Chapter 13. Part 4.
Satisfied with my unexpected windfall, now that I’d instantly gone from rags to riches, I departed with my niece and Kana in tow. I was tired after our long journey here and my intention was to first check out the rooms we’d be staying in. I naturally headed towards the magic circle off to the side with that thought in mind. There were several small miniature magic circles with the numbers one through twenty depicted on the wall behind it. It was pretty intuitive, to operate the magic circle you just needed to channel a bit of mana into the numbered circle on the wall corresponding to the floor you wanted to go to.
As it was similar to an elevator, I felt a petty sense of self satisfaction that I didn’t look like an old man out of his era who had to ask how all the fancy magical gadgets in this world worked. Ah, the struggles of an old man were truly endless. I couldn’t count the number of times I’d suffered the curse of old men in the last two thousand years, thankfully I’d somehow adapted to modern everyday life back on Earth.
I still remember my first experience with electricity. It was really a cultural shock when I visited the west for a brief period of time on vacation. That damned kid Benjamin, he was a complete lunatic. With an innocent look on his face he casually said on one particularly stormy night, “hey want to see something cool?”
Bored out of my mind at the time, I took him up on his offer. Little did I know the significance of his damned kite and the metal key he tied to it. Yeah, I got zapped with that jerk back then by the electricity from the storm clouds that travelled into the kite and down the connected string. He was laughing like a madman on drugs when his prank was successful.
Ugh, and how could I ever forget that young chap Thomas? When he showed me his lightbulb, I put on a straight face like it was nothing impressive at the time. I was extremely petty and didn’t want to show my true feelings on the matter. Of course, he was rather disappointed by my lackluster response back then. If only he knew what I actually thought, he’d surely be rolling in his grave laughing out loud right now. My first reaction to his light bulb was something along the lines of, “HOLY SHIT WIZARDS EXIST?! What kind of witch did you sleep with to pull this shit out of your ass?”
Even thinking back on it now, it’s too embarrassing to ever admit that those were my honest to god first encounters with electricity. Haaaaah. I wonder if Yueliang ever had to deal with these sorts of old people problems.
But forget it, those little experiences are trivial in comparison to the modern era.
As soon as I was about to channel mana into the miniature magic circle labelled twenty, I peaked behind me and found Kana stood there eyeing me curiously. However, I simultaneously made another shocking discovery. That brat of a niece was long gone.
When I shot Kana an inquisitorial glance, she just shrugged like it was none of her business.
I ran back to the front desk and asked if they’d seen the girl with aquamarine hair with me just moments before and they explained how she’d traded in three platinum coins for chips.
I swear, this brat never learns! After five minutes of running around searching through the tables crowded with gamblers, I finally found her.
She seemingly noticed me too as she returned my glare with watery eyes. The look on her face screamed of how she’d just made the biggest mistake of her life.
“Uncle, can I take a loan out with you? I promise to pay you back! I have a sure win strategy in this game where you make a guaranteed small profit over 92% of the time. This time they definitely cheated me! I swear it was rigged! It must have been!”
“You didn’t really… you did?!”
She was at a roulette table. She’d placed 58 large chips on each number except for one black number and the zeroes. The only black number she didn’t put money on was thirteen. Yep, definitely my stupid niece from back hen, she always thought it was a cursed number. She never liked the number thirteen ever since we watched a certain horror movie together when she was still a child.
“My niece, did you really develop a gambling addiction during our time apart?”
“Of course not! I’m just training to beat the one I suspect to be the next demon lord at his own demonic games.”
“The next demon lord?”
“Yes, the next demon lord.”
“It was said in a prophecy that the next demon lord will descend upon the world within six months. I have a sneaking suspicion I know who it is, but unfortunately, my level isn’t high enough to defeat him. So I figured I’d bankrupt him beforehand so he won’t be able to raise an army.”
“Eh? Was there such a candidate in line? Why haven’t I heard about it from Yueliang? Yueliang was going to make Kana the next demon lord at my recommendation you know. I am also in the running to become a demon lord by the way. I’ve been trying to convince Yueliang, but I keep getting shot down by her. She keeps ranting and raving about how unless I’m no longer human she won’t allow it.”
