Chapter 03: Liberating Alunaha
“First, let’s celebrate our reunion.”
It has been a long time since I’ve felt that alcohol is delicious. My taste buds had started to reject alcohol after I drank it a lot to entertain customers and drown my sorrows. I guess it’s all about who you drink with.
Yoshinaga-san and I chose to go to a small yakitori restaurant at the back of the agent’s office. The sun was still high in the sky, but there were one or two customers in the restaurant. Yoshinaga-san said that the meatballs here are amazing.
“But I can’t believe you’re an evil god Hirabon.”
“You said that a while ago.”
Yoshinaga-san sculled her sweet potato shochu while saying that. She was a hearty drinker. I remembered that she was such a heavy drinker in high school that she hid a 1.8 liter bottle of shochu in the club room.
As for me, I was slowly drinking my highball. The meatballs are good, but the chicken skin is also amazing.
“If I may say so from my experience as a God, being an Evil God is hard.”
“Is that so?”
“Yeah. Because you can’t accumulate any karma from faith. You only receive a small amount of karma based on your divine rank. By the way Hirabon, what’s your current rank?”
“Let’s see… I think it’s Lower First Rank.”
Yoshinaga-san’s eyes glazed over.
She slammed the cup in her hand on the table and put me in a headlock.
A faint, soapy smell tickled my nose. Wait, this wasn’t the time to be thinking about her soap. She was small, but I might actually faint if I don’t give up since this was Yoshinaga-san.
“Hirabon, you haven’t gotten your name yet, have you?!”
“Give, I give up, wait, a name?”
“Yeah, a name. Even Gods have names. Like the Sun Goddess, Amaterasu Omikami, or Konohanasakuya-hime, or Kurihime no Kami.”
Now that she mentions it, I’ve been ‘Evil God-sama’ ever since I transmigrated. Draco and Elena probably weren’t aware of this. Though, it wouldn’t have been an inconvenience for them to call me Hirano Bonta.
“A name is enough to promote your rank. That’s where we’ll start.”
“Oh, so it’s that easy to rise in ranks?”
“The easy part ends there. After that, there are a lot of weird criteria like your number of believers and whatnot.”
But the <Mushroom God of the Freezing Mountains> that I met earlier has a higher rank than me? That’s a little shocking.
“You’ll only get a pay rise at first, but once you reach Junior Fifth Rank, you can go to meetings.”
“For you it would be the ‘Evil God Conference’. Clerk-san, I want to order another of this~.”
As usual, she eats so much that I wonder where all that food goes in her tiny body. That looks yummy too.
Yoshinaga-san continued her explanation while holding a glass of sweet potato shochu that a pale, translucent waitress had brought her.
“Meetings like the Evil God Conference are usually about regulating the interests of Gods. Basically, Gods seldomly intervene in the world below, but it’s a different story when certain tribes are about to be destroyed, since the God in charge of that tribe will lose their job. That’s why Gods have meetings and regulate changes to prevent such situations from happening.”
“Heh, so it’s like they’re rigging changes.”
“That’s the wrong word to use, but well, yeah it’s like that. That’s how it works, and some don’t like it.”
That’s intense. In my previous life, I was more on the rigging side, but I wonder what will happen in this world. I don’t know how great it is to be a Junior Fifth Rank in the first place, and just getting there seems tough.
“So, Hirabon, what kind of Demon King are you in charge of?”
“Who do you think?”
“Hmm, let’s see… like herbivorous slimes, or mud slurpers, or swamp goblins, or something like that?”
“It’s a Demon King who is in charge of the demonkin.”
Yoshinaga-san spat out a large quantity of sweet potato shochu. Filthy. She laughed so hard that she almost fell off her seat.
“Oh my, sorry, I’m just amazed that you’re in charge of the Demon King who rules over demonkin. I see, I see. I’ve found a surprisingly good master, haven’t I?”
I rubbed Yoshinaga’s back as she apologized and asked for some water. Is it that surprising?
“But you know Hirabon, Evil Gods are roles undertaken by Gods who have too much karma. They’re undertaken by crazy bastards who sink 300 million karma on an Evil God set.”
“… My Evil God set was 500 million.”
