The Playboy Divulges His True Goal
That night, we talked as a party.
I told Tina and Nyannyan everything.
“…My real goal is to return to the Demon Continent, and slay the Demon King.”
They kept listening to me with serious faces.
“The Demon King is actually an adventurer from over there. It makes sense that they’d be strong, but that alone can’t explain that.”
Tina spoke up.
“Do you mean what you talked about with the Saintly Hero?”
“Yeah, that’s right. King Theoderic told me that the Demon King had a strange appearance. When I went to the Demon Continent myself and thought against the demons there, I could confirm that first hand.”
Then, it was Nyannyan’s turn.
“When you say strange, you don’t mean something similar to beastfolk like me do you, nya?”
“Of course not. If only the Demon King and his generals were half as cute as you, I wouldn’t have had such a hard time.”
“Cute!? It feels like I haven’t heard that in a while, nya!”
“I think you’re cute as well, Nyannyan! Super cute!”
“Nyahahahaha! Praise me more, nyaaa!”
“”Good girl, good girl.””
Whilst her chest bounced as she laughed proudly, Tina and I rubbed Nyannyan’s head. Man, I swear it always feels good to scratch behind a cat’s ear like that.
“Anyways, getting back to the story, the Demon King and his generals were different from beastkin like Nyannyan, they’re more like monsters taking on human form.”
“Just monsters on two legs…?”
“That’s what I thought as well, at first. King Theoderic, who I first heard it from, told me that’s still the opinion of the heads of the Alliance.”
I took a deep breath.
“But, they’re not monsters. Just as close as you could possibly be.”
I told Mills that it was ’caused by Monte’, but of course, that was just a bluff.
“It’s like they’ve… fused with the monsters… or at least, that’s what I think.”
“With monsters, nyaa…?”
“My best guess is that they used some sort of dark arts.”
“There’s no way something like fusing with a monster isn’t a dark art, nya.”
“You’re right. But, getting back to my goal…”
I stared at them both as I told them.
“In order to compete with the Demon King, I’ll scale Babel… and find the skill that will let me do it.”
“S-something like that is in Babel!?”
“Well, maybe. After becoming a Great Sage, I got that feeling. Thanks to the spiritual shell from my job, it’s almost as if it’s telling me. Above the 80th floor, maybe at the very top of the Tower itself, there is ‘something’ that sleeps, that goes beyond the realm of ‘levels’.”
“If it really is the same dark art that is being used on the Demon Continent, then I’ll use it to fuse with monsters and fight back against the Demon King. But…”
I eyed the two of them.
We’ve been a party up until this point and, even if it’s only been for a while, we’re comrades who have fought side by side
“Doing something disgusting like fusing with a monster, of course, you guys don’t have to do it. I don’t want to drag you down like that for my own goals. And in that vein…”
That’s right. This is my goal. But, it was for the sake of the Kingdom of Garland, it had nothing to do with adventurers who just wanted to climb the tower.
Babel isn’t part of the continent’s politics.
That’s why, I told them.
“If you like, we can disband our party here.”
Tina and Nyannyan eyes widened in shock.
◇ ◆ ◇ ◆ ◇ ◆ ◇ ◆ ◇ ◆
I’ve already told The Resplendent Lords about this.
They are Babel’s highest levelled and highest achieving party. Babel’s strongest team, you could say. I don’t know just who the Alliance will pick as their next party of heroes, but I know for sure that whoever they are, they won’t match up to them.
But, I couldn’t ever ask The Resplendent Lords to come with me to the Demon Continent.
The war between the Alliance and the Demon King has nothing to do with Babel. Babel existed outside of the Alliance completely.
Babel was isolated from the Alliance since it was on an island in the first place.
What’s more, the Demon Continent was to the northwest of the Alliance’s lands, whilst Babel was to the southeast.
It was like they were half a world away from each other.
To the people of Babel, the war between the continents was far from their thoughts.
That said, the leader of The Resplendent Lords, Mikhail, promised to tell me if he ever came across that dark art.
Of course, I have every intention of finding it myself, but it’s nice to have some insurance.
I’ll make it happen… even if I have to climb the Tower alone.
I can’t let someone else use a dark art that would let them fuse with a monster.
