Campione! / Campione! Vol 2 Chapter 4


Chapter 4 – Conference of the Kings
Part 1
Magic originated in Europe.
This was correct from a geopolitical standpoint, but not quite accurate in
terms of cultural anthropology.
The strange techniques of magic and wizardry have existed in the culture
of every country in the world. The majority of powerful magic associations
did start in Europe, but that does not mean that their local magic is the
most proper or mainstream.
In fact, even in recent times, many western magi have devoted their efforts
to researching eastern philosophy and civilization.
Take for example yoga, the Indian mystic art which relied mostly on
incantations. Chinese wizardry included Taoism, Feng Shui, or the doctrine
of the Five Elements.
Japan, the land of the warrior, was also a suitable research subject that
enamored many western magi, and the eight million kami^ unique to
Japanese spiritual faith was also a popular topic of research.
…Unexpectedly, the Mariya family also had close dealings with those kinds
of foreign researchers.
The Mariya family were originally courtiers in Kyoto, but due to vast
differences in stature, they were neither prestigious nor wealthy.
This blood line produced many women with exceptional spirit powers over
the generations.
The current generation’s Yuri was also the same, and like the other girls
who were entrusted to shrines and monasteries to work as nuns or miko.
This tradition had been going on for the past few centuries.
Due to this blood line, the family had substantial influence in religious and
wizardry related areas.
Also during the Meiji and Showa eras, there was a Mariya family elder who
was granted the title of baron, and was a socialite who took an interest in
western culture.
Westerners — had many dealings with those with knowledge about magic.
The Mariya family provided hospitality to researchers who visited Japan for
their studies, and facilitated their research. If the guests came from
Europe, they would even take them out to tour and have fun if the
opportunity arose.
Hence, though it appeared that Yuri grew up in a traditional Japanese
environment, in reality she was well accustomed to interacting with
foreigners.
Daily conversation could be handled in English, and she had the
experience of visiting Europe a couple of times.
…Due to this family situation, it was somewhat ironic that it created an
opportunity for her to be imprisoned by Sasha Dejanstahl Voban.
“It was four years ago when I invited you and the others to Austria, how
nostalgic.”
Voban narrowed his eyes as he spoke.
They were in the library reading room that he had taken over by force.
Crossing his legs, he sat on a rough lead pipe chair. However, the way he
sat was like a monarch sitting on a royal throne.
Condescending and rude, arrogant and grand —
“I was extremely bored that time, and was trying to get a good hunt,
however, I seem to have become a little too famous, and the [Heretical
Gods] are not coming out. Unwilling to show themselves to me, this has
been one of my headaches.”
The only ones listening to him were Yuri and Liliana Kranjcar.
Voban’s attitude and tone were very calm, but his personality was the
opposite. In fact, his actions were often extremely selfish and full of
blasphemy.
“I have several privileges, and one of them includes the right to choose my
hunting prey… However, I have no interest in hunting rats. Only the strong
are worthy of being hunted by me.”
He laughed.
The Devil King who had slaughtered many gods was showing a hideously
distorted smile with his lips.
As terrifying power flowed out continuously from his tall thin body, light
flashed from his sharp emerald evil eyes like the irises of a ferocious tiger.
“A deity suitable to be my prey — this was a problem I had yet to solve that
time. The mysterious ritual to summon a [Heretic God]… If this ritual
succeeds, then I should be able to enjoy myself for a while — ”
The incident four years ago — recalling his anger when Salvatore Doni
snatched away the summoned god, Voban’s smile disappeared from his
lips.
He turned his stern gaze towards empty space.
“I now want to make the same challenge as four years ago, so just like last
time I need your cooperation — ah, but you don’t have the right to refuse,
because no one can refuse what I, Voban has decided.”
Four years ago, in order to complete the [God Summoning] spell which
was regarded by many high level magi as extremely difficult, Voban had
gathered talented miko from all around Europe, and used their miko
powers to summon a god. Since it happened to be during the summer
holidays, it turned out to be an unfortunate coincidence for the Mariya
family who had been invited by friends in Austria.
A miko of Mariya’s caliber was very rare even in Europe.
Which was why the subordinates of Voban immediately discovered her in
their mission to capture talented miko, and determined her to be a worthy
sacrifice to offer to the Devil King.
“Hen, after all you won’t be able to escape, so just go with the flow and
enjoy our hospitality, how’s that?”
The Devil King’s evil eyes glowed with green light.
Yuri felt terrified. Her legs — starting from below the knee were surrounded
by a layer of faint light, and as they rapidly turned white all feeling was lost.
The evil eye authority which turned people into salt.
