Chapter 3 – Faceless Disease (Part 3)
▯Weakest Demon Lord, Rank 71st, Dantalian
Empire Calendar: Year 1505, Month 6, Day 20
Dantalian’s Demon Lord Castle
“…… Does your highness plan to stay in bed all day today as well?”
“If you think that I’m not doing anything just because I’m lying in bed, then you are heavily mistaken. Despite the way I am, the fate of the universe is being spread out in my head.”
Two months had already passed.
Ever since I had borrowed the gold, I had spent the past 2 months plainly doing things at my leisure. It had already become a daily routine for Lapis Lazuli to come find me and start sighing.
“The piled interest is already no less than 2,000 Libra.”
“Ah, this book is quite enjoyable.”
I was flipping through a book while lying down. The title of the book was <Chronicles of the Great Demon Lords and the Custom Laws That Were Derived From Them>.
The reason why I was reading this kind of literature was simple.
The information I had of this world was heavily leaned towards one side.
<Dungeon Attack> was a game where you played in the shoes of the human hero. Thanks to that, I may have been knowledgeable about the humans and their society, but I was ridiculously ignorant regarding the demon world.
At most, there was a vampire heroine that falls for the protagonist and thus surrenders to him. But that was it. That heroine never went into details about the demon world.
Well. It just meant that I had to study it on my own.
“Hoh. In this world, for a Demon Lord to attack another Demon Lord, they must have at least sent a declaration of war two times, huh. What a pointless place to stick to formality. Although, it is an impressive means to prevent war. Hm, hm.”
“If your highness continues to not take any measures like this, your highness will end up bankrupting within 3 months. Please be aware, your highness.”
“I want to eat some ice cream—”
She had probably realized that this side was completely ignoring her.
Lapis Lazuli pressed her forehead with her index finger and thumb. Although her face was still emotionless, I could judge by her mood that she was receiving a lot of stress.
I gave her a bold-faced smile.
“Do not worry. Since all the preparation is already complete.”
“…… My apologies, your highness. Excluding the order that your highness had given this one two months ago, has your highness done anything else?”
“That was all the preparation needed.”
About 50 days ago.
I had made Lapis Lazuli purchase a certain herb en masse. Right now, it was a plant that most people would only consider it to be merely a useless piece of greenery. However, I knew the future.
The current date was year 1505 on the Empire calendar.
This summer, an infectious disease will occur and spread across the entire continent.
In the future this disease will be known as the Black Death and spread throughout the continent as the symbol of fear. Nearly 40% of the entire population on the continent will be wiped out, making it so that calling it a nightmare wouldn’t be even remotely close to describing the event. In Dungeon Attack, the game started around the time that the Black Death had already passed…… to be exact, the game story started in the year 1515 on the Empire calendar.
A tragedy yet to have arrived. It was something I shouldn’t be concerned with, right? The interesting part was what came next.
This plague, surprisingly, had a cure.
The name was plainly ‘Black Herb’. Since it cured the Black Death, it was thus called Black Herb. The people of this world had a dreadful naming sense. They’d probably give an illegitimate child a better name.
‘Angel’s Herb’, ‘Goddess’ Mercy’, ‘Apollon’s Liver’, these kind of glittering nicknames followed after. However, this was also talk of the future. The summer of 1505 on the Empire calendar, before the plague had arrived, this Black Herb was simply a weed. In many regions, this was a plant that didn’t even have the honor of having a name.
That was it.
It was a piece of greenery with absolutely no monetary value—
I, using all 10,000 gold coins, invested into this plant.
Truthfully, it was easy.
First, I made a contract with the smaller merchant firms around the continent. Next, through the smaller firms, I was able to form a contract with the pharmacists spread throughout the land. And finally, the pharmacists hired herb gatherers from cities and villages. Instantly, a three-way contract was signed. The broker and transportation fee for the small firms, 2,000 gold coins. The pharmacy fee and herb gatherers’ personnel expenses, 6,000 gold coins. In addition, in order to be able to keep the herbs as fresh as possible, I had obtained a semi-permanent storage of the highest quality.
I was still not used to this world’s customs, but it was fine. I planned big wherever I was. All the detailed(lazy) affairs were handled by Lapis Lazuli as a proxy.
The person to go around making contracts with the small firms and pharmacists was not myself, but Lapis Lazuli. Some could say we were a good match. We were quite the amazing combination.
People who didn’t know the inside story would probably burst out in laughter if they saw this.
He had borrowed 10,000 Libra and we were curious as to see what he would do with it, but would you look at that. He bought a bunch of plants that weren’t even used to eat, and was storing them as if they were some sort of treasure.
Lapis Lazuli had tipped me off on what the executives at the firm were saying, ‘That’s the biggest joke I’ve heard all year’, they said and laughed their heads off, is what she told me.
Demon Lord Dantalian’s antics were even the talk of the town.
‘The foolish act of the lowest and crazy Demon Lord.’
‘10,000 gold coins worth of bullshit.’
‘Throwing his life away just for some attention!’
I was incredibly pleased.
To be able to put laughter into other people’s lives with such trifling matters. Was this not the true fruits of life? Besides, we all lived an endlessly hard and dry life. If I was able to put a smile on these people’s faces then I could not be more happy.
Was I serious?
That’s why I’ll be making it more interesting.
Not the best joke you’ve heard all year, but the best joke you will ever hear in your entire life. ‘The plant that we thought was just a weed was actually as rare as a jewel!’, that was the kind of ending that awaited. If you had common sense, then you could only laugh till your insides shook.
“I truly am curious as to what face you will show me in a month.”
“Since you display no emotions all year round. It’ll be alright for you to look forward to it. I will most certainly make you laugh.”
“…… This one does not understand what your highness is talking about.”
“Wait patiently and you will know everything.”
While rolling around on my bed, I giggled.
Was it because I had teased her a bit too much. A notice popped up.
[Merchant Lapis Lazuli’s affection went down by 1.]
Oh dear. With this, Lapis Lazuli’s affection had become 0. It had been dropping since 2 months ago, and now it had finally reached the bottom. A stranger would probably treat me better than her now.
