During the Inheritance Ceremony, Vel suddenly took out a dagger and tried to destroy the magic stone of the Ancient Dragon.
Although Rei rushed towards him as soon as he saw that, a magic spear was stabbed at him just one step before Vel entered the Death Scythe’s range.
He instinctively sensed danger at Vel’s words and forcibly shifted his body. Still, the magic spear that stabbed out from behind him still gave a strong impact to his side.
Fortunately for him, Rei was wearing a magic item, the Dragon Robe. At first glance it looked like an ordinary robe, but its true identity was of a highest quality item made by sewing two layers of dragon skin over dragon scales, it boasted one of the highest magical and physical defenses. Its defensive power was much greater than that of plate mail. Thanks to that, it didn’t become a situation where the magic spear penetrated into his flank.
However, even if it didn’t stab into him, the impact couldn’t be ignored. And for Rei, who was still trying to swing the Death Scythe, the blow broke his balance.
Nevertheless, he still didn’t fall to the ground, it was probably due to Rei’s extremely high physical abilities that he managed to keep himself up with his hands. When Rei reflexively looked back, the sight of Kuust thrusting his magic spear towards him filled his vision.
Set answered Rei’s shout and tried to slash his claws in from the side……
「No, Rei-dono! If Kuust is taken out of the magic formation now, there will be a bad effect on Elena’s ceremony!」
Probably understanding what Rei wanted, Set stopped his attack from the side and slammed Kuust down into the magic formation instead, holding him down to stop him from moving.
Confirming that, he dashed forward again towards Vel……
「You’re a bit too late.」
With a ridiculing smile on his face, he swung his dagger down at the magic stone, which had already shrunk by 70%, without any hesistation.
Shouting out, Rei swung the Death Scythe even though he knew he wouldn’t make it in time……
「Oops. That’s dangerous, very dangerous.」
Vel stabbed his dagger into the magic stone, destroying it before jumping backwards and taking some distance from Rei.
「Don’t get so angry. Even I didn’t like what I had to do. ……However, it’s a pity. It was the only hope to save the Mireana Kingdom. Now it will be impossible to compete against the Bestir Empire.」
Rei ground his teeth as Vel told him with a big smile.
「More than that, don’t you have to look behind you?」
Rei turned to look back for a moment. Maybe due to the fact that the ceremony was forcibly interrupted half way, he saw that Ara, Kuust……even Elena had lost consciousness and had collapsed on the magic formation.
Seeing that situation, he grasped the handle of the Death Scythe tightly in his hands.
(Calm down. Right now, it’s better to collect information than to kill him.)
Muttering in his mind, he calmed his raging heart.
「Now then, what is all this for you ask?」
Rei and Vel. Vel was superior in ability as a thief, but if you considered pure fighting strength, Vel couldn’t even reach Rei’s feet. Even so, Vel had a smile on his face, he was smiling as if watching a fun performance.
While having doubts, he kept talking to try to gather more information.
「You were a member of Elena’s Knight escort? And yet, why would you come here and betray her?」
「What do you think?」
「I don’t want questions in reply to questions.」
Bang~, Rei wielded the Death Scythe threateningly.
「Whoops, I don’t stand a chance if we have to fight. I see, I’ll answer then. Well then, why do you think I betrayed Elena here?」
「If you think about the probable assumptions, you’ve turned to the Bestir Empire’s side.」
「Well, that’s only half of it. The correct answer is that not just me, but my whole house has turned to the Bestir Empire’s side.」
「……Your house, is it? According to the story I’ve heard, your house should have been nobles as well? I’ve heard that you also have a close relationship to Duke Kerebel, a central figure in the Nobles Faction, the second largest faction next to the Royalists.」
「That is the case. But my thoughts aside, my father does not believe that the Mireana Kingdom can compete with the Bestir Empire. There are several reasons for this, but the biggest reason is technology. Though I think you heard it from Elena after reaching the Altar of Succession, though it’s simplified, the Bestir Empire has established an Inheritance Ceremony and has already had a number of people undergo it. Ah, by the way, I can tell you that soldiers who endured the Inheritance Ceremony are called 『Demon Soldiers』. ……I think it’s simple.」
「Demon Soldiers. So you decided that there was no chance of winning and defected.」
「Yes. Well, that is my father’s opinion, I’m different.」
Vel kept explaining with a smile on his face.
「In that case, why did you turn traitor? Haven’t you also been acquainted with Elena for a long time?」
「That’s right. It’s been roughly five years since I joined Duke Kerebel’s Knights.」
「If you’ve lived with each other for such a long time, then naturally there should be feelings. Besides, aren’t you Knights that also serve as Elena’s escorts?」
「Ahh, that’s no mistake. But……」
As he said that, Vel’s smile suddenly changed.
If it was said that his smile up until now had been an amused smile, now it was like the smile of a madman.
「I just thought about it. It’s nice to kill people from the Bestir Empire by being part of the Mireana Kingdom as it is. But a person on the Bestir Empires side seems to have more possibilities to kill people.」
「A sadistic murderer.」
「Oh? That title is good. Yep, in the future I’ll use that. Vel Sails, the sadistic murderer.」
「……It’s not something I can say but, what is the fun in killing people?」
Rei himself had killed all the members of Dark Night’s Star during the attack on the Orc village. Even in the rank up test, he had killed bandits. However, he only killed them because it was necessary. He had never felt pleasure in the act of killing people. Because of that, he couldn’t understand the man before him.
