The [Black] Demon Lord had launched a surprise attack against us. Fortunately, we were able to defend against it. Not only that, we even turned the table against him.
Even so, I should have been protected in the first place by the rule of the Creator that forbade old Demon Lords from attacking us new Demon Lords. And yet, not even a penalty was issued out.
This convinced me more than ever that he had some of his monsters mixed in with the enemy forces we fought and killed when we were rescuing Marcho. In other words, I had attacked him without knowing and gave him an excuse for attacking back.
I mean, I expected it… but he’s really that kind of guy, huh. Well, anyway, everything’s going well so far.
Even though he escaped, our original objective was still accomplished: to obtain a card that would help us shake his influence over the humans.
To that end, we put on a little show. Using [Divine Revelation], we played the footage we obtained over and over again to the royal capital which was a city full of his believers.
“Kuina, let’s go join up with Prince Leonard and the others, alright?”
Earlier, Aura had taken the members of the royal family away and acted as their guard.
Now that the fighting was over, we had to meet up with them and continue our initial meeting.
“Yay~ ♪! And then, this city will be Oto-san’s!”
“Haha. Not quite.”
I responded to Kuina with strained laughter.
Many of the humans that had lost trust for the Rigdolg Faith were most likely going to enter our Holy Grail Faith. Since time immemorial, humans who had undergone a painful experience were more likely to switch faiths rather than abandon religion altogether. They were simply not strong enough to continue living without anything to believe in.
Without doubt, our Holy Grail Faith was going to spread quickly and widely.
Thanks to that, our dealings with the Axela Kingdom was bound to be much smoother.
The king and the other royal family members might not notice right away, but they were becoming more and more dependent on my help. Soon enough, they would be like the weak-hearted humans that would rather switch religions than abandon it altogether.
“Avalon-Ritters, gather and load the corpses into the container.”
In response to my command, the Avalon-Ritters promptly gathered the corpses.
Unlike monster corpses—which turn into particles of light and vanish after a certain amount of time—human corpses remained well after their death. What this meant for us was that we could bring home the corpses of the artificial heroes we slew and have them be resurrected as undead monsters by Duke’s [Enhanced Resurrection].
By default, these artificial heroes were more or less as powerful as A rank monsters, but through Duke’s ability, they would be reanimated to be stronger than when they were alive. Furthermore, thanks to another of his abilities, [Ruler of Death], friendly undead monsters were strengthened even more.
It wasn’t often one could gain A rank or higher war potential and I didn’t intend to waste it. It’ll be a nice souvenir for Duke.
“Alright, Kuina, let’s hurry. We still have work to do, but once all that’s finished, Prince Leonard’s going to give us a tour to the fun places here in the city. We’re going to eat a lot of delicious food too.”
“Yay~ ♪! Sounds fun!”
Kuina replied so with her fox tail swinging back and forth. Above all else, it was important to me that she and the others were happy.
I instructed the Avalon-Ritters to return to our church after they were finished gathering the corpses. After doing that, Kuina and I began walking.
We had joined up with the royal family in a venue specified beforehand. The meeting progressed swimmingly, and more importantly, it ended peacefully.
We had obtained permission to build our churches and practice our religion not only in the royal capital, but also the other major cities of the Axela Kingdom. This was all toward the goal of spreading the Holy Grail Faith. After all, if we had spread it enough and we could call Avalon a holy capital, believers with strong—and delicious—emotions would travel to Avalon. There was a chance some might even chose to live there.
However, even if we were to adapt a rotation system, there was still a limit to the number of cities Ruru and the Ocean Singers could travel to. Because of that, it was necessary to choose carefully which cities to build a church in.
Another concern with additional churches was that we also had to increase the number of priests we had. Thankfully, I could always ask Conanna to refer to me another swindler or maybe an actor. I was now convinced that they performed even better than a real priest.
During the meeting, we also agreed on the of the schedule for the accommodation of the kingdom’s soldiers that were injured in their war against the [Dragon] Demon Lord. According to the schedule, about a thousand soldiers were going to stay in Avalon for 2-3 months.
That increase of population for that long of a period was undoubtedly very appealing to any Demon Lord, considering the proportionate increase in DP and in the emotions we could consume.
Another thing from the meeting was the lending of 3 Avalon-Ritters. In case those that still believed in the Rigdolg Faith were desperate enough to revolt against the kingdom, three Avalon-Ritters should be enough to maintain the peace.
Along with those, I also handed over the rest of the financial aid I promised before.
“And with that, all agendas have been tackled. I dare say this meeting was very productive. Thank you, Procell-dono.”
“Oh no, it is I who should thank you. I am very grateful for the friendship formed between the Axela Kingdom and Avalon.”
The king and I then stood up and shook each other’s hand.
Considering that my general objective was the prosperity of both humans and monsters, I was glad to have formed a friendship like this with the Axela Kingdom. I was a firm believer that coexisting peacefully with humans and forming a symbiotic relationship with them netted more long-term DP and strong emotions than outright killing them.
