Chapter 46: The Sage Confronts the Holy Sceptre Kingdom’s Army
That night. I was sitting in the audience room, alone with my thoughts.
I could hear the tapping of footsteps on the floor at regular intervals. But when I investigated their source, I discovered that they were my own feet. I seemed to have been unconsciously moving them all this while. I stopped it and folded my arms.
They’re late. What’s taking them so long?
I was aware of the frustration building up in my heart. I knew its cause. I was concerned that Grom and the others hadn’t returned yet.
I’m sure they’re fighting the Holy Sceptre Kingdom right now. It had already been half a day since they left. Even if it were a hard-fought battle, with my top to leaders in the fraay, it wouldn’t be strange for them to have wrapped up by this time. I had arranged for a tepepathic communication from Grom as soon as the battle ended. Yet there was not a word from the intercepting army.
Are they struggling? No, there is hardly a chance for a hero that rivals them to exist.
The more I thought about it, the more I felt uneasy. Perhaps something had really happened to the Demon Lord’s Army that had gone to intercept them. Taking into account the present situation, that was the most probable conclusion. I shouldn’t brush off my sixth sense at times like this. It’s always better to assume the worst.
This time, the Holy Sceptre Army had taken a rather bold move. No matter how just their cause was, the fact remained that they had begun to slaughter large numbers of people. Don’t they think it’ll not only cause criticism from other countries, but also incur the wrath of the Demon Lord? Even if they had a hatred for the undead, they had clearly gone too far.
They are not stupid either. They very well knew the amount of power the current Demon Lord possessed. If they really were foolish beyond saving, they would have been destroyed during the era of the previous Demon Lord.
I had a feeling that they had a plan for this massacre as well. The Holy Sceptre Kingdom does not send its people to their deaths for nothing. Defeat in the battlefield and losing face was their greatest fear.1 After all, glory and victory are the honour of the Holy Sceptre Kingdom.
Maybe the Holy Scepter Kingdom has something to hide.
Or perhaps they had found something that made them deem that they could oppose the Demon Lord’s Army. Usually, all problems could be solved with Grom and Henry’s strength. The two of them alone had reached a level of strength that would allow them to take on a normal army.
But this time, I can’t brush off that feeling of unease. It was too unnatural that they had not sent any news and have not returned. During the day I was too busy with other work to pay attention to it, but I should have noticed it a little earlier.
Shall I go and see just in case?
After thinking about it for a while, I made a decision. It’s not a lot of effort. It’s just a matter of using transfer magic to see what’s going on. If the battle is going on without problems, then my fears were unfounded. I’m sure Luciana and the others will tease me for worrying, but that’s okay.
I used my perception magic. I spread my consciousness to the eastern part of the territory.
On the way, I felt a sense of resistance. A concealment technique was being used, obscuring the information within the area. It was designed to make it impossible to detect anything out of the ordinary at first glance. From here, it was difficult to see what was going on within the area.
It was the middle of the city. This was the zone where the intercepting army had been dispatched. I searched the surrounding areas, but could not detect any reaction from them. It seems that Grom and his men are inside the city.
I stood up from my throne in silence. I took a look at the crystal on the pedestal next to me. Her ashes were floating inside. I knelt in front of the crystal and said to her, “—I’ll be borrowing it for a bit.”.
I took the keepsake sword on the pedestal in my hands. It was the weapon that had killed both the previous generation’s Demon Lord and the current generation’s Hero. I had a complex intertwined fate with this sword. It was just a famous sword with no special powers, a memento propped up on a pedestal, but I could feel it.
Surely I should take this sword with me.
Although it was a vague hunch, I felt so. It would assert the Demon Lord’s way of being. It was not a bad choice.
At any rate, I had to go where the intercepting army was. I activated my transfer magic to investigate the situation at my destination. In the process, I broke the obstructions and traps and flew to the city in question. As soon as my vision switched to the city, I felt a strong numbness overwhelm me.
I groaned and fell to my knees on the ground.. It felt as if a hot knife was scraping the surface of my body, weakening it. It was so difficult to move that I thought my arms and legs had been hardened with lead.
It was holy magic. It had been deployed all around the place. It was not like the holy air of the Forest of Yggdrasil. Although it had an output that would normally be classified as great magic, it was spread over a wide area. At this rate, it could cover the whole city.
In any case, at this rate, we will make no progress. I used magic to protect my body. As soon as I activated my magic, the effect of the holy magic wavered. However this doesn’t mean that the damage has stopped completely, it only means that the rate of purification has been reduced. My body will eventually decay and disappear down to the bone marrow at this rate.
No, that’s all I need. With the power from the Valley of the Dead, I can use another undead being to come back to life. But this holy magic was too powerful. If I was unlucky, it could damage my soul. In the worst case, I might be unable to revive.
Anyway, it’s holy magic of unbelievable power. It’s definitely the work of the Holy Sceptre Kingdom. I don’t know anyone else who can use this kind of advanced magic. Is it a ceremonial magic performed by more than one mage? Clearly, this is beyond the capacity of the individual.
