Chapter 4 『The road to world domination from the first step』
I was walking in the harbor of Laguna in the form of Hellshaft. This area is where shipyards concentrate, and docks that seemed to have been transformed into huge warehouses are lined up. Familiar faces awaited me in front of the largest dock among them.
– My King, I have been waiting for you.
– Oh, King-sama! You kept me waiting!
– Hellshaft-sama. You are safe which is the most important.
– Wow ♪ You’re here, Hell-sama!
Hellzekter’s lineup. Yeah. When I look at their faces, I calm down, you know?
– Adra, how many soldiers have you brought?
– I am very sorry. Arrangements for the ship did not go as expected… each corps has 200 people.
So 800 people, huh… it’s still far from Orzelia and their 3,000 men.
– However, the exception is the Undead Corps.
Eh!? Don’t tell that me their number is very low!?
Forneus didn’t take care of the corps properly… has any problem arise because of that?
– I brought 1,200 people with me ♪.
After I unconsciously look at Forneus’ face twice, I confirmed with Adra.
– Is it true?
Then Forneus complained with a sullen look
– Jeez , why are you asking Adra!? Forneus did bring a great number of men with her! I’m not lying!
– Sorry, Forneus. I don’t mean to doubt you.
I stroked Forneus’ head.
– Funyu… I’ll forgive you if you stroke me more ♪.
Forneus’s hair is fluffy blonde, it feels good to stroke it. But… the terribly envious gaze of Satanachia worries me.
– But how did you bring so many?
– Everyone is a skeleton, so they don’t use much space.
Oh… she’s right.
– By the way, Adra, can we set sail immediately?
– Yes. The manning of the corps members has already finished, what remains is the order of my King.
– Alright. I want to see the ship. Open the gate.
The huge gate of the dock makes a heavy sound and opens to the left and right.
– … Oh, this is.
I was overwhelmed by the majestic appearance that emerged from inside.
A jet-black giant of about 70 meters long. It was a huge galleon with four masts towering over the surroundings.
– So this is Hellzard, the flagship of my Demon King Army….
As a result of the competition between Sandiano’s and Laguna’s shipyards, the Laguna manufacturers won. The primary factor that made the difference between winning and losing was the shipbuilding technology that could build a larger ship. And a design that impressed the viewer.
As the Demon Army, it must have an appearance that scares our opponents. In that respect, Sandiano’s idea had an elegant and beautiful design, but lacked a sense of intimidation.
In contrast to that, Laguna’s idea really overflows with a pretentiousness one could call 『Demon King Army』. A black hull protected by steel plates. An eerie but solemn poop deck with a Gothic construction style. The bowsprit that extends long from the prow represents the demons of the Demon King Army attacking*.
*TN: Bowsprit is the furigana reading for steel lance.
– Yo. I was waiting for ya, Demon King.
A man on the deck greeted me. A long aristocratic jacket wearing a wide three-cornered hat. His eyes are sharp, and the dark circles that surround them create a ghastly atmosphere.
The man, who gave the feeling of being a shark, was a mysterious being who gave off a friendly atmosphere and a dangerous air at the same time.
– I’m indebted to you. Pirate King.
When I replied, the man, the Pirate King Calharias, grinned and raised one hand.
I met Calharias on the way to Vertinas, the grand festival of Rowalrinna last time.
Grasha caused trouble with the local mafia on Resort Island, but the boss of said organization was Calharias.
Since the organization is centered around oceanic magic beasts, it’s a pirate group that also has wannabe adventurers, swordsmen and sorcerers. The battle evolved into a state of war involving the city, but a lot of things happened and eventually, we formed a friendly relationship.
– Guys! Say hello to the Demon King Hellshaft!
Dozens of men lined up behind Calharias. At first glance, I can see that they are oceanic magic beasts. They all seemed to be of different races, there were those who have fish-like faces and those whose skin is similar to the shell of crabs.
– These guys are skillful navigators. I’ll lend them to you as instructors.
– Thank you. We only have a handful of experienced people on our side.
The crew of the Hellzard is mainly selected from the Demon Beast Corps. However, many of them aren’t accustomed to ships and have no experience in naval battles.
So I asked Calharias to lend me some subordinates to teach them the know-how.
Calharias crossed the ramp and came in front of me.
– I heard something from your subordinates. It looks like you’re dealing with those guys of Orzelia, right?
– Yes. They’re starting to march towards Arzheim. We’re going to stop them.
──But that requires the help of Calharias.
However, he’s a cunning man. Even though we have a friendly relationship now, making a careless request may bring up outrageous demands.
How do I approach him? As I carefully think so, Calharias bared his fangs lined up in a row with an angry expression.
– Isn’t it interesting? They had the nerve to build churches here in Laguna and Resort Island. Glasrena has completely become their country. They come and go on my sea as they please, it’s an eyesore. If you like, I’ll lend you a hand.
I chuckled to myself in my mind.
──This is what you call a lifesaver.
– There’s a good method to settle the matter with those Orzelia guys.
– What would that be? Don’t put on airs and let me hear it.
Calharias wore a fiendish smile.
– I’ll lend you this ship. Go after the Orzelia ship moored in the harbor. They’re expected to go to Weisskrone Castle in Arzheim.
– The elven country? What are they going to do? Elves don’t believe in Orzelia order.
– They are going to conquer them by brute force.
A number of veins are carved between the eyebrows of Calharias.
– A lot of cuties live in Arzheim… unforgivable.
I was a little worried about leaving it to this guy, but it cannot be helped.
– When those guys reach Arzheim, hide and watch them. Wait for me to contact you.
– So, how are we going to get even with them?
– When I get in touch with you, the battle will start. Remember, if the timing is messed up, things won’t go as expected. Don’t be hasty.
Calharias shaped his mouth in the form of へ, looking very dissatisfied.
– … If you’re impertinent, many cuties will die, you hear me?
– Got it. We’ll wait for the Demon King’s signal.
+ + +
I entrusted Calharias with Hellzard, and conversely, I borrowed a small ship.
The Hellzekter and I, and the skeletons that were tightly packed into crates went towards Schwarzkrone Castle in Rowalrinna, the dark elf country in the Logress continent.
