Monsters showing up was one of the first signs of the Demon Lord's domain encroaching. Demonic magic in the air tainted and mutated normal animals into violent beasts.

" Lord Merrow, this is your first time coming with us on a monster hunting expedition," a knight commented.

" I've been adjusting to the way the estate is run," Henry answered. " I had to take some time to get used to the flow of things."

" Aye, and to get used to Lord von Hresfeldt as well. He's such a fickle, exacting boy. Barely a man. Not to be crude, but, it's no wonder Master had a secret second prot├ęge..." another Knight mused.

" Is that really so?" Henry asked.

" Forgive Poppen for speaking out of turn," one of them said. " Though, yes... I must admit there was a sense of relief."

" I've never gotten that impression of him," Henry said.

" As others can attest... He's famously strict, and quite withdrawn."