Black Demon King

519 Imperial Academy

Fumu, I think it’s about time.”

On the 31st, when the Dawn Moon would end. At the royal castle of Avalon—a shrine maiden in charge of the “Fire Shrine”, Bellclausen remarked while slipping inside the kotatsu.

“Huh, what are you talking about?”

Despite being in the kotatsu room, a blissful relaxing place, the princess donning a priestess outfit—Nell Julius Elrod, maintained a dignified appearance. Her hair, tied in a sacred ponytail, seemed more majestic than usual. However, when she tilted her head and asked, she had the loveliness of a maiden. Moreover, her cheeks were both pale and voluptuous.

After a moderate exercise, Nell felt somewhat refreshed.

Day by day, the training of the two became harsher. But it seemed that Bellclausen—her master, was exhausted. At a glance, it could be seen that the two had just finished working out. Nell stood in a relaxed manner, while Bellclausen huddled like a cat under the kotatsu.

“Go back to school, Nell. You can’t just stay cooped up here and practice all the time.”

At first, Nell had no clue what she was referring to. However, she soon recalled that she hadn’t yet graduated.

She reminisced to her days in Spada.

“…B-but, I can no longer return to the seminary.”

In the first place, she returned to her hometown of Avalon due to her father’s direct command. Due to the outbreak of the Fifth Galahad War, she had to postpone her study at the Royal Spada Academy. Even though the war concluded with Spada’s victory, the situation remained unpredictable.

“To begin with, you’re a student of the imperial academy. You need to go back to school.”

Every day, it did occur to Nell to return to Spada. To be honest, she’d almost forgotten the fact that she used to attend the prestigious Avalon Imperial Academy—a place worthy of royalty. However, when it was pointed out to her, she couldn’t help but agree.

“Despite so, I still have more training to do.”

“As I said before, I can only teach you the basics of ancient jujutsu. Now that you’ve mastered the three rituals, I have nothing else to teach you. All that’s left is for you to test your mettle in an actual battlefield and hone your skill.”

Unexpectedly, as Bellclausen reached for the small orange atop the kotatsu, she also handed Nell a license. Quite frankly, Nell couldn’t believe it—but Bellclausen didn’t seem to be joking, either. After living together for the past month, she could gather at least that much.

“Avalon has many dungeons suitable for training. Also, while you’re at it, why don’t you delve a little deeper and get some present for your crush?”

“I see! You have a point! I’m going back to school!”

Like a horse with carrot dangling in front of her, Nell was full of enthusiasm. At that moment, Bellclausen showed her an unnerving smile.

“Uhm, Nell? I’m sending you back to school not jus t for training. Besides strength, are you aware of what you’re lacking right now?”

“U, uh… Cooking skill, or something?”

Even after a month of training, her cooking skills showed no sign of improvement.

However, that didn’t seem to be what Bellclausen was implying.

“You’re a maiden in love. But at the same time, you’re also a princess of a country. Since ancient times, there’re those who insisted on equality, nevertheless, there are things that you can’t change no matter what. Such as race, gender, talent, and status.”

Nell wasn’t so dense that she couldn’t understand the implications.

Now that she’d recovered mentally through her training with Bellclausen, she could accept thoe words. Or perhaps, that was the true purpose all along.

“Haha… So, by returning to the academy, you’re telling me to go back to the society as whole.”

To Nell, who smiled self-deprecatingly, Bellclausen smiled in satisfaction, like a teacher witnessing her student figuring the perfect answer all by herself.

“Correct. Well, as long as you’re aware of that, it should be enough.”

“Thank you…”

Her master hadn’t only mended her heart, but also strengthened her physique in more ways that none. Somewhat bashfully, Nell thanked Bellclausen.

“But keep in mind that this is also necessary for a successful romantic relationship. People tend to think that love is a matter between two people, but if you don’t pay attention to yourself, the other person, and those around you, your love will be hindered in unexpected places.”

“Uhm, as in, a love rival, or something…?”

“It’s also the biggest hurdle, but because you’re chasing after the same thing, the solution is simple. You should be careful of relatives and friends who don’t support your love. Or perhaps, the difference in status itself.”

