A reply to the letter I sent to the [Despair] Demon Lord had come. He had agreed to a meeting that was to be held three days later here in Avalon. Once again, he was the one coming to visit.
Just from listening to people’s voices, Ruhe could accurately read their feelings to the point she could tell when someone was lying. Given that, I decided to make her attend the meeting as well. That meant that we had to make adjustments to her church tour schedule though.
At any rate, it was currently breakfast time.
My [Monsters of the Covenant] have assembled around our dining table. Meanwhile, Tiro was already munching on the food served in her bowl.
“Everyone, breakfast is ready! I was able to get some fresh eggs so I thought today we could have some bacon and eggs.”
Aura announced so and then served the food she made on the table.
There were fresh salad, the aforementioned bacon and eggs, and some consommé soup. The menu could be called simple, but it was utterly appetizing.
“Yay♪Kuina loves this”
“…although bacon and eggs always present the dilemma of whether to pair them with bread or rice.”
The staple food in Avalon was generally bread, but once rice began being imported, there were more and more people preferring rice instead.
In our household, we ate according to our mood at the time.
“Aura-chan, Kuina wants rice!”
“And I’ll have bread”
Kuina and Rorono requested so.
“How about you, master?”
“I think I’ll have rice today”
“I’ll get some, then”
As soon as Aura said so, she skillfully served rice in bowls for me and Kuina, as well as toasted bread for herself and Rorono.
When the table was set, we all took a seat.
“Well then, let’s dig in.”
“Mhm, I was getting hungry”
“There’s more, so eat a lot, okay?”
Our fun meal thus began.
Kuina immediately grabbed an egg and some bacon, and put it in her bowl full of rice. She then broke the egg’s yolk and spread it to the bacon and the egg whites. After dipping some of it in sauce, she thus begun eating it with the rice. It might be seen as inelegant, but her bowl sure seemed delicious.
Meanwhile, Rorono spread butter on her bread; added bacon, eggs, and some salad; and then folded the bread in half. Her sandwich looked delicious as well.
As for Aura, she carefully placed an egg’s yolk on her sliced bread.
Much like how different their personalities were, each of them had their own way of eating their breakfast. I found that quite interesting.
After that, Aura brought out peach slices as dessert.
“Oh, right, Oto-san, we visited Duke’s house the other day.”
“Oh, you did too?”
“Aura and I as well. Duke invited us.”
Apparently, when I talked about the meal Duke’s Dwarf Smith wife prepared for me, Kuina wanted to try it too. Duke, perhaps after much consideration, gave in and invited the girls to come over.
My boasting of their home might have done more inconvenience to Duke’s family than good.
“And then, we saw the baby. He was so cute!”
“Agreed. He’s so little and squishy, he just makes me want to protect him.”
“Yeah, my maternal instincts kicked in too”
When the conversation turned to Caesar, Duke’s child, Kuina and Rorono became excited.
Caesar… not only was it the title given to the great emperors of an ancient civilization, but also the name of a previous [Dragon Emperor].
Duke’s child might be small, weak, and could only utter unintelligible sounds at the moment, but if he was anything like Duke, he might someday also become a [Dragon Emperor].
“Yeah, Caesar sure is cute. In the future though, I think he’s going to be a fine, handsome man.”
His features resembled Duke’s, so him becoming a handsome man in the future was pretty much guaranteed.
“Oto-san, I have a request!”
Kuina said so while looking at me with such sparkling eyes.
I have a bad feeling about this…
“Kuina wants a baby too! Dwarf Smith’s baby is giving her so much joy and Kuina wants that too!”
“Kuina, no fair, stealing a march on me again. I want a baby too… Actually, master, I still have an unclaimed reward. I want to use it to get a baby.”
I found myself in cold sweat.
Both of them seemed serious.
Kuina might not fully know what having a baby meant, but there was no doubt Rorono at least knew how to make them.
What if I pretended like I can’t make babies?
