I traversed the mazes of [Evil]’s dungeon together with the Mythological Foxes, Dwarf Smiths and the others.
I believed Ancient Elf would prevail against the enemy Demon Lord without suffering any real harm. The chances of there being a monster that could win against her were nil. And even if for some reason there was such a monster, I assessed Ancient Elf who was the fastest among my monsters would be able to escape unharmed.
“Ancient Elf, I believe in you.”
I murmured so and quickened my pace
After about 15 minutes since Ancient Elf was abducted and transferred away, the surrounding scenery suddenly became distorted. The walls that hindered our progress slowly vanished and the complicated maze became an empty plot of land.
I breathed a sigh of relief knowing Ancient Elf succeeded.
“Everyone, Ancient Elf has defeated the [Evil] Demon Lord. She will probably catch up to us soon. In the meantime, let’s push ourselves a little bit harder.”
Upon hearing my words, my monsters who all adored her looked at each other and smiled, pleased with our imminent victory and her safety.
I didn’t think stopping and waiting for her was a good idea; it’s her so she would catch up to us soon. For the sake of Wight and the others currently still enduring our enemies’ fierce attacks, we had to break the crystal as soon as possible.
We cleared floor after emptied floor. We haven’t broken the crystal so the monsters should still be alive and yet we received no form of resistance on our travels.
That was a little unexpected. Perhaps, the reason they were not stopping us—despite them disappearing after we have broken their crystal—was that they didn’t have wills of their own.
Demon Lords, to a certain extent, could affect the strength of their monster’s ego upon synthesis.
So most likely, [Evil] had deprived the monsters he created of an ego of their own. And that’s why, unless their Demon Lord told them to, they wouldn’t really be able to do anything.
I looked at my own monsters and thought I wouldn’t want them to become like that.
I wanted them to have their own will and work toward achieving their own happiness.
After all, I would probably die earlier than Kuina and the others.
The girls’ races—Celestial Fox, Elder Dwarf, Ancient Elf—were extremely long-lived races. Their body, after maturing up to a point, would remain youthful forever.
Whereas I was set to live for exactly 300 years. They would live long after my death.
Of course, that was under the assumption that Avalon’s crystal is not broken at any point of time.
I thought of such and laughed to myself; that was still a far-off thing.
For now, I must focus on the war before me.
I heard a cheerful voice and, without the chance to turn around, I was hugged from behind. I also felt something soft pressed on my back.
“Welcome back, Ancient Elf.”
“Yes, I’m back! As master hoped, I have defeated the [Evil] Demon Lord and his aces.”
I freed myself from her embrace and walked beside her. The smile and look she had on her face had the words Praise me written all over it.
As we walked, I brushed her head. Her silky blond hair felt good to touch.
“Good work, Ancient Elf. As expected of my [Monster of the Covenant]”
Her eyes sparkled when she heard the words [Monster of the Covenant]; by defeating [Evil] she had earned her place to be one. However…
“I will properly praise you and also give you your name later when we have broken the crystal. For now, let’s hurry onto the innermost part of the dungeon.”
“Yes! I’ll work gladly work extra hard!”
Ancient Elf cheerfully said so and deployed wind magic.
It was a spell that would eliminate the wind resistance we were to face while also making the wind blow on our backs. It was nothing grand but I was thankful nonetheless.
It made our steps lighter and our fatigue less.
Most of all, it made us faster, enough for us to dash through the dungeon in one go.
And then, finally, we arrived at the crystal room.
In the center of this simple room was a stone pedestal and atop of that was the crystal that emitted a pale light. This was the dungeon’s core.
“Ancient Elf, be the one to break it.”
With this, she would have fulfilled all of my conditions.
She nodded and hit it with a lump of wind, thus breaking it.
With this, all the monsters under [Evil]’s control vanished. The dungeon then shook; in a few hours, the dungeon as well would vanish.