Right now, she was being targeted by that power. By transforming just a
part of Yuri’s body, it was as if Voban was trying to show off that he
possessed the ability to control this authority with precision.
“Marquis, this joke has gone too far! If this girl dies, there is no other
replacement.”
“I’m not going to do something that stupid. But your suggestion has merit,
to waste such rare excellent talent on a game would be a shame.”
Voban lowered his gaze the moment Liliana gave her warning.
The legs, which had become white inorganic matter, immediately regained
their original color and feeling was restored. Yuri felt relief from the bottom
of her heart.
“One would not immediately behead the chicken that laid golden eggs…
You have such a valuable disposition that I can’t be sure how much will
remain after your death, so please don’t force me to try such an
unnecessary experiment.”
Voban smiled again.
This was a smile with a kind of humorous feeling, a smile full of jeer.
“My servants are all residents of graves, you wouldn’t want to become like
them, right?”
Voban whistled with his fingers.
A figure suddenly appeared behind his back.
Wearing a tattered jacket filled with countless open cuts. It seemed to be a
once illustrious battle outfit, and there was some kind of crest embroidered
on it.
On the belt secured around the waist was a sabre.
The helmet easily reminded one of a knight from the thirteenth or
fourteenth century.
However, the greatest characteristic was the pallor of death. It was
undoubtedly the face of a dead person, expressionless, hollow, and
eyeballs with dilated pupils. The only difference from a real corpse was the
lack of a rotting stench.
( — This is a [Dead Servant]!)
Yuri recalled one of Voban’s authorities. The power to dominate those who
died directly by his hand to become completely obedient servants.
If one were to resist him, that would be the end result.
This was probably even more horrible than being turned into salt. A dead
person has no lifespan, and would never obtain peace once fettered by
this old Devil King.
“The god who resurrected from death — restoring the body that was torn
apart, retrieving life, and descending upon the underworld…”
Suddenly, words flowed out of Yuri’s mouth.
The [Dead Servant] had provoked a reaction from her spirit sensing
powers. A god’s figure appeared from behind Voban’s back. It was a
crowned god whose green skin was wrapped by many layers of bandages.
Most likely, this was the god of life and death who was vanquished by this
old man.
The god who ruled the cycle of life and was the consort of the mother earth
goddess, and finally became the ruler of the underworld.
“Oh? You know how I usurped authority from this god?”
Voban asked with his eyes narrowed.
“Try explaining it. Show me the level of your power.”
“No, no. She probably just suddenly thought of those words. Please don’t
be too concerned — ”
“I will be the one to judge that! Silence is forbidden! Speak!”
Yuri’s body shook at the roaring reproach.
“…The god whose divine body was killed, I know his name to be Osiris and
an Egyptian deity.”
Spell words were summoned by resonance between the powerful spirit
vision and the god.
Consigned into speech, the spell words revealed the god’s sacred name.
Voban nodded, satisfied with what he has he heard.
“Truly amazing, choosing you was correct.”
Voban smiled as if he was very happy. Every time Yuri saw the figure of
that god, she felt crushed by despair.
Amongst the divinities of ancient Egypt, Osiris was considered one of the
more powerful gods.
The father of Horus, the god of the harvest for the previous generation of
kings. The goddess Isis who excelled at magic was his wife. Unable to
return to the living world after his body was cut into fourteen pieces, he
became the ruler of the underworld.
How could one face a monster who defeated a god like that?
Yuri could only feel despair, like a heavy burden weighing on her
body — then she suddenly remembered the words he said yesterday.
‘If something like that ever happens again, please call me earlier…’
The sincere and kind words from the youth whose existence was similar to
the old man before her eyes. He possessed the authority which allowed
him to fly to those in need who called upon his name.
— But, no way.
Yuri thought he did not have a chance of winning.
Kusanagi Godou cannot defeat Sasha Dejanstahl Voban. Yuri understood
deeply since she had made contact with both kings. Though both belonged
to the level of Campiones, their difference in power was overwhelming.
The old man had already mastered his special powers, but the youth was
still unskilled.
It would be like a kitten challenging a tiger, Yuri’s spirit sense declared. If
Kusanagi Godou fought with Sasha Dejanstahl Voban, the old Marquis
would be the victor without a doubt.
In order to avoid getting Kusanagi Godou killed, Yuri did not call out his
name.
Part 2
It was around dusk, and droplets of rain gradually began to fall from the
cloudy sky.
Kusanagi Godou and Erica Blandelli were leaving Jounan Academy, and
on the road home.
A few days ago during gym class, when Erica was playing
baseball — rather, Erica had awakened her love for baseball by striking out
all the boys. And then today after school, dragging the unwilling Godou
along, she made an assault on the baseball club.
