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Chapter 108: The Sage Confronts the Previous Demon Lord
A foolish stutter leaked out of Baruch’s mouth.
He stare went back and forth between the spear that was piercing him and the Demon Lord.
Blood trickled down from his gaping mouth.
“Eh… no. This… why…”
Baruch finally understood his situation.
He was terribly confused, and began to speak meaningless words.
That was not an act.
Baruch was seriously panicking.
At that time, I heard a snorting sound.
It was something that had come out from the Demon Lord’s mouth.
“—Don’t make me laugh. You thought you could dominate this me?”
The Demon Lord said so with a low voice.
What was contained within those words was not anger.
It was disappointment.
On the other hand, Baruch made excuses as he spewed blood.
“De, Demon Lord-sama… this, is not what it looks like. No, actually—”
“Spare me your words. I wish not to hear them.”
The Demon Lord swung their spear.
Baruch was pulled away by the centrifugal force and was flung up in the air.
He fell far away.
There, he collapsed with his limbs wide open and a blood pool spread beneath him.
His limbs weakly twitched and it was unlikely that he would be able to get up.
The Demon Lord put their hand on their own chest.
They concentrated their magic power there, and dozens of black snakes emerged from their body.
The Demon Lord then squeezed them.
Those snakes evaporated while emitting white smoke.
The subordination spell that Baruch had inscribed was destroyed.
The Demon Lord lightly shook their burnt hands.
“Foolish one. Harbouring such naïve thoughts of binding me.”
The Demon Lord sighed and slowly turned towards me.
We exchanged gazes.
The scales and carapace that covered their head peeled off and collapsed.
What appeared from beneath that armor was the face of a gray skinned woman.
Her dark blue hair swayed in the breeze, and a pair of horns protruded from her forehead.
Her golden eyes revealed a mysterious glow.
The Previous Demon Lord was a woman from the dragonic race.
Her true face hadn’t changed at all since all those years ago.
“Apologies for the delay. With this, none shall disturb us.”
The Demon Lord lowered her spear with a faint smile.
She spread her hands in a friendly manner.
“Oh, sage. I didn’t expect to ever meet you again.”
“…I also thought the same.”
Everything was supposed to have ended ten years ago.
To prevent this from happening, I had made sure to obliterate her corpse, so that nobody could resurrect her.
This proved to be futile.
The situation I didn’t want to occur the most happened in the end.
The Demon Lord stared at me.
Then, she looked at the capital.
She used her perception magic to expand the range of her senses to its limits.
The Demon Lord was exploring the world.
She was trying to fill the knowledge of the ten blank years through the myriad of information she gained that way.
After grasping the situation, the Demon Lord gave me a gaze of pity.
“You did all you could to slay me and to bring about world peace, but it appears to have all been for nought.”
“…Had you already anticipated this back then?”
I instinctively asked her.
The Demon Lord spoke as if it was natural for such a situation to occur.
I could even sense care and kindness in such an attitude.
The Demon Lord nodded in response to my question.
“Of course. Humans have always been a foolish lot. They eventually meet their doom at the end of their mistakes.”
It was poetic irony.
This was how it looked from the Demon Lord’s perspective.
I couldn’t deny her words.
On the contrary, I agreed to such a viewpoint from the bottom of my heart.
I knew well how foolish a human could be.
I had experienced it firsthand.
The Demon Lord laughed bitterly.
Her sympathy was concealed beneath it.
“However, I didn’t expect you to end up as an immortal. The source of your power seems to be the Valley of the Dead, right? Seriously, what a taboo you have reached. Not even I wished to approach that place.”
“Even I didn’t jump in by my own will.”
The scene of that time flashed by in my mind.
It was a painful memory.
So much so that I could feel my non-existing heart beat.
The Demon Lord spun her spear several times and took a light stance.
It was still the same as the stance I remembered.
It was a transcendental spear technique that could overcome simultaneous attacks from all directions.
“Well then, that is quite the story you have, but the time for words has ended. Now, we shall fight.”
“As expected, it ended up like that…”
Baruch, who had planned the revenge, was dying, leaving only the Previous Demon Lord here.
I thought there would be no meaning to fighting, but it seemed she was quite motivated despite that.
The Demon Lord wielded her spear as she sighed.
Her golden pupils were looking at the void.
“This flesh of mine was made using the essences of the Hero and the Saint. They appealed for me to kill you.”
I was reminded of what Baruch had said.
The Demon Lord who stood before me had mixed essences of the Hero and the Saint of this generation.
That was what had made the resurrection possible.
While her personality was the same, she had become a completely different entity from what she once was.
“Well, setting my physical circumstances aside, I did have the desire to fight with you again. Isn’t it regrettable to just stay defeated? Just think of it as the obstinacy of the Previous Demon Lord.”
The Demon Lord revealed a violent smile.
She was much more aggressive than I had expected.
She had a strong desire to duel against me.
That feeling was not a lie.
“Previous… so you recognize me as the Demon Lord.”
“Hm? Is that so strange? You prevailed over me, and fared to dispatch the heroes of this era. There is nought to discredit you from declaring yourself the Demon Lord.”
The Demon Lord tilted her head.
She appeared confused like I had asked her something weird.
For her, I was undoubtedly the current Demon Lord.
So to speak, I was something that was similar to her junior.
It seemed that I had been recognized before I knew it.
“However, now that I have returned, I will not just let you do as you please. I shall emerge victorious and once again declare myself as the Demon Lord.”
The Demon Lord unleashed her sophisticated killing intent.
It was a stance without any openings.
Once I entered her reach, she would strike me heavily.
Her strike when she had pierced Baruch was merely akin to a warm up for her.
The Demon Lord looked at me again and smiled.
“…Fate sure is ironic. To think I would be the one to slaughter the next Demon Lord.”
“Are you dissatisfied about that?”
“Of course not. It wasn’t like I had any regrets, but I managed to see the world after I died. Then I was granted the chance to rectify mine sole defeat. There’s no way I could be dissatisfied.”
The Demon Lord took a few steps forward.
Then, her fighting spirit was sharpened to its limit.
She glanced next to me, and muttered dejectedly.
“If I have to name one, then it would be the fact that the hero is not here. Where did she… I suppose it would be boorish of me to ask. I understand without needing to ask about it. That is how humans have always been.”
The Demon Lord was aware of how that person had met her end.
Had she already predicted the end that awaited us in the future the moment we came to fight her to save the world?
…I’m sure she knew it back then.
It wasn’t something impossible considering how the Demon Lord’s personality was.
She must have faced us to fight the battle with the fate of the world on the line while understanding all that.
“It is a unique occurrence where two Demon Lords will duel each other. Let us enjoy this rare moment.”
As soon as the Demon Lord uttered such words, the atmosphere squeaked.
Everything around us felt like it was being squeezed tight.
The earth swayed, producing noise as it cracked.
“—Oh, Ex-Sage Demon Lord. I shall show you the power of your predecessor.”
Her carapace and scales shifted, covering her face once again.
It quickly turned into the shape of a helmet.
Right at that moment, her feet kicked the ground.
The Previous Demon Lord rushed with the spear in her hands.
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