Long, long ago, though it was only the day before the Sacred Demon Grand Prix began. There lived a slightly strange girl called Elsia. She couldn’t help but be a little strange, for she came from the royal line of a world of magic called the demon world. She was a magical princess…
The radiant afternoon sun, in the corner of a café terrace in the shopping district, Elsia sat alone. Her table was adorned with royal milk tea and marrons glaces.
A little more than a week had gone by since she came to this city. She did not have anything particular to do today, so she was trying out cafes here and there in search of a place and menu that suited her.
This could be called elegance just as easily as it could be called sloth. But this had been her long-lived everyday since far before the tournament began. It was not as if she had any specific goals in life. Nor did she have anything she wanted to obtain.
The reason was simple. That was a true demon’s nature. A true demon was born with power. Therefore, they need not put in effort. There was no need to. Any stroke of originality or ingenuity could be rendered useless at the snap of a finger with the mana concealed in their bodies. They could do so from the moment they were born.
One could say that true demons were self-contained.
Elsia was the daughter of the last demon lord of the earth’s demon lord era Fier. She was a genuine pure-blood. She was born on this side, and she did try going to the demon world once. In a certain country, she set off a festival with the royal princess’s return.
Of course, even in the demon world, those of poor lineage put in effort. Yet because of their absurd lifespans, they never had to become truly desperate. That was why the other world never had much enthusiasm. It was boring. Elsia herself was blessed with more talent than she could dream of, and had nothing to do with it. If everyone around her was the same, then where was all the fun in life? Then this world had to be better, and she made her way back.
A light sigh at those memories. Elsia gazed at the forms of people passing in front of the terrace without truly gazing at them.
In contrast to true demons, humans had absolutely nothing from the moment they were born. Having nothing was one thing, but their life spans were also depressingly short. They grew desperate with the limited time they were given. They studied. They endeavored. They innovated. The kicked. They squirmed. Eager. Desperate. Watching that was Elsia’s joy in life.
Like the flowers, they would bud, bloom and glisten. But unlike a flower, a human had nothing to do with the seasons, they never knew when the moment would come. For those that would continue blooming brightly… there were those who would suddenly wither away. But even when they were down and out, there were those who could spring up and bloom forth from there.
That was the fun part.
The marrons glaces gone, the milk tea drained, she stood from her seat. She made for the register. This café belonged to that company. A maid handled her with a smile.
“Yes, thank you very much! Your total comes to a thousand and five hundred…”
Upon noticing that, a senior-in-the-business-looking maid rushed in from the floor. She pulled the register maid off by the arm and whispered in the corner.
“Eh? I-is something wrong…?”
“You don’t know!? She’s the one at the top floor of the Gran de Hotel…!”
What could they be whispering about? Two looks of surprise and envy.
Elsia was aware of the rumors going around. She did indeed take up a residence in the royal suite of the largest hotel. The other day when she went up to the viewing lounge and mused,
“What a nice view,”
The hotel insisted she was free to use that place as well. Therefore, at present two floors were essentially completely reserved for Elsia. This came with a certain name.
“T-the rumored Lady on the Platform…!”
This was another interesting side of humans.
“That’s right, so you shouldn’t dare demand money from her! You got that!?”
“Y-yes! Loud and clear!”
The young clerk reformed her smile and returned.
“I will send your bill to the hotel…”
These events were happening more and more as of late. Elsia turned and left the store.
There was one thing Ryuuta told her that she had to agree with.
— You’re a pretty cold woman, you know that.
He had no ill intent, he must have been talking about her perpetual sage-like expression and speech. But Elsia agreed with him. Perhaps she was longing for something that would warm her cold self.
In that regard, this was a nice city.
Upon leaving the café, Elsia mixed in with the crowd without any destination in mind. This place had more of the heat she loved than any of the towns she had moved to. Everyone had their sights on the glory of victory, trying to bloom with all their might.
In which case, she didn’t only want to gaze at these blooming humans… shouldn’t she try to bloom herself? She was a purebred who was blooming from the moment she was born. Even if there was no meaning in the outcome itself, wouldn’t she want to set her sights on accomplishing something?
The first time she thought so was definitely after she came to this city.
She derided herself.
If she spoke of this in the demon world, she’d be sneered out. True demons were never to line up next to humans. Having nothing from birth, meaning the lowest of the lows even forsaken by god. Just what could she see in the very beings created out of contempt?
That was why the girl who watched them, who longed for that heat had to be quite the strange one. She presumed that was why she accompanied Ryuuta. Her partner Ryuuta Salinger had enough heat to burn himself… if she had to say, he was clad in a heat that would lead to his own ruin.
The hellfire that went by the name of revenge.
When that bloomed, just how much light, or perhaps darkness would she see?
That was all that intrigued her at the moment.
Walking as the wind took her, she had come to the plaza in front of Centralle Building. In preparation for the Sacred Demon Grand Prix, the race that would open tomorrow, the streets were showing off more vigor than usual. There were a number of stalls erected, from the junk food one could snack on with one hand, to the cheap-looking but fragrant candies, to armor and magic items, even toys she couldn’t care less about.
Elsia’s feet stopped before a stall selling what she could only see as junk. She had to wonder why these humans could grow so attached to such worthless rubbish.
Take for instance this. Elsia took one of them in her hands. A white ring on the end of a straight pink-colored stick, with the shape of a star inlayed in it; for some reason there were small white wings sprouting from the base of the ring.
At a glance, it could look like a magic staff.
But it did not contain the slightest bit of magic. Then in the first place, this stick couldn’t fly so it didn’t need wings, the star and pink colors were just excessive stylization.
“Lady Elsia, I believe it suits you perfectly!”
The geometric mask running the shop went on excitedly.
“Put it on and you’ll be smoking!!”
“…? I’ll burn?”
Did that mean this was a fire-type magic item? Elsia tried focusing her eyes a bit, but still, she couldn’t sense the slightest mana.
The shopkeeper spoke wary of the public eye.
“Just between you and me… one of our brethren in the industrial district grinded it out, three prayers for each stroke of the chisel, it’s a stick made of mithril.”
This mask company and the industrial district company were supposed to be on bad terms… but maybe it was different at the actual worksite. Whatever the case, if it contained mithril, it would be a good magic conductor.
“If you buy it now, I’ll throw in the costume!”
He forced a fluttery one piece she could almost hear girly sound effects shooting out of onto her.
“This is also wonderfully burning! Please, henceforth call yourself Magical Princess Elysian…”
“There he is, found him!”
“It’s the dunce conspiring with those muscleheads from the Industrial District!”
Full-body tights with metal batons in one hand appeared in large numbers to encircle the shop.
“What’s with all this moe merchandise!?”
“It’s all smuggled from the Industrial District, isn’t it!”
It was smuggled, apparently.
“S-stop it! Moe bears no sin! Don’t kick what a man has poured his soul into making!!”
“Silence, it’s all contraband! Have you forgotten the shadow supreme leader’s ban on excess moe!!?”
“You’re coming with us! Off to Ripple-Rapple’s black room, you’re going to spit out all your underground routes!!”
“Eek!? The black room!? Noooo! Please, anything but that! Eeeeeeeeeeee…!”
