"I’ve become famous… as I wished, I’m now headline news!"
I abandoned all so-called sense of shame for my reputation, and now even I feared myself after I gave up all my limits.
I obtained those fresh flowers with great difficulty after I made an incredible effort to contact all the plant specialist mages I could. I stole my formal attire from some random groom, I spent a great amount of money to purchase those balloons from the gnomes, and if it weren’t for the fact that it was still daylight, I even prepared gnome fireworks in case Amelia arrived at nighttime.
You see, in order to steal all the headlines, I was giving it my all.
It seemed that my luck was actually pretty good. At the very least, it was better than a certain person, who had failed to steal the headlines due to an even more attention-grabbing piece of news.
One of the people involved was the famous beautiful archmage with a renowned reputation—Amelia, the former Truth Overseer, who possessed beauty, brains, and power. That was why this mega-level gossip of "kneeling at the intersection to beg to get back together again" immediately spread through the entirety of Karo City in a single day. Just about everybody was discussing this hot topic.
"Did you hear? That Roland guy actually bought all the available fresh flowers that day and spent at least several tens of thousands of gold coins, just for that one moment…"
Seeing my Reputation points increase at a furious pace, I was both delighted and frightened. I prayed that this incident wouldn’t become known in the mortal plane, especially by a certain person.
And what scared me the most of all was Amelia’s reaction.
If she beat me up at that time… I had expected an over 90% possibility that she would react like that, which would actually be easy to deal with.
As long as she beat me up, this incident would end just like that, and the headline would be set. The "failed romance" would easily become a huge piece of news, and this would actually solidify my status as a scumbag even more… By the way, it wasn’t easy for me to think of some way to give myself the reputation of a scumbag.
However, Amelia’s reaction was far from what I expected. She neither got angry, nor did she go on a rampage right then and there.
She only ground her teeth and squeezed out the words "Roland, you bastard" in a particularly low voice. When combined with her mysteriously reddening face, it would easily make others read too much into it.
I could understand, as I knew she was just forcing down her anger in order to protect her angelic reputation and not get exposed here. But what was with her red face as she accepted my flower bouquet? Was this supposed to be accepting my request to get back together again? But the problem was that this was all just a rumor to begin with! With no romance to begin with, how could we possibly get back together!
"Congratulations, you actually got ahead of me in finding a girlfriend. And she’s even Teacher Amelia. Having a student-teacher romance? You lucky bastard. Sigh, I suppose that in this entire world, only you can conquer her heart. Treat her well in the future. Stop messing around, or there’ll be quite a lot of people that’ll come looking for trouble against you."
Kaid! This guy’s congratulations for my upcoming wedding was coming way too soon. Stop touching your beard and pretending to be giving me your blessings while acting like some saint. I still wasn’t prepared yet!
Alright. Since I didn’t think before I acted, perhaps I was now in deep trouble.
Now, whenever I saw Amelia, who was always so direct and unabashed in the past, she would blush to the point where even her ears would turn red, acting all shy. When the ferocious tiger suddenly turned into a cute tiger, when the maniacal witch suddenly turned into a romantic teenaged girl—this abnormal feeling made me really want to smash my head against a wall.
*Smack!* *Smack!* *Smack!*
Fine then, I already did smash my head into the wall to the point that I was bleeding all over, but this still hadn’t been resolved. The past few days even Reyne had been looking at me with an expression that she believed I was a scumbag.
The most abnormal part of all was that after I finally got to Venerated status, there wasn’t something like (villainous name known far and wide) tacked on to the end like usual, but instead…
[Venerated (playboy who has finally reformed): 20000/20000 points. System Reminder: As a playboy who’s finally reformed, you need to treat Amelia well from now on. As your mother, I’m so proud of you, and I wish you the best. You absolutely have to have an active little baby that’s just as mega-level mischievous as the two of you.]
Alright, at the time I truly didn’t know how to respond anymore. If it was possible, I really wanted to fight my System to the death, but the other slightly more serious system notification finally allowed me to heave a sigh of relief.
[System Notification: The Mage Country Arlodant now views you as Venerated. The first stage of the Epic-ranked Quest "Battle of Two Dragons" has been completed. You have now officially chosen the Mage Country, and will be rewarded with 50,000 Fate Points.]
[For the next step, please proceed to the Mage Country’s capital of Arlo to find the Truth Overseer named Oslowen. If you don’t trigger the next stage of the quest within one year, 100,000 Fate Points will be deducted.]
Perhaps this large number of Fate Points that I just received gave my System new motivation. Its comments were sharper than ever before.
As for the next stage of my quest? I didn’t intend to do it for the time being, as the reward seemed so easy to come by [Easy? Are you really sure?], and the part where I would suffer would likely come later. And as for that point deduction punishment, all I’d to do was secretly run off and trigger the next stage of the quest at some point in time [Do you think your System is an idiot?]
