Chapter 7 -“The demon pelt that they made.”

「Merea, you used 〈Future Stone Fiunace〉 didn’t you?」

「-Ough!?」 (TN: Surprised sound)

It has been a year since the future stone resulted into 『Lord of Demon Lords』. Even now, there are times where Merea collects future stones.

At times, holding the future stones he gathered, the results haven’t changed nor improved for the better.

On the other hand, the population of the spirits have decreased to a single digit.

That day, Flounder was asking Merea while emanating a seemingly forced smile.

It seems Merea’s actions were found out.

If that’s the case, then they might have also found out his primary objective of hiding the stone in order to not let the spirits use them.

「I knew it. By the way, what’s the result?」

「Erm….. G-Great hero?」

「Merea is not really good at lying right.」

「Yes…」

To be precise, he is bad at lying to the spirits whom were also his parents.

Though he could fool the children of the heavenly dragon that comes down to play with unnatural nursery-tales made up with lies woven together, if the opponent is Flounder his tongue always falters.

「Let me guess. –『Demon Lord』 was the result right?」

「Eh!? H-How did you know?」

「Haha, I managed to predict such a little bit. That prediction has been growing larger and larger within me, maybe it was due to the stories of 〈Heavenly Dragon〉Clautice about this world recently.」

「What kind of story?」

「There’s a rumor about 『Demon Lord Hunting 』going on in this world lately.」

「Demon lord hunting…」

「-Un. There’s something fishy about it. It seems the city-states in this world had more thirst for power than I thought.」

Flounder said while suddenly straightening his posture. Merea imitating such, have straightened his posture a bit as well.

Flounder took a breath and as if readying himself, he began to emit a serious expression and started talking.

◆◆◆

「I’ve already told Merea about the description of 『Demon Lord』 changing from both outrageously powerful and personification of evil to just an outrageously powerful being, right?」

「Yes, a bit.」

It seems Flounder will now talk about the detailed stories regarding the Demon Lords.

「About those words, in the past, it was not well-known to the point of being wide spread. Something like 『Merely Outrageously Powerful Being』 seems too distinct right? 」

Flounder seemingly troubled, laughed.

「Around the time when I was still called a hero, a being that is both outrageously powerful and personification of evil was called a Demon Lord. However, around the time that I died, the 『Personification of Evil』 portion was removed, and it became a word that represents a being that was really powerful. The era where I lived must have been the 『turning point』 leading to that change.」

Turning point.

As to how the transition happened into that meaning, of course Merea still didn’t know.

To that Merea who was guessing the reason in his innermost thoughts, Flounder on the other hand just turned a question towards him.

「By the way, do you have any idea how did it changed that way?」

「Nhn…」

Merea had several ideas as for the reason. However not even one seems to fit. While still wondering about it, as if running out of time to guess, Flounder spoke before him.

「It’s because the Demon Lords that are the personification of evil have drastically decreased. And before everyone realized, the threat they posed didn’t exist any longer. The tyrannical ones that had that much of power and were smeared with evil were mostly slain.」

「Isn’t that a good thing?」

「Un, on that part.」

Flounder’s smile had changed into bitter one.

「But due to that the 『Common Enemy』 of the humans– rather of the nations have ceased to exist. Because they had common enemies before, the various nations didn’t really pay any mind to the other nations neighboring them. Because the weapons they had were before facing the same opponent. However, when the demon lords perished, a dangerous atmosphere have enveloped the various nations.」

「Have a heart!」

「Even if you complain on history it won’t change a thing. Anyhow, that resulted in this time, war has erupted between various nations.」

It was an awful story. Merea thought to be blunt.

「And so as the wars erupted between various nations, the meaning of the word 〈Demon Lord〉 has changed. It was changed by the convenience of the nations.」

「What do you mean?」

「Those nations have desired a strong power to use in wars.」

Well, in other words, for them to go to war and to win it, they desired a reasonable amount of power. They’ve probably set aside the various problems it will cause and solely focused on winning.

「While speaking of “great power”, the word “demon lords” come out. However, the demon lords are now next to none. Their numbers where exhausted due to hunting.」

「un.」

「Because of that, the attention of the nations were turned to another target.」

「Another target?」

「Yes. — To those that existed before the numbers of the demon lords where exhausted, the beings that were similar to a medicine to them, they turned their attention towards the 『Heroes』.」

Merea was starting to get dizzy. He was able to predict the path that the history undertook from the words of Flounder.

