|Author: Kobayashi Homare||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 2396 characters|
|Translator: Nomad||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1042 words|
“…I think I might have misheard. For a moment I thought you said you wanted to form an alliance.”
“That’s exactly what I said. My master, Lord Aprila, wants to form a secret alliance with your country.”
The demon’s face looked completely serious, but I could only swallow my spit trying to comprehend what was happening.
“You’ve ravaged my country already, and now you want to cooperate with us? I can’t understand what you’re thinking.”
“It wasn’t us that attacked your country. That was done by another Demon King called Trianf. Lord Aprila had absolutely nothing to do with that.”
When she said that I recalled a report we received from Bordaule, saying that there were multiple Demon Kings now. Now I understood this proposal came from another Demon King, one with enmity against Trianf.
“Please, call me Mille.”
“Then let me ask this, what is it that your master wants from my country? Even if you don’t mean harm to me, I can’t simply join hands with the first demons that show up. Many of my people have lost their families and those dear to them in the last battle, they’ll never accept such an alliance, even if I explain it’s with a different faction.”
Even if there had been no battle, many would refuse to ally with demons. And on top of that too many people had died at the hand of demons already. If I ignored their feelings and proceeded with the alliance, it would only lead to protests and riots. But even after hearing that Mille still smiled softly.
“No need to worry about that. Our side would also see strong opposition to such an alliance. Just like how many humans would refuse the idea of joining hands with demons, the majority of demons would also be against it.”
“Then what do you seek to accomplish? Usually, an alliance is supposed to benefit both parties somehow. There would be no point to it unless we gain some sort of military or economic advantage that way.”
When I said that, Mille seemed to snort as if making fun of me. That’s enough for me to see how much this woman, or rather this demon, belittled humans.
“Pay more attention please, I said it would be a secret alliance. There’s only one thing we want out of this, somehow pit the heroes against Trianf, that’s all. Though of course, refusal will result in your death.”
The heroes? And pitting them against Trianf? The only heroes I knew were Freya and Lapis. And this demon wanted me to send them off to fight someone? So she wanted me to willfully send the heroes that saved my country to their demise against a Demon King? I looked into her eyes for a moment and noticed that my only escape could be death.
“What, you don’t like those conditions?”
“But of course. It might be too complicated for you to understand, but I would never repay a favor like that. I won’t serve them on a plate to you just because I want to live a few more years.”
Mille looked annoyed as she cocked her head, as if she was dealing with a spoiled child that would not listen. I was still confused though, what made her think I would agree to such conditions? Did demons think that little of humans? Or was it just her and her master that were so foolish? After a moment of silence, Mille raised her head as if she thought of something.
“Alright, let’s do it this way. If you don’t want to cooperate, I’ll kill ten children of your country every day until you relent. And those three grandchildren you have? We’ll take them to our territory and take care of them there. Sounds good? Let’s do that then.”
She one sidedly decided that was the end of the discussion and turned around to leave, so I stopped her.
“What is it? I’m a rather busy woman, I don’t have time to play games with you.”
Was she really so heartless to kill children like it was nothing? If I did not stop her, she would surely go to the city and go from door to door killing children without mercy. And I was the only one who could stop that from happening. I could not fight her head on, considering she had snuck in here without alerting the many guards outside, only a hero would be able to take her down. If only Lapis was still here…I bit my lip in vexation, and Mille looked entertained seeing me that way.
“Don’t touch the children. If you want to kill someone just kill me.”
“What do I gain from killing you though? I already told you, all we want is for the heroes to go fight against Trianf. As the king of a country heavily damaged by them, you stand in the best position to convince them of that, that’s the only use we have for you. So, what will it be? Do you want to help us out, or would you rather never see your dear grandchildren again, while unknown kids die every day too? Choose already.”
I felt my eyes tearing up at my own helplessness. I would never be a good ruler if I allowed them to trample over my country and let them take the lives of children. Rejecting the offer was off the table. Just imagining my three grandchildren pained me, and I am sure the other people would feel the same about their children. Thinking of losing all of them made me shudder.
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If I did as asked and prompted them to go fight Trianf, I was sure at least one of them would not return alive. No matter how strong they were, entering the heart of the enemy’s territory could not be that easy. Still, my hands were tied and I had no other choice.
“Alright, I’ll help you out.”
“I’m glad you could see reason. Let’s work out the details of your role in this alliance then.”
In contrast to my despair, Mille looked happier than ever.