Gahne was lively as if it were a festival because the Scarlet Demon Lord’s army was defeated.
It is most likely the same for Mejis.
But the ones that know he has disappeared are not in that mood.
His Majesty, who was the first one to learn about his disappearance, immediately communicated the information to the soldiers of the Nether borders, and allowed the surveillance of anyone entering or exiting.
The knights that were patrolling at night too reported that there wasn’t anyone that approached the Gahne Nether’s border, but considering that we are talking of that man, we can’t be relieved with just this.
His Majesty mobilized all the Taizu knights that he could, and is taking command in the search even as of present.
I would like to jump out at once even at this very moment, but…
“I won’t tell ya to prioritize the treatment of yer wounds, but at least have an idea of where he went or it is going to be pointless, Ilias.”
“…I know.” (Ilias)
Right now the ones in this room are Mix-sama, Wolfe, Ekdoik, Rakura, and the 3 Demon Lords. Haakudoku is also technically here, but in the neighboring room listening to our conversation.
His Majesty is leading the search on the human side, but we are currently having the Demon Lords search for him as of present.
“Nothing on my side. In the first place, Kutou -was it?- can fly, so it is not possible to find him with the skeletons.” (Blue)
“Are you an idiot? They can only move in the sky, you know? If he is going to take some sort of action, he will obviously have to land on the ground though?” (Purple)
“Who are you calling an idiot?! In the first place, I barely have any skeleton soldiers now, so I have a limit in my searches on the ground too!” (Blue)
“You are proving your idiocy then? That goes the same for me who used the lessers as sacrificial pawns, you know? Are you trying to run away from the blame?” (Purple)
“—! They are devils to begin with. Can’t you just order them to surround all directions?!” (Blue)
“Not leaving any doubt of your idiocy, I see. There’s no way I would call you if that was possible, you know? The Kutou I gave to him can be made to get out of my control temporarily with his order. He did it so that it wouldn’t be possible to search for him with the reaction of Kutou if he were to be cornered into a situation where he is alone, you know?” (Purple)
That countermeasure is not one against the Purple Demon Lord, but more of a countermeasure for the devils that might betray the Purple Demon Lord.
Kutou can end up obeying not only the Purple Demon Lord, but also high rank devils. That may not exist at present, but it is not like it is possible to erase the possibility completely of the devils in the Butler Army to gain antagonistic knowledge or ambitions.
The result after consulting with the Purple Demon Lord about the possibility of using the nature of Kutou against him was that he can limit the order rights of Kutou to just him.
But that has come to bite us instead on this occasion… No, this has become a positive for him in a sense though.
On top of that, Kutou can use a number of stealth spells that the anbus utilize.
“It is a situation where we would want to borrow the hand of even an idiot. But to think we would have to play a serious hide-and-seek with Ser.” (Gold)
“Can only be impressed here. He has even done countermeasures for Dyuvuleori’s Nose of Sniffing, you know? He has spread parts of Kutou’s body in all directions of Gahne, throwing in disarray the pursuit with smell though?” (Purple)
“The search using the simulated worlds is being done right now, but there has been no results as of present. I can only move the Gahne soldiers in the simulated world after all… Yer monsters don’t listen to me.” (Gold)
“What about the golden foxes? They should be able to head to the place of Mister Friend since they are attached to him, right?” (Mix)
“Umu, I have already had them head there…but they don’t return. This is just a guess, but they might have been enticed. They listen to anything the person they are attached to says.” (Gold)
“So he is being prioritized more than their creator Demon Lord…” (Mix)
“I am letting them live as they feel after all…” (Gold)
He was investigating the nature of the golden foxes after being introduced to them.
Honestly speaking, there’s a high chance he knows more about them than the Gold Demon Lord herself.
He has also left stuff like the communication crystal and the fragment of Ekdoik’s chains.
Right now the only thing we can rely on is physical search using monsters.
