I maintain a location where I can observe the battle of the Holy Knights as I decrease the number of enemy soldiers.
Blue and Rakura are attacking the monster army from a different direction from the side the humans are attacking at.
I have told them to call at any moment in case a battle against a Unique shows signs of happening, but there shouldn’t be much need to worry with Rakura by her side.
The Holy Knights are fewer compared to the Gahne soldiers, but they have higher quality, so they can fight back with more effectiveness as of present.
Most of them have casted barriers on themselves and the clerics can switch to the offensive, so they are stopping the possibility of things exacerbating into a melee and are striking down their enemies in a safe manner.
But in the case a Unique appears, they are no proper match against them unless there’s a seasoned combatant like the Holy Knight Captain Yox.
They should show the utmost wariness to their surroundings in order to avoid unnecessary deaths.
“With this, we should be able to win without the need of waiting for the reinforcements of Comrade and the others… No, the enemies will begin turning their brain before that.” (Ekdoik)
The enemy soldiers that were not in battle began to separate and ran as if slipping past the sides of our soldiers.
The Holy Knights try to restructure the formation, feeling threatened by an encirclement, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. This is…it seems like they are separating and trying to pour into Mejis.
The army of Mejis is trying to stop this, but a part of the enemy soldiers were slipping past even that and moved away from the battlefield.
A call from Blue came into my head at the same time as this was happening. Demon Lords can do thought transmissions with nearby demons. The speed and convenience of it is superior to that of the secret technique of Mejis.
<<Ekdoik, the enemies are moving away! Rather than escaping, this is more like…>> (Blue)
“So it seems. They have most likely judged that it is pointless to fight here since they would just lose. They must be heading to the Mejis territory to destroy as many of the villages as they can.” (Ekdoik)
<<Knew it. What should we do?!>> (Blue)
A part of the Holy Knights are trying to chase after them, but there’s a high chance we will be letting go of this opportunity if we carelessly decrease our soldiers.
We should be the ones moving as the ones who can do so freely. Also…
“We will contact the Holy Knights and intercept the enemies at the nearest village. If we move, the Mejis army won’t have their coordination thrown in disarray. Also, if we are talking about the nearest village, it would be that place.” (Ekdoik)
<<! I doubt the evacuation of Natora-san and the others assisting from the backlines has finished. We have to hurry!>> (Blue)
The call was cut.
I can see that the army of Blue was pulling back from afar.
If she is heading straight to the village unlike the enemy soldiers who are taking detours, she should be able to intercept them.
I told a nearby Holy Knight about how we will intercept the enemies and asked them to maintain their formation.
And then, I finished contacting Haakudoku and the others, and headed to the village by flying.
I noticed in the middle of my flight, but I saw the harpies heading to the Mejis Nether. They have most likely been returned temporarily by the order of the Scarlet Demon Lord.
In that case, they have begun to read our move.
The harpies have been brainwashed already. Having them retreat obediently must be in order to buy time, too.
When I arrived at the entrance of the village, Rakura and Blue were already waiting for me. But I could see the enemy soldiers approaching, too.
“There’s still people in the village! There’s also a few soldiers, but it is not a number that could fight!” (Blue)
“Most have left for the counterattack after all. Rakura, tell the soldiers the situation and have them prioritize the evacuation of the villagers. Blue and I will face the enemies here. You act together with the villagers and deal with the pursuing monsters.” (Ekdoik)
The army of Blue should be able to stall if the terrain is on our side to a certain degree. I can also set traps, so we should be able to hold back a decent amount of enemies ourselves.
Haakudoku and the others have not arrived yet. They are most likely heading here by foot or on horseback.
We have no choice but to have them fight together with us when they catch up.
“It will be difficult to protect them completely from those numbers!” (Rakura)
“That may be the case. Blue, gradually move back and provide assistance to Rakura.” (Ekdoik)
“What are you going to do?” (Blue)
“I will lock up as many enemies in the village and continue fighting. Also, I plan on subjugating Uniques if I have the time. I have an easier time hiding compared to the soldiers, and I should be able to fight more easily since I can set traps.” (Ekdoik)
“Meaning that you are going to fight those numbers?!” (Blue)
“No issues. But I won’t be able to hold back all of them. Please do something about the ones that slip by.” (Ekdoik)
Blue made a slightly worried face, but she must have switched soon after, her face returned to her usual strong one as she pointed at me.
