“Good. It’s time to begin Laladi’s impeachment trial…”
“…What is this, exactly?”
Back to the Yelquchira Headquarters. More specifically its dining room, the center for all routine guild meetings, which, by dint of certain renovations, now looked more akin to a courtroom than anything else.
Sitting restrained and bound to the defendant’s seat was, of course, Laladi. Seated upon the most conspicuously placed chair positioned well above its surroundings, right where one might think to look for the judge presiding over a court case, was none other than the nun of the Master Faith herself, Anat, a smile playing across her lips.
“Schwald, please read out the charges against the accuuused…”
“Right away. One Miss Laladi stands accused of taking on easy work with the intent of finishing up early and taking our Master, who I’ll remind you must be protected by this guild at all costs, outside on her own whim and, furthermore, keeping him in her company for over a day’s time. Your Honour, I suggest that she be sentenced to death.”
“Hey. Quit shoehorning your own opinions in there.”
Dispassionately reading aloud the charges for Anat to hear was a brown-skinned girl wearing a maid outfit. Her casual proposal of applying capital punishment naturally called for Laladi’s interjection.
“Nobody asked you for yours either, Ritter.”
“No objections, none at all!”
“Oh, stuff it.”
The dark-haired girl clad in a knight’s garb that seemed just a tad too revealing, Ritter, was quick to voice her agreement without so much as a twitch tugging at her features. As rigid as her expression was, Laladi was far from blind to the irritation and envy melting together to glint in her eyes.
Chiming in almost immediately after her was Vampir, her body draped in her blood-red dress. Her tone was overtly cheerful, and Laladi didn’t hesitate to lump her in with Ritter as a further nuisance.
She wondered just how long this farce would go on for. It was starting to become more trouble than it was worth, and she was seconds away from summoning one of her titanic plants to sort things out.
“Urgh… This is enough, wouldn’t you say?”
The imposing voice rang out just in time to nip Laladi’s dangerous inclinations in the bud. Reese approached the group with a hand on her head, as if in an attempt to ameliorate the effects of a nasty headache. Her iconic pair of magnificent prongs jutted from her head as they always did.
“Besides, didn’t we already agree that whoever finished their job first would get to spend some alone time with the Master?”
As she said this, she ventured towards Laladi and pulled the ropes that restrained her apart with a light tug.
‘…It’s not like the ropes were that strong. Lala didn’t even have to rely on your brute power.’
Reese may have come to her aid, but that didn’t mean that Laladi wasn’t somewhat put off by the display of sheer power. Not that she couldn’t have gotten out of that situation herself, of course. It was well within her means.
“Besides, just look at the results. The Hero Party looked like they might have gotten in the way of us giving the Master his due present, and she got rid of every last one of them. Wipes the slate clean, wouldn’t you say?”
Read the original on https://dao.ist
Reese looked around her as she spoke, and no one present so much as tried to raise a rebuttal. While they all saw Laladi’s rendezvous with the Master as nothing short of a grave sin, it nevertheless held true that the Hero Party had been removed from the picture. They had been one of several groups on Yelquchira’s list.
It was also true that her singular and unrelenting obsession with the Master had paved the way for an assault, but the fact of the matter was that their goals had ultimately been fulfilled. It was hard to spin this against her. Their reaction, gleefully noted by Laladi, made her puff out her chest in a boastful gesture.
“Wait, you didn’t even do anything. The Master sorted it all out, didn’t he? Ogres are laughable as far as monsters go, but it still had you on the ropes.”
Kühling, a woman endowed with red hair that was as rich as her bosom was ample, made a show of puffing out her own chest in an attempt to refute her. Laladi glared at the pronounced mammaries with deadly intent, especially as their movement, in an effort against reason, seemed to produce some sort of heavy sound effect. The annoying way she laughed only served to agitate Laladi further.
“Don’t pretend like you don’t know! That ogre reeked of your handiwork!”
“Oh, dear. I can assure you I was uninvolved. Do you have anything to back up your claims?”
“Most of the people who use that old excuse are tooootally guilty!”
