“There’s two merchants who made contact with Landos, and there are 4 merchants who caught the attention of Landos, huh. Is it okay to trust you that there’s no missing merchants here?”
“Y-Yeh. We’re keeping surveillance on Landos-san himself even now without break, Soraid-san. Also, just like the subordinates of Landos-san who have been chosen as negotiators…”
“Oh, it seems like you have properly digested the meaning of my words. That’s the correct answer. It seems like you didn’t make a mistake this time around.” (Soraid)
Hoodlums are hoodlums because they can’t live intelligently. But if you can make them learn, they will become more useful than your average person, and they are unexpectedly more proactive.
That said, having them learn in itself is extremely hard. You have to utilize fitting pain and fear in order to be efficient.
A certain percent of the hoodlums originally in Torin have now perished forever, but the remaining hoodlums have grown to a dazzling degree, so they must be grateful.
“W-We did try checking the dwellings of the merchants that have made contact with him. We still haven’t investigated where the people living there came from though…”
“Aah, no need for that. You guys are in the end still just hoodlums. The one I am searching for is a skilled man that even defeated Demon Lords. He himself may be weak to the point that even someone like you can win, but he obviously has bodyguards. They are opponents that even I would find questionable whether I would win against them if fought normally, so it is obvious that you guys would be wiped out if you were to carelessly make contact with such people…right?” (Soraid)
Well, it is still unknown whether that person has really come to Torin though.
But I am decently confident about my sense of smell.
I can feel some sort of intention behind the resources of the Nether circulating in Torin.
No normal smart individual can set something like this.
Ritial said that the resident of Yugura’s planet is on the same level as him. It is true that Ritial would go on the offensive with an idea like this one.
In other words, I just have to move while thinking I am facing Ritial.
“Y-Yeh… And so, what do you plan on doing now?”
“Aah, right. I will have you go to each house and rob them.”
“Eh? D-Didn’t you say the enemy is pretty strong…?”
“Just steal, not kill. You just have to steal the money and goods. They shouldn’t be able to do extreme actions according to the documents. In that case, you will at worst be passed to the Torin army if you are defeated instead. Also, you don’t have to mess with the other places after you pull the correct one. Just do it swiftly as if earning your drink of the day.” (Soraid)
Punish all that is suspicious -I think I have heard that before, but well, that would be the best.
If they are within these people, we will definitely be able to pull the correct one if we just go for all of them.
“It is a safe proposal for your heart and body though. Did you want a more extreme one?” (Soraid)
I wouldn’t really feel anything from these guys dying, but I do want to use whatever people I can use until they can’t give anymore.
These guys increase in number even if I just leave them do their own thing anyways. This would serve just fine in culling their numbers.
“Now then, I would like to use the other Illegitimate as a fighting force, but…they are a cowardly bunch… Let’s corner them.” (Soraid)
I have been told by Ritial to be careful in how I deal with the Illegitimate. Well, they are people with the talent of Hero Yugura even if it is only a fragment of it.
But no one aside from Arcreal would be able to fight Yugura on equal grounds.
Then, what would they be useful for? Almost the same as the hoodlums you find around.
I just have to be careful about making use of their talent effectively.
I have successfully succeeded in making contact with the Holstear Company.
We are finally at the step of investigating their building.
And so, we 4 men are having a discussion about what to do from here on.
The female group stole the cooking turns of the male members with the prior meal as the trigger and are doing their best in their work.
As for Rakura, she is simply enjoying her role as a taste tester.
“I think I would be the right person for infiltration…” (Ekdoik)
“But Ekdoik, Ritial remembers most of the faces of the people here.”
We are not recognized at a glance thanks to being disguised as demi-humans, but it is not like we have changed our faces and build greatly.
There’s the chance we would be instantly discovered by Ritial if he were in a place before us and he sees our faces personally.
We could hide our faces with a turban, but that in itself would look suspicious.
“If we are speaking of people who Ritial hasn’t seen the face of…it would be Kayle, Masetta, and Melia, I guess. How about the Blue Demon Lord, Brother?” (Haaku)
“She has not met Ritial in person, but I think Raheight has seen her face a number of times. Her facial features have most likely been passed around.”
“I am not trying to speak ill of Kayle and the others, but I don’t think they are suitable for infiltration missions, Comrade.” (Ekdoik)
“R-Right… I would like to say that I am good with the sword, but…that is also questionable…” (Kayle)
Kayle is being really useful by mapping up this city in detail, so him not being that strong in combat isn’t that much of an issue.
Even if he says he is not strong, he is still a knight of Taizu. He should be able to win against several regular soldiers of Torin.
Melia is somewhat lower in combat power compared to Kayle, but she has a wide variety of spells to fight against devils and undead.
