The Lazy King Part 2 Chapter 6: Irritum’s Vanagloria
Part 1: Not a God
Keeping rank and file, those white wings lace the sky.
From the earth well up those incarnations of desire, those to become God’s enemy.
Heaven was already a crucible of chaos, of mingling light and darkness.
While they had an absolute scarcity in number, and would originally never be able to form a large force, the Demons’ Legions already numbered more than a thousand.
They each took up on the backs of giant flying dragons greater in size than my own body, and raced across the skies that they hadn’t been permitted to step foot in before. It could even be taken as a forecast of the world’s end.
The air that had received God’s blessing was violated with miasma, and none of it gave off a sense of reality.
And it wasn’t just these skies that the armies were flying about.
Based on the signals from my comrades all over the land, the Demons of the underworld had formed factions to attack all of our Heaven.
Mine numbered five hundred. Even with the army ranked fifth within these holy lands…
Even if our wings granted us the territorial advantage here…
The Demons came in numbers greater than we of Heaven could ever muster.
Demons were wicked souls, dark minds smeared with avarice.
If you think of how human hearts were easier to turn to bad than good, it’s likely just a natural matter of life.
That’s why I cannot bear it.
Those maggots creating this nauseous stench to waft about this Eden.
Wings are town off. An ominous whirlwind raced by in the gaps of the light.
Yet another of the Demons stationed behind me fell to the earth.
The irregular army numbering close to one thousand, and it boasted an exceptionally high amount of power.
A man with jet-black hair sat atop a silver wyvern.
Racing left and right about the Demon’s war, a commander. I could barely capture him in my field of vision, and among these piles of trash, he was the one with the greatest power.
“Hm… so this is all they have. We’ve not even the need to bring trouble to Leigie-sama’s hands.”
From the Angels rushing up to my rear, countless lights were released to brush out the darkness. For us, that were like God’s household, it was an act as simple as taking a breath of air.
Judgement lightning to purify those masses of negative energy. Released without a sound, it filled the sky, and swallowed up that irregular army.
… And, That was brushed off with nothing but a fist.
The army trembled. On that absurd pride. In fear. In awe.
It was originally something that never should have come to be. Something that was impossible.
Our mission was to take down evil. To fulfill our raison d’être, we were to cast aside our emotions.
My sworn friend who ranked second in my army opened his eyes wide, and called to me in a grim voice.
“Gloria, that man is…”
I received the name of Glory from my God.
I held up my hand to stop my friend, who seemed like he’d rush to join the battle at any moment.
The enemy army was too numerous. And that extraordinary man…
Having been created by God, we surely boast a greater amount of power than them. If it were to be one on one, there would be no way for us to lose.
If only we were to destroy that thing rushing about and tearing our light to pieces, the rest would only be a matter of time.
I’ve not the time to be sunken into darkness of this level.
I stake it on my name of Gloria, I cannot let this go on any further. I shall bring Glory to my God’s side.
An indescribable shout wracked the heavens.
The enemy army took position. Those Demons that originally should have been rushing at us to their hearts content were astonishingly quiet.
Hiding behind the back of their leader, they were nothing more than a bother. If only they gave us the space, we would be able to decrease their numbers, and shoot all of them down.
But that meant that the army’s strength, and command all fell to that single man.
And so there’s but one measure to take. It’s simple.
I turned my head to my comrade three heads higher than me. To the Angel with radiant eyes, and six heavenly wings on his back.
“My friend… I leave the command to you. I’ll take down that one.”
“Speak not. Your commander is… me.”
I am God’s greatest blade.
No matter how close we may be, I’ll have him obey my command.
Even if I’m at a disadvantage, that level of power, and a soul of that extent, a normal Angel’s power… would never be able to stand to it.
And in that case, I, the one brought forth by God to protect the throne, governing Glory and Justice Gloria Seidthroan will be his opponent.
… In the place of my petty army being outdone by something like a Demon.
From the blessed ten wings adorning my back, I released my power.
Without waiting for an answer from the man, I dashed forth. There’s no obstruction in the skies to these wings. In an instant, I had come before the man’s eyes.
The rising sun. A feeling of catharsis close to omnipotence refined my power.
Now receive it if you will.
The virtue I govern… 『Iustitia』’s authority.
I need no weapons. I directed the palm of my hand to the pitiful male Demon who didn’t even have any wings.
Eternal darkness, and the mud of destruction. You can just fall back to that place.
The spears of lightening handed down to me by God filled the sky.
The man’s dark expression was swallowed up whole.
An Iustitia Skill.
Among the numerous authorities granted to Angels, it was the power most specialized in bringing ruin to Demons.
This cathartic feel of turning it all to nill. An endless laughter gushed forth from my heart.
There’s no one to swing their fist before the Glory of God.
No matter how strong in power he may be, in the end, he’s just a negative soul. A filthy wingless mongrel fated to crawl about the earth.
My entire body was covered in a light even greater than before. That itself was the proof of my growth.
The proof that my justice had been recognized by God.
“Gloria… don’t let your guard down.”
My friend behind me made an address with a stern face.
He was a heroic man who had fought a long time as the vanguard of God, but he was too much a worrier.
“… That one is… strong.”
“Affirmative. Among those maggots, he… was decent at least.”
I turn my eyes to my front.
No need to be tense. He’s already gone. I’m not negligent. He’s already gone.
There’s no way for one who’d received God’s grace such as myself to face defeat, and absolute victory was in my hands.
I stopped in midair.
I folded my arms, and glared about the area from which the light had cleared away.
My 『Paradise Field』 Skill vividly grasped the presence of the man who was supposed to have been annihilated.
He was a measly man whose power quantity and quality both fell far below mine. Even among those Demons’ ranking system, he shouldn’t even be classified as a Lord.
Even when compared to the Lords of Demons I had consigned to oblivion before, he should have been undoubtedly weaker.
But he was alive.
It only took an instant for the light to clear. Those standing proud before the swarm of Demons, my family were slightly disturbed.
“So 『Judgement Rain』 doesn’t work. What an irritating man.”
Even after taking up God’s rain of judgement upfront, his expression shoed no pain, and his body wasn’t damaged.
The man frowned a little, and gave a condescending glare. One head higher than my sworn comrade, the glare let out from that high stature was soaked in a temperature of absolute zero, and it wasn’t something a Demon of his rank should be sending at someone like me.
That look and bearing was something I had a recollection of. The sin embraced by a number of Demons I had purified.
“So you’re a 『Superbia』.”
I’ve hunted down more Demons than I can count. I have ample information on them.
An ability to erase another’s Skill, 『Overrule』.
What impudence for him to act so overbearing before an emissary of God. They were the hardest to forgive of all those trash Demons out there.
Even when his power was only that which would fly away if I blew on it, his body gave out a feeling of pressure far surpassing his Mana.
That pressure was something I had a slight recollection of, so I frowned, and observed.
Its identity came to my mind in an instant.
Ah, that’s a form taken on by his willpower.
In the end, those bugs that haven’t even been blessed will become a large calamity if we leave them be.
What a sad thing it is, for there to be a Superbia out to Overrule God’s Judgement.
The man seemed sophisticated. Yet he was a diminutive existence that needed to borrow the power of the dragons to even set foot in heaven.
“… Hm. This is a pointless conflict, but at the very least, I’ll have you become an offering to my lord.”
“Ahahahahahahahahahahahaha, you sure know how to make one laugh. No one lend a hand. This man is… my prey.”
On my laugh, the enemy army shook.
They trembled with fear. Your fate has run out here, at this very moment.
I’ve destroyed hundreds, thousands of Demons. I activate a Skill I’ve used hundreds of times.
The light sharpens, and takes shape at the palm of my hand.
What manifested was a pure-white sword… in order to cut down Demons, 『Sin Breaker』.
I directed it at those unbearable soldiers who seemed to be under the misconception they could attain victory against God.
Speed. Maneuverability. Offensive power. Territorial Advantage.
In these skies, all of them lay with me.
“If you think you can Overrule the Power of God, then…”
All creation came to a stop.
