The Demon King’s Hubris
Ria bolted onto her feet and gripped the collar of Ars’ clothes.
“Are you insane!?”
Ars motioned for the swords moving toward Ria to stop, a troubled look on his face.
Rei and Ferna’s swords stopped just away from Ria’s neck.
Completely ignoring them, Rei continued to constrict Ars’ neck.
“Assuming Labyrinth is right, we’ll be connected to the 21st century of Earth. Don’t you have tons of people you know there too!?”
“That’s why we’ll be screening immigrants.”
“Ridiculous… Foremost, the level of civilization between Earth and this world is different. How could we resist nuclear weaponry…”
“We can protect against the destructiveness of nuclear weapons through magic. That includes the radiation as well, of course. Above all, we have Dragons, existences that protect our world.”
Ria’s hand slowly let go of Ars.
Seeing Ria sit back in her chair, Carla gently placed her hand on her shoulder.
Rei and Ferna also resheathed their swords.
“I want to ask you the same. Are you insane?”
The person to ask was Black Knight Thor. A hero from the far distant past, a person who had lived the span of two thousand years.
An existence summoned from Earth to oppose the Demon King.
“Even if we could have a billion people migrate to our world… that means that upwards of six billion people will be killed.”
He felt intimidating, his grave gaze locked on Ars. Even though his spirit had grown old in those two thousand years, he could not allow what Ars was implying. He still had many people back in his birthplace.
Ars’ smile was weak.
“The die has been cast, there’s no going back.”
“There would be less sacrifices if we continue on how we have, allowing demons and humans to fight a massive war with each other, than this way.”
Ria spoke with an ice-cold voice. But Ars merely shrugged.
“So you intend to continue killing one billion humans, demi-humans, and demons? Moreover, do you intend to repeat that for each Millennium?”
Ria’s thoughts had clouded over. She’d long since heard that the Great Collapse was what happened when two worlds collided, but she never thought that the other world would be Earth.
No, rather, she ought to have taken that into consideration.
Many people had reincarnated from Earth into this world. Out of any world that might collide with them, the one with the highest chance was Earth.
Moreover, Valis had said it in the past—that this world and Earth had once come into contact with each other.
“What is Earth? I know that it is the world we summon heroes from, but…?”
King Hollyn raised his voice to ask a question.
“How much war potential do they have? Is it possible for us to collapse their world first?”
As expected of someone well on in his years, he was fast in recovering from the confusion. He also appeared to understand what Ars was saying.
The one to respond to him was not Ars, however.
“In exchange for my life, it is possible to destroy their world.
It was Dark Dragon Valis.
Closing and concealing her golden eyes, she declared.
“And due to my experience in fighting against the former gods, even us destroying Earth’s gods isn’t an impossible thing. Earth’s peculiar magic shouldn’t be that effective against us, either.”
Ria recalled the sight she’d once witnessed within the depths of the Dark Labyrinth.
The myriad of dragons sleeping within their caves.
If all of those were to dance through skies and overthrow Earth…
Moreover, Earth’s gods.
She wasn’t sure of their existence in her previous life, but she found out they existed upon her reincarnation.
Would she be purposely fighting against those gods that brought her to this world?
If you were to add up all of the various gods passed through the ages from both monotheistic and polytheistic religions, there would probably be a few million.
“Earth’s gods are weak.”
As though seeing through Ria’s thoughts, Valis spoke.
“They are existences created through human imagination to start with. They don’t have physical bodies and only exist as souls. Us dragons are fundamentally different. If they don’t have the humans’ faith, they cannot wield their power.”
Was it like that? The Gift Ria had received from those same gods was a considerably powerful one, though.
“Us demons will disempower Earth’s human’s war potential. We should be enough for their weaker gods as well. But I would like to borrow the dragon race’s power to deal with the chief gods of the primary religions.”
Ars said that to Valis. She was something of a leader to the Dragons. The other God Dragons didn’t speak.
“Of course, us Dragons exist to protect our world.”
Protect the world. In this case, that lead to protecting humans and demons. Ars expected that it would turn into a situation where the Dragons’ power was necessary.
Ria felt regret.
She wanted to curse herself for thanking the demons for helping her in the war against Cordova. Was this the reason behind the human demon symbiosis dream?
Having not said a word the whole time, Neyas, Ria’s father, spoke.
“Do not shy away from turning another country into a sacrifice for your own. That is a ruler’s duty. Even if… even if you hurt far more lives in doing so.”
His logic was reasonable. All the more in a situation like this one, the fate of their world hanging in the balance.
If what Ars said was true, this would prevent the world from having to go through quite a number of Millenniums in the future to come.
Ria spoke, her voice practically a whisper.
“I am one of the people who reincarnated from Earth…”
Silence filled the room.
“Is that… the truth…?”
Even so, Neyas’ voice was hoarse as he spoke.
Ria declared, facing everyone.
“My life on Earth came to an end after forty-two years. I died due to a natural disaster and was reborn in this world.”
The room once again filled with noise. What meaning this held to the world’s kings was something Ria didn’t know.
“I know that you spent a longer time on Earth than this world, but is there so much value in protecting Earth?”
Ars asked in a light tone.
“Environmental pollution, population explosion, the disparity between the rich and the poor… I think they’d hit their limit soon enough even if we left them alone. In that case, wouldn’t it be a blessing for those of Earth to be brought here, a place where there is still land and resources, a natural world free from pollution?”
He spoke extremely unilaterally and full of hubris.