After all, in the way of love, she wouldn’t just be dealing with love rivals.


For example, let’s say there was Friend A who was very close to Heroine N. N fell in love with a man named K who went to the same school, but K was a notorious delinquent. A, who’d been entangled with K in the past, naturally couldn’t bless N’s love—

“—That’s what I’m saying. Even if you aren’t in a romantic relationship, there are plenty of issues. A minor issue might cost you a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

Knowing that Bellclausen only had good intentions, Nell couldn’t be annoyed with her. She felt bad for burdening her. Even so, since Bellcausen did it for her, it was difficult to reject her.

“Even if you’re unfamiliar with this topic, you should be able to think of one or two examples about romance involving status gap.”

In the world with a wide range of social statuses; from royalty to slaves, there were as many stories of love or tragic love that transcended the difference in status as there were stars. In fact, there were many famous works that depicted status gap, including that of children fairy tales.

“Go back to school and learn how to fight. If you somehow get more airheaded than this, it’d be a shame. Hahaha…”

In response to Bellclausen’s carefree laugh, Nell bowed deeply and thanked her again.

Thus, for the first time in several years, Nell put on the venerable sailor uniform of the Avalon Imperial Academy that’d been around since ancient times.


Avalon Imperial Academy.

Its origins dated back to ancient times. The legendary Demon King—Mia Elrod, also attended that school. As such, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to consider it as the most famous and legendary school on the Pandora continent.

However, the academy itself was discontinued once during the dark ages. But, at the same time as the founding of Avalon, the name of the imperial academy was engraved in history. Not only was it closely tied to the history of Avalon, it’d also produced many great men; such as a generation of kings, heroes who saved the country, innovative politicians. Even now, it maintained a respectable position as the legendary school where the Demon King attended.

At the same time, there existed special rules in Avalon Imperial Academy that otherwise didn’t exist in other schools.

It was the student autonomy.

Under normal circumstances, it’d be impossible for a student to be entrusted with discretion in every aspect of school life, as they had to be instructed by a teacher. If all the students were free to do as they please, could the place even be called a school? But in this academy, the students were deeply involved in the school management.

With the school student council as the head of the organization, the students were responsible for everything. Be it billing and distribution of annual budgets, various events such as school festivals, outdoor exercises, field trips, along with class assignments and crackdowns on school morals.

After all, it was a school attended by the royals and aristocrats of Avalon. The only exception was that the students couldn’t interfere with class content or the personal affairs of teachers. Nevertheless, it still didn’t erase the possibility of students using their vast connections to twist even the teacher’s authority.

At the imperial academy, such abnormal student supremacy prevailed simply because of tradition. Many books told them that the school which Mia Elrod attended at the time had such a system. Since the imperial academy was established with the aim of becoming an educational institution that produced the demon king who once ruled all of Pandora, it was only natural to adopt that famous system.

Despite being a unique system, it’d persevered for a long time, and even underwent various tweaks. In the first place, as long as the tradition was respected, once the rules were set, all that was left to do was to abide quietly. What was now required of the top student council members wasn’t innovation like Mia Elrod, but the ability to memorize vast number of traditional rules.

Nevertheless, the student council still boasted tremendous power within the academy—

—and, as for the current student council president who stood on top of the current Avalon Imperial Academy…


A sorrowful sighed leaked from her cherry-colored lips.

Lustrous silvery white bangs flowed on top of her cool, emerald, shining eyes.

Casually brushing her bangs aside, the girl felt that her hair had grown longer. If other students were present, they’d surely be enamored by her glamorous gesture. The absolute beauty of the student council president was simply too much to look at.

It’s dusk….

She had just completed her paperwork. But just as she was about to leave her seat and return to the dormitory, a modest knock resounded in the quiet student council room.

“It’s open, you may come in.”

As if prompted by that beautiful voice, the door opened.

“It’s been a while, Celes.”

What appeared was a girl whose prettiness kicked up dust on other girls who wanted to be the school’s top beauty. Furthermore, her rank was much higher as well.

