On June 5th, I reached the sixth city. I approached the guild first as always, but because I had arrived earlier this time, Luca wasn’t there yet.
After I sold the unwanted raw materials from the monsters I had battled along the way, I checked the bulletin board in the guild. The only S-Rank quest pasted on it was the Star fragment, and although there were a considerable number of A-Rank flyers, the other adventurers checked and tore those off, so those were probably of no issue.
After pumping myself up a bit, I bought the map for the 6th city. Then I leaned against a wall, opened the map, and pretended to check it. Since I was pretending, I obviously had a different objective here.
After I spent the other night with Luca and his friends, something came to mind and I couldn’t stop thinking about it, so I wanted to check it out.
Oh, and by the way, it wasn’t about the moon. Of course, I was curious about that too, but it’s not something I could find the answer to in just a few days. I’d be better off searching in the library for that instead of here in the guild in the first place.
What I wanted to find out right now was— if homosexuality was normal in this kingdom. Although two men were this close, the people around had accepted it as if it were natural. This was something unknown to me, with the memories of my past life.
Moreover, Luca was surrounded by six different types of beauties day in and out.
After I experienced being in that kind of setting myself, the question popped up in my mind again. I wondered why Luca liked me, a man, even though he was in such a harem-esque situation.
As the person in question himself said, he might have fallen in love at first sight with me when we met. But it’s already been more than four months since late January, when the number of his female team members suddenly increased in one go. How was it that, surrounded by so many attractive heroines, he still only had feelings for me, a man? Moreover, it was towards a man who was not a friend who has shared joys and sorrows with him, but a mere rival who he met occasionally?
If an ordinary Japanese man were put in that same situation, they would most likely have fallen in love with one of the heroines. After all, they were handsome and could get a chance to deepen their bonds with six beauties to boot. Perhaps it would be the beauties that would approach them. For him to embrace me, a man, as if to show me off to the girls in such an environment, what was wrong with him?
Was he gay from the beginning? Did he actually not like girls? No, that’s impossible. He’s the protagonist of an eroge. It was second nature for him to lay a hand on the heroines. Even if you ignored that aspect of the game, if he didn’t like girls, it would have been quite stressful to be around the heroines all the time. But he didn’t seem to show any signs of that.
Thus, I reached the conclusion that homosexuality must be a normal thing in the Soleil Kingdom. If that’s the case, then it made more sense that Luca would continue to love only me, and I too, would give my relationship with Luca a little more consideration. After all, he was the only one who dared to touch me – a person with black hair.
…N-No that’s not it. I’m just curious if people’s perceptions about homosexuality here were different from those in my previous life. It has nothing to do with my relationship with Luca. Definitely not.
Anyhow, I casually let my gaze travel around the guild, making sure to not be noticed by those around me.
So I stood there for a while and observed about 200 people. The result was inconclusive.
For instance, two muscular men and another man with a smaller build were chatting around five metres away from me. If you asked me if they were gay, I wouldn’t know. Then what about the two youths slapping each other’s shoulders on the other side? What about the four women over there, showing off their new equipment as they tickled, hugged, and frolicked with each other? I couldn’t think of them as anything but close friends.
How about the two men opposite me, who were whispering to each other with their faces snuggled close? One of them had his hand on the other’s back. However, even at such close quarters, they were paying attention to not have the contents of their discussion heard.1
It’s useless, I had absolutely no clue. If they had at least been holding hands with each other, it would have been clearer, but unfortunately I could find no such people. As expected, perhaps homosexuality still wasn’t quite accepted…
No, perhaps it was the location at fault. The adventurer’s guild was a place where adventurers take requests, buy and sell materials, and exchange information with other adventurers. It’s not a place for hugging and PDA. Luca was the strange one as he constantly hugged me and rubbed his cheek against mine, even when we’re in the guild.
As I stepped out of the guild, I slowly walked towards an inn I had found on the map. Surely I’d find a few people of the same sex holding hands as I walked down the street. Luca also used to hold my hand at such times.
I observed the people passing by. Some were housewives with their children, some were elderly couples, and some were young men rushing with large luggage, perhaps on business. There were a few people who walked happily whilst chatting away, and of course there were men walking in pairs. However, these men never held hands. I noticed a few heterosexual couples holding hands though.
I see. I understand. Though I still didn’t know if homosexuality was accepted in this kingdom or not, even if it were accepted, perhaps their numbers weren’t great enough that I’d find them right away. Even among heterosexual couples, there were places where they wouldn’t hold hands. I felt disappointed with my own shallowness.
To begin with, I had never walked around town observing people till now. Because of my dark attribute, I had always avoided interacting with people. Although I sometimes stopped by the stores along the streets to shop, I had only looked at the products. There was no way a guy like me would see results from randomly observing people out of the blue.
Perhaps I should ask Luca directly. He would probably wonder why I was asking him such a question, but still, I was sure that Luca would be able to answer it without any qualms.
Although I had made my decision, I didn’t feel like quickening my pace, so I continued to walk leisurely while I observed the people.
