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Chapter 32 – Edim’s Secret Was Leaked (Finale)
“Now answer us!” Ojou demanded.
Her expression was unusually harsh.
Loser(Bizef) looked tense as well as they waited for Edim’s answer.
Oh no. Because of my thoughtless remark I had thrown Edim into a crisis.
“H-Hey, aren’t you two being a bit rude to Edim?”
“Stay back, Tilea-chan. She’s dangerous.”
“W-What are you saying, B-Bizef-san? How could Edim be dangerous? Edim is the hope of the Magic Academy,” I tried. “That’s why she’s so strong. She’s just your regular nice girl.”
“Tilea-chan, her magical power is ridiculous. There’s no way she’s just some girl.”
“I concur. Tilea-san, please stop with the obvious lies. Even if she was the most powerful student in her school, it is inconceivable for her to have that much mana.”
“W-What a-are you two t-talking about?” I said nonchalantly, but their gazes remained canny.
Oh no, oh no. It didn’t look like blowing this over was going to work.
Then what could I do? Come clean with them?
But there was the whole thing about Ortissio assaulting Remilia-san, and the thing about turning all of the city guard into vampires too.
Worse yet, Ojou was part of the Loyalist Committee for the Extermination of Demons. Even if I could convince Loser(Bizef), there was no way the truth would go over well with Ojou.
While I was trying to come up with a solution, Edim drew closer to me.
“Tilea-sama, am I correct in assuming that you are attempting to conceal the truth?” she whispered.
“Y-Yeah.” I nodded.
“In my humble opinion, trying to deceive them at this juncture is pointless. I suggest we kill them, or alternatively turn them,” came her insane suggestion.
Hmm, but from her point of view they were discriminating against her. Even though she hadn’t done anything they had already concluded that she was evil.
I couldn’t blame her for being angry.
Ever since the vampire incident, Edim had spent every day being pursued by murderous guards.
With things as hopeless as they were, no wonder she wanted to lash out.
But that didn’t make it okay to think “Well I’m a demon anyway, aren’t I!” and do something extreme.
She was a human after all.
“Edim, I understand how you feel. But that doesn’t excuse giving up on yourself and lashing out.”
“Eh!? I, I haven’t really given up on myself or anything like…” she tried to whisper, but I wasn’t having any of it.
“You don’t have to keep up that strong front,” I told her. “Just leave everything to me.”
“I-I understand. Then I will accede to your wishes,” she said.
“Mhm mhm. I can’t come clean about that incident with Or but I can at least mix some of the truth in. Just go along with my story, Edim.”
With that settled, I turned back to the awaiting duo.
We were past the point where I could just play dumb. That was why I would tell them some of the truth.
Oh wow, was I nervous though. What I did here would decide Edim’s future. No matter what, I had to make this work.
“I understand, Ojou. Bisef-san. To be honest, Edim really isn’t a human. She’s a demon, a vampire.”
But after the initial shock they looked ready to attack.
Damn it! I rushed forward to defend her.
“W-Wait! Wait, wait! Let me finish!”
“Move away from there, Tilea-san. I do not know why you are protecting that demon but do you understand the situation? Endangering the nation like this will end in your entire family’s execution, you know?”
Uu-! My whole family’s execution!?
I couldn’t get my Timu involved in this. But then Edim was a dear friend of mine.
I couldn’t just abandon her.
In that case I could only hope that I could get through to their feelings.
“Ojou, Bizef-san, aren’t we friends? You won’t just arrest me without hearing me out, right? Are you really so cruel that you’d get my family involved in this?”
“Tilea-chan, whatever happens I’m on your side. Pratoline, let’s just listen to what she has to say first,” Loser(Bizef) said.
“You’re too naive, Bizef-san. Compromising with those that associate with demons will be your death.”
Was she really going to arrest me without even listening…?
We might have butted heads when it came to cuisine but that was because we both took cooking seriously. Even if we argued, I had thought that we had become friends…
I mustered all of my sadness and looked at her.
“Kuh, well, fine then,” she relented. “I will at least hear you out.”
“Ojou!” I cried.
“I-It isn’t as though I sympathise with you. I simply had a few words to speak about that new menu item you put out the other day. If you were imprisoned then I could hardly do so,” she babbled, flushed.
Whatever she said, Ojou cared about me too.
Geez, what a damned tsundere!
She should have just been honest from the start.
Anyway, they were at least willing to listen for now. All I had to do now was win them over.
For the next few minutes I gestured animatedly as I told them the tale of what Edim had been through.
