Chapter 252– The Demon King’s family grows, and a hero steps into the tiger’s den
The discussion regarding immigration with the Dark Elf visitors, which took place in a windowless room in the imperial castle, proceeded smoothly, as there were no points of disagreement.
“To us, human societies are rigid and have many rules, but it seems that this place is different,” said Dangar. “Talosheim… no, it is the Demon Empire of Vidal now, isn’t it?”
The western region of the Bahn Gaia continent was ruled by the Amid Empire, whose national religion was commonly referred to as the religion of Alda, the God of Law and Fate. However, during the region’s long history, there had also been times when nations friendly towards Vida’s races had more influence. Such nations had conducted exchange with the Dark Elves, backing them and providing goods and soldiers.
Dangar had read the records of negotiations with such nations before he became Elder Chief, and it was with this knowledge that he came to his conclusion.
“Is it because this nation is still new?” Dangar wondered aloud.
“It is true that there are few restrictions because our nation is new. However, Dangar-dono, our nation does still have laws and various rules,” said Chezare Legston.
“Is that so?” said Dangar, looking surprised.
“Yes. To give a recent example, our Labor Standards Act gained several new clauses not long ago.”
“Labor standards? Is that perhaps a law that dictates standards on labor? Perhaps stating that labor that does not accomplish a set amount of progress shall not be considered as labor, so wages are not required to be paid for it?”
“No, it is a law that stipulates working standards for laborers, such as how many consecutive hours they are allowed to work, how many days off they are required to take, and the minimum amount that they must be paid. Our nation is a mix of living people, Undead and monsters, so it is quite complicated. Of course, almost all of our nation’s industries are public works, so it is us who must abide by the laws that we ourselves created.”
“I see… This is based on a law of another world,” said Dangar, realizing that the concept of labor standards was one that had not originated in this world.
“That is what I have been told,” said Chezare with a nod. “That is why we hope that all of your Dark Elf people will take up various jobs in the empire after you immigrate here. Of course, during times of war, the Labor Standards Act does not always apply to our military personnel, civil officials, His Majesty the Emperor or our explorers… the equivalent of adventurers in human societies.”
“Wait. I am starting to feel some concern for my great-grandson,” said Dangar.
“Well, regarding that matter, you can ask him yourself,” said Kurt Legston, wearing the serious expression and speaking in the serious tone that he reserved for work as he brushed that matter aside. “In my opinion as a human, it is not our laws that will determine the smooth progress of your immigration.”
Unlike his older brother Chezare, Kurt was alive.
“There are no political opponents in our nation holding us back, nor are there people trying to protect their vested interests from losses caused by the immigration, or people seeking to use this as an opportunity and interfere with the immigration in order to make a profit,” Kurt continued. “And I believe that His Majesty the Emperor will prepare everything that you desire.”
In human societies, factors to consider in the immigration included political struggles occurring in the nation, those who opposed immigrants because it would cause them losses, and interference from those who prioritized their own profits.
The other problem was whether the nation accepting the immigrants could meet their needs.
“There are no such people in our nation. There are those who oppose His Majesty the Emperor and voice opinions contrary to his. But there isn’t a single person who would try to interfere in pursuit of their own profit,” said Kurt.
Indeed, Vandalieu was the center of the Demon Empire of Vidal. Every citizen was under his guidance, and they wouldn’t even think of a rebellion.
Undead like Chezare, some monsters and some of Vida’s races were loyal to Vandalieu to the point of fanaticism. They wouldn’t use Vandalieu’s immigration policy as fuel for a political conflict, and if the policy caused losses for them, they would consider them to be ‘trials’ or even ‘a service’ given to them by Vandalieu. Never mind prioritizing their own profits, they wouldn’t even hesitate to offer their profits to him.
Of course, they didn’t all listen to everything Vandalieu said.
“Dalton has spoken of this to me before, but… now that I have set foot in the nation myself, I find myself more aware of it,” said Dangar, looking towards one corner of the meeting room.
There was nothing there other than a wall, but… on the other side of the wall was the enormous statue of Vandalieu, whose construction was progressing steadily.
