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Chapter 11: The Devils’ Frenzy
※ Warning: This chapter has depictions of brutality and sex. Those who are uncomfortable with that, please take note.
It was late into the night the day after I met with Mary. I was in that suspicious hallway I entered the other day, also known as the prohibited area. I walked around, dressed in the black habit of the nuns, while being careful not to make any noise. I had acted as a spy before, so hiding my presence was a simple task.
But something felt really off. I continued farther and farther in, but there were no windows in sight. It was a full moon tonight, but none of its light could come in. Only pitch darkness continued on and on. Yeah, it was exactly how the devil likes it…right?
I felt like I heard a faint sound coming from far away. I placed my ear against the floor to ascertain the sound’s true identity.
They were footsteps. They numbered…eight people? No, there were surely more than that. Perhaps some kind of organization?
As I carefully stepped forward, I saw some red lights float in the air. I attempted to take a peek from the hallway and saw a large group of people walk by. The group was composed of people of various genders and ages. The commonality among them was their ceremonial attire and gaudy masks. They dressed like they were about to attend some kind of masquerade ball.
They wouldn’t have looked out of place if we were in the royal palace and not in a secret location inside the church in the capital, but this eccentricity… Well, I guess such was the proper attire for a devil-worshipping cult about to host their ceremony.
I followed after the masked group and saw them walk through an extravagant door. After I confirmed that everyone there had entered the room, I checked my surroundings before taking a peek inside myself.
Was this…some kind of hall? It looked like an opera house.
The color scheme was based around reds and blacks. A red carpet was laid out along the aisles, giving off a luxurious impression. The hall was structured with a stage at the center, with the audience seating and aisles encircling it. Fortunately, the masked group from before had already made their way up the stage, so I easily concealed myself in a blind spot on one of the aisles.
I quieted my breathing and looked over to the stage. A masked man dressed in a priest’s cassock appeared from the stage wing. He glanced over the masked group and nodded before loudly announcing.
“Welcome, everyone! Thank you all for coming here during such a busy period to take part in tonight’s sublime ceremony. As unworthy of this honor as I may be, I shall be the one handling the ceremony. Please address me as ‘Master’.”
What an unbelievably ham actor. Prince Edward from seven years ago could have done a better job. Judging from his voice, that man must be Father Michael… What was a high-ranking priest doing here? There was no mistake that the masked group was composed of nobles from the religious faction and were about to conduct a Sabbath here… I was dejected at how easily I concluded all of this.
I put on the black cat mask I had prepared beforehand in the likelihood of getting caught. As I intently observed the group, several white-masked men appeared from the stage wing. They gripped a chain in their hands which had around ten children handcuffed to it. The children were dressed in neat, white clothes, but their eyes were empty and lifeless. You could even say they looked “broken”.
Only the blonde girl at the end screamed. She was dressed in a magnificent, black dress. She appeared to have received special treatment. Also, she seemed to have enough life in her eyes to resist.
Did she originally have that much mental fortitude? …Or, perhaps, was she purposely allowed to keep enough of her will to resist? In any case, this was nothing more than bad taste.
“Now then, tonight, we shall offer these lambs to the devil! And this golden-eyed lamb in particular is Lady Nina, the youngest daughter of Baron Marshall whose family had secured their status when their ancestor had protected His Majesty from an assassin several generations ago. Her pure heart shall surely be a wonderful offering!”
Baron Marshall… I recalled that his youngest daughter had been reported deceased from a carriage accident the other day. According to Aide Silas’ documents, House Marshall had switched from the royalist faction to the religious one after the current Baron Marshall took over. In addition, the baron’s business was failing, and he was on the verge of ruin. So, in other words, the father sold the child?
“Oh my, what a lovely child.”
“Hurry up with the ceremony!”
“Show us a delectable sight!”
Perhaps excited by this, the masked group began to clamor. Among the voices I could hear, there were some I recognized. I carved them into my mind and watched the event unfold. I could easily imagine what kind of tragedy was about to befall. Normally, I would rush in to save the children. But that would only be the case if I had the power to save them. If I jumped out there, what could I possibly do? At most, I would simply be adding to the number of sacrifices. Such hypocritical self-satisfaction could do nothing for this situation.
