Why I Quit Being the Demon King Chapter 45

Chapter 11: Hunting Giants (1)

The four long arms bent arbitrarily like snakes.

Its body was enveloped in a hard mass of metal.

Through the gaps, innumerable lines and gears flashed briefly.

Originally, the gaps were likely sealed with something like rubber, but that material had degraded over time, revealing the machinery within.

The head with red eyes spun round and round.

The moment Zeke locked eyes with it, he instinctively raised his shield in alarm.

His instincts had guided him to make an excellent choice.

Suddenly, the red eyes emitted a burst of light. The red beam struck Zeke’s shield directly as if it had sprung from thin air.

The light that hit the dragon scale shield scattered in all directions.

The sheer power of each beam astonished the onlookers.

The red light, which melted armor and scorched flesh, was more potent than any magic.

The dwarfs felt intimidated by the mechanical golem’s impressive form.

They hesitated, with no one daring to step forward.

Contact with the red light spelled certain death.

If one were to be struck by the golem’s metallic arm, they would surely be crushed to a pulp.

Even Knight Commander Kielce felt his body stiffen for a moment.

However, there was one person.

Zeke did not lose his courage.

Shield raised, he charged at the steel giant.

The red beams were deflected by his shield. Though each impact from the freely bending metallic arms pushed him back, he remained undeterred.

It was a struggle.

He was hit and pushed back but kept advancing, repeating the process.

It might have been a modest effort, but the dwarfs watching clenched their fists without realizing it.

Wiping the sweat from their palms, they spurred themselves on.

Let’s go!

Let’s go together!

“Dwarfs! Forward!”

“Aye!”

The knights gripped their axes. The diggers raised their pickaxes high.

Despite their fear, they would not let it overtake them.

Hundreds of dwarfs lined up, writhing, and struck the mechanical golem.

Deus, who was observing from afar, involuntarily felt a chill down his spine.

“That’s a hero.”

As if he had read his mind, Yulgum said, “Who cares?”

“Be honest, you were scared, right?”

“Me?”

“Heroes are the bane of demon kings.”

“Puhaha, who’d be scared of someone like Zeke? The difference in power is a thousand times, no?”

“No matter if it’s a hundred thousand times or a billion times more, it’s the same. A hero is the bane of demon kings because only they are not frightened by demon kings in this world.”

“Why pick a fight?”

“No, just a warning. Don’t get too complacent.”

“I’m always cautious.”

The mechanical golem was strong.

But there’s no winning against a mob assault. Its four arms were torn off, the head severed.

Its torso was pummeled by pickaxes.

Eventually, it fell to the ground, spitting out gears from its body.

Yulgum stood up and stretched.

“Shall we go and fix it again?”

“Let’s not treat our Zeke too much like a tool, shall we?”

“Who’s really treating him like a tool? Me? Or you?”

“What’s with the attitude? He’s a precious hero.” Yulgum just laughed in response to Deus’s comments.

As Yulgum had anticipated, Zeke was battered.

In the case of the hydra, its attack power had been diminished since Alex had previously cut off its tail.

The shield of the Doomslayer alone was enough to absorb the shock.

But with the mechanical golem, there was no gap for Alex to work his trickery.

Yulgum was treating a nearly shattered shoulder as he looked at Zeke, who smiled back.

Despite likely feeling pain so intense it could have knocked him unconscious, he seemed to smile reassuringly at Yulgum.

“When it hurts, it’s okay to cry to your big sister here.”

At Yulgum’s words, Zeke shook his head.

“A hero can’t do that. If I tire or falter, the hearts of everyone around me will also crumble.”

Yulgum looked around.

The dwarfs, having led the fierce battle to victory, were now brimming with morale.

Just a short while ago, they had cowardly fled the power of the earth dragon.

A dwarf who had been burned by the red beam from the golem’s eyes chuckled heartily, despite the scar writhing like a worm on half of his face, leaking red pus.

Courage.

A pride bordering on brainwashing had turned everyone decidedly positive.

At the center of it all was the hero.

B-class hero Zeke van Hollebiche.

His combat capabilities were considered better than B-class. If not for the shield, gauntlets, and sword, he would have died from the mechanical golem’s first strike.

However…

“The mechanical golem is an upper-tier monster among the G-class. Following the hydra, you, Mr. Zeke, have already accumulated experience far surpassing the A-class.”

Zeke scratched his head.

“What have I done? It’s all thanks to the amazing company around me. Especially Baron Kielce’s swordsmanship, which is truly exceptional.”

Baron Kielce laughed heartily and patted Zeke on the back.

“You flatter me. I have been practicing swordsmanship for 30 years.… It’s you, Lord Hollebiche, who possesses such strength at merely 14 years, that is truly outstanding.”

After some situation control, Baron Kielce immediately attempted to enter the newly opened chamber.

Fearing the presence of another monster like the mechanical golem, he cautiously stepped inside.

The chamber was a cavity about 30 meters wide and long.

Countless shelves filled the space, each bearing a unique material sack.

Contained within the sacks were flour and similar types of food products.

A disappointing discovery.

That after 30 centuries of dedicated excavation, the Southern Root Clan had only unearthed thousands of sacks and some dried foods.

