Why I Quit Being the Demon King Chapter 62

Why I Quit Being the Demon King

Chapter 15: Awakening the King’s Dream (1)

“It’s the hardliners you’re talking about.”

“Do you know about it?”

“Yes. It’s an old emotional struggle. The fairies used to get involved in the wars between humans and demons, too.”

“And now?”

“Like the dragons, they’re claiming neutrality.”

“Why?”

“I’m not too sure of the details. It was the Elder’s decision. With wisdom gained over six centuries and sixty-six…”

“Do fairies live that long, too?”

“The Elder who governs Horsetail Forest has been alive since the beginning of the Age of Chaos.”

“Living that long and yet, unable to solve the dragon issue?”

“It’s not the nine dragons that are feared, but the worry that a war might break out between the fairies and dragons.”

“The dragons have already turned on humans once, and now they’re raising hell with the fairies. There’s obviously an issue with the Golden Dragons letting this slide.”

Deus observed Yulgeum while he spoke. Yulgeum then pouted and opened his mouth.

“There are laws we don’t know from the outside.”

“External or internal, those who don’t listen need to be beaten into submission.”

“Using force will only make them listen for a while.”

“That brief period is crucial. What a nuisance.”

“What about you, then? After all, it was your subordinates who started this mess, wasn’t it?”

“I’m not burdened with subordinates. I’ve abandoned them.”

“You do well for yourself.”

“As I see, you’ve abandoned yours as well.”

“That’s not true.”

“It looks true enough to me.”

Skatool cracked a smile as he drove the carriage away. Watching his profile, Jeek seemed increasingly restless.

“They used to get along.”

“Yes, they seem to.”

“They’re not sincerely fighting because they dislike each other.”

“Truly, if they did dislike each other, they’d avoid one another. But Jeek.”

“Yes.”

“Have you completed the homework I gave you yesterday?”

“Yes.”

“Jeek, it’s not that you lack a talent for swordplay. In fact, I think you have a gift for it. It’s just that your previous instructors were inadequate.”

“Thank you for seeing it that way.”

“It’s not just flattery. Everyone believes you have a talent of 30, and they teach you at that level, but in reality, you have a talent of 100.”

“I doubt it’s that much.”

“Fairies don’t make empty compliments.”

“Haha.”

Jeek scratched his head as Skatool continued to speak.

“I’ve heard that you’ve fought and gained victories against monsters like dragons, giants, and hydras several times.”

“That was… heavily reliant on my comrades’ help.”

“Of course. No single person can face such monsters alone. How was it at that time?”

“I don’t remember clearly. I threw myself in desperately to fend them off.”

“Even then, did you have thoughts like, ‘How is my sword technique’?”

“Ah, well… There was no room to think about techniques.”

“Yet, the shield moved, and the sword swept as it was supposed to, didn’t it?”

“It seems so.”

“It was thanks to your ingrained imagination.”

“Ingrained imagination?”

“Yes. That’s the most crucial element in determining talent.”

“Ingrained imagination…”

“The ability to manifest with your body the images formed in the mind. That’s ingrained imagination.”

“Aha!”

“Genius artists can immediately transfer images onto paper or sculpture. Ordinary folk may fail to replicate even with a direct model in front of them. They fragment an image in their minds, recreate it, and express it in a drawing… How skillfully and accurately they do this measures the artist’s ability.”

“So martial arts as well…”

“Yes. Jeek, you are accurately enacting in your body the ideas of how to block an enemy’s attacks. Without that ability, one could never fend off a dragon’s assault.”

“I was merely holding up the shield bravely.”

“A human body or a steel shield alone can’t block such an attack. Without the underpinning technique, it would crumble like paper with a single blow.”

Jeek thought back on his battles as he listened to the discussion, realizing the truth in Skatool’s words. He was surprised at how his body had moved as he imagined it would.

“Are you that skilled?”

It seemed Deus was intrigued by their conversation.

He chimed in, and Skatool nodded.

“Yes. Rather than teaching him from scratch, just helping him realize what he already knows will lead to significant progress.”

“You’re saying you can do it?”

“Yes.”

“Then go for it. Soon we might end up in another scrap with the dragons.”

“Yes, understood.”

Deus gave Skatool a sideways glance.

He knew his true name.

He was not the least bit perturbed by the upcoming confrontation with the dragons.

Deus wondered, but his thoughts ceased.

Like humans don’t ascribe great significance to an ant procession, he would use Skatool if useful and cut him loose if not.

The dragons’ kingdom was established about halfway through Horsetail Forest.

The region and mountains around a peak named Agaiatta.

Agaiatta itself was no more than 600 meters high, but it was notoriously difficult terrain, with sharp ridges and rocky cliffs.

At a spot where Agaiatta loomed distantly, there resided a village named Elphilum.

The carriage had been running along a path between tree roots and now stopped, surrounded by Elphilum’s scouts.