Allow me to go off on a bit of a tangent here. By destroying another Demon Lord’s crystal, one could obtain that Demon Lord’s unique skill. Sadly, one could only keep up to three unique skills beside their own.
Below were the three I decided to keep. All the others were discarded.
[Viscosity]: grants the ability to produce a viscous liquid that held various properties. It’s possible to harden the viscous liquid.
[Evil]: grants the ability to conceive a child with a female of any race. The child’s strength would be in accordance to the mother’s. However, from conception to childbirth, a terrible burden is placed on the mother’s body.
[Pig]: grants the ability to continuously reinforce the user’s physical strength and endurance. It’s possible to increase the output further, but only for an instant. Furthermore, this unique skill allows the user to gain the right of control of a female monster through intercourse with said monster.
A Demon Lord, by default, couldn’t produce children. We could wholeheartedly treat the monsters we produced via medal synthesis as children, but if we wanted a more orthodox definition of an offspring, we had to rely on some other way.
Hence, why I decided to keep [Evil] instead of another unique skill.
Sure, it placed an incredible burden on the mother, but such a downside was something that could be worked around. For example, by giving proper checkups to ensure the mother was in perfect condition during pregnancy. And during labor, we could prepare potent potions as well as monsters capable of using healing magic.
…all that said, I had no intention of using this skill or anything like it on my precious daughters.
“Sorry, girls. I’m a Demon Lord, I can’t grant that. I can make monsters with medals, but I can’t make babies.”
“Awww. Kuina really wanted a baby.”
“If it’s not possible, it’s not possible. I won’t push for that as the reward anymore. Such a shame.”
Kuina and Rorono both hung their heads.
Meanwhile, I felt Aura’s gaze on me. A smile could always be found in her face, but her smile this time was one full of meaning.
“Come on now, it’s almost time for work. Kuina-chan, Rorono-chan, can you help clean up?”
“Leave it to Kuina!”
“Mhm, I’ll give it my all”
Kuina and Rorono said so and then proceeded to wash the dishes.
Making the food might have been Aura’s job, but cleaning afterwards was left to Kuina and Rorono.
While the two were away, Aura came closer to me and whispered in my ear.
“Master, you have quite the habit of fibbing, don’t you? You can make them, right? …I’m looking forward to it.”
Upon hearing that, I choked up.
From time to time, Aura liked showing off her frighteningly sharp perception.
“I have no intention of doing that kind of thing to any of my daughters.”
“Fufufu, but unlike Kuina-chan and Rorono-chan who have called you Oto-san and Father since the beginning, I’ve always called you master. And that’s the kind of relationship I think we have, not the one you’re saying.”
Aura smiled teasingly and then suddenly announced she was off to work.
I had asked her to replant a golden apple tree to the Recovery dungeon room. According to her, the task should be done two days later, give or take.
My girls certainly have grown. They have become stronger not only in combat, but also emotionally.
Not to mention, they have become quite adept at teasing me.
“Well then, I’m off to work as well!”
After declaring so to the two who were still washing the dishes, I went out.
My destination was the casino. Over there, I intended to have a very important conversation with someone.
I had no idea when or if the casino’s popularity would stop.
But at the moment, it was so popular that even though we were regulating how many guests at a time we allowed inside, we still were being overwhelmed.
We tried increasing the number of dealers, which meant an increase in the number of guests we could entertain. Additionally, I had approved the construction of various types of businesses around the casino. Hopefully, this would reduce the dissatisfaction of those waiting to be accommodated by the casino.
While walking, I saw a paper fly by. I picked it up and looked at it.
“Isn’t this Ruhe’s newspaper?”
It started out as a joke, but Ruhe’s rather accurate analysis on the flying dragons’ races made her newspaper print a thousand copies each issue. All of the sales went to her, but somehow, she still was as broke as ever.
Well, considering her income all went to gambling and alcohol, meaning it all went back to Avalon’s treasury, I really couldn’t complain. Still, I kind of felt sorry for her.
While thinking of things like that, I walked inside of the casino.
