The Playboy Tells the Truth
The Heavenly Tower of Babel.
The forest that covered the tenth floor.
A certain party lay strewn across the ground. All of their corpses were covered in blood.
It was a well balanced party with a warrior, a priest, a mage and a thief, every one of them other than the warrior being a female.
Trampling on the warrior’s head as he breathed his last, that voice spoke out. He sneered.
“They’re so weak.”
Turning his eyes away from the dead warrior, he looked deeper into the forest.
“Now then, let’s get to work ♪”
◇ ◆ ◇ ◆ ◇ ◆ ◇ ◆ ◇ ◆
The saintly hero Mills tried to comprehend what I’d just told her.
“The Demon King and all of his generals are adventurers… Is that what you’re saying?”
I answered her with silence.
The Heavenly Tower of Babel. The tower is an archaeological marvel built during ancient times.
But, how can we say that the tower on this continent is the only one that exists?
Since becoming a Great Sage, I finally understand fully. That strange atmosphere when we confronted the Demon King’s generals, that malicious pressure I felt. It was the husk of a job.
The Demon King and his generals were adventurers who had perfected their skills in whatever version of Babel existed on their continent.
They were high-level adventurers from that place.
And these guys ―― These low-level heroes, they had no chance of winning. As soon as I sensed something like that, I immediately got us out of there with the teleportation crystal. That’s how we escaped from the continent.
“We were informed you changed your job to a sage. Is that in order to defeat these ‘adventurers’? To try once again with a stronger party to challenge the demon continent?”
Tch. This damned nun. Even though she didn’t say a word when we travelled together…
“What I want to know goes beyond that, jester Dylan. Do you understand why those demons have taken on such an unsightly appearance?”
I sighed. If she already knows this much, there’s not much reason to hide anything.
“Fine, I’ll tell you.”
Looking Mills in the eye, I told her.
“The Demon King, as well as all his generals ―――― Are believers in the Monte faith.”
Hearing my words, Mills just cocked her head to the side in confusion.
Oh, she’s completely dumbfounded. I got to see something new.
“What…What are you talking about? You…”
As the priest known as Mills tried to stammer out words, I went on. I’ll tell this dogmatic follower the real ‘truth’.
“Originally, those demons were normal human beings, but they were twisted by the Curse of Monte.”
“What kind of… Ridiculous thing are you saying… There’s no such thing.”
“Are you so sure? Have you never felt doubt? Haven’t you ever wondered? As for me, I won’t deny your god at all. I’m sure that Monte exists. Perhaps he was the God who built Babel in the first place.”
I opened up my arms as I went on.
“But, can you truly believe in that cult? All those high ranking church members under the pontiff who line their own pockets? What about all those strange rumours? Just to start with, that instant death spell is really dubious――”
At Mills’ command, Aiza stepped forward confidently.
“Prepare yourself, you piece of shit! I’ll wring the life out of you!”
I smiled back as I posed a few questions.
“What’s this? You don’t want my information anymore? You’re really going through with this?”
My opponents are a mage and a priest who both exceed level 30. Meanwhile, I’m just a level 7 great sage, with a level 15 thief and warrior behind me. The result is obvious.
“Hey, wait just a moment! Don’t you want to listen to the full stor――”
Standing next to Aiza who is bubbling with rage, Mills replied.
“If all you have to say is some nonsense about how the Monte faith turns people into demons, then I don’t care. I don’t need to listen to it.”
“Alright then, I’ll tell you one thing 一 Just one piece of advice ―― You really shouldn’t be rolling out with priests or mages at the head of a party.”
Mills raised her eyebrows. As soon as she did, Nyannyan who had snuck behind them without being noticed using the ‘Sneak’ thief skill suddenly appeared behind Aiza’s back. She tried to turn around, but it was too late.
Nyannyan grabbed Aiza and held a blade to her throat.
As she saw that.
Mills tried to retreat. But, as she tried to cast offensive magic.
“Stop right there!”
From Mills’ side, Tina thrust her one-handed blade.
They were in the palm of our hand.
It was a tactical move we’d worked out beforehand. I’d already given them the signal.
Oh boy, I sighed.
“Even if you have two level 30 adventurers, they’re still going to lose to level 15 adventurers if they don’t work together. You really didn’t learn anything from the demon continent, did you?”
“Take Aiza and go back to the capital. I don’t want to ever see the two of you again.”
I said that to Mills.
But, Aiza tried to fight off Nyannyan who held her from behind.
“Unhand me! You filthy beast person! Who do you think I am!?”
