Author: After ending that long blissful time…
It is now time for the curtains to rise for the meat of the Demon Lord subjugation!!
(Even though I have seen it in the game, it really gives off pressure on a whole different level here.) (Souma)
I once again looked at the biggest obstacles standing between us and the Demon Lord Castle. The dark clouds above and the blood pond boiling at the bottom.
The clouds of darkness floating in the sky moved as if asserting the wicked power in them, and the bright red blood pond below was so lively that its stench was wafting all the way here, bubbling as if waiting with boiling passion at prey.
However, Mitsuki, who is standing by my side, was completely expressionless even when looking at that hellscape.
Her cat ears instead were standing upright as if she herself was boiling with fighting spirit, and she looked at me as if urging me on.
“…Your order, please. If you so wish, I can be the first one to charge in.” (Mitsuki)
Those words that had her feelings subdued made my tiptoeing heart calm down.
We should have been preparing this whole time to overcome this.
This isn’t the time to be getting cold feet here.
“Let’s confirm before all that.” (Souma)
First of all, I took out the item that mitigates the damage of the lightning from the black clouds, the Mute Needle of Lightning Protection, and looked back at my comrades.
“Has everyone properly equipped their Water Dragon Ring?” (Souma)
When I asked this, everyone extended their hands to the front.
All of the hands had the Water Dragon Ring that has the special ability: [Negate the negative underwater terrain effects].
With this, our preparations to get through the blood pond are done.
“Alright! Let’s go!” (Souma)
I exchanged looks with everyone and took a step forward.
“Please wait! I will take the front…” (Mitsuki)
Mitsuki hurriedly went ahead of me.
“I don’t really like this, but it can’t be helped… I -the great mage and guide in muddied waters- order you, roar of the disastrous flood surging from cursed darkness…” (Sazan)
Receiving my signal, Sazan stood in front as if lining up with me and began mumbling something.
“A chant?! What in the world are you trying to…?!” (Mitsuki)
Mitsuki, who was left behind, was taken aback by me and him putting our arms to the front as if synchronized and…
““[Tidal Wave]!”” (Souma+Sazan)
We both activate the spell at the same time!
What happened after that was something that would have been impossible to happen in the real world.
An amount of water that would be impossible to explain unless you were to think the palm of our hands had been connected to the ocean began gushing out as if it were an actual flood.
A big tsunami that doesn’t bring shame to its name Tidal Wave surged out, and it ran down to the bottom of the crater in one go.
What laid at the end of it was the sinister castle of the Demon Lord.
That torrent of water that had decided to plunge to the bottom of the volcano didn’t slow down its momentum at all, and…
The shockwave of the waves crashing onto the castle was so strong it even reached all the way here.
“…Not a single scratch?” (Mitsuki)
But it is still the castle of the Demon Lord.
Even if it is now possible to destroy because of the world becoming real, it won’t even budge from just any shockwave.
But that was within expectations.
My objective wasn’t the castle to begin with.
“No, look closely. There should be a change.” (Souma)
Mitsuki strained her eyes at my words and raised her voice in surprise.
“The volume of water in the blood pond has increased?!” (Mitsuki)
I silently agreed at the gaze of Mitsuki.
It is the same as the time when I wet her clothes.
In this world, when you use water spells, the water from the effect of the spell will still remain.
This terrain is mortar shaped.
The massive amount of water born from the Tidal Wave will naturally accumulate at the bottom of the volcano and become a part of the blood pond.
This is my own way to deal with the blood pond.
Getting rid of it or taking a detour is not the only way to solve this.
—Fill up the blood pond with a massive amount of water, thin out its effect, and get through it.
That’s the answer I arrived at.
Even if the Water Dragon Ring has the special ability of nullifying the negative underwater effects and gives you underwater aptitude, it is not a given that this blood pond will be counted as being underwater, and I don’t know if it will go as far as nullifying the heat too.
But what if you change the blood pond into red lukewarm water by filling it with a massive amount of water?
The Water Dragon Ring will most likely show its effect, and even if not, we should be able to lower the threat of the blood pond to the minimum.
