Ex Strongest, Looking at the Demon King’s Castle
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If she was honest about it, this event was something unexpected. However, it was difficult to answer if she was asked what it was for. It was an impression for multiple things.
If people looked for a suspicious place, they could have found it in one shot, or if they felt it was too troublesome and wanted to give up, they would welcomed without hesitation. After all, the execution date was tomorrow. It was really unexpected.
One of the scenes was the sight in front of her,
— A gathering.
The words that passed through her mind made her let out a sigh. Or perhaps, it was fine with the general public, but… if anything, it might be more than expected.
It was a situation that could be said to be serving no purpose than expected.
However, it was safe to say that the number of people gathered was quite unexpected. Just looking around, there were more than 100 people gathered. She was impressed with the gathering of this much, but… that was the reason she couldn’t hide her fear at the same time.
This was partly because everyone was believing in success.
Then, the scene got heated. There might be someone who had spoken of bravery.
She didn’t hear it, but she could easily predict what was said. Immediately after that, their gazes were turned to her all at once.
Since she even lost the mood to reply with a forced smile, she shrugged her shoulders as a reply. However, the crowd got heated again, so she didn’t care at all. Instead of wondering what she should do about it, this situation felt like something she should just accept.
Well, as for that, she was also responsible for this matter. It seemed to be troublesome, and since she didn’t mean to hide, she explained her identity briefly. She tried to show a bit of her power because she didn’t want to be underestimated, but that had made the situation worse.
She thought it was fine, but she was convinced that it was absolutely fine. She was told so why they were looking at her, and while they did that, she felt something gloomy and stagnant there. She let out a breath. It wasn’t just a person. It was the same for everyone. That was why she wanted them to excuse her.
She could endure being treated in that way. Even if there was no difference if she was on the sidelines.
As if she was confused by the enthusiastic mood, she whispered. However, Steina let out a sigh thinking this might be appropriate.
Early morning next day. Soma’s group left the village early because there was nothing left to do.
Originally, they were supposed to head southwest, but the destination was changed to the Demon King’s castle, so they were heading northwest. Aina told them that they could only go to the Demon Castle by doing this, but was there a barrier where they couldn’t move forward if they didn’t go through certain areas? Soma had been thinking about that for a long time, but… by moving forward, he knew the answer.
It was simply because of the geographical features.
“It is only possible to get there from here, is it?” (Soma)
“So the main point is that place is surrounded by steep mountains, right? Speaking of being common, yes, it is, but it is surely effective.” (Felicia)
“…Is it impossible to access the castle from other places?” (Sheila)
“Well, it’s true that it is too steep to access from other places. However, it is also correct that we need to go through the steps properly, you know? There are powerful monsters around and they’re attacking people.” (Aina)
“I see…” (Felicia)
It was a feature to show the place where the Demon King had lived for a long time.
In other words, it displayed one fact.
“Hmm… does that mean the Demon King can manipulate monsters?” (Soma)
Although it was often said that Demons could manipulate monsters, and the monsters were rampant because of the Demons, that was basically just an excuse. There were certainly skills to train and manipulate monsters, but obviously, they weren’t proprietary patents for the Demons. Rather, there was no way such skills could only be used by the Demons…
“Well… strictly speaking, it’s not the Demon King, but his subordinate who can do that… I suppose that person is his close aide. However, there is a limit to the number and range, and it seems that he is just trying to protect the mountain here.” (Aina)
“It’s just that… don’t you think that it’s too much?” (Felicia)
Soma also agreed. It wasn’t as big as the one that surrounded Radeus, but it was a considerable mountain here. It would be enough just to let the monsters loose here.
For starters, the skill called ‘Tame’ should be able to target one or two common monsters only. But since the skill was simply disregarded, that person stayed as the Demon King’s close aide?
