Rodan and John went to a tree, not far from Ringo’s house. Leaning against each opposite sides of the tree, they discussed things out.
“So, what is it do you want to ask me, Johnny?” Rodan took the liberty of asking first. His voice, as usual, was frivolous and seemingly relaxed.
“Will it be okay to leave her alone in there, Sir Rodan?” the baron asked solemnly. His words gave a slight shock to the red-haired man, who wasn’t expecting him to be asking that question.
“Her? Who are you referring to?” Rodan spoke casually and remained calm.
“Sir, I believe you knew who was it that I was speaking of,” Sir John gave his reply. His words felt pressing Rodan to admit things. “That girl you claimed to be your disciple... she’s absolutely not a simple demi-human. That ghost white appearance... that shining silverish white hair... she shared a lot of characteristics resembling a vampire, yet she’s immune to sunlight. Correct me if I’m wrong...
...She’s from the demon race, isn’t she? Not only that, only the White Demons that shared a lot of characteristics like a vampire should they transform into humanoid form. She’s one of them, isn’t she?”
Rodan was left in silence. He got himself in a pinch. “As expected of my former disciple... he only saw Ruru for the first time when I returned here with her. But just a plain sight, he could already guess it right in the bullseye. His analyzing capability was not to be underestimated.
Now... how am I going to get out of this situation? Leaving him with no answers will only lead him to suspect me further. If he already knew that far, then it is nigh impossible to make him think that Ruru is not a threat. Moreover, he will surely notice that Ruru is behind the monsters’ activity lately. But, If I tell him the truth, then Ruru’s safety is completely compromised, and I will get my hands full.
Since the start, bringing her along here made things complicated for me to explain things out to everyone. Just by plain sight, people would’ve known she’s not a simple demi-human, so I need to clear things out for them. She’s prone to be suspected and would cause trouble. But I believe my decision is correct. If I left Ruru back at home, then nobody knows what will happen to that small city should she turned berserk.
Then my way of going out of this mess is...!”
“Sir Rodan...?” the baron called. He saw him being silent for a few seconds already.
“Good eyes, Johnny. I’m impressed you could realize that she’s a White Demon,” Rodan stated as he crossed his arms.
The baron flinched his arms a bit. He didn’t realize Rodan would confirm his suspicion. “W-What, you’re not bluffing? She’s... truly a White Demon?!” he replied in a panic.
“That’s right,” said Rodan. He didn’t allow time for him to speak back. “But don’t worry. This time, I got things under control.”
“This time? Is that because of the mask she wore?” Sir John asked again. His eyebrows wrinkled.
“Ho... you noticed?” Rodan replied.
“...Sigh... How could you say that to the person you taught magic? I could sense her powers being suppressed by that mask. A horrifying level of powers is harbored in her, probably incomprehensible for the likes of us, and it’s somehow being held back.”
“Hmf... Your conjecture is right, Johnny. It is because of the mask she wore. But because of that mask, she will not be a threat.”
“Can you guarantee that, Sir Rodan? Can you assure that she will not bring harm to anyone around her?”
Rodan’s memories immediately reminded him of the same word spoken to him not so long ago. He remembered it. The circus ringleader, he asked him the same question.
...But when he reflected on the incidents happened currently, he realized. He realized that he couldn’t keep up the promise. Ruru was on a different level. Taking up the responsibility for her to not kill or bring harm to anyone around him was a difficult, perhaps impossible task. Rodan finally realized that.
Taking a deep breath, ultimately, Rodan gave his answer. “No. No, I cannot.”
But just before the baron responded, the man in red continued. “There’s no way I could prevent her from killing anyone, Johnny. She is a demon not a human. She would kill someone that she thought as a threat to her. It is their instinct, after all.
But I can guarantee you one thing. She will not be an actual threat. I understand entirely that she’s impossible to be not reckoned as a threat by some people, which leaves her as a possible threat. She is a possible threat for all of us, indeed, but she’s not an actual threat. I guarantee you that she will never be a true living threat for mankind.”
A long silence befell between the two. Only the rustling of the leaves on the tree swayed by the wind could be heard. After a while, the baron asked again.
“Why would you go that far to protect a demon, Sir Rodan?”
“...Sigh... That’s a broad question, kiddo,” Rodan closed his eyes. “To put it simply, though...
...It is a promise that I must fulfill. Are you going to distrust me after knowing that I’m harboring a demon in my side?” he asked him valiantly.
“...Good grief. Since the beginning, you always show yourself to make crazy decisions, do something out of our comprehension, and many things that not even we dared do. If you say it that way, then I can only pray that I’m not wrong to trust you, master.”
“I’m no longer your master, dumbass. But... You’ve grown into an excellent man. You are the master of your own self now, and the master of your people. I’m proud of ya.
And thanks, for still believing in me.”
“Mm. Me and my brother wouldn’t dare betray you. You’ve always trusted us since the beginning until now. So, it is only natural that we will always trust you for whatever you did. You’re not a bad person, after all.” the baron stated sincerely.
“Heh, your true personality just leaked out, Johnny,” Rodan pointed.
“Urgh, it doesn’t matter, is it not? Only you, my brother, and a few knew my true self.”
“Right, right...” Rodan nodded twice. He felt nostalgic. Those times where he was a master, guiding his disciples to become what they were now. In a short moment, he felt relieved.
“So... what is it that you want to ask me?” Johnny then asked.
“Hm? Oh, right. Nearly got it off my head there. So, here’s the thing...” Rodan paused for a moment before continuing. Finally, he spoke to him.
