Defeating the Demon Queen
The damage during the retreat from the Imperial Capital was much less than expected.
The casualties were almost fully limited to soldiers.
Moreover, it was only some soldiers who served in the rearguard who were affected.
There was hardly any damage to the ordinary people, so considering the situation, we should be happy.
Still, the fact that there were lives lost was tremendously heavy.
Not only the citizens of the Naa Empire but of the surrounding countries too offered their condolences about the dead, especially Dorothea.
They not only protected the people of the Naa Empire, but they also protected humanity from the threat of the demon queen and demons.
Although I was strongly opposed to glorifying death in duty, I still didn’t hesitate to express my condolences for people who risked their lives for their duty.
“Now, let’s talk about the future.”
Saying that, Manaria-sama opened the meeting.
We were in the imperial city of Zurück, near the border with the Bauer Kingdom.
It had originally been a fortified city built by the empire with the expectation of war with Bauer, now it was the frontline of the war against the demons.
We borrowed a large conference room used by the city administration and gathered to discuss the plan forward.
Most of the attendees participated in the retreat.
Claire-sama and I were a given, but there were also Manaria-sama from Soussa, His Majesty William from Appalachia, Sein-sama, Dor-sama, and Rod-sama from Bauer, Philine and Hilda from Naa, Yuu-sama, Misha, and Lily-sama from the Spirit Church.
It was a bit of a spectacular sight to see so many important people from religious groups and major nations around Bauer.
“What’s happening with the demons?”
“Let me explain it.”
It was Hilda who responded to Manaria-sama’s question.
”According to reports from the scouts, the demons have stopped their forces after capturing the imperial capital.”
“What’s the damage to the imperial capital?”
“About that… Curiously, there seems to be little damage to the city’s buildings and facilities. Food seems to have been scavenged, but nothing like reckless destruction was observed. That’s what the reports say.”
His Majesty Sein knit his brows.
“No, no, no, we should be happy that the city is not destroyed. It makes it easier to recover after we recapture it from the demons.”
“Bill, we should think about repelling the demon for now. Recovery comes later.”
Dor-sama honestly commented on His Majesty William’s carefree words.
“I wonder how’s the demon-repelling barrier.”
If the town hadn’t been destroyed, was it intact as well?
“It’s no surprise, but it seems to have been destroyed. The magic gems installed in the east, west, north and south of the imperial capital are all reported to have been broken.”
“Then, the demons made it into the imperial capital…?”
After Hilda finished her explanation, Claire-sama posed her question.
“Yes. At present, the Demon Queen and Plato seem to have taken residence in the imperial castle.”
“What about Lates?”
“We don’t know. It’s possible he might have stayed in the demon territory as the rear guard, but…”
“… We can’t be optimistic, can we?”
We didn’t have Dorothea with us after all.
We had to deal with the two remaining Great Archdukes and the Demon Queen without her.
“Philine, the imperial capital will very likely become a battlefield, but you don’t mind, do you?”
Even though Manaria-sama asked that question, Philine just had a vacant expression on her face and didn’t answer.
“… Your Majesty Philine.”
“Ah… Sorry. It’s nothing.”
After Hilda shook her shoulder, she finally seemed to return to her senses.
“You just lost your mother… I truly sympathize with you.”
Dor-sama offered condolences with a somber look on his face.
“Thank you very much. However, I can’t remain depressed. I am now the Empress of the Naa Empire. If something like this stopped me, my mother would laugh at me.”
Philine showed a courageous smile, but no matter how I looked at it, she was forcing herself.
I’m sure that’s just how important Dorothea was for her.
“I have no choice but to accept the imperial capital becoming a battlefield. If anything, we should be happy to have the locational advantage.”
Philine said courageously.
She loved her people greatly.
There was no mistaking that the thought of staining the place where they lived with blood must’ve hurt her deeply.
“Apart from recapturing the imperial capital, the problem is the demon queen.”
Manaria-sama said together with a deep sigh.
“I’ve heard that the demon queen is actually Rei-chan, but I don’t understand that. What does it mean?”
His Majesty William asked me for an explanation.
I didn’t understand well either, so I had no idea how to answer.
“I don’t understand the details. However, there is no doubt that the identity of the demon queen is Rei.”
“I guarantee it,” declared Claire-sama.
“No but, isn’t it Rei-chan over there? Or what? Are you trying to say that there are two Rei-chans?”
“I think that’s probably the case.”
“… No no no.”
William-sama smiled bitterly.
Dor-sama also frowned at Claire-sama and said.
“Since you are saying that, it might be partially the truth, but it’s a little far-fetched for there to be two of the same person.”
“It’s certainly mysterious. However, the demon queen is unmistakably Rei.”
“I could tell,” Claire-sama didn’t yield an inch.
“… Rei, how did you feel about that?”
His Majesty Sein turned to me.
Even if he asks me that…
“Honestly, I don’t know. The face and voice were similar. So much that I could say they were mine. However, according to Manaria-sama, the magical power she was clad in and the composition of her magic seemed different from mine. Perhaps, it’s just our appearance that’s similar――”
“It’s not. That was Rei.”
Claire-sama stubbornly denied the possibility I brought up.
“That’s troubling. No, honestly, I don’t care about the demon queen’s identity. We just have to defeat her anyway. However, at present, it’d be extremely difficult to defeat that demon queen head-on. We need information to defeat her.”
“The demon queen’s identity could be the starting point of that,” added Manaria-sama.
“Does anybody else have some information about the demon queen? What about the church?”
William-sama asked Yuu-sama.
“I don’t think the existence of the demon queen was reported in the church. Isn’t that right, Missha?”
“Indeed. Yes. I had the opportunity to check the old literature of the church, and although there were detailed descriptions of the demons, I don’t think there was any mention of the demon queen.”
“… Even the church that has been in conflict with the demons for ages doesn’t know anything?”
Sein-sama reacted with a grim face to Misha’s word.
Everybody fell silent, unable to see the solution.
“Should I explain? I don’t know how many people will understand though.”
Suddenly, a voice resounded throughout the conference hall.
The owner of the voice was Lily-sama.
“It’s about time. Finally the demon queen has been dragged out to the front stage. I can finally talk now.”
Lily-sama spoke in an innocent tone.
“The church shouldn’t know about the demon que–”
“No, Rei. It’s not Lily who’s talking right now.”
I see, so that’s what it is.
“Isn’t that right, Apostle?”
The apostle grinned to confirm Claire-sama’s question.