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Fate/Ultimate Antagonist

Getting Isekai'd to another world is indeed awesome, especially embarking on an adventure as a hero to defeat the Demon King, who turns out to be a woman, and making her part of your harem. It is truly the dream of millions of people hoping to be Isekai'd to another world. If Reinhard were to get Isekai'd like that, he might smile for the rest of his life. However, fate has other plans for him, as he becomes the unfortunate isekai victim, landing in the rabbit hole known as the moonlit world. With numerous psychopaths roaming around to fulfill their dreams, he must strive to defend his small life in this chaotic world, especially when the world is set to last only another decade. Fortunately, luck from nine generations of his family comes to his aid in critical moments. Finally, he gets help to secure his small life: [Ding!] "Eh? Has my help finally arrived?" [Congratulations, Host! You have been chosen as the host of the Antagonist Simulator System!] "Finally! Fina-... wait... What do you mean by Antagonist? Shouldn't it just be a Simulator without an Antagonist?" [As the name suggests, the Antagonist Simulator System is specifically designed for individuals with high aspirations to become antagonists, and you have been selected to be the Ultimate Antagonist! Congratulations, Host!] "Huh? Ultimate Antagonist? Wtf? How does someone as gentle as me fit as the ultimate antagonist?" [Not so.] [Host, you undoubtedly possess a strong motivation, clear plans, firm will, undisclosed secrets, outstanding execution, remarkable personality charm, and the determination to subvert the world.] [Undoubtedly, you are the perfect candidate for the ultimate antagonist.] WTF? ... [You were borns as the son of the King Vortigern.] [You pulled out the sword from the stone but inserted it back, and the sword emitted a resounding mournful cry] [You promoted agriculture, popularized education, abolished nobility, knights scorned you as the ominous son of the disaster-bringing white dragon] [You sacrificed Vortigern, gathered the remaining flames of the remnant age of gods, and launched the final assault towards the inner sea of the planet] [Your wife and daughter died at the hands of Ares] . . . [You set the Olympus Temple ablaze] "Oh? Looks like my adventure won't be boring."

XElenea · Anime & Comics
Not enough ratings
130 Chs

[120] Wake-Up Call

[For more than half a year, you have fully absorbed the myriad mystical arts and techniques from Sima Hui.]

[Sima Hui candidly tells you that you have already graduated, and there is nothing more he can teach you. Yet, he earnestly pleads for you to stay at Water Mirror Manor.]

[This suits you perfectly, as there is indeed nothing more for you to learn here... but you can now teach.]

[You instruct this group of perhaps the most talented youths of this era, imparting knowledge of astronomy, geography, natural laws, the concept of universes, and the conservation of energy. The young men listen, enraptured, but you never speak of utopian ideals or class struggle.]

[The reason is simple... these young strategists are far too clever.]

[A decade ahead is a genius, a millennium ahead is a monster.]

[If you were to propagate such advanced ideas, they would quickly realize that their noble class is precisely the one that needs to be overthrown. Not everyone harbors a sage-like heart to save the world.]

[Your senior brothers... they all undoubtedly admire you, respect you, and praise you. Yet, they all think that one Zhang Jue cannot change this world.]

[You never hide your personal desire to help the people, even openly using it as a bargaining chip for tuition, requesting your peers to write family letters. Everyone is smart enough to see that this earnest attitude is far more effective than repeating 'please save the people of the world' a thousand times.]

[Advanced knowledge naturally leads to enlightenment of thought. The myriad mystical knowledge and modern scientific systems in your mind cannot be fully taught in just a few years.]

[Knowledge begets thought, and thought breeds a thirst for more knowledge. You will use your knowledge as a weapon to conquer their minds and your sincerity as a banner to unite their ideologies.]

[Individuals within a class may betray their class, but a class will never betray itself. Over two thousand years of history, only one pair of Marx and Engels has emerged.]

[But... if one Zhang Jue cannot change the world, what about thousands upon thousands of Zhang Jue?]

[Your name embodies enlightenment.]

[Enlightenment brings eternal happiness.]

[Like a certain good young artist rejected by the arts academy.]

[Like a certain kind-hearted scholar applying to be a librarian.]

[We often say that great torrents begin from tiny streams. Major events in history often originate from seemingly insignificant, unnoticed beginnings.]

[Among the most brilliant youths under the sky, you have sparked a small flame. You know that soon, this flame will spread like wildfire.]

[As time passes, you receive slightly comforting news through letters from your family. Your province has received aid and support from various noble families across the provinces. Although the court has not allocated enough funds and grain, the entire county is gradually settling the refugees.]

