The Novel's Villain - Chapter 78
21. Subordinates (2)
Jin-woo had to go a little back along the wall, but he didn’t feel it as far as he looked around. Looking at the ground, it was a much better situation than Elonti. It seemed that it would be possible to revive on its own if financial support was provided. As he approached the small door, he noticed a line.
Jin-woo stood behind them. He could see aristocratic demons in luxurious clothes frowning. Looking at their information, they were noblemen from another estate.
“Oh, I can’t believe I’m being treated like this in such poor estate…”
“Let’s talk to Lady Vriac. This is an insult.”
There seemed to be a lot of complaints. Then, they looked at Jin-woo. They didn’t pick a fight or anything. Rather, they greeted Jin-woo lightly, as if they felt that his presence was something a lower demon couldn’t possess. A demon laughed and turned to speak to him. After all, it was good to get acquainted with Jin-woo if he was a noble or high-ranking person. He had risen to a fairly high position with such tactics.
“Haha! You hold yourself like a noble person, but you seem to be traveling.”
“I’m stopping by for a while.”
“I see. Indeed, there is no such thing as a harsh estate for a traveler. I wouldn’t have come here if it weren’t for the fame of the Demon King Gallord.”
The demons were friendly. Usually, there was a development where people picked a fight or something, but such an event seemed unlikely now. As he approached the gate, the gatekeeper was conducting identification checks. It was surprising since Arina told her that Gallord’s estate was free for visitors to come and go.
“No, are you doing this knowing who we are!”
“Is it okay to treat a guest this badly?”
“You even restrict the wagon…! I mean! I even ate dinner with the manager here once!”
The gatekeeper sweated and tried to calm them down.
“I’m sorry, but we ask for your understanding as this is what the Demon King personally ordered.”
“Cough, if Gallord ordered it himself…I would understand, but…I will formally protest!”
“If you treat nobles like this, you will break the laws of the Demon Realm! Huh, what a shame!”
Still, it was difficult to see it as the violence of the noblemen. Rather, it felt cute. They still had everything checked out while they grumbled.
Soon, Jin-woo’s turn came. The gatekeeper seemed to be a fairly well-trained demon soldier, with skills beyond a simple doorman. His attitude was almost too polite.
“What is the purpose of your visit?”
“It’s a trip.”
“I see. There are restricted areas, so please be careful.”
Jin-woo nodded. It didn’t matter if he just looked around the outskirts. The nobles in front of Jin-woo were having workers carry their luggage.
“Please put your hand on the crystal ball.”
The crystal ball looked very expensive. Jin-woo examined it with the Magic Eye of information first.
[C+] True Name Finder
An artifact created by Demon King Gallord. With the power of the Demon King, it can check the given name by connecting with the Dark Ego. The effect is certain, but it is not used well. This is because many sacrifices must be made to the Dark Ego.
It was quite an interesting artifact.
“Do I just have to put my hand on it?”
“It isn’t harmful, so you can rest assured.”
Come to think of it; the demons didn’t know Jin-woo’s name. He never revealed his name in any other dimension, as he was usually just called Emperor. As Jin-woo looked at the crystal ball for a moment, the eyes around him were drawn to him. The nobles in front were also now looking at Jin-woo.
“It’s been taking too long lately…”
The visitors and workers in the back spoke politely as if to be quicker. If he stepped back now, there was a high possibility that he would be called a suspicious person.
‘As long as I pass it…’
It might be a very unusual name here, but it wouldn’t necessarily detect him. He placed his palm flat against the crystal ball. The white liquid inside it started to grow cloudy like black paint was dropped in white milk.
[The Dark Ego politely asks for your name. Please tell it your name. The Dark Ego can change it to an alias.]
‘Oh, that’s helpful too.’
The Dark Ego responded, and, fortunately, it seemed to be helpful this time. If the Dark Ego changed his name into a plausible alias, he could pass right away. He might have to re-evaluate his opinion on the Dark Ego. It had caused him trouble, but it was trying to help. The intention was good, but the result was bad and became a problem.
It was the moment when Jin-woo called out his name with his will.
