Roka and I shared a cup on the terrace of the Duke of Duras’s mansion.
It was the first time we had ever shared a cup as friends, but I guess it wasn’t so bad.
Afterwards, we watched the moonlight for a while in silence.
It was Roka who broke the silence first.
“…… Theo. Am I strong?”
The question came out of nowhere.
“Of course. I think you’re the second strongest among the special students. I guess it depends on how you fight.”
There was no need to hide my true feelings.
I can’t lose to this girl no matter how hard she tries. And this girl will not lose if she hits someone other than me head-on.
“I see. If you say so, then I guess my power is not so foolish.”
“What’s the matter? You can share with me if you have a problem, you know?”
“…… I do not know when, but I will return to Lugal one day. It is my duty in the name of the royal survivor to lead people fight the barbarians. No, I have to do it.”
“Can’t you leave it to the people who are fighting on the battlefield now?
“No, I can’t. I have to eradicate those people.”
Eradicate them. That doesn’t sound very good.
“I can’t let those who despise our beastkins and do as they please do any more. I must take the lead, lead the people to victory, and then fulfill my duties as a good king.”
“I’ve never really thought about it, but has there ever been a fox beastkin who became a beast king?”
“No, never. Not even once. That is why there are still many people in Lugal who do not want me to become the Beast King. Well, it’s not much of a problem right now, because dealing with the enemy in front of us is more important than that, but…. what happens after the war?”
Roka looked down and bit her lower lip.
The pressure of a fox beastkin, the lowest in the pecking order, becoming the Beast King may have unconsciously pushed her over the edge.
“There are many people in Lugal that I can rely on, including Rezan, the lion beastkin. I’m sure she’s struggling to bear the name of the Empress. That is, if she’s not already dead.”
“Is the Empress different from the Beast King?”
“The royal family of Lugal has all died out, leaving me as the only one left, and I need someone to take my place and lead them. We call her the Empress because she is a woman. It’s not like the Beast King, who has absolute control.”
So the Empress is just a position that allows her to lead everyone even without the Beast King. She doesn’t need bloodline or an achievements, just powerful.
“Rezan also has a dependable second-in-command. He’s a pretty sharp guy. He’s a beastkin, but he’s also interested in magic, and he studies the history of other countries, and he’s a soft guy, but he’s irreplaceable, and he’s very useful.”
“There are oddballs in every country. You have people you can rely on, why do you still worry about your country?”
When asked, Roka muttered, albeit a little dangling.
“…umm….., both Rezan and Jex smiled when they sent me off to the empire ……. There were many who went to the battlefield with a similar smile on their face and never returned.”
“Oh, I see. Is it hard for you?”
“To be honest. I’m not sure if the two of them will be around by the time I get back to Lugal. …… While I’m lounging around in the Empire, the people of Lugal are fighting like hell. Maybe some of them have just died. I can’t bear to think about that……”
Roka’s words trailed off. I think her voice was trembling a little bit.
But she didn’t start crying. It seemed that she was restraining herself at the last minute.
It’s like her true appearance, which usually looks unmanned and selfish.
It’s easy to misunderstand, but she’s only 16 years old today. It is too heavy for a girl who has only lived that long to take on the role of the Beast King.
“…… Theo. I’d like you to keep what I’m about to say a secret from everyone.”
“What is it?”
“I’m. I’m grateful to Shaula….. She has always recognized me as a person who has the capacity to be a beast king, and she adores me innocently. It’s not just that she’s kind of girl, who is overly fond of women, will follow me. In fact, she’s the kind of girl who will mercilessly put down anyone she thinks is below her rank. I believe that she’s firmly recognizing my power.”
Honest words of gratitude.
She said something that she would never normally say. It was not a slip of the tongue, but came out naturally. I’m sure she’ll be most pleased if she tell her in front of her. I guess she can’t do that yet.
“That’s right. I think she cares about you very much. She’s the one who came up with the idea for this birthday party, although she should have told me about it a little earlier.”
“She just does whatever comes to her mind. It’s the same with me. I’ve always been like that. …… I used to annoy the adults around me. Well, that may still be the case …… I’m sorry to have wasted your time with such trivialities.”
She said in a tone of voice that sounded somewhat nostalgic.
I guess she has a little out of sorts. She has definitely had too much to drink.
I couldn’t help but laugh when I saw how different she looked from her usual cheerful self.
