A Demon Lord's Tale: Dungeons, Monster Girls, and Heartwarming Bliss Chapter 156-157
Barfight — Part 2
Editors: Sebas Tian, Speedphoenix, Joker
Man… I really need to stay out of other people's business. I sighed internally as I dealt with the incoming attacks. I grabbed the first man's fist as it flew towards my face and tugged it down and to the side. The sudden change in his momentum left him off balance and out of position. He wasn't able to move quickly enough to avoid the punch that his friend had thrown in my direction.
He groaned as the attack smashed itself into his face and sent him flying with so much force that he ended up plastered against one of the bar's walls. It was a sight that I hadn't really ever expected to see outside of manga and other forms of media, but as far as demon on demon combat was concerned, it was a pretty common sight. Their stats were just that inflated.
"Miguel!" The man that had slugged his friend in the face clicked his tongue. "Damn it!"
I used the fact that he was too agitated to act to tap him in the jaw while making sure to hold back just enough to avoid snapping his neck. The sudden shock to his brain stole the man's consciousness and caused him to crumple to the floor in a sad but calm heap.
Speaking of concussions, you know how everyone who's had them says everything goes dark? Yeah, that's actually pretty accurate. You can still see things, but you don't know what it is you're seeing. You can still hear your friends' voices too, but you can't really tell what they're saying. It happened to me once when I was playing basketball with my buddies. Oh man, shit was spook.
"Careful with that thing."
One of the men drew the knife he had dangling from his waist as I let my mind wander. He swung it at me, but I twisted my waist and avoided it before he could pierce my flank. I then struck his hand with my elbow and smashed him into a nearby table. The action was accompanied by a pair of sounds. Up first was a loud crunch, one that denoted my attack had crushed the bone in his hand. Following right after was the clattering of his knife as it fell to the ground.
"You should know better than to use a blade in a street fight, dude. That shit could get someone hurt real bad," I said.
I walked over to him while he was still groaning in pain and calmed him down the same way I calmed his buddy down—I hit him in the jaw and knocked the living daylights out of him.
"Don't get cocky, asshole!" A third guy shouted as he approached me from behind.
Glancing over, I found that he was trying to give me a big, warm hug. I wasn't exactly all that keen on hugging it out with another guy, so I ducked to avoid it. Once I was clear, I grabbed him by the arms, rolled him over my back, and chucked him. The judo-like technique sent the man spiralling over the edge of the balcony. Gravity continued to speed him up until the moment his face smashed into one of the tables on the first floor. He screamed in pain as he made contact with all the plates, cutlery, and glassware. Only after a few moments of spasming and shouting did he finally "calm down." O-oh shit. I was trying not to break anything, but uh, there goes that, I guess.
"Damn, brother. You're one helluva fighter!" said one of the other guests.
"An event as interesting as this one calls for another drink!" shouted another. "Barkeep, get me another mug!"
I had been expecting those on the first floor to start panicking and screaming the moment the body suddenly fell on them. That, however, was quite literally the opposite of what happened. The other customers were only continuing to cheer and egg the fight on. Keyword: continuing.
They had immediately gathered around and started playing the part of the peanut gallery the moment I had started talking to the guy with the messed up hairstyle. To the crowd, the fight was nothing but a source of entertainment, a side dish that happened to go well with their booze. I had at least expected the owner to care, but stopping the fight turned out to be the exact opposite of what the owner-cum-barkeeper had planned. Ever a merchant at heart, he had turned the opportunity into one to make bank by getting out his notebook and taking bets on the battle's outcome.
Even the band had bought into the situation. They switched from the nice relaxing tune they were playing to a livelier piece with a faster tempo. Holy shit, dude. Demons have balls. I guess this kinda stuff must happen so often around here that they're just kinda used to it.
My party stood out from the crowd. Unlike everyone else, they weren't cheering or getting wasted. Leila and Enne were calmly observing the situation, whereas Nell and her mage buddy were a bit less so. Both were on guard. They had their hands on their weapons and were ready to draw them at a moment's notice. Sorry for getting you guys involved in this. Especially if it ends up screwing with your plans and whatnot. Like, seriously. My bad.
"How are you all so useless!?"
The guy desperately in need of either a buzzcut or a wig clicked his tongue after watching each of his subordinates get taken down in turn. Having grown impatient, he decided to take matters into his own hands by tearing a leg off the table he was sitting at and entering the fight himself. His braids gently swayed back and forth as he lumbered over. Oh come on, man, what the hell? You can't just break stuff like that. Don't blame me if the owner sends a hefty bill or two your way, alright?
