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Chapter 039 – Hunty and Maou’s Cooking 4 [A]
“—Well then, are you ready for this?”
“…For the time being.”
Hunty reluctantly nodded in response to Leonhart’s inquiry.
…Finally, I’ll meet Maou directly…
It was probably not just her imagination that her inner muttering was mixed with dark thoughts.
Hunty looked at Leonhart and Carol, then to the door behind them.
At this place where Leonhart brought her to, it was very empty, compared to the rest of the castle. At most, there were some demon soldiers standing as guards at the end of the corridor, and a gal demon maid-san, who was sweeping the floor. Except for the three of them standing in front of the door, the rest of the demons stayed away.
This was because the floor they were currently on was where the maou’s study was located. Unlike the floor near the dining hall Hunty was guided to earlier, there was no reason a regular demon would be visiting this floor for private business. The only demons here were ones that had a specific, work-related reason to be here, like the guards or maids that Hunty saw.
If there were any demons here for private matters, that would be Leonhart and his apostles. However, that was only because the maou had said they wanted to meet Hunty, which would be considered a command. Therefore, the reason why they were here was still, in a way, for work-related matters.
“Okay, then let’s go inside.”
While Hunty was thinking, Leonhart loudly knocked on the door. Then, in a much lower tone of voice,
“…Ssulal, it’s me. I brought the new apostle. May we enter the room?”
He called the maou’s name, just like that! Hunty was surprised by his casual attitude. Leonhart didn’t refer to the maou as “Maou-sama,” he used their name, and he didn’t bother to speak very politely, either. And to just announce himself as “it’s me,”…they appeared to be very close.
After a short while, the reply came from inside.
The voice sounded like that of a young woman. Hunty’s eyebrow twitched involuntarily.
Then Leonhart put his hand on the doorknob and opened the door without hesitation. As Leonhart entered, Hunty also followed Carol and entered together.
“Please excuse me!”
Hunty followed Carol’s example and gave her greetings as she entered the room.
At first glance, it seemed to be a normal room. Since it was a room belonging to the maou, it was furnished with a lot of expensive looking furniture and luxurious decorations. Besides a large bookshelf crowded with books, which wasn’t out of the ordinary if the owner loved books, it looked exactly like a normal room.
The owner of the room, maou, finally appeared in front of Hunty’s eyes.
“Welcome. Hm… so you are Hunty?”
As the maou’s figure entered Hunty’s line of sight, she froze, astonished.
The words were trapped inside her throat, unable to come out, and she was glad she didn’t blurt anything out prematurely. Because, the figure of the Maou Ssulal in front of her was-
…Eh, this little girl is the maou…?
Huh? Was the first thought that sprang to her mind. In the meantime, Leonhart offhandedly said,
“Aah, that’s right. She’s my new apostle.”
“And she is also my junior!”
As the maou heard Carol’s proud voice chiming in, she stared at Hunty with half-lidded eyes. Her gaze slowly traveled up and down Hunty’s figure, seemingly trying to confirm something.
…She has a massive presence… but,
Hunty was feeling something strange for some reason. The maou’s appearance was that of a young human girl, but the presence she exuded was clearly what one would expect of a maou. The strength was several times the tremendous presence and pressure that majin normally emitted.
But somehow, she didn’t feel terrified to the core, which was what she would have expected from someone stronger than majin..
For example, Camilla from earlier. The pressure she emitted was quite intense – Hunty could barely look at her without wanting to run away.
Then what about the maou in front of her?
Although she did emit some pressure, the feeling Hunty felt was — to put it bluntly, awkward. Instead of feeling like she should fall to her knees, Hunty felt like she was meeting someone that she didn’t know how to start a conversation with. The maou’s expression also seemed to be more judgemental than intimidating.
“…You got nothing to say?”