Perhaps because I’ve visited it many times, when I arrived, I was led into the castle without trouble. Hellzekter was guided to the parlor and I was guided to the guest room. This time, there was no prior notice, I suddenly came uninvited, so it’s no wonder the Rowalrinna side is fairly confused.
After a while, and just as I thought, Queen Zeragiel arrived in a hurry.
– My, my, Hellshaft-sama. To think you would come so suddenly. If you had told me in advance, I would have given you a decent reception.
– No need to worry. More importantly, there are a few things I’d like to ask.
Zeragiel smiled as if she was a little troubled.
– Well, immediately after you suddenly appeared… you are scaring me a little.
– Before that, I should give you a reply to the consideration you brought back the other day.
– I’ve decided to rule the world.
Zeragiel stared at me with a blank face, as if being taken by surprise.
– But Zeragiel. For that, I need your power.
Sweat ran down Zeragiel’s cheeks. And showed a stiff smile on her face.
– … Well, is that a proposal, I wonder?
– If that’s the best way to conquer the world, I’ll do so. But now it’s too early to make that decision. But──
I gently touched Zeragiel’s cheek.
– Our bond is already deep. For the king of a country, marriage is no more than a political means. Even if we marry different people, that doesn’t change the bond between me and you.
– Yes… that is, correct. But──.
Zeragiel cocked her head in puzzlement, seemingly distressed.
– Rowalrinna cannot be a vassal nation. The people will not consent.
But my goal is to take control of 70% of all maps. If I do so, the expansion should be enabled.
And if Rowalrinna comes under my control, future progress will be easier.
– I can understand your point. But if the Logress continent is exposed to unprecedented danger, what will you do? Because I think this is not the place to say so.
– Orzelia Chivalric Order began the invasion of Arzheim.
Zeragiel’s complexion changed quickly.
– What did you say? Hellshaft-sama, is that true?
It’s not a lie. But it’s not true either.
I’m sure that Orzelia Chivalric Order is heading towards Arzheim. The objective of Akagami is Ragnabringer, but it’s impossible for Ulriel to let them pass so easily. The two armies will definitely clash.
However, as long as he gets Ragnabringer in his hands, Akagami should withdraw. I don’t think he’ll go as far as invade Rowalrinna.
– It’s true. Their fleet is leaving Laguna and heading towards Weisskrone Castle. The number of soldiers is about 3,000. I inferred their dispatch of troops and came to tell you quickly.
– I… thank you for that. But if that military force──
– Orzelia Chivalric Order is strong. Each person is equipped with a terrifying high-attack power weapon and a high-defense power shield. It would take ten elf sacrifices to defeat one.
– No way… that’s impossible.
– I’ve competed with their soldiers on the continent of Balgaea. That’s what I say. It’s worth giving an ear to me.
Zeragiel was silent. Her usual composure disappeared, and sweat emerges on her forehead.
– If… they invade Arzheim… what will happen… afterwards?
– Naturally, they’ll extend their hands of ambition to Rowalrinna. They plan to rule the world under Orzelia order. Unlike humans, it’s difficult to propagate a religion among elves and dark elves. Then, what will they do?
Zeragiel replied with a grim face.
– They will make us yield by sheer strength. If that is not possible, they will… kill us?
– Exactly. So we need to be more strongly connected. If you promise to follow me, I’ll drive Orzelia Chivalric Order out of Logress continent.
– But if Rowalrinna ends up being conquered──
I covered Zeragiel’s lips with my fingers.
– Certainly, as a matter of fact, it will become part of my country, Hellandia, but towards the world, you will be my ally. I would give some opinions, but of course I will accept its autonomy and treat it as an independent country.
Eh? Zeragiel tilted her head.
– But in reality, won’t Rowalrinna become a vassal nation under the control of Hellandia?
– That’s just a secret agreement between you and me. You can just tell the people that we are allies.
Zeragiel had a suspicious look on her face.
– Will that really be fine?
– It will. All I need is that the owner of this country recognizes that I am the true ruler of this country. Proof or signing isn’t needed. Just swearing so will do.
Zeragiel smiled suddenly.
– You are really an interesting gentleman. Is it because of your easygoing attitude? Or your great confidence in yourself? Or──
Zeragiel stood on tiptoes and kissed my helmet.
I open the mouth guard and accept her tongue.
*Kiss*, Zeragiel’s lips separated with a kissing sound. And looked at me with a sexy and provocative look.
– I swear that I belong to the Demon King Hellshaft. And I recognize that the shadow ruler of this country is the Demon King Hellshaft.
The whole map of Exodia Exodus reflected in my eyes changes. Half of the Logress continent was dyed red.
– Very well! To meet your expectations, I will definitely drive out Orzelia order from the Logress continent! And someday, I’ll show you how I get the world!
– Fufu… you are an interesting, but reliable person.
– I hope that the regular army of Rowalrinna will also go into battle at once.
– Ara, so soon?
– Get a small expedition.
Zeragiel frowned, but soon her expression turned into a smile.
– I will leave it to you. Please use it as you like.
– Thank you.
I took Zeragiel’s hand and kissed the armor.
– Ara ❤.
– … Putting my feelings of gratitude into it, and when the battle had ended with a win, I shall give Arzheim to you.
Zeragiel opened her mouth and eyes wide, and stiffened with a dumbfounded look. It was a rare and defenseless expression for her.
– Is there a problem? Are you not pleased with the gift?
Coming to her senses with my words, Zeragiel made a face that seemed to mix joy and bitterness.
– It is not that… I do not like it. You are really… a horrible gentleman.
– Zeragiel, wait for the good news!
I waved my cloak and left the guest room.
As I walked down the hallway, I actually felt that I had taken a step towards world domination.
However, it’s still only 21% of the total.
I still have a long way to go.
The first powerful enemy, Orzelia Chivalric Order.
I opened the door of the parlor where Hellzekter was waiting.
Adra and Satanachia instantly stand up.
– How did it go, my King?
– I got a good reply from Zeragiel. We can make use of Rowalrinna Regular Army.
With a relieved expression, Satanachia joined her fingers.
– I am glad… with this, there is hope of accomplishing our operation.
Grasha grinned and hit his palm with his fist.
– Okay then, let’s move right now! Because I’ve done nothing but guide the corps members, my stress has built up. I’ll rampage with all my strength!
– Well. We’ll smuggle into Arzheim as an advance party. But for that──.
