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Chapter 23: The Sage Hears New News
With a high-pitched cry, a goblin attacked me directly from the front.
He held a club in his hand and swung it straight down at me.
It was a blow that had both roughness and power.
However, it was something I could easily deal with.
I moved my wooden practice sword and parried the approaching club.
The goblin’s stance crumbled at the unexpected result.
I delivered a knee strike to his gut, and the goblin frothed at the mouth, fainting in agony.
His eyes were rolled back, but I had adjusted my strength.
He should not die.
If I left him alone, someone would use magic to revive him.
After I incapacitated the goblin, I detected a presence coming from each side.
To the left was an orc with a pig’s head, and to the right was a large ogre.
Both of them attacked simultaneously, as if they were trying to pin me in between them.
“Not a bad partnership.”
As the orc thrust his spear forward, I countered the attack by blocking the tip of the spear with my wooden sword, deflecting its trajectory.
And then I saw the ogre’s figure, swinging his fist at me.
The orc’s spear stabbed the ogre’s flank, which slowed the ogre’s movements.
It was only for a split second, but it was enough time for me.
I slammed the heel of my palm into the orc’s face with great force.
The orc lurched backward, with blood scattering from his nose.
Immediately after, I dodged the ogre’s fist that appeared a second too late, and kicked his defenseless jaw.
The two demons fell at the same time.
At that moment, there was someone quietly approaching me from behind.
I turned around while tilting my body to the side, to dodge a swinging knife.
There stood a kobold holding the knife.
The kobold was shocked that his surprise attack had failed.
“Calm your mind. I could easily see through that.”
I rushed in while swinging my upper body, and struck the kobold’s torso with an elbow strike.
The kobold screamed and then fainted, unable to hold on.
After confirming this, I lowered my wooden sword.
The demons under my command were all lined up around me.
They were nervously watching me.
I told the demons in an indifferent tone of voice.
“I want each of you to work harder at your training. That’s all from me.”
I handed the wooden sword to a nearby subordinate and left.
Taking that as a cue, the demons returned to their self-training with a buzzing noise.
This was a training ground within the royal capital.
Today, I had joined their practice at the request of my subordinates.
I had not just gained the power of the miasma in the Valley of the Dead.
I also inherited the memories and experiences of those who lost their lives there.
In addition to the swordsmanship of the previous hero, I had the techniques of many others.
I carried every last one of them with me.
This time, I was able to use it to train my subordinates.
Currently, the Demon Lord’s Army boasted an overwhelming strength.
In terms of total numbers alone, it surpassed the armies of other countries, and a large number of undead who were not afraid of death laid in wait.
However, if we get too complacent, we will have the rug swept out from under our feet.
Right now was the time to improve the quality of the Demon Lord’s army.
It had been a few dozen days since we defeated the Hero of the Holy Sword.
We had finally taken control of the entire kingdom.
Everything had been turned into the Demon Lord’s territory, and the kingdom had disappeared from the map.
Even though they were a great nation with a long history, their demise came so easily.
This was a surprising result for me as well.
Of course, I will continue to be careful of possible future rebellions.
I hadn’t turned the entire kingdom into a den of the undead.
Each place was dotted with territories that had surrendered and escaped damage.
Although they were quiet for now, I don’t know when they will turn on us.
They were well aware of the dangers of defying us.
I just hope they don’t make any more foolish choices in the future.
I don’t want to actively kill all the helpless people, either.
Incidentally, the surrounding countries were all in a great panic.
Our spies were monitoring the situation, and I heard there was a fierce debate going on in each country.
It was because they had heard news of the Hero’s death.
I’m sure they were also paying attention to the patterns of my war of aggression with the fallen kingdom.
I’m sure they fear that it will soon be their turn to suffer.
We had also completed identifying the countries that had provided armed assistance to the small country, and provoked their war with the Demon Lord’s army.
The leaders we had captured in the capital city had vomited out everything they knew.
Those countries had taken ownership of the resources that formerly belonged to the small country, and seemed to be lining their pockets even now.
Currently, the succubi under Luciana’s direct control had infiltrated those countries and were gathering information.
As soon as we found out what we needed to know, we planned to immediately attack.
We don’t need countries that only pursue profit and kick down others.
I will go out in person in the coming days and strike them a great blow.
I won’t do anything that will destroy them completely, but instead encourage them to cooperate with other countries.
I must have them behave properly to draw attention to the fearsome Demon Lord.
There’s a lot of work to be done. But we’re making steady progress.
The kingdom where it all began has been destroyed.
I could now say that the threat of the Demon Lord has finally been recognized.
Frankly speaking, I’d say that realization took too long.
It’s probably because the countries have been blinded by their own interests.
Perhaps it was unavoidable.
Not long ago, I was seen as a disaster that was only occurring in a single country.
I destroyed the small neighboring country, but still, it was only a vassal state.
Those countries that had been standing by idly thought that they could ignore the problem, and it would eventually be resolved.
Call it an oversight, but that’s just human nature.
From now on, the situation will not allow them to continue with their carefree attitude.
We are currently focusing on the development of the Demon Lord’s territory, but we will resume our invasion soon.
At that time, the people who will suffer from the war will be the surrounding countries.
We’ve already gone beyond being somebody else’s problem.
The human race must do everything in its power to survive.
While I was thinking about the future, a flurry of activity came from ahead.
It was Grom, waving his hand as he ran up to me.
He stopped in front of me and spoke uneasily.
“Demon Lord! So you were here…!”
When I asked, Grom began his report, gesturing wildly.
“T-This is serious… A certain group of people are crossing the Demon Lord’s territory!”
“A certain group, huh.”
I repeated in a quiet tone.
It was an unexpected report.
I didn’t expect a group of people to enter the Demon Lord territory at this time of year.
Although people are not forbidden from entering and leaving, it’s not a place to step into out of curiosity.
That’s why only merchants who have decided it is a good time to make a profit, and fearless mercenaries and adventurers come here.
The rest were probably spies from various countries.
However, I leave the small things to Grom and Luciana.
The fact that the report was coming to me meant that something was strange about this group.
I pondered a bit, but had no idea what it could be.
“About thirty people.”
I am considerably surprised.
It’s too many people for a private troupe and too few for an army.
It’s an unusual number.
Even if they were spies, they should be working in smaller groups of people.
It seems unnatural for them to act on a scale that we could easily detect.
“Do we know the affiliation of the other side?”
“Yes, of course, we know that.”
Grom muffled his voice so he wouldn’t be heard by anyone around him
He told me the rest.
“…It seems like they are a group of elves who live in the Forest of Yggdrasil!”
Hasr: New characters?