Chapter 02: The Goblin’s Plot
The rain had cleared up, but fog emerged in its place.
The <Dethroned Crown Prince> gathered his soldiers and had them recuperate in an abandoned castle just off the main road.
The abandoned castle wasn’t very large. With Lu Gun’s 300 soldiers added in, it didn’t hold enough space for an army of 500. Even so, they slept in shifts to avoid getting wet from the night dew, though it was no small feat. A fire was also lit as the previous lord of this castle didn’t take any firewood reserves with him.
“Evil God-sama, you have my sincerest gratitude for your help earlier.”
There was bread and wine placed on a round shield which served as a tray.
The Evil God’s priestess, Elena, was in charge of serving the Evil God.
He had invited Lu Gun to join them, but he preferred to stay with his soldiers. Perhaps he was too in awe to face the Evil God.
“No, I’m also thankful that Draco was able to cooperate with me so flawlessly.”
The Evil God looked just like any other demon as he sipped his warm wine while speaking.
Black hair and black eyes. His clothes appeared foreign, but he didn’t have an intimidating aura which one would expect from an Evil God.
But the <Dethroned Crown Prince> Draco believed in this Evil God because he had been saved. Such a relationship between a demon and an Evil God was unheard of.
The Evil Gods gave and took. Draco had never heard of an Evil God that ate together with you like a comrade in arms.
“Now then, Elena. I appreciate your explanation of the current events, but I’d like to go over it one more time.”
“Of course, Evil God-sama.”
I sorted out the information that I had received from Elena in my head.
This Elena girl, with her flaming red hair tied in a ponytail, was mature, and I gathered that she was quite bright from our earlier conversation. She immediately knew what I understood and what I didn’t and gave me sufficient explanations when necessary.
I was able to roughly understand the current situation thanks to her, but I wanted to confirm that what I had understood was correct.
“First, we’re in an age of war.”
Draco and Elena nodded at the same time. They weren’t real siblings, but their mannerisms were similar.
Their fathers were sworn brothers and they were probably raised together.
“And Draco is right in the middle of this chaos all because he’s from the Great Demon King’s bloodline.”
“Yes. The previous Great Demon King was my grandfather.”
I understood up to this point, but after that it got a bit confusing.
“Right now, there are three males in the Great Demon King’s ‘family’. The <Dethroned Crown Prince> Draco, the <Cloistered Emperor> Revolcane, and the <Crown Prince> Renis. And the <Northern Overlord> Is backing Renis.”
However, the problem basically lies between Draco and Renis; Revolcane, Draco’s uncle, isn’t involved in this conflict.
“Renis is from the matrilineal line. He is the son of my aunt, my father’s sister. His father is also descended from the Great Demon King’s ‘family’, but very distantly.”
“So that means that Draco’s claim to the throne is more legitimate?”
The sovereign Great Demon King died without naming a successor.
Under normal circumstances, his direct descendant, Draco, would become his successor, but the <Northern Overlord> Zardish interfered. He believes that Renis should be the Great Demon King, not Draco.
This Zardish was quite a cunning bastard. In fact, he was quite old.
He won over the aides of the previous Great Demon King since they were opposed to Draco’s strong desire to reform, and ‘found’ the Great Demon King’s last will and testament. This was a common tactic used throughout history.
“And then the battle to divide the region into two… didn’t happen.”
“Yes, it did not.”
“Those damned Demon Kings…”
Draco said loathsomely and Elena nodded.
There are supposed to be 108 Demon Kings in this demon realm… This number varied by generation according to Elena. Right now, there were roughly 100 Demon Kings, slightly below the standard.
All these Demon Kings were independent entities.
“There were many Demon Kings who were discontent that the Great Demon King held absolute power.”
“Those called ‘Demon King’ are usually the chosen representatives of their clans and tribes. They share the common language of the demons and can recall ancestral information about their enemies.”
They seemed more culturally diverse than America.
The battle from earlier also had demons, goblins, hobgoblins and kobolds, and I could see that there were many different kinds of demons. This was something that I, who grew up in modern Japan, couldn’t share. I immediately wanted everyone to get along.
“So, Draco has to beat up every single Demon King to achieve world domination?”
“In layman’s terms, yes. There are some Demon Kings who have placed themselves under other Demon Kings, so he will have to beat less than 100 Demon Kings.”
