My first ever meeting with [Despair] Demon Lord Belial was over.
On the surface, he seemed friendly and not self-serving.
He made a good first impression, but that was far from enough to convince me from making an alliance with him. I needed more information on him to make that call.
Fortunately, I knew a way to gain such knowledge in a short amount of time: asking Marcho. She knew about most Demon Lords, so hopefully, Belial was among them.
And so, I was headed to her dungeon via Transfer.
We had already setup a Transfer array in her dungeon, so I was able to visit her without much hassle whenever I had enough time.
“Thanks, Abyss Howl”
After thanking it, I put the Abyss Howl that transported me into my [Storage].
Today, I did not bring along Kuina who was my usual guard. Aura had asked for her help in regards to the transplanting of a golden apple tree into the [Recovery] dungeon room. I consented to it, seeing as I had no need for a guard when I was simply going to the [Beast] dungeon, which was now essentially an annex of my own dungeon.
“My, Procell, we were together until morning and yet here you are already. Have you missed me already? What am I to do with you, you hopeless child?”
Marcho dashed toward me and then gave me a hug that buried my face in her breasts.
It was a soft, warm, and tremendously great feeling, but it was also one that was suffocating me.
“There, there, here are the breasts you’ve been missing. Let’s go to the bedroom where I can show you all the love you’ve been wanting.”
Upon hearing those words, my pride was wounded. As such, I forcibly separated from her.
“…Marcho, I’ve asked you before, please stop treating me like a child. Wait, actually, are you treating me worse now? Are you treating me like a baby?”
“Am I? Sorry. You just trigger these maternal instincts of mine, I guess.”
Marcho said so and then laughed, almost teasingly.
Like always, I was no match for her. As lovers, I wanted us to be on equal footing, but such things didn’t come easily, especially for her who was a step or perhaps even two steps above me.
Of course, I wanted to do something about it.
“Anyway, that’s not what I came here for. I mean, I’m not saying I don’t want that, it’s just that I have a different reason for coming here.”
“Hmm, you’re so cold. But fine, it’s not often you ask me for help, after all. So, let’s hear it.”
Marcho then sat on her throne and crossed her legs.
That action suited her well.
Looking at her like that, I realized again just how important a throne was for a Demon Lord. I had been meaning to make one for myself, but since there haven’t been an opportunity to make use of it, I ended up putting the task on indefinite hold.
If I were to stand alongside Marcho as equals, even if it was in appearance only, I knew I needed to acquire and master such majesty as well. And so, I promised to myself to build a throne of my own as soon as possible.
“A Demon Lord saying he wanted to form an alliance with me showed up. I’ve talked to him, but I still can’t decide one way or the other. So, I came here hoping you can tell me some things about him.”
“Ohh. That’s good news, isn’t it? Is he a guy born in the same year as you?”
“No, he mentioned he was about a hundred years old. The one I’m talking about is [Despair] Demon Lord Belial. When we spoke, I had the impression that he was a cheerful and friendly person. He said the reason he wanted to form an alliance with me was because he admired me.”
As though pondering about something, Marcho placed a hand on her chin.
“A celebrity is interested in another celebrity, huh.”
[Despair] Demon Lord Belial did not give off the impression of being a celebrity.
And yet, it wasn’t surprising.
After all, he was the owner of an A rank medal. Ten Demon Lords were born once every ten years. There were exceptions like Marcho’s generation where there were 4, but normally, only one of those ten had an A rank medal. The point was that just having an A rank medal was enough to be special.
“Yeah, he was a celebrity, alright. He was amazing. Actually, he was kind of like you. In just a few years, he quickly distinguished himself. Everyone thought back then that by the time he was a hundred years old, he would have become the strongest Demon Lord. Although some dreaded the possibility more than they anticipated it.”
“Yeah, others would want to crush a young Demon Lord with a strong ability while they still can. Nipping a problem in the bud, as they say. So, just like I am now, did he also face an alliance formed to oppose him?”
“Yup. No matter the era, people and Demon Lords will always do the same. In his case, a group of middle-level Demon Lords banded together and tried to take him down.”
He and I shared a strange thing. He understood what I was going through. Though I wonder, what does he feel of it?
“And then what happened? Well, he’s still alive, so I guess it ended well enough.”
My evaluation for him had risen.
A Demon Lord that survived the situation I’m currently facing surely must be strong.
“Yeah, the ones that came after him were all defeated. I can’t say he won though. And then there’s the matter that he didn’t become the strongest Demon Lord by the time he became a hundred years old like everybody expected.”
He was over a hundred now, yet the honor of being considered as the strongest Demon Lords still belonged to [Beast], [Dragon], and [Time].
“…did some kind of tragedy happen to him?”
“Well, first, let’s tackle why I can’t say he won. There were a lot that tried to crush him. Somehow though, those Demon Lords were killed or turned mad one after the other. As great as [Despair] was, there was just no way he could have accomplished that. He’s the kind of Demon Lord who stubbornly refuses to fight dirty too, so it’s safe to rule that out, not that I think it would have made much of a difference. How then did he survive? I can’t prove it, but I’m sure that’s because someone helped him out. Hence the whole I can’t say he won thing. After that whole deal, he stepped back from the limelight, but began to amass war potential and fortify his defense to an obsessive degree.”
Here was my guess: at some point, [Despair] realized he couldn’t win against the alliance hostile to him, but he didn’t want to give up and just accept death either, so he had no choice but to rely on that other Demon Lord.
Whatever was asked of him in returned, it couldn’t have been insignificant.
Could discarding his ambition to be the strongest be the price asked of him? Or did he stop pursuing it because he was traumatized by the whole ordeal?
“I see, but after hearing that, I find it even stranger that he would propose an alliance to me. I mean, at the very least, his pride as a former candidate to be the strongest Demon Lord should make him hesitate, right?”
“You think so? Well, I see what you mean, but in that regard, maybe he’s just seeing his former self in you. He was forced to rely on somebody else, but here you are, still fighting. You’ve even won against a Demon Lord that has an A rank medal. I think it’s not surprising for him to admire you for that.”
That was another way of looking at things.
We just found a believable motive for Belial.
“How about his [Despair] ability, do you anything about it?”
“I do. I told you, he was famous. Listen, his [Despair] ability is…”
Marcho told me about his ability.
I see now how he was able to attract at least as much attention as I am now. Having him for an ally would indeed be reassuring.
…and having him as an enemy would be a serious pain in the ass. He’s likely stronger than anyone I’ve ever fought. A one on one with him might be dicey.
After that, Marcho and I talked about a lot of stuff… then, one thing led to another and we ended up in bed.
My meeting with Marcho took longer than expected, but I sure was glad I was able to know more about [Despair].
My plan now was to set up another meeting with him in the near future.
Next, I was going to call back Ruhe who had already left for one of our churches outside the city. She had excellent talent for reading another’s emotions to the point that she could tell when someone was lying. Hopefully, she could see through [Despair]’s words again.
Before all that though, I had to go back to Avalon via Transfer.
All my work for the day was already finished, so when I arrive in Avalon, I would be heading to Duke’s house and give him his reward. This was going to be the first time I would be in Duke’s family home, so I was a little excited. I was also curious on how my monsters were living their lives.
At any rate, in order to properly congratulate him on becoming a true [Dragon Emperor], I had prepared a most splendid gift. Surely, Duke would love it.
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