Monster no Goshujin-sama Volume 2 Chapter 36
Thank you to G. Sadewa, Parker, DL, Stewy, M. Tiffany, F. Last, D. Evangelista, S. Luce, rabusmar, J. Budar, Schwarz, and Echo for funding my patreon!
This chapter was long. And painful. Some parts confused me a bit.
Enjoy the chapter~.
TL: Thy Unsus
Chapter 36 – Those who Lead, Those who Subdue
A large crowd of monsters came into sight as if oozing out of the forest.
Even from just what I could see, there were no less than twenty. Berta waved her tail and nestled closely to the boy taking them as he calmly walked.
Not caring about that, the boy stared at me with a soft smile on his thin features.
“You’re not surprised, Senpai. Perhaps, you knew it was me?”
“Yeah. I’ve been expecting you. ——Riku Kudō. You were the monster tamer that attacked Fortress Tilia.” (Majima)
The person there was『bullied child』that was supposedly smashed by Juumonji’s magic on top of that inner wall, Riku Kudō. Of course, from the fact that he was here, the one blown up then was a Doppelgänger mimicking his appearance.
“How did you figure out it was me? I’d be happy if you told me for reference.” (Kudō)
“It’s not that difficult. In that scene, it was possible for anyone to have been replaced by a Doppelganger, but not everyone could have made Sakagami out to be a monster tamer.” (Majima)
In contrast with Kudō’s gentle tone, my tone was bitter. Even though I had expected it, I couldn’t help but feel disgusted after seeing it for real like this.
“Sakagami incorrectly guessed 『I have the power to call monsters to myself』. In order for him to make that guess, it was necessary for them to『use your power instead whenever Sakagami tried to call monsters』. They made him believe that he needed a『ritual』to use his power so it was more clear when he was using his ability. That person had to be close to Sakagami.” (Majima)
“I see. That means it was impossible for anyone but me who stayed with Sakagami constantly after I found shelter in the mountain hut.” (Kudō)
To add one more thing to this, I also had a guess from my own experience.
Berta certainly was smart, but it was still just a monster that had obtained a will. It being shrewd enough to keep tricking Sakagami was…a bit difficult. It had to have had a human’s cleverness to do that.
“The reason you made out Sakagami as the monster tamer instead of yourself was for your own safety.” (Majima)
“Correct. I think you can understand, Senpai. The weak point of us monster tamers and our abilities is our own lack of strength.” (Kudō)
Kudō answered honestly.
“On the other hand, if you pretend to die and conceal yourself, there isn’t a more convenient ability than this for maneuvering in the shadows. It is unfortunate that you realized Sakagami had no power after I left, though……” (Kudō)
“‘And there’s no problem if the person in question dies’, huh? You recaptured Sakagami for that, didn’t you? Not killing him immediately was a mistake. Because of your greed, I ended up seeing through it.” (Majima)
Kudō recapturing Sakagami by using Berta was for a simple reason—to shut him up. Despite this, Kudō hadn’t killed Sakagami immediately. As a result, I had a conversation with Sakagami, and ended up convinced that the monster tamer that attacked the fortress was someone else.
Naturally, there was a reason that Kudō hadn’t killed Sakagami immediately, but we also had made countermeasures.
“I know you are trying to have the monsters under your control eat the transferees. You probably planned to lure us with Sakagami as bait and aim at the surviving transferees in the meanwhile……but too bad. Miyoshi and his friends are being protected by the Alliance’s Knights, and they’ve already fled into the Sea of Trees.” (Majima)
Some time ago, Sakagami had said『you’re too late』after we caught up with him, but that was because we began tracking him after we made preparations for that.
Now, even if he searched the fortress, he was just wasting his time, and even if he, by some miracle, realized they weren’t in the fortress anymore and chased after them, I had left Silane with them.
As her fighting ability was as great as the White Arachne’s, the strongest in the Deep Part of the Sea of Trees, it should be possible for her to deal with it unless there were a lot. At least, she could oppose Anton, who supposedly moved while aiming for the transferees’ lives, if it attacked. It could be said that, so far, the situation was progressing almost exactly like I thought it would beforehand.
