A Demon Lord's Tale: Dungeons, Monster Girls, and Heartwarming Bliss Chapter 163-164
The Main Event Begins: The Old Butler — Part 1
Editors: Speedphoenix, Joker
“And the winner of this round is once again the man that almost appears to be an unstoppable force, Ypsilon!”
A mix of cheers and jeers erupted from the crowd the moment the MC announced the fight’s results. Heh. Looks like Operation Stand The Fuck Out is moving along pretty smoothly.
Discounting the preliminaries, I had already fought in a total of three matches, and I had played the part of the heel in each. In wrestling, heels had the tendency to scream at their opponents, call them weaklings, and proclaim that they would never be defeated by the likes of whoever it was they were up against. I, however, had not. I had instead drawn the audience’s ire through the actions I took in battle. Strangely enough, a good chunk of the crowd had taken a liking to me regardless. Talk about having weird tastes.
My supporters weren’t the only ones growing in number. Those that wished to interfere with my matches were too. More and more red dots appeared on my map after each of my fights, but they never got the chance to actually do any harm. The hooded agents that served as my allies were doing their jobs well; they would always erase my would-be assailants before they could do any harm. The reason that the enemy count was increasing regardless was because the person in charge of deploying them was sending an even larger wave each time the last was destroyed. Man, having good allies sure makes life easy. They’re handling this way better than I ever could have. And yeah, I know what you’re thinking. You want to smack me and say, “What the fuck, dude? Weren’t you just bitching about how your allies were going to be weak and useless a few days ago?” I can’t lie. You’re totally right. I was being stupid and looking down on people I hadn’t even met yet. I was jumping to conclusions when I really shouldn’t have been. I probably owe them an apology.
“So what do you think, Enne? Of this whole tourney thing, I mean.” I turned to the girl sitting beside me as I spoke. The two of us were currently located on top of a bench inside of my personal waiting room. Naturally, we had made sure to check that no one else was around before she changed forms.
“It’s…” She paused for a moment to think. “Really loud.”
“Yeah, it totally is,” I laughed.
“And I hate that people are booing you.” She looked towards the audience as her face warped in disappointment.
Seeing her like that led me to start scratching one of my cheeks with a troubled smile; it took me a good few moments to formulate an explanation.
“Well, if it makes you feel any better, they’re not actually doing it because they hate me. I’m doing mean stuff on purpose, and they’re just playing along,” I said.
As Enne didn’t know much about wrestling or any other combat-based sport, she lacked the knowledge required for her to understand that booing wasn’t necessarily representative of genuine hate. I didn’t expect her to immediately come to understand that heels and booing went hand in hand. The audience was an important part of the performance. A strong negative reaction was needed to contribute in order to perfect the beauty that came with the art of acting like a badass villain. I mean, at least that’s how I think it works. I’m pretty sure they don’t actually hate me, right? Right…?
“Y-Yeah, I think so,” I stuttered. “You know how you girls play pretend? It’s basically the same thing.”
They would pretend to be demon lords, while I would pretend to be a hero. And then they would proceed to defeat me.
“Then you can’t do it anymore,” she pouted. “You have to make everyone see how cool you are. Like a real demon lord would.”
“Uhh… I’m pretty sure playing the bad guy is way more demon lord-like than just being cool.”
“Still. You can’t. No more playing the bad guy.”
Enne turned her gaze upwards and looked right at me as she made the demand.
“Alright, alright, fine. I get it.” I flashed a strained smile as I patted her on the head. “I’ll act more like a demon lord and make everything think I’m cool. Okay?”
“Okay,” she said with a satisfied nod.
Our conversation seemed to have ended at just the right time, as Enne’s expression of content was immediately followed by a knock. I had the blade girl return to her real body before opening the door. Standing in the doorway was one of the event’s staff members, a demon girl with horns and a tail.
“It’s almost time for your next match, sir,” she said. “Please make your way to the arena’s entrance once you’re ready to go.”
It was just the usual announcement, so I did the same thing I’d done the past few times and used my hand to signal that I had received the message. All of the other staff members understood that it was my way of dismissing them. They would immediately leave in order to attend to the rest of their duties. This one, however, did not. She remained in the doorway and fidgeted about for a bit before finally plucking up enough courage to see her intentions through.
