It was, an infinite darkness.
As far as the eye can see, there was only darkness.
No matter where you went, no matter how long you waited, there were no signs of light at all.
In the middle of that darkness there was a single bluish flame floating. One could say it was the size of a candle flame. This flame was me. Ryusei Homura. Or what was left of me. I was confused as in this form it was like having 360° vision. Of course I knew this wasn’t my true form. I was a human. Was! My memory started to come back to me. I started to recall what happened.
◇ ◇ ◇
“Oh, brave heroes, you have come!”
Yeah, you heard it right. The typical line you would find in manga and light novels. Those same words were addressed to me. Well, not to me alone. It seems myself and all my classmates have been transferred to another world. It all happened on a Monday morning. I remember how fast I ran to get to school on time. I overslept. When I opened the door of the classroom, I felt a lot of hateful glares were directed at me. Usually I just try to ignore them and go to my seat. But… It wasn’t quite that simple.
“Sup, otaku freak! I bet you stayed up all night reading porn and playing video games!”
The boys laughed at the statement and the girls kept looking at me as if I was trash. The student who approached me was Ren Takeda. The class idol and the worst bully in all of history. His father was the principal of the academy so this guy usually gets away with whatever he wants. If there is something he doesn’t like, he squashes it. And the reason he is so hostile towards me is…
“Good morning, Ryu-kun! You barely made it on time. You really should try and put more effort into waking up.”
The owner of that voice was the only person in the entire school that treated me with kindness. Her name is Shiori Watanabe. And she is my neighbor and childhood friend. She’s also one of the most popular girls in school. She had long blond hair that went down all the way to her waist, deep blue eyes filled with kindness and a smile that would make any man fall for her on the spot. And did I mention her breasts? She was a proud G cup owner with a bust size of 96. How do I know this? It’s because one day she dragged me along when she went shopping for a bra. I overheard when the clerk measured her size. She’s probably the only reason I’m still coming to school. Oh, yeah, me and Shiori are on a first name basis since we know each other for so long.
“Looking after him like always, Watanabe-san. The kindness you show him truly is admirable. Such a shame it’s wasted on a person like him!”
Another sharp remark from the no-good Ren. Of course, Shiori completely ignored him.
Then, just as class was about to start, the whole floor started to shine. It became so bright that everyone had to close their eyes.
And when the light faded away and I opened my eyes, I was no longer in the classroom. The place I was currently in looked like a church. When I recovered from the shock I noticed that I wasn’t the only one. All my classmates were here too. And then…
“Praise to the Goddess! The summoning ritual worked! Oh, brave heroes, you have come! Please help us to eliminate the Demon Kings!”
When I looked in the voices’ direction I saw an old priest. He was probably in his late 60’s given the wrinkles on his face and the long white beard he had. He was also holding a shiny gold scepter in his hand. But I didn’t pay too much attention to him. My eyes were drawn to the figure next to him. It was a beautiful woman. She wore quite an elegant dress. The types you’d see in medieval books or movies. The dress had a cut style to the side so you steal a glance at her bare legs. As my eyes started to scan her upper part I notices she had silky long black hair and not even a trace of wrinkles. Her skin was really smooth and would make a lot of modern day women jealous. But the thing that stood out the most was her breasts. They were huge. When looking at her chest it was as if her breasts were overflowing from her dress. Anyone who would see a pair as big as hers would probably label them as World cup. The woman took a few steps forward and then she spoke:
“Please, don’t be scared. We will make sure to explain everything to you. I am Éclair Olympia, Empress of the Olympia Empire, and this is Archbishop Frederic the II, a priest of the Holy Church!”
The Empress then turned towards the priest and continued speaking:
“There are some preparations and matters I need to attend to now. Take care of them.”
At those words the priest nodded and the Empress made her way out of the church. I thought that was a bit rude. I mean, you summon someone without their consent and then just brush it off like it was nothing. Although I couldn’t help not noticing her eyes. Maybe it was just my imagination, but it felt that those eyes were empty. No traces of emotion could be seen in those eyes. It’s like she was a robot just following a speech. I didn’t give it too much thought at that time. After the Empress left, the Archbishop once again looked towards us and started giving us an explanation.
The continent we were in was called Palmira. The old priest brought up a map of the world.
Basically, this world was divided between humans, elves, dwarves and demons. But apparently the human empire and the whole continent was in danger. They were being attacked by the demon race. The cause of attack is unclear, but the empire has no choice but to fight back to protect the human race. Negotiations have failed so the only thing they can do is eradicate the Demon Kings and the demon race so that peace can be established. Honestly at this point I just wanted to ask the old geezer to send us back home but…
“Of course we’ll help! The wicked must be vanquished. We will gladly lend you a hand!”
Big-mouth Ren stepped forward and acted high and mighty. And since Ren was the one that took the initiative, everyone soon followed and decided to stay and help. There was no way I could retort at this point.
And with that, the priest clapped his hands. Soon after a number of nuns came and handed each one a blank piece of paper. These papers were cards that are supposed to measure our powers and stats. We were instructed to focus on the cards and text should appear on them.