The construction was being carried out against Vandalieu’s will.
And the reason the discussion was being held here rather than a chamber on a higher floor with windows from which the statue could be viewed was to prevent Dangar from seeing the images painted on the buildings’ roofs.
Dangar was a member of a race created by Vida, so it was unlikely that seeing the images would cause him any problems, but… it would be troublesome if the ‘Mental Encroachment’ Skill imbued in the images affected him in a strange way.
“And Chezare-dono, I am aware that this is very rude of me to say, but the thing that was most difficult for us to believe among the things Dalton and the others told us was the existence of beings like you – Undead who are no different from when they were alive,” Dangar continued.
Vida’s faction was tolerant of Undead, but this was not an acceptance of them as people.
Her religion taught that the lingering wishes of Undead should be granted if possible, and then they should be returned to the cycle of reincarnation. However, the thing Vida’s believers had in common with Alda’s believers on this matter was that in the end, they believed that Undead needed to be defeated.
The reason for that was because they were dangerous. Zombies that blindly hated the living and tried to devour their flesh, and Skeletons that did not stop killing even after they were reduced to nothing but bones. It was impossible to converse with or tame such Undead.
There were some Undead that could be conversed with, such as Liches, but most of them had lost their sanity and spoke in garbled words.
There was a very small number of Undead that retained their sanity, but that sanity was unstable and could be lost for reasons that were impossible to predict, and even if they were sane, there was no guarantee that they were friendly towards the living. In fact, more often than not, the opposite was true.
Even if that wasn’t the case, Undead could become sources of disease just by existing, so it was only natural for people to be wary of them.
Even for Dark Elves who worshipped Vida like Dangar, this was their perception of Undead.
“I am not surprised. I heard as much from the Black Bull Knights’ Order,” said Chezare.
The Storm of Tyranny’s Schneider had made a request to be able to show rational Undead in order to help persuade the Dark Elves to immigrate. In response to that request, Gufadgarn had teleported the Undead knights of a knights’ order to them.
Bone Man or Borkus would have been sufficient, but… such high-Rank Undead might have caused more wariness, so the Rank 5 and 6 knights had been chosen instead.
The Dark Elves had then gathered around the knights in a clearing some distance away from the village, where they performed various tests to check that they were not living people using some illusions to appear as Undead, then conversed with them.
After that, they had welcomed the Undead warmly and offered alcohol, but… this was likely also partly to test the sanity of the Undead.
“Please convey my apologies to the knights for our rude behavior. It seems that this nation is peaceful, so long as that boy remains emperor,” said Dangar.
He and the other Dark Elf chiefs had experienced first-hand that none other than Vandalieu could stand in the center of the Demon Empire of Vidal.
If anyone were to replace Vandalieu, no matter who it was – a king of one of the nations in the Boundary Mountain Range, or a Pure-breed Vampire, or Chezare who was the second-in-command in the current imperial government – the Demon Empire of Vidal would likely split apart.
One could perhaps say that this was the nation’s weakness.
But even so, this weakness was not even worth taking into account in comparison to the greater purpose of uniting the forces of Vida’s faction to fight against Alda’s forces.
“I will take this matter back to the village and make arrangements for the immigration plan. I hope we can work well together,” Dangar said.
Any nation would go through chaos if the people ruling it were to suddenly change, even though the extent of the chaos would vary between nation to nation. Such an event could even cause a civil war and a division of the nation.
Even if that wasn’t the case, in this era where Alda’s forces were making bold moves, the Dark Elves would not survive if they did not take action due to a fear of change.
Realizing this and making his decision, Dangar held out his hand, and the cold hand of Chezare shook it firmly.
“Of course, Dangar-dono. Let us support His Majesty the Emperor together. For all eternity!” Chezare said enthusiastically.
Dangar’s hand was gripped so hard that he took a step backwards. “… Y-yes. After our immigration, I would be honored if I could come not as a representative of my people, but as a civil official, to take part in the nation’s politics.”
