When the dangerous criminals throughout the whole world escaped from their prisons, it had been the beginning. The dark pixie incident had come soon afterward, and these criminals had been suspected to be the culprits.
Their true goal had been to summon the Evil God that they called the Fairy King. As the human race realized that a Cataclysm-class threat, an existence even more powerful than the Dark Lady, had been summoned, they soon found themselves in a battle for their very own continued survival.
With confiscated evidence and the testimonies of a group of prisoners that had been successfully prevented from killing themselves, the true identity of this Evil God had been partially revealed.
According to the old literature that had been left behind by the ancient elves thousands of years ago, this Evil God was no denizen of the Fairy World, despite its similar appearance. It was one of the Gods of the Netherworld.
It was the Unseelie Lord, the ruler of dark pixies. A true Evil God by all accounts.
Apparently, among the wanted criminal escapists, there had been a magician of Quarancinq who used to pursue dangerous, experimental summonings, and they had planned on calling up the Unseelie Lord.
With this newfound knowledge, the different names the countries of the world had given to the Evil God were now consolidated into a single title. The coalition of large countries that had been outside of the large-scale magic circle were now deploying flying battleships to subjugate the Unseelie Lord.
By all rights, the Heroes should have been taking command of the alliance army to unify the countries worldwide. But the most suitable Hero, the Warrior, were currently missing. Unconfirmed information had it that he had been seen to be working with the Dark Lady’s faction, betraying mankind.
The Heroine who had warned the whole world of the appearance of the Evil God, the Sage, had been reported to be the principal culprit behind the summoning of the Unseelie Lord, and was currently on the run. But similarly to the Warrior, a public investigation of the Sage at the moment would be very likely to provoke unrest among the populace. The search remained stalled.
The only Hero remaining was the Blademaster, but not many could catch up to what the eccentric genius was thinking. Before anyone could realize, the Blademaster had already departed on his own to defeat the Unseelie Lord.
The countries inside of the large-scale summoning circle that had called up the Unseelie Lord were currently suffering attacks from thousands of dark pixies.
Even when the whole world had united to fight back against the Unseelie Lord, these countries were still tied down by the dark pixies. They needed to deal with the magic circle that was spawning the creatures itself.
The Origin points of the magic circle were, by the Sage’s request, placed in sites with a mana supply line, so the locations themselves were known. The countries near the Origins were deploying knights and adventurers to raid the sites.
Among the Origins, the six points arranged in a hexagram on the outer circumference of the magic circles were the most important. They were also where the criminals’ resistance was the fiercest. One of the hexagrammal Origin points had been located in an old dwarven ruins in Touze Empire. The knights were attacking the place, but there were those among the enemies’ number who had once been involved in the development of deadly magical weapons. The attackers were taking heavy casualties.
As a result, Touze Empire had deployed a task force of around thirty members, all of them either powerful knights, magicians, or trusted adventurers. Their plan was to invade the ruins through a secret pathway.
“Come on, geezer, think of your age. Why’d you have to come along?” said the emperor of Touze, Tischlar — or Tiz, as those close to him called him.
“Surely you jest, boy. I should think the Emperor himself going to the front line would be far more egregious.” The old butler blandly replied, his hands busy with his own preparations.
“…I told you, stop it with the ‘boy’ already,” Tiz said, sighing quietly with a wry smile.
Tiz and his old butler had decided to join the task force.
The emperor had nearly a thousand combat power himself, while the old butler had once been the leader of an intelligence organization. Despite his age, he was still more powerful than Tiz.
But this task force was embarking on what was almost, in a sense, a suicide mission. Even when the world was facing the risk of destruction, some might still accuse the Emperor of neglecting his responsibility by joining the mission.
But he had a reason for his decision.
While the country had been peaceful and the family hadn’t had a chance to experience the battlefield for several generations, at their roots, the Touze royal family was still a house of warriors. The emperor visiting the front line was practically a family custom.
Furthermore, Tiz was still young. The noble loyalists of the previous emperor was still opposing him even now. Tiz needed to show his citizens that he was taking an active role.
And finally: Salia, his former bodyguard knight, was directly involved in the current mission.
Salia was daughter to the knight squadron leader that was one of Tiz’s supporters. She couldn’t be allowed to fall into the hands of the loyalist nobles. It was why Tiz needed to keep the task force limited to just himself, the knights and adventurers he trusted, and Salia’s father and his aides. The matter had to be dealt with as quietly as possible.
The knights were distracting the enemies outside while Tiz’s task force infiltrated the dwarven ruins through the secret tunnel. They headed toward the Origin point that was still active to maintain the magic circle.
After several casualties, they reached the innermost chamber. Salia was waiting for them together with several of the most heinous of criminals being wanted worldwide.
“Your Majesty! You’ve come to see me!” Salia said, a crazed smile showing on a face half-paralyzed.
“Salia… I’m stopping you. Come on, geezer, knight leader.”
The old butler responded dispassionately. The knight squadron leader nodded, his resolve hardened, though his lips still quivered upon being forced to kill his own daughter due to his position.
The escapists had only been incarcerated for their dangerous ideology. They weren’t necessarily personally powerful.
There were no deadly traps or magic weapons in the criminals’ hands, and the knights with nearly a thousand combat power and unbending determination soon proved too much for them. The task force tore through the criminals one after another, even as they took casualties of their own.
Soon enough, only Salia was left. She screeched, charging forward with the strength of an ex-royal bodyguard.
“Your Majesty! Your Majesty! Sir TISCHLAAARR!!!”
In response, Tiz unsheathed the magic sword he’d acquired on his own when he was young. A single thrust pierced through Salia’s heart.