In a split second, I circled around to the man’s rear. Not the wyvern, nor the man, nor even any of my men could follow me with their eyes.
Receiving my 『Iustitia』, the sword let off a dull light.
Right, if he can overcome the might of God, then I myself will…
“… In God’s place, I’ll deliver heavenly retribution unto you.”
The depths of my head hurt. My dreams of the past were eating into my present reality.
I slowly opened my eyes.
There’s no sound. There’s barely any light. That thin ink-like darkness was what illuminated the room.
No matter how much time passed, the dark was the only thing I could never get used to.
No matter how much I hate him, it isn’t enough. No matter how much will I bring up to kill him, my emotions won’t clear up.
What still existed in the depths of my memory was what despised above all else.
Over the space of many years, that name that had receded to a corner of my memory gained color, and floated up like a bubble of soap. The reason was clear.
“Rank One… The Prideful Kaiser, Heard Lauder, is it…”
It’s true that the wall between general and Lord is a severe one. But staying as a General Class, he was a Demon who had power rivalling the Lords of Heaven.
Now as a Lord, I seriously wonder just how much power he’s amassed.
Even if Rank One was an excessive position for him, there’s no doubt he’s a superior Demon Lord.
I was sure I was already gone and done with that matter from long ago.
So why is it that that the Soul Core in my chest is acting up once more?
There was no one about to listen to the words I threw out.
I raised myself from the large canopied bed.
It was a vast bed, where even my two meter build could lie, but in my current state, it might be a little too wide.
Around the bed stood a number of humanoid forms.
Wordlessly, they merely looked over me with their glass-ball-like eyes. Countless Demons. Men, women, all ages. An infinite variety. Their beat was a little faint, but each and every one of them was a Demon.
I’m not sure where I had gone wrong.
No, I didn’t care that something had gone amiss, but I couldn’t determine what to do next.
My wings of light that had once shone so bright were now so dark and wet. This fallen one no longer had any allies, and all that was left was this body itself.
“Ku ku ku ku…”
But that’s fine. This body is more than enough to serve my purpose.
God and friends, and even followers are… unnecessary.
My body aside, there’s but a single thing I need.
I directed the palm of my hand towards one of the Demons standing about like dolls.
Back when I embraced 『Iustitia』, this was definitely not a Skill I desired. But as long as I have it…
Even if… it is the means of a Demon.
I spread out the five sets of wings garnishing my back.
No, I didn’t really care about the reason.
I’m already a Demon. Then… there should be no hesitation in me to carry out my desire.
Now, Heard Lauder. Is it not the time for us to settle that match we were never able to before?
I’ll teach your body the meaning of defeat.
Answering to my will, the eyes of those around produced a dull light.
The countless subordinates surrounding me all bowed at once with mechanical precision.
The darkness coating them was strong enough to override their Sin, and blow away their sense of self. It temporized their souls.
Not of God, but of my power alone…
“Oh wicked ones, perish by my justice.”
Outside the seven sins held by Demons.
In the distant past, when I had been brought to the same level as those I derided as maggots, merely using it made me nauseous, The authority of the greatest of fiends.
When I fell to Demonhood without even understanding the reason, it was what I had held from the start.
And I naturally came to understand that authority’s name.
Part 2: The Glory I Once Embraced
Or so my instincts whispered to me. To trample over all aspects of creation, and put them beneath me.
The emotions higher than ever I felt when I was a Lord of Angels often heightened themselves, but they would never settle down.
That’s exactly why I’m here.
As I sat with my hips to the pitch black throne, a single man knelt before me.
I’m at the summit of Demon Lords.
The Demon of Envy dispatched by Kanon of ruined kneeled as he directed a sharp glare at me.
“Your excellency, what seems to be bothing you?”
“… ‘Tis a trifling matter.”
My subordinate lined up perfectly in the throne room raised not a sound.
Among them there was only one that I couldn’t openly lay hands on. The only one able to speak.
I’ve heard the man before me who was sent to observe was quite a skilled Demon.
There were five observers sent to me in total. Of them, this man was the one who had the most opportunities of coming into contact with me.
The vice chief of the Great Demon King’s personal military body known as the Order of Black. Eins Grayrol.
He had high abilities, even when compared to my subordinates, a General Class Demon.
He meaning behind her sending an 『Invidia』 to watch me, I could only laugh upon seeing through that little girl’s intent.
Great Demon King, Kanon Iralaude.
Even if she had power, she was a Demon who hadn’t even lived ten thousand years, and she was severely lacking in experience. There were plenty of ways to do it.
If you want to try to control me, then it isn’t numbers you need… send in a Demon Lord Class observer, or we won’t be getting anywhere.
In a succinct tone, with considerable hostility packed into his eyes, he directed his gaze at me.
But he didn’t pay mind to anything else.
What he once held when he was first dispatched here, that unease he got from my doll-like men had long disappeared from within him.
“Your excellency, there is a single matter I wish to inquire towards…”
“… I’ll allow it.”
“Yes. Recently, it seems the number of soldiers in your Legion has been decreasing ever so slightly, but are you aware of this matter?”
A small shadow occasionally flashed through the man’s eyes. That was the light of doubt.
There’s nothing you could call sincerity among Demons.
A foolish question. My army exists for no other purpose than to answer to me.
I’ve already issued orders to those forces stationed all over my lands.
“I’ve dispatched the army.”
“!? … Why? At present, there should not be a hostile force anywhere around your territory.”
Correct. I fear not the power of that Heard Lauder, and anyone else who would set foot on my soil are akin to nothing.
If there was a single possibility for me to fear, it would be that maiden, circling about and crushing Demon Lords.
But that isn’t enough. That isn’t nearly enough.
I know the power of a Valkyrie. Even if she be on the level capable of crushing Lower Level Demon Lords, she won’t be able to touch that Prideful Kaiser.
No, more so, I doubt she’d even be able to stand up to that Iralaude.
Her attributes were too low. Lower Ranks were one thing, but she was nothing but a trifle to us.
Still, in that case this’d never work out.
Rejoice, Valkyrie. I’ll give you some achievements.
“Ku ku ku, Angels…”
On those words, Eins’ features shifted into a questioning expression.
In silence, he blinked a few times. With a voice tinged with caution, he went on.
“An… gels…? I deeply apologize. I don’t really understand what you’re trying to say…”
“I doubt not your ignorance. Now’s not the time.”
Yes, you’ll understand soon enough.
I directed the palm of my hand.
I didn’t even have the need to bind him with my Evil Eyes. Vice chief? Useless. The caution of a Demon of this level can’t even be called as such.
I activated a Skill.
An uplifting feeling no different from the exaltation I felt when using the power of God I embraced raced about my body like lightning.
At the man’s back, a dark fog began to gather.
In a silent stupor, his expression hardened as that darkness gathered before his eyes, and covered the upper half of his face.
The man didn’t raise a scream. His posture didn’t change in the slightest, and only his facial expression twitched mildly in fear.
As if he realized he was forgetting something important.
“… Yes, I beg forgiveness for my rudeness… It was about the Angel attack incident, correct?”
“Correct. You may go report to Kanon Iralaude now.”
The Angel Attack.
A flock of Angels had suddenly launched an attack on the town of Grey Rock.
Grey Rock was a town on the border of the Dark and Crimson Prisons.
The Dark Prison. In the past, it was under the control of the Great Demon of Sloth, Leigie Slaughterdolls, and right now, that vast land was placed under Heard Lauder’s jurisdiction. With three times the area of the Crimson Prison, it was exceedingly vast, and that was to an extent where even Heard’s zone was unable to cover the entire thing.
Eins’ eyes distorted.
“… For me to forget such a thing… it appears I’m a little tired… I will report… swiftly…”
“Ku ku, a foolish man.”
I lifted my palm again.
It’s unnecessary. Your unease, and your questions are unneeded.
Now just forget everything, and give your little report.
I activated up another Skill. Third on Irritum’s Skill Tree. One to coat over the truth with fabrication.
That muddy darkness ate into the man’s memory, and covered up his original motive.
Like a wall of paper, the Status Abnormality skill was easily breached.
It was all too simple. While a Demon Lord may be able to put up some resistance to it, a General could only muster a soft push.
