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Chapter 973

An army moved across the plains of West Aberis. Animals and people alike fled when they saw them approaching. The knights wore the armor of Aberis, but there was something wrong with the people sitting within that armor. Their skin was pale like death, and their eyes were black. They had demonic grins on their faces like they had lost all sanity. Life was right to flee because these creatures senselessly slaughtered any creature that got too close.  

Behind the army of knights, there were ogres, trolls, and other creatures that had spawned in the uninhabited mountains and wilderness. How these creatures were tamed and turned into soldiers for the army was anyone’s guess. A certain demon, shrouded in darkness, road a palanquin carried by various slaves. The slaves were encouraged to keep up. If one of them fell behind and was no longer able to do their duty, their fate was to be eaten by the monsters following behind.

“Is this true?” The man asked, seemingly talking to the air.

After a few moments of general silence, he burst into laughter. This caused the slaves moving forward to feel like ice was sliding up their spines. The man they were carrying along laughed horrendously for some time before finally settling down.

“What is it?” A woman kneeling at his feet finally asked.

Normally, he would have kicked her for speaking, but the man was still giggling to himself, and the news was much too juicy for him to just ignore.

“It would appear that Deek Deekson has returned to Chalm.”

The woman raised an eyebrow. “You already know as much.” 

“No, you misunderstand. It isn’t the woman known as Deedee… it’s the man I met in Twilight Dungeon.”

Her eyes widened in shock. “He escaped?”

“Mm… I thought him and his soul would have been shredded in the abyss. To think that he’d have a means of returning to this universe. It makes me very curious to unlock all of his secrets.”

“Isn’t this bad, though? You already had enough trouble facing one Deek. How will you be able to face two?”

He sneered. “I didn’t even bother to put out my full ability the last time we met. He could throw out a hundred Deeks, and it wouldn’t be enough to harm me. You should have realized that by now.”

“…” She lowered her head.

“Besides, I said Deek returned, but it turns out the two consider themselves enemies. My spies have already confirmed their hatred for each other. The two plan to fight just about the time I get there. I’ll be able to watch them battle each other to the death, and then I’ll clean up the remains.”

“R-really?”

“They barely even care about my presence. Perhaps, they don’t think me a threat. Fools. They will suffer and die. Perhaps, I will torture and rape the female. That will be amusing for a bit.”

“That can’t be why you’re so happy. As you said, you’d win even if they were combined.”

“True…” He nodded thoughtfully. “The reason I’m happy is because the sword appeared. The silvthril sword I went to so much trouble to obtain. I thought it had been lost. It had truly ruined my mood. However, it seems that Deek has it. No, rather, he’s conveniently brought it to this world for me. I had only regained just a bit of my happiness when you came and tried to kill me. This malacrum dagger you’ve delivered was the only reason I’ve been able to maintain my calm. I should thank you, mother.”

As he spoke up, he pulled out the dagger, dancing it back and forth in his hands. Calypso looked at it longingly, but she was now enslaved to him and he had given her many orders. Taking those two steps and snatching it would be completely impossible. She lowered her head. Her last bit of hope had been Deedee. Perhaps, she could pull off a miracle. However, now some man had interfered, and it seemed like they were too busy fighting themselves to understand the true threat.

“Soon, I will have both a malacrum dagger and a silvthril sword.” He spoke, almost to himself. “At that point, the world will be mine!”

Chapter 974

While I couldn’t see the demon lord or anything like that, I was looking at the armies of deranged knights walking forward.

“What is wrong with them?” I asked.

“Miasma,” Astria spoke up. “The same thing that turned me into a dark fairy has infected these men. That is the risk one faces when using miasma as a weapon. It’s a powerful weapon, but it also corrupts the mind and body. It warps people until they are barely recognizable as people. I had once let it happen to myself.”

“Is miasma so dangerous? Should I be worried?”

I had never realized just how deadly it was. I had always wondered why the people of this world stayed away from the stuff. If it could just be used like any other mana, why was it so heavily vilified? I had a karmic soul constructed from miasma, and several of my girls used miasma. Were they going to end up like this?

“You don’t need to worry.” Astria shook her head. “This is simply what happens to most normal people. Miasma rots the soul and body. If your soul is bound to your body, and the miasma enters your body and does its damage, you will rot from the inside. You don’t need to worry about this happening.

“Your karmic soul protects you from this, as does Salicia, Elaya, and myself. As for Shao, demons seem to have an unusually high resistance to miasma. It’s part of why they’ve been so successful up until now. Well, even before you had a karmic soul, that blessing would have protected you as well. That’s why you can stand jobs like Dark Priest and Demon Knight without losing your mind.”

