Chapter 657: Noisy Journey
Translator: imperfectluck Editor: Kurisu
In a way, there were benefits to be had from the entire world being in utter chaos. At the very least, the elves’ caravan traveling north had a much easier time.
What would be the fastest way to become friends with other people or factions? Simply have a common enemy appear.
Just a month ago, having so many airships escort so many elves through another country’s territory would bring nothing but trouble. Even if a country allowed you through, believing that you weren’t actually trying to invade them, there would always be elf slavers to deal with and plenty of governmental red tape. It would be quite common for the caravan to have to constantly stop. Having an easy journey would be nothing more than a pipe dream.
But now, all the warnings had been realized. The Chaos Faction had attacked for real, and this gave the entire human society a mysterious sense of tension and danger. No matter what, the Northlands would still be far easier to get along with than the demons. Since the Northlands didn’t have major clashes of benefits with the other human kingdoms, and especially since the Northlands was a major munitions producer and supplier, it would obviously be far better to have a friendly relationship with the Northlands rather than antagonistic at this time.
There was a phrase that the rulers were far easier to deal with than low-ranking subordinates. That was because the “rulers” typically didn’t care too much about minor affairs, so they didn’t care about these visitors passing through. The rulers didn’t have well-organized disciplinary systems for their subordinates.
Now that the local rulers heard how Reyne of the Mist Alliance wanted to pass through, not only was permission given every time, many domain lords even personally came over to pay their respects and try to set up connections or discuss munitions purchases. This was all done with plenty of pompous posturing, which helped the elves to see the Mist Alliance’s status in human society.
Of course, elves were tremendously valuable for those interested in the elf slave trade, and certain humans would view us as a walking procession of treasure. Even though this elven caravan was well defended by our airships, there were still plenty of knaves and scoundrels following us around. Plenty of people in black clothes were flying around even in broad daylight. There were so many thieves and spies on the rooftops that they could probably organize card games on top of each building.
It couldn’t be helped. I sent out the black and red dragons to make a show of force, occasionally having them display dragonbreath and dragon roars. Well, for these thieves and spies, the dragons from legends were far more “convincing” than the metal airships. On that same night, there were far fewer spectators around us. As for the thieves who requested higher pay for being forced to deal with potential fire hazards, well, who cared?
But the moment that we entered areas with few people around, there were still some people that wanted to attempt getting rich instantly by robbing us. There were some large mercenary groups that would sometimes act as mercenaries, but also occasionally moonlight as bandits. We witnessed many underhanded ambush tactics.
A street stall selling “medicinal wine”, digging a large pit in the road for an ambush, trying to ambush us at night, and so on. The funniest attempt of all came from two domain lords. Earlier, they’d seemed so friendly during discussions with us, but then became the most valuable captives we gained from all the bandits we defeated.
After an interrogation, I even learned that these two domain lords were repeat offenders.
During the day, they would be domain lords, but they were up to constant banditry at nighttime. This was a major taboo for the nobility. Who would dare to live in their territory if it was known that the domain lord was personally involved in banditry? It would be far too embarrassing for it to be known that a domain lord was also a bandit. Not only would the domain lord’s reputation be greatly impacted, even their ruler’s reputation would be tarnished.
Hence, I kindly considered the reputation of the two domain lords’ king, and wrote a sincere letter to their king, promising to protect the reputation of his nobles and to keep this secret. The king was quite grateful, and gave me a large amount of treasure and food supplies to express his “thanks”.
…Cough, ahem, this was all voluntary! How can you possibly say that I was extorting him! He clearly did this of his own volition!
In this special time when the entire mortal plane was in chaos, we met with plenty of trouble on the way. But, since the human kingdoms had all started allying with each other against the demon threat, and because we were indeed powerful enough, we didn’t meet with any major trouble that could actually threaten us.
Two weeks had passed.
I could sort of get out of bed now. Although my mana was still quite empty, I no longer had to sit in bed every day working at dealing with political matters… I swear on how rarely I worked hard! Over the past two weeks, I definitely did at least three years’ worth of work, so… I deserved to rest for the next three years!
I didn’t really intend on interfering with the Northlands’ political matters. They had actually been doing a good job. The Northlands government officials were all quite hardworking, and their government system was stable and highly efficient. This would obviously be far more reliable than having an unstable genius like me coming up with crooked ideas for them.
My focus was still on all the battles going on in the world right now, as well as the Mist Alliance’s preparations for battle. This was one of my specialties, after all.
Still, I didn’t pay that much attention to the hundreds of combat reports that were more than enough to bury me under them. They didn’t have anything to do with me, so why bother so much? Moreover, for quite a long period of time afterward, combat reports would only multiply exponentially in number. I only needed to understand them a bit as caring too much would only make one angry yet helpless to do anything.
