Duke Marsfield led the girls and the Brave Party to the villa he was staying in while in Skycastle.
“Well then Duke Marsfield and Hero, we’ll leave the rest to you. We’re just going to head home now.”
“Hold on, don’t be so hasty Ellis. Can’t you at least give us some ideas.”
For Ellis, there wasn’t anything that interested her about Skycastle now that Mebett was safe, so it would be really weird to get involved here. But there was no way Duke Marsfield would let her walk away that easily. Annoyed, Ellis turned to Gray instead.
“Hero, what do you think about how Skycastle is right now? What is the Brave Party going to do about it?”
Gray was surprised to have Ellis suddenly turn and talk to him, but before he could say anything, Gise stepped forward and answered for him.
“I know it might not be the smart thing to do, but this is my home. I can’t just sit back twiddling my thumbs as my home rots.”
“What does the Skycastle Thieves’ Guild think about this?” Frau asked.
Gise hesitated, clearly troubled on how he should answer Frau’s question. But after a moment, he nodded his head having resolved himself and turned to Frau.
“This isn’t to be spread around, but Skycastle’s criminal element is in such a state of chaos that even our guild can’t get a hold on things. The guild master believes a malicious third party is the reason for the King’s sudden change. So for the time being, the Thieves’ Guild will be following his directions only on the surface.”
“Do you think we could get the Thieves’ Guild’s cooperation in fighting against the Sabbath then Gise?”
“I doubt they’d directly fight against it, but I might be able to convince them to give us some support at least.”
Ellis thought for a moment. What’s the best way to get this situation under control so she could hurry up and go home? If possible, it would be great if she could cause the Hero some extra trouble. And in the best case scenario she could sell a favor or two to Duke Marsfield.
“Let’s try this.”
Everyone made a different face when they heard Ellis’s plan. Duke Marsfield stiffened up. Gray looked worried about whether such a plan would work while Marionetta looked worried for Ellis’s sake during the mission. Gise was fine with everything and looked grateful for the effort. Meanwhile the other members of the Jewelry Box already had full confidence in any of Ellis’s plans and instead spent their time confirming their own roles in what was to come. And each one of them were making an evil grin.
“All right Gise, thank you for all your help in advance.”
And so Ellis’s harassment would begin.
The next day.
Cliff received a tip-off from a rat in the Thieves’ Guild while running his Sabbath Proxy Service. Apparently the Dragon Maidens of Warren’s Jewelry Box were looking to infiltrate this area to find the demon behind all of the recent chaos in Skycastle.
And so Cliff pondered on what to do. Speaking of Warren’s maidens, it would be troublesome if the dragons they waited upon were to suddenly start acting out. And so Cliff decided to get more information about the situation from the Thieves’ Guild.
“That should be all I need.”
With the information he had bought from the Thieves’ Guild, Cliff had found out that a girl named Ellis who was an advisor for Warren’s Thieves’ Guild had visited Skycastle for work and stopped by the guild hall. Her job here was just as the rat from before had said, to find out the identity of the mastermind behind Skycastle’s chaos. She would be heading out tonight in order to infiltrate the office of Skycastle’s Sabbath Proxy Service. In other words, she was coming right to Cliff. And with the secret nature of this job, it would be impossible for her to bring her dragon with her.
After sorting through all the information and becoming confident with his victory, Cliff called Dams and told him about the wonderful idea he had come up with.
“Dams, how about switching up tonight’s event?”
“It sounds like fun. We’ll be able to get plenty of money from those hedonists. By the way, before the main players come, let me get a turn.”
“The girl dressed in spy clothing will be hung¹ from the ceiling and left waiting. Anyway. We won’t hear any complaints from the Thieves’ Guild even if we do sacrifice her.”
“Then, I suppose we should save tonight’s sacrifice for tomorrow instead?”
Cliff and Dams shared a vulgar smile between themselves before gathering their subordinates and telling them to send a message to all of their customers.