The demon energy around him was shaking.
[It is a great evil that even the Dark Ego cannot bear.]
[The Dark Ego briefly runs rampant at the unbearably great name.]
Such information came to his mind. Come to think of it, he forgot about it, but even the Emperor of Greed said something like that. It had even vomited blood.
For a moment, it was quiet. It didn’t seem like anything had happened yet. Surprisingly, he might…
Not just pass by easily.
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The crystal ball turned completely black, as dark as a black hole.
A dark cloud came out from under the ground and wrapped around the crystal ball, raising it into the air. The gatekeepers backed away alongside the nobles, tripping over themselves and falling on their butts. Some of those behind Jin-woo even started to run away.
The crystal ball cracked. Artifacts imbued with the power of the Demon King couldn’t be destroyed without a power that surpassed the Demon King. It was for this reason that weapons made by Demon Kings were often called weapons made by God.
The crystal ball was broken, the energy inside swirling out. It now really looked like a black hole.
The surrounding floor cracked and the demon energy in the air was pulled in, causing the vortex to grow larger. Everyone stared blankly at the scene, Jin-woo included.
He was wondering what the hell it was.
For a moment, silence dominated. It was such a chilling stillness that all sound seemed to have disappeared from the world. The demons felt their ears ringing. One noble lady, staring blankly at the vortex from under the castle gate, felt a tug as the necklace around her neck slowly rose into the air. It was a necklace with a jewel the size of a nail, and it was floating as if gravity had completely disappeared. The necklace left her neck and floated in the air.
As she reached out to grab it…
The ring on her hand was pulled into the vortex.
The weapons the gatekeepers were holding were also sucked in. They tried to hold on, but they were wrenched free of their grasp.
The bricks on the wall were broken and torn away; the flag that symbolized Gallord was torn apart and vanished.
“I-I’m getting sucked in!”
The demons began to flee, leaving no one around Jin-woo.
Seeing that the walls and gates were being sucked in, he had to quickly come up with a countermeasure. He must not cause trouble for Gallord, who had been so helpful. Jin-woo took off his gloves and gathered his mana, using the dark mana to capture the vortex. Yet, the vortex began to grow bigger as it absorbed Jin-woo’s dark mana.
He felt heavy. Looking through the Magic Eye, the vortex was unstable as if it were about to burst. It was a ticking bomb.
Jin-woo pulled at the vortex with all his might and threw it straight into the sky. The vortex began to soar into the sky, scattering black smoke through the air.
The moment it rose to its apex…
The vortex burst just like that. It blew away all the clouds and sprayed out a massive amount of demon energy. Black energy covered the sky and ate up all light, turning the day to night. The black energy scattered in the sky started to gently fall like fresh snow.
“Even so, it’s not dangerous.”
When he checked with the Magic Eye of the Information, he deduced it was safe. Rather, with the dark mana and demon energy properly mixed, it was abundant with nutrients. It would have a great effect if it fell on the ground. Although the visuals were a bit ominous…
The gates had collapsed, and the walls fared little better. Jin-woo was blocked from the entrance before he could even look inside.
* * *
Gallord was unable to sleep after visiting Arina’s estate. Every time he slept, all he heard was Hallas.
[Why did you leave me? I will curse you!]
[I will curse you forever!]
[I’m going to eat your flesh! Keaaarrrghh!]
Hallas showed up and tormented him. The Hallas in his nightmares wasn’t normal. His skin was half smeared off, and he was shedding bloody tears.
Gallord let out a deep sigh. He told Arina that he would follow the Emperor, having said so to avoid a similar situation as Giganter and buy more time. He even raised the security boundary of the estate for now and prepared for the possibility that the Emperor would come. If there were someone who appeared to be the Emperor, he would be ready. He even had the road from the central gate leading to the castle decorated well to impress.
He also made sure to educate his soldiers and officials about manners, and he had his wife and daughter stay in the annex. He packed everything up so he could evacuate at any time should things go awry. Still, he couldn’t feel relieved.
Gallord looked at the jewel he had received from the Emperor. It was a jewel of great value. By using it alone, he could pay off his debts to other Demon Kings and solve the problem in his estate.
