Why I Quit Being the Demon King Chapter 34

Chapter 8: Fighting with the Dragon God (4)

The hero was Zik. He was the leader of the team, but his friendly demeanor that felt like he could carry Deus’s bag was his strong point.

Deus’s title was that of a merchant, while Alex served as the butler.

These were not occupations essential to a hero’s party, but as long as they were content, that was enough.

The latest member to join was Yulgum, a mage who identified herself as a beauty.

The team sat around the table provided by the weapon shop’s sponsorship.

“What brought this on all of a sudden?” Yulgum asked, yawning.

“I’ve been up late making a new herb cream for wounds. I’d rather go back to sleep unless this is important.”

“Danger is approaching,” Deus interrupted her abruptly.

“What kind of danger?”

“It’s coming, that’s all that matters.”

“Is this another one of your pranks?”

Yulgum turned her eyes to Alex.

“It seems he’s feeling a bit let down, considering he even registered as a hero and yet has done nothing.”

“Ha, if that’s what it is, I’d rather go back to sleep.” “No, you can’t. After all, you’re part of the hero’s party.”

“What do you want to do then?”

“First, we’d have to go visit the Hero Management Office. It’s good to take on higher-paying jobs.”

“We’re already earning plenty, aren’t we?”

“It’s different from what we earn through trading.”

With these words, Deus led everyone to the Hero Management Office. Zik, clad in armor, was the center of attention, while the rest wore casual clothes. Just walking down the street was enough to attract attention. Zik, feeling a bit awkward under the gaze of passersby, kept trying to hide behind Deus.

“Right, what to do… We’ll choose from the B-grade tasks,” Deus said, examining the notices on the four-sectioned task board.

“Wolves of the wilderness. The snowmen of the Northwestern mountain range. The mermen on the Northern coast… Mermen, eh.”

“Mermen are fierce aquatic creatures. They’re about two meters tall and mostly use tridents as their weapon. They are known to come ashore on less sunny days to attack people,” Alex explained, to which Deus only half-listened as he looked over the commission in detail.

“The mermen have been causing trouble in Jabil Village. Isn’t this the perfect job for a hero?”

Zik scratched his head, making eye contact.

“That is true, however…”

He trailed off, eyeing Yulgum, who seemed to have been in a poor mood for some time. She was noticeably irritated, perhaps due to being tired and her opinions being ignored. Her face said it all, with a look that read, ‘If it’s just hero play, do it amongst yourselves.’

Seeing Zik look pitifully for cues, Yulgum sighed and switched her mood.

“If we’ve decided to do it, we must do it right. Mermen, huh? Let’s go.”

Jabil Village was about fifty kilometers north of Joriks Castle. After a leisurely two-day journey in a carriage pulled by four horses, the scent of the sea began to waft from afar.

Yet, it wasn’t just the scent of the sea. Acrid smoke was spreading from a great distance.

“Hmm, I smell arson. Looting always follows fire,” Deus casually remarked, bouncing his crossed leg.

Zik, seated next to the coachman, looked anxiously into the distance.

“Will it be alright? It seems the mermen are attacking the village again…”

“They’ll know how to defend themselves, it happens often. But why would mermen set fires? As aquatic beings, don’t they despise fire?”

Alex caught onto Deus’s question. “That’s a keen observation.”

The curiosity was soon resolved. It wasn’t the mermen who had set the fires—it was the villagers. They had placed piles of straw and timber at the main crossroads and set them ablaze, likely as a defense against the mermen’s attacks.

There were about ten mermen attacking the village. They were large and their muscles appeared exceedingly firm. The tridents they wielded shone golden.

Just seeing the strange light emitted by the tridents drained the strength from one’s body. They were, evidently, weapons of magic.

“Miss Mage?”

“What?”

“How strong are these creatures?”

“That’s what you’re asking now?”

“I’m not sure.”

“How could you not know?”

“They appear so weak that they don’t register.”

“You really are clueless.”

The strength of the mermen seemed to be less than the smallest measurement on Deus’s scale of power.

Though mermen were significantly stronger than humans, to Deus, differentiating their strength was like a human trying to distinguish between the strength of an ant and a grasshopper.

“What precisely do you want to know?”

Deus lowered his voice.

“Can Zik handle them alone?”

“Just him?”

“Yes.”

“Why? You were the one who gathered all the people and brought them here. Have you become bored now that we’ve arrived?”

“Hahaha, I just thought it’d be more enjoyable to lay down on the beach.”

“Really, you’re terrible.”

Deus let Yulgum’s complaints go in one ear and out the other and addressed Zik.

“Go on, hero. Fight.”

“Excuse me?”

“Go.”

“Just by myself?”

“Yes. Should I fight instead? I’m a merchant, remember?”

Zik looked back at Alex.

“I am but a butler.”

Yulgum, with an angry expression, glared at Deus.

“I’ll help you.”

“Thank you, Lady Yulgum!”

“No, this is something you should handle alone. Zik, think about it. Do you seek growth as a hero? Or do you prefer the life of a scoundrel who relies on the strength of others for an easy life?”

“Isn’t that a bit extreme? How is fighting together as a party in any way scoundrel-like?”