As I did so, I bumped shoulders with one of the men walking in front of me. The impact was so strong that it made a loud ‘thud!’. I quickly sensed that he planned to bump into me on purpose. But it was too troublesome to avoid, so I simply used strengthening magic beforehand. As a result, I received no damage, but it was probably quite painful for the other person. As expected, he stumbled, and his face contorted as he held his shoulder.
“Ow…Hey, you! Stop fucking around, you son of a bitch! ”
“Hey, you bastard, where are you escaping!? You bumped into someone, you better apo-”
“What did you say? ”
I clad myself in mana and started to intimidate them. Just with that, the lot before me raised a shrill shriek and began to cower. They were the ones who picked a fight, what’s with that reaction? Are you kidding me?
“I asked if you wanted something.”
“Then don’t just stand here in ones and twos, I hate it.”
“Eek! F-Forgive me, please don’t kill me! ”
I glared at them from under my hood. Perhaps it was because they saw the strange color of my eyes, or perhaps because they suddenly imagined their hearts getting stabbed in that moment. They quickly kneeled on the ground and kowtowed as they trembled. If you’re going to wet your pants at this level of bloodlust, don’t go picking fights in the first place.
After giving their heads a fleeting glance, I once again headed for the inn.
Looks like you can encounter hoodlums if you walk too slowly.
After making a reservation at the inn, I went back to the guild. I browsed weapon and armour shops in the area, and also made an order for packed lunches and portable meals good for fifteen days of dungeon diving. If I placed the order now, they would have it ready by the 10th. I also restocked my supply of potions and other items of that kind. After that, I hunted monsters outside the city for about two hours, then returned to the inn at dinner time to eat. After that, I took a shower in my room, and tinkered with my bike until bedtime.
The next day, June 6. I went to the library in the morning. As an adventurer, it’s best to take requests from the adventurer’s guild early in the morning and return before the sun sets, but most people followed that schedule, so it often got crowded. If I walked into a crowded place, my hood or turban might fall off at any moment. The guild was at its emptiest at noon, so that’s the time I usually visited.
Anyway, although I tried to find a book with descriptions of the moon, the sheer volume of books forced me to give up. Books with only text tended to make my eyes droop, and I couldn’t get much of their contents into my head. I could read as many books as I wanted, as long as they had mathematical formulas and diagrams. What I needed however, was a history book written a thousand years ago. As a result, it was an impossible task for me alone.
I went to the guild in the afternoon, but Luca was not there today either. I wondered if he hadn’t arrived at the 6th city yet, or if he had arrived but had other things to do. I waited for a while, but there was no sign of him.
After an hour of waiting and no sign, I gave up and left the guild.
Then, where should I go?
“……What to do?”
After I walked a few steps, my feet came to a standstill. I tried to think, but couldn’t come up with anything.
That’s natural. My plans were to observe Luca as he carried on with his G-rank quests. As always, I would stand beside him as he carried on with his task, and occasionally pet a few animals that came along the way. But Luca never came.
My heart fell with a thud even though it’s simply that I haven’t met Luca recently.
Why? Why am I so pained? Was it because I had a certain hope of meeting him? Because I thought I would see him, but I didn’t?
Certainly, Luca said that he wanted to meet me the other day. But we hadn’t agreed on a time. I just selfishly assumed that Luca would be at the guild by mid-afternoon, since he would arrive in the big city before the evening of the 5th.
But in the end, that was simply me relying on the game’s settings. Of course reality would differ. Besides, if he had just arrived in the city, he would also have to do some shopping for the dungeon diving so it was no wonder I couldn’t see him.
But up until now, every time I went to the guild, I would always see him without fail.
I moved to a back alley and leaned against the wall. I slumped down to a crouch as I tightly shut my eyes and clutched at my chest.
It’s impossible— I couldn’t be lonely just because I couldn’t meet him. It’s impossible for my chest to feel this tight, to hurt so much simply out of loneliness. It’s just impossible.
I spent most of my childhood in the basement of the mansion, all alone. Even when I was living in the great forest, I was always alone, except for a few rare visits to nearby cities. Sometimes I felt lonely, but when I closed my eyes, the darkness had always gently enveloped me.
I had always lived my life alone. I thought I would be fine alone. …It should have been so.
I was supposed to have no expectations from others. I never wanted to be forced to rely on someone else being there for me.
Yet, right now, I wished to meet him. I wanted to scold him without reason, ask him why he didn’t come to my side. Even when I closed my eyes, I could see his smile in the back of my mind.
Before I knew it, my heart had become such… My weak self was so uncool, so pitiful, that I felt like cursing at myself once again.
Chapter 46: The Sage Confronts the Holy Sceptre Kingdom’s Army
That night. I was sitting in the audience room, alone with my thoughts.
I could hear the tapping of footsteps on the floor at regular intervals. But when I investigated their source, I discovered that they were my own feet. I seemed to have been unconsciously moving them all this while. I stopped it and folded my arms.
They’re late. What’s taking them so long?
I was aware of the frustration building up in my heart. I knew its cause. I was concerned that Grom and the others hadn’t returned yet.
