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New chapter of the Incompetent~
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Episode 72: Pride
[Well then, shall we?]
We loaded our luggage to the carriage yesterday, so what’s left was to say goodbye to the King.
In the end, I only got to see this city for a day… Well, it’s not like I’m here for sightseeing.
After all, we may end up having to go all around the world… un, that sounds like it’ll be a fun trip.
When I left the room, Eddie-san was already there waiting.
He’s here to fetch us.
[Eddie-san… thank you for everything.]
[Nn… I should be the one saying that… Well, I will not tire you with that any further. His Majesty is waiting. Through here…]
He guided us through the castle.
I thought he’s guiding us toward the throne room, but he’s taking us downstairs instead.
Well… This is…
[Eddie-san, this is…]
[His Majesty is waiting for you outside the castle. Perhaps he wants to see you off personally.]
[I see… thank you then.]
[Say that to His Majesty directly later… alright, let’s go.]
We descended the stairs and reached the grand entrance of the Celt castle.
Soldiers were lining the path to the gate leading out of the castle.
At the gate, there were three people I had never seen before: a man, a woman, and a boy who appeared to be their child.
Asna stopped on her track upon seeing the three.
I see… These people are….
She looked at me with a slightly anxious expression so I gave her back a gentle push.
After she looked at Levi, who gave her an encouraging smile, only then did Asna finally raise her head and walked forward.
And when she finally stood in front of the family, Asna bowed deeply…
The woman immediately stopped Asna from bowing.
Then she and her husband bowed instead.
[You were not at fault… it was our fault.]
[We’re sorry, Asna… we…didn’t know what to do…we received a letter from His Majesty. So, here we are… we are sorry…!]
Your Majesty… You went to great lengths…
[Even… His Majesty… b-but, it was…because I was weak… That’s why I…!]
The woman cried and shook her head at Asna.
The man also clenched his fists and closed his eyes.
[Two days ago… I saw Asna-chan and Rhode-kun… as well as Eddie-sama and His Majesty. I’ve been regretting everything since then. I wonder why… we didn’t try to reach out to you! We have made you suffer even more… when we should’ve helped… Regardless of whether or not you’re an incompetent…! We’re very sorry…!]
[I’m…sorry. for scaring you too…!]
Then the boy, who had been watching the scene up until then, walked up to Asuna and looked at her.
Seemingly unsure of what to do, but going for it anyway.
[But I wasn’t scared at all! I was just worried about you because you were so dirty…]
[And I’m sure you were a good person! Because before you left, you said that you’re sorry. So I’m sure you’re a good person!]
This is probably why… I fight on.
[Uu…uuu… Sorry… I’m sorry…uu…uu…]
[It’s not your fault, sis! So don’t cry…]
[No, it’s… okay. I’m crying because I’m happy. So, thank you…!]
I couldn’t hold back my tears.
The soldiers around me seemed to have the same problem.
Levi seemed to be burning the scene into her memory, forgetting to wipe her tears.
The figure of a small hero… saving someone’s heart.
At that time, a huge gate was opened.
And waiting beyond the gate was the king himself.
Behind him, stood a lot of people…
[We are the pride of the Celts!]
『With all our hearts and souls!』
[Never to be daunted!]
『Fulfill our destiny to the very best!』
[‘Til the day our bodies decay!]
『We shall seek true strength!』
[Such is the Celts’ heart!]
『Celt’s soul will always shine in a burning might!』
Led by the King, the people started chanting the Celt’s anthem.
I was speechless.
Too overwhelmed to say anything.
[We will not forget again. We will never forget and we will never make the same mistake. We all feel the same. That’s what I wanted to say. Farewell, brave man. We will meet again… one day.]
We stepped forward and bowed deeply.
I’m not sure what to say.
But at this point, I felt like words weren’t necessary anymore.
The people split into left and right, showing us the way.
We bowed to the Celt King and continued on our way.
There were hard times.
Lots and lots of sorrow.
But we overcame them one by one.
This is where the path opens up.
So I will continue onward.
With strong determination.
For this path is no longer mine alone.
Inhelm, the continent of the demons.
