Chapter 186 – Demon King (1)
In the past, he had boasted about it to his party members. In terms of knowledge about the Demon realm, no one could touch him. He had lived a long time before he was noticed by the Demon King. After he started working under the Demon King as a subordinate, he had been able to travel all over the Demon realm as if it was his own backyard. He thoroughly searched the Demon Realm using his Read All Creation ability.
“The merfolks are doing well.”
“If you bring her along, our success rate will increase further.”
“It is as I’ve said to Sherryl. The Demon race will return to the Demon realm. I placed her in a position where she’ll be able to rack up a high body count.”
As expected, a straight on battle wasn’t any fun! It was more fun to poke one’s enemy at a weak point! Silpennon smirked at Artpe’s words.
“We’ve created a very favorable situation for our side. It’ll be difficult for them to lose this.”
“They’ll win this war. It is a given. However, that isn’t important.”
If it was a world where magic and levels didn’t exist, it might have been enough to just end the war. However, the world had monsters that could single handedly slaughter millions of people. There were beings that could manipulate the hearts of humans. There were Demonic beasts that could shake the foundation of existence. If these beings were left behind after the war, the race called humans will be defeated.
“They’ll all disappear······.”
“The Demonification of humans…”
Silpennon frowned as he thought about the envoy that had tried to entice him. It really was an unpleasant memory.
“Is the current Demon King similar to the past Demon King? Is he the type that can’t stand the presence of humans on the face of this world?”
“The current Demon King just wants control over everything. He truly wants to become the owner of this world.”
“That’s right. You described him perfectly.”
It was a very disgusting and cruel business. However, the hero’s party was able to grow thanks to the current Demon King. On the other hand, Artpe had never met the past Demon King….
“If we had moved more conservatively, I think our enemy would have been a much scarier foe. However, the previous Demon King’s goal is more clear than the current Demon King. His goal is to make all the humans into Demons.”
“He is a being from the pervious hero’s era. He might be working in the direct opposite direction as the current Demon King.”
“I don’t want to talk about that damned subae.”
Artpe spoke in a sullen manner as he turned his head away. The Steel Horse had run straight through the waters where the merfolk were stationed. They were flying above the Demon realm.
When they first entered the Demon realm, they had tried to avoid any attention as they charged straight towards the Demon King’s castle. Now they wanted to be noticed. This was why they were overtly revealing their energy as they traveled.
“What if the previous Demon King shows up in the middle of everything?”
“We’ll have to fight him.”
At Artpe’s words, Elrick looked as if the world was crumbling around himself. Artpe cackled as he explained himself.
“We’ll just continue to carry out our spell. Why do you think we gathered so much Artifact? We have plenty of power to punch up. We can overcome the level difference. ….if the level difference is too large, it might be unreasonable. However, I don’t think that’ll happen.”
He was making a judgement based on their experience against the Four Heavenly Kings. He was sure! ······maybe.
“Basically, you have no countermeasures!”
“Ah. Have you ever heard of a hero’s story where the Demon King wipes the floor with the hero? There is no way that happens! The hero suffers until he is on the verge of death. At that time, his party member makes a costly sacrifice, and it barely allows the hero to stab the sword into the Demon King’s heart…. That party member might be you, Elrick.”
“You can be at ease, Elrick. I’ll put your grave in a sunny place… Ouch.”
Artpe teased Elrick. Etna flicked his forehead before he could scare Elrick a little bit more.
“You have to think of a way where we win without losing anyone.”
“I already know that’s the best outcome.”
In the old stories, everyone pulled through, and as the curtain comes downs, they all laughed with each other. However, that outcome was only possible in the old stories.
In his past life, Artpe always experienced farewells alongside victories. He had been lucky in his current life. His ability had been strengthened, and Maetel’s ability was too much of a cheat. This was why he hadn’t experienced any farewells yet…..
“I’ll try my best to prevent any loss, but it can happen. I wanted to prepare everyone for that possibility, so they would be hurt less when the time comes…..”
“Hoo. ······you always had a very loving heart.”
“It is like you are giving us the disease and the medicine at the same time…..”
Etna extended both her arms, and she wrapped them around Artpe’s head. Artpe pouted, but he didn’t put up much of a fight. It might have something to do with her rank in their past lives. When it came to Etna, he was a bit docile towards her.
She had been equally upset as Artpe when she faced the Demons in the headquarters of the Seros company. This was how she would soothe her party using Artpe.
If she moved this close to him, she felt the need to escalate her skinship towards Artpe. However, Etna had quickly gotten used to how things worked in this party. This was why she had realized something. If she created a mood between the two of them….
“Y… you are cheating! You are using the allure of an older woman…! It isn’t something we can recreate!”
“However, Artpe doesn’t like older women. Isn’t that right, Artpe?”
“Agreed. Artpe likes younger women, who are barely legal.”
“What the hell did you say?”
Everyone in the periphery stopped her from going any further. Etna laughed as she separated from Artpe. He was mobbed by the girls.
In truth, she didn’t mind it. Her life was no longer being threatened for liking someone. She was plenty happy with that fact.
However, it looked plenty dangerous from the perspective of the outsiders.
It mainly had to do with the risk to Artpe’s life.
“If Artpe doesn’t die by the Demon King, he’ll one day be killed by one of these women.”
“When you say it like that, it sounds quite serious. It has an ominous ring to it.”