“The main event for tonight’s Sabbath will be a wonderful surprise! Who wants to see a blonde Dragon Maiden hung low? The location will be Banquet Hall A. Admissions will be 500,000 ril per person. If you’d like to attend, purchase tickets in advance at the Sabbath Proxy Service’s main office.”
For the record, 500,000 ril is ten times the normal price for a ticket.
“So then, should we hide a pawn demon just to be safe?”
Cliff was going to catch himself a Dragon Maiden and started excitedly planning for the night’s entertainment.
“See you all soon. Hero, thanks in advance.”
Ellis changed into her Abyss leather costume, reconfirmed the equipment and magic tools with the other Jewelry Box girls, and finished her last preparations for her infiltration.
“Ellis, is it really fine for me to not go with you?”
“It’s fine Ra-chin. It would make me sneaking in way too difficult if I were carrying you on my back.”
And so leaving behind Duke Marsfield who was still looking a little worried, Ellis headed off for the Sabbath Proxy Service’s main office.
Ellis made her way through the shadows finding herself at the Sabbath Proxy Service office without having made a sound.
Ellis climbed on top of the roof of a building three doors down from her target before taking another look at her target. A light was on, and you could see several people inside. Would she be able to hear what they were saying from the attic? Deciding it was her best bet, Ellis carefully advanced on her objective.
Suddenly, Ellis’s field of vision descended into darkness.
“Welcome young miss.”
Someone had come up from behind Ellis and covered her mouth with a piece of cloth. The cloth was soaked in anesthetic, so while Ellis had managed to regain consciousness, she couldn’t move.
“What a wonderful spy we have here,” Cliff started gloating while tightening the cloth covering Ellis’s mouth.
“Oh, long time no see. It’s Ellis right? I’m glad you could join us today,” a vulgar smile had spread across Dams’s face as he rubbed his hand along Ellis’s cheek.
Ellis was paralyzed and couldn’t put up a fight. The only way she could show even a small objection was by shedding a few tears. Unfortunately, those tears only served to excite the two all the more.
This was the demons’ Banquet Hall A. A group of hedonists had already gathered at the venue, completely naked aside from the masks they wore to cover their identities, ready to indulge themselves in their little guilty pleasures. A magical potion had created a thin layer of fog in the room; the fog carrying within it an aphrodisiac effect that fully unleashed the hedonists’ desires.
A brightly lit special stage was set up at the back of the venue with a row of torches lined up on both sides. This was where Cliff and Dams stood alongside a girl dressed all in black. Cliff used magic on his throat and with a voice loud enough to reach every corner of the room, he introduced his customers to the guest he had brought.
“Thank you for waiting everyone. I have here the wonderful Dragon Maiden that you are all so excited to see.”
As Cliff spoke, Dams pulled on a rope that had been tightly wrapped around Ellis’s wrists and raised her up towards the ceiling. As a result, Ellis was left dangling in mid-air in her all black outfit.
“So then everyone, tonight’s main dish will be ‘Hung Dragon Maiden’. To make sure everyone can enjoy the show, we hung her still clothed. This girl is currently paralyzed, but we’ll be detoxifying the poison now, so please feel free to enjoy her wonderful screams of agony.”
As Cliff made his performance, the hedonists all gathered closer to the stage, their muddy eyes now glowing.
The suspended girl’s eyes were wet with tears, and perhaps because of the effects of the anesthetic, there was a thin line of drool coming from the corner of her mouth. The hedonists all loved that appearance, and some had already eagerly started the orgy before the show had even started.
“Then let’s get started. First off is the detoxification.”
The little girl’s body started convulsing for a moment as Cliff cast his spell. Once the poison had left her system, the suspended girl started to cry out.
“Please, please forgive me. Somebody help!”
Dams slapped the cheek of the desperately pleading girl with the flat side of a knife before holding it in front of her eyes. He then started taunting her in a vulgar voice loud enough that the audience behind him could hear.
