Chapter 9 – Request From Shop Fairy
Why’s the Shop Fairy here? Oh yeah, she’s actually on the demon king side.
“Well well, it looks like you’re gathering information about His Majesty the Demon King.”
“Yeah. We don’t know what kind of person he is, after all.”
“Yep, that’s exactly it.”
There was no way to hide it, so I admitted the truth when the Shop Fairy asked. Lusha also agreed, and even said “Can’t we ask her?”
“No, it’s fine. It’s important to gather information on your own, after all.”
The shop fairy told us that gathering our own information can be much more reliable than being led around by potentially strange information from one person.
“So why are you here, Shop Fairy?”
I didn’t expect to encounter her at any other time than when she was opening a store in a forest or dungeon. She replied immediately, as if she had been waiting for that question.
“My my; actually, it’s about His Majesty, so I wanted to ask you for some advice, Hiroki.”
“About the Demon King?”
Was there possibly anything she needed to ask an outsider like me? I still didn’t have this world’s common sense; I only knew about evasion and recovery. [ED: This was clearly also true in your original world.] In terms of what I might be able to help with… well, let’s see what she has to say.
“Here isn’t exactly… well, can we go somewhere else to talk about this?”
“Of course; besides, we’ll just be hearing you out first, is that okay? What about you, Lusha?”
“Of course it’s fine.”
“My my; thank you, both of you.”
The Shop Fairy thanked us and led the way, so Lusha and I followed.
◆ ◆ ◆
We had visited the Demon King’s Castle once before, but we had no other choice but to wait later since Mr. Cruz wasn’t there… honestly, I didn’t think I’d come back here again. Guided by the Shop Fairy, we entered the castle proper.
Since it’s called the Demon King’s Castle, I originally thought it might have rather macabre decorations… but that wasn’t the case at all. The corridor was beautifully polished marble, and the walls were lined with lights, the more than adequate lighting contributing to a calm atmosphere. The room we were brought into was equipped with an elegant table and sofa.
I had my suspicions that this place might be much more elegant than the castle in the human country.
“Wow, it’s so gorgeous. To bring us inside the castle so easily…”
“Lusha, you’re too excited.”
I smirked in amusement when I saw her getting flustered. Certainly, one won’t be treated at the royal castle, unless they’re a noble. Like her, this was my first time receiving such hospitality. I had once been treated to a prison cell, though.
After the maid prepared tea and cakes and left, the Shop Fairy started explaining.
“Well, uh, actually, His Majesty the Demon King… is a shut-in.”
When I heard something I had never expected, my eyes inadvertently unfocused. No, seriously, a shut-in? Is he weak or something? My impression of a powerful Demon King fell apart on the spot. Lusha’s mouth was agape next to me; no doubt she didn’t expect that either.
“What I wanted to request from you was to hold an announcement ceremony. Actually, I wanted him to show himself sooner in front of the citizens, but he said he didn’t want to come out because he doesn’t like doing that.”
“Is that really a problem I can handle?”
Wasn’t she asking the wrong person? In a case like this, why not ask a counselor or something? I suggested that and the shop fairy just shrugged, saying, “What? You’re just different, Hiroki; that’s why I thought the demon king would talk to you.”
What’s the difference? That’s rude, you know.
“Come on, that’s a compliment!”
“Like I said… there’s nothing I can do, right? On the contrary, I feel that the possibility of not meeting him is higher than if I was someone else. What kind of person is the Demon King, anyway?”
I don’t know anything about him at all, so I asked the Shop Fairy for an explanation.
“The name of His Majesty the Demon King is Tito Apricot. He just newly became the Demon King after the death of his father, the previous Demon King. The public knows this, but the announcement hasn’t yet been made.”
“I see. Is he still young?”
“Well, his majesty is still thirteen years old.”
“He’s still so young…!”
He’s even younger than me… Since he stood at the top of the demon country at the same time as his father’s death ― he could certainly become a shut-in. I wonder if he’s a kind-hearted Demon King.
“Such a small child is the Demon King… But I’m worried about him secluding himself for such a long time… For now, let’s try to talk to him.”
“Yeah. I don’t know if he’ll really see us, but for now, all we can do is give it a try.”
“Oh my, thank you!”
When Lusha and I agreed to try, the shop fairy spoke up excitedly.
“Well now, Hiroki is different, so I’m sure His Majesty will open his heart too!”
“Quit saying I’m different!”
“Well then, I’ll show you to His Majesty right away! Both of you, follow me.”
I thought we had to wait till tomorrow, but it turns out that we’ll meet him right away.
Even though the other party is a demon king, I wonder if it’s okay to be so suddenly.
“My heart is beating fast, Hiroki.”
“Is that so.”
“Oh, goody! The Demon King’s room is just past the courtyard!”
When we left the room and went to the corridor leading to the courtyard, I saw the tower which was actually the demon king’s room on the other end of the blooming flowers. There were two guard knights in front of a door that seemed to connect to that tower. Suddenly, I stopped looking at it.
“Is that a pacaloo?”
“You’re right! But why is it here? They’re supposed to be taken care of in a barn or something.”
Pacaloo are fluffy monsters similar to alpaca. They can pull a carriage like horses, but their speed is overwhelming compared to a horse. I wanted to ride one someday, but I was a little afraid to touch it when I heard they could be pretty violent and might tear off your arm and rip it to shreds… such a scary animal.
The shop fairy looked at the pacaloo and said, “Come now, it’s been let out intentionally. I mean, it’s the demon king’s pet.”
In that case, I’m sure we’d better get along well. The door of the tower opened and a person came out from inside.
“Huh, that… He’s the demon king!?”
He had bright red hair which was closer in shade to pink. Should I say it’s impressive? That hair was unkempt, with bangs longer than his eyes, and he even wore glasses on top of that. The clothes were oversized, with the sleeves rolled back, and the black cloak he wore was dragging on the ground because it was so much longer than his height.
I got the impression he was absent-minded. Personally, I thought a man should have a cleaner look. The demon king went over to the pacaloo and looked to be giving it some fruit. Was it time for its meal?
Lusha and I looked at each other, and then looked at the shop fairy. The three of us nodded.
“Your majesty, I’ve brought Hiroki, a Healer. I think― I’m sure you’ll get along with him.”
“Nice to meet you, I’m Hiroki.”
“My name is Lusha. It’s an honor to meet with you.”
The demon king saw us when we introduced ourselves after the shop fairy’s introduction. However, we couldn’t see his expression because of his long bangs.
After a pause, the demon king just bowed to us quickly and returned to the tower in a hurry. I heard he was a shut-in, but we couldn’t even exchange words, huh?
“So it seems it’s impossible to talk…”
“Oh, my… it’s because His Majesty the Demon King is very shy.”