Ximengsi Continent’s southern part, the capital of Steinbeck Fief, Stanley City.
Looming above the rest of the city was a palace not any bit inferior to the palaces found within the greatest human empires. It was difficult to imagine that it had all been built by Duke Andrew. Now, there was hardly a single person in Steinbeck Fief. Over a hundred years ago, when Duke Andrew had first taken over Steinbeck Fief, the population of this fief had also been miserably small, numbering less than a hundred households.
The construction of a palace required enormous manpower and materials. With Steinbeck Fief’s population at that time, regardless of which requirement one considered, be it manpower or resources, each was extremely difficult to fulfill. Moreover, Steinbeck Fief lacked a specialty to use as a mortgage or attract investors with, so it was basically impossible for Duke Andrew to find a sponsor. Without even an enticing mortgage, no one would step up to help him.
Clyde walked towards the palace gate with some doubts. There were a large number of skeleton soldiers outside the palace who immediately noticed Clyde and tried to stop him. However, after taking a few steps toward him, they stood still as if sensing something about him. Afterward, they respectfully bowed and continued to stand guard at one side, acting as though nothing had happened.
It went without saying that Clyde was an intruder, but looking at how these skeleton soldiers bowed to him, he seemed to be the true master of this palace with Duke Andrew being the intruder. Clyde could sense the fear radiating off these skeleton soldiers. After all, his level was far higher than that of Duke Andrew who hid inside the palace. The gap between them was too obvious, so these demonic creatures could clearly sense it.
Before he had signed a special contract with Valkyrie Cynthia, the attributes of Clyde’s evil energy had been very different from the attributes found on this different world. It was to such an extent that normal demonic creatures hadn’t even been able to clearly detect how terrifying Clyde was. But now, after signing the contract with Valkyrie Cynthia, he had finally obtained the recognition of this different world, and these demonic creatures could clearly sense his terrifying aura. As a result, they immediately changed sides to recognize him as their new master.
Although the IQs of most demonic creatures were very low, their instincts prompted them to follow the strongest dark existence available. Since Clyde was stronger than demonized former Suzerain Duke Andrew, they immediately abandoned the Junior Demon Lord. Besides the skeleton soldiers guarding the palace gate, all the demonic creatures Clyde encountered along the way would generally stand still, like deer caught in headlights, before bowing down to pay respects to him without any lingering hesitation, acknowledging him as their new ruler.
These demonic creatures couldn’t speak; otherwise, Clyde would have heard their greetings filled with ceaseless flattery. Still, this saved a lot of Clyde’s time and prevented him from dealing with further troubles. The number of demonic creatures guarding this palace amounted to over ten thousand. If he had truly wanted to kill them all, it was very likely that he would alarm Duke Andrew inside the palace and possibly cause the former Suzerain to flee. Now, he wouldn’t need to exert any extra efforts and could simultaneously obtain the defending troops of Duke Andrew; one could well say that he was hitting two birds with one stone.
At every step from the palace gate to the inner palace area, demonic creatures kept a wary eye out for intruders. As one approached the inner area, the demonic creatures grew higher ranked. They ranged from skeleton soldiers and goblins to even ogres. These demonic creatures were summoned demonic creatures and would normally be absolutely loyal to their summoner, but Duke Andrew was just a corrupted human. He was originally not from Dark Camp and still had traces of Human Race in his roots. This had led to great reduction in the loyalty of his summoned demonic creatures.
Compared to Duke Andrew, Clyde was a Great Old One, so his lineage clearly crushed Duke Andrew’s. Naturally, these summoned demonic creatures chose him as a new master. Without Duke Andrew’s knowledge, the demonic creatures he had tirelessly summoned to defend himself had already joined Clyde’s side. The only flaw of Clyde was that as an Evil God from a different world, his attribute was not too similar to the dark attribute of this world. As a result, he couldn’t understand these demonic creatures’ language. He couldn’t communicate with these demonic creatures and needed to find a translator if he wanted to truly take command.
The overall layout of this palace was tastefully chosen. From Clyde’s musings, it had been designed using a certain human empire’s palace as a reference. It seemed that Duke Andrew had maintained delusions of becoming emperor. Nevertheless, according to the records, Duke Andrew lacked any trace of royal blood, so in any case, there was no way for him to become an emperor unless he rebelled. To reach for the heavens, he would have to fight against his fate.
Clyde didn’t see any treasures in the palace, suggesting that Duke Andrew didn’t have any great riches. Now, Clyde felt confused. How had he built the palace in the first place? It was currently an unsolved mystery. Perhaps, only Duke Andrew could shed light onto this question. In Clyde’s view, this palace was not an end product, merely a barebones layout. It had yet to be decorated, and it was very likely that Duke Andrew lacked the money to decorate this palace.
The flames used to illuminate this palace were dull, blue will-o’-the-wisps. Clyde stifled a scoff. While this was in accordance with Duke Andrew’s demonized identity, it was simply too cheap as it demonstrated the Suzerain couldn’t even afford proper candles. Normally, it would have been hard to find someone in such a big palace, but today was an exception. Although those summoned demonic creatures temporarily couldn’t communicate with Clyde, they could easily guide. As long as Clyde executed Duke Andrew, they could legitimately let the new ruler ascend the throne. After all, it would’ve been a matter of time before Duke Andrew was defeated either way.
After the skeleton warriors, ogres, and other demonic creatures used various kinds of movements to point the right direction, Clyde smoothly followed many turns and finally reached former Suzerain Duke Andrew’s location, Emperor Hall. Duke Andrew was having a grand feast here. Even from far away, Clyde could smell the intoxicating aroma of hard liquor. He was speechless. Duke Andrew had already demonized into a monster, so how could he still care about these good wines of Human Race? It seemed that he was not completely demonized since he could still indulge in the good wines of the Human Race. It was no wonder that these demonic creatures didn’t view him as someone truly from the Dark Faction.
Clyde hid behind a pillar outside the hall and quietly observed the circumstances within. Since Clyde was so far away, it was impossible for the Suzerain to detect his clandestine observations. Now, Duke Andrew could no longer be considered human. There was no aura of a living person on him. In the hall, Duke Andrew sat at the center position and enjoyed red wine in a golden goblet.
After demonizing, other than his unchanged height, Duke Andrew differed from Human Race in all other aspects. His face was completely rotten, basically akin to an undead zombie’s. Comparatively speaking, Clyde now had a human appearance and was rather handsome. Meanwhile, Duke Andrew had actually advanced to Junior Demon Lord, completely by relying on “Ghost Introductory Chapter.”
A human corrupted by “Ghost Introductory Chapter” had to pay a great price. Although Duke Andrew obtained eternal life, the price he paid was the same as necromancers, becoming similar to a corpse. While Clyde sought a chance to kill Duke Andrew from far away, an exceptional situation in the hall made him pause.