Messenger — Part 1
Editors: Speedphoenix, Joker
I was situated on the throne, kicked back and relaxed in pretty much the exact same way as usual when my map suddenly popped up out of nowhere. There was a fresh red blinker on it, one that indicated the presence of an intruder. It was our first human-shaped intruder in a long while, and for a moment, I had almost thought that Nell had finally decided to drop by. But alas, that wasn’t the case. Nell was marked as friendly; she would have shown up on the map as a blue dot instead.
By tapping the blinker, I checked the intruder’s stats.
Name: Haloria Laylott
Race: Guardian Devil
Class: Agent of the Demon Realm’s Secret Service
Oh? It looks like he’s a demon. My overall assessment was that the intruder was pretty strong. He was level 54 and his stats were pretty decent. He was about the same strength as the knight chick I met in the capital, Carlotta. Makes sense, given his class. The Demon Realm’s Secret Service sounds pretty important. You’d probably need to be at least kinda strong to actually make it in.
“But why would anyone that’s a part of the secret service be all the way out here?” I muttered to myself as I continued to observe the agent through the feed I was getting from my evil eyes. I could tell that he was a winged demon given that he was literally flying around. He had a hood over his face so I couldn’t actually see it, but I could still tell that he was actively scanning his surroundings. It seemed like he was looking for something. The only things all the way out here are me, my dungeon, and everyone that lives in it. Well, aside from monsters, anyway.
“Hey Leila, do you know anything about the Demon Realm’s Secret Service?” I looked over at the maid, who happened to be working nearby, as I asked a question I figured she’d probably know the answer to.
“The Demon Realm’s Secret Service? I believe that they serve the lord of the demons, the king that rules over demonkind,” she replied. “They’re effectively intelligence operatives. Most of their work is rather questionable and consists of tasks like espionage and plotting conspiracies.”
“Hmmm… alright. Thanks,” I said. Alright, so basically they do exactly what you’d expect. Go figure. I wonder if this guy’s somehow related to the fiend I beat up back in the capital.
“What prompted the question, My Lord?”
“Well, it kinda looks like we’ve got one wandering around the property.”
“Did you perhaps do something to garner their attention?”
“Honestly? Probably, yeah. I can’t really say I don’t have anything in mind,” I said. I did kinda leave that one guy completely armless, after all.
“My Lord, might I suggest attempting to resolve the situation amicably? Attacking the agent may open up the possibility of turning the king’s faction hostile.”
“Yeah, I get it,” I said. “Though, I think it might already be a bit too late for that. We’ll see.”
As I didn’t know much about the intruder or their intentions, I wasn’t planning on running at them guns blazing right off the bat. There was no need to act in such an aggressive manner. Unless I know they’ve got it out for me, of course.
“Sorry Enne, but I’m going to need you to come with me for a bit.”
“Okay.” She quickly got rid of her human form and returned to being just a weapon.
I slung her over my shoulder and got moving after using Farspeak to instruct Rir not to bother the intruder, as he had just so happened to detect him right as I finished getting ready to go.
“Hey.” I called out to Agent Hoodie McHoodface after popping stealth and sneaking behind him. “You looking for someone? You’ve been wandering around for a while now.”
Startled, he immediately spun around and drew the dagger he had at his waist. But he was too late. I had Enne situated right by the side of his neck. “Try anything and I’ll take your head clean off.”
He first reacted to the threat by stiffening up, but soon dropped his weapon and let it fall into the forest below before starting to speak.
“Are you Yuki?” Though the agent had yet to loosen up, she still spoke in a clear unwavering tone. “I’m looking for the demon lord that resolved the problem created in the Kingdom’s capital by one of the fiend faction’s agents.”
Huh. Didn’t think he’d, er, she’d be a chick. Listening to her speak had made me realize something. She had intentionally phrased the statement in a way that implied she wasn’t affiliated with the guy that I had almost turned into a winged nugget.
“I’ll leave that up to your imagination,” I said. “So, what would you do if I turned out to be the guy you’re looking for?”
“Talk,” she said. “I would try to initiate a dialogue. We share a common foe, so I thought we might be able to help each other.”
