Volume 1 Chapter 24: Appearance of the Demon Empires’ Expeditionary Force

Irene’s injuries weren’t actually life-threatening, it was that she had been cursed by one of the necromancers. Apart from the necromancer that cast it, only Light-element clerics, priests, or mages could break the curse.

Irene didn’t carry any strong defensive relics with her, the royal family’s defensive relics were mostly given to the princes to inherit. The only thing that the princesses got were some useless jewelry if they wanted any defence relics, they had to acquire it themselves.

The nearby zombies quickly brought Bella a wooden board large enough to lie on, Bella placed Irene upon it to let her rest. It seemed that Irene was quite exhausted as she had already shut her eyes and was breathing steadily, if it wasn’t for that, Bella would have been worried that Irene would never wake up.

If they wanted to undo the necromancer’s curse, the easiest thing to do would be for Bella to backtrack and bring Susan, who should be able to do so as one of the Church of Light’s holy maidens. The problem with that method was that it would be rather problematic if Irene was to wake up during treatment, it would completely blow Bella’s cover.

Her substitute, Felia, wasn’t very well known when she was alive, there weren’t very many people that knew her in person. Bella didn’t want to expose her ‘identity’ so quickly, if the emperor was to find out that Felia was still alive, he would most likely marry her off as a political piece.

Watch me steal all your ‘pieces’, you unprincipled old man! Bella thought for a little while longer and decided to use another method to save Irene, forcefully convert Irene to Bella’s side; while a little shameless, this method will be able to save Irene and make sure that she wouldn’t divulge Bella’s secret.

“Bella, are you really the princes Felia, who disappeared a couple months ago?”

“Yes, I’m sorry for not telling you earlier Kriss.”

“No problem, everyone has their own little secret. How do you plan to save your sister?”

“Hey Kriss, can I ask you something? What would you do if I was a demon king?”

Bella had thought this through before and had decided that this would be the best time to tell Kriss. Although she wasn’t sure if Kriss, as a hero, would be obligated to fight her; they were still surrounded by Bella’s zombie subordinates and they would be able to act as fodder to aid in Bella’s escape if Kriss were to turn on her.

Kriss looked into Bella’s eyes for a while and realized that Bella wasn’t messing around with her. She had never suspected for a moment that Bella was a demon king as she didn’t give off the aura typical of demon kings.

Bella’s question, however, invoked a memory from Kriss’ past transmigration, back to the destroyed hall of the demon king Klaud where she and one of her female hero companions had managed to slay the hideous demon king after the deaths of their other companions. However, it didn’t end with the death of the demon king.

“Claudia, why?”

Kriss had looked at the black-haired girl sat atop, unable to calm her heart. She would never have thought that the companion who had travelled and fought alongside her against the demon king Klaud’s forces all this time, the companion with whom Kriss had shared memories and dreams with, was a demon king herself. This revelation struck a huge blow to Kriss.

“I’m sorry Lis{1}, Klaud had usurped my throne long ago. I had lied to you for all this time, I’m sorry, I really am. What would you do if I was a demon king?”

Kriss didn’t remember anything that happened after during that transmigration and didn’t know what had happened to the demon king Claudia. In this world, she now received the same question from the demon king Bella. Kriss didn’t know if it was that her fate had been intertwined with that of demon kings, but for a moment she was able to see the shadow of Claudia on Bella.

“Bella, I…I don’t know, but we’re still friends! Right?”

“Yes, if you don’t mind that I’m a demon king, we will always be friends. Who knows, we could even be more than just that.”

“Will you destroy the world?”

“Apart from destroying the world and messing around with heroes, there actually isn’t that much for a demon king to do. However, I am always on the search for something more meaningful to do.”

“You’re a pretty casual demon king, Bella, I’m going to follow you around and I’ll definitely stop you if you try to destroy the world~!”

“Er, Kriss, you don’t seem to be a very qualified hero yourself, travelling with a demon king.”

“Just how I like it! Even if you’re against it, I’ll keep following you.”

Bella didn’t expect to solve the ‘dire’ problem with Kriss so easily if only the other heroes were like this. Kriss made the final decision to follow Bella only after seeing the figure of Claudia on her, late she would find that Bella was more than just a demon king but by then she had already…

Without having to worry about the problem of Kriss any longer, Bella could turn all her attention to Irene. Firstly, she gestured for the zombies in the area to back away, leaving only Kriss in the area. There were somethings Bella no longer wanted to hide from Kriss, who had even shown Bella her ‘cheat’, Swordhaven.

