After having breakfast, I retreated back to my room and felt a little bit repentant. The reason for such is that I drank a bit too much the previous night.
After naming Duke, I partied with my monsters and drank the alcohol they brought. As a reward for their performance in the campaign to save Marcho, my monsters were given a considerably large bonus money. Due to that, they became somewhat generous in their spending which resulted to last night’s drinking party.
That being said, we found the alcohol to still not be enough, so I used my own spending money and added more food and alcohol to the party.
“As expected, I really have no magic power, huh.”
No matter how I tried, I could not produce any magic power.
Duke was a Black Dragon of Death, a special S rank monster, so the cost for naming him was staggeringly high. And so, as a result of the strain put on whichever part of me that produced magic power by the cost, I became unable to recover magic power.
Saying that my magic power would return in a month’s time—as per my initial estimate—was still too optimistic. My assumption as of the moment was that at best, it would take me two months to recover, and at worst, well, I had no idea.
“I messed up. I was too naïve on gauging Duke’s strength.”
What Marcho once taught me before about naming was probably under the assumption that the monster to be named was an A rank monster. After all, normally, one would not consider a monster beyond A rank.
So, blaming Marcho for this miscalculation was just absurd. Rather, I should be thanking her.
Anyway, had I not drastically leveled up in the war against the humans and the war to save Marcho, I probably would have lost my life in naming Duke. Which got me wondering what more if it was Marcho I was going to name.
I do have one wish though.
As I was thinking of such things, I heard a knock.
“Master, your beloved Aura is here! To take care of whatever you want.”
With a bit of strange excitement in her, Aura the Ancient Elf entered the room. Could she still be drunk?
She looked somewhat more stylish than usual: her prized blond hair was glossy and her clothes were stimulating, giving emphasis to her chest.
“Aura, sorry to bother you before your work.”
“It’s not a bother at all. It’s the first time for master to say that the two of us are going to have something to talk behind closed doors, so I’m very much excited… or should I say, tensed”
Among my [Monsters of the Covenant], Aura was the only one that didn’t refer to me as father.
I had once before confirmed why and it was because she looked at me differently from Kuina or Rorono.
Regardless though, I still looked at her as my daughter.
“What I meant when I said I wanted us to talk privately was that I didn’t want the other monsters to know what we’re going to talk about. Anyway, are you aware that a Demon Lord temporarily loses their magic power and their Demon Lord powers when they name monsters other than their [Monsters of the Covenant]?”
“Yes, you’ve taught us so. I believe it would take a Demon Lord somewhere between half a month and a full month to recover.”
“Yeah, that’s what I thought, but apparently, Duke’s far stronger than what I anticipated. As things are, my recovery will take longer than anticipated, if at all.”
Aura’s face went pale.
It was bad enough for a Demon Lord to lose their strength temporarily, but for them to lose it forever, it was fatal.
“……then, why talk about it only to me?”
“When I ate a golden apple during breakfast, my body felt a tiny bit better. So, I was of the thought that you might have some medical knowledge about it. In other words, I’d like you to examine me. Also, I’d like you to look into whether the golden apples can be used for medical treatment for this condition.”
My [Monsters of the Covenant] and I ate golden apples every morning. After all, even in small amounts, eating an apple a day could improve not only our health but also our abilities, albeit only slightly.
At any rate, this morning, when I noticed a slight improvement in my condition, I invited Aura to meet after the meal.
“I see. Then, I’ll go take a look.”
Aura said so, got closer, pressed her forehead against mine, and then poured some of magic power into me.
She had the skill [Personification of the Planet], and thus, one of her strongpoints was the medical treatment using Qi or otherwise known as life energy.
“Yup, it’s bad. Your magic circuits are all messed up. Your magic reactor’s in tatters too; it won’t be able to produce any magic power. Actually, just standing up must be torture, right?”
“As expected of you, you got it all right.”
“Yeah, the other monsters must not know about this.”
Aura said so with a complicated expression on her face.
“If talk about my powers probably not returning spreads, the monsters will probably feel anxious. Moreover, Duke will blame himself for it. So, again, let’s agree on keeping this between us.”
“Understood. I won’t tell anyone. Now, time for an experiment. Eat this please.”
Aura said so and then thrusted her hand into her cleavage so that she could pull out a golden apple.
“What’s an apple doing there?”
“If it’s there, no one will be able to steal it. After all, golden apples have become our last lifeline.”
