I came, I saw, I conquered the conference table?
The Second Informal Conference ②
Note: This chapter is from Wrath’s point of view, though the author doesn’t specifically say so.
At my declaration, the expressions on the Divine Word Religion members changed for the worse. I guess I should say that it’s expected that the pope is the only one not to show discomposure. Kusama is completely and utterly astonished.
However, my real interest isn’t with those on the Divine Word Religion side, but those seated on the same side as me. I sneak a peek at the expressions of those members. Sophia-san has “What’s this guy saying, is he a fool, does he want to die?” plainly written on her face. Since she readily shows whatever she’s thinking on her face, she’s easy to understand. The problem, is the remaining two. In Shiro-san’s case, I guess it’s no surprise that she shows absolutely no reaction. Nothing ever troubles her. In comparison, Demon King Ariel-san has a grin on the side of her mouth.
This morning was the first time I met with this Demon King. Until then I’d only heard about the Demon King from Shiro-san and Sophia-san, but today was the first time I met her in person. I’d only heard about the existence of the Demon King from Shiro-san, but I had heard a few more details from Sophia-san. According to Sophia-san, she was saved by her as an infant when her life was threatened, and is a kind and gentle person who took good care of her afterwards.
My impression on meeting her for real, was pretty much the exact opposite of what Sophia-san said. By any stretch of the imagination, this is not a kind and gentle person. Or rather, not even a person.
「Hey hey, nice to meet you. I’m Ariel. I’m the Demon King kinda thing. Feel free to call me Ariel-chan okay!」
Towards Ariel-san who gave that merry self-introduction, I did not have the courage to call her with -chan as she herself had hoped for. I was at my absolute limit trying suppress my face from twitching. Even without Appraisal, with just one glance at the something before me in the form of a girl, I fully realised that this was an existence far beyond my own. Also, I fully realised that Ariel-san is absolutely not the kind and gentle person that Sophia-san spoke of at all. This is because, though intangible, around her there was something like a dense putrid smell of corpses coming from the many lives she had taken. Of course, there was no such actual smell. However, because I myself have taken many lives, I can somehow discern those of the same kind. In addition, there’s no comparison to me in terms of how thick that putrid smell is around her.
Sophia-san, the god called Kuro, Shiro-san. They are the ones who I’ve met that are above me. Amongst those, Ariel-san is the one who gives off the greatest sense of mortal dread. Most likely, in the sense of pure combat strength, Kuro and Shiro-san are ones who would be declared the winners. However, I can’t feel any hesitation from Ariel-san. Hesitation to kill, that is.
An anxiety in a different sense to what I feel from Shiro-san. The anxiety I feel about Shiro-san, is the anxiety of not being able to read what she’s thinking. However, the anxiety I feel about Ariel-san, is the opposite. The anxiety that I know exactly what she’s thinking of. Ariel-san has a clear purpose, and is not hiding her intent to kill. If there is someone who will oppose her objective, I’m convinced that she will remove them without hesitation.
That being the case, I have two paths to choose from. Either to carefully observe without doing anything or getting involved, or to cooperate. I chose to cooperate, with Ariel-san and consequently with Shiro-san.
It would be a lie to say that I had no doubts. Shiro-san is still hiding something for a start, and I myself don’t know if this is the right choice. However, it’s about time that I made a decision and took some kind of action. The pope in front of me said it before – to be diligent so as not to pile up corpses for no reason. I too, want to choose a path where all the people I’ve killed didn’t die for nothing. That’s just for my ego. That’s not anything that the people I killed would agree with. Even so, I think it’s better than doing nothing. Even if as a result, I’ll likely get my hands even dirtier from more mass killings.
「So there you have it – do your best, humans. If you’re careless then maybe Wrath-kun will annihilate everything by himself you know.」
With an amused expression, Ariel-san incites the Divine Word Religion members with their already pale faces. She shouldn’t have known that I was actually going to make such a declaration, yet she advances the negotiations without revealing her own thoughts about it at all. As I thought, I must be careful not to be deceived by her appearance and casual manner.
「So with that, I guess that’s everything that needs to be discussed, right? To be honest, apart from attacking the elves we should naturally be mutual enemies anyway. Ah, as for getting touch in future, I’ll leave this kid with you so if anything happens then could you say something to her?」
Saying so, Ariel-san summons a single monster. That monster looks like a girl at first glance, but looking closely I can see that it’s an elaborately made doll.
「A Puppet Taratekt is it. However, compared to the ones I saw previously it is far more elaborate in appearance is it not.」
While saying words seemingly of praise or astonishment, the pope closely observes the monster that Ariel-san summoned.
「Nice isn’t it? It was jointly developed by Shiro-chan and I you know?」
「I see. We have no objection on our side.」
「Good, good. Okay then, I’ll leave her with you until it’s time to attack the elves. In the meantime, feel free to use her however you like.」
「Please take good care of me.」
This so-called Puppet Taratekt bows at the waist and gives a greeting. Seemingly never expecting it to be able to talk, the pope shows a surprised expression for an instant.
「With Shiro-chan’s magic remodelling our doll is without equal in being able to talk. Well, it has general capabilities, so feel free to use it as a maid or for combat.」
「This is an unexpected gift to receive, no doubt.」
While the pope is saying that, I’m sure that nobody thinks that this is a present out of pure good will. Ariel-san is blatantly infiltrating them with something like a spy after all. If the Divine Word Religion makes any kind of suspicious movements, then Ariel-san will be able to immediately know of it. Going by what I can see, the Puppet Taratekt has a considerably high combat potential. Should circumstances require it, I think this single monster could probably even take control of the center of the Divine Word Religion by itself. If something happens, it will surely become a threat. Yet, the Divine Word Religion cannot object to it. If they objected, then they don’t know what further threats they would face from Ariel-san.
「Then, this conference is over! Dustin, lend me your ear for a bit. There’s something personal I’d like to discuss.」
Ariel-san moves to lead out the pope while smiling. As relaxed as if inviting a friend for a drink. However, considering the twitch that showed on the pope’s face for an instant, nobody would think it was for a valid reason. While I’m sure that the pope isn’t about to die here, I’m also sure that it won’t be gentle on the pope either.
「So then, wait up for me Shiro-chan and co.」
Before getting the pope’s agreement, Ariel-san gets up and leaves the conference room. Shiro-san sees her off in silence, and Sophia-san doesn’t know what to do either and doesn’t move. In that case, I guess I’ll talk to Kusama for a bit then. I greet Kusama, and leave the conference room.
“To be diligent so as not to pile up corpses for no reason” – the words used aren’t quite the same but this is probably a reference to the pope’s line near the end of Informal Conference ⑧.