Translator Note: Happy new year folks!!
And what better way to begin, with an enourmous chapter. Oh joy! 😀
May we continue to live a loong year more and enjoy the blessing of everyone’s company!
I was almost brought into the feast of the Slime-kin and end up taking lodging.
It took more time than I thought.
A mysterious scenery also serves as a pitfall in this kind of sense.
A picturesque scenery should be enjoyed when one has the time.
I made it in time for the banquet, but I returned one hour later than planned.
“Then the egg of Crimson Red has been safely entrusted, right? Looks like it was a success.”
“No. I refused their feast, so I probably dampened their mood a bit.” (Makoto)
“If it’s only that, I don’t think they mind. In the first place, they wouldn’t think bad of the person that brought the one they worship just because of something like that.”
“…It would be good if that’s the case. I don’t think I will be associating with them deeply in the future, so there was a part of me that acted slightly halfheartedly thinking that it would most likely be the last time I see of them… you see.” (Makoto)
“And in truth, having an individual settlement placed at these parts would be harsh even if we were to station the Forest Onis. It would be fine if we have teams formed, but if they are alone, it might be slightly dangerous. In that sense, our relationship with them will most likely not get any deeper.”
“We are already lacking in people, so I don’t plan on going so far. Even if I bring people to this capital…we would need Shiki or Tomoe to manage them every now and then, right? It would be bad to have the store on leave after all.” (Makoto)
“But the other side… might request of it.”
“At that time, I will politely refuse.” (Makoto)
“That would be the best course. By the way, about the seating precedences of today…”
I return to the demon race capital and change to a dwarf-made ceremonial dress in our room.
At first, they proposed a room for each of us, but it would be a pain when returning to Asora, so we told them that one room would be fine.
Also, the number of places where I can’t wear my jacket has increased, so I relied on the words of a dwarf that told me to leave it to him, and had him create a number of clothes that can be used for parties and for etiquette.
Now that I think of it, I wonder why I didn’t ask the Orcs for that.
Even though I should have known that armor-like effects would be added to the clothes the moment I asked a dwarf to make it.
As a result, it took quite a lot of time before it was finished.
Right now they are at the drawers.
It is kind of a waste.
“Seating precedence? Ah, the seat numbers huh. Uhm…” (Makoto)
I have Shiki show us where we will be sitting.
“We would be here.” (Shiki)
“Ah, hm? That’s quite close to the Demon Lord. This could be taken as being welcomed, right?” (Makoto)
Are they appealing again?
I did tell them that I won’t be favoring the demons though.
“The segmentation of the welcoming is quite something. Without a doubt, we are being treated as state guests.” (Shiki)
“S-State guests… Mere merchants like us, are on the level of importance to that of a country?” (Makoto)
“As long as we don’t delve into it, they will most likely not be saying it themselves, but it seems that way. As expected of the Demon Lord Zef. He must have felt something from Waka-sama.” (Shiki)
“Is there going to be an incredible welcoming hell coming?” (Makoto)
My stomach is hurting already.
Even though the Rotsgard academy festival was already too much for me, and yet…
“Considering these seats, it might conversely be different. I think a chat with the Demon Lord will be the priority. Even if we enter, the Demon Generals should have taken their seats already.” (Shiki)
I have a sense of discomfort from the words of Shiki.
Leaving aside the Demon Generals, we will be sharing table with the Demon Lord’s children, right?
In that case, I feel like he should be saying more though.
“Shiki, the ones we will be sharing tables with will be the children of the Demon Lord, so they should be the prince-sama and princess-sama, right?” (Makoto)
… Even so, the Demon Generals and the royalty huh.
That will mentally fatigue me plenty.
Please learn that even if you have a refreshing smile, even if you smile gently, it will be pressuring depending on the person.
No, if they are doing it while knowing, I would just have to endure it though.
I can’t just tell them to please stop smiling after all.
“Oya, ah right. Waka-sama didn’t know, right.” (Shiki)
“The demon race chooses their next Lord by their power. At the election there might be slight political power involved, but in the end, you won’t be able to become the Demon Lord unless you have the power to support it.” (Shiki)
“I see.” (Makoto)
“That next generation Demon Lord is called the the child of the Demon Lord by the demon race.” (Shiki)
“…Is that different from being a prince or princess?” (Makoto)
It would create factions between siblings, but I feel like I am only being told that they prioritize strength.
“Sorry, my words were insufficient. In other words, lineage doesn’t matter within promising candidates, and after gathering around a hundred, they give them education to become Lords, and among them, the next Demon Lord will be elected. The kids that are gathered are all ‘Children of the Demon Lord’.” (Shiki)
In other words…
“The ones there weren’t children that came directly from the Demon Lord?” (Makoto)
“Most likely. It was already reduced to 4, so the next one will probably decide the future Demon Lord. Of course, the ones that couldn’t become Demon Lord will be given fitting posts and will take the role of leading the demon race together with the Demon Lord.” (Shiki)
So the linage doesn’t matter huh.
If you are promising, you will separate from your family in a young age and be treated as the child of the Demon Lord and be polished.
With that, promising talents would definitely be raised. They will be raised but…I also feel like questioning if it’s really necessary to go that far.
As long as you have power, as long as you have talent; they disregard the person’s circumstances, is what I felt in those words.
“The demon race really is completely into a power doctrine huh.” (Makoto)
“Yeah, if they don’t do that, they might not have been able to survive, but it is certainly extreme.” (Shiki)
“Even if it does produce results…it is not a way of thinking that I would like to bring to Asora.” (Makoto)
“Other places will be other places; Asora will be Asora, Waka-sama.” (Shiki)
I nod at the words of Shiki.
