To be honest, I felt a bit misled.
Based on this city, I had assumed that its Demon Lord was a man who was enslaved by his own lust.
However, it was actually a female Demon Lord. A beautiful one at that. Apparently, she built this city not as an outlet for her lust, but rather because it was simply an extremely efficient way to collect human emotions.
Moreover, she was a smart and cunning one.
My initial plan in case negotiations failed was to induce a [War]. That way, Avalon and her dungeon would be linked via the white space, and I could temporarily reunite with my monsters in Avalon. However, she completely saw through that.
So, letting my guard down around her was not really an option.
At the moment, she was looking at me joyfully.
“I dislike unnecessary fuss, so let’s jump straight to the first proposal, shall we? I’ll tell you as much as I could about the Demon Lords of this world. If you’ve got questions about the subject, I’ll answer them as best I could. In exchange, I want you to tell me about your medal and your ability.”
Like that, [Lust] Demon Lord Eligor pushed her demand.
As far as negotiation tactics go, it was among the crudest of the bunch. Hiding one’s true aim was generally preferred because once it was exposed, the risk of it being used against them was large.
If this is how she’s going to do it, it might be better to also be frank.
“I don’t mind, but are you sure this is what you want?”
“Hmm, yeah. Your information is well worth it for me. Before we proceed though, how about we make a [Pact] promising to not lie to the other?”
She bit her finger, and used the blood flowing from it to draw a magic array for [Pact]. Or at least it was very similar to the one I knew.
[Pact] made it so that should any of the participating parties violate the terms stated, ruin would instantly befall them. [Pact] worked because of something within us Demon Lords, so seeing Eligor use it made me more convinced that there was little difference between the Demon Lords of this world and mine, if there was any at all.
But then again, she might just be trying to trick me here. At this point, I couldn’t yet deny the possibility that only I would be compelled by a [Pact], whereas Eligor would be completely free to do whatever she wanted.
<<Ciel, use your analysis-type skills to check whether [Pact] has any effect at all to Eligor>>
<<Leave it to me!>>
Ciel then stared intently at Eligor.
After a moment, she cried a pyui. It would seem I was just overthinking things.
“Oh wow, you’re quite the cautious person, aren’t you? Let me make it clear. I am not so rotten that would lie in negotiations. …I’ll stake my pride as a Demon Lord on that.”
“Sorry for doubting you.”
“Don’t misunderstand, I’m not scolding you or anything like that. In my opinion, a fool who doesn’t know how to doubt others is not worth negotiating with, so I actually appreciate your doubt. I’m just saying I wouldn’t lie. Whether you believe that or not is completely up to you.”
Her cunning and sound reasoning made negotiating with her both easy and hard.
With Ciel’s confirmation, I decided to bite my finger and make the same magic array.
“Our [Pact] will last for a full day. Until then, we are not allowed to lie to one another. Deal?”
“Deal. No lying.”
We then both laughed.
Lying was prohibited, but anything else was still fine.
We could select which information to give out. Or we could also be misleading or be ambiguous so as to cause a misunderstanding.
We both were well aware of that.
“And so, our [Pact] is made. Let me start it off and talk about my ability. My [Creation] allows me to create an object in my memory in exchange for an amount of magic power that was proportional to that object’s weight. However, living things as well as objects that have magic power are not included in the things that I can make with it.”
While explaining so, I did a demonstration.
I produced a knife. It was a copy of the knife made by the craftsmen of Avalon. It didn’t have magic power, yet its sharpness was still beyond ordinary.
I handed it to Eligor both as an example and a gift to celebrate our acquaintanceship.
“Ooh, what a fine knife. Thank you for the gift. Well, moving on, what about your medal? What kind of monsters can it create?”
“Normally, in my world at least, one combines two medals to create a new monster. However, that is not the case for my [Creation] medal. Instead of combining it with one medal, it has to be combined with two. But because more medals are used, more power is then given to the created monster. Additionally, using my medal allows the user to select from all the possible results exactly the result they want.”
That was how powerful my [Creation] medal was.
Because three medals were being used, it was rather easy to make an S rank monster. Furthermore, one could choose exactly which S rank monster they would make.
“That’s totally cheating. It has to be, right? I’m so envious I feel an urge to kill you building up.”
