As the troll army lost their King — their overpowered patron that was a Dark General — they’d also lost their cohesion, and were routed by the army of Torrann Empire.
But they were trolls. Monsters said to have skulls as thick as the size of their brains. In just scant moments, they’d even forgotten the loss of their King. They got a few Troll Generals to be their new bosses and continued rampaging throughout the local region.
In the end, Torrann Empire, having lost their Sapling and their emperor, could neither continue fighting, nor could they deal with the chaos. The country was trampled under troll feet.
Well, if they had that Gold guy, they’d probably be able to hold on for a while.
“Welcome back, Panda.”
He seemed tired after his trip. He didn’t climb on my shoulder, instead clinging behind my waist together with Blobsy. Panda did good work provoking and luring the Troll King, while Blobsy did her part too. I’d give them treats later.
Due to the rampaging troll remnants, the surrounding small countries had found themselves in quite the crisis. If only I could actually come for their Saplings…
I mean, there were tens of thousands of watcher drones flying toward those countries right now. The drones monitoring the Troll King must have seen me when I crushed him. The drones were transparent, but if I squinted, I could see them swarming like locusts.
I’d managed to deal with the Saplings of Torrann Empire and the Republic of Savanhuit, two large countries. I supposed that’s pretty good for the time being.
Anyway, the Troll King might have looked like an easy kill, but really, I was just a hard counter for him.
The Troll King had 36000 combat power. Thanks to Gold’s efforts, the monster’s magic points had been ground down by quite a bit. Even so, I probably wouldn’t win so easily if I fought him head-on.
It was the Troll King’s high-speed regeneration that had given me such a simple win.
.The Troll King probably had more powerful regeneration than normal trolls. And with the pea he had for a brain, he’d never fought with his defense in mind. He cared nothing for his wounds as long as they didn’t kill him. With just a peek, I already saw hundreds of thousands of nearly-fatal wounds in his past.
I just needed to use [Causality Alteration] on some ten-odd locations among them, turning them into the worst outcome possible, and that was enough to transform the Troll King into a lump of meat.
I had acted casual, but honestly, just that single attack of mine had already taken around ten thousand of my magic. If the Troll King had survived that, I’d have had a bit of trouble on my hand.
One of those nearly-fatal wounds had been dealt by that Gold guy. Must be karma. Maybe he was one of the Heroes?
So anyway, that was how I finished him off. It’d been a long time since I gained experience from a monster.
[Shedy] [Race: Bunny Girl] [Archdemon Lv. 14] ・The rabbit demon of Laplace. Trickster and guide of man’s fate. [Magic Points: 71,000/71,000] 15,000↑ [Total Combat Power: 78,100/78,100] 16,500↑ [Unique Skill: <Causality Alteration> <Cyber-Manipulation> <Absorption> <Materialization>] [Racial Skill: <Fear> <Mist Form>] [Simple Identification] [Human Form (Wonderful)] [Subspace Inventory] [Dark Lady]
With this much power, I probably wouldn’t lose to most opponents. But there were still three Heroes, several remaining large human countries, and even interference from Earth to worry about.
I was fighting to fulfill the contract with the World Tree. To take revenge against the corporation, and to avenge my comrades who had been in the same boat as me, whose faces I had never seen.
But I had another reason to fight.
“So I heard our Dark Lady the Bunny had just taken down another country?”
“Torrann? Didn’t it fall because of the Dark General-class called the Troll King? I thought the NPC hero won, but not before the Sapling was destroyed?”
“Nah, that’s just the official story. I heard that at the time, the Temples weren’t allowed to intervene, so nobody traveled there. This is according to some guy posting on another forum outside who got his character deleted, apparently.”
“Oh yes, I know that story. If I remember correctly, he was the player who got arrested by the local guards for luring the Troll King toward Torrann, right? According to his whining, he had managed to escape during the Troll King mess, but then got put on wanted posters all around the world. The guy deleted his character in tears after that.”
“Wait, so it wasn’t a forced character deletion, but he did it himself? Couldn’t he just change his appearance and name or something?”