Hunty returned to herself after being lightly reprimanded by maou and Leonhart. Leonhart sighed and muttered in a small voice “What are you doing…” and Carol encouraged Hunty, saying, “Just calm down and say your greeting and you’ll be alright.”
Yes, I have to greet her first, as I was told. Even if she was shocked to this extent, she still should have remembered her manners. Of course she would be reprimanded for failing to do such a thing. Even as Hunty was inwardly embarrassed by her mistake, she put on a calm expression and bowed politely at the maou.
“…It is the first time we have met, maou-sama. I am Leonhart-sama’s apostle, Hunty Kalar.”
Then she peeked at the maou. How was my greeting? She thought.
The maou gave her a smile. Hunty immediately felt relieved. It seems like I passed, for now.
“…Fuhn… I see. I am, Leonhart’s, master, my name is Ssulal.”
Hunty felt the maou’s accent was slightly weird just now. She couldn’t understand why the maou split her words that way. However, perhaps this was just how the maou spoke. At any rate, a mere apostle shouldn’t point out trivial things to the maou, especially upon a first meeting, so Hunty just nodded, but she couldn’t help but keep questioning it in her mind.
However, there was somebody who immediately retorted to that strange greeting,
“…What’s with that weird introduction? Did you get sick in your head?”
“Hey?! You shouldn’t say that! That’s rude!”
It was Leonhart. Just like what the maou said, Hunty thought it was quite rude of him. However, it seemed he had no intention to stop despite being reprimanded, as he continued with his words.
“Also, while it couldn’t be helped that Hunty was so nervous, why did you also speak so stiffly? Aren’t you supposed to be welcoming?”
“! Tha-that’s not true! I spoke as I always do!”
“Really… Hunty too, you don’t have to be so formal, okay? It’s okay to speak normally.”
Leonhart looked at Maou Ssulal in wonder. The maou quickly denied his words, then went ahead and talked to Hunty. Hunty couldn’t help but to duck her head at the maou’s unexpectedly gentle words.
Despite it being an audience with the maou, who was the master of demons and the ruler of the continent,
…She is the maou, but… I don’t feel as nervous as I expected…
Hunty couldn’t help but have such thoughts as she looked at the girl who was looking up at her. It was indeed as Leonhart said: the maou in reality was completely different from the maou in Hunty’s imagination.
She half-jokingly and half-seriously imagined that the maou might still request her to spill human blood as proof of loyalty.
But in the end—
“…Then, I’ll just take your word for it— but, is that really okay?”
“Yeah, I hate being too formal.”
Hunty felt relieved that she was allowed to speak more freely. She tried to speak casually while looking at the maou’s reaction. At the very least, the maou didn’t appear to be angry, so it seemed it was truly alright to keep speaking like that.
Rather, she even appeared to be trying to kindly welcome Hunty and make her feel comfortable. The maou gestured for Hunty to come in and take a seat on the sofa,
“Well then, let’s all sit down there. I’ll brew some tea now—“
And tried to entertain everyone as guests.
Was stopped by Leonhart for some reason. He suddenly gripped Ssulal’s hand, which was reaching for the teapot, with a serious expression and voice.
Everyone, including Ssulal, was surprised by that.
“Eh, wha, what is it? To, to suddenly grab my hand… I, I got surprised since you’re suddenly—“
“Stop brewing the tea.”
His thought process was unknown, but he firmly stopped her from brewing the tea. Ssulal looked questionly at Leonhardt, waiting for an explanation.
But Leonhart ignored her, and turned around to face the blond apostle,
“Carol, you do it in her stead.”
“Certainly! Okay then, I’ll brew the tea so Ssulal-sama may sit over here. Hunty, you sit down and rest, too.”
“? Okay then…”
Carol obeyed Leonhart’s words then directed Ssulal a little forcibly to her seat, while calling out to Hunty as well. Hunty felt yet another sense of incongruity, but it wasn’t unnatural for a servant to do chores in their master’s stead. So, Hunty sat on the sofa without much thought. She then heard a voice quietly complain in front of her.
