While I was looking around the base of Demon King Rainel’s army, I realized why such weak creatures as humans could prevail in a world swarming with mythical and magical beasts.
The physique of the beasts might be suited for hunting, but it’s not fit for building civilization. And, they take up a lot of space since they walk on all fours.
There might be individual differences in their reproductive capabilities, but even if they’re as intelligent as humans, increasing their numbers would probably not be very easy. Some of them might be able to use magic, but magic can only do work crudely and won’t be a good substitute for dexterous hands.
There are a great variety of beasts in Demon King Rainel’s army. But while I was guided around the base by Monica, I was able to see the hierarchy within the army.
Basically, the bipedal magical beasts are more intelligent.
I have heard that the more powerful a demon is, the closer it is to resembling a human. The further we were from the castle and closer to the foot of the mountain, the more beasts there were. The closer we were to the castle, the more we would see bipedal beasts.
Still, all the different species in the army didn’t seem to be of one mind, so the atmosphere seemed uncomfortable. I’m sure some of those beasts were enemies before joining the army.
What a truly fearsome person, to be able to control so many beasts, he is indeed deserving of his Demon King title.
And, Monica Ultivia seemed to be in a respectable position even within Demon King Rainel’s army.
From what I know, demons are powerful apparitions. I could already make some inference from the fact that she had been left with the mission to cut off the humans’ supply route and could directly talk with the Demon King, but her face was also well-recognized amongst the lower members of the army.
Monica has a very charming appearance, though I’m not exactly sure if those of the different species can also recognize that, but the gazes drawn to her were more filled with awe. She’s most likely not a soldier at least.
“You must have a high position.”
“It is because demons and magical beasts have vastly different abilities…It’s not as powerful as the “Fascinate Eye” of the King of the Night, but it is enough to manipulate targets on a wide range.”
I guess that’s common knowledge here. Monica’s words were said casually.
From the looks of it, demons truly excel at tempting humans. And, vampires also have similar legends. I don’t know when I’ll be able to use this ability, but apparently, vampires who have lived long, can make people spellbound just by looking them in the eyes. Not like it could work on Senri anyway though.
“Did you perhaps use that ability on me?”
Right now, I’m a little excited at this unknown new situation, but usually, I’m much more cautious.
My question bewildered Monica.
“…You must be joking. There is no way ‘Charm’ could work on a vampire.”
Seems like it won’t be effective on me. Well, I wanted to see the world even before I died anyway…
In Rainel’s army, everything seemed to be made viable via plundering.
The supplies obtained by attacking human villages were distributed in order of strength. Is this what the true meritocracy looks like?
Lower layer – At the bottom of the base, everybody was doing whatever they wanted.
This confined encampment full of blood, flesh, screams and roars was like hell on earth. They are probably eagerly waiting for when they get to fight. According to Monica, there technically was a commanding officer here, but I couldn’t really tell the difference.
Generally, those with the most scars had the highest chance to be the squad leaders. ‘That part is similar to humans,’ said Monica, while I could only nod in agreement.
The upper layer was in a better state than the lower layer. I started seeing more humanoids like ogres and beastmen and the density of population there wasn’t so high either.
Some of them were looking at Monica lustfully. Looks like the beasts and ogres have the same aesthetical senses as humans. Now that I think about it, ogres and demons kidnapping beauties is a staple in fairy tales.
There was a sturdy stone building at one part of the upper layer, at the side of the castle. Monica pointed at it.
“That is a treasure storage. Where the loot goes is all decided through battle. Everything from stolen weapons and armor, to alcohol and meat and human prisoners, even the ranks within the same race, everything is decided by fighting. It’s a system where the strong get everything.”
“…What about money?”
“Human currency is meaningless in the army. The soldiers of the lower layer hold no interest in it. It is technically used for exchange by the members of the higher layer though…”
“Is that how you get these clothes too?
“…Human clothes are not popular, so there is no scramble for them.”
I see… culture sure differs from place to place.
They are undoubtedly the enemies of mankind. Their livelihood depends on plundering so reaching the understanding between the two races might not be that easy. Besides, they are going to such lengths to oppose humans, so the Demon King’s side probably has their own emotional reasons too.
