One of the two A rank monsters that accompanied [Steel] Demon Lord Zagan was a tiger-type monster with beautiful white fur contrasted by some black. The name of its race was the Byakko. It was a race of monsters that stood out even among the ridiculously strong A rank monsters.
This Byakko was given a name even though he wasn’t a [Monster of the Covenant]. [Monsters of the Covenant] were deeply connected to their Demon Lords. So much so in fact that a Demon Lord and a Monster of the Covenant shared their magic power and even their soul with one another, thus making the burden of naming them light for Demon Lord.
However, the same couldn’t be said when naming a fourth monster and so on; in the absence of a deep connection between them, the burden was one-sidedly all on the Demon Lord. And so, the Demon Lord was to pour all of his magic power into the name. However, the effects of this naming would stop at just awakening the latent potentials within the monster and nothing more.
Demon Lords rarely named monsters other than their Monsters of the Covenant. The process used magic power far more than their own total magic power. As such, going through the naming would leave them with a rather harsh backlash: the inability to recover their magic power for nearly half a month.
In this period until they’ve recovered their magic power, on top of becoming defenseless, Demon Lords would also become unable to use skills that required magic power.
So, to put in another way, for his Demon Lord to go so far and name this Byakko, it showed how capable the Byakko was as well as how much his Demon Lord trusted him.
“Temporary master, I’m now going to break through this dungeon room’s defenses. This should be quite fun” said the Byakko with a joyous face as he slowly walked toward the dungeon.
“Wait, take some support monsters with you.”
“Don’t need it; they’ll only slow me down.”
“But for the sake of improving the chances of victory, you—”
“I said I don’t need it. Get in my way and I’ll kill you”
With a glance of a monster he should have control over, Zagan backed down. The Byakko had no intention whatsoever of showing the [Steel] Demon Lord any respect. After all, he only came due to his interest in the amusing Demon Lord his master talked about.
There were three old Demon Lords that meddled in this war. Unlike the other two who participated to preempt a potential problem and thus secure their position, the Byakko’s master did so to test [Creation] Demon Lord Procell.
If Procell, in the end, was defeated but still showed promise from the Byakko’s perspective, the Byakko was ordered to subtly arrange for his survival.
For the Byakko to do so, first let us discuss the only two restrictions a monster has concerning the Demon Lord that has control over it:
- A monster can’t go against his Demon Lord’s orders
- A monster can’t make an attack against his Demon Lord.
In other words, a monster was free to do whatever it wants so long as these two points were followed.
Next, let us consider Byakko’s abilities which includes his overwhelmingly strong body and the magic to strengthen it further; his fur that’s highly resistant to physical and magical attacks and that can also be enhanced further the more magic power was channeled to it; and the powerful ability to affect the mind of his targets.
In conclusion, the Byakko was at least free to guide Zagan’s thoughts and thus enabling the Byakko to prevent Procell from being killed.
Challenging the restrictions wasn’t limited to the Byakko either; it wasn’t uncommon for monsters to use and take advantage of their Demon Lords in some form. That’s actually why some Demon Lords—unable to trust monsters—tended to avoid monsters with intelligence.
“Wha-what’s with that attitude? I-I’m your master, damn it.”
“Then, show me the conduct and excellence of someone I’d like to take orders from.”
As though their conversation was over, the Byakko proceeded to enter the dungeon.
Along the way, among the monsters kept in reserve, the slimes Zagan borrowed from [Viscosity] all vanished. It was the proof that [Viscosity]’s crystal was no more.
In this short of a time, he has already conquered [Viscosity]’s dungeon…. interesting. I’m sure that that Orihalcum Gargoyle—a monster even I will have a hard time fighting—was there, thought the Byakko as it raised its evaluation of Procell.
Meanwhile, in Zagan’s mind—which the Byakko read—was mostly fear and impatience.
Zagan then pinned his hopes to the Byakko and spoke, begging it to break through the dungeon in front of them.
This made the Byakko sigh internally.
Even if it’s just temporary, why do I have to serve a small fry like this? Oh well, at least from now on, I can get rid of all this boredom. [Creation] Demon Lord Procell, I hope you’re different from this small fry, thought the Byakko as it entered the dungeon.
When he was inside the dungeon, he recalled the words his real master said to him
“Kohaku, if my estimates are right about [Creation], even if he loses this war, he will have the strength and the capabilities to impress even you. However, should it turn out that he’s more that I gave him credit for, it will mean your life in the battlefield. That is actually the outcome I am praying for. Demon Lords… us Children of the Planet are only here as tools to guide the humans… if we can find a person that could escape from such fate and get him on our side, I will not mind losing you. Now, Kohaku, I leave this task to you.”
A man that could make his master say that much…
His blood boiled at remembering those words.
He could have refused this mission but chose not to. He had become too strong; he couldn’t even remember the last time he had to fight at full strength. As it was, if he was going to rot away anyway, he’d rather fight with all his might and die.
