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Chapter 139: The Sage Finds the Secret Arts
The next morning, I was alone in the audience room.
I was reading the documents that summarized the information provided by the Steel Knight.
He died before dawn.
It was his own choice to die.
I had suggested that he just retire from the frontlines and spend the rest of his days with his family, but the Steel Knight refused.
I was sure that he had his own circumstances about it.
I didn’t ask too intently, but I was sure there was a reason why he didn’t choose that future.
Personally, I had wished for the Steel Knight to join the Demon Lord’s Army.
A person with abilities like his was greatly welcomed.
If he hated fighting, I wouldn’t have forced him to.
He could have just become a citizen of the capital and made his contribution through the development of other people’s lives.
However, I prioritized respecting his will.
I didn’t want to treat his resolve lightly.
I took the Steel Knight’s life with my magic.
It was a peaceful end without any pain or suffering.
The Steel Knight had a grateful expression on his face then.
Perhaps for him, the happiness of his family was everything.
I think he was originally not the type of person who loved to fight either.
Although we were not friends, he sure was a herald that had carried a sad fate.
He could have just abandoned everything else and choose to live with his family though…
I suddenly looked out of the window.
Unfortunately, it was raining today, making it hard to see the sky outside that was covered by dark clouds.
I don’t know much about the Steel Knight.
What I knew about him was only from the information relayed to me by the spies.
The time we spent conversing face to face wasn’t very long.
What did that herald think when he died?
To be honest, I wasn’t sure about it.
I didn’t even try to understand it.
I think it would be an insult to pretend I knew him only based on what I had heard of him.
If I were in a similar situation as the Steel Knight, I wonder what kind of decision I would have made?
If I thought about my most important person, the first one to appear in my mind would be the face of that person.
My subordinates in the Demon Lord’s Army were also important, but that person held a special place in me even now.
If I had the choice to abandon everything I had to live the rest of our lives peacefully together, would I refuse such an option?
For example, suppose that person was resurrected right this moment.
Suppose that I also find a way to return back into a human from an immortal.
Could I still continue being the Demon Lord for the sake of the world’s peace?
I didn’t know.
I couldn’t even affirm what kind of choice I would make if I were to encounter such a situation.
I was also afraid to peek into the depths of my own heart.
…Let’s stop thinking. It’ll just make me depressed.
I lay on my throne and looked at the ceiling.
Those hypothetical scenarios would only shake my mental stability into becoming useless.
I was still an everlasting immortal, and that person was also not resurrected.
That was the reality.
There was nothing for me to get confused about.
Rather than that, I should focus on the information I got from the Steel Knight.
I managed to discover various facts thanks to him.
The Steel Knight became known as a herald ever since the liberation war of the Republic.
Despite not having much power until that point, he suddenly got stronger.
My intuition hinted there were probably some circumstances to that, and I managed to learn the truth from his very own mouth.
According to him, he had received some kind of secret ritual magic in the Holy Scepter Kingdom.
The contents of the ritual was to bless him with the attributes of a herald.
They manipulated his existence so to speak, redefining an individual by using such a ritual.
By doing this, one could assume that the candidates “carried” dormant potential inside of them despite not having any beforehand, then got it forcefully drawn out.
The person who received the spell would forcefully be redefined as a herald.
To put it simply, this was considerably advanced magic.
It was clearly in the realm of forbidden spells, and could even be considered as divine intervention.
At the very least, it wasn’t something that the human body could handle.
It was strange for the Steel Knight to have survived it at all.
Once an existence was redefined, they were likely to disappear immediately.
It wasn’t a convenient thing that could be used to strengthen one’s body.
Even if I tried, I would likely fail.
If I managed to succeed even once in a thousand times, it would be considered a great miracle.
I knew about a similar spell, but I doubted any of them were useful in current times.
The Holy Scepter Kingdom was a nation with a long history of magic.
Perhaps they based it on past records to reproduce the ritual magic.
In addition to the Steel Knight, there seemed to be many who underwent similar rituals.
From people like him, who were soldiers and mercenaries, to commoners and even slaves.
It was something that was jointly operated by the Holy Scepter Kingdom and Magic Kingdom.
It seemed that the Steel Knight hadn’t been told about the details.
Of course, most of them died due to the failure of enduring the backlash from the spell.
At the end of it, there were only three survivors who adapted to the attributes of the heralds.
The first one was the Steel Knight.
The second one was the Valkyrie who participated in the Republic’s liberation war.
And the third one was a nameless man who even the Steel Knight didn’t know about.
Regarding the nameless man, the Steel Knight wasn’t acquainted with him and never saw him again after the ritual.
That was why he knew nothing of the man’s details.
However, I suspected that this third person was the ‘demigod’ who appeared at the World Tree back then.
First of all, the time of his appearance matched.
Regarding his extraordinary power, if I assume it was gained through the ritual, it could be explained for the time being.
Depending on the person’s compatibility with the spell, it wasn’t impossible for him to gain such great power.
It seemed that both the Holy Scepter Kingdom and the Magic Kingdom would produce heralds on an irregular basis from this point on.
Perhaps they were trying to strengthen their forces that way.
Perhaps the moment they managed to conquer the Demon Lord’s Army, these allied nations would proceed to conquer the continent.
Perhaps the three heralds would be the pioneers of it.
Really, they’ve really done it.
I looked up from the document.
The two nations aiming to conquer the continent was something I’d also heard about from the spies.
However, the concrete plans of it were treated as highly confidential that even we had difficulty managing to get ahold of.
To think that this was the method they employed.
On a premise, it was good for each nation to cooperate to subdue the Demon Lord.
It was exactly what I was aiming for.
The act of evoking a non-existent talent and artificially creating heroes were undoubtedly due to human persistence.
It was an obsession that was worthy of recognition.
However, what they were trying to achieve wasn’t something praiseworthy.
Although I could see their spirit in wanting to defeat the Demon Lord, the price they paid for it was too high.
How many sacrifices have they had to produce a single herald?
The two nations, who were the main masterminds, seemed intent in continuing with their plan.
It was something that absolutely needed to be stopped.
This was a taboo.
It was something that would disturb the balance of the world.
There was also the fight against the demigod that I needed to deal with later, but I should cut off the source of it beforehand.
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Also, Tsukii has picked up a new series called “A Story of a Cannon Fodder who Firmly Believed He was the Protagonist, Misunderstood the Actual Protagonist as the Cannon Fodder, and Ended up Victorious!” The title really says it all. Early access to more chapters for this story is available on Patreon.