“The knights of Taizu are fulfilling their current duty more than I thought. There were apparently some areas where the ring was used, but it seems like almost all of them have been evacuated without any issues.”
“I am bothered by how the enemies stopped chasing midway though.”
There were reports that monsters in the battlefield had suddenly become stronger. According to Lord Gaphgoveilz and a number of other knights, there’s no doubt the Scarlet Demon Lord used the power of Strife.
The Purple Demon Lord and Blue Demon Lord can enhance the individual power of monsters if they give mana to them. But raising a rank to all the monsters is truly a troublesome power. It is like the enemies in front of you increasing by twice the amount all of a sudden. It is truly an unfair power.
“Marito, do you have time?”
A call came from my friend.
We have gathered a decent amount of information now. We should share the information we have.
“Yeah, I do. How are things on your side?” (Marito)
“I withdrew the moment I confirmed Cara-jii and the others did so. A battle hasn’t happened, so I am fine.”
“There’s no need to worry about the members of the Ragudo Division though.” (Marito)
“I wasn’t worried about them. I wanted to observe for as long as possible. I would like to get the information you have first.”
What we know as of present is that the power of Strife has an extremely wide range of effect and all monsters get stronger. What’s troublesome is that it not only strengthens their mana, but they are also more difficult to kill and turn fearless.
They also don’t falter at all against the pressure of the knights. They can show the ability to endure attacks that should be fatal on them. They are the same as undead when it comes to not fearing death, but their intensity is far beyond them.
“We won’t be able to deal with them using just long ranged attacks and crumbling their formation. We would be at a disadvantage if it were to turn into a melee. We will be falling back for the time being and trying to create advantageous situations.” (Marito)
“How’s the state of the demi-humans?”
The army of Gahne and Mejis have demi-humans. There’s no demi-human in the knights of Taizu. I directed a gaze at the Gold Demon Lord and confirmed with her.
“Wait for a moment. I will confirm it.” (Gold)
“Please do. There’s most likely an effect on them in some way.”
“…Did something happen to Wolfe-chan?” (Marito)
That’s the only way he would notice this. The only demi-human by his side is Wolfe-chan. It is not that serious judging from his tone, but it makes me nervous.
“The moment the Scarlet Demon Lord used his power, a faint change showed in Wolfe. It is not that drastic of change, but she seems to be hi—in a roused state.”
“So she is under the effect of the Scarlet Demon Lord?” (Marito)
“I can’t tell with just a look, but she has certainly been affected. It is possible that it has just settled with stirring Wolfe up since she has a lot of mana, making it hard for her to be affected by magic.”
The power of the Scarlet Demon Lord hasn’t only reached Gahne but also Mejis. Does that mean all the demi-humans were affected in the same way?
“I have confirmed it. It is as Ser said. The demi-human soldiers are acting strange. They are getting emotional, scared; the changes vary per person, but they have become unstable.” (Gold)
“So it did happen, huh. The power of the Scarlet Demon Lord is most likely something that speaks to the animal instincts. The monsters that have been born from his mana will just get a pure enhancement, but it should be safe to assume that it has the effect of causing mental instability on our soldiers.”
So it can also lower the morale of the enemy. It is truly troublesome. No, if I have the time to be disgusted by it, I should be using it to think of a countermeasure.
“Share the information to Pope Euparo. We most likely need to adjust the formation of the troops… By the way, are you okay, Gold Demon Lord?” (Marito)
“There’s no such discernible changes in this one. The mana wave of Scarlet certainly did reach me, but the only impression I got is that he is lively. Blue should be fine, too.” (Gold)
“I have already confirmed with Ekdoik and the others. By the way, there were apparently no visible reactions from undead and devil type monsters.”
“So that’s why you reached the conclusion that it is speaking to the animal instincts. Makes sense.” (Marito)
“I will observe the state of Wolfe for a bit. Please don’t move the demi-human soldiers carelessly on your side either.”
