At the Demon Lord castle.
It had been a few hours since the Demon Lord army have departed to the location of the seal.
With his arms inside the pocket of his coat, Vrusto Asuteroid was walking at a corridor. The only sounds in the empty corridor were the sounds of his steps. There weren´t any people going through the corridors right now.
It was only obvious.
This was because most of the demons had gone out.
“Really, why do I have to do this…. Hm?”
Right at the time he turned to another corridor, he noticed there was somebody in front of the room he was headed to.
Roppu Nezaarand was standing there. He was standing in front of the door as if he was guarding the room. Vrusto slightly tilted his head in confusion.
“Ah, isn´t it Roppu? Are you on guard duty?”
When Vrusto talked to him, Roppu averted his eyes away in hesitation.
“R-rather, why is first lieutenant Vrusto here in the castle?”
“Stupid, it´s obvious. I am here to protect ojou-chan.”
Vrusto looked at the door of the room.
That room was the one given to Riku Barusak for her house arrest stay.
She should be feeling down… Rather, it would have been good if her condition was something that could be expressed by something as cute as [feeling down]. Vrusto´s expected that she would soon escape from the room and plan on a way to catch up with the Demon Lord army.
“This is about that ojou-chan. I can already imagine her “yandere” emotions becoming worse and she starting to run amok.”
Vrusto let out a tired sigh. In his mind, Vrusto could clearly imagine how possible it was for Riku to be now entangled in thoughts such as: “I definitely won´t forgive captain who left me out of the battle” or “Nobody will kill Rook except for me”.
“And so, I came here to stay on guard so that she won´t escape. Alright? So you can go now.”
“I think major general Riku will definitely not go out. That´s why I think it is fine if I am guarding the door by myself.”
Vrusto used his hand to push Roppu away, but Roppu didn´t budge off the door. Vrusto slightly raised his eyebrow. Roppu was a very meek soldier. At least, Vrusto had never seen he go against his superiors. He would move in accord to his superior´s orders and would definitely accomplish his mission. This was one of his good points.
“Who told you to stay on guard here?”
Vrusto´s position was that of a captain. Compared to that, Roppu was only a major sergeant.
Whether it was in the military rank or in the time of service, Vrusto was far off better. Because of how Roppu was still opposing him, it would mean that the one that ordered him was at a even higher standing. However, Vrusto didn´t have any guessed about people that fell under those conditions.
“Sorry. I was told I couldn´t tell anybody, so…”
“Couldn´t tell anybody, is it?”
Vrusto lightly scratched his cheek with his claw.
“Actually, I was also assigned to be on guard here. I was ordered directly by captain Leivein.”
“You´ve been ordered by general?”
“Yes. So leave it to me for watching over ojou-chan.”
When Vrusto said that, Roppu´s face became pale in an instant.
Vrusto narrowed his eyes. There was no doubt it was a demon that had a position lower than Leivein that had ordered Roppu to stay in guard there. If it wasn´t for that, he would definitely imposingly say something like “But even so, I cannot speak about it”. Instead of that, his attitude has changed. In other words, he had been ordered by a demon of status lower than general.
“That´s why I will ask you once again. Who was the one that told you to keep guard here?”
Vrusto gave one more step closer to Roppu.
Roppu´s face was increasingly becoming pale. After one more push, he should be able to make him surrender. However…
“Sorry, it is impossible.”
Shutting his pale lips tightly, Roppu refused to comply to Vrusto´s orders. His thin legs were trembling like those of a little fawn, but his resolve wasn´t shaken. Rather, there was a strong light in his meek eyes. The instant Vrusto saw those pair of eyes, he was able to guess who Roppu received his orders from.
“Ha… Alright, I understand it now. I know who was the one that gave you those orders.”
Vrusto gave a long sigh.
And then, at the next instant, Vrusto´s fist went straight to Roppu. The difference between their physiques was evident. It was an attack that if Roppu received directly, the only mystery that would be remaining was whether he would be able to stand up or not. However, Roppu took the attack head-on.
The fist that was thrown with all of Vrusto´s body weight hit at Roppu´s chest.
Blood and air was pushed out from his mouth.
“The reason why you are so obstinate at keeping your mouth closed is because those were ojou-chan´s orders, right? Now that´s even more the reason. Can you let me pass?”
Vrusto brought his fist back.
Although he took easy on Roppu, his fist still hit a weak spot. To Roppu, who didn´t have experience in true battles, this was a very severe attack. Actually, his body started to wobbling downwards.
“Sorry, Roppu. Really, that stupid girl. What is there inside her room for her to make him keep guard here!?”
