~???’s point of view~
“This is surprising. Truly surprising.”
He, one of the great and ancient Demon Lords, pleasantly said so after hearing the report of his subordinate monster.
He was the type of Demon Lord to utilize human beings.
By making use of a certain religion, he had amassed and fed on human emotions.
His dungeon was the smallest country in the world and also the head temple of the Rigdold Faith which was the world’s most practiced religion.
Many zealous believers would visit and gather in his dungeon everyday believing it was a holy site. The emotions of these believers were of an awfully powerful quality. Furthermore, by waging large-scale wars disguised as holy wars, they could gather even more humans.
“Why are you so pleased? The war with [Creation] was an utter failure. The plan was to use the humans to nip a problem in the bud but with this defeat, hasn’t it only made [Creation] even stronger?”
A human soldier who participated in the war with the [Creation] Demon Lord candidly protested so to the Demon Lord that was his master.
“Hmm, I don’t think I ever said anything about nipping a problem in the bud. What I said was about ascertaining the might of [Creation].”
The Demon Lord then drank from the glass he held in his hand.
What he drank was a first-class alcohol. Since offerings were made to him as that religion’s god, all that he owned was exclusively of the highest quality.
“Master, just what are you thinking?”
“I’ll answer but before that, how about peeling off that skin? Isn’t it awkward?”
Upon hearing those words, the soldier opened his mouth wide. After doing so, a black shadow then came out. Except for being a black shadow, it was almost featureless.
Meanwhile, all that remained of the soldier’s body was his skin.
That monster was a Doppel Eater.
It had the ability to enter the bodies of humans and act as them.
Because they wore not only a human’s skin but even their soul, they were able to deceive detecting abilities, no matter how powerful, that they were not monsters.
As vital members of this ancient Demon Lord’s surveillance unit, many Doppel Eaters were made to participate in the war.
Originally, they hid themselves within Avalon but ever since [Creation] Demon Lord Procell had made R’lyeh Diva, a monster who could read emotions and that had far too sharp a wit, the Doppel Eaters were afraid that hiding for a longer period time would only lead to them being revealed and thus decided to withdraw.
“Is this good enough?”
“Yeah. Then, to answer you, what I intended for from the start was to test him out. If he was crushed with only this much, he wasn’t worth the bother of even killing. If he did survive though, I wanted him to become strong enough for when he joins our side. And so, I have forced on him the necessary conditions for him to awaken as a Demon Lord. ………in short, no matter how it went, it was a success. We’ve seen [Creation]’s playing hand, haven’t we?”
By accomplishing certain fixed conditions, Demon Lords could awaken.
The Demon Lords that knew of these conditions could be counted with one hand. It was an absolute secret not taught to even the children they looked after.
“Master, why would you do that?”
“It’s because that one’s a lot like me, no? He had the idea to have a city for a dungeon. Both of us were also able to awaken without being consumed by the darkness it brings despite our greenness. I don’t know of any other Demon Lord like that besides us.”
The Doppel Eater was surprised to see his master laugh so happily, a sight it hadn’t seen in more than a hundred years.
“Now then, shall we proceed to the final test to gauge not his might but his caliber as a Demon Lord? To know whether he has completely become cold-hearted or not. If he has gotten conceited by his new-found power and does something unseemly, it will show that we have no need for him.”
“Wait, are you suggesting on doing that?”
The Doppel Eater gasped.
It felt anticipation and anxiety to its master’s overly brazen and dangerous behavior.
“I have been preparing for this past several decades and now is the time to act. Almost. Oh how it annoyed me that the others disregarded me and yet praised those three to be the strongest Demon Lords. [Beast], [Time], and [Dragon], soon, your generation and the problems you’ve caused us will be made to vanish. I’ll start with the weakest of you three. Now, will he be a proper Demon Lord and be able to discard his parent or will he be a fool that doesn’t know his place and wage war against an old Demon Lord, only to end up being crushed? Which one shall he be?”
Behind him appeared his strongest monsters and the successfully mass-produced heroes.
It was said that the Demon Lords at the top were [Beast], [Time], and [Dragon] but for the Doppel Eater, he couldn’t ever imagine his master to be too far behind those three.
~Back to Procell’s point of view~
I had reached the bread factory underground. I went here to meet with Wight about the important task I had entrusted to him.
There, as always, the Skeletons were industriously making bread. As the population of Avalon had increased, so too did their workload.
