“Hmm, so you’re the demon?”
The equipment to bridge the gap between Earth and the new world of Yggdrasia, as well as the mana-gathering and mana-storage systems, were located within a military compound. The hallway that would lead me there was also the one connected to the command center where the military generals were. A very strange man wearing round sunglasses and a black cloak was lying in wait for me in the hallway.
How odd, to see just a single person here… no, wait, he was accompanied by a pack of dirty stray dogs behind him.
But this was weird. I wasn’t exactly indiscriminately throwing around my demonic magical power around the place all the time, but I also wasn’t suppressing my racial skill of [Fear].
Perhaps the man was resisting it the way some trained knights and soldiers could, but that pack of stray dogs should only be normal animals. Yet not only did they show not a lick of fear, they were even baring their teeth and growling at me, looking obviously, unnaturally hostile.
Was it hypnosis? Or drugs?
[Sunglasses-Wearing Man] [Race: Human ♂] [Weirdo] [Magic Points (MP): 5/5] [Hit Points (HP): 110/110] [Total Combat Power: 182]
Just a normal human, although his combat power was quite high considering. Perhaps he knew some sort of martial art, and I was sure the other factor was the magic power he possessed, even if he barely had any.
He shouldn’t be a problem to me in terms of combat power, but I still didn’t know who he was. I narrowed my eyes at him, and he took an exaggerated step backward.
“Ooooh, now that’s scary. Thought you were just a cute little lady, who knew you were a demon? Look, I’m getting goosebumps.”
As the man rolled up his sleeves to show me, he suddenly whipped out an oddly-shaped knife that looked like a bolt of lightning, using it to cut into one of the dogs next to him.
The wounded dog leaped forward without even a single whimper. It came in contact with my mist and immediately froze in mid-air, the ice sculpture sailing past my side.
“…what were you trying to do?”
He chuckled. “Oh, I’ve just finished my preparations.”
Right then, what looked like some fog burst out from the frozen dog and flew into the man.
I sensed a sudden outpouring of something similar to magic power from him, and I took a reflexive half-step dodge. The wooden door and the frozen dog diagonally behind me began to be invaded with greyness at visible speed.
Wait a minute, is this…
“Cor-rect! Amazing, I’ve never seen anyone managing to dodge it right on the first time!”
What did he do? Even in Yggdrasia, only certain monsters have the ability of petrification. It wasn’t something Earth’s technology could replicate.
“Who are you…?”
“My, sorry for the late introduction. My name’s Herdu, and I come from a long-established line of Czech black mages. If you’re a real demon, you should know the mages of old, right? Tell me who’s better, me or them?”
As he gave his introduction, he stabbed his knife deep into the neck of another nearby dog. Herdu smirked even as the spurting blood smeared his face, and he once more absorbed something.
[Sunglasses-wearing Man] [Race: Human ♂] [Black Mage] [Magic Points (MP): 50/5] [Hit Points (HP): 110/110] [Total Combat Power: 182]
He was holding more magic than his limit… I see. He was probably forcibly turning the lifeforce of other living beings into his own magic power.
He was one of the Earthborn mages. These people must have done a lot of experimentation to leave behind their magecraft in a world that no longer had mana. The way they do magic was fundamentally different from people in Yggdrasia.
But you know…
“Can you dodge this time?”
Herdu once more fired his chantless spell. His magic power was absorbed into the wall, then suddenly reappearing on top of my head.
I just swung my hand to whack it off-course.
“…huh?” Herdu gaped in disbelief.
I brushed off the stony powder sticking on my glove, as if they were nothing more than dust.
“…tsk, tricks,” Herdu said, slashing into several more dogs in succession, killing one and only lightly wounding two others. As the two wounded dogs dashed towards me, at the same time, Herdu also shot his spell with the magic power he gained from his kill.
I didn’t dodge. A single swing of my arm flung both the flying spell and the attacking dogs away. Herdu’s face twisted in shock as he saw what I did.
The spell composition was interesting, and I thought it could be quite effective depending on how it’s used. It would have been dangerous to me if I’d still been a Low Demon.
But you know, there’s a fundamental problem… you’re using way too little magic.
Since he’d been killing every single time he used his spell, he must not be able to store the magic gained from the lifeforce of others. The maximum amount of magic power Herdu could use at any one time was likely to be only 50.
Upon the sight of his spells being so easily parried, he began to lose his composure, his face twitching.
“W-who the hell are you?!”
“Who? Didn’t you already say it yourself just a while ago?”
Or perhaps… he didn’t actually think I was a demon?
