I see, I’m beginning to understand.
He and I have different ideas about believers.
“I’m sure the Walbolt ‘warrior clan’ will cool down a bit after they receive this ‘divine punishment’.”
“… You don’t need a demon army for this, you could punish them yourself.”
“I tried to punish them in different ways, but it didn’t work.”
“Drought, torrential rains, pestilence, land subsidence, and mass cattle deaths. I tried all those things, but they didn’t work. I need something more powerful that could be clearly identified as ‘divine punishment’ or the believers will go to the ‘Church’ to pray. That’s why I need the demon army to attack them.”
‘Duh,’ I desperately swallowed the words that were threatening to come out of my mouth.
Anyone will change the god they believe in if such cataclysmic events occur. Does he not understand that? Does he believe that he deserves to be believed in just because he’s a god? This god looks like an innocent child, but he must be reasonably old, yet he can’t understand such a simple thing?
“We are troubled by their decreasing faith. We will barely receive any karma if the number of believers decreases any further. So, we all pooled out karma together and asked the <Goddess of Gambling>, Von Malkund, for help.”
I felt nauseous.
Am I a tool? No, I’m not even a tool. I guess to Eulenspiegel and his fellow gods, I am just one of the procedures to use the tool.
I don’t care what this guy in front of me thinks, but I got angry when I thought that Malkund might think of me that way too, and I also felt sad at the same time.
I should never have accepted this job. I almost cried at my own carelessness.
Stupid. This was so stupid. If I could, I would hang Eulenspiegel upside down and return to Alunaha right now.
But the army has already departed.
I felt bad for Draco if I were to stop the army and make them return.
“So, you hope the appearance of the demon army will shake people’s faith in the ‘Church’.”
“I knew you would get it, Hirano-san. I’m glad you’re so understanding. That’s the outcome we want. Their faith in the Walbolt Gods will naturally grow stronger if their faith in the ‘Church’ weakens. So, do well.”
“There are things I can and can’t do.”
“It’s alright. You have an army of 8,000 demons. The warriors in Walbolt are pushovers.”
I don’t know what he was feeling when he called his own believers pushovers.
Besides, there are only 2,000 warriors here, the remaining 6,000 are in the transport unit. They are barely armed. It was incredibly frustrating to be fulfilling the request of someone who doesn’t even know what he’s on about.
“I’ll ask for your help from time to time if everything goes well this time. I’ll pay you handsomely. I’m sure I can give you a lot of karma if it doesn’t go through Malkund-sama.”
Draco is not your watchdog.
I suppressed the urge to yell at him and smiled vaguely. I want this fight to end as quickly as possible. But I’m annoyed that we were in Eulenspiegel’s palm.
Besides, I have to extend Draco’s influence into the human world and fight the ‘Church’. There was no point in pointlessly fighting with Eulenspiegel here.
“We’ll talk about that after the army wins.”
“You will. Easily too.”
How could we? I looked at the rank advancing beside me.
I have to get this army back safely. That’s what I should focus on.
Blood shouldn’t be spilled for someone like this, I thought deep in my mind.
Ri Gudang was waiting.
He was in a room in a mansion that used to belong to the magistrate of the castle city, and Cartier was by his side.
A messenger from the Great Demon King Office will be arriving. They were probably the <Northern Overlord’s> subordinate, but Ri Gudang believed that there was no point in differentiating between the two now.
The strange edict had already reached Ri Gudang.
He could believe that his late uncle, Benan, could have become the <South Barbarian King> but that part of the edict wasn’t important. What effect did this edict have on Ri Gudang himself? That was the only thing that concerned him right now.
The <South Barbarian King> was one of the Big Four who served under the Great Demon King. It was a prominent position along with the <Northern Overlord>, the <Eastern Dark King> and the <Western Beast>. Would he ever be appointed to such a position?
According to how the demon realm worked, if the title of <South Barbarian King> was given to his uncle Benan before his death, then his legitimate successor, Ri Gudang, would be allowed to call himself the <South Barbarian King>.
In short, it was a problem of how many people will believe this ‘fake edict’ as the late Demon King’s ‘last will and testament’. Well, believe wasn’t the right word to use. Who would benefit more from ‘believing’ in this ‘fake edict’.
This ‘last will and testament’ was a test to measure Ri Gudang’s price.
“I’m not even an official Demon King.”
“But you stand alone, unlike La Banan.”
Cartier responded to Ri Gudang’s mutters.
La Banan also had his own problems even though he excluded them from his thoughts. His abilities may be average, but in terms of blood, La Banan was his uncle’s legitimate son.
But La Banan was acting as Draco’s commanding officer. This difference was significant.
Ri Gudang was independent and only the Great Demon King was above him. A person in such a position is the one who should be ranked among the Big Four.
But he wondered if he was in a position where he could proudly act independently.
Ri Gudang gathered what was left of his army and attacked the nearest castle city after his draw with Draco. It was a city called Catania. He was in control of it now. Or well, he was using it as a stronghold since it wasn’t a proper castle city. It was prosperous in the past but rapidly declined after Palmyra moved to Pazan.
Cartier informed Ri Gudang that this city was called ‘The City of Thieves.
He didn’t know who came up with that name, but it was a fitting name for this city. Ri Gudang’s subordinates, who didn’t even get a decent salary, were like a band of bandits. They live by looting one place after the other. This was how they lived.
