Ellis and the others had tried destroying any and all evidence about what had happened that night, but rumors still quickly spread throughout Skycastle about the attempted sacrifice of one of Warren’s Dragon Maidens and the Hero rushing in to stop it.
During that night, someone who had just happened to be walking by had heard the Hero declare, “I am the Hero Gray, here to rescue the King’s guest!” That person was then scared by the agonizing screams they heard afterwards and rushed home. In the middle of their escape however, they saw a tower of flame jut upwards and light up the night sky. The next morning they returned to the scene and found everything burned black and flattened. Naturally there was no way to identify any corpses that may have been there.
While the city guards were doing their own on-site investigations, curious onlookers were busy spreading their own gossip about what happened. There were people there who knew that this place had been used for Sabbaths before, and although they had kept quiet about such a fact at the time, they were now proudly whispering this information into the ears of those gathered around them. People had heard through the grapevines that a Dragon Maiden was going to be strung up, but for whatever reason they couldn’t participate. One person had heard from a friend that it was apparently the blonde-haired Dragon Maiden been captured. The person who had overheard the Hero’s declaration the night before couldn’t control themselves anymore after all of this, yelling out for all to hear. “The Hero destroyed the Sabbath in order to save the Dragon Maiden!” And so the rumors had caught fire.
“I never expected the Hero to actually start hunting down demons and personally try to put an end Sabbaths.”
“Yeah, to think that imbecile would be this thorough.”
“Can’t we dispose of the Hero now that he’s gone against the King’s order?”
“It’s easy on paper, but actually doing it is another matter.”
This was the interior of the King’s bedchambers. As usual Peach, Dams, Cliff, and the Nightmare Dragon had gathered together.
“What if we were to try and somehow draw the Hero away from Skycastle?”
“I just wish we could make that Hero and those Dragon Maidens hate each other.”
“Those Dragon Maidens have been a nuisance.”
“That’s right. During the last Sabbath, it was their meddling that caused everything to turn out so bad.”
After a moment of silence, Peach finally came up with an idea.
“If that’s the case, then let’s just attack Warren.”
Dams immediately stopped her.
“Whoa whoa, the Demon Lord has already made it clear that Warren is off limits. Have you forgotten what happened to Zavnat?”
Cliff was of the same opinion.
“That’s right. And even if that weren’t the case, we’d be fools to try and make a move without knowing how that last army was obliterated in the first place.”
But a cool smile was still floating across Peach’s face.
“Idiots, we won’t have to go ourselves. Dams, Cliff, go fetch us an envoy.”
The two men were left confused as Peach went on.
“Even if we can’t beat the Hero, we can still defeat him.”
Still not getting her meaning, Peach went on to explain the little plot she had cooked up. It was enough to put a smile on the other three demons’ faces as well.
The Nightmare Dragon tacked on his own little bit.
“Zakuroma’s harvested quite the haul as well. They’ll be lurking in the shadows as well.”
“Yes, the more cards we have to play the better. Keep up the good work.”
And so once again Peach and the other demons started on their own secret plans.
The sight of three dragons dancing through the sky over Warren had already become a normal sight for the trade city.
At most the citizens who would see them would remark, “Oh, the Jewelry Box girls are back,” and then wave at them from the ground below.
Once Mebett saw Su-chan, Fe-rin, and Pi-tan circling up in the air, she forced the other children around her to back away. Straddling the back of her own Mechanized Dragon, she flew up into the sky to join them.
“Welcome back Big Sisters!”
“Mebett, you’ve gotten pretty good at flying on Ka-kun.”
Su-chan and Reeve decreased their speed just enough so they could fly next to the much slower Mebett.
Before any other greetings could be exchanged however, Ra-chin started yelling from Ellis’s back.
“There’s a demon mixed into the city, Ellis.”
“Understood Ra-chin. Let’s head home first and see how things are.”
The girls touched down in their front yard. Bizon and Gurre were already waiting in the mansion’s doorway clearly wanting to hear about the state of Skycastle.
They had gotten regular updates from Bizon’s husband Sir Chaffee through his communications with Maria, but everything they heard only served to make them even more anxious.
“Miss Ellis, how is Skycastle doing?”