“Apologies, but this one shall take her leave here. There is a lot of paperwork from the firm that has been pushed back.
Lapis Lazuli coldly turned her back towards me.
“What is it?”
“Take this with you.”
I tossed her a piece of parchment.
Lapis Lazuli received the note with both hands.
“…… your highness. This is?”
I gave her a playful wink.
“It is fine to not return to my castle for the time being. Instead, go to that location and look at the situations there. Since you will discover something interesting.”
After Lapis Lazuli gave me a gaze full of a suspicion, she soon departed.
That piece of paper was the last trap. Lapis Lazuli will most likely realize the existence of the trap much later. I look forward to that day.
▯Keuncuska Merchant, Mixed Blood, Lapis Lazuli
Empire Calendar: Year 1505, Month 6, Day 27
Syracuse Relaxation Hot Springs
Sighs kept coming out. I wonder how many times that made it now.
The great Keuncuska executive candidate, Lapis Lazuli, was currently at a hot spring. It was a place where the citizens enjoyed taking baths. Men and women were proudly walking in front of me in the nude.
Although I’m saying this, I too was unclothed. Men would stroll through the halls and look this way with an obscene gaze. Their eyes were incredibly unpleasant…… I wanted to crush the eyes of each and every one of these men.
Hot springs were not only a place for relaxation, but it was a type of love area as well. In other words, you could say people were dating in the nude.
A man and a woman would go into a spring and naturally start to philander. It was a kind of culture. Even now, I could hear the sound of moaning over on the side…… I was desperately keeping my head turned away.
There was a reason, that was so simple that it was shocking, as to why I was here in Syracuse, the southmost area in the continent. In the note that his highness Dantalian had passed onto me had contained strange words.
Sardinia Kingdom, Syracuse, Citizen Bathhouse, Clinic
Joint pain, high temperature, skin turning black
At glance, if one had no context then it’d appear like some code.
His highness Dantalian had been mentioning a disease for the past two months now. At the time, I had misunderstood that it was just his highness purposely saying nonsense. However, after seeing him write this note and pass it on to me, it seemed he was actually serious about it…… This was a joke, right? Anyone was fine, so please tell me this was a joke.
Was that so. Was there no one.
I had sighed for the third time already.
Diseases themselves were not rare. Regardless, to predict when and where a disease would appear? In addition to that, to also already know what the cure to that disease was? That was impossible. That was why it was natural that the executives were treating his highness as a madman.
Honestly, it may have been a little amount, but I had hopes.
His highness, who was once helpless but had overcome a life or death situation, to be reborn as a true Demon Lord…… That kind of folktale-like story, it may have been a small amount, but I had hopes for it.
But rank 71st.
Was he just an idiot that was beyond remedy.
Demon Lord Dantalian really did absolutely nothing after having bought all those plants. He only rolled around on his newly bought bed like a child. It was honestly pathetic.
“Ooh. Lady, you’re quite the pretty one.”
A pedestrian who was also using the bath tried to talk to me.
I was currently using magic to disguise myself as a human. It may had been magic but it was nothing impressive. I had only changed my hair color to red. Succubi were a demonic race, but their outer appearance was pretty much identical to that of a human. I was able to simply conceal my identity.
“How ’bout it, in a single pool for 3 silver…… euut!?”
I looked into the man’s eyes for a moment.
He had probably mistaken me for some prostitute working in this bath, so I had returned him a cold gaze. As soon as we made eye contact he had taken a step back.
It seems that there was a peculiar murderous intent hidden in my eyes. There were not a lot of people who were able to stare me straight in the face. As the person directly involved, I didn’t understand that well.
“S-Sorry. I mistook you for someone else. Have a nice day!”
The man hastily ran back out to the halls.
His fleshy waist shook violently as he ran. It was pathetic. How could he have expected to buy me with 3 silver coins with a body like that. At the very least 10 gold. If he did not offer that much then an exchange itself couldn’t possibly be established. No matter how I looked, men who couldn’t judge their appearance objectively were all shabby.
I turned my steps towards the clinic of the hot springs. There were many patients here who got admitted believing in the effects of the hot springs. If perhaps, in a one in a million chance, his highness Dantalian’s prediction about the disease was correct, then this was the starting point.
“Ah. What can we do for you, ma’am?”
The doctors welcomed me. They thought I was the daughter of some noble family. That a pure maiden, ignorant of worldly affairs, was coming to do volunteer work. Yes, I had used charm and suggestion magic to purposely delude them.
“How are the patients?”
“Well, it’s pretty much the same. Day in, day out they groan and moan about it hurting. Truthfully speaking, the majority of the patients here are completely fine.”
“I’d like to meet the most recent patient.”
“There’s a bloke who was brought in just yesterday. But I don’t really recommend for you to visit him, miss.”
“Is there a reason?”
“Yeah. This guy’s fake illness is rather serious. My armpit hurts, my groin feels like it’s ripping, and so on. Talk about fussing over nothing. You’ll detest it, miss.”
“……no. That is alright. If it’s a patient, then I’d like to trust his words for now. I’d like to meet that person first.”
“Haa. How good-natured of you. I may be a petty doctor, but it’s been a long time since I’ve met someone as sincere as you, miss.”
While being delighted, the doctor led me to the sick ward. As soon as we had opened the door, a patient who was further inside started to holler.
“Aaah, I’m dying! This merchant for the great land of Syracuse is going to die because of a quack! Townspeople! Someone beat that quack up for me!” (TL note: Quack = Fake doctor)
“Gah. He’s like a pig in heat.”
The doctor sighed.
I understood why he had warned me about visiting this patient. The doctor, after taking a quick glance at me first, approached the patient.
“So what’s the problem this time, that’s making you have an epileptic fit?”
“Problem? What’s my problem? All right, I’ll explain it to you one more time, so this time make sure to carve it into your ear. First, the bed is so hard that my spine is about to become flat. Second, I’m not sure if the servants here are bringing me bread or stones, but my teeth are about to break apart. Third, the long-term doc friend I had keeps sighing whenever he sees my face and that’s starting to make my life miserable.”
“You, moron. My life is becoming miserable because of you.”