“That’s been said to me more than once. However, my medal also has a few drawbacks to it.”
“Firstly, as mentioned, three medals are required. In addition to that, the [Creation] medal and at least one of the two other medals have to be original medals. In other words, Synthesis with my medal eats up a considerable amount of resources.”
Demon Lords could produce only one original medal each month. If one wanted more, they would have to find a way to obtain it from other Demon Lords.
One could increase the variety of the original medals they could make by crushing others’ crystals, but they still could make only one original per month.
“…Even so, the advantages it gives are just too great. I so want it. Now I understand how your monsters can be that strong.”
“I’ve given the information you wanted. It’s now your turn.”
“Yup, alright. So, let me tell you the rules that govern the Demon Lords of this world.”
Eligor then stated the rules one after the other.
Almost all of the rules they had were exactly the same as ours, down to the last detail. The way their crystals functioned, the way they made monsters, the way they did [Wars], it was the same.
However, one thing was different.
“[Dominate]? We don’t have that one.”
“Interesting. So over here, we have two choices in regards to an enemy’s crystal. We can break it so that we gain the privilege of using their ability and of making their medal. Alternatively, we can pour our magic power into the enemy’s crystal until their crystal and their dungeon become ours. This is what we call [Dominate]. Obviously, we can only choose one or the other, but either way, the enemy’s monsters all vanish. The biggest selling point on [Dominate] is that even after our original dungeon vanishes because the crystal there gets broken, our monsters and Demon Lord powers will still remain as long as that other dungeon stands. As long as we can retreat there, we can plan a comeback.”
Having a spare dungeon was fascinating.
After all, we could only possess up to three other Demon Lords abilities at a time. Once we were satisfied with the ones we possessed, any more abilities we gain from breaking crystals would just go to waste.
And if the medal wasn’t particularly interesting, chances were we would never choose it as our once-a-month original medal.
Under such circumstances, [Dominate] would be the far superior choice.
“That sounds great. I wonder if I can now use that too though.”
“Who can say? The only way to know for sure is to try. Which brings us to our next deal, if you don’t mind. I mean, not having a dungeon must be a serious hassle, isn’t it?”
“Yeah. I’m a pretty big eater, so if I don’t feed on a lot of emotions soon, I might die of starvation.”
“So, you want a dungeon of your own here, right?”
Undoubtedly, having a dungeon here would significantly increase my options.
“I don’t intend to stay for the long term though.”
“…oh, you really think so? Transfer between worlds should be hard enough, but Transferring to a specific world from all the other possible worlds out there? That should take a lot more effort. And resources. Even having the right kind of S rank monster might not be enough. They’d need all the support that they can get. To that end, a dungeon is vital, wouldn’t you agree, Mr. Starving Demon Lord?”
She poked where it hurt most.
Crossing worlds was possible with skills of S rank monsters and Demon Lords, that much I was sure. After all, I was sent here by a Demon Lord’s skill.
However, choosing which specific world to go to was indeed an order of magnitude harder. According to Ciel’s calculations, even Tiro, Avalon’s leading expert on Transfer should find such a task impossible on her own.
“Eligor, I appreciate the offer of a dungeon, but as it stands, I don’t have anything that can pay for that.”
“Oh but you do: your [Creation] medal. And in case it turns out that you can’t use [Dominate] on my spare dungeon, let’s call the deal off. How about it? That’s a good offer, right?”
“Yeah. Too good to be true, in fact.”
“I mean, it’s an S rank monster, plus the ability to choose exactly what kind of S rank monster. Who wouldn’t want that? But fine, I’ll let you in on a secret of mine. I have this particular wish and for that to happen, I absolutely must have a particular monster no matter what. To be able to make that monster, one dungeon is a small price to pay.”
Her explanation was vague and was still too good to be true, but given our [Pact], it was no lie.
“Sorry but give me at least half a day to think about it.”
“Very well. I’ve made many compromises already to make this favorable to you, so at least don’t delay more than you have to, okay? Also, just so you know, this is my last price. Either you take it or leave it.”
“Okay. I apologize for my indecision.”
I had a bad feeling. The kind that wrapped around my neck and kept getting tighter and tighter.
Something within me was screaming that this was a trap.
It was something I couldn’t ignore. And so, I decided to verify the validity of this feeling.
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