There was a whistling sound.
It was only a single high-pitched whistling sound that seemed like it came from a flute.
Although it sounded pleasant, it had an unpleasant echo that coiled about the ears.
The sound gradually became louder. It was getting closer.
It came up until it was right behind the door.
It could be heard clearly enough from the other side of the door that even Diablo understood where it was coming from.
It was in front of the room.
Alicia, who was the one closest to the door, exchanged looks with Diablo. Silently asking “What shall I do?”
Diablo held the War Scythe and stood up.
Alicia opened the door.
A young male Elf was playing a transverse flute.
He had beautiful features.
Although he had about the same height as Diablo, he was much more slender, giving him a lanky impression.
His hair was golden looking as if it were melted gold itself, and his features were beautiful enough to give him the appearance of a woman.
Maybe due to the corners of his eyes being hung down, the structure of his face looked gentle.
However, the vulgar smile that was expressed on this mouth ruined his good looks.
──Is it because he’s an Elf? Is that why they look similar?
Diablo looked over at Shera.
She had made a surprised face, and unsteadily stepped back.
「Wh, why……are you here!?」
The young male Elf separated the transverse flute that he was playing from his lips, and placed it in his waist obi.
「Fufun……It would seem that your head is empty like usual……Why you ask? Isn’t it obvious that I came to pick you up?」
「Just because of that──Nii-san, you expressly came yourself!?」
So that means that this young man was Shera’s older brother!?
Then that would mean……
The young male Elf reverentially and elegantly bowed.
「Nice to meet you. I am Shera’s older brother──and the first prince of the Elven suzerain state Greenwood Kingdom, Kiira L. Greenwood. You should be pleased to make my acquaintance, you commoners.」
Scorn and disdain spread throughout that facial expression of his.
Shera raised a loud voice.
「Why, why did you know that I was here!?」
「Ha! You couldn’t possibly have been thinking that you were hiding yourself, could you? Oi oi, it’s something you would understand if you thought about it a little, right? I asked the Adventurers. The prize money that I put out was a considerable amount after all. Everyone would at least investigate your whereabouts. After that, if I just pile up the money, I can just buy the information.」
He carelessly declared that.
──Is he really the prince?
Looking at Shera’s reaction, it’s improbable that she’s mistaken, but for the prince of a country that made a proclamation of war to ride into the opposing country alone, it was strange no matter what the circumstances may be.
Was he someone that would brave that kind of risk?
Was there no possibility that Shera simply couldn’t differentiate him from an imposter?
Kiira looked at Diablo, and smiled a broad grin.
「Fufun? So you’re the one that turned Shera into a slave? So you were able to do it……It was easy to trick her, wasn’t it? Her head is pretty empty after all.」
Diablo shook his head left and right.
「I did not make her a slave.」
「Heeh? Is that so. But you know……Even if she isn’t a slave, she shouldn’t be together with a horn growing Demon, right? How disgusting.」
With a *Peh*, he spat.
How could he do such a thing in a room that someone else was renting.
Diablo wanted to leave things to his anger and act, but he decided to firmly endure it. He still didn’t have enough information.
Seeing as how the opponent was the Greenwood Kingdom’s Prince, Diablo needed to make the prince think that going to war against him would be disadvantageous.
If he did, the war could be avoided.
Diablo was bewildered by such an unexpected action, but this was a stupid prince that thought nothing of doing such a thing. To think that he would ride into enemy territory alone!
Diablo decided to threaten him enough for him to wet himself.
「Kukuku……How interesting, Elven brat……I am the Demon King Diablo……I shall turn you to cinders right here.」
Kiira raised a repulsive voice.
「Fuun? Well, if you’re fine with that, then I’m fine with it as well, you know? If I don’t back until a certain time……In return, a great number of Humans of this town will die, you know?」
Rem leaned her body forward.
「You, just what did you do!?」
「You really should think deeper about how I was able to get in this far. Isn’t the thing above your neck empty? Although this is a Human town, even Elves are able to enter it you know?」
True, there are a lot of Demi-humans in this town.
There were also Elves.
Shera talked back to him.
