༺ A Starry Night ༻
“…Who are you?”
Frey cautiously asked the girl for her identity.
“Hm, I wonder. Who could I possibly be?”
With a smile plastered across her face, the girl continued to tease him as she looked down at him from above.
Silence filled the air as they locked eyes. Unable to get a read on her, Frey slightly tilted his head.
“The Demon King.”
The girl just laughed mockingly and broke the silence in the air.
“I said I’m the Demon King.”
As soon as she had finished, Frey tried to cut her down.
Frey was bewildered. For some reason, he wasn’t able to move his body at all.
“You won’t be able to attack me.”
“There’s no way I would tell you that, right?”
The Demon King slowly walked into the room, and with each step that she took, Frey’s body became drenched in cold sweat.
“I’ll give you a choice.”
“That’s right. But it might be quite cruel for you.”
The Demon King casually waved her arm and continued speaking.
“You can either kill everyone in this room and surrender to me, or you can just die. Choose one. You have no other options.”
“If you choose the former… I’ll let you keep your current position as the Second-in-Command of the Demonarmy. How does that sound?”
Frey was briefly stunned by her offer, but quickly raised the sword in his hand.
“I’ve already said that you won’t be able to attack me.”
Frey imbued his sword in stellar mana and swung it at the Demon King. But he could only look on, stupefied, as his sword came to a halt.
“How… are you…”
“I know you’re the Hero.”
“I also know what you’re truly like under your Hero’s facade.”
The Demon King approached the bed and picked up Clana, who was lying limp, before tossing her towards Frey.
“Now, why don’t you show me your true colors.”
Startled, Frey quickly rushed to catch Clana, and then glared at the Demon King.
“What… nonsense are you spouting right now?”
“I told you to quickly kill her.”
The Demon King waved her hands as if she were telling him to hurry up. Frey bit his lips in indignation.
“I don’t want to?”
The Demon King’s eyes widened in surprise before she sneered.
“Stop being so defiant. If you talk back to me one more time, your head will be sent flying.”
Frey spat out profanities through his clenched teeth, causing the Demon King to be taken aback. She hadn’t expected such a reaction and began to walk towards him.
“You’re really choosing death over serving me?”
“Kill me… and let them go.”
Frey tightly shut his eyes in anticipation. The Demon King shortly arrived in front of him with her brows furrowed.
“Say that one more time.”
“You know it as well. After I’m gone, there won’t be anyone capable of winning against you.”
“That is true.”
“So, just spare them and kill me. The world will be yours anyways once you kill me.”
The Demon King sighed at Frey’s earnest plea. She then suddenly pushed him down and straddled him.
“Alright, I’ve decided. I’ll let you embrace me… as long as you surrender to me”
“I’m saying that I’ll make you mine. Wouldn’t you agree that it would be the greatest honor for someone like you, a mere human loser? “
The Demon King’s eyes curved into crescents as Frey quietly stared at her. He sneered.
Frey tried to kick her off as he swore. However, much like his previous attempts, his attack suddenly lost strength, and his face began to show the hopelessness he was feeling inside.
“Are you still unable to grasp the situation that you are in?… Your defeat became no different than a foregone conclusion the moment I stepped out of my castle.”
“That means I can take you by force whenever I feel inclined to do so.”
The Demon King began to brush over Frey’s chest with her finger.
“This is your last chance. Do you want to die after getting dominated by force, or will you embrace me of your own will and become mine?”
Frey quietly closed his eyes, and upon seeing that, the Demon King smiled and then leaned in to whisper something in his ears.
“If you pick the latter, it won’t be a bad experien…”
The Demon King scowled at Frey’s unyielding will.
“Why? Why are you rejecting me to such an extent?”
Glaring at her viciously, Frey spoke his mind..
“First of all, the very thought of becoming one with you, who might as well be the root of all evil in this world, makes me sick…”
The Demon King’s face crumpled with each passing word. Frey smirked at her visage and continued.
“Secondly… you can’t attack me either, right?”
“If you could, you wouldn’t be trying to win me over like this.”
Frey lifted his head closer to her.
“Try it. Try to kill me.”
“What’s wrong? Just try and kill me.”
Frey burst out in laughter as he continued to mock her.