Kühling’s laughter was designed to provoke, and for Laladi, that was the last straw. Magic began to pool around both parties in worrying amounts, mingling with equally palpable killing intent and turning the whole situation critical. The other guild members, quite used to the pair’s antics at this point, began to exude their own small quantities of murderous intent, just enough to cancel out what was already in the air. They didn’t want the Master to notice, after all.
“Caaaalm down, girls… If you fight here, you’ll just trouble the Maaaster… You can always do this somewhere eeelse…”
Anat’s words were accompanied by a gentle clapping of her hands, to which the other two responded by taking their seats again, but not before they both allowed themselves a click of the tongue. It should be made clear that neither Laladi nor Kühling were simply acquiescing to Anat’s demands – rather, it was the thought that they might disturb the Master in some way that calmed them down. Anat, to her own credit, wouldn’t have cared much if the others had decided to duke it out in some other place. If one of them wound up dead, all the better… not that she would think something so unbecoming of a nun, of course. She would never.
“But… B-b-b-but, this means that t-t-there’s one less thing standing between us and the Master’s present.”
“Heheh, that’s right. And you have Lala to thank for it. Our plans just moved one step ahead. Come on then, give Lala your thanks.”
“Y-y-y-you’re going too far, I think…”
Krankheit, her ash-colored hair wound in its usual rolls, was rather frank in her assessment of the situation. With her demeanor now placid and laid-back, her voice was equally bereft of major emotion. Laladi still felt awfully pleased with herself, especially now that she had gotten some level of praise from a rather unexpected source.
“And besides… Lala was put in charge of watching the heroes, but she doesn’t have to do that job anymore. Do you know what happened while you were all running around outside? Lala and the Master got reeeeally lovey-dovey; that’s what.”
The sigh she unleashed certainly had some lewdness to its tone, but no one present was one to be duped by displays of eroticism. Vampir’s pure crimson eyes shot wide open as she let out a screech.
“Come on, Laladi. That’s just…”
Ritter decided to continue seething in silence, and Reese, despite having just come to stand on Laladi’s side, gave her a greatly displeased but far from immature look. It didn’t take a genius to figure out that what was going on in their heads wasn’t in Laladi’s favor. The air became thick with their newfound thirst for blood, something Laladi, now feeling above them in some way, chose to counteract with some of her own.
Read the original on https://dao.ist
“Indeed… It’s a shaaame, really…. But this cannot stand…”
Schwald regarded Laladi with an icy look, and Anat, with a small nod, gave her verdict. Though Laladi was already aware that the tide had turned against her, she didn’t show any signs of flinching.
“Why not, exactly? What, do you have anything else you need Lala to handle? Lala guesses that means she’s going to play the MVP when it’s time to hand the Master his present. You lot can just take care of the leftovers.”
“Beg pardon?! Don’t you dare start with that nonsense! Actually, you know what? Go right ahead! It’s not like the Master’s going to get anything out of that underdeveloped body of yours anyway!”
“Oh, you cow-titted… You really shouldn’t have said that…!”
Laladi kept on fanning the proverbial flames. She was the only one who could do as much when one considered that, for all the people and groups the guild, Yelquchira, was keeping an eye on, she was the only one to eliminate a whole group in one swoop.
A large contributing factor to this was that most had been preoccupied with gathering information on their targets as well as cutting off any flow of information that might become a liability to their own side. There had been no way for them to approach the issue directly. Kühling, quick to catch on as she was, had become aware of this immediately and was quick to instigate another glaring match.
“If Laladi really managed to defeat the Hero Party on her oooown, then we’d gladly release her from her duuuties… But since she was working with someone, we can’t just keep her away from wooork…”
“…? But the Master –”
“Oh, you’ve got it wroooong… There’s someone who teamed up with you to defeat the Hero Party, seeee…”
Still fairly convinced that Anat wasn’t doing anything beyond peddling nonsense, Laladi’s expression served as a visual key to just how tired she had grown of this mess. Before she could go any further, however, she spun her head so that she could face towards another, rather specific location.
“…It was I, Lady Laladi.”
Sitting in her chair with enviable posture, arms outstretched, and dressed in ninja-esque clothing was Sorglos.
“What…?! B-but that damn stalker wasn’t anywhere close to where Lala was!”
“Please, a stalker? That’s just in poor taste, that it is.”