As soon as Ellis and the other girls were back on solid ground, Bizon and Gurre ran up to greet them and immediately got to the topic on hand.
“Everything’s fine. The Hero has finally started tying his own shoes for once.”
Ellis told them about what had happened, how she had used herself to pull in one, large Sabbath, and how in the future, the Hero would break apart any other Sabbaths being held in the future–whether they be legal or not. Their husbands, Sir Chaffee and Stewart were working with Duke Marsfield in the meantime, taking some distance from the King and gathering up the resources from those Sabbath participating nobles the girls had killed. They were also gathering up skilled young people and appointing them to positions in the government that had suddenly become vacant to try and undo damage that’s already been done.
Despite all this good news, Bizon still looked depressed.
“So in other words, a confrontation between the King and the Hero is inevitable.”
Frau answered Bizon’s worries plainly. From there Ra-chin spoke up from Ellis’s back.
“Right now the King is almost definitely some demon’s puppet. At this point him being overthrown is inevitable. Whether that will be done by the Hero, the Demon Lord, or some other third party, I don’t know. No matter what though, the two of you should prepare yourselves for when that time comes.”
Once again Bizon and Gurre made complicated expressions. No matter how things are, they both married into Skycastle nobility after all. What would be required of them when that day inevitably comes? Reeve tried to offer her sisters some reassurance.
“The Hero is an idiot, but he’s also really strong. If he were to get serious, then the King and all those demons would be wiped away in a single stroke.”
“We really aren’t worried about that……… The problem is what comes next.”
Gurre suddenly looked a little weary while trying to explain something that Reeve wasn’t quite getting.
“But, is it really a problem you need to think up an answer for right now? And in the first place sisters, we are all in this together, so you can rely on us you know?”
The two sisters remained silent for a bit at Reeve’s words. They then both took a deep breath at the same time.
“Yes, Reeve. It’s just as you say. I never would have thought the day would come where I’d be lectured by you.”
Gurre squeezed out her words along with a compassionate smile.
“Don’t worry nya. You can relax as long as you’re here nya.”
“That’s right. And the western fishing village will be opening soon, so you won’t get bored here either.”
The two sisters returned a smile as Katie and Claire tried giving their own warm encouragement.
“Thank you. We’ll take things step by step as they come.”
And so Bizon and Gurre felt just a little more well off.
“So, let’s get going.”
“Indeed, for now just Ra-chin and I will be fine. Everyone else should tidy up a bit while you wait.”
While flying in the sky over Warren, Ra-chin had confirmed the presence of a demon inside Freedom Promenade. For now they would just check on it to confirm what they were dealing with. If anything were to happen, Ra-chin could probably easily handle things by himself, but in the worst case scenario, Mebett was down there as well playing with the other children. With her help Ka-kun could hold the beast down long enough for the other girls to get there.
“Miss Ellis, welcome back.”
“Oh, Ellis, you’ve returned?”
The people who passed her by on the road all freely called out to Ellis. Ellis in turn would continue on her way, offering a wave of her hand in reply.
“Ellis, that girl there.”
Ellis went on full alert as Ra-chin pointed towards the demon with his tail, but when she saw who it was he was pointing at, all of her energy left her at once and a dumb, “Eh?” escaped her lips. It was just a little, silver-haired girl wearing the boy’s uniform for Trans Happy who was currently putting all her energy towards mopping up the floor.
“I’m just as surprised as you, but seriously. That girl is definitely a demon. However, it looks like she’s an indigenous demon rather than a summoned one.”
“An indigenous demon?”
“Yes, they’re creatures that were born in this world, yet they are still classified as demons. They’re often referred to as Mazoku as well.”
Ellis continued observing the girl from a distance where she wouldn’t be noticed. Those strong-willed eyes and silver hair, they reminded her of something…………..
“Let’s grab some extra info for now.”
Ellis peeled away from her target, leaving to find Machel who was in charge of the hiring inside Freedom Promenade.
“Oh, welcome back Miss Ellis.”
“Machel, there’s something important”
“Miss, there’s something important”
Both of them tried talking at once.
“Ah, you go first Miss.”
Machel got flustered and tried yielding to Ellis. But Ellis understood that Machel was probably looking to talk about the same thing she was.
