The Melancholy of the Demon Army Officer
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Chapter 20 – Blond, red eyed majin [B]
“Damn, this huma— Guh!!!”
The demon soldiers were defeated by… no, they were most likely humans. Those humans reaped their lives.
Then one human charged through right at the center with the least amount of steps necessary.
“I found you!”
Upon the demon general’s first glance of the human, he understood; it seemed like this person was the main force of the human army.
The person had a large physique and a well trained body wrapped in armor. They held a great sword which was twice the size of a normal sword. The sword was dripping blood, probably because it had been used to kill all the demon soldiers on the way here.
The human turned around and inspected the situation. Their gaze stopped at a certain point and they spoke with a low voice,
“Demon generals and… I guess you’re a majin.”
The human’s gaze was fixed on the blond, red eyed man who was supposedly a majin, who was exchanging words with demon generals.
Whether the majin was listening or not, he seemed to look the human up and down without any reaction.
Even as the human noticed they were being sized up, they ignored that and pointed their sword at him. [Tsukii Note: the ‘they’ in this chapter mostly refer to the human, since the gender of the knight is not revealed until their death.]
“I shall bury you here and bring peace to my nation! Now, let’s—“
“…Ah, this isn’t good.”
The human frowned suspiciously. Seeing the human, the majin scratched his head, seemingly bored.
“You’re the weakest in recent years who attempted something like this. I don’t think I can have much fun.”
“What do you say…!”
The human was angered by the remark that insulted their ability. They were about to charge in blind rage, but somehow they managed to endure, and glared at him in protest.
However, the majin didn’t pay attention to their gaze and spoke with a cold tone.
“…Well, I’ll ask just in case. Can I assume you’re the commander of the human forces?”
“Okay then, I’ll let you choose. Either you choose to obediently become a prisoner, or choose to defect to the Demon Army. Which one do you prefer?”
Feeling their patriotism being brought into question they shouted and replied with indignation,
“Do-don’t screw with me! I’ll just kill you—“
“Aaah, I know. That’s why I’ll give you a third choice… a duel against me.”
That was a familiar word to a knight, but supposedly something hardly relatable to the other party.
Therefore, the human didn’t believe they’d heard the word correctly, and repeated it again to confirm.
“Duel, you say?”
“That’s right… demon general!”
The one who stepped forward as the majin called out was a certain demon general, an individual who could be considered his aide.
The demon general pulled out something from his chest pocket and read it to the human.
“I will state the rules of the duel.”
It was yet another word hardly relatable to demons, which made an illusory question mark appear in their head.
“Just be e rsilent and listen. First rule, the duel shall be carried out for three minutes. The party who fulfills their given condition will be declared as the victor.”
“Condition… no, in the first place, a duel is—”
“So you won’t accept the duel? Then fight all of us together right now and die here.”
The surrounding demon generals responded to the word of the majin by unleashing their fighting spirit. The number of commanders was greater than what they’d expected. The knight realized that they might struggle to survive. Since that was the case, they quickly made their decision.
“Okay, then I’ll be the one who states your condition for victory. Sorry about that, demon general.… Your condition for victory is to simply wound me within three minutes — that’s all.”
The human was surprised with the condition that was too favorable for them. A moment later, their anger sprang.
And the words that roused their rage only continued.
“Your ability isn’t a match for me anyway. By the way, my victory condition is simply to kill you, or make you surrender. If I lose, I’ll make the army withdraw. There won’t be any additional penalties for you if you lose. Well, I might use your severed head to dampen enemy morale, though.”
“…You’ll regret this.”
“I sure hope you can make me regret it. By the way, we are forbidden to harm anyone else during the duel.”
Although the knight was angered by such derision, it was a great condition for the human forces. If they managed to wound the majin, he would make the army withdraw. Even if the knight lost, they would just die as they were. Of course, the human army might be thrown into disarray if they died, but they would still lose either way if they didn’t win this. In that case, it was worth it to bet their lives here.
“There’s nothing else to it. Now’s your last chance to change your mind.”
“…No, it’s alright. Let’s begin this immediately.
“You’re so impatient… Well then, let’s do this — Oi!”
The knight raised their sword and pointed it toward the majin. Watching them, the majin leaked out a wry laugh and commanded the demon general to continue.
“Well then, I shall serve as arbitrator. This hourglass will measure the time. Both of you, are there any objections?”
“I have none.”
“In that case — begin!!”
The hourglass was flipped in unison with the demon general’s shout. Instantly, the knight rushed toward the majin with sword in hand. They had a respectable speed for a human.
As the knight swung their great sword down, they analyzed the majin.
…His weapon should be the longsword in his back. Well then, how will he act?
The knight focused their concentration so they wouldn’t miss a single movement from their opponent, and they swung the great sword down toward the majin’s head.
The great sword missed the mark. He avoided it, no good, where is he—
The knight was looking around to search for him— only to be interrupted.
The reason was,
“…As expected, this is all you are capable of.”
That man stood in front of them, without moving a single step.
The knight swept the great sword toward him. However, it was avoided.
They made use of the momentum produced and slashed again to the opposite side. Yet, it was avoided again.
This time they added a feint into the mix and changed the angle — once again, it was avoided.
The majin didn’t move a single step, and managed to avoid all the incoming attacks.
