The Lazy King 2 Chapter 2: Gula’s Starvation
Part 1: I’m full
Why did I go to such extents to consume such things?
I’ve received such a foolish query time after time after time…
It was a dialogue pointless enough to make me hold my stomach in laughter.
I’ll bet there’s nothing in this world more meaningless than a Demon’s desire.
It’s not that these longings exist because of us Demons.
It’s because these longings exist that Demons live on. That’s why you can’t call a sin-less Demon a Demon.
… And… and just as I’ve become one who can’t provide an immediate response to that senseless quandary, I guess I’m no longer something you could call a Demon either.
My awakening was a coincidence, yet also an inevitability.
My soul did definitely go out once, but as if it still had lingering regret, it displayed its gluttonous will-power, and returned.
Hazily, as if surfacing from a deep well of water, my consciousness came up, and naturally, the first thought that came to my mind was, ‘why?’
Even if I may have been a Demon Lord who built up much power over a perpetual existence, a soul that’s been extinguished can never return. There’s no such thing as a second life. There shouldn’t be.
But I found my answer soon enough.
Reflected in my sluggishly adjusting field of vision was a field of pebbles that went on to eternity.
Unable to understand what had happened, unable to fathom what to do, I simply leisurely surveyed my surroundings.
I should have been smack dab in the middle of a battlefield, but on the black soil was neither the Lord of Sloth nor his subordinates, and from the fact there wasn’t even the traces of the flames from that Demon Blade around, I determined that a considerable amount of time had passed.
In my daze, I turned to the palm of my hand. My body was practically the same as the one I boasted before. The limbs I had become accustom to, even after taking so much damage from that lazy Lord, were left without a scratch, and I could make smooth movements without any support. It was as I the complex fracturing of my bones I felt in battle had been but a dream.
Simply, on a land that was nothing but vast, the Demon World’s stars that hadn’t changed in several tens of thousands of years shone down on me.
The words that came to my mouth without meaning were blotted with tears.
“Haa… haa… he didn’t break my core… Leigie, are you not… an idiot?”
The reasons I was able to successfully revive likely numbered three.
First. Leigie’ Skill did destroy my body quite thoroughly, but it was unsuccessful in crushing a Demon’s heart, my soul core.
Second. His subordinates didn’t even doubt my death, and they didn’t confirm said core.
Third. The Dark Prison’s land was vast, and in the time my soul core spent regenerating, no opposing force happened to pass by.
If even one of those had gone astray, my consciousness would have drifted into an eternal hell, the depths of a true Dark Prison, and never surfaced again.
… Well, I’ll put aside whether that was a good thing or not.
Anyways, I confirmed that there was nothing wrong with my body. If there were, it would have to be with my heart.
Throwing myself down on the Dark Prison’s soil, the dark color of gunpowder, I looked up at the sky.
Still in a trance. Even when I hadn’t even started to think about it, the words poured out.
“Fufu… so I’m to… live in shame.”
I doubt this was done by the Lord of Sloth’s will. That man wasn’t one who would do anything so troublesome.
But, still, it’s quite certain that I lost. While bearing the name of the Devouring Lord, I met the first inedible matter in the course of my life.
And the satisfaction I felt at the very end of the end was enough to fill me up.
“I’m already full…”
I was satisfied. Not an iota of my hunger remained.
The moment when I resolved myself for death is one things, but now that it’s been extended to my life, it’s quite an ominous sensation.
My hunger was my enemy, and yet my friend. It’s only because it was there that I was a Demon Lord, and I was able to eat up all of creation.
With that gone, the current me isn’t even a Demon, and while this goes without saying, I’m definitely no Angel. I must be quite a fragment of an existence.
“Leigie, the truth is… you made me think it for the first time.”
Thank you for the meal.
My last supper had long drawn itself to a close. Then what is with the current situation?
There’s no god in hell. If there was, then what logic did he work by to put me on this land once more?
My comrades and vassals are gone. I’ve eaten everything. Even my family.
And this time, this time, my closest friend from over a hundred thousand years ago, my hunger, is gone.
Complete loss. In spite of my satisfaction, an abyss incomparable to starvation had opened up in my stomach.
After dying once, and reviving here, perhaps that was my compensation.
“Fufu… well, fine. If that’ how it is, I’ll play along a bit longer.”
With no goal or will, I’ll spend a life simply continuing down this endless path. How cruel must it be.
Even if I lack an objective, since I’ve already gotten on the rails, since I’ve already faced defeat, I’ve a need to tag along.
Also, if I do that, perhaps I’ll be able to touch the purpose of that Lord of Sloth’s power.
If I do that, then perhaps I’ll learn the reason my hunger lost.
“Well, maybe wandering the Demon World without purpose for a while won’t be too bad…”
I was always fighting. I was always devouring.
All just to sate my hunger.
Those were definitely absurd, and sweet, and fun days, but if I look back now, I was just being pushed around by my desire. After being cut off from my sense of starvation, I’ve realized that for the first time.
Then if it’s now, with my hunger lost, with me not even as a Demon…
The view of this Demon World should become a little different from back when I was a Demon Lord.
Let’s leave behind the world I called my dining table, and find a new one.
Moving my limbs for the first time in a while, I propped up my body, and stood.
A lukewarm wind brushed against my body. Noticing I wasn’t wearing anything, I let out a sigh.
Naked is embarrassing… that’s a sentiment I lost in a time long passed, but being left in this uncouth state isn’t good. It would be inexcusable to the ones that disappeared into my stomach, the Demons of Gluttony who served me up until the end.
Well, perhaps this second take at life would be more insulting to them than anything, though…
Without uttering a word, I used a Skill.
I was just a little anxious, but even without my hunger, I was able to operate Gula Skills without a problem.
The manifestation of starvation. An unfathomably deep darkness gathered, and wrapped around my body. To me, these were my clothes for battle clothes, and at the same time, my ceremonial garments.
Gluttony Skills specialized in attack, so it’s not like they’ll really be of use as armor, but it’s much more decent than being naked.
For arguments sake, I searched for my favored sword, but it didn’t seem to be littered anywhere around.
That one was my favorite, and it’s likely in the hands of one of Leigie’s subordinates at this point. There was a Greed Demon there, so perhaps it’s with him.
Well, that all doesn’t really matter. Even that Greed-kun who whetted my appetite to that extent, now that I’d lost my appetite, held no more meaning to me then the countless foodstuffs scattered around the dirt.
“… I guess I should get going…”
I already knew what I was going to do.
I’ll meet Leigie again. For that sake, I’ll start walking forward. That was the only premise. When the girl he was supposed to have killed appeared before his eyes, just what sort of face would that man make? I was looking forward to it just a bit.
I gave an order to my body, which felt heavier than it ever had before, and put one foot out.
Just how desolate is this reality without hunger?
It’s not like I’m damaged at all. Neither have my muscles declined in the slightest.
Simply through the fact I wasn’t properly embracing a desire, through the fact I no longer held any strong will, it seems my body will become this hard to move.
The Demon World’s map had names stuck onto it by the color of the soil, and the atmosphere surrounding it. Even if I didn’t know my exact location, I had a general idea.
The surrounding region, all the way to the horizons, was filled with pebbles of black, with some ash colors mixed in here and there, taking in the sun’s light without end.