“Even Dark Priest would have caused problems?” I cried out in surprise.

I had gotten the job, Dark Priest, before I had protection against miasma. The first time I had used it was against Shao, and shortly after I had gained the blessing that protected me from miasma.

“Yes… if you had been leveling it and using those skills, yes.” Astria sighed. “It is well known that Dark Priests tend to be eccentric and crazy. Calypso might have even been a normal woman once.”

“I see…”

I let out a light laugh while wiping my forehead of sweat. I had come dangerously close to making a fatal mistake. Thankfully, I hadn’t spent any major time on Dark Priest.

“Then again, you’re a white mage. You’re also extremely resilient toward miasma. Paladins are as well. It allows them to fight in dungeons for very long periods. It is well-known dungeon divers need to be purified regularly. It likely never would have been an issue for you.”

“That’s true…”

In the end, it seemed like I had many protections against miasma. For me, the path I had taken felt like an inevitability, but for the people of this world, dungeons were difficult to handle.

“Master?” Shao asked.

“Close the image. Come home.”

“Yes!”

The image of the marching army disappeared, and a minute later a portal opened and Shao appeared in front of me. This had been her spying on the approaching army.

“Shao… what’s the report?” I asked.

“Master, they are about a week out,” Shao announced. “Their forces are about twice the size of our own.”

“I see… good to know.”

“Does this change your mind?” Astria asked.

“Master… if we teamed up with Deek…”

“No!” I snapped.

Although I had ordered them to spy on the army and let me know the size and distance of their army, that didn’t mean I didn’t have my own plans. They seemed to think I would drop everything just because of this looming threat.

“Master…”

“This has only told me we need to take care of Deek quickly before they arrive. We have one week.”

The girls looked at each other but didn’t say anything. I began to give out orders as we prepared for war.

Chapter 975

“My lord, the army is ready, but are you sure we should be dealing with this Deedee? Wouldn’t it be better to ally with her?”

“The time for that has already passed. “I responded irritably. “Just focused on preparation.”

A week had passed by quickly. I had Miki making potions. Lydia was running drills. Elaya, I had sent on a special task that only she could accomplish. We were just about ready, but if I had to say where everyone’s mind was at, their morale had reached an all-time low.

After seeing the fighting capabilities of the girls, the soldiers had immediately recognized them as the generals of the army. Prior to that, they had been almost dismissive and condescending toward them, but after seeing such a brutal fight that would have wiped out all of them if they had joined, the men wouldn’t dare disrespect the women of their lord. Previously, they had respected me, but now they feared me too. Each of the girls now had a position of leadership.

That was what I was hoping for, but it had also served to demoralize them. After all, the other side had women just as strong. How could someone march into a battle of giants when they were a mere human and feel easy. Knowing the strength of the girls they faced, this caused them to not have a good feeling. Furthermore, the girls or maybe the residents of Deeksville had seemed to leak what was going on regards to Deedee. They now knew that we were going to be fighting Chalm, not the demon lord, first.

This had made a lot of them unhappy. I had received numerous complaints, but I had ignored them all. Instead, I had prepared them for the battle. I explained and revealed all of Deedee and her army’s weaknesses. They understood the army we were going to face intimately. They knew exactly how to fight them, and that was what I wanted.

I had already gazed upon Aberis’s army. The men were practically zombies, demon knights corrupted with miasma. Then, the monsters were dumb trolls and giants from the northern mountains who Aberis had likely tamed somehow. Simply put, they were an army of brute strength, and there was no sense in understanding them. Rather, they were truly easy to understand. They hated life and wanted to eliminate it.

I had contacted the property in Alerith to fight out the state. Lord Reign had stayed behind. Although many citizens had gone missing, nearly half, and the city was full of unrest and nearly crumbling. Those citizens were likely used as food for monsters and slaves for the knights. Aberis had spent 20 years stripping Alerith of resources to build his army in secret, and now he had finally moved. All that was left of the city was destitute, starving, and beaten people. At least, that’s how I saw it.

Alerith would have to wait. My focus had to be on Deedee right now. First, her, then I’d defeat the demon lord, and then finally we could conquer the west.

“Alright.” I stood up, standing before an army of knights, paladins, priests, and conscripts. “We’ll begin.”

“Master…” Lydia looked over at me worriedly.

I smiled and put a hand on her shoulder. “Do you trust me?”

Lydia met my eyes, and then without hesitation, she nodded. “I do!”

“Then, trust in me this once. I know what I’m doing.”

“O-okay…”

I opened up a portal. “Move out!”

At the end of the day, there would only be one victor.

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