The fortress was huge and large. Every corner was filled with darkness. The only light was coming from the Great Demon King’s breathes, who was sitting on his massive throne.
“You have done well, getting here. But while you fooled around with women, I prepared.” And then he laughed. Laugh echoed throughout the chamber. And that laughter caused earthquakes. I could barely stand.
“Hiro!” he said with his deep voice, endlessly laughing. But I still stood there, watching the Demon King. And the demon stood up, raising his large two-handed battleax, which was two times larger than me, and swiped it towards my neck. And as his weapon was about to hit my face, he said one last time, with his higher-pitched voice. “Hiro!”
I winced, as I felt something touching my shoulder. “Hiro!” I quickly opened my eyes and straightened my back.
“I’m totally awake!” I said, looking at blurry Alwine in front of me.
Alwine sighed. “It has been two weeks, and you’ve been non-stop tired. This is very alarming!”
“I can’t help it! Those two are monsters. I have never slept with anyone in my life, yet now I’m between two women! Two!” I said with a slightly louder voice. “This is all happening in the wrong order. I haven’t even kissed Alice. I’ve barely kissed Aldrynte once. And we are supposed to be dating. Yet nothing has happened. Instead, it’s them who get along well. I think I misunderstood them, and they are now dating each other!”
Alwine sighed. “Have they been fighting for the past two weeks?”
“So, enjoy at least that part! They’re just getting to know the other wife! That’s fine!”
“The other wife?”
Alwine giggled. She was making fun of me.
“But what’s the point if I can’t sleep at night?” I asked.
Alwine sighed once more. “You’re a very unique person, Hiro. I never expected that someone like you would have problems like those.”
“And I thought you were wise. At least you understand me. If I was talking about those issues with Elbert, he would laugh his ass off. He would tell me to ‘enjoy the moment’.”
Alwine got herself seated next to me, pulling one leg over the other. “So, tell them to sleep in their own beds?”
I looked away, slowly.
“Hiro… If it’s a problem for you, and you can’t sleep… then perhaps you should take care of yourself? I assume that you’re enjoying sleeping next to the two beautiful wonderful women for some reasons as well. But I can see that you’re not sleeping well, and that’s bad.”
I looked at her. She was absolutely right. “I’m like a kid, aren’t I?” I mumbled.
Alwine couldn’t help but laugh. “Well… yes. But that’s fine. You’re you. And everything has its own time. Just because you can’t sleep well right now, doesn’t mean you can’t do that in the future. You’ll get used to it. But you need to have nights where you can snooze off.”
I sighed. “You’re right.”
“Here. I got an idea. What about you give them some excuse that you’re off for one night? I can even pitch in! But secretly you’ll spend the night in my room?”
I blushed, immediately.
“Don’t worry. I’ll be sleeping elsewhere. I have my own home too.” She then stopped, peeked at me. “Unless… You know, I can prepare you for those two.”
I began to breathe more heavily, which made Alwine laugh. “You’re so easy to make fun of.”
To be fair, it felt like a fantastic idea. But it would’ve been also fantastic assassination opportunity for her. But it was also an opportunity for me.
“Deal!” I said, smiling. “I’d really appreciate that.”
“Good,” Alwine said, nodding. “Now, let’s get down to the real madders, shall we?”
I looked at her. “Right. What’s up?”
“First of all, your final class will be in three days. So prepare something special. Secondly… this!” She pulled out two letters and gave them to me. “Since you snoozed off, they gave the letters to me. Thankfully, I knew where you hide.” As I examined them, my eyes began to shine. I knew very well what one of them meant. A wide smile appeared on my face. The second letter - a simple letter forwarded to me without any seal or such - was something that I knew about and had gotten before. To be fair, normally someone else would deliver me these letters, so it felt slightly dangerous that she gave them to me.
“Now I’m not gonna ask you why, but here’s the request. It was something hard to gather, but I tried to get as much as I could!” She pulled out a very thin notebook, giving it to me. “You can keep it. But when you’re done with it, you should either hide it away or destroy it. You don’t want it to land in the wrong hands.”
I nodded. Of course, I didn’t plan to do it. I immediately opened it and skimmed through it. “That’s all the information you have on the Cosmic magic?” I asked.
She nodded. “It’s very little, I know. Cosmic magic is extremely rare. Especially written and known parts. There are some names in there, some of the currently known living cosmic magic users. Please do not tell anyone about these names. I hope I can trust you with that. I only gave you them because you’re the hero, and you’ve proven yourself.”
“Of course,” I said immediately.
“I’m sorry. I feel like I didn’t help you much with that. But like a lot of other rare special magics, these magic knowledge usually go to the grave with the user. Only a very few tales live to tell the tale. And these might even be dismissed as rumors.
“Yet you know how they manifest on spyglass,” I murmured.
“That’s because adventurer’s guild often has someone with the user who tests their powers out,” Alwine explained. I began to skim it once more. There was a moment of silence. “Sadly, I don’t even know if all of that is true,” she mumbled.
I frowned. So, I supposedly got the rarest one of the six elements, yet I can’t even use it. Not only I can’t cast it because of my limited amount of magic pool, but also because I don’t know how or what. But for the first time, I saw images, drawings, ideas that I could try to test out.
“Thank you, Alwine. This means a lot to me,” I said, giving her a smile. Alwine blushed slightly. “Of course. I’m glad to help.”
“This will help one of my students out, for sure! Well, I have to go now. I got some good news, and I have to go, now!” I said, stood up, and stretched myself.
“Alright. I’ll see you in the evening.”
“I still have to let you into my room, and such!” she reminded me.
“Ah. Yeah. Of course!” I quickly said. “Anyway. I have to go. Bye!” I stood up and rushed away. In the process, I opened the unsealed letter. As expected, there was a piece of paper in it with no words.
But as I stared at it, words began to appear, and I could read it. In the end, only I could read it. And if nothing happened, it would mean that someone else had tried to read it, destroying the message. It basically meant that Alwine didn’t try to read my two letters.
Our investigation has finally reached a conclusion. Every evidence shows that Alwine is the assassin. Every moment she has gone missing, there has been an assassination. And every moment she’s with you, or under our gaze, there has been none.
The last week when we managed to have an eye on her every single moment, there wasn’t even a single reported disappearance. Yet we haven’t caught her in the act, not even once. This leads us to believe that she knows.
We have enough evidence, and we cannot risk losing any more citizens. We have to act now. As your time as a teacher is up, we’ll attempt to arrest her the next evening after you’ve left, at her place. We cannot risk doing it in the city, where casualties might be larger. Since it’s in the matters of security of our kingdom, we’ll ask you to leave this to us.
We thank you for cooperating with us. Your work and pretense have been invaluable. We wouldn’t have made as much progress without you. But with that note, we ask you to be careful and stay away from her. She might realize that we are after her, and she might become desperate.
You’ve done more than enough.
Honestly, I had a hard time believing him. Not that he was lying, but that Alwine was the assassin. The way she acted, the way she talked to me, didn’t make sense. Of course, she could’ve been just an amazing actor.
But perhaps that’s why it was a good idea to sleep in her room. She could think it was a trap by me, and I could actually sleep. Or I could also try to set up a trap of my own, ready to act if it was necessary.
Either way, I was about to get a new toy, so I probably had something to do anyway.
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- Matthew E. Damson
I'm someone whose pen-name is Matthew E. Damson. Some others know me as Elven. I'm also known as elf, elfie, elves, pointy ears, and some more. To be honest, I have no idea why they call me other names, but they create nicknames, not me.
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