No matter what happened in the world, time flowed at the same rate for everyone. Whether there was a comedy or a tragedy, the sun rose in Violuwin. Under the bright light, the devastation covered by the darkness came out in full display: the collapsed gates, damaged walls, and numerous buildings were burned down by the fire. The sight of monsters and humans’ corpses intertwined with each other gave off an air of despair. It seemed like a distant past that Violuwin was renowned around the world as a tourist city. However, despair was not the only thing that existed in this city.
“Hey, try lifting this up!”
“Be careful! The pillar burned off, so if you are not careful, everything will collapse!”
The people who survived yesterday’s calamity were slowly gathering and working together. They threw away their fears, swallowed their sadness and anger, and began working for the future together. While Violuwin was raising its structure and cleaning up the ruined structures, Zich was lost in thought in his room.
‘I wonder what this is?’
He looked at the sword that looked like a tree branch. But he was sure that it was not an ordinary sword. Using Estellade, the tree branch sword probably transported Zich and Lyla to where it was (but for that to be true, it transported them to a place too far away). The sword also transported them back to where Estellade used to be. Moreover, it awakened the mana inside Zich’s body for a short duration.
‘Those shadow beings were also related to those guys.’
Even though Lyla swept most of them away with her magic, a few of them survived and hid behind cracks between the walls or behind the rocks. However, when Zich pulled out the tree branch sword, all of the shadow beings disappeared. Zich stretched out his hands on the sword’s blade. There were multiple blades like a tree branch, and he swiped the blade with the Key That Distorts Destiny with his hand.
He didn’t put any strength on it. The sword’s side was extremely sharp, and Zich didn’t have a hobby of cutting himself with a sword.
‘I should keep this.’
Zich had no intention of letting this sword go, especially since the Key That Distorts Destiny was now part of this sword. He was going to slowly find out its identity as he carried it around with him.
“Come in.” In an empty space, Zich suddenly increased the volume of his voice.
The door opened, and Lyla came in. She looked surprised. “I didn’t even knock.”
“If I can’t even sense a magician standing outside, I should break my sword and start farming.”
Now that she thought about it, Lyla thought it would be ridiculous if Zich failed to sense her presence at his level of skill and accepted this explanation. Lyla was staying at the same lodging as Zich and his companions. Zich was the one who had suggested for her to stay at his lodging.
“Why don’t you sit?” Zich put the tree branch sword next to his chair and pointed towards a chair in front of him. Lyla did not refuse and sat on the chair.
“Do you have something to tell me?”
Lyla brought her fist towards her chest and let out a sigh. “You wanted to know about the information I had, right?”
“Haven’t we finished that conversation?”
“I will tell you.”
Was Zich’s plan to ‘get closer to her and take all the information she had’ successful? Zich clasped his hands together and put them under his chin. “Are you not going to put a limit to your questions like last time?”
“Then that’s good for me.”
“But I have a condition.”
“Your habit of putting conditions on everything is not too good though.”
Lyla ignored Zich’s words and pointed her finger at the sword that looked like a tree branch. “Is that a good sword?”
“Yep. I don’t know what exactly it is, but it was able to awaken all my mana for a short time and it might do it again. Estellade and Tornium both strengthen their users. As someone who has used all three of them, this sword is actually the best at strengthening my power.”
“Then you have no need for Tornium anymore.”
Zich realized what Lyla was trying to say.
“I only have one condition. Just keep on using that sword and don’t go back to using Tornium.”
“…Honestly, ever since I got this sword, I’m not interested in Estellade or Tornium, but you’re really persistent.”
“Really? You have no interest in Tornium at all?” She looked very pleased. “That’s a good decision. Don’t even think about going back for Tornium.”
“Okay, okay.” In Zich’s perspective, there was no reason for him to disagree.
“Well then, what type of question should I ask?” He crossed his legs and leaned back. He looked up at the ceiling and tried to pick a question.
“First, your identity…or is that question too vague?”
“I actually don’t have much to say about that.”
Zich scowled. “What do you mean? That’s different from what you just said…”
Then Zich swallowed back his annoyance. He thought back on Lyla’s behavior so far. “Has your memory been foggy from the very beginning?”
“…Are you really the person who is going to become the Demon Lord of Strength? The way you talk, the way you use your head, and your keen sense—everything doesn’t go well with the title, ‘The Demon Lord of Strength’.”
“It’s because when you get powerful, you start depending only on that. When I first left my family, I was really weak so there were a lot of situations where I had to use my head to barely get by. During that time, I went through all sorts of things. Maybe, as a result of that, once I started having enough strength to crush the world, I hardly used my brain. One of my subordinates was even in charge of the brains.”
“That’s the future you saw?”
“Well, yeah.” Even though Zich didn’t see his future like Lyla did and actually experienced it firsthand, he didn’t feel the need to tell her that part.
“Then do you have no idea what you are?”
“No, I don’t know. When I gained consciousness, I was already running away. I can’t remember anything about me, the people who were chasing after me, and why they were chasing after me. I only have vague memories about the futures I saw in my dreams, and there’s been a pressure in my heart to never get caught.”
“Their goal probably has something to do with the memories of the future you have.”
Lyla had also considered this, so she nodded at Zich’s analysis.
“And you don’t remember the memories of the future that well either?”
“Yeah. And the memories I have of the future are probably not useful for someone like you who also sees the future. Even though I saw many different futures, I don’t remember the exact flows and processes of my dreams, so as for knowing specific information about the future, you might know more than me. But even then, if you are curious, I can tell you as much as I know.”
