Chapter 76: Demon whispers
Ares was born as the second son to the Duke of Suroa. He had two older sisters. The eldest son joined the Bahamut Knight Order as a page to earn a name for himself and served as the spear holder for an elderly knight but died when a stray arrow from a thief hit him.
The eldest son that passed away had the Divine Protection of 『Cavalry』 but he died before possessing a spear or riding a horse so he didn’t have a chance to utilize his skills.
His two older sisters were no longer at home. They sold themselves off to the sons of rich houses in order to raise their own prestige.
“I’m glad you were born. Sage Ares is our hope.”
That was Ares’ father’s favorite phrase to the young Ares. Ares’ father, the Duke of Suroa, possessed the Divine Protection of the 『Warrior』. Ares only saw his father as incompetent.
『Sage』 was a highest-class Divine Protection capable of using magic from both the Magician class and Monk class. It could be said to be the strongest Divine Protection in terms of magic.
Furthermore, the『Sage』 also possess the ‘Appraisal’ skill that only the highest-class Divine Protection of the Monk-class, 『Saint』, possess.
There was a need to concentrate to activate it but it was a rare skill that could discern the opponent’s Divine Protection and level.
All countries gave 『Sages』 hearty welcomes because of the existence of that skill. Ares was truly the hope of the fallen duke house that had nothing left.
The young Ares despised his family.
He would be promised a certain degree of position just because of the Appraisal skill. He could probably retrieve land the scale of a lower-rank noble. However, it was probably insufficient to retrieve items suitable for the prestige of a duke house.
The young Ares despised this country.
Ares, who was able to peek at other’s Divine Protection as he pleased with his Appraisal skill, noticed that there were two types of humans in this country.
People who did everything perfectly and were full of confidence and people with dismal faces who did things slowly and made many mistakes.
The difference laid in whether their Divine Protections matched their work. As a person capable of seeing the Divine Protection of the people around him, Ares reached a conviction that pursuing the wish of your Divine Protection was the path to happiness.
In that case, how should a 『Sage』 like himself lead his life?
Ares understood what he must do when he first saw the 『Hero』.
As the wisest person, he should guide the Hero, fight alongside the Hero and after killing the Demon Lord, correct this irrational world. He will provide all humans with the living style that suit their Divine Protections. He would manage the world and embody Demis’ will.
Ares’ goal was not the revival of his family name. That was only a stepping stone.
Ares wanted to become the Emperor that would govern the world.
“I am the Sage, for this to happen … I have not accomplished anything, I do not have territory, have not started the revolution, have not begun the holy war, nothing …”
Ares murmured in a daze while watching the blood gush out.
Forgetting that he could heal the wound with magic, he suffered the pain of setback that he never imagined he would experience as the 『Sage』.
“Why? What is wrong with the 『Hero』 living as a hero … Even the 『Guide』, even though it was natural to part with that trash Divine Protection at the Imperial Capital, why is he here? Why am I, the 『Sage』, alone … bleeding. You fools, why are humans so foolish, shit, damn it …”
Ares pressed down on his wound and crouched, continuing to spit out curse words as he clenched his teeth while blood flowed from his mouth.
Even though he knew that it was meaningless, he could not stop the stream of hatred spewing from his mouth. Nothing has gone as desired since the day he chased Gideon out of the party.
In other words, that was equivalent to admitting that the trash Divine Protection 『Guide』 was more excellent than 『Sage』. Furthermore, Ares inevitably proved the contradiction to his belief that one should live according to their Divine Protection.
The pillar within Ares’ heart started crumbling.
Because he was in that state, Ares failed to notice the shadow that was approaching him.
“Are you all right?”
Upon hearing a voice, Ares turned his ghostly visage due to his blood loss toward the source of the voice.
A young man with tanned skin stood there.
He had a gently curved single-edged blade on his waist and wore a mantle with iron plates sewn onto it.
“I am Byuui. An adventurer as you can tell. More importantly, those are some serious wounds. Are you all right?”
Byuui took out an Extra Cure potion.
After staring at that hand for some time, some light returned to Ares’ eyes and he cast his own Extra Cure spell.
“Oya, so you can use Healing Magic. I guess I did something unnecessary.”
Ares glared that Byuui who had a thin smile on this face.
“You’re an Asura Demon.”
The ‘Appraisal’ skill that Ares activated detected Byuui’s lack of Divine Protection.
