――The〈Sword Emperor〉subjugated a huge serpent today. It’s a real pity, even though you’re quite the monster yourself but she’s even more so. It’s your fault for not choosing the time and place to cause an issue…!
「You just thought of something incredibly rude didn’t you?」
「Nope, not at all」
〈Sword Emperor〉Elma, pouted and spoke to Merea as she tucked her damp black hair behind her ear.
When he looked closely, probably because she had carried the serpent all the way here but, her already beautiful skin had a little sweat coating it and it brought forth an unimaginable sex appeal.
The citizens of Lemuse who were in the surroundings, along with the fact that she was carrying that huge serpent, they ended up fascinated with Elma in a double sense.
Seeing Elma like that, Merea whistled in a slightly forced manner and continued to speak.
「So, what is that?」
「There was a request so I went and subjugated it. It seems like this red phosphorus serpent (Karlneka) somehow ended up in the outskirts of Lemuse and has been eating up the domestic animals」
「Seems to be going well, Elma’s monster subjugation work」
「It’s not like monster subjugation is my specialty you know? More like, It’s not like i even want to do monster subjugation… Well, there’s no helping it since the request this time was like that. It’d be too late after it attacked people」
Elma looked back with a troubled expression.
「In any case, I’m rather good at such hard work. That money-grubber ended up setting up a branch of his Sherwood Firm right next to the star tree castle and since then he’s been handing out work like this. The soldiers of Lemuse are requested for such work as well but since they’re rather busy with other work as well, they end up not being able to finish it all. The money-grubber ended up aiming for that point. If we could complete the requests then it would help the fundraising group and it would also lead to the maintenance of Lemuse’s security――」
「Yeah, I think that’s a nice thing」
Merea nodded lightly but he immediately continued speaking.
「But well, I’ve been thinking this lately but――」
While speaking, Merea suddenly looked down and started trembling. He then, suddenly raised his head and yelled out in protest.
「Isn’t everyone a little too reliable?! Do you even need me!? Huh? I feel like I’m not even needed anymore!!」
With slightly moist eyes, he expressed his dreary feelings in quite the impressive manner.
「Somehow or the other, aren’t there too many skilled people gathering around us?!」
Merea noticed that his comrades had begun adapting to the daily life in Lemuse at a frightening pace and, even though he was working that hard, he felt more like a figurehead.
He couldn’t help but feel a sense of frustration at those thoughts every now and again.
Once the battle had ended, the actions of the〈Demon Lord’s Alliance (Mea Nessiah)〉ended up being rather plain. Though plain, it was very important.
In other words, it was the 『preliminary preparations』 to take action.
For that sake, the demon lord’s alliance had broken up into three teams.
First, the fundraising team.
With Shaw at the heart of it, they were members who would use methods like peddling or commerce in order to procure funds. In other words, they were the ones in charge of managing the wallet of the demon lord’s alliance.
In recent times, it seems like, since they had gotten somewhat used to the daily life in Lemuse, they had started venturing further out in order to procure ores and medicinal plants. Of course, the stuff they procured would end up being sold.
――Seriously, not only are they reliable but also quick.
Merea seriously thought that, as long as Shaw was pulling the reins, there shouldn’t be any possibility of anything going wrong.
The bright smile of the money-grubber floated up in his mind.
Then, second was the information gathering team.
This team might just be the most busy at the current time. They have way too many things to accomplish.
Another way to put it would be that this team could be considered the nucleus of the demon lord’s alliance.
『If there are any demon lords out there, who want to be saved, then I want to reach my hand out to them』. Thanks to such a big guiding principle by Merea that all of them agreed with, their main job was to gather information from various lands.
In addition, the〈Seven Imperial Armaments〉whose use became apparent towards the end of the previous battle. Information on that was also collected side by side.
Only in the matter of the seven imperial armaments, Elma was considered as a special part of the second team but Elma was mainly part of the third team and so, her participation could be considered to be rather moderate.
