DUNGEON DEFENSE - DUNGEON DEFENSE Chapter 29 - Volume 4
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 crazy 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 type 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.