Prologue - Valerie, the Human-Eating Demon

This is a side project. This works written by the same author that worked on Confinement King.

 The heavy iron door opens with a dull screech.
 Just then, the smell leaking from the opening gap causes the boy to raise his eyebrows involuntarily.
 ”What is... this?”
 The smell is very similar to that of iron rust. It is a familiar smell for him. Unmistakably, it is the smell of blood.
 And beyond the door, there is a stone passageway leading straight ahead.
 Then, when he saw the end of the passage, there is a room which cannot be unlocked from the inside.
 That room is a hidden room without a single window, which is perfect for confining people, and which seems to have been built for some ungodly purpose.
 As he throws away the lock, the boy looks back at the female knight behind him with a stiffened expression on his face.
 (Something has happened. Something terrible has happened)
 The boy shakes his short black hair, which is cut in a slanting style, and nods his head with a tense look on his face.
 ”Hurry up!”
 The female knight draws her sword, and the boy, with cantera in his hand, pushes open the door with his shoulder, and stares out into the darkness beyond the passageway.
 But there is nothing to be seen within the reach of the light except the stone floor that leads to the end of the passage.
 As they step into the passage, the sound of their footsteps reverberate through the hallway.
 The sandstone texture feels rough against the boy's palms touching the wall.
 Although it is just before dawn, and it is summer, the boy is sweating from the heat in the room, and perhaps in a hurry, he hears the faint breathing of the female knight behind him.
 At the end of the passage, an iron door with a sturdy structure appeared in the faint light.
 ”...Where are you, Commander?”
 The female knight called out in a low voice, but there was no answer.
 In the first place, in front of this door, there should be Valerie, the commander of the knight order, who was supposed to be guarding the door, but she is nowhere to be found.
 ”Hey! Look at that!”
 The female knight points to an open door that leads to a back room.
 The door, which had been locked a while ago, was open, though only slightly.
 The boy's heart immediately skipped a beat. It was a bad feeling.
 It couldn't be. It can't be.
 The boy rushes to his pocket to check for the key.
 He is the one who has the key.
 However, no matter how much he tries to convince himself that it is impossible, the door is actually open.
 ”What!? What the hell is going on!?”
 They get closer to the door, and the smell of blood becomes stronger and stronger.
 Hearing the gurgling sound of the female knight's throat behind him, the boy peeks through the slightly opened door.
 But the interior of the room is as dark as if ink had been poured.
 The light from the cantera does not reach the back of the room, as the door is blocked.
 Only the thick smell of blood, as if he had stuck the tip of his nose into the intestines, pungent in his nostrils.
 (The smell was worse than that of a butcher's shop.)
 At about the same time the boy frowns, a faint female moan leaks out from the other side of the door, and the two involuntarily look at each other.
 ”Let's go!”
 The female knight's lips twitch, and before the boy can reply, she opens the door with force.
 Now is no time for hesitation.
 Whatever is lurking, the time is now.
 The boy steps inside the door and raises the cantera high.
 At this moment—
 The female knight's gasping sound struck the boy's eardrums.
 The lights of the cantera illuminated a bright red landscape.
 What they saw was a scene so bizarre and so gruesome.
 In the center of the room was a luxurious bed that looked completely out of place in such a bleak room.
 No, that in itself is nothing unusual.
 In fact, it was the only bed in the room from the beginning.
 However, there is a black sphere-like object lying on the bed.
 It is a human head covered with a black veil - a woman's head.
 The head has an elegant shape of a gourd. Her eyes, which could be seen through the veil, were wide with fear.
 The cut on her neck was fresh, and the white bone could be seen.
 The bed was literally a pool of blood.
 The bedclothes and the thin nightclothes she had worn when she went to bed were stained red with blood, as if every drop of blood in her body had been sprayed.
 It is a gruesome scene that makes them hesitate to look directly at it.
 However, it was not only the redness of the blood that made this scene extraordinary.
 What was lying there was only a head. Yes, only the head.
 The body on which the head should have been lying was nowhere to be found.
 The woman with whom the two had exchanged words only a few moments before was lying there as a head without a single word.
 ”Your Highnessssssssss!”
 The female knight is distraught and tries to run toward the bed with a heartrending cry.
 But she immediately leaps away while shouting, “Who's there!”.
 She sees someone crouching beside the bed.
 The boy hurriedly turned his cantera toward the figure, and saw the back of an armored woman crouching in the pale light.
 A figure moaned in pain.
 And it's a familiar golden armor.
 ”Commander...?” The boy asks fearfully with his eyes fixed on the figure's back, and the owner of the armor looks up.
 At that moment, the sounds of the female knight and the boy gasping for breath are overlapped.
 The woman who turned around, it was certainly Valerie, the commander of the knight order.
 There is no doubt about it.
 But her eyes are watering with tears, and she looks in agony. Her mouth is stained with red blood.
 On her chest, her armor also was stained by the red drops of blood.
 ”Hey, Lucas! Get back!”
 The dark-haired female knight pushes the boy away and points her sword at the bloody commander. Then she howls.
 ”Valerieeeeee! Was the story true after all?! Are you ‘Human-Eating Demon’?! Are you the one who ate Her Highness?!”
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