Really now, who's the Demon Lord?
「Hasim-sama, there’s something I would like to tell you secretly」
A few days had already passed since Hasim and his group had decided to rebel.
On that day, Hasim was sitting in his plain-looking private chambers in the royal castle, thinking of how to plot against the king of Lemuse as well as his siblings. Just then, Aisha walked up to him with a cup of black tea and whispered in his ears, so he he stopped his mulling for a moment.
He faced Aisha and he responded.
「Hm? What happened Aisha?」
「A certain person seems to have something to talk to Hasim-sama about. The detail are….this might not be the best place for it」
Saying so, Aisha refrained from speaking any further.
She gestured to Hasim that it something that was hard to speak about in that place.
「You don’t really have to mind it that much. There are no spies around. My father does not even have the ability to do that right.
He desperately wants to believe that I am incompetent, so he goes out of his way to not find anything out about me」
Having instantly understood what Aisha was worried about, Hasim spoke while exaggeratedly shrugging his shoulders.
However, Aisha still did not back down. In fact, she seemed to be even more adamant.
「…that’s crazy. …Oi, are you serious about that? If Mūzeg’s spies have already infiltrated, then the situation is already…」
Aisha’s follow-up words had an immediate effect and it managed to scare Hasim quite a bit.
Hasim, who had left the information about the spies in the surroundings to the talented woman, the maid-cum spy Aisha. If she, herself, said such words, then he was unable to not be on guard.
「That was just a joke. We’ve already had our spies infiltrate the castle and have not found any suspicious individuals. But, we have to be doubly sure. You can’t be careless, Hasim-sama」
In the end, he couldn’t help but heave a big sigh seeing Aisha’s mischievous smile. It was also a smile of relief.
「You took that joke too far, Aisha」
「I apologize. However, 『If we don’t make everything absolutely sure now, when will we make it absolutely sure』 has some truth to it, does it not?」
「Well….that’s also true huh. …Got it, got it. Ah, I kept only thinking about the plot and nothing else. I should probably pay more attention to the other things in my surroundings right?
Well then, let’s go someplace else」
Hasim took a single sip from the black tea that AIsha brought and then quickly stood up.
「So, off to the same place as usual? Who was the one who wanted to speak to me?」
「It was Earl Reynald」
Earl Reynald. He was the man with the splendid beard, who acted as the representatives of the vassals.
Despite being such a graceful person, he was a man who was adept at both politics and warfare.
「Is that so, understood. Let’s hurry then. Despite the fact that he speaks rather dispassionately, what he says is rather important」
Reynald would dispassionately collect information and dispassionately tell him that information, which would, in turn, make Hasim not take the information too seriously.
If he thought well about it, then, 「Hold on…」, he would end up thinking that but then would be swept up in Reynald’s gloomy manner of speech.
Reynald wasn’t at fault but, his sweet voice along with his peculiar manner of speech would make Hasim feel like he was listening to a seductress.
「What does Aisha plan on doing?」
「Of course, I will follow you」
「In that case, finish up the preparations」
「As you command」
Since Hasim hadn’t been going out lately, he hadn’t shaved but now he was looking for a small dagger that he used to shave.
The meeting place was the basement of the worn out shed.
The place was definitely that but the entrance was not in the shed.
If a prince of the country was seen going into such a shed, it would definitely look suspicious.
There were several entrances at various places and the room at the end of those secret passages was the room right under the shed.
「This really tickles my childhood fantasies so I quite like it」
「Dust gets all over us. If it wasn’t for that, then as your maid, I wouldn’t have anything specific to say」
Although Hasim looked like he was having a lot of fun but, Aisha on the other hand, looked like she didn’t quite like him going there.
No matter how much you clean, it didn’t change the fact that it was underground and the dust would never be removed completely.
If, due to that, there was any problems that occured in Hasim’s lungs, it would cause a lot of issues.
In case Hasim dies, then the Kingdom of Lemuse would perish.
Same as his other retainers, Aisha was entirely convinced of that fact.
While having such a conversation, they finally arrived at the small room at the end of the tunnel.
The door was slightly open, in such a way that, if someone spoke from outside, it would resound inside the room.
「I made you wait」
As if having foreseen that, Hasim opened the door further while saying that.
The door opened with a creaking sound and a cloud of dust floated up into the air.
Aisha frowned as she thought that.
Without minding the dust, Hasim walked through the door. Aisha seemed to want Hasim to at least cover his mouth with a handkerchief if nothing else.
The one in question, Hasim, might surpass others in politics and warfare but in such situations, he was extremely dense.
Such minor dense actions could pile up and gradually get larger before attacking Hasim as a large force.
