I had successfully saved the fox sisters from the immediate threat imposed by the city full of lust.
Maybe it was because they were terribly frightened, but the sisters were both holding onto an arm of mine. Cumin on the right, Ahri on the left.
“I was so afraid, Procell-sama”
“Procell-sama, you’re really so kind”
If Kuina and Rorono were here, they would probably be pouting in jealousy at the sisters.
As for Ciel who was beside us, she was vigilantly watching the monsters that surrounded us. These monsters were of this awful city, and they were currently guiding us to the city’s center.
<<I still can’t find a common feature between them though.>>
Usually, one could guess what attribute a Demon Lord possessed just by looking at that Demon Lord’s monsters.
In order to make a monster through synthesis, two medals were needed ordinarily. The more powerful the medals used, the more powerful the monster could be. So, even though using only imitation medals could work, its result wasn’t anything stellar. For that reason, one’s own medal, a medal which could readily be produced once every month, was usually one of the two medals used.
And because of this frequency, monsters tended to have similar features. Some were obvious, some a little less so.
For example, if [Beast] Demon Lord Marchosias’s medal was to be used, the produced monster could be a full-on four-legged beast monster or just a monster with minor beast-like characteristics such as a tail. Alternatively, if [Wind] Demon Lord Stolas’s medal was used, the produced monster could be a winged, flying monster or simply a monster that could control the wind.
The monsters that surrounded us didn’t seem to have anything in common at all though.
The one leading them was a demon with bat-like wings. The others included a lion-type monster similar to the one I defeated earlier; a crow-like monster who was observing us from a distance away; a snake monster who changed the color of its skin to match the surroundings; and more, yet no similarities between them.
“Maybe the other Demon Lord’s like me and my medal? Or maybe the process of making monsters here is different altogether?”
For some medals, like my [Creation] medal, such discerning features rarely, if at all, manifested in the created monsters.
“We’ve been walking for quite a while now. If it’s just a meeting, instead of wherever we’re headed, wouldn’t those other buildings do?”
I asked so to the demon.
Even if the surrounding monsters were relatively free to do whatever they wanted, the fact that they were first looked to the demon implied that he was the one commanding them.
At first glance, this demon that wore a monocle and a flashy suit seemed like an accountant for a big company. At the very least, his appearance suggested that he was very sharp.
“But you’re special, and where we’re taking you is the place we take special people like you.”
Special people? What does he want to imply by that?
After a while of more walking, the surrounding scenery changed.
Gone were the adornments that induced lust and delight from the men as well as fear and dread from the women; it was replaced by things, crude things, made for a certain purpose: the extermination of uninvited and unwanted visitors.
Everything was arranged so that fighting here would be easy for the monsters of this city. Moreover, they were hard to detect, but there were definitely a lot of traps here. So much so that if we fail to follow behind the demon, we were likely to activate one right away.
As if that wasn’t enough, brawny monsters were also posted as guards. These guards’ appearance was intimidating. Even if a human somehow got in here, they would sooner look for a way out than a way to go further in.
In other words, no human has ever gone beyond this point of the city, or rather, this dungeon. And yet, we were being brought here, suggesting the other party didn’t mind us seeing all of this.
“Am I right to assume that you know what we are?”
“Yes. We can tell you’re suppressing your strength right now, but that much is enough to scare even me. We have little doubt you’re a high-ranking Demon Lord. And that blue-haired girl over there, she might be strong enough to defeat someone like me with a single attack.”
“You give us too much credit.”
“So, you can tell. You know, if I wanted to, I could turn you into minced meat in an instant.”
While what was said about Ciel was true, it was not exactly the case for me. Due to my low combat prowess, I was the kind of Demon Lord who contributed more outside of battle than in battle. It was actually because of this that Rorono developed an equipment that will protect me at all times.
“Hahaha, such modesty. Well then, to reach my master, we have to go there. Ahh, apologies for not introducing myself sooner. I am Azazel. If there is anything you need during your stay here in our beloved city of Welmidir, please don’t hesitate to ask.”
Azazel pointed his finger somewhere. As though it was some kind of cue, the ground shook and a staircase leading down began to arise from the place he pointed.
From here on, it was better to expect a regular dungeon than more of the city we have seen so far.
After we descended, we continued walking some more until we reached a certain Transfer array. We used that and was then flew off somewhere. According to my senses, we were brought to a place considerably deeper within the dungeon.
Unsurprisingly, this made Ciel grow even more vigilant.
After all, in the event where the other party has decided to attack us, getting out would be far from simple. And due to the fact that a Demon Lord could see through their crystal what was happening within their dungeon, there was no hiding either.
Of course, I prepared two safeguards for such an event.
The first was to make my Abyss Howl prepare a Transfer array as soon as we entered this city. As long as we could earn enough time for the Abyss Howl to make another Transfer array that would link to the first one, we could make an escape.
