The morning had arrived but the mansion was not lively like usual. The servants were working quietly and most of the knights were absent.
The city was not the same, however.
People were tense and excited. The market was still running like normal, as well as other trades. What was different was that the slum was smoking.
As per Elena’s order, the whole slum was combed thoroughly. All the slavers’ bases inside the city were decimated. There was no exit or entry from the slum. But unlike Elena, all the slavers would be captured without any death.
Of course, there would still be a few knights stationed near Elena. Her protection was of a higher priority compared to her order.
At this time, the new maid, Emily, was trying her best to do her job. As a new hire, she was educated a bit on how to present in front of noble and normal conduct in the mansion.
It wasn’t easy but she could manage. She got the new uniform and it was the best thing she had ever worn, no kidding. Even though it was a maid dress, it was made from a high-class fabric. It was dark blue and had long sleeves. The two-layers skirt was just at half her shin, wavy white under straight but shorter dark blue. The kneesocks covered the legs leaving no exposure. There was also the white apron with frilly decoration from her belt up.
It was as expected of a game world. She had no complaint. Looking back as a comparison, she had lived like a rat. The disparity was so huge that it wasn't even funny.
Last night was tough on her. She was brought into the mansion and rinsed like a rag. Her miserable look that she had worn for her whole life was shedded. The original charming face of the heroine showed its brilliance again. But this time Emily didn't need to fear for her life.
Elena took her back but she didn't demand anything of her yet. Last night the young Lady gave everyone a cold shoulder and retreated into her room after taking a bath alone.
Emily was staying at Elena's door as per the butler's command. She didn't hate it very much. Because it was late in the morning and there was no sight of Elena waking up yet. So she was free of any work technically.
Her enjoyment didn't last. The door had creaked open. It was chilling, literally.
Frosty mist flopped out like a tidal wave from the slowly open door.
What is that? What the hell is that!?
The AC is malfunctioning!? There is no AC here!
Emily forgot her role and stepped back from the cold air without hesitation.
Walking out of the room was a sight that Emily didn't wish to see.
Name: Demon King Elena | Ika Uphahelm
Race: Outer - High Human
[Outer Species Constitution] lv.--
[Mana Control] lv.100
[Superior Mana Control] lv.100
[Ultimate Mana Control] lv.100
[Primal Mana] lv.70
[Arcane Supreme] lv.100
[Mana Overlord] lv.40
[Annihilation Magic] lv.100
[Command Word - Demon] lv.100
She wasn't stupid. She could see and understand things like a normal person. It was also due to that that she couldn't be the true Heroine.
The World System had done something big. The status of Elena was revamped like a major update of the game.
By the look of it, Elena seemed to be weaker but Emily knew better. All the unknown skills weren't that hard to understand. But never had she been wishing so bad for her ability to work like some light novels' Appraisal cheat.
Did the world just make new skills to record her!? And Demon King Elena!?
She would leave the big boss title alone as she didn't really want to trigger something and be put in a position that had to fight a Demon King.
The night before, Emily saw [Superior Mana Control] with a who-know-how-high level. But at the moment it had become level one hundred and some more similar skills had emerged.
Even a casual gamer like myself knows what skill tier is. But this is ridiculous! That amount of levels compressed into one skill? Or is it two? So the max level is really one hundred?
She had only looked at the [Superior Mana Control] which had a new skill beyond it and she had already hit with a headache.
But well. At least there is a skill with only level ten. That's like amateur level, right? Finally, some normalcy.
The strongest in the kingdom only had level twenty-five or twenty-six and her mother who could be a master of housework was level twenty. So she could be quite confident in her assessment of this world's common senses.
She ignored things that spelled doom like Outer or High Human like a champ. She had played an otome game, not an end-of-the-world RPG. This had nothing to do with her.
It's just a funny setting. It's just a funny setting. It's just a funny setting…
A funny maid was standing to her right. Her face was cute and pretty but it kept twitching every now and then.
Ah, right. I brought her back last night.
She had been depressed so she had decided to go back to her room early. Even so, the crafting of her new body had taken longer than she had expected.
And the heat generated from the process was just unreal. This was the first time she had made her body outside the void so she didn't notice this kind of side effect. But a frost spell and a barrier were enough to balance it out so everything was fine.
She was a monstrosity of magic. The typical magic-type that would be inept in all the physical aspect. But not her. She had a near-invincible body.
‘Life was pain and struggles’ - one of the Heroes once said.
Well, he wasn’t wrong. The strong monster had a short life. The strong and long-live monster had no fertility and lost the ability to enjoy life. There was a balance in every realm and no creature could defy it.
Unless it surpassed the limit, the realm would render its existence to fit in reality. The limit that needed to be broken was not one’s own limit. It was the limit of the world, the boundaries that kept creations intact. One's own limit was always within the law of creation so it would be far from enough just relying on that as a goal.
