Chapter 34: Attack and Seizure Order (3)
After separating from Walpurgis, I headed to Dresden, the capitol of Sachsen territory. That’s where the hint in resolving the matter at hand was.
It was about 140 Kilometers north, and although Pilsen, an intermediate city, was under the control of a demon king, it was not much of a concern.
Pilsen was being ruled by demon king Kubalt, the 26th in the line of power, and was a moderate demon king who maintained normal relations with the humans as well. As long as a toll fee was paid, the passage would be smooth.
After arriving at Pilsen three days later, I’ve reached Radbouza River that passed through Pilsen. It was rather narrow to be called a river. Nonetheless, it was necessary to pay a toll fee before crossing the bridge.
“Where have you come from, sir?”
The goblin soldier who was collecting the toll fee was looking at me with interest.
“Is that important? There must be a countless number of people who cross the bridge.”
“It’s only because you look extraordinary. Isn’t it my duty to check those individuals who look that way, sir?”
“I see that you are dedicated and diligent to your work. I’ve come from Wittenbaier.”
“You’ve come from far. May I learn your name, sir?”
“I’m Ballasthedde Valer. I’m just a lowly mercenary.”
In response, the goblin laughed as if he was being entertained and slightly raised the eye glasses that he was wearing with one of his hands.
“Kakaka. I’ve seen many mercenaries in my life time, yet I have never seen a ‘lowly mercenary’, like you.”
“Hm, I’ve seen many goblins also, but never saw any one goblin like you who are very mindful.”
I subtly looked at the ring that the goblin was wearing.
“I’m a very ordinary guy like a small pebble in the streets. Please do pass.”
“Thank you. This is a beautiful city.”
Perhaps, he liked what I’ve just said? He screamed from behind my back as I was leaving.
“Please have a great journey, sir!”
After waving my hand, I led Philly. There were a lot of unusual things to see in demon kings’ territories.
From orc sentry, holding a halberd, succubus who was making passes at passersby, to ogres who seemed to have been captured as a slave from his young age, there were full of diverse spectacles.
I was making my way forward, thinking that it would be worthwhile to visit Pilsen as a tourist, when a large Minotaur stopped me in my track.
Wearing excellent clothes, he was very tall, like the Minotaur that he was. His eye level was about at the same height as mine, riding on the back of Philly, the war horse.
As I tried to steer the horse to a side, the Minotaur spoke to me unexpectedly.
“Sir Ballasthedde Valer.”
What the heck was this…It wasn’t that I didn’t have any clue as to how this person knew me, but still my name wasn’t very widely known.
“Who are you?”
“I am Guram, a night who is currently serving the ‘great one’. He has requested me to bring you.”
“The head of this city is what you mean?”
“Yes, if you’d approve, I’ll take you to him.”
Looking at him, I could see that his fist was as big a boulder. If I was to decline, I was afraid as to what might happen next.
“I see. It will be an honor if I could meet his highness, Kubalt.”
After nodding just once, Guram led the way. It did not take long to reach the ostentatious palace of the demon king.
“Please wait in the reception room.”
I was led in to a room that was elaborately decorated with amber. After saying goodbye, Guram has disappeared.
How long have I been waiting? With a knock on the door, a goblin servant entered the room.
“We meet again. A lowly mercenary, sir.”
The goblin was none other than the one who was collecting the tolls at the bridge. I could finally see what was happening at that time.
“What about his highness, the demon king?”
“I believe he will be a little delayed due to an unexpected occurrence.”
Interesting. I did not realize that this was how they were going to approach it.
“Do you think that I have snitched on you?”
I shook my head as the goblin asked me while he was pouring a cup of tea.
“That is not important.”
“Then what is important? I’m not sure I understand.”
“Everyone ought to be able to assume that you are simply a snitch. However, by thinking a bit more, it will be possible to see beyond that.”
“Beyond that, you say?”
After nodding my head, I gently looked at the goblin and asked again.
“Isn’t that so? Your highness?”
At that moment, the goblin hesitated. But soon, he began to laugh brazenly.
“You must not know since you’ve come from a far away land. A goblin like me could not be the leader of this great city. The demon king looks like that.”
The goblin pointed to a portrait that was hung on a wall. In the picture, a handsome man with a horn on his head was smiling softly.
“He is handsome man.”
“He is Kubalt, the demon king. He is in no way related to a goblin like me.
“Look. Wisdom is not something that can be measured by wild guesses.”
“I have several hints that you are the demon king.”
In response to my words, the goblin giggled.
“That’s a very interesting point of view. I’ll be your conversation pal as there still is time before the highness can make his way here.”
I opened three fingers and showed them to the goblin.
“There are three hints that you are the demon king. First of all, his highness, Kubalt, the demon king is a master of disguise. It was told that he enjoys observing the city in many different forms. Especially, he is known to appear as either a goblin or a child to a person that he encounters for the first time.”
“Why is that?”
“That’s simple. That is to observe how the other party approaches the situation by showing himself as a vulnerable person.”
The goblin’s face was filled with interest.
“That’s an interesting opinion. But then that alone is not a sufficient proof to say that I’m the demon king.”
“I agree. Second, it is the ruby ring that you are wearing on your finger.”
“This ring, you mean?”
The goblin raised his hand to show it.
“That’s right, on the outside, it appears as if it is an ordinary ring which can be seen anywhere. However, someone who is highly observant can determine that that item is a ring that his highness always wears.”
“That’s an interesting opinion, but still insufficient. This type of ruby ring can easily be ascertained by purchasing it, as long as you have the money. Even if it looks similar, that doesn’t mean a thing.”
“I’m not sure, if that was an ordinary ruby ring, that may be possible, but what sort of a goblin would be wearing an imperishable ruby, mined from the Kaicit Mountain, which the demon king also wears?”
With that, the goblin could not hide his astonishment.
“Do you know of Kaicit Mountain?”
“It is a well known mountain and as such there is no reason for someone to not know of it. It seems that your kind often forgets how profoundly the humans are interested in the demons.”
“Well, I’ll give you that. What is the last proof?”
The final proof was the most definite one.