Contemplating the relative cost of a table led me to recall that Braidy was the son of a duke. To him, the table in question was likely nothing more than chump change. I, on the other hand, was actually in trouble. I had broken both a table and a bunch of tableware. Welp. Here's to hoping the demon king'll cover for me.
"Fine. I'll make you regret running your mouth myself!" shouted Braidy. "And unlike those miserable weaklings, I'll make you atone for your insults with death!"
"Man, come on. It was just a misunderstanding and I already said sorry," I said. "How about I treat you to some food and booze and we call it a day?"
"Shut up! Before I make you!"
The man had literally no intention of even trying to listen to me. He disregarded my attempts at making peace and immediately leapt into a running tackle.
I couldn't help but roll my eyes. Ughhhh. This is starting to piss me off. Come the fuck on… What the hell dude, I've already apologized, and I've even offered to try and make up for it. What more do you want from me? Like, I know that you value your traditions and that they're really important to you because you were brought up with them. And I know that they came from a time where bloodshed was normal, so you're a little bit quick to jump the gun. But like, I've already tried defusing the situation. And the only reason it isn't working is because your dumb ass isn't listening to me. Let me guess. You must be the type of retard that is never satisfied unless you get to beat the shit out of everyone that you don't agree with, so you're not going to let up or shut up until I let you sock my face in. Fucking moron.
More and more resentment started to build up within me as I tried considering Braidy's perspective. But his stupidity failed to make up even half the reason I was as angry and annoyed as I was. The larger issue at hand was the one that had driven me to speak with him in the first place.
"Fuck! I can't take this anymore! Fuck this! There's so much wrong with that stupid looking hairdo you've got that I don't even know where to fucking start!" I dodged his charge, grabbed one of the stupid braids on the side of his head, and gave it a forceful yank as he passed by.
"My hair! My hair!! The pain!" He cried in anguish as the combined force of his momentum and my "attack" caused one of his braids to tear right off, hair roots and all.
"What the ever-loving fuck is wrong with you!? What kind of man braids his goddamn hair in the fucking first place!? Have you seen how stupid it looks when you fucking move? It sways! It fucking sways! You know how disgusting that is!? Fuck you! Fuck you for wanting this! Fuck! You! I feel like a fucking moron for even trying to sympathize!"
"Is it just me, or did he just have a total sudden change in attitude with absolutely no hesitation!?" Nell made a retort from the corner of the second floor that everyone had evacuated to.
"Ughh…" Braidy groaned as he rubbed the place where his hair had been just a few moments prior. "H-how dare you! How dare you do that to my hair!?"
"Shut up, retard!" I shouted. "You know what, fine! If you like this stupid looking hair so much, then you can have it right the fuck back!"
I opened up my palm and shoved the hair I'd torn off of him back on his mouth.
"And get the fuck out of here while you're at it!" I spun around and gave him a good old roundhouse kick to the face as I continued to complain. "I don't want to see you or your gross ass hairdo ever again!"
The force of the blow caused him to go flying over the edge of the balcony. He tried to right himself in midair, but hit the ground before he could. The impact knocked him out cold and caused him to go limp.
"Well boys, this match is over!!" I wasn't sure exactly when we had gotten ourselves a commentator, but one of the bar's patrons had apparently stepped up to the plate. "The winner is… the challenger!"
His words caused all the drunks present to break into a series of cheers. I, on the other hand, was still in the middle of complaining about the idiots I had just finished dealing with. Ughhhh… That was a pain in the ass.
"He's over here!"
Correction: the idiots I had thought I was done dealing with.
The shout almost seemed to function as a cue. A large group of mean looking men suddenly flooded into the bar.
"The idiot up there is the one that thought he could get away with picking a fight with the boss! Get him and kick his ass!" The man barking orders was the first I had thrown off the balcony. He had apparently gone to get backup while I wasn't looking.
His orders caused all the other grunts that joined him to momentarily look in my direction before marching towards the stairs. Oh greaaaaaat. Seconds! Yeah, I totally ordered those. Siiiiiiigh… Well, I mean it is actually my fault this time. I guess I'll make up for my mistake by making sure I have all these new friends of mine get sent right home, I guess. Haaaaaaaahh…
I stepped forward in order to dive right back into the fray, only to find that I didn't need to. The bar's other customers had stepped forward and gotten in the punks' way. Though many of them were drunk, their eyes seemed to brim with a sort of wild enthusiasm.
