“Now then, Asty. Do you have anything to say?”
Riku was silently looking at Asty.
It hadn´t been that difficult for them to sneak away from Derufoi.
With the initial confusion of the festival and the turmoil that Keity caused, the town had fallen into uproar as if someone had thrown a nest of bees there. Sneaking away from the town, Riku and the others continued their escape with the horses they had hidden deep inside the foresta. The places horses were able to go through were limited, but for the Demon Lord army, or rather, for the demons that had kept been hunted down for centuries, the inner parts of forests that humans wouldn´t go inside became their territory. Riding through paths normal people wouldn´t know about, they were going deep inside the forest.
They´ve kept riding their horses for one whole day.
Finally arriving at a safe place, Riku started to question Asty Gortoberuk.
“I am very grateful that you´ve gone to give me support at that time. Because of that, an opening appeared at the macho woman defenses.”
Actually, if Asty hadn´t come jumping to where Riku was, the battle would have lasted longer.
Because she had attracted Keity´s attention, Riku was able to have an attack go through. There was no mistake that blow was something that decided the match. That´s why it had been very helpful that Asty had gone to help Riku.
“Roppu had his hands occupied holding that stupid toy, so I really appreciate you came.”
“W-well, it makes me embarrassed-de gozaru.”
Laughing “Ehehe”, Asty´s cheeks became blushed. Feeling shy, Asty was briskly rubbing her head. However, her face was still somewhat stiff. Asty had noticed this wasn´t the main topic of their talk long ago. Because of that, Riku decided to go straight to the point.
“But you know, this and that are different issues. Now, I am really wondering why you were at Derufoi.”
With Riku speaking straight to the point, Asty´s face instantly became pale. Her expression told she had been asked the question she feared of being asked. Most likely, she had done something she couldn´t report to her superior, Riku.
“Now then, what were you doing? There is no way you were playing around, right?”
Asty was using plain clothes.
As to be expected, it wasn´t her military uniform, but it wasn´t expensive clothes the daughter of the prestigious family Gortoberuk would be wearing either. No matter how, it wasn´t possible to look at them as festive clothes that would suggest she had gone to Derufoi to play. It was a completely plain and easy to get mixed into the surroundings.
“Were you doing some kind of espionage? No, I don´t think you would be able to do some refined acting like that.”(TL note: The words used are so vague -.- ->密偵の真似事<-密偵 = emissary or spy and真似事=Act, pretend, mimic, deceive…)
“Gnh… I can´t deny that-de gozaru” (ぐぬ)
Her clothes were something a spy would be using, but unfortunately, that was all there was to it. Riku couldn´t think of a reason for Asty to do such things, and to begin with, Riku didn´t think Asty was capable of doing this shady work. She was a very honest person and everything she would think about would show on her face. The action of constantly hiding your thoughts was unsuited to her character.
In that case, why did she go to Derufoi? While Riku was thinking about it, she heard a complaining voice from behind her back.
Correction: it was a groan.
As if he was complaining about something, Rook Barusak was energetically moving around. It could be said the reason for that was because he had both his hands and feet tied by rope and also had a gag at his mouth. Riku couldn´t understand the words that could only become groaning which Rook was shouting at all.
“Sorry, I don´t know monkey language.”
“Mmmm! Mmm! Mmmmmmm!!”
“Now then, Asty.”
Ignoring the groans, Riku decided to continue with the conversation.
Either way, there was no mistake Rook was saying [I won´t forgive Riku-ane for ] or something like that. As far as Riku was concerned, Rook Barusak was a womanizer. Moreover, he had only beautiful women serving him.
Whether it was Selestinna or Rebecca or the maid Mary, every single one of them excelled at the department of beauty. Asty´s was more beautiful than Riku. This should be enough for her to become a target of Rook´s clutches.
“Uhm… I intended to capture Keity by mysel-de gozaru.”
Asty said in a muttering voice.
Apologetically shrinking away, she started to explain.
“I was intending on avoiding to trouble Riku-dono and investigate Keity´s trail myself-de gozaru. And then, after confirming she had ran away to Derufoi… I…”
Riku remembered hearing that Asty and Keity used to be good rivals.
It was the truth that Riku had been busy on these last days. If she had heard about Keity´s prison breaking, she would have probably left the command of her current mission to Vrusto and would have gone after Keity in order to execute her.
…Ultimately, she ended up executing Keity… But even so, in Asty´s perspective, she didn´t want to kill her friend. And so, it wouldn´t weird for her to think of secretly capturing her and sending her back to prison.
“I see. Is it all?”
For an instant, Asty turned her eyes to another place. …It was to the direction of the toy that was lying near Riku´s feet.
“Do you have any relation to this thing being at that place?”
“I have no such thing-de gozaru!!”
Asty´s voice had betrayed her.
