A Demon Lord's Tale: Dungeons, Monster Girls, and Heartwarming Bliss Chapter 66
A Second Visit to the Governor’s Manor
Editor(s): Speedphoenix, Joker
“Ayyyy, old governor dude, long time no see.”
"So you have returned…" replied the middle aged man. "I suppose that this truly was inevitable after all."
Lefi and I found ourselves located in a familiar-looking reception room. It was the very same one we had visited at the end of the whole Illuna case. The only major difference was that, this time, we had the hero in tow.
Of course, there were a few minor differences as well. For example, the governor, who was sitting across from us, seemed quite a bit older than he did last time we visited. His hair was lacking its former volume, and he had gained a good number of wrinkles. He sure seems stressed. Must be all the social pressure. No worries fam, I getchu, I know what you're going through, so I'll make sure I don't call you out on it. Wait, what even was the dude's name again? Raylow, I think…? Let's see… Yup. Raylow it is. Thank god for Analyze.
"I knew that you would come seeking vengeance."
"I did as much as I could to dissuade them from raiding the Wicked Forest, but, as I'm sure you know, I failed. The fault is mine and mine alone. I understand that you must be angry. You are free to take my life if it will appease your rage. I am more than willing to offer myself as a sacrifice if it's enough to repent for my mishaps. But please, please, spare the townsfolk."
The old man closed his eyes, clasped his hands together, and began speaking in a solemn but steady tone.
“H-Holy shit, calm down bro." I stuttered. "You’re getting way ahead of yourself there. I don’t have the slightest intention of seeking any sort of retribution whatsoever. I’m just here because I wanted to talk.”
The old man clearly seemed to think that I took joy in mass murder. Where the hell did he get that idea? Holy crap. That's a totally unjustified claim if I've ever seen one.
"So you haven't come to take your revenge?"
Hearing my response caused the middle aged man to heave a heavy sigh, one laced with obvious relief.
"I’m glad to hear it," he said. "And I apologize for losing my composure and jumping to conclusions."
"For the record, I don't actually like killing people. Look, me and you, we aren’t too different. I, no, we just want to spend our days in peace. But someone apparently doesn't like that, and wants to stick their nose in our business. so I'm here to figure out who. I know that it's someone that's got ties with the government. And close ones, at that."
"…And what, precisely, led you to that conclusion?" The middle-aged governor narrowed his eyes and took a few moments to carefully pick words that neither confirmed nor denied my claim.
"It's obvious," I said. "I was attacked twice. The first time, it was by an army. And the second, it was by a hero. In other words, the wirepuller behind all this is powerful enough to not only move the nation's forces, but also put pressure on the church and force them to deploy their most powerful fighter. The church is influential as all hell, so that can only mean that whatever pressured it was an even greater power. And the only one I can think of is the government."
"The hero?" asked Raylow, in a surprised tone. Huh. Well then.
"What, you didn't know? Well I mean, she's literally right here, so… yeah. Why don't you go ahead and introduce yourself, Nell?"
"…Did you really have to use me like that? I really would've preferred that you didn't." The hero flashed me a reproachful glare before turning to face the city's head honcho. "Hello. I'm sorry for not saying anything before, but I'm a member of the Order of the Faldien Holy Knights as well as the one dubbed this generation's hero."
"What!?" The governor’s eyes widened in shock. "I'm sorry, please do excuse me."
The middle aged man narrowed his gaze and momentarily centered it on the hero, a focused look on his face all the while. The old man was obviously using Analyze to look over the girl's stat card. It was an action he had refrained from doing for courtesy's sake. Activating the skill and sneaking a peek at someone else's personal information was effectively no different from denying the very concept of privacy.
"So it really is true…" he said upon reaching a conclusion. "But pray tell, hero, why are you accompanying a demon lord, of all things?"
"Well, you see…" The hero's shoulders dropped as she began to tell her story. "The gist of it is that I was sent to subjugate him, but I was defeated. Instead of killing me, he kinda just talked to me instead. What he told me wasn't really consistent with the information I was dispatched with, so I decided to come here, to Alfyro, in order to find out the truth for myself. But then he kinda said he wanted to tag along, so here we are…"
"My condolences," said the middle aged governor. His tone was heavy and thick with sympathy. "It must've been quite the stressful journey."