I’m sure they’re fighting the Holy Sceptre Kingdom right now. It had already been half a day since they left. Even if it were a hard-fought battle, with my top to leaders in the fraay, it wouldn’t be strange for them to have wrapped up by this time. I had arranged for a tepepathic communication from Grom as soon as the battle ended. Yet there was not a word from the intercepting army.
Are they struggling? No, there is hardly a chance for a hero that rivals them to exist.
The more I thought about it, the more I felt uneasy. Perhaps something had really happened to the Demon Lord’s Army that had gone to intercept them. Taking into account the present situation, that was the most probable conclusion. I shouldn’t brush off my sixth sense at times like this. It’s always better to assume the worst.
This time, the Holy Sceptre Army had taken a rather bold move. No matter how just their cause was, the fact remained that they had begun to slaughter large numbers of people. Don’t they think it’ll not only cause criticism from other countries, but also incur the wrath of the Demon Lord? Even if they had a hatred for the undead, they had clearly gone too far.
They are not stupid either. They very well knew the amount of power the current Demon Lord possessed. If they really were foolish beyond saving, they would have been destroyed during the era of the previous Demon Lord.
I had a feeling that they had a plan for this massacre as well. The Holy Sceptre Kingdom does not send its people to their deaths for nothing. Defeat in the battlefield and losing face was their greatest fear.1 After all, glory and victory are the honour of the Holy Sceptre Kingdom.
Maybe the Holy Scepter Kingdom has something to hide.
Or perhaps they had found something that made them deem that they could oppose the Demon Lord’s Army. Usually, all problems could be solved with Grom and Henry’s strength. The two of them alone had reached a level of strength that would allow them to take on a normal army.
But this time, I can’t brush off that feeling of unease. It was too unnatural that they had not sent any news and have not returned. During the day I was too busy with other work to pay attention to it, but I should have noticed it a little earlier.
Shall I go and see just in case?
After thinking about it for a while, I made a decision. It’s not a lot of effort. It’s just a matter of using transfer magic to see what’s going on. If the battle is going on without problems, then my fears were unfounded. I’m sure Luciana and the others will tease me for worrying, but that’s okay.
I used my perception magic. I spread my consciousness to the eastern part of the territory.
On the way, I felt a sense of resistance. A concealment technique was being used, obscuring the information within the area. It was designed to make it impossible to detect anything out of the ordinary at first glance. From here, it was difficult to see what was going on within the area.
It was the middle of the city. This was the zone where the intercepting army had been dispatched. I searched the surrounding areas, but could not detect any reaction from them. It seems that Grom and his men are inside the city.
I stood up from my throne in silence. I took a look at the crystal on the pedestal next to me. Her ashes were floating inside. I knelt in front of the crystal and said to her, “—I’ll be borrowing it for a bit.”.
I took the keepsake sword on the pedestal in my hands. It was the weapon that had killed both the previous generation’s Demon Lord and the current generation’s Hero. I had a complex intertwined fate with this sword. It was just a famous sword with no special powers, a memento propped up on a pedestal, but I could feel it.
Surely I should take this sword with me.
Although it was a vague hunch, I felt so. It would assert the Demon Lord’s way of being. It was not a bad choice.
At any rate, I had to go where the intercepting army was. I activated my transfer magic to investigate the situation at my destination. In the process, I broke the obstructions and traps and flew to the city in question. As soon as my vision switched to the city, I felt a strong numbness overwhelm me.
I groaned and fell to my knees on the ground.. It felt as if a hot knife was scraping the surface of my body, weakening it. It was so difficult to move that I thought my arms and legs had been hardened with lead.
It was holy magic. It had been deployed all around the place. It was not like the holy air of the Forest of Yggdrasil. Although it had an output that would normally be classified as great magic, it was spread over a wide area. At this rate, it could cover the whole city.
In any case, at this rate, we will make no progress. I used magic to protect my body. As soon as I activated my magic, the effect of the holy magic wavered. However this doesn’t mean that the damage has stopped completely, it only means that the rate of purification has been reduced. My body will eventually decay and disappear down to the bone marrow at this rate.
No, that’s all I need. With the power from the Valley of the Dead, I can use another undead being to come back to life. But this holy magic was too powerful. If I was unlucky, it could damage my soul. In the worst case, I might be unable to revive.
Anyway, it’s holy magic of unbelievable power. It’s definitely the work of the Holy Sceptre Kingdom. I don’t know anyone else who can use this kind of advanced magic. Is it a ceremonial magic performed by more than one mage? Clearly, this is beyond the capacity of the individual.
I just don’t think you can prepare this much magic in such a short time…
It would have been understandable if I had jumped into an enemy camp that they had taken time to build. But this was a city in the Demon Lord’s territory. The Holy Sceptre Kingdom’s stay would have lasted for half a day at most. This is by far not enough time to exercise ceremonial magic.
I heard a muffled voice behind me. It was Grom who crawled out of the shadows. His whole body had been damaged, and even his lower body had no semblance of his original form. Of his eight arms, six were already rotting away. It was the effect of purification.
