Yeah, it’s late. Editors have life to contend with like anyone else. While late, it made it out in the end due to the new editor I dragged to the project kicking and screaming as it were. So, here is the first one edited by Elsten-kun.
Lets all wish Editor-chan a swift recovery, 1 week ill is the pits for sure ~~
ED: Torianna, Elsten
The tenth day after our arrival at the capital:
I go to the castle to hear the Queen’s announcement as I promised. I see a group of talented adventurers near the castle’s gate, all of whom came here with the same purpose. Unfortunately, I couldn’t see any S-ranked adventurers. Instead, I saw a lot of A-ranked adventurers.
Some of them have rare skills that I want to take, but I have to endure. Since I don’t hate this world, I don’t want to take another’s ability needlessly.
I take from my enemies alone. However, I still have a policy of taking one point. This is okay because I consider it as a loan from the other party. Of course, I don’t forget to add one extra skill point back to them.
I retrieve the white envelope that I got from Gilbert and hand it to the guard. Since weapons and items with magic are prohibited, I have to leave them at the gate. I think S-ranked adventurers will have expensive magic tools too. They might feel uneasy about leaving them with the guard, so … it’s time to debut a magic item created by the Hero’s Production magic.
Its name is <Safe Box>, and it is a personal storage space that can only be opened with its user’s biometrics. These will be stored by the guards over there after being screened with the magic tool called <Dangerous Material Detection>. By the way, the <Dangerous Material Detection> magic tool is completely the same as the X-ray scanner at the airport. It clearly shows that the hero definitely lacked creativity.
I put the pouch-type item box I borrowed from Sakura in <Safe Box> for now. Well, it doesn’t have any effect because I still have <Inventory>, after all. But hey, I think this is an important act, too. Well, I plan to deceive them… For now.
[I didn’t pass through here the other day, but there are some very familiar objects…]
[Oh, do you mean the <Unmovable Art>? I heard that they’ve been here since this castle was constructed. It seems to be the hero’s work.]
I pass through different passages than the other day, heading towards a nearby waiting room. Gilbert voluntarily guides me personally after I handed his letter to the guard. There isn’t much conversation. I guess the last event is affecting him.
Anyway… <Unmovable Art>? It is a good interpretation. However, he is still an idiot in my eyes…
[But, aren’t they a hindrance?]
[Why do you say that? They are the works of art that the hero created. It would be outrageous to demolish them! There were plans to remove them from a minister in the past, but obviously they were all rejected.]
Ah, a “normal” minister was crushed by the hero’s prestige.
I follow Gilbert to the waiting room with an unbearable feeling inside.
What’s this? There are more than thirty adventurers here in this waiting room, and two among them are S-ranked adventurers.
… <Magic Sword LV8> <Holy Sword LV9>
Title: S-ranked adventurer, Real Dragon Slayer.
Imbues magic into weapons. Can apply magic power onto a sword. Attacks will be treated as both physical and magic damage; if the enemy is immune to one of the damage types, damage will be dealt by the other type.
A sword art that is especially effective against evil and demonic beings. This is the power that only be acquired by a person who has bathed in the blood of a true dragon. Left hand will ache from time to time.
…<Non-element Magic LV9> <Sorcery LV7>
Title: S-ranked adventurer, Head Priest
Magic of a special attribute which is not part of the basic elemental attributes. Was considered to be proof of incompetence in magic, so it was rarely mentioned. Governs spells such as <Invisibility> , <Spirit Bullet> , etc.
Improves all magic’s effects. Earned by carving a cursed seal onto yourself. Left hand will ache from time to time as a result.
Just like I did at the gate, I see a lot of skills here that I don’t have. A lot of them are unique skills too … Oops, there is no reason to take away the skills them from these guys. Control yourself, me.
[No, it is nothing. I just see a lot of very skilled people.]
[As expected, you can judge them with your eyes after all. Only the best have been gathered here.]
That seems to be the case. The people who are gathered here are all highly-ranked adventurers. It seems that the Queen’s Knights did well in their negotiations.
The door opened several times after that, as everyone is gathering here ahead of the scheduled time.
After everyone has arrived, we head to audience room at the appointed time. As the Queen will be asking a big favour from these high-rank adventurers, I doubt that they will feel the need to be as respectful to her as a regular vassal would. A lot of people dislike kneeling after all. Me? I absolutely hate it.
Even so, it is bad not to pay proper respect to the Queen when she has been waiting there. At that time, the Queen should declare [it’s fine to not kneel], for the sake of appearance. It is a complete farce.
