While I already had enough trouble making clothes, a new one knocked at my doorstep.
It was Miss Astres, an alluring lady and a person of high position in the demon race’s army.
She has returned once again.
“You guys really are stubborn!”
As expected, even Platy is fed up with their persistence.
It was only recently when they experienced a complete loss after trying to invade us, after all. And now they’re back.
Except this time, something’s a little off.
Unlike last time, she doesn’t have several monsters accompanying her; it’s just her alone. Something about her appearance feels gloomy.
“We did not come here to cause harm to any of you today! Please, listen to what we have to say!”
The one who appealed to us wasn’t Astres but two females who looked like her aides.
Is it because their superior, Astres, is a female that the subordinates she commands are also females?
“If something’s up, we might as well listen to them.”
…Veil. I told you countless times to stay in your human form. Stop showing off your flamethrower, too. Even I get scared.
“Are you sure, Master? If you let your guard down in front of these morons, they might take advantage of you.”
“You’re free to decide after we hear out their circumstances first.”
They’re not here for a rematch; I can tell that much from looking.
They returned to the place where they were utterly defeated without the will to fight, so they must have a genuine reason for coming back here.
“We were actually…”
“…ousted from the army!”
We were baffled by the two aides’ alternate confessions without even understanding the reason behind them.
“…No, that’s not it,” interjects Astres. “I’m the only one who was driven out from the army. They simply followed me. Had they stayed behind, they could’ve been easily assigned to a new post, and yet…!”
“What are you saying, Miss Astres?!”
“We pledged to serve you throughout our lives!”
Her aides are pretty noble, but to put it simply, this means…
“The army fired you?”
“Is it perhaps because of us?”
We beat them up pretty badly last time, after all—annihilating all the monsters she brought with her and dragon Veil tossing them in the middle of the battlefield, and putting on an absurd show afterward.
But isn’t it kind of peculiar for Miss Astres to take all the responsibility?
“I was called to the court at the demon capital right after that incident…”
“Miss Astres was unilaterally convicted by them. On top of failing to fulfill her duty, they said it’s wicked of her to be brought back by a dragon who caused chaos on the battlefield…!”
So Astres, former Heavenly One, now-turned exile, came here because she had nowhere else to go.
“Their decision is just too peculiar! Miss Astres has been working earnestly all this time for the Demon King’s army!”
“That court is weird, too! They handed down their verdict even before the Demon King could return from the front lines! It’s as if they were dead-set on getting rid of Miss Astres, no matter what!”
“I thought so, too! I bet it’s that Lord Ravillian who was behind that meeting!”
“He’s always plotting something; I’m sure he is!!!”
The more they look back on it, the angrier they get.
“No… It’s not anyone else’s fault. Prowess and ability are everything in the Demon King’s army. It’s all my fault for failing to accomplish my task.”
Astres may be condemning herself right now, but it’s definite that what happened last time is the cause.
I’m starting to feel bad for her.
“Master,” says Veil as she calls out to me displeasedly.
It’s intimidating, sure, but I will not retreat, falter, or look back.
“Hard feelings aside, abandoning those in need is against my conscience. You’re free to stay here as much as you’d like.”
As they say, even a hunter cannot kill a bird that flies to him for refuge.
“But you’re going to have to play by our rules while you’re here. One, no bloodshed. Two, those who don’t work don’t get to eat. Three, pledge absolute obedience to me and my words. As long as you abide by these three rules, you’ll be treated like one of us.”
“Master, you’re being too lenient!”
Veil’s discontent is even more apparent now. Once again, it was I who couldn’t drive away terribly dejected humans (demons?) who came to rely on me.
“Understood, we shall follow your orders. We will be in your care from here onwards,” says Miss Astres as she presses her forehead against the ground to bow.
I thought it was unnecessary of her to do that, but then again, she did invade us and tried to kill everyone last time. I suppose it is needed.
She’s been through so many hardships that she can’t even keep her pride anymore.
There’s no way I can keep my anger and hatred towards someone like her any longer, nor does she have the willpower to do anything reckless. I think it’s safe to consider her harmless.
“We have but one request!”
The two aides come rushing to me.
…I wonder what they want to say?
“Would you please excuse Miss Astres from nightly duties?”
“In exchange, we will do our very best to please you, Lord Saint, no matter what sort of play it is! Please, we only beg you to keep Miss Astres out of it!!!”
“That’s not what I mean by pledging absolute obedience!!!”