I’M ALIVE! Okay, well I finished 4 exams. 2 week break then 10 more to go.
Anyways, here’s the next TNM chapter.
Chapter 25 – The Town of Enox Part IV
As Mira sat down, she was met with three distinct expressions. A look of annoyance flashed across Lux’s face before it was replaced by a seemingly forced smile. David had a questioning look on his face. Guang merely looked at her with a blank expression.
The innkeeper walked over and asked, “So, what would you like to order?”
“I’ll just have whatever they’re having,” Mira replied, chucking a silver coin to the innkeeper. She could sense some sort of awkward atmosphere, but she didn’t may much heed to it, she was actually quite thankful for Hikari inviting her so she wouldn’t have to eat alone. And the young man, David, intrigued her. He had a powerful aura was being suppressed around him, so he definitely wasn’t the ‘normal’ swordsman he claimed to be. Even if she could not feel that hidden aura, the reaction he had gotten from heating about the Strixes was too little.
It was common knowledge that Strixes were dangerous beasts that soared through the night sky. They may not be the strongestt demonic beasts individually, but as a flock they were extremely troublesome because they would often work together, complementing each other. David’s reaction to it was far too little, which would either mean he’s very foolish or very powerful. Mira, believed this to be the latter, mainly because a fool would not even other to come to this inn. Additionally, his companions also looked quite capable. Both Lux and Guang possessed very sharp eyes and all of them had a very fit body despite being magicians.
“So David told me that you all are here to earn a bit of travel expenses towards Rurrne where you plan to look for powerful demonic beasts to become familiars?” Mira struck up a conversation.
“Yes,” replied Guang.
Hearing that, David let out a sigh of relief. Mira did not understand the reason for it, but it was because David felt that it was fortunate for the exorcists to have heard about the city of Rurrne during their tour around town. They might have guessed what it was, but this way it didn’t make him seem suspiciously knowledgeable about the area.
“Is there any particular demonic beasts you had in mind?” Mira inquired further.
“I suppose it depends more on the affinity than anything, but other than that… We’re didn’t really limit ourselves to demonic beasts, magical beasts like wyvern are totally fine too. I do hope for a powerful being like a cerberus or a qilin,” Guang replied.
“Wow, the wyvern aside, those are some powerful beasts you have in mind!” Mira exclaimed. “Actually even the wyverns are powerful beasts in their own right.”
Yep, they definitely are powerful. Mira thought to herself. Judging from the way they portrayed themselves, they didn’t seem to be like naïve idiots. So the only conclusion was that they were truly powerful enough to at least try to attempt to contract with a magical beast of the caliber of a cerberus.
“Yep, that’s what we’re aiming for,” Guang replied with a chuckle. “But first, we got to earn a bit more money from the road. Do you happen to know anyone that has been putting out requests?”
“As a matter of fact I was actually just telling David about it, it’s the subjugation of a Strix flock.”
“Oh? Could you tell us a bit more?”
“It’s apparently over a hundred Strixes. I’m not completely sure we can handle it,” David interrupted. “Although, if we do manage to handle it, the payment is quite good.”
“It definitely is! 1 silver per Strix, if you manage to kill the whole swam, that’s more than 1 gold!” Mira exclaimed. More than anything though, she wanted to see the four of them fight. Her demonic instincts seemed to tell her that it would be very interesting to see. Aside from the three magicians, she was intrigued in how David would fight. He said he was a swordsman, but how skilled was he? And why could she smell a succubi scent from him? She was curious to find out.
“What do you guys think?” Guang looked to his two female comrades.
“I think it’s fine,” Hikari said. “We are pretty strong after all.”
“Yeah, if it’s Strix’s then it shouldn’t be too much of an issue. We should scout ahead first, and see if we can ambush the flock somehow,” Lux replied.
“Then when are you guys thinking of going to scout?” Mira asked.
“We’ll probably go tomorrow. Why?” Guang answered.
“I want to come along, if you don’t mind. I won’t hide it, I could use a bit more money. I would consider myself strong enough to deal with 2 or 3 Strix’s at a role. Since you guys seems to be interested in it and appear quite confident, I was thinking that joining you guys wouldn’t be so bad,” Mira replied. Obviously she didn’t mention about her just being interested in seeing them fight, that would have caused them to instantly reject her proposal. In this world, unless you’re an idiot, you wouldn’t want to reveal your fighting style to others, especially to a complete stranger. even if you do, you wouldn’t reveal everything, just the bare minimum to allow others to understand your capabilities. By only telling them about her financial interests, they would be more incline to agree, since she would seem far less suspicious.
David looked towards Lux. As did Hikari and Guang. It appeared that out of the four of them, Lux is generally regarded as the leader, at least subconsciously.
“That… That’ll be fine,” Lux replied.
“Then shall we meet here tomorrow at sunrise?” David suggested.
When the food arrived, David was extremely pleased with what he saw and smelled. The fillet they had ordered looked quite tasty. According to the innkeeper, it was ogre meat. When David had first heard that, he was quite hesitant to eat it, but after seeing the three exorcists tuck in without any reservation, he decided to give it a try. He wasn’t disappointed. The texture of it was rather chewy, and had a unique taste.
It didn’t take long for him to finish the fillet and rice, and moved onto the soup. The soup was some sort of orange-brownish colour, giving of the smell of various spices and herbs. If he was to describe what it smelled like, he would say that it reminded him of the smell of the large variety of spices used in southeastern Asian countries. After taking a sip of it, David decided that it wasn’t too bad. He wasn’t too fond of the large amount of spices used, but he couldn’t really complain about it. Actually, it was more like any complaint was pointless and would only sour the mood.
