The Lazy King 2 Chapter 3: Acedia’s Neglect
Part 1: Today was Peaceful
It was the reaches of space.
Space. According to some God out there or another, it was an endless abyss of darkness. Even if one possessed heavenly wings, it wasn’t so easy to span the emptiness that was vaster than the high Heavens, and rumored to exist in a place somewhere far beyond them. And there, it was said that absolutely nothing existed.
Gravity and matter and light and even desire ceased to exist.
All that was there was… right.
“… It’s not… nothing!”
An unthinkable amount of power came from those slender arms to pull at me, and from that dark, and warm, and soft space of nothingness, I was dragged out.
Lust generally wasn’t suited to battle, but when love was concerned they did have a nature that raised their abilities quite a bit. Not that it really matters.
Beautiful golden hair, and deep blue eyes. Her innocent yet delicate features held an air that would knock any Demon that governed another original sin silent.
But at the same time, there wasn’t anyone brazen enough to assault her on this land.
Lorna. No last.
A Luxuria Demon, as well as the Lord of Sloth’s personal maid.
But that form I once yearned for, that way of life, none of them were enough to stimulate my desire in the slightest.
It’s not like I Overruled her, or that I didn’t even envy her anymore, or anything like that.
It all just became a pain. All of it. Perhaps this is a single form of enlightenment.
Between me and her, I was just a little shorter, but that was a difference in the range of experimental error. That’s why when she grabbed me, and dragged me around, my feet still slid across the ground.
With strong will concealed in those blue eyes that seemed to suck me in, I offered a single word as always.
“… Why are you… in Leigie-sama’s bed…”
‘Twas my daily schedule. That’s why I’m always so sleepy.
With my arms locked down by her, I let out a yawn. The corners of Lorna’s lips twitched for a moment, but even that expression of hers was lovable.
This may be her natural gift thing… no, is it something that simply comes naturally to Luxuria Demons? I mean, those guys are always tempting others’ carnal desires.
The darkness gradually seeping out of the deepest depths of my body.
Like Envy, it was hard to go against, but overwhelmingly more gentle, and nothing but kind. That force that was sinking my existence into depravity was something called drowsiness.
I wonder how much time has passed since the path of Sloth opened to me. Recently, I’ve become able to understand Leigie-sama’s sentiment just ever-so-slightly.
I’m really sleepy. And sluggish.
Just as Envy continues to scorch, and Gluttony continues to hunger, the desire of Sloth forbade me from making any drastic movement.
“… Each and every day, just give it up already…”
“That’s because you haven’t given up on crawling in there each and every day!!”
As if her usual calm demeanor was but a lie, Lorna began prodding me with her broom.
And just as I’ve begun to understand Leigie-sama’s feelings as of late, I’ve begun to understand Lorna as well.
It’s not that she’s kind. She’s kind to Leigie-sama. She’s spoiling him.
There was probably a small difference between the two.
She incessantly shakes up my shoulders.
But up to here’s just our usual routine. Perhaps because of Sloth’s power, even if she’s shaking me like that, it barely gets through to me.
“Medea Luxeliaheart! Do your work properly!”
“… I’m a pillow.”
It’s not like working is a pain.
My duty is for me to sleep in Leigie-sama’s bed. By sleep, I don’t mean it in any strange way. I’m just trying to indicate pure and simple sleep.
In that sense, I’m fulfilling my professional duties more than all else.
As evidence, my Sloth Tree is proceeding forward at a reasonable rate.
“Then… what the hell is that under Leigie-sama’s head!?”
“… My senpai.”
Whether he was listening to our exchange or not, Leigie-sama had the back of his head rested against the pillow without moving a single bit.
The way he looked as if he were dead hadn’t changed at all. But the power I could feel from him simply existing there was definitely that of a Lord.
Senpai. My senpai.
Handed down from the Great Demon King, Kanon Iralaude, he was a pillow crafted from the plumage of infant Fire Dragons. Of course, he didn’t have a name. But having been made of Fire Dragon materials, the pillow was exceedingly durable, possessed ridiculously high fire resistance, and on top of being constantly warmed to a comfortable temperature, he boasted exquisite softness.
He was undoubtedly my greatest foe.
He was, but recently, I’ve found myself losing interest in mulling over something like that. In the first place, I never accepted it from the start.
Isn’t it idiotic to envy a pillow? I’ve never heard of an Invidia like that.
The reason I still aim for that coveted position is simply because my instincts will me to.
… And it’s not like I have anything better to do.
What’s more, the greatest bedroom in the Castle of Shadows was undoubtedly the Demon Lord’s bedroom. Just by being here, my power rises.
Lorna silently held a hand mirror up to me. And in it, I saw an expressionless Medea Luxeliaheart, without a trace of the abundant emotions I had before.
“… Hah… Medea. Are you really fine with this?”
As I gave an immediate response, Lorna let out a deep sigh.
Her eyes weren’t colored with wrath. They held only the colors of sorrow.
Lorna would never let an angry expression grace her face. Perhaps that was the nature of Lust, or perhaps she had gotten used to Leigie-sama’s behavior, or perhaps it was because she was the one who saved me. I didn’t know the reason.
She seemed to want to say something, but once more, she let out a deep, deep sigh, before speaking.
“At the very least, please wear some clothes… clothes…”
“… That’s a pain.”
In the first place, I’m barely ever going to leave the bed, so there’s no point in wearing clothing, and when I did want to leave, there was only ever Lorna here, so there was no point in hiding anything.
Leigie-sama’s here too, but I’ll bet he doesn’t even see me when I’m before his eyes, so the emotion of embarrassment before him had vanished at some point. Thinking about it was just a waste of time.
Without saying anything to my response, with a smile to indicate, ‘Medea’s drunk again,’ she took a single Glance in Leigie-sama’s direction.
“Leigie-sama… once I put Medea away, I will bring out your meal, so please wait a moment…”
Leigie’s sleeping time has recently gotten even longer. He doesn’t even make the slightest movements at Lorna’s voice.
Nodding in satisfaction, Lorna quietly extended her arms towards me.
She inserted her hands into my armpits, and lifted me up. I didn’t resist. This is also but our daily routine.
Being lifted like this was quite a bizarre sensation. It literally felt like I was moving without my feet reaching the ground.
As she carried me away like I was a piece of luggage, I offered her a word.
“I think it’s best if you quit it with these pointless things.”
No matter how many times you put me away, I’ll return.
And as of late, it’s a scene that’s happened over and over again. As if through homing instinct, no matter how far away she would stow me, I would find myself here.
Even if it went against my Sloth, perhaps that was the remnants of the Envy left within me.
I can’t calm down. I have to be here.
“Medea… you are a bad influence on Leigie-sama.”
“… Bad… influence?”
Lorna likely offered blind devotion. She saw only what she wanted to see.
This is the Lord of Sloth who’s lived an overwhelmingly long time, and you’re saying I’m a bad influence… just what sort of dreams are you seeing of Leigie-sama?
There wasn’t a window, but due to the countless candlesticks decorating the walls, the inside of the room was bright.
Oh, even if it was dark, with my night vision, I would be able to make out Lorna’s expression regardless.
I thought for a moment, and tried asking.
“So should I wear clothes?”
“… That isn’t the problem here.”
Then what exactly is the problem?
Even if I didn’t ask that, I could guess. If a Demon’s cravings are the validation for their existence, then Lorna’s being is the form of Luxuria.
But in this current situation, without envying me, without developing 『Invidia』, she continued to embrace that, and in that sense, she was perhaps superior to me as a Demon.
She didn’t answer anything more, as she draped a gray blanket around me, before lifting me up by the armpits again.
Without sound, she opened the door of Leigie’sama’s room. The deepest chamber to which no Hero, or Angel had ever reached was, to the maid, and to the worthless Demon known as me, simply a portion of our everyday lives.
The army of Leigie of Sloth, that used to exist in such numbers, could now be counted on a single hand. The inside of the Castle of Shadows, constructed of black stone, was dreadfully quiet.
The powerful and famous army had largely been absorbed into the forces of a certain Heard Lauder. No, that was probably Heard’s army to begin with. That’s why that was the natural result.
This castle was always much too vast.
Even compared to the Great Demon King’s Palace of Rending Flames I had visited once before, its scale was off the charts. It could fit two or three of those cities around inside it with ease.
No, in truth, while this castle was a castle, it was just as much a town itself.
Not just subordinates, all of the subjects under the protection of the Lord of Sloth gathered at this stronghold. Of course, they lived apart, but that was also one characteristic of the Castle of Shadows.
Additions, and annexes added onto one another, and onto this bizarrely bloated Demon Lord estate. Inside, a countless number of Demons had their own properties, and it had already developed into a sort of labyrinth.