“You need to pay real money for that. From what I’ve heard, those players were middle-schoolers in real life. Their action to lure monsters to attack a whole city like this time was deemed ‘a disturbance to other players’, so they got slapped a fine of 200 bucks as a penalty to change character. They couldn’t pay.”
“Holy crap. At least it’s not account deletion.”
“Must be a right mess for those players who were basing in Torrann and Savanhuit.”
“So did they really see the Bunny?”
“The guy said a weird girl tricked them, and she turned out to be the Dark Lady.”
“That doesn’t prove anything.”
“But there was even an analysis website that concluded that if the Troll King really had 36000 combat power, then it’s very unlikely the Hero could actually win. Though on the other hand, the Bunny wouldn’t have a reason to do so.”
“More importantly, it’s seriously looking like there aren’t going to be any country to start your game in, sooner or later. What are the devs thinking?”
“I’ve heard that some players are beginning to move to the Central Continent. Some high-ranked players are volunteering to help the lower-ranked move.”
“Wait, we can teleport once for free, right? Maybe I’ll move to Central too.”
“You can’t bring anything beside quest items, though.”
“I suppose it’s about time to try it out…”
“Aaah, that thing?”
“Yepyep. That player event. Wanna join?”
“Yeah, ○○××○△××△, so…”
“Oh, whoops, sorry. I’m censoring myself with ×○△×… don’t want ○○× to find out, after all.”
The fall of Torrann Empire and Savanhuit Republic had shocked the whole world.
The large countries had just jointly requested the three Heroes for the subjugation of the Dark Lady barely days ago. Countries worldwide had just begun preparing their armies and tightening security for the Dark Lady, and she had already attacked. She had won. Her victory might have been an ambush during the battle between a Dark General and a Hero, but it was still more than enough to deal a heavy blow to the pride of the large countries.
The Warrior said he had met with the Dark Lady during his battle with the Troll King.
According to the Warrior, just as he was about to lose, the Dark Lady had saved him, but it was more likely that she had simply seized the opportunity when the Troll King was busy with him. Even if that was the truth, the human governments still decided to recognize the deed of killing the Troll King to belong to the Warrior as a way to raise the citizens’ morale, but the Hero himself had refused. He had since disappeared.
“Really, the guy’s so uptight.”
Quarancinq, City of Magic. A large country in the Western Central Continent.
While the City of Magic only had a population of four hundred thousand, around the same as a small country, it and the Academy City of Cinqres were countries for scholars and researchers of all things magical, the holy lands for all magicians.
In the center of the country lay a castle, its spire rumored to be the tallest building in the whole world. The castle was both the royal palace and the world’s most prestigious magic academy. The headmaster of the Magic University, at the same time one of its instructors as well as the king of the country itself, could be seen strolling around and engaging new students in friendly chats from time to time.
But the spire, christened ‘Tower of Truth’, held its own dark secrets. In this City of Magic, magicians recognized to be top-class were offered a laboratory space in the tower. The Tower of Truth was where questionable research and inhumane experiments were being conducted, far away from the eyes of the wider world.
In one of those laboratories, a room so extravagant one could mistake it for a royal suite of a first-class hotel, was a beauty in her late twenties with hair as red as a blazing inferno. Wetting her scarlet lips with a sip of blood-red wine, she waved the glass in a light flourish to the man in front of her.
“So you came to me because the Warrior had disappeared?”
“Not so, my lady. Since the beginning, we at the Temples had already believed that you, the Sage, was the ideal person to come to for this plan.” A tall, brown-haired man replied with a dashing smile.
Marlene, the Sage.
With her vast magical capacity, the woman had mastered magic until the seventh rank when she was only in her twenties. She was the most powerful magician in this world, as well as one of the Heroes.
While her appearance was that of a quintessential fire mage, she was, in fact, well versed in all the elements. Her healing magic had cured tens of thousands of people.
Marlene had been the inventor of a new type of healing spell. All the royalty and nobility throughout the world clamored for her attention, but she refused them, saying it made no difference whether her patient was a king or a beggar, and she continued to prioritize her work as a Heroine.
“You said you were… Mason?”
“Indeed, my lady.”
“The terms of the Temple’s request for me included the development of a new spell by using the mana they supply, and the capture of the Dark Lady by said spell. Is that right?”
