I learned that the truth that I had been searching for was covered up by a gentle lie.
The choice was the ‘kindness of closing my eyes’ or ‘the courage to touch upon it even so’.
Chapter 1 – At the End of Each Promise
It was a place where the morning rays of sun gently shined down and gathered. The lush myriad of trees in Oldora Forest grew abundantly, covering the entirety of the ground. This rich natural forest had spread to the borders of Wildart City, the base of the Moderates Faction. In the depths of this thick forest, in a corner where only animals usually passed by, a group of visitors were present. They were the people who had just concluded a decisive battle to determine the history of the Demon Realm, and were about to return to their own world, as well as the group of people that had come to see them off.
“Everyone, thank you so much for everything…you’ve done so much for me because you were there by my side.”
Naruse Mio, Yuki, and the other girls all bid their farewells to that girl. The girl — the maid Noel clasped Mio’s hand and reluctantly said
“Mio-sama…you’re leaving so soon.”
“…Mmm. I’m sorry, Noel.”
Mio also squeezed her hand lightly, which only seemed to deepen Noel’s sorrow, prompting her to say with even more reluctance
“Even so, you don’t have to go back home so hastily…”
It had only been two days since that battle — the decisive battle between the Moderates Faction and the Current Demon Lord Faction which had been interrupted by the conspiracy of the Council members who initiated the invasion of the Demon God Chaos, though they had been defeated by a concerted effort from both sides. Those two days mainly consisted of a rest period which had been imposed by the doctor who examined the damage sustained from the battle, as well as a minimal amount of consultations and meetings to discuss the future of the Demon Realm.
“…I’m happy about the way you feel, Noel. But, we don’t have any other choice.”
Yuki said. Just like Mio, Yuki also had a reluctant expression on her face because she had become close with Noel during the time that she had guided them through Wildart’s city area.
“We’ve already accomplished what we came here to do. And so, we should leave the Demon Realm as soon as possible.”
In response to Yuki’s words, Kurumi also nodded in agreement beside her.
“That’s right. If we stay any longer, we might cause various problems.”
Indeed — there were several reasons why Mio and the others had to return back to the human realm in such a hurry. Mio and the others had come to the Demon Realm just when time ticked over from the twenty fifth of December to the twenty sixth of December in the human realm. Considering the number of days that had passed since they came here, it meant that the third trimester of school had already begun. Among those who accompanied Mio, Basara valued the idea of ‘making their ordinary lives the top priority whenever possible’, and so because of that, they had also delayed their initial plans to come to the Demon Realm for about a month so that they wouldn’t miss the end of trimester exams. —Of course, they could use magic to tamper with anything such as their attendance records or their grades. With something so simple, their problem would be resolved. …However. By doing so, by making use of an external power, they would diverge even further away from ordinary people. Rather, it was a kind of act that would turn their ordinary daily lives into a lie. Even aside from the issues of daily life in the human realm, there was a possibility that another problem would arise from Mio’s presence in the Demon Realm.
—The decisive battle between the Moderates Faction and the Current Demon Lord faction had undoubtedly influenced the future of the Demon Realm. For better or for worse, the achievements of Mio and the others in that historic were too substantial. As a result, the people of the Moderates faction hailed them as heroes, and there was now an expectation that she would rise to become their new leader. On the other hand, the current Demon Lord faction and various other factions began to regard their presence and combat force as a danger. In addition, the Moderates faction received an offer of truce immediately after the decisive battle from the Current Demon Lord faction. After repelling Chaos, although Mio and the others didn’t meet with Ramsas, they understood from the senior and well-respected Klaus, as well as Ramsas’ aide Lucia that there was a high chance that Leohart’s secret objective was to overthrow the Council. After achieving this goal, the present situation would ultimately lead from a truce to a peace treaty or a military alliance between the Moderates faction and the Current Demon Lord faction. With that in mind, ceremonies would be held by the Moderates faction for Leohart, and ceremonies would be held by the Current Demon Lord faction for Ramsas in order to strengthen the connections between each side and welcome them — that’s why it wasn’t surprising to hear rumours that the ones to attend would instead be Mio and Leohart. However—
…I don’t like it.
Mio didn’t feel that way. Naruse Mio had already decided upon the existence to which she would devote herself. She didn’t yet know what form it would take, but from here on, the problems of the Demon Realm would settle in time. Not everything was completely resolved, and so it was still too early for her to consider what her long-term relationship with it would be.
That person would never change. That was something that she could be certain of. That was why Mio decided in that decisive battle that she was going to live, not as Wilbert’s daughter, but as the girl named Naruse Mio. —Therefore, Mio had to show that the words she expressed at that time were the truth. To that end, it was best for her to leave the Demon Realm as soon as possible, just as Yuki said. In such circumstances, Mio and the others were simply searching for the right words to convey this to Noel.
A small hand reached over from the side and caressed Noel’s bottom, causing her to jump up in surprise. At the same time
“—Noel, you shouldn’t trouble Mio-chan and the others too much.”
As Mio and the others looked down towards the source of that young voice, they noticed that a young-looking succubus had appeared by Noel’s side without them realising.
As Zest spoke her name in surprise, the young-looking succubus continued to fondle Noel’s bottom.
“If you spend so long here chatting — that child will get angry you know.”
“I-I’m sorry! I-I’ll see to the carriage!”
Noel lowered her head with a reddened face as she ran off, escaping from the grasp of Sheera’s hand towards the carriage that Mio and the others had ridden so far to get here. Maria then timidly asked Sheera
“Umm, okaa-san…I don’t see Lucia-neesama around.”
Maria had asked about Lucia because Lucia was the one who opened the dimensional boundary when they came from the Toujou residence to the Demon Realm. The Demon Realm and the human realm — opening a dimensional gate to connect the two different worlds was not possible for most people. Therefore, Lucia had spoken about making a dimensional gate leading to the human realm for their journey back. They had decided to take the return journey from Oldora Forest, similar to when they had arrived here, so as to avoid being too close to Wildart City.
…Moreover, this time.
There was a possibility that people would try to see Mio off, and that would cause unnecessary commotion. So in order to return to the human realm in absolute secrecy, they chose Oldora Forest as their place of departure. However, if Lucia didn’t come, then they wouldn’t be able to do much.
“Lucia-chan has a few final confirmations to make back at the castle for the ‘meeting’, so she won’t be free for quite a while.”
It didn’t seem to matter though, as Sheera shrugged her shoulders.
“They have to make sure that there aren’t any gaps, including security measures.”
Sheera was in fact referring to the high-level discussions that were to take place between Ramsas and Leohart on the topic of peace that was to be held between the Moderates faction and the Current Demon Lord faction today. To prevent unnecessary problems, Mio and the others were leaving the Demon Realm as soon as possible. At the same time, the Moderates faction and the Current Demon Lord faction decided to promptly talk about peace for much the same reason. Leohart had made suggestions that high-level talks were necessary during the truce, and so this meeting was a realisation of that.
“Then, who’s going to open the dimensional gate for us to return…?”
“Ah, don’t worry, I’ll take care of that.”
In response to Mio’s question, Sheera said so without hesitation.
Yuki’s expression conveyed a degree of surprise.
“Yes. I was the one who originally taught Lucia-chan how to open a dimensional gate, and though that girl has improved considerably, I’m still better when it comes to spatial manipulation, so don’t worry about it.”
The loli succubus mother giggled. And then
“Well, it should be fine if it’s okaa-san, but…”
As her daughter, Maria also seemed to consent. Naturally, Mio and the others didn’t complain either. Mio and the others were well aware of the tremendous precision and finesse of the spatial tunnels that Sheera could build. —However, Mio and the others weren’t able to depart yet. And so, Naruse Mio inquired
“Sheera-san…are Basara and Ramsas-san still discussing things with each other?”
Indeed — Basara was not currently present. When the time came for them to leave the castle, Basara went to have a talk with Ramsas, and he told them to go ahead first, which they did. So as soon as the talk with Ramsas was over, they originally thought that Sheera would bring Basara over using a spatial tunnel…but since Sheera was now here, it meant that he would have to come in a different way.
The relationship between themselves and Ramsas wasn’t something that could be described as good. Especially with Basara and Ramsas, something had flared up between them which Mio and the others were unaware of, and that resulted in Basara being temporarily confined to his room. As worry gradually began to build up in Mio
“Don’t worry. After coming to this point, there should be no reason for those two to fight, and that shouldn’t be their intention anyway. Most likely, they’re only taking so long because there are various complicated matters.”
They understood that there was something that Basara went out of his way to speak to Ramas about. And — it was something important.
During the battle with Leohart and the Demon God Chaos, Basara had been enveloped in the same red aura as Mio and he even demonstrated that he was capable of slashing attacks that could affect gravity. Supposedly, Basara had inherited this power from his ‘mother’. Mio and the others heard about this story after the battle against the Demon God Chaos ended — when they could finally calm down and talk. Before Basara went off to Lundvall, he had heard from Jin about his mother, and that was how it became one of the trump cards that he used in the decisive battle against the Current Demon Lord faction. He even secretly asked Sheera to prepare a medicine that would make that power easier to use. It was no surprise that he wanted to learn more about his mother from Ramsas before leaving the Demon Realm. It was a fact that Ramsas was Wilbert’s older brother, and Ramsas was also the older brother of Basara’s mother — and so just like Mio, it meant that Ramsas was Basara’s uncle. It was a secret that could never be made public.
That power had caused some speculation and rumours to spread amongst various other things such as Basara’s origin. Publicly, it had been misrepresented that it was a side effect of the medicine that had been made by Sheera, a well-renowned succubus. But if anyone was to investigate Basara’s spiritual energy patterns, the evidence would be undeniable. That was also one of the reasons why Mio and the others had to return to the human realm as soon as possible.
“Don’t worry. The interest in Basara-kun is only a temporary thing. There is no certain evidence about his identity, but it is an undeniable fact that the Demon God Chaos was resurrected, and that all of the members of the Council are now dead. Although the confusion hasn’t subsided yet, the Moderates faction and Current Demon Lord faction who have been fighting against each other thus far are about to make peace with each other, aren’t they?”