Without changing his expression once, he emotionlessly looked thought over what had been overwriten.
I don’t know why I gained something like this.
I don’t, but if it is to exist, then I’m just going to put it to use.
In order to make those Demons I’m supposed to despise into my tools.
I waited a little for his mind to smooth over, before addressing him.
“It’s a simple matter, is it not? Noy go forth, loyal apostle of the Great Demon King.”
“Yes, I’ll go… and report.”
Eins left. I watched him off.
Even while my eyes were following him, my mind was occupied by one thing alone. Of my sworn enemy from the past.
I stood, and looked up at the ceiling.
The emotional voice that gushed up from the depths of my soul were released from my mouth.
In this throne room without another capable of thought, only my wail resounded.
Why, why is it? Why does my sentiment extend to this extent!?
I never felt this for the past few tens of thousands of years, and yet why is it exploding out of my come this far in time?
If I just wanted to destroy him, if I merely regretted having failed to kill him, then all of this would have been easier had I acted before he became a Demon Lord, so why now!?
“Ku ku ku ku ku.”
I naturally poured out a sneer.
In response to that, the systematically lined up thoughtless army raised an ovation.
“Vanity! Vanity! Vanity!”
It didn’t make me happy at all. I’m not sure whether the chills I felt racing around my body were fighting spirit, or fear.
In order to learn that, I’ll have to make him face defeat.
I’ll take down his 『Pride』 with my deceit.
Five sets of wings sprung from my back.
In the past, they were enveloped by a white phosphorescence, but now black mud molded their shape.
At the same time, the worn out body I had hastily made for the time being crumbled away into mist. It was the shape of a militaristic man I had mockingly devised.
I looked at my palm. It was my original body, half that large man’s size, of back when I was still an Angel.
Not specializing in physical strength, but magic, the body known as the 『One who Protects the Throne』 was always disguised as Vanity that I was starting to wonder which one of my shapes was the true disguise.
“Now, stand before me, my beloved maggots.”
My subordinates silently assumed their position in the line. To the swarm of Demons who had lost their wills, and had their desires overridden, I directed my palm.
He is strong. I know that.
Even within this Demon World, Heard Lauder’s strength was heresy. Going at him straight on is close to impossible.
His ability allowed him to escape my hand when he had yet to even become a Lord. Now that he’s reached Demon Lord Level, it will be all the more difficult.
And that’s why my authority lives on.
“… I’ll grant the sky to you.”
Irritum is to hide truth, and make it meaningless.
I activate a Skill.
Their cores. Just the cores are enough.
These low ranking Demons are of no use at all. So I’ll be the one to give them power.
Their existence will take to the air for my sake.
Now dance to my tune if you will.
As I invoked the Skill, the Demons’ bodies started to bubble.
They were diminutive existences. And to conceal that fact, the wriggling darkness took them in, and it only took a few seconds for them to take shape.
Out of lumps of mud, wings begin to form.
Pure white wings.
The masks that had been covering their eyes also turned white, and expanded to cover their entire faces.
What was standing before me was Angels.
Their power was a fabrication, yet a reality. That ostentation was great enough to fool even the world.
There was no difference from what was dwelling in their bodies to the power of light. Therefore, that power existed for them to bring ruin to Demons.
The power to brush away the darkness had been brought forth from a Demon’s ability.
That’s why I had no need to argue with the power I had been granted. There’s no way the beings born from me could be anything else.
“Justice… is it…”
What resided in their body was the authority of『Iustitia』 I once held.
But at this point, that was a word without meaning.
Still, to kill Demons, there was no better suited ability.
Those wings constructed from the blood stained darkness began to shine like light itself.
Strangely enough, the expressions of those inorganic hardened forms of my vanity were barely any different from those subordinates that followed my lead when once I took God’s will to heart without question.
Between Angels and Demons, there wasn’t a single difference.
From when I was an Angel in service to God, to now with no one to follow, all that I had lacked was an absolute sense of self.
It merely piled up. The glory I once embraced.
It merely piled up. The sins I built up after I fell.
I don’t care whether it’s a fake or a lie. The truth is meaningless before my objective.
Power requires a compensation. Decorations require a base.
Mana, power, desires, they all drain out whenever I use a Skill. But even that was something I only experienced as joy.
In proportion to that, my troops became more and more beautiful. With that deceptive light forged of darkness.
Creating Angels was the work of God.
Then even if it be transient, for me to be able to do that, there’s no doubt I’m closer to God than ever I was with those white wings on my back.
When I was part of the vanguard of the sky, I had power. Overwhelming power, God’s love, justice.
How ironic. Even after falling to Demonhood, that power hasn’t fallen in the slightest.
No, more than that…
I licked my lips.
Heavenly troops need a leader. To create a sense of crisis in this land of Demons, a considerable amount of power is necessary.
I selected one from the line, and stacked on even more fabrication.
Before long, an Angel with enough light to call excessive was completed.
I can’t have my power use itself up. Even if he may be lower class among Saint Lords, there should be no hindrance to the destruction of Demons.
The soul colored by Irritum.
The glittering light it gave was the color of an Angel’s, and I found that terribly irritating.
Without letting out a single voice, the Angel stood there.
A shite mask to cover the face. But under that, no expression existed.
On these lands, a presence of light stands out. With the Abyss Zone Skill, their natures would be sensed from a long ways away. If I stayed by their sides, I could eliminate their presence with Skills, but that will become difficult if we separate.
No, even if that isn’t the case… these Angels cannot reside in heaven.
Just as I once did to command my troops, I raised my hand to the sky outside the window.
That sky of chaos stained in a bloody red.
The line of Angels all flew out at once.
But in my heart, not a single feeling of nostalgia surfaced.
Even when that scene surely resembled when I was still an Angel, the world I saw back then.
Part 3: Each and Every Desire Should Just be Devoured
Both Demons and Angels had instincts.
Demons and Angels were just right souls and wrong souls. Between them, there was an instinct for them to reject the others’ existence.
An incomprehensible feeling of impatience that would rock the soul just by having one next to another.
Unable to stand an encounter without trying to kill one another, it could be called a second Desire.
Before my eyes, 『Vanity』 was blown away.
I saw the built up months and years of training behind the speed of that punch.
Even that body I had modified to be able to stand up to a Demon Lord’s might , that impregnable fortress of a body was torn apart without being given a chance to react.
Regardless of its truth, not even its soul core remained.
As I thought, the position of Rank One was no decoration.
Dammit, Heard Lauder.
His power was greater than I anticipated. Going at him head on is… nothing more than a stupid move.
I am in no way a warrior. My goal isn’t conflict, but victory.
Not the process, but the glory. From the start, that man was a beast. I’ve no intent to exchange blows with such a brute.
It’s precisely because of their Pride, that Pride Demons are full of weaknesses. That guy’s weakness was especially clear.
I’ve already determined my thoughts on the matter.
But before that…
After Heard ran off to chase Zebul, I walked up in front of the clueless girl he left behind.
She was a young lass with golden hair, and an impertinent expression on her face.
Oblivious to the world, unknown to tragedy, and without any foundation she was one that looked down on everything in creation. Her condescending expression made my skin crawl.
While humming a merry tune, she calmly walked through the lines of soldiers, and regardless of the fact that she hadn’t done a single thing herself, I didn’t feel te slightest hint of indebtedness in her.
I believe Heard called her Hiero. She was cowering behind Heard during the meeting as well.
She was an existence so helplessly weak I couldn’t fathom why that man chose to drag her along.
I hate fools and weaklings.
It’s always been that way. Both Angels and Demons regardless.
For both those Demons that only pursued their desires, and thought everything could be solved with an exchange of blows, and those mindless dolls that thought all they had to do was listen in to God’s orders.
Why is it that I… have to play part to something useless like that?
They’re the ones who should be learning their place.
By the time I noticed it, I was staring fixatedly at her form.
Even when her power was one that would go out if I blew on it, her recklessness on staying in this place was the very thing I hated about Demons of Pride.
Then, if it’s like that… right.
How about I… give you some wisdom.
