“Are you satisfied with our service, dear customer?” I said with a clerk-like smile.
The daemon’s eyes shook. I could see fear and disbelief in his gaze.
“Impossible!” He cried. But a glance at the place where I was a moment ago was enough for him to understand the situation.
There, the bodies of the two seventh-layer daemons lay on the ground, sliced into pieces.
I curved the corner of my lips in a mocking smile. “Please, remember not to visit us ever again.”
Then, my sword moved, and the head of the daemon flew in the air while blood spurted from his neck in great amounts.
I waved my hand slightly and created a barrier, stopping the blood from falling into our bodies before looking in Daisy’s direction.
“You were careless, Daisy. If I would not have been here, Iris could have died.”
“… Sorry, your highness. I made a mistake.” Daisy looked at the ground like a scolded child.
I shook my head amusedly and stroked her head softly.
“However, well done in cornering the enemies like that.”
As though the depressed expression of before was a lie, Daisy looked at me and smiled brilliantly.
“… Prince Claus, are you alright?” Iris asked with a worried expression. She was looking at the hand I used to stop the attack of the daemon.
Currently, blood was flowing from several cut-like injuries there.
Daisy seemed to just notice the injuries because her expression changed.
I smiled wryly and waved my hand helplessly. “Stop, stop. It is just a scratch.”
It’s true. The only reason these injuries are there is for a dramatic effect.
After all, my final target is to get Iris on my side. For that goal, these injuries will help.
Iris’s expression said it all. Her eyes showed a gloomy and complicated light. She probably was ashamed and touched by the fact I was injured just to save her.
Daisy, however, was different. After the initial panic, her eyes opened wide in realization, and then, her expression turned cold.
I could feel her cold gaze piercing my body. Instantly, I realized I made a mistake.
Because I was too focused on Iris’s opinion of me, I ignored Daisy’s feelings.
Sigh… Well, I’ll take care of that later.
Despite Daisy being angry, she did not forget about her duties as my servant. She quickly took some bandages and first aid objects from a bag and used them to treat my injuries.
When she was done, she sighed.
“It’s done. With your highness’s strength, this kind of injury will be gone after a night of rest.”
I nodded with a smile. “Thank you very much, Daisy.”
Daisy nodded gloomily and fell silent.
Damn, this is a headache.
Fortunately, Iris decided to speak at that moment.
“… Prince Claus, sorry…”
“Hm? What about?” I asked.
“… It’s just, you were injured due to me. Even though… Even though I’m so indecisive and rejected you several times…” Iris bit her lips with a self-blaming look. “I was so useless… You and Daisy were fighting the enemies, but I could only look while you were injured, unable to do anything.”
I sighed and grabbed her hand. “Fool. Iris, you are someone dear to me. No matter what you choose, I will be always there for you.”
Iris’s eyes opened wide. She then lowered her head while tears trickled down her eyes.
“… You are always like this.”
She then stood up and went running towards the tent.
I smiled inwardly. This girl is already in my bag.
But before I could start to celebrate, Daisy’s ice-cold gaze wake me up from my daze.
“Your highness, don’t you have something you need to tell me?”
“… Mmm… I’m sorry?”
Daisy looked at me with an enraged look, but after a few seconds, her rage disappeared, replaced by a sad gaze.
“… Your highness, I don’t like it.”
“It’s a different story if you are injured because there was not another option. But I know that with the daemon’s strength, it was not enough to injure you… You… You allowed these injuries in purpose.”
I sighed. Yeah, I was too rushed for success and ignored Daisy’s feelings.
Daisy is my personal servant; thus, she can be considered as one of the people closest to me.
Therefore, she is also someone that knows a lot about my abilities.
Although she is unaware of the true extent of my strength, she knows that it’s impossible for a sixth-layer daemon to injure me, even if he uses his life in exchange.
