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Tensei Shitara Slime Datta Ken (LN) - Volume 15 - Chapter 2.4




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Gotta hand it to Raphael. Ciel, I mean. It seemed kinda down in the dumps to me, so I gave it the name on a whim…and I guess it was happier about it than I thought it’d be.

After all, its previous machinelike reactions to me were much smoother and more humanlike. I feel like it had been improved by, like, a lot. It was in such great shape now, I wonder what happened to it just beforehand. It had gone into auto-battle mode on me several times in the past, but now it was activating skills and doing all kinds of crap—the scale of it all was totally different.

Even Velgrynd, who seemed so overwhelming to me, was no match for it. Its suggestion—to have her activate her finisher skill, then wait for her magicule count to dwindle right afterward—was a perfect strategy. The combination of my abilities and the way she responded to certain things was what made it work…which makes it sound easy, but I have no idea how much computing power it’d take to make this possible. We were hopefully outclassed in magicule count, after all, so if we wanted to cage up this superior opponent, we needed an Insulated Imprisonment built efficiently and with only the elements I enjoyed an advantage in. Call it a “Calculated Prison” I created with my partner—that’s what it took for Ciel to score a complete victory.

The crux of this operation lay upon whether or not I could withstand Velgrynd’s attack. Ciel’s computation said I could, and I trusted it on that—but if she misread that, it’d be the end of me, too. Why did I trust it? Simple. I was dealing with Veldora, and I told Ciel it was in charge of Velgrynd. I knew it could do it, too—and it lived up to my expectations perfectly, even better than I had imagined. Ciel used my abilities more skillfully than I ever could to fulfill the job.

That’s my partner for you. Now I was more impressed with Ciel than ever.

So thanks to an unexpected boon, Ciel was now more dependable than ever for me. But I couldn’t forget my objective. Before Velgrynd made another move, I needed to free Veldora’s mind. So how many seconds can we hold her back, exactly?

Even if Velgrynd went on a violent rampage, the Insulated Imprisonment will hold for a total of two hundred more seconds. I don’t think we need to worry about that, however.

Um, why not?

Even three minutes and change were something to be grateful for, but Velgrynd’s still a major threat. I can’t just ignore it that whole time…

No, as predicted, Velgrynd is currently trying to escape. I knew she could use a soul corridor to transfer energy away from her, so I considered the possibility that she’d flee without worrying too much about this replication before us.

I…see? Or I think I do. If any replication could be made into her “real” body, there was no major need to force her way out of this Insulated Imprisonment? Or maybe there was…and that was why Ciel created a loophole for Velgrynd to try and exploit. That’s right—Velgrynd showed her hand too much, bandying around Parallel Existence and not hesitating to use it against the three demonesses and Veldora. I had been monitoring all of that, so there was no shortage of material for Ciel to analyze.

Velgrynd’s Parallel Existence couldn’t produce an inexhaustible supply of clones. Ciel must have measured her magicule count to the point that it knew the maximum amount she could hold—and once we knew that, we’d understand how many more replications we needed to churn through before she was defeated. Ciel, meanwhile, worked backward from there. It saw that Velgrynd probably had an insurance policy on hand, and so it baited her into escaping into it. I’d probably do the same thing if I had a power that useful, but my Replications didn’t have access to ultimate skills. A little annoying, but I was willing to admit defeat there.

In the end, the seemingly omnipotent Parallel Existence could only really be used either as a decoy or against a weaker opponent. I mean, it’s still extremely useful insurance and a nice asset to have depending on the opponent—I can think of a few fun ways to use it. But it just didn’t seem effective against someone of equal or higher rank. But Ciel was the one who exposed that weakness for all the world to see. Like, I’m actually kinda scared of its computing ability. Everything was going exactly as Ciel wanted, like it was predicting the future.

The progress it’s made is kind of exasperating, but either way, Ciel’s my partner. Best to stop worrying about extraneous stuff and get on with the objective at hand. Ciel had conquered Velgrynd, strongest of the True Dragons, and I sure wasn’t gonna fall behind.

“All right. But just in case, I’m gonna put all my power up against Veldora right now so I can be assured to wrap up in under two hundred seconds. Give me a hand, Ciel!”