And fitting of the name of the Lord of these lands, meaningless air filled with gloomy mana as if to lower one’s spirits.
It’s the proof of how, over long years, revieving power from the Lord of Sloth, the environment underwent a change.
Even thinking back to my oldest memories, it’s not hard to remember how this was always the Dark Prison ruled by Leigie of Acedia.
Meaning if I proceed like this, then Leigie’s stronghold… I’ll arrive at the Castle of Shadows.
But is that really alright?
Isn’t that like skipping the story, and directly going out to challenge the last boss?
By my estimate, my own power hasn’t declined, but that’s merely another peculiarity.
A Demon’s power is their cravings. There’s no way the current me that doesn’t embrace hunger is of the same strength as the one full of nice and healthy appetite.
I hesitated for a few seconds, and decided to alter my objective.
At the moment, I don’t hold the will to confront the Lazy King. I don’t have any will to begin with.
It’s no good to head straight for him. At the very least, getting a grasp on my own situation, and the current situation of the Demon World comes first. I’ve never experienced being regenerated from my soul core before, but I can guess that it hasn’t been a short amount of time.
I mean, I have all the time I need. With my need to eat gone, looking back, it’s been a frighteningly long time I’ve spent.
A map floated up in my head.
I thought of the closest fiefs to Leigie’s unified lands.
The Egoist, Vanity Seidthroan. The Crimson Prison ruled by a Lord of Superbia.
Tyler Gredmore. The Golden Prison ruled by a Lord of Avaritia.
The one with the greater power would be Vanity, but the current me didn’t have the heart to take on a Greed Demon. To line up a feast before me when I’m not even hungry, the thought alone sends shivers up my spine.
Vanity’s pride was, strangely enough, not violent. With that in mind, it’d probably be best to set out for the Crimson Prison for now. His army’s quality isn’t that high, so even if my sustained existence is to be found out, I doubt they’ll chase me too far.
After thinking that far, I noticed. Even without some grandiose goal, even when my hunger was non-existent, I was trying to live on.
That was just too strange, and I ended up giving a bitter smile.
“… Fufu… fu for my instinct for survival to still functions without desire…”
It looks like I’ll have to change up my opinion on life a little.
I let out a sigh of grief, and began walking across the black earth, that seemed to extend on forever.
Part 2: Maybe if my Appetite Returns
A change in the situation always comes abruptly.
Even for a Demon Lord with absurdly wide perception, we cannot see the future.
Last year’s me never even imagined that I would ever lose my hunger, and I never thought it would become this hard to move either.
To demons embracing their longings, those longings were their will to live. Perhaps I never truly understood what that meant until after I revived.
A world without hunger, as if I was seeing a dream, lacked a sense of reality.
While I had found myself in a new world, to me, it didn’t fall short of the depths of hell.
I was in a small town of the Crimson Prison I had reached by chance. And there, I ran out of power. I lost my will to do anything, and spent who knows how long collapsed at some café or another, forgetting an innumerable amount of things.
I’m sure I had a plan. But the black hole drilled into the center of my heart wouldn’t allow it.
Any and everything is but a trifle. To me, my appetite was a desire I could barely stand, but also the highest form of pleasure.
On the table of a dirty casual café, I fell flat. It was an action so pointless in nature I couldn’t even laugh at the Lord of Sloth anymore.
At the start, someone or another tried to talk to me, but perhaps getting tired of me not offering a single action in return, that came to an end all too soon. I also get the feeling I took a few Skills directed at my body as well, but contrary to my state, the Gluttony Skills I had honed over my life nullified all of them.
I’m not hungry at all. Yet still, my power shows no signs of dying out. It won’t decrease. No, more so, even when I’m not eating anything at all, I get the feeling it’s on the rise.
That was one of the few truths I came to learn upon returning from the abyss of death, and it was also something I should have been shocked at.
It’s not like I was simply eating in order to gain power, but when I’m growing stronger without doing anything at all, I somehow feel that all I’ve done up to now has been pointless.
I simply sat, and within the quiet darkness, I thought about its meaning. Without the desire that had always shaken up my existence, I had enough thinking time for my brain to rot.
I even get the feeling that I’ll be able to grasp something given just a little bit more.
But for some reason, today’s been quite noisy.
The sounds. The lights. A somewhat nostalgic wave of magic was coloring my world. Whether I liked it or not, I perceived it all around me.
I wonder if some sort of accident’s transpired. Even for Demons, in times of peace, the towns should have some peace and quiet. Especially with the place I was at not being any sort of major city. It was simply a remote settlement. If I was in the land of a hostile Demon Lord, that would be one thing, but this isn’t the front lines of anything. I can’t imagine who’d attack who here.
But if you turn that around, if it’s a rare occurrence, that means it can happen now and again. Those reckless enough to attack the cities of the Demon Lords allied to the Great Demon King come out regularly.
The information coming through my five senses told me that the town had been dragged into some form of war.
But the power ringing out around me, the forms, and the sounds, with the burden I felt on my body, they were fruitless stimulus.
They’re not at a level where they’ll harm a Demon Lord like me, and it’s not like…
… It’s not like I’ll be able to eat them anyways.
Perhaps someone died. Several sources of power went out, and several of them swelled up.
It was probably the after effect of the blasts. The table supporting my body was blown away, and my body was thrown onto the ground. Again, I’m uninterested.
Having been tossed onto the earth, I stretched out my flawless tongue, and took a taste of the ground.
… It’s not half bad. It’s definitely not bad, but my appetite isn’t whetted at all.
Since my revival, I’ve tried putting various sorts of food before myself. But still, there’s no signs of anything coming back.
It’s not like it’s inedible, but I don’t want to eat it. That feeling was one of a variety that, since my birth, I’d rarely ever tasted.
It’s also not something I felt when I confronted the Lord of Sloth. Those back there were negative feelings, but what I’m feeling right now is surely zero.
Apparently, even non-Gluttony Demons will feel hunger with the passage of time. That information did give me some optimism about my present condition, but I can now say that my current state is of a problem beyond that level.
“… Hah, I wonder what happened… for me to not feel anything to this extent…”
At this point, the hunch that I might not be a Demon anymore started turning into my certainty.
Is this that sort of, ‘truth from a lie’ sort of thing…
But still, what’s with this…
While I was thinking something like that, I was grabbed by the scruff of the neck, and hoisted up. My build isn’t too tall, so I don’t think any large Demon would have too much of a problem doing that, but it’s quite amazing that they were able to do that without saying a single word to me.
The hood that was intercepting the sunlight flew off, and I saw the face of the one who lifted me.
Curling horns that grew at the top of his head, and six eyes were the Demon’s characteristics. And to me, who lost all of my comrades, it was the first familiar face I’d seen in a long time.
Leigie’s subordinate Greed-kun. One of the few existences in this world that I tried, and failed to eat.
But even with one I thought of as tasty before my eyes, I don’t really feel anything.
Greed-kun’s eyes went over my face expressionlessly for a moment. The stare from his six pupils met with mine.
And in the next instant, without saying anything, still without an emotion on his face, Greed-kun chucked me with all of his might.
I was thrown. As if throwing a ball, easily, without hesitation.
