Chapter 1: The Demon King’s Strongest Hand (1)
White hands as pale as the moon firmly gripped the desk.
Underneath it was nothing but a piece of white paper.
The hand that stopped, withdrew slowly after a brief pause, leaving only the piece of white paper behind.
The man who was watching the withdrawing hand looked down at the paper on top of the desk and saw the words ‘Resignation Letter’ written on it.
His eyes widened, and his face turned ashen before he could even lift his head.
The man with red eyes and white hair looked at the man’s flustered expression and spoke in a firm voice, without a hint of emotion.
If the Empire has ‘Heroes’, the Demon Kingdom has ‘Corps Commanders’.
Just as the Empire puts forward its capable generals, the Demon Kingdom also puts forward its ‘Commanders’.
Therefore, the Corps Commanders serve as both the sword and shield of the Demon Kingdom, as well as a symbol of strength.
Officially, there are a total of 12 Corps Commanders in the Demon Kingdom, numbering from 1 to 12, but in fact, there is one more, hidden in secret, unmentioned Corps Commander.
The people of the Demon Kingdom, and even the enemy Empire’s army, don’t know of the secret, Zero Corps Commander.
The person in charge of the Zero Corps was none other than the one who had killed the last ‘Hero’, virtually the strongest Commander in the Demon Kingdom.
Having such a powerful Commander suddenly say they will resign was unimaginable.
“I can’t let a talent like you go to waste!”
With great determination, the Demon King grabbed his subordinate’s legs and sat down on the ground.
Usually the Zero Commander hardly spoke and moved around, so when he came here personally, he wondered why, and was even a little happy.
But to say something like this.
Maybe he wasn’t being sincere.
As always, it was just a test.
It must be.
He raised his head while still holding onto the legs tightly.
His gaze met the red eyes, and silence flowed.
Perhaps he could tell from his eyes what he was trying to say.
‘If I go this far, you can’t tell me that you’re really going to quit, right?’
His eyes, which had been stiff all along, trembled slightly to see if his intentions worked properly.
At first glance, it was not obvious, but the Demon King, who was concentrating on him, was able to catch it quickly.
It was shaking.
Then we shouldn’t stop here.
He let go of the legs he was holding on to and jumped up.
Instead, this time he grabbed onto both shoulders.
“Why? Is there something not to your liking? Do your subordinates treat you badly? Are they discriminating against you just because you’re human? Which b*****d is it? Tell me, I’ll make them regret being alive!”
Contrary to his harsh tone, he was convinced that they wouldn’t do such a thing.
The power of the human was so strong that everyone had no choice but to acknowledge it.
No, what is ‘acknowledge’? To the demons, he possessed overwhelming strength that can’t be obtained even with hard work.
Far from being friendly, everyone was in awe and respect, who would be brave enough to mess with him?
Nevertheless, there was a reason for doing this.
Deon Hart, known as “Demon Arut” in the Demon Castle, was the next “human” in command after the Demon King.
He was the only human in the castle, so he didn’t know what other humans were like, but unlike other demons, he was extremely reluctant to see someone’s blood.
So when it came to this, there was no choice but to react somehow.
Just as he was about to leave the office, his wrist was grabbed.
Turning around, he saw a pair of red eyes looking at him with a hunting gaze.
The Demon King forced on a smile.
‘…Looks like you’re finally willing to talk.’
The other party was his most treasured subordinate, and one who had just handed in his resignation letter, so instead of shaking him off, he let out a deep sigh and sat down with a tired expression.
“I’ll ask again.
What is the reason?”
“…Are you going to kill me?”
It was simply a genuine curiosity, but the response was another question rather than an answer.
Are you going to kill me? What a scary thing to say.
He was surprised and looked up, their eyes met.
The red eyes that looked fierce were staring at him without any flicker.
He let out a hollow laugh.
‘That wasn’t my intention, but if I stay here any longer, my throat might really get ripped out.’
Although he was a Demon King with no one to fight except for the Hero, the man in front of him was threatening.
If he were to act on his thoughts and grab him by the throat, he would have to suffer greatly.
A voice intended to calm down the other party flowed out smoothly.
“There’s no way I could kill you! I just want to know why.”
He opened his mouth to speak after a brief moment of silence, but then started coughing.
Blood poured out onto the desk full of paperwork.
He reflexively reached out and caught the blood.
His head was spinning too much to even think of any other actions.
Poison? No, he had been using a poison detection spell since seeing the blood, but there was no reaction.
Then there was only one possibility left.
Officially, Deon Hart had killed the Hero.
Naturally the Hero was extremely strong, so he had suffered great injuries, and as a result, his already poor body was completely ruined.
He had also occasionally vomited blood like this.
‘The truth is, it’s not because of that, but in any case, the aftermath was fitting, and the outcome was the same.’
He suffered from hematemesis several times before, but the frequency had clearly increased.
The thought of possibly losing a valuable talent made his skin crawl.
At that moment, Deon belatedly realized the situation and took a few steps back from the desk, covering his mouth.
It seemed like he was trying to hold back the blood as he made a strained sound.
The paperworks are…”
“That’s not the problem right now! Get the doctor! The Zero Corps Commander’s doctor! What the hell is he doing when his patient is so sick?!?!”
The entire castle was shaken by the Demon King’s screams, and chaos ensued.
The attending doctor Ben came running from far away.
My thoughts regarding making red stains on the carpet in the Demon King’s room were very simple.
‘Shit, I’m screwed.’
I just wanted to turn in my resignation letter and quit, but of course, blood had to come up and dirty the paperworks, dirty the carpet, and even bother the attending doctor… Isn’t this the perfect situation to get hit by someone?
