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Chapter 6. Part 1.

(POV 45th Summoned Hero)

Tac… Tac… Tac…

The first thing I heard when I regained consciousness were sounds that reminded me of professional shogi players. They skillfully took their turns in tandem as they moved their pieces around on top the board.

Tac… Tac…

I was still confused by everything when I recalled the events that led up to my present situation.

Tac… Tac...

I’m alive?

Tac...

How?

Tac...

I was nearly certain I died.

Tac...

Was I saved by someone?

When I finally opened my eyes, as far as the eye could see there was only darkness. When I turned to my right and left there was only an insignificant amount of light that had illuminated a small circular portion of space in the distance.

Within that space sat two individuals in front of a shogi board. The first was a beautiful woman with crimson hair with a strangely seductive charm. When I noticed her eyes I was left in a strange trance, they were without any doubt the two blood moons I saw five years ago. She donned a black robe that covered the ground around her in a semi circular fashion. Underneath her robe, she was completely bare. The robe was opened up, it barely covered half of her bountiful chest. She didn’t show the slightest embarrassment.

What was with this perverse woman? No bra and completely commando in the nude?! I broke out into a cold sweat.

Am I actually in hell? Are clothes not allowed here?

I looked down and realized that my assumption was incorrect. I still had all the clothes and armor I had on before I fell into the pit.

When I looked back up I finally noticed her opponent’s side profile. It was one that felt strangely nostalgic. After a moment, I easily realized who it was. He was my self proclaimed rival of three years.

His name was...

I was unable to remember? Why?

I’m certain I know his name, but why can’t I recall it? Did I hit my head on the way down? Maybe I really died and I’m now slowly losing the memories from my previous life.

In my uncertainty I approached the perverse woman and my self proclaimed rival before I timidly called out to them.

“Uhm… Where am I? Am I actually dead after all? Is this the after life?”

The two of them disinterestedly glanced at me, didn’t say a single word, then returned back to their game with serious expressions on their faces.

The perverse woman was clearly annoyed at the moment. On the other hand, my self proclaimed rival had a complacent smile on his face. When I looked down at the board I understood right away. She was cornered and one move away from being put into checkmate. No matter where I looked, there were no possible moves that remained to avoid her loss. Defeat was inevitable.

“Chi Kaban, you’re definitely cheating.”

Eh? Was his name Chi Kaban? For some reason that didn’t feel right, nor did it ring any bells.

“Me? How could I possibly be cheating? You’re an almighty vampire, do you think any cheating a mortal like me could pull off would escape your eyes?”

“Tch. I normally don’t care if a human sees me nude, but I’m definitely not taking off my robe for a pervert like you to let you ogle my naked body to your heart’s content with that lecherous gaze of yours.”

“Lecherous? I’ll have you know, I’m an upstanding man filled with a righteous heart. Oh? Could it be, could it be? The almighty vampire progenitor is unable to continue through with our game of strip shogi and has decided to concede defeat prematurely? If you take off your robe, you still have one more chance to defeat me you know.”

Tac.

“Hmmp! I’m not a fool who can’t see when they’re no match.”

Tac.

“Checkmate.”

“I really can’t believe I couldn’t even beat a little human like you even once in a game of intelligence. How infuriating. Whatever, just name your request. A noble vampire like me doesn’t go back on her words.”

“Marry me.”

The so called vampire stretched her hand out and clenched down on his neck. She choked him out with an intense glare. It was understandable and she couldn’t be blamed for her actions when a man that lacked as much delicacy as this existed.

“Ack. I take it back! I take it back! It was just a joke, a joke!”

When he took back his words she let him down, but she was still visibly displeased by my self proclaimed rivals poor joke that lacked any class.

“How about a kiss on the lips… I mean cheek… neck?”

The seductive vampire’s gaze turned colder with every request he changed to before she stuck out her arm with the back of her palm faced towards him.

“What is this for?”

“What? You want a noble vampire to take the initiative to give you a kiss? Are you an idiot?”

“So… I’m supposed to kiss the back of your hand?”

