TL;DR note: Humans are also transferred at the start of a war. Read below for more.
The [Steel] Demon Lord Zagan was discussing with me his alliance with two other Demon Lords.
One of his offers involved him betraying his two allies and teaming up with me to then defeat the other two.
I of course turned down that offer. Zagan trembled and stood, separating himself from his earlier image of an aristocrat calmly enjoying his fine coffee.
“Are you a fool? Did you not understand anything I’ve said? Don’t you get it? This is the best option for you!”
“It certainly is not a bad deal.”
If I fully cooperated with him and did everything as we discussed, victory was all but certain.
At the very least, it would be far easier than fighting three at once.
It seemed strange he even had to ask but then again, it was strange for him to think I would accept such a deal to begin with.
“It’s simple: how can I trust and cooperate with someone who has betrayed his own allies? How can I believe you won’t stab me in the back just like you discarded them? No, at this point, you will undoubtedly do so. There’s even the chance this is all just part of an elaborate plan you cooked up to trap me.”
“How can I even be capable of such?”
“It’s not so inconceivable. After all, you’re doing it already.”
His calm demeanor from his confidence that I would go along with his plans was now nowhere to be seen.
His plan definitely gave more chances of success but I wasn’t so gullible that I would believe someone that would easily betray his allies. And besides, that wasn’t my only reason for refusing.
“Another thing, isn’t it more profitable to fight three Demon Lords at once?”
“What the heck are you talking about?”
“I mean, by doing so, don’t I have a chance to gain three original medals? Oh how can I ever pass this chance up?”
I intentionally flashed him a smug smile and said so as if to suggest they were prey I would naturally hunt.
He visibly trembled. I would guess that he assumed I would have been afraid of the notion of a three on one [War].
“Such arrogance, [Creation] Demon Lord Procell. You will come to regret that decision.”
“Am I now? I think I’ll regret it more to trust someone like you to guard my back.”
He trembled once more and then raised his right hand and voiced the next words out loud:
“Come! Ronove! Morax!”
When he said so, a transfer array appeared on the ground. That transfer array must have been concealed with some kind of power.
And what appeared out of the array were two Demon Lords.
Ronove was a bipedal frog. He was an extremely unattractive man who stood nearly two meters tall and had boils all over his body.
Morax would have passed for a human man on the prime of his life except he looked fiendish, what with his demonic horns and wings.
The two looked ready and even excited to announce their declaration of [War] against me. It would seem what Zagan said about summoning these two after I refused his proposal for my surrender was true.
Zagan was just about to speak but I decided to cut in and put a damper on things.
“You two, [Steel] Demon Lord Zagan here just tried to sell the both of you out. He requested something like an alliance between the two of us and then fight the two of you together. He said that it will be easier for me to defeat two small fries rather than the three of you all together. Not to mention, he will certainly clear the one [War] quota if we allied.”
Upon saying so, the two looked at Zagan and then at me.
A great alliance crumbling so easily.
But then, Zagan clicked his tongue and spoke.
“Don’t be fooled! It’s a trick to confuse us! I will never say those things! If we can’t trust each other, our alliance would be meaningless and he will get exactly want he wants!”
Zagan shouted at the two but they only grew even more confused. I expected he would say something like that but my purpose for speaking was more about planting seeds of doubt so it didn’t really matter if they believed me or not. In times I would need it most, I just had to drive a small wedge into their already fragile alliance.
“What are you mumbling about, Ronove? You’re acting like a half-wit. But then again, you can’t do anything without me, now can you? So just shut up and listen to me.”
“Hii! Okay, okay, I get it.”
The two-legged frog curled his body down as if to hide.
Evidently that was the power balance between the two.
“You too, Morax, do not be fooled by such tricks. We are allies!”
“……I guess you’re right. Yes, I’m sure it’s as you say, Zagan.”
Hmm, this fiendish-looking demon is actually timid, huh.