“One more thing, Procell-dono. I’d like to ask a rather impudent request. It’s about that mysterious method you used to project your form and voice to the sky. Would you be willing to let us use it too? No matter how much I try using the methods currently at our disposal, it is just impossible for my voice to reach each and every citizen. But, using your method, no citizen would uninformed or misinformed. It’s usefulness is tremendous, to say the least.”
It was only natural for any statesman to see the appeal of the [Divine Revelation]. Especially so in this day and age where broadcasting an unignorable message to a wide audience could easily be classified as an act of god.
“I don’t mind letting you make use of it. However, this secret of our Holy Grail Faith could only be performed by a high-ranking believer of ours. If you submit a request, we won’t mind dispatching a high-ranking believer who would relay your message to your people. Those are my conditions. Do you accept?”
“Are you sure that’s all you’re going to ask in return, Procell-dono? There’s no need to be modest. We are willing to give much more for that method.”
“No, this is already enough. Asking for too much is a source of discord between friends and what I truly want is to maintain this relationship we have. Just treat this as a token of our friendship please.”
This was actually a windfall for me. Like so, people would be further exposed to the [Divine Revelation], which in turn would hopefully lead to a quicker growth of our believer count. Decreasing the [Black] Demon Lord’s influence was a welcome effect as well.
Right when the meeting was going to be adjourned, Prince Leonard spoke.
“Procell-dono, please take care of us tomorrow too.”
By tomorrow, he meant the meeting with the [Dragon] Demon Lord.
Unless the [Dragon] Demon Lord swore in front of them to not retaliate, the leaders of the Axela Kingdom would never have peace of mind.
“Of course. I’ve already explained things to the [Dragon] Demon Lord. All that’s left is for us to do our best tomorrow.”
There were very few—if any existed at all—causes of concern for tomorrow. In all likelihood, it would progress and conclude peacefully.
“You’re as reliable as ever, Procell-dono! Now that our work for today is finished, let me be a good friend and show you around the royal capital. I’ll try my best to entertain you as much as you have entertained me in Avalon.”
It was a welcome prepared by a prince, so it was most likely going to feature the best of things.
This rare chance to experience culture outside of Avalon was very valuable indeed.
Let’s have plenty of fun.
“Yeah, I’m looking forward to it.”
“Then, let’s get ready right away.”
The prince said so and then proudly led the way.
Excited as I was, I knew I shouldn’t let my guard down since the [Black] Demon Lord was still at large.
After a fun night in the royal capital, I joined Prince Leonard in his meeting with the [Dragon] Demon Lord the next day.
Without any demands of his own, the [Dragon] Demon Lord promised to not retaliate even if the kingdom pulled their forces out. He didn’t demand compensation either. If anything, he was actually kind of sad that the soldiers were going home. Such a shame to lose a stable source of income, he said with a laugh.
Hearing that, Prince Leonard made a stiff smile. I found that reaction to be quite understandable. After all, they sent their forces to the [Dragon] Demon Lord’s dungeon with the intent of destroying it, but now he was being thanked as though he had delivered a snack.
At any rate, there was officially no more reason for their forces to be on standby near the [Dragon] Demon Lord’s dungeon, so those forces should be withdrawn soon.
All of my scheduled work done, I decided it was time to return to Avalon.
Thankfully, nothing else of note happened during this trip… which could also be perceived as kind of ominous.
Three days had passed since my return from my trip to the Axela Kingdom.
During these three days, we had been preparing for the [War] and bolstering our fighting force. Without being stingy, I used as much of my saved-up DP as needed. I was also using my [Creation] to create things that couldn’t be easily procured in this world ‘round the clock, even using our still-not-fully-replenished-stock of golden apple potions to increase my magic power recovery rate.
Anyway, today, I went to Marcho’s dungeon. I was currently waiting in a special dungeon room for guests that Marcho’s subordinates guided me to.
“Oto-san, it’s been a while since we’ve been here!”
Kuina said so in a cheery voice while restlessly looking around.
“Sure has. I hope Marcho’s well.”
Right after teaching me how to use [Awakening], Marcho left Avalon to return to her [Beast] dungeon.
We have been exchanging letters now and then, but it has been a while since we last saw each other in person. Because of that, I was a little tensed at the moment.
“Geez, Oto-san, you seem so excited to meet with her again.”
Kuina said so while puffing her face as though to suggest she was jealous.
By the way, she was currently not in her grown-up form. According to her, her young girl form consumed less energy and thus allowed her to save up more magic power in the furs of her tail. Saving up 9999 furs’ worth of magic power so that she could evolve was a herculean task, so every bit of economizing helped.
“Yes, I am excited, but this kind of excitement isn’t limited to Marcho, you know. I mean, if ever the two of us were apart for a long time, I’ll feel just the same as I do now, if not more.”
