DUNGEON DEFENSE - DUNGEON DEFENSE Volume 1 - Chapter 5 – The Most Extravagant Circus (Part 1)
▯Weakest Demon Lord, Rank 71st, Dantalian
Empire Calendar: Year 1505, Month 8, Day 20
Niflheim, Governor’s Palace
The outside was bustling with noise.
In front of the main gate of a large palace, many carriages were lined up. Without pause, refined ladies and gentlemen got off their carriages. Their appearances and outfits all varied in style but there was one thing that they all had in common; they all had horns.
I was seated in a carriage and vacantly staring out the window.
“It doesn’t seem like a lot of Demon Lords are coming.”
“The attendance of the Walpurgis Night is not enforced. Demon Lords with the tendency of being single-minded will most likely not participate. Rank 1st Demon Lord Baal and rank 2nd Demon Lord Agares will not attend.”
“Then why do I have to attend? So troublesome.”
“This meeting is being held in order to discuss the countermeasures for the plague. It would be difficult for your highness, who has a monopoly over the cure, to not participate.”
“So it’s a problem of people being too distinguished.”
A moment later, Lapis Lazuli muttered furtively in a low voice.
“…… Your highness. As expected, this one shouldn’t go in together with your highness.”
“Are you still saying that?”
“You are publicly my fiancée. If not my fiancée, then what other woman am I supposed to take to this ball?”
In this gathering, before going fully into the meeting, a type of entertainment was scheduled for the guests to enjoy. The scheduled entertainment was this ball.
I had chosen Lapis Lazuli as my partner for the ball. It was an obvious choice. However, it seemed that our Miss Lala was feeling very burdened by the ball.
“Walpurgis Night is a social party strictly reserved for Demon Lords. Only lords of the highest standings would be allowed to attend. It is not a place where a mixed blood, like this one, should be present.”
“Nevertheless, there are no rules that the companion has to be a Demon Lord as well. It is fine to bring anyone I please.”
“There may be no rule, but it is customary that……”
“Aah, I can’t hear you—I can’t hear you—.”
Lapis Lazuli shut her mouth.
Even if you glared at me with those eyes of dissatisfaction, it couldn’t be helped.
Dantalian was currently receiving the spotlight as the main character in a romance story. A man blinded by love. That was my image to the people. It was impossible to leave Lapis Lazuli and wander on my own at this point.
Furthermore, I had taken a liking to this concept. A fool who had indulged in his passion and had lost all of his rationality. Was this not appropriate? No one would be cautious around a fool like that.
Smart people would only scorn a dullard like me and do nothing more. Followed by coming to a misunderstanding that the true culprit was Lapis Lazuli. All suspicion would focus on Lapis Lazuli, while I was rejoicing my days of freedom……
Am I, perhaps, a genius?
It was truly the perfect plan.
Thanks to the Black Death I had made an incredible amount of money, and now, the only thing I had left to do was to shut myself in my castle and live the rest of my life as a shut-in. The gate to Heaven was already right in front of me.
“…… Your highness is making the same face your highness makes when thinking of something perverted.”
After 20 minutes had passed, the main gate became more vacant. It was then that we had departed from our carriage and entered the ballroom. We had waited until now because we did not want to deal with being harassed by other people.
The gatekeeper, noticing our approach, announced in a loud voice.
“Rank 71st, Demon Lord Dantalian, entering!”
All at once, the people in the inner-venue turned to look this way.
Not being bothered by their gazes, I made my way to a corner of the ballroom and took my place there. The sound of people whispering around us could be heard. I was not able to hear what they were saying exactly, but I knew it was not a favorable mood. It was close to the feeling of them being aghast by the fact that I had arrived at the ball actually accompanied by an outcast as a partner.
“It feels like I’ve become a celebrity.”
“This one thinks that we do not have to go as far as to link arms.”
“Is it not fine since we adequately appear like fools?”
Referentially, we were affectionately standing arm in arm.
“Don’t loathe something like just linking arms. I am also planning to kiss your lips in a bit, after all.”
“Your highness Dantalian’s tongue will be cut off then.”
“I especially like the unfriendly way you respond.”
“Of course, your highness.”
