The cloudless sky is dyed with the color of a brilliant sunset, bathing the city of Avalon in a scarlet light.
Traditional steeples and tall buildings with different architecture to those of Spada line the main street. The air is filled with the red light of the sunset and the emotions of the crowd walking through. But if one were to go in a certain direction to a place a short distance from the street, they would immediately notice that the atmosphere sharply turns unpleasant.
The stone houses and apartments are built haphazardly, and seem more like dungeons where monsters lurk than places where people live.
In fact, some of the inhabitants of these slums are gathered here, baring their fangs at intruders from outside.
This beautiful young woman and a little girl who appear to be sisters are clearly prey.
The girls, both with black hair and blue eyes, are wearing apprentices’ robes. But to describe the air around them would them as elegant would not be an exaggeration. Even in such attires, their appearance is very attractive.
The young woman holds in her hand a long staff made of metal. It is simple yet somehow exquisite at the same time, decorated with countless small ornaments. Even an untrained eye can tell that it is probably more valuable than the average staff.
「Hehe, what are you doing in a place like this, little girl?」
Therefore, it is clear why the sisters have been interrupted, not even ten minutes after beginning to walk through these back alleys.
A middle-aged man blocks their path, and a faint smile appears on his face.
「It’s not a good idea to be wandering around here, you might get attacked by some dangerous people.」
「Yeah. Like us!」
Two more men appear behind them, blocking off their escape route.
The man standing in front of them has no notable bodily characteristics, so it is clear that he is a human. One of the men at the back has the pointy ears of an Elf, and the other’s head is that of a wolf, which makes him a Werewolf.
As if he has discarded the pride of his race, the Elf has allowed his body to become wide and fat; he could even be mistaken for a Dwarf.
The Werewolf, in contrast, is very thin, and looks more like a starving hound than a proud wolf.
It goes without saying that these three, with very different races and characteristics, are all disgraceful hoodlums and thugs.
Just listening to them speak, one could laugh and think of them as low-class idiots, but most people who actually encounter them would only tremble in fear.
They are not holding any weapons, but they still have an intimidating presence to them.
It is a situation where it would not be strange for this young woman and little girl to cry for help.
「We want to get to the orphanage of the Church of White Light, do you know where it is?」
However, the intellectual-looking young woman wearing glasses who must be the older sister calmly asks a question with a sleepy, expressionless face.
「Tch, you bitches are with that gang of shitty kids?」
The young woman’s words were not an insult or a provocation, but for some reason, they seem to hold some meaning that angers the man in front of her.
「Oi, what’re we going to do?」
「Grr, they’ll never know if we just eat them both!」
It seems the part that angered the men was the mention of the Church of White Light, but fortunately, they are in a place where the Church would not be able to find out what happened.
As proof that the Werewolf’s suggestion is not a joke, he springs forward with astounding force, fangs exposed.
The man at the front and the fat Elf have no intention of letting these sisters leave alive; they have a threatening air about them.
「You evil little girls, if you’re part of those evil cultists then I can’t hold back!」
As the man places his hand on the dagger at his hip, ready to attack with no mercy as he has said –
「Oi, stop right there Misters, what do you think you’re doing?」
A voice comes from the other side of the man at the front.
Three boys have appeared, wearing stained, white clothes and cross-shaped emblems around their necks. Judging from their faces and physiques, they are not of age.
There are three boys, but they are facing three men who are all adults, including the Werewolf who is very powerful despite his thin body. Meanwhile, the boys do not look like they are hiding any particular special abilities, and it seems reckless for them to interfere.
However, the three men take one look at the boys before cursing and fleeing down the far side of the alleyway.
「Look, they’re pathetic!」
「Haha, don’t you dare touch humans, you heretics!」
The boys happily jeer at the retreating backs of the three men.
The bespectacled young woman continued watching with the same expressionless face, and around her legs, the small younger sister snuggles closer to her, as if hiding behind her.
「Are you from the Church of White Light?」
The question comes from the young woman.
The blonde boy at the front of the three answers with a happy, proud look on his face.
「Yeah, we’re followers of the Church of White Light. You saw that just now, right? We’re in charge around here!」
One cannot say that they are getting ahead of themselves and speaking rashly, because of what they just achieved.