[Unfortunately, it seems as though cursed, this ravaged land shows no signs of relief from plague and famine, instead, these calamities are becoming more severe.]

...

It was a warm autumn day with gentle sunlight, yet there was no sign of harvest. The fields along the official road were covered in gray, desolate crops, a bleak hue of death casting a shadow over the land.

Reinhard lifted his hand and touched a sickly, gray stalk of sorghum. What should have been a plump and full ear of grain crumbled at the slightest touch, falling apart like fragile ashes.

"Blight and locusts. This year's harvest isn't good either."

Sima Hui sighed as he looked at the fields of wheat, the crops riddled with signs of insect damage. Water Mirror Manor taught everything, and developed top-tier talent, there was no way these young men would be ignorant of basic agriculture.

Ordinarily, samples of various crops were picked and sent to the manor for identification and display. At Reinhard's request, Sima Hui had taken the students out of the city for a rare outdoor lesson.

The farmers working in the fields were hurriedly harvesting whatever undamaged crops they could find. They cast cautious glances at the finely dressed youths, then returned to their work with hollow, lifeless eyes. Only one child, thin and dressed in patched clothing, was curiously watching the group.

"Mama... the big brothers' clothes don't have any patches. They look so nice. I... I want clothes like that too."

"They are from noble families. Don't stare at them."

The youths' keen senses allowed them to hear these words from a distance, making them feel a pang of guilt.

"Cough... Cough... Cough... Zhang Jue brought us out here to see the crops... but the fields outside the city are so badly damaged. There's nothing good to see."

Guo Jia coughed a few times. The lack of purifying arrays outside the city left the air filled with dust, aggravating his congenital lung condition.

"There are crops in Water Mirror Manor, but after seeing so many ornate buildings and beautiful scenery, why not take a walk and see the countryside too?"

This era was still an age of gods, ensuring that every city's estate had special fields that gathered magical energy, aided by enchantments to grow various spiritual herbs. These fields provided more than enough for the noble families.

The rich get richer, and the poor get poorer. Even the food they ate was different, as if they were of different species.

"The scenery outside the city is bleak and gray." Zhou Yu shook his head. "What's there to see?"

"Heh... let me show you something more interesting than anything inside the city."

Sima Hui understood what his student meant and sighed softly, a bitter smile on his face.

Under the curious gazes of the youths, Reinhard smiled and crouched down, pulling out a large, fragrant meat pie from his robe. He waved to the little boy who had been watching them.

The boy, eyes fixed on the pie, swallowed hard and looked up at his mother.

"Mama... the big brother is nice. He wants to give me a pie."

"...Don't go over there."

The woman, her face gaunt, hesitated before holding her child's shoulder protectively. She looked at the finely dressed youths with a mixture of fear and flattery, but when it came to her child, her gaze turned wary.

"Madam, don't be nervous. We just want to ask the boy a few questions, nothing more."

The youth's clear and sincere voice was trustworthy. The child's eyes were glued to the pie, drooling, his pupils almost fully dilated. The woman's expression wavered.

After all, they were still youths. People wouldn't think they meant harm.

Reinhard patted Zhuge Liang beside him.

"Lend me some money."

"...Huh?" Zhuge Liang was speechless. "With all these wealthy families behind you, you're asking me for money, Zhang Jue?"

"I'm poorer than you. Hurry up."

Reinhard knew that this group of senior brothers was wealthy, and the wealth of Xu Fu and Yu Mei-ren was even more substantial.

But he himself had no money.

The income from playing gameboard was all spent on buying food, refining medicinal herbs, and various kinds of cinnabar spells.

He hadn't even married Yu Me-ren yet, so she couldn't be considered a wife yet, they were still in a state of each minding their own business.

"You don't have to pay it back." Zhuge Liang, also poor, handed over a few strings of copper coins.

Reinhard displayed the money and food openly, offering a reward for answering a few questions. The woman, seeing this undeniable compensation, began to push her child forward. With these few coins, she could buy some clothes and make a winter outfit for her child.

"Is it just you and your mother harvesting wheat? Where's your father?"

"The general took him to fight in the north. He never came back."

"Was this land originally yours?"

"It was... but since Papa hasn't returned, it's no longer ours."

"Who owns it now?"

"The noble families. We have to give them a portion of the harvest."

As the child spoke, his eyes remained fixed on the meat pie in Reinhard's hand.

"Tribute grain?" Xun Yu frowned. "Even with such a poor harvest this year, you still have to pay tribute?"

"Mama says we should beg the officials to take less. If there's no food left, we have to eat grass and willow bark."

