Overlord Light Novel Volume 12 Chapter 2 Part 5
Overlord Light Novel Volume 12 Chapter 2 Part 5
A lone girl walked the Kingdom’s streets.
There was nothing adorable about her, to say nothing of beauty that would make observers do a double take. However, she was still the center of attention, albeit in a negative sense.
Her beady black eyes slanted upwards, giving the impression that she was constantly glaring at others, while the dark circles around her eyes made people think that she was the kind of person who hung around with criminals in seedy back alleys.
It was useful for walking among crowds, but once she reached city gates and other such places, she would receive intensive scrutiny and searches from the local authorities.
That girl, Neia Baraja, looked to the sky.
The heart of winter had passed, but spring was a long time coming.
Neia sighed tiredly, then marshalled the keen senses she had inherited from her parents and walked toward the street which led to an inn.
The reason why she had to be so wary even in a city was because she felt a powerful sense of exclusion ever since she had entered this city.
Naturally, it was nothing more than the girl’s imagination.
After all, when she wore a cloak with the hood drawn up over her head, there was no way to tell whether she was a foreigner. However, she had not been mistaken about the depression in the air. She peeked at the passers-by and saw that their faces were downcast and their footsteps were heavy. It was as though they embodied the gloominess of winter.
Under normal circumstances, she might have thought it was because of the overcast weather. However, the sense of entrapment — or perhaps a nameless melancholy — which she felt here, in the capital of the Re-Estize Kingdom, ought to have stemmed from some other source.
Maybe it’s because they were defeated not long ago. Still, compared to the people of the Holy Kingdom, they’re practically jumping for joy.
Although the southern bay region of the Holy Kingdom was still relatively safe, the northern reaches were essentially hell now.
To the liberation army — formed from the remnants of the Northern Holy Kingdom’s army — and to her, who had come here as a member of an ambassadorial party, that news was of little comfort.
The more she thought about it, the more depressed she became, and Neia reached to her waist, seeking salvation. The cool sensation of steel travelled up her hand.
It was the sword she carried, emblazoned with the crest of the Holy Kingdom’s knight order, which served as proof of her identity.
Usually, a paladin’s sword would be enhanced with minor enchantments, but hers was not. That was because this was a sidearm of the sort issued to trainee soldiers.
Only after completing her training and being officially ordained as a paladin would her trusty blade be imbued with magic. That was one of the rituals involved in donning the mantle of a paladin. While it was little more than a sharpened slab of steel until she officially became a paladin, it was still a personal weapon which had accompanied her through long years of training and practice. One could not fault her developing the habit of caressing it when she felt uneasy.
The sensation of her beloved blade calmed Neia down, and she sighed quietly. Then she opened her cape and quickened her pace.
Her feet dragged every time she thought that she had to report bad news. However, it was because she disliked such things that she had to move quickly, to get this over with as soon as possible. Otherwise, she would have to continue bearing those unpleasant feelings in her heart.
Finally, the inn where their ambassadorial party resided came into view.
It was a very flashy inn, said to be among the top five in the Kingdom. Naturally, the prices it charged were as high as its ranking.
As she thought about the tragic state of her homeland, the Holy Kingdom, she could not help but feel guilty over how she was basking in such luxury while her countrymen were suffering. The truth was, the female leader of the ambassadorial party had opposed staying here precisely due to its decadence. She felt that they ought to reduce their expenses on this journey and use the leftover money elsewhere.
However, her opinion had been rejected, thanks to the suggestion of the male assistant leader.
“As representatives of the Holy Kingdom, if we do not lodge in an appropriate inn, people who see us might think that the Holy Kingdom is not long for this world. Therefore, we need to stay in a superior inn to show that our nation is still strong.”
The assistant leader’s logic was irrefutable. Nobody else in the group could deny him. However, their leader was driven by emotion and could not accept that proposal, and she stubbornly refused to go along with it. After a long deadlock, she was finally persuaded by all the other members of the delegation to reluctantly choose this inn.
However, everyone understood that their funds for this journey were very limited, so they could not rack up any unnecessary expenses. In order to accomplish their tasks as soon as possible, even Neia, a squire, had been roped in to carry out missions.