‘…I have to make a choice.’
The Emperor was forcing him to turn his back on the Demon Realm and the other Demon Kings. Otherwise, he would eat up all the residents of the estate. Those countless demon bones…and the terrible dish made of that flesh. He remembered that scene whenever he ate, pushing Gallord to only drink water until now.
Why the hell were the tombs made? He could just leave the bones alone, but the Emperor ordered the tombs to be built. He had to know his intention. Although Gallord was afraid, he closed his eyes tightly and helped Arina directly. Artifacts for surveillance were installed secretly when the tombs were built. Since he utilized his power, he thought it couldn’t be noticed easily, even by the Emperor himself.
‘…Here is the video.’
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He hesitated to play it. Did he do a good job? Wouldn’t the Emperor notice? Such anxiety still lingered.
Gallord swallowed his fears and played the video. He stiffened almost immediately as the Emperor appeared in the graveyard with Arina. Seeing the Emperor once again, he was indeed too frightening.
‘What are they doing?’
The Emperor sprinkled an unknown liquid on the graveyard. A black stream surrounded his right hand, so he couldn’t see it properly. It was at the moment the Emperor said something, Gallord’s eyes widened. A bizarre pattern was carved above the soil.
Black skulls popped up through the ground. Black Skeletons…they were evil creatures that only came from the deep underground of the Demon Realm. Yet, right there were hundreds of such Black Skeletons.
All the Black Skeletons knelt before the Emperor with their eerie red eyes glowing maliciously.
‘That…the red glare…’
It was similar to the red-eye glow he saw in that dark space. He broke out in a renewed cold sweat, but his clothes were already soaked. The Emperor ate the demons and made Black Skeletons using the remaining bones.
‘He isn’t coveting the Demon Realm. He just….’
Judging by the enormous wealth he had, the Demon Realm was a land of no value. He had come to eat the demons and make soldiers. The demons were nothing but materials for him. The Emperor of Gold was simply evil.
Gallord wiped his face down with a trembling hand. He didn’t know whether the elves were even better off. No, maybe the Elf Queen was desperately singing for her kind not to be eaten.
‘Oh, I don’t think I’ve been caught yet. I need to destroy the artifacts quickly…’
Gallord gathered his powers and quickly destroyed the artifacts in Arina’s estate. The consumption of mana was severe given the distance. He sat there heaving, recovering his energy.
The crystal ball shone with a call from Arina. Gallord’s body stiffened. He received the call with trembling hands.
[Hello? Lord Gallord.]
“H-h-hello. Lady Arina.”
[You look very tired. I told you that your health is important…]
[What are you sorry about? I was just saying this because I was worried about you. Lord Gallord, your residents respect and follow you very much, don’t they? They will be very sad if you don’t keep your health.]
Gallord swallowed the lump in his throat. Sweat ran down his jawline. The residents were like his family. The driving force behind him to make it through difficult situations. It was an obvious threat.
“I will keep that in mind. By the way, what brings you here?”
Arina smiled brightly. It was such an innocent smile, but Gallord knew. The fear hid behind that mask.
[I’m calling because I think you need to know. He went to look around your estate, but I think it will be a big deal if there are any inconveniences.]
“L-looking around my estate? W-who…?”
[My master. He should have arrived by now.]
Gallord’s jaw dropped.
[Then I will call you again next time! I’m telling you without master’s knowledge, so treat me later!]
Arina said so and then cut off contact.
‘I got caught!’
Gallord had no choice but to think so. He made the Emperor angry. He had to fix it quickly; he had to make an excuse that he didn’t mean it. Otherwise, his estate…and his residents…!
They would be devoured by him.
It was at that moment that the demon energy around him vibrated. Gallord turned his head with a creak to look out of the castle.
A black hole that threatened to devour the whole estate was floating above the wall. It ate the gates and walls. The flag was sucked in alongside the weapons left on the wall.
His estate was being eaten.
Gallord immediately fell to his knees.
“I’m sorry! I was wrong! I will give you my life! Please…!”
