Arriving at the Dwarven Homeland
After walking from Ashtaroth Castle for several days, the dwarven homelands came into view.
From our still far distance, it seemed more like a settlement than a town.
I could see several houses that were crudely built with stacked stones.
All of them had straw or tin roofs.
Perhaps it was more of a village than a town. I could not help but think such things as I looked at how poor it all was.
“And I thought the dwarves had many brilliant architects among them?”
It reminded me of an old saying about practicing what you preach.
“This dwarven settlement is not exactly prosperous. Besides, the dwarves are not a race that cares much about keeping up appearances.”
“Additionally, this settlement lives off of its mines. They do not often have to return to their homes, as they would have rooms within the mountain.”
“Yes, I see. But it is quite troublesome to have to go all the way to the mines. I would like to visit one of their houses outside…”
“Is something wrong, master?”
“No. But I thought it strange.”
“Strange, my master?”
“Yes. I suppose there must be many men who work in the mines, but would not their wives and children live here in the houses?”
“I believe so.”
“And yet it is midday, but I see no smoke rising from their houses. Do dwarven women not use cooking stoves?”
“They most definitely do. They are not goblins.”
“Then this town is practically an empty shell… Hmm…?”
I had taken notice of it first, but it was Jeanne d’Arc who first acted on it.
She pulled the sword from her back and said,
“Demon Lord, it would seem that this settlement has fallen.”
“We best not rush to conclusions, but it is clear that an enemy has appeared.”
Clearly visible now, were two lesser demons, flying towards us.
I saw that below them, there were walking corpses that moved without much energy.
In other words, zombies.
But not just any, because these had been dwarves.
“…What a base thing to do.”
I wanted to spit, but held back the urge and considered our situation.
“So, the dwarven settlement has been attacked by someone. The residents have been killed and are now zombies. That is all certain.”
“It is most savage.”
Jeanne said with a pained voice.
“I agree with you there, but I hope you will save your prayers for when we are done. What we must do now, is to drive away those devils.”
Jeanne said, and she gripped her sword tightly.
Eve took a step back and unsheathed her short sword, as she always did.
If anything were to happen, I will immediately end my own life!
I will not inconvenience you, my master!
It was all very commendable, but I could hardly wish for her to kill herself over such small issues.
However, she was not the type of person to listen. So it would really depend on her own ability.
In other words, I would have to dispose of these demons and zombies before Eve was in any way injured.
Two demons. They were strong monsters to be sure, but Jeanne and I would be more than enough to deal with them.
There were also about ten zombies, but if such a number were to have any effect on me, not only would becoming the Great Demon Lord be a hopeless cause, but I would not even be able to maintain my castle for long.
This was not a battle that I should struggle with.
With a short chant, I simultaneously created to balls of fire and launched them ahead, one by one.
One towards the demons and one towards the group of zombies.
One demon fell from the sky upon being hit, but it was not enough to take its life.
There was a look of rage on the monsters face, and I could tell that it was promising to take revenge.
On the other hand, the fireball that had taken the zombie horde was burning very well.
Zombies do burn nicely.
Perhaps it was the fat of the dwarves that acted as a kind of fuel.
There was also a possibility that all of the spirits they had downed before death was doing the work.
As I muttered such imprudent thoughts, Jeanne made a gallant dash forward.
As her sword slashed through the group of zombies, she made her way towards the fallen demon.
As she could not use magic, she had to cut its wings before it could take to the air once again. For a girl who looked quite stupid, she sometimes displayed a quickness of thought.
In that case, it was up to me to deal with the demon in the sky.
I chanted a spell of levitation and rose into the air to face the demon.
As I did not see the harm, I addressed it in our common tongue.
“Who are you? What have you done to the dwarven settlement?”
Those who are the evilest tend to be the most talkative.
The demon replied in the same language.
“We are the subordinates of the Demon Lord Eligos. We rule these dwarven lands.”
“Rule? Don’t you mean destroyed? And you have turned the people into zombies.”
“We killed those who resisted. And the necromancer Sharltar turned them into zombies. That is all.”
“I would consider that quite vile.”
I was annoyed now and decided to kill the thing at once.