According to what 【Dark Creator】 Mystica had taught Bella, ‘professional’ demon kings were able to convert their human followers to demons. The demon kings of Mystica’s dimension were all considered ‘professional’ unlike the demon kings of this world, who were demon kings only in name. The prior were those that had obtained their title from a higher existence and continued to cultivate their powers as a demon king, while the latter were merely evil beings that had enough power to call themselves a demon king.

Within the same tier, professional demon kings were able to wipe the floor with their ‘peers’, there was a large difference between a professional and an amateur after all. Irene probably didn’t have any intention of joining the dark side herself, but it didn’t matter because as her ‘little sister’ Bella was able to make the decision for her.

Bella carried Irene to the heart of the magic formation that was left over by the necromancers that had just been killed. After, she skillfully took off Irene’s already damaged armour as the armour of a holy knight was normally blessed by the Church, if Bella didn’t take it off, the armour may cause the ritual to fail.

“Felia, what are you doing?”

Irene opened her eyes to see Bella stripping her and looked at her strangely. Bella ignored Irene’s questioning gaze and swiftly finished taking off all of Irene’s garments while she was still weak from her injuries.

“Sister, this is…”

“I want to save you, nee-san, don’t be afraid.”

Seeing all the strange tools that Bella had placed around her, Irene finally remembered that she had seen them many times when she had worked with other knights of the Church of Light during their raids on various hidden Church of Darkness locations, they were tools essential for creating and maintaining evil magic formations. Was this little sister of hers trying to sacrifice her to summon demons?

“Don’t be afraid, nee-san, I would never hurt you! I just want you to live, your wounds are too heavy.”

“Just bring me back little Felia, the Church of Light’s 1st holy maiden is…”

Irene wanted to say more but Bella once again clasped her hand over Irene’s mouth. She didn’t want too much interaction with the Church of Light and would like to keep it that way for as long as possible, she had already made up her mind and she wasn’t going to let Irene get away.

“Irene-nee, I have a shortage of competent people around me, I need your help. Join the dark side, my dark side, don’t worry about your treatment because your little sister is a demon king~!”

While Irene wasn’t sure if Bella was telling the truth, the magic formation below her had already been started and if she didn’t do anything about it soon, it would be too late. Spotting Kriss behind Bella, Irene tried to signal Kriss to help.

Kriss however, shook her head with a smile, as if she was agreeing to Bella’s actions in quiet acquiescence. Irene didn’t expect for Kriss, a hero, to have also jumped ship. Irene attempted to struggle to her feet but discovered to her chagrin that several chains of dark energy had risen from the ground and bound her hands and feet to the magic formation.

“Felia, nee-san is begging you, don’t do this…the Church will…”

“No matter how much you struggle today, I won’t let you go Irene-nee. You don’t want to be used as a pawn by that unscrupulous dad of ours and married off to someone you’ve never met right? Why don’t you join me, I can help you!”

Bella could have kept on blocking Irene’s mouth and forcefully complete the ritual, but she didn’t want to do it like that. If Irene didn’t completely accept it, the ritual still has a chance of failing, even if it succeeded, Irene would become a puppet incapable of thinking. That wasn’t what Bella wanted, she wanted Irene to completely submit to her.

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“Felia, I…I have my own methods, let me…”

“I don’t want to hear it, Irene-nee. Don’t try to bite your tongue, I have a way to keep you alive~.”

Irene’s every action and thought was laid bare to Bella, she was in fact, trying to commit suicide by biting her tongue, at least then would she be able to preserve the last shreds of a holy knight’s dignity, however, Bella kept her eyes fixed on Irene’s face, not giving her any chance to do so.

While keeping her eyes on Irene’s blushed face, Bella’s hands traversed her body, though not completely to take advantage of the helpless girl, while it did play a role, Bella did it more to draw ‘Devil’s Lines’ along Irene’s body with her dark power. With this, Irene would never be able to leave Bella after the ritual was completed.

Even though Irene was the older sister of Bella’s substitute, normally it would be inappropriate for a little sister to have such a strong feeling of possessiveness for her older sister but Bella was a demon king, naturally, she wouldn’t care about the opinions of mere mortals. She wasn’t about to let her own sister be married off to some unknown man.

Bella had already decided on making that shameless father of theirs, Octavio XII, go ‘bankrupt’. It wasn’t just Irene that she was planning on stealing from him, she was also trying to formulate a plan to take her other unmarried sister, Luce, as well. If Kriss was willing to help her, Bella didn’t mind also ‘stealing’ the hero, Lisha.

Bella was probably the only demon king in this world that thought of something as crazy as kidnapping a hero and making them join her side. For a time, her peers all thought that Bella was wasting her time, there would be no need for demon kings if the world’s heroes so easily joined the dark side.
“Hey Felia…can you stop feeling me up, I can’t move…”

“What’s there to be shy about, Irene-nee? We’re sisters after all.”