There were many of them.
He had never trained them seriously, but he had 5,000 subordinates. It was a lot of people, and more people seem to be joining soon. The commanding officer, Safort, induced people to join Ri Gudang.
They attack villages as bandits.
The attacked village will run out of food, then the men in those villages will have no choice but to become bandits themselves. Ri Gudang heard that some of them had fled to the south to Alunaha but it was probably a small number of people.
This was the kind of battle that Ri Gudang was engaged in.
Could it even be called a battle?
Palmyra was still pressuring him and using deceitful words to invite him to cooperate with her. She was probably afraid of Draco. Ri Gudang also plundered the territory she controlled. He will do this repeatedly and then eventually drag Draco onto the field. They couldn’t be defeated by bandits once they hole themselves up in their castles.
He was miserable.
He was frustrated.
Why was he different from Draco? Why was he different from Palmyra? When he gains something, he loses something else. Would he be able to continue like this?
“Are you still here, Ri Gudang-sama?”
Cartier’s voice brought him back to reality. It seemed that the messenger from the Great Demon King’s Office had arrived.
Today’s messenger was sent by the <Northern Overlord> to evaluate RI Gudang’s worth. He wanted to show them that he was worth a lot.
“Politely let them in.”
The messenger was a woman.
Her hair was white.
“It is nice to meet you, Your Excellency, Ri Gudang. My name is Lakoit del Ada.”
“I’m Ri Gudang.”
Ri Gudang said. He was surprised to hear the woman’s name. Lakoit of the del Ada family was the <Northern Overlord’s> confidant. People even say that she was his right-hand man. Ri Gudang couldn’t believe that the <Northern Overlord> had sent the <White Haired Princess>. The <Northern Overlord’s> intentions became harder and harder for Ri Gudang to understand.
Lakoit looked puzzled. She must have received compliments on her looks before, but this must be the first time she had heard a compliment instead of flattery at the start of an important meeting. If he had been an ordinary person, he might have been overwhelmed by her authority as the representative of the Great Demon King’s Office.
“I didn’t expect such a beautiful messenger to arrive here, the <White Haired Princess> Lakoit also known as the <Northern Overlord’s> confidant.”
“You do not need to flatter me, Your Excellency.”
The way she had said that while smiling sweetly was also beautiful. This was like an abandoned castle, but it was as if a pretty flower had bloomed here.
“No, I’m not just saying that. I really mean it.”
“… Well then, I thank you very much for your compliment.”
While the <White Haired Princess> continued with her customary greetings, Ri Gudang stared at her.
Her eyes were filled with a strong will, her forehead was slightly wide, and she was tall, which wasn’t typical for a Goblin, but still attractive.
“――― So, the Great Demon King’s Office has been working to bestow the late His Excellency Benan with the <South Barbarian King> title.”
The greetings were over and Lakoit got to her point.
Her voice, which seemed to be void of emotions, was also beautiful.
“I see, <White Haired Princess-dono>. I have heard what you have to say. My late uncle will be pleased.”
“I hope so.”
“But a dead man is a dead man. The trouble is that we, the living, have to manage everything.”
“You are correct.”
“… In your opinion, who should inherit the <Barbarian King> position?”
He didn’t ask this in a roundabout way.
He asked her directly.
He glanced to the side and saw that his second-in-charge, Cartier, looked grim. Did she want him to be tactical? But he had no intention of being tactical.
“I am a messenger sent by the Great Demon King’s Office, so I do not have the authority to answer that question.”
“I don’t care about the opinions of the Great Demon King’s Office.”
“You are being disrespectful.”
“I would like to hear the <Northern Overlord’s> opinion.”
“I am a messenger sent by the Great Demon King’s Office.”
“But you’re acting on the will of the <Northern Overlord> Zardish.”
The <White Haired Princess> raised her well-shaped eyebrows and showed a slightly troubled expression. She probably wasn’t troubled at all. Her eyes which were hidden behind her glasses were happily appraising Ri Gudang.
“… The edict was addressed to the ‘Chief of the Goblins’.”
“So, you want me to show you that I have the authority of the Chief of the Goblins.”
“It is an imperial edict. I am afraid that I, as a mere vassal, cannot measure the true meaning of the words written on an edict.”
“Humph, I see.”
In short, Zardish was telling them to ‘destroy each other’.
The possibility of becoming the <South Barbarian King>. He crushes Ri Gudang and Draco with unreliable bait. It was a nasty move, but very effective. They couldn’t ignore it and it won’t hurt the <Northern Overlord’s> plan no matter how it turns out.
“… I don’t like it.”
“I don’t like that the <Northern Overlord> is calmly laying a cheap yet effective plan, and I also don’t like that I am moved by such apparent bait.”
He could see that her cheeks were relaxing slightly. She really is beautiful.
“I will go along with his plan. I’ve been wanting prestige for a while, but I have a condition.”
“It is strange for you to have a condition. This is just an edict.”
“I am not talking to Lakoit del Ada, the messenger sent by the Great Demon King’s Office, I am talking to the <White Haired Princess> the confidant of the <Northern Overlord>.”
The <White Haired Princess> didn’t answer. She knew that this was the correct response to make, and he was attracted by her intelligence.
“The condition is you. The <White Haired Princess>.”