I just don’t think you can prepare this much magic in such a short time…
It would have been understandable if I had jumped into an enemy camp that they had taken time to build. But this was a city in the Demon Lord’s territory. The Holy Sceptre Kingdom’s stay would have lasted for half a day at most. This is by far not enough time to exercise ceremonial magic.
I heard a muffled voice behind me. It was Grom who crawled out of the shadows. His whole body had been damaged, and even his lower body had no semblance of his original form. Of his eight arms, six were already rotting away. It was the effect of purification.
“Please… run… away—”
Grom tried to warn me. At that moment, a chain of light stretching from beyond caught him in the torso. It’s edges, sharp like a spear, suddenly pierced through and sewed Grom to the ground. Grom lay on the ground motionless, emitting white smoke.
“Huh? Looks like there are more weird things. Well, that’s fine. I’ll just pulverise them.”
I heard a strangely cheerful girl’s voice. At about the same time, a chain of light flew towards me. I flicked it off with my keepsake sword and looked at the owner of the voice.
There is a line of people at the end of the street in the city. There were probably hundreds of them as far as the eye can see. If you include those who lay in wait in various places, there will be no less than 10,000. My perception magic caught signs of humans lurking everywhere.
They are dressed in white military uniforms and equipped with magical decorations. The emblem on their flag, which resembled a cross, indicated that they belonged to the Holy Sceptre Kingdom.
At the head of the group, there was one person with a different appearance. She wore a pure white cloak and held a magnificent staff in her hand. A girl with blonde hair was standing with a smile on her face.
Hasr: My country’s going through the worst second wave of the virus rn as well as a shortage of vaccines welp… hope y’all are safe wherever you are!
Chapter 45: The Sage Starts a War with a New Country
“My Lord, I have something to report.”
Grom, who appeared in the audience hall, spoke while bowing deeply. He had a nervous look on his face. It seemed to be bad news.
I crossed my legs while seated on the throne.
“What is it?”
“The Holy Sceptre Kingdom has declared war on us.”
Grom’s words were met with a clerical response from me. I was hardly surprised. It had been more than thirty days since we finished our war with the Empire. I knew this would happen sooner or later.
The Holy Sceptre Kingdom is a country located to the east of the Demon Lord’s domain, beyond a deep forest and a ravine. The country’s name was enough to prove they were well versed in holy magic, and they are said to be deeply religious people.
They abhor the undead to an excessive degree. After all, miasma is the opposite of holy power. Whenever an undead is defeated in a heroic tale, it was almost always vanquished by someone from the Holy Sceptre Kingdom. In fact, it is said that there are many excellent users of holy magic in the country.
When it comes to fighting undead, the Holy Sceptre Kingdom is unrivaled among the other countries. Naturally, it was a country synonymous with killing undead.
There was no way that the Holy Sceptre Kingdom would leave an Undead Demon Lord alone. They would want to destroy me at all costs. I knew they would make a move sooner or later.
If you ask me why I’ve ignored them until now, it’s probably because of the Holy Sceptre Kingdom’s other obsession. They value the current status of the Holy Sceptre Kingdom even more than fighting the undead. In other words, pride, respect, and honour. The Holy Sceptre Kingdom values these attributes, and is always thinking about how other countries see them. I remember they were often ridiculed as a pretentious country.
If they moved rashly, it would affect the Holy Sceptre Kingdom’s reputation. That’s probably why they were looking for a reason to invade. Now that the empire had been destroyed, they decided that it was time for them to act. They must have made the declaration of war in order to let their prestige and legitimacy be known to the other countries.
“We will destroy the Lord of the Undead, who seeks to cover the continent in darkness. What an infuriating declaration.”
“At face value, it’s true. They’re not wrong.”
“I’m sure they are, but…”
Grom grunted in frustration. I’m sure it’s ridiculous from his standpoint. For Grom, who knows and agrees with my true purpose as the Demon Lord, the Holy Sceptre Kingdom’s announcement must be offensive.
Nevertheless, this was not a bad precedent. The fact that the Holy Sceptre Kingdom had declared war meant that they had recognized the Demon Lord as an enemy. It was a development that matched my objective of becoming the enemy of the world.
“Then, what shall we do now? Should that archer and I go against them, like we did when invading the empire?”
“Hmm, I wonder…”
As I scrached my chin and pondered, the door opened. It was Luciana, who entered the room with a document in her hand. She said to me.
“We have a problem. It seems that the army of the Holy Sceptre Kingdom has already started to invade the Demon Lord’s domain. According to my spies, there’s been quite a bit of damage.”
According to Luciana, the armies of the Holy Sceptre Kingdom had already begun their invasion from the southeast. They were crossing the Demon Lord’s territory and indiscriminately killing humans. The Holy Sceptre Kingdom claimed that they were “giving salvation to the people of darkness who had fallen into the hands of the Demon Lord.”
Grom, who was listening to the conversation beside her, asked Luciana with an irritated look.
“Succubus. Are you sure about this information?”
“Of course I am. Do you think I’m lying here?”
“I’m asking if the spy’s story has no mistakes.”
Luciana stepped forward to counter Grom’s words. She poked Grom in the chest with her fingertip.
