Chapter 11

The people in the room waited with bated breaths as they stared at Luminous, who in return stared at the enigmatic weapon Hinata had delivered to her.

As usual, only her four closest confidants, Gunther, Roy, Louis, and Hinata, were permitted to be present. None dared to make the slightest movement or the smallest utterance of noise. The palpitation in the air continued to grow as the vampire refused to give any opinion on the sword, and the unreadable expression on her face gradually worsened the anxiety in everybody else's mind.

Finally, Luminous leaned forward, causing the others to do the same. She grazed the elegantly carved surface of the sword's handle with two fingers, keeping them on it for a few seconds.

As much as her body screamed with the instinct to get away from it, she did not allow herself to show a moment of weakness in front of her subordinates. She did manage to feel the slightest twitch in her eyes, but her willpower alone prevented her mental state from falling into complete turmoil.

'I don't understand… this power… it's… divine? It's as though faith itself was condensed and shaped into the most solid form possible. I feel like I could get a hold of it, and maybe, I could even find out the answer to the dilemma I've had for so long. With this, I could become a God…'

At the last moment, Luminous snapped out of her stupor. She looked at the widened eyes of everyone else in the room, who watched the scene unfold with mixed looks of intrigue and fear.

'...No. Right now, I am acting too arrogant to be hastily led to foolish assumptions. Although I certainly felt an authority that is unheard of, I won't allow myself to abandon everything I stand for.'

Letting go of the sword, Luminous leaned against the chair's backrest.

"I believe this sword is enough to kill that reptile, but from what I've been able to garner during those few seconds of contact with the weapon, I can surely say its power affects the mind of anyone who touches it." Luminous carefully worded her observations.

She glanced at Hinata, observing her reaction. When she saw her looking down nervously, the vampire felt her suspicions confirmed.

Luminous could not help but feel her face contorted with anger. She flared some of her aura throughout the room, sending a frightening chill into her subordinates. Immediately, Hinata was able to pick up on the situation, seeing her Mistress's angry gaze.

"You broke my order! I had made it clear from the start, and yet you refused to follow a command as simple as that!"

"I had to! You understand that as much as I do, no one else but me could have picked it up!" Hinata shouted back.

For a brief moment, Luminous was surprised when Hinata matched her volume. While she had sharp and succinct speaking manners, she had never resorted to shouting to drive her point home.

'I can see the sword affected her in more ways than one. This is concerning. Should I really go through with this? If I'm not careful, I might lose Hinata before she kills that blasted reptile. Maybe I should study the weapon and find a way to ascend. This sword seems divine, but I need more time to look into it before we move on with our plans. Given the lizard's actions, he seems to be growing his forces right now, which gives me some time…'

Luminous leaned forward and touched the weapon again, staring into Hinata's eyes.

While the sword's effect on her wasn't overwhelming, it may not be the case for Hinata, who had not fully grown into a Saint yet.

In addition, Luminous was aware they were stepping into entirely new territory. Making a giant leap without gathering sufficient information may endanger the plan and her subordinate's livelihood.

Seeing her Mistress attempting another physical contact with the sword, Hinata started to look frantic. She now had her full undivided attention on the Demon Lord's hand.

"Mistress, you shouldn't!" Hinata blurted out. She subconsciously started leaking her aura, making Luminous narrow her eyes.

"I shouldn't do what exactly? Touch the weapon?" Luminous asked, her tone laced with suspicion.

"It's… It's dangerous. You must have felt it as well as I did. Its power calls for those who try to reach for it."

"And? What did it tell you?"

Hinata averted her gaze in silence, but her Mistress had none of it.

"Hinata, look at me! What did the sword tell you!?"

Luminous screamed, unleashing vicious torrents of her aura upon her subordinates. The air felt suffocating under the tremendous pressure the ancient vampire had set upon the people in the room.

"It told me I could rid the world of monsters and that I would be strong enough to do so."

Hinata stood up, though there was a visible struggle on her face. Resisting the urge to buckle under the Demon Lord's aura, she continued to speak with growing desperation on her face.

"Mistress, I know I can fulfill this mission! With that sword and what it told me, I am confident I can slay Veldora with my own hands."

"And then what?"

"I will slay the rest of the detestable Demon Lords. If we have this power, we can unite the world."

"Do you think I'm a fool?"

"Mistress, that is what I felt. I know I can do it."

