Bijo to Kenja to Majin no Ken Volume 1 Chapter 7
BSDS 007 – Mansion
I was now heading towards the approaching confrontation with someone who had been after my head only a few moments before. What karma. Well, I hadn’t completely disregarded my suspicions. Even so, I wanted to try trusting her. The reason had absolutely nothing to do with how attractive she was.
——Well, maybe that was part of it. Maybe. ——Just a tiny bit.
Moving cautiously, Grace and I entered through the gates and into the mansion’s grounds, following after Rodney. The path to the entrance was simple, and direct. Still, we never tried to hide our approach. We could have snuck around back, but as our intrusion would most likely end in battle anyway, it didn’t seem to matter who spotted whom first.
If I looked at things this way, then not only was the main path the easiest and quickest way to the mansion’s doors, but it was also the least likely to have traps or surprises prepared. Taking this into consideration, we ended up choosing to make a frontal assault.
Grace took the lead, and I followed behind. This was only natural, as she was a sorcerer sword-adept, while I was only a sorcerer. Grace moved her head left and right, staying alert, as she continued forward, crouched slightly. From behind, I watched as the moonlight outlined her form, wrapped all in black. I couldn’t keep myself from staring at the way her hips swayed as she moved.
“——Have you noticed anything?” Grace spoke softly, as she continued to turn her head, looking here and there.
“Yeah——Uh, I mean no, no no no!” I stammered out a reply, flustered.
Grace turned to stare back at me.
“We’ve already agreed to help each other, so we’re in this together. ——Please, take it more seriously.”
“Sorry.” I seem to have irritated her.
Starting forward again, Grace continued to look around cautiously, following the path which led to the mansion’s main entrance. Since there was no helping it, I regained my composure, and started after her, returning to my task of once again appreciating her butt.
We made it to the front of the mansion without encountering any traps or unexpected attacks. Depending on what happens next, we might have to burst in, weapons swinging. Grace carefully tried the front doors.
I examined the doors with as much care as I could, and while I could see the size and materials they were made with, I wasn’t able to identify whether it was locked or not. I knew my ability was powerful, but I also understood it wasn’t all-powerful.
Turning the doors’ handles, Grace easily pushed them open. It would seem they hadn’t been locked.
“Well, that’s rather careless…” At my remark, Grace responded, unamused.
“No. It’s the opposite. We’re being invited in. That’s why it’s unlocked.” After confirming there was nobody lying in wait, Grace slipped inside. I followed after, trying to move as silently as I could.
A great hall spread out before us, lavishly decorated. To our front was a grand staircase, leading up. The thick red carpet covering the steps further cemented how wealthy the owners must be.
“This is ——Rodney’s hideout?” At my question, Grace shook her head.
“It’s too big for that. I’m led to believe he took it from some noble family.”
“Hrmm. Well, a mansion this big will make searching room by room a real hassle.” My shoulders sagged, and Grace laughed, replying,
“Within the Harland Kingdom, it’s considered good luck among the nobility to have the sleeping chambers located in the most south-western room on the second floor. If Rodney has taken this mansion as his own, then there is a high probability that’s where he’ll be. We’ll check there first.”
With that, Grace bounded up the stairs. That’s when it really sank in. Her movements weren’t particularly careful, yet her steps made no noise. As though hearing my unspoken thoughts, Grace turned around to look back at me.
“Secret Step. It’s an ability someone can learn if their spying skill is high enough.”
“Ability…Grace, after this is all over, I’d really like you to teach me all about those kinds of things.” At my words, Grace laughed lightly.
“Sure. But from the sound of things, it seems like you’re set on defeating Rodney?”
“——It makes me feel like winning isn’t impossible, if I start making promises.” My words sounded braver than I felt. To be honest, if things deteriorated into a full-blown fight, I had no idea if we could beat him, even if there were two of us. If Rodney wasn’t alone, then the outcome would be bleak indeed. For this reason, I wanted to make sure we had an escape plan.