He cried so loudly. Was it because of that sincerity? The black hole soared into the sky and burst with evil energy. Evil dust poured down into the estate in a sight similar to what Callarice predicted. Fortunately, the estate was still unharmed.
Gallord ran out of his quarters quickly, intent to serve the Emperor before he offended him any further.
* * *
Jin-woo could see Gallord running fast. He was very sorry.
‘There are so many accidents in the Demon Realm.’
He missed the Earth. Jin-woo felt a mixture of joy and sorrow at the same time.
“M-my Lord Emperor, for you to come to s-such shabby place…I’m sorry. I…really…”
“There was a little mistake. I’m sorry. I will compensate you for everything.”
“P-please don’t say that. It’s my fault for not meeting you beforehand.”
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He didn’t know what to do with Gallord. The Demon King even said that Jin-woo’s mistakes were his fault. Jin-woo was moved by his generous personality.
“Let’s go to the castle. I will guide you!”
“I’d like to look around the estate. Would that be all right?
Gallord nodded and guided him through the estate.
‘It seems okay.’
The houses where residents lived were a bit old, but it was clean. The water and sewage system was also well organized. The residents were out on the street, perhaps surprised by the commotion that had just occurred. Everyone looked at Gallord and bowed their heads politely. Jin-woo could see that the residents respected him.
In the meanwhile, Gallord himself was perplexed and restless.
‘He is so humble.’
Jin-woo also thought he deserved respect, but he was rather humble. He could learn a lot from his attitude. Demon children flocked around. Among them, there was a girl that stood out as exceptional. She looked towards Gallord and ran as she smiled brightly.
Gallord grew pale.
“Is that your daughter?”
“What? Yes, t-that’s right.”
Even though she was the Demon King’s daughter, she hung out with the kids in the neighborhood. It was an ideal sight for Jin-woo, making him consider Gallord even more highly. The Demon King’s daughter ran right in front of him. She looked up at Gallord, then turned to look up blankly at Jin-woo. She was very cute.
“Hello? Are you daddy’s friend?”
“Right, what’s your name?”
“Amy Gallord Sardin IV!”
Jin-woo lowered his posture and made eye contact with Amy. Gallord turned pale, but Jin-woo didn’t notice. He took out candies and snacks from subspace. Amy’s eyes sparkled when she saw them.
“Share it with your friends.”
“Wow! Thank you!”
Amy nodded as she grabbed the bundle of candies and snacks, then sprinted back to her friends. Jin-woo suddenly thought of what it would be like to have a child. Really, who would be his wife? What kind of child would he have?
‘She’s so cute.’
Even Jin-woo felt this way. How about Gallord? Jin-woo looked at him with a smile.
“She’s a cute kid. You’ve raised her so beautifully.”
“I think I can see why you work so hard.”
“N-no. I-I didn’t really…”
Jin-woo shook his head.
“You don’t have to hide it. Because I understand everything.”
“Next time, I will bring a present for your daughter.”
Gallord was about to lose his breath. He was really weak to compliments. They looked around the estate a bit longer before entering the castle. Once inside, Gallord knelt.
“I will give my allegiance to the Emperor.”
“No, you don’t have to….”
“Please accept my loyalty.”
Jin-woo felt troubled when the Demon King suddenly lowered himself. Jin-woo reached out to raise him again.
“Let’s help each other as we do now.”
“Do not worry. They will live well in the future.”
“T-thank you. Thank you very much!”
Gallord said so with an awkward smile. He was a man who could give up his pride for his people.
‘Let’s help them out.’
Jin-woo took out a bag full of dimensional gold coins from the subspace. It was compensation for damage to the castle gates and walls. Gallord stared blankly at the gold bag. When he looked at the enormous dimensional gold coins, his guilt disappeared for a moment.
‘Yes, to live. This is….’
Hadn’t he had a fierce life until now? It was for Amy, for his family, and the residents. They had already suffered enough.
“Umm, this must be too little.”
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Having said that, Jin-woo took out a few more bags from the subspace. Gallord’s eyes closed tight again. It was honestly too much money for him to feel guilty about.