The aim of the ambassadorial party’s visit to the Kingdom was none other than to secure aid for the Holy Kingdom. Therefore, Neia and the other members of the delegation were running around trying to arrange appointments with the movers and shakers of the Kingdom.
Anyone could make an appointment, even a squire. There was no problem with that part of the leader’s thinking.
However, Neia was the sole squire among the delegation. The others were proper paladins. Even if she made an appointment, what would the other party think in the future when they found out that others had been visited by paladins, but they had only sent a mere squire to them?
Surely they would be unhappy. Even Neia knew that much. However, despite her roundabout protests, the orders handed down to her has not changed. As a squire, there was little she could say about it. That said, Neia had not given up because of that.
If it was a personal failure, she could gladly accept it. However, doing so might lead to the ailing Holy Kingdom losing more aid from the Kingdom. Neia could not simply write off the fact that her failures might lead to more of her countrymen dying with a simple, “Yes, I understand.”
However, the fact that a mere squire had immediately rushed into action without waiting for orders had only made the leader even more unhappy. She seemed to think that everything was Neia’s fault. Fortunately, the assistant leader managed to smooth things over, but the delegation’s leader had a poor impression of Neia now.
Neia had been selected for this ambassadorial party solely because of her keen senses, which would ensure their safety on the road here. She hoped that they would not expect her to contribute in other ways.
But it’s not like I can say that…
Neia looked to the sky and sighed “Haaah”. Then, she watched as the white mist she exhaled drifted slowly in the air and vanished. As she thought about the uncomfortable reception awaiting her at the inn, her gut began to cramp up.
The noble Neia was supposed to meet was not a very important person — he was not highly-ranked in the Kingdom — so not being able to make an appointment with him was not a great setback, but even so her leader would gripe at her.
…Usually, even if you wanted to meet someone important right away, they’d still need some time to research your history and learn more about you. So the earliest you could have a meeting was in a week’s time.
According to our leader’s instructions, we’ll be leaving the Royal Capital in a few days… our leader, huh…
Their leader was now a moody person. She did not look like she could properly rein in her emotions. In the past, she had not been that way. Neia knew that much. She had been an easygoing… or clueless person, if one were not inclined to be polite. However, ever since the battle where they had lost the Holy Queen, there had been a dramatic shift in her personality.
“…An unsatisfactory performance, huh.”
No matter how unreasonable her leader’s lectures were, all she could do as a squire was hang her head and accept them in silence.
Even so, this was nothing compared to how the surviving people in the Holy Kingdom were struggling. All she had to do was keep her head down and weather the storm.
After resolving herself — however frail and weak it might be — Neia reached the front of the inn.
She took a deep breath, pulled back her hood, and then pushed open the inn’s fancy doors.
As one would expect of a high-class inn, she did not step into a lounge, but a small room. It would seem it had been designed for guests to clean the grime off their footwear.
However, the place she had visited was in a high-end district, much like this inn, and it had been paved with stone. Neither had it rained, so there was nothing she needed to shake off.
Therefore, Neia went on to open the door before her.
A gust of warm air washed over her.
After entering, the concierge lay before her, the bar was to her right, and the stairs were on her left. Beside them were sofas used for receiving guests.
There were no heating stoves inside the room. However, the fact that there was still a temperature difference despite their absence was probably because of a magic item. Magic casters in the Holy Kingdom were generally priests, and while they could make some magic items, precious few of them were made to improve the quality of life.
In that respect, the Kingdom was superior to the Holy Kingdom. That being the case, how much more advanced was the Empire, which her father had once mentioned?
Although she might never have the chance to act on it in her life, Neia still harbored a vague sense of admiration for the Empire.
Typically speaking, a village girl would only be able to see her village throughout the course of her life. An untalented warrior like Neia might spend her entire life serving her nation and never get the chance to visit other countries.
In that case, perhaps the chance to travel abroad might be a faint silver lining on a grim, dark cloud.
These thoughts ran through Neia’s head as she climbed the stairs, toward the room on the second floor where the delegation was staying. The people in the inn seemed to have remembered Neia’s face, as none of them took her for an outsider and halted her.
