Duchy and Monsters
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It was in a dim cave. Surrounded by forests, this was a place people couldn’t see. The voice of a person suddenly echoed in a place where visitors might not have appeared for a long time.
“Hmm, this is not bad at all… No should I say that I’m good even though I’m not used to it? Kekeh, as expected of me…” (??)
The man, the Demon King, whispered in satisfaction. While looking at the wall in front of him and squinted his eyes, the edge of his lips lifted up.
“Well, it’s true that it was a bit unexpected, but… this is also something expected. It’s good that I obtained that power. However, it’s a shame that I can’t announce it in a grand way.” (Demon King)
The Demon King, who snorted as he said so, felt slightly dissatisfied. But then, he had a smile that looked like he was having fun. It might be natural.
He was actually hiding in this place. Of course, he was doing it unwillingly. He wasn’t foolish enough to be over-confident with his power and go wild without any plans.
No… should it be said that wasn’t true?
“Hmm… again, it’s resentment.” (Demon King)
Speaking of learning, it sounded good, but in short, he became afraid. It was about the Demon King and that ‘something’.
“But, it was worth it. And this favor has been returned many times. Well, first off, let me start with your former colleagues and those around you.” (Demon King)
When the Demon King imagined what would happen, he lifted the edge of his lips further. If he went according to the plan, it was going to be interesting soon.
However, the Demon King didn’t see it. It seemed to be fun, but there was more to be done now.
He was able to use this power much better than before. In turn, it further enhanced his power.
He looked at one of his arms that still hurt. He slightly frowned, but the nose was snorting. It can be understood that there was a possibility that more power could be used than before. The price was reasonable, it was within acceptable limits.
However, no matter how much power he could use, there was no meaning if he was manipulated by someone.
“I can’t really fail this time… Well, I have no choice but to do it.” (Demon King)
While looking beyond the wall, he loosened the fist that was clenched as he said so. Things that would happen from now… While imagining and thinking about those things, the Demon King distorted his mouth. Perhaps, he was smiling ferociously.
It was safe to say that the journey was going well. There were no particular obstacles, and they were on schedule.
But that didn’t mean nothing happened. It was just that something that could be an obstacle didn’t show up.
“…Well, if Soma is there, nothing can get in the way.” (Aina)
While muttering with mixed feelings, Aina looked at the scene in front of her. There were dozens of monsters, but they disappeared in an instant.
“Certainly… they aren’t obstacles. It’s really undeniable.” (Felicia)
“Yeah. I have nothing to do, and honestly, I’m a bit dissatisfied.” (Aina)
“You can deny that as well, right?” (Felicia)
“It seems so.” (Aina)
When such a conversation was exchanged, Soma, who had remained in the place after the appearance of the monsters disappeared, came back here. He was vigilant just in case, but there was no other enemy.
The reason why they were fine was probably because they were still in Neumont territory.
“Hmm… I’m not going to be optimistic, but this may be more of a problem than I thought.” (Soma)
“…? Is that so? Surely, the encounter rate with monsters is higher than I thought, but… that doesn’t mean anything, right?” (Felicia)
“Aah… yes. Come to think of it, I’ve never told Felicia about this matter.” (Aina)
Aina was convinced by Felicia’s reaction, which was reasonable. She was a bit worried that Felicia’s reaction was slow, even if they were attacked by monsters along the way, but it was rather natural.
Soma nodded, probably thinking about the same thing… but of course, the reason wasn’t understood to the person in question. Felicia turned her discontented gaze to him, and he replied with a bitter smile.
“I guess that’s because it’s just a Duchy… or rather, Sophia-san is governing on behalf. There should be no monsters in the territory, you know. Strictly speaking, they are immediately defeated when they appear. That’s why it’s impossible to be attacked by monsters like this. Hence, it’s a proof that there’s an unexpected problem happening.” (Aina)
“Immediately defeated, is it? That doesn’t mean somebody is monitoring them all the time, right? In that case, it will be hard, and you can’t sleep well enough to rest.” (Felicia)
“I haven’t heard the details, but I’m sure they’re deploying magic formation in the territory and it is supposed to intercept the monsters automatically, I think? Since they have to look at the magic formation and replenish mana, they seem to have been looking around regularly.” (Aina)
“Well, it should be like that. I think it would be faster to go there directly.” (Soma)
“Either way, that’s good to know, but… I can’t imagine how to get there.” (Aina)
Soma also agreed. Should it be said that it was something expected from one of the Seven Heavens? It was said that they were equal to the Demon Heavenly Generals, but it was unknown whether it was true or not.
Aina thought so even more because she had Special Rank magic skills.
“Speaking of which, if you think only about the skills, it is equivalent to Aina-san, right? I mean, can Aina-san do such a thing?” (Felicia)
“Don’t say something unreasonable. I can’t do it. To be honest, I’m not sure I’ll be able to do that at the same age as Sophia-san.” (Aina)
“Haa…I thought it would be so, but still, you’re great.” (Felicia)
“Well, but that person is Soma’s mother, you know? If you think about it, it’s obvious isn’t it?” (Aina)
She looked at Soma when she said it, and Soma replied with a shrug. It was a feeling that he didn’t care about what they discussed and how much he understood what they were thinking.
Well, at least, this was the usual Soma.
“Well, anyhow, even though it’s supposed to be that way, if the monsters attack us, which means that they aren’t intercepted…” (Aina)
“…I see. So, it may be more of a problem than we thought.” (Felicia)
“Indeed. The mana of the magic formation shouldn’t run out in a day or two. So, maybe it has already been more than a few days since something happened… Or it’s likely that there was something that happened in the magic formation or the person in charge.” (Aina)
She didn’t dare to say which one it was. She didn’t know, but she couldn’t imagine it better than anything else.
At any rate, they were able to get through the Neumont territory in the shortest possible time without stopping, but still, they went past several villages. One of the reasons was that they were in a hurry. At the same time, there was no one in the villages. Just as they saw in the mansion, only the people seemed to disappear suddenly.
And of course, they hadn’t found any clues. In other words, there had been no clue at all. Needless to say, it was clearly abnormal.
However, Soma didn’t seem to care so much about it. As for the monsters, it might be that it was within expectations. If anything, it was the other person who started to feel restless as they observed the situation and moved forward.
“…Sheila, are you alright?” (Felicia)
“…Yes, I’m alright.” (Sheila)
Aina exhaled a small breath at the person who answered so. No matter who looked at her, there was no way that she was alright.
Sheila, who had not talked at all, answered Felicia’s question, but she didn’t even turn her face. Surely, her face wouldn’t be visible since she was wearing a hood, so it didn’t make much sense to turn the face, but… it wasn’t without reason.
Felicia looked at her with a troubled expression, but she shrugged her shoulders similar to Soma. At present, there was nothing to do, and there was nothing to say.
The reason why Sheila acted like that was simple. This was because they were already approaching the outskirts of Neumont territory.
Even so, not a single inhabitant had been seen so far… which means that the anomaly was likely to happen in the future. Ahead of where they were was Arvent Barony, Yeasta.
Sheila used to live there, and it was a place where Doris should be.
It was easy to say that she was alright, but she didn’t feel relieved. That was why Felicia also looked at Sheila and sighed several times.
She hoped that Sheila would talk like before. Of course, it was for herself too, but… more importantly, she wanted to distract Sheila even a little.
Goodness, she seemed to look truly like a doting older sister.
However, there was no reason to disregard those feelings. And surely, it wasn’t just one person who needed to be distracted.
Therefore, when Aina looked at Felicia, a wry smile floated on her face.
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