“Waka-sama! The guides have come-desu wa!” (Mio)
“Mio, welcome back. So the guides have come. You arrived barely in time. You took your time coming back.” (Makoto)
“I came satisfied. It was all as planned-desu wa.” (Mio)
“… Yes yes. Then, let’s go.” (Makoto)
I feel like she is the type of person that would say: ‘There’s still one minute left till closing time!’.
… I was also that type as well.
Just like Mio -who was barely in time- said, the guides came soon after.
Mio is, without doubt, the person that is enjoying this trip the most.
I’m glad it is not a formal stand-up meal.
In terms of feeling, this is more like that of a wedding reception.
Of course, there’s no bridegroom or bride though.
At times there would be performance dances, announced shows, and buffet cuisine of incredible size being distributed.
The atmosphere is lively and the food is good.
Mio and Shiki are having fun, and I am also enjoying it plenty myself.
I am grateful for the consideration of the demons for letting us act without the need of being too reserved.
Just that, the gaze of the Demon Lord and the children were frequently directed to our side.
It is obvious for the host to worry about the state of their guests, so while brushing it as something that can’t be helped, I also felt slight nervousness because of it.
There were moments when the Demon Lord would bring conversations to me.
The other people that were probably nobles of the demon race or important people of the army; those people didn’t throw any such conversation. There’s quite the distance from them, but this point honestly makes me happy.
The guess of Shiki seems to have been spot on.
“It seems his memories are gone, but how to say it, it seems there’s still the trauma clinging onto him.” (Makoto)
“…Looks that way. I am slightly surprised.” (Shiki)
“How rude-desu wa. To foam the moment he sees someone.” (Mio)
“…That just means God-sama is not omnipotent huh, yeah.” (Makoto)
It is something that happened when we arrived at the banquet.
At the table where the Demon Generals were gathered, one of them suddenly stood up. Well, his upper half was that of a hyuman, but its lower half was that of a snake, so I’m not sure if to call it stand up… wait, that’s of no importance.
When I thought that he was staring at Mio while trembling fiercely, without saying anything, he began foaming and fell to his back.
The place turned silent for a moment.
We are the only ones who know the reason why.
He, the Demon General Reft, probably doesn’t know the reason himself. The fear inside his heart must have remained.
I thought it was only a sense of inferiority level of trauma, but it was actually at the level of PTSD.
I thought less of it because there were no memories remaining, but it seems it was still resounding in Reft-san’s heart.
And so, there’s only 3 at the Demon General seats now.
The person that’s wholeheartedly eating is someone I have not seen before, but it must be the last one of the Demon Generals.
The looks are like that of a hyuman.
Must be a demi-human, but the power itself doesn’t seem to be that much.
Maybe that means there’s more who are like Rona?
I don’t want that.
“It’s okay Mio-dono. Well prepared food is coming out in numbers, so we are being welcomed.” (Shiki)
“…I am happy about that, you know? But this and that are two different things, right? What part of me looks like a monster that makes people faint-desu ka?” (Mio)
It seems Mio is discontent about the reaction of Reft.
If someone just heard the conversation, Mio’s anger would be reasonable, but when thinking about what Mio did before, I even feel like using a slipper to hit her head as a tsukkomi.
‘In the first place, you are the one that brought him here, weren’t you?’, is the kind of tsukkomi that would come out.
And so, I have no comments.
“Raidou-dono, what do you think about tonight’s banquet? From what this one sees, it seems you are enjoying yourself.” (Zef)
“Yeah, thanks for the great seats. We are enjoying ourselves plenty.” (Makoto)
“And your followers, it seems they have something to say though.”
“Don’t mind it. Its just that she didn’t like how Reft-dono reacted, that’s all. Uhm, can I ask how he is now?” (Makoto)
“Hm, the matter of Reft spoiled her mood huh. This one is truly sorry for that. It seems like right now he is seeing a nightmare of sorts. This one has received reports that he has been moaning in agony, but there’s no danger to his life. It is not something to worry about.” (Zef)
Ah, what should I do.
Tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, I was thinking about telling them about Kaleneon while I am here, but there’s the issue with Reft, so it was hard to say it.
Why did he have to be there and at that time in specific.
Because of today, it became even more difficult to say it.
Uh, the Demon Lord seems to be looking at me.
A gentle smile as if he wanted to become my comrade, no, like a smile of someone plotting something.
I want to think that this is unjustified suspicion, but from experience, I can tell that there’s something behind that smile.
“A-Ahahaha. I am relieved that it was not anything serious. Yeah.” (Makoto)
“Right, Raidou-dono. After this, there’s still a bit of time before the main dishes come out you see. If Raidou-dono is okay with it…can you accompany me for a bit?” (Zef)
“Accompany you to where?” (Makoto)
“Over there, at the balcony. This one has drunk at a slightly fast pace you see, so this one was thinking of breathing in a bit of night breeze.” (Zef)
Outside.The balcony huh.
Well, if it’s only that.
I look at Shiki and he makes a small nod.
It seems it will be fine.
“Understood. I will gladly accompany you. My face is also a bit flushed after all.” (Makoto)
“Umu. The night view from the castle is beautiful you know. Well even if this one says so, it is practically night all the time in this capital though. Hahahaha!!” (Zef)
Being urged by the Demon Lord, I stand up from my seat.
Oh, I am slightly staggering.
The alcoholic drinks of the demon race are quite potent.
