The Devil's Evolution Catalog Chapter 156: The Start Of Our Conquest (draft)
Unexpectedly, what was supposed to be a probing question ended up eliciting a candid confession from the lizardman.
“That’s right, we were all awed by Lady Habona’s display of power.” As the lizardman said that, he threw a worshipful glance at Habona. A second later, he withdrew his gaze and humbly asked, “May I know who this Excellency is…”
“Do you know about the prison exit?”
Regarding my slightly disrespectful questioning that left his own hanging, the lizardman didn’t show any sign of displeasure but merely nodded his head respectfully: “I’ve heard of it, according to rumors, it has never once been breached successfully and only the four-stars are able to leave at will and return to Hell.”
“Well, I’m in the process of raising an army to assail that legendary unassailable exit.”
“...” The lizardman threw me a strange look: “Are you joking?”
“So you think that it’s impossible as well?”
“At the very least, I’ve never heard of it succeeding.” Without outright rejecting that idea, he proceeded to touch upon his own views: “The prison exit has always been a place of nightmares for us.”
“...” Why is everyone so pessimistic about my decision?
Having my excitement dampened like that, I waved the lizardman away without even asking for his name. Tugging at Habona, I invited her to the side where we discussed the matter of that lizardman.
“Not feeling too well?” Seeing my dejected look, Habona asked the question anyway despite already knowing the answer: “You should’ve already expected this sort of response.”
“That’s why I want to break out of this place even more! Honestly, I don’t even think the four-stars are able to leave this hellhole.” Walking up towards a deserted corner, I folded my arms while leaning against the bony wall. I began sharing the conclusions I had come to: “Have you heard any word from those who left the prison?”
“Hmm...not really.” Habona’s eyes narrowed slightly as she quickly picked up on the implications of my question. “You’re saying that the rumors of the four-stars being able to safely leave is false?”
“I’m not entirely sure either. At least till we find out for ourselves, this is merely an assumption of mine. However, Mo En’s son has already left the prison, did you know of this?”
“A little. Apparently his son seemed to have received some kind of shock from the death of his wife and decided to leave prison, abandoning his children while they were still young. Even though that happened some time ago, I did hear of such a matter.”
“Here’s the problem, if he had truly left the prison, why hasn’t he sent any word back to Mo En after all these years?”
“The Prison of the Dead is unique that way, you can’t send any messages back in.”
“You can still send in messages via the prisoners.”
“Those messengers might die.”
“Then just send a few more!” Having shot down each and every one of her explanations, I then voiced my own suspicion: “No matter what, this is where his birth parents and children are held and yet he hasn’t even sent back a single word, even devils aren’t that heartless. Don’t you find this strange at all?”
This oddity wasn’t just limited to Mo En’s son. Prior to this, I checked on every other devil who had some relative leave the prison after reaching four-stars. All of them never heard from their relatives again as if they had never existed at all.
These stories were a common theme amongst the different races I surveyed. Not only did the medusas, harpies and devils experience this strangeness, I even heard rumors of the dogmen and the ratmen experiencing this as well.
“Numila told me some time ago that the previous leader of the harpies, her mentor, rushed off to the exit after grooming her to be a harpy witch. Before leaving, she mentioned that she would find a way to send word back to the prison. As for the result...not only Numila, even Elena and Eugenia experienced roughly the same situation.”
Cupping my forehead with my left hand, I sighed deeply. “Based on these facts, I’ve come to the conclusion that all the four-stars who left had never been heard from again.”
Hearing that, her normally cool expression changed to one of shock. “So it’s all a lie then?”
“I don’t know...that was just a conclusion I pieced together after listening to all of those accounts. I can’t say for sure if it’s true but...choosing not to abandon your clan after reaching four-stars might be the smartest choice you ever had in your life.” After all, if you had left your clan then...we probably wouldn’t have met at all.
All these four-stars who stayed behind...Habona, Manasha, Numila and the other four-stars who couldn’t bear to leave their clan behind or perhaps those who didn’t care about where they lived like Mo En...no matter what their reasons were, choosing to stay behind might have inadvertently saved their lives.
“Let’s put aside this weighty topic shrouded in eons of mystery for now, how about we talk about those lizardmen instead. How did you get them to eat out of your hands like that?”
“I’m sure you already know of their custom of worshipping the strong. A few days back while we out hunting, we happened to stumble upon these lizardmen. That was when I asked them to join our alliance but they said they only followed the strong thus I gave them a thorough thrashing…”
So you’re saying that you took on a hundred by yourself? Sister, can you get any more bada**? As expected of the werewolf who knows a terrifying skill like the Inverse Cut, this little brother is in awe of your strength once more!
Back to the those lizards, while their scales might seem rather thin, in truth they were a lot sturdier than their flimsy exterior would suggest. Not only that, they possessed a razor sharp set of claws.
