The [Crimson Cavern]; the dungeon without a Demon Lord.
With its Demon Lord now gone, the core kept on making monsters on its own. Furthermore, the [Maelstroms] that were in place from when the Demon Lord was still alive also continued to gush forth new monsters each day.
Originally, it was a dungeon ruled by the [Flame] Demon Lord and as such, most if not all of it were volcanic areas. There were many monsters made of [Flame] too.
Each day, a fixed amount of monsters were being made so we were using it as a convenient hunting ground.
“I’d like to also make a [Maelstrom].”
“Oto-san, what’s wrong?”
“No, it’s nothing.”
By paying a hundred times that of the price of a monster one could buy with DP, one could purchase a [Maelstrom] which was able to gush forth that monster each day.
Demon Lords—other than myself—could only synthesize monsters of up to A rank. That meant that they could only buy monsters two ranks below A rank, or in other words C rank monsters of that lineage. But since I could make S rank monsters, I was able to buy even B rank monsters with DP.
Having one new B rank monster each day was a great boon.
After all, B rank monsters—monsters that originally could only be made through synthesis— were such powerful monsters that they served as the main force of most Demon Lords.
However, as my fighting force was still not yet ready, it was far more preferable to have a hundred monsters right away than to save up for a [Maelstrom]. I guessed I won’t have one anytime soon.
“Please be careful. An enemy is approaching.”
Ancient Elf informed us so.
She had attuned herself with the wind here and was therefore able to perceive the state of things wherever there was wind.
This was perhaps the best radar above ground.
“Elf-chan, please tell us detailed information about the enemy.”
“Okay. It’s an armadillo type monster covered in hard scales.”
“Ahh, that one. I know it. Leave this one to Kuina.”
We had been going in and out of this dungeon a considerable amount of times so we had understood the kind of monsters that were spawning.
“Kuina-chan, it will be here soon. Please ready yourself.”
Around thirty seconds after Ancient Elf warned her so, the enemy arrived.
Its appearance was that of an armadillo except for the metallic glow emitting from its back and the spikes littered all over it.
It was a C rank monster. An Iron Armadillo.
As it name would suggest, its back was covered in steel and had high defense.
“Just the right thing to test my shotgun on.”
Said Kuina, smiling.
The Iron Armadillo rolled itself into a ball and then rolled forward.
In all regards, it was the bane of gun users.
On top of it being absolutely tough, the countless spikes on its back had the effect of deflecting bullets.
But Kuina, against such an enemy, dove right in.
Her silver shotgun, the Curtana, then shone red, a clear indicator she was pouring magic power into it.
She pulled the trigger and a thunderous sound shook the air. Her shotgun made use of the high powered 4 gauge shells hence that sound. However, there was another sound that soon followed.
Due to the enchantment Elder Dwarf placed on the gun, whenever a shell was going burst into countless pellets, [Explosion] was also set to activate which would accelerate the pellets and thus further increasing their destructiveness.
The countless pellets pierced through the tough metallic carapace and came into contact with the enemy’s flesh, further drilling into its body.
“Amazing! It’s more than what I imagined! This gun is the best! Even shotshells can penetrate like that!”
Kuina spoke with delight obvious in her voice, happy to have that much power in her gun.
“I’m glad you liked it. For now, try out the full-auto mode.”
“Okay! If I had this gun firing slugs fully automatically before, during our hard fight with the wind dragon, I think I could have beaten it a somewhat easier manner.”
It really did seem so.
Afterwards, Kuina had beaten about three enemies and her tests were thus concluded. When she tried to shoot her shotgun fully automatically, it did as was expected and didn’t broke down. Kuina was so happy, she kept swinging her tail.
“Then, next is my turn.”
Kuina finished her test firing so now it was Ancient Elf’s turn to do so.
We exited the cave area and proceeded to an area sprawling with lava.
With lava burning all around us, it was extremely hot.
It was an extremely dangerous area wherein if one failed to step on the narrow footholds, they would be plunged headfirst into the lava.
“Well then, I’m off. Please wait there, everyone.”
Ancient Elf said so as she jumped in the air and flew.
The lack of footholds was not an issue for her.
Still, I worried. I worried because somewhere here, enemy monsters were lurking. Specifically the rock-skinned giant snakes swimming in the sea of lava. They rarely come out of the lava so we generally tend to avoid them.
However, Ancient Elf said to leave it to her.
Did she have some kind of plan, I wondered.
She hovered in the air and aimed the anti-materiel rifle that Elder Dwarf masterfully made, the Durandal EDAM-01, toward the ground.
She must have been looking for her prey, I thought.
“But that can’t be… is she planning to shoot them through the lava?”
As if to answer my question, Ancient Elf pulled the trigger. Even I who had far better kinetic vision when compared to a human couldn’t keep up with the extremely fast bullet her gun fired off whereas before this, I was still somehow able to see it in motion. Its initial velocity had clearly increased. The mithril bullet must have synergized with [Acceleration], the first of the two enchantments placed on Durandal.
