I took a proper look at my situation now that Draco and the others have finished talking.
First, karma. I can’t do anything without it. I can’t but…
I don’t have enough. It was amusing, it wasn’t enough at all.
Elena looked at me curiously as I panicked and started patting down my clothes.
She adorably held a slender finger to her lips and tilted her head in confusion. It was cute, but I didn’t have time to appreciate her cuteness.
“Pardon my rudeness Evil God-sama, but what are you searching for?”
“Oh, Elena. Actually, my karma is less than what I remember.”
“I see… Karma, is it?
I still had about 400,000 left over after I bought my clothes in the Divine Realm, but I only had about 350,000 now.
By the way, karma can be kept on something akin to paper money, making it extremely convenient. They even came in coins. I was from the lower middle class, so I saved it in this form but…
Then I realised something horrible.
I went outside the castle and tried summoning the thunder.
The sky had been clear up until that point, but it suddenly became cloudy, and the skies began roaring. I saw a single, large drop of rain, but it instantly turned into a torrential downpour. The slanted rain mercilessly bombarded the mossy walls of the abandoned castle.
“What the f-ck is going on?!”
Draco rushed out of the castle.
I probably looked awful right now. Draco’s voice slightly went up a pitch.
“Ah, it’s you Draco?”
I walked back into the abandoned castle because I didn’t feel like talking.
Draco couldn’t seem to be able to find the right words to say to my sooty back.
I found the cause.
Before the experiment, I had 354,317 karma.
But as soon as I called the thunderclouds to ‘say something important’, my karma instantly decreased and now I have a little over 300,000 karma left. In conclusion, I lost 50,000 karma just by calling thunderclouds once.
All the more reason for me to save. I have to save.
“Evil God-sama, we present you with an offering.”
Revenue was also a problem as well as expenditure.
I accepted the bread that Elena had presented to me, well more like it remained on the offering tray. She said that receiving an offering was like receiving the ‘essence’ of the offering. Elena explained that the things in this world and mine overlapped, so I was receiving the bread from my side of the world.
So, I ate the bread from my side of the world. What happened to the bread in the material world?
“… Evil God-sama, this… is not tasty.”
Elena knitted her eyebrows together and stuck out her tongue, but she quickly remembered that she was in my presence and quickly reverted her face back to normal.
Damn, that’s adorable.
So, the ‘essence’ of the offered bread was its deliciousness.
I asked Elena to eat the bread in the material world and this was the result.
The nutrients might also have been sapped out of it.
And thus, the first part of my master plan fell apart.
The plan goes like this:
Draco would first offer all his army provisions to me.
I will sell all of its ‘essences’ in the Divine Realm, and let Draco use the rations normally. There would be no problem if I could use this method. The more power Draco had, the more food I could get, and the more karma I could get from selling it.
But that completely fell apart.
I couldn’t possibly let them go to war while eating only tasteless bread. I wasn’t a diabolical Evil God, and they can’t win a war like that in the first place. Morale would plummet.
From what I can see, the morale of Draco and Lu Gun’s troops was quite high. More than that, they had to rely on their morale.
There were no weapons like guns that could ‘easily kill people’ like on Earth, so the General’s valour and charisma and the morale of the troops was that much more important.
To raise morale, charisma, discipline and good food were important. No one can fight without good food and a warm place to sleep. The troops will be defeated if those things are taken away. Even if they did win, they wouldn’t be able to keep it up for long.
If only I had my own valour.
… Yes, just like the <Black-Haired Princess>.
“Yes, for the past few days between the villages deep in the forest and Alunaha.”
“… That’s strange.
The <Clairvoyant> Benan felt uneasy about the piece of information that his subordinate had reported to him.
He was in his residence at the centre of his castle town, Alunaha. The stone building was originally simple, but despite being located in a remote area where things are often scarce, it was decorated in Benan’s preferences over time. The area around the castle city, Alunaha, was located in the <Red Forest of Jonan> out in the frontier. It was part of an area that had been called the Barbarian King’s fief a long time ago. Nonetheless, the public order in the area wasn’t bad at all. Any small-time criminals were soon crushed as soon as they appeared.
