Astarte’s Knight - Chapter 13
Chapter 13 - The Real and Foster Parent
After I'd become accustomed to work as a knight, on a day where my once extraordinary daily life had slowly become mediocre .
I was called by the count .
「Thank you for waiting . 」
「Oh, you're finally here, Blood . 」
I had entered a certain room on one of the upper floors for the first time, inside, the 4 key people of this castle were waiting for me .
The count's daughter, Astarte, the butler, Sebastian, the scientist, Rinne, and the count himself .
「Is something wrong? To have called me here so suddenly . 」
「You'll see, it will start soon . 」
It started at the same time the count finished speaking .
A small, palm sized, crystal ball was set up in the center of the room .
A cone-shaped light was emitted from it towards the ceiling, an image was projected there .
It was just like a projector .
The projected image was that of the interior of a castle .
There was little bit of a silver and black, other than that, the main color of the castle was gold .
It was a very powerful looking building .
There was a massive difference from this worn out castle .
The sound from the location can be heard .
I don't know the place we were looking at .
I wonder what everyone there was excited about .
「From here on, the Demon King's speech will begin . Listen carefully . 」
The count says that as if to answer my question .
Perhaps, it's the king of Hell that he's talking about . That would be reasonable if I think about it using common sense .
But was there even one, a Demon King?
For me, who doesn't know anything about the world outside this castle, for a time『Maybe, the count is the king of hell?』was something I had considered . If what I'm hearing now is true, then it seems I was disillusioned about various things .
So, when they say Demon King, what exactly are they talking about .
Before I realized it, the noisy crowd had fell completely silent .
I didn't hear a single sound .
I instinctively shuddered at such stillness .
People will talk .
No matter how much you say 『Be quiet』, silence is impossible once a sufficient number of people have gathered .
Even though I say that, from the other side of the crystal ball, the only thing that could be heard was the quiet rustling of clothes .
Perhaps the charisma of the person called the Demon King allowed such a silence to happen naturally .
Is there an absolute fear of the Demon King in their heart, or is it something similar to faith .
Either way, it's clear he's not an ordinary person .
Just what kind of person is he, the Demon King .
「Here it comes . 」
Sebastian says that .
My entire body instinctively became tense .
There was a moment of silence, then the Demon King appeared .
At first, I didn't understand what was happening .
A few seconds later I realized it .
Someone was running from the inside of the castle while raising a loud voice .
And like that, the Demon King became visible to the public .
The Demon King shouted at the crowd gathered under him .
「I hope everyone is healthy! You guys! I am the 97th demon king, Satan!!」
What's with this high tension old man .
In contrast to my cold attitude, the crowd on the other side of the screen gave a strong response .
I honestly don't understand .
「As expected of the Demon King . To have succeeded in catching everyone's attention from the start... 」
「Yes, it's a terribly cunning plan . He is indeed the Demon King...」
The 2 people beside me admire the strange actions .
I honestly don't understand what they're saying!
The man who called himself the Demon King had such a slender body that it seemed that even me, a Ghoul, would be able to beat him .
Yet he appeared to be around 2 meters tall .
He looked weak in one aspect, yet also gave off a strong appearance from his height .
He was a surprisingly difficult person to grasp .
What's with this guys aesthetics?
He appeared to be an ikemen in his late 20's or early 30's and his reputation with woman seemed to be good .
The demon king I had imagined was a super macho man that would would be wearing gaudy clothes while referring to himself as 'waga' whereas the one in the image was using 'boku'... (TN: Both ways of saying 'I')
My expectations were wonderfully betrayed .
I turned towards my superiors .
「Is this the Demon King? I expected someone a little more dignified...」
It was then that I noticed something .
No one is laughing .
Both Sebastian and the count had a steep look on their face as if they were about to face death in the future, Rinne-san, possibly due to lack of sleep, was sleeping peacefully as she stood there .
What's with this serious atmosphere .
Not receiving any help from them, I turned towards Astarte .
Astarte had surely said that while looking at the blonde-haired man on the screen .
She had a painful look on her face, like she was desperately trying to endure something .
I was reminded of the day I drank sake with the count .
At that time, I'm certain that he didn't say anything about Astarte not being his child?
Apparently there are complicated circumstances in this castle that I wasn't aware of .
