Chapter 18 – Proof of terror
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I hadn't been using my time well. Sorry for that. Anyway, here is a chapter.

___________________

“A commoner like you wanting to play as a noble? What a joke! You are just a peasant!”

“That’s right. Know your place! How dare you walk around so nonchalantly like you own this Academy? Insolent!”

“If you know what is good for you then stay away from him.”

Three young Ladies surrounded a pair of young girls in the corner of the garden. There were many small gardens across the Royal Academy, some of them had tall trees and bushes to simulate a part of a forest. Even so, there would still be cleaned paths with benches in them to let the young nobles experience the beauty of nature.

Shit! I haven’t met any capture targets yet and I still get bullied.

Emily was holding Mari’s arm tightly to prevent the Demon Maid from accidentally sending those Ladies to the afterlife. After all, her friend was trembling like a tank engine with a silent snarl in her mouth.

Standing a small distance away from them all was a beautiful lady with a drill hairstyle. Her hair and eyes were sparkly red like fresh blood and shiny like gemstone but the cynical attitude made it clear that she wasn’t to be touched carelessly.

Emily knew that girl. She was Charlotte, the daughter of some Marquis that she had forgotten and didn’t intend to find out either. Mari was calm in the beginning but things escalated quickly when the lackey Ladies started to insult Elena. Emily knew that Mari had become very protective of Elena as if the Lady was her reason to live. Well, she couldn’t deny that it was because she was really the reason Mari was still alive.

With her strength, Mari would rip them to pieces the instant Emily let go of her arm. She was not strong enough to hold the Demon Maid in place but Mari would not harm her best friend just because of this much rage.

She could take a guess as to the reason why they were harassed by those villainesses was because somewhere in the past few days, Mari had met with this Lucas guy and impressed him with her strength. The only place she could think of was where Mari had taken her entrance test. By all means, Emily would never want to be anywhere near those capture targets. But she didn’t expect her maid friend of all people to fill in the role of the Heroine in this Academy. It wouldn’t be too bad actually, as Mari would not be harmed regardless of what those Ladies would do.

The problem was, it would turn into a horror game instead of an otome game if Mari was to be provoked like this in the future without her nearby.

 

 

Anyway, I should find a way to get out of here first. Why is that Charlotte girl not afraid of Elena? Is that Lucas guy the hottest potato here or something?

She wanted to question the reason but then remembered that all the villainesses usually thirsted for the capture targets in a very unhealthy way if it was real life. Suddenly Emily saw the world differently. She looked at Charlotte with a pitying gaze making the girl scowl even more in confusion.

“Lady Charlotte De- D-De… (Shit! I really forgot her name!) Ehem! Milady, we are just commoners. Your fiance can’t be taken away by us in any way so why are you bothered with bullying us?”

Being talked to out of nowhere while the targets were being trash-talked by her retainers made her lose her temper for a moment. She quickly regained her hateful glare, of course.

“You dare talk to me without permission? You are as undisciplined as you look.”

Emily was a bit put off by the attitude but she could deal with this if the villainess agreed to talk.

“Well, my apology but it looks like you have been mistakenly pouring your anger at us.”

“Mistaken? Are you implying that I am wrong?”

This girl is a pain in the ass!

Emily wanted to bite back with a touch of sarcasm but she knew it would be a disaster for her.

“Milady, please! You won’t lose your fiance even if you do nothing.”

“Hmph! Vixen’s tongue!”

Stop being a hardass!

“If Milady were so afraid of losing Milord, you could just go directly to him and ask him what his intention is with us.”

“Are you lecturing me? How insolent!"

Emily sighed and gave up. Even though the girl agreed to talk, all she had been saying was one-sided smacktalk. At this rate, her friend would be late for class and she would be stuck here too.

You give me no choice. I will have to sacrifice my future image and use the ultimate weapon.

"Are you a virgin?"

"W-What?"

All the Ladies took a few steps back. Their faces flushed red and unable to talk for the moment.

As expected.

The otome game was about love but it was still very kid-friendly. And nobles, especially the young females, were extra innocent with their upbringing. Emily couldn’t tell what the adults were like but the teenagers would definitely follow the game’s settings as usual. Getting the upper hand for the first time in this battle, Emily pushed forward.

“Have you kissed him yet? How about hugging and cuddling?”

