The Feudal Lord’s mansion——
Further in the center of the Central District, in the most central part of the town, there was a noticeably large estate.
The walls were made of brick and it even had three floors.
The doors and window frames that were here and there all had exquisite reliefs carved into them, and even the walls that surrounded the building had designs on them. It was an elegant estate.
At the left and right of the main entrance, armored guards were standing.
When Sylvie called out to them, the group was immediately shown into the gate.
A butler came out from the estate and respectfully lowered his head.
Led by him, they went through the beautifully maintained garden, passed through the entrance hall, and walked down a long corridor.
On the floor, a deep red carpet was laid out.
If this were a talk about the game, this red color was only used in dwellings of “really important Humans” such as high-grade nobles or royalty.
Since an event where one would meet with the Feudal Lord of Faltra City was still not implemented in the game, this was Diablo’s first time coming here.
At most, he held an image of something like a town mayor or something, but it seems that the Feudal Lord was a character of a much more amazing status.
The butler that guided Diablo’s group knocked on a door and informed the person behind it.
「Galford-sama, I have brought the Adventurer’s Guild Guildmaster and her party.」
For some reason, Diablo felt an excitement and nervousness like he was about to rush into a boss’s room.
A composed and heavy voice was raised from the other side of the door.
「Come and enter.」
There was a solemnity that made one straighten their back just by listening to it.
After the butler gave a notice with an 「Excuse me」, he opened the door and then stepped to the side.
It was a spacious room that had a red carpet laid out.
On the wall in front of them, there was a window with glass fit into it. This was the first time that he had seen glass that was this large and distortionless in this world.
And then, on the walls to the left and right, there were doors. Other than those, the rest of the walls only had artistically designed bookshelves.
On the bookshelves that nearly reaching the ceiling, various sized books were lined up.
Going by the pattern of the MMORPG Cross Reverie, the doors to the left and right were places where the small fry monsters that protect the boss would come out from.
——Well, if I think about it normally, they’re probably the bedroom or the reference room.
At the center of the room, there was an extravagant long table and six chairs were arranged.
And then, there was a large desk for official duties.
With his back to the wall that had the Lifelia Kingdom’s flag hanging upon it——A Human man that was in the prime of his life was standing.
He wore a white military uniform.
Since this world’s culture level was about the middle period of the Middle Ages, soap powder was expensive and something like bleach didn’t exist. White clothing was a high-class item, and for him to use a military uniform that was easy to get dirty, it was unthinkable for him to use it other than for special people.
He kept his black hair short like military personnel, and he had wrinkles on the corner of his eyes and his brow.
The glint in his eyes were sharp enough to seem like they would make a Demonic Beast run away.
「Fumu……Has it been finished?」
——Just what had been finished? Diablo has no idea.
With an “Ahaha”, Sylvie made a strained laugh.
「For the time being, I had Diablo-san undertake the quest.」
The Feudal Lord narrowed his eyes.
「So he undertook it. In that case, he should promptly resolve the problem. I don’t mind if the report to me is done after the mission has been completed.」
In other words, his “Has it been finished?” was a question that meant “Has the war been stopped?”.
If it were in the game, he would have gotten through as an “NPC with those kinds of lines” but the people of this world thought and were alive.
——Just how short-tempered is this guy?
Having made such a difficult commission, the feeling of asking if it had been resolved when not even half the day has passed was something that Diablo could not understand.
Sylvie talked as if to try and calm the situation down.
「Well……This is a quest with a high degree of difficulty after all. We were wondering if we could get some information.」
「But I thought I told you everything that was necessary?」
「Well, that’s true but……」
「As I thought, I can’t trust the ones called Adventurers. Even though they act big normally, whenever a true danger comes near, they make excuses with this and that and run away. In the end, the only thing that can protect the country is the army.」
——What did he say?
Diablo tightly grasped his staff.
Sylvie jumped in ahead of him, and waved her hand left and right.
「That’s unthinkable! I wouldn’t run away, and Diablo-san is proactively tackling the quest, you know?」
「In that case, hurry up and send those Elves away.」
「Uh-huh, though I don’t think that we’ll make you wait that long, you know? Probably……Uhm……Oh right, shouldn’t we do some self-introductions?」
Sylvie looked like she was talking extremely carefully.
And the Feudal Lord was oppressive.
Diablo didn’t know how great he was, but he probably didn’t need to be dealt with like this. Diablo knew that the Feudal Lord clearly looked down on Adventurers.
