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Chapter 147: Homecoming (4)
Instead of answering immediately, Tigrius moved his lips up and down a few times, something unusual for his typical reaction.
After hesitating for a moment, Tigrius said, “I’m sorry to say this, but I would like to get some bones of the Bone Dragon. Just a little bit.”
Although he was an ascetic and perfect old gentleman, he was also a wizard.
Above all, what he wanted was the bones of the Bone Dragon. If he wanted, he could use it not only as weapons material but also material for magic experiments or a catalyst for various powerful magic. Moreover, the bones that Yong-ho got this time were those of a fully-grown dragon.
It was natural for a wizard to covet the bones.
Yong-ho smiled brightly at his desperate gaze. Since he became one of his dungeon spirits, Tigrius had never expressed his desire openly, so Yong-ho wanted to grant his request.
“I can’t say you can use them to your heart’s content, but you can use some of them. You can trust me.”
As if he felt a bit embarrassed, Tigrius didn’t hide his smile. Watching him, all of the other dungeon spirits showed approving smiles. Fighting at the risk of his life, Tigrius was already a member of the House of Mammon.
Rikum said again, “I think we will be done cleaning up before dark.”
“How about the funeral?”
“I think we can handle their bodies here quickly and proceed with it formally after returning to the Free City. Because of the compensation for the killed, I don’t think we can wrap up the matter in a hurry.”
The funeral was not only for the dead but also for the living.
The Free City had the largest pool of talent that was available to Yong-ho.
Since they had a potential for the city’s development, Yong-ho could never treat the matter lightly.
Ophelia’s face turned somewhat gloomy as if she recalled Oros, the maniac commander of the Free City who lost his life to the Bone Dragon.
Rikum continued to brief Yong-ho about the recovery status of the injured and the fatigue of the remaining troops.
“Okay, let’s discuss what to do next from now on. Ophelia, please go ahead first.”
When Yong-ho pointed to her, she stood up and said after greeting him briefly, “The battle is just over, so there is a lot of speculation. I’m sorry, but I hope you can take this into account.”
It was unavoidable. There was clearly a limit to Ophelia’s intelligence. Above all, she was exhausted at the moment. No matter how strong she was as a Red Demon, she couldn’t heal her severe wounds right away.
However, she smiled and continued, as if to reassure everyone, “In this battle, more than 500 of the Embrio army, made up of about three thousand, were killed. Out of the remaining two thousand and five hundred, most of them were alive and fled, except for those who were severely injured. Most of the frontline commanders also survived, so there is a possibility that they could gather the runaway soldiers to engage in military activities. But it is unlikely that they’re going to be a big threat because their leader, Embrio, was dead.”
What she said up to this point was already discussed yesterday.
Pointing to the northern and eastern parts of the southern area, she continued, “It’s been a day since the battle was over, so I guess rumors are already spreading. In fact, the north is more of a problem than the ruined west, but since the north is located very far from the south, and people there are faced with the army in the east, so they don’t pose an immediate threat. In my opinion, they will be absorbed by the eastern army, or they will enter into a power struggle among themselves after repelling the eastern army.
There were numerous geographic patterns that could not easily pass between the north and south. The reason why Embrio hit the south from the outskirts of the west was partly to block the east from outside support, but the main reason was because attacking the south right from the north was geographically difficult.
“The biggest problem is the people in the east. They are maintaining their troops safely at the moment. But I can say with certainty that they won’t be a threat to the House of Mammon and its master.”
Even Ophelia herself was confident that she could defeat the head of the eastern army.
The House of Mammon was strong, as evidenced in this battle.
Eligos was moved to tears quietly. Catalina also suppressed her feelings by biting her lips slightly. The two dungeon spirits, who saved the House of Mammon from the verge of collapse, felt like the present situation was a dream.
“Since there are so many survivors, the rumors will spread specifically and widely. If the masters of houses in the east are smart enough, they won’t act recklessly.”
Although they thought of fighting Embrio after occupying the northern area, either Embrio or the House of Mammon was much stronger than they expected. If they heard the outcome of the battle this time, it was highly likely that they would get scared and refrain from provoking.
“There are two options for the eastern army—attack the north as it is now, or go back to their homeland and preserve their power.”
“I guess they’ll attack the north.”
There was a real possibility that they would attack the north. They already rose up the army and needed to strengthen their army to challenge Yong-ho. Moreover, now that the power of the House of Mammon declined greatly after fighting Embrio, this was the right time for them to attack him. If they hesitated a little longer, they would have no choice but to withdraw their army even if they didn’t want to, for the east, their main base, would be likely occupied by the House of Mammon in the south.
