Chapter 03: Liberating Alunaha
A peaceful rural landscape stretched far and wide.
It seemed that dry rice was grown here in this area that surrounded the castle city, Alunaha. As an ex-Japanese who was used to seeing paddy fields, this was a miserable sight, but this was better than wheat because the yield was higher.
I was surprised to see that the crops were rice since this was a fantasy world.
I wonder if they grow wheat in colder regions to the north. Speaking of which, Draco’s rations were bread, but after he ran out of bread, he ate rice. The alcohol he made as offerings weren’t beer or wine, but rice wine.
You can harvest more rice than wheat when you sow a grain of either.
I’m not sure how much more though. I remember when I was working at the trading company, the difference was 20 grains of wheat to 140 grains of rice, but this was a different world. The era, or rather the level of civilization, seemed completely different from my previous world.
It would be different if they had improved varieties or chemical fertilizers, but Yoshinaga-san forbade me from giving that kind of advice.
The only advice I could give them was about fertilizers. She also told me that I could tell them to make seedling beds instead of sowing the seeds directly on the ground, but since I don’t know much about that, I was afraid it was going to be more trouble than it was worth.
It may be common knowledge in this world and the microorganisms here might be different from those of my old world.
If I had been reincarnated with an agriculture book, then I might have been able to teach them how to improve their yield, but I don’t think it’s possible for me to teach them anything about agriculture when I don’t know much about it myself. I could just give them the ideas and let them come up with their own solutions, but that’s also difficult.
I am an Evil God after all.
Perhaps they only want knowledge that can be used immediately. I mean, even if God had suddenly appeared before me in my previous life and told me, “If you do this and that for ten years, then you’ll get great results,” I wouldn’t have believed them unless I was certain that would be what would happen. I would want a god to tell me things that get results in a snap.
That’s why I’m going to follow Yoshinaga-san’s plan.
Still, I was happy to see that rice was being grown here.
It was heart-warming to see the kobolds, wearing worn-out farm clothes and about the height of children, with sweat dripping down from their foreheads as they farmed. Though, they were probably just pulling out weeds.
It would be better for them to change from dry rice to a paddy rice field to increase yield. Looking at the fallow fields, it seemed that the fields had been damaged from repeated cultivation. They could reduce this problem if they switch to rice paddies, but it would take a lot of work.
It feels odd to have strange trees like fresh blood trees on one side of the area and rice paddies on the other though…
“So, Yoshinaga-san. Where did you say we were going?”
“Well, just follow me. I won’t hurt you.”
I followed after Yoshinaga-san as she flew with a smirk on her face.
I have to be careful when Yoshinaga-san gets that look on her face. Most of the time, she wasn’t planning on doing anything wrong.
She had this look in her eyes when she occupied the student council room during the cultural club meeting to fight for funding, when she rushed to Jonan University’s Science Faculty to build a pencil rocket that could actually reach the stratosphere because she ‘wanted to see a rocket’, and when she hijacked the audio-visual classroom’s equipment to hold an all-night screening of Star Wars.
I don’t need to remind myself of who the main perpetrator was.
At any rate, my baggage was heavy. Most of it was the alcohol that had been offered to me. I wonder if we were going to meet someone since she wanted me to take this with me. I hope it’ll be a God who will be pleased with unrefined glutinous rice wine.
“By the way, Master, I just want to make sure that you haven’t lost your skills in that.”
“That…? Oh, you mean, that.”
Yoshinaga-san smiled mysteriously. She was definitely up to something.
The welcome was unexpectedly polite.
Lukshuna was visiting Chef Gilgida, the Demon King of Baal Gonane castle city, south of Alunaha.
This area was even more humid than Alunaha. There was no land elevation here and the water from the river pooled to form a vast swamp. This castle city, which was located in the southern most part of the Demon Realm, was home to a race called the mud slurper.
It might be too hasty to call this a castle city.
