Once upon a time, the continent of Pandora was united by the Elroad Empire, and Avalon was named its capital city.
The city-state known as Avalon at the heart of present-day Pandora inherited its name from that ancient imperial capital city. This fact is known to anyone who has heard the legend of the Demon Lord.
As the nation of Avalon includes the land on which the ancient capital of the empire once stood, it could also be called the former realm of the Demon Lord.
However, the Avalonian imperial palace from which the current emperor of the Elroad Empire rules is at the northernmost portion of the city-state, some distance away from the original imperial capital city.
Currently, the ancient imperial capital city is designated as a Rank 5 dungeon, known as『Avalon, Gods’ Fall.*』Nobody is allowed to enter the original imperial palace, known as the『Palace of the Demon Lord』, the most dangerous dungeon in all of Pandora.
The legendary Elroad Royal Guard now protect the palace as Undead, and a jet-black guardian dragon protects the skies above it.
But neither the legendary imperial capital, nor the palace known as the continent’s most dangerous dungeon, have anything to do with Lily, who is now walking alone through the back alleys of present-day Avalon.
The young, defenseless-looking Lily lets out a small yawn.
However, until just now, she has been gathering various pieces of complicated information about the current state of affairs, rumors and hidden quests at the information broker.
Lily’s mind is tired from sorting out information in her juvenile form, so she has returned to her child form.
Her conversation at the information broker had gone smoothly.
The information broker was an eccentric male Goblin with stained clothes who could have been mistaken for a vagrant or a monster. But she had handed him the letter of introduction from Karen, the Fairy who ran the café-bar-information-broker,『Fairy Tail』, in Spada. After that, he had willingly sold her the information that she wanted.
Normally, Lily should only have been asking about particularly important details, but she wanted to return to Kurono’s side as soon as possible, so she had no intention of leisurely spending her time gathering information.
She had dropped a small mountain of gold on the counter and demanded that he tell her everything he knew, and the Goblin had indeed explained everything he knew in detail.
For the time being, the most important information for Lily and Fiona is regarding groups of humans that they could exterminate without causing any problems.
Lily’s magical item,『Angel Ring』, works exclusively on humans. Even the bandits that Fiona used as sacrifices had to be humans, or else it would not have worked.
In other words, the two of them are searching for prey similar to the bandits of Fauren.
Now, as to whether there are any conveniently available parties of humans like that in Avalon these days –
「Uoh, look out!」
With this shout, a small shadow passes in front of Lily.
Though Lily has the appearance of an absent-minded child, even in her child form, she is far from slow to react.
The person who suddenly barges in from the main street into the back alleyway is able to just barely dodge a collision with Lily. Having seen that this is the case, she stands completely still and waits for him while he avoids her.
As a result, it looks as if she froze out of fear.
This person, who seems to be in a hurry, appears to be a young boy.
He is around ten years old, and is dressed in shabby clothing typical of the inhabitants of the slum quarters. However, his arms and legs that can be seen from the short sleeves of his clothes are clean and tanned, and he is full of a childlike energy.
He was holding a large basket full of oranges, and a few of them fell and rolled on the ground when he avoided Lily.
With the agility of a mouse, the boy picks up the oranges that have fallen around the narrow alleyway.
Lily, noticing one of them has fallen around her own feet, picks it up with two hands.
「Hehe, you can keep that one!」
Showing his white, shiny teeth, he gives Lily a childish smile with those words.
Before Lily can respond, he turns his back on her and begins dashing further into the alleyway in a hurry.
「May the White Light guide your path – See ya!」
With those words, he waves behind him and disappears into the alleyway that leads to the slum quarters.
Still clutching the orange that has been given to her, Lily ponders the phrase that the boy said.
As her child-form mind slowly processes it and comes to a conclusion –
「HEY! Stop right there, you little brat!」
Another person appears in the alleyway that Lily is standing in.
This time it is not a boy, or even a human; it is a wide, large, oddly-shaped silhouette.
With the head of a pig, unless that head is a very elaborately-made mask, it is unmistakably a Boomer.
Judging from his angry snorting, the apron he is wearing and the words he just bellowed, even child-form Lily can immediately guess what has happened between the boy just now and this pig-man.
「Ah, that orange! That means you’re one of that kid’s friends –」
This huge creature closes in on Lily as if he is charging at her, then stops one step front of her.
「That can’t be right, there’s no way a slum kid would be dressed as nicely as you, huh.」
He murmurs this conclusion after inspecting Lily from head to toe.
There is no way a slum kid – in other words, a child who inhabits the slum quarter – would be dressed in this pristine, pure-white robe.
Realizing that there is no longer a need to explain herself, Lily holds out the orange in her hands towards this pig-man, who appears to be its original owner.
「Oh, thanks there, little girl.」
With a bright smile vastly different from the initial scowl on his pig face, he takes the orange.
「Ah no, I run a fruit store.」
The child-form Lily’s initial guess that he was running a limited special on oranges was not quite correct, but other than that, the situation is exactly as Lily imagined.
It seems this pig-man is a fruit store owner, and that the young boy just now boldly stole the oranges, along with the whole basket, from the front of the shop.
「He ran that way.」
Lily points her short finger in the direction the boy ran.
「Ah, it’s too late now. If he’s made it to the slums, I can’t do anything about it.」
The pig-man says with a hopeless tone.
「Seriously, the slum kids have been up to no good these days... Oi, little girl, you shouldn’t be walking these alleyways by yourself. Hurry and get home to your Mama, okay?」
Well, Fairies do not have parents, but Lily’s wings are covered by her robe, so right now, Lily looks like a human child.
So she gives him a short, bright reply and steps out of the alleyway into the bright main street.
Holding the single orange that he managed to recover, the pig-man heads back towards his store and disappears into the crowd of people.
Walking in the opposite direction, Lily has a sinister smile unlike that of a normal child’s as she murmurs to herself.
「That’s the『Church of White Light』, huh. It’s just as the information said.」
The『Church of White Light』is the most convenient prey, as she learned from the information broker.
However, what is important for her right now is not the Church itself, but rather the orange-thief boy.
「I’m glad I remembered his face. To meet him in a place like this, fufu. This feels like fate –」
Lily has seen that boy’s face, full of energy, somewhere before.
She does not know why he is in Avalon.
But that boy was definitely one of the fifty people who miraculously survived the attack of the 11th Apostle, Misa, in Daidalos.
He was the second one who blamed that tragic attack on Kurono.
「I still haven’t forgiven you for throwing that stone at Kurono, you know.」