Chapter 24 is here, I hope you’ll enjoy it!
As her neck started to turn red, Cornelia ran away without looking back.
The sound of her footsteps was enchanting to Kurats’ ears.
While Cornelia’s smell drifted in in the air, it took a few seconds for Kurats to become conscious of the feeling that still remained on his lips.
【”..I did it!”】
『You didn’t do anything you moronic virgin! No matter how you look at it, this was your chance to give her a push.』
【”Oh, you’re back already?”】
Hearing the familiar sound of Bernst’s voice, Kurats shrugged his shoulders.
【”―― You want to fight again?”】
『No, something was wrong with me. But either way, I don’t recall ever being this humiliated in the past thousand years.』
Even though Bernst was close to godhood, even he could not bear with the terrible feeling of having one’s black history exposed.
【”You’re not thinking of touching my sister again, are you?”】
『Be at ease. I’m already accustomed to that feeling, I will not lose control over it again.』
Indeed, Bernst was finally becoming slightly accustomed to those uncontrollable emotions.
In a very distant past, when he was still a normal human, even he was overflowing with a vast variety of emotions that he could enjoy.
But now that he had parted with his normal life, he could not resist those feelings that he loved.
He did not believe that the days he had spent continuously fighting and seeking nothing but power and strength were a mistake.
However, Bernst was finally becoming aware of all the precious things he had discarded for his goals.
Hence why it was not possible for him to part with the last enjoyment of his conscious life here.
And completely taking over Kurats’ body at this point would have put an end to Bernst’s game.
『Not yet. I want to relish this excitement that makes my soul tremble. I don’t want to end it all so soon. This is like a drug.』
Once again, Bernst was feeling the same ambitions from back when he was a human and was looking forward to the future. Although that sentiment was borrowed from Kurats, it had still come back to him.
Kurats’ life was just beginning, and it was fated to be full of ups and downs and excitement.
(No, even if it’s not fated to be like so, I’ll force it to be.) Chuckled Bernst to himself.
The Isengard territory was located about 100 kilometers (62 miles) at the northeast of the royal capital.
Its position as a checkpoint between the capital and the northern highway allowed the territory to grow as an inn town and to develop itself economically, but it was still a rural town that did not have much to show for itself.
Moreover, its economy was not doing great either.
One look at the tired faces of the common people walking in the town was enough to tell that they were barely getting by every day.
【”Give me some ale.”】
After flipping two copper coins with his finger, Kurats’ sat down at a bar’s counter.
Shocked from seeing someone of Kurats’ size, which was rare in this kind of rural area, the bar owner spoke with a shaky voice.
【”Gentleman… Where are you from?”】
【”Oh, I’m from the royal capital. I have something to do at the swamp in the north.”】
The bar owner frowned, like he had heard something very bad.
He placed a slightly lukewarm ale in front of Kurats, and the spoke to him while concealing his voice.
【”I don’t want to offend you or anything, but you should give that up. It’s a place where even the dead can’t pass on, and it’s infested by monsters. However, that’s not all, lately there have been rumors that some strange soldier has been wandering around that area.”】
【”Oho… Don’t you think that it could be a solider sent by the feudal lord to hunt the monsters?”】
【”If we had such an admirable lord, the town would not be going through so many hardships!”】
Seeing the expression of pure hatred on the man’s face, Kurats reflexively showed a bitter smile.
Apparently, the princess’ criticism of Dross was justified. He did not seem like the type of feudal lord that was kind to his own territory’s people.
【”Then, who’s that soldier wandering around the swamp? It’s pretty odd for a soldier other than the ones under the feudal lord to be inside the territory, isn’t it?”】
【”I can’t speak out loud…”】
The man examined the surroundings to see if anyone else could hear him, he did not want to stand out.
The only person at the counter was Kurats.
There were a few customers seating at the bar’s tables, but they were just friends drinking together and talking to each other with cheerful voices, and their attention was not directed towards the counter.
【”It’s my treat.”】
Kurats once again took out two copper coins, and the bar owner refilled the beer mug on the counter before drinking it in one gulp.
【”Five or maybe six years ago… The feudal lord brought with him a suspicious mage.”】
Having seemingly made up his him, the man started talking.
【”There was something very eerie about that mage. He was always wandering around near that swamp. It was pretty odd, why had the feudal lord taken such an eccentric under him?”】
He had strange eyes that made it difficult to tell where he was looking, he also had a bald head and he was nothing but skin and bones.
Had he not been a mage serving the feudal lord, such a suspicious looking man would have been kicked out of the territory.
【”Shortly after that, a child who had been playing near the swamp contracted a fever of unknown cause. Poor kid was burned alive.”】
Kurats noticed that the bar owner’s black eyes were shaking with anger.
【”After that, every year, there would be a few people who’d die from a fever, although it wasn’t very frequent. The town’s elders said that back in the day, that did used to happen more or less once every ten years, but it was the first time that was happening on a yearly basis.”】
【”―― And that started happening after that guy started wandering around the swamp?”】
【”Yeah, well, although he did seem shady, that was not enough to make me suspicious of him. But around two years ago, something else happened. This time, people went missing.”】
Kurats saw the bar owner’s eyes shake with anger.