“Even if ya say that, having our number of soldiers sliced by a large amount is pretty rough.” (Gold)
“That’s okay. The enemies have not moved from the locations where they first began fighting, right?”
“That’s right. I was bothered by that.” (Marito)
They apparently tried to chase after our retreating soldiers at first, but they stopped chasing after a certain distance, and began to stay in the place where they battled. There’s the possibility they are trying to regroup and fix their formation, but them not moving even after that clearly means there’s a reason behind it.
“If it simply strengthened the monsters, they could have just used it from the very beginning. It seems like they can purposely not affect the Unique Monsters, and they can give simple orders. The reason they don’t do it is most likely the same reason as to why they adjust the time to begin the battle.”
“In other words, this power is not something that they can use for long periods of time.” (Marito)
“That’s right. It might be comparatively fine if it is a high rank monster, but the power of the Demon Lord is most likely a heavy burden on lesser monsters.”
This is obvious but lesser monsters are the majority. The momentum of the Demon Lord army would decrease greatly if those lesser monsters were to collapse. This is most likely the downside.
“In that case, they plan on…attacking slowly but surely.” (Marito)
“If our side retreats, they most likely won’t chase and just have their soldiers rest before resuming their march.”
“This is a way of using soldiers that only comes to monsters who barely need any food and water.” (Marito)
Having long skirmishes in war incurs heavy costs. If you manage the soldiers in such a manner, the fatigue in the body and mind will accumulate, and they probably won’t be able to recover completely. But monsters are creatures that grow through mana and can live long. Even if the mana in the air is less dense in comparison to the Nether, I doubt it will hamper their actions.
“Have ya thought of a countermeasure?” (Gold)
“You could say that. But it is way too simple, so they most likely have a countermeasure or two ready for it.”
“Shifting the timing of the attacks?” (Marito)
“Yeah. The power of the Scarlet Demon Lord spreads far and wide. That’s why it can show an effect on everyone at once. It is troublesome if you see that point alone, but it also means that if the battles begin at spread out times, the advantage of strengthening everyone at the same time becomes a disadvantage.”
If he were to use Strife immediately when some of them have begun battle, it would also strengthen the ones that are not in battle. In other words, if we create such scenarios deliberately, the enemy will barely have any time to rest… It is simple, but it certainly does feel effective. The Scarlet Demon Lord should understand a hole like this in his power.
“I think he could send a mana wave on a specific location to strengthen individual platoons.” (Marito)
“Even if he can, it should be more of a hassle than having all of them attack at the same time. You need to have a grasp of the information on the whole battlefield.”
“We haven’t confirmed they use communication crystals like us after all.” (Marito)
“That’s the thing… Right, I have thought of a good idea.”
I could feel the tone of my friend had changed a bit. This is the voice of when he is making an evil face. I can already imagine the face of Lady Ratzel who is by his side.
“Oh, what is it?” (Marito)
“I will tell you that in person. Raheight was communicating with the Scarlet Demon Lord using crystals like this one. It is possible this call has been intercepted.”
Right. The Scarlet Demon Lord knows the existence of this communication device. That’s why there was the need to be conscious of that possibility. Conveniences can sometimes thin out the sense of danger. I should not forget to show the utmost caution.
“Got it. About how long will it take you to come back here?” (Marito)
“I would like to set things up first. Do your best for a few more days.”
“Got it. I will work hard to a degree where it won’t lose to my sadness of you not being by my side.” (Marito)
“That’s quite the unique joke.”
“It wasn’t completely a joke though.” (Marito)
It is true that I am sad my friend is not here. But what worries me most is that he is on the battlefield which is pretty taxing on my mental. I have experienced the body of my friend in the simulated world of the Gold Demon Lord before things began. My worries here most likely stem from the fact that I reconfirmed at that time just how fearsomely weak he is.
I knew he was weak. But I have been led to understand that knowing and experiencing are completely different. Walking in the battlefield with such weakness is pure insanity. I am happy to know how abnormal he is, but there were also some distressing points.
