The next day, we went over to Marcho’s room in order to attend the [Evening Party] wherein the Demon Lords would gathered.
“Marcho, what do I have to do to participate in the [Evening Party]?”
I asked Marcho a question I had asked her several times before. She didn’t give me any answer except her evasive reply that I’ll know when the time came.
“Nothing. You should just wait for it; it’ll come soon enough.”
Marcho laughed lightly.
By her side were three monsters standing guard.
Without even looking at their status, I knew they held tremendous powers deep within.
The fur on Tenko’s fox tail stood on end. She was affected by their presence but still readied for battle.
“Those three, are they your [Monsters of the Covenant]?”
“Yeah, precisely. These three are the top amongst the 1500 monsters following me.”
Most likely, all of them were A rank monsters. In addition, they held outstanding power even among other A rank monsters.
“Marcho, you often said something like monsters are generally created with a static level.”
“You’ve realized? All of them are monsters who are A rank, have been created to be able to grow, and have also reached their maximum level. They’re comparable to even an S rank.”
Monsters who were able to grow have their maximum level raised. They were also much more superior to a static level monster when both were on the same level. And when such monsters reach their maximum possible level, they were comparable to a monster one rank above them.
Tenko might be able to take them on in the future but right now, she wouldn’t stand a chance even if she used the shotgun Elder Dwarf had made.
Modified shotgun: Remilton (custom) ED01S
Over-all length: 1160mm
Weight: 3.1 Kg.
Caliber: 4 gauge
Magazine size: 4 shells
Compared to the basic Remilton, it was slightly longer and bigger but due to the change of materials to Mithril, it had become lighter. In accordance to the larger caliber, the number of bullets loaded into the gun had gone from six shells down to four but because changing the magazine was now possible, this version was technically better.
In passing, it looked like the naming convention used was that ED was for Elder Dwarf, 01 for being the first in a series, and S to mean shotgun.
By that token, an assault rifle made by Elder Dwarf would probably be called ED01A.
“I guess I should say as to be expected of a Great Demon Lord’s aide-de-camps.”
“Now imagine my surprise when I saw your monsters; it was at least ten times yours right now. Well then, everyone, introduce yourselves…… ‘As flashy as possible.’”
One of the three monsters accompanying Marcho was about to open its mouth.
It was a monster that had the head of a golden maned lion, the wings of a huge falcon, and the tail of a white serpent.
“I am a Lion Gryphon. Bestowed upon me by the Great Demon Lord Marchosias-sama, I am Golguna. Celestial Fox, the power within you is considerable but you are still too green and unreliable.”
Tenko was offended after she heard the other person talk. She took a step forward and readied her modified shotgun.
“You wanna know how unreliable Tenko is?”
“Ka-ka-kah. You lost your temper as soon as I said you were green and unreliable… Come on, look closely.”
When Tenko squinted her eyes, there were almost invisible fine threads on her neck.
Her head might have been lopped off had she rushed in.
She stiffened in surprise and in that moment, her whole body was bound by multiple spider threads. She was bound to the point that only her face from the nose up wasn’t covered.
“Nn, nn, nnUgh.”
The female monster next to the Lion Gryphon looked at Tenko as she groaned and wriggled like a caterpillar, unable to stand up. The female monster then giggled and laughed.
Four spider legs broke through its clothes so in combination with its four humanoid limbs, it totaled to eight. It was most probably this spider monster that bound Tenko.
Tenko’s magic power then swelled. She was trying to burn the threads that bound her using her specialty: fire magic. However, no matter how much time passed, her magic was never activated.
The spider-limbed woman then spoke to Tenko.
“It’s futile; my thread disperses magic power away. And so, [Creation] Demon Lord, Procell-sama, it is my pleasure to meet you. I am an Arachne. The name bestowed upon me by my lord is Ammolite.”
The spider monster informed me of her name. But just then, a gunshot resounded. Elder Dwarf had fired her assault rifle.
However, the bullet was caught by threads.
Considering how much power the bullet exerted, could it really be stopped by just threads?
“For the judgement to attack without any hesitation, not bad.”
“What are you acting like you have the upper hand for? My [Eye] have seen through the strength of your threads. It may be able to stop a single bullet but if I rapid-fired, it won’t be able to endure. If you don’t want to get hurt, release Tenko. If you do anything wrong, I will not hesitate to fire.”
Elder Dwarf aligned the sights of her gun towards Ammolite as she vigilantly stared at her enemy. She had the skill called [Eye of truth] which allowed her to analyze every single thing in this world.
