After learning about what happened to Comrade, Blue and I decided to head to where the Green Demon Lord is.
3 Demon Lords, Dyuvuleori, Rakura, Ilias, Wolfe, and Mix; the usual entourage.
There’s also one other coming along. A young knight called Kayle who is affiliated to the Leano Division.
“…I-Isn’t this too high?” (Kayle)
“Daruagestia wouldn’t be able to fly well if it is too low.” (Ekdoik)
Kayle has been assigned to keep an eye on Ilias and the others.
He may not be skilled, but he said that he has a specialty that compensates for that.
There’s no one who would have doubted it if it was something Marito said, but Kayle is already overwhelmed by everyone here.
“Ekdoik, the boundary between the Gahne Nether and the Taizu Nether will soon come to sight. Don’t forget to be on guard of the surroundings.” (Blue)
We can’t head to the Taizu Nether directly from Taizu. It is because the Black Demon Lord Killer Mountain is on the way.
There’s no one who knows the detection and attack range of the Mana Eater that lives there.
We must avoid the risk of being detected by the worst monster that can devour even the Scarlet Demon Lord and Black Demon Lord.
We headed to the Gahne territory first, and headed to the Taizu Nether through the Gahne Nether.
“What kind of place is the Taizu Nether? There hasn’t been any human who has taken a step into the Taizu Nether. I would like you to share information if you have any.” (Ekdoik)
“We also don’t know the whole picture of it. However, ya should be able to tell immediately how abnormal it is with just a glance, right?” (Gold)
“What do you mean by—” (Ekdoik)
I spoke that much and understood what she meant.
There’s a giant forest covering my vision.
The Mejis Nether, Gahne Nether, and Kuama Nether all felt like barren wastelands.
But the Taizu Nether is covered with an abundant amount of plants.
“Hooh, plants are growing normally despite being a Nether, huh.” (Mix)
“It is not normal, right? You will be able to tell once we get further in, you know?” (Purple)
Daruagestia was flying through the sky of the Taizu Nether while Mix was tilting her head.
And then, the horizon…and the horizon…
“This is…” (Ekdoik)
The speed of Daruagestia is the same.
We should have already arrived to what can be seen, and yet, we still haven’t reached the boundary.
What this means is that the forest that we could see from afar was getting steadily bigger.
The size is clearly different.
They are ten times the size of normal trees.
“Plants exist in the Taizu Nether. But the size of them are so big they are incomparable to that of the human realm. It must be because of the mana of Green though… Daruagestia, raise the altitude more!” (Blue)
Daruagestia raised the altitude further as we advanced.
We finally feel as if we have entered the Taizu Nether after going over the trees.
The mana in the air is far denser than that of other Nethers. If the barrier covering our bodies were to be cut off, we would soon feel adverse effects on our bodies.
“…It is not like you are flying parallel to the ground, right?” (Rakura)
“That’s right. We are currently advancing while raising the altitude. The vegetation in this Nether gets bigger and bigger the closer you are to the center.” (Blue)
“The place where the castle of green is in. Seriously, bigger doesn’t mean better!” (Blue)
The area around the ground is always pitch black with such giant trees. Even the protruding roots are the same as trying to get over ramparts.
Going through the place by foot would be quite difficult.
If we hadn’t used Daruagestia, even going straight would have been…
“I don’t see monsters.” (Ekdoik)
“There are…if you get down. They are all big, so I don’t want to deal with them. But flying types like wyverns might pop up. Well, there’s rarely any reckless monster who would attack a big monster like Daruagestia.” (Blue)
“That’s true.” (Ekdoik)
“The strong monsters apparently have their territories in the center. It should be peaceful for a while more.” (Gold)
Just how big will this forest become? It makes me think there’s no limit.
I can tell Ilias and the others are overwhelmed by this sight they see for the first time.
The only ones who seem unfazed are the 3 Demon Lords and Dyuvuleori.
