World“s First Demon Lord Chapter 29: Questions and Answers
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March 29, 4:35 am, London, England
Ms. Kang was giving me a look. Of course, it looked like all of her other looks. But I, the glorious and insightful Demon Lord that I am, could always tell when my beloved henchwoman was giving me certain looks.
In this case, her look was saying, "I told you so."
Well, she had a point.
First of all, there was superhero storyline. The beginning had been exactly what I had hoped for; two flirting youths, pushing each other on, falling deeper into the mystery and, unknowingly, deeper in love. I had to admit, when Gadiel froze the Monkey Beast dead in its tracks, I had been giddy with excitement.
From there, the boys had started meeting up every day, practising their powers. Tarik had been reading all the 'lore,' and was getting embroiled in the mystery of it all. Gadiel was a little more hesitant, it seemed, only there because Tarik was; a development that was truly, incredibly fun to watch. Despite his reluctance however, Gadiel was head and shoulders above Tarik when it came to controlling his powers.
The superhero storyline was everything I wanted it to be, and more.
Except that they were both boys.
I mean...wasn't this supposed to be entertainment for me? How come I ended up watching two guys flirting? This doesn't excite me at all, damnit!
At least, that had been my reaction until I saw the boys. As mentioned, I had actual moments where I was giddy with excitement. I suppose romance is romance, no matter the gender of the participants. And it also meant that...Ms. Kang had been right. That the boys were the perfect candidates.
But no, that look was too smug for that simple accomplishment. No, there was something else that I had to admit defeat on, despite my unwillingness to be wrong.
It was also about the gamer storyline. We'd run into a bit of a problem there. Nothing I couldn't fix, but still...I thought I had it all planned out perfectly...and yet it seems I had miscalculated.
How mortifying. Especially when looking at Ms. King's other great accomplishment.
The thriller storyline.
I had been hesitant about it since the beginning. And when it did start, I had been bored.
How did I get so sucked in? When did I start caring so much about Ms. Watanabe? Even I didn't remember. Ms. Kang's planning had been meticulous. Arranging the lax hypersecurity of the lab, sending over the body of the Naga just at the right time, opening up the box remotely as Ms. Watanabe punched in random codes...all planned out to the tiniest detail.
Which lead us to...
"..and so, that is my proposal to continue the thriller storyline."
Ms. Kang bowed deeply. I sifted through the papers she had prepared for this very meeting.
"Was this always your plan?" I asked her casually. "Or was this a backup?"
Ms. Kang said nothing for a while, still bowing.
"The truth..." she began, then stopped. She stood up straight and looked me in the eye.
"The truth is that I wanted something like this to happen," she said, gaze never wavering. "I just didn't expect it to happen so soon."
I nodded. It made sense. The proposal had a lot of thought put into it; there was no way this was done on the spot.
"Very well," I said, putting the proposal down and turning to the projection. On it, Sakura Watanabe lay on the floor, passed out. She had been like that for about five minutes or so now.
I got up, and did a little stretch. This shouldn't be too hard, but it would definitely be fun.
"I will have to test her a little," I said. "Not because I need to. But because I want to."
"Of course," said Ms. Kang.
"If she doesn't pass...well, I suppose we'll cancel the storyline," I said casually. That caused her to flinch, bringing a smile to my face.
"Are you sure you want me to continue?"
A moment of silence. Then...
Ms. Kang nodded. Good answer. It showed that she still believed in Ms. Watanabe.
"Very well then."
It was time for the Demon Lord to intervene personally.
March 29, ??:?? ??, ???
The Professor pushed up his rectangular glasses, then pointed to the blackboard with his cane. Sakura stared at the giant zero on the board.
"And so, due to your performance, as outlined, I am given no choice but to fail you," he said dispassionately. "It's time for you to leave."
He tapped his cane twice, and a shimmering, white portal opened up beside him. Sakura clenched her fists. She knew that if she walked in there that there was no coming back. She needed to think of something, fast.
Meanwhile, her body slowly got up, disconnected from her will. It felt like something was pushing her body from the inside, making it move on its own.
"This isn't fair!" she said, walking slowly towards the aisle that lead down to the podium below.
The professor raised an eyebrow, then asked how so.
"I wasn't given enough time," she said. "If I had enough time, I would have been able to get everything I needed!"
"You were given a set amount of time, and then some," the professor argued, watching her slowly walk down the steps towards him. "You had more than enough time to change. And yet..."
"More than enough time to change?" said Sakura, narrowing her eyes. "If you're talking about my transition, then I did! I changed myself, changed my entire body, enough that people were disgusted!"
The professor said nothing, simply staring at her as she walked closer.
"What else did you want me to change?" she said. "Everyone's thoughts on me? How am I supposed to do that? Be a role model? Do everything right, and make no mistake ever? Never give into my anger?"
"You expect perfection from me, just because I'm a minority? Because the majority can't relate to my experience, can't relate to my body, I need to take every ignorant asshole and turn them into a saint?"
Sakura grit her teeth as she approached the Professor.
"It is not my job to teach the willfully ignorant!" she went on. "I will use my time and energy on things that I can actually change!"
The Professor tilted his head.
"Really?" he said. "You really believe that?"
"Of course!" said Sakura, certain that she was telling the truth.
The Professor looked at her curiously. Suddenly, Sakura's body stopped; the pressure from the inside was suddenly gone. She could move as she pleased now.
"And how has that helped?" said the Professor. "By changing only what you can, have you really changed the world to be a better place?"
