Ever since the casino opened, a great amount of activity could be observed in Avalon every day. Our rate of acquiring repeat guests was high and so was our rate of acquiring new ones that heard of us and our casino through word of mouth.
One reason for such increases is the improved accessibility to our city given by the additional Hippogriff airports.
However, there was one problem arising from this.
“Wow, our casino’s overflowing with guests. It seems my estimate was indeed naïve. I’m so glad now that we didn’t build the building for just 500 people.”
Fafnir was built under the assumption that it would entertain an average of a thousand guests. Although it could host up to a maximum of 2,000 people, there were also the dealers and the staff members to consider.
The closer we try to go to the limit, the less the guests’ satisfaction would become.
For the moment, I was considering either rearranging the current layout, replacing some staff with more capable people, or just simply adding more space. Whichever we go with though, it would take some time before they would be implemented.
Because of that, I decided that whenever the guest count would reach a thousand, further admission would be halted. We would only admit additional guests when either current guests had exited or when several staff members would take a break.
It was a delicate balancing act. Thanks to this system and Conanna’s decision-making, we were somehow able to satisfy our guests.
That being said, this did raise other concerns.
For example, some of the guests—after all the trouble they went through to get to Avalon—would occasionally find themselves unable to enjoy themselves in the casino. To counteract this, the merchants and I needed to put extra effort in thinking up of other ways the guests could pass their now plenty free time.
Which shouldn’t be hard considering Avalon was already full of fascinating things gathered from all over the world even before the casino.
Another way to think about it was that it gave the other things in Avalon a good chance to develop.
“It’s surprising to see how much those wanting to immigrate here has increased after the casino has opened.”
The more recreational facilities were in Avalon, the more employees were needed to man them. Also, there were some people too into gambling in the casino that had chosen to settle down here. Whatever the case might be, they ultimately decided that it would more convenient to just settle here than to travel back and forth.
Because of that, the number of those wishing to permanently reside here were greatly more than anticipated.
“Things are going so well. It’s almost too good to be true, sometimes. There are miscalculations here and there, but they’re mostly for the better. Well, no use thinking about it for now. It’s better to focus my attention on testing the capabilities of an Abyss Howl.”
Abyss Howls were the monsters unlocked when I made Tiro. I was certain they were above norm, but what I wanted to find out was how above the norm they were.
Depending on today’s results, I could also include them in my deal for tomorrow’s meeting with Stolas where we would help each other’s forces grow stronger.
For the testing, I went to the [Mine] room.
It was devoid of humans—they would not be allowed entry even if they found the entrance—and it was spacious, thus making it a good place to go wild.
Even so and the fact that it had always been useful, I was thinking of removing this dungeon room in the near future. The [Mine] room was located in the same dungeon floor as the city, and Avalon had been becoming cramped. There was no easy way to deal with the increased population, so I thought why not relocate the [Mine] room in the newly added floor and in its stead place another [Plains] room.
“Oto-san, I’m so excited to see the new kid!”
“Fufu, the new kids would be fine. Yeah, no need to worry… ugh, I wish I had some money for alcohol right now. Hey, hey, when the new kid gets here–”
“…Ruhe-sama, please keep your gambling to a moderate level. You’re making even our lord feel dismayed.”
Four of my monsters were with me in the room.
The Abyss Howls could potentially form another main force of our war potential, so Kuina, the top monster, was here. Similarly, Duke was here because he was the commander of my monsters. Meanwhile, Tiro and Ruhe were present because they would be the ones working together with the Abyss Howls in the other dimension.
Additionally, a few Mithril Golems were here as well. They were to be the Abyss Howl’s test dummies. According to Rorono, so long as we don’t break the golem cores, we could go as wild as we wanted.
The always cheery Ruhe wasn’t so cheery today.
She had gambled and lost all of her wages and bonuses in the casino, leaving her penniless.
Being penniless wasn’t a real, life or death problem for her, considering that she was a monster and thus didn’t need food to live. But then again, without alcohol to enjoy, she was in a rather bitter mood.
I felt sorry for her, but I knew I mustn’t help her. For if I did, she would only get more and more addicted to the casino.
“Once I get next month’s salary, I’m going to win it all back! With interest! It’s just a couple of days more of waiting. I’m so excited!”
After hearing her say she say she was going to win back her losses, I knew Ruhe was the type that shouldn’t gamble at all.
Ruhe wasn’t the only one of my monsters that would come to the casino to take a breather.
For example, Rorono had also gone to it. Out of curiosity, she went to see the building made by her followers, the Dwarf Smiths, despite being busy with the development of the Avalon-Ritters. And even though she just intended to have a bit of fun, she completely dominated on the card game that was much like blackjack using her incredible memory and calculation skills.
