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Chapter 041 – Banquet [A]
Only a few days had passed since Leonhart agreed to Carol’s suggestion of a banquet based on the condition that she prepare everything, but news had already spread.
Leonhart’s army, stationed at the Maou Castle, was talking about it. Indeed, it was all anyone in the army could talk about.
“Have you heard about the banquet?”
“Aah, Leonhart-sama sure is generous.”
“Perhaps he is holding one to comfort the soldiers as well…”
“Also, it seems Leonhart-sama will participate this time.”
“I’ve been working under him for a long time, but I never saw him drinking liquor…”
“Now that you mention it… could it be that he had low tolerance for alcohol—“
“Oi, don’t say such random things. It’s not necessarily the case, after all…”
“…You sure are a stiff one. Well, we’ll put aside ranks during the banquet anyway, and it’s a good opportunity. I guess I’ll ask about Leonhart-sama’s heroic story.”
“Uhm…I don’t think he’ll be angry just by that, but… don’t take it too far and be rude because of that.”
“…If you think about it, it’s totally OUT if we even think about doing that to other majins—hm?”
One of the two demon generals who were gossiping about the party suddenly turned around. The other demon general questioned his actions.
“Just now… I felt like I sensed some presence, but… was it just my imagination?”
As he also turned around, he surveyed their surroundings. There were only bronze statues in the corridor of the Maou Castle, and he didn’t sense any creatures.
“…I don’t see anyone in particular though.”
“I guess I was just paranoid.”
“………Well, alright. Let’s return to work soon.”
“……? Oh, you’re right. We need to settle any unfinished duties so we can freely enjoy the banquet.”
The pair of demon generals agreed on such and proceeded to the end of the corridor, back towards their offices. For some reason, one of the demon generals kept looking back over his shoulder as if he was curious about something, but as expected, there was nobody there.
Then, after they turned at the end of corridor,
From behind the bronze statue, a black haired girl with spider legs peeked out.
She stared expressionlessly at the empty space left behind by the demon generals, but eventually,
She crawled onto the wall and up to the ceiling, leaving the place like how a spider would.
—About two weeks later.
Near the hilly area of the Maou Castle, there was an area separated by camp enclosures.
The sun had already set and the curtain of night already fallen. However, this area was brightly illuminated and bustling with people as if it were the middle of the day.
It was because there were a large number of bonfires set up at the venue, with many demon soldiers going toward the light. Their appearances were a little different, but they were all people affiliated with Leonhart’s Army, and they entered the venue one after another with cheerful voices and excited demeanours.
There was only one line, but the entrance was split into two.
One entrance led to a large banquet hall for the demon soldiers, while the other entrance led to a venue where the people with higher ranking positions, like demon captains and demon generals, gathered. Although the venue for the demon soldiers was kept under the watch of a demon general and several demon captains on shift to prevent the soldiers from getting too wild, the soldiers still had an enjoyable time.
After all, they could eat and drink all they wanted. There were many human cooks and demons who were standing by to constantly replenish dishes as the soldiers consumed them. Food ingredients had been specially accounted for and set aside for this event, so all of the food there was allowed to be consumed today. The demon soldiers were getting excited at the abundance of options.
As for the venue for executives, it had a very different atmosphere compared to the large banquet hall.
The table and chairs there were much more luxurious to set them apart from the ones available at demon soldiers’ venue. The food and liquor served there was also of greater quality, and much more care had been put into the presentation of the dishes.
And there were many demon generals, demon captains, and unexpectedly, a group of gal demons, all of them focused on a certain point, instead of celebrating freely.
There was a so-called higher seat with a simple stage built beside it. At the top of the stage, there was a blonde pig-tailed girl standing there.
“—Well then, although I might be lacking, this first apostle of Leonhart-sama, the perfect apostle of the Demon Realm, Carol, will take the toast instead of Leonhart-sama!”
Carol spoke, while holding a strangely over-ceremonial pose, and there was a subdued applause in response. The audience seemed slightly uncomfortable, but it wasn’t because they weren’t sure how to react to Carol’s pose. Rather, there was a certain existence sitting up there that everyone was very conscious of. Carol continued to talk as she received the gaze of that special existence.