She could see the cartoonish steam escaping their heads as their imagination ran wild. Resorting to this childish strategy was not a pleasure for her but if it worked, she would take it. Now, she needed to drive her points to these people quickly before they regained their composure. She would think up some better plans later when she and Mari were safe.

“Your fiance is a man so he will be attracted to a sensual body.”

Emily observed the group of girls carefully as she crafted her sentences. It looked like they still had a bit of indignation. Their brows rose a little and they were about to refute her.

Not so fast!

“Look at yourself! You have a very desirable figure. Your breasts are plump and firm. Your legs are long and soft. Your hips are curved at a perfect degree. Men would bend their neck just to take a glimpse at such an alluring woman.”

The girl covered her body with her hands while stepping back some more.

“You just need to approach him with clothes that he likes and help around with trivial things. He will start to look at you more and more! Like your ‘accidentally’ exposed legs, or cleavage. Or your wet skin under your sweat-soaked clothes! Smile at him, care for him! Make him see your wifely side, make him want you! Make him lust after you!”

She was spouting the bullshit that some of the girls in her college had done. She didn’t know if it would work with the capture targets but the big boss Lady was seriously listening while flushing quite hard so it was good. No harm in feeding them a few poisonous thoughts.

Gripping Mari’s arm hard, Emily whispered in her friend’s ear the plan.

“And then, we will help you connect with your fiance if we are there. Field trips are full of opportunities for lovers, right? If he doesn’t make the first move then you just have to do it!”

Charlotte was finally breaking off her fluster but the ideas had stuck in her head.

“H-How can I trust vulgar people like you!?”

Anger started to rise in the redhead Lady but Emily had prepared for this.

H-Here goes nothing!

“Well, the thing is… Mari and I, you know…”

Mari pulled her into a hug from behind with one hand on her belly and one hand on her breast. Mari’s face was as unflinching as ever although a small smirk appeared right after she saw the shocked face of the redhead. She moved closer and nipped on Emily’s ear as she stared at a bunch of innocent young ladies. Steam was pumping out of their heads once again.

Emily on the other hand was also as red as a tomato too. It was really embarrassing for her. It was the first time someone held her like this. Mari even squeezed her breast a few times to make a point. She had only told Mari to hug her but she didn’t mind the improvisation either. She really didn’t care about wooing those fiances of them so a bit of lesbian rumor was fine while living here.

“... It’s like this…”

“Y, Y-You-you…”

Really, this was her ultimate defense. If this still didn’t work, she had to resort to Elena. But Emily didn’t know the degree the Demon King would react so she was afraid of letting her know. The worst outcome would be the total annihilation of the Kingdom if things kept escalating like some Earth stories she had read.

“I-if you would excuse us! Mari, let’s go!”

At Emily’s hurried words, Mari gave them one last glare before picking up her friend in a princess carry and running zoomingly along the road.

With the disappearance of the two maids, Charlotte snapped out of her surprise but it was too late to stop them as they had completely gone within sight.

“Tsk! We are going back!”

“Yes, Milady.”

She and her followers returned to the cafeteria. Their faces still spotted some flushes as the imagination of adolescents was strong and wild. Plus seeing the intimate act of two girls exposed them to the forbidden side of love. They couldn’t forget it. Even Charlotte knew not to listen to the excuses of vixens, but what the maid said couldn’t help but linger around her head.

Lord Lucas, I need to see Lord Lucas.

Her mind returned to thinking about her love and tried to overwrite the maids with his charming face. She had never called him with his full name in her head as her desire to become his was too strong. Still, her ice-cold mask continued to tint red with various other thoughts.

I-It’s not like I will t-t-try anything!

Unawared to her, the person she wanted to meet, Hotshot Lucas, was hiding in the shadows behind a tree and peeping at them from the beginning. He had missed his chance to appear valiantly so he continued to hide quietly. His face showed a complicated expression but also steamingly red as he engraved the precious images in his memories. Those kinds of things were not easy to see with his status.

___________________

“Then, I will see you all later this weekend! Remember to come to the clubroom, okay? Bye!”

The young energetic Lady with flowing golden hair ran away quickly with her hand waving happily. Two other young Ladies who were sitting at a small round table waved back with a smile. There was another red-eyed black-haired girl at that table that just gave a nod to the leaving girl.

Elena looked after Cecilia and sipped her tea without saying anything. Her experiment was a success. The analysis of the hybrid human gave her a good understanding of the direction this Kingdom was going.

