I found my life.
I was supposed to die at that place.
My task was to buy time through negotiations and if that wasn’t possible, then I was to assassinate Ri Gudang. That task is still on-going. The chaos had helped me escape.
I was supposed to die, but now I’m drinking alcohol. It’s a strange feeling.
That was what Lukshuna was thinking as he tilted his cup.
Night at Alunaha was surprisingly lively. The earthen-walled tavern was crowded with customers even though it was late in the evening. This was a cheap tavern that only served pork and alcohol, but it was enough for now.
“Drink, drink, Lukshuna.”
Taibanka was opposite him.
Taibanka had told him that he would pay for everything today since he felt guilty about asking Lukshuna to ‘die’. Lukshuna didn’t hesitate to drink as much as he could. He was someone who liked to drink rather than eat in the first place.
The alcohol that was poured into the chipped bowl was unrefined sake brewed from polished rice and had a very strong taste, but Lukshuna could drink it like he was drinking water.
“Yeah, it’s good. This is what I call a beautiful sake of victory.”
When he realised that they had won, a pleasant intoxicating feeling spread through his body. It was still good alcohol even though it was cheap sake. He finally had time to look around after a few rounds of toasts.
Alunaha was one of the largest castle towns in the southwestern frontier of the Demon Realm. Officially, the population was 30,000 but in reality, there were an additional 5,000 people living in the city, and the population becomes quite large if you add the population of the surrounding villagers to this number.
Many of them were kobolds and most of the customers in this tavern were kobolds. But they were still from the south. Compared to the kobolds he was used to seeing in the demon capital, the people living in Alunaha had much shorter hair. Perhaps, they were a different species of kobold.
They were all drinking cheerfully, so they didn’t feel as if they had been defeated.
Lukshuna asked as he poured alcohol into Taibanka’s bowl, “Was Benan not a good ruler?”
“From what I can see, he wasn’t. There are a lot of kobolds here, but most of Benan’s close aides are goblins.”
“So, our <Dethroned Crown Prince> is their liberator.”
“Who knows. If expectations are high, then the repercussions for failure will be great.”
Draco had no executive officers under his command, so he needed to employ someone to act as an executive officer, but he couldn’t just hand that position to Benan’s subordinates. Benan’s subordinates were mostly made up of his relatives and their resentment towards Draco hadn’t subsided. Most importantly, there was great opposition from the short-haired kobolds who made up the majority of the population.
No new appointments have been announced yet because of that even though it has been three days since they had seized the town.
“But it will be difficult to govern.”
“That doesn’t just apply to this place though. The whole nation is in shambles.”
It had only been a few years since the demise of the previous Great Demon King, but the Demon Realm was in complete shambles.
The taxes that were supposed to be collected at the capital were delayed and the Great Demon King’s Office was making their money by creating manors around the capital which they had forbidden.
Then again, it wasn’t like the region was getting richer. The heavy taxation was unbearable, and the demons continued to flee. The fleeing nobles became servants of appropriate Demon Kings and cultivated their manors. Most of their harvest was collected by the Demon King who promised to protect them.
In short, the lowly people were being oppressed as always.
The Demon Kings made the young men serve in the military because of the repeated wars and the territories quickly became impoverished.
Alunaha and its surroundings were no exception.
Draco undoubtedly had a difficult task ahead of him as Benan’s replacement.
Lukshuna sunk his teeth into the juicy pork skewers.
“At any rate, Evil God-sama…”
“Oh, Evil God-sama.”
Taibanka wiped his mouth with his sleeve and said.
The Evil God who had disappeared during the fight had returned. Those in the army knew him, and a lot of them were friendly towards him. There haven’t been many Evil Gods who have manifested in the history of the Demon Realm, and most of them were deeply rooted in legends. There will be people who worship them if they are seen.
A temple was about to be built to honour the Evil God.
“Lukshuna. Just between you and me, the battle this time was too dangerous.”
“You think so too, Taibanka?”
The <Dethroned Crown Prince> Draco was famous for being an expert strategist, and Lukshuna was aware of how dangerous his leadership was. He should be fighting on a bigger field. He was too smart, and when handling small units like this time, he tended to play a lot of tricks.
If his plan is a hit then it’s deadly, but if he misses, then he’s defeated. His cleverness stood out.
Taibanka drank the alcohol in his bowl.