「The heroes whom faced the demon lords were strong. However, they were not evil. Rather, they were an existence of total opposite. When the demon lords diminished, those so called heroes have lost their duties. However some of those heroes have cheerfully returned to their livelihood due to their various desires. To endeavor into business, to improve their techniques, Passing the martial arts they mastered in order for it to prosper and open a dojo. To utilize their excessive abilities, going to adventure into the unknown. There were different kinds of heroes. Maybe due to their fight against the demon lords, they’ve decided to stay away from conflicts.」

Glancing in the sky with eyes filled with nostalgia, Flounder said such. But that line of sight of Flounder slowly fell into the ground.

「However, those heroes were met with tragedies.」

Suddenly, in the midst of the conversation was a word filled with melancholy.

–Tragedy.

「In conclusion to that, those nations who’ve turned their attentions towards the heroes have fabricated them into being demon lords.」

「Oh….」

–I knew it would soon lead to that.

Merea couldn’t stop himself from breaking into heavy sigh.

「At first they bowed their heads and pleaded saying 『Please cooperate on war』 to those heroes. Those heroes couldn’t find a good reason to turn hostility into their rival nations in war. That’s why, them who could not go against their honor, refused to participate in war. For them to go along with such selfishness, of course they refused. However, the nations desperately wished for those fascinating powers that they had. But they are heroes, they can’t force them and naturally and they also couldn’t forcefully take away their powers. And when all doors for them have closed, someone uttered–」

They should just do so using『labels』.

「And so finally, for them to forcefully take away the powers of the heroes, they fabricated a new 『label』 for them.」

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「They set up the heroes as an 『evil incarnate』 demon lords.」

◆◆◆

「Once it started, it can’t be stopped any longer. Those half-hearted method had gone excessively well. The label demon lord have begun to attach itself to the other heroes. Afterwards, those heroes have become the demon lords of the next era.」

It was a really cruel story. The word demon lord, became something akin to a devil’s pelt on that era. Merea remembered the words of Tyrant.

◆◆◆

『 A being similar to that will just come one way or another.  Only the name changes.』

◆◆◆

Their situation was worse compared to the words of Tyrant.

The meaning didn’t change on his time.

In other words, the malice that the 『Demon Lords』 of the past era accumulated was burdened to those who carried it on the next era.

Rather, it became something like “Demon Lords were the main culprit” to everything.

Merea thought so in the same manner.

「As those have repeated, finally the effectiveness have grown numb. Fabricating the malice have become a bother to make and in the end, the distinction of the word ‘demon lord’ have changed into something synonymous to 『Outrageously Powerful』.」

「I…. see.」

It was hard to nod.

However even if he refused to nod, it’s not like the history will change.

「It seems even the standard for having the lenient label ‘demon lord’ have also gone lower. As the wars of the era have moved forward, accordingly, the reproduction was probably not effective. Hearing that from the words of the Heavenly Dragon Clautice, I manage to predict such a detestable future.」

In otherwords,

「Comparing Merea to such standard, upon descending to the society, you will surely be compared to a demon lord.」

Saying such, Flounder emitted a bitter smile. He was able to see various feelings residing on that bitter smile. Self-mockery, solitude and anger as well. In addition to being tinged with worries, it still had various feelings in it.

「If you descend from the mountain and display the powers of the heroic spirits that dwell in you, the powers that you devoted himself into, consequently you might be labeled as a demon lord.」

So that was the case or so Merea was convinced.

And so, Merea felt that he finally realized, the reason behind the anger and the sadness that resides on the bitter smile of Flounder.

With the words 『Power of the Heroic Spirits』, he realized.

Flounder thinks that those are his own fault.

Making him a hero was a wish with good intentions.

Even if he wasn’t able to become a hero, he should have at least have the power to protect others, he was brought up with that in mind.

However, as those accumulated, Merea had become someone outrageously powerful.

Possibly, even exceeding the expectation of the heroic spirits.

Precisely succeeding, utilizing or possibly mastering the essences of the spirits, the soul that piled them up, Merea.

By becoming someone powerful, Merea will be branded by the label 『Demon Lord』.

By the time he realized that, along with the self-depreciation within him, dread, sadness and anger towards the era was born within Flounder.

That’s why various feelings can be felt within the bitter smile of Flounder as he told the story.

「It’s tyranny.」

Merea realizing that, but not knowing on how to react to such, uttered those words in a light tone.

Though he want to relieve Flounder by saying that he didn’t really mind it himself, even if he didn’t mind, it might not be the same with Flounder.

Perhaps, no matter what he says in the exterior, it won’t destroy the bitter smile that Flounder had.

Merea also understood as such.

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