Toby grunted as he lifted an enormous wooden support beam that had gone flying and flattened a group of parked carriages. Everything around the Empire-facing gate was crushed, broken, frozen, or burned to cinders. A few Necron residents shifted through the rubble, yet despite their homes and businesses being decimated, they all had smiles. It had only been a few hours since Vox had appeared before the citizens and granted them immortality and nobility. In such a harsh world, where the average person doesn't live to see their grandchildren and has to work every day of their lives in dead-end and grueling professions—the promise of an immortal carefree life in exchange for loyalty was like a god-given gift.
Some of the citizens were skeptical of how truthful or benevolent those claims made by Vox truly were, but after witnessing the shadowy man step out of a rift in space and revive mere commoners from death with a wave of his hand, it was hard to refute his claims. Why would such a powerful being go to such lengths to dupe them? If it so wished, it could have killed them all, revived them as undead, and forced them to serve its cause. Alas, some were already packing their bags and getting ready to leave Necron for good, as they had no desire to stay here or be loyal to such an alien creature.
Toby ignored the escapees and watched undead goblins rush around fixing Necron. With the sudden influx of new undead humans, Toby noticed that new knowledge had become available to all the undead in the black ocean network, and the goblin undead was working faster and more efficiently than ever before. 'I believe it was just us merchants and the slave girl in the network previously. I also recently felt some draconic knowledge flood my mind, but it's mostly useless.'
The goblins had some basic knowledge of how to construct a house before. Still, it was apparent from a glance that their understanding was primitive and lacked the intricacies of human dwellings, such as insulation, foundations, plumbing, or room arrangements. But now they moved with more purpose and seemed to understand what they were doing on a deeper level.
Toby looked around and saw a few Necron citizens that were freshly raised undead. They walked with their still-alive family members and passed by Empire knights that had been revived. 'So we now have merchants, farmers, blacksmiths, crafters, and even trained knights in the network. Their knowledge and expertise get shared around the network and bring everyone up. Like a hive mind.'
Although Toby couldn't understand the depths of the eldritch creature's true motives, if knowledge was its aim, then this was an excellent way to obtain it.
The Necron residents gave the undead knights a weary look. The knight's armor had the Empire's colors removed, and their noble house crests scrapped off, so they all wore blank metal armor. But the most creepy thing was how they acted like actual undead. A few of the freshly revived Necron citizens could easily tell the difference between themselves and these undead knights. They had kept their minds and personality, whereas the knights were lifeless husks doomed to serve Vox for eternity.
They could also feel a particular connection that all undead in Necron felt. A hierarchy established by the overlord was in place, and the undead Necron citizens instinctively knew they could command those below them, such as the goblins or undead knights, to do their bidding.
Funnily enough, the citizens appeared to be below Toby and Andrew in the hierarchy, but Toby knew he couldn't command them. These undead citizens were different, almost entirely independent of the network. Toby naturally understood the reason. If still alive, citizens saw their undead siblings, parents, or children suddenly obey commands like the other mindless undead, then they would flee Necron and never look back.
'It's all a facade at the end of the day.' Toby knew that even if he wasn't free from the overlord's clutches, neither were the citizens. If a calamity befell Necron, the overlord could command the undead Necron citizens to rally to arms. 'But there's no need for that, with that creature's power and my own... Necron will be safe for now.'
Toby set the large wooden beam that was like a tree trunk over his shoulder and carefully walked down the street, making a conscious effort not to step on any of the many people walking around or accidentally swing the beam and destroy another roof.
Then suddenly, the sky flashed red. Toby looked up in surprise and squinted at the previously blue sky that was now a tint of red. A wave of panic spread throughout the undead network, and he could hear chatter around him. A few minutes passed with everyone staring at the changing sky. Suddenly a wave of power blanketed the area and vaporized the clouds.
Everyone in Necron had felt this power before—when Vox had stepped out of the rift in space. But this time, it was on a continent-wide scale rather than a single room. Even Toby gulped as he felt the full gravitas of his overlord's power.
[Demon Lord Has Arrived]
[You have been designated as a Demon Lord ally]
[New class assigned: Demon Lord's Champion]
[You are unable to participate in the World Event: Defeat the Demon Lord]
Toby blinked at the words that appeared in his vision. Then, they fizzled out, and his new status page appeared.
[Race: One-Eyed Demon King (Empowered by: Demon Lord)]
[Class: Demon Lord's Champion]
[STR: 706, DEX, 276, CON: 847, INT: 500, WIS: 320]
Toby clicked on his new class, and a description appeared.