They made three grown men, who should definitely be stronger than themselves, scatter just by shouting at them. There is a remarkable kind of “authority” at work here.
「Is that so? It’s very fortunate that we were able to meet such great people.」
Her eyes are relaxed and the tone of her voice is flat, as if she does not think that it is a fortunate situation at all.
However, being directly stared at by the beautiful blue eyes shining behind the glasses, a feeling rises in the boy’s chest, turning his cheeks red.
「Y-yeah, I’m awesome, so even if guys like them come after you, I’ll protect you!」
「Thank you very much for that.」
Her voice is even more monotonous and mechanical, but the boy seems to be focused only on the meaning of her words.
The boy’s friends on either side of him interjected with「Hey, it’s unfair that only you get to act cool!」but he took no notice of them.
「By the way, we’re looking for the Church of White Light’s orphanage –」
「Yeah, leave it to us, we’ll take you there! Follow us!」
In high spirits, the boys take up the role of being her guide and begin leading her to the orphanage.
「Thank you very much.」
The young woman remains expressionless and emotionless as she thanks them.
Her younger sister, who is standing behind her as if she is hiding, is wearing an expression twisted with an evil smile.
Lily and Fiona have successfully met with followers of the Church of White Light.
Though, the fact that there are boys running freely in the slums, openly identifying themselves as the church’s followers, was commonly known information that they heard at the Adventurers' Guild.
In other words, it was not very difficult to make contact with them if they tried.
「Eh, going on a pilgrimage with your sister, isn’t that amazing!」
Seeing the boys walking through the alleyways as if they owned them, Lily and Fiona can understand the situation.
The inhabitants of the slums avoid the boys, and even grown men move out of their way for them.
The rumors overheard at the guild as well as what Lily learned from the information broker were true.
「No, no, everything is thanks to the guidance of the White Light.」
The boys, completely entranced by Fiona’s beauty, do not doubt her words despite her monotonous tone. Things are going well.
Of course, the setting of being a「nun on a pilgrimage with her sister」is a complete lie.
Not taking her acting ability into account, the reason that this cover is working is likely because Fiona was born and raised in the Sinclair Republic, and is familiar with the teachings of the Cross.
In any case, even though the boys call themselves believers, there is no way that they have a deep knowledge of the true meaning behind the teachings of the Cross, so it is easy to deceive them.
In summary, Fiona’s disguise as a believer is flawless.
At this rate, they will be able to infiltrate the orphanage easily and they might be able to meet with their leader, the so-called「Priest-sama.」
Everything is going smoothly according to Lily’s plan.
「Hey, that ring, could that be a present from your boyfriend?」
Until the blonde boy asks this question.
The ring that he is talking about is, of course, the one on her left hand’s fourth finger, the sparkling silver ring full of her memories.
The fact that she has been walking while holding the staff『Ainz Bloom*』in her left hand likely made it even easier to spot the ring.
Regardless of the intent of the question, Fiona has no intention of answering with the truth, and Lily also tugs at her robe to warn her silently.
She cannot say anything other than the single word to immediately deny it.
However, perhaps Fiona should have at least told him that it is her most important, prized possession.
「Yeah, there’s no way that there’s an idiot in this day and age who’d give such a cheap, ugly ring as a present!」
If she had told him that, even this brainless thug would not dare speak ill of the ring, even as a joke.
However, it is too late now.
「Actually, I have an awesome ring that’d suit you perfectly, Hehe, we hoisted it from this stingy merchant who refused to donate, but –」
At the moment the boy proudly reaches into his breast pocket to pull out a ring with a large diamond embedded into it.
Reflected in his eyes is the sight of Fiona raising her staff – no, already swinging it down with all her strength.
The staff sinks into his face with such force that he cannot even let out a scream.
The dull sound of flesh being struck. A hoarse groan. With a thud, the boy’s body crashes onto the dirty, broken stone pavement. These sounds echo into the dark alleyway.
None of them are able to raise their voice.
「Kurono-san chose this for me... What kind of nonsense are you saying...?」
Murmuring these words at the boy who has already lost consciousness from the attack to his head, she continues her merciless attack.