“Oh, it’s you, my lord. Thank you for us gracing again with your presence.”
The moment he saw me, Wight gleefully rushed to my direction. When he was near, he gracefully bowed.
“It’s about the task I gave to you.”
“Does it concern the corpses of the human beings?”
“Exactly that. Have you checked which can become part of our fighting force?”
In the recent war, the neighboring city had hero-class soldiers fighting for them. In monster terms, they would be the powerful beings known as A ranks.
We had killed those heroes and obtained their corpses. Afterwards, I had commanded Wight to repurpose them.
“Then, to report. Of the hero-class corpses we have recovered, I have succeeded in using [Enhanced Resurrection] on 16 of them. On top of being on par with an average A rank monster, they also possessed an abundance of special abilities. They will be quite reliable. Plus, even if they are on the weaker side of A rank, with my power to strengthen them, they will be able to perform as an above average A rank monster.”
“Ohh, that’s good to hear.”
I was delighted by Wight’s report.
Wight had an ability called [Enhanced Resurrection]. It could only be used once for each target but in exchange for its limited use, it would revive the targets, turn them into undead, and make them stronger than when they were alive.
The reinforced hero-class adventurers who would become his subordinates were a great addition to our war potential.
“However, I’m sorry to report that 14 of the hero-class corpses were too badly damaged to be used for [Enhanced Resurrection].”
“There’s no helping it. I did instruct Aura to prioritize their annihilation.”
Regardless of how easy it was for us, the enemies still had hero-class soldiers. I ordered her to think only of killing the enemies until we could gain the definite advantage.
“How about the non-hero corpses?”
In this war, we had faced more than 3000 soldiers and we had killed the majority of that number.
I expected there to be a mountain of corpses where at least a few sustained only light damage.
“I have only been able to resurrect four so far since my [Enhanced Resurrection] has a limit of 20 targets per day. The weaker ones have been identified by R’lyeh Diva-dono and then sent to a storehouse where they could be frozen for preservation purposes. I expect to finish the task little by little every day.”
“That’s promising. Among those corpses are soldiers that can be turned into B and C rank monsters. With all of your status boosting abilities, they’ll be a fine boost to our war potential. Keep at it.”
“As you will.”
Wight said so as he did another elegant bow.
“What about that other thing I asked you?”
“I have done it but I do not comprehend it fully. Those people are strange. The ones I have used my [Enhanced Resurrection] on still retain their experiences, knowledge, and memories but as for their emotions and personalities, their dark side are mostly what’s left. Be that as it may, there’ll generally be lingering traces of their self. These heroes however, I can only think of them as being blank slates from the start.”
“Blank slates? Even though they’re humans who have risen up to be hero-class soldiers?”
“Yes. As my lord has ordered I have tried to extract information out of them but so far, all I’ve found out is that: they’ve lived in a white room; something they referred to as Papa will regularly perform some unknown kind of magic; some kind of medicine is given to them; and that each time they’re commanded to, they destroy something. Aside from those, they have no other memories so those are all the information I have managed to gain.”
I then connected what Wight had said with what the information that these heroes were cultured as leaked by the other city’s lord.
“No, that’s enough. That information alone has value. Continue the extraction of information on the other soldiers though.”
“As you will.”
Wight then gave a deep, respectful bow.
After that, I had ascertained the hero-class undead units’ abilities.
As was expected, they were superb. There were some who possessed master level sword skills, some who were bow specialists, and some who could use all sorts of offensive magic and healing magic.
Their strength was far from Kuina’s and the others’ but the range of tactics we could do with them was vast indeed.
If used skillfully, they might just become the greatest part of my fighting force.
After I had confirmed with Wight the newest addition to our fighting force, I returned home.
The work needed for the administration of the city was as plentiful as ever. And so, I had decided that I was going to hire one exceptional human to help with the work. My wish was that I would soon be free of most of the administrative tasks for the city.
Kuina and the others were on standby in their rooms, something unusual for an afternoon.
Perhaps it was an effect of the celebration party yesterday but the city and most of its facilities were in a state of stupor.
As I thought so, I sipped some black tea. But then, I felt a swell of magic power within my residence.
Is this [Transfer] magic?
It seemed to me as though somebody had used the Transfer array within my home from either the array at a nearby city or at Marcho’s dungeon.