However, perhaps because I’m already an enemy of humanity, I don’t feel aversion towards them. There is not much I can do on my own here anyway. I feel similar to when I felt fine despite seeing a corpse for the first time.
While I was looking around with the mood as if I was on a picnic, a low voice suddenly called out from behind.
“Monica, what’s with that guy?”
It was a voice that was hard on ears, clearly not made with human vocal cords.
Standing behind us was a giant man I had to crank my neck to look up at. No, to be exact, it was ‘probably’ a man. I can’t tell the gender of humanoids.
He’s probably 3 meters tall? His skin is covered with black scales and he has golden eyes like those of reptiles. His arms are robust and several times thicker than mine. He’s almost fully naked except for the straw skirt around his waist. Perhaps he is more skillful than he looks, as he is carrying a trident on his back.
I could see his narrow tongue within the gaps between his fangs.
He’s probably a Lizardman. It’s one of the humanoid species opposing mankind, known for their ferocity and their superb physical abilities. It’s my first time seeing one.
“Selzard…This person is Lord End Baron, the honored guest of Lord Rainel.”
“A honored…guest? Who, a human? Is he the kin of that bastard Oliver Arbor? Or is he your slave? Is he a snitch from Romberg?”
He was clearly insulting me.
His sharp gaze held strong bloodlust. He was also accompanied by several smaller lizardmen behind him.
Lizardmen are generally classified as monsters. It’s because their culture is far too different from humans.
They’re omnivorous, but they also eat humans. On top of being ferocious, they can also use tools to some extent, but since their forging is not very advanced, they attack human villages and towns for human tools.
On the contrary, I have heard that because they like to settle down near beautiful rivers or swamps where precious plants grow, they are sometimes hunted by humans. It’s no surprise that they would side with the Demon King’s army.
I was not aware that they could speak human language.
“A shrewd and weak, foolish human. On top of that, the one who even sold out his comrades… unbelievable. My tribe was driven out from our home by you bastards.”
He tilts his body and glares at me from a closer distance. His nostrils are flaring. I take a step back and frown.
I don’t know how to answer that. It’s not like I’m the one who drove them off, and I might have felt more empathetic had they been innocent, but you guys eat humans, right? And on top of that, I have heard that you even plunder for human inventions. Humans have no mercy even for people of their race, there is no way they would leave you alone.
Perhaps realizing that the situation was not looking good, Monica replied in a hurry.
“?! How insolent! How dare you mistake His Highness for a mere human…This person is neither a human, nor a snitch, a slave or a werewolf. He is ‘the King of the Night’!”
There was no warning.
The moment he heard those words, the left hand of the lizardmen called Selzard was piercing my torso with its sharp claws.
My feet left the ground from the impact. Pain ran through my body belatedly. He pierced my heart with tremendous force just as described by rumors.
Monica was rendered speechless. Before my body even touched the ground, the trident that had been unsheathed who knows when, was swung down on my head.
A strong impact. My body was slammed on the ground by an inhuman force. Selzard stomped on my body as I was laying on the ground. My body and the bones creaked beneath his force.
“W-what are you doing… all of a sudden-!?”
“My hometown was trampled by a King of the Night!”
That wasn’t me either. I want to retort back but I can’t make a sound.
Selzard’s voice is full of trong anger and exaltation. The ground is cold, and the blood from my head is dripping into my eyes.
“Tsk… but, is this all? Is this all that the dreadful King of the Night is capable of――?!”
I was careless. I knew that there was a possibility somebody could stir troubles with me, but I did not expect to actually get attacked all of a sudden. That being said, he didn’t attack when he thought I was a human, but tried to kill me the moment he found out I was a vampire. Aren’t those Kings of the Night a bit too sinful?
I pull myself together and get up by propping myself with my hands. I was made to roll on the ground big time, but not because I’m into that or anything.
I put more effort and raise my legs. Both my pierced heart and the broken head are already healed. Looks like his spear wasn’t made out of silver.
Selzard put all his strength in his legs, but his force wasn’t as powerful as Albertus.
“Impossible… I pierced through your heart—“
“My precious new clothes are ruined…”
My heart is indeed my weakness, but I won’t die instantly if they don’t use a wooden stake. I might have panicked if he followed it up with more attacks, but just stomping on me is cutting it too easy. He should learn more from Albertus.
