“Oh, my bad.”
The owner of the voice appeared from an unexpected place: the ceiling. They had blue skin and dark eyes. They were a Dark Elf, a rare race. He had seen them in the capital.
“A Dark Elf? I’ve never spoken to one before.”
“It is a pleasure to meet you.”
The Dark Elf, who had come down from the ceiling, kneeled down and prostrated himself to Draco. The way he moved was graceful, as if he was performing some kind of dance.
“I am Chunon of the Dark Elves. I have come to devote myself to the Emperor.”
“Chunon, was it? I’ve heard your name from my grandfather.”
“Thank you for your kind words. But you must be thinking about Chunon, my predecessor.”
It bugged Draco that Chunon was calling him Emperor. It was a respectful title that the vassals called the Great Demon King by.
That title was inappropriate for him even though he was the grandson of the previous Great Demon King and the Crown Prince before he was abolished. If he was fussy, then Chunon would have been severely punished for disrespect.
But among the various tribes that serve the Great Demon King, the Dark Elves were treated in a special way. They don’t originate from the Demon realm in the first place. They were the descendants of those who were defeated in battle with the Elves in the far west, deep into the Human world.
They were found by the Great Demon King more than a dozen generations ago.
Since then, they were known as a race who are loyal to the Great Demon King. Would they dare use a title that should be used on the Great Demon King on someone else?
“Chunon, you called me ‘Emperor’ just now.”
“Yes, with great respect.”
“Because the Dark Elves are loyal to those from the bloodline of the Great Demon King.”
“… That’s not an answer, Chunon.”
Draco came to his own conclusion as he answered.
This Dark Elf had bet on Draco.
“If I may, Emperor, you are the only legitimate heir to the Great Demon King. Thus, there is no obstacle for me to call you Emperor.”
“Still, you must not. I have yet to ascend the throne.”
“Then you have the intention to ascend the throne, is that correct?”
Draco was ashamed. This Dark Elf had called him Emperor to judge his response.
Indeed, Draco’s intentions have not been revealed since his crushing defeat against the <Northern Overlord>. He had used the ‘world’ when he spoke to his subordinates and the Evil God, but that was just a front. From an outsider’s point of view, he would have seemed suspicious.
“Yeah, that’s right. I have the will, determination, and duty to take over the nation.”
“I, Chunon, am relieved to hear that. Please accept my allegiance, Emperor.”
“I feel blessed that you have accepted my allegiance.”
Draco nodded. A good opportunity was all he could say. Dark elves are skilled in espionage and have contributed to the Demon realm as the ears and eyes of the Great Demon King. Having one in their midst would be a great help to him in the future.
“Then Chunon, I would like to know what is going on in the capital right now.”
The two continued their confidential conversation until late into the night.
Alunaha still had a lot of problems.
The next day, Draco rubbed his glabella as he read through a letter. Political, administrative, judicial and military. All of those areas were in the process of developing and all sorts of complications have arisen. Draco was careful not to use all his momentum when ruling on these matters.
This wasn’t just a problem for this castle city. He was aiming for the world like he had told the Dark Elf. So, he should avoid creating a system that would only apply to this city.
The same can be said for faith.
The Dark God Temple where Elena was serving as the Head Priestess was gradually growing. Their main deity was the Evil God Hirano. They also had side shrines for the Goddess Yoshinaga and Evil God Edward. Edward was the werebear’s Evil God, but Draco had never heard of the Goddess Yoshinaga.
He imagined that she might be Evil God Hirano’s wife or something similar. Even though they were Evil Gods, there were males and females. It was only normal that such relationships existed among Evil Gods as well. He didn’t dare be disrespectful and ask them about their relationship, but from what he has heard from Elena, he could sense that they were in that kind of relationship.
Elena advised that he should actively worship the other deities as well.
There are many Gods on the frontier since the Goblins and Kobolds, who live in large numbers in the frontier, are deeply religious, and they have Evil Gods for various things.
The White Wolf Evil God Okri, whom he remembered with bitter memories, was said to be an ‘Evil God who presides over safe travels’. Even Draco, who has lived in the centre of the city and is related to the King who worships the Gods of Heaven and Earth, have never heard of these Gods. This was both refreshing and shocking at the same time.
The world is a big place.
According to Kwon, who he had hired the other day, the humans also worship many Gods. The demons and humans both worship Gods. How many Gods and Evil Gods are there in this world? There must be many Gods who aren’t worshipped and whose names are unknown.