One could theoretically be unbeatable in some card games like blackjack if they memorized the cards that had been played and then calculated the odds of the other cards showing up. But then again, memorizing and predicting which of the 312 cards—from 6 decks comprising of 52 cards each—was going to be drawn next was no easy feat.
By the way, the chips used in our casino could be turned into cash or into gift prizes, depending on the guest’s preference. The gift prizes included things that could be procured in nowhere else but Avalon, making our casino even more popular.
“Ruhe, keep it in moderation, ok?”
“…but maybe bribing the Darkness Dragons beforehand might be the ticket…”
“Ruhe, listen, don’t do that, you hear? It’ll ruin the races for everybody, including you.”
“Ahahaha. I was just joking, patron. Just joking. I will never do such a thing, you know.”
I was absolutely serious. Meanwhile, Ruhe just looked sideways.
Well, whatever, it’s not like there’s anything she can offer the Darkness Dragons that is worth more to them than the prize of the race.
For the Darkness Dragons, there was no prize better than being able to feast on the wild animals of the [Forest] area as much as they wanted for a whole day.
In other words, even if I left her alone, Ruhe couldn’t find a bribe that the dragons would accept.
“Why don’t we get started on today’s agenda? We’re going to make a new comrade, right?”
“Yes. Thanks to a certain someone, we got a bit distracted.”
Unless we moved on, it would be dark before we even began.
Alright, let’s start.
“[I Shall Compose]”
Upon reciting the words of power, my [Demon Lord Book] materialized.
And when I thought of the Abyss Howls in my mind, the book opened to the page that was about them.
Featured on the said page was an image of an Abyss Howl, some simple description of them, and the cost for buying them with DP.
They looked a size smaller than Tiro, but they gave off the impression that they were just as ferocious.
When I read the description on the page, I had confirmed that on top of having excellent physical capabilities and sense of smell, they also possessed [Transfer] and an other-dimension-related ability.
“Now, show yourself, Abyss Howl!”
I paid 1200DP and summoned the demonic dog.
From the magic array in the air, a huge dark-blue dog appeared.
It had fangs protruding from its mouth that matched its fiendish eyes.
Its ears were relatively small which suggested it didn’t have outstanding hearing. On the other hand, its nose was big which suggested it had the disposition of a hunter.
“Woah, it’s a tiny Tiro-chan!”
“While it is a tinier Tiro, isn’t it more the case that Tiro is just too huge? This one will be generally regarded as huge itself.”
“Hahaha, it looks fierce, doesn’t it? It looks reliable, alright.”
The Abyss Howl seemed to have made a good impression on my monsters.
At any rate, being dog-like, the Abyss Howl seemed to be a monster that understood the concept of hierarchy. It obediently sat down in front of me and waited for my instructions.
I took that opportunity to use my Demon Lord powers and look at its stats.
Race: Abyss Howl
Physical Strength: B+
One Who Lurks In The Shadows
One with the Pack
As was normal for a monster that had other-dimension type abilities, the Abyss Howl’s stats were low overall. However, given its specialization in Physical Strength and Agility, it would still be pretty easy to utilize.
Its skills were overall easy to utilize too.
Dark Roar: Launches a roar filled with magic power. If the target is successfully inflicted, its body will be stiffened and weakened. Chances of success will be halved for Monsters of A rank and above. When this skill is simultaneously used by a group of skill-holders, there is a bonus to the success rate.
※Do note that the potency of the weakening and stupefying effects don’t receive any bonuses, just the success rate.
Transfer: Allows the user to relocate to any location of their home dungeon. By preparing a pair of transfer arrays—one for the port of origin and one for the destination—then and only then can transfer outside of the dungeon be possible.
One who lurks in the shadows: Allows the user to enter and exit the other dimension through a shadow that is larger than the user. It is possible to exit the other dimension instantaneously, but when doing so, the shadow to be used for exit must be within a hundred meters of the shadow used to enter.
One with the Pack: When at least ten skill-holders of the same race are present in the same dungeon room (or within a radius of 1 Km when outside of a dungeon), this skill will activate, thus granting those skill-holders the ability to share senses with one another while also increasing their Physical Strength and Endurance by one rank.
There was no further need to state the usefulness of Transfer.
Meanwhile, entering and exiting the other dimension through shadows was wonderful. Despite the requirement of the shadows having to be bigger than the Abyss Howls themselves, the fact that shadows were almost always present made it easily accessible.
However, their skill was different from Tiro’s in the way that theirs needed the exit point to be within 100 meters of the entry point. The Ocean Singers’ skill too was limited in such a way when instantaneously exiting from the other dimension. Maybe for monsters whose rank is lower than A rank, such limitations are applied.
