Translator: Silver Editor: Namorax
“King Asparuf, what’s going on!?”
The man who spoke was approaching the King with large strides.
He wore luxurious robes reminiscent of priest grabs, his hair was slicked back, and, unusual in this word, he wore a pair of rimmed glasses.
The suspicious person who suddenly appeared didn’t even bother to bow before he spoke, but the king’s answer revealed the man’s identity.”
“Palermo-sama, how is the condition of the Church’s flock?”
When the King asked the ma…… Palermo about his concerns about the ‘church‘, frustration crept into the edges of the man’s gentle expression, based on his attitude towards the king I suspected he was of high social standing.
There were two other people that could barely contain themselves when the ‘church‘ was brought up.
There was only one religion in this land that held any degree of power. This man was without a doubt tied to the Hiruku religion.
Ariane’s and Chiome’s ears pricked up as they glared at the flashily dressed priest who appeared to be around thirty years old.
Probably sensing their gaze, the man turned around without answering the king, only to be utterly startled when he saw them.
“Your majesty! What is the meaning of this?! In addition to the beastmen in the city, what is an elf doing in human territory!?”
The barely maintained mild expression completely vanished as he roughly scolded the people around us.
Neither King Asparuf nor anyone else in his vicinity spoke up against Palermo’s sudden outburst, even from here I could see unrest and distress seeping into the people’s expressions.
Even for outsiders like us, it was obvious from watching their behavior how the balance of power between the two was split.
“Capture that vile beastmen and elf so that they may be brought under the church’s control! Your Highness, I would like a full explanation of this fiasco later! But for now, arrest these people!”
Lille, her two bodyguards and the cavalry who had been brought here as reinforcements all showed their displeasure at what Palermo had said.
While I expected things would get out of hand, I didn’t count on Ariane and Chiome making the first move.
“You’re just a lowly beast and an elf…… You’re worth less than an animal, let alone a human being..”
Ariane’s golden eyes took on a dangerous glint as she took hold of her sheathed sword, while Chiome’s nose twitched after she brandished her dagger.
I wasn’t the only one surprised by their actions…… The king, Lille and Zahar were all shell-shocked by the deteriorating situation.
However, Nina was quick to react.
Although she was half a second slower than Ariane, she drew her own sword and stepped in-between us and the royal family.
“You are in the King’s presence! Sheathe your sword now or this shall be treated as an act of rebellion!!”
Ariane raised an eyebrow and gave a bitter smile at Nina’s command.
“Rebellion…… We aren’t your King’s subjects in the first place.”
Her eyes searched the area as she rebutted in disgust.
Ariane set her sights on the one who had instigated this whole scene and opened her mouth.
“The man with the flashy appearance over there is an undead pretending to be human.”
My gaze naturally returned to Palermo after she made such a shocking statement, only to find him glaring back at me. Atop my helmet, Ponta gave him a t
Palermo had been so preoccupied with the growl he failed to notice Ariane’s approach.
In an instant, Ariane closed the distance between herself and Palermo and unleashed her sword with lightning quickness.
“Gyaaaaaaaa!!! M-My Armmmmm!!!”
Palermo’s screams echoed through the area as a spray of black blood accompanied his left arm falling to the ground.
Things immediately became hectic as Zahar and the other confused soldiers readied their weapons.
“What are you doing?! I am a cardinal of the Hiruku Religion!! Capture those savages that attacked me and kill them!!”
The soldiers under Zahar’s command reluctantly began to surround us at cardinal Palermo’s order.
I figured that he’d been a high-ranking member of the church, but I thought he was a bishop or something, not a cardinal. I wasn’t all that familiar with church hierarchy but that post should be close to the top.
For such a high-ranking member’s true identity to be that of an undead, just what kind of church was the Hiruku religion?
For all intents and purposes, Palermo looked and acted like a human, but I doubt Ariane and Chiome would lie about such matters.
Anyway, this wasn’t the right time to worry about his……
Lille and her father were still trying to comprehend the constantly shifting situation and hadn’t given the soldiers any orders. They simply followed whatever order Palermo managed to get out in-between his screams.
Somehow I had to get him to reveal his true nature all without harming the surrounding soldiers, civilians, or royals.
“Hm. My, my…. This is getting rather troublesome……”
With that comment, I drew my sword with one hand, lightly brandished it once and rested the blade on my shoulder.
