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“There is no way I will cooperate with you people, who have been dismissed by our ancestor king, Rox.”
The soldiers who had been hiding behind the nobles appeared.
They walked up to Nemea and drew the swords at their waists. The swords gleamed in the light, and many dull glints reflected on the floor.
At the same time, the door to the throne room was opened.
An avalanche of soldiers came crashing in, instantly crushing Nemea’s escape route, each with their weapons at the ready, silently waiting for Claudia to make her announcement.
Twisting his head to look around, Nemea showed no signs of agitation. He simply relaxed his shoulders and opened his legs, and he, too, turned to face Claudia.
“Mongrel―will you defy the Twelve Demon Lords?”
“Fufu, the relics of the past should just die here.”
The soldiers cut at Nemea, starting with Claudia’s signal.
Blood, groans, and several heavy sounds echoed through the throne room.
In the center of the pile of corpses, Nemea, who skillfully avoids attacks with only small movements, ends the breath of the Levering soldiers with a single blow.
In his hands were two daggers―but perhaps not forged with a special technique, the blades were chipped when he slashed at the soldiers’ armor.
Finding the daggers unusable, Nemea throws them away without hesitation. It pierced the soldier’s head with great force, killing him. Without confirming his death, Nemea took out a new dagger and leaped at his next prey.
With each step he takes, the pool of blood splashes loudly, swallowing new fresh blood and spreading a pool of blood on the floor.
As expected of the Twelve Demon Lords, the soldiers trained by Claudia died in front of the menacing physical abilities without being able to deliver even a single blow.
“Everyone, please stand back.”
Claudia stepped forward with the ‘Cannibal’ in her hand. Her clear voice reached the ears of the soldiers even amidst the noise. No―they had to be aware of it because they sensed the enormous amount of magic power.
The soldiers fell back like an ebb tide, revealing Nemea, stained red from the return blood. Claudia walked up to him slowly, shaking her head as if to check her surroundings.
“Ara, Nemea-sama, you seem to be breathing heavily. Are you all right?”
“Next will be… you――?”
As soon as Nemea opened her mouth, Claudia swooped down on him.
Nemea barely avoided the ‘Cannibal’ blade but was immediately hit in the cheek with a kick, which knocked him off his feet. Immediately after, Claudia thrust out her blade and pierced his side, tilting the blade and gouging it out.
“Gah… You bastard――!”
“Ufufufu, look, you’ll lose all the flesh in your body if you keep talking.”
With an ecstatic expression on her face, Claudia slashed at Nemea carelessly, gouging out every part of his body with the tip of her blade and scattering pieces of flesh all around them.
The blade was flexing as if it were a whip, and attacks were flying at will from all directions. Nemea was at the mercy of these strange slashes as if it were alive.
But he showed no signs of impatience. Rather, he has a look of delight on his dry lips.
“You fool… I’ll have you return the Five Demon Emperor’s Swords Ashura.”
Nemea’s magic power was amplified more than before as if he had not yet been serious. The sharp attack struck Claudia. Using two daggers and mixing deception with agility, Nemea delivered slashes in all directions.
“…As one of the twelve demon lords, should I praise you even though you don’t even have a magic stone?”
Claudia calmly anticipated his attack and gradually matched the speed of his attack while flicking, returning, dodging, measuring the time, and correcting the distance. The dagger glided over the blade of the Cannibal, sending sparks flying and burning Claudia’s hair.
Soldiers and nobles watching the battle from afar looked on in amazement. They were puzzled as to what they should do to lend a hand.
So all they could do was pray for their queen’s victory and wait for the moment when the battle would be settled.
While many were watching, it was Claudia who made the first move. Perhaps her eyes had become accustomed to Nemea’s speed, or perhaps she was avoiding the attack with skillful body movement without using Cannibal, but she stopped abruptly and took a pause for breath.
Nemea was thrown off balance by this and stumbled forward. Claudia launched a sharp thrust with the force to pierce him in the face.
But it failed. The attack was empty, and Claudia’s gaze shifted from front to back.
Nemea used the blood spreading on the floor to turn his back. He used the momentum to twist his waist to add rotation and swing the dagger with all his might.
Claudia twisted herself to take evasive action―but she was too late.
The sound of screams and groans of pain echoed from the surroundings.
However, the blade aimed at her neck stopped midway.
A sigh of relief fills the air, but it was Nemea who was bewildered by a situation he didn’t understand.
“…What is this?”