“Trust me on this. I’ll tell you about it in detail. By the way, why is the Bone Minister here?”
“I’ve come with information that the Holy Sceptre Kingdom has declared war on our Demon Lord.”
“They invaded as soon as they declared war? As expected of those humans.”
Lucina mocked in a resigned tone. You could see the disdain for humankind in her face. The usually joyous gaze on her face too, had vanished completely.
The Holy Sceptre Kingdom was far more merciless than I thought. I’m not sure how far they intended to invade, but they seem to be seriously attacking the Demon Lord’s territory. In addition, in their minds, the people who obey me are also targets to purge.
“What should we do about the Holy Sceptre Kingdom’s army? It’s a human city that’s being attacked, should we wait and watch for now?”
“No, we will face them. You can’t do whatever you want in the Demon Lord’s territory and expect us to stay silent.”
I answered immediately. If they were left unchecked, it would only cause more damage. The human city is part of the Demon Lord’s territory. As long as they obeyed me, they belonged to me. I can’t let anyone threaten them as they wished.
“When will the army leave?”
“As soon as they’re ready. I shall proceed with the organization of troops immediately.”
When Luciana heard my instructions, she let out an exaggerated sigh. There was a wry smile on her lips.
“The Demon Lord is too kind. You’d make a good king, wouldn’t you?”
“Enough with the jokes. Go quickly. Grom, too.”
When I urged them to leave, they obediently did so. Left alone, I rested my back against the throne. My thoughts were still on the matter of the Holy Sceptre Kingdom.
For me, it’s a fated fight…
Ten years ago, she and I were repeatedly hindered by the Holy Sceptre Kingdom. They did not wish to allow anyone who was not among their own citizens to defeat the Demon Lord. Although the situation back then was different from now, both acts were probably done to maintain their pride and dignity. There were several times in the past when I almost lost my life.
While repeatedly harassing us in a despicable manner, the Holy Sceptre Kingdom did not contribute any capable people to the fight. This was because the few heroes the Holy Scepter Kingdom possessed had died in battles against the demon race. At that time, the Holy Sceptre Kingdom did not have enough power to fight against the Demon Lord.
In the end, we were able to overcome their numerous sabotage attempts and defeated the Demon Lord after a fierce battle. After that, we had no more contact with the Holy Sceptre Kingdom, and were soon executed.
Even after ten years, and having abandoned the human race, I still don’t have a good impression of that country. They are arrogant to a fault, and only care about themselves. In a way, they could be considered as being cast from the same mould as the empire. Although their goals differed, neither could be said to be a cooperative country.
It is not that I wanted to settle a grudge with them, but I do want them to suffer a bitter loss. I will not destroy them this time. I will only encourage them to join hands with other countries, without their petty obsessions.
The power of the Holy Sceptre Kingdom will be useful to mankind in the future. They will definitely be humankind’s hope in dealing with the Undead Demon Lord. I will make use of their pride to force them to cooperate.
Not long after that, an army was formed to fight the Holy Sceptre Kingdom. Henry, who was unaffected by the purifying effects of holy magic, and Grom, who could control the undead, became generals, while Luciana, Doldar, and I stood by.
The two of them will lead a mixed army of demons, undead, and elves to attack. Since our opponent uses holy magic, I gave the undead reinforcement magic as well. With this, the main weakness of the undead had been improved. They are now a force that could defeat most armies.
I intend to transfer my intercepting army to the Holy Sceptre Kingdom’s location. When the battle is over, Grom will send me a telepathic signal. From my experience so far, it should be over by nightfall.
—Thus, after a brief respite, the Demon Lord’s army began to fight against a new country.
Hasr: I think I’ve lost my ability to talk to actual people with my time as a hikikomori
Chapter 44: The Sage Paints the Night Sky of the Capital.
A few nights later. A feast was being held in the capital, celebrating our victory against the Empire. It all started when Luciana proposed the idea. She said that the Demon Lord’s army, which had been engaged in nothing but war, needed a breather.
Certainly, that was true. Leaving me aside, my men certainly needed a break to rest their minds. Their mental and physical health came first and foremost. If they forced themselves, they would collapse sooner or later.
Even though I clearly understood the implications, I hadn’t been able to do anything about it, which was probably due to my lack of consideration. I clearly realized that with Luciana’s proposal. Anyway, nothing progresses if all you do is reflect. I discussed the idea of holding a banquet with the other executives.
Henry was strongly for it. He said it was an excuse for him to drink and let loosebe merry. His honest opinion was quite like him.
Although Grom didn’t support it outright, he didn’t particularly raise any objections. He said that since I wasn’t opposed to it, he didn’t mind holding it. The reason why he didn’t hold any strong opinions about it, was perhaps because he couldn’t eat or drink with that body of his. Still, he didn’t seem to dislike it enough to object.
After a brief discussion the executives came to an agreement. And tonight, the feast was to be held.
The streets and squares of the capital were overflowing with demons. There were so many of them that the whole area around the square had turned into a meeting place. There were countless meals and barrels of wine arranged on tables set up here and there. They seemed to be enjoying themselves, eating and drinking merrily. I floated in the sky and observed the banquet.