“The capture of the Dark Lady is not required of you. Please do so only if an opportunity presents itself. However, if you can preserve the brain and organs, or even keep the head unwounded, there would be a bonus reward for you.”
“Understood. How about you have a drink with me?”
“My apologies, it is currently work hours for me.”
The contract she had with the Temples required her to develop a new spell, and to acquire a biological sample of Whitehare, the Dark Lady.
And in return, for the next 50 years, the Temples would supply mana for her experiments, as well as help her acquire the subjects that had been getting less and less available recently.
Mason left. Marlene licked off the last drops of wine on her lips, then headed to her lab with a chuckle. She opened the door that led to the subject storage room.
The room was filled with good-looking boys, both demihumans and humans, all with limbs restrained. Eyes of anguish greeted her.
“I’m back. You’ll be having more friends soon. I won’t need to be as frugal with my experiments, I should think.”
Marlene cheerfully took out her torture tools, further sending the boys into the depths of despair.
“… damn her… damn her… damn her…”
Touze Empire had only a single large capital city. Outside of the farming district, its citizens all lived at the city, with the upper class and middle class of six hundred thousand living inside the enormous protective city walls, while the lower class of one million and two hundred thousand people lived outside the walls.
Outside the walls, in one of the lakeside resort villas of nobles, a young woman of nobility was standing in the garden, herself clad in a grimy dress. Again and again, she was stabbing her knife into a tree as if it was a voodoo doll.
Her name was Salia.
Her father was a knight officer. She’d been pushed into becoming the emperor’s bodyguard in the hope that her looks would attract him into taking her as a concubine, but the woman herself had welcomed it and made it into her own goal.
Yet the path to her dream had veered off-track ever since that rabbit beastman girl, Shedy, showed up.
Salia had been abnormally antagonistic to Shedy. Her twisted emotions had turned into sheer hatred, and at the battle of Xontdix, she had massacred the demihumans to soothe herself. Then Shedy had frozen the skin of her face.
She had been rescued by Xontdix’s knights just before the Dark Lady Whitehare gave her display of power. Her face had refused to heal completely even with the best spells, and combined with the insubordination she’d displayed in acting by herself, she’d been sent back home, away from her position, for her so-called ‘long-term recuperation’. Her father, the knight officer, had scorned her as ‘useless’, and had banished her outside of the walls.
The only people at the villa were her and an old caretaker couple.
She had people to serve her food and to do her laundry. But she continued to be a prisoner to her hatred of Shedy. She hadn’t been eating, hadn’t been bathing. She just kept on stabbing the tree.
The grass rustled with footsteps. Salia stopped. She looked up, glaring at the interruption, her face beset with uncontrollable twitches. Standing in front of her was a man with eyes in the same glare and a demented smile.
“Heyo. The name’s Brian. Wanna join me to take revenge on the Bunny?”
A/N: Factions surrounding Shedy:
- 1st faction: The Temples
The local headquarters of the Earth-based pharmaceutical and defense conglomerate, as well as the Developers managing the MMORPG. The anti-rabbit project had changed hands from the 7th research center to the 4th.
- 2nd faction: Regular Players
An enormous faction consisting of around three million people, but without unity. Most had no awareness of the truth. Some of the players had begun to act.
- 3rd faction: The Large Country Coalition
A worldwide organization to oppose the Dark Lady Whitehare and her assault on the Saplings. Perception of the Coalition differed depending on the region.
- 4th faction: The Heroes
Included the Warrior, the Blademaster, and the Sage. Officially, they had accepted the Coalition’s request to subjugate the Dark Lady as their mission, but no one knew their true thoughts.
- 5th faction: The Demihumans
People oppressed by the human race. Despite the destruction of the Saplings, some among them had instinctively realized that the Saplings weren’t gone forever. They had taken the opportunity to begin a resistance movement.
- 6th faction: The Dark Generals
There were three Dark Generals on Yggdrasia: the Troll King, the Orc King, and the Ogre Lord. They were embroiled in endless strife with many, including the human race and the Heroes.
- 7th faction: The Revengers
Brian, Salia, and others who had sworn revenge on Shedy.