“The situation has already begun to advance to a new stage…the attention of the Demon Realm will be directed towards Ramsas and Leohart who are the main actors almost immediately. If you return to the human realm this soon, then you’ll be fine.”
Sheera then continued
“As I said before, if I were you, I’d be more worried about your future relationship.”
Mio showed a blank expression on her face upon hearing those unexpected words.
“Basara-kun and his conversation will still take a while…so I should talk to you all right now.”
And then, with a bitter smile, Sheera began to speak. In the depths of her eyes, there was even a slight coldness.
“—Allow me to tell you about the ‘danger’ that Basara-kun carries.”
The time was approaching for the high-level discussions to be held between the Moderates faction and the Current Demon Lord faction in Wildart Castle. Lucia, who was in charge of the preparations, had already finished a final confirmation, including the security details. Lucia was now in a place that was different to the interior of the castle. It was a balcony that overlooked Wildart City. At present, there were two other people in this place aside from Lucia. In front of Lucia, who was waiting some distance away from them
“Please wait. Do you mean to say that, in the future—”
“—That is correct. In the future, we will essentially have nothing to do with each other.”
The person who answered Basara’s question with indifference was Lucia’s master — Ramsas. —Currently, Basara and Ramsas weren’t even looking at each other properly. Basara was looking at Ramsas, but Ramsas had turned his back to Basara as he continued to watch over Wildart City which was below him. Ramsas’ idea was something that Lucia was already aware of. It was the stance which the Moderates Faction and the demons would take against Basara and the others from now on.
“As you may be aware, there is a high risk that you guys will light the spark which causes a new battlefield to arise in the Demon Realm.”
Ramsas spoke with a heavy tone.
“At this important time when a military alliance is about to be formed between us and the Current Demon Lord faction, we cannot be seen to have any involvement with your group, as that would sow unnecessary seeds of doubt amongst each other. It would also cause unnecessary speculation amongst the other factions.”
“In order to prevent that, we demons will cut off contact with you guys as much as possible…of course, there is also the possibility that some may with malicious intent may target you, so I will continue to leave Maria in your hands. Considering that Zest has also entered into a Master-Servant contract with you, you have no shortage in terms of combat force should the need for self-defence arise.”
After saying so, Ramsas continued
“In order to maintain fairness and transparency, observers from the Current Demon Lord faction will most likely continue to be dispatched to keep an eye on you guys. However, though we will not be enemies in the future, other factions may try to take advantage of the power and presence of your group, and even go after your lives. That girl has been entrusted with the power of Wilbert, so that much is to be expected.”
“If you guys have serious problems, it will be reported to both the Moderates faction and the Current Demon Lord faction fairly — so that we can implement a solution.”
It meant that both the Moderates faction and the Current Demon Lord faction would intervene if necessary, if an emergency situation was to befall Basara and the others.
“…That is reassuring. Thank you.”
“—What are you misunderstanding?”
In response to Basara’s words of gratitude, Ramasas responded with hostility.
“If the situation is more serious than we expect, and it is judged that a rescue it too difficult, there is a possibility that we will eliminate you guys ourselves in order to rid ourselves of that danger.”
In response to Ramsas’ cold words, Basara remained silent. But
Lucia, who had been watching Basara, involuntarily frowned. It was because his expression was not a difficult one, but a gentle one. And then
“So, you’re going to keep up that cold attitude of yours until the very end huh….”
Letting out a bit of a sigh, Basara stared straight at Ramsas as he spoke. His words were straight to the point.
“Are you really going to part with Mio like this, without telling her the truth?”
Toujou Basara slowly watched as Ramsas turned around to face him. Then
“…What are you talking about?”
That response seemed to prod at the ‘true intention’ behind his words.
“What I’m about to say is just my speculation as I have no evidence to back it up.”
After that preliminary remark, Basara began to speak. Before the decisive battle with the Current Demon Lord faction — whilst considering a plan to assassinate Belphegor, Toujou Basara arrived at a certain ‘truth’ whilst thinking about the process that led up to the execution.
“Your attitude and the way you speak to Mio clearly shows unfriendliness. No matter how dangerous the situation became, you never sent any escorts aside from Maria, and the decisions you made had absolutely no regard for Mio’s life…you thoroughly avoided Mio, and kept distancing her away from yourself.”
“Someone who told me about the circumstances said that you were still bitter about the fact that your younger brother became the Demon Lord, and not you. He said that this was the reason why you were so cold towards your own niece, Mio.”
Basara extrapolated further based on the speculation that Takigawa had spoken about. But what came next was a disproof, rather than proof.
“But, this time, you called Mio to the Demon Realm and tried to extract the power of the former Demon Lord from her. Because we defeated Zolgear, people like Klaus-san began to intensify their opinions that Mio should become the next Demon Lord.”
Klaus was loyal to Wilbert, and that’s why his support for Mio to become the legitimate successor was obvious. However, Ramsas and Klaus disagreed with each other over this.
“To go against those who supported Mio, you insisted that you would be the one to gain that power. If you look at this normally, then it certainly does seem like these selfish actions of yours are an attempt to satisfy your vanity as the prideful older brother who was jealous of being surpassed by his younger brother.”
That was why when Basara came to the Demon Realm that night — Ramsas had made an insult towards Mio at this place. Mio had been left alone up until then, but selfish requests were imposed upon them as soon as the situation changed, and he couldn’t forgive the fact that Ramsas and the others were trying to use Mio.
And then, Basara stole a glance at Lucia
“When I saw the relationship between Lucia-san and Maria, it was a hint for me to change my perspective.”
“Me and Maria…?”
As Lucia frowned, Basara nodded as he affirmed that.
“Before coming here, someone gave me a piece of advice ‘Don’t be short-sighted. Look at things flexibly’. She’s someone who’s given me valuable pieces of advice over and over many times…that’s why her words remained in my mind.”
“I thought again as I looked at Lucia-san and Maria…the love that’s poured in to a family is not as simple as an act of kindness that can always be seen. And then I met my father here, and that thought turned into conviction.”
The answer that he derived. It was
“Whilst we children are doing the best we can to live our daily lives, our parents — they’re looking ahead for us into the future.”
Ramsas kept silent without changing his expression as Basara continued. Although Ramsas’ emotions could not be ascertained from his facial expression, his silence meant that he could not deny his true intentions. However, Toujou Basara didn’t care as he went on
“That’s when I changed my view. Your attitude and your behaviour towards Mio was not meant to satisfy your own pride, it was all for Mio’s own sake…”
If that was true, then the meaning of everything up until now could be traced in reverse like a chain reaction.
“The former Demon Lord Wilbert made his subordinates act as her parents so that his daughter Mio could live as a human being in the human realm…so that his only daughter Mio would not become a tool in the politics of the Demon Realm. All of the actions and decisions that you’ve made up until now can also be viewed as an extension of the will of Wilbert.”
And that’s because
“Maria was the only escort for her, and you didn’t assign any more escorts than was necessary to prevent Mio from being recognised as the Moderates faction’s princess. That’s why you distanced yourself from her. In order to prevent Mio from getting caught up in the politics of the Demon Realm, you went as far as possible not to make contact with her.”
And then, Basara continued
“If you thought about Mio that much, you probably had various measures in place to act as insurance against threats…for example with Sheera-san, one of those insurance measures was to make Mio the inheritor of Wilbert’s power. Of course, the probability of being targeted because she had inherited that would increase, but there was also a risk if she had been left without it.”
“Even when Zolgear first targeted Mio, you permitted Maria to use her ‘key’ to transform into an adult, so that they could make it out of a struggle…but, that wasn’t the only thing, was it?”
After saying that, Basara once again directed his eyes towards Lucia
“Lucia-san…when Maria reported to you that Zolgear had taken Sheera-san hostage, you told her to focus on her mission of protecting Mio.”
Lucia stubbornly remained silent and maintained her expressionless façade. This silence meant that what Basara was saying was getting closer and closer to the hidden truth. Toujou Basara revealed a part of that truth. Looking back at Ramsas instead of at Lucia, he said
“But Lucia-san hadn’t abandoned Sheera-san…did she get captured by Zolgear on purpose?”
This was the conclusion that he had come to after thinking and reversing everything. Ramsas’ long silence was an affirmation which boosted the correctness of his reasoning
“That’s because Sheera-san can build a spatial tunnel without Lucia-san even noticing. Zolgear had captured Sheera-san from a location that was not his own residence. With that in mind, there would have been many chances for her to get away.”
But, Sheera didn’t attempt to run away — why?
“Even though the observer was dismissed, Zolgear didn’t give up on Mio…that’s why she pretended to be caught by Zolgear and stayed there. Because Zolgear’s strong obsession with Mio was dangerous, she stayed there because she considered what might happen if Mio was captured.”
It was highly likely that not all of this was Sheera’s own decision, and that Ramsas was also involved. In any case
…Lucia-san was also aware of Sheera-san’s aim.
That was why she instructed Maria to focus on her mission. And so — because she was loyal to her master, she wouldn’t have done so without Ramsas’ permission. Therefore, it was a concrete fact that Ramsas was aware of this.
“Yes. Everything was for Mio’s sake — you thought about everything to protect her.”
Quietly…but with a clear voice, Basara said
“However, as I mentioned earlier, we defeated Zolgear, and this caused the attention of both the Moderates faction and the Current Demon Lord faction to gather onto Mio. In order to prevent Mio from becoming a tool of politics in the Demon Realm, the quickest way to cause her value to diminish was to extract the power of the former Demon Lord from his only daughter. And that’s why you tried to extract that power from Mio.”
Surely, it was an inevitable decision.
“There was a possibility that taking away this trump card from Mio would cause her to lose all magical power, but you didn’t mind…as a mere human being, Mio would be free to live as an ordinary girl, and she also had us around her, who had defeated Zolgear. Therefore, you thought the risk of people trying to target her would decrease because she would just be an ordinary girl.”
At any rate
“As the leader of the Moderates faction, it appeared as though you continued to look down on Mio’s existence. From the perspective of other factions, a Mio who had lost her powers would no longer have any value as a hostage against the Moderates faction. That’s why you wanted to extract that power from Mio, leave her in our hands, and then try to deal with the problems of the Demon Realm by yourself. However, before that could happen, the Current Demon Lord faction attacked us with the spirits, and as a result, we were forced to head to the frontlines.”
