I am the Great Demon King Baal, also the “biggest fool of the demon race,” according to many.
During my reign as demon king in the past, I encouraged my people to spread civilization, prioritizing it over the war with our archnemesis, the human race.
The war had gone on for too long, making the hearts of the demon race desolate and miserable.
If it wasn’t going to end despite our efforts, shouldn’t we raise the national cultural level and enlighten the demons instead?
With this in mind, I adopted a preferential treatment policy for the various artisan guilds to promote civilization and went around buying dirt-cheap antiques at high prices to show that even old things have significant value.
However, it was all for naught.
Over time, my reputation was established as “a big fool who ignores his enemy to do monkey business,” and lost even the aristocrats’ support.
My youngest son, Zedan, whom I had no expectations of, was somehow promoted and took control of the government.
I, in turn, was forced to either retire or be imprisoned.
My resignation was disgraceful.
Henceforth, people called me the biggest fool of the demon race.
Was what I did wrong?
Was it a foolish desire to enrich the minds of my people?
Well, I did prioritize my frolicky and recklessly spent money to help the demons establish a civilized life.
In doing so, I had many lovers and many children, making the succession issue even more complicated.
But can they blame me?
I, the spearhead of my nation, wanted to take the initiative so that the common people would have some placidity!
Though it is deplorable that my first and second sons grew up to be morons only interested in fashion.
My anxiety would send me to the grave in fear of another coup if they succeeded me.
Only Zedan, the youngest child I neglected after his mother’s early death, grew up to be a decent man with potential.
When I was forced to retire in a coup, every single one of my many consorts and concubines vanished.
They either went back to their parent’s homes or followed their sons, who fled the capital, leaving me behind.
I’m not surprised.
Nothing is to be gained by staying close to me when I am no longer in power.
Left alone with no one to care for me, I had no choice but to waste my pension collecting more antiques and artifacts.
Even if I degenerate as an individual, I will stick to my policy.
Call me a fool for all I care!
Today, Zedan has come to my house again.
He’s a very conscientious, or rather, spiteful chap.
I guess he wants to make his administration more solid and fix his relationship with me; that’s why he’s been visiting me more often lately.
It only gets on my nerves, really.
“Father, won’t you please grant my request?”
“Hmph, I don’t care.”
He must’ve come to request that I meet his children. In other words, my grandchildren.
His two queens gave birth to a prince and a princess, respectively.
I’m not down for it.
Maybe he thinks I’ll get along with his family after seeing his children’s adorableness.
Sorry to say, but I am not that cheap.
Ever since he forced me to step down from the throne, Zedan and I have been sworn enemies.
Until my last breath, I’ll continue to be the thorn in his side as the Great Demon King.
I’ll also hoard all the art I can from his pension!
“Still a no?”
“It’s foolish of a king to waste so much time on something so obvious.”
Go home already if you’re done with your whining.
I’m busy savoring this new food item called sausage that is raved in the capital.
“…By the way.”
What do you mean, “by the way”?
Don’t use phrases that will prolong your stay here.
“This wooden idol sure has marvelous craftsmanship.”
“Even you, a blockhead, can appreciate its beauty?”
“Why, yes. It must be a statue of Hades, our guardian deity. It looks a lot like him.”
Looks a lot like him?
That’s quite a peculiar way of evaluating it, but whatever.
“This was brought to me by Leviasa, the woman you recently selected as one of the new Heavenly Four. It’s a good statue, isn’t it? It looks and feels so alive.”
“Don’t you think our people should spend more money on them? In my day, people used to say, ‘If you have money to pay for this, dedicate it to war expenditures.’ Ironically enough, you ended that war.”
“It wasn’t me alone. I just made the final touches on the achievements of Father and kings before you.”
Didn’t know you could use flattery now.
None of the past demon kings, including myself, had the slightest idea clue we’d be able to end the Human-Demon War.
We all thought it was like a natural disaster that would only go on forever.
Zedan has all the right to call himself the “greatest demon king of all time” for ending it, but it’d be a massive blow to my pride if I were to admit that.
Ah, I’ve gone on a tangent.
We’re supposed to be talking about this magnificent divine statue.
“In the future, the country will need more craftsmen. Similarly, people will need to develop an appreciation for such treasures. Now that the war is over, civilization is essential for our people.”
You sound like you’re just following along, pretending to be a goody-two-shoes.
“The next thing the powers should do is become patrons and protect the many talented craftsmen. Only by providing them with basic needs and an environment in which they can devote themselves to their work can they produce masterpieces that will last for generations to come.”
“So, is this statue’s creator under your patronage?”
You just had to hit a nerve, huh?
As much as I want to have the genius behind this masterpiece close by me, I cannot.
I don’t even know who they are or what their name is.
I tried asking Leviasa many times, but she wouldn’t tell me anything.
“I can only assume that the creator stubbornly refuses to let the world know about them…”
“Well, I’ve brought good news for you, Great Demon King.”
A third person suddenly appeared!
Wait, aren’t you Belphgamilia of the Heavenly Four?!
“Great Demon King, please take a look at this.”
Written on quality paper, to boot. It’s far from parchment.
“It’s an invitation.”
“An invitation? From who?!”
“From the people who made the statue, who else?”
I hurriedly unfolded the invitation and read it.
To summarize, it reads, “We’d love to have someone with an eye for detail as you visit us.”
“I’m coming right this instant! Prepare the carriage!”
“Please wait and read everything that’s written on it.”
“Who is this letter addressed to?”
It’s addressed to me, the Great Demon King.
Why the obvious question? …But when I resumed reading, I was shocked.
“I-It can’t beeee!!!”
“To the Demon King’s family.”
It’s not a personal letter addressed to me!
“Your Majesty is still included since you’re the Demon King’s father.”
“But if you accept this invitation, you have to come with the rest of the family—the Demon King himself, his wives, and their children…”
That means I’m forced to go with Zedan after all those years of keeping my distance from him…
“B-Belphgamilia…why is this invitation with you? I thought this was Leviasa’s role!”
“She asked me to take over just because we’re both Heavenly Ones. It’s a hassle, frankly speaking.”
Zedan and Belphegamilia are talking beside me, but I’m not in the mood to worry about them.
I definitely want to meet the genius craftsman who made this idol. But that means I have to go with Zedan’s family…
What… Whatever should I doooooooo?!
“Great Demon King.”
B-Belphgamilia?! What is it?
“The Demon King wants to fix the bond between you as parent and child. Isn’t that a waste of compassion for a loser like you who doesn’t even have the qualifications to be a father?”
I know, but I still have my pride!
“I never dared to speak my mind precisely because I know how stubborn you can get, but the Demon King has been so considerate of you that he’s prepared this roundabout method. Can’t you at least make some kind of compromise?”
“I know, but…”
I couldn’t defy Belphgamilia.
His rebuke was the final deciding factor for me to go with Zedan’s family.