Before the [Blade] Demon Lord passed away, he used his own blood to write the word [Black].
Like that, I was finally able to confirm that the [Black] Demon Lord was the one behind all of these.
The [Blade] Demon Lord was most likely aware of my connection with the [Black] Demon Lord, so it was hard to imagine he would serve me up to the one that caused his death. I therefore believed that there was no need to doubt this clue.
The method employed this time by the [Black] Demon Lord was very clever, I must admit.
The [Black] Demon Lord had [Blade] challenge [Oni]. Under the pretense of attacking the [Oni] Demon Lord as well, he was able to provide support without being penalized for helping a newly born Demon Lord.
After the fight, the [Blade] Demon Lord took away the [Oni] Demon Lord’s monsters. Like this, the [Black] Demon Lord was able to give the [Blade] Demon Lord monsters without being penalized this time as well. Which in turn allowed him to interfere indirectly between the war of fellow new Demon Lords.
And then, there was that thing that stopped [Blade] blade from leaking information to me. It was just a guess, but either it was an attack somehow made by one of his monsters or it was woven somehow into his agreement with the [Black] Demon Lord. If it was the latter, the [Black] Demon Lord would once again be free of penalties even when he had harmed a new Demon Lord.
“Geez, this guy’s really pushing the envelope when it comes to loopholes. I can’t help but think that this is some hobby of his.”
As far as I saw it, the [Black] Demon Lord was bending rules just for the sake of bending rules.
Some time later, we had ended the [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.
Having lost their Demon Lord and their leader, the monsters, especially the [Oni] ones, didn’t put much of a resistance. Thanks to that, we were able to break the crystal easily.
I had entrusted the task of actually breaking of the crystal to one of Stolas’s monsters.
After all, this was her war and she had won it by her own. To break the [Blade] Demon Lord’s crystal and take his medal for my own was something my conscience would not allow.
A few minutes after the crystal was broken, the voice of the Creator resounded in my mind.
<<The victory conditions have been met. The [War] between [Wind] and [Blade] is now over. The winner is the [Wind] Demon Lord Stolas. I hope you children of the planet will continue to shine.>>
After that message, the Transfer of the dungeon and its inhabitants to normal space began.
With this, I have fulfilled my role.
In my case, the Creator was pleased with my war against the three Demon Lords who received support from their parent Demon Lords. So much so that the Creator decided to give me a special reward.
I still haven’t used that reward. Or rather, I was too scared to use it.
At any rate, much like my war, the odds were stacked against Stolas, so I was expecting for her to receive some kind of special reward as well.
It would seem, however, that I was off in my prediction. Perhaps it had something to do with my cooperation.
“Well, I’m just glad you won. Congratulations in crossing that dangerous bridge.”
I said so to the girl sleeping in my arms.
Yes, the star of the show still hasn’t woken up.
Now that the war was over, we headed to a vast dungeon room that Stolas and her monsters were using for their strategy meetings.
Once there, her worried monsters surrounded her.
Closest of all was Enlil the Bahamut.
It should be noted that he had somehow become the size of a cat. It was an adorable transformation. He was totally like a stuffed toy. I almost unconsciously petted him, but thankfully, I was able to control myself. Though he looked like so on the outside, he was still the same within.
At any rate, evidently, much like how Duke could transform into his dragonewt form, Enlil was able to become small like this. Perhaps it was a choice he and Stolas made during Synthesis so that they could be together easily.
Back to the topic at hand, despite their victory, Stolas’s monsters looked sad and gloomy. Their worry for their still-sleeping master far outweighed the joy of winning.
As of the moment, Aura was doing an examination on Stolas. Due to that, all the eyes around her were watching her every action.
“Master, it’s quite bad. She’s in an even worse condition than you are. Natural self-healing will not suffice. If left alone, her magic power and Demon Lord power might not return all her life. No, actually, if left untreated, she might even remain in this comatose state forever.”
Aura reported so and the surrounding became noisy.
For the monsters that love her, such was one of the grimmest news. As such, Enlil issued out a sorrowful cry.
It can’t be helped
“You’re gonna owe me one, Stolas… Rozelitte”
“What is it, Procell-sama?”
“Until Stolas awakens, I will regard you as the [Wind] Demon Lord’s representative. As such, let me ask you a question: will you trust in me and have Avalon take care of Stolas? A few days ago, I was in a similar state as her, but now, my strength is in the process of returning. It might take some time, but in an environment like Avalon’s and with Aura’s powers, Stolas should recover. Aura, how long do you think it would take for her to recover fully?”
“I can’t answer accurately without more in-depth examinations and more time to observe her, but I fear it’ll take about a month. But, is that fine though? I mean, our supply of golden apples isn’t exactly a lot.”
Other than for my recovery, the golden apples were also being used for the wine being sent to the [Time] Demon Lord. Considering those factors, our rate of gathering golden apples were quite slow.
I had thought that once my recovery was finished, we could once again gather golden apples in earnest, but it would appear we would have to use some for Stolas as well.
“It’s no problem. My friend’s recovery takes priority over the replenishment of our stocks.”
