I had fallen asleep at some point in time.
I was woken up by the voice of someone…or at least that’s how it is supposed to be, but it seems like Rifreya, who was sleeping by my side, is still asleep.
—A scary one is coming.
—Run, run, run.
—The scary one is really close.
This time around, I heard it clearly.
Also, on the lower floor…
From the depths of the bottomless swamp of darkness, I could feel something that was like a mass of spirit energy.
“Rifreya, wake up! It is the Demon Lord!” (Hikaru)
“…Eh? Wa?! I fell asleep?” (Rifreya)
“It is okay, just get ready. We are going up for now. It would be impossible to fight here.” (Hikaru)
I pack up the blanket into the Shadow Storage, and wear my overcoat.
I unsheath my shortsword, make preparations for battle as we head up to the 3rd Floor.
Alex and his party were sleeping with a campfire in the middle in front of the stairs.
It seems like one is awake to serve as a watch. If I remember correctly, Jojordan, I think.
“Jojordan! The Demon Lord has come! Wake up everyone! We are facing it here!” (Hikaru)
“Eh eh eh, Demon Lord?!” (Jojordan)
Jojordan falls practically into panic at the sudden development.
He hurriedly stood up, and at that moment, he ended up kicking the hunting horn that is blown for the moment when the Demon Lord is found that was by his side.
The hunting horn rolled with good momentum, and it unluckily went in the direction of the stairs.
The hunting horn made *kon kon* echoing sounds as it disappeared into the darkness of the lower floor.
“Y-You idiot! What are you doing?!” (Hikaru)
“S-Sorry! That’s cause you suddenly said the Demon Lord appeared!” (Jojordan)
“Monsters appear suddenly!” (Hikaru)
Jojordan is most likely not a warrior but specialized solely as a Spirit User.
Judging from the color of his hair, maybe he is a Water Spirit User?
“What’s the matter?! Ah, Rifreya-san!” (Alex)
“Eh?! Eh?!” (Crabbell)
“The Demon Lord is close approaching, so get ready at once!” (Hikaru)
Alex and Crabbell have woken up as well, but it doesn’t seem like they have understood the situation yet.
“What should we do, Hikaru? Wouldn’t it be better to go down and search for the hunting horn?” (Rifreya)
“…No, I don’t think we will make it in time anymore.” (Hikaru)
I can feel an enormous pressure approaching from the lower floor. I don’t have the courage at all to go down.
I don’t even want to imagine facing a Demon Lord in a place with bad footing.
“W-What do we do?! This is all because I kicked the hunting horn!” (Jojordan)
Jojordan moves around restlessly.
“We have to call people regardless. The party of Alex, please run to the stairs leading to the 2nd Floor and get a hunting horn!” (Hikaru)
The 3rd Floor has dense mist, so they won’t be able to find other parties so easily.
However, they can encounter monsters.
If they do, they have no choice but to fight. It would be impossible for Jojordan to get to the entrance of the 3rd Floor alone. Even Rifreya would have a hard time achieving that.
The only ones with a chance would be me and Alex who are Chosen. And so, if Alex is leaving, it would be better for the whole party to go as well.
I don’t know the fighting style of Crabbell and Jojordan, so there wouldn’t be any coordination.
“Ah, Hikaru! More importantly…” (Rifreya)
Rifreya suddenly stuck her body to mine and whispered to my ear.
Alex and his party made dubious expressions.
“Wa, what’s the matter?” (Hikaru)
“…Keep it down. You are a Loved One, so you might be able to lure the Demon Lord. How about pulling it to the entrance of the 3rd Floor rather than pushing ourselves into a fight here?” (Rifreya)
“I see!” (Hikaru)
The problem is the distance, but it is said that the detection range of Great Spirits for Loved Ones is around 100 meters.
If the Demon Lord is around the same range, then it might chase after me if it senses me.
If it is 100 meters, it is a distance that I can barely manage to catch with my eye in this floor.
“Change of plans! Let’s all move to the 3rd Floor! Rifreya and I will take the rear, so you guys defeat the monsters that show up please -as fast as possible.” (Hikaru)
“G-Got it! By the way, Hikaru, did you see the Demon Lord? What was it like?” (Alex)
“I still haven’t seen it! If it had approached the point of being visible, we would already be fighting!” (Hikaru)
I stare at the stairs leading to the lower floor.
