Chapter 01: Troublesome Request
There were somen noodles.
Cold, smooth, delicious and an essential part of summer in Japan. Chilled Chinese noodles were also nice to have in summer, but somen noodles were cheaper, so I like them.
“Would you like to have some somen?”
Von Malkund, the <Goddess of Gambling>, deliciously slurped some somen noodles with a smile on her face. The glass bowl was filled with somen noodles. The water in the bowl swayed in the bowl.
Why was I eating somen noodles after being transmigrated into an Evil God? Even I don’t know.
The sound of wind chimes, a fan and mosquito coils.
Tatami mats and a tea table. I could see beautiful morning glories in the front garden which could be seen from the front veranda.
This was a Japanese summer.
And yet I don’t feel the uncomfortable heat. That’s because I’m an Evil God.
Heat, cold, hunger and sleepiness. I seem to have lost all those senses in my transmigration.
“I guess it doesn’t matter since you don’t have any of those inconveniences when you become a God.”
“Hah, I guess so.”
“Isn’t it strange? Sometimes I miss the summer heat even though I used to hate it so much. That’s why I had this room set up. I wanted to at least enjoy the ambience of summer.”
Miss Malkund runs a chain of gambling dens in the Divine realm. I was invited to the ‘Scarlet Room’ which was located at one of her residences.
I slurped the somen noodles. The nostalgic taste of the dashi broth spread in my mouth. The cool texture of the noodles was pleasant. I found myself eating another three or four mouthfuls of somen.
“Listen to me while you eat.”
Malkund was dressed in a yukata and was fanning herself with a Japanese fan. The yukata suited the beautiful blonde girl. The dark blue fabric was decorated with a single violet morning glory. The whiteness of her skin that was peeking out from the collar was dazzling.
“――― You seem to be doing whatever you want down there.”
She was direct.
I was so surprised that I almost spat out my noodles, but thanks to my well-trained self-control, I didn’t let this show on my expression. Malkund’s cold, blue gaze was fixed on me.
About a month has passed since the battle with Ri Gudang.
It’s true that I’m doing as I please in the lower world and going beyond what I should do as an Evil God, probably. I will go through this journey with Draco. I forced him to withdraw to fulfil that promise.
“You almost always manifest and can be seen a lot. You don’t hesitate to use miracles which include causing lightning strikes. Honestly speaking, you are behaving in an outrageous manner.”
“I agree with you.”
It’s better not to make bad excuses at times like this since I’m actually doing those things.
But I’m not going to give in. I’ve decided to watch over Draco.
Besides, Malkund probably wasn’t angry. Her gaze was off me now and on the morning glories in the garden. Her tone was calm, and she even seemed to be enjoying my reaction. She must be preparing to make a negotiation.
“A penalty would normally be placed on you.”
“A God will judge a God. Is that what you’re saying?”
“If there are more than one God or Evil God, then it becomes a society. There should be rules in society to avoid unpleasantries. You seem to be indifferent to this.”
“Well, I am someone who knows Yoshinaga-san.”
I’ve known Yoshinaga-san, who is also a God, since my previous life. She was one of my seniors in high school and is a broadminded and flawless Goddess who hates formalities.
Would I, who has been trained by her, obediently comply with rules? There was no way Malkund, who had a history with Yoshinaga-san, wouldn’t realise this.
“――― I find it hard to say anything else when you put it that way.”
But my current behaviour wasn’t due to Yoshinaga-san’s principles. Yoshinaga-san didn’t like it when I appeared in front of Draco or got involved with him more than necessary. It goes without saying that I wouldn’t use miracles lightly and I am strictly forbidden from imparting knowledge that I have gained in my previous life.
I won’t pry, she must have her own reasons for telling me those things.
Nevertheless, Yoshinaga-san’s influence drives me to do what I think is right even if it means deviating from the rules. Yoshinaga-san taught me many things during the year we spent together in high school in my previous life.
“Let’s leave those things aside for now. You owe me a debt. Do you remember, Hirano?”
“… From the betting game, right?”
“Yes. I would like to settle that debt as soon as possible.”
So, she wants me to repay my debt. She pointed out that I was doing something wrong earlier for this. What difficult task will she impose on me? She didn’t allow Yoshinaga-san, who she is on bad terms with, to be at this meeting because she knew that Yoshinaga-san would reject her request.
“It depends on what you want.”
“Do you think you’re in a position to be picky?”
“I’m only an Upper Junior First Rank. There are things I can do and things I can’t do.”
Malkund smiled softly at my answer.
I succeeded with my retort. I wonder if she wants me to do something that can’t be entrusted to someone who gives their word without promise. I feel like things are getting more difficult.
“I don’t hate that part of you.”
“That’s very kind of you.”
“If you weren’t a member of Yoshinaga-san’s faction, then I’d like to have you as my subordinate.”
“Please forgive me for being rude, but Yoshinaga-san would have a fit if she were to hear that.”
“Oh, you have a lot of confidence in that statement. As far as I know, Yoshinaga-san isn’t attached to any God or thing unless she likes them a lot.”
“I may look like this, but we’ve been friends since our previous lives.”
