Volume 8, Chapter 18: Demon Lord, Part 1
A few days have passed since the golden saint disappeared.
However, the only people who were in a real panic were some of the officials from Sail, who were upset that they were unable to use the leverage of having both the [Hero] and the [Saint] as billboards to push their own agendas, and the general soldiery. Otherwise, it seemed that everything was calm… at least on the surface.
At first, the retinue of the Saint and her young followers were in a flurry of activity searching for her, but as time went on, the other countries present all began to move behind the scenes to try to draw them into their own nations.
It was clear that the battle lines weren’t tense enough.
After all, it wasn’t the first time that a human-controlled region had fallen to the forces of darkness in history.
The forces of darkness weren’t as powerful as those of the light, and no matter what special circumstances happened in the past, the occupied areas had always been recaptured in about half a year.
To those humans who were in the upper class, it felt more like a board game.
Even when they attacked, they wouldn’t chase them too far in. And whenever they attacked, they would retreat quickly.
Because of the long history behind this war, it had become something like a “strategy game” where the outcome could be predicted to some extent from the outset.
Each and every one of them moved not for victory, but under their own speculations.
Each country that had participated in the war had already begun moving to shape the post-war period and were having little skirmishes with each other to improve their own war contributions.
There were a lot more that were wounded because of that than because of the actual war, which benefitted the forces of darkness, but the forces of darkness were also doing the same thing.
The occupying force, eerily enough, hadn’t moved much at all, barring a few extremists, but in their home base of the great cavern, a massive army that numbered greater than a million was on the move.
However, this entire force hadn’t been moved to reinforce the occupying army, nor had it been assembled to invade another human state to take advantage of their carelessness. No, it was moved purely on the speculation of a single Princess.
“How long has it been……”
“It’s been about two days.”
“We’re running late. Move the plan forward by half a day.”
Nefertia, First Princess of the dark elves, issued her orders while she rode upon the back of an Earth Dragon, whilst sweat beaded upon her knight and foster sister’s forehead.
It would be appropriate to have called this a death march.
It was impossible to move this huge army of Dark Elves, beastmen, and monsters without being noticed by the human powers or the other forces of darkness.
Moreover, because this army had been assembled impromptu by Nefertia through her charm and guile, it was a ragtag army that didn’t coordinate well with each other.
Nonetheless, Nefertia had a reason to rush.
“…… those children are still alive.”
Nefertia bit her nails when her ladies-in-waiting could not see.
The twins who had been exiled to the human state with the Second Prince of the beastmen, who ought to have died, were still alive. They had also easily occupied the human nation with ease, suffering close to no losses to their armies.
Just how had they done it? How had they managed to assemble such a fearsome officer corps and army?
The beastman prince was a child too, and not much different from the twins. So why were all these officers and soldiers following the orders of these child royals who were only commanders in name?
Whatever the reason was, what was true was that the twins had defeated a human nation.
Nefertia had entrapped her brothers in her efforts to become king.
It was good that the first and second princes died when they fell for her plots, but the twins that seemed like they were favored by the current king survived.
Her father might have been happy with her otherwise.
Nefertia had only tried to get rid of the twins as a “just in case” measure.
If they were able to distinguish themselves with war merit, though, it was entirely possible that their father might once again turn his eyes towards the two of them.
To prevent this potential threat from arising, Nefertia had to kill them.
And so, she set out to get rid of them.
As soon as possible. No more acting through others, but by her own hand this time.
For Nefertia, the war with the humans was nothing more than a game being played for their self-satisfaction.
She had only one ambition. It was to ascend to the throne, subjugate all of the other races, and then reign supreme, obeyed by all.
“…… Half a day is not enough. It has to be faster……kyaa!?”
The sudden jolt of the earth shocked Nefertia into screaming.
“Princess, are you hurt?”
As a maid rushed up to her, Nefertia shouted out impatiently even as she heard a shriek coming from a good distance away.