"Come on boys, you ain't new to this. This may be a brawl, but it's still got rules," said one of the bar's customers.
"If you want him, then you're going to have to go through us first," added another.
“W-What the hell kinda beef you have with us!?” asked one of the confused punks.
"It isn't beef," laughed a drunk. "But did you seriously think we could just sit around after watching a fight like that? Hell no! Our blood's boiling, brother! And our fists are itching for a go!"
"Oh, hell no! No way I'm letting you get a march on me! These punks are mine!"
"Damned drunks!" The punks seemed to falter in the face of the raw enthusiasm emanated by the crowd.
The situation was an odd one to behold. I couldn't help but feel as if the drunks were actually the bad guys, and the punks were the protagonists given that one group was just trying to be loyal, and the other was actively getting in their way for naught but their own selfish desires. But whatever the case, the results remained the same. The two groups ultimately ended up clashing in a massive melee.
It was a mess. People punched each other, kicked each other, grappled each other, and threw each other all over the place. And it wasn't as if the bar's customers had actually stopped drinking either. They kept pouring liquor down their throats and smashing the empty bottles against the people they were fighting. There was even a pair of guys going around grabbing punks and literally removing them from the store by chucking them out the front door.
The already lively atmosphere, filled with shouts and laughter, was only emphasized further by the band. They had shifted to playing another fast, upbeat song in light of the situation. Dude. What the hell? Is this supposed to be a bar owned by pirates or something?
"So what exactly are we supposed to do about all this?" asked Nell.
The hero and I were standing by the second floor's balcony and looking down on the mess below. Rather, that was what I was doing. She was instead taking the opportunity to stare at me reproachfully. You ask me, who do I ask? Like, seriously. Iunno.
"…" I paused for a moment to contemplate the alternatives. "What do you say we just get the hell outta here?"
“Huh!? You're just going to leave!?" She was completely taken aback by the fact that I was just going to avoid resolving the situation despite being responsible for causing it.
"Hey, barkeep!" I didn't bother answering her. I instead turned towards the bar's owner, who was situated downstairs, and shouted in his direction. "I'm going to leave what I owe you for food and drink over here! Have the guys that got their asses beat in pay for the tables and shit!"
"Sure thing, brother! And good job kicking those brats faces in! Made my day, right there!" he shouted back as he smashed an empty bottle into a random nearby punk and broke into a cackle. "You're always welcome here, so I'll hope to see ya soon!"
Oh, great. Even the barkeeper thinks I was just out for a fight. I know it might've seemed like it, but I really wasn't trying to mess with them or anything. That was all just a huge misunderstanding…
For a moment, I felt awful. All Braidy and his buddies wanted was to go out and have a meal somewhere, but they were subjected to a horrible experience the moment they arrived at their destination. Some random guy came up to them, made fun of their boss, and beat them all black and blue. Wow uh… yeah, that makes me sound like a terrible person, doesn't it? Yeah, yeah, I know. I did something that I maybe, okay, fine, definitely shouldn't have. But whatever. Fuck it, I don't care anymore. I'm a fucking demon lord. Why the hell do I care about what other people want or think? I'll do whatever the fuck I want. Well, with a few caveats since I basically got myself collared and whipped, but whatever. Doesn't change shit. If people start trying to hit me, I'll hit them right back. And if they don't like that, well too fucking bad. It obviously isn't my fault. It's always either theirs or just a case of bad luck. Screw feeling bad about it.
"Alright girls, let's get back to the castle. It doesn't really look like we can get through the door anymore since uh… yeah. So what do you say we take that instead?" I asked as I pointed to one of the windows on the second floor.
"My Lord, I believe a bit of a chat is in order upon our return. Do make some time for it," said Leila with an intimidating smile.
"U-Uhh… don't be too hard on me, alright…?" I could feel myself wince in response to the maid's dreadful aura. Oh boy. "I can't wait!"
"Uhm, Yuki? That's a window," said Nell. "How are we supposed to leave through a window?"
"What do you mean how? A window's still an exit. You can pretty much use it the same way you use everything else," I said before turning towards the pair I was travelling with. "Mind if I borrow you two for a moment to demonstrate?"
"Okay," said Enne.
"Please feel free," said Leila.
The window was already open, so I beckoned the girls over as I approached it. Once we were all accounted for, I picked up Enne in my arms and grabbed her sword form with the same hand. I wrapped my other arm around Leila's waist, placed a foot on the windowsill, and leapt right out. The cool evening air rushed by as I experienced a moment of freefall.
