I was at the new [Mine] room in Avalon’s dungeon proper.
Two dragons were dancing in the sky. One had jade green scales and was clad in wind, while the other was jet-black and was shrouded in miasma.
After directing roars at each other, the jade-green dragon conjured up a thunderstorm and sent it to the other dragon. Meanwhile, the black dragon replied with a breath attack of black flames.
In front of me was Aura who was protecting me with all her might using her barrier of wind. If ever one attack somehow managed to get pass her barrier, it could mean my death.
That was how destructive the attacks they were sending each other were.
For a moment, the two just stared at each other.
That was until the wind dragon moved. Still clad in his wind, he ascended higher and higher. When I thought I couldn’t see him anymore, he swooped down. Using gravity as his ally, he descended at speeds several times that of sound.
While the wind dragon ascended, the black dragon chose to go down to the ground and gather his strength. A spherical force field of darkness then expanded from his body.
In the next moment, the sound of collision was heard. The jade-green dragon smashed into the force field of darkness.
Due to the force field, the wind dragon’s descent slowed down. It wasn’t enough to fully stop the descent though. And the destructive kinetic energy that came along with the descent was soon to hit the black dragon.
The black dragon didn’t mind though.
From the start, he never intended to stop the charge with the force field, just to delay it enough so that he could launch an attack of his own.
And so, he opened his mouth and unleash a breath attack. Unlike the previous one, this breath attack was made with the intent to kill.
The black flames of the breath attack was going to make a direct hit on the wind that surrounded the jade-green dragon.
The jade-green dragon didn’t mind though.
He changed his wind into the shape of a spear, did whatever else he can to give it more propulsive force, and used it to break through the breath attack.
Seeing that, the black dragon raised his miasma-covered fist.
Like that, the black dragon’s punch collided with the jade-green dragon’s charge.
Both of the dragons were thrown away by the impact. After the two rolled in the ground for quite a distance, hitting some rocks and boulders along the way, they stood up and glared at each other as though to say they were ready for more.
“That’s enough! Enlil, Duke, you did well!”
I shouted so.
I wanted to watch a little bit more, sure, but at their current rate, they were bound to kill each other.
Nevertheless… a fight between 2 S rank monsters truly was epic.
Their fight had transformed the very topography of the [Mine] area.
Even the Darkness Dragons who were nearby at first to watch the fight took some distance because they got scared of the two’s power.
Enlil was superior in terms of speed and Duke in Firepower. However, because this was a head-on battle, Enlil took more damage than Duke this time. It would seem we needed to teach Enlil this way of fighting more.
At any rate, after I shouted, the two dragons shrunk in size.
Duke assumed his middle-aged dragonewt form while Enlil became like a child dragon that was the size of kitten.
These forms were their less power consuming forms.
“Enlil-dono, you did really well. I thought I had you when I slowed you down with my darkness field.”
“Hahaha, oh you flatter me.”
The two were laughing together so much it was hard to believe they had a fierce fight just a few moments ago. Which I guess would be a great advantage when cooperating with one another.
I wasn’t the only Demon Lord audience though. Enlil was here, so his master was too.
“Amazing, isn’t it? A fight between S ranks, I mean. I was shaking just watching it.”
“Yeah. But imagine, these two are said to be just barely enough of a challenge for that Emperor Dragon Typhon. How much of a beast can that one be?”
Enlil and Duke fighting one another wasn’t just for entertainment. They were actually doing this as a part of their special training.
In order for them to win against Caesar, their team needed to be greater than the sum of its parts.
That necessitated advanced teamwork which in turn necessitated that they understood each other really well. And the simplest way to achieve that was to make them fight like they just did.
“But, yeah, like I thought, Enlil’s quite absurd. That condition to hold back his [Berserk] just being you only need to be nearby is just so damn easy to fulfill.”
“In my opinion, even though Duke can only use his [Berserk] for a limited time, the fact that he can be deployed elsewhere is quite envious.”
Stolas and I expressed our opinions about the other’s dragon.
The ability called [Berserk] was one of the strongest skills a monster could have in that it increased that monster’s overall capabilities by a full rank. In other words, it allowed an A rank monster to somehow go toe to toe with an S rank monster. However, it came with a heavy cost: the monster’s sanity.
My Duke’s [Berserk] could be turned off and on at will. Moreover, he had the skill [Valor] which gave him mental resistance (maximum) as well as morale and offensive capabilities boosts. Because of this, when he did activate his [Berserk], he was still somewhat sane.
As much as he was holding it off though, [Berserk] still gnawed at his mind and sanity. By leveling up, Duke was able to stretch the time he could be in his dragon form and thus activate [Berserk], but at most, it was only for 15 minutes. Any more than that and he might not be able to deactivate it ever again.
In his dragon form, Duke was one of the strongest monsters in terms of pure fighting strength. In his dragonewt form though, he was a lower-tier S rank monster that specialized in commanding others.
