Trust From The Demon King
Through the game of life, I feel like I have become a little closer to the Demon King. By the way, the game ended with me in last place, but… well, it was fun, so I’ll say it was a positive experience.
We followed the Demon King and the Shop Fairy to the dining room in the Demon King’s castle. Luxurious chandeliers were hung on the ceiling, and the long table was lined with candles and silver tableware, and adorned with a white tablecloth, embroidered in gold.
The maid pulled up chairs for us and we took our seats, but now I was unreasonably nervous…
I wasn’t expecting a full-fledged dinner. I wonder, since we just ate energetically while playing a game in the Demon King’s room before… honestly, I feel like kicking myself. More importantly, Lusha was really tense. Her elf ears were drooping, and she looked around nervously.
“Oh, I’m so nervous… I don’t know anything about proper table manners!”
“I’m not familiar with them either. However, if you use the tableware from the outside in, it should be good enough. After that, all you have to do is eat slowly and calmly.”
“Y-you’re so knowledgeable! Outside in, right? Got it.”
The Shop Fairy laughed as she watched Lusha examine the tableware.
“You don’t need to be nervous! It’s not like the Demon King himself would say anything about your manners, would he?
“You may be right, but I still feel like I have to behave properly in a place like this…”
Because we were eating in such a grand castle, Lusha probably felt like she had to at least try to live up to the setting.
After I asked the Shop Fairy to tell us if there were any strange customs we had to worry about, the maid brought the first appetizer, and the meal began.
Cold tomatoes covered with sliced hard-boiled eggs and cheese. An elegant presentation, and Lusha gasped in wonder at the sight of it.
Watching her try to eat something with a fork was kind of funny. Her hands were shaking so much as she tried to get the food into her mouth, and then the tension left her in an instant.
“It’s as tasty as it looks, then.”
Lusha’s earnest reaction is almost enough to fill my stomach on its own. I completely agreed with her, though – it was the kind of taste that left one smacking their lips in satisfaction when they finished.
The main course was meat and soup with hot vegetables, and we scarfed it down quickly to proceed to the dessert.
“Well well, I’m glad you two enjoyed it. Now, Your Majesty?”
“That’s right; for dessert, we’ve prepared something special.”
I held my breath with anticipation when I heard that. Every course of this meal was delicious, but it seemed the desserts were set to exceed even that standard.
“I’m really looking forward to it. What kind of food is it ―― !?”
I stopped short when I saw them. I wasn’t expecting this at all. One dish the Demon King told us was special was a dessert made from apricot fruit. The fruit was hollowed out, the insides replaced with a mixed jelly. The plate was served with cream, and it looked both beautiful and delicious.
But it’s a dish made with apricot fruit. I remembered Pino warning us about it, saying, “If you happen to make the fruit of Apricot grass into a meal ― in nine out of ten cases, it would turn out to be poisonous.” I felt in my bones that I needed to remember that, so there’s no way I’d forget it.
Apricot grass is a type of medicinal plant that grows in places with strong magical power. The reason it’s called a grass is because its leaves are the effective part. The stem is neither poison nor medicine, but it has no special effect either, meaning it doesn’t matter if you mix it with anything.
So, well, eliminating your opponent with a poisoned meal… there’s a high possibility of that happening.
I paused, unsure of what to do. Should I eat it? Or is it better not to eat something that I suspect is poison? I don’t know what the Demon King’s intentions are.
I glanced at the Demon King, but I couldn’t see his eyes through his long bangs. His mouth was also expressionless, but I knew he was paying attention to me.
The pleasant dinner was screwed up in one go.
As expected, it seemed like a challenge from the Demon King, regarding whether he can trust me or not. So what about it? With that in mind, I made my decision.
When I ate it, the Shop Fairy smiled. I knew my choice was correct when I saw that. The Demon King is not the kind of person to use poison on others. That’s why I went ahead with it.
Or rather, gamers don’t do that! …or at least I don’t think they want to. [ED: Has the author actually played video games?]
I ate the whole dish, but there was no effect on me. The jelly was thick and delicious, and it definitely fit the description of “special dish.”
“…We thought you would be too afraid to eat more, Hiroki, but you ate it with conviction.”
“I almost lost my mind, but I knew the Demon King wouldn’t serve us poison. We had so much fun playing the game with you, after all,” I said, nodding his way.
“Playing the game? Is that why you believed in me?”
“For me, that alone is a good enough reason.”
I’m a gamer too, after all.
The Demon King laughed in surprise. “I apologize for testing you. There’s something I want to ask of you, so… can you listen to my request?”
“If it’s possible, I’m open to anything.”