Chapter 12: A sickness? or a Plague? or...
(Sir Atup POV)
A shouting butler came at me.
"Sir Atup! We need your help right away!"
"What is it, Mr. Rick?"
"The Princess is sick and we don't know the reason. The sickness is not in any of our books."
"I see. Gnip!"
"Guard the gate for a while, I have to check something."
"I'll protect it with my life."
"Thank you. Mr. Rick, please send for Milu the alchemist. We need her advice."
"Right away Sir!"
I rushed to the castle to check how the princess is doing. When I entered her room, she was lying there without any energy.
"Oh, it's you Atup."
"How are you doing, Princess?"
"I'm sorry you had to see me like this. Hehe... I don't know what's happening. It's like all my energy has been stolen from me.
"Milu is coming. We'll cure this disease as soon as we can okay?"
"I believe you, Atup. Anyway... This was your first time in my room, right?"
"Oh, I didn't notice it. Sorry for barging in, Princess!"
"It's alright. I always wanted to call you when I was little because I wanted to play."
It must have been really boring for here here as a child.
"Mr. Rick is trying his best but his age doesn't allow him to play long, hehehe."
"Ha...I can imagine him with an aching back."
"Who's having an aching back?"
Milu is here too.
"This is bad-desu."
"Why? What is it?"
"It's the work of a Essence Thief-kun."
"It's a sneaky little monster that tries to feed on defenseless prey. Most of them attack at night-desu."
"It did this much?"
"It can't absorb a lot of energy in one go so it must have been coming again and again at nights when the Princess is asleep-desu."
"I see. Let's set up a trap for it. Anget."
Anget stepped out from the shadows.
"Woo-desu! You scaredu- me."
Anget has a habit of appearing from nowhere so I also developed a habit of calling her whenever I needed her help.
We waited for the night to come.
Milu said it looked like a big bat and it will steal energy by sucking the aura of the victim. So that's possible.
"Absorbing auras, huh."
Slowly the Essence Thief went inside the window. Checking corners for any guards.
When it thought that it was alone, it started to begin its activity.
"Oh no, you won't!"
I rushed at it and tried to slice it with my greatsword but it nimbly evaded my surprise attack.
"I got it now!"
Anget tried to capture it with a net the prepared.
It disappeared. It used <Mirror Image> to evade.
But Anget was already behind it planting her daggers on the creature's back.
"Guhahhh!!! You think this is enough to stop me!?"
"Here you go-desu! Blazing Potion!"
He threw an orange potion and the creature immediately caught fire and it change form.
"What's that? A lesser vampire?"
I fought some vampires before but I never thought that they would sneak in. Most of them try to to face off with me.
"ARggghhhhhh!!!! My master will get you for this!"
It burned into ashes.
"Well, that's that-desu."
"It pretended to be an Essence Thief so it won't be noticed?"
"I guess so-desu. It even mimicked the activity of an Essence Thiefu."
"Okay, so that's what happened. Master huh?"
"I haven't seen any vampire nest nearby." Agnet was in charge of scouting the area outside.
I guess we have to wait for this "Master" to come knocking on our doors.
The next few days went by and the Princess was back to her original healthy self.
"Thank you very much! Thank you very much!"
The butler Mr.Rick kept bowing his head to me, Agnet and Milu for curing the Princess.
The Princess herself went to thank us.
"Thank you again for saving my life. You always have, even when I was little."
"But I never met you when you were little, Princess."
"You saved us, me and the kingdom. By defending the bridge all these years. Thank you."
"It's an honor to serve. But it's not over yet. This "Master" might come any day now."
"Atup! I think it's coming!" Agnet spotted something over the bridge.
The skies darken and something unnatural covers the sun.
"The time for mortals is over. Our time has come!"
Stories inside the Kingdom!
How can I...
"What are you thinking about, Agnet?"
It was Tero, the demon lord kid.
"Why do you care about it?"
"I have nothing to do, you know. Not much, I mean. Also, I have lived thousands of years! I might have an answer for your question."
I see. He's right. He has more experience than me.
"You see.... I... You know..."
"Hmm? Is it about killing someone? Torturing villagers? Playing some unique cruel game?"
I'm starting to think that this is a mistake.
"No wait! Let me help! I'm trying to be helpful here."
"Okay... How can I show Sir Atup that I'm worried about him?"
"Okay, I'm leaving."
"Wait, wait, wait! Please wait!"
He went in front of me in a slide with his knees on the ground.
"Hoo... I understand it now."
"Then, what do I do?"
"You should punch him and tell him what you feel."
This was a mistake.
"Got it. I don't know if I'll take your advice though."
"Think about it!"
Agnet walked away, disappointed in how she wasted time with Tero.
"That's what my father always did to me... Did I say something wrong?"
"I got you now, Tero!"
<Milu threw Holy Potion>, <Tero casts Instant Teleportation>.