“Please… run… away—”
Grom tried to warn me. At that moment, a chain of light stretching from beyond caught him in the torso. It’s edges, sharp like a spear, suddenly pierced through and sewed Grom to the ground. Grom lay on the ground motionless, emitting white smoke.
“Huh? Looks like there are more weird things. Well, that’s fine. I’ll just pulverise them.”
I heard a strangely cheerful girl’s voice. At about the same time, a chain of light flew towards me. I flicked it off with my keepsake sword and looked at the owner of the voice.
There is a line of people at the end of the street in the city. There were probably hundreds of them as far as the eye can see. If you include those who lay in wait in various places, there will be no less than 10,000. My perception magic caught signs of humans lurking everywhere.
They are dressed in white military uniforms and equipped with magical decorations. The emblem on their flag, which resembled a cross, indicated that they belonged to the Holy Sceptre Kingdom.
At the head of the group, there was one person with a different appearance. She wore a pure white cloak and held a magnificent staff in her hand. A girl with blonde hair was standing with a smile on her face.
Hasr: My country’s going through the worst second wave of the virus rn as well as a shortage of vaccines welp… hope y’all are safe wherever you are!
Long ago, in the distant past before the birth of man, demons lived in this world. Those we would now call gods were simply strong beings then, both good and evil, who had roamed every corner of the world. At times, they got along, and at times, they had sparred. And then, the earth and the seas were destroyed— or rather — they went through a rebirth. Millions of years passed, and now we have arrived at the present day.
As the years had passed by, many kinds of creatures appeared throughout the land. The stronger ones asserted their territories and began to protect the weaker ones dwelling on their lands. Then the most intelligent of these weak creatures, the humans, began to worship the strong. And at some point in time, these strong beings began to be known as gods.
As more time went by, humans only grew wiser and spread even further across the world. They then learnt of the many other gods that lived here and there. And so, they named the gods that protected them. The god that watched over this land, who was warm like the sun— came to be known as Soleil. The Kingdom of Soleil came to exist around five thousand years ago.
It was only a thousand years ago that the evil god appeared in the kingdom and fought with the god Soleil, who protected it. Was the evil god suddenly born from the demonic essence of that time, or had they been around for a much longer time? Or perhaps they had drifted in from afar? There were no records left on the evil god, so nobody knew.
Although both gods, Soleil and the evil god, had fallen after their battle, they did not cease to exist. Rather, they simply went into slumber, and every few decades the evil god would come back and try to destroy the Kingdom. Each time, humans battled him and somehow managed to weaken and seal him time and again. All the while, they prayed that their beloved god Soleil would be resurrected someday.
Whether they were born from the demonic essence or demon clearing, the demons’ attributes also varied, just like with humans’. There existed spirits with the dark attribute born from the demon clearing. However, the evil god sealed in the Soleil Kingdom also had the dark attribute. As a result, those humans with the dark attribute were eventually persecuted over time. It was believed that those with the same attribute as the evil god must be his brethren. That those with the dark attribute were evil and plotted to destroy the kingdom, just like the evil god.
This was the reality, the reason why we with the dark attribute had continued to be persecuted for centuries, and was something that had never been detailed in the game.
“……Hn, …Zagan…? ”
“My bad, Luca. I woke you up.”
The sun had yet to rise. As I decided to step out from under the covers, Luca, who had his arm wrapped around my waist, raised his head drowsily. He looked around the dim tent till his gaze finally landed on me.
“It’s not yet dawn. …Are you perhaps leaving already? ”
“Yeah, that’s the plan.”
I wanted to wear my clothes for that, but Luca had his arms around my waist, as if to restrain me. I was rendered immobile, with my elbows resting on the bedroll. He was burying his face in my crotch, and when I tried squirming around in an attempt to escape, he buried his face in my butt instead, pressing against my cheeks. He seemed to have no intentions of letting me go.
“Mhm–… Zagan’s butt is soft and smooth.”
“…Didn’t you have your fill last night?”
“Yeah. Zagan’s insides felt wonderful. They squelched and tightened around me, and since they begged me to give more and more of my juices, I had no choice but to oblige and pour it all inside. …Ahh, just thinking about it makes me want to enter Zagan again.”
“Nobody begged you for anything, and don’t even think about it. Forget it right now.”
“Pfft. Because I let out a lot, some of the semen that couldn’t be absorbed is leaking out. Zagan’s bussy is as erotically stimulating as ever.”
“Ngh… Hey, don’t look!”
He gently spread apart my ass cheeks and before I knew it, a tiny light floated into existence. He shone the light on my spread cheeks and looked at my anus. As his warm breath brushed across it, I couldn’t help but shiver. Shit, this is embarrassing.
“Your trembling is cute. I’ll lick you lots next time. We’ll meet again at the guild again, won’t we? ”
“We will. We will, so hurry up and let go of me already!”
When I lightly patted his arm, he finally let go of his arms. I got up and drank a potion before getting dressed, as my waist felt sore from being held so much last night.