It happened in an instant.
Vrusto´s eyes became wide-open.
Roppu grabbed Vrusto´s arm. The strength Roppu showed by trying to stop Vrusto with his whole body weight made Vrusto´s inner alarm ring. Roppu used the momentum of when Vrusto swung his arm to shake him off and jumped.
“Sorry, first lieutenant!!”
Roppu´s right knee hit Vrusto´s face.
Roppu would run through mountains and valleys, and sometimes, he would also run alongside horses through the battlefield. The strength of his legs that had been trained by being a messenger had been made into an attack that even reverberated through the bones. The attack that made Vrusto´s the brain tremble and his sight become blurry.
“…k, stupid! When apologizing….”
However, Vrusto wasn´t someone that would be put down with just that.
Holding the knee that hit him at his nose with his arms, he threw Roppu at the wall.
Roppu didn´t expect there would be a counter attack so fast. Without being able to absorb the impact, he hit at the stone wall on his back.
“…you should do it after you already won!!”
Roppu fell down to the floor.
But even so, his fighting spirit didn´t vanish from his eyes. Putting his hand at the ground as if he was going to tear it off, he kicked the floor using his prided leg strength. While bleeding from his lips, he approached Vrusto with a ghastly expression.
“That would be my line!!”
Just like that, Roppu slid a sweeping kick at Vrusto.
Vrusto dodged with light steps. However, that was in accord to what Roppu was planning. With his right fist, he threw in an uppercut.
“Stupid, that´s not enough!!”
With his fist having been blocked, Roppu´s chin ate Vrusto´s left elbow. That attack made Roppu fall to the floor once again. He was squatting in pain, but his fighting spirit was still burning. After giving Roppu one last glance, Vrusto broke the door open with a kick. Bursting through the door with a flashy sound, the dreary room that looked like a prison cell entered his sight.
It was a lonely bedroom that had only the minimum amount of furniture. Every time Vrusto would come to Riku´s room when he had business with her, he would be affected by the dreary feeling of emptiness of the room. (TL note: Before they said that this was a room that was given to Riku for her home arrest though… As far as I am concerned, Riku would live in rooms of that sort, so I guess this is why Vrusto is saying that. .-.)
The owner of this room was nowhere to be seen.
“Tch, she already ran away.”
After picking up one of the black feathers that was spread through the floor, Vrusto started to feel a bad feeling.
There was nobody on the bed. At this room that didn´t have even a wardrobe, there weren´t any spots she could hide at. All there was at this room that felt like nobody had been living in was the black feathers scattered around.
“But what is with those… Are those feathers?”
Of course, Riku didn´t have some kind of hobby about collecting feathers from birds. She was a girl who lacked any femininity that would declare in a loud voice her pastime was training.
In that case, what was the meaning behind those feathers he had never seen before.
There were many demons that grew black feathers inside the Demon Lord army. However, he didn´t have any memories about someone that had feather like that. Moreover, he couldn´t feel any smell from them. No matter how much he sniffed, the only smell wafting around this room was of Riku Barusak.
Because of how unnatural everything was, a feeling similar to having a cold blade pointed at his back ran through his body.
Something happened between Riku Barusak and the owner of those black feathers that was inside the room.
For what reason did she escape from this room?
“…I will leave the thinking for later! So… do you know where ojou-chan went to?”
While scratching his head, Vrusto turned his eyes to Roppu, and asked him because he had nothing to lose for trying.
With his body leaning at the stone wall, Roppu futilely moved his body. All he could do was to clench his teeth and angrily glare at Vrusto. After a few moments, finally…
“…I don´t know.”
Roppu answered in a husky voice that was difficult to understand.
Probably, he knew Riku´s destination, but wouldn´t tell him. There were no doubts that if Vrusto was in Roppu´s place, he wouldn´t have leaked the location.
“…Haa. Well, I have an idea where she went though.”
Vrusto opened the window wide.
Because there weren´t any vestiges that Riku had went out her room, she probably escaped from there. Putting his head out of the window, Vrusto looked down. It was a height of six floors. However, right bellow, there were trees thickly growing there. Because the leaves were dried up and there were many that had fallen down the trees, there was no mistake that it was possible to mitigate the impact of the fall if you skillfully landed.
Actually, by looking at it, there were a few places where the branches of the trees were broken in an unnatural manner. This was probably where she had landed.
“She doesn´t have her horse right now, so is she going on foot? On other hand, it is still possible that she got a horse from somewhere… Well, either way, let´s follow after her for now.”
Fortunately, there were still vestiges of her smell.
