“Kuina, our bullets are limited so conserve as much as you can.”
After exiting the first room, Kuina spearheaded the first platoon forward.
The second room was a complicated maze but thanks to the High Elves, they never lost their way.
By attuning their senses with the wind, the High Elves could comprehend the structure of their surroundings. Of course, scouting as much as a few kilometers like Ancient Elf does was too much for them. That said, scouting several hundred meters was easily manageable.
“Kuina-sama, there’s an enemy lying in ambush in the corner up ahead.”
Kuina, ball of fire in her hand, sprinted toward the said corner. As soon as she took the turn, she released the ball of fire, resulting in the slime—which was resistant to physical attacks but was weak to fire—that was supposed to be one doing the ambushing violently bursting into flames.
Kuina said so to everyone in the first platoon. Her strength inspired trust and that in turn led to an increase in morale.
“Kuina-sama, there is a flying monster patrolling over there.”
“Can you shoot it down?”
“It is well within our range.”
“I’ll leave it to you, then.”
The High Elf readied the anti-materiel rifle that was hanging from her back. Unlike the one Ancient Elf wielded, her gun wasn’t customized. Since the High Elves were unable to fully realize a barrel made out of wind and were also unable to negate further recoil, a customized rifle like Ancient Elf’s would actually lead to a decrease in performance rather than improve it.
That said, an unmodified anti-materiel rifle was powerful enough to shoot through armored vehicles and accurate enough to shoot over long distances even without the help of magic.
And so, the High Elf carefully aimed her rifle and shot down the demon patrolling in the sky. It was more than 500 meters away but such distance was trivial to them.
“Kuina, you should eat this.”
Rorono the Elder Dwarf tossed an apple over to Kuina.
“Is this one of Elf-chan’s apples?”
“Mhm. It’s from the first apple tree.”
Kuina munched on the delicious apple and upon doing so, the strength from within her body welled up. She felt that her fatigue was gone and that her magic power recovery had quickened. Such were some of the effects of the apples grown by Ancient Elf. It increases one’s natural healing powers alongside his magic power recovery rate; removes some abnormal conditions one is feeling; and grants varied but temporary resistances.
“Rorono-chan, eat some too”
Kuina threw the half-eaten apple back to Rorono.
Upon catching it, Rorono bit on it and then placed a hand on the wall. As she did so, a scream was heard several meters ahead.
The source of the scream was the enemy monster being skewered by the spears that Rorono grew out of the mud wall.
Just like the High Elves with aligning their senses with the wind, Rorono was capable of attuning herself with the earth. In addition to knowing the locations of the enemy monsters, she could also detect the traps that were laid beforehand.
“Good job, Rorono-chan”
The two complimented one another.
The girls were primarily using magic due to fact that the enemies were so weak, guns were unnecessary. But even with that, thanks to the girls being S rank monsters having such huge amounts of magic power as well as Ancient Elf’s apples, the girls were recovering magic power before they could run out of it.
Ronove, on the other hand, was traumatized with the genocide in the beginning and was sending only so few monsters between wide intervals. The result was that the girls were not tired at all and were quite pleased instead to be served experience points in sets like courses in a meal.
“Still, even though it’s just a fruit, it has such amazing effects.”
“I concur. It’s as effective as the potions of legends. As an [Alchemist], I’m envious.”
“If it has such effects, wouldn’t it be better to have even more like it?”
“Maybe but I doubt that’s likely though. It might not always be obvious but Elf is head over heels for master. So when even master treats the first tree as special—due to the memories we all shared under it—she goes way out of her way to give more care to it than she could to the other trees. She even goes so far as to sprinkle it every day with the [Water of Life] she made which was infused with stupid amounts of her magic power. Her care had changed it so much I feel it’s more appropriate to call it a World Tree than an apple tree.”
“As someone who drinks Elf-chan the high-ranking elf’s juice mix every day, and as someone who knows the work she puts into the apples, I agree. What do you think will happen if that tree is somehow knocked down?”
“Someone will probably be killed. When seriously angry, she is, after all, the scariest among us.”
They chatted like so as they explored the dungeon but not once did they let their guard down. They still had plenty of bullets and magic power to spare, not to mention that no one in their platoon was in any way wounded.
And just like that, in a speed not even Procell could have predicted, they arrived in the very last room of the dungeon.
The last room of [Viscosity]’s dungeon was identical to the first one: an underground lake in the center of an expansive cave.
