Overlord Light Novel Volume 12 Chapter 1 Part 1
Overlord Light Novel Volume 12 Chapter 1 Part 1
The Demon Emperor Jaldabaoth
The Roble Holy Kingdom was a nation which occupied the peninsula to the southwest of the Re-Estize Kingdom.
It was a highly religious country, led by a Holy Queen who could use divine magic and who was closely affiliated with the churches. That said, they were not as religiously-oriented as the Slaine Theocracy.
In addition, there were two special features about the Holy Kingdom’s geography.
The first was that its land was divided into north and south halves by the sea, but the halves were not completely separated. Rather, a gigantic bay — four kilometers long and two and a half kilometers wide — made its geography look like a U turned on its side.
Thus, some people called them the Northern and Southern Holy Kingdoms.
Then, there was another feature.
The entrance to the peninsula sported a great wall, over one hundred kilometers long.
It was built to withstand invasions from the massed demihuman tribes which occupied the hills to the east of the Holy Kingdom, between them and the Theocracy.
This grand wall, built through the expenditure of a great deal of time and resources, was a silent testimony to how aggravating the existence of the demihumans were to the Holy Kingdom.
There was a great power gap between demihumans and humans.
Granted, there were certain demihumans who were weaker than humans, such as Goblins. That was a fact.
Be it in height, physical strength, knowledge, or the rate at which they produced magic casters, they were a race inferior to humans in every way.
Still, even Goblins like that possessed eyes which could see in the dark, and if they carefully concealed their small bodies in dark corners — for instance, when launching a nighttime ambush in a forest — they would surely be troubling foes for humans.
Needless to say, most demihumans had more powerful bodies than humans, and there were also many races who were naturally endowed with magical ability. If they let the demihumans invade as they pleased, they would have to pay an incalculable price in blood to fight them off.
Therefore, the Holy Kingdom chose to solidify its defense.
They did this to keep the demihumans from taking a single step onto their land.
They did this to let the world know that this land did not belong to the demihumans.
They did this to make the demihumans understand that if they dared trespass on their domain, they would suffer a furious counterattack.
Yet, the wall built for that purpose possessed a few problems.
In order to keep it operating at full capacity, they had to keep a great deal of manpower permanently on site.
The Holy Kingdom’s leadership had once calculated how much fighting strength would be required to defeat an invading tribe of demihumans. The answer was that the country would be in danger before the demihumans attacked them.
While they did not have the luxury of raising troops which would go unused, there was a need to station an appropriate amount of manpower there.
In the Holy Kingdom’s history — after the construction of the wall — the gravest invasion of their lands had come during an invasion which took place amidst the Long Rain.
It was a night attack, launched by a race called the Srush, who possessed sucker-cup hands and venomous tongues which could stick out a long way, and whose superior members could even change their skin color as though using the 「Camouflage」 spell.
The Srush scaled the wall, and headed west.
Many villages had been lost, and until this day, there were still rumors that the Srush still survived within the borders of the Holy Kingdom, such was the tragedy which had unfolded back then.
They wanted to fully man the wall in order to prevent such a tragedy from occurring again, but stationing troops at every single point along its length would strain the nation. The solution they came up with was to build outposts at fixed intervals along the walls. These strongpoints would then be overseen by gigantic fortresses.
They stationed a small number of troops in these bases, their purpose being to fight for extended periods, to the last man. If they encountered an enemy attack, they would launch flares to request reinforcements. In addition, there were companies of soldiers who would staff and patrol the fortresses, serving as reserve troops during emergencies, to be deployed as the situation required.
After putting these measures into practice, the demihumans had not managed to penetrate the wall again.
However, the diligence of the Holy Kingdom’s leadership back then had turned into an obsession. Even such a carefully-planned defensive line of fortresses could not reassure them.
Indeed, it was an incredibly massive wall — to human beings. Yet, it was no threat whatsoever to races who were several times taller than humans or who possessed the ability of flight. For that reason, there was no way for them to rest easy when faced by demihumans and their many abilities, even with such sturdy fortifications.