But breaking out of the boundaries didn’t mean instant invulnerability. Like Elena for example. She needed to have an idea about what she wanted and know how to do it herself. She was extremely powerful in magic. So powerful that she wasn’t allowed to exist in the material world by the laws of creation. Even then it had taken her a very long time to think of how to make a body that didn’t get disintegrated by the world on stepping out of the abyss.
With her old power back, she felt more secure but wasn't so glad. After all, this was a level that the Hero had surpassed. Not to say this world's gods may do something to her sooner or later. It also meant she could be stronger than this.
Not that I know how to yet. But I can do more things now…
"Is the bath prepared?"
"Y-Yes, it is."
She didn't mind the maid's poor etiquette. Elena had only been faking it after all.
Her late morning was quick as she still wasn't in a good mood yet. After the bath and a massage from the new maid, she could say that they were indeed using the same technique. Wearing a red dress with some bits of black outlined it, she was satisfied. Red and black would be her favorite color for some years from now on.
Her mood improved but she felt bad about it. She couldn't stand it. It was all about last night again.
She was powerless. But was she really? Her mind had attained clarity after the rebirth. She could have done something.
It isn't too late now.
But she had to have breakfast before that. A frail maiden skipping a meal was just like throwing a tantrum, and it brought all kinds of annoying things. The butler for example. Some servants had told him about her intention so he blocked her way out of the mansion.
Her forceful behavior last night wasn't enough to make him treat her differently, it seemed.
With her mana overflowing like a broken dam, she didn't need food anymore. Unlimited life force was too convenient. But she would eat regardless. Being stubborn on useless things would just drag her legs. Besides, the food was delicious. So unlike the feasts in her old castle.
"Don't fall behind too far."
Finally, she was at the barrack. The new maid was next to her following her around. She didn't want to lose her things again. That feeling was very uncomfortable.
The barrack was outside her mansion but was still next to it. It was a two-story building with its own training ground. There was a soldier standing guard outside.
"Where is your captain?"
"Milady! He is in his office!"
The guy was a little excited to see her. It made her wonder why the servants looked scared while these guys were like this.
She ignored him and walked inside. The building seemed empty. Then she remembered ordering them to purge the slum. His office was on the second floor and was easily recognized.
She knocked on the door and stepped in. There were more documents than her whole Demon King Castle's combined. Sitting behind the messy pile of paper was Lionel, the captain. He stood up immediately and greeted Elena.
“I came here for the report.”
“Of course, milady. Please take a seat.”
There were many bookshelves in the room but a small tea table still managed to fit in at the corner.
She moved to sit down as he prepared some papers and brought them to the table.
The maid followed and stood behind her as per her command. It wasn't possessiveness. She just felt like the maid would be fired again by the butler.
"Last night, we discovered a trafficking ring. All the slaves and artifacts were taken in under the Count's name. Here is the list of items in their warehouse."
He handed her the document containing all the valuable artifacts. It was quite a long list. But she wasn't interested in these things at the moment. She put it down after flipping over the whole stack of papers.
"The slaves are staying in our dungeon. Without locks, of course. The paperwork for their return will take some time. Until then, we would shelter them."
"Good work. What about Mari?"
He paused. The tragedy of the girl made his heart ache. She didn’t deserve any of that. Her injury was the worst of all the slaves.
“She is in the recovery ward. Our mages are taking care of her.”
"And that woman?"
He detected the anger hidden in her voice. He couldn't blame her for that. The woman had been a degenerate for a long time according to the neighborhood. Gambling, drugs, thievery,... She had done it all. And then she fell further. She sold her own daughter after making the girl steal from a noble. The poor girl had lost her hands by law for thievery. That made her worth as a laborer and sex worker gone down to zero. The documents confiscated from the lair showed that Mari would be sold to the Court Wizard as a test subject. The target was too big for him to do anything about despite knowing their involvement in slavery. Even the woman's name was on that list for scamming the slavers.
"She was put in a separate cell in the dungeon. The other slaves want to kill her so I put her in the special ward for mages. Her sentence will be thirty years imprisonment."
"Make it sixty. I want her to perish in jail."
"... As your command, milady."
Elena stood up. There was nothing that she needed to do here except finding Mari. The captain was capable enough to handle the slum and all things that came with it.
“Then I will leave everything to you, knight captain. Make sure my father knows the details about those slavers. The county depends on it.”
“Of course, milady. I will take care of this matter to the utmost of my ability.”
She nodded at him and left. Those criminals were not that irritable by themselves but they just had to tick her off. Their roots seemed big so she needed to be careful or they would just hideaway. Leaving things to the right minions was how she usually did it and she saw no reason to not do that here too. The knight captain seemed to take deep breaths as he thought he was finally alone. She could still hear him through the door though.