But all of that is already a story of the past.
“Now, Medea. We’re here.”
While I was nodding off, it seems we arrived. The place I found when I lifted my eyelids was my own room I had become accustom to. Without any decent garnishings, it was a very practical room.
Lorna’s room was the one beside it. That wasn’t always the case, but since I began carrying around Sloth, she altered her station. So she could deal with me easier.
My body was left on the bed, and Lorna hit her hands against each other as if she had just finished cleaning up.
She tilted her head in thought, and murmured.
“Wouldn’t just tying her to her bed be for the best…?”
It was a pain, so I just gave two words.
Right, that won’t work.
It’s a given that Lorna’s schemings will end in failure.
Even like this, I’m a General Class Demon. In just basic specs, I far surpassed the maid.
In this dog-eat-dog world, that simple truth was an absolute value.
With a wordless expression, Lorna looked at me.
“Then just… work a little. Every day, you just keep sleeping in that bed…”
Then why not tell that to Leigie-sama?
In the first place, I am working. In my own sense of values, I’m continuing to pursue my desire. I mean, yeah, I haven’t been fighting as of late, but it’s not like fighting’s all there is to life.
Just what is Lorna wishing of me?
That was the biggest mystery. Leigie-sama no longer has any territory besides this castle, and this structure was completely surrounded by Heard’s domain.
Possessing a territory surrounded on all sides by allied forces was a trait that no one else but the Great Demon King boasted.
Meaning there isn’t a single one to invade here.
Even if you think long and hard about it, I doubt there are many out there who could get past that Heard Lauder.
“Leigie-sama is fine. Because that’s his job…”
Then what’s different with me? No, Leigie-sama’s sleeping time is rapidly growing in length. I spend about half a day asleep, but while I’m awake, the only time I ever see Leigie-sama awake is during his meal time. That meal is also fed to him by Lorna, so I can’t even say with certainty that he’s awake at those times.
I’m quite gone case, but Leigie-sama’s on another level.
That great divide was something I could only look to in respect. Just what can I do to sleep for such a long time…
When looked at from afar, Leigie-sama was quite bad, but when observed up closely, he was even worse, and even greater than that, was Lorna’s habit of taking everything in a favorable light. I don’t know what’s going on anymore.
And all was at peace at the Castle of Shadows.
Part 2: Honestly, it’s Troubling
Demons of Sloth are bored. Their cravings don’t require any stimulus from the outside world.
No stimulus means their bodies, and their hearts give no reactions. They can’t.
To summarize, one with Sloth at his base aside, for a half-assed one with other longings within me, it was quite an unbearable sensation.
This must be why there aren’t any out there that reach the extremes of their power through simple sleep.
Boredom was the slayer of Sloth.
I remembered back when there was a Sloth Demon among my subordinates. He was an exceedingly weak Demon, but that stands to reason. The more they move, the more Sloth’s power declines. Being enlisted in the army pretty much means there was no helping his powers dropping to such a low level.
He didn’t lose the use of his Skills, but the greater problem was that his base abilities were much too low. As a soldier, it was a fatal error.
On top of that, Sloth Skills weren’t even used for offense.
Every kind of resistance imaginable, VIT elevation, and other defensive Skills, as well, as some passives to let one live life without having to eat, and some passives to prevent one’s body from getting dirty, and some passives to make excretion unnecessary, and… anyways, there was an absurd amount of passives. Passive perfectly describes a Demon of Sloth, but no matter how you look at it, that’s an invitation to death’s door.
That’s why there’s no reason to embrace it, or a reason to forge it. For what purpose did Leigie-sama continue to push on with it, I didn’t understand even a fragment of his thought process.
But at the very least, I’m quite certain that the other Demon Lords proceed down their paths at a rate that leaves Sloth back in the dust.
And… I’m bored.
By doing nothing but wriggling around in the mattress like this, I end up recalling unnecessary things. I’m starting to feel a sense of inferiority.
Like, am I really alright with it like this?
Without finding victory, some hazy, cloud-like thing was wandering around the depths of my heart.
What’s useful at times like these are my Invidia Skills.
It was the most common Original Sin embraced by the Demons of the Demon world.
The heart to find jealousy in others was to Demon, and Humans, something anyone had felt at least once in their lives.
Fortune, and tragedy, and talent, and power, and treasure, and fame.
Even in this desolate world, there was an abundance of targets to envy.
It was the complete opposite sin to Pride, and its versatility of use was something not found within the other Skill Trees.
Well, I put a lot out there, but to say it simply… it’s optimum for killing time.
While lying face up on the bed in my room, I activated a Skill.
My field of vision frothed over in an instant, and changed.
It’s a Skill to observe those you’ve Envied. Based on time and place, this was an evasive Skill that could display considerable power. It could only target the targets of your Envy, and that restriction was quite a fault, but for the current me, it didn’t really matter who I saw, so there wasn’t really a problem.
First, the General who once served under the same banner of Leigie’s Legion, an Avaritia Demon, The Usurper, Deije Breindac. Let’s peep at him.
It’s been a bit since Deije left, but I get the feeling it hasn’t been too long either. While it may be one sided, I can frequently view his form.
Without taking up a position in another army, after he resigned, Deije had been wandering here and there across the lands.
There are few of General Class. That’s why regardless of what army he takes up service in, he should receive a favorable reception. Despite that, without taking up any official duty, he sought the fulfillment of his longings, walking through foreign lands. Of his way of life, I was a little jealous.
It seems he even got himself a tag-along. A Demon about as young as me. One with ashen hair and eyes.
Comparing his slender body to Deije’s was like equating a woodchip to a tree, but the power I sensed from his body was definitely nothing so small.
“… How nice.”
Compared to that, how about me?
How many months has it been since I last tasted the outside air? I can barely even remember it.
Since attaining Sloth, I’ve just done nothing but lie atop the bet, and spent my time lazing around.
If you ask about my growth, I am growing, so I can’t really say anything about it, but that growth was limited to my power as a Demon, and other than that, nothing had changed at all.
Thinking too deep about it would lower my spirits, so I changed my train of thoughts.
I craned my ears to Deije’s and that tag-along who seemed to be called Zeta’s conversation.
I’d never really met one before, but I’ve heard the rumors. That name belonged to the natural enemy of Demons, who lived atop the heavens, and the polar opposite existence to Demons.
The war that broke out around ten thousand years ago birthed considerable casualties on both sides, apparently, and the older Demons rarely ever talk about it.
Recently, the fact that more heavenly assassins had been descending had become the topic of gossip, and I’d listened in to that.
It appears that Deije is pursuing them. I don’t know the reason, and even if I heard it, I doubt I’d understand. Deije’s desire was stronger than mine, it’s probably something like that.
If he’s telling the truth, then will that something that’s going on in the Demon World make it’s way all the way here?
… Yeah, probably not.
After thinking a little, I ended up answering my own question.
Leigie-sama is strong. He doesn’t move in the slightest, yet he’s overwhelmingly strong
Even if that something were to aim for his neck, they’ll give up soon enough. They’ll understand the complete lack of meaning in such a deed, and how their power would never amount to enough.
I changed my posture, and pushed my face into my pillow.
Despite what she says, Lorna cleans my room as well, so there’s no obstacles to my slacking.
Without shifting my body, I changed over to the next target.
What entered my eyes was the form of a single girl with teary eyes, and grit teeth, looking over in my direction.
She was trying to form a smile at her mouth, but even a moment’s glance could tell you how cramped her face was.
Her form could be described as a little younger version of Lorna, with her breasts quite a bit withered. She definitely had an attractive face and figure to an extent.
The name of the girl who, if you wiped away the smile full of ill intent constantly covering her face, would look identical to Lorna, was Hiero.
Lorna’s younger sister, and the Demon who’s set to look after Leigie once Lorna is gone.
But she wasn’t the target of my Envy.
My target was the one calmly standing at Hiero’s side.
Like Leigie, the Demon boasted black eyes and hair, as if they were fashioned of darkness.
But the air about him was the opposite of the lazy Lord.
The Demon whose mere existence constantly exerted an aura that forced all creation to their knees was a Demon Lord who governed Superbia.
At the same time, he was once my superior, and upon becoming a Lord, he easily crumbled the ranking system, and took over the Rank One position among Demon Lords.
The Prideful Kaiser, Heard Lauder.
At this point, he was a Lord of Pride that no one didn’t know of, and with his condescending eyes pinned on Hiero, he raised his arm to the horizontal.
Towards an area of empty space, he lightly lowered that arm.
… And with just that, the ground split.
Without using a Skill, the pressure from that single attack had torn the ground asunder. The earth quivered as if choked with tears, as black pebbles rolled across the ground.
