Ria was very troubled.
She was troubled about the murder between humans and demons started by that hunt.
Their future relations with demons might just depend on how this case was handled.
If it had been humans they’d killed, they would have received capital punishment or been demoted to a crime slave.
However, the ones killed this time were demons, kobolds. There naturally hadn’t be anything like a penalty for killing kobolds before.
While that may be true, they couldn’t be declared innocent. If they were, relations between their races would deteriorate.
“So, what’s to be done?”
Asuka had come all the way over to Jaeburg’s government office.
“By the way, what happens for stuff like this in the Demonlands?”
Asuka silently gestured her thumb across her neck. A much more severe punishment than Jaeburg gave.
“Could it be solved with compensation?”
“I don’t care… but could they pay?”
“It’ll be paid for from the national treasury this time. How about one hundred and sixty gold for the four fallen kobolds?”
This was an unreasonable compensation for human nations.
Nevertheless, Asuka nodded composedly.
“What would happen to the offenders?”
That was the main topic. Asuka hadn’t figured out her stance on what was to be done about that either.
“They’d normally be sent to do slave labor to pay off a suitable fine, but for this, they’ll be executed.”
Asuka’s eyebrows twitched.
“That is, their crime is not that they murdered kobolds. It’s national treason. By deteriorating our relations with the demons, they were attempting to shake the security of all nations with their actions.”
That was the solution Guinevere had proposed.
The ultimate solution was for neither side to feel hostile towards the other.
Although this would obviously lower Ria’s popularity, it shouldn’t be something fatal to her reputation. Guinevere felt that way.
However, Ria was thinking a step further than that.
“… That’s how we’ll have it look like at least.”
She then said something that astonished Asuka.
“We’ll be sending the criminals to the Demonlands.”
“… Are you serious?”
“If you have a village with strong demons, I’d prefer to send them there. Then if they can reform after a few years, we can have them decide if they want to stay or return.”
Asuka changed through several different expressions with her arms crossed as she looked up at the ceiling, to the left, and to the right. She even looked behind her.
“That’s interesting. Maybe I’ll find a town with lots of vampires living in it?”
Showing off her sharp fangs, she passed her judgment on them.
Later on, that group quickly adapted to the demon town, even staying there with other family members. That was, however, a story for another time.
“By the way, what’s going on with me meeting the Demon King?”
“I was in touch with Rei. His Majesty will head here when he is free.
“… That guy seems super busy all the time for some reason though?”
“… Please don’t say it like that.”
“In that case, how about I go to him? He’s probably in Casalia or Lemdria yeah? Or maybe the Empire’s territory?”
“The Empire’s territory. He should be in a place called Falsas overseeing the town’s construction.”
In a panic, Asuka hurriedly stopped Ria as she started to get up immediately after saying that.
“There’s the chance you’ll miss each other, so please wait here.”
The day eventually came.
In much too much of a grandiose manner—enough to rival Shifaka’s manner—a masked man stood in the Manesh palace’s courtyard after breaking its barrier.
Standing amidst the assembling guards with an attendant, his gaze swept across the area and shouted.
“SoXXmon! I’m back!” 
In a reception room, four people stared off against the Demon King and his attendant.
The Demon King took his hands out from his pocket and spoke.
“Ah, it’s not much, but here.”
What he had in his hands… were Demon King steamed buns. 
The first person to break the silence was Serge with a laugh, eliciting the Demon King to roar in laughter as well.
Ria smiled wryly before joining in as well. As for Carla and Guinevere, they didn’t understand the significance of it.
Because it had something written in Japanese.
It said [Artful Treat: Demon King Steamed Buns]. Moreover, written in pointlessly perfect penmanship.
“So you still don’t intend on taking off that mask?”
Ignoring the three’s continual laughter, Guinevere asked him a question in an ice cold voice.
“Do I need to take it off?”
“We can’t talk as equals with someone who isn’t going to show us their face.”
Saying that after finally getting out of her laughing fit, Ria caused the Demon King to sigh.
“You already know though, right?”
“I’d like to see your face to be certain.”
On this point, Guinevere was obstinate.
The man she had once loved. The man that was her own son’s father.
“I know, but don’t say anymore. It’s more fun when you expose your own identity unexpectedly.”
The Demon King then quickly took off his mask.
“It’s not him…”
Guinevere muttered. His identity wasn’t the mysterious mage, Gonbei.
“But honestly, this face is just another fake one.”
Like a certain mysterious thief’s grandson, the skin on his face peeled away. Even his voice changed. 
“Still not him…”
This face was one of a youthful man, different from the one Guinevere knew.
“Now when I wear this, the mysterious mage will be completed.”
When he took out a new mask and put it on, another face with a sharp look in its eyes appeared.
The Demon King’s attendant stopped Guinevere as she tried to hug him from over the table.
She was also wearing a mask, but still hadn’t removed it.
“What an unromantic way for long-separated lovers to meet.”
“Lovers? It looked more like one-sided love on your end to me.”
The attendant—a flight magic user that could keep up with the Demon King on the way here—had a second-rate disguise. Having met her before, Ria knew who she was.
“You’re from Black Cats?”
“I was figured out?”
Taking off her mask after being asked that by Ria, the one to appear was Ferna.
“I was formerly part of Black Cat’s management. I am now Halt-san’s right hand.”
“Haruto? Is that your real name?”
Ria asked. It was also a Japanese name.
Taking off the mask, the Demon King returned to looking like a Japanese youth.
“I’m Arisugawa Haruto. I’m called Ars Gahalt here though.” 
It was the name of the Hero from the legends.
It was said that, in the end, he and the Demon King had killed each other in a one-on-one fight. A legendary existence.
“By the way, you got any tea?”
And this legendary existence took things pretty easily.
They were talking about secret things, so Carla brewed the tea herself.
“Aah~, smells great~”
His dignity as the Demon King couldn’t be seen in his tea ceremony skills at all.
“Now then, Demon King… no, should I call you Halt-san?”
“Yeah, that way.”
“Then Halt-san, I’ll ask you frankly. What the heck happens in the Great Collapse? Neither the Saint Emperor nor the Dark Dragon would answer. But you know right?”
Halt crossed his arms with a pensive look.
[Let’s see, who of you have a previous life?]
Hearing the question spoken in Japanese, Ria and Serge raised their hands.
[I’ll say it then. You can explain it to the others later. But do you really want to hear it? You won’t regret it?]
Both Ria and Serge nodded vigorously. They were practically impatient, there was no way they’d pass up hearing it.
Sighing, Halt finally told them.
[It’s when the dimensional boundary breaks and two worlds collide.]
He had spoken entirely in Japanese.
“That is the Great Collapse.”
Returning to this world’s language, Halt said as such.
- This is referring to Gato’s speech from Gundam 0083. Here’s the relevant video. Return
- You give steamed buns as a gift after a long time away (90s anime trope). Return
- Lupin the III reference. Return
- In the past, I was translating his name as ‘Halt’ because I thought it was meant to be a pseudonym to fit in with this world’s style. Turns out it’s not (according to a few lines up). Return