The fifth-ranked Demon King of Carnage had the Annihilation Hammer Jigollath.
The fourth-ranked Demon King of Cruelty had the Demon Spear Luentos.
However, the third-ranked Demon King of Fury didn’t possess anything like a special weapon.
In place of that, the Demon King of Fury commanded a great army. In his army, the proportion of heterogeneous races was unusually high.
The giants led by Kamash served as the vanguard of Fury’s army, and alongside them fought beastfolk and elves. Races that were created from the corruption of human beings, like the vampires and the lycanthropes, were also recruited into Fury’s army.
The four most powerful warriors in his entire army were known as Fury’s Four Heavenly Kings.
The Chief of the Giants, the Earthshaker Kamash.
The Vampire Lord, the Bloodshedder Sein.
The Lunatic of the Beastfolk, the Depraved Oberon.
The Dark Elf Princess, the Rakshasa Iris.
Three hundred years ago, Hamel and Vermouth had worked together to slay Kamash.
After that, they killed the Demon Kings of Carnage and Cruelty. As they were making their way to the Demon King of Fury’s Castle, bolstered by this momentum, they were ambushed by the vampires led by the Bloodshedder Sein.
During that battle, they managed to kill Sein. Although he was a vampire, and therefore extremely difficult to kill, Anise’s divine power and Vermouth’s Holy Sword were enough to end him, and Sein’s body was burned to ashes.
In the Demon King of Fury’s castle, they were attacked by the beastfolk and the dark elves, led by Oberon and Iris.
They weren’t able to kill these two like they did Sein, as the two of them managed to retreat to Fury’s position and readied their final defenses.
It was a truly terrible fight.
Oberon was strong, and so too was Iris. Needless to say, the Demon King of Fury was also extremely powerful.
However, in the end they were defeated.
While Vermouth was facing the Demon King of Fury, Molon faced Oberon.
Hamel’s opponent was Iris.
He could still hear that desperate cry of hers ringing in his ears. When Fury finally fell, the bloodstained Iris ran over to Fury while letting out that scream.
Hamel had no intention of letting Iris go freely. The dark elf was strong and a difficult opponent to deal with. Even if Iris did manage to break away from him, it wouldn’t have changed Fury’s death, but regardless of this fact, Hamel had planned to put an end to Iris.
But to put it bluntly, he failed. For some reason, instead of using the last of his power to make a counterattack or revive himself, the dying Fury used it to help Oberon and Iris escape.
No one there had expected that the Demon King of Fury would do something like that. Sienna’s magic wasn’t able to stop Oberon and Iris’s escape in time. Even a guy like Vermouth had shown a momentary look of bewilderment at Fury’s actions.
—You… I’ll kill you… I’ll kill all of you…! F-fa-father…!
As space was ripped open to form a door, Fury’s dark magic engulfed Iris and Oberon. Iris was still trying to attack them even as she wept convulsively, but Oberon, who had lost an arm, kept a tight hold on Iris.
—Hamel, you… it’s because you blocked me…!
—Fuck, stop with that bullshit. So what if I blocked you?
Hamel had mocked Iris’s resentment. Even in her current situation, with Iris having barely managed to escape after being rendered close to death, instead of Vermouth who had put a sword through Fury’s chest, it was he — Hamel — that Iris resented more. It was just ridiculous.
In any case, that was how the Demon King of Fury died. Iris and Oberon escaped, and the rest of the dark elves and beastfolk all scattered.
Now, three hundred years had passed.
The vampires, who had lost their lord, and the lycanthropes all came under the control of Noir Giabella, Queen of the Night Demons.
The remaining giants had united amongst themselves to form a tribe in the rugged backwoods of Helmuth.
Oberon had sworn himself to the Demon King of Destruction, but about one hundred and fifty years ago, his own son had ripped out his throat and killed him.
As for Iris….
‘We never met again after that,’ Eugene recalled.
Even though she had been glaring at him with poison in her eyes and spitting out dire curses right up until the end, he had never encountered Iris again.
‘I should have killed her back then,’ Eugene regretted.
