Apotheosis of a Demon – A Monster Evolution Story - Chapter 103 - THE NIGHTMARE BEGINS
AFTERSTORY 03 – THE NIGHTMARE BEGINS
Coming out of my three-year hibernation, I decided to go check out a human town.
There were a few human villages nested deep inside forests the way demihuman settlements used to be, but there was only one single ‘country’, or at least something close to being a country, that had a lot of humans congregating, where interaction with demihumans was actively being maintained.
The human race once numbered in the hundreds of millions. The virtually-suicidal decisions that they’d made time after time during my fight with the Unseelie Lord and their loss of the World Tree’s blessings meant that the human race, complacent in their luxury and safety as they had been, was now barely a shadow of themselves.
Quite a few of them had still been alive when I finished reviving all the World Tree Saplings, in fact. However, their population took a further dive as many humans found they now had to contend with the threat of monsters, a threat they’d forgotten how to deal with since generations ago, as well as the vengeance coming from a small group of vindictive demihumans.
But all was not lost for the human race. With the help of demihumans and some of their own people who had taken up arms to be Adventurers once again, the dangerous but less intelligent monsters began to be culled. Slowly but surely, a new country was established, and the human race began its journey of recovery…
…according to what the Saplings told me, anyway. The consciousness of the new Saplings had come from my fellow orphans and secret alpha testers, and they could be quite… playful, from time to time. Sometimes they also told me about stuff I honestly couldn’t care less about, like “The neighbor just had a litter of kittens!”
So I had no idea how much of what they told me were accurate.
I took out a pure-white hooded coat from my subspace inventory and put it on. I landed in the only human country in this world.
While the humans had their own leader in the form of a representative instead of a king, formally, this was actually a ‘multi-racial nation’ run by a council whose members included demihumans.
Over half of the country’s population were humans. Yet watching the faces of the humans walking around town, I saw less excitement for their civilization’s revival and more a kind of unease.
Well, I suppose I could understand why. It was exactly because humans were weak that the other races had allowed them to parasite on the World Tree in the first place. Now that they no longer had access to their incredibly convenient magitools, I expected they would feel conscious of their physical disadvantages compared to demihumans.
I understood, but I wasn’t going to do anything about it. I mean, I was a Goddess of this world now. I wasn’t going to start favoring one single race over another.
One of the former orphans who was knowledgeable in Oriental culture told me that I was similar to a sort of koujin, a wrathful god of purifying flames. By nature, I was very much not any kind of merciful Buddha.
“We humans had once sinned—”
From far away, I heard a faint voice that sounded like it had been amplified by a magitool.
On a whim, my feet carried me closer. A single human man and several demihumans were standing on a stage and making a speech in a plaza.
He was that one ex-emperor of some fallen country or another. Haughty, but quite an interesting character. By the end, as a leader of humans, he’d realized his sins and helped me with the destruction of the Saplings. Next to him was… the girl of the pair of elven twins, if I remember correctly.
So to summarize Tiz’s speech, he was basically reminding the humans not to be idiots again now that three years had passed since they’d started rebuilding. In the same breath, he was also warning the radical faction of the demihumans to stay quiet since the humans were being honest workers now.
…I sympathized with him a bit, to be honest. He was doing this for the good of everyone, but he was probably also making enemies all over the place.
It was now the part when Tiz was shaking hands with the elven girl. I sighed. Paying no mind to the people around me, I teleported to the roof of a building some distance away. I appeared behind a man aiming a black, cylindrical weapon at the plaza.
“So what are you doing?”
He jolted and whipped around, almost tumbling.
“W-Wha-who are you?!”
“I won’t ask again, fishman. What were you about to do with that?”
His hood dropped, revealing wetly glistening scales.
…them again? Just what’s going on with the fishpeople?
But more importantly, while the weapon he held looked rather beaten up, I still recognized it as a magic gun made with Earth technologies.
Despite his initial surprise and vigilance, the man began to smirk once he saw me. Apparently a young girl didn’t warrant his caution.
“…ain’t it obvious? Humans working with elves mean our profits go down… that’s all!”
The fishman suddenly aimed the magic gun at me.
Not a bad response for someone being on the receiving side of an ambush, I’d say. Let slip a bit of tasty intel to distract your opponent, then attack mid-sentence.
Unfortunately for him, he’d made three mistakes.
One, that he was possessing a magic weapon made with Earth technologies. I didn’t know where he got it, but it was not the kind of thing that should ever be allowed to remain on this world.
Two, that he was about to repeat history when this world was just beginning to know peace.
And three… that he pointed it at me.
In the few tenths of a second that it took for him to pull the trigger, I leisurely watched his finger move in slow-motion as I pointed my hand at him and squeezed.
As a young man, he once got his legs almost bitten off by a shark. Now they were torn to shreds.
As a boy, he once got bitten by a venomous snake. Now his flesh festered as the poison coursed through his whole body.
As a child, he was once trapped in a muddy stream and nearly drowned. Now he suffocated, coughing and wheezing as a vast amount of seawater poured out of his mouth, and he slumped to the ground.
I took the magic gun from the fishman’s corpse and crushed it into a chunk of metal with my hands, then threw it into a dimensional gap.
…huh, I wondered if it would later cross spacetime to become an out-of-place artifact in some other world…
Not like it had anything to do with me if it did, though. I gave Tiz a quick glance, the man still too busy making his speech to the people to notice me, and I muttered under my breath.
“Good luck with your work, Tiz.”
Then I teleported to the top of Mount Leonard, the highest point in the Central Continent. The vast world of Yggdrasia stretched out before my view.
…somehow, I felt like something was about to go wrong.
It wasn’t about the fishpeople who were getting up to no good these days, or at least, it wasn’t just them. My unease was coming from the instincts I had as a Dea Ex Machina.
I closed my eyes, opening my arms wide, and I connected to the worldwide Sapling network. I began to pick up information from everywhere.
I’d become the Goddess of this world. That said, I still wasn’t experienced enough to be able to see the whole world without lifting a finger.
I scanned through the flood of information, ignoring the ‘recommended cat videos’ that my Sapling friends were sending me, and I noticed something happening in a village of wolf beastmen in the northern hemisphere. They were being attacked.
Wait, weren’t those…
When the Unseelie Lord Fiorfata manifested, it had also summoned these low demons as its kins and soldiers. Individual dark pixies weren’t much of a threat, possessing only the equivalent combat power of a simple footsoldier, but they had been summoned in hordes. For less well-defended towns and villages, complete annihilation had been a real possibility.
I had defeated Fiorfata. It wasn’t exactly possible to truly kill a demon of such power, but its revival should take thousands of years, at least.
Then why were the dark pixies here? How had the Unseelie Lord’s kins return to this world? Dark pixies themselves normally resided in the Netherworld, and while they could naturally manifested in the material world, it only happened very rarely.
Then was there some idiot calling dark pixies here again…?
At any rate, I needed to eliminate the dark pixies first.
I closed my eyes and stretched out my hand to the scene I held in my mind. But before I could activate my power, a group suddenly jumped in and started massacring the demons.
The group was full of armed women. There were so many of them I didn’t even bother counting. They moved and acted like a single organism, and the dark pixies dropped like flies.
A single man jumped out from within the women. One of his hands held aloft a magic sword, while the other dramatically flicked his blond-colored front bangs. He grinned a blindingly-white grin.
“Have no fear, my venerable madams, lovely ladies and adorable chéries! I, Calimero, is here, and I shall not allow a single—”
I instantly cut the connection out of sheer reflex. I blinked.
So he was alive.
…well, whatever. That meant I could leave the place to him while I go look for the cause of this mess.