“Mm? What is it…?”
I extended the arm of the Demon closest to her.
Having her shoulder grabbed, Hiero turned with a blank expression. Her face indicated she believed there wasn’t a single thing to harm her here.
With nothing but pure curiosity, she looked deep into the single Demon’s mask.
It was a humanoid Demon with a large build. The upper half of his face was covered up by a grey mask.
That mask wasn’t just some accessory.
Covering their faces, their expressions, held meaning.
One’s expression was their individuality itself, and by hiding it away, I could bring about changes in their psyche.
It was a means to overwrite their measly spirits with an image of strength.
It was a single ritual.
A way to paint out right and wrong and Angels and Demons with chaos.
“Oh, could it be that you guys can actually move without orders? Kusu kusu kusu… I had thought of you all as nothing but dolls.”
Even when grasped by one two heads higher than her, Hiero’s expression as she looked up at his face was a bright smile.
His arm let out a dull sound as it broke. But the face of the woman who did such a thing didn’t seem to hold the slightest interest in what she had done.
As one who also governed Pride, I had a clear grasp on what power she held.
Unbefitting that soul of hers, a powerful 『Overrule』 Skill.
Ah, how surprising it is.
Without a fragment of understanding as to just what she was talking to, Hiero widened her smile, and tilted her head.
“And, what is it you need?”
… But how interesting.
A sharpened soul.
The power hidden in it had far surpassed her own self. That『Overrule』, the very definition of pride… just what basis does it act on?
And why is Heard dragging a useless woman like this about?
The arm was released, and Hiero instinctively retreated a distance.
The pride on her face from before vanished, and a stiff expression looked over me.
“W-who are you!? What’s this all of a sudden!?”
The eyes of this girly who hadn’t even lived through a tenth of my life inspected my body quite rudely.
While she did seem wary, she didn’t even get stanced for battle. I’m not sure whether that was supposed to be her Pride or not.
Or perhaps it was her bearing that didn’t even see enemies as enemies that formed the mold for her firm mindset.
I touched the mask covering my own field of vision.
It was a cold sensation in my hand… the gray mask sunk away without a sound.
“… Hah…? What are you supposed to be… are you Vanity-san’s… subordinate?”
The ability to even paint over the presence of my own soul, and conceal myself from search Skills was Irritum’s greatest advantage. Even a Demon Lord’s Abyss Zone was unable to pick me up.
Rather than Superbia, whose output rose the more one showed themselves off, the authority of Irritum was one to hide one’s self, yet still decorate it. Truly one suited to resourcefulness.
I ignored the girl’s panic, and started observing again.
Right, no matter how I look at her, I can only see a frail Demon.
While she did, more or less, have a strong ability to 『Overrule』, that level wasn’t at Demon Lord Class, and if I had to say, her only real special point was the very fact Heard was taking her around. Even if I did absolutely nothing, she was an ant-like existence that could easily be crushed by my army.
That confidence against enemies she knew she could beat, and this dismay against the unknown. Her body was unconsciously preparing to take flight… I don’t think she’s even a warrior, this one.
A demon I’m surprised to find anywhere near Heard’s side. Just what part of her tugged at his heartstrings?
I can’t even possibly see her as someone that battle enthusiast would fall in love with.
Whatever the case, that’s all irrelevant to me.
What’s important is… if this girl can work as Heard Lauder’s weakness.
I cast aside the thoughts surfacing within me at once.
No, I doubt she’d do any of that. There’s no way she would. If he could be destroyed that easily, he’d have been killed off at a time long passed.
My interest is starting to escape me.
While she certainly was an interesting woman, no matter what sort of existence she was, she was irrelevant to Heard Lauder’s impending destruction. Seeing the way she stuck by his side and followed, I can’t even see her as an assistance, but more than anything, this girl… is too young.
She wasn’t even a pebble by the wayside. A single Demon whose life or death wouldn’t bring about any influence at all.
I ignored Hiero, as she directed scared eyes without even a hint of fighting spirit, and used a Skill.
A dark grey light covers my entire body.
The authorities of Superbia and Irritum.
My Mana becomes my armor. To pass by all of creation, and bring about a miracle.
With my soul at the base, I create the form of a hero.
I show off. My own power.
I pile it up. Only to some day show it off to the world.
… To look down on the high and distant heavens.
Irritum held a contrary nature to Pride, but at the same time, they both held but a single place to aim for.
… Higher than, greater, than anyone in all the lands.
Surpass God, and look down on him.
I understood. From the time when I was the one protecting his throne.
In truth, I had always understood it. Just why it was I became a Demon.
“Ku ku ku ku.”
The reason was that I… subordinates alone, I don’t even remember the name of my only sworn friend in the world.
I must have been strong. My desires had exceeded my loyalty to my God. That’s all it was.
“Hah ha ha ha ha!!”
As light ran all about my body, a pleasant feeling akin to intoxication went through my mind.
It covers up each and every part of my body. Even if it were to be a body of fiction, it did contain my own soul.
I was already more accustomed to the body I had used for many years than my own real body.
How many years has it been that I even laid my own form bare? It’s already beyond my memory. I doubt there are many out there that even remember my original body.
My white skin turns black.
My golden eyes to silver. I lost my argent hair, and gained a height that exceeded even that man.
My breasts that were nothing but a hindrance were covered over with muscle, and the pitch wings on my back were hidden away.
More ominous, more exaggerated, and more strong.
An impulse like an electric current flowed through me.
That which I could never get used to no matter how many times I did it was, to put it simply…
… An almighty sensation.
Hiero’s dumbfounded expression warped along with her increased understanding of the situation.
Her face was one as if she were peering into the cauldrons of hell.
Now, to you who holds not the slightest of roles in this play, let me give you glory.
Glory to stand up against your own lord.
I grabbed the arm of the girl, whose expression was still quite stiff.
Those arms were so slender, it felt that if I gripped them any harder, they would break. I lfted her up into the air.
As if remembering something, fear colored her face, and her limbs flailed about, but that resistance is futile.
None of those punches or kicks can do a single thing to this body. That was the difference in our abilities. My buildup of years made the distance between us something akin to an adult and an infant. I’m not something to break under the Overrule of the like of you.
With her body still in hand, I pushed her against a collapsing wall.
I ignored her hand’s attempts to wriggle free, and looked into her blue eyes.
In order to scoop up whatever emotions she held within them.
“Guh… Wh… why are you alive… N-no, that form from before was…”
A gray light circled around my hand.
To pretty up the mud with gold, and repaint her existence.
Her body, her soul, her power, her meaning, her memory… her being.
The mask was to denote a Persona.
A mask of the soul to show off one’s personality, it was easily able to cover up whatever mask they wore before.
I won’t change her form.
I doubt Heard Lauder’s ever going to hold back, but there’s the million-to-one chance he might be mildly disturbed.
I may be able to sway his emotions.
I grasped her had with the palm of my hand.
“N-no, unhaaaand me! What? Are you saying I did something to you!?”
Her body kicks around some more to offer some pointless resistance.
And on her futile plight, I was momentarily taken in silence.
Seriously, why was that man keeping this girl at his side? There isn’t a hint of pride in her pitiful behavior.
For one who prioritizes hubris over all, she should be the type he hates most.
Perhaps it was my error to sink to silence, as Hiero started letting out words like a turbulent gale.
“I-in the first place, the one who attacked was Heard-san, right!? D-definitely not me. I didn’t do nuffin!! P-please forgive me. I didn’t even have the time to stop him or anything! H-honest. I really did think about stopping him… r-right. If you try laying hands on me, my master won’t keep quiet, you know!?”
Unsightly. It was just so unsightly that I didn’t even feel any contempt.
You’re seriously trying to threaten me here?
Can your fear fulfill the desire in your heart?
“This is my… Irritum’s… 『Outer Decorate』!!”
Hiero opened her eyes wide in fear. Her body was assailed by shivers akin to convulsions.
Matching her emotions of terror, her eyes talked to me.
Fear, reverence, panic, flattery.
Dance on my palms. Become my doll.
The young girl’s slim figure shook. As if to crawl into the depths of her body, a deep gray light encroached her.