Zagan was a small fry but strangely enough, he was of the crafty kind. And he chose Demon Lords he could easily manipulate as his allies.
“Ronove, Morax, quickly! Let’s declare war on him. I’ll go first!”
Zagan forcibly pushed the idea, leaving them unable to fall back. It wasn’t such a bad move.
“I, [Steel] Demon Lord Zagan, do hereby challenge [Creation] Demon Lord Procell to a [War]!”
“I-I, [Viscosity] Demon Lord Ronove, do hereby challenge [Creation] Demon Lord Procell to a [War]!”
“I, [Evil] Demon Lord Morax, would like to issue a challenge to [Creation] Demon Lord Procell to a [War]. Yes.”
Zagan started it off and the declarations of war came one after another.
Right after so, I heard a sound within my mind. That sound was the Creator’s voice. It was strange but I felt like I missed it.
<<I acknowledge the declarations of [War]. I approve of the [War] of [Steel], [Viscosity], and [Evil] against [Creation]. The [War] may start in as soon as four days after [Steel]’s utterance of his request. This grace period is given so that each of you may prepare. One hour before the start of the [War], all of the participating Demon Lords’ dungeons will be connected.>>
So this is what happens when war is declared, I thought.
According to the rules, a war could be started in as short as 48 hours after declaration and Demon Lords that were declared [War] on must participate.
I still felt the connection with the Creator and thought it the right time to ask one thing.
“What are the victory conditions for a three on one? I get that I lose if I get killed or my crystal is broken but will I have to break all their crystals to win?”
I wanted to make sure.
If I could win by breaking just one crystal, that would make things a lot easier for me.
But then I heard the Creator’s laughter within my head. That doesn’t bode well.
<<The victory conditions for the team of [Steel], [Viscosity], and [Evil] will be: killing [Creation], breaking his crystal, or forcing him to surrender. The victory conditions for [Creation] will be: killing each one of [Steel], [Viscosity], and [Evil]; breaking each of their crystal; or making them all surrender. Also, a twenty-four time limit will be implemented. If by the end of this time limit the war is still ongoing, the team with the most crystals remaining shall win.>>
Wait a minute, did I hear that right?
“A time limit!? And the winner will be the team with most crystals? This is the first time I’ve heard of this rule.”
<<That’s because this is the first time—for new Demon Lords—to have a [War] with this many participants. You see, this many dungeons can’t be linked all at once for a long period of time. It’s unfortunate but that made me impose a time limit. With this, this conversation is thus concluded. I pray each of you do your best.>>
It was an inevitable conclusion. Still, it wasn’t what I anticipated.
I had to come up with a counter-measure but more importantly than that, I had to gather information.
I got hold of the fading presence of the Creator and asked him one more question.
“I would like to ask one more thing. When you ordered us to go to [War] within a year, was the purpose for us to really go to [War] or for us to break another new Demon Lord’s crystal?”
“It’s the latter. You can break crystals even when not involved in a [War].”
Those words were the last words the Creator said before I could no longer feel his presence within my mind.
I had confirmed what I wanted to confirm. This information shall undoubtedly serve as a weapon.
Nonetheless though, this rule was almost too much.
“Fuhahaha, I could have never imagined there was this kind of trap for you, [Creation] Demon Lord.”
[Steel] Demon Lord looked and laughed at me mockingly.
It was only natural he would, given that this rule put his side in a great advantage.
The fact that there was a time limit of 24 hours and the fact that after said time limit, the side with the most number of crystals remaining would be victor meant that even if their side devoted themselves to defense and ignore offense altogether for 24 hours, they could still win.
They had three crystals to begin with so even if I had been able to break one, they would still win.
Defending a dungeon was easier than assaulting one. And I was outnumbered so the best thing for me to do was to lure them into my dungeon wherein I would have prepared an advantageous battlefield for my forces but, due to the time limit, that option was as good as sealed.
Thus I must take the risk and assault at least two dungeons.
