Why I Quit Being the Demon King Chapter 14

4. Receiving the Request

“Can I truly live on as a hero?” Zeke asked with a glimmer of hope.

“Yeah. But you’re not going to reach the top tier level; just aim to be around A-Class,” the voice replied nonchalantly.

“A-Class! That’s still an incredible level! You can solve any problem within a city with that kind of power.”

“Then sign here.”

Zeke picked up the pen to write his name but hesitated at the mention of ‘absolute obedience.’

“What about this absolute obedience…”

“I don’t work with those who don’t follow my orders. Don’t worry, if you become useless, I’ll drop you immediately. Changed your mind?”

“No! I will do my best to obey absolutely,” Zeke declared with determination.

He glanced at Deus, and every time he met his gaze, a surge of fighting spirit bubbled up from within. He might have been just a discarded hero not even worth contracting, but at this moment he felt as if he could take down a dragon.

“Alright then, sign.”

Zeke wrote his name. Next to it, Deus scribbled his own, flashing a long, drawn-out smile.

“Great, great, the contract is set. Now go quit your bellboy job right away.”

“Yes. But… I need money to…”

“I’ll be opening a shop soon. You’ll work there.”

“But if I don’t get paid today, I…”

“You won’t what?”

“My siblings will go hungry.”

Deus let out a short sigh. He had thought picking up a hero was a good idea, but maybe he’d picked up someone a little too lowly.

“Fine. I’ll give you what a bellboy makes in a day, even if you play around. But when there’s no work, you’ll run errands for Alex.”

That’s when it happened. The window shook with thunderous noise, as if an earthquake had struck the hotel. Looking outside, there was a landslide; boulders were tumbling down from the mountain.

Deus approached the window, peering out curiously.

“Huh?”

He let out a surprised exclamation.

“A dragon.”

“Yeah, another dragon.”

After a moment of contemplation, Deus turned to look at Zeke. The boy was pressing his face against another window, gazing up at the huge dragon flying in the sky.

“Maybe it’s time for your debut?”

“Do you really think that’s okay? Jumping straight to D-Class?”

“Isn’t that too much? Or should I go instead? Catch it and tie it to the top of a mountain, then sell it to Yulgum.”

“Or, there’s another way.”

“What?”

“The Masked Hero.”

“Excellency.”

“Hear me out. We put a mask on and make the hero defeat the dragon. Then we let a little rumor spread to boost his reputation. He won’t get the treatment of a D-Class right away, but he won’t be completely ignored either. It’s a vague concept, but it might just work.”

“Continue.”

“Zeke is a native of this village, so even if he hides his face and changes clothes, there will be plenty of people who might recognize him. But as an F-Class, no one will be certain of his identity.”

“Not bad. I like the concept of ambiguity and giving him a rank boost all at once.”

“It’ll be harder to keep up the deceit if we expose his skills too often. Better to trick everyone properly once and then keep his abilities hidden.”

“Sounds good. Let’s try it. Set it up.”

“Yes, master!”

Alex led Zeke to an adjacent room.

“Take off your clothes.”

“What?”

Zeke panicked, but Alex opened a trunk and pulled out clothing that would still look good if the sleeves and hem were cut.

Zeke finally nodded and started undressing awkwardly.

“Hmm, this should work.”

Alex chose a pair of black suit pants he’d bought in the last city they’d visited. With a needle and thread in one hand and the hem of the pants in the other, he made a few quick stitches that transformed the garment before handing it back to Zeke.

“Try it on.”

Zeke, who had been watching Alex’s almost magical skills, nodded and slipped into the modified clothes. After selecting a top as well, Alex cut the discarded fabric into pieces to create a mask.

Once everything was ready, Alex brought Zeke back before Deus.

“How does it look, master?”

“Not bad. Shall we go?”

“Shall we show this in the streets?”

“It’ll draw more attention that way.”

“Understood. Then I’ll bring it here.”

As Deus nodded, Alex leaped out the window, moving with stunning efficiency. Zeke’s mouth hung open in shock, but Deus spoke firmly to him.

“Let’s go, kid.”

“Yes, yes!”

They rode the elevator down to the hotel lobby, which was deserted, the staff and guests having hidden away or fled to safer places.

“But, are we really going to fight a dragon?”

“I’m just… I’m really just a hero in name. It’s absolutely impossible for me to fight a dragon.”

“I won’t make you fight. Just stand in front of it with a weapon. That’s all.”

