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Chapter 99: The Sage Realizes the Scale of the Threat
The sun shone down brightly on the Slave Autonomous Region as dawn broke.
The undead wandering around in the vicinity suddenly slowed down.
They were weakened by the sunlight.
It was natural for this to happen since we hadn’t specifically provided them with such protection.
An undead who had managed to overcome their weakness of sunlight was a rare one.
There were countless corpses scattered around the wandering undead.
These bodies were the victims of this uproar.
They consisted of local citizens, slaves, and even the soldiers of the Demon Lord’s Army.
Considerable damage had been inflicted as far as I could see.
Including the destroyed buildings, it was a tragic sight.
There were also some corpses that were unnaturally bloated.
Their bodies were melting and collapsing as lumps of flesh regardless of their physical characteristics.
There were many such cadavers with races that were unidentifiable.
Those corpses were of the demon beasts who had caused this uproar.
As soon as I saw the tragedy all around me, I was struck dumb.
It was never a good thing.
It looks terrible.
Right after I had transferred myself to the Slave Autonomous Region, I had wiped out the demon beasts, with the help of the Demon Lord’s Army.
The strength of each demon beast wasn’t remarkable; it was just around the level of a lower-ranked demonkin.
Although they were considered as threats to humans, the Demon Lord’s Army possessed enough strength to deal with them.
However, there were too many of them.
The numbers were incomparable to those that had appeared in the southern region of the Demon Lord’s territory.
There were at least hundreds of them.
On top of that, they had appeared at the same time in several cities at once, and had caused damage which had made the whole process harder since it was necessary to silence the people beforehand.
Due to the spread of uncertain information, humans had started doubting and killing each other.
Riots broke out everywhere. One could find people fighting against each other even in the midst of the demon beasts’ attack.
The secondary damage it caused was on a level where it couldn’t be underestimated; it went to the point where the destruction caused by fellow humans was believed to be even greater compared to that of the demon beasts’.
I had tried to deal with the situation as soon as possible, but the location itself had suffered the greatest damage.
The people of each city were currently being isolated by barriers.
I had made them robust enough so that they couldn’t be destroyed from both the outside and the inside.
Furthermore, I had deprived them of their consciousness after restraining them.
It was unlikely that they would be able to wake up on their own.
Leaving them alone would only create further chaos.
The city was filled with undead right now.
If they managed to find people, they would forcefully intrude to stop useless conflicts.
I didn’t want to create any more casualties.
“Well, well, it seems we’re finally done.”
Grom looked around and showed relief.
As he withdrew his killing intent, he hit his waist with his fist.
Did he have a backache?
Grom’s gesture was strangely human-like.
Since he had been constructed by merging an innumerable amount of souls, perhaps some habits had gotten carried over to him.
Even in this battle, Grom had played an active role as he usually did.
After having gained more experience, his control over the undead had become more precise.
He had calmly observed the war situation, and commanded the undead to defeat the tough demon beasts through sheer numbers.
Using mere ghouls and skeletons to overrun the enemy was impossible unless a creature had an amazing ability to command.
His figure, which had led the great army of undead, made him look more like a Demon Lord than me.
Of course, Grom himself had also shot an amazing series of magic.
It was no longer necessary to be reminded of the fact that his fighting abilities were extraordinary.
There was no way for the demon beasts, who had lost their reason, to be able to compete with him.
He had used long range magic while commanding the undead to slay a wider range of demon beasts.
“That was a good exercise. I’m sure I would have felt more satisfied if there were more of them, though.”
Henry muttered that as he bit his fruit.
It was something he had taken from a nearby street stall.
It seemed he personally felt that there hadn’t been enough demon beasts to kill.
In the case of Henry, he wasn’t boasting.
He must have truly wanted a few more to fight with.
Henry didn’t mind the damage to the city at all.
Because to him, a battlefield was but a place to satisfy his urge to fight.
In such areas, Henry’s mentality was thorough.