The Holy King at the time was a prudent man, and he had even prepared for the eventuality of the wall’s breach. His solution was to mobilize the entire nation.
For that reason, the citizens of the Holy Kingdom were conscripted as a form of national service. So long as they were adults, all citizens, male and female, would become soldiers and need to spend a certain amount of time being trained, after which they would be assigned to sentry duty on the wall. The hope was that they would become manpower with which to protect their land in case the demihumans crossed over the wall.
All residences of a certain size were also fortified. This gave the local villagers enough fighting power to hold out until the regular army could arrive, and allowed said villages to serve as military outposts. In the end, the villages of the Roble Kingdom were far better protected than those of other countries, and they could also function as military bases.
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The Holy Kingdom’s defensive lines was made of three linked walls. There were only three fortified gates along the full length of the wall, which was in excess of one hundred kilometers long, and they also functioned as garrisons to dispatch troops to the surrounding strongpoints. If the demihumans invaded and an overall mobilization order was given, they would become staging areas where the troops would gather in order to attack the enemy.
This was one of them.
As the sun slowly sank beneath the horizon, the red-tinted land was slowly soaked with the color of night.
A powerful-looking man stood with one foot on the battlements, looking out over the land — at the western foothills. After that, he put his foot down.
His neck was stout, and his chest muscles bulged enough that one could feel them through his thick armor. His mighty-thewed arms protruded from his rolled-up sleeves. There was no better way to describe him than “fuarking joocy brah”
His face was stern, a veteran of harsh conditions, and his thick brows and unkempt moustache spoke of a savage, wild nature. His mighty body and his stern appearance ought to have matched each other, yet his eyes broke that trend.
They were tiny and round, beady like those of a small animal, and they felt almost comically out of place.
Such was the man who now looked to the sky.
The wind carried the thin clouds at incredible speeds, but even if he could see the stars beyond their gossamer veil, they wcould not illuminate the land.
The man’s nostrils flared, and he took a deep breath, smelling the breath of night through the early autumn air, which was flavored with a hint of winter chill. The magenta night sky was swallowing the faint light of dusk upon the horizon with a speed visible to the naked eye. The man turned his back to the hills, and looked at the men around him.
They were veterans warriors who trusted him and who had followed him. It was because he was surrounded by such warriors that he permitted himself a moment’s laxity. After all, the day’s work was done, and nobody could dispute that.
“—Oi, has anyone asked the forecaster about tonight’s weather?”
The question was asked in a mighty voice which befitted his powerful body. The soldiers looked at each other, and one of them spoke up on the group’s behalf.
“My deepest apologies! Corporal Campano sir, it seems none of us have heard the report in question!”
This man — Orlando Campano — was a fairly low-ranked man in the Roble Holy Kingdom’s military hierarchy.
From bottom to top, the Roble Holy Kingdom’s military ranks went from Recruit, Private, Private First Class, Corporal, Sergeant, Platoon Sergeant, and so on. Of course, different ranks existed in different units, and these were simply the ranks for the regular infantry.
Usually speaking, a simple corporal would not need to be addressed as “Sir”.
However, Orlando’s men did not call him “Sir” to tease him. Their respect for him was evident in their attitude and tone. Neither was it just that man; every soldier present, each carrying themselves with the bearing of a skilled veteran of many battles, felt the same way about Orlando.
Orlando slowly stroked his moustached face.
“Sir, if time permits, will you allow this one to go and ask immediately?”
“Hm? No, no need for that. Our job is over now. What happens next is the business of the others.”
He was a man who, by relying on his fighting skill alone, had earned the honor of being named one of the Holy Kingdom’s Nine Colors by the previous Holy King.
The reason why such a man remained at such a lowly post stemmed from two problems which Orlando had.
The first was because he was very free-spirited — he hated taking orders.
The second was because he was obsessed with fighting skill.
