──In the town of Nosa, in the mayor’s residence──

 

 

 

 

 

“──For the aforementioned reasons, I command you to change the venue of the military exercises.
I will not allow the people’s movement to be obstructed by magic.
If you intend on training, choose another place, Isaac Mueller.”

 

In the hall of the mayor’s mansion, Princess Sophia and Commander Isaac were facing each other.

Isaac had just returned from the rocky mountains to the east.

As if she were waiting for him, Sophia summoned Isaac to the hall.

 

Sophia and Isaac were in the room while a messenger from the Demon Territory was waiting outside.

On the table were letters exchanged with the Demon Territory.

Sophia picked one up,

 

“The letter from the Demon Territory also objects to this matter.
“The Empire has invited us to attend and witness the military exercises, but the Demon Territory is not in favor of any action that would endanger the people.””

 

Sophia read aloud the contents of the parchment and turned towards Isaac.

 

“I am aware that you have your own reasoning as the one in charge of soldiers.
However, for the sake of the people residing near the border, I ask that you reconsider the venue of the exercises.”

“Your Highness.”

“Yes?”

“May I ask why your health has suddenly improved?”

“It is because I came to this land, which has given me a purpose and duties to perform.”

 

Princess Sophia stared straight at Isaac.

 

“My body must have recovered temporarily to fulfill that role.”

“To fulfill a role?”

“The people of the town seemed anxious, fearing that relations with the Demon Territory would deteriorate, and the Demon Territory has also requested a meeting with us.
I believe it is my role to listen to the voices of the people and neighboring countries and to serve as a conduit between them.
For this reason, I believe that my body, which is termed ‘useless’ in the language of the heroes, has recovered slightly.”

“’Useless’……”

“There is no need to decorate your words, Issac Mueller.”

 

Princess Sophia smiled softly.

 

“Despite that, regardless of however ‘useless’ I may be, I am still a princess.
Then, it is only natural that I would seek to support my country and my people in any way I can, is it not?”

“Your Highness.”

“I wish to hold a meeting with Demon Lord Rukie Evergard.
For this purpose, I have taken the liberty of exchanging letters with her.
I have already spoken with the other party.”

 

Sophia stared at Isaac straight in his eyes and told him.

 

“I would like to request your cooperation regarding this matter, Isaac Mueller.”

“And if I don’t?”

“I will take along only those soldiers who agree with me to the meeting.”

 

Princess Sophia said.

The soldiers guarding the entrance to the hall shouted in admiration.

Hearing this, Isaac sighed.

 

Princess Sophia did not hold authority over the soldiers.

However, more than a few soldiers were impressed by her courage.

If he tried to stop Sophia by force, the soldiers who supported her might turn against Isaac.

When he already had a rival called Mariella, he wanted to avoid that.

Princess Sophia was likely asking him to cooperate with her while understanding this mentality of his.

 

“I don’t mind cooperating with Your Highness, but I would like to ask a favour of you.”

 

After a dozen seconds of silence, Isaac Mueller replied.

 

“I will do anything in my power.”

 

Sophia nodded without hesitation.

Isaac continued,

 

“There is a forest on the northeastern side of the rocky mountains east of Nosa.
Is Your Highness aware that there is a dormant monster inhabiting the forest?”

“My sister Liana informed me of it.
Originally, they were intending on defeating the beast after Gargarossa.”

“According to the townspeople, it is not a very powerful monster.
It has remained dormant for several years, and since it never emerged, they left it unattended.
We have received a request from the Demon Territory to investigate.”

“I am aware.
I am also aware that the Empire refused the request.”

“It’s a monster with resistance to the dark attribute.
The Demon Territory must find it troublesome to deal with.”

 

Having said that much, Isaac bowed his head.

 

“We would like Your Highness Sophia to cooperate with us in defeating and punishing the monster.”

“I agree.”

“…..
Your Highness.”

“If it possesses resistance to the dark attribute, then my light attribute attack magic may be effective.
Since it was originally a monster that Liana should have defeated, it is natural for me, her sister, to eliminate it.”

 

Sophia nodded and placed her hand on her chest, slightly creasing her dress.

 

“However, if you plan on eliminating it, please do so at the earliest opportunity.
I am fortunate to have recovered, but I do not know how long I will remain as such.
After the meeting with the Demon Lord, we should move immediately, Isaac Mueller.”