No matter how much a hopeless weakling she may be, if I decorate her, she’ll at least be able to buy some time.
I didn’t make a mask for her. That would have stood out too much. Also, if I go as far as to cover up her eyes, then perhaps Heard Lauder won’t even recognize her as Hiero. I don’t change her personality or memory either.
… What I plant in her is loyalty. Absolute devotion to me was appended to her nature.
Around her finger, light gathers in the place of a mask, and a single boorish ring took shape.
It didn’t matter what it was. There’s no doubt that to bring changes to one’s personality, a mask to cover the face held the greatest efficiency, but for a Demon of her level, I don’t even have to use one.
She gave one last large convulsion, before she ceased movement.
Her sloppily lowered arms held no vigor, and on her pale features, her eyes sluggishly closed themselves.
I release my hand. I ignore former-Hiero as she fell onto the ground, and turned to my army.
No will to speak of. Over a perpetual amount of time, the souls whose glory I’ve piled up.
Now, Heard Lauder. You who’ve dragged me down from Heaven.
A few tens of thousands of years passed, let’s have another meet.
A will I never had before offered power to my body.
I surveyed my troops gathered around.
I have no right hand man.
In my army, everyone was everyone, and they were my power in itself.
That means, that all were all, and all were me. An individual, yet Legion.
Sensing my will, the military body lined up next to their mounts.
Regardless of what form they may be in, what was before me was undoubtedly the Legion of a Demon Lord. I nodded.
The masked Demons let out a quiet, wordless battle cry.
The delicate body prostrated on the ground lifted itself.
What was once an existence known as Hiero sent a hollow gaze in my direction.
“The Prideful Kaiser, and the Devourer, I’ll swallow you all in my sin.”
For the Devouring Lord, who once ate up a countless number of my brethren.
Who I let escape, and who became the trigger for my fall, the Lord of Pride.
Those frail Angels who protected the silence while knowing of Demons.
That pitiful Valkyrie who had been attacking this area as of late by chance.
For enemies… they’re worthy enough.
I already have the preparations in order.
Now, let me cover all creation in my deception.
Having been effected by unconsciously soaking up my power, the residents of Grey Rock peered at me from the windows with colorless eyes.
Near me, a Demon leading along a conspicuously large Dragon kneeled.
“Vanity-sama, your Dragon has been prepared.”
Normally, that voice shouldn’t have been there.
What was there was the Demon I had just decorated.
Her voice as she kneeled didn’t hold the slightest hint of indebtedness, and her frame and hair and eyes and voices and powers hadn’t changed in the slightest bit from before.
“What are you supposed to be?”
“Pleasure to meet you, Vanity-san. I’m called Hiero.”
I wasn’t asking for your name.
I’m sure I overwrote part of her personality. I didn’t make a mask, so it wasn’t perfect, but I did add on to her nature. I never thought that she would be capable of conversation so quickly.
The ring of Irritum I produced was unmistakably intertwined around Hiero’s right index finger.
I’m not sure what she was thinking, but the fear on her expression from before had disappeared.
Both her face and posture were the epitome of superficiality. It was much removed from the form I had anticipated. Was her affinity with the Skill exceptionally good?
In the few tens of thousands of years since I began using Irritum, it’s a scene I’m witnessing for the first time. Even so, as long as I’ve forced her loyalty, I can’t think she’ll go against me.
It was an unexpected reaction. Should I just destroy her now, or leave her be?
There’s not even the need to think of it. This turning point is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I can’t be paying so much mind to a trifle of this level.
“Is your master not Heard Lauder?”
“No, the one I serve… is surely not Heard Lauder.”
I looked down over her as she said that without hesitation.
I didn’t feel the cover of falsehood over her words.
Hmm… this is but another bit of entertainment, I guess.
The greater the forces the better. The stronger the structre, the more stable.
I doubt I’ll need a shield, but having one should be better than not. Of all else, I already gave her a portion of my power anyways.
No matter how great my power may be, it is my no means unlimited.
Of all else, I already brought forth three Sacred Lords, and a countless number of normal Angels.
I should keep as many forces as possible on hand.
“So be it. Follow if you will.”
My army mounted atop their dragons raised a tremor as they dashed forth.
I already know where they are. Those huge colliding powers were something I could sense, perhaps even if I didn’t use my Abyss Zone. It would be harder for me to ignore that those presences stirring up my soul.
The moment I put myself over my own dragon, Hiero called out again.
“… Vanity-sama, for your purposes, I do believe that rather than a beast to race across the earth, a flighted one would be to your benefit. Clashing with that man from the front is a poor choice of move. Even if he be the Prideful Kaiser, he has not the widest variety of strikes to launch across the sky.”
“… You’re the one that brought this flightless dragon to my side, are you not?”
“No… I mean… I never thought you would be bringing me along, so…”
I felt my own brows become stiff.
… No seriously, why did that man take her along?
After she disappeared from my field of vision with natural movements as if to run away, Hiero returned with a flying dragon.
It was likely the one she had used to transport herself here. As expected of the possession of Rank One, it had a splendid build.
With movements as if to try raising my affection points towards her, she closed in, and pulled on my arm.
That utter lack of anything resembling Pride made my pity well up before my anger had a chance.
No, perhaps it’s something I brought about with the power of my Skills…? If that’s the case, then really, I apologize. No, no…
“Now, now, Vanity-san, over here.”
“… Yeah, fine.”
While feeling somewhat unsatisfied, I put myself over the flying dragon.
Following that, she boarded a smaller… Flying Dragon, likely for her own use.
Oddly enough, it made me associate the scene with the form of Hiero cowering behind Heard.
I should have just killed her without using any power…
This personality of hers…
I started imagining a spectacle of Heard crushing this girl without a moment’s hesitation, and my own expression naturally distorted.
The town of Grey Rock was close to the Dark Prison. For ground dragons specialized in land transport, and for flying dragons that rivalled them in speed, we were able to set foot into those lands in little time at all.
From the start, Grey Rock had been a town stationed on a national border, and it was once the front most line of the conflicts between the hostile Demons of both lands. It was also one of the few of such towns that remained after both the Crimson and Dark Prison were taken in under the Great Demon King’s army.
Heaven and the Demon world were heads and tails. In contrast to the world up there carefully governed by law and order, this Demon World was rampant with disorder.
On contrast to the scarcity of their activity, the great Demons Heard Lauder, and his former master, Leigie Slaughterdolls of the 『Slaughterdolls』 were Demons of power much too vast.
While I could tell his strength partly from how that Prideful Kaiser who thought nothing of God served him for such a long time, what clearly demonstrated his strength was the extensity of his Zone, that was able to cover the entirety of the Dark Prison several times larger than my Crimson Prison.
The extent of his 『Abyss Zone』 was likely the greatest within the King’s Army. The current Great Demon King, and even the one before her couldn’t extend theirs anywhere near his territory, which was already worthy of being called a single world.
It was much too vast, too powerful. There are even rumors that it had never been broken by a hostile Demon Lord, and many suspected that it wasn’t just through pure Mana, but through the as-of-yet unknown nature of Acedia Skills that granted enhancements to it, but the only one to know the truth of the matter is the Lazy King himself.
The Zones were pretty much a Demon Lord’s turf.
By touching it, or even getting close, the oppressing feeling that ran through one’s entire body was something like a threat brought about by the land’s ruler.
And that fact that Leigie’s territory had absolutely nothing like that was one of the few pieces of information I held about that Lord of Sloth, as the owner of a neighboring territory.
But I mustn’t forget. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t hold any hostility.
It simply meant… that he had no interest, and that’s all it was.
When I entered the Dark Prison, I felt a differing presence cover my body without the slightest resistance.
The proof I had infiltrated a Zone.
The presences of Heard’s Pride, and Zebul’s Gluttony, and at the base of the two of them, Leigie’s characteristic air of Sloth.
In the extent of this endless desert, I couldn’t see the form of any life yet.
“Ku ku ku… we’re close.”
But I understood.
Even if I closed my eyes, I could tell.
The distance to Zebul. The Distance to Heard.
