Chapter 250 – Invasion of Nonoichi City ⑮
“Oh? What evil scheme is it going to be this time?”
“Evil scheme…just out of interest, didn’t you call yourself a self-alleged strategist?”
“Ugh! So, what kind of plan are you going to use?”
Geeze, if this girl is really aiming to become a strategist…now would be the perfect opportunity to show her mettle, wouldn’t it?
“A one-on-one fight.”
“A duel. You don’t know what that means? Duels are the key attraction of any battlefield, you know?”
I recall a historic manga I enjoyed reading in the past. The commanders, who can rightly be called the representatives of the two opposing parties, duke it out in a one-on-one. If you win, great fame awaits you. If you lose, you suffer a terrible humiliation. If you lose, it’s not just the commander’s life that’s forfeit. The winner’s army gets a huge boost in morale while the morale on the loser’s side plummets.
“What a very ordinary idea.”
“Quite commonplace, yeah.”
“Master, if you are tired, how about hitting me for stress relief?”
“Hmm…as expected, even you can’t suddenly come up with a breakthrough solution under these circumstances, Shion.”
“Key attraction of any battlefield? In other words, it’s going to be my turn?”
Everyone nitpicks at my strategy.
“I see… How about you guys try coming up with a plan then? Just as a short reminder: you know what’s going to happen to you…if you come up with a boring, brainless idea, don’t you?”
“Ahaha…I think your plan is greaaat!”
“Ya idiots! A duel? Ain’t that the best!?”
“Master…*pants heavily*…what’s going to happen to me…? *pants heavily*”
“Now then, I’ve got to go to adjust the defenses.”
“I’ve agreed with your plan from the very start, Shion-sama!”
My subordinates all at once change their opinion as soon as they feel my cold look on them.
“So…who’s going to represent the Aster Empire in the duel?”
“Is it fine to assume that the duel opponent is going to be the highest-leveled human within the Kanezawa Liberation Army?”
Unlike the idiot faction among my subordinates, Kotetsu and Rina, who had remained silent so far, asked me for further details.
“Hmm? Rina-tan, you think they’re not going to accept a duel?”
The Kanezawa Liberation Army has 15 people above level 50. Since 『Kanezawa’s Sage』 and 『Kanezawa’s Saintess』 won’t appear on the battlefield, they’re doubtlessly the spiritual support of the Kanezawa Liberation Army. I ordered Saburou to make them his priority targets since they’d kill many subordinates if left unchecked, but…as soon as they faced Saburou’s Team J, they retreated to the rear. And once Team J stopped chasing them as they ran the risk of going too deep into the enemy lines, they’d reappear on the frontline at some point, killing many of my subordinates.
“Rina, the answer to your question is yes. The opponent for the duel is going to be the highest-leveled human of the Kanezawa Liberation Army. Kotetsu, as for your question, I’ll take them on.”
“That’s super dangerous!”
“Isn’t that too risky?”
“Are you going to be alright?”
My subordinates are clearly surprised after hearing my reply.
“Just as Saburou said, they immediately retreat, if we send our main force at them. In that case, we have no option but to place the best bait in front of their eyes, do we?”
We’re constantly overwhelming them in the war. Although it’s going to take time, it’s clear that we’ll come out victorious in the end. The sole chance for the Kanezawa Liberation Army to win is to kill me.
“If I remember correctly…the highest-leveled human is a 30-years-old man called Mizoguchi according to the information gathered by Mrs. Tamura. He’s level 54.”
By the way, Rina’s level is 56. Kotetsu is at level 61. Going by what I’ve seen, Mizoguchi’s skill falls behind these two as well.
“Are you confident that you’ll be able to win?” Rina asks me with a serious expression.
“Do you think I’d propose this plan if I weren’t confident in it?”
After becoming a Demon King, I’ve taken part in battle on many, many occasions. I might be inferior when compared to some of my leaders, but…I don’t feel like I’d lose to any run-of-the-mill human. If we limit it to nighttime, I’m superior when it comes to totals in stats. Our Body values might be even, but I’m surpassing him by leaps and bounds in equipment quality.
“In short, you’re saying you’re going to challenge their strongest human to a duel, and lower the enemy’s morale by defeating him, Shion-sama?”
“That’s the idea.”
“In that case, I’d like to make a suggestion.” Kotetsu says after summarizing my plan.
“Suggestion? Let’s hear it.”
“I’d like to have a duel as a preliminary fight. How about it?”
“Yep. I’ll have a duel before you’re having your duel, Shion-sama. I’ll win and so will you. Don’t you think that this would break the enemy’s spirit even more?” Kotetsu proposes while smiling like a good-natured old grandpa.