The Princess was a semi-perfect chimera with no side effects except for the high amount of mana consumption daily. And the food the Court Wizard had been feeding her was the specially treated monster meat. This method could last as long as there were monsters so it was basically indefinite.

“Elena! Elena! Let’s go cast more spells!”

“We are still at lunch. How about waiting for the afternoon class? We will have the whole field to play on.”

“But it is boring here. I feel itchy all over my body. I want to run around and play with magic!”

“Princess, please calm down. Lady Elena De Heuser is right. We can’t just cast spells freely everywhere. Oh, I have an idea! If you are bored, how about watching a performance?”

“Performance?”

“Let’s call some servants over!”

Elena didn’t comment on them. Letting the Vanile girl deal with this was convenient. The state the Princess was in was because of her after all. After pumping three Advance spells worth of mana into the small Dragon Princess, her Dragon half was stimulated and the natural draconic instinct grew stronger. If she knew the Dragon race right, then the Princess was trying to establish her domination and superiority through her might. Even if she herself didn’t understand what she wanted, her instinct would guide her.

But this was just a side effect due to having too much mana in her body. It was like a kid on high sugar. Elena had implanted a small runic magic inside the Princess’s heart. The next time she consumed monster flesh her body would undergo a small transformation. As to what she would turn into Elena had no idea. She just wanted to see if she could amplify the dragon power or not.

And doing it immediately was not good for her situation so she passed the responsibility to the Court Wizard. The man was an important person, he would be fine. She guessed. She swept at the indicator Rune on her left wrist and submerged it in her flesh after making sure it worked correctly.

Runes were advanced magic formations in the form of language. Creating runes was not easy so wizards often studied and used old runes from tombs and such. Her Runes had much more power than those since she packed all her mind into making each one and surpassing her in magic was a feat that even Heroes couldn’t do. The downsides were that it was impossible to learn and it could only be used by her alone. It was hard to use too since it had too much power. Some magic laws needed to be followed for certain things to work. She was not at a level where she could sustain all magic laws by herself. Yet.

For the moment, Elena had nothing important to do except waiting for the magic class.

She had just had an inspiration for a new magic art from all the analyzing. But she wouldn’t be able to do it. Not because she couldn’t but because it would be a dumb move.

The magic art she thought of was a transformation art that would remake the body step by step into that of a Dragon. That would be a downgrade to her who had the peaked body that could transcend world’s laws. So, she needed someone to impart this technique to. But not anyone would be chosen.

This was a new art. Something she made with her way of rebirth and the chimera method. It contained her secret identity so others may know of her true self if the wrong mind was stuck with it. For example, the hidden agents of Apostles could have their minds read and expose the similarity with creatures of the Abyss. Although mind reading was almost brainbusting and nauseous, some abnormal Apostles would learn it for whatever reason. There were Demons that specialized in those fields too, like the Succubi and the Brainfiends.

Elena was thinking of picking Emily. But she would have to refine the transformation a bit more. She didn’t want her maid to turn into a giant lizard. The solution was something like the Princess but one hundred percent Dragon.

Dragons were stronger than Demons but not stronger than her top Demons. They were somewhere around the same height in power. The Heavenly Kings were something like Mari, the base was good but everything else would depend on the individual. That was why she didn’t choose Mari to give the magic art to. Her body was already better. On that note, she could give this to her Knights. But she had to assess their loyalty first so it would have to be later. In the end, she still thought Emily was the best option. But as the bearer of the Blessing, Emily would have a hard time to decide though.

I should mold the body into a human shaped Dragon. But what about the skin? Dragon scales are ugly. And will the brain be affected if the blood turns draconic? Transforming the brain is not an option since that will make her think like a real Dragon, which will be a pain in the ass.

Drawing out the skeleton work of the transformation in her mind, the magic art was perfected in a pace so fast that it would make mages and researchers doubt their centuries of effort. Well, magic was her domain so she would be comparable to Gods to any mortal race who looked at her. It wasn’t them that were too slow, it was her that was abnormal.

Finally, the heart. I should make it similar to mine so the body would need to absorb less mana from the environment.

Making the final touch on the magic art, Elena felt satisfied and happy. She was in a good mood. However, this was not some ultimate technique. What she had made was just the completed chimera transformation of the Princess. Which was also upgraded by adding in her rebirth method. It was not the best out there but if judging from the point of view of a researcher then the Magic Art could be considered perfected as no more improvement could be done.

