１８． Devilish Encounter
TN: Demon Kingdom is Black Company
If one was to say it nicely, they were too healthy and active, and if one had to be honest, the place was too simple for the library of demon king castle, the most cultural place in the entire demon kingdom.
Nevertheless, the books were mainly the collection of elven or human race books.
Demon race had only several books of their own.
The library didn’t even have a librarian.
Though such a person who managed the library should’ve existed in all libraries in the human countries, the demon kingdom simply had no use for such a job.
As a result, though the demon race gathered large amounts of scrolls or books from the countries that they took over, it only served to make the library become more and more lawless and cramped since it was rarely being taken care of.
And then, in one corner of that chaotic place, a girl was sitting in a small chair, reading a book as if she wanted to eat said book.
Her name was Sofia.
A mid-rank devil who ruled over knowledge.
For Sofia who gained power by obtaining more knowledge, reading was equivalent to her meal.
Moreover, her “Appetite” was simply inexhaustible.
（Thank goodness I got a lot of free time lately… YAAAY!!）
The usual pattern was her closing the book she read, returning it to its original place, and looking for the next one while licking her lips.
Sofia who employed by contract with one of the demon king’s wife, Platyfia had single-handedly done everything from educating the demon king son to finishing the paper works.
… Or not, it was indeed part of her contract and “Job”.
But, her situation had changed drastically after the demon king’s son, Jilbagias went into Hell.
[That **ty bra―― I mean, that naughty demon king son ended up never returning from Hell since then.]
Thus, her duty as Jilbagias’ educator was temporarily suspended, and since Platyfia kept waiting in Cosmolodge for her son’s return, Sofia was basically left with nothing to do.
It was a situation that was greatly welcomed by Sofia.
She could finally spend an entire day indulging in reading and studying.
It’s not like she came to this world to work as a clerk after all.
Her main reason was to gain more knowledge.
Moreover, fresh, newly minted information and high level knowledge was―― A delicious treat for Sofia.
The knowledge in Hell had almost been sucked dry by her, to the point that she had long since grown bored of counting the number of dark ebony wood growing there.
In the first place, such knowledge was tasteless.
It was just labour to increase her power since she couldn’t cross the portal.
Though the contract stated that she could do anything during her free time, the problem was the fact that she had almost no free time since the paperwork and education work took up almost her entire time… According to the book of the law of the human race that she read, Sofia who reached a conclusion that 「It’s my fault for not stating my working hours」 could only work in silence while planning carefully for her next contract.
（Jilbagias-sama’s education aside, the main problem is that fu*cking paperwork! Why do I have to correct the mistakes made by those stinky hobgoblins!!）
Sofia was reproducing an indignant act to perfection as she savoured the flavour of the texts in the book.
The administration of the demon kingdom was mainly carried out by the night elves and hobgoblins.
Though devils were starting to participate in the administration nowadays, the majority of the posts were filled by those two races.
Before the first demon king ruled over the ogre and goblin with brute force, the hobgoblin was the first one to be added since they surrendered without any resistance.
Despite having “Goblin” in their name, hobgoblin was a completely different race.
To be clear, it is just like the difference between humans and monkeys.
Despite their ugly appearance, hobgoblins had good heads on their shoulders.
They became extremely fussy when it came to calculating money.
―― But then, it was only if they were being compared to goblins.
Even if they calculate it correctly, if it was written incorrectly, it is bound to cause no small amount of trouble.
And the mistake in their writing wasn’t just one or two, it was TOO MANY.
For better or worse, even that many errors were still acceptable in the demon kingdom which has a large number of muscle brains, and they did have some leeway for those errors in their plan but, those errors were 『Unforgiveable』 to Sofia, the devil who ruled over knowledge.
She was instantly assailed by extreme vertigo the moment she saw the number of errors in the settlement document, thus she stormed into the secretariat and forced them to correct it from the very beginning… In fact, she knew that she couldn’t delay the work for too long since the number of errors was simply too much.
If there was an error in the document, a mid-rank devil would storm into the secretariat with an enraged look on her face.
As a matter of fact, Sofia herself had no idea that she was feared like a demon god by the hobgoblin who worked as government officials.
（It’s so peacefu~l）
In the library with no other person.
Albeit some people did enter the library from time to time―― They were just the dropout of the demon race without magical power or ambition.
The library was a place for the weak since you couldn’t swing your spear around but, it was still a suitable place for killing time.
That was the recognition of the majority of the demon race.
This country is the very definition of the wasteland of culture.
For Sofia, the act of snatching only the harvest while killing the farmers and razing their field to ashes was an act of barbarity.
Though she was still okay for now since there were still a lot of books written by the elven race or human race, the same couldn’t be said for the future.
As long as the new book didn’t contain new knowledge, she didn’t have a choice but to count the number of books or trees again which was far from enough for her.
And that was an absolute nightmare for her.
（If only the number of cultural demon race increased.）
And then, the thing that made her recall that horror was the demon prince she was in charge of being educated, Jilbagias.
He was a rare specimen for a demon race―― Someone who did understand art and literature.
Though he vehemently refused to study at first, he became really obedient once he started, the rate he absorbed knowledge was akin to a desert when absorbing rainwater.
And maybe because he was still young and his mind was flexible that he had a really good memory.
Though he was struggling in learning demon race letters, she was really surprised upon seeing him mastering the human race letters and elven race letters at breakneck speed.
Since different from her, a devil of knowledge, mortals need time to remember something.
Most of all, that excellence in literacy and his equal thirst for power made him far more charming in Sofia’s eyes than the other demon race.
