~Stolas’s point of view~
The situation was worsening by the moment.
Stolas’s fighting force was split into two main battlefronts: the one in the sky against the enemy flying monsters and the one on ground against the monsters that travelled through the path with narrow footholds.
The ones in the sky were doing well thanks to the low number of enemy flying monsters, the A rank monster Garuda’s efforts, and the tornado made by several monsters. On the other hand, the ones against the enemies on the ground were in quite a bind.
“There’s too many of them.”
Stolas unconsciously voiced out her complaint.
A great factor in why the enemy in the ground haven’t dominated that battlefield yet was the A rank monster Windy.
Windy, who had strong wind abilities and also Transfer, employed a tactic wherein it would conceal itself—by using wind magic to refract the light—then hide its presence, creep up to an enemy A rank monster, and then use Transfer to whisk the target away to a far-off sky. It was an effective and deadly move, but there were several limiting factors.
The downsides of using Transfer on an unwilling target were that the magic consumption was extreme and that there was a requirement that the skill user had to be in direct contact with the target. Additionally, Transfer could only be used on one target at a time.
Windy has already used Transfer 12 times. Any further use seemed uncertain.
“Windy, fall back and recover a bit of magic power.”
Through the wind, Stolas relayed her command to her subordinate.
Windy replied that he would fight with his bare fist, but considering its combat proficiency outside of magic was rather low, it would just lead to a pointless death.
If Windy could only use Transfer one more time, it would be better to reserve that one final use as a trump card.
“You have done enough. Leave the rest to us.”
With words of reluctance, Windy retreated. Having killed 12 A rank monsters, in Stolas’s opinion, Windy has already accomplished his part.
So far, in cooperation with other monsters, Garuda has killed 5 enemy A rank monsters.
Additionally, the Emerald Dragon had killed 3 A rank monsters earlier in the war.
All in all, their side has defeated 20 enemy A rank monsters.
“Everyone’s really giving it their best.”
What made them succeed so far were the excellent performance of both Garuda and Windy, the army-wide strengthening skill of Rozelitte, and the support of all the other monsters.
Windy was able to launch multiple surprise attacks thanks to the many eyes that provided him with the appropriate targets and the appropriate timing to attack. Occasionally, they also provided him useful diversions.
As for Garuda’s side of things, although the enemies were swept away by the tornado, had Rozelitte’s strengthening not provided enough stat boosts, the enemies would have surely and quickly got out of the tornado.
By combining their powers together, Stolas’s monsters were doing well despite the vast difference in numbers.
“Garuda!”, cried Stolas.
“Fret not. Battle continues.”
The red birdman Garuda was pierced by a spear. Even though he was coughing out blood, fighting spirit never left his eyes.
“I will be the one to kill this enemy commanderrrrrrrrrrrr!”
A monster with the horn of an Oni and the wings of a bird broke through the tornado and then pierced Garuda’s belly while the latter was distracted with another monster.
The flying Oni then twisted its wrist which in turn twisted the spear in its hand, causing an awful amount of blood to spout from Garuda’s belly.
“Defeat, I refuse”
Rather than try to pull out the spear, Garuda flapped his wings so that it could move toward the flying Oni and grab both of its wings. As he moved closer, the spear pierced deeper. The blood flowing out of him were increasing too, but miraculously, the weapon wasn’t piercing through any vital organs. Like that, the two went into freefall, accelerating by each passing moment.
“Let go! Let go! If you’re a warrior of honor, just die bravely!”
“Warrior of honor, nay. Guardian, aye.”
The flying Oni struggled to break free but to no avail.
On the last second, Garuda skillfully changed their trajectory. Instead of crashing flat on the ground, he made it so that only his enemy’s head would be hit by the cliff’s edge. As a result, the flying Oni’s consciousness faded and its grip on its spear loosened.
When the two of them were near the bottom of the ravine, Garuda released his still unconscious enemy, flipped over, and then rose higher. Afterwards, he threw his own spear at the enemy, aiming for its heart. It hit accurately and pierced deeply. To further ensure the kill, he dove down and did a dropkick on the firmly lodged spear. Needless to say, the flying Oni’s heart was crushed and that it was then no more.
