~Stolas’s point of view~
It happened out of the blue. For the enemy side to have prepared that many A rank monsters, it was unimaginable.
If it was just the ten, the Emerald Dragon and some proper support would have won. However, before that could happen, something even more unexpected happened: another 10 A rank monsters appeared. Fighting them here was just going to uselessly increase her side’s losses.
And so, with all their might, Stolas’s monsters were enticing the enemy into a field that was advantageous to them.
“This is all my fault.”
“No, it isn’t. It’s impossible to have predicted they will have that much of a fighting force.”
Rozelitte the Rathgrith consoled Stolas. However, Stolas still felt listing her faults.
“Maybe it was impossible to know that there would be reinforcements, but my slow response after their arrival is inexcusable.”
“There’s nothing you could have done about that.”
The moment Stolas thought victory was hers, she dropped her guard. That then caused her decision-making skills to be delayed.
“But there was something I could have done about it. And now, because of my delayed judgment of the situation, Emerald Dragon sustained a fatal wound. This after all that child did.”
In all haste, Stolas put the Emerald Dragon into her [Storage] to prevent it from dying.
However, [Storage] would not heal a monster placed there; it would only prevent any change to their condition. In other words, once the Emerald was taken out of her Storage, it would soon die.
“Procell should have amazing potions on him. Whatever the price he names, I’m willing to pay.”
So long as it ended with that child not dying, Stolas was fine to part with anything.
To that end, she first needed to do something about their current situation.
After replying so, Rozelitte’s body shined.
She was activating her ability that strengthened the whole army she was in.
It was timed to match her side’s barrage of magic against their pursuers. As unbelievably strong as her ability was, the toll on her magic power and constitution was intense. It was going to be a long fight and conserving as much of Rozelitte’s strength was vital. For that reason, it was best to activate it just a moment before the release of a big attack—in this case, the barrage of magic spells.
All that being said, that barrage was not enough to defeat the A rank monsters. But then again, it was just strong enough to delay them.
“Phobos, it seems we’re maintaining the path for those behind.”
“Of course, I, Phobos, am not your [Monster of the Covenant] for nothing.”
Phobos was a Pegasus, a B rank monster. As of the moment, he was flying in the lead and cutting through the air in front. This created a slipstream for those behind, enabling them to fly with less air resistance. Thanks to this, their side was able to advance quite quickly.
Combining their speed, the dungeon’s traps, and the counterattacks they did at every vital point, they were able retreat with the least possible damage. A magnificent feat, considering just escaping from a group of A rank monsters was a life-risking effort.
“Everyone, hold on just a bit more.”
However, they weren’t just retreating; they were also luring the enemies into a field where they could win.
After a while, they finally reached their destination: the second dungeon room of the second floor. It was a [Ravine] type room with an endless blue sky and very narrow footholds.
After crossing the complicated ravine—the non-flying monsters taking a ride from the flying ones—Stolas’s monsters headed toward an open area. Upon achieving some distance from their pursuers, the monsters turned around.
It was there that they were going to make their stand.
Right at that time though, a wind that was anything but ordinary wrapped around Stolas’s body. Realizing that there was intent embedded into the wind, she decided to decipher it.
Upon doing so, Stolas broke into a smile.
“I see, Procell’s worried. But even if the enemy’s being conniving and doing something foul, I will still come out on top. I’ll show him that I’ve grown as well.”
In the message sent by Procell’s subordinate, he told Stolas that he was willing to lend a hand. The fact that he was worried for her made her happy, but at the same time, it made her lonely. She wished he would believe in her more. She was his rival, after all. Not some helpless damsel in distress whose only purpose was to be protected.
Deciding to snap out of it, she came to the conclusion that if he didn’t believe in her strength, she just had to fight until he did.
“They still show no hesitation, even in this field”
Even with the difficult and narrow footholds, the A rank monsters unsurprisingly charged on without any sign of cowardice.
Though monsters that could fly were rather rare, the enemy side had a few of them in the lead. Three of such monsters were A rank monsters: a peafowl with gigantic wings that had the 7 colors of the rainbow; a demon with four wings; and a moth monster that spread poisonous scales.
They were bold, but also too reckless. They brazenly charged in against all the [Wind]-type monsters gathered in this place.
As they neared, a rampaging tornado formed.
As strong as the A rank monsters were, against such a tornado made by several of Stolas’s monsters, they were helpless. They were tossed around so much, they’ve lost their sense of direction, not even knowing which way was up or down. And then, one after the other, they were skewered by a spear.