But, Basara still continued
“Then, the question arises…”
“The timing with which you appeared in the Moderates Faction, and the cold attitude that you displayed towards Mio. Suppose we go with my theory that you were an older brother who picked up the dying wish of your younger brother Wilbert, and that you were an uncle who thought dearly about Mio. If that was the case, then there was no reason for you to go out of your way to oppose Klaus-san and the others. It was Wilbert’s wish that he didn’t want Mio to get involved, and you were simply carrying this on.”
“…Don’t you think that these contradictions arose because your theory is incorrect?”
Finally, Ramsas opened his mouth. His statement was a sound argument. However
“—I don’t think so.”
Toujou Basara felt confidence in himself as he continued. That was because
“I was watching when you guarded and protected Mio from Chaos. The expression on your face when you gently held her in your arms after she lost consciousness from using Wilbert’s power showed that you truly cared about Mio…that is the undeniable truth.”
Basara continued to assert with a firm tone
“That’s why I thought like that. The reason why you continued to show a cold attitude towards Mio was because there was some kind of circumstance which ‘gave you no choice’.”
Going by the assumption that Ramsas had considerately thought about Mio, he pursued that possibility. —For the sake of that, Toujou Basara came here. Ramsas appeared before the Moderates Faction — but what about the events which transpired before that? After extensive reasoning, the conclusion derived from that was
“—The Moderates Faction boasted the greatest power in the Demon Realm at the time.”
Basara began to speak in a low tone, so as to supress the excitement in his voice as he steadily approached the truth.
“However, rather than agreeing with the idea of the late Wilbert’s desire for peace, I heard that the majority of people were attracted by his charisma as the man described to be the strongest Demon Lord…the soldiers of the Moderates Faction who boasted great power adored their own king, and instead of seeking peace after the war, the voices calling for the unification of the Demon Realm grew louder, isn’t that right?”
Klaus was a good example that the loyalty Wilbert’s followers showed to him was in fact terrifying. Even after his death, his reputation held such influence. When he took up the throne of the Demon Lord, the charisma that everyone felt from Wilbert was unparalleled, and it was far from what it was now. …However, this was the opposite of the name and values of the ‘Moderates Faction’, as it was essentially domination by force. This kind of self-righteous thinking was no different from the Council. Although his desire for peace was greater than anyone else, it was ironic that his charismatic nature as the Demon Lord was the source of his torment. —To Wilbert, it would have been a more painful situation than anything else. Those who respected him asked him to take the place of the Council to become the ruler who would dominate the Demon Realm. Day by day, his control of the situation began to slip away and spiral out of control. And so, the strongest Demon Lord began to think about how he could regain the Moderates Faction of his ideals, and how to bring true peace to the Demon Realm so that it would be free from the control and influence of the Council.
“The answer that King Wilbert arrived at in order to stop the Moderates Faction from spiralling out of control was — for himself to disappear.”
But in case of an emergency, he still wanted to be able to protect the Moderates Faction. No matter how conceited they became, they were still an important existence that Wilbert wanted to protect.
“In order for the death of the strongest Demon Lord to be convincing, and in order to remain a deterrent against other factions, you wanted to avoid something like being killed and defeated by someone. However, making it look like an accident was also difficult. If the king passed away in an accident, then the cause of that would be thoroughly investigated. Given such circumstances, there was the least risk in death by illness.”
However, there were still other things to consider. There was in fact something more important for Wilbert. It was
“However — he also wanted to avoid anything that would put a burden on his own daughter Mio as much as possible.”
Basara then looked straight into Ramsas’ eyes.
“He sent Mio to the human realm together with his subordinates who would act as adoptive parents, while he observed her growth from the Demon Realm. When the opportunity arose, he faked his own death by illness — and then came up with a plan to return as a different existence.”
After a pause
“He wanted to see how the Moderates Faction would change as a result of the death of a great demon, and to see whether the thirst and ambition would spiral out of control. He also wanted to identify how the Council would move — everything was for the sake of this.”
“The danger of Basara…?”
In response to Sheera’s words of advice, Nonaka Yuki frowned. Yuki’s response to those words were doubts that the other girls also shared.
“During this series of battles against the Current Demon Lord faction, Basara-kun’s success has been a wonderful thing.”
In saying that, the great succubus with a youthful appearance began to elaborate.
“During the battle in Wildart City, he repelled Gardo, who is known as a hero by everyone throughout the Demon Realm, and in the decisive battle in Lundvall, he was able to demonstrate that he was evenly matched against the current Demon Lord Leohart. Well, something got in the way of that battle, but…”
“He played an important role in repelling the high-level spirit that was sent by the Council to Wildart, and also the Demon God Chaos in Lundvall.”
“In other words, it’s not a good thing that Basara-san has become too conspicuous?”
“In the future, there is a possibility that Basara-sama’s existence will be considered dangerous, and he may be targeted…?”
When asked that by Maria and Zest, Sheera shook her head as she said ‘no’.
“Basara-kun’s actions have certainly been outstanding, and I can’t say that there’s no one who perceives him as a threat…but even so, the Moderates faction and the Current Demon Lord faction will now begin negotiations for peace. If a treaty is established, then the difference in combat strength compared to other factions will be greater than ever. No one will be able to carelessly make a move anymore.”
“For that purpose, Ramsus and Leohart are trying to form an alliance. Their intentions will result in a truce with all of the other hostile and tense forces. It will rid the Demon Realm of all the seeds of conflict in one fell swoop.”
“To that end, it’s convenient for them to have the people who fought in that decisive battle to leave…but, this isn’t exactly a bad thing for you girls. After all, you ladies came to this world in the first place to stop Mio-chan from being used in the politics of the Demon Realm — this also prevents all of you from getting caught up in it as well.”
Mio’s nod accompanied by the word that she uttered represented the feelings of everyone else who was present. In terms of Yuki’s personal feelings, she had a feeling that…if Basara’s achievements were recognised…. …It was because he had ended the war between the two major powers of the demon race — which meant that he had changed the history of the Demon Realm. It was such a grand accomplishment, and it was something that even Jin had been unable to do. If the <<Village>> looked favourably upon this, it was possible that even Basara’s exile would be withdrawn. …But, there was also the possibility that the <<Village> would not think kindly about the act of stopping the conflict between demons. If one stopped to consider the situation, it was possible that the power of the demons would have declined if left alone, and Basara — what he and the others did might have been undesirable for the hero clan. In that sense, what Sheera was saying held a degree of persuasion with Yuki and the others. Regardless of whether it was considered from the perspective of the demon race or the hero race, it would have been better to avoid drawing that level of attention so as to avoid being targeted. …Moreover, it was unfortunate that more problems would be likely to arise when the incident garnered attention. Sheera stated the reason
“More than anything — let alone the Demon Realm, it’ll be much better if the hero clan doesn’t find out about Basara-kun using the power of gravity, the same power that Mio-chan inherited from Wilbert, right?”
Sheera’s words carried enough weight to instantly silence everyone who was present.
“…Judging by your expressions, it seems you all already know. Basara-kun has Sapphire-chan’s — the blood of Wilbert’s younger sister.”
As if to confirm Sheera’s statement, there was one person who immediately responded. It was Zest.
“Yes…last night, we heard about it from Basara-sama.”
Whilst saying that, Zest recalled what happened in that moment when Basara demonstrated his power during the decisive battle against the Current Demon Lord faction. Even though Zest and the others admired Basara so much, they were unable to unable to ignore that. So after the decisive battle — when they arrived back in Wildart and had an opportunity to do so, Zest and the others asked Basara about it. Why was Basara able to manipulate the power of gravity? Before they asked Basara about it, they speculated that there was a possibility that the Master-Servant contract between him and Mio was involved. It was possible to increase each party’s power by deepening the bond between the master and the servant with the Master-Servant Contract. The increase in power was proportional to the strength of the Master-Servant relationship, and the number of servants with a high loyalty. That was why some high-level demons had forged Master-Servant contracts with a large number of servants. And in the guest house at Lundvall, the relationship between Basara and Mio had evolved even further as a result of the lewd acts that they performed in order to deepen their Master-Servant bond. After Zest and the others reached their limits, Mio alone regained consciousness, and that was when she supposedly experienced pleasure and climaxes together with Basara all the way until dawn. …But, when they left Wildart prior to the decisive battle, Sheera had noted that Mio was the one among the three of them who had the lowest level of loyalty towards Basara in terms of the Master-Servant contract. And so, because the Master-Servant relationship between the master and servant had deepened so immensely, it seemed as though the power of Mio who was under his control had become usable to Basara as the master.
…That was the possibility that they had come up with. But the truth was entirely different. The reason why Zest and the others asked Basara that question was because he had heard from Jin about his own birth just before they departed to Lundvall…that was when he first learned about his mother’s identity. And then, Zest and the others became aware of it as well. Basara’s secret — his mother was the former Demon Lord Wilbert’s younger sister. —Basara had the blood of the demon race. That fact naturally gave Zest and the others a major surprise. Even so, although Zest and Maria were surprised, they seemed to be able to accept the truth immediately. It was because Zest had already pledged her firm loyalty to her master. That also seemed to be the case for Maria who was born and raised as a demon, as she didn’t appear shaken by it at all.
…However, that was not the case for the remaining three people comprised of Mio, Yuki and Kurumi. Especially for Yuki and Kurumi who originated from the hero clan, it was difficult for them to accept the fact that Basara had demon blood running through his veins. Yuki had already decided to follow Basara no matter what just like Zest, so she seemed to be able to calm her emotions down somehow, but it was clear to see that Kurumi was considerably upset. That was only to be expected. Kurumi was still under orders from the <<Village>> to perform surveillance on Basara and the others, and in the worst case if problems arose, she had received orders to dispose of Basara and the others. This information that was detrimental to Basara and the others was not something that she could keep secret from the <<Village>>. Attempting to hide this information would be equivalent to betraying the <<Village>>, and that meant Kurumi and Yuki’s parents wouldn’t be left alone. Because of this, Kurumi finally began to cry as she gradually grew confused about what to do in this situation.