” — Come make a bet and see if any of you can hit a ball pitched by me!”
Erica challenged the official players of the baseball club loud and clear.
Godou pitied from the bottom of his heart the baseball club members
whose curiosity was roused by the challenge.
Furthermore, the famed starting catcher of the baseball team was going to
act as Erica’s assistant today. In other words, Erica could pitch as much as
she wants. The weak baseball club, which always lost in the first match in
the qualifying rounds of the National High School Baseball Championship,
had zero hope of winning.
Godou decided it would be safer to accompany Erica rather than go off to
do something by himself.
Finally, he decided to step in by the time he witnessed Erica successfully
striking out the eighth player in a row.
“Substitution! I will replace the next batter!”
Godou shouted at the ninth batter who was walking towards the batting
position with tears in his eyes.
“Oh my, Godou, I feel like you are plotting something.”
“Your atrocities stop here. Let me show you that an amateur is nothing but
an amateur!”
Smiling on the pitcher’s mound, Erica fearlessly faced Godou who picked
up a metal bat.
The one-on-one battle between the pitcher and the batter —
First was a foul. Second was a strike. The third was caught by the catcher.
The fourth was a ball.
Erica who had insisted on throwing straight pitches till now, suddenly threw
an outcurve pitch. Furthermore, it was a high speed outcurve pitch as fast
as a straight pitch!
Even a baseball club pitcher who set their goal on the National
Championship would not be able to throw such a curveball so easily.
Though he was surprised by Erica’s atypical athleticism, Godou still hit the
ball. A sharp hit sending the ball flying beautifully between the third base
and the shortstop.
…In reality, Godou had already predicted such a ball midway.
This morning, lying beside the pillow of the sleeping Erica, was a baseball
comic based on real techniques. In addition, the comic was opened on a
page which described the outcurve pitch in rigorous detail.
— Still, what if she really succeeded in that kind of pitch…
If she entered sports seriously, she would probably reach world class
levels. What admirable talent.
Godou thought as he watched the dissatisfied face of Erica.
“Godou you broke my hard earned winning streak, can’t you read the
mood?”
“For someone who has played baseball seriously for nine years, I couldn’t
tolerate watching that any further! Even though I fully understand you are
an amazing fellow, but please behave yourself.”
The two of them held an umbrella each as they walked home under the
rain.
Before, they were only acquaintances during a visit to Italy, but it had
become much different now. By the time Godou noticed, it had already
progressed to a relationship where they saw each other throughout the day
and walked side by side. The feeling of ill fate was clearly increasing.
Lately, Godou had many secret worries.
There were times when Erica’s presence had a kind of femininity which
exceeded all other girls from the same age. This feeling only happened
when Godou was by her side.
As light as wind, without a single worry, a feeling that being together was
the most natural thing in the world.
This was a bad omen. Perhaps if this situation with Erica became even
more intimate, without warning there will come a day when Godou would
no longer be able to refuse her advances…
“What is it now, Godou, you suddenly look so distracted, did you discover
my new allure?”
Erica smiled all of a sudden.
A gorgeous and charming smile like a blooming flower of Japanese
Camellia. It’s true, such frequent close contact isn’t going to work. Godou
took a step to the side and decided to keep his distance away from Erica.
“No, it’s nothing. Don’t make random guesses.”
“Oh, nothing huh? Ah, that’s right, I just thought of something nice.”
Erica gazed as Godou as if she had ulterior motives, and suddenly spoke.
Closing the umbrella held on her right hand, she snapped the umbrella
with both hands.
“Oh no, the umbrella is broken, what shall I do?”
“Hey! Didn’t you just break it yourself, what are you talking about!?”
Erica was trying to lean close to Godou and take shelter from the rain
under his umbrella.
Godou wanted to push her away, but realized it would be impossible to
accomplish by strength alone. Desperate resistance would be futile. Erica
hugged his left arm tightly and whispered in his ear.
“Isn’t this great? Two lovers sheltering from the rain together like this is
quite nice? Unless you actually want to see me wet?”
‘Til lend my umbrella to you! Go away quickly!”
“But in that case, wouldn’t you get drenched? Please hold the umbrella
properly. Ah, the rain has dripped on my shoulder, could you come a bit
closer?”
Without waiting for Godou’s response, Erica leaned even closer.
Godou felt desperate as the warm and soft body pressed upon him.
Those proportions like a goddess and the stimulating sensations from the
shape of the body transmitted through the school uniform. Furthermore,
the breath blowing at his ear hinted how close her lips were.