Alright, I knew that I would likely suffer at the hands of my System in the end, but there was nothing wrong in dreaming a good dream, was there? I truly felt that my System was preparing a deep pitfall for me, and I really didn’t want to jump into it. But based on my understanding of the System, there would always be a reason for me to jump into it in the end, and I would be forced into it.
After I tossed all those annoying things to the back of my mind, there were still things that I could be happy about. At the very least, my Reputation increased at a much faster rate than I had expected, and I didn’t even need to use my backup plan, which would risk Adam beating me to death—dragging the other beautiful and well-renowned mage Margaret’s name through the mud in order to have a forbidden taboo love triangle scandal, or even a love square… I suddenly couldn’t help but feel a strong sense of pity for myself. In such a day and age, apart from me, was there anyone else that would voluntarily make himself into a scumbag? Why was it so difficult to obtain some reputation?
Fine then, let’s not talk about those heartbreaking things anymore. Let’s focus on the happy things in life, instead.
At the very least, our allied armies had finished organizing. Although it was impossible to have an overall command system or anything like that, all the factions were very interested in eliminating Emordilorcan. At least before we accomplished our goal, I wouldn’t have to worry about any internal conflicts causing our self-destruction.
In order to prevent a hilarious scenario like "Roland felt that he had such an advantage that Roland decided to just all-out attack without a plan! Oh, Roland is now typing gg (good game and surrender), how regrettable" appearing, I indeed made some efforts at increasing our chances of victory.
The first wave sent out would forever be cannon fodder, but this time, the cannon fodder was at quite a high level. The huge demon army became our first wave, and of course, if everything was successful, they might even become our last.
As for why I sent the demons as the first wave? It wasn’t that I personally viewed them with distaste; it was that all the other species and factions viewed them with distaste. Just standing together on the same side as demons made them all feel unpleasant, and they kept worrying about the possibility of some horrific plot awaiting them at the end.
"You say that there’s a top-level Demon Warlock in your army controlling these demons? Stop joking around! You think I’m a novice greenhorn? There’s no way that anyone from the mortal plane could possibly control such a large-scale demon army. How is it possible for there not to be some Demon Lord from the lower planes here?"
"Don’t work hard only to have the demons reap all the benefits in the end! Before we understand what’s really going on, we refuse to listen to your commands."
Well, it couldn’t be helped that the demons had such a negative reputation. For our own side’s morale and trust, I had Reyne send out her entire demon army for them to be the first wave of cannon fodder.
Reyne unhesitatingly and directly accepted.
She stood on her demonized dragon’s back and watched her destructive demon army proceed, leaving nothing but scorched earth in their wake. I mysteriously felt as if it would be really fun, giving me the feeling of an evil boss behind the scenes.
"You finally feel the joy of it? You were a lich and then the commander of tremendous undead armies. You always used so many underhanded plots, with even the Gods falling victim to you. You were always the biggest evil antagonist of all."
Fine then, I now regretted asking Reyne. Suddenly, she smiled as slyly as a fox.
"However, there’s nothing wrong with playing the role of the antagonist. At the very least, bad people live far longer than good people. If you really were as proper and had good morals like the main characters of most stories, you’d perhaps be nothing more than a rotting corpse by now."
Reyne even nudged over to my side and rubbed me with her shoulder like she was a kitten, and used a respectful tone that was incredibly rare for her. It seemed to be her own way of acting spoiled and apologizing to me.
"Hmph! Don’t even dream of me forgiving you so easily about using the powers of Chaos."
Although I said so, even I myself was unable to say anything too vicious to her. Perhaps the moment I had discovered how similar Reyne was to Prince Roland from my past was when I silently admitted her independence and her right to make decisions for herself.
"…When we return to the mortal plane, arrange a time for me to have a discussion with Karwenz."
Hearing this, Reyne instantly cheered up and was filled with a bright smile.
"Hmph! You start shining as soon as I give you a little sunlight. Remember, power is only a tool, don’t…"
"Don’t be controlled by the power. Second Brother Karwenz also tells me this as well."
Alright, just when did Karwenz become her Second Brother? It seemed that I still underestimated this girl’s basic instincts. Some things I still had to remind her about, however.
"Never trust the Chaos, Chaos…"
"…Chaos is unpredictable. If it could be predicted, it wouldn’t be Chaos. You must learn how to master Chaos, and not be mastered by Chaos. Second Brother says this as well."
Fine, since I couldn’t gain any verbal advantages here, I might as well just focus instead on the "army that’s just attacking all-out without any plan."