…And, the other person who was even more perturbed than Kurumi in a sense by this was Mio. She had been raised as a human, but her adoptive parents were suddenly killed one day and she was then also informed that she was the daughter of the former Demon Lord — the fact that she was not a human being had completely overturned Mio’s life up until that point. It must have been a terrible shock to her. —But, even after Basara found out about everything, he still accepted Mio as a part of his family. Even though he found out about her identity as the daughter of the former Demon Lord, he still accepted her…to Mio, Basara’s existence was akin to salvation. She had formed a Master-Servant contract with Basara, the distance between them shrunk as the bond between them strengthened, but the fact that he was a different race from her must have tormented Mio for a long time. Nevertheless, after she had finally managed to overcome that, she was told that Basara actually had demon blood in his veins. …It was only natural that her emotions would be in disarray. It would be a lie if Mio said that she wasn’t happy to find out that Basara was a similar existence to herself. But, given her own experience when she received a major shock that she was the daughter of the former Demon Lord, she also knew how painful it must have been for Basara to tell Yuki and Kurumi about it. It would be selfish for her to rejoice. However, after seeing Kurumi crying earlier, she could no longer supress her own emotions, and Mio began to shed tears as well — and so, everyone gently hugged Mio and Kurumi. They all escorted the two crying girls into the bedroom, where Zest, Maria and Yuki all helped the girls take their clothes off on top of the bed — Basara then comforted them once again. Just like the night that they shared together in Lundvall…everyone pressed their bare skin together to keep their body temperatures aligned, and to show each other that no matter who they were, nothing would change, and it was not necessary to change anything. After confirming everyone’s bonds, Mio and Kurumi seemed to be able to calm themselves down. Of course, even though their emotions had settled down, the problems that could potentially arrive with the hero clan’s <<Village> were still unresolved. Therefore
“As for that matter, I suppose everyone should think about it again after returning to the other side.”
Zest then said
“Yes…well, I think that should be fine.”
Sheera’s response seemed to indicate that she had another concern that she wanted to voice.
“Is there something else…?”
Zest and the others looked at her in expectation of an answer.
“It’s no wonder that you don’t seem to understand…after all, all of you have special feelings for Basara-kun. So, even though you worry so much when he does something reckless, you all feel pleased when he fights for the sake of you. Everything that he does is for your sake.”
Sheera sighed as she revealed a bitter smile, whilst her eyes narrowed as they became coloured with a tinge of sorrow.
“But — if such reckless actions continue, then Basara-kun will lose his life someday.”
All of them froze in response to Sheera’s words.
Nonaka Kurumi trembled as if in response to a cold hand gripping onto her heart. Kurumi wasn’t the only one. The faces of the other four people also turned pale. In such a place
“I know that you girls aren’t stupid. Surely, you’ve become aware of it bit by bit, and even begun to feel afraid. Basara-kun’s nature, that is.”
Sheera then began to speak with a quiet voice, while maintaining her strict expression.
“The outcome of a battle is greatly influenced by the circumstances and even luck at the time. It is not merely something that can be determined based on strength alone…but even so, Gardo and Leohart were opponents that Basara-kun would normally not stand a chance against. However, if he sees that it is necessary, he will look for a way to accomplish it, and find a path forward against all odds.”
After saying that, Sheera sighed deeply. And as if she was reminiscing about something, she shifted her gaze down towards the ground of Oldora Forest.
“If you consider his <<Banishing Shift>> ability… it eliminates a target’s root of existence, the [Origin]. It is not something that an ordinary human could do, and even for us, all we can do is bear witness to it. There isn’t anyone among the Hero Clan who could possibly imitate it.”
In response to Sheera’s words, the silence of Kurumi and Yuki served as affirmation.
“It’s probably an ability of the special blood that flows through him…and precisely because he has such a unique ability, he’ll do anything to protect what’s precious to him, no matter how difficult it is. By choosing such a path, he willingly exposes his own life to danger.”
“Because of the trauma that he experienced when he was young, he was a strong feeling of rejection against losing something that is precious to him…no, I guess it’s a sense of fear. That’s why he’s been able to fight with such desperation, and so far that has worked well for him. You could say that luck was on his side.”
However, Sheera’s tone shifted strongly as she spoke her next words.
“—The next time around, he may not necessarily be safe.”
Her declaration was almost like an oracle.
Kurumi immediately tried to retort. It was obviously something that she wanted to refute. I definitely won’t allow something like that to happen — but before she could reply
“Although that’s bad, there’s still another problem…”
Sheera voiced another one of her concerns.
“If anything were to happen to you girls whom he holds so dearly in his mind…Basara-kun will surely be unable to forgive himself.”
And with a confident tone, she continued
“And so…eventually, Basara-kun will no longer be the same as he is now. I’ve seen someone embrace all of the precious things around them, and then languish at its loss…he changed as feelings of hatred and regret were born within his heart, but nothing could truly fulfill him. I’m sure you ladies could all understand and imagine what might happen if you were to lose Basara-kun due to a lack of strength.”
After that was said
The silence that arose from Kurumi and the others was long and heavy. And then
“By the way, that person who ‘changed’…I think everyone aside from Kurumi-chan would know him.”
Whilst Kurumi let out a gasp of surprise, everyone else aside from her looked at each other.
“It can’t be, then—…”
It finally dawned on Maria. And then Sheera spoke the name of that man.
“That’s right — Zolgear.”
Naruse Maria was dumbstruck upon hearing the man’s name that came out from her own mother’s mouth. He was an abominable enemy whom she couldn’t possibly forget.
She uttered in disbelief as a reaction to the unexpected mention of that name.
“I guess that’s a natural reaction, isn’t it…but, Zolgear wasn’t always like that from the beginning.”
With a wry smile, Sheera continued
“He was a surprisingly nice guy a long time ago…but after losing the woman whom he cherished more than anything, he changed. In a desperate effort to bring her back to life, he examined all kinds of previous literature on that topic and tested a variety of forbidden spells.”
Sheera suddenly directed her eyes into the empty sky. Her gaze seemed to peer at something far away, as if she was reminiscing about the distant past.
“He incurred a countless number of injuries and curses along the way, but even so, he never stopped. Even when his appearance became ugly, he simply continued to seek strength…and so, he eventually reached the unparalleled pinnacle of magical life forms in the Demon Realm.”
Sheera then said
“And one of his creations, Zest-chan — was you.”
Standing next to Zest who was silent in the face of this revelation of truth, Naruse Maria was reminded of something.
…Then, could that be…?
What came to Maria’s mind was something that happened when Sheera was still held captive. Maria snuck into Zolgear’s room whilst he was absent from it in order to search for any hints that could lead to the whereabouts of Sheera, and she found an old image projection which appeared to show Zest. It wasn’t Zest, but a woman who was important to Zolgear, just as Sheera mentioned.
“But, no matter how successful he was, it was simply impossible for him to bring the dead back to life…and so, when he realized that what was lost could never return, he was no longer able to find value in anything. And so, when he gave up on everything, he created a playground in the Demon Realm where he drowned himself in constant pleasure.”
“I don’t understand even now…he became an incarnation of lust, but perhaps he didn’t lay a hand on Zest-chan because it was the last strand of conscience that remained in him. Even though they were different existences who shared the same appearance, he might have thought that he was unworthy of touching the woman who was once important to him since he had already become so corrupt.”
Whilst Sheera continued to speak with a distant expression in her eyes, everyone who didn’t know about the past maintained a heavy silence.
“……It doesn’t matter, something like that.”
One of the girls said as she grabbed Zest’s hands. It was Kurumi. She could only say that because she was the only person who didn’t have any direct contact with Zolgear.
“No matter what the circumstances of his past were, it didn’t give him the right to treat Zest poorly, nor did it excuse him from killing Mio’s parents…this story about the person who controlled Zest is all over now. There’s absolutely no need to worry about it right now.”
Zest widened her eyes in surprise at Kurumi’s resolute tone.
“That’s right. Speaking about that guy’s past is just me being sentimental. To you girls, Zolgear was nothing more than a nuisance. That is all.”
“Zest…you, you should think about the existence that pours love into you, and cherish them. Because that is your happiness.”
“Yes…it’s okay, Sheera-sama.”
Zest replied with a firm tone.
“As I am right now — I already belong to Basara-sama.”
“That is fine. It’s just that…if he loses any of you, do remember that there is a possibility that Basara-kun may turn out like Zolgear.”
“It’s fine…that will never happen to Basara.”
Yuki replied with a firm tone, but Sheera spoke back with an unpleasant expression on her face.
“Ara…is that so? The succubus’ Master-Servant contract that you girls have with him right now and the things that Zolgear made for his girls aren’t so different in my eyes.”
After Sheera said that—
“…Please don’t try to compare Basara to that man.”
Mio said with a trembling voice.
Maria couldn’t help but murmur her name. Meanwhile, her piercing glare — Mio stared directly at Sheera as she bit her lip.
Naruse Mio couldn’t endure it any longer. It was only natural. The relationship between Basara and the girls was not the same as the relationship that Zolgear had with his women…Sheera’s words were an immense insult to Mio. Even though she had done various things for them, and they owed Sheera a debt of gratitude, it was still unacceptable to her. However, the succubus with a youthful appearance smiled bitterly as she said
“You’re only saying that as one of the girls who are in love with Basara-kun…and those feelings of yours probably won’t change even if Basara-kun were to change somehow.”
“Someone who doesn’t know what your circumstances are will never be able to understand your relationship. Besides, if it’s for the sake of you girls, Basara-kun wouldn’t hesitate to dirty his hands if it means choosing what’s best for you. He collaborated with Lars in secret, even though there was a possibility that he would be an enemy because that was necessary to protect all of you. They colluded together to eliminate Zolgear, and in order to increase the number of cards up his sleeve during the recent battle, he asked me to prepare a dangerous drug for him.”
“Basara-kun is able to make and follow through on decisions that ordinary people would consider to be terrifying. For example, Mio-chan…what would your friends at school think if you told them that you submit to Basara-kun with pleasure, and that Basara-kun secretly kills the people who are hostile to you? Do you understand? If you tell them about your relationship with Basara-kun, will they look upon it favourably?”