No, it’s not like I mind it that much or anything. I don’t, mind it. I’m a peaceful vampire.
I’m just a little pissed because he attacked me without any warning. A single hit is just a single hit.
Selzard’s legs gave in and his posture crumbled. I dove towards his open torso before Monica stopped me and swung my fist at him at full power, letting my emotions carry me away.
There was a short sound. The air trembled strongly.
Monica was lost for words, while Selzard opened his eyes wide.
My fist was completely buried in his body. Looks like the scales that covered his body were not as tough as Albertus’ fur. If he had a slightly shorter stature, I would have completely pierced through him.
The sensation of something soft and hot enveloping my fist, along with a sensation of his hard bones, brought me a somehow creepy feeling of exaltation.
Selzard swung his trident with his trembling right hand.
I pulled my fist out of his body while feeling slightly apologetic and avoided the spear that was swung powerlessly by moving back.
“My bad, I didn’t use my claws just in case, but I didn’t expect to pierce through your scales so easily.”
His giant body is already convulsing after just a single hit. I guess not even tough lizardman warriors can survive unharmed after having been punched through the center of their body.
I can still see fighting spirit in his eyes, but the only thing he can do right now is barely hold himself together while staggering.
Meeting an opponent with such poor durability is actually kind of fresh. I look down at my clothes that had a giant hole in them.
“I didn’t intend for the situation to turn out like this. It wasn’t on purpose. But, isn’t it strange that I had my heart pieced and my head broken and yet I’m still… the aggressor? Honestly, out of everybody I have fought, you’re the weakest. It would have been better if you attacked me right at the beginning.”
No matter what, meeting him after Albertus doesn’t match the set precedence.
As Selzard groans while holding the hole that has been opened in his body, he collapses on the spot.
The ground shakes. The collapsed giant convulses and paints the ground with green blood.
He might have seemed strong, but he turned out to be quite weak.
That being said, I still gained something I need to reflect on. I left my heart vulnerable enough to allow somebody to land a blow at it. I would be dead had Selzard used a wooden stake as his weapon.
Something cold runs down my spine a bit too late. Looks like I need to be more alert.
I look around at other lizardmen. Their eyes are filled both with fiery killing intent and fear.
Senri will probably forgive me since this was for self-defense.
Lizardman’s blood probably won’t be able to sate my vampire urges, but it can’t be helped. If somebody tries to kill me, I won’t hesitate to kill them either. I would run away if it was somebody stronger, but if they’re at Selzard’s level, I’m sure I can take two on without breaking a sweat.
“There’s probably no meaning in sucking blood that is not human’s…”
The moment I mumbled this, Monica apologized in a suppliant manner.
“Please accept, my apologies! Please forgive Selzard, who did not understand his standing, for attacking you without thinking!”
“He… did not intend to kill you!”
“Eh… he was full of killing intent though?”
There was no way he did not intend to kill me after gouging my heart, swinging a spear down my head and stomping on me.
I might be a harmless vampire, but I’m not generous enough to laugh off an attack on me.
“Selzard is already half-dead! I am sure he fully understood how strong Lord End is. I beg you to please be magnanimous! “
I think a little. Monica is bowing her head while crying.
I wasn’t really going to kill him anyway――
I would never forgive him if it was Albertus, but Selzard is too weak to hold this over his head for too long.
I doubt I could win if I made an enemy of the whole Demon King’s army anyway. To live in peace, one must learn how to compromise… Maybe I can get some blood too.
“Well, it’s fine. Why don’t you take him and get him treated already? A human would be dead, but a lizardman might actually survive.”
Selzard, who was lying face down on the ground and convulsing, was taken away.
I should have gouged out his heart with one blow. I find myself thinking this for a second, but my wounds have already completely healed. The only problem is the dirty clothes.
I used some energy to heal my wounds, but it wasn’t the amount to worry about.
“I want a towel and new clothes.”
“I will prepare them immediately.”
Monica deeply bows her head at me and sprints towards the stone building.
I lick the blood on my hand, but a lizardman’s blood is as tasteless as I expected.
Silavin: This chapter was longer than usual. Originally, I wanted to split it into two but since we missed so many of the scheduled chapters already, might as well just combine them.