Authors: Satoshi Wagahara
The coals glowed white-hot as they seared the sizzling strips of meat.
The oily drippings from the finely sliced pieces of flesh caused the fire to roar even stronger, further punishing the meat with its burning vengeance.
The room was filled with the smell of flesh and bone charring from the edges inward, along with enough smoke to hide even the death-scream-like sizzle.
He looked on at the sight, licking his lips as he did. The smile surfacing across his face was like that of a demonic beast possessed by sheer, overpowering greed.
“Heh-heh-heh… How does it feel, then? Being seared by the flames of hell without even a moment’s chance of escape?”
The dark voice, even restrained, could not conceal the innate, profound cruelty its owner was aiming at the meat as it wailed its last amid the flames.
“Now I will consume you whole. Your meat, your entrails, your very bones! And you will provide the energy I need to fulfill my great mission! So just rest easy and let the life escape you…heh-heh-heh…”
“Your Demonic Highness…”
A quizzical voice sounded above the smoke and flame. He paid it no mind.
“Ah, give me a moment. No need to hurry this. I’m not gonna be happy with this unless it’s charred to a crisp.”
“No, Your Demonic Highness, I mean…”
“Now! Let the great feast begin! Let’s start with the organ meat, shall we? …But look at you! What is the meaning of this? Cowering in the corner like a scared child?!”
“There is no longer any escape for you! You shall have the honor of being the first sacrifice offered to my lordly presence!”
With a final shout of glee, he nimbly brought the chopsticks in his right hand to the ready.
The edges of these two traditional weapons swiftly found their target, a well-cooked piece of beef laid bare on the grill. Ferrying it to a bowl of hot-and-spicy sauce as red as a blood-filled cesspit of hell, he drowned the tidbit inside before ruthlessly bringing it to his mouth.
“Heh-heh-heh… A delectable treat indeed!”
An evil look of self-satisfaction crossed his face as he finished off the mouthful.
In a flash, his facial expression returned to normal as he turned forward, toward the unwelcome attention-seeker.
“If I may, could I convince my Devil King to enjoy his meal a little more quietly? You’re going to disturb the other diners around us.”
Across the undersized table, the tall man known as Ashiya peered through the rising smoke, eyebrows furrowed in apparent distress.
“Mm? Oh. Right. Guess I was getting too into this for my own good, huh? Sorry if I was too loud.”
The so-called Devil King, a perfectly normal young man in appearance, glanced about his surroundings.
“Also, there’s no need to become so passionate about some organ meat at a
restaurant. You’re acting like this is the first decent meal you’ve had all year.”
“Well, I’m not
to act like that, but if you’re like me and you
live off junk food and scratch-’n’-dent groceries, it’s kinda natural to get excited about eating someplace fancy, you know?”
The Devil King deftly transferred a selection of meat, organs, and vegetable bits from the grill to his plate as he spoke.
“I gotta be honest with you, I never really understood why all the other demons loved feasting on the organs of their victims up to now. This stuff’s really good! Like, what’s this bit? Veal heart or whatever? It’s so rich and melt-in-your-mouth
. And I love how the pork belly and chicken cartilage crunch against my teeth! And what’s this stuff? Beef tripe? It looks pretty weird, but it’s not bad!”
“…I am glad, my liege.”
Ashiya nodded, his face still muddled with concern as he gave up the idea of calming down the Devil King anytime soon.
It was a weekend evening. Only a few chairs were empty in the restaurant, with the smoke of barbecued meat wafting up to the air vents. None of the nearby customers were demonstrating visible annoyance at the Devil King’s revved-up commentary, but internally, Ashiya regretted being so strictly frugal (okay, cheap) with the food he bought and prepared for his companion.
The pair lived in the “Devil’s Castle”—aka Room 201 of the Villa Rosa Sasazuka apartments, a rickety wooden structure built sixty years ago in a spot five minutes’ walking distance from Sasazuka rail station, which offered quick access to the rest of Tokyo’s Shibuya ward via the Keio line. A ten-minute hike from the Devil’s Castle brought them to the 100th Street shopping district, home to a
restaurant well-known to the local crowd.
As part of a campaign to celebrate ten years in business, the restaurant was offering one free drink and 390-yen deals on most plates during weeknights in the early dinner hours. To Satan, the Devil King—more likely to answer to the name Sadao Maou these days—it was a deal worth dragging his companion to.
He had just received his paycheck, which took the heat off his finances for the time being. And since certain earlier events made a “celebration” seem in order anyway, the Great Demon General Alciel—much better known around the neighborhood as Shirou
Ashiya—had agreed to relax his iron grip on the Devil’s Castle’s finances for one night.
Sipping on his free mug of oolong tea, Ashiya set his side salad in front of him.
“Your Demonic Highness, you need to eat some vegetables in addition to all that meat. These days, if we wanted to eat this many vegetables at home, it would take far more than three hundred ninety yen.”
Briskly, he attempted to transfer some of his salad into Maou’s bowl.
“Oh, yeah, I heard that produce was startin’ to get expensive.”
“It is madness, my liege. A head of cabbage has risen to three hundred fifty yen.”
“Well, it doesn’t really matter, does it? I’m pretty much a born carnivore anyway.”
“It ‘doesn’t matter’ only if you think a sound nutritional balance doesn’t matter. It would be nice if we could at least cook some fish, but we don’t have a fish grill for the Devil’s Castle stove, and our puny ventilation fan would be no match for all the smoke and stink we’d generate.”
The pair of arch-demons commiserated over their oolong teas about the more poverty-stricken aspects of their lifestyle.
“Oh, speaking of which, we better buy some dinner for Urushihara, right? I think they have takeout bento boxes here.”