They left like a gust of wind, leaving Elsia alone.
When she looked down, only the stick she had picked up by chance, and the clothes he pushed onto her remained. There was one thing she understood. This item contained enough heat to cause such a ruckus… apparently. Which meant.
There was a problem in the way she thought of it as junk. With that in mind, Elsia knew she would have to observe it a while longer; unable to throw it away, she took it back with her.
That change of heart. Was the unshakable proof that she was being affected by the heat of this town.
Ryuuta howled. He seemed to be in a quarry or something of the sort. All he could see was the tip of Centralle Building across the dense forest… so presumably, he was somewhere in the Nature District.
“Let me outa here!!”
“That’s right! I have nothing to do with this! Isn’t this Ryuuta guy your target!?”
“For Christ’s sake Lily, I’m surprised you can say that.”
“I meaaaan, when you get down to it, isn’t this all because you picked a fight with Alhazan the other day!?”
Ryuuta was sealed. Along with the mirror glass maid who made off with all his results from the labyrinth… Lily.
“If you’d just honestly returned whatever you snatched from me, I never would have made such a blunder…!”
“Eehh? I have no idea what you’re talking about. I snatched what~?”
The short of the matter, he coincidently ran into her smack dab in the middle of town. Thanks to his partner, Ryuuta was always short on money, so naturally, even if it was drops in the bucket, even if it amounted to little at all, he closed in to get her to fork over his share. Abusing the confusion that came from it, some individuals who seemed to belong to Alhazan had captured them.
“That’s quite a face you’ve got after you stole away someone’s meal ticket, wench!”
“Ehehe. You like my face?”
That wasn’t a compliment.
“God, both of you, just calm down already!”
The one who said that was the policewoman who picked a fight at the front desk. When he was quarreling with Lily, she also happened to coincidently pass by, and with her policewoman disposition or something tried to mediate, stepping in like she was doing now.
And as luck would have it. She was rounded up with the rest of them.
“This is a huge bother to me too, but now is not the time to fight. First, we should think of a way to escape from here.”
“Y-yeah… you’re right. We can talk about money after that.”
When he said that, Lily casually used this opportunity to ignore the money… but the voice she let out was at least somewhat desperate.
“But how are we going to escape from this one.”
Their arms and legs weren’t bound. What’s more, their vision was open in all directions. They were more free than anything but couldn’t escape. While it simply looked that way, they were surrounded by invisible walls.
Meaning a barrier.
The enemy excelled in magic. When he was captured, all he saw was a magic circle appear at his feet, and he was suddenly teleported here. This was no average caster.
Magic was Ryuuta’s worst field. No matter how combat trained he was, he was a proper human. Since he hadn’t trained his spirit from a young age, there was no way he could use it. He had the knowledge to combat it, but that didn’t go as far as using it himself.
“Oy, Lily, how’s your magic?”
“Sorry. I can’t.”
“Well’n what about your partner? Is there any way you can establish contact from here?”
“That’s probably… impossible.”
“Wow aren’t you useless…! Then Minako, was it? How about you?”
“I don’t know what’s going on… that time at the receptions hut was the first time in my life I ever saw magic.”
Oh, when Hideo stepped in… Ryuuta recalled.
“Then what about your Okamaru?”
He lowered his gaze to Minako’s hip.
‘Most likely… I would be able to escape this witchcraft on my own.’
As joy spread across the three, the wielder Minako cried out.
“That’s amazing, Okamaru! Why didn’t you say that sooner!?”
‘But Minako. Even if I get out of here… what I can do on my own is quite limited.’
Ah. The three noticed. He was a truncheon. A metal pole with no arms or legs. Limited was an understatement, was there anything he could do at all?
“Is that true?”
Minako folded her arms painstakingly at Minako’s question.
“If Okamaru’s on his own, he can only jump around a bit…”
“Ah, I kinda want to see that.”
Lily was ignored.
‘I am ashamed. If at the very least there was someone outside to wield me, I would go on a rampage most splendid…’
“More importantly, what about your partner? She was a magician from what I could see.”
Certainly, Elsia was a magic specialist. She might be able to help if he could get in contact but… the only ones who could ferry his words were the two women outside.
“There’s no need to worry about that. Right, Sorka?”
“Yes. The reason being she is our objective. Right, Norka?”
These girls who suddenly appeared with the wind were the very ones who had captured them proclaiming to be members of Alhazan.
They had to be twins, their faces, physiques, and even equipment were identical. They wore thick curtain-like mantles. And in each of their hands, a magic staff with a jewel as large as a fist. The only differences between them were their hair and the colors of their outfit. Hair-wise, they simply had them done up on opposite side.
(Well, that’s all well and good, but…)
The mantles concealed high exposure… leotards similar to what a female pro wrestler would wear. The slender lefts that stretched out from their boots. Tight waist. Womanly bust. A figure that didn’t lose to their fashion sense. Cute faces too.
“I’m in heaven.”
For some reason Lily and Minako hit him.
“Women are not. Breast size!!”
“I have to vehemently agree!!”
He felt an impending sense of crisis.
“W-wait a second! I definitely had a little malice there but… wait, now that I look at you, you girls aren’t bad ei…”
“Wanna go!? Wanna go at it!?”
An energetic maid that started shadow boxing.
“Death sentence for sexual harassment!”
An active policewoman who didn’t seem to understand the law.
“Ah, no, more importantly… you said Elsia was your goal…?”
When Ryuuta asked, even their dimples rose to the same points as they showed identical smiles.
“Of course, you’re an objective as well.”
“But that’s for Alhazan the organization.”
The tone of voice they sneered in was identical, like two unsynced audio tracks. He felt like he was going to be sick.
“For Alhazan…? Then Elsia is…”
The two happily answered.
“Our personal objective.”
“666. Otherwise known as the ‘Book of the Beast’.”
That was the first time he’d heard that name, but there was only one thing it brought up in relation to Elsia.
“That grimoire she carries around…?”
It could almost be called her trademark. A book as thick as an encyclopedia. He hadn’t heard any of the specifics from Elsia herself, but 666 was quite the strange name.
“Precisely. That item is one of the legendary Regalia.”
The distressed voice was from Lily.
“Oh, you know about them?”
“I mean, regalia were made for gods to fight against gods and… in the modern day, if you’re not an outer or something, having one is…”
Hearing that, the sisters narrowed their eyes.
“… You’re quite knowledgeable. Who are you?”
“Heh? Ah, no. Eheheh.”
A blatant forced smile to take herself off the spot.
“Well whatever. The Book of the Beast is the supreme magic item. Right, Sorka?”
“So it should be in the hands of supreme magicians like us. Right Norka?”
If they just sat still, they were close sisters with cute smiles. But their eyes gazing at their prey were cold.
“Ryuuta Salinger. Now that you’ve fallen into our trap, there’s nothing but death ahead of you.”
“In that case, it’s no problem if we use you a bit before that, right? We’ll give you one last chance to say goodbye to your partner.”
“Aren’t we kind, Sorka?”
“We sure are kind, Norka.”
(They’re messing with me…!)
