The demon’s world was a more confined place than Hifumi had expected.
With the elven barrier being powerful, there are sometimes openings which can be located. But it seems to be rare to discover those at a level were demons are able to pass through them.
“Demons, who discovered such holes by accident, impulsively exit the barrier or those amongst the demons possessing high amounts of mana temporarily expand a hole to dispatch spies and soldiers though returning is in both cases difficult”, the male demon called Phegor (T/N: >> Fuegoru <<)* explained to Hifumi. (T/N: the name is フェゴール which is close to ベルフェゴール which would be Belphegor, a known devil.)
Phegor who is working as aide of the king continues to explain while showing fatigue on his face which had taken on an ill-looking, grey skin colour.
“If we increase the antagonism between elves and humans, won’t that lead to the barrier weakening as well, is what we thought, but…” (Phegor)
Phegor looked at Hifumi, who is walking next to him, with a fleeting glance and put his breathing in order.
“Far from our imaginations, the elves show no signs of leaving the forest and the humans lost their contact with the forest, too. Obstructing us with a solid barrier as usual, it has turned into a situation where the resentment of all demons is about to explode.” (Phegor)
“So? Why did you get in touch with me?” (Hifumi)
“That is…” (Phegor)
While scratching his skinny cheek with his index finger, Phegor examines Hifumi’s expression.
“I want to hear about his methods and strengths to get out of the elven forest and reach this place by himself. And, I want to request him to help us, is what I thought.” (Phegor)
“Aren’t you hostile towards humans as well?” (Hifumi)
“Essentially that’s true, however…” (Phegor)
Sighing deeply, Phegor shakes his head.
“Currently our hate towards the elves who are imprisoning us in these lands is far more overwhelming. It’s probably also because our contact with humans has been scarce for a long time, but as it isn’t even possible to fight the elves as distinct enemies, more resentment than expected has accumulated.” (Phegor)
“I understand you!” (Hifumi)
Phegor, who was startled by Hifumi suddenly raising his voice, was also surprised by Hifumi being all smiles.
“After all, once you identified your enemies, you won’t be able to settle down unless you can fight them squarely. Something like glaring at each other as each side is apart from the other without killing and being killed, that’s boring!” (Hifumi)
From then on until they arrived at the city of the demons, Hifumi monopolized the conversation.
“I’m not particularly saying that the criterion of superiority or inferiority can only be found in killing each other, but since anything’s fine, be it using your head to scheme or spending time on setting up traps, one should fight to the bitter end once confronted. Even if there’s a cease-fire by putting up a wall between both parties, that period of time is naturally a phase to prepare the next strife.” (Hifumi)
Phegor faced Hifumi, who was unexpectedly enthusiastic, with a question.
“The ones called humans, do they all have such way of thinking?” (Phegor)
If that’s the case, won’t fighting with the humans turn into an extremely disadvantageous situation from the very beginning even if the demons break through the elves? Phegor felt uneasy.
However, that gets quickly denied.
“Though it’s disappointing, there probably aren’t many guys who think like that. No, they are quite rare, I guess.” (Hifumi)
“Though that’s from my experience up until now”, Hifumi muttered while looking bored.
“Therefore, considering even such parts, the demons who are trying to advance things systematically are really nice. If the humans were aware of that, more of them would reach the point of thinking about fighting and you as enemies. Well, in one region they are preparing accordingly though.” (Hifumi)
The “one region” Hifumi added caught Phegor’s interest, but he isn’t able to interject while Hifumi is talking excitedly.
“So, once you demons break through the elven barrier, what do you intend to do?” (Hifumi)
“We still haven’t decided anything concrete, however I think that after we plundered the land where the elves reside and gathered intelligence for a while to expand the hegemony of the demons, we should be able to decide on a plan. Hearing your story just now, we are stronger than them, is what I thought.” (Phegor)
Hifumi didn’t particularly say anything about this cautious approach.
Although he believed that Phegor would say a lot more radical things, he decided to accept it for the time being.
“Therefore, human. What I want to request from you, more than being a war potential, is to provide us with as much intelligence about the elves and humans as possible. What we desire the most is information about the situation outside.” (Phegor)
The city of the demons. The wall visible from a distance has a height of around 4 meters and a complex structure of having been formed by carefully cut stones.
Due to Hifumi looking at it with great interest, Phegor explained,
“Monsters come attacking us regardless of day and night. Although we might be called demons, there are also some who don’t possess fighting strength. Because of that, the people of previous generations frantically built this wall.” (Phegor)
“The soldiers patrolling on top and the watchtowers at various places are essential in their stationing for the sake of making sure that no flying monster types are approaching”, he explained.
