Chapter 378: Infiltration in the Royal Capital
Inside the royal capital Arche.
Due to the enemy’s repeated control and oppression, no one could see the once prosperous streets, and even the bustling of the small alleys had disappeared. The majority of the human race was under the control of the magical beasts.
Some were kept as livestock, while others were kept as food. Some were even used for magic.
As a result, the happy sounds of the lively houses were no longer functioning, and all that remained was the sound of those who had escaped with their heavy breaths.
Just like in the past, freedom had been taken away from humans, and the pleasure of enjoying life had been lost.
Inside the royal capital, those people had forgotten even how to breathe. Amongst them was a little girl in the back alley.
She had white hair and pale red eyes. She was perhaps a child from the surrounding villages judging from her shabby clothes. Even the rough shoes that covered her feet were made of wood chips and dirt.
Although she looked somewhat unusual, her clothes were no different from those worn by ordinary children.
Therefore, what was noteworthy was her appearance.
From her cheeks to her shoulders to her clothes and to her legs. There was blood. The blood wasn’t thin. In fact, it was so thick that it drowned the underlying color of her clothes.
She would be dead by now if it was the bleeding from her wounds. However, she lived because it was not her own.
Surrounded by multiple human corpses and pieces of demonic flesh, there was a girl in the back alley with a huge amount of blood and a clear sign of death. All that remained was the little girl and Kobolt.
Kobolt was holding the girl’s small head with the palm of his hand. He then squeezed with a great force that it almost put a crack in her skull.
The girl didn’t have the energy to resist, sobbing while powerlessly hanging her limbs.
「Hey, human. I’m talking to you. Am I asking something difficult? Just one word is fine. Tell me what happened.」
Kobolt, a rational magical beast with a face that looked like a mixture of a dog and a cat, spoke loudly to the girl. When his muscular demonic fingertips lightly shook the girl’s skull, a sound similar to creaking resounded.
He didn’t speak in a manner that showed arrogance, a characteristic of rational magical beasts. Kobolt’s personality was unique, but even so, he was wary because of the current situation.
The situation was already like this when Kobolt arrived. His compatriots were killed, perhaps by this little girl who showed no scratches. There were dead human bodies, but it was mysterious that they killed one another.
Something caused this wreckage. Something abnormal. Kobolt had to report to Drigman, the Controller.
「…I don’t know. I don’t know anything. I’m sorry, I’m sorry…」
The girl said, letting out her sobs. Rather than being frightened, her voice sounded like she was letting go of her emotions.
It didn’t seem like he could extract some information from this girl. Therefore, he decided the following.
「How troublesome. It’s hard to believe that the only one who survived was a little human. It would’ve been better if someone worthy had survived instead.」
There was no reaction from the girl. Her limbs didn’t show any force, as if she didn’t have the will to live.
Kobolt didn’t know why, but her lifeless demeanor and red eyes strangely annoyed him.
Humans struggled to survive, and yet they died. That’s how it should be. Kobolt tightened his grip. In a moment, the girl’s skull would be crushed like a pomegranate.
It was around that time. His neck felt a burning heat. Kobolt’s eyes widened.
Kobolt could not understand if it was a cry of pain. Before that, the blade that had pierced his skin had severed his thick neck.
At the same time as the purple light ran through, the demonic bone marrow got exposed and the blood wet the girl’s cheeks once again. A voice echoed in the back alley.
「In the back alleys, it’s common knowledge that people who talk fluently and comfortably will die early. Don’t you know that?」
A green military uniform was reflected in the lifeless girl’s eyes. On top of that, multiple people could be seen behind that person. There was no insignia in their clothes, and they didn’t look like people from the royal capital. Judging by their fiery expressions, many of them could’ve been companions of the dead humans.
The young man wearing that green military uniform looked at the girl with an unusual look. He had a color she didn’t see that often. A color that was full of strangeness and mystery. The little girl’s spine jumped.
「Are you alone? Do you have any relatives? Or are you from an orphanage? 」
The girl thought he had a kind voice. At least the way he bent down and looked at her wasn’t malicious.
Still, the girl felt something approaching her throat, and a tingle of horror ran down her spine. She had a few moments, so she finally twisted her voice to speak.
「…I’m sorry. I don’t know. I’m…sorry. 」
Would he be angry or dismayed? Her voice contained such fear.
The girl knew that her timid voice was the kind of voice that people didn’t like. However, it wasn’t like she could fix it now.
This was the only way she had ever been taught to speak. If she spoke differently, she’d be punished. She’d never be forgiven.
The young man didn’t show a big reaction. He nodded slowly and turned his attention to the black-haired woman who was standing next to him. This time, the black-haired woman said to the girl.
「You’re safe now. It’s okay, just breathe slowly. 」
Filaret. The black-haired woman who was called so held the girl’s hand lightly as she met her gaze. It was the warmth of a person she had not felt in a long time.
