Santos narrows FY output, sales guidance

Santos has narrowed its full-year production and sales guidance after improved output from major assets in its fiscal third quarter.

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The oil and gas producer now expects to produce between 58 and 60 million barrels of oil equivalent (mmboe) in 2017, compared to its previous guidance of 57 to 60 million.

Sales volume is now expected to hit between 79 and 82 mmboe from 75 to 80 mmboe previously.

Santos produced 15 mmboe in the three months ended September 30, a two per cent increase on the preceding three months, but down three per cent from a year earlier.

The company said volumes increased four per cent at its five core assets, which include the Gladstone liquefied natural gas terminal in Queensland, the Cooper Basin and Western Australian gas divisions, and Papua New Guinea projects.

Drilling activity was increased in both the Cooper Basin and Gladstone with 16 Cooper and 53 GLNG wells drilled in the quarter, Chief Executive Kevin Gallagher said.

Sales volumes remained in line with the preceding quarter at 21.5 mmboe, but were marginally lower year on year.

Despite steady volumes, sales revenue jumped 22 per cent from a year earlier to $793 million, as the company benefited from a sustained improvement in oil and gas prices over the past year.

Benchmark crude oil prices in September rose to their highest level in two years.

Revenue was up three per cent over the prior quarter.

Mr Gallagher said Santos is continuing to boost gas supplies in the domestic market, with the company announcing it will supply committed to more than 125 petajoules of gas into in the south-east domestic market over the coming years.

The oil and gas producer has been accused of contributing to the tight gas supply situation in the domestic market, given its reliance on third-party supplies to fill up export shipments at Gladstone.

However, the company’s sales volumes from third-party supplies have been higher so far this year at 17.3 mmboe, compared to 14.5 mmboe in the first three quarters of last year.

By 1300 AEDT, Santos shares were up 1.1 per cent at $4.28 each in a firm Australian market.

Doctors say botched surgeries on the rise

Doctors’ groups are calling for a crackdown on underqualified surgeons working in day clinics with an increase in the number of reports of botched procedures.

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The Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons, the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons and the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists raised serious concerns following the death of Jean Huang, 35, after she underwent breast surgery at her own Sydney beauty salon in August.

Ms Huang died in hospital after she was allegedly administered a local anaesthetic and breast fillers by Jie Shao, 33, at the Medi Beauty Laser and Contour Clinic in Chippendale.

A paper by the three organisations warns of a rise in serious patient harm as a result of procedures performed in an “office setting” where intravenous sedation and potentially toxic doses of local anaesthesia are used.

The paper recommends six minimum standards to protect patients treated in day clinics covering facilities and equipment, staff training, before and after care, as well as documentation.

The paper suggests all facilities should be accredited and equipment in day clinics be of the same standard as inpatient theatres and include machines required for resuscitation such as oxygen and defibrillators.

At present there’s no consistent standard governing day clinics across Australia, ANZCA president David A Scott told AAP on Thursday.

Professor Scott insists there’s an urgent need for a consistent approach across all states and territories.

“It’s crazy that there are different standards,” he said.

“I’d love there to be a federal approach to this but the reality is it’s currently a state matter and that’s why we’ve prepared this position paper.”

ASPS president Mark Ashton says the standards outlined in the joint paper will help guide the development of uniform licensing and accreditation regulations across Australia.

Huang died in hospital following a procedure in her own clinic allegedly administered by unlicensed Chinese tourist Jie Shao.

Shao was charged with causing reckless grievous bodily harm and using poison to endanger life.

A second woman was subsequently charged with manslaughter, using poison to endanger life and hindering a police investigation.

“It’s a tragedy that it’s come to this and that people have suffered and died in Australia as a result,” Prof Scott said on Thursday.

“We’re better than this. Governments have had a wakeup call that we need a consistent approach.”

Mother of slain US soldier slams Trump’s ‘disrespect’

The mother of an Army sergeant killed in Niger says President Donald Trump, in a call offering condolences, showed “disrespect” to the soldier’s loved ones as they drove to the airport to meet his body.

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David Johnson was one of four American military personnel killed nearly two weeks ago whose families had not heard from Trump until Tuesday.

Democratic politician Frederica Wilson said Trump told the widow Johnson “knew what he signed up for”.

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The Florida Democrat said she was in the car with the widow, Myeshia Johnson, on the way to Miami International Airport to meet the body when Trump called.

Johnson’s mother, Cowanda Jones-Johnson, told The Associated Press Wednesday that the congresswoman’s account was correct.

Trump on Wednesday declared on Twitter: “Democrat Congresswoman totally fabricated what I said to the wife of a soldier who died in action (and I have proof). Sad!”

0:00 Wilson claims Trump didn’t know soldier’s name Share Wilson claims Trump didn’t know soldier’s name

Wilson did not back down from her account, suggesting that Trump “never wants to take ownership” of a mistake.

Trump has made personal contact with some families of the fallen but not all. What’s different is that Trump picked a political fight over who’s done better to honour the war dead and their families.

He placed himself at the top of the list, saying on Tuesday, “I think I’ve called every family of someone who’s died” while past presidents didn’t place such calls.This photo provided by the US Army Special Operations Command shows Sgt. La David Johnson, who was killed in an ambush in Niger.AAP

But The Associated Press found relatives of two soldiers who died overseas during Trump’s presidency who said they never received a call or a letter from him, as well as relatives of a third who did not get a call.

Proof is plentiful that Barack Obama and George W. Bush – saddled with far more combat casualties than the roughly two dozen so far under Trump, took painstaking steps to write, call or meet bereaved military families.Myeshia Johnson cries over the casket in Miami of her husband, Sgt. La David Johnson, who was killed in an ambush in Niger.AAP

It looked kind of like a bottomless void, but I paid it little heed and shoved my futon inside regardless . Retrieving …

Getting a Grasp of the Status Quo — Part 3

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The night came and went . It was morning . I’d woken up to a fresh new day with my head clear of all the confusion that’d come with my reincarnation . I promptly made my bed and activated Item Box . A sizable rift in space appeared right in front of me . It looked kind of like a bottomless void, but I paid it little heed and shoved my futon inside regardless .

Retrieving stuff from my item box was surprisingly simple . The skill came with a list that looked like something along the lines of a video game’s inventory system . It displayed all the items I had inside of it; it didn’t look like forgetting about the contents of my own inventory was going to be much of an issue . All I needed to do to retrieve a particular item was focus on it while reaching into the spatial distortion spawned by the skill on activation . It was incredibly convenient .

With tidying up after myself out of the way, I decided to move on to figuring out breakfast; the module in the top right corner of the dungeon’s UI indicated it was probably time for me to eat . Like the item box’s display, the time and date module looked it belonged to some sort of video game—which made sense given that the dungeon had modeled my personalized UI off of some sort of game menu .

I opened the dungeon’s DP catalogue and began browsing for something I could turn into a quick bite . There were a whole slew of options to choose from, almost too many . I ended up settling on a slice of bread and some cooked bacon, which cost me 15 and 30 DP respectively . I casually plopped myself down on top of the throne, the only chair in the room, as I started to eat .

Though I’d found myself a seat, I was by no means relaxed . In fact, I was feeling somewhat anxious . I needed to earn more DP . I’d only started with a thousand . My resources were sure to run dry if I just sat around, and I wasn’t exactly what I would call keen on starving to death .

There were a total of four different ways to get DP .

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The first was through just to wait . The dungeon naturally generated DP as time passed . It seemed that the precise amount of DP gained depended on the dungeon’s size . My dungeon, which was apparently just the throne room for the time being, could only generate a single point once every three hours . The amount I gained per unit time was so negligible that I decided to rule out the passive gain as inconsequential until further notice .

The second method was also somewhat passive . The dungeon would generate DP while invaders were inside of it . Of course, another, more straight forward alternative was just to flat out kill the intruders . Any return resulting from either of these two methods depended on the intruder in question . More powerful enemies provided more DP .

The final method was allowing the dungeon to absorb corpses and food items . The method generated varying amounts of DP; it seemed the exact quantity depended on what the dungeon was fed .

This is silly . The dungeon kind of needs invaders to show up even though it doesn’t want them . It had to summon me in case they showed up, so they can’t bust up the core . But if they don’t show up, I’ll eventually run out of DP and die from starvation . Actually, on second thought, it isn’t really that silly . The dungeon’s an organism, a living thing . It needs to hunt and eat to survive . You know, survival of the fittest and all that .

I needed to get the dungeon up and running soon, but I wasn’t able to do it immediately . I needed to investigate the surrounding area so I could get a better grasp of the terrain . But more importantly, I first had to learn more about myself . I needed to figure out what it meant to be a demon lord .

The dungeon’s knowledge base had plenty of information . Biased information . It basically demonized all the potential invaders . I could see where it was coming from . Everything that attacked it was literally trying to kill it . But that said, it’s opinions weren’t very helpful .

“Alright, I guess I should probably move out . ”

I shook my hands and brushed any remaining breadcrumbs off my body as I stood up and looked towards the room’s sole door . To be honest, I was a bit afraid of what I’d find on the other side, but there was no point in just sitting around and idling . I needed to open the door and examine my surroundings .

After psyching myself up and taking a few deep breaths, I made my way over to the door and slowly pushed it open .

I was immediately greeted by a facefull of cool air . I was in a rock-filled environment, a sort of cave . Massive crystalline stalagmites hung from its ceiling . They were so large that they made my eyes go wide . I couldn’t even begin to fathom how long it took them to form . All I knew was that they just had to be absolutely ancient .

Beside one of the especially large stalagmites was a crack in the roof, likely due to the influence of the crystal structure’s weight . A few rays of sunlight seeped through it . They bounced off the cave’s many translucent rocks and illuminated it with a dim, calming light .

One part of the cave was depressed; it was much lower than everything around it . Clear, clean water had gathered and filled the indented section . The water was so pure that I could see right through to the bottom .

The only thing that looked out of place was the door I’d come out of . It looked like something that’d suddenly appeared, whereas everything else had clearly formed over time through natural means .

Admittedly, I was totally blown away by the beautiful scenery laid out before me . But the cave was only just the beginning . There was still much more to come .

After confirming that there weren’t any other living things in my immediate vicinity, I started moving towards the cave’s exit, or rather, it’s entrance . My body was naturally drawn towards the bright, blinding luminescence that poured through it . My footsteps, through light, came back to me as heavy thuds . Every single step I took echoed through the cave .

My view of the surroundings opened up as I arrived at the cave’s mouth .