I heard a spirited voice. It was Henry, bursting in laughter. He was rubbing shoulders with the headless Doldar, emptying one drink after another. He dragged in the surrounding demons, and made a romp.
Since he regularly trained the demons in combat as their instructor, he got along unusually well with them. They had overcome the boundaries of race and deepened their friendship. The next morning, many of them would be suffering from hangovers, so it might be a good idea to prepare some medicine now.
A little farther away, Luciana and her subordinate succubi were enjoying an elegant evening drink. It was quieter when compared to Henry’s surroundings. Their atmosphere was unlike that for a feast. The girls were all dressed to the nine, and enjoying their buffet. If I had to give it a name, I’d call it an evening soiree.
“You’re late! The food is all cold now! “
Grom shouted angrily at his subordinates, but for some reason he was cooking the food. In a corner of the feast, he used all eight of his arms to whip up a variety of dishes. There were shouts of amazement from the people around him. Even from a distance, I could see that he was quite skillful.
There must have been a chef amongst the dead he was composed of. Grom was able to draw on his skills to cook. The food he made seemed to be very popular as empty plates were being brought in one after another.
Even as he scolded his subordinates, Grom seemed to be in a good mood. He himself must be feeling good about being relied on. Although he couldn’t eat or drink, he was enjoying the feast.
At a distance, the humans were also having a feast. They were people from all over the Demon Lord’s territory. There was still a psychological barrier between them and the demons, and they were too unfamiliar with each other to be able to socialize with the demons.
However, there were a few people who were talking to the demons. It was not as tense as I had expected. They were cautiously testing the waters. It is a good sign. I hope that they will continue to get closer just like this.
Although they weren’t in the capital, I had also sent food and drinks to the elves in the Forest of Yggdrasil. They must also be holding a feast right now. Although it is still difficult at the moment, I hope to be able to invite them to the capital eventually.
It’s packed. Well, that is to be expected.
We were done dealing with the aftermath of our war with the imperial army. The Demon Lord’s army had invaded the empire’s territories from east to west, and had turned all the territories just before the imperial capital into my territory. In order to strengthen our presence, I’ve used my magic to draw rivers as a substitute for borders. It would make for an easy to understand marker.
With this invasion, we had taken about 20% of the Empire’s territory. In addition, the imperial capital was half destroyed, and the enemy had lost the power of a powerful country both in name and reality.
However, there was still enough chance for a comeback. The remaining cities in the empire could work together and utilize their vast land mass. They had no dearth of resources, and they could also make use of their ties with allied nations. Ideally they shouldn’t do anything foolish and keep a watchful eye on the Demon Lord’s army, looking out for the perfect opportunity to exact revenge.
As for the future, I intend to monitor the movements of each country. There is no need to fight any more battles from here on.
With the Empire weakened, each country will probably make a move. That was what the present situation was. In all of history, the Empire has never suffered this much damage.
It’s a powerful country that was established after a series of invasions and victories. I remember that even during the time when the previous Demon Lord was alive, they took the initiative in defeating the demon race. Seeing such an empire weakened to a mere shadow of it’s past self, the neighbouring countries will themselves be forced to make a choice.
I wonder how they’re going to play this game…
I expect that there will be a few countries that will hope to become vassals to the Demon Lord’s territories. They will realize that their military power is no match for the Demon Lord’s, and will show their obedience before they are destroyed. They may seem rash, but their judgement could be said to be wise. I do not deny this way of thinking. Giving up is also one way to end conflict.
However, I do not think all countries will pick the same choice. There will always be countries that will plan to attack the Demon Lord’s territory– and eventually subjugate him. They may have developed countermeasures based on the damage caused to the Empire, and they may still be steadily advancing their strategy.
I wonder what awaits them, other than servitude to the undead. When they imagined the end result, it was natural that they would not give up their resistance. This was no exaggeration, it was a battle to protect the existence and dignity of humanity.
For the time being, the Demon Lord’s army will stop the invasion and concentrate on the development of the territory for the time being. At the same time, I would like to develop some weapons. I had brought back a lot of documents and prototypes from the Imperial Capital. I wanted us to be prepared to make practical use of the weapons.
I was also planning to develop the outskirts of the Forest of Yggdrasil. I had been forced to bring them to that area by force from far away, and yet it was still inconvenient. I want to make it easier for the elves to live there. I’m sure I haven’t completely wiped out their confusion over the change in environment. It is also a challenge to maintain a good relationship with them.
It looks like troubles await us in the future.
Belonging to the Demon Lord’s Army means being an enemy of the world. Till the day they lose their lives, my subordinates will throw themselves into wars. No, even if they die, they will continue to fight as undead. As the Demon Lord who forces them in this endless loop, I will be labelled as extremely cruel and unjust.
Tonight’s feast is a precious break. I have to let them enjoy at least this much.
As I glanced at my high-spirited subordinates. It may not be the smartest thing to do, but there was something I wanted to try. I raised my arms above my head and used my magic.
Countless fireballs shot out from my fingertips. They flew up with a shrill sound and burst with the moon as the backdrop. Dazzling sparks of light floated down, accompanying the loud bangs.
