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Tensei Shitara Slime Datta Ken (LN) - Volume 19 - Chapter 1



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Chapter 1
The First Battle


The place where we transported was extremely frigid.

A world of silver.

It was as if we had wandered into Guy’s castle.

I had tried to use the ‘magic transfer circle,’ but the spell did not work. Therefore, I used ‘Spatial Transportation’ to reach the limit of what I could see with my surveillance spell ‘Argus,’ and was greeted by a stinging cold air.

It was freezing to the core.

It must have been ‘that.’

I was able to nullify the cold, but the fact that I still felt a chill was definitely due to Velzard’s influence.

There was a presence in the air that made the air tremble, telling me that this was definitely a battlefield.

The greatest source of power was coming from the battlefield where Guy and Velzard were facing each other. They had created a deadly space where no one could intervene.

So, I’d just leave that part alone.

I thought I felt someone looking at me, but I just ignored it.

I felt like I had been hit by a wave of anger saying, “You bastard, you just ignored me!” but it wasn’t good to overthink things.

I’m just an extra, so it’s probably best if I don’t intervene.


«……»


I could feel someone’s dismay, but my conclusion remained unshakeable.

Jumping into a situation that you know is dangerous is not a choice that a wise man should make.

On that note, I should find out where I can intervene.

The next option is —let’s see, it’s Diablo.

His opponent is Zalario, so let’s ignore that one too.

Oh well.

It’s Diablo, so it should be fine to just leave it to him.

If he can’t handle it, then there’s nothing I can do about it.


«No, that’s not—»


Tsk, tsk, you don’t understand, Ciel-san.

I’ve noticed recently that Diablo’s been slacking off whenever I’m watching him.

He’s probably not aware of it, but it feels like he’s not working because he wants to see what I can do.


«…I see, that makes sense.»


Oh, it’s been quite a while since I last beat Ciel-san to the punch.

I’m feeling good, but I’ll just go ahead and give instructions to everyone.

“Leave the outside alone, we’re heading for Leon. It looks like there are a few battlefields, so please deal with them as you see fit!”

Benimaru, Souei, Ranga and Kumara nodded at my decision.

Roughly speaking, this was an emergency. For the time being, I decided that it would be best if we all went together.

By the way, was there another battlefield out here? There was.

I could sense a thick magical residue near the ground.

But…my instinctive intuition told me to ignore it.

Why was that?

Without any reason or evidence, I decided to follow it.

Well, now was not the time to be troubled, so I decided to take immediate action.

Everyone seemed to have no objection, and we all began moving towards the castle.

The visibility was terrible. I was doing my best to activate ‘Universal Perception,’ but I couldn’t even get a sense of distance.

The reason was simple—Velzard’s snowstorm was contaminated with magicules. That’s why the ‘Natural Effects Nullification’ was disabled.

As long as we were sensing distance using the reflection of magicules in the atmosphere, everything would become ambiguous if the space was filled with magicules.

So, all we could do was to move in the direction where the magicules were shaking. That ended up being the correct answer, and we soon reached Leon’s castle.

The inside of the castle was better.

I was relieved to have my sight back.

And so, I looked for signs of battle.

“All right, I’ve detected a sign of Leon. Benimaru and I will head out, so you guys go support the rest of the battlefields.”

“Understood!”

“I understand!”

“Leave it to me.”

Without any objection to my order, Ranga, Kumara, and Souei moved out. Without even seeing them off, I took Benimaru and activated ‘Spatial Transportation.’

In any case, the moment we entered the castle, the signs of battle swelled greatly.

A chilling presence. The energy was so intense that it exceeded my current full power, and I decided that this would be dangerous.

The scene at the end of the transport was a true race against time.

I performed ‘Thought Acceleration’ at several hundred million times the speed and tried to read the situation—

Laplace and Teare were protecting a woman, led by Yuuki, who had summoned up the last of his energy.

The woman looked familiar to me. Yuuki’s secretary—she must have been the possessed form of the Demon Lord Kazalim. Her name was Kagali, and the last time I saw her, she had been under the control of Lieutenant Kondo.

I don’t know what had happened to her, but she seemed to have regained her free will. No, the current problem was not that, but rather the gigantic fireball that the enemy was about to unleash.

Strengthened by an ultimate skill, its heat and destructive power had been increased to such an extent that it could shatter even the spirit.

In other words, it would even destroy the soul.

And it had already been unleashed.

I would be safe. My ‘Void God (Azathoth)’ could eat up the power of destruction, so I was well protected against the release.

Naturally, Benimaru was also under its influence, so there was no need to worry.

However, Yuuki and the others, who were exposed to the gigantic fireball and took the direct hit from the front, had already been damaged.

Then, they were already—


«No. If you eat them with ‘Void God (Azathoth),’ or—»


Do it!

Before I could even finish listening to the entire explanation, I gave the order.

In no time at all, Ciel-san took action.

And yet, however—

The result was a huge explosion that blew away the castle.

Yuuki was swallowed up by the light and disappeared.

And so did Laplace.

The large explosion that distorted space was largely suppressed by my power. However, for the two people who received a direct hit…

‘I’ve given you a lot of trouble up until now, but I didn’t dislike you, Rimuru-san.’

‘Same here. I’m relieved that you’re here now. I leave the rest to you!’

—I felt like I heard voices speaking.

I think it was an auditory hallucination.

Yuuki and Laplace disappeared without a trace.

Certainly, they had always been a pain in the ass.

But Yuuki was still a fellow countryman that Shizu-san had entrusted to me.

And then there was Laplace, who I thought I could get to know in a way that I couldn’t hate him now…


«—Both of them are stubborn, so the possibility of them being alive somewhere is not zero.»


There’s no need to console me.

It’s obvious from this situation that it was just a fantasy.

But even so, those words brought me back to reality.

I thanked Ciel-san and changed my mind.

Yuuki and Laplace had been sacrificed, but they had nothing to do with the victory goal in the first place. Besides, they were the most stubborn people I knew, so there was still the possibility that they might be alive.

In that case, now wasn’t the time to get sentimental.

I still had work to do.

It would be an insult to them if I didn’t do my job and became consumed with regret.

The time that Yuuki and Laplace earned was not wasted.

The ‘Barrier’ that Yuuki and Laplace had put up with all their strength, with Teare risking her life to support it with all her might, had saved Kagali from serious injury.

I knew this because I was still observing her condition by isolating her in my ‘Stomach.’

It was actually Ciel-san who was doing this—meaning that as a result of Yuuki and Laplace’s actions, I was able to rescue Teare and Kagali in time.

After confirming the safety of the two, I turned my attention to the enemy.

One of them was Feldway.

And the other one was Footman—or actually not.

It was a different person.

Leon, who I had been wondering about, was fighting someone unknown. No, her face looked just like El-tan’s, but I could sense that she was a different person.

She seemed to be very strong just like El-tan, but she also felt different by nature. I could see that she was an ally, so I left the questions of who she was for later. She appeared to be fighting on equal terms with Leon, so I decided to leave this to her and concentrate on the enemy.

“I expected you to go after Leon, but you moved slower than expected.”

For the time being, I would stir things up.

I had no intention of showing it, but I felt sorry that I couldn’t save Yuuki and the others. I was so angry with myself that I didn’t intend to show any mercy.

“Who are you? Just who are you to interfere with me, you unpleasant infidel?”

“Jahil, that’s one of the most important figures, Demon Lord Rimuru. You’d do well to remember that.”

Mmm-hmm.

The man who appeared to have taken over Footman was named Jahil. He’s also the one who launched the attack, so he was definitely a bad guy.

Two enemies, and two of us.

I would take care of Feldway, and Benimaru would take care of Jahil. However, it looked like—

“Jahil, was it? I will deal with him.”

Oh, Benimaru-kun?

He was so happy to be here that I could not even get worried about him.

There was no use worrying about things now. I decided to let things happen as they will.

“Huh, I didn’t expect to have to fight here, but it will save me a lot of trouble.”

“That’s my line!”

I responded and drew my sword.

I’m going to do it. I’m seriously going to do it.

Michael is difficult to defeat because he has ‘Castle Guard,’ but fortunately, he is not here. I wanted to take advantage of this opportunity to take out Feldway alone.

And I am the type of person who does not hesitate once my decision has been made.

In a drawn-out battle, there is no such thing as interruptions. In such a case, you should decide the game with a killing blow.

That’s right, I had prepared it for such a situation.

In all times and places, it was the thing that all shounen manga protagonists had—the sure-kill technique.

“Imaginary Blade!!”

If someone were to ask what the strongest sword technique against an individual was, the answer would be obvious.

It was the ‘Melt Slash,’ which could even slice through the spirit.

Then, if someone were to ask what the best sword technique against an individual was, the answer would be the Oboro-Hyakka Ryouran.

Combining both of these characteristics was Benimaru’s special move, the “Oboro-Kokuen Hyakka Ryouran,” which can be considered his sure-kill technique.

This sword art was the highest form of the technique, but with the ultimate skill added to increase its power. Therefore, its power had been raised to the realm of shattering the spirit, making it comparable to the Melt Slash technique.

There is no doubt that it was the strongest in terms of both power and skill.

And then, I had a thought.

I can’t lose to Benimaru, you know?

So I asked Ciel-san to come up with a useful sure-kill technique.

Of course, I also gave my own opinion.

I asked it to use ‘Turn Null,’ which I still had a difficult time understanding even after it was explained to me, and to make it more powerful.

That is how the ‘Imaginary Blade’ was born.

Rather than slashing through the spirit, this technique eats it. It’s the main characteristic of this technique.

