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Chapter 26: The Sage Urges the Elves to Make a Decision
The elves were shocked at my words.
Some of them moved forward aggressively, clearly enraged.
They came here with the intention to plead for aid, but they were told that they would only get help if they became my slaves.
They must feel like their hopes had been shattered.
Their anger is natural.
But it is an unnecessary emotion in this situation.
If they attack me, I will have no choice but to fight back.
It would be a shame to kill all the elves here.
There were those who began chanting secretly in the back, so I temporarily took away their voices with silencing magic.
I sent magic chains flying to restrain the arms of the ones who lifted their bows.
Neither side launched a fatal attack, so it was not a problem.
I spoke solemnly in front of the uproarious elves.
“To begin with, I have no obligation to help the elves. Helping would only make me an enemy of the empire. Therefore, I require compensation.”
“So you want us elves…”
The Acting Chief spoke bitterly.
She must feel apprehensive being confronted with demands that were not easy to meet.
I continued to speak to the dejected elves.
“I don’t care if the elves are trampled down by the empire. It doesn’t matter to the Demon Lord’s Territory. This proposal is just for my own entertainment.”
Ruthless as it may be, that was the real situation.
It was no doubt aggravating that the empire was infringing upon the Forest of Yggdrasil and the elves.
However, even if it was left as is, it wouldn’t become a major problem.
It wasn’t going to be a hindrance regardless.
If the empire continued to grow, we could just crush them in the future.
There was no need to go to the trouble of fighting them just to help the elves.
That was the conclusion I came to as the Demon Lord.
“If you were to become my subordinates, I would make the imperial army surrender. I will turn tens of thousands of soldiers into a mountain of corpses.”
Simply helping the clan of elves would shake my stance as the world’s evil.
I would be known as a Demon Lord who allies with demi-humans.
However, if I were to help the enslaved elves, it would be a different story.
They would be my property.
If a third party tries to take them away, it’s natural to take some kind of action.
I wouldn’t have saved them because they were demi-humans, but because they were my property.
There was no problem with that setup.
Furthermore, saving the elves also meant simultaneously protecting the Forest of Yggdrasil.
The land, laden with sacred power, would then be under the control of the Demon Lord.
Humankind would feel even more threatened.
It wouldn’t deviate much from my previous course of action.
On top of that, it would genuinely strengthen the Demon Lord’s army.
Elves controlled the power of spirits and were expert archers.
If I could take them under our umbrella it would be convenient, because it would expand the scope of our strategies.
The majority of the Demon Lord’s army was currently comprised of undead without a will.
In terms of the overall proportion, the number of demons Luciana brought with her was unusually small.
I was just thinking of wanting new, living subordinates, so a clan of elves was the perfect opportunity.
As for the empire, I had originally planned to invade it.
They were the main culprits who had spurred on the small country, and turned them against the Demon Lord’s territory.
The spies had obtained several pieces of evidence, and it seems that the empire was still controlling a part of the fallen country’s territory.
They were only acting at a distance. It was selfish to no end.
The empire is the kind of country that does not need to exist in the world of the future.
In fact, it could be described as pus.
Because of those circumstances, I intended to deal a major blow to the empire eventually.
Considering that the time for that would only be sped up, moving to protect the elves would not be so bad.
Either development was no loss to me.
“If we become your slaves…will you really help the clan?”
The acting chief asked hesitantly.
Judging from the question, it seems that her thoughts were slowly leaning towards accepting.
Even though the other elves stirred, they didn’t throw in any objections.
They knew their predicament, and silently watched the situation unfold.
I answered the Acting Chief’s question.
“Of course. That much I can assure you. But the elves who live in the Forest of Yggdrasil should think about how the world will see them.”
“What does that mean…?”
“For all of eternity, you will be remembered as the race that fell into the hands of the Demon Lord. The elves of the Forest of Yggdrasil will no doubt be called a lowly demonic race. You will be branded as those who chose the path of evil to save their lives. Can the proud elves endure such humiliation?”
The Acting Chief was silent.
It would take considerable resolve to answer.
In her mind, she must be weighing the value of the clan’s pride against their lives.
Whichever one she chose, she had much to lose.
“With only the power of the elves, will you bet your life to challenge the empire? Or will you accept the stigma of being slaves of the Demon Lord, and choose certain survival? It must be one of those two things. If you don’t want to do either, then I will personally destroy the elves.”
“P-Please, give us some time! If we don’t go back to the forest and hold a discussion, it won’t be the consensus of the whole clan.”
“I refuse. I won’t wait. Make your choice here and now. I will take your answer as the consensus of the elves.”
I interrupted her and pressed for an answer.
It was a harsh way to urge them, but it couldn’t be helped.
There wasn’t any time to waste on such discussions.
The Imperial Army was invading the Forest of Yggdrasil even now.
The Acting Chief groaned bitterly.
Sweat was running down her face.
Right now, she was quite literally carrying the fate of her clan.
The responsibility given to her was heavy, and there was no way she could give an answer lightly.
However, she had to make her intentions known to the Demon Lord.
A long silence hung over the place.
The other elves watched with bated breath.
I didn’t say anything more either.
It was up to her to decide from here on.
And so we waited for a while.
The acting chief finally opened her mouth.
“—We, the elven clan, are now enslaved by the Demon Lord.”
“So that’s your–and by extension, the elves’– answer.”
The Acting Chief firmly nodded.
Between being trampled upon by the empire and the Demon Lord’s rule, she had chosen the latter.
She prioritised survival over pride.
It must have been a tough decision, but it was undoubtedly a wise one.
She had no reason to be ashamed.
I applauded her choice in my heart.
Now that she had made her decision, things must move quickly.
At this very moment, the imperial army must be proceeding with their invasion of the forest.
We must move swiftly as well.
The elves were immersed in an indescribable atmosphere as I informed them perfunctory:
“You are now my property. I will make arrangements to kill the Imperial Army.”
First, I will return to the capital and tell Grom and Luciana the particulars of what happened.
Then I’ll organize an army to be sent to the Forest of Yggdrasil.
Since Henry has been looking bored lately, he should be happy to join the fight.
At this point, victory is practically assured.
I will be joining in as well, so there was no chance of defeat.
Thinking once again, it’s a good chance to trample upon the Imperial Army.
If we were to one-sidedly destroy the army of that powerful country, the other countries would receive a remarkable shock.
They were a handy target to let the world know that the Demon Lord’s territory was expanding.
This would draw the ire of both the elves and the empire, but I was fine with that.
This is what I wanted from the beginning.
The ideal Demon Lord is the enemy of all.
I am in no way mistaken
I activated my transfer magic, and took the elves with me.
Hasr: Just wanna say, slavery is not good folks.