“I don’t particularly mind, but…do you believe the enemy is going to go along with this?”
“I’d say it depends on how we phrase it.”
“Then I leave it to you.”
“Count on me.”
Just when I accepted Kotetsu’s suggestion, “Wait a sec there!” Takaharu ― an even worse battle maniac than Kotetsu ― shouts out loudly.
“What is it?”
“If we’re gonna have preliminary fights, ain’t it fine for me to join in too!?”
“I don’t really mind, but…won’t the enemy refuse if they have to face you?”
“Hah!? It’s goin’ to work if we flaunt ya as a bait, Shion!”
“Bait…you do realize that I’m your lord, right?”
“Of course! Yer the boss here! Didn’t ya say it yerself? The thing with 『Protect me』! In short, that’s why I’m gonna have a duel!”
Takaharu’s words make absolutely no sense. Especially the reasoning at the second part of his statement is cryptic at most. Having said that, it’ll be fine to take the overall victory if we’re going to win anyway. Prevailing against the enemy’s strongest combat forces is going to boost our side’s morale, and lower the enemy’s.
“Let me just ask for reference, but…which of you two Kotatsu and Takaharu is stronger?”
“Hah? What’s with that obvious question――”
“Kotetsu, answer honestly.”
Interrupting Takaharu’s blathering, I direct the question at Kotetsu.
“If it’s between me and Takaharu, I’m stronger――”
“Hey!” Takaharu interrupts Kotetsu with anger oozing out of his voice.
“――is what I’d have answered a month ago.”
Kotetsu continues speaking without minding Takaharu butting in.
“『A month ago』, huh…? What about now?”
“To be honest, I can’t tell…I suspect that Takaharu would win 7 out of 10 times.”
“Hah? Aren’t ya sayin’ that I’m goin’ to lose three times then!?”
“Calm down…your winning percentage is 70%, you know? By the way, what about me as an opponent?”
“Even assuming that I’d take you on with your power ― the items you granted me, Shion-sama?”
“Those items are yours now, so don’t ask the obvious.”
“If we fought 10 times…I dare say that it’s questionable whether you’d be able to win a single time against me, Shion-sama.”
“A winning percentage of less than 10%, eh?” I smile wryly at my subordinate who clearly declares that he’s much stronger than me, albeit very respectfully.
Why did Kotetsu mention last month? That’s because of Takaharu’s growth. Takaharu has killed a lot of humans in the recent battles against the Kanezawa Liberation Army and thus leveled up several times. As result of that――
Name: Takaharu Shion
Race: Beast King
LP: 0 / 3000
Close Combat Sense
Unarmed Combat (A)
→ Twin Fang
→ Destruction Fist
→ Body Finesse
→ Roundhouse Kick
→ Twin Dragon Kick
→ Swallow Kick
Subordinates: Werewolf x 300
He’s become the only subordinate in the Aster Empire who’s achieved rank A. Takaharu has been a Body-only fighter since his time as a Demon King, so I guess he’s overwhelming Kotetsu’s superior techniques with sheer power. Quite the reliable combat force, I gotta say.
“Okay, I guess I’ll leave the preliminary fight to Takaharu then.”
“Oh! Nice, nice! Count on me!”
“Anything but a crushing victory won’t be tolerated. Got it?”
With the strategy decided, I look forward to today’s invasion when the general war progress is hopefully going to shift.
Chapter 251 – Invasion of Nonoichi City ⑯
11th day after we’ve started the full-blown invasion of Nonoichi’s city hall.
Once we finish the march and battle formation which have already become a routine for us…the humans of the Kanezawa Liberation Army flood out of the city hall to defend their land.
Usually we’d start with exchanging ranged attacks, before clashing against each other in close combat before long.
Given that the Aster Empire is excelling in strength against the Kanezawa Liberation Army, our side eventually winning is set in stone, but…
『Humans of the Kanezawa Liberation Army! My name is Shion of the Aster Empire! We have now fought each other to the death over a period of ten days! Either of our sides has lost precious friends, comrades, and family members! The smart ones among you must have already noticed – the foreseeable future as we repeat the same procedure every day, be it today, tomorrow, or the days after!』 I use my 【Megaphone】 to address the humans.
“Don’t screw with us!”
“We won’t yield!!”
But I only earn myself the humans’ scorn and abuse.