As you wish!

I—or Ciel and I, I guess—squared up against Veldora, our primary mission. Ciel had earned me some precious time—not a lot, maybe, but for us, it may as well have been infinite. I’d never live it down if we didn’t make the most of it. Could we do it? That wasn’t the question—we were doing it.

That was the determination in my mind as I resumed my attack on Veldora.

Release Veldora, then defeat Ludora. Those were my objectives—and it’s what I wanted to do, not just because Guy asked me to.

Ciel’s birth had surprised me so much that, without anticipating it, I was back to my normal state of mind. My serenity had long since returned to me…but that didn’t mean my anger was gone. That anger, I decided, I’d save until I could take it out on Emperor Ludora. But first things first.

So how would I approach Veldora? Well, to start out, I was trying to talk to him. Talking about “ruling over” Veldora was easy enough, but we were dealing with a True Dragon with gigantic amounts of energy—it must take an incredible effort. Taking over the will of a spiritual life-form is one of the most difficult tasks I can think of, in fact.

As I saw it, there were several types of subjugation like this. One was charm-based—you made the subject follow your will, heart and soul. Another was coercion-based, taking away their free will and forcing them to obey. A third was total domination, where the target wasn’t even aware they were being subjugated. The list went on and on.

Yuuki carried out total domination on his subjects, but in Kagali’s case, it was more coercion-based—and that was what Veldora was dealing with, too.

This coercion could work on several levels as well. The target might retain their free will but still be reluctantly forced to follow orders, or they may have their free will removed entirely, turning them into an unquestioning robot. It didn’t seem to me like Kagali had any free will left right now, but what about Veldora? Spiritual life-forms all had incredibly strong wills, something that I didn’t think could be erased so easily, so I decided it’d be worthwhile to try calling out to him.

But Veldora’s resistance was just too fierce.

I assumed his orders were to eliminate the enemy (i.e., me), but he was just vicious, throwing all restraint out the window. Even with Ciel handling Velgrynd for me, Veldora alone was nonetheless proving a tough match. I still had my assorted storm-type skills on hand, so it was possible to cancel out his moves—but with the off-the-charts power he boasted, just doing that kept my hands full. We weren’t really in a conversational mood, in other words.

That was where we were at when I decided to let Ciel defend for me. The Control Probability thing was tricky, but I trusted that Ciel had a handle on it. Now the real work begins, I thought as I tried getting closer to Veldora. Gales of wind were flying around me, but my location was as calm as the eye of a hurricane. It was, like, really relieving. Everything from Veldora was being offset, and Ciel wasn’t even as frantic as I was a moment ago. It barely even touched my magicules—and best of all, I was in incredibly good shape.

Of course. The demons serving you have been sending you Food Chain–based support through their soul corridors.

Oh, was that it? It felt like I was getting stronger—but thanks to my other allies, I was holding my own against Veldora.

Once I was aware of that, there was no way I could fail. After finally reaching a spot right in front of Veldora, I took the opportunity to call out to him.

“Sorry to keep you, Veldora. Do you recognize me?”

No reply. Well, he did let out a Thunderstorm Roar, but other than that, nothing.

I lashed out at him with my first, unconsciously irritated. But, as anyone could have expected, it didn’t stop him. The attack would have needed an element of magic force, not just physical, or else it’d never damage him much. But that was okay by me. My goal was to wake Veldora up, not kill him—for now, I’d just give him a good beating instead.

So I continued to hit Veldora in the face as hard as I could. I was actually too close-range for much of his attack repertory to work; a lot of spells and skills would wind up hitting him as well. Being controlled like this, he might keep whipping them out anyway without a care, but I figured Ciel would take care of that.

A punch. Another punch. Then a kick. But Veldora only roared in response.

What do you think about using Predation on Veldora and locking him in your Complex Space?

A rather frightening suggestion from Ciel, I thought. If that was a yes/no question, I was kinda leaning toward yes…but was something like that possible?

Not a problem. Belzebuth is under my command, so if I receive the order, I can immediately put it into action.

