Zich and his companions arrived in a city named Westillburd. As expected of the capital city of the Cronon Kingdom, it looked like a prosperous area. Even though they had traveled to various cities and villages, it was Snoc and Hans’ first time seeing the capital city of a kingdom.
Capital city—just this term made the whole city look different. It seemed as if the surrounding buildings, the clothes that people were wearing, the grass on the streets, and even the trees planted in front of the houses looked much more elegant and stylish. Hans and Snoc eyed their surroundings with barely contained excitement. Zich looked at his two pathetic servants and let out a small sigh. Then he looked the other way. Lyla had the same expression as Snoc and Hans and was looking all over the place. Zich shook his head.
Even though a capital city was the center of Cronon’s economic and political system, Westillburd was even more vibrant than other capital cities in the world. People’s expectations and hopes seemed to float around in the air.
“Sir, look at that!” Snoc said while looking at a poster on the wall. Zich, Hans, and more recently, Lyla were teaching Snoc how to read and write, so Snoc was now capable of slowly reading some letters.
“It says that the king’s birthday is coming up soon! And it’s also going to be his 50th birthday!”
“That’s why the atmosphere seemed so lively.” Hans stood next to Snoc and also looked at the wall.
“Then they will probably have a festival soon. How many days are left until the festival?” Lyla also joined them.
“It says that there are 50 days left!”
“There are still a lot of days left.”
Three pairs of eyes all stared at Zich. Currently, Zich dictated their travels. If there were only a few days left until the festival, they would have begged Zich as much as they could, but 50 days seemed too long.
“Okay.” However, contrary to their worries, Zich easily nodded his head. “Should we first find a place to stay?”
* * *
After finding a place to stay, Zich called Lyla to his room.
As soon as Lyla came in, she asked, “What?”
“Do you remember the conditions of our deal?”
“Of course.” Lyla gritted her teeth and glared at Zich.
With the excuse of improving her abilities, Zich really pushed her to her limits. Even though she was able to fight Zich on equal footing before, after Zich awakened all his mana in Violuwin, the amount of mana that Zich could use was one level higher than before. Moreover, Windur was also in his hands. It was a sword that increased its owner’s strength more than Estellade or Tornium.
It was now inevitable that Lyla would be pushed back by Zich in terms of battle prowess. Zich was strict and brutal. Even Hans and Snoc had not been pushed to the extent that Zich pushed Lyla. When their training was over, Lyla was completely covered in blood. Even though Hans and Snoc had now gotten somewhat used to Zich’s harsh training, they turned their heads away when Zich was training Lyla.
“Thanks to you, I’m now very used to fighting.”
“You don’t need to thank me. It was a fair deal.”
Lyla gritted her teeth again. “…It’s fine now. I know that sarcasm won’t work on you. You called me to talk about the conditions of our deal, right?”
“Yep.” Zich leaned forward. “I’m trying to meet one of my subordinates, Evelyn Rouge.”
Evelyn Rouge was one of Zich’s four subordinates, and she resided in this city.
“Hmm, you want to meet one of your four subordinates from the future. But do we have to really go out of our way to find her? Right now, you aren’t related to her, and it will be like that in the future too.”
There was a trace of sharpness in her tone. Lyla hated anything that was related to the ‘Demon Lord Zich Moore’ to the extent that she was adamant about Zich not even holding Tornium. Thus, she was not too keen about meeting Evelyn Rouge, one of Zich’s four subordinates in the past.
“Honestly, the business I have is not with Evelyn, but with those guys who corrupted Evelyn.”
“You don’t seem to know about those guys.”
It seemed as if the organization that turned people into Demon People didn’t appear in Lyla’s dreams, nor was she able to remember it. Zich explained what he knew about them to Lyla.
“…There are people like that?”
“And there is a high possibility that those guys are the same guys who are chasing after you.”
Lyla’s expression stiffened. Even with her foggy memories, there was a force that pressured her to run away from her chasers, never to be caught by them.
“And as I told you before, I don’t want to meet my past subordinates who turned into Demon People when I’m trying to live a kind life. I also have a debt I have to repay to those robed bastards.”
“…Do you know exactly when your subordinates would be corrupted?”
“I don’t know. Luckily, I met Joachim before he transformed. During that time, I didn’t even know the robed man was behind his transformation either. But Evelyn is different. I actually remember when she took her first step in becoming a Demon Person.”
“When is that?”
“During the Cronon King’s 50th birthday.”
“…Then it’s exactly during this time.”
“Yeah. We really got here at the best time.”
Lyla now knew why Zich accepted their request to stay in this city without a moment of hesitation. From the first place, he had planned to stay in Westillburd for a while.
“Then where is one of your ‘four great subordinates’ right now?”
“We can’t meet her right away. She told me she was from a very high-ranking noble family.”
“Didn’t you also tell me that Joachim Dracul was a young master of a noble family? And now you say he is a count. In order to become a Demon Lord subordinate, do you need to be a noble or something?”
“It’s all a coincidence. The other two guys didn’t come from good families.”
“Well, whatever. Then what are you going to do from now on? If she’s from a high-ranking family, it’ll be hard for us to meet her.”
“That’s where I need your help. When meeting someone coincidentally, being with a woman makes it less suspicious.”
“…It smells like you are thinking about doing something shady.”
“It’s not like we are trying to do something bad. In a way, we are trying to protect her.”