When these two points came together, they led to a way of life that said, “If you want to tell me what to do, beat the crap out of me first.” If he met a worthy foe, he would say, “You look pretty strong. Show me your moves,” and then they would fight until one of them passed out.
This personality of his had led to him using force on nobles and his superiors, and so he had been demoted over ten times already.
There was no need for people who could not obey orders in the military, and they were universally loathed as well. Under normal circumstances, he might have been jailed or dishonorably discharged. However, he had not met with such a fate simply due to his strength. In addition, there were people who admired people like him.
To the rough sorts who were unhappy about being ordered about by destitute nobles, Orlando’s way of living by the strength of his arm was nothing less than joy itself.
His unit was a squad composed of such hoodlums — no, they were more of a gang.
They were quite numerous, so calling them a company would not have been out of place. In addition, its members might not have been Orlando’s equals, but they were all skilled fighters, which led to his assuming an unofficial post which his superiors could not tolerate, but which they could do nothing about.
Orlando glanced around, and after verifying the identity of the man approaching them, a smile appeared on his face, like that of a carnivore about to pounce its prey.
That man seemed quite slender in comparison to Orlando’s brawny form. However, his was not the scrawniness of a twig. Rather, he had a wiry, steely look about him. If one forged and reforged a man, burning away everything unrelated to his intended function, it would produce a textbook slimness of the kind he embodied.
In addition his narrow eyes were keen, as though he was about to attack at any moment. Then there were his narrow pupils, which did not look like they belonged to anyone engaged in a legitimate enterprise. In polite terms, he was an assassin. In less than polite terms, he was a mass murderer.
“Speak of the devil, and here he comes. Fancy meeting you here, night shift-san. Thanks for your hard work~”
The other man made no sound as he approached them with silent footsteps. He was dressed very differently from Orlando.
Orlando and the men around him wore suits of heavy leather armor, made from the hides of monsters called Lanca Cattle. In addition to that, they carried small round shields and single-edged swords, the standard outfit of the Holy Kingdom’s superior troops. Incidentally, Orlando was the only one who had two of those swords at his waist.
In contrast to that, the other man wore a suit of enchanted leather armor. There was an owl stitched on his right chest, while the emblem of the Holy Kingdom adored his left.
“…Orlando. I haven’t received your shift report yet. Also, is that the attitude you ought to be taking with a superior. That’s practically insubordination. How many times do I have to remind you of that?”
“Well, do forgive me, Platoon Sergeant-sama.”
As Orlando saluted him sloppily, the men under him saluted as well. It was a proper salute, the kind which they would never give a nobleman or any mere superior officer. It was a salute which showed genuine respect.
The man sighed with a “haaah”. It was a sigh made by one who knew that this was intolerable, but who also knew that lecturing him about it would be pointless.
Sorry, boss. Old habits die hard, as they say.
The reason why Orlando saluted this man, however reluctantly, was because he had defeated Orlando.
I’d like to beat you once before I leave this place. On your terms. Don’t you think, Platoon Sergeant Babel Baraja?
The man — Babel Baraja — was nicknamed “The Night Watchman”. Like Orlando, he was one of the Nine Colors. The massive, beautiful bow on his back gleamed with the faint light of magic, and the quiver hanging at his waist glowed in the same way. He was an archer, just as his appearance suggested, with a reputation of perfect accuracy.
“I think this all the time, but working at night sure is hard. The demihumans do just fine in the darkness; but it’s hard enough just finding their traces, let alone fighting them.”
“Enter people like us. The only way to gain magic and talents comparable to demihumans — their vision aside — is through training. And we’ve received that training.”
“Yes, yes. Same goes for that daughter you’re so proud of, right?”
Babel’s face twitched, and Orlando instantly regretted his poor choice of words.
This was a man whose expression remained unchanged even in the midst of a drinking party. The only exception was when the topic of his daughter and wife came up. Therein lay a fatal problem.
