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Chapter 31 – Edim’s Secret Was Leaked (Opening)
Dryas-kun’s advice had reassured me somewhat but…
In the end I couldn’t leave it alone.
How could I sleep soundly knowing that Edim was risking her life out there?
I left my bed.
I couldn’t sleep while I was still worried for her safety. Who knew that it was so difficult just to have faith and wait for somebody.
I had to find something to do.
Perhaps I could pray for her safety. I wasn’t exactly the religious type though.
While I paced my room I suddenly heard some kind of racket.
I decided to leave my room to check it out.
No sooner had I investigated did I find the members of the Evil God Army running about, and shouting rather dangerous things as well.
“Raze it to the ground!”
“Fire together as a volley!”
Not to say that they weren’t usually causing a commotion anyway, but what I was hearing was a step above normal.
What the hell were these guys planning to do in the middle of the night?
If I wanted answers then I needed to find the person in charge… so it was Dryas-kun that I headed towards.
“Dryas-kun, what on earth――hau!?”
I had entered the Strategic HQ only to find…
O-O-Oh my god!
Garbed in a white robe, Dryas-kun was kneeling on the floor, apparently about to commit seppuku. Grasped in his left hand was a dagger that he was pointing at his stomach. He looked just about ready to gut himself like a fish.
Why was this happening?
I gasped as I realised something.
Dryas-kun was surely as anxious as I was. How couldn’t he be, with Edim having been sent off to assassinate the Fiend of all people?
What I was seeing was Dryas-kun preparing to take responsibility if Edim didn’t come back alive. Because he would have been the one to have sent a friend to her death.
What was I going to do with him…?
I walked deeper into the room and patted him on the shoulder.
His eyes went wide.
“W-Why if it isn’t Tilea-sama!”
“Just what do you think――Actually, forget that. I know what you’re thinking, after all.”
“I am afraid that I have shown you something unsightly,” he admitted, shame-faced.
“You’ve shown me your resolve, is all. You’re planning to die if Edim doesn’t come home alive, aren’t you?”
“Yes, milady. As the strategist, I must take responsibility for my words,” he explained.
“…I can’t stop you can I?”
“Please forgive my impudence… I have no wish to live with shame after failing so.”
I took in his forlorn countenance for a while. He truly was a caring friend.
There was no reason he had to take his life for this.
The one who requested the Fiend’s death was me. If anything, the responsibility weighed much more heavily on my side of the scales.
If Edim died then it was I who deserved to die.
Right. All of the responsibility lay with me.
I had to di――――A-Actually I can’t do this.
Dying was scary, sure, but dying and leaving Timu behind was much, much scarier.
I was so selfish. Edim was out there risking her life, but I was too afraid to risk mine…
In that case, the only thing left I could do was head there myself.
Perhaps I would just get in the way, but there was a chance that I could help in some way as well.
“Dryas-kun, don’t do anything hasty,” I told him.
“H-However…” he tried to object, but I spoke over him.
“Don’t argue. You told me yourself, right? With Edim there, this mission would be a guaranteed success. Just believe.”
With those parting words, I rushed out of the room.
My goal was the Fiend’s estate…
Perhaps Edim and the Fiend had both knocked each other out. Or perhaps Edim had been defeated and was lying helpless right now. I could at least carry her and run.
I can’t believe I only thought of this now. If there was something I could do, I ought to be doing it.
Determined, I picked up the pace.
Ah, wait, wait. Almost forgot…
In the worst case scenario, neither Edim or I would come back. What if Dryas-kun decided to follow us into death and killed himself?
As if I could let that happen!
I looked for someone in the Underground Empire for someone I could hail. Unfortunately everybody was running about rather busily.
Come to think of it, I never did find out what the racket was about.
Hmmmm, wasn’t there anybody I could ask…?
Oh! Pervert(Nielsen) spotted!
He was jogging down the hallway looking rather rushed himself.
“Niel, could I have a moment?” I called to him.
Pervert(Nielsen) changed course and headed to me.
“Terrible news, Tilea-sama! Dryas has exercised his authority as Chief of General Staff to order a Bazooka Call(Magic Bullet Salvo Fire).”
“A Bazooka Call?”
I gave him a look of confusion.
“You must not be aware of the tactic. It has been discussed at the War Councils.”
“Yeah. It’s my first time hearing of this,” I admitted. “What on earth is a Bazooka Call?”