Considering the matter of expenses, only the leader and the assistant leader ought to be staying here; the other members should have resided in cheaper inns. However, pinching pennies like that might make the other side think that there was no future for the Holy Kingdom. In the end, the assistant leader had managed to convince their leader of the wisdom of his words.
Neia reached the door of her superiors’ room and knocked on the door, whereupon it opened slightly. Within were the paladins stationed within the room for security.
The person they were guarding was the strongest paladin in the Holy Kingdom, who was also the leader of their ambassadorial party. In that case, they would be more of followers than protectors. Going by that logic, would it not have been wiser for herself to stay behind? Neia knew better than to let her mouth get her ass in trouble, so she would never bring that up.
“Neia Baraja, reporting.”
As the door opened, she entered the room.
Before her was a large room. There was a long table in the middle, where her Captain sat.
Captain Remedios Custodio and Vice-Captain Gustav Montanis were both seated there. And of the seventeen members of their delegation, more than half of them stood at attention along the walls.
She snuck a peek at the documents piled on the table before them. Most of them had been crossed out.
“Captain. Neia Baraja is here to deliver her report.”
She puffed up her chest, adjusted her posture, and stated her name.
“–How did they respond?”
“My deepest apologies. They declined because of a lack of time. They said they would like at least two weeks’ time.”
Remedios clicked her tongue.
Neia’s gut cramped. Was she expressing her displeasure at Neia, or rather, at the nobles who had rejected them? While both possibilities seemed likely, she dared not clarify such a frightening matter.
“Really now. Thank you for heading out amidst the cold. Go back to your room and rest, then.”
Neia suppressed her sigh of relief at Gustav’s words. While she wanted to leave right away, Remedios called out and stopped her in her tracks.
“…I wanted to ask you before, but did you really tell them that we wanted to open negotiations as soon as possible?”
“–Ah? Mm! Yes! I tried to ask them, but unfortunately they said no…”
“So it wasn’t because of a failure on your part, then?”
“Ah, that, that’s–”
That’s not true, she wanted to say, but who would dare say it? In addition, she already knew that she would not be able to escape this reprimand no matter how she answered.
“…Captain. It is not just the nobles she asked who refused. The other nobles have rejected the request for a meeting in a similar fashion. Among them were some nobles who indicated they could not lend aid to the Holy Kingdom, but who wished to speak nonetheless.”
Remedios glared at Gustav, who seemed to have spoken up in order to interrupt their conversation. No words passed between them, but the tension built in the air.
She was still gunning for her, after all. While Neia had mentally rounded her shoulders in defeat, she did not express it externally, instead responding in a timid tone.
Gustav had now moved between the two of them, but Remedios paid him no heed and continued glaring at Neia.
“While we are wasting time here, many of our people are being slaughtered by the demihumans led by Jaldabaoth. In addition, four major cities have already fallen, in addition to countless more towns and villages.”
The four cities in question were, respectively: the capital Hoburns, which housed the Great Cathedral that was regarded as the high temple of the Holy Kingdom’s faith.
The port city of Rimun, which lay to the west of the capital.
The fortress city of Kalinsha, which was the closest to the wall, and the first to be attacked by the demihumans.
And then there was Poland, the city between Kalinsha and Hoburns.
In other words, most of the major cities of the north were now under the control of Jaldabaoth’s demihuman hordes.
“And they’ve captured many prisoners, who they have imprisoned in camps made from captured villages and cities. Just the mention of being sent there is enough to chill one’s blood.”
Those camps were surrounded by walls, and nobody had personally witnessed what was happening inside because nobody had managed to infiltrate the interior. However, the rumors said they were guarded by demihumans. Those people who had probed as closely as they dared said they could hear groans and screams of agony from within.
What was more convincing was the fact that nobody felt Jaldabaoth, as a demonic leader, would grant any form of humane treatment to his human prisoners.
“So knowing all that, you still came back with a result like this? Did you really try your best? Normally you’d have something to show for it if you did, no?”
“Yes! My sincerest apologies!”