He recalled his words, and his face rapidly paled. He once more prepared to raise his knife against the defenseless strays, perhaps in a last-ditch attempt to struggle, perhaps to run away. I stretched out my hand and squeezed.
His knife shattered, the stress suddenly too much for it. His spell composition unluckily unraveled, and his limbs began to turn gray from their tips, turning into stone.
Herdu screamed and wailed, tormented by the backlash of the black Curse magic. I leisurely walked close to him. He tumbled on the floor, trying to get away, his legs already failing him.
“…where are you going?”
“W-wait, please wait! I-I can give you money… I mean people! Animals! I can give you as many lives as you want! Yes, you’re a real demon, right?! M-make a contract with me. I know! I know demons can’t unleash their true strength in the mortal world without a Contract with a human!”
What the hell was he saying? Didn’t he see how I dealt with the army outside?
“That’s right! With a contract with you, I’ll become the greatest mage in this world! Once I do, I’ll give you as many souls as you want! Kids, women, whatever you want!”
So he would make children into living sacrifices. To me.
“Unfortunate for you, I already have the best contractor. Cheap souls like yours aren’t worth my time.”
I gently touched the fingers of my hands together and crushed my palms against each other. The stray dogs he had been controlling until now abruptly regained their senses. They stood stock-still for a moment in blank shock, then they began to growl hungrily at me and Herdu.
The stray dogs didn’t attack me, fearing me. But Herdu was right there, his arms and legs petrified.
I walked past the crawling man. He called after me in panic.
“Sorry. I’m in a hurry.”
I ran to the end of the corridor. I heard sounds of growling, of fighting behind me, and a short while later, the dying screams of the man who called himself Herdu echoed in the compound.
After a while, the hallway widened. There was a vending machine and a bench. A giant man, advanced in years, was drinking from a small can. He quietly turned around upon noticing me.
“The spirits of virtue are astir. I see your true face, evil spirit wearing human skin. This is the world of man. Return to hell where you belong, dark one.”
The old giant said, stretching out his hand that held the can with the words ‘RED BEAN SOUP’ written on it toward me. Then he squeezed, and the steel can folded like wet paper.
‘Spirits of virtue’? Earth had so little mana even I, an archdemon, was finding it difficult to stay here. There was no way the elementals holing up in the spirit world would show up.
Seemed like this old man was also an Earthborn mage like Herdu. He seemed slightly different, though. He could see that I was a Demon right away.
[Huge Old Man] [Race: Human ♂] [Shaman] [Magic Points (MP): 3/3] [Hit Points (HP): 130/130] [Total Combat Power: 144]
The old man took out a tree branch, leaves still attached, and began chanting some sort of incantation.
“—O’ spirits, grant me the power to repel evil!”
In response to his call, what looked like three balls of light floated out from the tree branch.
Hmm… that was surprising. He actually called up real elementals. Weak and so immature they might as well be babies, but real elementals all the same.
But the spirits had been forced to appear in a world without magic, and their very existence was eroding by the seconds. Even their weak magic was being absorbed by the old man. They were beginning to peter out.
“My name is Ohan. Dark spirit, you shall perish before our virtuous power!”
I said, putting magic power into my voice. The elementals were forcefully sent back in an instant.
“…huh?” Suddenly losing the power of the spirits that he had stolen, the old man shrunk into a size smaller, as though he had also lost a part of his life force at the same time. He staggered, falling onto his knees. My claws gripped his head.
“…did you not hear their screams?”
The old man froze in terror. I took all his life force and his heat, then crushed the shriveled frozen head into dust.
“So that’s what the Earth mages are doing…”
In a world without mana, the techniques they were leaving behind were those that stole power from others.
If this continued, this world would be heading towards destruction like Yggdrasia, too. But with the power I had at the moment, I couldn’t stop it yet.
There was something else I should be doing instead. I continued deeper down the hallway.
Some time later, a double door appeared in my view.
I felt the presence of only a single person inside. I carefully opened the door, watching for any more ‘mages’. I didn’t know what room it had been originally, but right now it had an ‘altar’ made out of stacking tables covered with cloth. It looked like a chapel.
There was a priest praying to the cross set on the altar, his back turned to me. He slowly stood up and turned around, greeting me with the gentle smile of an old Father.
[Middle-Aged Priest] [Race: Human ♂] [Saint] [Magic Points (MP): 150/150] [Hit Points (HP): 250/250] [Total Combat Power: 840]
This guy… he’s a little different.
A/N: The work of the remaining magicians on Earth ranged from giving advice by divination, academic research of the soul, to assassination.
If an Earth magician was fighting against a normal human one-on-one, then their skills would make them quite strong, but they don’t actually have any experience fighting someone really powerful.