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Chapter 038 – Pursuit
As they stood there at the corner of Maou Castle, Hunty could only tremble at this unexpected reunion with her former brethren.
The majin in front of Hunty, Camilla, kept staring at her. Hunty was unable to look away due to the pressure she was emitting.
Hunty cursed at her own carelessness.
…I did hear that she became a majin, so it should’ve been obvious that I might encounter her…!
After all, this was Maou Castle. It was normal for Camilla, a majin, to be prowling around this location.
And Hunty was reminded once more. That Camilla was a special existence to them, to the dragon species.
She was born as the last female of the dragon species, the Living Crown, who’d been owned only by the strongest dragon, the dragon king, who was always victorious in the duels he was challenged for the right to have her. Hunty was aware of that as a dragon kalar herself. She was kidnapped by Maou Avel and turned into a majin.
Majin Camilla was superior to her by birth. Hunty knew this for a fact, and she knew it right at this moment when she saw her directly. The pressure exerted by the princess of the platinum dragons, which should be strengthened as she became a majin, was, without a doubt, well within the pinnacle of the dragon species that still lived in present days.
And the conclusion Hunty drew from that was,
…It would be terrible if she got angry…
Camilla was still looking at Hunty and waiting for a reply. Hunty thought about what her question meant. The only answer that came to her mind was,
…Did she notice what I am…?
Her current appearance was that of a human kalar. Although she had black hair and her crystal looked different compared to one, her current appearance hardly resembled that of a dragon kalar’s.
Did she notice despite these details? However, perhaps there were things that were only detected by former brethren.
Hunty hesitated. About whether she should say it or hide it.
Hunty ought to answer truthfully. If Camilla truly noticed, but had no proof, then it was better to hide it. Personally, she didn’t feel like telling her about it.
She needed to reply to her soon. Time kept moving forward as everyone stood there in silence. Nobody could speak out as they were questioned by an absolute superior.
Hunty tried to say something — but the words got stuck in her throat. She could feel Camilla’s gaze getting sharper.
Toward the question of an absolute superior, the other two couldn’t speak out. However,
“—She’s my apostle.”
A voice came from her side. It was Leonhart’s voice.
The only person who could dare answer the question of superior being was Leonhart, who belonged to the same level. As Camilla heard that, her gaze shifted from Hunty toward Leonhart, and then she asked again.
“…Apostle, you say?”
“Aah, the name’s Hunty. As you can see, she was originally a Kalar.”
Leonhart responded quite normally despite the pressure of Camilla’s gaze.
Camilla squinted as she heard his answer.
“…I thought all Kalar have blue hair?”
Hunty stiffened as she heard Camilla’s words. She tried hard not to react, but perhaps the thought that Camilla might find out involuntarily caused her face to twitch.
As Hunty wondered once again how to answer her, Leonhart lightly answered that question with,
“…Hm, so it’s about this. The hair changed as a side effect of being turned into an apostle.”
“…So that’s the reason for the hair?”
“It’s not that uncommon. Carol’s hair also turned blonde, so another similar change might be possible too. It just so happens that it happened to her too. — Isn’t that right?”
“! Yes… that’s, right.”
Hunty agreed with the reasoning that it was “a side effect of being turned into an apostle,” but Camilla’s suspicious gaze didn’t waver. She still stared at Leonhart, while he dispelled the pressure with a cool expression.
Hunty waited tensely. The other two apostles also couldn’t move due to the tension, not that they would move to begin with.
…What should I do…?
She thought it was quite good for an answer that he’d come up with on the fly. Her figure changed as a side effect of being turned into an apostle, such a thing was considered common sense amongst majins and apostles, and it wasn’t that weird.
If this kept up, she could avoid being pursued. Perhaps such wish was granted, as Camilla eventually said,
Camilla released the pressure she was holding. She snorted as she opened her mouth. However, there was a smile on her face as she said,
“—You picked up yet another interesting apostle, it seems?”
As she looked at Leonhart.
“I think she’s promising… Well, don’t scare her too much. The pressure you exerted was quite intense.”
This time Leonhart said so with a slightly troubled tone. Was he saying those words for Hunty’s sake, or did he also feel pressured by it?
Camilla squinted as she heard Leonhart’s words.
“…Is that something you should say?”
“…My normal self isn’t a big deal, right?”
“…Fuhn, how brazen of you to say that…”
…Hm? Something feels…
Hunty felt something was out-of-place from their exchange and atmosphere.
