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Chapter138: The Sage Negotiates with a Herald
In the closed, dimly lit room, there was a man tied up in a chair.
He had short hair, but most of his face was covered by an iron plate.
He had lost one of his eyes; a white jewel fitted inside as a replacement instead of an eyeball.
The man was missing his limbs as well.
It wasn’t just his face that was made out of metal, but also more than a half of his body as well.
Anyone with magical knowledge would be able to tell that he was a golem.
This man was the Steel Knight.
The origin of his moniker came from his metal-mixed figure without the armor.
The Steel Knight slowly raised his head.
As he noticed my presence in the darkness, he became greatly alarmed.
I called out to him without minding that.
“It seems you’ve awakened.”
“I see… so I was caught.”
The Steel Knight said so in a faint voice.
He seemed quite calm despite understanding his current situation.
Perhaps he was already expecting this to happen before he’d lost consciousness.
I was grateful since I could save the trouble needed to calm him down.
The Steel Knight moved gently.
He couldn’t do anything since he’d lost all his appendages.
In addition, I had removed all of the weapons built inside him, including the self-destruction device.
Inside the body of the Steel Knight, only the bare minimum functions were left untouched.
He was in a state where he was barely alive at the moment.
Regarding the parts that were removed, I was sure the director was having fun dismantling it.
I immediately cut to the chase.
“Sorry to do this while you’re in a downed state, but I want you to provide me with some intelligence.”
“Do you think I’ll obediently follow your request? I am not foolish enough to spill information for the Demon Lord.”
The Steel Knight responded resolutely.
It was a natural reaction, we were enemies after all.
There was no way he would easily spit out confidential information about his nation.
Rather, if I could actually get it out so easily, it would instead make the information unreliable.
Therefore, I threw in additional threats.
“If you continue to be stubborn, your nation will be destroyed.”
“I don’t care. I was just hired for money. I had no such loyalty to the nation to begin with.”
As expected, the Steel Knight answered immediately.
His words weren’t a lie.
He truly believed so.
I heard that the Steel Knight was originally a mercenary.
Thanks to his achievements in battle, he was promoted to a knight affiliated to the nation.
Even with the information I had beforehand, he lacked the impression of being loyal.
Such a response was within my expectations.
Therefore, I used words that would shake with him.
“However, you must still love your family.”
The Steel Knight gave me a sharp look.
It was a polished, killing intent.
With that glare alone, people of weak wills might have collapsed.
I continued to speak.
“There is a village located in the cold, northern regions of the Magic Kingdom. A parent and child live there, a blonde mother and daughter.”
The Steel Knight was quiet.
Although he was pretending to be calm, I could see the impatience and fear in his eyes.
He understood that his family was at risk.
It was the sole, absolute weakness that the herald known as the Steel Knight possessed.
“Based on your attitude, I can’t promise their safety.”
“…How did you find out?”
“The information network of the Demon Lord’s Army is wide. Don’t underestimate us.”
The spies under Luciana were a group of capable people.
Confidential information like Steel Knight’s family was revealed easily.
This fact was unknown to the general public.
Even so, if they seriously investigated it, one could find out such a thing.
“With just a single command of mine, I could rob them of their lives. Even from here. I don’t think it would be a desirable turn of events for you.”
“—You scummy immortal. Doesn’t your conscience hurt from killing innocent people?!”
“War is always ruthless. As for the pain, I already lost my conscience ages ago.”
I coldly replied to the Steel Knight’s rage.
Regarding the essence of war, he should be more familiar with it than me.
There was no need for me to preach to him about it.
However, the Steel Knight couldn’t help but denounce my words anyway.
That was how much anger and hatred he felt about it.
“I am not a patient person. Before I get bored, you better cough it out quickly. Depending on the outcome, I could even ensure they live.”
“Don’t lie. There’s no way you would do that. You are a devious, immortal Demon Lord after all.”
“If you don’t believe me, I’ll show you proof.”
I put my hand on Steel Knight’s shoulder and activated transference magic.
Immediately, our surroundings suddenly became bright.
We flew high above in the sky under the blinding sunlight.
I made use of a force field as a floor to maintain our altitude.
Right below us was the cityscape of the capital.
The Steel Knight was stunned as he looked down and muttered.
“It’s the capital of the Demon Lord’s Territory. I already reigned this land for over a year.”
I answered the Steel Knight’s mumbled question.
Looking at it, it sure has developed a lot.
It had been initially decimated by me, reduced to ruins with only the undead roaming about.
Then people naturally congregated once more, and eventually it achieved its regrowth.
As we looked down at it, I gave a proposal to the Steel Knight.
“Regarding your wife and daughter, I will allow them to live here. There is no shortage of jobs, and they can live a rich life without much trouble. Of course, it’s all depending on your cooperation.”
I cut my words there and watched his reaction.
The Steel Knight trembled as he looked down.
Sweat ran down his nape.
I was sure a fierce conflict was currently running through his mind.
He couldn’t come to a decision and his heart was clearly shaken.
After a long silence, the Steel Knight asked me in a desperate tone.
“…Is it really true? Will you really help my wife and daughter?”
“Please believe me.”
I nodded deeply.
Then, the expression of the Steel Knight changed.
He exhaled and lost his strength.
Then he answered with a groan.
“…Alright. I’ll tell you everything I know. That’s why-”
“I will ensure your wife and daughter live.”
I declared that before he finished his sentence.
I absolutely intended to keep my promise.
This herald was going to abandon everything to protect his family.
I wasn’t vile enough to tarnish his dignity.
As I was sending my instructions to the spy using telepathy, the Steel Knight watched me.
I couldn’t feel hatred in his gaze anymore.
Even so, it was certainly weird .
It didn’t feel like he was staring at me for no reason though.
As I was curious about it, I asked about what he was silently trying to convey.
“What is it?”
“I can see the anguish in your heart. I guess the immortal Demon Lord still has emotions.”
It seemed that I was seen through.
I couldn’t deny his words.
I was always in distress.
While I had already decided what to do, I sometimes asked myself whether this was the correct choice.
However, it was nothing new.
It wasn’t something that would hurt just because it was pointed out.
I was well aware that I was foolish and had a personality that made decision-making difficult.
“Well, that’s fine, but…”
The Steel Knight muttered as he looked down at the capital once again.
As we felt the breeze brush by, he told me.
“If my family’s safety can be guaranteed, I have no regrets. I can finally put an end to my life.”
His face was surprisingly relaxed.
It was the expression of a person who finally accomplished their mission in life.
“Demon Lord, I shall await you in the afterlife.”
“I won’t perish for all eternity.”
“I see. In that case, I will pray that we don’t have to meet again.”
The Steel Knight put a smile on his metal-fused face.
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