Perhaps, it is due to the sturdiness of the stone pillars. The ghost of a house with most of its frames remaining intact after the last of the fire flickered out. Like a drowned rat, I sit, squeezed between pillars to avoid the steady rainfall.
Grey storm clouds peak through the large gaping hole in the roof as I attempt to light another flame.
"What, you're still trying to light a fire? How slow."
After shaking her robe free of any rain drops, her petite frame, walks toward the wall I'm leaning against. Her small figure is further highlighted under the looming structure of the tall stone building.
What should have been a familiar scene of her swiping the wet drops off her clothes is tainted by something alien. My sister's beautiful brownish blonde locks are wholly comparable to ones of nobility. It is ruined by sharp, goat-like horns peeking through. Furthermore, her striking figure is warped by the devil-like tail growing from her lower back.
One would say that, she looks devilish.
They would not be wrong, because her body is currently occupied by the Devil. Not only that, but by the specific Demon King who, ironically, was killed by me.
"What a shameless thing to say when someone else is starting a fire for you while you sit there shaking your robe."
The grass one uses as a base for a fire is no ordinary grass, it must be painstakingly pressed and dried. The fire is then transferred onto a long-lasting log.
The King, with my little sister's face, gives me an exasperated expression of impatience, as I only now managed to strike a fire onto the grass. He should have done it himself, if he was going to complain.
"What, a hero can't light a fire in a single stroke? Why are you fumbling with those stones, when you can simply use a low-grade fire spell?!"
"I was never able to utilise magic. Aren't you the great Demon King? Why don't you try stopping the wet weather?"
He was certainly capable of it before I defeated him. Not only was he wicked enough to slaughter thousands by creating natural disasters, he was the epitome of evil. He was a being powerful enough to do everything at once, rather than watch me struggle with it; but that's in the past now.
"I thought I told you that I would if I could! Even lighting a fire becomes a difficult task when your sister's feeble body can only harness a flicker of magic. Who knew that lighting the whole village on fire would expend all of her magic?"
I fell silent at the mention of that.
I was completely oblivious until the very day of the incident. Who would have known that a Demon King was lying dormant, plotting revenge inside my dear sister's body? From the very beginning of my retirement, moving to a peaceful village to live a quiet life with my sister, to the moment he awoke inside of her, I was completely oblivious.
"Hm! If that suffices, you may go on with your work."
The thing standing before my very eyes was the very thing that slaughtered our parents and made humanity tremble in terror. As my former self, who sacrificed all I had in order to protect humanity from such horrors, as the child who lost his parents to this bastard, I can never forgive him. If only I could unsheathe my sword and kill this bastard, this Demon King...
I can only dream. I no longer have the option to commit to such acts; and yet I am the last person who can do it. The body that the Demon stole belongs to my sister. My only living family.
"Achoo! Can you hurry up? Can't you see that I'm sneezing from the cold?"
Ignoring his remarks as if they were a mere whisper of the wind, I lean towards the flickering flames, feeling its warmth on my hands. The fire spreads toward the leaf litter, swallowing the denser wood and eventually, developing into a decent campfire.
"Leave her body right now!"
With the thump of his tail snapping off the rogue branches on the log, the demon responds.
I listen intently while keeping my hands busy with the task of neatly piling the branches again.
"I told you before and I'll tell you again, if it will get through your thick skull! This powerless human body doesn't humour me, either. The only reason I remain, is because this body cannot hold enough magic for me to leave it myself."
Lying on the greased leather stretched across the floor, the demon continues.
"By the way, this body still has a fishy stench. This is your fault."
Holding his nose, he shakes his head. I'd stacked piles of salted herrings that were fortunately on sale at the markets a few days prior, into the carriage. Possibly due to his "kingly" status, he didn't seem to understand the joy of purchasing so much at the price of so little. It was a blessing to have access to a long-lasting source of sustenance before a long journey.
Doesn't this demon understand with his lazy and ungrateful self, that the preserved fish's unpleasant odour is its only sacrifice?
"Shut up, this is a good source of food! If you hate them so much, don't eat any! Starve!"
Skewering the fish onto sharpened sticks, I neatly pile them next to the fire.
"After a while of starvation, you'll learn to beg the gods for rations like these."
I wave one of the skewers pointedly.
"Oh?" The demon responds, raising himself up to look in my direction. It would be naive to believe he heeded my warnings; despite his antics, his gaze is pinned on the skewers.
Perhaps enticed by its smell, I thought.
"Me? Beg the gods, my arse. 'Hero', can you handle it? This is no other than your own sister's body. What if starvation harmed it?"
A wicked grin spreads across his face as he tosses the question. This is his unrelenting pattern; he uses his circumstances to threaten me, this time with the fact that he is in my sister's body.
I swallow my response and attempt to busy my mind with the menial task in front of me, for there was no point in replying. Any response would not give me higher ground, instead, it would be used against me at his will.
It's the first fish I'd had in a while; I attempt to make good use of it by putting more effort in than usual. Wrapping the herring in tree bark along with butter, carrots and onions. I buried the bundle in a shallow hole and covered it with a smaller fire. Lifting the bark, a while later, would reveal a steaming, sweet and salty herring stew.
As time passed, the demon began to sniff the air.
"It's beginning to smell delicious, huh? Humans are pathetic but watching them create things like this really is neat."
His expression turns expectant as the sizzling sound of meat and oil hits the air.
At this point, my mind begins to confuse one thing; the fact that this demon is sitting there in place of my sister.
Because of this, despite being fully aware of the demon behind my sister's expression, my mind conjures up the thought that it is pretty cute.
An empty chuckle rises in my throat as I ridicule my own thoughts while feeding dry twigs to the fire.
"There may not be the threat of creatures being attracted by this smell, but rats are still a concern." The demon is already dipping a finger into the fish, hungrily licking the salt off.
It is as certain as a sunrise that he will lose his head if I point out his puppy-like behaviour. Again, despite the certainty, I cannot help but comment on it.
"The nerve to compare me to a common mongrel! I may reside in a human girl, hero, but do not forget. I had the whole world trembling with fear."
It is difficult to find the threat, coming from the lips of my little sister.
Did the world really fall under the power of this demon? Did I really fight him to save the world?
Perhaps, it was reasonable to find difficulty in taking him seriously.
"Hmph. I'll be sure to make you regret this insolent behaviour when my power returns!"
His attempt at intimidation falls flat, even after he unthreateningly crossed his arms. Nothing more than an insignificant tantrum.
"Anyways, there is nothing to worry about. Only humans live here, I think," the demon quips, returning to elatedly licking the salt off the herring skewers.
"Yes. Your demon underlings went quiet after your death. Disassembly is inevitable with the death of a leader; a body cannot move without a head, after all."
"You mean they're waiting for my return. Hero, do not let your guard down."
Satisfied with the lack of salt left on the skewer, he snatches a stick from my hands, and stabs the herring's gaping mouth.
A threat and a promise. Certainly childish.
"Don't be greedy," I warn, shifting my gaze to the now blazing fire.
I begrudgingly prepare myself for my second adventure.
Story by Ophion
Check out the original here: http://mm.munpia.com/?menu=novel&id=122393
Translated by Hannah Kim
Proofread by Mangamama
Quality-Checked by Janowicz
This chapter was released on Saturday the 12th of October, 2019.
Other chapters in this series:
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