There was no signs it was going to rain. If Vrusto hurried up, it would be possible to catch up to Riku by following her smell.
“Hey, Roppu. Wake up already. You need to keep guard here, don´t you?”
Roppu raised a somewhat surprised voice. Giving him a sidelong glance, Vrusto jumped onto the frame of the window. Wind was blowing from the window, and his mantle was gently fluttering.
“Stupid! Do you want to let they know that ojou-chan went against her orders and went missing? That is exactly the kind of thing the guys that oppose ojou-chan want to have so that they can use it as a reason to kick her down. Besides that… she left you with the job of looking out for her back after all.”
It had been ten years since Vrusto was entrusted with the task of taking care of educating Riku.
This job still wasn´t over; even now it continued. Even if one was to say he had already finished his task, he still had the responsibility of the mistakes of his disciple as an instructor. Because of that, all he could do now was to go smack her and bring her back.
“Then, I will be leaving here to you… ojou-chan´s right hand!”
With resolve in his heart, Vrusto jumped down the window.
Happening at this same time, at the Barusak residence near the royal capital, the curtains of the war had already been brought down.
The halberd whistled as it went towards Raimon´s body, wanting to cut it in half. The sword in form of a whip parried it, reducing part of the force of the attack. And then, drawing an arc in the air, it was aimed at Riku´s neck.
There weren´t any signs of the words “mercy” and “taking easy” in that battle.
The girl Raimon Barusak was trying to kill was his real daughter… and also the daughter he had once thrown away. There was nothing but pure killing intent in his sword. Being aimed Riku Barusak defenseless neck, the sword bared its fangs.
“How naive, father.”
With a calm face, Riku parried the attack.
Without showing any signs of strain, Riku nimbly handled her halberd.
“The one that is naive is you, Riku.”
However, Raimon also didn´t lose out.
With an indifferent face, without moving one step from the place he stood at since the beginning, Raimon swung his whip.
Sending back Riku´s fast approaching attacks, sometimes he would sidestep and turn it into a counter attack. If an amateur was to look at this battle, he would believe it was a rough battle where the offence and defense would change in instants, but the reality was that it was difficult to say both of them were really using all their power.
“What´s the matter, Riku? The accuracy in your attacks is falling down, you know? Could it be because this is because you lost one of your arms?”
“Isn´t it father the one getting a bit sluggish? Are you getting negligent just because you are about to crush the whole demon army in just a few moments from now?”
“…Now then, what could you be talking about?”
While showing a smile in their lips, they exchanged words in a casual manner.
Both knew well neither of them were serious yet. Raimon Barusak would adjust his strength to meet with the strength of Riku´s attacks, and Riku herself would easy a bit on her attacks so that she would be able to hear from Raimon [certain words].
“We already have gathered all the sacrifices for the resurrection of the Demon Lord. We have the blood from royalty and also the blood of the Barusak. This would mean the end to the Barusak… So is it really fine for you to so calmly be having your breakfast in a place like this?”
Riku had one question.
Even if the spiritualists had set a trap for the Demon Lord army at the location of the seal just like the shinigami had told her, the demons still had in their hands the necessary pieces to break the seal. He wasn´t supposed to be able to have the time to be calmly eating breakfast and writing things on his book.
Rather than that, it was necessary for them to make their move with all their forces in order to stop the demons along the way.
“I see. Riku… do you want to know the true meaning behind the seal?”
“Yes. I can´t keep being manipulated by the false information of other people any more than that.”
In Riku´s entire life, she had always been manipulated.
At the time she was young… Because of false information, they received a surprise attack from the spiritualists of Bernaal.
Because Riku didn´t get the information that Kurumi had betrayed them, she had stood on the line between life and death.
Because the demons were carried away by the information about the Demon Lord crown, which was some treasure nobody knew whether it existed or not, a whole division was barely annihilated.
This time too.
Because she didn´t ask more about Leivein Adlar´s true intentions, her dream of becoming his right-wing was over.
“Answer me, Raimon Barusak.”
That´s why Riku asked.
The first reason was so that she could take revenge.
“Is the Barusak blood really needed for breaking the seal?”
The second reason was to confirm the true intentions behind the shinigami´s words.
Was it really necessary to have the blood of the Barusak to break the seal?
If that was really something needed, it wouldn´t be weird if Raimon Barusak would have already moved to stop the resurrection of the Demon Lord a long time ago by now.
However, why weren´t there any signs that he had done anything?
“That´s obvious, my defective object.”
Raimon narrowed his eyes like a snake and showed a bold smile.