I fired the same spell in rapid succession, making minor adjustments. One after another, colourful fireballs shot up into the night sky. This created a magical scene.
My subordinates roared and cheered. There was applause and whistles all around. The response exceeded my expectations. I was worried that I wouldn’t be welcomed, but it seemed to have gone well.
—I continued to paint the night sky as I looked out over the vibrant streets of the royal capital.
Chapter 43: The Sage Brings Home a New Subordinate
“Hmm, so that’s what it is.”
After finishing the spell, I lowered my arms. There was a mountain of ice in front of me. It towered over the houses of the Imperial City, pushing them aside.
I look at its summit. There was a figure trapped inside the ice. It was Doldar, holding an axe.
Doldar was frozen, unable to move. I could hear him groaning faintly. He seemed to still be conscious. As an undead, he was able to act even in such a situation.
The fight with Doldar, who had transformed into Dullahan, was over in no time at all.
He had skillfully used what remained of his ego to enhance his body reinforcement and lightning magic to a greater extent than when he was alive.
Being an undead however, he no longer had to take the burdens of his flesh into account, and his pure physical strength had improved. Even with injuries that would have been fatal to a human, he could easily move. It can be said that he was even more formidable now than when he was alive.
However, he is still an undead. Even though he didn’t listen to my orders, he was still under my control. As a person who possessed the powers of the Valley of the Dead, he was an opponent that I should have no difficulty fighting. Since I knew his fighting style, all I had to do was to steadily hunt them down with magic. There was no reason why I wouldn’t be a match for him.
I cut out the part of the mountain of ice where Doldar was and moved it in front of me. He was strangely quiet, and I didn’t sense any hostility from him. I wondered if he had developed a master-servant relationship after being defeated twice. I’m glad he’s not planning on being rebellious forever.
I’m not going to kill him, and instead I’m going to bring him back to the capital as is. While I can’t leave him in charge of things because he lacks reason, there was no doubt that he was a force to reckon with. I’m sure he’ll be a great asset if we send him into the enemy camp.
I returned to the capital with Doldar and the other undead. I stored the new undead in an unused section of the capital. I headed back to the castle, taking only the frozen Doldar with me. When I did, Grom, who sensed my return, immediately came to greet me.
“My Lord! Welcome ba…ck?”
Grom stopped in the middle of his words. He was staring at Doldar behind me.1 He continued to shake and tremble. For some reason, he seemed to be upset.
Grom pretended to clear his throat to regain his composure.
“…Who is this frozen undead?”
“He’s called ‘Doldar the Thunderbolt,’ and he’s a general of the Empire. Well he was a general of the empire. He became a Dullahan after being exposed to my miasma.”
Grom’s voice grew shrill. He really seemed strange. Is he perhaps unwell? It’s hard to imagine an undead being in such a state, but Grom was an individual who was born in a special way. There may be some conditions that only he can have.
“What, is it that ‘Thunderbolt’ by any chance!?”
A surprised voice came from the other side. It was Luciana, who had jumped out of the castle window. She glided down and landed in front of us, and started to feel around the frozen Doldar.
“Does Luciana know of him?”
“Of course I do. When I was in the service of the previous Demon Lord, I was repeatedly troubled by Doldar’s pirates. They’d plunder without batting an eyelid, even if the other side was a demon.”
Luciana shrugged her shoulders with a sigh. Perhaps she was reminded of the hardships of the past.
Although it was an organization that was not affiliated to any country, the pirates led by Doldar were quite powerful. I knew that even the demons had a hard time with them, but this is the first time I’ve actually heard them talk like this. I could feel the weight of her words.
“I thought he was a man who wouldn’t die even if you killed him, but it looks like he was outclassed. So, does he still have an ego?”
“He still has one, sort of. It’s just a fragment though.”
I nodded and answered. The act of Doldar asking for the head had a clear sense of purpose. Without his ego, he would just be roaming like the rest of the undead. He wouldn’t have had to violate my orders in the first place.
I released the ice restraining him. The ice melted rapidly, and Doldar emerged from within. As a precaution, I applied a magical seal with multiple forbidden spells. There was no significant change in his appearance, but the magic and miasma contained within him were designed to dissipate the moment he tried to use any kind of magic.
This prevented Doldar from using his true power. His fighting ability has been reduced to the level of a mere undead. It would be impossible for him to rampage now.
Doldar muttered in a hollow voice. As expected he was even calmer than before our battle. For some reason, his shoulders seemed to slump.
At that moment, the head placed on him, fell down. The headless Doldar instantly fell silent.
When Luciana picked up the fallen head and put it back in place, his blue eyes lit up. And his mouth started to move.
“Where is it…head, give it to me…”
“ Perhaps, he can’t talk without a head?”
“It seems so.”
The vocal chords of the undead were shrouded in mystery. Some, like me and Grom, can speak with only bones. The anatomy of the Dullahan is unknown, but it seemed to have similarly strange properties.
“Hnng, an undead that possesses an ego, does he intend to steal my position…”
Grom, who has his back to us, was grumbling and groaning. He seemed to be worried about something. The reason why he has been acting strangely since a while ago might be because of his worry.
