A Discussion Between A Hero and a Governor
“What a surprise,” said Raylow. “He really did just leave.”
“Yup,” I replied. “He’s a bit of a weirdo, but he’s not a bad person”
The wry smile I had on my face was more than enough to express the emotions I felt as I watched the demon lord march himself right out the door, just as promised. I had moved to draw my weapon the moment I felt bloodlust radiate off his body, but luckily, I didn’t have to use it.
Because I didn’t want to fight him.
Seeing his incredible strength, just a little bit earlier, had made shivers run up my spine. He was like a furious gale. He fended off attacks from a person enhanced by a magical weapon like they were nothing. He even beat them back with just brute force. I’ve been winning most of my spars against the other holy knights lately, but I really can’t imagine ever beating him. Yuki’s just too strong. I think I might be able to get a few hits in, but he’s sure to overpower me in the end.
And his display of power wasn’t the only reason I didn’t want to fight. Yuki, Lefi, and I, really did get along. Though I had a bunch of complaints about their behaviour, I couldn’t actually bring myself to hate them. Not at all. They tease me a lot more than I’d like, but I don’t really mind. Spending time together with them is fun. I had already caught myself unconsciously smiling in response to their actions on more than just a few occasions.
“He’s not malicious,” I said. “To me, it seems like he’s fighting for the things he wants to protect.”
“Yes… That, I can understand.” Governor Raylow clasped his hands together and gave a deep nod, after which he heaved a sigh. The aged gentleman then scanned the room and confirmed that we were the only two inside before continuing. “Now that they are gone, hero, I believe it would be best for me tell you something you must know.”
“What is it, Mr. Governor?”
“It concerns the answer to the demon lord’s query. The individual responsible for the deployment of both you and the army that came before you is none other than His Highness, Prince Riutt.”
“His highness…?” I put a finger on my chin as I recalled the man. I had once met him while accompanied by one of the church’s priests. He was a young man who seemed rather diligent. I could tell that he had good intentions, but I also felt as if he had been a bit strong willed.
“The Wicked Forest has been demarcated as an uncharted territory for generations. His Highness has likely forecasted that it contains abundant resources to match its time outside of human hands, and that our country will spin many a profit if he succeeds in seizing control of it. Hearing his plan, the other nobles began to add their resource pools to his own. It was precisely through this that he amassed an army.”
“Does that mean His Majesty the King is aware of His Highness’ intentions?”
“While His Majesty is a wonderful person and a soul kind beyond words, he is not extremely proficient in his role as monarch. I highly doubt that he is aware of His Highness’ choices.” Raylow sadly shook his head from side to side. “I paid the royal palace many a visit, but I was denied the opportunity to report my findings to him on every occasion. Giving up, I attempted to warn the individuals responsible for deploying the troops, but they mocked me for my fear of the enemy and failed to seriously consider the information I had for them. ”
“They completely ignored you?”
“It is as you say…” Raylow ground his teeth against each other and balled his hands up into fists as he spoke. “None of them realize that their actions are putting the whole country in jeopardy! Damn it! How could they be so irresponsible!?”
“I’m sorry,” I said, with a frown. “I’ll try visiting the church and asking the priest for his advice. I can’t guarantee that I’ll be able to accomplish anything, but I’ll at least try.”
“Regardless of the result, hearing your kind offer has brightened my mood. Thank you, hero. I am in your debt,” Raylow relaxed his hands and heaved a sigh. “Please let the church know of this idiocy. I hope that they will be able to hand a decree decisive enough to stop this country from destroying itself.”
“So it was the prince? Huh.” I muttered under my breath as a bizarre item floated through the air and landed in the palm of my hand. The creature, if you could call it that, was effectively a winged ear, but when observed from afar, its silhouette was no different from that of a butterfly’s. It was an Evil Ear, an inorganic monster created by the dungeon with functionality similar to that of an Evil Eye. The difference was that, while evil eyes allowed me to see through them, evil ears allowed me to hear through them. Specifically, it would be able to convey to me any sounds it picked up within a ten meter radius of its location.
Like all other golems, most Evil Ears were only functional within the dungeon’s bounds. The one I had in hand, however, was a superior specimen a few tiers up from the standard. It contained what was effectively a magical battery pack and could operate outside my domain so long as I charged it with mana. It also had a pair of useful skills in Stealth IV and Conceal Mana III. This combination allowed it to remain undetected except in the case that it was in the presence of anyone particularly sharp. So stealthy it was that it could even leave good old Big Boss in awe. That said, Lefi had caught onto the golem’s presence immediately. 
