< Evade the Hero and Flee! 188 #22. Well, this is merely the beginning (3) >
“From this moment on, I am your demon king.”
I spoke in a dignified manner while ever so slightly looking down on my new subjects.
-But, master, you don’t look dignified at all? You just made people want to beat you up, you know?
-Shut up, will ya?
The metal bat tried to get on my nerves again today, but I have become rather used to ignoring her.
“Are you really… Mister, you’re really our new king sent by the Demon God?”
“Oh, I’m a ‘Mister’, now is it?”
“S-sir, are you truly our king?”
Yup, that’s better.
Maybe the confusion hadn’t abated yet, since the situation was unfolding in a very favourable direction for me. I mean, just one short observation from me, and these people were willing to correct themselves and all!
“That’s right, I am.”
“The Demon God has finally sent us our new king!”
“Our dear Demon God!”
The way they started exalting me and the Demon God exceeded what Belegrea told me earlier. As expected of the high-ranking priests belonging to the Demon God’s temple! Their faith in the Demon God is truly strong!
“N-no, wait! Not yet!”
However, it seemed that there was someone still unconvinced by what happened.
“What is it?”
“The Demon God is a benevolent god but can also bring down merciless punishment to foolish individuals!”
“The Demon God has said that the one bestowed with the divine power can only be thoroughly awakened through the endless pain!”
I think I’ve heard that from before. If I were to alter that statement a bit, it kind of sounds eerily similar to what I often said as the evil organisation’s henchman, doesn’t it?
“As such, I shall not acknowledge you as the demon king chosen by the Demon God until you demonstrate the divine power!”
“I-indeed, there’s that still remaining!”
One by one, the others around me began nodding along as if their opinions were gradually lining up.
“Yes, there’s that.”
So, I also followed along and nodded away.
If it was anything other than beating someone up without killing them, I might have been in trouble. However, I was confident of pulling this off. Actually, I was really confident of making my victims healthier than ever before!
-Is it my turn, master?
-Yup. It’s party time!
I leisurely walked up to where the metal bat was on standby.
“This girl looks like a normal child, but in reality, she’s the token of the Demon God granted to me by the deity herself!”
The metal bat in the form of a young girl suddenly transformed into a bat gleaming in a silvery hue.
“C-could that be!?”
“T-the grace of the Demon God?!”
The demon race folks stared at the metal bat with eyes full of sparkling lights. I nodded to affirm their observations. “Correct. This here is the Demon God’s grace.”
-Since when did I become the Demon God’s symbol, master?
-What about it? You even got labelled as the evil god’s weapon once upon a time, no?
Whether they were the evil god or the Demon God, I was prepared to welcome them with open arms as long as my life could benefit from their assistance.
-Huh, huh! Master, you’re saying things that might give the Demon God a heart attack, you know!
-Oh? So you’re okay with the evil god, then?
-I guess so?
Haha! That dude called the evil god, it seems that he’s a pretty solid character, then! As expected of the symbol of all evil that tried to destroy this world! It’s a perfect match for villains!
“S-so, this is…”
A kind ‘volunteer’ stepped forward while gulping down his saliva. To thank him for his upcoming services, I quietly placed the metal bat on his shoulder.
“This is the grace granted to us by the Demon God.”
Then, I raised up the metal bat high in the air.
“And now, gladly receive the Demon God’s grace!”
The priest receiving the strike screamed and began rolling on the floor.
“Oh, oooh! As expected of the Demon God’s grace!”
“No, not yet! Getting hit by an ordinary metal club will hurt just as much!”
“You’re right. That’s why…!”
““““We must observe for some more!””””
-Wooow, master. Will you listen to these guys?
-They just want to confirm the Demon God’s grace, that’s all. Let’s quickly wrap this up, then.
To save the soul of the poor man writhing on the floor after that deadly strike, I began swinging the metal bat with a bit more enthusiasm.
“This… is the Demon God’s mercy!”
“This… is the Demon God’s favour!”
“And this… is the Demon God’s grace!”
“Finally… here’s the endless stream of the Demon God’s meeercy!”
“N-no, spare m… Kuwaahak?!”
Two small hands and arms grew out of the metal bat’s shaft and began to pummel the downed priest.
“And so, have you witnessed it?”
Starting from the poor sucker’s shoulder, the metal bat proceeded to pummel his head, belly, legs and even his most precious component, too.