The Hero of Wind, who hadn’t yet arrived, and the other three heroes, had all begun to move for their own goals.
The first to move was the hero of flame, Minkichi.
What she wanted most was “enjoyment”. Although, in her case, it was paired with the “anxiety” of being abandoned by the world that stuck deep in her heart.
“Hyahahahahaha! Kill! Screw them!!! “
It wasn’t a very hero-like remark, but that was about par for Hero Minkichi.
Minkichi had secretly bet that it would serve as a form of “inspiration” for the soldiers to scream like this if all the violence was only being directed at the enemy.
On the battlefield, a crazed warrior would sometimes be honored as a hero.
Especially given that there was no [Saint] about now that needed to be protected, for all of those soldiers who had fought up to the very limit of their spirits, Minkichi would look like a battle maiden.
Minkichi understood that some fame was necessary to push out the unease she’d been suppressing.
Her supposed purpose was to gain fame enough to act however she wished, but she covertly had wanted to kill off that annoying [Saint]’s “followers” she had brought along while making it look like it was just a normal fight between them.
Since Minkichi couldn’t go all out in that tiny castle, she wanted to kill off that little girl Fannie who had humiliated her and taken away all the people Minkichi had brought with her to harass the Saint.
And so, for the first time, Minkichi felt better. …… And if she was right, the other two heroes would also be feeling the same way.
Minkichi had originally intended to shave away at the power of the Hero of Water and the Hero of Earth, even to the point of treating her previous objectives as mere fronts.
They were heroes, existences who had been tied together by fighting together, and as accomplices who had killed one of their companions.
Minkichi intended for not only the hero parties, but also their support units, to die in this war.
“……Fufu, what an idiot”
Besides Minkichi then there were those people who kept hiding below ground and followed her.
The hero of Earth, Kanzo, and her party.
The battleground that had been ravaged by gunpowder and magic was of an equal size to the Hero of Earth’s domain.
Kanzo spread out her power evenly over the entirety of the battlefield, and by molding the softened earth, she stripped the enemy of their mobility and achieved great war merit.
However, Kanzo did not discriminate in this current battleground. Even if it disadvantaged the human forces, who should have been allies, it wasn’t worthwhile for her to do such unflashy things on this spectacular stage where all of the other heroes were rampaging about.
She and Minkichi were polar opposites, and yet their reasons were similar.
They did it for the fame. If it didn’t earn fame, don’t do it. It’s just that.
Kanzo followed behind Minkichi while hiding underground.
It was all to get the best magic gem possible.
When the battlefield would be exhausted, where nobody’s eyes would reach. But until that scene, she came quietly……
Kanzo’s pastime was living like a young maiden.
“There’s no problem at all. Please keep monitoring.”
As Kyoji, the Hero of Water, issued instructions, the spies that he had trained scattered themselves.
The battlefield was the game board, and the soldiers were the pieces.
Kyoji had taken the war in hand from the very beginning, and controlled not only Sail’s army, but also the armies of all of the eastern nations and was manipulating them at will.
There was no room for either love or mercy.
From the very beginning, Kyoji…… had no feeling of anxiety at all ever since he had faced down that monster as Keiji.
No matter how brilliantly the others shone on the battlefield, he would always take the head of the enemy general.
Fame was born not of the few who were on the battlefield, but from the families awaiting the soldiers’ return in their home countries.
His first objective was to rise to the top of the world.
And the next was to rule it from behind a screen.
But that was all a lie that Kyoji used to fool the idiots into following him.
He really just wanted to own everything.
Everything…… yes, he wanted it *all*, including the world.
The forces of light and darkness, the humans, the nations, these were all small things. He wanted it all, including the world of spirits and fairies.
Some people once asked, “What will you do once you get everything you wish……?”
To Kyoji, there was no question more foolish than that one.
If it existed, he wanted to own it. And once he got it, he would break it. After breaking it, he would remake it. And then the cycle would repeat itself.