“Oh yes. She’s an outstanding girl.”
–It was happening. It had already begun.
Babel paid no heed to Orlando’s regret and continued speaking.
“That said, I honestly have no idea why she wants to become a paladin. She’s just a gentle, fragile girl, certainly not the type who thinks of fighting power as everything — honestly, she’s even been scared to tears by caterpillars in the past — and while I did say that might was everything just now, that doesn’t extend to my wife… although my wife is a little similar — and she’s adorable because she grew up like me, no, I should say that it’s a pity she ended up growing up to look like me — but the true shame is that she doesn’t have any talent for using swords. However, she’s adept at the bow. If only she could hone her skills in that respect, but then here she is wanting to be a paladin and whatnot–”
He let the meandering monologue flow in one ear and out the other, making the appropriate noises in response when they were needed, but it would seem he had still been found out.
“Oi, are you listening to me?”
That question was only to be expected.
No, I wasn’t listening. I think I stopped after the third time.
After hearing the same thing about five or six times, under normal circumstances Orlando would have unhappily retorted “hell no”. However, taking that tone with Babel would be a terrible mistake. That was because he knew that he would surely reply, “Then I’ll tell you again”.
There was only one correct answer he could give.
“Of course I did. What a lovely girl she is!”
Babel’s face changed dramatically. While it was an ugly, fiendish expression that put Orlando on his guard, the fact was that the other man was simply embarrassed.
If he did not seize on the way Babel’s mind was savoring the joy of hearing his daughter receiving praise from others and seize the moment to overcome his desire to begin praising his daughter once more, he would be plunged into that hell once more.
Only one thing could trump the topic of his daughter. That was work.
“Doesn’t night work mess with your biological clock? Won’t you body get weird?”
The slaughterer’s expression on Babel’s face returned to his usual killer’s expression.
“…How many times have you asked that question already? The answer’s the same as always; it’s nothing to concerned about. Still, why are you so obsessed with that question? What are you really getting at?”
He knew the cause for it, but still, this rapid shift in attitude still had him speechless and staring.
Where did the you from just now go, he wanted to say, but Orlando did not want to return to the hell from just now.
“…Hah. You mean, what I really want to say? Well, that’s a surprising question… I was just thinking that it’d cause a lot of trouble for me if the man who beat me ruined his body and ended up having to retire over a trivial thing. Of course, once I win, such minor things won’t be of importance any more.”
In the past, Orlando had been full of himself when he had first been assigned to this fortress, and thinking back to those days embarrassed him. Skilled soldiers gathered around him in admiration, fuelling his ego ever further, and somehow or other, the had ended up fighting a mock battle with Babel. Orlando favored the sword — close combat. In contrast, Babel favored the bow — or ranged combat.
If the two of them clashed, the question of engagement range would be extremely important. However, Babel had proudly declared that he was perfectly fine with close combat.
And then, Orlando had lost.
Orlando respected Babel for that reason. At the same time, he harbored the desire to beat him next time. In addition, he wanted to fight Babel in his field of expertise, ranged combat, and emerge the victor there.
“Is that so. You want to fight me, then? While I’m at peak physical condition, with no handicaps on my part.”
Orlando was very excited by Babel’s words, which were spoken as a bestial smile crossed his face.
Oh yes, definitely. Isn’t that obvious? I want to fight you. I want to put my life on the line against you. However, that can’t happen, can it? Even so, if possible, I’d like us to have a battle where both of us could die at any moment. That’s how I want to fight you.
However, Orlando remained silent. That was because his instincts said there was no telling where the beast before him would go. And in fact, what Babel said after that confirmed those instincts.
“Still, I have to apologize. You should know why too. You can count the number of people who can beat you as you are now in melee combat on the fingers of one hand. I’m not one of them.”
Then let’s settle it with ranged combat. Those words did not issue from Orlando’s mouth. That was because he knew it would only be an insult to a worthy opponent.
He recalled Babel’s bow skills. He was still not confident that he could evade his attacks and close the distance at the same time.
