The Black Demon Lord was once the symbol of fear for all humans.
A variety of methods were taken to escape from that Black Demon Lord’s invasion.
The animal type demi-humans instinctively tried to take distance and escaped north. The non-animal type demi-humans created underground facilities to hide in.
This underground ruin that is close to the Serende Castle was prepared in order to escape from the eyes of the Demon Lord.
The time between the invasion of the Demon Lords and Yugura defeating them all wasn’t that long, but the people of the past most definitely resided in the underground facilities for a while longer.
A throne room was made deep underground, at the lowest floor. People who ran and hid making a throne room is laughable, but that’s a difference in how things are perceived.
That’s right, just like Nektohal…
“Ritial, what’s the matter?”
“—I heard word just now that a group is heading this way. I came here to report this to you.” (Ritial)
The resident of Yugura’s planet must have sniffed out this place just as I thought.
This is a bit sooner than planned, but it makes sense if there’s a cooperative person from Serende helping them out.
“I see. Then, I shall answer the bad news with good news. The resurrection magic will be finished with just a few more attempts.” (Nektohal)
“Is that…true?” (Ritial)
“There’s no way I have the leeway to think of a lie. I normally would have wanted to prohibit entry to this place and concentrate.” (Nektohal)
I don’t feel any lies in the words of Nektohal.
This is an awfully dramatic timing.
With this much setup, it makes me believe there’s a god of destiny having a hand here.
“How long do you estimate you will finish?” (Ritial)
“I won’t need days, but it will definitely take a good amount of hours. There’s no issue with keeping the arrangements the same as we have decided with the contract magic for after it is finished, right?” (Nektohal)
“Yeah, please.” (Ritial)
We have placed a limitation on him with contract magic so that he doesn’t try to get ahead of us.
Nektohal can’t use resurrection magic on himself if he doesn’t fulfill this contract.
The details of the contract are that, when the resurrection magic is finished, he has to record the construction of the resurrection magic in a magic crystal.
Then, he will hide that in a set location so that me and Raheight can obtain it respectively.
“It may be weird asking this so late, but have you secured your own escape route? Raheight can throw away his own body, so he is an aside, but now that Molari has been captured, your means of movement are limited, right?” (Nektohal)
“I think I have more than you. Tsudwali and Arcreal would happily cooperate with me after all.” (Ritial)
Even if issues happen to those two, one or two of the plans of the resident of Yugura’s planet should be using Molari and Yasutet.
It must be that he will give me to those two in the case I am defeated, and get me away from this place.
In the worst case scenario, I can just accept that method and come retrieve the magic crystal at a later date.
That’s why my winning condition in this battle has nothing to do with retreating from the frontlines.
What I need is the time it will take for Nektohal to complete the resurrection magic. I just have to buy time so that resident of Yugura’s planet and his group don’t reach Nektohal.
“Then, aren’t you way too unnecessarily worried? Not being able to provide the price for cooperation would also be a result that would make me feel guilty.” (Nektohal)
“How honorable. But that’s the question I wanted to do myself.” (Ritial)
Once our partnership with Nektohal is over, there won’t be anyone who will follow and serve him.
The only one with the chance would be Seraes, but it is not like that man has a way to escape from this place.
I heard that the place of the Scarlet Demon Lord had the Mana Eater released on it.
I doubt he will be using that method here, but it is not like we can rest easy just because we have become Demon Lords.
“There’s no issues. The condition to be reborn as a Demon Lord is to receive the curse of the resurrection magic in your body and die. I can just get my body out even if it means breaking it apart.” (Nektohal)
“ I see. So it wouldn’t be difficult if you literally don’t care about the means.” (Ritial)
Even if the exit of the underground ruin is blocked, there’s still a decent amount of holes where creatures like insects and rats can come and go.
It is impossible for a human to go through them unless you become pieces of meat, but that means you can literally just do that.
You can also have an animal eat your corpse or have it be carried by underground water.