I fixedly stared at Satanachia. My gaze comes and goes many times from the top of her head to the tip of her toes.
– E-err, Hellshaft-sama? Is there something….
– I need Satanachia to give me a hand.
+ + +
Zeragiel came in with a court lady.
– Hellshaft-sama, I finished preparations as I was told. Well then, Satanachia.
Satanachia turns confused eyes in my direction.
– E-excuse me… Hellshaft-sama?
But Zeragiel replied faster than me.
– It has been decided that you will infiltrate Arzheim, no? It’s a speedy journey, so you should avoid unnecessary battles. In that case, Satanachia, your look will stand in the way.
Certainly, Arzheim is the Elven Country. They have a strong hostility towards the Dark Elves. There are cases where magic beast merchants come to make businesses and vampire nobles set up villas, but dark elves are definitely not allowed to enter the country.
– T-then what should I do? I hate the idea of not going with you and being left alone!
– I know right? That is why we prepared a good method. We will prepare you so that you can go on a journey with Hellshaft-sama. But before that….
Zeragiel stared at Grasha and Adra.
– I would like the gentlemen to withdraw.
They look at me with peeking eyes.
When I nodded in silence, Grasha and Adra quietly left the room.
– Then I will also──
Zeragiel’s voice stopped me as I tried to go towards the exit.
– You must not. I have something to ask Hellshaft-sama.
… What are you going to make me do?
– Satanachia, take off your clothes fast.
As Zeragiel told her, Satanachia takes off her bikini armor. The chest that was being pressed down bounced as if it jumped out forward.
After taking off the armor on both hands, legs and waist, and pulling out the small pants from the legs, there was nothing that hid Satanachia’s body.
With both hands put together in front, Satanachia naturally stands to hide her crotch. She turned her dyed-in-red face diagonally downward to avoid my gaze.
– Now, Hellshaft-sama. If you will.
Zeragiel handed me a jar of white cream.
– This is?
– It is white powder. Apply this to every nook and cranny of Satanachia’s body.
– Wait… what?
I stared at the jar I got and Satanachia alternately.
– E-err… I will do it myself.
When Satanachia tries to reach for the jar in my hand,
Zeragiel flatly scolded. Her voice and facial expression were indescribable.
– Y… yes.
Satanachia couldn’t say anything else.
– Well, Hellshaft-sama, please go ahead.
In a complete change, Zeragiel smiled with her whole face and encouraged me. Women are scary.
I reluctantly tilt the jar and secure the thick white liquid in the palm of my hand.
Now, where should I apply it? A safe choice would be from the shoulders, right?
– Hellshaft-sama, proceed from her face. Satanachia, look up and close your eyes.
– … Yes.
When Satanachia looked upward, she looked like a maiden waiting for a kiss.
– Now, please. Splash it onto her face ❤.
– He-Hellshaft-sama… umm, splash, it, on, to, my… face, please.
Uh… I, I know it’s not what it means. I do know! For a transcendental beauty like Satanachia to make such a request! I’m so excited that my heart won’t stop pounding!
– Hurry up, hurry up, hurry up, Hellshaft-samaaa! Please pour lots of it!
Why is Zeragiel so excited! She’s way too cheerful!
– T-then… here I go.
When I tilted my palm, a thick white liquid fell onto Satanachia’s face.
Satanachia reflectively pursed her lips tightly and closed her eyes with force.
The dark brown face of Satanachia is getting soiled in white. A large amount of cloudy liquid flows down from the beautiful bridge of the nose, going along the cheeks and dyeing the entire face.
I scooped the liquid that had accumulated on her soft lips with my fingers and spread it around her mouth. At that moment, Zeragiel started talking as if she had remembered something.
– Oh right, its ingredients are food products, so it’s safe to eat. Satanachia, open your mouth.
– Hmm… *opens her mouth*.
Her lips open and her small tongue looks at me. I expose my fingertips to her tongue. Then Satanachia stretched out her tongue and began licking my fingers.
– Ah… delicious.
She assertively swallowed my fingers and sucked them, making sounds.
Probably because Zeragiel and the court ladies staring at the situation got excited too, they blushed and made their bodies quiver.
– Fufu… you are wonderful. Satanachia.
Saliva mixed with white powder that overflows from Satanachia’s lips flows down the thin throat along the collarbone. And made a narrow flow of saliva in the cleavage.
I slowly pulled out my fingers, and this time I poured cloudy liquid on her tense dark brown chest.
– Aanh ❤.
Because she felt nothing but drops falling on her chest, Satanachia gasped, trying to hug her own body. She brought her breasts together, lifting them up from below, making it seem like she was demanding for more.
To meet her expectations, I add even more white smudges to her dark brown skin.
– Nnh! Aa… so much….
Looking down at the white fountain gathered in her cleavage, Satanachia smiles ecstatically.
– Haa… haa… faster… Hellshaft-sama.
Satanachia looked up at me with a wistful gaze.
I grab Satanachia’s big breasts with both hands.
– Haaannh! ❤.
Although they are soft, they have great elasticity. As if to enjoy the force pushing back, I rub Satanachia’s breasts. Then, her dark brown skin is dyed white.
– Aaan! Y-yes, it feels so good! Hellshaft-samaaaaa ❤.
I enjoyed the feel and sensation from head to foot, as if I was captivated by Satanachia’s body.
Zeragiel muttered with a bewitching smile.
– Fufufu… If things keep going like this, it will only be a matter of time before you have a child… don’t you agree? ❤ Ufufufu.
A cold thing runs on my spine.
It looked like Zeragiel and the court ladies had become black silhouettes──with only their eyes were shining red.
Could this be a woman’s trap!?
– Now, Hellshaft-sama. Next, please give her a top layer.
When Zeragiel signaled, the court ladies lined up with small jars in their hands.
– The tips of her breasts have turned white, so you need to put makeup on them too. Hellshaft-sama, please dye them to the color and size of your choice.
There are many types of jars, from light pink to reddish to even light brown.
– E-err, but does it have to be so detailed? That’s not a part that will be seen…
– That will not do. If we cut corners because it can’t be seen, it will leave room for carelessness. It will also affect the play of pretending to be an elf, don’t you agree?
What the hell? It sounds like the fastidiousness of a famous movie director.
– And women are greatly influenced by the equipment parts that are not seen. For example, even one piece of underwear can make a big difference.