How cruel… to throw me away after going through all the trouble of picking me up…
Perhaps he added some spin onto the toss, as my field of vision spun all over the place. On an incredible wind, and an impact great enough to rock my semicircular canals, without any real feelings, I put power into my body for once in a while, waited for the right timing, and made a landing on the ground.
Even if I’ve lost my desire, that’s something irrelevant to Greed-kun.
Hey, at least let my keep my pride. I try not to show my unsightly face, and try to strain my voice, but when it came out, I couldn’t help but think it was tinted with a tired tone.
“… Well, well, well, you sure do some cruel things there… to acquaintances no less…”
“W-w-why the hell are you at a place like this!!?”
“Fufu… I wonder.”
His confusion was enough to make me crack a smile.
Nice reaction. That’s a nice face you’re making there. As always, his appearance is fitting for one called a Demon. Greed-kun’s figure, of course, but also his gestures haven’t changed in the slightest from when I saw him last.
It would be nice if Leigie would give a reaction like that too, but…
“Of all else, I’m the one who’s wondering why you’re at a place like this, Greed-kun… what a coincidence.”
“This sort of coincidence… I don’t need it. Boss, please give me a break already…”
Looks like I’m quite hated. Fufu, even when I just went and devoured his collection a little… What a narrow-minded child.
Well, I doubt I’d even be able to do something like that at this point.
Saved by his reaction, my tension that had been brought down to the lowest possible level rose ever-so-slightly.
I could finally confirm the situation.
I smelled a scent that made my nose twitch.
Greed-kun, and the lone young boy Demon he was shouldering… that’s also a Greed-kun. Fufu, he smells like the type that steals emotions. There aren’t any other Demons around. Like a bubble of air, this entire area’s become completely empty.
But more than that, the problem’s likely the enemy.
Enemy… prey. Nice ring to that.
I turned my eyes to the side.
Two sculpture-like males. Wearing pure white vestments, their large builds boasted a pair of white wings of light on their backs. Heavenly messengers. Showing off their dark intent to kill us all in their silver eyes, these natural enemies of Demon-kind were lined up right in the middle of the Demon World without a moment’s hesitation.
As if one of the two had been replicated, they looked like two peas in a pod. The large presences they wore around themselves were a single widely pronounced symbol of fear to our race.
If you do something bad, the Angels will come for you, the parents say… Fufu.
“Two Angels… Fufu, it sure has been a while since I’ve seen the form of an Angel… it sure is regrettable that I can’t eat them.”
Their light presences, that had so little impurity in them they began to feel unnatural.
Even for someone with a perpetual existence like me, a force I rarely had a chance to meet: high ranking Angels. What’s more, the higher rank of those high ranks.
『Saint Lord』 Class.
This white light eating away at all the surroundings was the polar opposite of the 『Abyss Zone』of Demon Lords.
It must be none other than the 『Paradise Field』 Skill that only Angel Lords possess.
Their Divinity had a nasty nature of wiping away the Mana held by Demons.
In territories under the reign of Angels, we’re unable to wield our powers to our satisfaction.
Both of the Angel’ eyes were directed at me, the unexpected trespasser.
Even if you look at me like that… this isn’t my will, you know. Fufu, I was just kinda thrown, you know.
Yeah, I’ve just been thrown around. If you want someone here to resent, then go after that Greed-kun, okay?
The Angels’ Killing intent, enough to shake one’s soul, gave a jolt to my instincts. It’s not appetite. This must be those battle instincts that other Demons speak about.
Greed-kun called out.
“Zebul, I’ll give you a warning for old time’s sake. It’d be best if you ran! Ki ki ki, taking on two would be tough, even for you.”
Even when you just used me as a projectile, that’s quite mean.
But that may just be my misguided resentment there.
“Fu fu… who do you think you’re speaking to here?”
I’m an undefeated Lord. No, wait, I lost to Leigie, so I’m a once defeated Lord.
In a hundred thousand years of life, one loss. I can’t even remember the amount of things I’ve eaten. Never fleeing, never facing loss.
If you want to call that good luck, then go ahead, but more than that, my Gula disposition let me specialize in offense.
The use of my Skills were accompanied by a sort of uplifting feeling. Without saying anything, I started using them for once in quite a while.
… Fufufu, my bad, Vanity. I’ll be taking these ones.
The black aura of darkness that gathered with me at the center tainted that divinity.
A bottomless black that seemed to devour every color around it, that dark power that seemed to represent hunger itself was, even when its user had lost her desire, in good health.
I washed away that annoying holy air those Angels were spewing all at once, and dyed their white with my black.
The force that wouldn’t permit any resistance was, while I had lost my starvation, the proof I was still a Lord.
To eat up and defile all creation, a Gula Demon’s right.
“I can’t believe it… you ate their Paradise Field!?”
“Fu… I haven’t eaten anything. It’s just that my power was the stronger of the two. That’s all.”
Having their Field destroyed, the Angels’ silver eyes let off a dangerous light.
It wasn’t fear. Simply, their newfound will to fight me let out a slimy light. It wasn’t anything different than what Angel usually embraced whenever they were slaying Demon.
Strong light gathered in the palms of their hands. Unlike that let off by the Demon World’s crimson sun, it was a white light. Without even an incantation, their speed was like lightning, and their flowing movements gave off the impression they were accustom to firing off such bolts.
But I saw through it in an instant. The memories of the war of White and Black still lingered in my mind. Even if they haven’t appeared as of late, the nature of these things wasn’t something I could forget so easily.
I licked my lips. Even when I didn’t have an appetite, I was drooling.
… It sure was fun back then.
A quivering excitement ran from the base of my feet up my spine. All of my memories could be summed up with the word, ‘Tasty.’
That was a wonderful time. It was even regretful that it had to come to an end.
“Fufu… so you guys are 『Iustitia』 Angels?”
The time from collecting to shooting off their energy was a matter of seconds. Theirs was an attribute designed for rapid fire, and it boasted a high offensive power in order to bring ruin to Demons.
they shot off a light so dense, I couldn’t even keep my eyes open.
And without a chance to dodge, a large impact raced through my body.
An Angel’s power was much different from a Demons. Anyways, it was fast.
Their speed truly rivalled light. No matter how much speed you had, you would be unable to outrun it; it was worthy of the name Heavenly Retribution.
Yep, it was probably worthy of that.
The light went out.
I can’t stop my laughter.
Along with that killing intent, the angels’ faces had surprise mixed in for a moment. For some reason, without running away, Greed-kun was making himself scarce at the end of the alley, staring at me with his eyes wide open.
There wasn’t a single wound on my body.
“You guys… could it be that you’re idiots? Releasing out an energy attack at a Gula… fufu, there’s something here we like to call sheer stupidity.”
I cast aside the overcoat, which now had a large hold burned into it.
The pitch-black clothing I wore underneath were『Gobbling Garments』 produced through a Gluttony Skill.
Everything’s got to do with affinity. Gluttony was relatively weak against physical attacks, but against magic attacks, it was extremely strong. Even against something made of our natural killer, 『Light』, that fact held true.
The black clothing absorbed all light, as if it were a black hole. Even under the light of the sun, it was nothing but uniform black.
Still… it wasn’t tasty at all. I’m sure it tasted quite fine when I last partook ten thousand years ago, but…
How unfortunate, but there’s nothing to be done.
Even if I’m not to eat, Angels and Demons are opposing forces.
