Why I Quit Being the Demon King Chapter 5

2. Fighting a Dragon (1)

Deus leaped into the air with a smile on his face.

The dark energy around him twisted space, pulling in the world’s dark aura like a black hole, while he called forth a chilling black lightning.

Despite such an effort, there was no way the dragon could fail to notice him.

The dragon, which had been melting the fortress with its fiery breath, sharply turned its gaze towards Deus.

[Are you a demon?]

“No, let’s just say I’m an aspiring hero’s comrade, for now.”

[To think a demon claims to be a hero. How amusing. It seems you’ve become far too engrossed in a meaningless life.]

“What’s so meaningless about life?”

[You ought to have been searching for a neighboring nest in human form, simply crossing the Hors continent as a human, but before long you started taking an interest in the human world and began to live among them. Is this the fate of the dragons? In the end, the neutrals reign supreme, and chaos, destruction, and slaughter are all forbidden!]

Deus let out a visibly bored expression as the conversation seemed to drag on.

But the dragon, perhaps not quite perceptive, continued unabated.

[Dragons are beings meant to destroy humans. Gigantic wings exist to fly in the skies, and fiery breaths are fashioned of flame to burn the world. If not to ward off swords, what other purpose does a body of steel and scales serve? We are made for the very purpose of assaulting humans!]

“And who created you?”

[The creator of the whole world.]

“Do dragons serve the creator as well?”

Deus cocked his head in curiosity.

“Human, demon, and dragon alike, all serve a single deity.”

Alex interjected with a subtle presence, always appearing to expand his master’s trivial knowledge wherever possible, as if to avoid being taken for a mere private tutor.

Deus addressed the dragon.

“That’s your view. Dragons can’t form an army, so every time they venture into the human world, they get picked off one by one, right? Your entire bodies are made of materials valuable as weaponry, and you’re sold for a high price.”

It seemed Deus had hit a sore spot.

Even for a dragon, it was readily apparent it was enraged.

[You, a lowly demon who flatters mere humans, dare to belittle dragons!]

“Belittle? I’m talking about oversized, winged lizards bloated on dog food.”

Before Deus could finish, the dragon opened its maw towards him.

A torrent of crimson flames engulfed him completely.

A demon that lived in the Kingdom of Fire against a dragon that breathed fire—it was unclear which was more resistant to flame. However, one thing was certain: a single dragon was no match for a Demon Lord.

The flames the dragon prided itself on merely singed Deus’s clothing.

Not a single hair on his head was scorched by the inferno.

On the other hand, the dragon’s scales, rumored impenetrable even to steel, crumpled under Deus’s fists.

Its wings were pierced and left ragged.

Deus landed with a sneer between the dragon’s eyes.

The dragon, disbelieving, looked up at Deus.

If it had lost a bloody battle, it might have accepted its defeat, but this was not the case.

With just one strike, it was reduced to a mere terrestrial being.

[You are… what are you?]

“Just a lowly demon who flatters humans, remember?”

[That cannot be! Are you some sort of demon craftsman?]

“I said a lowly demon. And what about you? Are you the weakest among dragons?”

[I am not!]

The dragon’s angry cries were ineffectual; the more it tried to defend itself, the more pathetic it seemed.

[What exactly are you after?] There was no fight left in it.

Its opponent’s overwhelming power left the dragon with no choice but to submit, though it writhed in resentment.

It could not endure the shame of being obliterated in vain.

“Like I said, I’m an aspiring hero’s comrade. What I want from you is money. Jewels, precious metals, land deeds, house deeds—I’ll take anything that’s worth cash.”

The dragon’s brow twitched.

It looked anew at the man standing before it, clad in the remains of his clothing.

[What do you mean?]

“Do you have money?”

“If you have anything valuable, hand it over.”

[But…]

“You’ll know if I have to rummage, right? Don’t even think of skimming off the top.”

[Dragons cherish treasures of memories and knowledge.]

“Stop the nonsense. I came here because I heard that dragons are rich.”

[That’s a misconception of the adventurers! The treasure they mistake in dungeons veiling lairs comes from the spoils left by deceased heroes of old, overblown in tales. None but dragons can move on to the lair; our gained memories and knowledge, except those, aren’t worth anything.]

Deus glanced back, probably looking for Alex, who had vanished amidst the commotion.

“So, no money?”

[We go where we wish on these vast wings. When hungry, we hunt and feast; when we desire rest, we lean upon the cliffs of Gisrak. We dragons have no need for treasure…]

“Damn it, I’ve wasted my clothes for nothing,” muttered Deus as he casually kicked the dragon’s head away. Kicked by him, the dragon flew across and crashed into the middle of a giant mountain behind the castle, stirring a large cloud of dust.