It’s certainly…dependable, I guess. It was funny to think that Belzebuth, Lord of Gluttony—this all-powerful ultimate skill—got its start way back with Predation, a species-specific slime skill. Thanks to that, it couldn’t have been better geared toward me; handling it was always such a breeze. And now that Ciel had further optimized it, I figured it’d work on Veldora as well.

Now that I was a demon-lord slime—a demon slime, if you will—Belzebuth could be invoked from any part of my body. In fact, I didn’t even need to make physical contact with my target any longer. It took on more power the closer I was to the other party, though, so now that I was in point-blank range of Veldora, I expected serious performance.

Anyway, my mind was made up.

“Thanks for causing me all this damn trouble, Veldora! Quit making me worry about you all the time!”

As soon as I shouted it, I immediately tried devouring Veldora via Belzebuth. But then:

(Kwah-ha-ha-ha-ha! Just a little mistake on my part. Forgive me!)

I heard a voice in my head I really shouldn’t have been hearing.

(Veldora, right?)

(Indeed, it is I. Veldora the Storm Dragon, your erstwhile ally!)

It couldn’t have been a trap. He was acting like too much of a fool for it to be. That carefree voice, not a thought in his mind—it couldn’t have been anyone else.

(Hey, so you’re conscious?)

(Yes. Actually, I detached my core as quickly as I could. I cannot physically speak, but I still have my wits about me!)

Aha. So he’s there, all right.

If Belzebuth was working its way through his body, did that make telepathic communication through his “heart” possible? Either way, I was glad he was safe—but now I was angry for other reasons.

(So what’re you waiting for, then? Regain control of your body!)

All that worry, and he was treating this like a day at the beach. Did he have any idea how much I was freaking out? I felt justified in complaining a bit about it.

(I would have done that long ago if I could! But listen to me, Rimuru. Don’t you think you should calm down a bit and be a bit more careful?)

Like I needed him telling me. Besides:

(Shut up! If I was gonna be calm about this, I wouldn’t have done something as crazy as take on two True Dragons at once!)

I didn’t need anyone to point that out to me. Now that I was calmer, I was actually kind of impressed that I survived. But I couldn’t have been too cautious back there. Nothing about dealing with True Dragons was “careful” in the first place. But as I was thinking about this, Veldora was still cheerfully giving me advice.

(Oh! Watch out for this—I’m about to break out some Dark Lightning!)

(Stop providing color commentary like a sports broadcast!)

Even worse, he didn’t launch Dark Lightning at all; it was Death-Calling Wind instead. Ciel canceled it out for me and I’m pretty sure I could’ve dodged it anyway, but why the hell was he giving me fake advice?!

(You call that lightning?! That was Death-Calling Wind! It was about to kill me!)

My complaints were met with a half-chuckled excuse.

(Hmm?! Oh, sorry! Kwah-ha-ha-ha! It seems I’ve yet to gain a full grasp of my body. I can sense myself activating a skill well enough, but I can only identify it right about half the time.)

So he wasn’t being helpful, then. My enemy had Control Probability, too, which meant it was likely safer to just ignore Veldora’s predictions.

(All right. You don’t need to do that, so can you just shut up for me? It wouldn’t be very funny if I trusted random nonsense from you at this critical moment and it killed me, would it? I’m really disappointed in you!)

This made Veldora start panicking a bit.

(Wait, Rimuru, wait! I’m doing my best here. Let me help you a little!)

He was desperately arguing his case, but there wasn’t much to back up his claims. I had to put reason first here, not emotion. Besides, I already had his cooperation. Just hearing Veldora’s voice did a lot to ease my concerns.

(Well, I’m just happy you’re all right.)

Veldora responded with his usual energetic laugh.

(Kwah-ha-ha-ha-ha! Of course I am! I’m the strongest of all dragons!)

Right. That was a relief. But then:

(Besides, it wasn’t Ludora who cut off our soul corridor, but I myself. I have never truly lost in battle at all!)

Huh? What’s this dude talking about…?

(What do you mean?)

(Oh, it’s simple. When I was busy focusing on that man Kondo’s attack, Ludora tried to assert control over me. I was furious about this—the three of them tackling me at once, my sister included? How truly unfair! But I wanted to avoid the worst-case scenario, so I reluctantly made the decision to cut the corridor away.)