It was a side of him which could be considered cold and ruthless.
However, this was also his good part.
He could give me an opinion from a different perspective exactly because his values didn’t match mine.
There was no need to worry about betrayal since our interests aligned.
It could even be said that he was an ideal subordinate.
I glanced at the corpse of a demon beast which was lying sprawled nearby.
I could recognize signs of human vestiges on them.
The slaves had just turned into demon beasts without any warning.
It was a phenomenon which would never happen naturally.
To begin with, a demon beast referred to the mutation of a demon.
It was another thing if it mutated from a demon, but it was clearly weird for a human to suddenly turn into a demon beast.
It made me immediately connect this incident with the demon beast occurrence in the southern region of the Demon Lord’s Territory.
It was unknown where those demon beasts with drug reactions had come from.
Even now, that point was still shrouded in mystery.
With that in mind, I came up with a hypothesis.
Perhaps that time too, the people who happened to be there had also been turned into demon beasts…?
The sudden occurrence part of the demon beast situations matched.
If it had happened due to the effect of a drug, then it would be a clue to the truth.
I analyzed the nearby corpse of the demon beast.
Then, as I had expected, I detected drug contamination in it.
It was the exact same with the demon beast outbreak that had taken place at the Demon Lord’s territory.
This had been practically proven to be true now.
They use some sort of drugs to transform living beings into demon beasts.
If that was true, then it was a ridiculous effect of a drug.
I had never heard of such a drug’s existence, and it definitely wasn’t something that should be spread around.
I had to find out where it was being made.
Then, I needed to make sure that such a thing could never be produced again.
I summoned a spy and went to the barrier where the inhabitants were isolated together.
A few slave merchants were carried out under the guidance of the spy.
All of them seemed to be well-known merchants in the Autonomous Region.
As I woke the slave traders up, I used magic to interrogate them.
They mainly confessed about the routes of their slave trades.
They provided information quite easily.
As a result, it turned out that most of the transformed slaves had been provided by the Republic.
The Republic sold tons of them at bargain prices, so they just purchased them.
Even as I tried to check them thoroughly, the slave traders weren’t aware about the existence of any drugs or demon beasts.
It seemed their status and personal connections had just been taken advantage of.
I put the slave traders to sleep and sent them back to the barrier.
I also asked the spy to return to their work.
I had gotten the information I had wanted just now.
Then, I began to think.
The Republic has gone too far. I can’t overlook them anymore.
They had invited the demonkin in, which had been followed by a civil war.
They had also spread drugged slaves around.
Which in turn had caused demon beast outbreaks in various places.
I didn’t know what they wanted to achieve, but it was definitely something disadvantageous for the world.
If this were to happen all over the continent, people would live their lives while doubting whether their neighbor would end up transforming into a demon beast or not.
It would be far from peaceful, and it wouldn’t be the future I wished to attain.
I needed to destroy it immediately.
As I returned to the Demon Lord’s Army, I called Grom and Henry out.
“The Demon Lord’s Army will withdraw to the territory. We will suspend the occupation of the Slave Autonomous Region.”
“Is that alright?”
I nodded to Grom’s confirmation.
It would make this invasion half-wasteful, but it couldn’t be helped in this case.
“It doesn’t matter. I don’t know what might happen in the future. To be on the safe side, we should standby at the capital.”
The invasion of the Slave Autonomous Region could be done later.
Since most of their city had been damaged, the Autonomous Region wouldn’t be as active as before.
At the very least, they would be more careful with their slave trade.
They would also likely refrain from plotting in the dark.
Henry asked me as he threw the core of the fruit away.
“Will the commander also return to the capital?”
“No, I’m going to the Republic. I’ll omit the details, but I need to take appropriate action for that nation.”
I declared so with a resolute tone.
Regardless of the case, the Republic couldn’t be left alone anymore.
At present, it was probably the one problem that needed to be dealt with the most.
Leaving aside whether I would destroy it or not, I would definitely punish them for the damage they had done.
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