Chapter 0204 The End of Bliss
The moment of happiness broke abruptly.
A loud noise came from the corridor, and the door to the Grand Duke’s reception room was suddenly opened, and armed soldiers rushed in.
At first glance, it was clear that they were not castle guards.
Neither were they thugs or adventurers.
Because of their unified armaments and coordinated movements.
Confirming these, the five members of the ‘Valkyrie’ moved quickly.
They stood in front of Archduke Silas, the most important person in this situation, and took a stance to protect him at all costs.
As one would expect from C-rank adventurers, they reacted quickly.
“What is this all about?”
Silas raised his voice at the incoming soldiers…or rather to the person at the center of it all.
“I’ll ask you again. What is the meaning of this, Count Maguilla?”
Count Maguilla replied, without changing his expression at all.
“Silas Theo Santayana, you are hereby placed under arrest on suspicion of treason.”
Silas’ eyes widened as he muttered.
“We know that you are trying to sell the treasures of our country to the Kingdom of Knightley through their delegation while they’re here, and the fact that you’re also trying to sell off the country itself. These acts are nothing short of treason. As of this moment, all your privileges as the Grand Duke are frozen. I suggest that you cooperate and wait for your punishment.”
“What nonsense…. Why are you doing this? There is no need for all these. I am always ready to abdicate my position as Grand Duke if ‘you people’ want me to. You know that!”
Count Maguilla and the others were not at all surprised by Grand Duke Silas’ words.
But Miu and the other Valkyries on the other hand, very much so.
However, they did not utter a word either.
They realized that it was not their place to intervene in such a matter.
“That won’t do, Silas.”
The words came from behind the door, from the hallway.
And then the person emerged.
“So, it is ‘you people’ after all, Marquis Espiel. Why, there is no need to do all these, and you people know that better than anyone!”
But the man called Marquis Espiel did not say anything in response, and instead spoke to the ‘Valkyries’.
“Adventurers of the Kingdom, we have already taken the twenty members of the diplomatic mission into custody as well. You would do well not to resist.”
Hearing those words, the five of them conversed with each other with their gazes.
Miu, on behalf of the others, asked Silas with a glance.
“Yeah, he’s probably telling the truth. It is pointless to go against them. They are the true rulers of this country.”
“I’m sorry, Miu, for dragging you and the others into this…”
The Grand Duke of Twilight Land, Silas Theo Santayana, dropped his shoulders dejectedly and declared that he would not resist.
The Mock battleground.
From Abel’s point of view, it happened but left much to be desired in terms of thrill.
(With what I’m seeing, if they ask me what I think…that’d be a bit difficult to answer.)
In his mind, he sighed deeply but did not let it show on his face.
While still feeling distraught, a fast horse arrived, and Count Roberto Rijo listened to the report a little distance away.
When he finished listening to the report, Roberto nodded to the soldier on the stand.
A bugle sounded, and the soldier’s voice echoed around the mock battleground.
“The mock battle is over.”
Abel’s jaw was practically dropping.
(Just like that? What shitty timing to call it quits…that’s it, there go my impressions.)
In his mind, his face was distorted in agony.
Robert, not caring about Abel’s thoughts, called out to him.
“Now, Sir Abel, shall we head downstairs.”
With Roberto leading the way, Abel and the remaining three nobles descended onto the mock battleground.
During this time, Abel was thinking desperately in his mind. About his impressions of the mock battle.
It probably wasn’t the case, but if he continued to follow Roberto, he would be led to the center of the four knight orders.
Then, he finally noticed something unusual.
He was in a position where he was surrounded by the knights, and although the knights had not drawn their swords, they had their hands on the hilts of their swords.
“Now then, Sir Abel, I know this may sound abrupt and for that, I apologize, but I would like you to surrender without any resistance.”
Count Robert Rijo’s voice contained a slight hint of mockery, more so than in previous instances.
“Count Rijo, I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
Abel, while maintaining his composure, remained vigilant of his surroundings.
He was already surrounded and didn’t look like he could break through any direction unscathed.
“Then let me explain it to you so that you understand what I mean. A short while ago, Grand Duke Silas was arrested for treason. Evidence has been found that he sold the treasures of the country to the Kingdom of Knightley and even tried to sell the country itself. The treasure was found in the luggage of the delegation.”