Fufu, how about I hitch a ride on that theory for a while?
I turned the palm of my own hand to the two Angels.
“I’ll show you a darkness that devours all light.”
As if taking those words as a trigger, the Angels’ wings began emitting light once more.
But at that point, I had already fired off my Wave of Starvation. The wave that gradually encroached on them was the hunger my soul thrived of in itself. For the longest time, it was the curse that obeyed my will.
As the light passed through the depths of the darkness, it was eaten up, and faded away.
The bland turned to pure energy, and filled my body. I’m not soft enough to be done in by elementary Skills.
I birthed countless 『Tentacles』 from my body. Because my own two arms had proven insufficient, I became able to create them. They were my hands.
They numbered a hundred. Of course, that number vastly exceeded the Angels’ limbs, and also Greed-kun’s hands.
The Angels’ expressions warped in disgust. Nice expression. That’s a nice face you’re making there.
“Then, I’ll start.”
Ten for movement. The other ninety for attack.
I manipulate my tentacles like whips to swipe at the angels from the side.
Perhaps not in the mood to be touched by them, the two Angels acted in unison. Their wings let off light, and they flew up vertically to avoid.
It was one of their selling points. Something that even lower class Angels possessed without exception- their heavenly wings… their mobility.
And as a Gula Demon with numerous means of attack, regardless of distance, I had a good affinity here.
As I swung one tentacle horizontally, I extended another up high, and brought it down at them.
And I extend another. Once you get to my level, the tentacles’ numbers and lengths can be freely manipulated and changed.
For the one coming at them from above, the Angels barely dodged to the said.
As they dodged, from the palms of their hands, they shot of large Novas, several times the power of their previous attack.
The balls of light numbered in the dozens. Masses of destructive energy cause the townscape to change. They shot them off without properly deciding a target, so they hit building after building, causing their collapse.
The ground shook greatly. Power great enough to alter the terrain. But with an increase in destructive power, the speed dropped off. As the came at me with speeds much lower than their light, there wasn’t the space for me to dodge.
I packed power into the tentacles at my feet, and had them bore into the ground.
And I avoided them all. Within my Zone, I could perceive everything. I understood the area, and for the balls of light without that great a speed to begin with, I could dodge them even with my eyes closed.
And like that, receiving power from the masses of muscle that were my tentacles, In just a step, I had reached the space right below the two Angels floating in the sky. Of course, in that space of time, I didn’t stop the tentacles coming at them up there either.
The skies don’t belong to you guys alone. If I felt like it, then like a spider’s web, I could string up my hands.
Nothing can escape from my dinner plate.
“Uge… you sure do some reckless things…”
I barely heard Greed-kun whisper to himself with a stiff expression.
Fufufu… that’s just how a Lord’s battles go.
I think your Lord’s the one who’s all over the place! Even if I try forgetting, I’ll never be able to get that taste out of my mind!
The moment the Angels had their full attention focused on the hands coming at them from up high, I gave the ground a nice kick.
I put the tentacles I used for movement to offensive use. As a large number of Tentacles came at them from below, one of them tried diverting them, the other directed the palm of his hand at me.
Fufu, for them to still be relying on magic Skills at this point…
Of course, this isn’t my place to complain. The ones who hold responsibility for this one are you guys alone
As if to match him, I also held out both my hands.
“The Skyeater’s Darkness.”
And light and dark were to clash once more.
The light tried to pierce through the darkness, and the dark to suck up the light. In a sense, it was a mini representation of our eternal struggle.
The energy I felt from that light was, without a doubt, Lord Class.
Therefore, the power I got from dissolving it was also large.
By drinking down the light, the darkness only gained in strength.
While Avaritia may be the best under the heavens at stealing, there’s no one out there to contest a Gula’s skill at eating.
Even so, I doubt I’ll be able to stomach all this energy. No matter what, the power of darkness was always a step behind that of light.
When Lords of the same level were to duke it out, it was inevitable that the Demons would be the ones torn apart. I knew that all too well.
That’s why I tempted them. With tentacles.
“Fufu… it’s not good to look away like that.”
I pierced the Angel’s hand with a tentacle I circled around from the side. At the same time the light emitted at me changed course, and flew into the distance.
For a moment, I could see surprise on the Angel’s face, and before that faded, the Angel was swallowed into my darkness.
An indescribable scream escaped his lips.
An exclamation enough to make me shiver. The power of the Angel passing through the darkness flowed into me. It’s likely that at the moment, he’s going through the pain of having his entire body dissolved.
The Angel passed through, and gripped my face with the palm of his hand.
I couldn’t see his expression. But it was easy to imagine. It must be the expression I’ve always found directed at me.
And that’s why, as always, I offered some words of gratitude.
“Thank you for the meal.”
In a short moment, the Angel’s body fully settled into my stomach. Only the remnants of his magic overflowed onto my lips.
As I thought, it’s quite tasteless. It seems that he did properly raise his power level, but this is way too bland, you know…
Following the law of gravity, I landed on the ground. As long as I have these Gobbling Garments on, I don’t even raise a cloud of dust, but out of habit, I patted down my trousers.
The other Angel wasn’t there anymore. I knew.
The moment the first one tried to shoot of that ‘Judgement Rain’ attack, the second took flight. Perhaps, if the other one had stayed behind, I wouldn’t have been able to pierce that Angel’s hand. And even after having his comrade desert him, the emotions of the Angel firing down his judgement at me didn’t shift in the slightest.
That goes to say that was their plan from the start.
“Fu… they’re way too understanding. How boring…”
If they were floating around, that’d be one thing, but I’ve no means to catch up to an Angel flying a straight line path away
In the first place, that lack of taste doesn’t let me work up a desire to give chase. The instincts for battle, the instincts for strife burned into my body were restrained upon eating that first one.
In the past, it was unthinkable for me to let an ingredient flee from before my eyes, but… well, I wonder if this isn’t too bad either.
I looked around the town that had become a mountain of rubble, and found Greed-kun looking at me from a corner.
As always, that’s quite some courage there. With a former enemy, a former Demon Lord before his eyes, for him not to be harboring any fear, even for a General Class Demon, that isn’t an easy thing to pull off.
Well, even so, in the end, that’s all he is to me…
“Ki ki ki, as always, that’s some absurd power you’ve got…”
“Fufu… even if you call them Lords, they weren’t anything to speak of.”
Just as Demon Lords differed from start to finish, Saint Lords had a wide gap between the top and the bottom.
Even among them, the Lords I just met were… small fries.
Well, even then, there’s no doubt they’re a rare food stock to find in this vast Demon World.
I let out a large sigh, and patted my stomach.
Ah… maybe if my appetite returns…
Part 3: It’s no good… I guess
I smelled it.
The table before my eyes was crammed full of various types of food.
Besides a single territory, the Demon World was covered in poverty. That’s why it’s a rare sight to see so many dishes spread out, but I was of a sort that didn’t really mind appearances, so that didn’t really matter.
… As long as it sates my hunger.
On top of a white polished plate was a meat dripping fresh blood.
As a Demon of Gluttony, I could understand. That was Dragon meat.
The raw meat of one of the few races of this Demon World able to fight on par with Demon. Of course, it was a rare delicacy, and its taste was supposed to be splendid enough to put it on the same level as Demons.