Seeing that Hinata was not getting the point, Luminous slammed her palms against the table, causing everyone else to flinch.

"Do you think I'm that stupid not to realize that you would slay me along with the rest of the Demon Lords?!"

"I…no…that's not what I meant…" Hinata jumped back a few meters to distance herself from her Mistress. She surprised everyone with her next action by grabbing the handle of her sword.

At this point, it was difficult to ascertain Hinata's goals, but Roy, Louis, and Gunther all thought she was committing a high act of treason based on her current stance. They tensed up, getting ready to defend their Mistress.

"Stand down, all of you!"

The thick tension in the air was cleaved in half as the three subordinates, excluding Hinata, immediately backed down after Luminous barked her order. Now that their master had taken over the reins, they could only watch the scene unfold with anxious stares.

With an assured confidence in her gait, the Demon Lord slowly walked towards the woman at the other side of the room. She continued to ignore the poised stance of the person who did not try to approach any closer.

Of course, Hinata knew she had no chance against a True Demon Lord. Whatever outcome awaited her, her defeat was already set in stone.

But if her Mistress were about to execute her, then she would at least go out fighting. That was the only thing on her mind as she waited for any opportunity to unleash the first attack.

Luminous approached her, snarling, giving a full view of her fangs. But before she could attempt a first strike, her Mistress suddenly looked saddened.

"Hinata. Tell me the truth. What were you feeling just now?"

"...For a moment, I was thinking of slaying you as well," Hinata said softly. There was no point lying. The suspicion that she had always been living on borrowed time ever since she first met the True Demon Lord had resurfaced.

"Do you want to end my life? Theirs?" She motioned at the trio. They were sitting back in their respective seats, though the way they sat revealed how unnerved they were about the current situation.

"I…" Hinata gulped, unable to give a proper response. She took another step back and assumed a more defensive stance, which only made the Demon Lord more disappointed than angry.

"Answer me." Luminous took a step forward, refusing to skip a beat.

"At first, I wanted to, but… Mistress, I'm sorry for still harboring those thoughts. You have protected humanity for centuries. I shouldn't think of you as a monster." Hinata took her hand off her weapon and straightened out her posture.

"I am a monster, always have been. If you want to kill all Demon Lords, that would, of course, include me. That weapon will no doubt give you immense strength, but it will strengthen your desire to grow even stronger. It won't be long until you start to feel power-hungry, Hinata." Luminous took a few more steps until she stood uncomfortably close to her.

Suddenly all the fear faded from Hinata's expression as she knelt before Luminous, speaking with the voice of a devoted knight.

"My Mistress. In the past, I had agreed to serve you with true loyalty. I have never and will never, break my oath to you. I can resist the sword's whispers long enough to slay Veldora and return the weapon to your care before it becomes detrimental to my mentality. You spared me when you had no reason to do so, showing kindness I didn't deserve. It is my duty to rid the world of your enemies."

"Rise. You know I don't like when you do this." Luminous hissed.

Hinata did as she was told, but the resolute expression on her face didn't fade. She knew where her loyalties lie. Luminous was humanity's protector, the hidden Goddess they collectively worshiped.

"You have my permission to plan the invasion. Slay that terrible beast for me, but above all…" She leaned in and hugged Hinata in a rush of emotion. "Be safe and return home."

"I-I will, Mistress." She froze up like a statue in the Demon Lord's embrace.

After an awkward silence, Luminous let her go, returning to her seat.

"Louis, assist her however you can." She addressed the holy emperor.

Luminous then remembered another task she wanted to give him, and she gave another order, but this time in private.

{ I want the Seven Luminaries to assist her as well. But keep a close eye on them. See to it that it's done as soon as possible, Louis. }

"I will give orders to mobilize the templar legions. In addition, we should hire at least some human nations to assist us. No matter how much this weapon empowers Hinata, she still will need help to get through the monster hordes defending the Storm Dragon's domain."

"Agreed. Do what's necessary. Offer human kings lordship over the forest once it's cleansed of its inhabitants. Dismissed." Luminous ended the meeting.

As she walked the hall back to her sanctuary, Gunther spoke up.

"My lady, wouldn't it be better if you…"

"Shut it! I don't want to hear your opinion. She won't return my feelings." Luminous interrupted the old butler's suggestion.

'I hope I'm not making a huge mistake by letting her do this. Maybe it was better to move on and let that reptile be.' She couldn't help but feel fear and uncertainty about the upcoming conflict.