「Isn’t that obvious. The Elves and the Humans get along great. Yet, Nii-san, you──」
「Tepid, tepid, way too tepid! The Greenwood Kingdom had pretty much just made a proclamation of war, you know? When I thought that they would put a restriction on all Elves, they only did a light baggage inspection at the gate. In a town where they could obtain any number of weapons no less!」
「Are you listening, Demon? I’m only going to say this once, so carve this into that empty head of yours! Just try and put a single injury on me. If you do, the Elves that were let loose in this town will attack every single Human. All of them without any discrimination!」
Diablo felt enough anger to feel like his internal organs might be boiled.
This guy’s speech and conduct was no longer that of a representative of a nation. It was simply that of a criminal.
He was finally able to understand the reason why Feudal Lord Galford was vigilant of the Elves despite calling them a small group.
If they lied dormant in this town, there was no way of fighting them.
It was because Kiira had guaranteed his own safety with makeshift measures, he was able to come here with the audacity of coming alone.
──What do I do?
If he didn’t lay a hand on him like this, the other party would do as they like. He wasn’t able to negotiate at all. Shera would be snatched away, and then they might even demand for more than that.
If he yeilded to the threat, he would lose!
Diablo prepared his War Scythe.
「You’ll kill the Humans of this town, you say? Hmph……What of it?」
「What was that!?」
Kiira’s eyes went wide open.
Rem and Shera raised surprised voices. As expected, even Alicia was disturbed.
Diablo devoted himself to the Demon King role play with all he had.
「I am the Demon King Diablo……Did you think that I would be bound by something like the lives of the masses?」
「Are you serious!?」
Kiira shrank away.
Diablo, with the War Scythe still prepared, took one step forward.
「You have misread the situation……You may have intended to stand superior to me with mere Human lives but……stuff like that is useless.」
「D, do you plan on going to war with the Elves!?」
「What are you talking about? It’s already started, hasn’t it? Sending soldiers to an enemy nation with the intent to kill is the thing called war, is it not?」
「Not yet! It has not started yet! If I return to a certain place by eight o’clock, that will send a signal that everyone will understand.」
「I see……You’ve narrowly escaped death. If you were to kill the townspeople without discrimination, I would have gone to the Greenwood Kingdom and killed the Elves without discrimination. This town is my dominion. I have no choice but to give a suitable punishment for those that act violently in my dominion.」
「Ha……haha……Within the Greenwood Kingdom, the greatest elites of the Elves are assembled and there are also countless treasures. As if a mere Demon could just……」
Rem breathed a sigh.
「……I am appalled. To think that you haven’t even investigated the person you are negotiating with.」
「What was that, Panther woman!?」
「……A few days ago, Diablo annihilated 100 Demonic Beings together with Fort Bridge Ulg’s stone bridge. Does this mean that the Greenwood Kingdom has a technique that can protect them from a Magician of such caliber?」
Kiira laughed scornfully.
「If you’re bluffing, you should make a better made-up story. It’s such a tall tale that it’s comedic, you know?」
「Nii-san, it’s true, you know? I saw it with my own eyes after all. It turned bright with pure white, and anything and everything had vanished, you know?」
Alicia also nodded.
「It’s because he’s such a powerful person that Lord Galford didn’t keep Princess Shera in his estate and allowed her to stay in an inn like this. All of it is because he had no choice but to recognize Diablo-sama’s ability.」
Kiira clicked his tongue.
After that, he shrugged his shoulders together with a sigh.
「Okay, I get it. In that case, why don’t we do this peacefully? To be honest, I had no intention of doing something like a war. I mean, isn’t that just stupid──to have to expressly go to war even though I’m only having something that’s mine returned to me. Such a pain. Oyaji doesn’t seem to be interested either──That’s why I only came to confirm something. It would be embarrassing to get heated up over that after all.」
「Hou? Tell me what it is that you came to confirm.」
Kiira showed an irritated looking facial expression.
He had probably never been talked to with a condescending attitude like that before.
