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Chapter 268: The Sage Converses with the Hero
Her declaration came from the depths of her heart.
As I was aware of that smoldering emotion, I created another jet-black sword.
Then, I imbued it with magic power, making it minutely vibrate at high speeds.
I held the sword with dramatically increased destructive power.
I told her after a beat of hesitation.
“Our justice once failed. The world after the Demon Lord died was far from peace.”
As I rushed forward, I slashed at her first.
Although she blocked it with her amazing reflexes, I kept pushing on.
I kept repeating the attack with all my might to prevent her from countering.
“Without deterrence, humanity will only choose conflict. Therefore, an absolute evil is necessary.”
I held the sword in one hand and used my free hand to cast a number of magics.
I kept her under pressure as my sword hit her.
She avoided it before it could reach her and cut my wrist as she did so.
I made the fallen hand a magic bomb.
Both of us retreated at the same time.
The magic lost control and exploded with colorful light.
As magic and rain fell in tandem, both of us collided once again.
We crossed swords at high speeds with clear intent to kill each other.
Even as I got downed several times, I kept chasing after her with my sword in hand.
“Even as people call out to subdue the Demon Lord, the relationships between nations become stable. Postponing wars with the neighboring nations.”
If it really wasn’t sought for, I wouldn’t have become the Demon Lord.
I could say it with certainty now.
I didn’t resist the world.
It was the people’s wishes that manifested me.
Meanwhile, she parried the attack in a cold manner.
And gave me her counter argument.
“The world peace you seek is nothing but a compromise.”
“Indeed, it’s a compromise. I also wanted to build a bloodless peace. But it’s exactly because I knew it was impossible, that I chose to devote myself to evil…”
I was aware of my heightened emotions, but I could no longer suppress them.
The true intentions that had sunk into the depths of my heart spilled out like sludge.
“People have insulted your feats and sacrifice! They’ve abandoned them because of their ugly desires!”
I continued the onslaught while putting all my emotions into every hit I made.
My body felt lighter somehow.
Moving just like I wanted it to.
And my attack speed went up tremendously.
The Hero was forced to defend herself.
The tables have turned.
But the fact that she didn’t suffer any wounds despite it all was proof of her outstanding skill.
“Hero-sama. After you defeat me, can you lead the world to peace? Please tell me what you think.”
I questioned while our swords crossed.
At that moment, she returned a sharp attack.
It was a sharp slash that cut off my arm.
I jumped back at that and the onslaught finally stopped.
After a while, I restored the lost part with miasma.
Meanwhile, she stood there silently.
She watched as my arm was restored and answered once it fully recovered.
“I won’t lead the world to peace.”
“…What do you mean?”
I felt confused by her response.
It was because I never expected that answer.
She kept talking calmly,
“I mean it literally. I won’t lead them. Peace is something achieved by the world as whole — through the cooperation of each and every person. Our actions were nothing but a catalyst.”
“It is all in your head. The current state of the world is proof that they couldn’t do so.”
What she said was nothing but beautiful ideals.
It was just an idealistic theory that could never become reality.
If it could happen, I wouldn’t have become a Demon Lord to begin with.
She swung her sword once and swiped at her bangs that had stuck to her forehead in the rain.
Was it just my imagination or did her actions seem a little sloven?
“Dwight, your argument is correct. You certainly speak the truth.”
The next moment, her appearance turned blurry.
The moment I sensed her approaching, I braced my sword up in a hurry.
A heavy impact and metallic sound rang.
Even as I lost the miasmic sword, I succeeded in stopping her sword aimed at my neck.
“But the future you’re shaping is blocked. Do you think there is real hope for a domesticated humanity?”
“Are you that obsessed with your so-called hope to let conflict spread unchecked?! Is that your conclusion… as a hero that once saved the world?!”
I pushed the sword along with a rough voice.
As she got pushed back, the blade inched closer to her neck.
The deadlocked sword trembled and made a horrible screech.
I have a slight advantage in terms of strength.
I tried to push it all at once.
At that time, she suddenly weakened and twisted her body from underneath.
Losing resistance, my sword smashed into her shoulder with momentum.
The wound bled sluggishly.
I didn’t manage to cut her arm off, but it should have reached bone from the sensation I felt.
Even with the injury, however, she was calm.
No, if I looked closely, there was a big change.
It was her expression.
She wore a bitter smile — filled with dismay, ridicule, and resignation.
It felt like she was hurt by something.
It was a complicated expression I had never seen before.
She glanced at the wound on her shoulder and muttered profoundly.
“—You idolize Claire Vaton too much.”1
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