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Chapter 035 – Grumpy Maou
A week had passed since the war in the center of the continent.
The sunlight shone through the windows, brightly illuminating the room and its inhabitants. There were three people who were picking up documents and doing their work inside. One of them, a blonde man with red eyes, opened his mouth with a very annoyed expression.
“…This never ends.”
“…It’s rare of you to complain a lot today…This document is taken care of.”
The apostle of Camilla, Shichisei, said that not to admonish him, but instead truly felt it was a rare occurence, as he passed his document to him. The person who complained was the owner of this room and his superior, Majin Leonhart. Shichisei was asked by him to help with his work, but Leonhart’s attitude was weird compared to his usual self. And this applied to both the master and his servant.
Shichisei looked at another person, a blonde girl, who sat in the chair on the other side, mumbling to herself.
“Muu… that woman… If I meet her next time…”
Leonhart’s apostle, Carol. If it was her usual self, she would be an annoying apostle who was always challenging Shichisei, but today,
…She is quiet… no, it seems she is preoccupied with another matter instead.
Carol seemed to mutter something in dissatisfaction. The most common phrase he picked up from her muttering was “That woman.”
Then, judging from the documents in their hands, the rumors he had heard, and various other things, as expected, the cause was,
“…What is it?”
Following the Shichisei’s words, the master and servant pair turned their eyes to him. Both of them seemed to have troubled expressions.
Perhaps I provoked unnecessary trouble, was what Shichisei thought before deciding to complete his words.
“…I’d like to ask… as expected, is the reason that both of you look like this — the new apostle of Leonhart-sama?”
“—That’s exactly iiiiiiiiiittttttt!”
It was Apostle Carol who confirmed his conjecture in a loud voice. Did she not notice that she just cut off her master’s words? Or she was just that cornered that she didn’t care?
Carol seemed to be barely restraining her anger, seeing as how her clenched fists were trembling.
“Even though she also became an apostle of the great Leonhart-sama like I am! She didn’t even greet me, her senior! She is a disgrace of an apostle!”
She emphasized that.
Then Leonhart, who was her master, gave an explanation to the apostle’s attitude. Although his awkward expression didn’t change, he said, almost apologetically,
“…She’s always been like this since last week, so you can just ignore it.”
“………I, I see.”
“What’s with that unenthusiastic reply, Shichisei! We need to take care of manners properly as fellow apostles! Don’t you think so?!”
“?! No, that’s…”
Shichisei nodded at Leonhart’s words, but then he received a stray attack from Carol. He felt a headache occurring as collateral damage. Shichisei was well aware she wouldn’t calm down anytime soon once it happened. It would be nice if Leonhart would interfere to stop her, but he couldn’t depend on it since he rarely did if it was something that involved Shichisei for some reason, unless Carol went too far.
As expected, he had no choice but to calm her down by playing along and agreeing with her. Even as Shichisei held his head, he admitted a little,
“…That is indeed true, however…”
Shichisei hesitated for a bit, before continuing his sentence with words that were seemingly difficult to say,
“…I think the apostles who care about manners are only few in number though…”
He said that. Carol went wide eyed and stiffened. She had only just noticed it when he mentioned it, such was her reaction.
In fact, even from Shichisei’s perspective, it was hard to think that the other apostles even care about manners. In the first place, the demon society was not based on seniority but by capability, so most of the existing apostles were doing things their way, including Carol.
Rather, he even thought that among demons, the demon generals were the most well-mannered of the bunch. Although they were obviously careful to their superior, they were also strict yet considerate to their subordinates.
And it seemed Carol also reached that conclusion. Her expression twisted as she gritted her teeth and then suddenly glared at him.
“To think you beat me in an argument… this debt will cost you heavily!”
As Shichisei remained troubled due to the unreasonable connection that just formed between them, Carol seemed to calm down as she said that.
“…Now that I think about it, since she is my junior, that makes her my ally. And Shichisei is my enemy. She might not have greeted me now, but I can always educate her about it later.”
“…Why did I become an enemy there…”
For some reason, Shichisei was deemed as an enemy by Leonhart’s apostles, and Carol then shook her head as she was convinced by that. He wondered if he did something unnecessary, but decided to forget about it. If he kept interacting with Carol, it would never end. She also became troublesome if he ignored her too much, though.
Anyway, Shichisei put off the problem before asking another question.
“…So, as for Leonhart-sama—“
“I simply failed in my work… it is mostly because the follow up is so troublesome that I am so frustrated.”
Leonhart answered Shicisei’s question while breathing in.
That was exactly what Shichisei inferred from the paperwork, and it was also the reason why he ended up helping him to begin with.
In Shichisei’s head, he summarized the documents and information he heard from the demon generals.
…I heard the aftermath of the battle caused most of the materials they brought with them to be destroyed…
It was only the other day that Leonhart led the Demon Army into a war against a human nation in the center of the continent, and the Demon Army was victorious in that battle. However, it couldn’t be said that the strategic goal was achieved.
There were two goals in that war. First one was to assimilate the human nation that occupied the land into their territory. This goal was without a doubt, achieved.