Just like elves, dark elves lived for a long time. Their lifespans went well over a thousand years. In the first place, elves and dark elves weren’t actually separate races.
When an elf was corrupted by a Demon King and accepted their demonic power, they became a dark elf.
‘Calling Fury her father because of that is just nonsense,’ Eugene scoffed.
Even now, after having been reincarnated, he still couldn’t really understand what Iris had been thinking at that moment.
The Demon King of Fury had made all the Four Heavenly Kings believe that they were his children. Even Kamash, who was as huge as a mountain, believed that he was Fury’s eldest son. Right before Kamash had perished, he had called out ‘father’ one last time.
It was a thoroughly unamusing way of playing house. By tying them together through the relationship of a ‘family,’ even though they didn’t share any blood, Eugene felt that Fury was only using these bonds as a tool to evoke a sense of unity and loyalty.
However, at the moment of his death, Fury had allowed his ‘daughter’ Iris and his ‘son’ Oberon to escape.
Why had he done that? If he had that much energy left, then he could have made himself into a suicide bomb. Though he wouldn’t have been able to kill Vermouth even with that, wasn’t that a more fitting last act for a Demon King?
‘It’s fortunate that Oberon has passed away, but… the son who was able to rip his throat out must be quite the formidable madman.’
The beastfolk were also divided internally between several different races. Three hundred years ago, Oberon was crazy enough that he could still be called the Lunatic, even when compared to the rest of the beastfolk, but it seemed that the son he had managed to sire was just as crazy as his father.
Eugene couldn’t help but be wary of Oberon’s son and Iris.
They had arrived at the Samar Rainforest. This place was, in a certain sense, even more dangerous than Helmuth. Although it was not as infested with demonfolk as Helmuth, and there also was no one who even came close to the level of a Demon King, Samar was still full of low-grade trash.
Unlike in other countries, identity cards didn’t see any use here. Heinous criminals who shouldn’t be allowed in the same country, let alone the same city, and those who should have been imprisoned until they rotted or just flat out executed — whether they had managed to escape or were never caught in the first place, all these people fled to Helmuth or Samar.
Of course, even Samar had ‘laws’. However since these laws covered much less than the laws passed in ordinary countries, Samar was still called a lawless zone.
The natives of this place were uncivilized, and the laws differed from tribe to tribe. In any ordinary country, murder was a ‘crime’, but in Samar, that wasn’t necessarily the case.
Murder could be forgiven for even the slightest of reasons, and some of the barbaric tribes might even consider murder without cause to be a valiant act.
“To think that people would still try to do missionary work in Samar. It must be quite a popular mode of suicide,” a brown-skinned man observed as he scanned Eugene and Kristina with narrow eyes.
Just like Kristina has said, there had been no problems with using the counterfeit identity cards to pass through Kiehl’s southern border.
The problems came after that. Not only was Samar even larger than the Kiehl Empire’s entire territory, there weren’t any warp gates opened for usage.
Although it looked like a few had been installed, there were only a handful of people with permission to use the warp gates in Samar. No matter how much money that they offered, foreign nobles were not allowed to use Samar’s warp gates.
In other words, after they crossed the border, they had no choice but to continue riding in a carriage or on horseback.
After having traveled like this for a few days, they arrived at the trade city that was located closest to the border.
Although it was called a trade city, it couldn’t compare to any of the cities found in Kiehl or Aroth. There were no buildings taller than a few floors and the roads were filthy.
“Our reasons for coming here shouldn’t matter to you, no?” Kristina said with a soft smile as she showed him her identity card.
At this, the man let out a hearty laugh and flipped Kristina’s identity card over to inspect it. “Let’s see here… so you’re a D-class adventurer. But so what?”
“…Isn’t this inn affiliated with the Adventurers Guild? I would like to receive the regular service for someone of my class,” Kristina hesitantly requested.
