Alunaha was made of wood and mud.
It was a city surrounded by a forest and the only thing that was made of stone was the high stone walls that fortified the defences. I guess I feel a bit nostalgic about this cityscape because I was Japanese. The roads weren’t paved, but this city was similar to the traditional townhouses in Kyoto and Nara.
The fact that the city was laid out in a grid pattern like Kyoto was also secretly a plus for me.
I didn’t want to cause any unnecessary commotions, so I turned invisible and followed behind Yoshinaga-san.
The city was full of life since it was occupied without much damage from the battle. Although there were no street stalls, it was fun just to watch the peddlers shouting and selling their wares.
I felt so nostalgic that I thought there might be a convenience store around the corner, but this was a different world. There were kobolds, goblins and hobgoblins everywhere, and also the rare lizardmen and crayfish ghosts.
I wasn’t bothered by the heat since I became an Evil God, but it was very hot and humid here, and the humidity was just like in Japan. If they had flat fans or folding fans here, then it’ll probably sell well.
“Yoshinaga-san, it’s very hot here, isn’t it?”
“Well, it’s a bit south of the equator, so it’s hot.”
“Oh, so this world has an equator too?”
“Well, that’s because this is also a planet. There’s an equator here, so they also have a North and South Pole here.”
I see. I vaguely believed that this was a parallel universe, but I guess it was like that.
A lot of things make sense now since this was close to the equator. The trees that cover the <Red Forest of Jonan> certainly resembled tropical plants that grow in the jungle.
This area was said to be the ‘southwest of the Demon Realm’, so the term ‘Demon Realm’ must refer to a fairly large area across the equator. It wasn’t just the ‘central plains’ like in the ‘Record of the Three Kingdoms’. Ah, but the planet itself might be smaller than Earth.
I guess I’ll find that out soon enough.
After crossing the bridge and passing through the main street, we came to a plaza in front of the castle gate.
Actually, it would have been over when the gates were breached, but I guess they laid out their camp here to make a last stand. It was quite a large area.
I found my temple here.
A one-story wooden building. It was about the size of a large convenience store.
It was hastily built for now and hadn’t been decorated yet, so you could call it a big house. But a temple like this was fine since I might feel tired if the temple was too grand.
“Come, Master. We’re here.”
“Yoshinaga-san, can you please stop calling me ‘Master’?”
“Why? Master is Master.”
She was obviously enjoying my reaction. I sighed and dropped it since I knew that she wouldn’t listen to me.
Now, to the temple.
“It’s been a while, Elena.”
Elena greeted me as I entered the temple.
In the past, she wore a robe over her leather armour, but now she was dressed in a proper priestess attire. The high hat on her head looked good on her.
There were three priests with flat hats standing behind her. Oh yeah, Elena had gone from being a flat hatted priestess to the ‘head priestess’. She had risen to the ranks when I wasn’t looking.
“We have been waiting for you, Evil God-sama. This is Evil God-sama’s main temple, the Evil God Temple.”
Elena said while smiling, but the inside of the temple was bleak.
The only thing that stood out in the temple was the huge number of offerings, ranging from bread to wine to ornaments, but that was all. There was nothing else.
Which wasn’t surprising, so I asked her to stop making a statue to worship for now. I didn’t have a reason for asking this of her, but I just didn’t want her to make a statue right now. That was how I felt.
“Actually, Evil God-sama, I have a message for you from my brother… the <Dethroned Crown Prince> Draco.”
What message? I just met him.
This kind of pretentiousness was exactly something a royal would do. I don’t know what it is, but I feel grateful.
“He wishes to offer Evil God-sama with an esteemed name.”
“Esteemed name? Esteemed name… Oh my name?”
“Yes, O’ Evil God-sama.”
I looked at the transparent Yoshinaga-san and she was nodding her head with her arms crossed.
I remembered that your divinity ranks up from Lower First Rank to Lower Second Rank when you receive your name. This was a promotion and came with a salary raise.
Well, I never got any promotions or salary raise when I was working for the black trading company, and my bonus was just a brown envelope with a handwritten note saying it was a thank you gift, with one Higuchi Ichiyo (5000 yen) and three Hideyo Noguchi (1,000 yen), so I was really happy about this.
“Is that alright?”
“Yes, please receive it.”
Elena answered as she took out a rolled-up parchment from her pocket.
I felt a little nervous. Naturally, I don’t remember when I was named ‘Hirano Bonta’ in my previous life, so this would be my first memory of ever receiving a name.
Elena slowly unfolded the scroll and read out the contents in a clear voice.
“Though many days have passed by, on this fortunate and auspicious day I, Draco son of Lione, fearing to put into words the name of the Evillest God, do most humbly receive your patronage.”
It was very standard. This kind of reverence made me realise that I have become an ‘Evil God’.