“Grom, are you alright?”
“Yes, I am! I’m always fine! As you can see, I’m very much alive and kicking!”2
Grom responded to my voice by standing with his spine taut. The flame in one of his eyes was burning roaringly. Luciana, seeing this, laughed sarcastically.
“An undead speaking of being alive…that’s a good joke. It’s hilarious.”
Being mocked, Grom was wrapped in a dark bloodlust. Cloaked in miasma, he cornered Luciana with his miasma.
“You are taunting me again, young lass. I can have that mouth of yours sewn shut if you like.”
“Oh no, I’m scared. Help me, Demon Lord!”
Luciana tried to look deliberately scared. She happily hugged my arm.
“You! Let go! Don’t touch the Demon Lord with your filthy hands!”
Grom rushed to pull Luciana away from me. Luciana shook her head in refusal. This was an everyday exchange. It’s nothing more than friendly banter at this point.
Now, let’s go greet the Demon Lord’s army that is waiting.
I thought about it, ignoring my two sparring leaders. The war with the empire had come to an end for the time being. We were already moving into dealing with the aftermath.
The imperial capital was hit by an unforeseen incident, but we suffered no damage. With the addition of Doldar, an excellent fighting force, we were also able to take the territory that we invaded. It was a good result.
“Geez, I’ve gotten involved with an outrageous existence.”
A voice behind me said with a hint of dismay. I turned my head.
Doldar muttered in a blank tone. He was repeating the same words over and over again. It was definitely not an act. But he blurted that sentence out in a fluent manner.
Did his consciousness from when he was alive surface for a moment?
He was a man with a strong will, to be able to come to his senses in this state.
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After taking the materials from the magic workshop, I transferred the prototype weapons, and the magic cannons on the outer wall, to my capital city. I put them somewhere in the castle that no one enters, so I’m sure it wouldn’t cause any problems. I also brought along the documents as well. With this, I had all the information I needed, and also obtained new methods to strengthen the Demon Lord’s army.
Next, I transferred to the castle that towered over the center of the Imperial capital. There, I killed the emperor and the nobles of the pro-war faction. I knew their faces and names from the information we’d gathered previously. Although I met with some resistance, it was within expectations.
None of the people who fought back were capable enough to be called a hero. Maybe such a person had already been killed during the Demon Lord army’s previous invasion. I basically just waited at my castle and listened to the war situation, but I still repeatedly heard that the enemy had been overrun. With Grom and Henry leading the fray, it was no wonder that was the case. It would be impossible for someone to compete with them, unless they were out of the ordinary themselves.
The elimination of the pro-war faction would be an unexpected loss for the Empire, but it would not be a problem so long as the moderate and neutral factions became proportionally larger. After that, the policies of the entire empire would naturally change. In the first place, the current condition of the empire meant it was unable to wage war on other countries. If we were to continue our invasion after destroying the Imperial capital, it would come across as a false show of power. No matter how it turned out, the Empire would be quiet for a while. This should be more than enough.
“If you have learned your lesson, do not defy me again.”
I told this to the people I had left alive, and walked out of the castle. It was up to them whether or not to heed my threat. There is nothing wrong with opposing the Demon Lord. However, it is not okay to bring down other countries in the process. I won’t let you create internal conflict between humans.
If they make plans to do something evil in the future, I would not mind destroying the empire. Other nations would swarm to absorb the remains of the dismembered empire. Depending on the situation, I will consider taking such actions. Even so, I don’t want to destroy them without a second thought, so I can only hope they will act in accordance with my ideals.
At any rate, I have now fulfilled all my objectives in the Imperial Capital. All I had to do now was join the Demon Lord’s army, which was waiting for me in a nearby city. Now that they had occupied the city, we would establish a new national border. Although it would take a bit of work, it was not that troublesome. Basically, all I needed to do was continue applying the methods that we have been using so far in the kingdom.
I’ll think about how to handle the territory we’ve taken later. I will probably leave it mostly alone for the time being. Although it would be troublesome if they attempted an unnecessary rebellion, so we should gather up all the men first.
Thinking about my future plans, I brought all the undead roaming around the city to a halt. The Imperial City has been inflicted with more than enough damage. Any more and it would be completely destroyed.
I probed with my perception magic, and found that most of the survivors had taken refuge in several places in the Imperial Capital. It seemed that they were hiding in sturdy buildings, and had successfully survived the undead. Comparing the number of survivors with the number of undead, a majority of the Imperial City’s population had been sacrificed. It was the perfect situation. Depending on how they act, they may be able to recover their population if they cooperate with other territories in the empire.
I was about to return to the capital with the undead in tow, but I stopped myself just in time. I sensed the presence of an undead that was still rampaging. It was not listening to my orders, and was slaughtering those who had survived.
What the hell is going on?
I couldn’t help but wonder. This wasn’t something that had ever happened before. From what I could tell, that rampaging undead was one that had been turned by my hands. Perhaps my control was not absolute. The remaining ego of that individual must be resisting my control. It seemed that they had such a strong will that they could bypass my orders. That was all I could think of.