Hifumi nodded only slightly towards Phegor who is talking in a somewhat bragging manner.
“It’s Phegor. Since he is a guest, send a notification in regards to that.” (Phegor)
Greeting the person who appears to be a gatekeeper, they pass through a narrow, gloomy side gate where two people side-by-side barely fit through.
The gatekeeper stared at Hifumi in wonder, but he didn’t say anything in particular.
“Normally there aren’t many people entering and leaving except when it’s about dealing with monsters.” (Phegor)
There is an additional large gate, but except for the time when many soldiers have to enter or leave all at once, only the gates for people and carriages seem to be used.
“Although he didn’t answer, is it fine for a human to enter the city?” (Hifumi)
“… First off, I want you to listen to the story of the king. The king is far more wise than someone like me. He has deeply thought about the future prospects of the demon race. I want you to judge after that.” (Phegor)
“King, eh.” (Hifumi)
The faces of the kings of Swordland and Orsongrande, he killed, and of the king of Horant, who was friendly in contrast, rise to the surface of Hifumi’s mind.
(Well, even if the top is no good, there are still ways to go if those below are better.) (Hifumi)
After looking at Phegor’s face, Hifumi nodded.
“Got it. Let’s go meet him.” (Hifumi)
“Well, then let me guide you.” (Phegor)
Zanga wore down her mind for the few minutes it took Hifumi to go through the barrier and collapsed right at the spot when she restored the barrier to its original state.
“Good gracious… I’ve completely declined. There’s nothing more disgraceful than this.” (Zanga)
Zanga, who laughed with a “Hya Hya”, corrected her posture while saying “Heave-ho” and informed all elves at this spot,
“Since there isn’t much time left anymore, I will keep it brief.” (Zanga)
The sound of someone gulping could be heard.
“I will leave this forest. Some people will probably follow me.” (Zanga)
“It’s fine for you guys to do as you like as well”, when Zanga said that, the elves threw countless questions at her.
As her voice couldn’t be heard through all the noise mingling together, Zanga waved her right hand and they calmed down.
“Since I’ve told everyone to gather, it will be explained there. The barrier will also be fine for a while since I did my best. Rather than that, could you help me a bit with standing up?” (Zanga)
Zanga, who got up being held by two people, began to walk while propping herself up with the wand.
“Come along. It won’t do if you miss the agreement over the end of the forest elves. You guys have to properly see it with your own eyes, too.” (Zanga)
The elves chased after Zanga, who quickly left walking at a pace one wouldn’t expect of an old woman who had trouble standing up, in a rush.
And, at the beginning everyone showed a reaction that they couldn’t believe the story about the last moments of elves which Zanga and Puuse explained to them in the opened meeting of the elves.
Zanga, who considered that reaction to be only natural, talked about her experience of having abandoned her grandmother. Next Puuse talked about the elder she met together with Hifumi.
And after that several elves timidly talked about the things they ended up seeing of the way their acquaintances and relatives, who broke the law, died. Some among them burst into tears due to fear and regret.
“Ah, after all ~nee…” (Zanga)
“W-What shall we do?” (Puuse)
Zanga simply laughs due to the as-expected chaotic state. Puuse is anxious and in a state of being unable to stand it.
“Well, there’s no particular need for all of us to go together.” (Zanga)
Everyone’s looks gather on Zanga due to her remark.
“Even if I tell you that the forest’s the reason, there will probably be some who won’t believe it no matter what. If you really want to stay here, I have no intention to force you otherwise. Even if I’m called the leader, I’m just running away after getting scared in the end anyway.” (Zanga)
There are some who direct glaring looks at Zanga who makes an irresponsible remark.
“But you know, I don’t think that’s the only problem.” (Zanga)
Alongside a sigh, Zanga turned towards the direction of the demons.
“That human-san will undoubtedly lead the demons out. It’s necessary for us to resolve ourselves until then deciding what we want to do.” (Zanga)
“Eh? Lead out?” (Puuse)
“Hifumi-san told me so. That man, having clear values within himself, has likely judged it to be interesting if demons and elves clash directly and is aiming for that.” (Znanga)
“But, who will gain a profit from that? If the demons are able to leave the barrier, they will attack the humans…” (Puuse)
As Puuse was unable to comprehend, Zanga gently stroke her head.
“I’m certain that he isn’t looking at something like personal gains or losses. His eyes were as if he is looking at something far, far more distant.” (Zanga)
Puuse was uncomfortable in reacting towards Zanga who muttered “If I was about 80 years younger, I might have been charmed by him.”
The figure of a human being led by Phegor caused a commotion among the people of the city, but by limiting it to watching from a distance, there was no one who came to start a conversation with him.
