I’ve been going on a lot of walks.
I don’t really want to be in the Evil God Temple that much. “It’s a building that was built for me,” I muttered to myself as I wandered aimlessly through the streets of Alunaha. I made myself invisible since I didn’t have anything to do.
There were more people on the main street than when I had first come to Alunaha. There was dust everywhere because the roads weren’t paved, and the street was lively because of the stalls. The sounds of the peddler’s voices made me want to eat some grilled skewers, but I couldn’t because they weren’t offerings. I’m not happy about that.
Yes, I’m unhappy. Yoshinaga-san supported Eulenspiegel’s idea. I don’t know why. I don’t want to know why either. I am extremely annoyed that Yoshinaga-san was paying attention to my needs.
I wasn’t going to order, ask or oracle Draco into invading the Human world. Yoshinaga-san didn’t ask me anything, perhaps because she was aware of this.
She didn’t ask me outright, but her words were stating that I should make a ‘decision’. This has never happened to me before, even in my previous life. Yoshinaga-san is always herself; she would never do something she wasn’t sure about.
Why was I so bitter, frustrated, empty and angry? It would have been simple if she just told me to ‘do it’. It would have been better to suffer from being told to do something.
Eulenspiegel was driven to a corner. Or to be more precious, ‘Eulenspiegel and the other indigenous Gods in Walbolt and around Walbolt, which was across the river to the west of the Demon realm were driven to a corner’.
The place across the river was said to be a peaceful, idyllic place with meadows and hills but recently the inhabitants’ belief has been waning because of a new faith.
A new religion called ‘Church’ has been introduced from the centre of the Human world, located further west of Walbolt. The ‘Church’ religion worships only one God and doesn’t accept other Gods. It isn’t popular yet, but if it were to spread then Eulenspiegel and the other Gods would lose their faith and their rank.
In an attempt to do something about this situation, the Gods around Walbolt asked their close acquaintance, Malkund to do something about it. By the way, it was surprising how many Gods in the Divine realm knew that Malkund and I were involved because of betting go and the mixed martial arts tournament.
They wanted to summon a demon army and pretend that it was the wrath of God. It was such an underhanded method. What would people think of a God who wants to make them suffer because their faith has weakened? I doubt Eulenspiegel has thought that far. It seemed to me that this solution would make more people rush to the new faith.
Come to think of it, Yoshinaga-san started acting strange after she heard the word ‘Church’.
Until then, she had treated Eulenspiegel with disdain and even tried to send him away, but she suddenly became accommodating for some reason; she offered him advice and asked for more details about the situation.
Perhaps, something had happened between Yoshinaga-san and the ‘Church’ before we met again. She must have had some kind of relationship with the ‘Church’ judging from the way she was acting. I’m almost certain of this.
She could have just told me about it.
She could have just said, ‘Hirabon, this ‘Church’ is an eyesore, let’s go crush them’, like in the past. I may not be able to make her wish come true on my own, but I should be able to worry about them with her.
If she refuses to even let me worry about it together with her then I…
By the time I had snapped out of my thoughts, the stalls were gone, and the high castle wall loomed before me. I had walked all the way to the ramparts while thinking.
I tried to turn back but my steps were much heavier than before. I didn’t want to go back to the Evil God Temple.
I flew up and went outside the walls. I’m sure the newly hired soldiers were being trained near here.
“You’re good at training.”
The <Half-Faced> Lu Gun commented to his new colleague, Kwon. Draco had been worried about how well the adventurer’s merchant would do, but it seemed that he had worried for no reason.
Kwon commanded and the infantrymen who were advancing turned around. The soldiers were young men from neighbouring villages.
It had been customary since Demon King Benin’s rule to organise the troops based on where the soldier was from because it was easier, but Kwon disagreed with this. He said that the troops should be divided according to the weapon they used, for example those who use bows go into a unit for bowmen and those who use spears go into a unit of spearmen.
Lu Gun, who oversaw training, agreed with Kwon’s suggestion and they were now training the new units.
“It was a good idea.”
Lu Gun said, and Kwon nodded.
“I imitated the human army.”
“The human army? Ah, you’re a ‘River Crosser’, Kwon-dono.”
“You don’t have to add -dono to my name, just call me Kwon.”
“Well then, Kwon. How well do you think these units will do?”
“I don’t have enough real battle experience. I haven’t seen Ri Gudang or Palmyra’s armies, but I don’t think these units will be of much use at this level.”
“I see. Then… how do you think they will fare against a human army?”
“I think they would be a good match against a human army. They may be numerous, but we are superior in terms of the physical strength of each individual soldier. We shouldn’t underestimate them but it’s safe to say that two of our soldiers can match three human soldiers. The 2,000 soldiers we are training is equivalent to 3,000 human soldiers.”
“I see. That’s very encouraging.”
Lu Gun recalled that La Banan had once shown him an old book that stated something similar to what Kwon had just said.
Demons and humans are born with different strengths. The demons would win by force with a well-trained army even if it was two against three. Kwon, who had crossed the river and saw humans with his own eyes, concluded this.
“But why would we want to fight a war against humans? Our enemies are Palmyra and Ri Gudang.”
“Hmm, well, that’s… a secret.”
Draco had asked Lu Gun to consider the pros and cons of invading the human world.
Lu Gun didn’t know why Draco had asked him this, but it made him excited as a warrior. He was confident that the 2,000 soldiers they had could pull this off as long as they had a clear objective.
