Why I Quit Being the Demon King Chapter 77

Why I Quit Being the Demon King

18. Struggle Alone (3)

“You’re a coward.”

“Because I ran away?”

“You know well.”

“No, I just didn’t want to get involved in some foolishness. It was strange from the start at the Great Premise.”

“The Great Premise?”

“Why bother taking over the human world?”

“The land of the living.”

“Not needed. We’ve adapted to living underground for over 60,000 years. We can fully sustain ourselves with crops and animals that grow in the shade.”

“Oh! A pacifist!”

“I just hate pointless efforts. Think about it. The human realm isn’t indispensable for the demon race. Nor is it hiding some great treasure. Unless the soil here were so rich with gold that you stumble upon nuggets while farming, from what I have seen, it’s hardly more abundant than the demon world.”

Yulgum silently listened to Deus’s story.

“The demon race nurtures a demon king through some sacred ritual and attacks the surface every hundred years. And then gets defeated spectacularly. On the contrary, what if they changed the pattern and invaded massively on the 80th year, say, like now? Is there any hero in the human realm who can stop me? Gather all those Holy whatchamacallits and pour in the Demonic Energy, and I don’t know, but with some random luck, one or two might survive, right?”

“It can’t be that easy… As soon as the demon king is established, a hero blessed by angels will be born.”

“I’m not talking about a demon king. I’m not one yet. I haven’t inherited the previous generation’s soul.”

“Ah!”

“Officially, there’s no demon king in the demon realm yet.”

Deus looked straight into Yulgum’s eyes and continued.

“It doesn’t have to be that way, anything is fine. If humans were really the enemies of the demon race, they’d sow chaos from the back, destroy the front, and strike from the left while making noise on the right… Why declare the birth of a demon king far and wide and usurp kingdoms with fair means, drawing out time until the birth of the hero?”

“It might feel weird to lay it out like that, but try attacking the human world yourself as a demon king and you’ll likely come to the same conclusion.”

“Why?”

“Not because they want to fight fair and square, but because there’s only one pathway between the demon world and the human world, it’s just a matter of using it.”

“What I’m talking about is on a conceptual level. Invading the human realm because we need the land of the living? Then why not try to purify the land contaminated with mugwort?”

“Even if you ask me… Right. Why not do that?”

“Alex, that bastard, didn’t even try and just answered that it won’t work.”

“Maybe it’s impossible.”

“How do you know without trying?”

“Basically, you just don’t want to follow the old customs. Since that’s impossible from the throne, you quit.”

“I just don’t want to be a fool.”

Yulgum sighed shortly.

“Either way… you really don’t seem fit to be a demon king.”

“Well, that’s why I quit willingly.”

“Then why not pass the title of demon king onto another?”

“I don’t like it.”

“Why?”

“Should I just give away what was given to me for no reason? Would you do it?”

“Well, that’s another story.”

“If there’s a God and he has his own agenda in making me a demon king, he must be incredibly annoyed right now.”

“That’s true.”

Yulgum looked down and quietly echoed what he said.

“He must be incredibly annoyed, for real.”

Zik looked at the silver bead he held in his hand, unable to hide his amazement.

Though it was silver, it could not simply be defined as such.

Many colors fragranced the air, illuminating the surroundings.

Just as water is colored blue but is essentially clear.

“That is magical power.”

“Magical power…”

“There are many names for it. But it all means one thing, drawing the blessing God has given us from the source of power.”

It was Scartool who was teaching Zik about magic.

He was a fairy who came to Deus upon seeing the butler recruitment notice. His real purpose was to solve the dragon disturbance in the fairy world.

Even after the problem was solved, Scartool still served as Deus’s butler. It seemed he rather liked his current role.

“Depending on whether it’s defensive or offensive, black magic and white magic are divided, and apart from that, there’s holy magic, fairy’s green magic, and others, but fundamentally, they’re all the same. It’s God’s blessing.”

Scartool looked at the silver bead between Zik’s hands.

The bead’s edges grew sharper and more defined.

What looked like a ball of light was now forming a perfect shape, like mercury.

“You’ve already created the Philosopher’s Stone.”

