At the southern end of the Empire, the border of the Kingdom of Kernstadt. Dyratanis Forest.
I was facing a destroyed Warp Gate along with three demons and a total of 107 demon prisoners.
Our rescue mission was successful.
The destroyed Warp Gate was surrounded by a lush forest and there were no guards or back up to be found.
This was an abandoned Warp Gate that didn’t get maintained anymore to begin with. If we set our escape location as some large city, that would have been quite the headache, so we tried to escape to a Warp Gate that wasn’t manned anymore.
The Gate in front of the Knights Templar’s headquarters wasn’t an Extrlarge Gate, so it couldn’t sent us that far away. Normal Gates, Large Gates and Extrlarge Gates each had limitations in their movement distance. We had luck that the Gate in front of the headquarters was a Large Gate.
Still, this was quite a distance away.
After the operation ended successfully, Eleris broke the gate and teleported me here.
“Everyone has survived, Your Highness.”“Great. Everyone did an excellent job.”
Both Sarkegaar and Loyar were unharmed. The battle itself didn’t actually last that long. The moment a dragon suddenly appeared, all the Knights Templar froze, overwhelmed with this absurd situation, while the prisoners ran through the Warp Gate with everything they got.
If the battle had been prolonged, it was clear that all three of them would have been in grave danger.
The prisoners who didn’t quite understand this situation, held expressions switching between relief and fear.
But it sure was strange.
As a demon, I had horns and such, but neither the succubi nor the incubi had tails or horns.
They didn’t seem much different from humans.
Well, that was that.
[Quest completed – Rescue the Demon Prisoners]
[Number of rescued prisoners – 107]
[You have earned 5350 achievement points.]
I used 2000 points to end up earning more than 5000 points.
Sarkegaar, Loyar and Eleris began to untie the prisoners.
First, I should introduce myself.
“I am Valier Jr. Although, since the previous king has departed from this world, you should refer to me as Valier now.”
At those words, all the demon prisoners who seemed unsure at first, began to get on their knees one after the other.
Numerous people began to bow down to me while shedding tears.
It was as if they had found a single ray of hope at the moment where they thought everything was over.
As such, everyone got on their knees, but there was one person who stayed upright.
“Valier…? You’re Valier?”
The woman who looked at me blankly seemed as if she doubted her own eyes.
“Co, could it be? Princess?”
Seeing Sarkegaar’s exceedingly shocked reaction surprised me even more.
Didn’t he say I was the only Arcdemon left in the world?
It soon became clear why Sarkegaar called her princess.
“She is the daughter of one of the former Four Heavenly Kings, Reina, the Succubus Queen.”
“Ah…. Is that so?”
The Succubus Queen.
The Four Heavenly Kings.
I had no idea about the Demon King’s side because I hadn’t properly set it up, so I didn’t even think about who the Four Heavenly Kings were supposed to be, of course. One of them seemed to be the Succubus Queen, and now her daughter somehow recognized me.
On a surface level, it appeared like the Four Heavenly Kings’ relatives were treated like royalty.
This succubus, who didn’t seem any different from a human, appeared to be of the same age as me.
…She also had pink hair.
Pink hair? Seeing that in real life was hella weird. It’s no like it didn’t look good on her. It just felt…. Out of place?
The succubus approached me while pulling at her clothes that seemed closer to rags and came to a hold in front of me. There was a mix of bewilderment and hesitation visible on her face. Was she nervous?
“…. Do you not recognize me? I’m Airi. Don’t you remember me?”
The next Succubus Queen, who introduced herself as Airi, was stunned at me not recognizing her.
“His Highness almost lost all of his memories of the Demon Realm, Princess.”
“We don’t know either.”
The pink-haired Princess seemed to be at a loss for words.
The succubus, who called herself Airi, seemed very perplexed by Sarkegaar’s answer.
“Did you know me? Although I do not know what kinds of memories you had with me, I’m really sorry. I can’t remember anything.”
At those words, Airi, who was in front of me, as well as the numerours other succubi behind her held some weird expressions on their faces. What? What did I do to them? Were they glad I lost my memory?
Airi rolled her eyes in confusion, but eventually nodded hesitantly.
“Whatever may have happened before…. Thank you for saving me. I didn’t expect you to be alive, but…. I’m glad…. That you’re alive….”
Airi seemed to have thought that I died immediately on that day. Certainly, the way I ended up surviving was very pathetic. However, if it was the original Valier he wouldn’t have been able to do anything, but miserably shout “Do you even know who I am?!” while getting his head chopped off.
“Good. Everything’s fine. Let’s go over there and have a talk.”
I took Airi to another part of the forest. I could feel her shyly following behind me. I didn’t know what relationship she had with me before, but it certainly didn’t seem like a good one. I felt like she was staring holes in my head.
“Like Sarkegaar said, I have lost all my memories of my time in the Demon Realm, and, to be honest, I don’t feel like recovering them again. I apologize if I did anything to you.”
I slowly got used to apologizing for things I don’t even remember doing. However, Airi’s eyes simply widened at my words.
“N, no…. That’s…. You don’t have to apologize to me. Ra, rather, I….”
Airi seemed very startled and quickly covered her mouth with her hand.
“Ah, tha, that…. A, about that….”
Wasn’t this flow different from the other times? Looking at it like this, she seemed very surprised that I actually saved her, right?
She didn’t keep staring at me because she was afraid of me, huh?