(Ah, I get it now.)
This man in front of her truly was the Demon King.
An existence who would calmly speak of massacring innocents and of destroying worlds—the Demon King.
And… he embraced an extreme portion of human wickedness.
“Were you able to understand?”
Facing that Demon King who was even smiling, Ria drew her katana.
She didn’t stop her attack just before it landed like Rei and Ferna did, but even so, it was stopped by the Demon King’s invisible barrier.
“You’re too hot-blooded. We’re still in a place to discuss.”
The Demon King said as he raised his hands exaggeratedly. Rei and Ferna had already drawn their swords. Behind Ria, Carla had also drew her sword.
That single word caused the four to drop to their knees.
Dark Dragon Valis stood up slowly.
“The die has been cast, truly an amusing statement. We can no longer avoid the Great Collapse. That being the case, can you think of anything better for our world than what Ars has suggested?”
She hadn’t said that his way was the best one. But Ars had already prepared for this unavoidable crisis well.
In fact, it could be said that this Millennium ended with the demons’ overwhelming victory. They’d even managed to leave the defenders’, the humans’, war potential virtually in tact.
Even in its conquest of Cordova, Ogress hadn’t had to utilize much of its war potential. This was all as Ars wished.
“Our race supports Ars.”
Valis’ statement was the de facto end to the meeting.
Ria looked around, seeing only people sighing.
Even the past hero, Thor, signed as though in resignation.
Was Ria’s only ally Carla?
“So the reason the present hero was removed… was for this?”
His attitude the same as ever, Shifaka questioned him. He knew that what sent the hero to another world was the power of Water Dragon Lanna.
If that hero who’d been summoned from Earth was still here, he probably would have sided with Ria.
“That… was a bit of a miscalculation. As the Demon King, I’d tried to kill him immediately. But, he was… putting it simply, he was too strong.”
Ars shrugged. His capricious attitude hadn’t changed, a faint smile on his lips.
“That guy’s magic that shouldn’t have existed in this world and my own magic were polar opposites and started to destroy this world. Clarice-sama, in exchange for her own life, kept the damage to a minimum.
He called the more than three million people that lived in and around the Imperial Capital a ‘minimum’. Human life was treated surprisingly lightly in his words.
“I see, so that was it?”
Valis nodded, her expression unchanging.
“He couldn’t bear the burden of mass murder and requested Lanna to let him to run away from this world.”
“The one to induce him into that was you.”
Not having said a word this whole time, Lanna interjected to lay fault on him.
“Well, that’s how it is. Does anyone have any other questions or suggestions?”
Even though Ars said that, the humans at the table were busy just trying to sort through the information they’d been given.
An emptiness was born in Ria’s heart. Everything she had done thus far, had it all been Ars’ wishes? Had she been playing in the palm of his hand?
“When will the Great Collapse happen, exactly?”
The person to raise his hand and ask that was Alvis.
Knowing when it would come truly was an important matter.
He’d asked that of Ars, but Ars looked towards Valis.
“If you want, immediately. If we leave it to the natural course… in fifty days. Even if I delayed it with my power, it would be one hundred days at the most.”
“Understood. Fifty days will be sufficient.”
Seeing Alvis nod, Thor asked him a question.
“Are you preparing something?”
He wasn’t particularly trying to suppress his voice either, so the whole meeting had heard him. Alvis responded, looking around to everyone there.
“Yes, I will raise the Floating Continent.”
The Floating Continent. An existence of legends.
It’s said to have been a giant continent that traveled the world. It was only recorded in documents, no one had actually seen it.
But there were many people familiar with the world’s mysteries located in this place.
“I see, that truly would become a powerful tool.”
Shifaka nodded, the Black Cat’s members agreeing.
“You can prepare it within these fifty days?”
Hearing Azel’s question, Alvis nodded.
“It had a self-maintenance function to start with. If you helped, it wouldn’t even take a week.”
“The Floating Continent… really exists…?”
Prince Kanon, the youth who hadn’t spoken at all so far, had his eyes wide open and sparkling.
“Yes. I can show you, if you want. It’s actually more like a big island, though, it’s not as large as a continent.”
The various royals stirred yet again once Alvis confirmed its existence.
“Humans had originally come to this world using it. It had been a military base for the former Imperial Capital, but they landed it in the waters near the Dragon Fang Continent so that they could reduce its mana consumption.”
Only one person was left frowning after Shifaka spoke.
And that was Ria, cursing her own thoughtlessness.
Ria had spent forty-two years on Earth. She’d seen all sorts of emotion, coming into contact with much of it herself.
And so she knew that Earth’s humans were not simply foolish, they also held a certain beauty.
Ars probably wasn’t aware of it.
“Demon King, how old were you when you were summoned to this world?”
“Fifteen. It’s horrible, if they would’ve waited for me to turn eighteen, I could’ve put the knowledge I’d learned in high school to use here in this world.”
“You were only living on Earth for fifteen years. Isn’t that why you have no affection towards your birthplace and can do something so outrageous?”
Hearing her words, Ars thought with his hand on his chin.
“Who knows? I can definitely feel that my sentiments have worn down over the years, but I intend to save my family and friends I left behind. It might be a bit unfair, but that’s the extent of my attachment. You can also give priority to those you want.”
Quite arrogant, this Demon King.
Even though he himself recognized how deplorable his actions were, he accepted it. Was this what a ruler should be?
Ria went silent, the meeting ending on that note.