But with a single word from Heard, all of them fell flat on the earth.
Heard used his chin to indicate the natural disaster he had personally brought about. Even during that motion, his glare continued to pierce through Hiero.
With a dejected expression, the girl pointed to herself, as she tilted her head in a planned-out cute gesture.
Heard completely ignored that flirtation, and gave a single order.
“Pu… Nonono, that’s impossible.”
I unintentionally let out a laugh.
Just what does Heard Lauder think Hiero is?
She’s an ordinary person without even any military service behind her. For a civilian, she may be considered strong, but that’s all she was as a Demon of Pride.
I won’t say she doesn’t have any talent. Her garbage-like nature was exceedingly aligned with that of a Demon, and given the time, she would probably become strong.
But now is definitely not the time.
More so, to split the land barehanded without using a Skill, just who are you…?
I don’t even think most Demon Lords would be able to manage that one.
That was the farthest front only a Pride Demon who had continued to hone his body could reach.
I had heard of how Heard had dragged Hiero off from Lorna.
Perhaps he felt something from a fellow Pride Demon, but it seems she was persevering in being beaten into shape.
No, she was persevering, but… yep. My condolences.
That’s impossible, ain’t it?
In the first place, the thickness of Heard’s and her arms are completely different. While it’s true a Demon’s strength and appearance are disproportional, there’s something out there called limits. Hiero was just as delicate a Lorna. Her power was likely not something she polished to use in battle.
『N-no… impossible. That’s impossible for me…』
『No, I mean, my power is…』
On the other side of things, it doesn’t look like Heard has any intentions of listening to Hiero’s words. Well, that’s to be expected from a Pride Demon, but…
Hiero lowered her eyes from Heard’s, and with tears of defeat forming at their corners, she slowly lifted her hand.
I couldn’t handle the scene any longer, and returned my vision to my own.
On top of the bed. The complete opposite of the wasteland Hiero had stood on, lying idly in my world of repose. I stretched my body.
I recalled the scenes I just witnessed, did some calculations, and as no one was around me, I shook my head.
“No, no… that’s impossible…”
I really wonder what Heard is thinking… that was… too much. Even for me, it’s absolutely imposible.
I remember of how, with a gentle smile on her face, Lorna had told me of how Heard had taken Hiero away for training. I wonder if she hates her sister… no, that’s definitely wrong. Despite this and that, when Leigie-sama isn’t concerned, she’s a woman of common sense.
But that being the case, that scene back there was… just harassment. She’ll fold over before anything actually gets trained.
And wait, what about her household skills… I was kinda under the impression she was going to take up duty after Lorna…
It looks like the intent has completely shifted,…
This is kinda tiring…
I sighed, but I still went on to use the Skill for my next target.
My field of vision shifted for a third time. This time, it was for the kind older sister.
The form of a maid walking down a familiar corridor came to my eyes.
Even when no one was watching, she held a posture brimming with courtesy, and even when she was doing nothing but walking, that figure made for a pretty picture. She wore a clean white apron over a navy blue one piece. On top of focusing on practicality, the attire made her seem all the more lovable.
Her form was prim and proper, and while I can’t say for certain, she didn’t look suited to one carrying the sin of Luxuria.
But I know. Right, under that naively oblivious expression, I know just how muddy of an appetite lies. Her well-calculated passions let her raise her status as a Demon without letting a single thing taint her body.
Honestly, she was the one I was most afraid of.
In the past, I once chanced upon a meeting with the Demon Lord of Lust, Lilith Luxeliaheart, and by Envying a part of her, I could understand.
The Original sin of Luxuria didn’t possess any direct offensive Skills like Pride or Gluttony, but it definitely wasn’t weak. Its way of life was, in a sense, close to Sloth.
But if Acedia was like a plant, then Luxuria was a carnivorous plant. For them, the battlefield wasn’t some bloodstained wasteland, but a… stained bedroom. Their battles were not the swinging of fists, but to burst in full bloom.
In that, there was a melting fear that had built up in me without my notice. And Luxeliaheart, the Demon Lord one, was a powerful Lord who brought a number of other Demon Lords to their deaths.
It was, in a sense, the most dreaded power for a soldier.
I returned my eyes, and under the covers, I let my body shake in a fear that came from the depths of my heart as I whispered.
“… Lorna… what a frightening woman…”
“… And what do you mean by that…?”
I pulled off the blanket covering me. There, was the maid I had been peeping at, and fantasizing of.
The fact that I got lost in thought, and stopped watching, had backfired on me.
The perplexed face that she made— under that mask, I felt as if I were being tasted by the extended tongue of a snake, and on that illusion, I raised a short scream.
“Kku… h-ha… hah…”
It became hard to breath for a moment, but I somehow got myself in order. It would be no joke if I choked to death atop the mattress.
And despite all that… Lorna still takes care of my meals, and cleaning. That’s why it was unavoidable for her to be here.
A Demon of Sloth has no right to refuse. I mean, we aren’t even doing anything to earn it.
“Now, Medea. It’s time for your meal…”
Hunger hasn’t struck me yet. It’s because it has been abated with my Skills. If I continued advancing down this tree, then perhaps food will become unnecessary in itself. For the reason of it being a pain, most likely.
But there’s no way I’m getting there any time soon, and even once I’ve reached that point, I’d still probably eat meals. It would be difficult crushing such a necessary habit.
I press against my heart that was still exploding in my chest, and somehow raise my sluggish body before proceeding to the dining table that had been prepared.
Before coming here, I had never eaten a decent meal, so to me, Lorna’s cooking was the taste of home.
Even without hunger, there’s no way I would ever think it wasn’t tasty.
Silently, Lorna stood by my side.
Without saying anything, she watched me bring the food to my mouth. If she stares at me so intently, I won’t be able to make anything of the taste.
I finished eating, and as if she were gauging for the moment I put down my silverware, Lorna finally opened her mouth.
“… Hey, Medea.”
For a moment, I caught a glimpse of her hesitation. But that quickly vanished, and resolving herself, she threw a strong look in my direction.
“Don’t you think it’s about time you start working…”
Those eyes were filled with such sorrow that my heart began to give off a throbbing pain.
What’s with this mental assault… my Skills won’t defend me from it…
Her voice was still untainted. There wasn’t an emotion of Wrath or Pride behind them.
And that’s why it was able to pierce through my heart like a blade.
“Medea, no matter how much you sleep, you’ll never become Leigie-sama… you should have your own way to live out your life.”
I… I feel like running away. Her earnesty was giving me this unbearable urge to flee. It was only amplified by the fact she was my life’s benefactor.
And those words weren’t getting at the root of things. It’s not like I want to become Leigie-sama or anything… more so, I’m sure I don’t want to do that.
What I want to be isn’t the man, but the man’s…
After thinking that far, I started going over the sins I carried once more.
… There’s no way. I wonder if a screw went lose somewhere in my desire of Envy.
To add to it all, I’ve even begun to carry Sloth due to that, and it feels like I’m being closed in on from all sides.
If you carry multiple Sins, then each individual Skill becomes harder to raise. This is just a rumor, but its rate becomes even less than half. Because of that, it’s hard for Demons of multiple Sins to get strong.
Also, how should I handle the pairing of Sloth and Envy…
And wait, in the first place…
“… This place doesn’t even need an army anymore…”
Right. Leigie-sama’s camp no longer has a need for bloodshed. There’s no enemies, and no army. If you had to say, I was the sole member of the army.
If you tell me to work at a place like this, it’s honestly troubling.
Right. It’s not that I don’t want to work. I don’t have a place to work.
And to me, Lorna directed a smile like the Virgin Mary, and said something befitting a Demon.
“I’ll try getting Heard’s Army to let you assist their work, so…”
“I’m sleeping. Good night.”
I ignored Lorna’s cries, and dug myself into the bed.
Perhaps the one most messed up in the head is Lorna. She doesn’t think of a single thing but Leigie-sama.
What floated up in my head was the form of the one I had peeped at a while ago, Hiero, who was forced to attempt so many impossible feats.
Part 3: But that’s Definitely Strange
The Pillow is way too competent, that I’ve no chances of victory.
Results are something gained by victory in battle.
Even if the battlefield changes, that fact remains constant. I glared at the pillow Leigie-sama was putting to use, as I considered my means.
The Lord of Sloth doesn’t give much thought to anything. That’s why whenever Leigie-sama looks at me, all that comes to him is, ‘Ah, so she’s still here, is she?’
He probably doesn’t care about anything. That is his form of nihility.
His strength of heart to protect himself was unrivalled. Leigie the Depraved’s soul was always subdued, and it would never be moved by emotion. That’s why he reached the position no one else had ever attained, the lone Lord of Acedia.