“Your Highness… are you serious?”

“You want to defeat the monster for the good of your people, do you not?”

“Of course.
I also have some ambitions, but…”

“If it is for the good of the people, then so be it.
I am relocating the military exercises for the sake of the people.
How can I refuse to eliminate this monster for their sake?”

 

Sophia’s hands were trembling slightly.

She was scared.
Of course, she was.

The princess, who could not even leave her room until a few days ago, was asked to assist in eliminating this monster.

 

Even so, Sophia accepted Isaac’s request.

As a result, the soldiers showered her with praise, impressed by her courage.

Hearing their voices, Isaac sighed, as though he had given up.

 

“I understand.
I will cooperate with Your Highness in meeting with the Demon Lord.”

“Are you certain, Isaac Mueller?”

“I am a loyal subject of His Majesty the Emperor.
My loyalty to His Majesty is far more important than my position as commander of a unit.
I cannot disobey the orders of Your Imperial Highness.”

“….
I understand what you mean to convey.”

 

Sophia maintained a serious expression and nodded.

 

“This is selfish of me.
I am asserting my power as the emperor’s daughter to force my decision on you.
However, I have no choice but to do so.”

“I understand, Your Highness.”

 

Isaac stood up before proceeding to kneel on the floor.

 

“This Isaac Mueller, as a subject of His Majesty the Emperor, will do as Your Highness commands.”

“I am relying on you.”

 

Sophia then lowered her voice so that the other soldiers could not hear her.

 

“My failures are my own, but my accomplishments are yours”.

“… Your Highness shouldn’t state that so brazenly.”

 

Isaac sighed again.

 

“Anyway, I will obey Your Highness while I am here.
I will cooperate with Your Highness to ensure that the meeting between Your Highness and the Demon Lord proceeds favourably.

“Thank you, Isaac Mueller.”

 

Sophia formally bowed as befitting of her status, and then:

 

“On another note, what happened to Mariella? I have a favour to ask of her as well.”

“She has not yet returned.
But, Your Highness…”

“I know that she is Zagran’s confidant.
I will speak to her with caution…”

 

With a gentle smile, Princess Sophia said.

 

“However, I am grateful for your advice.”

“…..
As soon as Mariella returns, I will inform her that Your Highness is awaiting her.”

 

Bowing deeply, Isaac answered.

Then, he scratched his head as if troubled.

 

‘I thought she was just a sickly princess, but she’s a difficult nut to crack.
No, maybe this is what a hero is like……’

 

Thinking so in his mind, he gazed towards Princess Sophia.

 

‘The problem is the meeting with the Demon Lord.
At the meeting, the guards are required to carry only a single weapon with them, but…… I don’t care.
I’ll take as many weapons as I can conceal, including my sword and dagger…….
The little officer can’t die until he becomes Minister of Military affairs.’

 

Princess Sophia quietly examined the letter from the Demon Territory.

Her expression seemed calm, but Isaac noticed that her hand was trembling slightly.

 

‘We should also bring cavalry to the meeting to intimidate and oppress the Demon Territory.
Seeing the heavily armed cavalry, the Demon Territory should be disinclined to harm Her Highness.
Her Highness is really troubling us greatly.
This small officer wants to be a hero, not someone supporting a hero……’

 

“What’s wrong, Isaac Mueller?”

“Nothing.
I have some preparations to make.
If you would excuse me.”

 

Isaac averted his gaze from Princess Sophia and left the room, as if to hide his inner feelings.

 

Thus, Isaac Mueller promised to cooperate with Princess Sophia…

The unit led by Isaac began preparing for the meeting.

 

 

 

 

──At the same time, at the residence of General Reisenga──

 

 

 

 

“It appears that the terms of the meeting have been settled.”

 

Demon Lord Rukie said after inspecting the letter from Princess Sophia.

She was presently in the hall of General Reisenga’s mansion.

Demon Lord Rukie, Prime Minister Kelve, and General Raisenga were holding a final counsel before the meeting was to take place tomorrow.

 

“The location of the meeting is near the forest, which is also the border.
At the meeting place, the princess and I will each take two guards.
Thor, a citizen of the Empire, and a guest of the Demon Lord will be present.”