“Alex!”

“Yes, my lord.”

“Yeesh… you’re even peddling crap to me now?”

“It’s been 80 years since I came to the human world.”

“So you’re telling me, dragons collectively got scammed over the last 80 years? Considering memories and knowledge as treasures!”

“One certainly feels rich then!” Alex quipped, bearing the brunt of Deus’s annoyance.

“Talk nice and hand over the money. I expect compensation for the opportunity cost I’ve lost.”

“Are you now considering robbing your underling?”

“When you think about it, you’ve been around since the very creation of the demon realm. How much would you have if you’d earned a daily wage?”

“I’ve been faithful to the royal family of the demon realm.”

“But you received a salary, right? A high position’s? It must be sizeable. Even if we just consider your recent 80 years as a prince’s nanny and tutor in the human world, that’s upper middle class. So, come on, give me the treasure I wished from the dragon, plus compensation for my dashed hopes. Make it enough.”

“That would mean…”

“Do you value money over loyalty to your lord?”

Alex’s eyes darted about quickly.

Suddenly, a gleam of gold caught his attention.

“Ah, that!”

“What is it?”

“Look over there, my lord!” Alex pointed out. It was a crumbled corner of the castle. From within its grotesquely exposed structural skeleton gleamed a golden light.

The treasure Deus sought was right there.

Where Deus and Alex landed was the castle’s treasure vault.

Due to the dragon’s rampage, there wasn’t a single living soul in the castle.

Beneath the collapsed walls lay a countlessly charred debris of bodies, victims of the dragon’s flames.

However, for the demons, these were but classical masterpieces to enjoy after a meal.

The contents of the treasure vault piqued their interest far more at the moment.

“It would be nice to have a cart to carry this off in.”

After Deus’s offhand remark, Alex offered to fetch one.

“No need. I don’t intend to become a wanted felon.”

“Well, it would look like thievery, wouldn’t it?”

“There’s no need for such demeaning talk. After all, who drove the dragon away?”

“You did, my lord.”

“Think of it as rightful compensation.”

“Then by all means, make your claim boldly.”

“I’d rather not. I want to be a dark hero. If I took payment for driving out the dragon, I’d be a D-class hero straight away.”

“Weren’t you aspiring to be a hero?”

“I tend to lose interest the moment I give up on something. No more hero work for me.”

While speaking, Deus scanned the inside of the treasury.

Gold bars and treasured artifacts, jewels were arranged in display cases. Most were now crushed to dust under the collapsed walls.

“Gold is too heavy. I guess I’ll take some gems.”

“Gems are tricky to offload if you make a mistake.”

“Why?”

“The larger they are, the more famous they become. Expensive gems often have nicknames. Take a look at this.”

Alex held up a large, heart-shaped gem with a pink hue.

“It’s called ‘The Lady’s Lover.’”

“If it’s ‘the lady’s lover,’ it sounds like adultery.”

“Let’s not fuss over the details.”

“So I’m supposed to explain where I got it before I sell it?”

“Yes. While there’s the option to offload it through the black market, getting a fair price would be difficult.”

“How about I just take whatever gems look modest enough and some gold, too?”

“When will you stop going around in tatters?”

Deus glanced at his body.

His clothes had all been burnt by the dragon’s flames.

“It felt a bit breezy.”

“You are truly nonchalant about the smallest details. Such boldness suits a Demon Lord.”

“You’re too wordy. Anyway, the demon realm is rife with scams. What’s this about the highest quality made from the hind strings of widow spiders?”

“You mean the clothes you were wearing?”

“They’re waterproof, flameproof, and supposed to stay clean and unwrinkled even after prolonged wear. They even had some fancy terms for the water repellency. But look at that, they just burned to ashes in fire!”

“Not all flames are made equal. That dragon’s breath was quite intense, wasn’t it?”

“And what about the flames of the demon realm?”

“Those, um…”

“Then what kind of fire are they supposed to withstand? Initially, it should have been marketed as able to withstand normal, not too strong flames.”

“My lord, you are too extreme. By the way, please do put on some armor.”

“Underwear?”

“Do you expect underwear in a treasure vault?”

“Hey, you! Wear this metal piece without underwear. Walk around and see what happens when flesh gets caught in it!”

“My lord, your flesh is tougher than that of dragons.”

“Still hurts if it pinches, doesn’t it? You wear it.”

