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The Black Demon King 477

Chapter 25: Days of Lies

The Morning After (2)

 

 

Lily and I had left most of the daily necessities in this cabin behind since we weren’t really planning to come back, and we were in a hurry to get ready to leave. That’s why the spare sheets and our clothes were still in that chest of drawers.

 

However, due to the fact that this cabin had been abandoned for about half a year, most of the food ingredients on stockpile had crossed their expiration date. Even so, there were some conserves that were still edible.

 

Thanks to that, we were able to have a breakfast of sorts.

 

“Open up.”

 

“Ah… Mm.”

 

Sariel bit into a biscuit that looked like a cracker with her small mouth. After waiting for her cute, almost squirrel-like chewing to be over, I gave her another biscuit.

 

In this way, Sariel ended up sitting on my lap so that she could eat. If anyone asked me, I would say that she was right-handed. It wasn’t completely impossible for her to eat with her left hand, but she was far from proficient at it.

 

This was the result of me realizing that it would be quicker for me to feed her than to endure watching her struggle to eat with her left hand. On second thought, it was a pretty embarrassing sight. Not even Lily had ever finished eating everything on her plate with an “Ah-mm”.

 

But I couldn’t allow myself to get carried away by these thoughts.

 

“Thank you for the meal.”

 

Both Sariel and I said that at the same time. It made little sense, but Sariel said that like a Japanese would, perhaps because she now had access to Shirasaki-san’s memories.

 

Even then, would I have to go through this every day and night? It wasn’t a big deal, but it could eventually give me a lot of mental strain.

 

However, this kind of thing would be unavoidable as long as I had to take care of Sariel. After finishing our breakfast of crackers and pickled sausages, I went on to wash the dishes after taking Sariel back to bed.

 

Now that I had a full belly, I could finally get to work.

 

“I’m heading out.”

 

“Where are you going?”

 

“Well, we’re gonna need more supplies.”

 

This cabin was good enough to live on, but it didn’t have the supplies or equipment needed to prepare for a journey to Spada while avoiding the eyes of the Crusaders across the Galahad Mountains. Basically, we needed things that most adventurers would usually need to have before going on a journey. And I had stowed anything that would fit that description into the Shadow Gate and took it with me before Lily and I left this place. There wasn’t anything useful for an adventurer in this cabin anymore.

 

Then the versatile warehouse that was my Shadow Gate got destroyed in the battle with Sariel. It was all her fault.

 

“…Sorry.”

 

“Don’t apologize. It’s pointless now.”

 

Actually, it had been I who had failed to see that she had set her sights at my Shadow Gate. I should have taken some kind of measures in the first place. It was pointless to blame this on Sariel, who was fighting with all her might and doing everything she could do to defeat me.

 

“We are poorly equipped to cross the borders. We’re going to need to get ourselves at least a sword to even begin to think about going anywhere.”

 

Though I was certain that the moment I got my hands on even a single sword I’d quickly use it up for a Blast Blade.

 

“Your pocket dimension has been completely destroyed. Collecting supplies will be difficult.”

 

“As I would’ve expected from the one who destroyed it, you’re right.”

 

I have never had the need to regenerate my Shadow Gate before.

 

Though it had never been destroyed before, it was possible to restore it to the spacious pocket dimension in the shadows it once was even after disappearing completely. However, it would take time.

 

Still, I could still feel the White Magic Sariel unleashed at that time still coursed through my shadow’s veins like a poison.

 

“My ‘Breakthrough’ has an added effect that continuously inhibits pocket dimensions’ ability to expand.”

 

It made sense. If it didn’t have that, some magicians would be able to regenerate their pocket dimensions immediately. Though even then it would probably require a ridiculous amount of magical power to do so in the first place.

 

“With my current abilities, I cannot dispel it at will. The only solution I can offer at this time is to wait for its effects to wear off.”

 

“How long will that take?”

 

“About three months.”

 

If it was going to take that long… Then I would really have to learn to not rely on any shadowy pocket dimensions for the time being.

 

“How about you?”

 

“I cannot use Dimension Magic either. Apostles have access to their own pocket dimension called ‘Ark’, but I can no longer use it since I can no longer use any of my blessings anymore.”