“Entrust Your Majesty’s safety to this Kelve.”

“This Reisegna is also willing to risk his life to protect Your Majesty.”

 

Prime Minister Kelve and General Raisenga bowed deeply.

Then, looking at the letter, Kelve said:

 

“According to this, the guards are to carry only a single weapon.
However, a large sword or a mallet may intimidate and overpower them.
For this reason, General Reisenga will carry only a longsword.”

“I understand, but do you believe the Empire will remain true to their word?

 

General Reisenga nodded his head.

 

“I consider Princess Sophia to be trustworthy.”

 

Rukie, while still wearing her mask, looked at Reisenga and Kelve and nodded.

 

“The pixies have also affirmed it.
There is no need to be worried.”

“I, as your escort, am concerned for Your Majesty’s safety.
Besides, Your Majesty is going to attend unarmed.”

“I understand that, but I still cannot take any weapons with me.”

 

Rukie nodded.

 

“Therefore…… we shall take Thor’s [Ultra-Small Simple Warehouse] with us, just in case.”

“…… Ah.”

 

Kelve and Reienga were greatly impressed.

 

The condition stated that each of the escorts carry only a single weapon.

However, there were no restrictions placed on carrying a storage item.

 

“There was a saying that said, ‘When you see a hero, expect to see a hundred items.””

 

Chancellor Kelve sighed.

 

“Don’t let the empty-handed appearance of a hero fool you… I didn’t think we would ever use a storage item, though.
What is…… this guilt?”

“It is simply a precaution.
You won’t find a chance to use it.”

“I, too, would prefer that.”

 

At Rukie’s words, Kelve and Reisenga nodded.

The three then examined the letter again.

 

“Next, we will discuss defense against magic.”

“During the meeting, this Kelve will be ready with an [Anti-Magic Barrier].”

“The problem is that if the princess casts her light magic, it will be powerful enough to destroy it.”

“I do not believe Princess Sophia would do such a thing.”

 

Rukie looked at both of them and then said,

 

“However, I understand Kelve and Reisenga’s concern.
We will take a [UV-Cut Parasol] with us as a precaution.”

“”…………””

 

Again, Kelve and Reisenga were silent.

The [UV-Cut Parasol] reduced 90 percent of the power of light-attribute attack magic.

If Kelve’s [Anti-Magic Barrier] was combined with it, it would completely protect them.

 

“As one would expect from any of Thor-dono’s items!”

“…… My worries are becoming completely meaningless.
What is he?”

“Don’t say that, Kelve.
I still have concerns.”

“Excuse me?”

“It’s about where to station the soldiers during the meeting.”

 

Rukie pointed to the map.

The location of the meeting place was marked on the plain in front of the forest, and horizontal lines were drawn at a distance from there.

There was one line to the north of the meeting place and one to the south.

 

“This is where the soldiers of the Demon Territory and the Empire will be stationed.”

 

Rukie said while pointing at the map.

 

“We are allowed to bring our own soldiers in addition to our escorts.”

“It is so that they can rescue people if the other party attacks.
I think it is a natural step to take.”

“However, it seems we are meant to wait a distance from each other so that neither side’s soldiers can attack the other.”

“Indeed, the soldiers’ standby positions are far from the meeting.”

“I suppose it is to ensure that magic and arrows won’t reach it.”

 

The soldiers’ waiting area was situated more than a hundred meters away from the meeting place.

They were far out of range of arrows and magic.

 

This was to avoid conflict between soldiers.

Some of the soldiers – especially the Imperial soldiers – might plan to fire magic at the opposing party and ruin the meeting.

The distance between the meeting place and the soldiers was probably maintained to avoid such a situation.

 

“The problem is the range of the magic.”

“Does the Empire command powerful magic users?”

“It’s the other way around.
Thor-dono’s [Laser Pointer] has increased the range of our magic several times over.”

“………… Ah.”

 

This time, Chancellor Kelve was absolutely mortified.

Next to him, Rukie and Reisenga continued their conversation.

 

“The Empire is aware that our magic boasts a long range.
So they are maintaining a distance between us and the soldiers, but…… it is still at a distance where our magic is able to reach the Imperial soldiers.”

“But, Your Majesty, I thought the [Laser Pointer] could not be used against human beings.”