“Thank you very much! Well then, next up, the reason why this banquet is held was—“
The voice was heard from the higher seat. The speaker did not raise his voice, but spoke in a calm tone, yet it managed to reach the ears of everyone in the venue.
And of course, Carol immediately responded to the owner of the voice.
“What is it, Leonhart-sama!”
“…You don’t have to go through such greetings. Let’s just proceed with the toast.”
“Certainly! Well then, everyone! Are your glasses ready? Even if you don’t, I’ll still proceed since Leonhart-sama already gave his words! Cheers!!”
Everyone went ‘EEeehhh?!’ and then hurriedly raised their glasses or mugs up in a hurry and knocked them against each other.
As the astonished Leonhart watched the chaotic scene already created by his apostle even before the official start of the party, he closed his eyes in tired resignation and raised his glass of champagne.
Along with Leonhart’s sigh, the banquet began.
—It did start, but,
“Well then, Leonhart-sama. We’ll also have the toast —err, is something wrong?”
As soon as the banquet began, Leonhart ignored Carol’s voice and stood up, directly walking towards a certain table.
It was a table with many dishes lined up.
However, unlike the other tables, Leonhart noticed that for some reason, the food on that table alone gradually reduced at a much faster rate, even with the same number of people at the table.
Therefore, he rolled up the tablecloth. Then there was,
“You, what are you doing here…?”
The one who ate those foods was Galtia’s apostle — Launea.
Leonhart and Launea were staring, unmoving at each other.
Leonhart looked at her in disapproval while Launea didn’t seem to think anything of the discovery. Then, someone came in between them:it was Carol.
“Ah, isn’t it Launea-san? It sure is a strange coincidence.”
Launea only acknowledged Carol’s words by turning to face her, but Leonhart was still staring at Launea. He kept an attitude as if trying to interrogate Launea,
“…Launea. What are you eating?”
Launea shook her head, as if to deny she was eating anything. From her innocent expression, Leonhart might have believed her, if not for the half-eaten dishes in her hand and stuffed cheeks that were like that of a chipmunk’s.
“…Then, what is that?”
Obviously, he pointed the half-empty plates out. Then,
“You sure eat it deliciously…”
Launea quickly swallowed the food inside her mouth then proceeded to continue eating the dishes in her hand. Just like Carol said, her way of eating was similar to her master, Galtia. However, after eating few bites,
She threw the half-eaten food to the ground. Then she showed off her now empty hands.
“Oi, don’t leave it there.”
“It seems she wanted to eat something else. Launea-san often leaves the food on the ground before picking something new to eat.”
Leonhart exhaled as he saw Leunea peer up at him with pleading, upturned eyes, as if requesting for more. He finally spoke,
“…Do what you want.”
Somehow, Launea’s expression, which was always expressionless all the time, seemed to shine with joy and gratitude. Then she bowed her head, giving a proper bow befitting of an apostle bowing to a majin. [T/N: proper bow as in ojigi. I use a proper bow in case people don’t get it.]
It seems she was trying to show her thanks. Leonhart gave her a wordless reply through a reassuring gaze which meant don’t worry. Although it was unknown whether his feelings were conveyed, she came out from under the table and went to freely pick at the food.
As Carol watched Laeunea drift from table to table, she gave a questioning look to Leonhart,
“…Err… is it okay?”
“Aah, there’s no problem if it’s Launea. We have plenty of food anyway.”
“……No, that’s… not what I meant…”
Carol seemed to have difficulty conveying what she truly wanted to say. Leonhart had a question mark pop up in his head.
…Is there any problem with my decision?
Did she think it might be dangerous to suddenly include an outsider? Indeed, it might not be good if they spontaneously included outsiders in a banquet that was supposedly exclusive to his army. However, it wasn’t good to just chase her away, either. If Leonhart got angry and scolded Launea, it would set everyone on edge and ruin the merry atmosphere. What’s worse, the fan club members weren’t part of the army, and were already included, so it was too late to insist upon such a rule.
For the sake of today, Carol prepared many foods, so it wasn’t like it would be a problem, as long as Launea was the only attendee from that group. Now if that Galtia was here—
Suddenly, Leonhart felt a mysterious chill run down his spine. Right after that, Carol spoke out, her voice shaking.
“…Leonhart-sama. I think it’ll be faster to understand if you just look behind you…”
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