Indeed, she was right. Remedios was correct. However–
The thought that welled up in Neia’s heart refused to fade away.
In that case, what good is the Captain of the Holy Kingdom’s paladin order if she failed to rescue those prisoners?
She dearly wanted to retort with those words. However, as a squire of the Holy Kingdom, she could not possibly say such a thing.
“Since you feel sorry, what do you plan to do? What can you do to show concrete results?”
Neia was at a loss for words.
At the heart of it, Neia was just an ordinary citizen of the Holy Kingdom. She had neither a noble peerage, power or wealth. She was not even a paladin, just a squire. There was nothing which Neia, as she was, could offer a noble of the Kingdom which could appeal to them. In that case, all she could do was–
“I’ll work harder.”
–Psychology. However, it would seem that answer did not meet with Remedios’ approval.
“I’m asking you how you intend to work harder. Futile effort is–”
Gustav interrupted Remedios as she was about to begin something.
“Why not leave things be for now? After all, it’s about time we began our preparations, no? The esteemed members of Blue Rose will be arriving soon. If we take too long welcoming them, we will upset them, no?”
“Indeed. Squire Baraja, work harder and show me something next time.”
Remedios made a shooing motion with her hand. In other words, she was saying hurry up and fuck off.
“My apologies, Captain Remedios!”
Even though she was tired, Neia was shouting “all right!” and trembling with joy as she made to leave the room. However, her ally from just now transformed into her most dire adversary in an instant.
“Captain, may she be present when Blue Rose arrives?”
Gustav’s words made Neia’s vision black out for a moment. However, this was a topic that involved her, since she was a squire.
Remedios looked at her adjutant. This was completely unlike the way she had looked at Neia. Her caring eyes made her seem like she had changed personalities, and it almost confused her.
“Really? Well, if you say so… but why?”
“The main reason for bringing her along as a squire was because she has exceptional senses. Perhaps there might be things which only she can notice.”
Many paladins and squires had died during the battles with Jaldabaoth, but quite a few of them had survived. Even so, the reason she had been chosen to accompany their group was precisely because of her senses.
While paladins were excellent fighters, they were little different from the average commoner in other respects. On this mission, there might be a need for someone to pass unseen, spot the enemy at a great distance, infiltrate defense lines and perform other such tasks, which meant that there would be a need to have a companion who was capable of such reconnaissance skills.
Under normal circumstances, one would call on an adventurer or hunter, but most of them were already dead, and the remainder had already fled to the south or to other countries. Therefore, with no more qualified candidates to choose from, Neia had been chosen.
While she was a long way from her father, she harbored some pride in the fact that her senses were sharper than those who had only been trained as paladins. She was very happy that her talents could serve her nation, but that feeling was steadily being worn away. Now, she was starting to resent the fact that she had been chosen.
“Really?… Well, if you think so, then do it. I approve.”
“Thank you very much, Captain.”
“…Squire Baraja. Like we just said, you will remain in the corner of the room and listen to our conversation. If anything happens, inform us. …Now go back to your room and freshen up before coming back.”
Finally, Neia thought, but then Gustav followed behind her just as she made to leave. After they left the room, he spoke quietly to her.
“Sorry about the Captain.”
Neia halted in her tracks, turned around, and then she voiced the doubts she had been harboring in her heart all this while.
“…Did I do something to upset the Captain? I mean, I’ve heard that the battle where we lost the city changed her completely, so what happened?”
“…Many paladins died in the battle with Jaldabaoth, including the Holy Queen-sama and the Captain’s sister.”
I know that. But so what?
The same thing had happened to Neia.
Both her father and mother were dead. People like this were hardly uncommon throughout the Holy Kingdom. Of course, she could not actually say that.
“Without a place to vent the grief and anger she felt from that, the Captain chose to take it out on you. I think the reason why she did not do so with us paladins was because we fought and suffered with her.”
What the hell, Neia grumbled in her heart.
In other words, all this was because Neia had not taken part in that battle.
This was just too much.
Half of Neia’s fellow squires had travelled to the same city and many of them had ended up as casualties. The reason why Neia had not been in that half was due to her luck, and not because of any choice Neia had made.