「Eh? It’s fun. Ending a person’s life with your own hands, touching their skin and cutting it and their flesh. The scream that comes out when you stab your knife into a living person and break their bones! And the face of their despair when you cut out their organs and show them their lungs! ……Ahh, I can’t bear it any longer.」
「……I was an idiot to talk with a madman.」
「Madman, I don’t need you to compliment me so much. Of course, you’re wondering why I would side with the Bestir Empire. As I said earlier, there is a technique to make Demon Soldiers over there. Also, it isn’t a low level technology with a high failure rate like here in the Mireana Kingdom, but a technology with a high success rate. If I became a Demon Soldier over there, what kind of abilities would I gain? Could I dissolve a person with strong acid? Mentioning that, there’s also the tentacles like the Emerald Wolves. It isn’t too fascinating though to be able to change my body size like a Spriggan……no, it might not be so bad to enjoy the looks of despair if you pretend to be a small child to approach them and then transform into a giant in front of them.」
「He’s definitely a madman.」
While muttering, he turned to look at the unconscious Kuust, whom Set was still holding down just in case.
「So, what did you do to Kuust?」
「What? Originally, Kuust hated you, isn’t that right?」
「……It’s different. Certainly he disliked or hated me. However, his love and respect of Elena was still greater than his dislike or hatred of me. Do you think he would obstruct someone who was attacking someone else who was likely to cause harm to Elena, who was his superior?」
Though Kuust thoroughly despised and spurned Rei, the respect that he gave to his superior, Elena, was genuine. Maybe it was feelings of love, or that he was attracted to her fame as the General Princess, or maybe because she was someone as the center of the Nobles Faction, Rei didn’t know. However, he had no doubt his respect was real. If that wasn’t the case, perhaps Kuust would already have been slashed by the Death Scythe by now.
「I see, I see. It’s unexpected that though you disliked each other, you still believe in him. Let me give you a hint. What’s this?」
Saying that, he removed a bottle of water from his waist pouch.
However, when he saw that bottle, Rei recalled some things.
Hadn’t he seen Vel hand over a water bottle to Kuust, then drank from it, several times after entering the dungeon?
「Did you use some sort of magical potion?」
Rei muttered, but was puzzled in his mind.
(I recall Vel handing that bottle of water over to Kuust. However, at that time, Vel had drank from it himself as well.)
「Congratulations, correct answer! As you said, Kuust’s actions became strange after drinking this magic potion.」
「But, you ought to have drank from that bottle as well?」
「Ahh, you were paying attention. But, do you not know that there are antidotes for magic potions?」
「So you manipulated Kuust without the effects of the magic potion affecting yourself.」
「Yes. But I only made Kuust drink the magic potion, I can’t do anything if the person rejects it in his mind. There must be a desire to do something in his subconscious, like the first time I ordered him. Well, I didn’t think that Kuust’s unconscious hatred against you was that great.」
Rei swung the Death Scythe in his hands. A roar echoed around as its speed split the air.
「That’s good enough, shut up. I only know one thing after I listening to your story.」
「What? You should kill me before I escape to the Bestir Empire because I’m dangerous?」
Isn’t that natural? Vel seemed to say as he questioned Rei, but Rei shook his head.
「No. I don’t mind that. Just watching you makes me feel uncomfortable. That’s why I’ll kill you here! Flying Slash!」
It was the easiest skill to use from the Death Scythe, in addition, the power of the skill was relatively high.
The Death Scythe was swung down, slashing through the air towards Vel.
While watching death approaching in the form of that slash, Vel still smiled crazily……
It was not Vel who said that……but Rei.
Rei unconsciously gave a cry as he looked towards Vel. Some sort of vividly purple tentacles which had appeared to block the slash from Rei were torn apart.
The tips of the tentacle that tried to block the Flying Slash were cut and soon fell to the ground. However, another one immediately took its place and stretched out to defend Vel. The source of the tentacles was the inner pocket of Vel’s leather armour.
「Ahahahaha. That’s too bad. This is a magical creature made by the alchemists of the Bestir Empire to serve as escorts. It will be hard to deal with this fellow if you have too little strength.」
With a look of ridicule, Vel turned to look at Rei.
In his eyes, he had a look of distorted pleasure as the powerful person in front of him would soon become prey to kill.
「What about it?」
He was not confused or panicking. At Rei’s extremely calm reply, Vel frowned his eyebrows unpleasantly.
「What are you talking about. Your attacks can’t reach me, why are you so calm?」
「Well then, I wonder. Certainly my attack had no effect on you. However, you seem to have forgotten that the skill you blocked isn’t the only one I have. In addition……even if my attack was ineffective, your attacks would be the same. Even though Kuust ambushed me, I didn’t take any damage. Your attacks are overwhelming inferior to Kuust’s, what are you going to do?」
「Certainly, but that might not be so. However, you only blocked Kuust’s attack because of your robe right? If that’s so, I can just aim for the face, and limbs that the robe doesn’t cover.」
He took a dagger out from his chest. It was obvious from the purple blade that it wasn’t an ordinary dagger.
「Poison Knife. It’s a high level magic item. It has the wonderful effect that if you are even scratched, your body will be paralyzed for about ten minutes……can you counter that Rei?」
「Well, even if you say that it’s a powerful magic item, there will still only be an effect if you scratch my face, hands or feet. In the first place, do you even think you can fight me in melee combat? With your bow and knife, you could only attack from the rear, but now there’s no one to act as a shield for you. Are you going to leave that to your tentacles?」
Rei provoked Vel by clearly pointing out his weakness.
However, Vel still kept his smile as he heard Rei’s words.
「Yes, you’re right, that is true. In that case, I just have to make a vanguard.」
Pachi~, Vel snapped his fingers. And the next moment.
Set’s somewhat confused cry could be heard and Rei immediately jumped to the side.
The next moment, something went through the place Rei was at just a moment before. And as Rei avoided it, that something passed him by and stood between Rei and Vel.