Translator: Denryuu; Editor: Ryunakama
After slaying the dragon, I returned to the others who were discussing what to do.
「Your Majesty, we are no longer able to blink over to the island. In addition, my magicka has been significantly depleted. We’ll have to find a horse and then switch to a boat or something…」
「No, that won’t be necessary.」
「Then how will we…?」
Looking at the troubled Rodje, Lyla shook her head. We were probably on the same page.
「So, you think you remember our fifth-order mobility spells?」
「If it’s relatively simple, like ‘Shadow’, then I should be fine.」
「…Huh? Don’t think for a moment that ‘Gate’ is a simple spell! ‘Shadow’ is but the tip of the iceberg of demon magic! If you get the coordinates wrong, you’ll end up incarcerated in hyperspace forever!」
「Anyway, how about we use the ‘Gate’ Rodje created near your castle as an exit point?」
「Sounds good, let’s give it a go.」
「Listen to reason…!」
Turning a deaf ear to Rodje’s whining, I attempted to create a ‘Gate’ as Lyla had taught me previously. Drawing a magic circle for which the diameter was about the width of my shoulders, I quickly detected Rodje’s magicka on the other side. This circle would be the entrance, with what was previously the entrance now becoming the exit point.
「I found Rodje Sandsong’s entrance. I’m creating a pass now.」
As I was wondering whether I did it correctly, the magic circle hovering above the ground began to glow.
「Fumu, fumu, fumu… you’ve linked it up to a spot about 200 kilometres due south」, said Lyla, looking at the circle.
「About 200 kilometres due south… then that’s a little further from here than the Kingdom of Jorvenssen’s castle is. So it’s… a success?」
Taken aback, Rodje fell to her knees.
「What on earth, this human… I only learnt how to use ‘Gate’ a while ago myself…」
「This man’s magic sense is exceptionally developed, even surpassing some of us demons. Cheer up.」
「I am grateful for your comforting words, your Majesty…」
「Right, it’s time to make the jump.」
Each of us holding hands with the other two, we stood in a triangle. I stepped into the magic circle, activating the ‘Gate’. After a brief period of weightlessness, the scenery changed completely.
We saw waves crashing onto the shore.
「Looks like the jump was successful.」
「Hmph! Her Majesty is praising you. Say your thanks to her, human!」, exclaimed Rodje, who was becoming more like a hanger-on by the minute.
Walking along the beach, we soon arrived at the belligerents’ base, where the entrance was sheltered by overhanging rocks.
「This is the hardliners’ central command, led by Cornelieu. I’d watch my step if I were you」, advised Rodje, looking at me.
I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t know how to.
「So you said they have two thousand? Can we just kill them all?」
「Ahahaha, by yourself? I’d like to see you try!」
「Stop it, Rodje. He’ll actually do it. He never comes up with stupid ideas.」
Rodje cocked her head to one side.
「But, your Majesty… this man is a mage, right…?」
I had never let her know my true profession, as there was no point in doing so.
「I’d like you to bring me to Cornelieu.」
She shushed me before I could finish my sentence.
「I don’t care who they are… as long as they’re part of my army, I don’t want to see a single one of them die.」
「I will follow you wherever you go, your Majesty…! I will join you in appeasing Cornelieu.」
We navigated the interior with Rodje’s help. There was an observation tower erected on a vantage point that could be used to spot enemies approaching the island, but they would never have expected anyone to blink over.
「Strange… I don’t see a sentry up there. There should be someone manning the post even before daybreak.」
We heard a deafening roar that sounded like the rumbling of the earth.
「Could it be that… today is the day –?」
「What’s wrong, Rodje?」
「Apologies, your Majesty. They never told me the day of the uprising!」
「That’s why that half-dragon was keeping tabs on you — they couldn’t trust you fully.」
「So that’s why… but anyway, we made it in time! Let us make haste, your Majesty. The sound is coming from the plain at the centre of the island. It appears that the ‘Gate’ has been successfully linked to somewhere near the castle」, explained Rodje, quickening her pace. 「There’s also a medic there, your Majesty. He can take a look at your condition.」
「If there’s one, I’ll find him after all this is over.」
Climbing up the knoll, we could see more of the island. The small grassy plain was covered by a unit of demons and monsters, numbering slightly more than Rodje had mentioned.
A demon standing in front of his troops was giving them a morale boost.
「We will avenge her Majesty and take back the castle! All the lily-livered defeatists that went back to the demon realm will watch us take back what’s rightfully ours!」
They released another deafening roar.
Looking at them, recapturing the castle might not be a problem for them at all. Once they made their move, another direct clash with the demons would be inevitable, albeit smaller in scale this time.