“Skillful as always, Garuda.”
“My utmost thanks.”
Almost before Stolas knew it, a humanoid bird monster was there by her side. It had feathers and wings so red, it seemed like fire.
It was an A rank monster born from the combination of the [Beast] and the [Wind] medals. While having strong flying capabilities, it also had enough knowledge and intelligence to be dubbed a sage of the sky. And if those weren’t enough, it also had extreme martial arts capabilities and could even control fire.
In its hands was the spear it used to skewer the reckless enemies.
It did so by reading and then riding the wind of the tornado rather than going against it. It also used fire explosion magic to give itself a boost. With all these, even if the enemies were A rank monsters, so long as they were within the tornado, it was impossible to evade or defend against the spear attacks.
The flying monsters in the lead were not the only ones under siege though. One by one, the monsters desperately traversing through the narrow footholds would suddenly vanish one moment and then reappear 2000 up in the sky the next moment. Never mind falling into the narrow footholds they previously were at, they were made to fall into the perhaps non-existent bottom of the ravine.
As such, the enemy ranks were thrown into chaos. They didn’t even know how they were being attacked.
The one to do so was of course a monster of Stolas. While refracting light using the wind so that it could conceal itself, it waited for the approaching enemy monsters. It would then grab an enemy monster by the ankle and then use [Transfer] to whisk them away.
When a location, either the destination or origin point, was outside of one’s dungeon, [Transfer] could only be used through a pair of Transfer arrays. However, when both origin point and destination were within one’s dungeon, such limitations didn’t exist. If used to move an enemy far up in the sky, it could turn into a very deadly attack.
“You don’t have to reply, but good work, Windy.”
Just like Garuda, Windy was an A rank monster.
And, although it was only an A rank monster, it had the ultimate wind skill for monsters: the [Ruler of the Wind]. Additionally, it also had [Transfer]. Although its overall base stats were rather low, it had a high magic stat as well as excellent skills and spells. Depending on how those were to be employed, Windy could do fantastic work.
“See, Procell, I’ve grown too.”
After losing in the [War] against Procell, Stolas strived to become even stronger.
Her ability to make calm decisions about the situation—how and when to use her monsters and traps—were clear evidence of her growth.
Additionally, her fighting force has also drastically increased. She has gained quite a few C and B rank monsters. As for A ranks, she has gained three new ones. In other words, aside from Windy and Garuda, there was one A rank she still hasn’t revealed in this [War].
For her to be able to use that monster—as well as some of her traps—in the most appropriate of situations, she has decided to hold back on deploying it for the moment.
She believed that with the locational advantage and the proper deployment of her monsters, her side could prevail against 20 A rank monsters.
Suddenly though, the enemies’ attacks and movements ceased.
In the next moment, a clapping sound could be heard.
“Gahahahaha. Splendid, splendid. You’ve done well. Though it’s all for nothing in the end!”
A man was then making his way through a group of monsters.
He was a big man that wore armor and had a sword hanging from his back. He also had cow-like horns.
“[Blade] Demon Lord, how confident of you to show yourself here so nonchalantly.”
“Why wouldn’t I be confiident? After all… I have all this!”
When he snapped his fingers, over a hundred monsters appeared behind him. To make matters worse, most of them were of B rank which were considered to be elites by Demon Lords.
Even if one could make A rank monsters, the strongest they could buy with DP was the C rank of that monster’s lineage. In other words, except for those few that could make S rank monsters, B rank monsters could only be made by medals. And now, there were over a hundred of those rare and powerful monsters.
It was an impossible sight.
Stolas, despite becoming weak-kneed, smiled smugly so as to bluff.
“Is it fun to smooch off of your parent and then act big?”
“Huh? What are you talking about? This is my own power! I’ve crushed the [Oni] Demon Lord in a [War] and took that guy’s monsters, medal—you know what—I took everything away from him! It was a spectacle, I tell you. That guy didn’t want his monsters to disappear, so before I crushed the crystal, I made him transfer control of his monsters over to me. And, he gladly served them up!”
Realizations then dawned on Stolas.
One particular realization was on how her enemy had such extreme war potential.
An old Demon Lord would incur penalties for giving a new Demon Lord a monster. However, there was a surprising loophole to this. If a new Demon Lord waged war against an old one and then another old Demon Lord teamed up with the young one, any monsters the new Demon Lord was going to gain would not cause any penalties to the supporting old Demon Lord.
One other realization Stolas had was that the [Blade] Demon Lord was an utter fool for exposing the scope of his power.