Because it eats the target and throws it into ‘Imaginary Space,’ it has a broken performance that is virtually impossible to defend against.

The only effective way to counter this is to avoid it. Even if it is caught with a sword, because it has a one-hit kill effect, the battle ends immediately.

One of my aesthetics was that ‘a sure-kill technique should be a sure-kill technique.’ It’s a matter of course for my friends that the second time was not the charm.

If a technique is shown even once, the opponent will take countermeasures, so the best thing to do is to not show anyone your sure-kill technique until it’s time for the actual performance.

Well, there was also a way to deal with that using ‘Parallel Existence’ like Velgrynd, but when it came to a battle between high-ranking spiritual life forms, the main focus was the scramble for energy…In other words, the one who exhausted their opponent first was the winner. Although it was no longer an Insta-kill, it was still a terrific sure-kill move.

At this stage of the battle, I generously revealed my sure-kill technique with a strong will to kill Feldway on the spot.

And yet, even then—

The space made a screeching noise, and my sword was caught.


«—?!»


I could feel Ciel-san’s surprise.

I suppose that made sense. I was surprised too.


«No way, to think that the jinx that Master feared would be proven true…»


Hmm?

Um, a jinx?


«Yes. It’s a shounen manga golden rule that if you use your sure-kill technique as the first move, it will be blocked…»


Pfffft!!

You—I couldn’t help but burst out laughing in this serious situation.

No, did I say that?

You’re right, I did say something like that.

But, there’s no way…right?

…………


«……»


Phew.

Let’s just forget it.

These things just happen.

He had caught the sword easily as if it were a joke, and it seemed to have upset him a bit.

I switched my mind and focused on Feldway.

Ciel-san had already started investigating the cause of the blockage before I did. It would be pointless to attack again until the results were out, but I needed to pretend that I didn’t care about that.

I decided to bluff my way into a conversation with Feldway.

“Wow, you blocked that really well.”

Pretending that I wasn’t upset inside, I slashed at him and tried to talk to him. I thought that I would be ignored, but he unexpectedly responded to me.

“When I think about how attached the Black King (Noir) is to you, I don’t feel threatened at all.”

He’s got an annoying way of saying things.

I don’t really care about being compared to Diablo, but to think that he didn’t even bother with my new sure-kill technique…


«No, it’s unnatural. I don’t think there is anyone who wouldn’t feel threatened by it. The only person I can think of is Michael, who is protected by the ‘Castle Guard’—»


You say that, but in reality, it didn’t work at all.

At this rate, even the ‘Abyss Annihilation,’ which I learned from watching Carrera in the labyrinth, might not work.

Feldway’s sword appeared to be mythical-grade, and “Imaginary Blade” did not work either. Of course, that meant that the backwards-compatible ‘Melt Slash’ would be useless as well.

In that case, one might think that slashing at the body would be enough, but this was not so easy.

Because this Feldway guy was quite skilled.

When I crossed swords with him, I felt that Feldway’s abilities were considerable. He was as good as or better than me in terms of pure swordsmanship alone. I’d say that he was on par with Benimaru.

Since I had become a True Dragon race, my physical abilities had increased greatly. It was not a metaphor, but I was now able to move several times faster than before. In addition, I thought that my skill with the sword had also improved, but I still couldn’t get to Feldway.

In my case, I was able to deal with it because I had been cheating in many ways and could even ask Ciel-san to take my place if I had to, but I really felt that I had no chance in a fair and serious fight.

In such a situation, the best thing to do was to switch to using magic attacks, which swords could not receive. However, large-scale magic would cause a lot of damage to Leon’s kingdom.

So, the only other option was to use magic for individuals.

The ‘Abyss Annihilation’ that I just mentioned had a destructive power that could affect the entire planet, so it couldn’t be used anyway.

However, I used it as an example because it was one the highest classes of magic in terms of power. When it came to anti-personnel magic, I couldn’t really think of anything that could surpass it. ‘Disintegration’ was barely comparable to it, and anything else would just be guessing.

The simple anti-personnel nuclear magic: Nuclear Cannon, was not nearly as powerful as Disintegration…

Even if an ultimate skill was used to increase the power, it could be dealt with if the opponent also had an ultimate skill. Even without it, there was no way to make it hit.

Fortunately, Feldway was keeping a wait-and-see attitude.

If he started to fight back, I wouldn’t be able to afford it. At the moment, it seemed that the best thing to do was to try to find a way out of the situation through conversation.

I started talking so as not to let him know how irritated I was.

“I’m just a harmless slime. It’s only natural that I don’t seem like a threat.”

“Hmph, you’re talking out of your ass. That’s the kind of thing that makes you seem just like master and slave.”

“That doesn’t make you happy?”

“Well. You’re just a hindrance to me, so I have no reason to be pleased. If that makes you uncomfortable, then that’s just a bonus.”

I thought he would just ignore me, but surprisingly, the conversation continued.

That made this all the more disappointing.

If I couldn’t communicate with the other party, defeating them with no hesitation became much easier…

Well, I was currently in the middle of searching for a successful strategy, so I didn’t have the time to think about it from a different perspective anyway.

That said, I was still curious.

Why wasn’t Feldway fighting back?

It was convenient for me, but if we didn’t do something, we’d end up in an endless repetition of moves.

I was using ‘Turn Null,’ but it was not as fatiguing because it was an absorptive rather than a releasing system. However, the same was true for Feldway who was not receiving damage.

Feldway seemed to be defending himself with some kind of skill, but since he was only defending himself, the fatigue appeared to be minor.

One strategy was to use a sword technique that Feldway could not catch.

To be perfectly honest, I had another secret technique up my sleeve.

It was an improved version of Benimaru and Carrera’s “Hyakka Ryouran,” and could not be used without Ciel-san’s full support.

I was hesitant to use it because it was a technique that exceeded my current skill-level and made me feel like I was cheating.

But now was not the time for such things, and I considered using it when the opportunity presented itself—but I just couldn’t picture it succeeding.

There was something ominous about it all.

It seemed that Ciel-san agreed with me, and I decided to give priority to finding out Feldway’s secrets for now.

That’s why we were currently in an indefinite battle, but when I thought about it more deeply, it was also a good time to calmly check the other battle situations.

I was also concerned about the safety of the others.

While keeping my eyes on Feldway, I focused on my friends.

Benimaru was the one I was worried about.

His opponent seemed superior in all aspects, so I tried to observe the situation with ‘Universal Perception’ without looking at him.

Hm?!

Jahil was wielding a ghastly blood-colored spear.

I had no idea when or from where he brought it out, but I could feel a tremendous power coming from that spear.


«It seems that the spear is called the Origin Blood Spear. “This spear, given to me by the Divine Ancestor, will pierce you through!”—that’s what he said.»


O-Oh, I see…

Unlike me, it seemed that Ciel-san was already aware of Benimaru’s situation.

Well, it’s true that we couldn’t be too careful, but we weren’t necessarily in a bad situation. If worse came to worst, I still had Veldora, so even if I died, I could be revived. It could be said that I didn’t have a high enough sense of danger, but it wasn’t worth being impatient until I found a way to attack.

And so, I continued my observations.

I wasn’t sure of what kind of existence Jahil was, but he didn’t look uncomfortable even though he had taken over Footman. In other words, his movements were light, and his spear wielding was very good.

Because I had increased my perception speed by several hundred million times, I could clearly see that he fought like an expert. It was hard to believe that he was using someone else’s body, and that only made obvious just how troublesome Jahil was.

And moreover…

Jahil’s existence value was over three times that of Benimaru’s, and what’s more, that spear, the Origin Blood, was estimated to have an existence value of more than ten million.

Such a weapon should be illegal.

Since we were outside Ramiris’ labyrinth, I couldn’t calculate the exact values, but the overall difference in strength between them was more than four times.

It was only due to Benimaru’s skill-level, which was superior to mine, that the battle was barely feasible.

In other words, if Benimaru did not have his ‘Heat King (Amaterasu)’ he would have been defeated long ago.

That’s how troublesome this bastard Jahil was.

If that was the case, I wanted to help him out right now.

But I didn’t have that kind of time, so I had no choice but to ask Benimaru to do his best.

As for the other battles, well…

This one was an indefinite draw.

The mysterious woman who was fighting Leon looked just like El-tan, so I assumed that she was related to her. Surprisingly, she was just as powerful as an Awakened Demon Lord.

No, perhaps even more than that?

She appeared to have an Ultimate Skill and was doing her best against Leon without retreating single a step.


«Their fighting styles are very similar. I presume that they have a master-disciple relationship.»


Hmm…

I hadn’t noticed it because they were using different types of weapons, but now that you mention it, they might be very similar after all. Perhaps that woman was Leon’s mentor.

And their Ultimate Skills were of the same lineage.

Since they were able read the other’s movements, they were stuck in an indefinite draw.

There wasn’t going to be an easy way to settle this. Any help couldn’t be expected, but the fact that support wasn’t immediately needed could be considered quite lucky.

“Rimuru-kun, right? If you can afford to observe all this, then shouldn’t you help me out a bit?”

Oh, she’s quite the perceptive person.

She caught me scrutinizing their battle.

I couldn’t actually afford to do much either, but it’s true that I had been observing the other battles, so it was hard to refute her.

In that case, I had no choice but to answer as honestly as I could.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t have anything better to do, so I couldn’t help looking over my shoulder.”

“Hah? What kind of nerves do you have to do something like that when you can’t even afford it? I had heard from El-chan that you didn’t have any common sense, but you—you really should take things more seriously.”