It was something that my soul, my instincts sought out. What they’d been seeking for many years.
It was… the presence of an enemy.
That urge that didn’t able, even for a Fallen Angel, was definitely not something from the instincts of an Angel, but something that existed because I was me.
Zebul’s presence was stopped. Regardless of how far she was from the Castle of Shadows.
It looks like she didn’t bring along that Greed Demon from before, and there didn’t seem to be any lifeforms around them.
She should have just rushed her way through while this land’s guardian was away at the meeting, but did she really believe my words? Or could it be that she noticed Heard’s presence leve the Dark Prison?
Zebul no longer has an option of escape. She was already within Heard Lauder’s range. Once you’ve stepped into the extent of that man’s Zone, you’ll never be able to flee from his power.
The distance between them was something that Lord of Pride could span in a number of seconds.
Naturally, the fact she had stopped before that inmistakable presence was likely because she understood that fact as well.
It would by difficult to intercept him on the run. She plans to meet him in the middle.
I remembered Zebul’s eyes.
Those eyeballs of hers were soaked in a bottomless hell of desire. That color wasn’t something anyone could let out so easily.
If it were to satisfy that longing of hers, then no method in the world would be beyond her.
Ranking wasn’t so simply linked to strength. Especially with that beast Zebul… the ultimate predator who would even suck up the world.
And while they’re clashing like that, an opening is sure to be created.
Even if they’re fakes… Angels painted to life by my Irritum still held the same movement speed as the real thing.
While he’s busy dealing with Zebul, my army will break into the Castle of Shadows.
That was the prideful weakness of Heard Lauder. The existence that was once his ruler.
His source. Even with his personality, it wasn’t something he would be able to permit.
Riding atop my flying dragon, Hiero, who was riding behind me raised a clouded voice.
“Vanity-san, I think it’s best you stopped, you know~?”
But she really is an impudent woman. This attitude after receiving my authority, perhaps this is just her base personality. For me to have overwritten her ego, carving an absolute sense of loyalty in her, and for her to have not changed in the slightest is just plainly amazing.
She’s surely a Superbia with a nature close to mine. That character of hers is clearly different from Heard’s.
Given the time, perhaps she’ll even set foot into Irritum. But honestly, I don’t really want to be grouped together with her.
“Vanity-sa~n, if you calm down and think about it… we’re screwed, I’m telling you.”
“… Screwed, you say?”
I peered behind me. What is this woman saying at this point in time?
In the first place, even if it may be something from a Skill, the way you naturally let yourself follow behind me pretty much means you have no other path in life then to continue on as Heard Lauder’s servant.
I let my senses take in the world, as I continued looking to my back.
My physical condition is great, and my soul perfect. I’ve been saving up Mana for a long while. If I wanted to, I could even create a few Saint Lords at this moment.
I should even be able to destroy the Great Demon King right now.
And you say I’m screwed!?
“I mean, Vanity-san, you plan on fighting Heard-san, right?”
“And~ that~ means~…”
Because of the flap of the Dragon’s wings, it was quite difficult to pick up sound.
But within that, without working herself up at all, she let out her words as if she were just voicing a natural fact of life.
“Vanity-san, you plan on making an enemy of Leigie-sama?”
What escaped her mouth was the name of a completely irrelevant Demon.
Leigie-sama, is it?
“… Ku ku.”
This woman wasn’t of Heard Lauder, but of Leigie Slaughterdolls… his vassal, perhaps.
No wonder she didn’t act very subordinate-like to Heard.
She likely wasn’t expecting an answer, as her mutterings seemed to fade to dusk somewhere along the line.
They were whispers too light to even be erased by the strong sound of the wind.
“I’m fine with going against whatever it is you want, but Leigie-sama alone is someone I’d rather not oppose.”
Her tone, her emotions differed from the frivolous atmosphere she had created up to now, so I found myself asking.
I’m not sure if she heard me or not, but no matter how long I waited, no response came to me.
But so be it.
From the start, I didn’t plan on opposing that man, and more importantly, there was no point.
If he stood in my way, then I’d have no mercy, but for that Lord who’d tempered his Sloth to the extreme to impede me, was in itself an impossible story.
… Right, unless some miracle were to happen.
We preserved the silence as we continued to fly on. Before long, we closed in on the battlefield.
We should have still been a few kilometers away, but the air experienced a clear change. The smell of a battle, that couldn’t just be explained away with us having entered a Zone.
The finest pray I hadn’t chanced upong in thousands of years. My fighting spirit towards my enemy danced.
The sky, the earth was crying.
Each and every blow was fatal. Fists that sent my eyes into distress shaved awy at the land, and split the empty air.
The thunderous roars that echoed through the high heavens, and Mana that far transcended that of a normal Demon Lord rose up along with it. It was likely something anyone could have noticed, even if they didn’t possess the perceptional power of a Demon Lord.
In truth, even without putting my eyes on it, I could clearly tell this was a battlefield.
It seems Zebul was doing an ample job of stalling him.
My army was also fulfilling their role sufficiently.
Demon Lord Class Demons were a form of calamity.
Their rage was to destroy the world, and kill God. The power of soul released by the two beasts was stronger than any Demon Lord I had ever fought before.
Something that in the old world of humans would have been hailed as a legend, and even in the present state where none dared to intrude on the surface world anymore, it would surely be passed down.
That level of finality existed in this space.
Humans, no, even Demons would throw down their desires the moment their eyes were to capture this battle of legend.
Kill. Slaughter one another. My greatest foes.
Besides my own, each and every desire should just be devoured.
A clash of high level Demon Lords.
What had yet to even enter my eyes as of yet was, by no doubt, quite repulsing.
But the moment before I could clearly capture the scene, the dragon followed my will, and suddenly, its upper half jerked.
It used its long tail to regain balance, and began ascending into the air at a fearsome pace.
Within the thunderous wail of the wind, we were colored with the blood red moon of the high sun. It was surely a sight one could never see in the heavens basked in light.
If we were to go any closer they would notice. That I understood.
By power is working. My Skills are completely erasing my presence.
But even if Irritum were to hide one’s presences, it couldn’t fool one’s intuition.
And those two Demon Lords over there could likely easily sense a presence-less existence or two.
Those Lords of Demons were beings that reached close to the Lords of the heavens without even having received the blessing of their God.
Even if I can grant my men with power equal to Angel Lords, before Heard Lauder’s power, they would be obliterated in an instant.
But still, there’s no way that wingless man would be able to capture a countless number of Angels fluttering around the sky. Even if he can move with the world appearing stagnant to him, his body was one that could only covet the ground.
I feel them over yonder, my subordinates… let me grant even greater glory to that Angel flock.
I’ll give them a portion of my power, and add more fuel to the blaze of their souls. The flocks speed rose even higher.
“Oh filthy souls. At the very least, burn yourselves out radiantly in the name of my Vanity!”
Now, give chase if you will. To those invading the lands of your lord.
Show me the depths of your desire, Superbia!
Those ancient battles of heaven flashed through my head again.
Without a single smile on their faces, to accomplish their justice, those vast legions of white, and those that were under the control of absolute power to pursue their desires, the black legions.
But I noticed one point that differed from the truth of my memory.
I freely manipulated the flying dragon around that biting mass of fighting spirit.
Yes, it truly was but a trifling difference…
That I myself was no longer a part of either of those Legions.
Part 4: This is why Demons are…
Demons and Angels were contrary entities. But it’s not like their existences were counterbalanced by one another.
Against the light released by Angels, the darkness a Demon could amass was easily cleared away.
No matter how powerful a Demon’s Skills may be, the disadvantages they were born with weren’t something so easily overturned.
My memory let oud a grating sound, and ached.
Even if I was up against a Demon of Pride powerful enough to repel my 『Judgement Rain』, in the end, there shouldn’t be any reason why I lost to one who hadn’t even reached Lord Leve.
… But, for some reason, the conclusion of our bout had been cleanly wiped from my recollection.
“Vanity-san? Are you finally losing your nerve at this point in time?”
“… How foolish.”
Faithfully following close to my rear, Hiero breathed out a whispering voice.