“We shouldn’t think of Comrade as just your average civilian. He knows every single card in our hands. It is likely more difficult to find him than any anbu. Even if the knights were relaxed, not a single one of the knights in the residence noticed the escape of Comrade.” (Ekdoik)
“Just thinking about having a psychological battle against Counselor-sama…makes me want to sigh…” (Rakura)
“But according to Marito, Comrade is most likely planning on taking revenge against the Scarlet Demon Lord. He has already found the location of the Scarlet Demon Lord through the simulated worlds, right?” (Ekdoik)
“That’s right? That’s why I am having Dyuvuleori search around the area, you know? But if Dyuvuleori were to get close to a certain degree, there’s the fear of Scarlet noticing though?” (Purple)
“Right. The knights most likely can’t get close for that reason. In that case, it would be a reading battle between Dyuvuleori and Comrade…” (Ekdoik)
“It would be impossible for Dyuvuleori. I had Dyuvuleori and him play a psychological battle game one day when we had free time, but Dyuvuleori lost completely, you know?” (Purple)
Dyuvuleori doesn’t lower his guard by any means as long as he has the order of the Purple Demon Lord, and is strict when he acts. But that in turn makes it easy for him to read.
My brain is more flexible than Dyuvuleori’s, and yet, I am not even a match in a psychological battle, so it is no surprise.
There’s skilled ones stationed around the dwelling of the Scarlet Demon Lord, but we can’t do a large-scale search with the possibility of being found by the monsters under the Scarlet Demon Lord.
It shouldn’t take much time for him to reach the place of Scarlet from Gahne with the flying speed of Kutou.
It wouldn’t be strange for him to have reached by the time His Majesty noticed.
“There’s many knights on the border of the Gahne Nether who are on alert. It shouldn’t be easy for Kutou to break through with his stealth skills… To think the day would come when I would feel this little confidence in the word ‘should’. For now, I will head to the Gahne Nether with Haakudoku. There might be a glimmer of possibility with the instincts of Haakudoku.” (Ekdoik)
“His instincts might go haywire just from approaching the lair of a Demon Lord though.” (Gold)
“…Even if so, Haakudoku and I want to search for Comrade personally. Ilias and Wolfe can’t move well because of their injuries, so we should be the ones moving as the ones who can.” (Ekdoik)
“Wolfe, I understand that you may be overcome with the desire to search for Comrade, but endure. If Comrade has already fallen into the hands of the Scarlet Demon Lord, you are the ones we can rely on to save him.” (Ekdoik)
Ekdoik is already moving while assuming the worst.
The Scarlet Demon Lord was trying to secure him. Even if the chances of him being killed are low, there’s an extremely high chance he would be captured.
In the case that happens, we would need a low number of elites to save him in the Gahne Nether.
But…Wolfe and I have tasted the strength of the Scarlet Demon Lord to an unbearable degree.
Wolfe has been showing remarkable reactions as a demi-human due to having been hit by the Strife of the Scarlet Demon Lord.
As for me, even if I were to heal from my wounds, I don’t know if my sword would reach that Demon Lord… No, don’t lose heart!
“—Wait, I have received a call from Dyuvuleori.” (Purple)
Everyone’s gazes gathered on the Purple Demon Lord as she said this. She placed a hand on the communication crystal and makes it so that everyone here can listen to the thought transmission from Dyuvuleori.
<<My Lord, I can smell the scent of Kutou near the cave that’s serving as the base of the Scarlet Demon Lord. I found Kutou when I approached.>> (Dyuvuleori)
“…Kutou? What about him?” (Purple)
<<About that… That human was already not present, and his scent was already…>> (Dyuvuleori)
There’s no one here who doesn’t understand the continuation of his words.
I could feel the atmosphere getting even heavier.
So he really did head to the Scarlet Demon Lord alone…
“Kutou, why are you the only one there?” (Purple)
<<Master told Kutou to stay here. He said Dyuvuleori pick me up if I do that.>> (Kutou)
“…I see, so the movements of Dyuvuleori —of us have been read, huh? Dyuvuleori, chase after him. Avoid battle as much as possible and get him ba—” (Purple)
<<Master said Dyuvuleori must not chase. Dyuvuleori surely die.>> (Kutou)
“—I doubt you will know even if I ask you what he is trying to do, but…tell me what you know about his actions.” (Purple)
<<Uuh, first, Master…>> (Kutou)
We are told by Kutou where he went. And then, we understood the answer this led to, and everyone here was left speechless.