As I was getting ready, Luca too began to get dressed, perhaps because he was awake. His cheeks would slacken whenever he occasionally glanced at my stomach. Perhaps it was because he could feel his mana from inside of it.
The first time Luca penetrated me, back when I didn’t have any of his mana in me, I had felt a tremendous pleasure when he came inside. Since then, Luca has cum inside me multiple times, and his mana has gradually spread throughout my body. Now that I have gotten used to it, the sensation has transformed into a slowly creeping thrill. After having an overflowing amount of his semen poured into me, and with the absence of his huge penis, I only felt a comfortable warmth from Luca’s mana.
With him having poured so much of his love juice inside me, perhaps I wouldn’t need to chug MP Potions while riding my bike.
When I stepped out, I saw that the sky in the east was faintly glowing. Luca and I walked a short distance away from our resting spot.
“Don’t do such dangerous things again. When you left for the forest then, you hadn’t met me yet, so it couldn’t be helped. But from now on, I’ll be by your side. That’s why you don’t have to do everything by yourself. If you try doing such things by yourself again…I’ll have to punish you.”
“What do you mean, punish? …Well, I shall engrave your words in my bones.”
I felt speechless, but since his gaze towards me seemed serious, I nodded in any case.
I took out my bike from the magic bag and poured mana into the handle as I gripped it. While I was doing this, I was suddenly hugged. It was tight to the point of hurting. Then, Luca buried his face in my collar.
“This time, I’ll definitely—……”
He said something, but I couldn’t hear most of it over his breath.
“Luca? What happened? ”
“…It’s nothing. Take care, Zagan.”
Although I was a bit curious, Luca seemed the same as always when he raised his head, so I didn’t ask any further.
Hasr: Unfortunately, no snu snu here… But we got some cute moments next chapter!
The departure ceremony for the expedition had finally begun. The participants were gathered in front of the royal castle, and after receiving words of gratitude from the king, they listened to a speech from Julius, the crown prince in charge of leading them. The contents of his speech were nearly identical as what had been said at the dinner party. When he was finished speaking, they departed.
The whole affair was similar to a parade-like procession from the castle to the main gates of the capital. All around them, citizens were cheering for the prince and the saint, but when they saw Seiichirou, their cries died down to a murmur. He paid them no mind and stared back into the crowd with what he knew were the eyes of a dead fish,1 a look he had been perfecting since entering the workforce as a corporate slave.
To begin with, he had looked like this right from the moment they left the royal plaza.
With most of the general pomp and circumstance of the departure ceremony done, it was now time for the expedition to actually depart.
The prince and the saint were traveling in a luxurious carriage, outfitted with all the comforts expected for someone with a royal title, while most of the court mages and middle management civil servants were riding in carriages that were less grand, their amenities somewhere in the middle. It was the ordinary servants, cooks, and medical officers who made up this group of civil officials, rather than the prince and the saint, that were traveling in these. But still, even saying that about their transport, there was a distinct difference between these well-maintained carriages they were taking and the more uncomfortable ones that the common folk rode in with wheels that were not always even and cabins that jolted passengers at every dip in the road. All the knights rode on horses of their own.
Seiichirou, too, was technically a part of middle management, but as he headed towards one of the designated carriages, someone called out to him from behind.
“Seiichirou, come here,” the voice commanded.
“Excuse me?” Seiichirou turned around to look at the person who had addressed him.
It was the handsome captain of the Third Knight Order, the very same person that had left from Seiichirou’s room earlier that morning at the exact time the royal accountant went off to work and caused an unprecedented stir in his surroundings, who was calling out to Seiichirou with an unconcerned look on his face.
As if impatient with Seiichirou’s lack of movement, Aresh kicked at the cobblestones with his boot before reaching out to grab the sleeve of Seiichirou’s brand-new outfit. It was the one that he himself had suggested Seiichirou put on when they were getting dressed in the morning. Although Seiichirou had prepared some of his own clothes for the expedition, Aresh had seen them yesterday and given the royal official a raging reprimand before he replaced them. With a solid grip on the official’s arm, he returned to his horse.
“Ah, Aresh? That civil official… Are you going to make the deputy director of the accounting department ride on a horse?” Orzif asked reservedly amidst the dumbfounded onlookers. He was the man closest to Aresh both in terms of position and acquaintance, yet Aresh did not deign to answer him, only nodded as casually and stone-faced as ever in reply.
“This man has no resistance to mana and will die if a constant eye is not kept on him. I’ll take care of him.”
“Uh, ah, but in that case, wouldn’t it be better for him to travel in the same carriage as the medical officers?”
“No, it wouldn’t,” Aresh replied flatly. “This man has many other troublesome characteristics they could barely even begin to understand. The only person who can manage his condition is me, the one who’s been doing it all along. The reason why we’re taking him on this expedition in the first place is because of the direct orders from the crown prince. I can’t let him die along the way. That’s why I’ll take care of him.”
It was a lengthy explanation that did not make much sense to Seiichirou. Had Aresh not spent time yesterday carefully reinforcing a protective magical barrier meant to last throughout the length of the expedition? I thought he did that because we couldn’t be by one another’s side most of the time,Seiichirou thought to himself.
