The ‘pillaging’ proceeded solemnly.
Draco wasn’t in command.
It was a demon named Taibanka who was in charge of a 20-man squad under the <Abandoned Crown Prince>. He was fair-skinned and looked more like a country bureaucrat than a warrior, and he was actually really good at arithmetic.
“Now next, what’s in the load? Rye, is it? That’ll be two sacks.”
Taibanka was currently leading a squad of 30 men made up of 20 of his own men and 10 from the mercenaries that Lu Gun had recruited. If these many ‘bandits’ showed up, then the travellers would lose their will to fight.
It wasn’t a very wide road to begin with. The roads in the forest weren’t large enough for carriages to pass through, so naturally, the only way to pass through these roads was through walking or on horseback, and travellers who travel using these methods didn’t have many weapons. No one wanted to fight with 30 armed men. Taibanka would collect a ‘toll’ from those who surrendered without fighting.
His toll was reasonable; he took less from those who had little and a lot from those who had more.
“My bad. We’ve just lost our ‘master’ and are in a bit of a pinch. We’re in need of food.”
He didn’t forget to casually tell them that they were the ‘remnants of a defeated army’ when he let them go.
Rumours would spread further the more ambiguous he was.
There were five of these units prowling the roads of Alunaha.
“WHY HAVEN’T THEY BEEN CRUSHED YET?!”
The <Clairvoyant> Benan tapped furiously on his desk. The golden lovebird on his desk fell to the ground and shattered.
His anger wasn’t without reason. The punitive force, protectors of Alunaha, had all returned without success. The punitive force tried to catch the bandits but they slipped away, travelled unbelievable distances and pillaged again. The damage reported was considered and the pleas against them was a cause for headaches.
But it wasn’t a complete waste of time.
Draco was dead.
This was what several of the victims had testified. The bandits were strangely disciplined and wore mourning badges. They were the remnants of the <Dethroned Crown Prince>’s army.
That meant that Lu Gun had drawn a tie.
Still, that didn’t solve the pillaging problem. Benan knew that he would be in trouble later if he didn’t take action now.
“With all due respect Lord Benan, are we not being defeated because we are using mercenaries to hunt them down?”
A young goblin shaman suggested. His name was Ri Gudang. He was an excellent officer and was in charge of the reserve army. He was Benan’s nephew, and Benan was partial to him and spoiled him. He may still be inexperienced in some areas, but Benan hoped that he would become an assistant to his successor in the future.
“You may be right. So, Ri Gudang, I will entrust you with 300 reserve army soldiers. With those soldiers, you will defeat those insolent criminals who are pillaging our lands.”
“As you wish, Milord.”
“But don’t chase them too far. They’re very fast even if there’s only 30 of them. You won’t be able to take advantage of your numbers if they lure you deep into the forest.”
“I know, Milord. Uncle, you are such a worrier. Please leave this to me.”
Benan felt relieved when Ri Gudang said this with a smile.
He was going to accept the collusion with the <Northern Overlord> to save Ri Gudang and his sons from hardship. He wanted to present the <Northern Overlord> with the head of the <Dethroned Crown Prince> as a gift, but if any of his army were still alive, then they would stay hidden and wouldn’t be easily found. Since that was the case, he gave up on that plan of action and would obediently submit to the <Northern Overlord>.
Alunaha was in a strategic position. The <Northern Overlord> would find it appealing to have a base like this in the southwest of the Demon Realm. It was a good time to sell, but before that, he needed to raise the value of Alunaha’s marketability a little, so he needed to destroy them.
“Ri Gudang, don’t screw up.”
“Please leave it to me.
I was made to sit alone under a tree in the forest.
There was an old man sitting on a stump in front of me, no, it would be better to say he was sitting on a pillar in this case.
He was the God of this forest.
“Look here, you guys are in trouble. This place is under my jurisdiction, you know? You can’t just do whatever you want.”
“I am extremely sorry.”
He was a fairly low-ranking God even though he was the God of this forest. He wasn’t extraordinary, but this forest was his jurisdiction. He didn’t like that Draco’s army was sneaking around in this forest.
“I don’t like it when people set traps in my forest without my permission like this, you know. It’s rude for you to do whatever you want.”
“I sincerely apologise.”
His claims were unreasonable.
They set traps and hunted animals since they were an army. They cut down trees if they feel like it, and they might even burn it down to the ground.
We were doing as we pleased, but the God’s tone was implying that we should have greeted him beforehand since I, an Evil God, was with them, and he even wanted us to bring him a present.
“What about sincerity? You know, sincerity? You’re an Evil God, so you should know how important jurisdictions are.”
“I am really sorry.”
There it is, the sincerity attack.
