I rode the Darkness Dragon’s back and flew away from Avalon.
The ones with me were Kuina and Ruru.
If it was the Kuina and Ruru combo to guard me, I was confident I was going to be safe from most threats, both in the surface world and the other dimension.
As an insurance though, I placed some of my reliable monsters in my [Storage].
“Oto-san, we’re not supposed to fight today?”
“Yeah, that’s right. It’s best to not pick a fight. But if ever the other side does so, I’ll be relying on you.”
“We’ll do our best!”
Kuina made a fist and declared so.
I was glad for that and all, but I would rather there not be a situation for her to do her best in the first place.
“Patron, I’ve been wondering this for a while now, but why didn’t you call Marcho-sama and her monsters to Avalon? If they were there, Avalon would be much stronger and secure.”
Ruru was enjoying the outside scenery and humming when she that question.
Marcho had returned to her dungeon. The monster she loaned to me had also come back.
From the start, she was busy rebuilding her dungeon and was only slipping out to teach me how to use [Awakening] properly.
“Maybe, but you see, they’re busy rebuilding. Moreover, if we invite them for that, I feel that we would not be able to grow more than we have. Avalon’s affairs are Avalon’s, and the [Beast] dungeon’s affairs are the [Beast] dungeon’s. I’d like to separate the affairs of the two as much as possible. Though of course, when a crisis arises, we would cooperate with each other.”
Avalon was ultimately my own brand. If I were to bring in a bunch of Marcho’s monsters, it wouldn’t be Avalon anymore.
“Yeah, I guess. I mean, what would happen if some unknown monster suddenly appears and acts like it owns the place, right?”
“Kuina agrees it’s good too!”
I was glad the two agreed, but then again, in order to motivate and stimulate our forces, occasionally swapping monsters between our two dungeons might be interesting.
I was thinking of such when the Darkness Dragon began decelerating.
Time for idle chitchat was over. Our destination was not far away.
The [Black] Demon Lord had chosen our meeting place to be in North Cool, a city of a large country in the north. Apparently, he had chosen this city because it was a place where both our influence didn’t reach.
Now, what kind of trick will he try to pull?
About thirty minutes earlier than the appointed time, we reached the designated store. It was the kind of store that could be called a stylish bar. Attentive detail was given even to the lighting of the place, giving it a peculiar atmosphere.
Within was a slender man that wore a jet-black robe.
“Welcome, junior. I’m so glad you came.”
The man then called out in a friendly-sounding voice. Of course, it was the [Black] Demon Lord. For some reason though, he resembled the [Time] Demon Lord.
His narcissism, however, was obvious at first glance, as well as his disdain and contempt of other people.
Just as obvious, though, was the stubbornness in his eyes.
In just one look, I knew he was the type of individual I disliked.
“When you threaten me like that, no matter how much I might hate it, I have no choice but to come, don’t I?”
I usually spoke humbly when talking to a senior, but this guy who has been antagonizing me did not deserve such treatment.
Behind him were two knights clad in black armor.
As I currently was, I was able to see those monsters’ strength. Both of them were A rank monsters that had been trained and leveled up to the limits.
They were strong, but not absurdly strong. They were not like the girls, Duke, or Enlil who were all way beyond the norm.
If a fight were to ensue, Kuina would most likely be able to trash the two in an instant.
That being said, my instincts were warning me that these two were nothing more than displays and that the real guards were hiding and lurking somewhere. Carelessly starting a fight here could be fatal.
“Sorry for threatening you. Well, it was just that I really wanted to talk to you, Procell, at all cost even. I doubt you would have come if I didn’t do something like that. And it seems there are some misunderstandings about me. Let me address some of those first. I think you know, but that threat was just a joke. I had no serious intention of attacking the [Wind] Demon Lord.”
He said so with a brazen smile on his face.
Most likely, he was acting like so in order to irritate me. I can’t let myself dance to his tune. I have to calm down.
“That was just a joke?”
“Before that, instead of standing here talking, let’s sit. The cocktails of the master here are superb. Especially the [Black Demon Lord] I ordered. It’s so good, it could send you to heaven. So, with that, master, two [Black Demon Lords]”
“…Cut the crap. You’re my enemy. What’s with this overly friendly attitude!?”