Sounds to me, Mr. Strong Dragon, that you were being a little careless there, weren’t you? There’s no such thing as “fair” or “unfair” on the battlefield…

(Stop acting like that was so noble of you! What the hell were you even doing? I’ve been constantly telling you never to let your guard down!)

(Kwah-ha-ha-ha-ha! I never thought you’d be lecturing me under these circumstances!)

Veldora seemed to be enjoying this to no end. It was appalling. Appalling and pointless to tolerate any further, so I moved on.

(So the decision you made was to shut down our soul corridor?)

(Indeed. I reasoned that Ludora’s domination would have affected not only me, but you as well through the corridor.)

So he hurriedly turned it off to protect me? Well, if that’s the story he gave me, I really couldn’t be mad at him any longer.

(All right. Great! Well, in that case, sit tight while I take care of this!)

(Very well! I have not a worry in the world!)

Nice to be relied on like that.

(Right. I’ll have you free in a moment, so hold out a bit.)

(Kwah-ha-ha-ha-ha! How wonderful to hear. I will trust in that, my friend!)

So I knew what happened to Veldora. He had lost control over his own body, but his core was still intact. He didn’t have the power to regain control at the moment, though, so I’d have to sort that out for him. I didn’t expect problems—if his core was all right, I could figure the rest out.

Here was one idea:

“Ciel, if we have Veldora’s core in hand, would we be able to revive his ultimate ability Veldora, Lord of the Storm?”

Not a problem. All information related to the skill has been retained, so once a soul corridor is reconnected to Veldora’s core, the ultimate ability can be restored.

Well, that was easy. In short, all I had to do was consume Veldora in front of me and retrieve his core. Now I just had to make my move—piece of cake.

Okay, time to defeat this foe—Veldora the Storm Dragon, the strongest in the land! And so on!

We now had a clear path toward solving this problem, so I decided to get this over with fast.

There were two problems still in play—my time limit, and the location of his core. In terms of time, I still had a lot of that. We had been using Hasten Thought to minimize the time spent on that last conversation, so only a few seconds of real time had passed. Even with the attacking and defending that took place in between, I still had over three minutes to work with.

The problem was the core’s location. It was inside his body, close enough that I could communicate with it via Telepathy, but pinpointing its exact coordinates was actually pretty tricky. Should I accidentally destroy it in the process, all would be lost—this mission would be a failure, and Veldora would go through the reincarnation process. Normally, you’d never have to worry about this—the core of the creature is the most heavily protected part of it. But in Veldora’s case, his core was detached from his main body, leaving it fairly defenseless. A careless strike in the wrong place could wind up landing a direct hit, which would be beyond unfortunate. It’d free him from Ludora’s control, I’m sure, but it’d also wipe out Veldora’s current personality, and it wouldn’t restore our soul corridor, either. That had to be avoided at all costs.

If I could devour Veldora all at once, I wouldn’t need to worry about any of this. Sadly, though, swallowing him whole wasn’t possible, even with my Complex Space—not without his consent. I could try weakening him and cutting down his magicule count a bit, or I could try some more Predation on him, being careful not to damage the core along the way… Hmm…

Now that I thought about it more, actively damaging Veldora’s body seemed like a non-starter. Maybe clocking him on the head a few times, like I did before, was kind of scarily dangerous. I came in thinking it’d be hard to damage him, much less defeat him, and now he seemed like this fragile figurine to me.

Of course, a bolt or two of magic wouldn’t even scratch him, and a random punch or kick would achieve little as well. Only when you add the effects of an ultimate skill to these attacks does the damage become more substantial. Even Disintegration, the most powerful of holy magic, could only do a little bit of damage against Veldora’s gigantic frame. The durability of these True Dragons was no joke—it’s what made them True Dragons.

So, yeah, I think some attacking is safe enough, but you never know what’ll happen if you hit someone in the wrong place. That was doubly true now that Veldora didn’t have control over his own body. There was just no telling what he would do.