“What?! Uncle, wait, wait, wait! You mean that girl with you was the next demon lord and you also intend to take on the very same role? Why?!”
“Oh, I presume you probably don’t know about it yet since you’ve only heard the human side of the story during your time here.”
I explained to her about the treatment I received from the king when I first arrived, along with Kana’s unfortunate tale of betrayal as well. I also added in Yueliang’s past as a bonus as well. When I’d finished she was fuming from head to toe in rage.
“I knew that king was suspicious! That slutty two faced half elf and princess as well! But the kingdom isn’t that scary in comparison to the church. The church really isn’t any laughing matter, Uncle. Right nowI’m level 155, but when I first arrived here I was already level 150. Before I entered the dungeon I snooped around the church a bit and tried to investigate it.”
“However, I was surprised when I discovered there was an extremely terrifying existence hidden away deep inside the church. I couldn’t identify them, but they easily locked onto my location. Unfortunately, I had to immediately stop my investigation at that point and flee for my life. I chose to hide myself away in the dungeon for the time being to hopefully lose their attention. If you really intend to take this side, I’d strongly suggest not bothering with the church until you’re certain whatever the church has hidden isn’t your match.”
“Akua, you’re certain of that?”
“Of course I’m sure. So please don’t do anything dangerous. Uncle, I really don’t want to lose you after only just reuniting with you again. If that happened who would I get my allowance from?”
“You… it’s really just the allowance… haaaah… never mind. You’re the same cheeky brat I remember. Anyway, you said you met Yueliang’s spectre before, right? If you were to compare the two, who do you think is stronger?”
“Unless I meet her in person it’d be hard to say, but whatever was in the church was definitely stronger than the spectre I briefly fought with. Although, if it was the actual person controlling it, it would be hard for me to make a judgement.”
When I first heard about the levels of the demon lord and human heroes, I’d thought this world was a pretty simple and standard low level game scenario, but it seemed there was something deeper playing out behind the scenes in this world. It looked like the church really was at the root of everything like Yueliang theorized.
If there really was a powerful existence on her level or greater hiding in the background with the church as their cover, what was the need for summoning so many heroes? Why did they leave the demons around when they could easily eliminate them from the surface with the power held by the church?
Could it be the church did not desire peace through eradication of the demons, but instead never ending tit for tat conflict and bloodshed? But why would they want such a thing? Was there some sort of benefit for them? Well... they would be able to strengthen the faith of their believers and also bolter the number of believers by taking advantage of the conflict. Was that all there was to it though?
It was almost as if a dark cloud of fog had descended and hidden the truth behind a veil of smoke that I couldn’t see through. Just who or what hid in the background? Who reaped the most benefits out of everything? Was a whimsical bored god with nothing better to do pulling the strings? Was it a god who had all the people in this world dancing in the palm of their hands just for a bit of fleeting entertainment? Or was there something more sinister at play?
With such limited information, there really wasn’t any way to unveil the mystery in the short term. There were still far too many puzzle pieces missing to see the bigger picture.
Akua rubbed her hands together ingratiatingly as she interrupted my wandering thoughts, “So… Uncle... about that loan?”
“Oh that? You’re grounded.”
“No buts. Also, cut it out with the waterworks, they aren’t going to work.”
“Tch. Uncle’s stingy as usual.”
“Hah?! Stingy?! If I gave you money whenever you asked back then, we’d be homeless beggars on the street no matter how much savings I’d accumulated.”
With that complaint I latched onto her hand and dragged her to the room we rented on the twentieth floor after activating the teleportation magic circle.
“Uncle, could you let go and stop pulling me around like I’m a child who’s done something wrong? I’m a grown woman now, I’m not a kid.”
“You’ll always be the cute brat I brought up in my eyes.”
“Even if I lose all your money?”
“Of course… but just don’t go overboard and lead us to bankruptcy please.”
“I missed you Uncle.”
“Yeah, yeah. I missed you too you brat.”