I bent my knees right before I landed in order to direct the force into the ground before standing up and putting both girls down.
"See? Perfectly fine," I said as I turned to face the window. "Now come on, jump! I'll catch you!"
"Uhhh… I don't really know if I wa—Wait! Ronia!?"
Nell looked on hesitantly and even fought back against the idea, but she was the only one. Ms. Court Mage stepped onto the windowsill and leapt out without a moment's hesitation. And she did more than just that. She had jumped out in a way that had left her sideways; she was sure to smash her face right into the ground if I failed to catch her. Damn. She's got guts.
I grabbed her out of the air before slowly letting her down.
"No problem," I said. "Well, just you now, Nell."
"Ughh…Fine" she groaned hesitantly before finally assenting. "O-okay! Here goes nothing!"
Though her stats were high enough to prevent any injuries even in the case that she fell, she still seemed a bit unwilling given the fact that she was literally jumping out of a two story building, so she closed her eyes, took a moment to muster up as much courage as she could, and jumped.
I gently caught her in my arms as one would a damsel in distress. I had one arm under her thighs and another supporting her back.
"See? I told you you'd be fine."
"Y-Yeah. Thanks," she said. "Wait! Why am I thanking you!? You're the reason I had to do this in the first place!"
“Yeaaaaaaah. Can't say I'm not. My bad.”
"Don't you worry, Nell," said Leila. "My Lord and I are going to have a nice, long discussion about his decisions as soon as we return."
"Thank you, Leila," replied the hero. "I hope you'll finally be able to drill some common sense into that thick skull of his."
"Oh, come on, girls. I already said I'm sorry. I could really do without the lecture." I forced a bit of a smile as I let the hero down.
"Aw…" said a disappointed Nell.
"N-nothing! Just pretend that never happened!" said the hero. "Anyway, do you think that meeting here is still a good idea after all that?"
"Hmmm…" I deliberated for a moment. "Yeah, I think so. It's the only place we both know. I mean, I'm sure it'd be easy for you to find us if you just hit up the castle, but you don't really know enough people to arrange for anything like that yet, right?"
"Not yet. I'm pretty sure that we would be able to make peace with the demon realm's king based off of what you and Leila have told us," said Nell. "In fact, we might even be able to forge an alliance. But that's not a decision I'm authorized to make, so I'd prefer to stay away from the castle for now."
"Yeah, then I guess this is pretty much the only place we can meet up. I mean, we don't actually have to go inside if you don't want to. We could always just use it as a rendezvous point and head somewhere else after."
"Okay," said Nell. "Then I guess I'll see you later, Yuki! I'll make sure I use the orbs you gave me to get in touch if anything ever happens!"
"Yeah, feel free," I said. "See ya."
With our farewells said, Leila, Enne, and I made our way back to the demon king's castle.
Side Story: The Return Trip
Editors: Sebas Tian, Speedphoenix, Joker
"Geez…" Nell heaved a sigh as she and Ronia walked under the moonlit sky. "Yuki sure loves causing trouble."
The path to their destination, the inn they were staying at, was kept lit both by the stars and by the magical items placed along the side of the road. The dim, faint illumination led to the creation of a wondrous atmosphere. So beautiful it was that it looked like a scene straight out of a painting, a cityscape torn directly from an artist's mind.
Neither girl seemed to be paying much attention to their surroundings. They looked completely off guard, and in their minds, they were. But both had been trained so well that they didn't even notice the fact that they were unconsciously scanning the backdrop for any signs of danger. The pair was sure to notice should they be tailed or approached.
"He's always doing the craziest of things," complained Nell. "I don't think he even knows what common sense is."
"But you still seem to be enjoying yourself," said Ronia suspiciously. "Especially for someone with so many complaints."
The mage's response stemmed from the look on her friend's face. Her words had been sour, but her smile told a different story altogether.
"D-do I really?" Nell's voice quivered as she responded to her sleepy-sounding friend.
"Were you really that happy to see him?"
"Y-yeah," the hero. "He's really strong. I didn't expect to see him here, but knowing he is is reassuring."
"He's that strong?"
"Mhm. He was always really strong. I'm not really sure why, but now he seems even stronger. I don't think I would be able to put up much of a fight against him anymore, no matter how hard I tried," said Nell with a nod.