In addition, he still had things left to discuss with the court mages, starting with East, but most importantly of all, Seiichirou had never ridden on a horse before. He had heard that riding horseback could be very hard on the body2 if one was not used to it. Traveling this way for a six day round trip would be impossible for someone like him.
“Captain Indrak, with all due respect, I’ve never ridden a horse before. And as you know, my body is too weak to withstand such a long and arduous journey that way.”
The corners of Aresh’s eyes twitched unhappily when referred to by his family name and title, but Seiichirou hoped the knight would not mind as they were very obviously in public.
“That’s not a problem… We’ll proceed only after taking the time necessary for recovery into consideration.”
In other words, the plan was to stick close enough to him and familiarise Seiichirou with mana all while applying the protective barrier and recovery magic as needed during their travels each day.
Although Seiichirou felt that Aresh’s actions had gotten a little out of hand over the past few days, he did not know if the Forest of Magic was so dangerous that it warranted constant round the clock contact.
As he was torn between preserving either his safety or his dignity, Aresh interrupted him by taking out a fistful of papers. It was almost as if he had prepared them beforehand as a distraction.
“Here are the detailed statements of the expedition costs for the Second and Third Knight Orders. You can read it as we ride,” he said matter of factly while handing them off to Seiichirou.4
“I’ll be in your care,” was all the official said before joining the knight.
Once seated, Seiichirou realised that riding on top of a horse was much higher up than he had ever imagined, and the unstable foothold from the shared saddle filled him with an alarming sense of dread. But for Aresh, who was seated behind him, it seemed like nothing. The knight kept his chest flush to Seiichirou’s back and surrounded the outside of his legs, their thighs pressed tightly together, to help fix his body in place.
“I’m sorry for asking this so late, but is it really all right for two grown men to ride a horse together?” Seiichirou questioned while looking down at the animal they were mounted on. He suddenly felt sorry for the horse, whose beautiful mane was just as black as Aresh’s uniform. Having heard him, Aresh answered in a low and enticing voice from behind.
“It’s not a problem. Even if I was kitted in armour from head to toe and had a longsword, Diana would still be faster than any other horse on the field.”
So, the horse’s name was Diana.5 That must mean it was a mare.
Despite what Aresh had said before, Seiichirou still believed that the poor animal’s fatigue would build up no matter what the knight believed, but perhaps that, too, could be solved by Mr. Aristocratic Knight’s all powerful recovery magic.
“I want to try riding on a horse, too!” a high-pitched, girlish voice rang out.
“Your Holiness, you should spend your time in the safety of your carriage,” the firm voice of her guard instructed as they ushered her up the steps and into the plush cabin.
It would appear that when Yua saw Seiichirou riding in tandem with Aresh, his arm wrapped intimately around the official’s lower waist, she had raised her voice loud enough for all those around to take notice and stare.
And just like that, Seiichirou was publicly humiliated as he passed through the main gates of the city.
After they had left the city’s gates far behind, Seiichirou was finally given permission to read the documents he had been given earlier. It did not take him long to start flipping through and reviewing all of the pages one by one.
Even the occasional jerky motions of the horse trotting along did not seem to bother him as long as he concentrated on the documents before him.
“Was this statement prepared by the clerical staff of the Knight Orders?” he asked off-handedly, without looking up.
“No, I prepared it,” was the answer he received.
“What’s with that reaction? Is it lacking in some place?”
Far from lacking, the paperwork in question had been thoughtfully arranged and was easy to follow.
Had this really been written by Aresh, the same man who never wanted anything to do with such small odd jobs?
Once again, Seiichirou was convinced of the man’s natural genius, which appeared to extend beyond just the use of magic and sword. What else could he call it if Aresh could do this, too, even after managing to save Seiichirou’s life multiple times?
“What is it? If you have something to say to me, say it,” the knight spoke closely to Seiichirou’s ear. The warm breaths ghosting along the skin there made him feel more uneasy rather than displeased. Still, Seiichirou tried to ignore it and replied,
“No, it’s very well-written and quite easy to read. But what do you mean by this supplementation equipment repair cost?”
“Ahh, that is…” the knight trailed off in another lengthy explanation.
At any rate, Seiichirou was grateful that his work had now been made even a little bit easier by someone else.
He did his best to regain composure and followed along with the knight commander’s description of the expense. As he listened, Seiichirou reminded himself that being with Aresh, someone who was able to produce such high quality documentation all while still managing his other work, was a rare chance to learn more about the accounting procedures of the Knight Orders.
The town they arrived at on the first day was much smaller than the royal capital, but it was gorgeous and mainly built from red brick.
They had arrived shortly before dusk, starting with Prince Julius, Yua, and their attendants. Aresh and all the civil officers followed shortly after. Due to his position, Seiichirou was invited into the mansion by the lord who governed the town, and the rest of the knights and civil officials went off in search of their lodgings elsewhere.
Only when he was finally alone, did Seiichirou slowly begin to stretch out his stiff limbs.