I’ll be happy if I just get hit.
The opponents are demons.
If it was a human, it would just be a simple matter of getting angry and moving on, but demons are the ones who brandish their swords and say “apologize with your life!”
So I gritted my teeth, pale with tension and stiff with fear, and automatically submitted to Ben’s examination.
“Deon, can you hear my words? How many do these look like to you?”
I replaced the body language I would use to try to survive with a reliable answer and thought back to the situation a little while ago.
My name is Deon Hart.
Due to some misunderstanding, I am known as “Demon Arut” in the Demon Kingdom.
“Some” misunderstanding is not the right way to put it.
The reason I submitted my resignation letter is because of this “misunderstanding.”
What misunderstanding, you may ask? It’s that the Demon Kingdom, including the Demon King, all have the wrong impression that I am ridiculously strong.
Ha, what a funny story.
Perhaps even the chef of this castle is stronger than me.
At least the chef is a “demon.”
But that’s not what’s important.
The continued overestimation even gave me a sense of dread, and it seemed to warn me to get out before it was too late.
Is overestimation good? It’s only good if it’s in moderation.
Too much overestimation makes me fear the consequences.
Especially in the Demon Kingdom, where even the Demon King himself is over evaluating me and treating me accordingly.
Just think what would happen if the truth was revealed.
Maybe that will be the day I die.
And it won’t be a comfortable death.
‘I want to run away.’
But if I just run away quietly, the Demon King will surely chase after me with an army, shouting “I can’t let go of a talent like you!!” I might even be captured and imprisoned, or worst of all, I might die.
Even among humans, there is a saying “If I can’t have it, no one can!” Let alone demons.
I’ve never heard of enemies resembling each other.
But, the Demon King definitely resembles the Emperor of the Human Empire when it comes to recruiting talented people.
Even if I told the truth, it’s not like anyone would believe me, and even if they did, they might say “have you been lying to me all this time?!” and hang me…
So I tried to face him directly and untie the knots.
I even thought that if I was lucky, I could leave a message with my resignation letter and disappear like the wind.
I never expected the Demon King would grab onto my legs and not let go.
[No! I can’t let you do that!!]
I expected to be scolded to some extent.
‘But that wasn’t in my plan!’
Grabbing my legs, does the Demon King not have any self-respect?!
While I screamed inwardly, I couldn’t even move.
That’s because I was scared.
‘The Demon King is on my legs! Damn it, the Demon King!!!!’
The opponent is the Demon King himself.
He is the strongest Demon King in history who has always protected the Demon Kingdom without causing much damage even when he fought with Heroes.
Just one finger from him and my life would go flying – poof!
If I make a wrong move and accidently hit him, what will happen?
It’s something that can be easily predicted without even having to test it.
So, I stood there motionless like a statue, until he let go first.
I’m sure I would have leaped out of my skin if he had let go even a little later, no matter how tense the situation was.
Whatever the shift in his mind was, when our gazes connected, he let go and abruptly stood up.
He let go of my legs, but now he had his hands on my shoulders!
He began to speak while placing his hands on both of my shoulders, as if trying to hold on to me.
Anyways, the Demon King.
“Why? What’s bothering you?”
The reason I handed in my resignation letter in the first place was because,
“Is it your subordinates? Are they discriminating against you because you’re human?”
They treat me so well it’s overwhelming.
You might think it’s ‘treatment appropriate for your talent’, but I don’t.
I mean, I truly don’t have any talent!
In fact, my physical abilities are weaker than the average person.
‘I should have been suspicious when they first tried to recruit me.’
I should have been suspicious of what use someone like me could have.
I had no choice but to accept since I was afraid they would kill me if I refused…
…Huh? Now that I think about it, I never had a choice to begin with.
I took a deep breath that seemed to have reached my throat.
I have to get out of here now.
Since the final boss, the Demon King, was treating me better than I thought, it won’t be completely impossible…
“Which b*****d is it?! I’ll order their execution right this instant…”
No! No, no!!
I grabbed him with a gasp as he quickly headed towards the office door.
Who am I meant to pick? Who will be held accountable if he instructs the execution of a subordinate? Of course, the target will be the source of it all, me!
Look, even if they treat me well, it’s too much.
Damnit, why do I feel like crying?
Fortunately, the Demon King sat back down with a sigh, revealing his true feelings.
“Let me ask you again.
What’s the reason?”
Somehow, his voice sounded softer and it felt like a sign of surrender.
I’m not sure if it’s a misunderstanding, but it’s best to be cautious, so instead of answering, I looked at his face and asked,
“Are you going to kill me?”
Oh, this isn’t it.
I got too tense and my words came out too bluntly.
As expected, the Demon King, with an ominous gaze, turned to look at me.
What did that gaze say?
Is it a gaze that says ‘how did you know?’ or a gaze that says ‘shall I kill you or spare you?’.
Perhaps it’s a gaze that says ‘servants with sharp intuitions like you are a nuisance.’
Should I apologize right now…? No, before that, will apologizing even save me?
No matter how much I think about it, nothing but a dark future comes to my mind.
I can’t avoid that intense gaze, I could only mumble and fidget.
As if he was trying to read my mind, the Demon King finally lowered his head.
“There is no way I could kill you.
What’s the reason? Talk to me.”
Though I hesitated, it was only for a moment.
Anyway, since I was planning to escape from the castle, this was a necessary process.
I can’t run away, no, I shouldn’t.
So, I opened my mouth.
Suddenly, the familiar, bitter smell of blood spread from my mouth to my nose.
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