○ Lesser Demon King Melvis’s Castle – Farneze
She had gathered her army and returned to the castle.
The expedition had been a great success. Kyuka was dead.
The north side would be quiet now. No longer a concern.
However, Farneze looked grim.
(Now, how should I tell him?)
Even though she had accomplished her mission, there were too many things that she didn’t know.
“I am not certain, but I think that one of my subordinates defeated her.”
That would be the accurate thing to say. But would it be acceptable?
(If only Golan wasn’t unconscious…)
That was what annoyed her the most.
In fact, he had yet to show any signs of getting up.
And so her hope of learning from him was crumbled.
Still, it would be better to say what little she knew instead of lying or blurring the truth.
Farneze only knew what her men had told her.
There may just have been an insurrection in Kyuka’s camp. Perhaps there were rebels who aided Golan.
Perhaps Kyuka had already died by the time Golan arrived.
These days, it felt like almost anything could happen in the Demon World.
And so it was not unthinkable that someone had been secretly targeting Kyuka.
(It cannot be helped… I’ll be honest and say that I don’t know.)
With a heavy heart and dragging feet, Farneze headed towards Melvis’s throne room.
“…So, you are saying that he did it?”
Melvis’s low voice echoed in the hall.
“I do not know. It’s true that I sent him there, but there is no way that he could… That being said, the situation does make it seem that way. At least, according to the reports.”
She sounded like such a fool.
Farneze felt ashamed of her words.
“So, this Golan. He’s the one we talked about before?”
“Yes. The one who evolved from an Ogre.”
Melvis’s silences could inflict pain.
Farneze seemed to shrink as she waited.
How much time had passed?
Melvis sat, deep in thought for a long while, before muttering, ‘I see.’
Farneze looked up at him as if she had missed something. And then Melvis got to his feet.
“Take me to him.”
“Y-yes, Your Majesty!”
Melvis had to jog in order to catch up with Melvis.
The people who worked in the castle must have been very surprised.
Melvis was strolling through the halls.
They all had to stop what they were doing and kneel.
Once Melvis walked past them, their gazes followed his back with fearful eyes.
“Did you say he was in the medical office?”
When Melvis entered, everyone looked at him with wide eyes before dropping down to the floor.
They all looked like they could not believe this was happening.
But Melvis paid them no mind as he headed to the largest patient.
“This one must be him, judging by his mana level.”
It was Golan who was lying there. He was still in a deep sleep.
Now that Melvis was there, everyone, including those who were injured, retreated from the room.
Once the room was silent, Melvis muttered, ‘are you here?’
“Right by you, Your Majesty.”
“Close to you, Your Majesty.”
The voices rang, but you could not see them. It was Jikae and Manny.
“I’m going to dive now.”
“Understood. He’s going to dive.”
“Yes, it seems so.”
“Then if someone comes close, we’ll kill them.”
“Let’s kill them. Kill them.”
Melvis put his hand on Golan’s chest and whispered, ‘Mugen no Ri.’
○ ??? – Golan
“Hey, it happened again?”
When I turned around to face the speaker, I saw that it was the other me.
“Hey. So we meet again.”
I said happily. ‘Looks like it,’ he answered.
“Where are we?”
“Who knows? Uh, do you remember what happened near the end?”
“Of course, I do. You defeated Kyuka.”
“Yes, that was about the only technique that someone like me could use. I’m glad that I remembered it in time. Thanks for teaching me.”
“I should be thanking you. And I’m sorry for draining my mana before fighting Kyuka.”
“What does it matter, if the result was good? More importantly, are we in the same place as last time? It sure looks the same.”
“Indeed. I do think that we’re inside of the Orb of Control. But I can’t be sure since it’s only my second time.”
“Alright, then let’s just say that it is. Where is the exit?”
“…Yes, we could search for it. But there is something I want to talk to you about. Is that alright?”
“Aye, of course. It’s too bad we don’t have any drink or nibbles, but I did want to talk with you again.”
“That’s how I feel. After all…?! What is that?”
“There’s a frightening amount of mana. Who is it? And where is it?”
It was strange. Weren’t we inside of the Orb of Control?
And yet there was someone else inside of here. Not only that, but it was so powerful that I couldn’t grasp it.
“It’ll find us if we don’t run!”
“Run? But where? It feels like it’s everywhere.”
I felt as if the ominous atmosphere would follow us no matter where we went.
And if we couldn’t run, we might as well fight.
The other me seemed to agree.
And so we stopped and stared into the empty space up ahead.
“Aye, with both of us here, what have we to fear?”
We laughed as if invincible. We were in sync.
As we went into a combat stance, a single old man appeared in front of us.
However, he was very tall. And had sharp, shining eyes. But more than anything…
“This feeling of unimaginable, condensed mana… Who are you?”
The other me shouted. The stranger tilted his head.
“Why are there two of you?”
“Don’t! Don’t go!”
I grabbed his arm to stop him. I knew it just by looking. This guy was dangerous.
I felt a similar sense of despair as when I had to face Demon King Tralzard.
That being said, whether we stood our ground and fought or decided to run away, we were in a bad position. Perhaps we should just split up and attack from opposite sides?
However, I doubted that would be enough to defeat him.
It was said that Don Quixote faced a windmill after thinking it was a dragon. That’s probably what we looked like now, right? Was this someone we should fight? Was it too reckless?
“Hey, what are those chains?”
The other me asked while pointing at the old man’s wrists. I had seen them too, and wondered if it was the new fashion.
His arms were shackled by thick chains.
“So you can see these?”
I had to ask. I didn’t understand how someone could miss something that big.
Unless he usually hid them under his clothes.
“Which of you is Golan?”
He ignored my question.
“We’re both Golan. Hehe!”
“Yes, if asked that. I’d have to answer in the same way.”
We really were in sync.
Together, we were Golan. What was wrong with that?
The old man appeared to be thinking.
It would have been a good time to run or to ambush him. But I still doubted that either would be successful.
Besides, who the hell was he?
Weren’t we inside of our Orb of Control?
How was he able to come inside?
The other asked with just a glance, ‘should we kill him?’
I shook my head.
If he was looking away from us without defending himself, it was only because our attacks were not a threat to him.
If we did attack, he would easily launch a counter attack. And the result would be our deaths.
“So there are two souls, and both are Golan. And they can see these chains…”
Was he talking to himself? It didn’t seem like he was talking to us.
“…Very interesting. It’s a good thing that I took a look.”
“What are you yapping on about? I asked you who you are.”
The other me looked like he was going to attack. And it was all I could do to reign him in. And so I was unable to react in time.
Before I knew it, the old man was looking at us.
And his eyes had grown sharper.
The demon eye—it was just as my instincts informed me, that my body was suddenly paralyzed.
Damn it. I should have been more cautious.
I could no longer lift a single finger.
It was the same with the other me. It was like we were frogs who were being stared down by a snake.
The old man looked at us and said,
“My name? It is Melvis. I’m sure you’ve heard of me.”
Of course. I tried to nod, but then remembered that I was paralyzed.
That was how we encountered Lesser Demon King Melvis, the most sinister king of the Demon World.