Why I Quit Being the Demon King Chapter 60

Why I Quit Being the Demon King

Chapter 14: Finding a New Butler (3)

Having selected an adequate shield and a sword from the store, Zeke climbed the western hill of Jorik’s Castle. A half-hour run up the mountain path led to a vast plateau where the ruins of a watchtower stood. That was where he always practiced with his sword. If his family had been like any other, with a manor that had a courtyard, he would have practiced there. But late at night out on the streets, using his sword would only result in noise complaints.

“The remains of a beacon fire, huh.”

Deus lightly touched the watchtower and commented.

“A beacon?”

“Using fire or smoke to communicate over long distances. Nowadays, magicians take on that role, so it’s no wonder this has been abandoned.”

“This place is unused, which makes it a good practice ground.”

“Well, then, let’s see it. The weapon techniques of the Holibyche.”

“It’s called ‘Moonlight Glow.’ Just as the name suggests, it’s like being illuminated by the moonlight.”

Zeke took position on flat ground holding his sword and shield. He felt a bit nervous performing his technique in front of Deus.

He set up his shield and blended into the shadows. A hero’s enemy was the Demon King. It was impossible to withstand the magical powers and physical strength of such a mighty being with his bare body alone. Conceal oneself, advance, close in, and eliminate the enemy with a sword strike.

Watching Zeke’s simple yet wholehearted weapon technique, Deus frowned. Zeke noticed the expression and stopped.

“I apologize.”

“What for?”

“Is it that bad?”

“Hmm…”

After a brief hesitation, Deus spoke.

“Do it again.”

“Yes, sir!”

Zeke focused, resuming his display of the Holibyche sword and shield technique. He blocked with a dull sound and thrust powerfully. Without excessive flourishes, he poured his soul into every move. The 24-motion Holibyche sword and shield technique concluded, leaving Zeke gasping for breath.

“Again.”

“Sir? Yes, sir!”

“This time, I’ll attack.”

“Understood.”

Zeke held up his shield. Right after, Deus approached. With light footsteps, he made his sword tip flutter unpredictably. Where the sword’s edge was actually heading was hard to discern.

Zeke stepped forward, extending his shield. Deus, however, was no longer there. He had turned to the side and thrust towards Zeke’s flank.

Thud!

Startled, Zeke looked down to find that it was Deus’s finger.

“Again.”

“Yes, sir!”

Zeke repositioned himself as Deus harassed him in the same manner as before. With such quick and weightless movements, Zeke couldn’t keep up with his sluggish sword skills. All he could do was turn and extend his shield, yet after a few sequences, he would inevitably get poked by the finger. Zeke’s shoulders heaved.

He was utterly exhausted, his breath rasping metallically.

“Stop picking on him.”

Yulgum, unable to stand it, spoke up.

“Who’s picking on whom?”

“You’re doing that to young Zeke?”

“Do you really think so?”

“It’s…”

“You know what the problem is too.”

“Of course, I do.”

Pushing his nearly collapsing body, Zeke stepped forward again.

“I’m fine. I can do it as much as needed. So please, make me stronger.”

Deus shook his head.

“It’s impossible.”

“What?”

“With your family’s shield technique, it’s impossible.”

“That… Is it that inadequate?” Zeke’s shoulders slumped.

He was visibly shocked by Deus’s words.

“Yes. It’s impossible, even if you perfect it over a lifetime.”

“That much… Cadence’s words were true then. But why… Does that mean the technique has been wrongly passed down through the generations?”

“Calm down. Sit and rest.”

Deus looked down at his own hands as he spoke. The sword skill was dreadful. Yet, given what he had encountered, his condition was slightly unusual. His palms were drenched in sweat. It was not a body that got tired from just a few sword swings. Yet, his fingertips shook ever so slightly.

“It seems your ancestors were just as stubbornly tenacious.”

Zeke, who had been catching his breath sitting down, looked up at Deus quizzically.

“You could say they were persistent or that they dug only one well. They lived for hundreds of centuries focused solely on one thing.”

“What do you mean?”

“Your shield sword technique is suited to fight against only one being. Well, with a bit of adaptation, it might be useful against similar beings too.”

Deus spoke again to a puzzled Zeke.

“Rest for now. We’ll continue after 30 minutes.”

“Understood.”

A while later, Zeke got up again. His breath had steadied, and his shoulders no longer thrashed about. Watching the fiery determination in his eyes, Deus addressed Yulgum.

“Summon a golem for me. Make it about 2.4 meters tall.”

“Got it.”

A circle like a vine of silvery light sprawled on the ground, fashioning a vast array. Responding to Yulgum’s summons, the earth engulfed wood and stone, forming into a human shape. Unlike typical golem imagery, the one Yulgum summoned closely resembled a human.

Following Yulgum’s command, the golem attacked Zeke. With nimble, human-like agility, it swung down towards Zeke.

Boom!

The shield impacted, and Zeke’s body was pushed back. But it seems the training he had pursued all his life was not in vain. While suspended in the air, he adjusted his movements to counter the golem’s next attack.

One exchange, two exchanges.

The back and forth continued.

