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Punishment is it?
Chanting [Chameleon], Ellis proceeded to move through the darkness–Abyss and Mimetic making it impossible for anyone to locate her. Due to this fact, she was able to rush headlong into the Marsfield castle.
“First let’s deal with Lord Marsfield.”
Ellis moved within the darkness, jumping from shadow to shadow.
And eventually, she made her way to the Lord’s study.
Guards, butlers, and maids were completely unaware of Ellis’s presence. After confirming the location of the study, she made her way outside and peeked in on the Lord from his outside window.
The Lord of Marsfield was lying flat on his desk.
Without opening the window any more than it already was, Ellis slipped in through the shadows and materialized right next to the sleeping n.o.bleman.
The Lord woke up with a start at the biting cold stabbing him all over, but no matter how hard he tried, he could not move his body an inch and no sound would come from his trembling throat.
“Today, I would like to lecture the Lord of Marsfield a little.”
Ellis drew in close and whispered into the Duke’s ear. The Lord had clearly still not grasped the situation as his eyes showed a mixture of confusion and fear.
“Pay better attention to your wives. People in Beastcity Street are suffering and dying because of their little games.”
And then Ellis put him back to sleep. As he slowly drifted away, Ellis kissed the tip of his ear, “We are expecting good things tomorrow, Duke Marsfield.”
Once he was completely out, she put a letter on his desk before leaving the room.
Well then, what should be done with the last two?
The next room over was Mirei’s room.
Ellis saw Mirei’s lamp was lit from her window, and when she peeked in, she could see Mirei combing her hair in front of a mirror. Her appearance was a little rough as she was just about to go to bed.
“I guess she’ll be first.”
Ellis immediately robbed Mirei’s consciousness with Sleep. At the same time, she used Ice to keep Mirei in an upright position in front of the mirror.
And finally, Abyss.
Ellis jumped behind Mirei, the flame of the lamp flickering for a second. After using Silence as well, Ellis woke Mirei back up.
There was a mirror directly in front of Mirei. She could see her reflection quite clearly in it, but behind her, a dull dagger s.h.i.+ned in the moonlight held by a black shadow.
“Good evening. I have a message for you from the Demon Lord.”
Ellis whispered in the trembling woman’s ear while running a dagger across her cheek. A line of blood ran down Mirei’s cheek from the slight cut before Ellis cast Full Recovery on her.
“Do you understand?”
The tears pouring from Mirei’s eyes were answer enough.
“Well then, I will allow you to speak,” Ellis whispered while releasing the silence.
“You, what is your purpose?”
Ellis responded with a cold laugh that stoked Mirei’s fears all the more.
“It’s an a.s.sa.s.sination for the Madam. Aren’t you and your concubine sister constantly hiring a.s.sa.s.sins to kill each other?”
The thought that she would end up being the one overtaken like this surprised Mirei to her very heart. She had never thought that she would be the one ending up under the knife’s edge.
“Can I not offer something for my life?”
“I don’t mind.”
“What do you want?”
“It’s money Mademoiselle.”
“How much do you want?”
“How much can you offer me?”
“If it’s 1 million ril…….”
Ellis interrupted Mirei’s desperate plea with Silence before cutting her once again.
“There’s not enough digits there,” Ellis whispered into her ear. This time Ellis made sure that the blood continued to flow, dying Mirei’s cheek red before pulling the blade away and healing the wound completely. Then the silence was released.
Mirei was beside herself, but she was still unable to move.
Finally Mirei was able to choke out some words with a soft, trembling voice.
“I don’t have such an amount of money here…….”
Ellis once again cast Silence and stabbed the dagger into Mirei’s right breast. Full Recovery was then used again.
“If that’s so, then I suppose you’ll just die like this?”
“The safe! There’s a safe in the living room. Please, please let me go get it, it’s not that far!”
Mirei started to beg inbetween her blubbering.
“Alright, but all of your guards are taking a nap, so please be quiet. It’d be rude to wake them.”
Ellis cast Silence once more and released Mirei from her frozen state.
And when Mirei jumped up and tried to run away, Ellis stabbed Mirei in the b.u.t.t.
Mirei started rolling around on the ground in pain.
“Your whole body is going to turn red at this rate, Madam.”
Mirei was convinced. When she entered the hallway, she was shocked to see all her guards standing upright yet not moving or making a sound. There was no doubt in her mind that this little girl was an agent from the Demon Lord.
And so they made it to the living room.