“Of course. You are my food, you should be grateful that I’d even give you the opportunity to kiss the back of my hand.”

“Cheapskate.”

Despite his complaints, he still held onto her hand and casually kissed it anyways. It seems even my former all powerful rival was submissive to this so called vampire. It turned out she wasn’t necessarily a pervert, but just a misfortunate sucker who had lost in strip shogi several times already.

“So little hero, what brings you to this part of the world?”

Once their match of shogi was over, the vampire directed a question towards me. She spared me not a single glance like I was unworthy to be looked upon by her eyes. It was about what I expected of an arrogant vampire.

“Hey, you know it’s rude to not look at her when you ask her a question. You should at least introduce yourself before asking questions outright like that, right?”

“Hmmp! Little humans like you are unworthy to know my great name.”

“You still haven’t even told me your name yet either. It’s been a month since we’ve met, you know.”

“Why should I tell my name to my food?”

“Because it’s inconvenient to call you, little miss vampire progenitor every time. Could it be you don’t actually have a name? Or that you forgot your name after not using it for so long?”

“Wh-what are you talking about? Of course I have a name and know what it is unlike you. It’s not like I’m embarassed to be called by name or anything stupid like that.”

“Then please grace us with your magnificent name your holiness, I mean unholiness.”

With an air of dignity and haughtiness, she put on a face like she couldn’t be bothered and said, “Yueliang Xinghong.” Of course she turned her head to the side and looked away with a slight blush on her cheeks.

“So you were embarrassed after all, my little Yueliang?”

“Hmmp! Who’s your little Yueliang?”

“Don’t be so bashful, my little Yueliang.”

“Do you really have a death wish brat?”

“How about we play another game of shogi? I’ll even start with a handicap. If I win I get to call you my little Yueliang. If you win, I promise I’ll keep you company forever and make sure you’re never bored.”

Surprisingly, she looked somewhat tempted by his offer and asked, “how big of a handicap are we talking here?”

“I won’t have a rook.”

“Are you looking down on me?!”

He didn’t explicitly state it and only smiled back at her confidently instead. It felt like he wanted to boldly say yes, but he still dared not boldly declare it as such.

“You’re a really infuriating brat you know.”

“Yeah, I know.”

He had an unnatural gentle smile that didn’t suit him when he looked at her even when she was clearly displeased with his overly familiar attitude with her. Honestly, his smile right now was one I’d never seen before. From what I remembered of him, he never smiled at anyone in the past. He always had a strange overly bored look on his face with distant far off eyes like he wished he were somewhere else.

Tac... Tac… Tac...

Somehow, I felt like I was unable to enter the little world between the two of them. I was once again left to the side while they played another match of shogi.

As things proceeded, it first appeared that the vampire, Yueliang, had slowly pushed Chi into a corner. However, something strange happened mid game and there was a sudden unexpected reversal. The moment it happened, Yueliang showed clear frustration and said, “take backs.”

“No take backs.”

“You!”

“What’s wrong, my little Yueliang, are you trying to escape now?”

She dejectedly lowered her head and continued the match. She moved her pieces slower the further the match progressed. She spent long periods of time desperate for some sort of miracle move. It seemed she long knew her defeat was determined by the one mistake she made. For some reason, to me, it felt like she’d just put on an act though. I started to wonder whether she actually wanted him to call her “my little Yueliang.” Was she just too embarrassed to admit she wanted intimacy? It was a bit surreal to me to see such a peculiar duo together.

Tac… Tac… Tac...

After a few more moves, they reached the end game. As expected, Chi narrowly took the win in the end even with the large handicap of no rook at the start.

“My little Yueliang, it looks like it is my victory.”

“Be glad I didn’t kill you a hundred times for being impertinent enough to call me in such a manner. Since you have won, I suppose I can only relent and allow you the privilege to call me as such.”

“My little Yueliang really is such a tsundere.”

“Hey, is it these eyes that can’t see properly?”

She opened the palm of her hands and there were a pair of eyeballs in the palm of her hand. In my confusion I looked towards Chi and realized where eyes should be, there were two gaping gory blood filled holes.

“Kyaa!”

