Chapter 3: Faceless Disease (Part 1)
A memory from long ago.
It was around the time I had started elementary school.
“Father. Why didn’t you marry only one girl?”
At that time I had learned that monogamy was common sense in nearly every country. Our country was the same. In other words, it meant that my growing environment being unusual was confirmed on a national level.
“Son. You probably won’t understand, but there are good women around the world, albeit rare. And even more rare than that are good men. If a good woman and a good man were to meet, then it’s inevitable that they’ll have sex.”
My father declared shamelessly.
As he always would.
“Oh? So for father, you were able to meet 5 of those so-called ‘rare good women’?”
“That’s because I did a lot of good things in my past life.”
“Maybe I should try believing in Allah next time.”
During that time, I would go to church every week and would constantly pray for a lightning to strike down upon my father’s head. I’m not sure why, but my father was still fine. Perhaps it was because God was running an international business. He didn’t think the desperate plea of a 8-year-old child was important. Thus I decided to not get involved in God’s business industry.
Give and take.
There was always a background for the reason why I had become an athiest.
“My shrewed son. Keep in mind your father’s words.”
“Although I think that the reason why my personality became so rotten is 80% your fault, father. What is it?”
“If you’re lucky then you will meet good women. You’ll know they’re good just by looking at them. No matter what you do. Never. Never let those women go.”
“Couldn’t you have at least used the singular term instead of the plural, father? Thanks to that all I hear is a very trash-like statement.”
“Trash, huh…… oh well. Son. Be prepared beforehand. No matter what you choose, you will live a life more harsh than I.”
“Why would I? My personality is already more mature than you, father.”
“Because you’re more competent than I am.”
He raised the corners of his mouth.
“People who are overly competent won’t marry just anyone. In the end, they’ll search for a companion who can understand them. The only person capable of understanding a competent man is an equally competent woman. Then what will happen?”
My father raised an index finger.
“Since two competent people are together they’ll most likely achieve great things. Once you reach a higher position, you’ll end up meeting another woman as competent as you are. You’ll be able to understand one another and then it’ll become 3 people together.”
He raised his middle finger.
“Now that there’s 3 you’ll get to an even higher position. Once at the top you’ll take a look around and find another competent woman. Now there’s 4. And before you know it, it’ll increase to 5.”
He finally lifted up his ring finger and pinky.
I was dumbfounded and retorted back.
“……In my entire life, I had never heard nonsense as nonsense as this. I thought it was impossible for pregnancy to happen between a dog and a human, but when I look at you, father, I worry that I might be the one to have gotten passed that impossible barrier as a miracle and was born.”
“You are more of a Devil than I am. This dad of yours limit was 4 women. That’s as far as I could get. Regardless, I look forward to see how far up you’ll go.”
“Garbage of a father, I will not go out with anyone—”
I looked him straight in the eyes.
“And even if I do end up doing so, I will only date a single person. I will never do something like cheat and hurt the person that is important to me.”
“That’s not a surprise, coming from you.”
Even as his son, it was a cool smile.
▯Weakest Demon Lord, Rank 71st, Dantalian
Empire Calendar: Year 1505, Month 4, Day 18
Dantalian’s Demon Lord Castle
Life was beautiful.
To the point that the people who think themselves as nihilistic should admit as well that life was so beautiful.
Following the setting in Dungeon Attack, Demon Lords are a clump of magical energy. All bodily functions are handled by magic. In other words, if you don’t eat or sleep, thanks to the magical energy, your mind will still be fully active.
There was no problem even if I rolled around on my bed for 4 days straight.
I didn’t even have to work for food.
Isn’t this the very life that NEETs all around the world had dreamed for?
I’d like to borrow this position and make a declaration.
Demon Lords are the best.
Demon Lords, hooray.
Here’s to you, Demon Lords
“……Your highness, Dantalian.”
There was a time I had actually thought all that.
I turned my head slowly because of the abrupt voice.
I was currently lying down on my bed, so if I wanted to turn my head then I had to flip my entire body as well. It was an incredible amount of wasted energy. As if I was looking at the Minister of Environment who had just finished reading the report on electricity consumption during the Summer, I looked at the person with an accursed gaze.
“Why are you calling me?”
“Today is the deadline. This time, no matter what, I will have your highness pay back the debt and interest.”
There a female, who wore her hair in two braids, stood.
She looked around the age of a girl who had just graduated high school. Not matching her outer appearance, her face was incredibly void of emotions. Like a straggler returning from war would often be like, the girl looked as if she had long ago burned off all the fuel that was in the thing called emotions.
