Chapter 91: Demons often Leave the Confines of Religion in Fantasy
“So, well, that’s all going on, but what do you want us to do, Orvowel?”
We’re currently at the inn, Woodrest. Well, it’s the only inn at Warden’s Post, but it’s pretty big.
The hall and cafeteria area is within a huge, hollow tree. There’s a spiral staircase dead center, going up all the way to the second and third floors. To the back extends another part of the building, assumedly where the bath house is.
Although we’re split into Orvowel/Leimon and Ragnall/Hibiki-chan/me, we’re currently in Orvowel and Leimon’s room.
For consultation and discussion.
“Even if you ask me, this type of situation is more your line of work than mine, and we’ve already agreed that you’d only provide the bare minimal assurance of my security in towns. Warden’s Post is basically a town.”
Orvowel stroked his beard nervously as he spoke.
“Even so, if something happened to us, you’d be out your escorts for the rest of the trip. You’ve already paid half up front, after all.”
Hibiki-chan said timidly.
Orvowel and Ragnall looked over at her.
“What is it?”
“… We don’t really know what’s going on, so it’s kind of hard to determine?”
“I agree. If it’s a hunt, I think we could say that we can’t afford to do something like that, but without knowing what’s happening…”
I back Hibiki-chan up with that.
I mean, aside from not knowing what’s going on around this town, Hibiki-chan and I don’t even know how to gauge the threat of a demon.
Ragnall thought for a second, then nodded and said,
“Well that’s true too. Even if we ask the residents, there might be information that’s classified.”
Orvowel gave a strained smile.
“I don’t mind whatever the three of you decide to do, but let me know what’s going on, ok? I’m a little nervous about being here with this kind of atmosphere.”
“Well. Before we go any further, do the two of you know about demons?”
Fumu. It doesn’t sound like Lor told him anything, but at the same time it seems Ragnall already suspects we don’t know anything like common sense.
Yeah, he totally has his own suspicions about our origins.
We’ve left Orvowel’s room and entered our own. By the way, the rooms are made with a partition you can draw down the center between the two beds.
We ordered a cot with wheels, so I guess all that remains is to decide which side of the partition I should wheel it too…
Well, Hibiki-chan and I have shared a room before, so… yeah.
I think for a minute.
“Demons, huh… big, humanoid with horns, super strength, and weird skin colors wielding a club…”
“Nono. That’s an ogre.”
Un. I figured as much. Oni are more ogre-ish, after all.
Demons are … bad youkai? But there are good and bad youkai, and there are ones without much intelligence and there are ones with human-like intelligence. They’re more like monsters.
“Um… if it’s ‘demon’, it would be more like the Christian demons?”
Hibiki-chan said to me.
“I don’t know much about that.”
I say. Ragnall of course has no idea what we’re talking about.
“One of my senpai was a Christian. Eeeto… demons are malevolent spirits that won’t hesitate to possess and manipulate people in their mission to fight God.”
Un. I know there are possessions, but I thought it was just movies and stuff.
“Senpai said she once saw a video of a possessed man from anothercountry. It was scary, like he was on drugs and couldn’t hear or see anything, and the people would try to keep him chained on the porch, but he’d tear straight through them, and tore through two solid doors, trying to get to his wife.”
But it’s not like the head turns around and they start floating and stuff, huh? Or maybe that stuff happens too.
“What’s with that? What kind of scary things are these demons? Taking over peoples’ bodies… that’s scary. How does that even work?”
Ragnall’s kind of looking like we’re complete weirdos.
But hey, we confirmed that possession-type monsters either don’t exist, or they’re really rare.
“Well, it’s just one belief about demons. We have legends of demons, not really demons back from where we came. They’re mostly things that people say will manipulate you to defy the gods.”
Ragnall looks at us for a moment.
“…You guys really do come from a peaceful place, huh? If that kind of thing is only left in legends about gods…”
“Well, it’s not like it’s only peaceful. People will find other reasons to act violent… what is it?”
Hm… Ragnall looks a little confused as he stared at the ground.
“No… I feel like there was a time when there was propaganda against demons, saying that they must be incarnations of evil gods, and that those who serve the gods should seek to destroy the demons’ world… but when was that? For that matter, I can’t remember what any of the gods were like, or even their names…”
Well, he could just not be religious, but somehow, there’s a shudder within me. Like all the mana within my body is quivering.
Ragnall’s looking down at the ground with a serious look on his face, a hand held up to his temple.
There’s a distinct … incongruity to the situation.
Hibiki-chan timidly said.
Ragnall shook whatever concerns he had out of his head.
“Ah. Sorry, sorry. Anyway, demons aren’t like whatever things you’re thinking of. Where to begin… demons basically look like humans. The only difference is that they have to absorb mana from living creatures.”
I see… wait. No, Hibiki-chan, it’s not ‘Heh…’
“Mana, you say, not magic power?”
I ask to be sure.
“Eh? What’s the difference?”
“Mana is magic that keeps us alive. Magic power is the excess magic that we can use without endangering our lives. So what Ragnall’s saying is that demons have to feed off of living creatures.”
