Ex Strongest, Arriving at the Demon King’s Castle
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As Soma’s group approached the castle, the atmosphere became even more surreal. The castle was strangely frightening. It looked perfect when the background was filled with lightning. It looked exactly like a Demon King’s castle.
However, it was overkill. Somehow, there was also the feeling that this atmosphere was created on purpose. Apparently, it wasn’t a distraction.
“I used to think that it was gloomy and ugly, but I understand after venturing outside and knowing a lot of things. Even if an ordinary house or a castle is built. On the other hand, it’s a problem.” (Aina)
“I see… when the Demons don’t get too close, people would inevitably come here. It spoils the atmosphere if it looks normal. In that case, I think it’s obvious to make the castle look in that way.” (Felicia)
“…Does the Demon King have a hard time too?” (Sheila)
“It seems so.” (Soma)
Well, speaking about that matter, it wasn’t something about the Demon King they know.
“However, it feels difficult to live there. Is that alright?” (Soma)
“Yes, it’s alright. There’s a place like a residential area. Well, I don’t live there too much anyway.” (Aina)
“You don’t live there too much? Although the castle is big…” (Felicia)
It was no wonder Felicia was shocked. The castle was actually quite big. At least, it would be bigger than the royal castle in the royal capital of Radeus.
However, as Soma said, when it came to living, it seemed to be difficult. However, the fact that only a few people use this castle made him feel that it was a waste.
“…Not people, but monsters?” (Sheila)
“Actually, it used to be that way, but at least, I have never seen monsters in it. Rather, there is a barrier to prevent monsters.” (Aina)
“Aah… that reminds me. I have heard about it before.” (Soma)
But Soma heard the story from Steina, not Aina. Hearing that word, Aina was curiously tilting her head.
“You heard it before…? Was it from me?” (Aina)
“No, I probably didn’t hear it from Aina. I heard it from someone else.” (Soma)
“Hmm… Well, it’s not like I’m hiding it. I just wonder if it’s strange when someone knew it.” (Aina)
Aina seemed to be convinced with Soma’s answer. By the way, he didn’t tell about Steina to Aina. He explained roughly the event that had happened so far until yesterday, and told Aina that they were helped by a certain person in the town just before, but he didn’t tell her who it was. It was Soma’s arbitrary decision, but when he talked to Felicia and Sheila about the reason, they were convinced.
The reason was Aina hadn’t met Steina for at least in the last few years. Moreover, it seemed that there were some circumstances, so he wasn’t able to judge whether it was alright to tell her openly. Therefore, he decided to observe the situation first before talking about it.
Well, Soma was still thinking about how to make that decision, but… he would probably talk about it on the way back to the academy. There was no reason to speak about it in a hurry.
More importantly, now…
“Well then, let’s go soon. We’ve been looking at the castle for a long time.” (Aina)
“Hmm, yes. Shall we? In order to defeat the Demon King–…” (Soma)
“Why are you trying to defeat someone’s parent!?” (Aina)
“Well, it’s a Demon King, right? Shouldn’t he have a lot of magic tools or raw materials? Perhaps, if I can use those, I may be able to use magic. Then, if I defeat the Demon King, those things will be mine. Why can’t thatxc be the reason to defeat him?” (Soma)
“Indeed… I’ll also help…” (Sheila)
“Sheila too… don’t you offer your help to him!” (Aina)
No matter how they thought of it, obviously that was a joke. Felicia also got along with that joke by nodding her head.
“As expected, Aina is someone like this.” (Soma)
“…Yes, I feel like I met Aina again.” (Sheila)
“You guys…! Anyhow, what’s with all of you until now…!” (Aina)
They were exchanging conversation as always, but there was something different from usual. Immediately after that, a sigh was let out.
Needless to say, it was Felicia. While looking at Soma and Sheila, she was clearly amazed. Then, she turned to Aina, and bowed.
“I’m sorry, Aina-san. My sister is…” (Felicia)
“Eh? Aah, no, that’s normal, and I’m already used to it. Don’t worry about it, alright? I’m not really angry anyway.” (Aina)
“Hmm… we also understand that, but it feels like you’re saying it for us…” (Soma)
“…Yeah, it’s quite bad, isn’t it?” (Sheila)
“There’s no way I’m fine with all the things you say, you know!” (Aina)
Since Soma expected no less than this reaction, he shrugged his shoulders. Felicia directed an amazed expression, but that was also something expected.
Well, she would get used to it sooner or later. It wasn’t about who was good or who was bad.
“Well, shall we go for the time being?” (Soma)
While smiling wryly at Aina who had scornful eyes, Soma’s group walked toward the castle in front of them.
It was an unexpected development that was waiting for the group upon arriving at the Demon King’s castle.