Though, there was one thing……I hadn’t expected Kudō himself to come here.
I had thought “It’d be nice if I could re-secure Sakagami and defeat Berta here”.
Of course, since he came out like this, there was no way I was letting Kudō escape here.
As he sent Anton to get rid of the transferees, Kudō should have only a few forces right now. The rest was just whether my『one other preparation』would work out…….
“Amazing, Senpai.” (Kudō)
A dry *clap clap* sound echoed in the forest, interrupting my thoughts
Kudo clapped and lowered his hands, opening his mouth which had a loose curve drawn on it.
“Not only did you take down Juumonji, but you even found out my true colors.” (Kudō)
“……I’m not glad about being evaluated, but it wasn’t my power that killed Juumonji. I realized Sakagami wasn’t the monster tamer because of Mikihiko’s words.” (Majima)
“Don’t be so humble. All of those are your power, Senpai.” (Kudō)
While I exchanged words with Kudō, bits and pieces of an uncomfortable feeling were irritating my mind.
Even though I had foiled his plan, Kudō was keeping his cool. Rather, his expression was even happy.
“Those things, I heard them from Anton. It was a magnificent victory.” (Kudo)
Kudo spoke with somewhat of a lively tone. I stared fixedly at his face.
I found it hard to believe that Kudo seemingly was speaking those words seriously. There was an unexaggerated praise in his gaze.
“The words『This is the world where wishes come true』, the ones you told that elf girl, are the first hero’s words, right? You proved those words, Senpai. You and their feelings, Senpai, smashed Juumonji’s violence. This world isn’t a place where『the strong behave however they like』at all. You and her are both truly amazing. I think so from the bottom of my heart.” (Kudo)
That was an exchange somewhat similar to the conversation I had with Silane after I got back her mind, yet so different that it made me nauseous.
Sure, I thought that denying Kudo’s words that were full of resignation would pay a tribute to him, who died.
But, what was this conversation?
My feelings were unmistakably being transmitted. His words beforehand should have been words of praise.¹ And yet, we were so separated that it was hopeless.
“……Why, Kudo?” (Majima)
A voice similar to a moan left me.
“Why did you support Juumonji’s plan? You should understand the feelings of a person being oppressed by unreasonable violence. So then, why……” (Majima)
“The feelings of a person being oppressed, is it? Of course, I understand them.” (Kudo)
Kudo nodded with a calm gesture. I couldn’t believe his quiet eyes reflecting me were those of a cornered human.
“Because I, the same as you, Senpai, experienced the colony’s collapse.” (Kudo)
“I, too, just about died. In that burning, collapsing colony.” (Kudo)
I was puzzled by his confession which was even a little cheerful.
It was different from what I had heard so far.
“……But, you were in one of the several mountain huts in the Sea of Trees, and you and Sakagami were protected by Silane, weren’t you? Didn’t you take shelter in the mountain hut after being protected by the ‘Scouting Corps’ members left in the colony?” (Majima)
“It appears to have been like that for everyone in the other mountain huts. But, not for me. Afterwards, I visited the mountain hut Sakagami was in. The only one who knew this was Sakagami, but he was someone I hated. Well, even if he hadn’t been, I don’t think I would have been able to tell someone the details around that.” (Kudo)
“As you know, Senpai, Sakagami was a terrible person. We were acquainted before we came to this world, but on the day of the colony’s collapse, he got out of harm’s way by sacrificing me. After being left behind, I….yes, I was extremely hurt. But even so, I was able to survive……well, I can only call that luck. After that, I wandered the forest for several days. Hungry, in pain, anxious, alone…I thought my heart might break. Now that I think about it, the fact I was able to live until now is like a miracle.” (Kudo)
As I listened to the story he told while smiling, I was at a loss for words.
——Betrayed by an acquaintance, nearly killed, but still he survived with luck alone.
——Unable to believe in anyone, he wandered around in the forest alone.
——Scared about when he wound encounter some brutal monster and be killed. And even if he wasn’t killed, he was scared he would starve, get dehydrated, and die as is.