Well then, should I make him read the grand ode of the elven race or art of measurement by the human race next Well since his horn had already grown and he could use magic now, maybe I should teach him the principle that regulates the material world―― Was how Sofia ended up making an education plan for Jilbagias.
Plan which was shelved for now.
（… Maybe an ill natured devil had at him.）
Suddenly, she came to a realization.
Because the pact made between Demon God Cannibal and the First Demon King, the devils were fundamentally friendly toward the demon race.
But, it didn’t mean that ALL OF THEM were friendly.
The pact should be respected but, different from the contract, the pact wasn’t an absolute law that shouldn’t be broken.
『Controlling』 all devils was impossible from the very beginning.
Some devils gain more power by outsmarting that kind of control, some even gaining more power by destroying the framework of such control methods.
No matter how powerful a demon god was, they’re not omnipotent.
Though they did act like rulers, they’re not leaders.
In the first place, most Demon Gods were coping in their territory and almost never leaving their territory―― In short, Hell was a dangerous place.
She was starting to miss Jilbagias who despite being a naughty child, was also in fact a cultural demon race.
（Hell is the place that no demon king child can pass, maybe he really has…）
Even Sofia was really surprised upon finding that she could feel such a feeling.
Even though she only ever felt that taking care of the brat of the demon race was bothersome at first, by now she…
（Well, I guess it really can’t be helped if he really is dead in there.
At least, I’ll pray that his end is swift and painless.）
After such a devilish conclusion, after Sofia closed the book that she had finished and just about to reach for the new one――
A shrill voice calling her name resounded in the library.
When she turned around to see the newcomer, Platyfia’s beastfolk maid was rushing toward her current location.
「… Ssh, be quiet when you’re in library.」
「M-MY APOLOGIES! BUT THIS IS A BIG NEWS!」
The maid from the white tiger tribe who spoke with a flustered voice as her seemingly soft and fluffy tiger ears twitched cutely continued on,
「IT’S MISTRESS AND JILBAGIAS-SAMA! THEY”VE RETURNED!」
After a short pause, even Sofia ended up screaming too.
Things such as shock, education plans, what kind of devil he contracted with, etcetc were appearing all together in her mind――
At the same time, she understood.
Her long holiday had ended.
It’s been thirty minutes since we departed from Cosmolodge.
We arrived at the demon king castle without a hitch.
「I’ll go first to report your safe return to His Majesty.」
After returning to our residence, Platy, who had already changed her dress, left as soon as she spoke.
Platy had already recovered beyond recognition from her previous messy state with a nap on the back of a flying dragon.
How should I say… Her back as she left looked like a warrior heading toward the battlefield… or should I say that it was more yakuza prepared to raid the base of a hostile mafia.
『Your mother seems like she’s rearing to kill.』
Maybe because she was thinking the same thing, Ante muttered so nonchalantly.
Maybe because she kept being ridiculed by the other mother of my step siblings.
Now that she recovered, her resentment was shot through the roof…
Come to think of it, what are you going to do in the demon king castle, Ante
『What do you mean』
I mean, you’re a freaking Demon God.
Don’t you think that someone might recognize your face if you’re strolling outside
Strangely enough, no devils in Cosmolodge recognize your face though…
『Don’t worry about that.』
Ante spoke with a masochistic smile on her face.
『I’ve told you right I’ve become too powerful to the point that I had a really hard time even moving around.
It’s been a really long long long time since the last time I left my palace… And the number of curious devil who enter my palace out of curiosity can be counted on one hand.』
『The only one who can recognize my face is a fellow Demon God, or oldies like Odigos.
And none of them are in this demon king castle.
Rather, if those fellas really did make a contract and came to material world, the curious devil who love gossiping will definitely spread the news.』
Hooh, I guess we’re safe then.
An extremely high rank newcomer was unknown to everyone eh.
No wonder no one in Cosmolodge recognizes her…
「Jilbagias-sama~! I hear that you’ve returned!」
The door of my room suddenly opened with great momentum.
And the one who appeared was a petite devil girl who wore a monocle.
And just when I returned her greeting―― Sofia’s body stiffened.
Her eyes were blinking repeatedly, she then removed her monocle and wiped the glass with clean cloth.
「… Uhm, did you by chance… grow taller」
My body grew taller when I left dark portal.」
Sofia held her cheeks as she raised a despaired wail.
「THERE MUST BE SOMETHING WRONG WITH MY MEMORIES!!」
「IS THAT WHAT YOU WANT TO SAY AFTER OUR FIRST REUNION IN A WHILE!!」
――Thus, despite such banter, Sofia did congrulate me for my safe return.
「Just to be sure, your study is still ongoing even if you grow bigger!!」
「Yeah… I understand…」
「So, what caused your return to be delayed this long And what about the devil you’re contracted with」
Many things happened in Hell but, I managed to make a pact with high-rank devil.」
I guess it’s time to introduce Ante.
This fella’s name was Sofia.
She was the one put in charge of my education.
Though Ante didn’t seem to be interested in Sofia, she still left my body, and landed on the ground before me.
「Let me introduce her.
This one is the devil who I make contract with.」
「No need to be so formal.
Suddenly, a choked sound interrupted Ante’s introduction.
It came from Sofia, she made a face that I’ve never seen before.
Her eyes opened wide, it was as if her eyeballs were gonna pop out from its socket.
「N-N… No… Way!!!」
Sofia who stepped back while trembling like a newborn calf then fell on her rear.
「W-… WHY IS THERE A DEMON GOD IN THIS PLACE!!!」
And shouted loudly as she was sweating like a waterfall.
「DEMON GOD OF TABOO… ANTENDIXIS!!!」
―― ARE YOU FU*CKING KIDDING ME!!!! REVEALED RIGHT FROM THE START!!!