Volume 4, Chapter Prologue: Lurking in Dark Places
A declaration of war was made by the Daemons towards the human nations.
As a result, the human nations, especially the commoners, felt an unfamiliar anxiety and shock. However, the Daemon Kingdom’s residents who received this announcement from the Daemon King were even more surprised and confused.
The Daemon territory was named such for the sake of differentiating it from the human nations. Although there was the [Daemon King], a symbolic existence that all respected, the land was actually divided into three portions, each one its own independent [State].
The Daemons and demi-humans that resembled humans lived in [Gistez], which was under the direct jurisdiction of Daemon King Hebrad.
The Beastmen and those who resembled beasts, lived under the Beast King Gallus’ [Vosto]
As for the Demon-like demi-humans and the intelligent monsters, they lived in [Herteldeath] under the Dark Princess Killian.
The three nations of the Daemon territory could hardly be called monolithic. Even though they nominally paid respects to the Daemon King, each of them looked down on the other two and have been squabbling with each other for hundreds of years.
The only reason why the three countries hadn’t completely destroyed themselves in infighting yet was the existence of the Daemon King and their shared hatred of humans.
However, despite having a common enemy they continued to have skirmishes amongst themselves, and, while that was part of the nature of the Daemons, there were also some that were afraid of a full-scale war with the humans.
In the 2,000 year history of Daemonkind, there had been several invasions of the human nations performed in the name of the Daemon King, but they all ended in failure. After each time, the Daemonkind would end up going into a recession.
The reason why Daemons had staved off destruction up until now was because of the humans, even though they could exterminate the Daemons and claim their territory, the territory itself wasn’t desirable.
But with things as they were now, with an invasion of not one single country, but declaring war on every human nation on the continent, the humans might actually unite and try to destroy the Daemons.
For the selfish Daemons, although they would normally rebel against the Daemon King at the drop of a hat, right now the Daemon territories were in a state of great confusion.
One of the highest pillars on the totem pole of Demonkind… the 【Demon Beast】…… 【Dark Beast】.
Manifesting after devouring the magic power accumulated over decades, it flew away at once from the Daemon King’s territory, the Demon Beast returned again, coercing those who lived in the Daemon territory to help him gather [Magic Power].
While the Daemon King was looking for sacrifices to offer it, he thought that it would be necessary to devote thousands of people and Daemons, but the Demon Beast’s 【Manifestation】 didn’t need a vessel, it only wanted enough Magic Power from the Daemon King to remain.
In the upper floors of the Daemon King’s castle, several of the local lords and tribe chieftains were gathered in various conference rooms. In one of them that was spectacularly decorated and equipped with superior soundproofing and magic defences, the King and his aides were gathered together, staring at each other with bitter expressions.
“…Daemon King-sama, what is the meaning of this…?”
A bewitching… yet young voice reminiscent of a pretty maiden, calmly… asked… Daemon King Hebrad, in a poisonous tone.
The Dark Princess Killian. She looked like a beautiful black-haired lady, but her lower body was that of a snake, long and scaled, and her tail was touching the back of the room 10 metres away.
“What are you going to do about that 【Demon Beast】! And on top of that, declaring war on all of the human nations, does Your Majesty have any stratagems to secure victory?! ”
A lion beastman that exceeded 3 metres in height… Beast King Gallus slammed his thick arm on the obsidian table as he called out in anger.
At that state of affairs, a dark-skinned Daemon in the prime of his life grabbed his sword, and released both magic power and a bloodthirsty aura toward the two.
“You are being rude to Daemon King-sama!”
Taking in that bloodlust, Gallus laughed as he bared his fangs as his fighting spirit surged from all over his body, while Killian was… she narrowed her eyes and the atmosphere chilled.
“…Let’s leave it at that.”
It settled down… but the slightly tired voice of the Daemon King Hebrad caused the presence of all three of them to be slightly shaken.
“It’s fine. Darnell, you must have restraint.”
