Guidance of the Carbuncle
The exterior of the Berneze guest house had all the extravagance of a royal palace, and the interior was no different.
There were oil paintings by the genius halfling painter, Proton, statues of goddesses that were said to have been turned into stone by a devil, and even the vases containing flowers were said to be made by famous potters.
The porcelain pot that Jeanne was looking at now was worth the same as a mansion.
And so I picked her up and pulled here away. The last thing I needed was for her to start breaking things.
Jeanne wasn’t that interested in vases to begin with, and she did not protest.
“One’s hunger cannot be satiated by looking at art.”
“Perhaps. However, it does richen the heart.”
“My chest is quite ample already.”
She boasted provocatively. I wasn’t sure if there was quite enough there to boast, but it was not something one should point out either. And so I just led her away by the hand.
Then I asked Ryoma,
“Still, this is an impressive building. Does the financial power of this city know no bounds?”
“There are no royals in this city. There is more money when less is wasted.”
“And I suppose the money that was saved was used for this building then.”
“Well, this building is necessary for trade.”
Jeanne looked puzzled by this.
“Of course, it is. We must entertain guest merchants who travel from afar. It will be easier to do business if they know that Berneze has money.”
In the world that I used to live in, people often showed their watches as a way of communicating their wealth. Even in that other country known as Japan, there were people who cared more about the price tag than the dial face.
People were eager to make their financial situation appear favorable.
“Men are such fools. They only care about appearances.”
“I won’t deny it, but women are much the same. You are just special. A saint.”
And with that, we entered the banquet hall.
There were two men dressed like butlers standing there to open the door for us.
And what waited for us on the other side, might as well have been another world, as it was so glamorous.
The interior was impressive, much like a throne room. And it was filled with people who were extravagantly dressed. The aura of nobility.
And there was something like a passionate excitement in the air as well.
“A-amazing. It feels so different from when I visit as a merchant.”
I was sure that she was right. After all, every young man in the hall had their eyes fixed on her.
And they whispered to each other, ‘had such a beautiful girl really existed in this city?’
It was always surprising how much a woman could change with some makeup and a dress. Ryoma had always had a strong appeal, but now she looked like a proper, high-born lady.
They all rushed to ask her to dance, but Ryoma seemed troubled. And she quickly fled to my side.
I chuckled and said,
“Is this the same woman who unleashes bullets into her enemies on the battlefield?”
“Of-of course, it is. It’s only that I’ve never danced with a man.”
“In that case, will you give me the honor of being your first?”
I said as I went down on one knee and offered her my hand.
Her face went bright red as she hesitated, but it wasn’t difficult to make her come to a decision.
“You could always dance with a complete stranger as well. However, I think it would be better for you to step on my feet, than someone else. After all, I’m quite used to it.”
Of course, this was a reference to how many times my feet were stepped on during practice. Ryoma’s face turned even more red.
“You are quite cruel, Lord Ashta. However, you really do leave me with no choice but to dance with you.”
“It was all part of my plan. Don’t they call me the Demon King who used cowardly methods?”
I said with a smile, and Ryoma finally laughed.
And like that, I gained the honor of being the first person to dance with the beautiful half-elf. And once we started to dance, all eyes in the room were on us.
I did sense that some of the looks were filled with more murderous anger than interest, but I didn’t care. Besides, there was little I could do when so many of them were like that.
And so we danced silently. And though we were beginners, we seemed to be doing well.
“I’m good when it counts.”
Ryoma said with a smile. It was a good thing, and I praised her for it. Then I looked towards Jeanne.
Many young men appeared to be asking her to dance, but she ignored all of them as she took food from the tables.
There was something surreal about watching a beautifully dressed saint eating food as if she was starving. It was enough to dishearten the young men who had probably fallen in love with her a moment ago. Still, the ones who didn’t give up became her waiters, and would bring her more food and drinks.
“I applaud their persistence.”
Said Ryoma. It seemed like it was the same in every world. One had to work hard to gain the attention of a lady.
“Well, I don’t think we have to worry about Jeanne. No man would be able to take her home.”
“You sound like her guardian, Demon King.”
“Perhaps I am. No, an owner. She always reminds me of a golden retriever.”
“You do treat her like a dog sometimes.”
Ryoma suggested that I should throw her some bones as a test. Something I would never do.
Besides, I was quite sure she would go for it.
Ryoma laughed merrily when I said this.
It was hard to not be captivated by the smile of such a beautiful elf, and so I didn’t even try to resist it. However, it was then that I noticed that something was clawing at my trousers.
What was it? I looked down at my feet and saw a strange creature.
Well, perhaps fantastical was a better word.
“What is that?”
Ryoma asked in surprise. And so I answered.
“It’s a Carbuncle. Still, I didn’t expect to see one in a place like this.”
“It must be someone’s pet.”
“They are not easily tamed. In any case, this one is not owned by any of the merchants here.”
“How can you know?”
“I recognize it. Though, we’ve only met once.”
It was likely Robin Hood’s carbuncle.
“Robin’s pet? Oh, but how adorable it is.”
Ryoma said as she stretched out a hand towards it. But the carbuncle dodged her and moved away.
“The creature dislikes me.”
Ryoma looked a little surprised. The carbuncle then returned to tugging at my clothes.
It seemed like it was desperately trying to tell me something.
I tilted my head in puzzlements. And then I suddenly felt a chill run down my spine.
I suppose it was like a sixth sense.
My eyes followed the direction that the carbuncle’s nose was pointing to. There was a large glass window. Something was moving about twenty meters behind it.
And it was just as I caught sight of it, an arrow was unleashed as it tore through the darkness, shattered the glass window, and came straight towards me.
It was moving so quickly that the average person wouldn’t have been able to see it. It would have gone straight into their heart. But I was no average person.
I was born as a Demon King, and so my body and eyesight were that of a Demon King.
And so I grabbed the arrow out of the air before it could pierce me. That was when the others realized that there was an assassin.
The guards immediately moved to protect Marco Polo, as he was the host. And then they waited for further orders.
Marco pointed to the broken window and said,
“The assassin is in the building facing us. You must catch them no matter what.”
The guards all rushed out at once. But I decided to move in the opposite direction. This was because the little green creature was guiding me.
It started to run as if it wanted me to follow.
I told Ryoma to help protect Marco, and then I chased after the carbuncle.
Ryoma grabbed the pistol that was strapped to her thigh, and then moved in front of Marco.
She went from being the belle of the ball to a rose with thorns. I was reminded of just how capable she was. And then I turned my attention towards the assassin.
I had an idea regarding the assassins identity. And if I was right, he would run away, straight to Demon King Dagon. And we may never meet again.
However, I did not want to lose an archer who was capable of shooting so accurately from that distance.