"Willow bark..." Jia Xu couldn't help but ask, "Can you really eat willow bark?"

"It's edible. Mama says if we don't want to starve, we shouldn't eat the pills they give out. The outer hard layer of the willow bark is peeled off, and the soft inner layer is used to make porridge. When we're really hungry, we eat the hard part too, but if you eat too much..."

The child's voice trailed off.

"What happens if you eat too much?" The young strategists never having tasted willow bark, pressed him for an answer.

"Your body swells up and you can't walk."

A deathly silence fell. Reinhard patted the boy's head, and under the complex gazes of the young strategists, the boy quickly devoured the meat pie, eating ravenously as if he hadn't eaten in days.

"Give him more, let him eat to his heart's content."

The other young strategists started pulling out their food, but Reinhard shook his head and pushed it back.

"Finish this, and then here are a few more coins. Give them to your mother."

"Brother, they're suffering so much. Why not give them more?"

The young strategists had more than enough wealth on them to give more than just a few coins.

"A man without sin, yet carrying a wealth, can be in peril." 

The youths lifted their eyes and noticed that the ragged farmers, working in the fields, were all staring at them.

Only by coming here in person could they understand the shock of this scene.

The color of their skin was yellow, and their tattered clothes were stained with dirt.

"…"

The child's unintentional words revealed a lot. His father was fighting in the north, households had labor quotas, and with years of disasters and plagues, their land had been taken over by the nobles. Yet, they still had a harvest to collect, which was fortunate, they hadn't become refugees.

The child's voice sounded happy.

Fortunate... was it?

The youths' expressions were complicated. They wanted to say something, yet found themselves speechless.

This country... what a state it was in.

The child, having bitten into the fragrant meat pie, seemed to realize something. He stopped eating, his dirty hands holding the pie, and ran excitedly to his mother.

"Mama, Mama! It smells so good, is this what meat tastes like?

"I ate meat!

"Here, you should try it, Mama! I saved most of it for you! See, the big brothers are good people... There are good people among the officials too...

"When I grow up, I'll buy you meat pies every day..."

The woman's lips quivered. The boy watched in astonishment as tears welled up in his mother's dry eyes, falling to the ground and leaving a faint mark as they soaked into the soil.

"Mama." He asked, confused, "Why are you crying..."

"Mama is..." The woman almost choked out each word, "Mama is happy."

"Yes, yes! I'm happy too, because we have meat pie!" The boy held the pie up to her, smiling brightly. "Eat it, eat it!"

But his joyous gesture received no response. Only bitter tears continued to fall onto the fragrant pie.

The woman's tears, mingling with her exhaustion, seemed to drain her of the strength to even lift her hand to touch her child.

The boy, holding the fragrant meat pie, stared blankly at his mother.

"We have meat now, Mama should be happy...

"Mama... why aren't you eating?"

"Thank... thank you, kind sirs... my child doesn't understand proper etiquette..."

The woman knelt and bowed in gratitude.

The young nobles, dressed in fine silks and with fair skin, stood in stark contrast to the rough farmer before them. Yet, they were all silent, nearly frozen in place.

"I..."

With a long sigh, Xun Yu pulled out a piece of paper, wrote his name on it, and gave it to the woman, instructing her to go to his family estate to seek a job.

The woman, carrying her child, walked away with a thousand words of thanks.

In the stillness that followed, Reinhard averted his gaze and smiled faintly.

"Brother Xun, what's come over you? Why this sudden burst of compassion?"

"I truly couldn't bear it."

"Couldn't bear it? Then let me ask you this, Brother Xun... what difference does it make to save one person? Is it just to ease the burden on your conscience?"

"Usually, we don't see such suffering, so why trouble yourself with it now?"

Xun Yu hung his head, sighing.

"But now that I have seen it, and our estate is right here, it's no trouble to find them a job. It's a small effort to help those in need."

"And what of all the other suffering people in the world? Do you intend to save them all, Brother Xun?"

Reinhard looked at him with a bright smile.

"What about the suffering we don't see? If we close our eyes and plug our ears, how are we any different from the current emperor!"

The conversation fell silent.

Why... Why does it still matter?

It still matters because they're good people, fundamentally good people.

Standing before Reinhard was perhaps the most ambitious, the most idealistic group of young men in this era... but still, fundamentally, they were good people.

Xun Yu fell silent.

The smartest youths of this era were now enveloped in quiet contemplation.

They remained wordless for a long while before eventually returning to the Water Mirror Manor.

Standing at the manor gates, the young men collectively bowed, paying their respects to their younger brother.

"Thank you for the lesson."