“The Philosopher’s Stone?”

“That in your hand is the Philosopher’s Stone.”

“Oh! This is…”

“The Philosopher’s Stone, secretly passed down among alchemists, is a type of magical crystallization. People who don’t know much about it think it’s some kind of actual stone, leading to farces over fake versions.”

The mercury-like crystal in Zik’s hand gradually refined itself into a perfect sphere.

“Swallow the Philosopher’s Stone.”

“Through my mouth?”

“Yes. Once absorbed into the body, it will flow into where it’s needed.”

Without hesitation, Zik swallowed the silver bead created in his hand.

The walnut-sized Philosopher’s Stone melted into nothingness as soon as it entered his mouth.

Immediately afterward, a warm, liquid sensation trickled down his throat and spread throughout his body.

Some streams flowed into his lower abdomen, while others found their way into the muscles of his thighs and forearms to be absorbed.

“Create and swallow a Philosopher’s Stone every day. Once enough magical energy accumulates within your body, you’ll be able to manifest the magic you know theoretically.”

“Yes, Mr. Scartool!”

Watching Zik, Scartool scratched his head and said,

“I shouldn’t keep praising you… But there’s no helping it. It takes aspiring wizards at least a year of training to make a Philosopher’s Stone… To manifest it in just two days. It seems this is the power a double-digit pureblooded hero possesses.”

“That much, really?”

Zik, with a stunned look, glanced at Scartool and then down at his own hand.

“The simplest magic should be possible now.”

“What?”

“For example, Fairy Lamp. Just create small light particles and float them around you. It’s a useful spell to explore the darkness without a lamp.”

Scartool twirled his index finger, and a firefly-like light particle appeared there.

“Magic is about manifestation. It’s making the vague image in your mind a reality before your eyes. The trick is the same as when you made the Philosopher’s Stone.”

“Fairy Lamp…”

Zik raised his index finger like Scartool. Repeating the words ‘manifestation’ in his head, he imagined a small light particle.

At that moment, the Philosopher’s Stone that had vanished inside him began to stir. The split threads of magical energy swirled in place, forming a mystical circle.

Then Scartool, as if he could see into Zik’s body, said,

“That ring is what’s called a Mana Ring, commonly known as the cluster of magical power that serves as a measure of magical strength.”

Zik nodded slowly, focusing his mind on the tip of his fingers.

As the Mana Ring’s rotation speed surpassed a threshold, it wobbled and then transformed into a sphere.

Right after, a clump of light appeared at Zik’s fingertips.

They were not just tiny particles.

A fist-sized clump of light began to illuminate the surrounding area. Although not as bright as the sun, it was at least as bright as moonlight on a full moon.

Enough to cast a faint outline even at a considerable distance.

“You really are a hero. Your basic magic power is higher than mine, a fairy.”

“No, that can’t be…”

“For a stronger magical result, high magic power or good operational ability is required. Since it’s unlikely your operational skills exceed mine, it’s the difference in magic power that has led to this result.”

Zik looked at the light clump he created, feeling a strange sensation.

During elementary school, no matter how hard he tried, it was impossible, and now, after just a few days of lessons, he’d fashioned a sphere of light.

While the skill of the teacher mattered, that alone was hard to explain.

“Why couldn’t I do it when I was younger?”

“At school, you mean?”

“Yes.”

“Back then, you probably couldn’t even create a Mana Ring.”

“That’s right.”

“It’s an issue with the educational method. Magical education in schools teaches elements separately and then applies them according to magic formulas.”

“That’s right. I remember it took months just learning the difference between the four elemental laws and the five elemental laws.”

“They’re just interpretive differences, the essence is the same. In fact, a more accurate perspective is the element of material. The so-called ‘so-many elements’ is just a taxonomic division of nature’s real elements.”

Zik nodded as he listened to Scartool.

“The point is, school’s method of teaching magic requires understanding the elements and applying them to complex magic formulas between elements. Then, calculating all the variables like the natural temperature and humidity, the sun’s altitude and the moon’s tilt, the planetary positions, and the solar apogee – finding the answer by substituting all those. Real wizards can’t even do that. They’d have to spend days calculating without paper.”