Skatool took out his necklace and raised it high, shouting,

“I am Skatool, son of Thor. People of Elphilum! Please, open the way which leads to your heart.”

His necklace emitted a blue light that brightly illuminated the forest within.

The scouts of Elphilum looked at each other and nodded, then with arms wide, welcomed Skatool.

“Welcome, warrior of Thor. Please, follow us.”

The soldiers of Elphilum leaped over branches, leading the group deep into the forest.

The village of the elves was built from logs. Several houses were erected and then connected by long corridors to form a village.

The roof of the corridor was made of tree bark, designed to shield from the frequent misty rains.

Jeek admired the elaborate carvings on the eaves of the village and was impressed.

While simple, the village’s design had a sophistication to it showing a distinctly non-human civilization.

The eminence of Elphilum appeared young, in her late twenties.

Fairies do not age.

They grow into adulthood by sixteen to twenty and maintain their youth until their dying day.

This has made many a human envious, spawning numerous legends about the fairies.

“Warrior of Thor, I am aware of your name. Skatool.”

“Eminent of Elphilum, the Great Green Mage Lopsa. Skatool greets you.”

“Let’s put the pleasantries aside. The human you’ve brought with you, I sense the aura of a dragon slayer in him.”

Jeek bowed his head in greeting.

“I am Jeek Van Hollybrush.”

“A real human dragon slayer, indeed.”

She then turned to Deus and Yulgeum.

A demon lord and a dragon deity.

Powerful beings, yet they cloaked themselves in the guise of ordinary humans.

Only someone of equal stature could discern their true identities.

“You two must be the companions of the dragon slayer.”

“Yes.”

Lopsa was briefly flustered by the curt response, but to Deus, there was no reason to show deference just because the other party was perplexed.

“Let’s cut to the chase. How much will you pay us to drive those dragons off the mountain?”

“If you are truly the companion of a dragon slayer, for the sake of honor, you should watch your words.”

“I’ve settled on the merchant role, so I only speak in terms of money. It seems informal speech suits us both better. Let’s keep it that way.”

Lopsa chuckled after a brief blink.

“Alright. Unlike humans, who pretend propriety and seek benefit behind the scenes, you seem to be forthright. Elphilum’s village will welcome you.”

The welcoming ceremony was modest.

Seated around a large hall, they were offered nuts and various seeds in wooden bowls.

To the eye, these might seem fit for a squirrel, but they were surprisingly tasty, and even Deus refrained from making sarcastic remarks.

After sharing yogurt made from goat’s milk, Lopsa immediately said,

“Since you don’t like lengthy discussions, let’s talk conditions. Humans love gold and jewels, I’ve heard.”

“Of course.”

“We’ve long revered the forest and care little for gold and jewels. However, the Agaiatta mountains taken by the dragons are known for their mine rich with varicolored gems. The deep areas of the mine belong to the dwarves, but the part outside the valley, like Agaiatta which is exposed, naturally becomes the territory of surface dwellers. What if you held the rights to mine it?”

“So, you’re saying we should brawl with the dragons for rights to the mine.”

“If you drive the dragons away, you can enjoy those rights. Conversely, if the dragons remain, you’ll get nothing.”

“Not a bad deal.”

“Just don’t destroy what we treasure when you mine. Consult with us fairies before cutting even a tree or a blade of grass.”

“That doesn’t matter to me. I’m not digging myself. Any supervisor with a brain wouldn’t violate the rules of a fairy’s land.”

“It’s good we understand each other.”

“Then let’s launch the dragon hunt tomorrow.”

“While you stay here, Elphilum will take care of everything: food, drink, and a place to sleep. The dragon slayer’s party should stay without concern.”

“Appreciate the kind words.”

The tale of the shy hero and the shameless company spread quickly among neighboring tribes.

The group had to entertain guests until late, unable to sleep.

It wasn’t really an issue for Deus, who was accustomed to working late anyway.

Only after midnight did Jeek manage to escape the center of attention and join Skatool at the village outskirts’ practice field.

“Luckily, Jeek, you’ve never strayed from the right path. Your family’s combat methods are unsuitable for general use but sufficient against large monsters. So the conclusion is one. Accumulate experience and learn to handle a wider array of situations.”

The biggest difference between a supported dragon slayer and Jeek, who was not, was real-world experience.

One in a hundred dragon slayer duties allow for growth through experience.

However, most would likely die before seeing such growth.

Gaining growth through real-world experience sounded good, but the chance of encountering fitting challenges was slim.

One needed to accumulate dueling experience that simulated real situations under excellent swordsmanship instruction.

That was the only way to reach the higher ranks.

School lessons alone weren’t enough.

Relying solely on personal tuition, Jeek could hardly even dream of that privilege.

“Then, get ready.”

“Yes, Master Skatool.”

Jeek picked up the steel shield and sword he carried separately.



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