From the next day onwards, the Demon Lord continued to cook meals under the scolding of Silvia.
Hamburgers, fried chicken, croquettes, and other dishes – he prepared children’s favorite menus while considering nutritional balance.
Every day, when 5 PM approached, children would come over the Keyaki tree. However, the children who came varied every day, and only a few could come regularly.
There used to be a children’s cafeteria in the capital as well. However, the nobles of the capital, considering the children’s cafeteria created by the Hero as “hypocritical charity” or “a mockery of us,” obstructed it. That’s why the Hero created a new cafeteria in the Demon Lord’s castle.
Furthermore, the slave children had their own work to do. Squeezing in visits to this cafeteria between their tasks was extremely challenging for them.
Tsuyu and her brother Taro visited about once every three days. Tsuyu remained unfriendly as ever, while Taro grew fond of the Demon Lord.
“Big brother, the fish was delicious!”
“I love stew!”
“Thanks for the croquettes! Here, take this!”
Taro always shared his thoughts on the food and then gave the Demon Lord a stone, calling it a “treasure.”
The Demon Lord understood that it was a word used when giving something to someone.
Although he had no interest in the stones, the Demon Lord couldn’t bring himself to throw them away and lined them up one by one on the cafeteria’s windowsill.
With Silvia’s arrangement, when placed on a sky-blue mat, they turned into lovely decorations.
After working for a month, the Demon Lord also began to look like a chef. It took time, but he learned to chop vegetables as instructed and was entrusted with simple stir-fries.
On that day, he made bread with Silvia.
While shaping the bread into rounds, he suddenly remembered Tsuyu and her brother Taro.
Come to think of it, they hadn’t been around for about a week.
“Hey, Hero. I haven’t seen those red-haired siblings recently. What happened to them?” the Demon Lord asked.
“Oh, Tsuyu and Taro? Well, I don’t know, but… you’re right; I haven’t seen them lately either. Tomorrow, I have an appointment to practice swordsmanship at Viscount Pudding’s place, so I’ll check on them then,” the Hero replied.
“Hero, I have a request,” the Demon Lord added.
The next day, in front of Viscount Pudding’s mansion, a handsome young man with tied-back black hair and simple clothing stood.
Yes, that young man was the Demon Lord.
The Demon Lord had asked the Hero for a favor and had him take over as the swordsmanship teacher.
Upon showing the introduction letter from the Hero, the mansion’s gatekeeper readily let him in. Ironically, because the Demon Lord had been defeated, there were no enemies left in the capital, and they had no sense of vigilance.
The viscount’s mansion was magnificent, with many servants dressed in elegant black uniforms and maids in beautiful attire.
However, there were no children like Tsuyu and Taro. Instead, the Demon Lord found himself teaching swordsmanship to a man who acted like a pig after feasting on luxuries every day. He quickly collapsed.
The Demon Lord, being who he was, could also handle swordsmanship. When the viscount fainted, the Demon Lord decided to search for Tsuyu and Taro.
In the backyard, he found a few children. They were all skinny and wore ragged clothes, working hard to carry vegetables and fetch water.
Among them, the Demon Lord found Taro, who was struggling to carry a large milk jug.
However, it seemed heavy and difficult for him to hold. He stumbled and spilled milk all over the floor. At that moment, an adult with a whip approached Taro from behind.
The adult raised the whip to strike Taro, but Tsuyu tackled the adult from behind to stop him.
The adult, angered, pushed Tsuyu away and raised the whip again.
And then, when the adult was about to strike…
The Demon Lord didn’t know why he did it, but he found himself catching the whip with one hand and lifting Tsuyu up with the other.
“What… who are you!?” the adult, shocked by the Demon Lord’s sudden appearance, exclaimed.
Tsuyu and Taro were also stunned, unable to utter a word.
Perhaps they hadn’t realized it was the Demon Lord.
The Demon Lord felt an urge to kill them all but remembered the Hero’s promise not to harm anyone or cause any casualties in the viscount’s mansion.
With lightning speed, the Demon Lord struck the back of the adult’s neck, causing him to faint and fall.
Seeing this, the other children gathered around, their eyes gleaming with joy at the Demon Lord’s actions.
The Demon Lord stood tall, still holding Tsuyu, and handed her a paper bag.
“…’Treasures,'” he said.
He dropped the paper bag into Tsuyu’s hand, then carried the unconscious adult and headed back to the cafeteria.
On the way, he left the adult in an alley in the capital.
Left behind, Tsuyu opened the paper bag and found many freshly baked bread inside.
Tsuyu and Taro, who hadn’t recognized the young man, now realized he was the Demon Lord.
They shared the bread with the slave children working in the viscount’s mansion.
The bread had Silvia’s taste in it, but the burnt parts carried the Demon Lord’s flavor.
Taro, noting the burnt parts, said, “These are good too,” and Tsuyu murmured softly, “Yes, they are.”
The Demon Lord wanted to find a way to save those children.
He had considered burning down the noble houses in a blaze of fury, but he didn’t possess the power for that now, and he knew it wouldn’t be the right way to go.
Looking at the Demon Lord’s face when he returned from visiting those children, the Hero showed a worried expression.
“…Hero, I’m powerless! I can’t truly help those children!” the Demon Lord lamented.
“No. You can help them,” the Hero replied.
“I can’t win against you, and I can’t even cook! I’m a useless man!” the Demon Lord protested.
“No, there’s something you have that I don’t,” the Hero said.
The Hero pointed toward the sky.
“You have ‘this.'”
“As the ‘Demon Lord,’ you have something you can ‘give’ to those children.”
The Demon Lord grinned.