Based on the casualty report by One-eye, the battle ended with acceptable results. We lost 57 devils while Violet Snow lost 24 of her hellhounds. On the other side, 243 one-star rodents were dead and the two-star bodyguards were nearly wiped out.
What was unacceptable to me was, how was Violet Snow so formidable? Even that terrifying ratman boss didn’t dare to take her hits face on.
My expression must’ve looked terrible to anyone looking at me right now. As I stood there with devil egg in hand, a vein popped on my temple as I asked in an annoyed tone: “By the way, care to explain something to me?”
“Explain what?” Violet Snow replied in a puzzled voice.
“Explain exactly how you are so strong!” I don’t what’s the reason for this outburst but I knew one thing, I wasn’t happy with her.
I continued in an exasperated tone: “Judging from your appearance, you should’ve just left your mother’s womb, how do you possess the strength to fight toe to toe with that ratman boss! This isn’t scientific, not scientific! You hear me?”
“You said it yourself, [from your appearance], is there even a need for me to continue explaining?” She stared at me with that look again…the one you gave to an idiot.
She threw me another look before adding on, her cute little tail wagging around as she did so: “Besides, you didn’t ask me.”
What…am I too blame for this?
“In order words, this was all within your calculations?”
“Of course, why else would I bring you here if I didn’t have any assurances.”
Up till now, I still couldn’t wrap my head around her strength. Her body was so tiny that I could even hold her in the palm of my hands. Yet this tiny body contained enough power to rival that ratman boss! Unbelievable…or should I say scary.
That ratman boss definitely had the strength of a three-star. Otherwise, how could he have defeated my two-star imps so easily.
Right from the start, the battle had been completely under our control up to the point where he joined in the fight. Seeing that, his two-star subordinates joined in as well and ended up throwing my guardsmen into disarray. This was the main culprit for most of our losses.
Essentially, we had too little experts in our army. Even with my bone equipment, they still weren’t able to overcome the difference in levels. Furthermore, as we progressed, this gap in power would only grow ever wider.
A zero-star imp is able to take on a one-star imp as long as he had a sharp weapon. Several large imps, armed with my bone broadswords would be able to take down a two-star head imp if they were lucky.
This growing disparity got even worse at the three-star level. Five to six fully armed head imps probably couldn’t even take on a three-star demon child. As the level increased, this disparity would probably increase exponentially as well.
We got lucky this time with the unexpected aid of Violet Snow. If it wasn’t for her handling that ratman boss, it might’ve been the end of the road for me.
This is bad…it’s highly likely that we will encounter stronger foes in the future and yet I still don’t have a three star devil in my army…at this rate, the Prison of the Dead might just be my final destination.
“As for the loot distribution…” Strictly speaking, Violet Snow was only a temporary collaborator and thus wasn’t my subordinate. That was why I decided to bring up the matter of loot distribution. Discussing this beforehand would prevent any unnecessary conflict.
However, this suggestion came a little too late as such a conflict ended up happening before we could even start the discussion.
A short distance away, my devils were facing off against the remaining hellhounds. Between them was a barren plot of land that clearly demarcated the two sides. In the middle of that plot of land was a devil fighting with a hellhound.
As they fought, the devils would cheer for that imp in their usual brash manner while the hellhounds would howl on the sidelines, seemingly rooting for their own kinsman as well.
“Stop it, the two of you!”
Upon hearing my command, the large imp immediately stopped fighting but just as he was about to retreat, he was attacked by the hellhound. I guess this was to be expected, after all, I wasn’t the master of these dogs.
The opposing hellhound didn’t show a shred of respect towards me as he immediately leaped at the imp who had stopped.
Seeing that his opponent had no intention of stopping, that large imp was infuriated. Devils were impulsive creatures after all.
After dodging that hellhound’s bite, he performed a violent flip into the air and landed right on top of that hellhound. He reached out with both his hands and pulled upwards with all his might, his lower jaw pressing down on hellhound’s head as he did so.
Is he trying to tame that dog?!
Having his neck strangled and his head pressed upon, greatly angered the hellhound. He began bucking like a wild horse as he violently attempted to shake off his unwelcome passenger.
Unfortunately for him, the large imp wasn’t that weak either. He tenaciously held onto the hellhound’s neck and as he did so, he wrapped his legs around the hellhound’s stomach forming a cross beneath it.
And so, this devil shamelessly weathered through the wild bucking.
This posture…he really looked like a jockey training his wild horse!
I mean, training his wild dog!
The hellhound finally realized his bucking was pointless and so employed a shameless tactic of his own. He began rolling around on the ground, his back slamming the devil as hard as he could, into the ground. And so, the dog training devolved into a brawl between hooligans.
“Quick! Separate those two!” I simply couldn’t take it any longer and ordered my devils to pull them apart.