‘N-n-n-not really… D-d-d-d-don’t see how anyone can deny that…’
Laladi raised her voice in disbelief. Sorglos showed little reaction to Laladi’s patented nickname of her beyond shaking her head in exasperation, but none of that held Krankheit back from thinking about its validity.
“Sorglos hid from the grey guild members and went on to hand some tips on Laladi to the royal knights. The grey guilds, too. That’s why there were so many of them in one place, all weaklings ready to be harvested.”
“You can’t just sell your guildmate out like it’s second nature, you damn stalker.”
Schwald gave her explanation, her tone, as always, lackadaisical, while Laladi’s expression turned sour as she clenched her teeth. Making a mental note of how Schwald never seemed to change her expression unless, in the presence of the Master, she came to the realization that even a display of emotion wouldn’t do much to endear the girl to her and decided to let go of her current thought process.
“I have to say that it would have indeed been a better result overall if only Lady Laladi had fallen in battle…”
Read the original on https://dao.ist
“Lala’s not dying before she and the Master get hitched.”
Sorglos laughed, not at all shy to make her darker side public. Although considering that every other guild member was thinking along a similar vein, one could say that everyone present was on equal ground.
“Now that we’ve covered thaaat, we’ve decided that Laladi should be given much more wooork… Your powers as an Alraune can really come in handy, after aaaall…”
“…No helping it, then.”
Though she was far from happy at this turnout, Laladi accepted Anat’s final verdict with a nod. She wasn’t exactly in a good position to go against her, after all.
She could always bring up this subject when another guildmate found herself in a similar situation; she thought to herself. Besides, there was nothing wise about making everyone else into an unrelenting foe. Not that the animosity didn’t already exist of course, but at least it was mostly latent.
“Ah, yes. That reminds me. Lady Anat, the Iron Scraps might be on the move, indeed.”
“Ooooh…? That dark guild, you meaaan…?”
Sorglos brought her hands together with a loud clap as she relayed this information to Anat. The term ‘Iron Scraps’ was all the denotation needed to identify the guild in question.
It was a reference to one of the few other guilds that had been publicly marked as ‘dark,’ a guild that went by the name Iron Queen, or rather, Eicaenin. With their own guild refraining from major exposure and being exceedingly regulatory when it came to the spread of information, the common folk were much more acquainted with the Eicaenin guild and their showy antics of cruelty.
“The crown prince took in the Iron Scrap strays, it seems.”
“I can’t say I’m too well-informed on kingdom affairs, but I hear the in-fighting between its factions is plain obscene. They’ve really hit rock bottom if they’re consorting with dark guilds… actually, come to think of it, they’ve always been there.”
Ritter had little to say. Reese, who just so happened to be long-lived, began to mutter to herself. She had been with Yelquchira since it had been founded, and though many tended to think of her as an ‘old hag’ for this very reason, no one wanted to risk being killed by saying as much out loud.
“Oh, right. They always try to pick fights with us, don’t they? It’s getting rather annoying; I have to say.”
Kühling’s crimson hair began to wave about, almost as if moving in tandem with the ebb and flow of her anger. Anat threw a sidelong glance as she mulled over something.
“Since Laladi cleared the Hero Party out of the way, it might just be time to make our next move and proceed with the plaaan…”
“If that’s the case, then I believe it would be indeed wise to move on to the guild I have been placed ‘in charge’ of. We have the most information about them available, I believe….”
“…True. No one can really beat Sorglos when it comes to all this sneaky business.”
“Indeed, even more nasty words for me…”
Sorglos gave her response to Anat’s mumblings without wasting time. Schwald had already guessed that the former and the latter shared similar appetites and proclivities. She saw no qualms in spitting a little venom their way.
Not that anything poisonous had any real effect on Sorglos, but the point remained.
“Well said… Now then, why don’t we staaart…”
Anat chuckled to herself, seemingly amused at everything that was going on. The laugh itself wasn’t loud – far from it, in fact. Still, all the other members were oddly silent despite their penchant for noise and quarrel. A smile peeked through each one of their faces as they turned in Anat’s direction.
“Our plan is to take this world and give it to the Master as his rightful present. The Hero Party, our first great obstacle, is no mooore… that means that our next target is going to be…”
“…The Dark Guild.”