Again, Ren raised his voice. It was like he just won the jackpot. And in some way, he did.
Name: Ren Takeda
Overall Rank: A
“Oh! You seem to have quite the talent, young man. I expect to see great things from you!”
The Archbishop let out a smile as he praised Ren. Afterwards, everyone kept checking their status. Of course, I looked at mine too, but was rather disappointed. Before I could put my card in my pocket, idiot Ren came behind me and took it from my hand.
“Hey, otaku freak, why don’t you let me have a look?”
Name: Ryusei Homura
Overall Rank: E
“Whoa! Your stats are trash, just like I expected. But this job… Excuse me, Archbishop, but what’s an enchanter?”
“An enchanter? It’s a non combat class specialized in enhancing weapons and physical strength. If I were to summarize it, it offers a small boost to abilities, but once you pass basic training, the boost it offers often becomes meaningless. It’s probably one of the worst classes known.”
After finishing his sentence everyone started to laugh at me. I could hear voices like “as expected of the freak otaku” or “even another world can’t change trash like him”. It was vexing. Even I felt like punching myself.
“Mou! That’s enough already! We’re all in this together. We need to support one another and be united, not pick on each other!”
The owner of that voice was obviously Shiori. After her sharp remark, everyone felt silent. She came close to me and whispered:
“Don’t worry, Ryu-kun. I’m not a combat class either, but I’ll make sure to do my best and protect you.”
Shiori lifted her card and showed it to me.
Name: Shiori Watanabe
Overall Rank: B
In that moment I kind of felt relieved. Knowing that Shiori was watching my back. And that was also the moment that ticked Ren off the most.
After everyone confirmed their status, the Archbishop once again spoke:
“Please follow these nuns. You will be assigned with rooms and we shall start your training tomorrow!”
And so each day the holy knights of the church would take turns into training us.
The purpose of the training for the past week is for everybody to control their great power. The people who couldn't shoot magic at first are now already a splendid magician. With the given power their growth is very fast. Those who were labeled as melee fighters turned out to be quite skilled in handling swords and other weapons.
After today, I just wanted to go back to my room, but when I return, there’s a guy who joined shoulders with me familiarly.
“Yo, otaku freak, let’s review today’s lesson together.”
Yup, you guessed it. Ren the bully. I desperately endure myself from sighing, and went to the usual spot to endure a beating.
Ren’s punch enhanced with magic hit my belly.
Here is the back of the castle, it’s dark and there’s hardly anyone passing here. Just think of it like the back of the modern day gym.
I was sent flying a few meters. The pain was quite strong. After I landed I placed my hands on my belly and groaned.
“I guess your endurance is your only good feature! You really make such a good punching bag!”
This guy really is a jerk. But all I could do was endure his assault. Of course, I couldn’t tell anyone about this either. Shiori might be worried for me, but I can’t let her know so I always do my best to hide my bruises. Ren would make my life even more of a hell if anyone found out, and I’m scared that he might even try doing something to Shiori.
And that’s how I endured my days. Until the holy knights decided it was time to take us to have an actual combat experience. We were taken from the capital city to a cave in order to slay some goblins. Goblins were the weakest monsters on the continent so they were good for target practice. It was supposed to be an easy job. But the knight in charge made one fatal mistake.
“Wolves! These goblins have cave wolves! Kids, be careful. They are too fast to handle at this level. We have to retreat or else we’ll be surrounded. Shit! Why is this colony so big? There shouldn’t be this many! Fall back everyone! Fall back now!”
The truth was, we were overwhelmed by goblins. When we started out, everyone was doing good. But they soon turned the tide and overwhelmed us with sheer numbers. The holy knight was right. Even if we are stronger, we can’t match their numbers. Escape was the only option. I turned my body around and prepared myself to run. I think I was only able to take 5 steps. A blade had pierced my chest. It wasn’t a goblin blade. Goblins only used wooden arrows and clubs as weapons. It was… Ren’s blade. I was in complete shock. I knew Ren didn’t like me, but I didn’t think he would go as far as killing me. Ren had a huge grin on his face. He drew closer to my ear and whispered. Even though everyone was screaming, I could hear him clearly.
“You’ve been a pain in my ass for too long. We don't need to look after trash like you. You're just a burden, so die!”
As Ren pulled his blade out of my chest, blood was gushing out. I wanted to scream. I wanted to call for help. I wanted to tell everyone that this bastard stabbed me. But I couldn’t. All I could do was cough blood. Because of the wound, blood started filling my wind pipe. I felt like I would drown in my own blood. I couldn’t stand up anymore and fell on the ground. Ren kept smiling as he looked at me. Even know, I still remember his final words.
“Don’t worry! I’ll be sure to take good care of Watanabe-san!”
Then he turned around and shouted:
“Captain! They got one of us! We need help over here!”
It was like he put on a mask. He changed from an evil smile into someone who looked like he was concerned about me.
The one who shouted from the depths of her lungs was Shiori. She desperately tried to come to me. But the knight stopped her. He grabbed Shiori and lifted her over his shoulder.
“I’m sorry. It’s truly tragic, but we can’t waste any more time. We have to leave now, or else we are going to end up like him.”
