Volume 8, Chapter 14: The Hero’s Secret Arts, Part 1
The royal capital of Telluza which had been occupied by the forces of Darkness was nowhere near as desolate as one would imagine it to be. On the contrary, it seemed to have hardly changed at all.
Of course, since the flow of goods has been stopped and supplies stagnated, it wouldn’t be fair to compare it to their original vibrancy, but the citizens continued to roam the town, and children played in the alleys.
Actually, it seems as though security has improved. Although it was a royal capital before, there would have been some unscrupulous types in the back alleys back then.
It seems that the dark elves and beastmen soldiers were actually patrolling this royal capital.
The residents were scared because they were invading soldiers, but the children, who were unprejudiced unlike the adults, would only look at them curiously.
On the other side, the soldiers all wore featureless expressions. It seems that they were shy of and somewhat scared of the twin princesses of the Dark Elves.
The two of them, who had long been oppressed and neglected by others, had no malice towards humans. In fact, they even banned the army from harming the population.
Of course, there were some officers who tried to rebel against their orders to try pillaging and plundering the goods and women, but all of them were cruelly killed by the princesses’ plushie, and the rest of the soldiers obeyed out of fear.
“…… What’s going on?”
In the midst of these soldiers was a female dark elven knight named Tiera.
She was a hundred this year…… though in human maturity, she’s about 20 years old, and she had grown up listening to the elders and her parents in her village speak about how ugly and mean humans were.
She had been told by them about the time where the cowardly Heroes had tricked and trapped them in this frigid land, but they were talking about an event a thousand years ago with the air of someone who had been there… when the dark elves only had about 500 years’ lifespan.
This was a commonplace occurrence among the forces of darkness, and in every village, children who grew up this way would naturally become embittered towards humans.
Tiera was puzzled.
No matter how horrible the human race was, as a knight serving the royal family, she harbored no ill-intent toward the inhabitants.
Still convinced that the humans were terrible, she was afraid to get involved with the residents since she had been forbidden from manhandling them.
However, since her long ears and glossy brown skin were rare to see, the human children followed behind her every time she appeared.
According to the standard knowledge from the otherworld, it was traditional for female dark elven knights to wear armor with high exposure, and even while the children patted her skin, she was helpless to retaliate and could only remain mutely embarrassed.
If that had been all it would have still been alright, but recently, since she’d been taking care of the younger children, one of the boys, a lovely ten-year-old, had started giving her passionate looks.
Tiera was incredibly shy being looked at by those sparklingly pure and innocent eyes, but still, it wasn’t all that bad.
Gradually, though, she began to talk to the boy, and they chatted with each other about their troubles.
“I have a younger sister, but she catches colds easily……”
Nobody was starving in this country since their staple potatoes were abundant and could be preserved, but since the distribution of goods stopped, their diets began to suffer, and younger children became more vulnerable to catching a cold.
“So, when I grow up, I’m going to be a cook and open my own restaurant and serve delicious meals with my wife.”
“I-is that so?”
At the boy’s burning gaze and mention of the word “wife”, she had a fleeting image of herself standing in a store with the grown-up version of the boy. But Tiera shook her head, annoyed with herself for having joined in his delusions.
Still, it wasn’t entirely impossible for him to have a chance in ten years, since she was an elf.
Tiera, whose brown skin was tinged slightly red even while she swam in her own delusions, suddenly heard screaming coming from a distance away.
“It-it’s my sister’s voice!”
As Tiera and the boy headed into the dark alleyway where they heard the screaming, they saw two men carrying an unconscious girl that was about 4 or 5 years old.
“What are you doing!”
“Geh, it’s a dark elf”
“D-don’t get closer!”
The human men looked at Tiera, pointing their knives at the little girl.
“L-let go of my sister!”
“Shut up! Because of these guys, I haven’t been able to make any money!”
These obviously rabble looking men were people from the underbelly of this nation.