However, there was another goal. The task to build a base in the terrain’s key area was failed.
The reason for its failure was what Shichisei thought earlier, the aftermath of the battle. Although the details weren’t reported, it was said that it was the result of Leonhart’s rampage in combat against the enemy.
The moment Shichisei heard that, although he did think it was unusual for him, he also thought of the same thing that other people did.
In the first place, when Leonhart fought normally, it was rare for him to bring damage to the surroundings. Even during the war against humans, he didn’t rampage like most of the other majins did, instead concentrating on commanding the army, and only fought against humans who directly challenged him. He did all that while considering the possible damage to the surrounding area.
The fact that the usually careful and restrained Leonhart caused that much damage in a single fight meant that Leonhart fought very seriously that day. Shichisei had witnessed that several times; he experienced it himself the first time they met, and he also saw how his master Camilla fought a little with Leonhart as part of their interactions several times.
As he remembered that, he felt a chill go down his spine, but at the same time, a certain fact emerged.
And that was,
…It means Leonhart-sama’s opponent was just that strong.
Indeed. Leonhart wouldn’t go all out against a mook. He usually was not so heated up and showed consideration to his opponent. Leonhart chose who he fought and the amount of power he used for it. Unless it was a strong opponent, he wouldn’t rampage without considering the damage around him.
Then Shichisei remembered another piece of information.
It was something that Carol confirmed earlier — the fact that Leonhart gained another apostle.
The details were unknown. He hasn’t seen the person yet, and he didn’t know what kind of person they might be. But he now knew for a fact that the new apostle existed. And also, that Leonhart gained his apostle right after that incident.
As Shichisei considered such facts, he came to a realization.
The very person Leonhart fought against before — was now his new apostle.
It was a person that even Leonhart acknowledged to be his apostle. Although his standard was unknown, there was no way he would approve of a common person, and he doubted such people who matched up to Leonhart’s standards existed in large numbers, anyways.
Therefore, Shichisei thought that both of those events were related.
But of course,
…It’s not like it’s any of my concern.
He did think he was acting strange, but nothing has changed even if his guess was correct. He did have a thought that, I suppose that some apostles have their own reasons to not show themselves, but it was mistaken for unrelated people to intrude in the relationship between the apostle and their majin.
He heard that Leonhart barely talked about his new apostle to anyone, but seeing as he didn’t deny it when it was casually brought up, it wasn’t something he needed to hide at all cost.
Therefore, Shichisei switched his thoughts and listened to what Leonhart said.
“Well, there’s also… perhaps due to me making an apostle as I returned…but… recently, Ssulal’s mood became strange.”
It wasn’t connected to the apostle, yet it went in a strange direction.
It was unexpectedly a big topic. It was another thing if the topic was about apostles, but the topic of maou was too heavy for an apostle like Shichisei. However, he thought to at least respond to him.
“Maou-sama’s mood became strange…?”
“Aah, I plan to go to fix her mood after we’re done with this…”
With that said, Leonhart sighed and got back to work.
Leonhart finished his work and came to the Maou Ssulal’s study as usual.
His visit was practically almost a daily routine, but Ssulal looked unhappy to see him.
“…Fuhn, so you’ve come.”
She muttered, still sitting on her chair as Leonhart entered her room. Leonhart scratched his head, thinking he was not welcome considering her attitude.
“Ah… should I come later instead?”
As he said that while began to turn around,
“…I didn’t say you couldn’t stay here.”
She stopped him while still looking away. But even as she said that, her grumpy attitude was still there. Leonhart was worried about that, but decided to let go of the door after a while.
He nodded and sat on the sofa he usually sat on.
If it was the usual Ssulal, she would stop working and move to the sofa, but that didn’t seem to be the case for today.
She still sat at the desk, continuing on her work, or rather, some research.
Ssulal spent most of her days in her study, and would usually be there all day long. She did various things, but most of the time she was researching something, writing some books, or doing some experiment that Leonhart couldn’t understand.
I wonder what she’s doing right now, Leonhart wondered as his gaze traveled to the top of the desk.
Upon seeing something familiar to him, he opened his mouth to connect the conversation to that.
“…That golden statue, do you like it?”
Indeed, what Ssulal was researching right now was the golden statue that Leonhart and Carol found back then during the dungeon exploration. After that, he had gifted the golden statue to Ssulal, but he still remembered it since it had a peculiar shape.
However, as he asked that as he watched her diligently researching that golden statue,
“…I, I don’t like it though.”
She looked away as she said that. Leonhart took back his previous thought. Now that he paid closer attention, she didn’t look serious at all.
As he observed her, he found that she would absentmindedly glance at him, and then move her hand to appear to be writing something, while she actually didn’t write anything, so he could see that she was merely pretending to do her research.
As Leonhart witnessed Ssulal’s attitude, he sighed in frustration, dumbfounded by it.
…This is getting annoying…
It would be troublesome if her attitude continued like this. Her attitude was better today, but recently she wouldn’t respond to him or seemed to be grumpy when he was in her room.
So to get rid of such annoyance, Leonhart made use of a skill he learned recently to play pranks on her.