Under such an atmosphere, Erica could very well be aiming for something
like a kiss. Godou must escape as quickly as possible!
“Hey, stop it, Erica. This is in the middle of the road and there are many
observers. Don’t you think it’s inappropriate for high school students on the
way home from school?”
Since force will not work he had to try some other method, thought Godou
as he frantically spoke.
“For lovers, this kind of behavior is perfectly acceptable. Ah, a kiss in the
rain, it will be my first time. Same for Godou, right?”
An opponent that cannot be handled by little tricks.
Erica approached with her lips as she ardently spoke in a soft voice. Just
as Godou made the decision to struggle from this witch and escape with all
his strength.
“If you don’t have enough umbrellas, how about I give you a ride? In return,
I do hope you two can listen to my request.”
Interrupted by a calm voice, Erica immediately separated herself from
Godou’s body.
A battle stance — Godou felt surprised that Erica had switched to a high
state of alert. It greatly contrasted with her appearance of a girl who might
cook while humming a tune.
Her gaze was directed towards a young man standing before them.
“My name is Amakasu Touma — have you heard of the History Compilation
Committee? I do errands for that organization, pleased to meet you.”
A man wearing a creased suit and carrying a black umbrella.
Wearing glasses, he gave off a ‘good-for-nothing’ kind of feel.
“Actually, we have a working relationship with Mariya-san. Last time during
the incident with Athena, we provided a lot of help and support from the
background.”
Godou nodded.
The battle with Athena had plunged Tokyo into darkness and destroyed
many public facilities. Godou had heard from Yuri that the History
Compilation Committee had been busy throughout and after the incident,
trying to control the spread of information.
“Uh, what do you mean? I don’t quite understand, however, what is it that
you want to ask me?”
“Godou, please don’t act so friendly, he is probably one of those people
who want to make use of your power.”
“Well, that goes the same for you and me. We’re both birds of a feather.
Also, this time our interests are aligned.”
Amakasu forced a smile at Erica’s accusation. However, his expression
became serious immediately.
“It’s an emergency situation and time is of the essence. We wish to borrow
your power — Mariya-san has been kidnapped and the culprit is Sasha
Dejanstahl Voban. Are you aware of this?”
“…What!?”
Godou felt deeply shocked by this unexpected news. The name he heard
mentioned yesterday and the fact that Yuri was kidnapped.
“Marquis Voban? I can hardly believe it. It would be plausible for him to go
to China where his enemy Luo Hao was located. But coming to this island
nation in the Far East, isn’t that too strange? And what reason does he
have to kidnap Yuri?”
Erica’s tone of voice was contemptuous and clearly full of suspicion.
“It’s not entirely without cause. That young lady actually knew the Marquis
Voban from a long time ago. There was once an incident… Anyway, it is
urgent right now, can you please put aside your doubts and come along
with us?”
“Ok, where are we going?”
Godou answered immediately to Amakasu’s humble request, without an
instant of hesitation or pondering.
“Yes, I hope you can understand this sudden and suspicious request — the
only one who can battle with a Campione is another Campione.”
“I will help, so let’s go to Mariya’s location immediately.”
“Uh, it’s really ok?”
Amakasu felt surprised by Godou’s immediate answer, as he was prepared
to continue his words of persuasion.
Godou nodded, but Erica beside him frowned.
“Godou, please don’t take in such lies so easily. Would you show a little bit
of wariness please.”
“I know. But how can I stay calm knowing that a friend is in danger?”
Erica’s warning was correct. Though he didn’t admit it, Godou agreed with
her.
No matter what, he also had the ‘news’ provided from last night.
“Actually last night Salvatore Doni that brat called me. That busybody told
me about the Marquis Voban coming to Japan, and though he was talking
like an idiot the whole time, I’m sure Erica knows he is a guy who doesn’t
lie, right?”
“Sir Salvatore?”
Though he was a problematic character, but Salvatore Doni was not a man
who lied.
A man who was totally useless when faced with deceptive situations. A
complete failure of a man who would try to solve every problem with a
sword.
“Well, if that’s the case, then there should be no mistake. If that person
revived then who knows when he might be coming to trouble Godou, don’t
be careless…”
“Yes, Erica. It might be troublesome if you got caught up in another conflict
with a Campione, why don’t we part ways here?”
Godou made a suggestion to the companion chattering away.
Last time the fight with Doni seemed to have brought Erica much trouble.
After all, he had become enemies with the Campione who was known as
the [Chief] in Italy. The Copper Black Cross she belonged to had ordered
all assistance provided to Godou to be terminated, but Erica ignored it.
The issue was not resolved, and the relationship with Doni entered a
stalemate.
