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The Night Before
Along with the freed elves, rare monsters continued to stream into the city. Considering the quality of their mounts, they must have been treated reasonably well. I guess their captors never intended to enter open hostilities against us. I mean, if you think about it, even the elf chiefs – whose plight began all of this – were without a single injury. I would imagine they meticulously planned their action intending not to kill a single “person”. The elves, based on their magic capacity are rank C~B beings, but many among them can use magic. So their rank does not display their strength–a rather dangerous bunch. No matter how meticulous their planning, to capture ten elves without a single injury, is a real testimony to the hunters’ strength. Assuming there were a few of them, I’d imagine they are at least A ranked. I should think about this some more later. That is, I can hardly underestimate an underground organization abundant with such individuals. My heart tightened watching the monster slaves’ parade.
One of the Cerberus’ Bosses–Damrada. As the one responsible for the monster’s return, he rode into the city among them. Of course, his actual goal was to gain entry into the “jewel” called Tempest. But, thanks to an inspection upon entrance, and ban on illegal immigration, entry into the country was not easy to acquire. A guild card would have allowed entry. However, anyone else would have to enter by an invitation. The country has not yet completely developed, so we could hardly let just anyone in. The refugees pouring into our country are staying in inns we had just finished. And we’re quickly putting them to work as builders or cleaning staff. That aside,
Damrada ran up to greet me with a wide smile on his face. After just a single glance at the city, with a nod full of admiration,
[It has been a long time, Demon Lord Rimuru-sama. This unworthy one is named Damrada. On this day, as we had promised, we are returning the captured monsters. We are deeply grateful for permitting entry into your country]
He bowed in respect. As always, he is extremely well dressed, nor is he gaudy.
[Yeah. Seems like you have treated my subjects well. You have my thanks. Since you have fulfilled your part of the promise, let’s forget about this incident. But you do understand that I will not allow this to happen again, right?]
[Hahaha, of course. You are hardly an opponent I would want to risk my life going against]
Damrada intended to completely erase any traces of hostility using that short exchange. We, too, would rather avoid a war of attrition with this organization. I mean, we’d crush them if we fought head on, but there are many nasty things they could do from the shadows. And considering that I had just proclaimed myself as a benevolent demon lord by freeing the Templars, I would rather not waste that effort. These guys just intend to gain my favor. What good is it to pointlessly antagonize them? Well, next time they get in my way, I will destroy them.
[By the way, a little bird whispered this to me… but it seems you are holding a tournament? We couldn’t possibly obtain the right to observe it?]
Damrada asked me with a natural smile. Isn’t he eager to analyze our strength. Well, I don’t mind. I mean, flaunting our ability was the goal. But, I can’t let him have it for free, can I?
[You have my permission. You have permission to remain here until the tournament beings as well]
[Oh, how great is your benevolence! In that case…]
[But, have your strongest man participate. I’d love to see what he’s like. I mean, we’ll be seeing each other often from now on, right?]
I replied with a smile. He came here trying to gain my favor. There’s no way he can refuse. As I thought. He hesitated a bit, but
[As expected of a demon lord, everything has a price. Understood. In that case, this individual…]
He called forth a young individual. I looked at the youth, and then again at Damrada.
[Damrada, you will participate. You are the strongest among these, aren’t you?]
We stared at each other for a second, and,
[You got me. Wonderfully done. You have seen through it all. In that case, I have no choice but to participate. I will be in your care both as a participant and as an observer.]
[Yeah, our future relations will depend on your performance. So I suggest you try real hard]
Damrada bowed again and left. As I thought, he really is the strongest among them. Though he doesn’t look like it, his strength is obvious to those who can truly see. And thus, our participant list increased again. It wouldn’t be fun to have a battle only among our friends. This should spice things up a bit. And if things get really competitive, maybe we’ll see Damrada’s true strength. Martial Arts Tournament. I can hardly wait!
