Black Demon King

528 Battle Merits Negotiations

On the 6th of Pristine Water Month.

Four days had passed since I returned to Spada—in other words, four days had passed since I parted with Lily.

Lily hadn’t returned as of yet.

After waiting for a day and seeing no signs of her return, Fiona agreed that we should at least investigate her whereabouts. For the time being, I commissioned the Adventurer Guild’s to search and provide sighting information. But so far, it was to no avail.

That night Lily went out, it was as if she had vanished without a trace.

Of course, since it was Lily we were talking about, I didn’t need to worry about her safety. However, at the notion that I might never be able to see her again, anxiety swirled in my heart. Despite being reassured by Fiona that she’d return soon, I still felt uneasy.

At the same time, I also had other concerns. It was something more pressing and urgent—

—yes, it was none other than the negotiation about the treatment of Sariel.

I donned my formal seminary attire and went to the Royal Castle of Spada with Sariel in my arms.

“But isn’t Sariel capable of walking on her own?”

“If we made a display of how she’s limbless, the other side will be less cautious.”

Fiona walked beside me. She was also clad in her school uniform.

I had various concerns regarding Sariel, as well. But for the time being, she wore a spare ascetic robe that I had in the dimension pouch. Moreover, she also wore a dimple hood—one with a proper size that wouldn’t conceal her face. Looking at the familiar sight, I was worried I might accidentally refer to her as ‘Yuri.’

—Thus, I rode on the back of my beloved horse, Mary, alongside Sister Yuri—ahem, Sariel—as we trudged on the main street of Spada.

Not only did Will prepare the stage for negotiations, he also said that he’d be present. Normally, the negotiations would only be attended by those who were involved. Nevertheless, since I was an uneducated adventurer, I’d require a spokesperson—kind of like a lawyer—to guide me through the Sparda’s laws and negotiations to not get scammed. Besides, it was common to hire a specialist and have him attend. In that regard, Will was definitely trustworthy.

I could see Will triumphantly holding a sign that said “Win the lawsuit” in front of the gate.

“This is the second time I’ve come to the royal castle.”

“Are you nervous?”

“This time, I won’t just be receiving some medals…”

When the majestic Royal Castle of Spada appeared in front of me, I couldn’t help but whine.

“If the negotiations failed—”

“—I know, then I’ll have no choice but to leave Sariel to the authorities.”

“That’s right. After all, we don’t want to make an enemy out of the Sparda country.”

Even in the worst-case scenario, as long as she could avoid execution, then everything would be fine. As long as she was still alive, there was a chance that she’d be able to see the light of day.

“Alright, let’s go.”

Thus, we stepped into the Royal Castle of Spada.

At this point, besides asking for Will’s help, the application for the battle merit negotiation had been formally processed through the Adventurer’s Guild. After showing the documents and guild card to the guard at the main gate, I was allowed to enter the castle without a hitch.

However, as expected, the knights in crimson armor, along with magicians in crimson robes appeared in front of us. They assembled a formation in order to surround us.

…Well, I’d heard in advance that it’d be that kind of “welcome”, so I wasn’t that worried.

I’d already reported what happened after I teleported with Sariel. Frankly, I expected the knights to storm into our dormitory as soon as the name “Sariel” escaped my mouth. However, the Sparda’s side had tacitly allowed me to shelter her until today.

Could it be that the other side was cautious enough to avoid any coercive methods?

Regardless, it seemed that quite a number of knights were quietly dispatched around the seminary to guard and monitor.

“Oh, you’re here, Kurono, I’ve been waiting for you!”

After I passed through the hall covered with a bright red carpet, I saw Will crossing his arms in the waiting area. Considering that it was his family’s royal castle, the sight of him felt somewhat unnerving…

“I’ll be in your care for today, Will.”

“Leave it to me! I’ve attained the formula to victory!”

Will, who confidently said so with his red cape cluttering, was acting like his usual self.

As he sat down on the sofa in the guest room, Will asked us to take a seat. At the same time, Celia—who was quietly waiting like a shadow—prepared aromatic red tea and some deserts.

“First of all, let me introduce myself. My name is Wilhardt—Wilhardt Tristan Spada.

Naturally, Will’s golden eyes were trained at Sariel, who sat on my lap. We’d been discussing her for a long time, but it was the first time for him to meet her in person.

“…You may speak.”

After putting down the empty cake plate, Fiona said.

Even now, she hadn’t lowered her guard against Sariel and basically prohibited her from speaking. Even more so considering that we were currently in a royal castle. If she were to utter even a single verse of a chant, I wouldn’t be able to do anything if she were decimated on the spot.

“Nice to meet you, my name is Sariel.”

It was a rather curt greeting to the prince of a country, but of course Will didn’t mind.