There, a bunny-eared Mythological Fox guided me to a waiting room. The presence of both bunny ears and fox ears on her was baffling, to say the least.
I had tasked Conanna with the recruitment of the casino’s employees. He had agreed, but also asked me to dispatch a couple of Mythological Foxes. As I was told, the mature charm of a fox-eared beautiful girl wearing bunny ears on her head was going to help increase the number of the casino’s guests.
At any rate, there was already someone in the room where the Mythological Fox guided me to.
“Sorry to have kept you waiting.”
“No, not all, I just got here myself.”
The person waiting for me was [Viscosity] Demon Lord Ronove. He was a Demon Lord whose appearance was similar to that of a bipedal frog.
The frog-shaped cakes he made were so popular in Avalon that it could now be called one of Avalon’s specialty products. Both his main store and his casino area branch store were thriving.
“W-what did you want to talk about? P-procell, it can’t be about revoking my store’s license to operate, right?”
Anxious and shaking, Ronove asked me so.
My invitation was rather out of the blue, so I really couldn’t blame him for imagining the worst.
“Nothing of the sort. I have no reason or desire to drive you out of Avalon. Your frog-shaped cakes have encouraged a lot of humans to come to my city, and for that, I am very grateful.”
“T-thank goodness. I have no idea where to go were you to drive me out of Avalon.”
Ronove’s frog-shaped cakes were indeed delicious, but that wasn’t enough to make humans ignore his appearance. It was only because Avalon was a place where humans and demi-humans could live side by side that he was able to find success.
“…I invited you here today to talk about your plans for when your crystal has returned.”
In a past [War], one against me at that, Ronove’s crystal was broken.
Originally, once a crystal was broken, it was gone forever along with our abilities as Demon Lords, our dungeons, and our monsters.
However, us and only us new Demon Lords were an exception in that we were going to receive a replacement crystal once a year has passed since our birth. That day wasn’t far from now, so even Ronove must be contemplating what to do from that point onwards.
“I want to keep on baking and selling my frog-shaped cakes… even if I have to break my new crystal myself, I don’t want to live as a Demon Lord anymore”
Without a crystal, one couldn’t use their abilities and such, but as bad of a situation that was, it didn’t necessarily mean death.
So long as he could feed on the happy emotions of those that ate his frog-shaped cakes, he could somehow survive.
“Are you sure? I’m not stopping you, but what if I lose to somebody and Avalon vanishes? Could you confidently say that you could still survive then?”
Ronove’s eyes became wide open.
His was the face of someone who haven’t considered such things.
Avalon was my dungeon. If my crystal was somehow broken, Avalon would vanish as well.
“That… that is troubling for sure. I’m so happy here, I don’t want Avalon to disappear.”
It would seem that he had grown attached to Avalon more than I expected.
He must have grown attached to the people he hired and vice versa.
“Which brings us to my proposal. I would like you to help me make sure that Avalon doesn’t vanish. You could build your dungeon somewhere near here, run it like an orthodox dungeon, and build up war potential.”
I had run it past [Time] Demon Lord Dantalian and he gave his approval.
“T-that life again? But even if I agree, starting from scratch would be tough. It might even be impossible”
“Don’t worry, I’ll support you until you’re back on track. I’m not offering just my advice, DP and medals as well.”
“You’re willing to go that far for me? Why? What do you get out of this?”
Ronove asked so after suppressing a smile.
It would seem that he has learned to doubt people. Compared to when he got tricked by the [Steel] Demon Lord, this was incredible growth.
“Like I said, I want you to help me protect Avalon. If you agree to enter my faction and a [War] happens, we will fight together.”
“But I’m weak. And because I’m going to start from scratch, it’ll take a long time for me just to be as strong as I was.”
“That’s why I’ll support you. Let me list a few of what I have in mind. First, I’ll allow you to continue your business here in Avalon. Then, like I’ve said earlier, I’ll give you medals. That includes my own [Creation] medal. I’ll also throw in about a hundred imitations of A rank medals. I’ll also lend you the needed DP to start the construction of your dungeon. I’m thinking 50,000 should be enough for now. I could also lend you some Avalon-Ritters to act as guards, if you want them.”