It was irritating.
However, because his intimidating air was too strong, if Diablo were to relax his attention, he felt like he would avert his eyes.
——It’ll be bad if I show a timid attitude.
If he were to be judged as “not worthy of being afraid of” by this Feudal Lord, he might be challenged to a fight right here. He needed to make the Feudal Lord think “it’s disadvantageous to oppose him”.
Diablo glared at the Feudal Lord.
The other party opened his mouth first.
「Good grief……So Adventurers don’t even know the name of the Feudal Lord……」
「They just came to Faltra City a few days ago.」
「Remember it well……I am Lieutenant General Chester Ray Galford. I have been entrusted with Fortress City Faltra by His Majesty the King.」
「Hmph……So you’re the Feudal Lord that stood idly by and watched even though Demonic Beings appeared in the town.」
A few days ago, when the Demonic Being Gregor appeared, the one that came running and crushed him was Diablo.
Galford bit his molars to the point that sounded like he made a *Giri* sound.
「……It just meant that the situation was settled before I received the report. I don’t think that it caused any particular problem though?」
「That was fortunate for you then.」
While concealing how frightened he was on the inside, Diablo expressed a smile on his mouth.
He had no recollection of Galford’s name. Perhaps, he may have remembered the settings of Cross Reverie but didn’t remember the names of NPCs that had no events.
As if to calm the atmosphere down, Rem courteously did a self-introduction.
「I am called Rem Galeu. I am a level 40 Adventurer and a Summoner. Ah, um, it’s not like this person has any ill intent but……」
Raising one hand, Galford interrupted her words.
「I am aware that Adventurers do not know of etiquette.」
「Rem Galeu-kun, it would be best if you re-think your place of employment…… I’ve heard that the Magician’s Guild has invited you to join them. You can’t possibly do something like being an Adventurer forever.」
「……Th, that’s true but……Right now, I also have my own plans.」
Even though the Guildmaster was right before his eyes let alone a regular Adventurer, that was a surprising manner of speaking.
Sylvie wryly smiled.
「My subordinates have done an investigative report on you people. It would seem that some small problems had occurred.」
「…….Problems, you say?」
「Like how you intimidated a guard at Fort Bridge Ulg, or how you destroyed stone paving and buildings in the southern streets using magic……I can’t get my hopes up for an Adventurer that does such irreproachable conduct.」
「There were, reasons for that!」
It wasn’t just Rem, even Shera refuted it.
「That’s right! Diablo isn’t in the wrong for that!」
「So it was the truth.」
Rem and Shera shut their mouths with an *Ugh*.
Galford was a man that was like a teacher that was way too strict.
It wasn’t that he didn’t have confidence in Adventurers, it seemed that he disliked Diablo in particular.
They were engulfed in the other party’s atmosphere. Diablo wanted to avoid having a long visit here.
They should probably start talking about their business quickly.
But before that, he should first do a self-introduction. Galford seemed to already know his name, but since the other party gave their name, it was the thing called the minimum amount of courtesy.
He couldn’t undo the Demon King role play since he needed to maintain his majesty but he wanted to avoid offending Galford more than necessary. He absolutely needed to obtain information from him.
It was because it was a person that he didn’t particularly like that he had to be more careful than usual.
Let’s do it normally.
Aim to do it normally.
「I am Diablo. I came to listen to your story.」
How was that!? That was considerably gentle, wasn’t it!? I can do it if I try!
He peeked at Rem and Shera’s reactions, but they didn’t look particularly surprised.
Having done a safe self-introduction, Diablo did a triumphant pose in his mind.
Galford gazed this way as if he were doing an evaluation.
「There’s one thing I’ll ask……You’ve been calling yourself a “Demon King of another world”, correct? Is that true?」
A provocative question was asked. The Demon King role play that was deeply ingrained into his body unconsciously exploded.
「Kukuku……I don’t mind showing you proof that I can turn you to cinders, you know?」
Diablo glared back.
That just now was said to the wrong person! Since those words with atmosphere were said, he unconsciously rode along with it!
Panicking, Rem and Shera jumped at him.
They grabbed both his hands.
「H, hold on a second, Diablo!」
「That’s right! Although ashes are no good, cinders are also no good, you know!?」
Sylvie’s face went pale. It looked like she would collapse at any moment.
Galford slowly closed the gap between them.
——Will things turn into a fight at this rate!?
