Why I Quit Being the Demon King Chapter 26

Chapter 6: The Search for the Dragon (4)

Deus intervened in the conversation between the two.

“Isn’t there something like a scholarship system? I heard that heroes can attend all classes for free.”

“Attending school is basically free. However, that alone isn’t enough to keep up with the lessons. There’s a lot to learn, and with limited study time, it’s tough to avoid failing just by attending school classes.”

Zeke shook his head and continued,

“That’s just an excuse. Geniuses pass most of the classes without extra study, and those are the people who become A-class or higher elite heroes.”

“So only the best survive?” Lexia remarked.

“Equal opportunity ends up disadvantaging the talented. The world of heroes isn’t so soft. We need that one ultimate hero who can stop the Demon King; without him, humanity would perish.”

“Elite heroes don’t just get born from other elite heroes, right? The ratio of pure blood is determined by the gods. That’s why we need to protect all heroes thoroughly.”

“But the chances are slim.”

“Chances, huh? From what you’re saying, it seems like a hero’s abilities bloom in order of how much money they pour into it. Zeke, your blood ratio isn’t low enough to be ignored.”

“I haven’t had it measured yet.”

“Go get it checked.”

“That’s… a bit expensive. High schools give you one free test when you graduate, but I can’t make it that far.”

“See? In the end, it’s all about money,” Lexia stated.

“It’s not that simple. Besides, an excellent hero wouldn’t fail to make money. There’s plenty of danger in the world, and there always places that need a hero.”

“What about those who can’t even enter the race?”

“That never happens. The Hero Support Department helps with independence.”

“What about Zeke?”

“Zeke doesn’t want to push himself. He’d become a proper hero if he’d enroll in school himself, but he doesn’t. If it’s just about graduating, there’s no need for a lot of money. Failing can be dealt with by taking remedial classes, and once you finish high school, you can get ranked and officially start hero work.”

“Is that so?” Zeke nodded.

“Yes. But… that way, you end up being a lesser quality hero, just like our father and grandfather did.”

Zeke and Lexia.

They were both not yet twenty.

Yet, the burdens they shouldered seemed beyond those of average adults.

Deus looked at these heroes a little differently.

Alex returned to the demon world to process the two scales that Lexia had sold.

That evening, Zeke set up a food cart in front of the store.

He invariably returned home well past midnight.

Deus sat at his food cart.

A drunk had passed out at the lonely stall where Zeke was serving pig intestine stir-fry.

“You really are something.”

“What is?”

“This is delicious.”

“Right? Actually, it’s a recipe I got from a high-end restaurant in the southern block. I started washing dishes there as a part-timer when I was seven and worked until I was twelve. The intestines are tricky to prepare, but once you get rid of the smell, the texture is excellent. And it’s cheap.”

“So, does your business do well?”

“It’s quite good. There are many shops nearby, so a lot of people come to enjoy a quick drink after work.”

Zeke bowed politely.

“Thank you, Mr. Deus. Thanks to you, I was able to settle here at a good price.”

“Appreciate it all you want. That way, there’ll be fewer grievances later.”

Deus took another bite of the spicy stir-fried intestines.

It was a perfect combination with the strong liquor.

“But what exactly is a hero?”

“Eh? What do you mean…”

“What is a hero?”

“The one who defeated the Demon King 66 centuries ago…”

“Forget that. Tell me what you know.”

Zeke smiled awkwardly.

“I think of a hero as someone who can muster limitless courage.”

“Courage.”

“The Demon King is frightening. Not just him… Countless monsters in the mountains or demons in the swamps, none weaker than any human. Humans are not that strong individually, so standing firm as a hero is essential, I believe.”

“Central.”

“As long as the hero doesn’t run away, everyone must think this battle’s worth it! If 10, 100, 1000 people combine their strength, humans can overcome any hardship.”

“So, you’re saying as long as you don’t get scared, you won’t be defeated.”

“Yes.”

“Then there’s no need for F-grade, D-grade, and all that. A hero’s value lies in whether or not they can be that central force.”

“That much is true. But that’s a power you can’t be sure of until you face the Demon King. It’s necessary to improve the pure-blood ratio over a hundred years to prepare for the next war; you can’t just draw straws. It makes sense to base it on combat ability and magical power.”

“So heroes are that casual?”

“It’s not casual! Do you know how rigorous the verification is? You need to achieve dangerous feats that put your life at risk just to graduate from college.”

Deus smirked sardonically.

“A hero should be someone born extraordinary with divine revelation, no?”

Zeke, drying a washed dish with a cloth, laughed awkwardly.

“If that’s the case, then I’m out of luck. Born to poor adventurers, lost my parents early and surviving on part-time jobs.”

‘That’s why I’m sticking with you, kid,’ Deus thought, but swallowed the words with his drink.

