This is a very long chapter so it is split into 3 parts.
Chapter 2 – A Devil Steps on Stage (Part 1)
The ceiling broke and fell.
A large rock landed right in front of my face.
I quickly gained my senses.
Instinctively, I took a step back, however, with a thud, my back bumped against something. It was a wall.
Carefully looking around myself, I realized I was in a pitch black cavern.
I had gone to see a stalactite cave before during a school trip before. From what I could see, the ceiling now was 2-3 times higher than that cave. It was so high up that I could just barely see the top. I couldn’t possibly imagine how faraway the dark mouth of the cave was.
I killed my breath.
Why was I here?
How did I get here?
A loud siren rang in my head. My conscience instantly went cold. Whenever I found myself in an unpredicted situation my head would cool down in order to compose myself.
It was because of the trauma I had experienced when I was young.
I had been kidnapped three times in my life. The memory from those times forced open my skull and poured in ice-cold water, as if telling me to stay on my toes.
‘Do not scream’, that’ll only irritate the kidnappers.
‘Talk to yourself quietly’, you can confirm your situation this way.
Behavior procedures prepared like a manual.
Like a special forces unit listening to orders while facing terrorists, my conscience more than gladly followed the guidelines carved into my memory.
“……I was sitting in my room a moment ago…… and using the computer. It was 7PM. Drank 2 cans of beer. For dinner I had cup ramen……”
Little by little, my breathing became calmer.
There was no problem with my memory.
It at least meant that this wasn’t a drug induced kidnapping.
⌈There were no drugs.⌋
With just this the situation was reasonably favorable. It meant that the kidnapper had the intent to talk with me.
That’s why the kidnapping when I was in my third year of elementary school was serious. The motive then was to plainly obtain my body. I had to unconditionally keep my mouth shut. No reason whatsoever……
I checked my senses.
In order; vision, scent, hearing, taste, and touch.
Without rushing, I had to make sure my senses were working properly.
“The location appears to be a cave. Definitely a cave. It’s very dark. Doesn’t seem like my vision got worse. Rock, paper, scissor……”
I moved my fingers to make the shapes.
I could see the forms properly.
Good. My vision was fine.
The problem was scent.
A foul nauseating smell.
The smell of blood vibrated around me.
I wonder if it was because I had suddenly found myself in an unfamiliar environment, but I wasn’t paying attention to the smell until now. Now that I’ve realized it, the revolting smell was so intense that it felt like it got past my nostril’s and shook my very brain.
It was a scent I had smelled three or four times in my life.
A scent which I never wanted to smell again. The smell of blood and intestines.
Corpses were spread throughout the cave.
There were human corpses that were swollen as if they were drowned, bodies with slit throats, and even bodies with limbs bent in the wrong direction.
If this cave was one of those art exhibitions, then the curator would undoubtedly be an absurdly perverted sadist. As if triumphantly displaying that humans could die in this many ways. The fact that the cave was dark was the only solace since the corpses were comparatively hard to see.
“Is this place supposed to be the mystery of the human body…… Damn it.”
I had to get out of here quickly.
I put my right foot forward and— fell just like that.
My ankle was broken.
The entire bone was broken. It wasn’t something like an adorable sprain.
I unintentionally let out a curse. I had to conclude that I couldn’t run or walk. The pain wasn’t ordinary. If the kidnapper approached now then it was impossible to escape. Perhaps they broke my ankle on purpose. Keeping safety measures. This was probably why they didn’t use drugs.
I sat down in defeat.
I was regretfully checkmated.
Why did they kidnap someone like me, I couldn’t understand.
“…… I left all the fortune to my siblings. If it was two months ago then maybe, but there’s no point of kidnapping me right now.”
Surely they don’t mean to take me as hostage and threaten my siblings.
Foolish. I don’t know about someone else, but the person currently leading our household was my second half little sister. She could manage the household with composure, although not as good as I did. You’ll get hurt if you underestimate my sibling just because she’s young.
I could only sigh when thinking about who the culprit was.
