The Devil's Evolution Catalog Chapter 126: The Difference between a Devil and a Devil
Ignoring the girls’ opposition, I reached for my silver mask and took it off, dropping it to the ground with a dramatic clang.
With his goal accomplished, Dohby no longer had any interest in killing the hostages but instead turned his attention onto my obscured face. “Raise your head and take off that hood!” He yelled impatiently.
Now that we reached this point, there wasn’t much point in hesitating any longer thus I obediently did as he said. As the golden rays of the afternoon sun shone onto my exposed face, I couldn’t help but close my eyes from the glaring light.
“Red skin and a horn on her head?”
“She’s actually a devil…”
“How could it be...how could she be a devil!?”
Having been exposed, the person who reacted the most wasn’t Ancarin or Regine but rather Dioh. Even after seeing my face, he couldn’t seem to accept the fact that I was a devil. The kid seemed to have gone mad with grief as he continuously tugged at his hair, turning it into a tangled mess while he wept hysterically.
“Impossible, there’s no way Lady Mo Ke is a devil...it has to be a lie, it has to be...Lady Mo Ke, tell me, tell me you’re not a devil, say it!”
How should I face this kid who trusted me so much...it’s not like my identity was something I could decide. The notion that devils were inherently evil wasn’t something that could be changed overnight after all. Plus, you seemed to have gotten something wrong kid; it’s not Lady Mo Ke, it’s Mister Mo Ke. Please do not call me Lady. Damn it, now’s not the time to be thinking about this.
“*spit* So it’s a beautiful Lady Devil, no wonder she travels around with a mask on.” He said excitedly as he pointed a finger at me while lightly tapping on the other villagers with his other hand.
“I was wondering why your village seemed to be so unlucky recently, it turns out you had a devil hiding inside your village. No wonder I kept getting this urge to kill people today, haha, so it’s because of you.”
“...” I, had nothing to say to that, such was the fate of a devil in the Western Human Realms; your mere existence would be blamed for any calamity and be used as an excuse for any evildoer. If I tried to explain myself...all I would get was a “the words of a devil can’t be trusted”. Thus the moment my identity was exposed, I was destined to be the center of a maelstrom.
“Die you devil!”
“Kill that devil! She’s the cause of all our misfortune!”
No matter how evil those bandits were, they were, in the end, humans. As for me, I was only a devil, a devil that everyone wanted dead.
The villagers began clamoring for my death as they turned their hate-filled eyes towards me. Had it not been for Dioh being so close to me, the hunters would’ve probably fired their arrows at me already.
At a corner of the battlefield, the two three-stars were still in the midst of their fighting when the clamoring began. The clamoring grew ever louder to the point where even George and Dawson were startled by the reaction and ended up calling a temporary ceasefire as they turned around to face me, a broken horn devil.
George’s face underwent a gamut of changes as he took in the revelation; how he felt about this wasn’t clear at a glance. As for Dawson, he was just as silent as George; however, he had a nonchalance to him as if this matter didn’t concern him.
In the minds of the villagers, I was the source of this calamity since I was the one who killed those tamed wolves and gave those bandits an excuse to raid the village. In a sense, they were right about that, but if Plateau Village was truly as peaceful as they thought then why would they even have a bandit troupe nearby? I’m not the source of the calamity, I was merely the catalyst that accelerated it.
However, humans didn’t care about such nuances, all they needed was an excuse, an excuse that will explain “why is it always me that is so unlucky”. My appearance just so happened to fulfill this role; especially given the fact that Dohby had been trying his best to slander me since he arrived.
With his murderous greatsword and a few choice words, he had already begun pushing me to the opposite side of the villagers. The moment my identity was revealed, his plan experienced an unprecedented level of success.
Right now, there was nowhere for me to run, all that awaited me was certain death. No wait, I could still kill off Duran. Without him as my medium, I would be sent back to the Prison of the Dead. But if I were to leave now, what would happen to Ancarin and Regine? Should I just leave them here? The angry villagers might...no, no way!
“Regine, get to the carriage now, the moment Master is in danger, you must destroy that thing.” Ancarin gave out that instruction with an undisguised anxiety in her voice. Due to all the witnesses nearby, she didn’t dare to say “kill him” but instead referred to him as an object.
I immediately grabbed ahold of their hands and tightened my grip on them. Shaking my head, I said: “Don’t do anything silly.”
If I were to get sent back like that, there would be no outlet for their fury, and these two pitiful girls would most likely end up as sacrificial lambs; frenzied beasts weren’t known to listen to words after all. If it’s possible, I would claim that these two were bewitched by me to become my followers. While some people might still detest them, at least this would garner some sympathy from them and guarantee their survival.
They had suffered so much already...no matter what, I must protect them from any further harm.
Sensing my intention, they no longer tried to leave and instead hid behind me without saying a word. It was then that a hunter finally couldn’t rein in his anger and fired an arrow at me while yelling: “Devil, let go of those girls!”
That’s right, my action just now was misunderstood as being evil. To them, it seemed like these two wanted to escape but were forcefully restrained by me after I realized their intention. A mere change in identity caused them to view my actions through rose tinted glasses. No matter what I did, it would be branded as sinister, as evil, as something that shouldn’t be allowed to exist.
Just as well, this saved me the trouble of having to explain to the villagers. As long as they were seen as innocent, that’s enough for me.