“Let me also say this: please bear with it. Right now, the Captain is an irreplaceable person to the Holy Kingdom.”
“…Even if she takes her anger out on others and gives them a hard time, then?”
Gustav looked at her with a pained look in his eyes.
Anger raced through her body. She wanted to shout. Neia knew that woman was strong, but still, Neia had also done her part in getting them safely to the Kingdom. She had spotted the demihumans’ lookouts and she had been more careful than anyone else when they pitched camp at night. Neia had a role in getting the ambassadorial party to their destination. That being the case, Neia did not feel she was any less valuable than that woman.
However, Neia quashed her feelings as they boiled up.
She had to bear with this for the sake of the people suffering in the Holy Kingdom. Allowing any of them to be lost, and thus prolonging the sighs of countless people, was the most foolish course of action imaginable.
In addition, she would be free of this duty once she returned to the country. Thus, all she would have to do was bear with it for a while longer.
Neia smiled and nodded.
“Understood. If it is for the sake of the Holy Kingdom, I will endure it with a smile.”
♦ ♦ ♦
Blue Rose arrived at the inn not long after Neia returned to the room.
Neia waited, among the paladins who stood motionless by the walls.
Soon, the door opened, and a group of people entered.
While they were not exactly celebrities, their reputation still shone brightly in the Holy Kingdom, and it made Neia’s heart flutter. These were people of her gender who had ascended to heights which she herself could not reach. Personally, she would have liked to ask them all kinds of questions. That said, she could not do such a thing.
They’re… one of the three adamantite-ranked adventurer parties in the KIngdom. Blue Rose… they’re awesome…
While she had heard their descriptions and names from rumors, this was the first time she had seen them in the flesh. There was quite a big discrepancy between how she had imagined them from their stories and how they actually were.
Standing at their head was Blue Rose’s leader. She was a priestess who bore the holy symbol of the Water God, the wielder of the demonic blade, Kilineyram — Lakyus Alvein Dale Aindra.
Her beautiful features were such that even her fellow females would be enthralled by them, and it was hard to believe she was a top-class adventurer of the like which only fighting geniuses could be. If she wore a dress, she would be the very picture of a princess which a commoner like Neia imagined.
That beautiful woman spoke with a gentle voice that matched all of Neia’s fantasies about her.
“Thank you for your invitation. We are Blue Rose.”
Remedios, who had stood up to welcome them, nodded slightly to express her gratitude.
“I cannot thank you enough for accepting our invitation, honored members of Blue Rose.”
“We are the ones who are honored to receive an invitation from the paladin who bears a holy sword and who has skills to match, Remedios Custodio-sama.”
Their exchange highlighted Remedios’ straightforward and somewhat stiff manner of speech and contrasted it with Lakyus’ natural way of speaking. It would seem she really was a noble heiress.
“Ah, I’m the one who should be happy to meet the wielder of the demonic blade like yourself. Ahem. Please take a seat. The people around us are all paladins of the Holy Kingdom. It would be good if we could all listen in. Erm, if there’s time after that, I would like very much to see the demonic blade.”
“Gladly, and the chance to behold your holy sword would please me beyond words. Then, let us do as our host bids and take a seat, everyone.”
The members of Blue Rose each sat down in their own way. Some of them had already folded their arms and grasped their elbows. Given their skills, it made Neia wonder if they had always been that way or if they had learned it along the way.
“Shall we introduce ourselves?”
The vice-captain answered, probably to help Remedios out.
“No, there’s no need for that. News of your exploits has made its way around the Holy Kingdom. Ah, and while it’s a little late for this, I’m the vice-captain of the paladin order, Gustav Montanis.”
Lakyus smiled gently at Gustav’s answer.
“Really now. It would be good if that news was flattering.”
“–Yes. We’ve heard nothing but good things about you. In truth, I find it hard to hide my excitement over your heroic exploits.”
It would seem Remedios wanted to say something, but Gustav had interrupted her. After that, he smiled to Lakyus like nothing was the matter.
“How delightful. While I wish to ask about what sort of rumors those were, we are here today to accept a request. It is not our intention to waste our client’s valuable time. That being the case, let us discuss the particulars of this request.”