There were plenty of people spread across the world who could want revenge against me. There were also surprisingly a lot of fellows who still had a grudge against my father as well, but wanted to let it out on me instead. That’s why I wanted to wipe my hands clean of everything.
It was then that I heard a hurried voice coming from the other side of the cave.
“I found him!”
“The Demon Lord is here!”
It was a name that had absolutely no connections with me.
For some reason the voice was directed towards where I was.
I’m confused. I had been called a devil a considerable amount of times in my life, but this was the first time I had been called a Demon Lord. It might be a type of secret code.
“Stay right there!”
“We’ll kill you if you move!”
The people came in like wolves.
The men were holding edged weapons like knives and axes. There’s no way I couldn’t be bewildered by this. I shot up both my arms.
“Get down you bastard!”
Without warning, the other man grabbed my head and slammed it to the ground. They were violent with me even though I told them that I surrendered.
A rock that was lying on the ground sharply stabbed against my cheek.
“Keep your damn face down! Stay like that till we say otherwise!”
I almost let out a shout of pain, but I was able to hold it back.
Loud noises irritated kidnappers. During a kidnapping, even if you’re in pain you must not scream.
3rd year of Elementary school, I didn’t know anything and kept on wailing. After being beat until five of my teeth were broken, I had learned to be silent.
It may seem stupid, but this was the proper attitude to have towards a kidnapper.
“I caught him! Riff of Jalsen, has captured the Demon Lord!”
“Ooh. Our great and handsome captain, Riff. You aren’t planning to take all the bounty on your own, are you?”
The men started chatting in excitement.
I held my breath and listened to their conversation.
“Of course not. I’ll share with everyone equally. Keke.”
“Look at this. This Demon Lord looks just like a caterpillar.”
“Looks good with his head on the ground. Let’s kill him already.”
“What do you mean, kill him? There are things we still haven’t asked him yet.”
Someone kicked my side.
It wasn’t a genuine hit but more done jokingly, regardless that alone was pretty painful.
“—but just in case, we should break him.”
“Friends! Let us beat the Demon Lord into a reasonably sized pulp.”
Merciless violence showered down upon me.
Ten people were kicking me. I desperately held back my screams. More than 5 minutes had passed before the kicking started to subside.
“Good good. That’s enough.”
“Guys. Our handsome boss said to stop.”
The violence finally stopped.
While I was breathing roughly, one of the men spoke to me as a representative.
“Well now, honorable Demon Lord. There’s one thing that we wish to ask you. Where’s all the money in this castle. To tell you the truth, us village folk are in real need of money.”
As expected, I was kidnapped for money.
Wait, but they’ve been keep using words that I’m not familiar with. This was something that I had to confirm. There was a chance that they were mistaking me for someone else.
“What do you mean by ‘Demon Lord’……?”
When I opened my mouth, I let out a groan. My lips were torn.
“Good. Very good.”
The man insinuated.
“Despite being hit so much, you’re still able to display such a nature. An excellent stance. Keke. I don’t hate that kind of thing, your honorable Demon Lord.”
With a rough hand the man grabbed my hair.
I was forced to raise my face.
I made eye contact with the man in front of me.
The man had bent his body forward and was looking down at me. His entire face was covered in a brown beard. A darkish mushroom that grew in a public bathroom that hadn’t been cleaned for over 5 years, that was what his beard looked like. In simpler words, frighteningly dirty.
“But my friends here don’t have as much patience as me.”
“……what can I help you with?”
“Your honor. We don’t desire to use pointless violence.”
“Instead of wasting each other’s energy, let us trade. Tell us where the treasury is and we will not kill your honor immediately. We won’t cut your arms or legs off. And, of course, we won’t cut your precious horn off, either. Think carefully. In truth, we’re the ones at a loss in this trade.”
“Yeah, at a great loss!”
They broke out into laughter.
It was laughter of people who had a rough birth.
I waited for the mood to settle before speaking again. Always courteously. Making sure to not irritate their mood.
