Final Battle ①
Author’s comments: I, I got to experience this thing called a weekend off for once.
「If I could truly call myself a loyal retainer of the Demon King, then I suppose I would have to stop you.」
Before departing, the 5th Army commander Darado said that in a somber sounding voice.
「……It appears that I could not become a loyal retainer of the Demon King.」
Darado had said that in a sad voice. The army commanders had never been a united block of course. On the one hand, with Sanatoria at the forefront, there were commanders who attempted to form a rebellion, and on the other hand there were commanders like Hyuui who had their will broken by the Demon King and were obedient. However, what was shared amongst the natural born demon commanders was that almost none of them were truly loyal to the Demon King from the bottom of their hearts. Not even Argnar the 1st Army commander, and, not even I, had pledged our loyalty to the Demon King. Unless we obeyed, the demons would be destroyed. Thus, we had no choice but to obey.
Amongst all us natural born demon commanders, Darado alone was loyal from the heart. In Darado’s household there is a tradition of having a deep belief in the Demon King. While he was born in such a household, it was during an era when there was no Demon King. I can’t even imagine his feelings when while yearning to be able to serve the Demon King, he finally earned the right to become an army commander, his dearest wish. However, I’m certain that his faithfulness was true at least.
But even Darado was not permitted to join the line of battle together with the Demon King. In the end, the ones that the Demon King brought to the elf village, were only the army commanders that she herself had appointed. Darado’s faithfulness never reached the Demon King. When the World Quest was announced, the Demon King’s true objective was revealed, and the Demon King headed towards the final battle.
「I shall take responsibility for the maintenance of public order in the demon territories. You may go.」
And so, Darado, stuck between his faithfulness to the Demon King and his duty as a demon nobleman, decided that he would not participate in this battle. As he himself said, if he was a loyal retainer of the Demon King, then the correct option would be for him to stop us who had chosen to oppose the Demon King. However, Darado is also a noble who has responsibility over the people in his fief. He surely couldn’t allow them to simply die. Having said that, it was perfectly clear that he could not take up arms against the Demon King either.
I cannot blame Darado for his half-hearted choice. In advance of my departure to get in contact with the humans, I entrusted the task of preparing for the expedition to Sanatoria, telling her to only attempt to gather soldiers who had the will to fight. Our opponent is the Demon King. Those who fight, will surely die. In what you know will be a battle to the death, bringing soldiers who are reluctant will simply get in the way. Despite that, the number of demon soldiers who assembled… was more than I had expected.
「There sure are a lot.」
「Indeed, there are.」
In response to my frank assessment, Sanatoria gave a languid reply. Indeed, the other unexpected development was… that Sanatoria was also here.
「I had expected you to remain in the demon territories.」
「……Actually, I’m in the middle of regretting that I came here.」
While giving a resigned sigh, Sanatoria indicated that she won’t try to escape anymore.
「You know, I was a world-famous actress it seems.」
「You looked at your reincarnation history?」
「Given your reaction, you too then?」
The reincarnation history in Taboo. It showed your personal history of what kinds of reincarnations you had been through until now. Or maybe it would be better to say that it revived the memories that had been carved into your soul. On choosing one of your previous lives, you recall your memories of that time. I chose the memories of the first person, and recalled that, but even just that had a huge amount recorded. When I recalled all those memories in an instant, I received a shock like I felt that my head was about to burst. Fortunately though, I only felt a light dizziness, and it wasn’t enough to make me collapse. Since just one memory was enough to do that, it would likely be dangerous to recall all the memories. The reason why I came away relatively unscathed, was probably because I have the Record skill. It may be that the reason why this skill exists despite nearly all skills within the System being combat related, is actually for this particular reason.
「There were also many movies in which I was the lead role you know?」
「However, none of my performances remain anywhere.」
Books and similar recording mediums deteriorate remarkably quickly due to the activity of the System. It is just about possible to preserve books by copying them, but that doesn’t work with movies and the like. Not a single fragment of Sanatoria’s work as an actress from her first life remains anywhere in this world.
「I was incredibly frustrated when I died, you know. When I look at that memory, I start wondering what my life has been for, and suddenly I felt miserable. That’s why I felt that I mustn’t run away any more.」
「What about you?」
「Since I’m talking about these sorts of things, isn’t it unfair for you not to do the same?」
「You’re the one who started talking about it one-sidedly though.」
「It’s no big deal right?」
With a sigh of regret, I adjusted the glasses on my face.
「I was royalty from a moderately sized country.」
「Eh? You were a prince?」
「You could say that. But, since the parliament ran the country, I had no real power though.」
Unlike now when I’ve been managing the government of the demon territories, in those days I had no real power at all. All I had were my obligations as royalty. It was a stifled life.
「However, I loved my homeland and the people living there.」
That country no longer exists.
「Therefore, this time for sure, I want to protect my country.」
Even if I have to repay the kindness that was received with ingratitude. Even if I have to die.
When I gaze ahead, the ground is covered with black crawling figures. All of them are spider monsters. And, the gigantic monster in their center is it – the Queen Taratekt. Even though there was still a considerable distance between us, that overwhelming and imposing form drives terror into your heart. I could hear the sound of someone gulping audibly. Or perhaps it was myself who made that sound.
Above the heads of the Tarateks, thick clouds began to gather. And then…
A roar of thunder.
A violent rain of lightning strikes towards the Queen Taratekt. That was the signal for the start of battle.
As if the ground itself was moving, the Taratekt swarm advances towards us like waves.
「Prepare the great magic! Raise shields!」
「Not yet! Not yet! Bring them closer!」
The impending waves. A huge swarm that produces visceral disgust.
At my signal, from all over the allied forces, great magic is fired. They mow down the looming Taratekt swarm. However, the Taratekts following behind them step over the ones mowed down.
「Second barrage! Fire!」
However, this is still within expectations. Great magic is fired after a delay. Even so, the Taratekt swarm continues to advance. It is likely only a matter of time before those that have avoided the great magic reach the vanguard who have their shields raised.
「Do not falter! Each individual is weak! Do not panic and deal with them calmly!」
I can’t imagine that this swarm fears death. However, the same could be said for us.
「Bet your lives! For the future of the demons!」