“Yeah? Good. We have finally reached the point where we make each other miserable. But that’s the same with the missus as well. My wife and I have been at each other’s throat for a while now, and at this point we’re only thinking of ways to screw with each other. Oi, pal. If you aren’t planning to become my second wife, then shit! Hurry up and act like a doctor and fix me up!”
“Damn it. This guy isn’t even helpful in life.”
It seemed that these two had been friends since they were kids.
It meant that they were close enough to be able to freely swear at each other’s faces.
It was a strange scene for someone like myself. Friendship. Could that actually exist?
Commonly, people would praise that friendships last forever. It was suspicious. No matter what sentence, whenever the adverb ‘forever’ was included, then I’d start off by being doubtful. I personally thought this was a good habit.
There were only backstabbers or potential backstabbers that existed in the world. That was my opinion. Friendship simply referred to a person who hadn’t betrayed you yet.
The doctor abruptly apologized.
“This guy always had a crude mouth. Just think of it as his limit of education and ignore it if you can.”
“I am okay. Please proceed with the checkup.”
The doctor placed his hand on the patient’s forehead.
“Places here and there are indeed hot. But no matter how I see it, it’s just a summer cold. I’ll prescribe you with some medicine, so if it does get bad then take the medicine. Other than that you should be fine, so don’t worry.”
For an instant, disbelief had crossed my mind.
…… There was no way. I was overthinking it. Joints aching and having a fever, these were symptoms you could find anywhere. You couldn’t consider something like these to be a sign of a disease.
“Eh, how do you expect me to believe the words of a quack?”
“If you keep calling me a quack, I’m going to prescribe you poison instead. If you keep saying something like that so loudly then you’ll be hurting my dignity. You bastard. Are you planning to ruin your childhood friend’s business like this?”
“It really hurts like hell! Here, look.”
The patient suddenly pulled his top off.
The doctor panicked and turned to look at me, but I was the same as ever and stood calmly. I didn’t care about the naked body of a man at all. More than that, there was something else that had caught my gaze.
The patient’s right chest.
There was a black spot the size of a thumb.
My entire body went stiff.
Like a person who was petrified.
“Ara, what’s this?”
“There’s no reason to have this bruise if it was a normal cold.”
“That, well. I guess you’re right……”
The two didn’t notice my sudden change in mood.
The doctor and patient were busy discussing with each other.
“That’s weird. Did you perhaps catch an endemic disease from someone else?”
“That’s something you, the doctor, should know. Not the merchant, you quack. If you don’t want to get a job change to an undertaker, then cure me already. If I end up being a corpse by tomorrow then you don’t have to worry about your reputation, because your life as a doctor will be over.”
“Bah, spitting out annoying words, this dumbass.”
Skin turning black
“…… I just recalled something that I have to do. I shall take my leave.”
“Ah? Oh, sure. Stay safe.”
With fast steps, I made my way out of the ward.
I did not have the leisure to give a proper farewell at the moment.
I couldn’t understand the situation.
Turmoil wrapped around my head and shook it violently. What was going on? Surely, you weren’t telling me that a disease was actually starting to run rampant? And for it to also be according to Demon Lord Dantalian’s prediction?
That was impossible. That was absolutely impossible. The ability to foretell the future only manifested in the smallest amount of the already small amount of saintesses. Even then, the last recognized case of a prophecy coming true was 210 years ago. There was no chance for his highness Dantalian to have such an ability, or it was supposed to be that way. But why?
…… I had to be calm. It was too soon to get ahead of myself. At most, it was only one patient. There was still the chance that it was just a coincidence that a patient with the symptoms that matched the nonsense that his highness Dantalian had spouted was here. For starters, I had to visit the other doctors in Syracuse.
At least 2, no, at least 4 patients had to have the same symptoms before it could be judged as a disease. I must not panic. Prophecies were fantasies that appeared in story books. There was no way they could happen so easily in real life.
‘But, if his highness Dantalian was right……’
A simple speculation.
I had only thought of it for a moment but the back of my neck was already cold.
His highness Dantalian, claiming they were the cure to the disease, had bought bulks of a certain weed. Naturally, the price of the leaf was incredibly low. Most of the gold was spent on personnel. Due to the exorbitant price, however, the amount of the plant that his highness Dantalian had bought……
Was no less than 30,000.
If those truly were the cure, then no matter how low the price was, they’d sell for at least 2 gold each. Thus, 60,000 gold coins. That transcended the amount that his highness had initially borrowed.
No, that was still the situation where the money earned was set to the least. If the contagion were to spread across the entire continent then it could cost 5 gold…… it would reach a preposterous state. An unprecedented amount of chaos would occur.
No one in the firm would predict this. A blunder among blunders. They will probably find the one responsible to blame, and ten to one, I will end up being that scapegoat.
The goal of becoming an executive in Keuncuska.
The promise to leave me in charge of the entire region of Dolstat, as well.
Naturally, all of these will pop like bubbles.
I carefully bit my lips.
Born in a back alley, I had lived my life scavenging sewers and trash. I had just barely been able to grab hold of an opportunity to escape that hell. I could not let all that go down the drain.
Certainly, I had hoped that his higness Dantalian would awaken as an actual Demon Lord. However, his awakening was only meant for my success and growth. Thus, I had never considered this situation.
My feet moved faster on their own.
On that day alone, I had visited every doctor in the city of Syracuse. And I had no choice but to give an objective conclusion.
Pain spreading from the joints.
A symptom where the skin would turn black in areas.
In my hands was the piece of parchment that his highness had handed me. Standing in the center of the city square, I kept staring down at the note for a long time.
16 clinics in the city of Syracuse.
29 patients with similar symptoms.
The next day the patients increased to 56 people.
25 patients complained of a sharp pain and then died.
10 days later, the patients in the hot springs that I had visited before had all died. Half a month later, the entire city was filled with the pained cries of the citizens.
His highness Dantalian’s prediction was correct.
It was an epidemic.
An epidemic was going rampant.
▯Keuncuska Executive, Miser Goblin, Torukel
Empire Calendar: Year 1505, Month 7, Day 16
Keuncuska Firm, Amstel Branch
“Sir Torukel, an emergent report has arrived.”
