To Be a Power in the Shadows! - Chapter 90[Updated at: 2021-01-11 09:22:00]
After dinner, the two of us are walking together through the streets of the royal capital.
When it came time to ring up the bill and I was about to pay, they told me that it was all covered. It’s probably Gamma’s arrangement, but it might also have been because Nee-san is the latest champion of the Festival of the God of War. I can’t quite determine which it is.
“It’s already past the dorms’ curfew, isn’t it?”
“I told them that I’ll be attending a party and already got permission.”
The streets at night are unexpectedly quiet. I suddenly look up at the sky and see a shining crescent moon. For some reason, I feel like the moon is a bit more red than usual.
“What’s the matter?”
So asks Nee-san upon seeing me look up at the moon.
“I feel like the moon is a bit more red than usual.”
“Is it? It seems the same to me though.”
“Perhaps. But thinking about it again, I suppose it doesn’t really matter whether the moon is red or blue or any other color.”
Though I do think that it’s cooler when it’s red.
“So, we were in the middle of our talk about the Queen of Blood.”
“I’m sure you already know about the Queen of Blood’s underlings recently causing incidents outside of Outlaw City.”
Naturally, I did not know that.
“The surrounding countries who are taking that seriously have sent a joint request to the Magic Swordsmen Guild to subjugate the Queen of Blood.”
“Ok, with you so far.”
“So a team of top magic swordsmen is being gathered for this subjugation. I say team, but it’s full of people with oversized egos, so it’s not like we’re going to get along like best friends and hold each other’s hands.”
“And so that’s how I can bring you along as my plus one. Don’t worry, you can just stand back and watch from a safe spot. I’ll do everything. Afterwards, the fact that you went along means you’ll get some of the credit too.”
“If you get some credit here, then it’ll be easy to wrangle you into a knight order. I managed to get pretty close with the daughter of the Grand Commander of the Imperial Knight Order at the previous party, so I can help put in a word for you if you want.”
“The subjugation will happen during autumn break. I’m sure there are some hasty ones who’ve gone ahead already, but I don’t think there’s any cause for worry……”
That moment, the wind carries the smell of blood to us.
Nee-san also notices it a brief instant later.
“The smell of blood. It’s close……”
Nee-san stops walking and glares into a dark alleyway.
“Follow along behind me.”
With a hand on the hilt of her sword, Nee-san enters the alleyway.
Leaving a bit of a distance between us, I follow along.
As we proceed down the dark alleyway, we finally spy a dark figure that’s crouched over.
Gucha, gucha. It sounds like the figure is chewing something.
Biting back a shriek of surprise, Nee-san draws her sword.
Probably noticing us by our presence, the black figure turns around.
It turns out to be a blood-covered human.
No, that’s incorrect.
That… Thing’s eyes are red like blood, and razor-sharp teeth can be seen within its slackly opened mouth.
Red saliva drips onto the stone pavement.
At the feet of the Thing lies the remains of a human corpse that’s been chewed all the way through.
“Drop your weapon and surre—……!”
The Thing bares its teeth and leaps towards Nee-san.
Those are not movements of a human, but of a beast.
Nee-san’s sword glitters like moonlight——then the Thing is bisected from the torso.
“I did… warn you……”
So says Nee-san towards the lumps of meat that she had severed.
“It’s still alive…..?!”
The Thing is crawling with its upper body alone. It reaches out with one hand to grab Nee-san’s foot.
Nee-san’s sword chops off the Thing’s head.
The head rolls on the stone pavement while still chomping on empty air, making that distinctive gachi gachi sound of teeth gnashing together.
The red eyes glaring at Nee-san gradually lose their strength, until finally it goes silent.
An almost overwhelming stench of blood pervades the alleyway.
“This was a ghoul…… could it be one of the Queen of Blood’s……?”
She looks down on the corpse that’s been cleanly severed into three parts. Its form is human-like but its skin is pale white like there was no blood flowing underneath, its eyes are red, and its teeth are sharp.
It also moved like a beast and had astonishing vitality.
However, what was clearly missing was intelligence.
“Ghouls are underlings of vampires, right?”
Nee-san is still looking down, and does not answer me.
“Ghouls were all previously human……”
“Recently, I’ve been afraid. Afraid of whether I would also become like this one day. Like a mindless monster……”
Her voice is unusually weak.
“I heard that Princess Rose had demon possession…… though it might be just a rumor. But…… I haven’t told this to anyone, but I…… I might also have demon possession……”
Nee-san’s face as she turns around is slightly colored with sorrow.
“A few years ago, a black bruise suddenly appeared on my back. I was scared and didn’t tell anyone, but it just kept getting larger and larger. But one day, it suddenly started healing rapidly, and it was already gone like a lie before I realized it. I was relieved, like ‘oh whew, it got healed.’ But I looked into it recently, and apparently there’s no way to heal demon possession. If that black bruise really was demon possession, then someday I……”
“I think you probably don’t really need to worry about that……”
Cus it’s already completely healed.
“You silly. I’m just joking. There’s no way I have demon possession.”
Nee-san laughs and looks up at the night sky.
“But…… you can’t follow along behind me forever. And that’s why you need to keep your autumn break free.”
“We’re done with this talk. Let’s go call the knights.”
Nee-san walks off as if in escape.
I look up at the sky again. That moon really does look slightly red.