“…Run away if it gets bad, okay?!” (Blue)
“I know. That goes for you too, Blue. Please avoid a direct battle against a Unique. Time is of essence. Let’s move.” (Ekdoik)
I consider a variety of possibilities just like Comrade does. I imitate a number of those things this time around and think about where to lay the traps in the village, estimating where battles could happen.
I think about the whole picture of the village and compare it to the direction the enemy soldiers are advancing.
What I have to protect right now are many lives contrary to the times when I just protected the singular life of Comrade… My mother is within those people.
I am not sentimental to the point of holding a big meaning in that, but I do understand that I should be protecting her more than some stranger.
A dilemma from the incomprehensible order from our superiors, moreover, our contact with the harpies has been cut off.
But the Demon Lord-sama is still sending his power to us.
After thinking about the reason for this in my own way, I interpreted it as ‘continue fighting as much as possible’. But fighting in the meadows just now would have simply exhausted us pointlessly. There’s no way the Demon Lord-sama would find it acceptable to scatter in an unsightly fashion. Thus, I have decided to move our location to the front.
“Ophoktorissa-sama, it won’t be long before we arrive at a human village!”
“I’m not blind. But we are this close to the battlefield. Even if there’s humans there, it should be a trifling amount. Your duty is to raise the bellows of war; the proof of our invasion! Naga division, burn the villages and kill every single human!” (Ophok)
The Nagas answer with their roars. Everyone aside from the vice-captain can’t talk properly due to the power of the Demon Lord-sama, but their desire for Strife is unfaltering even when the power has been activated for long.
We advance to the village and search to see whether humans are hiding around.
“It stinks. There’s no doubt there were humans here not that long ago. They must have gotten scared of our march and ran away. Half of the soldiers, move ahead just like this and chase after the humans! The remaining ones search the village to see whether there’s any human that didn’t manage to run away, and burn the buildings!” (Ophok)
It is not possible to give proper orders to the monsters that have received the power of the Demon Lord-sama. But even if they can’t understand all the words used for the sake of battle, they can be moved to a certain degree.
There’s most likely no humans who haven’t escaped in time.
They haven’t had a proper battle until now, so there’s not many soldiers who are heavily injured. Even if there are, they would have been moved a bit further to the back to get proper treatment.
“Ophoktorissa-sama, the orc division led by Mobebadoshun, and the ogre division led by Tamasshafozeya have passed by the village and headed to the direction where the humans have escaped!”
“So they judged there wouldn’t be any humans here to begin with, huh. Then, we should move out of the village too. The ones that have finished searching should regroup at once!” (Ophok)
We head straight to the center of the village.
It shouldn’t take much time to set the place on fire.
We will be heading straight there, so we might even find the humans faster than the others.
One after the other gathered, and the number of soldiers increased. But something is strange.
The reason for this off sensation… I see, so that’s how it is.
“Is something the matter?”
“Don’t you think they are gathering at an awfully slow pace?” (Ophok)
“Hmm, now that you mention it… We can’t find a single person, so aren’t they simply searching carefully?”
“No, they shouldn’t be able to have such thorough thoughts after getting the power of the Demon Lord-sama. This is most likely…” (Ophok)
I go back the path I took for a bit and find an opening between two neighboring buildings. The moment I was about to enter, my nose told me…that my subordinates are dead ahead of here.
“Ophoktorissa-sama, this is…!”
“Yeah, there’s someone who stayed in this village and is trying to face us. There’s not many, but they are skilled. Naga division, search for the enemies! Don’t act alone!” (Ophok)
I bring subordinates as well as I search the inside of the village.
We have inherited the powers of a snake, so mere humans hiding in the shadows of buildings is nothing.
That should be the case, but…we can’t find them.
The only possibility I can think of is that the enemies know the special traits of nagas well.
In that case, our priority should be to get a grasp of the enemy’s hand. I move to the place where the corpses of my subordinates are as I show wariness towards my surroundings.
I find the corpses of my subordinates that are slowly disappearing in the narrow corridor between the buildings.
Judging from the injuries of the corpses…this is poison.
Being able to kill a naga with poison, when we specialize in poison attacks, must mean they are really skilled.
…Something feels off again.
What’s this? If I feel something is off, it means there should be a difference in the usual. I think of that…
Crap, we are the ones being targeted right now!
“There’s an enemy nearby! Heighten your awareness of the surroundings even further!” (Ophok)
There’s already only a few subordinates that I had on standby around me. There’s less high ranks, too.