Sweet alcohol and bitter alcohol is normally on the high level.
If I get used to the alcohol in this place, I might not be able to drink the whiskey of Rotsgard as an alcoholic drink.
I might feel it tastes like juice.
If I detox myself with magic, this level of intoxication would be gone in an instant, but since I finally got drunk in good fun, that would be a waste.
I try walking a few steps and follow after the Demon Lord that didn’t seem that drunk, and leave to the balcony.
There was no one, only the Demon Lord and I.
I could hear the door closing from my back, and the bustle of the banquet felt distant.
The wind that was neither strong nor weak was pleasant.
“How is the night view of the capital?” (Zef)
“Beautiful. It may be faint, but the lights of many colors somehow feel gentle.” (Makoto)
“Gentle huh. It is an impression that wouldn’t be given by a demon. How fresh.” (Zef)
The Demon Lord laughs amused.
From what I see, he doesn’t look that drunk.
It was a laugh that came after words that felt like they had many emotions placed within.
Sobering up might have been a pretext to bring me out.
“…This one would want you to…give me your opinion of the same night view, at the day of your departure.” (Zef)
“Tomorrow and the day after tomorrow, Raidou-dono, this one wants you to look at the demon race and understand us. In the good and bad points.” (Zef)
Does that mean he intends to show me the strong points as well as their weak points?
And at the end, tell him how I felt.
“I think it is splendid. I can feel the wisdom of the demons and their will to live.” (Makoto)
“To tell you the truth, we weren’t trying to deceive you, but this isn’t a capital that functions as the metropolis.” (Zef)
“Accurately speaking, it has stopped being that way.” (Zef)
“Because of the war?” (Makoto)
“That’s right. Try thinking about it. The demon race has obtained vast territory, and yet, is there really a need to have a capital in a place as harsh as this one?” (Zef)
That’s certainly true.
The current territory that the demon race possesses, the north of Elysion may be pretty vague, so the hyumans don’t have a map of it, but at the very least, there’s land that’s better suited than this.
“Yes, that’s true.” (Makoto)
“Umu, in truth, right now we have been building up a city at the coastlands that will be functioning as the capital. We are making this the center of the country. This one is also normally there.” (Zef)
Then why did you have us walk inside the blizzard for several days?
If you had a more comfortable place to be in, shouldn’t that be better?
…Is it because it is crazy far?
“‘Then why did you call us here?’, is what you are thinking, right?” (Zef)
“Uh, yes. A bit.” (Makoto)
Did it show in my face?
I am trying my best to not show my thoughts in my face though.
“It is because Raidou-dono is not using the correct method to conceal difficult emotions. If you don’t want to be seen through, you shouldn’t try erasing your emotions, but hide them. If you force yourself to erase them, it will only make it more obvious.” (Zef)
“I-I see.” (Makoto)
“That time I asked you if you had fun as well. It would be okay to just leave a smile on your face. There’s no need to force yourself to stay expressionless. Most of all, you should learn how to smile with your eyes. With that, you will be able to hide most things, and even earn others.” (Zef)
“Thank you very much for the advise.” (Makoto)
Why am I suddenly being taught by the Demon Lord here?
But…to smile properly huh.
He says it as if it’s easy, but it is actually difficult.
If I was told to do it without caring of the situation, there are times when I just can’t.
I will have to be diligent.
“This is only the basics that can’t even be considered basics. There’s no need to think that you owe me anything. Ah, the talk was about the capital, right. This capital you see, is a place that has our history piled up. And for a long time, it has been the place that’s been the demon race’s everything. That’s why, this one thought that this is the place that this one wanted to show Raidou-dono no matter what. That’s the reason why this one had you walk such a harsh journey.” (Zef)
“That’s right, history. The many customs that have been born from this place are living within ourselves.” (Zef)
“…Like for example, the matter with the children?” (Makoto)
I remember the words of Shiki and try asking.
Even if there’s no blood relation, that person will be treated as a Demon Lord candidate as long as that person is promising.
“…Who did you hear that from? That’s right. That method of choosing Lords was also born from this place, is what I have been told. It seems I have subordinates with loose lips. How troublesome.” (Zef)
“No, it was one of my followers that coincidentally knew of it.” (Makoto)
Even if there’s one, I have not heard of such thing from Shiki or Mio.
I should cover for the general subordinates of his.
“Hoh~ such extensive knowledge that person has. I see, a subordinate of yours that knows of the customs of the demon race. Well, that’s surprising.” (Zef)
He doesn’t look surprised at all.
Maybe he already knows about Shiki.
The time when he was a Lich known by the name Larva, he was acquainted with Rona in some way, so the chances of her reporting about it is high.
“It was by coincidence.” (Makoto)
“Even if so. The number of customs this one was planning on showing you tomorrow, you might know them already. The amount of demons that know the hyuman society are low. The majority that know of it are from the army. In that sense, you people who are a merchants, are deepening your knowledge. That’s something worthy of respect. You truly have good subordinates.” (Zef)
“I am honored.” (Makoto)
“…Within this everlasting darkness, the demon race has endured hardship. But that will continue forever with no end to it. At this rate, the demon race will perish. The moment we understood this, we gathered our strength and waited for the opportunity. And then, this one began war. As a Lord, this one doesn’t regret it.” (Zef)
After a slight silence from my words of being honored, the Demon Lord that was looking at the distance, and without looking at me, he said words that were definitely directed at me.
That’s how I felt.