Elena had neither in-depth knowledge about Human nor Dragon biology so it was also hard to say the final transformation was a true Dragon. Perhaps it was more of a new type of Demon.

I should give it a name.

A depth-crimson diamond-shape gem forming in her right palm without anyone noticing. Tiny letters appeared briefly inside it before fading away. A Skill Gem.

Wizards often infused their knowledge in books to speed up the learning progress for their disciples but she liked to be different. Utilizing her extraordinary mana control and reserve, Elena recorded the information directly from her mind and imprinted it into a special mana gem of her design. Once activated by a user, the gem would disintegrate and the user may or may not lose consciousness due to memory overloading in their brain. Not any material could hold a large amount of information so she didn’t care about others copying her.

Although she could make her minions have knowledge instantly like this, the amount of these gems was only four including the one she had just made. The other three had been the rewards for her subordinates but they all died afterward anyway so she didn’t bother making more.

Dragon Physique? No, something more dramatic…

Holding the clear crimson gem in front of her she thought seriously. Her mind wandered to her maids for a moment.

Hmm, Divine Dragon Physique? Or Heavenly Dragon Constitution? How about Avatar of the Dragon God?

She fell back to her old way of mocking the Gods whenever she could. The title Heavenly King was quite effective in ticking off Apostles so she knew it had worked somewhat.

Elena may want to hide from the Gods for the moment but that didn’t mean she would be meek and good. The lack of a castle and her small pride as a King of Demons were the only things that had been holding her back from exposing herself. She may not aim for world domination anymore but she was still the hotspot for war.

Elena wasted the whole afternoon in indecisiveness.

___________________

“Ah? Oooh. I see.”

Elena mustered not so quietly in the middle of the magic class after she got out of her naming predicament. Somehow, she got to her class in that state. Everyone gave her a small look before turning their attention back at the magic instructor.

They were all in a practice field near the main learning facility. There were many more plots of land dedicated to both branches of learning. She was in one of the fields for magic classes. The classes for fighters and warriors were on the other side of the Academy. The arrangement was to help the students to have less distraction. She could also see some other magic groups in the nearby fields too.

What Elena had said was not her amazement of any magic theory or whatever the instructor was saying.

Standing and lecturing before the group of young nobles was the figure of a tall humanoid creature that had five black horns on its head like a crown. Its smoothed leathery skin was brown and had some black spikes on the shoulders. While its face was not the ugliest thing in the world, the bat-like features were not pleasant to look at at all. The creature had no wings but there was a thick, long tail that was as long as its body swaying behind its back.

It was a Demon no matter how she looked at it. But there was no reaction from the students. That was because the Demon was using an illusion with a powerful magic item on his waist. He was not wearing clothes for some reason but Elena didn’t think much of it. Not everyone liked clothes. And she also didn't want to look at the small tentacle that the Demon was spinning with his hip so she turned away.

What she was thinking about was how human society had nothing too advanced despite defeating the Demon Lord for a thousand years already. And the answer was right before her eyes.

So the Demons have really been hard working the whole time huh? If it was my minions, I am sure they would be lazing around or claiming to be the new Demon King or something.

She had been sneaking around the Academy for a while but she didn’t discover any Demons. So the Demons had to be really good at hiding or didn’t appear in the Academy at all until now. Since tracking and searching weren’t her best skills she had no idea where this Demon came from. But she could guess. With the rumor of some Goddess of Light making their base here, the Demons wouldn’t possibly stay for a long period of time.

Elena had nothing against this world’s Demons so she planned to let them be to do whatever they had been doing. She would just sit on the side and enjoy her time here.

Contrary to her ‘good’ will and intention, the Demon was stealing glances at her.

So that is the girl. Letting a talent like her to grow up is definitely a threat.

Like any other targets before, the Demon planned to take care of outstanding humans when they were still young. This was one of his missions in this place after all. The Princess? He didn’t care since Chimera didn’t live long. And the Duke’s daughter was being handled by his higher up so this new target was his job.

Elena’s good measure of hiding her demonic power and presence was just too good. For even the Apostles of Gods to be fooled, how could a mere Demon runt tell?

___________________

One man sat before a bonfire he had made himself. The sky had gone dark and lonely without any sound around, not even insects flying around his camp. He was tending to a bunch of meat sticks on the makeshift rack around the fire with some spices. The smell of juicy cooked meat spread out to the whole area. If there was a predator nearby, they would definitely come because of the irresistible aroma.

“Is the food done yet? I am hungry.”