“Oh, Lazuli. Do not live so selfishly. We are currently the couple throwing around the hottest scandal on the continent. The people are demanding a spectacle from us. Can you not touch lips with the meaning of being a service to the people? Demonstrate some sacrifice mentality for once.”
“In the continent which this one knows of, for the most selfish person to give this one such advice. It is incredibly shocking……”
“I am curious so I must ask. Do you know that each and every time you speak coldly, your lips shine temptingly that much as well? If by chance, with that intention, you were trying to charm me then……”
Lapis Lazuli was stepping on my toes.
“What an adorable response. I’m starting to like you more.”
“What a coincidence. This one is starting to detest your highness more.”
“One day we will discover a common ground.”
“Please keep in mind that that common ground will never be on top of a bed.”
“What a deplorable front.”
I decided to back off for now. There really wasn’t anything more enjoyable in the world than teasing a competent woman.
Fairies, holding trays filled with alcoholic beverages, came fluttering towards us. I lightly picked up a glass of white wine. Lapis Lazuli and I, on good terms(I admit that I am using words that are debatable), enjoyed our wine and waited for the ball to begin.
Other than the fairies, no one else had tried to approach us. People only examined us from afar out of the corner of their eyes. It felt like I had become a hippo in a zoo for sightseeing purposes.
Despite that, I was able to spend my time amusingly. It was quite interesting to be able to actually see how the Demon Lords looked like in real life, when originally, I had only seen them as illustrations in . Rank 9th Paimon, rank 8th Barbatos, rank 5th Marbas…… Was this the level of the highest Demon Lords? They were powerful enemies that had given Game Overs to my game protagonist multiple times.
“I would like to raise a greeting to all of the lords who were able to gather here for today’s Walpurgis Night. My name is Ivar Lodbrok and I am from the Keuncuska Firm. Excessively, I have been bestowed the honor to host today’s meeting.”
An incredibly old gentlemen walked to the center of the ballroom. Minor applause came from the Demon Lords. It felt as if only about 6 people had clapped their hands. The rest of the Demon Lords merely gazed at the old man apathetically.
On the other hand, I narrowed my brows.
“That’s Ivar Lodbrok?”
“Yes. That man is the wealthiest person in the demon world, the owner of Keuncuska Firm, and a true vampire, Ivar Lodbrok. The person that this one had betrayed thanks to your highness.”
A male, huh.
Ivar Lodbrok was a character that appeared in the game as well. Except, the Ivar Lodbrok that I knew of was a bit different from the one in front of me.
I waited to see what would happen in the ballroom with an interested gaze.
“Before anything else, I would like to explain the agenda for today’s meeting. First, the archduke of Hell has passed away last month. Because there are no official heirs, the next archduke must be selected a day sooner, if possible. I would like to gather the opinions of the Demon Lords present here and……”
“Wait. Wait a second, old man.”
A girl’s sharp voice rang.
Everyone turned to look at the source of the voice.
There was no proper lighting in the ballroom, so it was dark. There were candles as large as people’s heads floating around. Those were the only sources of light. The deep yellow candles were drifting slowly through the air, occasionally reflecting this person, and occasionally reflecting that person. However, it was only for a short moment of time. People were soon enveloped back into the darkness.
“Because of that damn plague, all of the teleportation management offices are down. We got here riding on brooms, which none of us are cut out for, for dozens of hours. Do you know what that means? This is indeed the best time to clamor about boring and antique politics.”
The candle light reflected the girl’s face.
The girl had hair as white as snow.
Her eyes may have been glowing a bright golden color, but it was certain that she was looking down on everyone here except herself. No matter how you looked at her, she appeared to be no more than 14 years old, but she too was a Demon Lord. A Demon Lord who had lived for over 500 years, at that—rank 8th, Barbatos.
For reference, I wasn’t sure if she was trying to achieve a match with her white hair, but her figure was as flat as the great plains of Siberia. She, for sure, looked like a child.
“Your highness Barbatos. We understand, but the topic is urgent……”
“Sure. An epidemic is spreading across the continent, there are 7 successors in the region of Hell that are causing a civil war, and due to the result of the civil war in the kingdom of Sardinia the nobles that were unable to win are starting to revolt. What else are we in but a shitty era? Regardless, the world has been similarly crap since one hundred years ago, two hundred years ago, and even five hundred years ago.”
Barbatos raised her glass with her right hand.
