Book 8: The Sixth: Chapter of the Final Battle: “The Bright and Brilliant Smile – The Calm Before the Storm”
Unlike Awaitsun, who is always awaiting orders and would immediately respectfully salute me upon my return, Adair wasn’t even in the hall. However, I had no need to unleash my sensing ability to find him since there were two rows of guards ready at all times, waiting for my orders.
There were a total of ten guards. They wore black armor and stood near the entrance without moving at all. They looked very similar to Illu’s dark warrior, so they were possibly the same type of undead creature.
I commanded them to find Adair, and then I began conversing with Elaro.
“How are you liking the place?”
Elaro had been sneakily glancing around at his surroundings, especially at those undead guards. At first, he had been greatly shocked, but then he stared at them in curiosity. He was quite brave.
When he heard my question, he thought about it for a moment before saying, “I don’t know yet. It feels so dark, but it’s not as scary as I imagined. Everyone says the Demon King’s Castle is super scary, and that there are a lot of undead creatures that eat humans there, with the floor littered with bones that undead creatures spat out after eating the human!”
I vehemently said, “If any undead creature dares to eat a human and spit the bones everywhere in my castle, I will definitely make him die again!”
Elaro smiled again. When he’s not smiling, he resembles Teacher, but when he smiles, the feeling completely disappears.
“You quite like smiling.” I sat down. As I touched the orb on the edge of the throne’s armrest, I asked, “I remember when I had previously seen you, you were always frowning.”
It seemed that he recalled the circumstances from back then. Elaro’s expression fell. “At the time, the people in the village were all very scared. Usually, people would give food to my sister and me, but in those times, almost everyone stopped doing so. I almost ran out of food to give my sister. That’s why I was frowning.”
I see. I nodded but suddenly realized that Elaro was by himself at the moment. What about his sister? “Your sister…”
The sound of crisp footsteps drifted over, fast but not hurried. These footsteps couldn’t be any more familiar to me. Adair was always busy, so of course he could not slow down his footsteps, but he would never ever give people a hurried feeling. No matter how fast he walked, he would still always be unruffled!
“Your Majesty.” Adair walked into the main hall. He did not actually salute me. After he finished calling out “Your Majesty,” he looked doubtfully at Elaro. Puzzled, he asked, “This is a young knight-in-training?”
“His name is Elaro.” I lazily slouched on the throne and asked, “Have you seen him before?”
Adair stared at his face for awhile. Then, he exclaimed, “Ah! He seems to be the child who had come to look for you earlier. Knight-Captain Storm recognized him, so he let him join the Holy Temple and even assigned him to clean your room.”
So it was Storm’s arrangements. That makes a lot more sense why they would arrange for Elaro to clean my room. It was probably because no one had time and they conveniently had a kid who had once seen part of my true personality. Of course they would hurry to have this young knight become a cleaner for free.
“I recall that your ability to remember people is rather good. Why didn’t you recognize Elaro immediately?”
I was a bit curious. Although Adair hadn’t reached the point of never forgetting people he had seen before, regarding people who concerned me, he usually always thoroughly remembered in case I suddenly wanted him to find or beat someone up and he couldn’t remember who I was talking about.
Adair smiled wryly for a moment and said, “At the time, Knight-Captain Storm and the others had all returned, yet you had not. Because of that, I felt somewhat… lost, so I did not particularly notice him.”
“Was it just somewhat lost?” I pouted. I thought that when Adair heard that I had become the Demon King, he would completely collapse as if the heavens had fallen! Yet he was only a little lost? Hmph!
“He was so lost he was always drifting along the corridors everyday!” Elaro cut in to say, “Everyone always said ‘Someone, quick, bring back Knight-Captain Sun or else Adair will soon change from a spirit into a wraith!’”
“Spirit?” I looked at Adair curiously.
“This, uh, I was a little thinner at the time, so people said I looked a lot like a spirit and could compete with Knight-Captain Cloud.”
So it was really like the heavens had fallen? I looked at Adair. He was indeed a lot thinner than before, but it wasn’t to the point of looking like a spirit, so I went ahead and sought confirmation from Elaro. “Was Adair really thin before this?”
Elaro nodded feverishly and said, “Before this, he was super, super thin. He really resembled a spirit a whole lot!”
