Why I Quit Being the Demon King Chapter 35

8. Fighting with the Dragon Spirit (5)

Zik charged out from between the burning carts. The fire singed the tips of his hair, but he paid it no mind. Swinging his sword, he attacked the nearby Mermen.

Clang!

The Mermen’s spears clashed with Zik’s sword. Frankly, Zik’s swordsmanship skills were average at best. His family’s martial arts were nothing special, and he barely managed to learn beginner-level techniques at the hero school.

However, even such modest skills, when combined with a legendary sword, could yield amazing results. Just two strokes of his blade sliced through the Mermen’s spears. Seizing the opportunity, Zik’s powerful swing inflicted a deep wound in the chest of a Merman.

“Kraak!”

A scream echoed. The Mermen’s eyes turned to focus on Zik. This was the first act of rebellion they’d encountered since attacking the small village. Bloodlust gleamed in the Mermen’s eyes.

Unknowingly, Zik tightened his grip on his gauntlet. Sharp spearheads of tridents jabbed haphazardly around him. Retreating, he thrust out his shield, feeling as though the force of the Mermen would send him flying. His shoulders felt like they were about to pop out, but Zik gritted his teeth and persevered.

Hiding behind the shield completely seemed like it would only freeze him in terror. Pushing back with his rear leg, he advanced forward. Courage! That virtue seemed synonymous with the symbol of a hero. Despite the onslaught of the Mermen, Zik didn’t back down.

It might have been the power of the shield. Its ability to flexibly fend off the powerful attacks of such formidable enemies. But, for armor to exude its power, it required the courage of the hero wearing it. If he crouched within the shield, his body would be pushed back by endless blows. The sound, the impact, they all shrank a person with intimidation.

The difference in sheer strength was even more distinct. Even heroes are human and therefore different from the strength of Mermen. Zik did not crouch. He withstood and pressed forward. Compared to the strength of the Mermen, he had nothing special. If not for the shield made from dragon scales, he would have been torn apart and lost his life.

Zik pressed on.

He seized a brief moment to swing his sword again, and another Merman fell, spilling blood.

There was no time to rejoice over minor victories.

A spearhead grazed Zik’s cheek as he rushed to block it with his gauntlet, but his posture was disrupted.

Taking two steps back from the subsequent spear strikes, he finally regained his balance. One step forward, one step back—it was an intense exchange. The villagers felt their blood boil as they watched Zik’s fight.

We can do it!

While Zik held off the Mermen in front, the villagers gathered their courage and advanced beyond the barrier.

This was no longer about just enduring.

Rather than trembling like branches in the wind, praying that their last moments wouldn’t come for them and their families… it wasn’t about enduring such a demoralizing time.

They advanced.

Their feet moved forward. Hands clutching harpoons stretched out further.

“Aaaaaagh! Die, you devils!”

“Perish, fish-faces!”

The harpoons of the rugged fishermen pierced through the bodies of the Mermen.

Zik struggled to protect them.

As more people joined, the Mermen’s attacks inevitably became dispersed. One by one, the Mermen began to fall, and their front lines crumbled.

For the first time, fear settled in the eyes of the surrounded Mermen. Some saw an opening and began to flee, but relentless harpoons met their backs.

“Wahoo! We won!”

“The dirty fish bastards got what they deserved!”

Spitting on the corpses to insult them, the villagers gathered the Mermen’s weapons into one place. The village was uplifted by the great victory.

The sixty-year-old village chief grabbed Zik’s hand and bowed several times.

“Thank you! Thank you!”

“I was simply doing what I had to do.”

The bloodied hero, Zik, forced a calm expression and replied in kind.

“We should not only be doing this but also throw a feast! Johnson, check what’s left in the village’s storehouse.”

“There’s no need. I must return to my companions.”

“Companions? So you didn’t come here alone?”

“Yes.”

“But why alone… Ah! I see, with skills like that, you wouldn’t need your companions’ help. Ah! You must’ve taken on the Mermen alone, worrying about putting your companions in danger. That’s incredible!”

The adulation from the village chief continued, and he turned to Zik once more.

“You mentioned that you came at the behest of Jorik’s Castle, did you not?”

“Yes, that’s correct.”

“Then, give me that quest letter. I’ll stamp it with our village’s seal as proof that you’ve completed your mission perfectly.”

Zik handed the quest letter he’d kept on him to the village chief.

On the back of the quest letter was a list of items such as ‘1. How satisfied are you with the work done by the hero?’ With options like ‘A. Very satisfied, B. Satisfied’ and so on in five categories.

For all items including sincerity, kindness, perfection in task execution, and post-service handling, the village chief of Jabil stamped ‘Very Satisfied’.

“If you bring this completed quest letter to Jorik’s administrative office, you should be able to receive your quest fee.”

The chief then bundled up ten spears taken from the Mermen and handed them over to Zik.

“These Mermen spears will sell for a good price at the market.”

“No, you should use them for the village.”

“We cannot do that. If we were to truly act accordingly, we should have given all of it to you, but it seems we’ve kept more than half, which is shameful.”

“But still…

“Eventually, the Inspectors from the Holy Court will come and it’ll revert to your share anyway.”