Mio became lost for words as her expression turned sour. Revealing the truths of their relationship and identities to her friends at school — like Aikawa and Sakaki. It was not something that she would tell them if there was no need to. It was because they were ordinary people who didn’t know about the hidden side of the world which involved demons, heroes, and the like. The question that Sheera had asked was terribly cruel. …But. Even among the demons, there were some who lacked the power to fight. From the perspective of such existences, the relationships of Mio and the others were abnormal. There were very few people who would want to have a special Master-Servant contract like Mio and the other girls. Mio herself wouldn’t recommend it to anyone else. Initially, she even wanted to release herself from it. —However, the current Mio no longer wanted to break off that Master-Servant contract with Basara. This was probably also the case for Yuki. Even though it was a relationship that couldn’t be made public, this Master-Servant contract was an irreplaceable bond to them now. …But, this wasn’t the kind of relationship that they could talk about with just anyone…. Mio couldn’t tell her friends, while Yuki and Kurumi couldn’t allow this to be made known to the Hero Clan. Even though Maria and Zest were probably fine, it was due to Mio and the others that rumours surrounding the Toujou family spread within the Moderates faction. And so, if anyone looking from the outside didn’t know about the circumstances around the Master-Servant contracts of Mio and the others, or the relationships between Basara and the girls, it would appear as though there wasn’t a major difference in the relationship that they had and the relationship that Zolgear had with his women.
Mio felt as though her vision was becoming blurry. It was likely that if Basara asked them to serve him like Zolgear asked of his women, they would all respond in kind. —They all loved Basara. They would do anything for him so long as he asked for it. That was why they had all done things up until now for Basara without minding. But — that meant the converse was also true. If Basara deemed it necessary, they wouldn’t mind if he acted more like Zolgear. Sheera had pointed out her worry about the possibility that Basara could become like that, but Mio and the others didn’t want to accept it because of their love and trust for Basara. After fully understanding Sheera’s thoughts
Mio and the others could do nothing but stand there, frozen on the spot. It was right at that moment—
“Hey hey, you loli mother succubus — don’t scare the young ones so much.”
With a wry smile, a voice was projected over from behind them. It was a man whom Mio and the others were all familiar with, and so they all turned around quickly—
Almost without realising it herself, Mio had called out the name of the man who now stood before them. As the father of Basara, he was the man who was once known as the God of War — the name of the strongest hero.
Tojou Basara continued with his deductive thought process as each of his inferences became more certain.
He continued to remind himself to think deeper. As Ramsas stood before him, he thought about his father Jin and also Sheera, and what they would think of their children, and what kinds of things they would do. —It would have been difficult to cover up the death of someone who held the highest position. That was even more so for an existence like Wilbert. …It was even more difficult than that to come back as a different existence. After all, the subordinates of Wilbert would have known him better than anyone else. Besides, simply coming back would have been meaningless. It was a necessary for him to take up a position that would allow him to influence politics and secretly lead the Moderates faction at the same time. If that wasn’t the case, then he wouldn’t be able to fulfil the wishes of those who adored the supposedly dead Wilbert. …That was why Wilbert created a fictitious older brother called Ramsas and chose to play that role. Indeed — Ramsas was Wilbert. Based on this assumption, Basara then began to think about what his aims could be.
“…In addition to changing your appearance, you were also able to change your own spiritual signature and magical power by giving Mio the majority of your own power. Even though the attribute of your power wouldn’t change because of that, it actually worked in your favour. Because you were returning as an immediate family member of the strongest Demon Lord, that made it easy for you to become the centre of politics.”
With that, Toujou Basara was able to derive the truth by tracing everything backwards.
“You also had several layers of insurance which could be used for Mio in the human realm, so it was like hitting two birds with one stone for you…nonetheless, in order for that plan to have been successful, it was absolutely necessary for you to gain the assistance of co-operators who would help to ensure that your identity remained a secret. They also had to be those with a strong say within the Moderates Faction.”
As for the person who was responsible for that role, there was no longer any doubt.
“Most likely…Sheera-san has been cooperating with you since far earlier than just the incident with Zolgear. Perhaps the initial stage of your plan — no, perhaps even before that.”
The relationship between Sheera and Wilbert was like that of equals. It wouldn’t have been strange if Wilbert asked for her opinion as he grieved over the state of the Moderates faction and the future of the Demon Realm. …Moreover. Basara turned his gaze towards the other side — towards Lucia.
“This is where I was stuck for a long time…Wilbert had tremendous charisma. If that’s true, it’s strange how Lucia-san is attached to you despite her serious nature. Under normal circumstances, one would normally think that she’d associate more with Klaus-san and the others, given that they were close to Wilbert.”
However, it was an entirely different story if he was considered to be Wilbert himself. Moreover, Lucia respected her mother more than Maria. If she heard about the plan from those two and was asked to assist in it, then that would explain the current situation of how Lucia was now attached to Ramsas as his aide.
“And so — there’s probably one more, someone else who was a collaborator.”
At the end of the Great War, a man who was a member of the Hero Clan was tied to Wilbert’s younger sister.
…My old man.
The reason why Jin and the Moderates Faction — Basara now understood why he had visited Ramsas. Between Jin, Ramsas and Sheera, there seemed to be some kind of a bond between those who had fought in the past Great War as enemies. Rather than the feeling of them being comrades-in-arms or rivals, it felt more like they were companions who all shared a common secret. —Why? As Basara attempted to probe at the origin of this truth, it seemed like a delicate matter for the Hero Clan, and one that could potentially develop into a serious problem. And then — Wilbert was also worried about Mio’s fate as a newborn.
“Dad and you became brothers-in-law, and had the same problem — so…—”
It wasn’t surprising then that the two of them joined forces for the sake of their own children.
“After successfully disguising King Wilbert’s death, the fall of the Moderates Faction went according to your wishes. But not everything went as you planned, and unexpected events happened.”
In other words
“The Council made Leohart the new Demon Lord. Without you at the top of the Moderates faction, Ramsas, the Moderates Faction was suppressed, and there was nothing that could be done against the current Demon Lord faction which had aligned with the Council. Reality began to deviate from the original plan.”
“Leohart possessed immense charisma and the current Demon Lord faction expanded their influence. But, even with Leohart, your shadow as the great former Demon Lord still lingered, and remained a hindrance to the unification of the Demon Realm. It was such that they could no longer ignore Mio who had inherited your power.”
Everything after that was already known. In order to get his hands on Mio, Zolgear strayed off to kill Mio’s adoptive parents, after which Maria came to rescue her — and six months later, Basara met them. …That was exactly what had happened. Toujou Basara recalled the sequence of events. He started living together with Mio and Maria, after kicking them out once when the girls revealed their identities to him — when Basara asked Jin over the phone about when he had discovered that they were demons, Jin replied that he had known from the very beginning. The meaning behind those words could finally be understood now. —The encounter between Toujou Basara and Naruse Mio was decided long ago. By ruminating his thoughts out aloud, everything was finally clear to him now. Basara felt a certain sense of fulfilment in knowing that he had finally caught up with the situation.
“……After talking about all manner of such dreamlike things, are you finished now?”
Ramsas said with a low voice. Even after hearing the theory that had come out from Basara’s mouth, there wasn’t the slightest change in his stoic expression.
…Well, I guess so.
Basara had presented the possibility of ‘the truth’. However, it was still just ‘speculation’ without any evidence. Even if what Basara said was the truth, Ramsas wouldn’t acknowledge it. And unless Ramsas himself acknowledged it, Lucia would not acknowledge it either since she was his adjutant. Even if he asked Jin or Sheera directly, it was unlikely that they would reveal the truth.
…It doesn’t matter.
Their plan was set into motion because Wilbert disappeared from the limelight. If it was made known that Wilbert was still alive, then the Demon Realm would once again be eclipsed by the influence of the great Demon Lord. That was precisely why the plan was made in secret. The truth of Wilbert’s death would have to remain hidden for eternity. If Basara forced him to acknowledge that secret, it would be synonymous to trampling over the parental love that started the whole affair. Therefore
“Yeah…everything was just a figment of my imagination, a convenient story for me. I don’t intend to speak to Mio and the others without permission.”
The story ends there. After Basara revealed a wry smile at last
“It’s almost time for me to depart. Thank you for all the trouble.”
He slightly bowed towards Ramsas, and then
“Lucia-san…Sheera-san said that she would prepare a spatial tunnel for Mio and the others in Oldora Forest to go ahead earlier.”
“Yes, I understand — come with me.”
Lucia nodded in response to this, and she began walking towards the exit of the balcony. Basara followed after her, but halted when he reached the stairway. And then he turned around.
Ramsas had already turned his back to them, and he looked down over the city once again. But, whilst his back was turned towards them, Basara said
“In the end…even if everything that I just said is a fantasy or dreamlike story, it doesn’t change the fact that you’re still Mio’s uncle.”
“Please come and visit us anytime. I think it’ll be difficult whilst the peace negotiations with the current Demon Lord faction are ongoing, and there are also various other things that make it difficult…but it can happen when all of these political issues come to an end.”
Toujou Basara promised.
“Until that time, it’s now our turn to protect you — just like you’ve protected us so far.”
He said that because those feelings were definitely mutual.
“…Geez, and here I was wondering what you were all talking about with such a heavy atmosphere.”
In front of Mio and the others, Jin spoke as if he was letting out a sigh.
“I’m grateful that you’re worrying about Basara, but it’s unnecessary to push all of this onto the girls.”
A slight distance away from him stood the boy Fio, whom Jin had rescued from the Current Demon Lord faction and brought to Wildart. Sheera glanced at Jin as she said
“Ara, it’s not entirely pointless though.”
Sheera then revealed a thin smile as she continued
“It’s because my Maria-chan is in Basara-kun’s harem. I should have the right to worry as a parent.”
“Umm, Sheera-san…it’s not like that.”
In response to the words that came out of Sheera’s mouth, Mio muffled her voice as her face turned a bright shade of red. Kurumi’s face was also bright red, though that wasn’t quite the case with Maria, Zest or Yuki. Although there was a slight difference between how they expressed themselves such as smiling or fidgeting, it was clear that they seemed happy about it.