However, she couldn’t put her finger on what was off. Their exchange seemed to be about how Leonhart was during combat, and Camilla was rebuking him about it. However, it also felt like that wasn’t what she meant—
“—Hunty, was it…?”
Hunty had no choice but to stop that line of thought. It was because Camilla called out to her.
As Hunty looked up1 with a stiff expression, Camilla’s golden eyes met hers. Then,
“…I hope you do your best.”
“…Eh… ah, yes.”
Hunty was confused by these unexpected words from Camilla. Hunty somehow managed to reply to her. Immediately after that, she moved her gaze away from Hunty.
“…Let’s go, Shichisei.”
Camilla seemed to lose her interest after she heard Hunty’s reply and proceeded to pass by them. She called on her apostle, Shichisei, which he acknowledged. Before they left, he turned his face toward them and said,
“Well then, Leonhart-sama. Please excuse me.”
“As for you, Hunty, is it? Please take care of me as a fellow apostle.”
“…Hm, you’re right. Please take care of me too.”
And he gazed at Leonhart and Hunty as he took his leave. Even as Hunty hesitated for a bit, she replied to his well-meaning regards with her own.
And finally, Carol, who was standing beside them, said as if she just remembered.
“Please excuse us, Camilla-sama! As for Shichisei, just wash your neck and wait! My junior and I will eventually beat you down!”
“It became a 2 on 1 before I knew it…?!”
“N-no, I have no such intention…”
“Kukuh…Carol. Please do your best, so you can defeat Shichisei… Kuh, kukuh…”
“Of course I will! I will make Shichisei admit defeat in the near future! Please look forward to it, Camilla-sama!”
“Make Shichisei admit defeat… Kuh, Kukukuh… I definitely want to see that moment…”
“E-even Camilla-sama…please refrain from such jokes… a-anyway, please excuse us.”
“Thank you for your encouragement! Camilla-sama!”
Even as Shichisei looked at the surprised Hunty, he was distracted by Camilla’s laughter as they were about to leave. Then he quickly chased after Camilla as if he wanted to escape, and they left the area. Carol waved her hand at Camilla as she said her goodbye.
Hunty’s eyes grew wide and she was dumbfounded when she saw that.
…That Camilla laughed…?! Rather, what’s with that exchange?!
To be honest, it didn’t fit her image of Camilla. No, it wasn’t like she knew her that well to begin with, but she did give off a lighter atmosphere that such a joking tone seemed possible.
However, not knowing of Hunty’s impression of her, Leonhart muttered beside Hunty,
“The last exchange is how Camilla usually is…”
“Eh, that just now?!”
“Aah, the reason for her laughter is seemingly random. Also, she basically hates her fellow women, but she likes Carol for some reason.”
“I did hear that Camilla-sama was severe against women, but I didn’t think that was the case. She always laughed whenever we met, and I liked it since she seemed kind!”
“She only has that attitude towards you.”
Hunty was confused, but according to the two, it seemed that she had a more pleasant personality than Hunty had expected. To put it into words, it felt like the image of Camilla in her mind crumbled with a clattering sound.
However, there’s another problem besides that, thought Hunty as she shook her head. That was,
…Didn’t the initial question mean she noticed it…?
Did she merely ask because black haired kalar were rare? Or perhaps she didn’t think that was the case, but she was convinced by Leonhart’s answer and decided to stand down. Which was it? Or perhaps it was something else—
“…We should get going too.”
“! Hm, you’re right.”
Since Leonhart declared that they leave the place immediately, Carol and Hunty went along. This time, Leonhart led them.
As Hunty watched Leonhart, who was walking in front of her, she suddenly thought. It was something related to his exchange with Camilla earlier.
…Leonhart seems to have noticed what I was, though…
It was something she thought about before. It was a fact that she unleashed her power as a dragon kalar and showed her true appearance when she fought Leonhart back then.
However, that wasn’t the original appearance of the dragon kalar. Their original appearance was similar to dragons, and for whatever reason, Hunty, who’d turned into a more humanoid form, could no longer assume such appearance.
Also, the species of dragon kalar has been extinct for more than 500 years. As Leonhart was formerly a human, he couldn’t have known about the existence of dragon kalar, let alone their appearance. Yet despite that, he knew that she was a dragon kalar for some reason. She didn’t know why.
She managed to escape Camilla’s pursuit, but the mystery deepened instead. But Hunty was,
…Well, I guess I’ll leave it for now.
choosing to abandon such thoughts. Regardless of the reason, it was a fact that she managed to avoid Camilla’s probing thanks to Leonhart.