“I don’t think he wants to be told that by you either. Anyhow, there are monsters here, and they are beings that protect this place. That’s why you can’t just hunt them… you guys got it right?” (Aina)
“Is she telling that to you, Sheila?” (Soma)
“…Well, that might be only for you.” (Sheila)
“Didn’t I mention ‘you guys’!? It’s for both of you!” (Aina)
“You’re noisy!” (Aina)
Soma and Felicia shrugged their shoulders together as Aina shouted… while they were looking at the monsters they just defeated.
Yes, before Soma heard the explanation, he saw the steep mountains, and climbed there first. He was immediately attacked by a monster, and he blew it away of course… but looking at it, their eyes were shining. It was a monster that they had never seen or heard before.
Moreover, it was strong. Even though Soma was observing the situation first, he couldn’t defeat the monster with a single blow.
The materials from strong monsters were often used for special purposes. It might contain a lot of magic power or it might produce special effects.
In addition, that monster was a rare monster. If that was the case, then…
“I thought it would be a good research material…” (Sheila)
“Hmm… that’s too bad. Even so, can’t we just take it? Look, it’s already defeated.” (Soma)
“Didn’t I say this monster is ours? It doesn’t change even if it is defeated. Well, it can’t be helped if it’s someone else, but if you guys… no. Soma-san is no good.” (Aina)
“This is not bad, right? I didn’t do it on purpose, you know?” (Soma)
“Well, you weren’t careful in advance this time, and I don’t care about that. But I can’t allow you to kill the monsters.” (Aina)
“No, aren’t you overthinking? I mean… I don’t think that the same monsters are roaming around. If its so, there may be many other rare monsters here. If you are wondering whether I will slice the mountain into half by mistake when I do my daily routine, I’m completely not thinking about doing it, alright?” (Soma)
“I appreciate those words but you aren’t convincing enough. So, it’s no good.” (Aina)
Soma shrugged his shoulder again, but of course, he was joking. Of course, Aina was joking as well. But, it might be true that it was no good to kill the monsters.
He would like to use it as research materials, but it was probably a bad idea. The monsters were protecting the area around the Demon King’s castle. It wasn’t surprising how troublesome it is to come even if there weren’t any monsters.
Well, he wouldn’t go stepping on landmines.
“By the way, I understood that it’s no good to bring it home, but what are you going to do about that?” (Felicia)
“Well, if it is left here, it will eventually return to the soil, but… there may be something going to happen in the meantime.” (Soma)
“Let’s throw it into the mountains in exchange of food…? Killing two birds with one stone…?” (Sheila)
“I wonder if you’re not eating meat anymore… well, if you can’t eat it, shall we carry it? If you talk about the situation and explain it, someone will handle it properly. Then, Soma, please.” (Aina)
“Hmm? Me?” (Soma)
Soma tilted his head. Anyhow, if they were told to carry it, it would certainly be Soma’s role.
“You were the one who defeated it, so it’s normal to take responsibility, right? Well, even if you didn’t do it, nobody can carry it but you. I think you may know this since you defeated it, but it’s heavier than it looks.” (Aina)
“Hmm, I don’t mind that… but if it’s possible, I would like to take responsibility by looking at every corner.” (Soma)
“Then, I’ll help…” (Sheila)
“Didn’t I tell you? It’s no good.” (Aina)
“Since Soma-san did something unnecessary, Sheila has learned something strange again…” (Felicia)
“Don’t you think that you’re way to mean to me?” (Soma)
“If you think so, please weigh yourself a little. Since there are mountains, I feel that Soma-san is doing his own things like suddenly climbing the mountains. Well, you’ve always been that way, but today is even more so.” (Felicia)
Since he was aware of it for a moment, he would honestly reflect on it. The tension slightly went up a bit since the Demon King’s castle was near.
There were various things to consider.
“Well, I guess I will carry this.” (Soma)
He moderately joked, and then, he went to the lying monster.
By the way, the monster that Soma defeated looked like a cow at first glance. However, no matter what he thought, it wasn’t possible to be a cow. Cows didn’t have a third eye on its forehead and isn’t covered with lightning on their bodies as they rushed. That was why he wanted to investigate it in many ways, but… well, he had to abide since he was told that action was no good.
