“Scant reward for so much effort, eh?”
The monster sitting on his throne and glaring down on us mocked us in his deep, heavy, fear-inducing voice.
Now, how exactly did I get involved in this situation?
After exiting the hall where we fought and Regina defeated the Wraith Lord, we entered the hallway he was guarding. I had expected that as the isekai adventures usually go, we would probably encounter a group of Wraith Lords, and after defeating them, the Wraith God himself. Only after that would we get to meet Balgaar.
Fortunately, something like that didn’t happen.
The moment we entered the hallway, the atmosphere changed. I could feel a deathly breeze slowly flowing in from the place that hallway led to. The heaviness of the air pressing on our souls proved to me that the one waiting inside was indeed the Balgaar.
Despite our perilous situation, I couldn’t help but feel a bit excited at the thought of reuniting with him.
And so, we walked down the hallway. The closer we got to its end, the heavier and nastier the air became, until we entered a very large hall shrouded in darkness. The hall was nonsensically large: from my estimations using night vision, the ceiling was at least 500 metres high. The same went for the walls on my left and right.
In front of us, humongous pillars were lined up, each of them so large that it would take around 50 Samuels to wrap around any one of them. Large torches were hung on the pillars, lighting up our way to the path ahead.
From the place I was standing on, I could feel the aura of the one and only Balgaar, which he was purposely emitting to intimidate us and induce fear in our hearts. Regina seemed a bit scared to walk on that path, so I took the initiative like a proper gentleman and started walking ahead of her. At the end of that path was a large throne which seemed to be carved from a single crimson blood stone, with some golden carvings on it. The throne was fairly large. And why wouldn’t it be? After all, the one sitting on that throne was also huge.
The Lord of Fire, Balgaar, a giant measuring up to 5 metres in height. He had a muscular humanoid body fitting for such a large build. He was ashen-red coloured from his head to the toe. On his lower body he donned the lower half of a bright crimson coloured armour with intricate golden carvings, with skulls of many creatures substituting for a belt.
On his torso, he wore a breastplate that covered only the right part of his upper torso along with his right arm. The breastplate and the armour on the arm were fastened with a leather belt going around to the back from the left side, and scars adorned the rest of his abdomen, trophies signifying the various battles he had emerged gloriously victorious from.
On his head he had four black horns with the symbol of Hell carved in crimson on all of them. Two were large and were protruding from the ends of his forehead towards the sky, while the other two were smaller and were coming out from the place where his ears should have been and were pointing downward.
Those symbols served to provide a grim reminder to all that the one standing before them was none other than a Lord of Hell.
He didn’t have any nose: only the openings which resembled the nasal holes of a human skull, while his dark crimson eyes were looking down on us.
The one sitting on that throne, Lord of Fire, Balgaar, glaring at Regina, smiled savagely revealing his sharp, pointy teeth.
“I was wondering just who would be foolish enough to enter my lair. Should have known that it was you, the so-called Demon King. Tell me, have you come to finish what you couldn’t last time?”
Oh, so he still recognised her?
Regina didn’t answer: only her glare got stronger, along with the force with which she was clenching her fists.
“You three imps did everything you could to kill me last time, and yet here I am, ready to dominate the world again. Even after all those sacrifices, the most you could do was delay the inevitable.”
Balgaar calmly summed up the situation, causing Regina to visibly tense up, with beads of sweat forming on her forehead. Right now, she should be considering how to get out of this alive. And she might be counting on me for that.
“I don’t understand. Even after failing the last time, you still want to do all of that again? Just what motivates you?”
And she started making small talk.
“I don’t intend to talk about motivations and such with mere mortals like you, especially when you are an enemy.”
But Balgaar realised her intentions and brushed her off.
“Enemy? Isn’t it only natural to resist when someone wants to wipe you out?”
“Your accusations are unfounded. I did give you the option to cease all resistance and bow before me. It was you decided to go against me. As the ruler of this world, it’s my responsibility to curb all rebellions.”
