It was finally the day for the dragon’s trial. I was currently getting ready in the room lent to me.
The previous day, we had such a great party. The alcohol and food were all first class.
I was especially surprised about the food.
In terms of cooking techniques, Avalon’s chefs had the edge. Instead, the reason behind why even I, someone who was so used to delicious food, was surprised was the quality of the ingredients used. They were definitely of finer quality than those found in Avalon where the best things in the world have gathered.
When I asked how that was so, I was surprised again.
Apparently, the meat used were item drops from monsters.
A fixed time after a monster has died, it would turn into blue particles of light. There would be nothing left of the deceased monster except for items that could drop at fixed rates.
Among these item drops were meat items.
Basically, these meat items were categorized into pork, beef, poultry, and lamb meat, while some rare monsters dropped uniquely named meat. They were also graded as inferior, average, superior, and first-class.
Naturally, the higher the grade of the meat, the better tasting it was. And the flavor of the first-class meat items, which unsurprisingly could only be dropped by B rank or higher monsters, was enough to make any gourmet feel ecstatic.
Because nobles and other wealthy people were willing to pay large amounts of money for the first-class meat items, adventurers would often dive into dungeons looking for such things. A lot of the time however, before these adventurers could get out of the dungeon with their loot, they become exhausted and die.
According to what I heard, the food served to us used what was recovered—and later preserved—from those adventurers.
“I guess I should have known that unfamiliar flavor.”
A Demon Lord that ran a so-called orthodox dungeon would surely be familiar with the deaths of their monsters within the dungeon as well as with item drops.
However, I didn’t run such a dungeon.
In fact, I built Avalon primarily so that I could avoid the deaths of my monsters as much as possible.
…and then, it hit me. I finally understood why [Time] Demon Lord Dantalian said that last night’s feast was something only he could have prepared. Certainly, I wouldn’t have been able to serve the same food.
While arriving to that conclusion, I used the water from a water jug in the room and washed my face.
Good, my eyes look perfectly awake. Let’s go.
Next, I went toward the [Time] Demon Lord’s arena.
Already rushing to the audience seats were the [Time] Demon Lord’s monsters. Their excitement for the fierce fight between S rank dragons were visible on their faces.
A few moments after I arrived, my dragon did too.
His name was Duke, and he was a Black Dragon of Death Siegwurm.
Just like yesterday, he was wearing the tailcoat suit that his Dwarf Smith wife had made for him.
“Good morning, Duke. Were you able to get a good night’s rest last night?”
“Not really, my lord. I can’t stop picturing defeating the world’s strongest dragon and taking its place.”
“You’re as reliable as ever, Duke.”
A few moments after that, Stolas and Enlil the Storm Dragon Knight Bahamut came along.
Enlil dropped down from Stolas’s shoulder and reverted to his true form: a large, jade-green flying dragon.
Each of his scales were filled with astonishing amounts of magic power. So much so that each one glimmered like an emerald.
Stolas standing side by side with Enlil while he had a stoic countenance in that form, it was truly a sight to behold.
“Enlil, what good wind we have today, right? I hope you’ll fight well together today and emerge victorious.”
Enlil replied with a forceful roar.
Seeing that, I could tell Duke also wanted to transform into his real form, but his had a time limit and that vexed him.
At any rate, the challenger side was complete.
Now, all we needed to do was wait for the champion.
And right on cue, they arrived. With their appearance, the [Time] Demon Lord’s monsters cheered. The whole place shook because of it.
Three Demon Lords climbed up the stage.
One was a beautiful looking young man, one was beautiful brown-skinned woman with wolf ears and a wolf tail, and the last one was an old man whose body was thoroughly trained.
They were the three strongest Demon Lords. [Time] Demon Lord Dantalian, [Beast] Demon Lord Marchosias, and [Dragon] Demon Lord Astaroth.
If these three were together, there was nothing they couldn’t do. Even world domination would be easy.
The [Dragon] Demon Lord then walked toward the center of the stage.
He then crossed his arms and assumed an imposing stance.
When he shouted so, dragons that each had crazy amounts of power appeared from all directions. Each of them had been made with the ability to level up and had been trained to the utmost. As if that wasn’t enough, each of them had [Berserk], allowing them to go against even S rank monsters. Each was a monster capable of destroying a country.
And there were 19 of them.
They landed in such a way that they surrounded the arena’s stage. They then roared. It wasn’t meant to threaten, but rather to revere something, to request for something’s affection.
As if to answer those roars, a crack appeared in the sky. That crack was then pried open from within.
And what emerged was Caesar the Emperor Dragon Typhon.
Standing at over 20 meters tall, he was large even by dragon standards. His reddish-brown body was wrapped in some kind of golden light. There was something malicious but at the same time holy about it.