I drew my enchanted blade and sliced the incoming arrow apart, after which came a volley of arrows that forced me to use the Grimoire of the Dead as a shield.
“Stop! All of you!” Just as I prepared to block another volley, the man who everyone had nearly forgotten about, Moranthal, stepped forth and yelled with a never seen before ferocity. It was as if his body was lit with a raging flame that threatened to engulf the hunters who he turned his fiery eyes towards.
He walked towards me step by step, and after getting a stable footing, yelled once more: “You bunch of ungrateful bast*rds! Our real enemies are the bandits, and yet you guys are busy stirring up internal conflict amongst ourselves, do you not have any brains!”
“Moranthal, you’re the brainless one, that lady devil is the one who brought calamity on our village.”
“If it wasn’t for her, we wouldn’t be surrounded like this and those innocent villagers wouldn’t have died!”
“Hahahaha, I’m brainless? Yes, I’m brainless but at least I have a pair of functioning eyes!” Pointing at his eyes, he yelled in an even louder voice: “All I saw was Dohby killing villager after villager while you all blame Lady Mo Ke who had been standing there all this while without even moving a finger. Now, you actually claim that she’s the murderer? Hehe hahahaha...laughable!”
Refusing to give up, a villager stepped forth to give his own interpretation of the situation “Dohby just said he couldn’t control himself, that must be the work of that devil’s curse!”
“Curse? Which eye of yours saw her curse him?”
“It might be a wordless and soundless curse so we can’t even detect it.”
“Alright then, since Lady Mo Ke is able to curse people so stealthily, why didn’t she curse you all then? Don’t tell me you’re unaware of that fact that a curse’s accuracy is affected by the strength disparity of the two parties.”
“Lady Mo Ke is merely a two-star. Instead of cursing a bunch of one and two-stars like you all, you’re telling me she instead decided to take a huge risk and curse a target an entire tier higher than her? Do you think everyone has a pig brain like you?! Go on, prove me wrong. Don’t forget that you’re all closer to her than Dohby.”
The opposing villager shut his mouth at that. Clearly, cursing a bunch of lower stars was more efficient than cursing a higher one since there was a greater chance of success and it cost less mana to do so as well.
The mana cost of a curse was directly related to the strength disparity, distance and strength of the curse itself. Not only that, but a number of curses required a medium of some sort on top of a number of stringent requirements in order to succeed.
“In other words, if Lady Mo Ko wanted to harm you all, she wouldn’t even need the Wolf’s Fang to do so. In the period she was staying with us, she could’ve done a lot of harm already. Besides, if she truly cursed Dohby, he wouldn’t be so adamant about removing her mask since doing so was the worst possible outcome for her!”
Moranthal flashed them a scornful smile as he pointed at one of the hunters who had his bow raised: “If Lady Mo Ke was truly your enemy, none of you would’ve even been able to fire an arrow at her because you would all be dead by now! Dead, you hear me!”
“...” The hunters began to lower their bows along with their heads as they stood there mutely.
Yet the world simply wasn’t one where a person could act unimpeded just because he had logic backing him up. There were some people you simply couldn’t communicate with because they only recognized an unchanging set of beliefs.
An old man suddenly stepped forth with a golden leather book in hand called the <<Bible of the Light>>.
Raising it above his head, he strode towards Moranthal. “Moranthal, don’t be deceived by the devil, devils can’t be trusted. Come, hold onto this Bible of the Light and recite with me - [The Goddess’ light illuminates the world, her benevolence reaches beyond the heavens and is vaster than the plains. We are the beloved children of the Goddess. We are borne of her blessing and grow under her gaze…].”
Reciting the verse, the old man slowly made his way towards Moranthal with a gentle look in his eyes as if he was looking at a lost sheep.
Moranthal shoved the book aside and ignored the old man yet the elder didn’t mind this one bit and continued to look at him with a benevolent look in his eyes. However when he turned those same eyes towards me, I could see a myriad of thoughts within them, and not one of them had anything to do with gentleness.
“Devil begone! Go to the hells where you belong. Goddess please bless me with the might of the heavenly kingdom so that I may steel myself against the threats of the devil! Please, oh merciful Goddess, deliver this lost child before me. His soul has been corrupted by the devil, please bathe him in your warm, sacred light and cleanse his soul…”
The old man continued with his chanting as if there was no one else there while Moranthal’s face got progressively darker by the second in the face of his foolishness. Because of the old man’s antics, the villagers began to sway against me once more.
“Stop causing trouble! Your Goddess isn’t coming to save us at all! Because the people threatening our lives isn’t the devil! It’s…” Moranthal swept his finger over Dohby and the other armed bandits and yelled in a voice that was beyond agitated:
“IT’S THEM! IT’S THESE BANDITS! Do you think that these bandits will magically disappear once Lady Mo Ke is gone? No, you’re all wrong! Before Lady Mo Ke showed up, these bandits had already existed!”
“Who was the one who prevented us from trading with the outside world? Who was the one who bought our goods with copper coins even though they were all worth at least silvers? Who was the one who stopped us from seeking outside aid? Who was the one who stole our goods? Who was the one who bullied our sisters and murdered our brothers? Was it Lady Mo Ke? Touch your hearts for a second and ask yourselves, who was it?! It’s them! Everything is because of them!”
Special thanks to Steve Granger, Kaung Thant Win Naing, and Antoine Thompson!!