“[Dark Sense]!” (Hikaru)
I don’t know what the Demon Lord is like, so I use Dark Sense.
The range of this Ability is around 100 meters.
“Not there, huh.” (Hikaru)
But the pressure has increased further than before.
—It has come.
—Scary, you are going to be eaten.
The Spirits were whispering to me from faraway, or from right by my ear.
I also want to run away just as those voices say.
But I can’t run away here.
I have to catch the Demon Lord on camera in order to get 1st place and revive Nanami.
“Alex! Do you know the shortest route to the entrance?” (Hikaru)
“Yeah, leave it to me! I properly have it in my head.” (Alex)
“How many Points left?” (Hikaru)
“Sorry, I used them as I got them and I barely have any Crystals left.” (Alex)
I only have 48 Crystals, so 1 Point and a little left over.
Well, if worst comes to worst, I can use 1 Point to buy a Barrier Stone.
Would it be better to buy it beforehand?
—It has come!
I heard a specially loud voice, and I turned my head towards the stairs.
Inside the darkness leading to the 4th Floor, I could faintly see a flame dancing like a snake.
That light was practically only a small spot at the beginning, but it appeared as if a flower bloomed and disappeared continuously, and the size gradually increased.
The distance of the flame was slowly decreasing.
And then, the moment I saw the contours of that something that was releasing the fire, cold sweat gushed out from my back.
“It is here! Run!” (Hikaru)
There’s most likely already 100 meters between us.
Anyways, we have to regroup with the other explorers.
There’s 3 groups of 3 parties each that are searching for the Demon Lord on this floor.
Turning that around, it means that you can’t deal with a Demon Lord unless you have that many people.
(They said the latter half were formed mainly of silver rank parties. We have to let them know at once with the hunting horn to call the first half strong parties here or things are gonna get bad.) (Hikaru)
It is regrettable that the hunting horn was lost, but there’s no point in lamenting it now.
The legs of silver rank explorers are fast.
We are talking about people who have had their bodies boosted by the rise in Tier after all.
The instant I began running in order to escape…
A deafening sound was made and swirling fire spouted out from the stairs, and I ended up looking back reflexively.
I had some distance from it, so it didn’t hit me directly, but I ended up completely making eye-contact with the abnormal being that came out after the fire.
“This is…the Demon Lord…!” (Hikaru)
- Chapter 099: Viscount Rank and Chaotic Increase
It was fear taken form.
By just seeing its figure, my back froze, and my legs trembled.
A monsters that is superior in a whole other realm than the Garden Panther and the Mantis —a Demon Lord.
Drool dripping to the ground with vicious fangs peeking out from that wolf’s head.
A long and thick snake tail that is moving freely as if it had a mind of its own.
Thick and powerful feline limbs that make me think are from a beast of prey.
On top of that, every time its groans were resonating, fire would spew out.
It is as big as a Garden Panther, and it has an overall length of 5 meters.
I can’t even imagine me defeating it with the offensive means I have.
“[Summon: Night Bug]!”
I activated 2 Abilities and they went to stop the Demon Lord.
I quickly bring out a Lizardman Spirit Stone from the Shadow Storage.
There’s a slight time lag from the time the Ability is used until the time the stone becomes an undead.
The Demon Lord was staring straight at me, so I really am being targeted as a Loved One. It doesn’t seem like it is interested in Rifreya who is closeby.
Maybe because it just came up to the 3rd Floor, it didn’t attack us immediately, and it was observing us while growling.
Or maybe it is being wary about the light of Create Undead.
(But Loved One, huh… Will Darkness Fog…work…?) (Hikaru)
What’s important is whether to fight the Demon Lord or keep it distracted.
Whichever it is, we have to try and see first.
“[Darkness Fog]!” (Hikaru)
The thick darkness that gushed out as if oozing from the air dyed the white misty world into black.
I moved in that darkness without making a sound.
(How’s that…?) (Hikaru)
The Demon Lord moved back slightly at the sudden darkness, directed its face to the left and the right, making clear gestures of searching for me.
(Alright… Looks like it is working.) (Hikaru)
I don’t know what the Demon Lords and Great Spirits detect from the Loved Ones.
It might be the smell, maybe the appearance, but what I think is the most plausible possibility is Spirit Energy. In that case, Spirit Abilities which are made up from that Spirit Energy should serve as a jamming of sorts.