“It’s as you said, Jun. They weaken humans and demi-humans by draining their mana, possibly killing their prey. And demi-demons straight out assault humans and demi-humans. So you can see why demons are not liked at all here, on Orelia. So when they make their way through –“
“Hold on. Please explain. What is the difference between a demon and a demi-demon, and what is ‘Orelia’?”
I stop Ragnall halfway through his explanation.
He ruffles the back of his head.
“So we start from there… right. Demons look like humans. They absorb mana through a spell that requires the demon to be within a certain range around their prey. Demi-demons are like demi-humans. They are races of demons with varying traits, though mostly humanoid. Their most distinctive racial traits are that they have to consume parts of their prey to absorb the mana. Like, vampires suck blood, ghouls chew on marrow, and werewolves eat the flesh, for a few examples.”
Ah… I see. We just call those monsters in our world… although …
“I don’t know about the demi-demons, but that means it’s hard to tell if someone is a demon.”
“Well, that’s the basic idea of it, yes. As for Orelia, that’s the world we’re living in. On the underside of Orelia is another world called Arcene where the demons and demi-demons live. Um… to be exact, Orelia is like a shell, and Arcene is the much smaller inside, although it’s still tangent to Orelia. At least, that’s how Lor explains it.”
Ah, as expected of Lor the scholar. Or like, somehow, I’ve been living here without knowing anything…
“Well, anyway, something about the magic in the Labyrinths somehow anchors the worlds together, and sometimes the boundaries between the worlds becomes thin and you can go through … you’ll have to ask Lor about that. Anyway, as you can imagine, most of the times its demons or demi-demons coming to Orelia to feed. Humans or demi-humans who go to Arcene usually do so by mistake, and they rarely come back.”
… This is so confusing. I’m just going to go with, sometimes you can go between the worlds, and Labyrinths are mysteries.
“Well, honestly, it’s not something that comes up all the time, so it’s no wonder you didn’t hear about it before. Most people have enough problems dealing with life on this side of the Boundary; it’s not worth it to worry about demons crossing the Boundary, since it rarely happens. Although adventurers and mercs should at least know the basics, since you’ll get roped into demon subjugations if you’re in the area.”
“I … see. But it’s not like there’s a special way to fight them, right? It’s just like fighting bandits or something.”
I’m a little confused as to why it’s such a big deal that demons have appeared.
“Yeah, unless they have demi-demons with them, there’s usually nothing special you have to know about to fight them. Which is why this entire thing seems a little… troublesome.”
“Ok. I get that we don’t have enough information, but in the end it feels like we might have to participate in the subjugation anyway.”
Ragnall looks glum after I say that.
“Ha… it’s troublesome… I really don’t want to do such a bothersome thing for free…”
… Of course.
Hibiki-chan went with Ragnall to the Warden’s HQ, where Idra-san was most likely at.
She’d slowly begun to warm up to him, Orvowel, and Leimon over the many days of traveling, and she’s even begun to smile an impish smile sometimes.
Could she have been the mischievous type before? I wouldn’t have guessed at all.
Aaanyway, what am I doing?
“Unn, yeah, the Boundary weakens a lot around here, but this is the first time it’s been such a big deal…”
I’m talking to the catgirl receptionist in the inn.
It was good to hear it from more than one side so we don’t get scammed – was what I was told. Ragnall, you’re really resisting the idea of this so much… it’s not just because of money, right?
“So what happened?”
“Fuuu… let’s see. Usually it’s just a matter of people who wandered off into the woods coming back weakened and in need of the Mana Pots, but recently, people have been disappearing a little too close to Warden’s Post.”
I have a flashback to the lifeless, inorganic corpses of the slaves underground back in Nyl City.
Although what was drained this time was mana instead of Light Magic, so perhaps they wouldn’t seem so… eerily lifeless.
“Is it definite that it’s demons?”
“It’s likely. Mana takes a long time to dissipate from a dead body, but after checking the bodies that have been found, there’s none left. Also…”
Here the receptionist’s voice dropped low.
“It seems like the bodies appeared to have been tortured. If that’s the case, this isn’t just about a demon who’s here for a ‘meal’, which is already bad enough.”
Un. It doesn’t sound good at all.
“I see… thanks for the information.”
“Of course! The wardens are offering a job to adventurers through the Guild to cooperate with them, so if you head over to HQ you can sign up. Or like, please sign up! Everyone’s getting too scared to leave their homes.”
The catgirl, Eloise, seems a little desperate.
Un. I feel a little detached from it because I haven’t seen anything happen yet, but just from Eloise’s reactions, I can see how feared demons are.
Before I leave, I suddenly remember,
“Ah, one more thing. What kind of gods are worshipped around here?”
“Gods, is it? Let’s see, there’s …”
The catgirl receptionist tilts her head to one side, then gets a strange look on her face.
“… hm? That’s strange. Who were they again?”
<a/n: Thanks anonymous and Noppes for your donations!
Hm. Although demons and gods have no relation to one another in this world (except for propaganda), somehow both have come out in this chapter. Although they are two separate plotlines…
btw, I am someone who believes that demons are real in this world, and they’re too dangerous to treat lightly with rituals and witchery.
Cursed updated as well>