Anyway, I couldn’t just leave it there. There was no one in the Imperial City who could stop that undead from running amok. After all, most of the soldiers had also joined the ranks of the undead.
I used transfer magic to rush to the scene. It was at a fountain plaza in the Imperial Capital. As I had sensed from my perception magic, the individual in question was in a bloody rage.
He was wearing vermilion full-body armor, and had purple lightning surging all over his body. One of the most distinctive features of this undead was that he has no head. He was a headless knight – a Dullahan.
The Dullahan was carrying an axe for chopping wood. He chopped off the head of anyone who failed to escape. Next, he grabbed the rolling head and placed it on his neck.
The Dullahan, having gained a temporary head, suddenly calmed down, stopping in place. However, when the head wobbled and fell, he roared and started moving again.
This time, he cut off the head of a loitering ghoul and placed it as if it were his own head. Perhaps unable to understand his situation, his temper immediately flared when the head fell, and he resumed his killing spree. None of these actions made any sense. Moreover, he was killing the living and the undead indiscriminately. There were countless heads scattered around the square.
However, I didn’t care about Dullahan’s eccentricities. I was more interested in his appearance. His equipment looked familiar, as was the noisily flashing purple lightning. I could only think of one person who fit that description.
There is no doubt. That’s the Doldar the Thunderbolt.
It seems that, when Doldar was killed by me, he was accidentally turned into an undead. When I cut off his head, my miasma must have flowed into his body and transformed him. Of course, this was not a phenomenon that could happen easily. In addition to Doldar’s own nature, my aspect as an immortal must have been too strong. I seemed to have influenced him even though he was supposed to be dead.
While I was guessing, Doldar slew another person. Then he set their head down as if it were his own. The head belonged to a middle-aged man with a beard. He looked vaguely like Doldar before he died.
I threw a fireball at Doldar. Doldar swung with his axe with surprising agility, putting out the incoming fireball. His blade was imbued with lightning magic.
His fake head slowly turned toward me, eyes an electrifying blue. They were the kind of eyes that vividly reminded me of him when he was alive.
“My head…give me…my head…back.”
Doldar borrowed the other person’s mouth to speak. Its blank face asserted his indignation.
“My head…is somewhere…”
Hearing these words, I understood the reason for Doldar’s actions. He was looking for his lost head. That’s why he was taking the heads of others. It was extremely annoying, but I couldn’t blame him for it, because I was the cause of his actions.
“Your head is gone. It no longer exists.”
I told him. It was not provocation, but a fact. Doldar’s head has been burned to dust by the miasma flames. No matter how hard he searched, he would never find it.
The moment I spoke, the purple lighting cloaking Doldar intensified. Its glow was so bright that it blinded my eyes. The wood-cutting axe creaked as it was subjected to the torrent of magic power.
If I took that slash head-on, it would mean bad news. It was powerful enough I could tell that at a glance. Even if he was no longer human, the former great pirate still possessed a strong fighting spirit.
The moment I realised that, Doldar ran forward. His movements exceeded the maximum speed he’d displayed before his death. If I didn’t have magic to reinforce my physical strength and improve my dynamic vision, I would never have been able to see him coming. With the force of a storm, Doldar raised his axe and attacked.
Hasr: Some of you folks already guessed this in the previous chapter comments haha…
The Sage Looks Around at the Imperial Capital’s Weapons
I browsed through the magic workshop sprawled out beneath the Imperial capital. I killed the mages who were coming towards me and broke through multiple barriers. I was holding a stack of papers in one hand. It contained the various documents I found in the magic workshops. According to the documents, the Empire was developing weapons other than magic artillery cannons. At this point, it seems that the magic artillery cannon is the only thing that is completed. If we had let the Imperial researchers go unchecked for a few more dozen days, several more weapons would be in service.
It was an enormous workshop; I had only explored part of it. I planned to examine the remaining rooms and retrieve all the documents that looked similar to the one I just saw.
Of the accounts in the documents I collected, I also identified the existence of an allied country. It provided raw materials, prototypes, and engineers to the Empire. It seems that they have been assisting each other even before I became the Demon Lord. However, their recent research seems to be particularly zealous. The intensity of their research indicated they were in no way underestimating the Demon Lord.
I will set aside the matter with the allied nation for now. I need the allied nation to assist the Empire, which had been badly affected by the recent war, behind the scenes. Even though they were allies, it would be inconvenient to have the Empire fall into ruin now. If we leave the allied nation alone, they will surely help the empire.
This is good. Humanity needs to work hand in hand.
As I continued to explore the workshop, I found an open space. The inside of this room was covered with a special metal. The room was extremely durable and it was constructed to prevent the leakage of magic power. It was quite a secure facility.
Inside the room, there were several prototypes in the process of being manufactured. I picked up one of the prototypes which was resting on the desk. It looked like a small cannon with a grip attached to one end It was similar to a crossbow that lacked parts.
This was mentioned in the documents I found.
I flipped through the documents I had collected along the way and found the relevant information pertaining to the prototype.
It was called a “gun”. According to the documents, the gun utilizes a technique that sends out special bullets with a small explosion. Various performance issues were documented, which the researchers seemed to be currently addressing.
