Chapter 2 – Thou Come to Me
TL note: There are more black page segments in this chapter. If you’re on your mobile, then remember to change to landscape mode in order to be able to read properly during those sections.
I’ll admit it now. I’m a son of a bitch. If I’m to be a bit more honest, then I should confess that I’m not just a simple son of a bitch, but a very intelligent son of a bitch.
I was not only the smartest person among the people I knew, but I was also the most honest. To be exact, as I was smart enough to realize that I was a son of a bitch, I was also honest enough to admit only that fact. Individuals who possessed both wisdom and honesty, like myself, were rare to find.
If someone were to approach that me and inquire what I thought was the most well-done thing that I’ve ever done in my life, then the boundlessly honest me, the limitlessly wise me, would have no other choice but to respond like this.
That it was the act of shoving my father into prison.
Three days since I was imprisoned.
Rain descended today as well. My hair was completely drenched and was now hampering my eyes. I left it to be soaked. Even if I brush my hair aside, what would that change? Because of the spring rain, even my inner flesh was aching.
I see that because both you and I carry the sin of having a bad father, our minds have been crippled. Why are we not twisted when we have been trying to accept the world with our disabled bodies? Why do our knees not collapse? If we are breaking the world, then all we need to do is attempt to throw aside the weight before our knees buckle, but when people witness us doing that, they criticize us for being cruel.
It has only been three days since the speech was given, but I had received information that, within the enemy front lines, the rumors that Farnese was an illegitimate child from a Duke’s house, was sold off as a slave, and that her blood mother was a whore, were already widespread.
Even if Farnese’s defamation was fast, this was tremendously fast. Should I say that’s the Imperial Princess Elizabeth for you? She was no fool. Illegitimate child, slave, and whore······. These were all nothing but stimulating words. She knew how to attack the figurehead. Truly, she was flawless······.
If possible, I wanted to organize the structure of the Crescent Alliance a day sooner and effectively retaliate against the Imperial Princess Elizabeth. More than anything else, the current three faction structure, in other words, there was a need to overcome this system where the Mountain Faction-Neutral Faction-Plains Faction were splitting up the military power. This was an obvious task. For these people to split the forces into three parts when we would still be lacking even if we were to combine together, it was difficult to see them as sane.
A Crescent Alliance that has become one. Not an army where Barbatos or Paimon is the center, but a Crescent Alliance centered around me, must be formed. In order to do so, three conditions must be met.
First, I have to clearly prove the fact that I am very competent. If I am incompetent, then the reason to put me at the center of the Crescent Alliance would disappear.
Second, I have to also prove that Farnese is extremely competent as well. If she were incompetent, then the need to appoint her as the figurehead would vanish. For example, the situation where I will be spared at the price of purging Farnese had occurred. The recent occurrence belonged to this sort of flow of events. In short, the Demon Lords have yet to realize Farnese’s competence······.
And finally, the third. I had to prove the fact that the Imperial Princess Elizabeth was heinously competent. If the Imperial Princess were incompetent, then the reason to keep Farnese and myself alive in order to stand against her, will perish. The delusion that they alone would be sufficient to stand against her, was highly likely to spread throughout the Demon Lords. 〈Dungeon Attack〉 was the product of such a future where this delusion had completely controlled the Demon Lord army. It was the worst case scenario that must be avoided at all costs.
······ Surely, it was battle. Battle was the answer. By engaging in a large fight, let us prove to them who the most competent individuals of this era are. I desired for a magnificent, and yet, comedic battle.
Child, quickly achieve a tremendous victory and return.
There are many things I wish to tell you.
I was here in this prison.
▯The King of Peasants, Rank 71st, Dantalian
Empire Calendar: Year 1506, Month 4, Day 6
Bruno Plains, Army of the Crescent Alliance, Simple Prison
“Oi, Skinnybones. Eat this and live. You have to eat for a living, too.”
A woman with a figure that was large like a pole approached me. The individual known as rank 12th, Demon Lord Sitri, was on night watch today. Since I was a prisoner with a special status, and since the nature of my crime was severely political, the Demon Lords would stand on night watch one person at a time and in a rotation. It was a rather luxurious reception.
The surveillance lasted throughout the day. There were several torches around the animal cage, but it seems they were imbued with some sort of magic since they did not get extinguished easily despite having been drenched by rainwater. As the torches burned throughout the night, the surveillants, who depended on that light, stared at me deviously.
For the past 3 days, the personalities of the surveillants differed in various ways. A certain Demon Lord, who was dispatched from the Plains Faction, seemed to have truly suspected that I would try and make an escape so they personally held a torch in their hand and came close to the cage in order to monitor me up close. It seems they sincerely believed that I had committed high treason, but on the contrary, I welcomed that innocence.
In case I was aiming to escape, in case I was making contact with the outside, or if either of those didn’t happen, then in case I was leisurely enjoying my time here after having secretly received from one of the other guards a type of luxury or debauchery, which prisoners were absolutely not allowed to have. Without blinking even once, the surveillant kept watching me. The large man, who introduced himself as Beleth, was the rank 13th Demon Lord.
The people from the Neutral Faction handled the surveillance half-heartedly. They would openly promise that they would provide me with special meals or snacks if I asked them for some. In their perspective, they claimed that in some ways I, Dantalian, had committed a crime but in other ways, I had not, therefore, the thing to determine which side was correct purely depended on the negotiation between the Plains Faction and the Mountain Faction. At this point, since I’m not a criminal, but be that as it may, that didn’t make me not a criminal, they didn’t have a need to punish me nor did they have a requirement to serve me. As a result, they stated that if it’s something simple like giving me a meal, then they can at least show kindness in that regard. I politely refused their goodwill.
A handful of straw for sleeping purposes.
An uncomfortable and hard wooden chair.
Those were all the things that were provided for me.
I spent my time watching the raining sky. Occasionally, Lapis or Farnese would come find me in order to give me a report on what had happened thus far. Although Lapis tried to take my life, unfortunately, there were firm metal bars placed between us. Lapis told me off because I had made the situation worse when the issue wasn’t something that I had to go out of my way to be imprisoned for. I shrugged my shoulders and said nothing more.
If I were to speak honestly, then I felt safer and more comfortable within this prison cell than I did outside. I was quite the extreme bastard. The only thing that I required was either a place to sleep with a 3-meter radius or the entire world. In regards to which side piled up comparatively less stress, the former was a rank higher than the latter. It’s paradise, I say. Paradise.
“Although I really, really don’t like you. Regardless of that, I believe that someone shouldn’t be unable to eat just because someone else doesn’t like them, you know?”
Demon Lord Sitri, who volunteered to be the surveillant on the third day, was close to Paimon. She and I had a deep connection in various respects. Sitri had witnessed the sight of me breaking Paimon during the hearing, and during the process of preparing for this war, she had sent her subordinates to obstruct me. Although it was my first time facing her in person, I was not unfamiliar with her.
Referentially, even within the demon continent that is said to have many perverts, Sitri was a woman who was renowned for being a high-class pervert due to the fact that she had done all sorts of perverse acts. From what I have heard, she was not only an acquired hermaphrodite, but there was an extravagant record saying that she had slept with every single race, along with every gender of each race, that exists within the demon continent. The majority of the Demon Lords were like that.
Sitri ripped a piece of bread and pushed it towards me between the bars.
“I have a body that is fine even if I do not eat anything in particular, though.”
“I heard it from the people who were keeping watch over you yesterday. They said you didn’t eat anything yesterday or the day before that, isn’t that right? Don’t do that. Even if us Demon Lords are fellows who are fine without food, you have to at least have one meal every two days. If you don’t, then you’ll lose it, you know?”
What does she mean by losing something?
I tilted my head.
“Your sense of living.”
Sitri gazed this way while maintaining her posture of handing the piece of bread to me.
“It’s fine if you don’t particularly eat, right? It’s fine if you don’t particularly sleep, right? There’s quite the number of Demon Lords who became vegetables because they got used to that. Why do you think only half of all the Demon Lords are participating in the Crescent Alliance?”
Although there is probably a political reason behind that.
Sitri shook her head.
“I’m a meathead, so I don’t really understand difficult things that well. Things like politics are something Big Sis Paimon will think about and contemplate. But there are fellows who completely lose their facial expressions after having lived off of only liquids for an entire month. Did you know that those guys are really interesting? They react if you touch their bodies, but even if you tickle them or beat them, their faces stay void of emotions, void. Thinking their expression would perhaps come back if I did this, I even tried raping them, but nothing changed. It never came back.”
“Eat. You’ll be able to live if you eat.”
I carefully received the piece of bread.
Only then did Sitri nod in satisfaction. She then sat flat on the ground and ate her portion of the bread. Really, each and every one of her actions felt barbaric. The most luxurious lady among the Demon Lords was Paimon, and yet the people actually around her were like this. It was surprising.
In an area a slight distance away, there were two guards standing there. It was most likely for the purpose of hiding their identities, but they were concealing themselves by wearing a white military uniform from head to toe. They didn’t give any particular response even after witnessing Sitri sit down so uncourteously. That must mean that this was her normal behavior, this Demon Lord called Sitri.
“You’re sex-friends with that bitch Barbatos, right? How is it? Does she appear even slightly like a decent person when having sex?”
I shrugged my shoulders.
“That is a question that severely invades one’s privacy.”
“No, it’s because it’s surprising, really surprising. Though it’s intriguing that among the Demon Lords, Barbatos was the one to make a sex-friend, but yeah. It’s that, you know? That. You’re living rather well while having sex with that sort of bitch— that sort of feeling? Did you know that among the people she’s gone out with thus far, excluding one person, all of them have died by her hands?”
I shouldn’t be the one to say this, but you need to watch your public image a bit.
“But that is something I am hearing for the first time. The fact that she has killed all of her lovers. That is interesting. Is it possible to tell me the details?”
“Yeah. But when I think about it, this is something that seriously invades someone’s privacy as well, you know?”
Sitri casually chewed on the bread.
“If I reveal someone else’s private life, then I’ll be the only one who’d become a bad bitch. That’s why you tell me first about how it’s like to have sex with Barbatos. If someone’s going to become a bad bitch, then everyone has to become a bad bitch together.”
Rank 12th, Demon Lord Sitri was an individual who properly understood how to bargain······.
No, in the first place, I’m a man.
I’m not sure if it were a bad bastard, but I’m incapable of becoming a bad bitch.
Once I pointed that out, Sitri furrowed her brow.
“Skinnybones, when you call someone a son of a bitch, do you call them that because you believe they’re really the child of a dog?”
“Retard is something you say to someone who isn’t a retard, right?”
“Then ‘son of a bitch’ and ‘retard’. I’m sorry, but can you tell me the reason why I can swear at you by calling you a son of a bitch and a retard, but I can’t call you a bad bitch?”
I couldn’t give a response.
As a result, I was forced into a position where I had to give a vivid description of, and also depict, how it was like to have sex with Barbatos. I’m not sure how exactly I had ended up in this state, but I did. I cleared my throat.
“First off, Miss Sitri, Barbatos has a very colorful variety of facial expressions. Even if she normally goes around laughing confidently, she is different when on top of a bed. Of course, we do not only do it on top of a bed but beside the bed, on the floor, somewhere with something to grab, or somewhere that has nothing to grab whatsoever, as we fornicate freely, speaking strictly, you can see it as Barbatos showing a different appearance in an incredible amount of many different places. In that regard, Barbatos is not a bad bitch who only goes around laughing like everyone assumes.”
Sitri nodded her head. The sight of her eyes sparkling in anticipation made it appear as if she were some female middle school student who was earnestly listening to a sex education class.