In that case, it was better to stop snooping around her own master — for now at least.
Hunty obediently followed Leonhart as they kept walking.
In a corner of Maou Castle, a short distance away from Leonhart, there walked the shadowy figure of a woman who was thinking.
It was Majin Camilla. There was her apostle, Shichisei, who followed behind her.
She didn’t stop walking, and the apostle behind her, Shichisei, followed her quietly.
She did think he was a good apostle. Ever since Shichisei became her apostle, he was well aware of things around her and assisted her in everything. Even without her ordering him to, he did all the troublesome work in her stead.
His fighting power was also good, and he was also smart. He was an impeccable apostle.
…He seems weak against Carol though…
Carol, one of Leonhart’s apostles. She seemed to consider Shichisei her enemy for some reason and often challenged him; she decided victory and defeat on her own, and was a lively apostle who always seemed unable to maintain her composure.
From Camilla’s perspective, Carol was strange and funny. She was a sort of pet-like creature that was enjoyable to play around and wouldn’t be boring, so Camilla didn’t hate her, but Shichisei was struggling to deal with her. Although that was also interesting on its own.
As Shichisei sent her a questioning look, she replied to him.
“…It’s going to be 2 on 1 from now on, huh…?”
“…So it seems.”
Whenever this topic came up, Shichisei, who usually gave an immediate reply, was slow to do so. While that was fun on its own, she needed to warn him just in case.
“You’re not saying… you’ll lose, will you…?”
“…Yes, you’re right.”
“…? That’s fine then.”
For some reason, Shichisei’s expression became that of a dead man’s . His voice also sounded monotonous, but — well, since he agreed with her, she thought it wasn’t that big of a deal that she’d need to point it out. Camilla fell into a sea of thoughts once more.
As she thought about the interaction between the apostles, what she was reminded of was,
…That one just now was…
It was the black-haired kalar, the woman named Hunty, who was Leonhart’s new apostle.
The moment Camilla saw her, she felt a strange sensation. And that was,
…The smell of brethren.
And as Camilla judged her feeling wasn’t mistaken, she speculated that Hunty was a survivor of the dragon kalar.
Camilla remembered. Dragon kalar had been the sub-species of dragon which had been the first to go extinct. The reason for it was unknown, but right after that, those abominable angels had begun to appear, so she thought it had been highly possible that that race had also been hunted down by the angels.
She never heard about a survivor among the dragon kalar, but it wouldn’t be weird even if they existed. That was why she asked her a direct question out of curiosity.
However, Hunty was silent, unable to answer. Leonhart also spoke out on top of that. It wasn’t weird for Leonhart to defend Hunty, his apostle, because he was her master. She didn’t mind that. What Camilla didn’t understand was,
…Leonhart… why, did you hide it…?
Hunty was just a kalar. In other words, he claimed that Hunty was a human kalar. Camilla didn’t understand why he needed to hide the fact that Hunty was a dragon kalar.
It was just a thought, but perhaps there was some deep reason why he was doing so. She was convinced that was the case due to the strong pressure Leonhart exerted.
…Leonhart, you even exerted your pressure so it will only affect me… how brazen of you to say the pressure I exerted was intense…
Other people definitely wouldn’t notice it. The fact that Leonhart’s gaze on her, also carried along the pressure he exerted.
That red pair of eyes seemed to say this — “Don’t snoop around.”
As Camilla received such a gaze, she considered it for a bit before choosing to withdraw. It wasn’t like that fact shouldn’t be exposed. Shichisei didn’t seem to notice it, but that was fine.
Camilla did feel a little annoyed that it had to be hidden. But she would let Leonhart save face and forgive this act.
…Be thankful for your master…
Camilla thought about Hunty, her former brethren and the current apostle of a majin, as she took in a shallow breath.
The reason why Leonhart chose to hide that fact was because Hunty’s existence was considered a bug in the system by gods’ standards, something they couldn’t easily tolerate, or might even take initiative to destroy. Therefore, the fewer people who know about it, the better.
As a matter of fact, Hunty did get blacklisted by ALICE, the 1st class god who is responsible for human administration, in the Rance timeline. However, due to the amount of work she had to do, she decided to only take care of it once Hunty committed three offenses as a system bug. Though she seemed to have already declared this a long time ago, she’s forgotten if Hunty ever did any past offenses, so Hunty was never aware of her blacklisted status.
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