–No, not yet.
“Well, if that’s all, time to make your report.”
“No need to rush, boss. It’s not time for the shift change yet, right? Look, the bell hasn’t rung yet.”
Indeed, the chime that signalled a shift change had not yet sounded.
“You still need to prepare to change shift, right? There’s things to do before the bell goes. You ought to be getting yourself ready so you can change over the moment the bell rings.”
“It’s still too early even for that, right boss? Come talk with us for a bit.”
“Then, may this one make a report to the Platoon Sergeant’s second-in-command?”
The person who spoke was one of his men.
“Oh, that’s a great idea. Good job, you. How about that, boss?”
“…Hah. You really are being a handful today. You want to say something right? Honestly… if you want to say something, come out and say it.
As if he could say that.
While he had acknowledged the other man as someone he could talk with because he respected him, Orlando was the type who did not speak to people precisely because he respected them. In other words, he was a tsundere.
“Well, that’s why you’re the boss. You get it, don’t you?”
“…Hahhh. So, what is it? I won’t let you off lightly if it’s some trivial nonsense.”
“Well, about that…” Orlando took off his helmet and scratched his head. The cool air felt strangely comfortable on his heated scalp.
“The truth is I wanted to go on a warrior’s pilgrimage. So could I leave this place?”
He could hear the gasps of surprise from all around him. However, the expression on the slender man in front of him remained unmoved.
“Why tell me?”
“That’s because you’re the man I trust the most in this nation, boss. If you won’t stop me even for that, then I won’t have any lingering attachments.”
“…Aren’t you an NCO? If you’ve finished your national service, I can’t possibly stop you.”
The Holy Kingdom practiced conscription. Therefore, they sometimes called those people who chose to be career soldiers noncommissioned officers, in order to differentiate them from those people who had been conscripted. Babel and all his men were NCOs, while Orlando had some NCOs and conscripts under his command.
“In that case, you don’t mind if I quit, right?”
This was the first time Babel’s face had changed apart from when the topic of his wife and daughter had come up. Orlando had barely managed to discover it by dint of his extraordinary powers of perception gained from being a warrior. Nobody else around them had noticed it.
He was someone that Orlando has acknowledged as a man of steel, but he was actually perturbed by the question of his staying or departure. His heart swirled with a mix of delight and sorrow.
“…Well, legally speaking, I have to accept that. I can’t stop you… That said, we’ll sorely feel the absence of a strong man like you. You should have gone on your warrior’s journey earlier, right? Why now? Is it because there aren’t any more demihuman attacks?”
Ever since about half a year ago, the demihumans had stopped attacking this fortress. In the past, they had attacked about once or twice a month, with about a few dozen people each time.
While they only numbered a few dozen, they were still demihumans, who had superior physical abilities compared to mankind, and many of them possessed special abilities on top of that. Those were numbers which could easily slaughter an entire outpost wholesale.
Both Orlando and Babel had experienced many situations where they had to send out elite troops for relief operations.
“You know I don’t enjoy slaughtering the demihumans, right? I like fighting strong people and becoming strong.”
“So how about the Grand King, then?”
“Ahhh, that guy…”
“Oh, and then there’s the Devil Claw, the Beast Emperor, the Ashen King, the Burning Frost Lightning, and the Cyclone Lance.”
Babel had mentioned the nicknames of several notable demihumans, but apart from the one he had mentioned first, none of them could move Orlando’s heart.
The Grand King Buzzer.
He was the king of a certain demihuman tribe, a being known as the Lord of Destruction.
That nickname came from the fact that he was skilled at martial arts that destroyed weaponry and his fighting style which revolved around such sundering techniques. He was a mortal enemy of the Holy Kingdom who had defeated many famed warriors, and he had fought Orlando in the past. Back then, he had destroyed Orlando’s longsword, his backup weapons of a shortsword and handaxe, and even a billhook used to cut trees for firewood.