He was a Hero
Behind them, Hasim was closing in.
The encounter would of course happen.
That would go down in history as the largest contributor to the change of the era.
When the demon lords heard footsteps coming from behind them, for a moment they felt a chill down their back thinking that Mūzeg had gone further and closed them in.
However, when they turned around and looked at the people closing in on them, that doubt immediately vanished.
The ones who were approaching them weren’t the oppressive black emblem of Mūzeg but were the exact opposite of them, a pure white emblem.
With his red eyes, Merea looked at that white flag and read the words written on it.
That was definitely written over there.
Finally, 『he』 had arrived.
「I’m〈Hasim Kudo Lemuse〉. You’re the group of demon lords right?」
Bright brown coloured hair that was closer to orange.
Crystal clear aqua blue pupils like that of the southern ocean.
Though he looked fearless but his good looks gave a certain neutral feeling to it.
With the name of the famous country as part of his name, that man gazed strongly back without any hesitation.
The one who was standing in front of that man, was Merea.
Merea felt slightly dumbfounded as he kept staring at the white emblem and spoke softly.
Hasim kept staring at Merea
For Hasim, Merea’s white hair brought up some very deep emotions.
A moment later, their eyes met.
Merea who had lowered his gaze from the emblem and Hasim who had lowered his gaze from Merea’s hair had their gazes meet.
In the next instant,
There was 『something』 inside both of them that moved.
That movement immediately changed into a large vibration and at the end, changed into an electric current that ran from the top of their heads down to the tips of their feet.
At that moment, the exact same words floated up in both their minds.
――I feel like, I know about him.
It was like a resonance.
The same genes in them seemed to resonate with each other.
For but an instant, they both continued to look at the 『something』 in each other, with the feeling like time had stopped.
「…I’m〈Merea Mea〉. I don’t know if I myself am called a demon lord or not but, my comrades definitely are called by that name」
Merea spoke first.
「――Ah, got it」
Hasim nodded deeply with a serious expression.
He then turned his gaze towards the other side, towards the cavalry of Mūzeg.
「…Serius isn’t there huh」
Hasim immediately spoke.
「How can you tell?」
「If Serius was there, he would have attacked us in no time. Even during a decisive battle like this time, he wouldn’t waste any time on strategy formation or command formation and would take control of the situation while fighting」
While speaking, Hasim looked back at his subordinates behind him.
Lemuse’s cavalry definitely didn’t look bad.
The way they hold up their weapons goes to show that they were veteran soldiers. However, Hasim himself knew exactly how much of a bluff that gallant appearance was.
Even so, Hasim felt extremely proud when he saw how proudly and defiantly his soldiers were facing off against Mūzeg’s army.
「However, if Serius isn’t here then that’s convenient for us. We’ll use the time they’re taking to form their strategy. It’s not long since we met but――」
Hasim looked over at Merea.
「I’ll save you demon lords. We, Lemuse, shall from this point forth revolt against Mūzeg. We shall fight against this very era that they have created」
The demon lords finally understood everything.
Why were they saved by the cavalrymen a little while back.
Why did those men try to help them.
Lemuse was trying to resist the torrential flow of the era that Mūzeg had created with 『demon lord hunting』.
They first relied on them.
When they succeeded, they praised them.
Next they desired it.
At first they made puppets of them but then they forced them in the end.
They the thing that they had created at their own convenience, they now tried to restrict at their own convenience.
Whether it be heroes or demon lords, they were all shaped based on people’s expectations.
It was almost as if they were items.
However, both heroes and demon lords were…alive.
Mūzeg who ignored that fact. The others who were swept by their coercion and pledge allegiance to them.
However, there was a fool who would go against that torrential flow of the era.
He finally found that out.
「Make a wall ahead of us as well! It’s the first fight of the decisive battle! This war of attrition during this strategy time definitely can’t be handled by an idiot! Also, if the enemy moves, tell me immediately!」
Hasim briskly ordered his subordinates and, getting off from his horse, brought his line of sight to the same level as the demon lords.
「Let’s hear the situation」, he asked.
Merea was the one who answered that question.