He responded calmly, as if teaching something to a child.
“Bow before you and then live as your slaves for the rest of our life? I’d much rather die gloriously in battle. And who said you are the ruler? You are still rotting in this dark, dingy place, aren’t you? Is this the way a ruler lives?”
She mocked him. Please don’t make it harder for yourself, Regina.
“Gloriously?” Balgaar scoffed, “There’s nothing glorious about death. Death, is in the end, just death. There’s nothing glorious or shameful about it.”
He’s right, you know. His point silenced Regina.
“In a few days this world is going to belong to me. I am already its ruler.”
And then Balgaar stated his real intentions. He wants to become this world’s king. And then what? Go against Hell?
Is he planning to commit suicide or something? If he is, then I’m confident there are much better ways than this.
Balgaar, for the first time since I entered this ‘throne room’ with Regina, looked at me.
“Now then, who’s that turd hiding behind you? Your new comrade? I cannot see that human who so proudly proclaimed herself to be the Hero or that Dragon anymore. Have they already perished? You think you can defeat me without them?”
Regina remained silent and her eyes looked down, perhaps because she thought that Balgaar was right.
Oi, you are supposed to say something like ‘We’ll win together’, ya know. You’re hurting my feelings.
Now, enough with reminiscing about the past. It’s time to get to the real topic at hand. But how should I go about doing this? Doesn’t seem like I can avoid introducing myself. Fine then.
“It’s been a long time, Balgaar.”
And so I stepped forward and stood in front of him with my chest slightly puffed up, trying to tell him that I was not afraid of him.
Oh well, he’ll understand that soon enough.
He looked at me with a confused expression. I’m always impressed by the range of emotions he can show despite how he looks. As they say, appearances are often deceptive.
“I guess I should reintroduce myself. Samuel Hayden, at your service.”
I said as I removed my mask to show him my face. Now, I wonder how he would react.
The moment I did that, the entire room was filled with blood curdling bloodlust. His eyes were now wide open and flaring as if on fire due to the rage burning inside him, and his arm had crushed the armrest it was resting on. He reflexively stood up, and spoke in a voice filled with wrath.
“You, why are you here?”
I guess that’s only natural to ask.
“I’ve come to finish what I couldn’t last time.”
And so, I lied. After all, I myself don’t know why the fuck am I meeting a spectre from the past during my isekai adventure, and explaining him my entire situation would only be a waste of time.
“So, you’ve come after me to this godforsaken world?”
He asked, his expression a mix between disbelief and rage.
“Hey, Phiria is still managing this world, ya know.”
It’s rude to call this world godforsaken.
“As if that dumb woman can do something as complex as managing a world. The very fact that I am here is enough proof of that.”
Forgive me Phiria, but he’s completely right.
“W-Wait a minute! What is going on here?! You two know each other?!”
Regina shouted from behind me.
“Hmmm, he’s like an old acquaintance.”
“You are acquaintance of Balgaar?! How is that possible?!”
She got flustered and started shaking me. I brushed aside her hands and replied coldly.
“You are not the only one who has secrets.”
She seemed shocked. I turned back to Balgaar.
“But why are you here? No, before that, how are you even here?”
“I simply survived and came here.”
He replied with a hint of pride in his voice.
“You survived? Against the Adjudicator?”
“Hmph, just what do you take me to be, you shitty brat!”
Huh. That’s weird. Then what about-
No, this isn’t the time to be thinking about such things. A golden opportunity has presented itself in front of me, I should make good use of it.
So I extended my right hand to Balgaar, and made my offer.
“Let’s set these mundane matters aside for now. I have come for you, so how about we forget about our discord and go back, to our home? I still need you after all.”
However, the moment I said that, he started looking down. His entire body started trembling. The next moment, he jerked his face up, his expression twisted with never ending rage and grief. And then he yelled at me.
“Need me?! You twisted motherfucker, you have the nerve to say that to me after all that you’ve done to me and my brethren?!”
His shout that shook the entire place, resounded loudly in my cold, dead heart.