Should I call it dryasdust?
That was this girl’s normal expression. It had been half a month since I had first met her, but I had never witnessed something even remotely close to a smile from her. I’m starting to suspect that she has some sort of illness. Perhaps forever-on-her-period syndrome. That sounded like a sickness that existed.
The girl spoke.
“The 100 Libra that you borrowed three months ago. If you include this month, then the interest alone is 96 Libra. I will be taking a total of 196 Libra.”
“I’m saying it again, but I have never borrowed money from you.”
I dug the inside of my nose with my pinky.
“How am I supposed to repay money that I had never borrowed? Give up.”
“That is wrong. Your highness has most definitely received a loan from the Keuncuska Firm(TL note: This needs a better name 쿤쿠스카). Please look at this bond of debt. Your highness’ thumbprint is certainly here.”
The girl took out a scroll parchment from her bag.
In a vintage handwriting, a contract was written on the parchment.
100 Libra Coins(40% interest every month)
Rank 71st, Demon Lord Dantalian, has been loaned the above written amount of gold.
The interest must be paid on the 10th of every month, and the principal is due by Year 1505, Month 4, Day 11th. In the case that the interest is overdue, the creditor may at anytime demand all of the principal and interest. The debtor, Demon Lord Dantalian, during that time shall not display opposition.
Year 1505, Month 2, Day 1
Rank 71st, Nameless Demon Lord, Dantalian
Keuncuska Firm, Exclusive Consultant, Lapis Lazuli
Hereby vow to Hermes and Hades.
“As you can see.”
The girl displayed to me the parchment and spoke methodically.
“The deadline date was originally the 11th of this month. A week has already passed. Your highness had requested for us to delay it for a week. Your highness. The time limit is up.
“Did I— do that—. I don’t remember—.”
“It is of no use to feign ignorance.”
I was going to pretend to be indifferent but this girl sternly cut me off.
“I can not delay the deadline any further.”
“Can you not push it back another week?”
“That is impossible.”
“Didn’t your highness say the same thing last time? Delaying the deadline may be possible once, but two times in a row will not be allowed.”
A spiteful girl.
She was the type of person who could kill someone without blinking.
A week ago.
This girl had suddenly visited my castle while introducing herself as an employee of some firm. These type of guests were usually unwelcomed back in my original world, and sure enough, she had abruptly pushed a debt bill on me and pressured me to pay up.
“That is correct, your highness.”
The girl lowered her head and bowed. It was like she was a veteran maid. Her every movement was well-disciplined.
Except the fact that I couldn’t even feel the least bit of respect towards me. She gave off the feeling that she had only bowed because greetings were a core part in social interactions.
Well, I was only a Demon Lord in name. I was still something that would compare to a ricefish, Dantalian. I’m grateful she displayed even the smallest bit of etiquette towards me, on the contrary, I should be the one that should be bowing. I had no complaints.
(TL note: Ricefish)
“Your highness had taken a loan of 100 Libra from our firm, Keuncuska, around this time two months ago. Since the day to pay the interest has arrived, this lowly one has come in person to meet your highness.”
I closed my eyes tightly.
I didn’t think that Demon Lord Dantalian’s position could get any worst than this, but it seems that I had been overly optimistic.
I had put my life on the line and was able to repel the adventurers but now a personal moneylending business had arrived at my doorsteps. Economic aggression after an armed protest. It was an actual standard colonial policy. It was admirable. If need be, I wanted to applaud this clean diplomatic method. If the person directly involved wasn’t me, that is. Fucking hell.
While I was up to my neck with despair, the girl had tilted her head. She most likely had been an acquaintance of Dantlian for quite a while now. She might notice that I was suddenly acting strange compared to before.
For now, in order to figure out the person’s name, I muttered in my head.
Name: Lapis Lazuli
Stamina: E rank
Power: D rank
Defense: F rank
So her name was Lapis Lazuli.
I composed myself to have a serious expression. It would be fitting to lie from here on. Since the affection was at 0, it’d only be appropriate to speak a bit coldly to her.
“Lazuli. There’s a secret that I must tell you.”
I don’t know why, but the girl had slightly raised her eyes. It seemed like she was surprised by what I had said. I didn’t really say anything strange yet, and yet her reaction was weird.
“What’s the matter?”
“My apologies. This one had never expected in their wildest dreams that your highness would remember this one’s name. Normally, your highness would refer to this one as crossbreed, low-life, larva, or prostitute……”
Dantalian was a piece of trash that went beyond expectation.
