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Chapter 4: The Sage Tramples the Recapture Troops (Part 1)
The corpses withdrew from the audience room.
I placed a handful of crystals on the table.
Sealed within them were her remains.
They were magically processed to protect her.
I gently caressed the crystals.
“As I thought, she won’t return…
I spontaneously mumbled.
I derided myself in my mind for it.
Not even my abilities could turn the remains before my eyes into an undead.
Was it her soul rejecting me, or was it a problem of my emotions?
Whatever it be, I have to keep her secure.
If she disappeared by any chance, I will not be able to bring her back.
That was the reason I sealed her in the crystals.
I planned to unseal them the day I resurrected her.
Till that time, I will make sure I do not lose her.
As I silently gazed at the crystals, I heard the door open behind me.
Bending his body as he entered, was the ox-headed undead.
The flames in his eye sockets were blazing as always.
The ox-head briskly walked across the carpet.
“Demon Lord! The preparations for the meal are complete. Please follow me to the dining hall! I have put all my soul into making it! “
“…I’m sorry, I can’t eat or drink. Isn’t that obvious just by looking?”v
I responded as I sat on the throne.
The ox-head expressed his surprise with exaggerated movements.
His shoulders drooped as he tottered about.
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“What…!? To do such an inexcusable thing… It is the greatest sin of this Grom’s life! “
The ox-head— Grom, balled his fists in vexation.
After a long pause, he finally clapped his hands and continued to speak as if he had just hit upon a good idea.
“Then, how about we select your clothes!? If you order me to, I shall look around every corner of the capital to find the finest clothes for you. By the way, is there any colour the Demon Lord likes in particular?”
Grom continued the topic in a garrulous manner.
As he spoke ceaselessly, I pressed the sides of my skull with my finger.
I could feel a headache.
If I were alive, I would have been massaging my temples.
Seeing my subordinate animatedly talk of the potential choices of clothes, I lamented in my heart.
Geez, how did it end up like this?
It had been three days since my fateful meeting with Grom.
He was now my loyal vassal.
His arrogance disappeared as if it were never there to begin with, and was replaced with consistently courteous speech and conduct.
His personality had thoroughly mellowed out.
Grom said that my purpose and ideas had deeply impressed him.
He declared that he would work devotedly as an executive of the Demon Lord.
Ever since then, he has been like this.
Incidentally, it was I who named him Grom.
It was the name of a Sage from history, but the person in question seemed to like it.
Despite how horrible the damage was, he regenerated in a blink of an eye when I gave him magic and miasma.
And he was now moving about energetically.
As a person of power comparable to the Demon Lord’s, his vitality and resilience were extraordinary.
As I had learned in these past three days, not only was Grom skilful, he was also erudite.
Setting aside his skillfulness, it was strange for him to be this knowledgeable, having just been born.
When I investigated it, I came to know of some facts.
Grom was an aggregation of resentment and miasma.
They all mixed into one entity due to my magic and formed an entity with its own ego.
As a result, Grom had partially inherited the memories and experiences of the corpses that constituted him.
That was the reason he had common sense and could use magic.
What a convenient existence.
He must have made use of the cooking skills of someone to make the meal for me too.
Grom turned out to be a lot more capable than I had imagined.
Although there were times when he lacked consideration, he was a very obedient and trustworthy subordinate.
He would never betray me.
He sure was the perfect undead to be a loyal vassal.
“Yes! What do you need? “
Grom replied gleefully.
He gracefully straightened his back.
It clearly did not suit his appearance.
I got up from the throne and ordered.
“Wait for me to give orders. I’ll go procure the goods.”
“What are you saying, milord! Please leave the trivial tasks to this one. How could I possibly trouble the Demon Lord!?
Grom stood in my way.
He seemed a lot keener now than when were battling.
The flames in his eyes seemed to somehow overflow with a sense of purpose.
What was it that spurred him?
He was completely different from our first meeting.
In the end, I gave in to him.
I entrusted Grom with the procurement of goods within the capital.
The fact that it was troublesome to persuade him played a major role.
