“The time has come…… Tonight shall belong to the world of shadows……”
Those were the words that greeted Beta the moment she got to Shadow’s place.
Shadow is sitting in a chair with his legs crossed and his back to Beta.
The back looks defenseless, but Beta knows that it is the furthest thing in the world.
In his hand is a wine glass glittering under the light of an antique lamp. And the wine that he is drinking without a care…… even Beta, who knows almost nothing about wine, recognizes the label as one of the most precious in the world.
Beta is shocked at seeing the various first grade items decorating the room, until she notices the painting on the wall.
It is Munch’s ‘The Scream.’
It is known as a phantom treasure that cannot be attained regardless of how much wealth one is willing to offer.
Beta almost wanted to ask how on earth he got his hands on it…… but then realized that there would be no meaning in such a question.
Because it is him. That’s why.
That single phrase is more than sufficient explanation in and of itself.
The fact that he owns ‘The Scream’ feels only natural. More like, it could be said that there is no one in the entire world more fitting to own this item.
“The world of shadows. It’s true that with the moon hidden, tonight is indeed a world most fitting for us.”
Shadow gives Beta a single glance, then only brings the glass to his lips again.
“All the preparation is ready.”
He already knows everything. So sagacious is his voice, that Beta feels herself almost hallucinating so.
Actually, he most definitely already knows everything that Beta will tell him now.
But even so, Beta will say them. For this is her mission.
“Under Alpha-sama’s order, everyone nearby who could move have been gathered in the royal capital. Our total number is 114.”
Is it too few?
Considering Shadow Garden’s battle strength, this should be sufficient though.
Beta realizes that she has misunderstood.
114 random riff raff would, in the end, be but supporting actors. In truth, the ones who truly matter are not even 10% of that number. And tonight, he is the main character. The moment she realizes that the role of the supporting actors is to show up the main character, then 114 is truly, truly too little.
“W-, we’re so so-……!”
His words cut off Beta’s apology. What is an ‘extra’? Beta does not understand the meaning of that word.
“No matter. Don’t mind it, that was just me talking to myself.”
“Yes, my lord.”
Beta knows better than to ask any further. Every single thing he says contains meaning so deep that Beta cannot even imagine how far it goes. She has neither the privilege nor the strength to ask.
One day, she will stand next to him, and she will be strong enough to support him in everything he does. That goal is what fuels Beta’s very being.
One day. For the sake of that day.
Beta continues speaking.
“The strategy is to simultaneously attack all hideouts of the Fenrir branch of the Order of Diabolos that are scattered across the royal capital. While attacking, we will also search for Princess Alexia’s magic signature. The moment her position is confirmed, we will immediately change gears towards her protection and extraction.”
Shadow only nods, as an indication for her to continue.
“Overall command will be handled by Gamma, but the on-scene command will be taken by Alpha-sama, with me as support. Epsilon will be in charge of logistical support, and Delta will spearhead the attacks and initiate the start signal. The composition of each squad is……”
Before Beta goes into further detail, Shadow raises one hand to stop her.
In his hand is a single piece of paper.
“It’s an invitation.”
After catching the letter that was thrown her way, she reads it as instructed.
An invitation that was written so badly that it makes Beta both exasperated and furious.
“I’m sorry for Delta, but…… I will be the one to play the prelude.”
“Yes, my lord. I will make the arrangements.”
“Come along, Beta.”
So saying, he turns around.
“Tonight, the world shall learn of our existence……”
Beta is shivering with the delight of being allowed to fight by his side.
The place written on the invitation is a spot deep inside the woods, close to where Princess Alexia was abducted. Shadow approaches in his school uniform.
Beta is hidden a slight distance away, keeping her presence suppressed.
After a short while, two new presences draw near.
Then something suddenly flies towards Shadow.
Catching it with one hand, he takes a look at it, then mutters.
“This…… is Alexia’s shoe, huh.”