When I answered her like that, Kuina’s eyes brightened up and she jumped into an embrace.
As always, she was a very adorable girl.
While we were like that, I heard the sound of footsteps. When I looked at its direction, I saw an approaching woman with brown skin and white wolf ears & tail.
“Hey there, Procell. Been a while”
“Yeah. I’ve missed you, Marcho.”
I was glad she was fine. Aside from general concern, I was worried that [Rebirth] might have some side effect on her.
“I’m glad to see you’re well and lively. Perhaps a little too lively though, getting involved in all sort of things.”
“Well, you know.”
While smiling at my reply, Marcho extended her hand toward me. And when I took her hand in mine, I felt magic power and something else flow into me.
“’Kay, that’s this month’s earnings. Thankfully, adventurers have returned to my dungeon.”
“Thanks for this.”
The other thing I received was DP.
Through [Rebirth], Marcho had become my monster. Because of that, it wasn’t against the rules anymore for her to give me DP.
We had decided that it was more convenient for her dungeon to remain independent from Avalon and still be under her full control. That being said, the both of us also decided that she would hand over DP—whatever was left to her after deducting any necessary expenses—to me once a month.
“For a new Demon Lord to earn as much DP as a top-class Demon Lord, my, you really are a cheat Demon Lord.”
Just as she said, my DP income from both Avalon and her dungeon was comparable to a top-class Demon Lord even though I was still considered a new one.
Actually, DP wasn’t the only thing I was getting from Marcho.
From time to time, we received corpses of adventurers that died in her dungeon. These were then resurrected by Duke’s [Enhanced Resurrection]. Thanks to this, the graveyard dungeon room in my dungeon was very populated.
Furthermore, we sent golems which were rather subpar as war potential—such as Iron Golems, Silver Golems, and Gold Golems—to her dungeon’s [Mine] to dig without rest for resources. I had a mine of my own, but since a mine scaled accordingly to the Demon Lord’s level, hers offered far better resources.
Through all these things I gained from her dungeon, my fighting force and DP stock were increasing by the day.
“With this much DP, the world is practically your oyster, right?”
“Well, actually, this much isn’t quite enough. I’ll need huge amounts of DP to win against the [Black] Demon Lord, don’t I? Right now, the priority is to do whatever I can to earn more DP.”
This was going to be a [War] against an old Demon Lord.
No amount of precaution would ever be enough. Even so, I needed to create the best possible defense I could using not only the DP I saved up until now, but also using the DP I was yet to earn.
“Hmm, then, how about using the DP I have saved up?”
“No, it’s fine. There’s no need to go that far.”
On the other hand, all the DP that I let her give me were just DP she gained after becoming my monster, nothing from before. It might seem suboptimal or even irrational, but it was my resolve to somehow manage without fully relying on Marcho.
“I like that determination of yours. It’s kinda childish, but I like it.”
“I sorta have to. It’s all over once I stop being determined, after all.”
“Well, I’m rooting for you, you hear?”
Having received the DP, my task here was done. That being said, it has been a while since I last met Marcho, so I decided to idly chat with her for a while.
Just as expected, I had a blast chatting with her.
But then, there was suddenly a pause in our conversation.
<<Children of the Planet, I have an important announcement regarding the [War] between [Creation] and [Black].>>
The interruption was caused by a voice in my mind. More specifically, the Creator’s voice.
An important announcement? There should only be days left before our war begins. It’s unheard of to have any changes this late in the game.
<<The [War] will no longer be held.>>
I unconsciously let out a voice.
Such a thing was supposed to be impossible. Once a war has been started, no Demon Lord should be able to stop it.
Just what could have happened?
<<Though I guess, saying ‘it will no longer be held’ is not entirely correct. So, to be more accurate, the [War] could no longer be held. The [Black] Demon Lord has perished today, and because of that, it is now impossible for him to be in a [War]. That is all.>>
The [Black] Demon Lord has died? That tenacious and scheming [Black] Demon Lord?
“There’s no way that’s true! There’s definitely something else going on here!”
He was a very crafty person who always had insurances to his insurances. There was no way he would be killed that easily.
And then, it dawned on me: this death was staged. It made perfect sense. He waged war on me so that I would not chase after him in our previous encounter. Under the assumption that it was impossible to pull out of a war, I thought we would clash against each other soon enough anyway, so there was little to no reason for me to chase him.
It was all conjecture at the moment, of course, but there was just no way he was dead. At least, not permanently.
“This is quite a mess, isn’t it?”
“Yeah, sure is. But what I have to do doesn’t change: make Avalon stronger. In a way, I guess I should be grateful. I earned some more time to make Avalon grow stronger. I’ll just keep at it without slowing down.”
Time was my ally.
The growth rate of both myself and Avalon was much faster than any other Demon Lord’s.
I’m going to make him regret stalling.
With that resolve in my heart, I returned to Avalon with Kuina.
There were countless things I should and must do to prepare and retaliate against his unforeseeable attack.
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