What I could do was bear witness to these children’s fate and never forget them. And…make sure their deaths weren’t for nothing.
The white-clothed children were killed by the white-masked men one at a time. One was decapitated with a knife. One died from disembowelment. One was repeatedly stabbed. One eventually died from blood loss after having been finely cut starting from their toes. One was forced to swallow heated needles. One had their eyeballs gouged out and switched with another child’s while both were still alive. One had all four limbs chopped off. One had their face lacerated beyond recognition. None of the children even screamed. That was how far broken their minds were. The masked group raised their voices and became roused as one life was extinguished after another. I watched on without blinking.
The white-masked men then stabbed a long pole into each of the nine freshly-made corpses. There appeared to be a cloth attached to the end, and it was immediately dyed bright red from the blood mixture. The men used the cloth to draw something in the middle of the stage. What they had created was a bizarre formation, but was probably what was known as a magic circle. Magic was nothing more than a fairy-tale concept in this world. Nothing of that sort existed here. Naturally, this also referred to the existence of devils.
“Wah, wah, ah, aaaah.”
The girl in the black dress, Nina, looked at the nine corpses and was overwhelmed by fear. Well, that was only natural. She probably thought that she would be next.
“Now then, let us offer the main dish!”
Father Michael declared and approached Nina. He sloppily grabbed her golden hair and dragged her to the center of the circle. Nina desperately fought back, but there wasn’t much she could do handcuffed. Father Michael simply scoffed at her efforts. After being thrown to the floor in the middle of the circle, Nina crawled desperately in an attempt to escape.
“No… Big brother… Al, save m—”
Father Michael flipped Nina over with a kick and had her face upwards. After that, a white-masked man handed a black spear to Father Michael, who took it and unhesitantly thrusted it right through the girl’s chest. Nina’s panting could be heard from the stage for a short span of time. Then, the masked group cheered even louder than before.
“Ah, Our Father—”
“Great Devil, I beg you. Please hear my wishes!!!”
Watching Nina frozen in fear and reaching the end of her life, the masked group could no longer hide their excitement.
“The devil says that this is still not enough. Come now, we shall create a world of ecstasy and depravity!!!”
At Father Michael’s declaration, the excitement on the stage rose to a climax. The masked group suddenly undressed and, in some cases, were stripped of their clothes. And while still being surrounded by the heavy stench of blood, the men and women intermingled, performing salacious acts and indulging in pleasure. The masked group exchanged partners and preferences. Such revolting behavior was happening around Nina’s dead body.
These people were crazy. These humans were more devilish than an actual devil… How repulsive.
I ground my molars. All of a sudden, I felt some liquid drip from my right hand. It appeared that I had clenched my fist too tightly, causing my nails to dig into my flesh. I took out a handkerchief and wiped the blood. I actually wanted to wrap the handkerchief around my hand, but I also wanted to avoid the possibility that someone might think I was injured and discover my activities if they saw the wound.
“I still have a long way to go…”
It seemed that I only felt indignant towards the children’s deaths. I was sure that if it was the masked group or Father Michael who died, I wouldn’t have felt anything. In the end, the children were simply people who weren’t labeled as precious to me. I was an unexpectedly heartless person. However, children were still capable of growing up to be the people who will support this country in the future. They could become people who excelled in their studies, people who were good at socializing, or people who were capable fighters. Even if they didn’t have the talent or ability, they might have been adults who simply loved and were proud of their country. Yet, this masked group treated these bundles of possibility as toys for their own amusement.
“Devil-worshipping is treason to our beloved nation. Enjoy your pleasures for now while you still can, and I will focus on acting the role I’ve been given.”
I softly muttered to myself and left the frenzy happening on stage behind.
I made my way through the hallway, keeping track of anybody nearby. Occasionally, white-masked men and women would run by. They were most likely guards or those running errands for the sabbath. As I watched them go past me, I made sure to avoid any contact.
I think they’re gone now…
I confirmed that the armed guards had completely passed by before attempting to continue down the hallway. However, I sensed murderous intent for a moment and promptly turned around.
A silver flash was headed straight for me from out of the darkness.