“Keruruk. You discourteous fellow! Did I not tell you that no matter what happens, to not bother me when her highness Paimon was visiting!”
A fancy reception room.
I had gotten upset because of a secretary that had suddenly started pounding on the door.
Her highness Paimon was sitting across from me, that idiot. She was one of the most precious guests to the Keuncuska Firm. When this person was visiting, be it work or contact, I had forbade everything. This was a problem of common courtesy!
“Oh dear. This lady is fine, Torukel.”
Fortunately, her highness had displayed understanding first.
“It must be quite the urgent matter if he had to come in contact with you immediately.”
“I sincerely apologize. That secretary normally isn’t like this……”
“I said that I was fine. This lady will be enjoying the fragrance of the tea, so you may take your time.”
Her highness Paimon smiled gently.
I wonder how benevolent this person was. She would always treat me, a lowly merchant, with gentleness. While being moved, I bowed several times.
Of course, once I had left the reception room, my expression had twisted.
“You fool. What is it, keruk?”
The secretary lowered his head while being nervous.
Even if you did that, the thought of forgiving you doesn’t come up. How dare he interrupt a meeting with her highness. Having come this far, it wouldn’t even be satisfying to cut his head off. He better be prepared.
“An urgent message had arrived from the firm headquarters. A mage wrote down the information onto a note and has delivered it.”
“No matter how urgent the message is, the person in that room is her highness Paimon. If the message turns out to be a matter of no importance, then I personally will cut your head off.”
I quickly snatched the note away from the secretary and scanned it. Just like our firm to put importance on efficiency, only brief words were written down. Additionally, it was written in a code that only the executives understood, so I was the sole person here that was able to read it.
An epidemic outbreak.
Centering the harbors, the plague has spread throughout the entire region of the Sardinia Kingdom.
It is certain that it will spread to the countries in the vicinity soon.
Fatality rate: 80%
Once I had decoded this far, my brows creased.
For it to say that the fatality rate was 80%. Doesn’t that mean that if 10 people were to catch the disease, then 8 people would die? This wasn’t a normal contagious disease.
It also stated that it was ‘certain’ that the disease will spread to the countries in the vicinity. This was also serious. It was a rule for merchants to not exaggerate information. In these type of situations, it was normal to write that it was ‘expected’ to spread.
Surely, Ivar Lodbrok couldn’t have possibly made a mistake on this part……
Certain? Did it mean that the epidemic was spreading at that much of an incredible rate? This was not good. An ominous premonition was looming over me……
The following sentences made my pupils stop.
The cure to the disease is in the Demon Lord Dantalian’s possession.
Currently estimated value, 1,200,000~3,000,000 gold coins.
All executives are to return to the headquarters immediately.
(TL note: I’m not very sure about the value. It might be referring to the amount that Dantalian will make in total. Cause 1,200,000 gold per plant sounds insane)
This didn’t make sense.
“I-I am sorry. Sir Torukel. I truly am sorry. I too, wanted to wait till her highness Paimon had left before handing this to you.”
This couldn’t be happening.
“To tell you the truth, this was a note delivered about an hour ago. But it was branded with the first class classified seal. I thought it’d be troublesome for Sir Torukel if it were to be delayed any further……”
It was impossible.
“S-Sir Torukel? Are you listening to me? Sir Torukel……?”
▯Keuncuska Firm Owner, Pure-blood Vampire, Ivar Lodbrok
Empire Calendar: Year 1505, Month 7, Day 16
Keuncuska Firm Headquarters, Highest floor
We were tricked.
Honestly, I was completely deceived.
In a dark room I was drinking wine by myself.
My glass continued to empty. It meant that I was that deep in thought. Somehow, it felt like I was going to be drinking till late at night, tonight……
Who was it. Which person was the one to have made Ivar Lodbrok into a fool.
Demon Lord Dantalian was a small-fry. He lacked the ability to plot such a grandiose plan. Then who was it.
There was only one answer. The half-breed succubus, that girl was the one who had schemed everything……
While rolling the fragrance of the wine around my mouth, I spoke the girl’s name. Was it just my imagination. The alcohol tasted a bit sweeter.
The desire to succeed was beautiful. To not be satisfied with one’s current position and continue to aim higher. That was the attitude that everyone should naturally take. That was my thought.
If you show your fangs towards me then the story became different.
I will now teach Lapis Lazuli a lesson.
It was unfortunate that I had to stomp on a junior who had such a promising future ahead of them. I was speaking the truth. If you asked what I meant by that, then it was because Lapis Lazuli was going to become a living but not living doll.
I hold out my glass.
A servant girl poured more wine without a word.
At one point, this girl too was a promising executive candidate. She was just like Lapis Lazuli. Having a low status, her desire for power was mesmerizing. The beauty of her eyes were peerless. However, the decisive part was that she was a fool. She had revolted against none other than myself.
The bright eyes that would always shine with intelligence, was now a hazy and achromatic color.
Having lost her will and consciousness, she had dropped down to being a slave doll that obeyed my every command……
“What a shame. Why is it that all the useful talents can’t resist the temptation to go against me?”
A sigh came out on its own.
I had turned my head towards the side, and there my face was reflected by the window. Surprisingly, I was grinning. Uncontainable joy was floating around the corners of my mouth. It appeared as if I was having a fair amount of fun.
It was true.
The fact of it being a shame was a lie.
What’s there to hide.
Personally, I was having the most fun I’ve ever had since forever.
For an unpredictable twist to occur, that was the joy of life.
To personally be able to trample the junior with a promising career ahead of them, those were the fruits of life.
To turn that junior into a puppet, and like one would store wine to mature, to store her like a doll in my own personal collection—
That was the highest of pleasures.
I murmured the name of that beautiful girl.
I will cut every last hope that you have.
I will defile you from head to toe.
Once you fall into despair and begin to flounder, I shall pierce my fangs into your white neck and make you into my slave for eternity.
I couldn’t hold back any longer.
I pushed my teeth into the servant’s neck.
“……Ah, aah…… aaaah……”
The servant shuddered slightly.
