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Chapter 24: The Sage Encounters the Group of Elves
“A group of elves, is it…”
I muttered as I considered Grom’s report.
His reply was a little unexpected.
I thought some country was acting strange, but that didn’t seem to be the case.
Rather, I had a feeling the circumstances were now more complicated than that.
Elves were demi-humans loved by spirits.
They were a race that shunned humanity, and did not leave their lands.
Therefore, they were rarely seen in human nations.
The occasional elf might leave their homeland to pursue their own interests, but that was one of the few exceptions.
The general impression of elves was that they were incompatible with the human race.
They were those kinds of people, but now they were acting in a group.
They must have some purpose.
I had absolutely no clue why they were invading the Demon Lord’s territory at this time of year.
“The group of elves are moving on foot through the northwestern part of your territory. It looks like they’re heading in the direction of the royal capital. They will probably arrive in about three days.”
I replied back, pondering.
They were aiming for the capital.
Perhaps they had something they needed from me.
That’s the only thing I could think of that would make them come to the capital.
At the very least, it was not a sightseeing trip.
That said, they did not seem to have entered with the intention of attacking.
The best evidence of that was the fact that they were traveling with their small numbers brazenly exposed.
In fact, they even directly revealed their presence to us.
It seemed that their aim was to let us know that they held no hostility.
“Do the elves perhaps wish to have an audience with the Demon Lord….?”
Grom rubbed his neck and hummed.
He had apparently come to the same conclusion.
“I’m not sure what they would want to say in the audience, though.”
“You’re quite right. I really don’t understand their kind.”
We have been continually fighting wars of aggression since I became the Demon Lord, but we hadn’t touched their home, the Forest of Yggdrasil.
That place was far away from this kingdom.
Therefore, there was no way that the undead could have caused them any damage.
They didn’t share any borders with our territory that would have allowed the undead to trespass, either.
I myself had no intention of destroying the Forest of Yggdrasil.
Laying waste to that land would not help with the unity of humanity in any way.
It would only cause the elves pain, which. And that was not an outcome I wished for.
”What should we do? I will deal with them, if you so command.”
“No, I’ll head out there.”
I shook my head at Grom’s suggestion.
After all, it was quicker to meet and talk in person.
It was probably what they wanted, too.
That was why they must have gone through the effort of entering the Demon Lord’s territory.
In the unlikely event that they reach the royal capital, we couldn’t afford to have them do something strange.
It was best to make the first move and find out their intentions.
Deciding so, I gave Grom an order.
“Be ready to receive our guests.”
“Got it! Please be careful!!”
Grom bowed gracefully.
He doesn’t seem to harbor any particular concern or anxiety.
As expected, he knew that the likes of a group of elves couldn’t harm me.
I used my perception magic and focused my consciousness at the same time.
I aimed my spell in one direction and acquired a vast amount of information.
I cut off the unnecessary things from my consciousness and searched for the precise locations of the elves.
Eventually, I got a response that seemed like them.
There was no mistaking their numbers.
They truly were heading towards the royal capital on foot.
After discovering their location, I immediately activated my transfer magic.
My vision switched from the streets of the royal capital to a highway through a hilly area.
When I turned around, dozens of men and women were walking towards me.
They had pale hair, pointed ears and white skin.
The power of the spirits drifted from their delicate bodies.
All of these were the features of an elf.
They seemed to be hiding their identities by wearing a robe, but when I observed them, I could immediately recognize their traits.
I seemed to have transferred right in their path.
For now, I walked towards them.
“Y-You’re kidding me!”
The elves shouted in surprise, simultaneously readying their bows and staffs.
They began to retreat while facing me, clearly on guard.
It was not a situation that allowed for much dialogue.
The atmosphere was tense and it seemed like a battle would break out at any moment.
Of course, that was an outcome that both sides would like to avoid.
In order to quickly clear up the misunderstanding, I called out to them.
“Wait. I don’t intend to fight.”
The elves did not relax their stance.
Numerous sharp gazes pierced me.
Every move I made was being closely watched.
If I did anything even slightly suspicious, spells and arrows would immediately fly at me.
Hmm. It was a mistake to show up out of nowhere…
I reflected on my rash behavior.
An unexpected encounter would naturally put the other side on guard.
It was my fault for not taking that into account.
Since I had come back from the Valley of the Dead to the surface, I’ve been doing nothing but fighting, so maybe my instincts were slightly out of sync in that regard.
In addition, my current appearance was extremely sinister.
The elves must have sensed the inexhaustible magical power and miasma that dwelled in my body.
I was an abnormal monster, no metaphors there.
There was no way they could relax with the sudden appearance of such a being.
They must think it was their luck that they weren’t attacked yet.
It can’t be helped. I guess I’ll just have to continue the conversation like this.
After some contemplation, I made a calm decision.
We were at a stalemate, but we couldn’t stay silent forever.
It was safe to say that the longer I remain silent, the worse things would get.
The first thing to do would be to try to strike up a conversation.
Even if I were to be attacked by them, it would be nothing serious.
I would simply continue the dialogue while blocking all their attacks.
Having decided on a course of action, I asked them in a calm voice:
“Who are your representatives? I want to talk to you.”
The elves looked at one other in response to my words.
A young woman stepped forward from among them.
The label “young” would be, strictly speaking, incorrect.
The elves were a long-lived species.
The majority of them had a large difference between their appearance and their actual age.
Even though she looked around twenty, she must certainly be much older than me.
That elven woman approached me by herself.
She was enveloped in a dignified atmosphere, and didn’t seem frightened or agitated in the slightest.
Seeing her actions, the other elves lowered their weapons.
The elven woman who stopped in front of me introduceed herself with a resolute attitude.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you. I am the Acting Chief and I am in charge of this group of people. Jet-black Skeleton…You are the Undead Demon Lord, right?”
Apparently, she seemed to have guessed my real identity.
I nodded without hesitation.
When I did so, the other elves stirred.
There was no small amount of unrest spreading among them.
They didn’t expect to encounter me on their way to the royal capital.
They should have guessed that I was a high-ranking undead, but maybe they didn’t think I was the Demon Lord himself.
Ignoring their reactions, I continued to talk.
“If you have visited my territory, then you must have some business. That’s what I came to ask you about.”
The Acting Chief Elf gave me a determined look.
Then she pleaded with me with a sincere look.
”The Forest of Yggdrasil is in danger due to an invasion of a human army. Could you please help us?”
Hasr: What will the Demon Lord do hmmm?