That story…wasn’t it all-too familiar?
Seeing that I was at a loss for words, Kudo laughed.
“Perhaps, you have experienced something similar, Senpai?” (Kudo)
I gazed at Kudo in wonderment, as if he had read my mind.
The only ones who knew what I experienced when I fled the colony were Lily and them—my family. There was no reason Kudo should have known that.
“Why…do you know that……?” (Majima)
Naturally, Kudo’s smiling face didn’t change even after hearing my now-harsh voice.
“I know. We are similar, after all.” (Kudo)
“Don’t fuck with me.” (Majima)
Indeed. Before, I definitely had thought that “maybe him and I are similar”.
But, I had meant nothing more than in the sense of『him and I were both humans on the side of those trampled by violence』. There should have been no way for him to predict that we’d experienced similar things so far with that alone. In order to do that, he needed to have some kind of basis.
“Kudo. What do you know?” (Majima)
“Things you don’t know, Senpai. In particular, I think I know more than you do about these powers given to us” (Kudo)
Kudo replied in a tone full of confidence.
Knowledge about the cheat abilities the transferees had. Was that the『basis』that made Kudo conclude that I had experienced something similar to him?
If it was, then maybe Kudo saying『we are similar』some time ago was about the special characteristics of our ability to『lead monsters』? ……But, what did “us having similar inherent abilities” have to do with “the experiences we had after coming to this world being similar”?
That was by coincidence. Yes, that should be nothing more than a coincidence.
So, they had nothing to do with each other.
Was that…truly the case?
Two people with similar abilities and similar experiences. Was such a coincidence possible?
If there was something needed for that, then Kudo knew that『something』. Come to think of it, Juumonji appeared to know things I didn’t know about our cheat abilities. Which meant, maybe…….
Suddenly thinking of something, I opened my mouth.
“Kudo, you kept in touch with the expeditionary force as well?” (Majima)
“Eh? How do you know that, Senpai?” (Kudo)
For the first time, Kudo’s smile grew smaller. He opened his eyes a little and stared at us. Contrary to his, my eyes were narrow.
“If you think about how you……rather, how Sakagami was planning an attack with Juumonji, of course I’d know. Though, I had no proof.” (Majima)
“Ah. So that means you tricked me into confirming, huh?” (Kudo)
Guessing his mistake, Kudo floated a bitter smile.
It appeared Kudo had, the same as Juumonji and Sakagami, kept in touch with a『collaborator』within the expeditionary force. Him appearing to know various things that I didn’t know was probably just information from that person.
What was strange was, if Kudo was connected to the『collaborator』, then that guy hadn’t let Juumonji and them know that Sakagami was nothing more than a cover……it appeared there were many things I needed to get from Kudo, including that.
“How about we talk about everything you know.” (Majima)
As I was cornering him like this, now was the chance.
At my words, Gerbera’s spider legs made a *kichi kichi* noise, as if to intimidate him. Lily raised her magical power, Asarina made a creaking noise, and in response to that Berta started growling again. All the other monsters also got ready to fight, putting themselves on guard.
“I don’t really mind talking.” (Kudo)
But even then, Kudo still kept a smile on his slender face.
“After all, due to the situation, I came here planning to talk about it all to you.” (Kudo)
I raised my eyebrows at the words Kudo spoke while shrugging his shoulders. The fact he was speaking honestly aside, I was bothered by the way he phrased it.
“With that way of speaking…it’s like you were planning from the beginning to……” (Majima)
With a smile on his face, Kudo confirmed my suspicion.
“I planned to talk with you from the beginning, Senpai.” (Kudo)
Before I understood the meaning of those words——the forest suddenly started stirring.
Tree bark split open, bushes were smashed, and the ground was gouged out.
Sword and sword bit into each other, and a shield blocked it…or maybe was destroyed by it.
It was the noises of battle.
What jumped out from the dim light of the forest along with a pained noise…was a masked woman with gray hair wearing white clothes. And then, countless shadow swords flew out, chasing her.
