Several of them were silent. They were speechless. There was a reason for that.
「Oi, why the hell is the outside so beautiful and in tune with that large star tree but the inside so harsh…?」
Salman’s words expressed everything that everyone was thinking.
「I, it’s rather gaudy isn’t it…?」
Lilium stuttered as she gazed at that spectacle.
「They have a good sense」
Marisa looked around the interiors with a cold glare.
It was the complete opposite. The outside of the castle was fantastical and beautiful but the interiors were,
「Harsh, this is bad」
「I don’t even know how to describe this place anymore, so much so that such a comprehensive way of speaking is much better」
As if they had fallen into a poisonous swamp, it was coloured dark purple and black.
It was a shade that made it feel like something was running up your spine.
What spread out as soon as they entered such a place was a red carpeted hall.
The moment they opened the huge door, the red carpet that spread out in front of them could be seen stretching all the way into the depths of the castle. It was a carpet long enough that it felt like it would continue till the throne.
As expected, when they all proceeded on the carpet,
「Hey! That! That’s definitely a throne isn’t it!? Not to mention, it’s definitely one meant for villains!!」
As if he couldn’t bear it anymore, Merea pointed towards the throne with large movements and gestures.
Salman covered his eyes with his hand and looked up towards the ceiling.
At the point Merea was pointing at, an extremely garish and harshly decorated 『throne』 could be seen.
If it had to be described then it would be appropriate to say that it was a very 『demon lord-like』 throne.
The throne was placed at the top of roughly twenty or so stairs but even so, it seemed to exude a certain dignity.
「In the first place, the height is too much! They clearly made this to make looking down at someone easy!!」
Merea still couldn’t stop retorting.
「The guy who sits on this throne will definitely say something like, 『If you follow me then, I’ll give you half of this world』!!」
「And if you refuse then it feels like he would walk down calmly while flipping his cloak to the side and say, 『in that case...die』...」
Elma heaved a heavy sigh.
After giving their impressions one after the other, their group walked up the staircase and stood level with the throne.
「Even so, it’s wide isn’t it? Just how many people could fit in here?」
「Definitely, at least a hundred」
At Elma’s simple doubt, Salman replied.
In that time, Merea kept looking around restlessly.
At that point, Merea suddenly remembered a certain fact.
A certain, 『bad memory』.
「Hmm…, I feel like I have seen this before…」
He had noticed that fact as he had been walking up the stairs.
His heart beat quickly but he quickly denied that fact.
However, as he ascended the staircase, the further he went, the stronger that conviction became.
「Oh, there seems to be a staircase on the other side going to the higher floors. The other rooms seem to be on the second floor and up. ――Well, let’s just be happy that we have a place to live in for now. Let’s pray that the rooms on the second floor and up are more normal」
「If it were all like this then it would get rather depressing…」
Although Salman and Elma spoke with an expression like they had no other choice but they somehow seemed to be getting used to it already. However, Merea alone seemed to be absentmindedly staring at the surroundings around the throne.
「――Haha, but you know, it looks very demon lord-ish so isn’t that fine? Our lord is someone who thinks it’s fine to be a demon lord and we agree with him. Not to mention, the castle is so flashy so, the dignity will just have to follow right? ――Well, dignity as the 『lord of demon lords』 though」
「That might be true. If Merea doesn’t talk, then he’s fine but the moment he opens his mouth he seems like a child. If that’s the case, then we can just have him sit here quietly so that he can show off some dignity. ――Ah, I mean dignity as a demon lord though」
As Salman and Elma spoke, the other demon lords started laughing and started making a fuss.
When Salman suddenly called him in a loud voice, Merea, who had been standing around absent-minded, suddenly jumped up.
He looked around restlessly, looking for Salman when he noticed that all the others had gone down a few steps and were beckoning to Merea.
「Sit there for a little bit」
The place Salman was pointing at was the gaudy throne.
「So, sorry, Salman. I have this violently bad premonition so I might not be able to sit on that throne」
「Well, don’t say that. ――You guys! Make Merea sit on that throne!」
At Salman’s signal, the demon lords rushed forward and restricted Merea.
「N, nooo!! Ah! I’ve seen this scene before! I’ve definitely seen this scene before!!」
In that moment, a certain memory clearly resurfaced in Merea’s mind.
In the meantime, Merea had his body carried by his comrades and forcefully made to sit on the throne.
「Merea-sama, at times like this, you need to cross your legs. ――Yes, just like that」
Marisa approached Merea, who was sitting on the throne powerlessly, and grasped his leg and set his posture like she would to a doll.
「Merea-kun, your elbow should be like this」
Aiz moved Merea’s elbow onto the armrest of the throne and after adjusting the angle aa little, she made him grasp both hands.
