21. Page of the Fallen – Epilogue
In the end, the Hero’s Allied Forces managed to topple the Demon Lord’s castle without the support of the Holy Kingdom. The Hero and their party defeated the Demon Lord and were praised across the continent, humanity shouted with joy. However, even with the Demon Lord’s demise, many were still wrought with unease due to the existence of the Devil of Lania. It was the creature that had dared to destroy the capital of the Holy Kingdom. Such power was fearsome as it meant that the Devil’s strength far exceeded that of any Demon Lord’s.
Due to their fear, humanity as a whole began to invest more resources into training soldiers, developing adventurers, and magical research. At the same time, a rumor began to spread, that the Devil of Lania’s actions were ‘the Judgement of God’. Many believed that the devil had actually been an apostle sent by God to dispense judgement upon the rotten, fallen priests of the capital. Those priests from Lania that had survived also felt that they had faced judgement, and that their very survival was proof of their innocence. To these priests, rather than an invasion, the attack on Lania was seen as a divine trial; only those that were truly evil were punished with death. Still, this was just one of the countless rumors that spread like wildfire after the fall of Lania. In the end, no one was able to discern the truth behind them.
The Holy Kingdom designated these kinds of ‘rumors’ as slander, and those that were found spreading them were burned at the stake without trial by the Court of Heresy. It was in this way that peace was maintained and, as time passed, the rumors naturally died down. Eventually, the Devil of Lania became another part of history, something that no longer held any relevance to the people’s day-to-day life.
And so, 15 years after that fateful day…
In a forest near Lania, a girl was playing with a flower in a tuft of grass. She had long silvery hair, copper-toned skin, and red, rubellite eyes. Despite her already eye-catching features, what stood out more prominently were the spiral ram horns and goat-like ears on her head. She was a member of a demonic species related to mountain goats, known as Golt. Suddenly, Lily felt a presence behind her and looked over her shoulder.
“…W-who are you?” she asked hesitantly while jumping back in surprise.
It was a young man with golden eyes and hair. He had a deep scar running overtop his right eye but, even with that blemish, Lily found herself struck by the beautiful pumpkin color of his eyes. As the two of them stood there, staring at one another, the young man slowly opened his mouth.
This slight movement knocked Lily from her daze, sending her into an internal panic.
They were villains that hated all demonkind and slaughtered them indiscriminately! The very humans that her parents had told her hunted and ate demons!
Just as Lily was about to run, the young man fell to his knees, crumpling as though all strength left his body. His expression made it look like he was trying to appear happy, yet tears lingered in his eyes. Hesitantly, he opened his mouth to speak again.
“It… doesn’t matter if this is just a dream.”
Lily tilted her head while looking at the human.
“It doesn’t matter if it was a God or a devil that saved… no, reincarnated you.”
Lily had heard that humans were terrible monsters her whole life, but this human before her appeared to be anything but.
‘Evil villains can’t make such a sad expression like that, can they?’
“It doesn’t matter if this is a blessing or a curse.”
The human drew closer on his knees, but Lily was lost in thought, so much so that the thought of escape had escaped her.
“I am only thankful… I am just grateful… of my fate, that I would meet you like this again,” he said as he embraced her. “… Thank you. Thank you.”
She had no clue who this human was talking to. Even so, she felt a strange emotion budding from the warmth of the human’s soft embrace. It was truly pleasant and tender, and he had a somewhat familiar scent.
“Human… are you hurt?” Lily asked with genuine concern.
“I am going to make a decision, one that I will no longer regret. Even if I destroy this world and even if I can no longer be saved…! Only you…!” The human, Thoma, embraced Lily more tightly. “I will protect you! No matter what, I will protect you this time, Ellie!”
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