I nodded after Leah opened a door to a normal room at long last. The smile Leah sported was indicative of her dilemma. She told me, “Papa, this is my old room. This was where I tried to run to when Mama Veirya tried to kill me… This was the only place I could think of running to when she chased me.”
Feeling sorry for Leah, I hugged her. I had heard how harsh her life was from her; however, I never realised it was to this extent. Her room was no room. It was a darn prison. It was totally different to the last room I saw. Her room seemed as though it was a small, unused room in the castle and was called a bedroom after a hammock was set up. The walls were left as green bricks as we found on the castle exterior, moss growing on them. With it raining outside, the dampness and cold seeped through the bricks. Therefore, it wasn’t that much different to standing in the rain. I couldn’t resist holding her tighter to assure her that she wouldn’t have to suffer the same life again.
Beaming, Leah expressed, “Never mind it, Papa. Leah isn’t scared anymore. With Papa by Leah’s side, Leah is no longer living that sort of life; you don’t need to worry about Leah. Leah is very blissful with Papa now.”
I resolved myself to be a dutiful father in that moment. At the very least, I had to provide Leah with a normal life. There was no need for her to lead such a pitiful life. She needed the best education and to enjoy the best things the world had to offer. She deserved to socialise with the most remarkable individuals in the entire empire, and then… then… then… It’s fine for Leah to just always stay with her papa instead of getting married, isn’t it…?
I immediately told myself, “Stop, stop, stop. That’s dangerous thinking.”
Indeed, I needed to be a little wary of Leah. There were just too many odd things about the Demon King’s castle. No, it wasn’t as fun as a castle in Mario Odyssey. I questioned why I saw a room completely identical to our room in the North and why it was maintained perfectly when it had been abandoned a long time ago. As opposed to considering it a castle, I considered it the inside of a monster’s mouth. I felt as though we were dancing in its mouth while it was just waiting to clamp down.
Leah led us to a large door comparably exquisite to Sisi’s bedroom at the end of the corridor. After Leah opened it, I saw… pitch black. With that said, I could sense that it was a spacious room. If I had to compare, I’d say it felt as if I was in an indoor pool. Ross lit up the candle on the wall. My intuition was correct. There was a huge pool there, probably not to swim in, though.
“There’s something strange about this place, as well. The Demon King knows how to enjoy life so much now? I can’t believe the Demon King to be someone who knows how to enjoy life. If he knew how to enjoy life as humans did, he’d be able to understand humanity. Actually, I’d say that humans influenced him. Was the Demon King a human? No, that’s impossible. Veirya would’ve been able to tell if he was. Being the one to slay him, she has to know what his nature is,” I mulled.
Veirya and I had a cosmic moment, regarding each other at the same time.
“Veirya, I’m curious about something: what sort of person was the Demon King? Why does he seem so similar to humans?”
Veirya grabbed her chin: “The Demon King. Is a skeleton. Underneath his robe. Was just skin and bones. Nothing else. Mm, he’s proficient with magic. Swordplay is poor. Also. He seemed injured. His left arm. Wasn’t too nimble. Still, he bled. When I beheaded him.”
Angelina snickered: “What else do you think happened? He attacked our team the night before. As I couldn’t unsheathe my sword, I had to resort to using my bare knuckles. I think I broke two of his ribs. The things said about him are rather exaggerated.”
Veirya didn’t look happy. Apparently, Veirya’s fight with the Demon King was still intense despite his injury. As such, it was evident that Angelina was more formidable than Veirya. Nonetheless, the biggest question remained: why did the Demon King, who didn’t have any human characteristics, have literally the same view of aesthetics as humans did?
“Papa, I don’t know how this place is. I never had the chance to come here because I didn’t have the right to. It looks so big, though! Papa, we can bathe together here. We can even call Queen Sisi and Sis Lucia! We can swim in here!! Papa, should we try it out?”
“It’d probably take several hours to fill it up, though,” I inwardly remarked.
Veirya tugged the huge bar revealed on the wall once Ross finished lightning up all of the candles. The friction of metal violated my eardrums. To my surprise, however, hot steam came forth. The board below the huge state at centre of the bathtub opened, allowing hot water to flow into the tub as if it was a water dam that broke. Within minutes, a bathtub I thought would take hours to fill was filled. Leah, who was eager to jump in, had undressed and went to the edge.
The water wasn’t dirty. Not. At. All. I could see the bottom. The water temperature was perfect to lower one’s guard. There was no poison, substance that would set skin ablaze or anything of the sort. It was… ordinary water to me. If anything, it was as if it was specially prepared for us. We never told anybody about our plan to come here. Furthermore, there were no hints of anybody living in the castle. To add, it was a castle Sisi had destroyed before. Why is there such clean hot water? Why is there lamp oil? How come everything can be found in the castle?
“Papa! Come in and have a bath! Papa! Come in. It’s fine!”
Leah’s smile started to freeze my spine…
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