“Mhm. Before that, I’d like to ask the name of that girl–”
Neia jumped in fright as she realized one of the twin thieves was pointing at her. The other one was also looking at her in interest.
The two of them ought to be the twin thieves known as Tia and Tina. Despite being members of Blue Rose, which was famed even in the Holy Kingdom, there were no rumors or tales of their deeds. They were a pair of mysterious individuals.
And now those individuals were pointing at her.
She felt like she had suddenly been shoved on stage from an audience seat. Thoughts like why is this happening bounced around inside her mind.
“That girl doesn’t have a warrior’s body. Different from our musclehead’s.”
“Oi! What was that supposed to mean!?”
The person who had spoken up was Gagaran, the lady warrior who was built like a brick shithouse.
“Exactly what I said. …She’s not a warrior, no matter how you look at it. Now this is a warrior.”
“Oi oi, you can train your body with experience, you know.”
“So you’re going to evolve then, Gagaran?”
The thieves’ faces hardened.
“Don’t be mean, I feel sorry for that girl.”
“Hey! Is it me or have you gotten full of yourself since you went training with me? Oi!”
“Nothing’s changed. Just that it hurts when you grab me with your retard strength when I’m sleeping–”
“–That’s enough out of the two of you… I’m sorry, that’s just how we are.”
“Please pay it no heed. Her name is Neia Baraja. She has keen senses, and she’s made a lot of contributions during our journey here.”
The reply was flat and emotionless, not cute in the slightest.
“..Mm. Well, while that was our fault, we haven’t made any progress at all. If nobody minds, shall we begin discussing the matter? Also, there’s no point talking like fancy nobles, is there? Let’s get right to it, shall we?”
“Evileye,” Lakyus said in a reproachful tone.
That was the arcane magic caster Evileye. Clad in her mask, she could use powerful spells, but she never removed it under any circumstances. She had a very slight frame — some rumors said she might be from a small-bodied species.
“No, that’s fine. I’m not good at all this wheels-within-wheels stuff myself.”
“…Kuku. Well, the other side’s boss has given their approval — how about ours? Besides, once they pay the appropriate fee, they’ll be our clients. Let’s not bother with feeling each other up and get to the question of money. Won’t it be better to seal the deal sooner rather than later?”
Lakyus sighed, and Evileye continued, seemingly sneering at them.
“Well, our boss has given her okay too, so shall we firm up the details before we talk about payment? I take it you want to talk about the person messing up your country. Jaldabaoth?”
“OI oi, do you think we wouldn’t know something the nobles did? The Kingdom has marine traders too, you know. Plus, the Adventurer’s Guilds do exchange information as well. That said, how about it? Want to share what you know, too? Frankly speaking, we’d be happier to obtain information than money.”
“Mm… may, may I have a moment to discuss this with Gustav?”
Evileye waved to indicate that they should proceed, and then Remedios and Gustav rose and entered the adjoining room — the bedroom.
“Then, can we use this flask?”
Gagaran pointed to the flask of water and the glasses around it as she addressed Neia.
Why me, Neia fretted as she replied, “Please do.” She wanted to praise herself for her perfect tone and not letting her voice tremble.
After Gagaran had poured water for everyone, Remedios and Gustav returned.
“We’ll pay your fee, so can you tell us what you know?”
Uwah, Neia thought. For some reason, she had the feeling that Remedios, who had complained about the expense of staying in an inn, would not approve. While Gustav had probably said something to her, Neia had no idea what reasons he had used to convince her.
“That’s fine too, although I think we’d be able to tell you what you need to know if you told us about the absolute state of the Holy Kingdom now.”
“Please let us pay the appointed fee.”
Gustav promptly placed a small pouch on the table.
Evileye jerked her chin at one of the thieves. In response, she swiftly reached out and snatched up the pouch, tossing it up and down lightly in her hand. Then she caught it and nodded to Evileye.
She was probably trying to see if it contained the expected amount by the sensation from throwing it up and catching it.