But it was true he couldn’t do anything at the moment. Now that they had brought up such a dangerous subject, the joking atmosphere had disappeared from both Lily and Minako’s faces.
“It’s about time she read our invitation.”
“If she really does wander in, it’ll be quite a show.”
They had enough skill to instantaneously draw a magic circle and transfer three humans. And their personality. It was impossible they didn’t have anything in store. He knew how strong Elsia was, but these two women were after her weapon, her grimoire… they had definitely prepared a plan to obtain it.
He had to break through this situation. At the very least, before Elsia appeared, if he could just get some backup.
(Don’t you dare come until then… Elsia…!)
When Elsia returned to the hotel, the frontman called out to her.
“Welcome back, Elsia… did you go shopping?”
The face under his mask was probably quite shocked. A little surprise did find its way in his voice. But if he asked if she bought it, she definitely did not.
“I obtained it.”
“I see, is that so… ah, incidentally, there’s a letter for you.”
A single clean white envelope was passed over the counter.
“I couldn’t say… a woman who looked like a magician left it here without giving a name.”
“I see. Read it.”
“You want me to? Are you sure?”
Her hands were full. Elsia lifted them to show that.
“Yes, well then…”
He cut the seal with a letter opener and took out the letter.
“Ahem, let’s see… We have taken custody of your partner Ryuuta Salinger. If you value his life, come to the quarry in the nature district’s second mining lot by sundown… t-this is blackmail!”
“Is that all?”
“Hm? Oh, yes… that’s all it says.”
Elsia headed towards the elevator she was now quite accustomed to riding.
“U-umm!? Is that okay!? There’s only an hour left to sunset…!”
“I don’t value it.”
Only the sound of her shoes clacked out through the quiet hall.
Once she had gone, the frontman along with the other employees absendmindedly murmured.
One of the sisters kicked the invisible wall, shrieking hysterically at Ryuuta.
“What’s going on with your partner!?”
Norka and Sorka had lost their leisure. The reason being, no one came. The sun set long ago, yet nothing had happened.
“I just checked with the hotel and they said she was eating dinner!”
He prayed she wouldn’t come, he never thought she really wouldn’t. What’s more, she was calmly eating her supper at the usual time. He couldn’t help but be amazed.
But come to think of it, that was the sort of woman she was.
Lily and Minako’s stomachs growled.
“Dinner… that sounds nice…”
“Urk… I’m hungry…”
No… honestly, I’m really sorry.“
Ryuuta apologized to everyone present for his partner’s poor show. But even now he had yet to find the means to escape from this invisible cage.
“Norka, how about we kill one of them to make an example!”
“Wait, Sorka, the person we want to make an example to isn’t here…”
There really was nothing they could do. He was beginning to feel sorry for his enemies.
“But you’re right, we can’t just stay here forever… Sorka, let’s wait until the date changes.”
“And when it does?”
“Kill them all.”
Her voice with ho hesitation made the three prisoners swallow their breath.
“We can save 666 for a later date. For now, making any big moves and raising a ruckus will cause trouble for the organization.”
“You’re right… there are more people here than planned, but we’ll be able to accomplish the mission of killing Ryuuta Salinger.”
Ryuuta bit on.
“Wait, then just kill me and be over with it! These two are…!”
“Tough luck. Dead men tell no tales.”
“We’ll kill you so cleanly not a trace will remain. Those around will only know you went missing…”
The inhumane words. The time limit was set. It was finally starting to get dangerous.
Now then, she had brought it home with her but…
Finishing her meal and returning to the simply vast royal suite, Elsia let out a sigh. She tried picking up the stick.
But in the end, it wasn’t like she could do anything with it. Rather than this toy, the night view by the moon she could see from here was far more elegant.
She was sure she was feeling this way from her difference in birth. And yet still, here she was, desiring heat. She was contradicting herself…
“This is hard.”
To obtain heat.
When she placed the stick back on the table, she ended up hitting the remote. The TV turned on to some anime program.
While the design was different… some girl in a girly dress heatedly swung a stick around fighting against something.
The items she brought back were surely made to imitate this sort of thing. The shopkeeper said it would make her raise smoke… was he possibly equating it to the earnest heat the girl in the show carried?
One of her questions had been resolved, perhaps there was another hind here. She continued watching the show.
The girl who was evidently the protagonist fought to save her comrades captured by the enemy. In the show, magic was a special ability granted to her alone… and the source of her power was that stick.
She got the feeling another one of her questions was answered. Humans normally couldn’t use magic. That was why they saw dreams of these fictional tales. As a symbol of their aspirations, they reproduced the stick and outfit in reality. Even if it held no actual power… as a symbolic representation it could impart unto those who knew it the memories of that heat.
The show ended. At the end of a fierce battle the protagonist managed to save her comrades. And so they all lived happily ever after, but the enemy organization was vast, and there were plenty of troubles ahead…
Coincidences do happen from time to time. She had taken the stick and outfit home. She ended up seeing the show on that specific day… and on that day, Ryuuta was captured in a similar manner.
She had a change of heart. While the time on the threat letter had long gone by, Elsia didn’t care.
Ryuuta would die. She’d be disqualified from the tournament. That was all there was to it. She truly did not value his life. But there was one more reason she ignored it.
The flames called revenge that burned at his core. Those were ones no ordinary heat would be able to extinguish. That was precisely why she operated alongside him.
She had watched humans a long time, and she knew her own eyes.
Before she had to ask if she valued him or not, she had to wonder if he would die at all. For Elsia had absolute confidence, not in her partner… but her own eyes that had picked him out.
“Oh? Lady Elsia, are you going out a… geh!?”
The frontman lurched back in terror. The maids and bellboys cleaning the lobby froze on the spot and stare.
The Lady on the Platform was not in her usual cool and composed mantle, but in white and pink, a fluttering short skirt.
“A… are you going to a costume party or something…?”
Though it was more cosplay than costume.
“Something like that. Incidentally, where was it again?”
“Where was Ryuuta being held?”
They must have had quite some confidence in their barrier. A short distance away, the sisters quietly waited for time to pass.
It stood to reason as no matter what they did, they didn’t seem to be able to break or slip out of it.
“Dammit… there’s only thirty minutes left…”
“Which means… we’ll have to go with that plan?”
Under the light of a full moon, he nodded to Lily’s question.
From how the sister kicked the wall not too long ago, the barrier likely went both ways. Then the moment they wanted to kill them, they would have to undo it.
They would aim for the counter at that moment.
“Will it really work out…”
Minako’s anxious voice. As an officer, she might be used to rough situations, but with the good public order of Japan, she hadn’t experienced any kill or be killed situation. Ryuuta whispered to put her at ease.
“Calm down, they’ll aim at me first. So you two just need to think about how to take them down. In combat, offense is the strongest defense. As long as you can take out the enemy attack you, you’ve perfectly defended yourself.”
“But in that case, you’ll…”
“Yeah, I’ll have to dodge the first attack. My role will be to keep their attention. Don’t worry, I don’t plan on dying here. I haven’t accomplished my goal in life…”
“Is it… Alhazan…?”
Lily asked in a dark voice. And Minako as well.
“They mentioned it back there, but what exactly is it…?”
“A bad organization of demons.”