The masked woman…or rather, Rose, who had a shadow sword she couldn’t block with the shield sticking out from her collar, retreated to my side.
“……My apologies, Master. I failed.” (Rose)
After pulling out the shadow sword from her shoulder and throwing it away, Rose apologized with a sad voice.
Naturally, her being here wasn’t a coincidence.
Actually, before we came here, I joined Rose.
Why we were late in finding Sakagami was also because we started tracking him after joining Rose and leaving Katō-san with the Alliance’s Knights.
After we joined Rose, I had rose cut around the forest in secret to cut off the enemy’s path of retreat while we conversed.
But, the strategy I prepared beforehand like that had been foiled due to the hindrance of one powerful monster.
“Why is Anton here……?” (Majima)
The familiar figure that appeared from the darkness of the forest was unmistakably the Doppel-Queen.
Taking a great number of Doppelgängers with it, Anton rushed over to its master.
The fact that the monsters that were supposed to be in Fortress Tilia right now to eat the other transferees were here now……meant that one of my predictions was off.
“Everything up to using Sakagami as bait was just as you thought, Senpai. But, I wasn’t aiming at the other transferees while luring you.” (Kudo)
After Anton joined him, Kudo spoke.
“I let Sakagami live to call you out here and talk with you like this.” (Kudo)
“Talk with me? ……For something like that?” (Majima)
I doubted my ears at Kudo’s unthinkable remark.
I immediately thought “what the hell”, but now that he mentioned it, it did make sense.
Kudo hadn’t tried to destroy his friendly attitude towards me for a while now.
I had thought “maybe he has the leeway to”, but if that wasn’t the case, and he didn’t intend on opposing me, then…….
“……Perhaps, you went out of your way to reveal yourself here…for that?” (Majima)
“You appear to have understood. I’m glad.” (Kudo)
“No. I don’t understand. What do you have to say to me?” (Majima)
When I asked him that without hiding my confusion, Kudo’s smile grew deeper and deeper.
It was an unreserved smile, like the one you’d show to a friend.
“Hey, Senpai. Why don’t you join forces with me?” (Kudo)
What Kudo spoke was an impossible proposal…for me, at least.
“Join…forces with you……?” (Majima)
“Yes. I’m sure you saw it as well, Majima-senpai. Juumonji and Sakagami.” (Kudo)
Kudo eloquently tied together his words.
“How terrifying those kinds of people are for anyone else. They’re the same as cockroaches. And……anxiety and fear are contagious. The sense of danger that ‘maybe I’ll be killed by those next to me’ may have been a delusion of paranoia at the beginning of the transfer. But, now, that danger has become a real thing. Those who laughed at that delusion can’t help but distrust their surroundings today. Now that it’s happened, the falling dominoes can’t be stopped anymore. You shouldn’t join forces with them, who don’t know when they will fall.” (Kudo)
“‘So, I should join forces with you’, is it?” (Majima)
I slowly took a breath.
It was a necessary action to escape the impact of the words I had heard.
“I know what you want to say……but there’s a reason. I cannot trust you, and you cannot trust me either.” (Majima)
“You are an exception, Senpai.” (Kudo)
“An exception, huh? What a convenient word. You don’t mean to tell me to ‘believe that word’, do you?” (Majima)
“Of course not. I will go to great lengths to get you to believe it.” (Kudo)
Kudo nodded. And then, he dropped a new bomb on me as I recovered from the shock.
“For example, as a proof of trust, how about I tell you about my ability?” (Kudo)
“As you know, my ability is to『manipulate monsters』. The maximum as of now is 735. Remote manipulation isn’t possible, but I can set orders in advance. The problem is…I cannot manipulate very powerful monsters. This seems to be different from yours, Senpai.” (Kudo)
That should have been vital information, especially for person like Kudo.
Normally, you would want to hide it as much as you could. And yet, Kudo’s mouth was loose, as if he was talking to a friend he could trust.