"Yeah…" whispered the hero, her eyes distant. "It really was…"
What the hell, guys? You're almost making it sound like I'm the cause of all your undue stress.
"But I must say," muttered Raylow. "Mobilizing the hero for such a trifling ordeal is unacceptable. Do they not understand that that it is imperative we keep you safe and only have you deploy in times of national crisis? Those bumbling idiots! Just what is wrong with them!?"
He started out rather quiet but worked his way up to an angry shout as he spoke. He even ended up smacking the table for extra effect. Well, someone here is clearly lacking in the emotional stability department. Must be due to all his pent up stress.
"Calm down, old man," I said. "We aren’t going to get anywhere if you keep getting your panties in a knot."
"…Sorry." He finally calmed down after heaving yet another heavy sigh. God damn it. Wait, why am I the one keeping him cool anyway?
"So who exactly was responsible for all this army and hero shit again?"
"That… I can't say," replied the governor.
"You can't say? And what, exactly, is that supposed to mean?" I gave him an icy cold glare as I unleashed a torrent of magical energy and overwhelmed him with its pressure.
Lefi hadn't really bothered reacting to the sudden surge in mana, but the hero had leapt off the couch, gained a good bit of ground, and taken up a stance. The governor made note of her actions by glancing her way momentarily, but he soon turned his eyes back towards me and gave me a straight answer, despite the cold sweat flowing down his brow.
"My loyalties lie with this country, demon lord. It is my motherland. I cannot give you any information that is likely to bring it harm, regardless of how much it angers you."
"Even if it means I'll destroy this city in its entirety?"
"Even so, my answer remains unchanged." The middle aged man's response was decisive. He had started off this conversation by stating that he valued his citizens' lives more than his own. And now, he was stating that he would readily sacrifice them for his country's sake. The extent of his resolution was clear, even with his own death as imminent as could be.
There was a brief moment of silence as we stared each other down.
"Fine, you win." I exhaled lightly, shrugged, and stopped coercing the poor old man with my magic. "Thanks for having us. Let's go, Lefi. There isn't much of a point in staying here any longer."
"Are you certain?" the dragon girl asked.
"Yeah. Why don't we go grab you a few skewers too? I'm pretty sure you were wanting them earlier."
"A splendid suggestion, that is. I was indeed craving their taste."
"Are you really… not going to attack us?" asked the governor. He was completely dumbfounded by my sudden, drastic shift in attitude.
"Yeah, pretty much. I mean, what's the point? It's pretty obvious that you're not planning to tell us anything, regardless of what I say or do. It's my loss, old dude. There really isn't anything left for me to do here but sightsee. So I might as well just finish that up and head home."
A part of it was that I was impressed. He failed to bend or break under pressure and stayed true to his beliefs. His attitude was something that I, as a man, couldn't help but respect. There was no way I could possibly bring myself to harm anyone that manly.
"What're your plans now, Nell?" I said, turning to the hero.
"Uhm… Me? Uhm…" She relaxed her pose and brought the hand by her blade to her chin.
"I think I'm going to stick around here for a bit. I have a few things I'd like to talk to the governor about."
"Fair enough. I still do want you to keep showing us around though, so you might meeting somewhere around here tomorrowish?"
"Oh, uhm… sure. Okay."
Editor's note: Hey, guys! Joker here. Man, I dunno if that old guy is tough or just bipolar. First he says he wants to protect the townsfolk, then says to Yuki, "I don't care how angry you are, I won't talk." Got some balls, old man, I'll say that. Uh, don't quote that out of context, please. Thank you. But anyway, why the heck did he say that? To protect the country? But the country is the one mismanaging assets, like the hero. Shouldn't your priority be solving that problem? I dunno, maybe it's because of the kind of world we live in. Who knows. Well, guess it's back to sightseeing for Yuki and Lefi, as well as eating all the street vendors' stock up. Should have bets on the side, too. Like arm wrestling contests and food contests. Easy money that way. But I guess that would break the cardinal rule of Isekai novels. "Don't draw attention to yourself or show people how OP you are." Hopefully, Yuki bucks that trend. He seems to be doing good so far. All right, enough rambling. See y'all in the next chapter!