“By the way, Gold, you went together with me because you knew that would happen, right?” (Purple)
“The Taizu King told me beforehand after all.” (Gold)
“…That farce… That was in bad taste, you know?” (Purple)
“We wouldn’t have been able to calm ya down otherwise. I didn’t know Dyuvuleori would be the one doing the calming though.” (Gold)
“Really? I should have invaded Gahne.” (Purple)
“If ya had done that, ya would still be an enemy to Ser.” (Gold)
“I think that would have sparked a new meeting, you know?” (Purple)
“There’s no decent Demon Lord.” (Blue)
“Are you to speak?” (Purple)
“Yer the one saying that?” (Gold)
“What’s with you two?!” (Blue)
One that rules a nation, one that continues dreaming, one that continues fighting; the Demon Lords have their own individual traits.
Then, what kind of person is the Green Demon Lord?
“Blue, what kind of person is the Green Demon Lord?” (Ekdoik)
“…Let’s see…an arrogant Taizu King, I guess.” (Blue)
“Aah, true. That sounds about right.” (Gold)
“It fits.” (Purple)
“An arrogant Ani-sama… That’s nice in its own way…” (Mix)
“His lack of mercy is on a level of its own though? Blue and I were close to being killed by Green, you know?” (Purple)
“Now that I think back on it, that was some terrible flying spark.” (Blue)
According to what they have said, at the time when they were given their powers by Yugura, the Demon Lords would end up in disputes with the slightest of things.
Especially the Scarlet Demon Lord and Green Demon Lord. They wouldn’t get along with each other, and it even devolved into trying to kill each other.
Blue and the Purple Demon Lord were caught up in that and left on the brink of death. They apparently would have definitely died if not for the interference of Yugura and the Black Demon Lord.
“That Scarlet Demon Lord…”
“He is without doubt the strongest within the Demon Lords that are currently alive. I think he is better than Scarlet in the fact that he won’t become an enemy if left alone, but he is the worst type to interact with for long periods of time.” (Blue)
“I thought everyone was going to die without exception when Green and Black fought.” (Gold)
“I was grateful for Yugura at that time alone, you know?” (Purple)
I can’t get a good picture, but it seems like there’s no doubt he is a difficult person to deal with.
Will the negotiation wrap up peacefully?
No, can we even reach the place of the Green Demon Lord safely in the first place?
“—Something is coming.” (Ekdoik)
Clear hostility was directed at us.
I managed to confirm that a giant shadow had taken flight from the forest further ahead of my vision.
That figure still overwhelms me despite having been shown footage of it in Gahne Castle before.
It is slightly smaller than Daruagestia, but it is still a size that I haven’t seen from monsters of other Nethers.
It seems like the dragon that showed up isn’t planning on welcoming us into its territory.
“Calm down, Kayle. It is true that it is a strong monster, but it is not something we can’t deal with.” (Ekdoik)
“That’s right. Daruagestia, teach it the difference of your level!” (Blue)
Daruagestia charged at the dragon that appeared in front of us without faltering.
I wrap up our bodies to the bones of Daruagestia with chains in order to not get shaken off.
The Purple Demon Lord used the devils she was wearing, and Dyuvuleori casted a barrier at her side.
Daruagestia and the dragon clash violently in the sky.
Their claws and fangs collide, and we could feel strong vibrations at each instance.
Their size may be almost the same, but Daruagestia is a monster that has surpassed Unique Rank. It has an overwhelming advantage when it comes to strength.
The arm swung by Daruagestia landed straight onto the head of the dragon, and the dragon fell.
“Hmph! How’s that?! Don’t think Daruagestia is your regular skeleton dragon!” (Blue)
“Blue has quite the dangerous monster serving her. Who is stronger between Daruagestia and Dyuvuleori?” (Gold)
“So she asks, Dyuvuleori?” (Purple)
Dyuvuleori’s body moves slightly with the Purple Demon Lord moving her gaze at him.
From what I have heard, Dyuvuleori stood in the path of the Purple Demon Lord, ignoring her orders.
He hasn’t said a word until now, most likely because he feels bad about that.
“Oh? Have no intention of answering?” (Purple)
“…It is true that Daruagestia is strong. It would be above me when it comes to a pure contest of strength.” (Dyuvuleori)
“I see. Does that mean you can’t win?” (Purple)
“It is possible if necessary.” (Dyuvuleori)
“—So it seems?” (Purple)
“I see. Then, want to pit them against each other some other time? Daruagestia is definitely stronger!” (Blue)
“I wonder about that.” (Purple)
“Ya people, this isn’t the time to be getting competitive, ya know?” (Gold)
It is just as the Gold Demon Lord says.