As long as Nektohal is going to be finishing the resurrection magic himself, he can perform this with certainty, but…even if you are going to resurrect, I myself wouldn’t have the courage to die in such a manner.
“Now then, I will be entering the last adjustments. I leave the rest to you.” (Nektohal)
“…Yeah, counting on you too.” (Ritial)
Nektohal is binded by contract magic, so he has to make it so he can give us the magic crystal.
That’s why he can’t use a method like destroying the corridor leading to this room with his own hands and burying it.
Holding the enemies back is something that must be done with other people.
I go out of the throne room and advance through the corridor.
It most likely won’t be long before the resident of Yugura’s planet arrives at this place.
I have already finished the preparations to face them.
“Tsudwali, you have finished preparing the traps, right?” (Ritial)
The voice of Tsudwali rang in the corridor with her presence still nowhere to be felt.
She still doesn’t show herself to me despite working under me. I know the reason why and I don’t plan on correcting this.
She wishes it to be that way, and I myself don’t mind.
“I will head to the designated spot. I will have you work hard on intercepting the intruders, okay? However, what you should prioritize the most is your own life. Make sure you to come back to me alive.” (Ritial)
I feel like vomiting at my own words.
The defeat of Tsudwali will most likely mean her death as long as the resident of Yugura’s planet and his comrades don’t purposely leave her alive.
Tsudwali has the resolve to throw away her life for my sake just like Molari and Yasutet. Even more so if I direct them kind words like just now.
I would even go as far as to think that it would be better for her to change sides rather than die. But I keep it in my thoughts.
“…I am underhanded. I am making you all walk a path with no escape by indulging in your feelings.” (Ritial)
Tsudwali didn’t respond to my words.
Did she already head to her position, or… I really am underhanded.
There’s only one entrance to the underground ruin. Also, the inside is divided in 3 layers at most.
The upper stratum is made in a complicated fashion most likely as a countermeasure for intruders, and is a bit of a labyrinth.
But we have obtained a detailed map of it thanks to the cooperation of Serende, so there’s no need to worry about losing time from getting lost.
What we should be careful of is that there’s a high chance the people of Leitis and Tsudwali have placed traps everywhere.
When you get close from the upper to mid floor, the paths are narrowed down to 3.
All respective paths lead to the lowest floor, but you can’t regroup with the others until reaching the lowest floor.
If Ritial plans on buying the most time, he will be setting his forces in each respective path.
Also, it should be better to assume that 2 of those paths have had their path destroyed and blocked right before reaching the lowest floor.
I can’t have everyone head the same path. If I decide that, I will definitely be outread by Ritial, and we will definitely need to make 3 round trips.
I have to ponder about what forces he has predicted and how to divide the groups.
That said, it would be pointless to worry about who to pit against Arcreal.
It is not like he will be in the right path of the mid floor or in a single path of the lowest floor.
“Hoh, so you are the resident of Yugura’s planet. Even the eyes of a dead fish are brighter~.”
That’s cause Arcreal alone was waiting right in front of the underground ruin’s entrance.
A sword that’s not unusual and no armor at all.
It is an appearance that would make you wonder ‘do you even have any intention of fighting?’, but it is not something a guy with a single wooden sword hanging down his waist should be asking.
“And then there’s you with super excited eyes, Arcreal.”
“Obviously. With such a bunch coming here. So, who is fighting me?” (Arcreal)
I don’t feel the intention of not letting anyone pass from Arcreal. Those are the eyes of someone waiting in anticipation as if saying ‘Who do you plan on leaving here to keep me in place?’.
“That’s not the attitude of a gatekeeper. Your affinity with Raheight must be terrible.”
“Oh, you get it. But it can’t be helped, you know? I ain’t living as seriously as them. I am always yawning at my boring life. There’s no way a guy like that would have the same way of thinking as that bunch who has seen hell, right?” (Arcreal)
“So you prioritize your own fun even in this scenario. I am jealous of your position.”