“Y-Your matches are some of the most exciting I’ve ever seen, Mr. Ypsilon!” she spoke in a bit of a rushed tone, fumbling over her words as she presented me with whatever it was she had been holding behind her back the whole time. “C-Could I please have your autograph?”
There was an item in each of the girl’s hands. In her left was a freshly-inked feather pen, and in her right was a piece of parchment that looked more durable than usual. I guess that must be what they use in place of autograph sheets.
Oh, I see now. It wasn’t that she didn’t get the hand signal or anything. She was just hanging around ‘cause she wanted an autograph. Wait… She wants an autograph…?
I hadn’t thought my actions through until after accepting everything she wanted to hand me, so I ended up freezing up the moment I finally processed the fact that she was asking for my signature. Crap. What do? How am I supposed to sign something for her if I don’t actually have a god damned signature? …Alright, fuck it. I’mma just write Ypsilon in katakana and call it a day. She probably won’t know the difference anyway.
With that decided, I pressed the parchment against the wall, “signed” it, and returned it to its owner.
“Thank you so much!” she squealed excitedly before running right off.
“What a weirdo…” said Enne, telepathically.
“I know, right?”
So uh… I should probably practise my signature, huh? You know, just in case I ever get asked for another autograph.
There wasn’t much for me to do in terms of getting ready, so I headed over to the stage right after the demon girl left. Upon entering it, I found myself greeted by even more noise than usual. The audience was hyped, with a capital everything.
“And against him is a man not to be underestimated, a man whose appearance belies the extent of his strength! His blade is so charming and graceful that it can be likened to a vicious, deadly dance! Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you a man that has one-sidedly destroyed every single opponent he’s faced despite never having participated in Destia Trome! Please give a warm welcome to Remiero!”
The man that entered from the opposite side of the arena could only be described as an old butler. The expression on his face matched his age; he was wearing the kind of gentle smile you would expect to see on an old, refined gentleman’s face. That, however, was the only part of him that looked his age. Despite having lived long enough to justify retirement, his back was straight as a rod and his steps were firm. The composed, dauntless way he carried himself made him seem much younger than he really was. Wait. He’s human.
“Are you… one of Nell’s buddies?”
“I suppose you must be the ally that she was speaking of?” said the old man with a dandy smile.
“You could tell?”
“We were given a quick overview of your traits and features,” he said. “The biggest giveaway was your sword. We were told that it was curved, of an absurd length, and had a black and red ribbon on its handle. It gave you away on sight.”
Ohhh, I see. So he used Enne to ID me. It was a reasonable approach. I had basically never put Enne away ever since she had become more sentient. That said, it wasn’t as if I paraded her around either. I made sure to keep both her and her sheath wrapped up in a large cloth save for when I was in the arena. Wow. Nell’s got a pretty good memory. Could’ve sworn I only took her out of the cloth for a few seconds when we were back at the bar. I’m surprised that was enough for her to remember so many details.
“Now let’s get this match underway!” said the MC. “Ready? Fight!”
The gong rang throughout the stadium, but neither of us sprung into action immediately.
“Well, I would have loved to continue to chat, but it appears that it’s time for us to begin. Wouldn’t want to keep the crowd waiting, after all,” he said with a smile. “Why don’t we save the small talk for later? I would hate to waste the opportunity to face you in battle. I’m sure it would make for an excellent round of practice.”
His aura changed as he drew the rustic blade hanging from his waist. The old butler’s aura suddenly swelled in size; he began giving off an overwhelming sense of pressure and intimidation.
“Practice, my ass! Dude, I can totally tell that you’re trying to murder me!”
“Not at all, good sir, not at all,” denied the butler. “Please do forgive me, the hero’s description of you happened to spark my curiosity. I can’t help but wonder the extent of your strength.”
“Oh okay. So when all’s said and done, all you really wanted to do was test me, huh?”
“I suppose you could say that,” he said with a ferocious smile.
It was clear as day that the opponent I was faced with was no ordinary Joe, so I analyzed him in order to get a better idea of what I would be up against.