Lily said. Minako tilted her head.
“An evil organization… is it? Like Obliterating Industries…?”
“Nothing so benign.”
His eyes and voice of passion caused Minako to shrink back.
“… Sorry. But you’d be safer not knowing.”
“It might be too late for that.”
Lily’s words in this situation were right on the money.
“I… see. So there is plenty of evil in the world I’ve never even heard about…”
Minako quite likely spent a majority of her life on the surface world. The worlds they lived in were different. It was natural that she didn’t know.
Lily asked as she had done before.
“Hey… Minako, why are you participating in this tournament?”
Did she ask that to every competitor she met? But Minako answered honestly.
“I just… wanted to be stronger.”
“Yes. There are injustices, corruption, and pressures in the police force… police officers are only human too. There are powers in society they need to yield to, that they can do nothing about. At times, evil might worm its way in. It’s how the world works… but I don’t like it. So I want to persist with my justice, so I don’t lose to that. I need the strength.”
From there, in a lovely smile.
“Truth be told, I don’t really care about winning. But if while I fight even if it’s just a little, I can get others to understand the justice I believe in… that strength isn’t justice, striving to be just is what makes you strong… if they can understand. I think I’ll be more confident in myself.”
It was so surprising Ryuuta incessantly blinked.
“What… you’re a surprisingly decent officer.”
“Hey… what’s that supposed to mean?”
‘That’s hardly a question… Mr. Ryuuta does have a point, Minako…’
“You’re noisy for a blunt weapon!”
And there, ahem, she cleared her throat. And continued.
“But it’s really proving quite difficult. How can I get Hideo to understand me…”
A surprising name popped up.
“What happened to Hideo?”
“Well, he’s an employee at obliterating industries right? He tears away money from all the people they cheated, and just the other day, he went on a violent rampage at Elize Industrial…”
“That guy did?”
He did hear the company caused quite a riot but he’d never imagined Hideo was involved.
If memory served, the president of Elize Industrial was a spirit with physical form close to becoming a divine spirit. What’s more, her partner was Hasebe Shouki, an active hero until recently. He was no ordinary hero. His mastery of magic was greater than the average demon, and he swung around a sword that was a regalia… he was called the strongest hero of the last several hundred years.
(Kawamura Hideo… to think you’d pick a fight with someone so risky. You never cease to amaze me…)
“I don’t know about that. Hideo’s one of the more honest people at our company…”
Lily provided some inside information.
“Our president rates him highly, but he doesn’t let it get to his head. He doesn’t belittle the other employees… though he is a bit unsociable.”
Rather than unsociable, wasn’t it just that he had the eyes of a violent sociopath?
“Even if you invite him out for a meal, for some reason he’ll never drink no matter what. Anyways, he’s pretty earnest.”
For some reason, erk, Minako grunted… Ryuuta was pretty sure he knew why.
“I think he’s just trying to conceal his secret technique. That guy’s a master of drunken sword strong enough to defeat a vampire in the flesh.”
Hearing that, even Okamaru twitched… no, he was a metal rod. He was definitely imagining things.
“Circling back, I don’t think Hideo’s the sort of heinous criminal you have to see as an enemy. Just the other day, there was a large job that could have paid off his debt and then some, and he almost pulled it off… but saying the guy wasn’t his charge, he let them go free.”
“Is that… true.”
“Yeah. Even if he’s a debt collector, I think Hideo has his own reasoning and ethics. As you’d put it, he has a justice he believes in… don’t you think?”
Lily’s word had Minako look back on herself. She spat out a directionless breath.
“… Perhaps I was the one who couldn’t see his justice. That’s why I was so lost…”
“Isn’t that fine? Justice varies from person to person. In the end, if you see something you can’t let yourself overlook. Then that’s the time to take action.”
Did she gain anything from those words?
“But… in that case, I’ll be up in arms against your company, Lily.”
Minako jokingly said, and Lily curled her lips in a similar smile.
“Of course, don’t hesitate to drop by. When the time comes, I won’t hold back.”
“Naturally. Thanks, that cleared my head a bit.”
The women exchanged a firm handshake.
“And they all lived happily ever after… is what I’d like to say, but the one fighting Hideo in the finals is me.”
Ryuuta casually emphasized the promise he made at the front desk, and his own strength. All the while looking beyond the invisible wall.
“And another thing. If I want to make that happen, it looks like it’s time to battle…”
The date would change in no time at all. The footsteps of two sisters slowly approached.
“You look like you’re having fun.”
“Have you said your goodbyes?”
They split into left and right before the invisible cage, standing on each side of the three.
(That’s not good…)
They had naturally limited the directions they could run to north and south. But in that case, if they chose either of them, they would be targeted from behind.
“What do we do…?”
“What else can we do? You two run without hesitation. I’ll keep their attention. If you see a chance…”
He whispered but.
“I don’t know what you’re planning but,”
“If you couldn’t run before, you can’t run now.”
Before he could understand what they meant, the sisters held up their staves like reflections in a mirror. The invisible walls gained a faint light, showing its transparent rectangular boundary. But on closer inspection, they were…
“W-wait a second… isn’t it closing in!?”
Minako’s voice sent a chill down his spine. It wasn’t long before Lily cried out as well.
“She’s right! It’s shrinking…!”
The rectangular box gradually shrunk in volume.
“Didn’t I tell you? We’ll kill you so cleanly not a trace will remain… this cube will keep shrinking until you’re all crushed up, until you can’t even maintain human form.”
“And finally once you’re small enough, we’ll obliterate the space. Nice and clean, right Sorka?”
“Exactly, Norka. Nothing to tip anyone off. You all will… more precisely, your remains will be sent to the furthest reaches of space-time. You’ll have vanished without a trace.”
This was unanticipated. Magicians high enough leveled to manipulate space itself… no, he should have considered it at the moment they used teleportation magic.
Ryuuta desperately tried out his options again. He swung his sword, only for it to be repelled as before.
“It’s no good… goddammit!”
The walls closed in. It wouldn’t be long before his movements were sealed. Was there anything he could do before that? But such unavoidable thoughts were seen through with a scoff.
“It’s futile. It’s because you’re not capable of doing so that you’re still in the cube.”
“Well then, bye-bye.”
The jewels in their staves gave a stronger light than before… and at that moment.
“Hold it right there.”
A quiet, contained tone Ryuuta was accustomed to hearing. Immediately after, an explosion broke out at the twins’ feet. That managed to stop the contraction of space. The sisters who had dodged by jumping back turned to the voice’s owner as soon as they had landed and asked.
“Who are you!?”
“Are you not the ones who called me?”
Appearing from the forest surrounding the quarry… a pink frilly outfit over her body, in her right hand a flashy stick with no practicality, in her left hand a book. The girl herself stood.
Oh, I see, Elsia analyzed the situation. Six planes cut out of space. The powerless humans including Ryouta were unable to escape from that.
This was considerably more troubling than the program she saw on TV. However, if she was in character, it was apparently her duty to answer whenever someone asked her name. It would be uninteresting to give a normal answer, apparently. Now then, the name of her predecessor from the demon world who came here before… what was it again?
Right… it was Twilight, if she remembered right.