Thinking out of the box.
At first, I considered opening up a hole and draining the blood from the pond, but I soon reached the conclusion that that would be impossible.
The blood pond is at the very bottom of the Demon Lord Castle; at the bottom of the mortar shaped crater.
Thinking about the situation, it would be difficult to make a hole that would achieve the objective of draining it.
But that’s when I noticed…
—Even if I can’t drain it, no, it is exactly because we can’t drain it that it would instead be possible to accumulate water there.
No matter how similar but terrifying a blood pond is from water, it is still liquid.
That there’s a blood pond existing there means that there’s an environment set for liquid -for water- to accumulate.
That became the starting point for the countermeasures against the Demon Lord Castle.
“Not yet!” (Souma)
My plan isn’t complete by just thinning the blood pond once with magic.
Once the first spell ended, I finished the chant for the next spell soon after and…
“[Tidal Wave]!” (Souma)
I once again summon the Tidal Wave from the palm of my hand.
My magic really didn’t have enough effect to dent the Demon Lord Castle, but that’s fine.
The volume of water in the blood pond has clearly increased, and the red color is visibly thinner.
“Kuh! I -the great mage and guide in muddied waters…to hell with it, omit the rest! [Tidal Wave]!” (Sazan)
Sazan also casted his second Tidal Wave a bit after.
The biggest reason why I brought Sazan to this battle was to have him work here.
It would be troubling if he didn’t do his best at it.
The spell we are currently using, Tidal Wave, is an attack spell that prides on having the highest Area of Effect within water element spells.
The power isn’t that big of a deal, but when used on even ground, it has enough AOE to cover the whole field. It is detested by the Nekomimi Neko players as a pulling spell that aggroes all the monsters in that area.
Especially in the case of Sazan. For some reason, he specializes in water element after fire element magic, so he would often use this spell and pull unnecessary enemies, making this one of the reasons why the trend ‘Hateful Sazan!’ spread.
However, there’s no other character I can think of that can use this spell within the characters that haven’t been hit by the Blessing of the Demon Lord other than Sazan.
I had no choice but to use this spell together with Sazan. Though I may have bought the spell itself at the capital, my magic element proficiency was not enough.
That’s why, on the first day of the training, I continued stabbing the Master Torch with the water element spear I got at the Stream Cave to get that proficiency.
Of course, I appraised the level of everyone and, before I went training, I customized the Tidal Wave of Sazan, and I did the same on the last day of my training while also adjusting the spells of Ringo too.
As I confirmed before when talking about the Stardust Flare, the mana cost of a spell and its power isn’t affected by the visual effect of the spell.
No matter how much you lower its power, the amount of water will be the same, so I lowered its power to the bottom, and customized it in a way so that the casting time and MP cost is as low as possible.
Even with that, my MP was about to run out as I don’t have a job that specializes in magic.
“…Want to…recover?” (Ringo)
We have the MP Potions that Sazan bought beforehand.
Ringo would throw MP potions at me and Maki would at Sazan when our MP is about to run out.
The blood pond…no, the red water’s volume was steadily increasing, and this finally reached the entrance of the castle -to a height where the opened castle gate was at…
“Please stop at once!” (Mitsuki)
Mitsuki tried to stop me with her cat ears bouncing.
“You are overdoing it! At this rate, you are not only going to thin the blood pond, but also the Demon Lord Castle will be…could it be…?!” (Mitsuki)
I gave an evil grin at Mitsuki whose cat ears were frozen as if noticing something.
“It could be.” (Souma)
Thinning the blood pond is just the tip of the iceberg.
The plan that originates from that is the point of this time’s conquest.
“There’s no need to fight the enemy on their own stage, right? That’s why I was thinking about changing that field into one that’s convenient for us.” (Souma)
“Could it be that you are…” (Mitsuki)
“Yeah, it is probably exactly what you think, Mitsuki.” (Souma)
Mitsuki shook her cat ears to the sides as if she didn’t believe it, so I answered confidently.