“Machel, is what you want to talk about that silver haired girl?”
“So you’ve noticed……… But Miss, that child really isn’t a bad girl.”
“I kind of got that impression watching her. However, I did want to find out how much you know about her.”
From Ellis’s words, Machel understood that Ellis wanted to know more about the girl than just what kind of worker she was. So she decided that an easier way to handle this was to call over the girl in question and eliminate any kind of doubt.
“Marcosia, I know you’re in the middle of something, but could you come here. I’ll explain things to Maron later.”
“Yes Master Machel!”
When Machel called for her, the girl shouted out an awkward albeit lively reply and rushed over to her. It was like watching a faithful dog being called over by its owner.
When Machel sat Marcosia in front of Ellis, she told her to repeat the same story she had told her and Goro before.
“Goro knows about this too?”
“Yes, Goro is actually the one who found her and brought her here in the first place.”
Ellis’s interest was piqued even more. This girl had apparently met with a seal of approval from two of her friends with a good eye for people.
“Then, I shall tell you the story of my birth.”
Marcosia did as she was told and repeated the whole, unvarnished truth about herself. Ellis was surprised that Marcosia would so honestly reveal herself to be a demon, but the fact that this little girl was the daughter of two people she had killed was what really worried her.
And there was one other thing that grabbed her attention. The order Marcosia had been given was undoubtedly the ‘find the claws’ objective that Berunal had mentioned. It wasn’t that hard to figure out that something had happened with her and the Demon Lord that would have caused that order to be released somehow. But after that Berunal should have ordered all of the demons to ‘search the labyrinths’. So why wasn’t this girl affected by the second order?
“Is it okay if I ask you a couple questions Marcosia?”
Marcosia felt a weird sense of intimidation from this girl who had to have been younger than her. But considering that Master Machel was speaking so formally to her, Marcosia assumed that this girl must be some kind of special existence. So she made sure to be as respectful as she could as well.
“To start with, don’t you want to kill your parents’ enemies.”
“I was told my parents were killed when they failed to get the claws they were supposed to get, but I don’t know who killed them. But my parents, they wouldn’t have wanted to even leave their village if they hadn’t been forced. If there’s any enemy of theirs, it would be the order to ‘search for the claws’.”
“So there isn’t any type of order acting on you now?”
“Yes, I don’t feel anything.”
Ellis thought for a moment. Could Berunal be hiding her influence as part of some future attack here? But Ellis quickly shook away the possibility. She isn’t anywhere near as strong as those monsters the Hero is currently dealing with.
“Hey Ellis, if the Demon Lord’s order isn’t affecting this girl right now, then perhaps those demons in Skycastle are acting on their own wills as well.”
“Perhaps Ra-chin. We’ll have to check that out later.”
Ellis turned towards Marcosia once again.
“That demon who was supposed to take care of you, what’s he doing now?”
“The summoned demon my parents knew went to Skycastle after he was invited by another demon. I wasn’t allowed to go with since Mazoku and summoned demons can’t speak telepathically.”
“Would you want to move to Skycastle if he were to come back for you?”
“No, I want to live a respectable life. I want to live in my village again with my parents and all my old friends. But, that village is already gone.”
“These are her true feelings.”
Ra-chin sent a small telepathic message in support of the girl to Ellis before going on.
“There are plenty of demon-like humans out there in the world. So finding a human-like demon isn’t too hard to believe.”
“I agree Ra-chin. And I can’t imagine there’d be any nefarious plots in the works that would require letting this girl run around free here.”
Ellis turned to look at Machel.
“I’ve got the gist of things Machel. This girl is Marcosia, an employee for Freedom Promenade’s Trans Happy. A commendable citizen of Warren.”
Ellis then once again turned back towards Marcosia.
“I should introduce myself again. My name is Ellis, and this guy on my back is one of Warren’s Guardian Dragons. If you ever have any problems, don’t be afraid to talk to me.”
“Yes, Miss Ellis, thank you very much!”
Finally able to take a relieved breath at her words, Marcosia gave Ellis a bright, cheerful smile. Ellis was satisfied seeing that smile alone.
Thus Warren’s first Mazoku citizen was born.