After the dragon just before fell, dragons began to appear from the forest one after the other.
There’s more than a dozen of them. There’s even some that are the same size as Daruagestia.
“They seem to be angered after a nearby brethren was defeated. Can you get through them?” (Ekdoik)
“Who do you think you are talking to? It is going to be easy, right, Daruagestia?” (Blue)
Daruagestia roared and began to fight the dragons.
It looks like we won’t need to help out—
“…You think you can get through them?” (Ekdoik)
“…I-It is okay.” (Blue)
Dragons from deeper in began to show up from the forest, most likely reacting to the roar of Daruagestia.
And there were even bigger dragons than Daruagestia amongst them.
The forest is noisy.
Looks like there are visitors in the Taizu Nether.
I observe them through the trees of the Nether.
“A dragon made out of bones… The ones riding its back are… Oh?”
I have not heard about their detailed appearance, but judging from the mana waves, there’s no doubt the other Demon Lords are there.
Moreover, it is not only one.
If they were just plain outsiders, it would have been fine for me to just get rid of them by myself, but…let’s bring this matter to my lord.
I walked through the corridor and headed to the room where My King is sleeping in.
He is someone that would get in a bad mood just from speaking to him unless it is quite the important matter, but if Demon Lords have appeared, he should at least hear about it.
“My King, excuse the intrusion while you sleep.”
I open the door and check the state inside.
Deep inside the pulsing trees, I see the movement of a silhouette through the canopy bed covered in cloth.
“—You are disrupting my sleep, Niruryates?”
An angered voice rang in the room.
My King really is fearsome.
If I mistake my response here, he would definitely kill me -a demon- without hesitation.
But that’s lovely.
“Intruders have shown up in the Taizu Nether. Demon Lords are within their midst. Gold Demon Lord, Blue Demon Lord, and Purple Demon Lord.” (Niru)
“And what of it?”
Ah, this might be no good. I might die here.
“B-But! I thought I could bring you a rare report in such a long while!” (Niru)
“Don’t get noisy just from a slight hint of death. Want to become a seedbed?”
“Of course I would! Also, I don’t want to!” (Niru)
“…If they reach the castle, guide them here. I don’t mind leaving them be until then.”
Ah, he went back to sleep.
Hehe, looks like I have survived today as well!
Yup, yup, this thrill of teetering between life and death…I can’t get enough of it~! …Oops, this isn’t the time to be soaking in euphoria.
“Then, I shall do so.” (Niru)
I bowed and exited the room.
It seems My King has no interest at all even though they are Demon Lords.
The reality is that, even if they are called Demon Lords, my lord is on a different level in the literal sense of the word, so it can’t be helped.
Right now when the Black Demon Lord doesn’t exist, My King would be able to easily end not only the humans but even the other Demon Lords with his power that surpasses logic.
My King shows no interest in almost everything due to this.
That’s why he continues sleeping -until the day when someone who draws his interest more than dreaming shows up.
“Hmm, what should I do? Even though I feel like an event that will awaken my lord is soon going to happen… Well, I will at least receive them when they get close.” (Nuri)
I jump from the back of Daruagestia and swing my sword onto a dragon in the sky.
Even if I were to slash them down normally, the range of it would be negligible.
I concentrate mana onto the tip of my sword, create a mana blade, and expand the slicing area.
The skin of dragons are several times tougher than a rock, but they are not using any techniques at all like mana strengthening.
In that case, it should be possible to deal damage.
I cut down its wings and used the falling dragon as a footstool to land on Daruagestia.
I have Ekdoik pull me back with his chains to compensate for the remaining distance.