The first thing I saw was the sky . It shone a beautiful blue and extended as far as the eye could see . Below it was a luscious green forest . Its trees gently rustled as the wind blew by . A large river passed right through the forest’s center, glimmering in the sunlight as it brought life to the flora around it .

A majestic mountain range lay off in the distance . Its peaks rose into the clouds and towered over their surroundings . I could only catch a few glimpses of it due to the high standing mountains, but the horizon was the most beautiful I’d ever seen . Two brilliant shades of blue merged where the sea met the sky .

Large, floating islands were strewn across the great blue sky . One even featured a massive waterfall that hammered the earth below it with a seemingly infinite source of fluid . The resulting mist converged the light that was shining onto it to form a stunning iridescent rainbow .

The world that’d unfolded before my eyes was baffling, magnificent .

No .

It was more .

It was so gorgeous I found myself at a loss . I had no way to possibly put its beauty into words .

Tears began welling up in the corners of my eyes . Realizing that I might one day use my wings to soar through the painting before me had kicked my emotions into overdrive . I was so moved I wanted to prostrate myself before the dungeon core and revere it for robbing me of my humanity .

Speaking of, my wings were currently hidden out of sight . They’d gotten in the way when I tried to sleep, so I spent a good bit of time trying to figure out the best way to shrink or fold them . In the end, they somehow disappeared all on their own . It turned out that I could actually extend and retract them at will so long as I focused on them hard enough . Apparently, it was because they were constructed of magical energy . I was more used to being a human than I was an archdemon, so I’d kept them hidden away ever since .

It took me a while, but I eventually stopped staring blankly at the scenery and came to my senses . I needed to get back on task . Given that, I once again began surveying my surroundings . The first thing I checked was my altitude . It looked like I was halfway up a mountain . That was the only reason I could see as much as I could . The second thing I did was check whether or not there were any human settlements nearby . The answer to that was no . It seemed I was rather far from civilization .

Turning around, I found myself face to face with two things: the cave’s entrance and a giant, steep cliff . I wanted to get higher up the mountain, but I didn’t particularly feel like climbing straight up, so I began wandering around in search of a path that would lead me to my destination .

Getting a Grasp of the Status Quo — Part 3.

The night came and went . It was morning . I’d woken up to a fresh new day with my head clear of all the confusion that’d come with my reincarnation . I promptly made my bed and activated Item Box . A sizable rift in space appeared right in front of me . It looked kind of like a bottomless void, but I paid it little heed and shoved my futon inside regardless

Retrieving stuff from my item box was surprisingly simple . The skill came with a list that looked like something along the lines of a video game’s inventory system . It displayed all the items I had inside of it; it didn’t look like forgetting about the contents of my own inventory was going to be much of an issue . All I needed to do to retrieve a particular item was focus on it while reaching into the spatial distortion spawned by the skill on activation . It was incredibly convenient

With tidying up after myself out of the way, I decided to move on to figuring out breakfast; the module in the top right corner of the dungeon’s UI indicated it was probably time for me to eat . Like the item box’s display, the time and date module looked it belonged to some sort of video game—which made sense given that the dungeon had modeled my personalized UI off of some sort of game menu

I opened the dungeon’s DP catalogue and began browsing for something I could turn into a quick bite . There were a whole slew of options to choose from, almost too many . I ended up settling on a slice of bread and some cooked bacon, which cost me 15 and 30 DP respectively . I casually plopped myself down on top of the throne, the only chair in the room, as I started to eat

Though I’d found myself a seat, I was by no means relaxed . In fact, I was feeling somewhat anxious . I needed to earn more DP . I’d only started with a thousand . My resources were sure to run dry if I just sat around, and I wasn’t exactly what I would call keen on starving to death

There were a total of four different ways to get DP

The first was through just to wait . The dungeon naturally generated DP as time passed . It seemed that the precise amount of DP gained depended on the dungeon’s size . My dungeon, which was apparently just the throne room for the time being, could only generate a single point once every three hours . The amount I gained per unit time was so negligible that I decided to rule out the passive gain as inconsequential until further notice

The second method was also somewhat passive . The dungeon would generate DP while invaders were inside of it . Of course, another, more straight forward alternative was just to flat out kill the intruders . Any return resulting from either of these two methods depended on the intruder in question . More powerful enemies provided more DP

The final method was allowing the dungeon to absorb corpses and food items . The method generated varying amounts of DP; it seemed the exact quantity depended on what the dungeon was fed

This is silly . The dungeon kind of needs invaders to show up even though it doesn’t want them . It had to summon me in case they showed up, so they can’t bust up the core . But if they don’t show up, I’ll eventually run out of DP and die from starvation . Actually, on second thought, it isn’t really that silly . The dungeon’s an organism, a living thing . It needs to hunt and eat to survive . You know, survival of the fittest and all that

I needed to get the dungeon up and running soon, but I wasn’t able to do it immediately . I needed to investigate the surrounding area so I could get a better grasp of the terrain . But more importantly, I first had to learn more about myself . I needed to figure out what it meant to be a demon lord

The dungeon’s knowledge base had plenty of information . Biased information . It basically demonized all the potential invaders . I could see where it was coming from . Everything that attacked it was literally trying to kill it . But that said, it’s opinions weren’t very helpful

“Alright, I guess I should probably move out . ”.

I shook my hands and brushed any remaining breadcrumbs off my body as I stood up and looked towards the room’s sole door . To be honest, I was a bit afraid of what I’d find on the other side, but there was no point in just sitting around and idling . I needed to open the door and examine my surroundings

After psyching myself up and taking a few deep breaths, I made my way over to the door and slowly pushed it open

I was immediately greeted by a facefull of cool air . I was in a rock-filled environment, a sort of cave . Massive crystalline stalagmites hung from its ceiling . They were so large that they made my eyes go wide . I couldn’t even begin to fathom how long it took them to form . All I knew was that they just had to be absolutely ancient

Beside one of the especially large stalagmites was a crack in the roof, likely due to the influence of the crystal structure’s weight . A few rays of sunlight seeped through it . They bounced off the cave’s many translucent rocks and illuminated it with a dim, calming light

One part of the cave was depressed; it was much lower than everything around it . Clear, clean water had gathered and filled the indented section . The water was so pure that I could see right through to the bottom

The only thing that looked out of place was the door I’d come out of . It looked like something that’d suddenly appeared, whereas everything else had clearly formed over time through natural means

Admittedly, I was totally blown away by the beautiful scenery laid out before me . But the cave was only just the beginning . There was still much more to come

After confirming that there weren’t any other living things in my immediate vicinity, I started moving towards the cave’s exit, or rather, it’s entrance . My body was naturally drawn towards the bright, blinding luminescence that poured through it . My footsteps, through light, came back to me as heavy thuds . Every single step I took echoed through the cave

My view of the surroundings opened up as I arrived at the cave’s mouth

The first thing I saw was the sky . It shone a beautiful blue and extended as far as the eye could see . Below it was a luscious green forest . Its trees gently rustled as the wind blew by . A large river passed right through the forest’s center, glimmering in the sunlight as it brought life to the flora around it

A majestic mountain range lay off in the distance . Its peaks rose into the clouds and towered over their surroundings . I could only catch a few glimpses of it due to the high standing mountains, but the horizon was the most beautiful I’d ever seen . Two brilliant shades of blue merged where the sea met the sky

Large, floating islands were strewn across the great blue sky . One even featured a massive waterfall that hammered the earth below it with a seemingly infinite source of fluid . The resulting mist converged the light that was shining onto it to form a stunning iridescent rainbow

The world that’d unfolded before my eyes was baffling, magnificent

No

It was more

It was so gorgeous I found myself at a loss . I had no way to possibly put its beauty into words

Tears began welling up in the corners of my eyes . Realizing that I might one day use my wings to soar through the painting before me had kicked my emotions into overdrive . I was so moved I wanted to prostrate myself before the dungeon core and revere it for robbing me of my humanity

Speaking of, my wings were currently hidden out of sight . They’d gotten in the way when I tried to sleep, so I spent a good bit of time trying to figure out the best way to shrink or fold them . In the end, they somehow disappeared all on their own . It turned out that I could actually extend and retract them at will so long as I focused on them hard enough . Apparently, it was because they were constructed of magical energy . I was more used to being a human than I was an archdemon, so I’d kept them hidden away ever since

It took me a while, but I eventually stopped staring blankly at the scenery and came to my senses . I needed to get back on task . Given that, I once again began surveying my surroundings . The first thing I checked was my altitude . It looked like I was halfway up a mountain . That was the only reason I could see as much as I could . The second thing I did was check whether or not there were any human settlements nearby . The answer to that was no . It seemed I was rather far from civilization

Turning around, I found myself face to face with two things: the cave’s entrance and a giant, steep cliff . I wanted to get higher up the mountain, but I didn’t particularly feel like climbing straight up, so I began wandering around in search of a path that would lead me to my destination

For all intents and purposes, demon lord and dungeon master were synonymous . My name was Yuki . It was basically the e…

Getting a Grasp of the Status Quo — Part 2

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General InformationName: YukiRace: ArchdemonClass: Demon LordLevel: 1HP: 2100/2100MP: 6700/6700Strength: 651Stamina: 685Agility: 550Magic: 897Dexterity: 1250Luck: 70Skill Points: 5

Unique SkillsMagic EyeTranslation

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SkillsItem BoxAnalyze Lv . 1

TitlesDemon Lord from Another World

DP: 1000

***

I blinked a few times in surprise as I continued looking over my status page . I’d apparently not only lost my humanity, but also became a Demon Lord . Confusion coursed through my mind, but only for a moment . The w*kipedia-like database implanted in my head promptly answered all my concerns and informed me that a Demon Lord was in fact not an evil ruler that propagated a doctrine of violence and conquest, but rather just a term used to describe an individual in charge of a dungeon . For all intents and purposes, demon lord and dungeon master were synonymous .

My name was Yuki . It was basically the exact same as the name I used to have prior to my death, save for the fact that it was written in katakana as opposed to kanji . [1] The loss of the kanji that denoted my first name made it feel even more girly than it already had . [2] That said, my first name was faring better than my last name, which’d flat out been deleted .

I didn’t really have anything to compare my stats to, so I couldn’t really gauge how good they were . But in any case, my luck looked ridiculously low, which did make sense given the accidental nature of my death . What I couldn’t make sense of was my dexterity . I didn’t ever do anything that required me to develop precision or finesse . I was never into the arts .

After I was done checking out my stats, I moved on and started examining my skills . I swiped my finger across each item in turn in order to get a better grasp of my own abilities .