Hearing this, and seeing Adair’s very embarrassed smile and that he hadn’t denied it, I was finally satisfied. It was only then that I noticed a missing black crystal doll. “Where’s Scarlet?”
“Currently summoning undead creatures.” Adair’s gaze moved toward the undead guards. “The dark warriors seem to be the most useful undead creatures at the moment. They have sufficient intelligence and loyalty, very suitable to be the captain or another high position in an army. However, they are not easy to summon. Even with Scarlet and Illu around, summoning a sufficient number in a short amount of time is still a bit difficult.”
“I thought that the five creatures of darkness under Illu’s command are all rare types. So, more of them can actually be summoned?”
If that is the case, with the army completely consisting of dark warriors, they would probably be invincible!
Adair nodded and said, “They are rare, but what makes them rare is their level, not their type. The dark warrior under Illu’s command is an advanced one who has already reached the top level and has become a hell warrior.”
Undead creatures have such things as levels? Even after death, they can still grow up?
“I have discovered that undead creatures have a lot of different advancements and variations. None of that is recorded in the Church of the God of Light’s undead creatures log, so I plan on recording it to better keep track later.”
So they are advancements and variations. No wonder! I was just thinking how there were so many strange undead creatures. The Church of the God of Light’s mortal enemy is undead creatures, yet they can’t even keep track of their mortal enemy’s different types. How incompetent would that be!
“Call Illu over. I have orders for him.”
Adair immediately turned and commanded the dark warriors. Then, he asked me, “Your Majesty, are you hungry? Would you like to eat something?”
I was indeed a bit hungry. I nodded right away. Then, I turned and asked Elaro, “Want to eat?”
Elaro hesitated, as if he didn’t know what to say.
“If you’re hungry, say you’re hungry. If you’re not, say you’re not.” I impatiently said, “Don’t try to be modest with me!”
“Actually, I’m not hungry, but whenever I hear there’s food to eat, I would want to eat,” Elaro replied honestly.
I laughed and told Adair, “Go prepare a meal. Give this little fellow some dessert.”
Not long after, Illu and food arrived at the same time. As I listened to Adair ask Illu if he had finished preparations, I ate the food. Elaro was even eating to the point of not lifting his head.
Now, I finally had the feeling that I was the Demon King. Earlier on, no matter what I wanted to do, I had to do it myself. I didn’t have any subordinates I could use!
Awaitsun’s loyalty was an issue, Illu’s entire being was an issue, so anything that was slightly more major could not be given to them to carry out. Yet they were both beings on the level of general, so they didn’t even know how to carry out unimportant matters either!
Without a single person I could use under my command, what kind of Demon King was I?!
With a cold face, Illu replied to Adair, “The summoning goal for the day has been reached, despicable, shameless, filthy, vile human.”
D-Despicable and shameless? I looked doubtfully toward Adair. I really was not used to the words “despicable and shameless” being used to curse someone other than me, and it was actually used on Adair. I had never heard anyone regard him in this way!
Generally, Adair’s popularity was through the roof. Even the targets of the Sun Knight Platoon’s ganged up beatings often never knew he was the mastermind… No, the mastermind was actually me. I should say that he is the “main accomplice”!
I had once seen him wear a worried expression to speak with a heavily injured victim, promising that he would help him find the culprit, making the injured victim feel incomparably grateful. However, the person’s injuries had obviously been inflicted by him when he had led the platoon to beat the guy up just a day earlier!
Adair had on a sincere expression as he explained, “Because Illu was not very obedient, I adopted some necessary tactics.”
Necessary tactics? I was a little surprised. Although Adair was not weak, as he was even the Sun Knight’s vice-captain, and his holy spells were nothing to scoff at either, Illu was an undead creature on the level of a general. If the two clashed, it was hard to say who would come out the loser.
But, as things stood, Illu seemed to have lost miserably… Just how many more hidden facets of my vice-captain do I not know about?
I could not help asking him, “Adair, you defeated Illu?”
“Nonsense!” Illu yelled.
I looked at Illu and then at Adair. I didn’t quite understand what had happened. I impatiently said, “Explain clearly. Stop beating around the bush!”
“Yes.” Adair used a serious expression to answer, but then he smiled. “I was only telling Illu some things about Knight-Captain Roland.”
As expected of my vice-captain. He immediately caught onto Illu’s only weakness that could threaten him.
