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Chapter 20: The Sage Crushes the Will of the Hero
I landed beside the Hero, and without pausing, I attacked with magic.
It was ten consecutive shots of the miasma spears.
The Hero maneuvered the holy sword in all directions.
He severed the spears, making the miasma disperse.
Thus, he successfully defended, without getting injured even once.
I silently observed his figure and movements.
His swordsmanship was refined.
Considering his age, his skills were in the realm of a genius.
If he continued to study for another five years or so, he would no doubt become a great swordsman. However, it was an unlikely future.
His life ends tonight.
The sword he was using was just an ordinary magical weapon.
Holy light seemed to have been bestowed upon it.
It was probably an ability he acquired when he awakened as a Hero.
It has powerful strength for crushing evil. It specializes in killing the undead.
A fatal wound from that holy sword could damage my soul.
It might interfere with my resurrection.
He is an opponent that I cannot underestimate, even with my immortal powers.
His ability clearly showed that he was specifically chosen to kill the Demon Lord that was me.
The Hero looked at me with the holy sword in his arms.
It seemed as if he wanted to say something.
Based on his actions up to this point, I thought he was going to attack me without a word.
Eventually, the Hero opened his mouth uneasily.
“Why are you doing this…?”
Hearing the question the Hero had raised, I understood his state of mind, albeit vaguely.
He was not buying for time through conversation.
He wanted to know why I was slaughtering everything around me.
His doubts were perfectly natural.
I could have attacked him without answering, but since he had taken the trouble to ask, I decided to answer him.
I believed it was a necessary action for me as well.
I wanted to hear what the Hero of this generation had to say.
Once I lowered my sword, I answered the Hero’s question.
“It’s because I’m the Demon Lord.”
“My family died because of you. I was forced to kill my sister who had turned into a ghoul…!”
My actions had created countless tragedies within the kingdom.
The undead army had continued to attack human neighborhoods, and there were times when I myself used magic to eradicate them.
The casualties must be enormous.
I carried an irreparable number of sins.
I was well aware of that.
I had done this with the understanding that it would happen.
Therefore, I was unmoved by the accusations.
I was here, knowing all my evils.
The Hero was stunned to see me unconcerned.
Then, he let out a dry laugh.
“Hahaha, your heart doesn’t hurt. …As expected of the Demon Lord.”
The Hero suddenly cast his eyes downward.
When he looked up, his eyes were filled with an intense killing intent.
The brilliance of the holy sword increased.
The Hero pointed the tip of his sword at me.
“I am a Hero. I will defeat you in accordance with my fate.”
The Hero declared in a resolute manner.
It was a face that had thrown away the slightest hesitation.
His appearance made me feel nostalgic.
It made me feel as if I was looking at a reflection of my past self.
I reached for the keepsake sword.
I wrapped my fingers around the hilt and pulled it out in one go.
Taking the same stance as her, I confronted the Hero of the Holy Sword.
The silence continued as we kept our distance from each other.
A clamor could be heard from behind.
The humans in the fortress and the Demon Lord’s army must be engaged in battle.
I can’t divide my consciousness in that direction.
Just a momentary distraction would be fatal.
It was the Hero who made the first move.
He approached in the blink of an eye from a crouching position.
I sensed the activation of magical power.
He seemed to be using high-level physical enhancement.
I quickly deployed my magic.
Black ivy sprouted from the ground and wriggled to restrain the Hero.
The Hero took a small leap.
With minimal movement, he cut away the ivy.
He kicked off the ground and accelerated further.
The distance between us was instantly reduced as I entered the range for his holy sword.
He’s improving during the fight…
Compared to the first time we were first facing each other, his reaction speed had clearly increased.
He was a Hero, after all.
It was an irrational justice loved by the world.
But I cannot afford to be defeated.
If I perish here, the tragedy will repeat again.
The conflict between humans would intensify.
In a world without the Demon Lord, this Hero would also be overpowered.
The people who feel threatened by his great power would surely plan to get rid of him.
This was the end that I and that person I once followed met.
And even if that doesn’t happen, he would be used as a convenient weapon for senseless slaughter.
The holy sword would be wielded in a war against a hostile nation.
Either way, pools of blood would be spilled.
It will be done by the work of none other than humans.
Such a future was undesirable.
I wanted to change that somehow.
I don’t care even if it’s a distorted picture.
I wanted humans to join hands with each other, even if it meant becoming the world’s evil known as the Demon Lord.
You can’t talk about peace with just your ideals.
“It’s over, Demon Lord!”
The Hero released a slash with his holy sword.
It was a trajectory that cut across my body.
If I don’t do anything at this point, the holy sword will destroy the Demon Lord of this generation.
Of course, I won’t let that happen.
I focused my consciousness.
As I stared at the movement of the slashing Hero, I could grasp even the smallest details of his behavior.
At the same time, I intuitively understood how I should deal with it.
The swordsmanship of the previous Hero dwelling in my soul taught me.
I turned my wrist and moved it to meet the blade of the approaching holy sword.
Our swords clashed with each other.
Sparks flew along with a shrill sound.
The slash of the holy sword did not hit my body.
It was stopped by the keepsake sword at a hair’s breadth.
The shocked Hero tried to push through with force.
However, the holy sword did not budge any further.
The crossed swords only made a scraping sound.
I swung my sword and parried the holy sword.
Wary of pursuit, the Hero jumped backward.
There was a red line on his cheek.
A slight amount of blood seeped from it.
My blade had grazed him.
The Hero wiped his cheek with the back of his hand to check the bleeding.
He gasped with a wooden expression.
It carried a fear of the Demon Lord.
Even for a moment, he thought that he was no match for me.
He was reminded of his own death with it.
He realized that just because he was the Hero didn’t mean he would be absolutely victorious.
“You must be afraid. Don’t be ashamed. It’s an emotion we all have.”
I leisurely held the keepsake sword.
I raised my other hand above my head.
Hundreds of stakes of miasma emerged as the surrounding space shook.
Floating in the air, they surrounded the Hero from all directions.
All the pointed edges were aimed at him.
At this, even the Hero was speechless.
He frowned as he endured the pain.
If he gave in to despair, death awaited him.
Even if he knew that it was difficult to muster his heart.
The human mind was a fragile thing.
I myself was the same.
The reason I didn’t die along the way on the journey to defeat the Demon Lord was probably because she was next to me.
The Hero before me was alone.
There was no one to come to his aid.
Rather, in the fortress behind him, the soldiers would be waiting for the Hero to save them.
As the sun sank below the horizon, I told the Hero.
“—I am the Demon Lord. I will teach you true despair.”
Hasr’s Dumb Announcement Corner: Yes yes I know this chapter is long overdue and yadda yadda, but we got a new series on the site! Check out Tensei Saki de Suterareta no de, Mofumofu Tachi to Oryouri Shimasu Kuromaru’s TLing that one, so go support her and enjoy some mofumofu!
Also this is the last chappie Separatio edited for us. I need more editors for this series so if you’re confident with your englishing skills, head on over to Recruitment and try your luck!
Finally, I might maybe do another release today, fingers crossed I can pull it off. Okay there’s definitely another release in an hour or so and maybe even a third release that’ll conclude the arc.