I cleared my throat and changed the subject.
“Ehem. Bearing that in mind, this is an issue which involves that as well. You may not know this, but exactly one week ago a group of adventurers had invaded here. While I was retaliating against said adventurers I had hit my head against the ground. Then what do you know. I found out that I had lost parts of my memory.”
I then pointed at my leg.
“My leg was also seriously injured and had only just recently healed a couple of days ago. If things went wrong then I would have died. Honestly speaking, other than knowing that your name is Lapis Lazuli, everything else is rather fuzzy and vague.”
“…… Is that so.”
Lapis Lazuli gazed at me with eyes containing suspicion.
Of course, there was no way she would easily believe the words of a man who had suddenly claimed to have lost his memories. Nevertheless, I stayed brazen. For a moment, an atmosphere as if we were trying to analyze one another flowed.
It seemed Lapis Lazuli had understood in her own way and bowed her head once again.
“To serve your highness would be a privilege for this one. If there is anything that this one can do to help your highness, then say so and this one shall do her utmost to help.
“Good. Then I’d like to request something immediately.”
“…… Could you possibly delay the deadline a bit.”
Lapis Lazuli blinked.
“I currently do not have the money on me. I will most definitely pay within this week, so please grant me a bit more time. Okay? I beg of you.”
Her gaze became cold.
Ten to one, she had most likely misunderstood and assumed that I had claimed to have lost my memories in order to delay the deadline. Sadly, I did not have the ability to fix the misunderstanding……
Lapis Lazuli was a level-headed woman.
If I was allowed to be more subjective, then she was a devilish woman. She did not consent to delaying the deadline by even a week. Despite my plea, she only gave me 2 days.
From that day on for a week, I played a game of cat and mouse with that loan shark.
On the first day.
“Your highness. The interest has already been pushed back by two months. The original loan was 100 Libra, but the interest alone is already at 96 Libra. Please make your payment.”
“In the first place, is it not ridiculous that the compound interest is 40% every month!? That’s excessively expensive!”
I exclaimed while walking down one of the cavern paths.
In one corner of the cave there was an underground lake. Interestingly, the lake was heated just like a spa. My hobby was to go there every day and spend my time peacefully enjoying the heat of the water enveloping my body. However, that moneylender had solved her lodging problem in this cave and kept bothering me. Thanks to that, I couldn’t properly enjoy my simple hobby.
“Keuncuska Firm or whatever they’re called, I’ll make a formal complaint! This kind of interest rate is both economically and logically an evil influence to this society!”
“That is why this one had warned your highness since the beginning. That, unless it was a desperate situation, to never borrow money from our Keuncuska Firm. But the one to had kept pushing for the loan two months ago was none other than your highness, Dantalian.”
“No. That wasn’t me who borrowed that money……!”
I clenched my teeth and roared.
Why did I have to pay back the money that someone else had borrowed?
It was irrational. Ah, irrational beyond measure. Life being beautiful was, as expected, a delusion. Life was dirty and cheap. I cursed at my fate of possessing a Demon Lord.
Demon Lords were the worst.
Demon Lords die.
“I apologizes, but this one does not understand what your highness means.”
“I’m saying that it was some half-wit named Dantalian that had taken that loan……!”
Lapis Lazuli looked this way as if she was looking at something rotten.
Isn’t your highness that Dantalian, is what her eyes were asking me. Yes. People other than myself probably wouldn’t be able to understand what I meant. That was obvious……
“If it truly is too difficult, then there is also the option to declare bankruptcy.”
“I have to be concerned about bankruptcy right from the start, huh. Ahaha.”
Hello, people of the nation.
This is exemplary citizen turned Demon Lord.
When talking about Demon Lords, you’d think they’d command an army of demons and mercilessly devastate humans, but for some reason I seemed to have absolutely nothing.
I thought it was unfair that I had almost died to adventurers as soon as I had opened my eyes, but to now also tell me that I had to repay a debt? Where should I go to deal with this unfairness? The cops? Court? Or maybe a mental hospital?
I just wanted to comfortably live the remainder of my life as a NEET in the corner of my house. Peacefully. Without causing any fuss. Were you blocking me off from even this small desire? Was the world messing with me?
I wanted to kill myself……
“Your highness. It is not embarrassing to not have the ability to pay back the loan. However, the thing that is embarrassing is the attitude of trying not to repay the debt. What does your highness mean by having lost your highness’ memories? How could a great Demon Lord, like your highness, resort to such a childish excuse.”
