C45: Internal Troubles
I immediately accepted the Demon King’s challenge without any hesitation.
Thankfully, my saviors came at the right time.
“Lord Saint, we just got back from our hunt!”
“We were able to hunt a Kirisaki Deer today! Please make sukiyaki from this again!!!”
It was the three ladies from the demon race who went to the mountain dungeon to hunt for meat.
Their hunt must have been a huge success for Batemy and Belena to be in such high spirits, but their leader, Miss Astres, quickly sensed something was off.
“D-Demon King?! Why are you here?!”
Even the Demon King was shocked upon seeing Astres.
Perhaps they know each other? They probably do since Miss Astres was once part of the army’s Heavenly Four. In other words, she’s a trusted retainer of the Demon King.
“You were here after all! I looked all over for you, but you weren’t in any of the places I checked, leaving me with this place!”
“…Demon King, you went through all of that for me?”
Is it just me, or they’re acting a little weird?
“I’m a failure stripped of my status as a Heavenly One. I am no longer of use to His Majesty. Always caring for the likes of me might give the rebels an excuse to take advantage of you!”
“So what?! To me, you are needed! I could never think of losing you!!!”
“Demon King… Lord Zedan…!”
What’s with this atmosphere?
“Worry not, for I have already thought of a plan. Just hang in there a little longer until we can get you back to the army!”
The Demon King faces me once more.
“I apologize for the interruption. Let us resume our bout. We shall bet on our holy swords and fight to our best capabilities.”
“Bet on the swords?”
“Correct. The emerging victor gets to have the other sword. Allow me to apologize once more for enforcing a condition on top of challenging you, but we need that sword at all costs!”
I mean, we don’t even have to fight. I can readily give it to you if it’s the sword you want…
But I haven’t the slightest idea of what the Demon King desires at all…
“Lord Zedan, you’re not planning to fight the saint, are you?!”
“That’s no different from committing suicide. It’s too reckless, Your Majesty!!!”
Batemy and Belena shout in protest after hearing the Demon King’s decision.
Platy and Veil, who overheard the commotion, have also arrived. Things were about to get even more hectic, so I calmed everyone down and told them what had happened.
We let the Demon King into our house to hear the whole story.
Since people of this world are not accustomed to the etiquettes of Japanese-style rooms, I led him to the Western-style room and served him some tea to compose himself.
“I’m terribly sorry for involving someone unrelated as you in this mess,” says the Demon King.
He says everything in such a courteous manner, to say the least. Out of all the people who have crashed by my place, he’s by far the most courteous.
So even if he challenges me to a fight out of nowhere, I don’t feel offended.
“Please let me introduce myself once more. My name is Zedan. I stand as Demon King in the current system of the demon race.”
“Um, forgive me for asking another stupid question, but…”
Is the title of Demon King something that can be taken over?
He did say earlier that it has been continuously passed down by his ancestors…
“You’re not from this world, Dear, so it’s no surprise that you don’t know about it.”
“Demon King is the title given to the ruler of our race. The people elect him to ascend the throne for his outstanding benevolence, wisdom, and courage.”
Platy and Miss Astres take turns explaining things to me.
Even the demon race grows old as time passes, so the next generation takes over—a system where they elect a new Demon King.
I fully understand the definition of this world’s Demon King now.
“However, those standards are becoming more of a facade,” says the Demon King with a self-deprecating tone.
For real? My mental definition was immediately overwritten.
“The concept of the best candidate being selected as the Demon King has been reduced to a mere formality. Now, it is nothing but a heritage.”
“That’s not true at all! His Majesty may have inherited Einrot as a family heirloom, but the entire nation knows that you didn’t ascend the throne for that sole reason!”
Miss Astres looks pretty agitated.
She’s definitely likes the Demon King. I can tell from her attitude.
“The Furious-Holy Sword Einrot and the title of Demon King have been passed down in my family for generations. My father, grandfather, and the rest of my predecessors have fought wielding this sword,” he says as he unsheathes the sword once again.
Just from looking at its blade, you can tell that it emits an astounding aura. Maybe it’s a magical sword?
It’s probably superior to the sword I have in terms of strength.
“Astres, do you still have that with you?”
“Of course. No matter how low I sink, this is the only thing I will never let go of.”
Urged by the Demon King, Miss Astres rummages through her clothing and takes out a sword.
But it’s a broken one, chipped off from its hilt.
“The Wild-Holy Sword Sechsweiss. It’s a holy sword handed down from generation to generation in my family.”
“It has been handed down in this chipped-off state for several hundreds of years now. One of her ancestors broke it, ” says the Demon King solemnly.
“In our society, only five holy swords are known to exist. The five families who inherit these swords are considered the strongest in our nation. They also used to take turns ascending the throne long ago.”
“But at one point, there was an outbreak of a civil war to determine the true ruler of our nation. The five families fought with each other, ultimately leading to one holy sword smashing the rest, finally settling the dispute.”
“It was the Furious-Holy Sword Einrot that triumphed over the other four holy swords. Since then, my family has monopolized the throne.”
It feels like I’m in history class.
“The four families that faced defeat then pledged allegiance to our family that possesses Einrot. That’s how the Heavenly Four came to be.”
“That means Miss Astres’ family used to inherit the holy sword?”
“Correct. This broken sword serves as proof of your loyalty to the Demon King. So even if it’s broken and rendered useless, you mustn’t let go of it no matter what!”
Miss Astres is currently treated as an exile after failing her task. Nevertheless, she still keeps the sword with her, undeniable proof of her devotion.
“This concludes the story of our people’s relation to the holy swords, and so, I will ask once again.”
Okay. I wonder what it is?
The Demon King’s story thus far has something to do with the matter at hand, huh?
There’s no way he would’ve said all of that for nothing, I guess.
“Since it’s come to this, I will openly state my request. Lord Saint, would you please hand over your Wicked-Holy Sword Dreischwartz to Astres?”
Sechs Weiß: Six White