The celebration for the successful subjugation of the Demon King was a grand one.
There are all kinds of luxurious cuisines and alcohol from all over the world, and various furnishings that gleamingly adorn the place.
The people who attended the celebration are all important figures from various countries, and as I was originally born as the eighth son of a poor noble…this is the type of place that brings shivers down my spine.
“Well then, the four great heroes who assisted The Hero and brilliantly defeated the Demon King”
The people next to me who were also kneeling and bowing before His Majesty, the Holy Emperor are my good comrades and rivals. They are also known as the Three Great Sages.
“To the respective sages of Fire, Earth, Water and Wind, to be worthy of being the strongest mage — I hereby grant the title of The Four Emperors on you”
The three sages of Fire, Earth and Water are crowned by His Majesty, the Emperor.
Of course, it’s the title of Emperor…but it’s a title that can only be granted to those of noble blood.
However, the four of us are only allowed to rightfully call ourselves the Emperor within the magic society and other occasions that involved magic—such is the etiquette upon receiving a medal of honor or tittle.
I straightened myself and then bowed again.
His Majesty then placed the crown on my head and smiled.
“From now on, you may call yourself the Emperor of the Thunder God. If it’s a place of magic, you too would be allowed to claim the title of Emperor”
My vision was filled with tears.
For the forty-odd years of living…my entire life has finally come to be recognized.
—And so the four of us received the thundering applause from those who attended the ceremony.
15 years later.
After retiring from active duty due to illness, I spent the rest of my life in seclusion with a few of my disciples in a mansion deep in the mountains.
I was on my daily walk, looking at the courtyard where the flowers were in full bloom.
And then, with a cough, I can hear the Death God’s call.
I already knew I was in the initial stage of an incurable disease. I’m prepared for it, but I can’t say the same every time I cough. I feel depressed.
Merlin, my apprentice, called out to me.
As usual, I responded with a smile.
“What is it, Merlin?”
“You are over 50 years old now and have received the title — Emperor of the Thunder God…no, you are sick…yet, you still continue to train your magic. Why is that?”
She is an orphan…no, not quite right.
She was born due to the union of the Demon King that we subjugated and a vampire.
During the triumphant return from the Demon King’s castle, there was a crying baby, even if she is a demon, I couldn’t just ignore it.
Besides, her mother also begged me to save her baby.
Well aside from that, this girl is talented.
I suppose she is 15 years old now. Truly, she’s got a bright future ahead of her.
If I had faced this girl when I was her age, I think I wouldn’t been a match for her. I’m really looking forward to her future.
Moreover, this girl has a long life span due to her mixed blood of a vampire and a demon. If that’s the case, I wonder how far will this girl’s magic advances?
Well, it’s unfortunate that I won’t be able to witness it with my own eyes.
As I was in deep thought, Merlin curiously tilted her head and called on me.
“Aah, why do I keep training? I was aiming to be the strongest in the world”
“The strongest in the world…?”
“Be it magic or martial arts, anybody who aspires to be the strongest, will also aim for the peak—and so do I. Besides, there’s another reason why I did it”
“What do you mean by that?”
“It’s about nurturing the next generation. I was wondering what you guys would think of me when looking at my back. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll ever reach the peak of magic”
“What are you saying!? Ephthal-sama is already plenty strong, right?”
“I’m just strong among the weak. However, among the truly powerful, there’s no place for the likes of me…”
“More powerful than Ephthal-sama…?”
“Compared to the other three Emperors, even my magic is nothing special”
Then Merlin kept silent.
This girl is also well aware of the fact.
To begin with, I’m by far the oldest among the people who had subjugated the Demon King, that’s why I didn’t have any growth potential left.
Now that the gap between me and them has widened, rumor has it that I’m not even a match for their apprentices.
Well, as much as I hate to admit it, but I guess that’s also probably true.
And at that moment, a disciple of mine who I hadn’t seen in a long time alarmingly came running towards me.