This time, the Dark Elf Queen blurted out something like a real office lady.
– I guess… it cannot be helped.
Either way, she won’t allow it unless I do it.
After wracking my head, I reached for a jar.
+ + +
We proceed through the deep, hazy forest.
Tall trees block the sunlight, it’s dim even in the daytime. The light of the pale sun was shining through the gaps between the broken leaves, becoming white lines.
The short grass and moss-rich forest once looked bluish overall, giving the impression that the air is colored. And a silence enough to make me think that no living things existed. It was a forest that made me feel holiness somewhere.
This is the forest that occupies most of the Logress continent and runs from Rowalrinna to Arzheim. The Hellzekter, the Skeleton Knights of the Undead Corps and I were advancing through it.
Even so, the selection of these Skeleton Knights isn’t bad. In terms of combat ability, they are inferior to other corps, but they are easy to operate. They’re light and don’t use much space, so they can be transported in large quantities by ship, they don’t eat food, don’t sleep or talk.
As I was thinking about that, Satanachia, who was walking as the vanguard, turned around.
– Hellshaft-sama, we are about to reach Arzheim’s border.
– U… understood.
Satanachia, who looks different from usual, makes my heart pound.
Because now Satanachia’s skin is white and her hair is dyed in a golden color. Her appearance is completely that of an elf. Not being used to how she looks, I unintentionally feel timid.
Her dark elf appearance is also beautiful, but her current appearance gives off a goddess-like sacred feeling… honestly, it’s quite difficult to deal with.
Satanachia stopped and instructed us to crouch.
– What’s wrong?
– Someone is ahead.
I looked closely at the other side of the forest, but it was so dark beyond the hazy trees that I couldn’t see anything. However, it seems that Satanachia and her elf eyes could see.
Adra approached in a low position.
– Satanachia. Is there a village ahead too?
– No. There shouldn’t be… I fear that they do not follow or serve Zeragiel-sama.
– What the? Doesn’t Rowalrinna have a strong union? Is it in a civil war or something?
Satanachia replies with a sullen face to Grasha who jeered at her.
– It does not amount to that. They are nothing more than a group of people who strayed from the right path. A group with mercenaries and night thieves, I would say. Groups like that are picked up by my Dark Elf Corps, but this kind of group in places like this don’t even have the qualifications for it.
Adra pushed up the bridge of the glasses.
– If we are found, they may sell our information to Arzheim or Orzelia. Satanachia, is there a detour?
Satanachia shook her head.
– We almost have to go back to Schwarzkrone Castle.
– Your instructions, my King.
The four of them looked at me.
– We’ll keep moving. Obstacles will be eliminated.
Grasha happily bared his fangs.
– Are you saying we can kill then, right?
– Eh!? I’ll do it! I’ll do it! Forneus will do it too!
Forneus, who was looking away, appearing to be bored, suddenly snapped at me.
– But don’t miss any of them. They cannot know what we’re doing. Be sure to annihilate them!
Adra came forward and looked into the depths of the forest.
-. Satanachia. How many enemies are there? How far ahead?
– There is one enemy. The distance is about 300 meters.
This time I turned to Forneus and said.
– Take a look at the situation from the sky. But don’t make a noise.
Her supple wings flapping silently, Forneus’ body floats lightly. Without a pause, she soared into the small sky surrounded by trees and disappeared.
A short time later, she came back making a triumphant face.
– There’re three log cabins ahead. There was a bonfire before that, and ten people or so.
– Are there any other guards?
Forneus shook her head.
– If we finish that guard, we will be able to get close.
Adra surveyed the faces of the three of them and said.
– Let’s go. Just to be sure, I will tell you this, Forneus. Don’t use Sacred. And make the Skeleton Knights wait here.
– Eeh? I want to do more though.
– Do you plan to advertise our existence in the forest?
Looking reluctant, Forneus nodded.
And this time it was Grasha’s turn to complain.
– Adra. Why are you directing us? I don’t have the slightest intention to do what you say.
A vein rises to the surface of Adra’s temple.
– … Because those are our roles. However, you will have your showtime. Worry not.
– Hehe, then I’m okay with it.
Saying so, Grasha grinned.
Oh! Both of them seem to have succeeded in keeping their coolness by suppressing their anger.
How surprising, these guys are mentally growing.
Besides, with such a rough instruction, they advance in a good mood.
How do they call it? The ideal subordinate?
As I grinned in my mind, the four began to walk casually.
They walk as if strolling, without hiding themselves or being on guard.
From their majestic appearances, a tremendous self-confidence that said “we’ll never lose to anyone” seemed to ooze.
──Ah, I’m being left behind!
I make some distance and follow them from behind.
Satanachia drew her bow as she walked and nocked an arrow.
And shot the arrow appropriately without particularly aiming at it.
For a moment, I put myself on guard, thinking that the enemy’s counterattack or a voice calling for caution will rise.
But I heard the sound of something falling down ahead in the forest.
As we advance, there was a male dark elf who fell on the mossy-covered ground. However, the four didn’t look at the man and walked straight. Eventually we came out to a little open area. As Forneus said, about ten dark elves are chatting around the bonfire. Behind them were three log cabins lined up as if drawing a semicircle.
Shadows are also reflected in the windows of the cabins, they are moving. I don’t know how many of them are, but it seems that there are enemies in the cabins.
– Satanachia, you protect our King here. And kill those who try to escape.
Adra jerked his chin and prompted Grasha to go ahead.
– Rage as you like.
Then Grasha bared his fangs and grinned.
– Aren’t you being quite tactful? Alright then, I’ll go without reservation!
Splashing the moss, Grasha ran off.
– !? Who the hell are you!?
A male dark elf who notices Grasha readies his bow.
However, before he nocks the arrow, Grasha’s strong fist caught the man’s face.
The man’s body was blown off with a momentum that I wondered if his cranium was crushed or not.
The woman next to the dark elf draws her sword.
– Too slow!
Grasha’s fist sank into the woman’s stomach.
The sword flies in the air away from the woman’s hand without being swung down. Then the woman’s body was blown to a log cabin, broke the window and burst in.
– W-what the!?
– Hey, what’s going on!?
The inside of the cabin turns into chaos, and when the door is opened, fifteen or sixteen female and male dark elves appear.
