What Slumbering Within The Ruins
The next night.
On a tree that was so tall that it could overlook the entire forest, I looked down at the mansion of the Hero under the moonlight.
I came to visit again because I thought I might have gone overboard with the intimidation, but I found the little girl from yesterday had sneaked out alone.
She’s really suspicious.
She pinned her sword to her waist and ran down the night road shaking her flimsy clothes.
Although wolf-like demons attacked her from time to time, she didn’t need me to do anything, she just killed them with a sword strike that didn’t look like a child’s or even an adult’s, and continued to run down the mountain road.
It’s a little too early to say that she’s coming to see the sunrise.
What exactly did she want to do was finally figured out after we reaching the top of the mountain.
Towering on top of the mountain was a ruin with the solemn air of a temple.
…… So that’s how it was.
I understood it completely.
It was said that Hero had a mission, and there was such a majestic ruin on top of a nearby mountain.
This child must have come here to get the Legendary Sword.
The Hero, they’ve been watching over this place so that the Legendary Sword won’t be misused.
I know what it’s like to want to get the old sword of legend. That’s what children often think.
I’ve been said many times, but the Demon King is a being that brings despair.
Although it was difficult to reach the ruins, Celestia stopped near the entrance.
Feeling the overly negative vibe leaking out of the ruin, she winced.
“It turns out you really are just a kid.”
She was really very unhappy.
It shouldn’t matter what the Demon King’s expectations were, but those words lingered in the back of her mind.
To make him re-examine, to make him reevaluate, to make him recognize of her, she took steps again with such determination.
The pungent smell of mold drifted over, but with a mere frown she ran without hesitation towards the underground stairs.
The long staircase finally reached its end, and there was an open space in front of her.
There was complete silence there, and not a trace of life could be felt.
Although it created that strong negative atmosphere, it was indeed a very sacred looking area.
Robbed of her sight by the delicate frescoes and the stone pillars standing upright side by side around her, Celestia stopped in her tracks.
The first thing that caught her eye upon arriving there were two large, heavy doors.
The bas-relief of a man with angelic wings, surrounded by demons, humans, and various other races was depicted vividly.
This vivid, yet ugly, picture that sent chills down her spine caused her somewhat feverish mind to calm down again.
However, thinking that she was already here, she had that heavy door pushed open on one side.
She felt the terror that overflowed from inside, and through the small gap in the open door, she entered the interior.
The interior was a space that was reminiscent of that throne room of the castle, a place with a different style than before she entered.
There was only one difference in nature.
That was the man kneeling in the deepest center with long black hair hanging down on the ground.
The man sealed by the chains stretched out in all directions was wrapped in a tattered fabric and was merely kneeling there with his head hanging down above the floor.
“…. That, who is that man?”
In response to those words, wings suddenly appeared behind the man.
It was twelve of black and lustrous pairs of wings that was as if to fill the depths.
Immediately afterwards, the man lifted his extremely upright face up and slowly opened his eyes.
The pupils of those eyes shone with a golden glow, and while putting great pressure on Celestia, he looked at her with eyes that looked as if he was looking at an insect.
It was a gaze that was cold and cruel at the same time.
In front of that instantly recognizable supernatural being, her body couldn’t help but tremble.
Suddenly, words that weren’t used to hearing rang out in her mind.
The language that should have been incomprehensible from the man in front of her, somehow she was able to understand it at this time.
In front of the man, white magic that seemed to freeze her body gathered and unleashed itself into Celestia …… without mercy.
She was certain that she would meet her death.
In that instant she felt regret.
She, herself, was too pretentious.
Feeling that she could solve everything on her own, that no one other than herself could do it.
As if to wipe out the regret, the white ball of light approached her, who was unable to move because of her fear.
(…… sorry ……)
She closed her eyes naturally, committing herself to the coming trial.
“——what a displeasure.”
The black blade sliced open the white ball of light.
The ball of light that was beautifully sliced open was blown away towards the doorway side, and went away with a roar.
At the moment when she had made the realization that she would absolutely die, the thought of thanking her for the crime naturally surfaced in her mind.
A somewhat familiar looking boy landed in front of her …… he helped her.
“…… De-Demon King?”
“Yeah. I’m sorry, but can I have this guy?”
In her teary eyes was the one who smiled calmly even in the face of that extraordinary existence, the Demon King.
