Chapter 1:

The Demon Lord Arrives

It’s My First Time Working Late Nights at a Convenience Store, and If I Keep Getting Demon Lords, Kappa and Other Oddballs as Customers, I’m Giving My Two-Weeks’ Notice

“Welcome, irasshaimase...” Bookmark here

As of tonight, I’m running the graveyard shift at my local convenience store.Bookmark here

It’s my first day on the job, so I call the greeting out nice and strong. It’s kind of comforting, actually, at 2 AM.Bookmark here

Since we’re short-staffed, it’s just me and my manager on duty. Except that after giving me a run-down of the basics, he told me to call him if I needed him and went off to go have a nap in the break room.Bookmark here

I’m Haru Muramatsu. I’m 21 years old, and I work the register part-time at my local Mawson’s. Bookmark here

Ding-a-ling-a-ling... Bookmark here

Huh, so people really do come here at this hour. I’m guessing it’ll be some drunk old guy, or some flabby freeloader here to stock up on chips. Bookmark here

“Welcome, irasshai-...” Bookmark here

I don’t even get out the “mase.” I’m shocked speechless.Bookmark here

In strolls this hulking, massive figure who’s got to be at least six feet tall.Bookmark here

He’s decked out in a black cape and purple armor, along with a sword (with a seriously sick paint job) strapped to his waist.Bookmark here

To top it all off, he’s even wearing a pair of gnarled, wicked-looking horns that flash silver.Bookmark here

All in all, I’d say he looks like some kind of... Bookmark here

“I’m a demon lord, if you must know.” Bookmark here

Oh my god, he spoke!! And what is with this guy’s voice? It’s super low! Bookmark here

Is this some kind of cosplay? No, wait. Who goes to a convenience store at 2 AM in a full-blown demon costume? Bookmark here

“You there. Lad. I require sustenance. Fetch me something to eat.” Bookmark here

They say the customer is king, but no one ever treats the employees like actual peasants. Bookmark here

“Uh. Um, well...” Bookmark here

“My stomach; it is empty. Hurry and bring me your finest wares.” Bookmark here

Wait, did he just waltz into a convenience store and demand our “finest wares”? Bookmark here

Dude, just go to a family restaurant or something. Bookmark here

“I mean...I really like these, I guess.” Bookmark here

I pull one of the pork cutlet sandwiches from the display.Bookmark here

I’m always eating them for lunch, so I can vouch for how tasty they are. They’re decently filling, too. So, I gingerly pass it to the self-styled “demon lord.” Bookmark here

“And this is?” Bookmark here

C’mon, who doesn’t recognize a pork cutlet sandwich when they see one?! Besides, can’t this guy at least speak normally? This is already annoying enough! Bookmark here

“A pork cutlet sandwich.” Bookmark here

Ugh, I can’t believe that I actually had to explain that! This whole exchange is mortifying! Bookmark here

“I see. Then, I shall partake of it. However, should it not appease my palate, your life shall be forfeit.” Bookmark here

Uuuuuh...sure, man.Bookmark here

Doesn’t he know I don’t make the sandwiches? Dude, I’m begging you, just let this act drop. Seriously, give it a rest. Pretending to get ready to draw your sword isn’t cool.Bookmark here

The cosplayer turns the sandwich over in his hands, looking at it from every angle in a pretty convincing pantomime of how a demon lord from another world might inspect his first ever pork cutlet sandwich.Bookmark here

And then he brings it up to his mouth. Bookmark here

“Whoa, hold on there!” Bookmark here

“Why must I? I hunger.” Bookmark here

“Yeah, but you haven’t given me any money for it yet.” Bookmark here

“What is this ‘money’? Does it refer to those gold coins of yours?” Bookmark here

Is he trying out some weird new shoplifting thing?!Bookmark here

Where you, I don’t know, dress up as a demon and try to scare some cashier into letting you walk out with free food?!Bookmark here

Dude, how...did you even think this would be a good idea...?Bookmark here

Doesn’t matter. There’s no way he’s going to pull the wool over my eyes. Bookmark here

“Sir, this is a convenience store. Like all stores, we require cash in exchange for our goods and services. I mean, great costume — but there’s no way you’re a real demon lord.” Bookmark here

You know, I’d say I handled this pretty well.Bookmark here

But, this guy...Bookmark here

I look up to see that he’s still there, glaring down his nose at me.Bookmark here

He puts a foot up on the counter, hoisting himself up onto the narrow ledge. The whole thing is pretty intense, and I scramble backwards.Bookmark here

There isn’t too much space behind the counter, though, so I’m stuck staring this demon lord dress-up fanatic dead in the eye as he bellows: Bookmark here