“Ha ha! Miss Nun, are you pretending to be naive, or are you just really that naive? This place might be close to Kiehl, but it’s still a town in Samar. Whether it’s this identity card or your adventurer class, they’re all useless here,” the innkeeper said with a snicker as he passed the identity card back to her. “You want the regular service for your class? That’s one of the funniest jokes that I’ve ever heard. Miss Nun, you need to realize… this is Samar. This inn might be affiliated with the Adventurers Guild, but it’s still the same no matter under which guild you’re traveling. It’s impossible to trust the identity cards of any of the bastards who’ve crawled their way here— Ah, stop, that doesn’t work either.”
“What do you mean it doesn’t work?” Eugene asked with a furrowed brow as he was caught pulling out his wallet.
The innkeeper elaborated. “I’m talking about your money, your money work here. So don’t try to pull it out, because it’s pointless. Do you two really not know anything about Samar? Samar doesn’t use any foreign currency. What’s used here are—”
“I already know that, so stop pointlessly interrupting me. Unless you want to get the shit beaten out of you, that is,” Eugene threatened with a grin as he leaned closer over the table.
On the other side of the table, the innkeeper was momentarily perplexed by Eugene’s sudden change in attitude before muttering, “What a rude, young bastard….”
The innkeeper’s expression twisted into a scowl as he placed a finger on the buzzer hidden beneath the table. With just one slight tap, he could call down the mercenaries waiting on the upper floor. However, the innkeeper wasn’t able to press the buzzer. A dagger that had pierced straight through to the underside of the table stopped just short of the innkeeper’s finger.
“Hey now, no need to rush things.” Eugene chided him.
The innkeeper shakily demanded, “…You bastard… what the hell do you think you’re doing?”
Eugene raised a brow. “Didn’t I tell you to keep listening until I was done speaking?”
Eugene took out a small jewel from the inside of his cloak and placed it on the table. It was one of the jewels that he had obtained from the Emir of Kajitan. Seeing this, the innkeeper’s eyes widened.
“We might not be able to use any of our foreign currencies, but we can still use gems, right? After all, everyone likes shiny things,” Eugene grinned.
The innkeeper was speechless, “….”
“Now then, old man. From now on, stop interrupting me and just answer my questions,” Eugene instructed. “And stop trying to judge me based on my appearance and listen to the way I talk. Now you should be able to recognize a fellow mercenary who’s made his living by the sword, isn’t that so?”
The innkeeper’s face stiffened slightly. He could sense the sharpness of the dagger that was touching his finger, and felt alarmed at the fact Eugene had stabbed it into the table without giving any signs in advance.
That wasn’t the only thing leaving him off balance. The killing intent that he could feel coming from this brat in front of him, who had yet to shed the air of youth, was far from ordinary.
‘I’m the only one who can feel this…,’ the innkeeper realized.
Eugene’s killing intent was all focussed on the innkeeper without any wasted spillover. As a former mercenary, the innkeeper recognized that Eugene, unlike his outer appearance, was extremely dangerous.
“A jewel of this size should serve as the price of a room,” Eugene proposed.
“…” The innkeeper silently sweated.
“Since there are two of us, we’ll need two rooms,” Eugen continued as he took out another jewel and placed it on the table.
“Although there are probably a lot of inns better than this, well, it’s all about convenience. Do you get what I’m saying?” Eugene prompted.
The innkeeper belatedly realized, “…You need information?”
“You’ve got it. If you’re part of the Adventurers Guild, doesn’t that mean you’re also connected with the Mercenary Guild and the Informants Guild? While at the same time, you’re also in charge of the accommodation for any adventurers,” Eugene pointed out.
The innkeeper hesitated and then asked, “…Are you two bounty hunters?”
As far as the innkeeper knew, the only ones who would usually stop by to ask for information while giving off such refined killing intent were bounty hunters.
“Well, I guess you could call us that,” Eugene accepted. “But as my stupid colleague here has already revealed, our purpose for coming here shouldn’t be of any importance to you, right? I have the jewels that you want, and you have the information that I want. Isn’t that right, old man?”
“…Ummm…” The innkeeper hesitated.