『Who are you?』
“I am the Demon King. Nice to meet you. You look more like a demon king than I do.”
『Do you make a fun on me—』
The Demon King moved above the man’s head in a split second.
It was so close to an instant’s movement that even Celestia, who was watching from a slight distance, couldn’t keep up.
The Demon King’s sword that was mercilessly swung down was defended by the black decorative sword that appeared in the man’s hand at some point.
『Get on your knees!』
“That’s what you’re supposed to do.”
With an argument like a child who hates to lose, the fuse of the mythical battle was lit up.
It was truly a battle of heavenly beings.
The man’s massive white magic was dodged when he was just a hair’s breadth away, while the Demon King’s black sword was blocked by the sword entangled with white magic power, and an evenly matched battle was waged between the two.
As the aftermath of the battle between the two men blew chaos everywhere in the ruins, even the outside world began to be affected.
White light ran through the ruins, and the impact of the countless staggered swords made the mountains tremble as well.
The Demon King threw his sword like a ray of light.
Completely seeing through the move, the winged man bounced it off with his black decorative sword.
But in that instant, the Demon King’s fist had arrived in front of him.
The man dodged away again in the nick of time, releasing white waves of magic all over his body.
He unleashed the white shock with a momentum that seemed like it would blow the ruins away.
Noticing that the Demon King’s posture had already retreated to the back where the magic wave couldn’t reach, the sword that was bounced out of the air fell back into the Demon King’s hands as if it had been pre-determined.
Both of them thought they couldn’t possibly lose, and felt a happy riot in their hearts.
Celestia was aware of her own insignificance and was also fascinated by the dance-like gestures of the transcendents.
“Kuh!! What a despicable act! You are indeed worthy of the Demon King’s name!!”
Faced with the white light that was released with endless magic power, the Demon King didn’t avoid it, but withstood it with his sword that was dyed black.
(…… why …… ah)
Ths clever Celestia immediately realized that it was because she was also on the track of light.
She was protected by him.
She was left in tears from feeling sorry than to wonder why the Demon King had protected her.
It was so lame of herself to be dragging her feet even though she was clearly getting help from the other side.
Even as Celestia was driven by this feeling of self-blame, the battle accelerated towards the final curtain.
The Demon King’s sword was reaching its limit.
After all, it had been enduring that huge amount of magic power. And on top of that, in order to withstand that magic power it was bound to pour a rather remarkable amount of magic power into the sword’s blade. The fact that it had been able to keep up until now was thanks to the Demon King’s delicate magic manipulation and excellent technique.
This was something that the Demon King and the Black Winged Man knew very well.
The Demon King made up his mind to break through right then and there.
Rightfully so, the huge white flash aimed at him made a loud noise.
Although blood spurted out due to passed by that flash, he raised his black blade and glided closer to the winged man.
The two swords crossed each other.
The Demon King’s blade shattered and scattered, and the decorative sword was bounced off.
Not letting go of the flaw brought about by the trick that used all his strength, the winged man released a kick that was injected with white magic.
“What!…… Demon King!!!”
Seeing the slender leg infused with white magic kicked into the side of the Demon King’s abdomen, Celestia’s leaked out.
The light returned to the Demon King’s eyes, perhaps in response to her voice, and he stepped in one more–
He punched out the fist that was condensed with black magic power.
That fist, piercing through the winged man’s chest, blew out the half-circle of wall behind it, silently bringing the curtain down on the battle.
Above the ceiling that was pierced by the flash, the moonlight poured down, illuminating the two men with black hair.
『You have my recognition.』
“Thanks. You have my recognition too.”
Facing each other bruised and battered, they both said something self-important and superior in a somewhat obnoxious tone of voice.
But, that kind of time wouldn’t last forever.
『Humph. What an obnoxious guy. But …… this way, it’s only, it’s ……』
There was no bleeding at all. The winged man slowly turned into beads of light.
The black luster of the feathers that fell in a flutter also dissipated as they fell.
“Huh? What did you say? I can’t hear you.”
『….. ke….. sei.. na …re….』
He said words like that intermittently, seemingly with some sincerity towards Demon King.
Not moving away from his gaze for a moment, as if he was feeling sorry because he was separated from his longtime friend. Then he finally revealed a fearless smile …… of the winged man’s figure that completely dissipated.