However, from the simple yet sophisticated sailor uniform unique to the imperial academy, bearing a distinctive, large collar and bright red scarf with black accents, it could be inferred that she was also a student. She was beautiful, so much that no student wouldn’t turn around, even more when she sported such a huge ponytail.

“W-wait, no way, are you Her Highness Nell!?”

The pair of white wings that grew from her back revealed her identity, but the president still couldn’t help but ask.

Seemingly genuinely surprised, the student council president—Celes, stood up from her seat, and ran towards the beautiful schoolgirl—Nell Julius Elrod, the first princess of Avalon.

“Could it be, you don’t recognize me due to my new hairstyle?”

Nell, with her long black hair that almost extended to her waist, coupled with her pose of holding her waist while grinning, certainly looked a lot different than the last time Celes saw her.

…It couldn’t just be because she had changed her hairstyle.

The princess, who used to embody the ideal princess; a dignified, beautiful, and pure woman, now had a maidenly charm to her. Perhaps, it was because she had come to know a man.

“You’ve become so beautiful; I almost can’t recognize you.”

“Is that so? Ahaha, thank you.”

…How many men could resist falling in love with such Nell, who smiled with a hint of bashfulness?

At the same time, Celis didn’t harbor any malice towards her. She merely felt as if she was seeing a dazzling thing. It must’ve been because they were childhood friends.

The polite Nell only ever addressed a small number of people by name. Even the circle of her childhood friends was small, with the third princess of Spada—Charlotte Tristan Spada—being the third person. As such, the closeness between Celes and Nell was apparent.

Her full name was Celes Ann Arkwright. Celes, the first child of a great ducal family—the top among the Twelve Nobles of Avalon—was well-balanced with Nell, a member of the royal family.

“Still, Celes, you haven’t changed much. No, you’re still the same.”

With her blue eyes, Nell studied Celes from top to bottom. If she’d been an average male student, she’d be writhing in embarrassment, but Celes stayed firm.

Her limbs were slender, while she herself was half a head taller than Nell, making her of the same height as her brother, Nero. She was clad in a male uniform, which was known as gakuran since the ancient times, with round gold buttons shining on jet-black backdrop. The design itself was simple, yet sophisticated, making it an all-rounder. Above all, the gakuran was worn by the Demon King, Mia Elrod. In fact, the military uniform of the Elrod Empire at the time was based on that very gakuran, making it more than just an attire.

Celes, who was clad in such a traditional yet high-class gakuran, was worthy of the title nobleman of Avalon. In fact, when Celes and Nero walked side by side in the hallway, the female students would swoon to the point of fainting.

“Wait, did you grow taller?”

“Since it’s been a year, maybe.”

Upon returning from Spada, Nell fell ill and was forced to recuperate in the royal castle for a while. Despite unable to reach her directly, be it nobles, knights, merchants, and even merchants flooded her with various sympathy gifts and letters, praying for her safety.

That alone showed how popular Nell was as a princess of Avalon.

Of course, the most important thing for Celes was her health. After all, Nell was the princess she served, and also her childhood friend. As such, she was terribly saddened by the news.

“Yes, I’m alright now. I’m sorry for worrying you.”

“That isn’t the case at all. From the bottom of my heart, I’m glad that the princess has recovered.”

“…No, it was because my heart was fragile.”

Nell’s sorrowful expression alone revealed a sliver of the truth concerning her illness.

As a princess, Nell had taken care of her health since she was young. As such, she seldom had any medical condition that prevented her from seeing anyone. Speaking of danger, she only ever got harmed while working as an adventurer.

In other words, if the illness wasn’t related to her physique, it must be because of mental reasons.

“There’re things that can’t be resolved immediately. I was able to realize the obvious fact that it’s important for me to do what I can do to the best of my ability. So, be rest assured.”

Celes could conclude that it was the war of Spada that afflicted the merciful and kind heart of Nell. Thankfully, Nell did return. Rumor has it that her older brother, the first prince, Nero Julius Elrod, ignored the king’s order and remained in the battlefield.