I even came up with a grotesque plan, but it won’t be that simple.
For example, the Great Demon King’s capital. It was important to seize bases like this. The <Crown Prince> must also be caught.
But our army had only 500 troops even if it had increased in numbers.
“500 against 240,000?”
“Forgive my impudence Evil God-sama, but we have actually increased to 550.”
Lu Gun answered my mutter.
He had just arrived. His hair was wet from the fog, and he dried it with a rag.
“I was assembling the defeated mercenaries that Draco-dono defeated. They are a mix of goblins and kobolds, but they number 50. There are also some who are injured, so they can only be used as porters or requisitioned.”
I didn’t understand the meaning of the word ‘porter’, so I quietly asked Elena what it meant.
Apparently, they were transport units who carried food and water.
“I see. I may be an Evil God, but I believe this is a good omen, Lu Gun.”
“It is thanks to the Evil God-sama’s benevolence.”
The <Half-Faced> hobgoblin gave a hearty laugh. He was surprisingly charming when I looked at him like this.
“Oh, come to think of it…”
I almost forgot something important.
I turned to face Draco and summarised what I had learnt in the Divine Realm.
“The <Northern Overlord>’s patron deity, you ask?”
“Yes, and Evil God with long black hair…”
I said and Draco leaned forward.
“Was she wearing foreign clothes and carrying a foreign pole-arm weapon?”
“Yeah, a hakama and Sky Piercer. Well, I suppose those things might not exist in this world.”
Draco took a deep breath, then exhaled. Was he trying to calm himself down?
“Evil God-sama, I have once told you that I have never seen an Evil God before.”
“Yes, you did say that.”
“That was a misconception. I’ve seen that <Black-Haired Princess> on the battlefield before.”
I replied. I could feel unpleasant cold sweat trickling down my back. I had thought that acting like this was a bad idea, but perhaps there are other Evil Gods who are also acting in the same way. But I only knew of one Evil God. Just what was she capable of on the battlefield? If I had been her, I wouldn’t have been able to do anything. At best, I could make thunder and use persuasion.
“The <Black-Haired Princess> is a monster. She is truly a mighty warrior. I would say that my army was defeated because of that one woman.”
Draco stared off into the distance.
The dust of the battlefield appeared clearly before his eyes.
The woman was riding a red horse.
There were no red-skinned horses in the Demon Realm. It must have been a divine beast or a rare magic beast.
“She appeared in the middle of the battle. The allied forces under my command had shifted to a dragon scale formation to resist the enemy army who were attempting to flank us on all sides with a dragon wing manoeuvre.”
The dragon wing formation was a formation in which many troops semi-encircle a small number of enemies from both sides, while the dragon scale formation was a formation in which troops were divided into smaller units to counter the dragon wing formation. It was often necessary to go back to the basics in a battle between two large armies.
“The allied forces continued to repel the enemy’s attacks with unparalleled bravery even though they had been jumbled together. They were trying to look for the opportunity to break through to the middle of the enemy while withstanding attacks from both wings. And that was when that woman appeared.”
Draco’s tone was laced with fury.
He had convinced himself that he wasn’t good enough, but it was a different story when the opponent was an Evil God.
“That woman riding on a red horse galloped alone into my army’s vanguard, and laid waste to them.”
“… She even got a red horse?”
The Evil God muttered something. It must have been something that only Evil Gods can understand.
“Our vanguard was demolished, and we were defeated in the end.”
They also outnumbered Draco’s army by 50,000.
Also, not all of Draco’s allies were loyal to him. They bravely got into the dragon scale formation, but the only thing that could be relied upon was their bravery.
His last ray of hope, the Evil God, just grumbled.
Of course, he would. Draco didn’t know how high up the <Black-Haired Princess> was, but his Evil God had only just been born as an Evil God.
A heavy aura descended over the area.
But surprisingly, it was Lu Gun who broke the silence.
“I have heard about the black-haired commander, but I did not expect her to be that strong, but so what? It isn’t like we are going to face her today or tomorrow. Let’s just think about today and tomorrow.”
He was correct. Draco wasn’t sure if he could grow his army large enough to face the <Black-Haired Princess>.
First, they needed to act.
“I have a plan for that.”