My name is Ritheseus, an ordinary, seventeen-year-old human male born in an ordinary village to ordinary villager parents and the middle child of five ordinary siblings.
As we live in a rural village in the Human Kingdom, we are basically poor with no means to provide food.
I, the most ordinary person in the village, was sent to our feudal lord’s mansion as a live-in apprentice.
After some twists and turns, I was able to work in an extravagant place. The feudal lord was a kind man and took care of me.
This is the only place that differs from the ordinary.
I worked hard under his guidance and was promoted to his chamberlain.
But now, an unusual problem has come knocking at my doorstep.
One day, the feudal lord came home, his face white as a sheet.
I could tell at a glance that something was wrong.
I wonder what happened?
Today, he’s supposed to be at the demon occupation government as per their summon.
It’s been a year since we, the human race, lost the war against them.
The demons, however, have been so tolerant in their system that it’s hard to believe they were invaders. If anything, it’s more comfortable living now than it was when the human king and the Order were doing whatever they wanted.
Most of the human populace also welcomed the demons, and our feudal lords were allowed to rule their territories unchanged. Personally, I’m just happy that my respected sire was able to survive the political upheaval.
But today, something finally happened.
“R-Ritheseus! Water! Bring me some water…!”
He sat down on the sofa as soon as he returned.
He seems pretty haggard.
At any rate, I brought him water as he ordered.
“Please have a drink to calm your nerves, sire.”
I told him to calm down, but he drank it in one go and asked for more.
He must be really perturbed about something.
Whatever did the demons tell the typically docile feudal lord that made him this upset?
“…They finally bore their fangs.”
After three glasses, sire finally regained his composure.
Still, he couldn’t stop profusely sweating all over, and he restlessly wiped his face.
“Those rascal demons! At first, they approached us like good guys, but it turns out they were hiding their fangs all along! They’re really trying to get rid of us!!!”
“Sire, calm down! What happened?”
As sire’s favorite chamberlain, I am allowed to serve beside him.
Apparently, I’m a great help to him because of my tactfulness.
Thus, it’s also my job to listen to his complaints and give him insight during his private time.
But this is the first time I’ve ever seen him so distraught.
“What did the government tell you, sire?”
From what I’ve seen of the demon’s occupation policies, I get the impression that they won’t ask anything absurd…
“They told me to present…”
“People. They want us to present young, talented, and capable people!”
“? What are they going to do with those people, sire?”
“I don’t know! They just gave me an ambiguous answer when I asked! But their order is absolute, so!!!”
If we refuse, we don’t know what kind of retaliation we’ll get.
In fact, since the Demon King’s Army is the occupier of the Human Kingdom, they can take any form of reprisal if they want to.
“Human resources are the nation’s treasure! What will they do if they take that from us? Will they become a sacrifice, or perhaps feed them to the vicious monsters that they keep?! “
Please calm down, sire.
While we’ve heard of demons controlling monsters, there are only a few of them. Moreover, they’re low-ranking anthropomorphs.
I don’t think such monsters would demand a sacrifice.
However, even if they won’t be eaten, they may be treated similarly to former enemies.
I don’t know what the demons’ aim is for wanting human resources…
“The presented people will probably have to be prepared for uncommon circumstances.”
And as the loser of the war, we have no right to decline.
“…Exactly. No matter how much we struggle, we have to obey at the end of the day and give what is demanded. That is, young, promising people with power, wisdom, and brilliance…” he mutters anxiously. “Ritheseus, boy! There is only one such young person in my territory!”
I understand the sire’s concern now.
“It’s my one and only son, Saldacase!”
Sire is a kind-hearted man and a sensible politician. However, one thing makes him lose his rationality—his one and only son, Saldacase.
His son was born when he was already quite old, so for that reason, he dotes on him very much.
“He’s got a good record, so he’s bound to catch the attention of the demons! If that happens, he’ll be sent to the distant Demon Kingdom! I may never see him again… Ahhhhhhhhh!!!”
Is this the main reason why he’s so upset?
He’s always been fond of children; that’s why he took good care of me when I was young, even if I was a servant. So, I can only imagine if it’s his own son.
After all that sire has done for me, now’s the time to return the favor…
“I’ll go, sire,” I spontaneously say. “The demons want young people, right? I’m seventeen years old, so I meet the requirements. Wit isn’t easy to tell from appearances, so we can deceive them.”
“But if you go, you may never return!”
Sire is even worried about me, which is why I feel like giving up my life for him.
A cheap life such as mine, a mere villager, can be found anywhere, anyway.
And then, I was to leave as the representative of my territory on the appointed day.
Apparently, the rule was that each territory was supposed to present its most brilliant young men as their representative.
My departure was greeted by a suitably large crowd.
Most of them seemed to be in mourning for me as if I was embarking on my journey to the other world…
But as for the minority who felt otherwise…
“Hey, Ritheseus. Aren’t you glad you could substitute for me?” asks Saldacase, sire’s son.
I think he’s a year older than me.
“You’ve always been a despicable twat, but I never thought you’d be useful to me like this! Quite the loyal act to be dying in place of your master. I commend you!”
Because of sire’s doting and pampering, he has grown up to be a completely spoiled brat.
Just thinking about him succeeding his father as the next feudal lord makes me worried sick, almost more than my own fate under the hands of the demons.
“My father told me that eventually, I would have to assign you as my associate, and honestly? I was disgusted. But with this, my life will be spared, and an eyesore like you will die. It seems Zeus has blessed my future!!!”
If he really becomes the next feudal lord, what will happen to this territory?
Even if I were to die in the land of the demons, I’m sure I’d still be haunted by that thought in my afterlife.
“Guys, I leave the rest to you…”
“Yeah. We’ll be sure to discipline sire’s son!”
I entrusted the rest to my fellow chamberlains and departed.
No, really, this could be my final farewell, but this is such a slovenly parting.
What kind of treatment will I get from the demons?