“Not yet. I am just halfway there.”

The man let the meat sit still on the small rack and turned to his female companion who just returned from setting up a barrier around them. While he looked rough with a big frame of muscle and short messy black hair, his companion had a slender figure with long white hair freely flowing in the wind. Their equipment was top-of-the-line enchanted armors and clothes with material that people would die for. The man wore skin-tight underclothes with his full set of blackish-red armor laying next to him on a piece of clean clothes. His female companion wore an intricate white robe with a big crystal staff floating behind her back.

“Where is my hat?”

“It’s in the tent, I don’t think you like blood on your white hat.”

“Uh huh. Your armor is clean but it still reeks of blood and bile. You should avoid jumping in a monster’s maw from now on.”

She gestured toward the bulky armor and a red flame consumed it briefly. She moved over to sit next to him when the flame went away along with all the bad smell.

“Hwaa, setting up barriers every day is so tiresome. I want to rest in a nice bed!”

The complaint went over deaf ears as the man continued to turn the meat sticks with focus.

“You could pay your beautiful companion more attention, you know?”

“You elves are as old as my grandma.”

“Age is meaningless when you are in love. And comparing me with a grandma is awful! In elf age, I am just at the beginning of my youth!”

“Still, you are more than a hundred.”

“Has anyone told you that you shouldn’t talk about a woman’s age?”

The two of them kept bickering with each other like an old couple until their food was done cooking. The night was cool and comfortable. They could call this one of their most pleasant days.

When they both had some meat stick on their hands, the good atmosphere ended. The lighthearted smiles on their faces disappeared and replacing them were eyes full of vigilance.

“Rook. Someone runs past my barrier extremely fast.”

“She is here.”

“She?”

They both looked at the intruder who stood at the edge of their camp. The new visitor raised a hand in greeting.

“Hey, fancy meeting you here, Mr. and Ms. Platinum Ranks.”

“Naomi. I told you to never call me with that title.”

The new woman with long black hair tied in a ponytail walked to them lightly and took a seat.

“Why are you so grumpy about it, Rook-kun? Shio-chan doesn’t make any fuss over such things.”

“I don’t remember letting you call me by that name. Only Rook can call me Shio.”

“Come on, Shionnerami Al’eon Meira is such a long name. All elf names are so unnecessarily long.”

“... You say it very well just now.”

They quickly dropped their vigilance once the identity of the stranger was cleared. Rook however still looked like he ate a bug. Whatever Naomi had called him kept him in a bad mood.

“Oi, Rook-kun. You are not a kid anymore. Why are you so pissed?”

“I don’t deserve this rank. I am only at Gold level. This is a humiliation I will never forgive the Guild for. The damn greedy bastard will pay the price someday.”

“Hmm, the guild master is just a human after all. He will lose his chair if he breaks the way his predecessors made.”

“They desecrated the ranking the Hero made! By the Hero’s law, I am just a Gold Rank with double the strength of a Silver!”

“Come on, give them some sympathy. They did it to raise the adventurers’ morale. Since the old Platinum Rank needs eighty times the strength of a human, no one can have that rank.”

He still couldn’t let it go like Naomi suggested. For him, the Hero was his model, anything he had made was sacred. Walking a lesser path drawn by the Hero was all he wanted but the Guild changed it. Gold Rank became Platinum Rank, and a new middle ground was made into Gold rank. They even changed all the documents to cover their lies. That was why he rarely came to the Guild Headquarters in the Kingdom anymore and just skirted around the far branches in the Empire to hunt monsters.

“If you join the Guild, you will be more than qualified for that rank with your power.”

“That is like cheating, you know? I was raised in the village after all. And I have my duty.”

“Your swordsmanship is beyond any master I know on the continent. It was godlike the last time I saw it. They should give you a title for that, a Sword Saint or something.”

“Haa, stop talking nonsense. If you saw how the Goddess wielded the sword, you wouldn’t call me godlike. My skill rose just by watching her, you know. And the guildmaster had planned ambitious ranks like Saint and God a long time ago but it was discarded due to the lack of candidates. So being a master swordsman is the most you will get. It isn’t important anyway, right?”

“If you keep comparing everyone to the Goddess, no one will be worthy. She is a monstrous being, a God.”

“That is blasphemy. Don’t let the Church hear you calling her monstrous, haha.”