Grace and I halted outside a room in the south-west section of the mansion’s second floor. Before us was a large, ornate door, which stood out from the rest. This told me the room was special, far more important than the others.
After checking the door for traps, Grace reached out her hand to grasp the knob.
“Wait.” My voice stopped Grace just before she could open the door.
“————” With her hand still on the knob, she looked back at my face, as though trying to judge my intentions, her deep green eyes boring into me. After I confirmed she had indeed stopped moving, I examined the door before me.
——I saw beyond it, and into the room. There was Rodney. Apparently, my skill could identify people inside closed rooms. The only problem now, was with the second person in the room.
“There’s no mistaking it. Rodney is definitely in that room.”
“You can tell, then?” I had no way of knowing how she was interpreting it, but it seems Grace had accepted my ability without issue.
“Beside him, Aslina is there too. Only, her level isn’t high. So, I don’t know if she’s working with him, or just being used by him.”
“Umm——this Aslina person is…?”
“She’s the girl who took care of me when I was recovering in the church.” Hearing that, Grace again met my gaze and held it. Her expression was stiff, and her eyes looked at me suspiciously, as though asking if I were able to continue.
“——I’ll Defeat Rodney.” I said, my voice full of conviction. My words did not reveal what I planned to do about Aslina, however. Even so, I felt the beautiful woman before me was able to understand my unspoken meaning.
“Alright then. ——In that case, there are two things I should tell you. First, I need to see for myself whether Rodney is who I think he is or not. But the only way for me to do this, is by engaging him in battle. So Kei, you’re free to do as you like until the fighting starts, if there’s anything you want to confirm yourself.
“Got it, thanks. When the fighting starts, I’ll move around to support, so you’ll be free to fight however you like. Though, I don’t have much real battle experience anyway, so I don’t know how useful I’d be…” At my words, Grace broke into a wide grin, before opening her mouth to speak again.
“Second. If Rodney turns out to be what I’m looking for——and if what you say is true, then the likelihood my strength will be ineffective is rather high. If that’s made clear during the fight——then I don’t want you to hesitate to pull out of the fight.” Listening to those words, I stared hard into Grace’s eyes, pools of deep green. Her expression never changed.
There shouldn’t be any bonds as strong as trust between the two of us yet. There was no reason for her to sacrifice herself for me. Instead, her words seemed to be those of someone who held a deep conviction to bring down a powerful foe——
Without replying directly, I repeated the same words I had used before.
“——I’ll defeat Rodney.” I had no way of knowing if my message would make it through. But I was decided; I would give it my all. No matter how things played out.
At my words, Grace smiled again.
“——I understand. Then, let’s pray for luck in the coming battle.” With that, Grace placed her hand on the door, pushing it open to step inside. Creaking, the giant door rotated on its hinges, opening——
Before us was an expansive chamber. The mansion was built of stone, and the room was large enough to be considered a hall. At the far end, I could see a bed, and some furnishings. The only light in the spacious, dim chamber was flickering as it lit the form of two silhouettes moving together upon the bed, creating one long shadow.
Grace, who had been walking cautiously forward, stopped as she noticed the scene spread out before her. ——She took one step, then another, retreating backwards.
Moving to stand beside her, I moved my gaze to the bed. What I saw——naked and locked in an embrace, bodies tangled together…was Rodney and Aslina.
W, what an envious scene, this!!
At the unexpected scene before us, both Grace and I had lost our voices. But Rodney, noticing us as we entered the room, lifted himself from the bed, leaving Aslina as she was, and moved to face us. He was completely naked. That he was also well-endowed, further worsened my mood.
“That you would come all the way up here, it really doesn’t make a good impression.” The elegant man with his silky hair spoke in an infuriatingly easy manner. But at hearing his voice, Grace responded by bringing up Neel’s longsword. Still, she averted meeting his gaze, unable to look directly at him. It was rather cute, watching her eyes dart around trying to find a safe place to rest.
