58 – The Flame Hero’s Answer, The Departure of The Demon King Army’s Business Trip Team
First off, let me make it clear what I think of his proposal.
「By preparing a form of entertainment that is abundant with variations, a spotlight can be shown on those who, thus far, have not been blessed with the opportunity to play their part. To allow Demi-Humans, who had no choice but to play the part of the villain, to shine as an athlete. I believe this to be a splendid idea.」
「You have my thanks.」
Sir Fellow smiled.
「By preparing a stage where my teammates and I can play a role individually, it may be possible to excite the viewers in new ways. This is a project that is brimming with possibilities.」
「However, I won’t be able to meet your expectations.」
「…May I ask why?」
While his smile remained, the area around his eyes twitched.
I looked around to the other four in the room. Apart from Bella, three of them nodded their head in agreement. Only Bella waved her hand as if to say「Please, go ahead.」.
「One reason is that your true objective isn’t to just increase the number of entertainment choices but get rid of Dungeon Clears entirely and we do not agree with that.」
He could have lied about it. And he could have deceived us without us even knowing it.
But he didn’t because he wanted to make us his allies.
If we opposed the abolishment of Dungeon Clears, it would hinder his implementation when the time came. He probably wanted to get the future first ranked party on his side right now.
「Another reason is that Sir Fellow misunderstood something.」
「Sir Fellow said that if I were to lend my strength, I would bring forth a future where Lem could flourish.」
「Yes, he’s your best friend, right? You would do anythi-」
「I would do anything to be of aid to my friend. But this is where you’re wrong. I would never think so arrogantly that I could ever do something like setting my friend up for success.」
It’s not the same as fighting together and helping one another in the journey to victory together.
「Hey Lem, there are more games now where you can play a bigger role because we took on a new occupation!」is something I would not and will not say to my friend.
At the very least, that is not a reason to cooperate with Sir Fellow.
「Simply because he is your friend and equal, you cannot say something like「I got you a job.」? Isn’t that just a matter of feeling?」
「I wouldn’t be me if I ignored my feelings.」
Sir Fellow stared me in the eye. After a short time, he shrugged his shoulders.
「…If I had invited you differently, would the result have been different, I wonder?」
「What do you think? In that instance, we would have altered our course the moment we learned of your goal.」
「As I thought. However, in order to achieve a fair arrangement, Dungeon Clears must be abolished. As long as Monsters are perceived as evil, my goal is yet to be realized.」
Apparently, he has a strong dislike of the people’s perception of Monsters.
Before, when I was talking with Lem at that bar, there was that Adventurer that was rude to that Demi-Human waitress. His followers didn’t even stop him.
I feel sorry for the Demi-Humans who are discontent with the setting where Monsters are evil.
「There are those who are making changes from the inside. There are people who want to convey that Adventurers and Monsters alike are mutual enemies of equal strength and that it is alright for either side to win.」
「…That sounds daunting.」
「What I’m trying to say is, there are other ways besides abolishing it.」
「I wish to achieve my goal swiftly.」
「Many of the options that Sir Fellow presented are excellent. But I cannot accept this offer.」
「The part where you have taken an interest in the project itself is enough. But let me assure you, you are not the only party that I have invited.」
I’m sure that’s true.
He already decided to open a tournament in this town. At the very least, the participants have already been put together.
We were approached as the candidate for a collaborator with the strongest influence.
「If you ever change your mind, feel free to contact me, even if you were to fall below the fifth rank.」
He’s assuming that the ranks of those that cooperate with him will naturally go up rapidly.
「If Sir Fellow abandons the plan to abolish Dungeon Clears, we would take up your offer. We might be first ranked by then, however.」
I respond to his smile with a smile of my own.
In contrast to everything up to now, the laugh that slipped out just now felt genuine.
「Well then, I suppose we’re done here.」
This time, I stand up.
「Yes, thank you for your time today.」
The other four left their seat as well and proceeded to leave the room. I was about to follow them out when he called out to me from behind.
「Speaking of which, Sir Fenix, whatever is your best friend doing presently? I tried to search for him, but for some reason, I could not find him.」
That sounded forced.
「…He is searching for his own path.」
「I see. One more question. I know someone who works in the Demon King Castle but there seems to be no information on your defeat other than that it was at the hands of Lemegeton. If you don’t mind, could you tell me how a contractee of one of the Four Great Spirits lost?」
「How do you know someone who works in the Demon King Castle?」
「You don’t get it?」
…I knew it, he suspects.
If my guess is correct, he’s connected to Lem’s master. Blood relative? Maybe the son or nephew. Regardless, he’s someone with a blood connection. Considering his hair, eyes, horns, and Magical Energy, it’s almost unmistakable.
I’m sure Lem has somehow realized it in his heart too that his master was clearly a Demon King.
When I realized it, I did some digging. He’s most likely the Boss of the Demon King Castle from two generations ago.
If that’s the case, it isn’t odd for Sir Fellow to know personnel from the Demon King Castle.