Perhaps the by-products fallen from the golem’s body were of more value.

Especially the ruby as big as a head that was attached to its eye, which seemed worthy of presentation to the queen.

Returning to the capital of the Southern Root Clan the next day, Deus and his party rested in the palace gardens for a day before being summoned by the queen the following morning.

“I never would have thought it would open so simply.”

The queen had already received a report about the events in R42 the previous day and thus did not inquire about the happenings within.

“It was not simple. Our sided hero performed exceptionally.”

“That seems true indeed. That hefty gate required twenty dwarf warriors to merge their strengths just to budge it. For him to open it alone, what sort of astonishing power could be hidden within his frail body!”

Zeke bowed his head.

“I only borrowed the power of magic.”

“Humility is the finest virtue. It seems Baron Kielce is quite fond of you. He praises your abilities so frequently that my ears burn from hearing.”

“I am honored that such an outstanding knight holds me in high regard.”

The queen smiled.

“Baron Kielce is preparing a gift for you. From the materials of the hydra and the mechanical golem, he is assembling combat boots. I’ve heard you lost yours in the battle against the hydra.”

“That is correct, Your Highness.”

“Expect them to be of high quality. Our dwarves are extremely skilled with their hands.”

“It would be my honor.”

Zeke had been eking out a living through part-time jobs since he was young.

He had mastered the etiquette for dealing with nobles even before entering elementary school.

The queen was pleased with Zeke’s demeanor and turned her attention back to Deus.

A cocky man indeed, yet oddly she wasn’t irked.

In fact, she even found his roughness attractive.

“You have kept your promise to us.”

“It’s your turn to keep your word.”

“Understood. On behalf of the Southern Root Clan, I will locate the dwarf who traded poison between the demon and dragon races.”

“Very well, I shall trust in that and head back.”

The party returned to the surface a full day after the meeting with the queen had concluded.

Baron Kielce had crafted combat boots for Zeke as a gift.

The warboots, reinforced with the leather from the hydra and fragments of the mechanical golem, were exceptionally sturdy.

Though they might fall just short of gear made with dragon scales, they were more than sufficient for a B-class hero.

Deus decided to call them Doomswar, emphasizing they were part of a set.

“Hardworking as ever, Mr. Zeke.”

Zeke’s food cart was open once again.

After the usual rush of customers for dinner drinks subsided, Deus and Yulgum visited his stall.

“Did you manage to get some rest?”

“Huh? Is it that obvious?”

Yulgum stroked his face while Deus pointed and laughed.

“Drooling in your sleep, were you?”

“Not at all!”

“Then you must’ve got pillow marks on your face.”

“My skin is too elastic for that!”

Zeke waved his hands dismissively.

“It’s just that it’s past eleven o’clock now…”

“I just closed my eyes for a moment.”

“You must be tired from the long journey.”

Yulgum had transformed into a perfect human form.

Feeling drowsy at night, fatigued after exertion, and even having to visit the bathroom, there were more than a few inconveniences.

Deus addressed Zeke.

“And you? Doing alright? Opening up shop and setting up the stall immediately upon return.”

“I’m pretty used to it.”

“Have you seen your siblings?”

“Visitation’s allowed only on weekends.”

“Which is tomorrow.”

“Yes.”

“Then tomorrow, don’t open up the shop. Just go visit and come back.”

“But…”

“An order from the boss.”

Zeke nodded appreciatively.

“Thank you. An hour or two will suffice, so I’ll take a break around lunchtime to visit.”

“Younger they may be, they still need your care and attention.”

“Yes.”

“By the way, did you learn any recipes from the dwarfs?”

“Yes! I’m actually preparing something right now.”

“What is it?”

“It’s a pork knuckle dish. The dwarfs called it Schweinshaxe. You boil the pork leg with their traditional liquor and then bake it in an oven.”

There was a small furnace set aside in one corner of the food cart’s counter. Full of hot embers, it seemed to serve as an oven substitute.

“That sounds delicious!”

Yulgum’s eyes sparkled in anticipation.

“They say it’s tender and crispy. I only heard the description so I’m not entirely sure if I’ve got it right.”

“If it’s Mr. Zeke cooking, I’m sure it will turn out great. Everything you make is delicious.”

Deus chimed in with Yulgum’s praise.

“As far as cooking goes, there really is no equal to you.”

“It seems bitter. I wish it was for my swordsmanship instead.”

Zeke was only half-joking.

“You’re asking for a lot. Be glad you can excel at anything.”

“That’s true. Plus, even if it’s not how it actually happened, I did hunt a hydra.”

“Right?”

“If Alex hadn’t helped by cutting off its tail, I might not have won.”

“Oh? You noticed?”

“I’m sharp when it comes to these things. During the battle, I momentarily saw Alex near the caves. I already knew from Hero Academy that a hydra’s weakness was its addition of tails.”

“That idiot Alex and his work…” Yulgum remarked.

“Don’t blame the butler. It just shows how keen Zeke’s eyes are. Maybe you’re not just a B-class hero. If you keep gaining experience like now, you could grow to A-class, G-class, or even beyond.”

“Overly generous praise. If I could even maintain my B-class, it would be more than enough. After all, it’s thanks to Deus’s gifts that I survived.”



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