Before long, the carriage’s movements stopped.
It seemed that they had reached their destination.
Making noisy sounds, the cloth that was hung over the cage was taken off.
Very soon, the setting sun would be hidden by the rampant walls of Faltra City.
The cage was opened.
Sadraa beckoned them over.
「Please come here. We have arrived at the place where I shall give you girls salvation.」
The Subordinate Knights extended their hands out, grabbed Rem’s arms, and dragged her out.
It was a cemetery.
The surroundings were a graveyard, and there were no signs of people.
Even though it hadn’t gotten dark yet, she couldn’t hear the hustle and bustle of the town. And also, the rampart walls were close.
So it was the northern extremity of Faltra City.
Come to think of it, there was a cemetery that the people of the upper echelons of society had used, is what she remembered. The cemetery that commoners used was outside of the rampart. It was enclosed with a fence, but it seemed that it would occasionally get water damage or animal damage.
Krum was the same as usual. With the biscuits that Alicia prepared, she completely did as she was told.
Earlier, Rem properly made her promise but……
She became anxious.
──She won’t kill people of the Races in exchange for biscuits, right?
The building right before her eyes rang its bell.
It was exactly six times. It was the bell that informed everyone that it was six o’clock in the afternoon.
It’s the church.
It was considerably old, but it was properly maintained. There were marks that the stone walls were repaired many times, and the stained glass was newly fitted in.
On the roof of the belfry, the holy symbol of the Church was put up. It had a shape where the center was a circle and had a line extending out on three sides. A large wooden door was opened, and Rem and Krum had their backs pushed, telling them to go inside.
Just like the exterior, the interior of the church was old but was well maintained.
However, there was a strange smell that reached their noses. Kind of sticky, kind of sweet, it was a mysterious stench. Kind of like iron that had rusted……
The origin of that smell, was the utensils that were placed at the inner part of the church.
A part of the chair was removed, and for some reason, various utensils were placed on it.
She had no idea what they were used for.
However, she remembered the rumors related to Sadraa.
It was said that he would torture people that appeared to be Demon King Worshippers, force them to confess, and then execute them.
Rem opened her eyes wide.
──These objects with so much rust on them, are they all torture utensils!?
Rem glared at Sadraa.
「……I am not a Demon King Worshipper. No matter how much pain you inflict on me, I absolutely will not make a false confession.」
「Ahh, thank goodness.」
「……What is it?」
「The people that know of the rumors about me, the moment they see these utensils, they would say “I was a Demon King Worshipper, but I’ve already reformed. Please point me to the faith towards God” and start weeping. Who would believe in such shallow words? You are, without a doubt, a Demon King Worshipper that would deceive us clergymen.」
「Kuh……You intend on torturing me no matter what.」
「No, no. It is something often misunderstood, but I am not doing anything like torture.」
「……Then what are these utensils? They don’t look like cookware, you know?」
「They are misunderstood to be for torture to normal people but……The act I am going to do is “bring salvation”. Something like worshipping the Demon King, that is a mistake as a person of the Races. This is an act meant for the sake of saving those people whose souls have been corrupted. I simply wish to save all people of the Races.」
It was a voice filled with conviction.
She didn’t understand the meaning of it.
On the various things like the utensils with tightly packed metal thorns, the iron table and saw, all of them had dark red dirt clinging onto them, and had traces of being used.
Moreover, that which he called bringing salvation, wasn’t that rumored to be about him executing the ones that he tortured.
「……So you call murdering people “bringing them salvation”?」
Sadraa shook his head.
「I am not killing people. It’s just, as a result of saving them, they obtain God’s forgiveness, and are simply invited to heaven.」
「What are you……!?」
「Always, I cannot help but shed tears for that appearance. That moment, when a corrupted soul, is cleansed by my bringing of salvation, and is forgiven by God.」
「……That’s……the result of torture, didn’t they simply just die!?」
「No, because I have forgiven them, it must mean that God has forgiven them. In that case, it means that death is a happy result of being invited to heaven.」
Because he himself had forgiven them, that means that God has forgiven them?
That was ridiculous reasoning.
「……Do you think that you’ve become God or something!?」
Claiming to be God should be something heavily prohibited in the Church.
However, Sadraa didn’t change his facial expression.
He was expressing a virtuous looking smile.
「That’s right. Since this is something that I don’t really want spreading about, I keep this as secret as possible but──actually, it would seem that I am God.」
「Like I said, I am God himself that has made his advent into this world. Do you not understand?」
「……I’m so disgusted, I can’t say a thing.」
「Born in a blessed house, possessing a blessed body, boasting a blessed intellect──I, who has received all of heaven’s favor, can only be God that has made his advent in order to save this world.」
He probably completely believed that. His words were filled with self-confidence.
Rem was dumbfounded.
「……No matter what I say with my words, it would seem that it is pointless.」
Sadraa pointed at Rem’s ears.