As I hesitated about whether I should ask about it, the scene on the screen kept progressing .
It seems that the speech of the Demon King was starting .
The Demon King's speech broke off frequently as if he hadn't memorized it, with him pulling a memo out of his pocket each time .
Both the content of the speech, and the vocabulary used, was something you would expect out of an elementary school child .
Is it really okay, this world .
「Haa-! It's finally over . I don't think I need to pretend anymore, that should have satisfied that annoying minister . 」
Is that so .
「Well then, though I think everyone already knows this! I'll declare it formally here!」
Following those words, the crowd went quiet like the atmosphere until now was a lie .
「Right now! Under my name as the Demon King, Satan! I declare the beginning of 「demon's chess」 to determine the 98th Demon King!」
The voice of the crowd once again swells on the other side of the screen .
On the other hand, I start to wither .
If you've ever been to the live performance live performance of a popular artist you didn't know, you might have felt like this .
Let's not go to the live concert of someone I don't like just because I got a ticket .
「Um, what is demon's chess?」
For the time being, I tried asking a question to the count .
However, the count remained silent while making an unusually serious look .
He didn't even look towards me .
Oi, is this a cold shoulder, this bastard!
「Demon's chess is a war game in Hell . 」
It was Sebastian who answered my question .
「It is used to determine the next Demon King among the 73 direct descendants of the current Demon King . 」
「The direct descendants of the Demon King?」
「They are the children who have the Demon King's blood running through them . There is a total of 73 of them in Hell, all of them are candidates to be the next Demon King . Each of them has been given a castle of Hell . 」
Putting together what I heard, the count is Astarte's adoptive father, and her real father is that blonde Demon King .
The Demon King has 73 children, and one of them is Astarte .
This is too much .
On top of that, Demon's 『Chess』?
I imagined a scene of 73 Astarte in a room calmly playing chess as people clap .
The scene was heavenly... Though, I thought it was a rather strange way to decide the next king of Hell .
「Is it literally just playing chess?」
「Well, it's something similar to chess . However, the castles themselves are the chess board, while we are the pieces, and destroying each piece is done in real time instead of turn by turn . Essentially, it's a war game . 」
We are the pieces? A war game?
I was reminded of SRPG's and team sports like Rugby by his words .
「Heh- . So it's a sport that's similar to an all out war . It sounds interesting . 」
「『Sounds interesting?』 Fufuu, it's scary if you find something like this interesting . 」
「During the previous『Demon's Chess』how many victims were there, Sebastian . 」
「The number of castles annihilated as a result of the game was 62, the number of castle owners that died was 72, along with 43 along with 43 other important people, as for the subordinates... It would be ridiculous to even try and count . Well, most of that was done by the current Demon King . 」
That's a lot of death .
Apparently, the blonde devil on the screen was a terribly scary person even if you couldn't imagine it from his appearance .
「By any chance, are we also going to participate in it?」
「Naturally, since no castle has the power to veto the decision . In addition-」
「There is a『reason』 we absolutely have to win . 」
The count's face right now overturned every impression I had of him up until this point, it was completely serious .
Firm determination was shown on his face .
However, what about Astarte?
I glanced towards her .
She appeared to be just as naive as usual, there was no difference from her usual innocence .
Does the count intend to involve her in such a dangerous game?
If so, then I can't overlook what was just talked about .
If possible, I want it to be me instead .
「Don't worry . There is no need for Astarte to participate in Demon's Chess . Do you think that I would ever permit such a thing?」
The count says that as if reading my gaze .
If you think about it, this is the last thing a foolish parent like him would allow .
I'm ashamed that I even considered such a thing .
「Therefore, be relieved . If there's any possibility of someone dying in this, it'll be either me or you . 」
He casually included me in it .
「Well, I won't die . Because I'm the count . So it's only you that will die based on that reasoning . 」
So I'm guaranteed to die? Your reasoning doesn't actually contain a reason .
「Well, with that . 」
The count rises from his seat while saying that .
「We will go together, Sebastian, Blood . We're leaving . 」
「Eh? Where are we going?」
The count grinned as he told me the destination .
「To the Demon Imperial Capital, Sataun . The first thing we have to do is learn of our opponents . 」
【Rinne's Research Journal】
Remarks: Favorite Thing: se*