I confirm the sensation of my right arm as I sit on my throne.
So I really can’t put as much power since it has been regenerated just recently, huh.
It will take a while before I can regain the sensation of it, but I should be able to make it in time by the time I finish reforming my army.
I didn’t feel like the skills of the woman that stabbed mine right arm with the Demonic Tool were that high.
And yet, it had this much power.
So I really can’t lower my guard at the power of the ideas brought by the resident of Yugura’s planet.
It would be hard to pour the mana out before it rampaged -just like how the humans went against the power of mine Strife- due to the shape of that Demonic Tool.
That blade had a hook. It is not easy to take out once you are stabbed with it.
But they must need the help of magic in order to pour the mana of Demon Lords.
In other words, it can’t be embedded with a magic seal stone.
I can stop that attack before it reaches my skin if I put up a barrier.
“Your right arm has already healed, huh. As expected of the Demon Lord-sama.”
“Dispose of the pleasantries, Melsashtiwel. Do you know how many years it will take to gather the same army as before?” (Scarlet)
“Yes, we have already finished the optimal training curriculum! If we take into account things like the speed of weapon production, we should be able to finish preparations 50 years faster than before.” (Melsash)
Mine army was just a gathering of riff-raff at the time when I was killed by Yugura.
After resurrecting, I learned that Yugura had told the humans to get ready against Demon Lords, and began to strengthen mine army of monsters.
If humans are going to grow, I just have to do the same.
Once we begin getting numbers, we should be able to increase the speed of our military expansion by improving the facilities.
“We need to prepare Uniques for the respective divisions. Right now it doesn’t matter if they are somewhat unsuitable. Find a few of them.” (Scarlet)
“Yes m’lord!” (Melsash)
Uniques I can leave the troops to for the coming war. It will be difficult to prepare them at once, but as they continue training, it shouldn’t be difficult to find exemplary individuals.
I just have to give mana to those ones to urge their evolution.
Once we get numbers, I will have them compete, and I will select the ones who are the most fitting to use Strife.
It is fine to just do as I have until now.
Even if the Gahne that Gold rules proceeds with the purification of the Nether, it should still take several centuries to reach the inside of the Gahne Nether.
I will proceed with the invasion of mine army by that time and spread the territory of the Nether.
That’s right, that should do.
The eternal strife that I desire will not die out, ever. Mine life will be together with strife. From here on and eternally.
“—Demon Lord-sama, there’s an intruder at the entrance of the cave.” (Melsash)
“One… Black hair and black eyes. He matches the appearance that you have told us regarding the resident of Yugura’s planet.” (Melsash)
The resident of Yugura’s planet showed up here.
I did think of that faint possibility. But I find it strange that he has come alone.
It should be impossible to come here without any bodyguards. I should consider that he used the devil clad around his weapon on the way here.
“Don’t let the monsters put a hand on him. Let him come all the way here.” (Scarlet)
“Yes m’lord!” (Melsash)
His destination is me, but his objective is unknown.
However, it is not bad that my negotiation chip with Colorless has shown up by himself.
The resident of Yugura’s planet went through the training grounds of the monsters, the weapon production facilities, and took a long time to reach the deep end of mine castle where the throne room is.
His whole body is wrapped in bandages, and was walking onwards weakly using a tree branch as a cane like an old man.
Mine subordinates made scornful sounds seeing that appearance of his.
I made them shut up and voice my question.
“Resident of Yugura’s planet, what is it you are trying to pull here?” (Scarlet)
“Nothing big. Scarlet Demon Lord, I have come here to end you.”
The resident of Yugura’s planet let go of the cane, grabbed a dagger, and headed my way.
He looks as if he is barely managing to stay up, but those eyes are serious.
I can tell that he has the desire to end me even if he falls along.
But those are not the eyes of a warrior. Not the eyes of an assassin either, and not those of an absolute power like Yugura. It is like an unknown abyss.
I have seen someone with eyes like this before.
That’s right, they are close to the Black of Omnipotence.
“…Even more of a question then. Have you come to mourn for the ones that died, or—” (Scarlet)
“Do you even need me to spell it out for you to understand?”
This man is clearly different from the time I saw him in Gahne.