“Knight-Captain Roland is truly a very serious person. For the sake of pretending to be human, as an undead creature, he would still periodically go to the bathroom and stay there for a bit. However, there was one time when he stayed there for an entire afternoon. Tyler was so worried he led the entire platoon and rushed into the bathroom only to find Knight-Captain Roland squatting blankly in the bathroom.”
A death monarch squatting blankly in the bathroom… I completely avoided thinking about such an image, especially when the death monarch involved is Roland. This image is most definitely even more shocking than when I had seen Teacher in the bathroom that one time!
“Shut up! Shut up! You better shut up!”
Illu yelled furiously and even wanted to rush over to attack Adair. I coldly snorted and used the dark element to suppress him. He couldn’t move at all.
Adair continued speaking. “After being asked, Knight-Captain Roland said he had forgotten how long the bathroom was supposed to take, so he off-handedly asked a holy knight who answered that if it was not going successfully, squatting for an entire afternoon was possible! So, he squatted for an entire afternoon.”
Pft! Roland, just how lucky are you to have off-handedly asked a guy who answered “not going successfully.”
Illu’s face was completely twisted. “The monarch would definitely not do that kind of, that kind of… thing!”
Although he claimed that Roland would never do anything like that, he skipped over the adjective. It was clear that he wasn’t very sure, so he didn’t dare describe it as “embarrassing” or the like.
I coolly added oil to the fire. “It’s not that I want to burst your bubble, but the Roland that I know is very likely to do something like that.”
“No!” Illu was rather stubborn.
I was too lazy to argue with him and said, “I have something I need you to do. The curtains are about to be drawn for my game. Bring your underlings to put on a good show.”
Illu’s face was quite ugly. “Again with such boring matters!”
“Illu! Is that the attitude you should take with His Majesty?” Adair scolded sternly and said, “How about I tell you another interesting matter regarding Knight-Captain Roland? This time, you should listen with your entire troop. I believe they will find it interesting too.”
Illu yelled furiously, “Shut up! Don’t you dare besmirch the monarch!”
Yelling is fine, but Illu actually pulled his sword out and removed his ring of disguise, revealing his original appearance. He looks entirely like he’s ready for battle. If Adair were to say one more word besmirching Roland, he might battle to the death with him!
My sleeve got pulled. I turned to look. Elaro had finished his dessert and was tugging on my sleeve. With large eyes, he stared at Illu’s true appearance. The expression on his face was merely shock and was far from the level of fright. He was quite courageous.
At this time, Adair had also drawn his sword and had walked two steps forward to stand in front of me.
This is what a subordinate should be like! Even when facing off with someone else, he should first consider that it should not involve his boss. This kind of excellent subordinate, I won’t let failing subordinates provoke him!
“Stop it, both of you!”
After I yelled, Adair immediately lowered his blade but did not put it away because Illu did not seem to have heard my words. He still looked rebellious, as if he wanted to rush up and chop Adair down at any moment.
Actually, I didn’t hate Illu’s unyielding character, but whenever he became defiant, it really made me want to cut him into ninety nine pieces!
“Put away your sword!” I stood up and yelled, “Illu, listen well. Adair is my chief subordinate. No one may raise a hand against him!”
Yelling at Illu was useless, so I gathered a huge amount of dark element as a means to threaten him. If I blasted this dark element at Illu, it would destroy at least half his body.
Illu’s resolve finally wavered. Although his expression was still cold, he finally put away his sword.
“Allow me to complete your game, Your Majesty.” Adair also put away his sword. He turned and said, “This fellow probably does not have the ability to complete the task. If he were to mess up your entertainment, dying a hundred times wouldn’t even be enough!”
I thought it over. At the moment, Adair was still not well known. As the Demon King’s chief subordinate, that wouldn’t do at all. I might as well let him carry out the task this time to establish his reputation.
“Fine, then I’ll leave it up to you. These are the contents of the mission…”
Adair listened in full concentration. After I had only spoken a few words, he revealed an understanding smile. I didn’t need to explain much at all before he knew what to do, just like always when he would surround and beat someone up.
With Adair around, I really could relax a lot more. I was even starting to anticipate the game that I had been forced to end early because of Judgment’s pressure. I really wanted to see what kind of expressions Charlotte, Taylen, and Michel would wear upon finding out that I’m the Demon King.
