The Hero Joins the Demon Lord’s Faction
Editors: Speedphoenix, Joker
By my command, all of the dungeon’s residents gathered within one of its halls for an assembly. Though I would have normally chosen to host the event in the throne room, some of my pets were, unfortunately, far too large to fit. That was why I ended up choosing a larger room that did, a room that didn’t typically see much in the way of use. Oh, who am I kidding? Doesn’t typically see much in the way of use? Yeah, right. More like it’s literally never been used.
“So yeah, got a quick announcement to make. This is Nell. She’s going to be hanging around for a bit, so play nice.”
“H-hi everyone, I’m Nell. Nice to meet you,” stuttered the hero.
“Is she not to be another of your wives?” asked Lefi.
“Congratulations, Nell! Now you’re married too!” said Illuna.
“Hey, you with the silver horns, and you, blonde with the fangs. Pipe down already. This is an assembly. We’re being formal. You two are getting way too out of hand,” I said.
Like, come on girls. Why you gotta make it out to be like that? ‘Cause it’s really not. She’s just here to take a nice, long, well-deserved break from work, and that’s all there is to it.
“So like I was saying,” After clearing my throat, I continued to speak. “Make sure you all play nice and be good to each other. Anyway, give her a round of applause or something to show her how welcome she is.”
The audience began clapping as instructed, which led Nell, who had been standing by my side, to shyly offer everyone her thanks. Alright, so I know I literally told you guys to clap. But not all of you really needed to clap. I was really only talking to you know, the people with hands? Like, come on snake-bro. I know you’re just doing your best, but you really need to stop. You smacking your tail against the floor is shaking the whole damn castle.
“Well, Miss Hero, it looks like you’ve officially joined the demon lord’s faction.”
“Uhm… I’d really appreciate if you didn’t put it like that. It’s a bit misleading.”
“Well, Miss Hero, it looks like you’re so good at your job you’ve even managed to befriend a supposed arch nemesis,” I said while rolling my eyes, “So how about telling us a bit about your aspirations?”
“M-my aspirations?” She panicked a bit as I suddenly passed her the torch. “Uhmmm… uhmmm… well, I don’t really know anyone all that well just yet, so I guess I’d like to make friends with everyone so we can get to know each other better.”
“That sounds like a great idea!” First to step up to the plate was Illuna. “I can’t wait! We’re all going to be best friends forever!”
The vampire’s comment opened the floodgates; each of the dungeon’s members followed with their own comments and blessings in turn. Sweet. It looks like everyone’s actually getting along. Hell, I’d even go out on a limb and say that they’re all a lot more invested in this than I am.
“Alright, that’s one topic outta the way. Time to move on to the next item on the agenda,” I said. “Did anything notable happen around here while I was out?”
“There was little of note outside of Nell’s sudden advent.” Lefi began to speak on behalf of all the others. “A single incident did occur. A group of demons entered the forest soon after your departure.”
“Okay, so we got a few intruders. That sounds pretty normal to me. Did they do anything special?”
“They did not. Their sole accomplishment was to be slain by the forest’s creatures soon after our pets drove them from our domain,” said Lefi.
Who were they anyway? Were they fiends? Probably, I guess, but it was probably ‘cause they figured out that I was the guy who messed up their plans in that one human country, and not ‘cause I was kicking their shit in while I was hanging out in the demon realm. The timeline wouldn’t really work out any other way.
I knew that I would be found out eventually. It was only a matter of time before they connected the dots and realized that I was the guy responsible for giving their chief a good old punch to the jaw. But I wasn’t concerned. I could easily plow my way through their ranks if they ever came a knocking. Fuck those faggots. God, even just remembering them pisses me the fuck off. Especially the fucking redhead. Fuck him for wanting to use Lefi like a fucking weapon. Ughhh. Why didn’t I kill him when I had the chance? Ughhhhhhhhhhh. So much regret.
Whatever. I’m going to murder him one of these days, so it doesn’t fucking matter. You hear that, asshole? Enjoy what’s left of your life while it lasts. Because it won’t. Not if I can help it.