However, Violet Snow didn’t seem to share my concerns. She approached me and with a lift of her little furry head, said: “ There’s no need for that, just let them continue.”
“But they are fighting! No matter what the reason, we shouldn’t turn our fists against one another!”
I couldn’t understand her “just let them continue”. A fight between subordinates wasn’t a small matter, it must be stopped immediately.
“It’s just a fight between two creatures from Purgatory. Isn’t it normal for them to settle their disputes with their fists?” Her voice was just as calm and deadpan as always.
“Purgatory creatures should have the bearing of such. As their master, you just have to step in once the winner has been decided.”
Just what kind of custom is this…even a fight between companions can be justified so righteously…
“Master, I feel that what Miss Violet Snow said was true. Purgatory creatures have always used their fists to determine right from wrong. If both parties had a dispute, we would always turn to might to secure our interests.”
I didn’t know when but One-eye had approached me and explained this in a matter-of-fact tone. He didn’t seem startled by the fight and even had a sense of impartiality about him as if to say he was on the side of justice and not kin.
It wasn’t that I was unfamiliar with this kind of “might makes right” thinking.
But on Earth, we had something called the law and this settled any dispute we had. However, this is a different world after all. This is the Prison of the Dead. There’s no judges to be found here. Neither are there lawyers and there are certainly no sympathetic juries here to help you out.
Over here, sympathy is the sign of weakness and cowardice. Only strength could be trusted.
In a darwinistic world like this, fights are to be expected.
However, this still didn’t sit well with me. In the end, I was still an otaku who had lived in the peaceful world of Earth for over 30 years. I’m still sensitive to such internal turmoil. To me, everyone was on the same boat together. If there was any problem, it should be settled via a civilized discussion instead of a brawl.
Fists should be aimed at our enemies.
Perhaps, my concerns were only signs of cowardice to these two. I guess it is natural for them to not understand me.
I knew that my values are inherently different from the creatures of Purgatory and so I could only sigh in a resigned tone.
“I just feel that we shouldn’t waste our men fighting like this.”
“Master’s concern for us is a blessing to us.” He realized how improper his previous words were and immediately kneeled on one foot and expressed his loyalty once more.
“Please forgive my previous impropriety. I have only the deepest respect towards the Master.”
“Rise, it’s not your fault.”
I really wanted to say: we aren’t the ones in the wrong here, what’s wrong is this world.
After standing up, he remained silent.
“Who can tell me the reason for this fight?” While I couldn’t stop the fight, I at least wanted to find out the reason for it.
Hearing this, No.5 immediately ran out, the chance to flaunt his existence was finally here. “Master, the matter started like this…”
So it all started because of a hellhound corpse…
The Prison of the Dead was a cruel environment to live in, similar to the land of the dead. As before, the two ways of obtaining sustenance were:
One, gathering soul flames from undead.
Two, fighting the other life forms in this world and feasting upon their flesh and souls. The victors will get naturally get the spoils of war and this included the corpses of any fallen comrade.
The Prison of the Dead didn’t only have undead, hellhounds and Abaddon Rodents. There were devils like us, dogmen and other races as well. There were a multitude of races here and the named ones were merely the commonly seen races.
The hellhounds had a custom where after the death of their kinsman, they would guard the corpse for one hour. Only after that hour would they feed upon the corpses of their kinsmen. Furthermore, they didn’t allow the other races to feed upon their kinsmen’s flesh and soul. This was the rule passed down by their ancestors.
So, this fight started because that large imp didn’t know of this particular rule.
After the battle with the Abaddon Rodents, the devils and the hellhounds began sweeping the battlefield as usual. Right from the start, the hellhounds prioritized hauling their kinsmen’s corpses to one side. This action caused the imps who had no prior experience with the hellhounds to become curious.
I don’t know what went through his head but one of these large imps decided to drag away one of these corpses and ended up getting caught by a patrolling hellhound. That hellhound immediately requested for the return of his kinsman’s corpse.
While that imp didn’t understand the language of hellhounds, he wasn’t that dumb either. Based on the actions of the hellhound, he concluded that that hellhound was after this corpse as well.
All these devils who followed me here had undergone the baptism of war. They only managed to get here by climbing over a mountain of corpses. To them, food was everything and food wasn’t something you returned so easily.
Devils didn’t have such a strange sense of kinship among themselves after all. To them, the dead were only useful for one thing, food.
As the two fruitlessly tried to argue in their own languages, the hellhound finally lost his patience and leaped at the imp. And so, this unavoidable fight started.
Synopsis: Somewhere in the universe, there was an altar. On it, laid a bloody eye as big as the sun itself. It burst with light and bathed the entire star system in red.
"The aura of an ancestral artifact!" Someone's voice rose in surprise.
The Great Galactic Era had begun.