Of the four I had, three were pretty intuitive given their names . Analyze allowed me to inspect something and determine its stats . Leveling it up would increase the level of detail displayed . Item Box allowed me to store items in a dimensional rift whose size was relative to my max MP . Translation allowed me to remain both conversational and literate even though I’d been whisked away to another world . My last and least intuitive skill, magic eye, was innate to my race . Apparently, it allowed me to see magical power . I couldn’t actually tell whether or not it was of any use . As far as I was concerned, magic was still pretty much a foreign concept .

Each skill had a level associated with it, ranging from one to ten . Skill points could be used to bolster skill levels, with higher leveled skills requiring more points .

The second last part of my status page was a section containing titles . At the moment, I had just one, Demon Lord from Another World . It’s description read as follows:A title granted to an individual originating from outside this world . Those that bear this title will automatically obtain the translation skill .

“I guess that doubles down and confirms that this really is another world…” I muttered .

I was done looking through my stat page, so I dismissed it and tapped the DP Catalogue button . The menu switched to another screen, one displaying a list of items . Each was accompanied by a number, their cost in DP . The list contained all the typical things you’d expect to see in a fantasy-based JRPG: swords, shields, staves, armour, and the whole shebang . But that wasn’t all . It also contained a wide variety of non-fantastical items . I could choose to purchase cups, toothbrushes, food, and all my other everyday necessities as well . There were even consoles and games, but their prices were exorbitant and way beyond what I could afford .

The DP Catalogue, as a whole, seemed really convenient . It looked like my purchases would get delivered to me the moment I made the exchange .

Browsing the catalogue kind of reminds me of online shopping . The whole system feels kinda out of place given the fantasy-esque setting, but hey, it’s convenient, so I’m not complaining .

All in all, it seemed like there were two different types of items . There were the items from this world, which, in general, tended to be less expensive, and the items from my world, which were precisely the opposite . It was almost as if the latter group of items were only present and purchasable because I knew they existed . They seemed too inconsistent and out of place to be there for any other reason .

The third function I checked was the gacha function . It seemed that I could choose between four different gachas, with their prices being: 100 DP, 1000 DP, 10000DP, and 100000 DP respectively . There didn’t seem to be a list of prizes anywhere . I’d have to go in blind if I wanted to try my luck .

The final menu button, the “Dungeon” button, took me to a page that had a ton of options pertaining to the dungeon’s core functions . It allowed me to add to the number of floors, increase the size of the dungeon’s domain, summon monsters, and much more . There was far too much information for me to take it all in at once, so I decided to refrain from checking out the details for the time being .

It seemed that the dungeon itself was a living thing, a species of organism often born in places with a high concentration of magical particles . Like many other organisms, dungeons were born weak and frail . They were incredible easy to destroy early on in their infancy .

Humans were particularly well known for their dungeon-crushing antics . Their attacks were heavily driven by greed . Or at least what I assumed to be greed . The dungeon’s core, the rainbow-like orb that served as its heart, looked like it could fetch a pretty penny on the market .

Unfortunately, humans weren’t the only creatures that attacked dungeons . Monsters, members of this world’s wildlife, did as well . Dungeon cores were rich in mana, and thus, the monsters’ instincts drove them to hunt them .

In other words, dungeons had enemies on all sides .

Everyone and everything was hostile .

And it was for that reason that dungeons summoned demon lords, guardians that could protect them from the harsh environments in which they were born . Dungeons concentrated their magical energies in their demon lords and allowed them to become much more powerful than ever before . In exchange, the demon lords protected the dungeons and bolstered their chances of survival .

It was a picture perfect example of a symbiotic relationship .

Most dungeons obtained their demon lords by drawing in nearby monsters and rebirthing them . My dungeon, however, had been born in an area with an abnormally high concentration of magical particles . It was much more powerful than its peers . It invested nearly all of its energy into summoning a being more suited to the role: me . It’d selected me even though I’d already died in another world and become nothing more than just a soul .

Wait, that means the dungeon thinks that I’m much more suited to being a demon lord than all the other candidates it came across? The hell!? Makes me think I’m evil incarnate or something . Feels bad man .

My race had been altered because the dungeon believed that I would be able to do my job better as an archdemon . The change had only been made possible by my soul’s affinities . I was apparently just innately suited to being an archdemon .

Uh… Alright, let’s chalk that up to the fact that I used to play an archdemon in that one MMO I really liked .

Okay, yeah no . That’s total bullshit and I know it .

I sighed . I didn’t quite feel like contemplating my own moral alignment, so I let my mind wander . The first thing it latched back onto was my stats . To reiterate, I had no idea how powerful I was relative to everything else . The world I’d been reincarnated in was filled with violence . It lacked the peace that my old world had basically bathed in . Monsters roamed the land, fighting and killing for the sake of self preservation . Wars and other armed conflicts were the norm . Surviving was going to be tough if I was too weak .

After another moment’s worth of contemplation, I turned my gaze towards the dungeon core .

It and I had become two parts of a whole . It played a heavy hand in maintaining the vessel that functioned as my body . If it were to be destroyed, then I was sure to follow . And because I’d become both the owner and manager of most of its resources, it too would weaken, dwindle away, and die if I were to lose my life .

Neither the dungeon nor I could survive without the other .

It’d become my second heart, and I’d become its second body .

Though I did resent it for summoning me into a world completely filled with barbaric brutality, I was still plenty grateful that it’d given me a second shot at life .

I decided that I would live it out however I wanted, enjoying my days as they passed, that I wouldn’t waste the opportunity I’d been granted .

And that, for my own sake, I would protect the dungeon’s core .

It’d given me another chance . Defending it was well worth my time .

I let a bit of a smile show up on my face as I used a bit of DP to purchase a mirror . I needed to check myself over so I could evaluate precisely what becoming an archdemon had entailed .

***

[1] Katakana is the Japanese alphabet normally used for when you’re just trying to sound out a word . It is seen most commonly when Japanese people try to use foreign words in text . Kanji is Chinese hanzi characters used in a Japanese context . While it’s possible to guess some of their pronounciations based off precedent, it’s much, much more difficult if not often impossible .

[2] Yuki is typically a girl’s name . The old spelling of his name was likely something that had manly kanji in it . Note that Yuki is different from Yuuki, which is typically a boy’s name .

Getting a Grasp of the Status Quo — Part 2.

General Information. Name: Yuki. Race: Archdemon. Class: Demon Lord. Level: 1. HP: 2100/2100. MP: 6700/6700. Strength: 651. Stamina: 685. Agility: 550. Magic: 897. Dexterity: 1250. Luck: 70. Skill Points: 5.

Unique Skills. Magic Eye. Translation.

Skills. Item Box. Analyze Lv . 1.

Titles. Demon Lord from Another World.

DP: 1000.

***.

I blinked a few times in surprise as I continued looking over my status page . I’d apparently not only lost my humanity, but also became a Demon Lord . Confusion coursed through my mind, but only for a moment . The w*kipedia-like database implanted in my head promptly answered all my concerns and informed me that a Demon Lord was in fact not an evil ruler that propagated a doctrine of violence and conquest, but rather just a term used to describe an individual in charge of a dungeon . For all intents and purposes, demon lord and dungeon master were synonymous

My name was Yuki . It was basically the exact same as the name I used to have prior to my death, save for the fact that it was written in katakana as opposed to kanji . [1] The loss of the kanji that denoted my first name made it feel even more girly than it already had . [2] That said, my first name was faring better than my last name, which’d flat out been deleted

I didn’t really have anything to compare my stats to, so I couldn’t really gauge how good they were . But in any case, my luck looked ridiculously low, which did make sense given the accidental nature of my death . What I couldn’t make sense of was my dexterity . I didn’t ever do anything that required me to develop precision or finesse . I was never into the arts

After I was done checking out my stats, I moved on and started examining my skills . I swiped my finger across each item in turn in order to get a better grasp of my own abilities

Of the four I had, three were pretty intuitive given their names . Analyze allowed me to inspect something and determine its stats . Leveling it up would increase the level of detail displayed . Item Box allowed me to store items in a dimensional rift whose size was relative to my max MP . Translation allowed me to remain both conversational and literate even though I’d been whisked away to another world . My last and least intuitive skill, magic eye, was innate to my race . Apparently, it allowed me to see magical power . I couldn’t actually tell whether or not it was of any use . As far as I was concerned, magic was still pretty much a foreign concept

Each skill had a level associated with it, ranging from one to ten . Skill points could be used to bolster skill levels, with higher leveled skills requiring more points

The second last part of my status page was a section containing titles . At the moment, I had just one, Demon Lord from Another World . It’s description read as follows:A title granted to an individual originating from outside this world . Those that bear this title will automatically obtain the translation skill

“I guess that doubles down and confirms that this really is another world…” I muttered

I was done looking through my stat page, so I dismissed it and tapped the DP Catalogue button . The menu switched to another screen, one displaying a list of items . Each was accompanied by a number, their cost in DP . The list contained all the typical things you’d expect to see in a fantasy-based JRPG: swords, shields, staves, armour, and the whole shebang . But that wasn’t all . It also contained a wide variety of non-fantastical items . I could choose to purchase cups, toothbrushes, food, and all my other everyday necessities as well . There were even consoles and games, but their prices were exorbitant and way beyond what I could afford

The DP Catalogue, as a whole, seemed really convenient . It looked like my purchases would get delivered to me the moment I made the exchange

Browsing the catalogue kind of reminds me of online shopping . The whole system feels kinda out of place given the fantasy-esque setting, but hey, it’s convenient, so I’m not complaining

All in all, it seemed like there were two different types of items . There were the items from this world, which, in general, tended to be less expensive, and the items from my world, which were precisely the opposite . It was almost as if the latter group of items were only present and purchasable because I knew they existed . They seemed too inconsistent and out of place to be there for any other reason

The third function I checked was the gacha function . It seemed that I could choose between four different gachas, with their prices being: 100 DP, 1000 DP, 10000DP, and 100000 DP respectively . There didn’t seem to be a list of prizes anywhere . I’d have to go in blind if I wanted to try my luck

The final menu button, the “Dungeon” button, took me to a page that had a ton of options pertaining to the dungeon’s core functions . It allowed me to add to the number of floors, increase the size of the dungeon’s domain, summon monsters, and much more . There was far too much information for me to take it all in at once, so I decided to refrain from checking out the details for the time being

It seemed that the dungeon itself was a living thing, a species of organism often born in places with a high concentration of magical particles . Like many other organisms, dungeons were born weak and frail . They were incredible easy to destroy early on in their infancy

Humans were particularly well known for their dungeon-crushing antics . Their attacks were heavily driven by greed . Or at least what I assumed to be greed . The dungeon’s core, the rainbow-like orb that served as its heart, looked like it could fetch a pretty penny on the market

Unfortunately, humans weren’t the only creatures that attacked dungeons . Monsters, members of this world’s wildlife, did as well . Dungeon cores were rich in mana, and thus, the monsters’ instincts drove them to hunt them

In other words, dungeons had enemies on all sides

Everyone and everything was hostile

And it was for that reason that dungeons summoned demon lords, guardians that could protect them from the harsh environments in which they were born . Dungeons concentrated their magical energies in their demon lords and allowed them to become much more powerful than ever before . In exchange, the demon lords protected the dungeons and bolstered their chances of survival

It was a picture perfect example of a symbiotic relationship

Most dungeons obtained their demon lords by drawing in nearby monsters and rebirthing them . My dungeon, however, had been born in an area with an abnormally high concentration of magical particles . It was much more powerful than its peers . It invested nearly all of its energy into summoning a being more suited to the role: me . It’d selected me even though I’d already died in another world and become nothing more than just a soul

Wait, that means the dungeon thinks that I’m much more suited to being a demon lord than all the other candidates it came across? The hell!? Makes me think I’m evil incarnate or something . Feels bad man

My race had been altered because the dungeon believed that I would be able to do my job better as an archdemon . The change had only been made possible by my soul’s affinities . I was apparently just innately suited to being an archdemon

Uh… Alright, let’s chalk that up to the fact that I used to play an archdemon in that one MMO I really liked

.

