After clearing the [Transfer Labyrinth], we were progressing at a good pace once again.
However, given that half a day had already passed since the [War] began, our dungeon conquest was simply taking too much time.
I hadn’t imagined that beating a dungeon that focused on stalling would be this difficult.
This should serve as a good lesson, at the very least.
Compared to the Marcho-rescue campaign, we were facing significantly fewer enemy troops. Maybe not even a tenth of what we faced back then.
But through the skillful use of dungeon rooms that were hard to traverse as well as dungeon rooms that had many traps, we had spent more time now than back then. And that wasn’t yet factoring the dungeon rooms that remained.
The [Pig] Demon Lord’s methods were a valuable lesson indeed.
At the moment, we were resting in one of the hard-to-traverse rooms.
My monsters had begun to show signs of fatigue, so I decided to call for a respite before proceeding to the next room. They took recovery potions to enhance their magic power and stamina recovery.
And, to make better use of this downtime, the Abyss Howls made a Transfer array and went back to Avalon together with the broken golems and the heavily wounded monsters. A few moments later, they returned with a Mithril Golem that carried as much ammunitions and potions as it could.
So long as one had monsters that could use Transfer as well as the opportunity to make Transfer arrays, going home and then back to the frontlines was possible, meaning fighting force reorganization was relatively simple.
While at it, I also made an Ocean Singer go back to Avalon to check on the status back there. That Ocean Singer then relayed to me the report that Duke gave.
“Duke’s really amazing. Ever so dependable.”
It seemed like Duke and Ruhe were doing well.
They had destroyed the attacking force sent their way. Duke then used his [Enhanced Resurrection] on noteworthy enemy monsters and converted them to our side.
Duke’s [Enhanced Resurrection] had limited uses per day, and he had used all but two instances of it. These two instances were being reserved for when other, more noteworthy monsters show up. But in the case no more reinforcements came or no better ones at least, he did have candidates prepared that were preserved before they turned into blue particles.
But then again, if we broke the crystal too soon, those preserved monsters would vanish as well.
As such, Duke decided that if no better monsters arrive within three hours, he would just make use of the preserved monsters.
This was a chance to gain units that rivaled A rank monsters.
Curation of which ones to resurrect was critically important and Duke was wise to recognize that.
“The end is in sight, everyone! Let’s go!”
Revitalized by the rest, my monsters enthusiastically replied to me.
This time as well, we’re going to win without losing anybody.
After always being in the front and acting as our shield, half of the Avalon-Ritters were broken, but they could simply be repaired later on. As for my monsters, many were wounded, but no deaths. They should recover completely given time.
Another three hours had passed since we took that break.
It was plain to see that the [Pig] Demon Lord’s forces were acting strangely.
It was as if all chain of command had vanished. It was just monster after monster charging at us recklessly. It was almost as if they attacking more out of fear of something than anything else.
If they were going to attack without any sort of plan, then the outcome would be decided by the quality of the monsters involved, which our side definitely had the upper hand in.
The more Avalon-Ritters were damaged, the more the three knights were seeing deployment.
And of particular note was the black knight.
According to Rorono, the black knight was rather plain compared to the other two.
Compared to the heavily-armored red knight that also had an extraordinarily large right arm and the wings-for-limbs white knight, yeah, the black knight’s appearance was indeed on the tamer side of things.
The black knight had a slender form and an elegantly designed humanoid body.
The idea was for it to have a skeletal frame that could do more varied movements than a human’s could, artificial muscles that offered excellent flexibility, and multiple, powerful boosters that provided mobility and attitude control.
With those concepts in mind, I thought it was going to be relatively normal, but after seeing it fight, I could say for certain that the black knight was another weird golem.
Its battle style involved two swords and two guns.
The Avalon-Ritters could barely wield their new heavy machineguns, but the black knight was wielding two of them. The two large swords it wielded were blade-forming ones.
It wielded those weapons all at once. And yet, despite that, it displayed such refined movements.
