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Black Demon King
When I woke up the next morning, Fiona was already gone. However, my face felt a bit sticky—she must’ve played a prank on me after she got up.
Even so, I felt somewhat refreshed after a night’s sleep. While my concerns and problems hadn’t been resolved, I felt rejuvenated. Perhaps, having Fiona sleep beside me was more relaxing than I expected. Apparently, taking the plunge was worth the effort.
…Still, in the end, Lily didn’t come back—even in the morning. It’d be safe to assume that she wouldn’t be returning for a while.
I felt truly depressed, but a new day had begun.
“Take care, Kurono.”
“Yeah, I should be back by evening.”
Breakfast passed without a hitch… Actually, when I was about to feed Sariel, Fiona intervened with Ainz Bloom. Other than that, I made all the necessary preparations and left the dormitory.
By the way, for the first time in my life, I experienced the so-called “Deep Kiss.”
As I waited until the bubbly sensation subsided, I went straight for my destination. Even so, it was a distance of only 5-minute walk. Located on the seminary grounds, it was a dormitory exclusive for cadets.
“…Come to think of it, I’ve never been here before.”
I came to visit my best friend, Will. He was none other than the second prince of Spada—Wilhardt Tristan Spada.
“—Above all, I’m glad that you’ve returned safely.”
For the first time in a long while, I was reunited with Wilhardt. Partly because I visited before the start of the class, I didn’t miss him or get stuck in a queue.
Wilhardt—who cried tears of joy at our reunion—regained his composure as we went up to his room. There, his maid—Celia—served us tea. He was as emotional as ever, and I was relieved at that.
Even more so when my relationship with the Element Master had undergone such a drastic change.
“I’ll ask this just in case, but you aren’t in the middle of a class, right?”
“—Pfft, since ancient times, it’s been said that, ‘Once a friend returns from the battlefield, they’re no longer fun!’ As if I’ll let something as trivial as a class hinder our reunion!”
Looking at how Will—an exemplary high school student—proudly declared that he was skipping class, I was a bit worried… Still, I was grateful towards him.
“I see, that’s a relief. Let me warn you, it’s going to be a long story?”
“Don’t worry, go ahead. I also have a lot of questions.”
Thus, Will and I settled down and started talking.
As a matter of course, our run-down dormitory couldn’t be compared to the one that was dedicated for executives. Due to the well-built construction, I didn’t have to worry about being eavesdropped.
Celia—the escort maid—was present alongside him. She’d inadvertently hear our conversation, but it didn’t matter. After all, it wasn’t something that should be kept secret for a long time.
After making that decision, I filled him in on what happened at the end of the Galahad War and the teleportation magic. Afterwards, about how I hid in a cultivation village until the snow melted, before returning to Spada. I briefly summarized the outline.
“Hmm, generally speaking, it went as I expected. Besides, Lily had also informed me about a letter from Kurono that confirmed his safety.”
Surely, Lily informed him while returning to Sparda to prepare equipment such as the ‘Predator Coat.’
“Still, what worries me the most is the fate of the 7th Apostle, Sariel, our greatest enemy. Did you kill her? Or did you spare her?”
“…About that, there’s something I’d like to discuss. Or rather, that’s the reason why I’m here today.”
“What are you…?”
“I captured Sariel alive. She’s in my dormitory right now.”
However, when Wilhardt was about to scream, both me and Celia rushed to block his mouth.
“Forgive me, Lord Will. We can’t possibly let such a story leak to the outside.”
Will made a slightly painful “okay” gesture. For the time being, Celia and I let go of him since he’d calmed down.
“Before anything else, let me affirm this—I have no ill will towards Sariel, as she no longer retains her power as an apostle. Moreover, she’d awakened to the divine protection of Dark Knight Freesia.”
“…We also don’t have to worry about her escaping?”
“That’s right. If she’s going to escape, she’d have done so since long ago. No, she might even be able to finish me off while I was asleep.”
“No way, you cohabitated with the enemy general for three months…”
Well, that’s one way to put it.
