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Chapter 4 – Plotting Goes Around
A thousand years ago, the demon race dominated the central continent and oppressed other races.
However, the humans rose up in revolt, seeking liberation from the hellish days, and other races followed suit, leading to a great war―resulting in the defeat of the demon race and their exile to the southern islands.
However, some demon races have chosen to remain on the central continent to save their brethren who have failed to escape. The Kingdom of Levering was founded by these remaining demons.
However, due to their long interactions with other races, most of the children born today did not possess magical powers―even the royal family was not pure-blooded―and as each generation advanced, they were becoming more and more like humans.
October 17th, 1026th year of the imperial calendar
The capital of the Levering Kingdom was the fortified city of Purple Snow Fortress.
In order to protect its people from foreign enemies, the city was protected by a deep moat and double fortification walls, and a suspension bridge was the only way in or out, making it a perfect defensive posture.
Overlooking the city from the hillside within the walls is a palace called Purple Silver Palace, where the queen resides.
The cityscape, covered with snow and the white chalk of the palace, gave dignity to those who visited the Kingdom of Levering, and the beauty of the scenery illuminated by the sun would strike the hearts of all who saw it and move them to tears of joy.
Claudia van Levering, the queen of the Levering Kingdom, lived in the “Purple Silver Hall,” which was the envy of the people.
She was currently in the throne room, meeting with a visitor who has a rather unusual appearance.
A luxurious light hanging from the ceiling illuminated a red carpet in the center of the floor. On it, a lone hooded figure was kneeling on one knee, bowing toward Claudia, who was seated on a throne.
In the throne room, other Levering nobles stood in a line on either side of the red carpet, but no one spoke to each other, and the room was strangely quiet.
In the midst of all this, the first to make a move was Claudia, seated on her throne.
She made a small movement, and her beautiful purple-silver hair, which has earned her the title of “Purple Silver Princess,” swayed like a wave.
Her hair fringe hid her gentle eyes, and her slender fingers brushed the bangs away.
Her fantastically delicate face is once again exposed to the outside world, and her snow-white skin, which was her signature, shone beautifully in the light of the lighting.
This skin was also called “elfinization,” a physical characteristic of a heretic who was born as a demon race but was forced to live as a long-eared race.
“So, may I know your name?”
A stern voice burst from Claudia’s pale pink lips as if to break the silence.
Under the cold gaze of the glaring queen, the hooded figure asked for Claudia’s permission and stood up.
“My name is Nemea―one of the Twelve Demon Lords.”
The hooded figure announced this name.
Hearing these words, the nobles gathered in the hall let out a surprised cry.
This was because the Twelve Demon Lords are the same pure-blooded demon race as Rox, the founder of the Levering Kingdom, and also their ancestors.
The king’s room was noisier than before, but when Claudia raised one hand in a small gesture, the Levering nobles, avoiding the queen’s frown, suppressed their astonishment and stifled their voices.
When silence returned, Claudia rested her elbows on the throne and rested her chin in her hands.
“Fufu, it’s hard to believe, isn’t it? I heard that the Twelve Demon Lords were destroyed by the God of War?”
“At one time, yes. However, we survived thanks to the power of our king. We were especially loved by the “king” among the demon race.”
Because his face was hidden by a hood, it was difficult to read his emotions from his expression. However, it did not seem as if he was lying from his imposing atmosphere.
Even so, not only was there not enough evidence to determine that he was telling the truth but he would surely be laughed out of the room if he were to joyfully claim that an ancestor from 1,000 years ago was still alive.
“I know they were ‘favored.’ I have heard that they were immortal.”
The person claiming to be Nemea had just appeared and rode in with an imposing frontal presence. He claimed to be the twelve demon lords, and because of his magical powers, he was allowed to enter the castle by the soldiers who were at a loss to make a decision. Above all, he had purple skin. This feature alone earned him special treatment in the Kingdom of Levering.
Over the course of 1,000 years, as the human race and the demon race coexisted in harmony, the blood of the demon race, as it was called, had been thinning year by year in the Levering Kingdom. Nowadays, there were few people with “purple skin,” and even if there were, it was limited to those who belong to the privileged class.
“Nemea-san, was it? If we are to believe in your existence, then it must be true, isn’t it?”