“Kuh… Hah… Why…!”
The knight kept swinging their sword impatiently. Why? Why did it fail to reach him?
The sword art the knight practiced, which they had literally invested their whole lives into, didn’t work at all against the majin. The impatience and fear of the hopeless situation made sweat seep out from their body.
Observing the human’s condition, the majin gave a merciful look.
“That’s why I told you… You can’t defeat me. Your skill isn’t even good enough to allow me to have some fun and warm up.”
“Stop your nonsense—!”
“It doesn’t matter, but have you noticed? Your time has already passed by half… nah, you only have about a minute left.”
The knight gave a sideways glance toward the reversed hourglass near the demon general. Two-thirds of it had indeed fallen.
“I’ll also feel bad if I don’t do anything… so I’ll draw my sword once there are only three seconds left. Think about it properly until then.”
The knight continuously attacked. They relentlessly kept swinging their sword so as not to give the majin even chance to breathe. They kept swinging in quick succession. However, the majin avoided them all with the same cold expression. Yet the great sword failed to slice anything but the air all this time.
Time continued to press on. Five seconds… ten… fifteen… twenty.
As time went on, their heart beats grew stronger and stronger, and faster; it wasn’t just because of their intense movements.
They were sure of it as they kept swinging their sword. The fact that once that moment came in another thirty seconds — right at that moment, they would die.
They were no match against the majin in front of them. For some reason, the knight could clearly see the future where they would be instantly killed.
As time went on, the majin’s gaze turned colder and colder. Thirty seconds… thirty five… forty… forty five.
There were only twelve seconds left.
They only fought for three minutes. Even though they only moved for that amount of time, the knight lamented that they couldn’t easily do something that a knight was supposedly capable of doing.
Beads of sweat wept out as the knight’s body trembled. It was due to intense pressure of the majin and psychological pressure of their visibly approaching death.
The remaining time was ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five…
Once there was only five seconds remaining, the knight abandoned all hope and the dignity of their station, and fled.
As the majin saw the knight’s back, the majin—
The majin swung his sword.
A moment later, the knight’s head rolled on the ground.
Observing the result, the demon general spoke out,
“It’s Leonhart-sama’s victory.”
As he heard the demon general’s words, Leonhart wiped the blood stain from his hand on his coat.
Looking at the knight who was now a corpse, he approached the decapitated head and opened the helmet to check.
“…As expected, it was a woman.”
With that said, he stared at the face for a bit, but he soon looked away while bringing the head to the nearby demon captain who was waiting nearby.
“Just announce it like usual.”
“Hah, right away.”
The demon captain took the head and ran toward the frontline. It was only a few more minutes before the battle ended.
The reason for the female knight’s defeat was that they failed to perceive the threat of the majin they dueled; the blond and red eyed majin who also served as the demon army officer and one of the Four Elite Majin, Leonhart.
Leonhart relaxed a bit and talked to a demon general. It was the demon general who gave his opinion earlier.
“It was all for this.”
“…So that means.”
“It would be faster to win against people whose hearts are broken, and we’ll suffer fewer casualties. That’s why I’m making it easier for them to come here.”
That was it. Leonhart’s strategy was to lure the enemy’s main force to the location where he and the demon generals stayed, and crush them by force. That was the reason why he deployed a dense, yet incomplete formation. It was formed to stop the grunt soldiers at the frontline, while inviting capable humans to the headquarters.
Of course, he didn’t mind if the battle ended before the duel concluded. If Galtia’s charge alone was enough to end the battle, it was all good.
However, that fact made the demon general wonder. Specifically, about one certain detail.
“…Err, regarding the front—“
“Aah, the other reason was so I could enjoy my hobby.”
As he was about to question him, Leonhart’s next statement froze him. Seeing that, Leonhart revealed a fearless smile.
“It is fun to fight strong people after all. That was the reason I made the frontline spread out so thin… do you understand?”
“Ha-Hah! I understand.”
“Then it’s alright. You also need to return to the unit you command.”
“Hah! Then I’ll do just that!”
Leonhart sighed as he disbanded the demon generals.
Those words just now were half-truths, with another reason laid in the other half.
“It is a hassle to round up smart people together… Although, I guess it’s too late to mention it at this point.”
There was another reason why he chose to take this strategy of thinning the frontline. If it was merely to lure a strong person in, he could just gather all of the demon generals and himself in a single location. The strong people would definitely come there regardless of where they were stationed. He knew that the best.
Yet by choosing this strategy, not only would the Demon Army’s casualties be reduced, but human casualties would also be fewer.
For that reason, he chose the tactic to behead enemy leaders to make them lose the will to fight. Then the Demon Army could just chase after them. After they conquered the land, he would allow his subordinates to vent in their own way before releasing the human prisoners.
He was the embodiment of a paradox in the Demon Army. That was the current way of life of Majin Leonhart.
However, he didn’t feel as if he had suffered from it. Leonhart put his sword back and left the command to the demon generals while shutting himself in his tent. The victor of the battle was already clear. There wouldn’t be any problems even if he let his subordinates take charge.
So he picked up a book and opened it.
“Well then… I need to finish reading it before I come home. It’ll be annoying to be asked whether I finished reading it over and over…”
Leonhart began to spend his time reading the book he borrowed from Ssulal while listening to the noise outside.
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