Frieren’s Prequel Novel Chapter 4 part 1

Chapter 4 – The Wandering Scales
 

 
“Hmm, so another hero has been born, has he?”
 
“Yes, Lady Aura,”
 
the young-looking demon replied, to which Aura narrowed her eyes as she reclined deeply into her throne.
 
Despite it being daytime, the king’s chamber was dimly lit. The walls were blackened, and cobwebs hung from the ceiling. However, Aura’s throne was meticulously maintained, as if to ostentatiously display its power.
 
Deep within the forests of the northern kingdoms stood this ancient castle.
 
It was once owned by humans, but now it has been occupied by Aura’s demonic forces, becoming a stronghold for the demons. Generally, demons live independently as individuals, but where powerful demons reside, organized gatherings can form.
 
Aura the Guillotine , one of the Seven Sages of Destruction and a high-ranking demon under the Demon King, had a few demons serving under her. One of them was now reporting to her.
 
“The hero’s name is Himmel. A party of four is heading towards the Demon King’s castle.”
 
“Are they strong?”
 
“Their true abilities are unknown, but it seems many demons have already been defeated by them.”
 
“I see.”
 
There were multiple heroes. The one who had once fought all Seven Sages of Destruction in the south was also one of them. But Himmel was a name Aura had not heard before. Surely a novice hero, yet one who had managed to defeat many demons.
 
Aura’s reaction to this news was:
 
“These demons have been quite negligent lately.”
 
She picked up an apple that had been resting on the armrest and took a crunching bite.
 
Whether her fellow demons were killed didn’t matter to Aura. Even if the slain demons were her subordinates, she would not feel the slightest hint of sorrow or grief. That was the nature of demons.
 
[You demons have no blood or tears, do you?]
 
Aura recalled the final words of a human who had died.
 
She knew those words were just a common idiom – “no blood or tears” meant the lack of emotions like compassion or guilt.
 
How foolish, Aura thought. If anything, possessing such emotions as compassion and guilt was the true flaw of living beings.
 
Young demons often killed far superior adventurers, usually because they were swayed by emotion. Humans, pitying the pleading demons, would turn their backs, only to be struck down from behind – a common tactic of the weak demons, one that humans fell for surprisingly often.
 
Everyone knew demons devoured humans. Yet they were still deceived, all because of this “human emotion” defect.
 
Aura grew tired of her meal and tossed the half-eaten apple onto the floor. From the shadows, a demon girl in the form of a young woman peeked out, picked up the apple, and began to noisily crunch on it. The demon who had been reporting to Aura earlier scolded the girl.
 
“No scavenging, Linie.”
 
“…Yes, Lugner,”
 
the girl replied, throwing the apple away and retreating back into the shadows.
 
Unconcerned with the two, Aura rested her cheek on her hand, deep in thought.
 
“Heroes, heroes…”
 
The hero’s destination was the Demon King’s castle at the northernmost point of the continent. To get there, they would have to traverse the northern kingdoms.
 
“Lugner, where are the heroes now?”
 
“Likely around the Krute Marshes in the central kingdoms.”
 
Mentally tracing a line on a map from the Krute Marshes to the Demon King’s castle,
 
Himmel and his friends may pass near here.
 
Aura’s lips curled into a wicked smile.
 
“I’ve decided.”
 
“Yes?”
 
Aura declared,
 
“I’ll add the hero’s party to my undying army.”
 

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The Spell of Obedience
 
By weighing one’s own magical power against the opponent’s, it would subjugate the weaker. This was the spell Aura had perfected through a lifetime of study. With Aura’s immense magical power, the enemy would be no match – in fact, she had not lost a single battle in centuries.
 
The primary targets of her subjugation were humans.
 
Humans were foolish, but she did not think all of them were weak. There were strong ones like the southern hero. Moreover, humans had uses beyond just being food.
 
Invincible heroes, martial arts monks who could slay dragons bare-handed, noble-employed assassins, one of the three great knights of the northern kingdoms, princes who had led many wars to victory –
 
all of them had been turned into her mindless puppet soldiers after being subjugated and decapitated. To Aura, they were valuable military assets. In that sense, one could say Aura liked humans – though her “fondness” was more akin to the affection one has for livestock, rather than for fellow beings.
 
How powerful is Himmel?
 
It remained to be seen how capable Himmel and his party were. If the reports of many demons being defeated were true, they must be formidable. Aura looked forward to adding them to her undying army.
 