“It’s possible to fight that way if you’re leading an army of up to 5,000 men, but we must get used to these kinds of plans.”
“That kind of fighting suits him if he’s showing off his royal abilities.”
The Evil God made up for the danger. It wasn’t as if victory or defeat was decided solely based on the luck that the Evil God granted, but the two of them saw this luck in action. They naturally felt gratitude towards the Evil God.
“To Evil God-sama and Draco-sama.”
“To Evil God-sama and Draco-sama.”
Their two bowls clunked against each other.
The hustle and bustle of the tavern was going to last for a while.
Even a novice like me understood that this was terrible.
I was being shown materials on the tax system in the home of the Demon King in Alunaha which Draco had seized.
“Draco. Let me ask you, is this the standard tax system in the Demon Realm?”
“It is not, Evil God-sama. As far as I know, there is no tax system that is as repulsive as this one here in the Demon Realm. But ever since the previous Great Demon King perished, the Demon Kings around the world have been going independent and local politics have been in chaos.”
“That’s easy to see.”
I turned to the invisible Yoshinaga-san who was beside me.
Yoshinaga-san shook her head a little. Is she telling me that I should avoid giving advice on the tax system?
I’ve developed the bad habit of doing everything people ask of me, maybe because I had worked at a black company for a long time. I had a servile personality. It was a lot of self-sacrificing, but that wouldn’t work as an Evil God.
Apparently, there were three elements to a relationship between a God and their believer.
I hired Yoshinaga-san as my advisor to teach me how to balance these three elements. My familiarity was the best out of the three, but I wasn’t connected to my believers through faith. Gathering faith didn’t mean that I would accumulate karma, but I needed to hone the balance between these three elements to improve my divinity in the future.
But still, this was horrible.
It was originally a simple national tax system, i.e., tax on harvests, trade tax, salt tax, liquor tax, and inheritance tax, but the Demon King Benan increased taxes as he pleased.
Road tax, logistics tax, charcoal tax, forest use tax, hunting ground tax, and pig farming tax are still somewhat understandable. Modern Japan also increased taxes when they needed more revenue.
The problem came after that.
Marriage tax, death tax, Demon King appreciation tax, forest entry tax, bridal night tax, divorce tax, quarrel arbitration tax, and even murder tax. I don’t even know why he imposed tax on all these things. The murder tax allowed one to kill people as much as they wanted as long as they paid the tax.
This was only a small part of the secrets written on the documents. In addition to all that, it was written that there were extra taxes collected whenever there was an occasion to collect them. There was also war tax, royal wedding blessing tax, royal condolences tax, and even a royal wedding commemorative tax.
It was no wonder that Demon King Benan wasn’t popular. This was absurd.
I’m certain that Draco won’t maintain such a nasty tax system, but it worried me. It worries me, but I can’t interfere.
“Draco, you need a compassionate heart to rule the people.”
“I am aware.”
“The noble path, Draco. You must rule your people righteously and not with a military fist.”
“As you wish, O’ Evil God.”
I wonder if he got the message. Who knows?
Honestly, what I said was naïve. It was as sweet as drinking gum syrup straight from the bottle.
Qin Shi Huangdi, the first emperor of China, was able to go and conquer other countries because Shang Yang, a Qin statesman, had the rural state of Qin rigidly under the control of law and order. Tokugawa Ieyasu’s Bakuhan system (Shogunate system) lasted nearly 260 years and allowed the government to extort the people while not allowing them enough to live but also not killing them.
I knew this and Draco probably understood this well too, so it was important for him to govern well. Don’t be too strict and don’t be too kind. He probably needed to be kind in order to make the most of the base he had acquired. This was something I understood as a former modern person.
I began to think about what I should do after meeting Yoshinaga-san again.
What can I do as an Evil God?
I haven’t come to any conclusions yet, but frankly, I can’t do much, but I’ll try my best even if I can’t do much.
I’m not going to say anything arrogant like saving the demon race, or rather, I can’t say it.
The thought of seeing the unification of the world up close and personal had vanished from my mind.
People die when they fight.
I often dreamed of that massacre.
I wondered if the goblin who had reached out to me had wanted to kill me or if he wanted me to help him. Maybe it was neither, but there was no way to be sure.
Yoshinaga-san was calling me.
I have to go see my temple, where Elena, who had become my priestess, was waiting for me.