Anyhow, when he lifted up the cow-like monster, a heavy weight came to his arm. The length was about two meters, and if it was a cow, the weight should be one ton. However, when he felt the weight on the arm, it was probably twice the number. As Aina said, no one could carry it but Soma.
Sheila was good at demonstrating instantaneous power, but she wasn’t suitable for this. There was no need to mention about Aina and Felicia. Of course, Soma would be the one to carry it.
“Now, shall we go?” (Soma)
“Alright, but… will you be fine? If not, I can help…” (Aina)
“No, it seems you will be crushed if you try to help. I’ll just accept your feelings.” (Soma)
Even though she offered to help, she was used to his style. That was totally Aina. He smiled and shrugged his shoulders.
So, Soma’s group resumed walking and headed for a place at the foot of the mountain. It was just a regular road, and it stopped there… no, not really?
“Could this be…” (Felicia)
“…It’s not the former, but the latter?” (Sheila)
“Yes, you can tell by looking at it… isn’t it the case? That guy forcibly carved a part of the mountain and built the Demon King’s castle here. It’s the predecessor… no, it was the story of the Demon King of two generations ago or something.” (Aina)
“Is there any reason why you were called the Demons and the Demon King?” (Felicia)
While talking about such things, they went further in the place that became that way. It wasn’t a tunnel and there was nothing spectacular about it. There must have been a lot of things here to see that had been going on so far, but… it should be said that they were appreciating the enormity of the beautiful gouging of it.
“It’s a bit strange for Soma-san to say something dreadful.” (Felicia)
“Hmm? Why is that?” (Soma)
Aah, I can understand it somehow. If it’s Soma, he probably could do the same.” (Aina)
“No, you are overestimating me.” (Soma)
As expected, it would be quite difficult to create such a feature even if it was Soma. To begin with, Soma could only use sword techniques.
In other words, the essence was to cut something. This mountain was too big to be cut.
As it was mentioned earlier, even if he could do it, he could only erase half of the mountain.
“…There are too many jokes, so I’m not sure what you are saying…” (Felicia)
“I feel the same, but at the same time, I think it’s possible for Soma.” (Aina)
“Aah, I certainly have that thought.” (Felicia)
“I have a feeling that I’ve been told I do things as I please…” (Soma)
“Yes, obviously… By the way, Soma…” (Sheila)
“Hmm? What is it?” (Soma)
“…If that power is pointed at you, what would you do?” (Sheila)
Soma looked around again when asked that question. Then, he said ‘hmm’ again.
Such power was… Without trying to praise it, the power seemed to be a tremendous power. It wasn’t something Soma would ever use.
If it was pointed at him…
“Well, I’ll just slice it as always.” (Soma)
“…Uhm, I feel like Soma-san said that it was impossible, yes? Even so, can you slice it?” (Felicia)
“I don’t know if I don’t try it, but maybe I can cut it if it’s that much?” (Soma)
In short, it was simply the difference in power. The power that gouged the mountain was achieved by a force specialized in destructive power, and Soma was specialized in cutting. In other words, the former was a plane, and the latter was a line.
It wasn’t necessary to give the line the same force to destroy the plane. To begin with, there was nothing mentioned regarding who had higher overall strength.
“How should I say this? Soma is just Soma, isn’t he?” (Aina)
“…Yes, that’s Soma for you.” (Sheila)
“I will accept that as a compliment.” (Soma)
After all, it was only an assumption. It would be another matter if there was a limit to the power that produces such an effect. He wouldn’t know where the upper limit was unless he tried it.
He didn’t know how the Demon King’s replacement would do it, but… when he thought about it, the Demon King wasn’t likely to be weaker than the previous Demon Kings. In other words, the current Demon King might be much stronger than the one who gouged the mountain.
At the end of the road, they could see a building. By the look of it, the building must be the Demon King’s castle.
Just as Soma tried to find who were there, he narrowed his eyes.
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