It was nighttime, two days following our interrogation.
There was a person here, right outside of the Imperial capital city, paying a visit to a certain merchant.
Unable to stay calm, he examined his surroundings and behaving truly suspiciously suspiciously.
“…… Why did this have to happen……”
He held his head as if he was afraid of something.
A certain voice reached his ears.
That person was Achim Balser.
Right now, he was hearing a voice that he shouldn’t be hearing.
“Arnaud…… Aren’t you supposed to be dead……!”
“Yes…… You were the one who killed me……”
“T-That was…… because there was no other choice! If I didn’t do it, my son would’ve――!”
Achim shook his head around as if trying to get the voice out of his head.
But the voice continued.
“Why did you kill me…… Even though I gave it my all for the sake of the company……”
“I had no other choice! If I hadn’t done it, I…… I……!”
“That’s right…… You were the one who killed me…… It was you……”
“Please stop already…… Stop it……!”
Achim started moving away from the Imperial capital city like he was trying to run away from the voice.
It seemed that he was heading towards a building that was just around the corner.
“Could you tell us more about what you just said?”
Of course, the dignified voice that broke the air in the darkness belonged to none other than Claire-sama.
The voice that Achim was hearing was created using Misha’s wind magic.
“Y-You…… Why are you here……?”
“Achim Balser. You are under arrest on the charge of Arnaud Jansen’s murder.”
When he heard Philine’s proclamation, Achim looked like he had just realized something.
“We will take those words as a confession. Please admit to your crimes, okay?”
If this were a democratic nation from the 21st century, going on a confession alone was not enough to detain somebody, but this was a completely different world.
A confession counted just as much as concrete evidence did.
“…… How did you know it was me……?”
“You said it yourself, didn’t you? That you are a very busy merchant, to the point where your schedule is always filled to the brim.”
“I did say that, but what of it?”
Achim looked like he couldn’t understand where my words were going.
“However, when you gave us your alibi, you testified to it without even checking a notebook or anything.”
“Perhaps my memory is just really outstanding. I’m a merchant, you know?”
“But you mentioned something else as well. Recently, your memories have become increasingly vague. For something as important as providing an alibi to a murder case, I can’t even imagine somebody providing one without even double-checking. Especially if you’re a merchant.”
“Cato, the person you mentioned during your alibi, also provided a confession. He said he was bribed with money and forced to cover for you.”
“…… I see…… You aren’t revered as the heroine of the revolution for nothing, huh. If it’s you guys…… perhaps I could even entrust this to you.”
Achim said something that we couldn’t quite understand.
“Entrust? What are you talking about?”
“That would be……”
“Oh? Well, if it isn’t Achim-san?”
A person came out of the building and showed his face to us.
It was Cato, the person that was bribed and forced into assisting Achim with his falsified testimony.
“What’s up? What are you doing here?”
“Cato…..! Please help me!”
Achim, who had looked composed up until now, suddenly started pleading Cato for help.
Did you think you could escape from this situation?
“So that’s what’s going on, huh…… Don’t touch me, you lowly human.”
“! You, don’t tell me you-!?”
As if she had realized something, Claire-sama assumed a ready stance after Cato changed his tone of voice.
I braced myself for a fight as well.
“I’ve tried to meddle around in various ways, but it looks like nothing went well, huh.”
Cato’s appearance began to change quite dramatically.
His skin looked like liquid metal and he had one huge eyeball.
Along with the bat wings on his back, this grotesuqe-looking creature was unmistakably――
“Call me Cato, you human.”
What was this?
A demon was involved in this incident……?
“You dirty human beings. Allow me, Cato, to kill you all…… Hey, Achim! Quit clinging onto me! You’re a failure.”
Cato looked at Achim like he was even lower than dirt and waved his hand up in the air.
That very hand began to change into the form of a long sword.
I rushed to shoot an ice arrow at it, but I couldn’t make it in time.
“…… It’s fine, this is all going according to plan.”
“Cato, you are the mastermind behind this incident!”
As soon as Achim spoke, his body lit up into flames.
“Heroines of the revolution! There’s a letter I left on my desk! I’ll leave the rest to you all.”
Achim exclaimed as he engulfed Cato in the flames.
The flames didn’t seem to be natural, and Achim was burned in an instant.
None of us knew what was going on.
We were clueless, but we knew what we had to do.
“Claire-sama, let’s take this guy down!”
“Yes! Lily, please take care of the front! Misha and Rei will support you from behind! I’ll help you from the middle!”
As we made our preparations, Cato peeled Achim’s body off of himself.
“You bastard human beings……! Don’t look down on me!”
Cato’s wings were tattered from Achim’s flames.
I had no idea what happened between them, but thanks to that, Cato could not escape.
“Even this kind of scratch won’t hinder me from destroying the likes of you!”
Cato extended his arm.
The tip was just as sharp as a spear, and he tried to stab Claire-sama and Lily-sama with it.
“T-That won’t hit us!”
Lily-sama’s body looked light as she dodged the attack and she quickly managed to close the distance.
It seemed that her body was being enhanced with Misha’s wind magic.
“Nah, I’ve got you, Saint!”
The arm that just passed by Lily-sama’s side suddenly curved and was about to attack her from behind.
“I-I messed up……!”
“I won’t let you!”
Claire-sama immediately fired a flame spear and melted Cato’s arm.
Lily-sama was right in front of Cato’s eyes as she pulled out a dagger from her right hand.
“……. Just kidding!”
Cato’s face was painted with delight.
A spear-like object extended out from his chest as he tried to skewer Lily-sama.
However, Cato’s spear only pierced the air.
The ground underneath Cato’s feet was raised about one head up..
I used my “Uplift” spell on him.
“This is the end.”
Lily-sama, who instantly wrapped around to his backside, held both of her daggers in a cross.
In the next moment, she sliced the area around Cato’s heart in four.
“You humans…… Why won’t you just accept the fate of destruction……”
Cato cried as his head hit the ground.
Without lowering my guard, I answered.
“More than anything, I don’t really understand the feelings of the people that are so eager to pursue death.”
“Rei Taylor…… You’ll understand it someday.”
“What are you talking about?”
“The meaning behind wanting to pursue the end.”
As Cato left us with a statement that seemed to suggest something, he turned into dust.
I wonder what he meant.
“Claire-sama, Lily-sama, are you both alright?”
It seemed that our encounter with the demon this time around ended without sustaining any injuries.
As expected, compared to the Three Great Archdukes, a regular demon was much more inferior.
“I wasn’t of much help, huh.”
“That’s not true. If you weren’t here, Misha, we wouldn’t have been able to corner Achim-san to begin with.”
“About Achim…… He said something interesting, didn’t he?”
“Y-Yes, he said he’d leave the rest to us or something……?”
The four of us tilted our heads in confusion.
“For the time being, let’s return to the Imperial capital city.”
The full truth behind the incident was still not revealed yet, but we left things like this for the time being.