She reached out her bloody hands even as her heart was run through, giving him her final smile.
Then she overloaded the fire magic stone that Brian had given her, releasing an inferno to cover the two whole.
The old butler let loose a shout that was almost a scream. Tiz appeared from within the blaze unharmed, flicking his cloak as if to blow away the flames.
“So you’re unhurt, boy…”
“…I should be, with just that much fire.”
Tiz was a Child of God, one who possessed a special ability. His was the Blessing of Fire.
Salia had been his bodyguard once. She was, of course, aware about his ability. She desired him, but she had no intention of killing him. She just wanted him to remember her death.
Tiz stayed silent, heavy thoughts apparent on his expression. He swung his enchanted sword without a word and shattered the magitool that was the Origin of the magic circle.
The mission was a success, despite vast casualties. The survivors cheered in triumph.
But this was not yet the end. The Evil God, the Unseelie Lord, was still there. The battle for the whole world was only just beginning.
“…Shedy,” he muttered. Thoughts of the Dark Lady Whitehare, the girl of white, and her lonely battle passed through his mind.
Tiz had heard that Shedy was destroying Saplings to prevent the collapse of the world from some of the captured demihuman resistance soldiers in his custody.
His fellow humans had all waved it off as simple nonsense, but Tiz had known Shedy. He didn’t think it was just meaningless destruction. As Tiz the individual instead of Tischlar the emperor, he had leaked the information that Shedy had gotten stronger after tearing down Xontdix’s Sapling to the resistance.
She was gaining power with each Sapling destroyed. And in the end, the world of humans would collapse, and the collapse of the world would be prevented.
What he did was treason, pure and simple. A betrayal to the human race and to the citizens of his empire. But a thought had taken root in a corner of Tiz’s mind.
In the end, is she not the only hope we have of defeating the Unseelie Lord?
[Shedy] [Race: Bunny Girl] [Archdemon Lv. 26] ・The rabbit demon of Laplace. Trickster and guide of man’s fate. [Magic Points: 83,400/100,000] 3,000↑ [Total Combat Power: 93,400/110,000] 3,300↑ [Unique Skill: <Causality Alteration> <Dimensional Manipulation> <Absorption> <Materialization>] [Racial Skill: <Fear> <Mist Form>] [Simple Identification] [Human Form (Wonderful)] [Subspace Inventory] [Dark Lady]
Quathuit’s Sapling got dragged into my fight with Fiorfata, and I got a little bit stronger again.
The white magic stone and the elapsed time had filled up my magic a bit, but the shockwaves from the Demon Lord’s attacks and my short-range dodging teleportations were preventing my reserve from being full.
My ranged attack wiped out the dark pixies that were naturally spawning around Fiorfata. Doing this was really rough on my mana reserve, but I had to keep attacking. The Demon Lord needed to be focusing on me-
Too close! I instantly teleported to dodge the blast it sent at me.
[Unseelie Lord・Fiorfata] [Race: Dark Pixie] [Demon Lord] ・One of the seven Demon Lords ruling Netherworld. A god of the Netherworld. [Magic Points: 584,500/600,000] [Total Combat Power: 654,500/670,000]
Fiorfata’s own mana store was somewhat decreasing from being hit by my attacks and from shooting its own magical blasts a few times, but not that much. As I expected, the Demon Lord was also regenerating its magic with time.
But it was still, thankfully, wasting magical attacks on me in response to my provocations. Was it playing?
Quathuit’s capital was pretty much just ruins now. Fiorfata laughed, its body shaking, its withered arms and insectile wings spreading widely.
Though people in nearby towns might have had better luck, not many in the capital had managed to escape.
I wouldn’t justify myself, saying that their deaths were necessary to save the world. If they had to blame someone, they should blame me.
They would survive if only they just moved away from the Saplings, but right now, I had no way to tell them that. And even if I could, the human race had been dependent on the Saplings for far too long. They wouldn’t leave.
I had to continue fighting. I had to, in order to allow as many lives of this world to survive as possible.
Once more, I spent my hard-earned magic to attack the Demon Lord. I immediately headed toward the next country with a Sapling.
Fiorfata still followed.
Next up was the small country of Katrinne to the east. And after that, some distance away from Katrinne, would be the island country Roxante.
At my current speed, it wouldn’t take more than a few hours, but I had to do it all while dodging Fiorfata’s attacks and continuing my provocations. A game of chase where the slightest mistake would instantly kill me.
“There it is!”
Katrinne was coming into my view. This small continent had been close to the center of the magic circle, and damage from dark pixies had been particularly severe.
I didn’t have the leeway to help out the humans this time around, plus they were also aiming at me with magic artillery anyway. I kicked the shooters from the castle walls, turning the cannon that was moments away from firing toward Fiorfata’s direction.
It missed, obviously, but that was enough to get the Demon Lord’s attention. I guided its attacks, using myself as bait. The stronghold that Katrinne had as its castle fell, the magical barrier covering the city vanished, and the World Tree sent a white magic stone into my hand.
I threw the stone into my mouth and headed to my next destination, Roxante.
The country was relatively close, but I still had to cross nearly a hundred kilometers of ocean. There would be nothing I could use on the sea as shelter. Dodging Fiorfata was about to get a lot more difficult.
As I began to get impatient, seeing my magic reserve slowly diminishing, the ocean in front of me suddenly roiled and bubbled. Dozens of sea dragons appeared from the water.
But just as I got ready for battle, the sea dragons ignored me, instead attacking Fiorfata chasing behind.
“…are you helping me?”