With no enemies nearby, he then pulled out the spear stuck in his belly. To stop the bleeding, he cauterized the wound with his own flames. After that, he went back to the battlefield in search for his next kill. Or so he tried. His balance was off and that caused him to fall.
Just like Windy, his constitution and magic power were at their limits.
“Garuda, you fall back too.”
“Inadvisable. Holding frontlines, priority.”
“But you can’t fight with that body!”
“A soldier, I am, ergo, undying, I am too. …your encouragement, I crave.”
Garuda’s eyes were not those of someone dying.
Like that, the wounded birdman flew again.
Meanwhile, Stolas closed her fist so tight, blood was coming out.
As of the moment, should Garuda be out of commission, the battlefield in the sky would be completely lost.
Stolas knew that and therefore could not voice her concern as a [Command].
It pained her, but she had no other choice than to rely on his desperate efforts.
And so, the least she could do was do as he wanted and say to him do your best.
With Windy out of magic power, stopping the enemy monsters advancing on the ground became much, much harder.
Not only that, other bad news were happening one after the other.
“It’s alright. I’m not AT my limit yet; I’m just nearing it.”
Rozelitte, the angel-type monster, said so with a ghastly pale face. …And with blood running from her mouth.
Upon seeing that, Stolas surmised her circumstances: it was all too likely that Rozelitte used her army-wide strengthening ability to the limit.
Even though the battlefield that was the precipitous cliffs was very advantageous to the monsters of [Wind]—for one, they could bottleneck their enemies—the fact that their side was numerically inferior, specially in terms of A rank monsters, remained. The reason they could push back though was Rozelitte and her army-wide strengthening ability.
However, the burden on Rozelitte for using her ability was immense. Not only that, she has been using it for an unprecedented amount of time. Needless to say, Rozelitte has went beyond her limits a while ago. Having exhausted her magic power, she was now burning up her life force as fuel to keep the ability going.
“That’s enough already, you can stop.”
“I’m sorry but I’d rather not. If I stop now, all our allies in the frontlines would be killed. This is where I must risk my life. …and I only have to hold on a little longer, right?”
The enemies were soon approaching the place where their great trap was.
If they could activate that trap, the battle would become much easier.
“Rozelitte, I [Command] you, once we’ve activated the trap, cancel your ability. Until then, don’t die.”
Withholding her tears, Stolas gave that heartless order to her subordinate.
“With pleasure… my Demon Lord.”
Hearing the command given to her, Rozelitte wiped the blood in her mouth, smiled, and replied so.
After that, she activated her skill once more. Like a candle burning brightest before it goes out, her wings grew brighter than ever before.
While the monsters in the frontlines were inferior in ability, they fought bravely nonetheless. However, try as they might, they could not overcome the difference in strength and were thus forced to retreat. Being pushed back was no act but it was not all that was happening; they were also luring their enemies toward a certain open space.
If the battle was to continue in such a place, the enemy side would be able to make full use of their numbers and swarm Stolas’s side. Seeing that, the enemy side rushed forward.
…just what Stolas was waiting for.
Stolas and Masamune communicated via the wind.
After that, Masamune, a Kamaitachi-type monster, jumped down from a cliff.
Despite only being a B rank monster, due to him being one of Stolas’s [Monsters of the Covenant] and due to Rozelitte’s skill, he fought continuously in the frontmost lines.
At any rate, the wide, open space where the enemies were lured into was actually supported by disproportionately slender pillars. Any further damage to those pillars would cause them to break.
And so, Masamune targeted the pillars and fired off blades of wind that Kamaitachi were known for.
Upon destroying some of the pillars, the platform above became greatly inclined. As such, the [Blade] Demon Lord’s monsters hurriedly tried to fall back, but a lot were already too far in to make it in time.
Those that didn’t make it then fell to the bottom of the ravine which eyesight couldn’t even reach. About 50 monsters perished, with some being A rank monsters.
In contrast, Stolas’s monsters were calm.
The reason for that was because they were perfectly aware that such a thing was about to happen thanks to Rozelitte’s telepathy, her other cheat ability. Due to that, they knew when Masamune was going to destroy the pillars and when to get out—via flying to the sky, escaping from the about-to-fall platform, or some other way.
“With this, things should get a lot easier.”