Name: Remiero Gillbert
Class: Butler (Sword Saint)
Sword Mastery X
Rapier Mastery VII
Dagger Mastery VII
Martial Arts MasteryVIII
Crisis Detection VII
Blade Seer VIII
Survivor of Death’s Embrace
Dude! What the fuck!? What the actual fuck!? Dude’s the type of guy you’re not supposed to run into until at least the quarter-finals! Look at how OP he is! Holy shit! Oh man, this is bad. The assassin I met yesterday has got better stats, but this dude’s definitely way better with a sword. He’s got sword mastery at level fucking ten! That shit’s capped, bro! It literally doesn’t get any higher! Hell, every single one of his skills is at least at level seven. Look at his class too! He’s a sword saint! A fucking sword saint! He’s even got a friggin’ matching title. And don’t even get me started on that dex stat! What the fuck!
My newest opponent was so confident in his overwhelming power that he didn’t even bother hiding the fact that he was human. It didn’t take a genius to guess his reasoning. He was strong enough to deal with just about anything, even should a situation ever go sour. And he would probably be respected for it too. As far as the demon realm was concerned, might meant right. Oh, I get it. He’s probably not hiding his humanity because standing out will help everyone he’s working with blend in better with the crowd. Yeah, sounds about right. He seems more than capable of handling any danger that comes his way as a result.
Man, I really need to stop meeting OP people. They’re really throwing off my sense of how strong the average person is supposed to be and it’s messing with my head. Though, I guess that is just kinda what demon realms do. They mess with you and throw you off. Not that the old man’s affiliated with the demon realm. Whatever, you get the point.
One of the first decisions I came to after seeing his stat page was to avoid pure swordplay. I was almost positive that he would best me ten times out of ten if I relied on my terrible sword arm. My stats were way higher than his, but that wasn’t to say that he couldn’t beat me. Lopping off my head or stabbing me through the heart were both easy ways for him to ensure my death. Errr, wait a second. I think I might be jumping to a few too many conclusions there. Honestly, I wouldn’t be all that surprised if I managed to survive what would otherwise have been a fatal injury, but I’m not about to go test it. I can’t really imagine anything good coming from testing something like that.
While the tourney didn’t endorse fatalities, I had to consider the possibility that it could happen given the butler’s might; I was sure to lose if I didn’t take him seriously. Welp. Time to try my best. Enne did just tell me to show off and make everyone think I’m cool and whatnot, after all.
“It doesn’t look like you’re the type of opponent I can go easy on.” I drew my sword, put its sheath in my inventory, and muttered a line under my breath. “Let’s do this, Enne.”
“Let’s,” she replied telepathically.
Her crimson blade glittered as it reflected the sun’s rays.
“Would you look at that! Ypsilon has finally drawn his weapon! What do you think, ladies and gentlemen? Does this mean Remiero really is just as strong as we’ve all thought!?”
The MC began to do his usual commentary, but I didn’t pay it mind. I purged both it and the crowd’s cheers from my mind in order to focus my mind on the foe standing before me.
After calming myself down, I let out a short exhale before kicking off the ground with all the force of an explosion and diving right at my opponent.
“Come at me, old-timer!”
The Main Event Begins: The Old Butler — Part 2
Editors: Speedphoenix, Joker
My attack marked the battle’s true start. I backed a heavy, downwards swing with all the forward momentum of my charge. All the power put into the strike made it incredibly fast, but the butler dodged it with ease. His dodge was so practiced and deliberate that it almost made avoiding the blade look the most natural thing to do. With its target missing, my sword ended up cleaving into the stage instead, causing a conspicuously loud crash in the process.
I grunted as I pulled the weapon out of the ground and quickly turned the motion into a sideways swing. Of course, that wasn’t the only thing I did. I kicked up some of the debris that my first attack had knocked all over the place at my opponent as I went in to bolster my chances of success.
Much to my displeasure, he managed to not only drain my projectiles of their momentum by splitting them to pieces before they reached him, but also dodge Enne’s blade by stepping out of her range. And he did it all with only the slightest bit of effort. The look on his face was literally as composed as it possibly could have been.
“Those are some terrifyingly quick attacks,” said the butler.
“Yeah, totally sounds legit coming from the guy dodging them without even breaking a sweat.”
I knew that I had to crank my engines up as far as they would go if I didn’t want to lose, so I conjured up a series of water dragons and had them charge at the old butler. The spell was one that I employed often; I was so used to it that it no longer had any cast time whatsoever.