Since I’ve been secretly trying to burn up his pillows while he’s asleep, I can say for sure. He doesn’t even care about those. If he’s thrown off of the bed, then he’ll just start sleeping on the floor.
But I don’t really care about that.
What’s important to me, is that the current generation pillow is a pillow that can’t be burned. Meaning besides the merit that I had the capability of motion, that pillow triumphed over me in every way.
Handed down by the Great Demon King, apparently.
A pillow forged of the down of infant Fire Dragons.
As a pillow, he didn’t have a name. But he was an article so fine, it wouldn’t be strange if he was granted one by his craftsman.
He was probably a compensation for all those times Lize burned through his pillow. That’s why he won’t burn.
At present, Dragons were the only race living in the Demon World that possessed power rivalling Demons. Their characteristics were their high attribute resistances, and durability, and even from a General Class Demon’s powers, they weren’t so easily knocked down. However, they were small in numbers, and with that, the down of an infant dragon was more valuable than any average magical artifact.
Once the dragon grew up, its plumage would change to scales. In its feather state, it definitely didn’t boast the durability of scales, but still, it was much too great of an opponent for me to face.
By the way, this goes without saying, but among the Dragon Race, the greatest threat is their fangs and claws, as well as the attacks fired off from their tails. But now that it’s become a pillow it can’t attack or anything, so I’ve no need to worry over such matters.
“Damn you, Great Demon King… for you to get in my way…”
Even when I acted up in his bed alone, this lord showed absolutely no signs of giving a reaction. I’m not sure if he’s completely uninterested, or he’s truly sleeping.
Even when I lightly shake his body, touch his hands, or cling to him, he wouldn’t move in the slightest, and I believed him to be truly worthy of such a pillow.
How rude. Even when I’ve thrown away my pride to present myself as a pillow to him, Leigie-sama probably hasn’t even noticed something like that..
It was a major problem that shook up my dignity. And at the same time, it was quite futile.
While I was likely carrying out the most gruesome battle in this cruel world, I heard footsteps approaching the room.
There were two sets. The ones who come here are severely limited. It seems that assassins used to come here as well, but since Heard took over the surrounding area, that hasn’t happened as of late.
In that case, I knew who would drop by.
Lorna or Lize Bloodcross.
I don’t know much about the woman known as Lize.
What I know is that she’s part of Kanon-sama’s personal knight brigade, and that she was sent with the intentions of observing the Demon Lord as a member of the Order of Black.
I also knew she was relatively strong, but when you put it against Heard and Leigie, the stage was so different, that I couldn’t really feel that much strength from her. What’s more, the only chances she’s had to demonstrate such strength was when she burned up this man’s pillows. In a different sense than me, she was a pitiful woman.
As expected, the two sets of feet stopped in front of the door. I felt they would become a pain, so I dove my body deep under the covers, and clung onto Leigie-sama’s body.
I’m a pillow. A pillow that can move of her own will.
With a small sound, the door opened. In order to let the matter pass, I held my breath.
“Huh? Medea isn’t here?”
As I thought, it wasn’t a matter for Leigie-sama, but one for me.
Right, I’m not here. So please go away already.
There are Skills to conceal your body on the Sloth Tree as well. Right now, I’ve become one and the same with Leigie-sama, and they shouldn’t be able to sense my presence.
Lorna and Lize seemed to be having a quiet conversation about something. I can’t really hear them. I want to use a Skill to listen in, but if I did that, then in all likelihood, Lize would sense it. Sloth Skills were made on the premise that their user wouldn’t be doing anything.
If I move just a little further down the tree, then I should obtain one that lets me go about life without doing anything at all.
But unfortunately, my opponents are professionals at dealing with Sloth.
They are the brave heroes who have continued to serve one of the rare Sloth Demon Lords for many years on end. I doubt there’s anyone in this vast Demon World more adept at dealing with Sloth than these women.
The cover was town away, and I was bathed in light and cold air as I continued to cling to Leigie-sama.
“… There should be a limit to running away from reality…”
Lize sounded utterly fed up.
Fine. I’m fine with running away from reality, so please just leave me be.
A hand was placed on the arms I was using to tighten my embrace.
“Now, Medea. Separate. Yourself. From. Leigie-sama!”
It was a fearsome display of superhuman strength. For an estimated Knight Class like Lorna, it should have been unthinkable for her to be able to pull a General like me’s arms away.
But by some divine providence, my arms were just barely being moved away.
“Look, Lize. You lend a hand as well!”
“… Hah… why do I have to…”
Despite her complaints, Lize’s hands were put around my torso.
Her power was probably over mine. If it came down to pure power, I’d never win.
This is no joke. If I get dragged off now, I’ll get wrapped up in something troubling. There was no helping it, so I used a Sloth Skill.
My body instantly became heavier, and the bed gave off a creaking sound.
My rising arms, as if gravity had suddenly increased, came down on Leigie-sama once more.
The Unwork Skill increased one’s own weight, and among Sloth Skills, it was a rare Active. That weight increase wasn’t something on the measly level of two or three times over.
But still, with the bed receiving enough force for it to begin to creak, Leigie-sama showed absolutely no signs of waking up.
“Medea… for you to even use a Skill… how cruel…”
Even I can tell what’s cruel or not. I’m well aware of it. You don’t have to put it into words.
And at that moment, as I hid my face, Lorna’s voice entered my ears.
“Medea… if you don’t separate yourself, then I’ll also use a Skill, you know?”
Chills ran up my spine, and alarm bells went off in my head.
Lorna’s voice had been the same as normal. That’s why it was bad. Could it be I tread on the tiger’s tail?
Think about it calmly. Rank-wise, I’m above her. With the resistances I gained as Sloth, there’s no way Lorna, who hasn’t even had any combat training, would be able to separate me.
My heartbeat was heavy enough that my chest hurt. As if to contain it, I increased my grip on Leigie-sama.
Lorna’s hand touched the nape of my neck. That’s all she did, but a sensation as if a sword had been pressed to my carotid artery came down on me.
No, this is an illusion. As a Demon of Envy, I can say for sure. Luxuria barely has any physical prowess. She won’t be able to do anything to me.
Then just what is this fear encroaching on me bit by bit?
“Medea… make sure you say uncle when you give up, okay?”
“But perhaps you won’t even be able to speak at that point…”
“… W-what are you…”
The moment I opened my mouth, it happened.
There wasn’t a single wound on me. There wasn’t any pain. But my instincts raised a scream.
My Mental Corruption Resistance Skill continued activating itself without end.
It was a painfully popular passive Skill among Demons. Even held by children, that Skill could identify any and every Skill meant to corrupt the mind, and render them null and void.
It was the Skill that made Luxuria the weakest, and once you reach General Class, it could invalidate almost one hundred percent of all things.
That’s why no matter how many Skills Lorna uses, I can’t think it will bring any effect onto me.
The reason for my shocks was the contents.
The Luxuria Skill Tree was simple. Mental Corruption included, it allowed one to grant any and every status abnormality, and specialized in glamor.
On something quite repulsing, I unintentionally moved my head, and confirmed Lorna’s expression.
Because I intentionally made a movement, the Unwork Skill was undone, and my weight vanished.
With a calm expression, Lorna directed her deep blue eyes at me.
“Wai… w-what are you trying to do to me!?”
I could tell she had done something by instinct.
Again and again, without any signs of giving up, with numbers enough for me to feel fear, the status abnormality she continuously tried to cast was the one that Lust was most suited in handling.
Its name was 『Heat』.
This is no joke.
Even if I know it won’t affect me, I can’t take this as a joke.
“Take off your hand!”
“So you give in?”
But I don’t want that. I don’t want to feel like a loser.
In the first place, this is pointless. It won’t even work on a standard Demon, so there’s no way it would take effect on a Sloth like me. Her Mana will be the force running out first.
At that moment, I felt a bad premonition cross my mind.
How many times can she use it? How many tens? Hundreds? Thousands?
『Heat』 was the most basic ability of Lust. Even Demons who had just awoken to the Sin could use it. That means it barely had even the slightest Mana expenditure.
For a Knight Class like Lorna, then it wouldn’t be strange for that to number in the thousands, or tens of thousands.
As if she had seen through my thoughts, she let out a gentle laugh. Her laugh was quite reminiscent of Hiero’s, and their figures overlapped for a moment in my mind.
I was sure of it now. That a little sister like that gave way to a girl like this. No, that’s the other way around.
“… Medea. Just how much resistance will you put up? A thousand? Ten thousand? Kusu… my 『Rat Sleep』 may take a bit of time, but… it will take effect on you eventually.”
In the end, Status Abnormality Resistance was but a resistance… nullification based on identification. It wasn’t complete nullification.