“Even if the conference were to be delayed by 3 hours, nothing will change, you old vampire. Drink alcohol without saying a word. Allow us to have a moment of rest.”
The old gentleman, Ivar Lodbrok, opened and closed his mouth as if he was troubled. True vampires may have been nobles amongst nobles, but they were still lower than a Demon Lord. It would be difficult to straight out ignore the suggestion of having a drinking party.
Unless it was a Demon Lord of the same rank.
“Still ignorant as ever, Barbatos.”
This time a mature lady’s voice could be heard.
“You can drink alcohol whenever you please. You’re always drowning yourself in alcohol throughout the entire year anyway, so why not try restraining yourself for this one night? If the word ‘patience’ even exists in your vocabulary, that is.”
A candle light vaguely shined down onto the woman.
Completely opposite to Barbatos, the maiden had fiery red hair. Throughout the entire world, it felt like the only person that this woman held in contempt was Barbatos.
Lapis Lazuli whispered to me in a small voice.
“That is rank 9th, Paimon. She is well-known for her deep-rooted enmity with Barbatos.”
“I can tell that very well without any explanation, because the distribution is entirely unfair. If I was Barbatos, then I too would probably resent Paimon.”
I gestured towards Paimon with my chin. Lapis Lazuli, with a doubtful expression, followed my gaze and examined the female Demon Lord.
Her gaze fell exactly on top of Paimon’s chest. Different from Barbatos, Paimon boasted voluptuous breasts. It was proof that, in the end, nature was not fair.
Lapis Lazuli let out a sigh.
“…… Your highness. Please partake in the meeting seriously.”
“Whenever I see those two rising hills, I feel wonderment. It’s the same feeling as when you see a natural landscape and become entranced by it.”
“Please realize that your highness appears very, incredibly, tremendously vulgar right now.”
“Lala. I am a person who hates going outside more than death. I’m currently experiencing death in real-time. If I were to bore of teasing you, then how would I possibly resist the urge to kill myself?”
Lapis Lazuli went silent.
Instead, the pressure on my right foot increased.
Ignoring the pain transmitting from my toes, I grinned.
“This is the price for tormenting me on a day-to-day basis. Do suffer for me.”
“…… Did your highness truly hate being woken up in the morning that much?”
“Each individual person has their own biological clock. I am a person that physically should not wake up in the morning.”
“I guess sleeping an average of 16 hours every day is your highness’ biological clock. This one thinks that the problem is not physical, but your highness’ mentality.”
“In short, are you saying that my mentality is wrong and is on the same level of being rotten to the core like wastewater?”
“Today, in this location, this one has realized for the first time that your highness has an impressive summarizing ability.”
“Lala. In a single day, I have to sleep at least 15 hours.”
“No matter how much the ample amount, this one can allow no longer than 7 hours.”
“What? 7 hours?”
My voice grew louder on its own.
“7 hours?! Are you kidding me? You might as well tell me to lie down and get back up immediately. People need at least 12 hours of sleep in order to function properly as a person!”
“This one sleeps no more than 4 hours a day. Ever since the time this one had roamed the back alleys and for 30 years since then.”
“Ooh. So this is the moment where it’s finally revealed as to why you had become such an inhumane and cold-hearted person. The reason why you were always temperamental as if you were on your period all the time was also revealed.”
“Your highness. Most people only partake in around 7 hours of sleep.”
“And most people are wrong! Did you not listen to what Barbatos had said? Did she not testify that, be it the present or the past, the world has always been utter crap? That is all because of the lack of sleep. A perfectly logical conclusion.”
“That is a level of logic that would make even Aristoteles cry.”
Once again, Lapis Lazuli and I had failed at reaching a diplomatic common ground.
15 hours and 7 hours, the gap located between the two was too large. If this were to go on a war might break out. The tragedy would repeat.
It wasn’t just us two that were having our diplomatic relations deteriorate. In the ballroom, Paimon and Barbatos were heated up and conducting a psychological warfare.
Barbatos made a cynical remark.
“Paimon. Our elegant whore lady! I heard the news that you had finally had intercourse with a centaur yesterday. Your hips should be incredibly stiff, but I see you were able to crawl your way here quite well. Or perhaps, is it because you’re bottom mouth is already so loose that you can handle something like a centaur easily? Hm—?”