Although Aresh had kept his promise to support him and help him recover from the many long hours spent riding, the experience had still been hard on his body. To be more specific, it was his groin and pelvis that were sore.
I’m definitely going to end up feeling this tomorrow, he thought to himself as he stretched out his legs.
While he dreaded riding on Aresh’s horse the next day, what really terrified Seiichirou most was the delayed muscle pain6 that he knew would kick in sooner rather than later. Then again, Seiichirou was already at an age where he felt a certain amount of acceptance to face the anticipated pains of the next day. It felt… almost normal this way.
“Well, then…” he sighed in resignation. There was still work to do. Somehow managing to move his stiff lower body, Seiichiro wandered out of the room that he had been given.
Earlier, he had asked the civil officials with no post to ask around town and gather information about the damage caused by the miasma. Thinking they would be reluctant to accept his orders, Seiichirou had prepared a number of logical arguments to get them to do what was needed. However, it seemed that his little public display with Aresh in the morning was more than enough to get them to all agree without question.
What he did not notice was how many of the civil servants were secretly taken aback by his own behavior as they watched him work from horseback while on the move.
Regardless of all that had transpired earlier in the day, Seiichirou’s aim now was to locate a different room on the same floor with a specific purpose.
When he found it, he quietly tapped on the door. There was no response. He had seen the person he was seeking enter the room earlier, so he knew they had to be in there. He knocked again, louder this time. Finally, someone answered.
“Uh, excuse me?” a listless voice said as they opened the door.
Tiredly, Seiichirou smiled at East, the deputy director of the Court’s Magic Department.
While it was a bit more difficult than Seiichirou had expected to hold a conversation with East, his nature truly was fundamentally honest and earnest. This type of personality was common amongst those who had managed to turn their passion into a profession.
His work was done sooner than anticipated, and Seiichirou left East’s room before preparing to head to the spot where he would meet up with the civil officials he had sent out to acquire more information from the streets.
As he walked, he made note of the mansion’s interior and how it was both colourful and brilliant yet not over the top, much like the quaint little town in which it resided.
Some time ago, he had read in a book that this territory contained a profitable coal mine and was renowned for the high quality of its jewellery. Knowing that, the decorative natural beauty of this place made more sense.
Since he still had some time before the designated meetup with the other civil officials, Seiichirou decided it would be a good idea to do some exploring around town outside. If he didn’t return in time for dinner in the evening, he was certain Aresh would have a lot to say to him.
He was still lost in his thoughts when the voice called out to him, so his reflexes were a tad slow to react. When he turned around to look at the source, he saw Yua, whom he hadn’t talked to in a while, standing under the lights on the floor below. She was waving her hand at him with a bright smile on her face.
Seiichirou sighed in resignation again. Nothing was going according to plan lately.
Hasr: Here’s a thank you from Whistle to everyone who supported us through Kofi and Patreon and made sure Whistle isn’t homeless anymore! You can continue supporting us broke TLs over on Patreon and get some nice and spicy AreSei action~
Chapter 45: The Sage Starts a War with a New Country
“My Lord, I have something to report.”
Grom, who appeared in the audience hall, spoke while bowing deeply. He had a nervous look on his face. It seemed to be bad news.
I crossed my legs while seated on the throne.
“What is it?”
“The Holy Sceptre Kingdom has declared war on us.”
Grom’s words were met with a clerical response from me. I was hardly surprised. It had been more than thirty days since we finished our war with the Empire. I knew this would happen sooner or later.
The Holy Sceptre Kingdom is a country located to the east of the Demon Lord’s domain, beyond a deep forest and a ravine. The country’s name was enough to prove they were well versed in holy magic, and they are said to be deeply religious people.
They abhor the undead to an excessive degree. After all, miasma is the opposite of holy power. Whenever an undead is defeated in a heroic tale, it was almost always vanquished by someone from the Holy Sceptre Kingdom. In fact, it is said that there are many excellent users of holy magic in the country.
When it comes to fighting undead, the Holy Sceptre Kingdom is unrivaled among the other countries. Naturally, it was a country synonymous with killing undead.
There was no way that the Holy Sceptre Kingdom would leave an Undead Demon Lord alone. They would want to destroy me at all costs. I knew they would make a move sooner or later.
If you ask me why I’ve ignored them until now, it’s probably because of the Holy Sceptre Kingdom’s other obsession. They value the current status of the Holy Sceptre Kingdom even more than fighting the undead. In other words, pride, respect, and honour. The Holy Sceptre Kingdom values these attributes, and is always thinking about how other countries see them. I remember they were often ridiculed as a pretentious country.
If they moved rashly, it would affect the Holy Sceptre Kingdom’s reputation. That’s probably why they were looking for a reason to invade. Now that the empire had been destroyed, they decided that it was time for them to act. They must have made the declaration of war in order to let their prestige and legitimacy be known to the other countries.
“We will destroy the Lord of the Undead, who seeks to cover the continent in darkness. What an infuriating declaration.”
“At face value, it’s true. They’re not wrong.”