….

.

Okay, yeah no . That’s total bullshit and I know it

I sighed . I didn’t quite feel like contemplating my own moral alignment, so I let my mind wander . The first thing it latched back onto was my stats . To reiterate, I had no idea how powerful I was relative to everything else . The world I’d been reincarnated in was filled with violence . It lacked the peace that my old world had basically bathed in . Monsters roamed the land, fighting and killing for the sake of self preservation . Wars and other armed conflicts were the norm . Surviving was going to be tough if I was too weak

After another moment’s worth of contemplation, I turned my gaze towards the dungeon core

It and I had become two parts of a whole . It played a heavy hand in maintaining the vessel that functioned as my body . If it were to be destroyed, then I was sure to follow . And because I’d become both the owner and manager of most of its resources, it too would weaken, dwindle away, and die if I were to lose my life

Neither the dungeon nor I could survive without the other

It’d become my second heart, and I’d become its second body

Though I did resent it for summoning me into a world completely filled with barbaric brutality, I was still plenty grateful that it’d given me a second shot at life

I decided that I would live it out however I wanted, enjoying my days as they passed, that I wouldn’t waste the opportunity I’d been granted

And that, for my own sake, I would protect the dungeon’s core

It’d given me another chance . Defending it was well worth my time

I let a bit of a smile show up on my face as I used a bit of DP to purchase a mirror . I needed to check myself over so I could evaluate precisely what becoming an archdemon had entailed

***.

[1] Katakana is the Japanese alphabet normally used for when you’re just trying to sound out a word . It is seen most commonly when Japanese people try to use foreign words in text . Kanji is Chinese hanzi characters used in a Japanese context . While it’s possible to guess some of their pronounciations based off precedent, it’s much, much more difficult if not often impossible

[2] Yuki is typically a girl’s name . The old spelling of his name was likely something that had manly kanji in it . Note that Yuki is different from Yuuki, which is typically a boy’s name

And then I was reborn . I never met any sort of God . I wasn’t informed that I’d been killed . But I was certain that I…

Jingai Musume 2

江苏夜网

Getting a Grasp of the Status QuoSo what exactly happened?

The answer to that question was surprisingly simple: I reincarnated .

My death was a boring one . It wasn’t accompanied by any extenuating circumstances . I wasn’t involved in any sort of major incident, nor was I intentionally killed for any particular reason . I simply died in just another everyday accident . And then I was reborn .

I never met any sort of God . I wasn’t informed that I’d been killed . But I was certain that I’d died . The sensation was still vividly ingrained in my mind . I could still recall the feeling of the truck crushing my bones and mutilating my body beyond repair . I could still feel the blood and pain simultaneously seep from my body as my consciousness slowly vanished into the abyss .

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A shiver ran up my spine as I recalled it . It was far too explicit a memory for it to be fake . I really had died . Taking a deep breath, I calmed my nerves and stopped myself from trembling . I chased the unpleasant memories out of my mind and set them aside . No good was going to come out of dwelling on the past .

When I came to, I found myself in what could only be described as a throne room, one filled with expensive looking chandeliers, walls, and pillars . There weren’t any windows, and it honestly seemed quite small for what it was . Behind me sat a single throne . It wasn’t overly decorated or particularly gaudy in any which way . Rather, it gave off a sense of majesty . A large blue carpet ran from one end of the room to the other . I followed it with my eyes as I observed the room in its entirety . There were very few ornaments placed within . The only expensive looking thing was the door that lay at the end of the hall .

All in all, the room gave off a sort of sinister feel . It looked like the kind of area that would likely be accompanied by a demon lord or some other sort of final boss, with the only difference being that it seemed a bit small .

My mind was blown . I couldn’t help but blankly stare as I slowly took in my surroundings . It took a good while for me to finally recover and realize that I needed to get a better grasp of my current situation .

I stood up . And as I did, my line of sight changed .

“The heck is that?”

I immediately spotted a rainbow coloured gem as I got to my feet . It was situated right behind the throne, and seemed to be be radiating a colourful light . The gem was circular, and seemed to be just a bit smaller than a basketball .

For some odd reason, I decided to reach out and touch it . I had no idea why I made the decision, but I did .

“What theaaaaaaaaaarrggh!?”

A head splitting pain assaulted my mind the moment my fingers touched the orb . It was like my brain was being tampered with against my will . Unpleasant, unnatural sensations coursed through my body as I fell on my hands and knees . Tears began to spill from the corners my eyes .

All I felt was pain . It hurt so bad I couldn’t see straight; the world had started rocking back and forth, tilting left and right . I felt nauseous, I almost wanted to vomit .

The hellish headache persisted at full strength for several seconds before slowly beginning to abate . It came and went in waves, fluctuating in intensity every few moments .

“I…see…”

I managed to squeeze out a few words between rapid, shallow breaths . I felt as if I’d suddenly been injected with knowledge, as if a dictionary had implanted itself inside my brain .

And that was exactly what had happened .

“Menu . ”

I recited one of the words the dungeon itself had taught me . A translucent, glass-like pane appeared in midair, materializing itself right in front of me . The knowledge I’d suddenly gained informed me that the menu I summonened was adaptable . Its appearance would change based on its beholder; it would morph in such a way that it was always appear as intuitive as possible . I used to be an avid consumer of video games, and for that reason, the dungeon seemed to have judged the that its menu should appear like that of a game’s .

If I was a goblin, it probably would have manifested as something along the lines of a stone slate instead, given how primitive they were .

I still felt a bit dizzy, so I placed a hand against my forehead to prevent the world from staggering as I looked down at the menu options . It seemed to have four buttons: Status, DP Catalogue, Dungeon, and Gacha . [1]

The last of the four immediately grabbed my attention . Rolling a gacha and trying my luck sounded tempting, really tempting . That said, I understood it wasn’t a good idea for me to try it without first obtaining a more robust understanding of my current situation .

For the time being, I decided to start off by checking out my stats . I manipulated the menu by tapping it, as I would a smartphone or other touch device .

“Wait… I’m an archdemon?”

Well, so much for being human…

[1] I didn’t localize this term because I feel that it’s already used enough in English . If anything, localizing it would makelesssense . Anyway, for those that don’t know what these are, they’re machines with capsules inside of them . The capsules contain toys, and you never know what you’re going to get until you insert your money and give the thing a spin, but the prizes are sometimes listed somewhere if you look for them . They are commonly used in video games, particularly MMOs and asian mobile games, and typically function as a premium feature for paying users . Wikipedia linkherefor those that are still confused .

Jingai Musume 2

Getting a Grasp of the Status Quo So what exactly happened?.

The answer to that question was surprisingly simple: I reincarnated

My death was a boring one . It wasn’t accompanied by any extenuating circumstances . I wasn’t involved in any sort of major incident, nor was I intentionally killed for any particular reason . I simply died in just another everyday accident . And then I was reborn

I never met any sort of God . I wasn’t informed that I’d been killed . But I was certain that I’d died . The sensation was still vividly ingrained in my mind . I could still recall the feeling of the truck crushing my bones and mutilating my body beyond repair . I could still feel the blood and pain simultaneously seep from my body as my consciousness slowly vanished into the abyss

A shiver ran up my spine as I recalled it . It was far too explicit a memory for it to be fake . I really had died . Taking a deep breath, I calmed my nerves and stopped myself from trembling . I chased the unpleasant memories out of my mind and set them aside . No good was going to come out of dwelling on the past

When I came to, I found myself in what could only be described as a throne room, one filled with expensive looking chandeliers, walls, and pillars . There weren’t any windows, and it honestly seemed quite small for what it was . Behind me sat a single throne . It wasn’t overly decorated or particularly gaudy in any which way . Rather, it gave off a sense of majesty . A large blue carpet ran from one end of the room to the other . I followed it with my eyes as I observed the room in its entirety . There were very few ornaments placed within . The only expensive looking thing was the door that lay at the end of the hall

All in all, the room gave off a sort of sinister feel . It looked like the kind of area that would likely be accompanied by a demon lord or some other sort of final boss, with the only difference being that it seemed a bit small

My mind was blown . I couldn’t help but blankly stare as I slowly took in my surroundings . It took a good while for me to finally recover and realize that I needed to get a better grasp of my current situation

I stood up . And as I did, my line of sight changed

“The heck is that?”.

I immediately spotted a rainbow coloured gem as I got to my feet . It was situated right behind the throne, and seemed to be be radiating a colourful light . The gem was circular, and seemed to be just a bit smaller than a basketball

For some odd reason, I decided to reach out and touch it . I had no idea why I made the decision, but I did

“What theaaaaaaaaaarrggh!?”.

A head splitting pain assaulted my mind the moment my fingers touched the orb . It was like my brain was being tampered with against my will . Unpleasant, unnatural sensations coursed through my body as I fell on my hands and knees . Tears began to spill from the corners my eyes

All I felt was pain . It hurt so bad I couldn’t see straight; the world had started rocking back and forth, tilting left and right . I felt nauseous, I almost wanted to vomit

The hellish headache persisted at full strength for several seconds before slowly beginning to abate . It came and went in waves, fluctuating in intensity every few moments

“I…see…”.

I managed to squeeze out a few words between rapid, shallow breaths . I felt as if I’d suddenly been injected with knowledge, as if a dictionary had implanted itself inside my brain

And that was exactly what had happened

“Menu . ”.