With those words the knight started running alongside the rest of the students to the exit. Although Shiori struggled and wanted to be released, the knight didn’t let her go. Of course, Ren, who was classified as a hero easily caught up with the group too. Hero my ass. If this is the work of some God, that God is clearly a lunatic. Ren isn’t a hero. He’s an evil murderer who only cares about himself. I couldn’t keep my eyes opened any longer. I knew… my life had ended.
◇ ◇ ◇
And that’s when I realized that I’m nothing more than a bluish flame sitting in the middle of darkness. Was this my hell? Is this my afterlife punishment? All sorts of thoughts went through my mind. It felt that I’ve been waiting for ages in this sea of darkness.
Suddenly a light turned on. It’s like someone had turned on a reflector at a theater right after the curtains were pulled. And in that spot, there was a throne that floated within the darkness.
A dark shadow that had the shape of a person sat on that throne. I felt as if it wasn’t its true form. But, at the same time it felt like it didn’t have a true form at all.
“Now then, I guess I’ll first take an appearance that would be easy for you to talk to.”
When the shadow said that, it searched through Ryu’s soul.
It arranged itself into an appearance that Ryu would fear the least, and would most easily hold a favorable impression of.
“……I see. So this kind of thing is to your liking.”
After who knows how much time, the figure of a young lady appeared on the throne of darkness.
Her pink hair grew down to her shoulders, and her forelocks were cut to the same length.
She had red eyes that had a bit of an intense impression. With her light red lips bent into the shape of a smile. What covered the girls’ body was a gothic dress with black and red color schemes. And a pair of horns were attached to the girls’ head.
“Now then, I will explain the situation to you. I am the Demon God and you, have already died.”
I was aware of my death. But this person in front of me that calls herself the Demon God… does that mean I’m gonna go to hell?
“It seems that you truly lived a worthless life. However, you are quite fortunate.”
Expressing a hypocritic-like smile that seemed like it would be expressed by a human of unscrupulous business practices, the Demon God stood up from the throne.
“I can give you a second chance. I will make you a Demon King. I will give you power. You will be able to get revenge and live your life as you please!”
To become a Demon King... That would actually mean to become the villain. No. Thinking of it, I never considered myself to be a good guy. It’s true I always had desires. But I was afraid to let people see my true nature. Just like a black sheep wouldn’t be accepted in a flock.
“Let me point out that everything those church bastards told you is one big lie! The humans are the ones that started this war. Of course that doesn't mean the demon race is made from a bunch of saints either. If they eradicate the demon race, I will cease to exist as well.”
I listened carefuly to the Demon God. It seems that we weren’t summoned here to save the humans. We were summoned and viewed as war potential. A weapon that could help them conquer the demons.
“And don't you think they will stop there. If they will eradicate the demons, the elves and dwarves will be next. The church has gained so much credit that the shitty popes’ word is heavier than even the Empress. She who worked so hard to unite humanity under a single banner is nothing more than a puppet in the eyes of the church. I’ll say it straight. The church is rotten to the core.”
A million questions popped into my head. Why is the church doing this? Is world domination really that important for them? Do they really not care about all the blood their shedding?
“Now, let's get back to your situation. Time is short. In the demon kingdom there are 12 Demon Kings. That number helps maintain balance. If a Demon King is killed by another demon, then that demon will take his place as the new Demon King. But if a Demon King dies by the hands of a human, then I am in charge to create a new Demon King. But that pseudo-Goddess of the church is blocking my Origin magic. So I can't create a new Demon King. And that's why you are so fortunate. When you died I brought your soul here. I will put your soul in a body that has all the qualifications required for a Demon King.”
Since I was just a floating flame I had no mouth. I couldn't talk. I could only listen to her words.
“Right now I can see the very core of your soul. Your true self. You're twisted and perverted. A deep anger boils inside you. You act nice on the surface but you wanna let your true nature to the surface. As a Demon King you will be able to. I shall give you power. As long as you nurture that power you can do whatever you want. You can take revenge on the ones that betrayed you, you can enslave humanity, or you can just fuck it all, ignore it and do whatever you want. It will take a while until the humans will invade the continent. So until then, I suggest you try to get on your feet. And because your soul has quite an appeal to me, I’ll even give you a small gift to help you on your journey!”
There was no reason to refuse her offer. In the eyes of humans I will be seen as a villain. But right now I feel that the humans are the true villains. They summoned me to fight in a war I didn't want to get involved into. And then there's Ren. I will never forgive that bastard. If I leave Shiori around that guy she’ll only suffer. If I had power I would kill that bastard over and over again. I would make him suffer the way I did. But most importantly, I would get to do whatever I wanted. Freedom. There is no way I’m throwing a chance like this out the window. Give me power! Power to burn everything to ashes!
“It seems you are ready. Maybe we’ll meet again some day. I look forward to seeing your impact in this world.”
The Demon God snapped her fingers. That snap signaled the end of the existence known as Ryusei Homura. The bluish flame dissapeared. Most likely the Demon God had sent it to meet its new body. Its new life.
“I wonder what face you’re going to make when you wake up, my cute little Demon King!”