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Chapter 79 – Declaration of War
“Hey, Rinko. Do you have any skills suited to combat?”
“Only short-range teleport and recovery magic. The rest is charm, illusion, and perception blocking.”
Yeah, I knew that. Nothing spectacular. A rear-guard position, huh? If we were to party together and dive into dungeons, there might be some use for it, though.
There was a time when I thought I would register with the Adventurer’s Guild and have a harem party and live a happy, lovey-dovey life in another world.
Now, I’ve achieved mass murder in one leap, and I’ve jumped three more steps to become the Demon King. I don’t even know if there is an Adventurer’s Guild over here.
Holding Myrril-san at my side, I took Rinko’s arm, and we teleported. We return to the top of the rocky terrain that we were not expected to come back to.
“The characteristics of the practitioner…”
“He is tall and slender, with gray hair parted in the middle and a mustache, and a red shield with a serpent entwined embroidered on the left breast of his white coat.”
I looked over with Myrril-san and decided that was probably the best way to get the information.
“Stay here, Rinko. We’ll bring him with us when we go back. Be sure to disguise and disorient him, just in case.”
I carried Myrril in my arms and flew a short distance to the side of the road. I check the wounded piled up on the side of the collapsed road, but the dead and wounded are all soldiers, no gray hair or figures in white coats.
The rescue of the Transportation Corps was put on the back burner.
Myrril touches my chest to stop me from moving to the underground.
“Did you see his status?”
“Rinko’s? Yeah, just to make sure it’s safe.”
The presence or absence of malice alone can be discerned by the color of the (somewhat JRPG-like) HP bar displayed faintly overhead. This is an ability I discovered during the Forest Elf child, Milka’s betrayal incident. I’m not usually concerned about it, but it appears when I’m trying to guess who I’m dealing with. But before that, I had something on my mind.
But the status of Rinko that I checked was a little different from the direction of my concern.
Name: Rinko Saegusa
Occupation: Hidden Saint, Flame Witch, 3rd Assistant Engineer, Artillerist
Physical Strength: 44
“She’s not the empire’s spies, is she?”
“No, or rather… she doesn’t have such dexterity. The only things that stand out are perception blocking and recovery magic, and other than that, she has about the same numbers as I did when I first met Myrril, or even lower. There’s nothing remarkable to see, except that her intelligence is high.”
“I see. If you have looked into it and decided to accept it, then good.”
The conversation is over.
I take Myrril’s hand and teleport underground.
The place we descended to was filled with men standing around busily working. We hide in a dark corner of the collapse and observe our surroundings.
There were still four to fifty soldiers left at the bottom, though it was unclear whether they were part of the fallen or rescue workers who had come down from above. The place was noisy with hurrying supervisors and screaming wounded.
A group of men who appeared to be mages was trying to rescue those who remained buried alive using clay golems, but the work did not seem to be going well as the digging collapsed and buried them.
The larger and slightly more useful (supposedly) wood golem is being sent to dig out the wagons.
The ore golem, which is the cornerstone of their strength, is loaded, so I guess it has a higher priority, but if things continue as they are, it will be too late for a lot of people. It’s a harsh world, but it’s not a rewarding world, is it? The cheapness of human life makes me feel depressed.
What am I saying? They are all people I will eventually kill.
I stopped to collect the things I had buried in the ground. Whoever was responsible for this has already been exposed. It’s pointless to worry about the whereabouts of the hate now. It’s better to show them what we can do.
“Yoshua, isn’t that it? I can’t see if it is a shield on the snake, but there is a red mark on the left breast.”
I turned to look at the voice of Myrril-san and saw a middle-aged man with gray hair sitting on the wreckage of a carriage near the center of the collapsed area. He was wearing a white coat with a white beard, although it was hard to tell if it was crumpled and disheveled and parted down the middle or not.
“What are you waiting for? Dig them out and crush the Demon King quickly, you incompetent bastards!”
The white-bearded man, slouched over arrogantly, hysterically yells at the soldiers who are working on the project. Even though he is a non-combatant in the field of transportation, he is a mage, so he must be a high-ranking nobleman in his own right.
I thought that the fact that they were not carried out on the ground might be due to the low priority of rescue among the invading forces, but they were probably left behind to lead the recovery of buried equipment.
“Ouch, damn it! Is that useless witch dead?”
“I don’t know, sir. I haven’t seen her since just after the collapse!”
“…That no-good bastard, just at this critical moment!”