It could end up being another huge issue. The Balkan Devil King probably
had a strong influence over the Copper Black Cross as well.
That place was unexpectedly close to Italy. However, Erica shook her
head.
“Godou do you plan on abandoning me this number one knight and going
to meet a Devil King? I will not follow such a stupid order. You are still
unfamiliar with these matters, so why don’t you just accept my help
honestly?”
Godou scratched his head at that arrogant face.
Whenever Erica spoke like that, it was usually feigned stubbornness that
stemmed from consideration for him. These feelings contained shyness
and gratitude.
“Amakasu-san, right? So this is the plan, take us both to where that old
man and Mariya are located. We will try our best.”
“Thank you, King. Your assistance is greatly appreciated!”
Amakasu glanced at Godou and Erica separately, and lowered his head in
a very pretentious manner.
It was almost like the motion of a comedic actor.
Part 3
Amakasu drove Godou and Erica to Aobadai.
A library located in a quiet residential neighborhood.
Godou felt perplexed that Voban and Yuri were at such a place. Why
would it be a library — was his honest feelings about the matter.
Deciding to let Amakasu stand by in the parking lot, Godou and Erica
stepped into the library.
— A sudden attack.
A figure clad in tattered clothing slashed at them with a sword.
“An enemy!”
“Leave it to me, Godou you go ahead.”
It was the entrance to the library.
To be attacked at such a place by some weird swordsman, Godou felt that
his life was still full of trials and tribulations. Godou smacked his lips as he
tried to discern what kind of enemy it was.
Erica summoned her beloved sword Cuore di Leone and elegantly
chopped down her opponent.
It was a man wearing some kind of long-hemmed clothing on his upper
torso with a cape-like jacket. He was using a broad longsword skillfully like
a master, but the face under the helmet completely lacked spirit and
ambition.
Almost like a dead person — this thought made Godou shudder with horror.
In reference to games and movies, ‘zombie’ might be an apt description.
Having thus named the new monster —
Another swordsman appeared before Godou.
“Oh, another one!?”
Wearing the same attire as the first, another corpse-like swordsman was
charging towards them.
Erica only gave a glance.
When she knocked down the first one, Erica held the advantage, but she
did not expect things to end so quickly. As expected, another one came
along attacking.
She successfully dodged using pure reflexes, but could not evade the
second strike of the tachi^!
Godou believed so as he kicked forwards.
Godou used the essential actions of a forward kick to send the (clearly)
dead person’s body away. As he faced the second attacker, Godou felt
disgust at the increasingly powerful defensive and offensive capabilities of
his own body.
“Godou, please hold on for a while, I will take care of them soon enough.”
“Then I’ll thank you beforehand… To be honest I don’t think I can take any
of them alone.”
Godou answered with a troubled expression to Erica’s encouragement.
This was because the authority obtained from the god of war Verethragna
could not be used without numerous troublesome conditions.
A sword master far beyond his own capabilities, but was not someone with
unnatural strength like a brown bear, or several tons of heavy body mass,
and definitely not an evil criminal oppressing the populace.
In such a case, Godou had no chance of victory.
Godou hurriedly retreated, planning on maintaining a distance.
Only a few steps away from the sword. The instant deciding whether to
wait or to go on the offensive.
“Death knight who possesses an extraordinary history, please forgive my
pointing my blade at you — however, that important person there is the king
we magi respect, and no amount of insolence will be tolerated.”
The girl’s awe-inspiring voice resounded.
A cute but non-seductive voice full of sweetness, it reminded one of quality
steel — tough yet flexible.
“The crownless king engaging in suspicious investigations, please listen to
the pledge of the knight Liliana Kranjcar.”
The owner of the voice was a young maiden, approaching with casual
footsteps.
She possessed a silver ponytail, and a rigid beauty like a western doll.
Furthermore, her slim figure was like a beautiful fairy. A girl who carried a
surreal atmosphere around her.
“I am the inheritor of the berserker’s stone tablet, the descendant of the
crusading knights. My heart speeds across the sky. Winged king of the
knights, appear in my hand with the essence of dreams!”
A silver sabre appeared in the hand of the girl who introduced herself as
Liliana.
The sword was slender and elegant, drawing gentle curves.
“Come, the foundation of my might, II Maestro!”
Wearing a cape with blue and black vertical stripes, her blue and black
battle outfit greatly resembled the red and black upper garments worn by
Erica.
Liliana exhaled and stepped forward.
Holding her sword she cut her way into the space between the second
death knight and Godou.
“Ah Lily, when did you come to Japan? It’s been so long!”
Erica seemed to know the girl armed with the sabre.