It was possible to hear that her voice had trembled slightly. Asty whole body was trembling because of Riku´s question. This was just as if she was confessing she had something to do with Rook.
“I see, I understand. Wait there for a moment.”
Leaving Roppu as the lookout, Riku left the place.
At the place at the other side of the bushes from the place Asty and Riku were, Asty´s subordinates were taking care of the horses. After confirming the number of horses and the number of soldiers hadn´t changed, she gathered all of them.
“I have one thing I want to ask. What do you think of what just happened now?”
“What we think?”
With Riku asking the soldiers with a lowered voice, they started to look at the faces of one another.
“The relationship with Asty Gortoberuk and Rook Barusak. You´ve heard the conversation yourselves, so what do you think about it?
After Riku explained, the expression of the soldiers all become clouded.
“Could we frankly express our opinions?”
“I don´t mind.”
With Riku encouraging Asty´s subordinates, they started to talk.
“Those were actions that had major general Riku in mind.”
“I had told her using Rook Barusak as a bait for Keity Fostar was dangerous, but it was still for the sake of not having major general Riku disturbed!!”
“That´s why, please, don´t punish Asty-sama!!”
Riku silently listened to the soldiers words.
What Riku had heard from Asty´s mouth was the talk about her capturing Keity and the denial of she having any relation to Rook Barusak being at Derufoi. However, it seems that she actually had some connection. Maybe that was about what the subordinates had said, but perhaps they had actually joined forces behind Riku´s back.
She didn´t know the details. However, this was enough.
“I understand. Thank you. Please, rest well.”
Turning her back to them, she went back to where Asty was.
When Riku got close, Roppu ran to her. And then, he whispered in low voice.
“Uhm, if we don´t depart soon, won´t Vrusto-san start to worry?”
“Alright. I will just finish handling some things.”
Riku took her halberd and lightly did a swing with it. Asty´s and Rook´s face twisted in surprise. This was understandable since they had seen Riku kill many people with that halberd. It was certain they already knew what would happen if she was to swing the halberd in front of them now that they were defenseless.
“It´s alright, my toy. I won´t kill you yet.”
Riku wasn´t going to kill Rook here.
She still needed him to groan more, and needed to set a better stage for her to torture him. She would confine him, torture him, reprimand him, dismember him, and when he started to scream for help, she was going to throw him from a cliff. This wasn´t something that was going to happen right now.
“Asty, the crime for acting by yourself without telling me anything is heavy.”
“…I understand-de gozaru.”
Asty´s face was pale. However, her expression made it feel as if she had set her resolve. Squeezing out her voice, Asty started to speak.
“This had been defiance of orders -de gozaru. If I am to be executed by Riku-dono, it would be acceptable-de gozaru yo.”
As if she was telling Riku to do it in a clean strike, Asty shut her eyes. Rook, who was at the side, started making a fuss. His eyes that were tinted in fear looked as if they were screaming for Riku to stop.
Riku gave a long sigh.
“I won´t kill you.”
Asty became wide-mouthed. Rook suddenly stopped moving.
“I also acted by myself. I can´t reproach you for that. …Of course I will still have you receive a penalty for that.”
There was a punishment for every crime.
Whichever kind of crime it might be, this fact didn´t change. While having the point of her halberd pressed close to Asty´s nose, Riku quietly declared her punishment.
“You will be dismissed from the Demon Lord army´s subjugation forces and be at house arrest at Myuuz castle.”
She wouldn´t be able to go to war. For the people at the military, whose purpose in life was to raise their position, this was a considerably humiliating punishment.
“This is the punishment I will give you.”
However, Asty´s face was refreshed.
“…Understood-de gozaru, Riku-dono.”
Still tied up, Rook looked at Riku and Asty in a weird way.
Happening at the same time in one of the rooms of the Demon Lord castle, there was a shadow looking at a man that had been sleeping forever.
“How boring… Really.”
Flapping his black wings, the shadow muttered in an annoyed manner.
“If you are collapsed, I won´t be able to eat that girl´s soul.”
The shadow lightly put his hand at the man´s chest.
The shadow… the shinigami was irritated that what happened had deviated from his initial plan. The way the man had lost his consciousness was getting in the way of his plan of stealing the souls of Riku Barusak and Rook Barusak. The last stages of the plan he had been building up at great pains during these ten years had become bubbles in the water.
“Right now, I will be about to go offer a contract to that girl. 断られるのがオチなんだよね. So you are really lucky.”(TL note:I have zero percent idea of what this means .-.)
At the hand of the shinigami, a pale light started to gather.
The light slowly enveloped the man´s body.
“I am capable of getting you out of this vegetative state after all.”
The shinigami grinned. And then, he started to laugh loudly as if he was having a lot of fun.
The shinigami couldn´t help but laugh.
He couldn´t help after imagining the results the man´s resurrection would bring to the future.