Ophelia nodded as if she agreed with Yong-ho’s prediction.
“In fact, either way is good for us. If they attack the north, we can give back what they were trying to profit from us while we’re fighting Embrio.”
Yong-ho had nothing to lose in this situation. The House of Mammon had the necessary power.
Eligos, who wiped his tears off slightly with a handkerchief, asked Ophelia, “Can we expand to the west?”
“Unfortunately or fortunately, there is little left for us to take in the devastated west.
Luckily enough, it seems that there are some supplies left in the last city… As soon as it is known that Embrio was dead, they will be the target of looting. The west will be simply hell. Maybe sooner or later, refugees will come from the west to the south in droves.”
Ophelia, who responded affectionately to Eligos, turned to Yong-ho.
Yong-ho nodded because he agreed with her.
When she was done talking, Rikum said again, “In order to expand to the west, we need some time to heal. I’m sorry to say this, but we need infantry to conquer and maintain the dungeons and estates there. Although we won, the number of troops we can mobilize from the House of Mammon was greatly reduced. I recommend you focus on restoring your strength, first of all.”
Yong-ho accepted his recommendation because he was right.
After pausing for a moment, Yong-ho had everybody pay attention to him.
He said in a calm voice, “I’m going to tell you about another topic.”
He was not going to talk about the post-battle cleanup or prediction of what was coming next.
Turning his eyes away from them slightly, he said, “Embrio was definitely a strong man. He was a faithful hero who unified the north and the west in just a few months. But even so, I feel that the troops he mobilized in the battle yesterday were excessive. In particular, the Bone Dragon.”
“Are you saying that somebody is behind Embrio?” Tigrius asked.
Yong-ho nodded at his sharp question.
“I think that’s very likely.”
“If someone is really behind his back, he must be extraordinary. Apart from the Death Knight, the Bone Dragon is really in a different league.”
At least in the southern area, there were none who could possess a Bone Dragon. Money wasn’t the problem. Top-class dungeon masters could not be bought with money alone.
Moreover, the Bone Dragon that Yong-ho defeated this time was not included in the catalog of the Dungeon Market.
If so, it was the Bone Dragon that the Dungeon Market created secretly, or one created independently by an individual or a group without the help of the Dungeon Market. Either way, its scale was too big. Even considering the whole land of the demon world, not just the southern area, there were not many who could create a Bone Dragon.
“From now on I want to make a little assumption. You can take it far-fetched. So, take that into account when you listen.”
Not only Tigrius, but also Ophelia made a subtle expression.
Clearing his throat once, he said, “Embrio acted strangely before he died. Instead of attacking me with his full might, Embrio chose to protect me.”
“Protected you?” Ophelia asked suddenly. Since she didn’t hear it yesterday, she was obviously embarrassed to hear it.
“The black demon that thrust through the ground tried to ambush me. I was so exhausted and focused on Embrio then that I didn’t notice it, but Embrio killed the guy. He killed it by using an enormous amount of magic as if he expected its attack in advance.”
Yong-ho couldn’t take the essence of Embrio and the black demon because the last magic used by Embrio completely destroyed the essence of both.
It didn’t seem like he improvised this kind of magic hastily. Maybe it was magic that he had prepared only to defeat the black demon because he never used it while fighting Yong-ho, who had magic as powerful as that.
“He left me a strange will. ‘Hide your greed. Beware of the six kings, especially the King of Gluttony.'”
Having said that, Yong-ho waited for a moment. Rikum and Tigrius sprang to their feet almost simultaneously.
It was not because Embrio left a will that they were astonished. They were more worried about some facts contained in the will.
“Yes, Rikum, I am the King of Greed with the sin of greed.”
Yong-ho admitted it. Looking back at Tigrius who was making an astonished expression, he raised his right hand and said, “And this is Aamon, the magic spear of the red lotus.”
The flames rose. They saw it many times, but it was still very fresh to Rikum and Tigrius.
That was true. It wasn’t something like the flames of the demon king.
Yong-ho’s magic up to now was not dependent on artifacts.
The return of the King of Greed, Aamon, the magic spear of the red lotus that guards him at hand, and the legendary-like beings in the demon world.
Tigrius felt calm amid the confusing situation, for only now could he understand it.
The miraculous actions that Yong-ho showed him so far were far from those by an inexperienced and young demon king. He was the true king of the south that finally returned.
Grabbing Aamon again, Yong-ho waited until Rikum and Tigrius sat down.
Then he said in a low voice, “Embrio told me to hide the fact that the King of Greed appeared. And he warned me to be wary of the King of Gluttony among the six kings. So, I’ve guessed in reverse from here.”