“It is, milady, the codename for a tactic where every member of the army fires a simultaneous volley of magic bullets. If executed, we estimate that it has the power to raze the Capital to the ground.”
Hmm, more chuuni talk.
Did these guys really think they could raze a city to the ground whenever they wanted?
Besides, if somebody overheard them they could really be thrown into prison.
But still, I could understand why everybody was so excited now.
“In other words, this Bazooka Call is the reason for all this fuss?”
“As you say.”
“And the one who ordered it was Dryas-kun?”
“It is as you say. I do not understand why he has decided to take such drastic action. I am intending to find out.”
I understood the situation now.
His explanation was brimming with chuuni, but translated without the exaggeration it was basically something like this: the “Bazooka Call” was a codename for avenging Edim. If Edim died, everybody in the Evil God Army was going to charge into Fiend’s manor together.
I could understand, of course. If it ever came to that, I would want revenge too.
But this was the wrong move. It wasn’t right to get everybody else mixed up in this.
Was I really understanding their feelings?
If their friend died, then of course they would want to take action to feel better. And if Edim failed to kill the Fiend, I was going to be raped. That was what everybody was trying to stop.
Even if it meant fighting a titan who a vampire failed to match. To think that they would resort to such a reckless move…
When all was said and done, you could see that the Evil God Army truly loved Timu, me, and of course Edim as well.
“What will you do, Tilea-sama?” he asked. “At this rate, the Capital will truly be turned into a field of ash. This will surely be a set-back in the plans of the Evil God Army.”
“We’re stopping it, Niel. I won’t let them do something so stupid.”
“By your will. I will have them immediately order them to cease and desist.”
“Ah, also, I’ll leave out the details but basically Dryas-kun might commit suicide when dawn arrives.”
“W-What did you say!? Is this related to the Bazooka Call(Magic Bullet Salvo Fire)…?”
“Yeah, most probably. Niel, I have two orders for you.”
“First of all, call off the Bazooka Call. I forbid them from doing something so stupid.”
“The second thing is to keep an eye on Dryas. In the worst case scenario, stop him if he tries to take his own life.”
“Yes, milady. I will not allow Dryas to die.”
“I’m counting on you,” I said before heading for the Fiend’s manor again, leaving the details to Pervert(Nielsen).
The darkness of the deep night was a big help.
I was a complete amateur at this kind of stuff and would have just gotten in the way in battle, or in spying.
I wasn’t even sure how far away from the actual manor I was supposed to stop. Getting too close would end in being spotted, but too far and I’d have no way of knowing what was happening.
While I paced about and considered what to do, I noticed another person.
“W-Who is it!?” I blurted unconsciously.
O-Oh no! If this was one of the Fiend’s men then I was going to be caught for the stupidest thing ever.
“Is that you, Tilea-chan?” came a familiar voice.
“Eh!? Is that you, Bizef-san?”
“It’s me. What are you doing here in the middle of the night?”
“A-Ah, umm, I uh…”
Who would have thought that I’d meet Loser(Bizef) here.
And what was he doing here in the middle of the night? If this loser ended up getting mugged then he’d only have himself to blame.
“Haah. Just when I wondered who it might be…” came another voice.
“Ugeh, you’re here too, Ojou?” I groaned. “I should be asking what you guys are doing here.”
To think that she’d be here too…
Standing in front of me was a certain ojousama, with her trademark golden curls.
Rozetta Pratoline, the filthy rich daughter of Rozetta Stole, a powerful aristocrat. The self-styled Gourmet Hunter, an adventurer in search of new foods, she was someone even I had to take my hat off to.
Since our first meeting we’d had the occasional squabble about cuisine. I suppose you could call us rivals.
“Tilea-san, I simply cannot approve of you being here,” she said. “This place is dangerous, so please go home.”
“Sorry, but I can’t do that,” I replied. “I have something I need to do here.”
“Tilea-chan, what’s this about?” Loser(Bizef) asked me. “There’s someone really dangerous around here, you know? It’s not safe.”
“The Fiend, right? I know.”
“Then why are you here!?” he demanded. “The rumours are true. That guy is dangerous. He’ll attack any woman who catches his eye.”
“I know. You see…”
“D-Don’t tell me he summoned you here? I know it’s scary, but you can’t just do as he says. I’ll protect you,” Loser(Bizef) said seriously, giving my shoulder a gentle shake.