The priest continued to scream in pure agony, but not a single trace of injury could be found on him. That could only mean one thing. This whole thing might look like vicious, indiscriminate violence, but it didn’t hurt at all!
“Ah, aaaah… Yes, indeed. The mercy of the great and noble Demon God…”
“To think that I’d get to witness the Demon God’s mercy with my own eyes…”
The priests began shedding tears of gratitude at the display of… ‘love’ meant for my disciples that matched the strength of the Demon God’s mercy.
“Our dear Lord, the Demon God, should have sensed your unyielding faith in her by now.”
A bit far away from me was the hero’s entourage. They were gawking at me, their expressions saying that this whole world had gone mad… Whatever they were feeling at the moment was none of my business, though!
“I, I want to experience it, too!”
“Yes, please, the Demon God’s mercy!”
“I beg of you, grant me the chance to taste our god’s mercy, too!”
-Hey, looks like this place is teeming with the kind of perverts you enjoy.
-Aaahng? There’s more than one? Uuheeheehee! The demon race, hooray! The Demon God, hooray~!
“The Demon God has spoken thus, ‘Oh, you foolish children. You don’t need to experience this pain, but as you ardently wish for it, I shall grant your wish!’ That’s what she said!”
“Ah, aaaah… Dear Demon God…”
“Our eternal god…”
“The only true deity remaining in this world…”
“Demon God, hooray! Our new demon king, hooray!”
“Glory to our Demon God! Glory to our demon king!”
I didn’t even need to run my mouth here.
These folks were already crazed fanatics that believed in the Demon God. Simply by invoking the god’s name and calling myself her servant, I could earn their undying loyalty.
-I knew it, master is a conman.
-And just who is the accomplice in this con?
-What do you mean, who? It’s none other than your goddess, Aru, of course!
I made the right call to leave my dear daughter back in the carriage in the case of an emergency. If she saw the metal bat beating up all these priests without hiding anything, then for sure, that would’ve left a powerful mental trauma in her.
And so, the metal bat continued to ‘toushi-toushi’ away for a while, accompanied by the priests’ screams ringing throughout the temple.
“Are you finished now?”
The metal bat walked back to me with a refreshed look on her face, so I naturally sent her over to the frozen-stiff hero entourage. They flinched and jolted whenever the priests screamed, but in the end, they didn’t try to run away. Honestly speaking, though, they looked ready to bolt if only the temple’s doors hadn’t been shut tight…
“Our great and noble Demon God has spoken.”
The moment I said that, all the priests crawling on the floor hurriedly raised their heads.
Judging from their trembling lower halves, they probably wanted to get down on their knees and into a more respectful position to listen to the Demon God’s ‘oracle’. Unfortunately for them, though, their legs didn’t want to humour their pleas.
But I had a feeling that the Demon God would be pleased with how her priests still tried to get up even after the metal bat’s mercilessly beating. It was just a feeling, though.
“No need to force yourselves to get up. This is the Demon God’s mercy. It’s not something weaklings such as yourselves can withstand.”
-Hey, come over here for a sec.
-What now, master?
-What do you mean, what now? It’s to instil the sense of respect towards me in these folks, that’s what.
The metal bat trotted back to where I was. I told her to start hitting me, but not too roughly, of course.
She started hitting me enthusiastically while making whooshing noises with her mouth, but all I could feel was… just some light pounding. It hurt a tiny bit but was still easily tolerable.
“As expected of someone chosen by the Demon God…”
“Sob… To think that I’ll be able to serve such a person from now on…”
Our little performance caused every priest in this temple to become my slave, so to speak.
“I am the Demon God’s chosen. My words are the noble and great Demon God’s words, and my actions are the same as the Demon God’s actions!”
“Hooray to our great Demon God! Hooray to our great demon king!”
“We shall exalt our great and noble Demon God and swear to serve you, the one chosen by our god!”
Just as the exaltation meant for me reached its fever peak, I slowly raised my hand. “Everyone, be silent.”
Even though I didn’t raise my voice, everyone quickly clamped their mouths shut.
Feeling satisfied by that, I solemnly declared the following. “The demon continent is mired in confusion and uncertainty right now. The Demon God found this state of affairs unfortunate and sent me here to resolve it. However, the vile, evil people will use this confusion to enrich themselves even further.”
I ever so slightly raised my head and stared at the ceiling. “The Demon God has spoken thus, the evil ones will try to deceive you all. Just like how our noble and great Demon God sends her oracles, the evil ones will whisper negative things about me in your ears.”
