Author: Tam

Catherine didn’t go to the room inside the mansion as she did when she went to Orléans, but to the warehouse outside the castle. 


The reason she is willing to go through the trouble is that Phanya is a stronghold of the Northern Empire’s border guards.


Phanya was the area that protected the Empire from Abyss Land, the largest monster habitat on the continent. 


Therefore, the sudden appearance of Catherine and Damian in the castle could cause damage in many ways.


“I didn’t expect to come to Phanya this way, which is notorious.”


Damian admired as he walked along the long wall.


“Notorious? The rumors about Phanya in the Imperial Knights are pretty bad, don’t they?”


“Because the immediate lower penalty of returning the rank of an imperial knight is to be transferred to Phanya. Aren’t most of the imperial knight’s nobles’ children? They don’t want to fight monsters every day in a place that is famous for being desolate.” 


“I think I’ve heard that an imperial knight can be treated differently than before if they survive here and returns.”


“Yeah, well, if you survive. No one can’t help but admit it.”


「Haa. There is a familiar smell everywhere.」


While Damian moved around, looking around, Meow kept its nose out of the bag and squeaked repeatedly. Catherine also enjoyed the atmosphere of Phanya, which she hadn’t seen in a long time, as she made her way to the fortress’s south gate. 


“It’s still here. The fierce wind and the chilly atmosphere.”


Phanya is the largest fortress on the continent and one of the largest cities. However, it boasted a unique desolate and dark atmosphere, unlike other cities. There was a waiting line outside the fortress, so there was a sense of that.


「It’s dark and chilly. It’s exactly the air I like!」


It was an area where monsters seemed to pop out of anyone’s eyes.


“Did you say that Phanya was your mother’s home? How often did you come as a child?” 


“I think I come almost every year. I come here every year, stay for a month or two, and then go back home.”


“That’s right, you must also know with the Knights of the Northern Empire Border Guard. They say that the knights here are that rough.” 


Catherine quietly recalled the features of the Border Patrol knights she knew. The term “rough” was certainly vague.


“It’s not that scary if you spend some time with them.”


Rather, it is an expression of being too meddling and noisy.


Catherine stood at the end of the waiting line to announce her visit. The line shortened at a rapid pace. This also meant that Phanya was safe without major incidents.


“Next! Show me your ID.”


The security forces reached out to Catherine. Perhaps because it was the most dangerous territory in the empire, even the security guards were noticeably tall.


“Give me your ID, Damian.”


“Hmmm. I’m not entrusting this to anyone— I’m leaving it to you because you’re Lady.”


“I know. Give it to me quickly.”


Catherine gathered two IDs and handed them to the guards. If her prediction is correct, the two will not be able to enter.


“…The Imperial Knight?”


Damian’s ID card could be used to pay for foreign currency in other estates, but it was not in Phanya. Unsurprisingly, the guards scattered Damian with suspicious eyes.


“Hey, young man. For what purpose did the Imperial Knights visit? There was no official notice from the Imperial Castle.”


“I just came on a trip.”


“You’re talking nonsense. What crazy knight travels to Phanya?” 


Damian, who was replying with a clearly annoying face, put his head up with a look, saying, “Ah.”


“Come to think of it, that’s true.”


In my mind, she wanted to slap Damian on the head, who was busy talking nonsense. However, considering his honor as a knight, she decided to refrain from doing so. The guards stopped the two of them from entering with the eye that they were looking at some madman.


“That’s suspicious. You’re on hold. Stay out of the way.”


So the two had to squat by the door and wait for the captain of the guard. Damian, sitting on the floor, stuck out his mouth and grumbled.


“Lady, are you really the granddaughter of the Marquis of PHanya? What’s wrong with the treatment?”


「Damian was tricked. I always get tricked without getting tired.」 


“Wait a little bit. I’ve passed my ID, so they’ll be back soon.”


How many minutes have passed? A strange cry from inside the castle began to draw closer.




Damian looked at Catherine with a look of doubt. Catherine shrugged lightly.


“I told you they’ll come, right?”




Eventually, the man who appeared from inside the gate was a man of great height, who seemed to be at least two meters tall. The man stiffened as soon as he found Catherine squatting against the wall. He then grabbed the back of the guard who was checking his ID and shook it.


“You punk! How dare you put my Lady on the cold floor? Is your eye on your butt? Who the hell is suspicious? Huh?”


“U, ugh! Please stop shaking me, captain! What are you talking about, Lady, all of sudden?”


A man who was huffing threw the guard.


“I’ll see you later, you punk.”


Then he hurriedly ran to Catherine, put his hand under her armpit, and lifted her up. The man’s face was full of worry, concern, and joy. 


“Aigoo! Lady! Why did you come without any news? Yes? I was checking the ID because there were suspicious people, and I was so startled by the name of the Lady that I almost threw out the children!” 


“Sir Carl is single. You have no children to throw for.” 


Phanya’s captain of the guard, Carl, chuckled and hugged Catherine with delight. She could feel Meow in the bag between the two, tossing and turning, saying nothing.


“Ay. That’s the metaphor! My Lady doesn’t know humor and is still not fun. Hahahaha!”


「Oh, oh! Right! Catherine has no sense of humor and has completely no taste!」 


Meow immediately stuck its head out over the bag and sympathized with Carl’s remarks. Carl looked down at the yellow little head of Meow with a puzzled expression. 


“Huh? What kind of talking cat is— Haha! You must have a pet!”