“Even if it was the property of others, the demon race needed a rich land. If we didn’t do that, we would have suffered in eternity, starve, and die. Raidou-dono, if you were to became the Lord of such a race, what would you have done? This may be hypothetical talk, but please let me hear it.” (Zef)
With a face that didn’t show it was just mere hypothetical talk, the Demon Lord looks at me.
I think that this capital… really is a land that has big meaning to the demon race.
The Demon Lord probably recollected something and has asked me this.
Is it like the Kyoto and Tokyo for the Japanese?
The capital of history in essence.
No, it has only been a few years since the capital changed. It can’t be compared to this.
It might look that way to me, but it is probably not that way.
“If it were me you say. If it were me, I would look for new frontiers before placing my hands on the belongings of someone else.” (Makoto)
“Look for land that’s not yet seen huh. Then, in the case that it shows despairing results?” (Zef)
I went through the trouble of answering. Is it valid to return the question?
“Why would it be despairing?” (Makoto)
“Geographically speaking. There’s only inferior places left. There’s places that can’t be overcome because of the lack of craft.” (Zef)
“Then I will have us research in the crafts and advance it.” (Makoto)
“I see. Raidou-dono is saying that war should be avoided huh.” (Zef)
“War will definitely leave grudge. Thinking about the future, I don’t think this will turn into a plus.” (Makoto)
“That’s of course true. But the demon race was way too cornered. The moment we judged that it was impossible to pioneer further north, we destroyed the demi-humans that were the previous residents of this place and obtained this land.” (Zef)
The place that you decided to steal…was this?!
Just what kind of wretched place were the demons living in before?
The Goddess as well, she is as evil as always.
I really continue to think that I should give her a good punch at that face of hers.
“I-I see.” (Makoto)
“Ah, and not leaving any grudge behind.” (Zef)
“Eh, but…” (Makoto)
“Slaughtered them all. If we take care of everyone, there will be no grudges left. It may be an inane plan, but at that time, that’s how we saved our race.” (Zef)
That’s certainly true. If they don’t leave a single enemy behind, there won’t be grudges left.
They really are through.
“The answer may be different depending on the person, but the foundation of the demon race is without doubt ruled by the principle of strength. If this one has to say it without any ornate words, it would be: survival of the fittest. If possible, this one doesn’t want to show you that part of us, but if we are to continue our relationship, the sooner the better. That’s how this one thought. In the time you are here, you will witness the customs that are created by this principle, and its complications.” (Zef)
So he is telling me that they will face us seriously.
It is certainly true that showing one’s dirty side is hard to do.
…It is scary to do.
“But it was slightly unexpected. From what this one has felt, Raidou-dono is someone that has quite the power. Hyumans are not a race that originally possess such high power. In other words, Raidou-dono has faced that much difficulties in life. And those kind of people, the people that have power will wish for more power and authority, that’s how they end up thinking. Honestly speaking, this one didn’t expect you to avoid war to that extent.” (Zef)
“Thinking of avoiding war, is that so weird?” (Makoto)
“For you merchants, it is also a chance to support your Lords. Of course, it is also a chance to gain huge profits, you know?” (Zef)
“I…don’t think of gaining huge profits from the war.” (Makoto)
“…But when you were having a conversation with this one and the children, you said something that was akin to saying: ‘I will be gaining profits from the war, but you can’t complain about it’, though?” (Zef)
I didn’t say anything that meant that.
Where did he pick it up in that way?
Ah, that huh.
The talk that even if I oppose them, it will not be because I am trying to be their enemies but because of interest, or something like that?
But that was not intended in that way.
“No, that’s a misunderstanding. I am not thinking of participating in the war itself after all.” (Makoto)
“Rona was suffering a headache from that. Saying this is not what he said last time, that Raidou-dono might be intending to turn war into a business.” (Zef)
“Like I am saying…” (Makoto)
“It’s fine. It’s enough to hear those words of yours. Just like what Raidou-dono says, that’s Rona’s misunderstanding.
“We still have the time to understand each other. This one thinks that it is fine to slowly know of each other as we advance. Without hurrying.” (Zef)
“Thank you very much” (Makoto)
Stopping my words with his hand, the Demon Lord understood what I tried to say.
It is truly a misunderstanding after all.
I am glad it didn’t end up in us being at cross purposes.
Right, if it’s now…
There’s no people around, only the Demon Lord and I.
On their side there’s only the Demon Lord; in my side it would be best to have Shiki and Mio by my side, but thinking about it, the other party is a Lord-sama. In reality, a situation that fits such criteria would be hard.
He seems to be an understandable person, and from that conversation just now, it seems he has his own thoughts about the demon race stealing land.
(Shiki, do you have time?) (Makoto)
I call Shiki with thought transmission.
(Waka-sama? It looks like you are speaking with the Demon Lord but, is there some sort of problem?) (Shiki)
(No, its not that. You see, right now the atmosphere makes it possible to talk about Kaleneon. Is it okay to tell him?) (Makoto)
(…Right. The chances of us speaking with the Demon Lord will most likely not be that many in the future. If it’s at this time, it would not turn in a debt. Just that, when you explain the situation, I think that it would be faster if you don’t mention the Ansland sisters being the reason, or about Asora’s matters.) (Shiki)
(But then the only reason left would be my parents. Wouldn’t that be bad? Isn’t it better to touch about the subject of Eva and Ruria’s circumstances…) (Makoto)
(If you speak about that, it could be taken as siding with the hyumans and reclaiming Kaleneon. Taking the side of the hyumans also means opposing the demon race. In terms of result, that action helps the heroes in a sense, so it is better for ‘us all’ to not increase our image of being the ally of hyumans.) (Shiki)
(I-I see) (Makoto)
Now that I think about it, he does have a point.
