The Academic and Social Town
Lilium managed to do it, till the end.
She controlled three flame horses, day in and day out and somehow managed to get past the first, small town and finally get all the Demon Lords to the large city state of the〈Duchy of Neuce Gauss〉.
「It’s the first time in my life, that I’ve been this worn out…」
With a tone filled with a sense of achievement, a smile of satisfaction on her face, Lilium collapsed inside the carriage when they reached the gates of the city.
She probably relaxed because she felt relieved.
Merea caught her just before she fell and carried her.
The other Demon Lords also looked over at her with eyes filled with worry but Lilium herself, while completely exhausted, kept saying, 「I’m fine, I’m fine」 with a light smile on her face.
When they saw that, all the other Demon Lords looked at her and,
Said that and decided to let Merea take care of her.
While laughing slightly, Lilium, who was in Merea’s arms, breathed deeply.
「Princess carry! If it wasn’t such a situation, I might have enjoyed it some more….though, if it wasn’t such a situation, I wouldn’t have been carried like this huh」
While laughing happily, Lilium finally closed her eyes.
She seemed to have fallen asleep to let her tired body rest.
Before they reached the〈Duchy of Neuce Gauss〉, they had already divided the work each one of them had to accomplish.
They didn’t have much time.
Although they had been conscious of not letting anyone trace their path but, since they had tried to run away as fast as possible, they might have been careless.
There was also the fact that they horses pulling their carriages were flame horses and although, they had taken measures to make sure it wouldn’t be seen by others, there was a limit to it.
Even then, they were able to reach the〈Duchy of Neuce Gauss〉before Mūzeg or the other countries.
「Well then, everyone please go get whatever has been assigned to you. I’ll go get our transport」, said Shaw to the other Demon Lords.
「One hour. Please gather at the east gate of this town in one hour」
Based on the information they had, the territory of the Duchy of Neuce Gauss was quite wide.
It was a nation that was under the joint rule of the family of Duke Neuce as well as Duke Gauss and the emphasis on its culture was put towards the development of academics and a complete social experience.
Since the duke’s house was governing the territory, there were, of course, the existence of nobles. However, since the nation, in itself, was quite rich, there wasn’t that much of a disparity between the classes.
Taking the social norm called 『Noblesse Oblige』seriously, it was said that the nobles’ administration properly contributed to the development of the country.
In any case, the Duchy of Neuce Gauss was large enough for 22 Demon Lords to easily get mixed in.
「One hour, quite the difficult deadline you’ve set for us」
The〈Fist Emperor〉Salman shrugged with a bitter smile.
As usual, the twins were riding on his shoulders as if that was absolutely normal, treating the twins as if they were part of his equipment.
Riding on his shoulders, the silver-blue haired twins, while shrieking with delight, played with his sand coloured hair.
「If we don’t make it, we’ll take you with us!」 「Flat on ice!」
「Stop with that. Sounds like my butt would hurt!」
They seemed to have, somehow, understood that it was a pressing situation.
Since the girls were extremely innocent, during the trip, the other Demon Lords were also extremely affectionate with them. However, during this trip to the town, where everyone would move separately, they stuck to Salman who they seemed to be emotionally attached to.
『Do you feel their butts on your shoulders? You enjoying it?』
「O, oi! Stop saying things that could be taken the wrong way!!」
Replied Salman to the many voices filled with a deep grudge.
「…sheesh. Anyway, Let’s get this over with」
Saying so, Salman ran off quickly.
With both girls on his shoulders, even then he was able to run at quite the speed.
He brought out a power that wouldn’t shame the title of〈Fist Emperor〉.
Afterwards, one after the other, the Demon Lords formed groups and disappeared into the hustle bustle of the Duchy of Neuce Gauss.
In the end, the ones left behind were, Merea, the〈Flame Emperor〉Lilium on his back, the〈Sword Emperor〉Elma, the〈Alchemy King〉Shaw, the〈Emperor of Violence〉Marisa and the〈Heavenly Demon〉Aiz, the six of them.
Shaw looked over the faces of the ones left behind and,
「Uhmm, if we move from the left in order…a man who knows nothing about the world, an exhausted woman, a muscle brain with no sense of direction――」
As he kept looking at them, one by one, he continued to describe them.
「A maid who keeps clinging to her master, the most sensible person but a misfortunate and helpless girl who has the aforementioned maid clinging onto her.
…Hmmm, the former three aside, the latter, especially the one wearing the white and black clothes wouldn’t fit the place and is a little〈i〉that〈/i〉. If I were to explain further, well, the title of〈Emperor of Violence〉is scary so it’s hard to say but, it’s〈i〉that〈/i〉isn’t it?」
「What is it? What exactly is it? ….Aah! Has your brain also finally turned into gold so you’re not able to think properly anymore!」
Marisa looked at Shaw with eyes that seemed like they were really looking at something very pitiful.
She covered her mouth with her hands, 「Oh, how pitiful…」, she said while trembling with quite the realistic acting.
「Those expressions alone, you’re really good at huh. …Haa, well whatever.
In fact, if you think of it as there being three people protecting me and Aiz-san, it’s not really that strange anymore. We need to protect Miss Lilium as well, just one or two people might not be able to handle it」
「I’ll be protecting Merea-sama and Aiz-sama but I don’t plan on protecting you though?」
「I know that. Which is why I’m asking this of Merea-kun」
Suddenly, Shaw turned his gaze towards Merea who was watching their exchange while laughing.
