Chapter 7: Zero Corps Commander Deon Hart (5)
Dressed in neat black clothes, I walked towards the dining hall reserved for the Corps Commanders without hesitation.
The soldiers who saw me as I walked through the hallway would bow down and turn their heads away if our eyes made contact, as if they had seen a monster that would turn them to stone.
At first, it was burdensome and scary, but now I’m just grateful.
You guys really looked scary.
I had accidentally met one of you face-to-face before and I really thought I would turn to stone.
Of course, not you guys, but me.
I ignored the gazes and stopped in front of a large door.
The ones who were keeping guard flinched and saluted.
“Sir, are you here for lunch?”
“Yes, that’s right.”
“I’ll open the door right away.”
The door opened smoothly without the usual ‘creaking’ sound.
As I entered, the atmosphere in the elegant dining hall was heavy.
I could feel the eyes fixed on me and I silently screamed inside.
This is why I didn’t want to come to the dining hall!
The owners of those eyes were none other than the ‘Corps Commanders.’ The same Corps Commanders who are able to change the atmosphere of the battlefield with their power alone.
Uh, what should I do?
Be calm, be calm, for now, let’s just get some food.
I pretended to be nonchalant and walked.
Every step I took, tenacious eyes followed me, but I pretended not to notice and fixed my gaze only on the chefs.
For some reason, it seemed like the chefs were moving faster.
‘Alright, hurry it up if possible.’
Being here, standing and receiving the attention of the Corps Commanders, I feel like I’m being interrogated.
“Th-the food is ready.
I lowered my gaze to the trembling tray and looked up at the chef.
You’re also quite tense.
I mean… with all the Corps Commanders here, who wouldn’t be tense?
With a smile that conveyed both joy and weariness, I tried to encourage the chef, but the clattering sound became even louder.
I quickly reached out my hand to receive the food, but… oh no.
…I lifted it too high.
I thought it would be less than the chef in front of me, but I seem to be just as tense.
I lifted my hand too fast and too high, and the tray was hit by my hand and sent flying, scattering food all over the place.
The atmosphere became even more tense than before.
I let out a short scream inside and lowered my face.
Damn it, I messed up.
It’s truly terrible.
This moment, the thought that came to mind for everyone present in the dining hall was the same.
The one who killed the last Hero, the Zero Corps Commander of the Demon King’s army, recruited by the Demon King himself.
He is said to have a power that even the Demon King himself cannot easily control.
The Corps Commanders present here would assure you that he is a terrifying individual.
Don’t be fooled by his seemingly kind appearance, if you let your guard down, you’ll regret it.
He just has a different threshold for when he gets angry compared to others.
Look at him now, he didn’t spare the chef for such a small reason such as “spilling food” when just earlier he spared the person in charge of the plants that attacked him because they were not properly taken care of.
‘Even so, this is excessive compared to his usual behavior…’
The First Corps Commander of the Demonic Army, Jaykar, watched the scene before him and quietly lowered his knife.
…And suddenly realized that he had set the garden on fire, he must have been very angry.
His thought came to a halt as he found the most likely assumption.
‘What if he didn’t forgive him then?’
What if he was angry because he did not want to reduce the manpower of the Demon King’s castle so he spared the gardener, but his anger from then was still present?
’I feel sorry for the chef.’
He’s unlucky that he became the target of Sir Demon’s anger.
Afterwards, Sir Demon’s black clothes caught my eye.
That was probably a silent warning, ‘I’m in a bad mood today, so don’t touch me.’
Jaykar slowly sliced the meat and put it into his mouth, keeping his eyes fixed on it.
I feel sorry for the chef, but I have no intention of showing pity.
To risk my life just to get a chef out of trouble would be a huge loss.
He didn’t want to die a meaningless death, such as being killed by his allies, or on a battlefield that wasn’t honorable, so Jaykar just remained silent.
Perhaps the other Corps Commanders were thinking the same thing.
That’s most likely why everyone was silent.
Sir Demon’s face was stiff from the beginning.
Red eyes, like blood, were dimly fixed on the chef.
That must be anger.
If he didn’t kneel down and beg for forgiveness right now…
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry!”
As expected, he’s a chef who had faced the Corps Commanders before.
He was quick-witted.
Jaykar subtly observed Demon’s expression as he stabbed the salad with his fork.
The dimly lit eyes were flickering.
“You seem to be thinking about something.”
The Third Corps Commanders, Asild, who was sitting nearby, muttered.
Jaykar quietly nodded in agreement and watched the situation in silence.
What is he going to do?
He wouldn’t kill him.
He has always been extremely reluctant to take someone’s life.
Will he start a fire again or make it look like an accident?
Because Demon was an unpredictable individual, Jaykar’s gaze closely followed each one of his actions, as if he didn’t want to miss a thing.
“Deon Hart, this life is a failure.” Only that short sentence echoed in my mind.
With my mind going blank, I stared blankly at the chef who was trembling in front of me.
The chef’s complexion was even paler than mine.
Yes, he must have been upset and angry, the dish he made with passion became nothing but toppings on the floor.
But, since the other person was a Corps Commander, he can’t show his anger… He seems to be trying to calm down somehow, I should apologize.
If not, I don’t know when or where I’ll get hit from behind.
Therefore, I was about to apologize, but the chef suddenly knelt down.
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry!”
What kind of situation is this?
I was momentarily taken aback by the sudden action.
My pupils probably widened.
