It’s me again, Ritheseus of the human race.
I’ve been handed over to the demons like a sold calf.
What fate awaits me now?
I’ve been told that I won’t be sacrificed to their monster, but I might be used as a catalyst for their alchemy and have my life force wrung out of me.
“If so, my life was short…”
Well, I’m content with it if I can use my life for the sire who has taken good care of me.
It seems we must first gather at the occupation office, so I went there.
The occupation office is the former royal castle, located in what used to be the Human Kingdom’s capital.
“I never expected to go to the castle under such circumstances…”
When the Human Kingdom was still going strong, this would’ve been a place that lowly people would never have a chance to visit.
I guess life is full of surprises.
As I arrived at the designated room, I found several men and women around my age already gathered there. They’re probably the offered sacrifices, rather, human resources representing their territories, just like me.
“Is that you, Ritheseus? Long time no see!”
Seeing a familiar face, I rush over to Walkina’s side.
He’s the chamberlain of a neighboring territory’s feudal lord. We’ve seen each other multiple times during the territory conferences.
“Are you here for the same reason as I am?”
A substitute, that is.
“Yeah, our young lady was also of the right age, but we can’t just present her, can we? So I took her place.”
We both have it rough, huh?
As I look around, I notice a nobleman among the many other young servants gathered.
“He presented himself without asking for a substitute?”
That’s quite a courageous act.
“The second and third sons could’ve worked as his proxy, but his willingness to sacrifice himself to protect his people touches me. Leagues apart from your stupid young master,” says Walkina.
“Why bring that up? Aren’t you in the same situation as me?”
“Dumbass, I serve a young lady! A delicate woman!”
What with his unreasonable yet somewhat relatable logic?
It’s a life that may be gone tomorrow anyway.
Let’s stop wasting our time thinking about useless things.
As we waited, it seemed all the sacrifices, rather, human resources, have gathered.
“I am Governor Malvastos of the Demon Occupation Prefectural Office,” says a distinguished demon, graceful from appearance to demeanor. “Now, behave yourselves.”
What do you mean by that when someone as distinguished as you has already appeared?
…But I stand corrected.
An even more distinguished person has appeared.
“Demon King Zedan has arrived.”
The viceroy steps aside, and the giant takes over.
It feels as if a wall closing in on us.
That’s how intimidating his presence is.
Is he the Demon King, the supreme commander of the demon race?!
In other words, he has the highest position out there!
“First of all, you’ve done well coming here. Surely, it must have been toilsome,” solemnly says the Demon King.
Why is he personally here to receive us?!
I’ve prepared myself to be unperturbed no matter what tragic events come my way, but this quickly surpassed my expectations!
“But Your Majesty, this isn’t a very impressing lineup,” says the viceroy beside him. “I can tell from their attires. I suspect most of the people sent here are their servants. I can understand that the aristocrats were unwilling to give us their children, so they sent substitutes.”
Crap, he already saw through us?
“It’s all good.”
But the Demon King remains tolerant.
“They must be wary of being sacrificed. Those present here have accepted such peril and strengthened their resolve to face death. Their face says it all.”
He adds, looking at us, “Not only are they brilliant, but they also have the determination to protect their homeland, even at the cost of their own lives. And to gather such people, the purpose of this call was intentionally kept vague. Thanks to this, we have a group of fresh and young people.”
Is that so?!
Have we fallen for the demons’ true motive all along?!
But what is he going to do now that he’s gathered us?!
“Let me tell you the reason why. The reason we gathered you here is…”
The Demon King continues, “You’ll be studying someplace else!”
“We’re going to provide you elite education and make you form connections with various key figures in the Demon Kingdom. After you have cultivated a sufficient skillset, you will work for the benefit of both nations, hence the purpose of studying somewhere else.”
The hall is abuzz.
As expected, everyone can’t remain quiet.
The commotion could be heard in all directions.
“This is for neither one race’s sake. I want you to work for the prosperity of both races that have become one. Do you accept these terms?”
There’s no point in getting flustered here, so we accept.
“Then I’ll take you to your place of study right away. There, young demons of the same caliber as you have already started training. The purpose is to study with them and develop camaraderie.” The Demon King starts walking toward us, stops in the center of the crowd, and says, “Malvastos, I bid you farewell for now. We’ll talk again soon.”
“I, Malvastos, will devote my life to stabilizing the Human Kingdom, so please rest assured,” replies the viceroy, bowing his head reverently.
The next moment, the viceroy disappeared.
Wait, it’s not just him. The walls and ceiling of the royal castle also disappeared.
The next thing I know, the clear, blue sky is above us.
“We’re here,” says the Demon King.
“Huh?! No way! Already?!”
Not even a second has lapsed!
“Was that the demon’s teleportation magic?!” exclaims someone who seems to know something. “It’s a spell that allows you to move to a predetermined location instantly. But to carry this many people at once…It’s unheard of!”
Come to think of it, more than a dozen of the gathered people are all present.
…I guess the Demon King is incredible.
“This is the saint’s farm where you will be conducting your studies,” says the Demon King.
“Oh, so this is the saint’s farm…”
I can’t help but gasp at the familiar-sounding name.
“…Huh?! This is the saint’s farm?!”
The rumored place in the Human Kingdom?!
It is said that there’s a utopia somewhere in the world.
The saint who lives there has an ability that surpasses even gods, and if he so desired, he could rule the world. He doesn’t want to, though, so he doesn’t make himself publicly known.
Some faddists even believe that with the saint’s help, he can wipe out the demon race and revive the Human Kingdom.
These people have been searching for the saint’s farm with all their might, but to no avail.
I’ve set foot into that very farm!