After Aura made the [Blade] Demon Lord immobile by shooting and thus blowing off his legs, I threatened to kill him if he so much as moved a finger or if he surrendered right away.
By surrendering, the war would end and he would be Transferred away by the Creator, essentially giving him a way to escape. If I were to talk to him, it had to be before that.
I believed that the [Blade] Demon Lord was incapable on his own of killing the [Oni] Demon Lord and taking the latter’s monsters for his own. Adding in the timing of the [Black] Demon Lord’s letter and his threat to hold Stolas hostage, I was convinced the [Black] Demon Lord was the one behind this.
I was convinced, but I still wanted to get more information from the [Blade] Demon Lord. Depending on how I would go about it, I just might get information that could serve as a trump card to corner the [Black] Demon Lord.
As I was walking together with Aura and Duke toward the [Blade] Demon Lord who was bleeding to death, I spoke to Duke.
“Duke, your undead army’s impressive. I will be expecting more from them.”
“Yes. And we will strive further to meet your expectations.”
“Like this, Avalon’s armies are finally excellent in both quality and quantity. If going on the offensive, our aces that can go toe to toe against a thousand will be more than enough, but in a defensive battle, numbers become more important. It’s a great thing to be able to count your undead army among Avalon’s fighting strength.”
This was the first time the undead army was put in full operation.
In addition to Avalon’s special forces—like Kuina’s elite task force, Aura’s sniping corps, and R’lyeh Diva’s intelligence corps—we had three corps considered as the main fighting force.
The first was Rorono’s golem corps.
If we were prepared to have the Avalon-Ritters be disposable war potential, each could exhibit power present between a high-end A rank monster and a low-end S rank monster.
In addition to them, the golem troops also had the Mithril Golems, each of which having power equivalent to a B rank monster. Having a high number of them be equipped with heavy-weapons was reassuring indeed.
While most of the golem corps were destroyed in the campaign to save Marcho, so long as their golem core was intact, it could be recovered and be placed in a new body. In other words, they could be reused again and again. This disposability, above all else, was the golem corps’ greatest feature.
The second main corps was the aerial bombing corps composed of the Darkness Dragons.
By releasing powerful bombs from the sky, they could deal tremendous damage to enemies that had no sufficient countermeasures against air units. And given that each Darkness Dragon Graphross was a high-end B rank monster, they could obtain air superiority by their own should it devolve to an aerial dogfight.
Furthermore, by using containers designed by Rorono, the Darkness Dragons could also be deployed for transporting other fighting force.
Since they were B rank monsters that I could buy with DP, replenishing their numbers if need be was a simple task. Recently, I was finally able to save up just enough DP to buy a [Maelstrom] for a B rank monster, so I bought one for the Darkness Dragons.
A [Maelstrom] was worth a hundred times the price of a monster, but in return, it would create one of that monster each day. Considering that I would break even in a little over three months’ time and then still continue to receive a monster a day from then on, [Maelstroms] were extremely profitable.
I had hoped to make a [Maelstrom] for the monster two ranks down from Marcho the Wise Wolf Monarch Managarm, but there was no such monster. Apparently, a Managarm was a completely irregular monster and had no monster under it in its lineage.
The last of the main corps were the undead army.
It was a corps composed of humans and monsters that were resurrected and made subordinates by Duke’s [Enhanced Resurrection]. Due to that skill, these undead monsters were stronger than even when they were alive. Not only that, since they had the undead attribute, they were further strengthened by another of Duke’s skills.
And now, thanks to all the battles we had been through—and thus all the fallen Duke had been able to resurrect—their numbers were just as impressive as their strength.
As of the moment, these three main corps would be enough to stop most common enemy troops. The best part was that they would still continue to grow in the future: golems would be manufactured by the dwarves daily; the Darkness Dragons would be born from the [Maelstroms] each day; and the undead army would grow in number with each battle.
I was thinking of such things when I reached the [Blade] Demon Lord.
“[Blade] Demon Lord, seeing that you haven’t ordered your monsters to attack us, I’ll take it that you’re willing to talk.”
“…yeah, that’s right, so don’t kill me, okay? I’ll tell you everything I know. Also, don’t refer to me like that; just call me Sabnock.”
He was surprisingly very meek. Based on what I watched, I had thought he would choose to be more emotional and resist ‘til the end.
“Sorry. So, Sabnock, tell me, who is the one backing you? Who’s the one that helped you take away the [Oni] Demon Lord’s monsters?”
I asked so, but the [Blade] Demon Lord remained silent, his hand shaped into a fist.
“Before that, I would like to say just one thing… What the hell is with you!? I mean, we’re both newly born Demon Lords, but why is it that there’s such a large gap between us!? Don’t you find that strange? This is unfair, you cheating bastard!”
He shouted so and then glared at me.
I really couldn’t refute what he said. It was unfair. Both my unique skill and medal were highly excellent and versatile.
“Yeah, I really am blessed. Well, are you done screaming? If you are, let’s return to the topic at hand. I don’t have a lot of time to waste.”
I didn’t have time to endure the nonsense of the defeated.
Even if you were dealt an inferior hand, it didn’t mean you should just give up. There were still ways to win. In his case, in order to win against Stolas, he borrowed the power of another Demon Lord. A Demon Lord who would do such a thing was better than one who would fight a hopeless battle and accept death, honorable though it may be.
Upon hearing what I said, the [Blade] Demon Lord’s face grew red before hanging it low.
“…haha, you really think so little of me. Very well, I’ll talk. The one who proposed this was–”
Before he could finish what he was saying, his face rapidly became red and swelled.
“Aura, can you stop it?”
“It’s impossible. Strange magic power is swelling within him. To stop it from the outside’s…”
The [Blade] Demon Lord was spouting blood from his mouth. His throat was already extremely damaged, rendering him unable to speak anymore.
If left as he was, he was going to die soon.
In such a state, he strangely smiled. Soon thereafter, he took his last breath.
Before I could get any information, he had died. Damn it, he’s been silenced.
It was likely that the moment he tried to talk about the mastermind, this event would be triggered to end his life. Like this, he was gone without leaving so much as a clue.
“Forgive me, my lord. I was not able to predict something like this would happen.”
“There’s nothing to forgive, Duke. Even if we could have somehow predicted it, it isn’t the kind of thing we could have prevented. …That bastard”
Assuming that the [Black] Demon Lord was the one pulling the strings from the shadows, I could probe around during our meeting two days later.
To be honest, it was frustrating to not be able to confirm the mastermind.
“Is this his last act of tenacity? I still can’t forgive him for the horrible things he said to Stolas, but I will recognize that he’s a man of fortitude. May he rest in peace.”
I finally figured out the reason of his last smile. On the brink of death, he managed to scrawl the name of the mastermind using his own blood.
Through this desperate act, he was able to return a blow against the one that used him and even killed him just to ensure his silence. It seemed like his resentment toward this mastermind was so deep, he was willing to entrust his revenge to me, the one who interrupted his [War] with Stolas.
Very well, I will clear away your regrets.
Thinking so, I took a breath and then spoke.
“Come, let’s go end this [War]”
The victory conditions for this [War] were for either Stolas or [Blade] to surrender or have either one’s crystal be broken. Unfortunately, their opponent’s death wasn’t one.
Let’s end this [War] right away and then press a blade against the mastermind’s throat.