Kurt, who was standing behind Chezare, smiled. For some reason, his eyes looked as if he were delighted to work with someone that had a lot in common with himself.
“That is good! I am looking forward to the day that we work together!” said Chezare.
Indeed, Chezare was counting on joining forces with Dangar and the others – particularly as civil officials.
With the signing of the Labor Standards Act and several non-Undead civil officials being married and having families, it had become difficult to ask Kurt and the other officials to work absurd hours. Thus, Chezare had wanted more civil officials to fill in for them.
However, even though there were more Undead physical laborers due to the crushing of the criminal organization in the city of Morksi and other criminals and organizations related to it, the number of Undead thinking laborers had not increased much. Chezare’s hopes now seemed to rest in the new immigrants.
“however, I am already over nine hundred years old. Even though I live longer than a human, my lifespan is not long enough to say ‘for all eternity’ –” Dangar began, trying to get away from this using his age as a reason.
“If you become a Chaos Elf, your lifespan apparently becomes unlimited. Well, the same is apparently also true for Dark Humans,” said Kurt, swooping in to prevent that escape.
“… Shall we schedule the Chaos Elf transformation for another day? Some of the retired chiefs are trying it today, but I would like to see the results and decide on another day,” said Dangar, getting the feeling that he was defeated.
In a suburb of Talosheim, the capital of the Demon Empire of Vidal, far away from the imperial castle’s meeting room where discussions were taking place, an event was being held with the other visiting Dark Elves to deepen relations between them and the empire.
But in one corner, there was a dangerous atmosphere rather than relations being deepened.
The cause of the conflict was the surviving Thunder Dragons of the monster rampage originating in Fitun’s ‘Labyrinth of Trials’… the Dungeon that was now known as ‘Garess’s Ancient Battleground.’
They were the ones who had sensed that Vandalieu was the ‘Dragon Emperor’ and the ‘Demon King,’ awakened from the monster-inherent instinct that told them to seek out battle, and fled in obedience to the survival instinct ringing alarm bells in their minds.
Thus, they had been tamed by Vandalieu without being turned into Dragon Zombies, then teleported here from the city of Morksi.
And the one picking a fight with them was Luvesfol.
“How dare you look at me with those eyes?!”
The Thunder Dragons gave confused growls.
Thunder Dragons were indeed Dragons… which were considered to be the inferior offspring of Elder Dragons that had degraded to become monsters. On the other hand, Elder Dragons were demi-gods… gods with physical bodies. To say that Dragons and Elder Dragons were of one race was equivalent to saying that mice and humans were the same because both were mammals.
Luvesfol was one of the Elder Dragons who had become monsters. He was of the same kind as the Thunder Dragons’ ancestors, and a fearsome ruler. Such a being would not only intimidate a Thunder Dragon, but cause it to tremble and submit with a single glare.
“I am not some superior race of Wyvern! I am none other than Luvesfol, the Raging Evil Dragon God!” Luvesfol shouted at the Thunder Dragons.
But due to a special seal, he had transformed into a creature that was essentially a superior race of Wyvern. No matter how much he insisted otherwise, that was all he appeared to be in the eyes of the Thunder Dragons.
Still, the Thunder Dragons let out noises of wonder and confusion at this Wyvern, which had the intelligence to speak that no Wyvern normally possessed, and the faint presence of an Elder Dragon.
‘There’s something weird about this one,’ they told each other.
This only enraged Luvesfol further, but he did not lose control of himself and attack them.
He let out a frustrated noise. “Curses! Even after my Rank increased, I am a Great Evil Wyvern… Why am I a Wyvern?! If I were at least a Dragon, I would still have some dignity!”
He had become a Rank 8 Great Evil Wyvern, but the Thunder Dragons were also Rank 8. If he were to take them on using force, they would defeat him with their advantage of numbers.
“Luves, bad boy! You have to get along with your friends! Hmph!” said the Half-Noble Orc Pauvina, lightly smacking Luvesfol’s belly with the back of her fist.
The force of her strike knocked the wind from Luvesfol’s lungs, causing him to cough and collapse onto the ground with a loud noise.