Not only that, in each fight, in each passing second, its movements became better and better.
It was learning.
“Rorono, what happened to being multi-purpose and generic? In the end, it’s just another flashy golem, isn’t it?”
“It’s more useful this way”
The reason it was able to wield two swords and two guns at once was simple enough: it had four arms.
If you think about it, it’s quite obvious. The more arms a golem had, the more useful it was.
“But master, it actually has more than four arms.”
Previously hidden arms then appeared and changed the magazines of the black knight’s guns.
That was in the midst of battle and without skipping a beat.
The ability to make the golems into whatever form the maker wanted it to be could be said to be one of the golems’ greatest strengths. There was no sense in limiting it to have only two arms, or four for that matter.
When on standby, the black knight hid its two unused arms and sub-arms in its back.
“Mhm, this marks the completion of the experiment to test the three knights’ abilities. Master, it’d be kind of sad if we continue to call them as just red knight, white knight, and black knight. Please consider giving each one a name. Unlike monsters, naming them wouldn’t have any adverse effects on you or your powers.”
“I understand. I’ll think on it. Considering their abilities, their strengths, and that they would serve as one of Avalon’s trump cards, a bit of special treatment for them should be alright.”
I’ll have to think up of good names for them. Names that will easily give an idea of what each did best.
But now that trying them out in the battlefield was over, what I was looking forward to next was their mass production. And if only one could be mass produced, it would most likely be the black knight. The red knight and the white knight were strong, but their uses seemed somewhat more situational.
At any rate, having finished the current dungeon room and the enemies within it, it was time to move to the next.
The next dungeon room was a lot like a party hall.
Red carpets were laid down, the whole place was filled with first-class furnishings, and there were even chandeliers in the ceiling. The [Pig] Demon Lord’s ostentatious tastes were well represented in this room.
Excluding the place where the [Pig] Demon Lord’s crystal was in, this could possibly be the last area in his dungeon.
The moment I stepped foot in the room, I felt a change in the air.
The scent of blood was thick. There was also a chomp chomp sound, as though someone was chewing loudly on something juicy.
Right when an awful stench hit my nose, I felt an unpleasant power. A dark power.
…a dark power that I was familiar with. After all, I had been enthralled by it. By [Awakening].
So, this this how it feels, how awful it feels from an outsider’s point of view.
As for the source of the chomping sound, it was in the center of the room.
There, where the red carpet was redder still, the [Pig] Demon Lord was busily munching on his ally.
Marcho had told me about his [Pig] ability, but we knew nothing of it after [Awakening] was activated.
It was dangerous, that much I knew though.
There might be exceptions, but typically, the greater the risks and tradeoffs, the stronger the ability was. Given that, there was no way that an ability that required the user to sacrifice and devour their allies to activate could ever be weak.
From this scene of carnage, I surmised something: the more monsters he ate, the stronger he got.
But for him to get this strong, how many has he eaten? Tens? Hundreds?
“…attack. Crush him.”
Thankfully, even though we had entered the room, he was so preoccupied with eating that he hasn’t noticed us yet.
Killing him now would save us a lot of trouble.
There was nothing cowardly or underhanded about this. We were in a [War], after all.
The first ones to make a move were the three knights.
The red knight charged at him by setting its thrusters to max; the white knight flew and then fired at him using the rifle installed in its nose cone; while the black knight fired from a distance using its two heavy machineguns.
Per Rorono’s instructions, the three knights activated [Burst Drive]. [Burst Drive] could only be initiated by the golems that were installed with twin-drive golem cores. By overloading the cores to the point that the overflowing magic power produced light, the golems could temporarily gain power that rivaled even S rank monsters.
One attack from any of the knights could kill most monsters. And all three knights were simultaneously attacking.
The red knight’s metallic stake made a thunderous sound as it hit the [Pig] Demon Lord’s chest.
The white knight’s high caliber rifle made a direct hit on his temple.