“I will listen to that later.” Zich changed his question. “Why were you in Ospurin?”
“Because I wanted to make sure if the memories I had were really real. From my memory, the figure that was closest to me was the person called Vampire.”
“He’s not Vampire anymore. He’s now Count Joachim Dracul.”
Lyla blinked her eyes several times. “…Did something happen?”
“I changed his future. So, he won’t become the Vampire anymore.”
“…Why did you do that?”
“Because he used to be one of my subordinates. Since I decided to live a kind life, if he becomes a bad guy, I might have to kill him with my own hands.”
Lyla gazed at Zich. “Can I ask you a question?”
“Since you are answering my questions, I won’t refuse to a certain extent.”
“You won’t become Zich Moore, right?”
“At least for now, I have no such plans.”
Even if it hadn’t been for Glen Zenard’s final words, Zich thought that he probably wouldn’t live as a Demon Lord again; he had already lived that kind of life to the fullest. He was able to have a second chance at life—wouldn’t it be too boring if he lived the same life as before?
“My life goal right now is to live a kind life,” Zich said this with sincerity, but it failed to raise Lyla’s trust in him. Lyla reacted as if she was hearing bullshit.
“Yesterday, was he called…Imor? I can’t forget what you did to him before he died.” Moreover, Lyla was shocked to hear from Hans and Snoc about Zich’s sadistic tendencies—to enjoy giving false hope and taking it away in the next moment.
“To tell you the truth, that was the main reason why I wanted to make a deal with you so you won’t get Tornium.”
No matter how one looked at it, Zich’s hobby was what a villain would do. However, even with Lyla’s criticism, Zich was unaffected. Instead, he straightened his chest in pride. “In the end, I was able to get information about you thanks to that. There’s no problem at all.”
“…I can’t follow your train of thought at all.” Lyla followed Hans and Snoc’s decision to give up on understanding Zich.
While Lyla was sluggishly sitting on the chair, Zich continued to question her. “Why were you in the ancient ruins?”
“That was my home base. Even if I have a lot of knowledge about various subjects, I don’t have money or experience. Moreover, I’m constantly getting chased. So out of all the places I remembered, I hid there. As you know, it’s a good place to hide.”
Lyla recalled how she felt like a child that got thrown into the world with only information from books.
“…But I can’t believe they followed me all the way there.” Lyla’s voice trembled. She tightened her grip on the chair’s armrest and bowed her head. Her clear eyes looked as if they were going to let out tears at any moment.
The attacks against the city were not her fault. Zich had already said this, and his thoughts hadn’t changed. ‘But I guess normal people would feel guilt.’
Her words and the robed figures’ shoutings to capture Lyla first all indicated that Lyla was speaking the truth.
‘In the beginning, they tried to capture her by sending a tracking team. And when that failed, they turned the entire city into a battleground to find her.’
They were really clingy, insect-like bastards. They had a large number of people and strength, but most of all, they were tenacious.
‘I guess that’s how important Lyla is to them.’
Zich put out his hand and placed it over Lyla’s hand. She raised her head. Her teary eyes opened wide in surprise.
“I told you this before, but it’s not your fault,” Zich comforted her with a low voice.
Lyla’s eyes became a bit blurry, and soon enough, a tear fell. She put her head back down and cried for a bit. Zich held her hand the whole time, but her crying did not last long.
She lifted her head with embarrassment, took out her hand from Zich’s grasp, and wiped her tears. “I never imagined that you would comfort me.”
“It’s because I’m a bad guy trying to live a kind life.”
“What kind of answer is that?” She burst out in quiet laughter. Even though her throat was still sore, she felt a lot better. Zich also stared at her with a small smile.
However, inside his mind, he made a mischievous smile. ‘If I act like this, she will open her heart further.’
The kindness he showed to her was perfectly calculated. His plan to get closer to her to squeeze out all the information she had was still in process.
‘Since her memory is fuzzy, she seems to have forgotten most of the information she knows. But she might remember more things later on, so I should prepare for the future.’
At this point in time, only amateurs would forcefully make her spit out information to reap immediate benefits. While thinking these insidious thoughts, Zich didn’t erase the smile from his face.
“Pweh, I calmed down. Thank you.” She wiped all the tears from her face and fixed her expression. Then she looked at Zich as if she was completely fine. “What’s the next question?”
Her voice also returned to normal. But it seemed as if she was embarrassed about crying in front of Zich and her cheeks were red. Zich pretended to not notice.
‘Hmmm, is there more for me to ask?’
Now that Zich knew that her memories were incomplete, he didn’t have much to ask her. Honestly, he wasn’t very interested in the futures that she saw. It was enough for him to continue doing kind acts and just know the future of the world he was currently living in. What Zich was most curious about was Lyla’s identity and the group who was chasing after her. But right now, she had no memory of either of these topics.
‘Damn, she has nothing.’ He couldn’t help but think. ‘Well, whatever. If her memory comes back later, I can get more information out of her.’
While planning for the future, Zich decided to end their questioning time with a few more questions. “What is Brave?”
It was the last name Lyla had recommended to him. He didn’t expect much while asking this. He merely asked to scrap any information that Lyla had. She could have also just said that last name on a whim. But the answer that came back to Zich blew his mind.
“Zich Brave. It was probably the name you used when you worked as a hero.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter