In order to help Marcho, I came to [Dragon] Demon Lord Astaroth’s dungeon and asked for his cooperation but was unsurprisingly turned down.
“I have expected that you’re not planning on helping Marchosias-sama at the moment.”
Being a first-class Demon Lord, there was no way he didn’t know of Marcho’s situation.
“Hmm, then, why did you come here?”
“So that I can persuade you into doing it.”
The expression on his face grew stern.
“So, you think you can convince me? That’s a mighty big statement but very well, I’d like to see you try.”
His voice was merry but his eyes were not.
Even if my statement was taken as arrogance, there was nothing to be done. After all, a newly born chick of a Demon Lord just said he was going to change the mind of one of the strongest Demon Lords.
“First of all, why would you not lend Marchosias-sama any aid? The two of you are friends, correct? I even saw the two of you speaking on friendly terms during the [Evening Party].”
I only saw them together for a short time but even then, it was enough for me to feel the trust and closeness between them. He should want to help her, at the very least.
“Certainly, we are close friends and we have been so for a considerably long time. She is someone I consider important to me. However, a Demon Lord does not act based on his emotions alone. Just how many do you think rely on me? I have thousands of monsters and several ally Demon Lords to think of. The better question is, why are you going to help her? You are going so far as to endanger your subordinate monsters but have no prospect to gain anything from it.”
What he said was true.
I myself worried if it was alright to put Avalon and my monsters in danger. After some deliberation though, I had decided, by my own will, that I would help her.
And to answer his question:
“I owe a great deal to Marchosias-sama. My conscience will not allow me to let her die before I even have the chance to repay that debt. Furthermore, what kind of Demon Lord will I be if I chose to suppress my emotions!? I love her and I cannot forgive myself if our last moments were in disagreement.”
“Are you resolved for whatever follows?”
“Yes. I have this decided this on my own and will follow it through with the best of my abilities.”
Astaroth narrowed his eyes and then, after a short while, spoke in a gentle manner.
“Marchosias is fortunate to have a good child. However, those are your reasons for choosing to help her. I’m afraid those can’t be applied to me.”
“Yes, I understand that these are just a young man’s reasons. That’s why, I’m willing to give you recompense for your help, [Dragon] Demon Lord Astaroth. I hope your judgement as an adult will see what you stand to gain and think about it.”
Stolas who was beside me was breathless for a moment and then looked at me with a somewhat lonely expression on her face.
“So you’re going to go that far? Very well then, what are you offering me?”
“My medal… but then there is the possibility that for this fight, I may use the only remaining medal I have at the moment so the payment will have to be delayed until next month.”
“What makes you think I’ll act for the sake of one medal?”
“If a Demon Lord as great as you examine these two with me, I’m sure you’ll agree to the value of my medal.”
Astaroth, being one of the strongest Demon Lords, was strong enough to see the information about Kuina and Wight’s capabilities. Certainly, he knew that the two of them were S rank monsters and from there, he must have also concluded that my [Creation] medal was worth the consideration.
Originally, to have an S rank monster meant you had receive one or at least the ability to make one from the Creator. There just wasn’t any Demon Lord who could make S rank monsters on their own before.
In truth, I had only fully realized the value of my medal during my negotiation with the [Time] Demon Lord.
“Hmm. That is interesting but I’m afraid that it isn’t enough. I would like to add another condition to this deal.”
Astaroth said so and then looked at Stolas and me.
“[Creation] Demon Lord Procell, after I have reached the end of my life, I would like you to protect my daughter, Stolas. Swear this to me now and I shall lend you my power just this once.”
I looked at Stolas, saw the bewildered expression on her face, and made my decision.
“It will be done. I swear to you now that I will protect Stolas after you’re gone.”
He looked at me and gave out a satisfied smile.
“Astaroth-sama, you can’t just decide everything on your own”
Stolas, in a state of panic, protested so. In response, Astaroth spoke.
“Stolas, listen, a Demon Lord can’t fight, much less win, alone. Remember that. And, as unyielding as you are, you will not be able to rely on anyone other than him who has already bested you. This is the last thing I can do for you. So hate me if you must but please accept this proposition.”
“That’s so unfair.”
“Yes but this is this old man’s last selfish request so please grant it. If this man is willing to go this far for Marchosias, then I can rest easy and entrust you to him. Now, Procell, I will be cooperating with you to save Marchosias but I will not be fighting alongside with you. There’s only one Demon Lord in my mind that can manipulate Marchosias’s own faction against her and I intend to crush that fellow. Certainly, that fulfills my end of the deal in regards to helping both you and Marchosias.”
“It does. Thank you very much.”
I bowed and thanked him.
What he said probably was the best way to approach things. If so, then I should just do the things I must do.
“I’d like to thank you as well. We, the three strongest Demon Lords, have exchanged a non-interference agreement with one another and had done so in the name of the Creator. And for that reason, I was not able to move to help Marchosias. Thanks to our agreement though, I can now act.”
He said so and smile.
I was relieved to hear that he did indeed wanted to help Marcho from start but was just unable to. During this feeling of relief, there was something I really wanted to know.
“But why did whoever is behind all this choose to attack Marchosias-sama now? If they let her be, she will be gone in half a year’s time anyway.”
That had always been on my mind. It didn’t make sense to me why anyone would endanger themselves and fight her when it wasn’t needed in the first place.
“It’s simple, really: pride as a Demon Lord. Unless that person defeats her while she’s still living, no one will recognize him as one of the strongest. It is a position that must be taken by force; you don’t win it by default. Furthermore, Marchosias’s [Beast] is a good and easy to use medal. Trying to break her crystal now while she’s still alive to defend it is actually easier rather than later when all Demon Lords are going to compete for it.”
It bewildered me at first that they were going that far for such a reason but then, I realized that for a Demon Lord that had obtained everything already, satisfying their sense of pride was reason enough.
“Thank you. There isn’t much time left so excuse me, I shall be going.”
“I shall commence my attack in three days. How about you? Do you plan to move out by then too?”
“Yes, that’s right.”
He had also thought that three days was time limit to save Marcho.
“Before you go, listen to an old man’s ramblings, will you? Have you ever wondered why the Creator refers to us Demon Lords as the [Children of the Planet]? Or why our well-being and survival is so tied to us making use of humans, or rather, why it is so tied to us providing for them? Have you?”
“……yes, I have. I have thought on what exactly we Demon Lords are.”
“Your guess will most likely be the correct one. Do keep in mind though that not everyone will agree. Now then, to once again go wild with the power of the strongest Demon Lord. It has been a while since my last fight! Fuhaha! My blood is boiling!!”
Astaroth then laughed so maniacally that it didn’t suit his appearance as an old man.
Anyway, we ended our conversation there.
Next was the persuasion of the [Time] Demon Lord.
My [Creation] medal might not be as lucrative to him anymore but that wasn’t a cause for worry because I already foresaw the means to convince him.