「We have at least managed to escape from a complete encirclement so far」
「Perfect. It’s amazing you managed that with such few numbers」
After being told that, Hasim purposefully complimented them.
「――Oi, wait a second. …Is that a land dragon?」
With a dubious expression, he stretched his back and looked over at the item on the other side.
They were the remains of a land dragon with no head.
Not to mention, he could hear faint roars from the distance at times.
They were roars that sounded like moans.
「There were three land dragons」
「Well, one of them doesn’t have a head though」
「I killed it. I cut off the legs of the other two」
Hasim, who almost said, 「I really can’t think of you as being the same human as me」 forcefully stopped himself from speaking out loud.
He was well aware that his face clearly showed his astonishment. He forcefully fixed himself and started talking about that topic from a different angle.
「…Mūzeg has finally started bringing out some truly outrageous things. That rumour was true after all it seems.
But, how did the manage to get their hands on it? Did they plunge into a group and kidnap them…? I seriously can’t figure out their method」
Hasim placed a hand on his chin and whispered thoughtfully.
「Unless it’s a situation where the group would themselves abandon those dragons――」
At Hasim’s words, Merea reflexively answered.
Since he had heard about something like that quite recently.
「――Fatal draconic disease」
「――I see. If it’s the fatal draconic disease then they would abandon the dragons due to the fear of contracting the disease but, if that was the case then the dragon which contracted the disease would die soon… no, that’s not possible…」
In the next instant, Hasim groaned.
As if he had quite the confidence in his own guess, he spoke with a strong tone.
「Did they derive the cure for the fatal draconic disease…?」
As a possibility, it wasn’t zero.
On the contrary, it felt like the facts weren’t consistent if that wasn’t true.
The reason why a group would abandon an individual.
Not to mention, the reason why the prideful dragons would obey Mūzeg to that extent.
While land dragons were prideful but they also had a strong sense of duty. They were quite conscientious.
In the case that the dragons who had contracted the fatal draconic disease were saved by the cure created by Mūzeg then――
「The possibility is definitely there. Mūzeg would definitely monopolize the cure… Damn it! The troublesome things have increased again」
Hasim suppressed his urge to cradle his head and then he straightened his collar.
「It’s fine right now. Let’s just think about the things we need to do right now」
He brought his attention back and looked around the surroundings.
The gaze, of course, had gone after the various demon lords.
With just a glance there were many who he could tell what titles they held and still many he couldn’t tell anything about.
He also noticed that they were divided into people who were depressed and those who still had a positive outlook.
The scene was rather impressive.
He intuitively guessed as to what caused such a thing to occur.
As if to answer that guess of his, Merea spoke up.
「Tell me something. ――The men who saved us a little while back, were they your subordinates?」
While answering calmly, he watched the demon lords grip their hands into fists.
「In that case, let me tell you」
Merea looked at Hasim with his clear red eyes and spoke up.
「For us, those men were 『heroes』」
After hearing Merea’s words, Hasim noticed a man wiping his eyes standing next to Merea. It was Salman.
Seeing that figure, Hasim figured something out.
「They were…heroes for me too」
Hasim looked down a little while he spoke.
「――Is that so」
「However, mourning them will have to wait. ――We will definitely mourn them. For that sake as well, we need to fight now」
Hasim immediately returned his gaze back to their faces.
「Although the situation is like this, since it’s a serious matter, I’ll ask you all right now」
Hasim spoke in a tone that could easily be heard by all the demon lords.
「Can you all, fight alongside Lemuse? Can you fight alongside Lemuse on the 『battlefield』?」
They didn’t answer immediately.
They were measuring the weight of those words.
「I’ll show you that I can save him. That’s why, you guys save his highness」
The demon lords recalled the words of that old man.
They chewed through the meaning of those words.
This wasn’t a unilateral contract.
It was instead a bilateral contract where, 『they help each other』.
One of them took a step forward.
「We were aiming for Lemuse from the very beginning. Those are words that are definitely something that we had wished to hear. Over and above that, we have already been saved by Lemuse once. Those people gave up their lives to save up, which is something we could never forget. ――However」
It was Elma.
With her black hair waving in the wind, she stood in front of the majestic Hasim without flinching and even spoke words that could be considered insulting.