I asked a question.
“I’m sorry, but what do you mean by horn?”
“Aah? What are you asking.”
The man placed his hand on the back of my head.
“This. I’m talking about this.”
The man had grabbed something on my head. My head that should only have hair. There, something long was attached all the way to my skull.
I felt the back of my head.
There was certainly something hard there.
The shape was, as the man had said, in the shape of a horn.
What could this creation be.
I gazed forward with blank eyes.
Don’t tell me.
Before I was kidnapped, no, before I lost conscience. I was responding to a game survey on my computer.
When I opened my eyes in this cavern I had heard a faint voice…… I’m certain it whispered ‘The tutorial shall now begin’. I ignored it because I thought it was some nonsense from my dream.
The man had called me Demon Lord. There was something like a horn actually attached to the back of my head……
Game. Tutorial. Demon Lord.
These three words pointed at one possibility.
Fortunately or unfortunately, my mind quickly came to a conclusion.
“Now. Your honor, Demon Lord Dantalian. We’ll ask you only one more time.”
I couldn’t accept the answer.
The common sense, experience, and knowledge I had gained throughout my entire life completely denied the conclusion. However, as if laughing at my escape from reality, an alarm rang.
White words appeared in mid-air.
[1. Accept adventurer captain Riff’s offer.]
[2. Decline adventurer captain Riff’s offer.]
I was at a lost for words.
Undeniable proof had presented itself right before me.
“Will you accept our offer? Or will you just die here. Wow. You can’t get choices as clean as this. Keke. Hurry and pick, oh honorable Demon Lord.”
The man gave an ill-tempered laugh. It was certain that the man couldn’t see the floating words.
Is it like that
Is it like that
…… is it like that.
My monologue continued and echoed in my drifting away conscience.
Like an actor who forgot his lines on stage and kept repeating his last spoken line.
I bit my lips. The taste of blood spread throughout my mouth. The vividly raw taste brought my conscience back to reality. In front of me was a barbaric man with a broad grin on his face.
Willing or not—
I’m a Demon Lord in the world of <Dungeon Attack>.
My head went cold.
As if time was flowing slowly.
“Mr. Demon Lord’s response is a bit slow.”
I gazed at the man who had just spoke.
It wasn’t only this man who had skipped shaving. The other people around us also had beards. It might be normal for these men to not shave.
‘Their outfits are old.’
‘Way too old.’
‘To be precise, I’d say about 400 years old.’
Around the time Henry the IV of France fought lively against the Roman Catholics, perhaps. The clothes looked similar to the one’s worn by the people during the French Wars of Religion. They were outfits that should have been sent straight to the museum, but no matter how you looked at these men they didn’t look like they worked at a museum.
“Are you really planning to not answer?”
Situations that couldn’t be understood until now were starting to be explained by assumptions. For example, as if a mysterious phenomenon was finally explained by the laws of physics.
“Oi, your honor Dantalian.”
Demon Lord Dantalian.
These people have been calling me Dantalian.
That was the name of the Demon Lord who showed up in <Dungeon Attack>.
There are a total of 72 Demon Lords who appear in that game. Amongst them, Dantalian was ranked 71st. He was that close to last place. Correspondingly, his level was also miserably low. In the first place, he was like a trash mob made for beginners.
Even a person playing computer games for the first time could beat him on the first run.
If I had to compare it with another game, then he was like a rabbit in the beginner field. As long as you knew how to click your mouse then you could defeat the rabbit. Dantalian was the same.
…… I should also add.
After the first run, Dantalian doesn’t appear at all in the game. He was removed in case that players got annoyed.
Imagine telling a level 20 warrior to ‘Go back to the beginner field and hunt a rabbit’. It’d be boring. Dantalian was a rabbit that you didn’t feel like fighting again.
And if I’m correct, I’m currently possessing that Dantalian.
There was a bitter taste in my mouth.
How do I get out of the evil hands of these adventurers.