“Grisia! Just where did you go?”
I had only just teleported back to the party when everyone started calling out in alarm. Someone even hurriedly left to find Taylen and the others.
I had only left for three days. Aren’t they overreacting?
In the past few days, I watched Adair establish the undead army. A bunch of undead creatures stood in rows, forming troops. Most of them were uncommon advancements or variations not usually seen. I learned that the skeletons from earlier that had flesh on their joints were actually called blood skeletons.
In addition, Elaro followed me everywhere. No matter what I introduced to him, he would gasp in surprise and his eyes would widen, making me feel particularly accomplished, so I felt that time passed much quicker than I was used to. Before I knew it, three days had passed. If not for Adair’s reminder, it might have taken even more days before I returned.
Soon after, Taylen and Michel hurriedly rushed over.
“If we couldn’t find you, we really might have left you behind and gone off to join the army of the Church of the God of Light on our own.” Although Michel said this, I didn’t believe him. My disguise was that of an advanced mage. With me around, they had a much better chance of getting selected by the Church of the God of Light.
“Grisia.” Taylen opened his mouth but closed it. Finally, he still decided to speak. “Has something happened between you and Charlotte? During the days you were away, she looked upset.”
I calmly said, “We had a small fight. It was nothing. Where is she?”
“In the main tent.” Michel said, “She heard that you had returned yet still refused to come over. Are you going to head over? Oh, it’s not that I want to nag, but you should try coaxing her! Girls will be fine as long as you coax them.”
I had originally wanted to say “no,” why should I go and coax a girl? But then I abruptly remembered that this game was going to end soon. If Charlotte already hates me now, then when she learns of the Demon King’s real identity, she probably wouldn’t feel much of an impact? Damn, how can I let that happen?
“Okay fine, I’ll go and apologize.” Hearing this, Michel was taken aback. It was clear he hadn’t thought I would agree to apologize, but he quickly nodded and said, “That’s what you should do. I don’t know what you argued about or who’s in the right or wrong, but yielding a bit to the girl is never wrong.”
When I walked past Taylen, he suddenly lowered his voice and said, “Grisia, if you like Charlotte, I won’t fight over her with you. Don’t worry.”
I stopped in my tracks, seized by sudden fury. “Have you always intended to play around and run off?”
Taylen blinked. Then he smiled wryly. “I never had the intention to ‘play around’.”
Michel cut in to say, “How can Taylen be such a womanizer? Grisia, aren’t you thinking too highly of him?”
Both Taylen and I rolled our eyes exaggeratedly at Michel. It made sense when I thought about it. Although we hadn’t spent more than a month together, I knew that Taylen was indeed not the type to play around with women. I had to admit it rather reluctantly.
As if afraid I wouldn’t believe him, Taylen quickly explained, “I really have hinted many times already, and I’ve even said it directly before too! But Charlotte said there’s nothing to lose in chasing after me. Maybe one day she would succeed, so she is unwilling to give up.”
That damn woman would indeed say something like that!
I turned. Originally, I had planned to apologize, but now I wanted to collect my debts!
Michel yelled from behind, “Grisia, your tent has already been put away. After you apologize, we’re leaving immediately. After stalling for three days, there are people in the party who aren’t very happy.”
“I’m not going to apologize to that damn woman!”
Michel and Taylen were both stunned.
I walked briskly to the main tent. People were already in the process of taking down the main tent, so of course Charlotte wasn’t inside. I asked around but didn’t get an answer, so I went ahead and extended my sensing ability to the entire encampment of the party. Only then did I find Charlotte’s whereabouts. She sat below a tree, lost in thought… If I remembered correctly, that was exactly the place where we had our argument.
When I teleported over, I stood directly in front of Charlotte, only a few steps away. She stared stupidly at me with wide eyes. Although someone had suddenly appeared, she was merely stunned but was not too shocked because I often suddenly appeared like this. In the past month, everyone had long since gotten used to it.
Because she was sitting on the ground, I lowered my head to look down at her. I coldly said, “Although I was wrong to call you ugly, don’t you dare think I’ll apologize. You hear me?”
Charlotte froze. Then, she stood up to confront me and yelled, “Who wants your apology! I get that I’m an ugly girl! Brother Taylen doesn’t like me. What’s so strange that you don’t like me either! I’m not sad at all!”
