Chapter 51 – Katsudon
――――In the middle of a dark room, a man was talking to a crystal.
“Nhinnhinnhi……Is the plan advancing?”
A voice flowed out of the crystal, in response to the man with the creepy laughter.
『This side is going as planned. More importantly, how is your side?』
The voice coming from the crystal sounded like that of an old man.
The man shouted, face completely red, at the old man’s question.
“Nothing is going right! Because that little girl kept doing unnecessary things, there had to be large changes made to the plan!”
『……Ah, it’s about the Alliance with Winberg Kingdom, huh……』
“That’s right! At this rate, my wish will……”
『Don’t be mistaken. It is not just your wish. It is our wish.』
(TLC note: Special emphasis was put on “our”.)
In response to the old man, the man apologised obediently.
Then, as though he didn’t mind it, the old man changed the topic.
『Good. So, how are the preparations going on your side? As for my side, everything is already ready to go.』
“Nhinnhinnhi! This side too. The plan might have changed, but the objective has not……Even if disasters occur, we will achieve our goal!”
『That’s right. It seems it was the right call to gather the region’s monsters just in case……』
“Indeed……That reminds me, is that drug complete?”
At the man’s question, the old man heartily laughed and answered confidently.
『Kukuku……It is done. My finest work.』
“At last……! The【Growth Drug】to forcefully raise levels!”
『Yeah. I can guarantee the effects. So, what will you do? For this time’s plan……Do you want to try it on the monsters?』
At the old man’s words, the man thought for a moment, and then an evil smile appeared on his face.
“……No, not yet. This time’s plan, will not use them yet. If we do use them……it would be when we erase that little girl.”
『I see……but, she is still the Demon King’s daughter right? Is that okay?』
“I am like you, serving a supreme being to which the Demon King is insignificant。For small fry like them to disappear is only natural……Well, as long as they have worth I’ll continue on using them.”
Saying so, the man let out a disgusting laugh.
『Well, I won’t say anything to you. ……Well then, shall we start advancing the plans soon?』
“Yeah, let’s do so――――”
――――Everything is for the sake of the Demon God――――
(TLC note: Again, emphasis on “Demon God”)
“Good……Just like that……That’s it……”
The day after the Kyarasuti art competition, in order to do the training that had started to become a habit, I had come to the Royal Palace.
……Thinking about it now, having a robed male of unknown origins, freely wandering around inside palace is pretty dangerous isn’t it……No, even before that, is it even alright to be able to come to the palace so easily……？
When I tilted my head unconsciously, thinking of these little questions that crossed my mind, Florio-san pointed out to me.
“Come on, Seiichi-kun. You’re getting distracted by idle thoughts again. The spell’s going to collapse.”
Right now, by having Florio-san teach me, I’m training to control my magic.
The contents of this training, consists of using relatively safe, elementary water magics …… like maintaining a 『Water Ball』the size of a basketball.
At first, because I was unable to control it, I made a Water Ball of a ridiculous size capable of flooding the entirety of Terveil, but now if I just focus I can maintain it at the size of a basketball. …… I was seriously panicked the first time. I mean, it was elementary magic that could damage the entire capital, you know? I don’t even know what the meaning of elementary magic is anymore. Fortunately, because『Magic Hall』activated instantly, it invalidated the spell, so there was no harm done, but…
…… You know, I think these are precisely the moments for Evolution to shine.
But …… It’s not responding at all. It’s shocking how silent it’s been. Is this the rumoured Hybrid? …… Nah.
Even though it announced the acquisition of my cheat skills so much, it’s unresponsive. Is this a new form of bullying?
But, I already somehow expected that.
This is just speculation, but I think that the skill 『Evolution』, can only let you grow in a way that makes you stronger, but never in a way that makes you weaker.
But, I heard from Florio-san that if I continued to repeatedly train like this, eventually I will learn the skill『Holding Back』, so without getting depressed with my lack of progress, I continue with this basic training.
“Alright, that’s enough. It’s alright to stop your spell now.”
“Haaaaaa! Sooo tireeeddddd!”
Getting permission from Florio-san, I stopped my spell and dropped onto the floor.
This technique to stop my magic was also something I picked up after starting these lessons.