One of the Daemon King’s aides, Demon General Darnell, who was in charge of the domestic affairs of Gistez, backed down at Hebrad’s words while staring at the two of them.
Killian’s lips edged slightly upwards with interest, while Gallus clicked his tongue as if someone had rained on his parade.
Another man was staring at them… A Daemon usually had a slightly longer lifespan than a human, but he was so old that nobody else even remembered how old he was. He refrained from the quarrel, smiling slightly.
Daemon Mage Geas. Including this old man, who could be called the head magician of the Daemon King’s Army, these five people were the heavyweights that held in their hands the power to make decisions over the Daemon King’s Territory, and all of them were participating in this meeting.
Besides, even if more people were to be called to this meeting, the heads of each region would only be looking out for their own interests, and nothing would be achieved.
Hebrad let out a sigh, seeing that the Daemons had fallen to this state, and began to speak without a care about his prestige.
“Although I can understand what you’re saying, leave the matter about the Demon Beast to me. I also do not know what it is thinking, but it desires magic power right now. We will try to make the most of the current situation.”
“……Do you intend to fight the humans with that Demon Beast…?”
As Killian said as much with an unreadable expression, Hebrad shook his head slowly.
“It is to let the humans know of its existence, and use it as a precaution. If you don’t know when the Demon Beast might attack, you cannot move your armies easily.”
Furthermore, it would be difficult to send relief forces from other countries due to the fact that the Daemon King had declared war on all of the human nations.
“So while the humans are taking these precautions, will we be crushing them one at a time? Is it finally that wonderful time?”
Gallus’ face was in a grimace, but it seemed that for the time being, he would listen to what the Daemon King had to say.
“I have decided that for this war, the first strike of the Daemon King army must take down a human nation.”
Hebrad’s words took Gallus and Killian by surprise, and even Darnell, who’d heard it beforehand, began to sweat profusely from his forehead.
The Daemon King’s army was comprised of everyone who lived in the Daemon King’s territory.
Not to mention the various occupations, excluding the infants and bedridden, the soldiers of the Daemon King army would exceed 70% of the population of the Daemon King territory.
For those who knew even a little about human wars, that kind of strategy was insane.
However, Beast King Gallus smiled with delight at the Daemon King’s words.
“Kill them… is it alright we pillage and eat them?”
“That’s right. Take everything from them. Bind the war slaves with fear, and use them as the vanguard against other human nations. You may kill the rest and eat them.”
How simple…… Unlike Gallus, who was strongly affected by bestial instinct to be able to kill humans and to be able to commit as many atrocities as he liked, Killian gave Hebrad a cold glance before bowing her head down gracefully.
“Since it has been decided, I will be releasing all of my soldiers. …doing things as we like is fine, right…? ”
“…I don’t care.”
Hebrad nodded to Killian’s loaded words with nary a change in his expression.
“Then, I shall be heading back to my country…… Our next meeting shall be on the battlefield, Daemon King-sama…”
Leaving those words behind, Black Princess Killian calmly left the conference room. It might be that in the confusion caused during the war, she would make her own moves to secure an advantage.
Killian believed that the strength of the Daemon Race came from their [Monstrous] blood. She would continue to take aim at Hebrad’s life when the opportunity arose.
In order to make herself the Daemon King………
The Daemon King could only see her off with a sad look from behind.
No matter how shrewd and clever she was, she didn’t understand the state of the Daemon Race after all.
The resource-poor Daemon territory, didn’t even have enough stores to spearhead an attack.
Just to move even a portion of the Daemon King’s army would necessitate taking a large portion of the food of the Daemon territory, and if that happened, those who were left behind would have to scramble for what was left.
For this reason, Hebrad decided to take everything with them, and abandon those who could not fight.
If they raided a human country, killed everyone, and took the rest, then there wouldn’t be a need to bring food for those he ruled.
It was a foolish all-or-nothing strategy that was practically a suicide attack, but because the Daemon Race was a belligerent one that thrived on raiding it was enacted.