“I don’t mind. It’s not like anyone has ever said they didn’t want to celebrate your birthday. I don’t know if Julian was here, though. But I’m sure he’ll give you his blessing somehow. He’s not that arrogant, even if he does talk a lot.”
“I can’t imagine being congratulated by that dragon.”
“You should enjoy your birthday celebration for today. The fun goes by quickly, but the memories stay with you forever. Well, ……, the way you look now, I wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve forgotten everything by tomorrow morning.”
“Mmm, what? I’m a good drinker,” she said, wagging her tail as she sipped from her cup.
“But I’m feeling better now. I’m feeling better now that I have a good wood carving of Lugal-sama.”
“I think you should thank Shaula in the near future. After she said she wanted to celebrate your birthday, she also said she didn’t know anything about you.”
“Mu …… don’t know, huh? Is there something she doesn’t understand by my side?”
The future of the Lugal Kingdom rests on Roka’s shoulders. And she herself may be about to be crushed under the weight of it. The one who cares about this more than anyone else is probably Shaula.
However, this fox girl doesn’t show any weakness unless it’s something serious. She always seems to be bold, arrogant, selfish, and energetic.
Perhaps she has never even asked Shaula for advice. That’s why Shaula let out a little bit of anxiety, almost frustration, at that time. She must have been frustrated with herself for not being able to fully understand Roka’s situation and pain.
You can’t convey your feelings unless you say them out loud.
I didn’t care about that when I was only spending time with demons, but as I spent time with Giselle and Rena, who used to be human, I came to understand the subtleties of human emotions a little better.
And it’s not just humans, but beastkins, elves and dragons as well – maybe even demons themselves.
“You should rely on Shaula a little in the future. You should also listen to her opinion.”
“…. Shaula and I think the same way, you know? Especially the part that believes in the eradication of barbarians.”
The stubbornness is also similar.
This would be a good opportunity. This is why I decided to interject a little.
“Roka, I’d like you to join me for a few minutes to talk about the past. It’s about the strongest man I’ve ever known, and at the same time it’s a story that will help you in the future.”
“Well, I’m curious about that. Let’s hear it.”
Roka turned her face red and stared at me like she was interested.
“In a certain country there was a man of great power. It’s not an exaggeration to say that his power is the pinnacle of all things.”
“The man attacked the surrounding countries one after another. As a result, he expanded his country’s territory and dominion until he created a great nation.”
I don’t think Roka would understand what I’m talking about.
But I continue. I want her to know that she has to become the Beast King.
“The man’s habit was to say, ‘Eradicate the enemy’s people’.”
“Hoho … there is something that goes with me.”
“You want to eradicate the people of Chiaro Diruna because you hate them?”
“In a nutshell, yes. We can’t leave those barbarians live any longer.”
“Are you willing to go around killing everyone and everything in that country?”
“Of course. I want to cut off their heads with my own hands. I’ve always wanted to…”
“No. No, I’m asking if you want to kill those who have no strength to fight. That’s what eradication is all about.”
“I have to kill all of them, even if they are …… old, women and children. If we don’t do that, the country will come to a point where it will not stop.”
“Roka. That’s your mission statement, not your hobby, isn’t it?”
Roka’s fox ears twitched, and he looked a little confused.
She tilted gee neck as if she didn’t understand.
“What? Isn’t that what you’re talking about? As you know, I’m not very smart. Don’t be a roundabout way of saying it.”
“I’ve been saying it right from the start. Do you want to indiscriminately kill and enjoy those who have no strength or willingness to fight?”
“……! No one would want to do such a thing!”
“Okay. –Let’s go back to the story. The man has made his country a superpower. He made his country a great power, and everyone loved him for it. And his men slaughtered their opponents one after another based on his principles. No matter how old or young, male or female, every last one of them was eradicated.”
“I don’t know who you’re talking about, but did he have a reason why he had to exterminate his opponents?”
“There is no such thing. He just wanted to overrun and slaughter them, so he did. That’s all I’m saying. Now, here’s the question. What do you think happened to the man after that?”
I stared at Roka’s eyes.
She whispered, groaning in trouble as if she had been struck by a mystery that didn’t make sense.
“I think he became the champion, didn’t he?” If he’s that strong.”
“Sorry, it’s off. The man was killed. By his own men.”
Eradicated. The most powerful person I’ve ever known – the previous Lucifer – was fond of using that word.
The enemy’s people must be eradicated. All of them, young and old, male and female, must be killed. That was the philosophy of the demon race that was set forth by that man who was caught up in the urge to destroy.