The claim caused Ronia to give the other girl a look of disbelief. The scuffle in the bar had proven to her that the man was strong. But she couldn't believe that he was even stronger than the person walking at her side. It was no exaggeration to say that Nell was one of humanity's finest. Only the strongest orichalcum adventurers were able to match her. And that was in spite of the fact that she had yet to reach her peak. Nell was still growing into her role. She would only get stronger.
It was commonly understood that demons, the demon realm's inhabitants, were more powerful than humans. They were much more capable of exerting brute force, be it physical or magical. But that wasn't to say that humanity was doomed, for the human race had technology and technique. It was by no means strictly inferior.
With all that in mind, Ronia knew that Nell was strong enough to hold her own, even here in the demon realm. And yet, she claimed that she couldn't hold a candle to the man the two of them had just met. Though none present had made the man's race known, it was obvious that the man was no human. He had to be a demon, and one of the realm's most powerful at that.
That was only one of the many facts that the mage had deduced. The conversation he had with Nell had been riddled with clues detailing his identity. And Ronia had already finished putting them together. One of the most significant bits of information was that the two spoke of a girl named Lady Iryll. Ronia knew: there was only a single Iryll in all of Allysia that even the hero would think to address by title.
This meant that the man named Yuki was not only stronger than a literal hero, but also acquainted with one of the country's most important VIPs. And that was enough to tell her that he had most likely been the man that had put an end to the prince's rebellion, the mysterious, masked entity that had shown up in the capital a month prior, only to vanish as quickly as he had come.
Unveiling his identity revealed the reason it had been kept a secret. Ronia now understood exactly why the king had kept his mouth shut and his lips sealed whenever he was asked for more information. It was because he was a demon. The fact that a demon had saved Alshir was one that could never be revealed; public outcry was sure to ensue should it ever come to light. Allysia would once again be plunged into a state of instability despite only just having been restored to order. Likewise, there was a chance that the church could suffer if it was known that Nell, the hero, was on friendly terms with a demon.
Ronia herself didn't particularly mind, however. Her friend was willing to trust him in spite of his race, and she too saw no reason not to do the same. There was a chance that the rest of their allies might not think the same, but there was no need to tell them everything. All the others needed to know was that they had found someone willing to cooperate. And that was probably all they wanted to know about the individual in question anyway. There was little chance they would ask for too many details.
"Was that really the only reason?" Ronia pressed the other girl for answers. She highly doubted that the man's strength alone would have caused Nell to respond in the manner she had.
"D-did I really look that happy?"
"I think so."
Ronia could easily tell that, while Nell really had felt reassured by the man's presence and willingness to help, there was much more than just that to it. The look in her eyes had been filled with affection, with a longing that could only be described as love.
Nell tried to force a smile, but it came out in a way that put her embarrassment on display. The truth of the matter was that she was overjoyed by the unexpected encounter. She saw him as an absurd and selfish man whose thoughts and ideals were entirely beyond comprehension. The event that had occurred within the bar was a perfect example of exactly what that meant to her. Though it was entirely his fault, Yuki had suddenly and inexplicably changed his mind, pinned the fault on the man he had verbally assaulted, and rendered all of his assailants unconscious.
The people he fought weren't the best behaved. They were hot-blooded, and there was a chance that the events that followed his insults may have very well unfolded regardless of whether or not he had initiated them. But whatever the case, the fact was that the fault lay with him and not any other.
It was unreasonable. He was unreasonable. But that was a part of why she found it so entertaining to be around him. With him around, there was never a quiet moment. There was always something going on.
She felt like it was almost as if something was drawing her to him. She didn't know whether it was because of something to do with his abilities as a demon lord, or whether it was something that originated from the person in question. But she did know that, like her, the goat-horned girl and the girl he called his daughter felt the exact same way.
And so did the girl that he had married.
It had finally happened.
She had always known that the two were perfectly compatible despite their propensity to argue. And as the thought passed through her mind, so did a pain through her chest. But she shook it off. She chased the thought out of her mind as she spoke to the other girl in what she believed to be an energetic tone.
"That's just because he's fun to be around. I'm sure you'll know exactly what I mean if you spend enough time with him," she said. "Now let's hurry up and get back to the inn. I'm sure everyone else is already on their way back too."
With that said, Nell once again began to "happily" walk along the side of the road.
"…Okay" Ronia paused for a moment before assenting. Her friend seemed to think that she had hidden her emotions away. But the mage saw right through her. Ronia opened her mouth to speak, but she didn't know what she was supposed to say to the other girl, nor how she was supposed to say it. The only thing she could muster was to agree to follow the other girl back to their temporary residence.