We are now gathered here according to schedule. As a question suddenly pops into my mind, I decide to ask Gilbert about it.
[Come to think of it, is it fine for Her Majesty to appear if a fight breaks out between these guys? I mean there is a guard but these adventurers are high rank ones…]
[Oh, about that? Of course, we have countermeasures for it. First, we have 10 royal magicians who have set up a barrier for Her Majesty. In term of strength, they are comparable to A rank adventurers. Furthermore, there is the magic tool “Guardian’s Prestige” which can only be equipped by the royal family. I can’t tell you the details about that, but it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that Her Majesty’s defense is impregnable.]
Gilbert answers while full of confidence. Probably, this subject is something that should be kept secret. Eh? For an attentive ikemen, is he a little careless?
A : You can’t grasp a woman’s heart without that aspect.
Damn it, riajuu explode.
A : Master. Are you not self-aware?
[Even so, Her Majesty won’t be in danger unless all the adventurers, including the S-ranks, becomes an enemy.]
Oh, he said it. It’s the flag that I didn’t want to trigger. In short, he said [It is perfect (but not totally safe)]. I get it.
[Gilbert, don’t say anything unnecessary.]
[I-I’m sorry. Leader Gorudo!]
Gilbert was suddenly reproached by Gorudo who is nearby. He didn’t notice Gorudo at all. I had detected him earlier with Map.
[Although there’s no problem with his ability, his lips are too loose despite his looks, which lowers his evaluation. …Well, it sounds more like praise if I don’t give a proper explanation…]
I think you just combined two different things into one here.
[Yes! I will be careful from now on.]
Gilbert bows so hard he make a sound.
[You too, please forget what you just heard. Since it is related to Her Majesty’s safety.]
I can only smile awkwardly.
[Oops, Her Majesty has arrived. You don’t need to bow but please don’t do anything rude.]
As he spoke, the Queen finally entered the room. She is wearing something similar to a twelve-layered ceremonial kimono. I don’t think it is fully 12 layers; it might be a few layers short. Her waist-length hair is black, as are her eyes. Completely a beautiful Japanese-style girl. Even though she is only 10 years old, she has the image of a proper adult with sufficient make-up and the Japanese dress.
She is walking slowly, one step at a time. She is surrounded by royal magicians as well. All of them have “Queen’s necklace” so it is possible for them to use magic.
[You don’t need to bow.]
Declares the Queen with her youthful but beautiful bell-like voice.
[My dear adventurers, I thank you for answering my call and coming here-noja. I am Sakuya, the Queen of this country.] (TLN: she use “noja” instead of “desu”)
Noja?! My thoughts froze for a moment as it was the complete opposite of my expectations. It can’t be … is the Queen a noja loli!? Her moe factor is dropped several times.
[Everyone, I’m sorry for summoning you without informing you of the request details. However, it would be slightly troublesome if the details are leaked out-noja. Please understand that.]
Well, that certainly raises expectations. Especially since the Queen is personally speaking about it.
[So, the content of the request-ja. If you don’t accept the request after hearing the details, you will have to stay in the castle for a while to prevent leaks. As for those who cannot agree to this condition, can I ask you to leave immediately?]
So it is possible to reject the request. But the ones who reject it will have to stay, won’t they. A few adventurers leave but most of them are staying. Good job, Queen’s knights.
Most likely, the adventurers will still be able to have the request considered as “completed” even if they leave at this moment.
[Mm, I’m really thankful to everyone that stayed-noja.]
Her [noja] feels a little awkward. Well, she’s probably not used to saying it.
[Now then, the detailed explanation. First of all, this country is currently under threat.]
I thought this was a very peaceful country though…
[The threat is from the neighboring Eludia kingdom-ja. They recently succeeded in a hero-summoning, and there are now about 800 heroes there.]
I already know that.
[And just before summoning the heroes, Eludia started a war with and destroyed a small neighboring country.]
The adventurers’ voices start to rise. I didn’t hear about that rumor at all.
[Eludia kingdom has tight information control on this matter to ensure that it does not leak outside. As there are only a few towns and about 10 villages, the story did not spread-ja. This information was leaked by a spy in the upper echelon of that country.]
Oh, at the time of the summoning, did they still have an all-out-war even though they were lacking in talented people?
[The royal family have almost all been killed, and most people are ending up as slave or dying-ja.]
That country is really no good.
[The surrounding countries greatly wish to denounce the hero-summoning as well, but they can’t do anything-noja.]