The lava where the fired off bullet struck formed a swirl, probably the effect of the second enchantment: [Rotation].
The lava then rose and exploded, the sounds of it following moments later.
And then, some moments more later, the corpse of a giant snake floated on the surface of the lava, its head clearly blown off. It must have been an instant death, I thought.
The bullet’s power should have been largely attenuated by lava and yet it still had enough to go through the giant snake’s head.
Most likely, the [Acceleration] and [Rotation] enchantments were responsible for that. The bullet, by travelling at such a high speed and having that much torque, was able to maintain its straight trajectory despite pushing its way through the lava and was even able to hit its mark. Furthermore, that rotation gave it so much destructive force that the bullet didn’t just pierce through the snake, it gouged and shredded its flesh.
For Ancient Elf who possessed the [Shooter of Magical Projectiles]—which enhances the accuracy and power of long range weapons—such a rifle made her all the more powerful.
I don’t know if it was simply because she wasn’t satisfied with just one prey but she rapid-fired at different targets as she moved through the air just like an acrobat.
There in the sky was a highly lethal and highly mobile artillery battery. Such was Ancient Elf. She was already far more than a single soldier; she was a so-called tactical weapon.
And then, one by one, the corpses of giant snakes floated over the lava. Maybe it was because we avoided the giant snakes—for we thought they were not worth the effort—that there were so many of them here.
We were dumbfounded as we watched Ancient Elf’s sniping exhibition.
After some time, done with sweeping up the enemies, she triumphantly returned.
“El-chan, this gun’s the greatest! Its firepower has increased sooo much and since it’s so easy to wield, I can aim it at the next target right away. Plus it’s such a durable one so I can be rash and shoot it as much as I want!”
The trigger happy Ancient Elf said such as she pressed her new beloved gun to her cheeks as if to embrace it.
I knew how she felt. Anyone would be excited if they could have a high performing gun.
Elder Dwarf had magnificently prepared the best guns for Kuina and Ancient Elf.
“I’m glad you liked it. I was worried I overly customized it.”
“It’s the best and easiest to use gun for me! Thank you very much!”
I smiled as I watched the three. Kuina, Elder Dwarf, and Ancient Elf excitedly discussed the performance of the guns.
Elder Dwarf seemed proud and rightly so, for her guns were the best. Thus, I decided to give her the reward I’ve thought of.
“Elder Dwarf, I have something I want to say to you.”
“What is it, master?”
She asked as she tilted her incredibly cute head.
“You have been conducting yourself really well. You have made us our weapons and helped to improve our army. The golems you’ve made serve as both a substantial part of our fighting force as well as a part of the city’s workforce. Even on the construction of the city’s infrastructures, yours were the largest contributions. I don’t intend on disregarding everybody else’s contributions but such are what I believe as true.”
Perhaps it was due to her being embarrassed so much but her face grew red. She then hung her head down so as to conceal it.
And as she was like that, Kuina and Ancient Elf talked to her.
“Kuina agrees! El-chan had worked the most!”
“Yeah, that’s right, I think so too.”
“…that’s… not… it… I only did what I could…”
Elder Dwarf grew even more embarrassed as her white skin was dyed completely red.
“And today, you’ve given Kuina and Ancient the best weapons for them. Of course, you may develop something even better someday but the fact still stands. And as such, I wish to give you something to show my recognition of your efforts.”
“I want to grant you a name. I want to reward you who have worked more than anyone else; you who have helped the creation of the city more than anyone else; and you who have improved our forces more than anyone else. I want to reward you in hopes that you will make use of your new powers to further help my cause.”
I declared so and smiled.
On her face, tears began to fall.
“Is it alright to be me?”
“There can’t be anyone else. Rather, I want to ask you, Elder Dwarf: will you be willing to live on as one of my [Monsters of the Covenant]? To devote yourself as one of my generals?”
“That should not even be asked. Yes, with pleasure! I wish to serve you all my life, master.”
“Then, from now on, you shall be known as Rorono!”
I named her after the best blacksmith from the world in my memory.
“That’s my name… Rorono… It sounds good… I am Rorono… Rorono…”
Elder Dwarf, no, Rorono repeatedly said her name over and over again.
Her body was then wrapped with faint light, signifying that she received power from her Demon Lord as well as signifying that our fates were then forever intertwined.
As for me, I received deeper knowledge about her race and just like Celestial Foxes, Elder Dwarves still had much hidden potential.
“And now, you are also one of my [Monsters of the Covenant]”
“Mhm. I am master’s.”
Rorono proudly smiled. But soon hesitated in speaking:
“Ahm, master, now that I am your [Monster of the Covenant], I have something I wish. Is it alright for me to say it?”
“From time to time… let me call you Father. Kuina has always been calling you Oto-san and I’m envious.”
I absent-mindedly burst into laughter; what a silly thing to ask for.
“But of course you can, Rorono. From now on, call me Father as much as you want.”
“Okay, Father! I will do my best now more than ever.”
Her eyes shone as she looked at me. She was too cute; I absentmindedly hugged her.