Trust is an Asset Earned Over Time
“What in heaven’s name were the two of you thinking…?” The old governor, who was clearly fed up with all our bullshit, heaved a heavy, disheartened sigh. “I cannot believe I had to rush to the guard station because the hero of all people had been escorted to it…”
“I-I’m really sorry, Governor.” Nell hung her head in shame as she apologized.
“Yeaaaahhhh… My bad. We probably should’ve known better.” Likewise, I averted my gaze to express much the same emotion.
“I understand that the two of you get along incredibly well, and that you very much enjoy cutting loose in each other’s presence.” The first person he addressed was Nell. “But that does not mean you can drop all pretenses. You’re a public figure. The people will judge you based on how you act in their presence.”
“I know… I really shouldn’t have let myself slip up like that. I’ll try not to cause anymore trouble.”
The governor nodded in satisfaction, then turned towards me.
“As for you, Sir Yuki… I would like to ask you to be more observant. We humans are odd, social creatures, and we very much believe that, while, there is a time and a place for everything, going wild in public is far from acceptable. If you really do want to take Nell as your wife, then it’d be best for you to take some time to reflect on human norms and at least try to imitate them.” He paused for a moment before continuing in a much quieter voice. “…The thought of lecturing a demon lord on our customs almost seems absurd. I can’t say it’s something I’ve ever imagined doing.”
“Uhhhh, sure, I’ll try.” I said, half-heartedly. I was too shocked by his claim to say much else. B-but I was human… I totally get the rules… Or at least I think I do…
The status quo was a direct result of the game of tag I played with the holy sword’s master. The guards had ended up interrupting our playtime by forming an enclosure around us. Well, more like just me. But whatever.
They treated me like a high-level threat and kept their weapons pointed at me as they cuffed me up and took me away before escorting Nell to the station. Apparently, the arrest had happened as a result of several people spotting us. They immediately reported the situation to the local police force and informed them that the hero was chasing a suspicious-looking degenerate around the city.
Not even in their wildest dreams did the observers suspect that Nell, the hero that had only just saved their lives, was at fault, and that her sword had only been drawn as a result of an emotional overload. The guards, who felt the same way, chose to arrest the degenerate because it was simply the most natural thing to do. Alright, so first of all, what do you mean, degenerate!? That’s rude! They don’t even know me!
Nell tried to explain the situation once she regained her capacity for rational thought, and she did manage to resolve the misunderstanding. But with that said, they couldn’t just let me go. The rules stated that someone not involved with the incident had to vouch for my identity. Side note, this whole identity thing is really reminding me of how Japan handles situations like these. The police can’t let you go unless they really know who you are, and IDs can be faked pretty easily, so they always end up falling back on talking to someone you know.
The identity issue was why we ended up having to ask for the governor. And honestly, I do feel pretty bad for him. We just caused him a whole boatload of trouble over something equally stupid and avoidable. I mean, just look at him. He looks about as tired as he does not happy.
Almost as if on queue, the old man heaved a sigh.
“But now the guards know your identity.” Rather than lecturing me further, he moved onto a different concern. “Is that going to be a problem? Wasn’t the whole point of it to keep your identity a secret?”
“Nah, it’s fine. I thought about it, and honestly, there isn’t really any point in keeping my face a mystery. That said, I’m still going to be making sure no one finds out I’m a demon lord.” I wasn’t worried about any leaks. I had also already swapped out my stat page for one that stated that I was human.
Showing my face to the world was something that I’d known I was going to end up doing from the start. It was unavoidable. I simply couldn’t stay anonymous if I was going to marry someone as important as the hero. That was why I was planning on tearing my mask off eventually anyway. Just… not like this. But oh well, whatever.
I knew that my opinion wasn’t exactly all that relevant given the circumstances, but I felt as if I’d made enough of a name for myself already anyway. That is, Wye, the mysterious masked man who worked to resolve the incident plaguing the capital, had earned enough of a reputation to be a topic worth discussing, even without his mask. Especially since he’s gonna marry the hero. Here’s to hoping it’ll actually alleviate some of the pressure they’d otherwise put on her. I mean, it should. Losing the mask has gotta be some decent incentive for them to try to start figuring out who I am, you know, so they can skip the whole chasing random leads step. Tl;dr I’m using myself as a lure. Come on guys, this is some high quality, demon lord tier bait. All you gotta do is bite.
“I suppose it’s fine if you intended it. But I do have to ask again. Are you really sure that this is alright? The moment the people uncover the fact that you are a demon lord is the moment they will stop blessing your union and cursing Nell as a fallen hero who betrayed her people. She’ll be extradited from human society and never allowed to return.”
“It’s okay, Sir Raylow,” said Nell. “I’ll just move in with Yuki if that happens.”
I had wanted to open my mouth to reassure him, but Nell cut me off before I could.
“As a man dedicated to Allysia’s service, I would very much prefer to avoid that eventuality,” he said. “But I guess there’s nothing we can do. I can see you’ve already made up your mind.”
“I have, but I still want to keep being a hero for as long as I can,” she said. “But one day, I’ll go with him. I’ll start living with this dumb, careless, meanie and deal with all his silly pranks.”
“Uhm… Nell, look, I know you’re still mad at me, but replacing a bunch of would-be compliments with insults isn’t really going to get us anywhere.”
“I’m not mad at all,” she huffed. “Unlike you, I’m too mature to hold a grudge.”
“Well, uhm… then why’ve you been digging your elbow into my ribs? Because I’m not really sure if it’s just me, but I’m starting to feel as if there’s a liiiitle bit of a discrepancy between what you’re saying and how you’re acting,” I said in a cautious, non-confrontational tone.
“It’s clearly just your imagination.”
Ah, yes. Clearly. Imagination. This is just phantom pain, and I’m just hallucinating. Guess my sense of touch must just be broken or something. Yeah, that. Her assault was executed with such pinpoint accuracy that it somehow managed to worm its way through my defenses and actually hurt. And quite a bit at that.
I awkwardly laughed off her shenanigans before turning back to the governor.
“Anyway, I’m confident I won’t be found out, and I’ve got no intention of shitting in my own soup, so don’t worry. I’ll have this whole human thing down pat. Hell, I’ll act so human that other humans’ll start copying me just to be more human.”
“…I’m not quite sure I understand what you’re going on about, but are you sure? I’m starting to suspect your confidence may be a bit… unfounded.”
“That just means you’ve finally come to understand him,” said Nell.
Wow… And here I was thinking that they’d probably trust me. Is this just ‘cause they only ever see me dick around? Yeah, probably is. I mean, I can’t really say they’re wrong. They’ve got way more than enough evidence to pretty much ace pinning the tail on the donkey. But I swear, it’s not my fault. That’s just how we demon lords are! So how about you guys chill out and cut me some slack?