The probability of it getting through wasn’t zero. It was ridiculously low, but, there are times when it would actually work. And at that time, I have no means of freeing myself from it.
Of course, the probability of it working wasn’t something high enough for me to train for it on the battlefield. That’s why I didn’t pay it any mind before.
But if you look at it the other way…
Lorna gave out a declaration like that of a death sentence.
“I’ll keep at it as long as it takes. If it’s something on the level of 『Rat Sleep』… My mana recovery is higher than its usage.”
Meaning she can keep this up forever.
No matter how low the chances, if she was going to keep at it uptil it worked, then that was no different from one hundred.
Lize looked at Lorna with a cramped expression. It was probably the same as the look on my face at the moment.
“A-are you joking…?”
Even when she heard my chiding words, her smile didn’t chip in the slightest.
It was frighteningly ominous, and the information flooding into my head of how each and every attempt to resist the Skill had succeeded was uncanny enough to jolt my heart.
This girl… is serious.
“Just getting me in heat isn’t going to…”
… Isn’t going to be of any merit to her… I think.
As I was about to say, that, Lorna held her fingertip to my lips to stop me.
What was before me was a single Luxuria Demon. Her pupils stained with lewdness seemed to lick all over my body as they evaluated me. That was the first sexual glance I had ever received since I started hiding in Leigie-sama’s bed naked.
“… Kusu kusu… an unworking Medea… should just show off her unsightly form to Leigie-sama.”
“N-no, isn’t your intent changing…”
Thinking it bad, Lize offered some council to Lorna.
But in regards to that, Lorna threw out a carefree response.
“Lize, this girl’s Sloth is… just inactivity. It’s different to what Leigie-sama has.”
What’s different about it? That’s what Lize’s eyes were saying.
I was in complete agreement.
Just what’s different? Why not try giving an answer.
No, I’m still moving around a bit, so aren’t I more decent than…
At that point, from my ankle to my spine, a small impact raced.
It was simply too light, but the vividness of the sensation was enough to make my body leap without intent.
“Kusu kusu… look, it got you.”
The temperature of my body rose a little. A ticklish fever created a thin haze over my brain.
My thoughts begin to come apart. My body is hot. My heartbeat was resounding to annoying levels.
It got me. In itself, it wasn’t a fatal status abnormality. In the end, it’s just a basic Skill.
Even without a recovery Skill, something of this level should go away given enough time.
Sloth Skills cut off my senses. Because of that, the vision through my fevered eyes made it feel like I was watching the isolated events of another world play out.
I let out a hot breath, and directed up some words that were half me putting up a strong front.
“… Hah… something of this level is…”
“… You don’t know when to give up… Kusu kusu, you know what this is, right? Luxeliaheart. At this point… it’s your loss.”
A small light burned at the tip of Lorna’s right index finger. It was a characteristically pink light. I could instantly determine it was something from a Skill. Even what Skill it was.
Luxuria Skills were short range, and most of them wouldn’t activate without direct contact. In the first place, even if they did go off, they would be put down by status resistances.
But these unsurmountable demerits came with unsurmountable merit.
Luxuria was a Skill Tree to affect the mind. You have to fulfill the conditions first, but once that’s done, it can exhibit unrivalled power.
With me clinging onto Leigie-sama like this, I’ve no means to avoid it.
『Rat Sleep』 had not activated itself yet. After my resistances had been ringing off alarms for so long, they had fallen silent. Lust had its stages. First, to light the flame, then to spread the fire.
And this presents the main problem, my status abnormality resistance wasn’t going off anymore. Meaning I would be out in a single hit.
As if to enchant me, Lorna slowly brought her finger to my body.
Her slender fingers lightly brushed against the back of my neck. With just that, my mind, which was supposed to have been cut off from sexual passions, was thrown into disarray.
“I’ll make you bloom.”
I’m being driven mad.
That voice was filled with an ample amount of darkness. It wasn’t by much, but it was something I wasn’t able to stand.
At this rate, I’m going to have a mental trauma for the rest of my life. Or perhaps I’ll awaken to yet another sin.
“U-uncle! I give, I give up!”
Lorna looked at my face, before nodding once. That was enough to make my beat to jump up.
I don’t even know what’s going on anymore. I might cry.
“… Where’s your apology?”
“… Leigie-sama’s mattress has been stained… I’ll have to wash it again…”
She took a fleeting glance at the place I had been before looking down at me again.
The scary part was that I couldn’t see an emotion of anger in her. She was likely the type that could kill with a smile. If she had entered the army, then perhaps she would have become a soldier much more prodigious than I.
“Medea. Put on clothing at once, and take a seat. I have something to discuss with you.”
Her tone that didn’t ask for a yes or no, made me straighten up my back as I sat up on the bed.
Her eyes were shining. If I didn’t bring out as much speed as physically possible, Lorna was going to break me. That was the most repulsing, and unbecoming manner of a soldier.
I lifted my still-itching body, and put on the clothes Lorna had prepared.
I pulled the undergarments over my flesh, and draped the battle clothing I had often worn before over them.
They were made of a mass of dark materials, and they didn’t boast enough defensive power to block a direct blow, but they had a special magic carved into them to mitigate attribute damage to a certain extent.
Naturally, they were stiff, and they didn’t feel too good to wear. That’s the reason why, once I had a slight change in occupation to be a pillow, I’ve never once put my arms through those sleeves.
This is… a bothersome scent tickled my nose.
I did take a quick look at the bed, but losing to Lorna’s smile, I reluctantly stood.
Honestly, I’m terrified. In the first place, I couldn’t even raise my head to look at her. She was an existence like a mother. I always feel like apologizing about this and that to her.
As I sat in a chair with good manner, Lize and Lorna stood before me.
Their eyes were serious. Of course they were. Never once has Lize ever had any business with me since I’ve become a pillow. I’ll say this time and again, but no matter how noisy it gets out there, the Castle of Shadows will always be at peace.
Could it be… I’m sacked? Just by spending a few months as a pillow? No, no, I mean, that’s my job to begin with… and firing isn’t something decided but Lorna or Lize. That’s Leigie-sama’s job…
There were bags forming under Lize’s eyes. I’ve heard she’s been busy lately. Even a moment’s thought could make me feel how heavy a responsibility it would be to work as Heard Lauder’s observing officer. My deepest condolences.
Lize hesitated, but soon started talking in the cold tone of a superior giving order to their subordinate.
“Medea Luxeliaheart, there is a single job for you.”
… Don’t want to.
I wanted to answer that, but the glint in Lorna’s eyes kept me silent.
The answer I gave a few seconds later wasn’t something by my own will.
Battle? That’s the one with the highest probability. I’m a former General. If you look at it from another perspective, that’s pretty much the only thing I’m capable of.
If it was battle against, I guess I’d manage one way or another. Even if it be against another General, it would probably work out. As long as they weren’t a monster like that Heard Lauder.
I mean, I have that thing I got from envying Leigie-sama, 『Miracle Wonder Lighthand』.
I can’t use the left hand portion of it, but for an average demon, the right hand was more than enough. Just as Zebul didn’t know of it, that Skill was an unknown entity that barely anyone had ever seen before.
It’s a pain, but if it will let me evade those eyes of Lorna, then it’s unavoidable.
I don’t want it… being thrown into heat outside of my will is the worst. This is why Luxuria’s so wicked.
It’s also the reason that, when I envied that Lilith Luxeliaheart, I copied not her status abnormality Skills, but just her Skills to create illusions.
Taking away one’s free will is really the work of a Demon. No, that’s what I am, but…
But the words that came out when Lize opened her mouth next were a bolt out of the blue.
And at the same time, they were the worst.
“In Leigie-sama’s stead, you are to answer Kanon-sama’s summons.”
I unintentionally blinked my eyes, and looked at the face of the Great Demon King’s apostle.
The fact that she looked apologetic for a second didn’t escape me.
On the other side, without a hint of apologetics on her face, Lorna gave me my answer.
“That’s obvious. It’s because Leigie-sama is busy…”
“Eh? What part of him is?”
I looked over at the bed.
As usual, Leigie-sama was sleeping, as if he were dead. Even when his surroundings are this loud, I have nothing to say about his ability to concentrate.
I wonder how Leigie-sama has lived a life this long… Recently, I’ve begin thinking about that reason once more, and I’ve no answer to it.
In the past, I thought that, since I wasn’t a Sloth Demon, I wouldn’t be able to fathom the answer anyways, but even after gaining Sloth, I couldn’t understand it.
Seeing me like that, Lorna gave a brazen declaration.
“Do you have knotholes for eyes? Can you not see that Leigie-sama is busy taking his rest in peace?”
“No, that is…”
Yes, I can tell that.
I understand that, but that is completely irrelevant to being busy, is it not?