The only combat report that attracted my interest, or should I say attracted the interest of the entire mortal plane, was about the battle between Bardi and the undead. The extravagance of five Undead Emperors simultaneously arriving and fighting together was more than enough to attract the whole world’s attention.
Everyone was waiting for the fairies’ assessment of the Undead Emperors. Unfortunately, the fairies’ report was rather disappointing.
“All five Undead Emperors are assessed to be more than 5 Stars? Such a vague assessment?”
This was far too disappointing to hear. The fairies’ information was overly vague. Such an assessment only meant that the Undead Emperors were definitely stronger than Low Gods, but that was common sense that everyone already knew. Such an assessment was basically equal to no assessment.
But, once the more detailed combat report arrived, I knew that this wasn’t the fairies’ fault. Those ancient Undead Emperors were simply far too sly, and hadn’t revealed their real powers.
None of the Undead Emperors displayed any rare or special abilities whatsoever against Bardi. All they did was constantly summon tremendous numbers of undead, and use very common negative energy undead magic attacks. The difference between them and Undead Lords was that they could summon several hundred times the number of undead that an Undead Lord could, and basic undead magic attacks like Death Finger would have power equivalent to a meteor strike against fortress walls when used by Undead Emperors.
But, everyone knew that the most dangerous trait of any Undead Emperor would be their personal specialty. Each Undead Emperor would have a personal field of research that they rivaled the Creator Goddesses in mastery and knowledge of. It was evident that these ancient, sly Undead Emperors wouldn’t so easily reveal their true powers, and since these Undead Emperors were far too ancient and had been in the Death Planes for far too long, it would be difficult for even the fairies to find out what their true powers were.
Only by asking similarly ancient existences would it be possible to perhaps find out the Undead Emperors’ powers. However, this would take quite a while, and when considering that the Undead Emperors had spent so many millennia in the Death Planes already and likely improved themselves even further, past information could only be used as minor reference.
The Undead Emperors hadn’t even gotten serious. They successfully conquered Nightrain Fortress only by using basic undead and autoattacks. In a way, this proved how powerful they were. At the very least, I definitely didn’t want to have to face them.
I truly did want to negotiate with the undead Tark Republic. It would be quite convenient if a peace agreement or even alliance could be established. Unfortunately, peace would only ever arrive and have its value after the devastation of war. Before the Undead Emperors were convinced that their objectives were impossible to achieve through war, negotiations would be impossible.
I took a deep breath as I closed my notebook. Next, I got up and closed the window. Although the chill of early winter was quite good for energizing a person, it would be a bit harmful to a patient who could only recently get out of bed.
It was my personal habit to write diaries. Not only would they help to record the past, they could also remind me if I had done anything foolish recently that I needed to fix.
Right now, in my diaries, several of my most important goals had yet to be completed.
“Gather top-level resources to complete my Holy Light sword, Dawn. – I must wait for news from Beifeng. When considering the tremendous power level difference between him and Sun God Aloyo, the success rate of his mission should be quite low. However, why do I feel like he’ll definitely succeed?”
“With Conservation as the mediator, try and negotiate with the Tark Republic and try and coexist in peace. – Already failed.”
“Complete an iron triangle alliance between the Mist Alliance, Bardi, and Auland. Secure future trade routes for munitions and food. – Succeeded.”
I also added one more addendum after that line. “When considering the current effects of war, we cannot count on their being able to live up to their contracted promises. Perhaps we can consider obtaining food resources from the Nature Faction. However, it will be quite troublesome to owe them any favors.”
“With Halent’s help, have the surface dragons forgive me. – Already failed. Those stubborn old bastards will instantly spray me with dragonbreath upon seeing me.”
“Continue attacking the Holy Church’s teachings, and weaken the God of Holy Light by reducing his power of belief. – Currently in progress, but no signs of him weakening so far.”
“Help Harloys complete the establishment of the Northlands Elven Empire. – Currently in progress, but establishing the exact boundaries of the new Elven Empire is a major problem. I hope that this can be finished within the next two years.”
“Complete the opening up of the Ice Elemental Plane and new alliances…”
Several hundred tasks I had given myself were written in my diaries. Every single one of them could probably rank as a Myth-ranked Quest at minimum. However, among all of my tasks, the single one most important of all was also the most troublesome.
“Find out Karwenz’s real goal – ???”
This task was the only one that I wrote nothing but three question marks afterwards. This was because I had no idea how to even start.
Karwenz’s whereabouts and current activities were a complete mystery to me. All I knew was that he was searching for the Abyss of Chaos, the deepest part of the Chaos Abyss. However, if I tried to investigate where it was, it would likely even help him out.
