Why I Quit Being the Demon King Chapter 78

Why I Quit Being the Demon King

18. Struggling Alone (4)

Lexia and Zik crossed through the west gate and immediately headed towards the northwestern highway.

Zik couldn’t understand why he had to work on dragon-related tasks with her. Not to mention, they didn’t have any other colleagues.

Even though Lexia was an A-rank warrior, that was usually when she had the support of her comrades. On her own, B-rank requests were her limit.

“But Senior.”

“Why?”

“What’s all this about suddenly?”

“It’s not really something to make a big deal about. It’s common sense for a warrior to undertake requests, isn’t it?”

“That’s not what I mean.”

Sighing shortly, Lexia opened her mouth again.

“I had an argument with my dad yesterday. It was about you, Zik.”

“Me?”

“Yes.”

“What did I do?”

“I told my dad that Zik has the potential to be a B-rank, perhaps even beyond, but… he didn’t want to hear anything about you.”

“Why would you bring that up?”

“Well… I want to help you.” Lexia became somewhat embarrassed as she said this, avoiding looking straight at Zik.

“Quiet! Whatever I say, that’s my business!”

“That makes sense.”

“Anyway, I’m going to prove to my dad that the two of us can handle A-rank requests. If we can prove that, he will have no choice but to recognize you, Zik.”

Zik scratched his cheek.

“It really doesn’t matter to me if I’m recognized or not… I didn’t want to get entangled in more troublesome affairs. I want to be of help to Lord Deus, not to seek fame as a warrior. I’d rather dream of raising my siblings to be respectable and passing on the name of Hollyvitch to one of their children.”

He wanted to be acknowledged as at least a B-rank, hopefully, an A or G-rank family.

It wasn’t a dream far from reality if he managed to distinguish himself in the final war.

He had barely graduated from the Warrior’s Elementary School, born into a lower D-class family.

Just breaking away from the D-class rank was a major success in life.

Lexia raised her voice.

“You have so much more potential, Zik! Many say that B-class is too much for you, but I’m certain you’re more than A-class!”

“Thank you for looking after me like this.”

Zik bowed his head with a smile.

Lexia’s cheeks turned red.

“Anyway, you are way too soft.”

Having been whipped with her words, Lexia’s steed ran ahead. Zik followed on horseback with his limited riding skills.

The request had come from a place that was a three-hour ride from Zorix Castle.

It was a small village that often wasn’t even marked on maps.

The name of the place was Pobesby, a name whose origin was unclear.

The village of Pobesby, attached to a mountain, had nothing else to call work except for farming and gathering herbs.

As for outsiders, occasionally semi-nomadic shepherds would stop by before heading to the city.

It couldn’t possibly be a neighborhood suitable for A-rank requests.

Yet, already three teams of B-rank warriors had gone missing, which had elevated the request to an A-rank.

The elderly village chief welcomed the two warriors, Lexia and Zik, with open arms.

Around 40 villagers, from approximately ten houses, had gathered in the village square for the welcoming ceremony.

The main dish was grilled beef ribs. The ribs were placed whole on the charcoal as a sweet sauce was continually brushed on.

The caramelized sauce stimulated the appetite with its sweet and bitter taste.

After the banquet, the chief addressed the two warriors.

“Warriors! After three groups deserted their jobs, I was worried no more would come.”

The chief was looking at Zik.

Then, turning towards Lexia, he continued.

“May the saintess also join this warrior in defeating the undead of the graveyard!”

Lexia questioned.

“But undead? This place is far from any demon lands, how did the undead arise?”

Undead, as the name suggests, refer to those who haven’t found peace in death.

From ghosts like specters and souls to walking dead like zombies and skeletons, everything that wandered after death was included.

Natural occurrences of the undead were possible, but mostly necromancers were behind such phenomena.

Necromancers invariably dealt with demons.

That’s why Lexia mentioned the demon lands. The chief hesitated before shaking his head.

“We don’t know. But there’s a large graveyard about a kilometer away from the village, on a mountain. There are rumors that corpses roam there, so people avoid it, especially at night.”

Zik took up the conversation.

“If it’s a village graveyard, such rumors are common. Even the graveyard by the west gate of Zorix Castle has such stories.”

“If it was just rumors, they’d only serve to scare children at bedtime… But two years ago, the first person died. A zombie feasted on their organs and left the corpse behind.”

“Could be the work of a wolf or bear. Is there proof it wasn’t a wild animal?”

“A few days later, the corpse with devoured organs crawled out of the grave and went home. If we hadn’t called the major priest from the city for purification, who knows how long it would have continued?”

“Did strange things continue to happen after that?”

“Yes. The number of walking corpses increased bit by bit, until they finally began attacking the village. That started at the beginning of this year. Unable to endure it, we asked for help from the authorities and submitted a request to the Warrior’s Support Office.”