As for Dark Roar, if the enemy was a small fry, it was great. It could be used to disrupt the activity in a wide area via sound. However, against A rank monsters and above, it was a skill that could bring ruin to the user. But then again, I never had thoughts of making the Abyss Howls battle against such monsters.
Lastly, One with the Pack. This was, in my opinion, the centerpiece. It improved their already impressive Physical Strengthen alongside their rather questionable Endurance. And, by sharing their senses with one another, they could not only eliminate their blind spots, but also be able to launch perfectly coordinated attacks. If they were to form another main force, I needed to prepare many of them anyway, so this skill was basically just a very delicious cherry on top.
“…But as expected, they had the same weak points as Tiro did.”
The Abyss Howls had very little magic power.
For the sake of today’s experiment, I had summoned this Abyss Howl to have a static level, meaning it was already level 57. Even then though, its Magic stat of D meant it could use [Transfer] about only four times a day. Transfer consumed a lot of magic power, after all.
And considering the magic power consumption of going to the other dimension, it was probably better to limit the use of Transfer to two times a day. Such a strict limit could be worked around though by just making more of the Abyss Howls, which once again I was going to do anyway if they passed today’s experiment.
Well, that’s enough looking at the specs. It’s time to test it.
“Abyss Howl, it seems you have exactly the abilities I was hoping you’d have. It’s time to show me your speed and strength. You see that Mithril Golem? That will be your enemy. Show me you can defeat it.”
The Abyss Howl barked so and then took distance.
Meanwhile, the Mithril Golem readied itself. Being a Mithril Golem, it had power comparable to a B rank monster. With it as the opponent, we should be able to have a better understanding on how effective as a monster the Abyss Howls could be.
A moment later, the Mithril Golem fired the Browning M2 heavy machinegun it had hanging from its shoulder.
Its base form was so good and popular, it was used even by the American army. The one fired by the Mithril Golem, however, was a model mass-produced by the Dwarf Smiths to be the Mithril Golems’ standard weapon.
It spat out ten 12.7mm bullets per second, and the speeds those bullets flew travelled were at three times the speed of sound. Basically, it was one hell of a weapon.
In reaction to the rain of bullets sent its way, the Abyss Howl ran away from the line of fire using its Speed stat of A and headed toward the shadow of a nearby building. Using that shadow, it entered the other dimension.
…yup, other-dimension monsters sure are great. So long as they stay there, they’re pretty much invincible from attacks made in this dimension.
And then, as the golem was searching for the Abyss Howl, the latter jumped out from the former’s shadow. Thanks to the current time of day, that shadow was large enough to be used for the Abyss Howl’s skill.
In the air like that, the Abyss Howl went for a bite at the back of the Mithril Golem’s neck, thrusting its fang into the golem’s heavy armor. The golem swung its arm, but the Abyss Howl simply did a flip before it could be hit.
After the Abyss Howl adjusted its posture in mid-air and landing safely, I interrupted the fight.
“Alright, Abyss Howl, Mithril Golem, you can stop now. We’ve seen enough.”
Now that I had seen not only the Abyss Howl’s stats but also its performance in actual combat, I no doubt had a deeper understanding of it.
It was definitely a monster that could benefit a lot from the numbers that a [Maelstrom] would provide.
That said, I also found some flaws. One was that they could use more attack power. When the Abyss Howl thrusted its fangs into the golem’s neck, the bite was rather shallow. Ideally, I would like them to have enough attack power to destroy even the Mithril Golems.
Maybe when she’s done with the development for the Avalon-Ritters, I’ll go ask Rorono for some help.
“So, what are your impressions?”
I asked so to my monsters who had been watching.
“They pass! Kuina has no objection to making them be another main force!”
“Well. they’re not bad. If they were to cooperate with the Ocean Singers, our dominance in the other dimension will be secured more than ever.”
“My lord, I think we can use them even outside of the other dimension. They’ll make fantastic land units with their mobility. Moreover, having monsters that can use Transfer will surely widen the range of strategies we can employ.”
I was of the same opinion as them.
So, the pros far outweighing the cons, I decided to buy a [Maelstrom] that would continuously produce Abyss Howls. In fact, once I’ve earned enough DP, I intended to buy one more [Maelstrom] so that the Abyss Howls could be used both as other dimension combatants and land forces.
120,000 DP per [Maelstrom] was indeed a large expenditure, but even with just the casino, I could swiftly recover it.
And so, following the Darkness Dragons which were our aerial forces, I had obtained a main force in the form of the Abyss Howls. From here on, it was just a matter of steadily increasing their numbers and using their powers for the future of Avalon.
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