First using a feint with her sword to confuse the first death knight, Erica
casually sent a second horizontal slash at her opponent’s body.
After receiving such a blow, the death knight’s body turned into ash and
scattered upon the ground.
“Do not act so friendly, Erica Blandelli, I am not your friend, and there is no
reason for you to call me like that.”
Though they knew each other, it seemed like they didn’t have a good
relationship. Liliana was responding with an unyielding tone of voice.
“Are these dead people the servants of the Marquis Voban?”
“Yes, have you heard of [Dead Servants]? They were released by the
Marquis to take care of intruders — knowing your existences, they will
definitely come to you looking for trouble!!”
While talking to Erica, Liliana continued to watch her own opponent with
vigilance.
The second death knight attacked her straight on. At the same time, Liliana
also swung her sabre downwards in front of her.
Sword struck sword violently.
One would have expected the sword guards to clash, but it did not happen.
Using some kind of technique, Liliana advanced forward while using her
sabre to deflect the death knight’s sword.
A flash of the sword.
Slashed open by a diagonal cut, the death knight also turned into ash.
Crumbling like a sand castle on a beach, he disappeared in a dry manner.
“…Thank you, I’m saved.”
“No, this level completely cannot count as a crisis for a Campione. I want
to apologize for making a [King] dirty his hands fighting a death knight.
Please grant your forgiveness.”
Godou wanted to thank Liliana who saved him from a tough situation, but
ended up receiving an apology.
Erica laughed to herself from the side.
“What are you talking about, Lily, you probably joined in happily to relieve
your accumulated stress anyway.”
“Quiet, I do not have any accumulated stress. Do not make things up.”
Liliana frowned as she spoke.
What kind of relationship did these two have? Godou listened to their
dialogue with great interest.
“I know, you were at the place the Marquis lived, and likely came along
together, right? It is true that your grandfather is a worshiper of the
Marquis, and to think he even sent his own granddaughter away so easily.”
Hearing Erica’s speculation, Liliana’s face changed. The hunch was likely
right on target.
“However, knowing your overly righteous attitude and the rumored
character of the Marquis, you definitely do not get along, and there are
many things you cannot speak out against. Isn’t that a lot of stress?”
“Be-be-be-be quiet! Do not talk like you saw it with your own eyes!”
Liliana tried to prevent Erica from speaking further with a brusque voice.
…Perhaps, this girl was another victim who Erica played around with.
Godou couldn’t help but feel a sense of camaraderie with Liliana.
Looking so innocent, it was clear that she was no match for Erica.
” — Kusanagi Godou, there is absolutely zero basis in the things your lover
is saying. Please forget them. Yes, I am the follower of the Marquis Voban,
however, as a knight there is nothing dishonorable about it. No, without a
doubt, absolutely none!”
“Ah, I get it.”
Godou politely nodded his head at Liliana who was denying with her face
red.
He also tried to correct a point of concern.
“By the way, Erica is not really anything like my lover. That, truly is
baseless…”
“You do not have to cover it up. Our information network is already fully
informed about your lustful depravity — no, pardon me, intimate relationship
beyond the bounds of normal friendship. Given the skilled techniques of
that female fox, playing around with a young king is easy beyond
compare.”
“Don’t talk like I have been deceived by Erica, that information is wrong!”
Godou yelled reflexively in response.
“Excuse me. However, Sir Salvatore has stated ‘that girl has cut in
between Godou and I, and is very obstructive.’ Besides, your denial is
completely unconvincing…”
Liliana mentioned a name that could not be ignored.
How much more will that idiot create trouble for me? In his heart, Godou
felt the rise of a sudden murderous impulse.
“So Lily, have you seen Sir Salvatore lately?”
“Do not call me Lily. Only on the day before I met the Marquis Voban — Sir
Salvatore was still recuperating, and described what transpired that night
with great detail. In addition, he also talked about you with great passion.”
You — Liliana threw a glance at Godou as she spoke.
It felt like the kind of revulsion a girl obsessed with cleanliness would feel
after seeing something hated.
“Ah, did that fellow say something strange?”
“…’It was a night I will never forget for the rest of my life. I absolutely
cannot forget the night so passionate like a dream, and blindingly bright as
summer fireworks. I offered my all to him, and he responded with
everything he had. At that time, it felt like the world only contained the two
of us, and all else was irrelevant.’ Something like that.”
At that moment, Liliana lowered her gaze, her cheeks blushing slightly.
“I am not qualified to comment on two [Kings] having that kind of immoral
relationship, but if permissible, what I wish to say is, those kinds of impure
actions with Erica are very unhealthy for a male. As for this kind of
dishonest two-timing behavior… Ah, please forget what I just said.”