This time she attacks not with the upper end of the staff, but the lower end. This lower end is the one that rests against the ground as she walks, and also doubles as an edge that she uses to carve magic circles into the ground. The boy’s face is already covered with tears as well as blood gushing from his broken nose, and Fiona stabs the staff straight down into it.
The chisel-like end of the staff is as sharp as a pick, and stabs the boy’s right eye perfectly. With the wet sound of flesh and blood being pierced, his eyeball begins to overflow and spill out of its socket.
Her next target is certainly his left eye – she will continue attacking, two more times, three more times, until she is satisfied.
「O-oi! What are you doing?!」
His two friends finally raise their voices.
But faced with the all-too-sudden violence and Fiona’s overwhelming forcefulness that borders at insanity, they do not dare try to stop her with their own lives at risk.
Even so, Fiona’s hands eventually stop, the boy’s face already having been stabbed by the staff over ten times.
「Don’t get in my way, please.」
As Fiona looks at the two remaining boys, the “survivors”, her blue eyes are spotted with gold. The color of her eyes looks ominous.
The eyes behind the lenses of her glasses are definitely blue. However, as if holding the golden color of pure bloodthirst, her eyes are shining brilliantly.
Right now, her eyes could be described as chaotic rather than beautiful, and her gaze is more than enough to make the boys tremble in fear.
Without showing a single sign of the spirit of self-sacrifice taught in the scriptures, the boys scramble to abandon their friend and flee.
「Ah, what a waste, Fiona.」
The one who does not allow their escape is Lily, who has been silent this whole time.
With an expression that looks as if she is about to say「Ah, shit」, her face and behavior are enchanting. Her unusual state is probably because her consciousness is currently that of an adult.
She waves her hand lightly and balls of light appear in the air, and in the next instant they soar towards the backs of the fleeing boys like arrows.
They travel possibly even faster than arrows as they fly past the boys in an instant, wrapping around them before exploding.
The two boys let out a short scream as they fall onto the ground, clutching their eyes as they writhe in pain.
It is not a gentle flash of light like the one she used to deal with the academy students who had insolently dared to pat her head. It is bright enough to blind anyone who looks at it directly, and it emits a searing heat that would still burn the eyelids of those who do not.
It is not a pain that the likes of these young thugs can withstand. It is impossible for them to stand up and continue to try to escape.
「Leave it at that, Fiona, it would be problematic if someone came here.」
「But this person is still alive, you know?」
Giving a small sigh, Lily creates light in her hand once more.
This time it is not a ball of light, nor a beam. It is a Force Edge, made of searing white light.
The blonde boy’s face is already caved in to the point that even the miracle medicine of the Fairies* would not restore it to normal, and Lily’s blade of light now sinks into his neck.
The sound and smell of burning flesh fill the air. Like a hot knife cutting through butter, Lily easily removes his head.
He was originally a garbage-like human being, but he is now literally garbage that is fit to be discarded in this dirty alleyway.
「He’s dead. Now, let us hurry onward.」
「... Alright. I apologize for making such a mess.」
「It’s okay. Anyone who speaks badly of Kurono should die, after all.」
Fiona reluctantly admits her mistake, but Lily gives her a gentle, understanding smile. They have a wonderful friendship.
「By the way, Lily-san. Though it is silly for me ask, we no longer have a guide, do we?」
Fiona seems to have regained her sanity; her glasses have begun to work again to disguise her eyes with a blue color.
In reply to Fiona’s question,
「It’s alright, things will work out –」
Lily, wearing the wonderful smile of a little girl, points her tiny finger up at the sky.
「– because the full moon has risen already.」
And with that, she removes her apprentice Priest’s robe with a single movement, revealing a black one-piece dress covering her young body and two pairs of Fairy wings.
In the next instant, the light of her Oracle Field wraps around her like a cocoon – before she realizes it, Fiona sees that Lily is now a beautiful young woman.
She is still wearing her magic items of disguise, the ribbons and contact lenses, so her twin-tails remain black and her eyes are still blue.
「Well then, I’ll be relying on you.」
「Yes, leave it to me.」
A needle of light, Lily’s nightmarish Characteristic Ability that allows her to tamper with the minds of others as she pleases, forms in her hand. The two boys are still writhing in pain on the ground as she approaches them with a sweet smile.