Shrine of Desires
A long haired man was walking while carrying a young child on his back.
From that description, they sounded like a father and child, but the man’s appearance was bizarre. He had black hair, which was rare for this world, and it was as long as a woman’s.
To top it all off, he was dressed entirely in black, appearing like a demon or grim reaper to anyone who saw him.
“You said it was called the Shrine of Desires? Is it like a place where you throw in an offering, clap your hands, and pray?” 1
“I don’t know anything detailed, but I heard that the Cherubs borrowed the power of the shrine to seal the devil king.”
At those words, the demon lord quietly muttered, “Occult-related?”
He had undoubtedly been thinking that it would be something similar to a Shinto shrine, but it seemed that it wasn’t the case.
In the first place, to him, things like cherubs and devils lacked a sense of reality.
Oono Akira, the person inside, was indifferent toward religion and could be called an atheist.
As for Kunai Hakuto, if someone were to ask him what a god was, he would probably answer “myself.”
He was a man completely unsuited for living in this fantasy world, and if there was such a thing as an Inquisition, he’d immediately be sent to be burnt at the stake.
“It seems like I won’t be able to find anything useful even if I go…”
“Th, that’s not true! There’s a legend that it will grant the wishes of its visitors.”
While saying that, Aku tightened his arms around his neck.
It seems the demon lord’s walking speed was frighteningly fast. Though the reason for Aku’s action was to not be shaken off, by looking at his behavior, it would appear that was not the only reason.
“Th, This is the first time I’ve, um, come into contact with someone so much.”
Aku said this with his face pressed against his back, but hearing this, the demon lord raised an eyebrow.
(I still haven’t a clue what this kid’s gender is…)
“If, Mr. Demon Lord goes to the shrine, there might be a power to rule the world!”
“I don’t want any power like that!”
The demon lord’s adult attitude had already started to crumble, but they finally reached their destination. In the already deserted forest, there was an area where people would want to come even less.
That place was a cave opening in a large rock face.
(Hey, this smell is…)
As they got closer to the cave, an offensive scent pierced his nose, and the demon lord grimaced.
“Aku, wait here. It seems dangerous inside.”
He was able to tell the reason for the smell right away. There were human corpses scattered about the interior of the cave.
Corpses that appeared as if they had been torn by large claws, body parts, corpses that were burnt black, large quantities of pooled blood, human waste leaking out of bowels — all of these mixed together to create a terrible smell.
(What is this? Some satanic ritual?)
There was a single stone statue enshrined. It appeared as if it was looking down at the corpses.
At a glance, it was an obviously evil-looking statue. It looked as if it were about to start moving to kill someone. The name “Shrine of Desires” and this spectacle were far too disparate.
As soon as the demon lord took one more step, the statue’s eyes glowed red.
As the demon lord saw that figure, his right hand reached for his knife, but the statue didn’t move anymore. Rather, those eyes appeared to be observing the intruder.
Its mouth, that should have been unable to move, opened and murmured something.
“I see — You are certainly a ‘demon lord’.”
“I have granted numerous prayers, but this will most likely be the last.”
“H, Hey, wait… What do you know? You must be the one that summoned me, right?”
At the demon lord’s question, the statue was silent for a while, but finally it opened its mouth. The answer was extremely important to the demon lord, but the statue gave a disappointing answer.
“Not myself, but those over there. To ‘summon the demon lord’.”
“These guys…!? They summoned that monster from before?”
“That thing revived under its own power — thanks to it, my power is almost gone.”
“Almost gone… Then, before that, send me back to my original world.”
The statue’s answer was quite simple — “I can’t.”
The demon lord raked his hair at the extremely decisive answer.
“Why can’t you do it? Do you want an offering? You aren’t going to tell me to give you some corpses like these guys, are you?”
“Those corpses were killed by Greol. And I can’t grant a wish that goes against a wish.”
A prayer for the summoning of the demon lord was granted — a wish that cancels out that prayer cannot be granted. It was conscientious in its own way.
“But, you will probably be my last visitor — I will give you this.”
The statue caused an ominous-looking ring to appear and it was forcefully put on the finger of the demon lord. Looking at the repulsive design, the demon lord desperately tried to remove it, but the ring didn’t budge.
“You, don’t mess with me! Having to walk around wearing a ring like this is nothing but a punishment game!”
“I will be praying – that your wish is granted –”
“You evil god bastard… wait a second!”
“Even I, originally had a pure appearance – over a long period of time, the humans’ evil desires changed this body.”
With those last words, the statue began to crumble and finally became sand, scattering from the pedestal. The demon lord was unable to do anything but watch over its collapse in blank amazement.
“Sigh… All I got was this kind of ring… what should I do now…”
Looking at the ring that was forced onto the middle finger of his right hand, the demon lord hung his head.
No matter how hard he tried, no matter what he did, it wouldn’t come off. Its appearance was also bad, but it was totally a negative item.
