Why I Quit Being the Demon King Chapter 40

Chapter 10: Meeting the Underground Dwellers (1)

“Have you enrolled your siblings in a private boarding school?”

The carriage jolted.

Deus, lying in the cargo space, spoke to Zike.

Although he could have afforded a luxurious travel carriage, Deus seemed to prefer this transport wagon. Perhaps he enjoyed lying down and looking at the sky?

In fact, cargo carriages encountered fewer inconveniences when passing through cities.

They were rarely inspected to see who was aboard.

After all, the interior was clearly visible.

“Yes, both of them have entered the dormitory.”

“That must take a weight off your shoulders.”

“Indeed. Especially when I’m away on adventures like this.”

“How old did you say they were?”

“The little sister is now ten, and the boy is five.”

“Five years old and already in a dormitory?”

“Yes, noble families often start boarding life from kindergarten.”

“That must be tough on them too.”

“They’ll manage. They both have a stronger aptitude for heroism than I do.”

“We’ll see about that…

“But my lord, are you truly planning to go underground?”

Alex turned to look at Deus.

“Do you think I came all this way just to retract my words?”

“I didn’t mean that.”

The carriage jerked again.

The rugged plains we traversed, known as the Devil’s Chimneys, were dotted with pillar-like rocks.

True to their name, these rocks stood erect from the ground like chimneys, even emitting black smoke.

“Underground is… dangerous.”

“Getting cold feet?”

“How could you say that? The underground dwarves fear no one, not even the Demon King himself.”

Alex emphasized the term ‘Demon King’.

“You’re scared.”

“No, I’m not.”

“Then let’s keep going.”

“Sigh, even the words of a subject fall on deaf ears. Perfect king indeed.”

“What are you saying? I never had any intentions of being one. Just drive properly. Without jolting.”

“Of course, as if there would be any objection.”

“Are you getting rebellious in your old age?”

It was about thirty minutes later when the carriage came to a halt in the center of the plain filled with Devil’s Chimneys.

Between the tail and rump of the horse-shaped continent lay a fissure exuding thick, sticky lava. People called this lava vent.

-The Devil’s Whisper.

“What’s this Devil’s Whisper? It’s more like a horse’s a**hole.”

“Yes, well… This location marks the start of the Horsetail Peninsula, which does resemble a horse’s tail and its rear but…”

“A horse’s a**hole.”

“Isn’t that a bit indecorous as a geographical name?”

“What, is an eating hole dignified and an excreting one not?”

“Yes, it is not.”

Listening in, Yulgum burst out in anger.

“Enough with the hole talk.”

“My apologies.”

“As if you never excrete…

Yulgum’s palm struck Deus’ back with a sharp smack.

“What sort of language do you use in front of a lady? Just so you know, I have no need of picking flowers.”

“What are you picking flowers for?”

“Figure it out.”

“How do you differentiate? Do you go picking fruit as well?”

“That’s why I hate these kinds of conversations!”

Yulgum blocked her ears as Deus leaped out of the carriage.

“Well, shall we enter through the horse’s a**hole?”

“It’s the Devil’s Whisper, but…”

“They actually make a sound here? Well, if it’s really an a**hole, it’s normal for sounds to emerge.”

The dark red lava flowing from the fissure reached the nearby sea, generating massive steam.

This steam would accumulate in an underwater cave for a certain period before erupting, like a giant geyser bursting from the seashore upwards with a loud noise.

“Boom!”

“And you call that a whisper?”

“Well… yes.”

“It’s totally like that thing. The belly bubbles and then suddenly releases. Lady who doesn’t pick flowers, you know what I mean, right?”

Yulgum made a hushing sound with her mouth, trying to divert the conversation from becoming any cruder. Alex, eager to avoid further distasteful talk, hurriedly pointed out the way.

“The path to the underground is this way.”

“Seems like I know the place. It’s going into that hole, huh?”

“It’s beside that.”

“It’s all the same.”

Another underwater eruption boomed, shooting up towards the sky.

Struck by the noise, Zike burst into laughter.

After hearing Deus’ words, Zike couldn’t associate the sound with anything but ‘that sound’.

“It’s really like being fourteen. Only pure kids get excited by these sounds.”

Deus gave Zike a thumbs-up.

Zike and Alex had large backpacks strapped to their backs.

Since carriages couldn’t pass, they needed supplies for food and camping.

Zike also wore three pieces of the Dooms series gear – the shield tied to the back of his bag, and both the gauntlet and sword equipped.

Using them as guides, Deus and Yulgum walked leisurely down the narrow path beside the lava.

Had it been an hour?

The landscape changed for the first time.

The natural crevice they followed transformed into a built road with stone slabs from a certain point.

Soon, grandiose statues of giants appeared. The carved giants in the rock held up the massive stone roof above.

“This is the land of the dwarves.”

“It’s obvious to see.”

The road beyond was well-maintained enough for carriages to pass.

However, the narrow width and low ceiling limited it to small carts pulled by donkeys at most.

“The dwarves mine minerals and cultivate mushrooms, trading with the humans, demons, and dragonkin above ground to amass wealth.”