“Th-those things are not my friends…!” he gasped quietly, not giving up.
“Don’t say that. Won’t you accept our new companions?” said Vandalieu’s voice.
He was supposed to have been talking to the Dark Elf visitors, but he had come this way after noticing the argument between Luvesfol and the Thunder Dragons (although it was simply Luvesfol one-sidedly picking a fight with them).
Luvesfol turned around in shock.
“But if it’s really impossible… I suppose it can’t be helped,” said Vandalieu.
“No! That is not the case! I was being immature, but Dragons are like my brethren. I will gladly welcome my new brothers and sisters!” Luvesfol said hysterically, desperately backtracking.
He had assumed that Vandalieu meant, ‘It cannot be helped, so I will put an end to you this time.’
“I see,” said Vandalieu, who had intended to put the Thunder Dragons somewhere further away from Luvesfol if they couldn’t get along. “Then –”
He nodded and held out a hand, which seemed to burst from the inside as it changed shape. Multiple tentacles emerged from it, and brush-like hairs appeared on their surface.
“Good boy, good boy,” he said, stroking Luvesfol’s body with the tentacles.
Luvesfol screamed. “I’m sca-This feels good…”
He was terrified by the Demon King’s tentacles that could squeeze him to death in a single instant, but let out a noise of pleasure as they rubbed him.
“Yes, yes, you’re a good boy,” said Pauvina, joining Vandalieu in massaging Luvesfol.
Luvesfol let out a deep sigh, no longer able to resist at all.
Having watched this scene, the Thunder Dragons began rubbing themselves against Vandalieu and Pauvina as well, wanting to have the same done for them.
But Luvesfol wasn’t the only one letting out strange noises.
In Darcia’s arms was a Dark Elf woman gasping and screaming as she transformed into a Chaos Elf.
“It’s alright, there’s nothing to be scared of,” Darcia said reassuringly. “Don’t resist it, and just let yourself feel it…”
The Dark Elf, who was dressed in bondage-like leather clothing, let out one last gasp, and then a sigh of relief. “That was a sensation that I’ve never felt before. So have I become a Chaos Elf now?” she asked between hard, feverish breaths.
“Yes. If you check your Status, you will see that you certainly have,” Darcia.
“You’re right. Oh, and you don’t need to speak so formally with me.”
“But you were very famous even in my village, Chief Lideria…”
“I’ve retired from being a chief, so I’m just an old-fashioned old hag now. I’m not someone that the emperor’s mother should speak to in such a formal tone. As proof of that, I’m here to use my own body to show that there’s nothing to worry about, so that the others of my village will hurry and get their butts moving to undergo this process.”
The woman being embraced by Darcia right now was Lideria, Dalton’s grandmother, who had been one of the Dark Elf chiefs until just recently. Despite having retired from her position, she had joined the group of visitors in order to test the Dark Elf transformation using her own body.
There were other former chiefs in the visiting group who had come for the same reason.
“Oh, I really have changed. ‘Rapid Regeneration,’ ‘Superhuman Strength’ and ‘Chaos.’ I will be testing those gradually… And now that I have become a Chaos Elf, that makes you my ancestor. There’s even less reason for you to speak formally with me,” Lideria said to Darcia. “Relax and call me ‘Ria-chan.’”
“It’s hard for me to change my manner so suddenly, but… I’ll do my best Lideri… Ria-chan,” said Darcia, unable to disobey the request of a well-known former chief.
“Give me a break, Grandma,” said Dalton, clutching his head as if he had a headache.
“Yes, yes, you’re such a good girl,” Lideria said to Darcia before turning to her grandson. “As for you, if you want me to stop acting younger than my age, hurry up and make some great-grandchildren for me to look at!” She turned once more, this time towards Darcia’s parents, Zerethia and Fidaril. “And you two, who cut the line and transformed first even though we already decided that the former chiefs would test the transformation! Have you become able to use the ‘Chaos’ Skill?!” she shouted.
Darcia’s parents hastily sat up straight.
