Why I Quit Being the Demon King Chapter 74

Why I Quit Being the Demon King

17. Traveling the Demon World (4)

“Surely the dead whelp didn’t come back from his grave just because he yearned for chicken to feast upon. If that’s not it, it means those two are in it together, right?”

Deus spat out his words with excitement.

The two he referred to were Alex and Daroshu.

“What on earth are they scheming from the shadows after faking death?”

“Who would they be pretending to be dead for?”

“Who else? Their opposition, of course.”

“The other Seven Archdukes? Or perhaps… that side?”

The mention of ‘that side’ sent a chill down Deus’s spine.

“Are you saying two Archdukes are deceiving the Demon King and plotting something?”

“It looks that way.”

“A mutiny, perhaps?”

“But, do they really need to commit treachery? Given the Demon King’s condition, this invasion is as good as a failure.”

Yulgeum was right.

Unless Deus changed his mind, the war set for 20 years later was likely to evaporate.

“How can you be so sure they’re alive? That’s even more surprising.”

“I don’t know, just a gut feeling. A hierarchy of the Seven Archdukes that has endured for the 666th century… One dying is conceivable, but the sudden demise of two does not add up. It suggests foul play doesn’t it?”

“Indeed, it’s as if the roll of a six-eyed die were to land on the same face a hundred times in a row.”

“I think it’s even less likely than that. Starting with the moldy mycelium signed by them.”

All the discussions returned to the moment Yulgeum met Deus.

Deus looked squarely at Yulgeum.

“For whose sake was that mycelium set? Them? Or me?”

“You’re suggesting Daroshu orchestrated such a daring plan? To hunt a true Golden Dragon?”

“To put it precisely, it’s more likely he orchestrated it so that a true Golden Dragon would come to me. If the demons are meddling in dragon affairs, they would surely protest to the Demon King.”

“And that’s why you sought them out directly.”

“These lads, what exactly are they up to?”

“There’s one way I know to bring everything back to how it was”, said Yulgeum, to which Deus cocked his head.

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“It means going back home. Sitting on the throne of the Demon King and accepting your fate.”

“So it’s because I ran away from home that all this mess started?”

“Exactly.”

“That doesn’t make any sense. I haven’t even been gone a year, have I? What about the hardliner dragons?”

“I found your name on that moldy mycelium around the time you left the demon world.”

“It’s all my fault, then.”

“Looks like it.”

“But you talk weird, damn woman.”

“Why?”

“It sounds like you want me to become the Demon King. Wasn’t it the demons who attacked and ravaged the human world?”

“Not that I want you to become one; you already are the Demon King by right. I’m saying return to your position.”

“Wouldn’t everyone be better off if there was no Demon King? Weren’t you on the side of humans, damn woman?”

“I’m on the side of dragons.”

“But those dragons are now on the side of humans. “

“Well, there’s that, but…” Deus smirked.

“You’ve fallen for me, haven’t you?”

“What? I must have misheard you.”

“Crikey, a god of dragons allied with humans forgets his stance and advises me to become the Demon King! I knew you were besotted, changing tunes to dating, dating.”

“Do they rank Demon Kings nowadays by the height of their delusion?”

“Be honest. I might consider it, though I’m not sure yet, but give it some serious thought.”

Yulgeum turned her head and sighed.

“Simply put, I hate the collapse of order. So now, what will we do?”

“Find them and give them a proper embalming in their coffins.”

“How will we find them?”

“That’s something to think about from now on. That’s your job.”

“Mine?”

“Yes. That’s why I brought you here.”

“We should head back for now. Staying here doesn’t seem to offer any solutions. Even if Alex and Daroshu were hiding in plain sight, not even the Demon King could find them easily.”

Yulgeum’s words seemed plausible, so Deus joined her on the way back through the human realm.

Zeke, by the sink, spoke to the butler Scathul helping with the dishes.

“Mr. Scathul, you can stop now. I’ll finish the rest.”

“It’s alright. There’s nothing else for me to do. With the master away, I have plenty of time.”

“Plenty of time, you say. You’ve been guiding me in swordsmanship every day… If it weren’t for you, managing the store would have been much tougher.”

“Actually, I’m grateful to you, Zeke. With your help, the armory shop’s work is going smoothly.”

Scathul wiped the last of the water droplets from the dishes with a cloth and held it up to the light of a street lamp.

Perfect.

Seeing the clean dishes made him smile.

“Are your siblings doing well?”

“Yes. My little sister has made two friends already. They got really close on the last field trip, and she’s been thanking me ever since.”

“Did you send her despite the struggle?”

“The participation fee was a gold coin, after all. I heard they visited the Holy Knights’ compound for a joint retreat.”

“Where does her aptitude lie?”

“Being a girl, she’s not interested in sword fighting. Looks like she’s learning magic.”

“It’s not good to be prejudiced. Gaining merit in both sword and magic is essential to reach higher realms. You should also learn magic, Zeke. At the very least, master the support spells.”