At that moment, Zeke felt something very odd.

He didn’t understand it well… but his body moved much better. He leapt forward, rolling over to block the golem’s punch, which came flying like a wrecking ball.

He could see the golem’s legs nearby. Swinging his sword, he sliced the knee. Lumps of dirt dropped, and the golem’s body tilted.

The earthen creature quickly righted itself and aimed again, but Zeke was one step ahead.

With a side-step to create distance, he charged with his shield leading the way into the golem’s torso.

“Enough.”

With a wave of Deus’s hand, indicating he had seen enough, the golem Yulgum created froze its motions. Deus approached Zeke.

“Do you understand now?”

“Yes.”

“Although it’s just my speculation… Your family likely lost most of its martial arts. Whether your finances were in decline or some other reason, there probably wasn’t time to leisurely study. That golem you see,”

Deus looked at it.

“In its human form before transformation, it was about my height.”

“The only technique you’ve kept is how to combat the Demon King.”

Zeke looked down at his hands.

“It’s not a sword skill useful against humans. The motions are too wide, requiring too much strength. But such tricks are useless against powerful beings like the Demon King.”

Zeke smiled weakly.

“It wasn’t useless.”

“True, it’ll be disadvantageous against other monsters or humans. Once you improve, you might find ways to adapt it.”

“Mr. Deus!”

“Why are you yelling?”

“It wasn’t a useless technique!”

“What are…?”

Tears welled up in Zeke’s eyes.

The Hero family under contract.

The grim reality of his fallen family had been a constant weight on Zeke’s chest.

Thanks to Deus’ help, he was beginning to find some stability, but he never forgot his parents’ tragic end for a single moment.

The shield sword technique of his family was a symbol of that.

His father had mastered the family’s shield sword art but remained a third-rate hero.

He couldn’t hunt monsters, he could barely brawl with common thugs.

Zeke had trained in the family’s shield sword techniques since birth, plagued by doubts.

He never skipped training, but he never stopped questioning.

Was it truly a valid martial art?

Just yesterday, Cadence had kindled those doubts into a blaze.

“You’re such a child,” Deus teased, thumping Zeke’s head lightly.

“Is there such a thing as ‘useful’ or ‘useless’? It depends on how you use it. If an attack comes from the right, are you going to block left because that’s what you practiced?”

“Who would be that foolish?”

“You’re that fool. If I told you to give all your might to defend the front and the enemy takes a sidestep with a light grip on their sword, what will you do focusing all your force forward?”

With those words, Deus turned around.

“Now that you know the problem, it’s fine. Zeke.”

“Yes?”

“Tomorrow, add a note under the butler recruitment notice posted outside: ‘Preference given to those skilled in swordsmanship.’”

“Mr. Deus!”

“Don’t get too emotional.”

“Thank you.”

“Don’t overdo it. Anyway, your family’s shield sword technique was meant solely to face the Demon King. It’s not useless, but it’s not particularly useful since your abilities are far from challenging the Demon King, making the technique neither here nor there. Keep working hard.”

“I will!”

After parting ways with Zeke and returning to the castle, Yulgum spoke as they walked towards the hotel.

“Is that alright?”

“What is?”

“Zeke. Aren’t you being too kind to him?”

“It’s just for amusement.”

“Amusement, huh… Try not to get too attached.”

“Damn woman, getting nosy now.”

“I’m worried about Zeke. If he finds out who’s helping him, it might shock him later.”

“Will he ever know?”

“Who can say?”

“Let’s worry about that later. What about you? Are you alright?”

“With what?”

“Aren’t you ready to stop pretending to be dead? Haven’t you done enough?”

“I’ll leave after finding ‘him,’ the one who proposed the plan to Juney.”

Deus clasped his hands behind his head.

“Judging by the flow, it seems like an anti-royalty sentiment. Honestly, the final boss is too weak. Besides, three of his limbs are in my hands, and the rest are so weak I could capture them tomorrow if I wished.”

“No one would have expected the Demon King to step up.”

“Am I too strong?”

“Don’t flatter yourself too much.”

“Who begged for their life to be spared after losing to me?”

“I don’t remember that. I only pretended to be dead because you needed me.”

“If that’s the pride you want to keep up, I’ll leave you to it.”

“Just finish this job, and I won’t bother you anymore.”

“I’m not exactly bothered.”

“Oh, is that a confession you want to stick around?”

“Ugh, just leave already? As soon as the sun rises tomorrow.”

“You’re getting shy again.”

“Seriously shameless. As if a 60,000-year-old hag.”

“Oh, who said I was born in the age of chaos?”

“Could it be you were born in the Silver Age?”

“Asking a lady’s age is rude, very rude.”

Looking at her once more, Deus said,

“I thought you were just some old lady, but you’re actually a walking fossil.”

“You’re incredibly rude. Whoever you hire, I hope they are even more ill-mannered than Alex.”

They had reached the hotel.

“Go on in, before the dust from your ancient bones starts blowing around.”

“Eek!”

Yulgum clattered into the hotel.

Deus laughed and turned around.

“Getting too attached if I’m too kind?”

Murmuring the words to himself, he walked into the night.



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