141. Allies (1)
The Holy Kingdom’s Golden Cross Army finally started their offense. The first place to bear their wrath was a small nation closest to them, and just like that, a country that had been keeping neutral was destroyed in merely two weeks. There was no casus belli, the only reason being their ‘neutrality’ between the Demons and the Holy Kingdom.
This officially kicked off the continental war that would force everyone to choose sides. The ones that abhorred the Demons went to the Holy Kingdom, while those who couldn’t bear the Pope’s indiscriminate abuses stuck to the Demon Kingdom. As such, the continent was divided into two factions.
When the Holy Kingdom, this behemoth, made a move, those that weren’t sure whether it would be their turn next sprang into action and quickly requested diplomacy with the Church of Hell. The Kingdoms of Aylans and Lome did not keep still, either, assembling Magic Troops and gathering knights.
As the representatives of each nation visited the Demon Kingdom, whether they were envoys, high-ranking nobles, or royalty, they were all led to the same office and sat on both sides of a long table. At the moment, their eyes were focused on the host seat, showing awe in their gazes.
The sunlight pouring in between the office window caused her silvery pale hair to shine with radiance. The helical horns on her head symbolized her authority, and her ruby eyes appeared clear and red like the purest of gems. Her copper skin gleamed with a healthy gloss.
The figure was the current Demon Lord, Lily Golt, the ruler of the Demon Kingdom. She was the figure that was garnering the most attention on the continent.
‘This is the Demon Lord…?’
‘Rather than a Demon Lord…isn’t she more like a goddess?’
‘I can understand why the trouble-making Apostles would worship her.’
Each representative crossed their arms and nodded in approval. She was a queen that emitted authority and prestige.
Although they were mesmerized by her charisma and charm, they also groaned due to the figures on each side of the Demon Lord. In a white uniform over his plate armor, Holy Sword at his waist, and a Holy Book on before him top of the table, Tom smiled brightly and started the meeting.
“I extend my greetings and gratitude to everyone gathered here in this meeting.”
A man in his 40s with a chubby face, blonde hair, and blue eyes, Pygni, the king of Lome, crossed his arms and opened his mouth next.
“Mm… We, as a vassal state, had to come when called. Especially if it’s for crushing the Holy Kingdom, shouldn’t we lead the charge? Anyway… how will you divide the gains?”
A burly man in his mid-40s with a wrinkled face and a hand holding a wooden cane, King Paulie of Aylans, said, “You only move for profit. From the past to now, you can be seen as a truly selfish kingdom. It’s a wonder how you can still call yourselves the Land of Knights.”
“Aah? Then, the traditional and noble Kingdom of Magic must have wagged your tail quite a bit to let the Holy Kingdom grow? I wonder how much tribute you’ve given them…?”
“Haha! Didn’t someone get scared and form an alliance?”
“Who’s the one that broke that cheap 100-year alliance overnight one-sidedly? It’s me! This Pygni kicked that dog, the Holy Kingdom, to the curb!”
“You probably did it to survive. Otherwise, you’d have been crushed by the Demons.”
“Aah, isn’t it the same for you as well? I wonder if the Kingdom of Magic could stop the assassination from Archbishop Holffmann on its own?”
Pygni and Pauli glared at each other, a wide smile and a magnanimous expression adorning their faces. The representatives of the remaining nations, suppressed by their aura, grew limp. The Kingdom of Magic and the Land of Knights, in other words, two powerful nations, were also hesitant to stand against the Holy Kingdom.
“Now, now… Let’s leave it at that.” Tom smiled bitterly and stopped the pair before turning to Lily. “Your Majesty, please begin.”
Lily nodded and met the eyes of each representative. They were startled by her gaze before hurriedly avoiding it, feeling overwhelmed. She was beautiful, regardless of the fact that she was a Demon. But, most importantly, she was the central figure of the currently most powerful nation. They were anxious and unsure since their own nation would be in danger if they made the wrong impression.
As though she had understood their fears, Lily spoke to dispel their concerns.
“There is no need to be so tense. This meeting was arranged to seek your help.”
“Help?” The representatives looked surprised.
“You all must be aware as well. We’ve gathered here in hopes of stopping the nation that is inciting such chaos on the continent, the Holy Kingdom.” Lily crossed her fingers and leaned her head slightly to the side. Her hair cascaded down, causing the representatives to stare at her in a daze. “You have suffered until now through their cruel acts under the guise of…god’s name, the teachings of faith, and in god’s stead.”
Until now, the Holy Kingdom was the nation of faith, the nation that worshipped the only religion in the continent. What they said became God’s command, and going against their words meant the priests of each nation would rise up, forcing each king to follow their wishes.
“Anyone who didn’t believe in their god would be declared a heretic. They would turn hostile and eliminate them. Only, you all have turned to god for your own selfish interests and have invaded and plundered our lands for hundreds of years. That not only occurred here, but it must have happened to you all as well. Citizens were cruelly trampled over and killed, plundered, and forced to live like cattle.”
The representatives remained quiet. Just as she had said, each of them was swept up within the Holy Kingdom’s abuses. They had to offer up incredible amounts of money for the formation of the Hero’s Allied Army. Furthermore, to gather god-worshipping nuns, they were forced to offer innocent virgins as a tribute.
The daughters of high-ranking nobles of each nation that caught the Pope’s eye had to be offered…and they returned as corpses. Also, the Holy Kingdom’s corrupt priests would cause trouble in the downtown areas of each nation, yet they had to grit their teeth and punish those who pointed fingers at the priests. Each nation’s nobles and kings had to bend the knee and lower their heads before their might and had to serve them as their master. However…that would come to an end.
“Now, I wish to see an end to it all. We shall stop their evil. With my and all of your strengths, I wish to chase out the fallen and corrupted.”