I never said you’re sad, so why are you clarifying?! And you’re even showing such a melancholic yet obstinate expression… Whatever. Why should I fuss over this with a girl?
“You’re not that bad to look at!” I breathed in deeply and quickly said, “I was just speaking nonsense. Taylen is the one who has a rigid brain; the only thing he’d fall in love with is his sword! Actually, the shape of your face is pretty cute. Although your skin isn’t fair, it looks very healthy…”
The more I spoke, the softer my voice became. In the end, it was actually a bit hard to continue. It’s all this damn woman’s fault…
“Anyway!” I roared, “I’m consoling you, so why in the world are you crying?”
Charlotte’s face was streaked with tears. When she heard my words of comfort, not only did she not stop crying, she even began sobbing. Her face was covered in tears and couldn’t be any uglier! She cried as she said, “W-What, so I’m not even allowed to cry?!”
I grit my teeth and suggested an exchange. “As long as you stop crying, I’ll let you see my face.”
The sobs immediately stopped.
“Really?” Charlotte was surprised. Although her tears had stopped, she still stubbornly said, “Why should I want to look at your face? In any case, you must be ugly!”
“I’m going to show you that I’m not ugly!” I removed my mask. Of course, I had closed my eyes already. Otherwise, Charlotte, who had just stopped crying, would immediately cry out in alarm.
Charlotte had only said the word “you” before immediately blanking out, her gaze stuck to my face.
“Am I ugly?” I purposely asked, but I had already gotten my answer from Charlotte’s expression. Being able to make a girl blank out just by having her see my face truly made one feel accomplished. She didn’t look at Taylen with such concentration!
“Grisia, you, didn’t you say you’re disfigured?” Charlotte stuttered as she said, “How are you disfigured? Your, your skin is so fair and tender without any blemishes… Are you really a guy?”
“Of course I’m a guy!” I was close to spitting blood. Can’t this woman let me feel accomplished for more than three seconds?
“Who told you to be so fair?! I’ve never seen a guy with such pretty skin!” After grumbling, Charlotte furrowed her brows and asked in confusion, “Then why did you say you’re disfigured?”
“I wanted to.” I was too lazy to find an excuse. Since the game was about to end soon, there was no need to carefully conceal things.
“Strange person!” Although Charlotte said this, she didn’t continue pursuing the matter and only regarded me curiously. “Then why do you have your eyes shut? Open them and let me see. I want to know what color your eyes are!”
Of course I didn’t open my eyes. I only asked, “What color do you think they are? If you guess right, I’ll let you see.”
But you’ll never guess right. Other than the Demon King, who would have pure black eyes without any white? No one would ever guess such a strange color. Based on the fact that my hair is black, at most the guesses would be black or brown…
“Hm? Then I’ll guess—one gold and one silver?”
“…Are you an idiot?!”
“You’ve made up? Then we can finally depart.”
Michel heaved a large sigh of relief when he saw Charlotte and me walk over. Even Taylen’s expression was a lot better than before. It seemed that he really didn’t have much interest in Charlotte.
“I’m sorry. With this delay, I wonder how long it will take to catch up?” I asked calmly, thinking about how far we were from the Church of the God of Light’s troops.
Taylen shrugged and said, “We might encounter them if we hurry for a day’s worth.”
“That quickly?” I was a little shocked.
Taylen nodded. For some reason, he had a worried expression. “We might be on the correct path to the Demon King’s Castle. The troops from the Church of the God of Light have always been heading our way, and their march is fast. I heard that their vanguard was even sent over using a teleportation circle, so they’re no longer very far from us.
Teleportation circle? I furrowed my brows. Don’t tell me that’s another skill the Pope knows? But I recall that previously, when Lesus and the others were looking for the amnesic me, Pink was the one who set up the teleportation circle… Don’t tell me, the Pope secretly learned the technique right on the spot?
“Then, let’s depart.” I nodded. Although it was still too early for the game to end, and there was still so much to anticipate, I actually looked forward to the conclusion.
Taylen’s prediction was too optimistic. No matter how quick the Church of the God of Light’s troops were, it was indeed impossible for us to meet up with them after a single day’s journey. We made haste for two and a half days before we caught sight of their trail at the foot of a mountain.