I smiled back at her, so that I wouldn’t have to look at Malkund directly in the eyes. Her jewel-like blue eyes turned towards me again.
She wasn’t just enjoying the conversation. She was clearly measuring my capability.
This Christina von Malkund looked like a pretty girl, but she was a racoon on the inside. She was so menacing and seemed like she would cut you down if you showed her an opening.
A single careless answer could lead to her grasping my weakness. Be careful but witty. I had to choose my words carefully so that I don’t a make commitment and I had to avoid the traps in her words.
“So, you’re saying you two were friends in your previous life and nothing more. I would like to ask more about the relationship between you two but let’s just leave it at that. By the way.”
Here it comes. I straightened up my posture and turned to Malkund.
“Yes, what is it?”
“I would like you to ―――…”
“… So, that’s why you’re taking care of him?”
I was sitting in a seiza posture in front of Yoshinaga-san with the Priests and Priestesses behind me in Alunaha. This was embarrassing. Elena and the other priests were pretending not to pay attention to what I was doing, but I knew their shoulders were trembling from time to time. They must be laughing. Yoshinaga-san stubbornly refused to reveal herself, so I must look like I’m bowing to an empty space. I definitely look ridiculous.
“But the <Goddess of Gambling>, huh.”
Yoshinaga-san muttered. A boy was sitting uncomfortably at the corner of my eyes.
He had grey hair and blue eyes. He looked around 14 or 15. He was dressed like a butler. He was a boy with a very gloomy face.
Malkund ‘entrusted’ me with this boy.
“It’s unprecedented to ‘entrust’ a God to someone else. And a higher ranked God at that.”
“There’s hardly any Gods who have a lower rank than me.”
“Don’t get smart with me, you’re so disgraceful. Anyway, hey you.”
“Eh, ah, me?”
“Yes, you. Eulenspiegel.”
Till Eulenspiegel. Taking care of this boy God and granting his wish was my way of paying Malkund back.
“You must be in some kind of trouble since the <Goddess of Gambling has asked Master to take care of you.”
As expected of Yoshinaga-san. She didn’t ask him this in a roundabout way.
Eulenspiegel looked at me as if he was asking for help, but I shook my head. I also need to know what kind of trouble this boy is in.
“Hmm, well, I… am a God in a place called Warbolt.”
Warbolt was the name of a place that was outside of the Demon realm and to the west of the Red Forest of Jonan and across the river. It was adjacent to the region that Draco ruled. I knew I had to make contact with this place sooner or later because of Venerable Jonan’s advice but there was one problem. The people who live there aren’t demons, but humans. I have yet to see a human since I transmigrated. Would I be able to help him if he asks for something?
“Actually, this is a bit hard to say…”
“What do you want help with?”
This boy knew he was making an unreasonable demand. There was no way that Malkund would have given me an easy task.
Eulenspiegel looked at me with puppy eyes.
“… I want the demons to attack Warbolt.”
The hammers sounded.
The castle walls of Alunaha were being greatly expanded.
In the Demon realm, a castle city was an area surrounded by walls and the Alunaha was also surrounded by walls. Alunaha wouldn’t grow if they didn’t expand the city walls. This was what Draco and La Banan, the chief civil official, thought. That was the reason for this expansion.
More peddlers were visiting Alunaha, and people as well.
“So, you’re saying we cannot accommodate all the people no matter how far we expand the market?”
“The problem isn’t how big the market is. More vendors are arguing with each other due to minor disagreements over the location of their stalls. It’s necessary to have a person in charge of making rulings to facilitate commerce.”
“Can’t I give you the authority to do that?”
“With all due respect, the situation is already beyond my control.”
La Banan’s work was increasing day by day because he did an excellent job as a civil official. The Alunaha government office hired anyone who could read. It was inevitable that work would be concentrated on those who could do it. Draco believed he should change this, but it was faster and more accurate to let La Banan or himself handle the work.
There was a shortage of labour resources on all fronts.
Draco suffered a defeat in an earlier battle against the Goblin Shaman Ri Gudang. Even though his actual defeat was because of the White Wolf Evil God that the enemy had called, a defeat was a defeat. But the people saw the result differently. They didn’t see it as a victory but a standstill with the enemy without any damage to Alunaha.
In a sense, they were correct.
The alliance with the Gonane in the southern swamps was also a good factor. He didn’t have to worry about his back thanks to his subordinate, Lukshuna’s success in forging an alliance with the Gonane.
Moreover, Alunaha was becoming relatively stable with Draco’s reforms of the tax system and his attention to security.
It wasn’t surprising that sharp peddlers would have their eyes on this city. Alunaha was suddenly thriving with the influx of people who had abandoned their lands, but as the people increase, so do disputes. They didn’t have enough people to handle the situation.
They didn’t have enough civil officials, military officers, soldiers and were lacking in other departments as well. ‘Blue Dadda’ ―― so called because he was covered in blue dye and couldn’t get rid of the colour ―― and the other werebears became his subjects, but he still only had 400 soldiers. With that number, it would be difficult for the guards to protect Alunaha when he dispatches the soldiers.
The speed his force was growing couldn’t keep up with the pace of acquiring labour resources.