A Simple Survey:Volume1 File16
File 16: Those Spoken of in Legends
The demon king is looking this way as if she wants to join the party!
I was wearing armor with a skirt. It looked showy, but it caused horrible scratches all over the bottom half of my body while walking through forests and over mountains. (Why did the public want hero girls to dress like this? It made me dread riding a horse. It would rub directly on my legs!) Meanwhile, I swung my sword up and shouted.
“No! You’re the demon king, so you can’t do that! We have to settle this!! I want to defeat the demon king and head back to the kingdom!! This long journey of staying in cheap inns has left me covered in so much sweat you would have a hard time calling me a maiden!! Please just let me sleep in my own bed!!”
“Yeah, but I’m not too happy about this either,” complained a little girl with goat horns coming from her head, bat wings coming from her back, and something like a tail coming from her butt. She was wearing all leather and sitting in the throne with her arms wrapped around her knees. “I took in and raised the elites of my demon king army and my mermaid unit led by an idol officer. So why did they betray me so easily after you kicked their asses!? Give me back the time and money I spent on them!! Actually, if they’ll change their affiliation based on violence, I’ll just kick their asses back onto my side!!”
“I understand how you feel, but let’s just fight. Otherwise this legend will never end.”
“Surely you’re feeling a bit disillusioned after going so far as to make allies of the demon king army and then finding village leaders and others who are causing people to suffer (by holding bizarre rituals in the villages and such). Aren’t you beginning to wonder why you’re risking your life for all humans when so many of them are like that!?”
I wasn’t sure what she was shouting about, so I just corrected her with a puzzled look.
“No, I just slice right through any human bosses. They have almost no combat ability but they still give boss levels of experience points, so they’re quite convenient.”
“That’s some frightening justice!! I-is that the source of the hero’s ever-growing power!?”
“I suppose the failure of the demon king army is their lack of a level up system. That takes out half the fun of battle.”
“That’s partially to prevent the lords from rebelling against me. The demon king has to be the strongest one, after all. Also…”
“Don’t you think we’ve been oddly cast?”
“What do you mean?”
“Why are both the demon king and the hero a girl? If one of us was a guy, you could add all sorts of things to the story like us falling in love and being troubled by the other’s position.”
The hero inspired the people with her legend and the demon king brought fear to the world with her legend. Simply put, an attractive legend would rule the world. For that reason, we paid more attention than you would think to how the world viewed us. We continually repeated action scenes with unnecessary acrobatics in order to give material that the bards would naturally add into their stories.
For that reason, I did understand where the demon king was coming from with her misgivings.
“These days, a guy to identify with is no longer needed. It seems people would prefer to peer down with a god’s eye view into conversations between girls.”
“When I think about that, it just seems really creepy.”
“From the point of view of those being spied on, of course it does. But let me tell you something, demon king. The thing that seems most off to me is your appearance. Why are you a little girl?”
“Wh-what do you mean by that? I’ve lived for 20,000 years yet I still look like this, so it can’t be helped!”
From her position on the throne with her arms wrapped around her knees, the demon king stretched her arms and legs straight out as she protested.
She might have been trying to make her body look larger.
“Hm? Isn’t a female final boss usually more the glamorous type? So what’s with this AAA? Is that a safety standard?”
“Shut up! Jokes like that hurt!! And if you’re going to go there, then isn’t it odd for the hero’s to be so gigantic!? No one can empathize with such a perfect body!! What’s this H nonsense? Is that special made? That kind of figure fits best with a sage or some other side role!!”
“Well, I am the representative of the people. Come to think of it, what does it say about the demon king army that they bow down to a little girl as their representative?”
“Don’t be so rude!! They were captivated by my strength!!”
The demon king swung her arms and legs around while wriggling about in the throne.
But despite how she looked, caution was needed. She did have the power to call down asteroids from the heavens to submerge entire continents.
Then again, I did not particularly care if the king died in a great disaster after he had handed me a wooden stick and requested that I attack the demon king army.
“Hey, hero girl.”
“Don’t you think it would just be a pain in the ass for us to fight?”
“To be honest, I was just thinking that I no longer need to do what the king says now that I’ve leveled up so much. But we should probably still resolve this.”
“We could, but what would you do after that? Surely you don’t think destroying the demon king army and reestablishing human society will resolve every single problem and leave you with nothing but a happy ending, right?”
“Hmm… I had vaguely realized that. I guess it would be hopeless,” I muttered blankly.
The demon king must have been feeling a little more on her game because she leaned back in the throne and folded her legs.
It made me really want to put her in a figure-four leg lock.
“You know, hero girl, this world would fall under the rule of a king who ordered a teenage girl to defeat a demon king with nothing but a stick. It’s obvious there would be countless mistakes if he was on top. And I get the feeling he would outdo even my expectations in that regard.”
“Eh? Then what am I supposed to do? Kick the king’s ass?”
The demon king was feeling even more full of herself now that I had carelessly gone along with her line of conversation, so she placed her elbow on the armrest and rested her chin in her hand. I had to admit, she looked a lot more like a demon king in that pose.