There wasn’t much physical fatigue, but because I had to continuously concentrate I was quite fatigued mentally.
Normally, I would be dismissed by now, but today’s practise had one difference. And that was――――
“Seiichi! Look look～!”
A ball of flame was being played with by Saria as though it was a beanbag.
On the other side, Al was manipulating a 5-meter tall bird made of ice she had conjured.
And near Al and Saria, I could see the figure of Rurune staring at the two in interest.
That’s right, for today’s practice, Saria and the others have also come along.
“Ooh, that’s some dexterity…”
“I can even do things like this!”
Hearing the admiration in my voice, Saria’s smile deepened, and she formed flames around both her hands and feet.
“Tadaa! Isn’t this cool!”
“I’m shocked by the high specs of Saria and the others……”
It seems that Saria and Al have not been able to use magic up to now, but once the skill I had previously obtained ……『Guidance』activated, the two of them became able to use magic. Furthermore, it happened just today.
……This『Guidance』skill is pretty ridiculous.
I understood it when the skill first activated, but as long as I use this skill, I instantly draw out a person’s hidden potential.
However, as you can hear the words hidden potential, if they don’t have any potential from the beginning, then I can’t draw anything out.
That’s why, because Saria only has potential in the fire attribute, and Al in the ice attribute, they are unable to use any of the other attributes at all.
Besides, when not drawing out a person’s latent ability and just trying to teach them something, it simply shows me in my head the best way to explain it to them in a way they can understand.
“Hmm……Seiichi-kun’s skill is really amazing. I too, could only use ice attribute magic, even being called the【Demon of Ice】……To think that, I even had affinity with the earth attribute too.”
Watching my exchanges with Saria, Florio-san laughed as he made a lump of soil float in the air, transforming it into various shapes and forms.
Actually, I’m not just learning from Florio-san and Louise, but I’m also teaching them whatever I can.
For the sake of doing so, I’ve read all sorts of books and expanded my knowledge from a certain library room within the palace, so now I’m at the level where I can explain magic and skill to a certain degree.
And so, just like with Saria and the others, when I activated the skill『Guidance』on Florio-san, his talent with Earth attribute magic bloomed.
“With this, I have found another path that I should devote myself to. Besides, watching Seiichi-kun, I’ve come to keenly realise that there is still plenty of improvements to be made, even with my ice attribute magic.”
In response to Florio-san’s words, I unintentionally expressed a bitter smile.
From what I’ve learnt from the books in the library and heard from Florio-san and the others, the strength of magic is determined by its magical power and the magical attack power status.
Also, from the magic power consumption information that was input into my brain when I stole the magic from the Aqua Wolf and Sandman, and from what I researched in the palace’s library, I learned that with each magic’s consumption, there is a lower limit of magic power needed to activate the magic, but an upper limit doesn’t exist.
If the bare minimum amount of magical power needed is surpassed, then the strength of the magic is multiplied by the magical power used.
That’s why, when I release magic, I put in an excessive amount of power so the magic produced is of an absurd scale and strength.
As such, for my training now, it might be more accurate to call it training to control my magical power rather than training to control my magic.
But, because my Magic Attack is abnormally high, even if the magical power was suppressed to the bare minimum, if I were to use it normally then it could cause a catastrophe.
But, by using the bare minimum magical power needed, I can control the strength of the magic. Inversely, if I were to exceed it too much, then I would no longer be able to control it.
While I was sorting out my newly gained knowledge in my mind, Al who was practising ice attribute magic, walked over to my side with Rurune.
“Fuu……Magic is difficult.”
“Al, good work out there.”
Giving a short reply, Al formed a palm-sized chunk of ice, and began to put it against the nape of her neck and so on, to cool off her heated body.
“I made a bird capable of moving using magic, and tried to engage in a mock battle with it but……though a magic made by me, it was quite a troublesome opponent.”
“……While you say it was difficult, I’m shocked that you were able to simply do it……”
“D-don’t praise me so much……”
“Damn it! The irony of the situation is not getting to her……!”
I’m envious of her talent, damn it!
Even for me, if it weren’t for effects of evolution, I’d still be a normal human …… No, I would be even lower than a normal human being. Why is it? Saying it somehow makes me feel really sad now?!