“You can’t aim at them directly.
However, you are able to shoot flames at the ground in front of them.
It can also freeze the horses of cavalry.
It is a great deterrent.”

“I see!”

“To be fair, we should provide the Empire with more information about the laser pointer, but Princess Sophia aside, we don’t want the Empire to know about our power.”

“To escape the laser pointer’s range in the first place, the other party would need to be a far distance away.”

“If the soldiers are stationed that far out, Princess Sophia would be worried.”

“It’s a distance where one’s voice may not be heard.”

“Umu.
So we have no choice but to keep the range of the laser pointer a secret…….
I wonder if that is the right approach when taking Princess Sophia into consideration, who has been so courageous in wanting to meet with us…….
Oh well.
The table is shaking strangely.
Kelve, why are you planting your head on the table?”

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to, Your Majesty.”

 

Chancellor Kelve looked up, holding his forehead.

 

“It was just so unexpected that I lost myself a little.”

“Unexpected?”

“I didn’t think we would be in a situation where we would have an advantage over the Empire.
We have a [Simple Warehouse], which allows us to store items at will, and a [UV-Cut Parasol] that reduces the power of light magic.
Besides, our magic is able to reach our opponents unilaterally… It’s as though we have become the heroes.”

“…… Indeed.”

“It is all on account of the items made by Thor-dono, but what does he want from our Demon Territory?”

“Thor-dono believes in us, and he is testing us.”

 

Reisenga announced with a serious expression on his face.

 

“We have gained powers close to those of the heroes, but we should not flaunt our power or think ourselves superior to other races like the heroes did.
Thor-dono believes us to be such people, and that is why he entrusted us with the items.”

“…… General?”

“Thor-dono always observes how we use our power.
In order to live up to his trust, we must ‘learn from the humans.’ This meeting with the Imperial princess will be an excellent opportunity to do so.”

“……T-that’s one way to think about it.”

“What’s so funny? Kelve-dono.”

“I almost thought that Thor-dono simply did things impulsively.”

“What nonsense.
Ha-ha-ha.”

“I misjudged Thor-dono’s capabilities…”

“To look like an alchemist that did things on the spur of a moment, that must be a plan Thor-dono has devised.
A man of great capacity conceals his true self!”

 

Reisenga laughed, and Kelve sported a complicated expression on his face.

Rukie thought as she looked at the two of them,

 

‘Perhaps Raisenga’s words are truer than one might think.’

 

 

‘It was true that Thor appeared to be an amazing alchemist whose hobby was to create items from the world of heroes.’

‘However, he also held deep enmity towards the Empire that only valued strength and deep sympathy for those who have been trampled by the Empire.’

‘That was probably why he allowed Princess Sophia to use the [Footbath].’

‘Because she believed in Thor, he allowed me to contact Princess Sophia through the pixies.’

‘Otherwise, he would not have gone to the trouble of healing the princess of the Empire.’

 

‘If the princess were to become drunk on power, Thor would withdraw his hand.’

‘And…… I must not be careless either.’

 

‘I don’t want to disappoint him by abusing his items.’

‘I don’t want to lose his kind smile.’

Thinking of this, Demon Lord Rukie braced herself.

 

“Anyway, it seems there will be no problem regarding safety at the meeting.”

 

Rukie said.

 

“I believe that Sophia is a trustworthy person, and I believe that she was speaking the truth when she told the pixies that she desired peace.
That is why she sent this reply to my letter.”

“I think that’s good enough for Princess Sophia, but we don’t know who is around her.”

“I am aware of that, but I don’t want this meeting to be unpleasant.
Please understand, Kelve.”

 

What Rukie desired was peace in the border region.

Then, like Thor, she would speak with people who understood her.

If Princess Sophia is such a person, the relationship between the Demon Territory and the empire would change.

Besides, they were just beginning to develop the silver mine.
There was nothing to be said for improving relations with the Empire and promoting trade.

It was Rukie’s role to enrich the Demon Territory in this way.

 

“There is also the matter of the investigation of the monster that I had requested of the Empire.
If Princess Sophia becomes our ally, we can jointly investigate the border areas.”

“Your Majesty, you’re wary of a new species of monsters, aren’t you?”