“In my case, in order to get a powerful monster, I have to raise one from scratch. Anton and Berta were raised like that. How I do it is……ummm, would you understand if I called it『poisoning』? To make a long story short, I had them kill their manipulated comrades. With this, I could sort out the strong ones, even if a few, and it would strengthen them—I was killing two birds with one stone. I also discovered an interesting phenomenon in the process. It seems that rather than just killing, they can become stronger if they eat the flesh of those they kill.” (Kudo)
As if it was gossip, he readily disclosed his secrets—including his weak point. Far from hesitating, he was even a little boastful; I could only think that he was planning something.
There was no way his goal was to confuse me by saying random things, was there?
But unexpectedly, his story appeared to be consistent.
Besides, there was something I suddenly understood when I listened to him just now
I briefly glanced at Asarina, who raised her sickle-shaped neck.
As you know, she was a variant and she absorbed my magical power. But, that was nothing more than a transformation appearing in the traits a normal Gun Vine had.
A Gun Vine would shoot prey to death with bullet seeds, and sprout from them. Just like what Asarina was doing to me. In short, they were replenishing magical power from the corpse. I hadn’t thought about it until now, but now that he mentioned it,『the magical power obtained from predating on enemies being more』wasn’t all that strange.
The fact that I agreed with the facts I knew myself suggested that Kudo’s words were credible. And, if he made Anton eat Juumonji and Watanabe’s corpses to strengthen his monster, then it made sense.
One by one, the pieces of the puzzle fell into place. But, that was why the large gap stood out.
“Why are you telling me so much……” (Majima)
Kudo’s eyes reflected my confused figure. His gaze was so clear that it was innocent.
“Because you and I are similar, Senpai.” (Kudo)
“……That again?” (Majima)
“‘Our powers and environment are similar’…what do you mean?” (Majima)
In contrast to my head shake, Kudo smiled happily.
As if to say that exchanging words with me like this made him unbelievably happy.
“No. It isn’t just our powers and environments that are similar. We are similar on a more fundamental level.” (Kudo)
“Fundamental level……?” (Majima)
“Yes. That’s right. That’s why I want you.” (Kudo)
Kudo was still smiling with his friendly smile.
In my eyes, that looked like something of some strange creature.
“It is possible you don’t understand what I’m saying. So, I will tell you one more thing. It’s about these powers we have. What are they? Surely you have wondered about them as well, Senpai?” (Kudo)
What were these powers given to us?
True, that was a question I had started wondering about through the fight with Juumonji.
It was no exaggeration to say that this incident was caused by a rampage of these powers. Still, we didn’t know anything about these powers other than that they were『powers given to transferees』. Even though I knew I was riding Kudo’s pace, I couldn’t help but listen to him.
“Majima-senpai, have you thought about why your power is the way it is? Or rather, to rephrase it, why we ended up having similar powers?” (Kudo)
Kudo directed a gaze at the monsters around him, and then gazed at my family.
“……I hate calling this power a『cheat ability』. This world calls it『grace』, I believe. But, that is missing the true nature of this power. Power without any feelings put into it, something we obtained suddenly? That’s just what the majority of people say.” (Kudo)
After declaring that, Kudo stared at me.
“For example, what about you, Senpai? You’re different, aren’t you? You should have feelings put into that power.” (Kudo)
“……Why do you know that?” (Majima)
I couldn’t deny the words he confidently told me, so I had no choice but to return a question.
“I know. Because…that is the true nature of our powers.” (Kudo)
Kudo put his hand on his chest.
“This power, Senpai. It is based on our wishes.” (Kudo)
I asked back dumbfounded.
What he said was beyond my expectations……not. It was the opposite.
“I don’t know the details of how it works, but in this world where magic exists, feelings can have an effect on reality. When we have a wish from the very depths of our soul, a feeling stronger than a certain amount, we transferees manifest our inherent abilities……you remember too, don’t you?” (Kudo)
When I was in the colony, I hadn’t noticed my own ability『to lead monsters』. Since I had never come across a monster while I lived in the colony, I was under the impression that I first became aware of my power when I came across Lily.
But, the truth was that it wasn’t that『I hadn’t noticed it until then』; assuming I『obtained this power』on that day at that time, there were no inconsistencies.