As I fell into the spiral of depression, Rurune who had remained silent till now, spoke out.
“……A bird of ice……It looked delicious……”
“You serious don’t change huh!”
Actually, even if you call it a bird of ice, it was born out of Al’s magic, and above all, eating ice of that size will give you stomachache …… Huh? I can’t imagine Rurune getting stomachaches?!
Whenever food is involved, Rurune’s peerlessness is extraordinary.
I had learned the details of the black coloured wolf that she kicked during the Royal Capital Cup afterwards, but it seems like it was an A rank monster.
Incidentally, from what I’ve heard about the relationship between monster ranks and adventurer ranks, it seems they’re not the same. For example in order to take down a C-rank monsters, it would need 5 C-rank adventurers, though if it was a B-rank adventurer they could defeat it alone, and similarly for a monster whose rank is the same as the adventurers, it seems they would need at least 5 people to hunt it.
Also, like it takes one B-rank adventurer to hunt down a C-rank monster by themselves, even 1 rank difference will result in several magnitudes difference in ability.
However, there seems to be a huge jump from B-Rank to A-Rank, because even if 5 B-rank adventurers try to hunt a B-rank demon, there are still cases where the adventurers are wiped out.
Thinking about it that way means that the demon that Rurune kicked down was a monster that even 5 Al’s might not be able to beat.
And, even if it is the same A-rank as the wolf Rurune defeated, the Bahamut is said to be much more dangerous, but that Louise easily captured it, showing how amazing Louise is. As expected of the Kingdom’s strongest knight. She’s at a level surpassing even the top S-rank adventurers.
The me who could battle her, and come out unharmed is pretty monstrously strong too. Got a problem with that!
While I was still feeling depressed and down, I noticed a person heading towards us from the castle.
That person was Louise, whom I was thinking of in my head.
“Good afternoon, Shishou. Is your training for today over?”
“Yeah, just now.”
“Is that so. ……Hm? Who might they be?”
When Louise noticed Saria and the others, surprise spread across her expressionless face as she asked.
When I was telling Florio-san about their participation in today’s training, I had already introduced them to him, but I had yet to introduce them to Louise.
Thinking that, I turn around to introduce Saria and co, and they all had a surprised expression on their face.
“Waaa……What a pretty person～!”
“Y-yeah……This girl is the leader of the Valkyries (Sword Saints of the Holy Maiden), the famous Louise also known as the Knight of Swords (Sword Knight)……”
“Master, the girl over there, she somehow looks like Florio-san, huh.”
It would seem that they are shocked at Louise’s beauty.
Certainly she is good looking enough to call her beautiful, but Saria, Al, and Rurune weren’t inferior either, and in a sense, with my built-up bishoujo resistance, I wasn’t as surprised as they were…… But suddenly being challenged, seriously surprised me!
Besides, while it’s not bad to be good looking, but as expected I think someone with a beautiful heart is the best. And I might have slimmed down now, but I’m not in a position to judge since I used to be fat and clumsy.
Really, Saria and the others are too good for me ……
As I once again reminded myself of my happiness, the 3 of them introduced themselves.
“I’m Saria! Seiichi’s bride～!”
“I-I’m Altria Grem. Umm……I’m……uhh……Seiichi’s girlfriend.”
“I am Rurune. I am a servant who protects my master as a knight.”
“What kind of self-introductions are those!?”
I really didn’t expect them to drop bombs like that in their self-introduction!
While it might not be wrong for Saria to call herself my bride, and Al to say she’s my girlfriend, but Rurune calling herself my servant is really bad!
See, Florio-san and Louise are both dumbstruck!
While I was blue in the face, thinking about how to explain myself, they two of them suddenly had a look of acceptance on their face.
“As expected of Seiichi-kun……To be even more devious than me……”
“Shishou……I’m proud to have a teacher such as you……”
“Your impression of me doesn’t go beyond a certain limit, huh!”
Just once, I’d like to ask all my acquaintances about their impression of me. What on earth do I seem like to them?
When a tired expression appeared on my face at my reaction to the two, Louise suddenly had an expression as though she remembered something, and called out to me.
“Ah, that’s right. Shishou, I would like to ask a request of you……”
When I replied with a stupid look on my face, Louise lowered her voice.