He seems to be stressed out talking to me. Well, I will leave him alone then.
She looked back at the maid behind her with [Vision], a spell to look at anything within one's own mana presence that reached a certain density. Low cost, high utility, this was a magic trick she made to satisfy her curiosity about what was inside a demon's body. Although the range was limited to only around her castle when she was in the center. She didn’t really measure it so she wasn’t sure. After all, it was just a magic trick for fun.
The maid was also stressed out but with a different reason than the captain. Her round eyes kept shaking slightly every now and then. She looked funny so Elena didn’t ask.
Her mood about Mari had gotten better because she had a clear idea of what to do. Abandon the maid who showed her a new feeling was uncomfortable and infuriating. She decided to get Mari no matter what and that was what she would do.
The recovery ward was behind the main building and on the left side. On the right side was the dungeon with the training ground taking all the space in between the two. Those buildings were built with stone and wood which were the sole material the city was made of. It reminded her of the wall around her castle which was rough and crude. Especially its ability to crumble down in one slash from the Hero. Sometimes she wondered why she even bothered to have a wall at all.
There were no soldiers around in the ward. Only one mage was still sitting inside. The only patient in here was Mari who was lying on the bed with dead eyes. Her whole body was bandaged tightly.
Elena walked in together with the new maid. A gasping voice leaked out from behind her as Mari got into view.
Emily was not aware of the situation. Although they weren't close, she had known Mari since birth. Looking at her like this gave her a huge shock.
"Oh no, Mari!"
Emily ran up to the crippled girl on the bed with tears on her cheeks. The mage was not prepared for visitors and was late to intercept them. Then he took notice of Elena and bowed quickly.
"M-Milady, it's an honor to have you here."
"Leave me. I want to talk to her alone."
He was a little wimpy as she narrowed her eyes on him. Having a mage around when she was doing her things was risky. This guy was also like the other soldiers, a little bit too hyped talking to her.
After making sure the door was locked and no noise would leak out, she casted a simple barrier to keep the room isolated. Her actions were not noticeable by normal people. A good perception of mana was needed to see what was going on, however, understanding it was another matter.
Elena stood at the side of the bed. Mari was lying in the corner of the room, next to the window. The mages had arranged for her the bed with the fresh air and sunlight. The temperature of this region was cold and humid so she could see their logic.
Humans are so weak.
She observed the girl keenly, judging the base and the material she would work with. Mari’s face was still heavily wounded, her arms were still wet with blood at the stumps. The simple white robe the barrack had provided was too big for her small body. She looked miserable and pitiful.
“Step back and give me some space.”
Emily was pulled out of her trip on emotional land. With a yelp, she jumped back from the bed. Elena didn’t mind her maids seeing things other shouldn’t see. After all, they were her minions and should serve her accordingly. Of course, she wouldn’t show them everything. As long as they still perceived her as a strong magic caster and nothing more. It wasn’t like the maid would go around babbling about her magic with a personality like that.
Turned back to the cripple girl, she offered.
“Serve me faithfully and I will grain you a new life.”
Elena didn’t wait to hear her answer. Holding both hands forward, she started to gather mana from inside her body and pooled them up between her palms.
Like with the [Fireball] she had learned from this world, she concentrated more and more mana until it was visible to the naked eye. Pure mana was invisible but it was compressed so much that it had gained physical properties.
Mari perceived that something was happening and wanted to say something but couldn’t.
“I don’t take ‘no’ for an answer. Now shut up and be silent.”
She didn’t need to be silent but Elena just hated to hear ‘uugh, uugh’, ‘aagh, aagh’ continuously.
With Mari’s body looked as good as a rag, Elena decided to destroy it all and make a new one. The problem of not being able to regenerate human limbs was a tough one with no solution yet. However, as a Demon King, she could create Demons with high efficiency. After all, she was the one who made Demons in the first place. But only the first few of each race though, they had multiplied by themselves without her control since then. Perhaps it was her fault that the Demons couldn’t do servant work at all.
But it mattered not. Now she would just make a body for Mari to use. She wouldn’t make any of the old Demon races just to be safe. So, a new Demon with extra care, like her Four Heavenly Kings. She didn’t expect Mari to fight with the Hero or anything. But as she debated inside her head about what level should the body be, she came to the conclusion that stronger was better. Obviously that Mari wouldn’t be able to use it to the fullest extend.
The process was much quicker than making her own body. And there was no heat either. She supposed only the forming of a body that surpassed the limit of the material world would cause that kind of reaction.
The body was completed in a blink of an eye as the mana transitioned from immaterial to biotic substances. Elena grabbed the body with [Telekinesis] and put it over Mari. The disfigured body of Mari disintegrated into motes and the new Demon body started breathing on top of the bed.