I accepted those words with a smile, and cast them away.
Losing my nerve?
I, the one who was once the closest in the heavens to God, am losing my nerve to nothing but a single Demon Lord, you say?
Anyone who embraces such an emotion has not the qualifications to become a Lord.
But at the same time, I was vigilant. I have no reason why I faced defeat the last time.
I’m sure Judgement Rain was blocked. Repelled, dissipated.
But still, I really can’t thing that something of that extent could triumph over the abilities I had at the time. Much less for one who wasn’t a Lord.
… And in actuality, I’m still right here without having lost any power.
Using the eyes of my subordinates, I observed the scene below. Their eyes had already reached the battlefield. Without wasting time, they raced straight through it.
Heard Lauder and Zebul Glaucus were approximately equal.
Heard with his godspeed mobility, and Zebul with her abnormal regeneration, and high offensive power. It looks like the Devourer’s more competent than I gave her credit for. Between them, there wasn’t as much difference as indicated by their Rank.
Right now, Hears Lauder is likely regretting his decision of trying to take care of Zebul before moving on to other matters. Even if he could only take them on one at a time, he should have chosen to deal with my Angels in the sky.
The current difference in ability. Heard had the advantage, but if he showed the smallest of openings, then the Devourer, with her Gula’s large area of effect would immediately send high level Skills at him. If he took a single one of those attacks, then the damage he’d suffer would be severe.
“So I’ll have to make a move… no.”
As long as I’ve yet to determine what sorts of trumpcards he has, negligence is forbidden.
And anyways, I have no reason to assist Zebul. Having them take each other out is the outcome most convenient to me, but I don’t think that’s possible… still, if they’re going at it this hard, then even the winner should have a considerable deficiency in power. I just have to wait patiently.
“… A~hn, I can’t see what’s going on at all~…! Vanity-san, Vanity-san, let’s ambush them…! It’s alright, while he’s fighting with Zebul, if you secretly send an attack from behind, then even that Heard-san will…”
Just what is this one saying?
I’ve decided to ignore this girl completely.
Of all things, Hiero seems to be trying to tease me. Just what was Leigie thinking when he took her on as his subordinate… no, perhaps she arbitrarily became one…
If he could be done in by a surprise attack, he’d be long dead by now!
In the first place, there’s no guarantee that Zebul’s my ally.
If I show the slightest negligence, then I don’t think that woman would have any qualms with swallowing me up from behind.
I give my subordinates some more power. I raise the flight speed some more.
I know. Among Superbia Skills, a long range attack… does not exist.
Heard Lauder has no means to stop a flock of Angels, and if he lets them by once, the until they reach the Castle of Shadows… until they reach his former master’s stronghold, there’s nothing to stop them.
Can your Pride permit such a thing? No, it can’t. That’s the sort of Demon he is.
“… In the end, that’s all there is to the man…”
“Vanity-san, just one hit! How about you just put in one nice hard blow! Just a single clean shot as you pass by!”
“… Do you happen to have some grudge against the man or something?”
“… No, not particularly. See, I’m your loyal, loyal subordinate, so I thought…”
Her nonchalant tone and figure as she averted her eyes was, no matter how you look at it, completely lacking in something called sincerity.
Heard… looks like you’ve had your share of troubles too.
I gave an order to the selfish Demon blessed with a twisted form of will-power. I just kinda want to get rid of her already.
“If you’re going to say that much, then why don’t you go forth, Hiero.”
“… Fweh!? Eeeeeh, no no no, look, I… don’t have any power, and…. I-i-i-it’s impossible. Heard-san is Rank one, you know? Demon Lord Rank One. I’ll be killed in a single breath. That person doesn’t know the meaning of holding back!”
“… Ku… ku ku… Power… power, is it? You say you don’t have power. Then very well… I’ll grant it to you!! With this power in hand, strike down Heard Lauder!! 『Outer Decorate』!”
If you want it, then take it! Now go, go, go already!
I put in much more power than when I first used on her. I still had a little left over. I’ll give her so much that she won’t be able to offer a single excuse anymore. I’ll stuff you so full, it would be a waste for such a small fry like you!
I’ll give you power to your hearts content. I’ll bet General Class is insufficient. I’ll keep pouring it in until you’re a splendid Demon Lord!
In the end, I had powered her to at least the level of a Lower Ranking Demon Lord. Among those in service to that Kanon Iralaude, she’d likely get within the top ten if ranked.
Perhaps she’s around the same level as those that are getting killed off by that Valkyrie, but there’s no doubt she’s a Demon Lord. If you were to compare it with her previous level, it’s likely over a hundred fold.
Noticing the power that had piled up in her own body, Hiero shuddered.
“Now, I gave it to you, Hiero. With this, there shouldn’t be a problem. Now go!”
“Ah… eh… for real… Wait… n-no, please wait a minute!! T-the truth is, I’m not actually a soldier!”
“Dammit… even after all that, you still plan on giving excuses!?”
“I-I mean, I don’t know how… to use my Skills at all, and… Ah, V-Vanity-san! Look, this presence is…!”
Honestly, I was quite irritated. For someone to piss me off more tha Heard, I don’t have any recollection of anything like that for the past few millennia.
If it’s like this, then even if she doesn’t put Heard off his guard, then taking away her personality, and giving her a new Persona may be my best bet.
However, it looks like I’m not going to have the time to do that.
“… What is the meaning of this? Why is she at a place like this…”
One of my subordinate Angels in my range of perception vanished.
Absolute flames. By that fire heralded as the strongest force in the Demon World, a number of those Angels’ bodies disappeared in an instant.
Flames of destruction. To reset everything, the flames of Ira.
The fact that she hadn’t entered my Zone was linked to why my recognition of her came late.
No, it’s because I never believed she’d be at a place like this. I mean, that one’s…
“Why is the Great Demon King on these lands!?”
“I-I don’t know, sir. Maybe she’s out on a walk?”
Oh, but of course!!
This is completely unexpected.
But having come this close, I felt it. Without a chance of misreading, this is the Great Demon King’s Mana.
The current generation’s Great Demon King… despite the Wrath that little girl Kanon governed, she had quite the calm, intellectual composure going on.
She didn’t do anything too illogical, and these days, she rarely ever goes out like Heard to solve the problems extending beyond her territory. Therefore, she’s easy to read. She’s certainly powerful, but that mind not to openly wander into danger was one I was sure wouldn’t get in my way.
And in that previous meeting, she didn’t even show any intent to go to the front lines.
The angels I created go down one after the other. Kanon was launching attacks on them.
Personally… she personally came to these lands just to wipe out an Angel Army of this level!?
No, even if that’s the case… I can’t let my concealment of Irritum break.
My plans are falling apart. It’s impossible. Against one possessing top class destructive power like her, this army of Angels is close to nothing.
I disperse my forces. In order to reduce the chances of being shot down as low as possible. But one by one, she began deleting those divided Angels moving at a considerable speed.
“This can’t be… this is bad…”
“For so many high ranking Demon Lords to gather in one place, how rare…”
Rare? It’s completely unheard of.
Perhaps regaining their momentum because of Kanon’s arrival, or because they lost the need to pay mind to the Angels above, the magnitude of the tremors below increased in scale.
And in the next instant, Kanon’s Mana swelled up.
It was a flash.
A wave of fire instantly spread over the sky, and died it a crimson that foretold the end of the world.
The heat wave swept over to burn up all creation. Its force worthy the name of Ruin.
That little girl… she used a high ranking Skill against opponents of far lower class…
There should be a limit to overkill.
The reactions I felt from the Angels went out all at once.
Against the fire coming at me from top to bottom, left to right, I used my own 『Overrule』.
It was an enormous amount of pure energy, fitting for her title.
She must be storing up quite a bit of rage over her everyday life.
At most, it’s been ten thousand years and a little since her birth. Kanon’s accumulated years didn’t even match up to a tenth of mine.
My Overrule, the superiority I felt as a leader, the sentiment of supremacy I once felt as a Lord of Angels blocked the unavoidable flames, and began to extinguish them.
My power, my Mana is leaving me. The power I had stored up for so long, the power I’ve amassed, in order to avoid my absolute destruction, I have to unleash it.
