The Best Assassin, Incarnated into a Different World’s Aristocrat - Chapter 126
- Chapter 126 : The assassin negotiates
I was face to face with the snake demon Mina.
So far, we had only exchanged a few jab lines. But now, it was time for the negotiations.
I checked to see if she had slipped anything weird into the wine she offered to us.
The safest decision would’ve been not to drink it, but right now, we were on “friendly terms”.
Even if it was only in appearance, we needed to pretend as if we trusted her.
…Looks like it’s not poisoned.
I gestured with my eyes to let tarte and Dia know that it was safe, and sipped it first.
Yeah. The red wine of Courtogne really tastes great.
This was the fruit of human culture. Maybe this was the reason why Mina fell in love with it.
[I’ve had countless human liquors, but this one is the best I’ve ever tasted.] (Mina)
[That we agree on.] (Lugh)
I thoroughly savored the wine.
The state of preservation was also perfect and didn’t detract in the slightest from the striking flavor of Courtogne.
When I quenched my throat and glanced at Mina, she replied with a meaningful smile, waiting for me to say something.
Apparently, she wanted me to start the conversation.
[Let’s get straight to the point. …Are you willing to continue our collaboration?] (Lugh)
[My, why do you ask?] (Mina)
[Because of our battle with the subterranean dragon. That last demon had been making preparations for a while, and you were aware of that. So considering that you didn’t contact me in spite of that, you can’t blame me for coming to the conclusion that you’ve lost interest in our partnership.] (Lugh)
I had no intention of letting her talk her way out of this.
I came here to get the truth out of her, even if it meant severing our association.
[I intentionally refrained from telling you anything. Because as a matter of fact, I needed one Fruit of Life. That child was very powerful, but he had a major weakness. I could’ve easily snatched the Fruit of Life away from him later. That’s why I didn’t want you to get in my way.] (Mina)
[So you were planning to let him create the Fruit of Life, and then steal it from him?] (Lugh)
[…That doesn’t make any sense. If you need a Fruit of Life, then why collaborate with me? It’s thanks to the intel you provided me with that we were able to defeat all the demons we’ve met so far before they could create a Fruit.] (Lugh)
Mina took a sip of her glass of wine and paused before opening her mouth.
[To be perfectly honest, I underestimated you. I thought you wouldn’t be able to stop them, even if I provided you with information. And that at best, you would only manage to hold back those irritating fools. But instead, you kept winning the fights. …And so, that child was the only demon left from whom I could’ve stolen the Fruit of Life, which is why I didn’t tell you anything.] (Mina)
[Now I understand.] (Lugh)
[But in the end, that was a failure too. I never imagined you would get there in time without my intel. And I’m surprised you even managed to crush him head on. You’re incredibly strong, but more than that, you’re wonderfully observant. You’re the first human to ever realize that this demon was actually a weakling hiding inside an armor.] (Mina)
Once again, she said something that piqued my interest.
Though to be fair, it was something that had been bothering me for a long time now.
[The first, huh. So this means that the subterranean dragon had fought humanity countless times. Probably over the past decades, or even centuries. And it’s not just him, all of you demons have fought for just as long. Does this mean you all keep resurrecting over and over again?] (Lugh)
I had been referring to written records for information on the demons.
But even that in itself was already strange.
Although there were minor differences with each passing era, the demons mentioned in those documents were probably the exact same as those from this current generation.
And this despite the fact that many of them were supposed to have been killed and annihilated by the Heroes of the past.
And yet, why do the same kinds of demons keep showing up again and again?
Does this mean that the demons of the past and the current ones are the same individuals?
These questions had been weighing on my mind for a long while.
[Resurrecting? That’s not exactly accurate. I mean, we demons don’t actually die.] (Mina)
[Even though destroying your hearts should kill you?] (Lugh)
That was the point of【Demonkiller】. A spell to kill immortals.
[You’re right, if our heart is shattered, we can’t remain in this world any longer. But that’s all. We still come back down when the time is right.] (Mina)
So it’s something like when I was reincarnated?
When people were reincarnated, their souls would get cleansed and bleached in the afterlife, turning them back into blank canvas. In my case, I retained the memories of my past life by avoiding that step.
So I wouldn’t be surprised if the demons did something similar.
[Well, that’s awfully interesting. So you demons have been doing the same thing over and over again? But despite that, your anti-hero countermeasures still seem inadequate. The way I see it, although it fails every time, you just keep trying to win by brute force.] (Lugh)
At the very least, based on this country’s historical records, humanity had never been exterminated even once.
On the contrary, the demons and their Demon King kept losing every time. Anyone in their shoes would start coming up with anti-hero strategies.
[While we’re on that subject, I’ll give the most important piece of information. We demons have never failed, not even once. We’ve successfully accomplished what we came to do every time. For thousands of years. And that’s how this world is as you know it.] (Mina)
That sounded like the opposite of what I knew.