“See? You’re obviously unable to kill me.”
“You can’t kill those two either… no, it’s probably the same for anyone else.”
Frey wrinkled his eyebrows and continued to question the being in front of him.
“I wonder why that is? Huh, Demon King?”
At that moment, a transparent system window appeared in front of the Demon King.
Their surroundings began to twist and warp. Frey, who was looking on at what was happening in a daze, locked eyes with the Demon King. She had gotten off his body and was glaring at him coldly.
“It seems like you have realized something, but it doesn’t matter anymore. Our memories are going to be reset. Though, it seems this’ll be the only time.”
Frey tried to speak out after belatedly meeting her ruby-colored eyes, but the Demon King cut him off and whispered in a low voice.
“This isn’t the end, Frey. Rather, this is only the beginning.”
“No way, it can’t be that…”
“Today, as of this moment, I am declaring war against you.”
As Frey was frantically trying to say something, the darkness rushed in and enveloped them both.
“Although, you won’t be able to remember that…”
The voice he heard was young and haughty – the real voice of the Demon’s King.
“Young Master… please wake up.”
As I woke up, my head felt as though it was splitting in two. I tightly grasped my head and scanned my surroundings with a rigid expression.
“What is this? How did this happen?”
“That… I woke up just now as well, so I don’t really know.”
It was difficult to think straight. It was as if my mind was clouded with alcohol. I gently tapped my head, attempting to recall my memories.
“So… we altered Clana’s memories and I listened as you gave me advice… Then, I mentioned my will…”
Kania angrily cut me off. I scratched my head and tried to explain.
“No, just assuming it happens. I’m not saying it will, but just in case.”
“…Young Master, you shouldn’t speak of such things, even if it’s just a presumption.”
Hearing her reprimand me so sternly, I let out a sigh and turned my gaze towards Clana.
“Will Clana… be alright?”
“There doesn’t seem to be any risk to her life.”
As I watched Clana breathe soundly in her sleep, a strange noise suddenly came from outside the door. I cautiously approached the window and peered outside.
– Bzzzzzzzzt! Kachik!!
– Clank, Clang!!
A scene of a massive battle unfolded before my eyes.
“You! Who are you!! Who are you to disrupt me!!”
A mysterious individual, wielding a familiar silver weapon, was locked in combat with the Secret Lord of the Moonlight family, who was floating in the air.
It appeared that the nobles had regained their senses at some point unbeknownst to me. They were frantically scrambling about and fleeing in every direction.
I spotted Serena. I couldn’t tell if she had been injured, but she was slumped over next to our room…
“Frey Raon Starlight!!!”
“Oh my god…”
I had no idea what that old man who was starting to grow white hair had consumed for him to be able to scream like that, but slitting his throat was a priority for me right now.
Serena suddenly called out to dissuade me from doing so as I was in the middle of unsheathing my sword..
“ If you reveal your skills here, the nobles will become aware of your abilities… That mustn’t happen.”
“But, the person who cast the Curse of Familial Subordination on you is right in front…”
“Frey, you’re more important than me.”
All of a sudden, the magic circles representing the Curse of Familial Subordination appeared all over her body. Anger welled up within me as I saw Serena tremble from the pain.
“Kania, the same goes for you. You’ll end up being chased your entire life if you reveal your ability to use black magic here.”
Kania, who was standing beside us, tried to step up, but Serena shook her head and instead turned to look at the battle.
Following her gaze, I spoke as I pointed towards the mysterious individual who had been locked in intense combat with the Secret Lord for some time..
“…Who could that person be?”
“That sword, doesn’t it seem like we’ve seen it before?”
“Hm…? Now that I take a closer look…”
The more I examined it, the more familiar the sword became..
“That sword… shouldn’t it be stored away in my cellar?”
Upon recognizing the sword, I frowned and muttered the thought I had out loud.
The victor of the battle had finally been determined.
“Holy shit… by some brat we don’t know…”
The mysterious person I had called a brat cut off the Secret Lord’s right arm with a single stroke of the sword. The Secret Lord almost let out a cry of pain as his stump started spraying blood in all directions.
“Why don’t you just surrender!!”
The unknown figure held the Secret Lord at the tip of their sword, and I tilted my head as I unwittingly felt a sense of déjà vu from their voice.