“Don’t have such weird misunderstandings, all I did was fight the guy!”
Uninterested in Godou’s yelling, Erica spoke.
“I told you before, you have too many openings, which is why you let all
these strange fellows approach you? People like Sir Salvatore, you need
to drive them away with determination!”
“I want to drive them away too, but if they keep coming back for trouble,
what can I do!”
After answering, Godou took a deep breath.
Salvatore Doni was such an infuriating man. Anyway, that wasn’t important
now, just forget about it, and devote all attention to solving the task at
hand!
Determined, Godou asked Liliana.
“Uh, so that old man named Voban is inside, right? Can you take us
there?”
“That was what I came to do. Please come this way.”
Liliana walked towards the depths of the library. The meeting with the
oldest Devil King was about to begin.
Part 4
Godou reached the second floor of the library and walked into the spacious
reading room.
The tall old man and the white-clad Yuri were there.
Unlike the rumors of a mad dog, the old man’s appearance was very
intellectual, with a wide forehead and deep-set eyes. Though tall and lean,
his body did not give an impression of being weak. Perhaps it was due to
the upright posture of his entire back.
Wearing a neat suit, he seemed like an old gentleman.
“Kranjcar, you were very violent towards my servant.”
The old gentleman — Sasha Dejanstahl Voban suddenly spoke.
It was not a reprimand, but held more of a mocking tone.
“My apologies, as a knight, I incorrectly judged insolence against the [King]
and raised my sword. I will accept any punishment.”
“Those kinds of servants are a dime a dozen, take no heed of it.”
Answering as if playing around, Voban looked bored and gazed at Godou.
It was the kind of gaze which seemed rather arrogant.
“You look quite young, but come to mention it, I also become [King] around
your age. Name yourself, youngster. I suppose you know my name
already, but I do not know yours.”
“My name is Kusanagi Godou. Please return my friend.”
Godou reported his name without using honorifics.
After hearing about the exploits of this old man, Godou had no intention of
applying his usual respect for elders.
Godou glanced at Yuri’s condition. She looked a bit pallid, but it did not
seem like she had suffered any serious attack. She was watching Godou’s
face with a worried expression.
“Why!? Kusanagi-san. Coming to this place because of me!”
“What are you saying, wouldn’t it be problematic if I didn’t come? Anyway,
are you ok Mariya? Have they mistreated you?”
“I will not do anything that stupid, this miko is very useful to me.”
Voban cracked his lips open to reveal a sarcastic grin.
“However, youngster, who is this girl to you? Family or wife? Or lover? I
am sorry, but she will be mine.”
“Don’t joke around! If you want to summon a god, do it yourself! Don’t
involve others!”
Before reaching here, Godou found out the gist of things from Liliana.
Whether Voban’s goal, Yuri’s necessity, or the dangers of the [Heretical
God] summoning ritual. There was no reason at all to let this old man
continue with his heinous acts.
Thus Godou reproached him loudly.
Voban yawned as if bored, and was completely unaffected.
“Youngster, this is a gathering of kings. I apologize for the rudeness of
entering your territory without consent. However, do not mistakenly believe
that your words can change my intentions. If you request something from a
[King], should you not prepare to pay the price?”
“Price?”
“Yes, a miko to replace this girl, and one that can summon a god to be my
prey. Without this, there can be no deal.”
The old man did not seem to want to waste words. It looked like
negotiations could not continue.
Godou smacked his lips. Was there any way other than a show of force?
According to rumors about Voban, he was a believer in [Power]. It seemed
like there was no other way but to display the power he possessed — the
authority usurped from the Persian Warlord.
Just as Godou was agonizing —
He noticed Yuri looking at him like she was begging him, as if silently
pleading something.
— Was it due to anxiety?
Godou felt doubt, and released the right fist which had clenched
subconsciously, and relaxed his shoulder.
Yuri nodded greatly, so the guess was correct.
(But then, how should it be done…)
Just now, the words ‘use force’ had crossed Godou’s mind.
Was there no further meaning in talking with Voban?
Even if Yuri had not stopped him, it was something to be avoided.
He himself, the one who always preached to Erica about ‘living a peaceful
life with common sense,’ should find an easier solution to the problem…
At this time, Erica took action.
Until now, she had been waiting in a corner of the reading room with
Liliana. However, she seemed to have noticed Godou’s hesitation, and
walked over before the [King].
“…No good, the issue has become complicated, could you stand down?”
“No, my king. I apologize deeply for my tardiness. We better follow the
advice of our ally Sir Salvatore — please be decisive.”
