The Hero and the Demon Lord
Nell woke up the next day as rested as could be. She hadn’t been threatened, let alone attacked, and the bed she was given was extremely comfortable. Likewise, the food was so delicious that she gobbled it down even though she’d never seen it before in her life. She felt ashamed that she’d totally lost sight of her initial objective, but she wasn’t allowed to wallow in it for long.
“So who exactly sent you after me anyway?”
The demon lord pulled her out of her thoughts by addressing her. He seemed really sleepy, likely because the girl she saw him with yesterday had lectured him throughout most of the night.
“U-Uhm… The church did. They told me that you were an evil demon on a killing spree, and that I needed to put you down.”
“Is that all they said?”
“M-Mhm.” Nell shrunk back a bit the moment she nodded in affirmation. Oh my god! I’m such an idiot! I can’t believe I just told him that!
“Look, trusting people and stuff is fine, but you should probably know that you’re a bit too trusting…” said the demon lord, exasperated.
“U-Uhmm.. Sorry. I’ll try to be more careful.” Nell didn’t groan out of embarrassment, nor did she really fall into lament. She simply nodded along and heeded the demon lord’s words.
Though she knew that the dungeon had a few more residents, the demon lord was the only one present. In fact, he and the horned sheep maid demon were the only two she’d seen all morning, and the latter had only dropped by to serve breakfast.
They’re probably off somewhere in the castle.
“Wait, so you’re not with the army?”
“Nope, I’m with the church. The captain of the holy knight order was the one that ordered me to come get rid of you, but she didn’t seem all that keen on the idea herself…” 
“I see.” The captain’s face floated across Nell’s mind as she spoke of her. Her expression was almost always calm, gallant, and refined, but was much less so when she gave Nell her orders. It seemed that the only reason she instructed the hero to sortie was because her higher ups were putting pressure on her.
Wait, did I just say too much again? Nell realized too late that she’d just given the demon lord a whole slew of information about her allies. His enemies. Worried, she timidly turned her gaze towards him and asked a question. “U-Uhm… You’re not going to go attack the church now, are you…?”
“Depends. I’ll leave them alone if they leave me alone.” the demon lord shrugged. “But if they choose to oppose me, then I’ll crush them underfoot with everything I’ve got. Make sure you tell them that, loud and clear.”
The demon lord’s gaze momentarily turned sharp as he issued his decree. His aura flared up, and he suddenly began to emit an incredible sense of presence. The pressure he gave off made it hard for Nell to speak, so she ended up giving him a nod.
“Just saying, I’d prefer not to kill anyone, if possible. I’m not really into gore or anything else like that, but there’s no way in hell I’ll just sit around if an armed force is going to march on me, you know?”
“I guess you have a point…”
Nell couldn’t deny that the demon lord’s words were logical. Nor could she deny that he was in the right. She’d spent a good portion of the previous night working her brain. She started thinking the moment she had laid down on her super comfortable bedding and didn’t stop until she had drifted off to the land of dreams.
The hero spent a lot of that time thinking about everything that she’d done and everything she was going to do moving forward. She thought about the place she found herself in and the demon lord that owned it.
Though she had only been in the dungeon for a single day, Nell understood that the demon lord was someone that the dungeon’s inhabitants trusted. In fact, their trust was so apparent that only a single glance was needed to discern it. From that, she derived that he couldn’t possibly be that bad a person. Those that ruled with tyranny would have far less faith placed in them. None of the dungeon’s other residents would have appeared nearly as happy as they did had the demon lord unreasonably oppressed them.
To those that lived here, the hero was not her, who bore the title, but him.
And she too was starting to see it. The heroes of which legends were sung always wielded their powers for others, and through their actions, earned the populace’s trust. True heroes were loved by the people. Though she herself had never witnessed his exploits, she was all but convinced that he’d done something heroic enough to earn everyone’s trust. On the other hand, all she ever did was follow orders and listen to the people around her. As far as she was concerned, he was, at the very least, much more of a hero than she.