It was indeed just their vanguard, which only had around five hundred people. Still, sending over even this number of people through a teleportation circle was definitely an impossible task!
But if they were teleported in batches… That would still be difficult, although not to the point of earning the description “impossible.” Just how much power does the Pope still have hidden?
I turned my head to look toward Taylen. He had on a hesitant expression. “If they want to observe your abilities, you should let them see. Don’t, don’t…” He stuttered, as if not knowing how to put it into words.
“Don’t let your face twist and your magic burst out just because someone said a few words about you.” Michel continued, “They’re the Church of the God of Light! You can’t fool around!”
Indifferent, I said, “Got it.”
“Don’t use dark elemental magic.” Charlotte also advised me along with them, her face just as concerned.
My goodness! Do I cause people to worry that much? In any case, I’m the high-ranking Sun Knight. If I were to claim that my ability at disguise was second, no one would dare claim to be number one. Would I be so stupid as to use the dark element in front of holy knights?
“Sigh, you’re making that face again.” Michel sighed as he shook his head.
“I’m wearing a mask. How would you know I’m making a face?” I asked unhappily.
“The lower half of your face!” Michel answered matter-of-factly, “Your mouth is already turned toward the ground. How is that not making a face?”
I rolled my eyes at him, even though he couldn’t see it. “Let’s head down already! There are a lot of adventurer teams around. Maybe they’re already full. Don’t even mention wanting to join them.”
Once I pointed that out, everyone grew nervous. After a shout, the entire party began heading at full speed toward where the army of the Church of the God of Light was stationed. Halfway there, a platoon of around ten holy knights came forward to investigate us.
The leader was even someone very familiar, Lesus’s vice-captain—Vidar.
I didn’t think it would be Vidar leading this squadron. I thought it would be one of the Twelve Holy Knights.
As usual, Michel was the one who stepped forward to negotiate with Vidar. In the meantime, Vidar’s gaze would drift toward me from time-to-time, but that wasn’t anything strange. The mask on my face was indeed too suspicious.
But contrary to expectations, Vidar didn’t ask much before he let us pass. I had originally planned for the worst, that he would insist I take off my mask, forcing the game to head to the conclusion at this very moment.
We were stationed at a location close to the holy knight army. Because of this, Michel was clearly extremely excited. He thought this meant the holy knights valued our performance, but I thought it was most likely because I was too suspicious, so they simply placed us closer for more convenient monitoring.
The time grew late. Everyone was busy making the fire and cooking food. After I set up the tents, I waited for Charlotte to finish cooking dinner. I didn’t know what in the world she was cooking. Everyone else had already started eating, yet she was still cooking, and she was even humming as she cooked.
I sat lazily in front of the tent, watching several familiar faces walking this way and that. They were all holy knights or clerics I had seen in the Holy Temple. This group was all elites among the holy knights. I only had to take a quick glance to see at least fifty or so direct subordinates of the Twelve Holy Knights from their platoons.
These fifty holy knights alone, along with Vidar, were probably enough to blast Illu to death quite straightforwardly. However, I wasn’t so stupid as to let Illu, an important general skilled at leading troops, come here alone to meet his death.
“Grisia, food’s ready!” Charlotte called out happily.
“I almost thought you were making a late night snack!” I retorted as I walked over, but I immediately froze when I saw the food that covered the ground. “Is today some kind of holiday? Is it your birthday, Taylen?”
Taylen shook his head. Confusion was all over his face too.
There was bread with butter, mushroom skewers, simmered-fried pork, roasted fish, several kinds of pickled dishes, and even a pot of thick tomato stew with bread. I picked up a spoon. There’s even crab in the stew!
Charlotte pouted as she said, “It’s my birthday!”
I came to a sudden understanding. Although not a lot of adventurers actually celebrated their birthdays, girls usually cared about such things more. She even made the food herself!
Michel even generously provided his stash of alcohol while Taylen gifted a silver comb earned from a previous adventure. I rummaged around, finally coming across a magic scroll. I didn’t have any leeway to consider what kind of magic was on it and gifted it to her like that.
“Happy birthday.” The three of us toasted her together.
Charlotte’s capacity for drinking wasn’t good. She only took a few sips before her entire face turned red., but she smiled extremely happily. We all smiled happily, and even the serious holy knights surrounding us were influenced by us, their expressions loosening quite a lot.