If Ares actually used ‘Appraisal’ when Shisandan was masquerading as Danan, he would have realized that he was an imposter but as long as ‘Appraisal’ required concentration to cast, Ares would not use ‘Appraisal’ on people he knew unless he had suspicions about their identity.
But this time it was different. Ares did not have such a naive personality to trust an adventurer he met for the first time inside an ancient ruin.
A smile crept onto Byuui … Shisandan’s lips when he saw Ares’ condition.
“As expected of the 『Sage』, you noticed my true identity.”
Shisandan tickled Ares’ self-esteem.
Ares immediately maintained a posture which allowed him to cast magic at any time.
However, a magic-user fighting on his own was an extremely unfavorable situation.
(First, I have to summon.)
Letting spiritual beasts protect themselves was the play by the book. However, Ares was already within Shisandan’s range.
Ares felt a chill run down his spine.
(This is all Gideon’s fault!)
But only hatred continued to burn within his heart.
Shisandan took a step back of his own volition as if having seen through Ares’ heart.
“I do not plan to fight you, 『Sage』.”
“What do you plan to do exactly?”
“I got to watch you get discarded by the Hero.”
Ares was incensed and reflexively activated his Summon Magic.
A Spirit Dire Tiger flew out with its fangs bared but Shisandan split it cleanly in two with a simple flick of his sword.
“Calm down. I am not here to laugh at you. How about it, do you want to form a party with me for a while?”
“Ha? What nonsense. I, a member of the hero party, party up with a demon?”
“Hero party huh?”
Shisandan’s youthful face grinned
Ares felt the blood vessels in his brain pulsate from his anger.
“Do you know why you were chased out from the Hero party?”
“Because there is a fool by the name of Gideon who misleads the Hero.”
“That is right.”
Ares did not expect him to agree with him and inadvertently retracted his hostility toward him.
“If Divine Protections are the roles assigned to us by God Demis, the 『Demon Lord』 and 『Hero』 fighting against each other is destiny, it is the rightful path. We, the Demon Lord army, also wish that the 『Hero』 will stand up and fight with the 『Demon Lord』.”
” … In other words, the『Demon Lord』 is just fulfilling his role according to his Divine Protection.”
“That is right. As the two of them fight, the stagnant power balance between the two great continents will shift toward one side. But eventually, a new Hero or Demon Lord will appear and shake the power balance once more and both continents will develop through those battles. It applies to Divine Protection as well as civilizations, they will not grow outside of war. That is because the abilities of humans and demons who are responsible for civilization is decided by the level of their Divine Protection. Large-scale war will cull the ones with weak Divine Protections and the experience will go to those with strong Divine Protections. The ones chosen by their Divine Protections will advance the world to a new era.”
“Divine Protection and civilization are the same … that is … something I have never considered before.”
In contrast to Ares’ expression lost in wonder, Shisandan was cursing in his heart on how it was a farce.
Shisandan spoke the ideals of the traditional Demon Lord. To the Asura Demons that do not hold any Divine Protection, it was nothing more than an absurd farce.
It was ridiculous to think that techniques unrelated to fighting such as agriculture or engineering would not advance without war. The Asura Demons felt that the Divine Protections were ridiculous shackles.
Regardless of Shisandan’s inner thoughts, Ares’ hostility toward him had reduced considerably. Shisandan decided that it was about time he moved into the main topic.
“The legacy of the previous generation Hero lies below this ruin. How about it, we can always fight after we obtain that first, right?”
“The previous generation Hero’s legacy!?”
“If you pass that to her, the current generation’s 『Hero』 will probably recall her mission. She will likely understand that it is worthless to have individuality as the Hero.”
“Individuality? What do you mean … no, more importantly, I can’t hand over the previous generation Hero’s legacy to a member of the Demon Lord army.”
“But if this current situation continues, the Hero will quit being the 『Hero』. If that happens, any legacy or whatnot will not matter at all.”
Shisandan’s figure swayed. His silhouette transformed into a demon with six arms.
“Once you find the legacy, with your intelligence, you might understand what the 『Hero』 is. And you might be able to do something about it. Furthermore …”
The demon whispers slowly soaked into Ares’ spirit.
“Even I, an Asura, will find it difficult advancing forward. I need the power of a 『Sage』, your power.”
For Ares who was abandoned by Ruti, those words were his weak spot which crumbled the defensive wall around his spirit.