What’s beyond it and the treasure chest
When I woke up the next day, there was no one in the bedroom. We’d each gone to sleep in a bed, but except for me, the rest were empty.
“…Did I sleep too long?”
I changed my clothes and went to the living room to find Lusha and the Shop Fairy making breakfast.
“Ah, good morning, Hiroki!”
“My my, it’s breakfast time!”
“Good morning,” I said with a yawn. “You two are already excited, huh?” When I tried to get to my seat, still yawning, the Shop Fairy called out to stop me.
“Wh-what’s the matter? Oh, I see. I’ll help you, too.”
“No, not that. His Majesty is outside, so I want you to call him.”
“Tito-sama? Come to think of it, he wasn’t in bed. Alright, I’ll take a look.”
“Please,” affirmed Lusha, so I went out to the dungeon. The dungeon’s boss was there yesterday, but without any monsters around now, it’s peaceful. The Demon King was standing in the center of the room.
“Tito-sama, are you alright now?”
“Hiroki? …Don’t worry, I’m fine now.”
“That’s good. I used Magic Search when you collapsed, so I think it should be fine now that your magical capacity has increased.”
Of course, it’s not for certain, but we can work together to test it later. The Demon King nodded, looked at his hands, and said, “[Fire].”
“You are correct, I can use my magic skills the way I want to.”
“Well done, Tito-sama.”
Flames came out of both of his palms, and it moved according to his will. I didn’t know such tricks were possible with magic skills, but that’s to be expected from the Demon King. Perhaps his ability to handle magic is just that excellent.
“Thank you, Hiroki,” he replied when I thanked him.
“No, that’s all because you worked so hard, right?” I said with a laugh, but he shook his head.
“No. It is because everyone went along with my selfish wishes to keep moving forward. I am very grateful to the three of you.”
“You didn’t even have to say anything, but why did you want to keep going so much?”
If he just wanted to level up and become stronger, he only needed to beat monsters at the lower levels. The Demon Slimes are weak, but Demon Goblins should have given him quite a bit of experience.
“I had no choice but to hide it. Of course I wanted to raise my level, but I also… I wanted to visit the grave.”
“Sleeping here are the past Demon Kings across many generations, and their companions.”
That means his parents are sleeping here, too? Moreover, since he said this was his first time entering this dungeon, it would be his first visit to their grave. Now I understand why he selfishly wanted to keep going down. Rather, I’m relieved I didn’t force him to come back and say it was impossible to keep going.
“I’m sure your parents are happy you came here.”
“I am not worthy of being a demon king, am I? I did not even try to be one, I just became a shut-in and played games all the time.”
In spite of that, everyone around him called him the Demon King and cherished him.
“I am just a stupid demon who gave up on meeting the expectations of the people around him…”
He said it so woefully, I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t know why the previous Demon King died, and I didn’t know how lonely the current Demon King really was.
But if I still have anything to say ―
“I’m glad you’re the Demon King.”
That was how I really felt, from the bottom of my heart.
If it was a demon who reveled in slaughter, we might not have been summoned as heroes at this time.
“I am glad to have met you too, Hiroki.”
The Demon King smiled ― and his bangs parted from that movement, revealing a face I hadn’t seen until now. His big and lovely eyes were narrowed and steadily staring at me.
“Eh… a girl?”
“There’s no way the Demon King would be a woman!” he said, panicking.
“Uh, y-yeah…? Sorry, just a misunderstanding.”
I was shaking my head in disbelief, but ― huh? I nodded right away because the Demon King denied it, but he really did look like a girl. So what does that mean…? Well, there might be a rule that the Demon King must be a man, so I guess it’s better to pretend I didn’t notice. I’m so curious, but I can’t say anything. Maybe Lusha also thinks the Demon King is a boy…
“Breakfast is ready, you know? Let’s eat.”
“Yeah, we’ll be right there.”
Lusha stuck half her face out the door and called me, probably because I hadn’t come back in with the Demon King. I immediately answered and we both went back inside.
◆ ◆ ◆
After breakfast, we went to the boss room again.
“My my, there’s the transporter to send us out of the dungeon.”
“There’s also a treasure chest. As I thought, this floor really is the boss room.”
In addition to the things mentioned by the Shop Fairy and Lusha, respectively, there was also a way to go further. Maybe that led to the graves of the Demon Kings from generations past.
“Let’s open the treasure chest for now. Tito-sama, would you please?”
“Yes, leave it to me.”
The Demon King slowly opened the treasure chest. Inside were four skill books and some money. I expected a rare item because it’s a secret dungeon, but that didn’t seem to be the case.
I was disappointed, but The Demon King was happily looking at the skill books. His level had increased, and this was the first time he ever opened a treasure chest. Moreover, because he’s a gamer, he gets extra enjoyment from the whole thing.
“Let us give one to each person. Shop Fairy will hold my part along with hers.”
“My my, I understand.”
The Shop Fairy stored two skill books, and Lusha and I each got one. The money was given as their expression of gratitude to us, so we accepted it. For now, we also stored them in our bags, and looked at the spiral stairs which were a way to advance to the inner part.
“Uhm, what are we gonna do? Are we going to continue?” Lusha asked.
The Demon King replied, “Ah. I have come here because I still want to go further. Can you keep us company for just a little longer?”
Of course, because no one was against it, we set foot on the path to the tenth floor.
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