“Certainly. I’ll also think up of ways to increase our production.”
“Thanks. There you have it, Rozelitte. Will you entrust Stolas to me and have her stay in Avalon for a month?”
It was a difficult choice.
Stolas and I were close, but even then, there should be some resistance in Rozelitte’s mind about entrusting her master over to another Demon Lord. After all, if I wanted to, I would be able to get rid of Stolas without any hassles.
Moreover, there was the question of how the dungeon would function without Stolas for a full month.
For these reasons, Rozelitte’s decision as Stolas’s representative was required.
“I’d like to say yes, but… what do you ask in return? My answer would depend on that.”
In truth, I haven’t thought about it until she asked me.
“Let’s see. For now, just remember that you owe me.”
“Is that really all you want?”
“Well, Stolas is my friend, after all. Besides, thanks to her invitation, I was able to get 15 A rank monsters. In a way, that could serve as a reward by itself.”
An A rank monster was a very precious being that was made with 2 A rank medals. It wasn’t that often that a chance to obtain many of them at once was going to come.
And yet, I had gained 15 of them in this [War]. Doing a little bit of service in return was nothing.
“We will take you up on your kind offer, then. Thank you. Sorry to say, but all we can offer in return is our thanks… that and Stolas-sama’s body. I think you’ll find her appearance and her personality to be fine, to say the least. But most of all, she’s the devoted type. Do enjoy your time with her. If she’s carrying an heir by the time she returns to us, that would be extremely great.”
“Stop kidding around!”
“Fufu. But seriously, we, the [Wind] monsters, will never forget our gratitude to you. If ever you’re in a dilemma, trust that we will come to your side at once and risk our lives. I’m sure Stolas-sama feels the same.”
Rozelitte said so and smiled.
She’s a really a good subordinate.
“Well, moving on. Procell-sama, is it alright if one of us came along with Stolas-sama?”
“You’re coming as well?”
“No, I can’t also be away while Stolas-sama is unavailable. The one I would like you to take is Enlil. If he stays in this form, he wouldn’t be a hindrance. Plus, he can also fight for you.”
<<By Stolas-sama’s side is where I belong.>>
The kitten-sized Enlil said so while sticking very closely to Stolas. If one tried to pry him away, he would surely rampage. In his case, he literally would since his [Berserk] would activate once he was far enough away from Stolas. Worst case scenario, he might even destroy her dungeon.
Furthermore, as Rozelitte said, in the case that Avalon was attacked, he could fight to protect Stolas.
“Understood. We will take care of the two.”
Like that, Stolas’s [War] was truly over.
Just in case of an attack from the [Black] Demon Lord, I told Duke to leave behind the 15 A rank monster we had just gained.
Since the [Black] Demon Lord could not directly provide the [Blade] Demon Lord with monsters, it was unlikely that there were some [Black] monsters mixed in with the [Blade] Demon Lord’s forces. If that was so, the [Black] Demon Lord would not have any pretense to attack Stolas.
Nevertheless, we had to be careful as he could still deploy his artificial heroes to attack Stolas’s dungeon.
If that were to happen, Stolas’s monsters and the 15 resurrected A rank monsters would at least be able to buy enough time for me to provide support.
With those things in mind, it was better to return and begin Stolas’s treatment as soon as possible.
“I feel like I’m forgetting something.”
“Master, you’ve stationed Kuina-chan and the others to guard the crystal room. They must be feeling left out.”
After hearing Aura, I remembered that I left Kuina and some others in Stolas’s crystal room as insurance in case there were monsters that could somehow slip past us like one that could expertly erase its presence.
“…Oh, yeah. They’ve been on standby all this time, right? I hope Kuina doesn’t get upset.”
Mere moments before we left, Kuina decided to come along with us despite being put within my [Storage] which she hated.
She bravely did so because she said she wanted to show me the new special technique she had gained through her special training, but before any chance for her to do so appeared, the war had ended.
“My lord, considering Kuina-sama’s personality, I would say it’s certain that she’s upset. Might I suggest that you offer to buy her lots of sweets after we’ve returned.”
“Yeah, I think so too. And, since she has grown recently, her old clothes don’t really fit anymore. She did say she wanted to buy new ones, so if you buy it for her, I’m sure she’ll be happy.”
Kuina’s sullen face appeared in my mind, and I laughed. Even when she’s mad, she’s adorable.
“Yeah, I guess I’ll buy her a lot of things for her reward this time. Duke, Aura, if you have something you want, we’ll go buy them as well.”
While thinking of the angry Kuina, we walked toward the crystal room.
Thanks to the [Blade] Demon Lord’s last act of tenacity, I was finally able confirm that the mastermind was the [Black] Demon Lord.
He had tried to harm not only Marcho, but now, Stolas as well.
At this point, any hopes for a peaceful resolution were out the window.
That guy was undoubtedly an enemy. He might try to dangle some kind of sweet bait in front of me on our meeting, but it would not matter.
Resolving myself so, my hands formed tight fists.
I preferred going on the offensive than being on the defense. On our meeting, I would try to expose as much of his weaknesses as I could… for I was sure he would try to do the same to me.