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Not gonna lie, this was a super great chapter. I’m a lot more excited for this mini side arc now than I was when I first saw it was going to be a thing.Chapter 19 - Interlude Beginning: The Demon Lord at the Frontier
The continent of Fillades was west of j.a.pan. In the northeast of Fillades was a large island about as large as s.h.i.+koku. There was a natural bridge that was only 200 meters wide but 30 kilometers long that connected the island to the continent. The country that called this island home was none other than the Topa Kingdom. To the northeast of Topa was another bridge, this one 100 meters wide and 40 kilometers long, that joined them with the continent of Grameus.
Grameus was populated with creatures called demons. There were no settlements of humans or demi-humans there. No one could communicate with demons, and they attacked all the human races on sight. Demons did not have any kind of civilization, they simply used their superior physical abilities to hunt people in a berserk rampage. For j.a.panese people, if they were to describe demons in a single word, that word would be "pests."
In the northeastern region of Topa, there was a castle town called Tormis that stood between the Topa Kingdom and the demons of Grameus. Its walls blocked off the natural bridge and were known as the Doors to the World. They had repelled countless demon invasions. Topan soldiers were permanently stationed at the Doors to the World, and the castle town Tormis was founded to support those soldiers.
The citizens of Topa were very proud that their country guarded the world from demon invasions. From what the superpowers and the civilized areas have said, the suppression of demons allows them to maintain order and focus on developing their countries. Without the people of Topa, humanity wouldn't be as prosperous.
One quiet morning, Gai, a sellsword, was looking over at Grameus from on top of the Doors to the World.
"Nnngaaah… so sleepy. I wanna lie down…" Gai yawned dispiritedly.
"Come now, the task of monitoring Grameus is imperative for the survival of both humans and demihumans," his childhood friend, the knight Moah, warned him.
"You always say that, but…" Gai looked down at the wall. "The Doors to the World are twenty meters tall. In the last ten years, the worst attack we've had was when ten goblins got lost! We picked up our bows, bing bang boom, oh, they're already dead. Until there are over a hundred goblins, there ain't nothing to be scared of anyway. Even if I take a nap, it's all the same, right?"
"…If you look back a hundred years, orcs and goblin lords have also attacked the wall. They are problematic foes," the elvish knight reb.u.t.ted.
Gai was silent for a moment. "I guess you're right. Orcs are so strong you'd need ten knights working together to defeat it. But anyway, elves are way too serious, counting time in centuries… good grief."
The sellsword Gai hung his head. This was his daily life. From north of the wall all the way to Grameus, there was short gra.s.s, so there was a lot of visibility. In this season, the gra.s.s was a deep green, so the entire northern part of the continent was filled with fields of emerald. Birds sang and b.u.t.terflies danced. Nothing else would happen today, and they'd soon be relieved of their duties.
Right as Moah and Gai each thought this…
They heard something… something repulsive.
"What was that?!"
"Huh?! The ground over there… it's turning black!" Moah yelled as he looked through a telescope towards Grameus. "Those… those are goblins!!! The ground is completely covered in them, and they're headed this way!!! Ahh! Orcs! There are orcs too! There are… there are over a hundred enemies!!!"
Behind the swarm, they could make out the silhouettes of two giant demons even bigger than orcs.
"Wh… what?! It couldn't be… those are the Red Ogre and the Blue Ogre!!! Why are those legendary beasts here?!"
Behind those two ogres, there was a red land dragon that was about three times larger than the Papaldia Empire's land dragons. On top of that dragon sat an ogre-sized beast. Moah had once read some ancient records in the archives, and he was now reminded of the contents of that record.
"Th… th… th… that's the Scarlet Dragon, and the Demon Lord Nosgoorah!!!"
They ordered the runner to deliver an urgent message to Tormis, south of the Doors.
With the land completely covered in demons, the swarm got closer and closer to the wall. For the time being, the 150 soldiers on watch on the wall had to keep them at bay. The leader of this force, the knight captain, yelled out orders.
"Moah! You're an expert on demons! Get to Tormis and tell them what you saw!!!"