I recited one of the words the dungeon itself had taught me . A translucent, glass-like pane appeared in midair, materializing itself right in front of me . The knowledge I’d suddenly gained informed me that the menu I summonened was adaptable . Its appearance would change based on its beholder; it would morph in such a way that it was always appear as intuitive as possible . I used to be an avid consumer of video games, and for that reason, the dungeon seemed to have judged the that its menu should appear like that of a game’s

If I was a goblin, it probably would have manifested as something along the lines of a stone slate instead, given how primitive they were

I still felt a bit dizzy, so I placed a hand against my forehead to prevent the world from staggering as I looked down at the menu options . It seemed to have four buttons: Status, DP Catalogue, Dungeon, and Gacha . [1].

The last of the four immediately grabbed my attention . Rolling a gacha and trying my luck sounded tempting, really tempting . That said, I understood it wasn’t a good idea for me to try it without first obtaining a more robust understanding of my current situation

For the time being, I decided to start off by checking out my stats . I manipulated the menu by tapping it, as I would a smartphone or other touch device

“Wait… I’m an archdemon?”.

Well, so much for being human….

[1] I didn’t localize this term because I feel that it’s already used enough in English . If anything, localizing it would makelesssense . Anyway, for those that don’t know what these are, they’re machines with capsules inside of them . The capsules contain toys, and you never know what you’re going to get until you insert your money and give the thing a spin, but the prizes are sometimes listed somewhere if you look for them . They are commonly used in video games, particularly MMOs and asian mobile games, and typically function as a premium feature for paying users . Wikipedia linkherefor those that are still confused

I wasn’t especially handsome nor particularly ugly . My eyes carried a bit of a sharp glint, but they were honestly the…

Jingai Musume 1

江苏夜网

Apparently I Grew Wings

“Hmmm…”

I twisted and turned the mirror I had on hand, dexterously manipulating it in order to check myself out . I slowly examined every last nook and cranny, with my expression remaining serious throughout the process .

For the most part, I looked no different from usual . My hair was black, and my facial features were all exactly as I remembered them . To be honest, I was average . I wasn’t especially handsome nor particularly ugly . My eyes carried a bit of a sharp glint, but they were honestly the only part of my face that didn’t scream average . My height and build both fell within the norm as well .

The reason I was scrutinizing myself wasn’t because I was some sort of narcissist . I wasn’t particularly interested in taking in the appeal of my own body . I was merely checking myself over because it was absolutely necessary .

I gave the mirror yet another twist and started to gaze at my back: the most abnormal part of me . For some odd reason, I’d grown wings . The pitch black protrusions sprouted out of the area around my shoulder blade . They looked like the kind of thing you’d expect to see on a dragon, or maybe even a bat . I couldn’t tell which .

Having wings was weird . I’d never had them before, so they almost didn’t feel like a part of my body despite clearly being attached to me . It was a bit difficult for me to control them due to my unfamiliarity with them, but focusing on them allowed me to flap them, thereby confirming that they weren’t just some sort of decoration .

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The second and only other weird part of my body was my right eye . My eyes were both originally black . Keyword:were . My right iris, however, had gone through some sort of change . It had somehow dyed itself brilliant shade of crimson .

It seemed that the change in colour was linked to one of the skills innate to my race . Specifically, it was one of the so called “magic eyes,” the cringy things Japanese kids in middle school loved going on and on about . I myself had gone through a similar phase in the past, so seeing the piercing red eyeball had caused a series of embarrassing memories to resurface . I immediately started feeling ashamed of myself .

Though my body had changed, my clothes hadn’t . I was still wearing jeans and a t-shirt . The overly casual apparel starkly contrasted my less than normal body parts . My appearance was all over the place; I felt like a shitty, low budget cosplayer .

Wait a second . I’m wearing a t-shirt over my wings? Oh god damn it, it’s probably torn, isn’t it?

I couldn’t quite get the angle I needed to see the supposedly torn part of my shirt, but I remained absolutely certain that it’d suffered damage nonetheless .

“You know what? Screw this . I’m going to bed . ”

The act of examining my body had caused me far more mental fatigue than I was comfortable with, so I decided to just stop thinking about it . I used a bunch of dungeon points, or DP for short, and purchased a futon, a japanese style bed .

I appeared to be in some sort of throne room, but I decided to just flat out ignore it for the time being . I laid the futon out on the floor, tucked myself in, and closed my eyes .

***

General InformationName: YukiRace: ArchdemonClass: Demon LordLevel: 1HP: 2100/2100MP: 6700/6700Strength: 651Stamina: 685Agility: 550Magic: 897Dexterity: 1250Luck: 70Skill Points: 5

Unique SkillsMagic EyeTranslation

SkillsItem BoxAnalyze

TitlesDemon Lord from Another World

DP: 900

Jingai Musume 1

Apparently I Grew Wings.

“Hmmm…”.

I twisted and turned the mirror I had on hand, dexterously manipulating it in order to check myself out . I slowly examined every last nook and cranny, with my expression remaining serious throughout the process

For the most part, I looked no different from usual . My hair was black, and my facial features were all exactly as I remembered them . To be honest, I was average . I wasn’t especially handsome nor particularly ugly . My eyes carried a bit of a sharp glint, but they were honestly the only part of my face that didn’t scream average . My height and build both fell within the norm as well

The reason I was scrutinizing myself wasn’t because I was some sort of narcissist . I wasn’t particularly interested in taking in the appeal of my own body . I was merely checking myself over because it was absolutely necessary

I gave the mirror yet another twist and started to gaze at my back: the most abnormal part of me . For some odd reason, I’d grown wings . The pitch black protrusions sprouted out of the area around my shoulder blade . They looked like the kind of thing you’d expect to see on a dragon, or maybe even a bat . I couldn’t tell which

Having wings was weird . I’d never had them before, so they almost didn’t feel like a part of my body despite clearly being attached to me . It was a bit difficult for me to control them due to my unfamiliarity with them, but focusing on them allowed me to flap them, thereby confirming that they weren’t just some sort of decoration

The second and only other weird part of my body was my right eye . My eyes were both originally black . Keyword:were . My right iris, however, had gone through some sort of change . It had somehow dyed itself brilliant shade of crimson

It seemed that the change in colour was linked to one of the skills innate to my race . Specifically, it was one of the so called “magic eyes,” the cringy things Japanese kids in middle school loved going on and on about . I myself had gone through a similar phase in the past, so seeing the piercing red eyeball had caused a series of embarrassing memories to resurface . I immediately started feeling ashamed of myself

Though my body had changed, my clothes hadn’t . I was still wearing jeans and a t-shirt . The overly casual apparel starkly contrasted my less than normal body parts . My appearance was all over the place; I felt like a shitty, low budget cosplayer

Wait a second . I’m wearing a t-shirt over my wings? Oh god damn it, it’s probably torn, isn’t it?.

I couldn’t quite get the angle I needed to see the supposedly torn part of my shirt, but I remained absolutely certain that it’d suffered damage nonetheless

“You know what? Screw this . I’m going to bed . ”.

The act of examining my body had caused me far more mental fatigue than I was comfortable with, so I decided to just stop thinking about it . I used a bunch of dungeon points, or DP for short, and purchased a futon, a japanese style bed

I appeared to be in some sort of throne room, but I decided to just flat out ignore it for the time being . I laid the futon out on the floor, tucked myself in, and closed my eyes

***.

General Information. Name: Yuki. Race: Archdemon. Class: Demon Lord. Level: 1. HP: 2100/2100. MP: 6700/6700. Strength: 651. Stamina: 685. Agility: 550. Magic: 897. Dexterity: 1250. Luck: 70. Skill Points: 5.

Unique Skills. Magic Eye. Translation.

Skills. Item Box. Analyze.

Titles. Demon Lord from Another World.

DP: 900.

This place is looking pretty festival-like right about now,” I said in a tone indicative of my good mood . The demon re…