I sat down but was not able to hold my irritation in any longer.
“Enemy? What a joke. Procell, I am a comrade who understands you, who walks the same path as you. We are both smart. We are unlike other Demon Lordsfools who enjoy killing humans and each other.”
“Don’t lump me with you”
“Haha, it hurts to be hated that much… But first, let me formally introduce myself. I am [Black] Demon Lord Balam. Alright, to gain your trust, I’ll tell you about my ability. Originally, as you could imagine, I wouldn’t share this to other people, but since it’s you, I’ll make a special exemption. My ability is [Black]. Basically, I could use any power associated with [Black]. Also, like you, I have an A rank medal. In other words, I am one of the chosen few.”
There were many Demon Lords who regarded having A rank medals as something extra special. It would seem he was one of them.
I had known old Demon Lords who had A rank medals— namely, [Beast], [Time], and [Dragon]—and they all had a sense of majesty and firm resolve to them. I couldn’t feel those things from this guy though.
“…I am [Creation] Demon Lord Procell.”
“Should I call you Procchi?”
“Quit screwing around. I’ll say it again. For hurting Marcho and trying to kill Stolas, you are my enemy.”
When I said that, the [Black] Demon Lord laughed a little.
He then took sip of the [Black Demon Lord] that the master of the place delivered.
“You misunderstand, Procell. Look, I tried to defeat the [Beast] Demon Lord due to my own personal belief. I didn’t do it to antagonize you. Rather, because you arbitrarily intervened, I should be the victim here.”
“It’s only natural to help your parent.”
“Not really. In fact, I would say wanting to kill your parent is the norm for Demon Lords and that you are just an exception.”
“Then, how about Stolas? You knew that Stolas and I were on friendly terms and threatened me by saying you would annihilate her and her dungeon. You practically manipulated the [Blade] Demon Lord and used him to kill her!”
I dread to think how much damage Stolas would have suffered if we weren’t there. After all, had Duke not helped out, Enlil’s rebirth wouldn’t have happened.
“I have no idea what you’re talking about. I did threaten you, yes, but it was just a means to get you to come, Procchi. I didn’t actually do anything.”
“As if! Moments before his death, the [Blade] Demon Lord told me who was backing him. And it was you!”
After being used and manipulated, the [Blade] Demon Lord was killed by a curse placed on him to silence him. Moments before he died though, in perhaps an effort to redeem himself, he used his own blood to write the name of the one who masterminded the whole ordeal. According to that, it was the [Black] Demon Lord.
“Hmm, even if you tell me that, I have no idea. Surely you can imagine that there are other Demon Lords who want to bring me down. Unfortunately, they’re the same Demon Lords that are very, very scared to see the two of us join arms because it’ll make us even stronger. I mean, if we team up and the three nations I have under my command were to receive your Avalon’s technical support, what do you think will happen?”
I thought about it for a while, but only a scene straight out of a nightmare crossed my mind.
Through my [Creation], I had access to [Memory of the Planet] and knew what would happen if humans were to obtain outrageously dangerous tools.
“The answer, you see, is that we would have the strongest and greatest empire. An empire that would quickly devour all other countries. Think about it, we would be able unify all countries into one. And with only one nation, there would only be one state religion. Complete world conquest! I would be the god of this empire, and you will be its emperor. No one would be able to defy us. We would be able to gather emotions and DP a million times over than we currently do! Amazing, don’t you think?”
The [Black] Demon Lord was visibly enjoying telling his ambitions.
“You seem to enjoy ruling humans, don’t you? You have a complex or something?”
When I said so, a crack wedged itself into his smile.
It seemed like I had poked into a subject he didn’t want poked.
“Yeah, well, rather than calling it a complex, I’d say I’m just opposing the fate imposed on us Demon Lords. Have you ever thought about it? We Demon Lords are so much more superior than humans, and yet we can’t live without them. The more you think about it, the more you will realize that we are born for the sole purpose of developing the humans. We are but mere tools made for the sake of the humans.”
“I had heard something similar from the Creator.”
