We arrived at the palace of Big-Gear.
We were alarmed by the eerie silence.
Inside the palace there were several corpses of demons and signs of a violent struggle. It is probably the work of old man Hansel.
"I can smell Hansel's scent from here. And also the smell of blood."
"We should hurry."
Relying on Kaede's sense of smell, we advanced through the palace.
The closer we got to our destination, the more intense the smell of blood became and the louder the sound of clashing weapons grew.
Let's go into battle.
"It's the Manyu Brigade! They've finally arrived!"
Hansel continues to dodge his enemy's curved sword with a swiftness not expected from his appearance. With his bulging muscles, imposing height and vicious face, he fends off his attacker.
The man still attacking him is the Demon Lord Rudra.
In the room lay the soldiers who had accompanied him. Some were dead, and others were badly wounded, unable to move.
Hansel defends himself with his spear, but the power of the curved sword's swing is tremendous and he is knocked backwards against the wall.
"Hansel! Are you okay?!"
"Please defeat him, you're the only one who can do it."
"Kaede, take Hansel away!"
Frau and I draw our weapons and prepare to face Rudra. He holds up his curved sword with a thin smile on his face.
"I have been waiting for you, Hero. When my generals did not return, I knew you would soon be here."
"I am not a hero. I'm just a warrior."
"You think you have cornered me? I am Rudra-sama, I am a powerful being, do not make me laugh. I'm nothing compared to all the weaklings you've faced. No matter how strong you are, you can never defeat me."
"I told you I'm just a simple warrior."
"But, honestly, you surprised me. I was convinced that no one would dare approach the center of the continent. The only one I thought would possibly do something like that was Roswell. It was a miscalculation not to have thought of someone like you."
"Aaah... I told you, I'm a simple warrior."
"How dare you hide from me for all these years!? Don't try to fool me, Hero!"
Why doesn't this guy listen to me when I tell him I'm not a hero? Why does he keep talking about it? Maybe he's confusing me with Zig?
"I'll tell you something important you should know before we fight. This is a rare relic called [Cloak of Darkness], and it prevents the hero's unique job skill from lowering my level if you're near me."
"You don't need to pretend to be calm. I can tell how worried you are."
You're wrong, that's not what has me worried. I'm more concerned about this guy's level and skills.
I've come this far thinking I had a chance of winning, but there are many things you can't be sure of until you see them up close. I turn around and ask Kaede a question.
"What's this guy's level?"
"2472, master. He doesn't seem to have any remarkable skills."
"My Lord, look at that!"
When I looked at Rudra again, I saw a worm-like creature sprout from his body, fall to the ground and begin to swell up.
Is this the origin of the evil dragons? Now I get why I could understand what they were saying the first time I saw them. This guy created them.
"This is my errand boy, created with forbidden magic. Isn't he simply beautiful? He is the alter ego of Rudra, whose soul, flesh and magic are made from my own."
"It's disgusting, really disgusting."
Frau uses a hammer to smash the 30 cm worm.
"My familiar... How dare you!?"
My greatsword and his curved sword clash. At close range, the demon king headbutted me, and I immediately responded with a headbutt of my own.
"Hueeh, why do you have such a rock hard head!?"
"Sorry, I should have warned you."
I stomped hard on the hem of his cloak, causing Rudra to fall. He immediately uses fire magic as fast as he can, but I blocked it with one hand.
"Impossible, how can you counter a Demon Lord's magic with your bare hand!?"
"Umm... I think Lisa was stronger than you."
I stab the tip of my sword into Rudra's heart. Next I shake off the blood stuck on the blade, and put the sword away in my sheath.
With this, the King of Big-Gear's request has been fulfilled.
"Demon Lord! My precious Demon King!"
I turned to the source of the voice and saw Zig standing nearby. His two companions were also there.
"Manyu Brigade! You again! That was my prey!"
"Why do you always show up wherever we go, are you following us?"
"Shut up, I have to pretend I defeated him!"
Zig pushes me away and turns to the Demon Lord. Then, he pulls out his sword and thrusts it repeatedly into his chest.
"Hey you spoiled brat! You should apologize to the Lord!"
Frau gets angry at Zig's attitude.
Kaede, who was still taking care of Hansel, is silent about the situation, but she clearly wasn't happy at all.
"Hahahahaha, it was me who defeated the Demon Lord. This guy was still breathing. I killed him just now."
"If you want the credit, you can have it. I'm not interested in any reward I get for it."
"What's with the attitude? Are you trying to insult me? The hero of these lands?"
"That's not what I meant-.... You're just as incomprehensible as last time."
I don't want to get involved in this, so let's quickly treat the injured and get the hell out of here. The moment I looked back, I heard an unpleasant sound like meat being pierced clean through.
"Huh? What is this...?"
A sword blade protruded from Zig's chest. A gurgle of blood comes out of his mouth.
"You are no longer needed. Thank you for your work."
"Aide, what the hell do you think you're doing...!?"
The one who had stabbed Zig was the man in jet black armor, the one I assumed was his partner.
"This is a betrayal, obviously. Your guard was down because I was acting like a friend you could trust all this time."
"Why...is this all because I didn't break the seal?"
"No, no. I gave up on that a long time ago, and I don't care anymore. Besides, I didn't get as much pleasure out of stealing as much as I thought I did. After all, you can't rely on comfort."
Aide's tone of voice is different from before, and it's strangely soft. That tone of voice, that way of speech, it's the same as his....
No... That's impossible....
He was sentenced to death... He shouldn't be here.
"Celtina, help me, Aide... Aide has betrayed us..."
Zig looks for his other companion.
"It's sad, Zig ☆ But it's okay, because Aide will take care of everything now ☆"
"What are you talking about?"
"Zig is no longer the best ☆ He's second best now ☆"
Aide takes off his helmet and throws it on the ground. A loud sound echoed throughout the room, causing his face to be revealed.
"Thank you for your help, now I have your face."
"You! You copied my face after all!!!"
"Hahaha, relax, the bleeding will get worse every time you get angry."
"Don't be an asshole! How come... How come you've changed your face! You had a totally different one!
"Ah, you mean this?"
Aide's face suddenly changes and becomes a completely different person.
He was laughing with his tongue hanging out.
"Thank you for the food."
"...What are you talking about?"
"Oh yeah, that face, it feels good!"
Zig saw Aide kissing Celtina, and his face grew red, an expression of anger on it.