I was able to gain information on the [Despair] Demon Lord through Marcho. Thanks to the information I got, I now knew that if he were to become an ally, I could expect great things even in times of [War].
After returning to my estate and finishing extra and unexpected paperwork, I picked up a package and went outside. Finally, I was off the clock.
My next destination was Duke’s home. According to the Mythological Fox I sent earlier to notify Duke, he happily agreed to my visit.
“Well, I hope he’s going to be happy about this too.”
Monsters working in the city were provided a house. There were some monsters that preferred to live outside of the city—like in the [Forest] room or in the [Graveyard]—but most were residing in the city.
As for Duke, it was apparently more convenient for him to live in the center of the city. His house was well-built and also a bit bigger compared to the neighboring houses.
I knew Dwarf Smiths were repeatedly remodeling their houses in order to make it more comfortable to live in, but Duke’s Dwarf Smith wife might have taken that to a new level. It was a real labor of love.
“Hello, it’s me, Procell”
I knocked on the door and said so.
Immediately after, I heard a series of footsteps.
“Welcome, Procell-sama. My husband hasn’t returned yet, but please come in.”
Duke’s Dwarf Smith wife greeted me so.
When I entered their home, I smelled a gentle and pleasing scent.
I went further in until I reached the living room. The furniture was likely picked in accordance to Duke’s tastes. Moreover, the furniture and the other things in the room blended well together, what with having the same soothing hue.
A few moments later, the Dwarf Smith brought out some green tea. Importation from another continent began recently and this green tea was one of the products being imported. It had become so popular that it was already one of Avalon’s signature products. More than a few people would even journey all the way here just to buy some.
“Hmm, what good tea.”
“I’m glad you like it. My husband liked it so much that he bought a whole lot of them.”
…wow, hearing her talk like this, they really sound like one happy family.
And then, I heard the door opening.
The Dwarf Smith hurriedly bowed to me so as to excuse herself and then headed to the door.
“I’m home, Sue.”
“Welcome home, Duke-sama.”
I was able to overhear their conversation.
“Has Procell-sama already arrived?”
“He has. I’ve led him to the living room.”
“I see… Anyway, here’s a little present. I was able to get your favorite cream-filled pastry from the Arnold Bakery. Thankfully, they still had some left when I stopped by. Could you please put them in our refrigeration chamber? Let’s have it for dessert later.”
“You remembered that this was one of my favorites? Oh, Duke-sama, I’m so happy!”
“I’ve been so busy lately that I wasn’t able to spend time with the family. Let me do this much at least.”
Duke really was amazing.
Not just as a subordinate, but also as a husband.
After their exchange, the couple headed to the living room.
“My lord, thank you for the visit.”
“No, thank you for welcoming me. Also, sorry I wasn’t able to talk to you during the party.”
I wanted to spend some time with Duke that night, but my meeting with Marcho became too engrossing. So much so that by the time I remembered, the party was already over.
“There is nothing to apologize for, my lord. You were simply seizing the opportunity to learn from such a great Demon Lord. I think it’s only natural you gave that priority. At any rate, I am thrilled just to have you here.”
Duke was truly a capable guy I could rely on anytime.
“Duke, not only have you defended Avalon again, you’ve also increased our war potential. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.”
“Your words mean a lot to me, my lord.”
“I also want to say congratulations on becoming a true [Dragon Emperor]. It’s not much and it’s a bit late, but here’s a little gift to celebrate the event.”
I gave him a large box that almost couldn’t fit under my arm.
“Ohhh… what a wonderful scent. This, it’s alcohol, isn’t it? First-rate alcohol, at that. Ever since I gained flesh and became able to eat and drink, I’ve been particularly fond of alcohol. Thank you very much for this, my lord.”
Duke was passionate for only a few things, but ever since he became a dragon, alcohol quickly became one of his most favorite things. With that in mind, I had prepared the finest bottles for him.
“Yeah, I asked Conanna to gather the finest bottles of twelve kinds of alcohols from all over the world. I told him to prepare only those fit to be presented to rulers of great nations, so there shouldn’t be any weird ones.”
Each bottle cost an unimaginable amount of money, but as long as it was for Duke, it was all worth it.