 

And God wasn’t so generous to have everything that had been stored inside it drop on the ground the moment He revoked Sariel’s privileges. He had completely forsaken Sariel now that she had lost her virginity.

 

“And now I cannot use any magic. The body of this Sariel Series is built solely on the premise of using White Magic bestowed by God’s blessing.”

 

Therefore, as her supply of White Magic power was completely cut off, she was rendered unable to use magic. Sariel could no longer illuminate the darkness with “Torch” or light a fireplace using her “Ignis Sagitta”.

 

I wondered if that meant that the Model Magic she had used in the past had been a reproduction created by her White Magic. Was it similar to my Pseudo-Attribute abilities?

 

“Oh well, I wasn’t planning on relying on it to begin with.”

 

I wasn’t being sarcastic. I really meant that. I had no interest in seeing this as an adventurer’s party where Sariel would join me and we’d work together towards our safe return to Spada. I was only going to rely on my own strength to accomplish that. Sariel was simply going to be someone I would carry on my back.

 

“I was thinking that it would be great if I could buy a new bag that has even a small pocket dimension in it. But more importantly, I want to know how things are around Alsace these days.”

 

Of course, I was already familiar with the surrounding area before the Crusaders started occupying these territories.

 

With the exception of Alsace, which remained a defensive outpost, all of the villages beyond Ils had all been burned down in a scorched earth operation. The one who gave the order to do so was none other than myself.

 

Therefore, before going outside, I would ask about the Crusaders’ colonies’ situation directly to the Crusaders’ Commander in Chief that was sitting right in front of me.

 

“I’ve heard that the Crusaders have already established colonies at every point where the village of Daedalus used to be. It seems that the villages around Alsace have become very small settlements because most of the houses had been burned down.”

 

“Still, they managed to settle down somewhere.”

 

Thinking that those Crusader-follower Sinclair bastards were now living in Ils Village, where I had spent so much time, made me feel the urge to burn them to the ground all over again.

 

“Yes, the relatively large village that remains standing thanks to its sturdy stone walls is the same, if not better, as the other villages due to its prime location right at the highway crossing and their ability to supply Alsace Fortress with goods. They have managed to procure a decent stockpile of supplies in that village, and it’s now guarded by Crusader soldiers.”

 

The village she was talking about was Qual, which was close to Ils Village. On a map, it would be located on the west side of Ils and close to Alsace, but has another highway going through it from the south side. Therefore, although Ils was closer to the capital Daedalus in terms of distance, the one that was prospering the most was actually Qual Village, thanks to it standing right at the crossroads of two high-transited highways.

 

It was from Ils Village that I had carried out the scorched earth operation, so the villages to the east of it were completely unharmed. And the villages west of Ils were still small villages because of me.

 

“How many soldiers are normally stationed in these colonies?”

 

“A platoon of a dozen knights would normally be provisionally stationed in every colony for maintaining public order as stipulated by Headquarters. Then there are the colonists’ vigilante groups. Their number varies from colony to colony, depending on each colony’s population and the group’s own composition. At least thirty, at most a hundred. And lastly there is at least one priest in each settlement. They are normally in charge of healing and helping solve any conflict with their Light Magic.”

 

Indeed, the scale was not so different from what the village of Daedalus used to have. The number of knights stationed was a bit on the large side, but it wouldn’t make much of a difference either way.

 

“So they wouldn’t be more than 150 people at most… Then, even if they all come at me at the same time, I should be able to kill them all.”

 

Those words sounded surprisingly cold as they came out of my mouth.

 

My goal was to collect the supplies we needed for our trip. We were better off avoiding unnecessary conflict. But even though I knew that, I still muttered that as if I had set my mind on annihilating every single one of them.

 

“Crusader security forces will be dispatched immediately in the event of a major battle. Considering their current position, they will be dispatched from the Alsace Fortress.”

 

“I know, I won’t be doing anything stupid that could make me stand out.”

 

“And you’d do well not to. You have most likely been marked as a first-priority target for subjugation by now.”

 

“What’s up with that? Am I some kind of catastrophe-level monster?”