“This one is already on the verge of having a broken heart from loneliness. I might actually go the—” (Gold)
“I will throw a flea into your tail.”
“…T-That’s quite the deranged taste. But Ser, ya should be lonely without this one too, right? It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say the loveliness of this one’s tail is a sin after all.” (Gold)
“I do have a substitute.”
“Ah, right! Damn it!” (Gold)
Aah, it is that. It is true that I only feel irritated by the Gold Demon Lord, but I do feel quite a lot of charm in that. In the first place, he has Wolfe-chan if he desires an animal tail he can freely touch.
“Now then, we will resume moving. Anything else you want to say?”
“I want words of encouragement for this one.” (Gold)
“You are keeping the use of simulated worlds which -no joke- is a power that doesn’t lose to the one of the Scarlet Demon Lord. I sincerely think it is impressive and admire that.”
“…Right, right?! Nfufufu! But don’t think it is on the same level as Scarlet! This one still hasn’t gotten serious after all!” (Gold)
Such an easy to please Demon Lord. But the Gold Demon Lord can be useful every now and then. I was on the verge of showing weakness to my friend. We are talking about my friend here, if I were to say something carelessly, I am sure he would end up understanding my unease.
I want to stay a reliable king and friend for him. That’s without doubt my real feelings. That’s why what I should tell him is…
“Nothing from me. Leave things here to me. Please move freely in your own way.” (Marito)
“…Yeah, I will be counting on you, Marito.”
The call ended. But the way my friend spoke just now…I feel like he saw through me. But even if so, it means my will has been transmitted to him.
There’s a mountain of things to do. The order to ambush at intervals, securing sites to face the enemy while retreating, and preparing traps. We don’t know how much rest the enemy army needs. It is even possible they will attack without taking a rest. Making it perfect won’t be enough. I need to think of commands that will control the enemies’ actions as if they were walking on a tightrope.
“Gold Demon Lord, I leave the communication of the troops to you. I am going to be concentrating for a while to make a plan.” (Marito)
“Don’t treat me as a convenient woman. Wait, are you listening? Ignoring me? I am going to cry. This one is going to cry like a child…” (Gold)
The Gold Demon Lord is saying something, but it is already not entering my ears. I concentrate on the positioning of the enemies and allies recreated on the map. I draw out the information of the respective locations inside my brain. The formation of the units, the ratio of demi-humans, the hypothetical number of reserve units, the predictions of future actions of the enemy; I put them all together, think of a plan to take, and consider the variables with it inside my brain. The clever trick my friend is trying to pull off here is most likely just positive speculation, so I don’t include it. I have to draw the attention of the Scarlet Demon Lord so he doesn’t notice the actions of my friend. Is that possible? No, I have to make it possible.
My call with Marito ended.
I get on the Taizu-made carriage that I hid in a safe zone and resume moving.
“That Marito is feeling quite a lot of pressure.”
“Ani-sama is?!” (Mix)
“His Majesty?!” (Ilias)
“You guys don’t think Marito is a monster with no emotions and has no faults, right?”
“…O-Of course he has emotions!” (Mix)
So you do think he is a monster with no faults. It is true that he is incredibly talented. He excels in everything contrary to an Illegitimate who excels at one point. You normally don’t see anything resembling a weak point from him. But there’s no doubt he is an incomplete human.
“Strong points can become weak points depending on how you see it. Marito being able to manage the soldiers of 4 nations by himself means that, if Marito collapses, there’s a risk of everything crumbling down in one go.”
“Would you call that a weak point?” (Mix)
“You can. If Marito gets results and everyone admires him and ends up relying on him completely, his own responsibilities will increase drastically. It would directly lead to reducing the capabilities of everyone. Just imagine if it were spread that Marito collapsed from overwork. Just how much do you think the morale will drop?”