As I silently looked upon the masses of meat distributed across the plates, the large-built Demon that had brought it timidly asked a question
He was likely a Pride or Greed. I didn’t know his name, or his power. His lust for the limelight alone was first-rate, and he was a pitiful man who tried attacking me when I was furrowing my brow, and slowly walking alone.
To a Demon Lord, most Demons below General Class were generally just part of the rabble. At the very least, to one that had spent long years in the position like me, even when I’d lost my cravings, I could only speak of him as ‘one of those other Demons.’
“… I-is it to your tastes? It’s the meat of the Crimson Dragon subjugated just the other day. Meat that won’t fall short of any Demon… For someone like you that governs Gula, it must be more than a suitable offering, right?”
The Demon frantically tried to shrink his body, and his throaty voice shook. There really isn’t anything more unsightly than this.
I played around with the silver fork I took in hand, and gazed at the Dragon mean.
How troublesome. As I thought, it’s not whetting my appetite. I’ve no mood to eat it.
It’s smell wasn’t bad at all, and the power exerted by the meat was quite clear. Speaking of Class, it may even surpass a General Class Demon’s. It won’t transcend a Demon Lord, of all things, but even so, there’s no mistaking that it was a first-rate edible.
For the pitiful man kneeling before me, it must have been quite a trouble to obtain.
Normally, I would have devoured it without a second thought, but now it was futile. My feelings aren’t moved.
Even the concept of hunger itself is starting to disappear across the horizon of my memory.
In the first place, once a Demon becomes a Demon Lord, they can go several years without food or drink. That’s why there’s probably no need to worry about death, and for someone like me, who went through such an intense sense of irritation just through a single day without food, this was definitely the strangest state I had ever found myself in.
In the end, I couldn’t work up the intention to eat it no matter what, and without staining the end of the fork at all, I left it on the table.
“… No, I’m good.”
“… Eh? You haven’t even touched it, haven’t…”
“… You can eat it if you want.”
This isn’t me. This definitely isn’t my character. Just how am I supposed to face my subordinates waiting for me in the world beyond!?
Normally, the food, and the plate, and the silverware, and the Demon that made it all would have been in my stomach by now. I’m the freaking Devourer, dammit!
I dismounted the chair, and passed by the Demon staring at me in a daze.
And without eating a single thing in the end, I left the store.
At the entrance, a needlessly wary Greed-kun was waiting for me.
Oh, he wasn’t Greed-kun, was he… right, Deije.
Deije Breindac. Former general of Leigie Slaughterdoll’s army.
Well, at the point, he’s just a lone Demon searching for treasure in foreign lands, it seems.
Fufu, that’s what you call unemployed, you know. Unemployed.
“… Oy, oy, so you’ve seriously lost your cravings…”
“Yeah. That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you.”
Cleanly gone. Nothing left. All that remained in me was a deep feeling of loss.
I had no clue of the means I needed to fill that. There’s nothing I’m capable of besides eating.
Deije-kun knitted his brow into a difficult expression, and folded his arms.
“… I’ve never heard of something like that…”
“Yeah, that’s because I’m the first.”
Even if he’s long lived, at the very least, he’s probably younger than me.
Well, for the individual that lost their longings, it definitely wouldn’t be a fun thing to speak of, and even if such a case came up in the past, there’s a possibility it never spread too far.
If I took away the point of looking at Deije-kun as an ingredient, he was a rare find among Demons, an ‘accomplished individual.’
Usually, the deeper a Demon’s desire runs, the harder it is to hold a conversation with them. In that sense, with his shallow desire, he may still be a novice of a Demon, but as a travelling companion, he wasn’t half bad.
In contrast to his monster-like appearance, he was quite straight-forward. That man.
Well, that’s something I was even able to notice when I fought him a year prior.
“Well, that’s how it is, so the current me doesn’t have the willpower to eat you.”
“Ki ki ki, that so?I get the feeling it’s nice and peaceful that way…”
Seeing him let out quite a deep sigh gave me the impression he was quite the pessimist.
It’s not good to overthink things, you know. If you’re going to think so hard about something make it thoughts towards how you plan to satisfy your own desire.
Thinking of something, I tried asking him.
“… You, could it be that you usurped my appetite?”
“Wha… like hell I did. Even if you begged me, I wouldn’t want to take it.”
Well, that’s about right.
The target of his theft I likely treasure. You can call that the most popular type of Greed.
In the first place, I doubt someone who wanted something like my appetite would ever become an Avaritia. If there was a Demon like that, they would definitely come to govern Gula instead.
Deije-kun’s disgusted face was the real deal. Fufu, you don’t have to hate it that much…
Deije-kun, and that Zeta-kun fellow seemed to be suffering quite a bit, but once you become a Demon Lord, this level of heat isn’t enough to influence you in the slightest.
Regardless of having eaten that Angel, after confirming that not a particle of my hunger had retrned, I lowered myself into a seat at the café.
Of course, it wasn’t the one I had collapsed at before. That shop was destroyed from the shockwaves of the Angels’ attacks.
The shop chosen to grace our reunion was somewhat newer than that other one, but there wasn’t much a difference between them. It was that sort of small diner.
Perhaps because it was a ways away from the battlefield, the air was calm as if that scene from before had been but a dream.
It was enough to make one sleepy.
With Deije-kun sitting across, and Zeta-kun positioned to watch my every move, I conversed. They didn’t seem to intend to hide anything, and they smoothly explained the current state of affairs.
It looks like the Demon World’s state had changed greatly in the time I’d been gone.
It was right of me to set out for the Crimson Prison. My name was likely spread across the lands. As the foolish Demon Lord who tried to pull a bow at Kanon-sama.
That’s why meeting someone who knew my face like Deije-kun was a form of luck. Yep, I must be in luck. It’s not like we’ve become comrades in arms or anything, but there are plenty of Demon out there who won’t listen to what you have to say.
Also, when I’m left alone, that feeling of loss wins over, and brings a hinderance to my daily function, so in that sense, this moderate level of tension isn’t bad.
Angels and Valkyries.
Leigie’s demotion in rank, and of how Heard Lauder became a Demon Lord.
These old tales were all fresh news to me.
Of all else, Leigie’s fall didn’t settle right. I wonder what happened.
At the very least, the achievement of bringing ruin to me should count towards his promotion, and not the opposite.
The fact that the Ancient Demon who moved the army under his name, Heard Lauder, became a Demon Lord makes the possibility that Heard Overruled Leigie to be the most likely option, but…
Whatever the case, it looks like my death was the starting point of something.
A Pride Demon, and me of Gluttony don’t have too good of an affinity. They’re not an enemy I’d like to fight, but… if my annihilation started up something, then if my survival was found out, I got the feeling he would come for me. It was quite a pain.
But putting me aside, the two Greed-kuns were focusing on the former.
Future over past. Well, it’s not like I don’t see where they’re coming from. The problem with Leigie was mine alone, and Deije-kun was irrelevant.
While Deije-kun had become quite affable, Zeta-kun continued to send suspicious eyes in my direction, so I decided to just play along.
“Hmm… Angels, is it? I guess blue moons really do rise.”
“What’s more, Saint Lord Class. Ki ki ki, there’s definitely something up.”
As he said that, Deije-kun’s eyes sparkled with desire as if he were staring at his prey.