Was it because she was sure that I would never come to save her?
“Did you bully me?”
“Ah, ah, that! That’s! That!”
That was right.
I didn’t know about the other guys, but I didn’t think I bullied her. It was the exact opposite.
“I, I’m sorry!”
Airi was so out of her mind, because she got saved by the kid she bullied in the past.
According to what Airi told me while trembling, we were something like childhood friends before the Demon World War broke out.
To precise, she wasn’t really my friend, but the kid in charge of me. It seemed like Airi would educate me through beating every time I acted like a bastard somewhere. Actually, this was only possible because we were both treated as royalty, even though we were of different races.
So, whenever I saw Airi when I was on my own it seemed like I’d book it or when I was next to the Demon King I’d start trembling terribly.
So we hated each other. Actually, I got beaten up by her all day long.
Like I treated Loyar like a dog, it seemed like I got bullied a lot by the succubi. Every time Airi saw me she would beat me up.
She probably was that strong because she was, different from the normal succubi, the descendant of the Succubus Queen.
The Succubus Queen seemed to have been the number 2 of the Four Heavenly Kings.
So, Airi was the daughter of the Demon Realm’s Number 3. That meant that she was able to educate the Demon King’s son when he was messing around.
She had a very high status in the Demon Realm. Seeing as these titles were hereditary, I’d become the Demon King and she’d become the demon with the third highest rank.
All of the Four Heavenly Kings died and Airi was taken prisoner after our defeat.
And then she was saved by the Demon King’s son, whom she thought would have already died, and had a bad relationship with since their childhood.
So she seemed to find this situation hard to believe. Of course, she seemed to be convinced that I lost my memories to some extent.
“Let’s leave what happened in the past behind us. I wouldn’t want to take revenge on you anyway. Even if I don’t quite remember how I was, I heard that I was someone who deserved to get beaten up.”
Airi couldn’t say anything to that. This sure made me wonder just how crazy I actually was.
Still, seeing that she was the one in charge of me, it didn’t seem to be that serious.
“Let’s stop talking about this. Do you know the detailed composition of the prisoners here?”
“There are 85 Succubi, 15 Incubi, 2 Lycanthropes, 2 Doppelgangers and 2 Nightwalkers.”
Most of them were succubi and incubi. I didn’t quite know what Nightwalkers were, but all of them were humanoid demons.
“How about your strength? I heard that the humans have done something to you, but what did they do exactly?”
At that, Airi closed her eyes. Just imagining it made her remember the pain.
“What’s the matter?”
“Ah…. You said that you lost your memories, so could it be….”
Airi looked at me in disbelief that I couldn’t tell just by looking at her. She eventually lifted her pink hair a bit after she recalled that I lost all my memories.
I couldn’t see it before because she was covering it with her long hair.
There were hideous wounds at her temples as if something got ripped out from there.
“The humans…. Removed all of our horns and tails….”
It wasn’t like they simply didn’t have any horns.
In order to neutralize the succubi’s and incubi’s power, the humans forcibly removed their tails and horns.
Tears were dripping down Airi’s face when she remembered the disgrace she felt that day.
Airi told me that the horns were usually the source of magical power for horned demons.
That said, now that her horns were gone, Airi lost all her magical powers and all her growth potential.
As a result, she also lost her racial skill. She lost all her abilities, such as absorbing spirit and entering other people’s dreams.
“Wi, will they grow back…. Or are they gone for good?”
“They can grow back, but it takes a long time… It would be the same as if I didn’t have any to begin with. Not only that, the humans also took other actions.”
“What do you mean?”
“Human wizards destroyed all our magic management facilities in our bodies. Even if our horns were to grow back, we wouldn’t be able to use magic ever again…. That’s how it is.”
They were trying to sell absolutely safe toys to the wealthy and powerful. Therefore, while destroying their source of magical power they also made it impossible for them to ever manipulate magical power again. The wizards succeeded in completely neutralizing these prisoners.
Although she was a high-ranking demon with the title of Succubus Queen, Airi lost all her strength and growth potential.
“I’m sorry, Valier…. We can’t even fathom fully paying you back for saving us…. I’m so grateful and I really want to help you in any way possible, but…. We’ve all become useless….”
Airi looked down and started to cry. They all must have been demons with enormous powers. And among them, Airi, the Succubus Queen, had, or was very likely to have, the most power of them all.
However, they had lost all their potential. So Airi seemed to feel guilty, knowing that she couldn’t repay me for my help in any way.
“……I didn’t save you because of that though.”“……Huh?”
At my words, Airi looked at me with a tear smeared face.
“I didn’t save you because I planned on using you. I did it because I thought I could.”
That was the truth. There was also the possibility to earn a ton of achievement points but that was only secondary. I had no interest in rebuilding the Demon Realm to begin with, but Eleris, Sarkegaar and Loyar wanted to save them so desperately, so I just told them how to do it.
I wasn’t interested in their powers enough to cause a riot in the middle of the Imperial Capital for just about 100 prisoners in the first place.
It would be rather sad for them to have lost all their powers, but there was no reason for me to be disappointed about that.
“So, you guys can go back to the Darklands or whatever. My goal was to save you, so you don’t have to be at my beck and call or something after this.”
If they wanted to go back to the Darklands, Eleris would send them there using mass teleport. Airi was staring at me blankly for a long time. She never imagined she’d ever hear me say something like that.