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「We’ve lost contact with Alan’s group since he went into the 8th floor….?」
Looking at the report, Cass was seated on her work desk, she placed her hand on her chin and let out a sigh. And after “processing” the report, she threw it away on to her mountain of papers nonchalantly. Whether it be her “Processed pile” or her “Unfinished Pile” everything around her was like a mountain of work that she needed to take care of.
This was all in relation to “Aur’s case”, and the reports are about the various adventurers who have failed in challenging his dungeon. Of course, it wasn’t like everyone got annihilated, there was some who became frightened half way and ran, some who lost their comrades and decided to retreat and some who got caught in a trap and was forcefully kicked out of the dungeon.
About 20% of her reports, consisted of people who have gone “missing”. It was unknown whether they were frightened by the dungeon and went into hiding…… Or if they just got exterminated within the dungeon. Although, it’s probably one or the other. Because it wasn’t being investigated specifically, she didn’t know the ratio of people who escape the dungeon, but the amount of people who died should be plenty enough.
There was also quite the amount of stories, about how the adventurers would run into the dead corpses of their acquaintances. And it seems that Alan’s group is probably one of the cases where the party got exterminated, at the very least, Cass was pretty much convinced this was the case for Alan’s party.
「Demon King Aur…… He’s really troublesome isn’t he?」
Taking the next report on the stack, Cass thought to herself whilst fiddling with her hands.
“The Evil Magician Aur” declared war on town Akani about three months ago. “He doesn’t even understand his own standing in the world, what an impudent fool, we can just ignore such a small county town being invaded”. “The town has the Chivalric Order of Knights stationed in it permanently, if he dared to challenge the town, he would no doubt destroy himself”.
Back then the opinion of the governing bodies in the Kingdom was pretty much like so.
Cass was the only one who advised that they should send the King Imperial forces to subjugate the threat immediately, but this suggestion was not accepted by the Council. Not only that, her standing as a genius strategist was mocked, her gender as a woman was used against her and they sneered at her saying that she was feeble and was being a coward for suggesting such a thing.
Since then, it’s been three months. Aur’s invasion has been a remarkable success. The minister who boastfully talked about his Chivalric Knight Order had his troops blown to smithereens by Aur’s Super Long Distance Black Magic. Moreover, the whole town was occupied but there were barely any civilians that got hurt and it was akin to a flawless capture. It didn’t matter who he went up against, the result hardly changed.
In the twinkling of an eye, Aur managed to occupy seven towns. The one thing that was very unique was that the cities were left intact, and he made them his own territory. Whether it be demons, bandits or even evil magicians, in normal cases this kind of thing would not occur. Normally, all the resources would be plundered and then they would leave the city. Of course there was also the outliers where the evildoers would stay in the town and treat the civilians like slaves, but in this scenario, they wouldn’t think about invading other nearby towns.
Aur’s methods were completely different from the norm. He distributed the minimum amount of demons across his area to keep watch, he collected taxes from his people and if there was some sort of problem in his territory he would even go out to solve the issue. Merchants were exempt from paying a tariff, any walls destroyed were rebuilt and it could even be said that the city became more lively as a result of Aur’s occupancy.
This is almost like an invasion just occurred from a foreign country. In fact, many people in the town also felt the same way, “the only thing that’s changed is the king who is governing this town”, that’s what they mostly believed.
Demon’s obey him. He can control Magic. he lives in a dungeon. He is the King of Demons. ……..In other words, he is the Demon King.
It’s unknown as to who began calling him in that manner, but before he knew it, Aur was known as the Demon King.
When he occupied four towns, the Imperial Council finally went in an uproar. The Council was made up of the most influential nobles, and you can say that they are the group of people that governed Figuria Kingdom.
Although the real power rested with the King in making any final decisions, the people who actually thought about the policies to implement in the country were the members of the Council and the King only needed to give his permission. Naturally, there were countless things that the Council could enact even if the King doesn’t give his permission first, therefore, in Cass’s perspective, these noblemen were people that she couldn’t go against, even if she had the title of being a genius tactician within the imperial army.
The sight of these noblemen panicking over Aur’s invasion when they first scorned and laughed at Cass made her feel delighted, but because all the fault was being shifted to Cass, she couldn’t really just say that it was somebody else’s problem. As a result, Cass was now surrounded by the mountain of reports.
Even though she tried to dissuade them, the Council arbitrarily decided to send a single battalion of Imperial Armed forces to suppress Aur, but they only came back without achieving any results. Not only that, 30 percent of the troops suffered major causalities.
The supposed “den” that Aur was staying was immediately discovered, but it was in fact a large and impregnable dungeon. It was a narrow and dark underground labyrinth, and Knights were completely useless in this environment.
These soldiers were trained to fight in open battlefields; riding on horses and fighting other men. This dungeon could barely fit four people lined up together with their spears, to make matters worse, they had to fight against knee-height goblins, insects that breathed out fire and massive giants, all of which they were not accustomed to fighting.
If you wanted to make Aur fight against knights, the best opportunity would be when he was attacking a town. However, his Demon King forces were capable of appearing in unexpectedly places due to his ability to move them via his teleportation magic. The regular standing army has no hope of dealing with this sort of foe. Aur naturally confirms that the city he is about to attack is not heavily fortified with a large army before launching his attack. Therefore, a town with a small army can hardly cope, especially if his attacks come as a surprise.