That was undeniably true.

I wasn’t expecting to be found out, so I had let my guard down, but it was certainly out of the ordinary to look away in the middle of a battle.

“I shall take your suggestions back with me and consider them seriously.”

“Hmm, it sounds like you’re not interested in reforming at all, but whatever. So, do you think you can win?”

Very perceptive, this one.

I was planning to play it off lightly, but she saw right through me.

I really had to start taking this more seriously, or Feldway was going to think I was crazy.

Preparing for a possible counterattack, I answered her question.

“I can’t at the moment. There’s no room for an opening.”

Feldway snickered upon hearing that.

Unexpectedly, he joined in on the conversation.

“Heh, I’m the one who should be surprised that you’re looking away while fighting me. And yet, you say that ‘there’s no room for an opening’? How ridiculous. From who’s mouth are you speaking from?”

“Shut up! It’s only because I showed you my trump card and you blocked it so easily! If you’d have just let yourself get hit by that, I wouldn’t have had to go through all this trouble!”

“Don’t make me laugh. If you bastards hadn’t interfered with me, our plan would have come to fruition much earlier. In the first place, you should realize how many of our plans have been foiled because of your servant, the Black King (Noir)!”

It seems that I was too aggressive and had made him angry.

“I had nothing to do with those Diablo incidents.”

“It is the owner’s job to take responsibility.”

“No, we haven’t known each other for that long.”

I have a policy for not taking on unnecessary responsibility. I firmly insisted that I was not at fault here.

“You really are a cheeky one.”

“Hm, I agree. You’re pretty incredible. I almost respect you for being so relaxed in this kind of situation!”

That was not a compliment.

I mean, you should just be focusing on Leon!

Just kidding.

I’d never say that out loud, because that would be like treading on the tail of a snake.

“By the way, who are you?”

“Oh, me? I’m El-chan’s mom. You can just call me Silvia!”

That was a surprising introduction.

Well, elves were a long-lived species, so I suppose it could be the case…but I still felt like I wouldn’t easily be able to nod my head in agreement even if El-tan called her mother right in front of me. The common sense of my previous life got in the way too much.

When I glanced over at her, I saw that she was fighting a very close battle to the extent that it was strange that she even found the time to talk.

Both Leon and Silvia-san were dodging each other’s swords by the slimmest of margins and counterattacking, as if they had practiced it beforehand.

This person seemed to have a lot of guts if she could speak casually under such circumstances.

“So, do you think Leon will be able to pull through? You’re his master, aren’t you?”

“Ah, you caught that? I won’t deny that I’m his master, but I don’t think I can do anything about this. To be honest, I didn’t expect Leon-kun to be this strong…”

That response sounded playful, but it was probably the truth.

Those two had been walking a tightrope since before we arrived, so it was no wonder that they had lost their concentration. The current state of equilibrium would collapse if any part of it was missing, so it certainly wasn’t the time to be complacent.

But then…I was left wondering what to do about Leon.

I did have a plan for dealing with Leon, but I wasn’t sure if I should go through with it. In any case, I wanted to aim for a more effective timing, but right now didn’t seem to be the right time.

The situation was severe, but we were still in equilibrium. I felt that if I overreacted now, I might end up putting us all in danger.

I would continue to wait and see about Leon.

As I was making such a decision, I received a complaint from Benimaru.

“Rimuru-sama, I understand that you can afford to do so, but I’m in a really difficult spot here!”

How unusual, for Benimaru to be complaining—well, I guess it was understandable.

A power difference of more than four times was too severe.

“It’s bad?”

“It’s really bad.”

That’s right.

It was fortunate that Jahil specialized in flames because it gave Benimaru an advantage in terms of compatibility.

He would have been defeated long ago otherwise, so even the current situation was miraculous.

Now then, what to do…

The battle would be decided once the equilibrium was broken, but even I didn’t have the strength to do so. I had a few hidden trump cards, but it was difficult to know when to use them.

As for the opponents, aside from Leon, Feldway and Jahil were too much at ease.

We were overwhelmingly at a disadvantage.

In that case, perhaps I should kill the enemies elsewhere and wait for someone to rush in, or even perform Demon Summoning, one of our trump cards, and call in Testarossa.

However, I was afraid that if I did that, my opponent would be able to do the same thing, and things would quickly go out of hand.

After all, the best option was to wait and see for a while.

“Benimaru-kun, please do your best just a little longer!”

“Wai—seriously, I can’t buy that much time, you know?!”

It’s been a long time since I had heard such a pathetic reply coming from Benimaru.

With that in mind, I began discussing with Ciel-san again if there were any other ways to overcome this situation.

Ranga, Kumara, and Souei had separated from Rimuru, and each of them was heading to support a different battlefield. They did not consult with one another in particular but had naturally decided on where to go based on the general strength of the enemy.

The opponent Ranga was headed for was Vega.

He was the one who was giving off the strongest presence, even stronger than Ranga’s.

And as expected, it was the fiercest battleground.

Hmm, he seems to be stronger than me, but if we bide our time, Souei-dono and the others should be able to dispose of the enemy and rush to our aid…

Ranga trusted his friends.

That is why he was able to take on the strongest of opponents with no fear and no doubts.

“I shall assist you!”

Ranga shouted and jumped at Vega.

Maetel was delighted by this.

White Knight Maetel, the leader of the White Knights under Leon, had desperately been trying to recover, but there was a limit to how much time he could buy with his current strength.

The five demon peers under Raine and Mizeri’s command—Misora, Squall, Ulrich, Alban, and Georg—were all as powerful as the old demon lords. However, their opponent, Vega, had an existence value of more than ten million, and the difference in their abilities was too great.

Misora, the Duke-class commander, was very talented as Raine’s second-in-command. She was always looking after Raine, who tended to slack off, and she possessed a broad perspective with good leadership.

But even so, there was no room for effective leadership when some of them had been crippled by Vega’s attacks.

In spite of this, the battle line did not collapse thanks to Misora’s efforts. And it was Maetel’s restoration magic that desperately supported this.

Normally, these proud demons were very individualistic, but with the cooperation of all five of them, they managed to maintain the front line, even making full use of illusion magic to deceive. However, when Ulrich and Alban fell at the same time, the burden on those who remained increased. Maetel’s recovery magic could not keep up, and total annihilation was imminent.

It was at this critical moment that Ranga intervened.

“What the hell, you dog! You dare to interfere with me!”

Vega was on a high.

Now that he had so much power, he believed himself to be invincible.

That’s why he decided that one more monster wouldn’t be much of a threat.

But that was a mistake.

Ranga’s existence value was less than half of Vega’s, but his combat experience was not to be underestimated. Because he was always lurking in Rimuru’s shadow, he had witnessed many battles.

That is why Ranga was able to flexibly adapt his tactics to the enemy.

This time, the strategic victory would be to get through this without any casualties. By understanding that, his role became more clear.

“Use me as a shield and regroup. Reinforcements will definitely come. My lord will not be defeated!”

Wagging his tail, Ranga assured them.

With that alone, Misora and the others understood that Rimuru had arrived.

Misora accurately read Ranga’s intentions and figured out what the best course of action would be.

“I shall take your word for it. Maetel-dono, please concentrate on Ranga-dono.”

And with that, the tactics were swiftly rearranged, and the battle changed with Ranga as the focal point.

From this point on, Vega’s high would come to an end.

This was because Ranga, whom Vega had initially dismissed as inferior, performed better than expected.

Without thinking, Vega attempted to eliminate Ranga. By using his Ultimate Skill ‘Evil Dragon King Azi Dahaka’ to the fullest extent, he tried to subdue him with pure power.

The Ultimate Skill, ‘Evil Dragon King Azi Dahaka,’ was a skill acquired after Vega’s upbringing.

Vega was descended from the “magical inquisitors,” one of the Rosso’s research achievements. He was a monster that possessed both monster and human characteristics, and could recover from any injury as long as he was fed.

It was a secret that Yuuki had modified him to become a kind of imitation slime.

Vega’s whole body was a collection of miniscule magical bacteria. Therefore, he could regenerate freely, and as long as a single part of his body remained, he could be revived without any problems.

He was able to mimic the structure of living organisms, and depending on the probability, he could even acquire the Skill of the opponent after Predation.

It was precisely because of this that Vega was able to acquire the Ultimate Skill ‘Evil Dragon King Azi Dahaka.’

The true value of this skill was that it absorbed the power of the eaten target, just like the Vega’s essential nature.

It was a power very similar to Rimuru’s ‘Gluttonous King Beelzebuth,’ and was an aggregation of terrifying abilities such as ‘Ultraspeed Thought,’ ‘Parallel Thought,’ ‘Analyze and Assess,’ ‘Organic Domination,’ ‘Mass Reproduction,’ ‘Skill Absorption,’ and ‘Multilayer Barrier.’

It had an extremely high performance.

If the victim had a physical body, it’s information could be read using ‘Organic Domination’ and its racial abilities could be acquired.

Even if the victim was a spiritual life form, it was possible to steal away its energy using ‘Skill Absorption’ and even make its Skills their own.

On top of that, as long as there was an organic body to use as a material, the user could mass-produce and manipulate ‘replicas’ of themselves.

The Ultimate Skill ‘Evil Dragon King Azi Dahaka’ was a skill that, if it could be mastered, could help the wielder become as strong as they wished.

If it could be mastered…

Unfortunately, Vega hadn’t had that much experience since he was born.

He had grown at an alarming rate, and his power had only increased, but he had yet to master his own powers.

