３Dream and Despair, Nightmare and Hope
『Ale~c! Father is harvesting the beehive!』
My childhood friend, Claire spoke with an extremely excited voice.
『Let’s see where they kept the honey pot!』
She said so with a beaming smile on her face.
『That way, we can eat it in secret you know!』
『Eh, it’s precious honey you know!』
I――When I was still a brat―― asked back with an astonished look on my face.
『Can we even do that!』
『DEFINITELY NOT! AND THAT’S MORE REASON FOR US TO “DO” THAT YOU KNOW!』
She was the girl who knew the taste of the forbidden honey at a very young age.
She was a fearless, and lively girl who always hooked me into one of her mischievous plans.
It wasn’t just once or twice I had to taste a bitter experience because of her mischief.
――But, it was fun.
They were the extremely joyous days when she dragged me along with her, running around in the village.
All of that was memories dear to me.
That peaceful village, the sweet honey that I secretly licked to my heart’s content with Claire.
Naturally, Claire’s father was really pissed off when he found out that the precious honey which could be sold at high price was lost.
Claire got scolded until she cried.
And I as her accomplice received fist grinding on my head by my father.
Though she layed low after that, she only needed a few days to commit another mischief in the village, and drag me along with her as her accomplice.
And then, everyone who was watching over us with warm smile on their face――
『Hey! I hear that the boiled water of akabane grass can make your hair fall off! Let’s try to smearing it on village chief’s head!』
『That’s too dangerous! He’s gonna kill us for real if that really happen!』
『Fool! It’s interesting precisely because it’s dangerous!!』
『Stop, I’m telling you that we’re going to be screwed for real this time!』
The young me having such nonsensical conversation while gathering herbs with Claire.
Before I realized it, the adult me was looking at that spectacle from the shade of the tree.
Yeah, it was such a happy spectacle, that’s why I knew that it was nothing more than a dream of the past.
A dream, which ended with a nightmare.
Such a peaceful village suddenly painted with fire and darkness.
『IT’S A FLOCK OF THE DEMON RACE!』
That night, we woke up due to someone’s scream and strange sound.
Tremors―― and the sound of cries from afar which came like waves filled the entire village.
It became bigger and bigger.
When we left our house, we saw the dark mountain was filled with countless will-o’-the wisp-like light dots.
That was the torch.
The demon king’s army had crossed the mountain without any kind of warning whatsoever.
Their forces were composed of goblins, ogres, the cruel night elves, and demon race’s warrior as their main force――
Was something that the young me had no idea about at that time.
But I knew that something really bad was about to happen.
The adults were desperate.
They carried everything they could carry in their hands as they escaped from the village.
But, we’re too slow.
Or should I say that the demon king army was way too fast.
They were trampling over our village in the cover of the darkness.
Village chief who escaped while carrying his assets was eaten by an ogre.
『PLEASE SPARE THIS CHILD!!』
Cedric of the bakery shop fell due to the night elf’s arrow while protecting his children.
Claire was calling her father’s name who died while protecting her.
The last thing that I saw was a night elf grabbing Claire by hair and dragging her against her will.
And just like that, she was thrown into a crowd of goblins――
She stretched out her arm―― asking for me to save her with her tear-stained face.
My mother forcibly carried me while protecting me.
My father jumped toward the demons to become bait to allow my mother and me to escape.
『I WILL STOP YOU BASTAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARD!』
『HEHEHEHE, AS IF A CHEEKY, WEAK HUMAN LIKE YOU CAN DO IT! DIE!!』
My father’s death throes echoed in the dark night.
A demon race with bright, green hair was raising his spear as he laughed at my father.
There was something round attached on the tip of that spear, the back light from the burned houses allow me to see that it was a human head――
I was at a loss for words.
I couldn’t do anything but cry due to the extreme shock, anger, and despair.
And the same goes for 『I(Ore)』.
Even if I knew that it was just a dream, I couldn’t do anything about it.