The resulting howl and blast of wind were more than a bit effective as the soldiers simultaneously shouted and leaped back. There was even a person who had been so surprised that he cowered down and covered his head with his arms.
While their unabashed dread was a problem, it had its uses.
“Arc-dono! What the hell was that!?”
As this place continued to drown in confusion, Zahar raised his sword and demanded an explanation.
The problem was just that they wouldn’t believe me even if I told them the truth.
Ariane gave me a slight grin when she watched their reactions before focusing her gaze back to Palermo.
“How long do you intend to continue with that poor performance? In the presence of an elf and a beastman? We can immediately tell that you aren’t human!”
Saying this, Ariane swung her sword to deliver a second blow, but this time Palermo saw it coming and leaped backward.
However, that leap was beyond the level of human capability.
The surrounding people let out a surprised gasp and fell into an even deeper stupor when they witnessed it.
The person in front of them was undead…… Elves were capable of seeing the ‘impurities‘ that surrounded the undead, and the superior senses of beastmen allowed them to smell them.
However, humans lacked the means to determine if the cardinal in front of them was an undead or not.
While I could tentatively be considered an elf, it was impossible for me to see these undead ‘impurities‘, so I couldn’t make a judgment call until I saw that abnormal leap.
The only undead who had shown any kind of intelligence had been the spider-chimera and the amorphous monster I encountered in Tajiento.
With his missing left arm and a pained expression, Palermo looked nothing like either of those deformed monsters.
However, that assertion was quickly overturned.
“Tch, to be brought so low by inferior races…… Today is a really unpleasant day, I doubt I can finish the plan by myself now.”
Palermo said with a frown, his face distorting in pain as the stump of his left arm began to swell and grow into a new limb.
“Wh-What is that!?”
Hearing someone shout in panic, a fiendish smile appeared on Palermo’s face.
『Rejoice, for one of the seven cardinals, Palermo Avaritia Liberalitas shall guide you to the land of the dead! Rest assured, it will be a peaceful death!』
A deep and intimidating voice bellowed from within Palermo’s chest, the flesh of his body convulsing as if something was trying to break through the human shell.
Two protrusions tore through the back of the cardinal’s luxurious robe and began to form a new set of arms. Hair started to sprout all over his body and his face started to resemble a cross between an owl and a monkey.
Rows of long fangs lined the edges of a newly formed black beak and a two-meter long tentacle, which resembled the sandworm I faced some time ago, sprung out of his tailbone.
Muscles fleshed out his body, which was now just shy of three meters in height.
His former bespectacled eyes had turned a bloodshot red as he glared at the surrounding people.
Although he looked like a huge, four armed squirrel monkey I doubt that anyone would consider this monstrosity cute.
That man had just transformed into a never-seen-before monster…… even in a world filled with monsters and various races, this was a rather shocking development to see.
Fear and shock colored the expression of those witnessing it, some were falling to their, others cursed their fate and others fled.
The King and Lille were taken aback by all of this and got mixed up with the crowd of fleeing citizens.
When Palermo caught sight of the royal family, a low muffled laughter escaped his beak as he slowly turned his body towards them.
『Hehehe, let’s wipe this kingdom off the map……』
Along with his foreboding comment, Palermo immediately accelerated towards King Asparuf.
Within a single moment, Zahar had grasped the meaning of Palermo’s words and actions, raising his sword and shouting orders at the other soldiers.
“Protect the King!! That thing is after the King’s life!! Stop it at all cost!!!”
The soldiers regained their sense upon receiving his orders and started moving.
“Princess Lille, get back!!”
Nina stepped forward with her sword readied to protect Lille.
A few soldiers tried to block Palermo’s charge, but they weren’t much of a roadblock as the monstrous cardinal simply throw the soldiers with a set of his arms.
On top of being incapable of stopping his rampage towards the King, the soldier that his back arms tossed aside let out a final scream before their bodies were smashed to bloody chunks against nearby buildings.
Ariane tried to pursue but the difference in height and leaping capability were too great for her to overcome.
The soldiers were also useless as human shields.
With a great leap, Palermo seamlessly dodged Zahar’s attack and landed in front of King Asparuf.
『You shall be the first to fall into hell, King!!』
Princess Lille tried running towards her father, but her screams were overtaken by Palermo’s gleeful laughter as Nina held the princess back.
The movement of Palermo’s fist seemed painfully slow to watch.
I doubted even I could make it in time. But now wasn’t the time for unnecessary thoughts.
“Hang on Ponta! 【Dimensional Step】!”