[Dragon] Demon Lord Astaroth told me that he was going to entrust his dragons to me as well.
But why not just to Stolas and his faction? Why me too? Surely, he’s going to tell me reason later, right?
I thought of that as I scanned the first floor of the casino to look for Marcho and Stolas. Thankfully, it didn’t take long. I found them exchanging their chips for some gift prizes.
“Ah, Procell, you’ve finally gotten away from those old men, huh? Are you tired?”
“Marcho, you’re from the same batch as those two…”
Those old men would most likely be devastated if they heard Marcho call them that.
As for Stolas, she was so absorbed on picking gift prizes, it seemed like she didn’t even notice me arrive.
“Found something you like?”
“Kyaa!? …don’t just out of nowhere call out to people like that. That surprised me”
“Ok, but isn’t your surprise a bit too much?”
“Th-that’s ‘cause you…”
…why is she so conscious of me? Can it be because of that tactless joke I made a few days ago?
I had properly apologized to her afterward, but no matter what I do, once something had been said, it couldn’t ever be unsaid.
That mustn’t happen ever again. Or at the very least, not later when the explosive emotions brought by the dragon races come flowing into me.
For now, I cleared my throat and changed the subject.
“…ahem. Looks like you won a lot, what with you visiting this gift corner and all.”
“Yeah, I had great luck.”
If a player wins in Fafnir, on top of the chips that could be exchanged for money, players also gain a proportional amount of special chips that could be exchanged for gift prizes. These gift prizes couldn’t be obtained anywhere else but Avalon.
The reason we were going to so much trouble was to safeguard against those that wish to obtain the prizes purely through the purchasing power of money. If someone could just buy those prizes without playing, there would be no point to having prizes. So, to get more people to play—thus giving me more emotions to feed on—I proposed this method.
Occasionally though, there would be players willing to sell their special chips to non-players. However, these players generally return again to the casino, so I don’t especially mind.
Stolas carried a lot of these special chips. Judging by sight, I reckoned she had enough to get almost any of the prizes.
“I can’t seem to choose… oh, these earrings are pretty.”
“You have exquisite taste. Those earrings are made by Rorono, you know.”
It was the kind of earring that could be clipped on without the need for ear piercing.
It had a beautiful blue gem that looked like a drop of water.
A majority of the prizes we offered consisted of the different kinds of potions made by Aura as well as the various things made by Rorono and the Dwarf Smiths.
We generally viewed these items as subpar, if not failures, so it was alright to let the humans have a chance of obtaining them.
“That girl made this? Then, this isn’t some ordinary earring, is it?”
“You’re right. This is a magical tool made with Rorono’s [Materialization]. That skill allows her to make objects that hold one magic she could personally use. And as she had demonstrated when communicating with the golems, she is capable of using some form of telepathy. So, by wearing this, anyone can communicate with others via telepathy.”
The ability to communicate with others in real time within a dungeon was an extremely powerful ability to have. Just by improving the rate at which information was transferred, an army became much more powerful.
“Is it alright to offer such a powerful thing as a prize here?”
“It’s not as powerful as I might have made it sound. It has some shortcomings. First is that it works only in the same dungeon room or at most 300 kilometers when used outside of a dungeon. Its greatest fault though is that an earring can only communicate with its pair. That being the case, we have other, more convenient tools at our disposal. For the humans though, it should be a miraculous thing, and that’s why it’s one of the prizes.”
If the range was going to be limited to one dungeon room anyway, the communication devices I made with [Creation] would be plenty enough. At least those things wouldn’t be limited to one-to-one transmissions.
By the way, all of my humanoid monsters had been given these communication devices I made so that they could coordinate with one another better.
“I’ll be taking these.”
Stolas said so as she exchanged her special chips for the pair of earrings. As soon as she got them, she immediately broke the seal it had.
“Are you sure you’re fine with that?”
“Yeah. I fell in love with it at first sight. It’s just so beautiful. Say, Procell, do you want to have the other one?”
While averting her gaze, she thrusted one of the earrings toward me.
“I think it’s better to give it to one of your subordinates.”
“I don’t really need a tool for communicating with my monsters. We have Rozelitte for that.”
Oh yeah, Rozelitte did have that absurdly powerful ability.
Regardless of the physical distance or distance in terms of number of dungeon rooms, she could communicate via telepathy with anyone belonging in the same army as her.
“Then, why choose the earrings?”
“We’re in same faction, aren’t we? If we get into trouble, it’s better to have one more way of contacting one another, right? I mean, sure, the range is limited, but it can still prove useful. More than that, I just want a way to be connected with you, Procell.”
Stolas informed me so in a very thin voice.
She wants to be connected with me? What an incredibly adorable thing to say.
“I understand. I’ll gratefully accept. Thank you.”
“No, no, thank you for accepting.”
She said so and then put one of the earrings on me. To return the favor, I wanted to put the other one on her. When she raised her face to make it easier for me, I was reminded of just how stunningly beautiful she was.
“Fufu, it’s kinda bizarre for us to be wearing the same accessory, right? But I’m glad we are.”
“You know, if a stranger saw us, they might mistake us for lovers.”
After I said so, the two of us motionlessly stared at one another.
We both felt awkward and turned away our gazes. Finding it amusing that we both did that, we laughed at our silliness.
But then, I heard someone clearing their throat.
“Ahem… Procell, that’s some balls you have, to be brazenly having an affair right in front of me.”