Although, it appears that he isn’t privy to the latest information. Not knowing Lemegeton’s true identity and having to ask me for details about the fight must mean that he isn’t affiliated with the Demon King Castle anymore.
Abolishing Dungeon Clears also means putting the Demon King Castle out of business, so it only seems natural for him to not be affiliated.
He wasn’t actively revealing his true identity but he seems to be trying to make me realize it.
The reason for that is probably to confirm something by gauging my reaction.
He released his Magical Energy at that time acting in a way to see if I would recognize it.
In other words.
He wanted to see if I would slip up and recognize his Demon King Magical Energy signature.
Everyone has their own unique Magical Energy Signature, but blood relative’s signatures generally resemble each other’s.
He wants to see if I can recognize the Magical Energy signature of a Boss of the Demon King Castle despite not reaching the eleventh stratum.
Whether I’ve met the Demon King from two generations ago or perhaps the person who inherited that Demon King’s horn.
Technically, it could be another blood relative, but how would you determine that?
I stayed silent, and he raised his arms as if to tell me to lower my guard.
「Whoa, I’m not scheming or something. It’s just…that’s right, if it turns out that you do have a connection that allows you to get in touch with Lemegeton, then I believe I must give a warning.」
Is he half-convinced that Lemegeton is Lem?
He continues with his warning.
「The horn must not be used. Just like history’s strongest Demon King, Lucifer, he will feel nothing but despair at the unpleasantness of reality. Society doesn’t think well of「Evil」that holds great power.」
The Boss of the Demon King Castle from two generations ago, Lucifer. The Dungeon Name of Lem’s master.
That’s where I finally got an idea of what his true purpose was.
「…Could it be that…the fairness that you seek is-」
「I have said too much. I hope you can pass my message along.」
「…I don’t know who is underneath that mask.」
「I won’t tell a soul. I’m actually extremely interested in what he is going to do next.」
I was originally not good at lying but I guess that’s in the past.
「As for me, I think he is a good person to shine on the front page.」
Sir Fellow left with those words and exited the inn without waiting for my answer.
「I think it’s almost time.」
To my right is the somewhat excited Cashew carrying a rucksack on her back.
Although it’s only a nearby town, this is the first time for her to be away from her family for so many days.
I can see that she’s nervous but excited and restless at the same time.
To my left is a girl of small build who is in her early teens. She lacks facial expressions but her facial structure is pretty and her hair is as white as snow.
Her bluish-purple eyes looked straight ahead without looking around, while her hands restlessly carry beans to her mouth.
It was the Reaper Knight Furcus.
The Demon King is a little girl, the Chief of Staff is a young Human man, the Big Four consists of a blooming Vampire, a Majin who is a self-proclaimed Guardian of a Child’s Heart, a shape-shifting leopard who has transcended the sexes, and finally the usually giant armor-wearing…young girl.
Three girls, two guys, and one unknown is a pretty good balance. Rich with individual personalities.
Like this, she looks like a Human girl, but she somehow feels like a different race. I can’t see any racial characteristics though…
We booked a coach so our means of transportation is taken care of.
Right now, we’re at the town entrance, waiting for the coach to arrive.
「Cashew, got everything?」
Answered Cashew cheerfully.
「Great. Want me to carry your bag?」
I unintentionally let out a smile at her reply.
「Alright. You don’t have much luggage, huh, Furcus?」
That is to say, other than the paper bag with beans in it, she only has a leather bag hanging around her waist.
「Stuff like my armor and spear were sent ahead. Other than that, all I need is money to buy food.」
She says in a quiet, monotone voice.
Rather than say Furcus wears her armor, it’s more accurate to say that she gets into it.
It’s clearly not suited for her body, but she can practically wear and move around in it.
Not just her spear, but her armor is a Magic Tool.
Since I received training from her, I already knew about this form. Due to that, I also know this, Furcus is crazy strong even without her armor.
What she gains from her armor is sheer size and durability. Her combat prowess is all her own.
「Oh, that’s right. Well once again, I hope we work well together.」
Cashew followed with a「Work well together…!」.
Furcus gave a small nod.
She gave Cashew a few beans.
「Chief of Staff, want some?」
She asks but judging from how slowly she offers her hand, I surmise that she actually wants to eat it all.
「No thanks, but I appreciate the offer.」
Furcus proceeds to toss and eat bean after bean into her mouth.
「Ah, the coach is here.」
From now on, we are headed towards a certain Dungeon to revamp it.
I would later learn that there was a somewhat interesting event happening in that town.
Let’s see…「Come one, come all, be you Adventurer or Demi-Human! Pair up and aim for the top! We are hosting an above-ground tag-team tournament using Avatars! We’re still accepting challengers!」, huh?
Wow, that’s interesting.
I have work, so I probably can’t participate but I’d like to go watch if I have the time.
Wait, could it be that this is part of her Highness’s father’s plan?
The fact that they don’t care about whether you’re an Adventurer or a Demi-Human really seems like it.