In her room at the Tower of Truth, Marlene the Sage faintly frowned as she noticed the disappearance of her subordinates’ magical signals.
Whitehare, the Dark Lady, possessed some sort of power to hide her attributes from [Identification].
At its most basic, [Identification] was a skill that made use of the identifier’s own experience and nature to analyze the information they took in through their eyes, ears, and skin, then expressed it as numbers. But that didn’t mean the user wasn’t capable of gathering more than just vague information — with the help of the skill, the number they saw was virtually the exact reflection of the target’s power.
However, humans possessed weaker senses compared to demihumans and monsters, forcing them to spend more magic to activate the skill. Furthermore, the maximum attribute number the skill could display was limited to ten times the user’s own. This was simply because the standard for measurement was based upon the user, and if there was too much of a power gap, it wouldn’t be able to accurately measure the difference. The skill user could only vaguely sense that there was ‘a lot’, like how a human lacking knowledge could never grasp the size of an ocean.
The Warrior had reported that he was unable to identify Whitehare’s abilities, but Marlene thought it very unlikely that the Dark Lady could have over ten times Gold’s power.
Any monster with such power would even stand above Catastrophe-class monsters such as normal dragons and Dark Generals. They would be the ascendant Calamity-class, and in the whole history of this world, such existences could be counted on one hand.
Calamity-class described dangerous existences that were capable of destroying several countries. Whitehare had certainly done so, but that was because she’d attacked the World Tree Saplings. It was improbable she truly had the power to face the countries head-on.
Judging from the records of Whitehare’s battles as well as the fight at the auction hall of Trestan Kingdom where she was first sighted, Marlene had concluded that it was impossible the Dark Lady could have gained power equivalent to a Hero in just a few short months.
Marlene hypothesized that the Dark Lady Whitehare was a demihuman with a special ability, similar to the human Children of God, and that she could only exert enough power to destroy a city under limited circumstances.
Either that, or there was another possibility…
“The damn demihumans are helping her.”
Today, humans viewed the demihuman races as nothing more than cattle, but in the past, their magical culture had been far more developed than humans. Examples of such advanced magical races were high elves and dragonkins. Fearing the threat they posed, the human race had driven them to extinction a century ago.
Of the beastman races, only the canine and feline races still survived, as they were useful as labor for humans. According to the literature kept at the Tower of Truth, many beastman races had survived until several centuries ago, and the herbivorous races among them had possessed highly advanced magical technology.
Then Whitehare should either be a survivor from one of the extinct beastman races; or she possessed an advanced magitool left behind by the previous civilizations, perhaps by the high elves; or she had people helping her in her quest.
“If the demihumans are backing her, then I just need to deal with them first,” Marlene giggled, “oh, Whitehare… I’ll slaughter your comrades everywhere, and there won’t be a thing you can do about it. Ah, but then maybe sending those boys to go alone was a bit hasty? Well, whatever. I have plenty of replacements.”
Her soldiers were those who’d endured the torture that she called her hobby. They’d cried, they’d wailed for days and days. While most had drawn their last breath in agony and despair, some had had their minds broken and warped. They no longer held Marlene’s interest and were kept alive as guinea pigs for her experiments. They received training, and Marlene used them as obedient lab rats or as vanguard soldiers. Still, the boys she’d sent out had been getting uppity recently, so she didn’t quite care whether they lived or died.
Marlene sighed. She looked at the magical signal map once more and noticed that the powerful magic signal she assumed to have been in combat with Whitehare was currently moving fast, as if being washed away to somewhere.
Marlene had been convinced the powerful signal was some sort of high-rank monster, like a chimera or a manticore. But then, was there a reason for Whitehare to have spared them?
Was her conjecture correct, that Whitehare had limitations in using her power? Or was there a reason she didn’t kill the signal?
“…can’t be that stupid pervert, right?”
The first time Marlene met him was when she was still in her mid-teens. It was at a dinner party at a certain country. The blond, handsome youth had greeted her with a dashing smile and said:
“How beautiful you are! Please, become my 6827th woman! Allow this Calimero to show you the meaning of true love!”
Marlene had burned that thing to a crisp… or attempted to, at least. As the flame spell that had engulfed him as well as a few other unfortunate nobles let up, Calimero once more showed himself from behind the obese nobles he’d used as a shield and said:
“Such passion! Come now, don’t be shy, my dear!”
If the Warrior hadn’t stopped her back then, the whole country would’ve been a scorched wasteland.
As Marlene watched the lights on the map, she began working on her “Blademaster Murder Plan” that she’d started. It was practically her hobby by now.