“Y-yes, somewhat!” said Darcia’s father.
“I-I may need a little more time,” said Darcia’s mother.
The two of them had transformed parts of their bodies with the ‘Chaos’ Skill, turning their arms into crab-like pincers and growing wings from their backs.
They had been overjoyed to be reunited with Darcia and be able to hold her in their arms once more, but doing so had caused them to transform into Chaos Elves. It seemed that embracing their daughter had taken the same effect as embracing the Chaos Elf transformation.
This was an unexpected event for the Dark Elves, but it was not a grave or serious one, so Lideria had no intention of punishing them.
“I see. When we return to the village, I’ll have you help me explain the ‘Chaos’ Skill to everyone, so you can stop now. Do whatever you want with the time we have left. Go and talk with your daughter and your grandson,” she told them.
“Thank you very much,” said Darcia’s father.
“Well then, Grandfather, Grandmother… Am I being too formal? Grandpa, Grandma?” said Vandalieu, having returned from petting Luvesfol and the Thunder Dragons; his arms had returned to their normal form. “I think I’m too old to be calling you ‘Gramps.’”
“I don’t mind you calling us whatever you find more comfortable, but if you’re unsure, how about starting off with ‘Grandfather’ and ‘Grandmother?’” suggested Darcia’s father.
“I’ll do that, then. You can call me whatever you prefer, too,” said Vandalieu.
“Then how about Van-chan?” said Darcia’s mother.
“Fidaril, think about the boy’s position. We can’t call him that in front of everyone –” Darcia’s father began.
“I don’t mind,” said Vandalieu.
“You’re fine with it?! I-I see. Then I’ll call you Van,” Darcia’s father said. “So, what is it you were trying to say just a moment ago?”
“You may have heard about this already, but there are some people that I want to introduce to you two once more, Grandfather, Grandmother,” said Vandalieu.
Zerethia and Fidaril, knowing what was coming, sat up straight.
Dalton had already told them that their grandson, whom they had met for the first time today, had multiple fiancés. He was the emperor of a nation, so it was not strange for him to have a fiancé or even multiple fiancés.
Polygamy and polyandry were uncommon among Dark Elves, but not unheard of.
Zerethia and Fidaril didn’t see it as a problem that the fiancés were of different races. Vandalieu himself was a grandchild born between their daughter Darcia and a young man of a different race.
However, the first to be introduced was not one of Vandalieu’s fiancés, but his younger sister.
“First, this is Pauvina, who isn’t related to me by blood but whom I consider to be my younger sister.”
“Nice to meet you!” the three-meter-tall blonde girl said in an energetic greeting. “I’m Pauvina!”
Zerethia’s eyes grew wide in surprise, while Fidaril smiled in happy approval.
“I noticed her presence, but I was certain that she was one of your fiancés…” Zerethia murmured.
“And this is Rapiéçage, Yamata, Quinn, Legion and Juliana,” Vandalieu continued. “Some of Legion are my brothers rather than sisters, though.”
The five he mentioned emerged smoothly from within the Demon King’s shadow.
“Nice to… meet you…” said Rapiéçage, partially hiding behind Pauvina.
“To meet you!” Yamata sang, with only the nine female upper body halves attached to her necks protruding from within the shadow.
“It’s a pleasure,” Quinn said politely.
Legion had transformed into Pluto to represent them. “We’re sure there will be many things that will bewilder you, but stay strong,” she said.
“Forgive my impudence, but I will serve you with my life!” Juliana said with a bow.
All of them were clearly doing everything they could to cause as little shock to Vandalieu’s grandparents as possible.
However, Zerethia’s eyes were open in unconcealable shock at the sight of a composite Zombie who had been sewn together using the body parts of multiple people and monsters, the upper bodies of nine beautiful women and the beautiful, three-meter-tall woman with the features of a bee. He was so shocked that he didn’t notice how strange it was for Juliana, who was supposed to be a younger sister to Vandalieu, state that she would serve them with her life.
… It was possible that he might have been paralyzed with terror if Legion had appeared in their original form.