It took several tries for Mirei to open up the safe as her shaking hands caused her to screw up the dial. But once it was finally open, Ellis cast Sleep one more time.
The woman wearing a dress decorated with holes and red splotches collapsed onto the ground.
“These are the digits I was talking about.”
Piles of ril, gold, jewels, and guild exchange notes were gathered before Ellis’s eyes. Everything was stuffed into her bag, and Ellis was on the move once more.
Next was the concubine Anna’s room.
Anna was sitting on the bed, facing the door as if she were waiting for someone. If Ellis wasn’t invisible with Mimetic and teleported in with Abyss, she would have been found. A feeling of discomfort began to settle in for Ellis, and when she focused, she could feel someone else in the room. It was a familiar presence, and it did not take long before Ellis realized she had felt this same feeling once before when she was in a labyrinth.
“Hoh, this witch has a big guard on her roster.”
It was a Transparent a.s.sa.s.sin.¹
Ellis switched over from her normal dagger to her Mad G.o.d stiletto.
Then she began to quietly investigate the signs. Thanks to Anna’s movements through the room, Ellis was able to slowly narrow down hiding spots logically while also trying to sense the enemy hidden from her eye.
Ellis moved like a flash to one corner of the room and stabbed her knife into the window curtain. A red stain began to spread with the hole made from the knife at the center.
Finally a quick Sleep knocked Anna right out.
“If she has a Transparent a.s.sa.s.sin, why not have him attack Mirei?” Ellis wondered to herself out loud. Ellis tried to think up of a possible answer while fixing Anna down with Ice and waking her up after using Silence.
Anna woke up with a start with Ellis once again holding a dagger to a woman’s cheek from behind.
Like with Mirei, Ellis cut Anna’s cheek to threaten her not to shout before releasing the silence on her.
“Are you Mirei’s hand?”
“If I am?”
“I wonder if you’d be willing to let me go. I never wanted Mirei to die, but I also really don’t want to be killed.”
And then the story began.
It turns out Anna really did never want Mirei to die. Becoming the main wife would involve a number of troublesome duties she wanted no part of. But Mirei continued to send a.s.sa.s.sins against her, so Anna followed suit to convince Mirei that this was all some game. So long as Mirei never became serious about killing her, Anna would remain relatively safe.
However, now the Transparent a.s.sa.s.sin she had been using to deal with all the a.s.sa.s.sins Mirei was sending had been dealt with.
“If you’d like, I can introduce you to the Demon Lord’s army as well.”
Anna was able to say something outrageous before negotiations really even began.
“What proof do you have?”
After regaining her ability to move, Anna took out a piece of parchment from one of her dresser drawers. Inside was a contract with a demon.
“I want to be able to enjoy the life I have now. The demon can take my soul after my life is over.”
Ellis was starting to like this woman. She was a sleazebag. A big sleazebag. Ellis could not wait to see what this fellow sleazebag would do when she was cornered.
“I understand, Miss.”
Then Ellis reapplied Sleep and laid Anna down on her bed while picking up the contract.
“I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”
Ellis put Anna’s contract down on a desk where Lord Marsfield could easily find it.
The next morning Marsfield Castle broke out into a ruckus with the first early rays of the sun.
The Lord recalled the dream he had the previous night, and in order to confirm the matter about the repeated a.s.sa.s.sination attempts between his two wives, he sent out one of his servants to get the Thieves’ Guild master.
Furthermore, the parchment that confirmed Anna’s contract with a demon was sitting out in the open on his desk. The Lord immediately jumped out of his study.
“Lord, the Madam is in a terrible state!”
Mirei was found in a b.l.o.o.d.y mess in front of an open safe. An empty open safe. And while Mirei was b.l.o.o.d.y all over, there was not a single mark on her.
“Dear! I was attacked by some hoodlum!”
When seeing her husband rush into the room, Mirei immediately ran forward herself and clung to the lord.
“What about Anna!?”
Holding Mirei close to his chest, the Lord called out to his second wife Anna.
Anna walked into the room a few minutes later after being called.
“Anna! What is the meaning of this!?”
Anna’s eyes turned into saucers upon seeing the demon’s contract in the Lord’s outstretched hand. And then she broke down on the spot.
“In order to protect my Lord, I had no choice!”
And she continued to cry while telling everyone a story.
Mirei was aiming for the life of Lord Marsfield, but Anna thought that n.o.body would believe her if she tried to tell anybody. That’s why, even if she had to sacrifice her own soul, she would make a contract with a demon and protect her husband.