The day I ordered this package was the day Stolas and I decided to undertake the Dragon’s Trial. Yes, from the start, I had full confidence Duke was going to succeed.
Considering this package wouldn’t be here right now if I ordered it after the trial, it seemed like Duke had grasped the faith I had for him without me saying anything.
“My sincerest thanks for such thoughtfulness, my lord. I pledge myself to you now more than ever.”
Duke stood from where he was sitting and then knelt on the floor.
“Stand up, will you? This is supposed to be a celebration. For being such an excellent subordinate, this is the least I can give. If anything, because anyone with enough money and connection can give you the same, this is nothing. That’s actually why I came here today: to hear whatever request you might have, preferably something only I can give.”
“You’ve already given me so much with these bottles, I can’t possibly–”
“Well, how about this? Those bottles are my congratulatory gift to you for becoming a true [Dragon Emperor]. But I still haven’t given you a proper wedding present and a gift to celebrate the birth of your child, right? As your superior, I can’t let that be the case any further.”
At that, Duke smiled.
“Then, Sue, please bring the boy here.”
His wife then hurriedly and excitedly went out of the living room.
I had noticed it earlier, but it seemed like Duke’s nickname for his wife.
Referring to each other just by their race’s name could get inconvenient, so my monsters came up with nicknames for one another and usually used that.
After a while, Duke’s wife returned with a baby.
It was a humanoid monster with a dragon horn on his fair skin. His facial features resembled Duke’s.
“Is that your kid? He looks so cute.”
“Yes. He was born a month ago. My lord, my request is for you to name this child. He’s not regarded as one of your monsters, so naming him will be just that, naming him. There will be no other consequences on your part. Sue and I firmly believe that if you name him, he will lead a happy life.”
“…wait, a month has passed and you still haven’t named him?”
Even if monsters didn’t take long after conception to be born and thus not giving the parents a lot of time to think of a name, letting a month after birth pass by was still strange.
“I’m embarrassed to admit it, but yes. To tell the truth, we’ve been wanting to ask you to name him, but just couldn’t find the right time to ask. We’ve discussed that if we still haven’t been able to ask you by the time he could say a few words, we would just name him ourselves.”
My word, if I have any complaints about this guy, it’s that he’s too dedicated of a subordinate.
In order to think up of a good name, I wanted to take my time and perhaps sleep on it. However, an idea soon popped up in my mind. It was so good I couldn’t imagine anything else as his name.
“Alright, how about Caesar? Yes, there’s the Dragon Emperor Caesar, but it’s also the title awarded to emperors of an ancient empire. Equipped with both excellent military and political prowess, they are said to be people of great ambition. Combining that ambition with the strength he inherited from his parents, this child should be able take over the world.”
If Duke would support me in this, I would like this child and the new generation of monsters not bound to me to have their own aspirations and build their own world. That was the wish attached to the name.
“It sounds great. Thank you. Caesar… I have no doubt that this child would accomplish much in his life… Procell-sama, would you like to have dinner with us?”
“It would be my pleasure.”
“I realize I’m boasting about my wife, but Sue’s cooking really is superb.”
After that, I stood up with Duke to go to the dining table. There, he generously poured some of the alcohol I gave him.
As to be expected of the best quality alcohol that Conanna gathered, it was heavenly. It was even better than the ones Ruhe prepared during the party. I wouldn’t dare say that to her though, to avoid the risk of hurting her pride.
Duke’s wife’s cooking was magnificent.
The ingredients she used were rather ordinary, but the amount of effort and love she put in made the end product have a simple and yet also deep flavor.
But what surprised me the most during dinner was seeing and hearing Duke smile and laugh so much. It was the first I saw him like that.
I might be late in realizing this, but each and every one of monsters were leading their own lives and had their own households. That in mind, I wanted to protect Avalon more than ever.
“Geez, they’re too sweet.”
I was starting to get annoyed by the couple. They weren’t openly making out or anything like that, but their love for one another was clearly being communicated.
……I wonder, should I invite Marcho again to come to Avalon? It might affect our power balance and give off the impression I’m willing to be dominated though… but then again, is that so bad?
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