When he thought about it, it was a miracle that he was able to meet the Evil God Hirano. An Evil God who walks together with demons. Such a God only appeared in legends.
Legend has it that the Evil God who united the Demon realm with the First Demon King was one such God.
He had been blessed with luck. He had always hated fate, but he was grateful to it. He wanted to repay him. This was what the Evil God Temple was for and what faith was.
The <Half-Faced> Lu Gun joined his side and <Blue> Dadda was able to split a rock open with Hirano’s help. He had instructed people to spread these stories far and wide.
Miracles move people. It may only have a small effect now but as Draco’s power grows, more people will believe in Hirano. Draco didn’t know what pleased Evil Gods, but this was the only way he could think of to express his gratitude.
“You look tired, Older Stepbrother.”
Elena entered the office. In her hand was a tray with tea utensils on it. She also had some dried fruits on a small plate, which was typical of her. Sweet foods are good for tiredness. She must be busy since she was the Head Priestess but Elena, who had been raised together with Draco as siblings, visited him often, perhaps out of concern.
“This isn’t much work.”
“You haven’t slept much, have you?”
He was busy. He knew that staying up late wouldn’t improve his efficiency, but he did it anyway. Many items needed decisions.
“Why don’t you leave these documents to La Banan to take care of?”
“I’ve entrusted him with a lot of work as well. I can’t give him anymore.”
“Isn’t your work increasing since you need to give your approval? There will be less work for you to do if you give La Banan more authority. La Banan reads all the documents that get submitted to you anyway, Older Stepbrother.”
“I don’t mean to be presumptuous, but a King is someone who stands above all others. Is being broad-minded towards your subjects not the foundation of royalty?”
“You’re right, Elena.”
Draco had always believed that she was intelligent from a young age, but her growth has been remarkable since she was entrusted with the High Priestess position. Position really does make a person.
Draco thought about discussing this matter with La Banan as soon as possible since Elena made a valid argument.
“By the way, Older Stepbrother, there’s something I would like to discuss with you.”
“This doesn’t happen often. Is it about Hirano-sama?”
“Yes. He seems troubled these days.”
“Troubled? An Evil God?”
“Yes. It seems the cause of his troubles is a guest God who he has been entertaining lately.”
“Hoh, so even Evil Gods get troubled.”
Draco had heard that Hirano had brought a Boy God from somewhere to the Evil God Temple. Even though he knew this, it was an unusual situation, so Draco tried his best not to worry about it. He had had many surprises since meeting the Evil God Hirano.
If he remembered correctly, the god’s name was Eulenspiegel.
“That God asked Hirano-sama to ask you for a favour.”
“Me? Don’t tell me he asked me to ‘go slay a dragon and retrieve the treasured sword’, or something like that?”
“It might have been better if it was something silly like that.”
“What does he want me to do?”
“――― He wants you to cross the river and invade the Human world.”
Crossing the river was an unthinkable action for most demons but there were a few exceptions to this such as Kwon. It was considered a reckless action like jumping from the top of a high tower or something similar, and yet this God wanted to lead an army across the river to invade.
“What did Hirano-sama say?”
“He seems to be against it. He doesn’t believe he should force you to do this since you’re having trouble building your army in Alunaha, and you also have to be prepared for Ri Gudang and Palmyra.”
“Yoshinaga-sama supports this request.”
“What? That’s worrying.”
From what he had heard from Elena, Evil God Hirano listened to the advice of the Goddess Yoshinaga. If they were a couple, then it was only natural for the Evil God Hirano to listen to the Goddess Yoshinaga. But what would happen if the Evil God Hirano gave into the Goddess Yoshinaga now? Would he be able to refuse his Evil God’s request? Draco asked himself.
He still didn’t know what Palmyra was thinking and Ri Gudang had turned into a bandit and was ravaging the area between Alunaha and Pazan. Sending a large force to the west while facing off against those two would be, in all likelihood, a suicide. He wanted to avoid sending forces away if he could.
But would the Evil God, who Draco believes in, really refuse a request from the Goddess Yoshinaga?
“It would be difficult.”
Most of what he would risk and lose by helping the Evil God were things that he couldn’t have obtained without the help of said Evil God. Draco has never forgotten how grateful he was.
If so, should he help the Evil God? What was right and what should be done in a relationship between an Evil God and a demon?
He reached out for the tea that Elena had brewed for him and slowly closed his eyes as he sipped the tea which had cooled down and had become astringent.