「……A Demon sounding all self-important like that……What I came to confirm, was Shera’s intentions.」
「That was surprisingly direct.」
「The reason why the old man isn’t eager about this matter is because he thinks that Shera ran away from home of her own accord. Seriously, that’s just stupid. Something like running away from home is just a temporary state of hesitation, isn’t it. She was made a slave and simply can’t come home, right? Since Shera is mine, she should just return to her owner.」
「I understand your way of thinking now.」
「Is that so? Well then, I guess I’ll confirm Shera’s intentions. Since it’s obvious that she wants to go back, I’ll take her back home, got it?」
Diablo had gone beyond anger, and was now just appalled.
He properly understood the reason why Shera sought freedom and left her country. With this being her older brother.
He wanted to knock him out with a single shot but……
Right now, negotiations were necessary.
There was no change in the fact that the lives of the townspeople were exposed to danger.
「Hmph……It would seem that you have a considerable amount of self-confidence but……what would you do if Shera said that she had no intention of going back?」
Kiira spread out both hands.
「I would give up! Isn’t that obvious! Did you not get that from what we were talking about up until now? There really is nothing but idiots here! Don’t ask that, it’s embarrassing.」
──It’s strange, isn’t it? Does this guy seriously think that Shera will say that she wants to go back?
There’s no way she would say that.
She had rushed out for the sake of freedom.
Moreover, she was no longer alone.
She had said that Rem……and Diablo were her companions.
There was absolutely no way she would say that she would want to go back.
Or maybe, having gone on a journey, Shera might have changed. Could it be that she couldn’t oppose this older brother if he strongly demanded it?
Wasn’t it for this reason that she sought a strong power this whole time?
──The current Shera is different.
Diablo held confidence in her.
「Very well, in that case, hear it clearly with your own ears……The true feelings of your little sister!」
「Nii-san! I, no lo──」
「Whoa there! Hold on a second!」
Kiira interrupted her.
Shera made a puzzled looking face.
「……What is it?」
「That, that, it’s that choker! This is a situation where we might go to war or not, you know? A large number of people will move at my command. It’s a huge problem that concerns the relationship between countries after this. Isn’t it obvious that Shera’s response has to be heard in a fair environment?」
Just what part of this guy’s actions had any fairness in it. It was neither fair nor proper.
Shera talked back.
「The choker has nothing to do with this!」
「Your head is as empty as ever. The 《Slavery Choker》 is there, and your master is right in front of you. An answer in such a situation, isn’t it natural to think that it would be one that you would be compulsed to say?」
「Diablo won’t make any commands! Not like Nii-san or Dad!」
「Shut it, Shera. I’ll hit you, you know?」
With her being startled, one could tell that she was frightened.
Diablo was about to reflexively strike him, but he grabbed his own right arm with his left hand.
Or maybe, if Rem hadn’t grabbed the hem of his mantle, he might have sent him flying.
Rem asked a question.
「……Then in what kind of environment would you say would be fair? You couldn’t possibly be thinking to say that you would ask her after taking her back to the Greenwood Kingdom, would you?」
Kiira shrugged his shoulders.
「I wouldn’t say that. Well, at the very least, any place where other people are in is no good.」
Alicia raised up one hand.
「I shall prepare a separate room. As a state knight, I would like to see the details with my own eyes, so may I have your permission to be present?」
「Are you stupid? A state knight is the sword of the Lifelia King. No matter how you think of it, it’s more advantageous for you to have the Greenwood Princess left on the Human side. There would be no speck of fairness in that!」
「However, we can’t possibly leave the two of you all alone……」
「Oi oi? This place is your guys’ territory, and I came riding in alone, you know? Why would I go through such danger? It’s for the sake of a peaceful settlement! Once I hear Shera’s real intentions, no matter the result, there is a chance to avoid the war. That’s why I did something this absurd.」
His claim was high-handed, but there certainly was the possibility of avoiding the war.
That was only if he kept his promise of backing off he was rejected by Shera.
Kiira breathed a deep sigh.