Alright, Yuki, deep breaths. Enough of that already. This isn’t the time to fume over some retard you happened to meet while you were out on vacation. After calming myself down, I put plotting the douchebag’s demise on the backburner. I was still going to go through with it, and soon, of course, but there was a time and place for everything. And this wasn’t it.
Lefi’s awareness of the invaders stemmed from her ability to access the dungeon’s menu. She didn’t have full access to it, but she was able to use the map, set traps, telepathically communicate with our pets, and use a part of the catalog. Or at least that was what she could have done had she been more tech savvy. To Lefi, video games were a concept nothing short of foreign. She had no experience navigating their menus, and as such, was effectively incapable due to how convoluted and unintuitive they happened to be. Man, now that I think about it, games and usability have never really gone hand in hand. Understanding the UI is pretty hard unless you already know the framework.
“There is little more that occured whilst you adventured throughout the demon realm,” said Lefi. “I know little else but the matter of our lament over the lack of well-cooked meals. I was so touched by the salvation Nell brought us that I nearly broke into tears.”
“Uh huh…” I turned towards the hero. “I guess that means you’ll probably be joining me and Leila on kitchen duty.”
“Okay. I’ll do my best!” She pumped her fists. The action was conducted in such a way that it wouldn’t have been acceptable coming from a man, but was perfectly fine given that she wasn’t. You know, the way she acts is actually kinda cute now that I think about it. Especially since it seems much more natural than forced.
Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t have asked a guest to bother with the chores. But I realized that it would probably be best to have her help out given the length and nature of her stay.
“And while we are on the subject, Yuki, you need not partake in the creation of tonight’s meal.”
“You sure? ‘Cause you know, you were literally just talking about how you wanted me to cook.”
“I am. You would do well to remain outside our regular living quarters while the preparations are underway. In fact, I would very much prefer that you do not approach them,” she said. “Nell, I would like you to join him. I encourage the two of you to make good use of the opportunity and engage in whatever coquetry you wish whilst the rest of us keep busy.”
I wasn’t the only one to react to Lefi’s nonsense. Nell did too. She turned red as she looked upon me with her eyes upturned. I could practically feel her desire boring into me; her emotions were completely out of control even though everyone was watching. Please stop.
“Right, yeah, sure, whatever you say, Lefi. We’ll probably end up hanging around the inn. Are we going to need to watch the kids?”
“Do not concern yourself with them. Your sole task is to engage the hero in intimacy.”
“Uhhh… suuuuuure… I guess…?”
Something was up, and I knew it. But I didn’t really feel like pursuing the topic any further, so I ended up nodding along and leaving the true throne room as per Lefi’s demands.
Once the curtains rose, Nell and I found ourselves in front of a brand new backdrop. The castle’s interior was gone, replaced by a building whose construction reeked of generations upon generations of Japanese tradition. We were in a room I was sure the young hero would find familiar, the room I had brought her to during her first visit. This time, we weren’t sitting across from each other, however. Our cushions were instead placed side by side so we could face the garden as we conversed.
“Soooooooooo… Uhh…. What do you think everyone else is up to?”
My attempt at starting a conversation failed.
We were once again plunged into silence. Awkward silence. God dammit. You know what this is? It’s all Lefi’s fault. She just had to go run her mouth and tell us to flirt and shit. Seriously man, why’s she gotta be so gung ho about this? Seriously, what the hell? I’m pretty sure having your wife push more wives onto you is one helluva far cry from the typical newlywed experience.
I was well aware of the fact that my situation was one that would make most men burn with envy, but I wasn’t buying it. If anything, it made me feel lonely, and even somewhat depressed. It’s almost like she doesn’t care.
My train of thought was interrupted as the girl beside me began to speak.
“So what were you doing in the demon realm anyway? The only thing you told me was that you were taking part in some sort of tournament.”