“First, according to who decides to take the role as the master and who decides to take the role as the slave for that day’s copulating session⎯⎯⎯⎯.”
“Even if the leading position changes slightly every day, according to the overall agreement we make either implicitly or explicitly, scat is not allowed but golden showers are okay⎯⎯⎯⎯.”
“Related to that, since the number of spells Barbatos made herself is quite substantial, she can freely control the degree of sensitivity and the degree of what can be endured beyond one’s capabilities⎯⎯⎯⎯.”
I continued to explain.
As the explanation went on and on, Sitri’s eyes, which were once sparkling, became dim and murky until eventually, it became the complete opposite meaning, in other words, her eyes degenerated until they were no longer sparkling in interest, but instead, they were glinting with scorn like the eyes of a dead fish. After vomiting twice and clearing her insides, Sitri spoke.
“Wooow······. You guys are really fucked up······.”
That was an unreasonable criticism.
“Do you really want to live while doing that? No, that’s the wrong way around. Do you really want to do that while you live? Can’t you fool around a bit more normally?”
“Although I wish to do so, it seems Barbatos does not like ordinary things.”
“Don’t make me laugh. When you were describing everything to me your face was full of life and you sounded as if you were rejoicing. You two are both serious perverts.”
That was a ridiculous slander.
“Wow, how am I supposed to look at that bitch, Barbatos’s face from now on? Won’t I recall your explanation every time I see her? With that face, with that small physique······. Oh God. Hey, what exactly did you tell me just now? Why did you tell me something like this? Do you want to die?”
“Oh dear. I voiced my refusal to tell you the details but did Miss Sitri not keep insisting me to tell you anyway?”
“Even I didn’t expect it to be this much. Although at one point I did consider the chance that perverts like that may exist somewhere in the world, I didn’t possibly expect that it’d be the two of you. Even if perverts like that existed, I believed that I should accept them with a liberal mind, but after meeting one in person, I don’t think I can. I’m sorry, but can you die a bit?”
She was an absurd person.
It was now my turn to ask.
“Miss Sitri, it is your turn to tell me now. Is it true that Barbatos dealt with every single one of her lovers with her own two hands?”
“Not all. It was all of them excluding one.”
“Is that not the same thing?”
Sitri scratched the back of her head.
“Well, wouldn’t it be her way of handling her own weaknesses? Essentially, Barbatos doesn’t trust people. She’s been betrayed a lot and she’s betrayed others a lot. But aren’t lovers a relationship where one side can be betrayed easily and can also betray the other side easily? If you’re going to be betrayed anyway, then betraying them first would make your mind feel a bit more at ease.”
“That sounds like an extreme assumption······.”
“What I’m trying to say is.”
Sitri let out a sigh.
“She uses black magic really fucking well, right? Barbatos wasn’t originally a mage, she was a warrior. But she got massively betrayed once during a war, so that’s why she converted to a necromancer.”
“What is the relation between being betrayed and becoming a necromancer?”
Sitri tilted her head.
“Corpses, I’m talking about corpses. You can control corpses with necromancy, you know? Corpses that have already died will also never betray you.”
“I know. That feeling you have right now. She’s really mental, right? That’s why I don’t like her. I understand that the betrayal must have been a shock. However, how should I say it? It’s that, that sort of feeling.”
It was drastic.
Now that I think about it.
Now that I look back at it.
During that night when snow fell heavily, after furtively waking me up and dragging me outside, Barbatos showed to me the sight of her raising a massive army of undead as if she were trying to show off······ What was going through her head at that moment?
What was her ulterior motive behind triumphantly showing to me, the person who was, as her lover, standing in the easiest position to betray and be betrayed by her, the soldiers that will absolutely never go against her?
“It’s possible to gain scars while you live your life. But what’s with the people who try to scar the world back just because they got hurt? Isn’t that the complete opposite? Since I was scarred, I should pursue that much more a world where other people won’t be injured. People should have a good attitude like that.”
Sitri was different compared to us.
The day she is able to comprehend Barbatos, me, Lapis, or Farnese will most likely never arrive. That incomprehension was neither sad nor unreasonable. It was beautiful and rational. It was fine for her to live on as herself.
I smiled contently for the first time in a long while.
“I see Miss Sitri is a good individual.”
“It would be great if there were only people like yourself in the world. However, it cannot be helped. Barbatos is a strong woman. If there were an incident that was capable of completely changing Barbatos, then, although I do not know what it was, it must have been that much of a tremendous occurrence. Nothing can be done about it. Please show some understanding.”
Sitri stared straight at my face.
“You, do you even know what sort of situation you’re in right now? It’s the same as Barbatos having locked you up herself. So why are you sticking up for her?”
“I did not stick up for anyone. I am merely acknowledging the fact that something inevitable is inevitable. I consider myself to be a son of a bitch, but at the same time, I am an honest son of a bitch. It’s unexpectedly difficult, the way of the world, that is.”
I chuckled lightly.
“I feel as if it is about time I should ask. Miss Sitri, have I passed?”
“I am asking if you believe it is fine to not kill me. Please do not feign ignorance. Did you not lace the piece of bread that you handed to me with poison?”
Sitri’s expression froze for a moment.
A silence fell over us for a long period of time.
The heavy rain changed into a drizzle and made it seem as if the sky was salting the earth. I took off my top and wiped my body with a ragged towel. Even if I were to allow myself to be hit by the rain, I had to wipe myself at appropriate times in order to avoid catching a cold. The reason why my insides felt cold was most likely not solely because of the rain.
Sitri opened her lips.
“I wonder? There were quite a lot of signs. First off, you approached me while acting in a much too friendly manner. You tore the bread into two pieces and handed me one-half, while Miss Sitri, you personally ate the other. That is a behavior which is normally seen between two people who are close to one another like family members. On the other hand, the relationship between Miss Sitri and myself is······ Mm, not too favorable.”
Sitri was close to Paimon. In Sitri’s perspective, it wouldn’t be lacking to assume that I was Paimon’s political enemy. But Sitri approached me, who was that sort of individual, in a friendly manner and handed me a piece of bread?
It is possible to merely consider her as someone who has generosity and does not care about trifling things. In truth, that is a positive outlook. Sadly, ever since I was born, I have been a bastard who barely has any memories of himself looking at the world in a positive perspective. She had some underlying motive. It was sensible to arrive at such a conclusion.
For example, something like purposely eating the same bread in order to not be suspected for having poisoned the food.
Through such a process, I made my assumption.
I did so ever since I was very little.
“Next would be the part where you vomited after having heard about the obscene antics between Barbatos and myself. I am not deaf. I recall hearing people say several times about how you, Miss Sitri, have quite a high level of perversion. In comparison to such an individual, the acts carried out between Barbatos and myself are most likely nothing more than child’s play. Despite that, you dry heaved······. I could only judge it as you having deliberately forced out whatever was in your stomach.”
“I am not sure what your reason behind poisoning me is, but let us leisurely discuss it now. For starters, the antidote. You have it, right? If it is not a discourtesy, then please hand it over. Even if I have quite a numerous amount of experiences in being poisoned, certainly, something that cannot be helped, cannot be helped. I am unable to throw away my desire to live.”
I stuck out my hand.
Sitri looked at my hand with a rigid face. It was a bit troubling since the only thing she continued to give me was a vacant gaze. Does she have no intention to hand me the antidote? Despite how I am, I am a man who has only considered his death to happen by the hands of either Lapis or by the hands of Elizabeth. If I get poisoned to death by some side character like you, then that would be dishonorable to those two girls.
“It is fine if I were to scream right now. Those sentinels over there standing guard will most likely come running here. It will be over then. As I will testify that Miss Sitri had attempted to kill me with poison, as much as Miss Sitri is a close aid to Her Excellency, Paimon, the entire Mountain Faction will be held accountable for that crime. Do you wish for that to happen?”
“After the military trial was rejected, the Demon Lord, who all three factions were taking custody of together, was assassinated by one of the leading members of the Mountain Faction. How marvelous. I can vividly see this being shouted throughout the demon continent. Aha, of course, if causing a commotion is Miss Sitri’s hobby, then I will not stop you. That is good. Chaos. I too like it quite a lot.”
Sitri bit her lips tightly.
She slid her hand into her coat pocket and pulled out a glass vial. A bright yellow liquid, that looked similar to natural honey, sloshed around within the bottle. I received the glass vial and gulped the liquid down in a single motion.
Mm, what a foul taste. It seriously tastes bad. Why is it that there are many types of poisons that taste nice, but the actual antidotes all taste revolting? It was puzzling.
“······I’m saying this beforehand, but this has absolutely no relation to big sis Paimon. This is something I did arbitrarily.”
“A good excuse. At the very least, it sounds like a plausible excuse to my ears. I shall personally hope that the other Demon Lords, as well, hear it in the same manner as I did during court.”
It was at that moment.
One of the soldiers, who was standing guard a slight distance away from the prison, took off their white military uniform. Once their military cap fell off and their mantle was set free, the person standing there was, surprisingly, Demon Lord Paimon. The look of panic was apparent on her face. Even until this moment, this was a sufficiently intriguing performance, but what Paimon said to Sitri was more well-worth seeing.
“Sitri, you······! You said that you wished to test him for a moment in order to see what kind of person he was, but for you to use poison! Did the test have this sort of meaning!?”
Sitri scratched the back of her head.
“Haa. Sis, as expected, I don’t like this guy. A certain smell is coming off from him. The smell of a corpse rotting. It goes without saying that as much as sis is the leader of the Mountain Faction, I don’t have even the slightest right to disagree, but······.”
“You fool! That is not the problem right now!”
Paimon hurriedly ran directly in front of my cell and lowered her head. It wasn’t only once. Two times, three times, four times, as if she were literally trying to confirm just how close her existence was to the ground, she bowed her head multiple times.
“This lady apologizes, Dantalian. This lady is sincerely sorry. Sitri did not have any bad intentions. It is just that, when it is something related to this lady, this child gets strangely worked up······. This lady begs your pardon. This lady will do whatever is possible to apologize, so please forgive Sitri······.”
“Did not have any bad intentions, is it?”
I leisurely watched over Paimon’s heated apology.
I did not feel impatient just because I had nearly been poisoned to death a second ago. In the political spectrum, a failed assassination attempt is one of the most deplorable crimes. Depending on how I utilized this, it had infinite value.
In the first place, I did not trust Paimon even remotely. After all this time, there was no reason for me to be shocked even if she utilized means such as poison.
“It has not been even a single year since the day I had received an apology from Your Highness Paimon during the Walpurgis Night. At that time, Your Highness had tried to remove me politically. Since slander did not work, is it now poison and assassination? How remarkable.”
From start to end, I spoke sarcastically and in a calm tone. Paimon’s complexion paled.
Three days have passed since the war had begun. I had heard that during those several days, Paimon had obtained quite the good war record while facing against the imperial army of Francia. Although they have yet to carry out a decisive battle, it was fine to say that she had excellent results. Barbatos was displaying results that were the complete opposite of a good meaning by suffering huge losses while facing against the imperial army of Habsburg.
However, an attempted murder case contained an explosive force with the capability of overthrowing some huge loss like that in an instant. In Paimon’s perspective, this was no different to a nightmare.
“Dantalian, this lady is speaking the truth. Because this lady merely wished to officially accept you, Dantalian, into the Mountain Faction······ Before this lady could speak to you, Sitri requested of this lady to allow her to converse with you first in order to determine what type of individual you are······.”
“I see that within the Mountain Faction, you poison people and see how long they can endure in order to judge their character. That is impressive.”