– Who the hell are youuuuuu!?
The tallest dark elf was the first to jump towards Grasha.
But Grasha turns his back on the man, kicking the man around the bonfire.
– Fool! Drop de──
The tall dark elf opened his eyes wide. The sword with which he tried to slash at him isn’t in his hands. On the contrary, he was missing both arms.
When he lands, his body scatters like a doll disassembled from its joints. Without seeing the situation, Grasha skewered the kicked man with his nails.
– Hey, Adra! Don’t do anything unnecessary and come this way!
Before he knew, Adra was standing in front of the log cabins, his red sword readied. He looks at Grasha over his shoulder and grinned.
– I told you, you can rage as you like. But since it is taking too long, I have to do everything by myself, don’t you agree?
– Bring it on!
Grasha drives a backhand blow into the dark elf attacking from behind. His head bent into a strange shape, like a broken neck.
– It looks like I have no time to enjoy myself!
Grasha kicks up the dark elves who had completely prepared to flee and hits them hard while they are in the air.
– W-who on earth are these guys!?
Adra slays the dark elves who let out shrieking screams one by one. Noticing the commotion, four armed people rushed out of the adjacent cabin. Everyone fired an arrow as soon as they came out.
However, the arrows suddenly lose power because of a rising wind and fall to the ground.
Forneus fluttered her wings and said in a good mood.
– Now, it’s time for everyone to die ♪.
Forneus catches the ring of light floating on her waist with her hand and splits it successively. It’s like a magic trick, but cold sweat flowed on the faces of the dark elves watching her.
– A… a fallen angel? A real one?
– I can’t use Sacred, so I’ll play with Restrain.
When Forneus throws the rings of light, they easily fit into the dark elves’ necks and torsos. It was no use evading or running away.
– W-what is… I can’t take it o──gyaaaaaaaaaa!
When the rings contract, the bodies of the dark elves are easily cut off.
– Then I’ll go to the next one ♪.
Forneus enters the leftmost cabin. I thought it was uninhabited because nobody came out even with such a ruckus, but I heard a screaming chorus three seconds after Forneus entered.
The window broke and a person fled from inside.
However, they fall without their voice coming out.
Looking to the side, Satanachia had shot an arrow.
– I do not have a lot of screentime.
With a bored-looking face, she nocked a new arrow.
– Alright! Onto the neeeeeeeeeeeeeeeext!
After killing the ten people who were originally outside, Grasha started running, looking for a new prey. When he jumps over Adra and leaps upon the dark elves, he kills 3 of them viciously in the blink of an eye.
Two people remain.
– Crap! Run away!
An arrow pierces through the backs of the two who turned to the right and escaped to the depths of the forest.
Satanachia lowers her bow with a disappointing face.
– I was hoping to show Hellshaft-sama a good thing, but…
– No, I got to see how good of an archer you are.
When I said that, Satanachia covered her loose cheeks and raised a voice of joy.
– R-really? Thank you….
As we walked towards the cabins, Satanachia accompanied me as she smiled. Her mood seems to have improved, but two men are having a dispute in front of my eyes.
– What was all that “rage as you like”? You stole my prey!
– There was a risk of failing to catch them. I just picked up a place where you were not going to deal with them properly. Rather, you have to thank me.
– The heeeeeeeeeeell!?
– You worked hard, you two.
When I call out to them, Adra bows his head. As expected, Grasha also closed his mouth.
– Tch… I felt no response in my hands, it wasn’t amusing at all.
Come to think of it, Forneus hasn’t come out of the cabin yet?
– By the way, Forneus──
When I said that, Forneus came out of the log cabin in a good mood.
– Ah～ it was fun ♪.
– It took you a while, Forneus.
– Oh, Hell-sama! There was a basement and it was quite hidden. But Forneus took care of eeeverything.
With the smile of an angel, she reported the slaughter.
──A completely reliable group.
– I see. Everyone did well. Let’s take a rest here today. Luckily enough, this cabin appears to be unoccupied.
Saying so mixed with a joke, the four of them laughed. In front of the corpses in heaps.
+ + +
There was a kitchen in the log cabin, and plenty of foodstuff.
– Well then, my King. I will prepare the meal.
That’s the reason why Adra has been exercising his ability for the first time in a while.
We didn’t have to do anything in particular until the food was ready, so we decided to set the fireplace on fire and spend some time relaxing.
I was sitting on the couch, thinking about our movements after arriving in Arzheim.
Arzheim’s military forces are about 5,000 men. Still good against the 3,000 men of Orzelia Chivalric Order.
First, I’ll go to Weisskrone Castle and talk to Ulriel. What comes next depends on the result. But if the movement of Orzelia Chivalric Order is faster….
I suddenly looked out the window.
It’s already dark outside. The skeletal remains lined up in the darkness.
Even though I knew it, this scene is quite horrifying.
– Is there something wrong, Hell-sama?
Forneus, who was idling about on the carpet, sat on my lap.
– Well. I’m a little worried about them.
– If you mean the Skeleton Knights, you don’t have to worry about them. They’ll be fine outside, and they don’t eat anything.
Even though they are knights, they left weapons and armor behind when transporting them, so they look like just a group of human skeletons. It’d be great if we can procure equipment in Arzheim.
– … But I feel bad for them. They fight and die without their own will. Forneus, I’m sorry for you, but they may be annihilated in this battle.
But Forneus laughed free from worry.
– I don’t mind at all.
Just as you’d expect from a fallen angel. She doesn’t care if her subordinates die?
– Because everyone seems eager to die.
– Everyone was originally human beings. But they are people who don’t know they’re dead and are in trouble because they can’t go to purgatory. That’s why everyone is looking for a place to die.
Are they like ghosts who are lost because they can’t rest in peace?
– That’s why it’s Forneus’ job to prepare a place for everyone to die.
The eyes of Forneus staring at the skeletons standing in a row were angelic and demonic.
At that time, Adra peeked at us from the next room.
– I am sorry to have kept you waiting, my King. Food is ready, so please come this way.
– Got it.
– Wow! Food!
Forneus flies to the next room at full speed. Grasha, who was lying on the sofa, also jumped up.
– At last! Jeez, I got to smell it from a while ago, so my patience is at its limit.
Following Grasha, Satanachia I also moved to the next room.