Hmmm… it doesn’t seem like she’s lying. The map displayed her as an enemy, mainly because that was just how it displayed all trespassers. I had to go ahead and manually mark people I considered friendly. But while the dungeon’s UI told me that I should probably consider her hostile, Enemy Detection claimed the exact opposite. The skill wasn’t reacting. It wasn’t telling me that she wanted to kill or harm me. Moreover, the demon only seemed to be as on guard as anyone meeting someone new would be, which was to say she wasn’t all that on guard at all.
There were still a few things I wasn’t all that sure about, but whatever the case, it didn’t seem like she’d be jumping at me the moment she was no longer at risk of losing her head, so I pulled Enne away from her neck and hoisted the blade back over my shoulder.
“And what exactly would this Yuki person stand to gain from talking to you?”
“We’re offering two things,” she said. “The first is information. We’ll provide intel regarding his enemy’s plans. The second is an alliance with a group he shares an enemy with.”
“Hmmm….” I narrowed my eyes as I contemplated her proposition. “I guess that makes you one of the king’s messengers or something, doesn’t it?”
“I guess you really must be the demon lord himself if you were able to figure that out.” The demon hadn’t realized that I had analyzed her and seen her class, so her eyes ended up widening in surprise as I pinpointed her role. “I hadn’t believed them when I was told that you weren’t obsessed with flaunting your power like all the other demon lords, but it seems like it really is true after all.”
“I haven’t exactly met any other demon lords, so I’m not really sure what you mean, but whatever. I’ll hear you out. Follow me.” I used my jaw to point in the direction of the cave before spinning around and flying off. Heh. I’ve always wanted to do that.
Upon glancing behind me, I found that the hooded lady hadn’t hesitated in agreeing to change locations; she had obediently followed right behind me.
I brought Hoodgirl to the ryokan, the Japanese styled, hot spring hotel situated in the plains. We ended up finding ourselves in the exact same room I’d shown the hero to when she first stopped by.
“Well, we’re here.” I grabbed a pair of cushions from the corner of the room, sat on one, and set the other in front of me. “Here, sit on one of these.”
“I-I can’t believe it…” Agent McHoodface muttered with a dumbfounded look on her face as she obeyed and positioned herself on the cushion. “I can’t believe that there was both a massive field and an entire castle inside of a cave…”
My guest had started to underestimate me when I first showed her to the cave, but her expression had changed to one of shock the moment I opened the door that led to the grasslands. She had been left completely and utterly flabbergasted by the scene before her eyes.
As much as I enjoyed the reaction, I couldn’t help but feel that it was inappropriate. She was supposed to be a member of the secret service, a master spy that could work behind the scenes in order to carry out her country’s will. And yet, here she was wearing her feelings on her sleeve. Of course, I was only able to see her expression because she had removed the hood that had been obscuring most of her face. I had already figured as much after hearing her voice, but she was much younger than her occupation might have otherwise suggested. She was at that odd age where she was almost but not quite yet an adult. Her face, which for the most part appeared fully matured, still seemed to carry a slight hint of a childish innocence.
Her looks didn’t differ much from the typical demonic archetype I had in mind. A pair of small horns decorated her head. And though I hadn’t noticed it earlier, a thin tail peeked out from the underside of her cloak.
The door clattered open right as the girl took a seat. The only other demon girl I knew entered with a tray in hand and two cups situated on top of it.
“I’ve brought the two of you some tea, My Lord,” she said.
“Thanks, Leila.” Though I responded in the usual tone, I was actually really impressed by the maid’s work. The only thing I’d told her was that I going to go greet our uninvited guest and that there was a chance I would bring said guest to the ryokan if they happened to want to come along. And yet, she had managed to bring us fresh tea the moment we sat down. Like, wow. That timing though. If I had a scouter that measured maid power levels, it’d probably tell me that Leila’s got something in the realm of 530k. And hell, this isn’t even her final form. If she got serious, she’d probably overload the scouter and blow it up.
After contemplating a series of random thoughts, I turned back towards the person I was sitting across to find that she too was looking at the maid.
“Did you just say… Leila?” The expression on the agent’s face was one that demonstrated a sense of astonishment. “Do you mean THE Leila? The one they call the Incarnation of Philomathy!?”