“Kuh, kaagh… *hak* *hak*”
Mari, in her new body, sat up and coughed loudly for a while. It was a natural mechanism of mortal beings to start or restart their systems.
Her new body was more refined and beautiful. If she had to make a new body, may as well improve it. Mari still had the same height and her dark brown hair, it just got longer and more lustrous. Her round eyes had golden irises now and they were full of vitality.
She sat still on the bed as everything came back to her mind. Her heart was hollowed, it was painful just to think about what had happened. The recovery of her hands didn’t bring her any joy.
“Why? Why don’t you let me die?”
Tears rolled down her cheeks as she cried out her sadness. It wasn’t aimed toward Elena or Emily. It was for herself. She had nothing left in her life. All her young was spent working to earn money for her family, for her mother. There was no friend, no future. But her mother sold her for some spared coins after her usefulness had expired. Her heart was crushed at that moment. Her reason to live was gone, if it even existed in the first place.
“Didn’t I say it at the beginning? I won’t take ‘no’ for an answer.”
Her tearful face looked at Elena weakly.
“I decided that you will serve me as my faithful servant. Become my follower and take care of me. Simple, right? But I will not tolerate my people leaving me, understand? You will be stuck with me forever but it wasn’t like I give you a choice in this matter. Hmph.”
“… *hic* *hic* Waahhh…”
“! Hey!… Tsk, I will allow it this time.”
Mari grabbed her by the waist and started to cry her heart out. It was the faintest of affection but Mari wanted that. She desperately wanted to be loved, to be needed. Someplace she would belong to. Such was what she had never had before.
Elena let the girl use her like a wet towel for a while. She could just push her away but she didn’t feel like it. Being hugged like this was also a first for her as no one had dared to do it.
She spent the whole afternoon in the room with Mari and Emily. Mari’s new stamina made her take a long time to fall asleep. Elena put the girl back on the bed and made Emily dress her properly. After the transformation, her clothes were disintegrated along with her old body because Elena didn’t think much of it.
She burnt all the snot and tear out of her dress in a quick flash of heated mana. After reinforcing her clothes, of course. Mari’s case just happened a while ago after all.
With this, all her business was done. Or was it?
A knock on the door echoed. She let them in as everything was completed. The mage that was here before came running to her.
“Ah, milady! The Lord and Lady have returned! Your fiance, Lord Finn De Dovantine is also with them.”
Ah, so they finally return. My freedom is short live.
“Very well, I will be waiting in the mansion. And hey, look…”
“One of the slaves that will become my servant is sleeping in here. After she has recovered, send her to me.”
“Huh? Huh? What? But Mari-”
“Mari is dead and you had burnt her body to prevent disease. So there was no Mari anymore. You must have missed her very much to still remember her. Is she your first love or something?”
“Wait! No! No, it couldn’t be!? But that really happened huh…”
“Well, I am leaving. Take care of my new maid, alright?”
Satisfied with her work, she left the recovery ward with Emily right behind. There were two more places to visit in the barrack. She needed to make sure everyone in here know the same story. The others were not in direct contact with Mari like the mage so it was easy and quick applying [Confuse] to them.
Elena returned to the mansion in a happy mood, forgetting that her parents would come back home with some new people. People that Elena De Heuser was bound to. She made the rest of the time acting like a noble lady to be ready to continue her role as a good daughter.
At that time she also felt the feather she had made was in a very far far away place. And it had stopped moving since she woke up. So naturally, she presumed it had arrived at the HQ. She sent the activation command to it as a side note while enjoying her tea.
In the capital of Agava, the kingdom where Elena lived, there was a huge disturbance. Or it was more accurate to say a calamity had befallen on their capital.
Monsters, giant monsters that towered above houses came out of the ground and ran rampage within the wall of the capital.
There were four dragons of different types of elements that flew around and rained down destruction as they please. On the ground, there was a lich that raised the dead everywhere. In other parts of the city, a giant minotaur was crushing every house in its path. There were also a metal golem, a giant living armor, a Kraken, and a giant demonic dog.
The whole capital was in ruin in minutes. Even one of those monsters was enough to put the entire army at the capital in full force and they wouldn’t even win.
“Help! Save me!”
People were screaming everywhere. Their number dropped to more than half of what they used to be. The survivors ran to the sewers and hide quietly. The monster just kept destroying everything and then turned on each other.
Nearly all the soldiers and knights were killed in the first hour. The royals evacuated to their underground hideout. The kingdom was on its cripple legs waiting for the giant monster brawl to end.
How did this nightmare happen was a mystery to everyone. But they all were reminded that there were still monsters living in this world, and humans could only be prey if they let their guard down.
The rule of survival of the fittest stayed strong still.
End of chapter 4