No, strictly speaking, that might be incorrect. It wasn’t about something that had happened, it was actually… no one was there.
“Hmm… A Demon King’s castle without a Demon King. That’s something new.” (Soma)
“I feel like I heard that he ran away recently, but…” (Felicia)
“…Yes, I also heard about it. It’s not an imagination I guess.” (Sheila)
That seemed to be the case.
However, it was too sudden. While thinking what was happening… a man who called himself the chief butler immediately appeared in front of Soma’s group. There seemed to be no other butler in this place, and yet, the man called himself the chief butler, but… that didn’t matter. The most important thing was the matter the man told.
As a matter of course, the man was acquainted with Aina, and he was delighted. He welcomed her return, but immediately said the following.
He said that there was only a single person in this castle now. The other people had their own business and were away.
However, the other person, the king of this place or the Demon King… his whereabouts was now unknown. It wasn’t because he was scolded. It seemed that he ran away because he hated working.
That made them think that he was joking or something, but…
“…That reminds me, that man is that kind of person. Goodness… is it good or bad that he hasn’t changed….” (Aina)
Apparently, that was true since Aina said it with a sigh.
Then, Aina let the others know about it, and she went to search for the Demon King with the chief butler. Thus, only Soma, Sheila and Felicia remained here.
“I wonder what we should do now.” (Soma)
“What else can we do other than wait here?” (Felicia)
“…Yes, there’s nothing we can do.” (Sheila)
“Well, that’s true.” (Soma)
As Soma shrugged his shoulders, he looked at the surroundings. First of all, stones entered his field of view, or rather, it was mostly stones here. The only exceptions were the chairs on which Soma’s group was sitting on and a table next to them. They were all wooden furniture. The walls and the ceiling were all made of stone.
To be honest, it was a small place. There was only a table and three chairs. Although it was enough to take a break, it was overwhelmingly inadequate to do anything else. Perhaps, this might be a place for the guards or something like that.
Soma’s group was left in such a place, but that didn’t mean that they were neglected. Perhaps, Aina and the butler were impatient and confused. Otherwise, she wouldn’t bring them here.
“…Well, if I were told that the Demon King had run away, I also think that is normal.” (Felicia)
“…It seems that you know it?” (Sheila)
“Even though we understand it, that doesn’t mean we have experienced it before.” (Soma)
Usually, there were people to look for him, but since they were away, Aina had no choice but to find the Demon King by herself. But since she wasn’t used to it, she was about to reach her. wit’s end. In fact, it seemed that she was very angry. That was probably the case.
Well, as Felicia said, the owner of this place, the Demon King, had run away. Soma thought that it was better to stay calm.
“Hmm… to be honest, we are free.” (Soma)
“Aah… are you thinking about something which you shouldn’t do now?” (Felicia)
“That’s not nice of you. I’m not going to deny you, alright? I can’t deny that I came out with something.” (Soma)
“…What do you think in particular?” (Sheila)
“I mean, we can’t help but to stay here, so I thought about exploring this castle. I may find something.” (Soma)
“This is Aina’s house, right? Are you going to explore her house…?” (Felicia)
“…But, it looks fun.” (Sheila)
Although Felicia was shocked, this was the Demon King’s castle after all. It would be normal to be interested to see what this place was like.
“…Well, I won’t deny it, but I will not go, got it?” (Felicia)
“Hmm, why?” (Soma)
“It’s because my conscience is better than curiosity.” (Felicia)
“I see… it can’t be helped then.” (Soma)
“…Then, I will stay here as well.” (Sheila)
“…Sheila? If you want to go with him, I won’t stop you. No, I might have to say a few words.” (Felicia)
“…Yes, it’s fine.” (Sheila)
She was definitely thinking about Felicia. Since the person herself decided that, Felicia didn’t say anything.
Anyhow, Soma was also thinking that he wanted to explore this place alone, but if he refrained himself here, the other two would probably be concernedb about him.
“Hmm… shall I assume that I would go alone? Aah yes. If I get to find the Demon King, that will be the excuse.” (Soma)
“I’m concerned if you say that as an excuse, but… do you know the Demon King’s face in the first place?” (Felicia)
“Sure, that’s true but isn’t it only the Demon King here? If I see someone I don’t know, then, he is the Demon King.” (Soma)
“That’s so broad…” (Felicia)
“…I think it makes sense though.” (Sheila)
Well, he might not encounter him
anyway, so that didn’t really matter as long as it made sense.
Plus, this was a way to spend his spare time. He wasn’t trying to do anything anyway.
“Then, shall I get going?” (Soma)
“…Please be careful.” (Sheila)
“Don’t go too far and come back before it’s too late, alright?” (Felicia)
“Are you my mother?” (Soma)
Such conversations exchanged and while displaying a wry smile, Soma comfortably left the room.
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