Seeing that she was unable to resist, Irene could only accept her fate. Deep within her heart, she did hold some resistance towards Octavio XII’s plans, Bella’s offer of breaking the royal family’s bonds on her was very tempting. She also knew that her body was badly damaged, even if her life was saved by one of the Church of Light’s clerics, her cultivation would take a large hit.

If Irene was no longer a holy knight, Octavio XII would definitely sell her off immediately, because she had already ‘decreased in value’. If it was going to be like that, she might as well believe Bella this one time.
“Little Felia, if you can help me break the curse on Luce’s body, I’ll agree to anything.”

“Don’t worry Irene-nee, we’re all sisters, after all. I’ll bring Luce back with me someday before she gets married off. The palace of the Octavian Empire(Knights) isn’t suited for us.”

Seeing that Irene had finally submitted herself completely, Bella was ecstatic, if it wasn’t for Kriss around; Bella would definitely have gone and kissed Irene’s blushed cheeks. Now that she had finished drawing “Devil’s Lines’ on Irene, the most important step of the ritual was next.

During her groping…er examination of Irene earlier, Bella was able to get a general feel for how strong Irene was; just a little stronger than Felia before her death. Still within the realms of holy knight, nowhere near that of dragon knights. Within the Coristel continent, human males had a natural advantage versus their female counterparts when it comes to physical prowess, most young dragon knights were generally males, not counting the cheat-like existence that was Lisha.

___

Right as Bella was considering whether Irene was most suited to be a demon king or a different profession, the various forces of evil had already shown their faces on the outskirts of the Unnamed Forest and a large scale battle was imminent.

At the Gabriel Empire’s(Swordsmen) Laerte defensive line, Leonard and Edwin who had run away embarrassingly from the Unnamed forest were now, once again, making a run for it; this time towards the heartland of the empire. Cold sweat dripped from their foreheads, clearly, they had not yet recovered from the shock of the attack launched on the Laerte line by evil beings. They were currently regretting not having kept Irene behind when she had passed by earlier, someone as powerful as a holy knight was a comforting existence in such a time.

As for the wellbeing of Kriss, they no longer had time to think about that, as the Laerte line had already fallen into the hands of the demon forces. The soldiers atop the wall had already been turned into zombies. Apart from them, there was also a large number of demon soldiers clad in black armour

patrolling. The entire defensive line looked as if it was a scene straight from an undead apocalypse.

The Laerte line was dimmed by dark clouds that blocked the sun’s rays, a few shadowy figures in black cloaks sat on a table atop the wall raised their cups in celebration.

“Our princess-sama is a strategic genius, it seems that this Laerte line had no support from the Church of Light after all. If it wasn’t for that, how could we demons have cast 《Undead Apocalypse》.

“You’re wrong, this 《Undead Apocalypse》 wasn’t cast by us but by some human heretics before we even got here, we merely came at the right time to take advantage of it.”

“The plan was to rely on the beastmen fodder, but those dumbfucks got themselves wiped somehow. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, those beastmen are useless. Our reinforcements departed from the Mephyr Empire quite a while ago, they should be arriving soon. After they do, even if our princess doesn’t…”

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Before the shadowy figure was able to finish speaking, the shadow beneath his own feet suddenly stood up and ran him through with its arm. The other shadowy figures around him were about to stand up when they too, were killed by their shadows, with their corpses being dragged by the shadows underground. Not long after, several figures that looked exactly like those that had disappeared crawled out of the ground and headed towards the gates.

___

There was already a large number of evil beings gathered in front of the gates, not from the same side as the demons who held the walls. Those that held the walls of the Laerte line were the expeditionary force of one of the four Demon Empires, that of the Mephyr Empire. The demon alliance was still locked in combat with the human alliance in the northern front due to sheer tenacity of Lisha’s Anti-Demon Knight corp.

In order to break the deadlock, the Mephyr Empire decided to take a detour and transported their main forces by sea to the human breadbasket, the Gabriel Empire(Swordsmen). All they needed were some decisive victories here and the human alliance would be in trouble and unable to launch a counterstrike on the demons’ homeland, the Summertide continent.

This time the Mephyr Empire had spared no expenses, bribing the beastmen with large amounts of food so that they could deploy their forces in support. The advance force of the expeditionary force was led by the empire’s 1st princess, Margaret Aknes. Before Dolores had met Bella, Aknes’ power was a bit higher than Dolores.

But now, as Dolores is a demon king, Margaret Aknes was no longer her match. Apart from the advance force led by Aknes, the main force of the expeditionary force was led by the empire’s 1st prince, Mephyr Derek, and was still at sea.

—TL NOTES—
{1} Her nickname for Kriss

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