Mio raised her voice impatiently. Indeed, Mio also seemed to agree that the relationship that they had was a harem, just like Sheera said. But even so, it was a completely different matter to acknowledge such a fact in front of Basara’s father Jin. The present situation had turned into one in which Mio and Kurumi seemed to hold some kind of majority amidst the group, which was somewhat strange. And then, after looking at Mio and the others, Jin seemed to become convinced as he said
“…Hey Sheera, I’m glad that my son is popular.”
Upon hearing this, Sheera sighed as she said
“You’re always so cheerful…aren’t you worried?”
When asked that in return, Jin simply shrugged his shoulders.
“It’s not as though I’m not worried about him…after all, it’s one of my responsibilities as a father to worry about my son.”
He said with a grin.
“But, with Basara — don’t underestimate my son, Sheera.”
“It’s nothing, I don’t plan on doing so.”
“Unlike you, Basara is strangely too serious…for the sake of these girls, he might cross over a line that he absolutely shouldn’t.”
After a brief pause, she continued
“Someday, what if he becomes someone unsuitable for these girls? Isn’t there a possibility that he will try to distance himself from them?”
Mio momentarily held her breath. She couldn’t imagine herself trying to distance herself from Basara, and she knew it was an absolute fact that Basara would never abandon Mio or the others either. …But. It was a different story if it was for the sake of Mio and the others. Just as everyone else seemed taken aback as well…
“Hey come on…why are you all turning pale?”
Jin said with a bitter smile.
“I’d be relieved as a father if you could say ‘we won’t let that happen’ straight away.”
Despite his frisky tone, his words carried his true intentions with them.
…Jin-san is right.
Mio bit her lips. She couldn’t deny the risks that Sheera had spoken of. However, it was possible to avoid something like that. Everything depended on the strength of Mio and others’ hearts. —Perhaps this was what Sheera was trying to prepare Mio and the others for just then. Just as Basara had helped Mio and the others so far, it was now their turn to look for a ways to help him without giving up. Previously — Mio and Yuki had heard from Takigawa that their role was to ‘become strong enough to be able to kill Basara in case of an emergency’. That was another way in which they could be prepared.
Mio and the others would definitely never choose an option like that. Basara had helped Mio and the others a countless number of times up until now. When they felt pain, and felt suffering, he stayed by their side during those difficult times. Just as Sheera said, they definitely wouldn’t leave someone like him alone to die.
Mio and the others would never let go of their precious Basara. I will become stronger — that was what Naruse Mio made up her mind to do. The battle against the Current Demon Lord faction and the problems of the demons had been settled for now. However, in order to stay by Basara’s side from now on, and so that they didn’t lose him, it was more necessary now than ever before to have an unwavering and strong will. That was what they had to obtain. They had to become strong for his sake.
It was because they were Toujou Basara’s ‘family’. Everyone else shared the same feelings as Mio, and all of them raised their faces as they shook off the weakness that they had shown.
“Well — can I leave everything to you?”
Jin faced towards them with a reassuring smile. Therefore
Mio and the others responded to him with eyes that were filled with a firm will. That was their answer. When Jin saw that
“…What do you think, Sheera?”
He asked the succubus with a younthful appearance beside him. Then
“Well…I think those expressions are worthy of a passing mark.”
Sheera said with a calm demeanour.
“Sorry to say such threatening things to you. It’s just that the feelings that you have right now will be necessary when things truly become difficult — please do not forget that.”
In response to that, Mio and the others nodded in unison whilst keeping their voices in sync.
With a tone of certainty — they said ‘yes’.
“Now then…I guess it’s time for me to go soon.”
Jin said as he exhaled deep breath. As for the meaning of that
“Jin-san, are you not coming together with us…?”
When Yuki asked, Jin replied
“Yeah. In fact, I came here to see my wife, but I couldn’t find her at all. If you ask me, it seems as though she’s not in the Demon Realm…”
“Yes, as I said before, I can’t feel Sapphire-chan’s presence at all.”
“That said, it’s frustrating that I’ll be going back without even a single clue…sorry, but let me investigate here a bit more.”
“Thankfully, Fio has said that he’ll also help me…isn’t that right, Fio?”
When Jin called out with a slightly louder voice, Fio approached and said
“I’m just saying that it can’t be helped.”
He looked at Jin and continued
“I’ve already come this far with you, so my position and affiliation have become more and more complicated…until the discussions between Leohart-sama and the Moderates faction are complete, I can understand that it’s best if I go somewhere else.”
Fio sighed as Jin gently rubbed his head. Seeing this, Mio and the others
“The thing is, I’ve already said this to Basara…but I’ll be counting on you to take care of him.”
Turning around as he said so to them, he began walking towards the other side of the forest along with Fio.
After leaving the balcony and separating from Ramsas, Basara walked through the corridors of the castle as he followed Lucia.
“Even at the end, you didn’t ask anything about Sapphire-sama — is that okay with you?”
Whilst Lucia was walking ahead of him, she suddenly stopped and asked that while she continued to face forwards. And so, Basara stopped as well when he walked up beside her.
“…Yeah. Mum — I heard about mother from my old man already.”
He replied to Lucia with a quiet voice. —Having said that, Jin didn’t tell Basara very much. What he told Basara was simply the story of how they had met each other on the battlefield, and that they had clashed as enemies at the beginning. And then, after tying the knot with each other, he had explained how it was difficult for them to live together due to their respective positions. And as for what kind of woman she was — a good woman apparently.
…That old man.
It was a silly-sounding story. But, that was enough for Basara. Perhaps Jin had told him everything that there was to say right now. After all, Jin was the man who had chosen his wife despite knowing that she was a demon. Moreover, whilst the other party was the Demon Lord’s younger sister, she had also made the decision to marry Jin even though he was a member of the Hero clan. She was also the younger sister of Wilbert who seemed to think and care so deeply about his daughter Mio. So as Jin said, she was probably a ‘good woman’. And then, when Basara learned that he also carried the blood of a demon within him, it was a surprise, but he wasn’t particularly shocked. It was probably because he had met Mio, Maria and Zest, and had deepened his bonds with them. Rather, when Basara revealed this to them, it was Mio and Kurumi who were visibly more upset about it. Yuki included, all of them began to hold complex feelings towards the subject, but Basara told them because he wanted them to understand. Even if he had the blood of a demon within him, nothing would change. Things like race or birth didn’t matter. To Toujou Basara, those girls were irreplaceable existences. …Well, thanks to Maria’s scheming, he had taught them all of that on top of the bed of course. However, even if it seemed like a selfish action, it was not a problem that one could simply run away from. And — when Basara told Jin about his feelings for Mio and the others, Jin acknowledged all of it. He had also decided to bring Zest with him back to the other side, and gained the acknowledgement to have her live together with him.
—You can do whatever you like.
But — Jin wasn’t going to return home together with Basara and the others — he chose to stay behind to search for clues on Sapphire’s whereabouts. Basara couldn’t possibly stop Jin from doing any of that. Even though they weren’t married, Mio and the others were still incredibly important people to Basara. If Jin didn’t discover where she was, he wouldn’t return home, and he’d keep looking until he found her. To Jin, the woman named Sapphire was a partner whom he couldn’t go without — she was an important existence. …Moreover, Basara himself wanted to meet his mother, just so that he could confirm with his own eyes that she was safe. However
“Of course, I’d like to listen to anything that was going to be said…but, it’s still difficult for Ramsas-san to tell me.”
Given the position and attitude that he had to maintain for the sake of his loved one, it was unfortunate, but it was difficult for Basara to have a good relationship with him. Even if time would eventually solve such problems — at least right now, it was impossible. That was why Basara spoke with a wry smile.
“……Indeed, you’re right.”
The tone of Lucia’s voice became gentle. As he looked at the side of Lucia’s face, a gentle smile could be seen on her face, one that seemed so rare and out of place to Basara.
“Instead…would you mind if I talked a bit about Maria?”
She asked him.
When Basara turned to her and repeated the question, Lucia said
“—Maria and I, we actually have different fathers.”
Lucia peered at him, and began to speak slowly
“My father passed away shortly after my mother gave birth to me. To begin with, his body wasn’t particularly healthy…but mother still fell in love with my father, and she gave birth to me because they wanted a child together.”
“……Is that so?”
It was an unfortunate story. But Lucia’s father knew that he didn’t have long to live, and even for Sheera as the one who loved him, the existence of Lucia was like salvation. Even though they had said farewell because of his death — they were still joined together through their daughter Lucia.
“My mother has been all alone since then…after His Majesty Wilbert’s wife Ashe-sama gave birth to Mio, she died shortly thereafter. My mother went to His Majesty Wilbert so that he could consult her on how to raise Mio-sama in the human realm, but—”
Lucia made a pause before continuing.
“—Just once, they had a relationship with each other.”
“Sheera-san did? With King Wilbert?”
Surprise could be discerned from Basara’s voice in hearing this revelation.
“As people who had both lost their loved ones, they were able to build a relationship with each other as equal peers…there must have been a gap in their hearts which could only be filled by each other. However, when mother found out that she was pregnant with Maria, she seemed really happy. She had wanted another child, and this also meant that Mio-sama, who had no siblings had now gained an existence that was akin to a younger sister.”
“Just as Wilbert-sama decided to pass his power onto Mio-sama…when my mother gave birth to Maria, she gave that child most of her power.”
“The majority of her power…no way, so Sheera-san’s form is…”
In response to Basara, Lucia nodded as she said ‘yes.’.
“But, none of this has ever been said to Maria…she only heard from Zolgear that her mother had become like that because she gave birth to her.”
“What…why don’t you tell Maria the truth!?”
The only reason why Maria gave in to Zolgear’s intimidation and chose to obey his orders was because Sheera was an important family member to her. Maria felt guilty because she blamed herself for taking away Sheera’s power when she gave birth to her.
“Even in the case of Zolgear, didn’t you place protecting Mio as a higher priority than Maria’s feelings? At the very least, you should tell her about the truth behind Sheera-san’s appearance.”
It was something that should be done.