“Do you mind if I ask what your motive was in entering this place?” His face relaxed as he smiled broadly. He was naked, but still remained as composed and noble as ever. Infuriating. For now, as nothing would start if I kept beating around the bush, I dove straight into the heart of the matter.
“For a priest who serves Clancy, you seem to be enjoying yourself well enough.” I nodded behind him, towards Aslina. She was spread out over the bed. Rodney never spared her a glace, instead crossing his arms while maintaining his easy-going manner.
“That’s not quite right. If I had to give a reason for my actions, it would have to be because I am special.” He hadn’t said anything especially incriminating, but still, upon hearing the word special, I grinned a broad grin.
“I see——as you’re a priest of Clancy, as well as a disciple of Arabella, I guess that does make you rather special.” At the word Arabella, Rodney narrowed his eyes, though the rest of his expression remained the same.
“——So, you really are a disciple of Clancy, then.” As those words entered my ears, a sharp pain stabbed through my head. Most likely due to Clancy’s Limitation. I hadn’t tried to breach the limitation, but even so, just getting close to the topic, even if someone else brought it up, was apparently enough. This was really troublesome. I continued the conversation, avoiding touching on the remark about me being a ‘disciple of Clancy’.
“I’ve always had my doubts about you, ever since the beginning.”
“——That so now?” Rodney prompted me to continue on. Turning my gaze back to the bed, and Aslina, spread out upon it, I looked closely at her. She had lifted her head slightly, and her eyes seemed to be staring blankly towards someplace far away. It was definitely not how she normally acted. The dim room made it difficult to see everything, but I could still make out her status clearly. Examining her, my suspicion turned to conviction.
“Aslina told me that you had saved me, when you found me collapsed in the Forest of Lumen. I believed it too, at first. But after learning about the forest, and making my way to Kobold Lake again, I was convinced. Convinced that you hadn’t helped me at all. Instead, you’d killed me.”
Still, Rodney’s expression remained unchanged. Grace gaped at me. I couldn’t blame her, as my words just now were quite insane. But——after all my contemplating and thinking, I was certain of this one thing.
The evil god known as Arabella, and a disciple of this god, Rodney. Most likely they were enemies of Clancy, who was a god worshiped by the people. Rodney had said he’d sensed “Clancy’s Presence” and gone into the Forest of Lumen. I was nearly dead from my struggle with the kobolds. Nearly. If left alone, my recovery skill would have activated and I would have healed. But when I regained consciousness, I had already been carried by Rodney to the church. Of course, this was after “Clancy’s Limitation” had activated, and the divine protection had revived me.
If this was all, then there was the chance another kobold had finished me off. However——
“There’s a similarity between the red kobolds I defeated, and Aslina, over there.”
“My my…and what might that be?”
“Your skill, Mesmerize, has affected the both of them.” At those words, Rodney chuckled darkly.
“——Well now, it would appear you have some unique skill yourself.”
“At the very least, it’s not the kind of special skill that would allow me to carry a collapsed, full-grown man through the depths of that forest, what with the bad footing and all.” I homed in on the beginning of my doubts.
After exploring the Forest of Lumen, and arriving at Kobold Lake, I came to realize first hand how precarious footing was in the forest; and how difficult that made walking. Carrying an adult male on one’s back, and walking all the way to the church——just thinking about it was crazy.
“Light attribute magic is not only used for healing, there is also a magic that can move a space known as light transference magic, or simply “gate”, for short. Do you know of it?” Rodney was suggesting that he had used light magic, in reply to my inquiry. But hearing those words, I couldn’t help but grin widely.
“——Maybe so, but you couldn’t use it. After all, you use water attribute magic for healing. There’s a reason for this too. It’s because your affiliation doesn’t let you use light magic, since your attribute is shadow.”
I watched Rodney’s face, as my words turned his expression cold and hard.