Chapter 25: Thus the Demi-god Kneels
“… Phew. That was utterly chilling.”
Friedrich’s voice echoed in the throne room just as Lute and Axia, the two demi-gods, returned to the human realm.
Even if he did not show any particular signs of consciousness, his profound voice would reach every corner of the vast throne room. In normal times, his voice would be dignified as an emperor, but as expected, in this situation, it lacked some brilliance.
Well, of course. Axia had probably already told him about the battle, but even so, it would have been terrifying to see a mythical battle take place right in front of his eyes. Axia was even firing a blow powerful enough to destroy the castle in half, while claiming to be providing guidance.
“What the hell? Were you terrified at that level? You’ve got such small guts because you’re too busy with politics to go into battle, isn’t it?”
However, the person herself, far from feeling bad, shook her head openly and retorted.
“Compared to the battlegrounds where demi-gods fight each other, those battlegrounds are no different than a tea party…….even if it’s just training.”
“Kah! Not only me, but even Lute-dono showed consideration not to involve you and the others, but you are pathetic! How can you be scared when you’re in a safe zone!”
“It’s not so much that I’m freaked out, it’s simply that it’s bad for my heart. …… Do you know how much pressure you both exert on just anyone? If you’re weak, you could die from that alone.”
“Is there someone with such cuteness in this place!”
Saying that, Axia looked around the throne room. Lute, too, looked around and saw that the dignitaries, who were supposed to be frozen by the high energy, were standing there with a nonchalant look on their faces, as if nothing had happened. It seems that they have regained their composure in this short period of time, and Lute smiled wryly, thinking that it certainly wasn’t cute.
“Even so, I think you should accept the complaints, Axia-dono. You can’t complain if you lose your head for rampaging in the throne room.”
“What are you saying? It is precisely because we are able to make these impossible claims that we are able to prove our position. If we insist on being special, it will only make us look petty. We should give them a big blow on a regular basis!”
“…Is it because I’m immature that I still think it’s unreasonable?”
Seeing Axia justifying her own outburst with impunity, Lute tilted his head.
Axia’s words and actions are not only insane for a normal nobleman, or rather, she would have been beheaded on the guillotine. However, she is the de facto head of the empire. For reasons unknown, she has sworn allegiance to the “Emperor of Froysel,” so she is one of its vassals, but her authority and power are certainly greater than even Friedrich’s. And it is a fact that Friedrich is probably aware of, as well. And Friedrich probably admits this.
That’s probably why Axia doesn’t hesitate to commit such a violent act. Even if they are of the same rank, she has vast experience that is incomparable to Lute’s. This is a weapon that can easily break down even the thick wall of “common sense.
“What, I’m sure you, Lute-dono will soon get used to it—or rather, it will be a problem if you don’t get used to it. The demi-gods of the empire should not be bound by common sense.”
“… I thought I was a pretty mischievous person, but I guess that’s not enough. Living in the empire seems to be quite difficult.”
Axia’s unprecedentedness is one of the boundaries backed by her experience and achievements. Even Lute, who is often said to be insane, is clearly pale when compared to her. Lute has no intention of surpassing Axia, and there is absolutely no need to surpass her, but… Aside from that, the fact that there is such a strong contender as an object of comparison is really unsettling.
“Ha ha ha! If you’re so worried about it, why don’t you make some requests right here, right now! Well, there is no one here who would underestimate you, Lute-dono. We all understand that you are the same kind of person as me, the flame goddess, based on the previous instruction. He, the emperor, will try his best to fulfill your request to the best of his ability!”
“……was that the reason for that outburst?”
“Kufufufu. I’ll tell you what, there’s that too. Let’s just say that’s part of it. The nobles of this country, especially those who are lined up in this hall, are being taught by me. I have been giving them firm instruction on what it means to be a wizard of the demi-god rank. So there will be no one who treats you lightly. ……”
But just in case, Axia showed off Lute’s power in front of them. This kind of precaution is always worthwhile..
“Well, even without such precautions, it was still a good opportunity. It’s rare to see a battle between demi-gods. Even the little brat who is flaunting his big mouth over there has never seen such a thing. So I thought that if they could observe it safely, we should go ahead and do it.”
Whether that could be called safe or not is beside the point. Axia’s argument was also plausible.
A battle between two demi-gods is something that no ordinary person would ever be able to see. Even so, until Lute appeared, there were only two of them, and both of them were major figures in their respective countries. Opportunities for these two to face each other in person are rare, and even if they did, it would be too dangerous for ordinary people to be on the same “battlefield”. If there was a person who could have witnessed the clash between the two on the battlefield and survived, it would be a miracle enough to be admired as a person of great fortune loved by the heavens.
If such a miracle could be intentionally performed, there would be no choice but not to perform it. At any rate, the battle of the demi-gods is a series of bullshit. Even if I had heard the outline from Axia, there was too much of a difference in understanding between human legends and what you actually see and hear. Because there is so much bullshit, it is an area that cannot be truly understood unless one experiences it for oneself. That is why Axia said she had to go ahead with the project, even if it was slandered as an outrage, in order to prepare countermeasures and mental preparations.