“I’m sure they are, but…”
Grom grunted in frustration. I’m sure it’s ridiculous from his standpoint. For Grom, who knows and agrees with my true purpose as the Demon Lord, the Holy Sceptre Kingdom’s announcement must be offensive.
Nevertheless, this was not a bad precedent. The fact that the Holy Sceptre Kingdom had declared war meant that they had recognized the Demon Lord as an enemy. It was a development that matched my objective of becoming the enemy of the world.
“Then, what shall we do now? Should that archer and I go against them, like we did when invading the empire?”
“Hmm, I wonder…”
As I scrached my chin and pondered, the door opened. It was Luciana, who entered the room with a document in her hand. She said to me.
“We have a problem. It seems that the army of the Holy Sceptre Kingdom has already started to invade the Demon Lord’s domain. According to my spies, there’s been quite a bit of damage.”
According to Luciana, the armies of the Holy Sceptre Kingdom had already begun their invasion from the southeast. They were crossing the Demon Lord’s territory and indiscriminately killing humans. The Holy Sceptre Kingdom claimed that they were “giving salvation to the people of darkness who had fallen into the hands of the Demon Lord.”
Grom, who was listening to the conversation beside her, asked Luciana with an irritated look.
“Succubus. Are you sure about this information?”
“Of course I am. Do you think I’m lying here?”
“I’m asking if the spy’s story has no mistakes.”
Luciana stepped forward to counter Grom’s words. She poked Grom in the chest with her fingertip.
“Trust me on this. I’ll tell you about it in detail. By the way, why is the Bone Minister here?”
“I’ve come with information that the Holy Sceptre Kingdom has declared war on our Demon Lord.”
“They invaded as soon as they declared war? As expected of those humans.”
Lucina mocked in a resigned tone. You could see the disdain for humankind in her face. The usually joyous gaze on her face too, had vanished completely.
The Holy Sceptre Kingdom was far more merciless than I thought. I’m not sure how far they intended to invade, but they seem to be seriously attacking the Demon Lord’s territory. In addition, in their minds, the people who obey me are also targets to purge.
“What should we do about the Holy Sceptre Kingdom’s army? It’s a human city that’s being attacked, should we wait and watch for now?”
“No, we will face them. You can’t do whatever you want in the Demon Lord’s territory and expect us to stay silent.”
I answered immediately. If they were left unchecked, it would only cause more damage. The human city is part of the Demon Lord’s territory. As long as they obeyed me, they belonged to me. I can’t let anyone threaten them as they wished.
“When will the army leave?”
“As soon as they’re ready. I shall proceed with the organization of troops immediately.”
When Luciana heard my instructions, she let out an exaggerated sigh. There was a wry smile on her lips.
“The Demon Lord is too kind. You’d make a good king, wouldn’t you?”
“Enough with the jokes. Go quickly. Grom, too.”
When I urged them to leave, they obediently did so. Left alone, I rested my back against the throne. My thoughts were still on the matter of the Holy Sceptre Kingdom.
For me, it’s a fated fight…
Ten years ago, she and I were repeatedly hindered by the Holy Sceptre Kingdom. They did not wish to allow anyone who was not among their own citizens to defeat the Demon Lord. Although the situation back then was different from now, both acts were probably done to maintain their pride and dignity. There were several times in the past when I almost lost my life.
While repeatedly harassing us in a despicable manner, the Holy Sceptre Kingdom did not contribute any capable people to the fight. This was because the few heroes the Holy Scepter Kingdom possessed had died in battles against the demon race. At that time, the Holy Sceptre Kingdom did not have enough power to fight against the Demon Lord.
In the end, we were able to overcome their numerous sabotage attempts and defeated the Demon Lord after a fierce battle. After that, we had no more contact with the Holy Sceptre Kingdom, and were soon executed.
Even after ten years, and having abandoned the human race, I still don’t have a good impression of that country. They are arrogant to a fault, and only care about themselves. In a way, they could be considered as being cast from the same mould as the empire. Although their goals differed, neither could be said to be a cooperative country.
It is not that I wanted to settle a grudge with them, but I do want them to suffer a bitter loss. I will not destroy them this time. I will only encourage them to join hands with other countries, without their petty obsessions.
The power of the Holy Sceptre Kingdom will be useful to mankind in the future. They will definitely be humankind’s hope in dealing with the Undead Demon Lord. I will make use of their pride to force them to cooperate.
Not long after that, an army was formed to fight the Holy Sceptre Kingdom. Henry, who was unaffected by the purifying effects of holy magic, and Grom, who could control the undead, became generals, while Luciana, Doldar, and I stood by.
The two of them will lead a mixed army of demons, undead, and elves to attack. Since our opponent uses holy magic, I gave the undead reinforcement magic as well. With this, the main weakness of the undead had been improved. They are now a force that could defeat most armies.
I intend to transfer my intercepting army to the Holy Sceptre Kingdom’s location. When the battle is over, Grom will send me a telepathic signal. From my experience so far, it should be over by nightfall.
—Thus, after a brief respite, the Demon Lord’s army began to fight against a new country.
Hasr: I think I’ve lost my ability to talk to actual people with my time as a hikikomori