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Chapter 73 – The Frontier’s Expedition Force – Part 2

 

(Crown Prince’s Point of View)

When the news of Alexei’s death arrived, the capital shook. Nobody could have expected that someone like him could have fallen. He might have been young, but he was by no means weak. He was meant to take the role of ‘Hero’ on the next holy war… But he died. The rumors say that he was killed by the forces of chaos… My old comrade has fallen.

“Your highness, you really think she is…?” The captain under my command asked.

“You saw the way she massacred the army, didn’t you.” I answered.

“Of course, but…” I stopped him midway.

“In case of an emergency, I’ll escape to the capital by using the Teleportation Feather… My apologies if it comes to this.” I told him.

“I’ll buy you the time to use it, my lord!” He said without hesitation.

“… I have a great captain.” I replied.

I haven’t seen Alexei fight in a long time, but I still can’t imagine him losing. He has always been strong, often times beating guards that had many more years of practice than him… And yet, this woman right here might be his murderer. The situation is tense, but she doesn’t seem hostile at this moment. Our expedition force was heavily wounded, so I should at least extract some information from her, so that all the lives lost today won’t be in vain.

“She may also be involved with the incident at Belzenstock, I will try to get some information on that too.” I told my captain.

“Yes sir!” He answered.

At this point, the woman came down from the carriage, she probably didn’t hear what we talked about so far since we were all whispering, but there is no way to be sure around this kind of person.

“Rena, you okay?” A companion of the girl said.

“I didn’t expect you to charge at the army like that…” Her other companion said.

… Were they friends? Those two should be part of the Order faction though, could they be part of the imperial spies?

“Let’s speak within the carriage.” The girl said.

“I wonder what will happen now…” Her male friend said.

“It’s hard to know with miss Ichijouji…” Her female friend replied.

… To think they’re entering the carriage while having some leisure chat. Are they not wary of traps? Or are they just that confident in breaking whatever we throw at them… I can’t figure them out. For now, I’ll have to follow them inside.

Once we took our seats, she asked, “Well, what did you want to talk about?”

“First things first, may I ask why you attacked us?” I asked her back.

“It seemed like it would be interesting.” She instantly replied.

The room went silent. I could not find a reply to that. It’s no wonder she is part of the Chaos Faction, but why are her friends in the Order faction then? Are they really just spies? Couldn’t they add something to the discussion then? Or are they afraid of blowing their cover?

“I see, so you don’t want to give me a clear answer…” I told her. That’s probably what this is truly about… Or so I thought, but her expression showed confusion. Is she faking it? Such a troublesome opponent, to use this kind of method… Let’s try something different then.

“I know you murdered Alexei, what for?” I tried asking her.

“Huh? Murder?” She replied.

“Wow, the NPCs are aware of it too!” Her female companion whispered something, but I couldn’t quite hear it.

“Well, it was a big event, so it’s a given they’d notice it.” Her male companion also whispered something, but I could not catch it either… She did react to their words though, and I could hear her say ‘Murder’… I need to pressure her more.

“I know you’re hiding something, but it’s futile to keep at it.” I told her.

“Oh? He knows?” The male companion said.

“You may think I’m unaware, but you cannot hide it from me!” I continued.

“Oooh?” The girl seemed amused.

I can detect her concealment with my innate skills, even if I can’t find out what she is concealing. But by pressuring her like this, I’ll make her get rid of it altogether.

“Got it. In that case…” The girl said and dispelled her concealment… Danger, danger, danger! A dense amount of Chaos started emanating from her as soon as the concealment was dispelled. I started sweating cold by being near her mere presence… I understand now, she was not a messenger of chaos nor a spy of the empire… She’s an Apostle of Chaos!

“So that’s what you really are?” I asked.

“What? Didn’t you say you were aware?” She asked back.

I gave a dry laugh… “Haha, of course…” I can’t really take my own words back now, this is rough.

“Her aura is surely something else.” Her male companion whispered something.

“She’s naturally terrifying.” Her female companion whispered something as well…

Coming to think of it, both of her companions also seem scared of her. Perhaps they are hostages or under some form of threat? I don’t have enough information… I should keep trying to get more from her.

“For now, I want to ask you again, why did you kill someone as important as Alexei?” I asked.

“Well, it was really fun.” There’s something wrong here… She confessed about it honestly, but I still can’t understand why she did it, or why she attacked us. Was it a mistake to accompany her inside the carriage? She can’t escape here, but neither can I…

“Is the God of Corruption after my life?” I asked her. Perhaps this is what it’s all about.

“Wait, your highness!” My subordinates shouted. It’s dangerous to ask this kind of direct question, but I have no choice against this kind of opponent.

“The will of the gods is irrelevant. And I’m also not after your life.” She answered without delay.

“… Then why?” I asked… If my life is not her aim, why did she attack our battalion? Did she want to stop us from investigating something in the frontier?

“I just thought it would be interesting if the Crown Prince died, that’s all.” She said…. Things went silent for a second.

“Y-your highness! Run away!” My guards shouted as she started moving.

She’s too dangerous. Nevermind an apostle, this girl is an incarnation of Chaos itself. She is just pure wickedness, spreading chaos wherever she goes. Abandoning my comrades, I used the Teleportation Feather to escape to the capital… In the meantime, my captain bought who was buying time for me was beheaded.

“So you’re escaping? Well, that’s alright, I’ll be heading to the capital soon.” I could hear those words before the teleportation completed.

For the first time, I started trembling from simply hearing someone’s words… It was the first time I’ve met a being made of pure malice.

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