As for their fangs, they were not only sharp but they possessed a host of toxins and viruses embedded within them that could easily take the life of any ordinary creature. In a head on battle, these lizardmen simply had to stall for time while their toxins finished off whatever opponents their formidable claws couldn’t tear apart. Without a doubt, this was a combat race.
In actuality, that lizardman who spoke to me just now was a four-star but strangely his clan seemed rather small, coming in at only 108 despite having a four-star like him. This question lingered in my mind till I finally found out from Habona that this clan was actually a split off branch from a much larger clan. Apparently, their old leader had died and this caused a succession war of sorts amongst the lizardmen. Obviously, their current leader was one of the failures.
“So you’re saying that the main branch of the lizardmen is currently under the control of Westley’s sibling?” Westley was that lizardman who surrendered to Habona. According to him, after failing to succeed the clan, he escaped with a group of his die-hard supporters and began wandering around the prison. It was roughly then that Habona stumbled upon them.
“That’s right. Supposedly they are largest lizardman clan in the prison with over 3000 clan members of whom the majority are of prime fighting age.” Habona casually relayed the information she learnt from Westley after which she asked: “You want to subjugate them?”
“If it’s possible.” Truth be told...I still wasn’t sure if this decision was right or not. I had considered waiting till I advanced to four-stars before leaving safely but the fact that none of the four-stars who left had sent any message back was simply too strange...it didn’t make any sense at all.
Besides, my levelling speed is abysmal and I don’t have the time to wait for that. Even if I did decide to wait it out, that would mean that I have to leave my subordinates behind. Facing the great unknown alone...no matter how I looked at it, that seemed like a terrible idea.
Time, my subordinates and the great unknown...these were the reasons why I was so adamant about breaching the prison exit.
Clearly, I wasn’t the only one interested in this endeavour as Habona couldn’t help but ask: “What do you think’s awaiting us at the prison exit?”
“I don’t know but the more fodder we have, the better. Habona...I’ll leave the matter of subjugating the lizardmen to you. Help Westley wrest back control of the clan and then all you have to do is control him.”
“Their numbers are too great though; there’s simply not enough werewolves for this task.” Pausing for a second, she continued, not intending to back down even in the face of over 3000 lizardmen: “I need the harpies to help me.”
“No problem, I’ll get Numila and Eugenia to help you. It has been a while since those harpies started training, I think it’s time for our harpy squadron to prove their worth.” Dispatching these harpies was something I had planned since the start. No matter how much practise they got, it was just practise in the end. Without any real combat experience, all that training would be for naught.
There’s a reason why you can’t just use the tactics you learnt in a LoL AI match against real human beings after all.
With two-thirds of the harpy squadron aiding the werewolves, those lizardmen shouldn’t be an issue, right? It’s not like we are actually going to war with them, the plan is just to support Westley’s claim over the clan and help him retake what was originally his. I’m sure those unrelated lizardmen would stand aside after seeing our fearsome army.
As time passed, my sense of anxiety grew as our plans proceeded onwards. Slaves, fodder, prisoners...no matter how many there were, I wanted them all. Even if I had to pack the prison exit full of flesh and bone, I would do it as long as I could breach it!
The next day, Habona set off as planned with her werewolves, the harpy squadron and Westley’s clan in tow.
The ground itself trembled as this 4000 strong army marched off towards the lizardman stronghold. Their goal, to snatch the reins of power back.
Because I still had to supervise the operations here and also because I still had to craft more weapons, I had no choice but to stay behind and leave this operation to someone else. Hopefully Habona’s trip would be a smooth one.
Not long after they left, Violet Snow trotted up to me, having gone missing for a day, to report a matter.
Yesterday, she left with over 200 ratmen. From the looks of it, she was probably here to report the results of her interrogation.
Surprisingly, she wasn’t alone. Next to her was a ratman who upon closer inspection, turned out to be a familiar face...hmm, wasn’t that the ratman she trapped in that ice cage yesterday?
“I honestly thought you would kill them all off.” Staring in the direction of Habona’s departure, I teased her: “What’s with this one? Are you going to torture him slowly later?”
“I need it to lead the way so I left it alive.” As she said that, there was an emptiness in her beautiful pupils...this stubborn puppy was probably thinking of her mother again...my heart ached just looking at her…
Bending down, I gently picked up the little puppy and hugged her. Her plush fur gently brushed against my skin as I did so, it was a soft, slightly cold sensation that was extremely comfortable. Breathing in the light fragrance wafting off her, I asked in the gentlest tone possible: “Have you decided?”
Slightly tumbling around, her face had a weary look on it yet her voice was unmistakably determined: “Enslave them all.”
“Alright, I understand.” Looks like the matter of our rat slaves has been settled, either way our conquest requires more fodder. Seeing as we can avenge her mother at the same time, there’s honestly no reason for me to reject such a good deal.
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