Just with his arrival, the battle has already begun.
He didn’t glance at the other dragons. He simply looked from above at Duke and Enlil to evaluate them.
Enlil let out a growl. The fear in his voice was quite apparent.
To make someone like Enlil be afraid, Caesar definitely was a dragon among dragons.
Duke was somehow able to maintain a calm face, but I could see that his hands were shaking.
“This is the apex dragon… the true [Dragon Emperor]”
As for me, I leaked out such words with a dumbfounded expression on my face.
This is the kind of monstrosity we’re going against?
I knew Caesar was going to be a formidable enemy from the get go, but when I got another look at the thing we were challenging, I froze.
As Duke’s master, I knew I must snap out of it. As it was, my fear was already being transmitted to Duke.
Duke believed I was a superb Demon Lord, so I should act like one.
Like that, I took a deep breath, walked a step forward, placed a hand on Duke’s shoulder, and said:
“Duke, he’s strong, stronger than any monster you’ve fought before. However, I have one thing to say: I command you to win.”
Duke once said to me that whatever I ordered him to do, he would accomplish it. According to him, I wasn’t some incompetent Demon Lord who would give him a command that I knew myself to be impossible to accomplish. Believing I knew for a fact that he could do what I commanded him to do, he would do everything to make it so.
Duke didn’t turn back to face me, but his back told me enough.
Meanwhile, Stolas faced Enlil and reached out her hand. When Enlil lowered his face enough, she petted the tip of his nose.
Just like that, whatever anxiety Enlil had was brushed away.
Such was a knight’s disposition, I guess. He couldn’t stomach letting his lady see what he considered an uncool sight.
And so, Stolas and I nodded at each other and then went up the stage with our dragons. Once there, the [Dragon] Demon Lord spoke again.
“Fumu, so, you’ve chosen to stay and fight my [Dragon Emperor], have you? That alone deserves recognition. Truth be told, I was worried you’d get cold feet and back out.”
What he said was incredibly condescending, but if anyone had the right to say such things, it would be him.
Before replying, I just smiled thinly while Stolas just stared at him.
“We came here to defeat you and inherit Caesar’s [Dragon Emperor], and that’s exactly what we’ll do.”
“We’re going to surpass you, Astaroth-sama. Here and now.”
Echoing our resolve, Enlil roared while Duke yelled.
Seemingly satisfied by that, Ast nodded.
“Good, you’ve got drive… The audience for this grand fight isn’t just Marcho, Dan, and his monsters. We also have my [True Dragon Squadron]. They are here to ascertain whether their new leader is worthy or not. You better keep that in mind.”
The 19 dragons that appeared earlier weren’t here to simply watch the fight. They were here to evaluate their possible new leader.
The bar had been raised even higher, but I had complete trust that Duke and Enlil would pull through.
“Ast, Procell, Stolas, no matter what happens, rest assured that I will rewind time. So, feel free to go as wild as you want.”
“I’ll also provide magic power to the barrier, so you don’t have to worry about the audience either. It’s been a while since I’ve broken a sweat. But holding back the attacks of three S rank monsters might tire me out more than I’ve hoped.”
This was the reason these two were here.
For a battle of this scale, if an ordinary barrier was used to surround the ring, that barrier would be dissolved by just the aftereffects of the dragons’ attacks. Only truly tough monsters would remain in the audience.
To prevent that, Marcho decided to participate. By pouring her magic power into the barrier, not a stray attack would get pass.
As for Dan, he was going to turn back the time for those within stage after the fight had reached its conclusion. Even if a monster has died, they would be as fine as they were when the fight started.
What that meant was that both sides could fight with the intent to kill without any repercussions.
Everything was set, all that was left was to formally begin the fight.
“Then, let us begin. My lord, I assure you, we will achieve victory.”
“Yeah, I believe in you, Duke.”
Like that, I sent Duke off to battle.
His form then changed into a large black dragon whose body was clad in dark miasma.
In this form, he could exhibit his full potential.
“I’ll leave it up to you, Enlil. I love you.”
Enlil roared like that and dyed the wind whirling around him turn jade-green.
The golden dragon was now standing opposite the jet-black dragon and the jade-green dragon.
For some reason, that made the [Dragon] Demon Lord smile.
“I hereby declare the dragon’s trial begun!”
The [Time] Demon Lord loudly announce that the fight to determine the new [Dragon Emperor] has begun.
TL note: Please remember that this is the start of a new volume/book. That means there will be details such as character and skill descriptions that must be told again so that readers who haven’t read the previous chapters and volumes in a while would be reminded. If you’re binge reading this, I ask that you show some patience. Thank you.
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