Paimon gazed at me with a face that appeared as if she were about to collapse at any moment. She slowly lowered herself to her knees. The ground, which was damp because of the rain, dirtied her skirt with mud. After seeing that, Sitri furrowed her brow.
“Sis, for that sort of man, you don’t.”
“Seal your lips. You have no right to speak.”
Paimon coldly cut off the words of her close aid.
“Dantalian. This lady understands that she does not appear as a trustworthy person to you. Yes, this lady has doubted you and slandered you several times before. Nevertheless, I assure you that there is not even the slightest amount of ulterior motive behind this proposal to accept you under the flag of the Mountain Faction. ······If you tell this lady to prove it, then she shall. Therefore, please listen to this lady’s words.”
It was amazing.
What was amazing was the fact that Paimon’s acting ability was so impressive that it made it feel as if her words just now were passionately sincere. That brazen personality of hers, which supported her acting ability, was tremendous. My Lord. If it were someone else, then they would have probably been completely fooled by now.
That’s why this woman.
Not only did she try to frame me for something ridiculous like spreading the disease on my own, but she tried to use the enemy by selling the Memoria artifact to the Imperial Princess Elizabeth. She purposely refused the military trial in order to come between Barbatos and myself, and if need be, this woman was someone who would do something daring like resorting to poison. And yet, she expected me to believe her when she claimed that there were no ill-intentions behind any of those actions.
Was it not splendid? Even my father was unable to become that outspokenly shameless. I unconsciously smiled bitterly.
“Please stand, Your Highness. That is disgraceful.”
“Is there any point if Your Highness were to receive myself into the Mountain Faction? No matter how much Your Highness loathes Barbatos, do you wish to go that far just to impair her? Of course, it is not something which I personally should be saying when I had voluntarily requested for my own trial because I was aware that Your Highness would behave in such a way······.”
That was so. In regard to the usage of other people’s emotions, Paimon and I were the same. The problem was, despite being like that, Paimon continued to act as if she were detached and upright, all on her lonesome.
“I am genuinely curious. Is it enjoyable to live like that?”
Have pride as a cunning person of influence, Paimon.
I am aware that you cherish your subjects. However, be it an evildoer using a good person or a good person using an evildoer, if you have used someone at your own discretion, then in that moment, both you and I have already become equal schemers. Are you and I both not beasts, savages that possess the teeth that can tear off an ample amount of another’s flesh?
“No, that is wrong. You are fundamentally misunderstanding something. Even regarding Barbatos, there is some large misunderstanding······. Right now, right now is your last chance. You must grab this lady’s hand. Barbatos is truly going to purge you using this opportunity.”
“Sitri said it as well. Barbatos, that child does not leave alone the people who know her weakness. Barbatos is a master of acting. Quickly, if you do not enter the Mountain Faction and solidify your standing, then you will be purged in a blink of an eye and······.”
“Alienation in a moment like this as well, is it?”
I let out a big sigh. Paimon flinched.
This will not do.
I went through my clothes, which I had taken off earlier, beside me and took out a pocket watch. It was the evidence that went from Humbaba’s hand to Paimon’s, from Paimon’s hand to the Imperial Princess Elizabeth’s, and from the Imperial Princess Elizabeth’s hand to my own.
This was an item that was familiar to even Paimon’s eyes. The focus of her red eyes trembled. I nodded my head and displayed the pocket watch to her.
“Oh dear. It appears as if you are quite familiar with this item, Your Highness. Have you, perhaps, recalled the moment in time when you had last seen it?”
“Yes, please stand up and take a closer look. This is a Memoria artifact. My acting general, Miss Laura De Farnese’s secret and origin is contained within this object. After the negotiation with the Imperial Princess of the Empire, she had passed this on to me. The Imperial Princess is a smart individual. By using this secret she would, without a doubt, assault Farnese’s dignity. Furthermore, the political blow that my acting general receives will most likely be transferred directly to me, as well.”
I hummed as if I were telling her an amusing story. However, as my words continued, Paimon’s face merely became more rigid.
“I am not certain who it was, but it seems whoever had gifted this to the Imperial Princess of the Empire must have abhorred me quite a lot. It is sad. I do not recall ever committing any particular wrongdoing, but for myself to receive such resentment······. That is why even if I do not wish for it to happen, an antagonizing relation forms between myself and that person. Is that not the case, Your Highness?”
What’s with that face, Paimon? There aren’t a lot of things in the world that is as exciting as the progress of self-discovery. Therefore, even if that bare face of yours, which you had just discovered, was that of a ridiculously foul hypocrite, that is your true nature. If you are incapable of loving your own self, then who could possibly cherish you?
It was fine. I, as expected, loved my own life that was insane about authority. The reason we loved life wasn’t because we were familiar with life, but because we were familiar with love. Even you shall one day love your hypocritical self.
I raised the corners of my mouth.
“Do not worry. I too am not a fool. At the very least, I know why the Imperial Princess had returned this sort of bomb to me. She most likely hoped that I would establish this as a problem and cause an internal strife within the Crescent Alliance. The Imperial Princess, too, is quite the outstanding figure······.”
On the day I had broken down the negotiation and returned to my camp, I was quite surprised to see the content within the pocket watch. I was moved and moved again by Paimon’s stubbornness that consistently tried to get rid of me. It was not a joke. Perhaps Paimon had jumped over logic and was able to sense it through her intuition.
The fact that the individual who had moved this era was me, Dantalian.
Paimon was the first one to sense it among the existing authority figures. That was why she had struggled to get rid of me······.
It was a remarkable foresight. I shall appraise it highly. However, you had made a mistake. Instead of trying to ostracize me, you should have solely tried to pull me in. At the very least, similar to what Barbatos had done, you should have created a partnership where both parties used one another.
During the time when I still appeared like a pushover, your grave mistake was the fact that you had bared your teeth abruptly. The weak will never forget the arrogance of the strong.
“Your Highness Paimon.”
The fact that you are a backstabber, who had sold me out, has been explicitly revealed. What will you do now? Personally, I am tremendously curious about how much your shameless brazenface can endure.
“Do you, perhaps, have anything more to say to me?”
Paimon lowered her gaze. She did not raise her head immediately. Even from here, I could see her lips open, close, and open again.
Shortly after, Paimon muttered in a small voice.
“······sorry. Because this lady.”
With a wavering voice that sounded as if it were flowing out from her innermost heart.
“Because this lady, is incompetent······. Because she is incompetent to no end, this lady is sorry······.”
Those were somewhat strange words to say as an apology.
Paimon no longer tried to plead or make any more excuses. She merely stood up, with her face still looking downwards, and left. The edge of her mantle, that had become dirtied by the rain, was dragged behind her like a tide.
Sitri, the culprit behind today’s incident, gazed at me with no emotion on her face before chasing after Paimon shortly after.
And thus, the only things which remained at my side were, once again, the handful of straw, the shabby wooden chair, and the two puddles of muddy water that had yet to dry. I was finally able to let out a sigh of relief once everyone was gone. Although it was a living that didn’t really have much, I was satisfied with just that.
Is it about time now?
I looked up towards the dimmed night sky.
Although Paimon had insisted that I was misunderstanding something, on the contrary, that was something I wanted to say to her. Not just Paimon, but Barbatos as well seemed to be firmly misunderstanding a single thing. Similar to how Paimon seemed to believe that this was a war which she must handle, Barbatos seemed to think that this was a war that she had started. Unfortunately, they were both wrong. From start to finish, this war was mine.
There was a need to make them realize this.
If they planned to distance me from the war, then so be it. Try putting me far away. However, they will realize tomorrow.
⎯⎯⎯⎯The reality that even if I do not approach war, it will more than gladly approach me.
Our time has come.
▯A King’s Lone Sword, Human, Laura De Farnese
Empire Calendar: Year 1506, Month 4, Day 7
Bruno Plains, The Center of the Army of the Crescent Alliance
Authority for blood.
Blood for authority.
This young lady stared up at the flag for a long period of time.
His Lordship’s flag. The proverb that was embroidered with silver thread. The lines made from warp and woof that bound us and His Lordship together. I did not dislike those words that emanated His Lordship’s body odor and fragrance.
(Tl note: Warp and woof)
We did not only train the 7,000 elite soldiers during the icy-cold winter. His Lordship bestowed uniforms upon us vassals and created a new maxim. While this young lady trained the 7,000 fully segregated soldiers, His Lordship assembled the 7,000 into a single unit. This young lady’s training and His Lordship’s assembling interlinked together and by the time the beginning of spring had arrived, we had formed a single distinct and strong army.
Humbaba, the head of the Royal Guard, spoke.
“This, it seems we’re going to go to battle today without master again.”
“There is no problem whatsoever.”
This young lady spoke calmly.
“Honestly speaking, His Lordship is not particularly useful during battle. At most, he is mediocre, and can only be considered wise when stretching the rules. Since His Lordship is gone, it should feel as if the head of our forces were cut off, but it almost feels as if our tail was severed, making our body lighter.”
“Ahah. I’m only saying this because master isn’t here, but I’d like to say that I think likewise!”
The Royal Guard’s captain cackled.
Her laughter, if this young lady were to go out of her way to express it, contained a certain something that could only be described as crazy-like. Strictly speaking, even the expression crazy-like was actually wrong. It was not as if she were crazy, but she was craziness in itself. If this young lady were to honestly confess, then among the people serving under His Lordship, this young lady was the only vassal that was at least sane.
Miss Lapis was more similar to that of an incredibly intelligent wild animal than that of a person. Starting from Humbaba, the leader of the Royal Guard, every single one of the witches were feathered animals whose heads were completely hell-bent on lust. His Lordship, who was taking care of these types of vassals on both of his sides, was literally a beast among beasts and the king among savage animals. On an impulse, an educated person such as this young lady was captured into this extremely dangerous zoo, so it was quite terrifying.
Oh, it is an icy-cold season. Even though winter had passed, the season remained cold. For an intelligent woman such as this young lady to live, the wind of the world has become frigid one place at a time······.
The Royal Guard’s captain beamed and turned this way.
“Now then. Dear honorable acting general? Where should we mess up first?”
This young lady looked out onto the battlefield.
Currently, our corps had obtained continuous victories.
The Crescent Alliance and the Crusaders were confronting one another with a total of surprisingly 200,000 soldiers, which was extensive enough to carry out pitched battles. However, the reality was somewhat different. In the Crescent Alliance, the forces were separated into the Plains Faction, Neutral Faction, and the Mountain Faction. Each respective group was fighting by themselves. The Crusaders were the same, as well. Each of their nations operated their armies separately while fighting against us.
As a result, as if the unit of 7,000 hired soldiers, which this young lady led, had become a detached force, we went through the battles unfolding on the field and poked at the enemy forces here and there.
Yesterday we had swept away the knights of the Kingdom of Brittany. The day before yesterday we had slaughtered three earls from the Empire of Francia. The day before that was the regiment from the Republic of Batavia. It was a pleasing battlefield where there was a joy in picking your prey. Aah, how delightful. This young lady was in bliss. This young lady was certain that she was born into this regretful world in order to cause chaos here.
The Crusaders have most likely begun to detest this young lady.
It was about time to stop playing around and harvest the hatred.
“For the past several days, the human armies have continued to get done in by this young lady over and over again. Regardless of whether they were disparate groups separated according to their nations, if what is attached to their necks are heads and not empty shells, then they will be planning a joint operation.”
“Aha. So the armies will join up and plan together in order to hunt us, is it? This, it’s not really our preference to fall from the position of hunter and into the position of prey.”
This young lady nodded her head. It was the same for this young lady as well, in regards to not having a hobby of being hunted down.