As the night grew longer, problems often arose.

Deus drank till late.

He wasn’t drunk, but if he wanted to, he could’ve been.

“So stop that pathetic whining. That girl from earlier, Lex-something…”

“Are you talking about Senior Lexia?”

“Yeah, why hang on to a girl like that?”

“It’s not hanging on; after all, she’s a senior.”

“Senior what…” The conversation was interrupted by a loud crash.

Deus turned to see three burly men; one had kicked over a chair. Rolling up his sleeve, one of them showed his teeth to Zeke.

“You’ve got guts showing your face here.”

A snake slithering through a skull was menacingly tattooed on the thug’s forearm.

Pulling out a dagger, he slammed it into the stall’s table and plopped down.

A previously unconscious customer, roused by the noise, promptly disappeared into the night.

“Didn’t I tell you to close up shop? Who gave you permission to keep resisting?”

The thug glared threateningly at Zeke.

Zeke answered with a good-natured smile and scratched his head.

“Mr. Denju.”

“It’s ‘sir’ to you.”

“Mr. Denju Sir. This spot, I rented it.”

“I don’t care about that. This street, you breathe with my permission. Why don’t you get that?”

Behind the brute, the other two looked even more intimidating, faces covered in scars like child’s scribbles.

“No exceptions for hero lineage. Shut your mouth and hand over the rights to your stall. I’ll hire you as an employee.”

Zeke glanced at Deus with a troubled expression.

Deus, finishing his drink, spoke to Zeke.

“Hey, kid.”

“Yes, Mr. Deus?”

“Bring me a mop.”

“Why suddenly…”

“For the blood.”

As Deus spoke, he aimed his palm at the thug named Denju.

Zeke rushed inside to get a mop.

“What’s up with this guy?”

As the thug bared his teeth at Deus, he suddenly noticed a small black orb floating before him.

‘What is this?’ he thought, and in that moment, he was sucked into it.

There wasn’t even a chance to react.

The last thing he saw was his own forearm being severed and falling away.

The orb then absorbed the other two thugs and vanished into the darkness.

Deus swallowed three gangsters with a mini black hole, downed another drink and made his way towards the interior of the house.

Zeke, returning with the mop, found a bloody forearm lying in the stall, the snake and skull tattoo clear on the skin.

“Properly bury it,” Deus directed as he tapped Zeke’s shoulder and stumbled inside.

After he disappeared, Zeke sighed deeply.

He might really have made a pact with a demon.

But he wasn’t about to be bitten.

Walking through the fires of hell until his younger siblings became proper saints and heroes was his responsibility.

“Yuck! What is this!”

Overnight, Alex returned and began the morning by complaining.

“What now?”

“Master! If you’re going to live in the human world, follow the basic rules! Look at what Kero has brought.”

Deus, rubbing his eyes in bed, scanned the floor. The dog was holding an arm.

Wagging its tail noisily.

With three expressions, as befits Cerberus, Kero remained jubilant before Deus.

“Gi-Gi, take it and dispose of it.”

Deus muttered and plunged his head back into the bed.

Zeke’s alcohol must have been quite cheap.

It was as if the temple gongs were ringing in his head. Overcoming the hangover was no easy feat.

Alex soothed Cerberus.

“Come on, the master told you to dispose of it, right? Don’t bring such filthy things anymore.”

With a sound like scraping metal, Cerberus started to bury the rotting forearm back in the yard.

“What on earth happened last night?”

“Ask Zeke. Did you finish making the weapon?”

“Yes! This time it’s a gauntlet. I named it ‘Doomsgauntlet’. I’m thinking of rounding out the Dooms series.”

“That’s your call. And why did you bring the dog again?”

“You mean Kero?”

“Just ‘dog’ will suffice.”

“Everyone has the right to a name.”

“I don’t intend to discuss rights with you, who got kicked out of the dukedom. What are you planning to look for?”

“Don’t you remember?”

“What?”

“Didn’t you give me a command? To investigate what’s happening with the dragons.”

“Oh, right.”

“Don’t treat it like a trivial command to tidy up your desk. This could turn into a major incident, potentially involving the demon world in the politics of the dragon realm.”

“You have a way of making everything sound grandiose.”

“You’re taking it too lightly.”

“I’m no longer a person of the demon world.”

“Just saying you quit doesn’t erase the responsibility. You being Demiurge 666 will never change.”

“Oh, eternal talk. If I don’t do it, I don’t do it.”

“Not doing it remains part of your duties, too. Leaving the Demon King’s work makes you the first Demon King to do so, not a different entity.”

“What’s the difference?”

“A flower that’s been plucked is still a flower, it can’t become a seed. Even if strong winds carry it far.”

“Who decided that?”

“It would be God, of course.”



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