Though, it wasn’t something I could agree with immediately.
“No. Then, what about the Warriors? They all have similar powers, don’t they?” (Majima)
“That is just merely『I cannot be defeated』. People that have a baseless belief, despite not having a definite wish, become like that.” (Kudo)
Kudo immediately responded to my objection.
“Baseless beliefs are no different from powerful, unconscious feelings.『I came to a world like this, so I must be special, right?』,『I want to be like that』,『No, that’s it』,『Must be like that』, etc. That’s the foundation of their superhuman powers, and also the reason for their emotionless, hollow powers.” (Kudo)
I recalled Juumonji and Watanabe, who both behaved as heroes. ……I…wasn’t able to deny that.
Then, the reason nearly 30% of us became Warriors at the beginning of the transfer was because we were high school students……right? As high school students, we also had the opportunity to understand reality. We weren’t just people that believed such child-like things. Perhaps if the middle schoolers were the ones who transferred, this percentage might have been a bit higher.
“But, all of the heroes of the past had power, didn’t they? Warriors and unique ability holders aside, I don’t think everyone got their own powers that easily.” (Majima)
“That’s different, Senpai. We transferees weren’t treated as heroes because we have power. We were treated as heroes first. ……Humans more or less think of themselves as special, and they want to think they are. If you are treated as someone too special in this world, it is only natural to feel that way, isn’t it?” (Kudo)
“……The order…is opposite? It isn’t that『you are a hero because you have power』, but that『you get power only after being treated as a hero first』……?” (Majima)
“Actually, I think it’s a well-made system.” (Kudo)
Smiling in cynicism, Kudo spoke as if declaring:
“『This is the world where wishes come true』” (Kudo)
Those were propagated as “the words of the first hero”.
Who knew if that was what they really meant.
“And, this system is meaningless if the hero comes to know about this in advance. So, not even the people of this world know. If they do, then it’s only the people of the church that heard it. Maybe the people of the church took it upon themselves to make the interpretation of the first hero’s words unclear.” (Kudo)
“……Now that I think about it, Juumonji said that his cheat ability was『something for getting back to our former world』. Was that why?” (Majima)
“Indeed. He wanted to return to our former world.” (Kudo)
“Then, could he really have returned one day? To our world?” (Majima)
“Well…maybe. I don’t know. I’m not interested in that.” (Kudo)
Kudo shrugged his shoulder, suddenly speaking in a cruel voice.
“I wasn’t involved with that, so I don’t know the details. But, I think there’s a good chance that Juumonji was inspired by something.” (Kudo)
“By the person sending you guys information?” (Majima)
“Yes. That was someone who knew my existence and kept silent about it. Even if they instigated Juumonji, it doesn’t surprise me.” (Kudo)
They caused Juumonji to go on a rampage by instigating him, and made a great number of people in the fortress die, but on the other hand, they kept silent about Kudo’s existence……I felt pure ill intent in those actions.
This incident was made by Juumonji and Kudo, but perhaps that『someone』was the start.
“Who is that person……” (Majima)
In order to notice that cheat abilities were influenced by our wishes, several samples were needed. In other words, you needed to know that there was one person that had an ability unique even among the cheat holders of the ‘Scouting Corps’.
However, unique ability holders were few in number. Among the 300 cheat holders, there were about 10 people that had Warrior-class physical abilities plus unique abilities, like the『Great Runner』Eno Yuna. Even if I included the types that had no physical abilities like me, it was about 10% at most……maybe 30 people?
Most of them were leadership classes that accompanied the expeditionary force.
Assuming they interacted with many of them, that meant they were definitely in the upper ranks of the ‘Scouting Corps’. This could only be called a “nightmare” now. This meant that the top of the organization that had the greatest fighting potential in this world had already been invaded by a malicious poison.
“Are you interested? If you cooperate with me, naturally, I will tell you as much as I know about the one that connected us.” (Kudo)
“……Aren’t they your collaborator?” (Majima)
“The only one I want to be friends with is you, Senpai.” (Kudo)
Saying so, Kudo held out his hand towards me.