Yoshinaga-san fell off her chair this time.
Foam mixed with fresh blood leaked from the edge of his mouth. His throat was crushed, and he couldn’t let out a sound as he continued to roar in anger.
Ri Gudang was leading the remnants of his troops to the north.
The path through the forest wasn’t kind. It was as if the forest was tormenting him. The paths were complicated, the roots were everywhere, and it even covered the moonlight. It was as if the Gods were punishing him for setting fire to the forest.
The soldiers deserted him one by one and only some of the mercenaries were left, and they were just aimless mercenaries who had lost their boss. The reserved soldiers and smart mercenaries left Ri Gudang as if they were melting into the forest.
They had been defeated. They had lost.
The <Dethroned Crown Prince> was only supposed to have a small army, but he defeated the Demon King, Benan.
Ri Gudang wasn’t able to rush to the scene. The goblins who came to deliver the news of the fall of Alunaha also refused to join Ri Gudang, and he didn’t even hold a grudge against them for refusing as he smiled slightly and left.
He had lost everything.
He had lost his position, his honour, his reputation and his strength. He headed north with no direction and had no idea where he was going.
A bird without a nest would have to starve to death or fly until it ran out of energy. It might be a good idea for him to become a bandit.
He went out to crush bandits but became one himself. It was hilarious.
In hindsight, it was a clever trap.
Ri Gudang believed himself to be wise, so this was an unbearable disgrace.
The enemy’s plan ‘use their remaining troops to attack the city while keeping Ri Gudang’s troops at the fort’ was well thought out. The problem was the scale of the attack.
It never occurred to Ri Gudang that the troops who weren’t at the fort would directly attack Alunaha.
No, it had crossed his mind. Benan also pointed out this possibility, but it was a bold plan with little chance of happening, so Ri Gudang pushed it to the back of his mind. It wasn’t a strategy that should be carried out with a small army.
It was a bizarre plan.
The <Dethroned Crown Prince> increased his troops as if he was adding pieces to a board and attacked the enemy’s stronghold just like how Ri Gudang had set fire to the forest. That was all he had done.
He didn’t know if Draco was protected by a force that could only be described as luck.
It was a risky plan that could bring everything to a halt if one thing went wrong. Wasn’t it divine intervention that allowed him to choose this plan without any hesitation?
Ri Gudang suddenly had an epiphany.
That’s right, an Evil God. If he has an Evil God, then it makes sense. Draco is haunted by an Evil God.
A clever trap is always like walking on a tightrope. He made up for the dangers of the plan with the blessings of an Evil God. That would explain why he was so decisive. Fucking cowardly bastard. What <Dethroned Crown Prince>? What fucking strategic and tactics genius? It’s all a bunch of horseshit.
It was as if he wasn’t disgraced because he couldn’t get the blessing of an Evil God. In fact, he believed that he had the blessing of one. Wasn’t it possible that his defeat was a source of encouragement and that he was on his way to carry out some far-fetched plan?
His spirit returned to him as he stepped into the muddy ground.
Yes, this was an ordeal imposed by an Evil God.
People say, “Evil Gods test their believers”. If so, then Ri Gudang had passed the test. He had survived.
This wasn’t a miserable defeat but a journey to glory.
Ri Gudang smiled. He couldn’t hide the smile on his face.
Evil God, Evil God, O’ Evil God.
From now on, I will live as the Evil God wishes. I must raise the spirit of the Gods to a point where it is higher than Draco. I won’t be defeated if I do this. Ri Gudang had more talent even if the opponent was the demonkin’s royalty. He had no reason to lose if he could raise the blessing of the Evil God to the same level as Draco’s.
It didn’t take long for his stifled laugh to turn into loud laughter.
Ri Gudang laughed to the heavens, not caring that the taste of rusty iron filled his throat.
He didn’t care that the defeated mercenaries walking beside him were looking at him strangely.
At that moment, a ray of light from the sky shone before his eyes.
It was exactly what Ri Gudang had been waiting for.
“Karma arises when an ordinary person devotes themselves to praying for a day.”
Yoshinaga-san and I were relaxing on a park bench after leaving the yakitori restaurant.