I’m currently captured by humans. If this goes on I’ll probably get my head cut off or be taken to the city and executed. No matter how much I strained my brain I could only think of BAD ENDS.
Even if I proclaimed ‘I’m not Dantalian!’, I’d be grateful if I even got a sneer in response.
I couldn’t rely on Demon Lord Dantalian’s ability.
Let me rephrase that.
I could only rely on my own ability in order to overcome this obstacle.
“If you’re testing my patience right now……”
“The treasury is in Minlakdong.” (TL note: He’ll explain what this is in a short bit)
I made my resolution.
▯Adventurer, Cowardly Looter, Riff Hoffman
Empire Calender: Year 1505, Month 4, Day 4
Dantalian’s Demon Lord Castle
That was my nickname.
Despite being an adventurer, I didn’t hunt demons, but instead, looted other adventurers. That’s how I go the nickname. Well, let them call me whatever they want.
The people who honestly hunt demons are the fools, aren’t they?
The one’s who live skillfully in the world are the ones who benefits.
Using common sense, people who fought monsters like orcs and goblins are idiots. I’m saying this very seriously and sincerely.
To live a not sincere life and become a corpse, or to live a sincere life and become a cowardly looter. If I had to choose between the two, then of course I’d choose the latter. Will I still choose the latter if I die and become reincarnated? I won’t ever die.
Regardless, light was finally shining down on my looter career.
Half a month ago, I obtained the map of Demon Lord Dantalian’s Castle. I was lucky. There was a girl too pretty to be rotting away in some lowly village. I was going to assault her a little bit, but, while presenting me this map, she pleaded, “I’ll give you this, so please spare me.”. She was a girl with beautiful red hair.
Hm? Of course assaulting a virgin is wrong.
But I really like doing bad things.
I told you already.
I’m a looter.
I don’t only loot the pockets of dead adventurers, but the virginity of all the young women in the world as well. Personally, I’d preferred to be called ‘Virginity Looter’. Something like ‘The Looter of Virginities’ sounds like a cool title. It’s good because it sounds romantic.
Thanks to this map, I was able to gather a bunch of random adventurers. Dantalian was one of the weakest Demon Lords and there was most likely no monsters in the castle. As long as we knew where to find him, then it’d be easy to capture him.
We used an artifact that detected magical energy to search inside of the cavern. We wandered the dark cave for about four hours, but our efforts weren’t in vain. We were able to capture the Demon Lord Dantalian. Amazing! The map was real!
“Look at this. This Demon Lord looks just like a caterpillar.”
My comrades were chuckling while holding the Demon Lord down.
“Looks good with his head on the ground. Let’s kill him already.”
“What do you mean, kill him!?”
I gave the person who spoke a vulgar look. You could gain a higher reward if you captured the Demon Lord alive. Also there was something we still hadn’t asked him yet. Where the treasure was.
Gain whatever information we could get. That was common sense.
First things first, we beat the Demon Lord up and then asked him where the treasury was.
But this Demon Lord, his reaction was strange.
He’d suddenly stare at an empty space and he’d narrow his brows and lower his chin as if he was in deep thought. What is this? Is he an idiot? I vaguely thought Demon Lords were supposed to be ghastly tyrants, but what is this small fry.
Well, since he was a small fry someone like me could capture him. I have no complaints. I love small fries. I’d gladly decline Demon Lords like Barbatos or Paimon.
“Mr. Demon Lord’s response is a bit slow. Are you really planning to not answer?”
I snickered and tapped the Demon Lord’s cheek.”
“Oi, your honor Dantalian.”
It was then.
It was for a mere moment, but the Demon Lord had a dreadfully spine chilling gaze.
I blinked a couple of times and after doing so, the same minor small fry-looking Demon Lord was in front of me again.
The atmosphere changed for a brief moment.
…… was I seeing things?
Oh well. Treasure. Treasure was more important.
Let’s keep pressing this Demon Lord.
TL note: The performance shall begin in the next chapter! Be enthralled as the most diabolical Demon Lord steps onto the stage!