Sima Hui, with a fan in hand, sighed with emotion. He understood that Zhang Jue, precociously mature for his age, often worried that his ideals would clash with those of his fellow students. Yet, Reinhard's sense of humanity and understanding of the world was more dignified and considerate than one might expect from someone so young.

No need to say it. Let everyone see for themselves.

Let the disciples witness the hardships of the world. It wouldn't do any harm.

Early? The earlier, the better.

[This dynasty is sick.]

[And what cure could possibly heal it?]

[As time passed, the young men ventured outside the city with increasing frequency. They witnessed the harrowing scenes of widespread famine and desolation, and their expressions grew more solemn and pensive.]

[These geniuses, raised in luxury, had been protected too well.]

[Reading about suffering in books is not the same as standing before the emaciated masses, understanding the profound impact of such a sight.]

[For those trapped in hell, even the faintest glimmer of hope is enough to drive them forward like moths to a flame. Their desperate desire to live is a force that can touch anyone with a shred of conscience.]

[Sighs.]

[Sighing deeply to hide tears, mourning the hardships of the people.]

[After all, they are still young.]

[In the prime of youth, their passion burns fiercely.]

[The more intelligent they are, the more acutely they feel their helplessness in the face of such a world. After the anger and sorrow, a fiery determination ignites within them.]

[You see Pang Tong and Zhuge Liang discussing how to use engineering techniques to dig canals and irrigate fields.]

[You see Chen Gong and Jia Xu studying how to craft spells to repel pests and drive away locusts.]

[You see Xun Yu and Guo Jia writing fervent petitions to the governor, articulating the benefits of providing funds and grain to relieve the suffering of the people.]

[You see the proud Zhou Yu personally distributing porridge to the starving, and the radical Sima Yi contemplating how to set up grand arrays to summon rain and banish natural disasters.]

[You said nothing, merely continuing to impart your knowledge quietly within the manor.]

[Yet, it seems you can see something familiar spreading in the eyes of your disciples.]

[It is... a flame.]

[The malady runs deep, too deep.]

[And what cure could possibly heal this dynasty?]

[Everyone is awaiting your answer.]

"Healing... you say?"

"If there's an illness, you must eliminate the source of the disease."

The boy with a large white fox draped around his neck stood on the podium, hands tucked into his sleeves, and smiled.

"There has never been a miracle cure that eradicates all ailments. There's only the necessity to rise up and fight."

"To no longer witness fields of starving corpses and desolate graves is the only solution."

"This solution is called: rebellion."

"Gather your strength and overthrow this terminally ill, decaying this dynasty."

The boys in the audience, prepared for this, did not change their expressions. Reinhard knew that mere words could not convince anyone... this was a path that could lead to the extermination of their entire families.

"This dynasty is the legitimate authority."

Xun Yu sighed, his family had always been loyal to this dynasty, embodying fidelity and humility. Just talking about rebellion would likely get him disowned.

Currently, the eunuchs and the empress dowager's relatives held sway over the court. The bureaucrats with true talent were sidelined, and the ten officials held absolute power.

The current emperor had even disowned his own father, recognizing the chief eunuch as his godfather, frequently saying, "Chief Attendant is my father."

Thus, scholars and officials who wanted to make a difference could only do so by building their own power bases.

A certain prince observing the court's deterioration, proposed to the current emperor the establishment of provincial governors: "The inspectors and governors buy their positions and exploit the people, leading to rebellion. We should select honorable and capable men as provincial shepherds to stabilize the regions."

The current emperor who sold official positions, approved this, believing it would save military expenses, allowing him to indulge in luxury.

While the current emperor was indeed foolish and corrupt, he was cunning enough to keep a firm grip on power. After all, who could challenge the dynasty with its loyal generals and inherited might?

"When the court calls, each province and county can muster tens of thousands of troops. This dynasty is still too strong. If we were to rebel, who could lead such a rebellion? You are indeed strong, Zhang Jue, but even if you defeated the generals, it would be futile."

It was good that he could voice this perspective, it showed he had come to terms with the idea of rebellion.

Reinhard understood that only by witnessing the irremediable suffering firsthand could good men be profoundly shaken.

"No, a nation perishes from weakness, not strength. This dynasty is far weaker than you imagine, weaker by far."

The establishment of provincial governors was a disastrous mistake. The local gentry amassed troops and sent their prodigies to study military strategy. There was no better time for rebellion than now.

Rebellion was essential.

To come to this dynasty and not rebel would be soulless.

However, everyone's focus was on military power, as this was an era where might ruled supreme.