The black knight’s heavy machineguns were continuously showering him with bullets.
The metallic stake broke into pieces upon contact, the high-caliber bullet wasn’t even able to leave a scratch, and the barrage of the heavy machineguns’ bullets did nothing more than tickle.
The [Pig] Demon Lord roared.
Right after, he grabbed the red knight’s right arm, ripped it off, and then mightily threw it. The right arm easily and instantly accelerated to three times the speed of sound before colliding into the white knight, causing the latter to fall to the ground.
Meanwhile, the black knight approached and swung the swords it held. However, the magic-power-based blades that were supposed to be able to cut anything wasn’t able to cut his skin.
Agares retaliated via a punch that had a big windup and was therefore obviously telegraphed. It was the kind of attack that the black knight, which possessed a learning brain, could easily avoid. However, the punch itself was just too fast. So, even though the black knight anticipated the punch and moved in advance, it was still caught.
The punch destroyed the black knight’s armor, blew it far away until it hit a wall, and ultimately rendered it out of commission.
In an instant, the three knights were decimated.
Impossible, I wanted to cry out.
But then, the [Pig] Demon Lord looked at me. His eyes glowed red. He was just like a starved, wild beast.
“Proccceeeeeeeeeeellllllllllllllllll! You! I kill youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!!!”
He declared so and then leapt toward me.
There were hundreds of meters between us, so I thought there was no way he was going to reach me right away. But his speed and momentum proved otherwise. In an instant, he was almost before me…
“Master!? Move, Avalon-Ritters! Protect him!”
Rorono hurriedly gave instructions to the Avalon-Ritters which then formed a wall.
However, the [Pig] Demon Lord just continued to charge through as though the Avalon-Ritters’ defensive wall was nothing but a glass wall.
His muscles had swelled to twice its size before; his skin had become so much tougher and thicker to the point that it was almost like a suit of armor; and his face had become that of a demon’s.
It was like seeing a nightmare.
And now, the fist that destroyed the Avalon-Ritters were coming for me. My death was imminent…
“You won’t get to kill Oto-san, not while Kuina’s here!”
A girl’s hand caught and stopped the [Pig] Demon Lord’s fist.
The girl was Kuina.
The size difference between her hand and his fist was almost surreal, and yet her little hand was tightly holding his fist without a twitch.
Kuina’s whole body was currently wrapped in golden flames.
Moreover, she had changed into her adult form–into her real form.
She had grown taller, certain parts became developed, and her normally charming and fluffy tail became even more so. Also, any signs of childishness vanished from her face, turning her into an absolutely stunning beauty.
She was in her younger form only to conserve energy. But then again, even though it was called that, there weren’t many monsters that could force her to fight seriously and assume her true form.
“Oto-san, Rorono-chan, Tiro, Kuina wants to go all out against him. The chance to fight seriously doesn’t come a lot, so please don’t get involved until one of us is dead, ok?”
Kuina said so after blasting away the [Pig] Demon Lord with a burst of her flames. The blast left behind a trail of fire, which Kuina followed to get to the enemy.
If the only concern was winning, making Kuina fight along with Rorono and Tiro was the way to go, but when considering the future, it would be more beneficial to make Kuina fight alone so that she could get more experience in fighting a strong enemy by herself.
“Alright, but if you lose, prepare to be punished, you hear?”
“’Kay ♪! An enemy aside from Fel-chan that won’t go down easily even after Kuina gets serious, Kuina will enjoy this fully!”
Kuina was always suppressing her power, so I didn’t really notice, but she was so strong now that even I, her ally, got a chill down my spine.
Afterwards, Kuina stylishly beckoned the [Pig] Demon Lord to come at her with all he got.
In response, the latter roared furiously.
The question now was which between the [Pig] Demon Lord—who obtained extraordinary power via [Awakening]—and Kuina—who was my strongest monster—was the real beast.
Please consider supporting me. You can do this either by turning off adblock for this blog or via my Patreon page. Thank you.