is delayed.
If you like what I do, please drop some appreciation or comments at my Kofi.
Thanks for reading!