In front of me was a completely exhausted slime.
This was a side effect of using [Perfect Trace].
It was actually this side effect that was holding her back from being my strongest monster.
Even though Ciel was in such a state, there were still many things I could try out.
No, better hold off from summoning another monster from my [Storage]; I don’t want to frighten my host. Duke and the others should be searching for me too, so there’s no need to rush carelessly.
At that moment, I recalled the city I founded.
Avalon was a city where humans and monsters could peacefully coexist. It was one of the most prosperous cities in the world. Thanks to our air transportation system which made use of my flying monsters, our marketplace was able to gather various kinds of goods from all over the world. This in turn attracted excellent craftsmen to our city, thus further developing it. The more the city developed, the more goods and craftsmen being gathered here. This blessed cycle was happening even now.
And thanks to all the emotions of the humans constantly staying—in other words, living—in my city, I was able to reinforce the defenses of my dungeon to better defend my crystal.
So, if there ever was a time that Avalon could be taken down, it would be now when I’m absent.
My dungeon’s functions were quite limited while I was away. But even so, it should still hold for about half a year.
My chief of staff Duke was there, so I could expect the appropriate commands to be given to the remaining monsters.
If I had to guess, Duke would probably try to produce a fake me in order to give the impression that I was back safely. If pulled off successfully, this should make the other Demon Lords hesitate, thus earning us time. Two to three months, probably.
On the other hand though, I should expect the other Demon Lords to take more aggressive actions after three months.
Even in situations where they were to face several Demon Lords at once, I still had faith that my monsters could last for three months.
Hence, why I estimated we had about half a year.
I must get back in that time frame.
“…so, realistically, I only have two chances, huh.”
At the moment, nine monsters were with me besides Ciel. However, none of them had any abilities that could directly help in bringing me back. Given that, it was necessary to make a monster that could.
And if we truly were in a different planet or even galaxy, that monster must be an S rank monster. In other words, my [Creation] medal must be used.
But then, which medals should I combine it with?
Ordinarily, two medals must be used to make a new monster. However, my [Creation] medal needed to be combined with two other medals, and at least one of which had to be an original medal. Those were steep requirements, but since the strength of the medals affected the strength of the created monster, an additional medal meant a stronger monster.
Moreover, the medals used determined the possible outcomes for the new monster, but which outcome the monster would actually be was entirely random. Not when my [Creation] medal was used though as I could choose the outcome I wanted. That said, the outcome I wanted must still be within the pool of possible outcomes. In other words, if I wanted to make a monster that specialized in Transfer, I had to use a combination of medals that could produce at least one such monster.
And choosing the wrong combination of medals wasn’t something I could easily afford right now. After all, if I needed to come home within 6 months and I could only produce one original medal per month, that meant I only had two to three chances to make an S rank monster through my [Creation] medal.
“Pyuuuuuuuuuuu…. Pyuui, recovery! I’m back!”
Ciel who was exhausted until now reverted to her blue-haired girl form.
“Ciel, let’s go back inside for now. I think our thoughts will be more gathered there.”
“Agreed! Let’s decide what I’ll transform into next time, and come back here two weeks later!”
…well, nothing to be done about it but wait.
And so, we returned to the house of the fox girls.
Upon our return, the older of the two bowed to us. The younger sister who wasn’t there earlier was now present.
While hiding behind the older girl, the younger one was also tugging at the older one’s clothes.
She seemed to be the kind of girl who was strongly wary of strangers. For some reason, that she reminded me of Rorono.
“Is that the one that saved me? But who’s the other person? Our food’s so meager already, adding in another person…”
The older sister whispered so to the other. Unfortunately for her, it was just loud enough for us to hear it. And thanks to the information Ciel passed on to me about their language, I was also able to understand her words.
Ciel then conversed with me telepathically.
<<In this village, all of the harvests are temporarily given to the village head, who then distributes to the villagers an amount supposedly proportional to their household’s contributions. In the sisters’ case, because both of their parents are dead and also because the elder sister turned down the son of the village head, their share has been reduced to a pitiful amount. Moreover, because this year’s harvest was quite poor to begin with, they’re on the brink of malnutrition. The elder one’s been reducing her share to give to the younger one.>>
“I wished I had known earlier. I wouldn’t have eaten that porridge if I knew.”
It was a wonder how they could still give me food despite their circumstances.
Sure, I was their benefactor, but even so. Most people would have abandoned me in the forest. After all, if they didn’t bring me to their home, there was no need to care and feed me. …geez, these girls are too kind for their own good. But I can’t say I dislike that.
“Please don’t worry; we don’t have to eat your food.”
“I’m sorry. Please don’t mind my sister’s rude words. And please feel free to eat the food. I was serious when I shouted that I was willing to give anyone that could help her all that I could give. So, here I am…ready to fully devote myself to you.”
She was getting kinder and kinder.
I could have stayed silent and play along, but…
But she must have realized I can’t understand her words earlier, right?
“No, I don’t think my conscience can let me eat your food, especially when the girl behind you is glaring at me like that. Besides, we don’t even have to share.”
I said so and then took out a monster from my [Storage].
It was a blonde elf. Like most elves, she was a slim, beautiful woman with a rather flat chest. Hanging from her shoulder was an anti-materiel rifle that was almost as tall as she was.