Arcreal made an unconcerned smile at my sarcasm.
The place is wrapped in a tense atmosphere with the smile that doesn’t have a shred of vileness in it.
“I personally would like you to leave the strongest one in your group here. Also, you can leave several people, you know? I am also fine with facing everyone if you want.” (Arcreal)
“We got information that Nektohal is close to finishing the resurrection magic. We can’t just take our sweet time.”
“Yeh, you can pass by as much as you want. However, if the one you left can’t fight anymore, I will enter the ruins and chase you guys. I will have you fight me even if you don’t want to at that time.” (Arcreal)
In the case the ones here are defeated by Arcreal, the ones who entered the ruins will have to face the attacks of both Arcreal and the ones waiting for us inside.
When that happens, we will be fighting over and over, and we might even get a time limit on us getting wiped out aside from the finishing of the resurrection magic.
The most efficient way to take advantage of the abnormal fighting prowess that is Arcreal is to repeat battles as much as possible and draw out battle time.
In that sense, stationing him at the entrance and having him continuously battle is plenty effective.
Arcreal points at the entrance with his sword as if saying to hurry and invade, and let me fight the ones that will be keeping me in place.
Seeing this, I send a signal to the ones behind me and have them enter the ruins.
“Well, Ritial and I both already predicted this development. We have already decided the people who will be left here and the ones who will be charging in.”
“That’s great to hear. If you were to rack your brains here and hit the time limit, my chance to fight would be gone. By the way, can I ask you one thing? Why are they hiding their mugs?” (Arcreal)
Arcreal would naturally ask this question.
A number of the people here have their hoods worn low in a way that their face can’t be seen.
“There’s a number of reasons why, but I am under no obligation to tell you.”
“That’s fine, but…there’s a number of pretty good ones in there. Can you please leave them here?” (Arcreal)
“Sorry, but they are in the raid team. Please do that after you beat the stalling team.”
Arcreal made a sulky face like that of a child while he saw off the raid team.
“Okay, Shishou~! I will be going!” (Wolfe)
The anchor of the raid team, Wolfe, enters the ruins while waving her hand. I see her off while answering this.
But Arcreal saw this and raised his voice, unable to endure it.
“W-Wait a moment! She is going ahead too?! No, she is definitely someone who should be staying! Or more like, this…” (Arcreal)
“It is as you imagine. The ones who will be facing you are me and him.”
I am plenty aware that this is a dangerous gamble.
Because the only one we are smashing against Arcreal is Ilias alone.
She is without doubt the strongest within our forces, but no matter how harsh of a training she went through, it is not like she has become so strong as to reach his realm.
Even so, this method is without doubt the best one in order to stop the completion of Nektohal’s resurrection magic.
“No, it is not like I will be fighting though. I will just be watching.”
“…Hey, who is it that’s being underestimated here? Me or Ritial?” (Arcreal)
“You are calm enough to bring out the name of Ritial here, huh.”
Arcreal was glaring at me somewhat in displeasure despite being in front of Ilias.
“Everyone knows you can’t fight. There’s originally not a reason at all for you to stay. But you are the man that Ritial judged as dangerous. Basically, there would be a case where you would need to stay for me, right? But the tenet of this battle are the predictions between you and Ritial. Why is it that you of all people aren’t charging in?” (Arcreal)
Arcreal has most likely been told I am on the same level as Ritial or something like that.
He is wary that I am staying back.
That must be how big the existence of Ritial is for Arcreal.
That’s exactly why I should be smiling boldly here.
“The psychological battle has already been settled.”
“…I see. So I am not the only one who is self-confident. Let’s test who will be the one being made a mockery of.” (Arcreal)
Arcreal has given up on trying to tell my intention.
He must be thinking: ‘No matter the method they have, I just need to cut down the enemies in front of me’.
“Alright, Ilias! Go as planned!”
“Yeah. Ilias Ratzel of the Taizu Knight Order’s Ragudo Division…will now be your sword!”