A small box on the side of the menu Maou took into hand listed the
bento options available. The
marinated beef option was priced at an extremely reasonable six hundred yen.
But Ashiya scrunched up his face and shook his head at the proposal. He sorted through the remains of his salad and had a waiter take the bowl away.
“No need. We can just buy a regular-sized pork rice bowl at the Sugiya on the way home.”
Surprised at the unexpectedly cold response, Maou watched as Ashiya indignantly finished up his salad.
“Urushihara’s started to get into online shopping, if you haven’t noticed. He’s never worked a day of his life here, and yet he commandeers your credit card to fritter away our monthly budget. He never spends a great deal of money on each individual purchase, but if we let it pass unmentioned, we’ll all pay for it someday.”
“Wha? He’s been buying stuff?”
“I noticed on the past month’s credit card bill that there were quite a few more purchases made besides the computer and Internet installation we bought. Unless it was one of us wasting our money, which I doubt, it had to be him.”
“…Oh. Yeah, you know, I kinda had the impression that laptop’s gotten a lot more decked out since I bought it…”
The computer, a device that was undeniably the most state-of-the-art cultural artifact in the lives of all the Devil’s Castle denizens, was a gift funded by Maou in hopes of encouraging Urushihara’s computer skills.
“I kinda wanted to go easy on him. He can’t really go outside, and I don’t want him getting so stressed that he starts thinking about double-crossing me again. But if he’s going too far, I better read him the riot act, huh?”
“I earnestly hope you do, Your Demonic Highness. The iron hammer of justice needs to be struck, and quickly.”
Ashiya’s face was still locked in a frown, but it seemed to loosen a bit at Maou’s encouraging words. It did not last.
“Okay, well, if we got some free money, then how ’bout we splurge a little?”
Ashiya’s chopsticks froze in the air as Maou suddenly shifted gears, menu already open.
“I kept this on the cheap side ’cause I thought we’d need to save some money for Urushihara’s portion, but if not, how ’bout we get one order of prime
, huh? What do you think? One prime
Even with the early-bird special, the prime-grade
, tripe, and
meat each cost 490 yen a plate.
Ashiya hung his head in resignation.
“…Well, if you insist. But just today, and just this once! There will be no more ordering tonight.”
Maou pumped a fist in the air as he caught a nearby waiter, made his order, and requested the check. Watching his leader drool with excitement over a single serving of spiced beef, Ashiya couldn’t decide if the sight was heartwarming or soul-crushingly pathetic.
He raised a glass to his lips to drown the pangs of barren emptiness. All that remained was ice.
The world of Ente Isla, the Land of the Holy Cross, was fabled to be watched over personally by the gods themselves. It was composed of five vast continents, spread out in a cross formation over the Ocean of Ignora. And the king of demons, the supreme ruler of evil in this world, now lived here in the Sasazuka neighborhood of Shibuya ward, Tokyo, Japan.
Satan, the Devil King, was the iron-fist tyrant of the world of demons, a stained land infested with the writhing minions of darkness. His very name was synonymous with depraved cruelty and terror.
Together with his close-knit band of trustworthy Great Demon Generals, Satan had demolished Ente Isla’s human forces, to the point where he was just one step away from wholly conquering the land.
But then there appeared a Hero, one powerful enough to crush the Devil King’s ambitions and protect her motherland. Her name was Emilia Justina. After a climactic battle, the Devil King was defeated and forced to jump through a Gate connecting to another world, in a frantic attempt to make good his escape.
In his wounded, exhausted state, he could do little more than let the Gate’s flow take him to an unknown world, one that called itself “Earth.” It was much larger than Ente Isla, its civilization far more advanced—and, most distasteful of all, it was under the supreme rule of the human race.
Finding themselves in “Japan,” one of Earth’s nations, Satan and Alciel quickly realized they could no longer retain their high-level demon forms. The magical force that so naturally bubbled out of every pore of Ente Isla’s fabric did not exist at all in this world.
To regain their powers and return home, the pair of arch-demons decided to live with the humans in this strange nation, bereft of both holy and demonic force to live off of, and search for a way to safely regain their magical energy.
And by the time one Earth year had passed, the two arch-demons had found themselves a worthy position in Japanese society—the few, the proud, the menial part-time workers!
The Devil King Satan, who had taken on the name Sadao Maou, was now an A-level crew member at the MgRonald fast-food chain location in front of the Hatagaya rail station.
Alciel, his Great Demon General who now went by Shirou Ashiya in Japan, served as his de facto househusband, giving his all to support Maou’s new lifestyle.
The two established their temporary Devil’s Castle in Room 201 of Villa Rosa Sasazuka, a wooden apartment building in the Sasazuka neighborhood of Shibuya, Tokyo, that was a surefire nominee for the Rat-Infested Dump Hall of Fame. There they lived their days, just a pair of kind, energetic, law-abiding citizens trying to make their way in the world.
It was not the sort of life one would expect from a demon with dreams of world domination, but Maou was content enough with it. That changed one rainy day, when he lent an umbrella to a young woman caught in the rain on his way to work.
The woman was none other than Emilia Justina, the Hero herself, who had followed the Devil King to Earth in order to strike the final, decisive blow.
The sudden appearance of his greatest foe flustered Maou at first. But Emilia, too, was just as powerless and isolated in Japan as he was, living under the name Emi Yusa and painstakingly building up a part-time work résumé of her own.
Despite these natural enemies rediscovering each other, neither had
the freedom to use their otherworldly powers with reckless abandon on Earth. Thus they glared helplessly at each other, forced to continue living as members of Japan’s underemployed young working class.
One day, the two of them were attacked by someone calling himself an “assassin from Ente Isla,” a nemesis who swore that he would dispose of both the Hero and Devil King in Japan.