Choosing bland words, Claudia sighed as she made a difficult face.
Nemea, the Twelve Demon Lords―whether it was a lie or the truth, a troublesome existence has arrived.
If he were judged to be a liar and thrown out, Claudia’s opponents would come to carry him up to the throne. However, if Claudia were to accept it as the truth, his identity would be too suspicious and could be used by the opposing forces for their public opinion warfare.
“It is a fact, and it is the truth. We have been hiding in the dark for a long time, but the oracle of the King has allowed us to come out again.”
“But I have the impression that it was just a trickster who has appeared, but do you have any proof of this?”
Nemea then took off the hood that had been hiding his face.
The nobles moaned at the sight of his exposed face. Some were so surprised that they held their mouths and made a gesture of nausea. Claudia also showed some surprise with a frown.
Nemea’s face was eyeless. On his forehead was a laceration as if something had been gouged out.
The Levering side is shaking with shock, but Nemea, the one in the middle of it all, looks calm.
The wounds were once inflicted by the torture of the God of War.
“It is a terrible wound, to be sure, but can you tell me why you would use it as evidence?”
“The twelve demon lords who were tortured by the God of War all had their eyes gouged out and the magic stone on their foreheads taken away.”
This was yet another piece of evidence that made it difficult for one to make a decision.
This was a very bad thing to say in the Central Continent, which was now under the control of the human race as if to discredit the name of the God of War. Not only was it adjacent to the Great Grantz Empire, but it was also a bomb that could cause unnecessary disputes in the Kingdom of Levering, which is in alliance with the Empire.
Claudia put her hand on her forehead and shook her head.
“I see, it seems that you have suffered a tragic event. But I still think it’s too weak to be used as evidence.”
Claudia’s mind was filled with calculating thoughts about how to deal with this man.
He was too dangerous to keep nearby, but as a chess piece, he could be used very effectively.
As she pondered this, Claudia’s lips trembled with pleasure as she gradually began to find enjoyment.
However, her joy was short-lived when Nemea suddenly pointed to the “Cannibalism” treasure of the Levering Kingdom on the throne.
“If that is the case, would it make sense if I said that you have the magical weapon left behind by the founder King Rox―or rather, the “Ashura,” one of the Five Demon Emperor’s Sword?”
Hearing Nemea’s words, all emotion fell from Claudia’s face.
This was a fact that only Claudia knows. The great purge that took place during the reign of the third emperor of the Grantz caused the loss of many historical books.
At that time, the documents describing “cannibalism” were also lost.
Before that time, the founder Rox had divided the power of “cannibalism” into three magical weapons.
Therefore, the sword, which should have been one, was treated as a “national treasure” of the Levering Kingdom and lent to the generals known as the “three demon generals” without anyone knowing about it until Claudia appeared.
“The “Ashura” is a sword that kills one’s own kind―when the founder King Rox turned to the “God of War,” he modified it so that only his bloodline was allowed to possess it. The sword is the sword of “kindred killers.” By taking in the “magic stone” of his “kindred,” it has the “blessing” of amplifying the wielder’s magic power and distributing unlimited physical strength.”
Claudia quietly turned her emotionless violet eyes on Nemea, who answered smoothly and without hesitation.
“You seem to know a lot about it.”
“The original belongs to our side.”
“So you are saying that the Twelve Demon Lords, Nemea-sama, have come to retrieve the Ashura?”
“No, as much as I’d like to, the King has forgiven you for your misdeeds.”
“That’s so kind-hearted of him; it almost makes me weep with joy.”
“But I have a condition.”
“What is it?”
“War will soon break out in the north. You must give us your consent only if you agree to these conditions.”
“I don’t understand unless you are more specific.”
In truth, Claudia understood.
From Nemea’s earlier remarks, there was no doubt that the Twelve Demon Lords were intervening in some way, given the recent situation in the north.
It was not difficult to imagine that Claudia would be asked to lend a hand in completely dismantling the northern nobles led by the Scharm family.
“The king said that if you help us, he will give you any land you want.”
The answer was as expected, and the heat suddenly cooled within Claudia.
Nemea’s arrogant confidence and sarcasm were very much on the nose.
Certainly, he exuded a dignity brought about by a thousand years of time. He must have the ability as one of the Twelve Demon Lords.