Nemea was still unaware of the strange change that had taken place in his body. He tried many times to thrust the dagger into Claudia with all his strength in his arm, but as if stuck in the mud, his body only moved slightly and could not take any major action.
“…It’s been a long time since I’ve seen my own blood.”
Claudia touched her flushed cheek and stared at her bloodied fingertips.
Fresh blood was flowing from a small cut on her cheek. She could not completely avoid Nemea’s attack.
“Ah, you finally noticed.”
After wiping her hand and letting the blood from her fingertips fly, Claudia looked at Nemea, who finally realized the situation he was in―the right half of his body was frozen, emitting cold air.
“It’s the Cannibal’s ability.”
“Nonsense――Ashura does not possess such an…”
Nemea denied it but then broke off mid-sentence, perhaps noticing something.
“No way… Did that Rox guy do something to it?”
“You knew something strange, didn’t you, Nemea-sama, and you want me to take the trouble of explaining it to you?”
Claudia kicked Nemea’s frozen right side with her toe.
“The Five Demon Emperor Swords ‘Ashura’ was modified by the founder King Rox when he switched sides to the God of War――did you forget that?”
Nemea was biting his dry lips as if he had nothing to say back to Claudia.
Smiling at him, Claudia picks up Nemea’s dagger from the floor and looks at its polished, beautiful ripples.
“The ‘Ashura’ was inspired by the Five Emperors of the Spirit Sword, according to the founder King Rox, when he decided to modify it.”
As Nemea was about to speak, Claudia inserted the tip of the sword into his mouth without seeming to hesitate, silencing him. Her violet eyes were shining brightly as she stared at Nemea, who was unable to move.
“Don’t worry; I’m not going to do something as trivial as piercing your throat at this point.”
Saying this, Claudia drew the dagger―cutting the edge of Nemea’s mouth.
“Now, let’s call it even, shall we?”
Claudia slashed Nemea’s cheek, whose face was furrowed in pain, and after checking the blood on the tip of the blade, she threw the dagger to the floor. With a loud clang, the dagger slid across the floor and disappeared into the corner of the room.
“What do you mean?”
“No, there’s one thing I’ve been wondering… if I finish you off, will the Faceless King-sama be angry, or will he feel nothing?”
“Of course… you will regret it. I am one of the twelve favored demon lords. If you kill me, you will surely incur the wrath of the――!?”
Nemea could not finish his sentence.
Because――his head had left his torso and was flying through the air.
Nemea’s head fell to the floor with a dull thud, and Claudia stomped on it.
“Disappointing. Did I look like an auspicious woman who would have regrets?”
Her face was emotionless.
“Shall I send his head to the Faceless King… I look forward to seeing how he will react.”
She glared at Nemea’s corpse with a cold light filled in her eyes.
“But then again… it seems this guy wasn’t immortal. If only he had come back to life, he could have had a happy life as my plaything.”
With a kick to the silent head, Claudia wiped her own wounds on her cheeks with her thumb.
The cut that was there just a moment ago mysteriously disappeared as soon as the thumbs left the cheeks.
From the group of soldiers who had been watching the battle from start to finish, a man stepped forward and knelt down in front of Claudia.
“Her Majesty Queen Claudia, are you injured?”
“No, I’m fine. But more importantly, how is the army’s situation?”
“Ready when you are, at all times.”
“Good work. Then we should be on our way to Grantz.”
Claudia lightly exerted herself on the soldiers and was about to leave the throne room.
One of the nobles spoke to her from behind.
“Her Majesty Queen Claudia, are you going to sell a favor to Grantz?”
Claudia turned around and smiled with her index finger on her well-shaped chin.
“No―I won’t do anything.”
The nobleman looked at Claudia with a stunned look in his eyes, perhaps not expecting such an answer.
Perhaps finding his appearance amusing, Claudia explained while holding back her laughter.
“You see, Nemea-sama told me. The northern part of the continent is going to be torn apart―the battle between the central continental power, the Great Grantz Empire, and the “king” who controls the twelve demon lords. The effects will not be limited to the north.”
Claudia’s voice was happy and cheerful as she simply explained her thoughts.
“If these two clashes, it is certain that both sides will be exhausted no matter who wins. Then, we should try to take advantage of the situation. We will just take the good part.”
Leaving the nobleman still in a state of surprise, Claudia began to walk toward the doorway.
She glanced at the window for just a moment but then turned her head immediately forward.
“This is what you want, isn’t it?”
Claudia exhaled ecstatically, imagining the future that lay ahead.
“All together as one―Right, Black Dragon King-sama?”