「With all that in mind, I shall still ask. ――I apologize for my rudeness. Even then, this is an extremely important matter for us」
「It’s fine. Speak freely, descendent of the family of Elisa」
When he noticed the sword that she was holding in one hand, Hasim immediately understood her title.
One of the seven emperors who held seven imperial weapons, the〈Sword Emperor〉.
Elma, on the other hand, after having received Hasim’s permission, slightly raised her sword and pointed it towards his face and spoke.
「Will you people not betray us?」
Hasim’s subordinates had already given up their lives to save the demon lords.
She knew exactly how 『insulting』 those words were despite that happening.
Even so, Elma knew exactly how frightening the term demon lord was which is why she couldn’t get herself to do it half-heartedly.
It could also have been for the other demon lord’s sake.
Elma herself had already decided to fight. Without worrying about the small difficult things, if the battlefield was in front of her then she would fight. Having inherited the habits of certain ephemeral warriors, she could answer immediately to Hasim’s question.
However, the other demon lords who had seen the 『dangerous parts of a person』 many times already, without having any solid basis they couldn’t believe Hasim immediately which is probably why they couldn’t answer immediately either.
That was how deep the darkness that demon lords hid inside themselves was.
They probably wouldn’t have to think too deeply if it had been people who were in the same circumstances as them.
However, Hasim was the representative of a country.
Even if the Lemuse of the past was known for helping demon lords but in this era, the current Lemuse was a different country.
The important aspect was the current Lemuse.
Which is why Elma, in place of those who were unsure of how to phrase their thoughts, asked that question to Hasim.
「I shall pledge. We shall never betray you」
Hasim answered immediately.
「This is an 『equal』 negotiation. Those were my intentions when I came here. ――It’s pointless if it’s not equal. Which is, it’s fine if you guys abandon the talks as well. In any case, we’re both in the same boat」
Hasim answer was rather refreshingly frank.
「Of course, I do realise that it’s rather suspicious. Even so, I feel that this is the best course of action. Which is why, I won’t lower my head either」
He spoke with conviction.
Hasim won’t lower his head.
At Hasim’s words――
Someone spoke up.
In the middle of that speech, the demon lords had lifted their heads.
As if they had found something in those words that they could believe, they looked deeply into his aqua blue pupils.
Seeing that the demon lords had raised their heads, Elma gave a satisfied nod.
The demon lords had, for the first time, decided to risk their lives on the battlefield.
In reality, their legs were shaking.
Merea was not the only one.
Everyone was scared.
Most of the demon lords were aware that they were weaker than the 『demon lords of old』.
The evil demon lords of old, the heroes who were later called as demon lords and demon lords who actively participated in the turning point of the era were all overwhelmingly strong.
However, those strong demon lords were, as time passed, hunted down as a priority.
It would have been dangerous to leave them be and they were all extremely strong which is why they tried to fight back.
That strength though was not that useful in the end as the countries that were not antagonistic to them and still had some relations were the ones who ended up hunting these strong demon lords down.
With the turning of the age, the demon lords were weeded out as well.
As the demon lords weakened, the countries antagonized them even further. They stopped seeing demon lords as a higher existence.
『It’s fine even if we let them be for now huh』
『More importantly, the neighboring country is making some strange movements』
『We should really take care of them first』.
However, the fact that the demon lords powers were precious was something that did not change. The hunting still continued.
At that point, the demon lords were akin to tools.
After that, the ones who stood out or the ones who shone brightly were successively hunted.
As a result, the ones who were left were either the strong 『clever』 ones who managed to make it through or…the weak demon lords.
Although they’re called weak but they still have the aptitude. It was just that they lacked the environment required to polish that aptitude of theirs for the sake of battle but they without a doubt had the genes required to become strong enough to survive in the current age.
Since they themselves understood this well, they could somehow accept the reason behind Mūzeg and the other countries only going after the secret arts passed down among the demon lords’ families.
Though the demon lords themselves might be weak but the secret arts passed down in their families which the previous generations spent many long years perfecting could, if used properly, bring forth tremendous power.