I can only think that they aimed for this kind of timing. They used this as an excuse for hero-summoning. They made a plan to fool the summoned heroes first.
[Heroes are necessary to fight against the Demon King. Even so, it doesn’t mean they can take such a reckless action. If I handle it badly, I will be next. This country might be threatened. So, I want to ask you all to participate in subjugating the Eludia royal family.]
The adventurers’ voices suddenly raise up even louder. That’s obvious. Because they were asked to participate in war… Normally, adventurers cannot be asked to participate in war like mercenaries. You can force them to participate in sudden crises like stampedes, but you can’t force them to participate in war.
Of course, while it cannot be forced on you, nothing prevents you from joining if you have a reason. However, it is extremely unusual for the Queen herself to gather all the high-rank adventurers and ask them like this.
1 adventurer raises his hand.
[Your Majesty, are you tell us to fight against heroes?]
The surrounding voices become even louder. Heroes are the hope in the fight against the demons. To turn their swords on the heroes and fight against them, it is a big deal for residents of this world.
[No, we won’t go that far. According to our information, the heroes are acting individually recently, so most of heroes will not be near the capital-ja. I want you to sneak into capital and attack the royal family directly-noja. Of course, you will have to avoid the heroes.]
Don’t say something so impossible.
[From the information I received-noja, the demon army will attack Eludia shortly. If we act this time, we can flank Eludia and attack them with minimum damage. After that, we will join with heroes and attack the demons together-ja.]
It is a bold strategy. Make use of the demons? The demons are the enemy of mankind…
Many of the adventurers showed disgust on their faces when they heard the word “demon.” The enemy of the enemy is a friend. Is it wrong to profit from this? Anyway, this story is too good to be true.
[We won’t leave heroes in the hand of an unjust country like Eludia. We have our faith in the heroes and will destroy the demons together!]
I see, fighting against the demons with the heroes. In a sense, it is the highest distinction for residents of this world. Whether or not you are a high-ranking adventurer, it won’t change. That said, it is just bait to destroy the cruel Eludia which is in the way. If we can also claim the honor of being the country that defeated the enemy of all mankind, the demons, it would be a really good story. …But.
[That story, wait a moment-noja!]
The door is suddenly opened by a young girl whose face is identical to the Queen. She is wearing white, one-piece dress and has beautiful hair and eyes.
[I won’t forgive you if you forget your own master’s face! I am the real Sakuya! The queen of this country-ja!]
W-What’s this? 2 queens? Which one is real?
[What are you talking about-noja? There is no such thing. You just have very similar face as the Queen. Queen’s Knights, capture her.]
Even after the Queen gave them an order, the Queen’s Knights are confused.
[Why are you hesitating? Don’t believe in her nonsense. This “Guardian’s Prestige” is the national treasure only royalty can wear, the proof of this country’s Queen-nojazo.]
[Of course I can wear it, it is mine. Return it to me-noja!]
[Are you an idiot? Why would I hand the national treasure over to a thief like you? Now, get her!]
The Queen’s Knights approach the queen in the dress while still in a state of confusion.
This is a little troublesome. I run in front of the queen in the dress and protect her.
[Huh? Why are you helping that person?]
The Queen asks in confusion.
[Yes, the real queen here is me.]
[Are you kidding me!? Capture that adventurer as well. I don’t mind if you kill him if he resists, but that imitation queen must not be killed!]
Her Majesty. Your speech pattern is collapsing. Gorudo and Gilbert are also heading here. As expected, the knights would have to make a stand if an adventurer got involved.
[So this is what you were planning. Well, I guess my eyes have become dull. I thought you meant no harm, but it is turning out to be like this.]
Gorudo blames himself in a disappointed tone. It is just sophism, but during the conversation with Gorudo earlier where he said “Please forget about the Queen’s defense that Gilbert mentioned” and “Don’t do anything rude”, I didn’t “Agree” to either request in the end.
[Although we are acquaintances, I normally don’t want to hurt anyone who doesn’t have evil intentions.]
[If this is not evil, then is what you are doing justice?]
[This isn’t justice. However, I can say that this is for my own happiness. By the way, I think that this will make may people happy.]
[If you are going this far, there must be a reason for it. Say it; tell me why.]
[Capture them quickly-noja! Don’t listen to the thieves!]
Queen (Fake) screams. This become irritating fast. I point at the Queen (Fake) and declare in a loud voice:
[You’re noisy! Shut up, demon!]