Her conscience may have been gone, but her sense of pain remained.
The fragrance of her blood was like that of a well matured first grade wine.
I had collected wine dolls like her for the past hundreds of years.
But for the past 60 years, the number of dolls had stopped at 32. Because people had stopped showing defiance towards me. It was a boring time.
The true owner of the Keuncuska Firm. Richest person in the demon world. One of the three pure vampires to walk this land. All of these were addressed to myself. Young ones brave enough to go against me were extremely rare.
In that meaning, Lapis Lazuli was the first obstacle to appear in 60 years. She was precious in that regard, and she was also precious as my 33rd wine.
…… Now that I thought about it. In my collection there was an elf, a witch, a werewolf, a centaur, a mermaid, and more. I had all kinds of races but not a succubus. Thus, Lapis Lazuli’s value as a collection piece was higher.
I do wonder what fragrance of wine she’ll give off.
I sucked the blood of the servant until she had fainted and laughed.
Keuncuska, oh great Keuncuska.
You shall repay blood with blood.
▯Weakest Demon Lord, Rank 71st, Dantalian
Empire Calendar: Year 1505, Month 7, Day 16
Dantalian’s Demon Lord Castle
Life was beautiful.
To the point that, I, the most pessimistic person in history, should slowly start to admit that the world was beautiful as well.
According to the setting in Dungeon Attack, Demons Lords did not have parents. If you were asking what I was talking about, I was referring to the fact that Demon Lords were born from magical energy abnormally gathered at a single point. Purely made by chance. Their birth had nothing to do with having a good personality or being talented, it all relied on luck……
That was why people couldn’t help but look down on them.
It was like a competent peasant scorning an incompetent noble. People who had reached the top through their talent and ability alone looked down on Demon Lords. ‘They were only born as a Demon Lord by chance anyways. They wouldn’t be a challenge if you faced them head on.’, was what they’d say.
They were carelessly letting their guards down.
And it was fatal for someone to drop their guard, for even a second, around someone as villainous as I was.
There were only two cases where I’d think that the world was beautiful.
First, it was when I did absolutely nothing and rolled around on my bed.
The second, was when I stabbed a dagger into the people who underestimated me on their own. During these times were when I felt like I understood the true meaning of life.
…… My little sister said that this was a perverted preference and fiercely denounced it. But I didn’t get her. Was it not the person who lowered their guard that was at fault?
When a lion hunts a rabbit, they put their all into the hunt. That was why hunting was an incredibly tiring job. If you were not going to do your best from the beginning, then it was better off not starting the work in the first place. Half-assed work only returned half-assed results. It would be more efficient to just be like me and laze around all day and save energy.
If one had to endure their laziness and go hunting, then in one hit.
Kill the game off without giving it a single chance to resist.
Currently, the result of that was spread before me.
“Ooh, Lala. Your complexion looks rather dark today.”
Lapis Lazuli was standing silently.
Her expression wasn’t as sharp as it used to be. The eyes of hers, which used to be as transparent as glass, were unclear now. They were eyes that I had seen a countless number of times before, the eyes of a defeated person.
“Is it perhaps, that? The magical spell that falls upon women every month? You too, have a rough life.”
“…… how did your highness predict this.”
“Oh dear, Lala. I can hear impatience in your words.”
Like the reclining Buddha statue, I was lying while supporting my head with my arm.(TL note: This pose)
“Always cool-headed and calm, that is your charm. Please do show some more consideration to your beauty.”
Lapis Lazuli’s complexion grew darker.
A pitiful fellow.
Regardless, I rather liked mentally tantalizing the loser. Please partake in my ridiculing a bit longer.
“What is the reaction from the Keuncuska Firm?”
“…… It was like a stirred bee hive. A call up order for all the executives was sent out only a few hours ago. This one had also received the summons to come to the headquarters immediately.”
“Oh ho. Then why are you here instead of going to the firm?”
Lapis Lazuli didn’t respond.
No, it would be correct to say that she wasn’t able to respond.
I smiled slyly.
“Should I guess what you’re thinking? You had judged that your life would be in danger if you were to go to the firm now. The firm executives have no idea that I was the one to have planned all of this. In their minds, the culprit to this incident was you, Lapis Lazuli.”
Lapis Lazuli glared at me.
Like a wounded beast staring with hatred at their hunter in the last moment.
“Was that why your highness had sent this one to Syracuse? To plant a misunderstanding in the firm executives. This one, on purpose.”
If you thought logically, then the act of predicting a plague was impossible. Someone, mobilizing unknown methods, had spread the disease in Syracuse on purpose. That was the normal conclusion people would come to.
Who could that person be.
Who would the firm executives point their fingers at, as the criminal.
“The person to become the concubine of a Demon Lord and entice him, was also you.”
There was one woman who had captivated Dantalian with their body.
“The one to have seduced the Demon Lord into borrowing a large amount of gold from the firm, was also you.”
There was one woman who had passionately convinced the executives that it was the perfect opportunity to put a collar on the Demon Lord.
“Coincidentally, the person to have stayed in the area where the disease had first spread, for a week at that, was also you.
There was one woman who had first reported exactly where the Black Death outbreak initially occured—.
“Finally, the person to have bought several thousands of the plant that could cure said disease, was none other than you.”
That was so.
Just for this, I had left all the detailed affairs to Lapis Lazuli. The meeting of the small firms and pharmacy, and also the process of buying the plant. All the paperwork was done through Lapis Lazuli.
“Now your firm executives have no other choice but to suspect you as the prime suspect.”
The most that Demon Lord Dantalian was, in this act, was a puppet controlled by the succubus. The one pulling the strings was the half-breed, Lapis Lazuli, was what all the executives would assume.
Although they were completely wrong.
“Lala, you should have thought this far as well. That’s why you came here instead of returning to your headquarters. A good judgment. If you had gone to your headquarters you would have been punished, no questions asked.”
Silence took over for a moment.
In a ruin-like Demon Lord room, previously destroyed by adventurers, excluding the bed the room was full of dust and rubbish, in this grey room, Lapis Lazuli was the first to break the silence.
Lapis Lazuli slowly opened her mouth.
