“Incantation: Grant Ability!”
I imbue Rina with the power of a single spell. She opens her eyes, and her expression doesn’t hide her confusion.
“I have used my Grant Ability spell to give you the power of Creation.”
The use of my spell undoes my transformation, and I find myself back in my High King body. Quickly, I cast the transformation spell again and return to my human form.
It’s a little bit of a bother, I’ll admit, that I have to do this over and over again whenever I’m out in a disguise. Luckily, the only one keeping me company at the moment is Rina, who doesn’t pose an issue. If anyone else comes here, I might as well not have access to my spells.
“B-But why would you give me your creation spell?”
“Well, Rina, you’re still a young woman. I’m pretty sure you’re not too hot on the idea of wearing the same stuff again when you come out of the bath. Just use that spell do make whatever kind of clothing you want.”
While it’s true that I also have the option of using the creation spell on her directly, it’s also true that I don’t know squat about making clothes for women. Also, creating regular clothes is one thing, but I really can’t be seen making ladies’ underwear.
“Don’t you remember how I gave you my Disaster Cannon spell a while back?”
“Well, of course I do. So this is what you were on about…”
Rina’s face is a mixture of both disappointment and relief.
“Just be sure to give me that spell back later. It’s a little worrying for me to not have it on me.”
“Naturally. And thank you for being so considerate. You really are nice…”
“Please, this much isn’t worth bragging about. One more thing: when you’re done with your bath, be sure to come back to this room. There’s a lot we need to talk about.”
“Understood. Well then, if you’ll excuse me.”
Rina gives me a quick bow before she retreats to her own quarters. I guess it’s about time I get in the bath too, huh?
We just spent all day walking around town and hunting for information about this missing souls case, but the only thing we found out that bears mentioning is the possibility that the Seven Angels of the Stars might be behind this whole thing. No need to rush things, I think. The real work starts now.
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Let’s say that the Seven Angels really are behind this, though. What are they trying to accomplish? What kind of plan involves stealing human souls…?
Some time after I get out of the bath, there’s a knock on my door. When I extend the invitation to enter, Rina comes into the room, wearing a brand-new dress.
“…I’m guessing you couldn’t figure out how to make something a little more girly?”
The clothes she’s wearing are really plain and oddly reminiscent of the kind of gym clothes you’d see at a school. I guess I can accept that this style exists.
“I’m sorry, I just couldn’t get a good image of what kind of clothes I was supposed to make… D-Do you think it’s better if I just start from scratch and make new ones?”
“Oh, no. If you’re fine with it, Rina, then I really don’t mind it.”
She was a slave for much too long, and the way I see it, it’s pretty likely that Rina doesn’t even know what kind of clothes would look good on her because of that. Maybe it really is a better idea if I make her clothes for her, barring any kind of underwear, of course.
“Onii-sama – Onii-san, you haven’t changed your clothes yet. Are you sure you don’t mind that?”
“Not at all. It’s a guy thing; we don’t really care if we wear the same clothes for two days straight. Anyway, just sit down wherever you want.”
Rina sits down right next to me, moving a little shyly. Once I make sure to retrieve my Creation spell from her care, I talk to her about the culprits behind the lost souls case.
“A-Are you saying that the angels are behind all this…?!”
Rina speaks with her eyes wide open.
“Well, that’s mostly just conjecture. I do think there’s a good chance, though.”
Khiel really doesn’t strike me as the kind of person to tell a lie, and even then, there really isn’t much personal merit in a lie that puts you at a disadvantage.
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I rise from my bed in silence before turning to face Rina.
“I’m going to take a stroll around the city. You just stay in this inn on standby, Rina.”
“A-At this time of night?! What if you get involved even deeper with the case…?!”
“I’m going because I want to get more involved with the whole thing. It’s safe to say that the real culprits wait until nightfall to get to work. Just staying holed up inside this inn won’t get me any further down their trail.”
“T-That’s too risky! If something does happen, then I…!”
“Hahah. Did Anri’s whole thing with worrying about me rub off on you?”
I lay a hand on top of Rina’s head as she looks at me with evident worry.
“I’m the High King. You don’t need to worry about the possibilities. Just have faith in me and hold the fort.”
Rina hangs her head in silence for a good while, but finally caves in and nods.
“Okay then, I’m off.”
“P-Please come back safe, alright?!”
I take my leave from the inn and start walking rounds around town, still in my human form. That demon from earlier reported that the victims were mostly in their late teens or early twenties, and I just about fit the bill right now. When the real culprit comes gunning for my soul, I can beat them at their own game.
Then again, it’s not like I have any real confirmation that they are even in this town. To tell the truth, I just really want to act a little cool in front of Rina. If I don’t run into those people and walk back home empty-handed, everything’s going to be really awkward. And the chance that I won’t run into anyone is still way higher.
But if the Seven Angels of the stars really are pulling the strings here, then that means that it’s a face-off between the angels who wish to steal as many souls as they can and the High King who just wants to protect humanity. Who’s the demon and who’s the angel? The lines are really getting blurred.
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From the distance, I hear the sudden shriek of a young lady. Did the perpetrator actually show up?! Relying on every last ounce of my speed, I run towards the voice.
“Hahahaah! See, I just knew it’d be fun ta attack humans! Didn’t anyone ever tell ya that it’s dangerous ta walk around on your own at night?!”
Once I make it to a back alley, I see the form of a man standing a good stone’s throw away from me, cackling and spreading his arms, and on the ground in front of him lies a young woman flat on her side, her body covered in wounds.
“Well then, why dontcha let me give ya some reprieve? Incantation: Soul Absorption!”
The man snaps his fingers, and around the lying girl forms a pure white crest of sorts with a radius of about two meters.
“Enough! What do you think you’re doing?!”
I run towards where the woman is. He just said ‘Soul Absorption,’ no doubt about it. It’s not hard to figure out that it does just what the name implies.
Just a few seconds after the crest’s summoning, something that’s quite visibly white and shimmering removes itself from her body. Is that an actual soul…?!
Not long after, the white, shiny thing vanishes into thin air, and so does the pale, bluish-white crest.
“Are you okay?! Pull yourself together!”
I shake the woman’s shoulders. It doesn’t matter how many times I call out to her; nothing seems to be enough to bring her back to consciousness. So this is it, for real: the case of the disappearing souls…!
“What do we have here? Looks like the next sacrifice jus’ came to me on its own.”
The man doesn’t show even the slightest, fragmented sign of guilt, not even after stealing a human’s soul. I lay the girl down on the ground, then slowly rise to my feet.
“…You. Who are you?”
I point my glare his way. The man just puts his right hand close to his head and begins scratching vigorously.
“Ya know, I got told ta hide my identity. Well, guess it doesn’t matter. Just think o’ this as a special service.”
The corners of the man’s lips rise in a somewhat unnerving manner, and he gives me his name.
“I’m Gabri. If I told ya I was one o’ the Seven Angels o’ the Stars, would ya believe me?”
It’s just like Khiel said, after all. The Seven Angels really are the ones behind this…!