The Byakko was quietly resting his body.
Even though he had defeated the Mithril Golems, his injuries were by no means minor. In fact, each of the Mithril Golems’ bullets hurt him like hell.
His excellent healing capabilities was one of his many strong points but even then, it was impossible for him to completely recover in a short amount of time.
“Temporary master, you’re distracting me; just calm down.”
For a while now, [Steel] Demon Lord Zagan was restlessly rocking his body as he was completely covered with his Monster of the Covenant, the Killing Armor—a moving hollow armor.
“How can I calm down!? That fool [Viscosity] has been defeated!”
With the fact that the slimes borrowed from [Viscosity] had vanished, it became evident that [Viscosity] Demon Lord Ronove’s crystal had been broken. Or in other words, a powerful monster capable of even defeating a monster as strong as the Orihalcum Gargoyle that was with Ronove was now on route to return to this dungeon and face Zagan’s troops. There was also the chance that that monster was instead headed to Zagan’s defenseless dungeon and break his crystal.
Before either of those things happen, [Creation] Demon Lord Procell’s crystal must be broken.
“That’s precisely why you must calm down. Or else you’ll become flustered. A Demon Lord must always remain calm. If you become agitated, you’ll make the wrong decisions. Not to mention, it’ll also lower your subordinates’ morale. Haven’t you learned even that much?”
The Byakko informed Zagan so with a shocked tone.
However, his words only made Zagan even more flustered. Choosing to just ignore the shouting Zagan, the Byakko began to focus on resting his body.
And then, when the slow-moving monsters had finally caught up and the preparations for marching onward were ready, two Mithril Golems 500 meters behind suddenly appeared from the tunnels. In their hand were heavy-machineguns.
Damn, thought the Byakko, the furs on his whole body standing on end.
In the next moment, the two Mithril Golems opened fire. One by one, Zagan’s monsters that were in the rear fell.
“Uwaaaaaaaaaaa! What is this!? Cowards! Attacking from behind, cowards!! Everyone, quickly, go to the next rooooooooom!”
Half-crazed, Zagan instructed so in an effort to escape the hail of bullets from their rear.
“Wait, temporary master, you’re overreacting.”
The Byakko tried to quickly eliminate the enemies but due to the stampede of his ally monsters going the other way, he was unable to do a thing.
“Listen up! Hurry on to the next room, goooooo! If we go over there, those attacks won’t reach us!!!”
And so, the command was given.
Despite only being temporary, the Byakko was still Zagan’s monster and a monster could not go against his Demon Lord’s commands. As such, the Byakko’s body moved against his will.
“Listen to me well, we’re being goaded to rush to the next room. So before…”
“Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!”
Even his ability to give Zagan advice was now sealed with that command. The Byakko couldn’t help but grind his teeth. He’s been duped.
In the front and rear of this march were the elites of the monsters made by Zagan himself. And by his side were the two fully trained and fully leveled A rank monsters.
The enemy commander had been waiting for this one instance where they loosened their alert. Even when a large number of golems were being crushed, the commander did not reveal this trump card and instead chose to patiently wait for this very fatal moment. That moment being when they were almost ready to move to next room.
In addition, the Byakko who could slip through the Mithril Golems’ bullets guessed that him being hindered from responding immediately by the waves of ally monsters was also predicted by the enemy.
Moreover, their side, Zagan’s forces, without the opportunity to send out a scout, was completely unprepared as well as panicking as they entered the next force without reserve.
Putting himself in the enemy commander’s shoes, he ventured that if it was up to him, now would be the right time to round up the invading troops as though they were sitting ducks.
Unable to convey his thoughts due to the command given to him, he grew vexed.
“Alright, we got out!!”
[Steel] Demon Lord Zagan shouted so with delight.
Laid out before them were a graveyard area lined up with gigantic tombstones that became an open field as it neared the entrance. There were no enemies to be found.
And so, they marched on.
A B rank monster—a member of Zagan’s elites—that was at the very front… fell down a very deep ravine. Several seconds later, a sound suggesting that something broke was heard.
Not only was it a ridiculously deep hole but also a very wide one at around 3 meters.
It was hard to take notice of the ravine from near the entrance but not so much as one neared it. Perhaps, if the fallen monster wasn’t in such a panic, it wouldn’t have been caught in the trap.
The elite forces in the very front suffered casualties but the ones behind them were somehow able to stop their march. However…
“Come, faster! No, you guys, stoooooooopppppp!”
Following Zagan’s earlier commands, the monsters further back marched on with full speed.
But then, Zagan issued a command to halt. They tried to comply but their momentum did not allow for a sudden stop. If left as it was, it seemed the monsters in the rear would be able to shove even Zagan into the hole of hell.
“Waste them, Byakko, Arch Demon!”
By [Steel] Demon Lord Zagan’s command, the two A rank monsters, the Byakko and the Arch Demon, attacked their allies and pulverized them.
As a result, Zagan avoided the fate of falling down that hole.