“Why is your highness revealing everything to this one?”
“Because I evaluate you very highly, Lala.”
I stood from my bed.
“You are beautiful. I’m not complimenting your looks. I’m referring to your inner beauty.”
Rolling my snake-like tongue, I approached Lapis Lazuli.
“Despite being born a half-breed outcast, you did not throw away your passion for authority. You even tried to sacrifice a Demon Lord for your own success. Just one more step. If you were able to take one more step, you could have become an executive at Keuncuska……”
An unusual amount of lust for power.
Cool-headedness that did not fear sacrifice.
Adding to that, talent that leaped over one’s origin and rank.
“I want to obtain you.”
I lifted Lapis Lazuli’s chin.
Endlessly blue eyes looked up at me.
“Abandon the Keuncuska Firm and come under my command. Keuncuska, in the end, is nothing more than a firm. Money may be great but it is not greater than authority. The thing that truly excites and enthuses people is authority.”
“…… Your highness has only just succeeded.”
Lapis Lazuli spoke quietly.
Our faces were so close that we could feel each others’ breaths.
“Of course, your highness will make a lot of money. However, there won’t be any authority there yet. Your highness is still rank 71st, the lowest Demon Lord, there is no adequate foundation. How does your highness plan to present authority to this one?”
“I shall leave all the trading of the cure to you.”
Lapis Lazuli hesitated.
I slowly moved my face closer to hers. I did not rush. She was already caught in the center of the spider web. She could not run away.
“Close your eyes. Imagine. The continent will scream as the nightmare like plague envelopes over it. No matter how short it lasts, 2 years. If it goes on longer, then over 5 years. Hundred and thousands of people, hundreds and thousands of people will die off. Among them there will be nobles and the rich. They, in order to stay alive, will do whatever they can to struggle.”
Lapis Lazuli, listening to my order, closed her eyes.
In a soft voice, I whispered into her ear.
“This cure that will allow you to control these people’s lives, I shall give it to you.”
“Countless number of people in power will run to you in order to trade. If you sell the cure, then those people in power will live. If you don’t sell the cure, then those people in power will meet their end. A single word from you could make numerous authorities delighted, despair, sad, and regret for eternity……”
I stroke her hip with a hand.
Lapis Lazuli, albeit weakly, furrowed her brows.
With my palm, I faintly felt her skin. It was a smooth body with no useless fat. As if I was searching through the unknown, I passed my hand over here and there of her body.
From her chest to her stomach.
From her stomach to her waist.
“Half-breed. The rubbish of demons. Daughter of a whore. An outcast. You who used to be condemned by these names and scorned will instantly grasp the lives of hundreds and thousands of people. How is it, Lala. How is that feeling, Lapis Lazuli.”
It was then, I felt something hard against my finger.
I found it.
“The thing you’re feeling right now, that is authority.”
I daringly pushed my hand into her clothes.
Lapis Lazuli furrowed her brows further. Did she think that she would be violated here? While being all smiles, I pulled out the round metallic object that was hidden underneath the waist of Lapis Lazuli’s clothes. Once I did so, Lapis Lazuli let out an “ah” sound while opening her mouth. It was a look of surprise.
It was silver-colored metal object.
At first glance it appeared to be a pocket watch. But if it was a real watch, then the key used to coil around the clockwork was supposed to be connected to the watch. This object didn’t have a watch chain.
“This is why I evaluate you highly.”
I playfully waved the metallic object in front of her eyes.
Lapis Lazuli bit her lips.
“…… Did your highness perhaps know from the start?”
“Well, it was a simple guess.”
Memory Play, a magic artifact.
It was a type of recording device that recorded audio and saved it. If the quality was good, then it could even record videos like a video camera.
This was an item that sold for a tremendous price in Dungeon Attack. It was most likely the same in this world as well.
Lapis Lazuli most likely wanted to prove her innocence to the firm executives. The problem was that she didn’t have any proof. Thus, Lapis Lazuli was going to make new evidence……
What evidence could prove her innocence. The most effective way would obviously be to get the confession from the actual culprit. There was no doubt that she would mobilize the use of the Memory Play artifact.
“It is sad. Mm, it has become quite unfortunate. If you did well, there was still the chance to become a proud branch manager in the Keuncuska Firm, but. Oh goodness. Would you look at that—.”
I dropped the silver object to the floor.
And then, raising my right foot, I stomped down using the heel of my boot.
With a ‘crack’, you could hear the precise sound of mechanical parts breaking. I repeated the action 5 times. I then picked up the already wrecked device and tossed it as hard as I could at a wall.
“It seems your last possibility has broken.”
“Lala. You have two choices in front of you. These are choices that you can not refuse. First choice. Like this, abide to your summons from the firm and return with no evidence. Earnestly plea your innocence there. Then, hm. Then…… if you’re lucky then you might be able to keep your life.”
I softly tapped her shoulder.
“…… What is the second choice?”
Lapis Lazuli spoke. It was splendid. Despite being checkmated her voice was still cold. No matter what desperate situation this girl was in, even if her life was on the line, it was clear as day that she would maintain calmness.
Like I did three months ago.
While surrounded by adventurers.
“Come under my wing. Lapis Lazuli. Oh, half-breed low one. If you devote to me your talent, then I will provide you status. If you devote to me your loyalty, then I shall give you power. I will make true the hopes and desires that you contain in your chest on this land, and you shall protect me from the hopes and desires of other people.”
In brief, give and take.
Was this not the most loveable logic.
“What will your highness do if this one was to betray your highness.”
“Ah, don’t be mistaken. I am not asking for absolute loyalty from you. If you wish to betray me, then do so. If you think someone other than myself will be able to give you more benefits, then of course you should.”
I did not believe in friendship.
I did not believe in love more.
Similarly, I did not have any trust in loyalty.
“But I will promise you this, you will enjoy to the fullest the highest power of authority.”
What I did believe in was equivalent exchange.
The act of reasonable people exchanging items of the same value.
Lapis Lazuli stared at me. I did not avoid her eyes. Silence was only awkward when there was no meaning in each others’ eyes. We still had much to figure out from each other’s gaze.