Mud slurpers preferred dark and damp places, and as a result, their dwellings were underground.
Baal Gonane was a huge underground labyrinth where the essence of their mud slurping techniques was elaborated. Drainage shafts had been dug deep into the earth to maintain their living environment and the city was much cooler and more comfortable than above ground.
Lukshuna was welcomed in the Leader Room which was located just in front of the far end of the city.
“I’m glad to hear that Benan is dead. My wife doesn’t want a Demon King in Alunaha.”
The mud slurpers were a race of giant crustacean demons. They have eight legs and four hands, protruding compound eyes and and whisk-like mouths suitable for sucking mud. They looked like crayfish standing upright. If centaurs were arthropods, then they might look like mud slurpers.
They slurp mud as their name suggests. They are often despised by other demon tribes, but they don’t care much about that because they rarely leave Baal Gonane. Lukshuna had never seen one when he was in the capital.
Chef Gilgida was their leader. It was a strange position as he had no control over the tribe. He was in charge of the nest, Gonane, and was a husband to his wife, the ‘Queen Mud Slurper’.
It was said that the reason why Chef Gilgida, the so-called proxy, assumed the throne of Demon King was because his wife, the Queen Mud Slurper, had no interest in the outside world. The Queen Mud Slurper gave birth to hundreds of princess mud slurpers who in turn give birth to ordinary mud slurpers, most of which are female. The species that made up this strange society had little interest in things that had nothing to do with giving birth to protect the nest and increasing the size of the nest.
“Alunaha will be ruled by Draco-sama, and Milord wishes to form a friendship with the Gonane, and Chef Gilgida who rules over Baal Gonane.”
“The great hive of the Gonane, Baal Gonane, does not wish to have a Demon King in Alunaha, be it Benan or Draco.”
The mud slurpers were stubborn, though Lukshuna had expected them to be.
Alunaha was located on a river that flowed into Baal Gonane. The mud slurpers didn’t like that there was a city there and would attack as soon as they remembered about it. It was for that reason that Benan was strangely weird about having a reserve army in a frontier city.
The other demon tribes, or rather the Great Demon King’s office of past generations, treated mud slurpers as ‘barbarians’. The tribe that fought against the central government without submitting to it. It was a sign of deep-seated hostility towards them that people called them by a derogatory term, ‘mud slurpers’ instead of their real tribe name ‘Gonane’.
“Milord Draco is not like the <Clairvoyant> Benan. We are ready to be friends with the Gonane.”
Chef Gilgida’s compound eyes shifted slightly at those words. Lakshuna wondered if he was flabbergasted.
“Benan also said the same thing, and the Demon King before him, and the Demon King before that. A thousand typhoons have passed and the Gonane have been deceived many times and endured many times. We will not endure anymore.”
“We will be good neighbours. The <Dethroned Crown Prince> Draco is nothing like Benan.”
“There’s no evidence that he’s different. From my wife’s point of view, Benan and all you soft beings look the same. You keep saying Draco is different from Benan, but none of you can even lay an egg.”
Ah, shit. How much better would I feel if I punch this crayfish bastard right here and now? His hypothesis is completely wrong. We’re completely different species.
Lukshuna pondered while swearing in his mind.
Honestly, Draco didn’t have a diplomatic solution for the mud slurpers. He had dispatched a diplomat while saying something similar to, “We just moved in next door. I look forward to being good neighbours”. It was a coincidence that Lukshuna had been chosen for the diplomat role. Incidentally, Taibanka had also been sent to another city.
Draco was afraid of being isolated.
Alunaha was in the southwest of the Demon Realm and was in a remote area. A little further west of Alunaha across the great river was the Human Realm. Having only one castle city in this region wasn’t very encouraging.
That was why he had been sending diplomats to surrounding castle cities, hoping that they would support him because of the Demon King’s fame. The responses haven’t been bad so far. The frontier people are both jealous of and long for the central area.
