If It’s for My Daughter, I’d Even Defeat a Demon Lord: Volume 1, page 1part #1 of For My Daughter Series
Prologue: The World Watched Over by a Rainbow
When you were born, there was a large rainbow spread across the sky.
That’s right. Regardless of how their language and culture may differ, all “people” say that a rainbow is made of seven colors. That’s because the rainbow is a fragment of those great beings that control the will of the world, the gods. They exist as seven beings, which is why they’re called the “Gods of the Seven Colors.”
The Red God, Ahmar, is the god of war. He’s also the god of arbitration and judgment. If you’re ever in trouble, then you should visit his temple.
The Orange God, Quirmizi, is the god of the harvest. Right, we went to a festival together, didn’t we? One held in the hopes that many crops would grow.
The Yellow God, Asfar, is the god of education and leaders. Many people gather at his temple in order to learn. You’re a smart one, so it might be good for you to study there, as well.
Travelers gather under the Green God, Akhdar. That’s right. The world is incredibly vast. It’s absolutely brimming with things that you’ve never seen before.
The Blue God, Azraq, is the god of business. When you become an adult, I wonder what sort of job you’ll have.
The Indigo God, Niili, rules over life and death, as well as the study of diseases and medicine. Magic doesn’t work on illnesses, so be sure to take care.
As the leader of the gods, the Violet God, Banafsaj, rules over creation and destruction, as well as reincarnation.
Rainbows appear in the sky when the gods are looking down over the land.
You were born with the gods watching over you, so you’ll be fine.
You’ll definitely be happy. That’s all that I want.
See, there’s a rainbow. You’re protected by fate.
Please, please be happy.
From now on, I’ll be watching over you from the other side of the rainbow, as well.
1: The Young Man and the Little Girl Meet
There was a young man walking through the depths of the forest. Even though the sun was still out, this forest, untouched by humans, remained dim and gloomy. Aside from the occasional chirping of birds, there were no sounds to be heard. The place definitely had an oppressive atmosphere to it.
With a look of great displeasure on his face, the man glanced down at the sword in his hand.
“Ugh, damn it...” he spat, wiping his blade off on some nearby grass. The sword was absolutely coated with a foul-smelling mucus. “This is why nobody wanted to take this job... Man, I’m gonna need to wash myself off or something before heading back.” When he saw the mucus was stuck to his leather coat as well, the look on his face grew even more pained.
It hadn’t been long since he’d gotten to the forest, having taken on a request to cull the frog-like magical beasts that had overpopulated it. While the task itself wasn’t much trouble, as he had confidence in handling both his weapon and magic, the trip here and back was time-consuming.
"I took it on since I had time until my next job, but... I guess this was a mistake, huh?" Hearing the splish, splash of his own sticky footsteps on the grass, he let out a sigh and drooped his shoulders.
The main reason he’d taken on this job was because he could make the round trip from and back to the town he was currently based out of within the course of a day. He cursed himself for having made the decision so lightly.
The work itself hadn’t really been anything of note. It had been easy for him to find the colony the magical beasts had made in the depths of the forest, and wiping them out had been simple as well. If only he hadn’t gotten coated in their bodily fluids and the mucus they spat up. The only saving grace was that the horrible stench had quickly numbed his sense of smell. But if he returned to town like this, even the gatekeepers he was friends with would be taken aback.
In the town he was currently based out of, he was making something of a name for himself as an adventurer. He had just turned 18, the age at which one was considered an adult in this country, but back in his home town, he had been treated as though he’d come of age ever since he turned 15. Because he’d decided on this occupation back then, he’d been able to build up a few years’ worth of achievements and earn a reputation beyond what his youth would imply.
His hair was black with a bit of light brown mixed in, and he wore a long coat made of magical beast leather. On his left arm was a magical device gauntlet. Those were the outward traits that people would use to describe the man named Dale Reki.
“Oh water, by my name, I order you to heed my call. 〈〈Search: Water〉〉” He recited this spell, and his magic activated. Sensing the strong presence of water, Dale changed his route and pushed his way through an animal trail.
As his field of vision cleared, he saw a small river running before him. Having found what he was seeking, Dale breathed a sigh of relief.
He took off his coat and plunged it into the gushing water. This one good coat of his was endowed with magic, so the mass of mucus washed away. Because it repelled water, it would soon be dry, so Dale hung it on a nearby branch to air out.
He stopped and thought for a moment. Dale looked over his body again and remembered the unpleasant smell and mucus. Thinking that he should wash himself thoroughly, he took off his stab-resistant tunic. He could afford to act so confidently because he knew the magical beasts and other animals in the forest proved no threat to him.
His coat dried quickly enough, but his tunic and pants were still dripping wet. And so, Dale started a campfire, sat down on his spread-out coat in just his underwear, and began cooking the fish he’d caught while he’d bathed in the river.