Tiera and the knights were barred from touching the humans, but they were told to hunt criminals down actively.
Since abusing innocents was punishable, the soldiers could kill offenders to blow off their stress. There was no trial allowed nor excuses taken.
As a result, a certain portion of the citizenry were grateful to them, whereas the criminals who had gotten away by bribing the police were getting reported, and the underworld was unable to do anything about it.
“In order to escape from this country, we need money!”
As the men began to confess even without being prompted, their plan was to abduct children, flee to another nation, and then sell the children.
“…… Wouldn’t it have been easier to kidnap children where you’re escaping to?”
“………………… SHUT UP!!!”
Ah, and they were short-tempered criminals too.
“Human criminal, let go of the child quietly.”
“D-don’t get any closer, or this kid gets it!”
As Tiera hesitated, the men who thought that the dark elf wouldn’t care about the child were astonished for a moment, but as understanding hit them, their faces spread with vulgar smiles.
“…… You’re a pretty woman, dark elf. If you don’t want this kid to get hurt, drop your weapons…… no, take off all of your armor and clothes.”
“Heheheeheheee, we’re going to sell you too, after we do you of course!”
Tiera hid her bare upper body and thighs with her arms, even as she was being ogled, and she begrudged the Demon King of a millennium ago for adopting this high-exposure armor.
Should she endure the humiliation of being like this in front of the boy, or abandon the boy’s sister and defeat these underhanded men?
If it had been even a little while ago, she would surely have abandoned the girl while she raged at the cowardly men.
But…… Tiera smiled at the boy gently and begun to throw away her weapons.
There was a sudden grating sound in the air.
Nothing changed. There wasn’t anything strange at all about the sound.
However, everyone present felt chills and shivered.
There was definitely something. Something that was approaching.
They didn’t know why they felt chills over that “something”, but when their heads ratcheted to face it like rusted tin dolls, they saw something that should have been impossible.
Golden hair that glistened in the sun.
A black and silver dress with a luster that they had never even seen before.
A face that looked absolutely perfect, and beautiful, silky smooth skin.
And golden irises that shined through all of her beauty like a cold doll.
A miracle of a lady that looked like she was in her early teens.
But…… was that really a human? No…… was she really of this world or even a living creature?
Her heart was enchanted with that beauty, and the [Fear of the Unknown] that bubbled up within her was stopped as Tiera unconsciously took a step back.
Although it might not have been noticeable to humans, her keen senses honed by living in the world of darkness as a dark elf instinctively caused Tiera to step back to protect her soul.
In that frozen world, the girl smiled gently only at Tiera, who had moved, and then the world began to move again.
The half-asleep voice of that little girl snapped everyone back to sanity from a state of fascination.
Before anyone realized, the little girl was already in the golden girl’s arms, and the kidnappers’ eyes went wide, darting in confusion from their arms to hers.
Nobody had noticed when the girl had been moved.
As the little girl was about to start crying as she realized what had happened, a stuffed-toy bear came up from behind the golden girl and began to pat her.[Gaugau]
“Are you okay?”
The girl…… smiled gently as if the whole incident up until then had been a nightmare, and the little girl’s face went from surprise to laughter as she looked at the girl’s face.
“I’m alright, big sister~”
As the tension in the air suddenly loosened, her older brother sank to the floor in exhaustion.
“…… wh-what, youuu!?”
His tongue was stuck.
The golden girl scrunched her eyebrows slightly at his impolite words.
“He’s a kidnapper, please be careful…”
Before Tiera, who had a bad feeling about this, could finish her sentence, the golden girl covered the eyes and ears of the little girl.[Gau.]
And then the cute stuffed-toy bear leaped onto the two kidnappers.
None this time.
Short chapter from the author this week, but at least it’s funny!
While deplorable, I find that I can not begrudge the demon king’s decision to stay with tradition.
And another one! I, too, can’t wait for the reunion.