“You know now, don’t you? With similar environments and powers, we share the greatest turning point of our lives. That’s why I want you to take my hand.” (Kudo)
“I’ll take your hand, and then what? Will you say ‘Now, let’s pick a fight with the expeditionary force’?” (Majima)
Sure, we might have been similar.
If Kudo awakened his ability to subdue monsters by experiences a hell where he couldn’t trust humans, you could say we were almost the same. However…….
“What kind of wish did you put into that power?” (Majima)
Kudo’s smile noticeably broadened at my question.
“Do you remember, Senpai? About then, where we, having fallen into despair, turned our wishes into power?” (Kudo)
“……Of course I do.” (Majima)
There was no way I could forget an experience of that much despair and joy.
“Then, please remember. The memory of our beginnings.” (Kudo)
Kudo prompted a reproduction of the past. ——Before I knew it, I wasn’t inside the forest—it had turned into that cave, the beginning of my story.
I found myself worn out, and alone there.
The only difference was that Kudo was in front of me. The scene of his own despair must have been projected in his eyes. His smiling lips began showing his despair.
“My arms hurt. My legs hurt. My entire body hurts. But, rather than my body, I can’t bear the pain in my heart.” (Kudo)
It hurts. It’s agonizing. Despair is slowly killing my heart before my body.
“My life’s gonna end here.” (Kudo)
Death is steadily approaching while making noises.
“I don’t want to die in a place like this.” (Kudo)
No. No. I don’t want to die.
“Then, I thought.” (Kudo)
That’s right. I thought.
That was the beginning of my story. So, I would never forget no matter how much time passed. I only wished for one thing.
——Someone…please help me.
My body and heart were hurt, I couldn’t trust anyone…but I still wanted someone to be at my side. I was here now because Lily responded to the voice I wished from the bottom of my heart.
And, that should definitely have been the same for Kudo——
“The world that made me experience this…should perish. I wished for that.” (Kudo)
——That was why he became the attacker of Fortress Tilia.
“As someone who can subdue monsters, if I were to be called something…it would be a『Demon Lord』. Then, I could understand that it was inevitable for me to almost die from being hurt by someone at that time. So, me killing humans is natural. And destroying the world, too.” (Kudo)
While he spoke, I understood somehow.
The boy called Kudo Riku was a little strange. He was calm, and his head had a screw loose. Something he needed as a human was broken.
Unable to do anything, he acknowledged his broken self.
For example, I took pride in being the『master of monsters』that leads Lily and them. I became strongly aware of this the night I spent with Lily in this fortress, but that pride was what I depended on, the support for me to live in this world where just about everything was different.
I could breath here because I thought “If it’s for my important family, even if I throw away my life, it doesn’t matter”.
And, he was undoubtedly the same.
Riku Kudo was somehow keeping himself by taking pride in his own way of being broken, unable to do anything.
He could stand here because he thought that he didn’t even need a life to hate and destroy the world itself, which cornered him that far.
I understood the human called Riku Kudo. I understood. Even though he was a lunatic, I could understand the reason. ……To rephrase, this was nothing more than proof that if any gear was out of place in me myself, I would have ended up like that.
Certainly, as Kudo said, we were similar.
We shared the fundamental part of our existence, the starting point where the current me began. So, we could understand each other better than anyone else. Kudo showing attachment towards me wasn’t strange, either.
“Fortunately, my compatability with you is great, Senpai. This world full of monsters…we must absolutely destroy the world itself.” (Kudo)
If what Kudo himself said was true, then his ability was『to subdue rare monsters and below, and manipulate them at will』. I, someone who『led rare monsters and higher』, would definitely have great compatibility with him. We could cover for the gaps in our abilities.
It may take time, but if we built up power in this Sea of Trees, it may be possible to obtain power so great that it couldn’t be matched by the other transferees.
“That’s true. If we worked together, we might be able to destroy the world.” (Majima)
“Yes! That’s exactly right!” (Kudo)
“……But, haven’t you thought like this?” (Majima)
As Kudo braced himself, I threw a question at him.
