Episode 80 – The Old Demon King is Not Shaken.
“….’Chrono’, is it? Well, what could that possibly mean?”
“Your Majesty the Demon Lord, you are a man of great wisdom. You were swiftly able to decipher ancient script.”
The ancient script Zancock was referring to were the words carved into Zancock’s new sword that was taken from a nameless old man in the village.
Zancock’s troops responded to the sorrowful words of the Demon Lord with a mixture of questions and compliments.
Even though they couldn’t understand what was going on, they could tell from his words that the situation was not what it seemed.
They gulped and watched the Lord’s movements.
“…The real reason I wanted to talk to you guys was something else. –Molly.”
“You wanted to see me, Your Majesty?”
The ominous voice that sounded as if it were being sent directly to their brains changed the atmosphere once again.
A fiendish bone demon suddenly emerged from behind a tree.
Accompanied by a goat-headed butler, it floated in the air while kneeling on its haunches, and walked up to the demon lord.
“I’ll leave it to you to interrogate them. Find out about that magic tool and other things. I’m sorry, but you’ll have to take care of…. the aftermath.”
“….huh? Thank you very much.”
The demon king’s eyes and words were so powerful that they made Molly’s bones shake from the marrow.
Molly knew that the battle she had just fought was merely a game.
Because humans were really so different.
Not just their strength once they became transcendents, but their will that is unaffected by anything is extraordinary.
It is the arrogantly straightforward spirit of the demon king that attracted her.
Zancock and the others naturally understood their situation now that it had come this far.
The [Black Demon King] had even subjugated the [Swamp Demon].
They are about to be disposed of…
“Your Majesty, the Demon Lord! This is not right!”
“What are you talking about? …Oh, did you think I agreed to it because I shut up earlier?”
Yes, that’s right.
But the Demon Lord’s impatience grew as he seemed to imply otherwise.
“You misunderstood. I was just lamenting the fact that I couldn’t punish you here. I was merely apologizing for not being able to judge you with my own hands. Because the last time I talked to you, I wanted to see whether or not you had compassion for the villagers. I told you in the beginning. I want to hear the whole story. What’s happened can’t be undone, but…”
It was as if he’d already planned to punish them the moment they’d met.
“To be honest… I’m not going to let you guys off the hook. None of you.”
“Are any of you not convinced by my judgment?”
They were not convinced.
To the stunned Zancock and the others, the Demon Lord seemed like a madman who took pleasure in killing and murdering everyone in sight.
No one, not even Kageha and the others, could convince Chrono to take a different stand.
Therefore, it was a tremendously terrifying situation.
“Your Majesty, the Demon Lord! The future of Larman is at stake in this mission!” Zancock’s bravely raised voice cut through the silence and echoed through the snowy mountains.
“I have been entrusted with the future prosperity of the Republic of Larman, and the prosperity of our children and the generations to come!”
Zancock immediately changed his mind and decided to try and negotiate a deal.
Against such a powerful demon lord, the only was to survive was to establish a friendly relationship with him. Maybe he could even receive a reward when he returned to his home country, so he gave it his all.
He didn’t even notice that the ground was trembling.
“If we succeed in this mission, it will be beneficial to His Majesty the Demon King-” Zancock’s words halted.
His gaze fell onto the fury of Mother Nature rushing down from the…. spectacular snowy mountains behind the Demon Lord.
Zancock’s cry evoked the judgment of nature.
“….Don’t worry about it. I won’t let Mother Nature judge you.”
The Demon Lord turned around and held out his hand.
He faced the annoying waves of snow with no hesitation, as if he were going to close a curtain, not face an avalanche.
The shaking of the earth made them think that even the earth was trembling due to the anger of the Demon Lord.
All of them, including Kageha and the others, didn’t know what was going to happen, but the Demon Lord’s supernatural-
“What are you doing?”
All of our attention, including the Demon Lord’s, is directed to the demon that unleashed the—- dark green magic.
What was going on?
Everyone was subconsciously afraid of damaging the demon lord’s mood further.
The words were not directed at the Demon Lord, but at the beautiful women under his command.
“Are you not employed as servants? Isn’t it your job to prevent these petty interruptions from bothering His Majesty? His Majesty must be spoiling you.”