Aura said so while triumphantly puffing her ample chest out.
Needless to say, I felt extremely conflicted on eating the apple. Still though, that was no reason to waste a perfectly good golden apple.
And so, I took a bite. It somehow smells like Aura.
“How is it? Did you find something out?”
“I’ll do another examination.”
Aura pressed her forehead on mine once again, this time longer than before.
“Yeah, while it is only a little, I can definitely see an improvement.”
“Great. If that’s so, then it is possible to quicken my recovery.”
“I’m quite intrigued by this. I would like to pinpoint the active ingredients. If I know those things, I might be able to strengthen the effects.”
It’s exactly as she says.
Upon pondering for a bit, I nodded.
“Master, what is your work schedule for today?”
“I will be having a meeting with some merchants in the evening. Until then though, it’s just paperwork.”
“Then, let’s bring your desk and documents over to the orchard so that you can work there.”
“May I know the reason why?”
“A side benefit of mine, or rather, of the [First Tree], which bears the golden apples, is that golden life energy is overflowing around it. My hypothesis is that if you spent some time there, it may push you to the right direction.”
What she said made sense.
I was then reminded that Kohaku the Byakko recovered from being tormented by Duke’s miasma by spending time around the [First Tree].
Besides, there was no particular issue in moving my place of work to that place.
My conclusion, therefore, was that if it could help, even by only a tiny bit, I should do it.
“Alright, I’ll prepare right away. Go to work ahead of me.”
“No? I mean, I can’t let you carry the heavy desk and chair in that condition, master!”
She said so and then flashed a great smile.
I tried to turn down her offer but she insisted.
Due to that, I wound up letting her carry the heavy furniture. The shame of exposing a form I didn’t want others to see—namely me casually walking empty handed while my daughter did the heavy lifting—was cancelled out by the sight of Aura looking so happy.
After the furniture and various other things were brought to the vicinity of the [First Tree]—which was located in the innermost part of Aura’s apple orchard—I began working.
In the case of something so urgent that I needed to come back to my residence immediately, I had instructed the Mythological Foxes to come here and tell me.
“Indeed, this is a nice place.”
This place overflowed with golden life energy, but more than that, this place made with her love, also overflowed with her care and kindness.
“Fumu, I am also pleased with this place.”
The giant white cat, or rather, Kohaku the Byakko said so as he yawned.
He was a veteran warrior and reliable monster. If I were to consult with him, I could be sure to receive an insightful and adequate answer drawn from his long years of experience.
However, in this place, he seemed to be just a gigantic cat. It was truly a relaxing atmosphere.
“Are you still acting as the watch-tiger?”
“Well, no. The task force led by Wight…by Duke, so long as they have information provided by the intelligence corps, they can go to the site in question and do their job. I might not look like it, but I’m an expert in covert operations. In my days off, I generally come here. This place is very calming, after all. So, in exchange for devouring any intruders, I get to take the most satisfying naps here. Hey, master, it seems you’re badly hurt inside. Well, you’re here so it’s fine. This place is effective those kinds of things too.”
As to be expected of him, he sensed I was in pain due to the naming.
“Yeah, I’ll be using this place too.”
With my desk and chair set up and with my documents at the ready, I began work.
As I made progress, I felt the mysterious calm this place gave to me.
Hmm, maybe even after I’ve fully recovered, for a change of pace, I’ll come work here a few times a week.
After some work, Aura came along. Unexpectedly, Kuina and Rorono were also brought along.
“Oto-san, we brought something good!”
“Kuina might have thought of it, but I was the one who made it.”
“Now, now. Rorono-chan, Kuina-chan, no fighting.”
What Kuina held in her hands was a big parasol.
After arriving, Rorono skillfully worked on my desk and made a connection point for the said parasol. When she attached the parasol and opened it, it blocked the sunlight and thus made me feel more at ease.
“I’m very grateful for this. I’ll be able to make better progress in my work.”
“Kuina is a master at napping, so Kuina knew something like this was necessary!”
I see. When Kuina heard from Aura that I will be working here for some time, she asked Rorono to make this.
“Kuina, Rorono, thank you. Come here.”
When I said so, the two dashed toward me.
When I proceeded on brushing their heads, the two gave delighted smiles.
“Since everyone is here, let’s have a snack. The snacks for today are apple pies. I got the recipe from the apple pie we ate in the feast the other day! I made it with my best efforts but as to be expected, it’s nowhere as delicious as the apple pie from that day. However, thanks to the recipe, it’s still very delicious!”