“Alright. Then I, Evileye, Shall explain on their behalf… Although, like I said just now, it’s a little unrealistic for you to demand all the information we have about Jaldabaoth. Let’s start by talking about what happened in our country. But before that, I want to verify something with you. Your Jaldabaoth looks like this, right?”
Evileye took a pen and paper from beside the table and began drawing with fluid strokes. However, the picture she produced could only be regarded as childish scribblings as best.
Remedios was about to say, “No, that’s not…” before one of the twins snatched back the paper and tore it in half.
“What the hell are you doing!?”
While Evileye was furious, the other twin snatched away the pen in the meantime and drew swiftly on the new piece of paper, then showed Evileye the finished product. The masked magic caster muttered, “Uguu…” in a disgruntled tone. The truth was, it was of far greater quality than the picture just now.
His appearance was very difficult to describe with words. He was dressed in foreign clothing and wore a strange mask. After seeing the picture, Remedios angrily clenched her fists and growled like a wild beast.
“That’s the bastard.”
After seeing this, the twins and Evileye ceased their feuding and turned back towards Remdios.
“Then we’ve verified one thing, that this is the same per– the same demon. Well, if demons like that could appear one after the other, we’d be in trouble. Thank heaven for small mercies, as they say. Now–”
Evileye then proceeded to narrate the events that had transpired in the Royal Capital, and Neia winced in her heart.
She knew Jaldabaoth was strong. And she knew that the demon army and that scaly demon existed, so she was not shocked by them. But the fact that there were five maid demons who could each take on an entire adamantite-ranked adventurer team by themselves intensified her sense of utter despair.
I don’t think anyone spotted the maid demons in the Holy Kingdom. So they’re Jaldabaoth’s trump card? To think he had something like that…
“–Then, what would you estimate Jaldabaoth’s difficulty rating to be?”
Gustav’s question caused Blue Rose to look at each other, but in the end it was still Evileye who spoke on everyone’s behalf.
“Let me get this out of the way first; this value is just a conjecture. It might be higher, it might be lower, so I hope you’ll keep that in mind. We estimate that demon’s difficulty to be around two hundred.”
Gustav gasped. Neia very nearly gasped as well, but she managed to resist that impulse. Some of the paladins lining the walls were not so successful. Remedios was the only one to remain calm, her expression unchanged.
If Neia recalled correctly, difficulty one hundred monsters were not something which humans could defeat.
“Exactly how powerful is a rating of two hundred?”
Evileye seemed to have a bit of trouble answering Remedios’ earnest question.
“While difficulty two hundred beings have never appeared in the human world before… well, old Dragons would be roughly around one hundred.”
“An old dragon… while I’ve never fought those before, would that be around the same as the Guardian Deity of the oceans?”
The Guardian Deity of the ocean referred to a Sea Dragon which dwelled in the sea.
It had two arms and feet and a long, thick tail that replaced its atrophied wings. It resembled a Sea Serpent more than a Dragon, and its intellect was on par with or surpassed mankind. It was quite a benevolent being that would protect ships if it was properly venerated.
Neia had the very good fortune of seeing it once, from a distance, when they had gone to Rimun on holiday.
It had raised its head high above the surface of the seas, and it was a sight majestic enough to earn it the title of Guardian Deity. It was hard to imagine a human being could defeat such a being.
“Captain Remedios. If we use defeating the Guardian Deity as a baseline… hm, if there were a fisherman here he’d be giving us the stink-eye. Still, that means he’s twice as strong as an old Dragon.”
“Indeed. We’ve determined that he’s stronger than the legendary Demon Gods who were defeated by the Thirteen Heroes. That is to say, his appearance in the human world would be a great tragedy and several nations will be destroyed. That’s how powerful he is.”
“Although, I hear that when Jaldabaoth was wreaking havoc in the Kingdom, he was driven off by Momon-dono. That would mean Momon-dono must be just as powerful, right?”
Remedios swallowed, and then continued.
“Or does that mean — he used some kind of special item when defeating Jaldabaoth?”
That was when Evileye’s attitude changed.
Neia could not see her face, but she had the feeling that her face was flushing under that mask of hers.
