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Chapter 17: The Sage Opposes the New Hero
“A Hero, huh…”
I muttered to myself.
The word carried weight.
I knew I would hear it one day, but it was earlier than I expected.
Seems like we might be connected by some strange force after all.
Or maybe it was the way of being a Demon Lord that drew the Heroes to them.
Or perhaps, both were true to some extent.
Grom was stiff, his face hanging low.
It was due to extreme tension.
I could see why he had hesitated.
It was out of consideration for me.
He wasn’t sure if he should tell me this news.
He would go to any extent to act with me in mind.
I was honestly thankful for his kindness.
I sat back down on the couch and told Grom,
“Tell me the details.”
“Yes, sir! The truth is…”
Grom, who raised his face, described the situation in detail.
According to him, it seems that the Hero appeared in the frontier of the kingdom.
It was a small territory that still hadn’t submitted to the Demon Lord’s army and was continuing to resist.
It is said that a soldier there suddenly awakened.
That young man, with a holy light wrapped around his sword, destroyed the undead I had dispatched in a blink of an eye.
Only a few of them, including Grom, somehow managed to return and were now here.
It was very unlikely that an individual would be able to wipe out the undead of the Demon Lord’s army.
His strength could not be explained away by the presence of an excellent mage.
In addition, he was fighting with holy light and a sword as his weapon.
He was truly worthy of the name of a Hero.
However, even if he were a Hero, all the same, he had nothing to do with her.
There was no doubt that he was simply called that because he was the wielder of the holy sword.
In the first place, the name “Hero” itself did not refer only to her.
It was used as if it was synonymous with her, because she had accomplished the feat of subjugating the Demon Lord.
“I’m truly sorry. I let the Demon Lord’s precious subordinates…”
Grom apologized, banging his forehead on the floor with great force.
I stopped him with my hand.
“Don’t worry about it. If you’re dealing with a Hero, you don’t have much of a choice.”
A Hero with holy power, and the undead who love the miasma, are a bad match in battle.
It’s no wonder they were defeated.
In fact, I wanted to praise them for returning safely and reporting back to me.
The number of undead that had been damaged seemed to be enormous, but considering the number that remained, the damage was insignificant.
It was only on a scale that could easily be compensated for on other battlefields.
Grom seemed to be oddly dissatisfied.
He asked, reservedly,
“Um… aren’t you shocked? The Demon Lord was originally…”
“He was a Sage who fought alongside the Hero. Is that what you want to say?”
Grom was silent.
Looks like I had hit the nail on its head.
It seemed that it had been really difficult for him to say it.
It wasn’t as if I didn’t understand his feelings either.
Grom knew the story behind how I became like this.
He also understood that the existence of the Hero held a special place in my heart.
That was why he was apprehensive of a Hero having appeared in the enemy army.
I coaxed Grom, who was at a loss for words.
“Nothing about it shocked me. It’s just that a Hero has been born in this generation as well.”
“In this generation, huh…”
I nodded at Grom’s words.
I quickly continued.
“Apparently the world does not allow evil to proliferate. When a threat such as the Demon Lord is born, it places beings in place to counter it. That was the previous generation’s Hero and me.”
There is an enforcer of justice in every era.
This could be described as fate.
They overcome many trials and tribulations, finally defeating evil.
This happens as if it were a matter of course.
Throughout history, such events have been repeated.
The details differed, but the general flow was the same.
The evil that had exhausted all limits of inhumanity would be exterminated by a force of justice that possessed an absurd amount of power.
And because of this the people enjoyed a brief moment of peace.
It was a type of heroic tale.
Perhaps Henry was also chosen to be an enforcer of justice.
It is possible that the original course of events was for the three of us, including him, to take on the Demon Lord.
In fact, there was surely a future that would follow such a trend.
“We were guided by the world to defeat the Demon Lord and successfully restore peace. But that was just the beginning of an inevitable tragedy.”
Revenge was accomplished after ten years.
And, a war of aggression to achieve true world peace.
It must no doubt be a nightmare for the people.
This had happened just after the death of the previous Demon Lord and peace had finally come.
What they sought was a gray peace.
They wanted a compromise in a cruel world and live a life that was neither the best nor the worst.
They would lament the occasion misfortune and tragedy that befell them, and die, tormented by their powerlessness.
“I, who once saved the world, have become the Demon Lord of the new era. The Heroes of this generation have probably been awakened to counter this. The will of the world seems to want to kill me somehow.”
Grom let out a sorrowful voice.
Even though his expression didn’t change because he was all bones, I could clearly feel his inner thoughts.
So I affirmed to him to reassure him.
“Of course, I don’t intend to be quietly done in. I have a purpose. A purpose I want to achieve, even if that means going against the world.”
I looked at the flames in Grom’s eye sockets.
The flickering, burning flames waited for the words to follow.
“I will dispose of the new Hero. If we leave them as is, they will gain even more power. I will defeat them before it gets out of hand.”
”Will the Demon Lord personally go to him? I can take care of it myself, if you give me the command.”
Grom suggested quietly.
He was not asking for credit.
It’s probably out of concern for me.
He must have judged that the hero was not a worthy opponent for me.
It was true that with Grom’s fighting ability, even if he was alone, he could stand ground against the Hero.
Gradually amplifying his power, he was already strong enough to overrun multiple armies.
Luciana and Henry were also there.
If they worked together, there’s no need for me, the Demon Lord, to head there.
However, I shook my head.
”I’ll fight them. My opponent is the chosen hero of the era. I better use all my strength. You don’t know what miracles could happen.”
A Hero grows with adversity.
In other words, they were existences loved by fate.
I’ve seen it up close and personal when I was alive.
When it comes to Heroes, I know better than anyone what they are.
I was confident that I could subvert the miracles of the Hero.
I’ll destroy him quickly without giving him any room for catching up.
The Demon Lord of this generation will never die.
The tale of good and evil was already stale.
”I’ll entrust you to cover me in the confrontation with the Hero. At that time, I will leave it to you.”
When I told him this, Grom stood up and saluted.
“Yes, sir! Leave it to me, I’ll surely show my usefulness to the Demon Lord!”
“Yeah, I’m looking forward to it.”
I got up from the couch and walked to the entrance of the room.
When I touched the door, I added another note to Grom.
‘Tell Luciana and Henry, too. We’ll be on our way to raid by nightfall.”
“Yes! As you command!”
Grom responded in a serious manner.
The hesitation and conflict had disappeared from his appearance.
As a loyal vassal of the Demon Lord, he was trying to fulfill the role he needed to do.
I didn’t have to worry about it anymore.
After checking on Grom, I opened the door and left the room.