Chapter 5: Zero Corps Commander Deon Hart (3)
Oddly enough, despite the impossible situation, my hand tightly held onto my lifeline.
The torch in my hand, burning brightly, was so overwhelming that before I could think or speak, I swung it at the branch that was entangling my legs.
With a scream that seemed to tear my eardrums, the branch broke free from my ankle.
Good! I was right to hold the torch myself! I never thought I would actually need it, but…
‘But… Why does my back feel cold?’
The disgusting flower seemed to be getting farther and farther away… No, it’s good that it’s getting farther away, but something…
‘Wait a moment! I’m falling!!’
How high was this? Something that has a cover radius of 10 meters, so it should be close to 10 meters.
Save me, someone!
Even though I was terrified to the point that my heart was jumping out of my chest, my body that had been trained in battles was calmly preparing for the fall.
Even if I broke a bone in a few places, it would be better than breaking my neck.
I was trying to time the fall right, but someone caught me.
“S-Sir De-Demon! Are you okay?! Are you hurt anywhere? Where are you hurt?”
I should be the one surprised, but why are you the one stuttering? What the hell, did you bite your tongue?
I wanted to push this b*****d, the culprit behind everything, into the stomach of that carnivorous plant right now, but I held back.
Not because the opponent is stronger than me…
I looked up to see Hein, who was firmly holding me by lifting my head with his arms.
‘…I’ll let you off the hook just this time.’
He caught me easily after I fell from such a high place.
Even though I am relatively light, my body weight is still within the normal range for an adult, but as expected, demons are still demons.
“…Alright…I am alright.”
I pushed him away slowly.
Taking my reaction based on survival instinct as a signal to put me down, Hein carefully lowered me to the ground.
As soon as I was on the ground, the world started to shake.
I closed my eyes for a moment to steady my swaying bones before lowering my hand and looking at Hein.
I had no choice but to remain silent.
Behind Hein’s back, the background that should have been a mixture of silver moonlight and dark night was dyed red.
The smell of burning wood was piercing my nose and the hot heat was burning my skin.
A line of cold sweat ran down my back.
Not because it’s hot…
‘Is this… my fault?’
The garden was on fire because of the torch, my lifeline that I let go off when I was falling.
I will die today.
‘No, I will definitely die.’
Hein lowered his head weakly under the heat that touched his skin.
The plant I was caring for tried to eat Sir Demon.
Of course, Sir Demon would not be caught by just a plant, it’s obvious that the plant did not please him.
Otherwise, there would be no reason for him to be hurt by such a trivial attack.
He didn’t like that plant, no, he didn’t like the garden itself, so he was looking for a reason to burn it.
Maybe he didn’t like Hien himself.
The gardener is to blame for the plant’s mistakes.
Regardless of Sir Demon’s any other motive, the plant I was tending was the one who attacked first, and Sir Demon, who was attacked and had no choice but to defend himself.
As a result, he could not blame Sir Demon for the garden being burnt down, and was placed in a situation where he had to take responsibility.
In the first place, I didn’t even consider blaming Sir Demon for the garden that had been burned down.
‘If he did not like it, it must be my fault.’
He is usually a very kind person.
Ben, his doctor, had said the same thing, when he was bragging about it.
So, if he was angry, I must have done something against his will on my side.
I was determined, but I’m still afraid of death.
I touched his face, which must have turned pale, and bit my lip while looking at Sir Demon’s back.
It’s hard to tell if it’s because it’s from the back or because I can’t see his expression, but the atmosphere around him seems different from the usual Sir Demon.
This is not the time to pay attention to the atmosphere.’
It’s time to bow down.
He bent his waist towards the one who was only looking at the flames that devoured the garden, without looking back.
Slowly, the shoes which were only showing the heel turned.
Hien tightly closed his eyes as he looked at the shoes of the other person facing him.
Wow, it burns well.
Is this what it looks like when those slash-and-burn farmers set fire to those farms in the mountains in order to escape from their lord’s extortionate taxes?
The problem is that this is not a mountain, it’s the Demon King’s castle, and there is no farming to be done here either
‘What should I do…?’
It burns well, too well.
The offensive carnivorous plants that attacked me have already been completely consumed by the flames and no longer emit their grotesque sounds, and the other grotesque plants around have also disappeared silently into the fire.
Even though it had already devoured half of the western garden, the fire was still greedily expanding its range, devouring the remaining plants as if it wasn’t satisfied.
I feel a cold gaze on the back of my head.
It must be Hien’s.
I didn’t have the courage to look back to see what kind of expression he was making, so I just stared at the red garden in a half-fascinated state.
Ah, that’s right.
There’s no denying it.
This is an escape from reality.
This is the garden of the Demon King’s castle, and the gardener is, of course, a demon.
That’s exactly what they are.
‘Can someone put out this fire? Anyone, please.’
I prayed in my heart, praying that it would at least rain, when I heard a faint voice behind me.
I must have misheard.
Surely, this is a situation where I need to apologize, but why is he apologizing?
While my ears insist that I heard correctly, my head insists that I misheard, so I slowly turned around to confirm the truth.
Thankfully, what came into my view was not Hien with an angry expression, but Hien with his back bent.
Even though I was half relieved, I didn’t understand and remained silent, but he added an explanation on his own.