The Arena

江苏夜网

Editors: Speedphoenix, JokerMy surroundings were filled with naught but noise . The streets were crowded, and the people that filled them continued to shout and laugh as they basked in the city’s celebratory atmosphere . “Wow…” Enne, whose hand I held, opened her eyes wide as we moved through the city . She was so impressed by how lively it was that she couldn’t help but raise her voice in admiration . “I know, right? Seems like the king was right . This place is looking pretty festival-like right about now,” I said in a tone indicative of my good mood . The demon realm’s capital was bustling with so much energy that a single glance was enough for me to feel the excitement radiating from its people . As could be assumed from the sight that lay before us, it had been five days since I spoke to the demon king about what I was going to do for him . We had finished getting everything ready and set out in order to make our way over to the arena . As we had already spent a decent amount of time wading our way through the streets, we were already almost there . One of the things I had noticed was that every single person that had ventured out of their homes was wearing either a smile or some other expression of joy and excitement . This, of course, included more than just the people wandering the streets . Those looking to profit off of them felt the same way . Countless stalls had been opened up by aspiring and established entrepreneurs alike . The shopkeepers advertised their products by shouting at everyone that walked by . Their merry cries only served to add to the already vibrant atmosphere . I had sensed a gradual buildup over the past few days . The capital had slowly gotten noisier as more people rolled in . But today, today was different . Everyone’s excitement had suddenly spiked all at once . A part of me was surprised . I had thought that the demon realm was in a situation that wouldn’t have allowed for its people to kick back and relax the way they did . But apparently, I was wrong . And I was fine with that . As far as I was concerned, this was just how festivals had to be . Logically speaking, it did make sense . Unlike the world I used to live in, this one was suffering from a severe lack of entertainment . People were starved for it . Events like this one were so rare, so few and far between that everyone who was anyone would do their best to enjoy them . “Does that mean you’ve taken part in festivals before, My Lord?”“Errr, kinda . ”I gave a vague, non-committal answer while smiling to gloss the topic over before turning towards the agent left in charge of us and asking her a question . “So, Agent McH-, er, Haloria, what exactly did you say we needed to do again?”“You need to speak with the arena’s staff and complete your registration at the front desk . Unfortunately, we are unable to exert our influence on the tournament itself, so we have no idea as to who you will be fighting . Match placement is completely random, and the event’s staff will be responsible for guiding you through the rest of the process . ”Advertisement“Alright, works . And I think you guys said something about the preliminaries being like some sort of battle royale or something?”“That is correct,” said Haloria . “It is a fifty person free for all . The last three left standing are permitted to participate in the rest of the tournament . With your strength, surviving the preliminaries should be a breeze . ”Welp . Time to give it my all and see where it gets me . “Some of our subordinates have mingled in with the tournament’s staff . We will be happy to assist you, so please ring the bell you were given whenever you wish to call for us . Someone will see to you as soon as possible . ”“You’re talking about the bell that doesn’t actually make any noise when I ring it, right?”Like the ring, the bell I was given was an item imbued with magical properties . It wasn’t capable of carrying out a regular bell’s primary feature, but it could release mana at a very specific frequency . Man, the demon king sure does have a whole bunch of cool stuff . Though I guess it’s only natural seeing as how he’s literally in charge of a whole country . We spent a few more minutes walking and talking as we moved down the main street before finally arriving at the arena . The building was large, round, and for some odd reason, reminded me of the baseball stadiums we had back on Earth . The town had been noisy . But the stadium was even noisier . There were tonnes of people packed into the area . Though some of them were armed, they were all standing in neat lines . Man, seeing people with their weapons and armour out standing around all civilized and shit is pretty weird . Seriously . This shit’s surreal as fuck . Standardization apparently wasn’t something that demons cared much for . People were holding all sorts of different weapons . One example was a broom with its bristles replaced with needles, and another was a scythe with a hammer on the other end of its snath . It was almost as if each race had its own unique selection of equipment; the line was filled with all sorts of different people wearing and holding all sorts of different things . All in all, the resulting scene almost appeared to be chaotic and disorganized in nature despite the orderly line the warriors stood in . Is this really supposed to be a martial arts tournament? Looks more like a weapons exhibition or trade show to me . Not that I’ve really got the right to actually say anything seeing as how I’ve got myself a Japanese-style sword with a big ass blade . “Oh yeah, I should probably get myself disguised before I see the receptionist, huh?” I said . “Sorry Leila, but I’m going to have to ditch you . Make sure you use the thing I gave you to get yourself back to the dungeon if something happens . ” I reminded her of the necklace in an indirect manner in order to throw off any would-be eavesdroppers . “Of course, My Lord,” nodded the maid in understanding . Unfortunately, we couldn’t be seen together in public after I put on my disguise in order to stop people from making the connection between me and the alter ego I had devised for the sake of the operation . “Well, Haloria, it looks like it’s going to have to be your job to keep Leila safe while I’m out . I know she’s kinda famous and whatnot, so make sure no one ends up bugging her too much, alright?”“Don’t worry, you will be leaving her in good hands,” said the secret agent . “I’ll keep her safe even if it means putting my life on the line . ”Her words caused a sweatdrop to appear on the back of my head . Yeah uh… she’s totally just going to warp out if she gets into any trouble, so you should also probably focus on getting yourself to safety . “That looks like it would probably be a good spot to change . ” The agent pointed me to a piece of cover I could probably use to get out of sight . I followed her prompt and headed over with Enne whilst checking my surroundings both by looking at my map and by actively focusing on my enemy detection skill . Only after I was completely sure that we were out of sight did I make use of the Ring of Transfiguration and grab the mask I had stored away in my inventory . My new mask was quite different from the one I had worn back when I was helping the humans . This one didn’t so much resemble a clown as it did the mask worn by the molecular manipulator known as the black reaper . Oh wait, it’s missing the thunderbolt that’s supposed to be running through one of the eyes . Leaving the mask as nothing but a blank slate with eyeholes and a fake mouth made it seem a bit too creepy for my tastes, so I ended up embedding a random star-shaped gem just under its left eyehole . Like basically every other fancy thing I had picked up in the demon realm, it was something I had gotten from its king . He had casually handed it to me without a care in the world the moment I asked for it . Man, Iunno if it’s just me, but he seems hella loaded . Like everything else I made with Weapon Transmutation, the mask was a weapon . Technically speaking, it was a boomerang, just a dysfunctional one . I could totally throw it at someone and use it to hurt them, but it probably wouldn’t ever turn around, let alone come back . Not that it really matters . I’m probably never actually going to throw this thing, so yeah . While the clown mask came in a pair, I only had one reaper mask . I didn’t make a second with the mouth area exposed this time around because it wasn’t necessary for me to keep the artificial face on at all times . “Okay, looks like I’m just about ready to be seen in public . ” I said before turning to the sword girl by my side . “I’m sorry you have to miss the festival, Enne . How about I make up to you by letting you pick what we do in the evening?”“Okay,” nodded the kimono-clad weapon . “And I don’t mind, Master . Anything is okay as long as we’re together . ”She spoke a series of words that made me extremely happy whilst allowing the slightest bit of shyness to tinge upon her usually expressionless face . Ermagawd . Isn’t she just the cutest thing ever? That’s a rhetorical question, by the way . Don’t actually answer it . “Thanks, Enne . I like spending time with you too . ” I smiled and patted her on the head as I spoke . “Could you do me a favour and go back to possessing your main body?”“Okay . ” She nodded and touched the weapon I held in front of her . And as she did, she disappeared . It almost looked like she had fused with it the moment she and it made contact . I hoisted her over my shoulders and sighed after confirming that the process was over . “Welp . Leggo . ”***I arrived at the desk after sitting through the line . There, I was greeted by a receptionist that seemed to belong to one of the demonic races—she had both a tail and a pair of horns . “Good morning, sir . If you’re here to complete the signup process, then please present the document you were given at the time of your initial registration . ”I handed her the card that served as the proof of my registration . “Please give me just one second to confirm the details . ” The receptionist paused to look over the documents . She stopped each time she went over a major detail and asked me to confirm it . “To sum things up, Mr . Ypsilon, you were born here in Regighihegg, and your weapon of choice is the greatsword? Would the weapon you have mounted on your back be the greatsword in question? That’s quite the impressive blade . It says here that you’re participating on the king’s recommendation . Is that correct?”I nodded in response to each of her inquiries . Ypsilon was, of course, the pseudonym I had chosen for the operation . Yeap, you got it . It’s just the letter Y again, but in like German or something this time . “Great . I look forward to seeing you in action then,” she said . “The last step in the registration process will be for you to channel your magical energy through your ID card . Could you please do so to confirm your identity?”I did as she said and cycled my mana through the card in order to make it glow to confirm that I was in fact Ypsilon . Man, these are some in-depth checks . Contrary to my expectations, the checks they ran at the gate weren’t actually anywhere near as half-assed as I had expected . I had thought that it would be fine to have a proxy finish up the registration process on behalf of the actual participant, but it seemed that I was wrong . My impression stemmed from the initial registration . I had been allowed to fill in all sorts of fake details, and no one had been any the wiser . Though now that I think about it, that might’ve just been because the demon king was pulling the strings behind the scenes . I mean, I already know that he’s not doing this the legit way . He seemed way too confident in his intel for that . Especially when he was telling me about all the guys I had to watch out for . “Thank you very much for your patience . Your registration is now complete,” said the receptionist as she handed me a wooden, rectangular block the size of a stick of lip balm . “You will be contestant number 113 . Please make sure not to forget or lose your number . We will be calling it when it is your turn to fight . The waiting room is just over there . A member of our team will be waiting at the end of the corridor in order to provide you with further instructions . Thank you again, and good luck, Mr . Ypsilon . ”I raised a hand to thank the bowing receptionist before leaving the overly crowded entranceway and heading down the corridor the receptionist had pointed at . The area meant for fighters was separate from the area reserved for spectators, so I was finally given a break from the crowd . After following the path for a bit, I eventually ran into a middle-aged man who looked to be one of the event’s employees . “Good morning sir . You have arrived at a waiting area reserved for the tournament’s fighters,” he said is a professional sounding tone . “Would you happen to be here to compete?”I answered him by nodding and showing off the card and the numbered stick . “Excellent . All of the rooms in this area are waiting rooms . The ones with red “no vacancy” signs hanging in front of them are already at their max capacity, so you will not be allowed to enter them . However, you are free to pick any room that is not fully occupied . ”Well then . And here I thought I was going to be getting a private room . Though I guess it kinda makes sense . The preliminaries exist just to cut down the number of participants . It’s literally a battle royale . They’re not going to have enough rooms to give everyone their own private quarters . “This place… is interesting . ” Enne spoke to me telepathically as I headed down the corridor . “Right,” I chuckled . “This is the first time you’ve ever been anywhere like this, isn’t it?”