With a wry smile, Zeke replied,

“I’ve just barely started learning swordsmanship, thanks to your patience. I’m already content learning from you, Mr. Scathul.”

“We’ll start your magic training today.”

Startled by Scathul’s words, Zeke reacted.

“Magic… You know it?”

“Have you forgotten who I am?”

“Aha! You’re a fairy.”

“I’ve been immersed in magic since before I was potty trained.”

“But still… I can’t impose on you any further.”

“An imposition? You’re a hero. Back when Horace Continent had far fewer humans, humanity naturally sacrificed for heroes. Magicians willingly shared their knowledge with heroes because that was the only way for humans to survive.”

Scathul looked at Zeke with a tender gaze.

Looking into his eyes, Zeke felt his heart pounding.

The opposite of Deus.

When looking into Deus’s eyes, he felt courage brimming from the depths.

But Scathul’s gaze comforted him.

He wanted to rely on him.

Though they’d only known each other for just over a month, Scathul felt like a benevolent elder brother he’d known for years.

“The key is your will, Zeke. Learning both sword and magic cannot be done without solid determination. It’s something you can attempt because you are a hero.”

“Would you be the exception, Mr. Scathul?”

“I am a fairy, after all. We live much longer lifespans than humans. So, are you willing to learn?”

Zeke hesitated.

He wanted to learn.

He wanted to become a stronger hero.

That way, he wouldn’t be a burden to Deus or the others.

Yet, he was also unsure.

He was the worst at magic in hero primary school.

It wasn’t entirely Zeke’s fault.

With magic being vast and challenging, failing was expected without private tuition.

He kept up until magic formulas and defensive spells, but lost hope at the complex magic functions between magic and targets.

“I’m willing, but I’m not sure about my ability.”

“If you lack talent, just compensate with effort. Learning alone will be beneficial.”

He didn’t ponder long.

“I’ll do it! Please, teach me.”

“Agreed. Let’s start today.”

Just then, Zeke noticed a man.

One-armed, he quickly skirted past the alley, his face turned away.

“Mr. Scathul! Please watch the store for a moment.”

The man Zeke hurriedly pursued was a thug who had caused a ruckus at the shop months earlier and was caught by Deus.

Hiding his face with both hands, the man begged when Zeke caught him.

“Please, let me live.”

“Denju, sir!”

“Sir is… Just call me a dog or a brat, my lord.”

“You’re alive!”

“Sorry. It’s pathetic, I apologize. I’ll disappear immediately if you order my death, just please let me live!”

Babbling and even kneeling, Denju was a well-known thug in the alleys of Joricks.

He always got away with his lawlessness due to his connections within the knights.

Merchants, perhaps not the wealthy or knights, often paid him protection money.

How had this brazen thug come to such a pass?

“What in the world happened… Did Mr. Deus’s magic do this?”

“He’s… He is a demon. I knew nothing, I’ve heard nothing, please forgive me. I won’t come near you again!”

Zeke couldn’t bear to hold him any longer, seeing him so pitiful and trembling.

Walking back to his stall, Zeke shuddered with an inexplicable chill.

Returning to the store, he saw a familiar face among the customers, already with a drink in hand.

Always smiling, probably not from happiness, but as a sort of survival tactic.

“Mr. Zeke, looking forward to your delicious appetizers as always.”

His name was Cadenza von Holipitsch, a D-rank hero who came to Joricks as an investigator from the Holy Empire.

His true identity was one of the Empire’s Twelve Paladins, the Zodiac Knights, revered as the elite’s elite.

Skill deficiencies meant vacancies, and currently, three posts were unfilled.

“Mr. Cadenza!”

Zeke swiftly tied a chef’s bandana around his head and stoked the fire.

The coals glowed red-hot.

“What’s cooking today?”

“Tamagoyaki.”

“Ho, such a dish exists?”

“Yes, with vegetables and ham, it can serve as a meal itself. It’s a traditional dish from the Horsetail Forest, similar to an omelette.”

Cadenza glanced at Scathul.

“You learned from him, it seems.”

“I visited the fairy’s homeland recently.”

“How intriguing. What’s that place like now? There hasn’t been much interaction with the human world…”

“Asking me won’t help, I know nothing about it. I can only tell you there’s a vast forest where the fairies live.”

Zeke took out a rectangular pan, made by bending steel, and heated it gently over the coals.

He chopped cheap ham made from pork rump and some vegetables, then whisked some eggs.

Cadenza watched Zeke’s hands with interest.

“Your swordsmanship has improved.”

“Yes?”

“To improve so quickly in such a short time… You found a good teacher.”

“I’m learning from Mr. Scathul here.”

“So, you’re still turning down my proposal?”

“Isn’t that a done deal?”

“The offer still stands. All you need to do is change your mind.”

Cadenza sipped his drink and continued,

“You can answer later. But remember, I won that last bet, didn’t I?”



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