The Byakko looked at his temporary master with eyes of rage. How dare he, how dare he!? How dare he make me murder my allies!?
For a military man such as him, this was the greatest dishonor.
He wanted to kill this trash who spewed nothing but harm.
However, now was not the time for that because beyond the hole of hell were Mithril Golems and Skeletons. These enemies were hiding behind the large tombstones that were in the boundary of the plains and the graveyard.
The Mithril Golems—equipped with heavy-machineguns—and the Skeletons—equipped with assault rifles—spread out like fan.
Seeing that, the Byakko smiled. It was only natural to set a trap at the place where you goaded your enemies into.
And so, the Mithril Golems and the Skeletons simultaneously opened fire.
His side’s predicament was the worst; even annihilation was not an exaggeration. However, the Byakko was confident that if they responded to the threats calmly, it will be alright. When he convinced himself of such…
“Hii! Hiiiiii! Byakko, Arch Demon, do something about those guys! Hurry, right now! Don’t hold back!”
Overreacting, [Steel] Demon Lord Zagan issued such a foolish command.
Thus, two of the strongest monsters trained to the utmost began to act because of that command… without holding back.
The Arch Demon unreservedly deployed a wall of darkness that would guard Zagan and his forces. This wall of darkness was capable of easily fending off all of the incoming bullets. In exchange for a tremendous amount of magic power, that is. Originally, it was a trump card reserved as a barrier against even army.
Even without such a wall, the Arch Demon would have still been able to protect Zagan and for less magic power too. However, the command to not hold anything back forced him to use this instead.
And then, there was the Byakko. He raised his magic power high enough to shake the very air. By virtue of that command, he activated his greatest trump card and its name was…
“[White Tiger Lightning Blade]”
His body transformed into white lightning and then shone brightly. In the next moment, the Mithril Golems broke into tiny, little pieces.
The white lightning then traveled in an arc, pursuing the Skeletons that were in a fan-like formation. Needless to say, the Skeletons were instantly annihilated.
With the task done, the Byakko returned to his original form.
“Haa, haa, haa”
The Byakko breathed heavily and for good reason. That move was one of his strongest moves that was supposed to be reserved as a last resort. It was such a lightning-fast and certain-kill technique that there haven’t been anyone to survive after receiving the attack. He was confident it could take down even S rank monsters. A true certain kill technique limited to one use a day.
He obtained this power to exceed his limits when he gained his name. In exchange for using it, 80% of his magic power was expended; his already wounded body got even weaker; and his physical strength had completely left him.
For his technique—which he decided to be used only on warriors he recognized—to be activated on such weak foes when he could’ve dealt with the enemies in a more efficient manner, his patience was nearing its limits.
“Hey you! What the hell do you think you’re doing?”
The moment he tried shout that, [Steel] Demon Lord Zagan received a powerful blow to the forehead and was blown away. He lied face up with the helm of the Killing Armor broken open, revealing blood flowing from his forehead.
He didn’t die but it seemed he suffered a considerable impact. The concussed Zagan laid there with blank eyes.
There were no signs of any enemies nearby which made it all the more incomprehensible for the Byakko. But then, his body moved before he could think; he jumped over the hole, covered Zagan, poured magic power into his fur, and braced himself. In the next moment, he felt an impact as well as pain in his shoulder.
This pain was very much like an attack from the Mithril Golems’ weapons.
It must have been the reason for the high-defense Killing Armor to be broken open. The Byakko then thought that if he hadn’t protected Zagan, that second attack would have killed the Demon Lord.
He then studied the angle the attack came from and looked in that direction.
A kilometer away in an elevated position was a pretty blond elf holding a long tube.
And so, the Byakko was convinced that the wide and deep hole as well as the golems and Skeletons that ambushed them were nothing but distractions just for this snipe attack. From the very start, the enemy’s aim was to kill Zagan, their Demon Lord, and end the war right here.
The Byakko then grabbed Zagan by nape of the neck and placed the Demon Lord on his back. To prevent Zagan from falling, the Byakko made his fur wrap around Zagan.
Since he caught the elf in his sight, the Byakko was able to read its mind and thus avoid being hit. He did just so for the third and fourth shots as well as another shot that came from his blind spot, a shot that was fired by another elf.
He was able to avoid the last shot only because he was aware of the ambush from reading the mind of the elf he had in his sight. If it not were for this ability of his, he most probably would have been shot.
The second elf fired the shot from atop a tree branch five hundred meters ahead. This second one being outside of the 100 meter range of his ability, he decided to focus on just the first elf.
The current situation was quite dangerous. For one thing, the Byakko had no clear idea on how many tricks were set up against them. He wanted to think this was the last one but then, up in the skies, a group of gryphons flew around and dropped a black lump to the ground.
That lump was a napalm bomb. The Byakko had no idea what it was but he perceived it as dangerous nonetheless. He sent the Arch Demon a look and then ran with all haste.
The two and some of the monsters a little bit ahead of them jumped over the hole but only about half of the monsters made it.