Each of the serpentine fabrications roared as they opened their jaws and coiled around each other in the middle of their suicidal charge. Yeah, I know the roaring doesn’t really make sense, especially since it’s not a part of the spell. I’m not really sure when they started doing it either, but they just kinda did.
But my opponent cut them down.
“The fuck!? Bro, you’ve gotta be kidding me!”
A single slash was all he needed to cleave through the spell. He had raised his sword above his head and split my attack into two neat halves as he brought it back down. The magically constructed fluids immediately lost its form before vanishing as if it had never existed in the first place. Bruh. Hold up. I didn’t even know that cutting magic was possible. What the fuck?
“I would advise against lowering your guard.”
My reaction speed was dulled by my surprise, so I didn’t notice that the butler had attacked until he was right in my face. I lowered Enne to guard against his blade as he thrust it at me, but my foe reacted to my attempt at defence and negated it. His blade suddenly changed trajectories and slithered over my own. The fuck!?
And that wasn’t all. He continued to demonstrate that it was far removed from the norm. Both his arm and his blade seemed to split into two, with one closing in on me from each side.
I stepped back far enough to avoid losing my arms, but I took a good bit of damage regardless. He had cut deep enough into my shoulders to cause a spray of blood to erupt from each.
“T-The fuck was that!?”
As far as I could tell, he had launched a pair of synchronized attacks fast enough to create after images.
“Just a clever little trick,” he said. “I’m sure that you too would be able to perform it with a bit of practice.”
Uhh… dude. Not everyone’s a superman like you, y’know? My dexterity stat had risen a lot since my reincarnation. And as a result, I had gotten a lot better at using magic. My ability to wield a sword, however, had improved by only a questionable margin. The change it experienced was so tiny that I wasn’t even sure whether I had really improved or if it was all just a placebo. Unfortunately, I was well aware of the fact that I simply had no talent for swordplay. My only option was to fake it by brute-forcing my way through my opponents with numbers and skill levels. Oh, god damn it. I totally would have leveled up both my sword and greatsword mastery before leaving home if I knew this was going to happen. Their effects stack, so boosting both would probably help me a tonne. Er, actually probably not. At least not against this dude.
Alright, Yuki. You can do this. Calm down, use your head. I had known from the start that beating a literal sword saint at swordplay was a fool’s errand. I was much faster than him and his old, creaky frame, but he made better use of his body. Unlike mine, his movements weren’t anywhere near as wasteful. He was both efficient and as hard to read as a leaf fluttering its way to the ground.
That said, it wasn’t as if I didn’t have anything over him. Alright, let’s see… I’ve got strength on him. I could totally crush him if it came down to a contest of brute force, physical or magical. He can’t fly either, so there’s always that. Oh yeah, and I’ve got Enne. That’s gotta be a huge plus. Alright, I think I’ve got a pretty solid game plan. Let’s do this!
“Enne! Activate wind magic!” I barked an order as I materialized my wings.
“Okay!” she said with a telepathic nod. The sword girl had immediately grasped my intentions.
I positioned her behind me and began channelling my magical energy through her to wreath her blade in flames. She followed up the action by beginning to eject the air around her. There was a sudden explosion; I shot forward with all the force of a missile.
“You better get ready to stop, drop, and roll if you don’t want to burn to death, old-timer!”
I literally flew at him and attempted to maul him with my engine. He knew just as well as I did that taking a hit from a literal flaming blade was a recipe for disaster, so he leapt backwards in order to avoid the attack by a large margin. That, however, wasn’t anywhere near enough to avoid me.
My swing had caused the engine to momentarily shift in front of me and provide me with a burst of backwards acceleration. It seemed like he was going to gain on me, but I flapped my wings while reorienting my blade in order to make a U-turn and continue firing myself in his direction. I gave my wings another flap right before I reached him in order to change my trajectory in an attempt to subvert his guard.
“How irksome!” The old man groaned as he evaded my blade. Wait. Wait! He’s calling ME irksome! Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.
“Says the guy that’s stupidly hard to read!”