「Merea, your expression should be like this」
Elma grabbed onto the dumbfounded Merea’s face and with both her hands, she fixed his expression into the that of a smile. It was a kind of thin evil smile.
Those girls then moved away from the throne and as they looked at Merea, all three simultaneously nodded, 「All right」.
In the meantime, the other demon lords lined up on both sides of the staircase.
Next to the carpet that led up to the throne, they lined up with perfect posture as if they had been tasked with protecting the throne.
A total of twenty one people.
When looked at from below, it must have been a scene that had a considerable amount of force.
「Oii, isn’t there anyone who can use a recording technique? I want to leave a picture of this moment as a commemoration」
Salman raised his voice and asked. In the next instant, one of the demon lords happily raised their hand and immediately fired the technique into midair.
「Alright, then I’ll ask you to time it for five seconds later」
Salman raised his thumb up and spoke and the that demon lord looked back at him and gave a strong thumbs-up as well.
「I, have seen this before…」
At that time, Merea finally came back to his senses」
However, his expression which had been set by Elma had solidified and just left him with an uncomfortable feeling. And the technique that, that demon lord had deployed was floating in midair as a white light.
The light took on a mirror like shape.
The surface started shining.
「I, saw this scene on the〈Future Stone (Funas)〉!!」
A moment before Merea’s scream resounded, the light of the recording technique flashed.
From within the light floating in midair, one sheet of paper fell down which had a picture drawn on it. It was a picture that had completely copied the scene onto the paper without any errors.
The demon lords flooded towards that piece of paper and raised happy voices as they looked at it.
「Haha, look at Merea’s face, he looks so stiff!」
「As I thought, he’s lacking a little in dignity」
「No no, I think Merea-sama is amazing no matter what face he makes」
「Merea-kun, looks a little, tired?」
「This won’t turn into money. It’s a picture overflowing with cheapness. Definitely a picture that wouldn’t sell」
「Merea looks horrible as well but we all look pretty bad as well huh...Since we just came back from war, our appearances are the worst」
There were others who spoke up as well, 「Let’s take another one with Noel as well, that might have a much bigger impact」 or, 「It might be better after we get some proper clothing」, 「We need to practice making the right expression」 such impressions kept coming up from the demon lords and the area around the throne became very lively.
While watching that scene, Merea stretched his legs out and while placing an elbow limply onto the armrest, he spoke.
「Haa…in the end it ended up exactly like 『that』...」
He remembered it clearly now. About the time when he used the〈Future Stone〉while hiding from Flander.
They all ended up saying stuff like demon lord or great demon lord but just once there was a 『picture』 drawn. Like the other future stones, he had broken it immediately but he could clearly remember the stiff face while sitting on the throne. His own face, that had an extremely bad villainous expression.
Now that he thought about it, the gaudy interior and horrible throne were also shown in that picture.
In other words, it was that.
「I feel like I was completely at the mercy of that future stone…that thing’s success rate with me is a little too high…」
The words Merea spoke with a sigh in a faint voice, just floated around the room a little before disappearing.
「Well then, it’s about time we headed upstairs to check it out」
The demon lords who had been enjoying the picture nodded to Salman and walked towards the staircase at the back.
Merea quickly got up from the throne to follow after them as well.
In the end, he casually looked around the room to make sure that no one had left anything behind and he suddenly found a certain something.
When he had walked towards the back of the throne, he found words carved into the lower portion of the throne.
Merea strained his eyes.
「――Ahh! I’m coming!」
While answering Salman, who could be heard from a fair distance away, Merea squatted down and brought his face even closer to the carving and read what was written.
『Look at it Flander! What do you think? It’s a nice castle isn’t it!? I made it for the sake of all of you! Though I shouldn’t say it but I think it’s perfect!!』
『Th, the interiors are horrible...Leilas… At least change the interiors of the second floor and up by the next time we come...otherwise the others will no longer even want to come here…』
『Y, you’re not a child...haaa…』
Under the large clearly carved words, an answer was conservatively written as well. One of the handwritings was very familiar to Merea. ――It was Flander’s handwriting. In which case, the other bouncy handwriting must be――
Merea opened his eyes wide and traced those letters. He could feel a strange warmth from the tips of his fingers.
「Haha, I hope the second floor and above are fine――Leilas」
Merea unconsciously laughed as he felt happiness well up from the depth of his heart.
「Merea? Did you find something?」
「Nope, nothing great. Just a little――『memory』」
Merea turned back and looked at those words one last time before he quickly ran after his comrades.
――― ―― ―
On the throne that was left behind, two butterflies could be seen fluttering around it.
They were two beautiful jade butterflies that looked like they were dancing with each other.