With a glamorous smile refusing Godou’s request, Erica provided counsel
with the tone of voice of a loyal subject.
Voban immediately reacted to those words.
“Oh, an ally? This cannot be ignored, girl.”
To the old Devil King who had taken a slight interest, Erica gracefully
bowed and introduced herself.
“Honored to meet you. I am Erica Blandelli — the Great Knight of the
Copper Black Cross, and the current [Diavolo Rosso].”
“Paolo Blandelli’s successor? What was the meaning of what you just
said? Could you explain it?”
“Yes, allow me to proceed.”
Erica’s pupils seemed to contain a certain brightness like a happy and
naughty child.
Obviously there were no good intentions.
“I don’t know if you have heard, but my master Kusanagi Godou and our
Italian [King] Sir Salvatore had an intense battle that ended in a draw.
Furthermore, this battle nurtured a bond of friendship between two
[Kings].”
Godou could feel cold sweat from his back.
It was definitely said, that four years ago, the one who foiled the old man’s
plans was Salvatore Doni.
“Nothing was nurtured at all! We fought, yes, but there is nothing remotely
similar to a good relationship!”
“Hoho, though my king says so, but he is definitely intimate with Sir
Salvatore. Isn’t that right, Liliana?”
“Why are you asking me? …Yes, it is true.”
Being asked so suddenly, Liliana answered rather displeasedly.
If you’re not really friends with Erica then don’t be so cooperative!
Godou yelled, but it was too late.
“Sir Salvatore is really concerned about Godou-sama’s matters… Rather
than an ally, perhaps he would be happier if it was described as something
like a mutually loving or brotherly relationship.”
From the sight of this, she must have been played thoroughly like a doll by
Erica.
As he pitied Liliana, Godou raised his head and looked towards the sky.
“…Yes. To be confirmed by a knight of the Bronze Black Cross which is
enemies with the Copper Black Cross, youngster — you are Salvatore’s ally,
there can be no mistake about that fact.”
“In addition, there is one more thing about my master’s victory a month
ago. Would you like to know?”
Erica added more fuel to the fire.
Voban did not answer, but motioned for her to continue with his eyes.
“The goddess Athena — a powerful deity requiring no explanation.
However, Kusanagi Godou fought and defeated her a month ago, but let
her escape just before the very end, and did not usurp any authority…”
“Ho, even if you are bluffing, please do not overdo it.”
It changed.
Unlike the rumors, the old man full of intellectual airs changed his attitude.
That posture was as sharp as swords, and as ferocious as charging wild
beasts.
Sitting on the chair as if it was a throne, he started to shake lightly.
Soft motions of the body, like those of a feline beast. It was unthinkable
that an old man could be producing them.
“You say he fought Salvatore to a draw and defeated Athena! But he has
not even slaughtered a single god! Hahaha, to have accomplished all that,
fighting that stupid fool with no other tricks than his sword, and making an
enemy of the ultimate goddess of darkness? [Diavolo Rosso], what did
Salvatore really say?!”
The old Devil King asked as he laughed with great mirth.
“Yes. That was what he said. As [King] as well as the senior visiting
personally from afar, the Marquis would definitely want to have a
competition of strength. He even said something about understanding
about an elderly body, and something about bowing down in service to the
power of the young…”
“Never! No matter how much that fellow messes around, he would never
say something so ridiculous!”
However, it was too late.
Voban looked very happy, and was smiling mercilessly.
“Good. To make an opponent out of a brat who has not even been [King]
for a year was not my mission. However — feel honored, for I will play
along.”
The emerald green eyes, were flashing brightly.
Eyes of a tiger. Godou felt himself out of breath as he thought of such a
description for the intensity of those eyes.
“Brat — as you have requested, take this girl back. However, in exchange,
you and the girl will become the prey for my hunt.”
Voban violently grabbed Yuri’s arm and threw her towards Godou.
Godou frantically received her delicate body in his arms.
Yuri’s body was trembling slightly, her face pale and bloodless, as if
extremely frightened. Godou lightly stroked her back with his hand to
comfort her.
“Thirty minutes. Take this girl, and go wherever you want. I will set off from
here thirty minutes later to take the lives of you and the girl. You can hide
anywhere you want. I will pursue to the corners of the world in order to
hunt down and corner you. These are the rules of the hunt, understood?”
At this point, there was no other way but to play the game.
Godou prepared himself, and silently nodded.
References
1 . t Kami (#) is the Japanese word for the spirits, natural forces, or
essence in the Shinto faith.
2. t Tachi (i^JJ) is a type of traditional Japanese sword worn by the
samurai class of feudal Japan.

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