After thinking that far, Benan figured out the cause.
Lu Gun wasn’t here.
He had secretly dispatched one of his hobgoblin generals, <Half-Faced> Lu Gun, to where Draco was.
Up until now, the 300 elite soldiers led by Lu Gun were sent out to hunt down criminals as part of their training. He hadn’t made it known to anyone that he had sent Lu Gun away, but it wasn’t all that surprising that the criminals who would sneak around and work in the dark would resume their business.
“At any rate, did that bastard Lu Gun… fail?”
10 days had already passed since he sent Lu Gun out with 300 soldiers and 500 hired mercenaries.
That he had not been informed of Lu Gun’s success likely meant…
“To be defeated by a mere 200 wounded soldiers. I guess a ‘mutt’ will always be a ‘mutt’.”
Benan was a Goblin Sharman Demon King. From the view of the wise Goblin Benan’s eyes, hobgoblins were nothing more than expendable items. He always forced Lu Gun to deal with all the troublesome matters that pop up.
“How annoying of him to cause trouble even when he’s gone.”
However, could the pillaging be done by the <Dethroned Crown Prince> Draco, whom he failed to kill?
It was absurd but not impossible. After all, he was that <Dethroned Crown Prince>. He had rallied 190,000 soldiers to recklessly fight against the <Northern Overlord>. Moreover, the battle was even in terms of skill until halfway through, and he was far more superior than other Demon Kings.
It was possible that the <Dethroned Crown Prince> was hiding the remnants of his army near Alunaha and stealing provisions to build up their strength.
“It isn’t impossible. In fact, it’s highly likely.”
Benan had nothing to fear even though he had said that.
Alunaha had 700 reserve soldiers, and another 1,000 mercenaries who he could hire at any time. Normally, with Lu Gun’s 300 troops, the total would have been 2,000 soldiers, but they couldn’t be included now.
1,700 vs 200.
There was no way he could lose. Plus, Benan could fight from within the walls of Alunaha.
Alunaha was surrounded by walls and was the strongest fortress in the frontier, so <Clairvoyant> Benan was positive that they could repel an army that was five times his own.
Draco, on the other hand, had already fought a battle with the hobgoblin Lu Gun. It was hard to believe that he hadn’t lost any soldiers from that.
100, maybe 50.
It was hard to make up for the lost troops even with an outlandish scheme, so if Draco was hiding near Alunaha then…
“Send out the punitive force. We’ll crush the criminals. Pillaging is unacceptable, and I won’t allow them to touch the tax.”
Benan said as he rapidly gave orders to his subordinates.
Benan’s subordinates couldn’t do anything without being ordered by him, since he always gave detailed instructions on how to carry out his orders. Lu Gun, on the other hand, would do what he thought best when given a brief order. It was convenient that he did that, but it was something that also angered Benan.
For instance, the reserves. Presently, he had mobilised 1,000 troops for the battle with the <Northern Overlord>, but he always kept at least 500 reserve soldiers on hand.
The 500 reserves worked in shifts and recruited young men from the surrounding villages to serve in the military.
They changed jobs every quarter of the year. Benan’s goal was to recruit 2,000 men for military service, but some villages weren’t well-organised, or they ignored Benan’s edict and kept sending criminals.
In all honesty, Benan believed the person sent was always the same person, but Lu Gun would probably have disagreed. He was a ‘mutt’, but he always disagreed with his master, Benan, and when things got bad, he would just return to his village as he pleased.
Benan couldn’t say who was correct.
Benan hated that the villages in his fief governed themselves, so he took away all their jurisdiction and administration rights, thus it was illegal for them to violate the rules and send the same person to serve in the army as they liked.
However, Demon King Benan didn’t have time to deal with such trifling matters.
Benan grew tired of Lu Gun as these matters kept increasing and kept him away, but he was a valuable subordinate since he could work on his own.
“What is this? I thought I would feel better once he was gone, but…”
If they found his corpse, Benan felt that it wouldn’t be bad to erect a gravestone in his honour.
But it was too late to have such thoughts now.
And there was no time for sentimentality. He had to find out who the bandits were.