It was an exceedingly favorable offer.
50,000 DP was enough to build a competent dungeon.
And with my [Creation] medal, he could make an extremely powerful monster. Moreover, that monster would unlock another high-rank monster that could be mass-produced via a [Maelstrom].
Imitation medals had a lower power value than the original medal, but an imitation of an A rank medal was still as powerful as a B rank medal. If he had a hundred of them, he could produce about 30 B rank monsters and 20 C rank monsters, give or take a few depending on his luck.
Last but certainly not least, the Avalon-Ritters could be deployed in the deepest parts of his dungeon while the rest of his war potential was catching up. There weren’t many that could get past them.
After I explained the details of my [Creation] medal to Ronove, he was left speechless.
Just giving this explanation carried significant risks for me, but if I truly wanted to gain an ally, I had to risk at least this much.
“…your offer, it’s, it’s too good to be true”
“That’s how much I want you as an ally. Once you make an S rank monster with my [Creation] medal and then make [Maelstroms] for the corresponding B rank monster, average Demon Lords will soon be no match to you. I for one am looking forward to you being like that. At least think about my offer. Well, I’ve said what I came to say. I’ll be going ahead of you now… I hope you’ve made up your mind within three days.”
I purposely didn’t address the scenario where he has refused my offer.
I could have said something like immediately expelling him out of Avalon and he would have little choice but to ally with me. However, threatening him like that would destroy in an instant whatever bond we have already formed.
The reason I didn’t mind offering him as much as I did was that I knew he wasn’t the kind of Demon Lord who would betray another on a simple whim. But if I threatened him, he would for sure betray me someday.
There was just no point in forcing him. If he was going to agree, it must be of his own free will.
As I stood up to leave, Ronove’s face was serious as though he was deep in thought.
“Procell, please wait. I’m ready to give a response right now. Your offer, I accept it.”
“Are you sure you don’t want more time to think on it?”
“As far as I see it, relying on you is my best bet. I mean, once I get my crystal back, it’s a given that other Demon Lords would immediately target me. Between that and being indebted to you, I will definitely choose the latter. Besides, I want to continue selling my frog-shaped cakes in Avalon! Oh, the joy of being told my cakes are delicious!”
Ronove had such pure eyes when he exclaimed so.
Unlike Ruhe, I didn’t have any special abilities that allowed me to tell if a person was lying, but I had no doubt his words were genuine.
And so, the corners of my mouth slackened.
“Ronove, I’ll be in your care.”
“And I in yours.”
We said so and then shook hands.
Like that, Ronove was officially part of my faction.
Having an ally in addition to Stolas was reassuring indeed.
Suddenly though, Ronove became fidgety.
“Ahm, well, actually, I have a request.”
“What is it?”
“…in addition to your [Creation] medal, would you mind giving me an original A rank medal? My [Viscosity] is only a B rank medal, so a Synthesis of that, your [Creation], and an imitation medal of any kind could produce nothing but an A rank monster. What’s more, the ones I could mass-produce with [Maelstroms] would be only up to the C rank monster of that lineage.”
What a high-maintenance guy. On the other hand, now I know he’s not an idiot.
“Alright, but I’ll make you pay it back with hard work, you hear?”
“Yes, I’ll repay you with interest!”
It was a steep investment, but if someone between the two of us was to receive an S rank monster, it was objectively better for our whole faction if he was the one to receive it.
The next question was which A rank medal would blend well with my [Creation] and his [Viscosity]. His medal could produce slime-type monsters which held tremendous potential, especially at the higher monster ranks. In my opinion, that’s the kind of monster he should make.
I was actually a little bit curious of what sort of being an S rank slime would be. So much so that I was going to make Ronove show it to me as soon as it was born.
While thinking of such things, I shook Ronove’s hand again.
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