“His Lordship gave this young lady an order. To not fight against the Imperial Princess of Habsburg. In other words, His Lordship does not wish for us to obtain a decisive win, nor does he wish for us to pretend as if we had met a decisive defeat.”
“Chaos. Solely that.”
This young lady declared.
“His Lordship desires solely for chaos to spread throughout these plains. That is the command that was given to us by His Lordship.”
This young lady lamented deeply.
Was this not an absurd lord? He did not order this young lady, who was no more than 17-years-old now, to win the battle, nor did he tell this young lady to lose convincingly, instead, he had commanded for this young lady to solely turn the entire battleground into a medley of discord. What is this young lady supposed to do about that sort of precise order given by His Lordship? Although this young lady had once contemplated about what she should do, this young lady’s decision had already been determined.
“Since this young lady is a faithful subject of sublimity, this young lady can only follow orders. Captain, sound the horns. You have done a good job obtaining only trivial benefits for the past 4 days. From this point forth, our forces shall genuinely turn this battlefield into a disaster.”
The leader of the Royal Guard, Humbaba, laughed.
“That’s good, chaos. That’s really really good. That’s one of the things which the likes of us love the most. Similar to how a pig needs to be shoved into some mud in order for it to understand that it’s a piglet, humans need to roll around in pools of blood for a bit in order for them to realize that they’re human bastards. We will more than gladly turn people into people alongside the General!”
All at once, the witches took out a horn. Several sounds of horns rose into the sky like smoke.
Due to the sudden shower at dawn, the clouds were heavy and the sky was low. The sound easily reached the dark clouds made of moisture. The world was dark and the soldiers ended their break and raised their bodies like shadows. This young lady mounted her black horse and gazed out into the front line.
The wind blew. It was a wind that contained spring.
Because it had rained on intervals for the past several days, the front line was damp and saturated. The scent of early spring was dense, making it seem as if the meadow was soon going to be entirely painted over with a yellowish green color. This young lady felt as if there may be a scent of blood out there that even this natural paint could not possibly color or cover completely. Dyeing the world green was the jurisdiction of the season, and the supervision of coloring the earth red was this young lady’s task.
“Flag bearers forward.”
“Roger that. Flag bearers foooorward!”
The witches hopped onto their brooms and lightly rose upwards. They became singers of the dark clouds’ undersides and started to sing our war song. In response to that, the soldiers of the ground chanted in unison. We showed off that the battle, which was anguish and lament on the other side, was nothing more than a single type of melody to us.
“All forces. Advance.”
And thus, our unit advanced.
The field of battle was systematic. The army of a hundred thousand and the army of a hundred thousand were both standing in formation and approached one another as so. Since it was obvious that if a single unit were to abruptly rush forward, they would immediately be ganged up on, be it the enemy forces or the allied forces, they were all having a battle of wits. While breaking free from the very center, this young lady ordered.
“All forces. Continue to advance.”
The witches laughed and repeated my order.
“Continue to advaaaance!”
In a single moment, our troops protruded from the army of a hundred thousand, the Crescent Alliance encampment and went forward. It was evident that the other Demon Lords’ units in the distance were showing signs of confusion. There were even people who sent messengers, questioning us on what we think we were doing. After telling the messengers ‘Understood, we shall adjust our speed’, and sending them back, this young lady emotionlessly gave another command.
“Advance at maximum speed.”
“Advance at maximuuum speeeeed!”
Although His Lordship was a butcher-like man among bastards, that man was this young lady’s one and only lord. The man who had found solely this young lady within this vast continent and took her in. The person who had become this young lady’s new family. It would be good to know that this young lady will not lightly overlook the crime of them having dared to imprison this young lady’s lord, man, and family, into a pig cage.
It did not matter whether they were the Crescent Alliance or the Crusaders. Come at this young lady altogether. You all are nothing more than mere audiences, is that not so?
This battle is simply a melody for His Lordship performed by this young lady.
▯Demon Lord of Immortality, Rank 8th, Barbatos
Empire Calendar: Year 1506, Month 4, Day 7
Bruno Plains, The Right Wing of the Army of the Crescent Alliance
Aaah. This isn’t fun.
This really, really isn’t fun⎯⎯⎯.
From start to end, this war hasn’t proceeded as I wanted it to.
We’ve been facing off against the imperial army of Habsburg since a couple of days ago, but these guys aren’t moving like I want them to.
Did they say her name was the Imperial Princess Elizabeth? This person, she doesn’t come out rashly even if we mess with her, and she comes after us wholeheartedly whenever we back off. She was well-versed with the fundamentals of tactics.
A sound enemy was one of the most detestable existences out there, second to a fragile ally. Mmmm. I predict this will be a prolonged war······. Well, we can just hold out by pillaging whatever supplies we lack. It’s not a particular problem. As I suspected, this lacked a type of boom, a splendidly explosive feeling.
Regardless of that, we couldn’t ignore that imperial army and leave them be. We did so a couple of times before, but each time I spectated them from the side, they really wreaked havoc. Both the Mountain Faction and the Neutral Faction had already been defeated by the Imperial Princess Elizabeth once. Fuck. This damn regretful world. I’m the only reliable ally here.
······No, if we’re only going to quibble about reliability, then should I also acknowledge that human bitch?
Laura De Farnese.
The girl, who Dantalian had brought from who knows where and had abruptly appointed as his acting general, surely resembled that master of hers exactly since her rudeness was on point.
She wasn’t going to war seriously. This was something you could tell right when you looked at her. That girl was enjoying the war.
She could have pulled the enemy in and annihilated them with ease, but she would just torment them for 3 hours and then let them go. The reason was probably simple. It was because it’d be a waste if she swallowed them right off the bat. Her intent, to lacerate them a little bit at a time and harass them until they’ve been squeezed dry, emanated from her like a rising smoke. As a single respectable military commander, I could affirm.
She was trash⎯⎯.
For what reason were even Dantalian’s vassals filled to the brim with trash? People say that master and servant were usually alike, and this was exactly that case. We have to purge him at some point, but that Paimon bitch keeps intervening.
A sigh came out on its own.
I have to exterminate the human race, I have to annihilate the enemy forces, I have to kill Paimon, and I have to stomp an appropriate amount of manners into Dantalian, there are so many things I have to do, and yet time keeps passing by slowly. At this rate, I’m afraid that things will still be this way even after another 500 years flows by.
Well, a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. If you exclude the fact that that single step was annoyingly tiresome. With immensely tired eyes, I stared out into the front line and contemplated where we should go in order to fight.
At that moment.
A single army within the Crescent Alliance started to move. After using magic to enhance my eyesight, I could see a black flag with two lines written on it using silver thread.
Authority for blood.
Blood for authority.
Without a doubt, that fucking cheesy maxim belonged to only one individual, Dantalian. In other words, that means that human bitch has made her troops advance.
They crawled all the way to the center of the plain and openly started to put down wooden fences there. Should I call it a defensive position? In any case, the earth was weak to no end because it had rained for several days, so even if they set up fences there, those fences were fated to soon collapse. In the center of the field, which was completely deserted, that human child’s unit started to set up their position.
“······Haah? Fuck. What are those guys trying to pull?”
I turned around and asked. The Demon Lords of the Plains Faction were standing there. My subordinates exchanged glances with one another but they were unable to say anything. That was obvious. There wasn’t anyone civil enough to ordinarily interpret that sort of absurd action within our faction.
“Just what kind of bitch is that bitch supposed to be? Aang? Does she seriously see the battlefield as some sort of playground? If that lord of hers is in prison, then she should just be docile, but why is she going completely insane on her own again?”
My subordinates hesitantly tried to avoid answering. However, since there was someone among them who had their head on straight, or at the very least, tried to keep it on straight, he spoke with a voice filled with suspicion.
“······Although I am afraid to judge a person’s intention rashly, no matter how you look at it, are they not trying to provoke the enemy forces?”
“Yes. For the past couple of days, a considerable number of human armies have been done in by them already. After sustaining damage from a girl, who’s no older than 17 years old, it must be difficult for them to bear that fact because of the thick sense of pride those humans have. If they provoke the humans so gallantly like that, then even if it risks their dignity, the humans would have no other choice but to come out.”
It isn’t a completely ridiculous logic.
The problem was if that provocation actually worked properly. Despite their looks, the humans have a massive army of a hundred thousand. They say that a considerable number of their army was mixed with ragtag groups, but that was the same for our side, as well. Even if there were ragtag groups mixed in the human forces, it was obvious that the girl’s army of 7,000 wouldn’t possibly be able to last if a massive army of a hundred thousand were to approach them.
In any case, thanks to her rushing forward like that, our slack military camp, that was connected by the left wing-center army-right wing, had broken apart. If a hole forms in the center army just like that, then the ones that’ll have to carry the burden will be us since we’re holding the rest of the formation.
Aaah······. It can’t be helped. Since it’s bothersome, I moved my hand half-heartedly.
“Oi, be prepared to fill in the hole that bitch is going to leave. Zepar, lead our reserve troops and be prepared to move to the center if need be.”
“Yes, Your Excellency.”
The thousands of reserve soldiers under my command immediately departed. The inside of my mouth tasted bitter. However, it was better for our military power to diminish a bit if it meant that we could prevent the center army from collapsing.
After concluding the decision like that, I was about to draw out in my head today’s war strategy, but, drip, something fell down onto my neck. It was cold. Once I looked up towards the sky, several drops of rain started to descend. It fell yesterday and the day before that, making it so that the early spring rain simply felt wearisome now.
An incentive using rain?
⎯⎯⎯⎯My mind cleared up instantly.
At any rate, the earth has continued to soak up moisture due to the rain this entire time. Several places throughout the battlefield were engulfed in muddy water. If rain were to fall here once more, then be it the human army or us Crescent Alliance, the number of tactics we can utilize will be narrowed down extremely. Especially in terms of offense and not defense. I furrowed my brow and glared at that girl’s unit that had, at some point, finished establishing their defensive formation far out into the front line.
“······Don’t tell me, they’re?”
In that moment, the sound of a horn resonated boisterously from the other side of the plain. Once I turned my head, the human armies had finally executed a charge. Because of the rain, they were charging with the cavalry positioned at the front instead of the aerial mages. After witnessing that, any fragment of drowsiness that remained within me had vanished completely and I stood up from my spot.
“Ah, fuck. That bitch started something.”
My subordinates’ gazes all focused on me at once. Though I really don’t like it. Though I seriously don’t like going to battle while being dragged around, not by my own will, but by someone else’s, regardless of that, I had to give the order.
“Get ready to go to battle, you morons! It’s a battle of annihilation. An encirclement battle of annihilation, at that!”
(TL note: Battle of annihilation)
▯Demon Lord of Benevolence, Rank 9th, Paimon
Empire Calendar: Year 1506, Month 4, Day 7
Bruno Plains, The Left Wing of the Army of the Crescent Alliance
A breath escaped from this lady’s lips unintentionally.
The progress of battle moved urgently. Until just a short moment ago, things were not flowing like this. The left wing and the right wing will each handle a single army and carry out a close-pitched battle. Without a doubt, we had planned to carry out the first assault with that sort of standard tactic today······.
However, after the unit, led by the girl known as Farnese, had protruded forward, the flow had changed completely.
That girl was the very person who had gone forward to give the speech as the representative of the Crescent Alliance, despite being a human. In the enemy’s perspective, she was a traitor who they had to deal with as soon as possible. If they are able to obtain Farnese’s head, then that would most likely be considered as the greatest merit. A tempting game.
Having become blinded by that, the human armies had thoughtlessly ordered their cavalries to charge. At first, the Kingdom of Polish-Lithuania, then the Empire of Francia, Republic of Batavia, Kingdom of Teuton······. Each army, contesting for military merits, sent in their cavalry.