Unfortunately, I was completely immune to this kind of attack in my previous life, so it doesn’t work at all. I’ve mastered the ability to disconnect the linguistic part of my brain and just keep saying ‘I’m sorry’. No sane person can keep hurling words of abuse at someone who only says ‘I’m sorry’ for more than 30 minutes… except for this God.
“In any case, pay attention next time. I’m alright with it, but I’m sure there are other Gods who would get even angrier.”
“I am extremely sorry, thank you so much for your advice. I will keep that in mind for the future. Thank you for your advice today.”
Saying that was like a spinal reflex. I quickly decided to return to Draco’s hiding spot.
The ‘not getting numb even when you sit on the ground’ ability included in the basic Evil God set was very useful.
This completed all the vital procedures for this mission.
“How did it go, Evil God-sama?”
“He doesn’t seem to consent, but I think he understands.”
Draco was leading his men to set a trap in the forest.
The Forest God had interfered while they were in the middle of making the trap. He only harassed them a little and didn’t cause any injuries, but it did reduce their work efficiency, so I went there to talk to him directly.
“I just received a message from one of my men who has disguised himself as a traveller. He stated that the enemy has not dispatched mercenaries, but 360 reserve soldiers.”
“I see, irritating them has paid off.”
It was all part of Draco’s plan: ‘pillage’ in Benan’s fief and draw out his reverse soldiers.
Benan was unlikely to send out his entire army; he would have sent out 300 or 500 troops at most. This was a trap to kill them all.
“The trap is complete. The rest will depend on Lu Gun.”
“Oh, I see.”
The time for the decisive battle was drawing near.
I sat on a tree branch and watched absentmindedly as Draco prepared for battle.
It has already been half a month since I was transmigrated here. During that time, I haven’t been able to remember much about my previous life.
That was the extent of my life.
My grades were at an all-time low in the autumn of my third year in high school.
My grades weren’t generally called poor, it was like I was walking on the ground instead of flying lowly above it.
Which wasn’t surprising, since I don’t remember studying properly. I always got failing grades in my regular tests and it was a miracle that I didn’t repeat a grade or two. It was evident that there was no university for me.
However, I was at the top of my grade in Japanese history and world history. It was probably due to the influence of reading a lot of historical novels, starting from the Warring States era and the ‘Records of the Three Kingdoms’. Though, I’ve forgotten what those novels are about.
It was pleasant after that.
The local trading company that I got into through my uncle’s wife’s brother’s connections was a black company.
I had never heard of a ‘black company’ before, so I thought that was the norm.
I got to work at seven in the morning and finished work at 12 at night. Now that I thought about it, working for 17 hours was quite frightening. Of course, I didn’t include my commuting time.
I must have endured it well because I was working hard for 100,000 yen. I would have been better off working at a part-time job. They didn’t teach me how to do my job and the company was so lax that customers shouted at them every day. I was impressed that I didn’t die from exhaustion.
Kneeling on the ground, dealing with complaints and overworking.
I gradually became obsessed with the appeal of raw food as the days went on.
First, it was raw horse meat. It didn’t take long for me to move onto beef then oysters.
I think I got food poisoning.
When I got home, I took off my jacket, loosened my tie and slurped up the oysters. It was because of that foolishness that I ended up passing away, but now I feel like it was a good thing that I died then. It was an interesting life if you look at it as a joke.
Well, I’ve become an Evil God now. I’ll just think about surviving this divine life.
Ri Gudang didn’t hide his irritation and kicked the tree trunk beside him.
He was on a road near a small farming village to the west of Alunaha.
This was the third time. He moved there after receiving news of the bandits, but they had already disappeared without a trace by the time he got there. It was a trap, a very clever trap.
He was educated from an early age as a goblin shaman, and he was expected to become an excellent military commander in the future. He was trained in the art of war and had a wealth of knowledge.
But he had little experience in actual combat.
His uncle, Demon King Benan, took good care of his relatives and left the most menial tasks to his hobgoblins. Some disagreed with him leaving everything from training to defeating criminals to the hobgoblins, but they all held their tongues when asked who would do it. No one wanted to do tedious things.
So naturally, the goblin shamans’ actual battle experience would be limited.
It was the same with Ri Gudang, but he had the knowledge. He also had the desire to put what he had learnt to use.
“They have at least two units working together.”
He had his suspicions before he had left Alunaha.
He looked at the area where the criminals had stuck on the map and confirmed that it wasn’t that far apart, but soldiers are living beings. It was impossible for their speed to be constant.
Even more so if they were the remnants of a defeated army.
It was unimaginable for them to move in an orderly fashion.
Two or more units were skilfully coordinating to pillage at multiple locations. What was their intention?
“So, you’re inviting me? Alright.”
Ri Gudang rolled up the map and put it in his pocket.
The defeated army had escaped to this place and probably only had an incomplete map. He, on the other hand, had a clear understanding of this area. There was no way he would lose in a game of trickery.