Vega could only use ‘Organic Domination’ to strengthen his body, ‘Analyze and Assess’ to understand his enemies’ weaknesses, and ‘Skill Absorption’ to weaken his enemies.

He also used ‘Ultraspeed Thought’ unconsciously, so he was able to make good decisions, but unfortunately, he could not use ‘Parallel Thinking,’ and was unable to claim victory despite having an overwhelming advantage.

However, Vega himself was enjoying his strength so much that he didn’t even realize that he had missed his best chance…

—And with a vicious power, Vega’s fist pierced through Ranga.

“—Hm?”

Vega wondered at the lack of response.

He should have pierced through him, but he couldn’t feel anything.

Let alone stealing energy, he could not even use ‘Analyze and Assess’ on the enemy.

The reason for this was that Ranga was using his own abilities to the fullest.

Ranga’s ultimate skill, ‘Stellar Wind King Hastur,’ had the effect of transforming his body into a magical wind.

Physical attacks would not work against Ranga, who had turned into a terrifying “demonic wind” that contaminated everything it touched. In fact, the moment something touched Ranga, it would be damaged by the “death-calling wind.”

The current Ranga was magic itself.

The logic was the same as that of Karion’s Burst Roar; He maintained his regular form and mass but was transformed into a willful particle of destructive energy not unlike a spiritual life form.

Even a simple physical attack would become an attack of great destructive power. One did not need an explanation to understand how terrifying this was.

Furthermore, unlike with Karion, this was not Ranga using a special move, but rather undergoing a change in state. Naturally, the rate of energy consumption would be higher, but there would be no restrictions placed on him just for entering a “magical wind” state.

This was the power of someone who could utilize their Skill to the fullest extent.

Although Vega was superior in terms of existence value, Ranga was the winner in terms of ability.

“Hahaha, that fist doesn’t seem to work on me, does it?”

Actually, Ranga was surprised.

He had expected Vega to be stronger and had been wary of him.

Because Rimuru was always so cautious, Ranga learned to imitate him. That is why he never let his guard down against Vega, who possessed more than twice the amount of energy as he did.

On the contrary, he even suspected that this was a trap of some kind.

“Damn you! You have no respect even though you’re just a dog!”

And after Vega tried to hit him, he realized for the first time that the other party was an idiot.

If he had hit Ranga, who had turned into magical wind, without thinking, the result would have been the same as hurting himself. Vega would have taken the damage on his own, and Ranga was left dumbfounded.

In this case, the correct answer was to wrap your fist in a skill-enhanced aura and then hit him. The same applied to attacking with weapons. Skills could only be dealt with by skills.

If he was a spiritual life form, he could be as effective as an ultimate skill by increasing his energy, but Vega did not take any of that into consideration.

If he had mastered his Ultimate Skill ‘Evil Dragon King Azi Dahaka,’ he would not have shown such a disgraceful appearance.

“You fool. I thought you were playing a trick on me, but it looks like you were actually serious. In that case, I shall make my move at once.”

As soon as Ranga announced this, he began to run at full speed. He became a jet-black wind that tossed Vega around, leaving the sound behind and filling the space with afterimages from the earth to the sky.

Then, it became a howling that reverberated inside the space.

Ranga amplified his own speed and destructive power through the ‘Sound and Wind Domination’ of the ‘Stellar Wind King Hastur,’ and then created a force field using ‘Spatial Domination’ while running at full speed. After that, he created a ‘Death Storm’ within the force field by using ‘Weather Domination’ for the final blow—this eventually lead to the ‘Apocalypse’ that destroyed everything.

This technique was called ‘Apocalypse Howling.’

It was the most powerful individual attack technique that Ranga had devised.

Incidentally, if one made a howling roar, they could also fire it as a directional beam. Normally, that would be the simpler and more correct way to use it. However, if one wanted to cause more damage, it was better to use a beam that was confined to a certain space, as was the case in this situation. By confining the target, there was no waste of energy, so a greater effect was to be expected.

Vega took a direct hit from this, but surprisingly, he survived.

Although he was not able to use the ‘Evil Dragon King Azi Dahaka’ properly, he was still subconsciously affected by the skill in his body.

Moreover, Vega could be characterized by his stubbornness.

Although he was not left unharmed, he was able to regenerate his own body in time before being killed by activating ‘Organic Domination’ and ‘Mass Reproduction.’

His magicule count was not to be underestimated.

Vega took a deep breath and bellowed with all his might.

“Shit, shit, shiiiiiiit…!!”

Then he glared at Ranga.

Vega took a deep breath to calm himself down, and then spat out.

“Damn it! It’s been a long series of continuous battles, and it looks like I’m tired too. I’ll call it a draw for today, so prepare yourself for the next time we meet! See ya.”

Vega’s cowardice was the only reason why he was so good at sensing danger. Realizing that the situation had become disadvantageous for him, he immediately decided to run away.

Ranga had no objections.

From the fact that he had withstood his own strongest move, he could see that Vega was superior to him in terms of existence value. He understood that he could not defeat Vega unless he was able to finish him off with that current blow. In that case, there was no need to push himself.

His tactical goal was to buy time, so if he could force Vega to retreat, then that would be considered a success. Therefore, Ranga’s decision to not engage Vega was the correct choice.

Thus, the battle against Vega, the fiercest of the battlefields, came to an end.

Now then, everyone was pleased by Ranga’s support, however—

Misora thought to herself.

This Ranga fellow is the pet of the Demon Lord Rimuru-sama, isn’t he? So then why is he so strong?!

That strength was just illogical.

Misora had a rough idea of how large or small Vega and Ranga’s energy values were. This was because a good fighter could not survive if they were unable to measure the strength of their enemy.

In Misora’s perspective, Ranga was a serious contender, but Vega still seemed to be a more formidable opponent.

And yet, Ranga had been the overwhelming victor.

She had planned to use Ranga as a shield and reconfigure her tactics, but now she felt like she had been let down.

“You know, Misora, there are some extraordinary beings in this world. Once you take a good look at Rimuru-sama, you will understand how I feel right now.”

Misora remembered the words of her boss (Raine).

“I see now…just by watching his pet, one can understand the caliber of the owner. I did not doubt Raine-sama’s words, but now I understand them wholeheartedly.”

Misora couldn’t help muttering, and the four remaining demon peers nodded their heads in total agreement.

And White Knight Maetel, who had almost run out of mana, was left dumbfounded that he had no part to play.

It was as if they had escaped reality.

I like dogs, and I’ve always wanted to have one. They’re just so dependable. After this battle, I’ll have to rush to the pet store to buy one!

It was a complete abandonment of thought.

By the way, pet stores in this world did not sell pet dogs. They sold animals and monsters that were trained by a tamer and could really fight, at a high price.

Later on, Maetel would buy a forest wolf and give it the name ‘Ranga II,’ but that was another story.

Red Knight Fran and Yellow Knight Kizona were struggling against Oria.

The word “struggling” was an understatement.

If Oria had seriously intended to kill them, the battle would have instantly been decided.

“Kuh, she’s just too strong…”

Fran muttered, biting her lip.

Kizona, who was exposed to Oria’s attack, agreed.

“She’s just toying with us. Now it’s a mace? It was a short-sword earlier, but she’s making the weapons weaker and weaker, testing their performance on us.”

Kizona’s point was correct.

At first, Oria was holding a morning star.

With one blow, Kizona’s full body armor had been shattered. The next blow would have killed her, but Oria’s next move was to switch weapons.

Kizona felt as if she was being taken for a fool, but it was also true that she felt lucky.

“It’s disgraceful to be ridiculed like this, but I guess it can’t be helped since there’s such a large difference between our abilities…”

“Let’s think positively. If we keep stalling for time, I am sure that Leon-sama will come to help!”

Fran and Kizona were determined to not give up and face Oria with an unrealistic hope. They both understood that such hope was an illusion.

Their master, Demon Lord Leon, must be in an even more treacherous situation.

Otherwise, Leon would not have abandoned his subordinates.

So, all they could do was try to stay alive until help arrived.

But that was long overdue.

The disparity in their abilities was too great. Not even ten minutes had passed since the battle had started, and they were already wounded to the bone.

And Oria was also satisfied after testing her abilities to some extent.

“Yeah. Is that enough?”

Oria spoke and transformed her weapon into the ‘Trident.’ It was the main weapon of a woman who had once been named Orca.

Fran and Kizona also understood that Oria’s presence had changed.

So this is it…I did my best, but I regret that I couldn’t complete my mission…

Fran was despairing.

Kizona was more materialistic.

I wish I could have eaten some cake in the end…

They waited for everything to end while thinking to themselves.

However, the end never came.

Instead, what came was—

“You seem to be in some trouble. I thought it would be tactless of me to intervene, but I will leave that matter to you.”

Kumara, who had transformed herself into a beautiful woman, stood before Oria as if to protect Fran and Kizona.

Thus, the battle between Kumara and Oria began, and once again, it was a one-sided affair.

But this time, it was Oria who was completely outmatched.

“There’s no way, why?!”

A startled cry escaped Oria’s mouth.

Oria’s Ultimate Enchantment, ‘Multiple Weapons,’ was the power to create mythical-grade weapons of any performance. The full-body armor she wore was also mythical-grade, as it should be.

And yet, the nine-tailed punches that Kumara was unleashing by manipulating her tails were damaging Oria without any regard to her mythical-grade armor. It did not shatter the armor, but the impact still penetrated and reduced Oria’s physical strength.

“You’re pretty weak, aren’t you? If that’s the case, I don’t need to send out the Eight Legions.”