“I see. But don’t think that numbers alone can assure you victory.”
“I guess… but then again, I have the upper hand on not only quantity but also quality. Do you understand now? You cannot win. Now, Stolas, become my woman. If you do, I won’t kill you.”
Certain of his victory, the [Blade] Demon Lord spoke with fervor.
“And your cute monsters, would you rather have them disappear with your crystal when I break it? You know that your choice is clear. Join me, the soon-to-be strongest Demon Lord, and live a peaceful life.”
The [Blade] Demon Lord said so while he looked at Stolas as though he was undressing her with his eyes.
In a [War] between fellow new Demon Lords, his proposal was a charming one. Once one’s crystal was broken, their dungeon and the monsters under their control would be gone as well. But if control over the monsters were transferred beforehand, the monsters would be safe.
And even though they would receive a replacement for their broken crystals after the year has passed—when they were no longer considered newly born—the monsters lost would never return. If one could avoid that pain, it would make starting over easier.
Stolas, without any hint of fear, looked her opponent straight in the eye.
“I refuse. My heart already belongs to someone else. In the first place, there’s no way I’ll fall for a small fry that acts big using his borrowed power.”
Stolas said so and then made a mocking smile.
In response, the [Blade] Demon Lord’s blood boiled to dangerous levels.
“Fuck you! I’m going to annihilate all your monsters, line up their severed heads before you, and make you look at them as I violate you!”
After shouting so, he commanded his monsters to resume the attack.
Seeing his reaction, the corners of Stolas’s lips slightly rose.
“If I don’t do anything, we’re screwed.”
Her side did their best, but despite the locational advantage, the best utilization of her monsters’ abilities, employment of different strategies, and all of their efforts, there was just too much of a difference in war potential.
Her monsters fell one after the other.
And then, the enemy monsters traversing the narrow paths finally reached the open area Stolas was in. Upon arrival, they raised a blood-curdling roar against her.
~???’s point of view~
I was violent and out of control.
Whenever I was summoned, I had this urge that I must destroy anything and everything I laid my eyes on. This urge, this black haze over my head made me think of nothing but destruction.
Even my ally monsters thought of me as unthinking and blinded by rage.
And they were right. That was who I am.
However, there were times that it hurt to be called uncapable of thought and devoid of a heart. I wanted to tell them I did have those things.
Only that girl would talk to me. She would say that I was an important monster of hers and smile. Apparently, I was the very first monster she made using the medal she received from her beloved father.
She actually wanted to give me a name but decided to postpone it until she has gained enough experience to be able to at least control me. She promised me so and then apologized.
Even though I knew she was an ally, whenever she came near, I would rampage nonetheless. Still, rather than to lock me up, she gave me my own room. She talked to me multiple times. I wasn’t able to show it but I was deeply thankful.
It was frustrating. I wanted to embrace her and to talk with her, but my body never moved according to the will of my heart.
All I could do was to rampage. However, by doing so, I have brought her some happiness before. In turn, that made me happy.
Rampaging was all I could do for her and yet I failed even at that. I was seriously wounded, but the pain of failing my one job troubled me more.
While staying where I was, her feelings reached me. She was crying. Crying for her dying monsters. Someone’s making her cry. Unforgivable. I have to fight.
<<Let me out. I can still fight.>>
I knew my thoughts wouldn’t reach her, but I still tried. I had to.
In the end, I, whose heart and body were not one, could do nothing.
“You have a good heart. Your sentiments rival those of mine for my lord. Allow me to meddle here.”
A voice reached me. It was a powerful voice. An unknown voice.
And then, I realized it belonged to a [Dragon Emperor]. One whose voice was stronger than the black haze over my head. When I heard the voice, something warm flowed through my body and made it lighter. Perhaps now my body would finally listen to my heart, I thought.
Whoever you are, thank you. I can now flap my wings as my heart wills it.
“Young dragon, what do you want to be? What do you desire?”
That’s a given. I want to protect her, the one person in the world that has been kind to me.
“I see, you want to become a knight that protects your mistress. Never forget those feelings of yours. If your feelings are strong enough, you’ll surely become her knight. Now, fly, sir knight! Fly!”
I didn’t know what the word knight meant, but I thought it had a nice ring to it.
After those words, I didn’t hear the [Dragon Emperor]’s voice anymore.
I needed to get out where I was. Thankfully, I knew how. For the first time, my body listened to my heart as I began to fly.
Don’t cry anymore; I’ll be there to help you.
Flew I did to get of this place and to get to her side.