“I’m just telling you this in advance, but if you try to do something like rob me because I look like an easy mark… you’re all dead. I truly mean that,” Eugene sincerely emphasized. “I hope that you’re tactful enough to see the difference between an unguarded bowl of rice and one that will take an arm off if you touch it. So what do you think, old man? Will you take the risk of trying to kill me just so that you can rifle through my pockets?”
“…That… doesn’t really sound like it would work,” the innkeeper admitted.
Eugene’s killing intent was slowly growing stronger. The innkeeper’s breath was rapidly hastening and cold sweat was flowing down his body.
“We’re looking for an elf,” Eugene said, reaching into his cloak once more.
This time he took out a jewel that was several times the size of the first gem that he had taken out. The innkeeper’s eyes lit up with desire as soon as he saw it. The greed that was aroused by this large gem was even greater than his fear of dying.
Eugene continued, “Not a dark elf, just a normal elf. From what I’ve been told, elves sometimes visit this city… so any one of them will do.”
“…It seems that you’re not too familiar with our prices,” the innkeeper coughed before continuing to speak. “ For information about the elves, we will need three jewels of the same size as that one. Although I don’t know why you might be looking for an elf… it should be quite well-known that there aren’t just one or two wealthy merchants or nobles looking to own an elf.”
“Seeing as you’ve said all that, it seems like you really do have information on the elves, right?” Eugene confirmed.
“…In exchange for one of those jewels, I can connect you with the informant,” the innkeeper offered. “You can discuss the rest of the cost with the informant himself….”
Eugene bared his teeth in a predatory grin as he growled, “You motherfucker, where do you think you get off with trying to rip me off.”
Eugene’s hand wrapped around the innkeeper’s throat.
“Gack!” the innkeeper choked.
“I don’t mind if you scream a little louder,” Eugene said generously as he kindly pressed the buzzer beneath the table in place of the innkeeper.
The moment he had done so, rough-looking mercenaries immediately came racing down the stairs.
“Sir Eugene?” Kristina looked to Eugene in a fluster.
Instead of answering her, Eugene just smirked at her and barked out orders. “Why aren’t you pulling out your wand? Aren’t you going to block those bastards from charging at us?”
“Who the hell are you?!” one of the mercenaries demanded.
Eugene casually answered him, “We’re a man and a woman, you son of a bitch.”
Eugene grabbed one of the innkeeper’s fingers and snapped it. The mercenaries, who all looked dumbfounded by Eugene’s confident remark, also snapped out of their bewilderment, and they drew their weapons and rushed over.
Instead of reacting to this personally, Eugene glared at Kristina. In response, Kristina let out a short sigh and raised her hands in front of her chest.
The light that erupted from her took the form of a long whip that swept her surroundings.
“Aaargh!” the mercenaries all let out alarmed cries.
Instead of sweeping the mercenaries away, the whip of light bound their arms and legs tightly. Seeing this, Eugene grinned and then turned back to the innkeeper.
“Kristina, what was this bastard’s name again?” Eugene asked.
“…It’s Jackson”, Kristina replied.
“That’s quite a common name,” Eugene noted. “Hey, Jackson. Didn’t I say it just now. The reason I came here instead of some other inn, it’s all for the sake of convenience.”
Jackson’s finger was bent back even further. Although Jackson screamed and tried to twist himself free, Eugene’s hand refused to let go of Jackson’s throat.
“I came here because I thought that you were an information dealer. But what did you say to me? You said that you’ll just take a brokerage fee and connect me to your informant? Then you wanted me to sort out a separate payment with the informant? You motherfucker, where do you get off with ripping off your customers like this?” Eugene demanded.
Jackson groaned. “Gah… gahhhh…!”
“I didn’t want to kick up a fuss, so I thought that I would just settle things cleanly by paying you some money, but I didn’t expect you to have such a wicked heart.” Eugene shook his head in dismay. “Now, where was I…, Oh, right. The Informants Guild has its own set of laws, correct? I don’t think that the laws of Samar’s Informants Guild should be much different from its other branches. If you spout some nonsense during your duties, then you get your finger cut off, isn’t that right?”
The innkeeper stammered, “Th-that law was repealed a long time ago….”