“I don’t think he used any such item. However, Momon-sama fought magnificently when he duelled Jaldabaoth. I was fighting Jaldabaoth’s subordinates back then, so I did not see the full fight, but it was a terrifying battle. It was a battle fought by a hero among hero, a champion among champions.”
“Is, is that so?”
It was all Gustav could do to squeeze those words out after being crushed by Evileye’s presence as she leaned herself out.
“Precisely! Ah, what an amazing battle. Momon-sana defended me while he was fighting Jaldabaoth, you know.”
“So he fought Jaldabaoth — that monster — and drove him off? Is that true?”
“What!? Are you saying what I saw with my own two eyes was a lie!?”
Evileye countered Remedios’ question with a vicious retort. Gustav struggled to clear the uneasy mood in the air.
“Ah, no, what our Captain meant was that if Darkness could attack some weak point of Jaldabaoth’s, perhaps we could do something too. I apologize for not clarifying.”
“No, we should be apologizing for the childish tone our Evileye is taking with a client.”
That reply came from Lakyus. What was this, when the two main players were cast aside and their supporting cast went on to smooth things out between themselves.
“Mm… well, assuming Jaldabaoth really does have some weak point, Momon-sama must have won by attacking it. It’s hard to imagine a demon like that would leave his weaknesses unguarded.”
“Indeed… perhaps he used an item or a subordinate to make up for it.”
While this was the first time she had heard of the maid demons, Jaldabaoth had several powerful demon minions.
After questioning demihuman captives, they knew there were at least three of them.
There was the demon who ruled the wilderness where the demihumans lived.
There was the demon who ruled the port city of Rimun.
And then, there was the scaly demon who commanded the demihuman army.
“Right, can you tell us in detail about that scaly demon you mentioned earlier?”
“That’s right, can you tell us what abilities it has?”
“Right, I fought it before, so I’ll take Evileye’s place and describe it in detail.”
She described its abilities and how they fought it. Lakyus’ tale ended with Brain Unglaus — a man on Gazef’s level — slaying that demon.
“…That’s strange. Jaldabaoth hasn’t made any movements after conquering the Holy Kingdom’s capital, but that scaly demon’s been commanding the demihuman armies in his place. Wasn’t it already defeated?”
“I see… however, we’ve met this Brain fellow before, and I don’t think he was lying. It’s probably not a unique demon, just a high-level one.”
“In other words, Jaldabaoth can conjure that demon any number of times as long as certain conditions are met? Or perhaps he can summon the same demon multiple times?”
Neia could not cast spells, but she had heard this during her lectures.
When it came to summon magic, summoning multiple beings was a very difficult thing.
In other words, when a summon spell was active, casting another summon spell would cause the previous summon spell to end. The currently-summoned monsters would go back from whence they came and new monsters would be summoned in their place.
However, people capable of high-tier summoning spells could simultaneously conjure several weaker monsters at once, of the sort that one would evoke with a low-tier summon spell. For instance, one could use a fourth-tier spell to summon multiple monsters that could be invoked by a third-tier spell.
“I don’t understand at all. His methods of summoning demons is still a mystery. While it felt like he was summoning them with spells, he couldn’t have summoned multiple demons of such power… but if he could, that would beg the question of why he did not do so in the Kingdom. Perhaps if he were a magic caster who specialized in summoning, he could simultaneously summon multiple copies of such a creature…”
“So even if we defeated all the scaly demons, Jaldabaoth could immediately resummon them?”
“Just so. However, that refers to the situation where Jaldabaoth conjures them with magic. If he used some kind of special ability to do it, that would be another matter entirely.”
“So you don’t know much about that side of things.”
“Sorry, but I don’t. We know very little about him.”
Evileye sounded clearly disheartened.”
“…Erm, I didn’t get any of that at all, you know?”
“…I’ll explain it to you later, Captain.”
“No, start clarifying now. I haven’t been able to keep up since just now.”
This is our Captain… the person in charge of all of us…
“That being the case, was that disgusting insect maid one of Jaldabaoth’s summons too?”
“I don’t know. I don’t want to think that way…”
Blue Rose’s members began discussing among themselves.