It seems to have been used as a dining room, there’s large table in the center and chairs lined up.
When I sit at the head of the table, Forneus, Grasha and Satanachia also sit. Naturally, it was the same arrangement when in the room of the Demon King of Infermia.
Adra put a plate in front of me.
– First, these are intestinal stuffing that use Rowal Sheep and Logress Pork that live only in this region.
In other words, sausages.
However, what materialized on the plate was a diorama. Forest and grassland are represented by broccoli and parsley on a three-dimensional terrain made of potato salad. And on top of that, an assortment of three kinds of sausages.
It’s a childish design, but it’s playful and fun to watch. Besides, it’s very elaborate and well done. Like it’s a waste to eat it.
– Oh, isn’t it interesting?
Grasha stared at it interestingly from various angles.
Satanachia frowns and stares at the food.
– Is this… the terrain around the border?
I take out the map from the menu and compare it with my eyes.
– You are right… I’m surprised.
Adra began to explain with an “I got you!” expression.
– As you point out, this represents the terrain of Arzheim and Rowalrinna. On the Arzheim side there is a boiled white sausage Weisswurst. And a grilled brown Bratwurst on the Rowalrinna side. They represent an elf and a dark elf, respectively.
Yup. I’m getting used to Adra’s self-advertisement, or rather, the explanation of cooking.
– I see… then, what about the black sausage at the center?
– This is our great Demon King Army.
Seemingly proud, Adra continued explaining.
– Bratwurst is a sausage prepared with blood.
Eh? Blood as in blood blood?
It’s a sausage becoming of Adra, the vampire, but… can I really eat it?
Taking little notice of my uneasiness, Adra continued explaining eloquently.
– This is a work I am proud of and that I have blended as a blood sommelier. I only gave priority to the taste as an ingredient rather than as a drink, and blended the blood of five ingredients: Rowal Sheep, Forest Quatre, Wood Turkey, Frost Grizzly and Logress Pork as the base. In addition, I have combined spices unique to the Logress continent.
– I… I see.
I thought I got used to the cooking explanation, but I was unconsciously overwhelmed by Adra who uncharacteristically put his all into it. I mean, what is a “blood sommelier”?
– The richest and most complex taste of this dish. And it displays a strong presence. This is the Black Demon King of Hellandia. And his servants, the Demon King Army. He will dominate all of the Logress continent with the blood and flesh offered as food. This is a celebration dish in advance. I name it 『The New Era of Logress』
– A good name… a good name indeed. I accept this dish gratefully.
I’m not Grasha, but the sausage has a very nice smell, I’m already at my limit. Instead of using a knife, I stabbed the white sausage Weisswurst with a fork and bit into it all of a sudden.
It’s softer than I expected, partly because the skin was peeled off, and the texture is like oden fish dumplings. It was refreshing, and the kneaded herbs brought a sophisticated aroma to the mouth.
Next, what looks like a normal sausage bratwurst. This is completely different from the white sausage. The skin is crispy probably because it’s grilled, and the filling, the minced meat, is really substantial. The taste of the spices and the overflowing oil has a punchy taste, I can truly get the feeling of satisfaction of eating a sausage.
And the best seasonal goods, blood sausage.
It’s already sliced, so I stab one of them with a fork. The moment I cautiously put it in my mouth, a rich smell broke through my nose.
– Wow… it’s good!
There’s no fishy odor and it’s refreshing. The thick texture reminds me of liver, but the taste is richer and it has a strong presence. Various aromas are intricately intertwined, letting me feel even a deep refinedness.
I ate everything while sticking out my tongue, including the potato salad.
– It was a wonderful dish.
When I praised him, Satanachia nodded as if she was impressed.
– As one would expect of Adra. When it comes to cooking, you do not cut corners. You have been studying Logress cuisine properly.
– It is not when it comes to cooking, but even if it is cooking──I shall say.
– It doesn’t matter, just bring the next one quickly! If you like, I’ll have seconds!
– Seconds! Forneus would like seconds!
Adra pressed his forehead with a face as if he had swallowed a bitter bug.
– The next dish is already prepared, so wait a moment. And I will bring them because there is a surplus of sausages.
Adra disappears into the kitchen with the demands of Grasha and Forneus on his back.
It’s really an enjoyable time.
Saying this and that in a place in this world──in a room with Hellzekter it’s the most relaxing and comfortable thing there is. Maybe I can say that I am happy.
Whether it’s the 2A Guild, Akagami’s party, or the Black Dawn Group, it’s hard to live in the human world. I’m tired, my mind is worn out, and my soul is exhausted.
Why can’t a person live without having a relationship with others?
I looked at each person around the table.
But even these guys have a will. A will and emotions that AI creates. Aren’t they the same as the guys in 2A Guild?
Adra reappeared and placed a heap of sausages in front of Grasha and Forneus.
– Here. Eat.
Grasha smiles and rubs his hands together.
– Uohhoooooooih! I like this!
– Wow ♪.
As soon as the troubling matter was settled, Adra cleared his throat lightly and began to explain to me.
– Sorry to have kept you waiting. This is Logress Pork Ice Vine, Arzheim Style.
Satanachia’s eyes shone.
– Arzheim style… so nostalgic.
– Interesting… is it different from that of Rowalrinna?
Adora’s glasses flashed with a momentary flash of light.
– I shall explain. First of all, the big difference is──
I still have to listen to the explanation of the food, but if I can have such a delicious food and a happy time, I will be happy to hear it──I thought so.
+ + +
The next day, at dawn, we left the log cabins as soon as possible.
We advance favorably without encountering any obstacles. Satanachia stopped when the sun began to go down. She puts her hand on the giant tree with a ribbon tied in front of her.
– From here on we will be in Arzheim….
Forneus came down from the sky.
– Thank you for scouting. Did you see anything?
– There is a big lake and a village near it.
──An elf village?
Satanachia turns her face towards me without stopping.
– It is the Bowden village. It is not that big, but it is a quiet and nice place. If we go through the village, we will reach the Lake area.
Village… I want to avoid trouble as much as possible.
– Can we make a detour?
– We can… but it is quite the detour.
– Hmm… then, we have to go through the village, huh. Especially when Satanachia has the appearance of an elf. If we are suspected, we can deceive them somehow.