“Nya!? Master, are you sure I can’t kill her, nya!?”
“Try and do it if you can, you putrid stray cat!”
Well, Aiza sure seems spirited still. It might turn out to be a pain if I let her go like this. That said, it’s pretty tasteless to kill an old party member, all the more if they’re a hero.
Hmm… Why don’t we do it like nobles, then?
“Alright. Why not do this, Aiza? Let’s have a duel.”
“What did you say…?”
“If I win, you’ll never show yourself before me again. If you win, I’ll return with you guys quietly. What do you say?”
“――Then it’s settled… Proposing a duel to me, I’ll make you live to regret it…!”
I signalled to Nyannyan to let Aiza go free.
“Funyaa! Master, give her one for me, nya!”
“Leave it to me.”
As she held Mills at sword point, Tina yelled at me.
“Do your best, Dylan-san!”
As we kept our distance, I faced Aiza.
Since it’s a duel, I can use a sword, but I decided to fight at her distance. I have my reasons.
Aiza began to chant a spell. And then, she raised her staff at me.
Aiza’s strongest magic and my weakest magic collided, cancelling each other out.
Aiza looked incredulous as she cast more and more magic.
“Fireball! Fireball! Fireball!”
“Firelight! Firelight! Ahhh this is such a pain, firelight!”
I intercepted her magic with both my own and my sense of frustration.
Since it’s such a pain to fight magic with magic, I could end this very quickly using my playing cards, but I need to clearly illustrate the gap between us.
If she realizes she’s not even close to me, she might finally give up the ghost. For better or for worse, that’s what I’m after.
It might also help talk down Mills.
“Haa… Haa…. Why… Why…!?”
Aiza soon ran out of breath. Only makes sense. Continuously casting high tier magic requires high tier gear, but since Aiza doesn’t have that, she was just relying on pure effort.
“Just admit it, Aiza. Things used to be different, but when it comes to magic… You’re nothing compared to me. Just leave quietly.”
“What… What did you do…!?”
“Don’t you know about it? The magic I was shooting is just firelight.”
I didn’t intend to, but it seemed like those words completely crushed Aiza’s spirit.
“I’m just in a higher league to you.”
Aiza slumped down to the ground. She lowered her head and didn’t say a word.
“Go back with Mills. The mission to bring me back has probably already been rescinded anyways.”
Even though I told her that, Aiza didn’t react. It seems that the truth shocked her that much.
But, just as I thought that…
Aiza began murmuring, her words getting louder and louder.
“…accept it, I won’t accept it, I won’t accept it, I won’t accept it, I won’t accept it, I won’t accept it, I won’t accept it, I won’t accept it!”
She raised her face to the sky and screamed.
“I will absolutely never accept that I could lose to scum like you!”
Aiza took out a crystal ball from between her breasts. As soon as I recognized it, I started to think of a counter and got ready.
The magical hero shouted out. This was her trump card. Something that could only be used once in a journey, an absurdly strong spell far beyond her regular capabilities that will leave her unable to use any magic for a month.
“――In the name of Aiza di Inzaghi, I beseech you! The Keeper of the Primordial Flame! Ifrit be thy name! Reduce the fool who stands before me to ash!”
A gigantic male spirit emerged. The figure was wreathed with flame all over its muscular body, striking fear into all those who behold it.
Unlike her normal magic, this spell is incredibly strong.
But, hearing her chanting, I could anticipate the summon.
――Okay. It’s Ifrit.
“――The flames doth sing ♪ The spirit is gleaming, its muscles are heaving, the soul chained to the earth, be set free from that weaving ♪”
I sung sonorously.
A band of light appeared around me, shivering and shimmering like rippling waves as it moved. It was like my voice brought to life.
As those waves crashed into Ifrit, he stared at me.
It seems like he recognized me.
Then, that fire demon grinned.
“――It’s been a while, jester.”
I doffed my hat and returned his greeting.
“Hello there, Martial Spirit of the Primordial Flame. It’s a pleasure to see you again.”
“I feel the same way. Thy singing voice ignites my warrior spirit further. Now, command me. My flame burns for you.”
Ifrit said so, abandoning Aiza. I guess he’s on my side now.
With a single spell, I stole the demon that Aiza had banked everything on to contract with.
I snatched that summon of hers.
“Eh, no way…? W-What are you talking about, Ifrit! What… What about me…!? When I summoned you before, you never said a single word!!”
Ifrit glared at Aiza. Those flames burned even more intensely.
“Oh, Jester. Is that our quarry this day?”