“You always misrepresent my words.”
Silpennon grumbled as he turned his gaze away. After Artpe used his Reinforcement ability, the Steel Horse had become its best possible version of itself. It was no longer a normal existence. It travelled at a mind boggling speed as it traveled above the Demon realm.
Of course, monsters could see them, so there were cases when the monsters tried to chase after them. However, they were rarely attacked by Demons. It seemed most of the Demons had been mobilized into the human realm.
Maybe, they’ll arrive at the Demon King’s castle…the ruins of the Demon King’s castle without being bothered by anyone. As anticipated, they were quickly closing the distance.
At this rate, it might take them couple hours to arrive at their destination. The Reinforcement had been used on top of the Dwarven technology, so the impossible was made possible. Silpennon laughed at the thought.
“The Demon King’s castle······.”
“······aren’t you afraid, Mr Silpennon?”
It was Aria’s question. The rest of the women were all busy tormenting Artpe. She was the only one that continued to observe Silpennon.
After regaining the memories from his past life, she had been the most sensitive to his change. Everyone realized that Silpennon had changed dramatically. Unlike everyone else, she was a bit afraid that Silpennon had changed at a fundamental level.
Since she possessed the Innate ability called Assimilation, she might be much more empathetic compared to the others. Silpennon absentmindedly thought about her abilities as he tilted his head.
“I’m not sure. It feels as if the fight is inevitable. I’m afraid, but that doesn’t matter. There is no benefit in trying to avoid this foe.”
It didn’t matter if their foe was the current Demon King or the past Demon King. Demon Kings were inherently at the extreme end of the power scale. In the end, it was an either/or situation. Either the human race or the Demon race prevailed at the end.
It wasn’t something that can be avoided, so he was resigned to it. Aria wasn’t able to do that.
“I······ I am afraid. Of course, I am afraid of my own death…. However, I am afraid of Mr. Silpennon dying.”
Silpennon became silent. This was basically a confession of love! She was completely devoted to him!
If it was the previous Silpennon, he wouldn’t have known this. However, he possessed the memories from his previous life. He had experienced his own anxious love towards Maetel. Silpennon could see it all in Aria’s gesture and words. He could feel her deep love towards him.
If anything, he became annoyed towards his previous self. How could he not notice something so obvious?
“I want to help the two heroes, but in truth, I didn’t’ want to join this party. I wanted to stay in the human realm with Mr Silpennon…. If Mr. Silpennon dies, I…..”
When Silpennon heard her words, he didn’t look at Aria. He turned towards the others. It seem everyone was still focused on Artpe. There seemed to be a wall of women around Artpe. It seemed they hadn’t heard Aria’s voice. He let out a sigh as he turned his penetrating gaze towards Aria.
“I…if I don’t tell you this, I don’t think I’ll have another opportunity!”
Aria’s cheeks turned red. At the very least, she knew what her words implied.
“It is as Artpe-nim said before. The hero’s story always ends with a sacrifice. Aside from the hero, it is very rare for comrades of the hero to come out unscathed in the end…….”
“If the hero doesn’t have his comrades, he won’t be able to kill the Demon King by himself.”
“However, there is no need for Mr. Silpennon to be the comrade that’ll be sacrificed.”
“You will jinx me if you keep saying that.”
It seemed Artpe’s story had scared Aria instead of Elrick.
Silpennon let out a sigh as he lightly grabbed her hand. Aria let out little moan, and her already red cheeks turned redder.
“It is as Artpe had said. If one acts stronger before the final battle, one always dies at the final battle. That is why I won’t act strong. I won’t make any promise about the future, and I won’t reminisce about some random past memories.”
“S…so what should we do?”
“What do you mean what should we do? We are already holding hands, and we’ll continue to hold hands until we arrive at the Demon King’s castle.”
“······what is that?”
Strength exited Aria’s shoulders. It seemed the tension within her dissipated. Silpennon was able to elicit the desired effect.
Silpennon let out a light sigh as he sent a low amount of power towards her. It allowed the two of them to share each other’s body temperature.
Maybe, his feeling had been conveyed to her. He was sure it was conveyed to her when she added her power into her hand. There was a small smile on his face as he turned his head slightly away her. He was too embarrassed to meet her eyes right now.
“Ah. What is it again?”
It always happened when a pleasant and affectionate moment arose between the two of them. It was quickly destroyed. It was always destroyed by Artpe.
“I want to never come across a new variable like this again. I want to throw it in the trash”
“I really want to throw you off the Steel Horse right now.”
He had made a promise with Aria, so he hadn’t let go of Aria’s hand. He just hid their entwined hands from Artpe as he complained. It was unknown as to whether Artpe knew what Silpennon was feeling. Artpe just let out a dejected smile as he pointed outside of the Steel Horse.
“Do you see that Dungeon over there?”
“Why is there another Dungeon here right now?!”
Maetel screamed out loud, and everyone agreed with her sentiment. Artpe felt the same way as her, but he couldn’t just drive past it. He couldn’t ignore the Dungeon.
The Dungeon was placed on the road to the Demon King’s castle, so it was obvious that the Dungeon had been created not too long ago. There was something carved atop the entrance, and the letters were made using powerful Demonic energy. Artpe was the only one that could see it with his Read All Creation ability.
“Shit. That bastard heard me talk behind his back.”
Artpe cursed in a very low voice.
It was a Dungeon made by the current Demon King.