I know not whether the flames had continued on for a few minutes, or perhaps only a number of seconds.
And in the end, I came out on top.
The sky cleared. Nothing remained within it.
Not even a trace of that heat was left behind. It was as if that phenomenon that had enveloped me had been part of a dream. But my expended Mana, and the continued nonexistence of my Angels indicated the reality of the matter.
With this, Heard has lost his reason for lament. With two High Level Demon Lords here, Zebul’s defeat is inevitable.
“Ku… 『Outer Decorate』!”
Of my army racing across the land… of my stock, I convert three of them into Angels.
Along with a pure white light, the rising false Angels were shot down with arrows of fire from the side, before leaving behind not even an ash as they burned away.
It ain’t gonna cut it, I see.
Our affinity is too bad. If it was Heard alone, that would be one thing, but even without wings, Kanon possessed the capability to destroy whatever troops I deployed to the sky.
I have five hundred units left in stock. But I can’t just convert all of them to Angels. It would look much too unnatural.
“Tsk… damn that little girl. She came to stand in my path at the worst possible time… my power… my power is insufficient.”
“Vanity-san… you know, you could have just dodged…”
Having calculatedly jumped off of her flying dragon to evade the fire in the sky, Hiero shouted to me from the ground. Her own mount had burned to death.
“SHUT THE HELL UUUUUUPPPP!!! DAMMIT, DAMMNN IT AAAAAAAAAALLLLL!”
I’m not enough. I cannot reach.
Three of them. Three Demon Lords of the highest class. No, even if it were just Heard and that little Kanon girl, I can’t think I’d be able to destroy them.
I looked down on Hiero. That one’s no good. That over there is trash. In the first place, a low rank Demon Lord won’t even buy time from those two.
My luck was in that I’d still managed to uphold my disguise. Neither my true face nor stature had been revealed. No, I can change both of them at will with my power.
Then should I run? I of all people would choose retreat? Can I permit such a thing?
No, no, no! You’re saying I, I’m going to flee before Kanon and Heard Lauder?
Permit… there’s no way I could do that.
“Vanity-san, calm… calm down! Please calm down, and give me some more power!”
Of all things, that trash was saying some incomprehensible things with an earnest expression.
“What are you trying to say?”
“Please listen carefully, Vanity-san!”
Her blue eyes were sparkling.
Her arms were forcedly folded, and while she stared at me, I couldn’t feel any sincerety from her. Just what is loyalty supposed to be to that girl?
“The enemies number two, what’s more, against Kanon-san and Heard-san, even you would be in nothing but a tight spot, Vanity-san. Because it would be two on one.”
“As stands to reason. Now try going on.”
“And so, it’s time for your loyal, loyal subordinate Hiero to shine! If I’m by your side, that makes it two versus two, and at the very least, we’ll have a tie in numbers. But with my current powers, be it against Kanon-san or against Heard-san, I won’t last for anything more than an instant.”
“I see… meaning what you’re saying is that if I pack some more power into you, you’ll take on one of the two. That’s what you want to say, correct?”
This bitch, as if someone of your level could take on either of them.
Even if you had an overwhelming difference in power, you’d lose out in battle experience. In the first place, you said it yourself, did you not? That you weren’t even a soldier.
There’s nothing left to hear from you.
Hearing my words, Hiero seemed to have some difficulty speaking on.
“No… I likely won’t be able to stand up to either… but I will cheer you on, I assure you. Aha.”
“THEN YOU DON’T NEED ANY POOWEEER, RIGHT!!!? DAMMMNNN TRAAAAASASSSSHHHH!! Are you perhaps trying to make a fool of me!! What about it?”
Damn. This one just keeps on saying things to egg on my animosity!
I don’t care anymore. I’ve wasted my time. Let’s just… confiscate my power back from her already.
If I get back whatever I granted to her, it won’t amount to anything great. But it’s infinitely better than leaving it to her.
I dismounted the dragon. Whatever the case, since I’ve become unable to use my Angels, my options have been divided into retreat, or attack.
I glared at Hiero, who was standing upright on the ground. Come to think of it, I get the feeling that fate abandoned me the moment I took you in as a subordinate.
So be it. As the greatest sympathy I can offer, I’ll give you a painless death.
The moment I extended my arm to try to take back my power, Hiero frowned.
“Ah, but… it’s that… they seem to be fighting one another now.”
The Manas of Pride and Gluttony and Wrath mingled to raise a powerful whirlwind.
From the eyes of my army halted a distance away, Hiero was, sure enough, telling the truth.
Heard’s fist was directed at the flames surrounding Kanon, and Zebul’s Wave of Starvation expanded explosively to swallow all of them altogether. This malice, this spirit, this scenery, they truly were going at each other’s throats.
By what logic do the Demon Lords under the same banner start fighting one another? What’s more, one of the three is the Great Demon King, you know.
This dreadful lack of cooperation. In the tens of thousands of years since I fell to Demonhood, I think I’ve come to understand it, but… damn, this is why I hate Demons!
“This is starting to feel stupid, so I’m going home, okay… How about you return as well, Vanity-san? No, it’s not like I’ll stop you if you want to participate in that battle front…”
Hiero arbitrarily mounted herself on the dragon I had gotten off of.
Yes, this truly is starting to feel stupid. It’s stupid, and I can’t understand the reason either, but this woman sure does say some unbelievable things.
Still, that three-way-struggle… no, participating in that battle royal truly will be a pointless waste of power.
There was a clear tendency when there were two of them fighting, but now, it’s just beginning to become complicated. Originally, those of the same camp should have been cooperating, but it does look like Kanon is aiming at Heard of her own volition.
On the other hand, Heard is putting up an equal fight, and I’m not sure where that confidence of his comes from, but it seems his present level os power is still rising. All three of them held the sins with the highest offensive capabilities, and it wouldn’t be strange for one of them to come out on top over a single incident.
While I was stuck hesitating, the flying dragon had taken to the skies, and left. I failed to take back my power.
… But, right. That girl was surely quite clever. For her to be capable of that in this situation… it all just goes to show that I’ve much learn…
I sighed. Seriously, why is Kanon here… on top of that, this fight seems endless.
The minimum goal of me sending Angels out has been accomplished, but it looks like I’ll have to go work over my plan again.
Of all else, I should start searching into Kanon’s intentions, and her personality… My number of troops has also declined considerably. I’ll have to supplement those as well.
Perfectly at that moment, at the very end of the end, I heard Hiero’s voice from up high.
“Ah, Vanity-san. One more thing I might add… You’ve cut off your 『Abyss Zone』 for now, so perhaps you haven’t noticed it, but… it seems like a white presence is headed in our direction, so if you don’t want to take it on, I highly recommend you change your location. Because based on where you’re standing, you’ll be the first one in its path. Kusu kusu kusu, today sure was lively.”
She said whatever she wanted, before the shadow of the flying dragon disappeared into the distant sky. I’m not sure where to, but surely so as not to get herself involved. In the opposite direction from the Castle of Shadows.
Was that report she gave at the end her form of loyalty? … Well, I guess it’s something better than zero.
A white presence… white, is it? All of the Angels I created have been expended. And that means that what’s left is either another one that wandered down from Heaven, or perhaps the true Valkyrie.
Whatever the case, she’s not my enemy, but… if I’m found, it really will be a pain. Even if I can hide my own presence, I can do nothing to the white one coming closer.
But I’m doubtful as to whether those three will notice while they’re so focused on one another…
Now then, what should I do?
As I tilted my head to think, I did indeed pick up that entity in my perception. It was surprisingly close.
Regardless of the fact I had concealed my presence, that entity was coming straight in my direction like an arrow. The distance was something around one kilometer. A considerable speed, and even if I retreated, it’s likely it would catch up to me.
I activated a Skill of Pride. It was a Skill to leave behind the flow of time. It’s been quite a long time since I last used it. My cognizance sharpened, and time around me slowed by several levels.
And I used the smallest possible movements to dodge the woman clad in light coming down at me from up high, smashed her sword of light, and implanted my fist into her head.