Stolas said so, relieved.
With the platform destroyed and nothing else to serve as foothold, the dungeon room’s other end could no longer be reached by foot. In other words, the two Demon Lords’ forces were separated.
Like so, Stolas’s monster could rest even if for just a bit.
Even though enemy flying monsters could still cross the divide, their numbers were definitely small compared to the enemy ground troops. And thanks to Garuda and after all that fighting, there were even less flying monsters than in the beginning of the fight.
“Thank goodness. If that went on, I really just might have left you behind, Stolas-sama.”
Rozelitte who was on standby nearby dropped down to the ground and said so.
Hearing that, Stolas wiped the blood from Rozelitte’s mouth.
“Don’t say such nonsense. Besides, we can’t let our guards down just yet.”
“Ahaha, that was a little harsh.”
It wasn’t impossible for the enemy to have some kind of unexpected counter-measure, so staying vigilant was important.
In that regard, Rozelitte who was too tired that she couldn’t stand up anymore insisted on staying in the battlefield instead of being put into [Storage], saying that she could still use her telepathy even when lying down. In the end, she was made to ride a lower rank Pegasus nearby.
A few minutes later, the enemies began to move.
The [Blade] Demon Lord was at the very front, followed by 10 A rank monsters, and then a hundred B rank monsters in the back. Throughout all the fighting, the enemy side should have suffered quite some damage and casualties, and yet it didn’t really feel like they’ve decreased at all.
“This is getting tiresome. Just how much of a fighting force does he have?”
Stolas said so with a stiff smile.
By her count, they should have already killed 23 A rank monsters and definitely more than 50 monsters of varying ranks. In exchange for killing all those enemies though, Windy has used up his magic power, Rozelitte and Garuda were on the verge of dying, and some monsters protecting the frontlines were lost.
If they were to face against such a horde of enemies head-on now, they wouldn’t have enough strength.
“[Wind] Demon Lord Stolas, you did well, didn’t you? I never thought I’d take this much damage”
The [Blade] Demon Lord spoke in a light tone and then laughed frivolously.
However, in an instant, the expression on his face changed.
“I’ll make you pay for whittling down my precious troops with your life!”
In a fit of rage, he loudly yelled so.
Next, a few of his own B rank monsters stood at the edge of the cliff and then made blades. These blades grew longer and longer until they were piercing the other side’s cliff.
Almost at the same time, A rank Oni monsters whose skins were made of earth appeared and produced vast amounts of earth. These materials then covered the long blades and hardened.
In other words, using blades as the core, the enemy side has made bridges.
Using that bridge, one after the other, the enemy monsters were making their way to the other side.
Meanwhile, Stolas desperately wracked her brain. At first, she wondered whether it was possible to ambush the approaching enemies with the strength they had left. However, if they did so with whatever plan, trick, or strategy, the fact of the matter was that they were too exhausted to make any difference. All that awaited them with such a move was certain death.
If that was so, then they had no other choice than to retreat. But then again, this ravine was the most advantageous spot for them. If they retreated to somewhere else, it was certain that they would have a harder time. In the end, she decided to worry about the consequences later. For now, she needed to buy time.
“Frontlines, retreat! Masamune, Phobos, and the third corps, come with me and protect the rear.”
Her priority was to let as much of her monsters escape.
To that end, she herself needed to fight. On top of Rozelitte being no longer able to use her strengthening skill, Stolas had no other A rank monsters that could fight evenly against enemy A rank monsters. Thus, if she didn’t help hold back the enemies, those enemies would just quickly—perhaps even instantly—catch up to the escaping monsters.
Moreover, she was aware that the [Blade] Demon Lord didn’t want her to be killed right away; he wanted her to be captured first. That presented an opportunity for her since capturing someone alive was way harder than killing them.
Once all the other monsters have finished escaping, she was going to ride Phobos the Pegasus and escape with all haste. Even though Phobos was just a B rank monster, he had Godspeed; the enemies wouldn’t be able to catch up to him.
“Geez, princess, are you mad? What are we good for if we let you become our shield?”
“It is because she’s like this that we follow her from the bottom of our hearts.”
“You got that right!”
Masamune and Phobos said such things and then laughed together.