The way she had been sitting with her arms around her knees had been wrong.
“And then who would rule the world once the king was gone? You have to think things through, hero. This is what I’ve been talking about. You need to train the next generation. Whether it’s the demon king army or the human king, just destroying them won’t bring about a happy ending. In fact, when it comes to pure destructive power, you’re a lot like the pure demon king of my grandfather’s day, hero.”
“You mean the 8 bit demon king? He comes up sometimes in the stories on old stone monuments. The battles back then were so simple. It sounds like a lot of fun.”
“Back then, ‘I am the demon king, so I will destroy the world!!’ would cut it. Nowadays, I bet the bards wouldn’t know what to do with that.”
“And I heard you couldn’t save partway through. To tell the whole story, the bards had to go for 50 hours nonstop.”
The goat-horned little girl raised her index finger and said, “How about you create a hero army? Something other than the human army. That way, whoever wins the battle can use their army to govern the world.”
“I’m not sure anyone could stand up to my incredibly harsh training. Also, I’m such a strict martial artist-type that I came all the way here without putting together a party.”
“Go far enough down the path of inducing fear, and it’s no different from having charisma. Could you let me see the manual?”
“As the hero, I can’t do that.”
“How can you say that after you silenced my monsters with your fists and awakened them to the path of masochism? The way I see it, it doesn’t matter who wins because either of us can construct a world bound together by fear.”
“No fair!! You’re trying to bring about an ending where the hero wins but succumbed to the demon king’s curse, aren’t you!? You’re trying to take all the good parts for yourself!! And you’d just get revived later when the dark power filling the world was gathered, wouldn’t you!?”
“Then do you have a more heroic vision of how to handle this? Something other than just doing what the king says?”
Faced with that question, I was at a loss for words.
I restlessly fidgeted my fingers for a bit before speaking.
“Well, there are some things I’d like to do. For example, I could run an armed hero delivery service. The world still has a certain level of monsters in it, so transporting goods can be difficult. A high level hero like me could make a lot of money accompanying a wagon caravan between towns.”
“If you’ve thought it through that much, why don’t you just go do it!? Wait, is that why you brought my monsters under your control!?”
“But if I kick the king’s ass for the sake of my own advancement, I wouldn’t be a hero, would I!? This would be a lot simpler if he was being controlled by evil or something like that!! Demon king, why didn’t you deceive the king? In fact, if the king hadn’t given that order, a hero like me would never have headed out to defeat the demon king!!”
The goat-horned demon king sighed at my simplistic questions.
“He’s incompetent. His only skill is at staying in power as king. He’s a politician. To be honest, I underestimated you because you were a hero prepared by him. I’ve lived for 20,000 years and you’re the first hero to ever get this far.”
“Demon kings always underestimate the heroes. You always spare us early on, saying we are not even worth killing if we would die at so early a stage. It seems like you actually aid our growth if you ask me.”
“Oh, when you’re Level 2 or 3, you challengers just seem cute. Something like a puppy recklessly nipping at your heels. The problem is when you get to Level 300 and have ridiculous strength. Then you get to attack 5 times in a single turn and you have ultimate elemental attacks that ignore defense and can one-shot even my generals. You grow up too fast.”
She must have been recalling when I had been a “puppy” because the demon king pouted her lips, folded her arms, and swung her dangling feet. In that goat-horned little girl’s head might have been an image of my once innocent self biting at those dangling feet.
“So you have the same view as a horrible pet lover who boxes up their cat or dog and throws them outside once they grow too big. That’s a demon king for you. You always head down the path of evil.”
“Yes, but those pets grow giant and become a member of my demon king army, so it’s a great deal for me.”
“You do think things through, I’ll give you that.”
The demon king’s expression turned somehow weary at that comment of admiration.
“Well, I do run an army and a kingdom. Sometimes I wish I was a freelancer like you heroes.”
“You, the demon king, feel constrained?”
“Yes, I do!! Everyone is always demanding I lower taxes, but they also insist I add more to their social security!! There’s something wrong when the demon king’s kingdom has a greater budget for bioenergy than for national defense which is what pays to fight against heroes like you! Don’t you think, hero!?”
“I thought you were the demon king because you were the strongest of the monsters? Why are you that bound by their wishes? If you don’t like something, can’t you just kick their asses to shut them up?”
“That’s the thing with you freelancers. You say you’re fighting to protect, but you can think of nothing but destruction. We’re the one that has worked so hard to stockpile dungeons and ancient superweapons. If it wasn’t for our efforts, the legend of the hero would have been really boring.”
“Sigh. If only I was the demon king. Then things would be more…”
“If only I was the hero. Then by now, I’d be…”
According to the bards, the hero and the demon king made a bet on some kind of prize and began the final battle.
It is unclear what that prize was.
Despite it being the “final” battle, both the hero and the demon king survived.
And no one needs the songs to remind them that the history of the world then underwent a change great enough to make the prophets faint.
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