“I don’t have underwear either.”

“Do you think I’m going to wear your secondhand underwear? Give me your outerwear.”

Alex read the sincerity in his lord’s eyes. Left as it was, he would have to strip and don his own clothes while putting on full plate mail in exchange.

He hurriedly looked away.

Originally beholders have a hundred eyes, and sharp observation was one of the best in the demon realm.

“Ah!”

“What’s ‘ah’ now?”

“Look at that. A wizard’s robe.”

“I don’t want clothes worn by someone who’s dead. Isn’t it stained with blood?”

“That’s not it.”

Alex strode over and pushed aside a massive rock in a corner of the treasure vault. Miraculously, underneath it lay an intact robe.

Loose trousers and a tunic, completed by an outer garment—it was a typical sage’s outfit.

“Looks like these were worn by a hero’s companion who got expelled from this castle long ago.”

“What’s that setup all about?”

“It says here.”

Alex nudged a plaque on the floor for Deus to read.

-In memory of the great sage and magician born by the Red River and returned to the Blood River. In honor of his remarkable deeds during the war of the 663rd century, this garment is dedicated.

The 663rd century referred to roughly 300 years ago.

“300 years, huh? You must’ve known him too.”

“I would be vaguely aware of it by now if we go that far back. Heroes and their companions mostly die before reaching the Demon Lord’s palace anyway.”

“Fair point.”

Deus waved his hand and lifted the clothing.

“Gold is heavy, so I might as well take some of these gems.”

“Gems are hard to sell correctly if you grab the wrong ones.”

“Why is that?”

“The larger they are, the more famous. Expensive gems have nicknames. Look at this.”

Alex showed a large, pinkish heart-shaped gem.

“It’s called ‘The Lady’s Lover.’”

“That sounds like an affair story.”

“We should probably ignore the little details.”

“So, if I take this, I need to explain how I got it?”

“Yes. You could sell it through black market traders, but it will be hard to get full value.”

“Then let’s just take some less conspicuous gems and also some gold.”

“Anyway, when do you plan to get dressed?”

Deus looked down at himself.

His clothes had burnt off due to the dragon’s fiery breath.

“I was wondering why it felt quite breezy.”

“You really don’t sweat the small stuff. That boldness! It suits a Demon Lord.”

“You talk too much. Anyway, scams are a daily routine in the demon world. What was that about the finest quality made from the butt silk of widow spiders?”

“Are you referring to the clothes you had on?”

“They were supposed to be waterproof, flameproof, and would stay clean and wrinkle-free even after long wear. Talk about water repellency and what not. But they just went up in flames!”

“Dragonfire is rather exceptional, isn’t it?”

“And what of the fires of the demon world?”

“Those too, a bit…”

“Well, what fire can they actually withstand then? They should have been advertised as only able to withstand moderate fires from the beginning.”

“My lord, you are too extreme. Nonetheless, please put on some armor.”

“Any undergarments?”

“Do you think a treasure vault carries undergarments?”

“Dammit, kid. You wear this hunk of metal without undergarments. If flesh gets caught in metal, what then?”

“My lord’s flesh is stronger than a dragon’s.”

“It still hurts, doesn’t it? You wear it.”

“I also lack undergarments, my lord.”

“Do you think I’d wear your freshly peeled undergarments? Give me your coat.”

Alex saw the earnestness in his master’s eyes. It seemed he’d have to trade his current garments for a full set of plate mail armor.

He quickly turned his eyes away.

After all, a beholder has a hundred eyes, and the sharpest perception belongs to the demon realm.

“Ah!”

“What now?”

“Take a look! A magician’s robe.”

“I don’t want something worn by the dead. Could be stained with blood.”

“That’s not what I mean.”

Alex moved swiftly and pushed aside a giant boulder in the corner of the vault. Beneath it was a robe, surprisingly intact.

A loose pair of trousers, a top, and a robe—a complete, traditional sage’s outfit.

“Apparently, these belonged to a hero’s companion who was expelled from the castle long ago.”

“What’s up with that backstory?”

“It’s written right here.”

Alex nudged a nameplate on the floor:

-To the great sage and magician born on the Red River, who returned to the Bloody River. In commemoration of his outstanding performance during the war of the 663rd century, we dedicate this garment.

The 663rd century was about 300 years ago—presumably, Alex may have some recollection.

“You’d remember someone from 300 years back?”

“Even I start to forget around that era. If they weren’t a hero, and even more so their companions… Many perish without reaching the halls of the Demon King.”

“Sounds about right.”

Deus gestured and picked up the robe.



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