The investigation party members were wary of the Artless soldiers. Yuusuke ordered them to return back to the main group and deliver the order to the Darkness God Corps members in the rear group to come over to his location. Afterwards he walked towards Shinha’s group while Vermeer and the others came running to join their Captain.
“It’s been a while, Yuusuke.”
“Yeah. But why would the King… come to such a place?”
Shinha was wielding a familiar great sword, wearing light armor, and had an unusual entourage with him. The person that also seemed to be an artless soldier was armed with a simple longsword and was wearing armor similar to the one that Thalys’ companion had worn during the dance festival. Behind him were two young women with green and blue colored hair respectively, who seemed to be twins. The last member of Shinha’s party was the child from before.
“I heard that you were staying in a nearby city. These beasts seem to be a difficult opponent for the divine arts users so we thinned them out a bit.”
Shaheed shot a sharp glance towards Shinha and asked him, dubious that the King had said this as an excuse in order to approach his Captain.
“… Weren’t you trying to hide the fact of the modified evil beasts?”
Gazzetta had previously replied “We know but we will not share the information” to Blue Garden’s inquiry regarding the modified evil beasts which could be viewed as an attempt to use these beasts as tools of war.
Shaheed meant that this time Shinha had come this far on foot (as in sneaked in here). This was much more likely done to hide the fact of the modified evil beasts rather.
“Ah, there was that too.”
Shinha simply brushed off Shaheed’s accusations with a joke. The atmosphere became heavy as both groups stared at each other, somehow leaving Yuusuke out of this.
“How should I say it, why would you bring children to such a dangerous place?”
Hearing Yuusuke’s question Shinha had shown a strained smile and glanced towards the person in question, who was yawning near the wall. At the same time Yuusuke’s remaining group had appeared from the tunnel behind him.
“We’ll help you out in dealing with these guys.”
“No no no, calm down guys we were just chatting.”
Calming down the excited mercenaries Yuusuke tasked Shaheed and Vermeer to make sure that none of those guys decided to go gung-ho and face off against Shinha.
“So, returning back to the topic… you said that you came here to back us up?”
“To be precise, we came here to protect you.”
Shinha’s own strength aside, artless soldiers who were living on a verge of battle their entire lives were also on an entirely different level. With the modified evil beasts as the enemy, such soldiers would become a reliable vanguard.
There were some former Nossentians amongst the adventurers and the mercenaries, and these guys had openly shown hostility towards the newcomers. Yuusuke, however, somehow managed to persuade these guys to accept Shinha’s proposal.
Currently, only those in the Darkness God Corps knew of the fact that Shinha was the King of Gazzetta, and considering the situation they had decided to keep this fact secret. If this were to spread amongst the other members, doubtlessly those, who would aim to take his life, would appear within this group.
“Then, let’s begin by sharing what we know.”
Shinha’s group had entered the tunnel from another entrance that was close to the institute. Before reaching the entrance they seemingly traveled above ground, disposing of the evil beasts that got in their way. They had also tried to enter the institute but it was sealed off, hence they entered the underground passage.
When the talks focused on the current state of the institute – the topic that also concerned the mercenaries and the adventurers – they had also joined in although they treated Shinha’s group as filthy barbarians (胡散臭げ).
“According to the researcher, one of the emergency exits wasn’t completely sealed off.”
There was a possibility that the only remaining entrance to the research facility had become a den for the evil beasts. If left alone, the entire institute would eventually become a huge den or, more accurately, an impregnable fortress for the evil beasts.
“It would be for the best to secure the institute as fast as possible and seal off any remaining exits.”
“How much does Gazzetta knows about the institute?”
“We only knew about the research subjects and the scale of the institute. The current situation occurred just when we were about to investigate it.”
Everyone nodded, confirming the information. Gazzetta also barely had any information regarding the internal situation of the facility. Since they had not sent an established investigation team, the treasures of the institute were still likely untouched.
The Darkness God Corps had the right of choice concerning the valuable items, but since the facility was huge, the others still expected to make a fortune from items like experiment utensils or small pieces of equipment. This made the tension rise amongst the treasure hunting adventurers.
After exchanging the various information, everyone agreed that there was no need to move on forward today and decided to rest where they stood. Yuusuke blocked off the passages and created a safe area for them to rest. He also created tables and chairs so everyone could relax.
The gimmick fans were also installed at the top of the walls that somewhat alleviated the stench of blood and beasts. With that, a dangerous passage, full of wandering evil beasts, started to resemble a fairly decent restaurant or bar that one could find in a city when looking for a place to relax.
Some of the adventurers had gathered together and were talking about the usefulness of such an ability when exploring the depths of the earth, marveling at the rotating blades of the fan, installed at the top of the room.
“Ah, that’s the divine art of the Captain of the Darkness God Corps…”
“Uhm, the power of the Hero of Fonclanc… is it actually a tactics based ability?”
Mercenary captains were trying to ascertain the truth behind Yuusuke’s ability. They had heard about the “giant walls that he could create”, “building a fortress in an instant”, and “being able to redeploy the troops with ease”. Witnessing his power from this close they understood that it was not just a special divine art that had an overwhelming offensive power nor the art that combined several different effects to defeat the enemy.
It was a supportive art that adjusted to the situation to aid one’s allies. Moreover it had a fairly large area of effect for a strategic type divine art.
[“We wouldn’t be able to copy it even if we managed to grasp the types of the arts that he’s using?”]
After whispering between themselves, the mercenary captains had arrived at the same conclusion as Zeshald – Yuusuke was able to wield all types of divine arts.