“What did you do to him?! How could you murder him so casually like that?!”

Strangely enough she looked at me like I was an idiot.

“Hahaha. Don’t worry about it, this is typically how the two of us show our affection for each other.”

The person I thought was surely already dead from that grotesque scene spoke like it was no big deal and a common occurrence. Watching his mouth move with blood dripping down from the two empty holes for eyes was a horrifying sight I rather not ever see again.

“Can you at least put them back?” I asked her nicely hoping she would consent, but she just frowned and crushed his two eyeballs and sent them to oblivion.

“How can you be so cruel?! He’ll never be able to see again if you do that!”

“What are you talking about? I’m fine.”

When I looked back at him, his eyes were back to normal. They were as good as new. If it wasn’t for the trail of fresh blood on his face that originated from his eyes I would really question whether I was delusional or if it was just a magic trick. No, that had to be a magic trick right? Was it actually all illusion magic or something? The blood would be gone too if it was though. Just thinking about the earlier sight left my stomach churning.

“Hey, don’t waste food.”

When she said that, Yueliang leaned over the shogi board and licked up the blood from his face before she sat back down on the ground.

Is this some sort of strange PDA? Am I supposed to watch these two freaks flirt back and forth like this day in and day out from now on? I’ll definitely lose my mind if I have to put up with this on a daily basis.

“What just happened?”

““What do you mean?””

They both looked back at me like they couldn’t understand.

Was I the weird one here?

“I mean your eyes. She clearly just destroyed them, right?”

“Yeah, she did. What about it?”

“How did they suddenly appear again as good as new?!”

““They grew back.””

“What?”

““They regenerated.””

“How?”

“Did your ability to comprehend drop because you were dead for too long?”

“Dead?”

“Chi Kaban, did I mess up? Were heroes always this stupid?”

“My little Yueliang, she looks fine to me though.”

“Chi Kaban, you can’t be sure of that. Appearances can be deceiving.”

“I died?”

““Yeah you did.””

“Is there something strange about that?”

“Of course there is! From your words I get that I’m alive now, but if I was dead, why am I alive right now is what I want to know!”

“Oh! So that’s what it was. Say so sooner, human hero. We won’t understand if you aren’t specific.”

“In short, you are alive because you are now my servant who I will bring up to become the next demon lord.”

“Demon lord? The demon lord is dead though.”

“Yeah, I heard. Which is why I’ll be bringing you up to become the next demon lord.”

“A demon lord can be brought up? Aren’t they naturally born and mysteriously appear through the natural laws of the world? At least, that’s the nonsense we were taught in the magic academy.”

“Peh. Is that the present theory on how demon lords are born? How idiotic, of course they can be brought up. I’ve been raising them for quite some time after all.”

Well, as someone from Earth I did think it was a bunch of hogwash, but because questioning it only invited mockery from those raised from birth in this world, I never brought it up. When I read through the history of how the demon lords popped up approximately every hundred years after the last was slain, I always thought it was strange. What were the odds of something random, like those so called natural laws, knowing when the last demon lord died and when to have a new demon lord appear approximately a hundred years later?

Wasn’t it all far too coincidental? The demon lord always appeared right as conflicts grew strained between humans. It was far too convenient. It was like someone always created a common enemy for humans to unite against and take down at the most convenient time.

“So little hero who was betrayed by humans, are you interested in becoming the demon lord?”

“If I really had to choose, I’d say no.”

“What? Why? Don’t you have a grudge against humans? Don’t you want to get payback for how they betrayed you and threw you down here to your death?”

“It’s the capital of the kingdom I really hate and those who abuse their power, not all humans are like that.”

“Besides that, don’t you think he would be much better at being a demon lord?”

“Him, huh? Sure he might be a tiny bit suitable, but I can’t turn him into a demon or my servant.”

“Eh? Aren’t I human as well though?”

“Human hero, you would be a fool to think you are still human after ingesting my precious noble blood and becoming my servant.”

“What?! No no no, I’m just a normal human girl, right?”

“You’re a vampire servant who will become the next demon lord now.”

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Kira Minoru

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