“Just curious, John. Was there any circus in the city of Astur lately?”
“Circus? Ah, you must’ve meant by the Algoria Circus, right? Indeed, they’ve been here. They asked me for permission to open a show in my city roughly about four weeks ago. They were quite entertaining, so said my subordinates. I wasn’t present during the time to watch their show, though.”
“H-Huh... that so?” Rodan replied. “Well, at least you could’ve seen what they’re bringing along, right? Like... their animals, their tools and properties...?”
“Well, that’s true, though. I did see many kinds of things they’re bringing along. They brought many strange stuffs with them, probably magical tools, most of them. There were some animal cages, as well.”
“Okay... isn’t there at least anything from them that caught your attention?” Rodan asked again.
“Well, all of them were quite interesting for me to see, sir. Hmm... Ah! There is one. Among all their property, there’s one standing out above the others.”
Rodan’s eyes got sharper. He had a bad feeling about it. “Tell me.”
“They brought along this extra-huge cage on a big cart. It’s quite mysterious what was in that cage since it was covered by sheets. But I think it was meant for a secret display later. Sadly, however, I wasn’t even there during the time of their opening. I was in the capital city. I could never see what’s in that cage.”
The baron confirmed Rodan’s suspicion. “I see.”
“Why do you ask about them, though?”
“There’s something bothering me about them, lately. But now, you’ve answered it, though still vaguely.”
“I apologize for that. I will ask my subordinates about the show later. But still... is there something wrong about them, Sir Rodan?” the baron asked. “They have something to do with the current case, don’t they?” he guessed.
“One hundred points for you. They do have connections with the mess happening lately. Let me tell you something...”
Rodan decided to tell everything that he had gone through up until now. He told him about the mayhem in the circus back in Gantz. He also told him the truth about how he got Ruru.
The baron was perplexed, having a hard time to understand his words. But it did answer some of his suspicion about the White Demon as well.
“Hmm... so that’s what happened. It’s confusing, however. But I’m surprised you could actually withstand her true powers yourself, master. It also explained why monsters were getting stronger around here. It’s because of her influence. Unthinkable. But it’s the only possibility that answered most of the things happening lately.
Perhaps... she indirectly caused the death of some of my men.”
Rodan twitched his eyebrows as the baron stated that last word. It was half true and half false. Ruru was the exact being who caused their deaths, or for short, she directly killed them by her own hands. Even knowing so, Rodan kept his mouth shut to not say a word about it.
“Okay... time to connect the dots.
Ruru was possibly here in Astur about four weeks ago. If I count the number of days that has passed and comparing it to Ringo’s claim that Wild Woruvens began appearing outside Astur City three weeks ago... it matched.
If Ruru was here three weeks earlier, then it answered the reason behind the monster’s activity around here. Her White Demon influence was affecting them. But during that period, she was still in her tiny form. So, her influence wasn’t strong to ignite those monsters’ strength. That’s why, when we got here, those monsters were growing stronger again, and this time much intense since Ruru was in her form of a teenage girl. Her influence got stronger.
The circus might’ve used the same road that we used to get to Astur from Gantz, thus explained the reason why those Biruboars got tougher and faster. They were affected by her influence when the circus convoy passed through the road.
Her influence that got stronger when she got into her teenage form, it ignited both Woruvens and Biruboars’ strength. Not only that, but they were also attracted to chase her down. That explained the reason why the Biruboars bypassed Ringo’s cart and tried to chase mine instead. That also explained the reason why Woruvens were focusing on Ringo’s house when we got there. They were all aiming for Ruru.
But during the time when Ruru wasn’t around, they were scrambling around the region, trying to find her influence. That’s why they attacked one of Ringo’s gardens. Their attack got much intense when we arrived at her safehouse since they knew their source of power has returned.
That explained the reason why the attacks eventually shortened out, despite their massive numbers. It’s because Ruru escaped the safehouse and into an open field which dragged most of them to go there.
When Ruru escaped from my hands, her influence suddenly stopped affecting those monsters. It was still a mystery why it happened that way, though.
But with the Mask of Theta, the one she wore now, her influence won’t affect monsters anymore. It regulated her overwhelming powers, too. That way, hopefully, she won’t go berserk anymore...
For now, the case in Astur has been resolved. There are some things left to understand, but those aren’t my goal for the time being. That’ll be another mystery to be solved another day. My only priority now was to help Ringo repel the monsters that ravaged her garden.
And now... it is done.”
Rodan ended his conclusion thoughts. He gazed at her garden, which wasn’t far from where he’s standing. Shortly, he noticed that the baron was also deep in his thoughts.
“What are you doing, Johnny?” Rodan asked offhandedly.
Sir John Falconet resurfaced from his ocean of thoughts immediately. “Ah, I was trying to remember the gentleman who came to me to ask for permission to deploy their show in Astur.”
“The Algoria Circus?”
“Precisely. I just happen to remember the person’s name.
He introduced himself as Karn Karraz. From looks alone, I could tell he was from the nobility. He’s about the same age as I am.”
“Karn Karraz...” Rodan muttered. “That name appeared again... Ruru told me about him. The circus ringleader also told me about him. There’re some inconsistencies I found just by John telling me that.
...But I will not go further than this, for now. Those mysteries required some further investigations should I want to unveil the truth. Unfortunately... I want to lay down my head in my tree house. I’m tired.”
At the end of their discussion, Sir John agreed to support the fixations on Ringo’s apple garden for a week. He also willed to dispatch a messenger to his brother in the capital city.
Rodan’s mission was over. It was time for him to prepare to go back home.