“Phegor! What’s this!?”
The one who came shouting all of a sudden was the giant whom Hifumi had already seen before.
It is the man who was mowing down the pack of monsters by brandishing his longsword at the time he watched the city from outside.
“Beleth (T/N: >> Bereto <<), he is the king’s guest. Abstain from rude behaviour towards him.” (Phegor)
Beleth laughed scornfully at Phegor who reprimanded him calmly.
“Haa! The king’s aide-dono, without even presenting a decent breakthrough solution, finally fell to the degree of relying on a human!?” (Beleth)
Corresponding with his huge body, his voice was loud as well, but as Phegor seems to be accustomed to it, he doesn’t show any nervousness either.
“I have nothing to say to a bastard like you who doesn’t comprehend that the situation won’t get any better with a brute force approach. If you believe that tactless frankness is a virtue, it will be fine for you alone to be like that.” (Phegor)
Due to Phegor stating this bluntly towards Beleth, who is two heads taller than him, without taking a single step backwards, a women approached.
“Oh my, oh my, what’s wrong you two?”
Her height is about the same as Hifumi’s? With the long ears identical to elves which make it immediately apparent that she’s a demon, the woman was a beauty who had a pale grey skin. Possessing blue, close to light blue, hair and likewise coloured eyes, she wore a robe with a slit that highlights her rich bust and boots with high heels.
“Vepar (T/N: >> Ueparu <<), huh?” (Phegor)
Phegor obviously showed a bothered expression, but ignoring him completely, the woman called Vepar looked in Hifumi’s direction.
“Oh my, a human being in this city, how rare… mmh?” (Vepar)
Hifumi, who was looking at the state of the demons’ city while disregarding the conversation between Beleth and Phegor, looked at Vepar’s appearance disinterestedly.
Vepar gets directly in front of Hifumi and takes a long hard look at his face.
“You… what’s with the colour of your eyes. Besides…” (Vepar)
Vepar, who intently gazed at his face with a serious look, quickly lined up next to Hifumi and when she tried to closely embrace his left arm, he escaped.
“Aww, how fast. Although you are a human, your physical ability is high. I’m very interested.” (Vepar)
“It didn’t feel like hostility, but… what are you?” (Hifumi)
Receiving the look of Hifumi assessing her vigilantly with narrowed eyes, Vepar folded her arms in a pose that her breasts were pushed up and her body trembled.
“Those eyes, they are great!” (Vepar)
Hifumi looks at Phegor and points at Vepar.
Phegor bowed slightly and said 「Sorry」.
“That person is a soldier ranking fairly high even among demons… I will inform you about him properly later on.” (Vepar)
“Vepar! You!” (Beleth)
Due to Vepar trying to snuggle up to Hifumi as soon as there’s a chance, Beleth bellowed while sweating.
“Ara, how may I help you? I’m busy right now, you know?” (Vepar)
“Busy, you say!? Is it that fun to cuddle with someone strange like a human!?” (Beleth)
“Being able to say “like”, are you that much more remarkable than a human?” (Vepar)
Beleth, having a finger pointed at him in order to provoke him, blushes and becomes heated up to a degree that it looks like steam is rising up from him.
“At the very least I’m able to kill this midget with one hand!” (Beleth)
“I wonder?” (Vepar)
Inclining her head to the side, Vepar directed a sidelong glance at Hifumi.
“I’m sensing a far more dangerous and powerful aura from that gentleman though.” (Vepar)
Beleth faced Hifumi with a look full of rage.
Hifumi remains silent.
“Beleth. I told you before, but he is the king’s guest.” (Phegor)
“… Tsk! Phegor, if that guy messes up in some way, call me right away!” (Beleth)
Vepar stuck out her tongue towards Beleth who walks heavily in the other direction while heaving his shoulders angrily and going bow-legged.
“I hate vulgar men. Putting that aside, Phelgor, is he going to the king’s place? I will come along as well.” (Vepar)
“… Don’t do anything unnecessary.” (Phelgor)
Phelgor, who gave her a short warning, called out to Hifumi and they began to walk once again.
Behind him Hifumi and Vepar are walking side-by-side.
“… That Beleth, he is calm at strange aspects.” (Vepar)
“That’s right. It’s truly regrettable.” (Hifumi)
“Ara, did you plan to start a fight with a demon down in the middle of a demon city?” (Vepar)
Hifumi only turned his gaze at Vepar who showed an unnatural surprise.
“How is that related to anything?” (Hifumi)
A chill travels down on Vepar’s spine. Her body trembled with a shudder, but her mouth smiled.