That being the case, they have also tried to destroy Aur’s teleportation formation, whenever the Demon King accepted his tribute, there has been several attempts to sneak in a soldier amongst the tributes. The only thing that returned was the same number of necks as soldiers that was sent in.
There have even been assassins who posed as the sacrificial girls meant to serve Aur. These assassin girls were trained in sexual techniques capable of making the toughest men become a slave to pleasure, in a literal meaning these girls were capable of making men experience being in “Heaven”. In regards to these girls, their corpses did not come out of the dungeon. However, even though these extremely beautiful girls had been chosen and sent to assassinate Aur, there has been no reports that Aur has died. Were they ensnared by him? Or perhaps these girls were really sacrificed to demons? In any case, nothing good could have happened to them.
There has also been instances of trying to send poison food to Aur; or calculating when and where he would appear with his teleportation magic; or even sending a huge volume of water to submerge the dungeon, but all of this ended in vain. On the contrary, these days, whenever the King’s armed forces approached a village, they would be met with strong opposition.
And, all the criticisms of such failures were all being blamed upon Cass. In the previous great war, she was showered with endless words of praise; that she was their heroine and that she was a brilliant strategist, but nowadays, she was being called a good-for-nothing human being who has no talent and who is an inhuman person that lets all her subordinates die for naught, they were hurling whatever abuse they wanted.
In the end, it was decided that the adventurers would be used to handle the investigation of this dungeon. Adventurers were known for travelling into undeveloped areas, such as ancient historical ruins, and they were also known for fighting against monsters and demons, performing exterminations missions, performing bodyguard missions, and it was assumed that they were well versed in how to take care of these type of demonic creatures.
『For those capable of killing the Demon King Aur, any reward or compensation desired will be awarded』
When such an official notice was made, adventurers from all over the place dove into Aur’s dungeon. Before long, when it was discovered that some adventurers returned with magical equipment and gold coins, the amount of adventurers that wanted to try their luck increased by leaps and bounds.
Naturally, many of them suffered considerable damages, however they were vagabonds who didn’t pay any taxes to the kingdom. Therefore, the Council did not mind in the slightest no matter how many of them died. By their sacrifices, it has been understood that there are at least 8 floors in Aur’s Dungeon and at least 2 levels. However, this did not seem to be the limit as nobody has yet reached the bottom level.
Alan's group, was one of the adventuring groups that Cass had high expectations for. They only had 4 party members in the group but each individual was a first-class adventurer, with their excellent cooperation skills, they were the type of group capable of defeating a stronger foe if they worked together. However, even they seem to have been insufficient in defeating Aur.
Cass breathed out a sigh, and was in deep thought.
Aur was both cruel and cunning, at the same time he did not slaughter people without cause. He was a complete rationalist and even though he was cowardly in his tactics he was also bold. He was calculative and careful to a terrifying extent, and he never places his trust in others. He can use Space Magic, he is very proficient in summoning magic, he can grant others magical energy, he excels in controlling demons, and he wasn’t that great at using offensive magic spells. However, he possessed a vast quantity of magical power that a human could never have, and he was capable of casting a super long-distance type magic that could destroy a city gate and blow it to smithereens.
From all the dealings with him and the information she has heard, this is the type image that the Demon King Aur portrays.
「……Magical power so vast that you’d think it was impossible」
Examining the gate of Akani that was destroyed, the results of the investigation was that it was identified as some form of “Explosive Magic”. This type of magic works by pouring magical energy into the space around the target and by exceeding the tolerable amount of magic in the atmosphere a chain explosion is created to cause a ballistic shock to its surroundings.
The power of this magic is proportional to the magical energy invested, depending on the amount of magical energy invested the destructive power of this spell can easily sky-rocket, but the efficiency of such a spell is not that good. The best an average magician could do with this type of magic is to partially destroy a group of goblins. And normally this spell can only be performed at a distance where arrows could easily hit the magicians, so many opted not to cast this spell to begin with.
Normally a more suitable type of magic was used in castle sieges, the popular ones included” “Meteor Fall” and or “Artillery Cannon”. These spells were very powerful and they didn't need as much magical energy to be capable of the same destructive force, however, the amount of concentration required to control these spells were much more difficult. If this type of offensive spell can be used, they were without a doubt considered to be a Master Level Magician, even within this whole kingdom, only a handful of people were at such a high level.
…….However, the quantity of magical energy Aur displayed was several times more than what a Master Level Magician could ever use. Of course, there wasn’t any direct correlation between how much magical energy one could use with how skilled they were in magic, but even so, if someone possessed that much magical energy, and if they were able to control that energy without backlash, then it is unnatural for Aur to use average offensive magic to attack.
With that much power under his control, he should have acted like the diabolic Demon King in the legends, and use all types of magical attacks freely and without restraint; even this type of behavior would be much easier to understand.
「…. Perhaps, this may be a weak point that I can take advantage of」
Cass collected all the reports on her desk and flung them to the floor, she then rang the bell in her hand to call in her subordinate to the room.