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Chapter 35: The Sage Foresees a New Threat
In the audience room of the royal castle, I looked through the pile of reports that had come in.
Not a bad trend.
The Demon Lord’s army had begun to invade the Empire, attacking from the outer edge of the territory.
I heard that they were gradually pushing the ravages of war further and further in.
I had very little to do with this.
I’d left it to the three leaders of the Demon Lord’s army – Grom, Luciana, and Henry.
They bicker with each other on a daily basis, but somehow they still get along well.
Their cooperation was outstanding.
Each of them knows what they are good at, and they are able to act upon it excellently.
Recently, Grom had combined the surplus undead, and turned them into some kind of chimera.
In his own way, he seemed to be trying to strengthen the power of the Demon Lord’s army.
That truly makes me happy.
Furthermore, some of the elves now belonged to the Demon Lord’s army as well.
They were expert archers and extraordinarily brilliant spirit magic users.
They are still a little distant from the others, but both sides were nevertheless cooperating with each other to fight.
In the Forest of Yggdrasil, the other elves were living their lives as before.
The surrounding countries had been officially notified that the area is a territory enslaved by the Demon Lord.
We don’t interfere with the elves, and we make sure that they can live freely.
It’s not that I want to treat the elves like slaves.
To be frank, all I want is for them to lend us a hand when we need it.
Of course, if I displayed that attitude in public, the Demon Lord’s authority would be shaken.
That’s why I had some of the elves join the Demon Lord’s army.
It’s not possible to show favouritism to the entire race just because my old friend is their chief.
As I was flipping through a stack of reports, there was a knock at the door.
I heard a voice from the other side.
“Demon Lord. The lords of the human territories are here.”
“Let them in.”
I put the report aside as I answered, and the door opened.
A succubus in a civil servant’s uniform led the way for the humans, who were dressed in fine attire.
In spite of their attire, their demeanor looked frightened.
Their hurriedly shifting gazes became fearful as soon as they caught sight of me.
They were the townsfolk who had shown their obedience.
They were the lords of the territories of the former kingdom.
I had summoned them regarding a certain matter.
The lords knelt down with awkward movements.
They began to greet me while trembling.
“D-Demon Lord, thank you for inviting us here today…”
“Enough with the lip service. It’s annoying.”
I said, interrupting them.
As I crossed my legs on the throne, I glanced at the lords.
With just that one action, their faces turned pale.
Some of them looked as if they would faint at any moment.
For them, this must have felt like a near-death situation.
They could lose their lives if I was in a bad mood.
However, they couldn’t ignore my call.
They didn’t know what kind of punishment they would receive.
They must have come all this way from afar while resisting the urge to refuse.
“I notified you to provide personnel to the Demon Lord’s army. Have you prepared an answer?”
“T-That, you see, we’re still having trouble recruiting as many applicants as we had hoped–.”
One of the lords mumbled.
The others seemed to be in the same boat.
Crossing my legs again, I asked in a cold tone.
“–So I take it you’ve rejected my request?”
“W-We’ll dispatch them right away! P-Please, three days! Please wait just for three days!”
The lords who had bowed down hurriedly left the audience hall.
The sound of their footsteps rapidly faded away.
The succubus who had been leading them bowed deeply before leaving the room.
Geez, what a troublesome lot.
They may have been hoping for concessions, but I would never accept such things.
Since I had threatened them so politely, they would probably prepare personnel properly this time.
Otherwise, I would have to go destroy some of their territories.
“Demon Lord, I’m coming in!”
With a friendly voice, the door opened.
Luciana languidly appeared at the doorway.
She walked up to me and leaned against the throne.
If Grom were to see her he would be furious, but he’s not here right now.
I myself was not bothered by Luciana’s unrestrained behavior, so I let her do as she pleased.
As long as she did her job, she was good enough.
“The humans are terrified of you, did you do something again?”
“I was just reminding them to provide me personnel.”
When I answered, Luciana placed her finger to her lips.
She scrunched her eyebrows and gave me a strange look.
“Ahh, that thing. Why do you want to add humans to the Demon Lord’s army? Isn’t the current force enough?”
“If we leave them alone too long, they might plan a rebellion. If I can draw out their strength in moderation, they won’t try and do anything rash.”
In fact, there was already a lord who had tried to establish connections with other countries behind the scenes.
I set up an opportunity to discuss that alone with him.
On the verge of being choked to death, he had fearfully pledged his allegiance to me, so it was fine now.
However, it was inevitable that there would be more people who would make threatening moves, like that lord.
Normally, we did not intervene in the territories that had submitted to us.
I guess they are aware that the Demon Lord is lenient.
There was also the fact that my punishments were too light.
That’s why I’ve decided to intervene, albeit irregularly, hereafter.
In some cases, it may be necessary to make an example of them.
I was planning to use them to reinforce the terror of the Demon Lord.
When Luciana heard my idea, she smiled wickedly.
“You don’t say that because you want pawns that you can make use of?”
“Humans are useful. They are useful not only in warfare, but also in manufacturing. If we use the people with specialized skills, we can raise the standard of living in the capital.”
We don’t need to recruit humans just as a countermeasure against rebellions.
There are many inconveniences that inevitably arise when making use of only demons and undead.
The humans also served to compensate for those various inconveniences.
I want to make the royal capital a prosperous and solid base.
“But that’s not important. What about the war situation?”
“About the Imperial Army? It’s going great so far. The Bone Minister is so enthusiastic I’m dying of boredom.”
The Bone Minister must be referring to Grom.
If he’s struggling, there’s no doubt that the opponent is terrifying.
There are few individuals who can match Grom.
If it was only an army of the standard undead and demons, we would have had a very difficult time.
The Imperial Army would have prepared countermeasures against the undead using holy magic.
It would have been difficult to break through that.
It was a good decision not to conserve my forces, and to send out the top brass.
“As instructed by the Demon Lord, we’re only guarding the towns and villages that have accepted the command to surrender. We’ll continue to head towards the imperial capital, right?”
“Yes, that’s right. But don’t destroy it completely. We have to encourage cooperation with other countries. The Demon Lord’s army should slow down their invasion at an appropriate point, and uproot the territories along the way.”
Luciana balked at my order.
She gave a small sigh.
“That’s a tough order… Well, that’s fine. I’ll convey it properly.”
“Yes, yes, leave it to me.”
Luciana walked out of the audience room with a wave of her hand.
I sat on my throne and lost myself in thought.
The Demon Lord’s army had taken over the kingdom, obtained the Forest of Yggdrasil, and now began to invade the empire.
At this rate, it will be able to bring about the downfall of the Empire.
Although we won’t be able to bring it to ruin, they should be able to greatly reduce its power.
However, there was one doubt in my mind.
–Would the will of the world really allow this to happen?
Evil will be ousted by the power of justice.
That should be the correct ending.
It’s always the same cycle, generation after generation.
That’s how the world weaves its history.
However, I overcame the fate of destruction by defeating the hero of this generation.
In other words, I am defying logic.
I am the very definition of an absurd development.
The world will surely present a new threat.
My downfall is the right course of events, so it will tamper with the progression to make it so.
It will prepare an existence that will be enough to destroy an undead Demon Lord.
As of now, the Demon Lord’s army was steadily advancing.
That in and of itself is a welcome development, but we can never be complacent.
Eventually, a factor that could lead to our collapse will appear.
This was also the case when the hero awoke.
If the world wants to destroy the Demon Lord, I will resist at all costs.
I will eliminate justice again and again, and continue to aim for my ideal.
I am willing to make sacrifices for that.
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