I had something inside of myself.
And she as well, had something hidden inside of her.
We had no reason to fear silence.
“I understand, your highness.”
Lapis Lazuli got down onto one knee.
She looked to the floor and vowed.
“I, Lapis Lazuli, born from a Humbaba succubus and raised in the back alleys of towns and cities, a person to have worked as a third degree merchant for the Keuncuska Firm for 10 years, shall forget her past and live solely for the purpose of being Demon Lord Dantalian’s subordinate. This heart. This head. This soul, shall forever be in the possession of your highness.”
As soon as her oath of fealty was over several notices appeared.
[Lapis Lazuli has been recruited as a subordinate.]
[The degree of loyalty will appear in Lapis Lazuli’s status.]
[Unstable loyalty. The other party purely regards you as a lord contractually. The other party can betray you at any time.]
I especially took fancy to the line of being betrayed at any moment. Be it sticky friendship or eternal affection, instead of high-flown lines like those, that line was more trustworthy.
The undying love that my father had vowed with my mothers, in the end, met with failure. Humans didn’t have the strength to revere that kind of love. To dump emotions that you both can’t handle onto one another will only bend your knees.
Dry from the start.
Instead of being bothered by such useless things, I’d rather be lazy.
Instead of being crudely serious, I’d rather be seriously crude.
This was my creed, my ironclad rules.
All of a sudden, from my memories, my father’s thick lips moved clearly.
‘Son. Be prepared.’
‘No matter what you choose—’
‘You will live a life more harsh than I.’
I do not plan to repeat the life you had.
You had succeeded as a member of society. However, you had horribly failed as a husband. I had been displeased by that since long ago. Why would you be obsessed with something when you know you would fail?
If you weren’t certain to succeed then don’t dive in. That was my answer. It meant that people wouldn’t have to be in despair because of me. You were the one remorse in my life, father. I do not want to be the remorse of another person……
“Good. Lapis Lazuli.”
I got on my knee as well to match her eye level.
We were not simply lord and vassal. Contractor and contractee. We were partners made on a promise of equal rights. I wanted to express that to her with my body.
“I, Dantalian, shall never return thy advice with silence and shall never return thy suggestions with scorn. If thou sweat and bleed for my behalf, then I shall repay every drop of sweat and blood.”
I held her hand tightly.
I had felt it before, but her hand really was soft.
Lapis Lazuli, after looking at me for a long time, slightly, ever so slightly nodded her head.
“…… My service to you, your highness.”
Three months since having fallen into this world.
I had appointed my first vassal.
▯Keuncuska Executive, Miser Goblin, Torukel
Empire Calendar: Year 1505, Month 7, Day 20
Keuncuska Firm Headquarters
The firm headquarters was more unsettled than usual.
Goblins were looking deeply into crystal balls and deciphering codes. And with the deciphered codes, they’d write it down on a piece of parchment in one stroke, then passed it on to a fairy.
Fairies the size of a palm groaned as they moved the parchment. From the operating department to the countermeasure department, distribution department, and the high-officer department. The headquarters was a rather large building, and yet the fairies were moving around so much that traffic congestion could be seen near the ceiling.
“Reports of a patient being discovered in Cologne!”
“We’re certain that the plague is following the Rhine River and spreading north.”
“That made the closure of the Sardinia Kingdom completely useless.”
“The lady of the House of Sforza has fallen due to illness……”
Reports from all over the continent were arriving en masse. Headaches were wrapping around the employees. Among them, there was a goblin that had presumably skipped sleep for the past few days because his eyes were bloodshot and swelling. Keruruk, how pitiful.
Going through the headquarters, I made my way straight to Ivar Lodbrok’s personal office. For a second, I had thought that I had entered the wrong room. There were so many piles of papers stacked up, that you couldn’t even see the form of Ivar Lodbrok. If I hadn’t heard his gloomy voice over the heaps of papers, then I would most definitely have left the room.
“Is that Torukel.”
“Quite horrible. Keruk.”
“Oho, is this horrible. But it’s going to be more horrible later. Sit.”
“…… to sit, where?”
Of course the desk was out of the question, but there were piles of parchments all over the floor as well.
“Anywhere is fine. I have already put all the information over there in my head, anyway.”
“A freakish memorizing ability as ever…… So, is the plague showing any signs of dying down?”
“Not at all.”
Ivar Lodbrok replied instantly.
“The disease is spreading at a terrifying speed. Kalmar Union and the kingdom of Moscow, excluding Venetia, are all eroding to the plague. The remaining countries will also face the disease very soon. Our firm analysts are already predicting a 30% casualty rate.”
“30% of the entire continent is going to die? Are you joking?”
“If I had ever told a joke in my entire life, do tell.”
I unintentionally murmured to myself. 30%. It was unimaginable. It meant that millions of demons and humans will die. I couldn’t even speculate how bad the damage was going to be.
“Every lord has temporarily ceased all trade with our firm.”
Ivar Lodbrok spoke in a tone as if he was enjoying something.
Was he going to keep up with his jovial attitude even in this situation? He really wasn’t sane. Wait, more important than that, did he just say that every lord had ceased trades with us?
“Isn’t that a big deal!?”
“Aah, it is a big deal. They are afraid that we will deliver not only the product but the disease as well. Due to that, the items we had prepared for a long time now are waiting in the cargos and storages only to rot.”
“Don’t tell me the other firms too……”
“They are the same. All commerce has stopped.”
It was an unprecedented crisis.
This plague wasn’t bringing harm to solely mankind. The economy itself on the continent was breaking down. That’s why it didn’t matter if you caught the disease or not, this was no different from everyone rushing straight to hell.
Once my face turned blue, Ivar Lodbrok changed his tone to be serious.
“Us demons at least have better circumstances. Since, different from humans, we have studied black magic for hundreds and thousands of years. We have an understanding on how to handle diseases and keep the damage to a minimum. However, humans are different. They had banned black magic on a national degree. Thus, they are overwhelmingly lacking in experience and information. For them, not 30% but 40%. It could even possibly go up to 50%.”
“Oh, Lord. Goddesses……”
“The problem was how Lapis Lazuli had predicted this epidemic.”