It was that very action that was a poor move.
The cavalries, that charged in simultaneously from all sides, were unable to link together properly, and they were unable to even obtain a wide space. The weather was especially bad. After adding more rain to the earth that was already filled with moisture, the ground had turned marshy. Once tens of thousands of hooves passed over that muddy water⎯⎯⎯⎯ the earth instantly became a quagmire similar to that of a soft and wet swamp.
The thing that fell upon the enemy cavalry regiment, which had fallen into the mire and was floundering, was a continuous rain of bolts from the crossbowmen who were placed at the front of Farnese’s unit, making it seem as if she had been waiting for this moment the entire time. Because their front was obstructed by a mire and their rear was blocked by the approaching reinforcements from the other armies, the cavalry, which consisted of no less than ten thousand men, was literally slaughtered.
This lady was petrified.
That, was not a battle.
······Similar to our Crescent Alliance, the Crusaders of mankind were nothing more than a loose alliance. They did not have a unity of command. Once the cavalries started to be slaughtered, some nations ordered for them to retreat, while other nations sent in more cavalries in order to save their comrades who were in danger. For the second time, the withdrawing cavalries and the advancing calvaries collided against one another.
The screams coming from the enemy troops could be heard from even here. A countless number of corpses were sprawled out over the plain that had, at some point, become a mud flat, and heavy rain struck down on those bodies from above. This lady, having even forgotten about commanding her own troops momentarily, merely watched in astonishment as the fighting power of the enemy’s mighty cavalry melted away······.
I wonder if they were unable to bear and witness the situation any longer.
Several horns, sounding the charge, echoed from all over the Crusaders’ encampment. In that same moment, infantries, in a tremendous amount that cannot possibly be compared to the small number of cavalries, advanced forward.
Although each flag was from a different nation, the flags were all heading towards a single location, to Farnese’s unit. In order to save their cavalry, and in order to get revenge on the despicable slaughterer, the commanders of the Crusaders had finally sent in all of their infantry troops. Even if it was difficult to see due to the heavy rain, it appeared as if their military strength was about 50,000.
Certainly, one could only lose if faced against that massive number of military strength. Farnese’s troops finally started to withdraw. Leaving alone the floundering cavalry, who were still stuck in the mire, Farnese’s unit slowly drew back.
In Farnese’s point of view, it must have been a bitter retreat since it was as if she were handing a fish, which she had already caught completely, to the enemy. As if they had become fired up by the fact that Farnese’s unit was retreating, the infantrymen of the Crusaders became even more elated and continued their advance. Farnese’s troops slowly retreated further into the rear, and the infantrymen of the Crusaders slowly entered deeper into our side.
Was it truly a bitter retreat?
A lightning-like realization struck this lady’s head. This lady unintentionally let out a gasp.
“It cannot be······!”
If this was what she was aiming for from the very beginning, then that Farnese girl was truly a preposterous monster. There was no way. But······. But, if one were to look over the course of events of the battlefield once more, then without a doubt, it had met the conditions. Regardless of whether Farnese had intended this or not, the order that this lady must give was incredibly obvious······!
This lady raised her fan and commanded.
“Spread out our forces! Spread it out as wide as possible! From this point forth, our troops shall become the left wing of a crane wing formation and encircle the enemy forces from the left side!”
“Hm? What’s wrong all of a sudden, sis?”
Sitri, who was preparing for battle, tilted her head. As always, she had a naive face which also only contained a quizzical look as if she were unable to understand the situation that well. This lady explained urgently, however, while also fully being cautious to not be impatient.
“Look over there. Farnese’s unit is retreating. The infantrymen of the Crusaders are doing their all in order to chase after her. If Farnese is able to properly lure in all of the enemy infantrymen······.”
It was then that Sitri’s eyes started to shine amusingly.
“······Heeeh. A bottleneck state will take place. Only a single unit is retreating, but since there are a countless number of troops chasing after them, they’ll naturally gather into a single spot.”
That was it!
Truly, Sitri was normally a peerlessly dull girl, but when the topic became related to battle, she would transform into a completely different person who was also very sharp. This lady, while her mind was still blazing, ordered once more.
“Everyone prepare to carry out an encirclement battle of annihilation!”
Most certainly, even Barbatos must have realized the real intention behind the situation that was unfolding right before us. Since that child, regardless of other things, was at least gifted with a damn sharp instinct when it came to war!
If Barbatos spreads out the right wing and this lady spreads out the left wing, then Farnese will lure the enemy in on her own into the encirclement. This was a race against time. If we are able to complete the encirclement before Farnese can be pierced by the enemy’s advance, then it will be our outright victory. If the enemy forces are able to crush Farnese before we are able to complete the encirclement, then it will be our utter defeat. An outright victory or an utter defeat. Although this lady does not have a hobby of gambling, it was in a moment like this where it was a military commander’s duty to make a wager!
The streaks of rain were becoming thicker. Due to the wet fog and heavy rain, everyone’s fields of vision were starting to narrow slowly. This was good fortune, as well. The chances of the enemies being unable to notice us completing the encirclement on our side rises. Moreover, if they are blinded by military merit······ then this battle, there is a chance of winning!
This lady hurried the captains once more.
“Everyone, there is no time to hesitate. We must quickly⎯⎯⎯⎯.”
▯Demon Lord of Immortality, Rank 8th, Barbatos
Empire Calendar: Year 1506, Month 4, Day 7
Bruno Plains, The Right Wing of the Army of the Crescent Alliance
“⎯⎯⎯⎯Quickly spread out our forces already! You damn wusses!”
While personally kicking the butts of my subordinates, I shouted in a loud voice. Although, as much as this was a tactic that we didn’t plan beforehand, so the soldiers were showing just as much confusion, fuck, this wasn’t the time to quibble over something like that. There was a need to move quickly even if it meant I had to hit these clumsy simpletons in the balls!
“Y-Your Excellency. My apologies, but if you can provide us with the reason······.”
“If those are eyes attached to that mug of yours, then look for yourself, you bastard.”
I grabbed him by his collar and forced his gaze towards the front line.
“What do you see past that human girl’s troops?”
“······I-I see a lot of enemy infantrymen?”
“That’s right. Not just a lot of infantrymen, but infantrymen that are approaching fucking recklessly while concentrated in a single spot. We’re also a mess, but those humans are even more of a mess than we are. They have no other choice but to be like that since they have a commander for each nation.”
Smack, I hit his cheek.
“Now here’s a question. Infantrymen are approaching us while concentrated in a single point. They’re so concentrated that they can barely even raise their swords properly. Moreover, they’re also blinded by the desire to take that human girl’s head. Conveniently, it seems we’re standing at the right wing? What should we do then, Mr. Stonehead?”
My stupid subordinate slowly opened his eyes wide.
“······We have to encircle them, Your Excellency.”
“That’s right, you dullard. One plus one equals two, and the enemy infantrymen, that are pursuing into our side because they’ve been blinded by military merit, are prey that we have to shatter completely. If you understand, then hurry up and spread out in a crane wing formation. Okay? We’ll become the right wing of the crane wing formation and wrap up those idiotic human armies.”
“But, Your Excellency. An encirclement cannot be completed if we are the only ones to move. Those Mountain Faction fellows, who are handling the left side, must also go along with this plan in order for us······.”
I struck my subordinate’s cheek once more.
“Paimon may be a crazy bitch, but she isn’t an incompetent bitch. If that bitch was actually incompetent, then her head would have been severed by my hands a long time ago. Fuck, we’ve been on 6 Crescent Alliance expeditions together, and the number of times we’ve gone to civil war against one another is 14! At the very least, her wit is much better than yours so stop worrying about others⎯⎯⎯⎯Idiots! What are you doing!? Move quickly!”
I struck my subordinate’s cheek for the final time.
Only then did everyone collect themselves before they proceeded to hastily move the troops. Shouts echoed from here and there and messengers moved busily. As it always has been, and as it always will be, a battle of encirclement was a fight against time. If we’re late, then our center army will be breached and thus result in us being torn apart instead. This was an optimum opportunity.
I didn’t like this.
If perhaps, this encirclement battle of annihilation were to succeed, then that would make it so that that human child had commanded and controlled this battle from start to finish. Was that possible? It was impossible for even me, who has been referred to as a brave general for hundreds of years and praised as courageous, to perform such a stunt. In the first place, in order for that kind of feat to be possible, one must be gifted with something different.
You, just what sort of monster have you raised······!?
▯A King’s Lone Sword, Human, Laura De Farnese
Empire Calendar: Year 1506, Month 4, Day 7
Bruno Plains, The Center of the Army of the Crescent Alliance
The battle had entered into its final stage. Everything was flowing smoothly.
Our side was able to encircle the enemy troops on three fronts. Although the enemy soldiers did their best to breach our center, it was pointless. There was a time where we were almost pushed back, but my troops were elites. We regained our formation in a matter of moments and retaliated. It was safe to say that half the progress of battle was now over.
Demon Lord Barbatos and Demon Lord Paimon. The commanders of both respective wings have just now finished the crane wing formation. With this, our forces’ superiority has been placed on an unshakeable foundation.
If the enemy still had their entire cavalry, then they could have been able to aim for a turnabout. However, the majority of the enemy cavalries were used up during the initial phase of the battle. Not only that but a massive wall of mud had formed behind them, so even the enemy infantries’ escape route had been sealed. Now the enemy forces were unable to move forward, left, right, or backward. This situation was what it meant to be surrounded on all sides.
The heavy rain continued to pour while not showing any signs of it stopping anytime soon. The visibility of the battlefield was becoming enshrouded. This young lady’s line of vision was unable to stretch out far and was forced to stop by the obstruction of the rain. At each and every location this young lady’s vision stopped, an enemy’s corpse was sprawled there. It was a spasm-like death, and it was a life that felt as if someone were shaking off their disgust.
The witches giggled while taking in the rain.
“A masterpiece. This is a masterpiece. Look. Humans are dying off while swimming in waters of shit. A scenery like this is hard to find!”
“Yup, ever since we started to follow Lord Dantalian around, every single day has been so enjoyable that it’s troubling to live. There are many occasions of witches lamenting because of the fact that it’s difficult for them to die, but an occasion where they lament because it’s difficult for them to live is rare. In that regard, Lord Dantalian is quite the big shot.”
“His lower tool is a big shot, too.”
“Waaait a second. Everyone stop. How do you know thaaat? If I’m not misunderstanding, then that tone almost sounds as if you’ve seen master’s naked body before.”
“No no, big sis Humbaba. That’s a misunderstanding. No matter how much we latch onto His Greater Being and beg of him to let us have a taste, he never bestows upon us his royal grace. However, in terms of observation and not watching directly, we were able to look at it a couple of times before. Fortunately, we were more or less able to observe master’s tool.”
“That means you stole a look!”
“Is there a problem with that?”
“Pillage the things we can’t have and peek at the things we can’t see. That’s the honorable pride of us witches.”
“If I recall correctly, then we’re master’s Royal Guard, and if I haven’t gone insane, then the duty of the Royal Guard is to safely protect master’s royal body, right? But when you bitches are near master, far from his royal body being safe, is this feeling that his royal body falls even further into danger just my imagination?”
“That’s your imagination.”
“An outrageous misunderstanding.”
“That’s a blazing groundless rumor.”
“You terribly insane bitches! I love you, my sisters!”
Ahahah, the Captain of the Royal Guard turned this way while laughing.
“Your Excellency, Acting Generaaal, please give us the final order. We are, at all times, ready to rush out and slaughter those people. This will be easier than, well, just hunting a bunch of turkeys.”