“…Stupid Leonhart… the tea should be okay, to say the least…!”
“Eh? …ah, no, err… it’s nothing, so don’t worry about it…”
“That’s right, don’t worry, Hunty. You’ll be alright now.”
“…? Okay then.”
“Ahaha…” Ssulal laughed awkwardly and tilted her head to look away. Hunty didn’t understand. Was she actually dissatisfied with the current situation, and just trying to smooth it over? Hunty looked in the same direction Ssulal was looking, and found that Ssulal was staring grudgingly at Leonhart. But Leonhart ignored all that and moved to sit on his seat.
Just as he leaned against the back of his sofa and relaxed,
“—Ssulal-sama-! Leonhart-sama-! I can’t find the tea set-!”
They heard Carol’s loud voice from the back of the room, calling for the two figures of authority.
And both of them reacted to that. They both stood up,
“Err, the tea set is on—“
“Just sit there quietly- Carol! The tea set is on—“
Leonhardt’s strong denial caused a dissatisfied expression to appear on Ssulal’s face. Then, as if to tell him off,
“It should be okay for me to just tell her where it is. I won’t touch anything. Leonhart is the one who ought to sit down.”
“No, no way. I’ll go, so you sit down. I know where it is.”
“…I’m the owner of the room, though.”
“If you are the master, just leave it to the subordinate to do it.”
Leonhart kept stopping Ssulal from getting up to help Carol. For some reason, it ended up in a quarrel, with both of them shooting daggers from their eyes at each other. Things didn’t look so good.
…Eh, what is this? What is this situation?
While Hunty sat, paralyzed by confusion, Ssulal huffed and looked away from Leonhart,
“…Fuhn, I am the maou after all, so I don’t have to listen to what a majin says.”
She sulked and stomped towards Carol, with her arms crossed defiantly over her chest. Leonhart was astonished, but it lasted only for a moment. He immediately chased after Ssulal,
“…Tch! Okay, okay. I’ll just watch over you, then.”
“…You don’t have to be so cautious.”
“Don’t do anything unnecessarily. Don’t touch the tea set at all. Don’t even point at it. We don’t know what might happen if you do.”
“You’re treating such an important person like hazardous goods…”
As Ssulal mumbled her complaints, she went together with Leonhart to the back of the room.
Left behind on the couch, Hunty was stunned as she watched them go. She didn’t mind being left to sit alone, but— things kept developing incomprehensibly, and the impression that came with the sighs that she already made several times today was,
…Uhn, I think they are on good terms for the time being, but…
Somehow, it wasn’t an exchange suitable for a maou-majin relationship. Despite being master and servant, the distance between them was a little — no, it was pretty close, and not very professional.
It felt like an exchange between a family member, like siblings, or between best friends, or even between lovers. At the very least, their relationship couldn’t only be work-based.
“…Hah… I feel a little tired.”
Hunty sighed as she whined a bit. Because many events were happening so quickly over the course of the day, she was tired physically and mentally. Perhaps it could be considered the hardest day she had experienced in the last century. She thought about it as she rubbed the corners of her eyes.
…But well, it wasn’t the worst.
Once a month from now on, Hunty had to visit Leonhart in Maou castle whenever he was available there. Perhaps it was good for her to digest as many inevitable things as possible today, to lessen the burden later.
Camilla, the Living Crown of the dragon species, and Maou Ssulal, master of the demons. She couldn’t think of anything more distracting than having to meet the two. Both of them were ranked in the highest possible class of danger. It might depend on the standing and situation, but at very least, it was among the worst possible situations if normal humans were to encounter them.
…Maybe it’s because I am a dragon kalar, who was then turned into an apostle, but it seems I won’t be endangered without good reason…
That was what Hunty thought. Her impression from actually meeting them, was that fortunately, that they were not as bad as she thought them to be.
