“Rina. Know this in advance: I have no intention of treating you as a mere slave. The way I see it, you happen to be quite the spectacular woman.”
The pools in Rina’s eyes quiver as she accepts my words.
“That is why you will cease referring to me as your master from here on out. You will also refrain from labeling yourself as a slave. Why, we’ve even managed to form a contract.”
“I… I understand, Mas- ah…!”
“Hm. Well, I suppose you need some time to grow accustomed to this change.”
All things considered, the simple act of turning Rina into a demon is hardly a solid resolution for all our issues. Given how much of a looker she happens to be, it’s more than likely that the various demons dwelling in this castle would turn their attention towards her. In more ways than one. If I want to absolutely guarantee that she’ll stay safe…
“But then… just what should I call you?”
“Huh? Well, the others here are perfectly at ease with calling me Yuuto-sama, so you may –”
Just then, an idea swoops down and roosts in my skull. There’s one thing! There’s one sure-fire plan that would keep their hands off her, one single, positively revolutionary idea! Wow, I’m really on the ball today!
“… What’s the matter?”
“Apologies, Rina. We must leave this naming debacle to another date.”
With that being said, I waste no time in making my next move. I swing my door open and ask the demons standing guard just on the other side to call for Anri.
A few dozen minutes tick by. Just when I start to think that she’s going to be awfully late, Anri makes her appearance. She’s – for reasons I can’t quite place – wearing a rather risqué set of pajamas that were just a tad too see-through.
“My sincerest apologies for keeping you waiting, Yuuto-sama! My preparations took up far more time than I expected!”
Preparations? For what, exactly?
“So, Yuuto-sama, you’ve finally grown to accept this body of mine! I, Anri, have been dreaming of this very day to come –”
“Hold your horses, Anri. I did not call you here for the reasons you seem to believe I did.”
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Anri’s eyes shrink into little dots.
“I realize that you were here only moments ago to offer me a drink. I must apologize for forcing you to come here yet again.”
“… Oh, no. It’s no trouble at all, really.”
Anri’s response is laced with an incredibly overt level of glumness.
“And Yuuto-sama… just who might this demon be? I don’t seem to recall seeing her around the castle…”
Anri’s gaze switches to Rina. Even though she met here just a few minutes ago. It’s not even that her appearance changed in the slightest. If just turning into a demon’s enough for Rina to be completely unrecognizable to Anri, then that really makes it clear just how much of a pest she considers humans to be…
At least I now know that even Anri can’t sniff out the difference between a demon that used to be a human and a regular old demon. Heck, come to think of it, I fit in that first category, don’t I?
“Yuuto-sama, I have no right to comment on what kind of women you choose to take for yourself. But I do have to admit that I’m growing a little envious…”
It’s not like that, for crying out loud.
“Oh, that reminds me. Whatever happened to that human female that was here earlier? I don’t see her anywhere…”
This time, Anri’s gaze flies to the still wide open closet. Well, at least as far as Anri’s concerned, it really does look like the Rina from before and the one after the contract might as well be entirely different entities.
Alright then, new dilemma: how do I answer? Saying that I just sent her back really doesn’t fit the High King image…
“Oh, that woman. I had no further use for her, so I simply devoured her whole. I ate her.”
“Sadly, I can hardly call her delicious. Not by any standard. Don’t tell me that you thought I’d grown soft for a human being?”
“O-Of course not! I would never!”
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I can’t shake the feeling that I may have exaggerated just a teeny tiny bit, but… whatever.
“As for this demon at my side… There is something about her that I wish to inform everyone of.”
“Indeed. I have news of the utmost importance. That is why, Anri, I would like you to gather everyone and have them assemble at the great hall.”
“… I hear and obey. I shall call for them at once.”
Another few dozen minutes pass. Once the demons of this castle are all present and accounted for in the hall, I position myself on a platform above them. I feel like a teacher about to introduce a transfer student.
“Who’s that demon standing next to Yuuto-sama?”
“Who knows. I sure don’t…”
“But isn’t she a real cutie?”
“She is, she really is. Enough to make me want her as a girlfriend…”
“Hey, you can screw right off! I call dibs!”
That’s a sample of the voices I can hear in the crowds. The way they react to her reminds me a lot of a group of high school boys ogling the new transfer student. It really doesn’t look like Rina’s going to have a safe stay at this rate. But that doesn’t matter right now. After all, I’d already devised a plan that would assure her safety.
“Loyal subjects, a thousand pardons for calling upon you this late into the night. As you may have heard, I have something important to tell all of you.”
The tittering demons hold their tongues, casting the great hall into immediate silence.
“I am sure that many of you are wondering just who this demon beside me must be. Allow me to explain.”
I give myself a moment to pause before I open my mouth, still silent. There’s just one way, one single, mind-bogglingly grand way to keep their hands off of Rina. And that’s…
“Her name is Rina. She happens to be my… long-lost sister.”
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How’s that, huh?! I couldn’t be prouder of myself for coming up with that!
The demons in the great hall stand there paralyzed, akin to stone gargoyles. Not a split second later do they break out into an unrelenting commotion.
“Yuuto-sama’s honored sister?!”
“Yuuto-sama had a sister?!”
“I had no idea…!”
Well, of course you hadn’t. I’d only come up with this backstory a few dozen minutes ago. And, while everyone below is completely shaken by this astonishing revelation, completely unable to hide their surprise… none of them are more surprised than Rina herself.
“Um… Excuse me… What’s this about me being a sister…?!”
“Don’t worry about it. Just leave everything to me.”
I assure Rina with as small a voice as I can make.
“Allow me to tell you just why I decided to leave the castle this day. It was to search for this sister of mine. And after countless trials and numerous hardships, I have finally found her. I must admit that I am trembling with pure joy.”
Once again, the demons fall silent and look to me. If I say that Rina’s my own sister, then there won’t be a single demon in this castle who would dare to raise his hand against her. While lying to everyone does pull at some of my guilt, I still believe that this is the best method to guarantee that no harm will come to her. If I’d had some sort of contract spell that could turn her into my actual sister, then I’m sure things would have been much easier. Sadly, I don’t have anything like that in my arsenal.
Once this plan manages to settle everything peacefully –
“Yuuto-sama. I wish to say something, if I may.”
Standing at the very forefront of the assembled demons, Anri raises her voice and interrupts my train of thought.
“What is it, Anri?”
“I realize that my question is nothing short of impudent, but is there any way to prove that this girl is indeed your honored sister?”
“Yes, prove. Should she truly be your sister, Yuuto-sama, then we shall have no qualms in offering the full extent of our devotion to her, as is proper. But if this cannot be proven, then I fear that some among us may begin to harbor doubts.”
A waterfall of sweat runs down my brow. I really hadn’t thought anyone would ask me this sort of question. Rina being my sister is, of course, a downright lie. We really don’t have any way to prove that she’s what I say she is.
What do I do? What do I tell them?!