Could he win if it were one-on-one?
However, it would be troublesome if he were to call in soldiers……Did they have no choice but to run away?
A cold sweat went down along his spine. Nevertheless, Diablo stuck with his arrogant looking smile.
The other party came right before his eyes.
「As long as the commission is achieved, I won’t mind even if it was the Demon King that did it. Are you beneficial to my dominion? Or are you harmful? That’s all I am interested in.」
「Hmph……Since you’ve caught my interest, I’ll only lend a hand. Don’t be mistaken and think that you’ve subdued me.」
「Fumu……As I thought, there are many eccentric ones among those that are called Adventurers.」
Diablo felt irritation from those words that seemed to ridicule all Adventurers let alone him.
In other words, he was arbitrarily determined to be a painful guy that would self-proclaim himself as a “Demon King of another world”.
Well yeah, he certainly was self-proclaimed though? But, would they believe him if he were to say that he was “a Player that was summoned as his game character”?
His desire to be a shut-in was bubbling up.
He wanted to shut himself away in his room and play online games throughout the day. If it were like that, he wouldn’t have to talk with this kind of forceful adult.
——No, this is where I need to endure.
In order to protect Shera, it would be better to not oppose this Feudal Lord. To see through that kind of situation, this might be the way to cope with it.
「Feudal Lord, enough of the jokes……If you wish to have your desire granted, hand over the information that you know.」
Diablo wouldn’t destroy his self-important seeming attitude.
It was the same for the other side.
Galford placidly nodded.
「You’ve heard of all of the demands from the Greenwood Kingdom, haven’t you? The time that they told us to hand over Princess Shera, was two days ago.」
「……Two days ago, huh……The settlement date was after ten days, wasn’t it?」
「So there’s eight days left.」
Oi oi——was the retort that Diablo made in his mind.
If that part wasn’t made clear, things could have lead to a tremendous failure. Did he really feel like avoiding the war?
Without being shy about it, Galford continued his explanation.
「And then, there was a report that Elves were discovered at 《Kohigashi》. Do you know the geography of this area?」
「Naturally. I could even guide you to the innermost depths of the Demon King territory.」
「Well, that’s only if you’re not afraid to die.」
Cross Reverie’s map was all set in his head. Though it’s not necessarily true that everything will be the same as the game.
From the town, 《Kohigashi》 was in the southeast direction.
There was something called 《Seplia Lake》 to the south of Faltra City. From the outside of the rampart, it was beyond the area after walking through the fields for a bit. The forest to the east of Seplia Lake was called 《Kohigashi》.
Galford turned his eyes towards the map on the desk.
「We don’t know the number of Elves that are coming. Their specialty is hiding in the forests after all.」
The Elves’ Hide Skills were high, and they could hide themselves better than Grasswalkers when in the forest. Drawing near unnoticed without a sound, they would fire arrows from the shades of the trees and from up in the trees.
In the game, people using Hide wouldn’t appear on the Radar (a function where the map, other Players, and monsters are displayed)——it was represented with that kind of visage.
With this world not having a convenient function like Radar, the people relied on the ambiguous thing called presence. When the opponent possesses excellent Hide Skills, it’s even more of a pain than in the game.
「Have you not even sent out people for reconnaissance?」
「Even if I were to send out a small number of people for reconnaissance, against an opponent that specializes in surprise attacks, it would only increase the damages. It seems that the witnesses were townspeople that were hunting in the forest and were fortunate enough to scurry on home……According to that report, there were about twenty-something Elves present but……there are probably a lot more than that. However, if they are a unit of more than a hundred-something, surely the would be discovered even if they hid themselves, so even if it is the might of the Greenwood Kingdom, it shouldn’t be a large-scale force such as that. Well, at most it would be a hundred-something——This is about it for the information that has come to me.」
「A hundred-something, is it……It’s small for an army……However, there is nothing dangerous that could be a convenient expectation against me.」
With a *Fu*, Galford laughed.
「The Greenwood Kingdom, even if they call themselves a country, they are nothing more than a small group.」
「So does that mean you think of them as not being a threat?」
There was a small pause.
Galford shook his head left and right.
「No……It’s unthinkable to make light of the enemy. If I were to send a force into the forest where the Elves were lying in wait, I’m sure I would lose a great number of soldiers. Meaninglessly allowing soldiers to die is the thing that I abhor the most.」
With an indifferent voice, it was hard to understand his emotions.
