Black Demon King
527 The Cursed Greeting
“Why, if it isn’t Kurono! I’m glad you’ve returned safely!”
I didn’t think I’d meet a beardless dwarf who’d smile as he said that anywhere else…
He was none other than the owner of my favorite blacksmith workshop—Regin Stratos.
After finishing the mock battle with Kai, I went back to the dormitory and had lunch. Then, I visited the Stratos Blacksmith as originally planned. After being reunited with Regin and his wife for the first time in a while, I immediately got to the main topic.
“—All of Kurono’s cursed weapons have been recovered.”
“Thank you very much. You’re a great help.”
I was overwhelmed with gratitude—so much that I was about to burst into tears. Aside from my comrades, my biggest concerns were the weapons I inadvertently left behind during the fight against Sariel. Above all, [Cursed Hatchet] and [Evil Eater] were something that I could never let go of.
“No, no, I’m merely safekeeping it. Lily was the one who retrieved them amidst the chaotic battlefield.”
Lily must’ve been exhausted to the point where she could pass out at any moment. And yet, she still did her best for me. As for me, I was stuck between a rock and a hard place, and couldn’t even thank her properly.
“On a side note, we also made some weapons, [The Greed] and [Dual Eagle] …”
“I-is that true!?”
I thought that Sariel’s “Breakthrough” had blown my Shadow Gate and its content to smithereens. While cursed weapons were generally tough enough to withstand a large explosion, I had given up on guns—which were just normal weapons.
“As you may expect, they were badly damaged, so much that they needed a full makeover. Please take a look, they’re right here.”
After saying that, he withdrew into the back of the store, and returned while pushing a familiar-looking trolley.
On top of said trolley, I saw a familiar canon with jet-black luster.
“Ooh, it’s [The Greed] …It looks almost new!”
“The most important part—the skull of Sloth Gil—was undamaged, so I could easily reassemble it. Since Greed Metal is just a fragment, all I need is to melt and mold it. In fact, I still have a little left…”
Even so, rebuilding from scratch must’ve required a tremendous amount of work.
“I think I can make another one as a bonus.”
“But another one would be… Well, I’d like a different gun.”
“Since Simon has entrusted us with some blueprints, let’s hear your requests later.”
…As expected of Simon. I don’t know if he’s already working on it.
My guns were a gatling gun and a sawed-off shotgun, which was a rather biased choice. At this rate, I thought it’d be better to create a special equipment with a slightly narrower purpose.
Fortunately, I had money now. I should be able to prepare a sufficient reward to commission Regin.
“Now, let me give you the Cursed Weapon. To be frank, I’m not confident I can keep it any longer. I’m honestly glad you came.”
“Eh, why, what happened…?”
“See it for yourself, and you’ll understand.”
Despite the pleasant smile on his face, Regin said something concerning.
I was guided to the back of the store. The entire walk there, I felt like a parent whose child had misbehaved.
At the back of the shabby workshop, there was a descending staircase. Apparently, he used the basement to store the cursed weapons. While the door was of normal size, it was made of steel. After inserting the key into the aged steel door—reddish with rust—Regin opened it with a thud.
—In the next moment, I felt a terrifying magical power.
“Uh, this is—…”
Suddenly, all the hair on my body stood. The sensation was akin to when I held the Cursed Hatchet for the first time and heard the voice of resentment. Before I knew it, my entire body was emitting a black aura, similar to when I tried to counter Ursula’s drain ability.
…To react defensively almost reflexively—the grudge was just something else entirely.
“Perhaps, its magical power stagnates because it was stowed in one place. If it’s an ordinary person, they’ve long gone mad.”
That horrifying aura was enough to tell me that the situation was no joke. When Regin flicked the light on, the area—which should’ve been empty—looked distorted. Due to the effects of grudges, the flow of magic in that room was abysmal.
“I’m truly sorry for the trouble.”
“No, it’s fine, this is also part of my job.”
—Thus, I was reunited with my precious cursed weapons after a long time.
“This is the [Haunted Spear]. Amongst the other weapons, this requires the most minimum of sealing.”
Akin to a spear that was displayed in a weapon shop, it hung sideways. Nevertheless, the black naginata wasn’t only wrapped in a swarm of black chains, which were fastened to the four corners of the wall, forming a large cross. The chains, which bore the normal sheen of a metal, grew blacker the closer it got to the glaive.
…Wow, there’s no doubt about it. The chains are being eroded by the blackening…
“Please take it.”
The eerie creaking noise made even me—the owner—unintentionally hesitate. When I was using it, I didn’t mind it all that much. But when I looked at it like this, it certainly looked scary.