“People might think that you’re uneducated because your words are so crude. You should start learning how to have some decency, Barbatos. You’ve been fretful like a child for the past 500 years, so it’s about time you started to behave like an adult.”
Paimon raised the corners of her mouth. She then covered her mouth with a feathered fan a step late. She had shown her smirk on purpose before hiding it.
“With a body like that, you’ll probably never be intimate with a proper man. Since you haven’t been able to have a legitimate relationship even once in your life, there’s no choice but to forever be a little lady. Oh dear, I’m sorry. It’s wrong to make fun of someone because of their body…… This lady ended up being discourteous.”
“—It’s not that I can’t get a man, but that I’m purposely not going into a relationship, Miss whore. I’m voluntarily single. Of course, a girl who tosses her body around like a rag towel wouldn’t understand something like that.”
“Aha. That is not so. This lady does very much understand.”
Paimon narrowed her eyes.
Ridicule glossed over her red pupils.
“You can’t pick the grapes anyway, so it’s more reassuring for your mental health if you were to just ignore it saying that they were sour grapes. No matter when, is it not delightful when witnessing people rationalizing with themselves, Barbatos? You could say it feels like you’re getting a peek at their lacking personality and intelligence……”
Barbatos ground her teeth.
I was deeply swayed by the conversation between the two Demon Lords. That was why, I immediately conveyed the emotions I was feeling to Lapis Lazuli.
“Lala. I may have a deep hatred for the outside world, however, if I were to be accompanied by those two, then the idea of going outside doesn’t seem that bad. Just standing here like this and listening to them is putting me in a good mood.”
“This one thinks that is because your highness is corrupted on the inside.”
“Do you think it would be possible to request to go on a date with the both of them at the same time? I’d go out with them, and then sneak to the back and simply watch the two of them fight.”
“Minor Gods will be shocked, the people will be shocked, and even the old sages will be so shocked that they’ll kick out of their graves because of your highness’ atrocious personality.”
Lapis Lazuli let out a sigh.
“For the past 300 years, Barbatos and Paimon have gone to war locally with one another 14 times. Among the Demon Lords they have the worst possible relationship. This one, on the loyalty to your highness, advise your highness to give up on that short-lived dream.”
“They go to war every 21 years?”
War was not a kid’s play. It consumed a vast amount of manpower, supplies, and time. If they truly didn’t hate each other to the bone, then they wouldn’t do something like go to war so frequently.
“What frighteningly fierce women. I am even more interested in them.”
“This one has started to severely worry about your highness Dantalian’s preference in women. This one can only hope that it is unnecessary concern……”
“Where is the third?”
Lapis Lazuli tilted her head.
“I’m talking about the third. The third character. The world is like a miniature universe, that is why it has the tendency to try to keep things balanced on its own. Look there. One person is a little lady who lives her life with curses hanging off her tongue, while on the other side is a woman pretending to be virtuous but lives her life saying whatever she wants. The balance of the universe is collapsed severely……”
I shook my head.
“Meetings without a mediator could not possibly have been maintained for hundreds of years. There must be a dignified person who is capable of suppressing these two women, who were being unruly like water buffaloes in heat. That woman would most likely match my preference.”
And sure enough.
“The two of you. Calm down.”
An incredibly somber voice fell upon the ballroom.
“Due to your quarrel, the conference has stopped. How about showing a little bit of respect to Ivar Lodbrok who has stepped forward as our host.”
The Demon Lords who were arguing shut their mouths.
A candle silently reflected the face of the new speaker.
Rank 5th, Marbas.
With an Eastern European style overcoat draped over their shoulder, they had a very robust physique and was looking over the audience slowly with a monocle…… it was a bald man.
It was so. The third character was nothing more than a man with a burly frame.
Lapis Lazuli muttered.
“This one really did have no reason to worry about your highness’ preference in women.”
“…… I retract my previous statement.”
“Marbas is considerably popular with females. Although, this one did not know that it was the same with males as well.”
Once the highest ranking Demon Lord to be attending the meeting had stepped forward, the atmosphere of the ballroom became calmer. Ivar Lodbrok, receiving the help, continued on with the conference. While I moistened the inside of my mouth with wine, I listened to all kinds of topics.
Time passed long-windedly.