“I really am going through partial memory lost!”
“…… haaa. Of course.”
“You really do have the knack of making people upset, huh!?”
The corners of my mouth twitched.
“Anyways, give me a week. Just a week. Once a week has passed I will do whatever you tell me to.”
“This one shall wait one more day.”
It was morning and as I was getting up from my bed, as if she had been waiting for me, Lapis Lazuli entered the room. I should add that I had the habit of sleeping naked.
Based on a logical conclusion, when Lapis Lazuli had invaded my quarters, I was sporting a new fashion style of not even wearing my underwear. Thus, as soon as I saw her I had let out a scream.
“Get out! I said get out!”
“Your highness. The interest……”
“I’m not wearing anything below right now!”
“That is fine. This one does not care for your highness’ body.”
With all my strength I threw a pillow at her.
Lapis Lazuli didn’t even move an inch and allowed herself to be hit. Of course, the attack didn’t work. Her face was still calm and emotionless.
“This one will say it again, but declaring bankruptcy is also a fine idea. If your highness can’t possibly pay off the debt then please do put into consideration this option.”
“…… I’ll hear you out.”
I spoke while slowly getting dressed.
I was getting a headache by this loan shark.
“What will happen if I declare bankruptcy?”
“For starters, our firm will claim all rights to the Demon Lord castle.”
They’ll seize my home.
A beautiful hell of a life was already being spread before me.
“After that, our firm will make a few requests to your highness. All your highness has to do is oblige.”
“So I’ll be downgraded to your firm’s puppet……”
“My apologies, but that is so.”
I had done this kind of work before, so I knew about it well.
Like a large company supporting a poor politician and using them as a chess-piece. In this world, it was a big firm taking advantage of a Demon Lord in poverty.
“Look around, Lazuli. I am a Demon Lord with nothing.”
I told her earnestly.
“It wouldn’t even be fun to use me as a puppet.”
“That is alright. There’s an infinite amount of economical uses by just being a Demon Lord. Our firm executives are putting a lot of expectations on your highness, Dantalian.”
“You really are quite honest!”
“Unfortunately, the only product that your highness can purchase from this one is honesty.”
But you don’t have anything so you can’t buy anything, anyways.
Was the nuance that she had plainly put into her words.
I disliked her.
I really disliked her.
I disliked her to the point that I wanted to step on her foot.
“What is it?”
“Your highness is right now stepping on this one’s left foot.”
“I consider it a boast that my thoughts and actions line up.”
“You don’t look like you’re in pain.”
“I’m sorry…… but I actually feel more pleasure from it.”
“Were you perhaps a pervert!?”
“Despite this one’s looks, there is succubus mixed into this one’s blood.”
“Was it not you who stated that all succubus being perverts was just a bias last time we met! You yourself said it!”
“Please throw away the bias that all biases are nothing but bias.”
“Why are you the one acting high and mighty……!”
“I’m sorry, but I’m actually a very competent person.”
(TL note: She stops using ‘this one’ here.’)
“Annoying! You’re seriously annoying!”
“I am a half-breed of a human and a succubus. My birth is so low that I am considered an outcast. Born an orphan, I roamed the bottom of the streets for 20 years. However, I was able to succeed in life with my ability alone. Now I am currently a white-collar worker for the biggest firm in the demon continent, Keuncuska. Adding to that, I am now here with your highness Dantalian as your exclusive consultant.”
“You really are competent……!?”
“That is correct. It is on a completely different level to your highness who was born a Demon Lord. But also, your highness is a Demon Lord and is yet to have achieved anything, but this one was able to climb up this far by her power alone.”
“You’re competent but as expected you’re annoying as well! What’s with that.”
“My apologies. Since this one is always honest to your highness.”
“If that’s honesty, then the world is better off if everyone was a liar.”
I wonder why.
This person wasn’t insulting me but Dantalian, but for some reason I feel offended. The girl shooting spiteful remarks at me with no emotions stabbed into my chest.
“I will make myself clear now. I do not plan to become someone’s puppet.”
Lapis Lazuli nodded.
“Then please pay the debt.”
“Sorry, but I don’t have money either. Tsk tsk, it’s quite the shame. I want to give you the money but it seems my pockets are empty so I can’t! Haha! Ahahaha!”
In truth, there was 80 Libra hidden under my bed in the Demon Lord’s Quarter.
That was the money that I had risked my life to take back from the adventurers. Like I’d give the money to some frugal forever-on-her-period succubus.
