Chapter 0321 The Centaurs Affairs
That evening, a welcome banquet was held for the party in the centaur settlement.
Of course, it was Niels who was the prime focus of the party, made to drink one cup after another.
Harold and Gowan were watching him from behind, as if he was an idol.
Niels’ fans, No. 1 and No. 2….
Etho, Amon, and Zeke were watching with wry smiles as Niels continued to drink the liquor being poured one after another.
While feasting, of course.
Ryo crossed his arms in a pompous manner and nodded repeatedly as he looked at Niels.
Mumbling something like, “Looks like Niels too is beginning to shape up”.
The person with whom Niels had fought came to him.
Carrying with him, a bottle of liquor.
All eyes around him widened in surprise when they saw the bottle.
It seemed to be a very rare liquor…
“Niels, care for a drink?”
“Sure, Chiron. I’ll have some.”
And they drank.
And even the Centaurs who had been pouring drinks around Niels excused themselves when Chiron showed up.
Although Chiron was defeated, the look in the eyes of the Centaurs doesn’t seem to contain any ill feelings.
On the contrary, he seemed to be even respected more now by those who give off the aura of an expert.
They must have appreciated his performance during the ‘battle’.
“You’re strong, Niels. We had a good match. Thank you.”
Chiron said, as he emptied his cup for the second time.
“I was lucky. I won this time, but can’t say about next time.”
Niels, too, replied, emptying his cup in a single gulp.
“Don’t be modest. I lost to someone stronger. We, Centaurs respect the strong.”
“I-I see? Oh, and just because I won doesn’t make things difficult for you or anything like that right, Chiron…?”
Chiron said with a laugh and continued.
“Although victory brings honor, there’s no shame in defeat.”
With that, he took another drink and downed it.
“Each defeat makes us stronger. And we Centaurs know this. So there is no shame in defeat.”
Saying that, Chiron laughed.
His smile looked so dazzling to Niels.
Because even though it’s true, he knows that it is not easy to say so openly.
“True… looks like you’re going to become stronger.”
“Oh, you think so too?”
They both burst into laughter.
Etho, Zeke, and Ryo were visited by the splendidly armed Centaur…though now, of course, he had taken off his armor…
“I am Cenlautr, the chief.”
“I am Etho, and this is Zeke and Ryo.”
“I thought I’d tell you before I get too drunk.”
Chief Cenlautr smiled as he said that.
“First of all, I’m sorry, but we don’t know where the Demon Lord is currently.”
“Is that so…”
Cenlautr said apologetically, his expression changing from a smirk to one of apology.
Etho, who replied, also looked disappointed.
Then Etho asked, resolutely.
“But… but if you knew where he is, would you have told us honestly?”
“Hmm? What do you mean?”
“Since that information would allow us to locate the Demon Lord.”
“Oh, now I see what you mean.”
Cenlautr replied with a laugh.
“It doesn’t matter, I still would have told you. If the Demon Lord raises an army, we will follow him. That is because of the ‘Demon Lord Elements’ that we have, regardless of our will. We have no choice. However, now that the Demon Lord has yet to raise his army, it can be said that we have absolutely no relationship with the Demon Lord. We could care less about what happens to the Demon Lord, the rest of the top brass, or his close associates.”
“The Demon Lord Elements…”
Yeah, it’s similar to the mysterious word, ‘Fairy Elements’ that came up previously… related to Ryo…
“The Demon Lord is currently not raising an army… In other words, he has no intention of invading mankind?”
“Well, I guess so. In the first place, there has been no conflict between the Demon Lord’s army and humans for more than a hundred years.”
Hearing that, Etho and Zeke were surprised.
For the past several hundred years, most of the Demon Lords and heroes born in the world had been born in the Western Countries.
And, on a semi-regular basis, announcements had been made by the Western church that the heroes had succeeded in defeating the Demon Lords.
Therefore, it is fair to say that people in the Central Countries do not know the exact relationship between the Hero and the Demon Lord.
However, from the Western Church’s announcement, they vaguely inferred that the Demon Lord’s army and humans clashed and the Heroes overthrew the Demon Lords.
People’s impression of the Demon Lord.