“Quite the serious blow. I agree my thread wouldn’t be able to stand a rapid-fire attack from you but Dwarf-ojouchan, haven’t you forgotten something? …There are three of us.”
Before she even finished her sentence, I felt an intense bloodlust coming from the back.
A monster was born from my shadow and a claw was then pressed to my neck.
I didn’t know when but the third monster had vanished from my sight and used that timing to creep in on my shadow.
“I am a Tartaros. The name bestowed upon me by lord is Kurayami. And Dwarf, should you dare take even a single step, I will slit his throat.” (Note: Kurayami means darkness.)
The third monster to appear was a black werewolf. It wasn’t really large, standing at around under two meters, but its body suggested it was a seasoned warrior.
Instead of freeing Tenko, Elder Dwarf seemed vexed by the fact that I was taken hostage. She grinded her teeth and then spoke.
“I understand. I will not resist. But remember this: once you no longer have a hostage, I will tear you apart limb from limb.”
If Marcho was truly serious, we would have been utterly checkmated.
In meantime, the Lion Gryphon triumphantly talked to Tenko.
“Celestial Fox, do you see now why I called you green and unreliable? You’re your Demon Lord’s closest companions, his strongest hands? This is the result of losing your calm and giving in on your emotions; you easily fell into a trap and are powerless to do anything about it.”
Tenko grinded her teeth and glared at Marcho’s monsters.
“Dwarf-jouchan, you have failed as well. If you were convinced your attack will go through my defenses by rapid-firing your weapon, you should have done so before you made any threats. Like that, you have given your enemies time, lost your attention from your most important Demon Lord, and then allowed him to receive a surprise attack…… There is no place for such foolishness, right?”
Elder Dwarf bowed her head and clenched her fists.
It was vexing but Marcho’s monsters were strong, on top of being sly.
However, it was already enough.
“So, Marcho, for how long must we continue this farce? If in case you were serious about this, we would have no other option but to use our trump card, wouldn’t you agree?”
I smiled at Marcho while the claw was still pressed against my neck.
I knew what her general intentions were.
“I’m surprised you could talk like that in such a situation. But it’s as Procell says, enough.”
Marcho’s monsters returned to her side.
And the threads around Tenko was unfastened.
Tenko came back to me. She then stood in front of me and vigilantly glared at Marcho.
“It’s alright, Tenko. Marcho was just…”
Just as I began to talk, Marcho did too.
“I’ll speak for myself. The performance just now was to make you all aware of just how naïve you guys were. If I truly wanted to, I could have all of you annihilated. You were unprepared. Would you say something like that was cowardly? Other Demon Lords wouldn’t think so. Procell, you say you had a trump card; but even if that was true, it probably wouldn’t go as you planned.”
“Well, who knows?”
I did have a trump card.
It’s a secret I made with the help of Elder Dwarf. It was made in preparation for when Marcho would turn hostile against us.
It depended on the way it was used but it was certainly able to turn the tide.
“I wanted you to know the dread of going against a Demon Lord before you met another. Particularly, old Demon Lords. And you managed to face off against me in a calm manner. You better remember that calmness because if you don’t, they will swallow you whole.”
“I’ll surely take it to heart. It’s too painful to not remember, after all.”
Without the necessary experience, Tenko and Elder Dwarf both couldn’t make full use of their abilities.
And never mind a head-on battle; in a fight like this time, they would be toyed on.
I, as well, am ashamed at my inability to respond to the monster that attacked from my shadow. There were countless points on which we should reflect on.
“Lesson’s over. Ah, just on time. It’s gonna come soon. Alright, time for the [Evening Party].”
At the same time as those words, a voice spoke in my mind.
『Children of the stars. The time is now. Assemble, shine, and flaunt thy existence.』
I think I knew that voice.
Children of the stars, the sound of it was oddly familiar.
My consciousness was drifting away.
Tenko tightly grabbed my hand and when I gripped back, she smiled.
And then, my consciousness was gone.
I woke up.
The sky was blue. But it was not the familiar blue of the sky, it was the deep blue of the sea.
The stars twinkled. But those stars were literally of varying colors.
When I looked at my surroundings, there was a garden but it somehow felt unnatural.
There was no way this place was somewhere in the natural world. It was a world that somebody had created.
I looked ahead and was dumbfounded at the too large, too impressive and too beautiful snow-white palace.
I didn’t know when but Marcho was next to me and spoke.
“Over there is the place where the Creator, the one who created us Demon Lords, is. The Demon Lord Palace. ”
The [Evening Party] where all the Demon Lords gather now begins.