“The adventure doesn’t end until you return home”
I recall the words Nuruhachi always used to say.
In reality, our return from the Demon Lord’s Labyrinth was greatly delayed due to various problems.
The first incident was with Demon Sword Karna.
She suddenly stopped talking after we entered the room of the Demon Lord’s true body so once we left I tried to talk to her but she could only respond in a weak voice.
“…..Takkun, I can’t go on”
“What’s up Karna, you feel unwell?”
“The Demon Lord’s room was overflowing with power so I thought I’d take a bit and ended up feeling sick”
Perhaps Karna had a strong reaction against the demon lord’s unnatural power and was unable to absorb it.
She must have been quite low on strength to try to do that.
She hasn’t been able to gather any power since our journey started after all.
I hand Karna over to Reia to take her strength.
Last time Reia was immediately completely drained but this time she was able to last for a decent length of time.
“Let’s rest for today.
You must be tired too Reia.
We’ll head out tomorrow morning”
I begin to make camp in the desert outside the Demon Lord’s Labyrinth.
However, someone opposed to the idea appears.
“Taking a break after being drained by a demon sword.
What a delicate young lady”
Spoke Hero End snidely.
“Next time I’ll take your place.
I’m sure the demon sword would prefer the power of the hero”
“Don’t look down on me! I’m not exhausted at all! Takumi-san let’s quickly move on!”
End and Reia glare at each other.
“Nonono, hold on a minute.
Could It be you intend to follow us?”
“Of course, I’ll be observing you until the tournament”
They’ve stopped calling me Demon Lord Takumi, but for some reason End is clinging to me.
“Hey what do you think you’re doing getting close to Takumi-san.
Could it be you’re trying to become his disciple”
“Y- You’re wrong.
As a hero, it is my duty to monitor those suspected of being the Demon Lord”
“Don’t lie, you’ve been charmed by Takumi-san’s chivalrous spirit haven’t you!”
“Ch- Ch- Ch- Charmed!? N- No! I- I- I’m simply acting as the hero”
With a red face, End speaks frantically.
“Mmm, should we leave those two and head back first?”
The energetic Chiharu that replied was the same Chiharu as usual.
The adult Chiharu who was gazing at the Demon Lord’s body is nowhere to be seen.
“Takumi-san, please wait”
I’ll have you take responsibility”
What do you mean by responsibility.
They can’t be talking about when I touched their chest right?
“Takkun, still popular I see”
Karna, who was feeling a bit better, teases me.
In the end it took not eight days, but sixteen days to return.
Reia and End kept arguing over pointless things, causing trouble every time.
Once they competed over who could hold Karna the longest and both collapsed.
I honestly thought about leaving them after that.
“We’ve finally returned to our home, Takumi-san”
“So this is my home from now on huh”
Yeah you’re both wrong, this is my home.
“Mmm, back, home?”
“Yeah, we’re back, Chiharu”
After hearing Chiharu’s sleepy voice from my back, I decided it didn’t matter.
After reaching the cave, Reia and End, who had pointlessly wasted their energy, immediately go to sleep along with Chiharu.
I put Karna aside and step outside alone so see the beautiful full moon illuminate the cave.
I take a deep breath and it comes out white, showing that winter is on its way.
The provisions to last through winter are more or less gone.
Winter this year will be a tough one.
While gazing at the moon and musing such things, someone calls out to me from the shade of the large rock outside the cave.
“Welcome back, Takumi-sama”
Along with those words, the Goblin King Jusrack appears, just like when I left.
What could it be, I have a bad feeling about this.
“Everyone has been waiting patiently for Takumi-sama’s return.
Now, please come this way”
Have they all not left yet.
As I’m lead to the round table, the bad feeling I have gets worse.
Alcohol and food is piled on top the table.
And to its side are bundles of straw, alongside weapons and armour.
Amongst them I spot a familiar shield.
Without a doubt.
That’s Demon Shield Kingbomb.
Plus apart from Rick, Chloe, Sacher, and Miacis, there’s another three people I don’t recognise around the table, all drinking and messing around.
“Why are you holding a banquet like this?”
“After Takumi-sama left, the townsfolk brought over a great deal of tributes.
Since we’re here let’s have some fun suggested Sacher, and this is how it turned out”
I don’t see how he came to that conclusion.
“Ooh, you’ve come back, Demon Lord-san”
While eating meat off the bone, Berserker(Mad Warrior) Sacher walks up to me.
“You’re really loved by the townsfolk aren’t you, Demon Lord-san.
I was wrong about you.
With such a nice Demon Lord, I’d be happy to be on your side”
The thought is enough.
More importantly how about you take this?”
“Ohh, really? Such a nice shield”
It really fits you.
In the end, a large shied should be wielded by a large person.
This is suitable for you”
He seems so moved that I decide not to mention Demon Shield Kingbomb’s self destruct function.
“Why did you leave without telling me?”
Chloe staggers up to me drunkenly.
“You brought Reia and Chiharu yet why didn’t you bring along your fiancee?”
Chloe’s eyes are glassy and her language is different from usual.
Also I’m not your fiancee.
“Well Reia and the others just followed on their own…..”
“That’s not what I asked! I want to know what you think about me!”
She’s completely drunk.
I look around the table for someone to save me and meet eyes with Rick who’s drinking alone.
As usual even when eating and drinking, he doesn’t remove his helmet.
However before I can ask for help, he stands up and heads towards the Goblin King.
“Oh, Rikkun, ready for another round?”
“Yeah, let’s start, Jusrakkun”
As if running away, he begins a game of shogi with the Goblin King.
That reminds me, back when I got into disagreements with Sasha, Rick would suddenly disappear.
“Takkun are you listening to me!?”
It’s kinda scary how Chloe speaks similarly to Karna when drunk.
It’s was a struggle but I somehow manage to calm her down.
“Ah, Demon Lord-sama, welcome back nya”
After taking care of Chloe, who has drunk herself to sleep, the last person to speak to me is Beastman King Miacis.
“I’ve brought the rest of the Four Heavenly Kings nya.
Let me introduce them nya”
So that’s who the three new people are.
Undying King Dogma with a body entirely made of bone.
Blood Drinking King Carmilla with pointed fangs and bat-like wings.
Darkness King Azathoth, shrouded completely in shadows.
Yup they’re scary.
Miacis looks cute with her cat ears in comparison.
“M- Maybe another time.
I’m tired after just returning”
“That’s unfortunate nya”
Behind Miacis’ dejected back, the three are looking over here and talking.
“So that’s Demon Lord-sama’s current vessel.
What do you think, Carmilla?”
“I think he’s a pretty fine man.
Close to my type”
“That’s not what I wanted to hear.
Appraise whether he’s the real thing or not”
“That’s not possible Dogma.
He’s completely isolated his power.
I’ve never seen someone conceal it this well before”
No I haven’t isolated anything.
Actually I’m always working at full power.
“…..There is no such thing as truth.
The only thing that exists is interpretation”
The last of the Four Heavenly Kings, Azathoth, mumbles some profound sounding statements but I don’t understand what he means at all.
Everyone getting along pretty well.
There’s some problems but living everyday surrounded by companions like this might not be as bad as I thought.
But that’s only until the great martial tournament.
At the tournament, I’ll reveal everything.
Who the Demon Lord is currently using as their vessel.
Everyone else has yet to realise the thing I know for sure.
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