“Don’t you know how much she’s blamed herself and suffered…as her family members, you should be the ones to understand this the most.”
It sounded as though Basara was putting the blame on Lucia. Perhaps it was because Maria was the greatest sacrifice of all in the plan that Wilbert and the others had put into motion. As he thought of Maria’s feelings, he couldn’t help but lash out with indignation. Then
“……Yes, I agree.”
Lucia made a bitter expression as she said that. Her eyes were also tinged with sorrow.
“I thought of the same thing as you, Basara-dono…I’ve been telling my mother to tell her the truth for a long time now. But my mother has always refused.”
“Why would Sheera-san…?”
Basara had seen how fond Sheera was of her two daughters Maria and Lucia. And so, this was difficult for Basara to believe.
“My mother was once a renowned succubus in the Demon Realm…but because of mother’s nature, she also made a lot of enemies in the past.”
“If they found out that there was a child who had inherited her mother’s great power, she would definitely be targeted…”
The danger that Lucia mentioned was understandable. It was just like how Wilbert chose to distance himself from his child after giving her his power, and chose to raise her in the human realm. Although he had given Mio the power to protect herself, there was no point in increasing the risk of being targeted.
“Moreover, she is also a child of His Majesty Wilbert…if this was ever investigated and the truth became public, she could be seen as a political tool of even greater value than Mio. My mother would have wanted to avoid such a situation.”
That’s why — they could not tell her the truth. Even if it meant that Maria would suffer because of that decision.
“Like Mio-sama, in order to reveal everything to Maria, it will be difficult until the situation in the Demon Realm has settled down a bit…”
“After having gone through that incident with Zolgear — that girl showed a really bright smile when she was reunited with all of you. I’m truly grateful to you all.”
After saying all of that, Lucia looked at Basara and made a deep bow.
“Basara-dono, please — continue to take care of Maria from now on.”
Rather than asking Basara, it seemed more like she was begging him to do so.
“Having inherited her mother’s power as well as the blood of His Majesty Wilbert, that girl’s true potential is obviously even greater than her mother’s…I think she will awaken to that power when she comes to fully accept her own existence.”
“If you can make that come true, Basara-dono, then please…please guide that child.”
It was what Sheera and Lucia originally should have done — no, it was what they wanted to do. But Lucia had now stated that she wanted to entrust that to Basara. So — Basara accepted those feelings from Lucia.
“……I understand. But when she awakens her true power, I can’t guarantee anything after that.”
“I’ll tell Maria that she can be more accepting of herself from now on…just like how she’s a family member to both you and Sheera-san, Maria is also an important family member to us as well.”
“Is that okay?”
When Basara asked that, Lucia replied
“Yes, that’s enough…”
The expression on Lucia’s face as she responded with a nod was not that of Ramsas’ aide. It was the face of a gentle older sister — who only cared deeply for her younger sister.
After making that promise about Maria. The place where Basara and Lucia were headed was an exit that went through the back gate. In order to return to the human realm in secret, Sheera had constructed spatial tunnels to Oldora Forest in various unapparent places. Basara continued down the corridor along with Lucia as they took a route which went along the east side of the building.
All of a sudden, Basara narrowed his eyes. It was because he felt a familiar presence in the direction in which they were travelling. And then, whoever was on the other end also recognised his presence.
At the other end of the corridor where their exit through the rear gate was located — was someone who called out to him as they came along the opposite route coming from the west side of the castle. It was the young man with whom Basara had crossed blades with, and even cooperated with in Lundvall. It was the Current Demon Lord Leohart. He was probably being guided through the castle by the maids and guards of the Moderates faction. Leohart had broken away from the gaze of the head maid and come to this place on his own, leaving his companions behind. He stopped in the centre of the hallway where the exit was located, impeding any further advance that Basara and Lucia could make. When they came face to face with each other
“…I didn’t think we’d meet again. I heard that your departure was set for today?”
As a courtesy of the one who had stopped him, Leohart was the first to open his mouth and ask such a question. Therefore
“Yeah…I’m about to join up with Mio and the others so that we can return to the other side of the dimensional boundary.”
In return, Basara nodded and asked
“How are the talks with the top brass going on your side?”
He had heard that the meeting was scheduled for today, but it surely wasn’t this early in the morning. Of course, Leohart and the others probably had some time to spare. However, Basara had other things to worry about.
“At a time like this, and what’s more, to come from the rear entrance…are the talks supposed to be highly confidential?”
The top-level discussions between the leaders of the Moderates faction and Current Demon Lord faction should also serve the purpose of acting as a check and balance against other factions. In order to maximise the influence of this, it would be better to initiate the visit proudly through the main gate in accordance with regular procedure. The reason why this wasn’t done was because
“You’re taking into consideration the feelings of the people from both factions…”
“Yeah…this ceasefire was something that I decided upon without any prior preparation.”
Leohart nodded as he continued
“While it is imperative that quick political decisions are sometimes necessary, and even though we and the Moderates faction want to resolve the political situation between us despite being at war in the past, it would be cruel to rush the hearts of the people. Considering their feelings, I decided that it was necessary to give them some time to settle down.”
Lucia then added
“It isn’t a problem for us or the Current Demon Lord faction to announce that we’ve had a meeting, it’s simply the form that we allow it to take. It should still have a sufficient influence on the other factions.”
“Indeed…that would be better.”
If peace negotiations were carried out whilst neglecting the feelings of the people, that would only result in a reluctant peace. If there were many who decided to rebel, then there was a risk that it could spark an internal conflict.
…I guess with this, I can rest assured.
Apparently, it seemed as though Ramsas and Leohart were earnestly seeking what lay beyond peace, and weren’t just after a simple peace treaty. Basara felt a wave of relief as he thought about the risks of timing. When Basara looked at Leohart who stood before his eyes once again, he noticed that a few changes had occurred in the few days between their last encounter and now.
…His atmosphere has become a little softer, has it not?
Although he was young, and the kingly air that hung around him didn’t seem to have changed, he could no longer feel the tense pressure from Leohart that he had felt when they faced off in Lundvall.
…Well, I guess that’s how it should be.
Having come here for the intent of peace negotiations, unleashing pressure and bloodthirst into the air would be foolish and useless.
“Heh…so this is the son of Jin Toujou?”
Out of nowhere — Basara’s ears caught a voice. As he searched for the source, he saw that there was a young man who had moved towards them in an instant from among the group of people that Leohart had brought along.
In that instant, Lucia who was by his side held her breath and stiffened up. She had probably been unable to see the movements of that young man. The young man completely ignored Lucia as he said
“I heard that you were evenly matched against Leohart, but it sure doesn’t seem that way to me now that I see you standing here.”
He stared into Basara’s eyes with bloodthirstiness and a belligerent smile.
“Yo, nii-chan…why don’t you show me that technique of yours which you used to put that guy on his knees.”
As he spoke, he casually reached out with his hand towards Basara. In that instant
Basara narrowed his eyes. He immediately assessed the strength of the man who stood before him. His strength probably wasn’t far off from his leader Leohart’s — moreover, there were seven other people with an equivalent power level to him who stood before his eyes. Unfortunately, the current Moderates faction did not possess the ability to oppose Leohart and all eight of these people at the same time. On the contrary, even if Basara joined forces with Mio and the others and they all worked together, their chances of winning would be low. Basara had only been able to corner Leohart in Lundvall because he was lucky. Even if he was able to unleash the same Gravity Slash like he did at that time right now, Leohart could easily evade it. —But, what if this meeting was just a ruse to launch an attack on the Moderates faction? Even if he escaped now, they could become a target of theirs again.
…In that case.
What could he do to prevent that from happening? He couldn’t allow Leohart to avoid that blow, and he alone would also have to defeat all eight of the people who stood before him. Therefore
Toujou Basara accelerated his thoughts instantaneously to go in search of a solution. At the same time, a reaction came from the group standing some distance away from them. The seven people aside from the young man all revealed fearless expressions. And then—
“Oh — …how interesting.”
The man who stood before him grinned once more. They had probably noticed what Basara was about to do. His thoughts had already been read. …But, those who had the numerical advantage were unlikely to expect or think too much about defeat. In their eyes, it only seemed as though Basara was trying to do something reckless. But — if one could push through the opening in their minds to cause an upset and hesitation, then everyone in the group would become confused. To make that happen, the most effective strategy would be to brutally kill off the first one. So—
“—Stop it, you two.”
Unexpectedly, a cold voice rang out. It was Leohart who had stopped them.
“You idiot, I told you to be quiet if you were going to come along!”
The head of the young man who was involved with Basara was struck with a staff-like object by a woman. It was one of the seven people who were over there.
“Ouch, that hurts…what are you doing?”
In response to the young man’s complaint, she yelled
“What hurts is probably that stupid head of yours! Sorry, this idiot said something rude.”
After the woman who drew her staff apologised, she turned back to the man again
“In the first place, who goes and starts a fight against someone we’ve offered a truce to!? What’s wrong with your head!?”
“No…nothing really, I wasn’t the one who decided on the ceasefire.”
“Shut up! Plus, it’s not Leohart, it’s His Majesty. Do something about the way you address him in public…hurry up and get over here you idiot!”
After she said that, the young man walked back over to the other side where the others were.
“We’ve only come here today to introduce our new system…we have no intention to fight.”
As Leohart said that, Basara let out a sigh.
“Then, they are…?”
Basara asked without removing his stare from the group of people standing some distance away.
“Oh — they are the new group who will assist me.”
The young Demon Lord responded. In order to elaborate on his explanation to Basara, Leohart continued
“Since all of the Council are now dead, we’ve decided to carry out a restructuring of our political organisation with new members…they are the [Eight Demon Generals], and up until now, they’ve each led their own armies for each of their respective directions. All of them are just as accomplished as I was in the last Great War.”
Leohart explained their situation
“They will not only become my aides, they will also become the new representative members of the parliament. If more than half of those eight people agree with each other, they can raise an objection to any of my decisions, and they also have the authority to completely dismiss any of my decisions if all eight of them are in agreement.”
“In order to prevent the authority of the king from spiralling out of control, huh…”
“Yes…I won’t let this become a repeat of what the Council did.”