As soon as Byakko entered the long cave, he immediately switched into battle mode.
So long as a target was either within a 100 meters around him or was within his line of sight, it was possible for him to read its mind. Should he choose to spend time and magic power, affecting his target’s minds was also possible. Coupling his ability to always predict an enemy’s moves with his vast combat experience and physical strength, he could effectively respond to every action with maximum efficiency. Such was the secret behind his strength.
So, with the Mithril Golems in his line of sight, he began to use his ability to read the golems’ minds and dashed forward.
The inorganic golems also had something like an intent behind their actions so they too could be predicted.
“Here it comes”
At almost the exact time or perhaps even earlier than when the bullets from hell were fired, the Byakko who already read the Mithril Golems’ minds ran at top speed and took three steps: one on the ground, one on the wall, and another on the ceiling where he proceeded to run as though he ignored the laws of physics—an act possible precisely because it was this Byakko.
And so, the Byakko avoided and ran past the bullets below.
Using his experience to assess the bullets’ threat, he calculated how many he could endure.
If I poured in my magic power into my highly physical damage resistant fur, I’d say I can take on about ten of those.
The secret behind the overwhelming power of these long-range attacks was of course the dreadful weapon itself but the Mithril Golems’ offensive capabilities added tremendous damage to the attacks as well. A Mithril Golem was overall equivalent to a B rank monster; it was horrendously slow but in exchange, in terms of physical strength and physical strength alone, it was comparable to an A rank.
A weapon that will not only make up for the golems’ slowness but will also make good use of their strong points; that [Creation] Demon Lord was clever to pair them.
The golems then adjusted the angle of their heavy-machineguns upwards to try and hit the Byakko. However, the Byakko read this move and quickly dropped down. He then ran forward, mindful of keeping his body as low as possible.
His landing was not without injury, however; before he reached the ground, two bullets grazed him. Even if such an attack wouldn’t instantly kill them, anyone less resistant to physical damage than the Byakko would still take great damage and most probably make them lose their balance, exposing them further to more bullets.
“Those attacks, they’re certainly strong… but they can’t cope with quick vertical movements.”
The dungeon floor was a long cave structure with nowhere to hide. The Byakko concluded that there was only one way to get past: quickly moving up and down.
By running on the ceiling, suddenly dropping down to move on the ground and then up again, he would be very hard to hit as the golems would have to correct the alignment of their guns each time, only for the Byakko to change his position by the time they have finished their adjustments.
After about more than half a minute of running and jumping between the ground and the ceiling, something exploded in the ground. That something was a landmine that Procell set. However, the Byakko was travelling far too fast; by the time the landmine activated and exploded, he was already so far away.
The golems hiding in the tunnels too were of no use. The tunnels in the sides were skillfully disguised and the Byakko did not see through that disguise but so long as the golems were within his territory—a 100 meters to be exact—he could hear their minds’ voices even though he could not see them. There was also the matter of his speed; he ran past them in a blink of an eye, resulting in their flames hitting only the air.
“Is this because I got careless?”
Halfway through, he held his breath in since mixed in the air was a powerful poison. He inhaled a little but his self-healing abilities was enough nullify its effects. Nonetheless, if he continued to intake more of the poisoned air, he would have most probably lost control of his body. Such was that poison.
Despite of it all, Byakko smiled at the number of things being thrown against him.
Still, there was a limit to how long he could hold his breath and unless he quickly breaks through these defenses, all that awaited him was death.
As he neared the end, the golems’ adjustment of the angle of their heavy-machineguns became quicker.
The Byakko read their minds and yet he still didn’t have enough time to evade. So, he instead poured as much magic power as he could into his fur to increase his defense while also evading those that would almost directly hit him.
So far, he was directly hit three times and grazed seven times.
The pain assailed his entire overused body as though it was screaming from being torn apart.
Still, forcing himself with willpower, he pressed on until finally, he was at the far end of the dungeon room.
Despite being wounded all over, he smashed the Mithril Golems’ weapons with his sharp claws. He then dodged the attack coming from the now unarmed golems and launched an attack of his own by biting down the golems’ throats. As a result, the golems with mithril bodies were broken.
“This was quite a fun distraction.”
Laughed the Byakko as he swallowed down the mithril he chewed.
Next, he sucked in the air along with the poison mixed in it and roared.
The roar functioned both as a victory cry and as a means to dispel the air of the poison.
Afterwards, he readied himself from any enemy attack that might follow. It was not unthinkable for more golems with those weapons to appear from the next room, after all. In this way, he could react immediately to any threats.
A short while after, Zagan and his subordinate monsters entered the dungeon in groups.
The Byakko watched their numbers be reduced by the by the golems from the side tunnels as well as by stepping on the landmines laid on the ground that he didn’t set off.