Not everyone would join the adventurer guild so there was a need to label power in general to manage information. It was based on mastery and the rule was blurred but it got the job done and everyone understood it instinctively. The difference between a Novice and an Expert was quite noticeable, a Master was even more so with their power along with skill. Of course no one could see the skill level so it was not absolute. But the small milestones they could not see were still real and effective within the system, even normal humans could tell the differences in abilities with ease.

The Hero clan was different from the general public. They had hidden knowledge of the Hero so they knew about Skills and the Rewarding System of Gods. They may not see the status window but they understood and could sense the additional power they received after their skill had risen.

Shio on the side didn’t like how the two of them had suddenly gone so deep in the discussion. Rook got so emotional that she feared for the worst.

“Stop flirting! He is my man!”

Naomi was a bit startled but she looked over at the other female and smiled teasingly.

“Easy, girl! I am married! No one is taking him from you.”

The elves were a powerful and prideful race. But Shio was different. She was very frightening with magic but love had made her become an idiotic girl, she had almost no dignity around Rook. Love was not popular among the elves due to their long lived nature, their hearts were cold and their apathy to others was easy to see.

“Anyway, why are you here? Seeking us?”

Rook decided to interfere before the two women started their love talk session. He couldn’t bear listening to Shio babbling about her attempts with him.

“I was just passing by.”

“Bullshit!”

“Hey! I am being honest here!”

The two Platinum Ranks looked at her without a hint of trust. A powerful person like her didn’t just ‘passing by’ all the way in the Empire. Seeing as there was no way to let it slip by peacefully, Naomi sighed.

“Look, this is serious business. I can’t just talk about it.”

“What is there to worry? We are not some random citizens. Maybe Rook and I can help too. Who knows?”

“Ugh, it is Demons business. I am going to be in a place that you two can’t come to.”

“Places that we can’t go is just… the Demon Realm. Seriously, what the hell are you doing?”

Naomi squinted her eyes and thought hard in her head whether or not they should know about the truth. Finally, she came to the conclusion that the world’s strongest fighters should be involved. Enemies that she couldn’t win would start to show up more often in the future. There could be even big shots like the Demon Generals of the old army. In that case, her whole village may have to step in to have a fighting chance. If they met those foes without knowing, they could be killed. She wouldn’t want her acquaintances to die.

“Haa… the mana is changing. Or so the Dragon God said. The Demon Lord may come back soon.”

“...” “...”

“Be careful out there. Especially when facing Demons.”

“Gods and Demons again. I hate this world.”

She gave them a small warning although she knew full well they would just ignore what she had told them anyway. The two Platinum Rank adventurers were a whole lot above everyone else in power but they were not invincible. Power in the Demon Army was not as flimsy as humans’. She had never fought with a Demon General before but her ancestors claimed that each and every one of those Demons could take up the mantle of Demon Lord themselves. It was due to the power gap between them and the normal Demons were just so world-apart that they could do whatever they wanted.

The hope of humanity and other races was with the Gods. The Goddess of Light who had taken an active role since the Hero slew the Demon Lord was too busy with who-know-what in the recent decades. With her presence alone, the world would be safe. The Dragon God was strong but he was too indifferent with people, he wouldn’t go out of his way to help. However, hoping was not how this would end. She had to work for the better future herself.

“There is an old gateway in this area. Meeting you two here is good but you should leave quickly.”

“... Once the gateway opens, Demons will pour out.”

He looked at his female companion with some hidden hints. Shio sighed knowing what he wanted. She spoke up their decision with a burning determination in her eyes.

“Old hag, don’t get too conceited! Who do you think we are? We are going with you no matter what. You can’t clean up all those pests by yourself.”

Rook stood up after inhaling his food in a second. He could really do it if he wanted to, it seemed. He put on his armor and picked up his greatsword that was as big as him. Shio also tried her best to finish her meal quickly. Eating was important for adventurers after all.

Naomi gave up on persuading them.

“Fine! Your life, your choice.”

However, she would not lead them to their death. She would raid a few weak strongholds of the Demons and return. The more serious bases in the Demon Realm were too hard even for her so she would not lead them there anyway. She could go in a later day to do a stealth mission by herself. Seriously, she didn’t expect to find anything there either. Information about the Demon Lord was not easy to find even in the Demon Realm.

“After this, you two should pay a visit to Agava Kingdom. There is a rogue Vampire Lord on the loose.”

“As long as Rook was fine with that, I will go anywhere.”

“Hmm.”

Picking up companions was kind of annoying for her but she could use them with a bit of replanning.