It would have been fun if another argument were to occur, but both Barbatos and Paimon kept their mouths shut. Thus, any type of entertainment was non-existent.
Outright boredom made my eyelids heavy. If it weren’t for Lapis Lazuli constantly pinching my side, I would have most likely fallen asleep by now.
While I was desperately having a bloody battle against drowsiness, Paimon had finally opened her mouth.
“My dear comrades, and Ivar Lodbrok. Before we get into the discussion about the plague, there is an incident that we must certainly settle first.”
“What may that be, your highness?”
“The murder incident. I believe that everyone here is aware of the disgraceful event that had occurred several days ago. Our kinsmen, Andromalius. Rank 72nd Demon Lord, Andromalius, was murdered.”
I blinked my eyes which were clouded by sleepiness.
Paimon was bringing up a rather serious subject.
“Andromalius. He was a shameful man. He behaved in ways unbefitting for a Demon Lord. However, despite all that, he was still the same Demon Lord as us.”
With light steps, Paimon made her way to the center of the ballroom. Each step she took a bit of the drowsiness in my skull was pulled out. By the time she had come to a full stop, I was already fully awake.
“No matter how big the continent is, the amount of chosen ones to be born as a Demon Lord was 72. We were a race of only 72 people. Each individual’s value is so precious that we can not be compared to the other races. That kin of ours was murdered mercilessly.”
Paimon turned her head to glare at me.
The emotions held within those red eyes, they were unmistakably hostility.
“Everyone must know full well as to why this is such a grave incident. The culprit to murder our kin must be punished justly.”
At once, all of the Demons Lords turned to look this way.
An alarm was going off in my head.
The sleepiness had evaporated and my consciousness quickly became cold. An unpredicted attack. A situation that I had not prepared for beforehand. Judging that I was facing danger, my mind operated more fiercely.
It felt like the space around me had slowed down.
‘Why is she attacking me when I was just standing still?’
The information that I had intentionally blocked off had started to flood in.
The Demon Lords’ clothing.
The shape of people’s mouths as they whispered to one another.
Each piece of information was ‘gathered’ and ‘analyzed’ and then piled up as data.
She had glared at me only once before immediately turning her gaze away. Even now, she was delivering an impassioned speech not to me, but the other Demon Lords. What did this mean?
‘She isn’t attacking me because she has an emotional grudge towards me.’
If so, then.
‘She is attacking me for some sort of political reason. That is why, before attacking me, convincing the other Demons Lords has priority.’
I had temporarily accepted that hypothesis.
Thus, the starting point for deductions was obtained. I was provided a single foundation. Like a massive tree sprouting on a small piece of land, various kinds of hypotheses and deductions reached out like branches from my head.
‘What political benefit would you gain from attacking me?’
‘Dantalian is a ricefish. There’s nothing to gain from stabbing him.’
‘Then it’s the Black Death.’
An immediate answer had come out.
‘By using Andromalius’ murder as an excuse, they’ll take away the large amount of black herbs that are in my possession. Paimon’s goal is around there.’
‘If she were to try and hold a monopoly on all of the black herbs by herself, then the other Demon Lords would most likely oppose. There is an accomplice here. Who is it?’
The first stage of my deduction was complete.
I took a slight glance around me.
The amount of Demon Lords here was 32. The amount of companions that had accompanied the Demon Lords was also 32. If you included the host, Ivar Lodbrok, then there was a total of 65 people. All 65 individuals were looking back and forth between Paimon and myself.
‘There’s too much.’
I had to decrease the amount of possible suspects.
I changed my thoughts.
According to the manual engraved into my consciousness.
A more diverse number of cases.
A more natural conclusion.
‘What if her main objective isn’t to attack me?’
In another person’s perspective, I didn’t predict the plague but I had prophesied it instead. They probably thought that it wasn’t possible when thinking with common sense.
Someone had spread the disease on purpose. It would be more natural to judge it as so. They would also think that since Demon Lord Dantalian had no talent, the true culprit was someone else.
A culprit who had the capability of making a disease and spreading it.
My line of sight slowly moved towards a certain Demon Lord. A girl with white hair was holding her glass and silently sipping red wine.
‘Only necromancers could control plagues.’
The greatest necromancer in history.
The Demon Lord to have uniquely obtain the archmage title in the field of black magic.