However, if I were to mobilize enough troops for two dungeon conquests, I would not have enough to defend my own and will then be attacked by the third Demon Lord in the blink of an eye.
“Well, do make sure you do your best. While repenting for your arrogance, that is.”
The three Demon Lords activated a transfer array and vanished.
Kuina who was beside me held my hand tightly.
“Oto-san, this rule is quite awful.”
“It is, isn’t it? Indeed, it’s unexpected.”
In the span of 24 hours, I not only would have to endure the fierce attacks of three Demon Lords but would also have to break at least two of their crystals that could only be found in the innermost part of their dungeons.
As I was pondering on my circumstance, Kuina looked at me and replacing the worry on her face was a forced but cheering smile, an effort perhaps to encourage me.
“Don’t worry, we will absolutely win. We will protect Oto-san and Avalon!”
Such powerful words were spoken by Kuina. I was pleased and brushed her head.
Her soft hair and fox ears felt great to touch.
“I’ll be relying on you then, Kuina. Also, it seems you’ve got the wrong idea about something. I have no ounce of doubt about winning. It’s just that with this rule, we might have to fight a little harder that what I thought.”
“Wow, Oto-san, that’s amazing!”
I expected total and complete victory but now, we had to take a little risk to win.
But then again, this might be a good opportunity for my monsters to experience things. It was better for them to feel tense once in a while.
Now then, time to modify my plans a little as I think up a strategy.
I returned to the dungeon and began to earnestly prepare for [War].
The city’s population had increased and the DP I could gain in a day was now close to 1,000 DP.
We were able to entrust most of the jobs to the humans so our own workload had lightened and we were able to go and hunt in the [Crimson Cavern]. We could gain as much as 1,000 DP this way.
Thanks to all that, I currently had 21,500 DP.
With this much, I should be able to do almost everything I was planning and the first on the list was…
“I have to make the third room on the underground dungeon.”
The first floor was for the city and anything that could help it while the floors underneath it was a dungeon dedicated to protecting the crystal.
The first room of the dungeon proper was the same two-kilometer-long room that I used against [Wind] Demon Lord Stolas and that had Mithril Golems equipped with heavy-machine guns guarding it.
The second room was the graveyard zone that housed the Undead army. It was a nightmarish labyrinth that was not only littered with countless traps but was also bombarded by the aerial units led by the Griffon.
And then, there was the third room that would be the last line of our defense.
With the rule in mind, I would have to mobilize Kuina, Rorono, and Ancient Elf as part of attacking forces so that our side could win.
And that left only the remaining units for defense. To make the defense successful, I began making the third room. I had to borrow Rorono the Elder Dwarf’s help to figure out the room’s specifics.
And then, I pondered about the insurance that I could depend on when things got dire.
My enemies were under a wrong assumption for there was a loophole that allowed a Demon Lord to have fighting forces beside himself and his monsters.
To arrive at this loophole, consider these three points:
- If the rule that states every creature inside the dungeon except Demon Lords and monsters are transferred to a different place at the start of war is put in another way, it can also mean that only Demon Lords and monsters remain within the dungeon at the start of the war.
- As soon as the [War] has begun, wounding other new Demon Lords and their monsters is allowed. Nowhere does it state that this applies only to the parties involved in the [War].
- Even if it wasn’t their [War], if one broke a crystal, it could fulfill the requirement of going to [War] within a year’s time.
Given these three points, I was of the thought that the Creator intentionally made this loophole. If so, I was going to make use of it immediately.
We could win by ourselves but it was better to be prepared.
Owing that fellow wasn’t didn’t sit well with me but for the sake of my city and my beloved monsters, I didn’t have such luxury.
“If they made an alliance of their own, why do they foolishly think I won’t do the same?”
Thus, I wrote a letter with a certain friend in mind.
Sorry, I’ve misread one of the rules of war stated in Chapter 7: Building a City. Instead of “all creatures except for humans and monsters…”, it is in fact “every human and every creature that is not a monster within the dungeon will be moved to a place where time is stopped”.