"B-But… I should help—"
"Quiet! This is an emergency!!! Everything needs to be described accurately! If any information is wrong, the whole country, or worse, all life on Fillades could be at risk!!! This is a direct order. Take your mercenary friend, too!"
Moah and Gai mounted their horses and galloped off to Tormis.
Topa Kingdom, Castle Town Tormis
By the time the knight Moah and the sellsword Gai reached Tormis, the leaders had already received the magical communication and called a council of war. As soon as Moah and Gai arrived, they met the northern garrison commander and quickly threw out salutes.
"What's the situation?!"
"Sir! As stated in the communications, there are so many demons invading from Grameus that we couldn't even see the ground!!! There are twenty thousand goblins, two thousands goblin lords, two hundred ogres, and, based on descriptions I had read in the royal archives about legendary beasts, I also confirmed the Red Ogre and the Blue Ogre, as well as the Demon Lord Nosgoorah riding a red dragon!!!"
Everyone was speechless… They simply couldn't have ever imagined an attack like this.
"We don't even have five thousand soldiers in the northern defense squad! Runner!!!"
"Get in touch with the king! The Demon Lord Nosgoorah has revived! We need all military forces to be sent here!!!"
As soon as that runner left, another runner arrived.
"What is it?!" the commander asked.
"They've breached the Doors to the World… the watch force has been wiped out…"
Legends of the Topa Kingdom, Book 5, Chapter 4: The Descent of the Demon Lord
Once upon a time, a demon lord suddenly came out of nowhere. Its name was Nosgoorah. It came from Grameus, the land of demons, leading a great army and wielding many types of magic. With it were beasts of legend, the Red and Blue Ogres, the White and Yellow Ogres, and an army comprised of various other beasts of lower intelligence. They had come to invade Topa.
The island of Topa, which was just a small village back then, quickly fell, and the Demon Lord's army next surged into Fillades. There were no countries in Fillades back then either, and humanity as a whole was weak. Most of Fillades fell into the Demon Lord's control. His army had terrifying magic at its disposal. They were a blight on the land. They even used seaborne demonic beasts to cross the ocean to Rodenius to fight the elves. The coalition of races struggled in vain, and the Demon Lord's army invaded the elves' final bastion, the Sacred Forest, the sanctuary of the elven G.o.d. Many valiant warriors were crushed, and the elves' most talented mages fell in battle.
The elven G.o.d, the G.o.d of Green, prayed to the G.o.d of the Sun, creator of the lower G.o.ds. The G.o.d of the Sun answered those prayers by sending down the emissaries of the sun. The emissaries rode the divine flying s.h.i.+ps and cast fearsome sorcery that summoned thunderous lightning that set the ground ablaze, driving off the Demon Lord's army. The coalition of races then forced the Demon Lord's army off Rodenius, eventually gong to Fillades themselves. The emissaries of the sun used their powerful magic to push the demons out of Fillades and what is now the Topa Kingdom, all the way back to Grameus.
After the threat was neutralized, the G.o.d of the Sun called the emissaries back from this world. The coalition of races then built the wall called the Doors to the World and created both a castle town and a new kingdom. That kingdom would later become the Topa Kingdom.
One year after the Demon Lord's invasion, the remainder of the coalition of races formed a subjugation unit. This unit would later be known as the "heroes of legend," and it consisted of four heroes:The human sword master Ta Roh The dwarven fighter Kiege The supreme elven magus Rusa The beastman military specialist Kens.h.i.+va
The heroes journeyed into Grameus and vanquished the White Ogre and the Yellow Ogre. They then challenged the Demon Lord Nosgoorah, but it was too powerful. After betting their lives, the four heroes managed to seal the Demon Lord. The magical barrier required the sacrifice of three of the heroes, and the only survivor, the beastman Kens.h.i.+va, returned to tell this story.
The power of the barrier would slowly decay over time.
As the years pa.s.sed, the story simply turned into an old legend where no one was sure which parts were true and which were fantasy.
