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Wow, the mangaka crammed three WN chapters into the second manga chapter. Now I have to get the next one done so I can start finding out what happens next, haha.

Chapter 4 - Coming out to my step-daughter

Having safely finished cooking, Laetia and I sat down to eat. This was a farming village in the human kingdom, so it wasn't exactly an exotic meal. Lined up on the table were classic, rustic dishes. Even still, I believed it was much more amazing than it looked. Everything steamed appetizingly.

I spooned some soup into my mouth and felt the flavor steadily spread out in my mouth.

"This is very savory. You must have used good salt to make this."

"If you think it's good, then it must be because you helped me make it~♪"

I swear, Laetia's smile never went away. That alone cheered me up.

"You're so strong, Laetia. I should expect as much from the hero's mother."

I truly admired her from the bottom of my heart.

"Oh, stop that! I'm not even an adventurer. If anything, aren't you the one who's super strong~?"

And now she was laughing at me in amusement. Seeing her healthy, smiling face, I just couldn't see her as the hero's mother. I wasn't particularly trying to be flattering, but the first time I saw her, I really did think she was her older sister.

"That isn't what I meant when I said 'strong.' What you have is more, how do I put it, a strength in elegance."

"I'm sorry, I don't really get what you're saying."

Crap, I was getting too philosophical! She's going to think I'm some kind of intellectual show-off!

"I think the strength you have to always keep smiling is much more valuable than the strength it takes to fight."

I tried to keep it concise. In my case, I can't even remember the last time I really smiled after losing Sasaya. It wasn't like I only went around scowling, but I think the times I was able to relax were few and far between.

"Ahh~, that sounds like something Angelica says~. Although, in her case, she says I'm too easy-going and she doesn't really like it." Laetia folded her hands together. "I'm not really a hard worker. It's just who I am, I only like to pass the time. So I don't really think it's something I should be praised for, you know~?"

She said this with no humility. In my head, my concept of Laetia was slowly actualizing into a distinct person and not just "a goddess." This sensible attitude she had was the kind that would lead to wisdom.

I wanted to build a happy home for Laetia. Even though I was lacking in every way…

"How is the food, Galtau~?"

Oops. How could I make her worry because I didn't praise it enough? Times like these, I should be somewhat specific, right?

"All of these dishes are delicious. Your soup really brings out the savory flavor of the chicken."

"Our chickens aren't exactly high-quality or anything. You're probably used to eating food prepared by royal cooks that puts all of this to shame."

I think there's been a misunderstanding somewhere.

"Of course not! I do sometimes eat with the other executives, but usually I just eat at normal diners or, when I don't have a lot of time, I get prepared meals to eat while I work. They're nothing special at all."

"I see. You must have a lot of work to do."

"Yes, it is quite busy… There are a lot of tasks that can't be put off for later. Such as fighting with the hero, for example."

There are some humans who think a demon lord's only duty is to fight heroes, but that isn't the case at all. As the leader of all demons here, there are mountains of governing issues that need to be addressed. Truthfully, coming to attack at a busy time like the end of a quarter is incredibly obnoxious. Not that coming during holidays is any better.

Actually, when the hero came this last time, one of the gate guards had saved up a bunch of vacation days and wanted to use some of them up. There are two gates, and normally each gate was manned by a two-person team to form a sub-boss. However, it would look bad to make one person do a two-person job, and it was pointless to only guard one of the two gates, so all four gate guards were allowed to take vacation at the same time.

"Oh my, I'm so sorry about that. I'll tell Angelica to let you know before she wants to come visit you next time."

"Yeah, if she comes to often, it could cause problems between the kingdom and the demons, and we can't have that."

It was kind of like a conspiracy, but things were difficult when information wasn't being shared freely. Actually, to ensure the demon lord wasn't on an extended vacation when the hero was planning to attack, they really were supposed to send notice beforehand, however…

"Aah, but you're Angelica's new papa now, so it might not be a problem anymore."

Laetia grinned again. Yeah, if that were true, I would welcome it, but…

"……That comes down to how your daughter reacts to this."

That's right… There was still the maximum difficulty quest to explain the developments to the hero…

I tried to imagine, if I were the hero and, somehow, the demon lord I just fought all of a sudden became my step-father. It was such an absurd scenario that I really couldn't imagine it… Would I take it as a joke? Would I think my mother was brainwashed? Would I conclude that I was having a nightmare and pinch my cheeks to wake up? I would pull hard on my cheeks, but since this wasn't a dream, I wouldn't wake up…

I couldn't say. I had no idea how it was going to play out…

Well, just to be safe, after I finish eating, I'll just go back to the castle for today. I'll explain to the hero what happened another day. I needed time to prepare myself as well.

—But, as soon as I thought that, the door in the back of the dining room opened, and in came the hero Angelica.

"Mama, listen, we actually made it to the demon lord! We got taken out in a flash, but… we'll do better next time!"

"Ah, Angelica, dinner's ready, do you want to eat now? I'll heat it up for you."

"Yeah, I'll have some. Can I also get something to drink—huh?"

Angelica finally noticed me. The light in her eyes died, and her smile faded away… it was actually super scary.

"Why is the demon lord in our house…? Sorry, to tell you the truth, I'm not really sure what's going on right now… After I blacked out, did the kingdom get destroyed or something…?"

"Ah~, Angelica, about that~"

"Wait, let me tell her."

I can't run away. If she were to think that her new father was someone who just avoided difficult situations, I would just be hurting my own image, and she would quickly become disillusioned with me.

"Listen well, hero—no, Angelica. What I am about to tell you is not a bluff, not a lie, and not a trick. Everything I say is true."

I just realized I was still holding my spoon. I was also still sitting down. What a fatal mistake. I should have put down the spoon and gotten up from my seat before I started talking…

"I already get it. Just go ahead and say it… Unfortunately, I only just woke up, so I'm unarmed, although I never imagined that the demon lord would be in my house. Even though we're enemies, I can only acknowledge that this was a brilliant surprise attack…"

Oh, I see now. Logically speaking, it would make sense to just assume that this was an elaborate strategy. However, just saying that this wasn't an evil plan wouldn't be very believable.

"Angelica, I… married Laetia."

 —  — Chapter 5

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