The Demon Army’s Swift Advance
After putting the Magic City under their umbrella, the demon army next set their sights on the Holy City.
Holy City Palan.
It was a city that even now still believed in the gods that had existed in this world, spreading their doctrine and instructing divine magic.
Of course, this was the only city that was incompatible to demons. An inescapable battle awaited there.
Practically all of the demon army’s one million troops headed to capture the city.
People who converted from the Magic City to being part of the demon army were sent out to advise for capitulation just to make sure, but they were sent back with naught but their necks.
“It looks like humans turned into an even more barbaric race than ourselves at some point.”
Muttering as such, Rei commenced the army’s attack.
Palan’s ramparts were unlike the Magic City’s at a full twenty meters tall. Even their installations were improved.
Even their attacks with the giant races were prevented by magic defenses. Most of the first day saw only the demon army sustaining damage.
The problem occurred before the second day’s sun rose.
The holy knights that commanded each of the units were assassinated en masse.
The culprits behind the acts were completely unknown. There were no eyewitnesses. However, despite it being so late at night, the temple’s upper echelons were forced to decide on a new deployment.
And then the second problem occurred.
Another assassination happened, but this time it was on the priests in the temple’s upper echelons.
The second day’s battle occurred as those in the city viewed everyone else in suspicion.
The demon army’s attack was much more calm compared to the first day’s. It was as though they were feeling around for weak points.
Nevertheless, Palan received great damage.
This was due to the quickly chosen commanders being unable to give appropriate orders.
And so the dreaded second day’s night fell.
Once again, several senior officials were assassinated. Moreover, ministers were among them this time.
In siege warfare, defeat was decided the moment their will broke.
In that sense, Palan hadn’t lost until the afternoon of the third day.
Their defeat was decided on the morning of the fourth day.
A dagger was stabbed into the chest of a high priest that had been heavily guarded by strict security.
Needless to say, this was a message that said no matter who the target was, they could kill them at any time.
Thus, Palan’s management chose to surrender.
The soldiers on the front line did not like that decision.
Even if they’d taken some damage, the walls were still fully intact. They’d lost a few commanders, sure, but they still had plenty of people.
However, they too lost the will to fight by the fifth day.
The holy knights that had been commanding them until just the day before greatly decreased in numbers.
All the way to the end, the specifics on the assassin(s) couldn’t be figured out.
Surely, no one would ever have thought that it was caused by a harmless peddler they’d become familiar with.
Palan was forced to relinquish their arms and the Magic City’s troops that were dispatched here and fought together with Palan were allowed to return home.
The holy knights were obviously isolated. It was decided that their freedom would be deprived for a short while.
Like this, Palan, a city that boasted its holiness, fell into the demons’ possession in just a short six days.
However, Rei did not attempt to put demons inside the city. She knew about the thing known as public sentiment.
As for what she did do, she destroyed their ramparts, as well as completely opening their gates.
They didn’t touch the temples that were used to worship the many idols, however. Palins’ residents would want to spend time there after losing the town’s ramparts.
The demon army’s advance did not stop there.
Leaving around half of their fighting strength—their inferior troops—there to stand by for security measures, the remaining elites were directed towards the center of the continent, the location that was once the empire.
Currently, Casalia and Lemdria’s troops were marching to restore the lost public order.
This was to be the place that the demons would have their first decisive battle.
Meanwhile, in the eastern part of the continent.
In a certain meaning, Ogress was enveloped in peace.
First off, the demons had never attempted to make a move against Oomori Woods. This was due to a direct order they’d received beforehand by the Demon King.
They had a mutual noninterference with the elves, similar to the relationship the elves had with humans.
Istria didn’t have the stamina left to fight against the demon army in the first place.
With their ten years of civil war finally coming to a close, the new king set the liberation of slavery as one of his policies.
As demi-humans were obviously included among those slaves, for Istria, cooperating with demons wasn’t much of a hard decision.
Rather, the demon territory’s farming methods quickly revived their devastated lands, but that was a story for another time.
The Istrian king formally recognized the emigration of demons onto his territory, forming a de facto alliance. In this aspect, they were similar to Ogress.