“Wooow, Kuina loves apple pies!”
“Aura’s sweets are very delicious. I’m glad I came here.”
The two, who were very fond of sweets, had drool at the corner of their mouths, so I wiped it off.
Kuina frankly gave her thanks while Rorono was shy and roundabout in doing so.
Like that, the High Elves who were in the middle of work joined us in what became snack time.
As Aura said, her apple pies were indeed inferior to the ones from the other day, but it was nonetheless plenty enough delicious.
I’ll ask her to make it again.
After snack time was over, everyone except for Aura and Kohaku left.
Kohaku had already seen through my condition so I figured there would be no problem even if he stayed.
“Well then, master, let’s begin. I took a guess on which active ingredients might be effective in your recovery and made 6 enhanced potions. Now, let’s test which is the most effective one by one.”
I nodded to what Aura said and did as was instructed.
Each and every one of the potion she gave me was purposefully made sweet using flavoring, making them easy to intake.
After each potion, she pressed her forehead against mine and checked for any change in my body. And then, after confirming each result, she wrote it down.
When we were finished with all six, she reviewed her memo, took two potions from the six, mixed the said two in a 3:1 ratio, added in a few other medicines, and then performed some kind of magic.
“Master, I’ve finished identifying the most useful active ingredients. I combined the two most effective ones, and then, to make it more potent, added in some auxiliary medicines and did some magic.”
Aura explained what she did and then handed over a bottle full of potion.
“If I drink this, will I recover my magic power faster?”
“It remains to be seen, but by my estimate, if you spend time in this place, drink that potion daily, and receive treatment magic from me, then I expect you to recover in about 8 days.”
As to be expected of an Ancient Elf, my recovery time was now shorter than what I initially expected.
“Thank you. You’re a lifesaver.”
“Yes, but, please do be careful of the amount you intake. To make the potion as potent as possible, I’ve made it so strong that it’s just a step away from being poison. Please strictly stick to this dosage: three of that bottle’s cap’s worth of potion every 8 hours. If you miss even one dose of it, your recovery will be delayed, but take too much and your life will be at risk.”
“Yeah, I’ll be careful.”
“Please, really do. And then, after that, I think it would be best for you to stay here as much as possible. You should sleep here even. I’ll ask Rorono to make a tent.”
“We’re going that far?”
I was not fond of putting too much effort for so negligible gain.
“The time one spends sleeping is not insignificant, right? So, of course it’s better to put that time into speeding up the recovery instead.”
When she puts it that way, then yeah.
I sleep for about 6 hours every day. Not putting those 6 hours toward recovery was inefficient.
“Fufu. Hey, master. Today’s my turn at Oto-san’s day. If we spend the night here, even if you scream, no one will come.”
“…What are you playing at?”
“We can do it.”
She smiled and then immediately answered so.
Aura liked to joke about such things even though in the inside, she was a very shy person and would be unable to do those things.
“You know I don’t like that kind of joke.”
“Fufu, I’ve been found out. Anyway, I’ll contact Rorono right away and ask her to build the tent!”
She said so and then left like the wind.
While smiling wryly at her, I sent her off.
“For me to recover in just 8 days, that is definitely good news. I’m so glad that I have Aura.”
It seemed like my magic power and my Demon Lord powers—which included [Storage] and [Demon Lord Book]—would return much sooner. Just to have my Demon Lord powers in time for me to spectate in Stolas’s [War] was reassuring.
Kuina doesn’t like to be put into my [Storage], but other than her, everybody else will comply. I’ll put some monsters into my [Storage] and bring them along as insurance.
As I thought of such things, a blue bird flew toward me. Tied in its ankle were letters.
This blue bird carried letters not between humans but between Demon Lords.
This time, the blue bird had two letters. I grabbed those letters and read them. One was from Stolas, giving me details on her [War].
As for the other one…
“……for it to coincide with me losing my magic power, it’s too suspicious.”
When I read the second letter, my face became stiff. Needless to say, I was not a fan of its contents. At the same time though, it was something I could not ignore.
The sender of the letter was the one that tried to make Marcho fall: the [Black] Demon Lord. According to his letter, he wanted the two us, and only us, to meet.
As for how he sent it, he probably intercepted the blue bird as it carried the letter from Stolas and then attached his own.
It was as though he was challenging me. Well, I’ll bite.