“Admin function – <<Item Appraisal>>”
The demon lord muttered while appraising the item and hung his head even further.
If this was a “cursed attribute” item, he would have tried to take it off with a curse removal item, but it appeared that wasn’t the case.
“Why is it treated as a normal item… And on top of that, using appraisal costs SP…”
The demon lord’s sighs were never-ending.
Rather than the Shrine of Desires, it’s the Shrine of Sighs.
After he went outside the cave and Aku asked “What’s wrong?” with a smiling face, the demon lord retained his sour look.
“Are you going to rule the world after all? Or something like indulge in debauchery?”
At those words, the demon lord silently put his arm around Aku’s neck and locked it in place.
Then, he abruptly struck him lightly with his fist.
“Ouch! Ouch! Please stop, Mr. Demon Lord!”
(Now what to do… Should I go to a town somewhere to gather information?)
While flinging “my” long hair back, I was lost in thought.
There are too many things I don’t know, things I don’t understand.
If I don’t know anything, I may fall into some unexpected pitfall. I guess I’ve reached the limit for staying in this remote forest.
(I wasn’t a able to find anything out from those corpses either…)
It was a spectacle that made me nauseous just remembering it.
In the GAME, there were always plenty of corpses, but it was very different seeing it in reality. If that scene really was created by that devil, then destroying it was definitely correct.
That devil would definitely have massed produced corpses just by existing.
“Aku, are there any large towns nearby?”
“Yes… But, before that, can we stop by my village? There’s not very much, but I have a few belongings…”
“Huh? Are you planning on coming with me?”
“C, Can I not… Um, since I was sent out to be a sacrifice, I can’t really go back and live there… Uu…”
I almost wanted to cradle my head in my hands at Aku’s words, but then decided to think that it wasn’t a bad suggestion.
After all, there are too many things I don’t know about this world. It would be reassuring to have an inhabitant of this world next to me.
And considering what he had told me so far, Aku wouldn’t be treated at all well if he stayed in the village anyway.
“Alright, let’s go to your village first. Is it close?”
“Thank you very much! With Mr. Demon Lord’s speed, we’ll be there right away!”
And thus, the scene of the demon lord caring a child was visible again.
A demon lord muttered “This isn’t Lone Wolf and Cub…”3 and other such things, but Aku’s cheeks slackened, and he seemed quite happy.
(Well, I might as well ask various things before we get to the village…)
While traveling, he asked Aku various questions.
It’s a little late at this point, but since they can communicate in Japanese, he showed Aku Japanese writing and numbers in his memo pad as well as the alphabet, and he seemed to be able to read them without any problem.
He wasn’t able to understand as far as whether they were filtered in some way, or whether it was originally a world that communicated in Japanese.
“Well, if we can communicate, there’s nothing bad about that… I don’t want to have to learn some other world’s language at this age.”
“…? They were very pretty and easy to read letters?”
Yes, the letters that he wrote on his memo pad were in terribly beautiful penmanship.
Not mine, but Kunai’s handwriting must be good.
Because his own handwriting was bad, he was wrapped in a strange sense of defeat.
“But a human sacrifice… that sure is some outdated thinking… Is that some sort of custom around here?”
“It seems the devil king revived some years ago and devastated the surrounding area… So it seems the surrounding villages started to take turns offering a sacrifice…”
” I don’t really get it… Doesn’t the ‘kingdom’ that you were talking about do anything? It seems like it would be better if they subdued it or something.”
“This area is far from the Holy Capital, so…”
So from the “city” this land isn’t worth worrying about?
Even in Japan, there were depopulated villages and outlying islands in the news sometimes. It might be something like that.
“Um, Mr. Demon Lord… Where did you come from?”
For a moment, I hesitated about how to respond.
Even if I said Japan, he wouldn’t understand, and he certainly wouldn’t understand about the Great Empire.
“W, Well… Let’s just say from far away.”
While answering ambiguously, I hurried my steps. Even if I spoke the truth, no one would believe me, and I would just be thought of as a lunatic.
“Ah, Mr. Demon Lord, my village is behind that fence!”
While being frightened that I had gotten used to being called Demon Lord so quickly, I was even more frightened of the scene beyond the fence. Rather than calling it a ghost town, a desolate place more suited to be in a ghost story spread out before my eyes.
□ □ ■ ■ □ ■ ■ □ □
One part of the data was made available.
Equipment — Demon Lord’s Ring: Satan Ring
A final miracle left by a Throne.4
If chaos and ruin is brought into the world, various wishes will be granted.
Rather than light from the earth, reconstruction from the void is preferred.
Administrative Privilege — Item Appraisal
As time progresses, privileges are restored.
Uses 1 SP.
It only shows an item’s name and attributes, so fine details will not be revealed.
Superior item appraisal also exists, but it seems it will not available until far in the future.