“Zik, be honest with yourself.”

“Huh?”

“Do you have the courage to confront the mermen alone?”

Zik looked down at the burning village below the hill.

The sight of the mermen’s dark blue scales made his calves tremble.

“That’s…”

“A hero leads everyone. Party members naturally follow and rely on a hero with a heavenly heart. But the situation now is the opposite, isn’t it? If you rely on us, then you’re nothing but a scoundrel.”

Zik was at a loss for words against Deus’s argument. He hung his head.

“You’re right.” Shame washed over him.

A hero reliant on his companions!

Deus was a merchant (?) strong enough to stand against a dragon one-on-one.

Even Yulgum had an extraordinary presence.

Even Alex the fighting butler seemed to be a lot stronger than him.

They were the reason he hadn’t been worried about facing the crowd of mermen. And as soon as they mentioned not helping, he immediately thought of excuses.

Zik looked at Deus.

“I was wrong. As a hero, I should have displayed courage first and given strength to my comrades… Instead, I sought their power, a disgrace to the title of hero.”

“That’s the spirit.”

“I will do it! I can do it. Thank you, Deus, for teaching me the true posture of a hero.”

“Knowing is enough. Go, Zik.”

“Yes, Sir Deus!”

Looking directly into Deus’s eyes, Zik felt empowered.

Just by looking at his eyes, he had experienced a surge of courage that turned the impossible possible time and again.

He must succeed.

He had the impressive armaments called Dooms Dragon, Dooms Rhino, and Dooms Gauntlet!

Zik jumped off the carriage.

He strapped the shield to his left arm and clenched his sword in his right hand.

“Uaaaah!”

He charged.

Even as a B-grade hero, his figure from behind was dignified.

“Wow! You’re really terrible.”

A table was set up on the sandy beach, with chairs arranged around it.

Two cups of coffee, chilled with ice, laid on the table.

Butler Alex stood by attentively, serving his master’s drink.

Despite the dire situation in the village about 500 meters away, the scenery here could easily be mistaken for a summer resort.

“Don’t you feel sorry for Zik at all?”

“That said, you just asked for an ‘iced black coffee,’ didn’t you?”

“Well, it is what it is.”

Sip.

Yulgum drank the coffee through a bamboo straw.

The rich coffee scent filled her nostrils.

“You left him to deal with them alone because you figured he could handle it, right?”

“Well, Zik might not be notably fit, but his armaments are ridiculously overpowered. Even the Blue Rhino sword I handed down is more than enough for a D-grade hero.”

“Now he’s renamed it Dooms Rhino. He’s gathering the whole Dooms series.”

“Who decided that… Regardless, something like Dooms Rhino should easily slice through mermen scales.”

“That settles it, doesn’t it?”

“Hardly. What are we even doing here?”

“See for yourself.”

“What?”

“Observe how the blue ocean breaks into white foam along the coast.”

“And how does that matter?”

“Look at the clear sky as well. How sharply the sun illuminates the world.”

“The slightly salty scent and the crunch of sand. The low sound of crashing waves, and the chirping of seagulls in the background.”

“So? What of it?”

“It’s this laid-back feeling we get just by being here.”

“You know what?”

“Hmm?”

“You’re just as relaxed deep in the busiest streets within the city walls. Why talk of leisure now?”

“Don’t be impatient, my lady. Life is long.”

“You’ve run out of things to say, haven’t you?”

“What do you mean?”

“It’s just a saying, implying you’re just spouting nonsense when you’ve nothing important to talk about.”

“Hahaha, hardly.”

Deus shrugged and lifted his palm.

“Shall we watch how well our leader fights?”

He looked toward the village.

Though the distance was significant, to Deus, with his devil’s sight, physical distance meant nothing.

Zik was now surrounded by villagers.

“Lo, the hero arrives!”

“We thought we’d been abandoned by the Celestial Court… Oh gods, thank you!”

A 14-year-old boy, alone, holding a sword and shield. They might have dismissed him based on his appearance, but, on the contrary, his meager arms and lone figure inflated their expectations.

He must be an extraordinary warrior to face the mermen alone!

That baseless belief made the village elder extend his hands to shake Zik’s.

“Hero Zik, I beseech you to save our village from peril!”

“I will do my utmost!”

Zik clenched his fist, looking over the villagers.

Plain, coastal villagers came into view. They made their living fishing, relying on the bounty of the sea.

During good harvests, they celebrated with small feasts, and during lean periods, they prayed to the gods and lived their earnest lives through countless hours.

There was no reason for them to have their lives ravaged by unknown monsters like the mermen.

Monsters may attack humans on a whim, but for humans, their only life could be completely destroyed.

A fire kindled in his heart.

He would annihilate evil for the villagers!

Zik’s shield sang.

His sword trembled.

Reacting to its owner’s strong will, they emitted a deep blue light, and the sword, shield, and gauntlet shone with magical radiance.

At this sight, the villagers cheered once more.

Magical armaments!

Not any hero could possess such items. Even among A-grade heroes, those at the top held just one or two magical items, and it wasn’t easy.

To have three magical items!

“The hero opens the way! Able-bodied men, take up your harpoons!”

“Uooooh!”



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