Topa Kingdom, royal capital Berngen
The country's chief advisors held a somber meeting in the presence of King Topa the 16th. Tormis's 5,000 elite soldiers were currently fending off the sudden attack of the Demon Lord's 20,000-strong army. 15,000 more soldiers had already departed from Berngen and were now on their way to reinforce Tormis.
"Why would the Demon Lord's army all of a sudden revive now…? For that matter, is it really the Demon Lord's army? How can they tell?" the king asked.
A professor from the royal college answered. "In the legends… According to the legends, the Demon Lord was sealed in a barrier created by sacrificing the lives of three of the four heroes. That very same barrier grew weaker every year. The Demon Lord would revive once the barrier failed, I believe. However, since they have such a large army, I don't believe it only just revived, but rather that it has been revived for some time and only attacked once its preparations were complete.
"Regarding the identification, as Your Majesty knows, the beastman hero Kens.h.i.+va used magic to capture the likeness of the Demon King in a lithograph. This technique is now lost to us, but he also used s.p.a.ce-time magic to preserve it. Many historians and other people in the kingdom have seen this magic lithograph. I have also seen it, and this time… the person to report this information, the knight Moah, I know has spent time in the archives before. Furthermore, because he also recognized the Red and Blue Ogres, we can only conclude that this is indeed the Demon Lord's army."
The foreign affairs minister stepped forward.
"Whatever it may be, tens of thousands of demons are invading our country. If we were to fall, then, just like in the legends, the demons will spill out into Fillades. This is an emergency situation. My king! Should we communicate this information to other countries and request aid?"
"Yes, convey the demons' movements in real time. If we fall while reinforcements are en route, then real-time information will be paramount."
The knight commander interjected. "Your Majesty, with all due respect, I do not believe we need to ask for reinforcements."
"Is that so… and why is that?"
"First, in the era of the legend, there were no established countries at all. Compared to back then, dwarven technology is far more advanced, and weapons are far stronger as well. The elves' magic research too, even though many spells have been lost, the ones in use today are far more powerful. Humankind has also developed advanced tactics and war strategy; compared to the past, the very meaning of the word 'strength' is incomparable. The ones that concern me are the Demon Lord and the Red and Blue Ogres, but the orcs and goblins and such can probably be easily handled with just our country's forces alone, in my opinion. For the Demon Lord and the ogres, I am confident that the special royal combat mage unit can deal with them."
The king fell into thought.
"In that case, simply inform the other countries of the situation. The problem is the Demon Lord and its guards… j.a.pan is quite reluctant to send its forces, aren't they… I am loath to send this request, but… minister, what do you think of asking the Papaldia Empire to send even a just a platoon of reinforcements? Their portable magic cannons would be welcome a.s.surance in our knights' efforts to take down the Demon Lord."
The meeting continued late into the night.
Demon Lord's army, headquarters
In the darkness, torches burned steadily, illuminating the forms of three demonic beasts. The one in the middle, its black body a ma.s.s of bulging muscles and its hair think like wire, was playing with a knife. It had a black spiral horn, and it was emitting mana on a level that completely elevated it above any other species.
"In the time I was sealed, humans have certainly increased in number… Well, human meat is tasty, so it is nice to find food so easily," it commented while chewing on meat. Scattered all around it were the bones of humans that had been eaten.
"Master, where will the army go next?" asked Red Ogre.
"Last time, we went south over the sea, and, in the sacred forest, the sun G.o.d's pets were summoned… This time, we stop after taking the big land south of here…"
"They are strong, though. We had twenty thousand goblins, but two thousand have already been lost while we only caught three hundred humans."
"Ahh, much time has pa.s.sed since before. Even waste can learn a little bit. It's fine, we've only lost one orc. Anyway, our creators, the mages, will soon return. We must clean up the waste that thinks this world is theirs. Our mission is to help even just a little, so that the mages can quickly resume their rule. The mages' country… when the sorcerous empire returns, they will easily conquer the world. The humans and demihumans have made their own countries, mimicking the mages, but waste cannot compete with them. The time is near. Before then, we must conquer as much as possible!"
Red Ogre hesitantly posed a question. "By the way, Master, there is one thing bothers me a little…" It looked somewhat bewildered.