“I knew it! It wasn’t that I couldn’t do it, right?”

“All that is already calculated by the body, mind, and spirit, as per the grace bestowed by God. If people had to calculate leg angles, the height to lift for each step, the contraction and relaxation of muscles, body’s tilt, head position, and so on, there would hardly be anyone who could walk on earth.”

The moment Zik heard this, he felt an enlightening clarity in his mind.

Starting from basic magic, he practiced tirelessly until it became second nature.

The highway to mastering magic was none other than the repetition of manifestation.

School made it tough. With dozens of students taught by just a couple of teachers, learning through repeated manifestation was instead replaced by just a practice or two.

Zik practiced the Fairy Lamp a few more times.

With each attempt, the Mana Ring reacted faster and more vigorously.

Scartool watched Zik with a pleased expression.

It was now 3 am before they knew it.

Reluctantly, Zik bid Scartool goodbye, promising to continue the next day.

Although his body and mind were tired from learning both swordsmanship and magic, he had no desire to quit as he improved day by day.

On his way home, Zik asked Scartool,

“With my current skills… Would that be enough for a B-rank? Even if I don’t borrow weapons from Lord Deus.”

“Not a B-rank.”

“Oh! Am I still far off?”

“The opposite. You would be placed in the upper ranks of A-grade. Add the prestige of your family into the equation, and you would have already secured a G-grade title.”

Zik recalled what Cadence spoke of after fighting Awake.

He too referred to him as G-grade.

If Scartool was saying the same, it wasn’t just empty flattery.

But Zik still struggled to trust the evaluations of his own strength.

“No way!”

“Once you become more accustomed to magic, you’ll undoubtedly qualify as a full-fledged G-grade.”

“Your praise is too generous.”

“When the lord returns, take on an A-grade request and see for yourself.”

With a smile, Zik bowed to Scartool.

The story still seemed unbelievable, light-hearted as he took it. He entered his home with a spring in his step.

Yet before a day passed, Zik found himself believing Scartool’s words.

Early in the morning, Zik was awakened by a knock at the door.

“Come out.”

It was a young woman’s voice.

By the tone and manner of speech, it was someone he knew.

“Lexia senior? Ju-Just a moment!”

Zik threw off his blanket-like pajamas and changed into clean linen.

Rubbing sleep from his eyes, he opened the door. There stood Lexia, armored for battle.

“Are you awake?”

“Yes, yes.”

“Then let’s go.”

“Where to?”

“Stop whining and just get dressed.”

Lexia handed over some used leather armor along with a set of sword and shield.

“I borrowed it from a retainer of the family. Zik, you don’t have personal armor, do you?”

“Well… apart from my warboots… The warboots gifted by dwarves now sat proudly displayed in a corner of Zik’s room.

Being magical gear, the warboots emitted a faint glow. After discovering they served as good lighting for nocturnal bathroom trips, Zik kept them near the entrance.

“Hurry up and come out.”

“Yes, senior.”

Although puzzling, Zik obediently dressed in the armor.

It was slightly big for him, belonging to an adult, but tightening the straps made it bearably snug.

Once outside, Zik saw two horses and Lexia waiting side by side.

“And I thought you really lived in a pigsty.”

Lexia frowned.

“Sorry.”

“No, I’m not blaming you… It’s just surprising. For a hero to live in such a place.”

“It just happened.”

Lexia sighed briefly then instructed Zik,

“It’s not your fault, what can you do? Anyway, hop on.”

“What’s going on? Besides, I have to go to work.”

“I’ve already spoken to the weapons dealer. Told some butler that you’ll be taking a few days off, so it should be fine.”

“I don’t understand what’s happening.”

“This isn’t bad news for you.”

Saying this, Lexia mounted her horse.

The battle horse of the Hollyhock family was on a whole other level compared to the average traveling horse. It’s withers nearly reached the height of an adult.

Zik secured the sword and shield to the side of the horse and climbed aboard.

“Let’s go then.”

“But where are we going?”

“To the western border. Something strange seems to be happening at night. Looks like it might be the work of the undead.”

“Ah! Did you receive a request?”

“That’s right.”



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