“‘We…could also save the world’.” (Majima)
This world had always been threatened by the spreading Sea of Trees and the threat of monsters attacking people. It lived by relying on the actions of the『heroes』who appeared once a century.
But if there was a『Demon Lord』that could subdue all monsters, the story was different.
Maybe that hope would make him open his eyes. For a moment, I hoped like that——
“Save the world? Why do we have to do something like that?” (Kudo)
——His response was as I feared, but I wasn’t discouraged by it.
“I am a『Demon Lord』. I am not something that saves humans. I am something that destroys.” (Kudo)
I wasn’t confused by the words Kudo spoke, surrounded by monsters.
It was something I knew. It was obvious.
Like how I would keep living as the Master of Lily and my family from now on, Kudo would live as the King of monsters, bearing his fangs at the world.
Nevertheless, Sakagami, the one who created such a monster, was now only someone I could hate.
“If we both are Demon Lords, there will definitely be no one in the world who can oppose us. Let’s go together, Senpai.” (Kudo)
Once again, Kudo reached out his hand to me.
Seeing his never-changing, clear smile, I shook my head.
“I am not a『Demon Lord』. Therefore, I cannot go with you.” (Majima)
Even after hearing my reply, Kudo’s friendly smile didn’t change.
“Then, what are you, Senpai? Do you maybe plan to live as a hero in this world?” (Kudo)
“No. I don’t plan on doing that, either.” (Majima)
I intended to decide for myself.
I was not a hero. But, while I wasn’t a hero, that didn’t make me a monster like Kudo. So, if it was “what was I”, then that was already certain.
“I am not a『hero』, nor am I『Another King』. I am a『Master』leading Lily and my family. I’m fine with that. That’s all I need.” (Majima)
“……Is that so?” (Kudo)
Kudo sighed. There was a faint smile on his mouth.
He was probably the same as me, expecting me to nod my head here…and expecting it to not work out.
“That’s too bad.” (Kudo)
Saying so, he suddenly straddled the back of Berta’s body.
And then, he turned his back to us.
“But, I won’t give up.” (Kudo)
“..!! Gerbera!” (Majima)
When I guessed his aim and gave her the indication, Gerbera rushed out.
Her path was blocked by shadow swords and many monsters.
As a fighting force, our side was better than Kudo’s many monsters. But, Anton and Berta were in this place. If he escaped while using the deaths of dozens of monsters, it would be difficult to catch him no matter what.
On top of Berta’s back, Kudo’s figure vanished in the depths of the forest.
“If you ever endure the cruelty of the world, please come to me! I’ll always welcome you——……” (Kudo)
Without ever breaking his friendly attitude, the other king left in front of us.
“……He escaped, huh?” (Majima)
I knew I couldn’t capture Kudo the moment Anton, the miscalculation, appeared here. But even so, regret remained at the fact that he escaped.
The only thing left behind in front of us were the corpses of the monsters he sacrificed. Perhaps I should call him calculating for even taking the『remains』of Sakagami’s corpse.
Having failed to pay back the debt for him injuring Ayame, Gerbera was stamping her eight spider legs on the ground in frustration. Rose had her axe, wet with monster blood, lowered, and she appeared to be brooding over something inside of her mask.
Asarina returned to the back of my hand, and Lily, next to me, anxiously called out to me.
I sighed once, and turned a smiling face towards her.
“Let’s go back, shall we? It’s all finally over. We need to let Silane and them know.” (Majima)
Of course, I knew all-too-well that this wasn’t over.
Rather, this was the beginning of the fight with Kudo. Even if we didn’t directly cross swords with one another, I would keep fighting with Kudo from now on…….
As I urged them and began walking, I looked back at the inside of the forest where Kudo disappeared.
……Someday, I would once again meet the other lord that led monsters.
Would I give in to the cruelty of the world and take his hand, becoming a Demon Lord, or could I stop him……by that time, I was sure that my answer would come out.
Possibly feeling the emotions burdening my heart, Lily hugged my arm. As I felt her warmth, I once again walked towards the fortress.