Elma herself, wasn’t particularly skilled at such detailed work.
「When you’re here, the documents end up somewhere or the other and work efficiency actually drops…」, was what one of the team members claimed.
Lilium, who had certain academic achievements and boundless curiosity, having entered into Aios academy, was also part of the information gathering team.
At this point, she had become like the head of that team.
Lastly, the foreign combat team. In other words, the 『practice corps』. While it is practice――it is also actual combat.
「I’m technically a part of the practice corps but I’ve not actually managed to practice anything yet have I…」
「In your case, rather than being a member of the team, your job is more to be the head of everything put together. When you think about the balance of it all, there’s really no helping it is there? There’s also Marisa’s curriculum. ――Well, a master being educated by a maid is also a little off though」
「It’s definitely off, no matter how you look at it, isn’t it? ...Though I shouldn’t say it myself but how very pathetic of me!」
Merea covered his face with his hands and started sobbing.
「Calm down, you idiot」
Seeing Merea’s melancholy, Elma took a step towards him and poked him in the head.
「Gunuu… Well, the fact that I haven’t had the chance to go out yet means that everyone is excellent to the point where my help isn’t needed. But even so, I still feel like I want to take part in 『actual combat』. Not in practice but in――『actual battle』」
Foreign combat. Of course, if possible, it would be better if it didn’t exist.
――This will 『still』 be needed.
They will first save demon lords. After that, they will change the meaning of the term demon lord.
As a precursor――they had already had a battle in regards to that.
Although what Merea was trying to do was idealistic but, it wasn’t the kind of fluffy ideals that doesn’t have a shred of reality. Merea knew both ideals and reality really well.
In any case, a ridiculous amount of effort will be needed in order to change the meaning of the term demon lord. Time as well.
It was still not known how they could go about changing the meaning of term demon lord to a better one.
――Save the world? Help grieving citizens? Maybe, suppress a calamity?
Putting aside an abstract thought like saving the world, it was hard to say whether the second point would actually be a good thing to do or not. In other words, by saving those citizens, they might end up being criticized by the citizens from some other place.
The fact that confronting someone’s justice is another form of justice is something that had existed in any and all eras.
On the contrary, there is still hope when it comes to the idea of suppressing calamities. ――Assuming those are actually natural calamities.
――Though if I start thinking about it, there’s no end to it.
Even though he understood that it would end up like that, Merea still decided to head down that road.
Many people might end up laughing at such a path. That it would be impossible to walk down such a path.
He understood that well.
――That is exactly why we need to always think about it.
There will eventually be a time when they would have to make a move. At that time, the one to make a decision would be him.
There might also be times when he might have to make extremely difficult decisions.
――Rather than stopping all thought and letting myself get swept away by the era, I would much rather choose a path by myself and follow that.
Even Merea was scared. However, the existence of his comrades was enough to support his back.
So, when he does make a decision, the ones to make a move as his limbs would be the practice corp, the foreign combat team――
――〈Demon Lord’s Sword (Meanne Emery)〉.
Merea whispered that name in his mind.
Those three teams had already been given names. A demon lord who was particularly fond of naming things, decided on those names on a particular theme.
Fundraising team ――〈Demon Lord’s Wallet (Meanne Lister)〉. Information gathering team ――〈Demon Lord’s Knowledge (Meanne Lazlas)〉. Foreign combat team ――〈Demon Lord’s Sword (Meanne Emery)〉.
When they are usually referred to, it’s normal to use abbreviated versions of the names like,〈Wallet (Lister)〉,〈Knowledge (Lazlas)〉,〈Sword (Emery)〉.
「In any case, I’ll be moving as a member of〈Sword (Emery)〉for the time being. There’s a lack of people and I really feel like I should be standing at the frontlines as well」
「Ahh. ...But, though there might be a lot of people who’ll let it slide since we have no choice but there are also a lot of people who are worried about you. You’re definitely the strongest man in our demon lord group but, that doesn’t mean that you’ll never get hurt. ――Don’t forget your position as the head」
Hearing Elma point that out in a serious expression, Merea nodded back in reply.