 

“It’s similar to the wanted posters you have in Japan. Your portrait will be posted on every wall in every village, town, and city.”

 

So I would be more of a “Public Enemy No. 1” rather than a monster. Since I laid hands on their precious Linfelt as well as the Seventh Apostle Sariel, the Crusaders might see me as a sworn enemy they would not hesitate to hunt down and kill on the spot.

 

However, our battle at that time had been so chaotic that I doubted that the Crusaders could accurately tell that we had been sent somewhere else by a transferring spell. It was more likely that they would assume that Sariel and I ended up killing each other, but there was no way for me to confirm that. Either way, it would be best to proceed with caution for the time being.

 

“Anyway, don’t you dare speak of Japan so casually.”

 

“I’m sorry. It naturally came to my mind.”

 

Sariel obediently apologized, but in fact, she really wasn’t to blame. Because of the seal that had been placed on her, Sariel had never had access to Shirasaki-san’s memories before, specifically, the memory of modern Japan. However, now that the “Memory Burst” had successfully broken that seal, Sariel could now see those memories as if they were her own.

 

That being the case, Sariel’s everyday conversations and thoughts could be spontaneously influenced by Shirasaki-san’s memories. Though I wouldn’t dare say it out loud, my own thoughts and the way I understood many things were still as if they were part of my long gone Japanese everyday life.

 

“Wait, no, nevermind. You’re the only one apart from me who knows anything about Japan anyway.”

 

“…I see.”

 

Though I said that, I still had mixed feelings about it. While it considerably stimulated my notalgia, I still couldn’t and shouldn’t forgive Sariel for knowing what she knew.

 

But I had to pull myself together. Even if I were to get mad about every little thing Sariel said or did, there was no longer anything I could do about it. I had chosen to keep her alive, and so I had no choice but to accept her…

 

“Is there anything else I should be aware of? Do the Crusaders ever send large forces to their colonies for routinary patrol or something like that?”

 

“The Crusaders have spent a lot of manpower in their attempt to capture Galahad Fortress. Only the capital Daedalus and its surrounding areas have established strict vigilance.”

 

“So the only enemies I would find in these colonies are the troops already stationed there, huh?”

 

“Since the Crusaders have been defeated by Spada, there will be a large number of soldiers coming back to this country from Alsace Fortress”

 

Even if I hadn’t been planning to tread carefully, the roads around this area would soon be flooded with returning soldiers.

 

It will take a few days for them to come here from Alsace. Since the final battle was just yesterday, they won’t be here so soon.”

 

At the same time, this meant that trying to procure supplies after today or tomorrow would be quite the dangerous task. After all, it seemed that the correct answer was to start moving immediately without taking a rest on this day. Time was of the essence.

 

“Well then, I’m off… Will you be okay on your own, Sariel?”

 

“There is no problem with that. There’s a barrier around this cabin that keeps monsters at bay, so the chances of me being attacked here are very low.”

 

“Huh…? Is there such a thing here?”

 

“There is.”

 

It was a bit disappointing that I could see no contempt, no “You lived here and yet you didn’t know about that?”, coming from Sariel’s eyes, despite them being staring directly through me.

 

“I-I see… Then you should be fine, no doubt.”

 

With a vague attempt at dodging the situation, I got up and started getting ready to leave.

 

This “getting ready”, however, was nothing more than me sliding a very small cooking knife –the only cutting tool left in this cabin– under my belt and covering it with my pure white winter robe. The robe’s hood was very fluffy and warm, and it could also hide my face well.

 

“I should be back right past noon. Well then, I’m off.”

 

“Okay, take care.”

 

Sariel’s automatic response once again reminded me of Japan as she sent me off with a little bow of her head.

 

After leaving the cabin, I walked through the Fairy Garden I had come to know like the palm of my hand, heading of course towards Ils Village. I was going to be stealing supplies from this Ils Village, which had become a small enemy settlement.

 

“I’m sorry, but some of you might end up dying.”

 

Though I was reluctant to once again shed blood in what used to be my second home, which I had never thought I would ever return to, the flames of hatred still smoldering in my chest made me forget the meaning of the word “mercy”.

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