In a third-party perspective, there was no one as close to being the ‘true culprit’ as Barbatos.
‘Was that it.’
My heart cooled down.
‘So that’s why it’s Paimon.’
This time I turned my gaze to look at Paimon.
Paimon was grandly holding out her fan as if she was trying to announce something. Her movements were slow. Her skirt had stopped mid-flutter and was frozen in place. Her mouth moved slowly. The scenery over there wasn’t able to keep up with my thinking process.
Barbatos’ arch rival.
According to her, Barbatos was the real culprit to have spread the Black Death.
Dantalian was nothing more than a chess piece that was moving in Barbatos’ stead.
I clearly understood how unpleasant my current situation was.
Unbeknownst to me, it seems I had ended up being swept up in a political fight between these two high nobles.
This was why politicians were annoying. They’d make a fuss on their own and involved completely unrelated people. If they weren’t causing great harm, then I didn’t know what they were doing.
The problem was that Barbatos and Paimon had such a bad relationship that they’d go to war locally once every 21 years. Their diplomatic relationship was brutal itself. To the point that the wordplay Lapis Lazuli and I would do couldn’t possibly compare to what they’d do.
Whenever these two Demon Lord’s diplomatic relations worsened, a war would break out. Despite that, Paimon was meddling with ‘Dantalian who was Barbatos’ pawn’. She was accusing me while being resolute of the worst outcome.
The scale of the plan was too large to be attempting while relying on some simple belief. War wasn’t something you’d do thoughtlessly. Manpower was consumed, supplies were wasted, and even your mental state would be worn out.
The decisive reason as to why Paimon was taking action.
A reason why she would peg me as the criminal while knowing full well that the worst outcome could be war.
In other words, undeniable evidence.
‘Paimon has evidence.’
Proof that the Black Death didn’t happen by chance.
‘But what kind of proof could it be that she would……aha.’
I let out an exclamation in my head.
Why didn’t I consider this sooner?
Looking past Barbatos and Paimon, I gave a side glance to the girl standing directly besides me.
If you thought about it then it was simple.
6/27, Lapis Lazuli was in the very location where the first outbreak of the Black Death had happened, and had witnessed it in person on the very day the plague had started to brew. She was standing at the starting point.
Lapis Lazuli had only gone to the site because of my advice. However, to a third-party it would seem completely different.
The succubus who had by chance bought the black herb, and by chance was the first person to witness the outbreak, and finally, by chance the black death turned out to be curable by the black herb.
It would have appeared as so to a third-party.
It wasn’t possible, they would say.
And Paimon would have judged that ‘it wasn’t possible’.
If anything, the next scenario was more plausible. Barbatos had created the Black Death and Lapis Lazuli had used some kind of method to spread it in the city. Afterwards, Lapis Lazuli had escaped to Barbatos’ pawn, Dantalian……
The true culprit was Barbatos.
The pawn was Dantalian.
The person to execute the plan was Lapis Lazuli.
This kind of structure was established.
I would like to turn that down as nonsensical drivel, but on the contrary, Paimon would consider my claim as nonsensical drivel.
If Paimon were to ask, ‘How could you predict the outbreak of the Black Death beforehand, and why was Lapis Lazuli there?’. I could only respond with, ‘I knew about it because of the game.’ And even if I were to lie and say ‘Because I had a precognitive dream.’, I could not say anything back if they were to deem it as nonsense. Paimon would only judge it while purely thinking rationally……
‘Although, she ended up attacking me because of that rationality.’
Paimon’s actions were all explained.
If that was so, then there was only one more question left.
Who had told Paimon about Lapis Lazuli’s whereabouts?
The entire time Lapis Lazuli was at the location she had been disguised.
Only a very small amount of people knew the fact that Lapis Lazuli was at the starting city of the Black Death, Syracuse, between 6/20 and 7/16. Speaking frankly, there were only two people.
(TL note: Note that Dantalian does not know about Torukel yet)
‘Myself who had ordered Lapis Lazuli to go there.’
Of course, I did not tell Paimon anything.
The other remaining person.
‘The person who had no choice but to know where Lapis Lazuli was working.’
In other words, her superior.
The person to receive her reports.
Lapis Lazuli’s old boss.