How she was turned into a vampire against her will.
How she was a vampire now, but had the heart of a human.
How she was the victim here, and how hard she had been working to protect both me and other civilians.
Through all of that, Ojou and Loser(Bizef) silently listened.
“…So you see? She really had no choice. You understand, right?”
“Oh yes. At the very least I understand why you are trying to protect that girl.”
“However, do you think that would be the end of it?” Ojou me.
“Mu! Why not?” I asked.
“First of all, let us put aside the fact that you gave us false information about what happened during the attack on the capital, lied to Remilia-sama and everyone else in the Loyalist Committee for the Extermination of Demons, causing confusion and misdirection.”
“Hggh-…! T-That was… I had a reason so I couldn’t help it and…”
“No need for the excuses,” she interrupted. “Your reasons were about what I expected. After all, this is you we are discussing. I’ll bet this all happened because you found that girl cute, she caught your eye, and then you got yourself into this without understanding the seriousness of it.”
Damn you, Ojou! Why did you have to hit where it hurt…?
And I felt really bad about deceiving everyone in the Loyalist Committee, you know? But everyone there was so hard-headed so there was no way they’d have accepted Edim.
Ojou turned away from me.
“Your name was Edim, was it? I understand your circumstances now. However, are you truly an ally of mankind?”
“She has a point,” Loser(Bizef) said to me. “I feel bad for the girl, but it’s quite likely that she’s a pawn of demonkind.”
“H-Hey, didn’t I just explain? Edim’s not dangerous. She got back her heart as a human.”
“Tilea-san, deceiving you is easier than taking candy from a baby,” Ojou remarked.
“But that innocence is what’s good about her,” Loser(Bizef) added unhelpfully.
These two were looking down on me, weren’t they?
I wasn’t that dumb! Back when I was a kid they used to call me a genius you know!
…It hadn’t been for long though.
Anyways, Loser, what you said didn’t make me feel any better, okay?
“You two are being too paranoid,” I argued. “Edim is a kind person. The only reason she’s here right now was because she came to fight the Fiend on my behalf.”
Couldn’t I convince them somehow…?
At this rate Edim was going to be hurt again, and lose even more trust in humans.
Oh I know! What if I got Edim to explain herself as well?
“Edim, you’re a kind-hearted human, right?”
“Y-Yes. It is as Tilea-sa- …n says. I am an ally of mankind. That’s why I have come here to kill the Fiend, enemy of the people.”
“What horrid acting,” Ojou deadpanned.
“Yeah. It sounded like that line was fed to her,” Loser(Bizef) agreed.
“Wha-!? Who are you saying fed her the line then!?”
“That girl’s master. I believe it should be the vampire that turned her.”
“Yeah. Her master could have ordered her to infiltrate humanity as a spy.”
“Huhu!” I laughed triumphantly. “Too bad. Edim’s master is dead already. Arc… What was his name again…? Edim, what was it again?”
“It was Arcune, Tilea-sa- …n.”
“Right, right. So that Arcune guy died during the vampire attack, so he can’t give orders anymore.”
“Even if that is true, Edim-san, are you saying that you have allied with mankind in spite of your master’s murder?”
“Like I said, Edim got her heart back and――”
“You be quiet for a moment! Well? What say you?”
“…I do not consider Arcune as my master. I wanted to kill him.”
“She may have a new master, however,” argued Ojou. “OR perhaps she is simply lying. Or could it be that this Arcune fellow was simply an unrelated third-rate who got himself killed by a bunch of humans. After all, from what I can see Edim-san’s strength, her master must have been powerful indeed.”
“You know, we’re not going to get anywhere if keep suspecting everything.”
Ojou ignored me and continued her interrogation.
“Is there truly no master demon behind you right now?”
“…There is not.”
“Can you swear it?”
“Then as proof of your allegiance to mankind, I shall have you kneel at the royal crest and kiss it.”
Ojou produced a piece of cloth from her pocket and dropped it to the ground. She must have gotten it from the royal family.
On its surface was a huge, sparkling crest.
Edim looked visibly upset.
“My! Can you not do so?” Ojou jeered.
“Kuh! I-I can,” Edim responded.
She knelt down to kiss the crest, looking like the picture of suffering.
Oh, no wonder! Edim had been chased around and almost killed by the Public Safety Force. No wonder she didn’t trust the crown.
“Edim, you don’t have to if you don’t want to.”
“Y-Yes,” she replied happily.