「That isn’t true at all. There is no way your conversation with me would be meaningless. By exchanging words with me like this, I can understand the depth of your sins.」
「……How stupid. I am not a Demon King Worshipper.」
「You……It’s those ears that are bad.」
Rem drew back, and covered the triangular ears that were on top of her own head with her hands.
The muscles along her spine shivered.
「That tail also isn’t good.」
「……These, are the characteristics of a Pantherian. There are few whose color is black, but it isn’t strange.」
「No, no, I know. You cannot deceive the eyes and ears of God. Now then, let us cut them off without delay.」
「Wha!? Didn’t you say that you wouldn’t do any torturing!?」
「Correct, it isn’t torture. I am cutting of the parts that are the origin of your corrupted soul. The parts that haven’t gone bad are the important parts. It is the flesh that was bestowed upon you by God after all. That is why, as finely as possible, they will be removed from the start.」
「……N, no way.」
Guessing the other party’s intentions, Rem’s knees started to tremble in terror.
This guy, he insisted that they were the corruption’s origin, and had intended to mangle her from the start.
From top to bottom, she was gazed at by Sadraa, as if he were licking her.
「Fumu, those hands that threw a Summoned Beast at me, they are also no good.」
「……You will fall into hell.」
「That mouth is also bad. How about we take out her teeth.」
When Sadraa made a signal, the three subordinate knights approached her.
「Oh, that’s right. Because of your Summoned Beast, one of my faithful Subordinate Knights was seriously injured, given the miracle of healing, and put to bed. Good grief, you’ve done something quite outrageous, haven’t you?」
「Despite you making him a shield……」
Both of her arms were grabbed by the Subordinate Knights.
Having neither her Summoned Beasts nor her weapons, she had no means to oppose Sadraa.
She was vexed.
Rem turned her gaze towards Alicia’s direction.
「……I don’t understand. Why did you think to cooperate with something like this? To go as far as betraying us.」
Alicia shrugged her shoulders.
「For me, it is because I have my own objectives after all. If you do not want pain, how about seeking help?」
With a *pon*, she placed a hand on Krum’s shoulder, who was right beside her.
Maybe because Rem’s terror was transmitted, Krum was making a stern facial expression. Surprisingly, the hand that she ate biscuits with had also stopped.
「Perhaps, do you not require some assistance?」
「……Th, that is……unneeded! Please protect your promise.」
Krum had been given detailed instructions so that she wouldn’t interfere.
However, what should she do in this situation?
Alicia made a wry smile.
「Rem-sama, do you not understand what exactly is going to happen to your body from this point on?」
「……I do understand. What I don’t understand, is what your objective is. Is it to revive the Demon King and bring the Races to their downfall? If that is the case, is there a need for any of this?」
Sadraa looked over at Alicia’s direction.
She didn’t exterminate her smile.
「Oh my, me, revive the Demon King? As I thought, Demon King Worshippers say some strange things.」
「……Alicia……The understanding that you showed me, and how you went to together with us to save Shera, was it all a lie?」
「Truly……She does say some strange things.」
Alicia turned her back.
「Sadraa-sama, I am bad with seeing things that look painful. Would it be alright if I left the rest to you?」
「Yes, please leave the rest to me. Also, the purity of Cristela-dono’s body, I guarantee it.」
「Thank you very much. Well then, I will return after I have eaten.」
「I understand. By that time, I am sure that this Demon King Worshipper will have been forgiven by God.」
It was as if the rest of her life had been sentenced.
Alicia placed her hand on Krum’s shoulder.
「Oh, that’s right……This child, she is just a victim that was captured by the Demon King Worshippers. Please don’t injure her, okay? If she runs out of biscuits, please give her some more.」
「Yes, of course. She is a pitiable child that we saved after all.」
Rem was made to sit in a wooden chair with armrests by two Subordinate Knights.
Both of her hands were held down by the men.
Krum, from the corner of the room, gazed this way.
──Is she really not going to seek help? Her facial expression is asking that.
If she were to seek assistance from Krum in her own cuteness, what if that made her awaken as the Demon King?
She absolutely didn’t want that.
In order to not revive Demon King Krebskrum, her own mother and grandmother went through many hardships. Moreover, if the current Krum were to disappear, Shera would surely become sad. She did say that Krum was like a little sister after all.
Sadraa took out a gigantic pair of scissors.
「Fufu, if it’s screams, it is fine for you to make as many of them as you like. This place is a church on the inner part of a cemetery. A cemetery after the sun has gone down, I’m sure that there is no one that would visit it.」
「……How crafty……Do you not have pangs of conscience!?」
「I do, you know? If I do not bring salvation to Demon King Worshippers, my chest hurts. And with that, let’s bring you salvation right away. By lopping off those ghastly ears……」
The edged tool approached her Pantherian ears.
「With this, you will be brought only a small bit closer to normalcy. To a proper Human.」
「……To say that being Human is normal, that’s just Demi-human discrimination!」
「Calling the impure impure, what is wrong with that?」
When Rem twisted her body to escape, her choker was grabbed by a Subordinate Knight and brought back.
The Subordinate Knight shouted.
Sadraa closed the scissors.