I don’t feel any mana from the resident of Yugura’s planet just like before.
The difference is that he now has bandages all over his body and a cloak.
It is strange that he isn’t affected at all being in the Nether which is overflowing with mine mana despite having the body of a human, but it does make sense if there’s no mana it can affect…
And what of it?
Why am I turning my brain to this degree?
“That was an unnecessary question. Then, do as you please.” (Scarlet)
“Don’t even feel like standing from your throne, huh.”
“Don’t feel the need to.” (Scarlet)
“…Right. Well, please stay conceited just like that. That makes it easier for me.”
The resident of Yugura’s planet runs. But that run was so unskillful, was affected by the pain from the wounds in his whole body, and made him look like an untrained bum.
The dagger seems to be smeared with something, but it is made of iron with nothing special to it. It wouldn’t even scratch my body even if I don’t move one bit.
The resident of Yugura’s planet reached right in front of me and unleashes a blatant stab.
He is aiming for my eye. He judged that he wouldn’t be able to injure my skin and plans on poisoning from a vital point, huh.
Even if you hit my eyeball directly with that dagger, it won’t be able to injure me. No deadly poison can affect mine body.
The stab that was unleashed with his pathetic arm was repelled easily.
Has there ever been an exchange with this little tension in the past? No, this can’t even be called an exchange—
“Didn’t even blink, huh. Then, look closely at this!”
Opposite to the right arm that was repelled, there was a different dagger being held in his left hand.
Its shape is clearly different from your regular dagger.
That shape is similar to the Demonic Tool that woman used. Its shape is slightly different, so it might be an improved version.
His aim is the viscera of my heart. If it has the same power, that certainly would be a deadly strike. However, there’s an unfillable difference between him and the woman that did the stabbing before.
—No, the eyes of this man are certain that he can kill me. It has a slightly different shape, so it is possible that he has some way to make it go through my skin.
I should cast a barrier just in case to block it.
I weave the spell and activate—
“—Stupid shallow trick.” (Scarlet)
It wasn’t difficult at all for me to stand up and move to his back with how slow his stab was.
The blade was stabbed into the empty throne.
I grab the head of the resident of Yugura’s planet who had stopped moving and hold him down on the ground.
The dagger that looks like a Demonic Tool left the hand of the man from the impact of being held down.
I barely feel any strength from the body of this man.
Is it because of his wounds or because he is weak to begin with? The difference is negligible.
I let him go and flip him over with my leg to face him up.
A cylinder shaped magic seal stone rolled out from inside the cloak just as I imagined.
“With one of this size, the ones close to you wouldn’t be able to use magic. You used the attack just now to block my view, and aimed to land a strike with your Demonic Tool. You would seal the barrier I would use to block the Demonic Tool by using a magic seal stone, and you tried to take advantage of the opening in my confusion.
If you had the skills of the woman that dropped mine right arm, you might have been able to stab that blade in my chest.” (Scarlet)
He used his own weakness as bait, a fake weapon as bait, and then, even read that I would use a barrier. I can certainly see how he can read all my thoughts.
The speed at which his brain turns is indeed worthy of praise.
But this man lacks the skills to perform them.
“To think you would need something like this or you wouldn’t even be able to hope of injuring mine body. You are way too weak.” (Scarlet)
“…What did you say?” (Scarlet)
“You were so pathetic that you had to stand up against a weakling like me though!”
This man can’t move anymore.
The eyes filled with killing intent of before have already changed into ones that are no different from your regular person.
In other words, these are just the howlings of a sore loser.
This is the last piece of resistance towards an opponent he can’t win against no matter how much he struggles.
But it seems like it had an effect.
I began to feel irritated at this man despite not feeling any proper emotions towards him until now.
“Is barking all you can do? What a boring conclusion.” (Scarlet)
I put a leg on top of the magic seal stone and crush it.
The face of the resident of Yugura’s planet stiffened after the tool he believed would lead him to victory had been destroyed.
With this, he should be able to know his place better—no, the eyes of this man… They are completely different from just now.
It is not killing intent or anger; they are eyes devoid of any emotion.
He is not looking at me as an enemy, it is more like—
My body tilts. It is as if my leg has been torn apart.