The thought was so bizarre and off putting that it led her to question both his and her roles. Just what were demon lords? And what were heroes? The answers to her questions eluded her, but she pondered them nonetheless. Even after a whole night’s worth of thinking, she wasn’t able to make any real conclusions. The only thing she managed to do was differentiate them.
“You okay? You’ve been spaced out there for a good while now.”
“Oh, uhm… yeah. Sorry.” The hero got a bit flustered as she realized that she’d let her thoughts overwhelm her again. “A-Anyway, would you mind if I asked you something personal? It’s been bothering me for a while, so I really want to get it off my mind.”
“Go for it.” The demon lord brought a cup of tea to his lips as he offered to entertain her question.
“Uhm… Are you a pedophile?”
The question apparently came to the demon as such a shock that he ended up doing a spit take, spraying tea everywhere as he coughed.
“Yeah, and whose fault do you think it is?” He stopped to cough a few more times. “Why the hell does everyone think I’m a lolicon!?”
“A pedophile, a freak that gets off to little girls!” The demon lord shouted indignantly as he placed his cup back on top of the table. “Anyway, the answer to your question is a solid ‘hell no.’ I admit that there are a whole bunch of little girls hanging around here, but I swear to god I’m innocent. I didn’t go around collecting them or anything.[E1] This is just how things kinda ended up turning out on their own. I’ll even say it one more time just to be clear. I am NOT a lolicon.”
“Hmmm… Well, everyone’s different, so I’m not going to criticize you too much. The silver haired girl is at the age where it’s okay, but you really shouldn’t be laying your hands on someone as young as Illuna, you know?”
“Oh god damn it! Are you actually just not listening to me!? I could’ve sworn I literally just told you that I’m not a pedophile! Lefi’s like a…well, okay, I admit I can’t say much about her, but Illuna’s like a little sister to me! She’s totally off my radar!”
“So you have been touching that Lefi girl, then?”
“The fuck!? T-That’s not what I meant! I was just trying to say that she and I are on equal standing. I don’t need to protect her the way I protect Illuna, so I don’t think of them the same way.”
Nell giggled as she listened to the demon lord attempt to form an excuse.
He really is every bit as human as I am.
“The hell are you giggling about now…?”
“Nothing really.” Nell smiled. “I just found it funny that we’re talking to each other like this even though I was dead set on killing you just yesterday.”
“Well, I guess this whole situation is kinda weird if you put it that way.”
“It really is just like you said. You can’t really understand things without seeing and thinking about them for yourself. I think I’m going to start doing just that. I’ll try my best to be my own person and make my own decisions.”
“Please do. I’d prefer not to keep making enemies just ’cause I’m a demon lord.”
Seeing the way the demon lord casually shrugged caused yet another smile to break out on Nell’s face.
 It isn’t actually specified if the holy knight’s commander is male or female. I’m going to assume female for now given the lack of a female knight trope character and because the author intentionally avoided mentioning the character’s gender.
[E1] ([Editor note 1): Gotta catch ‘em all! Lolicon! I’m sorry. That’s just the thought that went through my head reading that.
Hey guys! Joker here. Looks like our resident demon lord is, of course, unknowingly building up his harem even more. Cheeky guy. Riajuu explode and all that nonsense. I’ll admit to being a bit underwhelmed at this arc. I really preferred the whole dungeon building stuff. Hopefully, that’s coming up soon. (Cannot read Japanese kanji and katakana to literally save his own life. >.>) Also, while I was editing this, my sister’s boyfriend brought me back some dinner. Raising Cane’s, which for anyone who doesn’t know, make just chicken fingers. It’s pretty good, but he brought back about 6-8 tenders and what felt like a pound of fries. So had to edit this a bit bloated. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go take stomach medicine. See y’all in the next chapter!