Demon Lord's Champion
[A class bestowed upon those closest to the new Demon Lord. Your powers are now derived from the rogue Demon Core, and your fate is directly tied to the Demon Lord. You have been marked as an enemy of this world, and your death with provide system users with contribution points.]
"What?" Toby stood there in the middle of the street with a lost look on his face. But then a thin smile appeared, transforming into a full-on grin. "Hahaha! Yes! I am now the true Demon Lord of Necron! So come and fight me fuckers." Being told that people would come and fight him filled the battle junkie with excitement. A war was coming, and he knew he was one of the strongest beings on this continent. If he excluded the strongest Delving team in the Empire and the church's special order—
he would lose to nobody except Hackers and his overlord.
A door to an inn near his foot opened, and a very excited-looking pirate strolled out. "Lord Toby!" The man shouted. "Did you get a system message?"
Toby looked down, "Oh, Garry!" Toby roared with laughter and couldn't contain his excitement. "You became an undead! Welcome aboard! Hahaha, what did the system say to you?"
Garry took an instinctive step back, he had already died once, and he didn't wish to get stomped to death by the overly excited four-meter-tall ogre. "The system gave me a new class, Resident of Necron. Sounds rather fancy if you ask me. I just don't like that part that says my death will grant people these contribution points... seems rather ominous."
Toby gave the pirate a grin. "Don't worry, citizen, with me around, nothing bad will happen..."
Garry raised his brow and looked around the destroyed street while caressing his straggly black beard. "Are you sure about that?"
Toby waved him off. "This time, it will be different, I promise you."
Garry shrugged and said over his shoulder as he turned back inside, "Well, tell me if the new Demon Lord needs anything." Then with a slam of the door, he was gone.
Toby stopped, grinned, and turned serious. If Garry had also been marked by the system as an enemy, things would quickly turn dangerous here. Not everyone will be so thrilled to be labeled as an enemy and ally of a Demon Lord as Garry. "Should we hold another meeting? What is the overlord doing?"
Feeling hesitant to contact his lord, Toby walked down the street toward Andrew's palace. A sudden beacon of red light appearing in the distance made Toby miss a step and stagger forward. "Oh, that doesn't look good at all." He scratched his head as he looked up at the endless glowing red light towering over Necron. "Best ask Andrew what to do..." Toby then left for the center of Necron.
The area around the palace was packed with people, but they parted ways and ceased their chattering to whispers as Toby passed by. The One-Eyed Demon King had to duck a bit to fit under the door, but the ceiling was high enough to allow him to stroll to Andrew's throne room. Toby passed by people with worried faces that had just registered as citizens of Necron.
"Did I just sign my soul to the devil?" One woman whispered to her husband as they passed Toby—oblivious to his excellent hearing. "No, dear... we did not." The husband responded. "The true devils of this world are the nobles of the Empire. They treat us like cattle and rinse us dry until we die." The husband was missing an eye and was clearly a risen undead. "Stay here in Necron with me, my dear. We have nowhere better to be."
Toby knew some people would struggle to adapt to living here. Without imports from Eshnar and the Empire, life will get rather challenging over the coming months. But hopefully, enough people will see the vision of a brighter future that Necron can provide—and Toby plans to protect that utopian future.
Entering the throne room, Toby saw Andrew in all his glory. The gargantuan grey slime took up the entire far side of the room with a shape similar to a slug. His stubby arms stroked his beard as he received reports from a group of humans telling him about their new classes.
"Ah, Toby! You finally arrived. Come tell me what you know." Andrew said as he grabbed a squealing rodent from a box and chucked it into his mouth.
The citizens speaking with Andrew quickly left the room as Toby strolled over. "Well, the skies turned red alongside a red beacon of light to the north, likely where the Grand Dungeon is, and I know of people with new classes. The pirate Garry received the Resident of Necron class, and I got Demon Lord's Champion."
Andrew nodded his large grotesque head. "Indeed... I also received the same class as you, and the humans I was just speaking with also got the Resident of Necron class. But there's also one other class I've found so far..."
Andrew laughed a little and pointed to his zombie ogre servant. "Minion of Necron, a class given to the goblins and ogres. Rather fitting, don't you think?"
Toby grinned. "Yea, that does fit them rather well." Toby then sat down and leaned against the palace's stone wall. "So... what should we do now? Contact the overlord and ask for instructions."
Andrew shook his head. "Absolutely not—well, at least not for a few hours. We have no idea what the overlord is experiencing right now, and I do not wish to be on the bad side of the world's new Demon Lord." Andrew lightly chuckled as he devoured another rodent. "I suggest we secure our borders and keep the people calm. The overlord will provide us with guidance soon enough—"
Andrew never finished his sentence as a rift in space opened, and Vox stepped out. "Afternoon, gentlemen."