「I’m not an animal! I’m the ruler of the great night, Gargoyle!」 




Carl’s eyes trembled in an instant.


To him, who had devoted decades to subjugating monsters, the existence of a monster was nothing more than a game, nothing more, nothing less. 


If he had put together the monsters that had died at the hands of his sword, it would have been possible to make a huge hill. 


Catherine said as she pushed back Meow into her bag. 


“Don’t bother it, Sir Carl. I’m raising it these days.” 


「Hmm, Catherine is raising me!」 


Carl’s bitter eyes disappeared in an instant. He nodded his head with the expression of a parent looking at the grown child. 


“Hmm! As expected from the bloodline of the Marquis—. It’s a daring thing to raise Gargoyles—. It would be good for our knights to learn.”


They were guided by the sword and moved into the fortress. Unlike the desolate exterior, the castle was lively and bustling like any other city.


If there was a peculiar thing, it was that there were many strange items that could not be seen in other cities. Most of them were magical items made using monsters’ corpses and special plants growing in Abyss Land.


It was time for Catherine and Carl to continue walking, asking each other and saying hello. 


“But what is this, Lady?”


It was only after arriving at the headquarters of the Northern Empire Border Guards that Carl looked at Damian for the first time. Damian opened his mouth with a sour expression on his face.


“What do you mean ‘this.’ That’s too much.”


“Don’t tell me— Is this parasitic brother the Lady’s—?”


No. Not at all. 


Fortunately, Damian shuddered like a seizure and completely denied Carl’s suspicion. 


“I’m sorry, old man. The Lady’s lover is not me, but Sir Cesa—”


「Damian is Catherine’s servant.」 


There was no room for Catherine to intervene. Carl, who opened his eyes wide, clapped and burst out in admiration. 


“Whoa! Are you the Lady’s servant? Haha! My Lady here is amazing~ You call the imperial knight a servant!” 


Then, they step into the building. Catherine, who was familiar with that figure, patted Damian on the shoulder as if comforting him. 


“Hang in there, Damian. Sir Carl doesn’t listen to others when he’s in a good mood.”


Damian replied with a sullen face in a few minutes.


“The future is dark.”


Carl shouted in a loud voice, pushing the gate of the guard’s headquarters with his big hands.


“Hey, you punk! Our Lady is here—huh?”


However, for some reason, the building was empty without any presence. All he could see was a boy soldier standing guard at the entrance.


Carl, who was still looking inside, asked the boy soldier.


“Hey, is it subjugation?”


The boy soldier answered sharply with a disciplined look.


“Yes! We found about 40 monsters near Orange tart! Her Excellency the Marquis and 30 knights from the garrison have been summoned!” 


The garrison is still busy. As Catherine examines the headquarters’ interior, which has become neat over the years, she is immersed in her memories for the first time in a long time. 


‘When I was young, I often played with knights here. They rush out when they find a group of monsters while playing puzzles together. I used to wait half a day by myself.’


It was a memory that smelled like blood; what it was like to express it was vague.


Damian had a confused face as to whether he should question the unique name of the orange tart or be surprised by the staggering number of 40. In the end, he chose the latter. 


“I can’t believe it’s 40. That’s a terrible number. Is it okay?”


Carl answered with a dignified face.


“What if it’s not okay? Are you going to ask His Majesty Emperor to increase his support?” 


“I’ll pester it every year.”


Cough! At Catherine’s word, Carl bent his shoulders and coughed. Then he asked as he left the headquarters.


“Madame, would you like to see Her Excellency right away? Or would you like to wait here?”


Catherine’s troubles were not long.


“I’m going to see her. It’s been a while since I’ve been here, so I should say hello.”


“As expected! A good daughter!”


Catherine and Damian followed Carl. Since the Border Patrol headquarters was also built in the direction of Abyss Land, the battlefield was visible just from the ramparts. 


「Sniff sniff. Even I, the ruler of the night, smell the blood boiling.」


Damian has been silent for a while. Tension, which was rarely felt by him, has been maintained since he climbed the wall. Carl must have noticed it, too, and he patted Damien on the back and made a fuss.


“Hey. It’s a good sighting. There aren’t many knights in the Iterana Empire as aggressive and militant as Marquis of Phanya. I guess the nickname is Northern Reaper?” 


“I know.”


He wonders if he came all the way here to get the Northern Reaper’s autograph.


They stood looking at Abyss Land. A black mist was approaching at high speed from the end of the wide plain. It was a group of monsters that came down every full moon. 


Catherine turned her head toward the wall. The eyes of the border guard knights on horseback are all towards the black mist.


There was a lot of tension. Soon after, a female knight walked out between them and drew a sword toward the sky.


“Come out, [Paimon].”


What followed was a heavy, hard voice.


Even though it wasn’t a loud voice, everyone turned their eyes to that side. At the same time, she drew a large red magic circle in the air. The flames flying in the wind made the shape of a slim black leopard.


The devil, Paimon, looked at the group of black monsters, revealed its teeth, and laughed.


「There’s a lot of prey today.」


The flames that made up the Black Panther dispersed like ashes and permeated into the female knight’s sword.


Suddenly, sparks began to flutter from the sharp sword. The female knight jumped forward in an instant and started slashing huge monsters. The knights shouted and followed the female knight. 


Damian, who was looking at the scene enchanted, asked Catherine.


“Miss, don’t tell me the woman who is showing us the ferocious performance—”


“That’s right.”


Catherine replied with a familiar nod.


“Marquis of Hansburg Phanya. She’s my grandmother.”


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