Chapter 154 – Thinking Back to the Demon Lord…
When we returned to Mulg, it was evening. It was quite chilly after being in a heated palace.
The season had completely changed to autumn.
Seeing the setting sun from Mulg made me squint.
「I kind of feel lonely now that summer’s over.」
I wondered what Shiggy was thinking as she said that.
This is the first autumn Shiggy saw.
I don’t remember my first autumn. Normal humans don’t.
「Shiggy, it’s autumn from now on.」
「It’s going to get colder.」
「After autumn comes winter. That’s even colder than now.」
Shiggy looked a bit disturbed.
So I patted her head again.
「But after winter it gets warm again, so don’t worry.」
Shiggy now looked relieved.
Because she’s still a baby, this is the first time she’ll experience a change in seasons.
I wonder how she felt.
An ancient dragon like Shiggy probably goes through thousands of autumns.
But you only get a first autumn once.
「Maybe we should take a walk to see the autumn sights.」
『Because winter is coming, the bears are active. It’s going to be harder to defend my territory.』
『Want to hunt with me, Shiggy?』
It seems that Shiggy wanted to hunt.
Shiggy hadn’t played with the little wolf pups for days either.
Maybe I should let her play with them again soon.
While I was thinking it over, Millet said,
「Al, why don’t you get in the bath before dinner?」
「Maybe I should…」
The beasts were really happy about that. Everyone headed to the bath.
It was very convenient having a hot springs in my house.
「Nothing beats an evening bath!」
And oblivious as usual, Cruz and Vi-Vi got ready to head in after me.
They weren’t opposed to mixed bathing at all.
「Give it up, you too.」
「Yeah, let him bathe alone.」
「Vi-Vi, I don’t remember raising you to do things like that.」
Cruz and Vi-Vi were surrounded by a bunch of “proper” girls.
I bet they were about to be lectured.
I used the chance to slip into the hot springs with the beasts.
I washed them like usual and we all got in.
「You like the bath too, Shiggy? Does it feel good?」
Shiggy swum around pretty well. Quite quickly too.
Moofy and Femm just soaked in the bath.
As I relaxed in the bath, Femm came over,
『How is your knee?』
『The bath’s good for it, right?』
「I think it’s a lot better than the way it would hurt before.」
The bath really didn’t have effect when it hurt.
But before it really hurt I felt that it did lower the pain a bit.
『Since the demon lord was protected by magic, maybe a magic bath is better for you?』
「Maybe that’s true…」
Even without a real reason, it did have some effect.
After enjoying the bath, I got out.
From that, I ate dinner, and then went to bed.
I decided to hit the sack early.
On the other hand, Cruz and the others headed to the bath after dinner.
After I got into bed, Shiggy got on top of my stomach and balled up.
Moofy drew close as well. She put her snout on my chest. A little heavy.
Femm laid down above my head like usual.
I petted them a while and thought.
Why was I chosen to be the magic lord?
What does it mean to be one anyway?
While I was thinking about that, Cruz came in after finishing her bath.
She probably came to bless my cursed knee.
「Al, how does your knee feel?」
「Pretty good, thanks to you.」
「That’s great to hear! Let’s go see the death lord tomorrow, okay?」
Cruz said, while she fell asleep aside Moofy.
It was me, Moofy, and Cruz.
「What is it, Moofy?」
Moofy now drew close to Cruz.
She nudged Cruz with her snout.
Cruz and Moofy seemed to be good friends now.
As I watched them, I petted Shiggy and thought about being the magic lord.
「Al, what’s wrong?」
Cruz looked over at me, noticing that I was lost in thought.
I was confused.
「What do you mean?」
「You just look like you’re lost in thought.」
I guess I just started talking about what I was thinking over.
「Magic Lord…well, the old Demon Lord…」
「From what Vi-Vi and Vallimie were saying, he was pretty serious about ruling.」
「Yeah, they did say that, now that you mention it.」
The Demon Lord was a serious ruler. He was trying to improve the devil’s domain.
That’s why he recruited Vi-Vi as the fifth of the Four Sub bosses to improve the land they were growing stuff from.
He even allowed Vallimie to stay peacefully in her forest.
If he was a general bad guy, he would have burned the forest to ashes.
「But then he suddenly invaded.」
「Yeah…that’s why we were order to destroy him, Al.」
「He started using zombies in his army right around the same time he started invading.」
「That is true!」
「That means, he lost the magic god’s blessing and became a follower of the death god when he invaded.」
Cruz looked at me with a grave look.
「You’re probably right.」
「Do you remember the last thing the Demon Lord said?」
「What was it?」
「『Never…forgive…you…only…you.』, I think.」
「Is that what he said?」
Cruz looked at me, confused.
His last words were directed towards me.
Not to the hero, but he said them to me.
After that, he hit me with the arrow, so I remember what he said.
「I bet the Demon Lord knew why he lost his god’s blessing.」
「Yeah, you’re right.」
But Cruz didn’t really look like she understood.
「He probably didn’t notice while he was fighting us, though.」
「Yeah, that’s possible.」
「Because you’re much stronger. He would understand it if he knew you were a much stronger magician than he was.」
I don’t know when the Demon Lord really sensed my presence.
But he probably knew he lost his blessing from the god of magic to someone.
Then, he probably realized that there was a much stronger magical presence than him somewhere.
He sensed that the tables were about to turn, and he quickly turned into a disciple of the death god.
Timi said that once a Lord is defeated, a new one is usually born.
A Demon Lord without a blessing and an unblessed Magic Lord candidate.
The one that survives received the blessing of the Magic God and becomes his new lord.
That means that the invasion was probably with the purpose of the Demon Lord killing off the new Magic Lord candidate.
「With a new candidate for Magic Lord, in other words, me, the Demon Lord might have remained a good Lord…relatively.」
「Yeah, you might be right.」
「With that said, it might be my fault the whole war against the Demon Lord’s army happened.」
「That’s not true.」
Cruz answered with a laugh.
「The evil of that army was the LORD’S fault, Al. It’s not yours!」
「If he thought he was going to be replaced, there are still other methods he could have used.」
Cruz spoke confidently.
While this was going on, Moofy was lightly chomping on my hand.
I was going to stop her, but she looked so sleepy I just let her continue.
「I think there are other ways then become a disciple of the death god.」
「Yes! It’s the path HE chose.」
Cruz said, and it made sense to me.
「So it’s not your fault.」
「I see. I’m kind of relieved. Thanks.」
Moofy drowsily chewed on my hand.
Cruz and I both looked at each other and smiled.
After that, I fell asleep.
It was a very pleasant sleep.
But I woke up in the middle of the night. I felt a strange sensation.
Moofy had my hand in her mouth, but was shaking.