The situation of late has changed for the worse. Without informing Kagali, Yuuki had distanced himself from her and only dealt with Tear, Laplace, and Footman.

Kagali was still trying to figure out what caused this change. She suspected it had something to do with the mysterious power he supposedly had discovered.

To begin with, she did not doubt Yuuki's ability to plan things exceptionally far ahead. The young man's ambitions were far more significant than hers ever had.

Yuuki genuinely believed he could rule the world, and for a while, Kagali found herself siding with the man's ambition, thinking she would lead beside him as a trusted second in command.

But even now, it was becoming evident that the man had obtained a power beyond his control. It had already taken a toll on him, but as always, Yuuki played it off with his casual attitude, dismissing the detrimental effects that continued to gnaw away his health. He explained he had already adapted to the force, but the Harlequin Alliance was starting to lose all sense of reason as time passed.

As of late, the situation had become quite unclear in Kagali's eyes. She was steadily becoming more aware that there were powers in this world unheard of, and she questioned if it was wise to tamper with them.

There was a more significant reason for her to believe such powers should not be meddled with. Her mind was even more stressed out upon learning that the ever-friendly and casual Peroroncino was powerful enough to destroy a beast like Charybdis with a single attack.

But what truly terrified Kagali was that the avian wasn't even the strongest creature in Tempest.

The Storm Dragon Veldora was a force of nature in and of itself, but the ruler of Tempest, Momonga, was rumored to be inching closer to Veldora's level of power. The intensity of said rumors reached a point where they could no longer be dismissed by those with immeasurable authority and individual power. Kagali mused that even the more ancient Demon Lords would have to watch the undead's growth closely.

To make things even more stressful for Kagali, she had long since kept an eye on Momonga's mysterious bodyguard.

While there was always a cold demeanor on her face, somebody seemed to structure her overall appearance to accentuate her doll-like beauty. Of course, people like Kagali were wise enough to see through the beautiful angel's cracks.

There was a mysterious presence that swirled beneath her mask of almost childlike curiosity, but no one decided to initiate it upon themselves to explore any further. Kagali expressed her concerns about the angel to Yuuki, but to her frustration, she received only warnings with barely concealed neglect.

'That creature has come from the hells, not heavens. Something incredibly dark is lurking underneath. Could it be one of the other fabled primordials? The paleness and the white wings may paint her as an angel, but her true nature is the opposite of benevolence. Perhaps that could be the one who rules over the demons of the white color. But how would Lord Momogna control such a creature? Guy proved to be uncontrollable.'

The creature's true existence was something none knew, but if even Milim and Veldora had to be wary of the angel's presence, that did not bode well for Kagali's plans.

'I wonder what they are? Surely they are not just evolved majins.'

She had asked that question to herself countless times. But every time she tried pursuing closer to an answer, she would always end up in a horrible state of confusion.

The situation had grown too complicated at this point. Kagali thought the next course of action was to lay low and postpone the scheming phase of her and Yuuki's grand plan. But her master, of course, was of differing opinion.

This was one of those busy mornings where she had to manage many things. On average, at least one member every few days got in trouble with the law, and she was one to deal with it.

Unfortunately, the most common form of punishment Tempest's law enforcement used was to beat the offending party half to death, especially for things like open racism towards their citizens or attempts at thievery.

Those guild members who lived in Tempest for a while knew better than to cause trouble, but the newcomers had to test the waters far too often for her liking.

Just yesterday, a drunk Rank C adventurer had said unsavory things to an elven tavern maid, resulting in a fight between an adventurer and the tavern guard. It had ended with the adventurer being returned to the guild with both arms and six ribs broken, not to mention his face being pummeled into an unrecognizable mush.

'Idiots. All of them.' Kagali cursed under her breath, reading the report. 'A few more incidents like these and I'll have to talk with Bukubukuchagama, who is no doubt taking notice. Like I need more attention on me as is.'

As she worked, her secretary came into the office and replaced the empty cup of tea with a fresh one.

"Lord Peroroncino's messenger came in." She spoke without any honorifics, as Kagali preferred.

Pointless things like that only waste time in inner circles. It took a week to drill the secretary to avoid all the trouble of addressing her as Miss and starting every report with greetings.

"What did he say?"

"Lord Peroroncino is interested in selling some Rare grade weapons made by the central forge. If the guild is not interested, Tempest will ship off the equipment to the Blumund Kingdom."