“I see, you’re as beautiful as the rumor. Certainly, it’d be unavoidable for bad rumors to spread.”

“Hey, spare me with that.” I glared at Will, who made an attempt at flirting.

“Hahahaha—!” In response, he only laughed. “I’ll inquire once more—but do you understand the purpose of today’s negotiations?”

Fiona and I nodded in return.

“The first goal is to have Ms. Sariel becoming Kurono’s slave be recognized as a fair reward.”

Inwardly, I still resisted the notion, but I had no hesitation in doing so.

“The second goal is to prevent the bounty from being reduced as much as possible… In other words, this is where my negotiating skills come to play.”

“No, the prize money isn’t all that important—”

“—That’s not true! At first glance, the slave reward may appear like an alternative to the original bounty, but we mustn’t forget the fact that Kurono fought by himself! As such, he should be rewarded separately! Kurono, I’ll make sure that you’re awarded with both Sariel and the bounty!”

Why is he so passionate about this?

To be honest, as long as I got Sariel, I didn’t really care about losing the bounty.

“Then, let me confirm one more thing… Fiona, do you have any objection regarding this arrangement?”

“No, I don’t. I made a promise with Kurono. Besides, I’m not really concerned about it.”

“Alright, I shall hold on to those words.”

…It’d be a problem if Fiona intervened at a crucial time. By asking that, Will had proven that he was proficient at laying the groundworks.

After that, we confirmed a few more things.

“Excuse me, Your Highness Wilhardt, Kurono, the preparations are complete.”

Soon after, one of the knights summoned us.

The time had come.

I was too nervous to touch either my tea or cake. But when I glanced at the table, both of them were gone.

Since when? How strange.

“Well, then, let’s go. It’s time for judgment!”

With Will leading triumphantly, we went to the throne room where King Leonhardt was waiting.


The throne room, which I hadn’t visited since the awarding of the medal, was as solemn and tense as ever. Despite being as large as a gymnasium, the splendid structure—which was thoroughly decorated—symbolized the glory of the Spada country.

The tall crystal statues that rose to the ceiling were also impressive.

…Come to think of it, the statues of a male swordsman and a female knight displayed at the school gate of the seminary might be based on the image of [Immortal Champion: Svaldias] and the [Dark Knight: Freesia]. While the two were active in entirely different eras, but from the perspective of the people of Sparda, they were both equally revered gods.

As for me, I wasn’t intimidated by the ancient god statue, but by the king who governed this country. I’d only ever caught a glimpse of him from a distance on the battlefield. When I saw him sitting on the throne right in front of me, I was struck by his lofty presence.

First and foremost, I delivered the formal greetings without any hitch, before cutting straight to the case.

“—Even so, Will. I didn’t expect you’d go out of your way to negotiate for military merit.”

Of course, the one who spoke in a lighthearted manner that didn’t at all befit the throne room wasn’t King Leonhardt, but the first prince—Aizenhardt Tristan Spada. As the general who led the 4th Squadron of the Spada Army—to which we belonged—“Gladiator”, it may be natural.

“I was made aware of my powerlessness in the most recent battle. To my friend, Kurono—the hero who contributed immensely to Sparda’s victory, if there’s anything I can do to help, then I’ll be more than happy to oblige, Brother.”

“Hm, look at your enthusiasm. I can’t take you lightly. After all, Will, you have discerning eyes. If it’s the friend you’ve chosen, even my father wouldn’t stand a chance. After all, he’s a true hero who’ve slayed monsters.”

With a dauntless smile, Aizenhardt looked at me, and then Sariel, who sat beside me.

As if being considerate to Sariel’s disability, a chair had been prepared in advance for her. While the chair itself looked gorgeous with gold and silver work, it probably had some sort of binding effect built into it.

After all, she was once a monstrous apostle with the strength to turn the tide of battle on her own. Since she’d be in the presence of the king, their vigilance was understandable.

“—Regardless, is this lovely maiden dressed in miserly outfit truly the 7th Apostle, Sariel? At that time, I had my hands full with Ai, so I couldn’t see your battle very well.”

Despite how trivial it sounded, he got me there.

…Speaking of which, how was I supposed to prove that?

“This girl is, without a doubt, an apostle.”

Unexpectedly, help arrived.

“Hm, well, if my father says that, then it must be so.”

King Leonhardt—who’d been silent until now—concluded that. Surely, when it came to that man, he could easily discern that.

“If she’s indeed an apostle, then we have to make a swift decision! We mustn’t waste our time idling, Your Highness!”

Following that, someone exclaimed.

He was none other than the white Baphomet old man I saw at Galahad Fortress. If I recall correctly, then he should be General Gesenburg, who led the 3rd Army, “Rampage.”