Seeing him nod, Elma breathed a sigh and decided to finish that conversation and brought up another topic.
「But, we, the〈Demon Lord’s Sword (Meanne Emery)〉are the ones who are seen outside the most and the ones who are subject to the majority of the 『evaluation』. If we took that point into consideration, then your presence on the frontlines as the one who stands at the top of us all might actually be needed. We’ll all need to watch our actions as well」
The demon lords who are members of the current〈Sword (Emery)〉, including Merea are those who are outstanding when it comes to combat capability but, since it has only been a little over a week since their arrival in Lemuse, they have nothing to do other than combat training.
However, once the demon lords from〈Wallet (Lister)〉or〈Knowledge (Lazlas)〉bring in more information, things would get much busier.
「Well, we’re calling it by a dangerous name like combat but it’d be nice if we could use a gentler term in the future」
Merea spoke with his hands clasped behind his head. However, the moment after he whispered that, a sharp light could be seen in his red eyes.
He continued to speak in that manner.
「But for now――we have no choice but to protect. I won’t give up on that. It’s not like I don’t have hope, but I’ve seen too many people who have failed in that way」
Elma nodded heavily to those words.
At the same time, it was also a shield. A tool in order to protect. Even Elma understood the meaning of the tool that had two names with opposing meanings coexisting together.
After that for a while, the two silently walked through the streets of Lemuse.
While looking at the citizens of Lemuse with curiosity, after a while, Elma finally opened her mouth to speak.
「In any case, it’s fine for you not to get so flustered and just wait patiently at our center. It’s fine to let others handle the smaller matters you know?」
「Nooo, I want to try doing various things as well. ...But, I’m not nearly as adaptable as you all!!」
「Well you are like an ancient human who came to his first town from the most extreme boonies after all…」
「That’s just quite mixed up isn’t it…?」
「Maybe because you were raised by the heroic spirits but your sense of value is like an ancient person and since you were born till now, you were on that Lindholm sacred mountain so you’re somewhat like a fossil…」
The moment Elma said that, Merea squatted down in that alley made with white stones and started tracing the artwork with his finger. ――He seemed to be sulking.
「No, you’re not wrong but, well…」
It wasn’t all bad. Everything they could see, seemed to be shining.
Seeing, hearing or touching new things tended to be quite the stimulating activity.
However, realising that you lack even the most basic of knowledge can lead anyone to feel somewhat lonely.
In the end, the studies he was undergoing under Marisa was also mainly because he lacked such knowledge.
「Merea’s knowledge and experience is severely biased towards techniques and combat after all. Instead, common information is something that you’re so lacking in that it could even be said that there’s no other choice in the matter. Since you have knowledge of techniques and abilities that you wouldn’t find no matter which library or book collection you go around, or even if you look through every book, so I think you can be proud of that fact. ――You yourself are like a treasure chest you know?」
Although Elma noticed that their direction had changed slightly, she looked over at Merea and praised him.
She had gotten fairly used to handling Merea who, recently, would get bothered by not being able to do or know the most 『normal』 things.
Merea was surprisingly easy to handle.
「Since that’s the case, I’m going to head back to the castle」
「I really feel like the conversation just started and stopped in the most abrupt manner――but well, whatever」
Merea, as usual, was quick to bounce back.
「So, what are you going to do?」
While facing Merea, who had stood back up, Elma pointed towards the star tree castle with her chin while asking him.
「I’ll go back after walking around a little more. If I go back now, Marisa will definitely confine me」
Elma couldn’t help but give a wry smile seeing Merea trembling as he spoke.
「You have my sympathies…」
They lightly shook hands before parting.
Merea continued to walk through the streets of Lemuse while mingling with other people.