"Last time, we lost to the sun G.o.d's pets, the messengers. They were strong. Their divine boats were very fast, making shrill noises as they flew through the air; their iron land dragons fired powerful explosive magic from their horns; their colossal magic s.h.i.+ps were over two hundred and fifty meters long. The Demon Lord's army, which easily stomped over the coalition of races, could not even lift a finger against them. The fear that their tremendous explosive magic wrought still clings to my soul. I do not know the power of the old sorcerous empire. Master, was the empire even more powerful than the sun G.o.d's messengers?"
Demon Lord Nosgoorah began to laugh. "Hah hah hah, so that's what it was. Even the dreaded sun G.o.d's pets cannot but tremble before the might of the mages. Those divine flying s.h.i.+ps would fall like leaves before the empire's anti-air magic s.h.i.+ps. The imperial army's sky s.h.i.+ps can fly faster than sound! The divine flying s.h.i.+ps could only travel half that fast. The messengers' giant s.h.i.+p would simply crumble from a shower of the imperial army's exploding bullets of light. Suffice to say that the mages' strength is absolute. No one can defeat the mages. Worry not."
The Demon Lord army's respite extended into the night.
Papaldia Empire, imperial capital Esthirant, 3rd foreign affairs department
The Topan amba.s.sador was currently at the 3rd foreign affairs department requesting reinforcements.
"As previously explained, the legendary Demon Lord from our myths has revived. Our knights are engaged at full strength; if the Demon Lord is truly as strong as the legends say, then we fear we will be unable to defeat it. We believe that your portable magic cannons will be effective against it. If you could dispatch a small platoon of them…"
"That is impossible," the 3rd foreign affairs representative answered immediately.
"Wh… Can you not at least consider it? If my country falls, the entire continent of Fillades will be at the mercy of the Demon Lord's army."
"The empire is currently a bit occupied… I am unable to say why, but suffice to say that we are busy. Even if it is only a small platoon, there is no reason for us to dispatch our army to aid other countries. This is not to single out your country, the policy applies for all countries. Besides… if a demon that made a name for itself before there were even countries in Fillades tries to throw its weight around now in the modern era, it will quickly learn its place. If they do end up invading Fillades, the empire will simply eradicate them then."
The Topan amba.s.sador was unable to secure reinforcements from the Papaldia Empire.
j.a.pan, capital city Tokyo
The Topan amba.s.sador was worried. A directive from the homeland had come to ask j.a.pan to send reinforcements to subjugate the Demon Lord. Apparently, the Papaldia Empire had refused to provide aid.
"Haah… Ignorance is bliss for them…"
j.a.pan was strangely ornery when it came to deploying troops unless it was in their own defense. He had already reported this to his superiors… he wondered how he should approach this…
There was a knock on the door. Apparently the j.a.panese Ministry of Foreign Affairs was ready to receive him.
"…and all of our knights have been sent to Tormis to fight the Demon Lord, a legendary demonic beast who can control other demons, the enemy of all life, and its army. Our knights can handle the smaller demons such as goblins and the like, but, if the Demon Lord's magical capabilities are as powerful as rumored, our knight order will undoubtedly face considerable losses. Would it be possible for the JSDF to send a small platoon of reinforcements to help us defeat the Demon Lord, the Red Ogre, and the Blue Ogre?"
The j.a.panese official thought for a bit. "This 'Demon Lord' is an intelligent being, correct? Currently, there is a large debate in j.a.pan over the scope of human rights. If intelligent life is indiscriminately erased, it could affect national sentiment and relations with other countries…"
"But… the Demon Lord, Red Ogre, and Blue Ogre primarily subsist on humanoids… in other words, they eat people. Is there still value in protecting their rights?"
"Hmm… because this matter involves multiple government agencies, I will arrange a meeting to discuss your request at once."
Some days later, the j.a.panese government decided to send the j.a.pan Ground Self-Defense Force on an international aid mission to suppress destructive wildlife.
TL note: I changed “G.o.d’s flying s.h.i.+ps” to “divine flying s.h.i.+ps.” I went back and updated chapter 6 to match.
— — Chapter 20