The continent…was known to be extremely cold due to its proximity to the eternal ice. but that was a little different from the truth.
It may look that way from the sea, but there is a space in the center of the continent where snowstorms are suppressed by magic.
Most of the demons and monsters live there and the humans know nothing about it.
They can secure a certain amount of food, but it’s probably not much compared to the richness of Valhalla.
Naturally, the demons are just as eager to take Valhalla for themselves as the dragons.
The weakening of the adventurers… The seemingly coordinated attacks were proof of this.
With a few exceptions, almost everything was within their expectations.
They could at least conquer a human country, perhaps preventing the humans from reclaiming the territory for a while.
However, SSS-ranked adventurers led by the Hero Roy prove to be troublesome.
No matter how strong the Demon King is… simply put, even if the current Demon King is said to be the strongest in their history, there is no guarantee that he will win against all of them.
At least one more… If they could find one more deciding factor, then they’ll be ready to attack Valhalla.
That one factor was found by chance.
Upon hearing the news, the Demon King ordered his subordinates to take immediate confirmation.
As a result, the Demon King was convinced that it’s possible.
From that moment on, the invasion of Valhalla became a reality.
Many monsters have already been sent to the south of Valhalla.
Their aim was Celt.
Once they take that country, they could build a magic castle on its territory.
And since it’s close to Inhelm, reinforcing it would be easy.
But above all, Celt would be the best frontline when they move in to take down Olympus.
However, the existence of the dragons still becomes a hindrance to the demons.
Both the dragons and demons hated each other.
They will unavoidably clash in their attempt to conquer Valhalla.
If the demons invade, the dragons will also make a move.
It’s only obvious.
Worst case scenario, the demons may get sandwiched in between the humans and the dragons.
Still, the Demon King pushed forward.
He believed that this entity he found by chance would be enough to break the stalemate.
In any case, now that it has obtained one more deciding factor, Inhelm is ready to invade.
They’ve started preparing without the human knowing anything about it.
The castle of Inhelm towers in the center of the continent.
In the audience hall of the castle, the strongest demons under the Demon King have gathered.
The four of them were already kneeling in front of the throne, quietly waiting for the Demon King to appear.
These four people were the second seat in the demon’s pyramid of power, with the Demon King at the top.
They were so powerful that they could have been called the Demon King in other timelines.
But the current demon king was simply much stronger.
Therefore, the four of them kneeled to him without pretense.
They simply felt that the current Demon King deserves their awe and respect.
Eventually, the sound of footsteps began to echo in the spacious audience hall.
This sound brought tension to the four.
Then the Demon King quietly appeared, sitting on his throne, legs crossed and elbows propped.
He looks to be in his late twenties, but in reality, he has lived for nearly five thousand years.
His appearance is not so different from that of a human with his golden hair, white skin, and black coat-like clothes.
However, what’s inside is something else.
He possesses enormous magical power and the attacks generated from his tough body could ruthlessly destroy everything.
The name of this Demon King, who is touted as the strongest in history, is Zeno.
An absolute ruler among the demons.
[Is it done?]
The Demon King said shortly.
The four raised their faces and each responded to the brief question.
[Yes… preparations are going smoothly.]
[The monsters are hungry for blood.]
[It is as Demon King-sama commanded]
[After that, we only need to wait for the right time…]
[I see. Good.]
The Demon King had a slight smile on his face.
Even for the four, it’s rare for the Demon King to show such an expression.
[However, Demon King-sama… there is something of concern.]
[What is it, Hadras. Speak up.]
[Yes. The target is far inferior to Demon King-sama… much less than any four of us…]
[What did you say?]
Those words that the demon king uttered carried a slight trace of anger.
Tension rose once more for the four.
However, this was the consensus reached by all four of them.
Hadras simply said this on behalf of them all.
[No need to be concerned about it. It is undeniable… Even if it is weak now, it will eventually grow as strong as me.]
[Yes… Hadras seeks an apology. Demon King-sama’s intentions are beyond our understanding…]
[Un, speak nothing of it anymore. More than that…]
The Demon King grinned.
The kind that brings fear to the four.
[I’m looking forward to it.]