A/N: (11/15) Too broad, so correction
Revealing her back to an enemy, I can’t understand what’s in her mind.
There’s no one else other than Eriko according to blood scents, so why is it that she can believe that a terrible person like me wouldn’t just shoot her in the back?
I thought I know you very well, but I can’t understand your actions at all.
「RIO-sama, who was that? Forgive me if it’s a stupid question, you ordered to just blast any adventurer that appears but, it looked like you were hesitating a little……」
Boss-san appeared beside me, with furrowed brows looked at me suspiciously.
Even though we planned in advance to go all out as soon as the gates opened, my brain became completely white when I saw Eriko, Boss-san is most correct.
To not immediately attack even though Eriko showed her defenseless back, it can’t be blamed if Boss-san thought we had some prior arrangement.
「Why are you still standing around! Are you being shy!? 」
Eriko turned around for a second and shouted.
「……All members, charge in. Follow behind me. 」
「Ou, right! Come on y’all, follow up! 」
With Boss-san ferocious command, the kins formed lines and started marching into the town.
Eriko is calling me.
Even thought it might be dangerous, I decided to follow her with everyone from not too far nor too close.
「Good! Make sure you keep up with me! 」
Eriko would occasionally turn around, checking whether we were still following, and continue to lead the way.
Even if considering how believing she is, it’s still strange to see her act like that.
After following her from some distance away for a short while, where Eriko headed towards came into view, it was an unnatural hole, several meters in diameters.
「It’s right here, jump down only if you want to fight 」
Then, Eriko threw herself into the hole without any hesitation.
『Ah, could this place be……』
『I see, inside there is the arena right? 』
『As one might guess, there’s an underground battle arena down there. She did say she want to take RIO-sama there during her idle chat stream. 』
『Well, the town was indeed destroyed, but that’s only limited to above ground, the underground is still safe, she probably chose it knowing that』
I see, to fight in an arena, it sure is something Eriko would do.
Although I’m of the opinion that respecting an enemy is something not to be done, I will just believe that my judgement wasn’t a mistake and jump down.
「Lemme say this, I think I know that woman’s relationship with RIO-sama but, this is obviously some trap that even a kid can tell. Hey wait! 」
「Everyone standby here. But be on alert for anything that can jump out of this hole. Elma-san is the only person that’s coming with me. 」
Although bringing Elma-san out of my way has little to no merit strategically, it might not be so mentally.
……After all, the only person I adore other than Eriko is Elma-san.
「No Onee-san! That person smells a little dangerous……」
「Dangerous smell? Come to think of it, Eriko is also an adventurer. It’s alright, I will guarantee Elma-san won’t face anything scary. 」
「Please, Elma-san is my heart’s support. Please believe in me. 」
That’s right, fighting with Eriko, being abandoned by Parnilla-san, losing Boss-san’s trust, even the viewers watching this stream were skeptical of my victory.
If Elma-san become estranged with me too, then I can only fight lonely as the vampire I am.
「Then……I want to help Onee-san. Being another vampire, same as Onee-san. 」
Even though she said it with impressive resolve, I could still feel trembling from the hand she grabbed onto me.
Eriko is one of the adventurers. With trauma she faced from evil adventurers, Eriko is just another scary human.
Even when fear manifested in her, was it from trust or loyalty? Seeing her resolve to follow me down the bottomless hole, it felt like half the anxiety in me was blown away.
「I too, as the senior vampire to Elma-san, let’s go. 」
Grasping her hand back, we followed after Eriko who descended down the hole.
There’s no other day I felt more anxious than today. Elma-san, sorry that you have to go through this because of my selfishness.
The hole was deeper than I thought.
Grabbing onto Elma-san’s skinny legs so we won’t get separated, I spread out my wings to slow down our descent and soften our landing.
Although I lost vision of Eriko, I can just follow her blood scent.
After a short while of falling down the hole, eventually, the sensation of walking on top of a mountain of rubble came through.
The slope became gentler the lower we go, by the time the slope becomes a flat area, we should arrive at where Eriko is waiting.
Just like I predicted, as we continued down the slope, a metallic door with light leaking out the seams came into view.
「There’re voices from inside, that person just now is inside too. 」
「I can tell. From the voices, it must mean that Eriko’s companions are inside too, this must be where they decided to gather their forces. 」
Explaining thus, I peeked into the seams, and heard what they said.
「――Thank you, for doing so much for my sake. 」
A flat arena floor that’s barely visible from where I stood, and Eriko who’s standing on it.
Three other people were standing beside her.
「It’s for the sake of quelling evil, just a few buffs isn’t worth fussing over about. 」
「It’s hard to fight against another friend right? But don’t be sad, we’re here to share your pain four ways. 」
「Alright, you’re all prepared! Good luck…… Eriko-chi……! 」
Two of them were women that seemed a little older than Eriko, wearing a three cornered black hat, a fantasy magician style. To have everything matching other than the green and orange of their sleeveless robe, could they be twins?