“Your highness. Do you truly have the will to pay back the debt?”
“Indeed. I’m a man who’s constantly burning with will. Aah, what a tragedy. I sincerely want to give you the money, but alas, since I am penniless I am unable to do anything. Restrictions. These restrictions.”
“Then work to pay it off.”
Lapis Lazuli’s right hand glowed brightly.
A light pink magic circle formed for a moment before shortly after Lapis Lazuli was holding a pickaxe in her hand.
It was something you’d see a rough worker using in a mine.
“……Why are you giving this to me?”
“Does your highness not know? Compared to other areas, Demon Lord castles have a high concentration of magical energy. Perfectly, your highness’ castle is in the form of a cave, so if your highness picks any deposit and mines from it, then your highness should immediately get magic stones. Magic stones with a large amount of magical energy in them can sell for a very high price.”
“Are you perhaps telling me to become a miner and work?”
“Are you serious.”
I unintentionally spoke with honorifics.
It was such a shock that I had forgotten for a moment that I was a Demon Lord.
“Did your highness not say that you were overflowing with will?”
Lapis Lazuli handed the pickaxe to me.
I stared blankly at the wooden stick with another iron stick attached to it.
“Now all your highness has to do is emit that will.”
[You have extracted 1x Iron Ore.]
[You have extracted 1x Iron Ore.]
[You have extracted 1x Iron Ore.]
[You have extracted 1x Iron Ore.]
And thus, on the third day.
I glared at Lapis Lazuli ferociously.
“—I declare bankruptcy.”
“But only one day has passed.”
“It was a miracle that I was able to last 30 minutes of manual labor!”
I tossed the pickaxe as far as I could.
My body was screaming because of my sore muscles. As a person who was aiming to become a peerless house corner dwelling NEET, a large amount of labor was too tough for me. There was also no profit. Even if I swung the pickaxe all day, the most money I could earn was merely a single silver coin.
“How could I continue to do something like this!”
“It was just that your highness was boasting so much that this one had high expectations.”
“Isn’t the efficiency the worst!? The efficiency! If I made 1 silver every day, then even if I worked for one whole month, all I’d make is 6 gold! The interest alone is about to be 80 Libra this month and that’s 10 times the amount I’d make. How do you expect me to waste my time mining!” (TL note: 5 silver = 1 gold, A gold coin is referred to as a Libra. Silver is just silver)
Lapis Lazuli had abruptly stopped talking.
Her blue pupils had grown slightly bigger. For some reason, I think she was surprised at me. It was incredibly rare for Lapis Lazuli to show an emotion.
That was strange.
Nothing that I had said just now was weird. From what I could tell, a reason to be surprised didn’t exist either. I wonder why Lapis Lazuli, whose default was always void of emotions, was surprised.
“Why are you looking at me like that?”
“…… I’m sorry. This one did not expect that your highness would possibly be able to do simple mathematics. It was so unexpected that this one had become speechless.”
It was an outrageous response that went beyond my imagination!
“Your highness’ deduction is correct. It would be difficult to repay the debt with just mining.”
“Yes. If it was you then I did not doubt that you would agre…… wait. If you knew that it would be difficult to repay the debt with that then why did you make me go mining in the first place?”
“This one does not understand what your highness’ is talking about. How could someone as lowly as myself possibly make a Demon Lord do something. All this one has done was gift a pickaxe to your highness.
“Oi, this bitch……?”
I looked at Lapis Lazuli with slanted eyes.
“Lazuli. This is the first time I’ve met a woman like yourself.”
“I do not deserve such high praise.”
“I’m not joking.”
A life over 20 years.
The only woman to have messed with me excluding my mother, was my second half little sister. Putting being a half-breed and an outcast aside, it was amazing that Lapis Lazuli had still not fallen.
I was purposely treating Lapis Lazuli with affection. My goal was affection points. A Demon Lord like myself was treating a low status person like her equally. I had judged that this by itself would be enough to raise her affection considerably.
However, the results was a failure.
If I talked to her slyly, then she’d match me and responded slyly. If I tossed a joke at her, then she’d, with her emotionless face, would respond with a joke.
That was it.
She gave off the feeling that ‘since a Demon Lord like myself wanted this kind of chatter, then it was only appropriate to humor me’. As a result, she didn’t open herself up to me.
Like the need to greet in social interactions.
Lapis Lazuli treated me with only a dry and businesslike attitude.
…… and so, time passed helplessly.