Every group had gathered around their own tables. Between the idle chatter and discussions the Darkness God Corps had also talked about how they should treat Shinha’s group from now on.
Since the Darkness God Corps were the core of this investigation party, their duty included sorting out the fine details between the smaller groups.
“I think that we will not be attacked by the evil beasts until we reach the institute.” (Yuusuke)
“I agree, I told you that we had killed the beasts on our way here.” (Shinha)
“While that may be true, the reason is different.” (Ayuukas)
Shinha was interrupted by the girl, wearing some sort of traditional clothes. She had long white hair with a distinct purple shade. Her white eyes, framed by neatly trimmed bangs, looked childish yet were also tinged with experience, giving her face a grown up looks. She introduced herself as Ayuukas.
From her tone and manner of speaking Yuusuke assumed that her status was close to Violet’s. Judging from what he had seen since a little while ago, the white soldiers, who seemed to be of high status within Shinha’s army, treated this girl with a lot of respect.
“What do you mean?”
“You are the reason.”
As she was saying that, Ayuukas suddenly jumped off the chair, approached Yuusuke, and pointed at him while peering into the black eyes.
“You are the reason that the evil beasts are keeping their distance. It seems that little Shin was overprotective towards you.”
“Hey, what do you mean by that, grandma?”
“Ha? Grandma…?” (Yuusuke)
[“Such a small child definitely can’t be a grandmother,”] although Yuusuke was thinking about what Ayuukas had said, he could not believe Shinha’s rude words and blurted that out. Shinha was about to explain it, but the girl was a little bit faster as she answered with a curtsy.
“Boring stuff aside, I might look like this, but I am three thousand and four years old.”
“…? TH, THREE THOUSAND?”
“My name is Ayuukas Ikdout.”
The girl continued talking, explaining that she had inherited the powers of an ancient Evil God. Because of her immortality, the descendants of the White Tribe had started worshipping her as a village shaman. It could be said that she herself was the embodiment of the three thousand years of history of the Evil Gods.
Yuusuke seemed ready to pass it as a joke, but Shinha confirmed that the girl was indeed serious.
“She looked like this ever since I was just a brat. It seems that she had also taken care of my father as well as my grandfather the same way.”
“I had also taken care of a king three generations ago even after he had grown up, in various ways…”
Ayuukas giggled after she finished as Shinha looked away as if he remembered something disgusting. Yuusuke’s companions were dumbfounded, hearing something that was hard to believe.
“Going back on the topic, the evil beasts are wary of the presence of the Evil God.”
According to the shaman, the Evil God was an existence that was purposely given godlike powers, and could even be called as an envoy summoned to bring about the changes into the world.
“The beasts are able to sense the special aura of the Evil God and are probably afraid of it. Well, your power also affects everything around you, and might be adding to the effect of the aura.”
“Uhm, do you mean to say that… the reason why we weren’t attacked by the evil beasts ever since we left the city was –“
“Because you were there. These evil beasts were tamed by humans, don’t you think that they would view the group that you brought along as mere bait?”
The evil beast that was attacking Ayuukas before had also seemed to flinch and become wary when Yuusuke had approached it.
Yuusuke was desperate to stop the evil beast back then. When he calmly thought about that now, there was no way for him to make it in time no matter how many times he used shift map back then.
”Hmm… in a sense it seems logical, but can it be the other way around?”
At that time Shinha had expected for the Darkness God Corps to arrive, but expected the mercenaries to struggle to catch up. It did not seem that the mercenaries were protected by Yuusuke’s aura, rather it felt like Yuusuke opened them a path through the beasts.
Asking this question, Shaheed seemed to come to what was troubling him since some time ago.
“That means, the reason why the beasts didn’t attack us while we were destroying the nest that time was because the Captain was with us?”
The first time they had fought the modified evil beasts was during the forest incident. That also meant that it was no sheer luck that they hadn’t encountered any evil beasts during their friendship visit to Nossentes and during their subsequent escape either.
Having come to understand so much about the Evil God in mere hours Yuusuke felt that there was much more that he wanted to hear about the role he was meant to play in this world, but the people of the investigation group had finished their rest and seemed to be ready to move out.
Ayuukas used the brief instance while Yuusuke had diverted his attention towards the investigation party and softly whispered into his ear – “You are welcome to visit my home if you want to hear about it in detail.” The “home” that she was referring to were the Divine Halls, located at the top floor of the tower, standing in the center of Patrucia Nost.
“To say it bluntly, don’t judge her by her looks.” (Shinha)
“Just because I am three thousand years old doesn’t mean that I have to behave like one.” (Ayuukas)
The remaining members of the corps became vigilant when Ayuukas invited Yuusuke to Gazzetta in such a carefree way.
The preparations to leave the camp were underway with the tables, chairs, and the defensive walls returning down into the floor. Ayuukas extended her both arms towards Shinha.
“What is it?”
“Don’t we still have to walk until the institute? Shouldn’t you be considerate of me?”
Ayuukas seemed to still be tired so she pressed Shinha for a princess cradle. Quickly looking at each other, Shinha’s soldiers quickly turned towards the tunnel and retreated some distance from their king as if to say “That’s your job, we are just your escort.” Shinha could only look at them angrily and sigh.
“Don’t you have an immortal body?”
“It may be immortal, but that doesn’t change the fact that I’m still tired. I can’t do anything about it, you just accept that.”
Shinha held Ayuukas in his hands and walked off towards the institute, pretending not to notice the looks that Yuusuke and the others had thrown at him.
“Don’t say a word…”