Whichever the case, if Darkness Fog is doing its work, that’s fine.
If only I could incapacitate it inside the fog, I wouldn’t have any complaints, but I am sure it won’t be so easy.
While all of that was happening, the Phantom Warrior came close to the Demon Lord.
The Demon Lord at least took a battle stance against the Phantom Warrior that was making noise while advancing, and directed its attention there.
The moment the Lizardman had taken form, I immediately ordered it.
“Fight! Focus on defense, and fight in a way so that you can buy as much time and last as long as possible!” (Hikaru)
This Lizardman Undead has a shield.
It shouldn’t be defeated instantly.
“[Shadow Bind]!” (Hikaru)
After giving that order, I bind the Demon Lord and run full speed.
The effect of the bind will only serve as consolation, but it is better than not doing anything.
Rifreya, who ran off, first looked back as if worried.
I could hear the sound of clashing from the back.
The battle of the Lizardman and the Demon Lord must have begun.
I operate the Status Board while running and tap the Monster Appraisal.
It uses 1 Crystal in possession.
[Marchosias: Demon Lord. A Demon Lord that has the head of a wolf, the limbs of a lion, and the tail of a snake. It breathes out fire, and can use chaotic abilities even if it is low grade. Your average explorer can’t hope to oppose it. A Demon Lord is a special monster born solely from Chaotic Spirit Energy, and it is the natural enemy of humanity which controls Chaotic Spirit Abilities -Demonic Abilities. Demon Lords are born at a certain rate when it reaches a threshold. If the density of the demonic swirls is properly managed, the Demon Lord born won’t be that strong. It can move between floors, and there’s even times when it would come out from the dungeon. A Demon Lord that has come out to the outside will be eliminated by a Great Spirit, but if the Demon Lord is strong, there’s even cases where the Great Spirit would lose. In those cases, that land would be ruled by chaos, and would turn into Hell. The appraised target is a Viscount Class Demon Lord. The Spirit Stone drop rate is: 100% Chaotic.]
But I understand now after skimming through it.
There’s no doubt that’s the Demon Lord.
And it seems like the Demon Lord uses something called chaotic abilities.
That it uses unknown abilities means that there’s no knowing what it will do.
I must be careful.
When I looked back, I saw the Lizardman perishing by the fangs of Marchosias.
To think it would be defeated so easily in just a few tens of seconds. Even if I already expected this, it is basically in the pretty bad estimations I had. I should adjust the information I have of a Demon Lord’s power.
It is at a barely visible distance. Thanks to the undead, we have bought around 100 meters.
Even so, the 3rd Floor is big. There should be around 1km till the stairs up.
900 meters remaining. Can we somehow escape—
“Hikaru! S-Something’s strange!” (Rifreya)
When I look back, Marchosias made what could be taken as a growl or a cry, took a step as if grabbing the ground, and placed strength on its limbs.
As if it were about to give birth to something.
“The Spirit Energy…is rising…? What’s going on…?” (Hikaru)
I ended up stopping unconsciously. It is hard to judge whether I should run or observe, but I couldn’t take my eyes off it.
At the center of the swirling Spirit Energy, I could certainly feel the increase in density.
Something clicked in me.
“R-Rifreya…you said something about something happening when the Demon Lords went up floors, right?” (Hikaru)
“Yeah, that’s right! When Demon Lords go up a floor, they get one step stronger. If I remember correctly, they obtain one more chaotic nature…” (Rifreya)
The moment Rifreya said that…
From the back of Marchosias, jet black wings came out from its back with a bone-chilling sound.
Monsters get stronger the more mixed they are; that’s apparently common sense in this world.
Then, how strong is that Demon Lord?
Wolf head, lion body, snake tail, and wings of a Steller’s sea eagle.
Its red eyes were looking straight at me and Rifreya.
But the Demon Lord didn’t rush immediately towards us, and repeatedly flapped its newly grown wings as if confirming their state.
“Hikaru! Is it…intending to fly…?” (Rifreya)
“Most likely. Damn it! We have no preparations for flying enemies… Anyways, let’s run!” (Hikaru)
The last time I looked back at it was at the moment when the Demon Lord spread its big wings and rose to the air.
Even Rifreya was agitated by this.