“But all efforts failed?”

“Yes. According to the supervisor from the authorities, a B-rank warrior should be able to deal with it easily. However, two teams fled in the dead of night, and one team went missing after investigating the graveyard at night. Whether they fled or met with an accident… Since then, no B-rank warrior has come to our village.”

“I see. It seems we just have to go and check it out then.”

Close to midnight, Lexia and Zik headed down a path behind the village.

A few villagers, carrying torches, saw them off.

Zik smiled brightly at the worried faces.

“Don’t worry. If it seems too much for us, we’ll just conduct an investigation and come back.”

The chief nodded.

“Please do. We fear what more sacrifices might be…”

The night road was scary.

Even for warriors.

The shadows of the forest are darker than darkness itself.

Gazing into the shaded dark under the leaves, one might start to feel as if something on the other side was watching.

“Zik…”

Zik looked back at Lexia, whose voice trembled.

She walked closely to him, taking small steps.

“Take it slow.”

“What?”

“Slow down.”

“But… you wanted to check it quickly.”

“Back then…” Lexia wasn’t accustomed to the night in the forest.

She grew up in a famous warrior family, with the Lord of Zorix Castle as her uncle.

Thanks to private tutors in swordsmanship, magic, and etiquette from a young age, she had achieved A-rank before turning twenty.

Everyone expected she’d make it to G-rank by her mid-twenties.

Although she had accumulated a variety of warrior experiences, she had never been in the forest at night.

“Do you think it’s really the undead? Or just a narrative spun out of control?”

Zik asked.

“Hmm?”

“This recent issue.”

“We’ll know if we go…”

“If it’s undead, wouldn’t it be risky for us?”

“Why?”

“Well… they’re strong.”

“Zik!” Lexia’s voice was laced with slight anger.

“That weak mindset is clouding your true worth! Wake up. You’re a warrior.”

“Who’s saying I’m not?

“Anyway, how can you stay calm while everyone looks down on you?”

“I’m used to it…”

“Don’t get used to such things!”

“It seems your mood has improved.”

“Huh?”

“You’re not shaking anymore.”

“When did I ever shake?”

Lexia flared up in anger.

“Zik, you’re my junior, by four years at that. You can’t tease your senior like that.”

“It wasn’t my intention. You were just so tense, Senior Lexia. Being used to working with many people, this must be your first time in such a dire situation, right?”

“Hmm, even so, it’s an A-rank request. I’m not nervous. It’s just…”

Suddenly, something burst out of the bushes in front of them.

A dark shadow dashed past Lexia at lightning speed.

“Ahh!”

Startled, Lexia clung to Zik’s back, her arm choking his throat, making him gasp for air.

“What, what’s that!”

“It, ack, it was a deer.”

“What’s that?”

Zik, flushed, patted Lexia’s arm.

Finally, she released him.

“Sorry.”

“Phew. A deer is an animal similar to a stag. It has sharp teeth and is smaller in size. They ruin crops often, so people dislike them.”

“I’ll start disliking them from now.”

Having screamed out loud, Lexia now felt completely drained.

She wanted nothing more than to turn back.

She glanced at Zik.

In this moment, he was staring directly into the darkness before him.

“I knew something was wrong.”

“What?”

“Never mind, let’s go faster.”

“Okay. Oh!”

“What?”

“I remember learning something like this.”

Zik raised his index finger.

“Fairy Lamp!”

A bright light appeared. A fist-sized orb illuminated the surroundings, causing the shadows of the leaves to recede.

“Magic!”

“Yes.”

“How…”

“What? Lexia, you can do it too.”

“Of course, I had private tutoring from a young age. Plus, most of it is from the Inner Force category.”

“If Inner Force involves boosting strength, right?”

“Yes. Anyway, I thought you couldn’t do any magic at all.”

“I started learning recently. Barely managing to make a mana ring.”

“For someone who’s just started, that’s incredible, isn’t it? Creating a mana ring?”

“Yes.”

“That’s… you’re practically a sorcerer.”

“Well, if I can use magic, then…”

“That’s not just any level. Being able to form a complete mana ring inside your body is what high-level mages can do. The rest is merely shaping an image for use, like me.”

Lexia looked at Zik anew.

“You really are unique, you know?”

“Is that so?”

Zik, slightly scratching his head, floated the Fairy Lamp higher.

Too close, and it only shrinks your pupils, making the dark unseen.

They groped their way up the mountain path, relying on the orb of light.

The road leading to the communal graveyard was well-tended, but it had become damaged here and there from recent lack of use.

Near the end of the path, a grotesquely twisted tree stood against the dark sky.

There, Zik stopped.

Lexia, her face pale, grabbed the sleeve of Zik’s garment.

Fluttering in the wind, they hung like fallen banners.

But they were not banners.

Torn cloth intertwined with corpses.



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