Once we passed through the forest, we made the Skeleton Knights wait for a moment and set foot into the village.
– Now I understand. It’s a simple and nice village.
There were no magnificent buildings, nothing but compact wooden houses where there. It gave the feeling of being a rural town in Europe or something like that.
Adra watched the surroundings with keen eyes.
– It is nothing special, and it does not seem to be dangerous. And they do not seem to suspect of us at all.
– Yes. This is also thanks to Satanachia’s disguise.
– No, that’s….
Satanachia shook her head, looking shy.
Well, if I had to say it by force, the only problem would be that Satanachia and Forneus stand out. Satanachia seems to be beautiful from an elf’s point of view, both men and women walking down the road in the village naturally follow her with their eyes.
After all, angels are rare. However, she seems to be arbitrarily interpreted as 「There’s no way she’s an angel, is she? She looks like someone of the bird race or something」.
Adra and Grasha aren’t perceived as strange or peculiar because they have interactions with vampires and magic beasts. And I’m probably a magic beast in armor.
– Hey, King-sama. We might as well eat something, don’t you think?
– Ah! Forneus is hungry too!
Certainly, the sky was beginning to turn into a sunset color. It was almost time for dinner.
– Hmm… we have to wait for the night to let the Skeleton Knights pass.
– If so, why don’t we enter the beer hall? It is a small village, so there may be only one.
– Understood. Let’s do so.
Adra’s home cooking is good, but meals at these destinations are also good. We can enjoy the so-called regional cuisine.
We found the beer hall immediately and we triumphantly tried to enter the establishment.
When Satanachia touched the door, it opened from the inside as if it had been waiting for us. We met a party that was about to leave the establishment.
– … Wha.
The elves who came out of the establishment and Satanachia looked at each other in astonishment.
– … Is, is it you? Satanachia?
──Goddammit! Why do we come across in a place like this!!??
I’ve met this elf several times.
The woman who stood in the way when I tried to escape from Weisskrone Castle in Arzheim with Satanachia. Moreover, she was the elf named Ernes, who was also a close friend when Satanachia was an elf.
She felt hatred towards Satanachia who became a dark elf and a top brass of the Demon King Army. We came across such a troublesome person.
– Hey, what’s wrong, Ernes? There are people behind us, so exit fast.
We heard a voice from behind Ernes.
I peek over Satanachia’s shoulder, it’s a handsome elf. This is the guy who received us when the 2A Guild first arrived in Arzheim. If I recall correctly, his name was… Grion?
This guy doesn’t seem to feel at ease… darn it, were we too careless?
To think these guys would be in a place like this──,
– Hey, Ernes!
When pressed by Grion, Ernes doesn’t move as if she had solidified.
However, were she to move, it would mean the signal of the start of the war. Cold sweat ran down Satanachia’s cheek
Adra and Grasha also convey a feeling of tension.
A trickle of tears escaped from Ernes’ eyes.
– Eh? … Ernes?
Satanachia involuntarily relaxed.
She was completely careless.
Ernes jumps at Satanachia to take advantage of her carelessness.
I was about to draw my sword──,
Ernes embraced Satanachia’s neck and burst into tears with a loud voice.
– Uwaaaaaaaaaaanh, Satanachiaaaaaaaaa～～!
– Eh!? Eeeh!? … Er, nes?
Satanachia, who was hugged by someone who was supposed to kill her, was confused too. Her understanding couldn’t catch up with the reality developing now. Even when she called her name, Ernes couldn’t restrain what was filling her heart, she just heaved with sobs.
It felt like I could see a 『? 』 mark floating on Satanachia’s head. I’m sure it’s floating above me too.
Adra, Grasha, and the other elves are all dumbfounded staring at them.
– W-what’s wrong? Ernes.
Ernes replied mixed with sobbing while crying, drooling and snotting.
– Sa, Satanachia, y-you, retu-returned to being, an elf… u. uuuh, I, I’m so happyyyy～～～ Uwaaaaannn.
Satanachia’s face twitched. Then, with an awkward movement that seems to make a creaking noise, she turns her pale face toward us.
I averted my eyes unintentionally.
What should we do about this explosion of excitement?
I looked around, Adra was wiping his glasses, wearing a “don’t look at me” appeal. Grasha took out the emergency ration biscuits of his pocket and began to eat them. Forneus was tilting her head without understanding anything.
Satanachia smiles as if she was in trouble.
– Umm, hey, Ernes? Th-this is a misunderstanding.
– Yes, yes! I’m sorry, Satanachia! I’m sorry for the misunderstanding. Satanachia was desperate to return to an elf, yes? So, you pretended to support the Demon King Army and looked for a way to return to normal!
How, Satanachia looks at me with teary eyes.
– W-wait a minute, Ernes!
Grion’s voice interrupted from behind.
– What do you want!? Don’t interrupt us, Grion! Don’t you see that Satanachia finally came back? Yes, Satanachia… it’s a miracle that this has happened.
– Well… I’m really happy if that’s the case, but… who are they?
He says so and points to me.
– No matter how you look at them, they’re Hellshaft and the Hellzekter gang, aren’t they?
Ernes fixedly stared at us with red, swollen eyes. Then, while holding Satanachia firmly, she went out of the shop.
– Hey, Satanachia… what’s this?
– Well… t-that is… that, you see.
The truth seemed to have come to light easily.
Should we get rid of these guys so they don’t become future trouble?
Ernes is staring at me as if praying.
She can be used.
There are some troublesome points, but we can secure information about the elves and even be guided to Ulriel.
And Satanachia will solve… most of the trouble. Maybe.
I turned my gaze toward Adra, carrying that meaning, and then walked up to Satanachia.
Wariness clearly appeared on Ernes’ face.
– Don’t get any closer! Otherwise──
I knelt on the spot.
– Congratulations for your safe arrival in Arzheim, Satanachia-sama.
Satanachia was surprised.
– … Huh?
I felt like I heard a scream that didn’t belong to Satanachia’s face that said 『HUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUH!?!?!?!?!?』
– … What do you mean?
I raise my face and answer to Ernes who appears to suspect us.
– This is all an operation to allow Satanachia-sama to escape from Rowalrinna to Arzheim. I was hired for that. I am a bodyguard so to speak.
– A bodyguard? Is that true? Satanachia?
– Ha, haha….