After Ssulal glanced at him, Leonhart moved in the instant she turned her face away from him to stand behind Ssulal.
It was the new method of body movement that Leonhart learned during his battle against Hunty. He moved soundlessly, without wasting any power or movement, as he reached out to Ssulal’s body with both of his arms.
“Eh— Kyaa?! Ah, wai, ahahahahaha!”
Surprised by Leonhart, who suddenly attacked her from behind, Ssulal stiffened for a moment, and Leonhart used this opportunity to tickle Ssulal’s sides.
“Ah, aha, wai, Le, on, hart…!”
Then she started to laugh in an interesting way, but at the same time, she got up from her chair to move her body away to escape. As he saw that, Leonhart immediately acted.
…Hah, I won’t allow you to escape!
Even as Leonhart tickled Ssulal’s sides, he lifted her up for a moment, and instantly moved to the bed, where he then began to hold her down from behind.
“Ahahahah! Kuh, fufu, wa, wait, wha, why, you, do, this, kind, of, thing!”
“It’s because of your grumpy attitude!”
“Ah! St-sto…ah, hmn! That, tickles…!”
He mercilessly tickled the writhing Ssulal while he pinned her down on top of the bed. The trick was to hold her down firmly by her joints, which was where the body could make movements.
However, perhaps as expected of a maou, even as he restrained and tickled her, she still managed to move in a way that would make escape possible, which should be credited to the difference of body performance. She shouldn’t be able to exert strength, but it would be dangerous to relax, even for a bit.
Then Leonhart felt that her reaction was getting weaker. Although she laughed loudly at the start, she merely leaked out a small voice now and didn’t laugh that much.
In that case… thought Leonhart, as he decided to change his approach.
“I see that you are quite calm now, but how about this?”
At the moment he touched that spot, Ssulal’s reaction changed completely.
Leonhart raised the corner of his mouth while Ssulal’s face paled. Then next moment,
“Aahahahahahaha! Ah, no good! T-that place, is not good! Aha, ahahahahaha—“
Ssulal laughed more than ever.
Ssulal swung her head around as she laughed with teary eyes, and such a reaction made Leonhart satisfied.
However, he didn’t stop his hands. While desperately suppressing Ssulal’s body from rampaging, he extended his hands to continue to tickle her sides.
“Hey hey, what’s wrong! Does your side feel that good?!”
“St-sto, the side is… ah, ha, ahahahahahahahhaha!”
“I can’t hear you! Did you just say your side feels good?”
“No, afuh… hmn! Hh, huh… hmn, wai, st-sto…”
“Hahahah, I’ll vent my accumulated stress!”
“Ahn, kuh, I-I got it, so… really, st-sto, something feels… hmnnn!”
Leonhart kept tickling her despite her plea, but frowned as he saw Ssulal’s reaction was getting weirder.
…Hm? Did she become weird due to being tickled too much?
Although she was laughing all this time, it looked different now.
It was hard to put it into words, but her face was flushed, and her voice seemed to endure something completely different from laughter.
“Ah, yah, this… no, no good. This, is no good, hmn, yahn…!”
Leonhart was familiar with such reactions.
…Don’t tell me it is that kind of thing?
No, wait, it’s just tickling, you know? Thought Leonhart as he shook his head, but Ssulal’s reaction could only be interpreted that way. Perhaps it was because he only thought about it when they were on the bed right now. He had thought it was bad to do it on a stiff floor or wall and went to the bed instead, but that turned out to be a bad move.
As expected, this is,
…It’s the bad one…!
Leonhart suddenly felt like he had to escape as he heard Ssulal call him with a sweet voice.
Then, after a bit of thought, he gently let his hand go.
Ssulal let such a sound escape her. Leonhart couldn’t tell whether it was out of relief or disappointment. As he scratched his head awkwardly, he gave a response that would be neutral towards whichever emotion Ssulal felt,
“Ah, ah… so-sorry. I went too far.”
Which was an apology.
Ssulal might have heard his apology, but since she was still trying to catch her breath without getting up, he couldn’t tell. Therefore, he tried to refrain from speaking until he had a better idea of what was going on.
Leonhart spent that time feeling restless, with only the sound of Ssulal’s breathing echoing in the otherwise silent room. But then, once Ssulal finally got her breath back, but still lay on her bed, she said,
“…Wha, what is it?”
He was waiting nervously for what she might say.
However, Ssulal spoke in a somewhat panicked voice,
“…Ca-can you, get out of the room, for a bit?”
“? …Ah, okay. Sorry about this.”
“No, it’s okay… my attitude has also been bad recently… a-anyways, just hurry up and go out.”
“O-oh… bye then.”
They exchanged such words while Ssulal still lay on her bed, refusing to look at him. Although Leonhart felt suspicious of it, he thought it was bad to question it and obediently exited the room.
When he came out, he looked alternatively at his right hand and Ssulal’s room with a suspicious expression and muttered.
“…Regarding this, am I just that skillful or is Ssulal just that sensitive… which is it?”
And in the end, it remained unclear why Ssulal was in a bad mood in the first place.
This chapter feels like a filler chapter, but it is actually necessary. After the next chapter, the 300SS ended.
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