Although they were disappointed with the situation where they were demanded for the theory behind their secret arts but there were some who even thought that they would be able to save their lives if they handed over the secret arts.
However, that pale hope was completely scattered when they saw the way that Mūzeg conducted its demon lord hunting but, there was no one who had the courage to resist from the front.
They didn’t want to kill or be killed.
It turned out this way simply because they were born with such a name.
They wanted to throw it away.
Even so, they were unable to throw it away.
It was like a 『curse』 from their ancestors.
The long years that their ancestors spent accumulating experience and research, the glories of the past, the emotions therein, when they faced those head on, they couldn’t get themselves to get rid of it.
If they could still get rid of it, then it would be fine.
Though, now that they had everything engraved on their own bodies, there was no way to throw them away anymore.
If they had thought of things more carefully, there might have been some other way to handle it.
However, by the time they noticed it, they were already being chased.
So they ran.
They ran like their lives depended on it.
When they saw the eyes of those people which looked at them as if they were objects made them sure that there was nothing they could do but to run.
If they could have been without feeling anything then they wouldn’t have run so much.
They would have given up and would have withered away on some battlefield.
The reason they ran was――because they felt scared.
Such people, when faced with a country that was trying to treat them equally, made a decision.
They were also tired of running.
Even if they ran any more, the situation probably wouldn’t improve much.
They had no choice but to stand up now, hate others when needed, love others when it was called for or else they would end up disgracing the name that they have shouldered so long.
They had various reasons that they had whirling inside their minds but, they all decided to fight.
The one who felt fear more than anyone else, the man who turned that into aa strong will――made a certain decision.
Slipping down a slimy, soft bottomless swamp and in the next moment he found himself standing on a battlefield.
For Merea, that was the kind of feeling he had.
Although his body had made the preparations to fight but his insides seemed to be floating around somewhere.
However, that fluttering spirit of his, with a certain piece as the trigger, was trying to fix itself to a certain point.
Salman’s grief stricken howl still lingered in his ears.,
――Is that so.
That wasn’t awareness.
It isn’t something he himself had realised but rather it was something that he was forcefully made to realise.
――Will I be able to throw my life away?
For Merea, what affected him the most wasn’t the fact that he and the other demon lords were being chased or that their lives were being targeted.
He had already noticed that during the situation that happened on that sacred mountain and had somehow accepted it.
However, the stuff that happened a moment ago made him understand the difference in this world even more.
――Is this the kind of world where people who don’t even know me, would throw their lives away for me?
For their cause, those people died trying to save people they hadn’t even spoken to once.
For Merea, that was the event that caused the largest impact on him.
At that moment, the world that Merea had been seeing cracked.
He felt like he could hear the sound of the glass covering his world cracking.
From the other side of the broken glass, he could see a world with solid colours.
It was as if his world which was black and white till then suddenly had various colours.
Merea felt like his body was being restructured.
It felt like his old body was falling apart and withered away.
Along with the scene in front of him being full of colours, this time he felt like something was overflowing from deep within himself, all the way from his soul.
That kept stacking up and it seemed to wrap around his soul like flesh.
Such a sound could be heard.
He suddenly felt like he could see his old self’s remains at his feet.
Those remains had a rather nostalgic air around them.
The 『himself』 from his previous world.
The remains were white.
With absolutely no other colours, it was stark white.
Gray coloured remains scattered over it.
The monster of the sacred mountain of Lindholm.
The existence that couldn’t exist anywhere else but there, a half-hearted existence that was hard to tell whether it had any colours or not.
He looked at his hand.
His current body had the colour of skin.
This was his current self.
Most probably, this is his current self who is trying to live in the current world.
――White and gray are both my colours.
However, right now he was extremely happy that he was able to get this current flesh colour.
Thinking that, he finally faced forward.
He could see a wave of black armoured people on the other side.
Merea, at that time, resolved himself.
That resolution――caused the demon god to grow fangs.
The trigger that caused the monster to grow fangs was neither his comrade’s words or his comrade’s death nor was it any danger he himself faced.
Instead, it was the 『death』 of someone who he didn’t even know but could be considered the most vivid person and possibly the symbol of the current world.