The distance from the Krute Marshes to Aura’s fortress was considerable. It would be better to wait for the heroes to pass nearby rather than go out of her way to meet them. Until they arrived, she would continue her training and expanding the reach of her undying army –
 
there was nothing else for her to do.
 

 
“Lady Aura.”
 
As Aura idled in her throne under the moonlight, Lugner approached her.
 
“The party of the hero has been located. It seems they are currently staying in the territory of Count Granat.”
 
“Is that so? How long has it been since they left the Krute Swamp?”
 
“It’s been one year and one month.”
 
“That was faster than I expected.”
 
The lifespan of demons far exceeds that of humans, so their sense of time is greatly different. For Aura, one year is not a particularly long time.
 
“In any case, the territory of Count Granat, huh. That’s quite convenient.”
 
“Yes, the preparations for the invasion are complete…”
 
The territory of Count Granat was the town they were planning to attack. They had hesitated due to the protective barrier surrounding the town, but now with their undead army grown stronger, the occupation should not be too difficult.
 
“I wonder how long Himmel has been in that town. About a year?”
 
“I’m not sure of the exact time, but… Considering their previous pace, I think they’ll likely depart as early as tomorrow or the day after.”
 
“That’s so soon? They should take it easy for a while.”
 
“But they have a mission to defeat the Demon Lord.”
 
“Ah, right. Well then, for the sake of the Demon Lord, let’s take care of this quickly.”
 
Aura stood up and looked out the window after stretching a bit.
 
“Tomorrow, we’ll bring down the territory of Count Granat. And while we’re at it, we’ll take care of Himmel and the others too.”
 
“As you wish.”
 

 
*
 

 
In the forest, a single flower is blooming.
 
Swayed by the gentle breeze, it bathes in the soft sunlight filtering through the leaves, its fresh foliage glistening. What draws the eye is the vibrant red petals. An ordinary flower, but amidst the overgrown weeds, it stands out as a solitary splash of crimson.
 
The flower is suddenly crushed underfoot by a human.
 
Clad in armor and wielding weapons, there are soldiers – dozens, hundreds, perhaps even thousands – trampling the flower one after another. No one pays any mind to the flower’s existence. In fact, they barely have minds to think at all, their heads lacking completely.
 
Clanging their armor and swords, they march, pressing the ground. Where they pass, a pungent stench of death lingers.
 
The undead army.
 
A massive force of the dead, controlled by the Spell of Obedience wielded by Aura.
 
Emerging from the forest, the undead army advances onto the open highland. Aura, flying overhead with magic, surveys the scenery below with a satisfied expression.
 
“What a lovely view.”
 
Lugner, by her side, agrees, “I concur.”
 
“It’s a shame we can’t ravage the town because of that pesky barrier. I wonder if there’s any way to break through it.”
 
“Flamme’s magic exceeds human comprehension. Forcibly dispelling it from the outside would be difficult.”
 
“How vexing. That we can’t break a barrier made by ancient mages…”
 
“Yes, quite so.”
 
“Well, no matter. There are always ways to work around these things.”
 
With a short sigh, Aura turns her gaze back towards the ancient castle.
 
“Who’s in charge of the castle?”
 
“Draht.”
 
“Draht?”
 
“A young demon who recently joined our ranks. He’s adept at creating magic threads…”
 
“Ah, right, I remember him now. Is he capable enough?”
 
“He does have a bit of a lack of experience and overconfidence, but he should be able to easily defeat an average adventurer. He should be able to handle the guard duty just fine.”
 
“Good, because we’ll need him to manage that.”
 
Aura refocuses her attention ahead.
 
At that moment, her magic detection senses a response.
 
Somewhere midway between the undead army and the territory of Count Granat, she feels a magical presence. Four people. They seem to be waiting for them, not moving.
 
“Could that be the hero’s party? How kind of them to welcome us.”
 
“What shall we do?”
 
“I’d like to meet them for a bit. Need to size up what sort of people they are.”
 
And, Aura adds,
 
“After adding them to the undead army, we won’t have to see their faces again.”
 
Aura and the others descend to the ground.
 
Leading the undead army, they come face-to-face with the heroes.
 
The one with clear blue hair like a pristine lake, wielding a sword and glaring at them hostilely, must be the hero Himmel. Aura’s intuition honed over hundreds of years tells her he is a powerful warrior. He has likely slain many demons. The man who seems to be a priest, and the dwarf carrying an axe, also appear to be quite skilled.
 
But they are no match for the undead army. The sheer numerical superiority is overwhelming. Aura’s confidence does not waver.
 
However, one thing does pique her interest.
 
“An elf? I thought they were already extinct. How curious.”
 


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