As if I was forced to experience that sense of helplessness again――
If only I was an adult.
If only I was a hero.
The likes of goblins won’t match against me.
I’ll slaughter them all.
While I’m at it, I’m gonna slaughter those ogres too.
Night elves weren’t a big deal for me either.
Your average demon race was at the very least were able to go toe to toe against me.
In short, the future me was strong enough to save this village! and yet――
The young me couldn’t do anything but cry as my mother carried me away.
I heard the sound of something cutting the air around with several deep sounds and my mother groaned.
And yet, she ignored everything and kept running as she carried me.
She kept patting me who was still agonizing over my father and Claire’s death.
『Don’t worry… mommy will keep you safe…』
――A miracle did happen, we escaped from them.
The demon king army didn’t chase us.
Instead, I heard the sneering voice of the demon race mixing in the air.
『Now escape as if your life depended on it, you lowly bug! Escape and tell those human that we’ll be waiting for them right in this place!!』
Yes, they deliberately let us escape.
And act as messengers for them――
We accomplished our duty.
『Please… take care of this child…』
My mother who arrived at the next town after running for the whole night died after she said those words.
There were several arrows with black feathers fired by night elves stuck on her back.
Not even a healthy, robust soldier would survive that while running with a child for an entire night.
And yet, my mother did so, she did the impossible just to protect me.
As a result, I was the sole survivor of that village―― at least, as far as I knew.
As the survivor of the demon king army’s campaign, I was allowed to enter the city, and then entrusted to the orphanage managed by the church.
Everything that happened that night felt like a dream for me, even though the news about war, demon race on the other side of precipite mountain range felt like another person’s trouble for me till just a few days ago.
The event that night turned my life upside-down.
After that, I trained, trained, and trained like an obsessed madman.
――I’ll kill them all.
Destroy the demon kingdom, that became my raison d’etre.
I decided to become a soldier, and show hell on the earth to the demon race.
The punitive force dispatched by the country got defeated way too easily.
The country’s army kept suffering defeat after defeat as I desperately trained myself to become stronger, the situation of the country became more and more dangerous with each defeat.
And then, when I volunteered myself as one of the soldiers, it was revealed in the adulthood ceremony that I had a holy attribute in me, which forced me to go to the holy country to further temper my power and become a hero.
The days following that were―― Training, more training, and even harder training.
But then, my motherland was ruined during those long training days.
Thus, me and my senior heroes were thrown right into the frontline as soon as we learnt how to use holy magic.
It was a seesaw game against the demon kingdom army.
Or more like retreat, another retreat, which then followed by another retreat.
We experienced more losses than victories.
It was a situation in which it wouldn’t be strange even if I died.
And yet, I kept surviving.
It was the result of doing my best, using every second of my life to kill the hateful demon king army, bathing in their blood as I saw them die.
『――KILL THE DENIZENS OF DARKNESS!!』
But it wasn’t enough to satisfy my hunger.
No matter how much I bathed in their blood, my father, mother, and Claire would never return to me.
I couldn’t forget her crying face when she stretched her arm, asking for me to save her.
I woke up.
I woke up in a marble room.
My body was lying down on the soft and comfortable bed.
I looked at my hand.
The color of my skin was blue.
―― The color of the demon race.
「Good morning, young master.」
That voice came from the side of my bed, from a red-skinned girl wearing a monocle and butler clothes with fluffy air around her.
And this fu*cking reality welcomed me as soon as I awakened from my nightmare.
The current me was a prince of the demon race, and it was this red-skinned girl in butler clothes’ duty to wake me up every morning――
Honestly, it was the worst way to welcome a new day.
But, I had no choice but to bear with this situation.
I’ve to preserve, and someday―― I’ll definitely deal massive, irreparable damage to the demon king army.
「… Morning, Sofia.」
I plastered a forceful smile on my face as I greeted the devil.
Two years had passed since I reincarnated as a demon race.