The demons and their Demon King trying to destroy the world, and the Hero trying to protect it. I had to start questioning that common knowledge itself.
[I suppose you won’t tell me anything more even if I ask for details, right?] (Lugh)
[Why, obviously. You and I are associates. And that’s the extent of our relationship. I told you this as an apology for not giving you any intel on that last demon. Any more than this, and I’d have to demand another kind of compensation from you.] (Mina)
Guess I’ll have to find the answers myself from here on out.
I couldn’t get them just by observing the demons. I had to get in touch with the Hero somewhere.
[…So at least, that means you still want to continue doing business with me, right?] (Lugh)
[Yes, indeed. Including me, there are only four demons left. However, the other three are special. Personally, I have no use for them, so I want you to get rid of them at all costs.] (Mina)
[You think I’m gonna take your word for it?] (Lugh)
[As I told you at the beginning, I refrained from giving you information on purpose because I wanted the Fruit of Life. So why not interpret it this way? That if I could just obtain a Fruit of Life, we could then resume our relationship. …So could you give me the Fruit of Life you’re carrying in secret? If you don’t, I will make one myself, even if I have to use slightly forceful methods. After all, I don’t think I would be able to steal one from any of those three demons, so making one myself would be my only option.] (Mina)
Her snake eyes were locked right on my Leather Crane Bag hanging from my waist.
There was no way I could feign ignorance about it either.
And this snake demon could very well produce a Fruit of Life if she wanted to.
She had the entire Kingdom of Alvan under her thumb.
She could use the government’s power to obstruct and stall me while slaughtering the citizens who would be out of my reach.
Therefore, there was only one thing I could do.
[If we do this in the opposite order, then I’ll consent to your condition. Keep on informing me about the demons, then once you’re the last one alive, I’ll hand it to you.] (Lugh)
This should stop Mina from going off the rails while still maintaining our partnership.
Mina’s expression turned dark for a moment, but she soon switched it back to her usual seductive one.
[You’re excessively vigilant, aren’t you?] (Mina)
[That’s your penalty for this time. You broke your promise once. So you should be the one to accept my unfavorable conditions.] (Lugh)
[But aren’t you forgetting that your lives are also riding on the gamble of this negotiation? This is my den, and you are worn out from your last battle.] (Mina)
She was completely right.
There were hundreds of powerful monsters in this house.
And I used up all of my Fahr Stones and lost my special cannons in our battle with the subterranean dragon. Although I had regained some of my mana and strength thanks to my【Rapid Recovery】, fighting under these circumstances would prove disadvantageous for me.
[In that case, let me make my statement now. I knew from the moment we were on our way here that our lives would be in danger. Did you think I would be foolish enough not to prepare the right countermeasures for that? Our lives are not on the line here. You wanna see for yourself?] (Lugh)
We looked each other right in the eyes.
We were both adept at reading the other’s state of mind.
That’s how we could understand each other.
[I guess this is my loss. In that case, I accept your terms. From now on, I will provide you with more intel on my kin than before, and I will give you political support. If devouring humans offends you, then I shall refrain from doing so. In exchange, I will receive the Fruit of Life once I am the last demon left.] (Mina)
[We’ve got ourselves a deal. …Alright, now that our business here is done, Tarte, Dia, let’s go home.] (Lugh)
[Right, I don’t want to stay here too long either.] (Dia)
I stood up, and they followed suit.
They looked stiff, as if the unusual mood in the room had made them nervous.
[…Let me give you two final pieces of advice. First, I do not recommend that you keep carrying the Fruit of Life on you. It’s the Demon King’s food, so it’s too much for humans to handle. Don’t forget that unlike that monster of a Hero, you are just a human being stronger than average. Second, is it this world, your country, or your adorable girlfriends that you want to protect? You’ll have to make up your mind, or you’ll end up making the wrong choice. This ritual is reaching its climax, and soon, you will have to make your choice. The fact that you, a mere human being, are now at the center of it is distorting the ritual. So even I have no idea what will happen next.] (Mina)
[Thanks for your advice. I’ll take it as a reference.] (Lugh)
[By the way, this was a personal gift for my favorite boy. And so, how about we make love to each other? If it’s with you, I’m willing to have sex without any ulterior motives.] (Mina)
[I refuse. Sorry Mina, but you’re not my type.] (Lugh)
[My! How cruel. Though I can’t say I hate that part of you.] (Mina)
Mina’s warning about the dangers of the Fruit of Life was obvious.
And as for why she picked now of all times to ask me what I wanted to protect, I could guess what she meant by that based on the information I had gathered so far.
No way I was going to waver in my beliefs there.
I was reborn with the wish to live not as a tool, but as a human being.
Lugh Tuatha Dé would live to be happy with the people he loves. That’s all there was to it.
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