༺ Malevolent Star ༻
I saw a blonde woman in shabby clothes locked behind iron bars.
As I approached, the blonde woman seemed to have sensed my presence and opened her eyes, all the while struggling in the darkness.
The moment she woke up, I recognized who she was.
She was Daisy, a staff member at the Red Bear Inn.
Daisy’s eyes desperately adapted to the darkness as she looked at me.
Struggling to sit up, she spoke in a feeble tone.
“That voice… Eon? Is it really Eon?”
With a trembling, tearful voice, Daisy said, as if terrified.
“Ah, I thought no one would know I was here… Did you come to save me? I was kidnapped by a stranger, brought to this place, and I was really, really scared.”
Daisy held the iron bars with her trembling, thin hands.
“Can you help me get out of here? Eon… I need Eon’s help…”
I silently stared at the tearful Daisy.
“Why aren’t you saying anything? Didn’t you come to save me? Please, I don’t want to be in this horrible place anymore. Get me out of here. Please, I’m begging you…”
Her voice was filled with fear for the unknown situation and a desperate longing for rescue.
However, I didn’t move.
I just kept my eyes on her and asked a simple question.
“Why did you just watch?”
Daisy’s eyes widened.
With a confused expression, as if she couldn’t understand the intent of my question, she said,
“Eon, what do you mean…? Are you asking why I didn’t help the kidnapped people? You can see, I couldn’t get out of here either. Why are you asking such a question? Are you suspecting me?”
In fact, it was not suspicion but certainty.
The fact that her body was unharmed despite her shabby clothes, that a high-ranking officer of ‘The Empire’s Future’ had led her to the inn, the rumor that ‘The Empire’s Future’ had been active in the 21st District, that the gang who had been running errands for the Imperial Intelligence Agency had visited the Red Bear Inn, the distance between here and the Red Bear Inn, and the testimony about the blonde woman mentioned by Hans.
All these suspicions piled up, and when I met her here, they turned into certainty, but I didn’t bother to mention that.
I just silently stared at Daisy with unwavering eyes.
Realizing that I was serious, Daisy’s green eyes sank.
“Ah… you found out?”
Daisy said so and stood up by herself, quietly placing her hand on the iron gate.
Surprisingly, just by placing her hand on it, the lock was magically undone.
Daisy opened the iron gate and slowly walked out. The fragile woman who had been crying and pleading behind the bars just moments ago had completely disappeared.
In the darkness, Daisy and I locked eyes.
“It’s a shame. If you had taken me with you, I could have gotten closer to you as a victim kidnapped by the terrorist organization.”
Daisy displayed a faint, regretful smile.
I asked her bluntly as I looked at her.
“Weren’t you planning to kill me?”
“Me? Kill you, Eon? Why would I? You have everything our organization needs.”
Daisy spoke without hesitation, as if she were sincere.
“You can enter the academy anytime and make contact with the target without suspicion from anyone. It would be great if we could get information from you, and it would be even better if you could capture the organization.”
“But it seems like it’s already too late for that.”
I smirked as if to show off the sight beside me. There lay the terrible corpses of about twenty members of the ‘Empire’s Future’ organization, brutally strewn about.
Daisy laughed lightly and said,
“I don’t care about disposable trash that can be easily replenished if you just dangle money and power in front of them. If we can achieve our goals, this level of damage is nothing.”
Daisy looked at the corpses of the organization members with a very indifferent gaze. It was as if she was looking at discarded tools rather than colleagues.
Then she looked at me with a more friendly gaze and asked,
“So, how about joining our organization? If it’s you, you’ll be able to rise much higher than you are now compared to staying in the Empire.”
Judging by Daisy’s tone, her position within the organization seemed quite high, much higher than the presumed executive and even close to the patron.
Even more, there was a high possibility that she was the head who was actually leading the ‘Empire’s Future.’
However, my answer was already decided.
At those words, Daisy’s faint smile instantly hardened.
“…I see. It’s really a pity. What’s so special about that elf that you’re risking your life like this? Don’t tell me it’s because she’s your student? You must have only known her for a few days at most, so it’s not much different from a stranger.”
“Do you also hate elves?”
“Why wouldn’t I? Anyone in my position would hate elves. I lost my hometown, my country, and many people.”
When I had dinner with Daisy, I had guessed that she was from the Ionia Kingdom.
And the Ionia Kingdom was destroyed during the last war.
By a single elf commander, known as the ‘Immortal King.’
Refugees from the Ionia Kingdom, now a land of death inhabited only by the undead, would not be able to set foot on their homeland again until the deathly aura and undead that filled the land disappeared.
Of course, that didn’t justify oppressing other races.
“It’s not the fault of all elves.”
“People who don’t know might say that. But do you know this? The ‘Immortal King’ is your student’s older brother.”
My face involuntarily scrunched up at that revelation, and Daisy burst into a delighted laugh.
“That’s right. The ‘Immortal King’ was a high elf from the Liniya Great Forest, and he was even a strong candidate to become the next king. Should I say he’s like an elven prince?”
The delighted smile on Daisy’s face gradually faded, and her eyes were filled with the cold flames of hatred.
“Yet, the elves of the Great Forest not only refused to take responsibility for the destruction of the kingdom but also locked themselves further in the forest and erased all records about their prince. They’re not just bystanders. They’re disgusting collaborators.”