Kumara had wondered if she should send out a Tailed Beast to gauge the enemy’s strength, but after one battle, she had decided that there was no need.

Oria was a top-notch warrior and a formidable opponent who could even control advanced magic. However, her movements did not deviate from the realm of human beings, and she did not stray from Kumara’s expectations in any way.

For Kumara, who had experience with strong opponents such as Karion and Frey, this opponent was unsatisfactory.

It was Oria’s armament that should be of concern, but that too was not a threat to Kumara.

Because Kumara had evolved even further.

From a Nine Tails to a Fox Djinn.

Kumara’s power had increased greatly once she took on divinity.

Of course, Oria had a seraph in her, so she also had divinity. Moreover, when comparing the existence values between them, there was not much of a difference.

Kumara had grown a little, but still had an existence value of less than 2 million, while Oria had an existence value of a little more than 2 million. By numerical values alone, Oria had the advantage.

And yet—

Oria, with only her experience as a human, had too narrow of a range of uses for her power.

When they were humans, Oria—Orca and Aria—had been the most senior executive members of the Mixed Corps under Yuuki. They had been as strong as the Imperial Knights, the most powerful group in the Empire.

The souls of these two women mingled and awakened as undead elves, and even gained the power of the seraphim. On top of that, the Ultimate Enchantment ‘Alternative,’ given to them by Michael, had been transformed into ‘Multiple Weapons.’ She was convinced that there were no enemies worth noting on earth.

After experimenting with Fran and Kizona to confirm this, Oria was convinced that her power was the strongest.

The weapons created by her skill were second to none for any existing mythical-grade equipment. As proof of this, Fran’s and Kizona’s attacks had not worked on Oria at all. They couldn’t even touch her body, and the two had been repelled by her mythical-grade armor.

Her weapon could shatter the enemy’s weapon with only a light swing.

Oria had become overconfident in her own power.

That was why she refused to acknowledge the current reality.

“Do not take me for a fool! I’ll be getting serious from here on!”

Now that the experimenting was over, Oria swung her ‘Trident’ around with all the skill she possessed.

The magic that Aria had been so good at transformed into a purple light. Even Kumara would have been mortally wounded if she were to be hit by the spear that Orca was unleashing with her brilliant skill.

However…

Nine tails, cloaked in a divine aura, moved freely to block the ‘Trident.’

At this point, the difference in ability was obvious to everyone.

Just as it was natural for people to differ in power even when they had the same physical abilities, there was a difference between those who had studied martial arts and those who were still amateurs—perhaps even greater than that.

Even Fran and Kizona, who had only been watching the fight between the two women, could clearly see the difference.

“Wow, that’s amazing…”

“Hey, is that person one of Demon Lord Rimuru’s subordinates?”

“I don’t know, but I’m pretty sure she’s on our side.”

“How should I put this…I think I’ve come to realize that we should never become enemies. I mean, even the people we don’t know about are so powerful…”

“Shut up. I agree with you even if you don’t say it.”

They were admiring Kumara’s brave figure while talking about her.

Kumara, the bewitching beauty herself, was standing gracefully without moving an inch. Once one realized this fact, it was like being shown that there was not any point in arguing about who was better.

“Well, are you ready?”

Kumara asked, her smile deepening.

“I won’t accept this. That’s right, I won’t. I—we have acquired the strongest power. This power exists only to serve the great Michael-sama!”

“Hmm, I see. But it won’t work on me.”

Kumara ruthlessly replied to the angry Oria.

It was an obvious fact, but it was still enough of an insult to make Oria angry.

“Don’t be silly! I am Oria, the one who defeats Michael-sama’s enemies!!”

Oria took pride in herself and attacked Kumara with all her might.

But that was just reckless.

A suicide attack without a plan was nothing but a meaningless attack to Kumara.

Oria’s spear was flicked away by Kumara’s tail, and her limbs were restrained by four tails.

The dull sound of shattering joints echoed through the air—A merciless ending for Oria.

“My “name” is Kumara. Kumara the “Chimera Lord.” Receive this as a souvenir for the dead.”

Kumara finally announced her name as she slammed her tails into the immobilized Oria.

Arios had mastered the Ultimate Enchantment ‘Punishment King Sandalphon’ and was overwhelming the Blue Knight Oxian and Mizeri’s lieutenant, Kahn.

The bastard sword that Arios held was also a mythical-grade sword borrowed from Oria. He had grown in strength and power beyond what he could have ever imagined as a human.

That’s why Arios had put off killing them. The two inferiors were just the right playmates for him to test his strength on.

Both Oria and Arios knew that it was not an honorable thing for the strong to bully the weak. Unlike Vega, both of them had common sense and would not normally get involved in personal affairs in the middle of a mission.

But this time, the situation was different.

They both believed that if they didn’t test out their powers, which was very different from what they were used to, it would be a hindrance to their future battles.

It was also a necessary task for a first-class warrior to grasp what they could do and to what extent they could push themselves. Therefore, he had taken this opportunity to allow himself a certain amount of play.

Oxian and Kahn were aware of Arios’ intentions. It was humiliating for the two proud men, but this time it was convenient.

The victory condition was to buy time, and it was difficult for them to achieve that with their abilities alone.

So, even though they knew they were being toyed with, they had no choice but to face Arios desperately.

Aside from the intelligent Oxian, the old demon, Kahn, was boiling like magma on the inside.

I’ll kill him. I’ll never forgive him!!

Kahn was the leader of Mizeri’s subordinates and was normally a calm and collected person.

However, his patience was not as strong as Misora’s. He was always in awe of his colleagues, wondering how they could endure under someone like Raine-sama.

So now, after being humiliated like this, Kahn’s fury was at an all-time high.

However, there was still a cruel wall between him and Arios.

It was not so much a difference in skill-level. In fact, Oxian and Kahn were probably better than him in that aspect.

But even so, the reason why it was so one-sided was that there was a large gap between their existence values by several times. Moreover, Arios possessed the fearsome ‘Punishment King Sandalphon.’

Aside from a mythical-grade weapon, nothing could even compete with the ultimate skill.

It had been a long and painful time, but that was coming to an end.

They could tell from Arios’ expression that his stance had shifted.

“Heh, that’s enough. You guys were pretty strong, right? Well, I’ve had a lot of fun, so I’ll kill you easily without causing you any more pain.”

Having tested his strength enough, Arios must have decided that it was time to stop fooling around. He told Kahn and Oxian as such.

There was nothing they could do about it, Oxian had decided.
 
I will have to leave the rest to Leon-sama. I shall apologize in the afterlife for being unable to complete my mission.

Oxian apologized inwardly.

Kahn, too, etched anger into his soul.

Even if I die here, I will never forget my grudge. Arios—I will remember that name. I will definitely come back one day and kill you!

For a demon, death was merely a change of state.

As long as the core was left intact, they could be revived over time. Depending on the amount of damage, it might take hundreds of years or more, but no matter what, they could always be revived.

That is why Kahn swore to take revenge.

Incidentally, it was necessary to interfere with the spirit in order to damage the mind. As represented by “Disintegration,” the “information particles” could not be reached without destroying the spirit.

Now that Arios had the ‘Punishment King Sandalphon,’ he should be able to destroy the core if he was aware of it.

However, Kahn was not so worried.

Arios’ swordsmanship, physical ability, and Skill were all first-rate, but his spirit did not deviate from that of humans.

He didn’t seem to have much experience in dealing with non-humans, and he didn’t seem to know how to deal with demons.

That was why Kahn believed that he could get out of this situation by pretending to be dead.

Arios’ sword was held up to Oxian, and the gun in his hand was pointed at Kahn.

Kahn’s body was already at its limit. Now that Arios was serious, there was no way he would be able to continue fighting any longer. Although he felt bad for Oxian, Kahn’s strength was his ability to keep a cool head.

So this is it for now. I’ll have to successfully withdraw—

As Kahn was thinking this, Arios took one look at Kahn with a broad smile and put his finger on the trigger.

“Hyahaha! I’ll start with you first—”

‘The best I can do is smile for now’—Kahn thought, but then his eyes widened as something caught his eye.

Behind Arios, someone jumped out from the shadows at his feet and swung a sword.

At this point, the crisis was over.

Kahn recognized this person.

He remembered that he was a subordinate of the Demon Lord Rimuru, and that he had called himself Souei.

Oxian also noticed him at about the same time.

“Souei-dono, so the reinforcements arrived in time?!”

Oxian shouted with joy, to which Souei replied bitterly.

“Damn, I thought that I’d kill him with one blow, but I guess that was a little naive. He’s still alive, so don’t let your guard down.”

Although Souei was a gentleman in front of Rimuru, he was more of a self-confident and self-centered person at heart. Aside from perhaps the head of state of another nation, he would never defer to a senior executive.

In addition, this was an emergency, so he had taken the initiative to take control of the situation, placing Oxian and Kahn under his command.

Meanwhile, Arios, who had been suddenly ambushed, was still alive as Souei had said. He was coughing up blood, but somehow still managed to regain his position.

Arios had just barely noticed the deadly blow from his blind spot that also carried Souei’s ‘Insta-kill’ ability—‘Assassinate’—he narrowly avoided the attack that would have pierced his heart.

“Bastard, now you’ve really done it.”

“Your reaction time is impressive. However, I won’t miss the next time.”

That’s all that was said before they rushed into battle.

Arios was arrogant, but he still had a cautious personality.

Before being reborn as a Yōten (Heavenly Demon/Spirit), he had been a powerful otherworlder.