I yelled back at him out of pure obligation as I flew circles around him and continued my assault. Enne’s flames grazed him over and over. The butler uniform he was wearing took severe damage. The man himself, however, did not. He had avoided taking even a single critical hit. The lack of progress started to tilt me, so my attacks lost their form as time progressed. They grew wilder and less thoughtful, a fact the old-timer took advantage of immediately. He made use of the increase in the number of openings I had to counter with a slash to the flank.
Ow… I groaned internally. Fortunately, the cut was a shallow one, but it was an impressive feat nonetheless. Even monsters with stats that matched my own would have to get pretty lucky if they wanted to evade my Ennegine based attacks. What the hell, man? The fuck’s up with this guy’s reflexes? I can’t believe he managed to throw a counter while I was moving around that quickly.
Frankly, the butler was terrifying. One’s stats had the tendency to drop as one’s body succumbed to age, which meant that he would have been even stronger in his prime. I had the sneaking suspicion that the man before me had once been strong enough to go toe to toe with dragons.
“What an amazing display of skill from both sides!” shouted the caster. “Can you believe that we’re only in round four, ladies and gentlemen!?”
His voice was immediately followed by a series of cheers. Again, I groaned internally, and not from pain this time. I was starting to get annoyed by both the MC and the crowd. They were too noisy and it was hard to focus.
Upon realizing that I was letting myself get a bit too tilted for comfort, I decided to stop and take a deep breath. Alright Yuki, calm down. You can do this. You just gotta stay calm.
I dispelled the flames enveloping Enne’s body and got her to stop casting wind magic before taking a moment to erase everything but my foe from my mind.
“Master. How are your wounds?” she asked, telepathically.
“I’m fine. How’s your mana holding up?”
“I have about… ten percent left.”
Shit. I let myself get carried away and used up a bit too much for comfort. Man, times like these, I really wish potions actually worked on Enne.
“So that sword of yours is an intelligent weapon?” asked the butler. “This is my first time ever seeing one in person.”
“I’m surprised you could tell.”
“I could sense it abiding by your will,” he said. “It is quite the splendid blade. Do treat it well.”
“That’s been the plan from the start,” I said. “She’s pretty much the most adorable little thing ever, so I don’t see any reason I wouldn’t.”
The air around my opponent eased for just a moment as his expression reverted to the kind you’d see on any other nice old man. Likewise, Enne also seemed to react by doing the telepathic equivalent of squirming around in embarrassment. See what I mean? She’s so cute!
“Would you mind doing me the favour of descending and meeting me on the ground?” asked the butler.
“Oh, hell naw. That sounds dangerous as fuck, and I’m not about that life,” I said. You see, up here, I don’t need to worry about you hitting me, oldtimer.
“Well, then I suppose I will have to resort to something a little less orthodox.”
Crisis detection suddenly kicked in and warned me that I was in trouble. And lots of it. I didn’t think I could face the incoming attack head-on, so I flapped my wings as hard as I could in order to force myself to evade. The wind roared. A sword beam came at me and cleaved through the airspace I had been occupying just a moment prior. It missed my face by no more than just a few centimetres. THE FUCK WAS THAT!? I DIDN’T EVEN KNOW THAT WAS POSSIBLE! IS THAT WHAT MAXING SWORD MASTERY DOES!? GIVE YOU FUCKING SWORD BEAMS!?
Though I was screaming in confusion, I had, in fact, processed his attack. My magic eye allowed me to understand that he had filled his blade with magical energy and released it as he swung it. Shit man, that surprised me as much as a jack in the box would surprise a toddler.
“I’m surprised you avoided that.”
“Dude, what the fuck! I thought I was about to die, fuck me, holy shit!”
The first thing I did after firing off a series of complaints was pay him back in kind. I did the exact same thing he did: I filled Enne with mana and took extra care not to activate crimson blaze. Instead, I imagined the magical energy flying off into the distance as I released it.
And that was exactly what happened. I managed to send a sword beam flying right at the old butler. He avoided the attack, but it managed to prove itself a significant source of power by carving a large gash into the arena’s floor. Wow. That worked a lot better than I thought it would.
“You have learned the attack just by seeing it?” asked the butler. “How outstanding. I expected nothing less.”
“Mark my words, old-timer, I’m going to wipe that confident smile off your face!”
It’s time for round two! Let’s do this!