A cloth is wrapped around his left arm, which may have been hurt or broken when he fell. Can’t he use recovery or healing magic? Maybe that was Rinko’s role. So is “witch” a derogatory term for Rinko? Well, it doesn’t matter.
“Myrril, we’ll take him away.”
She probably intends to hold my hands with hers. She hugged me from behind and held me around my neck. The soft, warm touch and sweet smell eased my tension. The fluffy, furry hairs on my neck tickle me, but they are also very comfortable.
“Even if we kill him, it will be at the end, but if he gets out of control, can I leave it to you to make him quiet?”
“Of course. You can talk to him all you want, you know.”
For better or worse, the feeling of communication is getting stronger. I thought it might be my imagination, but now I realize it.
This is love. Yes, it has to be.
The soldiers’ gazes shifted to the excavation work. Then I grabbed the white-bearded man by the neck and made a short teleport into the sky, and from there, I changed direction in mid-air and flew to the rocky area.
When we return to the rocky area, I throw the white-bearded man away. Rinko seems to be at the edge of the rocky area, but her presence is very faint due to some kind of perception blockage.
I had thought he was a mage with a certain amount of battlefield experience, but the white-bearded man remained frozen, unable to react or even comprehend the situation until he was thrown to the ground. He looked around, his eyes black and white as if he was suffocating.
“Nh, oh… Eghh!?”
I switch my mental focus, my expression disappears, and I kick up his left arm, which was suspended by the cloth. I looked down at the white-bearded man who screamed and rolled over, standing in front of him.
“You only talk when I command you to.”
The man gasped and fell silent as I thrust a machete from my storage at his nose.
“Don’t make me repeat it. I will cut off your useless ears.”
The firearms wouldn’t be recognizable to the empire’s people. I couldn’t think of any other weapons for a demonstration, though I thought it would be delicate, like Yadar’s.
“My name is Tekehue Yoshua. I am the Demon King of the Casemaian.”
[T/n: He probably changed his name here.]
When I told him with a smile, surprisingly, the white-bearded man instantly trembled.
What is that? Is the story of the Demon King’s descent really being told with that much seriousness in the empire?
“If you foolish and fragile humans want to harm my people, you will die here. Let me ask you this. Is my castle the destination of the empire puppets?”
The man’s eyes swim. A lie, an excuse, or a cover story, the words he was about to utter were swallowed. The trembling stops, and the hesitation disappears from his gaze. I could see that he was prepared to take revenge as a mage.
His right hand was about to swing at me, but Myrril’s .45-caliber pistol bullet easily knocked it away.
The bullet that exited the back of his hand into his thumb had disabled his one hand. His middle and index fingers were broken off, and his thumb was blown off. The will to rebel completely deflated from the white-bearded man when he saw this.
I don’t know what the mage’s individual fighting ability is, but since he was unable to use both hands when combined with his broken left arm, he would have to give it up.
“…O-of course! It is the longing not only of the empire but… of all human beings to bring down the city of the demon race and defeat the Demon King!”
The man was shedding tears as he appealed. Whatever, he looked filthy with snot on his beard. He screamed a high-pitched cry, a mixture of pain, fear, anger, and hatred. It was what you might call a state of reverse rage.
“I will kill you! Demons, Fiends, Demon King, those abominable half-beasts, all of them!”
“Hmm. That’s good to know.”
I move my face up to the man’s and smile. Perhaps it’s a reaction he hadn’t expected, but the white-bearded man’s fury fades in an instant.
“I was willing to show you mercy if you meant no harm to my demon territory, but now I see that there is no need for it. Now I can make a decision.”
I whispered to the bewildered old man and pressed the switch in my hand.
“Behold my magic.”
The earth shakes and roars.
The white-bearded man opens his mouth and stares behind me, eyes wide. I look at the flames of the explosion and the large number of flying pieces of flesh that have gone up there. After the falling debris had subsided, there was nothing to move but what had once been the Imperial Army.
“No need to worry. This is just an order of things.”
“…Order of, things?”
“Yes. First, the Kingdom’s army when they go to defeat the Casemaian. Next, the tribal forces of Tarantallen. And now it was just you guys. Early or late? That’s the only difference.”
Thud, and something falls down beside him. I looked up to see how high in the sky it had been blown and saw that it was the head of a middle-aged soldier wearing a helmet.
“If you continue to turn against me…”
Looking at the dead soldier’s head with a bewildered expression on his face, the white-bearded man takes a small gasp.
“Soon, it will be your turn.”