Maou no Hajimekata Volume 2 Chapter 17 Part 3

 


Translator: DarkHeartedAlchemist


Chapter 17: Let’s Get Ready for a Counterattack, Part 3

The best way to describe it would be a stone well. A giant well about 8 kilometers in diameter made of solid stone that extended deep below the ground. What made it different from a typical well however, was the fact that it was not filled to the brim with water as one might have expected. Instead, the structure itself was surrounded by water at all sides, and at the very bottom was only a small, artificial pond.

「What is that?」

Zana frowned as she looked down the well illuminated by the pale moonlight.

It was just past midnight. Since he came to get her in the dead of the night she was still in a half-asleep state, having trouble processing why did he took her to such a strange place.

「Look.」

Aur raised his hand and shot some magical energy into the sky. The scarlet light he unleashed moved on its own to create a complex magic circle above their heads. It amplified the light of the moonlight and projected the enlarge image of the moon itself on the surface of the pond.

「W, What’s the meaning of this?」

Zana couldn’t help it but to admire the beautiful scenery that sprawled before her eyes, thinking that under such circumstances she wouldn’t mind being seduced by Aur even though some part of her still resented him a little.

「Umu. All set.」

Without any explanation or prior warning Aur took a hold of Zana’s body and slowly descended down the well with her.

「Hey! Wha…?! What do you think you’re….!?」

Seconds later, they were already at the bottom of the well where their feet softly touched the ground.

『What in the…』

Zana was so stunned that she forgot which words she wanted to use to complain to him. Try as hard as she might, she could find no words to describe what she saw. Because all around them where the pond should have been, the scenery changed into that of a desolate white plain.

『What is this?! What is the meaning of this?!』

Zana pulled on Aur’s sleeve while desperately trying to squeeze even a single word out of her mouth. He finally noticed her attempts and touched his throat as if it was supposed to be an answer to her questions.

I see.

Aur moved his lips voicelessly and draw a complicated shape in the air before him.

「…..What on earth is going on here?!」

As soon as he finished drawing the shape, Zana could speak normally like usual.

「Can’t you see? Just look around you.」

Zana begins to look around, just like Aur told her to do. As far as the eye could see, there was nothing but a bleak, barren scenery. Even though it was the dead of night, the white earth filled the surroundings with such a dazzling light as if it was still daytime, contrasting clearly with the black sky. Aside from pale stones, there was no sign of any form of life, be it a blade of grass or even a tree. Just a desolate wasteland that continued endlessly.

「No way… the Demon World?!」

It was indeed very similar to the plane where the demons dwelled that Lilu often talked about.
「Close, but no cigar this time I’m afraid.」

Aur replies to Zana with a small laughter, clearly amused at the sight of her furrowing her brows trying to comprehend her surroundings.

「This is the moon.」

「… Come again?」

That was all that Zana could say after hearing such a blatantly dumb answer.

「I made a hole in the moonlight floating in the pond and used Misha’s power to erase the boundary between the reflection and the real thing to get us here.」

The atmosphere on the moon was apparently filled with water which mortals could not see nor touch. That is why their bodies felt strangely light as if they weighted nothing. Also, without magic breathing and talking was impossible, and the temperature was low enough for any sentient being to freeze in a second. Aur knew all those things already, but up to this point he was not entirely sure if they’d be able to speak normally, even with the help of magic. Turns out that they can and thank all that is unholy for that.

「But… why are we here in the first place?」

「That should be obvious.」

Aur said to Zana, who suddenly had goosebumps all over her body, predicting that the answer to that particular question is going to be quite unreasonable.

「We are here to have an audience with Marina, the Moon Goddess whom you worship.」

「….. You’re going to defile her, aren’t you?」

「Who knows. Maybe I will, maybe I won’t. That largely depends on you.」

Aur looks around until he notices a faint trail of bluish light marking the way through the white wilderness.

「Looks like she’s ready to grant us an audience. Let’s go. We shouldn’t keep the Goddess waiting.」


Following the line of light for a while, they found it in the middle of the white wasteland.

A castle so beautiful that it was obvious at the first glance that it didn’t really belong to this desolate land.

「Maybe it’s just me, but… doesn’t that look awfully similar to my castle in Himuro?」

「Rather than that, you should say your castle resembles this one.」

The difference is that there is no moat surrounding the castle here on the moon. For obvious reasons.

「And you think we should enter it, just like that?」

「Probably. This is where the light is leading us after all.」

Aur walks through the gates with confidence while Zana trails in behind him, surveying her surroundings cautiously all the time.

「I welcome you, my honored guests, in my humble abode.」

They were greeted by the Goddess herself as soon as they walked inside. When she saw here, Zana inadvertently gasped for air.

Slender and tall figure adorned by strands of golden hair that were falling all the way to the floor. A face so beautiful as if it was the collection of all the beauty in the world preserved on the finest of canvases. Her outfit looked so ephemeral as if it was woven out of the moonlight itself, adding to the Goddess’s dignified radiance.