“What, no matter how strong you were, if you can’t still control your men, then you don’t qualify to be the champion.”
“Yes. Such a person is not qualified to be the champion. Please keep that in mind, Roka.”
“You certainly haven’t done well in your studies, and you’re still immature.”
“I can’t stand it when people say that.”
“But you already have the power to control a lot of people. Normally, you have a lot of room and dignity, unless you have a lot of problems. And of course, you have the arrogance a king needs.”
“Is that a compliment, ……?”
“Yes. I think you’ll make a great king, but you have to make the right choice. Don’t make the mistake of trying to kill those who have no intention of fighting. The retribution will surely drag you down to the bottom of the earth.”
“I’m not foolish enough to let my head get caught in the sand, but I’ll take your advice.”
Roka still felt like it didn’t add up, but that was okay for now.
But when she really becomes the Beast King. It is only then that her true value will be tested.
An arrogant tyrant is destined to be unexpectedly caught off-guard and destroyed. Just as I was to the previous Lucifer, there is a good chance that someone else will be to her as well.
Especially for a girl like her, who is still in her infancy, the danger is extremely high.
I know that I don’t have to do this for her.
However, I don’t want her to take the wrong path after spending her birthday with me like this and sharing a cup as best friends.
Diruna and Lugal, who I once spent a little time with. I want to see with my own eyes the true harmony between human and beastkin that they aimed for. With such a little bit of expectation in my heart.
“The two of you there. I’m sorry to interrupt your good mood, but we’ve made a special dessert for you.”
On the plate in Liz’s hand was an apple pie that smelled sweet and savory.
“Oh! It’s best to finish with sweetness.”
“It’s made from ingredients from Clarice’s favorite store, so I’m sure it will be delicious.”
“All right, I’ll devour it first!”
“Okay, okay. I’ll cut it up for you, so don’t just grab it out of my hand! How about you, Keith?”
“I’m not a big fan of sweets, but since I’m here, I’ll take a bite.”
“Okay, okay. How about you, Theo?”
“I will gladly accept your offer.”
I walked into the duke’s house with Roka and enjoyed the rest of the birthday party.
Shaula, who had fallen asleep at one point, woke up and fussed again, then collapsed with Roka as if she had run out of energy.
Then, after cleaning up, Liz, who had been working hard all day, plopped down on the table screaming, “Oh, I’m so tired!” Liz, who had been working so hard, fell down on the table and fell asleep.
Roka and Shaula were leaning against each other, sleeping peacefully, and Keith was probably meditating with his arms crossed, but before he knew it, he was craning his neck.
Everyone seemed to be tired. Except for Elsa, who was still cleaning up the rest.
“Elsa, I’ll help you too.”
“I’m afraid I can’t accept your offer.”
“Well, well, don’t be so hard on me. I don’t feel good unless I’m physically active.”
As I was quietly cleaning up with the expressionless maid, she suddenly said, “What are you?”
“Would you believe me if I told you that I’m just an ordinary person?”
“If you’re from a certain noble family, I’ll believe you, but if you’re a mutation, your bright blue hair is too bizarre. I’ve never seen anything like it in my life.”
…… I guess blue hair does stand out.
I don’t remember much about it, but I think Lumiere was very concerned about it.
“Does General Duras say anything to you?” (Theodore)
“Nothing, except what was necessary. Claude is …… excuse me, master, he’s a particularly reticent man.” (Elsa)
“Are you General Duras’s mistress, by the way you speak?”
“No. My master and I are old acquaintances, for short. I’ve known him well since he was a child, so I’m not used to calling him ‘master’ yet.”
It was an unexpected fact.
I thought she was a ‘dutiful’ maid, but I guess not.
“I’m surprised he hasn’t done anything to you after losing his wife. If I were him, I already attacked you.”
“You’re so bold despite your appearance. He loved Nastasya …… his wife very much. He has no interest in any other woman. He was a single-minded man to the core.”
Losing his beloved wife……? I can’t even imagine it.
If that happens, I’m not sure I can control my destructive urges. But with my current body, I’m only strong enough to be wiped out by those three with one finger.
“Did you fight with General Duras on the battlefield?”
“I was a sort of bodyguard until I was wounded in the leg. After the war, he hired me as a maid because he was familiar with me from the past and also because of my experience on the battlefield.”
“That’s an interesting story. If you don’t mind, can you tell me a little about that time?”
I thought in a corner of my mind as I said that.
Well. I wonder what kind of exchange Rena is having with her unexpectedly difficult opponent right now.