It is only in terms of result, but our actions help the hyumans more than the demons.
I had no underlying intentions of doing that though.
Looking only at the results, if I tell them that I have reclaimed Kaleneon because hyumans asked me to…would be bad.
Yeah, it would be bad.
(In that case, it would be better to just tell them that it was the homeland of Waka-sama’s parents, and that’s why you took it back, which would let us earn more that way. For the demon race, it would be like giving them information that Waka-sama’s parents were from Kaleneon. Who knows in what way they will take that information. For our side, it is not information that would trouble us.) (Shiki)
(Understood. Then I will be doing that.) (Makoto)
(Don’t mind it. Also, the Demon Generals and the other people are beginning to worry about your situation there. When you see the chance, wrap things up and return. Ah right, I almost forgot. There’s also the matter of Reft. At the very least, tell him that Waka-sama didn’t participate in the attack. Right…tell him that Waka-sama’s subordinates went on a rampage for your sake, or something like that please. Mio-dono and I will deal with it if anything happens later.) (Shiki)
(Thanks. Then after telling him this, I will be returning.) (Makoto)
I cut off the thought transmission.
The Demon Lord has not detected the thought transmission.
I have hidden it perfectly…I think.
The Demon Lord is looking at the night view with his hands on the railing.
“…Fuh~ No good. This one might have spoken a bit too much. Having our guest feeling the night breeze all this time, is something that should not be done. Should we go back, Raidou-dono? I thank you for accompanying me.” (Zef)
“Uhm, Demon Lord-sama. There’s something I have to tell you. Can I have a bit of your time?” (Makoto)
“This one invited you here. If there’s something Raidou-dono has to say, this one will definitely listen.” (Zef)
“The demon race lost a territory recently, right?” (Makoto)
“…! Yeah. Close to the meeting point with Raidou-dono and the others, there was a country named Kaleneon in the past. That one.” (Zef)
The expression of the Demon Lord showed the most surprise he has shown till now.
Okay, let’s say it.
“That’s something we did.” (Makoto)
“!!! Raidou-dono, do you understand what you are saying by that?” (Zef)
Narrowing his eyes, the Demon Lord takes off all that amiable atmosphere and asks for confirmation.
It is alright. Everything that has to be spoken has already been arranged in my head.
Don’t be intimidated.
If it’s about Kaleneon, I definitely hold responsibility for it.
I won’t run away from it.
“Yes. Us -Kuzunoha Company- took Kaleneon from the hands of the demon race.” (Makoto)
“…Let’s hear the reason. There’s obviously one, right? This one hopes that you won’t say this was for the sake of hyumans.” (Zef)
“It was for my sake.” (Makoto)
“Raidou-dono’s sake?” (Zef)
“Yes. Kaleneon is…the homeland of my parents. In the past, my parents tied their bond there. For me, Kaleneon is like my second homeland.” (Makoto)
“Well even if I say that, I wasn’t thinking about recovering the land of Kaleneon which was already right in the middle of demon race territory. Just that…” (Makoto)
“Just that?” (Zef)
“My subordinates, thinking of me, took back the aforementioned land. The Kaleneon that they had given to me, I received it.” (Makoto)
“Is that something your two subordinates, Mio and Shiki, did? Or were there other factors involved?” (Zef)
Sharp eyes that tried to see through me.
There was no hostility.
But that was actually fearsome.
He is hiding his emotions just like he told me before.
With an emotionless face that reveals no emotion, he simply cross-examines me.
“I can’t say. No matter who was involved, the Kuzunoha Company moved, and I received the fruits of it. Since I received it, I hold the responsibility. I used power…to take away Kaleneon.” (Makoto)
“…Kukuku. By the principle of power huh. It is certainly true that it is the principle of the demon race but…seriously, it is not a subject that should be said in this place, without doubt. There was a Demon General at that place and it was in the territory of the demon race, right in the middle of it. No matter how much power that can’t be overlooked you possess, is it something that can be recaptured by a company independently? Sorry but, this one is in chaos right now. But first, this one wants to ask you one thing. Why did you spare Reft?” (Zef)
“I later learned that that person was a Demon General. He was injured, so I had him treated and returned him to the demon race territory. I don’t know the reason why his memories are a jumble though.” (Makoto)
“Because he is a Demon General huh. If this one had to choose between Kaleneon and Reft, this one would choose Reft. In that sense, should this one be grateful?” (Zef)
“No, that is…” (Makoto)
After leaking a chuckle, the Demon Lord makes a mysterious farsighted expression and a faint smile surfaced.
“But you got me. This one probably won’t be able to sleep tonight. Even though this one had drunk quite a bit and was in a good mood.” (Zef)
“If the talk is over…this time for sure let’s return, Raidou-dono.” (Zef)
“Demon Lord-sama, this talk…” (Makoto)
“If you are going to say: ‘Don’t tell anyone’, that’s an impossible deal. This one doesn’t know if this one will be able to swallow all this. Also, this isn’t a talk that an individual can keep to himself. Well in the first place, it is strange to refer a Lord as an ‘individual’ though.” (Zef)
He said it before me.
As I thought, it is impossible to ask him to keep it to himself huh.
But it would look bad to stay silent here so…
“No, this is something that I willingly spoke out because I understood the personality of Demon Lord-sama. That’s what I wanted to tell you.” (Makoto)
“This one will take your evaluation to heart. Now then, let’s go back.” (Zef)
The Demon Lord opens the door, and we return to the banquet.