Since Aisha was a worry-wart, she was scared that, that might actually happen and she did everything in her power to ensure that would not come to be.
That was why, despite knowing that she was being rude, she forcefully covered Hasim’s mouth and nose with a handkerchief.
「Ohh, you’re causing trouble for Miss Aisha as usual huh, Hasim-sama」
On the other side of the dust cloud, the man sitting on a chair inside the room, looked at the two who just entered and with a mischievous smile, like that of a child, he spoke up.
With his splendid beard rocking everytime he moved, with an air of elegance was a man in his early sixties. That was Earl Reynald.
「Don’t tease me, Reynald」
「I’m also not that great a woman to be called Miss by Earl Reynald. …I’m very grateful」
「No no, if I don’t call Miss Aisha, Miss then who would I use it for. I’d rather even call you my own daughter for that matter. That’s how much elegance and womanly appeal you have.
So how about it? If you want to be the head of a family, should I just adopt you as my daughter and…」
While covering Hasim’s mouth with a handkerchief, Aisha exclaimed with a beet red face face.
Although she didn’t seem completely against it but, she did seem to feel reserved about something.
「Fufu, well, Miss Aisha seemed like she has other things that she needs to do as well, so a family name that stands out may just get in her way. Isn’t a maid who can also serve as a spy, something you’d never find nowadays, Hasim-sama?」
「In the spy country in the west, it seems like there may be such people though」
「Then, let me correct myself and say, in the east at least」
「Well, I’ll admit that Aisha is quite versatile. Though her only fault would be that she keeps putting that handkerchief on my face for long periods」
「Isn’t it your own fault for not covering your face yourself?」
「Quite the logic. …Anyway, it’s fine now AIsha, thank you」
「From next time, please be more careful」
After cautioning him for the who knows how many-th time, Aisha took a step back.
Hasim took the seat in front of Reynald and once more opened his mouth.
He pushed his light brown coloured bangs to the side with his finger and looked at Reynald with his aqua blue eyes.
「Yeah, there’s some classified information that I would like you to know」『1』
「I’ll tell you outright. Yesterday morning, I received a report from my subordinates regarding Mūzeg, in that report, there was some interesting information」
There was a need to pay close attention to the movements of Mūzeg.
Hasim also understood that to the point of being annoyed.
There were still 3 countries in between them but, the possibilities of clashing with them in the future was high.
「Do you know about the sacred mountain known as Lindholm Sacred Mountain?」
「Yeah, of course. It’s the sacred mountain known as the place closest to heaven after all.
Along with its mysteriousness, it really leaves an impression on you. Well, because of that mysteriousness, the living wouldn’t set foot there though」
「That’s right. However, large number of Mūzeg’s soldiers were seen climbing up there」
Hasim raised an eyebrow,
He had an expression that clearly said that he was interested.
「What’s the reason?」
「『Demon Lord hunting』 is most probably the reason. Since the report reached us using a messenger bird, there’s no way to have our questions answered immediately but that was the kind of situation that was described in the report」
「…Demon Lord hunting. If that’s the case then,〈Serius Brad Mūzeg〉would probably leading them」
「Yeah. While being royalty, he’s also a valiant general who leads the army. He’s quite proactive in hunting Demon Lords as well, or so I’ve heard」
「Hmm. …The darling child of the age of war as well as a genius huh. Mūzeg managed to produce another annoying thing huh.
Do you think it’s true that he killed a Demon Lord by himself?
There are also rumors that, after killing the Demon Lord, he mastered that Demon Lord’s powers by deciphering it and managed to master it」
「Who knows. Unless we actually see it ourselves」
「That’s true. Seeing is believing huh.
Anyway, if we believe that to be true, we really can’t tell which one is the Demon Lord anymore」
「It’s just as you say. However, the one backing Serius is the powerful nation, Mūzeg after all.
Actually, compared to the current king of Mūzeg, Serius may be much better off being considered as the symbol of their country. Therefore, nobody would be able to ridicule him.
…No, they are free to ridicule him, however, there would be no guarantee of their safety afterwards」
「There is nothing worse than a Demon Lord belonging to a powerful organization. In the past, there were such Demon Lords. They were actually kings of countries and they were all over the place but most of the Demon Lords in that age were actually evil and the various countries cooperated to subjugate them.
In the current age of war, let alone cooperation, they all have been trying to keep each other in check and nothing is going that well」
Hasim lightly sighed.
「Honestly, even though Mūzeg is the place where many talented individuals gather but if even the royalty of that country end up being the incarnations of strength then….it’s rather enviable」
Hasim exaggeratedly shrugged his shoulders but then immediately urged Reynald to continue.