I held up the weapon to try it out. There were instructions in the documents describing how to use the gun, so I followed them. The centre of gravity seemed unbalanced because it was difficult to aim. Although I am not very familiar with military equipment, it certainly gave me the impression of being unfinished.
The prototype weapons, including this gun, would be brought back to the capital later. It’s easy to do so by using teleportation magic. Since I was able to transfer the Forest of Yggdrasil itself, this much can be done in no time.
It might be a good idea to build a research facility like this workshop in the royal capital. It should be feasible if I can gather knowledgeable people among my subordinates. Since we were going through the trouble of looting the Imperial capital, I wanted to gain the ability to develop weapons in return. I planned to consult with Grom and Luciana about this later.
Next to the space lined with prototypes was a room lined with shelves. The shelves were filled with numerous documents. They were stored haphazardly.
What kind of documents are these?
I began reading the documents I picked up. The documents provided an overview of the magic artillery cannons installed on the outer wall of the Imperial capital. The name of that weapon is the “Magic Cannon”, and the documents described it as a weapon for attacking outside the range of mages and archers. It was supposed to be the cornerstone of interception in the defence of the Imperial capital.
Its development began five years ago. With the cooperation of allied countries, the research was being carried out in secret. After my appearance as this era’s Demon Lord, they started to add holy attributes to it. It was transformed from an interceptor into a weapon for special attacks on the undead. Their plans went pretty much as expected.
I continued to sift through the documents that were stored nearby. Among them, I found a journal that appeared to be written by the designer of the magic cannon. After considering the trouble I had to go through to get here, I decided to start reading it.
The magic cannon’s performance was high, but was difficult to manufacture at first. The journal noted that there were many times when the upper echelons of the Empire pressured the researcher because of a lack of results over the years. There was a section where he wrote his complained and cynical remarks I was not interested in the anguish of the designer, so I skipped over it.
What caught my attention was the latter part of the document. It was around the time when the topic of conversation turned to the current generation of Demon Lords. I relaxed my hand turning the paper and paid attention to the accounts.
One day, the designer received a new order from the upper management. It was an order to incorporate the holy attribute into the shells of the magic cannon. In other words, it was a modification to counter the Demon Lord.
In a situation where even the design of the gun battery itself was not yet complete, the designer pondered over it for three days and three nights. It was not something he could make thoughtlessly, but he had neither the will nor the authority to refuse. If he didn’t produce results quickly, he would be punished.
The designer, pushed to his limit, suddenly had an epiphany. He discarded the unfinished blueprints he had been working on and revised the structure of the magic cannon in a flash. In this way, he created a new prototype in no time at all. The development progressed smoothly as if all the troubles before were a lie, and he was able to mass-produce the finished product in no time. The excitement of the designer was clearly written.
After that, the magic theory was written down with much pride. The intentions and mechanisms of the internal structure were also written. He must have been very happy with the completion of the magic cannon. At the end of the document, there was also a template of a blueprint with annotations.
After reading them, I put my hand on my forehead. I was assaulted by dizziness and leaned my back against the wall. In human form, I would have let out a sigh.
Everything’s a mess…
This is, of course, my opinion of the designer’s records. With this magic theory and design, there is no way the magic cannon will be stable. If done poorly, the workshop will be blown up in a huge explosion. Nonetheless, that cannon was completed. The accidental insights were meshing together like some kind of joke.
Even though I am currently the Demon Lord, I was known as a Sage back when I was alive. Although ten years have passed, I take pride in my proficiency in magical knowledge. I believe I can understand the contents of the blueprint.
The method described in this document had an extremely low success rate. Even if it does take shape, it shouldn’t be as stable as that magic cannon was. As far as I can tell from eyeballing the document, the designer’s knowledge of magic was very superficial. He was more knowledgeable than the average magician, but I am probably more erudite.
The blueprints had a number of flaws here and there, and there were a great many sudden alterations. It was not uncommon for the designers themselves to not understand why things worked the way they did. It was written that those involved in the development had the same reaction, but it seems that these questions were swept away by the joy of completion. Mass production proceeded without a hitch, so no one must have had a problem with it.
–Clearly, some other forces are at work here.
After reviewing the information, I concluded. There was no other way to explain it. However, it is not an area that can be managed by someone’s plan.
The only possibility I can think of is the will of the world. There was fate at work that wanted to destroy the Demon Lord. If I interpreted it that way, this unnatural phenomenon would make sense.
The support from the world is not limited to the awakening of the heroes. It can also appear in the form of revelations and miracles, as in this case. It’s just a guess on my part, but I’m sure I’m not wrong.
This is a situation that I really can’t afford to let my guard down on. Even behind the scenes, there is a movement underway to eliminate me. It was a simultaneous and multifaceted development. The world is on the side of humans everywhere.
The invasion of the Imperial City was worth it just to find this out. Countermeasures were difficult, but we can make plans based on this phenomenon.
It seems that the existence of a Demon Lord is something that should be thoroughly eliminated. This was the moment when I realized that again.
Hasr: Sorry for the delay, my internet was a bit choppy yesterday. If anything about the site is broken, just tell me in the comments or on the discord server~