“…Will I be fine if I were to touch it.”
“If it’s Kurono, I’m sure you will be fine.”
Making up my mind, I grabbed the handle of the chained Haunted Grave.
In an instant, the dozen layers of chains unraveled on their own. By the time the jingling and clanking of metal had subsided, the naginata was snugly in my hand, free from all the commandments.
“Good boy—Shadow Gate.”
Rather anti-climatically, the [Haunted Grave] was immediately stowed in my Shadow Gate, which capacity still paled in comparison to its former days.
“As expected of Kurono.”
“Eh, what is it?”
“No, it’s nothing.”
I moved on to the next cursed weapon. In the first place, the basement wasn’t very large. When I turned around, I could already locate it.
“Next is the tightly sealed [Vicious Eater]—it requires a fairly strict storage method that could damage a normal weapon. I hope you’ll understand.”
I had no objections. After all, even from appearance alone, the [Vicious Eater] already seemed dangerous.
—[Vicious Eater], which hung in midair with its blade pointing downward, was even more tightly secured than [Haunted Grave]. The blade was spread out like a pair of scissors, and each of the two-pronged blades were bound with multiple chains. It looked like a jaw that was pried open.
The chain around the hilt was fastened to the ceiling, while the chains from the parted blades were fastened to the floor, forming an inverted Y-shaped commandment. Somehow, I felt like if I unlinked the chain, it’d pounce me like a dire wolf.
“…I-I’m sorry for the trouble, really.”
“No, no, I did it because I want to.”
It was my second apology. Even if I were to be offered a million clans, I would refuse to keep such a dangerous thing in my house.
“…Haa, alright, c’mere.”
After sighing deeply, I grabbed the hilt of my sword. Then, as if [Vicious Eater] had regained its fervor, it roared loudly—and in the next moment…
…With a high-pitched metallic sound, it broke through the chain of commandment.
[Vicious Eater], which clasped its fang blade, calmed down as if its rage had been quelled. The way it rampaged, before getting tired and going to sleep reminded me of a selfish dog.
—Thus, the retrieval of the second weapon was completed.
“Lastly, it’s the [Cursed Hatchet], but this one’s beyond my control. The power of the curse has clearly increased compared to when it was kept in maintenance before.”
Perhaps because I didn’t kill the apostle, Sariel, and drained her blood before. As material for power-ups, an apostle would be the best.
“Therefore, I’d like to apologize. I had to forcibly seal this one. If it’d been a normal weapon, it would’ve been destroyed long ago.”
“No, it’s fine… Okay, where is it?”
…After all, I couldn’t find anything in the basement. There were no large shelves, and it was basically empty.
“Ahaha, you’ve probably noticed it already.”
Since I’d retrieved two of my weapons, what remained in that room was this large, black, rectangular piece of metal enshrined in the deepest part of the room.
While the rectangular-shaped block, which reminded me of a building material, certainly appeared quite nice, I didn’t see anything that resembled a sword.
“…No way, is this—”
“That’s right. I just immersed it in molten lead.”
Well, if it were a normal weapon, it’d have long gone…
“Is the [Cursed Hatchet] alright?”
“While I could feel a terrible sign of grudge, the weapon itself was completely unharmed.”
From the jet-black mass of metal that resembled the Zero Chronicle, I could feel magical power that was both repulsive and nostalgic.
“By the way, how do I take this out?”
“It’s not as durable as it look, so if you struck it—”
—As if interrupting the explanation, a heavy thud echoed in the small room.
The large lump of metal, which was as tall as me, swayed—
—it was as if there was someone inside.
“—This is bad! Kurono, step aside!”
As soon as Regin shouted, a crack ran through the jet-black surface. While letting out a high-pitched metallic scream, ominous red light leaked out from the depths of the countless cracks.
Contrary to his warning, I took a step forward as if I’d been charmed by the curse.
Then, when it was already within reach—
As if to drown the voice of caution, a loud shattering sound boomed. At the same time, a bright red flash filled my vision, akin to a glow that symbolized the existence of a trial.
Thus, the [Cursed Hatchet] broke through the lead and lunged at me with the same momentum as when I threw it with all my might towards the fleeing Sariel.
The direction: my face.
If I stood still, my head would be cut as it was. The cursed weapon was about to claim the life of its own master—
—Nevertheless, I was unafraid.
After all, I understood.
The entire time, it had been waiting for my return.
“I’m sorry for making you wait… I’m home.”
Thus, the [Cursed Hatchet] returned to my grasp.
When I held it, it felt as if my hand had become one with it, and a loud chorus of resentment clamored in my brain.
However, I certainly heard its voice—
“—Never, let me go…”