“The Gargarossa we fought earlier was a monster I have never seen before.
A new kind of monster has not appeared in decades.
There is no guarantee that similar ones do not live in the border area.
If possible, I would like to cooperate with the Empire to investigate.
In any case.
It depends on the outcome of my meeting with Princess Sophia…….”

 

Chancellor Kelve nodded.

And so Demon Lord Rukie and the others decided on a plan for tomorrow.

 

Kelve and Reisenga would be in charge of the escort.

The selection of the soldiers who would protect the three from behind had also been completed.

They also decided what they wanted to tell Princess Sophia during the meeting.

Finally…

 

“Your Majesty, I have a proposal regarding Thor-dono.”

 

Chancellor Kelve said.

 

“I think that before Thor-dono arrives at the meeting, we should announce that he is engaged to Mabel.”

“What?”

“Kelve.
What are you suggesting out of the blue?”

“It is for Thor-dono’s protection.”

 

Chancellor Kelve began to explain.

 

 

─The Imperial side knows that Thor is an alchemist.

─They suspect Thor’s involvement with the mysterious item possessed by the Demon Territory.

─Although Thor himself has abandoned his family name, he is still an Imperial citizen.

─Therefore, there is a possibility that the Empire will attempt to persuade Thor to return to the Empire by some means.

 

 

“However, if he is engaged to someone from the Demon Territory, the Empire will be hesitant to take him back.
If they force him to return to the empire, they will incur the resentment of both himself and the people of the Demon Territory.
Therefore, only during this meeting, temporarily… That’s right, temporarily! General, please extinguish the fire on your head!”

“Why Mabel? Kelve, if it is temporary, Agnis will do! What do you have against my daughter! Aaan!”

“Only because it is a temporary matter! You will deliberately draw special attention to it if he becomes engaged to Agnis!”

“Of course.”

“Not only will the men of your house boast about it, but everyone in your territory will boast about it!”

“Of course!!”

“That’s why! It’s going to be very troublesome if we want to retract it later!”

“Mu, mu.”

“Since this is temporary, we don’t want someone possessing high status…?”

 

Chancellor Kelve’s eyes turned towards Rukie.

Rukie realized that the words before were directed at her as well.

 

“Kelve’s proposal makes sense.
It is also to protect Thor, so it is unavoidable.”

 

After a moment, Demon Lord Rukie nodded.

 

“I agree.
Mabel shall be Thor’s fiancée until the meeting with Princess Sophia is over.”

 

Rukie understood Kelve’s proposal.

She was the Demon Lord.
She had been educated to lead her people.

Therefore, she understood that Kelve proposed the matter to protect Thor from the Empire.

She also knew that Mabel was the correct choice for a temporary engagement.

 

If the engagement was with herself, Thor would become a figure possessing more importance than he did now.

His statements would have political implications, and there may be those who would seek to blackmail Rukie by kidnapping Thor.

 

If they made Agnis his fiancée, Raisenga would go around informing his subordinates about it.
There would be a large commotion when he later retracts it.

Thor’s position could become worse after the engagement is called off.

 

Therefore, Rukie, as the Demon Lord, was completely convinced by Chancellor Kelve’s proposal.

 

‘But why am I still so bothered by it?’

 

Rukie gave a long sigh.

 

Rukie left the room after telling Kelve and Raisenga that the meeting was over.

She went straight to her room.

 

Kelve told her that he would inform Thor and Mabel of the engagement.

Until then, it would be best if Rukie did not meet with them.

‘It felt like Kelve suspected that I would say something unnecessary.’

 

“… I see.
You would want a [Body Pillow] during times like these.”

 

On that note, she recalled that Thor had mentioned that he had improved the [Body Pillow].

Thinking about what kind of item it would be, Rukie held the hand with which she exchanged magic power with Thor yesterday.

‘Tomorrow I have a meeting with Princess Sophia.’

 

‘I hope she is a reasonable princess and that we can investigate the monsters inhabiting the border area together.’

If the Demon Territory and the border area were peaceful, both Rukie and Thor could live in a relaxed manner.
Rukie wanted to see how the items Thor makes would transform the Demon Territory.

If possible, she wanted to stay by Thor’s side, holding his hand.

Thinking of this, the Demon Lord Rukie Evergard closed her eyes.

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