“I didn’t know those plants, or rather, this garden did not please you.”
“Or maybe, you’re mad at me….”
“No, that’s not it.”
Do I look like such an insensitive person? I placed my hand on my face and looked at Hien again.
Anyway, what he meant was that he thought I set fire to those carnivorous plants or the garden itself because I didn’t like them, and yet, he apologized.
“Are you crazy?”
“T-That’s not what I meant….”
Now that I think about it, this guy is a sycophant.
Anyway, looking at the situation, it seems that he won’t get angry with me over this.
I think I have a better chance of survival this way than if I had accidentally missed the torch.
Well, what should I say now?
“…The garden is not particularly pleasing to me, but it’s not something I dislike either.”
No, to be honest, I dislike it.
I hate it! It’s grotesque!
However, it’s impossible to ask the gardener of the Demon King’s castle to grow ordinary flowers of the human world, such as roses and lilies, so what can I do? I have to put up with it.
“Also, I-I would appreciate it if you could refrain from growing that plant you showed me earlier.”
“Oh, of course! I understand.
I’ll get rid of all the seeds.”
If you get rid of them from here, it’s not my concern what you grow in your own home.
Anyway, it seems like the situation has been resolved, but behind the calm expression of the Hien, a shadow appeared.
It’s definitely a person, or a demon.
I wondered who it was and as I squinted to see, a voice came from the shadow.
–A very familiar voice.
“What’s this fire?”
Hien’s body stiffened.
It didn’t show, but I froze too.
That’s understandable, because that voice definitely…
“Who did this? Was it done on purpose?”
Belonged to the one and only king of the Demon Realm, commonly known as the Demon King, who is said to be the strongest of all time.
“Eh, why is the Demon King here…”
“Hmm, my castle is on fire, and you want me to stand still?”
The Demon King, who abruptly cut off Hien’s question, turned his head.
His eyes, which moved slowly, looked at the fire once and then cast a particularly eerie glance on Hien and me.
His eyes, which were indifferent when he looked at Hien, changed as soon as he looked at me.
“I was wondering why no one was putting it out even though there was a fire…”
He shook his head and smiled.
Obviously, toward me.
Oh, is this it?
Today would be the same as my memorial day.
As expected, the Demon King said my name.
Perhaps it’s because there were other people around, but it wasn’t my real name, but the name known in the Demon Realm.
“You were here, Demon.”
At the same time, as I waved my hand, the thick smoke around me was pushed away and faded away.
Only then was I able to see clearly.
There were plenty of demons all around.
They were looking this way with troubled expressions, unable to do anything.
No, if you had arrived earlier, you should have put out the fire right away.
Why are you standing there and watching? Thanks to you, the Demon King is here.
“So, what did you not like?”
“Are you mad at the gardener, or are you displeased with the garden? I could kill him if you want, so what do you want me to do?”
No, wait a minute.
That gardener, I heard you brought him here yourself, so how could you say you can kill him so easily?
There was no smile on his face to dismiss it as a joke.
I looked back at Hien, puzzled, but he, who would’ve to plead or defend himself thoroughly, was bowing his head calmly as if he would accept any decision.
At this rate, I felt like the Demon King would kill Hien, so I hurriedly opened my mouth.
“It’s not that I’m mad at the gardener, nor that I hate the garden.”
“Then why? …No, before that.
Can I put out the fire?”
I nodded my head in a daze, and those who were waiting rushed over and started to cast magic.
Massive droplets of water were created from nowhere and poured down all at once.
It would have taken a long time with one or two people, but with so many people doing it, the fire was put out in an instant.
What, if you were able to do it quickly, then why…
“Then why did you set the garden on fire?”
I paused here for a moment.
First of all, there is no reason for me to say Hien’s misunderstanding with my own mouth in front of all these people.
Should I then tell the truth?
‘How would he react if I told him I almost died because of a single plant?’
‘You’re so weak that you were almost killed by an insignificant little plant.’ No, maybe he’ll try to kill me while saying, ‘You burned down my garden just for that?’
However, it’s impossible for me not to answer the Demon King’s question.
I was thinking about what to answer for a while, Hien suddenly stepped in and explained instead.
“The plant I picked up this time attacked Sir Demon.
That’s why Sir Demon set it on fire in anger.”
Hey, he’s a spy! Who sent him? Revolutionary army? Or was he sent by the nobles of the Empire?
I was thinking about how to answer so that rumors wouldn’t spread, but he opened his mouth again after a brief pause, as if he hadn’t finished speaking.
His voice was trembling slightly.
“It’s my fault.
I didn’t train them properly.”
The word ‘train’ doesn’t suit plants at all, but no one here seemed to feel weird.
Well, it was more like an animal than a plant, considering what it looked like a while ago.
At that moment a short groan pierced my ears.
When I suddenly raised my head, what I saw was the Demon King lifting Hien by the neck with one hand… Hien distorted his face as his breathing was interrupted, but he did not resist.
‘F**k, I’m going insane.
I could have done better, but why…’
The atmosphere was different from the beginning.
It was heavy and serious enough to make a person pass out.
While I was speechless, the Demon King who was holding Hien by the neck turned his head to look at me.
His face, which was very serious when he was looking at Hien, clearly softened when he turned this way.
No, he was even smiling.
“What should I do?”
“Should I kill him?”
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