The Virtue of a Great Man
The place that I had teleported to was an underground dwarven temple.
The crystal ball must have been set to send me here.
Eve was surprised to see me so suddenly, but upon seeing my face, she bowed her head deeply as a show of respect.
My tears were already dry, and my expression should have been the same as always, and yet somehow she sensed it.
I did not want her to know that Demon Kings cry, but perhaps she was the one person that I could have shown my saddened face to.
The thought entered my head, but I did not cry into her chest. Instead, I acted.
Gottlieb had left me in charge of the dwarves. And so it was up to me to lead them.
I told them that Sharltar was dead and that we had to discuss their future.
And I told them that Gottlieb had died.
At first, it was very hard to explain that to them.
He had been loved by his people. I was afraid of what their reaction would be, but it was a groundless fear.
It seemed that Gottlieb had told them in advance of his resolve.
“I may die in this battle, and when that happens, you must rely on the Demon King Ashtaroth. He will be able to lead our tribe to prosperity.”
Such was the message he had left for them.
He was their leader, and so there was no need for me to persuade them.
He had died fighting bravely.
He had left matters to me.
I would keep my promise to him.
That is all I told them before making them prepare for the journey.
We would now return to my castle.
The dwarves obeyed me submissively.
Gottlieb’s influence remained even after his death.
As I thought this, Jeanne and the others returned.
They had walked through the tunnel all the way here.
It was here that they first heard the news of their chief’s death, but they did not cry.
Apparently, dwarven warriors only shed tears when their mothers died.
There were some who looked teary-eyed, but they held strong until the end.
They too would obey me, just like the other citizens.
One of them came up to me and handed me something.
It was Gottlieb’s beard.
It was big and white. A piece of his beard that had been cut away with scissors.
Gottlieb has asked him to give this to me.
I suppose it was to remember him by.
They told me that dwarves sent such mementos to friends. I didn’t know what to think. But I did not become emotional. I continued to work.
It was good that we had defeated Sharltar, but there may be more soldiers remaining.
Perhaps Demon Lord Eligos would send his main army.
Considering these possibilities, we could not wait around.
I hurried the villagers along so that we could leave this city as soon as possible.
–Luckily, the enemy did not attack again.
It seemed that our plan had wiped out most of Sharltar’s forces.
As for the soldiers that had survived, their commanders were dead, so they had no reason to stay.
The dwarves wanted to return to their village on the surface to collect their things, but I refused.
‘Is that not harsh?’ Eve said hesitantly, but there was a reason that I could not let them return to their village.
The village had been overrun by the Necromancer Sharltar, and it had been used for experiments involving necromancy. Dwarves had been tortured and killed there.
I could not allow them to witness such a scene.
When I said this, Eve told me,
“Master, your compassion is deeper than the sea.”
And Saint Jeanne smiled and said,
“The Demon King is a good judge of the human heart.”
However, there was a possibility that there were survivors there. I had to do something.
And Jeanne looked like her thirst for battle had not been satisfied. I explained the situation to several dwarves who looked particularly brave, and sent them out to scout the place.
Miraculously, or should I say, fortunately, dozens of dwarves were found alive in the village.
Some of them bore wounds from their torture, but the fact that they were alive was a blessing.
They were the small glimmer of hope in this tragedy.
We offered them protection and would take them back to the castle.
The ones who had especially heavy wounds were treated by Jeanne and myself.
They would have to see a doctor when we got back, but healing magic would at least lower the risk of death and speed up recovery.
It was Jeanne and me who worked the magic, and it dawned on me that I hadn’t asked her about it before.