“Then, am I going to die?”

“Perhaps?”

Deus chuckled as he looked at Zeke.

“Oh, right, you don’t have a weapon.”

He glanced around the hotel lobby and spotted a mop in a corner, abandoned mid-clean by someone who had fled. Deus snapped its handle in two and handed it to the boy.

“This is your holy sword.”

“It looks like a mop handle.”

“Are you scared?”

At Deus’s question, Zeke made a short sound before replying, “It’s absurd, but… I’m not scared at all.”

“Good. Stand straight with it. Even if the dragon comes right up to your nose, stand firm. If you can do that, I’ll give you enough wealth and honor to weigh down your arms.”

As Zeke gazed at Deus, the courage within him refused to falter. Looking at the man’s face, he felt fearless, as if he could challenge an army of thousands, fight the entire world.

“Why?”

“No reason.”

Zeke turned away, his face flushed – though the mask hid his expression.

Outside, the streets were quiet. No army in this small stronghold could stand against a dragon. It would take an A-Class hero with dozens of powerful companions just to equal one dragon.

Looking at the size of the wandering dragon, it was certainly an adult.

“Four wings.”

“It’s a sapphire dragon.”

“Sapphire dragon… Four wings and two tails, about 20 meters in size. One of the strongest among dragons. The scales are the second hardest after silver dragons, and it prefers blue magic.”

“You’re well-informed.”

“My father taught me everything from a young age, hoping to raise a great hero.”

“So why did you give up?”

“We ran out of money. After my father passed away last year, things got tougher.”

Deus scratched his head, perplexed by the story. A hero candidate quitting over money?

“If you were highly talented, you’d get proper support, but I guess that wasn’t the case.”

“Well, from now on, do your best. Even reaching A-Class means you won’t have to worry about living.”

The mention of A-Class made Zeke’s eyes sparkle as he looked up at the sky.

“A-Class!”

“Then do well. Stand in the middle of the street and aim that holy sword… no, the mop handle, at the dragon.”

“I don’t want to die.”

“Just don’t run away. Then you won’t die.”

Feeling a tremor, Zeke remembered not his father’s teachings or his grandfather’s legacy, but the gaze of the man who called himself Deus.

Zeke looked into Deus’s dark eyes again.

Courage 100 percent recharged.

“Haah!”

With a shout, he raised his sword high. Did the dragon hear his voice? The beast turned and dove towards the ground.

Don’t run!

You mustn’t run!

Repeating this mantra, Zeke concentrated all his will into the tip of his sword. Unknown to him, Alex was on the dragon’s head, extracting a tentacle to block the beast’s breath.

In its struggle, the dragon plummeted to the ground with Alex making it crash. As it lay on the ground, Deus released a puppeteering spell that bound the dragon like threads. The dragon moved as Deus commanded, swooping past Zeke and ascending to the sky again, only to stumble upon a building and crash once more.

As Zeke watched dumbfounded, Deus murmured.

“Spectators are gathering. Fight convincingly.”

“Yes, yes.”

Peeking around, Zeke could see faces peeking from slightly open windows. He had learned many techniques, though they were the martial skills of a basic hero. He doubted anyone watching would challenge his abilities. Swinging the blade he had fashioned from the mop handle, he launched an attack towards the dragon.

“Moonlight Strike, First Form!”

The ancient family technique encircled his body in a large circle before thrusting forward, with the force of the wind whipping through his coat tails.

Zeke’s move miraculously coincided with the dragon’s crash to the ground, bringing him a rush of exhilaration. Confidence surged as his sword techniques became more pronounced. His actual combat experience was limited, but the skills he had inherited were genuine.

“Moonlight Strike, Fourth Form!”

He shouted, swinging his sword again. It seemed as if the dragon’s neck had been struck, but it was actually Alex’s handiwork. The onlookers stirred with excitement.

Zeke glanced at Deus, hoping for some acknowledgement or praise that would bolster his courage. But there, beside Deus was a beautiful woman, captivating Zeke with just one look. She outshone the known beauties of the land, looking like she belonged in a realm far beyond their station. She was none other than the Golden Dragon, Yulgum, who had come to Deus about the dragon matter.

Distracted by her beauty, the courage in Zeke waned. Heroes are meant to combat demons, blessed with superior physical prowess and valor, reaching their peak when facing the Demon King himself. Blissfully unaware, Zeke felt a sudden drain of power and began to panic.



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