And so, with Stolas on Phobos’s back, she devoted herself on stalling their enemies.
She wore an armor of wind as she and her followers faced the [Blade] Demon Lord’s monsters.
This armor wasn’t just for protection, it was also for mobility. By unleashing an amount of compressed air depending on her movement, it would give her an incredible amount of speed boost.
Since she had three [Monsters of the Covenant] and were of a high level, Stolas’s stats were much higher than that of a lower-end or even an average A rank monster. Furthermore, she had her highly versatile Unique Skill, [Wind], in her arsenal.
In terms of personal fighting strength, there was no mistake that Stolas was one of the strongest Demon Lords.
Her first victims were some oxen Oni. Using her blades of wind, she sliced the enemies in half, completely disregarding the clubs the enemies used for defense.
Needless to say, Stolas’s strength was extraordinary.
“None of you will pass”
Stolas strongly declared so. In reaction, the [Blade] Demon Lord’s monsters flinched.
Stolas was way stronger than they anticipated.
However, as strong as she was, had their order been to just kill her, things would have been simple. Thanks to the stupid command that the [Blade] Demon Lord had given, Stolas was able to gain precious time for her monsters to escape.
As it stood, her troops only needed another minute to escape. If things remain as uneventful as they are, we can somehow manage, she thought.
…Alas, such a thought proved to be too optimistic.
She felt an impact to her temple.
It was an attack from long-range using some kind of large needle.
Normally, with her omnidirectional perception ability via the wind, she would have been able to react to such a surprise attack. However, the continuous mental strain, the sorrow for all her fallen monsters, and the fatigue of the non-stop thinking and strategizing had left her awfully exhausted. This, in turn, made her focus drop a few levels.
As a result of being struck by that attack, her consciousness grew dim and she fell to her knees.
She quickly realized that the needle was laced with some kind of paralyzing toxin.
When Rozelitte the angel-type monster became one of her [Monsters of the Covenant], Stolas gained the ability to use [Purification]. She could use that ability to purge the toxin out of her body, but that would need about 30 seconds to take effect.
Unfortunately, 30 seconds were more than enough for the enemy monsters.
One solution was to have Masamune and Phobos help her, but they were too busy fighting other monsters at the moment.
Likening her to a ferocious beast turned docile, a huge, muscular, and blue Oni with a large grin on its face extended its hand toward Stolas.
“Is this the end?”
Tears welled up in her eyes.
If she got captured here, she would probably be subjected to torture worse than death. She was relatively fine with that though. What she wasn’t fine with was knowing she failed to protect her precious monsters.
Right at the moment that the blue Oni’s uncouth finger touched Stolas…
<<Don’t cry; I will protect you.>>
Stolas suddenly heard a boy’s voice in her mind.
At the same time, the Oni who reached for Stolas was torn to very tiny pieces by an infinite number of wind blades.
In the next moment, a large western dragon was there in front of Stolas.
It had countless wounds and was drenched in its own blood, and yet its jade scales still shined beautifully.
To save its princess, this young knight broke out of its cage—otherwise known as [Storage]—with its own will… and loudly roared at its enemies.
- I just realized this but Rozelitte’s Strengthening ability was called Crusaders in the first volume but has a different name in the last volume. In the LN’s first volume, it’s still called Crusaders. Well, whatever.
- A Kamaitachi can both refer to a weasel-like monster and to blades of wind(which legends say it produces). There’s a line in the chapter which says fired off blades of wind that Kamaitachi were known for. Basically, what the pun or whatever is trying to say is that a Kamaitachi monster is firing off a kamaitachi wind blade. However, without knowledge of this note, I imagine it would not make much sense for some so I decided to just keep it plain.
- Also, in case you don’t what an Oni is, click here. I guess their distinct feature is their horn/s. Oni can be translated in english as ogre or demon, but I think that Oni are different enough to warrant their own classification.
- As for Garuda, he talks weirdly. He doesn’t use particles in his speech and all the words he say are written in Kanji. The way I perceived it, it was kind of, I don’t know, poetic or something. Imagine Kevin from The Office trying to shorten his sentences (Me think, why waste time say lot word, few word do trick) but then uses uncommon, deep words.
- Lastly, I used “he” for most monsters since using “it” was getting unwieldy.