Thus, until I knew the location of Veldora’s core, it was safest not to launch any attacks. That meant I had just one way forward. I needed to put my nose to the grindstone, use Predation to eat away at him bit by bit, and hope I find the core along the way. It’d be a race against time, but I had no other option.

Just three minutes…but then again, three minutes could be all the time in the world for me. Filing the time issue in the back of my mind, I turned Belzebuth up to full power and began eating my way into Veldora.

My body reverted from human to slime form—not my usual bouncy liquid form, but a kind of viscous, irregularly shaped blob. This was Ciel optimizing my shape in accordance with the hostile Predation I was engaged in. The more contact surface I had with my target, the more efficient the process was.

So my constantly shifting body ate into the surface of Veldora’s body, spreading itself around him. But the target was just too big. No matter how far I stretched myself out, I was really just a dot from Veldora’s point of view. It was a daunting task, but I couldn’t give up now.

Throwing all caution to the wind, I accelerated my hostile consumption, activating Soul Consume as I searched for his core. This, too, would’ve been impossible without Ciel’s assistance. Looking at that incredible strength it exhibited earlier, I was starting to think it had computational power on a scale far beyond what Raphael had. Guess not only monsters evolve when you name them.

Thanks to Ciel, things were overall going pretty smoothly right now, but we weren’t entirely free of obstacles. To be exact, I was in intense pain. Veldora’s body had detected what I was up to, and it was resisting me at all costs. The Storm Dragon’s aura was causing my body to disintegrate. I was trying to consume it while it was trying to quash me—and the battle was only just beginning.

Pain, heat, and suffering. I wasn’t supposed to be able to feel pain, but it was now coursing across my entire body. Heat shouldn’t have meant anything to me, but I felt like someone was dunking me in unbearably hot water. And then the agonizing suffering—something I had never felt before in this world.

The dangerous sensation of having my existence wiped out shortly triggered all of my survival instincts. But I wasn’t going to relent. I was going to win. I would overcome this agony and save Veldora. And I wasn’t alone now. In Ciel, I had a more reliable partner than ever before. That’s why I was so determined to devour the Storm Dragon and absorb Veldora’s core. If I could achieve that, this much pain was never gonna stop me.

“Everything all right, Ciel?”

Leave it to me.

We’re good, then.

With Ciel’s trustworthy reply in hand, I expanded my Predation.

One thing standing in my way was all the energy I was feeding on. Normally it’d be converted into power for me, but against a True Dragon, it didn’t work that way. Instead of becoming my power, it was destroying my body from the inside. I suppose dragons are so powerful down to the individual cell level that nothing can ever bind them down. Somehow this dragon got taken over by the enemy anyway, but no point whining about that now.

Whenever part of my body is lost, Infinite Regeneration kicks in to rebuild and replace it. That was one way I could forcibly take in the energy I was consuming. It’d be a lot easier if I could just throw it away, but that wasn’t gonna happen. I had to Analyze and Assess all this energy first, or else I might wind up damaging Veldora’s core. It was a really tedious process, but it was still the best way—such was my decision after conferring with Ciel. Now it was up to me to keep going with it.

I put my mind on cruise control as I kept up my work. The clock was still ticking, but I was dealing with a huge target. I began worrying that we might not make it—but I still had faith in Ciel. We were guaranteed to make it in time.

I had some free time, so I performed some analysis work. Would you like to hear about it?

……

What do you mean, you had some free time? I’m kind of in horrifying pain right now. What’re you even up to?

I was performing an Analyze and Assess process on Velgrynd’s powers, examining her Cardinal Acceleration while she was isolated in Complex Space.

No, that was a rhetorical question… Wait. You figured it out?!

I failed to reproduce the power, but it is possible to develop a very similar technique.

You’re crazy, Ciel.

Maybe I should just assume that it’s reading my surface consciousness at all times. Better be more aware of my mental barriers, I guess. I’ll have to think matters through on a deeper level than before.

Still, though, getting to imitate Velgrynd’s most powerful move (as Ciel breathlessly claimed) would be pretty cool. That, despite the fact you can’t copy ultimate skills just by observing them…

…Wait a minute. What else was it analyzing? I decided to ask it directly, despite my trepidation.