While most of Sparda’s generals were present, Simon’s sister—General Emelia—was nowhere to be seen. Maybe, there wasn’t enough time to gather all the generals?

In spite of that, the throne room was still filled with people, although they mostly didn’t say anything. In the upper echelons of the Sparda army, there were many civilians and bossy old men who seemed to be ministers. To be fair, the fact that an apostle had been captured must’ve garnered a lot of attention.

“Well, well, don’t be so hasty, Uncle. Such degree of cautiousness, over a girl with missing limbs? Above all, she’d lost the divine protection of the [White God]. Therefore, I doubt she’d be able to bring forth such an abominable power again?”

“Still, don’t let your guard down. Even if she is without divine protection and is missing her limbs, there’s no guarantee that she won’t pounce on me and rip my throat.”

That’s awfully accurate, General.

Even the day after she lost her limbs and was in tatters, she’d kill a huge armored bear unarmed.

“Haha, you’re exaggerating. So, Will, what are you trying to do by gathering these people? What are you trying to ask for? Don’t tell me you only came here for the bounty?”

“You’re correct, Brother. However, I’m just someone in charge of the defense. First of all, as according to the rules, we should let the person himself express his or her wishes.”

“I see, I was slightly off-mark. Alright then, Adventurer Kurono, you may state your desire.”

It’s finally my turn.

I took a deep breath.

If I wasn’t careful, the moment I said this, a spear may fly at me. In the event of an emergency, I’d escape with Sariel in my arms.

Alright, I was mentally prepared.

I don’t care what follows, the future will take care of itself.

“—As a reward for defeating the 7th Apostle, Sariel, I’d like her to become my slave.”

I said it without stuttering; briefly and concisely.

However, the throne room was stiffling, as if everyone was still waiting for me to say something.

That’s strange…

Did they not hear me the first time?

Of course, I wasn’t whispering, either.

“What—!? That’s just preposterous—!!”

As if to blow away my concerns, General Gesenburg screamed. As his shout resounded through the wide throne, my surroundings began to clamor.

Thankfully, I didn’t have to repeat said preposterous line.

“Hey, hey, Uncle, calm down… Your blood pressure is going to spike. Even so, what a shocking request.”

“Do you understand what you’re saying, Adventurer Kurono? Even if you have achieved great feats in this battle, what you’ve just proposed is utterly horrendous!”

‘That’s right—!’ ‘That’s right—!’

Thus, voices of objections resounded. For a moment, it was as if I was a star of a Diet Broadcast in the middle of a heckling session. I had seen this coming.

How are you going to turn this around, Will?


Amidst the commotion, the voice of the ruler echoed. Then, as if being splashed with water, silence returned to the throne room.

“Adventurer Kurono, I’ve heard your wish. Now, what do you think, Aik?”

“Of course, I deem it unreasonable to enslave such a woman.”


“Second, that. Keeping in mind the danger of the apostles, it’s highly unacceptable. Above all, there’s no precedent for wanting to enslave the enemy general.”

The two were absolutely right. In fact, I agreed with them.

“—Pfft… Hahahahaha—!”

However, a certain someone directly objected to such an obvious truism.

There’s no precedent—!? I honestly didn’t expect that from the wise General Gesenburg—! Apparently, none of my siblings whom have gathered here noticed—!”

With his glorious red cloak fluttering, Will spread his arms and exclaimed as if he was having a soliloquy.

“Very well, Will. Say what you have to say.”

“Well, then. If I may—” After gracefully bowing to his father, Will spoke in a clear voice.

“—What a tragedy! With so many people in one place, how can not a single soul remember the founding myth of our almighty Sparda—!

Everyone’s gazes pierced him all at once. ‘What is this guy talking about?’ Such was what their gazes implied. His older brother, Aizenhardt, also had a hint of confusion on his face.

“Sieghardt—the [Sword King] who built Sparda on this land—and his first queen, Eleanora; I believe no one in this place knows how their relationship began?”

“…Kurono, do you have any clues?”


Fiona whispered in my ear, and I felt somewhat relieved. Neither of us knew the founding myth of Sparda, either. Was it okay to pursue this topic nonetheless?

“Hey, Will, no way, you—…

Yes way, Brother! The Sword King, Sieghardt, defeated the princess of the small country that ruled this land at the time—Princess Eleanora; also known as the Crimson Princess—in a one-on-one duel. By enslaving her, he laid the foundation for building Sparda here!”

In other words, he took the princess as his own and just took over her kingdom?

That’s one hell of a story, dude.