“There’s not much point worrying about strength though. Kayle would be able to draw out a precise picture of the building’s structure as long as he manages to see the inside. Basically, it is about whether he can make use of his talent to the best of its capabilities.”
“…That’s true. Sorry, Kayle. I put it in a way that might have sounded as if I looked down on you.” (Ekdoik)
“N-No no! I know about your skills well, Ekdoik-san! It is normal to think I am incapable!” (Kayle)
“To be fair, he is stronger with the sword compared to Haakudoku, so there’s no need to feel so down about it.”
“Those are fighting words, Brother. I have sparred with Kayle and have won 9 out of 10 despite appearances, you know!” (Haaku)
“So you lost once.”
Haakudoku’s battle style is to avoid the attacks and break the rhythm of the opponent.
In other words, the more you crumble from being shaken, the harder the sting of Haakudoku is.
In the case of all-rounders like Ekdoik who deal with things intelligently, he is pretty much done for if he were to lose to them in terms of battle power though.
Well, his achievement of defeating Rakura was big, so he is also the one with the highest chance of turning the tables.
“Taizu knights are good at creating openings!” (Haaku)
“B-But the fighting style of Haakudoku-san is really educational for me! It feels as if I am being made to dance in the palm of his hands, as if he is leading my thoughts. It made me feel as if I was being dealt with by a seasoned knight!” (Kayle)
“I-I see. Thanks. Kayle, you are receptive, but you are not used to actual combat. You should fight Ekdoik or someone like that. I think it would teach you a lot.” (Haaku)
“About that, uhm…Ekdoik-san is way too good in a lot of things that…” (Kayle)
“I get you. This guy can do everything. It just ain’t fair.” (Haaku)
Ekdoik can use other weapons aside from the chains at a high skill level.
You could say he is the perfect person to train against various weapons. Melia must be aware of this too. She asks to spar with him pretty often.
“Even if you tell me it is unfair… It is mostly skills that I obtained through training though…” (Ekdoik)
“Don’t take it seriously. Well, there’s no one as convenient as you as a sparring partner. If I were to spar against Rakura, I feel like a part of my body would get sliced off.” (Haaku)
“Haakudoku, how about Mix as a sparring partner?” (Ekdoik)
“…Pass. I am way too much of a bad match against her.” (Haaku)
Mix has a lot of first-timer killers.
Even if Haakudoku were to try to throw off her rhythm, the chances are higher that he would get caught in a trap first.
You would need an attack method that boasts overwhelming mass like the chains of Ekdoik or the barriers of Rakura, or you will have a pretty bad time against her.
“Mix is the type that should not show her cards in the first place. I heard that her skills with the sword are decent though. Wouldn’t she tag along in your sword training at least, Kayle?”
“U-Uhm, Sensei…have you forgotten that Mix-sama is the little sister of His Majesty…?” (Kayle)
A knight asking the little sister of their king is…yeah, not possible.
Even Melia and Masetta take respectful attitudes towards Mix.
“So Ekdoik would be the perfect sparring partner then. He can hold back pretty well too.” (Haaku)
“Right. If you were to spar with Ilias, everyone here might break.”
“Lady Ratzel would be a bit…” (Kayle)
I feel like Ilias would have her own issues in finding a sparring partner.
She is probably being trained to the bone by Lord Ragudo, but Lord Ragudo isn’t young… Will he be okay?
“—Shh. There’s someone outside the house.” (Ekdoik)
Everyone takes combat stances at the call of Ekdoik. Ah, except for a certain someone.
I can tell Kayle is a knight in situations like this.
It also looks as if Haakudoku has used detection magic immediately.
“Muh, this mana…” (Ekdoik)
The entrance door opened powerfully and the intruder appeared before Ekdoik managed to say something.
“Nfufufu! This one has appeared!”
The one there was Gold.
Oi, Gahne King, it wasn’t enough for you to show up at a neighboring country? Don’t come to a place two countries away to hang out.
“What. Torin is close to the hometown of this one, ya know? It shouldn’t be that bad to come back home every once in a while, right?” (Gold)
“Your hometown was burned down.”
Speaking of which, Gold was trying to make a Nether close to Torin. She was thinking about doing the same since all the other Demon Lords were doing it, but she was defeated by Yugura in a whiff.
There’s no Torin Nether in this world thanks to that.
You could say it is thanks to this Demon Lord being so slow at acting that Torin has not suffered harm from monsters.
“For this one, my second hometown is by yer side… Better?” (Gold)
“It is not. Say it is Gahne there.”
“Ah, right. Then, yer the 3rd place man.” (Gold)
“That’s irritating in itself. Also, if you are going to come, say so beforehand. It is troubling to have you show up all of a sudden.”