Ramiris and Veldora were having fun inside the dungeon. Nor was the sight of Milim flying through the sky dragging dragons into the dungeon a rare sight. Things were the same as always. There were constant reports of their loud laughter disturbing people, but we decided to ignore those reports. As for the invitation letters, Myormiles has selected the individuals to invite and sent the letters out. Communication is important. So I introduced Souei to Myormiles and had him help with the communication. Souei’s subordinates–Souka, Saika, Nansou, and Hokusou became the center of Myormiles’ communications team. Since he is just so good at handling people, they have quickly opened up to him. I’m really glad they aren’t looking down on him.
So I can probably leave all that to them. According to Myormiles, the nobles have a large entourage of mercenaries and adventurers they employ. In other words, if we make them believe there’s some great benefit for clearing the labyrinth, we can harvest loads of money off of them. And we can probably have a few nobles become our sponsors. Which would also advance our plans to reuse the arena another step. Though when I say “reuse” I do mean it in a limited sense–up to four times a year. Other times we can use it for training or something. But a sponsor, huh? Well done Myormiles, thinking that far ahead. I had thought only about the money that could be made off of adventurers, and worried about those who would lose themselves in it. And that’s where sponsors would come in handy. So maybe we should fill the dungeon with hidden riches that, like a lottery, would reward a few individuals. To make money on those who like to gamble, of course. Maybe have rare items as rewards? Well, Myormiles suggested that we make a request to the Freedom Association.
[Can we make this request of them?]
[Of course. A reward of 1,000 gold coins for he who would clear a hundred floors. And that’s impossible, I take it? Of course, the number of challengers will decrease due to your notori… fame… But even so, the word on the street is “Dungeon of dragons. Is there an adventurer who could defeat a dragon? Even the knights would find it difficult” they say. So those eating the nobles’ scraps say. Which is why I think it’s a good idea to offer a lavish reward. But, in order to make them think we really intend to pay them this reward, I propose we offer other rewards depending on floor reached. A single gold coin for reaching the 10th floor. 3 gold coins for reaching the 30th floor. Something like that. Maybe even rewards for record time to a save point?]
[Hahaha. An advertisement that would draw people in despite me being a demon lord! Well done, Myormiles, well done. So, will we award only a few people? Or all of them?]
[I was thinking the first five every month. If they are in a party, they’ll just have to split the profit. And if we award them once a month, that will encourage them to compete even more]
I see. If we award the first individuals to reach the target, it won’t hurt our budget and encourage participation. What a wonderful plan. No one will clear it, and even if they do, it’s no problem. A trifling sum like a thousand gold coins we can earn very quickly. What a wonderful idea this has become.
[Myormiles-kun, proceed just as you have spoken!]
[Ay, I live to serve!]
Myormiles’ plan requires me to contact every country and look into the list of adventurers. There’s also the question of entrance into the dungeon. Adventurers can easily enter using their association cards, and we can manage the information hosted on those. As for those without guild membership, we can issue home made cards. I have already consulted Kaijin on that question. This way, we’ll be able to control the access and information of every single person. Entrance into the labyrinth is 3 silver coins per go. We’ll issue the first card for free. If that gets lost or destroyed, the second one is 10 silver coins. We’ll also let them sample a resurrection bracelet by letting them have one for free. Of course, first entry into the dungeon is also free. And resurrection is certainly important. Afterwards, we’ll sell the bracelets at two silver pieces each, and, considering their importance, I expect to sell a lot. We’ll also have to make sure to announce the dangers of entering the dungeon without such a bracelet. Though they have only themselves to blame for their death, I would rather avoid victims. On another note, we have also decided to lease weapons and armours. This was my idea and I’m going to have Kurobee supervise it. Well, I don’t know how this will turn out, but I’m expecting to make a fortune. I can’t wait to open the dungeon!
Myormiles is working hard on advertising the Dungeon and the Martial Arts tournament. However, the tournament is more important. The dungeon is nearing completion and we are planning to advertise it at the same time as the tournament. And we are putting in lots of effort into the main attraction–the tournament. I have not forgotten about it. But, considering that the tournament will be (more or less) a one time event, we can’t help but divert our attention to the dungeon, which will be a long term cash cow. Well, with the deadline approaching, I guess we have to start getting serious now. Myormiles is so busy with management that they basically don’t rest. At the moment, since we have only begun to receive responses to our invitations, we do not know how many attendees we are going to get. Similarly, although not every tribe chief has reported their intent to participate, it seems we are going to get quite a few folks. But let’s forget about this for now, and focus seriously on the tournament.