I had already requested the fairies, the Mage Country’s Truth Symposium, and the Mist Alliance’s intelligence department to investigate Karwenz for me. However, apart from the fairies, I felt that there was no chance the others would find anything out at all, and it was unlikely that even the fairies would find any clues.
Revive Cynthia? Without mentioning the grudges Karwenz would have against her, I doubted that Karwenz would be so uncreative as to revive a “demon king” who could destroy the entire world, but end up being defeated by some hero. This was such a cliché. If he wanted to destroy the entire world, why not personally do it instead of reviving Cynthia? Besides, if the entire world was destroyed, nobody would be alive afterwards to benefit from it. That was why all the fairy tales about demon kings wanting to destroy the entire world were so unrealistic.
Devour Cynthia so that he could evolve? First, the chances of that succeeding would be pitifully low. Second, this wouldn’t be his style. Karwenz was quite similar to me in many aspects. He only trusted power that he gained slowly by himself, for only power that truly belonged to oneself would be the most trustworthy. Just imagining what he would have to devour, and the strange existence that would be in his body afterwards, melding together with his flesh and blood, was quite disgusting.
Besides, even if he truly desired to become far stronger than he already was, strong to the point where he was willing to use a method as dirty as devouring Cynthia, he didn’t really have to go as far as devouring the Creator Goddess of Chaos’ physical body. All he needed to do was try and devour a Main God. It wasn’t like Karwenz was at the peak of all Main Gods quite yet.
After eliminating the possibilities that seemed completely unlikely, the only answer that remained had to be the truth, no matter how ridiculous it was. I was already faintly able to guess at his goal, but I needed more evidence to confirm it.
There were some possibilities where I felt like I didn’t even need to stop Karwenz. However, there was a single possibility where I would need to pay any cost in order to stop him.
“I really hope that one isn’t the case. Karwenz isn’t that insane, is he…”
“…With how things typically are for you, isn’t the one that you want to see the least always the one that comes true?”
I felt rather helpless about the silly cat yawning by my side. She was truly such a world-class jinxer!
Still, I was rather grateful to her for the past two weeks. Ever since I completely exhausted myself by using all of my mana and energy to cast a forbidden spell, she had guarded me and stayed by my side for all this time.
Something slightly heartbreaking was that even though I was so seriously incapacitated, plenty of people came to “visit” me… or, to put it bluntly, many people wanted me dead.
Our airships’ forces were sufficient to completely keep out ordinary weaker individuals. However, they weren’t strong enough to keep out the top-level individuals.
Over the past two weeks, our forces had already defeated almost 100 top-level individuals who had gotten close. I had already felt killing intent from top-level individuals or Gods more than 10 times by now. If it weren’t for the fact that the Hell Gods were also invisibly protecting us, and that both sides were still showing restraint before the major battle erupted, a battle between Gods would have erupted already.
Only four top-level individuals had been strong enough to physically arrive right before me. If it hadn’t been for Harloys being around, it was likely that I would have died four times already.
The silly cat truly was just one step away from reaching the Undead Emperor level herself. Those four individuals, who were all at Level 4, were easily killed by her. Their corpses were strung up on the main cannon of the Borealis in order to warn any more assassins to stop trying to kill me unless they were truly confident.
I didn’t even care enough to ask the assassins who sent them before they died. While I had plenty of allies, there were far more out there who wanted me dead, numerous to the point where they would be uncountable. It was quite obvious that I would currently be greatly weakened after casting a forbidden spell. Not only that, I was making my current location so obvious with the large elven caravan and airship squadron. Those with grudges against me naturally wanted to take this opportunity. There were even those with no personal grudges against me who tried to kill me, simply for the reputation and reward money it would bring them.
“Dragons, elves, dwarves, humans, beastmen, undead… Even if you ask, there’s no meaning to it. With all these species wanting you dead, it basically means that the entire world wants you dead…”
Harloys’ words did help me recall that since I was the only living forbidden spell mage who had successfully cast forbidden spells multiple times, all non-allied factions probably didn’t want the Mist Alliance to have a living weapon that was capable of repeatedly using such a weapon of mass destruction like myself. In fact, considering how “allies” would so easily betray you in this day and age, even allies wouldn’t be that trustworthy.
Since everyone wanted me to die, I was too lazy to even care who sent these assassins. Meanwhile, I gained something unexpected that was quite a delightful surprise.
“There’s news about top-level ice resources for crafting my sword of ice?”
Although this was unexpected, it was also understandable. After all, what would possibly top an ice-type forbidden spell in being able to resonate with top-level ice resources?