A warm atmosphere envelops my body, and when I returned to my seat, I was welcomed by a huge amount of food.
Shiki who knew of the situation, had a face as if saying ‘good work’; Mio gave me her impressions of the food and gave me recommendations with a wide smile.
I-I was somehow able to say it.
Today there’s only eat and sleep left, so that’s a small blessing.
If tomorrow on is like this, my body might not be able to take it.
I could tell from the atmosphere.
After being entertained by the banquet of the demon race, we returned to our room. Then, we locked the room and went to sleep in Asora.
Today I didn’t feel like doing anything more.
The moment I returned to my own room, I quickly went down.
Last time it was my old self that seemed to have created a desert. And before that one…it was a dream where I almost killed Hibiki.
Hm, this is bad.
It feels like things are getting messed up.
Dreams like a strange kingdom and desert.
I remember a bit about the people that appeared in it, but the other details are getting foggy.
Dreams are not something that can be easily remembered so it can’t be helped, but these chain of events feel like they are trying to tell me something and it bothers me.
This is already the third time after all.
When I wake up, I will ask Tomoe to archive them.
Anyways…the mist is quite thick.
To the level that it looks like smoke.
Where am I…I mean, the me in this dream.
When I thought of this…I found him.
It isn’t as old as last time.
Just that, it looks like I have an incredibly troubled expression.
I don’t know if I have had these much emotion shown in my face before.
I was sitting at a bench.
Aside from that, I can’t see anything else.
It’s kinda ironic to say this in a dream but, this place doesn’t feel real.
Also, it bothers me that there’s no other person here aside from me.
“How long has it been since we have talked just the two of us, Waka.”
I was surprised by the voice.
Before I noticed, the shadow of a person appeared at the bench that I was sitting on.
Ah, so this strange place was prepared by Tomoe.
Or more like, there haven’t been any of my followers or the people of Asora in these dreams before.
“That kind of expression is…no, this isn’t something that I should be saying.” (Tomoe)
“You are the reason after all.” (Makothree)
“Tomoe, I…” (Makothree)
He is using ‘ore’.
If I remember correctly, there was one dream where I used ‘ore’ as well.
Yeah, even though it is me -no- maybe it’s because it is me huh.
The sense of disparity is incredible.
“Waka, please don’t say further.” (Tomoe)
“I haven’t said anything yet.” (Makothree)
“You were mostly going to apologize, right? It is unnecessary.” (Tomoe)
“…Even through the end, there’s no rivalling you huh.” (Makothree)
“It is something I wished for. At the very least, I have no regrets. Please.” (Tomoe)
“Being unable to reincarnate is something I was already prepared for when I made a pact with Waka. Also, there’s Mio at that side as well. She may not be as fun as being with Waka, but being together with her doesn’t bore me.” (Tomoe)
“If I had…If I had been stronger, do you think this wouldn’t have happened?” (Makothree)
“…No. Even if Waka had obtained the power to overwhelm that Goddess, there’s no knowing if the result would have changed. No one would know.” (Tomoe)
“But at the very least, I wouldn’t have done something as unsightly as exchanging the two heroes and Mio, right?” (Makothree)
Mio was here too.
And she is not here anymore. Is that what he is trying to say?
“But the Goddess might have come out faster. If that happened, not only Mio, Waka might have died at that moment as well.” (Tomoe)
“Even so!!” (Makothree)
“Everything has already happened. Waka, you have chosen your own path. We obeyed it. And so, we fought with a God and are now here. I said this before but, I…no, Mio as well, didn’t regret anything. Something like: ‘If we hadn’t met Waka’, has not crossed my mind one bit, you know.” (Tomoe)
“It was truly fun. A lot more fun than living eternally in a life without path.That’s why Waka should also look forward, and walk your own path. All your worries, I will be taking them here. When you cross the river of styx, I will return them to you.” (Tomoe)
“My path huh.” (Makothree)
“Yes. It is not like I can see through everything, so I don’t have the right to say this all high-and-mighty though.” (Tomoe)
“Even when you are speaking to me in this fashion?” (Makothree)
In this fashion…
What is it?
For some reason, a strange and bad feeling is clinging onto me.
“…Yeah. If you want to hear, I will tell you but… just promise me, *you will not drag us along anymore*.” (Tomoe) <She is telling him to stop burdening himself with their memories.>
“You are so unfair, Tomoe. You who had no other worries aside from period dramas and Japanese customs, is having worries? Are you telling me this knowing that I want to hear it? Understood, I will walk forward. It is only a bit more after all. I will look at the other side when I finish climbing.” (Makothree)
The mouth of the hung down head had a smile surface.
The corners of the mouth were upwards, but it looked like a made-up smile.
I could somehow tell that he wasn’t truly smiling.
“Then…since the time Waka had decided on his path, I steadily began to think this way. That maybe…If maybe there was another person aside from me and Mio who supports Waka…” (Tomoe)
“Are you referring to a follower? But I don’t have any other follower aside from you and Mio.” (Makothree)
“Mio and I might have been a bit too possessive. We did receive equal affection, but we were negative about having a new follower.” (Tomoe)
“…I can’t imagine having a follower aside from you two. If I had to force myself to put out a candidate, maybe Zef. Another one could be Sand Wave? Root? Well, the candidates would be them.” (Makothree)
“Zef huh. He might be a good one. Umu, if it were a man, we might not have minded much.” (Tomoe)
“A third follower huh. That’s quite the talk there.” (Makothree)
No, and Shiki?
Shiki… is not here?