Apparently, the meaning of our existence was to gradually guide humanity back to the level of an ancient and lost civilization.
We were there to advance the planet. Hence, why the Creator referred to us Demon Lords as [Children of the Planet].
“And what a load of bull that is. We are fantastic beings called Demon Lords and we are not the humans’ playthings. I will not suffer it! And so, my objective is to have all humans be corralled like the pigs they are. I won’t let them grow and develop any further. I will keep them indolent. While I will keep them from any harm, it is only so that I could feed on them. I will bring things back to order.”
His emotions were clearly conveyed by his voice.
The [Black] Demon Lord was obsessed about using and manipulating the humans. It was some kind of creed of his.
“I have no interest in those kinds of things. Whether our actions benefit the humans or not doesn’t matter to me. So long as I can live my life however I choose, it’s fine.”
So long as all parties—humans, Demon Lords, and monsters—were happy, there was nothing else to say.
Personally, even if I was made for the benefit of the humans and that my every action improved their lives in some way, as long as I could act purely of my own will, I wouldn’t think I was dancing in palm of some god.
“…Tsk, you talk just like the [Dragon] Demon Lord.”
“Well, I do respect that person.”
His irritation grew. Upon calming himself a bit, he looked at me and continued to talk.
“Here I thought Procchi would understand and join me.”
“Like I said at the start: you are my enemy. Play dumb all you want, but that unfair war on Stolas and now the royal family members coming to Avalon, I’m sure these are all hostile acts done by you.”
It wasn’t an argument in a discussion, it was just a statement of facts.
“Then, [Creation] Demon Lord Procell, are you going to war against me? In the attack against the [Beast] Demon Lord, most of my forces remained intact. You, on the other hand, have used your trump card and shouldn’t have enough time or resources to replace it. Oh yes, I’m aware that you currently don’t have your magic power.”
At that, I laughed inwardly.
So, it’s as I thought? He’s still not aware that my magic power has returned?
Though I used my [Storage] in Stolas’s dungeon, it was only in her crystal room. For him, it should still appear my magic power was gone.
Also, it seemed like the information that Marcho became my monster still hasn’t reached him.
“If you push, I will push back. I don’t like fighting, but I will do it if I must. Also, don’t think that the MOAB is the only ace up my sleeve. If anything, I’ll have trouble choosing which one to use on you.”
I said so and then looked at him threateningly.
I was just bluffing here though. If it was limited to the battlefield, I had no greater trump card than the MOAB.
“Oh, I’m so, so scared. But Procchi, you’re underestimating me too much. If I really wanted to, the three kingdoms under my command can bring ruin to your city easily. In other words, I can kill you without even fighting directly.”
“That is scary too. But if I see you doing something like that, I’ll crush your base with all my might before I get killed. I guess I can also get the three strongest Demon Lords you hate so much to cooperate with me.”
The two of us then glared at each other. After a while, [Black] Demon Lord Balam raised his hands as though to say he was giving up.
“I lose. My, what an unappealing junior you are, Procchi. If we do end up fighting each other, it would seem both of us would be reduced to nothing. I don’t know about you, but I’d like to avoid that. So, I have a proposal. Let us form a pact. Don’t worry, don’t worry, it’s just a contract promising that we wouldn’t attack the other.”
“…That doesn’t sound bad. I would rather pass on the opportunity to crush you than fight in the first place.”
After I said so, Balam took a piece of parchment from a bag and then wrote something on it. Once done, he bit his finger and pressed it on the paper.
After reading through its contents, I did the same.
Interestingly, there were a lot of loopholes purposely put into this contract. Those loopholes would justify us ignoring the contract and attack the other pretty much whenever we wanted.
“And so, this meeting is over. It’s a shame you didn’t even taste the [Black Demon Lord], Procchi. It’s very delicious, you know.”
“Even so, I value my health more.”
I replied so, stood up, and left.
This pact was merely a pause. I was sure that he would be doing things behind the scenes that would help him crush me.
Earning time was the sole reason for this pact.
Which was fine by me because I wanted to buy time as well.
Like so, once our preparations were done, we would be at each other’s throats.
I guess whoever finishes their preparations first, wins.