“Magical Princess, Twilight Elysian. Reporting for duty.”
Her expression cold as ice, Elsia thrust the stick out. The two women in the geometric quadrilateral prison blinked twice.
“Um… i-is that Ryuuta’s partner? That’s a bit of a… surprise.”
“And wait… I’ve met her once before… was she always like that? Wasn’t she a little more level headed…”
Started out by coughing up blood.
“Erk… y-you’re wrong…! I don’t know anyone like that! No, her face is identical, but there’s definitely someone different at the helm! Or else, she’s a twin like these two…!”
“I only have brothers, no sisters.”
I thought I already told you.
That aside, Elsia looked at the very similar sisters. Not only were they the spitting image of one another, the waves of mana flowing at their cores were identical as well. Certainly, if they were this similar, then even if they were mere mongrels besmirching the demon name, by bouncing magic off of each other and amplifying it, it was possible to control space.
“Release those three at once. Or else…”
“Or else what?”
It was a literal instant. They hadn’t moved. They had teleported on both sides of her. Just like that, the sisters aimed her from opposite angles.
A violent explosion raced towards her. Elsia momentarily put up a magic shield, jumping up into the air to evade the focus of the blast wave.
The voice came from further above. One of the sisters had teleported again to get the drop on her.
A wave from right above slammed her down.
When she looked towards her as she fell, this time the other sister that remained on the ground swung her shining staff.
“Isis! Needle Upper!”
Before she could confirm what it was, Elsia had deployed her shield again, at the same time, she wrenched her body sideways. A number of ice shards had grazed her limbs, leaving sharp gashes behind.
She was slammed on the ground, after rolling three times, she used her momentum to spring up and regain her posture.
“Page Four Two Nine!”
A wind swept over the grimoire as it enacted the page she designated. Her mana given direction by the Book of the Beast immediately flowed through the stick, sending a gale towards the sister. Four hundred meters per second, a wave of compressed air that broke the sound barrier dragged everything in as it gouged out the ground.
The sisters chanted in perfect unison.
(They sent it back…!?)
Reflection. Without losing any of its momentum, Elsia’s magic turned a hundred and eighty degrees. She jumped to avoid it, but the sisters had already foreseen that. They raced alongside the reflected magic.
“Bolter! Clau! Down!”
In an instant, the thin shield she deployed was pierced through by an intense flash of lightning. A thunder cloud half-turned plasma smacked her down, leaving behind her scream as she fell to the earth.
When she next lifted her face, the sisters were holding out their staves. A stronger wave than any she had seen to that point. It crossed back and forth between them, multiplying, synergizing and growing.
“Blaze! Blaze! Fronta!!”
“Page Five Zero Zero!!”
In regards to the fire that roared out like an earthquake, Elsia deployed not a shield but a wave of heat. The magics mingled before her eyes. A collision of power that would, first off, be impossible for humans. Elsia’s slender body was sent flying like a leaf in the wind.
“Hey… what’s going on here!? Is she going to be alright!?”
This was the first time she was ever seeing a full-blown magic battle. Minako was completely confused. But in surprise alone, Lily and Ryuuta were the same.
“Amazing… such a high-speed exchange…!?”
“Y-yeah… this is the first time I’ve seen one too…!”
He had seen Elsia fire magic with an innocent face a number of times. But generally, one shot would settle it. To rephrase it, up to that point, they had never met anyone who could rival Elsia.
Those sisters were different. They were the real deal.
For Demons who concealed mana in their bodies, it was possible to use magic-like abilities without any incantations. But by using incantations like humans, those sisters were able to implement spells with a greater affinity with their attributes.
And with such a combo of consecutive spells, it went without saying they were accustomed to battle. A combination in perfect sync was making a trifle of her. While it was a magic battle, they were mixing in aspects of close combat. Even the timing of their pursuit was perfect. These were techniques they could use precisely because they were twins.
In contrast, Elsia’s reckless strength was backfiring on her. She had never experienced such a melee. This brought a clear difference.
“Elsia! Pull yourself together! Hey!”
Elsia’s beaten form feebly stood. That was also a first sight for Ryuuta. In contrast, the sisters had worked up a light sweat, but the way they looked they had barely finished warming up. They didn’t look like they had given their all.
“Two on one is cowardly!”
Minako frankly blurted out, but the sisters took it with a laugh.
“If we weren’t cowardly, we wouldn’t have taken hostages in the first place. Right, Sorka?”
“We’re pretty cowardly, right, Norka?”
Yes, that checked out. And if they weren’t they wouldn’t have joined Alhazan.
Ryuuta grit his teeth at his powerless. But at that moment, he suddenly noticed something bizarre. Elsia’s face stained in mud and dust… her mouth was curled in a faint smile.
There were plenty of things to learn today, Elsia thought.
I see, so this is…
She had been far too apathetic. It was too troublesome to set foot into any and everything. That’s why she would always gaze on from afar. Everything was worthless, she would end up deciding.
But how about today, now that she had taken the first step in?
The sisters she had thrown out of mind as mongrels were making sport of her, her own high-class body and face were covered in mud.
Why was she feeling so uplifted? When she was the one shedding blood, under the light of the full moon, far more than seeing the corpses of one million humans, this was.
That’s right. Surely this was the heat. What she had sought out, what humans hid at their base. She was able to obtain it so easily.
The sisters spoke full of confidence.
“Do you want to continue?”
Elsia gripped her staff and candidly replied.
“Why of course. I’m having fun.”
It had truly been so long since she had to use page five zero zero. Then she had no need to hold back. The true strength of the rare Grimoire 666 had yet to come. The reason it was called the Book of the Beast!
She emitted her mana like an aura, a faint veil of visible light enveloping her.
“Page Five Zero Seven! Page Five Two One! Page Five Three Three!”
The grimoire answered its lord’s will, opening page after page. The mana she flooded into it changed to take shape. It was a form of summoning ritual.
A falcon clad in such thunderous winds the air shook before it, a wolf clad in radiant flashes of lightning, a stallion clad in scorching flames. Without waiting for Elsia’s orders, the three beasts took for the twins like they had wills of their own.
The situation had taken a turn in the space of a breath.
Even if they had the shape of animals, they were formed of mana, not flesh and blood. The sisters could run all they wanted, yet they soared, galloped and dashed at the speed of normal magics, automatically giving pursuit.
Vacuum wings tore, fangs of thunders bit down. A mane of flame burned their bodies. During the entirety of that time, Elsia continued firing magic herself.
But she couldn’t overpower them. This had to be the experience of a veteran. Strangely enough, they continued avoiding anything that could be a finishing blow.
“I expected no less, Sorka…!”
“Yes! Otherwise, there would be no point to obtaining it, Norka!”
In the next moment, the sisters mustered a rending cry.
They each became the center of an explosion, power surging out in all directions sending the beasts flying. But that wasn’t all. Before the beasts could come again, they tapped their staves together.
“Circle! Ibul! Come Water!!”
The magic circle was rapidly deployed. Ten meters in diameter. They had managed to draw a circle with practically the size and precision of a complex ritual with just a simple incantation.
It leaked out. An overwhelming existence. With the circle as the doorway, it showed itself to the world.