I nodded deeply.
“Hm, even if such is the case, I don’t really understand. Kurono, why would you let your nemesis—the apostle, live?”
Of course, he’d be skeptical.
To be honest, the series of events that led me to sparing Sariel wasn’t exactly a pleasant memory that I’d like to recount over and over again. After all, Lily had traumatized me by running away in tears. Despite so, I still have to explain the circumstances.
For the time being, it was easier to talk to Will, who was on the same wavelength as me. Above all, he knew that I was summoned from another world, making everything simple.
“Actually, Sariel’s true identity is—”
—Thus, I revealed all the circumstances.
“—Ugh, guh… I see, so that’s how it is, how—how painful it must be!”
As a result, Will burst into tears and expressed great sympathy for my situation.
I was glad that he understood me as a friend—but on the other hand, I felt bad for making him sad.
“It was rough, yes. I was really worried. Even now, there are still some loose ends. Nevertheless, Sariel is an apostle, and the former commander of the Crusaders. I can’t keep it hidden forever. First, I’d like to know what options I have in that regard.”
“I see, I see… I understand what you’re getting at! Well, thank you for relying on me! Leave everything to me! This prodigal Wilhardt Tristan Spada shall guide you to your desired answer!”
I received a very reliable reply. For some reason, Will even stood up and spoke confidently. His cape fluttered, while his monocle shone—he looked like an intelligent and keen character.
“Then, what should I do?”
“Well, simple, we just have to make sure that the prisoner of war—former Crusader Sariel—stay by your side.”
“That’d be best… But isn’t it quite difficult? I heard that the 8th Apostle, Ai, was sealed in the royal castle.”
Will provided a detailed supplementary explanation of the circumstances leading up to Ai’s incarceration.
After her capture in Galahad, due to her special status as an “Apostle”, hostage negotiations and subsequent treatment within the country were supposed to be decided by a military trial. However, King Leonhart—who was aware of the danger of her power—immediately sealed her in the royal castle. Apparently, he even issued a royal decree.
Therefore, would it really be okay to bring Sariel to the royal castle in the middle of Spada? Not to mention, it was said that the lowest level of the dungeon there was the impenetrable. After all, the structure was fundamentally different from ordinary prisons, which were simply carved with steel and sealing magic.
The “prison”—which used a part of the ancient ruins, seemed to even freeze time. However, the mechanism behind it was left vague because modern magic technology couldn’t accurately study its principles and effects. While the details were unknown, those who were put in said prison would be frozen in time. They’d fall into a state where they couldn’t even think, let alone move.
Since the prison itself seemed like a huge block of ice, it was called the “Gap of Cocytus”, probably after the frozen Hell of ancient mythology.
Ai, who was sealed in such a majestic prison, would be thawed from time to time. However, it was limited to her head. They did it to interrogate her about the crusaders and the apostles. It was expected that it’d take some time to successfully extract information from her.
“Even though Sariel lost her divine protection, she was still an apostle. As such, I’m worried that she’d be thrown into the ‘Gap of Cocytus’ like Ai.”
“But as of the present, hasn’t Sariel been reduced into a state where only her left arm remains? Since our army also wants information about the enemy, if possible, we’d like to keep her in a state where she’d still be able to answer questions.”
If Will knew that she could use both blackening and thunder element to make up for her missing limbs, would his response change? …Well, it wasn’t like she could just regenerate her missing limbs. Besides, there were many ways to deal with her.
“At least, her current divine protection will be examined by the Pandora Temple. If we can prove that she indeed has the divine protection of Dark Knight Freesia, we might be able to lower our level of vigilance even further.”
“But isn’t that just a difference between going into Cocytus or going into a regular prison?”
“This is where it gets important—we won’t just be sitting idly. Kurono, you have to appeal to my father—King Leonhart.”
…Appeal directly to the king? Don’t make me nervous.
“There’s nothing to worry about. You’re the Gladiator of the Fourth Squad. Celia, fetch me something from the third row from the top of the bookshelf; the fourth and the seventh from the right; and the third from the bottom left.”