Turning my head, I looked at the old vampire. The old gentleman with a nicely grown beard was standing vacantly. As if he had no involvement with this situation whatsoever, like a praying mantis that was hiding within tall grass and lying in wait to ambush, this vampire’s camouflage was quite remarkable.
You have been controlling everything in the background.
‘It was you.’
The accomplice was revealed.
The second stage of my speculation was complete.
‘I will admit it.’
Ivar Lodbrok was a fairly decent predator.
Like a lioness, he had tried to hunt me carefully. From beginning to end he had planned and created a net around me. Greenhorns like Demon Lord Andromalius or adventurer Riff were different from birth.
He was perhaps the strongest opponent I had faced since falling into this world.
However, there was a chance that all of my assumptions were wrong.
Before going full-scale into the hunt of Ivar Lodbrok, there was a truth that I had to verify first.
I muttered in a low voice.
As soon as I had moved my tongue.
The time that had slowed down temporarily had returned back to its normal pace. Paimon’s movements, the whispering of other people, and even the air that I could feel on my nose, everything had regained their speed.
“…… That is why, this lady requests for the immediate punishment of Dantalian. This murder is inexcusable!”
Paimon pointed at me with her fan and spoke passionately.
“It would ony be appropriate for him to pay a fine of 1,000,000 Libra as compensation for the murder of Andromalius, and Dantalian himself to be confined in the Frozen Prison for 15 years!”
I wonder if they had thought it was an excessively severe punishment. People here and there in the ballroom had begun to stir. Half the people were watching as if they were observing something interesting, and the other half were nodding seriously as if they were enjoying this situation.
In this circumstance, Lapis Lazuli responded quietly.
“Yes, your highness?”
“I want you to follow my next orders without objecting whatsoever. Take five steps away from me, and then, as if something urgent had come up, make your way to the entrance of the ballroom quickly.”
“…… Should this one walk completely outside?”
Lapis Lazuli’s voice was somewhat stiff. Well, in this situation where we were being accused by the rank 9th Demon Lord, it was inevitable.
In consideration to her, I whispered as softly as I could.
“No. There is no need for that. From now on the greatest circus performance in the world is about to happen, so you should be here to watch it till the very end. Do make sure to observe from the VIP seats.”
“The VIP seats……?”
Lapis Lazuli was slightly bewildered by my carefree attitude.
While I was whispering with her, I was carefully examining every corner of the ballroom. 65 important characters were gathered in this hall. Even if I were to be in possession of the most brilliant brain, if I was to keep an eye on all 65 people here then I had to be a bit earnest.
“I will count down from five.”
I commanded her in a subdued tone.
“Move the instant the number ‘one’ comes out of my mouth. Five. Four. Three. Two……”
Lapis Lazuli moved her feet.
Following my orders, she took five steps back. Then, slowly raising her pace, she made her way towards the entrance of the ballroom.
‘If there is an accomplice other than Ivar Lodbrok.’
I concentrated my cognition to every individual that was present in this ballroom.
‘They will pay attention to not the puppet, Dantalian, but the true person to execute the plan, Lapis Lazuli.’
Among these people, the person to watch Lapis Lazuli till the very end was the ‘enemy’.
Once Lapis Lazuli went further away, 21 out of 65 people had turned to look at her out of instinct. But it was only for a short moment. People soon lost interest in the movements of this small succubus, and turned their gaze back to either Paimon or myself. To them, they had no reason to pay attention to Lapis Lazuli.
I wonder if it was because my brain had worked fiercely a second ago, as a sign of the heat, a single drop of sweat had formed on my forehead.
‘Show yourselves, my prey.’
Once 3 seconds had passed the 21 suspects decreased to 15.
After the fifth second, the 15 suspects drastically decreased to 4.
Finally after 11 seconds had passed…… a single person.
Only Ivar Lodbrok.
The vampire disguised as an aged gentleman, while wrinkling his forehead, watched Lapis Lazuli till the very end.
I twisted the edges of my mouth.
‘So you’re telling me that there are no other accomplices aside from Paimon?’
Thus, the third stage of my deduction was complete.
Found the culprit’s motive — found the culprit’s accomplice — and finally confirmed the authenticity of my speculations — all three steps had been completely fulfilled.
‘Isn’t two people not enough, Ivar Lodbrok?’