She must have really hated it. Of course she did. They tried to kill her for no reason. It was too cruel to demand her loyalty after that.
“Tilea-san, please stop interfering. This is important.”
“The city guards have been chasing Edim all this time, so of course she doesn’t trust the royal family.”
“She seems more suspicious by the moment.”
Damn you, Ojou! You’re so damned stubborn!
Just how long do you have to insist on this?
Maybe I ought to focus on Loser(Bizef) instead.
“To begin with, don’t you think it’s too cruel to make a girl do things against her will, Bizef-san?”
“Ah, y-yeah. Mhm.”
“Bizef-san, what nonsense are you saying!” scolded Ojou.
He laughed sheepishly.
“Bizef-san understand. Isn’t that great, Edim?”
“This is all thanks to you, Tilea-sa- …n. Thank you very much.”
“Mmn mmn. Now we just have to get Ojou to understand what a great girl you are.”
“U-Umm, while I would love to do that, Tilea-sa- …n, if I do not report the mission’s success before dawn…”
Dryas-kun was going to kill himself.
And I was worried about everyone else too.
Yeah. We needed to hurry up and let him know she was okay.
“You’re right. Then quickly go tell them.”
With the Fiend’s head in hand, Edim rushed off like the wind.
“Ah, wait there! We are still not done!”
“It’s fine already, so just let her go. Edim has friends that are still waiting for her,” I said as I stopped Ojou from running after her.
Ojou didn’t seem keen on pushing me aside either because she just watched Edim go.
Then she turned to me and sighed.
“Tilea-san, this only turned out this way because it was us two. Had it been anyone else, you would be on the way to prison right now.”
“Geez, how many times do I have to say it? Edim didn’t become a demon because she wanted to. So why are you suspecting her so much?”
It seemed like another argument. Neither of us were willing to back down.
“Now, now, girls. Let’s all calm down.”
“Bizef-san, as a former adventurer surely you understand how dangerous this is? Simply taking her at her word because she used to be a human is outrageous.”
“Y-You have a point.”
The Loser(Bizef) lost against Ojou’s threatening expression. As if I would let this slide!
“Bizef-san, are you truly on my side? You wouldn’t do something so cruel to a girl, right? Would you really execute her for just being a demon? If you did, I’d hate you for the rest of my life.”
“Uuh!? O-Of course, not. I, Bizef, am not such a small-minded man.”
“W-Whose side are you on!?” Ojou demanded. “No matter how you look at it Tilea-san’s position is dangerous.”
“Ahaha… C-Come to think of it, I just remembered something urgent I have on. Let’s continue this another time. S-See ya!”
And with that, Loser(Bizef) ran off.
That damned loser ran away again…
At any rate, if I had no choice but to rely on him then I was done for anyway. I had to convince Ojou somehow.
“Ojou, I’m begging you, please just believe Edim.”
“Tilea-san, do you have a reason why you can be so certain she is safe?”
“Because she saved me this time, and because more than anything, Edim is Timu’s friend.”
“Timu, as in your sister, correct? Can you believe everything your sister says without a doubt?”
“Of course I can. If I can’t trust my sister, then who can I trust!?”
“Nobody is saying that your sister is deceiving you. But for example, your sister could have been deceived as well.”
“T-That couldn’t be… Edim is a good girl. You can tell just by looking. Edim really treasures Timu and me.”
“Can you truly, truly be certain? If you are wrong, then you may be putting your sister in danger.”
“Uuuu, E-Edim wouldn’t do such a…”
“Can you guarantee that?” she pressed. “You’re the older sister here. If you ignore reality because you feel sorry for her, then what will you do if your sister pays the price for it!?”
Uu, damned Ojou. That one really hurt just now, you know?
I-It might be true that I’m an optimist. From looking at Jayjay it was clear how strong the bond between a demon and their master was.
And Edim’s master Arcune was…
Of course. Why was I so sure that she didn’t resent me for killing him? Could it be that she was staying by my side to wait for an opening…?
Maybe the reason she didn’t immediately take her revenge was because she needed to know how an ordinary human like me could defeat Arcune. Anyone could do it as long as they had the knowledge and kukanomis at hand.
All this time I had been warning Edim not to eat kukanomi. I never said that it was a vampire’s weakness, but maybe she’d realised.
Maybe once she knew the truth it was only a matter of time until she bore her fangs.
Was Edim secretly targeting Timu and me!?
Hieeee! I-I had to talk to our strategist at once.
TL Note: It was a spiritual victory for Ojou.