Actually, I came here today to look for a proxy.
I don’t intend to leave Draco’s side now. I’m going to think about it when the Evil Gods lecture me for exposing myself too much to the demons in the lower realms.
It was better to call them an advisor.
Although Elena has been extremely helpful to me, she has not received any formal training as a priestess. As a matter of fact, her rituals aren’t even appropriate.
What should an Evil God do and how should they behave?
I need an agent to teach me what to do and how to behave.
“You want an agent as a Lower First Rank? I would advise against it…”
What awaited me at the agent’s office was a cold comment.
The office was similar to a bank. A uniformed clerk politely greeted me in a lightly lit establishment.
“Is it impossible?”
“I would not say it is impossible, but it is difficult.”
According to the young lady clerk, the agents registered with this agency are also Gods. Some gods who don’t usually have much to do come here to earn some money as part-timers while others come to learn under a more powerful God.
I see, it’s like a talent bank for temporary workers.
“To hire someone with a certain level of ability, you need to pay them a certain amount of salary. As long as you can pay them a certain amount of karma, there are some Gods at the Junior Fifth Rank who are registered…”
“You’re saying that I can’t hire anyone with my God rank salary.”
“Oh, no, that is not what I am saying.”
She said as she took out a leaflet from a letterbox next to her desk.
The letters are small. Most of it is the terms and conditions. I skimmed through it and apparently it was saying that the agency would not be responsible for any problems that might arise.
“Well, actually, a bankrupt God can be hired at a very reasonable price.”
I went to the agency again the next day.
She said that she would gather together a group of Gods who were willing to be hired for 10,000 karma a month, but if they were willing to accept only that much, then I’m sure most of them are ‘ex’ Gods.
A pale translucent young man walked in at the sound of the young lady clerk’s voice. This was the fifth person.
Actually, the employment agency for the ‘ex’ Gods was a welfare project of this agency and these interviews were all arranged by them. I was grateful that they were doing all this, but the fact that they went to such lengths to get us to meet made me think that there was little hope that the Gods were talented. This wouldn’t have happened to them if they were talented.
I decided to start with a simple question.
“So, what’s your name?”
“Uh, hmm, well, my name… is the <Mushroom God of the Freezing Mountains.”
I don’t know if he had stage fright or if he just wasn’t used to talking to people. First, He couldn’t look me in the eye while talking.
“What are you in charge of as a God.”
“Eh, yes, erm, in the Freezing Mountains… hmm, there is a kind of beautiful and delicious mushroom called the antifreeze mushroom. They are poisonous, but hmm, I am the God of that mushroom.”
A beautiful and delicious mushroom was very nice, but his answer was too long. It would be nice if he could just give me the answer I was looking for.
“Is there anything in particular you have to be careful about when working with that poisonous mushroom?”
The young man suddenly stood up and started shouting.
“IT’S NOT A POISONOUS MUSHROOM! THEY’RE POISONOUS BUT IF YOU BOIL THEM PROPERLY THEN THEY’RE DELICIOUS! DON’T MAKE FUN OF MY MUSHROOMS! I’LL MAKE YOU EAT THEM RAW!”
The young lady who was assisting me today made me a cup of tea. We were taking a short break.
I interviewed three more people after the young poisonous mushroom man, but none of them were a fit. You can probably guess from the fact that the young man’s rating is second from the top.
“But, how can I say this… there are many unusual Gods here.”
“There are many unique Gods, that is for sure.”
Her expression changed mildly, but her eyes clearly agreed with me. One cursed the interviewer during the interview, one started singing, one started a fire, and finally one who skipped the interview and went to the Malkund shop.
They weren’t awful but I couldn’t hire someone like that. Even though I was only paying them 10,000 karma a month, it was still a precious 10,000. I myself am only paid 70,000 a month.
“I have one more God scheduled for this afternoon. She is an ex-God, but she has not lost her divinity yet.”
“How is that possible?”
“I meant it when I said yet. Even if the thing that a God is in charge of is gone, their divinity will remain until their karma is exhausted.”
So that’s how it is. I’ll join the ranks of ex-Gods when Draco dies, and I run out of karma.
“Then, shall we get started?”
It was Yoshinaga-san who came in.
Her hair was extremely short like it had been in high school and the ends flicked outwards. She had cat-like eyes, a small mouth, and a mole at the corner of her left eye. No matter how I looked at it, she was Yoshinaga-san. She was still as small as ever.
“Hirabon, what’re you doing here?”
“I could ask you the same, Yoshinaga-san.”
Yoshinaga-san was a senior at my high school. She was the female vice-president of the Go and Shogi club.
She was the daughter of a temple priest and was intelligent and open-minded. She was caring, always at the centre of attention and was a senior who I admired.
“Ah, I see. You died too.”
“What’s with your way of saying that? I’m more surprised that you’re dead, Yoshinaga-san.”
“You’re a rude guy, Hirabon.”
After laughing a lot, we realised that we were both standing, so I suggested that we sit down.