Surely, it must have been planted.
It’s a no-brainer.
The question was the safety of the members of the delegation and the scale of the rebellion.
Meaning, after leaving the capital, would they be able to reach the Kingdom’s borders safely?
He needed to draw out more information.
Conveniently, Count Roberto Rijo then continued his explanation.
“All members of your diplomatic mission and civil officials have been taken into custody. Also, the knights and adventurers in the state guest house have complied without resistance.”
(Well, of course, since you already have the civil officials, they can only comply! )
He screamed out in disgust in his mind but didn’t show it on his face.
“I see. And the adventurers who were visiting the Grand Duke, what about them?”
“Oh, you’re talking about the granddaughter of the Grand Duke and her party. They are witnesses to the treachery of the Grand Duke. Seeing as he must have sold off the treasures through them. So, they are to be put to death.”
Only this time, Roberto’s words were clearly laced with mockery.
“Perhaps, to make an example out of y’all, maybe the members of the diplomatic mission will also…”
At that moment, Roberto’s head flew off.
Abel pulled out his sword, jumped in front of Roberto, and chopped off his head.
He then proceeded to attack the knights in front of him.
The knights, who were supposed to be on guard, were slow to react due to the sheer speed of the attack.
In the meantime, he moved in between the knights, thrusting his sword through the gaps in their armor and helmets, and took them down.
Without a moment’s delay, without stopping for even a second, he kept moving and knocking them down.
As expected, after he had cut down about twenty men, the knights were prepared to counterattack.
However, what was odd was that none of them uttered a single word, and they remained silent.
“And this same bunch were all lively in the mock battle earlier.”
Abel muttered quietly but kept moving.
Although it became more difficult to inflict a fatal wound with a single blow, he still went after the gaps in the armor.
The gaps in the armor are basically joints, with no hard bones, yet packed with tendons.
Any animal would be unable to move once their tendons are severed.
That was Abel’s goal.
Of course, this would be impossible for an ordinary swordsman.
But Abel was a genius swordsman.
He was able to accumulate results and experience, even if only a little at a time.
Although he had accumulated a lot….
He did not expect an attack from his feet.
He did not anticipate an attack from an opponent he had already eliminated.
He didn’t see the attack coming from the guy he decapitated.
The sword in the hand of Count Roberto Rijo, who had been decapitated and was lying on the ground, cut deeply…into the hamstring of Abel’s left leg and thigh.
Abel immediately became still.
Without mobility, even Abel would not be able to stand up against a hundred or so knights.
He was stabbed in several places, robbed of his sword, and pinned to the ground.
“What in the world…?”
Roberto’s corpse rose, probably not in reaction to Abel’s words, picked up the fallen head, and placed it where it had originally been.
“Never thought I’d have my head chopped off…by a mere human no less!”
The tone of the man’s voice, full of mockery and brimming with confidence, was no longer there.
There was only hatred for the swordsman who had cut off his head.
“I see, you are a vampire.”
Abel came up with an answer.
Abel’s beloved sword is a ‘magic sword’.
There are only so many beings that cannot be defeated by beheading with a magic sword.
And when it comes to ‘humanoid’, it’s almost exclusively limited to vampires.
“That’s right, we are vampires.”
The four nobles, including Count Robert Rijo…were all vampires.
The dining room of Duchess Alba’s residence.
There was a water attribute magician drinking coffee with a satisfied look on his face after having his fill.
However, Ryo was left with a big question.
The ramen noodles.
In the many stories of otherworldly reincarnations, ramen is not often reproduced.
The reason for this is the ramen ‘noodles’.
The difficulty in reproducing ramen noodles has to do with ‘Kansui’.
Ramen noodles are made by mixing ‘kansui’ with wheat flour.
This is what sets ramen noodles apart from, say, udon or soba noodles.
‘Kansui’ is a synthetic chemical.
It would certainly be too difficult to obtain another world….
Which is why, in the otherworldly stories, you hear about curry dishes, but never ramen…as far as he could remember…at least…probably…in all likelihood….
But here it is, now, in reality.
It’s a mystery.