The representatives clenched their fists. The word of god from the Holy Kingdom would now vanish from this continent. As Pope Salem seized power, the sullied faith didn’t just rot and die, but it had turned into a swamp of death. He declared himself a god, and he himself became the law and the object of faith. As such, the priests of the continent rose up in revolt and caused an uprising within the Holy Kingdom in an attempt to usurp the Pope. Now that they had broken the Continental Law and proceeded to invade various nations without cause, there was no more reason to follow the Pope in his weakened state.
“Throw them out with your own strength. Chase out those that dirty the name of God, protect your citizens, and protect your nation. If you believe in me and follow me, I shall lead the charge to stop the Holy Kingdom.”
The representatives turned to Lily with hopeful eyes. They truly felt that the woman before them might be able to do it. Thinking of all the things that Hell had done so far, it should be possible. If it was this Queen…
Lily continued, “If we all gather our strength…”
The figure before their eyes, if it was this Demon Lord…
“We’ll chase out the Holy Kingdom…”
She could defeat the nation that had dominated the world…
“…and make a new era for ourselves.”
And create a new era!
The representatives shut their eyes. Truthfully, many of them were still concerned, but their hesitation soon vanished. Lily’s voice was clear and resounding, as though it was echoing in their minds. They could all feel her earnestness and sincerity. As if they were enchanted by her words, their hearts began to pound in their chests. The representatives started clamoring.
“We shall participate.”
“…It hasn’t been decided yet, but I shall relay all this to His Highness.”
“We shall help the Demon Kingdom.”
The representative of each nation made their intention to support the Demons known. Hearing this, Lily looked surprised and had an awkward smile on her face.
“Um… Tom, I don’t really have confidence in persuading humans.”
“You just have to speak simply.”
“Yes, just speak from your heart. I’m sure your emotions will be felt by them.”
These were the words that Tom spoke to her when they met before the meeting. Just as Tom had advised, she spoke from her heart, but she was also feeling anxious, for she would have to deal with the humans. Her thoughts were hectic…but they had all responded positively in the end.
Pygni, hearing Lily’s words, nodded. It meant that he agreed with the representatives participating in this meeting. Only, King Paulie was frowning with a peculiar expression.
It was definitely an ordinary speech. No, it wasn’t even a speech, but a request for help. This kind of speech should have no persuasive power to move the continent’s various nations, yet each representative was echoing their support. The reason…
King Paulie, who was sensitive to magic, began to scan the presence of Magic Power spread throughout the meeting room and followed it with his eyes. His gaze turned to Tom.
‘The Devil of Lania.’
He was indeed using magic, and its purpose was to charm its target. It wouldn’t seduce the opposite gender, but rather, persuade the other. Although the target’s mind couldn’t be manipulated, the magic would still create an advantage in a negotiation.
‘…But to this degree? This is ancient magic.’
King Paulie was aware of every magic that had existed on this continent since the distant past. He knew their details, but he couldn’t use them himself.
‘This is quite…dangerous.’
King Paulie felt his strength disappearing from his body. Not only had the entire continent been turned upside down in a matter of years, but even an allied army that might topple the superpower, the Holy Kingdom, was formed. And it was all due to a single person!
‘Would it be okay to follow him…? This kind of massive figure?’
He couldn’t fathom the Devil of Lania or the Apostle of the Demon Lord’s Army known as Tom. More than anything, why was he supporting the Demon Lord to this degree…?
“I trust him, Your Highness. I also wish to become his strength.”
These were the words of Akreal once he had returned. Hearing his wife, King Paulie couldn’t help but soften to the idea as she, who hadn’t asked for anything, was now asking him so earnestly.
‘She didn’t tell me the reason, but there must be something.’
Lily smiled and lowered her head in gratitude for their positive response.
After the meeting ended, the representatives left the meeting room. Lily also departed due to her unfinished work, and only Tom, King Paulie, and Pygni remained.
Pygni narrowed his eyes and turned to Tom.
“What did you do?”
Even he, who wasn’t proficient in magic, had noticed something strange and spoke up.
Tom replied without a care in the world, “What do you mean?”
“It wasn’t all that great of a speech, yet it was strangely persuasive. It is the same for me, as well. For my heart to be touched to this degree…it can only be a result of a foreign power.”
Tom smiled as King Paulie answered for him, “Didn’t you use magic? The magic that persuades its target.”
Pygni’s eyes turned wide in surprise.
“There’s such magic in this world? Amazing! I must learn it to get rid of those bastards that are rising up!”
“It’s not that simple. The magic that seduces the opposite gender exists, but influencing others and rousing their emotions without their notice was only possible in ancient times. No one is capable of using it currently. More than anything, its effect is weak if the other party opposes or suspects you. Rather, any dark emotions might be transmitted as well, which could cause them to become more opposed than be persuaded.”
“Ung… I’m always holding some dark intentions, though. King Paulie, can you use that magic as well?”
King Paulie shook his head, causing Pygni to mock him.
“So the one titled the King of Magic can’t even use that?”
King Paulie smiled before replying, “What about the king of the Kingdom of Knights that can’t even hold a sword?”
“Haha! I have Oskal, who is my sword and shield. He will cut down and block my enemies on his own even if I don’t move! There’s no reason for someone of advanced age to struggle so much in war, is there? Even more so for the king.”
“Is that all? Well, if the king watches his soldiers fighting, it’s good for morale.”
“My skill isn’t in battle, but in strategy. At the very least, I move my soldiers.”
“I support my army with magic. That should be more effective.”
“Aah, is that right? Want to try it out?”
“Let’s leave it at that. What would we do if your two nations got into a war? Even as a joke, I don’t think this is the right time.”
As the pair’s conversation grew increasingly rough, Tom stepped in.
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