However, only in that last thing that he said could energy be felt packed into it.
——It’s only natural that a commander wouldn’t want to lose their subordinates.
「So you’re saying that you’re using us for that reason.」
「Though, if we were to hand over the princess, there would be no need for that.」
「……For you……Is Princess Shera that important of an existence?」
From that question, Shera intently watched Diablo. Even though they had talked about it so much, it seems it was something that made her anxious.
「Hmph……Don’t ask something so foolish. It’s one thing if she were to say that she were leaving, but shutting my eyes to her being stolen away by another person, is something I will not allow.」
「Certainly, there is no reason to give in to the likes of the Elves. For me, I have no intention of readily following the demands of the Greenwood Kingdom. Words against words……Military power against military power.」
The conversation came to a pause.
Making a single nod, Galford turned his eyes towards Shera.
「That’s right……If we ever had the chance to meet, there was something that I had thought to ask.」
Shera tilted her head.
「You mean to me?」
「Princess Shera, what is it that you seek that would make you go as far a abandoning your prosperous life and take the perilous job of an Adventurer? Or possibly, the reason why you were unable to be in your place of birth?」
Shera had a pensive look on her face.
For a short while, there was silence.
「……I, wanted freedom……I don’t really get the difficult stuff but……I, I wanted a reason to be as myself. Not for something like lineage or royalty, I wanted to know my own worth. I thought that was something I couldn’t obtain in the country of the Elves……it’s something like that.」
「I see……To a poor person, that would be a luxury, but there are various values and circumstances.」
「Do you understand me?」
「There’s no way I could sympathize with you. Though I will remember it as knowledge.」
「Is that so……」
*Shun*, Shera dropped her shoulders.
Certainly, a livelihood where one was not troubled about what to eat or have to worry about their life was something that was hard to get in this world. Shera’s action of casting that away to seek freedom, it was probably hard to get someone to accept that.
However, Diablo was different. In his original world, he was also not troubled by what that day’s meal was nor did he have to worry about being attacked by monsters. Because of that, he could somewhat understand Shera’s feelings of seeking freedom——that’s how he felt.
Grabbing Shera’s shoulder, he pulled her towards him.
「There is no need to seek the sympathy of others……I shall allow it. Undergo hardships as much as you like, exert yourself as much as you like, charge into your limits as much as you like, bite into the fruits of your labor that you obtained with your own strength——That, is the meaning of living freely.」
Shera expressed a smile.
Rem nodded, and Sylvie smiled.
I’m going to protect this girl——It was that kind of declaration.
That was fine and all, but how was he going to deal with the military forces of the Elves?
Some time ago, there was Elven elite called Selsio that came to take Shera back. He and about ten-something subordinates hid themselves in the forest but the only one that noticed they were preparing an ambush was Shera.
Both Diablo and Rem had completely no idea about it.
Would he be able to squarely fight against those kinds of people?
But, he didn’t obtain material to use to persuade the Elves.
——In other words, this is the current situation, right?
Elves 「Return the princess!」
Diablo 「I refuse!」
Feudal Lord 「As if I’d listen to what the Elves said. But because I value my soldiers, I’ll leave it to you.」
There was only one development that could happen from hereafter.
Elves 「In that case, it’s war!」
It was a headache inducing story that was nothing but trouble.
Rem breathed a sigh.
「……Avoiding war, is it……At the very least, we should negotiate with them to see if there is a “treasure” that the Greenwood Kingdom could assent to in place of Shera……」
Shera proudly puffed out her chest.
「Nfufu! They say that I am “the Elves’ most valuable asset” after all! I don’t think that there are many things that could be my replacement!」
「On second thought, let’s return her, this stupid Elf. For the sake of peace.」
「What, what!? Why did you get mad all of a sudden!?」
Rem breathed a sigh for a second time.
Galford asked a question as if to ascertain something.
「Well then, Princess Shera won’t be handed over. Your group will take measures to avoid the war with the Greenwood Kingdom. The reward will be paid through the Adventurer’s Guild——Is it alright with things like this?」
「Hmph……From the beginning, Shera was my possession. There is no act for others to take the stage.」
「I leave it to you.」
Oh that’s right——with that, Galford continued his words.
He turned his eyes towards the door on his right side.
「That’s all that I need to tell you as the Feudal Lord but……Including the aforementioned, there is a person that was dispatched from the Royal Capital. I shall introduce you to them.」