“When exactly was that, motherfucker? Three hundred years ago? If that’s the case, then what are the laws like now? Well, not that it matters. I’m not a member of the Informants’ Guild, so I don’t really need to follow their laws, now do I? Since you’ve fucked with me, it’s only fair that I fuck with you too, right?” Eugene’s eyes widened as he glared at Jackson.
Letting go of the finger that he had been holding beneath the table, Eugene slammed the dagger all the way through the table.
“Come on, you son of a bitch. Which finger should I cut off? One on your right hand? Or your left hand? Even I have some sense of mercy, so I can avoid the hand that you use most often. You’re right-handed, right? If that’s the case, then I’ll take one from your left hand. But if I take off your index finger, then that’ll inconvenience your daily life, no? Since that’s the case, I’ll cut off your middle finger. That’s probably better than your index finger. You might not be able to tell someone to fuck off with just your left hand, but if it’s just that, it seems a pretty cheap price to pay for your stupidity,” Eugene declared.
Before they had entered, Kristina had informed Eugene that the innkeeper’s name was Jackson and that he was an information broker belonging to the Informants Guild.
Originally, he had just intended to pay a reasonable price in order to purchase the necessary information, but things like plans had a habit of changing according to the situation. Kristina might not be able to understand the reason for Eugene’s sudden actions, but by Eugene’s logic, it was always better to enforce discipline, even if it meant making a fuss, than to be treated like a fool.
“Now then, why don’t you just relax. Spread the fingers of your left hand wide so that it’s easier for me to make the cut. You don’t want to? If you don’t want to, then I’ll just add another one. How about both the middle and ring fingers?” Eugene offered.
Jackson tried to warn him, “If-if you hurt me, the Informants Guild will—”
“This bastard is really still trying to threaten me,” Eugene snorted in derision.
The sharp dagger cut off Jackson’s middle finger. Jackson tried to scream, but Eugene covered his mouth with a hand to keep his scream from escaping.
“If I was afraid of that, do you really think that I would be holding you by the throat as I cut off your fingers?” Eugene spat out as he glared into Jackson’s trembling eyes. “Think carefully. Missing a single finger, while inconvenient, won’t affect your life. If you speak up now, I’ll let you off with just one finger. Ah, and you don’t need to worry about payment. If your information is confirmed, then I’ll even leave you these jewels.”
How had things turned out like this? Pain and fear clouded Jackson’s head. The situation had been completely different just a few moments before. These two idiots had come in here without knowing anything. It had been surprising to hear them bring up the Informants Guild and the elves, with Jackson not caring what kind of circumstances had brought these two to Samar.
Jackson had just wanted to take a brokerage fee. He really had been planning on connecting them with a suitable informant, But now, all he had to see for it was the finger that had just been cut off…..
“If you really don’t want to cooperate? Then it can’t be helped. The Informants Guild is still just a guild; at the very least, for the crime of treating me like shit and wasting my time, I’m making sure that you die here. I’ll also kill all the mercenaries that we have tied up over there. And after that? Well, you won’t need to care about that as you’ll be dead. Isn’t that right?” As he said this, Eugene removed the hand that was covering Jackson’s mouth. “However, I hope that you can think about this clearly. If I’m able to come here and act so recklessly… that has to mean that I have something that I can firmly trust to have my back, no?”
“…You… just who the hell… are you?” Jackson pleaded.
“It doesn’t matter. Just tell me about the elves.” With a scrape of the dagger, Eugene brushed away the finger that had fallen on the table.
“P-please… I’m bleeding….” Jackson stammered, and Kristina moved to approach him.
However, Eugene took action before she could, grabbing the stump of Jackson’s finger.
“Gah…!” Jackson screamed.
“Stay still. I’ve just stopped the bleeding,” Eugene said, his method of stemming the blood loss was truly barbaric.
By squeezing the severed finger, he could stop the blood from pouring out. As Jackson’s body shuddered in pain and fear, he looked down at his hand. He was afraid that Eugene’s bloodstained hand might reach out to break or remove one of his other fingers.
“Now speak,” Eugene said, sitting down on a chair with a casual expression on his face.