I’m not that free either, you know? Like thinking about how to better become a pillow, or peeping in on other Demons, I’ve got quite a bit on my plate.
Of course, I won’t say that. It’s scary.
Lorna is a little off in the head department, so I helplessly looked to Lize. She was considerably the more decent of the two. And that’s exactly why she’s going through such troubles.
“… It’s a customary practice for Demon Lords, or representative General Class Demons to stop by Kanon-sama when she calls a meeting. At this point, you’re the lone member of Leigie-sama’s army, so…”
Exactly right. Leigie’s army of thousands has been reduced to a single pillow. But I don’t want to go.
This is where Leigie-sama should go. That is his duty as a Demon Lord.
No, really, its not just that I don’t want to go, if you think about it logically, isn’t that how it’s supposed to go?
As I tried to speak, Lorna interposed herself, and made an imposing argument at Lize with just her eyes.
After a moment’s hesitation, Lize averted her eyes, and spoke.
“Not moving Leigie-sama is part of the Great Demon King’s will.”
“Eh? Isn’t that strange?”
What is the meaning of this? Leaving that man asleep is part of the Great Demon King’s will?
She permits him to shirk off his regular obligations?
If the Great Demon King was to convene a meeting, it could only be one thing.
A round table opened only when the Demon World was to face a time of crisis. It’s getting noisy in the world outside, so it probably has something to do with that.
Demon Lords are generally self-serving, but there are few fools out there who would defy the Great Demon King. Those faces dispersed across the lands should all be gathered there.
And with it being a gathering of Demons who’ve raised their sins to their limits, it was an inevitable instance of putting the cart before the horse, where casualties were often reported.
So let me declare it. If a General Class went out, they’d be crushed in an instant.
“… That is the Great Demon Lord’s will. Medea, do you plan on opposing that?”
“… Eh? No… but still, that’s definitely strange…”
“By the way, up to now, Heard Lauder has always been the one going in his stead.”
Just how soft is everyone being on our Leigie-sama?
But I don’t want to go. I really don’t want to go.
Leigie-sama’s already the lowest ranking Demon Lord. You can’t just permit him to skip out. I get that if he was Rank Three, it may be permitted, but for the lowest ranked of them all to not even show up, I doubt there won’t be complaints. Right, there definitely will be. There’s no doubt there will be some political turmoil if the individual in question doesn’t step out himself.
Right. That’s right.
Within my head, my Mini-Medea was crying out such things.
But reality wasn’t so kind. Lize strained her voice to a lethal level.
“Kanon-sama even ordered for you, Medea, to be dispatched in his place.”
“… Eh? I was called by name?”
With unbelievable emotions, I looked up at Lize’s face.
I don’t get what she means. Why must I…
“Yes, you were called by name. If Leigie-sama’s asleep when you get there, then be a dear and go drag Medea out here, won’t you?”
I heard the sound of Lize’s arm being clad in flames. Her power was undoubtedly over mine.
Kanon’s figure came up in my mind.
Back when I had just gotten here, the figure of the observer charged with Leigie-sama.
That woman… she’s favoring the man.
A hopeless reality was coloring the world beyond my eyes in black.
She occasionally called him ‘niisama,’ and she was always soft on him, so I knew it would definitely bring about something one of these days, but with this terrible timing…
I was sure she was impartial…
And on the other side, the maid who did with me what she pleased landed in the finishing blow.
“Medea, if you meet up with Heard, make sure you ask him to let you join in his army, okay?”
“… Heard Lauder…”
I recalled the form of the man who detested Envy Demons like the plague.
This is bad. I’m so dead.
I hath been forsaken by all. And it all happened while I was asleep.
Did I even do anything bad? This is just too much.
In this situation where there was nothing for me to do, I fell flat over the table before me, and started crying to myself.
Part 4: Now That’s Just Terrible
The 『Palace of Rending Flames』.
The castle the Great Demon Lord, Kanon Iralaude set as her stronghold was also the most important site in the entire Demon World.
Its scale didn’t reach up to Leigie’s Castle of Shadows, but its construction boasted of countless spires that reached up through the skies, and it carried about it an sinister air, as if the entirety of its designs had been but an insult to the heavens.
Just as the flames of purgatory, Kanon of Ruin’s rage could be felt by all who set foot into her land, and the power that could be felt at its center made one think that a single touch from her would burn even their soul to a crisp. All would hang their heads in awe before the Great Demon King.
But she was a Brocon.
It wasn’t in her character, but she was a brocon. Mentioning that was the single taboo that existed within this vast Demon World.
If I were to leak that information, then my own soul would be doomed to burn away to cinders. I’m always cautious as to not let the fact out in my sleep talk.
If a single word were to escape my lips, then the entire area around where I stood would be reduced to nothing but scorched earth. Without understanding anything of what was going on, the countless Demons within a large radius of me would have their lives drawn to a close.
Despite this and that, Kanon Iralaude was a Demon Lord who governed Wrath. Her anger wasn’t something anyone could control, herself included. And its output was needlessly high, even enough to burn through Leigie-sama’s resistance.
Ira Skills generally have ridiculous output, but there were many cases where it couldn’t be controlled. That was the burden that those who continued to pursue Ira to its depths had to bear.
She herself did seem to be mindful of it, but whenever she was by Leigie-sama’s side, she would frequently let out those incessant ‘niisama’s, to a point where one would even begin to wonder if she had any intention of concealing it, so even if I covered my ears, it would reach me.
If you’re the Great Demon King, then go get some dignity already. The hell’s with niisama? It’s not like he’s your real brother or anything.
I was posed holding on to the neck of a flying dragon, as a launched complaints at Kanon-sama in my head. I sulked as I looked over the outside world.
While it may be the Palace of Rending Flames, the land here wasn’t as hot as the Prison of Flames, or the Crimson Prison. The Great Demon King’s Wrath was, when compared to the Demon Lords of history, under frighteningly delicate control. That’s why, when aboard a flying dragon, a nicely cool wind lapped against my face, and gave me quite a comfortable feeling. If my goal wasn’t to attend the meeting at the entrance to the River Stix, then I might have actually enjoyed it.
By the way, Lize’s the one piloting the dragon, so I’m free. I’d like some praise for working so hard.
It’s been around a year since I last rode a dragon this far.
Perhaps some apologetic sentiment had arisen in her, as Lize directed some mindful words at me. And that was quite a pain.
“Medea… you really are becoming identical to Leigie…”
Is that supposed to be praise, or is she making fun of me? I hesitated for a moment.
Normally, being equated to a Demon Lord is supposed to be praise. But this time, it’s that Leigie-sama we’re talking about.
“… Thank you.”
Still, in the end, I’m but an imitation.
Everything started to not matter anymore, and I gained sloth for half a decent reason. The girl who gained such a sin is third rate, by no doubt. It isn’t by much, but I’m in no way a Demon to be compared to Leigie-sama.
If possible, I’d have liked to gain it after becoming a Demon Lord. But if I had just continued to pursue Envy like that, then in the end, I wouldn’t have become a Demon Lord anyways.
No matter the case, it was too abnormal. Envying a pillow… it was even more decent back when I was envying Lorna. Even when the result of that didn’t elicit the slightest reaction from Leigie-sama.
In that sense, my future is already pitch black. Pairing up the emotions of Envy with Sloth doesn’t make anything of use. There’s no helping it.
In that case, I should just live on as a pillow. Yep, let’s do that. I’ll become the ultimate pillow.
Then one day, they’ll call out to me. The Pillow Lord.
“Medea!? W-why are you crying!?”
I’m not… crying.
This is just sweat. Tears are something born of blood. Like what I shed long ago.
While I was carrying out that pointless conversation, the Flying Dragon descended onto one of the spires of the palace. It was the dragon post.
Apart from ours, there was over ten other dragons restlessly pacing back and forth.
The Demons dismounting from then were men and women of all ages. Monsters, animals, tentacles, each and every sort of form, but there was a single point that kept them all aligned.
The fact that each and every one of them possessed powers beyond General Level.
No, there’s a single Knight Class. I quietly hid in the shadow of the dragon.
Lightly patting the mouth area of the dragon to offer her gratitude, Lize tilted her head as she looked at me.
“Did something happen?”
“… Why is Hiero…”
I stuck out only my face to confirm it. She was definitely reflected on my eyes.
Mixed in with the Demon World’s elite, a single Demon of small power.
Beautiful golden hair and blue eyes like a doll’s. The hair that grew up to her shoulders was done up in twin tails. After being tossed around so recklessly by Heard, she showed not a trace of fatigue, and at that, I could only let out a sigh of admiration.
As expected of Superbia… Even when surrounded by a flock of Demons much greater than her, her movements didn’t show the slightest of lapse. It may have just been the girl’s personality, but the hospitality of her face was something I could only feel jealousy towards.