Leohart nodded in response to Basara’s words. But — it was reassuring that they had said that there was no one more qualified to lead them than Leohart. Nonetheless, in the unlikely event that Leohart ever became a corrupted being like Belphegor, they would lay their judgement upon him without mercy.
…Originally, Leohart wanted his adjutant Balthier to act as the leader of parliament. —However, Balthier had gone missing ever since that decisive battle. He had also approached Gardo for that role, but he had firmly refused, and stated that Leohart should leave that open to the next generation. Leohart had considered Luka as a candidate since he had also participated in that decisive battle, but the gentle Luka had always said that he wanted to pursue the path of research rather than politics, so Leohart respected that decision, and allowed Luka to return to his original place at the Academy.
“…Then, what about Takigawa?”
Basara felt worried about him after all. When Basara suddenly asked that
“As for Lars, it is difficult to decide on how to deal with him between us and the Moderates faction. The agenda for today’s talks includes how we will manage his affiliation and treatment. Personally, I’d like his political aid in the future…but it seems he has no interest in politics or government. He refused because he wants to be able to act freely with his own responsibilities. He’s waiting in Lundvall right now.”
“Well, I guess we won’t be able to meet then…I wanted to say thanks and goodbye to him before heading back to the other side.”
“But, will he be okay…? His position as a spy, and also various…”
“There’s nothing to worry about in that regard. His actions actually ended being beneficial to both us and the Moderates faction. In any case, things shouldn’t be too bad for him.”
“I see…I’m glad there aren’t any problems.”
Basara said as he chuckled. Upon seeing Basara’s bright smile
Leohart felt a chill run down his spine. —Just a moment ago, Basara was his opponent. Leohart couldn’t imagine any possibility in which Basara would have stood a chance against him and the Eight Demon Generals. Basara should have fully understood that as well. …But even so, Basara intended to go through with it. Perhaps Leohart and the others had seen something that they were unable to understand. Something that was unknown to them.
“Hmm? What is it?”
In response to Leohart’s call, Basara looked over at him. His expression was defenceless, and that was why Leohart was driven by an impulse to check it, even if it was unnecessary. Riara had said — Basara was the one who killed Belphegor. It happened before the decisive battle that played a role in determining the future of the Demon Realm, and he even did it alone.
Leohart swallowed the question that had almost come out from his mouth. Even if he asked, it was possible that Basara wouldn’t acknowledge it, and even if he did acknowledge it, it would only make the Eight Demon Generals unnecessarily wary of him. If taken poorly, it was possible that there would even be some amongst them who would disagree with the idea of peace with the Moderates faction. The truth which would not bring happiness to anyone was best buried in the darkness. Even if — it was something which hurt Leohart’s pride. That was because it was also Leohart’s duty as a king to ignore the truth laid out before his eyes, if necessary.
“Well, it’s almost time for me to go…Mio and the others are waiting.”
“Yeah…farewell, Toujou Basara.”
With those words, Leohart and Basara went their separate ways. When Leohart looked back, Basara was already a fair distance outside of the castle. And then, his figure could no longer be seen.
Leohart also resumed walking slowly towards his destination. Just like how Basara and the others had returned to their own world, he now headed towards the place where he needed to go. It was in order to meet Ramsas, who was the leader of the Moderates faction, as the current head of the new-generation Current Demon Lord faction. They would then discuss the future of this Demon Realm.
After saying his farewell to Leohart, Basara exited via the rear gate of Wildart castle. Lucia had guided him thus far through the spatial tunnels that Sheera had created. After he said goodbye and expressed his gratitude to Lucia once again, Basara headed into a tunnel. And then — in the next instant, Basara reached the location where Mio and the others were waiting.
As he approached them, the expressions on the girls’ faces changed.
“Sorry to keep you waiting…”
Basara spoke in a gentle voice to reassure all of the girls.
“…Did you hear the story that you wanted to hear from Ramsas?”
There was suddenly a lively voice that came from below. As he looked down, Basara saw Sheera looking up at him.
“No…I couldn’t ask anything.”
Basara answered with a wry smile. He didn’t say anything. Regardless of whether it was a discussion about the future, or a past event that Basara wanted to confirm, it was just a selfish one-sided demand on Basara’s side. Ramsas did not acknowledge anything — and that was all that happened. However, Sheera seemed to have understood roughly what had happened based on the wry smile that was on Basara’s face. Basara’s was thankful to her for being thoughtful and not saying anything nonetheless. Ramsas’ secret was something that he still couldn’t tell Mio about yet. —Therefore, Basara decided not to say anything about the secret of Maria that he had heard from Lucia either. Even now — and from now on, he had no intentions of revealing the truth without Sheera’s permission. So
“—Well, let’s begin ♪”
With a light-hearted tone, Sheera created a magic circle. And before they knew it — the magic circle had already connected the two dimensions together. There wasn’t a single speck of fluctuation in the connection; it was a perfect dimensional portal that was equal to, or even better than the one that Lucia had made. —However, Sheera’s dimensional portal was not perpendicular to the ground like Lucia’s was. It was flat — it was on the ground itself. As a result
“Eh — kyaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!?”
Along with a shrill scream, Mio and the others fell into the hole and dropped down. In the blink of an eye, they could no longer see each other.
“Wha…Sheera-san what did you…!?”
Just one person had incidentally escaped thanks to the confused voices which had been raised in that instant.
“Don’t worry. The specifications are perfect.”
Sheera revealed a mischievous smile. Basara couldn’t help but sigh at the Succubus mother who did nothing but mischief until the very end.
“That’s good to hear, but…well, thank you for everything, Sheera-san.”
After saying his parting words, Basara stood at the edge of the dimensional boundary to chase after Mio and the others. It was at that time—
Sheera called his name. It was rather different from her usual tone — she appeared to be serious. In response to Sheera’s call, Basara looked back at her in surprise. Sheera said
“I think it’s fine for you to cherish Mio-chan and the others. But it doesn’t mean that you can sacrifice yourself for their sake — please don’t ever forget that.”
He discerned the meaning behind her words. Basara made a slightly more serious expression as he responded with silence. Sheera understood the emotion that was born in that silence. And that was why she had to tell him that right then and there.
…Unfortunately, I can’t leave things up to those stupid men.
Jin and Wilbert — as fathers, they both seemed to think that it was a virtue to keep things in the dark, but there were no women who would go along with the romanticism of such useless men. The fact that Jin had a son named Basara was also a beacon of hope for Sheera and Wilbert. As a symbol of the possibilities of the next generation, he could put an end to the conflict against the Hero clan. She was aware that she was only pushing her own selfish hopes and dreams onto him. Even so, the world where Basara and the others could live happily — was the future that Jin, Wilbert and also Sheera desired. Therfore
“Promise me this — just don’t ever give up on yourself.”
Toujou Basara could make up a lie to stop her from worrying. There was no need to make Sheera more worried than she already was. All he needed to do was leave this place. But – Basara didn’t want to do that. It was because Sheera’s voice was more serious than it had ever been before. And so, Toujou Basara clenched both of his fists tightly as he said
“…I’ll do my best.”
Basara was unable to give her any confirmation right now. But that was his promise to Sheera to do his best. It probably wasn’t the response that Sheera was hoping to hear. But
Sheera still nodded with a smile, and she tossed him a large bag that was tied up with a red ribbon. When Basara caught it, he noticed that it was considerably heavy.
“A souvenir from the Demon Realm, a gift for your new life with Zest-chan. I put various different useful things in there, so please use them when you’re in trouble.”
She said as she waved her hand.
“Yes — thank you very much.”
After Basara expressed his gratitude to her, he jumped into the dimensional hole that Sheera had created. Ahead of him — he kept his eyes firmly on those precious girls.
As he jumped through the dimensional boundary — all light and sound disappeared from Basara’s surroundings. Basara was enveloped in a jet-black darkness that was even darker than when he closed his eyes. And then, immediately after that moment during which all five of his senses went blank — Basara landed softly at the bottom of that darkness. At the same time, a dazzling bright light spread out before him. And before he realised, Toujou Basara had already returned to a familiar room. It was the living room of the Toujou residence. I’m back…before he even had time to feel relieved—
Basara received an unexpected surprise. It was because the group of five including Mio had all collapsed on the living room floor.
Basara became worried that something had gone wrong for the girls who had returned just before him.
However, he noticed that their breathing was calm.
…They’re just asleep, huh….
The reason why Basara didn’t lose consciousness when he crossed through the dimensional boundary — was it because he crossed over with a calm state of mind, or was it also the mischief of Sheera? Knowing that it wouldn’t be a problem in either case, Basara stroked his chest in relief as he stood up. Then
Toujou Basara looked around at the place that he was in once more. Reflected in Basara’s eyes was the place that he was supposed to return to, and the place where the girls whom he held precious resided. This was — what Toujou Basara wanted to protect.
Perhaps Sheera had put the girls to sleep and made sure that Basara was the last one to return just so that he could see this. To show him the importance of returning to the place where those precious to him were waiting. If Basara ever gave up on himself, the girls whom he cared for, and the girls who also cared for him would feel saddened. That was something that he didn’t want.
“No, that’s not it…”
Toujou Basara realised his own true feelings. He didn’t want to lose any of them. He wanted to continue seeing their smiles forever. He wouldn’t allow anyone to take that away from him. That was — Toujou Basara’s desire.
“…I told you, I’d do my best.”
In order not to let down the words that he had said to Sheera just earlier, he vowed never to give up and to keep searching from now on — for a road towards the future where he wouldn’t have to lose anything important. He decided — no, prepared himself for it.
Suddenly, a slight murmur and movement was caught in his peripheral vision. One of the sleeping girls awoke. It was Mio. Mio had always worried about not being a human, having the blood of a demon, and dragging Basara and the others into her troubles. But this time, at last, Mio could be released from that fate. So, when they returned to this house — Basara had already decided what he was going to say to her.
As Mio recognised his figure with her still drowsy eyes, Toujou Basara said to her with a gentle smile
“—Welcome home, Mio.”
With that single sentence, all of his feelings had been conveyed.
(All 11 of 11 parts) (4/8)
Continues on to Chapter 2 – The Loli-Ero Succubus Buys a House?