“Hiiiie…! T-That’s wrong, Ifrit! I’m the one who summoned you! Just what are you talking about!? I’m the one who called you heeeere!?”
“Hmph, I came only because that incessant and tiny magical energy was beginning to grow truly tiresome, but to think such a dullard of a mage thought to summon me.”
I smiled wryly.
“Once Ifrit saw just how little power you had, he chose me over you. It’s that simple. Don’t you understand at least that much?”
“――Oh jester, that’s not all. I was not swayed simply by the comparison of magic, but by thy song, which added kindling to my flame.”
“Fuu. Thanks, Ifrit. If such a marvellous spirit tells me that, the jester inside me will jump for joy.”
As we both faced Aiza, we didn’t look at each other as we bumped our fists together.
Behind me, Tina and Nyannyan were stunned.
“D-Dylan-san can even flirt with Ifrit…! That’s amazing…!”
“Master’s love isn’t conventional after all, nya…!? Wait, isn’t your hand really hot, nya…?”
Because he’s become my summon, it’s not hot.
Aiza screamed in hysterics.
“Don’t ignore meee! Look at me! Just look at me! Please, please look at meee!”
A summoned spirit relies on the magic of the person who cast the summons to stay in this world. I thanked Ifrit and let him return to the spirit world.
Then, I looked back at Aiza.
“I am looking. Aiza, you… You better stop trying to get involved with me. You aren’t a person who should be wasting their time in a place like this. You can aim for something more. Isn’t that right? Aiza di Inzaghi. The beautiful and intelligent daughter of the famous Inzaghi house?”
With how Aiza is now, I figure this might be the best way to get to her, so I sang some exaggerated praises.
Aiza trembled on the spot.
“T-That’s right. So, you do understand after all, you…”
It was almost like a weight had lifted off her shoulders as her lips began to turn into a smile.
I did a little victory pose internally.
Hook, line and sinker. Alright. With this, it should be easy to deal with her. Now hurry up and get out of here.
Behind me, Tina and Nyannyan shook a little.
“Ughhh, another person getting wrapped up in Dylan’s speeches, it’s so painful to watch…! For some reason, I’m feeling guilty just knowing him…!”
“S-So vulgar, nya…! Master, you really are vulgar, nya…!”
Do you seriously not get what I’m doing?
I make one last push.
“I’ve already sent a letter to King Theoderic. You won’t have to take me back. You’re free.”
I can only guess at the reason why Aiza is following Mills.
So, basically, I’m just saying things that sound good, but it seems to have worked out.
“Is… Is that so…? Then, everything is okay… I can home return to Sandrelia…!”
Aiza looked relieved.
Mills opened her mouth. And, indifferently.
“Aiza. I will not allow you to leave. You are a condemned sinner. As long as your soul belongs to the Church of Monte, you shall follow my orders.”
Aiza turned and spoke.
“――No, I shall not.”
In time with her voice, something fell into Aiza’s left hand as she sat on the ground… Or rather, it was thrown.
IT was a knife. It had penetrated straight through her palm, nailing her hand to the ground.
“GYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! It hurts, it hurts so much!”
Aiza cried out in agony.
It was so quick.
We were completely dumbfounded, no one could move.
“――Everyone get ready!”
I screamed out. Tina and Nyannyan reflexively darted towards me and we stood back to back, covering all our angles.
“Nyannyan! Where’s the enemy!?”
“I-I don’t know, nya! ‘Detection’ isn’t sensing anything! I can’t smell anything either!”
“Me too! I can’t feel any ‘gaze’! Both of you, be careful!”
As Aiza kept crying, Mills looked overhead with a cold expression. Searching for the ambusher.
“It hurts, it hurtsithurtsithurtsithurstithursts…!”
It would be impossible to cast recovery magic on Aiza. If you aren’t in an official party, you have to be very close to cast healing magic. But, I can’t move a single step. If I moved right now, Tina and Nyannyan would be exposed.
From out of nowhere, I heard a voice.
“You don’t have a home to go back to anymore. Not a country, not a house.”
It was high pitched, but it was definitely a man’s voice.
“Don’t you think it was strange that it was the Church of Monte who took charge of you?”
My eyes darted this way and that, but I could only see trees. I couldn’t see a trace of this guy.
“You’ve already been abandoned by your country and your family.”
As Aiza groaned with pain, she screamed back.
“That’s… That’s a lie, that’s a complete lie!”
“It’s not a lie.”
The voice went on.
“I have a letter here. You should read it well. The Inzaghi family sold you to the cult.”
