Their masked night was as cloudy as a mead.
The door made of stone opened up before Irene when she recited the password correctly. She entered the dim, sweet-scented venue with the click-clack of her high heels. The sight she saw from underneath the mask inlaid with amethyst was more questionable than she had expected. There were gold nuggets piled up on the table and many birdcages with good-looking slaves inside—also a water tank with only the rare red-eyes floating inside it. All the guests were laughing under their masks with each other.
There’s nothing you can’t get if you have money.
All of the depravity of this world seemed to gather in this black market.
「Who would’ve thought that we’re going to the dark auction…」
Complained the tallest young man with soft blond hair under his black mask amongst the four young men she brought as escorts.
「Just where the heck did you get the intel, Airi-chan?」
「 It’s Irene-sama, Walt」
「We can’t call her real name in a place like this, Kyle」
A young man with white porcelain skin and black hair wearing an Oriental outfit sank into silence sullenly. He had a white mask on.
「 You’re right, but……calling a woman with the name “Airi” is, y’know……」
「Maybe I should have dressed up as a man. But I’m currently posing as a widow who is waited upon by young men」
「Hey…… there’s something I wanna ask first, Airi」
「You can ask the questions later, Auguste. An illegal trade will take place here tonight. It appears that there’s going to be a deal for the magic incense and monsters. I didn’t expect that they have the guts to do this right in the Imperial Capital where Claude-sama is.」
Irene found a spot behind a thick black curtain and briefed everyone there.
「Auguste, when the time comes, make an arrest as a Holy Knight’s Order. I have Isaac and the others waiting outside. It’ll be easier for Jasper to expose the scandal of the nobilities who participate in this hereafter. Luc and Quartz will deal with the injured, while Isaac will take over the command when I’m immobile. When things go sideways, the escape route is this wall. Donny is already working on a path that will lead us to outside」
「Ah……yeah, so everyone’s going to be in this…… that’s cool, I mean, that’s not what I meant」
「That is all. I think with your abilities, there will be hardly any danger to you guys, but don’t let your guard down」
「Does the Demon King knows about what’s going on tonight?」
James asked the question frankly.
Smiling, Irene pretended she didn’t hear anything.
「Come on, let’s begin our operation at once」
「Does, the Demon King, knows, about this matter?」
「 There’s no way he knows about this, James…… After all, her explanation when she borrowed us from the Demon King was, “A certain madam invited me to her salon, so can I have your guards?” 」
「If I’m not mistaken, she also said,” I can’t bring you along, Claude-sama.” I suppose that’s a lie to deceive Claude-sama.」
「When I borrowed you guys from Claude-sama, I have no concrete proof yet. And there is indeed a salon. The older but energetic ladies have invited me to come and play with good-looking, young guards. I heard they just can’t resist the sturdy and firm chest and packs. But for some reason, they mentioned both of your names……」
Both Walt and Kyle stiffened. Irene covered her smile behind a matching red fan that paired with her dress.
「But you guys are Claude-sama’s valuable guards, right? That’s why I’m still worried about it. Those are the influential ladies of the high society, so I can’t really turn them down……」
「No, no, no, no hold on, those are the people we can’t complain about even if we go through something unpleasant, right?!」
「I suppose if we don’t want to get toss into those, we need to shut up and cooperate, am I right?」
Walt and Kyle had strained looks on their faces while silently exchanging meaningful glances with each other. While throwing a sympathetic glance at them, Auguste whispered:
「But you shouldn’t keep this quiet from Demon King-sama, Airi. You’re going to make him mad at you like he did the other day」
「Oh my, what are you talking about? Claude-sama is always kind to me」
「 It’s ridiculous. If we inform Claude-sama right now, this matter will end in a matter of minute」
Although not as good as the monsters, the half-monster James could share his consciousness with the Demon King Claude. It was easy to notify him about their situation.
But, before his pale eyes turned red with magic, Irene added softly:
「The ladies are also interested in you, James. They said they want to see that beautiful face of yours to be distorted in humiliation」
「Auguste, do you feel like joining them too? They seem to focus their attention on the Holy Knight’s Order’s newcomers. At that age, the word “newcomer” seemed to be their favorite word. Something about they like the view of your butt while you’re training」
「Alright, everyone, let’s do our best! This place is better than the salon filled with the elderly ladies!」
Everyone nodded to Auguste’s shouted words. Fanning herself with the fan that she was holding, Irene sighed:
「Everyone is looking forward to seeing you guys and yet…I wonder how I can apologize to them」
「So, what should I do?」
James stared at Irene. She snapped her fan shut and then called out to the passing waiter.
「 Where’s your manager? I want to put out some merchandise」
The masked waiter nodded in understanding to Irene when she handed him a jewel hidden in the pocket of her dress as a tip. James looked at Irene suspiciously.
「Merchandise? What kind of merchandise?」
「Of course, I have fitting merchandise to sell for this kind of place」
「Really? you do?」
「 It’s not a magic incense, is it?」
「I have two modified humans made by the Church and one half-monster」
Both the “Unnamed Priests” ‘ usefulness and appearance in contrasting black and white outfits were high. The rare half-monster who possessed unworldly beauty swathed in a light grey uniform was also valuable.
Irene signed the sale contract document presented by the waiter in front of her four retainers, who froze in place. She then smiled sweetly at them.
「You guys fetch an excellent price. Go do your work properly, okay?」
Her retainers who screamed bloody vengeance at her would surely come back to her safely.
Auguste, the only one who was left behind with Irene, muttered dazedly:
「I-is that okay…?」
「 It’s okay. Those three will do well. It’s exactly because I trust those three that I sent them away」
On the one hand, there were humans raised as weapons by the Church to kill monsters, while on the other hand, there was a half-monster who used to slurp on mud to survive while running away from the said humans. Irene could leave it to them with peace of mind because they didn’t have a great beginning in life.
「Auguste, we’ll move together. This is your first time being in a place like this, right? Learn how to act. You can’t solely rely on your spotless performance if you want to be successful in the Holy Knight Order」
「Yeah, got it… We are about the same age, and yet everyone is highly experienced」
「You don’t have to worry about that. This type of place is where you can increase your experience overnight. 」
To Auguste’s simple question, Irene put her index finger on her brightly colored lips.
「You only have to let an evil woman deceive you. You’ll be a man in no time」
「…In that case, I feel like I’ve already been deceived…Eh?」
Irene also followed Auguste’s line of sight when he abruptly stopped.
「 What’s wrong?」
「…I thought I saw Selena. Maybe I saw wrong」
There was a scream as if to erase Auguste’s strained smile.
Distracted by the scream, “the monsters’ are escaping,” Irene then muttered:
「Must be James and the others. They work fast」
「Maybe they got angry because they got sold…？」
「 I’ll use this chance to sneak into the organizer room. I wish they keep a list of their guests…」
She lifted up the hem of her dress and ran her way through the panic guests.
Irene had already understood the internal structure of the auction site since the moment she heard about it. The auction site was in the basement of a hotel. They turned the conference room into a proper bedroom for the organizer to stay on the fourth floor. They somehow managed to get to the fourth floor even without using an elevator.
The security was weak, maybe because they were busy confirming the disturbance. Although Irene and Auguste had to hide occasionally, they finally managed to get to the said room without getting lost.
「Auguste, keep an eye on the corridor」
Auguste pushed Irene out of the way, almost at the same time she noticed the point of a sword coming at her.