A command to charge, is it?
Those words mean that the captain wishes to annihilate the enemy forces. That was not strange. As long as you have stepped out into battle, it was obvious to long for victory, and as long as you were achieving victory, it was reasonable to desire a complete victory or a great victory. However, battle meant something else for this young lady. It was art and music.
The flower of battle did not come from obtaining victory or defeat. The cries of the soldiers when victory approached, and the anguish of the soldiers when defeat was right at their doorsteps. It was those voices that sublimated war into music.
In order for life to become a single melody, it must cross over a countless number of gaps. However, in a battleground, each and every life became a melody and a tune. Whether one could understand this or not, that was the decisive difference between the witches and this young lady.
This young lady did not respond to the Captain of the Royal Guard’s prodding. Instead, this young lady shut her eyes further and listened to the surroundings a bit more carefully.
Now then, listen well.
To the tune in the center of the clamor of raindrops falling down onto the muddy water, the melody that distinctly flows between that sound of water⎯⎯⎯⎯.
How incredibly beautiful.
This young lady hugged her own shoulders and trembled slightly. With the heart inherited from His Lordship and with the head given to this young lady by His Lordship, this young lady was narrowly able to recognize that beauty.
Although this young lady was cold all the way to her inner bones due to the icy rain, since the inner flesh of this young lady’s body was already filled to the brim with a pleasant feeling, the cold shivering had no way to replace this young lady’s shivering and there were no other gaps for it to fill, either. By shuddering, this young lady was complete.
This young lady did not open her eyes, she could not bear to do so since she did not wish to escape from this dark joy. This young lady wished to remain here a little while longer before departing.
Victory and defeat had no meaning whatsoever to this young lady. Solely the screams of death, the screams to live, and the moans of the people who were unable to live or die, these things were what gave meaning to this young lady. Within this world of achromatic colors, solely those vibrations were life, death, and music, all at the same time. During the days this young lady spent reading only history books within a dust-covered library of a small room, this young lady was incapable of knowing this pleasure. The delight of performing with the life and death of tens of thousands by herself. If His Lordship had not informed this young lady of it, then she would have most likely been forever oblivious.
“Uhm, Your Excellency? You have to give the order to charge in order for······.”
“Our troops shall not move.”
How noisy. Do not make a retort needlessly, witch. Does unnecessary noise not get mixed in while this young lady is trying to appreciate this long-awaited moment of tens of thousands of melodies?
There is only a single reason why your head is still attached to your neck. It is because His Lordship had welcomed you as his family. This young lady was not unaware of His Lordship’s image of Miss Lapis as the mother, himself as the father, and his desire for this young lady to lead her sisters, the witches, as the eldest sister of the family. That was why this young lady was taking care of you troublemakers, who were unknowledgeable of military discipline, with sisterly affection.
This young lady narrowly opened her eyes.
“I said that we shall not move our forces. Advancing lightly right now is not advisable. Captain, can you not hear it?”
This young lady raised her finger and pointed towards the enemy soldiers who were encircled and being slaughtered up ahead. The captain followed this young lady’s gesture and turned her head. Although the two of us were looking at the same place, it was evident that we were not seeing the same thing.
“This young lady can hear Franconian. This young lady can hear the language of Batavia. As this young lady can hear the dialect of Sardinia, the sound of Teutonic can be heard as well. The thing that gets mixed in occasionally is most likely Polish-Lithuanian. ⎯⎯⎯⎯However, there is no language of Habsburg. The words that are spoken by the people of Habsburg, the nation that is led by the Imperial Princess known as Elizabeth, solely that cannot be heard.”
The Captain of the Royal Guard, Humbaba, tilted her head.
“······All this one can hear with her ears is the clutter of screaming. My God. Is Your Excellency able to hear all of that? You can understand every single language that exists on the continent? That’s amazing.”
This young lady clicked her tongue. This was why words did not get through.
Mastering every primary language was a study that people must do rudimentally as they live. It was obvious. If you did not, then you would be unable to read books. This was something His Lordship agreed to, as well.
“Captain, although this young lady is grateful for your kind words, there is no need for you to once again remind this young lady of her prominence. This young lady being smart and you being foolish is not the issue. There is a necessity to pay attention to another fact right now.”
“······Master and servant really do resemble one another. There’s a reason behind everything master does. He didn’t put aside the other races and appoint a human into his acting general without reason.”
The captain muttered. Judging from the atmosphere, it seems she had just wrapped this young lady and His Lordship into one and insulted us together, but it was not something that this young lady was unable to understand. Essentially, geniuses were bound to receive the envy and jealousy from the mediocrity. This young lady magnanimously accepted the captain’s overgrown personality.
“And sooo? Oh, prominent Your Excellency Acting General. Why should the likes of us not execute a charge just because the language of Habsburg isn’t mixed with the rambling of those low people?”
“I will say it again. This young lady is a genius. In regards to language, music, and military affairs, this young lady boasts her unrivaled capabilities. This fact is evident if you look at how this young lady had controlled this battlefield of 200,000 soldiers, adding the enemy and ally troops together, with merely 7,000 officers and men.”
“Yes, yes. Even this one, before becoming ignoble, was once held in high expectation as a mage that was going to shoulder the next generation. So what?”
“Sincerely, it seems you are unable to make any sense of what this young lady says. Think about it. Did His Lordship not warn this young lady, who was like that, to never fight against the Imperial Princess Elizabeth?”
Captain Humbaba frowned. Surely. It seems she was still unable to understand. At this point, since it had leaped over the degree of disturbing one’s music appreciation, and had entered the level of having completely ruined the concert, this young lady was displeased. However, this young lady kindly divulged her foolish younger sister with the self-evident truth.
“Captain. You have been with His Lordship ever since this young lady had been held as a slave, is that not so?”
“Yes. That’s right.”
“Before His Lordship had discovered and appointed this young lady, no one in the world was aware that this young lady had military talent. Including this young lady herself. Is that not so?”
“Yes. That’s also true.”
“If that is the case, then thinking logically, regardless of whether His Lordship’s preference in women is rotten, his ability to discern capable personnel, would it not be correct to assume that his ability to recognize talented people is peerless?”
“······That’s right, isn’t it?”
“Therefore, under the premise that His Lordship’s judgment is correct, that means that the Imperial Princess is a type of being that is either as smart as this young lady or someone who comes close to it. The imperial army of Habsburg, which is led by that sort of outstanding individual, is coincidentally not within that encirclement. What could that mean? Do you think that the Imperial Princess suddenly felt bored and decided to take her entire army to go on a walk?”
“Do not only believe in the things you can see, Captain. A battlefield is a place where you fight utilizing the things which you cannot see as much as you do with the things you can. During this time of all times where everyone’s fields of vision are narrowed by wet fog⎯⎯⎯⎯.”
This young lady turned her gaze.
Past the earth and the sky where rain streaks fell, this young lady predicted that something was approaching. It was not similar to that of a mere prophetic feeling. This young lady had an intuition that was capable of jumping to a conclusion immediately if provided with properly established grounds.
“⎯⎯⎯⎯It is impossible for an individual with a talent that is as impressive as this young lady’s, to miss this opportunity.”
The Imperial Princess Elizabeth had been waiting.
While making the rain into a natural curtain.
For this moment where she could ascend as a hero by herself in this battleground where defeat seemed certain.
Shortly after, this young lady’s intuition had hit the mark. They appeared like ghosts riding on warhorses, breaching through the streaks of rain, and struck at the left and right wings of our friendly forces. The cavalry that charged with fluttering purple mantles were, without a doubt, the imperial army of Habsburg. The forces of the Crescent Alliance on both wings did not expect that the enemy armies would still have cavalry troops left, resulting in them being assaulted from the rear without being able to show much of a resistance.
A gasp flowed out from the captain’s lips. A scenery that could only be described by the sporadic utterance of ‘Ah’, but barely at that, unfolded before us. The outer area of the Crescent Alliance, that had achieved a perfect encirclement annihilation formation, had collapsed. The enemy soldiers, who were merely waiting to be slaughtered within the encirclement, cheered for the reinforcements that had appeared abruptly and squeezed out what remaining strength they had left.
The ranks of both the enemy forces and the friendly forces were chaotically mixed together. By nature, it was difficult to re-establish a line of command that had fallen once. Would it even be possible during this current situation where rain was falling noisily in all directions? Although Barbatos and Paimon desperately tried to rebuild the blockade, unfortunately, they had already missed the prime opportunity. The majority of the enemy soldiers were escaping with their lives. Past the streaks of rain, across the wet fog.
With vague eyes, this young lady watched the things that were running away. The ongoing tune of the enemy forces’ escape, which slowly grew fainter and fainter, was pitiful and beautiful. Captain Humbaba blankly stared at the face of this young lady who was in that state.
“······Your Excellency Acting General.”
“This young lady apologizes, Captain. This instant is just the right moment, after all. Please keep your mouth shut for exactly 2 minutes. If you do not stay quiet, then there is a chance that this young lady will kill you.”
2 minute had passed.
This young lady was satisfied.
“Okay. What were you curious about this time?”
“Yes. Your Excellency Acting General said so before today’s battle. That our unit will not win, but we will not lose, either. That we will only spread confusion throughout the battlefield. By those words, did you perhaps mean······.”
“Mm. That is correct.”
This young lady nodded her head.
“Although bringing forth the encirclement battle of annihilation was this young lady’s achievement and meritorious deed, it was Barbatos and Paimon’s mistake and wrongdoing for it being ruined. This young lady did not obtain victory, but she did not experience defeat, either.”
“Barbatos and Paimon both must be embarrassed. Barbatos, who had called this young lady a criminal of high treason and tried to punish her, must especially feel ashamed. If she tries to punish His Lordship in a military trial now, then Barbatos’ honor will be the only thing to fall down a bottomless pit. She will be unable to avoid the criticism that she had disgracefully shifted the blame of her own loss to another Demon Lord, after all.”
“······uh. Wait a moment, Your Excellency. For starters, despite being fully aware that the Crescent Alliance’s encirclement was going to fail, did Your Excellency still keep us here playing around in the center army?”
“That is the case.”
“That’s a bit troubling. I’m not saying this because I particularly cherish our allies, but wouldn’t it have been better to just go in and change the defeat to a victory?”
This young lady tilted her head.
“Why is that?”
“That’s obvious. This is a war that has already occurred so, while we’re at it, it would be more satisfying if our forces win.”
This young lady could only tilt her head once more. It was difficult to understand what exactly the captain was trying to say. This young lady, while redacting an incredibly obvious truth and a tremendously proper common sense, pointed out.
“Captain. Just how are Barbatos and Paimon this young lady’s allies?”
“Barbatos tried to frame and get rid of His Lordship. Likewise, Paimon tried to use His Lordship as a mere political tool. Therefore, the two Demon Lords are obviously this young lady’s enemies. Even if we do not act, the Imperial Princess of the Empire is willingly offering to defeat those two people, so why should this young lady intervene needlessly there? Taking control of a group by using another group. In any case, if the Imperial Princess wishes to breach the encirclement, then she has no other choice but to attack either or both wings of our formation, instead of this young lady’s center army, which is quite the distance away. So it is fine for this young lady to leisurely spectate as they exchange blows on their own.”
There was no one who would criticize this young lady for being passive just because she had stood by idly as the encirclement fell apart. The one who had decided upon herself to become the vanguard and stand at the forefront, since the initial phase of the battle, was none other than this young lady.
