—Once upon a time. The Demon Lord, Azelidias, had grown weary.
He was just a stray demon who lived a carefree life. But all his hardships began when the demon lord’s crest suddenly manifested on him after the predecessor died.
The crest manifests itself on the body of a strong demon who had the greatest combat power at the time. When the bearer dies, the crest would naturally appear again to the strongest one at that time.
It was an ancient curse decreed by the ruler at the time of the creation of the demon realm to prevent any struggle for supremacy.
The one on whom the crest manifested was the ruler. They would go to the demon lord’s castle, which had the best location for magic in the demon realm, and stand at the top. It was like an instinct etched in the genes of all demons.
On those grounds, the demon who would manifest the crest would become the demon lord on the dot.
There was no way to retract that, but it was up to that demon to decide what to do after becoming a demon lord.
It was simply just a title. It wouldn’t matter even if they just idled their time away once they took their position in the castle. It wasn’t as if anyone could stop them anyway.
In fact, there had been some demon lords who acted as such. There were even those who declared war on the entire world, those who ruled the demon realm with fear, those who went to every nation to develop the demon realm, and many others.
In the midst of all this, Azel was a faultless demon lord.
He wasn’t a recluse like the Demon Lord of Sloth. He didn’t spend all his time in war like the Demon Lord of Tyranny. He wasn’t as dangerous as the Demon Lord of Fear, where even breathing could result in one’s death. And, he wasn’t a particularly great politician like the Demon Lord of Governance.
He would perform his duties and develop in his own ways, and when other races invaded, he would eliminate them.
He did nothing special, nor did he give preferential treatment to anyone. He wasn’t particularly indifferent, but he was a man of subtle emotions.
For that reason, he was not considered dangerous and was called the gentlest demon lord in history.
Underneath that mask, he was just a demon lord who couldn’t find value in himself and was tired of feeling suffocated.
Then, one day…
Azel couldn’t stand the unbearable suffocation and weariness, so he stopped on his way to the throne and impulsively ran out of the demon realm.
He had been living alone heedlessly in an ominous place where even demons did not dare enter. And yet, suddenly, others began to call him the “Demon Lord,” and he lost sight of things in a chaotic environment of awe, fear, and reverence.
He arrived at the castle and saw creatures for the first time with complex emotions other than his own.
Joy. Anger. Sorrow. Pleasure.
He learned for the first time that each one of them had something to say in response to the other. He also learned of responses to words one would say and words directed at one’s actions.
His mind stopped growing without being provided mental stimulus from others. It would be embarrassing for him to admit, but at that time, he only had the emotional capacity of a toddler at best.
As such, he naturally wasn’t used to coexisting with others and didn’t know how to deal with them.
The time came when he was finally becoming less anxious about communicating with others through words. However, he couldn’t read the intention beneath their words.
…Even if he knew what was expected of him, he didn’t know how to return it.
He also didn’t know how to handle the emotions he felt when he heard the people of his race, whom he had never known existed before, talked behind his back.
Or when someone broke something important to him. Or when he was denounced and left bewildered when he met with the other nations.
He didn’t know how to feel angry or sad.
They told him they were his friends. They told him they were his men—people whom he would protect as their ruler. Yet, these people ridiculed him with such hurtful words and stares.
For someone who didn’t know the right amount of distance from others, once he snaps, he would undoubtedly end up killing his own subjects who were talking behind his back and skipping work.
Whenever he was sad, he would hold in his arms a broken cup that was given to him as a present and cry regardless of place.
However, he knew that doing so would expose his frail heart and that he would be left alone in a place where strength was the standard.
It was much, much harder to live alone in great numbers than to live alone in an ominous place all by himself.
After all, he didn’t know how to ask anyone for help.
He was wrong. Then, what was considered to be a rightful ruler?
Having never seen an example, Azel decided to go to the nearest foreign nation—the royal castle of the human realm—to see a rightful ruler.
Fortunately for him, he looked human. Sneaking in was just easy. He just had to dye his black hair, which was rare in the human realm, into red with dye, completely erase his power, and steal some clothing.
Let’s find an example. Then, I’ll correct my mistakes.
That mindless thought of his impulsively drove him out of the demon realm, and he wandered around the castle in the human realm like a lost child.
Their castle was much more magnificent than the demon lord’s castle that was like a fortress, and had far more people.
Everyone was smiling, and the people were having conversations with each other enthusiastically. They didn’t decide which was right and wrong by dueling like how demons did.
But of course, most of their smiles were with underlying intention. Still, for someone who had little experience with reading people through conversations that he would take them literally and create misunderstandings and assumptions, it seemed to Azel that everyone got along well in the royal castle in the human realm, and that the king’s personality and administration were excellent.
They all looked grand, and everyone sang praises to each other. No one was fighting, and yet the hierarchy seemed to be firmly in place. It was a prosperous and bright world.
The king had an imposing presence and was surrounded by his vassals in the castle.
He seemed to be loved by his men and even had a young daughter. He was a king desired by the many—a rightful ruler.
To be accepted by someone was something Azel found hard to do. Even if he managed to do so faultlessly, he would still be frightened and have difficulty avoiding it. And yet, the human king did it so easily.
For someone who lived by night, its brightness was like the fires of hell.