Hebrad’s heart was heavy, if he said so himself.
Unlike all the previous wars up to this point, the Daemon race might be entirely wiped out if they lost. If their stamina dropped, if their march started to slow, the human side would be fully prepared.
For this strategy, it could be said that the key to victory would be in getting the Daemons stupidly intoxicated in raiding.
The two foolish Daemon Lords left the meeting room and returned to their countries to prepare for war.
There wasn’t a true ‘strategy’ per se, but once the target and the movements to the target of the Daemon King’s army were decided, there was little else to be said.
Even Daemon General Darnell, who was from the intellectuals of the Daemon Army, was no exception. He left, following Gallus and Killian’s exits, and was now gathering the generals.
“Even Darnell, is also like that, huh… when will it be that I will give up on the Daemon race?”
Daemon Mage Geas, who was left in the conference room, finally voiced out his impressions for the first time towards Hebrad, who was there alone with him.
“……It takes time for them to understand. They have never received an education on these matters.”
“There is very little of that time left.”
As Hebrad spoke with a bitter tone, Geas’ voice was almost mocking.
Although Hebrad didn’t have much knowledge in that direction, he’d introduced some [Modernised] tactics to the Daemon King’s army with Geas’ help.
However, since it was based around the endurance and rationality of [Humans], the Daemons who lacked both weren’t able to execute it.
“Hebrad, don’t strain yourself. Well… I suppose I shall return too. Don’t worry, I will give you my full cooperation in this strategy.”
“……Why, why are you going so far to cooperate with me?”
Hebrad’s voice gave Geas, who was holding onto the doorframe, pause, and he turned around.
Geas wasn’t one of Hebrad’s subordinates in the beginning.
While Hebrad was working on reforming the Daemon King’s territory with methods that were unusual to their world, Geas suddenly appeared and talked to him with nostalgic words.
“Oh? It’s someone with the same [Hometown].”
Only Hebrad and Geas realised that there was going to be no future for the Daemon territory.
Even if they did nothing, once the Demon Beast finished absorbing the magic that it demanded, only a future in which the Daemons would be eaten by the Demon Beast and utterly destroyed remained.
Thinking of silver linings, Hebrad thought that the only chance was now, since all the Daemons were gathered now by their fear of the Demon Beast.
If they delayed the gathering of magic power, while mostly absorbing the war potential of the human nations, and didn’t destroy the Demon Beast with all that, then the Daemons would not survive.
How did this happen…… what went wrong?
Hebrad couldn’t help but to pray to the God of his fate, the Demon God, wishing for it to please light the path of survival for the Daemon Race.
At that moment, a certain 【Demon God】, was performing a summoning experiment at the cave in the basement of Count Orbel’s house, trying to dispose of the large quantity of 【Octopi】 (Devilfish) that had been summoned. Together with many vampires and Demons, they were trying to make dried octopus and cuttlefish.
It’s a seafood festival.
【Demon】 Resident of the Spirit World. Loves humans. Likes souls that are syrupy and full of flavour.
【Spirit】 Resident of the Spirit World. Loves humans. Likes the lightly-flavoured magic power that leaks from souls.
【Human】 Resident of the physical world. Delicious. Lifespan of 70~80 years.
【Elf】 Resident of the physical world. Their way of life is full of variety. Lifespan of approximately 500 years.
【Demi-human】 Resident of the physical world. Dwarves and Beastmen, etc. Lifespan of 50~120 years.
【Daemon】 Resident of the physical world. A mixed-blood group with both human and demi-human and monster blood. Incredibly hot-blooded. Lifespan of about 120 years.
【Monsters】 Residents of the physical world. Magical mutants. Vampires are under this, too.
【Animals】 Delicious. Somehow tend to attack travellers.
The fourth book has begun.
Thank you for pointing out my mistakes.
ALL THE PLOT!!
Also, there seem to be a crap load of reincarnators running around.
Finally, I love the author’s description for Human up there, hehehe.
None this time 🙁