Elsia was in awe. Mongrels they may be, but if they trained, they could get this far.
There were different forms of summoning, but normally spirits held attributes like magic, and they could each exhibit extraordinary power when it came to their specific attribute. That power was generally beyond comparison to normal magic.
However, for how powerful they were, the process was convoluted, and they weren’t as simple and ready to use as magic. These sisters had somehow summoned one at the exact same speed as magic.
The giant arm that sprouted from the ground lowered like a hammer of lead. That alone was enough to fizzle out the three Elsia had summoned. An overwhelmingly huge giant crawled out like the magic circle was the entrance to the depths of hell. Like a waterfall. A large waterfall in the shape of a person. Its body was over ten meters high. The streaming giant roared.
“Wha…!? On top of using so much magic, those two… are summoners!!?”
There were magics that mimicked the forms of spirits. But that one was different. It clearly appeared from the magic circle. On the contrary, if that wasn’t the case, they would never need to prepare a circle that large.
“What even is this… am I having some terrible nightmare…!?”
Overwhelmed by the water golem, Minako was half in tears. But the one who easily denied it was Lily.
“No way. This is how it is on this side of the world. It’s rarer for anything to be impossible…!”
As if to say this fell outside common sense. Her words with her sense of crisis came with a hard-to-express jolt of reality. Beyond the wall, the giant began rampaging with a force that caused the earth to shake.
Of course, this was quite a feat. The sisters had expended a great deal of their power, and their spirit seemed to be chiseled down as well… albeit, if Elsia wanted to land the final blow, the obstacle between them was great. Each magic she unfolded was simply washed away in the giant’s spiritual stream.
What’s more, at that moment.
“Cure! Cure! Aura!”
Healing magic of all things. The sisters completely recovered from the damage done by the three beasts. By returning their bodies to normal conditions, they had stabilized their minds enough to safely use magic.
Elsia was at a loss on how to go against the water giant swinging its arms around. It had completely taken her intentions. She wasn’t too used to battle, so… she was once again in the same rut she had been in when the sisters were making sport of her. This was their aim.
At the moment Elsia stopped, they had teleported to her left and her right.
The one who ended up crying out was Ryuuta.
The grimoire resting on the palm of her hand was all-too-easily snatched away. The moment she noticed it was gone, the moment she tried to chase the sisters… from behind, the Giant’s bitter strike struck her down.
By his rough estimate, its arm exceeded several tons. It may be water, but depending on its speed, the impact could be as heavy as concrete.
No less than being run over by a truck.
Her small body did a tailspin before colliding with the rock surface of the quarry. She went at a speed that would have definitely killed a human on impact. Minako covered her face, Lily gulped like she was containing a scream.
“Elsia! Hey, get a grip! Hey! Can you hear me!? If you can hear, then that’s enough, get run away on your own! Hey…!!”
No matter how Ryuuta called and cried, she didn’t move. Only his own voice echoed like a howl to the night, a show of his own powerlessness.
Ever since she received that book from her mother, she had never once let it leave her hands.
Elsia saw a dream of the distant past.
— You’re still bad at magic, so I begged Hazuki to make it for you.
That was the moment she was handed the Book of the Beast. The words her mother said with a troubled face. Right, she was terrible at magic.
— If the times were better, you’d be a princess, you know? You shouldn’t neglect to practice your magic. Make sure you don’t come to rely on it.
Now then, did she practice her magic since then? Why of course not, she did not practice a day of her life. Effort was something for the inferior humans to do. She was born perfect, she would have no part in it.
That’s why… she would never have to let go of her mother’s book.
That’s all there was to it. A dream of times past.
“This is the end, Sorka.”
“It was pretty fun, Norka.”
She heard the voice of the close sisters.
“Elsia! Get a grip! Hey!”
She heard Ryuuta call through a dry throat.
She was finally getting to distinguish between dreams and reality.
When she opened her eyes, Ryuuta was distant and the sisters were close. Her book was in the sisters’ hands.
“Give it… back.”
She recalled she was shot off like a bullet. Apparently, when you receive a terrible impact, it becomes hard to speak and breath. She gasped a few times.
“Oh, I should have known. You’re still alive.”
“But what are you going to do? Do you want to continue?”
Each word, one at a time.
“That… book… is… mine…”
“Oh don’t say that. We were the ones who invited you to bring us this book.”
“And you’re the one who answered. This is the result, right, Sorka?”
“It’s obvious that it happened, right, Norka?”
She was still a little out of it. Elsia softly shook her head.
“Wrong… that… is… mine…”
Her mother gave it to her. She had protected it so long.
That was the only rule.
“I heard you were a demon world princess, so I wondered what sort of woman you’d be.”
Elsia opened her eyelids wide.
“You’re the final Demon Lord, Fiel’s daughter, right? But that means nothing. If you’re their princess, those true demons aren’t anything special.”
“In that case, is there any need for the organization to focus on the demon world, Sorka?”
“Wouldn’t we be able to rule the world on our own, Norka?”
“I see… you knew.”
Giggle, giggle, giggle, the sisters filled their faces with ill-tempered smiles.
“Are your ears working? That’s what we just said.”
“Or did we hit the wrong spot?”
Elsia confirmed nothing more than the problem at hand.
“… I will confirm it once more. Did you conduct yourself so upon knowing of my nobility?”
Finally giving up on her, the sisters exchanged a look.
“I see. Then I quit.”
She desired heat. Tonight truly was fun.
But these two had crossed the line.
Demons, meaning mongrels were the bottom of the barrel. They weren’t as low as humans, but from the point of view of a true demon, they were inferior copies with all manner of unnecessary blood mixed in. If they fought obliviously, she could permit their discourtesy. It was Elsia herself who neglected to inform them, after all.
But these two knew.
If they knew her nobility. A low-brow inferior race should never call nobility to play such a game. They should never be allowed to exchange words as if they were equals.
(… But… that’s right.)
It was because they were incapable of that, that humans, mongrels were so low-brow. They didn’t know their own place. They didn’t comprehend the target of their eyes.
And there was one more thing she understood.
This world was where such trash quietly did whatever they pleased. It was only common sense the senior statesmen of the demon world thought to invade it…
Despite his relief upon learning she was alive, Ryuuta hadn’t let down his guard. She saw Minako was poised to throw something.
“Ms. Elsia, please use this!! Go, Okamaru!!”
‘Leave it to me…!’
The cursed weapon surmounted the invisible wall with an electric flash, making its way splendidly to Elsia’s hand.
‘Unworthy as I may be, Okamaru has come to help!’
Seeing that, the sisters left undaunted smiles and took distance again.
“Fufu, you’ll continue to struggle. Then entertain us some more.”
With a terribly displeased face, Elsia jammed Okamaru into a nearby rock.
“A lowly pole dares assist me? Who do you think you are?”
“Nooooooooo!? Okamaru wilted!?”
Minako cried out in tears.
It didn’t matter. She was already done playing.
Elsia turned to the sisters and brandished her palm.
“This is the game you prepared. You invited me to the game knowing of my nobility and discarded the rule. Do you know what that means?”
They exchanged a look and shrugged their shoulders.