Our numbers are being decreased even in this short span of time where we are searching for the enemy.
Even by the time I shouted, the presence of a number of intermediate ranks disappeared.
Where? Where are we being attacked from?!
I must not rely on feeling alone. I must discern the attack of the enemy with direct vision.
I direct my gaze to both sides and sharpen my senses. I listen to the steps of the nagas and the other sounds, and see whether there’s any strange sounds…!
I detected the movement of a naga suddenly stopping and directed my gaze there. When I did, that one was wrapped completely in chains and was dragged inside a building the next instant at astounding speed.
“Inside the building!” (Ophok)
I destroy the walls of the building and have my subordinates rush inside. But the screams of my subordinates rang as they charged in.
I move to a location where I can peek inside.
There’s several nagas captured with chains inside and stakes were stabbed deep in their throats.
The wound was corroded with deadly poison and it seems to be running through their whole body in the blink of an eye.
The captured nagas died soon after and turned into dust. The chains began to move as if sentient after confirming the captured nagas died, and were swallowed inside the ground.
“The enemy is a chain user, huh. They have set them inside the ground, set traps in every place, and—?!” (Ophok)
The moment I turned around to warn my subordinates, the vice-captain that should have been there was gone.
In the time when I had my attention inside the building?!
Being inside this village is dangerous. We need to get out from the village quickly—
“Our numbers, again?!” (Ophok)
I was flustered for an instant by the fact that the vice-captain disappeared and even more of our numbers decreased.
No, that’s not all.
Normally, more nagas should be gathering even as of present… But that’s not happening.
In other words, the enemies are steadily decreasing our numbers in this whole village.
This is bad. Our opponent is extremely bad.
“What’s the matter, Ophoktorissa? You are visibly losing it.”
I immediately raised my head at the voice that came from above.
There was a man there hanging with chains tied to his knees extending to the ceiling of the buildings. There’s a large number of chains in both of his crossed arms.
There’s no doubt about it. This is the guy that has been attacking us.
But is that a human? My instincts as a monster are not working properly.
Even though he is in the shape of a human, I don’t think he is.
He was directing a cold and heartless gaze towards me without moving.
“So you were there! To think you would show yourself!” (Ophok)
I shot a poison spit, but the countless chains that appeared from the surroundings blocked this.
It seems like there’s already countless chains set around.
Then, I will order my subordinates—
“I have already finished your subordinates around. They all looked up in sync after all.”
I was shocked and looked around. I saw several arms and legs of nagas being dragged into the shadows of the buildings.
There’s already no subordinates around me.
He showed up because he had finished preparations to make it a one-on-one!
“You mere human! How dare you!” (Ophok)
“I would have taken those words more upfront not that long ago, but I am not a human now, I am a demon.”
The hair and skin color of the man slowly changed.
His skin was darkish and his hair turned blue, and the denseness of the mana flowing out has increased.
A demon; the shadow of a human that has received the love of a Demon Lord. He is most likely a subordinate of one of the 3 opposing Demon Lords…!
“So you came out thinking you have a chance in a one-on-one, huh?! I shall crush that arrogance of yours!” (Ophok)
If I am against a demon, I have no allowance to hold back or observe. I will activate the Strife that the Demon Lord-sama has granted me and finish him for su—?! I can’t move!
My body is in pain as if it is being squeezed tightly by chains.
The power of the Demon Lord-sama has already been activated, and yet…
“Ophoktorissa, you are misunderstanding one thing. I didn’t show myself because I thought I could win one-on-one; I showed myself because I was already sure the winner had been decided. You have already been captured by my chains.”
The inside of his eyes were showing me restrained by countless chains. But I can’t see any chains around me… Are you telling me those chains are only shown inside his eyes?!
They don’t budge at all despite my strengthened body.
I can’t activate any magic no matter how much I try!
“Deliberately averting the attention of the target and leading them to an advantageous situation for yourself; the technique called misdirection that Comrade taught me. If you can utilize this consciously… I see, this is extremely effective against enemies who are distracted.”
Several chains crawl out from the shadows of the surroundings.
They all have stakes at the tips and were clad with ominous mana. They were slowly but surely approaching me…like a nest of snakes…!
“If you had activated your power at the time when you noticed my presence, or if your instincts had warned you… This is a pitiful ending for a snake monster. But time is of essence. No need to plead for your life.”
Countless chains jumped at me from all directions and pierced my body.