"The key to overthrowing this dynasty lies not in the provinces or their powerful generals but in what you have seen and heard... this dynasty appears mighty only because its true, irresistible power lies dormant."

"Irresistible power?"

"The starving commoners, those peasants rotting in the fields, the oppressed and exploited proletariat, they are the true force that can topple this dynasty."

The boys exchanged glances.

Commoners? What power do they have? And...

"What do you mean by proletariat?"

Seeing their interest piqued, Reinhard tapped his temple thoughtfully.

"We'll discuss this topic later. To save this world is not about finding a cure but about igniting a fire that will burn down this corrupt dynasty."

"To be precise... it can be a manifesto, a slogan, a... thought."

"Physical bodies can be destroyed, writings can be erased, but human thought can never be killed."

Reinhard glanced at Sima Hui, who smiled knowingly.

The boy lowered his eyes slowly.

"If you don't want to listen, I don't wish to create discord among us. You can leave now, and we will still be brothers."

Silence followed his words.

The boys smiled and exchanged glances.

"Who do you think you're underestimating, Zhang Jue?" Zhuge Liang, bleary-eyed, had been staying up late working on mechanical designs, supposedly creating a contraption for transporting supplies.

"I may not match your genius, but in summoning wind and rain, I might not be your equal." 

"Heh... I'm the best at lightning and fire spells. Bombarding the capital sounds thrilling."

"There's no need for more words. I'm sitting right here."

Their words warmed Reinhard's heart.

No one stood up to leave.

Morality is a constraint, and goodness can be a curse. Those who shine light in darkness cannot choose otherwise in such circumstances. The boys sitting before Reinhard were the brightest flames in the twilight of this dynasty.

"So... Zhang Jue bows to all his senior brothers."

The young man on the podium performed a formal bow, clasping his hands in respect.

"Let us together, burn this dynasty... to ashes.

"And then, upon the ashes, rebuild everything.

"Let this Sky perish! Let a new era rise!"

[You begin to teach the various disciples of the Water Mirror Manor about the knowledge of rebellion. For this decaying and decrepit dynasty, you may be the most villainous antagonist under the heavens.]

[Under your detailed explanations, the disciples quickly understand concepts about exploitation, surplus value, and dialectical materialism.]

[The entire Water Mirror Manor deconstructs the various evils of the dynasty, and then engages in round after round of enthusiastic debate.]

[And, as a scholar among scholars, you can't help but notice that they curse the court more vividly and sharply than you, after all, the gentry in this era suffer severe persecution.]

[Just kidding! In this era of debate, few can out-argue you, standing on the shoulders of giants as a bad morale player in Stellaris... oh no, a good morale player!]

[You've long been playing around with various ideologies and theories in Hearts of Iron, from Kaiserredux, Burgundy, and even to Call of Cthulhu. What ideology or theory don't you know?]

[Normal ideologies to play with, and crazy ideologies to play with, that's what makes a good morale player!]

[You cite various quotes and theories, from Marx, Engels, Gramsci, Lenin, Trotsky, Genghis Khan, to a certain librarian, as if they were readily at your fingertips.]

[You quickly establish the organization's name, seeking peace for the world: the Way of Peace.]

[The first Way of Peace representative meeting, held at the Water Mirror Manor.]

"We must clarify our ultimate goal. We are here to heal this world, not to bring suffering and illness to it."

"We have no intention of opposing the literati and gentry, but only wish for the people to have warm clothes and enough food to eat, it's just such a simple wish."

"Unfortunately, it's a matter of life and death, just fighting for a way out for the people."

"We don't demand that people must follow us, but if they can't bear it and still have a little compassion, they can join us, to have fewer corpses rotting in the wilderness."

"Zhang Jue is here, paying respects to the enlightenment of all of you, please lend a hand to the disciples of the Water Mirror Manor."

[This group of the smartest young people under the sky, act only based on their own will, beliefs, and ideals, never succumbing to any form of threat or temptation.]

[But now, at this moment, for the sake of a common goal, they have united and gathered together.]

[Before formally going out, the eight wonders of the Water Mirror Manor must maintain their hidden identities and not easily reveal their faces.]

[You establish the Way of Peace's operating principles, deciding to conceal your identities with masks while developing various networks in various counties and prefectures, in an effort to save as many lives as possible.]

[Various thoughts and ideas are elucidated for the intelligent, while for the ordinary people who can't even read, a single sentence from you is enough.]

[Cause and effect.]

[Self-develops, governance, and the vision of peace for the world, all contained within.]

[The azure sky is already dead, the yellow sky will soon rise. When the year is rat, there will be prosperity under Heaven!]

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