“I don’t mind if it’s 3 or 4, but well, I had such a weak-willed thinking.” (Tomoe)
“Even you think about ‘maybe’s’ huh. I am slightly relieved to hear that.” (Makothree)
“Well then, it is already time to say goodbye. I made this kind of setup just in case, but I am glad that even someone like me was able to serve as a regret reliever.” (Tomoe)
Tomoe and I kissed.
And it doesn’t feel like this is the first time.
We are used to it.
I can’t believe it.
From all this, this is the most surprising.
With Tomoe huh.
I do think of her as someone dependable, but she is more of a brother, and I… don’t see her as a woman.
No well, she is indeed a beautiful woman though.
“…Please forgive this blunder of mine. My body has been blown away without remains, so I unconsciously did something like this.” (Tomoe)
Her body without remains…
As I thought, this Tomoe is…
There was the shock of that kiss, but I could tell that something even colder and heavier than that was being lodged in my stomach.
Tomoe was smiling all the time, and as if slipping into the thick mist, she dispersed like sand to the wind.
Don’t joke around.
Tomoe and Mio as well!
As if they would be killed by the Goddess!!
Hey, what in the hell did you do?!
Just what kind of stupid path did you take to lose them both?!
And Shiki?! What happened to Shiki?!
Damn it. I don’t understand the situation, so the emotions that have nowhere to go create more and more questions.
The surroundings of the me who was alone now, showed an instant change.
The mist that had grown thin was whirling, and disappeared with me at the centre of it.
Eh, this place is…
“Head, I am entering.”
A room I remember, and a familiar voice.
Without waiting for my reply, the owner of the voice enters the room.
As I thought.
When I saw his figure, I immediately thought this; Demon Lord Zef.
“The matter of Tomoe-dono… is regrettable. But even so, I have come here to have a word with you.” (Zef)
“It is alright now. I had Tomoe sermon me just a moment ago.” (Makothree)
With a loose face, I smile at the Demon Lord.
It feels like I am quite close with Zef-san.
“…By Tomoe-dono?” (Zef)
“Yeah. Seriously, she is a worrywart. She comes to sermon me even after death.” (Makothree)
“And, how are the preparations?” (Makothree)
“Completely done. We are waiting for you, Head.” (Zef)
“I see. Zef-san might have forgiven me, but at this rate, I feel like Rona and Sari will get noisy.” (Makothree)
“With Head’s position, it can’t be helped. There’s no choice but to accept it.” (Zef)
The dream’s me has sided with the demon race.
So this is that kind of dream huh.
“Thinking of it like somebody else’s business.” (Makothree)
“It is in truth somebody else’s business after all. You have finally taken off what was burdening you, so I will have you take a break.” (Zef)
The Demon Lord looks a lot younger than what my impression of him was.
No, his outward appearance hasn’t changed much, but his atmosphere is kinda different.
“Well, I understand how you feel, but taking a break will have to come after finishing one job more.” (Makothree)
“Fuh, I am aware. Now then, when you leave the room, I will have you change gears, Head. First, we have to encourage the soldiers.” (Zef)
The Demon Lord opens the door of the room and waits for me.
As if complying to his words, I walk there and leave to the corridor with the Demon Lord.
Looking at the ceiling, I take a deep breath and exhaled.
“Let’s go, Zef. As a Demon General, I will have you work plenty.” (Makothree)
“As you wish. As the new Demon Lord, I will serve you with this life of mine.” (Zef)
“The enemy is the Goddess. Do you have the resolve?” (Makothree)
“For a long time. Since the moment I was born a demon.” (Zef)
I climbed through the steps of the demon race and became a Demon Lord huh.
Not only that, it seems like it is before stepping against the Goddess.
This me is a lot further than me.
But…by sacrificing Tomoe and Mio.
I clench my teeth.
Looking at the figure and expression of the me who has walked further beyond, I could tell that I was feeling anger.
At that moment, the world creaks.
The scenery of the two walking the corridor had fine cracks appearing.
A displeasing sound as if glass was scraping each other resounded heavily.
I woke up from my dream.
It wasn’t as if I woke up because I was having a nightmare, or because I was driven out of my dream.
I silently open my eyes.
As usual, it is late at night.
Like the saying goes, the time when plants also sleep.
Don’t joke around.
That’s not a precognitive dream.
Because they are walking a path that is clearly different from the real me.
But ‘if I cooperate with the demon race, it will lead to that result’; there’s the chance of something close to that happening.
I have been thinking that the dreams I have had were not just simple dreams.
Tomoe. I should ask Tomoe to record my dreams.
‘The memories don’t fade, the people just forget about it’, is what she said.
In that case, I can reproduce everything including the previous dreams, and check them out.
…It really is no joke.
I don’t want to become the Demon Lord, and I don’t want to lose Tomoe and Mio.
In the first place, counting the two previous dreams that are starting to become foggy, there’s too much bad aftertaste!
I send a thought transmission to Tomoe.
Even if she is sleeping, I intended to wake her up.
(Waka? Weren’t you sleeping?) (Tomoe)
(You were awake huh. I have something I wanted to consult you about. Is it okay to do it right now?) (Makoto)
I thought that she was definitely sleeping.
What was she doing this late in the night?
(Understood. Then I will head to your room.) (Tomoe)
(No, I will go to you. Are you in your room?) (Makoto)
It is not like I am lonely, but for some reason, I wanted to see Tomoe.
(No, I’m outside. At the forest on the right of the mansion.) (Tomoe)
Hearing the location of Tomoe, I head there.