As for the other safeguard, it was a card I have been saving for a long time and one I would only use it as an absolute last-ditch effort.
“My master waits for you there. Please, go ahead.”
Azazel bowed and the door opened.
The room beyond was a golden room. Every furnishing and adornment could be described as golden. It might just be the most luxurious room I have ever seen. And yet, it was far from gaudy. Everything had harmony with one another.
In the center of that golden room was a throne, and sitting on that couch was a woman.
A woman with golden hair and golden eyes.
A golden queen.
That was the thought that immediately popped up in my mind. She had the appearance of a delicate maiden, yet also the aura of a battle-hardened Demon Lord.
“Welcome to my city of Welmidir, unknown Demon Lord.”
The woman shouted so with a girl-like, high-pitch voice.
…so, she treats this more as a city than a dungeon.
One could tell by simply entering that this place was like a city, but what truly mattered was whether the Demon Lord herself recognized it as a city or but a small part of their dungeon.
Because she said it was a city without any hesitation at all, I concluded that, in at least this regard, we were the same.
“Thank you for the welcome. I’m Procell, by the way.”
The other party decided to talk casually like this, so I only followed suit.
In a way, it was a declaration of my intent to talk as equals.
“Hmm, Procell, is it? I don’t suppose you’ll let me know what kind of attribute you rule over, would you?”
With a meaningful glance, she asked me so.
“I will, if you will too.”
“Very well. Let’s both say it then.”
Thanks to the yearly [Evening Party], a Demon Lord’s name and title was pretty much common knowledge. In here though, it might serve as a valuable trading chip, so I decided to be a bit cautious.
“I am [Creation] Demon Lord Procell.”
In order to show that I wasn’t lying, as well as to fulfill another goal, I showed her a [Creation] medal.
“And I am [Desire] Demon Lord Eligor. A pleasure to meet you.”
Likewise, Eligor also produced her own medal.
[Lust], huh. I see. No wonder we couldn’t figure out the common feature among her monsters. Also, the nature of this city makes more sense now.
“I gotta say, it’s surprising to find out that there is still a Demon Lord I haven’t met before in my 200 years.”
“I know what you mean. However, the reason you haven’t even heard of me is because I am a Demon Lord of another world. I wound up in your world through some accident, and I have no idea how to get back.”
“Ohh, so it’s like that, huh. But then, why come to my city? Don’t tell me it’s just to have fun.”
“No, that’s exactly it. But since I’m here already, I thought it was only proper greet the Demon Lord of the area.”
“Hmmm, I see. Still, a Demon Lord of another world. How interesting. How very interesting.”
She said so while having a hand on her chin, as though she was deep in thought. After a bit, she began to talk again.
“There’s a lot I want to ask, but first, the apology I owe you. I’m sorry. My city and I have done you quite a disservice. It would seem I would need to educate my monsters further. You see, because humans with money and influence were useful to us, I have instructed my monsters to listen to what these humans say, but to think my monsters would attack even a law-abiding guest… Of course, you being a fellow Demon Lord, I don’t expect this to be settled with just words. I won’t be surprised if you wanted a [War]. Most others would declare [War] for less.”
With a look of resignation, she said so and shrugged her shoulders.
Her primary intention might be to apologize for that event with the noble earlier, but she had also provided me with information. When she said war, she said it with a certain nuance. The war she meant wasn’t the basic definition of the word, she was referring to the special contest between Demon Lords and their dungeons. That meant that they also had [Wars] in this world.
Which means “plan B” might work.
“If you really want to apologize, then I’d like you to hand over these girls to me. According to your rules, I can do whatever I want to these girls I bought here except take them out of the city. So, if you can make an exception, I and the girls would be pleased.”
“How very modest of you to ask for only that much as compensation for being attacked.”
“It’s not that I’m being modest. That’s just how much I want these girls to be mine.”
“Hmm, and what if I say no?”
“Then, you’d just have to atone through a different way.”
When I replied so, Eligor laughed out loud.
“Ahahaha. Are you that much of a gambler or do you just look down at me that much? You’re suggesting [War], but really, you’re just going to use it to have a chance at getting back home.”
I was quite surprised that she through my intentions.
“Oh yes, I can see through you. You showed me that medal not just to prove to me that you’re a Demon Lord, but also to see whether I and the Demon Lords of this world also have medals. And when I mentioned [War], your world now has another thing in common with mine. So, now you’re hoping that a [War] between us will connect your dungeon to be connected to mine via the white space. If it does, even though you might not get back home that way, you’ll at least be able to get in touch with the monsters you’ve left behind. Got it all correct, right?”
“Listen, I’m not making an excuse to fight here. I genuinely want the girls and I won’t take no as an answer. Let’s not make it more complicated than that.”