He only watched for he could not dare leave his current post.
If by chance there were new Mithril Golems to appear and he could not immediately respond to them, he ventured their side would take heavy losses.
Moreover, since there was another A rank monster with them, complete annihilation against things like the golems was unlikely.
And so, he patiently waited for the slow-advancing group to arrive at the other end of the room.
The [Steel] Demon Lord’s desire to always want to be close to the other A rank monster was actually causing their slow advance; it could have gone faster if he just ordered for that monster to kill the golems hiding in the tunnels.
“You’re finally here, temporary master. You sure took your time.”
“Why!? Why didn’t you dispose of the traps and the golems?!”
Instead of words of praise or thanks, the first words that Zagan uttered were words of complaint.
Thus, Byakko’s evaluation of Zagan went down by another mark. He’s not the kind of Demon Lord a monster would wish it has.
“I couldn’t afford to destroy them all when I was advancing. And when you arrive, I couldn’t leave this place. Those are the only reasons. Wait, do you even have any clue why I can’t leave this spot?”
“O-of course!” said Zagan even though he had no clue at all.
The Byakko decided that he could no longer expect anything useful out of [Steel] as he patiently waited for their entire force to go to the next floor that they now had access to.
Now, what kind of plan are you going to let me enjoy next?
“Wight-sama, I have no excuses. We have been completely defeated. The golems that hid within the tunnels are safe for now but will soon be trapped there. They do not have much time; their numbers are far too different.”
“M’lady, do not feel down; that enemy is just too strong.”
In a residence near the end of the second room, Wight and a Dwarf Smith discussed their next course of action.
The first room was conquered almost entirely by a single monster. That fact hurt but more worrisome than that was that that monster was now headed toward them.
“M’lady, is something on your mind?”
“Yes. That monster, by some way or another, seems to be able to predict our attacks. Other than that, I have no explanation to offer on how it reacted so swiftly to our assault. It also seems to have a high-rank search magic as it was able to notice and evade the surprise attacks of the golems in the tunnels.”
“Hmm. Either it can see the future, read its enemy’s minds, or just simply have extraordinary reaction speed and reflexes……… in any case, that ability, whatever it is, coupled with that monster’s athleticism and its defenses, is indeed worrisome.”
They guessed what the Byakko’s ability was as well as planned countermeasures against it.
As of the moment, there was no monster among them that could directly confront that Byakko, much less win. Unless they planned measures against it, they would indeed not be able to stop it.
When they reviewed all the information they had so far, there was one thing that stood out: the golems’ attacks were predicted flawlessly while the nerve gas mixed in the air as well as the landmines in the ground were not. Thus, Wight valued this point to be a hint to have a better picture of that monster’s ability. He asked the Dwarf Smith several questions over and over again, listened to her detailed reports and impressions until finally, he had a rough idea about his enemy’s ability and how to counter it.
“The golems in the first floor are now annihilated. It looks like the Byakko is going to invade again only after it has reunited with the troops that were left behind.”
“Not only strong but wise and cautious as well. If only he blindly gone to the next room, we could have lessened the number of the troops that are catching up.”
Wight said so as he was instructing his temporary subordinates one by one. The second room was in some way his domain; it was a large graveyard labyrinth.
He did not regard himself as a strong monster but even then, there were a lot of things he could do. Especially in this place that his lord made after listening to his opinions.
“I’m scared, Wight-sama. How will we defeat that monster? It can stand up even after being directly hit by the D2’s .50 caliber bullets. Moreover, it’s fast and strong; it even chewed mithril. There’s absolutely no way we can win.”
It seemed that the Dwarf Smith who, through the Mithril Golems, saw the fight against the Byakko had completely lost heart.
Seeing her like that, Wight put his hand—that was nothing but bones—on the Dwarf Smith’s head and stroke it; an action his lord would have surely done.
“M’lady, do not worry, we can do this. First of all, our goal is to stall for time, not to defeat them. Through the countless traps and schemes we have, we will hinder their progress.”
“Fufu, yeah, you’re right. I will do my best.”
The Dwarf Smith’s presence of mind have been restored, feeling at ease and thinking they could hold on until their currently absent master, Procell, returns.
“There is another reason why we won’t lose.”
“May I hear that reason?”
“It is because our lord, Procell-sama, commanded us to perform these strategies. Since our lord, someone powerful enough to be regarded as almighty, thinks we can do it then we can do it. There is no way our lord could be wrong.”
Wight firmly believed so from the bottom of his heart.
Even if their strategies were indeed wrong, even if things proceed worse than what their lord assumed, by his own might, he was going to make it right. He was going to make it succeed.
Surely, that’s why I’m here; for my loyalty.
Now, come. From here on is the real deal. With all my strength, I will demonstrate [Creation] Demon Lord Procell’s—my beloved lord, the strongest Demon Lord there is—power.