Will gave instructions without even glancing at the large bookshelf that occupied a considerable amount of space in the room.
Does that mean he remembers the position of all the books? Is it thanks to his memorizing skill, or he’s just proficient at storing them? Either way, that’s so cool!
“I believe these are the books you’re asking for? ‘96’s Spada Laws’, ‘Interpretation of Ancient Law II Vol. 1’, and ‘Doki! Dungeon Capture Full of Busty Elves – Mansion of Succubus’?”
“Y-you idiot! Don’t include something from the hidden row! It’s the third from the bottom row to the left!”
“Excuse me, then is it, ‘Adventurer’s Rights Protection Vol. 3’?”
“That’s correct. Thank you for your assistance. First of all, according to this Sparda law—”
“—Hey, Will? Just now, I heard a strange title.”
“Huh, what are you talking about? The maid just made a trivial mistake, don’t be so nitpicky.”
“I-I see… Well, if you don’t mind, may I borrow it next time?”
“Of course, my collection is the best. You may borrow whatever you want.”
After deepening our bond as a man, Will returned to the main topic.
“If an officially recruited adventurer—in other words, a ‘Gladiator’, was recognized for his merits on the battlefield, they’ll have the right to negotiate their merits.”
However, the request of the Gladiator usually went through the officer from Sparda Knight—or at the most, the general who led the corps. In this case, it’d be the first prince—Eisenhardt, who held the highest rank as a negotiating partner. After all, if everything was left to the king, there was no end to it.
“However, since the outcome of the battle depended on you, your achievements could be considered to be immense. It can be said that they are almost on par to my father’s success in toppling the Dragon King Garvinal in a single combat.”
“I-is that so? It wasn’t that great—”
“—Don’t say that. The most important thing in negotiation for military achievements is how you exaggerate your own achievements. While humility may be a virtue, it won’t serve you any good in this one.”
Admittedly, I wasn’t good at that sort of thing, and Will saw through me.
“Regardless, your military exploits remain an object of admiration. Even if you were to remain silent, I’m sure my father will even bestow a title upon you.”
“I have no intention of becoming a noble, but… But if it’s as you said, I wonder if my selfish request would be granted.”
“That’s right. Your odds of winning are decent.”
With a firm nod, Will opened the erotic book Celia had brought—not, but a Spada’s thick law book, before continuing.
“Fortunately, your side hasn’t been bestowed with any rewards, yet. It seems that both Lily and Fiona dedicated themselves to your rescue are also not rewarded as of yet.”
Even if they confirmed my safety through the letter, they were inadvertently worried. Especially because there was no follow-up from me. After all, sending a second later would prove to be too risky for me, since I might be rooted out by the Crusaders.
Apparently, Lily promptly returned to Galahad Fortress after making preparations for her rescue in Sparda, where she and Fiona spent three months together until the snow melted. Suffice to say, they went through a lot.
Since I enjoyed a slow life in the cultivation village, I couldn’t help but be assailed by tremendous guilt.
“There are several types of rewards for adventurers. While most of them are basically paid in money, there are also objects; such as expensive armaments, magic instruments, magical artifacts, or even land and business rights. Also, as I mentioned earlier, there have been several precedents in history for a status—such as a peerage— constituting as a reward.”
The fact that there was a similar case in the past would make it easier for me to proceed with the request. That way, I could ask for the same.
“But… Neither money, physical goods, or status are related to Sariel’s freedom.”
“Bwahaha! Don’t be so hasty to decide, Kurono! I’ve already found a surefire way for this negotiation!”
Amazing, as expected of Will!
If all goes well, the current issue may as well be half-solved.
It may sound pathetic, but I wasn’t good at dealing with stress. If possible, I wanted to get rid of the burden as soon as possible.
“Hey, the answer is actually real simple—”
‘Fufu’, Will showed a perfect smile—
“—You should appeal to have Sariel as your slave.”