“Well, I mean, there really isn’t much more for me to tell you. Let’s see… I did the whole tourney thing, went around sightseeing, and sparred a bit with the king’s men. That’s pretty much it,” I said. “Oh, right, speaking of the tourney. You know that one old guy you were travelling with? Yeah, he’s badass as fuck. Like, holy shit. My stats are way higher than his, but it still took me ages to beat him. And that was with him taking me head-on.”
“Huh!? You fought and even beat Remiero!?”
“Yeah. Him and I ended up in the same bracket. And holy shit, he was terrifying. I can’t believe someone that old was that goddamn strong.”
While he hadn’t done much at all to my health pool, the old vet had almost single-handedly destroyed my confidence. Every single one of his actions had reeked of pure, unadulterated skill. Seriously dude, that fight? One hell of a learning experience right there. Was a whole bunch of life lessons in one.
“Remiero has always been widely known as the strongest human. He’s so strong that he’s even got a catastrophe-class monster kill under his belt,” said Nell. “I’m surprised you managed to take him down.”
Catastrophe? What was that again? Oh, right, yeah, I remember. It’s one of them monster classifications, right? I know Lefi technically doesn’t count as a monster, but I’m pretty sure she’s regarded as a part of the calamity class. And since catastrophe’s the second-highest, that means he managed to beat something that’s just one rung lower on the pecking order. Wow. Uh… wow. Like, seriously. That old man’s a fucking raid boss.
Catastrophe-class monsters were so overpowered that not even demons dreamed of taking them on despite being blessed with greater innate strength. And yet, he had managed to defeat one whilst remaining nothing more than human. I mean, granted, he was probably younger back then, so his stats were probably a good bit higher. But still.
The most terrifying thought of the entire ordeal was that I could see it happening. I didn’t think any other individual, human or demon, was capable of such a feat, but for some odd reason, I could see the old butler handling it with ease.
“Yeah, I can see where you’re coming from. He was hella strong,” I said. “And I know I probably don’t really look like much of a fighter, but I would’ve been more surprised if I lost to him. ‘Cause I’ve even managed to take down a dragon.”
Well, kinda. It was more like the dungeon did it. All I really did was grit my teeth and sit through a metric fuckton of pain. Contemplating the many terrifying creatures that this world was home to once again led me to thank the dungeon for reincarnating me as a demon lord. I would’ve been in real deep shit if I was still human. Though, uh, that said, I’m starting to feel like I’ve been getting a bit too far ahead of myself lately. Confidence is fine, but overconfidence really isn’t. I need to be more careful if I don’t want to end up like ol’ Gil over there. And uh, Iunno about you, but I’d really rather not get stuck in some sort of shitty gilgamess. Which means I should probably be putting safety first and confidence second. Yeah, I really should. I’ve been getting way too reckless, even for my own tastes, so I’mma make staying safe my motto from now on.
“Seriously, Yuki? You killed a dragon!? What the heck! You’re all sorts of unreasonable.”
“Being unreasonable is just what demon lords do. That’s the whole point of the role, you see. You ignore every other asshole out there and push your own ideals forward, consequences be damned.”
“That’s the first time I’ve heard that,” she giggled.
“Yeah, well, that’s just ‘cause I’m one of the first to finally take the theory and put it into practice. All the other demon lords out there are just mindless sheep. Me, I don’t follow standards, I set them.”
“What’s that even supposed to mean?” Again, she giggled. Once she stopped laughing, the look on her face switched to that of an affectionate smile.
And again, we were met with silence. But this time, it wasn’t so much awkward as it was pleasant.
“Oh, come on. All you’re doing is making me more curious.”
“But it really was nothing.” She plopped her head on my shoulder and leaned into me as she spoke.
Guilt washed over me. I immediately thought of Lefi. But I didn’t push her off. Rather than allowing myself to be consumed by a sense of wrongdoing, I chose to bask in the comfort of the moment and leave it be.
And so, the two of us continued to spend our time doing exactly what she had described.
We simply sat by each other’s sides and relaxed until it was time to go.