Therefore, Nell must’ve experienced a great shock upon realizing that only she returned. Not only that, the thought that her dear brother was in danger must’ve ripped her heart.

However, Celes didn’t pursue the matter. By seeing the vigor in Nell’s smile, it was clear that she had gotten back on her feet. As her best friend, knowing that was enough.

“Apparently, you’ve grown stronger.”

“Haha, that’s right. I’m much stronger than I was before.”

Nell’s strangely impeccable posture suggested that those words weren’t just a bravado. If, at this moment, Celes was to slash at her with the saber strapped to her waist, Nell would probably parry it with ease. No, Celes’ sharp intuition told her that she’d be met with a savage counter.

“As long as you’re dependable. By any chance, Princess Nell, do you plan to participate in this year’s knight selection?”

“Knight selection…? It’s that time already…? By now, shouldn’t they have selected all the contestants…?”

Official name: Avalon Imperial Knight Selection Tournament. This tournament—called Knight Selection for short, boasted the largest scale among Avalon’s school events. It was a tournament-style competition between the imperial academy and the knight schools in each of the North, South, East, and West of Avalon. Currently, participating schools were invited from nearby city-states, and the scale of the tournament had grown considerably.

Each school would select 12 representative players, form a team of 5 from among them, and took turns with the other school in a one-on-one mock battle that was as close to a real battle format as possible. Needless to say, as per the title knight suggested, the combat skill would be tested.

However, one wouldn’t be nominated as the knight simply because of the results of the tournament. Nevertheless, for those who aspired to be a knight, it was a great opportunity to prove their might. Even if they didn’t end up winning, just being selected as a representative of the 12 people would give him the edge.

In the final match, the king himself would be present. Therefore, it could be considered a lofty match, one that’d be held in front of the imperial court. Above all, Mia Elrod was famous to have caught the attention of the Emperor of Elrod at the time, and became the foundation as to how she became the spotlight in the war that’d occur later.

Combined with such a legend, the Knight Selection was a grand stage that every student longed to participate in.

“To be honest, I’ve been worried about that. This year, there are only talented people that are difficult to beat…”

“Haha, what a tough situation.”

Even so, Celes wasn’t complacent enough to let her guard down. In order to select members, it was necessary to collect data from mock battles between student several times. As was the case every year, she had to be careful in terms of selecting members to participate in such a prestigious competition.

“However, I have no intention of participating. I’ve studied in Spada for a long time. Even if I’ve returned, I don’t have the right to bear the name of the imperial academy.”

“That’s… I was only able to become the student council president due to the absence of Nero and the princess…”

However, considering Nero’s personality, even if he was still in school, he’d definitely dismiss the student council election, saying it was too much of a hassle.

Celes won the position with a landslide victory over her opponents during the election, but if Nell had participated, she’d have been at a disadvantage.

“No, you’re exaggerating. Celes, you’re the one who’ve led the academy as the student council president until today. Have confidence in your experience and achievements.”

“Thank you.”

In response to Celes, who deeply bowed, Nell turned away from her affectionate gaze. With a smile like that of a child who had come up with a prank, she began.

“By the way, Celes, I have a favor to ask you… Won’t you listen to me?”

“Of course, Princess. What is it?”

“Won’t you go with me to the dungeon?”

“If you’d like to recruit me as a party member, it’d be a great honor.”

In Spada, Nell was well-known for forming an adventurer party called “Winglord.” Her ability to rise to rank 5 in a record time was widely talked about in Avalon.

However, there wasn’t a single member of said Winglord in the academy, including her older brother—Nero. As such, it became self-explanatory that if she wanted to form a party, she’d have to gather members from scratch.

It went without saying if Nell were to announce, “I’m looking for party members!” The students would gather in the blink of an eye. Considering the rate of recruitment, it was an honor for Celes to be recruited personally.

“Is that so? I’m glad!”

As she smiled, Nell looked so dazzling. With that smile, there was no way Celes could go against her wish.

“By the way, which dungeon would it be?”

Celes casually asked, but soon regretted it.

Nell replied with her usual elegant smile.

“Rank 5th Dungeon ‘Divine Realm Avalon.’”


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