Satanachia can only return a tense laugh to Ernes who emphasized.
– These three people are my companions. Everyone is charged with the mission to bring Satanachia-sama safely to Ulriel-sama.
Adra, who stealthily pulled the heads of Grasha and Forneus towards himself and whispered into their ears, suddenly turned around.
– Yes. It is as he says. The four of us have come this far, protecting Satanachia-sama.
– What… so that’s what it was. If so, you should have said it soon.
Amazing, she believed us easily!
Ernes stared at Satanachia with a reassuring, soft smile.
However, Satanachia makes her gaze wander while sweating a waterfall.
– R-right… I, I am surprised… I, I’m sorry.
Grion interrupted there again.
– Hold on! Why are you dressed like that then?
I reply immediately.
– Of course, to deceive the dark elves. Satanachia-sama is supposed to be a member of Hellzekter. Therefore, it is best for her escorts to disguise as Hellshaft and Hellzekter.
– But… the disguise is really close to the original….
– In the eastern part of the continent of Balgaea, the Demon King’s power is strong, and his popularity is going up even among common people. Actually, this is also a party goods sold on the market. Have you seen them?
I spoke without much thought to breathe.
– Hmm… is, is that so? I haven’t really left the continent of Logress….
Ernes shouted at Grion as if being irritated.
– Jeez, you’re picking every single detail even though you’re a man! My Satanachia is back! I don’t care about trivial things! Don’t you agree? Satanachia ♡.
– We… well….
Ernes brings her face close enough to touch the tip of Satanachia’s nose.
… I’ve been thinking about it for a while, but Ernes likes Satanachia, right? In a yuri sense*.
*TN: Yuri is a genre of manga and novel about lesbians.
– Oh, Satanachia… we won’t be apart anymore. I’ll wash your body today. Then we’ll sleep together, what do you think? Fufu… I won’t let you sleep tonight.
As she said that, she touched Satanachia’s body.
Could it be that she’s more serious than yuri?
But Satanachia, on the other hand, is struggling to pull her body apart. Like I thought, Is there a deep gap between friendship and affection?
In contrast to those two, Grion is still wracking his brain.
– … But then why not let Satanachia disguise herself as a dark elf? Escaping got difficult, isn’t it…?
– You’re really an annoying guy! You protect the border here! I’ll take Satanachia to Ulriel-sama!
I clapped my hands together.
– That will help us. Let’s visit her right now. Forneus, summon the Skeleton Knights.
– Understood. But what about the meal?
I want to eat, but if I hesitate, they’ll see through us. We don’t have to restrict to departing immediately.
– Adra, buy something you can take out.
Adra bowed and stepped into the beer hall.
In contrast to Ernes, who is hugging Satanachia and doesn’t let go of her, Grion still has an unsatisfied look. He was groaning for a while, but as expected, he just raised his face, saying that he wasn’t convinced.
– Ernes, let’s think more calmly. And you are the captain, aren’t you? Isn’t it bad for the captain to leave the border?
– You are the deputy captain! Your job is to be my substitute! I’m so tired of being relegated to patrolling the border guard since the Infermia conquest battle.
– T-that’s the same for me!
Adra came out of the beer hall.
– I am sorry to have kept you waiting.
As if she had waited impatiently for it, Ernes walked in the direction of the lake.
– Now, let’s go ♡ Satanachia. Oh, your escorts are welcome to accompany us. You will protect Satanachia until the end, right? We will give you a reward when we arrive.
We started walking after Ernes and Satanachia who linked their arms with the other.
– Hey! Wait, Ernes! Are you… huuuuuuh!?
Grion seemed to be unable to stand up at the line of skeletons that followed us.
The elves walking down the road also hurriedly readied their bows.
I raised my hands and advised them to calm down.
– They are the remains of the elves who have died in the land of Balgaea. Satanachia-sama is simply being accompanied by the magic cultivated during her Hellzekter era.
Grion shouts in a shrilling voice.
– Wha!? Why are you taking these guys with you!?
– They want to see Ulriel-sama at least one more time and then return to Arzheim’s soil… such is the kind consideration of Satanachia-sama.
Tears overflowed from Ernes’ eyes again.
– Satanachia… is a gentle child. You’ve always been that way. Really, the old Satanachia is back… uuh, ueeeeeeen.
– Ernes… please, don’t cry.
Satanachia comforted Ernes, who was sobbing convulsively and crying her eyes out, with a sorely troubled face. Satanachia seems to have suddenly become haggard in the last few minutes, but please, put up with it somehow.
She sometimes stares at me with a bitter face, but there’s nothing I can do now. Sorry.
– Hey, King-sama.
Grasha talked to me, looking dissatisfied.
– How long will this last?
– Until Weisskrone Castle. We’ll continue this play until we meet Ulriel at least. Everyone has to act cleverly.
– But this sucking-up-to-Satanachia thing is getting on my nerves.
Adra admonished Grasha plainly.
– Be patient. This is also part of the operation.
I looked up at the lightly floating Forneus.
– I ask the same of you, Forneus.
– Yup. Satanachia seems to be playing at being a princess, and that’s fun for me ♪.
Will it really be okay…? As I hold a bit of anxiety, we follow the path led by Ernes who snuggled up to Satanachia.
We approached the fork and Ernes took the left.
──Hmm? That’s the opposite direction to Weisskrone Castle.
I called out to Ernes’ back.
– Where are we going, Ernes-dono?
– To where Ulriel-sama is. We decided that, didn’t we?
Satanachia also wears a strange expression.
– Isn’t she in the castle?
– Ulriel-sama is now near the barren area. You know, the hidden treasure Ragnabringer. Now she is focused on creating a floating island in the barren area to keep it away from anyone. I am told that, apparently, a crisis is approaching that sword.
Are you saying that the Orzelia invasion already begun?
– I am sorry, Ernes-dono. May you give us a little more detail?
– That’s as far as I know. I was sent to do border security on the borderland. I just heard rumors from the supply force.
– … Is that so?
Whatever. I’ll meet the person in question soon.
And negotiations with Ulriel will determine the fate of this battle. It will determine the fate of us, the Demon King Army,
The fate of 2A Guild and everyone’s fate.
… My head hurts. But if I don’t hurry.
I wish it didn’t take an eternity to get there!
I kept walking, repeating those thoughts one after the other.