No, that’s not it.
My leg has been torn.
What, what attack did I get hit with?
It is dangerous to stay here. I must take distance.
I obeyed my instincts faster than I tried to confirm the identity of the attack and take distance.
But a greenish yellow liquid flew at me faster than my movement.
Impossible. Could this possibly be…?!
“The Mana Eater…?!” (Scarlet)
“That’s right. It is the Mana Eater that inhabits the Black Demon Lord Killer Mountain just as you already know.”
Thanks for kindly moving away.
With this, I don’t need to worry about being caught in the crossfire.
I slowly get up and look at the Scarlet Demon Lord.
He must be extremely sturdy or can regenerate at an astounding speed. Doesn’t matter whichever though.
The Mana Eater had bitten at the Demon Lord who possessed massive mana and expanded in the blink of an eye. It began to attack the monsters around too.
The screams of the monsters began to echo around.
But as expected of a Demon Lord, he is desperately trying to get out despite being swallowed.
“You…! So this…this was your true aim?!” (Scarlet)
The Mana Eater has no intelligence and is the worst monster that ravishes all living beings.
I have observed it over and over in the simulated worlds of Gold, and scrutinously investigated its traits.
The Mana Eater prioritizes the ones who have mana and those that move. I have experienced the latter with my own body.
Sound. In other words, it reacts to vibrations.
But the reality is that the Mana Eater doesn’t have the sense of hearing or touch.
The reason why the Mana Eater can detect vibrations is because it can detect the flow of mana in the air.
Turning that around, it means that it doesn’t do any devouring in a situation where it doesn’t detect any mana.
What brought my attention there was the trait of the magic seal stones which I was researching with Nora.
Magic seal stones are clad in a special mana, and the spells that touch this mana have their construction disassembled. This mana cannot be perceived by any spell.
If the ability to detect mana of the Mana Eater works on the same principle as magic, just what kind of reaction would the Mana Eater have towards mana seal stones?
I explained to Gold that this was a magic experiment and have headed countless times to the Black Demon Lord Killer Mountain of the simulated worlds with magic seal stones in hand.
Leaving aside how I have experience close-to-death experiences several times, the result was that the Mana Eater doesn’t react to mana seal stones.
And so, what I prepared was a cylindrical shaped magic seal stone.
I made the inside hollow, and when a set amount of matter gets inside, it is set to close the lid automatically.
The rai fruit that the Mana Eater spreads into the air with its mana as if they were spores and planted onto normal forests, the living creatures that eat this will have their mana affected and be invited into the lair of the Mana Eater.
I had Kutou catch small animals in the forest alive and have them eat this.
Wrapped them with a long rope made with ivy along with the magic seal stone container. The animal will be eaten by the Mana Eater after a while.
A part of the Mana Eater will be captured in that time with the magic seal stone container.
After that, I would calculate the location of the magic seal stone with the length of the rope, then have Kutou release other animals, that have eaten the rai fruit, a set distance apart from one another.
I would then silently go up the mountain to retrieve the magic seal stone while the animals are being eaten by the Mana Eater.
The Black Demon Lord Killer Mountain is shining even at night, so it wasn’t difficult to search for the magic seal stone container.
“That’s right. Mine. Thanks for moving just as I planned.”
I speak in a lower voice compared to the Scarlet Demon Lord to not stimulate the Mana Eater.
The Scarlet Demon Lord didn’t falter at anything, and yet, I could tell clearly that he was agitated here as if I was reading a book. He is dealing with the monster that the Black Demon Lord was eaten by -the Demon Lord he could not match at all.
“There’s no way…this is possible…!” (Scarlet)
“What is not possible? The fact that I didn’t consider the possibility of being killed by other monsters when I showed up in this cave? That wouldn’t happen. You must have thought this after losing your right arm: ‘It is possible the humans will find this an opportunity now that I have lost an arm and will send elites’. That’s why you didn’t station monsters with no intelligence in front of the cave and stationed monsters you could contact. Isn’t that right?”
I move slowly…silently…and pick up my cane.