The <Sun God> had passed the baton to the <Moon God> and thus it was night.
The very dimly lit park was quiet and there weren’t many people around. I could only hear the sound of the fountain that was in the distance.
It was as if we were on a date, but the conversation was extremely serious.
I avoided it until now, but I needed to learn the ‘common knowledge’ of this world.
“It would be a little more efficient if there were more dedicated believers like priests or monks. The prayers of these clerics can become two or three karma, and by conveying the god’s teachings to other believers, they can clear their minds and provide clearer karma.”
A clergy to me is someone like Elena, the Evil God Priestess.
The only impression I had of her was that she was a red-haired girl, but it seemed that she played an important role.
“It’s treated as currency in the Divine Realm, but there’s actually a more important use for it.”
“Like using karma when you use the Evil God Basic Set?”
“What? So, you knew? Yup. To be more precise, it’s needed to perform divine miracles. For example, karma is consumed when an agricultural God defies the laws of nature to make a particular field produce a good, or conversely, a bad harvest.”
Oh, that makes sense now. If karma flows through the Divine Realm through people’s faith, then there would eventually be a tremendous inflation. If karma is consumed by miracles, then that would balance out the amount of karma in circulation. I know something about this because I used to work for a trading company, albeit it was a black trading company.
“In times of peace, only clerics pray, but in times of war, pestilence and famine, the people turn to Gods which increases the amount of karma a God receives and makes it easier for them to perform miracles. Ironically, this is called the ‘invisible hand of God’.”
Yoshinaga-san said smugly, but it wasn’t very interesting. Yoshinaga-san’s jokes have never been funny. I awkwardly forced a smile on my face, but I felt a little sorry for her.
“Now, this is just my assumption. First, all the inhabitants in this world, the humans and the demons in the world below are also reincarnated.”
It almost seemed certain when I thought about how reincarnation worked in the afterlife.
If everyone is reincarnated, then it was illogical to think that only the beings in this world are different.
“Why can’t we gain karma from the beliefs of demons if we’re all reincarnated in the same way?”
“Ah, you have a point.”
“Having said that, this is just another rule of thumb. Maybe it’s just that there has never been an Evil God who has gained karma from the demons before. But I don’t know. Anyway, why is it that Gods can gain karma from humans, other species and even mushrooms but not from demons?”
That was a very important question. I couldn’t do anything about it even if I knew the cause, but it doesn’t make sense.
“Maybe because they’re on the ‘Asura realm’.”
“Yes, it’s one of the six Buddhist paths of reincarnation. Beings reincarnated in this realm are destined to fight forever.”
That was what I would expect from a temple girl, she knows a lot about difficult things.
“Is it like hell?”
“It isn’t. It’s higher than hell. In Buddhist cosmology, it’s the path after the human realm((https://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/dic/Content/S/208)). Those who commit bad actions but aren’t bad people are reincarnated in the Asura realm.”
“So, it’s like past redemption?”
“Yeah, it is. Now, here’s the crux of my hypothesis. Just as how you cannot go to heaven unless you repay your karma debt, they cannot go to heaven or paradise unless they get rid of their bad deeds. So, isn’t karma being consumed for that purification?”
Hmm, so what’s your point?
“Let’s say that karma is daifuku.”
“You mysteriously produce one daifuku when you pray. Normally, Gods would take the daifuku that people produce when they pray. Do you get what I’m saying so far?”
“But there are hungry kids among the demons. They don’t get full no matter how many daifuku they eat, so even if they produce daifuku when they pray, the Gods can’t take it.”
I get what she was trying to say. They’re consuming their own karma to get rid of their bad deeds, so even if they believe in an Evil God, that Evil God can’t gather any karma from them.
“It kind of makes sense when you think about it like that.”
“Isn’t it possible that they just don’t have enough karma?”
“Then, you would have become a demon too.”
“Ah, you’re right.”
You become a demon if you lack karma, so it was certainly strange that I wasn’t a demon. I see.
“Come to think of it, why are you a God, Sempai? You look like you have a lot of karma, so you could have gone to heaven, couldn’t you?”
“Well, that’s because heaven sounds boring. I don’t want to be bored. Let me have a lot of fun, My Master.”