Rem momentarily swung her body. The base of her ear became hot. She was cut!?
However, the pain was only small.
For as much as she ran away, not all of it was cut off.
Sadraa raised his voice.
「Don’t you understand that, you were to not to move!?」
While he was shouting, he pulled out a sword from his waist.
As she was was being held down, he thrust it into Rem’s right arm from above.
*Zun* (Pierce) The blade when through her.
She was stabbed.
Sadraa’s sword went through Rem’s right arm, and reached as far as the chair’s armrest.
She couldn’t even voice out a scream from the pain that made the inside of her head a sloppy mess.
*Doku, doku* (Drip, drip) Blood was dripping onto the chair.
Krum rushed over to her.
「Rem──!? Rem! Rem! Does it hurt!? It hurts, doesn’t it! Why, why are you getting beat up by them -noda! I will kill them! I will kill these guys! You do not mind, right!?」
「You! At this rate, you will die, you know -nodazo!?」
Death was dreadful.
However, she couldn’t let Krum become the Demon King……
Sadraa pulled out another sword from his waist, and pushed it out towards Krum.
「Don’t get in my way!」
The very tip of the swung sword cut and tore the robe that was covering Krum. *Basari* (Drop) It fell to the floor.
Her horns became exposed.
And then, her lizard-like tail as well.
Sadraa and the others have learned that Krum is abnormal!
Rem even forgot about the pain of her right arm.
「ッ! Run away!」
However, Krum showed no signs of running away.
Sadraa, as well as the Subordinate Knights, for a moment, stared at Krum and solidified.
After that, he raised his voice as if he were boiling.
「This girl! She’s a Demonic Being!」
Krem’s eyes were full with the color of anger.
「Damned fools! Maou is Maou -nanoda! I will turn you all into ashes, you know!?」
「Those horns……They remind me of the Demon. That’s right……There’s no doubt that he’s also a Demonic Being. I’ll get the Feudal Lord to bring out the army and subjugate him tonight!」
That Demon──So it was about Diablo.
Making eyes with no determined focus, Sadraa held his sword and went forward.
He approached Krum.
「Such a hateful existence……Giving me such disgrace……Those horns are corrupted!」
「What was that?」
「Cristela-dono as well, if she saw those horns and tail as well, it would be recognised as me being in the right……You damned Demonic Being. To be pretending to be a person’s child, how repulsive!」
Sadraa raise his sword overhead.
Krum glared at him.
「So you intend on harming Maou? Very well! With how you had injured Rem, you should compensate with your death -noda!」
「A Demonic Being brat shouldn’t talk so high and mighty to me. My ears will be violated! Those horns, I’ll crush them to pieces!」
He slashed at her with his sword.
At that time, Rem kicked a chair.
Shaking off the hands of the Subordinate Knights who had turned their eyes towards Sadraa’s and Krum’s exchange and had slackened their grip, she brought her body forward.
A sharp pain ran through her right arm.
Having pierced through to the armrest, it were as if she were struck with a stake. It was a sharp pain that reached her bones.
However, Rem’s thoughts weren’t on her own pain.
In a daze, she kicked a chair.
Even though he flesh of her arm tore, and the bone was disconnected, none of that mattered.
Rem threw her body out.
Right now, Sadraa’s sword was just about to swing down upon Krum’s head.
That was where Rem broke in between them.
She protected Krum from the incoming sword by becoming her shield.
She held Krum close to her chest.
Heat ran through her right shoulder.
It felt as if burning iron was being pressed up against it.
She was cut.
A cold blade was entering her body.
A large amount of blood was spilling out.
It was soaking Krum.
Nothing but air that didn’t become words came out from Rem’s mouth.
Krum raised a yell that was like a scream.
On the floor, collapsed, in the area around Rem, blood spread out like a puddle.
Squatting down beside her, Krum shouted her name over and over.
「Rem! Rem! Rem!」
「Rem too! I’ll bring Rem too! I will kill these guys, and you will live!」
「Th-that is……I did promise but!」
「You’ve gotten in my way, didn’t you!? By the likes of a Demi-human!」
Sadraa’s sword, to make the finishing blow, went from Rem’s back, and went through her right to the floor.
A large amount of blood flew about.
It was Rem’s blood.
That bright red blood.
Krum opened her eyes wide and trembled.
A person of the Races would die. If they were to shed this much blood, they would die. That was what Krum knew.
If she sheds this much blood, Rem would die.
Blood. Blood. Blood.
Her life, would vanish.
Rem, still collapsed, heard a voice that seemed like it shook the entire church.
Something was happening.
There was no mistake that her own life was coming to an end.
However, what was more important than that was, that she felt that something was happening.
She remembered the words that Alicia muttered in the back alleyway.
“What is needed……is hatred.”
That’s what she said.
──What was it necessary for? Was that, for Krebskrum’s awakening?
Until things turned into this situation, Rem didn’t know. She didn’t know the method of making the emotion called hatred.
And then, after all this time, she knew.
Hatred is born when someone important is snatched away.