“Are you referring to how I didn’t consider the possibility of being killed when I challenged you one-on-one? That wouldn’t happen either. You only think of monsters as pawns. You do the important things by your own hands. If a monster were to attack me, that would have been an affront to you. You wouldn’t have forgiven that. Isn’t that right?”
The knife Demonic Tool with a new shape…is not needed.
There’s still the possibility of the Mana Eater narrowing its target to me even in the time I am talking here after all.
“About how I didn’t consider the possibility that you wouldn’t be wary of my weapon and would get stabbed on purpose? Not happening either. You are extremely cautious. If you were to see a weapon that has a similar shape as the weapon that blew up your right arm, coupled with my expression assured of victory, you would have to use a barrier.
Once you notice that you can’t put a barrier because of the magic seal stone, your body will naturally take evasive measures. You can avoid the attack of a weakling among weaklings like me after all.
Even though you could have noticed I was in possession of a magic seal stone if you used detection magic.
But you didn’t want to do a cowardly action like using detection magic against a weakling. Isn’t that right?”
The screams around began to grow lower and screams began to echo from the exit of the cave.
“About the possibility that you might not break the magic seal stone container with the Mana Eater? That definitely wouldn’t happen. Because the ones who have thrown foul words at you were either Demon Lords or people with comparable strength.
You are not a Demon Lord with such low pride that you would allow insults and humiliation from a person you have judged as truly weak and worthless. You would want to make me know my place by destroying the tool I believed would bring me victory. Isn’t that right?”
The movements of the Mana Eater, the state of the monsters around; I probably won’t be able to stay here for long.
But there’s something I have to tell this Demon Lord in the end.
“I have been concentrating on comprehending you the whole time I confronted you. For the sake of bringing assured demise to you even if Ilias and the others lost, even if I were to fall.”
“Comprehend…?! Do you think a mere subhuman like you understands me?!” (Scarlet)
“The reason you became a Demon Lord was in order to become a necessary evil.”
I already comprehend the objective of the Scarlet Demon Lord…through his own actions and statements.
“If you wanted to eradicate humans, you could have just destroyed the countries one at a time without declaring war. But you invaded both Gahne and Mejis which were within your sphere of influence.
You decided to accentuate your existence as a Demon Lord to show how much of a threat you yourself are.
You were apparently a general before becoming a Demon Lord, right? That’s why you know…if there’s a common enemy, there’s no fights between allies.”
“You must have been told this by Yugura Nariya: ‘If you want to stop the battles between humans, just become a common enemy of theirs. Demon Lords are immortal. If you provide eternal strife, humans can continue holding hands’.”
That’s why he didn’t cooperate with the Black Demon Lord who tried to eradicate humans.
He didn’t make the Blue Demon Lord do a full blown invasion, and had her take a method that would instill her threat.
He praised the growth of humans, yet despite that, showed himself alone in order to show how much of a threat he is.
“It is truly stupid. An ideal that I would never want to sympathize with even if I were to comprehend it.”
“You bastard…what would you even know?! If battles don’t happen, humans will eventually—” (Scarlet)
“Aah, spare me from that. I have no interest. Your words won’t resonate in my heart.”
No matter how heavy the emotions the Scarlet Demon Lord had when he became the natural enemy of humans, I seriously don’t care.
No matter the emotions, there’s no way I would approve of actions that throw a wrench into my present peace.
“There’s a lot of things in me like how the life of an important person to me has been taken away. But more than that, I don’t like your way of living in the purest sense of the word. It is just displeasing. I would want to correct you if possible, but your resolve is strong and your heart would never bend towards me. That’s why I will end it. You won’t be coming out of this cave…for eternity. Your strife will end today, at this very place -with no one sympathizing, and as a worthless attempt.”
I have no intention of wrapping it up with just ending it. I will end it by making him feel that the path he believed in was worthless and displeasing.
I will grant this Demon Lord eternal disgrace.
“Your ideal will be trampled by the ego of a single individual you don’t even know the name of. Bye, Scarlet Demon Lord. Continue living in a hell of no worth.”
The Scarlet Demon Lord roared.
Words didn’t get through him anymore, and he had no leeway to think of a way to escape either.
That’s why the only thing he could do is roar.
That was his only way to hit me with his anger, his sadness, after all.