“That’s what we’d like to know…”
“I see. How pitiful.”
They knew of true demons’ existence and didn’t comprehend their essence. Far too foolish.
Elsia released pure mana.
Crack, the sound of air distorting.
A crimson beam grazed the space between the two.
When the sisters and Ryuuta turned to the sound and the lights… they saw the end of the world. The water giant had completely evaporated as the beam ran passed it. But no one stopped to think about it. They simply looked at the mushroom cloud in the distance dumbfounded. There was supposed to be a small mountain at the base of the mushroom, but no matter how they looked at it, it was gone.
“Look. I can’t even aim straight.”
At her displeased tone, the sisters turned, their faces covered in cold sweat.
“If I don’t have that book, it’s a pain to squeeze out my mana.”
That was the rule her mother gave her for living in this world. In this world mainly inhabited by humans, a noble’s mana was far too strong. If she didn’t know how to hold back, she would end up destroying everything. But forming magic was something Elsia was terribly poor at.
Magic was a phenomenon brought about by giving the right vectors to Mana.
But with Elsia’s immense mana, it was ‘too much of a pain’ to hold back, and instead of forming the phenomenon of magic, she ended up blasting out pure mana energy.
Therefore. In order to save it up and forcefully convert it into all manner of magics, her filter was the grimoire known as 666.
“Give it back. That book just suppresses my power. It won’t cause any miracles.”
Elsia didn’t conceal her own magic as she usually would. The more they looked at her, the more it looked like a ravenous beast was baring its fangs after a long slumber. Just how much destructive power did she have… as versed in magic as they were, the sisters understood all too well.
She directed her palm at them like a gunpoint. The question was concise.
“Do you want to die? Do you want to lose? Pick one.”
The grimoire was dropped right now on the spot. The threat more than the words. The murderous intent more than the threat. And even more than that… to those whose origins traced back to true demons, it was instinct.
Elsia boldly walked up to the quivering sisters, and just as they thought she was going to pick it up.
She showered the one who dropped it with a slap so violent it made a sound no slap should make. Like a spinning top, Norka turned and collapsed.
Compared to humans, demons boasted high physical abilities. Toughness, speed, and naturally offensive power. Then what of a demon’s forebearers, the true demon Elsia?
“Who told you to drop it? Pick it up.”
But with a jolt to her brain, Norka staggered as she tried to stand, her footing was unsteady.
“Norka!? Are you all…”
Sorka who tried to lend her a shoulder spun down similarily.
“Who told you to help her?”
The sisters both pretended they couldn’t stand as they made eye contact. They immediately deployed a teleportation circle. They were determined to run but,
Faster than they could get out, Elsia’s palm inflicted pain at lightning speed.
“Who said you could run?”
“I-I’ll pick it up at once!!”
“Who told you to pick it yo with your right hand?”
“Who told you to pick it up with your left hand?”
Who told you to use your mouth, who told you to use magic, and so on and so forth…
“That was… some… amazing bullying…”
“Y-yeah… definitely bullying…”
“Bullying is supposed to be… uncool, but…”
It was as Minako said. They did want to vent out for all these women put them through. But Elize herself didn’t seem to be enjoying it at all. So bored, even business-like.
“Who said you could fall asleep?”
“Hah!? She’s not asleep, you knocked her ou—”
“Who said you could open your mouth?”
“P-p-please forgive us.”
“What exactly do you want us to do!?”
“Get it in your heads. This is the difference between high class and mongrel.”
“Do you understand. I’m giving you a reward for humoring me, if only for a minute. Be honored I’m personally disciplining the likes of you. Know this as the godsend your heat and effort towards magic has brought you.”
Elsia showed no esteem or arrogance, she expressionlessly, indifferently kept smacking the sisters.
The reason being this was nothing for her to be proud about. It was a plain fact. As the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. From her point of view, it was a truth on par with such fundamental notions.
“If you know that I am noble, you must learn of your own vulgarity. Every time you are struck, curse your own incompetence. Even so, come to know that you desire the blow. Know that you are sodden souls that would only be killed if I had no expectations for you. Now prostrate yourselves, fear, and show your respect. You have naught but the duty of subordination. You have not been granted the right to see unfairness as unreasonable.”
The absolute self-confidence, conceit that came from her quietness.
Their demon instincts noticed the waves of nobility she had no intention of hiding and forced them into submission. Even without that, the absolute existence that was Elsia carried with her more than enough appeal to serve.
“Yes! From now on, we will serve you with wholehearted devotion! If you order us to die, we will gladly offer you our lives!”
But even so, Elsia wasn’t satisfied.
“You still fail to grasp it.”
“The moment I want you dead, you are to present me your corpses. Know that moment alone is your sole goal in life.”
As they wept with three fingers to the ground in prostration, the two came to learn for the first time the true essence of nobility.
“Haaah… they finally let us out…”
Lily took a deep breath to fill herself with the outside air.
“I didn’t know what was going to happen for a moment there.”
But the damage to Okamaru was severe, he was hung limp as konjac jello at Minako’s hip.
“So… getting right to it, I’ll have you two answer. What is your… no, what’s Alhazan’s objective? What are they plotting with this tournament? You mentioned the demon world.”
Ryuuta asked, but the sisters exchanged crestfallen looks.
“About that… we were never told the specifics. Right, Sorka?”
“We’re not official members of Alhazan after all. Right, Norka?”
“Hey! Come so far, you’re going to play dumb!? Elsia!”
When the name came out, the sisters shook their hands and heads in perfect unison.
“It’s true, Lady Elsia! We have no idea! We were just hired as mercenaries!”
“… I see. Then you wouldn’t know.”
The princess disinterestedly went towards Ryuuta. The sisters pat their chests in relief.
Elsia spoke with a sigh in her words.
“Then would you like to search these two for the tattoo of the poison spider? I could have them strip.”
“For real? Then I’ll search every nook and cranny.”
When he stuck up his thumb, Lily and Minako chimed in, you’re the worst, you’re the worst, from the outfield.
“I see. You have courage. To humiliate my servants. If you don’t find it, you shall face considerable retribution. Though it can’t be compared to what these two went through… do you wish to proceed?”
“Sorry. I really had some malice there.”
A conspicuously louder, you’re the worst.
But physical evidence like the tattoo admittedly wasn’t really the problem. He wanted information. And he got the feeling these girl’s had gone way too far in their independent action to be members of Alhazan.
It seemed appropriate to consider them outsiders.
One of them said.
“I hear the leader said he was aiming for the restoration of true demons… though I don’t know how that connects to the demon world and this tournament…”
“The restoration… of true demons? Any ideas, Elsia…”
How blunt. With no foothold to cling onto, Ryuuta scratched up his head.
“Well, whatever… it was a waste of effort, but everyone got out unharmed…”
Something wasn’t sitting right. He ended up dragging Lily in again, and Minako too. They both got out fine, so he could put that aside for now.
There were a few other things that seemed off.
“If you had that amazing power, couldn’t you have saved us faster, or defeated them quicker…”
“You wanted to die?”
The other two apart from Ryuuta shook their heads.
