“Three hundred to four hundred victims are a little much, wouldn’t you say? Did you not have the chance to report this before they fell?”
“I-I’m dreadfully sorry, Sire! Someone was working from the shadows, trying to cover up the incident! We couldn’t get a hold of the information in time!”
The demon sounds panicked. So someone’s working from the shadows, eh? Whoever the mastermind behind this little plot might be, they’re clearly the wary type. Upon further considering the situation, it begins to seem all the more possible that multiple people are behind this.
“I see. Then there’s no helping it. You did well to report to me; you may leave now.”
The demon deeply inclines his head before leaving the great hall.
“Guess things aren’t goin’ so well for the humans, huh?”
“We are demons. This is not our issue to deal with. We will not suffer if we leave them be.”
Both Peta and Anri seem plenty carefree. But no, this isn’t somebody else’s problem. This is an event, don’t you see?! An event that’ll get the public opinion on me up in no time! I rise, careful not to show my feelings on the issue.
“Yuuto-sama, what’s up?”
Peta stops shuffling the deck of cards to ask her question.
“I shall go and find whoever is behind the Case of the Lost Souls.”
Both present raise their voices in shock. The name for the incident, by the way, is just something I’d just come up with on a dime.
“Yuuto-sama, allow me to speak frankly, displeasing though it may be. There is nothing we might benefit from, even if we should find whoever is responsible. And besides, Yuuto-sama, you plan to eradicate humanity. Is this not a convenient matter for you?”
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I can feel the odd sensation of sweat dripping down my back. If I have to look at things from a High King’s perspective, then yes, Anri’s not wrong. What do I do? What do I tell her now…?
“…Listen well, Anri. I do believe I’ve told you this once before. When the day comes that I destroy them, I would prefer that there be as many human screams as I can bear to indulge in. Humans are valuable game to me, you see. Having them snatched away from me is far from pleasant.”
“I see. Only you, Yuuto-sama, would be so grand as to think so deeply into the matter. I beg of you, forgive my impudence.”
I feel relief flooding me. It’s amazing that I can apparently get away with it every time, as long as I stick to that excuse.
“So then, are you off to the human realm, Yuuto-sama?”
“Let’s not be hasty. Their lands are wide, after all, and if I were to simply search blindly for them, I’d just be wasting time. That’s where you come in, Anri.”
“Of course. Command me as you see fit.”
“Take an army of five hundred demons with you and head for the human realms. Investigate the area with the most casualties; there you’ll have a better chance of finding the perpetrators. It won’t hurt if you can better identify them, but don’t get too involved. Should they suspect your presence and hide, then it will have all been for naught.”
“Understood. As you command, Yuuto-sama.”
Needless to say, I don’t intend to leave this purely in the hands of other demons. I’ll just use my Clairvoyance as well as I can and find out as much as possible. If fortune’s on my side, I might even find one of the people behind this whole thing.
Still, this all makes me wonder what kind of people we’re dealing with. Is it humans that can wield magic, stray demons that haven’t joined my troops, or could it be…
Anyway, when the next day finally comes by, I’m preoccupied on my throne and letting my Clairvoyance sweep the human realms. That’s when Anri comes into the hall.
“Yuuto-sama. We have managed to locate the area with the most fallen.”
Wait, they’re already done?! It hasn’t even been a day! I thought they’d take a week, at the very least!
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“…You didn’t put too much stress on the others, did you?”
“Of course not. I merely told them that I would accept no excuses and have them kill themselves, should I find that they have been cutting corners.”
Seriously? Well, obviously, that’s going to put a whole load of stress on them, isn’t it? Then again, it really doesn’t hurt that they got done so quickly.
“Please, Yuuto-sama, take this.”
Anri holds out a single sheet of paper. It looks like a map of the human realms. To the far South, West, and East I see a slew of red dots marking the paper. I guess it’s supposed to imply the areas with a high concentration of casualties. The West is marked by the number one. The South is marked by a two, and the East by a three.
“I’m assuming you numbered them in accordance with the number of victims?”
“That I have, yes.”
So there are more of them further West, South, and East. Given the large distance between some of the red dots, it’s all but confirmed that there are multiple people pulling the strings. About three at least, or an even bigger group that had decided to split the work to put this whole incident into motion.
“But I fear that we could not identify the culprits. My sincere apologies, Yuuto-sama. We have let you down.”
“No, this is more than enough. I’m the one who asked that you not get too involved, after all. Tell the other demons that they’ve done well.”
“I will do so immediately. I am sure that they will tremble with delight.”
This still begs the question: just what are these people even trying to accomplish…? No, no. I can mull that over later. If I want to lower the number of the afflicted, then capturing these people takes precedence. Now that things had gone this far, it’s probably for the best if I don’t try to search for them with Clairvoyance and instead just go to meet them face-to-face. There’s a limit to the kind of information mere sight can offer, after all.
“’Scuse me! So, I heard. Already found out where the culprits might be, huh?”
Peta skips into the great hall.
“So, Yuuto-sama, does that mean you’re gonna go to the human realm now?”
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Solemnly, I raise myself from my throne.
“I’ll be departing for the human lands immediately. The West holds the most casualties. I shall search there.”
“Sure thing! Lemme go with you!”
“Likewise, I wish to accompany you, Yuuto-sama.”
Anri and Peta seem rather intent on joining me in my excursion. And while it’s true that having them both at my side would be of some reassurance…
“No. You two will remain in the castle and keep an eye out.”
Their voices rise as one. If I take the two of them along with me, then something tells me that they’ll be destroying one village after the other, and that scares me. Especially Peta, what with her criminal record. Harming people while trying to save them is just putting the cart before the horse, if you ask me.
“I would preferably avoid leaving the castle with neither myself nor a Demon of Ruin present. We have no guarantee that the angels won’t attack again. I will leave defending the castle to the two of you in my absence.”
“B-But Yuuto-sama! We know nothing of our enemies, do you not think it precarious to visit the human lands on your own…?!”
Anri’s the same old worry-wart. It’s not like I don’t get where she’s coming from, though.
“A good point. Then I’ll take Rina along with me when I visit the human realms.”
“Your esteemed sister, Yuuto-sama…?”
At least I know that Rina wouldn’t go around destroying villages. And besides, I’m sure that she’s been longing for a good, deep breath of human-world air.
“Hm… It’s kinda sad that I won’t get to help you out, Yuuto-sama, but if that’s what you want there’s nothin’ we can do.”
“S-Should something happen, please, do not hesitate to contact us.”
And so, I leave to find the culprit behind the Case of the Lost Souls, taking Rina with me and heading for the human realms.