“What else have you been analyzing?”

Ciel eagerly spoke up, as if it’d been waiting for the question.

Right! I have also finished analyzing Storm Blast. By taking advantage of the remainders from the skill Veldora, Lord of the Storm, this skill is now available for use.

Wait, wait, wait! This is major news! I practically don’t even feel the pain any longer!

That sounded like such an incredibly difficult analysis to make. I was unsure if I could believe it at first. It acted like this was just some side project…

No, it is true. And that is not even the important part. Here’s the main thing!

I couldn’t help but have that reaction in my surface consciousness. But whatever. No point hiding stuff from it anyway.

It was convincing enough, though. I still had the ultimate skill Veldora, Lord of the Storm, in me. Taking advantage of that, I could see how I could reproduce Storm Blast well enough. That’s a pretty damn powerful skill, so it’d be nice if I could grab it for myself. I was happy for that—and despite my initial surprise, I suppose performing that kind of work wasn’t too unusual by Ciel’s standards.

At this point, I was more curious about what Ciel thought the “main thing” was.

“So what is that?”

I have completed analysis of the Storm Dragon you have been Predating. This will make it possible to transform your body composition into the same type as a True Dragon. Would you like to carry this out?

Pardon?

That’s a pretty casual way of saying something very disturbing, isn’t it? Transforming my bodily composition into the same type as Veldora? And you’re asking if I want to “carry this out” like it’s a quick little errand?!

Now I’m a little confused. If I’m understanding this correctly, does this mean I would become a True Dragon…?

That is the correct way to see it, yes.

Whaaat?! It’s the correct way?!

…Like, are you serious?

Of course! So, would you like to evolve into a True Dragon?

Yes

No

Heh-heh-heh…heh-ha-ha… Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!

I unconsciously executed a three-part progression of evil laughter. Still giving me yes/no ultimatums, huh? I thoughtlessly noted as I gave the command:

YES!

Instantly, the pain I felt vanished. No pain, no burning, no agony. The Storm Dragon’s aura no longer penetrated me—because I had a draconic aura of my own.

Now, the more energy consumed, the more I stored for myself. My magicule count shot ever higher. I was afraid it’d expand to the point where it’d go out of control and explode on me.

Not a problem. I will provide perfect energy management.

Yeah, I’m sure you will.

With Ciel, there was no need to worry.

Now my True Dragon self had an identical number of magicules as Veldora. Then I broke through the limit. With this, a new True Dragon was born—and the moment I started being distracted from my current situation, I realized that any further delay in dealing with the Storm Dragon would be fatal.

(You have won, Rimuru! I am rather surprised to see you become a True Dragon, but it seems my eyes never deceived me after all. Kwaaaah-ha-ha-ha!!)

Veldora, on the other hand, didn’t seem too surprised as he rejoiced for me. He was acting like he’d raised me from a baby or something, but it goes without saying that his contribution to this was next to nothing.

Besides, it was too early to be declaring victory. Veldora’s core was the key to all of this, and I still didn’t know where it was. Time to put the icing on this cake, then.

“Right, let’s get this over with!”

How dare some puppet like this call itself the Storm Dragon. How dare they!

“Consume it all, Belzebuth!!”

At my order, Belzebuth devoured the Storm Dragon’s body—with glee, I might add, not to mention tremendous speed. Now things were incredibly one-sided in this conflict—the one who eats, and the one who’s eaten. The very embodiment of “survival of the fittest”…

The curtain quietly fell on the epic battle. During it, we witnessed an evolution, a new birth, and a bold step into the future.

The remnants of the energy that leaked away from me filled the area with a blinding light—the light of blessing, a light celebrating the birth of a new Truth. This was the light that my old body—the one that hadn’t transformed into a True Dragon—emitted as it was converted into pure energy, and even it would be consumed by me as it faded from the world.

With that, my goal was achieved in truly perfect form.





COMMENTS

3 Comments

2 Weeks, 3 Days ago

Now hes too op hahaha he hot no enemy now?

3 Weeks, 6 Days ago

Now this is what I was waiting for

2 Years, 4 Months ago

what the fuck

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