【”Did you know them?”】
【”Yeah, they were my sister, who was much younger than me, and the one she loved. Some said that they eloped, but there is no way that’s true. There is nothing she looked forward to more than showing her wedding dress to out parents…”】
With a gloomy expression, the bar owner poured himself another cup of ale and gulped it down.
Although Kurats was about to pull out more copper coins, the man stopped him with a hand sign.
【”After all that, the town completely lost its spirit. Now, the children have to return home while it’s still bright outside, and the parents can’t let them play by themselves. Even so, every year, there are people who go missing…”】
If people were going missing because of a human’s actions, then it was not going to stop.
(How helpless must he feel after losing his real younger sister? If Cornelia ever goes missing like that, I’ll probably go completely insane) Thought Kurats.
【”Why do you think it was that shady mage’s doing?”】
There was no doubt that the bar owner knew something.
That was the only explanation to the hatred that was oozing out of him.
After lowering the volume of his voice even further, the bar owner continued to speak.
【”I heard about it from a guy that participated in a vigilance committee that was in charge of taking of the disappearances. He said that he saw the mage use some strange techniques to carry some people who went missing afterwards.”】
【”―― Did you tell anyone else about this?”】
The bar owner shook his head.
【”The one who said this to me went to personally tell the feudal lord about the situation, and he disappeared ever since. If I were to tell other people about this, I would be killed for sure.”】
The bar owner actually also knew a few other people who had died or gone missing after poking their nose into this situation.
【”But you are from the royal capital. So, maybe you’d be willing to help us tell this story to the government officials of the royal capital? There is nothing us locals can do at this point.”】
Since the feudal lord himself was the enemy, there was nothing that the population could do other than rising against him.
However, since there weren’t that many disappearances, there was no one who was willing to give up his life in order to start a rebellion.
Relying on an outsider like Kurats was the bar owner’s only method and hope.
With a light nod to the bar owner, Kurats made an invisible magic tentacle that stretched itself out from his position.
A strange inhuman shriek came from the shadow of a big barrel that was put at the right corner of the bar.
【”Hmm? What did you say?”】
Kurats ordered another cup of ale with a light smile on his face.
(You think he heard us?)
『Probably so. It can’t be helped, you’ll have to hurry.』
The enemy had gone as far as to set up an information gathering familiar in a bar like this one, he seemed to be very cautious.
(….Looks like I bet on the right horse.)
The more evil a villain was, the better it would feel to expose him and trample him down.
Perhaps because Kurats was Bernst’s alter ego, they both shared the opinion in that regard.
◆ ◆ ◆
【”―― My familiar was destroyed?”】
Oliveira stood up in surprise when the mana circuit that connected him to one of his familiars was severed.
Having become obsessed with studying monsters and the ways of using them, he was making use of a dozen monsters for information gathering on an usual basis.
Among them there was one that was particularly excellent, it was a shadow monster that had the ability to conceal itself in the shadows. It was also intelligent enough to understand humans, and it had a special skill that allowed it to paralyze a person from the shadows.
In a remote region like this one, there were very few people who could notice the monster’s presence.
Needless say that the number of people who could kill the monster was even smaller, and as far as Oliveira knew, there were only three or four such people on the whole territory.
【”Studying this land is pretty good, but…”】
Oliveira was convinced that the assassination attempt on the princess had been investigated far enough to connect it to this land.
The fact that his splendid familiar had died without offering any resistance was proof enough.
The royal family had likely sent a very skilled individual.
However, that did not matter to Oliveira.
He had no intention to stick to the Isengard territory just because he had happened to find interesting monsters here.
If there was any real danger, all he had to do was to move his research base elsewhere.
Up to now, Oliveira had always been like a migratory bird, looking for an aristocrat that was easy to handle and going under his patronage.
【”But of course, before that, someone’s going to have to pay for killing my cute familiar. “】
Oliveira laughed in a high pitched tone of voice.
Before leaving far away from here, he had to make the person who killed his precious monster pay.
(While I’m at it, I guess I should try some experiments on him.)
The people in this area were hopelessly normal. They broke too easily, and they died so fast that Oilveira couldn’t conduct any sort of decent experiment on them.
(What kind of monster should I use?) He wondered. (Should I use the mind parasite?)
Oliveira had also recently found a bloodsucking-type monster that could generate an absurd amount of pain by using the target’s own blood, and he was thinking of experimenting with it.
【”Hehehehehe! This is going to be fun!”】
This had come at just the right time since he had run out of people to experiment on.
Oliveira kept on laughing like he had gone insane.
【”Heheheh! I’ll teach him that his spells are just parlor tricks compared to the familiars of a monster master like me!”】
Oliveira looked at en empty space and visualized his enemy that he had yet to see, as his eyes lit up with a dark glee.
If you’d like to read Chapter 25, 26 and 27 right ahead, please do consider supporting the translations on my Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/defiring