“Yuuto-sama! Are you alright?!”
“Yes… Perfectly fine…”
Anri closes the distance between us, her face betraying sympathy for my plight. And for the record; I’m really not alright.
Anri’s piercing glare meets with the female demon that had just entered the Great Hall.
“Damn it, Peta! Do you have any idea what you’ve just done?!”
“What? Did I do something wrong?”
She has the appearance of a girl in her mid-teens, wears her hair in a semi-long cut and had put on a rather short skirt. She has a very lovely face, and her eyes blink in surprise at Anri’s admonishing roars. I guess it’s fair to assume that she’s called Peta.
“You’ve intruded upon his divine work and all of its sublimity…! Take your life! Now!”
“Anri, calm yourself. I doubt she meant any harm.”
Also, ‘divine work of sublimity’? That’s just buttering it on too thick.
“But… But Yuuto-sama…!”
“More importantly, who is this girl?”
“…She is one of the Four Demons of Ruin, just as I am. Her name is Peta.”
My eyes go wide, and I take another look in Peta’s direction. I hadn’t realized she was a Demon of Ruin.
I’m sure I’ve explained this before, but here’s the gist of it: I have four people serving under me who call themselves the Four Demons of Ruin. The authority they hold in these castle walls is second only to me. Anri happens to be one of these four, and it really does look like this Peta’s one of them too.
Now, I’m fully aware that what I’m about to say should’ve been a long time coming, but let me give you a rundown on the details of my reincarnation.
I’ve already touched on this subject in the past, but in this world of Laruatos, the human realms occupy a good ninety percent of the land available. The demon realms occupy about ten. There’s a decent number of demons who aren’t exactly thrilled by this fact, and for many of them, nothing would be better than exterminating the human race and ruling over Laruatos in its entirety.
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The special powers and capabilities of demons outstrip those of humans by leagues and bounds, and even if we do take their sheer advantage in numbers into consideration, it still shouldn’t be too difficult to wipe them off the map. It’s the existence and support of the Angels that keep demonkind from acting on their wishes.
The demons, in order to oppose the might of these Angels, decided to invoke a ritual that would supposedly resurrect the ‘High King’, who is said to have perished eons ago. I’ve been told that this particular ritual demanded a ludicrous amount of preparation, but I’m not too privy to the specifics, so I’ll just leave that bit out for now.
While the ritual had gone by without issue, my own consciousness had, for whatever reason, been dragged along for the ride, birthing something that had both the appearance and power of the High King, but had the mind of the same old Azora Yuuto.
Upon my impromptu resurrection, I’d been told that the Four Demons of Ruin had all ventured out to execute some sort of mission, sans Anri herself. This is the first time I even meet Peta face-to-face. If she’s back here in the castle, that can only mean that she’s cleared her mission.
“Oooh?! You… don’t tell me!”
When Peta catches her first glimpse of me, her eyes begin to glitter. She draws closer.
“So you’re the High King, huh?! Gotta say, it’s great to meet you! Oh, I’m Peta, by the way! It’s really, really great to have you here!”
The way Peta introduces herself is lively, if little else. When she’s done, Anri glares at her some more.
“Peta! How dare you use a tone so uncouth when you address Yuuto-sama?! Either take your own life, or fix the way you talk!”
“Enough, Anri. I’m not that petty of a man that I’d let something as simple as a tone disgrace me.”
Actually, if I’m going to be completely honest, I much prefer this really frank type of conversation. It puts me at ease.
“But please, don’t call me High King. Call me Yuuto. So long as you keep that in mind, I have little else to say.”
“Roger that, Yuuto-sama!”
Anri still doesn’t seem appeased.
“I really must apologize, Yuuto-sama. Even if you can find it in yourself to forgive her, this is not a transgression I can so easily leave be.”
“Same old Anri, always playing strict. Look, if Yuuto-sama says he doesn’t care, then what’s the problem?”
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“That should be obvious! That’s just not how you address the one who rules over all demons! Allow me to take care of that for you, along with that awful, careless personality while I’m at it!”
“Really can’t talk you out of it, huh? Well then, why don’t we just settle this our own way?”
Peta’s hand clenches into a fist, which she holds out towards Anri. Are they seriously about to duke it out? Guess the only one who can stop them is the High King. I have to be quick about it, too.
“Both of you, forget about fighting –”
“If you win, I’ll just do whatever you say. Hell, I’ll even kill myself if you want me to. Well? How about it?”
No, this is Anri we’re talking about. Someone as serious as her would never –
“Very well. I accept your challenge.”
“Do you object, Yuuto-sama?”
Well, at least it’s a peaceful alternative to a full-out brawl.
“Today is the day I grasp victory.”
“Heh. Hey, if you think you can, be my guest.”
Their eyes are practically spewing sparks. A little too much enthusiasm for a game of rock-paper-scissors, if you ask me. Instincts demand that I gulp.
“First comes rock! Rock-paper-scissors!”
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Peta had chosen to play scissors. Anri had gone for paper. Looks like it’s Peta’s win.
“Yay! I win!”
“W-Whoever said we would only battle for a single round?! Best two out of three!”
What are you, in primary school?!
This little match between Anri and Peta goes on for a while, but not once does Anri manage to one-up Peta.
“Fuhuhuh. Nobody can beat me at rock-paper-scissors!”
Anri’s shoulders collapse where she stands. Peta’s strong, I’ll give her that.
“Peta. I hear that you left us for some sort of mission. I’d like you to explain it to me. In detail, if you would.”
“Oh, sure thing! I just had to bring this back with me!”
Peta pulls something from her pocket and shows it to me, something white and edged. It looks like a horn, removed from some sort of animal.
“…Yuuto-sama. I realize that you have yet to know what the missions of us Ruin Demons entail. Allow me to explain.”
While Anri speaks, she unsteadily rises to her feet.
“This all occurred before your resurrection ritual. Once the human filth has been eradicated by your power, all of Laruatos shall belong to us demons. Regrettably, our numbers pale in comparison to their own. Should only demons be left in this world, then maintaining our environment is a guaranteed hardship.”
Hold on a sec. You’re talking like it’s a given that I’m going to destroy humanity. Could you stop? Please?
“That was when we thought of creating the Black Mist.”
“Any corpse that is engulfed by the Black Mist shall be resurrected as a sort of half-demon and is thereby turned into our loyal servant. We plan to spread this mist throughout the human realms once they’ve been destroyed, so that we may make use of the half-demons that spring forth. That should allow us to maintain our surroundings.”
So it’s basically a much more powerful version of the Demon Contract spell I’d used on Rina. It’s a terrifying plan, to say the least.
“The Black Mist can only be created through the use of four items: a Gandol’s Horn, an Endard’s Eye, a Hyutlle’s Claw, and a Ghiraph’s Wing. The other Demons of Ruin went out in search of these items, expecting your resurrection. What Peta has brought back to us, you see, is the Gandol’s Horn.”
“And let me tell ya, it sure wasn’t easy. Gandols have a level of, like, seven hundred. It took me ages to defeat one proper.”
Um… Listen here; I’m not about to go and destroy any humans, alright? Gathering these things is just making the whole situation more awkward.