“……It’s the matter of the assassin that attacked His Majesty. Around her neck, is a magic tool called a【Collar of Slavery】, and it cannot be removed carelessly. As such, I would like to ask for your help Shishou……”
“Collar of Slavery……”
I frowned at what Louise said.
Because I was reading all sorts of books, I had also gained knowledge regarding the 【Collar of Slavery】.
Firstly, the 【Collar of Slavery】, as the name implies, is a tool that forces its wearer into subordination.
Furthermore, it was not a Cursed Tool, but a Magic Tool instead.
A cursed tool isn’t something that can be used to control someone, but in the case of the magic tool 【Collar of Slavery】, the person who put it on the wearer can give any order they please. Furthermore, there is no limit to how many orders can be given, and the wearer cannot harm the person who put it on them.
Also, the wearer cannot remove the 【Collar of Slavery】 by themselves, and other people who forcefully try to remove it will cause the wearer great damage.
By the way, there is also a degraded version of the 【Collar of Slavery】, called the 【Bracelet of Slavery】, and aside from there being a limit to the number of orders that can be given, it has the same effect as the 【Collar of Slavery】.
“At the moment, the effects of the Collar of Slavery are being sealed off with a barrier, and Lorna is interrogating the person, but……”
“But even barriers have their limits, huh……”
“Yes. The Collar of Slavery is an abnormally strong Magic Tool, so a barrier that is equivalently strong must be prepared.”
“I understand the situation. If I can, I want to try to do something about the situation.”
In this past month, if it could be of help to others, I learned to not hesitate to use these monstrously strong powers of mine.
That’s because, with Florio-san and Louise’s training, I have become able to manage my power to some degree.
If my ridiculous power could save that young girl, then I’ll lend my hand in whatever I can.
“Thank you very much, Shishou. And also, there’s one more thing I should tell you.”
“Thing you should tell me?”
“Yes. That said, I’d like to settle the girl’s matter first, so shall we head to the interrogation room.”
And so, as I was about to follow Louise, and move to the place where Lorna was using for interrogation, Saria and the others reacted.
“Huh? Seiichi. Where are you going?”
“Eh? Ah, no, I just have some business……”
“……With just you and Louise-san, what kind of business is that?”
“Well, it’s not particularly going to be just the two of us……”
“Master……can’t you bring me along too? Are you already tired of me?!”
“Rurune, stop going around saying lines that would invite misunderstandings!”
I had no clue how to answer the three who were asking where I was going.
If I were to honestly say I was going to the interrogation room, then there would be a need for me to explain why I was going there, and they would also end up finding out that Ranze-san was attacked.
While I was racking my brains to come up with an answer that would satisfy them, Louise and Florio-san huddled together in discussion, before finally, Louise began to talk as their representative.
“Shishou. If they are related to you, then there’s no need to keep it a secret.”
“Eh? But……is that okay? To just tell them like that.”
“Yes. However, I would like the 3 of them to swear to keep everything they see and hear from now on a secret……”
At Louise’s pause, Saria and the others looked at each other for a moment and immediately answered.
“Yeah, I got it! I’ll keep it a secret!”
“I-I’m fine with it too……”
“I was not interested in it in the first place. I’ll keep it a secret.”
“……Thank you very much. Well then, I shall explain as we move. Please come with me.”
And so, following Louise, she guided us to the room that Lorna was using for the interrogation.
“No way……For the King to be targeted……”
As we headed to the room, Louise simply explained the events that happened a month before, and Al’s expression became serious.
“But thanks to Seiichi, he was saved, right? As expected of Seiichi! How cool!”
But conversely, the way Saria spoke sounded like she was completely not worried and Rurune wasn’t interested from the very start …… This donkey, she really doesn’t show interest in anything aside from food.
Since she was unfazed by the whole thing, I had an odd mix of feelings …… something like shock, and respect, when suddenly Louise stopped.
“This is the interrogation room. But, please think of the room we’re in now, as a place to view what happens in the interrogation chamber.”
We were told concisely, but in actuality, this interrogation room or whatever, was similar to rooms used in detective dramas where other detectives can listen in on interrogations, and there was only one door leading into the interrogation chamber.
But, compared to what is seen in Detective Dramas, this interrogation room has one difference.