The other person is a petite girl a childish accent. Only she was sweating nervously, she’s probably as she seems, the youngest among the group.
「Ready? When RIO appears, retreat to a safe distance immediately, until I give the signal for a rebuff, stay at a safe distance. 」
As Eriko said so while nodding, the other three replied with wordless nods.
Then, when Eriko gave another nod, the three adventurers went to three different directions.
……They’re close enough that they don’t need words to understand each other.
Jealousy as if the stream of blood stopping overwhelms me.
If……if I was on the same side as Eriko, could it be that I would be standing there rather than those three people?
To support you by your side, to protect you in front of you, and to share the spoils of battle together, but now……
『Oya, RIO-sama’s expression……』
『Eh? RIO-sama is feeling jealousy? 』
『No way, even though it’s a rare expression, she must be thinking of SLAUGHTER』
『Genocide! Genocide expectations! 』
『Well, all of them are just small fries, it’s gonna be an easy match』
Regrets and conflicts, even if I tried to dismiss it, they would come back immediately. To defeat the adventurers including Eriko, I must keep it out of my mind.
Since it’s difficult for a surprise attack from this position and distance, not wanting hide like a thief, I opened the door.
「Sorry for the long wait, Eriko 」
「I was waiting. The day to meet with RIO, I was waiting for a long time……」
About half the size than a certain dome, and a high ceiling. With nothing else in the room other than the torch near the wall, it’s exactly the underground battle arena for warriors who hate cowardice.
She prepared a fair arena for us to fight.
「Other than RIO, she’s the only other person right」
She said while looking behind me.
「Yes, I followed thinking that you wanted a fight between both of us, but looks like you were preparing a trap. 」
Three blood scents from the front most spectator seats, they’re the adventurers from before.
I purposefully looked around the surroundings.
「In this old looking arena, setting up an ambush and leading me here, if you’re looking for a fair and square fight, that must be the biggest joke. 」
「I mean, RIO brought Elma-chan here too. 」
「Mu, that’s true…… but I don’t intend for Elma-san to fight. She’s just going to be a spectator. 」
「But that’s no good, to take her along on a dangerous fight. It’s not like I can always fight safely, I don’t want to hurt Elma-chan who’s not fighting. 」
I flinched a little when Eriko pointed it out with a boring gaze.
I made a mistake again. She’s condemning me again……
「I knew it, she smells dangerous……」
Eriko’s spirit of evil conquering is overwhelming. It can’t be blamed that Elma-san who’s a coward and on the side of evil to shrink from that.
「To subjugate a vampire lord, there’s no need to be fair and square right? The reason I came here was to keep the forces behind both of us in bay, and to continue fighting until one of us falls. 」
And thus, she revealed her true purpose.
There were not just a few times I chose strategic retreat after all.
To not let me escape even by mistake, in this arena, she wants to have a battle to death even if it becomes a mud fight.
「How is it? I think the conditions are pretty good for a fight between me and RIO? 」
She directed a kind smile towards me.
Really, Eriko is such a good person. Not bringing in anything from the real word, as straight forward as anyone can be, a person that’s the exact opposite of me.
It’s exactly because of that I find it too difficult to make up my mind to trample over you.
「Naturally. Taking care of Eriko and the others there, it’s until I finish everything here before I return. So first……」
Using the wand’s tip, I cut myself in two spots.
【Hahahaha! This guy is my enemy huh! 】
【My demonic powers, it shall be of use for my liege. 】
Elma-san is not the only one who’s here, the friendly Enemies are here too.
「With this, at least the number are equal. Eriko, whether you are qualified to fight me, Flying and Vampa will test you first. 」
「A skirmish beforehand is it? That’s fine with me, I won’t be defeated until I take down RIO! 」
Eriko who pumped up her spirits took up a shield with intricate patterns and started charging towards Flying.
『Summoning both at the same time! The pressure standing on both sides like Nio statues are on point 』
『Hou hou, to not make a move yourself, must be a natural at teasing 』
『The conversation was pretty much catch ball. That means they already talked this one out? 』
『No clue. Rather it’s more likely that none of that happened』
『Eriko is the one fighting. RIO-sama is bringing the fight to her favor by observing her skills first 』
My decision to let her fight against my two underlings was interpreted to be a demon lord-like plan to exhaust Eriko first but, the truth was nowhere near that.
The real reason was, rather than her, it was whether I’m qualified to fight her.
In front of someone like you with that straightforward justice, there’re no qualifications for me other than the qualifications to be defeated like the monster I am.
That’s why, knowing it’s useless to send out Flying and Vampa considering their thin chance of winning, I made it look like I left it to them.
Releasing her defensive stance and mowing down her opponent with a one handed sword as soon as she got into range. What a courageous strike.
Please allow me to watch how you fight until I make my resolve.