“Ugh. I just feel like a third wheel when the two of you go off in your own little world like that.”
“Whatever, let's get some rest for now. We’ve been sneaking through the dungeon for about two days straight without taking a break to reach this floor. I’m exhausted.”
“There’s only two beds though.”
Kana questioned, uncertain as to why we didn’t seem bothered, “Am I the weird one here?”
“We slept together all the time in the past. We’re family so it’s not really a big deal, right?”
“She was still a kid back then, wasn’t she?!”
“She’s still a kid though.”
“I’m not a kid!”
“Look at her closely! She’s only a head shorter than you, she’s got a C cup and curves in all the right places. You still dare call her a child?”
“Right? Right? Kana, you’re actually a really good person, aren’t you? Why didn’t I see this before? I must have been blind. I apologize for my rudeness when we first met.”
“Huh? Oh? Uh… uhm... it’s okay, don’t worry about it.”
“Anyways, she absolutely cannot sleep in the same bed as you and that’s final. She’ll sleep with me.”
“Haaaah. And here I thought I’d finally get to go back to the good old days where the two of us would fight over the blanket and kick each other off the bed again.”
“Haha. Right? Right? Those were fun days. I was at 189 victories while you were at 188.”
“No no no, my niece, you are definitely mistaken, it was I with 189 victories, you were the one with 189 losses, not the other way around.”
“As if, old man, are you sure your memory is still intact? Uncle, you might have Alzheimer’s by now, should we get you tested? During my stay here I’ve met quite a few people, I even know a good doctor in the city. Want me to introduce you?”
“My niece, your memory may be a bit off considering you’re over one hundred years old now as well.”
“Enough! Knock it off with the fighting and go to bed!”
“Tch. What fighting? She just doesn’t understand how we show our affection for each other, right, my niece?”
With that, a scene I hadn’t witnessed in about ten years played out. I’d actually forgotten about this habit of hers. My niece stripped her clothes in front of the slack jawed Kana and slipped under the bed sheets. At record pace she hurriedly dozed off like it was nothing out of the ordinary.
“Hey, mister Uncle, why’d she suddenly strip like she was programmed from birth to do that?”
“She’s always had the habit to sleep like that. She says she found the clothes obstructive when sleeping. It’s been a habit of hers since I first took her in.”
She was abandoned in a back alleyway like that when I found her after all. Whether it was in her genetics or she’d been brought up to be a nudist from birth, I had no idea.
“You damn pervert! At least correct her behaviour when she’s young!”
“It’s not like I didn’t try to. I really did! I swear I did! But whenever I woke up in the morning she’d just be completely nude again. No matter how many years went by, that habit of hers when sleeping never changed.”
“You’re still a damned pervert.”
“We’re family, so there’s nothing wrong with it. She was just a little brat anyways.”
Before allowing another rebuttal, I cut her off and said, “Then, if there is nothing else, I’ll be going to bed now, I’m exhausted.”
“Don’t you mhmmmm mhhhmmmmmm!”
I plugged my ears in a very adult-like fashion and said, “not listening.”
I crawled into the bed and shortly after, Kana crawled into the bed my niece was sleeping on.
I felt like there was something I was forgetting about. It was only after ten minutes passed I remembered when I heard a, “hyaa!” from Kana.
With my back to their bed I murmured out “oh, Kana, I forgot to mention it, but my niece has the tendency to seek out heat sources when she’s sleeping.”
“Say that sooner!”
It looks like it was too late for her. There were many nights where I’d find my niece using me as a body pillow. Since she was a child I’d ignored it back then, when I think about her now, maybe it was a good idea we were not sleeping in the same bed.
“Help me! Don’t just go to sleep!”
“You reap what you sow. It was your idea to sleep with her, not mine. Oh, by the way, her grip strength when she’s asleep was no joke even when she was a second grader, let alone now that she has grown up. Here’s a freebie word of advice, the more you try to escape the more of a grave you’ll dig for yourself. Hahaha. Anyways, good night.”
With that said, I was certain Kana’s night would be quite the memorable one.