“Ah! I see. Then I won’t decline and will take it with me.”

Zik pocketed the quest letter and bid farewell to the villagers.

There was still unease. The Mermen could attack again.

But after such a defeat, they should be fine for a while.

Zik had managed to kill about eighty percent of the invading Mermen. Furthermore, selling the gathered Mermen spears seemed helpful for the village’s restoration.

Leaving those complex emotions behind, Zik walked toward the seashore.

A white sandy beach.

A makeshift table.

And a couple enjoying tea.

Zik smirked at the sight.

The feeling of ‘as expected’ was strong.

Their leisurely scene next to the fierce battlefield seemed not the least bit out of place.

“Hey, done well out there?”

Deus raised his hand in greeting.

“Yes.”

“You even got some loot. Alex, take it and load it up on the carriage.”

“No, I’ll do it.”

Zik carried the spears to the carriage and then returned to the table. By then, Alex had unfolded an extra chair.

Setting down his large shield, Zik took his seat.

As he moved, the wound on his face reopened, and blood started to flow.

Yulgeum raised her hand and invoked a spell.

A warm gust encircled Zik’s face, and the wound quickly healed, leaving only a faint mark.

“Wow! You can even do sacred magic?”

“Why be surprised by that much?”

“No surprise, but sacred magic is said to only be used by high priests. I heard it’s much more difficult than elemental magic.”

Yulgeum smiled in response to Zik’s astonishment.

“So, how was your first experience?” Deus spoke again.

“Ah! Well…”

“You feel like you’ve truly become a hero now?”

“Really, yes. When the Mermen were swarming in, I thought I was done for… But then, courage just welled up from nowhere! Of course, I survived because the shield blocked the Mermen’s attacks.”

“Of course. The gear you possess could withstand even the blow of a Demon King.”

“Even a Demon King’s strike!”

Zik considered Deus’s words to be an exaggeration.

But on the other hand, perhaps a relic made from dragon scales truly possessed such power.

Looking at his shield, there was not a single dent from the Mermen’s attacks.

After a sip of tea, Deus said,

“Well, our task is done, so it’s time to go back.”

“Yes, sir!”

Zik quickly loaded the gear onto the carriage, and he and Alex swiftly packed up the table and chairs.

The carriage began to move again. At the end of this journey, they returned to Jorik.

Throughout the return trip, Yulgeum felt something was off.

What was the purpose of this journey?

She and Deus had suddenly left on an adventure to become heroes and entrusted all the work to Zik.

Deus’s role essentially amounted to having tea by the beach.

Who would believe they traveled all the way to the coast just for a few cups of coffee?

As soon as they reached Jorik’s Castle, the group headed to the Hero Management Office.

Parking the carriage outside, Deus instructed Zik.

“Go and submit it.”

“Yes, Mr. Deus.”

Zik entered the office, carrying his shield and sword.

A B-ranked hero.

But at B-rank, nobody took him lightly anymore. The overtly disrespectful glances from his initial visit to the office were no longer there.

“Welcome, hero Zik.”

“Ah, yes.”

“What brings you here today?”

“I’ve come to report the completion of a quest.”

“Ah, do you have the quest letter with you?”

“Right here.”

“Mermen, B-ranked quest… confirmed. You’ve received top satisfaction ratings across the board. You’ve resolved it splendidly. You will receive the full quest fee.”

The office clerk stamped a few forms with the office seal and stood up.

“Please wait here for a moment. I will go and collect the quest fee from the safe.”

The item the clerk subsequently brought was 1 gold and 3 silvers in a small pouch made of fine cloth.

After confirming the amount, the pouch was handed to Zik.

“Thank you, hero Zik. Thanks to the endeavors of heroes like you, our Horsia continent is becoming richer and more peaceful.”

With the clerk’s customary greeting at an end, Zik left the office.

“I’ve collected the completion fee.”

Zik tried to hand the cloth pouch to Deus.

“Why are you giving that to me?”

“Uh?”

“You completed the quest on your own.”

“But…”

“You’re the one who fought the Mermen and dealt with the village chief alone.”

“Well, yes.”

“Then you should keep the entire quest fee. Why give it to me?”

“But…”

“Get in the carriage. We need to go to the store.”

“Yes, Mr. Deus.”

Zik hesitated about whether to pocket the money.

Alex, sitting beside him, grinned and said,

“Do you remember the conversation you had with the lord the night before we left?”

“Yes? Ah, when we talked about opening a food stall? At that time…”

Zik stopped mid-story, taken aback.

“Ah! The field trip fee!”

“Your younger siblings are traveling far this time. For an elementary and kindergarten field trip, 1 gold might be too much.”

Zik was speechless.

He turned to look at Deus in the back seat, but Deus was deliberately avoiding eye contact.

“1 gold is nothing to the lord, but we cannot bruise your pride, hero. You are a hero, after all.”

Alex steered the horses into an alley, heading towards Deus’s gear shop.

“Of course, these are just my thoughts. Even I don’t fully understand the lord’s true feelings.”

Zik bowed his head toward Deus, who was entering the store ahead.

“Thank you! Mr. Deus.”

But Deus merely raised his hand without replying.



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