Two central figures of Taizu were making clearly pale faces here. That’s basically how big of an existence Marito is to Taizu. But that’s exactly why there’s abnormal pressure placed on him. He is now shouldering the share of 4 nations…no, if we count Torin and Serende who are watching from the outside, it would mean he is shouldering the expectations of all major countries. That’s way too much pressure to put on a young man.
“Is Ani-sama…going to be okay?” (Mix)
“If everyone believes in Marito, he has no choice but to answer it due to his position. Just one nation alone was already on the degree where he desired a friend to take breaks with. His mental state is probably pretty bad right now.”
“M-Mister Friend, please go to Ani-sama’s pla—” (Mix)
“He is in the middle of rethinking the whole picture. We should not interrupt his concentration. We just have to do what we can right now.”
Marito said not to worry at the end to encourage us. There was no sign of such before Gold interjected. It must have been a statement brought about after rethinking it. There’s no need to go out of my way to question that resolve of his.
What we have to concentrate on right now is Wolfe. She is sitting at the corner of the carriage and making a dissatisfied face. Even though the person herself feels there’s no issues, the people around are worried about her, so it is not like I can’t understand how she feels.
“Wolfe-chan seems to be in a bad mood.” (Mix)
“…Wolfe is fine. No issues.” (Wolfe)
“You do. The very fact that you are feeling dissatisfied from retreating without having battled means that you have become more sensitive to battles than usual.”
“That’s…because I thought I could do my best by fighting for the sake of Shishou…” (Wolfe)
Wolfe has become strong. She herself understands this and has begun to hold a decent amount of pride in her own strength. But there’s no doubt she has been affected by the power of the Scarlet Demon Lord.
Ilias and Mix felt it at the time when the mana wave came in. The reaction of the two was wariness from feeling the abnormal mana; they braced themselves. But the reaction of Wolfe was different. It looked like she was dumbfounded for an instant, and her gaze towards the monsters rampaging in the battlefield got stronger.
It would be fine if her wariness increased because the enemies got stronger. It would mean that it would be more difficult to protect her target, so she would need to get herself into gear again. But the light in the eyes of Wolfe was not like her.
“Wolfe, I know you yourself think you are okay. But I have been watching you the whole time, Wolfe. I felt it was strange. This might be a sly way to put it, but who do you think has the better judgment between you and your Shishou?”
“That’s… I am sorry, Shishou…” (Wolfe)
I pat the head of Wolfe who was groaning. Her being able to immediately decide that I am the one in the right despite this situation is because she has complete trust in me. Reprimanding her in this way while understanding this is honestly not something praiseworthy. But I judged that it is more important here to have her acknowledge this rather than her just accepting it in a half-baked manner.
“There’s no need to apologize. You feel it is on a level where there’s no issue. It might be that I am being too careful here. Sorry for treating you like you are not capable enough.”
“No, Wolfe is lacking when compared to Shishou!” (Wolfe)
“Just say you are not capable enough there. It is probably Rakura’s fault. Or maybe Mix.”
Mix deliberately averted her gaze, so she is most likely half guilty here. There’s no doubt she influenced her together with Rakura. Just look at Ilias, she is making a face as if this is none of her business.
“By the way, where are we heading to?” (Ilias)
“We are meeting up with Purple. There’s a number of things I would like to ask her to do after all.”
“The ‘good idea’ you had?” (Ilias)
Just how much Marito can avoid battle against the monsters strengthened by Strife will be the crux of this war.
But there’s most likely a limit to how well you can command when the morale has begun to drop from the demi-human soldiers not being well of mind. The Scarlet Demon Lord has most likely taken this into consideration.
This is the method he chose to take with that in mind, so there’s no doubt it is on the level where he considers he can win with it. It would be better to assume he has other hidden cards, too.
Even if Marito were to show transcendental leadership, there’s no doubt there will be a great deal of casualties. A hit from the outside is absolutely necessary in order to avoid this.
“Speaking of setups, there’s an instruction I need to give Marito.”