I concealed myself behind a boulder so as not to ruin Lyla’s plan, and observed them.
「My loyal subjects!」
Lyla’s voice caused a stir among the demons.
「Your… Your Majesty…?」
「Wasn’t her Majesty slain at the hands of the heroine –!?」
Raising a hand, she silenced the crowd. It’s been a long time since I saw her actually behaving like the Demon King.
「Did you think the Demon King, Lylael Diakitep, would die so easily? Look at me! I am alive and well!」
A roar several times louder than before arose from the crowd. Maybe Rodje hadn’t been exaggerating about the Demon King’s charisma after all.
「I thank you for your loyalty all this time! However, a loss is a loss. Return to where you came from. Your next destination is not the human kingdom, but our glorious motherland!」
The crowd quickly became uneasy.
「What on earth…?」
「Her Majesty, the merciless, unfeeling Demon King, accepted defeat…」
The demon giving the pep talk earlier spoke up among the ruckus.
Cornelieu Vassily, Commander of the Seventh Division and armed combat specialist.
「Quieten down! Her Majesty would never say such a thing! Look at her — she’s just a pretender! Can you sense her magicka? I do not!」
From my hiding place, I could see that he had been surprised when Lyla made her appearance. Yet, whether Lyla had made a difference was questionable, for avenging their fallen king was but an excuse for war. It did not matter to Cornelieu whether the Demon King in front of his eyes was an imposter or not.
「Indeed… her Majesty never admits defeat!」
「How can there be a Demon King without magic?」
Rodje tried to speak out against the growing hostility, but nobody paid her any heed.
「She tried, Rodje Sandsong.」
「We knew you had been snooping around. So this is the reason why?」
「We are the Demon King’s army! Today the castle, and tomorrow the north! Our former territories will fall back into our hands one by one!」
Lyla turned pale.
If the capital of the old Kingdom of Jorvenssen fell to the demons, the neighbouring old Kingdom of Vadenhaag, which housed a certain girl, wouldn’t be spared either.
「No, you must not! You must not attack!」
「Which squadron is the pride and joy of the Demon King’s army!?」
Uoooh!! Uoooh!! Uoooh! Uoooh!!
All Lyla had accomplished was boosting morale even further. She no longer had the mandate to command her subjects — she couldn’t even rein in a single half-dragon.
Combatants engage in combat — it’s in their name. And their blood. Even if they know the outcome, they’ll still fight. It’s what they do.
「L-Listen! Listen to me! Why do you fight when you know your efforts will be in vain?」
Lyla, who didn’t want a single one of her subjects to die, had resolution written all over her face.
「In exchange for my magicka, I have received the strongest skill to ever exist!」
Hmm? Is she thinking what I’m thinking?
Everyone’s ears were now trained on Lyla.
「Weren’t you gonna say something impressive? What a joke!」
「Cornelieu, return to where you came from. This is your last warning.」
「Don’t make me laugh! We’ll rebuild the Demon King’s army and conquer every last square inch of human territory!」
「Foolish child… you were always like this. But you’ve always been a great help…」, lamented Lyla.
While I was still concealed, our eyes met.
「Watch me… I will kill you without even moving a single step, for I am the sole user of ‘Instant Death’!」
「Come at me, your Majes — no, shameless imposter!」
「Farewell, Cornelieu. Death comes on swi –」
Before she could finish her sentence, I leapt from my hiding place, activating ‘Faint Shadow’ at the same time. Your efforts will not be in vain, Lyla, for I am ‘Instant Death’. I will assassinate him right in front of everyone.
Still unaware of my presence, Cornelieu continued to laugh.
「’Instant Death’!? Hahahaha!! Are you trying to kill me through laughter!? Hahaha… ga-hack…!?」
Thanks for the sword, Cornelieu.
Drawing the sword hung by his waist in an underhand manner, I plunged it straight through his heart.
He was more powerful than an entire battalion, and well-versed in restorative magic to boot. It would be bad if he got the chance to use it.
I discovered a backup sword and a jewel-encrusted dagger hanging by his waist, both of which went directly into Cornelieu’s neck. Just like that, his jugular was severed.
It was over for him. I could feel it.
And so, Lyla’s ‘Instant Death’ had worn off — I dashed for cover behind the knoll, where they couldn’t possibly see me. As I landed, a terrible cry arose from the crowd.
「What just happened!?」
「When did that sword get there –?」
「She’s not an imposter! She’s the real –」
「It’s true! She sacrificed her magical powers in order to learn ‘Instant Death’…!」
Lyla raised her voice again.
「Will you listen to me now? Or do you want to end up like him?」
Thanks to my little performance, the ruling mandate had been restored to her.