She looked exactly like the kind of woman Zana wished to become. Minus one, despairingly obvious difference. Unlike Zana, Marina was equipped with a pair of very feminine looking bulges on her chest.

「I thank you for agreeing to see us, Marina, Goddess of the Moon. My name is Aur, the Demon Lord.」

「And I thank you for travelling all this way just to meet me, Demon Lord Aur. I believe it is our first-time meeting face to face.」

When she was speaking, a cane shaped like the moon itself appeared in Marina’s hands. It was at that moment that Zana knew… Aur fucked up.

No matter how strong he is and what tactics he might utilize, he was no match for someone of Marina’s caliber. The Goddess standing before them was not like Sakuya or Tatsuki. The rulers of the elements back on the earth. The crawling sensation on her skin made her realize that in the most unpleasant of ways.

She was just standing there, not showing any signs of hostility towards them, but the pressure she was emitting made Zana kneel and assume the praying posture without her even realizing it.

「I know what the tools of your trade are, Demon Lord. Cheating , deceiving, defiling and ensnaring… I have prepared countermeasures against all of them.」

It would stand to reason that the power used by Zana, which is being borrowed to her by the Goddess can be used by the Goddess herself. The power that let’s her have the best possible hand for every situation, to spin the thread of fate in her favor and always find the way that leads to victory.

She doesn’t know what Aur is truly capable of, but she doesn’t have to. Her ability is the one that allows her to utterly crush all those who’d oppose her without the need to see such insignificant things.

Even with Zana’ access to that ability, Marina’s victory is all but assured. Because there is a limit to what Zana can do, and the problem that Zana’s and Marina’s best is not the same thing. If Marina herself exercises that power, all of those weaknesses can disappear. As long as the great Goddess handles it, her authority will always reign supreme.

「Tell me, Demon Lord. Even if I’m a Goddess, you thought that as long as I am a woman then you’ll be able to get what you want simply by violating my body, the same way you did with all of your female subordinates? Because if that was indeed the case…」

The pressure emanating from Marina further increased, making Aur lose the strength in his knees.

「…Then you are sorely mistaken.」

Her tone was still calm and gentle, but the hatred and hostility woven in between the lines made Zana feel like she was about to throw up.

「Oh Goddess Marina…」

To withstand the pressure, Aur puts both of his hands on the floor.

Zana thought that he’s going to lift his head back up and grin like he usually does, but no. This time, something entirely different happened. His head remained lowered as if he succumbed to the pressure.

「I humbly prostrate myself before you and beg for your help. Please, lend me your power!」

He did endure the pressure, but not to stand against Marina. He bowed his head before her of his own accord. Seeing him do that, the eyes of the Goddess opened wide with surprise.

It is impossible not to bend your knee when faced with the pressure of a Goddess ruling over a celestial body as big as the moon. But to withstand that pressure only to bow your head of your own free will? That is something unheard of.

「I cannot believe this … Did you actually come here without any sort of plan? None whatsoever?」

Goddess Marina squints her eyes and asks him that, clearly thrown off balance.
「You, the so-called Demon Lord are going to bow to me just like that?」

「Indeed I am.」

Marina has no power to judge whether Aur’s words are true or false. But if any of his words would let to her ruin then the beam of divine light from her cane should have smite Aur down, burning both his body and soul until there was nothing left of him.

「My daughter has been taken from me and I myself don’t have the strength to take her back. That is why I am bowing my head before you, begging for help.」

Aur slowly stood up from his knees. If he did so against the Goddess’s will, he would have been assaulted by a flesh-shredding pain, bone rending pain. For the pressure of the Goddess is not a physical one, but the one that permeates both body and the soul.

Therefore, Aur is not standing up due to his physical strength. It was the strength of his spirit, his own will that made it possible for him to do so.

「I’ll say it as many times as I’ll have to. Please, lend me your aid.」

And he lowered his head again, even when he was finally standing straight. This spectacle was so bizarre that even the Goddess had to take a while to think what she should to with this whole situation.

Even if he was really doing this for the sake of his beloved child, the fact remains that he still corrupted her priestess, Zana, so also her by proxy. And she doesn’t even know if his word can really be trusted.

If he’s just trying to take advantage of her and make her his personal trophy like he did with the Goddess of the volcano, she’s going to kill him in the most painful, humiliating way possible. Or maybe… since he’s obviously willing to do anything to obtain her help, then maybe she can use that to her own advantage?

Sadly, her power cannot be used at times like these, because first she has to decide what does she want to do. Lend her power to the Demon Lord or abandon him? The outcome of the whole situation depends on that one not-so-simple question.
「All right, Demon Lord. I will help you, but on one condition.」

Luckily enough, the Gods have a special rule for cases like this.

「I will lend you my power, but you have to bring me something first.」

That rule is to put the mortals through a test.


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