He had been involved in assassination missions and had learned all kinds of skills. He was an expert in interpersonal warfare and had learned all the manner of ways to be careful when being targeted.

That is why he never let his guard down under any circumstances.

Even while he hunted down Oxian and Kahn, he had not neglected being vigilant to his surroundings.

That was what saved his life.

But that was all it did.

“Hmm, so your strength is greater than mine. That’ll be tough to beat.”

“So, what will you do?”

A battle of competing forces.

And a fight for one’s life.

Arios felt that he was very much alive.

Already, his injuries had healed. His life force had been strengthened to an extraordinary degree, and he now possessed the power of the seraphim. It was just that he still hadn’t broken free from the conventions of being human, but Arios has long since entered the realm of the non-human.

With this power that surpasses even a demon lord, no matter who you are, you’re no match for me!

He was proud of himself and looked forward to Souei’s next move.

Arios was already aware. As Souei had said, he was more powerful than him.

He did not doubt his victory, as he felt that he was not that far behind in terms of skill-level.

He did not let his guard down—However, he was much too arrogant in dealing with Souei.

From the very start, Souei had not intended to compete with Arios.

The battle must be won.

No matter how good the battle was, a loss was game over.

That is why Souei did not care about how he won.

From the very beginning, he had kept his ‘split body’ hidden and watched for Arios’ to leave an opening. In this way, while fighting a close battle, he gradually made Arios feel that he was going to lose, so that Arios would be caught off guard.

While making it seem like he was doing his best, he stripped away at Arios’ moves one by one, and built a solid path to victory.

Then came the decisive moment.

“Hyahaha! You’ve been a tough opponent. I’ll give you that. That’s why I’ll kill you with my best move!”

With that said, he unleashed ‘Judgment,’ the sure-kill move of the Ultimate Enchantment ‘Punishment King Sandalphon.’

It pierced right through, and Souei’s ‘Split Body’ fizzled out. Seeing this, Arios was convinced that he had won.

It was understandable.

Judgment could only be fired once a day, but it was the strongest means of attack. It was less powerful than the one that Lieutenant Kondou had fired, but it was still a blow that could not be broken.

It was understandable that he believed Souei’s death to be certain, but that was exactly what Souei was waiting for.

“Thousand-Hand Shadow Kill.”

“Wa—?”

A shadow stretched out and grabbed Arios.

“W-Wait!”

Souei blocked Arios’ movements and pierced through his heart with the twin swords in his hands.

It was Feldway’s words that changed the stalemated situation of the battle.

“—It’s about time to move on. It appears that further battles are meaningless.”

When I heard that, I thought to myself.

‘I should have made my decision sooner.’

If I could corner him here, that would be the best. But unfortunately, I felt that we were at a disadvantage.

If we continued fighting like this, I was pretty sure that we would get support, but to be perfectly honest, I wasn’t certain. Ranga and the others wouldn’t lose, but I couldn’t deny the possibility that we were being too optimistic. There was a hint of danger in the castle, so I was worried that they might be struggling.

Basically, I only wanted to fight battles that I could definitely win.

But this time, I had not been prepared enough.

I didn’t anticipate that even the communications would be cut off, and I had come to the battlefield without properly analyzing the enemy’s strength.

I had a few expectations because of Dino’s report, but when we actually fought, I found that the enemy forces were much stronger than expected.

For Jahil to overwhelm Benimaru as he did was a foul play.

I had been expecting Benimaru to quickly defeat the enemy as usual. And yet, the situation had been so unbelievable that it was even a wonder that he hadn’t been defeated…

So, if he was going to retreat here, I had no intention of stopping him.

I had no intention of stopping him—but I would not forget to fan the flames as well.

“Whoa, you’re not thinking of running away now, are you?”

Silvia-san, who was dealing with Leon, turned her attention away from him when she heard that. She was glaring at me as if to tell me to mind my own business.

Unlike El-tan, she wasn’t proficient in conversational implicature.

For this kind of thing, the one who hides their true intentions is the winner.

In times of distress, the rule is to deceive your opponent by saying the opposite.

“Hmph, I’ve accomplished my goal of bringing Leon, the owner of the ‘Purity King Metatron,’ into the fold, and I’ve also identified and eliminated the traitor in my way. On top of that, I was able to determine the extent of your abilities. It’s a good result overall.”

Hmm, as expected, he didn’t take this kind of gossip lying down.

But that was the main purpose, wasn’t it?

By saying something pitiful, the other party will feel good about retreating.

For me, it would be more annoying to hear them say something like, “yeah, I quit.”

So, while thinking “go home, go home, hurry up and go home!” on the inside, I continued to urge Feldway on.

“So, you’re scared, huh? Well, my people will be coming for you soon. Once they do, we’ll win, so I can understand why you’d want to run!”

While saying that, I launched a fierce attack.

Perhaps my words had upset him a little, but Feldway’s sword slowed for a moment. I felt my sword graze his body, but Feldway was unharmed.

Was I mistaken?

No, no, I feel like I had grazed him a few times before…

“As Noir’s master, you sure are a cocky little bastard. The next time I see you, I’ll crush you with a desperate fighting power, so be prepared.”

“That’s my line! Since you seem to have such an issue with Diablo, I’ll let him deal with you next time!”

“……”

When I spat out a line, sounding as if I came straight out of some crappy manga, Feldway looked mortified. I didn’t miss the look of disgust on his face.

This was the secret technique, “leave it to someone else!”

However, it worked so well this time that I was planning to force it on Diablo even if he didn’t like it.

Well, reading the atmosphere and observing other peoples’ reactions are essential skills for working people. If you watch people carefully, you will eventually learn what makes them happy and what makes them uncomfortable.

On top of that experience, I had previously worked for over ten years in the construction industry, where socializing was very important, and I was very good at harassing people like this.

It was obvious from Feldway’s behavior that he had a problem with Diablo. I thought that I might be mistaken, but I was relieved to see that I was correct.

“You really are a jerk, you bastard.”

“I am honored by your praise.”

“—Damn it, you really are getting carried away. Jahil, Leon, we’re leaving.”

Feldway escaped from the argument with me and announced his retreat.

A victory in spirit—that was a joke, but this was, in fact, a tactical victory.

“Hmm. Wouldn’t it be better to settle this here?”

“Ah. It’s a command from Michael-sama.”

“—Well, that’s fine. I owe you a debt of gratitude. My body doesn’t seem to be in the best of shape, so I’ll just do as I’m told.”

Jahil had overwhelmed Benimaru, but he grudgingly agreed. To be perfectly honest, I thought it would be troublesome if he had insisted on continuing, so I felt relieved.

Or at least I did—Benimaru then started to agitate Jahil.

“Huh, are you running away? I almost had the chance to win, but it was my inexperience that stopped me from finishing you off. I’ll win next time though, you can be sure of that.”

I wondered what in the world he was doing, but I couldn’t complain since I was the one who started this in the first place.

‘What the hell is wrong with you guys?’—that’s what Silvia-san’s painful glare seemed to say.

I could understand that feeling.

From a third person’s point of view, I would have thought that we were idiots, too…

“You don’t know your place in the world, you worm!! If you continue to taunt me, the Great Magician, then I—”

“Jahil, that’s the slime’s right-hand man. If you lose your composure, then you’ll lose a battle you should be able to win.”

Thank you for that misunderstanding!

I think he misunderstood by a spoonful or two, but if he took things that way, I was happy.

For the very first time, I felt that Feldway might be a decent guy. It was probably due to my usual demeanor, but I think I was successful in making him more cautious than necessary.

“Hmm…that’s true. I’ll allow this bastard to save face this time. There won’t be a next time, you brats.”

Jahil seemed short-tempered, but he was surprisingly thoughtful. He had been all ready to go on another rampage, but he followed Feldway’s lead.

And Leon, being manipulated as he was, did not argue.

Having reached a consensus, the three of them flew away from the broken ceiling and into the sky.

After seeing them off, Benimaru and I sat down on the spot, our strength gone.

I personally thought that it was better to be aggressive in a fight, but this time I had gone too far. I would have to be more careful next time, or it might have the opposite effect.

Just as I was thinking about this, Benimaru turned to me, exhausted and complaining.

“Rimuru-sama, it was too dangerous to stir things up in that situation!”

It was full of pent-up emotions that should have been said earlier.

“You have no right to say that! We were just about to settle things, but then you goaded Jahil, and I was left wondering what was going on!”

“No, I was just following Rimuru-sama’s lead. If my lord is not ready to retreat, then I cannot pull the plug myself. Besides, well, I’d feel like I lost if I didn’t do so.”

When I saw Benimaru’s nice smile, I felt like I was seeing his real intention.

Then I noticed Silvia-san staring at us with a dumbfounded expression, but Benimaru and I just acted as if nothing had happened.

Vega, who escaped from Ranga, did not think that he had lost.

Vega’s fault was that he never reflected on himself, but his positive attitude was still something to learn from.

Vega arrived at the battlefield where Kumara and Oria were fighting.

He hid his presence and observed the situation.

The conclusion of the battle came quickly.

Oria had been fatally damaged by Kumara’s tail barrage. Fortunately for Vega, she was blown to the vicinity of where he was hiding.

How lucky. It’s as if the heavens are telling me to eat this thing!

Vega thought selfishly. He had no sense of camaraderie, so there was no honorable moral that urged him to help others. This was especially true if the person in need was worthless.

Vega licked his lips and crept closer to Oria.

“Hey, you look good.”

“Ve-Vega? Thank goodness, that person is stronger than I expected.”

“Looks like it. But don’t worry. I’ll take care of the rest and avenge you.”

