The demon that thrust the smelly tokens towards me was an old demon named Ma HaPa.
“I don’t need it. Put it back.”
I turned my sight away from MaHaPa who was struggling to put the tokens back in his pants and groaning.
I couldn’t take the embarrassment and disgustingness.
The streets were littered with dead demons strewn about like trash.
The demons with ferocity and strength made me think this was really hell.
The perpetrator that made this hell was drunk from the blood and singing.
I couldn’t understand the words.
It was because the Babel Translation Skill couldn’t translate it, or because the words didn’t mean anything.
[It’s Aubutz, Hero!]
I gripped the handle of the holy sword which flew towards me like a dog to its master.
The handle was sticky from the blood of demons.
I didn’t feel any other displeasure.
The holy sword was the one that massacred the demons, but the one wielding it was me.
“Cool off your head, it was too much.”
I opened the inventory, and threw the holy sword carelessly into the inventory.
The holy sword pleaded and screamed as it was being thrown in, but I ignored it.
“Serezia, do you know anything about the god of Sky?”
[Yes. The religion of the Empire was the god of the sky, so I know a little.]
It was unexpected
Recently Serezia said little.
Even before she wouldn’t say a lot, but was the type to engage in conversation and only be satisfied after saying what she wanted to when she wanted to say it.
But recently, she wouldn’t take part in the conversations and would ignore everything as though lost in thought.
I asked without expecting much, but thankfully she answered this time.
“Is the god of the Sky an evil god?”
[The god isn’t an evil god. More of a neutral god. I shouldn’t comment on gods, but the God of the Sky isn’t one that cares about good or evil. The god cares more about position.]
A god that cares about position.
From the name Sky, does the God of the Sky want to rule over everything?
The reason God of the Sky bestowed the Holy Sword to the Emperor was to punish his arrogance.
The Evil King in the 26th floor stage was an arrogant being looking down on the demons that summoned his as less than pests.
Enough for the God of the Sky to hand the holy sword to the Hero and subdue him.
It was a plausible assumption.
It also gave a link to why the Holy Sword blessed by the God of the Sky was overtly ruthless and longed for the blood of others.
The fear stemming from the extreme violence and ruthlessness is the most efficient way to suppress and stand above others.
I told Serezia my thoughts.
[You’re probably not wrong. The interpretation of gods are different for each theologian, and this kind of generalization would make the believers hostile, so you should take care not to say it in front of others.]
While I conversed with Serezia about the God of the Sky, Ma HaPa had put away the tokens somewhere and spoke to him.
“I-If… you don’t need the tokens, w-what do you require…”
What could I need from this poor trembling demon?
“I have something to ask.”
I had one question from passing through various rooms.
The demons capable of answering were too scared to answer the question and all of them refused to answer.
Rather than answer my question, they chose to faint or begged for mercy.
“Coming through the Kragor group’s rooms, I saw a few demons being kept captive.”
Just like the demon Ma Hapa before my eyes.
“From what I know, the rooms are essential for survival, and the rooms are highly valuable. And to keep someone captive in the rooms with limited space is a waste. It’s better to exile or kill them. But the rooms I passed through always had a few demons kept captive.”
As I progressed, Ma Hapa’s faced turned dark.
It was the same face I saw every time I asked this question.
“What’s the reason you were kept captive in this room?”
As I expected MaHaPa started showing signs of extreme anxiety and was flustered.
I’d have normally given up at this point, but I wanted to hear the answer this time.
It took quite some time to calm MaHaPa down.
After promising multiple times not to turn MaHaPa, I could calm him down.
And I also got the answer to my question.
The answer wasn’t as serious as I thought.
“So they use living demons to store the tokens.”
“Yes… When the group needs to store tokens, they take demons without any connections like me and force us to take in the tokens. For when they need the tokens.”
The acquired tokens couldn’t be retrieved until the demons that acquired them die.
When they need the tokens, they kill the captive demons and take out the tokens.
They’re basically livestock.
No, maybe worse.
Tokens are hard to keep because of their character and importance.
Because of them being traded at a high value, and as you can leave the space as soon as you gather one thousand, it’s easy to decide to steal them.
If the head demon of the group chose to keep them himself, it was enough to cause them to be the target of skirmishes and assassinations.
As he would be the top target for those that want the tokens.
To deal with these problems, they stored the group’s tokens in a few select demons while keeping them captive and under surveillance.
“from what I hear, tokens are traded one at a time mostly. Where do they use the large number of tokens?”
I asked wondering if they were used for business transactions or diplomacy.
“S-Sometimes… there are demons that do not wish to stay in the 1st preliminaries, and wish to go up.”
MaHaPa glanced at me while he talked.
Yeah, like me.
“Those demons usually massacre every demon they see from the starting point. Then the group contacts them, and gives them a massive number of tokens and make them leave the 1st preliminary area.”
It’s easier to send off those who disturb the ecosystem huh.
Most of my curiosities were solved.
One thing was left.
Then how many tokens did this demon named MaHaPa have?
This was probably the reason why the demons who heard my question couldn’t answer my question and trembled.
To their eyes, I was someone who massacred every demon I saw for tokens, so they couldn’t answer my question.