“A-an affair? Stolas and I are not like that”
“Exactly. Marcho-sama, that isn’t the case between us!”
Stolas and I hurriedly denied the accusation.
Marcho, meanwhile, glared at us with disdain.
“I’ll take your word for it. But for the record, I’d much rather you be open to me about it than you go sneaking behind my back. If it turns out that you like each other or even that you two have become lovers, I’m fine with it so long as you come and inform me. If you don’t, be ready to be punished. Nobody makes a fool out of the [Beast] Demon Lord.”
A chill went down my spine. I didn’t even want to imagine what Marcho’s punishment would be like.
<<The second race is about to begin. Those that have bought tickets for the second race, please proceed to the theater in the second floor.>>
It’s time for that already? Dan and Ast would probably go to the theater by themselves. The VIP coins I handed them should get them VIP seats.
“Well, let’s go”
“Yeah, let’s. If we don’t hurry, we might miss the main event.”
“Tsk, found a way out. Fine, but don’t forget what I said, you hear?”
Stolas and I somehow managed to escape.
…I didn’t doubt that Stolas cared for me, but even so, I firmly believed that remaining as we were was for the best.
After a while of walking, we reached the VIP area.
Other than us, many high-profile personalities like high-ranking nobles and successful merchants were also in the VIP area.
As of late, many people like Conanna would come here often and chat with the others so that they could build up their personal connections. But then again, perhaps that was to be expected from such a place.
It was a bit bold of me to bring everyone to the VIP area while the place was like that, but it was still much preferable to the crowded general admissions area.
And because this was the VIP area, bets could be placed here at any time before the corresponding race began.
Dan and Ast took advantage of that. They sat on a sofa, drank alcohol, and read the latest newspaper about the flying dragon races before finally deciding on which dragon they would bet on.
Their usual majesty was long gone. They were now just two old men.
By the way, they also seemed to have purchased some frog-shaped cakes.
As for us, we proceeded to sit down.
When I saw the old men’s alcohol, it gave me the desire to drink some too. So, I called on a staff member and ordered us some high-quality red wine.
Dan and Ast did the same because apparently the alcohol they brought in was already gone.
They’ve been drinking before coming here and yet they still want more?
Like that, we passed the time with some idle chat.
After a while, the race began. It would seem the race’s ability to excite the crowd affected even the Demon Lords.
Especially Dan. Far from his usually calm and collected self, he clutched his ticket really firmly and cheered loudly for his dragon.
At that moment, I understood why he didn’t bring along Fel, his beloved daughter. He would never want to show her this, only the side of him that was a majestic and cool Demon Lord.
But he’s fine showing it to Marcho?
“Kyuuuuuu! Gau, gau!”
Burning with a sense of rivalry toward the Darkness Dragons shown on the screen, Enlil cried out from atop Stolas’s shoulder.
“Enlil, do you perhaps want to compete too?”
…quit it. Please quit it. If you join, it isn’t really a race anymore. At most, it’ll be a race for second place. The Darkness Dragons will surely be devastated.
Just a few moments after that, the race ended.
Apparently, Ast wasn’t bluffing when he said he could tell which Darkness Dragon was the best. His bet was spot on.
“Yes!!! I turned the tables on you this time!”
Astaroth, the winner, laughed loudly while Dantalian, the loser, hang his head.
“Hahaha! Procell, I had a lot of fun today. The gambling, the food, the alcohol, they were all great. They almost make me want to spend the rest of my life here!”
“That’s great to hear. I hope you use your earnings and splurge on extravagant things in the city tonight.”
“Of course, of course. Everything is on me tonight. Everyone, come along with me to the city, alright? Let’s go have fun!”
Upon hearing Astaroth’s generous offer, I started thinking of the most exquisite stores I could recommend. There had been a number of high-end stores geared toward nobles and wealthy merchants that were opening in Avalon lately, after all.
The race over, the VIPs exited the room.
The only ones that remained were us Demon Lord. As such, we could now talk as Demon Lords without worrying that anyone would overhear us.
“Now then, shall we get down to business? I believe there was a reason on why you guys came here…?”
“Fumu, right. Procell, Stolas, there is something I have to tell the two of you. As you know, I am not long for this world. For that reason, I’ve been bequeathing the things I’ve accumulated over the years to others. However, there are some things that are too much to handle for even the Demon Lords in my faction.”
Astaroth paused for a bit before continuing on.
“Originally, I wanted to entrust it only to you, Stolas, but by yourself, it’s just beyond you right now. And so, I want both you and Procell to take on the dragon’s trial. By overcoming the trial, one of you shall inherit my strongest dragons. Moreover, either Enlil or Duke shall receive [Dragon Emperor] from Caesar, my trump card, and become a true dragon emperor. I realize that giving you new Demon Lords such things will incur a penalty and I am fully prepared to receive whatever that might be.”
The sound of the beating of my heart grew loud. The strongest dragon army and becoming a true dragon emperor, those were doubtlessly great inheritance.
“So, are you two prepared to undertake the dragon’s trial?”
However, there was no way that the trial to ascertain whether we were worthy of such an inheritance was going to be an ordinary ordeal.
I wonder what the trial is going to be like.
Bidding my loud heart to be silent, I nodded.
TL note: this chapter gave new context on Fafnir’s special chips. As such, I’ve made slight changes to Vol 8 Ch 14.
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