The Gravesite and Secrets of Past Generations of Demon Kings
There’s a good chance for monsters to be here, so of course, I took point as we carefully descended the spiral staircase. At the bottom was a spacious area which I would have never expected to see underground. Flowers bloomed everywhere, and there was a large tree in the center with a grave.
Fortunately, there didn’t seem to be any monsters.
Is that where generations of demon kings have been laid to rest?
“It actually turned out to be a beautiful place, didn’t it, Hiroki?”
“Yeah, it did. For now, let’s head for that tree ― hey, Tito-sama!? Are you okay? …Well, I guess not…?”
“Eh!? Tito-sama, are you alright?!
Perhaps because the grave was in sight, tears fell from the demon king’s eyes. Lusha was terribly perplexed and panicked.
“Your Majesty, pull yourself together…”
“I’m sorry. I’m fine now,” he said while wiping his tears on the hem of his robe. The demon king walked right up to the grave.
We followed from behind and kept an eye on the situation. Lusha also seemed to realize there was a grave next to the tree, and looked on quietly. The demon king knelt down in front of the grave and gently put his hands together.
I’m sure he’s praying for something. It’s… probably best to leave him alone for a while.
I also put my hands together, indicating prayer, and sat down where I was. I also admired this soft, comfortable grass. It was growing well, even though it was underground. Lusha and the Shop Fairy also sat down and quietly waited for the demon king’s prayer to end.
How much time passed?
Eventually he began to talk about himself.
“…As I mentioned to Hiroki earlier, this is the gravesite for demon kings. Naturally, my parents… and my grandparents… are all sleeping here.”
Lusha covered her mouth with her hands, empathy showing on her face.
“My parents were very kind and took great care of me, and my little sister. That’s why they now lie here…”
I wondered how those things were related while Tito spoke as though he was about to disappear. I decided not to be impatient and waited for him to continue at his own pace.
He took a moment to calm himself, inhaled, and spoke again. My eyes went wide as saucers. I couldn’t believe the words coming out of his mouth.
“I was told to eat my little sister.”
“Wh ― ?”
I didn’t even know what that meant.
“Who the hell told you to do that?”
“…It was my grandfather, the demon king preceding my parents. The reason was so stupid when I think about it now.”
For generations, the first child of the demon king had always been a boy. However, this time Tito and his twin sister were born together. Since there was no precedent for twin demon kings, his grandfather was extremely upset.
It was only a little different from the established traditions, so they would have been fine if they just went along with it. But Tito-sama’s parents were so kind that they loved the two of them without worrying about tradition.
However, the happy days didn’t last long, because of this very dungeon beneath the demon king’s castle.
“This dungeon seems to maintain its shape by absorbing the magical power of the demon king. I don’t know if it’s because I was born as a twin, but I was told there wasn’t enough magical power to maintain the dungeon.”
So just let it disappear! And his parents indeed proposed that to his grandfather, but aside from the Grave of Demon Kings was the great tree and that rare ore mine. The grandfather told them they were too beneficial to this country and couldn’t be thrown away.
“Therefore, I was told to eat my twin sister and take her magical power.”
We couldn’t speak. It seems extremists exist in any world, but Tito was still alive right now. Did his parents help?
No, wait… when I first examined him through Magic Search, I felt two kinds of magic within him. If he really took over another person’s magic, that would now make sense. So did he really eat her? And that’s why he refused to be a proper demon king and became a shut-in, playing games every day… is that it?
The demon king I’ve come to know in the last few days can’t be that kind of person. He’s a gentle child who shed tears in front of his parents’ grave.
“So, what happened?”
I went ahead and asked him directly when I realized it. I probably wanted to hear it was a lie directly from his own mouth.
“I ate my little sister ― or so the story goes. We faked it all, and let her escape this country. I’m sure we’ll never see each other again.”
“You saved your little sister, right?”
“Yeah. But that was all I could do, because I’m weak. In the end, my parents fought with my grandfather; they came to blows ― and died together.”
And so Tito became a shut-in of a demon king.
“If I don’t have children, the demon king will disappear, right? It might just be a small-minded, childish idea…”
I shook my head and denied it.
“No, of course not. You thought deeply about this for a while, it’s not at all absurd.”
“That’s right,” Lusha agreed. “If I were in the same position, I don’t know if I could choose either way.”
How could I ignore a child who’s having such a hard time?
“Thank you both. Fortunately, the nobles are quiet now, and there is no problem. I have the Shop Fairy with me, too.”
“I’ll always be on your side, Your Majesty.”
The boy took a few deep breaths and told me what he kept in his heart all this time.
“I thought I’d keep being a shut-in, but I can’t do that anymore. If someone realized my little sister was alive… she might be targeted. I wanted to become powerful enough to protect her.”
He wanted strength for a very kind reason.
“So, Hiroki, can you lend me your strength a little longer?”
“Of course I’ll help. We’re friends who’ve played games together, after all.”
I wouldn’t have it any other way. The human king summoned me, yet now I was unbelievably close to the demon king. A world that’s not a game or manga can be changed by a single person’s heart.
“I’m here too, Tito-sama!”
“My my, I am too!”
“Thank you, everyone. I will do my best to become a full-fledged demon king… So it’s a shame I didn’t get what I wanted from the treasure chest.”
“What were you wanting?”
Lusha and I couldn’t help asking what he was after. I was right to think the contents of the treasure chest were kind of lackluster… you could have even described them as unfortunate.
“Actually, there is a book series that describes the history of the demon king. I already have two of them, but it seems there are three in total.”
“So you’re still missing one book…”
If it’s about the demon king, you could certainly expect this dungeon’s treasure chest to have that. It’s not strange. I mean, I couldn’t think of any other place where such books might appear. I wonder if it will come out if we beat the boss of the dungeon a few more times and keep opening the treasure chest?
Lusha called out to me. “Hey, could it be… that book, Hiroki?”
“Huh? Oh, you’re right! The one we got from the treasure chest in the dungeon on our way to this city!”
She reminded me of that magic book I couldn’t read at all, so I hurriedly took it out of my bag and gave it to the demon king.
“I don’t know if this is the book you’re looking for, though…”
“…No, this is it. This is the one I was missing.”
“Seriously? That’s good, then.”
The demon king immediately turned the book’s pages and read the contents.
“This series of books tells us about the history of the generations… The first book had chronologies and described the appearance of the first demon King, and the second book described the rare skills only inherited and usable by the demon king. And this one ―”
He drew in a breath.
“All of the Great Trees in this world… a map?”