“Fine, I understand. Since we made a deal, I will do my best to fulfill my side of the deal.”
“Yes, that’s the spirit.” Zich immediately began to explain his plan to Lyla. A conspiracy that didn’t really seem like one began to gradually take shape.
* * *
Their stay in Westillburd went on monotonously. Unlike their stay in other cities, Zich didn’t let Hans and Snoc play around. 50 days was much too long to give as a vacation. Moreover, even after 50 days, there was no guarantee that they would leave this city. Hans and Snoc received Zich’s intense training, and it was more difficult than usual. Normally, Zich would have left them at least some energy to move around, but in Westillburd, he really drilled them until they had no strength left. Soon, they wanted to punch themselves to death for asking Zich if they could stay in this city.
But by that time, it was too late. Their only hope was for the king’s 50th birthday to come sooner while rolling on the ground again and again. However, it wasn’t as if Zich trained them every day, and he wasn’t always with them.
“I’m gonna leave for a bit,” Zich said to Hans and Snoc. Lyla stood next to him. “We are going out for several days. You are free to do whatever during that time, so just play by yourselves.”
“Sir, we will abide by your order!”
The two of them smiled brightly with joyous expressions, and they shouted out their answers.
Nowem’s cry from the back added on to their enthusiasm and sense of liberation. Zich felt a bit annoyed. He wondered if he should make them continue their training even while he was gone. Hans and Snoc already had a lot of experience with Zich’s trashy personality. When they saw a strange glint in Zich’s eyes, they immediately had sullen expressions on their faces and straightened up their posture. Even Nowem stood up firmly on top of Snoc’s shoulders and put his front legs close to his body.
“Let’s go quickly. Don’t torture people for no reason.” Lyla pulled Zich ahead, but Hans and Snoc did not ease their nerves even till the end.
If an order came out of Zich’s mouth, they had no choice but to immediately carry out his order. But fortunately, no order came out of Zich’s mouth. As if he could not help it, he was pulled along by Lyla.
‘She’s an angel!’
Her face and heart were both beautiful. The three of them sincerely looked at Lyla with gratitude.
* * *
Zich and Lyla went out of Westillburd. They leisurely walked the streets and exchanged small talk; from a glance, they looked like lovers leisurely enjoying their picnic. However, the conversation that passed between them was far from the sweet whispers between lovers.
“Evelyn Rouge is a lady from the Marquess of Rouge,” Lyla repeated the name of the person they were looking for. “I guess she’s one level higher than Joachim Dracul.”
“Since Joachim is now a count, his status is way higher than Evelyn’s. She is merely a child of the Marquess.”
“They are both high enough.” Lyla shook her head. “They both don’t have statuses where people like us can easily approach them.”
“That’s why we have to approach them with the plan I talked to you about. Fortunately, I can roughly predict what she will be doing during this time.”
“Were your relationships with your subordinates good? Especially since you’re able to see a future where you and your subordinates share this type of information.”
“Not at all.” Zich was firm in his answer.
“Our relationship wasn’t bad, but no one revealed everything about their past. With Joachim’s case, I really just went to see how he was doing from far away. I was just going to see how he was living or just hear rumors about him. It was a coincidence that I got so involved with his affairs. I only knew basic information about him, and he never told me specific details about himself.”
“Then, what about Evelyn Rouge?”
“She was the most sentimental one out of all of us. When she got drunk, she sometimes told me her story, but even then she didn’t say everything about her past. She just repeated the same story several times.”
“And one of the pieces of information she revealed is the foundation of this plan, right?”
“Yep, that’s right.”
When they were quite far from the city, they began speeding up. To avoid drawing attention to themselves, they moved into the forest.
“Oh, you’re getting quite fast in the forest as well.”
“Shut up. Don’t talk to me.” Since Lyla obtained this skill due to Zich’s habit of bulldozing through the forest, she was not very happy about it.
Zich laughed out loud in response, and like this, they ran for half a day and reached their destination.
“Oh my!” When Lyla saw their destination, her eyes opened wide.
The place they reached was an enormous lake. Beyond the pale mist, Lyla could see the edge of the lake. The clear water reflected the sunlight dripping down from the sky and sparkled in vivid blue. The energetic fish jumped and played around in the water, adding to the beauty of the scenery. The sudden appearance of a lake in a dense forest made it look like a hidden shelter for fairies.
“Contrary to my expectations, we were able to find this place easily. I thought it would take us several more days.”
“Is this the right place?” Lyla’s eyes were sparkling as she asked Zich. She looked like she was completely captivated by the lake’s appearance.
“Yeah. There’s no other lake of this size in this area. This was the place where Evelyn Rouge played around when she was a young child. In a way, this was her childhood secret hiding place.”
“Oh, is that it?” Lyla continued to look at the lake in a trance.
Zich could also understand her feelings. Even Zich felt at ease when he looked at the lake in front of him. But of course, this feeling was as big as an ant’s eyeball.
“When will Evelyn Rouge come here?”
“I don’t know the exact day, but I’m sure she will come soon. According to what she said, she came here about 30 days before the king’s birthday.”
“Then do we have to stay here for a couple of days?”
Lyla looked at the lake once and then glanced at Zich. Then, she smiled brightly. “Then during that time, can I play—”
“Do what you want.”
“Yay!” she exclaimed like a child finally allowed to play.Previous Chapter Next Chapter