She was a High Elf, a B rank monster. She was several times weaker than Aura, an S rank Ancient Elf, but she was still a force to be reckoned with. With her natural talent at sniping and her magically modified—courtesy of Rorono—anti-materiel rifle, she could take down even A rank monsters.
She was also talented in scouting, so it was really no wonder I selected her as one of the ten monsters I prepared in my [Storage] in case an emergency happened during the [Evening Party], which totally did happen.
“Your orders, Procell-sama?”
She said so and then respectfully bowed.
My S rank monsters each had unique personalities and each freely expressed themselves, but in contrast, I felt like most of my B rank monsters and below were generally obedient to the point of being subservient.
“Use the vacant land over there and raise edible crops.”
“Securing food, are we? Yes, right away, sir.”
The wind blew right when she said so.
The ground was dug, lifted up, and was then returned without any of the stones and weeds that were there before. In an instant, she was able to plow the land.
And then, the wind carried seeds stored within the house and scattered them in the now softer ground.
The High Elf followed this up with a song-like chant that caused a localized rain to pour.
It was no ordinary rain though; it was a rain of blessing.
After that, she put her hands together and prayed. In response, the barley grew instantly. In just a few minutes, it was ready to be harvested.
“There you have it. The elf you see has blessed that field. Any crops planted is certain to grow nicely. This is my thanks for letting us stay here.”
This field should help the sisters next year and beyond.
Upon seeing the field full of grown barley, the sisters’ eyes sparkled.
“Sis, sis, look! There’s so much food! We can eat ‘til we’re full! And grains are so big, it’ll be easy to trade them for things!”
The younger one exclaimed so while her fox tail was swinging wildly. She then ran toward the field and began harvesting the crops.
“I can’t believe it. So many crops planted and ready for harvest in an instant. Is this a miracle by a god?”
“Not by a god; by a Demon Lord.”
As though it was her own achievement, Ciel said so with a proud, even smug, face.
“De-Demon Lord? That Demon Lord!?”
“I don’t know what you mean by that Demon Lord, but I am indeed a Demon Lord.”
“…Please, I beg of you, do what you want with me, but please, please, please spare my little sister. Please, I beg you, spare Ahri.”
The older girl suddenly prostrated herself, her fox ears shivering in fear.
So, there are Demon Lords here too, I take it. I wonder what kind of Demon Lords they are. Maybe I should try meeting with some of them. …yeah, I should. They might just have a hint on how I can get back.
“There are all sorts of Demon Lords, you know. For example, even though you found me in that forest, I actually came from a faraway city where humans and monsters happily coexist. And I founded that city. The tens of thousands of people living there are happier than most people living anywhere else. What I’m trying to say is that I am the kind of Demon Lord that wants to make people happy.”
I said so with a wry smile.
To the older girl, a Demon Lord might be synonymous with fear and dread. If so, what I said perhaps sounded like nonsense, or worse, like a trap.
“I’ll believe you.”
However, her reply was the exact opposite of what I expected.
“I mean, you did save my sister. …plus, if you were indeed a cruel Demon Lord, then there’s nothing else for me to do other than beg for mercy. So, for our own sakes, it’s better if what you said is true.”
What a level-headed person. Although I guess she has to be in order to look after her sister after both of their parents have passed away.
“Now, let’s talk about my compensation for saving your sister. Let’s see… how about letting us stay with you for at most about half a year? Also, providing us with some information.”
Based on her reaction earlier, she seemed to know a little bit about Demon Lords. It might not be much, but I wanted to know as much as she knew.
Ciel should have also absorbed such information and could therefore simply relay it to me, but it was better to talk directly with the person. The conversation might lead to introductions to other people or some such things.
Moreover, as a creature who fed on emotions, a conversation with her allowed me to dine. Unlike when within my dungeon where I could feed on any emotions produced within the territory, the emotions had to be directed toward me in order for me to feed on it when outside of my dungeon.
And the taste of her emotions was quite to my liking.
“Yes, I agree to your terms. I plan to stick to my word and do as much as I can for your sake to begin with anyway.”
That went surprisingly well.
“Food, food, so many food ♪”
We then heard an off-key song. It was performed by the younger girl who was carrying a basket full of barley.
“Human, don’t be complacent, alright? You were lucky my Demon Lord was merciful this time, but once you’ve harvested it all, what then? Just go back to starving? For now, follow me into the forest. I’ll show you all the things that are edible.”
“It’s not like we were lazy. This year was just an extremely poor harvest, and everyone in the village kept what little we did harvest.”
“Yes, yes. Out of your hands. But the question still stands, what will you do next time? I say at least use your eyes. Leave it to me, I’ll teach you all you need to know on finding and preparing food. My Demon Lord, may I go and teach the girl?”
“Yes, do so please.”
I answered with a wry smile.
I surely didn’t expect Ciel to be so caring to the younger sister.
Telling her to hold back was probably the more proper call, but I just didn’t think I should after seeing her enthusiasm about it.
Today’s dinner is going to be a peculiar one, it seems.
While she was preparing dinner, I should ask the older girl about the Demon Lords here and all sorts of things.
When I do go to meet them, I must be careful not to antagonize any of them as I only had ten monsters in my [Storage], and Ciel wasn’t at optimal fighting condition right now. But if a fight was unavoidable, so be it, I should still be able to come out on top.
Wait, what am I thinking? I don’t have any reason to fight them, so I should just avoid conflict as much as possible. Yes, I have to find a peaceful way to deal with them because I am, after all, a Demon Lord that loves peace.
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