“…I had to at least get this side of the story truly understood before the Republic could make its move.”
“Really, I don’t know how many meanings you’re hiding in one move. ……”
“Huh. I’m an old woman. If you live long enough, you’ll definitely become impatient.”
It is never called impatience to hide two or three layers behind an act that at first glance is merely an outrage. That’s why Axia’s joking figure reminded Lute of a crystal clear, yet terrifyingly deep lake. In the sense of being too ‘unfathomable’.
I was tempted to see the bottom of her, but I was hesitant to do so, as if there was some mysterious entity lurking in the depths. Lute had such a complicated impression. It was even more so because the atmosphere she was wearing was so open and easy-going.
“Now then, I’ve derailed the conversation. Here, Lute-dono. This is the first step to becoming more arrogant. Let’s hear what you have to say.”
“… When you say arrogance, I’m inclined to hesitate, but in a different way.”
Because what Axia mentioned was a word that expressed an unfavorable personality, Lute forgot what he was thinking earlier and had a bitter expression on his face. The analogy is not funny, because if you go through with it badly, you will probably transform into the same personality as the word suggests.
Friedrich, who was watching the exchange between the two demi-gods without interrupting, pushed Lute’s back.
“Kuhahahahahaha! The old lady there has lost her sensitivity due to her old age, so she should be moderated in that area. But that being said, I agree with the old lady’s opinion. I thank you for showing me something valuable. Tell me what you want.”
“Even if you say something like that…”
Lute scratched his head while saying that he was troubled by Friedrich’s words.
As it’s been said many times before, Lute is a person that has few of such desires. He acquired great power at a young age, and because he was in a situation where most of his wishes could be fulfilled with brute force if he felt like it, his greed for such things had diminished.
Needless to say, the only things Lute wanted recently were things for himself and his subordinates. This is also a little out of the scope of this article, as it is largely driven by necessity. In conclusion, Lute does not have any desires that he would bother to ask for on this occasion.
“I seriously don’t have any particular ……”
“Are you still a boy!? You are a man, and this is an opportunity for you! You could at least hope for a fortune or a position!”
“Even if you say so, there is nothing that is not there, Axia-dono. I mean, the ‘grand dukedom’ given to a demi-god is enough to satisfy my needs.”
“But, the Grand Duke’s title is only a position, you know? As for wealth, I will give you the amount that is appropriate for your rank. But for that matter, it would be more convenient to have a fiefdom or position. ……”
“To be honest, I’m not sure I’m ready for it. No. It’s simply too much trouble, and I’m not prepared to stand on top of it. Even without such personal feelings, I don’t have the know-how for this kind of thing in the first place. Whether it’s managing a territory or holding a position, it’s just too much for me.”
Since revealing his true identity, Lute has often received a reputation for excellence, but this is only due to his innate flexibility. Most of his knowledge was taught in the Kingdom of Land, and there were many things he didn’t learn on purpose in order to act like he was incompetent. Territorial experience is a prime example of this, and he doesn’t think he could do it, either in terms of knowledge or temperament. Furthermore, Lute is a newcomer to the empire, and it is obvious that if he, as an outsider, is given these things, he could see that he didn’t know what to do and would cause unnecessary confusion.
“And in terms of work, I think the best job for me is to ‘be’ here in this country, to be a deterrent to the Republic state. In that sense, I don’t want to take on any unnecessary burdens..”
“Well, that does make sense…”
The reason why the empire welcomed Lute was because they wanted a “fighting force” in the form of a demi-god. The significance of the second demi-god is truly great. The range of strategic options expands exponentially. In order to take advantage of these expanded options, it was in his best interest to have Lute as an independent super-strong force.
If he had been given a post or a territory, confusion would arise if something happened to Lute. It was certainly appealing to have a super force that could be moved freely with minimal confusion. Whether or not they would actually move it, the mere existence of such a force would be enough to put pressure on the enemy.
“I have no great desire that I should go to the trouble of asking His Majesty to fulfill. If it is still ‘necessary’ to give it to me, I will respectfully accept the position and title. Otherwise, I would appreciate it if you would consider my opinion and feelings.”
“Hmm… Well, I’ll give that a lot of thought. But are you sure? I wouldn’t mind a little wishful thinking at this point, would you?”
“It’s the little things we hope for that are the reason …… Ah, no…”
Lute smiled wryly at Friedrich’s insistence— and then he suddenly thought about it.
“Did you remember anything?”
“… Yes, well. It’s really a trivial thing, but there is one thing that would be helpful if you could guarantee it in His Majesty’s name.”
“Huh? Tell me.”
Friedrich slightly leans forward at Lute’s words. It was because he was intrigued by the wishes of Lute, who had very little greed.
While looking at such an opportunity, Lute smiled mischievously like Axia and said.
“From the war with my country until today. I, who call myself lazy, have worked, even though I had no choice but to give up the title of [incompetent]. Therefore, I ask that you allow me to spend my time in self-indulgence until this matter is over, until the time when my will is truly needed.”