Tina has her own goal as well. Nyannyan is the same. Their goals have nothing to do with mine. In the first place, I was planning on breaking up the party once the difference in our levels began to get dangerous for them.
Those were my thoughts, anyways.
“Magic that fuses man with monster would have to be something pretty awful. You guys shouldn’t have to deal with something like that. So, let’s just break up the party here. With how well you guys fight now, I’m sure you can easily find another party.”
Is what I said, but they roared back at me with gusto, like I’d said something unbelievable.
“We don’t want that at all!”
“We want to be by your side forever, myaster!”
“Please let us follow you until the end, nya!”
I cast my eyes down.
When I was partying with the heroes, nothing like this had ever happened.
“I got it. Then, I’ll be relying on you, Tina, Nyannyan. Come with me. We’ll scale Babel, and search for that dark art that can help us defeat the Demon King. So, to that end, please lend me your strength, both of you.”
“”Of course” nya!”
They answered back straight away.
As the two of them threw themselves at me in a hug, I felt like my passions were rejuvenated.
This time, I’ll definitely defeat the Demon King.
Not with any heroes, but with our strength.
◇ ◆ ◇ ◆ ◇ ◆ ◇ ◆ ◇ ◆
The royal palace in Garland.
The King’s study.
There were two desks in that room.
One near the door, whilst the King’s was further back, by the window.
The desk near the entrance was used by the Prime Minister.
Although he was quite advanced in age for a minister, he was still an able worker, assisting the King’s duties. Today again, he aided the King in his quest against the never-ending mountains of documents to sign and letters to seal, although he did it with a face so sagely you could have sworn he were asleep if he weren’t stroking that long white beard of his. His desk, of course, was clean and tidy.
Whilst the King’s desk was awash in papers.
Looking at a particular document, the King nodded to himself.
It was a report from Dylan.
According to his report, the risk of powerful monsters appearing in the Cursed Lands would increase dramatically in the coming year.
But, if they used a certain method to reinforce the boundaries, they could delay such things from happening for five or potentially even up to ten years.
That was all he wrote.
He pulled out another report from the pile on his desk.
This time, it was a report calculating the potential cost of such a boundary reinforcement.
The boundaries that Dylan had in mind would require huge quantities of manastones.
It would no doubt be exorbitantly expensive.
Nodding to himself again, he called out to his Prime Minister.
“Hey, are you still awake?”
“Of course, Your Highness.”
“Dylan’s proposed boundary, what do you think?”
The Prime Minister stroked his beard once again.
“We have no choice other than to use it.”
“The costs won’t be negligible.”
“We have money set aside for the ‘Hero Support Budget’, do we not? Let’s reallocate that.”
“I’d already thought about that. But, it won’t be enough on its own.”
“We could institute a short-term poll tax?”
“Mm… Is that really the only way?”
“It’s either that or all those potential disgruntled taxpayers and their families are slaughtered to the last when monsters overrun their village.”
“A rock and a hard place, huh…?”
The King sighed to himself.
“I suppose we have no choice. Please draft an edict on my behalf. We need to make some announcements.”
“As you wish.”
The Prime Minister quickly took notes using the book and pen he always kept handy.
And, without pausing in his writing even once;
“Your Highness, if I may, I believe your interests might be better served if you were to address the people yourself.”
“Fufu, what’s this? That’s not like you at all.”
The King chuckled as he looked out the window.
“If we as a Kingdom introduce these measures, we may be able to stave off the Demon King’s advance for a while. But, will the other members of the Alliance really take heed of Dylan’s proposed boundaries, I wonder…?”
Even if he was once nominally part of the party of ‘Heroes’, Dylan was known as a ‘Playboy’. He hadn’t won much by way of friends from the rest of the Alliance. Of course, Theoderic had every intention of setting up the barrier in Garland, but…
“It would be good if everything could go smoothly…”
Theoderic, King of Garland, muttered to himself with a complicated look on his face.
And we’re back. The only note of housekeeping is that I did indeed change the name I used for Dylan’s former-former party in the novel to the name I used in the manga (The Resplendent Lords). On that note, yes, I did start translating the manga for Playboy, you can read it here if you haven’t already. And yes, you can see all the illustrations for Volume 2 here,