In truth, it was incredibly lacking.
Oh, clever vampire.
Not only Paimon, you were supposed to also bring Barbatos and Marbas to your side. You said you were the richest person in the demon world. Wouldn’t it have been possible to bribe Barbatos and Marbas if you had used all of your fortune?
But to bring only one Demon Lord.
Oh, at most for it to be only Paimon!
In order to tear apart the single most scorned outcast in the world, I had spent my entire fortune and received a loan of 10,000 gold. I had put my entire future on the line. This was what it meant to be a lion putting their all into hunting a rabbit!
If someone were to come at you with the intent to kill, then you do not hesitate to use all that you have.
Being met with such discourtesy, the deepest part of my soul lamented.
The world truly was overflowing with people ignorant of etiquette. As a person who did their best to live life as courteously as possible, the tragedy of this world always enveloped a miserable feeling around me.
How could people be so shameless?
Why couldn’t people be a bit more lazy when it came to hunting others?
Why were people, who had endured their laziness in order to hunt another, behave so reluctantly in regards to spending a couple of more coins, when they should have been putting their all into the hunt?
My second half little sister had evaluated that I had the most fiendish brain out of every human in the world, but that was wrong. I just didn’t understand why people lived their lives being ‘casually sincere’. I was thickheaded in this area……
There was nothing I could do about it.
I will personally teach you what proper etiquette is.
I will make you regret not risking your own life when you yourself had decided on your own to disrupt another person’s comfortable life.
“This lady would like to suggest a formal hearing! I, Paimon, as the rank 9th Demon Lord, and also as the lord in charge of justice, would like to incriminate rank 71st, Demon Lord Dantalian.”
For starters, Paimon.
You were the first problem.
You, by thinking rationally, had judged that I was Barbatos’ pawn. That I had aided and abetted the spreading of the disease and did nothing while millions of innocent lives were dying.
In , Paimon, unbecoming of a Demon Lord, was friendly towards humans. She had the hobby of dressing herself up as a human and hunting for men. Even in the game, the main character would end up meeting Paimon, who was disguised as a human, by chance while roaming the city.
Paimon falls for the hero at first sight. And, until the hero came across, she had insistently made passes at him. Even when she ended up being impaled by the hero’s sword in the end,
— This is an already dying body.
— Could you not bestow upon this lady a final kiss?
She confesses her love to the hero like so.
The hero, unable to deny her dying wish, kisses Paimon. Although numerous female heroines aimed for the first kiss of the hero’s, the person to steal his first kiss was Paimon, a Demon Lord who was the enemy of mankind. It was a rather weird love story.
Because of the recently spread Black Death, numerous amounts of humans were continuing to die off. In the position of Paimon, who considered humans to be intellectual beings of equal rights, the Black Death was an unforgivable calamity.
‘I can not forgive Barbatos for this tragedy.’
‘I will also punish Dantalian who is behaving as your pawn.’
Up to here, it was fine.
From a common-sense point of view, this was correct.
It was an everyday occurrence for people to mistake another for a criminal as they lived their lives. However, when thinking rationally, were a misunderstanding to occur, should you not attempt to converse with the person first?
Why would you attack right off the bat?
Are you on your period? Were you too, perhaps, also under the influence of the forever-on-your-period syndrome, and was being swept away by your uncontrollable emotional turbulence? That’s a big problem. I recommend that you go to a doctor and get your symptoms prescribed and immediately treated.
But before that, I’ll fix that head of yours.
Be a good child and learn what true etiquette is.
TL note: Why was this chapter so frustrating to write? Oh, that’s right, I kept getting interrupted mid-translation to go do some errands or pick something up and couldn’t properly focus on translating. I probably shouldn’t, but I apologize for being late by a day in uploading this! I honestly wanted to see how long I could go continuously uploading a chapter every 2 days.
ALSO, THIS IS AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE. The next part will take much longer to write because I’ve decided to split Chapter 5 into 2 parts. Thus meaning, part 2 is going to probably be over 12k words(possibly a lot more). The reason why is because the next part is absolutely amazing. I can not make you guys go through even a single cliff hanger for anything that is coming up next. You guys would absolutely hate me if I did.
So yeah, next chapter will most likely take twice as long because of that. So I’ll see you guys around the middle of next week!