It was common knowledge that Angels occasionally descended, but that was in low frequency, and those with over a set level of competence wouldn’t think of coming down.
For Saint Lord class, if you exclude the War of Black and White ten thousand years ago, it was a story I hadn’t heard at all as of late.
Deije-kun’s words were quite on the mark.
… But that’s all they were.
It feels bad to dampen the flame on Deije-kun’s earnest desire, but this isn’t that sort of story. This won’t be the path to his glory.
From my point of view, it was all too clear, but a General has a General’s point of view, and a Lord, a Lord’s.
“Fufu… Deije-kun, you’re reading too much into it. Fufu… if you want Glory, then stop chasing around something like Angels, and start aiming to become a Demon Lord already.”
That was the first crossroad.
For a Demon who can’t even do that, there’s no glory to be found.
And chasing Angels is a waste of time. Honing the mind and body on the path to become a Demon Lord isn’t something done in order to destroy angels and Demons.
It’s all about seeing the depths of your desire. That’s all there is to it.
It’s another matter when battle is directly related to said desire, but your Sin isn’t something like that, right?
Fufu, this is what they call escapism, isn’t it?
Deije frowned, and regretfully shook his head.
“Ki ki ki, reaching that level isn’t something I can imagine for myself. I’ll just take it as it comes.”
Fufu… do what you will.
Of course, even if it be to friendly troops, any Avaritia willing to lend out the target of their longings (treasures) will never become a Demon Lord, you know…
Right, his sin is… too shallow. I know of a greed that burns much more brightly.
For Deije-kun who chose to toss away his treasure, of all things, it may be a matter of pure nature, but this is quite severe.
Zeta-kun asked Deije-kun a question. It looked like they were partners, and had a sort of teacher-student relationship.
The young boy Demon’s expression did indeed hold the color of trust towards him.
“So, Deije-san. What should we do? We ended up letting one of them get away…”
“… Now that a Lord’s in the mix, we can’t go on at this rate. I did plan to give chase, but at that level, to be honest, it’s beyond my hands.”
Our natural enemy, the Angels.
And the difference of Rank.
Deije-kun’s words were correct. Depending on the situation, Avaritia could exhibit unrivalled strength, but in pure fighting power, it fell a step behind Ira and Gula.
If he had that Demon Blade from before, I’ll bet he’d be able to put up a decent fight with a Saint Lord of that level, though.
That thing was all bark, and no bite.
“Ki ki ki, for now, let’s at least write in a report to the Great Demon King… even something of that level should give off a considerable reward.”
Fufuf… how sweet. How very sweet. Having Lust Demons for sweetness is more than enough.
Sweeetness and firmness. He’s pushing too hard on the brakes. There are times when wiles fall short of bravery. That was a phenomenon that we age old demons rarely come to witness.
Kanon-sama was a Lord that governed Wrath, yet also a kind-hearted King.
That’s why, even even with a simple report, there would likely be a bit of a reward. But Deije-kun, if you keep at it like that, then what you seek will never fall into your hands.
“So, Zebul. What do you plan on doing?”
“… Well then, that’s a good question.”
The Angel wasn’t tasty at all, but still, there was something to be gained.
My physical condition isn’t bad… No, the truth’s that I understand I’m at peak condition. The current me could probably even put up a more decent fight with that Leigie. Once more, I’ll get some experience fighting that Lord of Sloth. I won’t be crushed so easily this time around.
Of all else, the current me doesn’t taste anything no matter what I try to eat. That’s why perhaps I’ll be able to eat him this time around. Fight poison with poison… I wonder if that’s what you’d call it.
It’s the life I’ve gotten together again, so challenging him again doesn’t sound bad. I’m a challenger… fufufu, when I think of it that way, my heart dances just a bit.
Perhaps sensing something from my expression, Deije opened just one of his six eyes, and asked.
“Zebul, won’t you come with me? In the past, we were mutual enemies, but that’s exactly why I can understand your strength. Ki ki ki, taking on Angels instead of Demons isn’t a bad change of pace, once in a while, right?”
“Fu… I’ll have to decline.”
His proposal was a respectable one, even shocking to hear from a Demon. Inviting along one who once terrorized me in the past isn’t something I could imagine.
But even if I’d lost my cravings, I had my dignity as a former Demon. Also, the merits of answering to his invite were too low.
An Angel’s taste held too little value to me.
“Fufufu… I have a need to go and meet… eat up that Leigie.”
That was my obligation as a challenger to one who’d bested me once before.
Deije-kun distorted his face a little, and directed a gaze as if he were looking at a monster in my direction.
“… Just where do you find such energy after you were thoroughly destroyed like that…”
“That’s obvious… if I go on without eating, I can’t call myself a Gula anymore.”
Even if I’m not hungry at all. I doubt you’d understand it.
This is a matter of pride.
“… Well, well, well, I guess all of those Demon Lords out there are a bit off their rockers.”
“And that’s exactly why they’re all tasty.”
“Deije-san… is this person alright in the head?”
Zeta-kun’s face was quite clearly stiffened as he pointed at me.
What a rude child.
Well, I didn’t expect him to understand my train of thought anyways. This is mine, and mine alone.
Fufu… even if you may be Greed, I won’t let you take it from me so easily.
“… So you’ll be off to the Dark Prison, then… Ki ki ki, the ownership of that land has already shifted. Heard Lauder’s a tough one, you know? I mean, that there’s a Superbia who’s followed Boss Leigie from time immemorial. He’s even the Rank One Demon Lord at the moment. While you may be the Devourer, it’s too heavy a burden.”
You really don’t get it.
Yes, your words are all correct.
As it is, Pride grows stronger the more years pass by. If that gets to around the same level of time as Leigie’s existence, then no normal Demon Lord would be able to lay a finger on them. Ranks aren’t just some decoration, and as Gluttony, my affinity against him is bad.
… But that’s not enough of a reason for me not to eat.
Fufu… Rank One’s Pride.
Heard Lauder. It’s unfortunate that I won’t be able to partake in your matured taste.
But there’s no helping it. You may be a bit heavy for an appetizer, but I’ll eat you up all the same.
“… Keh, looks like you’ve no mind to change your intentions.”
“Could it be you’re making light of me, Deije-kun? Fufu… even like this, I’m a former Demon Lord, you know.”
“No, of course, I know that, but…”
Deije let out a dissatisfied sigh.
It was likely his own shallow desire that prevented him from empathizing with me.
The two of us were different lifeforms. The souls that formed our base, and our ranks were different. My power was higher class even among the other Demon Lords, and no matter how strong Deije-kun became, no matter how many Demon Blades he held, that gap was close to absolute.
I wonder if he’s noticed it.
That in the eyes he used to look at me, there was a slight color of awe mixed in.
“Yep… each and every one of you Lords is just too hard to deal with. There’s no helping it. I’ll just do as I wish, them.”
“And I don’t plan on stopping you. Carry out your cravings as you please. Fufufu… make sure you don’t regret it when they’re all gone.”
“I can’t even imagine these feelings in me going out. Ki ki ki, from my eyes, Zebul the Devourer… I can’t see that yours has gone out either.”
As me muttered that with exaggeration, he raised a peculiar laugh.
His eyes, and his voice didn’t give me the impression he was joking around.