“What’s wrong, Master Ryo?”
As Ryo was sinking into such thoughts, a voice called out to him from the side.
It was Duchess Agnes Alba, who was also enjoying her coffee.
“Oh, nothing, I was wondering who made the ramen…”
He decided to come out with it and asked.
“Fufufu, you’re curious aren’t you? I get it, that’s a dish that Lord Shinso created himself.”
Agnes answered more happily than ever, as if she was very happy to be asked.
“That Lord Shinso is a genius!”
“Oh, you can tell! As expected of you, Master Ryo, to realize the greatness of Lord Shinso with just one dish.”
Agnes really seemed happy seeing Lord Shinso complimented.
Even a simpleton like Ryo could tell.
That Agnes has a liking for this person called Lord Shinso.
Even if they’re not the object of her affection, it is somehow pleasing to the observer to see a beautiful-looking woman who is in love with someone else and seems to be enjoying herself.
Of course, in some cases, they may be jealous….
While they were having this conversation, the butler brought a small piece of paper to Agnes.
Agnes took one look at it and her expression turned a little, really just a little shadowy.
But she quickly recovered and burned the paper in the fireplace.
Then she began.
“I have a favor to ask you, Master Ryo.”
“Sure, what is it?”
Ryo had been treated to such a great meal of ramen.
It was only natural that Ryo would want to do as much as possible to accommodate her wishes.
“Please remain in this mansion for a while.”
Ryo tilted his head and asked.
“What do you mean?”
It was a sincere question, but then it suddenly occurred to Ryo.
Starting with Phelps’ words that, “Twilight Land is becoming a little seedy”, and furthermore, the matter of the Order of Assassins that was hired by the rebel faction, and today, at this moment, Ryo, Abel and the others all separated from one another…and some other pieces as well, so, his brain must have analyzed on its own that various information he was unconsciously aware of….
“Is it a coup…?”
The word ‘coup d’etat’ is originally French.
Agnes probably didn’t understand its meaning.
But she understood that Ryo had noticed something, and with a forlorn expression on her face, she told him.
“If you stay here as I asked, I can guarantee your complete safety, Master Ryo. I swear to you that I will release you when this is over. But if you must leave…”
“If I have to leave?”
“You leave me no choice.”
Agnes snapped her fingers as she said this.
At that moment, Ryo was struck by a strange feeling.
A feeling of discomfort…but a feeling of discomfort that he remembered experiencing in the past.
No doubt about it, the first time was with the one-eyed Assassin Hawk, then the Behemoth, Little Behe, and then in the village of the assassin with ‘Hassan’….
“No way, magic nullification?”
Hearing Ryo’s muttering, Agnes showed a sidelong look of surprise.
“This is…a surprise. I wonder how you figured it out…”
“That’s my line. This is magic nullification generated through alchemy, isn’t it?”
(I didn’t think that anyone other than Hassan could manifest a magic-neutral field with alchemy.)
“I am very interested in this technology. If not for the situation being what it is, I would love to see the magic formula…”
“Unfortunately, the magic formula is not visible from the outside…. And it is the sole formula that Lord Shinso made especially for me.”
“I knew it, this Lord Shinso must be one hell of a genius…”
He created ramen and now, a magic-neutral field.
What a talent.
“Now you understand, don’t you? There’s no doubt that you are an extraordinary magician. In the Central Nations, it has been about a hundred years since they have to chant to activate magic, but that does not apply to you, Master Ryo. Still, in this magic-neutral field…”
“Lady Agnes. When did you see me invoke magic?”
Agnes sighed deeply, looked up and answered.
“There’s no point hiding it now. It was when you defeated the assassins of the Order of Assassins.”
“That makes sense…”
At that time, there was no one within a radius of five hundred meters at the very least.
She could have simply been outside of that radius, or had some kind of means to remain undetected.
And Agnes’ words earlier stuck with him.
(It’s been about a hundred years since they have to chant to activate magic…that is true indeed, but…I could have sworn that I’ve heard that exact same wording before…)
And then it came to him.
“Count Haskill Kalinikos.”
Agnes clearly reacted to that name.
It was the last piece of the puzzle.
“Lady Agnes…this is the land of the vampires, isn’t it?