“Leave it to me! This Grom might be incompetent, but I shall most certainly carry out the Demon Lord’s orders…wait…is that dust there!? I cannot let that be. I have to clean it!”
Looking at one corner of the room, Grom took brooms and dust-cloths in his eight hands.
He made full use of them to make the room sparkling clean.
Satisfied, he gracefully bowed before leaving the room.
His figure was reminiscent of a meddlesome old butler.
Watching the incident unfold as I sat on the throne, I felt like heaving a sigh.
No, but you can’t deny that Grom is excellent.
It was a happy little accident, being able to make such a powerful undead my subordinate.
I could turn a blind eye to his little eccentricities.
I could clearly discern his desire to work for my sake.
Grom was fine.
There were more important things to consider.
This morning, I had announced my presence throughout the kingdom.
I sent a message that I would not attack if they swore loyalty.
I don’t want to unnecessarily slaughter those who have surrendered.
If they surrender, I’d welcome it.
It was undeniably the first step towards peace.
I was also concerned about the reactions of neighbouring countries.
The royal capital was occupied by the undead.
As you would expect, I couldn’t let that fact be known.
How will each country respond to the new manifestation of the Demon Lord?
It was certain that a subjugation party would be formed before long.
They couldn’t let me be.
Perhaps they will gather ones who can use Holy Magic too this time.
I also have to prepare an environment suitable to call myself the Demon King
I would like to reform this land and prepare for even more subordinates.
I need allies with a personality like Grom.
They were indispensable for taking systematic action.
Showing this to be a kingdom of the undead, I wanted to quickly form an army.
I needed at least that much preparation to become an eternal scourge of this world.
There must be someone, somewhere, who wishes to become my subordinate.
Back when I was alive, albeit lacking in number, there was an organisation that believed in the Demon Lord.
If my existence were to be known, I might come into contact with such influences.
However, such organisations risk running wild in ways I don’t want.
As expected, I need the ones I can put my trust in.
Gathering subordinates is a problem for the future.
As I was thinking of various matters, I heard footsteps from outside the room.
It seemed awfully busy.
Undead do not usually run about like this.
I immediately knew whose footsteps they were.
“Demon Lord, I’m here to report! “
“Were there any movements? “
I asked Grom, who opened the door and leapt inside.
The flames in Grom’s eye sockets grew larger and he nodded.
“Yes. Apparently, troops were dispatched from the nearest province. Imprudent things, they are proceeding, aiming for the capital.”
“They aim to recapture the capital. I expected this response.”
The pillar of the country, the King, had been killed.
The nobles wouldn’t let that be.
It was a matter of the survival of the kingdom in a literal sense.
I had expected them to expend all efforts to defeat me.
But what caught my interest was that they had formed an expedition in merely three days.
Did an excellent military officer quickly form one?
Or was it a group of fools driven by emotions and accomplishments?
“So then, what should we do? If it is me, I can easily exterminate them.”
“I’ll go face them. I have to let them know that the Demon Lord has returned. Grom, I leave everything to you while I’m out.”
I have to make an example of the Recapture troops by annihilating them.
I want to use them as fodder to make the world know of the menace I am.
If I did great damage following the fall of the capital, people would understand just how dangerous I am.
Presently, I still hadn’t received a reply to the notice of submission I had sent to each province.
Bearing in mind the events that happen this time, it would be great if they declared their intentions.
“Hah! I understand! I shall protect the Demon Lord’s castle with my heart and soul! “
Grom placed a hand on his chest and kneeled on the floor.
It was a reliable response.
With his strength, he could easily deal with whoever would attack.
He had the same strength as the previous Demon Lord.
Even if an army were his opponent, he could deal with them without a problem.
“Then, I’ll be leaving.”
“Oh, Demon Lord, wait for a bit!”
Just as I was about to go deal with the Recapture troops, Grom held me back.
He seemed quite serious.
Did he forget to report something?
“What is it?”
“Please change your attire! The skies are bright at long last. Let us show those despicable humans what a Demon Lord is!”
Grom triumphantly stated, the flames in both his eyes sparkling.
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