“I guess the grass really is always greener on the other side.”
“I guess so too”
As for Enlil, he had [Chivalry] which allowed him to retain his sanity and gave him some stats boosts so long as the one he must protect was nearby.
Obviously, that meant that as long as Stolas was nearby, the adverse effects of [Berserk] were nullified. Another way of looking at it though was that if Stolas was not anywhere nearby, Enlil would go fully mad.
That wasn’t all. If ever there came a time that Enlil would no longer regard Stolas as the one he must protect, [Chivalry] would be pretty much useless.
“Master, I’m done concocting the potions!”
“Many thanks, Aura. Now, please give those potions to Duke and Enlil right away.”
The two dragons received considerable damage in this mock battle. To ensure that the rest of their special training later wouldn’t be affected, treatment was necessary.
And so, Aura gave them potions. After drinking it, the two headed our way.
They weren’t in perfect condition right away, but considering the efficacy of Aura’s potions and a dragon’s high rate of self-healing, they should be within an hour.
“My lord, Enlil-dono truly is reliable. I look forward to the day we fight side by side.”
Looking at the two and their closeness, it warmed my heart.
During the war between Stolas and the [Blade] Demon Lord, Duke used his [Dragon Emperor] and gave Enlil a little bit of help. Thanks to that and, of course, Enlil’s own efforts, Enlil managed to get Stolas out of that dire situation.
Enlil felt indebted to Duke for this. Meanwhile, Duke was quite fond of Enlil.
“Duke, I believe this is the longest you’ve ever activated your [Berserk]. I worry that there might be some kind of abnormality. If you feel something, no matter how trivial, tell me, okay?”
“Thank you for your concern, my lord. However, there is no issue at all… if anything, I feel it’s still safe to assume my dragon form for a bit longer.”
Duke wasn’t just putting on airs.
If he says he’s fine, he’s fine.
And so, with the extended time for Duke’s transformation in mind, we began formulating our strategy. That extended time would surely be a great boon.
“Great, then. Anyway, after your break, I want the two of you to try out working in tandem. Stolas and I have some ideas and strategies in mind, but because you two have fought each other and have seen how the other fights, maybe something else will come to you. If that happens, you don’t have to wait for our approval. Just try it out.”
“Certainly, my lord. Enlil and I will do our best to meet and exceed your expectations.”
As ever, Duke was quite the reliable fellow. I had lost count of how many times he had helped me out.
When I turned to look at Enlil, I saw him perched at Stolas’s shoulder while making a very cute cry.
Stolas was petting him, prompting him to make those purrs.
It was so cute.
I wanted to pet him too, so I stretched out my hand, but was only greeted by a screech. Enlil didn’t want me to pet him.
By nature, monsters didn’t want to be held by Demon Lords except for their master. There’s that, but it might also be the issue of him thinking I was trying to take Stolas away from him.
We passed the time together until the potions took full effect.
We deemed the break over and began the next phase.
“One more push, Duke.”
“Enlil, go show me something cool again, ok?”
The two dragons nodded in response.
And so, the two assumed their larger forms and flew to the sky.
While staring at them and the sky, I spoke with Stolas.
“We must do all that we can for them. Allotting a time and place for them to learn to coordinate with each other, raising their levels as much as possible, and more if possible.”
“Yeah, they surely will be helped by some extra levels. That’s the greatest shortcut, isn’t it?”
[Resurrection] was used on both Duke and Enlil. As such, their previous levels were carried over when they became S rank monsters.
It hasn’t been long since Enlil was reborn from being an A rank static-level monster, so his level was almost unchanged.
As for Duke, he was previously a B rank Wight with a static level and thus was reborn at level 56. Since then, he had earned a large amount of experience points, especially during our campaign to save Marcho. Right now, he was also around the level of an A rank monster with a static level.
When compared with Caesar, the level gap was huge.
Despite that, at their current level range, they couldn’t raise their levels dramatically just by defeating C rank monsters born from [Maelstroms]. So, in conjunction with grinding for levels in the [Crimson Cavern], we were also making the dragons defeat the copy of monsters made by Stolas’s [Omnipresence].
All that said, reaching the level of an S rank monster born with a static level within a month would surely be a tall order.
“Yeah, what is it?”
“Once the dragon’s trial is over, there’s something I want the two of us to talk about. When everything’s over, can you make time for it?”
“…alright, I promise I’ll make time for that. When you make that face, it’s kinda scary, you know.”
I teasingly said so, but her face remained serious to the point she looked in pain.
I could imagine what she wanted to talk about, but right now, we should be focusing our attentions on the trial.
No matter what, we had to overcome the trial. It was our duty and obligation to inherit what our esteemed predecessor was leaving behind.
I fully believed Duke and Enlil had the capabilities to accomplish this. All that was left was to figure out how to use those capabilities.
This dragon’s trial, we will absolutely overcome it.
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