“Our plan after breaking the crystal was to immediately set up a transfer array and go back to our dungeon but… that doesn’t seem to be possible right now.”
I shifted my eyes to the crow monster lying exhausted in Ancient Elf’s hand.
The crow monster—the only monster among my followers that could use transfer—was caught alongside Ancient Elf in [Evil]’s trap but unlike her, it partially lost consciousness due to some drug.
“It’s alright; its consciousness should return in about 15 minutes or so. I had it eat an Avalon apple and also carefully poured magic power into its body so that it would recover.”
Hearing that made me feel relieved. Empty as the dungeon was, returning on foot would still take time.
I figured it would still be better to patiently wait for the 15 minutes for the crow monster to recover and about another five minutes for it to prepare the transfer array.
…if so, then to better make use of that time, I thought I should give Ancient Elf her name.
“Ancient Elf, it is because of you that we are able to conquer [Evil]’s dungeon. So, thank you. Also, for all your achievements thus far and your distinguished role this time, I am granting you your name and making you my [Monster of the Covenant].”
She was speechless.
And then, after handing the crow monster over to a Mythological Fox, she came to face me eye to eye.
“Before I give you your name, let me confirm: Ancient Elf, will you be my [Monster of the Covenant]; to be with me, to fight with me, to laugh with me, to cry with me for as long as we live? Do you have that kind of resolution?”
To that, Ancient Elf nodded.
“But of course. I am master’s. I will always be with you. Even if you say you don’t want to be with me, I will always be somewhere near.”
She said such a pleasant thing.
Then, I too should resolve myself.
“Alright. Then, Ancient Elf, from now on you are Aura.”
While also being the name of a goddess, it was also a word for one’s radiance.
I wanted her to shine and wrap everybody else with her radiance. That wish was attached to her name.
“Aura… My name is Aura. Thank you, master! From now on, I’m Aura!”
She repeatedly murmured the word and then accepted that it was her name. In that moment, our—my and Ancient Elf’s—souls were connected.
Her power came flowing into me. Not only that, her feelings, her thoughts, as well as information about abilities that were unknown even to her came rushing in.
By Aura becoming my [Monster of the Covenant]—as with Kuina and Rorono—powers that lied dormant were brought to the surface.
I see, so that’s why she had the skill Personification of the Planet.
I also underwent change. Power swelled up from deep within me. When I was aware that I could now use the girls’ skills and some of their magic, I somehow understood.
By completing my three [Monsters of the Covenant], I was then finally able to fully wield my strength as a Demon Lord. By my reckoning, as I was, I wouldn’t fall behind even against an A rank monster that could grow.
I calmed myself from becoming drunk with power and looked at Ancient Elf, only to see she was in the same state as me.
‘This is amazing. Master’s power, heart, and soul are flowing in. It’s warm. Has Kuina-chan and Rorono-chan always been feeling this sensations? I’m a little jealous.”
Dazed, Ancient Elf, rather, Aura murmured so.
Her face was flushed and colored.
To sober her, I spoke.
“Aura, will you give me your left hand?”
It was to put the ring I failed to give her earlier. It was a platinum ring engraved with a crest that resembled an apple. It also featured a green gemstone.
Perhaps she realized what I meant for her face grew red as she gave me her left hand.
Thus, I put on the ring on her left middle finger. I put it there to symbolize my wish for her to be safe from maliciousness as well as for her to continue working with me.
“From now on, I’ll be relying on you even more.”
“Yes! I’ll do my best for master now more than ever!”
And like that, I was able to give Ancient Elf the name Aura.
When I looked at the crow monster, it was upright without me noticing. It then began to draw the transfer array as it walked unsteadily.
At that rate, we would be back in Avalon very soon.
Aura and the others were still alright so that meant that my crystal wasn’t broken yet.
My only worry at the moment was whether Wight would be able to hold on.
Like that, I stifled my anxiety as I patiently waited for the completion of the transfer array.