And then… the napalm bomb hit the ground and the very picture of hell was painted.
The napalm bomb exploded and engulfed the plains in flames that continued to burn.
The monsters that were not able to jump over the hole burned and continued to do so until they were nothing but ashes.
The trailing monsters that were still following Zagan’s commands continued to flow into the dungeon room but were very soon engulfed by the hellfire as well. Not that these monsters could return to the previous room though since all that awaited them there were the hail of bullets from the Mithril Golems’ heavy-machineguns.
It was then that the Byakko understood; they were completely trapped.
[Steel] Demon Lord Zagan’s monsters have almost been annihilated. All that remained were the Byakko, the Arch Demon, and about 10 monsters lucky enough to escape from the bombing.
The Byakko then led the survivors to enter the graveyard area; the plains was far too dangerous right now.
After a while, Zagan awoke.
“Temporary master, what shall we do?”
“Whatever it is, first we advance, advance forward. It’s dangerous here.”
“For once, I agree.”
Within the graveyard area, Zagan’s side found a place enclosed with walls where they could finally rest their weary bodies.
The Byakko probed the surroundings and confirmed there were no enemies nearby. Furthermore, to protect themselves from the long-distance sniping, they moved themselves into a place where line of sight against them was impossible.
“Byakko, what, what is this, how did this happen, how come I was injured, how come many of my monsters were killed? Tell me, tell me how!”
The Killing Armor Zagan wore was destroyed, forcing him to be exposed with his own flesh.
For whatever reason, whether it be due to the blow he suffered earlier or not, Zagan held his knees and trembled with fear.
“This is due to the might of [Creation] himself. He doesn’t have much troops and yet look at how well he has done.”
The Byakko uttered words of praise.
Amongst the monsters that had appeared so far, B rank had been the strongest. The enemies were so few and yet still managed to oppose their side this much.
And, most noteworthy was the enemy’s commander.
The commander was calculating, meticulous, as well as being bold while still knowing when to pull back.
How much of a real man is he? I sure would like to meet him.
Around the time the Byakko thought of such, several Skeletons entered his thought perception range.
Two Skeletons in the vanguard that were supposed to be ambushed by the Byakko didn’t panic and instead launched suppressive fire against him.
The Byakko ignored it and dashed in; this much damage could be endured by his fur. Meanwhile, the Skeletons retreated as they continued their shooting.
Not letting them escape, the Byakko put force on his steps and a little while later, got close enough to use his claws but then… two Skeletons from the center holding suspicious nozzles stepped forward. His reason dictated they were but Skeletons and should not be feared but his instincts demanded that he fall back. And thus, he retreated.
In the moment that followed, flames were unleashed. Flames that were of the same kind as the hellfire created by the griffons earlier.
Seeing it, cold sweat poured out of the Byakko. No matter how resilient his fur was, if those high-temperature flames that just won’t disappear got hold of him, it would be dangerous.
As the Skeletons continued to fire their assault rifles, they retreated to a narrow passage. After they entered the passage, golems appeared and completely block the way with their huge bodies. By the time he defeated the golems, the Skeletons had safely vanished.
“They don’t intend to let us rest, huh.”
The Byakko guessed so and he was right.
As though to harass them, the Skeletons attacked and then used the golems as shields to escape.
They did so many times over. Sometimes they used a different trap that was in the graveyard, sometimes they mixed in the High Elves’ sniping, while at other times they made use of the dwarves’ earth magic. Each case, no matter which one, was hard to deal with.
Such half-hearted attacks dealt insignificant damage but the mental fatigue it gave—with the Byakko as an exception—was a different matter. Especially so for the [Steel] Demon Lord.
By the tenth attack, the Byakko had come to a decision.
“Wha-what is it, Byakko?”
“Breaking through this room while having to worry about you is impossible.”
For some time now, the Skeletons had been doing whatever they pleased; Zagan’s side had managed to defeat only ten Skeletons ever since they entered the graveyard.
“Then, what do you propose we do?”
“The three walls surrounding us will make it hard to make a surprise attack against us. With the Arch Demon by your side, you will remain safe. So stay here.”
“How about you?”
“I’ve read the mind of a monster earlier. I know that their commander is somewhere here and more importantly, where he actually is. Once the enemy commander is no more, the enemy army will be reduced to a disorderly mob. If I go out alone, it’s possible.”
It was no bluff. Certainly he was wounded, his magic power spent, his body fatigued, and his trump card wasted but even so, he was more than confident it was doable. Such was the Byakko’s confidence in being one of the strongest monsters.
“Alright. Then please. I will be waiting here so please do something about the enemy quickly.”
“Yeah, just don’t get in the way.”
And so, the Byakko went out by himself, an act he would not do ordinarily. There was even the chance that he might die without even reaching his objective.
But what tugged at his heart more than that possibility was the chance at a confrontation with the enemy’s commander that he deemed to be a real man.
Holding that expectation, he began to dash with all his might.