“You really enjoy explaining things, huh?”

Despite Deus’ chiding, Alex continued resolutely.

“Their kingdoms have no maps. They dig and create new passages daily. Even they don’t know the precise routes, so clans avoid encroaching on each other’s territories. Clan wars are rare, and some may perceive their community as ideal. But in reality, they’re just greedy, digging expanding tunnels that sometimes collapse and kill more neighbors than are lost in centuries of wars between the demon and human realms.”

“So, meeting them, even if we do, chasing leads will be hard?”

“Yes. It could be one in ten million, or maybe one in a hundred million that can give a clue.”

“Should’ve said that before. Then I wouldn’t have come.”

“Really?”

“Hopeless, huh?”

“Yes, that’s correct.”

“Then why are we here?”

“That’s why I’ve been trying to…

“Get to the point. Why should I care about the history of dwarves or their national structure?”

“It’s not fair! My Lord!”

“The only unjust thing here is your face.”

Yulgum asked Deus,

“Are we going to turn back?”

“No. We might as well see what we can learn since we’re here.”

“So you’re just teasing.”

“It’s not just teasing. It’s teasing with all my heart.”

As Alex muttered complaints, Deus surveyed around, dragging his feet.

How much time had elapsed?

It had been at least two hours since they entered the dwarves’ path.

Yet, the travelers hadn’t encountered a dwarf, not even a mere ant.

“Is it always this hard to meet them?”

Deus casually asked. He was looking at Yulgum.

Before, Yulgum had mentioned obtaining weapons from the small charcoal-burners.

She would know about the dwarves more than Alex, who was all talk.

“It shouldn’t be this hard…”

Yulgum, too, seemed puzzled, trailing off.

Then it happened.

Zike, leading the way, suddenly plopped down onto the ground.

Startled, Alex rushed to his aid. Zike’s face had turned a shade of purple.

“He seems to be poisoned.”

Alex looked alarmed at Deus.

Yulgum, who had been walking with Deus, had changed color too. The color below her cheeks had darkened.

“Yulgum is also…”

Before Alex could finish, Yulgum cast a detoxification spell.

The poison accumulated in her body vanished in an instant. Then she directed the same magical energy towards Zike.

About twenty meters ahead, the first small gathering of houses turned out to be a trading post.

However, there was not a single living being inside.

Deus summed it up in one sentence.

“Looks like someone’s poisoned an anthill.”

Zike regained consciousness an hour later.

Despite Yulgum’s detoxification magic, recovery was not easy.

The poison scattered around must have been potent.

“I’m sorry! My apologies!”

Zike immediately began to apologize upon waking.

“Quiet, man.”

Coming to his senses, Zike surveyed around.

The place felt like the square of some village, although calling it a village may be generous with just about twenty houses.

Lanterns had been set up around the dark cavern.

Gas extracted from the ground was transported through thin tubes, setting the lanterns ablaze.

The piping was intricate, weaving throughout the space for lighting, heating, and cooking – a characteristic symbol of a small charcoal-burner village.

They were actually named ‘charcoal-burners’ by humans after the ‘charcoal’ extracted from underground.

In truth, it was coal, a quite different resource, but the humans of that time couldn’t distinguish it.

“Is this a charcoal-burner village? Here?”

“Yep.”

“But then…”

Zike looked at Deus.

“I apologize for being such a hindrance…”

“Forget the apologies, how are you feeling?”

“A bit dizzy. Is Yulgum alright?”

“Why exclude me? Why just Yulgum?”

“Well, because Lord Deus… You don’t seem like someone who could die from such poison.”

Deus tapped on Zike’s helmet, continuing the conversation.

“This poison is severe. Not many can concoct something like this.”

“Who could it be?”

“The demon noble Tarosh.”

“Tarosh!”

“Do you know him?”

“He’s one of the Seven Nobles. He’s known as the Duke of Gluttony and is skilled in poison and disease. He’s a lizardman with a crocodile’s snout.”

“You’re well-informed.”

“Ah! Then has the demon realm attacked this charcoal-burner village?”

“Not sure, even I don’t have that information.”

As Deus spoke, he scratched his head.

The Demon King was increasingly unaware of affairs in the demon realm.

While he had no intent to actively reign as the Demon King, he did not wish for his inferiors to wreak havoc on their own.

Alex interjected,

“There’s no need for hasty conclusions. Particularly, the poison spread here doesn’t bear Tarosh’s seal.”

Zike nodded.

“Ah, that’s right! His curses are marked with a special sign that mages can read. Yulgum must have checked.”

Yulgum nodded, and Alex resumed,

“The small charcoal-burners are a fourth power living underground. While dispersed across vast territories making them weak as a nation, their knowledge of the underground is a great heritage none can ignore.”

The journey into the world of the small coal scavengers, the dwarves, took an unexpected turn amidst missing populations and sinister poisons. What secrets lay buried in the depths of the earth, and how would our adventurers navigate the treacherous paths that intertwined with the schemes of powerful kingdoms and nobles? Only time would unravel the mysteries deep within the dwarven realms.



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