“Perhaps I could have an easier time from now on…?”
But it was still exhausting for her. Hunty decided to relax and enjoy the peace and quiet for the short time that the other three people weren’t there. She leaned against the backrest of her seat. As expected of the furniture in maou’s study, it was a wonderfully plush sofa that was comfortable to sit on and supported her body well.
Then she lowered her gaze. There was a solid looking, dark colored rectangular table. I guess this is also good material, she thought as she looked at it.
“…Hm? This is-?”
There was a round thing lying on the table; it seemed to be a bag filled with small objects. Hunty picked it up and opened it. Inside, there was a single spherical, thumb-sized object, colored as dark as the table. The appearance alone was suspicious, but Hunty noticed what it was by smelling it.
…It’s chocolate, right?
She noticed it by its unmistakable sweet smell and characteristic cocoa scent. She first thought that it was a bag of trash forgotten on the table, but it turned out that it was actually a bag of snacks.
Why was there only one inside the bag? Moreover, Hunty didn’t understand why it was casually left there in that almost-completely-eaten-state. It wouldn’t feel weird for that maou to lay down on the sofa while enjoying her snack, at least according to the imagination that ran on in Hunty’s mind, so perhaps the maou had simply lost interest in finishing off the bag, and not bothered to clean it up after.
Then, Hunty felt tempted.
…I guess I’ll eat it.
That thought came up first since it didn’t look like something important. Of course, it would be best if she asked Ssulal after she came back, but then Hunty might be scolded by Leonhart for secretly eating snacks or wanting to take something that didn’t belong to her — perhaps she was thinking too much.
“…Somehow, I just know it will be really delicious…”
Hunty felt a strange charm emitting from the chocolate. Perhaps that was the reason she wanted to eat it? It probably wasn’t a big deal anyway, so it wouldn’t be a problem if she ate it. And she reassured herself that she wouldn’t get caught doing so to begin with.
Eventually, Hunty couldn’t resist the temptation and put the chocolate into her mouth.
Sweetness spread over her tongue, and a jolt of stimulus ran through her body. It was at that moment.
“Sorry to keep you waiting!”
Hunty’s entire body stiffened upon hearing Carol’s voice. Carol carried a tray with a tea set and cups in her hand.
Then Leonhart and Ssulal also came back.
“…Why must I suffer such a hard time just for brewing tea…?”
“A, ahaha… So, sorry about that…”
Something seemed to have happened, seeing Leonhart with his shoulders slumped and having none of his usual energy, and Ssulal ashamedly apologizing.
…Huh, wait, aren’t they returning at a really bad time?
The moment Hunty thought that, Carol looked at her and tilted her head in inquiry,
“…? Hunty, what are you eating?”
“Ah, this is—“
I’ve done it, thought Hunty as she quickly looked away,
“?! Hu, Hunty!!”
Suddenly, Leonhart rushed to Hunty in a hurry. He grabbed her shoulders and spoke worriedly,
“You, what did you just eat?! Don’t tell me you ate something that was in this room…!”
“?! Ah, err… So, sorry…!”
Aah, so I wasn’t supposed to eat that, Hunty panicked, but it was too late. As Leonhart desperately shook her shoulders,
“—Is your body okay?!”
He wasn’t mad at all, but really worried for her body for some reason.
Furthermore, Ssulal also ran up to Hunty, and with a worried expression,
“—A, are you still conscious?”
And asked that. Hunty could only leak out a little bleat in response to the mysterious questions that the pair asked so desperately.
Hunty didn’t understand why they suddenly asked that, but her body was alright, and she was still conscious. So although she was still confused, she responded,
“I’m okay, though…?”
The pair stopped in shock when they heard her answer. Then, they immediately began to discuss with each other in whispers, ignoring Hunty completely.
…Eh, what happened…?
Hunty could only wait for them in silence, licking her lips clean of any remaining chocolate.
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