Mmn, I appreciated his feelings but if he tried to fight the Fiend wasn’t he just going to faint again…?
“It is as Bizef-san says. The Fiend will no longer be a problem. We shall do something about him, so in the meanwhile please try and hide in the countryside.”
“Are you two going to fight him?” I asked.
It was Loser(Bizef) that answered.
“We really shouldn’t be telling you this, but as a fellow member of the Loyalist Committee for the Extermination of Demons, I think we can explain. As we speak, the Loyalist Committee has been split into two forces. One of them is tasked with rescuing Remilia-sama. The other is to destroy the fiend.”
“Eh!? Something like that was going on? I had no idea.”
“You are only an intelligence operative, Tilea-san. As a non-combatant on top of that, we chose to keep it a secret from you.”
“We didn’t want to get you involved, Tilea-chan. But if the Fiend has summoned you here, then you’re already involved. I’d prefer you knew what was going on. Our group is to assassinate the Fiend, and gather what information we can from his estate.”
So that’s how it was. I thought it was the end when Remilia-san was imprisoned, but… it seemed like I wasn’t giving the Loyalist Committee enough credit.
With things as they were, maybe there wasn’t a point to me being here. It would be better for the amateurs to get out of the way, and leave things to the professionals.
Loser(Bizef) was a point of worry, but Ojou was renowned for her exploits as the Gourmet Hunter.
I hoped she could help Edim.
“I see. I understand now. The truth is that the Fiend has had his eye on me.”
“I thought so! Don’t worry, I’ll protect you.”
“Thank you very much. But the problem is that my friends are already trying to resolve the issue,” I explained.
“That is dangerous, so please ask them to stop,” Ojou objected.
“Well… the thing is that we ran out of time, so my friends are actually inside the estate right now,” I said awkwardly.
“Eh!? What recklessness!”
“Ah, well, you see, that’s why I was worried and came here to see and…”
Ojou exhaled worriedly.
“Aahh~ Why are you are such a… Just how foolish can you be! There is not anything a normal person like you could do here.”
“Mmn, I know. That’s why I was hoping the two of you could help my friend, but…”
“Honestly…” she sighed. “I suppose our plans have gone to waste then. Come, describe your friend to me.”
“Ahh~ Well, she’s a student at the Magic Academy…”
“Excuse me? You sent a student to battle the Fiend!? That is most certainly sending her to her death.”
“N-No, I mean she’s a student but she’s not just a student. She’s really strong.”
“No matter how strong she is, she is still a student. How could she possible compare to the Fiend?”
“N-No, I mean, she’s really…”
Unable to continue listening, Loser(Bizef) spoke up.
“I think we get it, Tilea-chan. If your friend is really as strong as you say then she’ll have a way to protect herself. I doubt she’d fight anybody too powerful head-on. We’ll meet up with her and help her.”
They were words you’d expect to hear from a reliable man.
As for Ojou, her tongue was harsh but I could tell that she was worried for my friend. She even started planning a way to rescue her.
Geez, what a tsundere!
“I’ll enter from the right then.”
“Then I shall disguise myself as one of the women he has summoned and enter from the centre.”
Mmn, mmn. As long as adventurers got serious there was nothing to fear.
Loser(Bizef) was one thing, but Ojou would make this work.
While the two of them were planning away…
“Hm!? Somebody approaches.”
Ojou seemed to have sensed somebody.
The two of them stopped talking and warned me that somebody was coming from behind.
When I turned around I noticed a figure running our way.
“C-Could it be one of the Fiend’s lackeys?” I asked.
“Hurry up and hide over here, Tilea-chan!”
I did as he told me and hid inside a nearby thicket of bushes.
Uu, we were so far out and there was still a patrol. You could see just how paranoid the Fiend was.
After spending a few minutes inside the bushes… it seemed like my eyes were starting to adjust to the dark.
I could properly see the scout now.
“Why if it isn’t Tilea-sama.”
What the hell was this timing!?
Just as I was wondering about her safety she just appeared in front of us?
I ran up to her and hugged her softly.
“I’m so glad you’re safe. I’ve caused you trouble, Edim.”
“Tilea-sama, just hearing those words makes me… makes me…”
Oh, and now Edim was crying.
It must have been terrible. From her tone it sounded like she had been been struggling in solitude.
Don’t tell me… Had Or not been doing his job properly?
Hang on! Come to think of it, where was Or? Was he acting separately to her?