There didn’t seem to be any kind of traps in particular. And if the platoon was forced to comment, they would say there were more B rank monsters here than in the first room.
“At last, we don’t have to conserve our ammo anymore.”
“This should be the last room so let’s rampage as much as we can.”
Kuina wielded the Curtana EDS-03—a shotgun modified by Rorono— while Rorono herself was equipped with an MK417—an assault rifle similar to the powerful MK416 but was made to be able to fire 7.62 mm bullets.
“So in the end, you weren’t able to finish your own weapon, Rorono-chan?”
“I’ve finished it and actually brought it but my weapon isn’t a gun.”
“Is it inside that bag you’re carrying on your back?”
“Mhm, I’ll use it if ever we face a strong enemy.”
Rorono made a somewhat smug face. She was aware that her own fighting strength paled in comparison to Kuina’s and Ancient Elf’s. Thus, to bridge that difference, she knew she had to develop a new weapon.
She had made countless of prototypes but none of them really satisfied her. However, with her newly awakened powers when she became a [Monster of the Covenant], her weapon development showed great progress and finally, Rorono’s exclusive weapon was complete.
In her opinion, if they were all to thoroughly demonstrate their abilities, she should be able to outperform both Kuina and Ancient Elf.
Also, she had become attached to her weapon. It was, after all, a weapon made using a special power she obtained after being influenced by Procell’s own powers. To her, in a sense, it was her and Procell’s child.
“But it doesn’t seem like you’ll be able to test it out today.”
“I agree; the Demon Lord here is weak.”
They had not encountered anything that gave them any real resistance.
And for Kuina, it didn’t seem likely for a monster that could pose a threat to them—S rank monsters—to appear any time soon. They were already in the last room and yet they were still overpowering their enemies in battle.
Pretty soon, the entrance to the crystal room would be in sight.
It was when Kuina thought all these that a High Elf shouted something.
“Kuina-sama, something big, strong, and fast is coming from above!”
Kuina, acting in accordance to the High Elf’s warning, immediately did a backstep.
In the moment that followed, a thunderous sound was heard as the ground was gouged, signs that something travelling at a speed faster than the speed of sound descended from above.
Without even confirming what that something was, Kuina immediately pulled the trigger of her shotgun. By charging the Curtana EDS-03 with magic power, its bullets accelerated at twice the rate and was therefore more destructive.
She hit the enemy squarely and yet the shot was blown away.
At that, Kuina bit her lip.
“Even Curtana can’t pierce it?”
That was not normal. If, by chance, Kuina was to receive that shot, the shell would certainly pierce through her body. What this meant was that the enemy’s defensive capabilities exceeded her own.
Sure, her defense was nothing spectacular but it was still comparable to a superior A rank’s defense. So if the enemy could defend against her attack…
“Could it have strength comparable to a superior A rank or even a normal S rank?”
No answer came but the smoke cleared up. What it revealed was a stone structure with massive wings. It was a monster popularly known as a gargoyle. Its body had a metallic glow of orihalcum to it, much like in the gun she loved.
It was such a strong monster that [Viscosity] obviously could not have created it.
As Kuina thought so, the gargoyle made of orihalcum roared.
One, two… Ten shadows in total then descended from above. All of them proved to be gargoyles as well but instead of being made of orihalcum, their bodies were of adamantite.
They might not feel as powerful as the first gargoyle but they were still comparable to an ordinary A rank monster.
“Rorono-chan, this doesn’t look so good.”
She knew by instinct that she was not compatible with their enemies. The enemies were highly resistant to her flames and since they could fly, they could outmaneuver her. And then, her shotgun which was her last option here, had proven to be ineffective.
Furthermore, she needed to fight those enemies while also protecting her allies that didn’t stand a chance—except for Rorono, of course.
And yet, despite all this, Kuina boiled with joy. It had been a while since she last fought seriously and was able to test out her true mettle.
“Kuina, you look like you’re enjoying yourself.”
“Oh, you’ve noticed?”
“Mhm, of course. You look like someone who have found a new toy, after all.”
“Well, it’s been a while since I looked forward to a fight.”
“…Sorry but today’s my turn.”
Rorono reached for the bag on her back. In it was her secret weapon and she just couldn’t resist testing her new arsenal here. For where else could her secret weapon demonstrate its true might but against a powerful enemy?
“Mhm-kay, it’s a contest, ROoono-chan!”
And thus, the fight between S rank monsters and well-trained A rank monsters—a fight normally impossible to witness in a [War] of fellow new Demon Lords—had begun.