“Mira, tell us something interesting,” Hikari asked, trying to make small talk.
“Hmmm, I did tell a bit to David already. What kind of things do you want to hear about? Rumours or stories?” Mira replied with a smile as she placed a small piece of ogre meat into her mouth.
“Could you tell us some rumours flowing around here?” Guang asked.
“Well, I’ve mentioned to David that apparently there were several powerful auras going towards Lord Mephistopheles’s castle. This is really surprising since there has hardly been any major trouble in the recent years, thus making all sorts of theories about it pop up,” Mira started.
“Mephistopheles!? Mephistopheles as in the powerful archdemon that rivals the 72 scriptures?” Hikari gasped.
“Yeah, he’s the ruler of this land,” Mira reacted, “Surely you know…”
“Yeah, we know about it. Hikari is just surprised at a rumour surrounding him. Since for what we know, there haven’t been any news of him in the last 200 years, at least not to our knowledge on Earth,” Guang quickly said, preventing Hikari from leaking unnecessary information. Even after the incident at the village, she still seemed rather careless and this was evidence of it.
“So what kind of theories are there?” Lux asked.
“There are several. The first of them is that Lord Mephistopheles maybe plotting some form of military campaign in preparation, just in case the stirring of the stirring of the demonic beasts escalate. The second is that he may be plotting a revolution or something. However, I think that’s really unlikely seeing as that would go against his belief in pureblooded demons. All seven of the Demon Princes of Hell are pureblooded demons in one sense or another, there’s just no reason for him to go against them like that,” Mira said. “The last of which is a bit weird, but I think it is certainly possible. It is quite a widely known fact that Lord Mephistopheles was a powerful follower of Lord Lucifer. Since recently, there has been news of Lord Lucifer’s disappearance, it is entirely possible that Lord Mephistopheles would have assembled talented people all around in order to search for him.”
David’s eyes widened upon hearing that. Was this rumour related to Lucifer and himself somehow? Despite Lucifer being a Demon Prince, David never truly comprehended how significant the contract with Lucifer was, and how rare it was. As a matter of fact, he was still unable to.
“Such a significant thing happened!?” Guang exclaimed. He looked towards Lux to see if her reaction would reveal that she had some sort of information about this. However, her reaction was rather similar to his, her mouth open in shock for a moment before closing.
“Yeah, but it’s only a rumour. Lot’s of stuff like this gets around, so it’s really not too surprising that you humans haven’t heard about it,” Mira continued.
“Even then, that’s a really big deal! It concerns on of the Demon Princes!” HIkari exclaimed.
Mira giggled, “I can truly tell that it’s your first time coming to this land. Here, rumours about the Demon Princes spread around quite often, I think just last week there was a rumour regarding Lord Beelzebub’s actual abilities and magic.I suppose this is different in that it’s saying that Lord Lucifer has gone missing, but you get the idea.”
“I suppose you’re right. If it had some form of truth behind the words, I’m sure we would have heard about it back home,” Guang nodded. “Then, is there any other rumours aside from that?”
“Well, there’s also been an increasing amount of people talking about stirring up trouble for the Demon Princes. Most of these are by less influential nobles, most likely not happy with their positions. There’s even been a bit of talk about an all out revolution, but it’s rather tame at this point. I personally doubt it’ll escalate to anything beyond that, simply because it’s crazy. Even if I was very powerful, I still wouldn’t accept any idea of a revolution, since that’d mean we’re placing against ourselves again true monsters that destroyed the majority of the original seventy-two scriptures and a large number of other archdemons that held equal power to them… It’s unbelievable that some would even be foolish enough to consider that idea.
And aside from that… There’s also the matter of the stirring of demonic beasts all across the world. The Strix flock is an example of such. Essentially, in the past 2 months or so, there’s been an increase in demonic beasts going out of their natural territories. It’s a really bizarre situation, considering the numbers that have appeared out of their natural habitat is also a lot more than usual. It wasn’t too unusual to find one or two strays, but in the past two months there has been entire hordes and flocks. Some people are speculating that someone is controlling all these demonic beasts, but that’s impossible right? There is any too many, and if the person was, the demonic beasts wouldn’t be so unorganised either.”
“Could they just have been ordered to cause chaos and confusion?” Lux suggested.
“Unlikely, since the demonic beasts have just been annoying. It isn’t powerful demonic beasts rampaging across the land, but it just been a continued annoyance of usually weak demonic beasts in such large numbers that we can’t do that much about it. I do think they were driven out of their own lands by something, but I have no idea what that could be considering there are all types of demonic beasts popping up in weird places and they don’t all belong to the same habitat.”
“Has the nobles looked into it?” Hikari questioned worriedly. “Such an abnormal incident bound to have triggered some kind of explanation from them right?”
“No idea, it seemed like some nobles had recently started looking into it, but we haven’t hear much about it. Truth be told, it really isn’t that worrisome, considering that it’s easy money if they were picked off. The only reason the Strux population hasn’t been dealt with is just because our town is no exactly a frequently visited place, but once news about the Strix flock gets out, people looking for earnings will arrive.”
“I see. So that’s why you want us to take the quest? So that you can tag along with us and hopefully get some of the rewards before other people come to claim it for themselves.” David said uncaringly.
“Haha, you could say that. It’s not a bad idea for someone that is in need of money right?” Mira laughed off the accusation like it was nothing as she finished the lasts of her soup.
“Fair enough. We’ll decide if we’ll take the question tomorrow after scouting. So, just to double check. We’re meeting here at tomorrow sunrise, there’s no problem with that right?”
“No problem at all.”