Ivar Lodbrok took a pipe out from underneath his clothes.
He started to mutter while pressing tobacco into the chamber of his pipe.
“To know what the cure of the disease was and claim a monopoly on it. This was not a coincidence. There’s no doubt that this plague was made artificially.”
“Are you saying…… that someone had spread this disease on purpose?”
Ivar Lodbrok nodded.
But was that possible? Lapis Lazuli was merely a half-breed succubus. She did not have the ability to make this kind of disease on her own. No, there was no one on the entire continent that was capable of doing this.
As if he had read my mind, Ivar Lodbrok spoke.
“If you thought with common-sense, then it’s an impossible tale. However, if it was Demon Lord Barbatos, then it is possible.”
“Demon Lord Barbatos……”
Rank 8th Demon Lord.
She was known as the greatest necromancer on the continent and was also referred to as the Immortal Monarch.
The army that Demon Lord Barbatos led consisted entirely of 5,000 undeads. They were corpses that had died long ago. If it was Barbatos, the maestro of black magic and diseases, then she could have created a plague like this. Was what Ivar Lodbrok had concluded……
That meant that Lapis Lazuli was Barbatos’ pawn.
Dantalian was just the fake bait displayed at the front.
Was the true perpetrator Barbatos? Was that it. Was this the truth……
“This is not a baseless assumption. Demon Lord Barbatos has always despised humans. If there were to be an outbreak, then the damage on the human side will heavily outweigh the damage on the demons. This was obvious.”
Ivar Lodbrok continued to speak in a composed manner.
“Therefore, it wouldn’t be weird if Demon Lord Barbatos was aiming to exterminate the human race with an epidemic. It would be more appropriate to compliment that rational assumption.”
“……That is horrible.”
I now understood why Ivar Lodbrok had told me that it was going to be more horrible later.
To spread an epidemic just to simply get rid of a single race. Escaping all rationality, this was an unforgivable crime. The thought, ‘Could people actually become this villainous’ floated through my mind and gave me the urge to vomit.
“Demon Lords, in the end, are that kind of character. In order to make their dreams a reality, they do not care whether means are fair or foul. It has been like this for thousands of years.”
“……Should we be standing here without a word? While millions of people cry out in agony, Barbatos, Dantalian, and Lapis Lazuli are in cahoots. Retaliation is required.”
“I share that opinion. Torukel. Look at this.”
Ivar Lodbrok flicked his finger.
A certain scroll on his desk lifted up in mid-air and flew towards me. Receiving the scroll, I spread it out left and right.
On the parchment, it was written that in one months time all the Demon Lords were to gather together to hold a meeting. It was called Walpurgis Night.
The location, Niflheim— as it so happens, it was the city our Keuncuska Firm headquarter was located in. It was okay to look at this as a golden opportunity.
“Keruk. It’s the big meeting that only happens every several years.”
“It is most likely to create a countermeasure for the plague. Demon Lord Dantalian will also be attending. Ten to one, that little succubus will come along with him. We will end those two there.”
Under the assumption that Demon Lord Barbatos was the true culprit, we still had no proof. However, if we threatened either Dantalian or Lapis Lazuli and then tortured them, then we’d be able to gain whatever evidence we required.
“Tell me what I should do, Lodbrok.”
Especially Lapis Lazuli. This girl, I could not forgive.
Despite the fact that we had summoned her, Lapis Lazuli had not responded. Contact itself was cut off. There was no other choice but to see this as a clear betrayal to the firm.
For her to forget about the grace we had provided for her by taking her in.
A punishment must be ordered at once.
“For now, I will get in contact with Dantalian. Torukel. You go to her highness Paimon and make a request.”
“……To her highness Paimon?”
“The culprit is Barbatos. Only her highness Paimon could face against her.”
I nodded my head.
It was renowned that Barbatos and her highness Paimon were on bad terms. If it meant to get a free hit on Barbatos, then her highness Paimon would not refuse.
Oh, great Keuncuska.
You shall repay blood with blood.
Name: Lapis Lazuli
Race: Succubus – Human mix blood
Reputation: Village head
Leadership: E rank / Might: D rank / Intelligence: A- rank
Politics: B rank / Charm: E rank / Technique: F rank
Title: 1. Outcast 2. Orphan of a prostitute
Abilities: Accountant A, Merchant B+, Magic F
Skills: Judas Kiss(B+) [TL note: Treacherous Obedience]
TL note: Aaaaaah finished!
I honestly didn’t expect for this part to take that long. I thought I’d be able to finish this in one day, but apparently I was mistaken! This part had so many explaining parts that it took me a lot longer to edit. I was also going to upload this last night but I passed out writing this TL note!
I got like super enthusiastic to write this part because the last parts of a chapter was always exciting. Albeit, once I got drained mentally, I slowed down.
Oh, I also found a mistake that I had been making about Ivar Lodbrok. I thought he was an ancient vampire, but he was actually one of the three Draculas that were alive. So a pure blood. I’ll be fixing that mistake.
I’m very grateful to all the positive response this story has been getting and I look forward to bringing you guys more! (Albeit, that three 1 star vote on novelupdate poked me) Tell your friends and family of this story! Well, probably not your family, unless you have a sibling that’s also interested in light novels. Other than that, they might just give you sympathy nods.
Update schedule: I responded to someone in the comments about how I planned to update. If you didn’t see it, don’t worry since I’ll be putting it here as well.
For now, I plan to release at least 2 chapters a week. On what day I upload will depend on the length of the chapter (and my enthusiasm level). Once I finish this volume, I will most likely take a short break, since I myself had not finished reading volume 2 yet. Translating and reading at the same time won’t really let me fully enjoy the story, so yeah. Give me about a week after volume 1 is over to finish reading volume 2. This will be the same with volume 3. BECAUSE VOLUME THREE WAS ANNOUNCED EARLIER THIS WEEK. HYYYYYPEEEEE.
Anyways, apologies beforehand!
Oh dear, I reached the 10k word mark with this TL note…
(シ_ _)シ!!! ᕕ( ᐛ )ᕗ ᕕ( ᐛ )ᕗ