“I will be sinking the Demon Lord Castle like this and turn that place into an underwater dungeon!” (Souma)
This is the second stage of the Demon Lord Castle conquest plan.
The details are as I explained just now.
The Demon Lord Castle is in a mortar shaped terrain, and there’s a blood pond at the very bottom.
If blood can be deposited there, there’s nothing stopping the idea of depositing water too.
And then, with a command that’s technically like a hidden trick, all the doors of the Demon Lord Castle are opened…
If we sink the castle in water, that water will flow into the castle, the Demon Lord Castle will turn into an underwater dungeon.
The monsters that don’t have underwater aptitude will drown.
To be more specific, their movements will decrease by a certain percent compared to when they were on land, and they will get hit with HP percent damage.
It won’t have any effect on the Demon Lord who has perfect resistance, but I doubt all the other monsters in the Demon Lord Castle have underwater aptitude.
If things go well, it would be possible to heavily weaken the monsters inside the castle.
When I explained it up to that point…
“…I see. So that’s the reason for the Water Dragon Ring.” (Mitsuki)
Mitsuki said this with a baffled tone for some reason.
I don’t know why she is baffled by this, but what she said is absolutely right.
The good part of this plan is that there’s barely any cons for us.
As long as we have the Water Dragon Rings, we won’t have any penalties from fighting inside the water.
Weakening the monsters in the castle is good.
And even if they don’t get weakened, we will simply be fighting on even ground.
We won’t lose anything no matter where it rolls.
“But what do you plan on doing if the monsters inside take this as an attack and come out?” (Mitsuki)
I answered with a smile at this question too.
“When that happens, we of course fight back. It is true that the clouds above are problematic, but fighting in a submerged location will be advantageous for us, and it is easier to fight than inside the castle because there’s more space and there’s no traps.
…Also, if it is here, you can fight at full power, right?” (Souma)
“You…really are…” (Mitsuki)
Mitsuki bends her cat ears as if she doesn’t know what to say here.
After that, her cat ears drifted as if searching for words, and she eventually opened her mouth with a gentle expression.
“How mysterious. If it is you…if it is with you, even an outrageous objective like defeating the Demon Lord feels unexpectedly possible.” (Mitsuki)
While still shooting magic without end…
“Of course! We will definitely defeat the Demon Lord! And we will all return with a smile!” (Souma)
I smiled back at Mitsuki.
“…Something like that, I guess.” (Souma)
A few minutes later, the Demon Lord Castle had completely been submerged into the bottom of the reddish water, and it could only be seen faintly.
Mitsuki worried about monsters coming out, but contrary to expectations, such a thing didn’t happen and the Demon Lord Castle was silent.
Despite raining tens to hundreds of spells, there was no movement from inside.
It is going well until now.
As the one who made the plan, this was going shockingly well.
(…What’s with this feeling as if something’s off?) (Souma)
Something…just doesn’t click here.
Since the moment I began the plan, no, this strange feeling since the moment I was formulating this plan.
I feel as if I am overlooking something -as if something is latching onto the back of my neck.
(No, I am overthinking it.) (Souma)
I quickly shook my head to the sides.
We have gotten this far.
We can’t just trash the plan just because of a bad feeling with no basis.
“We will be charging onto the Demon Lord Castle after 1 minute! The formation and positions will be as briefed prior!” (Souma)
When I shouted this, the energetic responses of my comrades came back.
Considering the respawning, we should be charging in at the time when the monsters are in critical state from the underwater damage.
If the plan is going well, we might be able to reach the room of the Demon Lord without suffering any losses.
While we were sinking the Demon Lord Castle in water with Tidal Wave, I told Mitsuki about the plan we had all the way to the room of the Demon Lord.
There’s no reason to worry…probably.
“…Souma…it is time.” (Ringo)
I raised my head at the words of Ringo.
And then, I muster strength to give the order to charge.
But suddenly, powerful chills pierced my body.
My legs which were going to take a step forward wobbled, and I cowered in place.
“What’s the matter?!” (Mitsuki)
The shouts of Ringo and Mitsuki rang in my ears.
But I can’t move my body.