The one that used the array rushed over to my direction. I recognized who she was.
Her blood was dripping to the ground. I didn’t see any wound on her front so I deducted her injuries must have been on her back.
Kuina and the others also felt the presence of her magic power.
“Succubus, why did you come here? Why do you have those wounds?”
Yes, it was the Succubus that was in Marcho’s dungeon.
It made more sense if the Transfer array she used was the one installed in Marcho’s dungeon. There were disadvantages to installing Transfer arrays. One such disadvantage was that other monsters besides my own could use them. However, I didn’t have to be on guard against Marcho’s monsters.
She looked like she was about to fall down so I came to support her.
“Procell-sama, Marchosias-sama’s dungeon is under the attack of several Demon Lords. On top of it being a complete surprise attack, it is conducted by many strong Demon Lords. It’s a considerably dire situation. By Marchosias-sama’s order, I have come to your dungeon.”
“I understand the situation. I will come to support her immediately. So be at ease and get some rest. I shall arrange for you to be treated.”
Marcho’s in a pinch? As I was before, I wouldn’t have been able to do anything but as I am now, I can provide plenty of assistance to her.
“No, that’s exactly not it!”
The Succubus desperately grabbed me by the neck. She then brought her face close to mine and squeezed out a voice.
“Marchosias-sama has sent me to tell you to not come to her aid, no matter what! You’re the most talented Demon Lord there is and in the future, you just might become the strongest Demon Lord ever! But right now, you’re just a pup!”
“I understand that but still, I can be of help.”
Hearing that, the Succubus visibly flared up in anger.
“You understand nothing! Think about what it means to come to Marchosias-sama’s help! The rule preventing the old Demon Lords from attacking the new ones is based on the condition that a new Demon Lord doesn’t attack an old one first. If you go back her up, the Demon Lords attacking her will be free to crush you. They’ll be more than happy to be able to crush a potentially powerful rival.”
It then finally dawned on me what Marcho’s intention was in sending Succubus and it wasn’t because she wanted my help.
She knew that if she was attacked and I were to learn that she was outnumbered, I would come to her aid but then she also knew that that would only give the old Demon Lords an excuse to attack me.
And so, this warning was given. A warning at the cost of sending the Succubus who could be very useful in her fight against the other Demon Lords.
She did so much to help me who had angered her just a few days prior.
I couldn’t help but make a fist.
The light of the Transfer array then vanished. It must have been some kind of trick done by Marcho’s side to prevent her enemies from using it.
“Kuina, Rorono, Aura, I am a fool. A foolish Demon Lord. And I am about to do an extraordinarily foolish thing. Please forgive me. I won’t even listen to your opinions. I have already made up my mind: I’m going to help Marcho.”
I declared so with force.
This was my decision as a Demon Lord and mine alone.
“Yay ♪! That’s our Oto-san!”
“Mhm. [Beast] Demon Lord Marchosias is master’s mother. We can’t let her die.”
“Old Demon Lords or whatever, we can beat it!”
As expected of my [Monsters of the Covenant]. So reassuring.
“Wait, do you plan on trampling over Marchosias-sama’s wishes!?”
“No child knows how much his parents care for him, or so they say. I have already left her nest, I am free to do whatever I want. Moreover…”
I searched my brain for the best possible help. I knew that alone, I was not going to be of much help to her. I knew I had to talk to our mutual acquaintances.
My first step was to ask Stolas to set up a meeting with the [Dragon] Demon Lord who was close friends with Marcho. I was fairly certain he would cooperate.
Next was to have an audience with the [Time] Demon Lord. He was in love with Marcho so I was sure he would help as well.
“Succubus, if I left her to fight on her own, we might be separated by her death and I’m not willing to risk that. And even if we part forever, I still wish to see her on her last moments.”
It was then time to act to help Marcho. I was sure that this event wasn’t aimed at just Marcho. There must be some kind of trap, I was sure.
Even so, for my own sake, I decided I would act with pride. No matter what trap, we will face it with our strength.
The name of the religion used here is different from the one mentioned before. I did a search and found that this new name and the Rigdolg name has been used one each. Meanwhile, Rigdold was used for every future chapter (that I know of). And so, whichever it is, I’m going to use Rigdold from now on.
Also, the 3rd volume of the light novel is available now! It has a newly written chapter featuring Stolas! Please buy it and support Tsukiyo Rui-sensei. Amazon link