"I see. Arrange a meeting at the shortest notice."

The secretary nodded and left the office, only to return twenty minutes later. "Lord Peroroncino is at the forge and can receive you immediately."

'Just great. More guild work. But I can't pass up such an opportunity for the sake of appearance.'

To be a successful spy, even mundane tasks must be completed to near perfection. There may not be time to escape if they so much as suspected her true motives.

"Good. I'll go meet him then." Kagali immediately stood up and appeared at the forge's entrance.

As of now, she had permission to use Spatial Movement in non-restricted areas, and with the forge's guards recognizing her, she could meet the avian in the storage area without any further delay.

"Hey, I thought you'd be interested." Pero greeted Kagali in his usual carefree manner, waving her over past the guards.

"Lord Peroroncino." She bowed and approached a table with a row of weapons.

"Tempest is starting to export weapons of such quality?" Kagali asked curiously.

Kagali had held the prenotion that a country would hold on to such items and not sell them carelessly. She hardly believed that Tempest was being reckless. Still, unless they were in such a dire situation where they had to cannibalize military force in exchange for stability, she considered this to be an illogical move.

This was not the case with Tempest, and she began ruminating on the possibilities.

'Is this another display of power? It must be.'

"Our smiths are highly qualified. It's not productive to make them work on regular quality gear. I decided for the Free Guild to make the first offer." Pero explained.

"May I?" Kagali prepared an appraisal spell, but permission to use it ultimately fell to the one in charge.

"Be my guest." Pero waved at the weapons dismissively.

{ Observe Peroroncino to the best of your ability. I'm guiding Tear into the forge. If he doesn't sense her, likely no one will. } Yuuki suddenly messaged her.

{ Got it. } Kagali replied.

Pero did his best not to indicate that he could see the clown clear as day, followed by a specter.

A few hours ago, Demiurge had warned everyone about the clown-looking individual. The strategy that he developed afterward was relatively simple; feign ignorance.

Everyone was to pretend she was not there to see how daring the spy would become in her mission. Since not even shadow demons could pick up her presence anymore, Demiurge wanted to see a greater extent of the girl's abilities before inevitably making a move on her.

At first, she stood at the corner of the room and then slowly walked closer, freezing in place at every subtle movement Pero made. Kagali ignored the girl's presence as she continued the conversation.

"These are of excellent quality. Can I get two days to make an offer?" Kagali asked. She could detect Tear herself; however, if not for her deep connection with Tear, she would not have been able to do so.

'Yuuki seems to pull it off. There still is a chance Peroroncino is just pretending not to see her. But is there a motive for him to do so? I would… no, if I get that paranoid, then nothing will get done.'

{ It appears that Lord Peroroncino is not sensing her. Should she press forward? }

{ Calling him Lord already? } Yuuki teased.

{ You try being in my position and living amongst them. It's a habit I developed so I don't get myself killed. } Kagali replied flatly.

{ Sure. Anyway, what do you think about Tear? If everything goes well, she could press her advantage further. I'm confident she could find the entrance to Nazarick. }

{ I would not get my hopes up just yet. But knowing you, you would not heed my warning. Did you at least prepare an exit plan? }

{ Naturally. I can teleport Tear in stealth if the situation demands it. But since it takes a great effort, I will only resort to the maneuver if she gets discovered. Carry on with your operation. I'll contact you if there is anything new. }

{ Understood. } Kagali replied to Yuuki with a calm look on her face.

Ending her mental communication, she waited for another response from the one in front of her.

"Two days sounds reasonable enough. Currently, we'll sell forty pieces a month and will likely go with the best overall offer." Pero shifted around, but this time, the girl didn't freeze up. She continued slowly moving around the forge.

"Then, with your permission, I'll be off to start working on the proposal, Lord Peroroncino." Kagali bowed once again.

"Sure thing." Pero guided her to the door, intentionally walking directly into the spy, who swiftly moved aside to avoid him.

Whatever her next steps would be, Nazarick was preparing its response, and it was only a matter of time before the spy would suffer the consequences.

Edited by Zirmeister.

Proofreading by Tophrel, Alassandro, aidan_lo, FantasyTroll, and SwissChocolatess.

AN: Thank you for reading the story, and if you have caught up to the latest chapter, you can check out my other work or join my discord server (Link is in my profile) where additional chapters are available or if you are interested in becoming a beta reader (gives access to chapters months ahead of regular readers).