The new party of three cleared the camp of their tracks and headed toward the east, where the remnant of the old gateway was located.

_________________

The last ray of light had disappeared and a starry night had started in the capital of the Agava Kingdom. Small-time criminals walked out of their hiding just like normal citizens here. A regular day in the capital as usual.

Elena was looking out at the street from her room with [Vision]. She was alone in her room.

Her maids were getting dinner and socializing with their fellow servants in the kitchen. She didn't worry about them since her maids wouldn't die from such small fries.

With her mind in a bit of melancholy from the first day of studying, she meddled with a bunch of metal scraps around the room.

An hour later, her two maids finally returned. Their irritation displayed clearly on their face as the door opened.

"Unbelievable! They ruined the dishes just because we were about to take them! I hope the Doom Mother catches them!"

"It's Dorm Manager."

"Mari, your pimp hand is awesome! Seeing them pissing themselves with just a slap is so satisfying!"

"Calm down. Don't spill the food."

A big trolley full of exquisite food came in careful as Emily took heed to her friend's words.

"Uwah!? There are two Masters!"

"..."

Emily jumped on Mari while pointing at the two Demon Kings at the window. Her face showed surprise and confusion but not fear. Knowing who her master really was, this was hardly a shock.

"Oh, you two are back. Took you long enough."

A yelp came out when Emily was dropped down on the ground carelessly by her friend. Mari started arranging food on the table as if nothing had happened. Emily quickly stood up and helped but she still looked at the two Elenas intensely.

"Um, master, what is that?"

One Elena moved closer to them and sat at the table. She gave the other unmoving Elena a quick look before picking up the utensils.

"Well, class was boring and unbearable. Even the magic class looked like a scam."

"Huh? It was that bad?"

Emily looked at the Elena by the window and nodded in understanding while holding her chin like a philosopher.

So she bails on the first day, huh. At least, no one will die. The thing over there must be the body double she has just made. I wonder how it will blend in.

"Anyway, pretend it is me and follow it like normal. You don't need to focus on protecting it. It is made of mithril II."

"Won't people find out? And what will you do in the meanwhile? ('Mithril II'?)"

This time, Emily didn't get an answer from Elena but from Mithril Elena.

“I am confident in completing my master's task! Master has important matters to attend to.”

Elena looked at her new Machine Doll weirdly. She felt it had answered with a bit more excitement than she had imagined.

“Eh, well. It will be fine. Also, I am just looking around the city (to find more Demons) and searching for some rarities (in the treasury).”

“Oh, you are going alone? Please be careful.”

“No, master! Take me with you.”

Emily didn’t worry at all but Mari was as protective as usual.

“Mari, you stay here with my clone. Ah, I haven’t given you your reward yet. Good job on mastering your power. Here.”

A red gem in diamond shape was thrown at Mari. She caught it and looked at her master in confusion. She didn’t need jewels or anything like this after all.

“It is a magic item that will give you the knowledge inside it. That one contains a combat technique from people that could kill me *snort*. Anyway, it’s good stuff.”

Since Elena had been making skill gems for her new magic art, she made one for her Demon Maid as well. Seeing as her maid had no skill in fighting whatsoever, she decided to give her a copy of a Hero’s skill she had known. It was her understanding of the technique so it wouldn’t be as strong as the real one. Still, a Hero’s skill would be powerful even if it was downgraded a bit. She copying the Heroes and the Heroes copying her was a normal thing in the long conflict between them.

Depending on how compatible my maid is with it, she will grow to be useful one day.

Mari had been in a trance immediately after Elena’s explanation. The gem had disappeared as the Demon Maid looked blankly forward. Blood was dripping down her nose, eyes and ears. It made quite a scary spectacle.

“Mari!?”

“She is fine. Her body can handle that skill.”

“Um… please don’t give me anything like that. I will die. (I am not a tank like Mari!!!)”

“Silly girl. I am not clueless.”

“... right.”

After they had finished their dinner, Mari was still standing still on her spot. Elena sent Emily back and kept her Demon Maid in her room. She also went to bed as nothing needed to be done by her. It became peaceful as the gentle moonlight shone inside the room and the night wind cooled the vicinity. Although if anyone looked through the window they would piss their pants seeing a bloody maid that was crying tears of blood hunching over the bed of a noble Lady in the middle of the night.

And so a young servant fell from a tree with his paints moistened.

______________________

End of chapter 18.

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