“You doubt my status? How dare you mock me, boy. I’ll make you regret that.” Bookmark here

Ding-a-ling-a-ling... Bookmark here

“I’m so super sorry for all of this!!” Bookmark here

In rushes a dark-skinned young woman dressed in a sexy red and black maid outfit (with ample cleavage, I might add), apologizing all the while.Bookmark here

Her blonde ponytail flutters behind her, which makes for a striking view. So, for an instant, I forget all about the demon lord who’s towering over me.Bookmark here

Except that, on closer inspection, her ears...are pointy. Like, anime-elf-pointy.  Bookmark here

Hooo boy. With those ears, and that outfit, she’s definitely another cosplayer!! Bookmark here

“Demon Lord, sir! Just what d’you think you’re doing?!” Bookmark here

“This fool insulted me.” Bookmark here

“Still, y’can’t climb up there! Go on, get down!” Bookmark here

The elf-maid tugs on the demon cosplayer’s cape, and he reluctantly returns to the floor.Bookmark here

Honestly? That was kind of terrifying. Bookmark here

“Sorry, Mr. Man. Our Demon Lord here ain’t been to the human world much, so he’s a little out of touch.” Bookmark here

...Great, she’s in on it too.Bookmark here

Ugh, I’m at the end of my rope.Bookmark here

But isn’t calling the manager for help on my first day a little too pathetic? Bookmark here

“Hold on a minute! What’re you holding?!” Bookmark here

“Sustenance that I received from this lad.” Bookmark here

“Geez! How many times do I have to keep tellin’ you to stop asking strangers for food?! You can’t pay for it, so put it back!” Bookmark here

“I refuse. I wish to sate my hunger.” Bookmark here

“You can’t do that, we’re broke! I’m gonna start earning money at my part-time job soon, but you’re just gonna have to hold out until then! So, let’s go home, ‘kay?”Bookmark here

Yeesh, what is up with this skit...?Bookmark here

I don’t even know what kind of reaction they’re going for. But, looking at this logically...Bookmark here

If they hurry up and get what they came here for, then I’d get to finish my first shift in peace. Bookmark here

“Sorry, but could you hold on for just one second?” Bookmark here

I step away from the register and slip off to the break room. With a quick glance at my manager — who’s still passed out on the couch, snoring softly — I grab my wallet from my locker.Bookmark here

I sprint back to the pair, who are waiting surprisingly patiently. Bookmark here

“I’ll buy you the sandwich, so you can take it to go, okay?” Bookmark here

With that, I hold out my hand to take the pork cutlet sandwich back from the demon lord cosplayer.Bookmark here

The two of them silently exchange a glance. Bookmark here

“Look, I still have to ring it up, so could you please give me the sandwich?” Bookmark here

My voice is a little curt as I flap my still-outstretched hand. Bookmark here

“I’ll pay the three hundred yen for it, so...” Bookmark here

“Boy, are you inferring that you wish to purchase a favor, nay, a boon from this demon lord?” Bookmark here

The return to my laid-back late-night shift would be the reward, yes. Can we move on with this? Bookmark here

“Yeah, that is kinda suspicious.” Bookmark here

“You know what? Fine. I don’t need money or favors or anything. Please just take the sandwich and go.” Bookmark here

I’m done. I give up.Bookmark here

Stone-faced and run ragged, I admit defeat. They can take the thing free of charge, as long as they leave.Bookmark here

I mean, who’d refuse an offer like that?Bookmark here

The two...customers...confer off to the side in low whispers, sneaking obvious peeks at me. Bookmark here

“Sir, ya...don’t suppose that human overheard us talkin’ about how broke we are, d’you?” Bookmark here

“Inconceivable. I would never debase myself by requesting aid from one of his species.” Bookmark here

Guys, I can still hear you!! Bookmark here

“Regardless, I shall accept this lad’s misguided charity, for I am a forgiving soul...who is famished beyond all compare. Let us away, Sheri.” Bookmark here

“You’re gonna what?! Sir? Demon Lord?!” Bookmark here

Sandwich in hand, the oppressively tall cosplayer exits the convenience store in a few quick strides. Huh. I guess he really was hungry. Bookmark here

“Bein’ in debt to a human’s pretty pitiful, but, well...I owe ya one. I’ll return the favor someday, ’kay?” Bookmark here

The elf-maid cosplayer gives me a quick bob of her head in thanks, before racing off to rejoin the demon lord dude.Bookmark here

What a mess.Bookmark here

I go grab another pork cutlet sandwich, ring it up, then drop three hundred of my own yen into the till.Bookmark here

Finally, I put that sandwich back in the display with a long, hard sigh. Bookmark here

“Ugh, my first day on the graveyard shift, and I already just want to go home and cry.”  Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.