Well, desire is something you keep within yourself. Only their possessors can truly grasp their natures.
As it to answer to that, I licked my lips.
After trembling a little, Deije-kun got up. He had a goal of his own. I had neither the right, nor the motivation to stop him.
“So will you be departing any time soon? From here on plan on heading for the Palace of Rending Flames as soon as I can.”
“Fufu… perhaps I’ll go meet an old friend first. Stopping to talk once in a while isn’t a bad thing.”
In the first place, it was a coincidence I chose to set foot in the Crimson Prison.
I came here without any detours, so I hadn’t even heard the slightest rumor an Angel had come down, and I never even imagined I would see someone I knew.
But when It came down to it, I met the Angels, and I met Deije-kun. It may be off from my goal, but while I’m at it, another meeting or two doesn’t sound bad.
Humans sure are interesting creatures… no, I’m pretty sure I mean Demons.
“An old… friend?”
“Yeah… I’ve been alive for a while… even if I look like this, I’ve been around quite a bit.”
Of course, a majority of those acquaintances have taken up residence in my stomach…
If you look at it from the other side, you can think of the one I was off to meet as one of the rare acquaintances I had that didn’t settle down there.
There’s also the fact I couldn’t eat him because we were part of the same army under the Great Demon King, but the greater reason lay with that Demon’s power.
Well, it’s not like we got along anyways. We’re comrades in longevity, so there’s that sympathy thing or another.
Suspecting something, Deije-kun opened his six exes, and stared hard enough to bore a hole in my face.
“Oy, oy, you couldn’t mean…”
“Fufufu… well, we’re friends… after all.”
“… That’s news to me.”
It was a somber voice as heavy as lead.
As if smacked by that voice, Deije-kun and Zeta-kun took large leaps back. I had noticed it all along, so I wasn’t surprised, but that presence surely was fearsome.
Strong enough that even with General Class power, you wouldn’t have been able to perceive it.
If I didn’t have my Abyss Zone, it was so thin that even I might have lost sight of it, and that inherently tremendous existence, was one of a rare Demon who didn’t show off a single piece of the power he had stored up from times beyond memory.
That was the base of the Pride this Demon governed.
Zeta-kun looked up at his large frame with a stiff expression.
“W-what… you.. from when…”
He was about two heads over Deije-kun, making one think he was one of the 『Greip Giants』 that once inhabited this Demon world.
His protruding muscles were built like stone, and they covered his entire body like armor. The gap between his dignity and his light presence left one with and absurdly ominous sensation.
A Demon Lord who gave up on the throne.
He was quite a rude one whose first sounds directed at me were the click of his tongue. The great Lord of Demons boasting the moniker of The Egoist, used his thunderous voice that reverberated through the skies to throw out some lamentations.
“Why are you alive… that Slothful Lord… didn’t destroy you… perfectly enough.”
“Fufu… how rude a fellow. For those to be the words of our long-awaited reunion.”
Along with an overflowing smile, deep despair started sputtering around me like sparks.
As I thought… isn’t no good.
Part 4: Seconds Please
Before I knew it, the store was surrounded by countless soldiers. Just like Vanity, their presences were faint, and the sense of reality of the situation was compromised.
Deije-kun’s face tensed, as he surveyed the area without a hint of negligence. His bearing was high strung, but there wasn’t any fear.
Men and women of all ages. Their bodies, and powers, and sizes varied greatly, but in just one regard, did that Legion have a trait that put it apart from the armies of other Demon Lords.
Without any divide among their movements, they all fixed their eyes on me.
Let along an expression, their entire faces were enveloped in full masks of the darkest black.
They somewhat resembled the subordinates of Vanity when I first met him, but they were also somewhat different.
Vanity the Egoist’s subordinates were a peculiar unit known as the Ravus Persona.
Their origin, or reason, nothing about them was known.
It wasn’t for their strength, but for their ominous appearance that their names were spread. An incomprehensible army.
If we were looking at strength here, then Leigie’s army that Deije-kun once commanded would far outclass them. As long as Vanity wasn’t with them, that is.
But still, even without their Lord, this army had something I couldn’t put my finger on.
“Fufu… that’s quite a greeting…”
“Caution is… natural… no?”
Vanity came to his own conclusion, as he look down at me from a level far above my stature.
That goes without saying. I’m Gula. I’m used to putting people on their guard.
With their faces covered, the silent Demons weren’t letting out any intent to harm me, and they merely looked on, as if awaiting orders from their master.
Loyalty. That quality that was exceedingly rare to find in a Demon was even rarer to come across in these numbers.
Fufu… well, I got used to it from past experience.
As if looking upon a detestable object, Vanity’s deep and dark eyes full of longings lorded over me.
“Zebul… damn devourer.”
“You’re scaring me… fufufu, I’d prefer if you didn’t glare at me that much.”
Those aren’t… the eyes you direct at an old friend, you know. I mean, I just tried taking a bit of a taste, didn’t I?
No matter how many tens of thousands of years pass, he’s a narrow-minded man…
And as always, the number of words he let out were few in numbers. It was apparently a habit he picked up in his childhood, and he couldn’t grow out of it.
What was the saying for this again…
The child is the father of the man. Right, that’s the one.
Without even trying to hide his disgust, Vanity raised a boorish voice.
“That one’s… a coincidence, I assure you. Fufu, though I did make a stop here in order to meet with you.”
“…So I took… the bait.”
The Crimson Prison was Vanity’s kingdom.
Entering it was one thing, but with a Lord like me coming in, there’s no way Vanity didn’t notice it.
As if trying to fill in the space between Vanity’s eyes and mine, Deije-kun opened his mouth.
Your guts alone are to be commended… Deije-kun.
“Ki ki ki, and so, why in the world have you decided to show up at this point in time, Boss Vanity?”
“… That, there.”
Vanity used his chin to point me out. As I thought, no matter how many years go by, he’s a rude one.
Finding satisfaction in that answer, Deije-kun nodded. I’d like to complain a little to that one.
“… You plan… on eating… more Angels?”
“… You sure bring up some nostalgic stuff.”
Yes, in the past, I was the Gula who devoured angels, and left nothing behind.
While they may be the natural enemy of Demons, no fault lay with them as ingredients. I have no discrimination among food. Apart from Leigie.
That’s why the Gula who ate the most Angels ten thousand years ago was likely me.
But of course, my goal this time wasn’t anything like that.
As the look of suspicion towards me rose, I spoke up to the man looking over me with an apologetic tone.
“But this time’s goal is irrelevant to that. Fufu… Vanity. I have some business with Leigie.”
“… Revenge… huh.”
A prideful thought. That sort must always have thoughts of violence.
“I’ve no interest in revenge. It’s because I can’t even eat him. Fufu… this time, I just what to have a little talk. With the Lazy King, that is.”
Yes. Those are my true intentions.
If it’s that man, who took inactivity to its extremes, then perhaps he would be able to offer an explanation to my current state.
No, even if he can’t… there’s no doubt that man killed the Demon Lord in me. In order to restore my desires once mre, it’s a score I have to settle.
Even if I’m only to face defeat again.
Vanity easily, and calmly nodded to my words.
“That… so? Do what… you want.”
“… Oy, oy, Boss Vanity, you sure about that? The Devourer, Zebul Glaucus, is the Demon Lord who pulled her sword on the Great Demon King, right? Ki ki ki, you sure you don’t have to clean up the matter?”