At which point.
The figures of two men step out onto the woodland path.
“Hey there, lady-killer. What are you doing, holding Princess Alexia’s shoe and standing there?”
“A~h, now your magic signature is all over it. You are the culprit, Sid Kagenou.”
The two men are wearing the Knight Order’s equipment.
Without mistake, these two are the ones who had interrogated Sid.
“I see, so that’s the way you’re doing this.”
“Yep, this is the way we’re doing this.”
The knights don’t even make an effort to refute Sid’s words, only smirking in return.
“If you had only confessed earlier, then we wouldn’t have had to go to all this trouble, you know?”
“And you would also have been able to get through everything without having to suffer all that pain.”
The two unsheath their swords, then immediately charge towards him without warning.
How foolish…… Beta finds herself struck dumb at the foolishness of these two.
“Well then, Sid Kagenou. We need to detain you on suspicion of kidnapping the princess.”
“Don’t bother resisting, there’d be no point.”
One of them is laughing while thrusting his sword towards Sid.
At that moment.
Sid stops the sword with two fingers, after which there is a flash of light.
Sid’s left leg had just barely touched the man’s neck.
But blood spurts out from that neck.
And there is now a jet black blade dripping with blood extending from Sid’s left foot.
The man collapses while clasping his neck. It won’t be long till he dies.
“YOU FUCKER, WHAT DID YOU DO?!”
The other man slashes at Sid in a fluster.
But his attacks are too simple, too crude.
Sid evades by merely tilting his head, then kicks the man’s leg in exchange.
Everything below the man’s knee is suddenly gone.
The man screams while clutching onto the knee that is fountaining blood.
“My l-, MY LEEGGGG!!”
Then he begins crawling on the ground, desperately trying to distance himself from Sid.
“You bastard, don’t think you can get away with doing something like this to us knights……! If, if we die, you will be the one that everyone suspects first!”
Sid only quietly walks along the path of blood painted by the man crawling on the ground.
“Hii, hiiii……! Y-, you’re finished……! Finished, I say……!”
The man continues crawling in an unsightly manner, fueled by pure desperation.
“When night lifts…… your two bodies will be found.”
“Y-, yea, when day comes you’ll be finished……!”
The man crawls on the ground, while Sid walks on the trail of blood.
“But there is nothing to fear.”
It was a mere moment.
The man suddenly realizes that Sid has already caught up.
Sid’s left foot flashes.
“When night lifts…… everything will be finished.”
The man’s head flies through the air.
With the fountain of blood in the background, Sid turns around.
Beta cannot help but to shiver at the sight.
The Sid wearing his school uniform is no longer there.
In his place is Shadow in pure black.
Jet black bodysuit and jet black boots. In his hand is a jet black blade, and his jet black longcoat flutters in the wind.
With the hood of his long coat pulled forward, the top of his face is hidden in shadows, revealing only the bottom half.
And even that face is covered with a magician’s mask, such that the only visible part of his actual face is the red eyes glowing within the darkness.
Beta almost faints at the sight of that imposing and beautiful figure, but gathers herself together and takes out, from between her cleavage, the the memopad of the book that she is writing, The War Chronicles of Shadow-sama. With a shubabababa, her pencil flies over the paper as a sketch takes form.
Right beside the sketch, she adds today’s Shadow-sama’s analects. All done in merely 5 seconds.
This is a digression, but in Beta’s room, there is a whole wall covered with sketches of Shadow-sama and compilations of his analects. Penning the War Chronicles of Shadow-sama before going to sleep is Beta’s irreplaceable enjoyment.
Then, suddenly the sound of an explosion echoes from afar, drawing Beta back to reality.
“Delta, huh…… the nocturne has begun. Beta, let’s go.”
“Yes, my lord! Right away!”
Beta shoves the memopad back into her cleavage, then hurries after him.
Of course, he knows nothing about this magnum opus that she is working on.