That bad feeling I felt before.
If I had to classify it, it would be a ‘bad feeling’, but the strength of this is not on that level.
It had been amplified to physical levels, and it was foreboding something sinister.
(Right now…something…something is happening!!) (Souma)
I only had that certainty in this situation where I still didn’t understand anything.
There’s no way this ‘something’ that’s giving me this feeling will end with anything normal.
(At this rate, things will become irreversible!) (Souma)
This strange welling certainty.
The impatience is burning my chest.
Aside from the ‘bad feeling’ I felt just now…and the sensation that ‘I have been overlooking something’ that I have felt the whole time, I have no basis at all for this.
Is it really okay to stop such an important plan for something like this?
I just hesitated for a mere second.
“What’s the matter, Souma?!” (Maki)
“Y-You, what brought this up all of a su—” (Sazan)
“—Don’t come!” (Souma)
I shout with my everything at my comrades that were rushing to me one after the other.
No, I tried to shout.
“Everyone…hurry and get out of—” (Souma)
But I was a bit too late.
A presence swelled up from the back.
What entered my vision when I looked back was a pillar of light.
A dazzling pillar of light was extending from the bottom of the water, around the place where the Demon Lord Castle is at, going all the way to the sky.
“What? What’s that…?” (Souma)
That light pillar easily reached the sky and crashed onto the pitch black clouds.
But the surprising thing came after that.
“No way!” (Souma)
That light pillar…those clouds that shouldn’t be possible to move for anyone other than the Demon Lord…were blown off in an instant…
Those words reached my ears.
I thought it came out of my mouth, but that wasn’t it.
When I looked at my side, Sazan, who was looking at the light pillar, was holding his body as if restraining the fear taking over his body.
I hurriedly tried to help him out…but Sazan’s eyes were not looking at me.
His eyes were nailed at the light pillar piercing the heavens, his body trembling profusely.
“Such mana…is impossible. With this…it is like…” (Sazan)
There was no following to his words.
I once again glared at the light pillar while holding the trembling body of Sazan.
That light was finally dimming out little by little, and after a long while, it thinned out and disappeared.
“Is it…over…?” (Maki)
The low voice of Maki hammered the end of that phenomenon.
However, even when the light calmed down, our confusion didn’t.
Me as well…no, I am probably the most confused one here out of everyone.
I don’t know what’s going on here.
“I…I don’t know…of such an event…” (Souma)
I have not seen that pillar of light even once in the game.
I am currently facing the first completely unknown phenomenon since coming to this world.
A sight as imposing as that would have been uploaded on the net at least once.
No, even if not, there should have at least been witnesses testifying to this.
Me not knowing that means…
(This is a phenomenon that didn’t happen in the game?) (Souma)
And if something that didn’t happen in the game happened now…it means the reasons for that are limited.
(Could it be…) (Souma)
My heart was drumming to a painful extent.
‘Calm down’ I tell myself.
But no matter what I did, my rampaging heartbeat was not calming down.
(Could it be…could it be…) (Souma)
I want to believe that’s not the case.
But the ominous guess that surfaced in my mind was clutching onto me and not letting go.
(You must be kidding, right…?) (Souma)
It is something that wasn’t in the game but only exists in this world…
The black clouds in the sky that can only be affected by the Demon Lord.
Yet those black clouds were blown off.
No matter how you think about it, there’s only one person that fits the bill.
(Could it be that it really is…) (Souma)
That light just now was the Evil God’s…
But Maki suddenly raised a loud voice as if to cut off my speculation.
Wondering what Maki, who had an astonished expression on her face, had noticed, I asked as if latching onto her.
“Maki, do you know something?!” (Souma)
Being approached like that, Maki shook her hands to the front as if flustered.
“Eh, no, it is not like I know… But when you were talking about the Serious Mode and the Death Effect, I thought about it…” (Maki)
She pointed deep at the red water, at the Demon Lord Castle that can be seen faintly there even now as if she had done something bad, and said this.
“…Could it be that the Demon Lord-san…drowned and died just now?” (Maki)