44. Women and Men
The banquet called, ‘Ibris’ welcome party’ was over, and only the tableware remained in the messy dining room.
Piling up the dishes one by one, Anna tidied up with deft hands.
I also helped with that.
“Thank you, Liliana.”
“Yes, it must be difficult cleaning up alone, right?”
“Everyone seems to have had fun today~”
I wished everyone could help.
However, the people who had drank alcohol fell asleep. Rigard was woken up by Teresia to finish his remaining work.
Grave was guiding Ibris.
The people whom I could ask for help all seemed to be busy.
“What is it?”
“That, Ibris is really the Demon King, right?”
“Well, he doesn’t give off that vibe at all.”
“I’m also surprised.”
I had seen the true Ibris once. As such, his change could be called dramatic.
His change convinced me that he was a different person altogether.
He could naturally blend in among everyone’s acquaintances. His conduct was certainly far from the image of a Demon King I had envisioned.
“By the way, Anna seems to be enjoying herself, too.”
“Eh? Is that so?”
“Yes, you keep smiling.”
“Ahaha, it’s because he praised my cooking instead of my mom’s. You saw me? Well, that’s embarrassing.”
The shy Anna blushed and adorably waved her hands.
Her expression made me smile.
Anna was that kind of person, after all.
“…I wonder what kind of girl Ibris likes.”
Towards such an unexpected line, which was said in a fleeting voice, I halted.
“I, it’s nothing. By the way, why did Ibris decide to come here?”
“Well, uh, it’s a little complicated… and also long, but, listen…?”
“Yes, I want to know!”
I decided to no longer mind the words I had just heard.
Anna didn’t seem to want to discuss them.
But I felt like I somehow understood.
Even if she didn’t explicitly state it, I felt like I knew the emotions that had sprung up in her heart.
Stars glittered in the night sky.
Ibris returned to the city while enjoying the outside air with no clouds and gentle breeze on the balcony.
“What a peaceful city.”
“Is the Demon Realm so deadly?”
When Ibris turned around, Grave had already stood behind him.
Grave walked up next to Ibris.
“What are you up to?”
“As you can see, I’m merely gazing at the city. What about you?”
“I’m keeping watch.”
“Hoo? For whom?”
“Shouldn’t the answer be obvious?”
“I don’t have any intention of doing anything. We’ve signed a contract, already.”
“That doesn’t mean I should just trust you blindly. After all, once something happens, it’ll be too late by then.”
When Grave said that, Ibris laughed with a slight astonishment.
The two were silent for a while as they watched the city.
“How long do you intend to monitor me?”
“Until you go to bed.”
“Go to bed? Oh, humans need sleep. No wonder this body has felt dull since earlier. Is this called ‘drowsiness’?”
“So, demons don’t require food or sleep?”
“Not if they’re high-ranking demons.”
High-ranking demons, or simply called ‘devils’, were a rare breed amongst the demons.
Devils, who were born with massive amounts of magical power, were different from demons in terms of body structure.
Only some of the more powerful demons didn’t require food or sleep.
“For you to not require sleep… how convenient.”
“Not really. We aren’t inherently born with that ability. It’s the result of evolution. The environment required us to adapt.”
“What do you mean?”
“Didn’t you say earlier? It’s peaceful here. While the Demon Realm is as you suspected earlier.”
The more powerful the devil, the stronger the desire for control.
The Demon King, Ibris, suppressed that yearning—but usually failed to do so.
To be precise, it was unnecessary to do so.
He defeated others as he desired and proved his might.
That was the essence of the devil, and the world in which the devils lived.
“Lowering your guard in the Demon Realm is the same as forfeiting your own life. Because I’m the Demon King, I have many enemies. Although my subordinates follow me, if there’s slightest opportunity, they’d surely try to kill me. It’s a world where you can’t trust anyone.”
“That… isn’t that difficult?”
“Once you get used to it, you won’t feel anything. But once you feel peace like this, you will be keenly aware of the difference in environment.”
He could feel how difficult it was for Ibris until now.
Feeling that, Grave blamed himself in his heart for his lackluster behavior.
He opened his mouth to apologize.
“—That’s right, I’ve been wanting to confirm something.”
Grave, whom was about to apologize, was confused.
After sighing a little, Grave asked Ibris.
“What is it?”
“Are you and Liliana in love?”
***T/N: Yes but I’m still available, *wink* …Jk
Please also consider donating to my ko-fi! It’ll greatly support me in action, no matter the amount!