The voices in the audience become the loudest is has been.
[T-That is absurd…]
Gorudo and Gilbert are surprised too.
Oh, right. This queen (Fake) is a mimicking demon. The real one is the girl in dress behind me.
[How foolish! I am a demon-jato!? I have the “Guardian’s Prestige” so I can’t be a demon!]
[That is because of your curse mark. <Essence Steal> allows you to take the characteristics, memory, and abilities of the target.]
[H-How did you know that!?]
Ah, the secret is out.
Well, it wouldn’t have been possible without <System Window>. Since the first time I met her, I already saw her as a demon with a curse mark. Look:
Sex : Female
Age : 19
Race : Demon
Skill : <Dark Magic LV7> <Ice Magic LV6> <Body Reinforced LV6> <Flight LV6>
Curse mark : <Essence Steal LV->
<Essence Steal LV->
Take away target’s race, characteristics, memory, and abilities. The one that was taken from will temporarily have their skills disabled. If target is dead, the effect will be removed. Can deceive the “Ownership” too.
[No! There is no need to listen to him! Kill him quickly!]
The speech of queen (Fake), or Romarie, has completely changed. Well, the enemy’s introduction is already over. Time for her to leave.
[Well then, I guess I need to end this soon.]
[What are you going to do?]
Gorudo and the rest of the guards hesitate and don’t immediately act, but are keeping their vigilance. The S-rank adventurers have already become air. Well, they were treated as S-rank only because of their unique skills after all.
[Shouldn’t I take out the fake?]
[Hmm, but how can you do it? You should worry about your own situation, because you interfered with the Queen’s…eh?]
Gorudo-san, how long are you going to talk to the empty space? I’m already gone.
I ignore Gorudo and charge at Romarie. I has no grudge against him. Oh, I used <Flash Step>. It is about the difference in ability.
[It is useless! There is no way you can overcome both the barrier and “Guardian’s Prestige”!]
[Here we go~]
I clench my fist and pull it behind my back. I punch forward with all my might. This is a belly punch, really.
The strongest defense of the kingdom and the barrier from 10 A-ranked royal magicians are broken with just one strike.
I can see the surprise on Romarie’s face.
Gorudo also rushes here to stop me. But it is too late.
Those S-ranked adventurers are surprised too.
[Here we go~]
Romarie tries to escape. Oh, I can’t perform a belly punch from behind, can I?
I use <Flash Step> to move in front of Romarie and throw another belly punch. The opponent will die.
Romarie’s stomach is crushed, and her HP falls to 0. Oh, Sakuya (Real) has a bitter look on her face. I guess it’s disturbing for her to see someone that looks like her get killed mercilessly by a belly punch.
At the moment of Romarie’s death, her <Essence Steal> skill disappeared and she revert to her original state. Her skin become purple and her hair turned blond. She looks totally different from Sakuya but still has a trace of nobility on her face. Well, I say that but she is already dead.
[S-She is the really a demon!]
[No way. Royal family has been taken over!]
The Queen’s aides and knights are confused. That is natural. Because the person they were following was actually the enemy of humanity.
[Err, the person over there is Sakuya, the real queen!]
Everyone’s attention is focusing on Sakuya. It is natural. There were 2 queens and one of them was a fake demon. The real one could be either one of them. Everyone is thinking that it isn’t proven which is the real one yet.
I remove the necklace “Guardian’s Prestige” from Romarie, kneel before Sakuya, and put it on her.
Sakuya allows me to put it on her neck. It said only royal family can equip “Guardian’s Prestige”, so this is proof that Sakuya is a member of the royal family. Well, there are exceptions like Romarie though.
[Calm down-noja. The demon was killed by this adventurer’s hand. There are no need for us to panic. Let’s think about the future-ja. We need to examine how far the influence of demon has reached; what information has to be disclosed or concealed. There are a lot of things to do. Do you think we have time to panic?!]
Her voice rings out and everyone calms down. She feels more pleasant than before in my opinion, because she is wearing a dress…
[I want all adventurers to standby in the waiting room until we decide what to do. Let’s prepare a snack for them-noja.]
Due to her powerful charisma, it seems that the situation has settled for now.
Suddenly, Sakuya approaches my ear. It is alright since I’m still kneeling. She whispers something to me.
[Thank you, onii-chan!]
It’s not the dignified voice she had a little while ago, but the voice and smile of a young girl that is more suitable for her age.
Because of that smile, I’m reconsidering what I’m going to do to help her.
~fin Queen’s Request & Truth