After she finished reading the scroll, Elena slowly walked over to me and handed me the scroll.
“I look forward to worshipping you, My Fearsome Evil God, Hirano-sama.”
Draco lined up a cup of poisoned alcohol with a brush.
A small goblin shaman trembled before Draco.
He was the eldest son of the <Clairvoyant> Benan, La Banan. He had been on the run since Alunaha was occupied, but was found this morning, cowering and shivering under the eaves of a general store.
Rather than giving him refuge, Draco pitied him.
Benan had wanted La Banan as his successor, but there were strong voices within the tribe who favoured Ri Gudang. But La Banan was more of a scholarly person and didn’t want to become a Demon King who valued warfare.
Draco was forcing La Banan to make a ruthless decision.
“You can either slurp down the poisoned alcohol and die or pick up the pen and serve as a government official. Choose.”
Draco took pity on La Banan who was trembling slightly.
La Banan probably wanted to research magic, but now that Ri Gudang was gone, the tribe looked down on him and pushed all responsibilities on this young goblin shaman. They didn’t have the guts to rebel against Draco, but they wanted to gather their factions.
Draco wasn’t going to let them carry out their scheme. Alunaha’s corruption was brought on by the Benan tribe. Draco wasn’t so soft that he would pardon those who didn’t take responsibility for their actions, made La Banan the successor, and were watching vigilantly for an opportunity to take revenge.
But on the other hand, the <Dethroned Crown Prince> had no intention of supporting the kobolds.
Undermining the small number of goblins and handing their position to kobolds was no different from what Benan had done. Draco was willing to employ goblins, kobolds, and even mud slurpers as long as they were capable.
And Draco saw that this La Banan in front of him had the ability to live up to his expectations.
“I’ll ask again. Death or service?”
“… I will work for you, Sir.”
Draco smiled at the young man who responded in a strained voice.
Then, he picked up the poisoned alcohol and drank it.
La Banan widened his eyes in surprise.
“Sorry for testing you. I lied about this being poisoned alcohol, it’s just wine.”
Draco said as he poured another cup and handed it to the still dazed La Banan.
The wine Draco had brought from the capital was nearly out. To those who had never seen this wine before, the blood-red colour of the wine might have indeed looked like poison.
“La Banan, I’ve read the reform proposals you put together whiLa Banan was still alive.”
“Ah, I see.”
There was something charming about the way La Banan’s eyes were darting back and forth between Draco and the cup in his hand as if he didn’t know what to do. She had already passed away, but Draco heard Benan’s wife was a great beauty among the goblins. He didn’t know if it was a lie or not, but she came from a family who took pride in the fact that their ancestors had elven blood in them.
The elven traits must have been strong in her. As a goblin shaman, La Banan had a face that matched demons’ aesthetic tastes.
Draco smiled and asked La Banan to drink, then he looked down at the documents in his hand.
It was a reform proposal for Alunaha written by La Banan.
It was a bold plan stating that they should completely abolish the tax system and create a whole new tax system instead of randomly reducing and exempting tax. He may look timid, but he had big ideas.
The scope of the plan extended to the laws of the city and didn’t seem like an idea thought up by someone who was immersed in studying magic.
“What is this part about? Encouraging people to farm pigs?”
“Y-yes. Alunaha is a city surrounded by forests, so there is still a lot of room to raise pigs. We can also get rock salt nearby, so I believe we can preserve the pigs with salt and sell them to a nearby market, which would also line the citizen’s pockets.”
“I see. I heard a lot of good ideas. So, why hasn’t pig farming flourished?”
“Because of taxes. You had to pay forest entry tax, forest use tax, pig farming tax, firewood tax, distribution tax and road tax in order to make a profit from pig farming. By reorganizing these taxes, we can make it easier for people to raise pigs.”
“That sounds like it would reduce tax revenue.”
“First, we will integrate everything into the logistic tax to simplify the tax on goods entering and leaving Alunaha. More goods will be traded, and more tax revenue will be generated if the miscellaneous taxes are more organised, and the tax process is simpler.”
Draco groaned. He might have gained confidence from the alcohol, but this was not the speech of a man who had been trembling earlier. As far as Draco could tell, the things that La Banan had spoken about weren’t out of order. He could even say that this was an unexpected find. It was a good start since he needed to gather civil officials and military officials.
“Good. La Banan, I’m appointing you as my secretary. Work hard.”
“Yes! … But…”
“Are you fine with me being your secretary? I am the son of your enemy, Benan.”
La Banan asked anxiously, and Draco patted his head.
“I don’t want the son of Benan. La Banan, you are the one I want.”
“Y-yes! I humbly accept!”
“Come now, we don’t have time for this nonsense. We have a lot of work to do. First, we need to select people to work under you.”