I took Momoyo to a dungeon. The city prison. Unlike other castles, my mini-castle didn't have an underground dungeon. But the city did have one. And in one of those cells there were humans.
"Momo, I want you to kill them. Here and now."
"What? You can't be serious!?"
"These humans are thieves. I pulled some strings to get them. Momoyo, they are criminals. And this is part of your training. When we fight the church, we'll be fighting humans. I need you to feel the taste of blood. A battlefield is gruesome. It's nothing like books make it. There's no glory. Only blood. You need to be mentally prepared. Kill them!"
"Okay… No… what am I saying? I don't want to kill."
Ugh! It seems she's struggling between Irina's obedience training and her own resolve.
"Again, they are nothing more than criminals, just like the church. Don't you remember what they put you up to? They sent you to your death. They are the enemy, just like these before you. So pick up your daggers and slice their throats!"
She took out her long knives, but she was shacking. The humans looked pitiful. They had their mouths gagged, so all they could do was cry as if begging to be spared.
"Please… don't make me do it… I don't want to be a murderer…"
"Why is it that you can slay a monster, but not a human? Is it because a monster is scary? When you first came here, you had the intention to kill. But now that you are on my side, you refuse to kill? You need to do this. Just think of what will happen to Shiori if you hesitate. Isn't she more important?"
"Irina, help her out."
"As you wish."
Irina wrapped her silk threads around Momoyo's limbs. Similar to a puppet on strings.
"So, let's kill them, shall we?"
Guided by Irina, Momoyo approached the first man and cut his throat. Blood gushed out and the man dropped to the floor. I was expecting prez to scream, but it didn't happen.
"Something… isn't right. I killed a human… yet, why don't I feel anything? Why is my heart so still? I should feel sorrow. I should feel guilt. So why?"
"Would you like to test it again? Let's kill another!"
And once more, prez cut down another man. The same reaction. She moved to the next. But no matter how many she killed, her heart wasn't moved. When all the humans were killed she turned around to me.
"Did you do something else to me? Why don't I feel anything when I kill?"
"Just as I suspected. I'll explain this as easy as I can for you. When you kill a monster, do you feel anything?"
"No, but this is different."
"How is it different? Let me point out, that you aren't human anymore. You are one of us. You are a Mazoku. Prez, the reason your heart isn't moved is because for us, humans are the monsters. Just think of all the horrible things the church has done. Think of how they were using us. Now you tell me, isn't a human like that worse than a monster?"
"I guess you are right… but I only killed them all because I was tied up. Can you be sure I will kill on the battlefield?"
"You can. If you want to see Shiori safe, you will. This was all to get you ready so we can save Shiori. Together."
Prez got close to me and gave me a hug.
"Thank you, Milla. You might have changed on the outside, but you are still the same kind classmate I know."
I couldn't help but slightly blush.
"Enough already! Just go take a bath for now and get rid of this blood on you."
"Okay. In the end… this obedience situation, I think I'm alright with it if it's you."
After Momoyo left, Irina addressed me.
"Ara Ara! You truly are kind."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"Fufufu! You do realize that I only guided her to kill the first 2 men, right? The rest, she finished them off by herself. But you didn't mention this to her so you won't burden her even further. You care for her and at the same time you are trying to keep her stable and not break her morals forcefully."
Busted. It's true. I need her to forget everything about morals and rules that they made us respect back on Earth. This isn't Earth. Although I tried to keep a villain like aura I guess Irina saw through me. Maybe even prez.
"I… don't know what you're talking about."
"Ara Ara! Then I'll leave it at that."
Don't make that smug face. More importantly…
I tightly gripped Irina's breast and squeezed it.
"Irina, if you do a training like that again without consulting me, I will have to punish you."
It wasn't brainwashing, but it still felt weird. I need a capable trusty person, not a dog. Well I guess dogs are faithful. I'll overlook it this time.
"Understood, Your Highness."
I wanted to get out of the dungeon now. I guess the next step is to wait for Odin so I can start my own training.
◇ ◇ ◇
Meanwhile, on the humans side, the holy knights were celebrating their first victory and successfully capturing a settlement.
The party was held for the heroes who helped them push back the demons and liberate the village. But how exactly did do it?
"Haha, Ren-san, this was too easy. If everything goes this smooth from now on too, this war will be over."
The captain and personal trainer for the heroes was a bit drunk and tried to engage in a conversation with Ren. But Ren couldn't care less. Now that Ren is the strongest, his attitude changed slightly. 'I got nothing else to learn from you, so get lost' was what he thought. Of course, he couldn't openly say that.
So how did Ren and the heroes become so strong? The answer lies within their gear. Ren was wearing a brown and reddish brick colored armor. It covered all his body. The Armor of Elysia had a special ability. All magical attacks would be heavily reduced and it would constantly syphon mana from any demon around the wearer. His boots were called Boots of Hermes and could allow the user to achieve great speeds and also fly for short duration. His headgear had a big yellow gem that when used, it could fire a small beam that would poison the recipient, with a cooldown of 1 blast per 5 minutes. And last but not least, his sword. A sword with a golden hilt and a pure white mithril blade. The Holy Sword Galatine. It can fire light element waves. Also it would use the excessive mana from the armor absorption to drastically increase the blow of each swing. Needless to say the stronger the enemy, the stronger also Ren gets. These were truly cheat items.
But Ren wasn't the only one. The church provided various gear for all the heroes. Even their holy knights were equipped with swords and shields that could fend off lower mazoku attacks. Instead of focusing more on their training the church provided them with overpowered gear to compensate for their inexperience and thus, they could be deployed in battle faster.
Ren's own plan is in motion. Ever since coming here, little by little he has been drugging Shiori's food. Little by little she seemed like the life in her eyes was fading away. Ren made her forget everything about Ryusei and Momoyo. Their time together, everything. It's like Ren was whipping them from existence. But that wasn't enough for him. He wanted Shiori to only see him. Anyone else was unnecessary. Although a few other classmates had their concerns regarding Shiori's change, Ren calmed them and just said it's because she's not used to killing and seeing blood. 'Just leave her to me. I'll take care of her, you just focus on fighting so we can get home'. With a speech like that, nobody bothered to doubt him.
As everyone was slowly preparing for the new battle, Ren was preparing to finish his plan. The girl known as Shiori Watanabe would be no more. She would only be Ren's doll.