In fact, the nobles in the surroundings are staring at Nemea with excited looks on their faces.
They had dreamed of regaining the former glory of the demon race, and Nemea’s comments were very interesting to them.
But why, she wonders… are his words not resonating in Claudia’s mind?
In front of Claudia, who was searching for the reason, Nemea continued to speak out enthusiastically.
“It’s not a bad deal for you people; the persecuted demon race can see the light of day again!”
“You want us to cooperate with a “king” who knew our oppressed people and did not help them?”
“Don’t blame him. It took us a long time to accumulate our strength. Above all, the human race was protected by the blessings of the Spirit King.”
Nemea’s topic struck a chord with Claudia.
Once upon a time, this “world” was created by a single god.
However, the god lamented that this “world” was a failure and disappeared, leaving his five alter egos to rule the world.
The “Spirit King” presided over nature.
The “Faceless King” presided over impermanence.
The “Iron and Steel King” presided over creation.
The “Black Dragon King” presided over war.
The “Fairy King” presided over life.
The birth of the “Five Great Heavenly Kings” marked the beginning of the Divine World.
The “Spirit King,” one of the pillars, was worshipped as a god by the “human race.”
The “Spirit King” was the god who gave the “Five Emperors of the Spirit Sword” to Altius, the first emperor of the Great Grantz Empire, and brought an end to the age of the “demon race.” He was still greatly revered today for his role in bringing the “human race” to the domination of the world.
“But now there is no blessing from the Spirit King?”
“Yes, the Spirit King has lost his power and disappeared. The spirits are all that remain, but they will soon perish.”
“Now, I would like to ask you one more question. Are you sure that the Spirit King has lost his power?”
“Without a doubt. Our “King”―the “Faceless King”―said so. It is the result of being consumed by the “human race” for a thousand years.”
Nemea danced in the center of the room, bathed in the light of the lamps, as if he was giving a speech to the nobles.
“Once again, the central continent is under the control of the demon races. The world will be a better place for demons to live. You, too, must worship our Father and lend your strength to him. If you do so, prosperity will be guaranteed, and you will receive his blessings.”
“That sounds very appealing.”
Claudia nodded and smiled broadly at Nemea’s confirmation.
This seemed to surprise not only Nemea but also the nobles and lords, who all rolled their eyes and focused their attention on Claudia.
“I said I would not accept your offer.”
Finally, she knew what the feeling of discomfort was. She got the reason why Nemea’s words didn’t resonate with her.
He had nothing but delusion. He was stuck in the past and had stopped moving forward.
He had a clear will for revenge, but because he had no conviction, he had lost his “individuality” and had become a pathetic puppet working as a hand and foot for the Faceless King―There were times when it was necessary to do as one was told.
However, those who do not construct their own objectives with ambition and will be mixed in are not qualified to talk about their ambitions.
It was an entertaining experience.
Claudia felt anger welling up from deep within her heart when she learned why the one who once reigned at the top of the demon race that swept the central continent had become so obsessed with life while transforming into a diminutive figure.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about messing around; your stories are so boring.”
“…Is that your response?”
“Fufu… and about before, you know, there was a man named Baal. He told me that. He didn’t like the idea of a demon race mixed with “human” blood.”
Baal van Bitenia, a man who once attempted to usurp the throne together with Claudia’s brother, Fraus van Levering.
He was eventually decapitated by Hiro, but he bore torture marks similar to those of Nemea, who was standing before him.
“If the missing ‘magic stones’ in both eyes and forehead are proof that you are the Twelve Demon Lords, then he is also one of you.”
But Baal still had more “individuality” than Nemea. He was more vicious than the Nemea in front of Claudia, and he acted on his own initiative without the help of others or orders from anyone else.
Although he had plotted to overthrow the country, from Claudia’s point of view, he was still more endearing than Nemea.
“Do you think we would help such a person?”
“…If you are against our King, then you are against us.”
“You may take that as you will.”
No further conversation would yield any useful information.
After hearing about his useless background, Claudia was neither sympathetic nor compatible with the king. Claudia was grateful to hear about the Spirit King, and a cruel smile was plastered on her face.
Claudia stood up from her throne and raised one hand.
“There is no way I will cooperate with you people, who have been dismissed by our ancestor king, Rox.”