However, before I had a chance to dwell on it, the Secret Lord started to struggle desperately.
The Secret Lord condensed his purple aura and shaped it into a massive blade before firing it towards me and the mysterious figure.
The mysterious figure effortlessly blocked the attack, easily dispersing the purple aura.
“Where are you running off to!”
They then started chasing after the Secret Lord who was tottering away in escape.
The remaining purple aura continued to shoot towards us.
As Kania and I were unable to reveal our abilities, Serena quickly poured lunar mana into her fan. However, it was insufficient to block the purple aura that had gained momentum after being deflected by the mysterious figure.
“…Withdraw your mana. I’ll take care of the rest.”
Seeing the eyes of the people gradually shifting towards us, I spoke to Serena in a hurry.
“If it’s now, as long as I make it look as natural as possible…”
I was nervously preparing myself for the incoming aura when a blinding light suddenly flew in from behind.
An enormous golden bird clashed with the purple blade, causing a massive explosion. I stared dumbstruck before slowly looking back.
Clana walked out of the room, radiating a light brighter than ever before. Her noble and regal expression, which had been absent for the past few days, adorned her face again as she exuded an aura of a ruler.
I inadvertently swallowed back my saliva as I stared at her in a daze. I felt as though I would throw up blood and collapse at any moment.
Kania, who had personally manipulated her memories, and Serena, who had tensed up after deducing the situation, also shared the same reaction.
A long period of tense silence ensued..
“I had no choice but to save you due to our binding covenant. I didn’t do it because I like you.”
Clana broke the silence, looking at me with the same icy gaze she had several months ago. Seeing that, all three of us sighed in relief.
“Move aside. I must settle the situation.”
Clana’s words were cold, and she gave us a strange look before brushing past. I smiled as I watched her go, but Kania whispered quietly to me.
“Nothing has been resolved yet. Her memories will return anytime between a few weeks to a few months, so we needto find a solution by then.”
I collected myself and helped lift Serena, who was struggling to stand.
“Serena, if we chase down the Secret Lord…”
“It’s too late. Seeing how the Curse of Familial Subordination has weakened, he must have suffered a significant injury, but I think he safely escaped.”
I tightly clenched my fists in frustration as I saw her say those words with a hardened expression.
“It’s fine. I have my ways.”
“Yes, of course. Probably?”
Serena winked as she assured me, and seeing that, I found myself more at ease.
“Then let’s first get out of here. There are too many watchful eyes.”
Thinking I had taken care of everything I had to, I tried to quickly leave the place before attracting any more unnecessary attention.
“W-What is it?”
Clana, who had previously moved past me, briefly hesitated before turning back towards me. Scared out of my wits, I took a step back.
“There’s a dessert café nearby that’s still open. Head there.”
“W-Why all of a sudden?”
I felt flustered, but Clana firmly held onto my arms and began dragging me along, maintaining her unsympathetic expression.
“Are you asking because you don’t know? It’s your birthday party that happens only once every year. We can’t let it end just like this.”
“In place of the Imperial Family, I’ll be responsible for you. So, just follow me.”
I stared at her in confusion, and Clana, who used to look at me as if I was insignificant, frowned.
“I already said I’m not doing this because I like you, but because the covenant leaves me with no other choice. Do you think I’m doing this because I want to?”
“N-No… Didn’t you say you were going to try and fix the situation here…”
“The covenant takes precedence over that. Now, be quiet and just follow me.”
For some reason, her Monarch’s Aura seemed to have gotten considerably stronger. I folded under her pressure and meekly followed behind her with a sour face.
“…Anyways, happy birthday.”
Clana wished me a happy birthday under her breath, but it was so faint that I doubted whether she said it at all.
“Kania, what do you think is going on with them?”
“I don’t know either…”
As I struggled to understand the bizarre turn of events with Clana, Serena and Kania exchanged concerned whispers.
‘Well, since we were able to buy a few weeks to a few months of time…’
Amidst this chaotic situation, I made a new resolution.
Although Clana had returned to harboring her previous disdain for me and had become somewhat of a ticking time bomb, I decided to do my best to treat her kindly.
The stars tonight were shining particularly brightly.
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