A Close Call
“Who are you……?”
Claire-sama glared at him with a stern face.
The demon frowned a bit and said,
“If I remember correctly, didn’t you use to be a noble? Didn’t they teach you that before you ask someone else for their name, you should be offering yours first?”
While staying seated on his rocks, the demon mocked her.
Without missing a beat, Claire-sama put on a smile and answered him.
“I apologize for being rude. My name is Claire François. And as you mentioned just now, I am a former noble from the Kingdom of Bauer.”
“Hmm, so it really is you, huh. I am Arist. Unlike humans, I don’t have a family name. As a leader of the demons―― I am considered one of the Three Great Archdukes.”
The demon who identified himself as Arist slowly rose up from the rocks.
While he stroked his beard―― if I could even call it that―― he gazed at us casually.
There were a lot of things that we didn’t know about demons.
Even with my knowledge of the game, I still didn’t know that much about them.
In both the base game and in RevoLily, the demons were only ever mentioned, but there were no scenes that involved encountering any of them.
All that was ever said about the demons was that they had their own territory―― located further east of the Naa Empire―― which was where they tended to dwell. In addition, Naa Empire and the demons have had a longstanding conflict for years, and it seemed that the demons had full control over monsters―― that was all that was mentioned.
I had never heard of anything like the Three Great Archdukes.
However, just the name alone suggested that he was held a lot of power among the demons.
He wasn’t just some background character.
Did we just find ourselves in a dangerous situation?
“Thank you for introducing yourself. Well then, Arist-san, did you have any business with us?”
“Hmm….. Well, I was ordered by my master to pay a visit to this area, but then I caught sight of some human beings, so I thought I’d come and take care of a little business.”
Arist leisurely started walking towards us.
At first glance, it seemed like he was leaving himself wide open.
However, I couldn’t tell if taking any sort of action was the right call or not.
“Taking care of business, you say. That sounds rough. If you don’t mind me asking, what sort of work is it?”
“It doesn’t really matter what it is. Claire François. I’ve got something to ask of you.”
“Yeah. Let me get straight to the point. Claire,――”
“Could you die for me?”
I immediately caved the ground beneath Claire-sama’s feet in.
Claire-sama fell underground.
Right as that happened, there was a black flash that swept right above her.
“Oh dear, seems like you managed to avoid that.”
As I returned the terrain back to normal, Claire-sama had a vicious look on her face as she glared at Arist.
Arist wore a calm expression.
This is…… what a demon is like?
I had never seen that skill before.
“Claire, let’s run!”
“We’re at a disadvantage with only this many people against a demon!”
Frieda and Philine both called for a retreat.
I had to agree with them.
“Yes, I would like to escape as well. However, I highly doubt that the individual in front of us would really let us do such a thing, right?”
“That’s exactly right. Well, anybody that wants to run is free to do so. Either way, humans will have to die eventually.”
“It’s exactly as you say. However, it’s not going to be as easy as you think!”
Claire-sama summoned her flame spears.
With twice as many spears as she used against the cerberus, she sent ten of them in a torrent towards Arist.
“This is mere child’s play.”
Arist did not bother to dodge any of them.
Instead, he let every single flame spear strike his body.
Claire-sama said, dumbfounded.
Arist did not sustain a single injury.
“There’s no way such low level magic would ever be able to hurt me. Now stay still and take this.”
When Arist waved his hand horizontally, several bullets that appeared to be made out of concentrated darkness were fired towards Claire-sama.
“I won’t let you!”
I instantly created an earth barrier in front of Claire-sama.
“Didn’t I just that this was mere child’s play?”
As the earth barrier was shattered into many small pieces, the black bullets pierced through it and were about to strike Claire-sama.
Right before Claire-sama could get hit, Frieda managed to block all of them with her sword.
“Ohh, you’re still defending yourselves? You’re more impressive than I thought.”
“Why, thank you!”
With her magically boosted legs, Frieda instantly narrowed the gap between herself and the demon, and struck down towards him with her enchanted sword.
“Hmm, that looks like it might be painful.”
Arist took a step back in order to evade the sword.
And that was when,
I casted an intermediate level offensive earth spell to capture Arist by his feet.
With this, he shouldn’t be able to move anymore.
“I’ve got you.”
Frieda swung her sword upwards from underneath.
This time, for sure――!
“What a pity, but that’s not going to be enough.”
Arist stopped Frieda’s sword with his elongated claws.
“You even use weapons that are blessed with such intermediate level magic, huh. In that case, I shall get serious as well.”
As soon as he said that, Arist managed to destroy and escape from my stone bear trap with ease.
He considered this as mere intermediate magic, huh.
“I’ll come from above. If you think you can withstand this, then try and take it.”
Arist held his right arm above his head.
Frieda tried to receive it with her sword.
“Don’t do it, Frieda! Get away!”
With an incredibly terrible premonition, my fear reflected in my voice as I yelled out to her.
Frieda immediately changed out of her defensive stance and opted to evade instead.
“Oh…… You’ve got to be kidding me…..?”
She managed to get away, but instead of her body, it seemed that the sword she couldn’t manage to take back was split into two.
His claws were even sharper than Frieda’s magically enchanted sword.
“Frieda, get back!”
When Claire-sama called out to her sharply, Frieda took a step back.
Right after that,
Claire-sama had already summoned her magical rays and opened fire on Arist.
He launched an attack using a dark flash against it in order to offset the rays.
Both the light and the darkness fought back and forth for a while before vanishing.
“Even my magical rays couldn’t finish the job……”
Claire-sama bit her lip in chagrin.
Although we had expended a lot of our energy with the monster extermination earlier, Arist’s strength was the real deal.
Especially being in this state, this was not a situation that we could overcome.
“I’ll catch his feet! With that time, let’s make a retreat――”
“I won’t let you.”
As he interrupted my sentence, Arist thrusted his hand towards the sky.
A wave of darkness surrounded him.
It immediately sent a shock through us.
―― I had lost consciousness for a few seconds.
When I came to, the ground around us had formed into a crater, as if we were struck by an explosion.
Frieda and Philine had both fallen over onto the ground.
The two of them were trying to get up, but their wounds looked quite deep.
Arist stood over Claire-sama, who looked like she was kneeling.
Claire-sama was glaring at him intensely, but Arist didn’t seem to care at all.
“This is the end, Claire François. As the main cause behind all of this, begone.”
I could only watch as he swung his claws down towards her.
I was such an idiot.
Did I seriously believe that we wouldn’t run into any demons just because they never appeared in the game?
Even though monsters and humans have been in conflict with each other for so long?
Was it a lie when I said that I’d protect us no matter what upon moving to the Empire?
Even so, with the very little remaining magic power I had left, I attempted to cast Cocytus, even though I was quite late!
Right when I thought everything was coming to an end, something flew towards Arist’s claws.
“I-I won’t let you!”
I saw a small figure standing between the two of them.
“I-It’s been a while, Claire-sama.”
The small figure was wielding shining daggers in both hands, and donned a religious habit.
Underneath her fluttering wimple was a person with silver hair and red eyes.
I was familiar with this person.
The person who ended up saving Claire-sama was a former cardinal, Lily Lilium.