“Is this girl the friend you spoke of?” asked Ojou.
She and Loser(Bizef) had left our hiding spot when it became clear that this wasn’t one of the Fiend’s men.
“Yes, it is. Because I was in danger, she infiltrated the Fiend’s estate for me.”
“Then I’m just glad she’s safe. But it would have been better for her to have stayed away,” Loser(Bizef) chided. “I honestly wasn’t sure if she was still alive.”
“Tilea-sama, who might these two be?”
“They’re――Hang on, Edim, I just noticed but, what’s that in your hand?”
“Milady. Please confirm the kill.”
With that, Edim unwrapped the cloth bundle and showed me what was inside.
I beheld the terrifying sight of the Fiend’s severed head…
Its expression was contorted in agony, and even now its eyes glared in hatred. A fitting end for the fiend.
Both Ojou and Loser(Bizef) seemed taken again.
“T-That is certainly him. “I would never forget that fiend’s face.”
“I-I can’t believe it. The legendary Fiend was taken down by a student…”
I was a little antsy too. I know it was weird for me to say, but Edim really was amazing.
“D-Did you truly defeat the fiend!?” Ojou demanded.
“I’m finding it hard to believe too. It’s too sudden. It couldn’t be that somebody else defeated him and she came along and lopped off his head, right?”
“What are you two saying!? My friend would never do something so sneaky. Bizef-san, is this how you should treat somebody who risked their life to take him down!?”
“But she’s got so little mana. I’d even suspect her of not being enrolled in the Magic Academy.”
“Quite. It is as Bizef-san says. While I have no wish to malign any friend of yours, Tilea-san, I can only suspect that she is lying due to ambition.”
Kuuuu! Those are fighting words.
Stop looking down on my friend! Edim risked her life to protect me, you know!
Edim deserved praise here. She hadn’t done anything wrong.
“They’re calling you a coward, Edim. Honestly, just how wrong can they get?”
Edim gave me a blank look.
“I see. I usually keep my mana suppressed, after all.”
“Right? You should let it all out. This is a matter of honour, you know? Show them what’s what.”
“I-I really don’t understand what is happening here…” Edim said hesitantly.
“Don’t worry about it. Just show these stubborn idiots how powerful you are.”
“Will that be all right?”
“Of course it will!”
“I-, I understand. Well then, I will release my mana as instructed… Haaaaaah!”
Ooh. I wasn’t sure what was happening exactly, but it seemed like Edim’s battle strength was rising.
Huh. Was the ground shaking a little? I guess her mana aura was having an effect on our surroundings.
If I was remembering right, the last time I asked she said her mana level was over 10,000. From the looks of things, was she around 15,000 now?
“Well? Do you still want to call Edim a liar?”
“W-, What mana…” Ojou said, shocked.
So a vampire’s power really was well above the norm. With this they wouldn’t doubt Edim’s strength any more.
“Do you two understand now? There’s no way that Edim stole somebody else’s glory.”
“Hm!? What’s wrong?”
Oi, say something! Like “I was wrong” or “Edim-san is so dreamy!” or “Maybe I’ll have Edim-chan train me”. Aren’t there heaps of things you could be saying right now!?
“I-It seems that we’re in danger.”
“Yeah. At that level of power, only somebody of Remilia-sama’s class could stop her.”
What were these two talking about? There wasn’t any danger to stop, right? The Friend was dead, so the peace had some back. Couldn’t they be a bit more positive?
“Why are you two being so gloomy all of a sudden! Come on, let’s go home,” I said. “Oh, I know. Come by my shop first. I’ll treat you as thanks for worrying about me.”
“I wonder if we should consider that airheadedness of yours a virtue.”
“What are you talking about?” Loser(Bizef) interjected. “That’s what’s good about Tilea-chan!”
Mu!? Could it be that they were making fun of me?
I’ll get annoyed, you know.
“You two are being awfully rude. Anyway, the battle is over so let’s go home!”
“Please wait. This is not over yet,” Ojou stopped me.
“Yeah. There’s still something we need to know.”
“Honestly you two, just――”
“You said your name was Edim, correct? Are you truly a human?” Ojou demanded.
Eh!? D-Did we go too far?
Just when the panic about the vampire crisis had been dying down, too…
Aah, I’m so stupid!
Abababababa, w-what was I going to do?
Because of the Fiend stuff I had totally forgotten. Edim was still on the wanted list!