The forest huh.
I also go there sometimes to shoot my bow, but I don’t normally see Tomoe there.
There’s not much distance, so I arrive soon.
“Tomoe, what are you doing?” (Makoto)
“Of course, training. Even if I say this, it is more like solving a puzzle.” (Tomoe)
“Solving a puzzle huh.” (Makoto)
Tomoe was at the front of one tree.
With her hands at the katana’s handle, she had her body slightly low.
I can tell that it is the stance to pull out the katana.
But the distance between her and the tree is too short.
The pommel is hitting the trunk.
With that, you wouldn’t be able to draw in the first place.
Is that a new type of meditation?
“Drawing from this stance seems to serve as training.” (Tomoe)
“Drawing you say. Isn’t that practically zero-distance? Even if you force draw it, won’t the handle just hit the tree?” (Makoto)
“Yes. Several trees have already fallen. That’s probably not the correct way.” (Tomoe)
Of course it is not.
A person wouldn’t normally drop a tree for trying to forcefully draw a sword.
Just what kind of handle is that.
“Who did you hear that from?” (Makoto)
“I was taught by Hibiki. It seems to be a foundation of the katana.” (Tomoe)
“Then won’t we get it after looking at her memories?” (Makoto)
“Waka, if I do that, I feel like it would go against the point of training.” (Tomoe)
“You are serious in the weirdest of places. I like that though.” (Makoto)
“Just training with the katana is fun, so it doesn’t faze me. Even if today is no good, even if tomorrow is no good, even if the day after tomorrow is no good; I will do my best every day. Well even if I say this, I intended to finish the training for today, but since I received a thought transmission from Waka, I continued for a bit more. And, what was the business you had?” (Tomoe)
Wiping her sweat, Tomoe laughs with a satisfied expression.
Uh, it reminds me of the smile of the dream Tomoe.
That was…a dream.
That’s right, I won’t let it become reality.
That’s why I came to meet Tomoe.
“I wanted to check a dream of mine for a bit you see. Dreams also enter in the category of memories right? Can you check them?” (Makoto)
“Of course. Is it recent?” (Tomoe)
“Yeah, around ten days ago. I think there’s a day when I was resting at Asora. I am counting on you for that.” (Makoto)
“Well then,excuse me while I give it a look.” (Tomoe)
“Don’t look at anything unnecessary, okay?” (Makoto)
“I know.” (Tomoe)
Tomoe’s hand touches my forehead.
Anyways, it might have been something important.
With this, I have one thing less to worry about.
Tomoe closes her eyes and searches my memories.
But to place the handle at the tree and draw huh.
Kuma-sensei who taught me the basics of Iai, no wait, I haven’t been taught by sensei, not even once.
… Maybe I just didn’t advance to that stage yet.
Is it because I wasn’t following the lessons well?
Tomoe said she heard it from Hibiki-senpai, but now that I think about it, there’s no training in kendo for drawing, right?
Was senpai learning swordsmanship as well?
In that case, she is more fearsome than I thought.
“Ah, did you finish?” (Makoto)
In the time that I was thinking, it seems she had finished.
Okay, this is no time to be sleeping, so I will look at them right now.
“For around 3 days, there were nights when you didn’t have a dream but… there wasn’t any specially strange dream.” (Tomoe)
“Maybe in those 3 days you had a such a deep sleep that you didn’t have any dreams?” (Tomoe)
“No, there’s no way. Ehm, at the day I met Hibiki-senpai… also, at the day when I went to the Empire. Also today, just a moment ago.” (Makoto)
“I didn’t find any. What kind of dreams?” (Tomoe)
“In one I was about to kill senpai, at another I made a desert, then I also became a Demon Lord… uhm, Tomoe and the others were dead.” (Makoto)
“…It certainly does sound like a suggestive dream.” (Tomoe)
“Are there really none? Memories of me seeing those dreams.” (Makoto)
“Yes. Totally.” (Tomoe)
I certainly did see it and I am able to tell its contents right now.
I saw them, and yet, a dream I didn’t see? I feel more and more that those dreams are not mere dreams.
But Tomoe doesn’t seem to be lying.
What’s going on?
“…Understood. Sorry Tomoe. To ask you for something so late at night.” (Makoto)
“No, don’t worry about it. Waka, if it’s okay with you, I can try searching as many times as you want.” (Tomoe)
“No, it is not like pushing will do anything. I will return to my room and note down as much information I remember. I might ask of you again but, at that time, I am counting on you.” (Makoto)
“I am sorry for not being of help. Just that, Waka…” (Tomoe)
“We won’t easily die. We are Waka’s followers after all. I want you to believe in that.” (Tomoe)
“…Yeah, thanks. Good night.” (Makoto)
“Yeah, have a good sleep. I as well…!! If pushing doesn’t work, maybe pulling…” (Tomoe)
“Hm, Tomoe?” (Makoto)
“M-Maybe!! It was that?! Umu, it might be!!” (Tomoe)
“…Tomoe? Hey~” (Makoto)
“What? You won’t sleep?” (Makoto)
“I won’t! As expected, Waka is really different!! Umu, there’s worth in trying! Sorry Waka, I was thinking about going back with you, but I will be training for a bit more!!” (Tomoe)
“Ah…okay. Then, I will be going first.” (Makoto)
“Rest well!!” (Tomoe)
Well, it didn’t seem like a bad agitation so…let’s leave it.
I also have things to do here. Need to write down the contents of the dream.
The first two are kinda hard to say, but the one just now is still fine…I think.
Okay, let’s return to my room.