However, the mud slurpers and lizardmen are different.
The lizardmen, who control several castle cities and have five Demon Kings, are always busy measuring their strength against each other and have no interest in the outside world. Taibanka must have been dispatched to them.
“I understand, Chief Gilgida. I have a suggestion for you.”
Chief Gilgida’s compound eyes moved slightly again. He really must be dumbfounded.
“He’ll be staying with the mud slurpers for a while.”
La Banan made no effort to hide his dislike for the mud slurpers. Many of his relatives lost their lives in battles with the mud slurpers.
“I’ve heard that the life of the mud slurpers are shrouded in mystery, but he might have a clue about how they live.”
“I hope he’s right.”
“Why don’t we leave them to Lukshuna? This will buy us time even if he makes no progress.”
“As you wish.”
The reformation had begun.
It was a radical overhaul. Draco found himself feeling a little uneasy about not having the Evil God by his side and smiled to himself. Everything was in motion, whether the Evil God was here or not.
The fog was getting thicker.
We were deep in the red forest. I love this kind of atmosphere when I see it in movies, but it was scary experiencing it myself. Nothing went wrong when I was reincarnated as an Evil God. It’s just that scary things are scary.
The thick trees, the ivy twisting around them, the distant sounds of the birds and the buzzing of the insects made this forest seem creepy.
I wandered through the forest while carrying a bag on my back.
I definitely wouldn’t come here if I were alone, but Yoshinaga-san was leading the way. I couldn’t turn back.
“Yoshinaga-san, are you sure you’re going the right way?”
“Yup, we’re going the right way. Don’t worry, my Master.”
She had been acting like this for a while now, but I don’t trust her.
Yoshinaga-san was legendary for being topographically disoriented and she had created many legends of being lost.
For example, she rode her bicycle to buy goods for the school cultural festival and didn’t come back, and everyone was worried about her because they couldn’t get through to her mobile phone, then the next day, everyone found out that she was causing trouble at the prefectural border. Another time she went missing during a school trip in the cold and a massive mountain search was conducted by the locals and they found her waving on a ridge two mountain massifs over.
Anyway, she’s really topographically disoriented. It was rumoured that the phrase ‘Don’t let Yoshinaga Saori carry a map’ became a motto for the teachers at my alma mater. It would be strange if I didn’t feel uneasy about being guided by Yoshinaga-san.
“Yoshinaga-san, are you sure we’re heading in the right direction?”
“Yeah, we are. The proof is this fog.”
Fog? Indeed, the fog was getting thicker and thicker, but what the fuck is with all this fog? I took a deep breath and found it tasted sweet.
“What’s with this fog? It tastes a bit sweet.”
“It’s all karma. It’s been diluted and vaporised though.”
“Eh, all this is karma?”
All of it is karma.
This was a wasteful way to use karma for someone like me who was seriously lacking karma. I choked a little since I took a deep breath, but it was amazing how it made me feel a little more energetic just from breathing it in.
“It keeps birds, people and animals away. You can even avoid demons around here. It’s a kind of ‘miracle’ that keeps the uninvited at bay.”
A miracle. It’s a miracle that keeps uninvited beings out. It was a power that the gods can exercise in the lower realms.
I’ve heard that the <Thunder> I used before was a typical miracle and that there are others like <Rainfall> and <Fruitful Year>.
The total amount of karma consumed was apparently determined by a formula like this: (inherent karma consumed) x (effect coefficient) x (area of effect) x (duration).
The <Thunder> I used last time had quite a large area of effect and had a long duration, so I lost 50,000 karma in one go. If I think before I use it, then it might use a lot less karma.
But this fog was amazing when I thought about it.
It stretched out so far and the effect was almost permanent. I couldn’t calculate how much karma it took to keep this fog up. What kind of monster God was making this miracle happen?
I looked up when Yoshinaga-san spoke and saw the exit at the end of the fog.