「Then, is that the end of the report?」
「No, the most important part is after this」
「What is it?」
「That〈Serius Brad Mūzeg〉managed to let those Demon Lords get away」
At Reynald’s simple report, Hasim stared hard at him.
He had an expression that clearly showed that he was extremely surprised.
「Is that true? …That’s rare, a Demon Lord who managed to get away. No, but I’m, personally, very happy though」
In all honesty, having managed to run away from the army led by that Serius was extremely unexpected for Hasim.
He was extremely happy at this news and really wanted to applaud the Demon Lord who managed this feat.
「….hm? Demon Lord『s』?」
At that point, Hasim noticed something odd about the Reynald’s report.
Reynald as well, as if he expected Hasim to notice that point, continued.
「It seems that there was more than one Demon Lord there. …Multiple people. My subordinate observed the battle between Mūzeg and the Demon Lords from a distance and he noticed tens of Demon Lords in that place.
Though, there’s no guarantee that they were all Demon Lords but there were many people he recognized. So, right now all I can say is, it’s probably true」
「Mūzeg actually climbed up that dangerous Lindholm Sacred Mountain after all. It’s definitely Demon Lords」, said Hasim while nodding.
「And, thereupon, they ran towards the east. In other words, east from Lindholm Sacred Mountain, so in the direction of the main territory of Mūzeg…as well as the direction of Lemuse」
「There was a report that the golden ship slid down the eastern slope of the mountain」
「That’d be a strange sight」
「Well, if I don’t see it with my own eyes, I’d find it hard to believe but, in the case that it were true…and my subordinate has no reason to tell such a strange lie…then that bad taste would most probably be of someone from the family of the〈Alchemy King〉」
「Ahh, that one…」
Hasim smiled bitterly.
Immediately guessing what Reynald was trying not to say and also after remembering the information he, himself, had on the family of the〈Alchemy King〉, he had a really bitter smile.
「They’re definitely not bad people but they really are flashy after all. Also, since it feels like they’ve sold their souls off to the God of Trade, people who can’t feel humanity in them may hate them though. I personally, like them. Pursuing money is one of the cultural objectives of humans after all」
「Yes, I understand their logic as well. Well anyway, that’s the case」
Reynald’s report ended there.
As Hasim had expected, this was definitely not something that had to be told so secretly.
However, having heard the news from Reynald, Hasim somehow felt rather happy.
His aqua blue eyes, had a strong color of curiosity in them, like a child. A matter that, both Aisha and Reynald noticed.
「Send a messenger. Immediately」
Again, Hasim made a quick judgement.
For just a few seconds, he seemed to be lost in thought but then he quickly recovered and spoke up.
「Yeah, immediately. I no longer have the time to be worrying about things. Since the other party are Demon Lords, all the more we need to, even obstinately, bring them over to our side. In case there are any Demon Lords who know of the Lemuse Kingdom of the past, we need to immediately let them know.
The 『Naive, noble country』 of the past will be brought back. That’s why, in this age, we’ll give you a place to belong so, in exchange for that, please lend us your powers.
Well, us asking too much would be in those lines so this…would be a negotiation」
「That’s right. In case there really are tens of Demon Lords, then if they try to, they could easily destroy Lemuse. I don’t know what titles those Demon Lords have but if it’s the current cowardly Lemuse then they could destroy us. That is why we’ll offer them 『peace of mind』」
「In other words, Hasim-sama is betting the survival of the country right? Betting it on that negotiation?」
「I’m pretty strong when it comes to bets you know?」
「I’m well aware of it. I’m quite fond of betting myself」
Reyland showed a mischievous smile and made a gesture of rolling dice.
「In any case, if we let it be, this country is done for. So there’s no other choice but to do it here」
「You say some extreme things too huh, Reyland」
「My superiors, the royal family, is already saying that right? Me piling on that isn’t really going to be all that shocking in my opinion」
「…Ah, seriously. I feel like we’re going to get scolded by the citizens」
Hasim smiled bitterly once again.
「Well now, who knows. The citizens, rather than slowly decaying in this way, may want a powerful medicine. A powerful, effective medicine, that could fix a decaying body.
This is Lemuse. In the past, it had used it’s small body to protect Demon Lords from the other countries. In the past we had failed but this time, we have to succeed」
「For the sake of the one who died in order to protect Lemuse, the〈Technique God〉Flander Crow and also the princess who put herself in danger for the sake of that Flander, the〈White Emperor〉Leilas Lif Lemuse.
Also, for the sake of this world’s most noble citizens who approved the policies of that Leilas」
Hasim thought back on those two 『Heroes』 and the citizens who placed their lives in the hands of those heroes.