“We’re faithful servants of the Demon God! We swear not to fall for the words of some evil creatures!”
One of the priests cried out with so much fervour. It didn’t really match the way he still crawled on the floor, but despite that, I should give him credit for his passion, at least.
“Our Demon God is well aware of your loyalty towards her. Unfortunately, the vile creatures of evil also are well aware of it. Just like insidious, sly snakes, they will entice you. They will use your unshakeable faith against you to pull a wool over your eyes.”
Just as someone tried to deny their frailty, I looked down on him and began yelling angrily. “Oh, you foolish one! Do you not trust the wise oracle of the noble Demon God! Why do you fail to understand that your faulty faith will cause you to be deceived!”
-Master, that’s not something you should be saying while busy conning all these people!
-That’s why I’m planting the seeds ahead of time, you know. To prepare for that one unexpected eventuality.
Gods could not interfere with me. However, they could still annoy the heck out of me by utilising their affiliated heroes or apostles. Hill Shuttle and the blonde hero over there watching the proceedings with a stupid-looking expression on his face were good examples of that.
It was absolutely possible for the Demon God to get pissed off at this development and suddenly summon a hero forged through the real Demon God’s Blessing ceremony.
“Oh, you foolish ones, listen closely to what I’m about to say. I shall now pass on the will of the Demon God. The vile creatures of evil will try to speak to you as if they speak on behalf of the Demon God. A false apostle of the Demon God will appear before you to deceive you. You shall question and then question it some more, yet you will fall into the trap in the end.”
I kindly explained in a solemn voice, prompting the priests to start bowing deeply one by one.
“I shall ask you again. Do you still think you can escape from the vile deceit of those evil beings? Beings that have prepared themselves, so much so that even our Demon God is worried about it?”
-Yup, they will all fall for it. I mean, these fools are gullible enough to fall for my master when he hasn’t even prepared anything in particular.
“Ah, aaaah… Yes, we’ve been acting too foolishly, sir. We have failed to realise the noble, great will of our Demon God.”
“Please, forgive us, the idiotic disciples!”
“Yes, please forgive us!”
The priests threw themselves on the floor and began howling in anguish. Watching their suffering brought this warm feeling to my heart, though.
Aha, so this feeling is the reason why we get leaders of shady cults popping up every now and then!
“According to the oracle of the Demon God, you are not at fault. No, the fault lies with the evil beings deceiving you.”
I diligently explained to them how benevolent and merciful the Demon God really was. If she saw me right now, she probably would’ve chosen me as her apostle solely on my salesman skill alone.
-But master, you aren’t even going to accept that role in the first place, right?
-She can’t even choose me to begin with, anyway.
Gods couldn’t hear what I was thinking about, nor could they watch my actions. Which meant they also couldn’t grant me their powers, either.
If I was a god, then even I wouldn’t want to pick someone like me as an apostle.
“From this moment on, beings hoping to deceive you will come knocking on our doorstep. Your job is to welcome them all with warm smiles. Yes, you shall be the ones to deceive them, instead! Bring those deceivers to me. There is no need to worry. Remember that I’ve already received the Demon God’s favour. As such, I shall make sure to teach the Demon God’s mercy to those foolish deceivers!”
The priests still grovelling on the floor looking up at me began displaying all sorts of emotions in their eyes. Respect, awe, admiration, etc., etc…
And now, crazed religious fanatics ready to die at my command had been successfully created. And these weren’t the Demon God’s fanatics, either. No, they were my fanatical followers. That’s an important distinction.
“Everything will be dealt by me, the one carrying out the Demon God’s noble will. You all have only one job to carry out.” I straightened my back, pushed my chest out, then spread my arms wide open while loudly crying out. “My fellow disciples! Go and inform every believer in this place! Tell them that the man who will carry out the Demon God’s will is here! If anyone wishes to experience the Demon God’s mercy, tell them to come to me!”
When I finished my declaration, everyone just stared at me without saying anything. Understandable, as the only one being managed to figure out the true intention behind my declaration, after all. And that was none other than the metal bat.
-W-what are you saying, master! Wait, are you saying what I’m thinking?! Is that it?
-Yup, that’s exactly it.
-Haa, haaa! Master, you’re the best~! I love you so much, master!
This moment heralded the beginning of a festival. A festival that should satisfy me, satisfy the metal bat’s craving, and even please the priests. Except for the Demon God, who should be fuming at the unfairness of it all. Probably.