For the sake of being that [King], everything, including this world, was nothing more than a game for him.
“Sefira, did you manage to find where that person went?”
As Kyoji asked that question, Sefira quietly knelt down before Kyoji.
“Yes, Lord Kyoji. That person went into the very center of the forces of darkness, within the great cavern.”
“Will there be any problems?”
“It was impossible for me, but Lord Kyoji, you should have no problems whatsoever. The way to your [Kingship] is open.”
Kyoji laughed at Sefira’s foolishness in his heart, even as he lightly stroked her cheek and gazed upon her face.
It had been ten-odd years since he had fallen into this world. And finally, the path to his kingship approached.
“Did you manage to find the Saint?”
“No, ………I’m sorry. I have no clue……”
“Is that so?”
For Kyoji, neither the war nor the powers of light and darkness nor the other heroes who were his match in fighting power were enemies.
For Kyoji, there was only one “enemy”.
The irregular in the world. Coming in from a strange world, an unknown quantity with unknown knowledge that was under no-one, whose influence swelled with the knowledge it gained from this world, just like that monster he met on terra…… All of these were things that made Kyoji jealous.
That otherworld Saint, Yurushia.
What was she thinking? He didn’t understand how she worked at all.
What she did, …… no, he couldn’t even predict what she was going to do.
It made the same impression as that monster called “Yuzu” that had traumatized Kyoji.
“Continue your search. This is our top priority.”
“Yes, Lord Kyoji!”
And with that, Sefira nodded seriously and left…… and the moment she turned her back on Kyoji, a tiny smile crept onto her face.
And then…… it suddenly happened.
All three heroes suddenly shouted out from where they were, spread out across the battlefield.
They heard the screaming of the soldiers. There was some strange irregular black things wriggling on the battlefield.
They ran across the battlefield, attacking and scattering the forces of light.
But it wasn’t a normal part of the forces of darkness. The darkness who were on the battlefield attacked everyone else but themselves, including Nefertia’s army that planned to strike at them from behind.
It looked like both a human and a beast. Anything living was considered its enemy.
Someone uttered the phrase.
They were something that only existed in fairy tales, that had almost never appeared in this world.
They were the natural enemy of all living things that evoked the primeval [Fear] that was rooted at the core of humanity.
The [Demons] that were the nightmare of thousands suddenly bared fangs in the “real world”.
Kyoji’s shout was drowned out by the screaming of the soldiery, and the battlefield that should have been a board game turned into a hellish pandemonium filled with screams of horror.
“………What is that………”
Someone spoke out again. It might have been Kyoji, or Kanzo, or Minkichi.
An enormous black beast with the body of a bear with bull’s horns the size of a mountain emerged from the dust clouds of the battlefield.
As the very image of despair set in…… some of the soldiers stopped fleeing altogether and sank to the ground, unable to move.
But that was not the true despair. The real [Fear] was of the thing on top of that behemoth.
“…… the Saint……but how?”
A girl in a platinum dress that stood on top of the behemoth.
Everyone, from the soldiers to the officers to the heroes, knew that figure.
It was the golden saint that had come from another world.
But was that girl truly a Saint?
The Saint, who had always had a soft smile, wore no such expression now. Her face only radiated a terrifying beauty that chilled to the bone.
The golden hair, that symbolized the golden saint……
It had turned into black hair as it lengthened to her feet.
And as they saw the black Saint, the thousands of demons who had been rampaging across the battlefield all stopped, prostrating themselves to bow before her. It was then that the rest of them all realized.
A true [Demon Lord] had eaten the heart of the kidnapped holy maiden, and descended upon this world.
The heroes are all rotten.
Next time, the behind-the-scenes!
Ahahaha, it seems Yuru has written herself a blank check with nothing more than hair dye.
And finally, we see a full return to form! there just hasn’t been enough Yuru recently and finally we get some of that delightful spice again