The country in the southern part of the continent behaved as though it were someone else’s problem at first.
However, they heard about the Magic City’s capitulation and the Holy City’s surrender and began to recall the legends of the previous Millennium.
They remembered that, other than the imperial capital and the eastern island, almost every human on the continent had perished.
In the southwest part of the continent, Labra existed only in name at this point. The great houses’ heads that had protected it decided to give reinforcements to the humans’ side. 
Due to their merchants’ banks having a fallout, the southern Krasli was in such a miserable state that it couldn’t even mobilize its army. The humans’ side didn’t know that this was caused by a plan carried out by the demon king over the course of years.
Despite their longtime war against Lemdria, The Seven City Alliance in the south-east decided to support them. Organizing their armies was difficult, but they mainly took charge of logistical support in the end.
Thus, the preparation for the decisive battle was completed. On the human side, Lemdria and Casalia’s armies each reached 500,000, with 100,000 reinforcements from the south and 100,000 from the small to medium sized nations’ armies, making a total of 1,200,000.
This was the largest army in mankind’s history, an astronomically massive amount of troops.
The commander-in-chief was Lemdria’s Prince, Ryuke Sion. Despite being a twenty-one year old youth, he had proved himself by conquering a castle that the his deceased father, King Ryuke Hollyn, was unable to. 
However, his battle intuition told him that this army wouldn’t move too skillfully.
So he set up a simple strategy: Lemdria’s army would battle against their enemies from the front while Casalia and the other armies surround them.
The stage was the area that was once the northern part of the empire’s territory.
The decisive battle would be carried out in a land named Falsas.
Meanwhile, in Black Cat’s headquarters that was in Lemdria’s capital city, there was a meeting that had been held countless times occurring once again.
“We shall remain observers in this war.”
Yamato—Saint Emperor Ryuke Shifaka—spoke. If this was the usual, it would have been the final say on the matter.
“Are you sure?”
Thor asked a question loaded with various meanings.
“If Ars brings the thing he used in that battle, the result would be the same. Rather, both armies would be damaged by stray hits.”
“Mou, did you give on up trying to avoid the Great Collapse?”
Even the normally taciturn Alvis interjected.
Twelve hundred years prior, he had led the surviving human race from the Dragon Wing Continent to this one. He was another Great Sage.
“I haven’t given up. However, there is nothing we can do in the current situation.”
Shifaka’s eyes looked as though he’d already given up on everything.
“If it was just a head on fight, I think the human side would win if I used explosion magic, but…”
Even the usually energetic Shana was low-spirited in this situation.
“It would be useless. Even if we defeated 500,000 demons, there would still be another 500,000 left. Besides…”
His fingers woven together, Shifaka stated a fact.
“Perhaps more than ten times the current demon army remained in the demons’ territory.”
This was true.
There were 1,000,000 demon troops. However, given the extreme fighting strength of the various demon races, most of them should be suitable for combat.
The humans’ defeat in this battle was decided the moment that they lost the Golden Dragon Clarice.
“What about Valis? She fought for the humans before.”
Azel already knew most of the reason why, but he couldn’t help but ask.
“Clarice has been lost. If we lose Valis as well, we will not make it through the Great Collapse. We can not have her make a move.”
His words were the words of the only human to have made it through a Great Collapse among them, any objections to it weren’t permitted.
“So we couldn’t decide on anything in the end?”
Thor sighed. However, Shifaka shook his head.
“I will go to meet Queen Ryuke Riana.”
Shifaka usually wouldn’t make any moves himself, so his statement was quite something.
“Azel, please accompany me. If possible, I would like to bring Dragonslayer Carla into our group.”
Right, Shifaka hadn’t given up.
Breast to breast with the Demon King, the Saint Emperor hadn’t given up. He was the human farthest away from giving up in the world.
“And we’ll talk with Kuoh as well. I don’t believe that Oomori Woods alone will make it through this situation safely, after all.”
His comrades could see a certain sparkle dwelling within his aged eyes.
- Labra has been mentioned a few times throughout the story, being less and less powerful each time it’s mentioned. Return
- Another person mentioned a while back in one of the Black Cat PoV chapters. Return