“Even if my soul will burn in h.e.l.l for it, I will protect the Duke.”
And then Anna finished her performance by falling to her knees.
“It’s a lie! Everything she is saying is a lie!”
Mirei started shouting hysterically.
“Then why was Mirei like that without a single wound on her?”
Anna calmly came up with a comeback.
And Mirei was at a loss for words. In an atmosphere like this, there is no way she can say that she traded the contents of the safe for her own life.
That was when the Duke’s messenger returned with the Thieves’ Guild master at his side.
“Is it true that these two have been repeatedly putting in a.s.sa.s.sination requests to the Thieves’ Guild?”
“Yes, my Lord. It is a fact.” The Thieves’ Guild master answered truthfully with his head hung low.
“Why was I not informed?” Lord Marsfield was quickly becoming more and more fed up with this entire situation.
“Because it goes against the Thieves’ Guild code.”
“So why weren’t a.s.sa.s.sins of the Thieves’ Guild sent out?”
The guild master gave a pained expression and took a minute to respond. “That…..it was because we had no intention of killing either the Madam or the Miss, so……..”
“So you used people from the Beastcity Street!”
“How many people have died?”
“Around ten or so.”
Duke Marsfield slammed his hand against his desk, face redder than Mirei’s blood-stained dress.
“You b.a.s.t.a.r.d! Do you think the beastmen are a toy for you to just play with!?”
The guild master couldn’t say a word while Mirei and Anna were both scrambling to their feet.
“Take Mirei and Anna into custody. The charges of attempted murder!”
“Guild master. If you want to keep your Thieves’ Guild safe, then you will retire immediately!”
Following the instructions of their lord, the guards quickly grabbed hold of Mirei and Anna, and escorted them out of the room. Just like that, Anna and Mirei were caught while the guild master swiftly fled the castle.
Ellis watched Duke Marsfield pace back and forth for awhile after everyone else had left. She had remained inside the attic during the whole ordeal. With Reeve’s Intelligence piercings, everything that had been said was perfectly broadcast to her party members.
“If it’s like this, we shouldn’t have anything to worry about.”
Satisfied with the outcome, Ellis confirmed the feelings of everyone else before slipping all the treasure she had s.n.a.t.c.hed from the safe the night before back into the Duke’s bedroom.
When the five girls visited Duke Marsfield that afternoon, they were met with a strange sight.
The Duke welcomed them all with a smile on his face and in a calm, orderly demeanor.
But there was no Mirei next to him.
Ellis decided to poke the sleeping bear.
“How are things with your wife?”
Then, the Duke answered without pausing for a second.
“Ah, she won’t be appearing publicly anymore.”
The Lord started laughing wildly as if his wife were just a piece of notable news he had heard while walking down the street. As a man in charge of running somewhere known as the Citadel City, Ellis supposed that this must just be something to be expected. It looks like things would be okay from here on.
“By the way, Claire, you’re going to the Magical City after this, aren’t you?”
The Duke suddenly turned the topic of conversation onto Claire.
“Yes,” Claire immediately gave an answer despite looking a little confused.
“Your parents should be there right now due to a royal decree. There have been some circ.u.mstances going around, so communication was completely cut off after the Hero appeared. However, if you are going there, meeting them should be possible.”
Saying this much, the Duke pa.s.sed a letter over to Claire.
“Your parents work at the university, so if you hand this letter over to the princ.i.p.al, you should be able to see them.”
Claire was completely dumbstruck.
“I’m sorry, but I’m afraid I have some urgent matters that I must attend to. Please enjoy your trip and be sure to visit on your way back home, Warren’s Jewelry Box.”
And then the five girls left the castle, practically being driven away.
Back in the Beastcity Street, Mati and Labra were given an order to halt their a.s.sa.s.sination attempts. In addition, it seemed that the families of those who had perished during the ordeal had received a direct apology from Duke Marsfield and enough compensation money for them to live off of.
“Well, should we head for Wisdom now?”
“Yes, let’s leave the clean-up to the Duke for now.”
“I would like to pick up some ingredients halfway there.”
“……The Magical City.”
“Ellis, thank you nya.”
And so with a mix of emotions and sentiments, five girls began the second half of their trip to the Magical City Wisdom.
1. For anyone who doesn’t remember, the Transparent a.s.sa.s.sin was an invisible monster that they killed back when the Jewelry Box first attacked Wight Labyrinth.