“Mhm . ”“You’ll probably be even more amused once we get to the arena . The arena’s where they actually hold all the matches . That said, it probably reeks of blood, so try not to let yourself get too amused, alright?”I knew that bringing a child to a place where violence was enacted on a regular basis wasn’t the best of ideas . It was sure to be a poor influence going forward . That said, Enne wasn’t an ordinary child . She was quite literally a weapon . Enacting violence had, at one point, been her sole purpose . I was confident that she wouldn’t end up growing addicted to bloodshed given the fact that she knew to fear it . The time that she had spent as a magic blade had tempered her to know the insane nature of brutality . There was a chance that experiencing the tournament would be good for her; it would let her see the act of combat in a new light . “Don’t worry, Master,” said Enne . “I’ll only use my power when I’m with you . ”“Thanks for that, by the way,” I said . “You’re a huge help . ”Only after wandering around for a bit did I finally find a room with a vacancy . I opened the door and stepped inside, only to find that the whole room’s eyes were on me . Some were giving me glares sharp enough to kill . Others looked on in an expression of amusement . A third group, a group of edgelords, was pretending not to care for what everyone else was doing . They were observing me out of the corners of their eyes while trying their best to blend into the background . Wow . This is nice . The atmosphere this place has got going? Yeah, I like it . You know how the room feels the moment before you step out onto the field in order to participate in some sorta sport? Yeah, it’s kinda like that . There’s this vague sense of excitement buzzing all around the place . Oh, man . This is just how festivals like this have gotta be . This is fucking great . A big smile unfurled under my mask as I slowly looked around the room in a provocative manner whilst moving forward and finding myself an empty seat .The Arena. Editors: Speedphoenix, Joker My surroundings were filled with naught but noise . The streets were crowded, and the people that filled them continued to shout and laugh as they basked in the city’s celebratory atmosphere . “Wow…” Enne, whose hand I held, opened her eyes wide as we moved through the city . She was so impressed by how lively it was that she couldn’t help but raise her voice in admiration “I know, right? Seems like the king was right . This place is looking pretty festival-like right about now,” I said in a tone indicative of my good mood . The demon realm’s capital was bustling with so much energy that a single glance was enough for me to feel the excitement radiating from its people . As could be assumed from the sight that lay before us, it had been five days since I spoke to the demon king about what I was going to do for him . We had finished getting everything ready and set out in order to make our way over to the arena . As we had already spent a decent amount of time wading our way through the streets, we were already almost there . One of the things I had noticed was that every single person that had ventured out of their homes was wearing either a smile or some other expression of joy and excitement . This, of course, included more than just the people wandering the streets . Those looking to profit off of them felt the same way . Countless stalls had been opened up by aspiring and established entrepreneurs alike . The shopkeepers advertised their products by shouting at everyone that walked by . Their merry cries only served to add to the already vibrant atmosphere . I had sensed a gradual buildup over the past few days . The capital had slowly gotten noisier as more people rolled in . But today, today was different . Everyone’s excitement had suddenly spiked all at once . A part of me was surprised . I had thought that the demon realm was in a situation that wouldn’t have allowed for its people to kick back and relax the way they did . But apparently, I was wrong . And I was fine with that . As far as I was concerned, this was just how festivals had to be . Logically speaking, it did make sense . Unlike the world I used to live in, this one was suffering from a severe lack of entertainment . People were starved for it . Events like this one were so rare, so few and far between that everyone who was anyone would do their best to enjoy them . “Does that mean you’ve taken part in festivals before, My Lord?”. “Errr, kinda . ” I gave a vague, non-committal answer while smiling to gloss the topic over before turning towards the agent left in charge of us and asking her a question . “So, Agent McH-, er, Haloria, what exactly did you say we needed to do again?” “You need to speak with the arena’s staff and complete your registration at the front desk . Unfortunately, we are unable to exert our influence on the tournament itself, so we have no idea as to who you will be fighting . Match placement is completely random, and the event’s staff will be responsible for guiding you through the rest of the process . ” “Alright, works . And I think you guys said something about the preliminaries being like some sort of battle royale or something?”. “That is correct,” said Haloria . “It is a fifty person free for all . The last three left standing are permitted to participate in the rest of the tournament . With your strength, surviving the preliminaries should be a breeze . ” Welp . Time to give it my all and see where it gets me . “Some of our subordinates have mingled in with the tournament’s staff . We will be happy to assist you, so please ring the bell you were given whenever you wish to call for us . Someone will see to you as soon as possible . ”. “You’re talking about the bell that doesn’t actually make any noise when I ring it, right?” Like the ring, the bell I was given was an item imbued with magical properties . It wasn’t capable of carrying out a regular bell’s primary feature, but it could release mana at a very specific frequency . Man, the demon king sure does have a whole bunch of cool stuff . Though I guess it’s only natural seeing as how he’s literally in charge of a whole country . We spent a few more minutes walking and talking as we moved down the main street before finally arriving at the arena . The building was large, round, and for some odd reason, reminded me of the baseball stadiums we had back on Earth . The town had been noisy . But the stadium was even noisier . There were tonnes of people packed into the area . Though some of them were armed, they were all standing in neat lines . Man, seeing people with their weapons and armour out standing around all civilized and shit is pretty weird . Seriously . This shit’s surreal as fuck . Standardization apparently wasn’t something that demons cared much for . People were holding all sorts of different weapons . One example was a broom with its bristles replaced with needles, and another was a scythe with a hammer on the other end of its snath . It was almost as if each race had its own unique selection of equipment; the line was filled with all sorts of different people wearing and holding all sorts of different things . All in all, the resulting scene almost appeared to be chaotic and disorganized in nature despite the orderly line the warriors stood in . Is this really supposed to be a martial arts tournament? Looks more like a weapons exhibition or trade show to me . Not that I’ve really got the right to actually say anything seeing as how I’ve got myself a Japanese-style sword with a big ass blade . “Oh yeah, I should probably get myself disguised before I see the receptionist, huh?” I said . “Sorry Leila, but I’m going to have to ditch you . Make sure you use the thing I gave you to get yourself back to the dungeon if something happens . ” I reminded her of the necklace in an indirect manner in order to throw off any would-be eavesdroppers “Of course, My Lord,” nodded the maid in understanding . Unfortunately, we couldn’t be seen together in public after I put on my disguise in order to stop people from making the connection between me and the alter ego I had devised for the sake of the operation . “Well, Haloria, it looks like it’s going to have to be your job to keep Leila safe while I’m out . I know she’s kinda famous and whatnot, so make sure no one ends up bugging her too much, alright?”. “Don’t worry, you will be leaving her in good hands,” said the secret agent . “I’ll keep her safe even if it means putting my life on the line . ” Her words caused a sweatdrop to appear on the back of my head . Yeah uh… she’s totally just going to warp out if she gets into any trouble, so you should also probably focus on getting yourself to safety . “That looks like it would probably be a good spot to change . ” The agent pointed me to a piece of cover I could probably use to get out of sight . I followed her prompt and headed over with Enne whilst checking my surroundings both by looking at my map and by actively focusing on my enemy detection skill . Only after I was completely sure that we were out of sight did I make use of the Ring of Transfiguration and grab the mask I had stored away in my inventory . My new mask was quite different from the one I had worn back when I was helping the humans . This one didn’t so much resemble a clown as it did the mask worn by the molecular manipulator known as the black reaper . Oh wait, it’s missing the thunderbolt that’s supposed to be running through one of the eyes . Leaving the mask as nothing but a blank slate with eyeholes and a fake mouth made it seem a bit too creepy for my tastes, so I ended up embedding a random star-shaped gem just under its left eyehole . Like basically every other fancy thing I had picked up in the demon realm, it was something I had gotten from its king . He had casually handed it to me without a care in the world the moment I asked for it . Man, Iunno if it’s just me, but he seems hella loaded . Like everything else I made with Weapon Transmutation, the mask was a weapon . Technically speaking, it was a boomerang, just a dysfunctional one . I could totally throw it at someone and use it to hurt them, but it probably wouldn’t ever turn around, let alone come back . Not that it really matters . I’m probably never actually going to throw this thing, so yeah . While the clown mask came in a pair, I only had one reaper mask . I didn’t make a second with the mouth area exposed this time around because it wasn’t necessary for me to keep the artificial face on at all times . “Okay, looks like I’m just about ready to be seen in public . ” I said before turning to the sword girl by my side . “I’m sorry you have to miss the festival, Enne . How about I make up to you by letting you pick what we do in the evening?”. “Okay,” nodded the kimono-clad weapon . “And I don’t mind, Master . Anything is okay as long as we’re together . ” She spoke a series of words that made me extremely happy whilst allowing the slightest bit of shyness to tinge upon her usually expressionless face . Ermagawd . Isn’t she just the cutest thing ever? That’s a rhetorical question, by the way . Don’t actually answer it . “Thanks, Enne . I like spending time with you too . ” I smiled and patted her on the head as I spoke . “Could you do me a favour and go back to possessing your main body?”. “Okay . ” She nodded and touched the weapon I held in front of her . And as she did, she disappeared . It almost looked like she had fused with it the moment she and it made contact . I hoisted her over my shoulders and sighed after confirming that the process was over . “Welp . Leggo . ” *** I arrived at the desk after sitting through the line . There, I was greeted by a receptionist that seemed to belong to one of the demonic races—she had both a tail and a pair of horns . “Good morning, sir . If you’re here to complete the signup process, then please present the document you were given at the time of your initial registration . ” I handed her the card that served as the proof of my registration . “Please give me just one second to confirm the details . ” The receptionist paused to look over the documents . She stopped each time she went over a major detail and asked me to confirm it . “To sum things up, Mr . Ypsilon, you were born here in Regighihegg, and your weapon of choice is the greatsword? Would the weapon you have mounted on your back be the greatsword in question? That’s quite the impressive blade . It says here that you’re participating on the king’s recommendation . Is that correct?” I nodded in response to each of her inquiries . Ypsilon was, of course, the pseudonym I had chosen for the operation . Yeap, you got it . It’s just the letter Y again, but in like German or something this time . “Great . I look forward to seeing you in action then,” she said . “The last step in the registration process will be for you to channel your magical energy through your ID card . Could you please do so to confirm your identity?” I did as she said and cycled my mana through the card in order to make it glow to confirm that I was in fact Ypsilon . Man, these are some in-depth checks . Contrary to my expectations, the checks they ran at the gate weren’t actually anywhere near as half-assed as I had expected . I had thought that it would be fine to have a proxy finish up the registration process on behalf of the actual participant, but it seemed that I was wrong . My impression stemmed from the initial registration . I had been allowed to fill in all sorts of fake details, and no one had been any the wiser . Though now that I think about it, that might’ve just been because the demon king was pulling the strings behind the scenes . I mean, I already know that he’s not doing this the legit way . He seemed way too confident in his intel for that . Especially when he was telling me about all the guys I had to watch out for . “Thank you very much for your patience . Your registration is now complete,” said the receptionist as she handed me a wooden, rectangular block the size of a stick of lip balm . “You will be contestant number 113 . Please make sure not to forget or lose your number . We will be calling it when it is your turn to fight . The waiting room is just over there . A member of our team will be waiting at the end of the corridor in order to provide you with further instructions . Thank you again, and good luck, Mr . Ypsilon . ” I raised a hand to thank the bowing receptionist before leaving the overly crowded entranceway and heading down the corridor the receptionist had pointed at . The area meant for fighters was separate from the area reserved for spectators, so I was finally given a break from the crowd . After following the path for a bit, I eventually ran into a middle-aged man who looked to be one of the event’s employees . “Good morning sir . You have arrived at a waiting area reserved for the tournament’s fighters,” he said is a professional sounding tone . “Would you happen to be here to compete?” I answered him by nodding and showing off the card and the numbered stick . “Excellent . All of the rooms in this area are waiting rooms . The ones with red “no vacancy” signs hanging in front of them are already at their max capacity, so you will not be allowed to enter them . However, you are free to pick any room that is not fully occupied . ” Well then . And here I thought I was going to be getting a private room . Though I guess it kinda makes sense . The preliminaries exist just to cut down the number of participants . It’s literally a battle royale . They’re not going to have enough rooms to give everyone their own private quarters . “This place… is interesting . ” Enne spoke to me telepathically as I headed down the corridor “Right,” I chuckled . “This is the first time you’ve ever been anywhere like this, isn’t it?”. “Mhm . ”. “You’ll probably be even more amused once we get to the arena . The arena’s where they actually hold all the matches . That said, it probably reeks of blood, so try not to let yourself get too amused, alright?” I knew that bringing a child to a place where violence was enacted on a regular basis wasn’t the best of ideas . It was sure to be a poor influence going forward . That said, Enne wasn’t an ordinary child . She was quite literally a weapon . Enacting violence had, at one point, been her sole purpose . I was confident that she wouldn’t end up growing addicted to bloodshed given the fact that she knew to fear it . The time that she had spent as a magic blade had tempered her to know the insane nature of brutality . There was a chance that experiencing the tournament would be good for her; it would let her see the act of combat in a new light . “Don’t worry, Master,” said Enne . “I’ll only use my power when I’m with you . ”. “Thanks for that, by the way,” I said . “You’re a huge help . ” Only after wandering around for a bit did I finally find a room with a vacancy . I opened the door and stepped inside, only to find that the whole room’s eyes were on me . Some were giving me glares sharp enough to kill . Others looked on in an expression of amusement . A third group, a group of edgelords, was pretending not to care for what everyone else was doing . They were observing me out of the corners of their eyes while trying their best to blend into the background . Wow . This is nice . The atmosphere this place has got going? Yeah, I like it . You know how the room feels the moment before you step out onto the field in order to participate in some sorta sport? Yeah, it’s kinda like that . There’s this vague sense of excitement buzzing all around the place . Oh, man . This is just how festivals like this have gotta be . This is fucking great . A big smile unfurled under my mask as I slowly looked around the room in a provocative manner whilst moving forward and finding myself an empty seat .