“… Your highness, do you know how I feel when I see you injured? I feel my heart clenching! I can understand the reason you did that. But, is it so important that you have to injure yourself!? Is it so important that you have to worry me this way!?”
I sighed. At this point, I can only apologize.
“Sorry, Daisy. I promise you I will never do something like this. I will always put my safety first. But…”
“You can’t blame me if I put myself in risk to protect any of you.” I said gently.
Daisy blushed and looked at the ground.
“… It’s alright as soon as your highness understands.”
I smiled and kissed Daisy in the lips.
“Now, go to sleep. You must be tired.”
“I want to sleep in your lap.”
“Not now. I’m not sure but maybe I’ll need to do something later.”
Daisy tilted her head, but she did not insist.
“I understand. Goodnight then, your highness.”
Daisy then went to sleep in her tent.
She probably was very tired, because less than five minutes later, I could hear her even breathing.
I remained seated outside for a while. Using this rare peace to think about different things.
But soon, the person I was waiting for moved.
With a smile, I silently moved through space.
In another part of the forest, Crown Prince Alan and co. were frowning while looking at the corpses around them.
“What is happening?” Alan asked in a cold tone.
A middle-aged man behind him answered. “Your highness, these people are daemons.”
“Daemons? What are they doing here?”
The middle-aged man sighed. “It looks like we are not the only ones with plans for this expedition.”
While the middle-aged man was talking, Christine, Alan’s fiancée, walked towards them.
“Alan, there is something wrong.”
“More bad news?” Alan frowned.
“I fear so. I lost contact with the teachers controlling the formation. They stopped sending us information since a while ago.”
“… What about the communication with our pawns in the forest. Can we still communicate with them?”
Christine hesitated before answering. “We still can, but we lost communication with a third of them.”
“A third?” Alan was surprised. “Are they dead?”
Christine nodded. “Probably.”
Alan’s expression darkened. It was just the first day, but their losses were already so high.
Moreover, their plan was still in the starting phase.
“Your highness, what do you want to do?” The middle-aged man asked. “In my opinion, it’s better if you forget about killing Prince Claus for now and focus on the daemons and rescuing the students. Otherwise, the losses you will suffer will be staggering and you will be unable to realize your other goals.”
Alan shook his head immediately. “Impossible! We have put so much effort into this plan to kill that bastard! We must do it, even if all the people in this forest die! Claus is the biggest obstacle between the throne and me! He must die!”
Just for this plan, Earl Riea and the Empress had mobilized a great amount of resources. Just the money they used to suborn and buy several teachers and students was staggering. Plus, there were two beyond-twelfth-layer practitioners Earl Riea mobilized and the crown prince’s transcendent bodyguard (thirteenth layer) as well.
Besides that, Alan mobilized all his [Numbers], his personal assassination group. Although several of them were killed by Claus in Hidden Cave, the remaining assassins were still a very powerful force.
Alan also brought a hidden card to create chaos in the expedition.
Everything was to deal with Claus. Alan was ready to kill Claus and his rumored teacher regardless of the cost.
Thus, he was definitively not going to give it up now.
“Tell our pawns to find that bastard location. We will start the plan as soon as they find him. We can’t afford more mishaps.”
The middle-aged man and Christine could only nod.
Near the crown prince’s location. An old man was observing everything in secret.
He was the old man the emperor sent to make sure Claus dies. Although he did not make contact with Alan, he had been observing everything from start to end.
And to be honest, he was very disappointed.
He was disappointed by the fact that the current heir of the throne put his personal interest above the wellbeing of the empire.
However, there was nothing he could do.
“The emperor, the empress, and this crown prince… sigh…”
The old man shook his head. He then took a step and disappeared from this place.
Even if it was not his mission, he was going to do everything in his power to protect as many students as possible.
That was his duty as a protector of the empire.
But suddenly, he saw a young man seated in the branch of a tree, looking towards him.
“… Prince Claus.”
The young man smiled softly.
“I was waiting for you.”
Current schedule: 10 Chapters/week