If magic with that output burst with them at the epicenter… the thought wasn’t too appealing. Sure, it might have destroyed the transparent cube, but there was no point if the contents evaporated with it. And killing was instant disqualification. He knew she was strong, but he couldn’t figure out how he’d use that in future matches.
“A normal win is boring. I thought I’d play their game. But these two broke the rules. These lowly dogs who should have simply entertained me and lost, had lost my gratitude.”
A true demon’s mood was difficult to manage. He sympathized a bit with the sisters who silently listened in.
“Well’n… can I ask you one last thing?”
Elsia spoke no differently from before. Ryuuta timidly pointed it out.
“What exactly… are you wearing?”
Elsia looked d own at her self as if she had only just remembered.
“You said… something, something Elysian something or another…”
“… Yes. It wasn’t bad.”
Elsia gave her first faint smile of the new day.
“It was pretty fun.”
“I-I see… I don’t really get it but… wait, we’re screwed! It’s already today, ain’t it!?”
“? What is?”
“The Grand Prix! Sacred Demon Grand Prix! We haven’t gotten a car yet! Is your company still renting!?”
Come to think of it, he had run into Lily on his way to Obliterating Enterprises for that very same reason. She was indeed a member of that company, or so he entrusted her with his last ray of hope.
“Eh? … Oh, you want to borrow? Mnn, but…”
She didn’t seem too up for it, but he did get a reaction.
“U-umm… if possible, me too…”
Minako timidly cut in. Which meant she was dragged into this mess because she was headed to the same destination for the same reason.
“Eh? You too, Minako…?”
“Ah, yes! If you have a front motor RWD configuration in manual…”
“Eh? Umm… I’m not too knowledgeable about cars, but…”
Yeaaah, after Lily mulled a bit.
“Well… sure. Something brought us together.”
Woohoo, Ryuuta slammed a fist into his palm.
Thanks to the sisters’ teleportation magic, they were at Lily’s company… or rather, a large western mansion in one leap.
“Looks like all the fast ones are already gone…”
Lily asked the mask on duty. Ryuuta lowered his shoulders.
“Nothing but shabby ones…”
Ryuuta took a look around, but the smells he got were all from the seventies and eighties, ones that couldn’t even be priced if he tried trading them in.
“But in exchange, the rental fee is cheap. I’ll take it at a loss and give you the friendship price. You can take any for ten thousand tickets. Sound good?”
The mask nodded.
“Yes, if the chairman says so.”
“Lily… now aren’t you high up. In that case, the amount you took last time…”
“Eh? If you don’t want a car, that’s on you.”
She gave a nice smile. She really had a nice personality going there.
“Umm! I’m fine with this one!”
After taking a full look around, Minako gleefully waved her hand by an old-fashioned car. Was that the one she was looking for? What part of it?
“What will you go with, Ryuuta?”
“Hmm, wait a second. Hey, Elsia, do you have any requests?”
“I don’t want to be closed in.”
Well excuse me, princess.
“If you don’t want to feel claustrophobic… wait, now ain’t that a stroke of luck.”
There was just one Mercedes convertible remaining. While the model was from a number of years back, German Cars were sturdy.
If the roof was open, the space was unlimited. And it was a race where obstructions were par for the course, with a wide field of vision, they would be able to cope with attacks from all sides. It was also great it was automatic. He could concentrate on battle.
“Then that’s settled. Those two cars…”
The mask suddenly whispered something into Lily’s ear.
“I see… if that’s the case…”
“Hey, Lily. You’re not gonna rig our cars with any explosives or something, are you?”
“It’s the opposite, other way around.”
It didn’t look like she felt like answering that one.
“Then take care servicing them.”
“Yes, chairman. Then as the chairman’s friends, your charge comes to ten thousand tickets each.”
Ryuuta held out the banknotes with Minako. Well, he managed to economize some with that. It felt a little dubious as an investment towards the Grand Prix’s grand prize of a hundred million but… it was already one in the morning. He would use his money left to prepare for the race, get some good ale, eat some tasty grub and sleep… and as he thought that
“Oh my, you’re up early today.”
“Ah, Meeko. This and that happened.”
A beauty in a black kimono floated in. Upon seeing her, Minako lightly braced herself, while Okamaru was clad in an extraordinary aura.
“Lily… that person is…”
When Minako hesitantly asked, Lily pointed her out with the palm of her hand as she turned.
“Let me introduce you. This is my partner Meeko.”
Ryuuta finally recalled.
“Meeko… wait, the hell!? Ain’t she designation target number one!? Wait a second! You’re that, aren’t you!? And if your partner is this thing… that’s gotta be against the rules!”
“… Who is this noisy welp?”
Her sleepy eyes narrowed in ill humor.
“He is my partner.”
The one who suddenly said that was Elsia. This time, Meeko stared at her blankly.
“Oh, if it isn’t the young mistress. Hmhmm, I could barely recognize you in that attire. It has been long.”
“Yes. It has been a while, Meeko.”
The two shared a slight smile.
“Are you taking part in this tournament nonsense as well?”
“That’s right. And you?”
“Indeed. Though all I’ve done so far is sleep.”
“Oh, so you haven’t changed. Is everyone from the round table well?”
“Fufu, they’re the same as ever. Ripple-Rapple’s in this town as well. And that Hazuki is…”
Designation number one. This woman called Meeko was classified as an outer, she was presumed to be a vassal of the demon lord and was the highest ranking demon. Her power was said to rival god… no, as a matter of fact, rumor had it she was indeed a god who had descended in the days of yore.
(On that note…)
Elsia was the daughter of Demon Lord Fier, who Meeko was apparently a vassal of.
Was that why… young mistress? Not only Ryuuta, Lily was just as shocked and dumbfounded.
“T-t-tt-to be able to speak so casually with Meeko… who in the world is your partner…?”
“N-no… I heard she was the daughter of the last demon lord or something but…”
That was apparently true.
“Uwah… I get it now… so that’s why she acts so high and mighty…”
Ryuuta was also vaguely picking it up.
The reason Elsia always seemed so high and might, yet with no cynicism. She really was high and mighty. Her birth, upbringing, ability… she had it all.
“Umm… what are you talking about? I don’t get it at all.”
‘N-no, you’re better off not knowing. It’s for your own good.”
“Yeah… he’s right. I doubt you’ll believe it anyway…”
Before the dazed two, a friendly chat continued a while before old friends.
“What is Fier doing these days?”
“Who knows? My mother’s wanderlust is strong, who knows what she’s doing now.”
Elsia suddenly looked at the slant of the moon. Her expression was a calm one he had never seen on the princess.
“Well then, Meeko. We have company, and I’d feel bad keeping you too long.”
“Is that so? I’m always around here. If you have the time, feel free to stop by for tea.”
“Yes. I would very much love to.”
And she turned.
“… What’s wrong, Ryuuta. Is there something on my face?”
“Erk, ah, n-no…”
A deep breath and a sigh. He calmed himself down.
A lot of things had happened over the course of one night but now that they were through, a smile naturally spilled from his face.
“I was just thinking my partner is the best in the world.”
“I see. I envy you. I could not say the same for mine.”
Only half a day left until the Sacred Demon Cup’s greatest mini-tournament, the Sacred Demon Grand Prix.