A surprise attack that even the enemy wouldn’t anticipate. A spectacular result. These are the kinds of deeds that a warrior dreams of at least once in their life.
Lu Gun, who had switched masters, was a traitor, so to speak, and he was no longer young. This may be the last time he will be given a major task. Lu Gun almost couldn’t control his feelings when he thought about it.
The soldiers obeyed Kwon’s order and turned again. The young men’s movements were quick and lively, and the sight looked dazzling yet distant to Lu Gun.
Lu Gun decided to report to Draco that an offensive attack against the human world was possible. As long as it wasn’t too reckless, the soldiers were strong enough to achieve this goal. The young men will be ready to serve under Draco’s banner without embarrassment with a little more training under Kwon.
Should Lu Gun petition to take part in this war? He believed that young generals like Taibanka or Lukshuna should go.
He looked up at the sky and squinted.
The sky was high.
A kite was dancing while half of his face was hurting. He saw that and realised that the kite could freely fly to the human world. He was jealous but he couldn’t be like the kite. He will stay in Alunaha.
He felt strangely refreshed once he had made his decision.
He visited the Evil God Temple at night.
It was a moonless night. Draco and a few of his attendants arrived at the Evil God Temple by foot.
Recently, he had been busy with political affairs and hadn’t been able to visit the Evil God Temple much. It wasn’t because his faith had waned. In fact, he could feel a stronger connection to Hirano than before.
Something had formed after that defeat.
Some would say that his battle with Ri Gudang was a draw. Draco hadn’t won but neither did Ri Gudang. But in Draco’s mind, that battle had been a complete defeat. It had to be a defeat. Draco wouldn’t be able to move on if it hadn’t been a defeat.
The Evil God Temple was open even at night.
Many visitors come to the temple at night. That was how faith worked in the demon realm. They leave their daily activities and offer prayers. Their prayers mostly consisted of worldly interest or things about their immediate future. Wealth, fame, immortality, a long life, winning a battle or having the person you love fall in love with you. They were all very familiar and easy to understand wishes.
Some worship quietly and some worship zealously. Draco passed through them all and entered the passageway by the altar. This was the centre of the Evil God Temple where ordinary believers weren’t allowed to enter. The priests were transcribing scriptures inside on paper and reciting prayers.
“Is Elena here?”
“Older Stepbrother, I would have come out to greet you if you had told me you would come here.”
“It’s alright. I didn’t want to stand out.”
Elena looked exhausted.
There were other things she needed to do in addition to her job as the Head Priestess. Her research would eventually help Draco a big deal even though it hasn’t taken shape yet.
“Yeah, I need to talk to the Evil God.”
It was a matter that couldn’t be passed on as a message. Draco had to tell Evil God Hirano himself. It was that kind of conversation.
It wasn’t because of his feelings. According to Chunon, the Dark Elf who he had hired the other day, many ‘shapeshifters’ have already entered Alunaha. Of course, they were subordinates of the <Succubus Princess> Palmyra, who rules Pazan. Shapeshifters can change their appearances at will, which was perfect for infiltration.
Chunon said he had gotten rid of them as soon as he found them, but they couldn’t be too careful. The Shapeshifters have been fighting with the Dark Elves, the ‘ears’ of the Great Demon King, for a long time. He couldn’t be sure that the Dark Elves wouldn’t betray him.
“Hirano-sama is back here.”
“Hmm. His wife… I mean, is Yoshinaga-sama here as well?”
“No. The Goddess is currently away.”
The Goddess Yoshinaga and Evil God Edward and the guest God, Eulenspiegel were always invisible unlike Hirano, who was always visible. This wasn’t normal, but it seemed strange since Hirano always manifested himself.
Elena, who was involved with the Gods as a priestess, told him that she had developed the ability to sense which Gods were there by their presence, but Draco only knew when Hirano was there.
“Mm, Draco, you’re here.”
He tried his best to keep his voice cheerful but there was a shadow over his face. Perhaps he was tired from arguing with Yoshinaga.
“I am extremely delighted to be able to see your godliness, O’ Evil God.”
“You don’t need to be so formal. Let’s have some alcohol. You had some time off today, didn’t you? Tell me about the political situation.”
This Evil God loves to talk about politics, not the overall situation, but in fine detail.
Draco thought it was rare. Well, he didn’t know if it was rare or not, but Evil Gods weren’t like that to him. His image of an Evil God was someone who loved to fight and slurp blood. For example, the Evil God Okri, who Draco fought the other day, was exactly as an Evil God should be.
“Hirano-sama. I have something important to discuss with you today.”
“Yes. I would like to ask you a question before I start. What do you think of the human world, Hirano-sama?”
Hirano folded his arms and closed his eyes.
Hirano and Goddess Yoshinaga have been arguing recently because of this. Yoshinaga insisted that Draco invade the human world, and Hirano disagreed with her. Draco purposely brought up this topic.
“I don’t have any opinions about the human world since I don’t know much about it.”
“Even Evil Gods have things they do not know?”
“I don’t know a lot of things.”
The Evil God scoffed. His expression made Draco feel as if he was talking to a young demon from around here. The Evil God Hirano was so friendly, so Draco took advantage of this sometimes.
“Really? So, you do not know about a woman’s heart either?”
“――― Draco, you…”