Merea looked slightly embarrassed at Shaw’s use of honorifics so he spoke while shaking his head.
「Haha, It’s fine to call me Merea」
「In that case, Merea. Ah, it’s fine to call me Shaw as well. …So, I earnestly implore you. I may be a Demon Lord but, other than the power of money, I can’t use much else」
「In the current situation that is probably the most useful power though」
Merea held a strong conviction about that fact.
If Shaw hadn’t been there, things wouldn’t have gone so smoothly.
The funds provided to the Demon Lords who had already disappeared into the townscape was also something that Shaw had provided himself.
Apparently he has hidden his fortunes near various countries.
Although they were the same distance, the reason he chose the〈Duchy of Neuce Gauss〉over〈Tot Republic〉was because of this, it seems.
In any case, not sure when but he picked that up and skilfully distributed the required amount to every Demon Lord.
「At the moment, at least. In this age, at the end, it’ll be the simple power that resides inside you that would be the most useful. …Ah, but, the power of money is also simple and great though!」
Shaw added the words he always says at the end and finally started walking.
At the front was Shaw, followed by Merea who was carrying Lilium, Elma followed after him and finally Aiz and Marisa walked side-by-side behind them.
In such a way, they all walked into the〈Duchy of Neuce Gauss〉.
Shaw’s steps were extremely confident.
As if he already knew exactly where they had to go in this〈Duchy of Neuce Gauss〉, he calmly continued walking.
Seeing his confidence, the others just quietly followed after him.
In such a way, Shaw walked onto the main street, where many young women, in gaudy clothes, were moving through in groups.
Walking along the street happily, as if they were dancing with weird steps, the women walked through. Merea was unconsciously captivated by that scene.
A stimulating mood.
A lively hustle bustle.
As if it were a festival…
It even looked a little fantastical when the colors seemed to change as people moved around.
On the sides of the main street, lined up like dumplings, were the citizens of the duchy, happily cheering the girls walking down the street on.
「Those girls are symbolize the academic promotion of the〈Duchy of Neuce Gauss〉. They are the students of the National Academy who work hard daily on their studies」
As if he had understood his thoughts, Shaw shortly explained to Merea.
Merea, with a face full of interest, looked at the main street.
「Also, they’re going to be here soon」
「Come here? Who is?」
「Another culture of Neuce Gauss, one of their symbolic scenes」
Being told that, Merea looked back at the street with an even more steady gaze.
Not even having to wait a few seconds, after the young women, a parade of young men followed after them.
Same as the women, the men were also wearing beautiful clothes and smoothly navigated through the cheering crowd and joined into the parade.
As the men joined in on the parade, they started calling out to the women as they liked and seemed to be trying to communicate with them.
「Academics and society. It’s the most obvious cultural feature of Neuce Gauss, where the people praise and respect the young people.
Once a week, on a holiday, they all gather in this way and have a type of town wide party-like event. That is one of the characteristics of Neuce Gauss」
An enjoyable mood.
Young people illuminated in the sunlight.
The people in the surroundings probably also went through the same path. The adults on the sides of the roads had various types of smiles floating on their faces as they saw the young ones. Seeing the heartwarming scene, some had expressions of pride, some had a nostalgic expression, while some others even had envious smiles.
The adults had, truly, varied smiles on their faces.
Seeing them, Merea spoke up with a smile on his face,
「They look like they’re all having fun」
Seeing the young and lively scene in front of him, Merea once again, had the realisation that he had finally climbed down the mountain.
This was a world that Merea knew nothing about.
「Once all the troublesome stuff is over, let’s come back here. They seem to be quite lenient to the participation of travelers after all」
Shaw said, as he laughed quickly and went into another street.
From the main street, onto a side street.
The intensity from the main street gradually reduced and after moving two streets away, it disappeared completely.
A slight reluctance bubbled up from within Merea.
However, Merea knew very clearly that he wasn’t in a situation where he could get involved in that scene earlier. So, without complaining, he continued on.
Though he felt slightly envious of them, it wasn’t like he wanted to avoid his current way of living.
Just one last time, he looked back at the parade from in between the houses, towards the main street that could no longer be seen and with various thoughts racing through his head.
They continued walking, it seemed that they continued walking for around 10 more minutes.
Finally, Shaw stopped in front of a certain building.
Merea looked towards Shaw’s gaze and noticed that there was a certain 『signboard』 there and so he read it.
With a good handwriting, that was what was written.
The building was made with bricks and although, the corners seemed a little scraped off, it was quite the sturdy looking building.
Although it wasn’t shiny, it had a nice finish to it and that in turn, gave off a charming feeling and seemed to be a stylish building.
At the end of the umbrella-shaped roof, a glass lamp was hanging, sparkling in the sunlight and it gave a nice accent to the rustic brick building.
Suddenly, Shaw turned his back to the building and looked towards Merea and the others.
「My name is〈Shaw Jules Sherwood〉. Actually, this is a branch office of my firm」
Shaw had a happy smile on his face.
It was also a smile that seemed to want to brag a little.
That smile, instantly turned into a mischievous grin and finally he placed his finger in front of his mouth
「Ah, of course it’s a fake name, okay? Please keep it a secret. Since my ancestors did various things in the past, I had to build up trust in my name, which was quite hard」
Very deliberately, he closed one eye.
Rather than speaking, Merea just smiled wryly and while shrugging, he nodded.
As soon as he nodded, Shaw said, 「Very good!」 and while laughing in a self-deprecating manner, once again faced the building with a somewhat nostalgic gaze.