“Well, I’m so glad that I have so many grandchildren,” Fidaril said in a bright tone, but her eyes were wandering wildly in apparent confusion.
“Mother, Father, what’s the matter? Are you alright?” Darcia asked, sounding worried.
… It seemed that what she considered normal had grown considerably dubious, or perhaps she had simply assumed that her parents would be fine with these kinds of things because they didn’t live in a human society.
Zerethia gave a nervous laugh. “I-it’s nothing. I was just a little surprised. I mean, I’ve become able to transform parts of my body with ‘Chaos,’ and my grandson can transform his arms into tentacles. Everything is fine,” he told himself, nodding repeatedly.
But at the same time, he shot a look of objection at Dalton. ‘Let me know about these things beforehand!’ he seemed to shout silently.
Dalton’s eyes replied, ‘It’d have sounded like I was lying no matter how I explained it, so I had no choice but to be vague.’
“As for my fiancés… Many of them aren’t here today, so I’ll introduce them to you gradually. There are a lot of them, after all,” said Vandalieu, moving right along.
Princess Levia, a Ghost, was actually here, and if Vandalieu went to fetch them, he could get Zandia, Jeena, Privel, Gizania and the others, as well as the ones in the city of Morksi. But he deliberately chose not to do so.
He knew that his grandparents were mentally greatly shaken, so it was best to get them accustomed to things one step at a time.
“I-I see. There are a lot of them, just as we thought!” Zerethia said with another nervous laugh.
He was near his limit. In addition to Vandalieu’s fiancés, there was also Isla who referred to herself as his dog. There were Eleanora and Bellmond, who took pride in being his servants. There were the deadly maids. It was possible that Zerethia would be at risk of losing consciousness if he were to be introduced to all of them.
But Lideria, on the other hand, had already regained her composure despite being initially surprised by these developments; perhaps it was due to the wisdom that came with her age.
“In quite a hurry, aren’t you? Well, I suppose you would be, given the circumstances,” she said. “And you’re doing better than my grandson, who isn’t spreading his seed at all.”
“You don’t have a limited lifespan anymore, so you could wait a little more patiently, you know…” Dalton muttered under his breath, scowling at his grandmother’s indirect criticism.
“But make sure you don’t become a breeding horse who spreads his seed everywhere he likes and then doesn’t bother taking care of the children,” Lideria added.
“Now the criticism’s coming my way?! Damn it, I know I deserve it, and I really do regret it, but I don’t have any excuses! It’s just as she says, so you be careful!” Schneider said to Vandalieu.
“Yes, in that regard, I intend to think of you as an example of what not to do, Schneider,” Vandalieu said.
And so, the immigration process of the Dark Elves of the western region of the Bahn Gaia continent to the Demon Empire of Vidal continued.
Meanwhile, in a forest near the city of Morksi was Randolf, who had flown here from the Orbaume Kingdom’s royal capital using spiritual magic.
“Now then, since my usual ‘Ralph’ is already known…” he murmured.
The face and voice of his disguise as a human named Ralph were already known to Natania and the one-armed man. It was likely that his name and a sketch of his face had already circulated around the Adventurers’ Guild and to the earl of the city.
Randolf didn’t mind if his true identity eventually became known to Vandalieu, his target of interest, but… until then, he didn’t want to cause any unnecessary commotion.
With that in mind, Randolf decided to adopt a different disguise from the one he normally used. He took out a piercing, which was a Magic Item that would change the color of his hair and eyes, and created a hole in his ear to push it through.
He healed the wound with spiritual magic, then held his throat and began doing vocal exercises to prepare his voice.
“Ah, ah… I guess a little higher would be better. Ah, aaah. Alright. I’m Rudolf, an Elf bard who left his hometown in the forest in order to travel. I am not an adventurer, but I have learned rudimentary magic for self-defense. I came to Morksi after taking an interest in the rumors surrounding it. Let’s go with this,” he decided, talking to himself in a voice that was considerably higher than his usual speaking voice.
And with that, he set off on foot towards the city.