Against several dozen armies’ worth of demons, not a single individual would be able to retain their calm. From the very start of battle, things instantly fell into a cruel war of attrition.
Emordilorcan left methods behind to protect himself as I expected. As soon as the demons entered his territory, countless numbers of earth elementals came out from deep within the ground, and tremendous earthquakes created countless crevices. As the demons kept falling into the rifts, the shape of the land was transformed enormously. As for the demons that didn’t fall to their deaths, they were now trapped in the newly divided land, facing against earth elemental creatures that were many times their number.
However, there were just too many demons.
The winged demons began organizing aerial assaults, and the earth elemental creatures mostly lacked the ability to fly. This made the combat situation quickly tilt in the demons’ favor.
"This seems so easy. Rumors of that Emordilorcan’s strength must have been greatly exaggerated."
I only smiled upon hearing this. If Emordilorcan was truly so easy to deal with, I would have come looking for him the moment I arrived in the Earth Elemental Plane. Why else would I spend so much effort in preparing against him beforehand?
Even a sinking warship would still have a couple of cannons. As the most ancient Elemental God of all, even if he was greatly weakened, he would surely have many trump cards up his sleeve.
The demons alone would be able to take care of him? I wasn’t that optimistic at all. I only hoped that it would force out a couple of his aces, and the best result would be that Emordilorcan personally came out.
But judging from the current development, I wouldn’t be able to see him with just the power of the demons.
Suddenly, the entire area began trembling violently before the ground fissured yet again. This time, several dozen tremendous Giant Sand Worms came out of the ground.
Giant Sand Worms were low-intelligence earth elemental creatures that were several hundred meters long. All they knew was to eat and sleep, but no resident of this plane ever dared to look down on them. That was because they were big—very big, ridiculously big.
Just their heads were about as large as gnome bulldozers, but their snakelike bodies were well over one hundred meters in length. Fully mature adult Giant Sand Worms could grow to three hundred meters, and their bodies were as solid as iron. Normal weapons couldn’t pierce them, nor did they have the ssense of pain. Even if one was unable to devour you in a single gulp, they would definitely be able to drag you into the earth and strangle you to death.
If these creatures happened to appear, any unlucky place that met them would be forced to move its settlement, even those completed for a long time.
These ferociously strong low-intelligence creatures were always treated as a natural calamity of this plane. But now, it seemed that as the oldest resident of this plane, Emordilorcan had a way to control them.
Reyne’s demon army consisted entirely of earth elemental creatures that had recently been demonized. Even though they were incredibly numerous, the demon army lacked high-level demon commanders. These demons still had the same earth magic and abilities as their original forms, which were basically zero threat to the Giant Sand Worms. The Giant Sand Worms’ gigantic bodies literally ignored all the demons’ physical attacks, and now, the newly-born demon army had met their most difficult opponent.
"How about having the demons retreat?"
"No need, we can’t take them back to the mortal plane anyways, so we might as well have them expend their passion."
Reyne’s eyes were glowing with the dusky yellow of Chaos, its power under her control.
"My slaves! Show me your utmost loyalty to your master."
She cupped the flames of Chaos within her hand, which transformed into droplets in the sky. It then turned into a demonic flash, illuminating the sky with blood red.
The demon army paused for a moment, then suddenly sped up as they blindly rushed towards those Giant Sand Worms. And then…
Self-destruction was the most common ability to all residents of the lower planes. That attack contained all their life force and power, and would at the very least be three times stronger than any of their other attacks. Moreover, these demons knew how to group together before self-destructing, which only added to the explosions’ power.
Even the strong Giant Sand Worms were unable to deal with this endless number of self-destructions. They rolled and thrashed around in soundless pain, and their green blood spilled everywhere. As if they had discovered the prey before them wasn’t delicious at all, the injured Giant Sand Worms kept retreating into the ground and disappearing. It seemed that Emordilorcan’s control over them wasn’t all that strong.
Currently, there was still a significant amount of the demon army remaining. They grouped up and rushed towards the Earth Elemental God’s domain, when a sudden dragon breath sandstorm appeared behind us.
The Inferno Demon Dragon that we rode on hurriedly turned around and dodged the dragon breath sandstorm, but its movements almost caused me and Reyne to fall off in the process.
"You dare to twist the proud will of my tribe! Invaders from another plane, meet your destined doom."
That was the angry roar of a huge sand dragon. The skies were now filled with yellow-gray dragon wings. As Emordilorcan’s allies, the sand dragons had arrived.
As for me, I had expected this as well, which was why I laughed.
"Amelia, the sand dragons were on Emordilorcan’s side as expected. It’s your turn… What? You won’t do anything unless I promise to go on a date with you? My dear lady, please don’t try to take advantage of the situation. Fine, fine, I'll agree to it all!"