“Well, I’m not a vampire, so I won’t take damage from it…”
Still, it did not seem like the kind of thing that I should wear.
As I hesitated over whether or not I should accept it, Eve returned.
She looked quite angry.
“Not only have you invaded the Master’s bed-chamber, but now you are trying to force gifts onto him. I will not forgive you for this. It’s not fair.”
She said angrily as she too entered the bed.
“Just how much I’ve had to restrain myself every morning, I doubt this single-celled Saint could understand it at all.”
If Hijikata came in at this moment, he would have likely whistled and made some kind of complimentary remark. Thankfully, there was no one around to witness this.
However, that didn’t mean that things could be left like this.
It was the day we marched. There was a lot to do.
I explained this to them, but they were too angry at each other now.
After that, they argued about who would be allowed to sleep in my room and eat breakfast with me.
“You’ve already done more than enough, Jeanne.”
“And one doesn’t get bored of sleeping with the Demon King.”
“…You crafty little…”
“I want to feed him.”
“No, it is my right as the person who prepared the food.”
Neither would back down.
And then the conversation shifted to the crucifix.
“In the first place, I can’t believe you would even try to give that to a Demon King.”
“But God told me to.”
“Only an Evil God is worthy of the Demon King. This is no place for you, heathen.”
“There is only one God in this world!”
I didn’t want them to start a religious war here. And so I moved to stop them, but then Eve turned to me and said,
“The truth is, today marks the third month that we were born into this world. And so I have prepared a present for you.”
She pulled out a book from her pocket.
It had a beautifully decorated cover.
“What is that?”
“It’s the latest novel from the author that you said you were interested in.”
“Ah, a new one released, eh?”
“Yes. I somehow managed to acquire it.”
I wanted to read it, but when I reached out to it, Jeanne pushed Eve’s hand away.
“That won’t do! God told me that he must only accept one present today. You can keep your gift for after the battle.”
Eve could hardly take the insolence and the physical attacks any longer. Her hand moved to her dagger.
Eve was a demon, and so it was more than possible that they could hurt each other. I couldn’t allow that at such a time as this.
And so I made a suggestion.
“Eve. Jeanne. You must stop this quarrel.”
A murderous rage was in the air now, and even I was finding it hard to quell it. But it wasn’t impossible.
And so I proposed a compromise.
“So, Eve prepared a present for me to commemorate my birth, and Jeanne brought a gift because of a message from god.”
“And I am supposed to choose one.”
As for these options, it was clear that choosing the book would lead to the Eve route, and the crucifix would lead to the Jeanne route.
I probably wouldn’t end up the least happy man in the world regardless of my decision, but I didn’t want to make anything final yet. That could wait for when I became the Great Demon King.
And so I chose a way that would satisfy both of them.
There was once a monk in Japan who lived during the Muromachi era. Ikkyu Sojun. I would resolve it in a way he might have used.
First, I snapped Jeanne’s crucifix in half.
Upon seeing this, she looked like she was witnessing the end of the world, but I explained it to her.
“I am a Demon King. I cannot wear a holy object. However, if it were just a wooden carving that you had made, that would be a different story.”
And so I used wind magic to alter its shape into the kind of dog that Jeanne liked.
Then I did the same with the other half and returned it to her.
“Oh, it’s very cute.”
She said happily.
While it was half of it, she was happy to have received something in return.
No, she was gloating.
Eve looked teary-eyed upon seeing this.
And so I continued by tearing her book in half.
I accepted one half and put the other in the chest by my bed.
“I’m going to war. There won’t be much time to read books. And so I’ll read the second half after the battle has ended and I’ve come home safely. Call it superstition.”
Eve’s expression brightened up at this.
“I’ll be looking forward to coming back so that I can read it.”
“There is a big twist in the second half.”
“I look forward to finding out what it is.”
I replied. Then I finished my breakfast and headed towards the war council room.
As I wanted some time to myself, I sent the others away.
My morning had been too unruly for my liking.
I was a Demon King who preferred peace and quiet.
It was as I was thinking such things, that I remembered the dream that I had had.
“You will wake up soon. And then your adorable maid and the blonde Saint will come and visit you. They are the ones that will save you. Choose one of the presents that they give you, and…”
The words she had said were still vaguely in my memories.
However, I had not chosen ‘one’ of them.
But I chose ‘one’ thing.
I didn’t know what the results would be like, but I doubted everything would go as the Goddess had planned.
I had to decide my own fate.
With this renewed resolve, I called Eve by ringing the bell. And then told her to bring in the leaders of Ashtaroth castle.