PHA - Chapter 26 - The Sky in the Demon Realm Is Black…?
"So, this is the demon realm?" After stepping out of the teleportation array, Alice scanned her surroundings before looking up at the dim sky. Then, she curiously asked, "Is the demon realm's sky always so dark?"
Alice remembered that whenever the literary works she read brought up the living place of demons, they would always describe it as a gloomy place. Meanwhile, Alice's current surroundings fit this description perfectly. Not only was the sky here dark, but even the trees here had a twisted shape.
Unfortunately, what the shopkeeper said next instantly shattered Alice's imagination.
"No, the demon realm is located on the other side of the planet, so it is currently nighttime here. Have you heard of time differences before?" the shopkeeper said, giving Alice a strange look. Simultaneously, Alice's question had also further solidified his impression of Alice being "a wealthy young lady who knows nothing about the world." Then, he continued, "Sunlight shines on the demon realm as well. Although the sunlight here is comparatively weaker due to the heavy pollution here, the demon realm isn't always dark as it is now."
"I-Is that so..." Alice looked away in embarrassment. After taking a moment to think, she realized that the shopkeeper's words made sense. Although the trees here looked a little twisted, if the demon realm didn't receive even a speck of sunlight, then no tree could grow here. "You say that the demon realm is heavily polluted. Is the demon realm engaged in heavy industry?"
"No, the demon realm is innately polluted. Since the dawn of this planet, polluted mana has shrouded half of the globe. This polluted mana affects the transfer of sunlight, which subsequently affects the growth of the creatures here. The demon race is one of the races that came to being after evolving in this environment."
The middle-aged shopkeeper happily introduced the demon realm's situation to Alice as doing so gave him an inexplicable sense of satisfaction. It was akin to an adult pridefully showing off his knowledge in front of a child.
"The demons are a bizarre race. They strongly advocate the worship of strength, and their four kingdoms are helmed by their strongest members. Although the demons have also developed technology, they copied most of their technology from humans. You can say that they are one big copycat nation."
Alice found the term copycat nation to be very authentic. Indeed, if the demon realm was filled with a bunch of musclebrains who only thought of improving themselves, its technological development definitely wouldn't be anything worth mentioning. Meanwhile, an easy way out of this problem for the demons would be to copy their neighbors.
"Their kings are chosen based on strength? Is such a system even reliable?"
Rather than the demons' technology, Alice was more curious to know how the demon realm's kingdoms could even function under such a barbaric governing system. A kingdom couldn't operate on strength alone. No matter how much the demons advocated strength, they couldn't possibly allow a reckless person to rule their countries.
"The demon realm has a different governing system. As you know, the demons worshipped the strong and prey on the weak. However, in the same way they worshipped the strong, they will also rely on the strong. Hence, demons who are inherently weak will do their best to try to rely on strong demons," the shopkeeper said, chuckling. "If you are a demon, and you find out from a young age that you can't improve your strength no matter how hard you try, what will you do to try to attach yourself to a strong demon?"
"I'll probably try my best to learn various knowledge to make myself more valuable." Alice roughly understood what the shopkeeper was trying to say. Sighing, she continued, "So, does that mean the demon race's kings have a lot of weak but intelligent counselors helping them make development recommendations?"
"Yes. Just like the symbiotic relationship between plants and animals, the demon race's kings and their subjects are also an alternative form of symbiosis." The shopkeeper nodded, seemingly satisfied with Alice's comprehension. "Just like the human realm, the demon realm has been developing for a long time as well. Although they ended up creating a barbaric system, it is a surprisingly balanced form of governance.
"While there have been instances where intellectuals tried to seize power, shortly after they rose to power, powerful demons would immediately kill them and steal their place. This is because the demons worship strength. They will not allow someone weaker to boss them around."
The shopkeeper's description of the demon realm was an eye-opener for Alice. She never thought that the demons could develop a feasible political system based on their barbaric natures. Although she still found this method of governing strange, the demons' innate strength allowed this system to operate stably.
"Oh? Did I come at a bad time?"
While Alice was admiring the demons' political system, a frivolous male voice came from behind her. Turning around, Alice found herself looking at a tall and slender man with pale skin walking out of the woods. However, this man wasn't a human, evidenced by the fact that he had a conspicuous pair of bat wings tucked behind his back. This man was a demon.
However, this demon appeared to be acquainted with the middle-aged shopkeeper as the latter laughed and stepped forward to greet him. Then, when the two started discussing matters relating to smuggling, Alice realized that this demon was probably the middle-man responsible for distributing the smuggled goods in the demon realm. The demon's participation also made sense since it would make the smuggling process more convenient.
After a short while, the two concluded their talks. Then, the demon approached Alice and scanned her, a subtle smile forming on his face as he said, "Do you plan on traveling independently, little friend? You should know that the demon realm is a very dangerous place."
Alice's eyelids twitched at the demon's form of address. However, considering her current height, it was indeed easy for others to mistake her for a child. Too lazy to correct the other party, Alice simply nodded in response.
"Very well. I won't stop you since you've made up your mind. Anyway, even if you meet with an accident, I doubt your family will come all the way to the demon realm to find trouble," the demon said, nodding.
Then, the demon took out a business card from his breast pocket and handed it to Alice, saying, "But since our convoy was responsible for bringing you here, we are naturally obliged to bring you back to the human realm. When you are done with your task here, come to Prandtl City. There is a Shacks Supermarket branch there, and I am the branch manager. You can come to me directly, and I'll be responsible for sending you back to the human realm. However, please don't take too long as I might be promoted at any time. If by chance, I no longer work there, you might not be able to return to the human realm."
"I got it."
Alice took the business card and looked at it. The first line of words written on the card was "Branch Manager of Shacks Supermarket," followed by "Bifrons" underneath it. After memorizing the name and title, Alice put the card into her backpack. There was no point holding it in her hand since the system evaluated it as Garbage.
"Then, I'll be going now."
After saying so, Alice turned around and left. Unlike when she first arrived in this world, she wasn't afraid of getting lost in the woods now since she had her phone with her. Meanwhile, according to Rosa, the forest she currently resided in was located within the Windy Kingdom's borders. Next, all she needed to do was locate Demon King City and enact her plan.
What an interesting little fellow.
Bifrons caressed his chin as he looked at Alice's distancing back. As a member of the demon race that worshipped strength, Bifrons was incredibly sensitive toward the power of others. Meanwhile, the instant Alice took his business card, he had sensed Alice's strength inexplicably increasing a little. However, her strength reverted to its original state when she stored the card in her backpack. Bifrons naturally wouldn't think that his business card could enhance a person's strength. So, the only other explanation for this situation was that...
Is she hiding her strength? Did she subconsciously reveal some of it when taking my business card? It seems she isn't as ordinary as she makes herself out to be.
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