Went forward as the spearhead, put the majority of the enemy cavalry in a deadlock, and adding to that, this young lady had contributed the decisive service which allowed the completion of the encirclement. No matter what anyone says now, the individual to have done the greatest distinguished service for our forces was this young lady. If you wish to criticize this young lady, then try.
And this young lady continued.
“It would be boring to win quickly. In any case, it has already been determined that between the enemy and this young lady, the side to obtain victory will be this young lady. However, would it not be less of a waste if we were to consume them as moderately as possible?”
The Captain of the Royal Guard, Humbaba’s face became vacant again. As she adjusted her cone hat, that was completely drenched by the rain, she muttered to herself.
“······Now I know for certain. There’s only a bunch of lunatics around our master. Miss Lapis and even Her Excellency Acting General, they’re all in a category that’s a thousand steps away from being normal. It seems I’m the only sane person near master. Certainly, I have to be the one to take care of him.”
The time on the battlefield continued to flow even while we were discussing.
Both Paimon and Barbatos’ armies had restored their once collapsed formation. However, it was already too late for them to pursue after the enemy. Time that has already flowed by cannot be taken back. Similar to that, the time of the battlefield, that has already passed by, cannot be grasped once more.
Every war was a conflict that flowed hour by hour and was also a war of time. It was not strange for certain points within everyday time to be erased. On the contrary, that was a common occurrence. Similar to stepping stones that were sparsely connected, everyday time was sparsely separated. Therefore, time to a person who was living while buried under everyday life was similar to that of a person who was trying to cross stepping stones, which was an act where they must let something flow and be erased between each stone in order for them to finally cross. For those people, they slowly forget themselves as time continues to proceed, until finally, they merely end up falling completely into oblivion.
On the other hand, the time of the battlefield flowed in a way where even a single step could not be erased. People who forget themselves when they have already stepped out into war were unforgivable. The movement of the enemy soldiers, the direction of the wind that the flags fluttered accordingly to, and even the smell, fragrance, and pulsation of the heart that rose up from somewhere, one must piece together every bit of information possible and precisely snatch the flow of time. A person who rules over time also rules over the battlefield. Today, Barbatos and Paimon conclusively missed that time. The chance of victory will never return to them now.
Captain Humbaba clicked her tongue.
“That’s a bit pitiable. Doesn’t that mean they were just used by us in the end?”
“The owner of this war is His Lordship, the owner of this battle is this young lady. Today’s conclusion was a natural result since they had imprisoned His Lordship, despite not knowing who the owner was, and had tried to persecute this young lady. It would be good if they have realized their place now.”
“Really, master and the general are the only people in the world who’d tell both the rank 8th and rank 9th Demon Lords off by telling them to know their place······.”
It was at that moment. A portion of the enemy military strength, which we originally assumed to have retreated completely, appeared through the thick heavy rain and wet fog. Drenched in moisture, there was only a sparse number of enemy figures. Although this young lady narrowed her eyes, wondering if they perhaps intended to execute a surprise attack, that did not seem to be the case. The enemies merely stood still like statues.
No, rather than a surprise attack, that was.
This young lady lightly tapped the waist of the black horse and went forward. Although the sound of the Captain of the Royal Guard, Humbaba’s panicking voice could be heard from behind, this young lady ignored it. This young lady headed towards the place where the enemies were waiting while being struck by the rain.
In that same moment, someone from the enemies’ side came out as well while riding on a white horse, matching this young lady’s pace. The opposition was black, and yet, they were also white. Even during this current weather, where dark clouds were spread throughout the sky, the other person’s silver hair boundlessly shone its own color vividly. It felt as if the raindrops were making way for her.
Before this young lady could even see their outline, this young lady already knew who that person was.
Elizabeth Atanaxia Evatriae von Habsburg.
The only person that His Lordship had acknowledged as his formidable enemy. This young lady was nurtured by His Lordship with the sole purpose of taking that person’s life.
That girl and this young lady arrived close to one another. As she gazed vacantly at this young lady while on top of a white horse, this young lady as well, stared at her while on top of a black horse.
It seems she had a lot of thoughts going through her head. Her face was void of emotions, but those eyes of hers contained a deeply laid plan. However, this young lady had nothing in her mind. This young lady met people all the time. It is good that this young lady was able to at least see this person with her own eyes, merely this thought went through her head.
This young lady liked rain.
Whenever it rained, the sound of raindrops falling washed away the nuisances of the world. When rain splashed and stained this young lady’s cheek, this young lady felt bleakly relieved since it felt as if there was still an outside in that place.
There was a time when this young lady thought that the various miscellaneous things of the world were tormenting her, and there was also a time when only those torturous things were laid on her mind, but the sound of rain washed those days and that time away. Since the streaks of rain were busy knocking away everything in the world, it appeared as if it did not have enough strength to obstruct this young lady. Whenever the rain fell, this young lady felt as if she were something in the world that had the least value in obstructing. This young lady breathed for a moment during this indifference of the rain.
If it disappeared without a trace.
If the trace of this body’s existence disappeared, and if even the trace that it had disappeared also vanished.
She opened her lips. A drop of rain flowed down the side of her lips, following the line of her chin. Those lips were most likely lips that His Lordship would want to kiss.
“I see that you are dead.”
“That is not the face of a person who is alive, and those are not the eyes of a person who is alive. Did Dantalian make a doll into his general? Or did he perhaps intend to bear, not a doll, but a corpse and take care of it? What a troubling man. It seems each and every thing that man decides to take in are nothing but obstructions.”
“I see you have little words. Since you are only glaring at myself silently, I cannot see a path to converse. In truth, it is a question whether you are even looking at me or not. What thoughts are contained in that head of yours for you to be so composed?”
This young lady gazed at the streaks of rain.
“The thought of wanting to kill you is going through this young lady’s head.”
She closed her mouth and showed a slightly troubled face. She then narrowed her eyes and shook her head.
“I am sorry. You cannot kill me. Not only do you lack the ability to do so, but, regardless of whether you do indeed have the ability to do so or not, fighting against me right now would be an act that would go against Dantalian’s order. Since you are a puppet, you will not defy Dantalian. Is that not so?”
“I wished to see up close the girl that man had made into the face of his army. I see that Dantalian is proud. I can see a man who, at any cost, tries to shoulder the things which he cannot shoulder and take in the things that he does not have to take in. How does one possibly intend to save a child who has already died in the past, and likewise, how does one intend to kill that child? Is Dantalian planning to turn back time? Was a person’s time something that was reversed just because someone wished for it to happen?”
She looked up towards the raining sky.
“Pass a message on to your lord, if you will. That, after meeting your doll, I, Elizabeth von Habsburg, think she is somewhat pretty.”
She must have finished saying everything that she wanted to say since she had then turned the head of her horse. Soon after, she disappeared into the wet fog and the military personnel, which she had brought with her, vanished along with her like shadows. This young lady watched the shadow fading away within the wet fog for as long as possible.
Only a single apprehension came to this young lady’s mind.
The next time we meet, this young lady will kill her.
That day’s battle concluded as so.
No one was able to obtain victory and no one had been defeated. However, one hero appeared from the Crescent Alliance and the Crusaders respectively.
This young lady, Laura De Farnese.
And the Imperial Princess, Elizabeth von Habsburg.
(TL note: Please do not read on a site that is not my own. People reading on readlightnovel need to stop.)
▯Demon Lord of Immortality, Rank 8th, Barbatos
Empire Calendar: Year 1506, Month 4, Day 7
Bruno Plains, The Right Wing of the Army of the Crescent Alliance
And in vain.
I watched the enemy soldiers disappear past the streaks of rain.
The encirclement had been breached. I had judged that it was perfect. When the thought, ‘I see that bitch Paimon’s wit hasn’t died yet’, had crossed my mind, I was already certain of our victory, but.
I was not able to predict nor was I able to block the cavalry unit of a single army that had appeared out of nowhere and stabbed into our troops like a fang. By the time I was able to narrowly disentangle the chaos and organize our ranks once more, the enemy cavalry, and adding to that, the enemy infantrymen were already running away with leisure······.
Again, a decisive victory slipped through my fingers right before my eyes.
I had done quite a lot of preparations in order to start this war. I burned down a mountain range, I manipulated the press, and I was just barely able to set straight the expedition that was about to become a failure due to old man Marbas’ mistake. All the fruition, the moment where all of my sweat and blood, that I had shed until now, was going to be rewarded, was right under our noses and······ I missed it. I ended up missing the chance.
Only anger burst out of my throat.
“A little bit more, if we had pushed a little bit more······. We would have been able to acquire the earth, the farmland, and the rich plains where our kind could cultivate and survive in. Just a little bit more⎯⎯⎯⎯.”
Because it was regretful and remorseful.
Because of the fact that I was ridiculed by a bastard who treated war as if it were a toy like that, I was hateful.
“······Your Excellency Barbatos.”
When my knees were about to buckle, there was a sound that grabbed me by the nape. The moment I looked around my surroundings, my subordinates, my children who I dragged all the way here until now, were watching over me. Their gazes became ropes and were just barely able to wrap around my body and pull it up.
I’m the pillar of the Plains Faction.
The one to have led the continuous desire of the entire demon race for 500 years.
I was our race’s shadow that indiscriminately used even dirty methods if it meant that our kind could pass down a warmer land and a more fertile earth to our children. Not a commoner who laments because the world is remorseful, but a Demon Lord who merely acts as a proxy while bearing that resentment.
It was too soon to fall.
We have only failed in a single battle.
Swallowing down the clot of blood that was rising from my throat, grabbing the will that was trying to escape from my joints and nailing them down, adding steel to my apprehension and throwing away the blade from my will, I stood up as the Demon Lord of Immortality.
“⎯⎯⎯⎯Hm. Yeah, well. I missed it. Fuck. Whatever. That can happen. If there’s a day where we fuck someone over, then there’s also a day where someone else fucks us over. Although the Gods don’t show equality in terms of loving all beings, they’re incredibly fair when it comes to bestowing fucking misery to all people.”
People smile when they become cruel to someone. Since I’m constantly hard on myself, I can display laughter whenever I pleased.
“Zepar, my left atrium.”
“Yes, Your Excellency. I, Major General Zepar, am here.”
“I heard the cheers when the enemy cavalry rushed in. It was the language of Habsburg. That Elizabeth bitch must have played out some stratagem. I’ll bestow upon you my Remorseful Wolves. Chase after her until the ends of Hell and rip her to shreds.”
Zepar bowed his head.
“As you command.”
“Yeah. Follow it well. If you fail, then just die there.”
I snapped my fingers. My shadow throbbed before spitting out 7 black maws, the maw of black beasts.
Capture pregnant mothers alive and pour curses onto them. Make them into living corpses that can neither live nor die. After gathering 100 lemures of the children born by those living corpses, the monster you get from earnestly infusing those lemures together is my exclusive familiar, the Remorseful Wolf.
There is only one way to destroy them. Only mothers, who have performed a stillbirth, can escape the fangs of the Remorseful Wolves. The reason why those annoying witches were able to protect Dantalian was because of that. It’s obvious since if it’s a witch, then they must have had experienced something like a stillbirth several times. However, if it’s the noble Imperial Princess of the Habsburg Empire, then she wouldn’t have even experienced pregnancy.
“Beleth, my right atrium.”
“Awaiting your command, Corps Commander.”
“There’s a lowly succubus woman who always follows behind Dantalian. She should be managing the supplies in the rear. Catch that bitch and bring her before me.”
“It is not really my preference to threaten women and children. Moreover, I recall that little one being referred to as an outcast. If a luxurious gentleman, such as myself, were to touch such a lowly person, then my dignity······.”
“Do you want me to fuck up that lofty dignity of yours along with your entire body?”
