Extra chapter thanks to my Patreons as usual. I’ve been busy the past 2 weeks prepaying for my holiday the next 2 weeks until the end of August so I haven’t been able to get around to the Patreon rewards. Please bear with me! 🙂
(143) Path of the Demon Lord
A week had passed since the Cat Sith king passed away.
Even now, when we pass by the front of the royal castle, there were still many Cat Siths with their paws together in silent prayer. I could feel how truly loved the king was.
I also wanted to converse more with that person … or that cat, his large presence was really burnt into my eyes. Since he was actually as large as a mountain after all.
Currently, nobody lived inside the royal castle. It was apparently cleaned every day but it would be a castle without an occupant until the next king has been decided.
Well, it’s actually because of the previous king that there’s a hole at the back of the castle. Renovation works would be needed after the new king has been decided.
Stella has a house-cum-Silver Vine Wine workshop so the two of them were currently living there.
“Stella-san, a little more, please let me snuggle you a little more! Ah, I can’t get enough of this sensation!”
… with Malina.
Malina’s lively voice could even be heard from outside the building, she once … or rather, going by how her shy personality was progressing currently, she used to be bad with interacting with people but she has finally become comfortable with us and could carry simple conversations … although that Malina’s loud voice now entered my ears.
That Malina could obtain the permission to stay in the Cat Sith hidden village solely thanks to Stella’s sacrifice.
Since Stella had to bear the brunt of it whenever Malina gets excited.
The voices didn’t come from the back but seemed to originate from the workshop so we arbitrarily entered the workshop.
” … Malina, quit it nya … I can’t do my work if you keep hugging me nya.”
“Ah, Stella-san, don’t say such mean things … see, I’m helping.”
“You are not helping nya. I’m just checking the humidity and temperature now nya. I can’t read the thermometer properly if you pick me up like this nya.”
Malina was hugging Stella to her cheeks while Stella was muttering with a slightly fed up voice.
“Are you still at it … Malina, it’s about time you stop.”
” … Ah, Ichino-san, sorry, if you keep looking at me … I’ll get a little embarrassed.”
” … I’d love to sit down and hear about the presence of Malina’s sense of shame but … Stella, do you have business with us?”
“I have two tasks in mind nya … but firstly.”
“Ah, understood. It’s about time I shut Malina in my world … as expected, she’s a nuisance right?”
“I’d like to ask you to do so as soon as possible but that’s not what I wanted to say nya … I’d like you to accept this.”
Stella passed me a small pouch.
I wondered what it was and looked at the contents.
“What, hey, isn’t this a gem?”
“It’s not enough but it’s a sign of my gratitude.”
“But I’ll receive the reward for the request at the guild right?”
As long as I possess the proof of success, I will be able to receive the reward from the Adventurers Guild.
Stella had already paid the Adventurers Guild in Ferruit the reward so if I accepted the reward here, I would be receiving twice the amount.
“It’s not the reward but as thanks for making the Silver Vine Wine nya. Seeing how the King loved it, everyone did their best to prepare it for you nya.”
” … I see. If that’s the case then I will gratefully accept it.”
I accepted the gem and kept it in my chest pocket.
“Then, what’s the other thing?”
“The King’s ― regarding my father’s final request nya.”
” … Ah, that huh … sorry, Carol, Haru. Please drag Malina and give the two of us some time.”
“Understood.” “Yes, Ichino-sama. Let’s go, Malina-san.”
“Ah, wait, just a little longer.”
Dragged by Haru and Carol, Malina exited the workshop. Only Stella and I were left there.
Then, I recalled.
The Cat Sith King’s ― his final words.
『The Demon Lord ― if you meet her, please help me tell her. I am sorry … 』
There was a possibility that his mind was confused as he was about to pass away.
That’s because the Demon Lord was no longer in this world. Since the hero had already subjugated it.
However ― I didn’t think so.
I couldn’t understand the real intention of the King for telling me that. He did tell me that I had the Demon Lord’s scent on me.
I also did not tell Haru that.
Haru yearns for the Demon Lord. I did not want to give her false hope.
However, as it was the King’s final words, I discussed it with Stella.
She seemed to had an inkling of what was going in and was at a loss as she requested that I gave her some time to think.
Will I hear the answer now?
“We’ll be leaving from the back door nya … follow me nya.”
Without going into details, she led me to the back door ― the main entrance to the residence and we entered the king-less castle.
Then, going through the corridor, we arrived at a staircase that led to the basement.
“This place is?”
“This is a secret passage only told to the Cat Siths generation after generation nya. Although some Humes know about it too nya.”
“Secret passage … that King-sama would probably get stuck if he tried to escape though.”
“Nyahaha, that would probably happen nya.”
Stella gave a dry laugh and opened the metal door.
What I saw ― was two magic circles glowing in blue.
“Transfer circles … ?”
I’ve seen them once. That was when I was inside the Intermediate Labyrinth in Florence. Why are they here?
“Does it lead to a labyrinth?”
“Wrong nya. One leads to somewhere near the border of Dakyat to the south while the other connects to a country even further south nya.”
” … You had such a convenient structure huh …”
“Well, it’s also a problem that it’s convenient nya. If a certain group of Humes finds out about these, they would only see it as a tool for war nya.”
“That’s probably true … are you sure you should tell me about it?”
“I can tell Ichino-san with a peace of mind nya. Moreover, Ichino-san also told me your secret so this is an equivalent exchange nya.”
“I’m grateful that you say that but can I tell Haru, Carol and Malina about it too?”
“Of course nya. You can freely use it too nya.”
I see, I’m glad to hear that.
To be the recipient of such trust, acknowledgment and exchange of secrets.
“So, does this transfer circle lead to the Demon Lord’s secret?”
“No nya. This transfer circle itself is Demon Lord-sama’s secret nya.”
Stella remarked. The Demon Lord’s specialty was Darkness Magic and Space-Time Magic above all others and its power was tremendous.
When the Demon Lord transfers using Space-Time Magic, the overwhelming strength apparently causes the formation of transfer circles.
It’s also known as the 「Demon Lord’s Path」.It’s normally not announced to the world but apparently many exist throughout the world.
“The Demon Lord visited this village once every couple of years and gave us various things nya. Because it was the friend of the first generation Cat Sith King nya. However, thirty years ago the battle with the Humes intensified nya. The King … told it to never come back.”
Stella shook her head.
“Father always regretted it nya. Forsaking Demon Lord-sama.”
“Something like that happened huh …”
I could understand slightly what the King was regretful of.
But, why did he tell me that? Stella probably didn’t know the answer to that.
Even though I couldn’t get my answer in the end, I thanked Stella for telling me such an important secret.
And if I use the transfer circle that connects to the southern country, won’t we be able to bypass the blocked highway and reach the port town?
Just as I was thinking that. The transfer circle’s light intensified.
“We’re here, Elise! The Cat Village!”
“We’re here, Jofre! The Cat Village!”
The two idiots appeared.
… Hey hey, aren’t these people the ones that will most likely accidentally reveal a secret?
Or rather, the trust towards us is the same degree as towards these two?
I somehow found it hard to swallow.