Kuro no Maou 429 – Part 1/2
After that, I returned to the spiral staircase in the castle walls. The place was still cold, gloomy, and there was nothing interesting about it. What would have changed in the almost one hour I had been in that military strategy meeting?
Once again, I sit alone on those cold stairs.
It would be definitely better to rest at a quiet inn rather than sitting in this place. Even with this sturdy body, I could understand the importance of rest, but still, it would be better to just sit and calm down here.
At least for tonight, I wanted to spend the night like this so I would be ready for a surprise attack from the Crusaders. I was almost certain that there was no chance they would launch an attack under this weather, so it would be a lonely night with no other company than the endless echoing sound of the blizzard– or so I had thought, but it seemed that it wasn’t going to be like that.
“…It’s rather noisy.”
I could hear the rustling voices coming from above. The Spada Knights guarding the castle walls were making a racket.
“It certainly doesn’t feel like we’re under enemy attack, huh?”
Judging from their cheering tone of voice, I could quickly sense that they weren’t talking about anything that needed me to be alert. But still, I was worried. So I concentrated on listening.
“Hey, look at that, provisions!”
“No way, but we’re still on guard duty.”
“Come on, it’s fine, let’s get some!”
“Hey lady, give me some of that!”
“Woah, me too!”
So it seemed that there were distributing food and drinks among the Spada Knights who were on guard duty during the blizzard. That was quite understanding of His Majesty King Leonhart.
“Hey, wait! I can’t take this any longer! I’m going to die if this keeps up!”
“Hey you, dying girl! You better hurry, it’s first come, first served!”
“Hand it over! Give me that sandwich!”
“No way! It’s mine!”
“I’ve been through a lot, so I’ll have these steamed buns!”
“I can’t take this anymore!”
It appears there was some sort of ugly competition between the hungry soldiers. A waitress let out a cute shriek as if she had been standing in front of a pack of hungry wolves, but I was in no position to help her.
Or rather, I was already too late. It seemed that she was already out of bread. Even if I wasn’t there to see the scene, the uproar was loud enough to imagine that was the case.
“Uhh… These Spada soldiers are as rude as ever…”
Before long, I could hear her complaining about something, and her footsteps seemed to indicate that she was coming down these stairs I was sitting on.
Her voice sounded so tired that it almost made me want to encourage her, but then I thought that I should refrain from doing so. After all, all I would probably end up accomplishing would be making her cry. The best I could do was stay here in silence and let her pass, so I wearily stood up and waited for the waitress to walk past me.
Just as I leaned against the tower’s wall, a small girl appeared, wearing a long blue skirt and with something like a cooler-box hanging to her side–
“Wait, aren’t you Mia!?”
“Ah, Kurono Mao.”
She had black hair, red eyes, and a face full of fatigue and sweat. She was wearing the standard guild’s waitress clothing– a fluffy winter coat with a white hood– but she was without a shade of a doubt the ancient demon, Mia Ellrod herself.
Speaking of which, the last time I’ve seen Mia wearing a skirt was when I first met her in the slums. And yeah, this waitress getup strangely suited her fine as well. After having drifted along the sea of Spada soldiers, she was giving off this air of a ‘tired, unhappy beautiful girl’.
“What… what are you doing here?”
“Well, you see, I prepared a lot of provisions to bring to the soldiers here…”
“And now they have all been taken, right?”
Mia had made a mistake when choosing her route. Had she quietly gone up from the lower levels, she wouldn’t have gotten tangled up with those hungry soldiers.
“Somehow it seems that I’ve got one left.”
Two seconds later, Mia placed her cooler-box on the floor and started looking for something while muttering that, thinking that she wouldn’t have anything left inside if she hadn’t slipped past the rest of the Spada army.
“Ah, don’t worry. One is enough for me. Thanks.”
“I’m sorry all I have is this grilled fish bread.”
Grilled fish bread… I never thought I would see something like this in this world. Had it also been made by Count Redwing? Or did she use her godly powers of transcendence to cross over time and space in order to go to Japan and buy it there? The fact that such a thing was actually possible scared me.
My head was still full of questions, but I ended up accepting the grilled fish bread she had offered me.
I mean, who cares? I was feeling rather thankful since these provisions were filled with a nostalgic taste.
“Well, don’t mind if I do.”
I started eating the piece of bread while those big red eyes stared at me–
Her crimson pupils were fixed on me.
“…Want half of it?”
“Huh!? Are you sure? Thanks!”
So we ended up enjoying a good time together sharing the grilled fish bread. The plump bread was filled with grilled fish and seasoned with tuna mayo. It was a really nostalgic taste.
“So, what happened this time? Did you just decide to take on that form?”
“Well, my usual uniform would make me look suspicious, don’t you think?”
“Shouldn’t you have dressed up as some sort of apprentice magician or something like that?”
“I’ll do that next time.”
After letting out a laugh, she once again stared at me with those red eyes of hers. Only this time around she seemed a bit more serious.
“I’ve been wondering why have you chosen to refuse their offer.”
“So you have been listening, huh?”
“Well, I am a goddess after all.”
I wondered if she has been watching over everything I have been saying and doing. It seems I can’t be embarrassing myself…
“I realized I would be fighting today. I’m still fighting my own battles with all my might.”
“I was a bit worried.”
Such insight! I was no match for a goddess.
“I was confident that I wouldn’t sway… but I guess that’s how it is.”
After all, I had once left the bandits of Daedalus at large. And then they were burned to a crisp by Fiona.
“Showing compassion for the enemy is suicide. One must not lose oneself on the battlefield– that’s what I’ve been taught from the beginning.”
“It’s about basic preparedness, huh? I’m no good at that.”
“That’s not it. You’ll regain your footing soon enough, and then I’ll be able to give you a good passing score. It’s usually a matter of either staying your hand or just to stop thinking.”
Mia was saying that losing one’s emotions and feeling paralyzed are simply natural reactions people have in order to retain their sanity. I couldn’t help but think that she had been watching people like that during her life as a ‘demon king’ to excess.