“Your Highness Wilhardt, as the prince of Sparda, that kind of statement is—”

“—What? There’s no need to mince words by this point, General Gesenburg. Regardless of what may happen afterwards, the fact remains that a man named Sieghardt enslaved the girl named Eleanora in the aftermath of the duel. Even the history books attested to that. Above all, my father—His Majesty the King, Leonhardt—has confirmed it.”

“Certainly, the king’s divine protection is [Sieghardt].”

“I see, is that so?”

While having a secret conversation with Fiona, I managed to keep up with the story.

King Leonhardt probably exchanged words with the deified Sieghardt, just like I did with Mia.

“In other words, it’s still within a realm of senses for someone who single-handedly defeated an enemy general to recruit her as a slave!”

Will said with a boastful expression as if he’d won. However, it seemed that the upper echelons of Sparda weren’t so weak-willed as to be caught up in the moment.

“…But isn’t that just an embellished story?”

“Nowhere in Sparda’s law is there a written and guaranteed right.”

“That’s right. Again, isn’t it just farfetched?”

A relatively sensible counterargument flew from the outfield.

“Your Highness Wilhardt, I think everyone has a point.”

“The point is that my claim has no legal basis, is it?”

As a representative, General Gesenburg clarified, but Will remained composed as if he’d seen it coming.

“Then, on the contrary, is there a law that prohibits the slavery of the enemy general in the modern law? How about the ancient law? Can those of you who’re familiar with the subject offer some insights?”

“…Just because it isn’t prohibited by law, it’s allowed. Aren’t you just grasping, Your Highness?”

Pfft, that won’t do, General Gesenburg. Why are you treating me like a child? I don’t need to be lectured about morality. Certainly, I’m still a student—but, ‘If there’s no law against it, you shall go unpunished.’ Is the first thing I learned as a freshman as per the excellent teaching of the seminary faculty.”

What often was said as circumventing the law was actually  a gray area where it was unclear whether or not one would be subject to punishment. Even if someone objected to said act, that was just them being biased, and it was unlikely for a punishment to be carried directly simply because of their words.

After all, law was everything that was written there, and common senses or something like that had no role in it.

“I see that you did your homework, Will.”

“Well, as much as my status as a student allows, anyway. Nevertheless, I’m confident, Brother. There’s no legal basis to ban Kurono’s request.”

“Hmm, then, what of recent precedents?”

“It’s actually the most widely-known punishment to force criminals to become slaves of the state and engage in forced labor. Of course, in this case, there’s no distinction between men and women.”

…I see, there’s a forced labor sentence.

I wondered if they’d be forced to work in a mithril mine or something.

“Also, there are some precedents were nobles and knights, as revenge, sell off their enemies after stripping them of all human rights. That’s my best proof that a defeated enemy can be turned into a slave.”

“I see, well, I’ve heard stories like that… What do we do, General Gesenburg? It’s not looking so good for us.”

“Please wait, we can easily refute that with—”

—Will, who was fully armed with theory, against the unyielding general. Just when I thought that it’d be a protracted discussion, the end came swiftly and abruptly.

“Alright, I shall grant Adventurer Kurono’s wish.”

King Leonhardt suddenly declared that.

Of course, Prince Aizenhardt and General Gesenburg were awestruck. Before they could say anything, the king silenced them with his gaze.

“Still, there are conditions.”

I can see why.

Hopefully, it wouldn’t be something outrageous.

While desperately feigning my calm, I met the sharp gaze of the king.

“Prove that Sariel has received the protection of [Dark Knight Freesia] at Pandora Temple. Afterwards, form a master-slave contract with an appropriate ceremony.”

That’s quite sensible.

I had no reason to object since it was my plan from the beginning.

“I won’t subject you under harsh interrogation, but I’d like you to testify what you know about the crusaders.”

I had seen that coming, as well. Sariel no longer had anything to hide about the crusaders.

“Lastly, let her participate in the next war against the Crusaders as my soldiers.”

“I understand… But is that really alright?” I instinctively asked.

If there was an internal conflict, how much damage would Sariel suffer?

“I saw that she has great power. She’ll surely be a great boon for our army.”

“No, that’s not what I’m asking…”

“Since you requested to enslave her, you must’ve been confident in your ability to control Sariel’s power.”

…I see, if he puts it that way, I have no choice but to agree.

“Yes, I’ll definitely take care of Sariel and fulfill your expectations.”

“Very well. Then, with this, the battle merits negotiations with Adventurer Kurono will be concluded.”

While Prince Aizenhardt and General Gesenburg seemed like they still had something to say, they conceded by saying, “Understood, Your Majesty.”

…Anyway, I was truly glad that the conversation ended in the best possible way. For the time being, I was relieved.

“Ugh… Father. Even though it was supposed to be my spotlight, for it to conclude in such an amicable manner…”

…Will was the only one who complained.


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