Oria wondered if Vega had a soft side, but she was mistaken, and was forced to realize it by the intense pain she felt immediately afterwards.

Vega’s gentle touch burned Oria’s skin. He then began to erode and eat Oria.

“Gah, wh-what are you—”

“I’ll eat your soul, so give me that Skill of yours, too. That right, with that, I’ll be able to take out those small fry bastards easily.”

“No way, Michael-sama will never forgive you—”

“Shut up! This is a world of survival of the fittest, right? I’m sure that Michael bastard would be more than happy to see me get stronger!”

Vega shouted as such, laughing vulgarly. He then accelerated the erosion, without showing any mercy to the suffering Oria.

It eventually reached her neck as he ate Oria to death with a sickening crunch.

“Just what you’d expect from the work of a brute…how very ugly.”

“To me, that’s a compliment.”

In fact, even if eating Oria and her comrades was considered an atrocious act of cruelty to others, for Vega, it was merely natural means to sustain his life. He followed his instincts and utilized the Ultimate Skill ‘Evil Dragon King Azi Dahaka.’

As a result, Oria was completely decomposed by ‘Organic Domination’ and became Vega’s flesh and blood.

“Wonderful, how wonderful! This power, I can feel myself getting stronger and stronger!”

Vega was ecstatic and tested out the power he had inherited from Oria.

The mythical-grade armor covering his entire body, which had been recreated by ‘Metal Manipulation’ of the Blue Dragon Spear he had taken in, glowed in the color of blood. Even his hands, feet, elbows, and knees, were armed like the fangs and claws of a beast.

It was at this moment that Vega’s majin form evolved into something even more hideous.



Kumara, who had witnessed such a Vega, was highly alert from the start. The reason why she had thrown Oria out of the fight without finishing her off was because she had lost control when she sensed his persistent gaze.

To a certain extent, Vega’s evil presence could not be concealed.

As a result, Oria was dead, but Vega had been strengthened. He seemed to have been wounded when he first came here, so this could be considered a complete failure on Kumara’s part.

I’ve failed, haven’t I? What matters is not the quantity, but rather the quality of enemies. I cannot face Rimuru-sama if I allow the enemy to grow stronger.

Inwardly breaking out in a cold sweat, Kumara thought about how to recover.

Having been defeated by Karion and then Frey, Kumara was not overconfident in her own abilities. It would have been best if she could have killed Vega here and now, but she knew that it was beyond her control.

When one meets a strong opponent, it is necessary to assess their strength. If they failed to do so, the only thing that awaited them was defeat—In other words, death.

Kumara sincerely understood that this was unacceptable. Now that she had been taken out of the deathless labyrinth, she could not make the mistake of getting herself killed.

For that reason, although she felt ashamed for allowing Vega to grow stronger, she was able to avoid being dragged into a situation where she might have caused an even bigger mistake.

One single decision could make all the difference.

If Kumara had lost her temper and attacked Vega, she would have been beaten back and ‘Predation’ would have been the result. However, Kumara’s decision to wait and see allowed a third party to intervene in the situation.

“We have been ordered to withdraw. Vega, the battle is over.”

A figure suddenly appeared on the scene and stopped Vega, who had been ready to attack.

That person was Mai Furuki, who had been standing idly by until then.

Feldway ordered her to retrieve everyone, so she had used ‘Instantaneous Movement’ to arrive at Oria’s positional coordinates. However, Oria hadn’t been there, and she had stopped Vega’s outburst by chance.

Vega obeyed quietly. He had just gained a great deal of power and instinctively understood that he would not be able to absorb any more food.

Thus, Kumara’s crises ended, and the battle was over.

Mai retrieved Vega and went to the place where Arios was dying. His heart had been destroyed by Souei, and Arios was doomed to defeat.

However, Arios and the others who had become “Yōten” would not die even without a heart. It was not blood that flowed through their veins, but rather mana, or divine power, that was the source of their strength.

If they became skilled enough, they would be able to control the power at will.

However, there was no doubt that being without a heart was a critical situation because it prevented them from exerting any great power.

In the case of Arios, the remnants of his human life had not yet been shed, and he was fatally weakened.

If nothing was done, he would have been dealt a crushing blow and would have died.

“Who are you?”

Souei, who had jumped back as soon as he sensed the presence, spoke to Mai.

It was Vega who answered.

“My name is Vega. You should remember this and be grateful that I gave it to such small fry.”

Upon hearing this, Souei wondered if his facade would slip away.

In all honesty, Souei was aware that he was prone to losing his temper.

However, that was a demerit for a covert agent, so he had learned how to separate his head from his heart and turn his anger into energy.

Normally, he would be angry, but would also smile coolly and then calmly torture his enemies. This time, however, it seemed to be difficult to do so, because Souei understood at first glance that Vega had become abnormally strong.

This person is…one of the leaders of Cerberus, Vega of Power. What happened in this short period of time that he became so different from the previous findings?

In this world, it was possible for one’s power to drastically increase to the extent that they became almost like a whole other person.

Rimuru, Souei and the others’ Lord, had also experienced the aforementioned ‘super-enhancement’ such as with his demon lord awakening and the True Dragon conversion. Therefore, Souei also had an understanding of such cases.

However, that did not mean that he could so easily accept this. Souei believed that it was necessary to answer the question of what had happened with Vega.

But that opportunity was lost.

Mai did not want to waste time talking and had quickly withdrawn from the scene.

“…That woman, appearing without any sign and disappearing without any warning…she may be a more troublesome opponent than Vega.”

Souei muttered to himself.

Kahn nodded in agreement.

“That was probably a form of ‘Instantaneous Movement.’ Whether it’s magic or a Skill, a preliminary step is required to cross through space. To be able to ignore that and jump instantly from the spot without leaving any trace is something impossible even for the primordials. Although it is theoretically possible, it is a dream-like feat that has yet to be achieved.”

As he walked up to Souei, he gave his reasoning for what Mai had done.

Despite his wounds, Kahn’s demeanor remained dignified. As a high-ranking demon of the demon realm, he continued to express his gratitude for Souei’s help.

Oxian came over and thanked him along with Kahn.

“There is need to thank me. I was merely following Rimuru-sama’s orders.”

Even though the two men had thanked him, Souei was not satisfied.

For Souei, allowing the enemy to escape was a huge loss.

“—Besides, we failed to eliminate that Arios guy. Because of that, we now must assume that our information has been leaked to the enemy, and a harder battle will have to be fought the next time. We’ve achieved our tactical goal of survival, but I don’t think we can be too happy about this.”

While Souei responded with his usual matter-of-fact manner, Kahn and Oxian looked at each other. From their point of view, they were just grateful to have survived this moment.

However, Souei could not afford that luxury, so it was natural for him to be wary of what might happen next.

At any rate, just like their opponents, they had obtained information about the enemy.

Based on this information, Souei thought it necessary to rethink his strategy for the future, and while reflecting on his failure, he changed his mindset.

The battle was over.

The forces that had been fighting outside the castle withdrew as soon as Feldway had, and they all left the scene.

That’s why we were all gathering to meet in the conference room where it was now safe.

Benimaru and I participated, along with Souei. Diablo as well.

The knight captains of Leon’s forces were also there.

And Guy and the other demons.

There was also the mysterious helper Silvia-san, Elmesia’s mother, who joined in.

Not to be forgotten was the important witness, ex-demon lord Kazalim, aka Kagali. I succeeded in using ‘Isolation’ on her at the very last moment, so she was not seriously injured.

However, Teare, who had been protecting Kagali, was badly injured. Because the recovery potion was not working on her, Maetel-san, the leader of the White Knights who specialized in recovery, was currently taking care of her in the hospital room.

The only way to overcome an attack of the ultimate level was through one’s own will. I could only pray for Teare’s recovery.

Well, I was worried about Teare, but there was not much I could do about it. What mattered now was the future, which was why we were here.

Each of us would report to the others and share any information about the enemy. The goal was to review our strategies for the future.

As soon as our eyes met, a certain someone came right at me.

“Rimuru-kun—”

It was Guy.

He seemed to be holding a grudge against me for ignoring him on the battlefield, and I was positive he only had complaints, so I decided to use my ‘It-never-happened’ Skill to the fullest and cover it up.

“You bastard, how dare you ignore me that time!”

“N-No, I didn’t! I have no idea what you mean by ignoring you.”

“You were looking right at me!”

“I-I didn’t notice you at all. More importantly, I’m just glad that everyone’s okay!”

“Hey, don’t just change the subject. Besides, Leon’s been taken away, so there’s no way that everyone’s okay!”

That’s true.

But still, we had already taken that into account, right?

“Now, now, things are still on schedule with Leon.”

“You mean the plan that you were talking about before? I can’t help but think you’re just pushing off the problem, are really you sure about this?”

“Maybe…”

Guy glared at me.

Regarding Leon, I had actually thought of a plan beforehand.

As Ciel-san had suggested, using ‘Predation’ on Leon, and destroying the ‘control circuit’ itself was a surefire countermeasure.

The main reason I didn’t do that was not because I believed in Leon—rather, I didn’t like the idea, physiologically speaking.

That was not a joke…but there were other reasons.

The first reason was to avoid alarming Michael.

By leaving Leon here, I wanted Michael to think that there was nothing we could do against him.

The second reason was the ‘hope for the best’ strategy.

“But you agreed when we discussed it, didn’t you? If Leon, who is under the enemy’s control, comes back to his senses after attacking, we can turn the power gap upside down.”