Luckily for me, it didn’t seem that Heard Lauder was here.
“… Why are you hiding…?”
Lize’s tired words stung my ears.
If that’s Hiero’s nature, then this is mine. I have much too much trauma. And in a place like this, it will only hinder my function.
“No, I mean, you…”
I knew what Lize wanted to say. I knew it enough, that it hurt. When there was a Demon of lower power than me carrying herself so boldly, I can’t keep myself hiding in a corner like this.
Regardless of how it came to pass, I am currently Leigie-sama’s representative. My behavior will drop Leigie-sama’s status.
Even if Leigie-sama himself cared for it less than the nail on his pinky, it was something my own pride wouldn’t allow.
… Because despite what I say, it’s not like I hate Leigie-sama.
I resolved myself, and held out my chest, as I wandered over to Hiero.
“Hiero… it’s been a while.”
“… Medea… san?”
Her face distorted for a moment, before returning to a smile. That part of her really resembled Lorna.
After looking over my body once, with a fed up bearing, her tone turned sour.
“… I’m surprised you can just show yourself before my eyes like that. Because I ended up saving you, I was sure I was going to be killed, you know?”
“… That was you reaping what you sowed.”
She did go against Heard’s will, and save my life, and that might have put her own life in jeopardy.
But that was something brought about by her own discretion. I may not be in a position to say this, having been saved and all, but that definitely wasn’t my fault. Anyone would have run away there.
Seeing my expression, Hiero sighed with a mature expression unbefitting her years.
“Well, I did end up surviving, so I guess it doesn’t really matter… so what business have you?”
No, I don’t really have anything like that.
Seeing one of my few acquaintances, I just wanted to call out. Unlike Deije, or Heard, I haven’t been around all too much.
Taking my attitude in some strange direction, Hiero raised a bright voice.
“Ah, could it be that you wanted to offer some thanks for being saved? Kusu kusu kusu, despite your scarce body, you’ve got quite a nice sense of duty there.”
She really phrases everything in a way that touches a nerve, this Demon.
Well, I didn’t have such intentions, but come to think of it, Hiero was kidnapped by Heard before I knew it, so I didn’t have such an opportunity.
Since it was by her own whim, I don’t have the obligation to thank her, but the truth of the matter is that I was spared.
I furrowed my brow, and tried asking, for arguments sake.
“… What do you want of me?”
“Ah! So that was true? Um… I saved your life, so I can ask for whatever I want, right?”
She crossed her fingers, and looked up at me in a flirtatious manner.
It was mortifying, but that doesn’t change how lovable that gesture was. Even with this personality, she was Lorna’s sister, and unlike her, she sure knew how to show that off.
I kept myself wary, as I answered.
“… Then please trade places with m–”
“Eh~!? W-what was that!?”
Outrageous. She was more decent when she was still at Leigie-sama’s side knowing she wouldn’t get anything of it.
I ignored her screams, and reunited with Lize, who was looking over at us with fed up eyes. That was a waste of time. Let’s go over to the conference room already.
Still… I see. Trade places, is it?
Even if she didn’t show it on her face, the training from Heard did seem to be having an effect on her.
… Her personality hadn’t changed, but I wonder just what it was Heard was attempting to drill into her. Power as a Demon?
I gave Hiero, who tried to pursue with teary eyes, a cold reception, as I continued forward.
The Demon Lords of other lands rarely chanced by the Castle of Shadows, so they probably didn’t know, but the inside of the Palace of Rending Flames largely resembled Leigie-sama’s place.
The floor, and walls, and ceilings were all done in ink black stone, and the strange patterns carved along the passageways bore similar likeness. What differed was that, as the castle’s Lord over here governed wrath, the air here was full of a quietly burning aura.
This is the second time I’ve come here, but it was something I thought the time before as well.
I don’t know if Kanon’s put a stop to that brocon tendency of hers. If she likes her niisama so much, then she should just call him over. It’s because she’s like that, that someone like me ends up being forced to come here.
While holding in such complains, I didn’t forget to be vigilant.
I’d like to think I won’t face an assault before the meeting, but Demons were a race where you couldn’t know what could happen next. The law of the jungle. Self-serving. It was a world where you could call something wrong merely because it was weak.
Lize was acting as a guide, but regardless of who she may be, I doubt she was a match for Demon Lord Class.
Those guys are monsters. Much greater than the gap between General and Knight was the disparity between General and Demon Lord. It was likely greater than anything we could imagine.
That was something I could understand from when a legendary Demon Blade couldn’t even raise the slightest resistance against Zebul.
Perhaps it was rare for someone like me to be present, as I felt magic probe through my body. Out of curiosity, some eyes followed me as I went by.
After walking a while, the site of this time’s meeting came into sight. Even without being told, it was a clear swirl of Mana. Gathered over time, that dark Mana told me, even without thinking too hard about it, that this was the point of death.
Greed, Lust, Wrath, Envy, Pride, Gluttony.
Sloth aside, Demon Lords governing those six attributes clamored around, and that place was probably the most dangerous site in the entirety of the Demon World.
And me, filling in for Leigie Slaughterdolls, of the Slaughterdolls. By adding on my power, that wasn’t even enough to patch up the holes, a total of seven sins had been gathered there.
(TL: Yes, both Leigie’s title, and last name, are ‘Slaughterdolls’)
There was nothing good to come of it. Because of our longings, we were a race that conflicted with one another.
The fighting I couldn’t think of as coming from an allied force raged up as if to prove just how war-driven the Demon Lords were, and it brought pain to my stomach. Even before entering the room, it felt as if the forces on the other side were considering how exactly to squash a bug. It was detestable, in many ways.
Beside me, Hiero had tagged along for fun, as if she were a cat. She didn’t think a single thing upon having reached this point.
“Ah, have we arrived? Then~ I’ll be going ahead!”
With a sunflower-esque smile, she put her hand on the door without hesitation, and pushed it open.
Just where does she hide such confidence in that small stature?
“Heard Lauder-sama? I’ve finished taking care of the Flying Dragon!”
Rank One. The greatest bearer of Pride among the Demon Lords, was the first thing she spoke upon treading into the haunt of evil.
The moment I saw that, I could understand it.
Ah, she’s a fox borrowing the dignity of a tiger. What should I do? It feels quite pleasant thinking of it like that.
The moment her mildly-short skirt fluttered as she stepped through those doors, I could see it. That the delicate legs concealed beneath it were quivering a little.
Perhaps Lize saw it as well, as she whispered in an expression mixed with wonderment and respect.
“… She’s quite something.”
“Right. I can’t lose to her either.”
To interrupt the words Lize wanted to voice, I stepped through the doorway.
I felt the gazes converge on me. The gazes blacker than the depths of the Demon World’s darkness. The grounds of Demon Lord and Demon Lord. There wasn’t any killing intent, but what was there was malice, and eyes filled with strong desire, which were probably merely a breath of fresh air to those of Demon Lord Class.
… Passions great enough to violate the souls around them.
The Demon Lords here understand it.
That those that reach this place were Demons of the same level as themselves, and threats to their own existences. That fact served to hone their minds, making the place somewhere much more calamitous than the greatest of battlefields.
An elder stanced like a withered tree. A young boy a head shorter than me.
A balloon-like bloated body with pitiful limbs making up the body of a man.
A black haired girl perhaps even younger than Hiero, and a large baldheaded man with armor-like muscles enveloping him.
A metallic inorganic humanoid mass of indistinguishable gender, and a half-transparent woman whose body floated through the air. And so on, and so forth.
As one who worked at the Castle of Shadows, and served as Leigie-sama’s guard, they were faces I knew. There was but a handful of names to remember.
But I can only express my admiration at the sheer variety these peculiar Lords have managed to achieve for themselves.
When they’re this overflowing with personality, then a simple slim male Demon like Leigie-sama starts to lack a sense of individuality. No, perhaps it’s the opposite… I mean, Leigie-sama would probably be fast asleep, even at a place like this…
Among them, the greatest of stares made my heart contract. I turned my eyes to the figure sitting closest to Kanon-sama.
Heard Lauder. He was probably the newest Demon Lord here, the most Decent of the lot, and the strongest Demon Lord of Pride.
Seeing his form here, his gaze told me that his impression of me was still the absolute worst.
The reason he didn’t issue a complaint was because this was a meeting space, or perhaps because I was the representative of Leigie-sama. I think it was probably the latter.
And that woman of tall stature sitting at the head of the table was the perpetrator of it all.
The one who ruled over a large portion of this extensive Demon World, leader of the strongest force, the 『Great Demon King’s Army』.