By the time the savory smell wafted through the air around him, his clothes had mostly dried. Keeping his eyes on the fish, Dale quickly slipped on his clothes. After all, he wasn’t quite bold enough to enjoy a meal in his underwear in a place like this.
That was when he heard a rustling sound.
He figured it was a small animal drawn by the smell of his meal, but when he looked, he was shocked.
A small child was staring at him from the other side of the thicket, with their tiny head just barely peeking out from a bush.
At first, Dale was surprised that he’d misread the presence he’d felt. Then, he was bewildered that he’d found a child aimlessly wandering around a forest filled with magical beasts. It was when he was thinking that there shouldn’t be any villages around here that he realized something: there were curved, black horns on top of the child’s head.
A devil, huh...? What a pain... He mentally clicked his tongue.
Devils were an insular group, and they possessed the greatest abilities out of the seven races. As for distinguishing physical traits, devils had horns on the top of their heads.
Should I kill her...? He figured that would be the quickest way to deal with this. Devils were nothing but trouble, after all.
Dale grasped the handle of his sword tight... and then let go. He’d just finished washing himself off, and he didn’t want blood splattering all over him. It was only a quick thought, but that was his reasoning.
Looking like she was about to break out in tears, the girl kept her big grey eyes fixed right on him.
Having let go of his sword, Dale calmed himself down enough to observe the child, and that was when he finally realized why he felt so uneasy when he first saw her: one of the devil girl’s horns was broken off at the base.
Seriously? A kid like this is a criminal...?
Taken aback by this realization, Dale cringed at how ridiculous that would be. In t
Devils considered their horns sacred, as they were symbols of their race. So when a devil committed a crime, one of their horns was broken off, and the criminal was exiled.
Even knowing that, Dale couldn’t help but have questions. After all, the child before him was far too young to be capable of a crime. Devils had lifespans far longer than humans like Dale, and while he didn’t know if human ages were equal to theirs, the height of the girl staring at him from within the bushes made Dale guess that she was about five or six. She most certainly didn’t look old enough to be capable of making her own judgments.
Dale suddenly remembered the fish in his campfire when he realized that the devil child was glancing at it, and he hurriedly pulled out the skewer. It had gotten a little burnt.
As he moved the skewer left and right, the child’s gaze followed. It seemed he hadn’t imagined it; she appeared to be quite interested in the fish as well.
“...Do you want some?”
He’d feel bad about eating in front of her, like he was flaunting his meal. And because of that thought, he called out to the girl almost without thinking. At the same time, he dumbfoundedly wondered what he was saying.
When she heard Dale speak, the child’s gaze moved from the fish back to his face, and she tilted her head slightly.
“***? ***, ****?”
“Huh? Um...?” Now it was Dale’s turn to tilt his head. It was too quick for him to follow along, but he felt like he had heard that language somewhere before. “Hmm, if I remember right...” He dragged out the words of the fellow adventurer who had taught him about devils from the depths of his memory. “He said that the language of the devils was the same as the one used in spells, right...?”
He decided that was it.
Spells were words used to utilize the power of the phenomenon known as magic. The number of people who could employ spells were limited; it wasn’t like everyone could use such words. But devils were apt at speaking them, and thus able to use them as their mother tongue. That was precisely why it was said that devils were all “natural-born magic users.”
“Hmm, then... ‘Come, beside, need, this?’”
From the language used in spells, Dale picked out vocabulary that seemed like it would convey the meaning he wanted. He’d never intended to use the words to hold a conversation, so he hadn’t the slightest idea how to do so correctly.
When she heard his words, a clear look of relief appeared on the girl’s face. With a rustling sound, she moved through the thicket and drew closer.
Even though he had been the one who had called out, Dale was once more left speechless.
It wasn’t just because the child had approached a complete stranger without a hint of caution.
It was also because she was so terribly thin.
What he could see of her limbs peeking out from under the old rag that must have once been a one-piece dress were nothing but skin and bones. He could tell at a glance that she was suffering from malnutrition. It wouldn’t even take a sword to end her life—if he wrapped his hands around her too-thin neck, it would be easy to snap it before she could even try to resist.
While devils kept away from outsiders, they were also a race known to have strong bonds amongst themselves. That was precisely why they regarded exile as such a harsh punishment. Furthermore, while long-lived, devils had a very low birth rate; they were said to cherish children like treasure.
Dale hadn’t even considered the possibility that such a young child would be forced to face such harsh exile, even if they actually were being treated as a criminal.
“Come on, eat. Ah, no matter what I say, you won’t understand...”
Dale grinned wide and thrust the skewer towards her. Magic spells didn’t use words like “eat up.” But even though Dale had handed the girl the skewer, she simply looked down at it, then back at him.
“It’s fine, so just eat.”
The girl looked at Dale, as if trying to size him up. For the time being, he responded with a nod, and she slowly brought the fish to her mouth.
Bit by bit, she nibbled away at it with small bites. As he had nothing else to do, Dale simply sat there and watched, and all the while, he thought about how she looked just like a small animal.