“…Don’t be reckless. The power nature wields is immense.”
The Demon Lord reacted to Molly’s unexpected words of encouragement with a fearless smile on his face.
Then, he gave an order.
He gave his order to his only subordinate who could stand up to Mother Nature besides himself.
“I can only entrust this to you.”
The swamp demon, who had only been around for a short time, had been entrusted with the Demon Lord’s trust.
The [Swamp Demon] held her skeletal palm high in the air and began to laugh.
“Kaka! I’ve been entrusted with an order!”
A huge amount of magic power danced wildly.
The magic trails that resembled death gradually formed a circle.
Then… a storm was born on top of the poisonously green colored magic circle, gathering as if it was forcibly compressed.
Eventually, the mass of the wildly rampaging storm formed the shape of a huge, ferocious bull…
“The Bull of Hurran. That- is an eyesore. Clean it up.”
The bull was unleashed into the avalanche that was racing down while crushing the trees.
The bull was not the least bit intimidated by the force exerted by Mother Nature, instead choosing to roar wildly as it charged forward.
Clad in raging winds and boiling with a frenzied will to fight, it collided head-on with the avalanche.
The snow wave parted.
The bull majestically advanced straight ahead through the center of the wave of snow, blowing it to the sides with sheer force.
Clad in raging winds and boiling with a frenzied will to fight, it collided head-on with the avalanche.
The snow waves part.
With the bull majestically advancing straight ahead in the center, it blows away like a tidal wave to the left and right.
The magical bull looked like it was clad in a giant white curtain.
Hanam’s heartbeat accelerated as the stormy bull dispersed the fury of nature, but he was forcibly pulled back from his daydream into the nightmare that was his reality when the Demon Lord opened his mouth.
“You’ve been battling nature like this for years, haven’t you? For years…”
Hanam barely heard the fragile and fleeting voice of the Demon Lord.
“…All the youth in that village have left for the city, and as you guys said, it is completely filled with old people.”
The contemplative Demon Lord began to speak.
He spoke one-sidedly, as if Zancock’s repeated attempts to negotiate with him had fallen on deaf ears.
“But, you see, the villagers that did stay back were trying to revive the village by selling a vegetable that had been grown in the village for a long time as a local specialty.”
Zancock and the others couldn’t understand the significance of the typical rural tale that Chrono was telling.
There are many such villages that have disappeared with nothing to show for it despite the villagers’ efforts.
Instead, they wondered how the Demon Lord knew such a story.
“It seems these vegetables grow well under the snow.”
Zancock and the others were unaware that such a thing existed in that village.
“He took the trouble to… move the snow away… and show me…”
A young man had come to that village for these vegetables.
“When I tried to leave while the snow fell heavily, they suggested I stay the night. I couldn’t spare the time.”
Little did Zancock and his men know that just a few weeks ago Chrono had gotten involved with the village.
Before he went to recruit the Swamp Devil, just before he met Kageha again.
“You know what? That was just the beginning. I don’t know if they would have succeeded or even failed. It was, after all, just a bunch of old people spreading out seeds in a field. None of them had ever grown anything on such a large scale before. That’s right…”
The Demon Lord’s dark eyes shifted from Zancock to the men around him.
“That’s the area you’ve been trampling around, thinking it’s a vacant lot.”
Their bodies shuddered convulsively, their faces turned blue, and their teeth chattered in a deafening chorus.
“I can’t just leave them like that, the village in ruins. I won’t allow it.”
Indignation rose in the Demon Lord as he thought of the dead bodies of the villagers clustered in a house in the far west of the village.
“He mentioned it to me. That this was just the first step. His hands and feet were afflicted with frostbite. His back and joints screamed every day, he said while laughing.”
The Demon Lord’s inner rage oozed out along with his magic.
“Do you think it’s okay to be trampled?”
“…we represent a country–“
“I don’t think so.” The Demon Lord said with steely eyes.
“Let’s assume, as you say, that this is all part of the greater good. I’m not interested in—–.”
“Many people in Larman will be saved because of this sacrifice? I don’t care about—–.”
“I don’t care one bit how heroic the feat you performed is.”
Black magic finally revealed itself.
It blew away the residue of the raging avalanche, filling the silvery world with despair.