However, even that was an object of fear for the little girl. A shiver ran down her spine and her eyes widened. The black-haired woman spoke to the little girl, chewing those words slowly. Her voice was extremely soft and tailored to suit her needs.
「I’m sorry, but we don’t have time to take you back to where you once lived…Sorry. It might be confusing if I say this all of a sudden. But for now, please trust us. Could you please come with me?」
Because that’s the only way I can do to protect you. The black-haired woman said as she grabbed one of the girl’s hands with both her hands. She was gentle, and her hands seemed as if they were touching something fragile.
Still, the girl was so scared by those words that she couldn’t bear them…The black-haired woman continued the conversation, while the girl’s impatience turned into sweat as she was afraid of being the center of attention.
Therefore, in order to get through this situation according to her partner’s wishes, the little girl nodded quickly. She hardly heard the talk of this woman.
「Thank you. What’s your name? 」
「…Leu. It’s just Leu. 」
Leu said so, hoping the conversation would end soon.
I entered the sewers just as the sun was setting, but by the time I was able to meet up with the remaining Gharast soldiers inside the capital, it was already dawn.
Of course, the royal capital was large, but the vigilance of magical beasts was strangely strict. Were they looking for the remaining soldiers? Demonic shadows could be seen and hidden no matter where we went in the city.
Even though it had been a long time since I had returned, I wasn’t expecting this grand welcome. It was completely excessive.
「Is that demonic being…Drigman…staying in the royal palace? 」
The old man Richard asked in a dark room lit only by candlelight. The remaining soldiers were staying in a corner of the back street, and it didn’t seem like sunlight would shine through.
The soldier nodded with a slight fright, perhaps being hit by the old man’s firm words.
According to him, the magical beasts form an army formation around the royal palace. Only the small units patrolled the royal capital and surrounding villages. The meaning of patrolling the surrounding villages could be understood without even asking.
There was no other reason than to kidnap and murder people.
The old man’s eyebrows furrowed deeply, and he said in a frustrated tone.
「It’s common for aristocrats to be able to enter the royal palace with ease. Even the magical beasts have become that great, huh.」
A mockery and a discomfort that meshed together. It was an unusual voice for the old man.
In front of the devastation of the royal capital, it seemed that even the old man was unable to keep up his daily persona. Anyhow, it was the same for me too.
The very authority of the royal palace, which was once so glorious that I wasn’t even allowed to look at it, was now defiled under the feet of magical beasts. I had that complicated feeling in my stomach that was being boiled down.
The main street where I couldn’t walk without pushing people away had now become full of magical beasts. Humans couldn’t even walk freely outside, which was the worst part. In fact, other than the child I picked up earlier, I didn’t see anyone else in the back alleys.
「We need to use the outside forces to separate the magical beasts from that magical devilish being. We need to keep that demon still, while we lure the magical beasts away.」
Caria spoke with her silver eyes shining. Although she was returning to the capital, there was no looseness in her voice. I thought Caria would show a degree of rage.
After all, even though I took her with me, she was originally a Gharast Knight. There was no doubt that they had a kind of loyalty and respect that I had never felt. Maybe she was just swallowing her emotions right now.
The old man cleared his throat for a moment as he responded to Caria.
「Don’t rush, young lady. That won’t be enough. The opponent is a mysterious demonic being…I want to reduce its fighting strength as much as possible. 」
And we still don’t know much about his incomprehensible powers, old man Richard narrowed his eyes, deepened his wrinkles, and moved his mouth.
This old man seemed to have a lot of fun when he was playing evil tricks. But now he was talking in a very serious manner. Talk about a change, huh.
Yet, it was true. It was necessary to be that careful when dealing with that demonic being.
Controller Drigman. A demonic commander who ruled over all the demonic beings and magical beasts. I didn’t know everything, but I did know the threat it posed and how it could be killed.
During the old journey, the Controller was none other than the demon killed by the hands of the Hero Helot Stanley.
Since the age of mythology, he had grasped and controlled everything with his two arms, and as long as he had two feet on the ground, he had never been defeated. He was a terrible foe. An impossible enemy to defeat. An enemy that reappeared in the past journey as well, and humankind thought it was the end.
However, even though he was powerful during the age of mythology and during the old journey, he got killed twice.
I didn’t know everything, so relying on myths and the information I got from the old journey was the only thing I could do for now.
After a pause, the old man spoke.
「Okay, understood. As for the magical beasts, I’ll use fire. It’s my specialty. Lugis…」
The old man spit out those words while looking straight into my eyes. My lips distorted as I lowered my gaze.
Was he sane? I shrugged my shoulders and answered.
「…That’s good. Let’s defeat the demonic beings separately. In exchange, don’t miss the targets, old man.」