First, let’s go over the participating members. From Tempest, we have all the department heads: Benimaru, Diablo, Ranga, Souei, Shion, Hakurou, Gerudo, Gabil, and Gobuta. Those nine. They are the cause of this mess–the nine who declared intent to participate at the banquet. I wonder who’s the strongest among them? I would guess Diablo, but things might go differently in the tournament. What, are you wondering whether the restoration medicine will prevent them from tiring? Boo, wrong! After all, it does not restore magic energy. So if you don’t pace yourself, life will get real tough later on. So we really don’t know how things will end until, well, the end. And then they bickered about the order, which led me to propose round of robin competition… well, it’s all a pain. We also decided to have four prize spots. The problem is, we had too few participants. I mean, it would have been better if there were eight participants–we were one too many. So, and to rile them up a bit, I decided to further split the groups and turn this into an elimination tournament with 16 participants. Which, of course, required me to find them.
So I turned to our sponsors (the demon lords).
[Me~ me~! My Beretta is ready to go!]
[Fu fu fu. I have been waiting for you to ask! I’ll have my underling participate!]
“The mysterious masked one, wearer of the lion’s mask!” Milim declared, and rushed off. Well… I kind of figured who will be participating on her behalf. Will it be fine? I mean, the level here is pretty high but this might be overkill. As for the other demon lords, I am not that friendly with them, so that’s that.
Then there’s the reward of past negotiation–Damrada. He and his group are out and about enjoying the city, having rented out the best inn. There’s no question about it–they’re loaded. And they understand the important of getting the best rooms before the royalty shows up. That guy is, without question, strong. Will he fight until exhaustion or feign weakness, I can hardly wait to see. So that’s another fun factor we added.
With that, we need just four more. I guess we could turn it into four directional battle royale. And when I thought that,
[Rimuru-san, did you call?]
I heard a voice. Nope, I did not call you. Who was it? The Templars’ strongest man–Arnaud Baumann.
[What’s up, Arnaud?]
[Fufu, I would like to participate in the tournament you’ve got going. I’ve been trained by Hakurou-san here recently. So I would definitely like to participate.]
Is it fine? Slacking off here. I wanted to say it, but since Hinata went off back to the capital, I had no one to complain to. Eight templars remained. I had asked them help set up a barrier, but I guess that they don’t mind having Arnaud participate. And since there’s so few of us, I guess we have no choice but to let weaker members participate. That leaves us with three vacant spots.
[In that case, I’ll have you participate. But if you suck, you do realize other countries will be watching, right?]
[No problem. Templars don’t know defeat!]
Where’s that confidence coming from? From the new swords and armor crafted by Kurobee? I mean, yeah, these are test products improving even the spirit equipment they were. And, as test products, we can’t mass produce them. But… I am so sure that it’s the armor that is making him confident. Well, I don’t care if he dies from embarrassment, nor will I be liable for it.
[Alright, but do wear a mask. You’ll stand out, are you fine with that?]
We’ve got the Lion Mask participating already, so surely they’d much rather participate this way than as templars.
[Got it. We’ll wear a mask just in case. Thank you for allowing us to participate[
“Losing would be bad,” Arnaud muttered and left. He’s plenty confident. And considering that he had his heart broken once by Diablo, he’s a pretty tough guy. That, or just an idiot. But thank goodness he did not fight against Diablo right away. Seriously.
Alright, three spots left. The other spots we’ll fill in as we go. From among the intelligent beasts and monsters of Jura forest. Not the cattle, but those individuals who want to distinguish themselves. We’ll have them fight for the remaining three spots. Oh, who will be victorious? Order aside, it’s about time I decide on the prize–a special post. Victory or defeat will decide whether they will continue being called department heads. After all, the winner will be the own on whom I’ll bestow a title upon which the masses will depend. Therefore, it’s about time I think about hierarchy around here.