“Lives of people here have been laid waste. And…”
In the silence, as if the avalanche had never happened, the Demon Lord’s emotional words echoed in everyone’s soul.
“….The culprit that caused it is right in front of me. That’s all that matters to me.”
A gleam of tranquil anger stopped Zancock and the others in their tracks.
Even Molly and Solnada went numb from the Demon Lord’s rage.
In contrast, Kageha and Lilia were convinced that the “black light” they reached out to in the…. darkness was the right one.
Their decisions were certainly based on fleeting emotions.
Kageha was drawn to the warm hand that had been extended to her in her time of need. It was true that it was an emotional decision on her part.
He was a black hope that she stumbled upon in the darkness.
But it was dazzling.
Even if it was based on fleeting emotions, it was blinding.
Maybe it was because the light was so great.
But it didn’t matter.
Because she will never regret taking the path that this light illuminated.
She was sure of it.
The jet-black eyes that had glanced at Type-2 turned to Zancock and the others again.
“….How many villages did you guys attack?”
No one could say anything due to fear.
“I think you understand now, don’t you? Tell us about…. your endeavors and the magic tool you used.”
He took out the broken collar used on Type-2 from his pocket, and also the bracelet Zancock had which was of the same design, and ordered.
“….you’ll be betraying our country!”
“I don’t mind.”
Hanam’s… last stand against Zancock and the others was easily dismissed.
They had no qualms in betraying Larman.
“I am the Demon Lord. I’d rather destroy your country and this world than overlook the evil that lies before me.” Chrono stated with arrogance befitting a demon king, while walking to Zancock.
The Demon King’s footsteps were the only sounds that reached everyone’s ears.
He knew it was the work of “Type-2” after examining the corpses of the villagers.
His newly recruited members told him that there were probably others who were working with Type-2.
In the village, there was a man wearing a collar with the same design as Type-2’s.
Zancock froze as if time had stopped…. He slowly pulled the sword out of the handmade belt to which the scabbard was attached….
“This is the sword that I gave to the old man along with my handmade belt, as a replacement for his broken belt….”
The eyes of the Demon Lord who was crouching and Zancock met in close proximity.
Black, deep…. eyes, filled with rage met eyes that had no regret or repentance, only having fear.
They stared at each other in silence, as if they were in a ritual to extract a soul.
….Eventually… the demon king stood up, withdrawing his eyes….
Relief settled into Zancock, which would be the last emotion he would ever feel.
It was the most emotionally charged swing that Kageha, Lilia and the others had ever seen.
It was not an exquisite swing filled with technique. It was a swing made by a sword that was wielded with anger.
A swing that made you think you were cut into two pieces merely by looking at it.
He swung at Zancock with a speed that made people think the silvery world had been cut down.
Only Zancock’s belt was severed, and the weight of the sheath caused it to fall to the snow.
Zancock followed suit and collapsed.
“….I never gave it to you. Never.”
He looked down at Zancock, who had fainted, and said in an icy voice filled with rage.
He then looked over at the men, who were beginning to cling to the hope that this was a dream….
“You’d better prepare yourselves….”
Before they knew it, skeletal demons surrounded the troop.
And then, from behind Hanam, the fearsome ruler of the swamp embraced his shoulders as if wrapping him in a robe of death.
“Ha, ha, ha.”
“Huh, huh, huh.”
The despair gifted by the Demon King and the fear induced by the Swamp Demon made his blood run cold and his teeth tremble to the point of breaking.
“–Our new recruits won’t be as naive as I am, right….?”
I’d like to thank you all for your comments, but I’ve been getting a lot of them, so I’m going to try to keep the replies to a minimum.
The last update of chapter 4 will take about a week. This is because I’ve been too busy during the New Year’s holidays and I’m completely out of ideas. I was actually planning to start working on the details of chapters 5 and 6 around the beginning of the year.
I don’t want to take a break and stack up like before, so I’ll try to update once a week for a while.
But in the worst case, I’ll have to go into a stack up hiatus.
If you can’t wait so long and want an unrelated short story, please leave a comment. I don’t have any plans for a hiatus at the moment, though, so don’t worry.
Thank you very much.
[TLN: Sorry for missing yesterday! In return, you get a full length chapter today~]