「Good grief……I get it, I get it. I’ll compromise. Just five minutes is fine. It should be fine if it’s just that, right?」
「You, just what are you aiming for?」
「I had prepared various persuasion materials but, well, it should be enough to test out one of them. If she just listens to the musical performance of my pipe, she’ll surely succumb to homesickness and say that she wants to come home.」
The reason that Shera rushed out of her home town wasn’t something so simple that she would change her mind over something like that.
Diablo wondered if Kiira truly thought that there would be any meaning to that.
「Are you saying that revolting tone is your trump card?」
It was a tone where, even if he were to say it conservatively, describing it as repulsive would be appropriate. If she were to change her mind from something like that, it would be enough for him to start doubting Shera’s senses.
Kiira spat out.
「Ha! To think you wouldn’t “understand” the tone of that pipe. You Demons really are a savage race lacking in character.」
Was it really because he was a Demon that he couldn’t understand it?
When he looked around at everyone else……
Both Rem and Alicia, and even Shera, the one in question, tilted thier heads.
As he thought, the sound of that pipe wasn’t anything good. Kiira alone was the only one that gave it high praise.
An item where one could make the other party accompany you with a pipe didn’t exist in Cross Reverie.
Diablo had an understanding of all equipment that was implemented in the game, but no matter how much of his memories he looked through, there wasn’t anything that looked similar to the pipe that Kiira possessed.
──Since that’s the case, his chances of success are way too low, and although it’s unpleasant, with this many conditions presented, I guess I can allow it.
「How about you?」
Not only Diablo, even Rem and Alicia looked hard at Shera.
They could tell that Shera was frightened.
She probably dreaded him.
However, she nodded.
「I……I’ll do my best! Even when we’re all alone together, I’ll tell Nii-san how I feel, properly!」
「So you’re fine with it, right?」
「Yup……Although I’m scared of being alone together with Nii-san, if I say it……If I say it properly, the war will go away. I, I promised I would do my best after all!」
「……If he tries to touch you with even one finger, shout. At that moment, I’ll turn him to cinders.」
「Yeah, I’m counting on you, Diablo. But it’s alright……Although he’s that kind of person, he’s family after all.」
Rem and Alicia spoke words of encouragement.
Kiira waved his hand so as to shoo them away.
「Alright, the negotiations have come to an end! Come on, the nuisances should get out. Seriously, there’s no helping you people that smell like beasts.」
「I’ll say this now, Kiira……The only things I’ve allowed are a conversation and a musical performance. If you try to touch her with even a single finger, you’ll be reduced to ashes.」
「Yeah, I’ll keep my promise. I stake my Elven pride on it. Same to you, if Shera says that she’ll go back, naturally you’ll remove the 《Slavery Choker》, right?」
Diablo shook his head.
「That’s impossible. I can’t remove it.」
「Haa? Are you screwing around with me?」
Shera talked sounding apologetic.
「Nii-san, it’s true. Even today, we had it investigated, but not even the Magician’s Guild nor a Slave Trader were able to remove this choker……」
「Tsk……Just how useless are you people……To not be able to release your own magic, you must be idiots. Well, whatever. One of the treasures that we have in our country should be able to do something about it……At least release your command on her!」
「I have not made any commands on her. Shera is not a slave.」
「Haa? Were you serious about that? That was so stupid, I wasn’t able to understand……Ahh, I see, since Shera’s head is empty, you didn’t even need to command her with magic. Man, the limits of you guys’ stupidity has surpassed my imagination.」
Putting the most anger he’s had today into it, Diablo opened his mouth.
「Same to you, promise that you’ll draw back your army and that you’ll never interfere with us again if Shera says that she doesn’t want to go back.」
Kiira nodded while having a broad grin.
「Fine with me. If she refuses, I’ll have the army withdraw by tomorrow.」
Shera said 「I’ll finish this really quick!」 and showed a smiling face.
There was some uneasiness.
However, Diablo believed in Shera.
Though he doubted if he could trust in Kiira’s verbal promise……
But unfortunately, if things were to resort to armed might, he wouldn’t be able to protect the people of the town.
It came down to setting up cards that the other would hate, without either making a call for the match. It was nothing but that.
Diablo took Rem and Alicia out of the room.
Leaving the two of them behind, they closed the door.