Fearing that I would kill them for tokens as soon as they answered.
Instead of asking MaHaPa how many tokens he had, I asked him to write down everything he knew on the map.
After looking over what MaHaPa told me, I started on my way.
As I was about to leave, MaHaPa grabbed me.
No idea what it is, but he probably has a request.
Since he gave me a lot of information, I thought I would be ok to listen to his request.
“Talk. What is it?”
“C-Could you protect…us?”
MaHaPa pointed towards the demons knocked out cold, and himself and answered.
“Krago Group is gone, but once the other groups learn of us, they’ll try and take us. Please… help us…”
To sum it up he wanted protection.
I thought about it but shook my head.
“Sorry. That’s a bit much.”
After shaking off MaHaPa, I started walking out of the room.
The new destination was the base of the Olphon Group.
Olphon group was the one ruling this domain.
The other groups are all subordinate alliance groups, so the Olphon group for sure the largest group in the 1st round preliminaries.
Suddenly Serezia called me.
[I would like to tell you something of concern.]
“What is it.”
Something of concern. Could it be something dangerous that I hadn’t thought about?
But Serezia’s concern was something completely unexpected.
[Soon, I might not be able to talk at all.]
Soon, I was able to understand her words.
Instead of saying less, soon she would be unable to talk at all.
But I couldn’t understand the reason.
[I don’t know for sure myself. My self-consciousness is becoming faint. The self-awareness as your sword is becoming larger than my self-awareness as Serezia. my consciousness is becoming slow and everything besides combat is becoming faint. Even when I talk, I’m having trouble concentrating on topics other than combat.]
What is this?
[As if I were becoming a rock or a tree. No, I should say like becoming a sword. I’m actually sword right now right?]
Serezia didn’t say anything after that.
I called her several times, but no answer.
I stopped from disconcertion.
I tried to understand her words but eventually pulled out the holy sword from the inventory. The holy sword muttered about the act of shoving him in the inventory but said this after hearing what Serezia had said.
[Don’t think too much about it. It’s the process of becoming a sword. Isn’t Serezia a sword not?]
“No, you’re a sword. You talk fine.”
[I’m an Ego Sword. Whereas Serezia was turned into a sword upon her death. There’s a difference.]
“Then is she never going to be able to speak or know who she is?”
[Well. Wouldn’t it depend on her? If Serezia wants to keep her human mind, she could become like me. She would probably be able to give advice on combat and answer simple questions. But Serezia seems satisfied with being a sword right? That’s a little worrying.]
For me, it was a bit ridiculous.
Dumbfounded and aghast.
Once a human possesses a sword, they lose their self-awareness and become a sword?
Even for Serezia who said she wished she was born a sword, that was weird.
[It’s not completely absurd. Most of the souls made to possess objects by Dark Magicians go through this process.]
“How does it turn out usually?”
[Usually. Their consciousness crumples, and they lose their self. As they become stabilized, they become captivated by the words their enchanter whispers to them and long after that for eternity. Most magical swords and cursed rings are produced this way.]
Hearing the creation of magical swords from a magical sword helped me understand quickly.
So that’s how it’s done.
I hope Serezia doesn’t become like Aubu.
Once I clear this stage, let’s get some advice from KiriKiri.
Personally, I’m attached to Serezia.
She was similar to me in many ways.
From her thought process to preference and principle.
The times spent with her were comfortable and dear.
I wondered if I would be able to meet someone so similar to be in the future.
But there were differences between me and her.
Serezia adjusted herself to the fate of becoming someone’s sword, and I was pleased.
That was the difference.
If I were in the same circumstance as her, would I be able to accept that fate?
If it came to it, I would be a cursed sword.
A sword rebelling and trying to kill its owner.
Thinking about it, the situation now wasn’t that different.
As I thought about it, its situation was amusing.
I felt as though me, Serezia, and the holy swords were three swords. Each pursing their own will.
Instead of belittling myself, I tried to have more constructive thoughts.
I didn’t want to become a tool of gods.
Even if I didn’t know what they wanted from me or would request from me.
So, I placed importance on my goal and will.
But tied to my side were two swords with their own agendas.
If more than just will was required to overcome becoming a tool.
If having my own will wasn’t enough to prove I wasn’t a tool.
What more do I need to achieve?
A few answers came up.
I wasn’t sure if they were all correct, there were probably also many answers that I haven’t thought of.
But if I fulfill them one by one, I would be able to achieve all the answers.
That’s what I thought.
As I was about to finish organizing my thoughts and about to move, I felt a large wave of magical energy.
A magical circle appeared on the ground nearby.
The air above the ground started to warp, and soon a demon appeared.
From having used it with Serezia early, I quickly recognized what it was.
It was a teleportation circle.
As the shaking mana calmed, a shadow appeared above the circle.
It was a demon.
A strong ferocious force, an enormous and ominous evil magic.
It was the first demon-like demon I’ve met since coming here.
The complex thoughts from earlier melted away.
I waited for the demon to finish.
A moment later, the demon, instead of lunging at me and using magic, it opened its mouth.
“You’ve finally stopped. Olphon would like to see you. You’ll need to come with me, newbie.”