Labor proposes changes to child sex laws

The federal government has accused Labor of putting Australian children at risk by not backing compulsory jail time for child sex offenders.

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Justice Minister Michael Keenan lashed out on Wednesday night, after the opposition confirmed it won’t support mandatory minimum sentences for repeat offenders and offences that attract the highest penalties.

“This means predators may not even spend one day behind bars,” he said in a statement.

Mr Keenan labelled the suite of new laws – the rest of which Labor supports – the biggest crackdown on child sex offenders in a generation and based on advice from police.

“But Labor has put children across the nation at risk by opposing mandatory minimum sentences for these heinous crimes,” he said.

“A vote against these reforms is a vote to allow more paedophiles into the community.”

Labor argues it wants to strengthen the package by increasing penalties for predators of the worst kind, and by introducing new aggravated offences.

Justice spokeswoman Clare O’Neil told parliament mandatory minimum sentences let “guilty people off the hook” because juries are less likely to convict them when they know there’s no discretion about the sentence.

Criminals are also less likely to plead guilty and won’t cooperate with police to bring the kingpins who run child abuse networks to justice.

“I don’t want pedophiles on the street … and I don’t want to put them away for five years,” Ms O’Neil said.

“I want to catch the kingpins who are the drivers of this disgusting behaviour and I want judges to be able to put them away for life.”

Ms O’Neil noted concerns from some quarters, including the Law Council, about the unintended consequences of mandatory minimum sentences.

She told MPs an 18-year-old in a consensual relationship with a 15-year-old who engages in sexual activity while on an overseas school trip or over Snapchat, for example, could be jailed for at least five years.

Labor will also put forward amendments in the Senate to increase maximum sentences for a number of offences by five years, and propose new aggravated offences targeting those who incite or direct the production of child abuse material.

“We have no tolerance for child sexual abuse but we believe this bill needs to contain even stronger messages of our condemnation of these horrible crimes.”

Among several other measures, the draft laws propose new aggravated offences for abuse that involves subjecting a child to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

They also make it illegal to groom third parties such as parents or carers, and prevent children and other vulnerable witnesses from being cross-examined at committal proceedings.

Death toll in Afghanistan suicide attack climbs to 80

The deadliest of Tuesday’s assaults was on a police compound in the city of Gardez in Paktia province where Taliban militants disguised as police detonated three explosive-packed vehicles – including a truck and a Humvee – that cleared the way for 11 gunmen to enter.

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At least 60 people, including Paktia police chief Toryalai Abdyani and civilians waiting to collect documents, were killed in the blasts and ensuing battle that lasted about five hours, Gardez deputy director of health Hedayatullah Hamidi told AFP.

Some 236 people were also wounded in the assault, he added.

“The first checkpoint for the compound was blown up by a truck bomb. Two other vehicles then entered the compound – one detonated near the second checkpoint and the other rammed into the police chief’s office that killed the police chief and his bodyguards,” Paktia governor spokesman Abdullah Hasrat said.

The militants had been wearing police uniforms and carrying fake police identification, Mr Hasrat said – a common tactic used by insurgents to gain entry to government and security installations.

Police spokesman Sardar Wali Tabasum said two members of the security forces had been arrested in connection with the attack, suggesting the assailants had insider help.

“We think the Taliban took these vehicles (a Humvee and a police pickup truck) when Jani Khel district fell to them in August,” Mr Tabasum told AFP. Jani Khel is about 50 kilometres east of Gardez.

In the second attack in the neighbouring province of Ghazni, some 100 kilometres west of Gardez, the official death toll was lowered to 20, including 15 members of the security forces and five civilians, Ghazni governor spokesman Haref Noori told AFP.

The number of wounded stood at 46.

That assault followed a similar pattern involving insurgents detonating an explosives-laden Humvee near a police headquarters then storming the building, Mr Noori said. Six attackers were killed.

An earlier toll had put the number of dead at 30 with 10 injured.

It was the deadliest day in Afghanistan since May 31 when a truck packed with 1,500 kilogrammes of explosives detonated in the diplomatic quarter of the capital Kabul, killing around 150 and wounding hundreds more, mostly civilians.

Kabul police foiled an even larger truck bomb on Saturday – 2,700 kilograms of explosives stashed under boxes of tomatoes – that would have caused carnage had it exploded.

Less than two days later authorities seized a car driving towards Kabul that was carrying 300 kilograms of explosives.

Second Darwin meningococcal case confirmed

A second person has been infected with meningococcal in Darwin just days after a baby was killed by the disease.

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An adult admitted to Royal Darwin Hospital on Tuesday evening has tested positive for the life-threatening illness, Northern Territory health authorities say.

The NT Centre for Disease Control has established that this case has no connection either to the infant’s death or the unprecedented outbreak in Central Australia.

CDC Community Physician Dr Charles Douglas urged individuals and parents not to be alarmed but told them to remain vigilant.

“Meningococcal is difficult to contract; it is not like the common cold or flu,” he said.

“There must be prolonged contact with someone who is infected.”

The child, who died fewer than 12 hours after showing meningococcal symptoms over the weekend, had contracted the B strain of the disease in what CDC has named an isolated incident.

Relatives and children in close contact at the infant’s day care centre have been offered clearance antibiotics and vaccines.

“At this time of extreme sadness, the Darwin family of the child who died have asked that their privacy be respected,” the Health Department said in a statement.

So far this year there’s been 27 cases of the W strain identified in remote communities from the Barkly, Katherine and Red Centre region.

In 2016 there were only three.

The majority of sufferers were Aboriginal kids aged under 10, and the NT government has launched a large scale immunisation campaign in response.

Meningococcal is a rare but very serious disease, and although it is treatable with antibiotics, the infection can progress very quickly.

Symptoms may include fever, headache, neck stiffness, an aversion to bright lights, a rash and joint pain.

Those affected may also have vomiting, diarrhoea, and drowsiness.

Babies may refuse food and drink and have a high pitched cry.

American woman marries Ethiopian prince she met in a nightclub

It began, as many relationships do, with a dodgy pickup line in a nightclub.

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Ariana Austin was on a night-out with her friend at Pearl nightclub in Washington DC when she was approached by Joel Makonnen. 

“I said: ‘You guys look like an ad for Bombay Sapphire’,” Mr Makonnen tells The New York Times nof their first meeting.

“Not even five minutes later I said: ‘You’re going to be my girlfriend.'”

One thing the practicing lawyer did not tell Ms Austin that evening he was actually Prince Yoel, great-grandson of Haile Selassie I and Ethiopia’s last emperor.

 

Born in Rome, his parents, Prince David Makonnen and Princess Adey Imru Makonnen, had been forced into exile after a communist coup in Ethiopia, and he grew up in Switzerland and France.

Haile Selassie was the 225th emperor of Ethiopia and he ruled the east African country for four decades until he was overthrown in 1974. 

He died in 1975 under mysterious circumstances.

Mr Makonnen, 35, is related to Haile Selassie I through the emperor’s second son, Prince Mankonnen. 

The royal family traces its roots back to the Biblical King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba.

“It’s unbeatable heritage and history,” Ms Austin said.

“It combines sheer black power and ancient Christian tradition.”

Ms Austin also has an impressive lineage – she is of African-American and Guyanese descent, and her maternal grandfather was a lord mayor of Guyana’s capital, Georgetown.

Having studied arts, education and creative writing at Harvard, she now works in philanthropy.

Nearly 12 years after that initial nightclub exchange, the couple tied the knot in an extravagant Ethiopian Orthodox ceremony in Temple Hills, Maryland on September 9 – involving 13 priests and clergymen and more than 300 guests.

“We’ve always believed that when it came to our love – it was written – and we’re thrilled to experience the next chapter unfold,” the couple say on their wedding website. 

The bride and groom wore crowns and capes for the day of festivities, which started at 11am and went on until late in the evening. 

They married as close as they could to Enkutatash, the Ethiopian New Year, which is celebrated on September 11 and guests were given slices of Guyanese black cake and bottles of an Ethiopian honey wine called Tej.

Spain will seek to suspend Catalonia’s autonomy unless independence push is abandoned

Spain will seek to suspend Catalonia’s autonomy unless the region’s leader abandons his push for independence, the country’s deputy prime minister said Wednesday, 24 hours before Madrid’s deadline.

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If separatist leader Carles Puigdemont does not provide a satisfactory response by 0800 GMT Thursday, “Mr Puigdemont will provoke the application of article 155 of the constitution,” Soraya Saenz de Santamaria told parliament.

This provision of the constitution – which has never been used before – would open the way for Madrid to impose direct rule over the semi-autonomous region.

0:00 Rally in Barcelona as Spain’s political crisis deepens Share Rally in Barcelona as Spain’s political crisis deepens

Triggering it could represent a drastic escalation of Spain’s worst political crisis in decades which was sparked when Catalonia held a banned independence referendum on October 1.

Mr Puigdemont declared independence following the poll which he says resulted in a 90 percent “yes” vote, though turnout was only 43 per cent as many supporters of Spanish unity stayed away in a region that is deeply divided on the issue. 

But the Catalan leader said he was “suspending” independence to allow time for talks with the government – a prospect Madrid has rejected, leaving the country in limbo.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has given Mr Puigdemont until Thursday to come up with a definitive answer on the independence question, or face the consequences.

“All I ask of Mr Puigdemont is that he acts with good sense,” Mr Rajoy told parliament on Wednesday.

The premier would need Senate approval to trigger article 155, but his conservative Popular Party has a majority there.

The move could ultimately allow Madrid to suspend the regional government and eventually trigger new elections for Catalonia, but such a move risks inflaming tensions in the region even further.