“Ilias, can you do it?” (Ekdoik)
“No issues. There’s a lot, but I wouldn’t want to clash against that big one.” (Ilias)
“Same. Everyone might get dropped if those arms were to be swung near the back.” (Ekdoik)
“I think Daruagestia wouldn’t lose!” (Blue)
“We would suffer even if it doesn’t lose. Rakura and Dyuvuleori, I leave the protection of the people riding on the back to you two. As for Mix, please concentrate on the changes in the movements of the surroundings.” (Ekdoik)
“It would be pretty difficult to deal with dragons of that size with knives after all…” (Mix)
“Ilias, Wolfe, we will deal with that specially big dragon—” (Ekdoik)
Ekdoik was preparing to attack, but Wolfe jumped to the giant dragon alone.
Wolfe can freely close the distance even in the sky by using her mana emission, but that’s way too forceful.
“Wolfe, let’s close the distance a bit more!” (Ilias)
“Don’t…get in our way!” (Wolfe)
For that giant dragon, Wolfe would be the same as a fly for a human.
But the abdomen of the dragon caved heavily the moment the punch of Wolfe landed.
Wolfe greatly expanded the impact of her punch by using the same method I used to lengthen the blade of my sword with mana.
The dragon received an impact strong enough to cave in more than half of its torso, so it roared in anger and swung its giant arm at Wolfe.
Wolfe swung her fist to match that without hesitation.
The arm of the dragon bursted the moment they clashed.
A massive wave of mana flowed this way along with blood splatter.
This is…similar to the technique Haakudoku used. But the scale is far bigger.
Ekdoik confirmed the flow of events and pulled his chains, drawing Wolfe back here.
Wolfe’s whole body was drenched in the blood of the dragon.
“You are being way too reckless, Wolfe. You have to gauge the ability of the enemy properly before—” (Mix)
“It is okay! Wolfe won’t lose!” (Wolfe)
The eyes of Wolfe have a stronger glare than usual.
I can’t really call it fighting spirit.
I can feel that she wants to fight for his sake, but I feel like she is being way too desperate here.
Wolfe tried to jump onto the dragon again, but Ekdoik restrained her with the chains.
“?! Ekdoik-san?!” (Wolfe)
“Calm down. Look at that dragon closely.” (Ekdoik)
The dragon was groaning after losing its arm, but it isn’t showing any signs of attacking us.
It glared at us for a while, but it eventually turned around and descended into the forest.
The other dragons also escaped after seeing the biggest one escaping.
“Wolfe, you should have been able to tell that that dragon had lost its will to fight. It is important to have the readiness for battle, but there’s no point if you lose composure.” (Ekdoik)
“But they might attack again!” (Wolfe)
“…Don’t be scared, Wolfe!” (Ekdoik)
“I am not scared!” (Wolfe)
“You are pretty much a scared animal right now. Don’t drag around the fact that you lost against the Scarlet Demon Lord forever.” (Ekdoik)
The words of Ekdoik made Wolfe face down and fall silent.
So that really was the case.
Wolfe had been left with a deep scar in her heart after the battle against the Scarlet Demon Lord.
At that time, I lost my ability to fight because of the Scarlet Demon Lord’s Strife.
I still feel even now that I am taking one step back in battle because of it.
Wolfe was affected even more by this as a demi-human, and has most likely even instilled fear on an instinctive level, too.
“I understand that you are not in perfect form right now. But, even if so, we need your strength. I will assist even if not on the level of Comrade. You may be dissatisfied by that, but please endure for now.” (Ekdoik)
I normally should be the one to have noticed; I should have been the one to tell her that.
My heart had clouded because he was gone, and ignored the unease of the people around.
I steady my breathing and tighten the hold of my sword.
Right, His Majesty ordered me to be his substitute.
I have to protect Wolfe and the others right now when he is not here.
“Thanks, Ekdoik.” (Ilias)
“What brought that all of a sudden?” (Ekdoik)
“I feel like the dullness in my sword will finally recover. I will also try to fill in his shoes. Please help me out.” (Ilias)
“…Of course.” (Ekdoik)
That said, Ekdoik is different from before. It feels as if he has more composure.
Did something happen in Mejis?
It seems like the matter of his mother has been wrapped up properly, but…I feel like there’s something else.
I get myself back on my feet, and new dragons show up from the forest.
It seems to be a different pack from before, but there is one pretty big dragon as expected.
These ones feel a size bigger in general compared to the pack of before.
Their size should be overwhelming, but for some mysterious reason, I feel no fear.