"I've changed the world around me," Sakura answered. "Is that not enough?"
The Professor sighed.
"So what?" he said. "So what if you've made the world around you better? Hatred still exists. Bigotry still exists. Evil is still out there. You have done nothing but bury your head in the sand while the root of the problem grows further."
"That's wrong," Sakura replied. "I've built a shield around myself; a safe haven to keep me protected."
"And who will protect the others?"
Sakura bit her lip.
"I will," she said boldly. "I'll protect those I can."
"And those you can't?"
"You can't expect me to know how to save everyone!" she exclaimed out of frustration. "I'm just one person!"
"Why should I care that you are only one person?" said the Professor, seeming genuinely puzzled. "Are you not the same as the rest of your kind? If you cannot change the entirety of humanity, then who can?"
"No one! No one can save the entirety of humanity on their own," said Sakura. "That's something we all have to do together!"
"Then why haven't you all?" the Professor asked.
Sakura had no answer to that. The Professor seemed to understand that, and shook his head in disappointment.
"Humanity is on a course for destruction," he sighed, pointing to the blackboard again. It was now showing a chalk animation of a world destroyed, buildings collapsed and humans nowhere in sight.
"Your superior intellect allowed you to take Mother Earth's bounties for yourself, leaving nothing for the rest," said the Professor. "It's caused an imbalance that the world is trying to rectify."
"I know," Sakura muttered.
"The Earth is suffocating under your greed," the Professor went on. "If this keeps up, not only will you destroy yourselves, you will take the Earth down with you."
"I know," said Sakura, louder this time.
"And yet, instead of working to solve these problems, you're all fighting each other over meaningless distinctions," the Professor continued. "You see yourselves as the enemy, squabbling over meaningless little-"
"It's not meaningless!" said Sakura. She looked at the Professor, who seemed baffled, straight in the eye.
"There are people – not animals, or plants, or viruses, or germs; actual PEOPLE – who want me dead simply for being alive," she said. "I deserve a right to live."
"So does everyone else."
"I! Know! Which is why I shouldn't have to fight other human beings for this!" said Sakura. "But I have to! Cause if I don't then they will kill me! Do you know how many trans people are killed, just for being in love? For just existing in a space where other people can see them? For daring to express their emotions?"
"Those people, the ones who would kill me, don't care about who I am, about what I feel, or about the fact that I am a human being!" she yelled. "All they see is something they don't understand, something they don't want to understand! I'm something for them to vent their pent-up anger and murderous intent towards!"
"Yes, the world is on fire, yes, we should focus on trying to prevent the end of the world, but the fault isn't with humanity as a whole! There are a subset of people of the world, the ones who are truly powerful, who play with our lives just to increase their own power. It's THEIR fault the world is the way it is, if not directly, then by standing aside while they have the money and power to change literally everything!"
"The only way to get them to stop, is to expose their crimes to the world, to show everyone how they've been tricked into helping them destroy the world for their own profits!" said Sakura passionately. "And there is no way for me to do that, if I'm dead!"
Silence. Suddenly, all the strength seemed to leave her legs, but she grit her teeth, and looked up at the Professor. He seemed to be in deep thought.
"Which leads us back to the beginning," he said. "You said it yourself; you can't change the willfully ignorant. That's most of the world right now, including those people who hate you for being transgender. Including those who simply work under the machine of global capitalism, slowly allowing the world to be strangled. You can't do anything. You can't save the world."
He pointed at her.
"Humanity is doomed. There is nothing you can do about it."
The Professor paused, and tilted his head. The portal near him shimmered.
"Yes there is," said Sakura. "I just told you how I would do it."
The Professor chuckled.
"By exposing the truth?" he said derisively. "These powerful people, won't they simply suppress the truth? Or spin it in a way that gives them more power?"
"I'll just make sure they can't," said Sakura. "People have done it before. It might be harder these days, but I can do it. I know I can."
The Professor shook his head.
"What makes you think you can, when so many others have failed?" he asked.
"Because I'll give them a solution," she answered. "I'll tell the world what's happening, and I will tell them how to fix it."
"But I can't do that if I don't know everything yet," she went on. "Therefore...I need more time."
The Professor stood for a while, thinking.
"The truth has no power to change people if they don't believe in it," he said.
"I will make them believe," said Sakura.
"Didn't you say you had no power to change people who didn't want to change?" mocked the Professor.
"I don't," she admitted. "Yet."
The Professor scoffed.
"What have you done then?" said Sakura, balling a fist. She was getting tired of this Professor's constant negativity.
"You heard me," said Sakura folding her arms. "I have, at the very least, made a small part of the world better. Tell me, Professor, what have you done to help the world?"
They stood there, staring at each other for a while. Surprisingly, the Professor was the first to look away.
"I suppose...you have a point," he said begrudgingly.
Sakura blinked in surprise. That was not the answer she expected.
"Very well," he sighed. "I suppose we could give this another go."
He went back behind his podium, and started arranging his papers.
"This time, you'll have my blessing," he said, putting all his papers in a small briefcase. "You're confident in finding the truth? Then let's say you'll have my blessing in showing whichever truth you see fit."
"Um...what?" said Sakura.
The Professor looked up, and for the first time, grinned. There was something about that smile that sent a cold shiver down Sakura's spine.
"Let's see what you decide the Truth is," he said. "I look forward to hearing your answer, Sakura Watanabe."
He placed his suitcase on the podium.
With that, he clapped, and the world collapsed.
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