It was an unexpected truth. If this fact became known, the relationship between humans and elves might become irreversibly worse.
But I crossed my arms and said.
“Still, it’s not Titania’s fault.”
Daisy’s response was a bit delayed.
“…The sins committed by elves are not entirely unrelated.”
She ended her sentence with a stiff and hardened expression.
“I wanted to expose this truth somehow, but there wasn’t enough evidence. However, if it comes from a fellow high elf, people will believe it, right? I want to reveal the truth to the world so that no one can hide it anymore. Then my revenge will be fulfilled.”
“Even if you do that, it won’t bring your kingdom back.”
“Since the elves destroyed Ionia, I have to destroy the elves. That’s fair, isn’t it?”
“Gosh, you were such a staunch egalitarian.” I chuckled sarcastically.
Daisy let out a bitter laugh and said,
“…You know, Eon. Why do you think I’m telling you all this story?”
“Well, I don’t know.”
“I want to persuade you somehow. I don’t want to fight with you if possible.”
Daisy looked at me with deep and profound eyes. I also kept my mouth shut, seeing those eyes that didn’t quite fit the situation.
“When you first entered the inn, I saw your eyes. They were filled with sorrow, deeply etched by loss. It was like looking at myself in a mirror. I knew at a glance that we were kindred spirits. If our hearts align, we could be good partners.”
In a tension so thick that it could choke someone, only silence lingered.
Daisy, who was within arm’s reach, took a step closer to me.
She, who strikingly resembled my first love, was looking at me with eyes that seemed to strongly desire something.
It was a familiar scene. It was a continuation of the event I had rejected at the inn once.
So, my answer was no different from then.
I shook my head and said.
“I apologize, but I have to refuse.”
“…You’ll regret that.”
“Maybe. But I’ve decided to live looking forward now.”
Even if two wounded people lick each other’s wounds and find solace, it only keeps them tied to the past.
I decided to live without being tied to the past anymore. So, Daisy’s proposal was not worth considering from the beginning.
“Is that so?”
She sighed briefly as if she expected this result, looked down with sad eyes for a moment, and then looked back up at me.
Her eyes held a deep sense of loss.
“Then I guess you’ll have to die.”
At that moment, my hand shot out like lightning toward Daisy’s throat. But despite the fleeting moment, my hand grasped at thin air, not Daisy’s throat.
I turned my head following the traces of presence, and Daisy was already lightly floating in the air.
“Ahahaha! Did you think I would approach someone like you and ask to be killed without any precautions?”
“I’d hate to be compared to such a trivial magic.”
The dark underground warehouse was gradually brightening. Daisy’s green eyes were glowing, and a massive power was gushing out around her like a waterfall.
I didn’t know much about magic, but I could tell at a glance that this wasn’t normal magic.
“The royal family of Galatea uses the power of dragons, and the royal family of Al-Kamil handles the blessings of the night. So, what power do you think the royal family of Ionia uses?”
The massive power flowing from Daisy’s body swept the air strongly. The warehouse wall that separated underground and ground was torn away as if swept by a typhoon, revealing a night sky full of stars.
“The bloodline of Ionia has been using ancient magic, exceptional in summoning, generation after generation. Spirits, phantoms, even beings from other worlds!”
A massive gray fog filled the night sky.
No, it wasn’t fog. It was an army of evil spirits.
Ghosts, specters, banshees… The number of spirits wandering around Daisy in the air, filling the sky of District 20, was too many to count.
It’s been a very long time since I’ve seen so many evil spirits at once.
I looked at the spectacle indifferently and said,
“So, you were the princess of Ionia.”
“Right! I’m the last remnant of the insignificant bloodline of a vanished kingdom. Do you think you can win against these spirits, which cannot even be touched by ordinary weapons? Surrender now and swear allegiance to me. I’ll spare your life!”
Daisy emphasized the word “swear” when she said it. I don’t know much about the ancient magic of the Ionia royal family, but it probably means that false oaths would not work in front of her.
I silently readied myself, and Daisy let out a bitter smile.
“It’s truly a pity.”
As if her words were a signal, the army of spirits filling the sky rushed at me all at once.
The screams of the spirit army alone would shake an ordinary person’s mind and make them vomit blood. They let out horrifying shrieks and rushed at me like a massive wave.
Certainly, dealing with them using ordinary weapons would be difficult.
I reached into the air and clenched my hand as if gripping a weapon. The item that had been in the void responded to my call and landed in my hand.
It was a long, crimson, thorn-like spear.
I gripped the spear with both hands and swung it towards the Banshee, who was rushing at me while screaming.
Originally, spirits were terrifying entities that could not be harmed by ordinary weapons, even during the past war.
It seemed the Banshee knew this too, as it didn’t bother to avoid my spear swing, rushing straight towards me instead.
Soon, the Banshee’s scream turned into a genuine scream and vanished.
Seeing the Banshee, who had no physical body, split in half and disappear, Daisy widened her eyes in surprise.
However, her focus was more on the spear I was holding than the disappearance of the Banshee.
“A crimson spear? Could it be…?!”
Yes. What I was holding was one of the ten divine weapons found on the continent.
The spear that could cut through the intangible, the ｢Demonic Spear Ajetus｣
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