“Since I was very little, I wished to capture a succubus at least once. Leave it to me.”
Rank 16th, Demon Lord Zepar, and Rank 13th, Demon Lord Beleth, the two high ranking Demon Lords that supported the Plains Faction received their respective orders and dispersed.
Zepar will most likely crush the Imperial Princess Elizabeth on his own discretion and come back. I wasn’t worried even if it took several days. The problem wasn’t the Imperial Princess, but rather, it was Dantalian.
I was absolutely certain that that human child didn’t operate her unit on her own. She most likely received proper instructions from Dantalian, and pulled off that shit, in order to screw us over. Even if there was no evidence, it didn’t matter. My old intuition, my instincts that were trained while leaping over life and death situations tens of hundreds of times on the battlefield, was telling me this. That Dantalian and the girl, that the two of them were plotting something.
Dantalian. You were adorable since you were playing cute tricks. However, I’m constantly ready to slit your throat if you bare your teeth at me. I’ll show that to you now.
Shortly after, Beleth returned with a pink haired succubus. I wonder if he had already hit her a couple of times in order to set an example since her right cheek was bruised.
If I remembered correctly, then her name was certainly Lapis Lazuli. Even as blood dripped down the side of the mouth of this lowly outcast, she continued to glare towards my direction. She looked at me with an emotionless face as if she were admonishing me. Although we’ve met face to face several times whenever I came in and out of Dantalian’s dwelling, no matter how many times I looked at her, I didn’t like her fierce gaze.
“I have brought her, Corps Commander. This, since she wasn’t a spiteful bitch by nature, I struck her a bit beforehand. Tsk. Really, it feels dirty to hit weak things.”
“Good job. Put her down here.”
“Yes. As you command.”
Beleth put down the outcast as if he were tossing her. Since her upper body fell down first, the outcast injured her face. With a face scratched by the ground and covered in muddy water, the one who’s Dantalian’s lover, and also a half-breed peasant, gazed up at me.
“······This one apologizes, Your Greater Being, but this one does not think that this is an appropriate reception. No matter how lowly this one may be, this body is one that had received His Highness Dantalian’s royal grace and is also the body that is in charge of managing the rear of a single unit. Why is Your Greater Being infringing upon strict military law on Your Greater Being’s own volition?”
“I have no grudge against you personally, child.”
I grabbed the outcast’s hair and raised her head. Annoyingly, this peasant hasn’t displayed a single pained expression or let out a single anguished moan even once. She simply stared right into my eyes with an unwavering gaze.
“However, frustration keeps piling up towards that kid who you received your royal grace from. What to do? Even during the speech, he betrayed my trust, and he used some cheap method just so he could avoid some tiny punishment. What do you think I should do about that kid, who made that acting general of his ridicule my entire faction?”
The outcast shut her lips. That’s right. You can’t answer that. You don’t know the answer, either. I raised the corners of my lips.
“Yeah. I’m the same. I’m not really sure what I should do from now on. That’s why, right now, I plan to visit Dantalian with you and ask him personally. Follow me, you peasant bitch.”
Dantalian. It’ll be a good idea to give me a proper explanation. Not for only your own safety, but if you cherish the life of this sweetheart of yours who you love so much.
“For now, should we do some warm ups before we go visit Dantalian?”
I grinned broadly.
▯Demon Lord of Benevolence, Rank 9th, Paimon
Empire Calendar: Year 1506, Month 4, Day 7
Bruno Plains, The Left Wing of the Army of the Crescent Alliance
Within the falling rain.
This lady gripped her wet feather fan tightly.
“······Once more, this lady will go see Dantalian.”
This was not it.
Although this lady is unsure whether she has the right to say this, despite being unable to stop the war, regardless this lady has no other choice but to say it. In the first place, since this was a war that was started after making Dantalian into a pretext, it was possible for it to not be strange if Dantalian was the one to lead it. However, even if there were a separate person to have started the war and a separate person to end it, the ones who have to cope with the war in the middle were the soldiers alone.
Within that human girl’s command, consideration towards the lives of the soldiers was absent. There is a chance that her actions may be her own way of complaining towards the fact that we had imprisoned Dantalian. There is a chance that it may purely be the childish antics of a young girl and her arrogance. Whichever side it was, she was an individual that made people boundlessly apprehensive if a single army was placed in her hands. Since she was Dantalian’s acting general, it was sensible to discuss this with him.
“Sitri, manage the military camp in this lady’s stead tonight.”
“Is it fine to go alone, sis?”
Sitri examined this lady with worried eyes. Since she appeared like a pet that was trying to comfort its own companion, a smile drifted onto this lady’s lips unintentionally. Being able to show a single smile even in this sort of situation was purely thanks to Sitri.
“It is fine. This lady will simply meet him and have a conversation.”
“That’s not it. Mm. In the battle just now, Barbatos participated on the other side, right? So I figured she’d be upset as well right now. Even though it’s only appropriate for Barbatos to die, you wouldn’t really like that, right?”
“If sis goes to meet Dantalian right now, then won’t you end up running into Barbatos? You’ll end up needlessly quarreling with her again.”
“If that is the case, then more so.”
This lady spoke while putting more strength into her voice.
“Then more so, this lady must go this very instant. The declaration this lady made to accept Dantalian into the Mountain Faction was not a lie. This lady had openly declared in front of everybody that she will liaise the man that Barbatos had made into her lover. This lady had no other choice but to utilize a political intrigue last time, but⎯⎯⎯⎯.”
This time, it will be fair and square.
While looking straight at Barbatos, this lady will definitely bring in the individual that this lady believes is necessary to us.
After seeing this lady harden her resolve, Sitri nodded her head. This child, who had always silently supported this lady, put a trust, that did not change even to this day, into her voice and pushed this lady forward.
“Okay. Have a safe trip, sis. I’ll take care of things here.”
Yes. This lady shall trust you and leave it in your hands, Sitri. My gentle acting general.
Leaving behind the captains who were depressed because they had let victory slip through their fingers, this lady left. Each step this lady took, there was mud, so muddy water smeared onto her shoes and seeped into her skirt, dirtying her mantle, but it was fine. If this lady believed that there were several drops of blood from the soldiers, who had died under this lady’s command, mixed into each and every muddy pool on today’s battlefield, then the thought that it was dirty did not even remotely appear in this lady’s mind.
The rain slowly stopped. From the sky, which the dark clouds could not possibly cover entirely, several rays of yellow light from the setting sun fell onto the earth. Among those rays of the setting sun, one of them seeped into the forehead of a corpse that was sprawled out randomly on the ground. Not a demon, but the corpse of a human. The lamb, the soldier that did whatever he could to look upwards in order to see the sunlight, which he most likely could not see even until the moment of his death, was staring at the sky with inflamed eyes.
This lady stopped momentarily and bent her back forward. This lady’s mantle touched the earth and became drenched in muddy water. While stroking down the eyelids of the nameless subject, this lady thought that the duty of the lord, where they must douse their cloaks in order for them to do the simple task of closing the eyes of their subject, was quite dreadful.
Regardless of the fact that this lady was unsure how sullied she must become.
Would it not at least be possible to make the resolution to allow oneself to become that dirty?
This lady sat vacantly on the field where the glow of the setting sun had become pale.
▯The King of Peasants, Rank 71st, Dantalian
Empire Calendar: Year 1506, Month 4, Day 7
Bruno Plains, Army of the Crescent Alliance, Simple Prison
Has today’s rain finally ceased?
I took out the tobacco that I had stuffed into one of my coat pockets. Because there was no cover, this was a cell where rain kept flowing in. Although I don’t plan to either say that I quite enjoy getting hit by the rain or complain about it, the fact that I couldn’t smoke properly, that one thing made it boring and inconvenient. This year’s spring rain was tenacious and long lasting.
Clack, I sparked a flame with flint. Clack, clack······ While glancing down at the flickering embers that sparked shortly, similar to electricity, I slowly reviewed the battle that must have occurred today. I muttered words that weren’t really necessary while doing so.
“Ah, this is difficult to kindle.”
Do not win decisively and do not lose decisively. That was the order I gave Farnese. If this were still a long time ago, then Farnese would have most likely been unable to understand what that meant and she would have questioned it. However, her current state, which was educated by both Lapis and myself, was different. She should have been able to figure out the underlying meaning with ease.
The single part that was troubling me was the Imperial Princess Elizabeth’s behavior. I made my response to her move through Farnese. Whether the Imperial Princess will behave according to that or not. If she does so, then what would be different······. In accordance to this, the direction of the war will be decided.
“Badum tat badum tat what shall it be: this or that? Badum tatat tat burn the temples and slaughter the people – shall it be this?······.”
I hummed the military song that I had composed myself.
In short, the ones commanding this war were Elizabeth and myself. By no manner of means could it be Barbatos or Paimon. The purpose of the battle that must have unfolded today, was none other than to inform the two Demon Lords of this cold truth.
If you wish to win the war, then free me from this prison and pass the leadership to me.
If you do not, then you will all one day die to the Imperial Princess.
A frank and explicit message.
Even though you all were out there, you were unable to grasp the war. Despite being confined in this narrow prison here, I dominated the battleground. That is because I am overwhelmingly more competent than you. There was no irrationality, illogicality, or injustice here. It was simply the truth.
It was solely the truth.
“When they die and die again a hundred times······ Ah.”
The embers finally lit the tobacco. I stopped singing for a moment in order to blow some air onto the tobacco. The ember flickered and just barely managed to start burning away the tobacco with a radiant red color.
Ten to one, Barbatos must have realized my intention. The chances that Paimon was able to take the hint were around 50 percent. If the two of them were sensible, then they will realize that nothing good will come from purging me and that victory will become distant if they kill Farnese. The two of them have no other choice but to not make any accusations and simply accept it unconditionally.
Because the humans have a monster known as Elizabeth Atanaxia Evatriae von Habsburg.
Because, the only people who can stop her are myself, Dantalian, and Laura De Farnese who Dantalian had taken in.
I will survive due to Elizabeth’s competence, and in reverse, I was certain that Elizabeth will be able to breathe thanks to my, and Farnese’s, competence. Elizabeth and I were a pair of alpinists who were climbing together while hanging onto the lifeline of the other.
How will Barbatos and Paimon react? Will they rage? They will probably rage. Will they despair? They will probably despair. I am curious as to what will happen next. A person’s true value has always been proven after the term ‘next’ had arrived.
With a mental attitude that was waiting for everything new that was approaching, I looked at the horizon past the iron bars. The tobacco was sweet and made my mind feel numb. I sang the rest of the song while blowing smoke towards the just setting sun.
“Or if we die and die together nonetheless – shall it be that······?”
I was here in this prison.
TL note: Thanks for reading this incredibly long chapter. The site says this is only 20k words, but if you include the black pages, it’s around the total of 22k words.
The majority of you guys preferred the version of black pages used in the prologue, so I decided to go with that. Of course some people may complain, but oh well. This is a majority vote thing. Furthermore, there seems to be people who use google translate to read my stuff? Don’t cry just because you can’t copy and paste anymore. If you’re on your mobile there are plenty of apps that can copy images into text and there’s also an app that translates images on the spot. In regards to PC, then there’s obviously many programs and sites out there that do that for you. I’m doing these black pages to keep the same feel as the book and also prevent the translation stealing site from taking all of my work.
Also, some people recommended just using html codes, but after trying it out and messing around with it, I realized that it just doesn’t give the exact result that I want it to. If I do, then that would just involve a crap ton of annoying coding and that’s more tedious than just making this as an image.
So once again, I apologize if it’s an inconvenience to some of you, but it’s an inconvenience which you guys will have to cope with.