You sure say some unnecessary things. Unnecessary as it may be.
Vanity was definitely a subordinate of the Great Demon King, but he definitely wasn’t her loyal servant.
In the first place, Demons are self-serving. Direct orders from the King aside, there’s no rule saying that two Demon Lords who meet by chance have to break into a fight.
As I’ve had an unnervingly long relation with him, I can say it for sure.
Even if he’d given up on the throne, if you were to split the Demon Lords allied to Kanon-sama into factions, he would definitely be on the anti-Kanon faction.
“… Don’t… die… too quickly.”
“Fufufu… is this where I’m supposed to give my thanks? Then thank you?”
Vanity snorted, before readily showing his back, and walking off.
And as if they were a receding wave on the shore, his subordinates filtered out of the store.
It was like I had been seeing a dream, and after that, the situation was exactly the same as it had been before.
Vanity was only here for a brief instant. His presence wasn’t anywhere close at this point. Using my zone, I was just barely able to make him out before, but now it had faded into the mist.
Deije-kun’s stiff face let out a sigh.
“Just what… was that? He sure is an ominous one. My instincts were sending shocks of fear all over my body… Ki ki ki, the world sure is wide. I didn’t think it was like this last I saw it… ”
“… That’s because Vanity was preparing for war. Fufu… it just means he wasn’t as calm as his expression would indicate.”
From times past, that man’s been a coward. To his sin of Superbia, he held a crippling trauma.
That’s why he’s so timid, and that’s why he’s so strong.
I hadn’t seen him in a while, but it looks like Vanity hadn’t changed in the slightest. No, just a little, just by a small margin, he had become more resolved.
Fufufu… Heard Lauder must have stepped on a nerve.
Zeta-kun tilted his head, and posed a question to Deije-kun, who had regained his composition.
“… But why did he even come all the way here…? Even taking his army with him.”
“He likely came to hammer me down… fufufu, it’s because I know him quite well.”
Probably, Kanon-sama included, he was the Demon Lord I’ve known for the longest amount of time.
For Demons who I’ve known of that long, there’s probably only that Leigie to contest. Also, perhaps I knew of Heard Lauder, or not.
“Right. Hammer. I won’t get in your way, so you don’t go getting up in my business. That sort of thing.”
The killing intent flowing out from Vanity was definitely directed at me. To try threatening someone who, for argument’s sake, reigns over Gluttony like me, I can only show some admiration.
Fufu… just as meeting Leigie was my current supreme goal, Vanity must have something as well.
Well, I do have a general idea, but of course, I’m not going to do anything about it, and it’ll probably come to a result convenient to me anyways.
Right now, eating was nothing but a pain. It would be best if there were fewer hindrances.
Misunderstanding something, Deije-kun tensed his face, and let his gaze float out in space.
“Even so, that imposing air wasn’t normal… does that Vanity have some sort of karma with Angels? It did seem he had taken quite a bit of caution regarding them, but…”
Karma. Karma, is it?
Deije-kun was half on the mark, and half off.
If you ask whether he has some or not, then that’s probably a yes right there. Among long-lived Demons, I doubt you’d find too many without any karma against those heavenly guys.
“Fufu, Deije-kun. That Demon is…”
Should I say it, or not?
Hmm… I hesitated for a moment, but it’s not like any problems would arise just by saying it.
I wanted to put on airs for a bit, so I decided to teach little old Deije-kun.
“… a former 『Angel』, you know?”
Angels and Demons are two sides of the same coin. We’re all made of soul all the same, and the differences between us lied only in if we’re trash, or righteous souls.
That’s why, if an Angel falls, their spirits can turn over, and they’ll become Demons.
“… So he’s Fallen…”
Right. An Angel falls to a Demon. A 『Fallen Angel』.
A reversed Angel. An angry soul, betrayed by the love of god. Fufufu, in the first place, he’s much more sinful than I, back when I was still a Demon.
Even upon hearing my words, Deije-kun was more collected than I expected. Fufu, despite everything, it seems he really has been through a considerable amount of life.
He whispered to himself, to confirm the meaning of his words. Half of it may have been to let Zeta-kun follow the conversation, as the lad was looking up a Deije-kun with an uncomprehensive face.
“Ki ki ki, a former Angel… is it? That sure ain’t anything nice.”
“Well… that’s right. Fufu, he’s still quite bitter about it.”
Nothing nice. It’s because he wasn’t nice that he fell in the first place. Well, that’s right, I guess.
But why is it that Vanity currently holds the seat of a Demon Lord? An absolute existence among the ranks of Demons?
This is why humans are so interesting… no, Demons, I mean.
“… So can Vanity win against those Angels?”
Deije-kun muttered, but as if he wasn’t looking for an answer, he let his words dangle.
“Well, if it’s just Angels, he’ll probably win. But Vanity’s enemy this time is no Angel.”
“… Yeah. No ordinary Angel, a Saint Lord. What’s more, those guys… they went and powered up in the middle of battle. If that wasn’t something they had been concealing, and it really did rise right in the middle of battle, it’s going to get troublesome.”
Fufu… Deije-kun’s quite the worrier.
But those worries are needless. At the very least, if it’s an Angel on the level of the one I fought, it won’t be an enemy for Vanity, and that wasn’t even really a battle for me.
But I won’t say that one.
Fufufu, what you should be worrying about is yourself, and I need to start worrying about myself as well.
I turned my thoughts back to me.
Now then, how should I go about getting to Leigie…
How should I set out…
It will be difficult to get past Heard Lauder. That’s just how Demons of Pride are.
They have absolute strength, but if I had to say, that power declined the most when faced upfront.
But when it was a battle of pursuit, they displayed peerless strength. That was the Original Sin of Superbia.
In the first place, will he even fight me?
Leigie’s Castle of Shadows was deep in the land known as the Dark Prison.
No matter what direction I go at it from, I’ll have to tread on the territory of Heard Lauder. Will he think of me as a harmless Demon?
No, I doubt it. My power’s too strong for that, and even if I try to get through with words, he’s kinda a battle maniac.
In that case, I’ll have to make an opening.
If we face off, I don’t think I’ll lose, but it won’t be an easy win.
Pride was generally an attribute that excelled in speed. At Demon Lord Level, they could see the world moving as if it were stagnant.
Since there’s no way to break through by running, my best bet would be to wait for a good opportunity.
I don’t really like leaving myself to fate, but luckily for me, it shouldn’t be long before a large gap appears in Heard Lauder’s defenses.
“Fufufu, an opportunity, is it? How many years has it been… since I did something like waiting for a chance…”
It usually works out one way or another if I muscle my way through it… for me.
This exhilarating feeling of waiting for something to come wasn’t anything I’ve felt for a long, long time.
So what should I say at a time like this… fufu…
“Hm? Did you say something?”
“Fufu… it’s nothing.”
I dodged Deije-kun’s suspicious look, and stared out in the direction Vanity had departed.
Nice. That desire, that emotion, it’s quite nice. Vanity the Egoist. From the eyes of someone who’s known you so long, I can’t even believe you were once an Angel.
Time and luck were on my side.
Fufufu, Leigie. I’ll probably be meeting you in a foreseeable future. Have fun waiting for it.