A short distance southwest of Midhaze, there was a small hill with a panoramic view of the city.
At the top of that hill, the best vantage point, we were presented with some kind of strange spectacle.
There were swords. And spears. Also bows, axes, and staves.
There were numerous weapons crammed and thrust into the soil all over the top of the hill.
They all served as grave markers.
All of those who died in the Great War ever since I became Demon King and led the army had been enshrined here, this place serving as a graveyard.
All had perished, and none of them could be resurrected or reincarnated anymore.
“This place wasn’t here in the Magical Age…” Misha muttered.
“I also visited this place once two thousand years later, but I guess it was cleaned up. There were traces indicating that it had all been moved using magic.” (Anos)
She cast her eyes down and pondered.
“…There’s a palace dedicated to the deceased of the Great War in Midhaze. It was built one thousand years before the Magical Age.” (Misha)
All the deceased must’ve been moved there.
“Those swords and spears aren’t magic items, after all. So they wouldn’t last if left outside as grave markers.” (Anos)
The reason no one would restore them using magic was because such was our custom for the dead. Even if the weapons were to decay, they had to be left as such.
The older they were, the more magic power they possessed. Legend had it that by using weapons that didn’t contain any magic power as grave markers, those who had perished would, one day, be resurrected. Of course, nothing confirmed whether this was true or not.
For this process to bring the dead back to life, it’d take an eternity. Far longer than the time from the creation of the world to the present day. So right now, no one was capable of proving it yet.
Common knowledge dictated that those whose sources had been destroyed couldn’t be revived. However, there was no way to ascertain the improbability of this method, either.
Or perhaps this was the salvation that the ancestor of the demon race had found.
“Found it.” (Misha)
Misha pointed to the back of the graveyard.
I could see a mansion in the distance.
According to the inscriptions on the wall that was where Eldmed should be.
Still, I couldn’t just head there right away.
“Mind if I do something first?” (Anos)
Misha nodded, as if she knew what I was thinking.
I slowly stepped forward and walked in front of the countless grave markers.
Since I had come here, I couldn’t just pass through without stopping by them.
“See all that, Misha?” (Anos)
Misha was standing beside me, her eyes on the grave markers as well.
“This is how many people I failed to protect.” (Anos)
I knelt on the spot.
These men died for peace.
They fought to the death, captivated by my dream.
The greater their loyalty was, the sooner they passed away.
I couldn’t protect them.
I wasn’t strong enough for that.
I had to be strong.
To gain peace. To overturn chaos. To put an end to the tragedies.
To respond to the wishes of those who died trying to fulfill their ambitions.
Even if I was called tyrannical, even if I had to commit atrocious acts, for the sake of a peaceful future that would surely come one day, I reigned over this land as the Demon King.
Even so, no matter how much power I gained and how good my mastery of magic was, I couldn’t bring those who had already perished back to life.
“I have good news for you all.” (Anos)
Bowing my head as if in apology, I spoke to my late subordinates.
“Peace has come. Be proud of yourselves. Victory is ours.” (Anos)
But could this really be called a victory?
No matter what I said to the deceased, it felt like nothing but empty words.
“You’ve all done well fulfilling your vows.” (Anos)
This was where their grave markers ought to be.
Their souls were resting on this hill, where we made our vows together.
I set up their grave markers on this vantage point so that one day, when peace came, they would be able to watch the city of Midhaze in full view.
They were supposed to remain on this hill, but things didn’t go as I hoped.
Nothing could stay the same for two thousand years.
“I’m sorry. I couldn’t keep my vows to you.” (Anos)
If I had been stronger, strong enough to easily seize the world, I could’ve saved their lives.
“White flower.” (Misha)
Misha used to place a single flower on each grave marker.
Then she knelt down next to me.
“Raise your head.” Misha whispered gracefully.
“I’m sure they don’t want to see their Demon King hanging his head down.” (Misha)
Hearing those words, I slowly lifted my head.
“They want to see the face of Their Lord.” (Misha)
Misha’s words gently stroked my ears.
It was as if they even stroked my heart.
“The face of the Demon King living in a peaceful era. That’s what they fought with their lives on the line for.] (Misha)
“…What makes you think so?” (Anos)
“I feel like all of their wishes are still here.” (Misha)
“The wishes of the deceased?” (Anos)
“Their spirits are still here.” Misha said in a monotone, yet tender voice.
“Together with you, Anos.” (Misha)
Misha’s Magic Eyes peered into the abyss of my heart. Perhaps her eyes had become more potent through her fight with the Curse King’s subordinate.
Allowing her to see things even I couldn’t.
“I promised I would bring them to an era of peace, but I failed.” (Anos)
Misha silently shook her head.
“The Demon King helped them, and they wanted to help the Demon King. I think they wished for an era where Their Lord doesn’t have to act like a tyrant.” (Misha)
Her blue Magic Eyes peered into mine.
“What do these people wish for?” (Anos)
Misha thought for a moment, then she replied.
I wasn’t expecting this kind of answer.
“In front of the dead?” (Anos)
“They wanted to know what Their Lord looks like when he smiles. They wanted to see the true face of the Demon King when he’s not fighting.” (Misha)
That wasn’t to say that I never smiled two thousand years ago.
I was convinced I had a good understanding of the act of smiling.
I used to invite clowns and traveling entertainers to my castle and throw them banquets.
But maybe my men were hoping for me to smile at that.
I was completely unaware of it at those times, but it’s true that back then, I never smiled like I did after my reincarnation.
“I’m such an incompetent ruler, I can’t even understand the feelings of my subordinates.” (Anos)
I looked straight at them and spoke up.