“Little girl, this will be the knife that will carve away your flesh tonight. Please be sure to give me your sweetest voice as we go on. This uncle is really looking forward to savoring our time together. And don’t think you can save yourself by biting off your tongue either. We’ll just heal it back on.”
Those in the audience grew strangely excited. Things were heating up, and calls to “Strip her already”² began to echo inside the hall.
“Well then, here’s the first cut!”
With the cheers of the crowd egging him on, Dams readied his knife to start tearing away at Ellis’s clothes.
But at that moment a different sound came roaring through the hall, eclipsing the cheers from its guests.
The front entrance to the hall had been blown open from a huge explosion, and a voice that anyone in Skycastle would recognize came forward.
“I am the Hero Gray, here to rescue the King’s guest!”
With those words echoing through the hall, everyone became quiet and turned their gaze towards the entrance. The Hero ignored the peanut gallery however and moved straight for the special stage.
“Tch, getting in the way at the worst possible time.”
Cliff clicked his tongue and voiced his complaints towards Gray under his breath.
“Hero Gray, you dare point your blade towards the good people of Skycastle!?”
Taken aback by the sudden accusation, Gray’s feet suddenly stopped. There was a moment of silence there, and Cliff used that hesitation to push forward.
“Hero Gray, the Sabbath is something the King himself has given his approval for. It’s true that we didn’t acquire this hung girl’s approval beforehand. But, in the end she is just some countryside girl. Don’t you have your priorities backwards by attacking the residents of Skycastle for this one girl!?”
Those words left Gray petrified. And seeing that Gray had nothing to say in response, the gathered hedonists all relaxed a bit and started booing him all together.
“Get lost Hero!”
The Hero was overwhelmed by the sudden outcry from the people gathered around him.
“Hero, if you could please leave here. Just pretend you didn’t see anything and be on your way.”
Cliff proudly brushed Gray away, confident with his victory.
Dams turned around towards the soft voice he heard behind him.
The suspended blonde-haired girl was still hanging there. However the tears that were supposed to be there had dried up. The girl was harmlessly hanging there, but those eyes of hers were that of a demon.
Dams reflexively swung the blade of his knife at the girl.
“This girl is dangerous.” There was some part of Dams’s brain screaming something of the such.
The blade of the knife dug itself into the girl’s flesh. At least at first. But then Dams blinked and the girl was nowhere to be seen with not a single drop of blood decorating the knife’s edge.
At the same time, he suddenly noticed a pale, golden knife embedded into his chest. He could hear the cold voice of a young girl behind him.
“We’re going with Plan B then.”
Of course Ellis had been caught on purpose. The paralytic didn’t have any effect on her thanks to her several anti-poison magic tools. The tears, little bit of drool, begging–all part of her act.
Ellis had used herself as bait. She was famous as a Dragon Maiden and knew her presence would draw out all those who had grown to love the Sabbath. Undoubtedly there would be numerous aristocrats in the crowd. The only question was how would they move when Ellis was brought in front of them. Right now Ellis was the King’s guest. If some of them had tried to stop this, then there would be room for negotiation and understanding. But if the Sabbath were to go on just like that, then the Hero would burst onto the scene and force the event to end using his authority. The organizers and patrons would all be secured before Duke Marsfield himself would drag the culprits in front of the King.
This would greatly weaken the growing darkness in Skycastle’s aristocracy. If you can’t get the King to renege on his order, then they would just have to legally cut away the symptoms. This was the strategy’s main goal.
But the Hero was even more useless than Ellis had thought. So there was no other choice but to go with the backup plan. The one where they kill every single person in that room.
Ellis had managed to disappear into Dams shadow from her bindings thanks to the Abyss skill of her clothes, and gave the rest of the Jewelry Box girls their orders before piercing Dams’s heart with her Mad God estoc.
1. When they say hung here, they are actually referring to a way of serving food where the chef ties up the food, like say a spit roasted pig, and then slices off portions of the hung dish and distributes it out to the guests.
2. The word here they use can mean either strip or kill.