“Then, wouldn’t it have been okay to tell him in the call just now?” (Ilias)
“There’s the risk of the call having been intercepted. We need to have a conversation that doesn’t give off any scent of it.”
I bring out a parchment and write a letter to Marito. It is something that can be wrapped up if I meet him directly, but we wouldn’t have enough time if I did that. It is kinda like an email in modern society. I don’t know if this world has the equivalent of a hacker though.
Ilias moved her face closer and peeked with interest once I finished writing it. The curiosity she has towards the evil schemes of someone else has increased quite a lot.
“Aah, this? Speaking of which, you didn’t tell them in the call.” (Ilias)
“The knights of Taizu would have noticed sooner or later anyways. It might even be dealt with by tomorrow… Let’s send the same message to Cara-jii, too.”
I rolled up the letter and tied it up with a string. And then, I bring it to the barrel on the carriage.
“Oh, Mister Friend, are you finally using that?!” (Mix)
“Gold did entrust it to me after all. I have to use them effectively.”
When I opened the lid of the barrel, what was inside flew out energetically, and plunged into my pocket.
I catch them and pet them. It is a small golden fox that can perfectly fit on top of both of my hands. This is what was entrusted to me by Gold; the monster created by Gold. It is a monster that suits Gold who is a golden fox folk.
“There, there. Good work enduring inside a cramped barrel. Great job.”
“Kon! Kon koon!”
It can understand words, but can’t speak them. It is a monster that understands well the cuteness of animals.
It is nice that it has taken a liking to me, but the fact that I have to pet it until satisfied in order to have it listen to what I say must be hereditary from its mother.
Its outward appearance is that of a cute fox, but don’t underestimate it. In terms of battle power, it is on the same level as me which would make you worry about its survivability in this world, but it has a really troublesome power. It seems like it is satisfied now, so I fasten the letter on the neck of the golden fox.
“Alright. Please carry that to Gold’s place.”
The golden fox disappeared after a cry. This is the power of the golden fox: Sneak. The golden fox is not in this world right now. That’s right. The golden foxes have the ability to move directly through the simulated worlds that Gold has created, and can freely appear into the real world.
There’s the downside that they will be forced back to the real world if Gold closes the simulated world, but the stealth of this is beyond average. There’s no way you can sense a creature that’s not present.
It is also cowardly to a degree where it would immediately run away once it feels hostility, so it is pretty hard to capture it. I had Dyuvuleori try to capture it as a test, but it managed to slip away from him as if it was the most natural thing.
The downside we know at present is that they will only want to go to the people they have grown attached to, so the people we can use them on is limited. Their mother Gold, me, and also Ekdoik, Haakudoku, and King Zenotta. I thought it was limited to only men, but they have been getting slowly attached to Mix and Wolfe, and seem like they are close to allowing them to pet them, so there doesn’t seem to be that limitation.
“That’s one weird monster.” (Ilias)
“I think it is decently easy to understand though.”
“Really? But you won’t write down the good idea you thought of, huh.” (Ilias)
“That’s just in case. Marito should be able to infer what I am trying to do with just the information I gave him.”
By the way, it hasn’t grown attached to Ilias at all. It immediately runs away when she tries to pet them.
Is it because they are sensitive to strong people of a certain level, or they feel her gorillaness? Only the golden foxes know.
They have begun getting attached to Wolfe, so that already serves as a clue.
Complement to the power of the Gold Demon Lord’s monsters, the golden foxes:
-Their battle power is protagonist level.
-They can freely come and go from the real world and the simulated world only when the Gold Demon Lord has created a simulated world.
-They immediately escape to the simulated world when they feel danger. Moreover, in the simulated world…
-It listens to what the person it has grown attached to says. But in order to use it for exchanges, it is required to be between two people it is attached to.
-It is pretty selfish, so even if it is someone it is attached to, it won’t listen until it is satisfied.
-There’s mainly two conditions for it to get attached.