“What a terrible way of putting it. There’s no need to be that aggro.” (Gold)
“No, there’s a guy here who caught your mana with mana detection, you know.”
At the place where I pointed at, there was Haakudoku who had fainted while still standing with a gallant expression.
He loses consciousness just from seeing a Demon Lord, so of course he would end up like this after detecting her mana directly.
“Ooh…that certainly is pitiful… Good boy, good boy.” (Gold)
“Don’t pat him. Kayle, sorry, but can you please lay Haakudoku down in a room?”
“Y-Yes, Sensei.” (Kayle)
I have explained why this happened to Melia and Kayle, but he must feel a great deal of pity towards him after witnessing it in person.
Kayle bowed at Haakudoku once before carefully carrying his body.
Gold sat on top of my lap and pushed her tail against me as if telling me to brush it.
I brush without much desire as I confirm the sensation.
I really can’t tell whether this one is a clone or the real body when the inside is the same.
“Anyways, to think yer all in demi-human appearances now. It is pretty amusing. Let me touch yer tail too, Ser.” (Gold)
“Okay okay… And so, is this your real body?”
“Nope. My real body is taking a nap in the Gahne Castle. There have been issues happening here and there in Gahne, so I felt like taking a bit of a break.” (Gold)
“Well, Ludfein-san won’t glare at me if that’s the case…I think.”
Gold has revealed to the residents of Gahne that she is a Demon Lord.
That information obviously spread, and it ended up with many people learning that the Gahne King is a Demon Lord.
It was a problem that was left vague in preparation for the invasion of the Scarlet Demon Lord, but there really are a lot of people who don’t think favorably of this.
“No need to make such a worried face. This one is fine with quitting being the king of Gahne at any time. But it was passed on to me by the former king, so I would like for the next one to reach a certain level first. However, there has been no one who can rule better than this one.” (Gold)
“You have the unfair power given to you by Yugura after all.”
“I am willing to compromise in them being at least as good as the Foolish King of Taizu though.” (Gold)
“That’s not called a compromise.”
Even if they don’t want a Demon Lord, her skills are the real deal. It would be difficult to find a king to take her place.
There’s no way there would be someone who can rule better than Gold when she can confirm the success or failure of her political measures with a power akin to seeing the future.
However, the reason why there’s no one pulling any extreme measures is most likely thanks to Ludfein-san who is pushing the competence doctrine.
“I have enjoyed ruling as a king to a certain degree. If I am going to be seen with eyes of disgust for being a Demon Lord…I might as well —there are times when I would think like that.” (Gold)
“I am not going to sustain you, just for your information.”
“Don’t make such a blatant face of despair. There’s no need for you to poke at me in that manner. I will at least lend an ear to your grievances. You must have had it rough.”
“…It wouldn’t be that much if it were only this one. The burden on Ludfein and the ones that support me has increased. There’s a lot of malicious people even though they could just show off with their own skills.” (Gold)
Aah, so that’s why.
Marito has been speaking ill to her face a whole ton already, so there’s no way Gold would falter at the insults of the riff-raff.
But people who are harassing her allies must have shown up.
There are people who are more resilient at being hurt than having their allies hurt.
“Should I help you?”
“Yer already helping me now. If ya help out the world as ya are, Ser, the view of others towards the Demon Lords will change little by little. We are immortal, so it is fine even if it takes a long time.” (Gold)
“So you want to try things out by yourself for a while.”
“Umu. Ya might wrap things up in an instant though.” (Gold)
This is an issue with the way of life of Gold.
Gold was born in a warring era, was swallowed by the waves of it and died, and ended up having to live the new life she didn’t want as a Demon Lord.
She wants to obtain the things she couldn’t when she lived while dragged by the waves. That desire of hers still hasn’t changed.
If I were to solve everything here, it would be the same as letting the wave called me wash her along.
That’s probably why she wants to try doing something by her own strength.
“Do your best. If you can’t, cling onto me in tears. I will try to do something about it at that time.”
“You can just sustain me though.” (Gold)
“So cold. —Anyways, the surroundings were a bit noisy on my way here. I saw the Torin army investigating in front of the inn. It seems like there was a robbery.” (Gold)
I spread the map and had Gold tell me the location of that inn.
“So it really was that place.”
“Comrade, if I remember correctly, this inn…” (Ekdoik)
If this is them taking action, that means they have predicted we are aiming for their hideout in Torin -the Holstear Company.
I want to believe that means Ritial and Raheight have shown up to interfere, but…the way of doing things seems different from their style.
Raheight wouldn’t move the Torin army on that very day, and Ritial would narrow down the information before making a move like this.
That means someone else has been left with the defense of Torin.
Now then, what should we do?