I didn’t deny that she saw through my intentions, but I also didn’t confirm it.
If she chooses to release the sisters over to me, that would be the end of it. I wouldn’t make up a new issue just so that I would have some kind of justification to go to [War] against her. If at all possible, I would like our negotiation to end in peace.
However, in the case that she refuses to hand over the sisters to me, I would not hesitate to go to [War], take the sisters away by force, and possibly reunite with everyone in Avalon. Even if I was sent back here after the [War], just seeing everyone again might reveal the way back for me.
“Very well, I’ll go along with that. But have you considered this? You’re in my territory. I can turn down your request AND not go to [War] by simply ordering my monsters to kill you right here and now. It’s just a shame I won’t be able to break your crystal this way.”
Another thing Demon Lords of this world have in common with those in my world.
Based on her words, it would seem that even in this world one could snatch another Demon Lord’s powers by breaking that other Demon Lord’s crystal.
“Sorry to answer your question with a question, but have you considered why I would still go this deep in your dungeon despite the risk you’ve mentioned? Here is the answer”
I said so and then began to take out one monster from the subspace I refer to as my [Storage].
This one was an absolute powerhouse, even among the monsters of Avalon. Sadly, this one was also Avalon’s biggest problem child. Due to its temper, it couldn’t be deployed within the city.
In line with this, before the inter-dimensional gate for my [Storage] could fully open, the problem child forcibly widened the gate with its bare hands, thus rending the very air open.
…a few days before the [Dragon] Demon Lord died, I received a [Dragon] medal from him. As my way of honoring him, I made a new monster using that medal together with a [Beast] medal as well as a [Creation] that transformed into a [Time] medal.
In other words, this monster was made with the medals of the then three strongest Demon Lords.
It was so strong, I regarded it as my best trump card after Kuina.
And it was called a Space-time Dragon Beast Cronos.
It was a silver dragon that had the limbs and mane of a golden lion.
“Ahahahaha, what the hell is that! Are you serious!? How, how can there be such an absurd monster! Ahahaha!”
Eligor, who was able to fathom the strength of the Cronos with just one look, began laughing uncontrollably.
Meanwhile, the monsters who were supposed to protect her flinched.
I couldn’t blame them though. Even I, the one who summoned this absolute monster to threaten them, was already using all my nerves to focus. After all, if I lose focus and not command it to stop in time, it might actually hit someone. That mustn’t happen… not yet, at least.
Because the [Dragon] medal was used, this child had the skill [Berserk] which increased all its stats by one rank in exchange for its sanity.
But because using a [Creation] medal during Synthesis allowed me to choose exactly what kind of monster I wanted to make out of all the countless possibilities, I was able to choose a monster that had a skill to counteract the negative effects of [Berserk].
Then, why is it still acting wildly, one might ask. Apparently, the reason for that was that it just liked letting [Berserk] influence itself. Even so, thanks to the bare minimum amount of loyalty it had for me, it suppressed [Berserk] enough to be able to avoid hurting me.
All others that came into view were fair game though, be it friend or foe.
…as problematic as this child was, I might not have succeeded in dethroning one of the then three strongest Demon Lords without it.
“Eligor, you don’t think you still stand a chance, do you? Sure, with our inferior numbers right now, it would have been hard to go from the entrance of your dungeon all the way to your crystal room, but since you were kind enough to lead us here, reaching and breaking your crystal is pretty much a done deal now, don’t you think? And it might have already crossed your mind, but this child isn’t my only trump card.”
“Pyufufufu, Ciel’s here too! Marvel at my wobbly body! If you can still move after looking at it, then come at me!”
Ciel then undid her blue-haired girl form and turned into her slime form.
…I have no idea what meaning there is in transforming to that though.
“Yeah, I think so too. Bringing you here turned out to be quite the bad move. …if the monsters with you now are this powerful, you must have lots of others back home. I shudder at the thought of going to [War] against you. So, why don’t we dial things back down, yeah? Right, you can have those two. They’re not worth the fight for me. After that, if you’re still willing, we can have an exchange of information. I’m quite curious about the Demon Lords of your world.”
“Yeah, sure, let’s do that.”
“Great. Just so you know though, I plan to get the better end of this deal. I know how much you want to return and how much you want any information that could help you achieve that. Don’t worry, I’m going to be greedy but not to the point that you’ll want to break off negotiations ahahaha.”
To my surprise, we were able to settle things peacefully. This surprised me because I thought it was likely that this talk would end in armed conflict.
I can’t let my guard down though. Eligor is smart. She’s at least smart enough to recognize that she can’t win if we end up fighting. Or is that so I’ll have a fall sense of security? Whatever the case, for now, it’s time for some negotiations.
TL note: the description of the Cronos feels kinda weird to me. I’ll update this if more details are given in the future.
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