I’m well aware of it. You guys won’t follow my recommendation for surrender…
Without minding the humans’ insults, I continue spinning my words, 『The faint possibility of the Kanezawa Liberation Army winning against our Aster Empire…is less than 1 in 10,000, but do you have a method allowing you to win this? The answer is ― yes, you do! You just need to kill me! Accordingly I’ll offer you, who are so pitiful to have such trashy leaders that abandon their friends out of folly and cowardice, a single, big opportunity!』
The humans start to stir after hearing my words.
『How about we have a one-on-one fight? Your opponent is going to be ― me, Demon King Shion! What do you say? If you consider it logically from your inferior position, it’s the best chance you’ll get! My opponents are going to be…『Kanezawa’s Sage』 or 『Kanezawa’s Saintess』…is what I want to say, but they probably won’t accept anyways. It’s a huge chance to save all of your lives, but I’m sure they won’t put their own lives at risk for you. Therefore ― the true leader of the Kanezawa Liberation Army ― Hero Mizoguchi! I’d like to nominate you as my opponent in the duel, but are you going to accept?』
“A one-on-one between Mizoguchi-san and Demon King Shion?”
“If Mizoguchi-san wins…it’s going to be our victory?”
“I think if anyone can win, it’d be Mizoguchi-san…”
“…Isn’t that some kind of trap?”
Hope and anxiety spreads among the humans upon my suggestion.
『Hero Mizoguchi! Can you hear me? What is it going to be? How are you going to answer?』
I’m sure Hero Mizoguchi can’t answer right away. He might be suspecting a trap behind the sudden chance to obtain an overall-victory. Or maybe he’s wrestling with his fear that he might possibly lose his life.
I offered hope to the humans. If he hesitates here, Hero Mizoguchi’s reputation is going to take a heavy hit.
『What’s wrong? This is a perfect chance for you guys, you know? Weighing the possibility of losing your own life against the possibility of losing the lives of many comrades, you’re going to choose your own safety? Or do you have a plan on how to win this war by continuing as until now? ――Answer me!』
I empathetically raise my voice so as to force a reply.
This voice is?
The reply to my suggestion doesn’t come from Mizoguchi, but from the speakers installed on Nonoichi’s city hall.
『Mizoguchi-san won’t run! He is…our new hope! Demon King Shion! The words you prattled just now ― are no lie, are they?』
『Kanezawa’s Sage』 Andou Hideya asks me through the speaker.
Hey, hey, just a minute…are you selling out your own comrade to save your own hide? Are you going for new heights as scum…?
Having said that, it’s convenient for me.
『The words just now? You mean the one-on-one fight?』
『Indeed! Can you bastard pledge that you’re going to fight Mizoguchi-san yourself without anyone interfering!?』
『And to whom should I pledge? Your great saintess who discards her friends? Or to you, Mr. Sage, who sends his comrades to their death while sitting behind safe walls?』
『…D-D-D-D-Don’t fuck with me!!!』
Rage fills Andou Hideya’s voice as he seems to not be overly pleased with my phrasing.
『It remains unknown to whom I should pledge, but unlike you, I keep my promises…is what I want to say, but since your answer has been way too slow, it looks like one of my subordinates feels the need to speak to you』
I passed the 【Megaphone】 to Takaharu whom I had called over earlier.
『Come on, Kanezawa Liberation Army worms! Aren’t ya bitches gettin’ ahead of yerself by suddenly askin’ to take on our general!?』
『――Wh-!? It’s not us who’s suggested a duel! Demon King Shion――』
『Shut yer trap! Your whiny bickerin’ grates my nerves…! If ya wanna fight Shion, you gotta have a duel with me first! The rest follows after that!』
『In short, you’re saying Demon King Shion is going to participate in a duel after we defeat you!?』
『Hah? Who said anythin’ like that? If we did it yer way, ya wouldn’t get to have a duel with Shion for the rest of yer lives. First, fight me! Afterwards, that hero or whatever can fight Shion!』
『W-What’s that about…?』
Andou Hideya is confused by Takaharu’s ridiculous demand.
『Let me apologize for my subordinate. In other words, he wants to have a preliminary. What do you say? Are you going to accept? If you accept it, I’ll also agree to a one-on-one fight』
『Now listen, it was you who suggested a one-on-one fight in the first place, so――』
『Shut up! It’s your own fault for being so slow with your response! If you had answered me at once, I’d have happily held the duel! Blame your own ineptitude to make prompt decisions!』
My excuse is absurd. However, the humans have no chance for victory unless they go along with this suggestion.
『We’d like to have some time to consider』
『You have five minutes. With each passing five minutes, the number of preliminary battles is going to increase. And if you exceed 30 minutes…I’ll regard it as you having refused my suggestion, and we’ll launch a general offensive』
Thus I yielded the choice to the enemy side.