We were ushered into a room that looked like a living room and sat on a sofa.
Through the window we could see the river flowing.
"You don't particularly look like a hero who just defeated a demon king."
"I have the title of hero. But not the job."
"A hero without a job. Human beings can be very interesting."
Mugen, who was sipping tea out of his cup, laughed, as if he found my story funny.
This person is completely impeccable.
If we had to fight, I have a feeling I would lose ninety percent of the time.
It is said that cultivated combat techniques sometimes not only close the level gap but exceed it.
Levels and skills are not always absolute.
A skill is only a basic element, and it is up to the owner to make full use of it.
I'm still getting carried away by my powers.
And in front of me, I have a very strong man who has trained for many years and fought many battles.
No wonder I can't easily beat him.
But still, is it the will of a warrior to want to fight?
"So, you want to use our country's magic transfer circle to get to the demon king's castle and defeat her. It's a story that I can certainly relate to. But there will be conditions."
Pione raised her voice, but before she could do anything else, I motioned for her to calm down.
I never did think they would let us use the magic circle without conditions.
Because this is a clear act of hostility towards the Demon King.
If I fail, war will break out between this country and the Demon King from within.
"That demon king, Lisa, only sees us as tools. Just the other day a messenger arrived, and he requested that both me and my people act as a shield to prevent the human invasion. He demanded it of me, as if I had no right to choose."
He goes on to talk about how dissatisfied he was.
"We sent many supplies and money as a sign of peace between the demon king and our nations, but on the condition that we would not participate. That woman threatened to kill us, she said what we sent was too little. We had only one choice, to support her unconditionally and be part of her army, or a massacre would happen."
He placed the teacup on the table.
His anger must have flared up again while we were talking.
I can only say that I am sorry to hear that.
Now I understand the reasons why they do not support Lisa.
"And if that wasn't enough, that woman, of all people, brought our greatest enemy here! The hero! The previous demon kings fought with dignity, demonstrated their power. What kind of weakness is that on the demon king's part!? Instead of fighting him, she befriends and curries favor with him! Kuuuu, my blood pressure is rising!"
"Grandpa, calm down."
"I'm sorry, Pione. I couldn't help but get angry."
Mugen is stroked on the head.
His face became calm.
Snorting, he sat back down and straightened his shirt collar.
"Young man, I'm willing to help you. But there is one condition: we are going to do something extremely dangerous, and you are not allowed to fail."
"What is that condition?"
"Fight me, and win."
So that 's it.
I would not ask someone for this favor without knowing what I am dealing with.
Still, it's dangerous, I may not win.
But I found myself smiling naturally.
"Kuku, are you laughing? You're an interesting man."
"I am a warrior. It's normal to want to fight against someone strong.
"You're a bit of an idiot. But I like men who are confident in themselves."
I know, lord Mugen.
I'm an idiot. But you probably are too.
"Tomorrow we will fight in front of the palace. Tell Pione to take you to there.
"A fight, huh. What are the rules?"
"No scrolls or other objects are allowed. No one can help you, the fight will be one on one. Also, the use of sacred weapons is forbidden. You will use the weapons that will be granted to you."
I'm a little worried about weapons. But I should be able to fight well even without my sacred weapon.
I will take this fight as a good opportunity to learn to control my powers.
"By the way, what is your relationship with Pione?
"Hmm? We're just friends."
"I hope you remain 'just friends'. My Pione won't do it with just anyone."
He loves his granddaughter very much.
Well, it's true that Pione is cute. But I'm not looking at her with those kinds of eyes. I'm sure she doesn't see me that way either.
I can assure you, lord Mugen.
"Pion-San, you should know that Master is quite insensitive."
"You can try as hard as you want. Just don't expect much support."
For some reason, Pione looks at me in amazement.
Why do you look like you are about to cry?
After talking to Mugen, we decided to dine out instead of the inn.
We went to a restaurant with seating by the river.
The area is completely dark and the opposite wall glows orange from the light of the building.
A string of lights hangs between the walls and a cool breeze blows across the valley.
The fantastic view of a faraway place even makes me think I have come to another world.
"This is a specialty here."
"It's a giant shrimp."
On the plate there was a giant shrimp, about the size of my arm.
White steam came out of the red shell, as if it had just been boiled.
When the head and torso were broken, it's fleshy white body was exposed and it's head was full of miso.
"Not only does it taste great, it's also very juicy."
"Yes, the shrimp here are very famous in other countries. A lot of people come to this city looking for this."
"'Mmm, but if you look closely, you can see that there are many different races here."
If you look at the road on the other side, you can occasionally see Beastkin and Lizardmen.
It seems that not only demons live in the dark realm.
Thus, the demonic side might not be so different from the human side.
"I'm sorry, Toru. I never thought you'd have to fight my grandfather."
"Don't worry. If I can't beat Mugen, then I won't be able to beat Lisa."
"If you feel that grandfather may kill you, you have to surrender as soon as possible. Grandpa will most likely get serious and try to kill you right away."
"Oh... Yes, I'll be careful."
From what I hear, this will not be easy.
If I don't take this fight seriously, I could die.
However, I am very grateful for this opportunity.
Nowadays it is difficult to find someone to really practice with.
I will see how far I can go against Mugen. I will give it my all.
"Master looks happy."
"Yeah, I'm excited to find out how my power stacks up against that old man's."
Kaede, who is sitting next to me, looks at me happily and wags her tail.
I pat her on the head and she narrows her eyes pleasantly.
I will make Kaede and Frau proud, I have to show them that their master is strong.
When I return to the inn, I open the door and make sure no one is in the hallway.
I'm going to the bathroom now.
It's almost midnight, and that's when the male clients can bathe.
There seems to be only one bathroom at the inn, so it appears that the men's and women's bathing periods are decided according to the time of day.
Tap tap tap
I moved quickly down the hallway and hid in a corner.
"I heard that a man will be staying at the inn today."
"He's probably a jerk who just wants to see naked girls. You know how guys are, they come in here with weird thoughts."
"And then they're disappointed when they find out what's really going on."
A woman in her underwear walks by while talking to another girl.
In addition, their upper bodies are covered by nothing more than the towels hanging from their necks.
How careless they are.
But I am not disappointed.
I prefer to be grateful.
I just want to take a bath and sleep.
I ran back down the hallway and managed to get into the bathroom.
I have no reason to hide, but somehow I was hesitating as to whether it would be a good idea to walk past these girls.
I wouldn't know where to put my eyes when I walked by a girl dressed like that.
And if they notice you looking at their breasts, they might yell at you.
You shouldn't have to walk around almost naked to have a quiet night.
I take off my clothes and put them in the basket.
I drape a towel over my shoulders and quickly head for the bathroom.
I remembered the manners I learned at Grayfield.
First you wash your body and then you soak in the bathtub.
I continued through the steamy bathroom and sat down in a suitable chair.
Ho... Is there soap here?
I washed my head with soap and then carefully washed my body.
Afterwards, I poured hot water on my head.
Ready, let's go to the bathtub.
"Fufu, this is paradise."
"Who 's there?"
I heard the sound of water splashing and then saw a figure approaching.
Eeeh, I'm not the only one here.
Why is there another person here?
Pione appeared naked in front of me.
"Wait, please calm down!"
I approached Pione and put my hand over her mouth.
If you scream, I'll be in trouble.
"Pione-San, if you don't come out now,my master will come here and see you naked."
I exchanged glances with Kaede as she entered the bathroom, and at the same time Pione slowly sank into the hot water.