That is, that unlike in detective dramas, where they use one-way glass to see into the other room, this room had surveillance magic, much like the one used in the Royal Capital Cup, which was projecting the scene to us.
“It seems the interrogation has just resumed.”
When Louise said so, we turned our eyes to the image, where Lorna-san, and girl that I caught who we think is a black cat beastman, were seated facing each other.
Lorna-san was, like when we met before, in armour, but the girl had been changed from her Shinobi costume-like attire to more plain clothes.
『……Ojou-chan, if you were to confess already, it’d make it easier you know?』
Lorna-san, what kind of manner are you questioning her with.
I retorted internally, at the Lorna-san who purposely lowered her voice, bringing out a fitting atmosphere.
『So you’re staying silent, huh……but you know? Ojou-chan. We already have evidence against you!』
BANG! She strongly slammed the table, or so I thought she did, but in that posture, she said.
『……Want some, katsudon?』
You just wanted to say that, didn’t you!?
I really wanted to shout that out, but I desperately restrained myself. Actually, why does Lorna-san even know about the kind of things detectives on earth would say…… No, she’s probably doing it unknowingly, right…
As we watched the exchanges between the two with lukewarm eyes, Lorna-san brought just one katsudon.
And, putting that bowl of katsudon in front of herself――――。
“So you’re the one eating it!”
Finally unable to resist any more, I retorted. Or rather, how terrible!
The girl gulped down her saliva, staring intently at Lorna-san digging into the katsudon making it look delicious.
However, Lorna-san was completely indifferent to her stares, and began purposely showing off her eating the Katsudon as though it was delicious.
『Nn～, delicious! Oh, how regrettable～! If you just honestly fess up, then you’d be able to enjoy such delicious food too～!』
『Here, please look! Just looking at it makes me hungry, and above all that smell is……Mufuー!』
『U-ho?! The combination of this dripping egg, and the crispy cutlet is irresistible!』
“Are you a demon!”
Unable to resist anymore, I burst into the interrogation chamber and shouted. As expected I couldn’t resist! No matter how you look at it, it was too pitiful.
The moment I opened the door, the confused Lorna-san had a shocked expression since I had just broken into the room in the middle of the interrogation, but Louise quietly slipped into the room, and without blaming me, called out to Lorna-san.
“Yes? What is it? Louise-sama. Actually, why is Seiichi-san……”
“Your dinner for tonight is forfeit.”
It seems that Louise decided that Lorna-san actions were too cruel, and so she coldly announced.
“You know……Even for an interrogation, there should be better ways to do this. Why did you choose to do this?”
“Umm……I thought that showing her some really good food while she’s hungry and saying you can have some if you give me information, would be an easy way to get her to talk……”
“The person is still a young girl you know? There’s this thing called prudence――――”
While I was looking at Louise lecturing Lorna-san, Rurune shuddered in fear and said,
“W-what a frightening form of torture……”
“You’re making too big of a deal out of this.”
How attached to food is this donkey!
Florio-san was staring at the scene with a wry smile on his face, and Saria and Al were completely out of it, and shocked still.
“Haaa……Florio-san, could you prepare another bowl of katsudon?”
“Hm? I don’t mind but……”
When I said so, Florio-san called out to his subordinates, and asked them to bring katsudon.
And so, since the katsudon had to be prepared, it took a while, but I brought it with me as I went over to the girl.
“I’m sorry that that Nee-san was mean to you. Look, we prepared another of the same thing, so eat as much as you want.”
“Huh?! Why am I the bad guy here?!”
“Lorna, I’m still talking.”
“Please forgive me already! It was my baddddddddd!”
Ignoring Lorna-san’s sorrowful cry, I gently told the girl, and she looked up at me, with teary half opened eyes.
I smiled wryly at her figure and patted her head.
“It’s alright, it’s okay for you to eat it. Go ahead and eat as much as you want.”
Hearing my words, the little girl hesitated a little but soon began to eat the katsudon little by little.
Other foods would have been okay too, but if you see a person eating katsudon in front of you as though it was so delicious, then you would want to eat katsudon too. For some reason whenever you see people eat something it always seems delicious.
While I was thinking about such trivial things, the girl was happily eating the katsudon.