He is the king of monsters. And the eternal enemy of mankind.
But the reality may be totally different…
Ryo was thinking about such things in silence.
“We don’t even know who the current Demon Lord is or what kind of monster he is, but… quite frankly, we hope he doesn’t raise his Demon Lord’s army.”
Cenlautr muttered with a slightly forlorn expression on his face.
“You don’t even know what kind of monster he is?”
Ryo wondered and muttered about Cenlautr’s words.
And then decided to ask anyway.
“I heard that the Demon Lord is an evolution of one of the Devil’s… the Demon Princes.”
“Hmmm. I’d say you’re half correct. In fact, there are some Demon Princes who become Demon Lords through that route. But some are born Demon Lords.”
Ryo was surprised by Cenlautr’s answer.
Etho and Zeke were also stunned, with their eyes wide open.
Considering that Rihya had said earlier that in the Central Temple, they were taught that one of the four Demon Princes would evolve and become the Demon Lord, they must have heard that as well.
After all, there are too many things about the Demon Lord and the Demon Lord’s Army that people in the Central Countries today do not know.
“But then… how do we now go about finding the Demon Lord…?”
Zeke frowned and pondered.
Seeing this, Cenlautr said:
“Right, Sir Harold is under the spirit curse of a Fiend.”
Shortly after the ‘Battle Festival’, they explained why their party was looking for the Demon Lord.
Hence why Cenlautr said that.
“Indeed, the only way to break the Fiend’s spirit curse is to put a drop of the Demon Lord’s blood on the victim’s forehead… For that purpose, the church must have kept some of the former demon lord’s blood, but I heard that it was lost or something like that. Which means… it’s only a matter of time before the church starts hunting for the Demon Lord.”
“Demon Lord hunt…”
Etho frowned upon hearing Cenlautr’s words.
By ‘hunting’… the only fate that awaits the hunted is a cruel one…
Then again… would a being called the Demon Lord simply resign to the fate of being hunted?
Wouldn’t this be the impetus that revives the Demon Lord’s army, starting a war with mankind once again?
Could those who attacked the storage facilities of the Western Church be plotting to provoke a war?
Such thoughts were popping into Ryo’s mind.
That is if the objective of the raiders was the ‘Demon Lord’s Blood’, of course.
In the end, there was too little information to come to a proper conclusion.
That’s right, and you can only do one thing in such a situation.
Ryo took a bite out of the delicious-looking grilled meat in front of him.
Delicious food makes one’s mind go blank!
Ryo stopped thinking, but Etho and Zeke had one last question for Cenlautr.
“I understand that you don’t know the whereabouts of the Demon Lord himself. Then, could you please point us to anyone you think might know the Demon Lord’s whereabouts?”
He must have anticipated Etho’s question.
Cenlautr nodded several times, but after pondering for a while whether or not he should disclose it, he spoke.
“Perhaps… there is someone who knows the whereabouts of the Demon Lord for sure.”
At Cenlautr’s words, Zeke raised his face and asked.
“Who is it!”
“The Demon Lords who raise the Demon Lord’s army always have one advisor by his side. His name is Merlin. I don’t know what kind of monster he is, but apparently, Merlin was at the negotiation table with the humans. And that he takes the form of a human in every one of those occasions.”
“That’s right. Always, for thousands of years. And probably the same individual. He must be from a species with a long life span.”
Cenlautr, who must have heard Zeke’s muttering, nodded his head and replied.
“If he was at the negotiating table with humans, it means that he can communicate with humans. And the fact that he was always by their side means that he must have some means of sensing or locating the very presence of the Demon Lord. Merlin, perhaps, would also know the current whereabouts of the Demon Lord…but…”
Then Cenlautr hesitated.
“Where is this Merlin now?”
Zeke asked, leaning forward.
Can’t fault him. Since Harold’s life is at stake.
“Well… My grandfather apparently heard this from Merlin personally…”
Cenlautr was still hesitating.
Zeke did not say anything, but still leaning forward.
“I’m not even sure if you guys can make it all the way there.”
Ryo, who had just devoured the grilled meat, muttered.
“To the depths of the western dungeon, in the Holy City of Marlomar.”