I quickly recovered from my surprise and looked at the chef with a puzzled expression.
“…Get up for now.”
“I’m sorry! Please have mercy!”
No, this situation is obviously my fault, no matter who looks at it.
Why is he the one acting like this?
“There’s no need for mercy.
Even though I said it gently, that it’s not his fault, that’s not the reaction I expected.
Instead, he’s prostrating even more… How am I supposed to deal with this?
“As expected, Demon…”
“The meaning of that name…”
Even everyone seemed to be whispering something.
Do they think I’m being disrespectful towards the servants? I tried to suppress my trembling heart and look around, everyone was avoiding my gaze, their mouth shut.
It’s clear that they were talking about me.
My image is completely ruined now.
Well, my image was already ruined.
Even if it gets worse, nothing will change.
Thinking that way makes my heart feel a little better.
I breathed out a sigh with a resigned expression and looked at the chef who was still prostrated.
“I think it would be better to start cooking again right away.”
I’m fine, but what if the other Corps Commanders get angry? I heard that all the Corps Commanders have some kind of a twisted side.
They will show no mercy, especially for the servants…
“Yes, yes! I will do it again right away!”
As if he had fallen down, the chef suddenly jumped up and ran toward the kitchen.
I leaned against the wall, closed my eyes, and waited for the food to be served again.
Why did I close my eyes? Because if I didn’t, I would probably cry.
The food came out faster than I expected.
Even the soup was hot.
The chef who quickly and efficiently served the food, bowed down at the perfect angle and disappeared quickly into the kitchen.
He disappeared so fast that if it wasn’t for the food in my hand, I would have mistaken it for the wind.
Anyway, after all those twists and turns, I finally took my food and walked away.
The dining hall was so large and had so many seats that it was difficult to believe it served meals for only thirteen Corps Commanders.
There were as many as sixteen rectangular tables, and one of them could seat twenty people!
But if you think about it a little, it’s not completely incomprehensible.
The Corps Commanders have strong personalities, and there were often annoying conflicts between them.
I heard from the Demon King that when there was only one twenty-person table in the dining hall, two Corps Commanders who didn’t want to sit at the same table, fought each other and overturned the dining hall.
Since then, even if all Corps Commanders fought, there would be no problems, as long as twenty-person tables were prepared according to the number of Corps Commanders.
‘So no one will come to my side.’
There’s plenty of room, so why would anyone come to my side?
I came this far because I could be sure of it.
If I couldn’t, I would’ve just given up and lay on the ground, telling them to kill me if they wanted to.
Anyway, I sat down at the furthest corner of the table.
A place where no one would pay attention to me, or even look in my direction, unless they had some business with me.
Just as I was about to start my meal comfortably…
“Can I sit here?”
A dark-skinned person approached.
With long, pointed ears that proved they were not human.
And they were using informal speech in a situation where everyone else was using formal speech.
At that moment, I shut my mouth tightly and swallowed the sigh that was about to burst out.
An actual Corps Commander, one with real power, unlike me who was just a figurehead, acting as the Demon King’s joker card.
First Corps commander, Jaykar, was asking for permission to sit next to me while holding a tray filled with dishes.
Even though I could see that he had only eaten half of the food on his plate.
Why did he have to come and sit here, why couldn’t he just finish his food where he was sitting.
Although I wanted to refuse, I had no real reason to and so I reluctantly lifted my stiff chin and nodded.
“It’s an unoccupied seat, you don’t need to ask for permission, why bother?”
My response was short, that should be enough.
He grinned and set the tray down on the table before pulling out a chair and sitting down.
I couldn’t believe it, he was really going to sit there.
What could he possibly want from me?
My already faint appetite completely disappeared.
II was rummaging through the salad, swallowing down the sighs that were trying to come out, when a strange, yet familiar voice came from behind me.
“May I sit here as well?”
I almost dropped my fork.
Talking from someone’s behind, where are your manners?
As my surprise turned into anger, I looked at the person in front of me and my mind froze.
It was a demon, with horns on his temples and extraordinary muscles that no human could ever have.
He was looking at me with an inexplicable expression.
Third Corps Commander, Asild, also had a tray of half-eaten food in his hand as he asked for permission to sit, just like Corps Commander Jaykar.
The answer to this situation was already determined.
I couldn’t refuse Commander Asild after already allowing Commander Jaykar to sit.
Since the seat in front of me was already taken by Commander Jaykar, Commander Asild naturally sat next to me.
Trapped between them, I couldn’t find a place to look and so I lowered my head to hide my trembling eyes and focused on my food.
Of course, I was just moving the food around on my plate with my fork.
‘If it’s Asild, the Third Corps Commands, he should be the Demon King’s personal guard.’
I dredged up the information from the back of my mind that I had memorized for survival when I came here.
All members of the Third Corps, including the commander, wield greatswords and use overwhelming force to annihilate their enemies.
It’s also the corps the Demon King moves when a powerful corps is needed.
The First Corps could also be moved, but moving the First Corps alone provided great significance.
It is not without reason that Jaykar is appointed as the Demon King’s representative.
I’ve been thinking about something else for too long.
Suddenly, an awkward silence pierced my skin and I slightly tilted my head.
I intended to check their expression to see if they were uncomfortable or angry, but unfortunately, my eyes met with Jaykar’s, who was looking at me.
I couldn’t avoid his gaze and wondered how to react, but he too seemed awkward, he briefly looked down at his plate, and soon lifted his head and slowly opened his mouth.
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