As its functions were remarkable, the Evil Ear had cost me quite the fortune. Its price was in the same range as the combination of my hot spring and the Japanese-styled inn built around it. Its cost wasn’t it’s only downside either. Its battery took what was basically my entire mana pool to fill, but even then, it couldn’t remain operational for any extended period of time. It was sure to drain through its power supply and shut off if I forgot about it and left it somewhere for too long. Losing its magical energy would deactivate the golem’s ability to conceal itself, which in turn would lead to its inevitable discovery.
Still, it had proven useful. Deploying one in the reception room was the right choice. I had suspected that the old, balding governor would tell Nell about the douchebag that had tried to lay his hands on my territory, so I immediately put the device to work. Lo and behold, my guess had been spot on.
“That is quite the odd contraption,” said Lefi, as she regarded the golem.
“Heh. This thing’s just a little sample of what’s to come. I’ve got a whole 27 different secret gadgets I’m itching to put to work,” I said in a cocky tone. 
“I am sure you do, Yuki. Good for you.” The dragon girl rolled her eyes dismissively before shifting back to her usual tone. “I take it that you have acquired all the information you desired?”
“Pretty much, yeah.”
“Then let us be off.”
Sorry old dude. Sorry hero. I chucked the golem into my item box as I began walking by Lefi’s side. It may not look like it with how I’m frolicking about and playing tourist, but I sure as hell am not here to fool around.
My goals had been accomplished. I now knew exactly who I was up against, and from his identity, determined that he was likely living in the country’s capital. Hmm… that’s rough. I was originally planning to thoroughly destroy whoever was messing with us, but running a raid on the capital is a bit of a tall order.
Attacking any sort of capital city was a feat that couldn’t be done without absolute, overwhelming force. It was sure to be heavily guarded by individuals on par with the hero. I was confident that I could take on one or two of them at a time without issue, but by no means was I conceited enough to think that I could simultaneously face the brunt of the capital’s forces head on and come out alive. And it’s not like I can just sneak in and assassinate the prince either. They’re sure to start an all out war the moment they find out that I was the perp.
Of course, there was no way I would lose any sort of armed conflict with Lefi by my side. But I really don’t want to have to rely on her. Especially not right off the bat. Crushing my foes is my responsibility. And there’s no reason for me not to bear it alone. More importantly, I don’t want Lefi to have to fight. I want her to be able to just laze around in the dungeon to her heart’s content. I want her to be happy.
The whole reason I sought out to destroy my enemies in the first place was so that Lefi and all the dungeon’s other residents would be able to kick back and enjoy life the way they wanted. Having Lefi fight went against the point of seeking out my foes in the first place. There was no meaning in a victory created through her power.
Everything I did had to be done through my own capabilities. And my capabilities alone.
“Now, how am I supposed to neutralize our good friend the prince?” It doesn’t look like things will be going as smoothly as initially planned.
 Big Boss from Metal Gear
 Secret Gadgets from Doraemon
Editor’s note: Hey, guys! Joker here. Another chapter down, and Yuki busting out the sneaky spy stuff to find out that it was the prince who ordered the raids on his territory. Way to go, dude. Just signed your own death certificate. Unless Yuki just wants to put the fear of God in you. Better pray that’s the way he decides to go. Dunno though. If Yuki was the protag from Arifureta, prince would be dead, no questions asked. But he’s not, so there’s still hope for the prince. I don’t agree with his reasoning for keeping Lefi out of it, though. Seems to me that the quickest way to solve this is have her and him go to the capital, meet with the king and prince, and scare the bejeezus out of them, get a treaty set up, and head home in time for supper with Illuna and the maids. But I guess Yuki has to prove that he’s manly enough for the job. I dunno. Just irks me. You’re a demon lord. Don’t fight fair. Send in your strongest piece right at the start of the adventure. Read the Evil Overlord List for crying out loud. Bah. Now I’m frustrated. I’m going to go vent on some poor unfortunate farmer in Skyrim. Hey. Hey you! Hey! Get back here! I see you running! Don’t you run from me! FUS RO DAH! See y’all in the next chapter!