A piece of paper came fluttering down from the sky.
As it fell in front of her, Aiza read it as she trembled.
“This has to be… A lie… Ah, why is my name… Father… No, this is a lie, I don’t believe you… It can’t be true…”
“Do you get it? Nobody wants you anymore. That’s why…”
A dagger burst through the back of Aiza’s neck.
“No one will care if I happen to murder you ☆”
Aiza’s body collapsed into the dirt. Blood began to pool around her.
And, just like that.
Aiza met her end.
Despite being the mage hero, this pitiful magician had lost in a magical duel to me and had been abandoned by both her country and her house.
Mills and I could only stare at her corpse in stunned silence.
Then, with a voice that shook with disbelief, Mills asked into the void.
“Why… Why are you here…?”
The question was answered with a knife.
The knife stabbed straight into Mills’ arm.
Again, that voice rang out.
“――Priest Mills, you’re next.”
“But why… I’ve been faithfully serving the church! So why!? Why!?”
In response to Mills’ screams, the voice spoke,
“Fuuu…. Ku. Kuha, hahahaha, AHAHAHAHA!”
It burst into laughter. It seemed like he was enjoying this from the bottom of his heart.
“Why!? Is it not obvious, priest Mills! You were abandoned by the church!!”
“Ahahahaha! Oh yes, oh yes, please show me more of that lovely face! This is why I love being part of the church’s clean-up crew, so show me some more!”
“The church… But… Why…?”
“It’s just like that jester there was saying! The church you love so much ain’t worth a lick! And you were betrayed, huh!? Totally betrayed!”
Tears rolled down Mills’ face as she sunk to her knees. Her lips moved.
“――By the grace of God. Heal…”
A knife sliced through Mills’ neck as she tried to cast a recovery spell.
“Aghhhaaa… gohhhh… Aggghhhhhhh….!?”
Mills writhed on the ground in agony, grabbing at her throat.
Eventually, she stopped moving.
Mills, who became a hero to spread the teachings of the church, died in despair after being betrayed by that very same faith.
In an instant, two heroes had been killed before my eyes.
And then, another knife flew.
――This time at me!
I deflected it with my blade and using the momentum of the swing I launched into a dance. I summoned the spirit of the wind. I don’t know what that voice wants from me, but I knew one thing as I looked around,
――If we’re also his targets, then I won’t hold back!
“Sylph, I’m counting on you!”
The spirit called Sylph arrived, as a gust of wind blew around us. The spirit of the wind sensed a slight disturbance on the air and revealed where the assailant was using magical power.
I threw my cards. The enemy’s hands moved. Is he going to deflect it with knives? But, that’s not all.
The cards I threw turned into tiny bags in mid-air.
As the enemy slit the bag with his knives, they scattered red dust and paint everywhere.
Now they know exactly where he is too.
I shouted. Tina turned towards our opponent and braced herself behind the shield. Nyannyan and I took cover behind her.
From the forest, I heard a voice.
“Wow, that surprised me.”
Our attacker, his clothes covered in red paint, dusted off his shoulders as he approached.
He was a small, lithe man.
A short sword hung over his shoulder. In his left hand, he held something in a sack. He looked like a thief, with a mask covering his face. But,
――What’s with this weird atmosphere…?
I felt uneasy.
The masked man spoke.
“There sure are a lot of rude adventurers, huh? I met a few earlier as well. Some rude adventurers.”
With that, he chucked the sack towards me. Its contents rolled out.
Cautious about it being some kind of trap, Tina turned her shield. But, it wasn’t necessary.
It was a person’s head.
A freshly severed head of a man.
“That person, from before…!”
The head belonged to the warrior from the party we’d helped just a little while ago.
“Oh, was that a friend of yours? My oh my, I’m so sorry ☆”
“Why would you… I won’t forgive you…!”
Tina’s voice resounded with power.
I put a hand on her shoulder to try and calm her down. Then, I turned to that masked man.
“Who are you? What do you want? Who sent you?”
“Ohh, you want me to introduce myself? But Dylan-kun, you and I are going to have plenty of time to get nicely acquainted? Well, I will be torturing you at the time though…”
The man reached his empty left hand behind his back as he told us.
“I’m a cleaner under the direct employ of a Head Priest of the Tamiwa sect. The name’s Billie Jean. Nice to meet ya ☆”
Holy moly. For multiple reasons.
Anyways, that’s the end of Volume 1 of Playboy. I was thinking ‘Huh maybe I’ll wait for the Volume 2 to come out before I translate more’ but I don’t think I can now.