While he waited for her to finish eating the fish, Dale once more searched for words to use.
“Ah... ‘Person, protect, you, exist?’”
It’s not like it was certain just yet that the child didn’t have a guardian. Carefully watching Dale and listening to his awkward wording, she replied even more slowly than she had before.
“***, ************, ****. *** *********, ********”
“Hmm... Together, not, here? ...Beasts, reject...?”
Dale was only able to pick up broken fragments of meaning, but the expression on the girl’s face was decidedly grim. After thinking a bit, she grabbed Dale’s hand in her tiny grasp and pulled him along.
Following as the girl continued through the forest step by tiny step, Dale continued to ponder the matter.
Now that I think about it, it was just a sudden impulse that made me call out to her and give her the fish. What exactly do I intend to do next?
Suddenly, the child stopped. Looking doubtful, she looked up at Dale.
“What? Up ahead?”
She pointed forward and shook her head.
“‘Beasts,’ again? ...And ‘not,’ is it?”
While thinking about what that meant, Dale stepped in the direction the child was pointing.
“...!” And then, he stopped dead in his tracks.
Even someone like Dale, who made his living by the sword, couldn’t keep looking at the thing that was once a person lying before him.
...This is a devil, right? From the shape of the horns, a... male?
It was impossible to tell when he had died, and the cause of death wasn’t clear, either. The wounds were simply too severe. There were so many magical beasts and animals in this forest that it was too hard to even tell if he had been attacked or if his body was torn apart after he died.
Both of his horns... are still there... Is he the kid’s father? It’s not like you could just abandon your exiled child and leave them all alone, after all.
Was it alright to feel relieved about that? He thought back to the girl’s words from earlier. Connecting them together, it was most likely her father’s final order.
“You mustn’t stay by my body. Before long, beasts will gather here. And a small child alone could not defend themselves against something like that.”
“Ah, damn it. Now that I’ve seen this, I can’t just leave her alone...” Dale vigorously scratched his head with both hands.
He’d pieced together the father’s dying wishes.
Even if the devil girl had indeed followed her father’s orders and not stayed by his side, she had still managed to survive in that very forest until Dale found her.
“Oh you who belong to the earth, by my name, I order you shift according to my wishes. 〈〈Ground Transfiguration〉〉” Dale recited as he touched his hand to the ground next to the body. The earth suddenly caved in, leaving behind a single hole.
Perhaps because she had heard his spell, the girl had drawn close to Dale’s side and was looking at him timidly. Dale looked straight at her and spoke.
“Let’s at least give him a burial. ...Do you get it? Um... ‘Inter, earth, death, person.’”
After reflecting on his words, the girl suddenly gave a single nod. Dale worried for a moment about whether or not it was alright to let a kid see a body in such a horrible state, but this one seemed to have long since accepted the reality of the situation. As if she were saying her final farewells, the child stared straight at her “father,” not looking away for a second.
Perhaps she had come to check on him now and again.
“You’re saying thanks? Don’t worry about it.”
Dale once again cast his spell, this time above the grave that he had just finished creating. Summoned by his earth magic, a pure-white megalith appeared there. It was hastily made and he was unable to carve a name into it, but it was at least a proper grave now.
“Hmm... well, I guess this is fate, huh?”
Standing behind the girl, who was still staring intently at the grave, Dale let out a sigh.
“My name, ‘Dale.’ ‘You, name?’”
She turned around with a somewhat surprised look on her face.
“Latina” was the single word of response that she gave.
“Latina, is it? Latina, ‘Me, together, you, go?’”
She looked truly shocked as she nodded her head in agreement.
Looking once more at Latina, Dale saw she was only wearing clothes that looked like rags, broken-down shoes, and a silver bracelet, which looked to be made for an adult and was far too big for her. It really was impressive that the girl had been able to survive like this. She was definitely lucky that it happened to be such a mild season.
When he buried Latina’s father, Dale had looked for anything that could have helped tell him about where they had come from, but he wasn’t able to find anything of note. He thought that at the very least, he’d like to give this child some sort of memento of her real father.
“Hmm, if I let Latina walk, then the sun will end up setting...” Dale said to himself while looking down at her, realizing that her stride wasn’t even equal to half of his own. And considering the state she was in, it was hard to imagine that the girl would have much strength left in her tiny body.
“Guess I have no choice...”
Dale reached down and scooped Latina up into his arms, shocking the devil child once more. Her eyes already looked big, but now they were even more pronounced.
Latina calmly settled into Dale’s arms, not struggling at all.
“You’re so light!” She was so thin and lightweight that Dale blurted that out without even thinking. “Are you really going to be okay...?” Despite the ugly thoughts he had when they first met, he was still able to voice such concern. Dale wasn’t a “bad” person to begin with, and ever since he’d decided to take care of the girl, he had become mentally attached enough to worry about her.
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