“But I’m surprised that you’re an Evil God, Hirabon. Well, but I guess it suits you.”
“What’s with that?”
“Only a nerd would want to be an Evil God. People with normal EQs wouldn’t want to become one.”
“You might be right.”
What was bothering me more was not what we were talking about but the mood. She hadn’t changed at all since our high school days.
“So, how did you… pass away, Yoshinaga-san.”
“Hmm? Oh, I was sick. It was right after graduation. Hirabon was probably older than me.”
“But I didn’t get news of your passing…”
I would have at least heard about it if she passed away.
I don’t know why, but I can only assume that no one knew that she had passed.
“Ah, lots of things happened. Well, I’ll tell you about that later. More importantly, what do you think? Are you going to hire me?”
I thought I had forgotten something, but it completely flew out of my mind when I saw an old friend.
“I’d like to hire you.”
“I also have no objections if you’re my employer.”
The decision was made easily. I wondered what I was working so hard in the morning for.
“Speaking of which, what kind of God were you, Yoshinaga-san?”
“A human God, a little tribal God. But they’ve perished now.”
“I’m in charge of a Demon King now, but are there humans in this world?”
“Yes, there are. A Demon King… so you’re in the demon realm? The Demon realm is about half of the northeast region of the largest continent.”
“Then, what about the other areas?”
“There are a lot. There are a lot of humans. The more people believe in you, the more karma you’ll get.
Come to think of it, I might have heard that before, or maybe not.
But why can’t I get karma from the demon believers?
“I’ll teach you everything slowly from now on. I’m more senior than you are here. I look forward to working with you, My Master.”
Benan shouted when Ri Gudang appeared in the audience room.
The young noble warrior was nowhere to be seen, he looked completely exhausted.
When he was discovered by nearby villagers, Ri Gudang was exhausted and had less than 10 troops left. When the villagers saw him drink the water they had offered him like an animal, they sent a messenger to the city to discover if anything was wrong.
“I apologise, Benan-sama. We were annihilated.”
They had lost so many soldiers that ‘annihilated’ wasn’t the right word to use.
Annihilation was when a unit loses its fighting strength, which is when the unit loses half of its soldiers. But this time, the troops had literally vanished like mist.
“What happened, Ri Gudang?”
“We were trapped. Draco is still alive.”
Draco, that battle wise <Dethroned Crown Prince, is still alive. There was nothing more frightening for the enemy. Perhaps, no, Draco will certainly hold a grudge against Benan. He had sent allied troops after them yesterday, after all. His anger would be unimaginable.
“Did you see him?”
“No, I did not. But he still has 200 soldiers with him.”
Lu Gun and the mercenaries couldn’t even chip away at their forces. It was absurd.
Draco had retained his army and was squirming around in the Red Forest while showing hostility towards Benan. Benan held himself back from screaming. This wasn’t a joke. It was that Draco.
“We will crush them… no, we will fortify our defences.”
Benan recalled how many soldiers he had here in his city when he said the word ‘crush’.
Now that the 300 reserve troops entrusted to Ri Gudang have vanished, he only had 1,000 mercenaries and 400 reserve troops left. 1,400 men can win against 200 men, but this was the <Red Forest of Jonan>. 1,400 men couldn’t face 200 men there, since the forest had a complicated terrain.
Above all else, it was that Draco.
While he sent 1,000 men to subdue them, they might trap the other 400 men in the city and attack Alunaha. Even if they couldn’t capture the city with 200 men, Benan’s authority would be destroyed.
“We must defend. The only choice we have left is to defend.”
“No, I think we should attack them.”
“… What do you mean, Ri Gudang?”
It was almost impossible to defeat a castle that had more defenders than the attackers. All he had to do was stay in his shell like a turtle. His enemies were just a bunch of defeated soldiers who didn’t have a proper base. That would be a hindrance in maintaining an army of 200. It was tough to feed an army of 200 men until they were satisfied. He could just wait for the storm to pass.
“Benan-sama, Draco is not our enemy.”
“… What do you mean?”
“We have yet to inform the people of Alunaha that we are hostile towards Draco. Many people still consider him an ‘ally,’ since he was the leader in the battle against the <Northern Overlord>. In fact, some of them sympathise with the defeated Draco.”
Ri Gudang was right. Benan had only told a limited number of his vassals about his plot to kill Draco. The advancing soldiers would have realised something, but even they had disappeared now. If Draco were to attack the city in this predicament, then it was possible that people in Alunaha may betray Benan.
“Since that is the case, we have no choice but to strike them before they get here. As a precaution, you can leave 600 men in the city, but I ask that you allow me to take 800 mercenaries to subdue Draco.”
“800? But do you think 800 mercenaries can win against him? Your opponent is the <Dethroned Crown Prince>.”
It would certainly seem like 200 soldiers can be defeated with 800 men, but the opponent was the <Dethroned Crown Prince> and the location was the Red Forest. It was normal for Benan to feel uneasy. Most importantly, Ri Gudang had been defeated once before.
“Please leave it to me. This Ri Gudang has a secret plan.”