The master of that, as well, as well as the incarnations of Wrath, said to bring ruin to all creation with her flames of purgatory.
The Lord of Ruin.
Unthinkable of the violent emotions that formed the base of her Sin, the lights of wisdom and intellect dwelled in her eyes.
But she was a brocon.
“Ah, Medea Luxeliaheart. Leigie-niisa… Leigie of Sloth’s representative. Take a seat.”
I’m not even going to retort anymore. It’s not like any of this is relevant to me. Just do whatever you want.
To shake off the awkward air, I took my place at the foot of the table.
Even if it may be round table, the seating was based on rank. Leigie of Sloth was the Lowest possible rank, so his seat was the furthest one from Heard Lauder. That was my sole spot of luck. Let’s get this over with already so I can run away.
My not-too-short life experience was calling out to me. I’m… screwed.
In the place I could only think of as a bed of spikes, I lowered myself into a luxurious black chair, and without uttering a word, I looked over the others present.
More than half the seats were filled, but including the empty seats, there was a smaller amount of places at the table than I had expected.
That means that’s just how many Demon Lords had fallen. While I myself don’t want to take them on alone, regardless of what Lord they be, Demons die when they are killed.
Compared to my suspicious behavior, Lize was carrying herself as grandly as always. She straightened up her spine, and displayed not a hint of unrest.
In a small voice, I offered a complaint.
“… From what I can see, I’m the only representative here…”
Everyone’s a Demon Lord.
Each and every one of the figures surrounding the round table were of the class that ruled over this world. The ones by their sides are likely their inspectors. Even if they may be of the Great Demon King’s personal order, comparing their powers to the Lords put them in quite an unfavorable standing. And there was one lower than all of them… Me.
The one with the lowest power over all was Hiero, but that wasn’t even any consolation. Together, we’d still be taken out in a single punch. One punch.
“… Of course. The Demon Lords will generally take up attendance, you know. They have to show off their might and all…”
I’ve been fooled.
No, I’d known I’d been fooled for quite some time. I’m not in heat anymore, yet, the beating of my heart has become overly violent.
I grimaced, and forced myself to play calm.
And finally, at that time, I noticed it.
There was something at the center of the table.
A shadow like a black sphere. Its size was around that of a soccer ball, and even when there wasn’t any wind, it was rolling around. Towards me.
My application of 『Sky Right Hand』 and the mass growing limbs happened at around the same time.
I instinctively swung my arm at it. The mass greatly contracted its legs, and like a spring, it came flying at me with lightning speed.
Its wide-open mouth, with blade-like fangs lined up closed in to a few centimeters in front of my face, before I succeeded in deflecting it.
I somehow stifled the scream that surfaced. No, I didn’t even have time to scream.
What was that!?
Before I could seek held from Lize, she raised a scream in my place.
“Who was it!? Who summoned a『Preta』!?”
The Preta I deflected changed targets. It bounced off at the metal-bodied Demon Lord of unknown origin sitting in front of me.
Regardless of its small body, the speed it unleashed wasn’t something a General Class like me could follow with my eyes. But the changing scene went far from my realm of understanding.
I barely saw the movement of iron-like arms. With a short sound, the thing called Preta burst open like a tomato. Pale blue blood scattered, and fell onto the girl to my side.
The next instant, the girl with an outward appearance similar to mine’s arm changed shape to a steel pole.
The room shook greatly. By the time I noticed it, the metal Demon Lord’s body had been buried into the wall. The girl’s face remained expressionless.
At the stream of circumstance leaving me behind, I could do not but let off a cold sweat amd blink my eyes.
He was hit. She hit him. At a speed I couldn’t see. Expressionlessly.
“… Hey, stop it.”
As if obstructed by Kanon-sama’s words, countless orbs began to fall from the ceiling.
Wai… these are all that thing from before…
After bouncing once, they all split to show off their giant mouths.
I saw countless of those knife-like fangs lined up one after the other.
Each of them grew their own limbs. Looking closely, their arms were much more robust than mine. Based on their previous conduct, their explosive power was far from perfect, though.
I don’t have enough lives for this one.
I tried to brush them all away with Sky Hand, and Kanon-sama shout blew it all away.
“I told you to stop!!”
Along with the cry, a raging fire passed in front of my body. After the flame had left, not a single one of the numerous Pretas remained.
That destruction that happened before I could even be given the chance to feel feverish was truly worthy of her name, Kanon of Ruin.
The metal body of the Lord in the wall leisurely rose.
He barely had any wounds. But only his right arm had vanished as if it had been shaved away.
No. It wasn’t shaved off.
I saw through it.
… This is 『Usurping』.
“Schitol, return it already.”
The young girl Demon Lord known as Schitol snorted at the Great Demon King’s words.
And at around the same time, her body was sent flying.
The metallic Demon Lord hit her. Though all I could see was the result of her being hit into the air.
Despite his slow-looking build, that was quite some acceleration.
Schitol’s head pierced into the ceiling, and dangled for a while. Fresh blood dripped down to stain the black table.
I want to go home.
Just by being here, I can gradually feel my power of Sloth whittling away.
And of course there would be casualties if it’s like this…
The young girl’s body lost to gravity, and fell from the ceiling.
I could see her expression.
There was nothing but despair in the pitch black exes visible beyond the red trickling of blood.
The expression alone was a symbol of the hell of desire, great enough to fold any normal Demon’s heart. That which made clear the gap between me and a Demon Lord was, if put into words, perhaps a ‘difference in character.’
Right as she landed, she lowered her raised arms at the metal Demon Lord’s body. From her footing, I couldn’t imagine that she had taken any considerable damage.
That attack without and hesitation, as if her malice had been creeping up on him with the passage of time was much too vivid.
And yet, the metal bodied Demon Lord blocked it.
The fleeting sound of a barrier shattering due to pure physical might rang out, and the ground made of highly-durable stone caved in.
“Oy, Schitol. I told you to return it.”
“The one to return it to will be gone soon enough.”
Schitol returned a level voice.
That wasn’t even an answer.
But of course, I didn’t put that to words. If it won’t directly bring any trouble to me, then you guys can do whatever it is you want.
Well, this display of power is a trouble to my mind, but…
His left arm disappeared, and as that happened, Schitol’s left arm changed to one of metal.
With both of her arms made of iron bars taller than her own height, the girl’s form was nothing but bizarre.
As that new existence shook her body, Heard, who had been quite up to now, let out a gloomy voice.
“Can’t we finish this up faster? I’m busy.”
There was the sound of something bursting. Having lost its head, Schitol’s body slowly collapsed onto the ground.
“… No mercy…”
With unappealing sentiment, I whispered. No matter how you look at it, that was too abrupt.
Heard Lauder lowered his fist. The Prideful Kaised hadn’t even moved from where he was. He just pressed his elbow into the table, and looked at Schitol with an uninterested look on his face.
As if that seat was his own throne.
It was as if the distance between himself and the girl had been meaningless from the start.
The extent of speed he displayed was enough to silence the room. Within that, I who was probably second from the bottom in power let out a sigh.
Still, it’s finally going to start, is it… it hasn’t even commenced, and yet there’s already been way too much bloodshed…
I whispered in my heart, as I listlessly looked over at Schitol, and at that moment, her eyes met with mine.
The head that was supposed to be gone had regrown itself. That wasn’t the speed of regeneration. I was sure I was looking at her most of the time, but I had never even seen the moment she started to heal.
Still collapsed over, as if nothing had happened, Schitol bent her lips into a smile.
What’s with this Demon Lord!? This is way too absurd, is it not?
First, let’s see what Rank she…
When those thoughts were going through my head, my eyes were completely taken by darkness.
“… I died before the conference even started…”
With weary emotions, I rubbed my head into Leigie-sama’s back.
Thank god. That I sent an illusion.
Thank god. That I can still use 『Phantom Aliquot Dance』.
Thank god. That I didn’t take Lize’s words too seriously, and actually go out myself.
Even if they may be Demon Lords, that was just too cruel. No mystery why there’d be casualties there. Those are tried and true monsters, ain’t they?
Great Demon King Kanon, Heard Lauder, and Lilith Luxeliaheart are all starting to look sane to me. Leigie-sama’s harmlessness was enough to make him seem lovable. That must have been the haunt of the greatest of beasts.
I wonder what they were planning to speak of in such a space, and wait, I wonder if Lize is alright. I had quite a few things to consider, but surprisingly, the greatest thing on my mind was the stoic front of a single young lass.
Is Hiero okay…
If she died, would Lorna be sad?
Furrowing my brow, I looked to the maid trying to pull me away, thought of such pointless things, and once more, I embraced Leigie-sama with all my might.
TL: Sketch by Julia Luckett Feb. 14 2011, I take absolutely no claim.