The day before the tournament. The representatives of many races have arrived by now. The earliest arrivals began a week prior. Along with the letters I had sent, Myormiles invited a number of wealthy merchants to revel in the fun. Those visitors who have come here before proudly showed newcomers around. It was a truly entertaining sights–to see so many races and monarchs enjoy our country. So far, everything’s going according to plan. On that note, I would like to say that the number of guests has already reached 3,000. We do have the capability of hosting up to ten thousand commoners, but 3,000 is the limit for high class housing. And just when I was beset by worry, Myormiles was on the case. Without a single blunder he had assigned everyone to various inns. Of course, Rigurdo and Rigur and the other workers of Tempest also displayed commendable efforts and skill. And thanks to all of their hard work, we were able to welcome the day before the tournament without any major occurrence.
And so, the night before. The leaders of countries had all gathered in the large conference room. The eve of the festival. Sitting on my tatami mat, I observed everyone’s relaxed faces. The baths were a huge success, with some people taking a bath more than once a day. We provided them all with a yukata, and they are now busy commenting on how they look. So far so good. Their escorts have decided to alternate guard outside, and have since stood at attention. Like the professionals they are, they heavily scrutinized the food I ordered to be brought in. Probably fearing poison. Well, considering that if I wanted to poison them I could just use force… but, let’s avoid that topic.
[Hmph, thank you all for coming today. I am the new demon lord, Rimuru. I would like to have tonight become a small welcome, and so would like to have you partake of Tempest’s cuisine. Pardon my inept speech. Let us begin!]
There are many who would like to speak to me face to face, but they’ll have to do that afterwards. Most of their gazes are curious. There were some who paled when I called myself a demon lord, and others’ faces lit up. I’m not good at handling this kind of stuff, which is why I decided on a simple greeting banquet. That’s when food started to be brought out. Well, will they like it? This time, sushi. And sashimi with tempura. The fish is fresh. I mean, I went to get it myself. Without caring about what I caught, I swallowed it all, and removed the poison. I also learned to move around in the water better. But, I should leave this kind of work to people from now on. Hakurou handled the fish with excellent skill. Using the knife Kurobee forged, he dissected all of it in a split second. Shuna as well handled the fish wonderfully. Hakurou also packed the rice. What a unexpected skill he has. Apparently, he learned how to do that from the previous generation. So does that mean that the dragon slayer was a world traveler from the Edo period? But somehow the times periods don’t fit well… Well, what do I care? Shion also wanted to help but decided to abstain this time around. I mean, obviously. We can’t possibly bring out unpleasant looking food to rulers. That’d be bad even as a joke. The problem is, soy sauce. Somehow, we were able to create a soy sauce substitute. I do think the color is wrong, and though the taste is a bit off, it should be fine. Wasabi we had. But first timers might not handle it well, so we decided to make sushi without it this time. All the preparations are set. Food reflects the hospitality of the soul. I hope they’ll see my intentions.
And thus began the banquet. The first outcries were heard when we started pouring cold beer. To those poor souls who have never had properly carbonated cold beer, our product must have been a real surprise. And it also has to be cold. It has to be served in cold transparent glasses–that is the nature of Japanese service. Even I can’t compromise on the point. The elf waitress was going around pouring the alcohol. No, I did not force her to do it! She volunteered… Overall, this was a great success. When she bows with her hands in front of her it… lights up a man’s heart. There’s people whose faces are red even though they haven’t drunk that much. After all, breasts and yukata. Fufufu… all according to plan.
And thus, the banquet continued. Seems like it will finish without a problem. Studying the fish in front of me, I can’t help but marvel at the design of the cut. Of course, I immediately ate some of it. By no means was it bad. This fish was around A ranked… and while some of it looked hardly appetizing, that does not affect its taste. The guests had their magicians assess the food for poison and hesitantly put it in their mouth. Well, as in-landers that they are, they probably never had the chance to eat raw fish before. After all, the carriage is the problem. Other than being able to carry a limited amount, even the extremely rich would not be able to eat the fish raw. Oh, and of course they really liked it. So everything went according to plan. “See what you can eat if you deal with us?” That’s the kind of message I want them to get from this. That’s one of the reasons I’m doing all of this. Not just to flaunt my wealth. I am not just a selfish individual, I am also opportunistic! That’s how it is.
And thus the banquet (a.k.a. publicity stunt) concluded without an incident.