“Well, yeah. I agree that it’s a reasonable plan, assuming that Leon is safe. If we can get to the point where Leon is attacking, that alone would give us an advantage.”

That’s what I was thinking.

He was right about me pushing off the problem, and there was still the question of whether or not I’d be able to conveniently get there, but if this went well, we could easily take out one of the enemies.

Regardless of the number of troops, if we could replace Leon’s strength with our own, the battle would be as good as won. As soon as Ciel-san suggested that, I had made up my mind.

In any case, the die had been cast.

Now that Leon had been taken, I had no choice but to act with faith in the success of the mission.

“Um, is Leon-sama going to be okay?”

Alrose asked, and I gave him a big nod in response.

“We have the means to free him, so don’t worry.”

It would be bad if he was suddenly executed, but I didn’t think Michael would do such a nonsensical thing. That was also why I had approved Ciel-san’s plan.

“Either way, we are out of options. Let’s trust His Majesty Rimuru. So then, here’s the plan.”

Claude-san spoke and re-established the situation.

Guy still seemed dissatisfied, but this achieved my goal of diverting the conversation.

“Never mind Leon, then. But Rimuru-kun, you definitely made eye contact with me back then, didn’t you?”

Damn it, this guy…he just won’t let it go.

“Um, what are you talking about?”

“Don’t you dare play dumb with me! You bastard, I was having such a hard time dealing with Velzard, and you just ran away without even pretending to help me!”

“I didn’t run away. I trusted you, you know!”

“Hah? As always, you’re such a smooth talker. The point is, if you had just quickly come to the rescue, we wouldn’t have had to go through all that trouble!”

Hold on, none of that was my fault.

“Whoa, whoa, what are you saying when you’re the ones who didn’t contact us? We were on alert and responded as quickly as possible.”

“Hah? Isn’t that what the magic transfer circle was for?!”

“It didn’t activate! I mean, shouldn’t you have been able to make a call with this ring under any circumstances?”

That’s right, I was told that the Demon’s Ring, which I had received upon becoming a demon lord, would allow me to contact the others under all circumstances.

And yet, neither Guy nor Leon had contacted me.

If Dino hadn’t told me, the response might have been delayed even further. I hoped that he would consider that a bit more.

“Ah, that’s right. That ring was made by Velzard, so she could easily sabotage it. Sorry, I forgot about that.”

Uh, well if he says that so openly, I can’t really say anything back…

“Um, yeah. Well then, let’s just say that it was both of our faults this time.”

“You’re right. It would be a problem if there was any conflict between us, so let’s stop fighting right now.”

So that’s what we did.

There were still a few things I wasn’t clear on, but honestly speaking, it was too much trouble to argue further. I would just be the adult this time.

But enough of that.

“So, why are these people sitting on the floor?”

The people I was staring at were Raine and Mizeri.

For some reason, they had been forced to sit on the floor the moment they were called into the room.

Incidentally, Leon’s castle was made of stone, so the floor was completely covered with marble. It was difficult to sit upright even on tatami mats, so sitting upright on the floor in such a place seemed quite strenuous.

“Oh, those guys. Do you want to hear about it?”

If you ask me if I want to hear about it, I’ll only feel troubled.

Guy’s eyes were kind of scary, and I didn’t want to get involved.

“Oh, I’m not interested in—”

“Actually, these two dumbasses were having fun drinking while we were all fighting desperately. I’m also a little pissed off, so I’m trying to figure out what to do.”

I said I wasn’t interested in hearing about it, but I think Guy just wanted to complain.

Or rather, did they seriously do that?

“Is that really true?”

I asked, not to Guy, but to Raine and the others.

Mizeri remained distant and silent, but Raine appealed to me with tears in her eyes.

“No, it’s not. It’s a tragic misunderstanding, Rimuru-sama.”

As soon as I heard that, I understood.

It was not a misunderstanding.

“Don’t listen to her. You’ll soil your ears.”

“Okay. We don’t have much time anyway, so let’s just hurry and exchange information.”

I jumped in at Guy’s words.

The others, who had been watching our conversation, seemed to be silent on the matter. Diablo was the only one who shook his head in disgust, but he didn’t seem to want to interfere.

So, we left Raine crying and Mizeri looking like an idiot and got straight down to business.

It was now time to listen to everyone’s opinions in order.

Although there had been a tangent in the middle, the report went by smoothly.

Incidentally, the aforementioned tangent was the exchange made by Kahn and Misora when they reported.

When it was their turn, Kahn and Oxian stood up, but then Kahn had turned from everyone and bowed to Guy to relay his wish.

“Under normal circumstances, I understand that it would be an unforgivable sin to speak to our master, the Red King (Rouge). However, I beg of you to listen to me.”

He was so sincere that Guy allowed him to speak.

In response, Kahn requested, “Can you please forgive my lord Mizeri-sama’s iniquity?”

I agreed with him.

She had been sitting upright on the floor for the entire discussion. She was probably okay because she was a demon, but I was still wondering when it would be time to let her go.

However, it wasn’t Guy who became enraged, but Mizeri, the one who was being punished.

“Kahn! You fool. It is unforgivable—”

She tried to reprimand Kahn with great force even as she was sitting on the floor.

It was Guy who stopped her.

“Now, hold on a minute. You’ve grown up, Kahn, for being able to talk to me. Fine then. For that, I’ll let Mizeri off the hook this time.”

True to his word, Guy forgave Mizeri and ordered everyone to have a drink.

That was all well and good, but then came a new problem.

As you can imagine, Raine, who was still sitting on the floor, did the same thing.

Now it was Misora’s turn to stand up and speak, and like Kahn, she wished for her master Raine to be released.

But Guy wouldn’t allow it.

It didn’t seem to be for a petty reason, such as it being the ‘second version.’

I’m also pretty good at reading the atmosphere, so I could tell that Guy was annoyed. I think Misora noticed it too, and when he said no, she quickly backed off.

Knowing when to back off was a sign of competence. It made me think that Misora was a very capable person, unlike what I’d expect from Raine’s subordinate.

However…

There are also people who can’t read the atmosphere.

“Why is that, Misora?! Why do you give up so easily when you’re so much better than Kahn? You have to try harder to help me! Why am I the only one sitting on the floor while Mizeri is free? I don’t get it!!”

And on and on she went.

I was convinced. As I thought, Raine possessed the unconstrained self-indulging trait of the youngest child.

Misora admonished Raine.

“Please give up. If you continue committing more crimes—”

Finally, Raine seemed to have calmed down after being told that much.

She glanced at Guy and seemed to understand that she was in a bad position.

“You should be a little more sincerely sorry, you know. Do you understand what you did wrong in the first place?”

“Yes?”

When Guy asked her about it, Raine tilted her head with a blank expression. It was cute, but now that I had seen her true nature, all I could sense was annoyance.

Guy spoke to Raine with a deeply tired expression.

“I don’t have time for this, but I’ll be the one in trouble if I let you get away with your misdeeds. Those empty bottles lying around the igloo, they’re rare and expensive liquors, aren’t they? How did you get them? It doesn’t look like you stole them, or did you mug one of your subordinates again?”

Um, if she’s even doing that, then she’s definitely a bad child.

Or rather, why would a demon even mug someone?

Even without committing such petty crimes, she didn’t seem to have any money troubles…

While I was thinking about that, Misora interrupted me, as if she couldn’t stand to watch anymore.

“May I be allowed to speak?”

“You may.”

With Guy’s permission, Misora defended Raine.

“Even our lord, as expected, she is not that clever.”

“N-Not that clever…”

Raine was about to say something, but everyone ignored her. This incident reminded me of the importance of daily conduct.

“But at the very least, she is someone who does things for a reason, so you can trust her on that point.”

“Hmm.”

“In the first place, it wasn’t money that Raine-sama needed.”

“Hm? Then how did this guy—”

Although he didn’t listen to Raine’s words, he was taking Misora’s plea seriously. Seeing him like that made me feel that Guy was surprisingly decent.

And then something strange happened here.

“Now, now, that should be enough of that, correct? We are in the middle of an important conversation about the future, and Raine’s punishment is insignificant.”

And then Diablo took Raine by the shoulders.

It was so blatantly unnatural that not only me, but also Guy, was staring at Diablo.

“I can still believe in Diablo after all!”

Raine’s eyes were sparkling as she spoke, as if she was impressed, while the others were just confused.

Something is going on.

My gut was telling me so.

“That’s suspicious.”

Guy seemed to agree, muttering to himself.

“Diablo, it’s not good to keep secrets, okay?”

“Kufu, kufufufu. Rimuru-sama, I would never hide anything from Rimuru-sama. However, that person seemed so pitiful that I felt that I should offer a little help.”

No, no, no, you don’t have that kind of personality—I almost said that out loud, but I held myself back and swallowed it.

Instead, I just stared at him. This was very effective in such situations.

And sure enough, Diablo’s eyes began to waver.

I had thought that he was a demon with a weak mind, but it turned out that I was right. He immediately became flustered and told the truth.

“No, that fine liquor was actually a gift from me to Raine…”

“Hah?”

“That’s crazy. No matter how much of an agreement you two came to, why would you give Raine something when you’ve been in conflict until not too long ago?”

That was absolutely correct.

Well, but now I knew why Diablo confessed so easily.

As long as we had the finished liquor bottle as physical evidence, we could quickly determine the distribution route. Souei was here as well, so he must have decided that it would be impossible to keep quiet about it.

That was all well and good, but the real problem was the relationship with the culprit (Raine).

While Guy and Diablo were quarreling, I gave Souei a look. He understood what I was asking and promptly secured the evidence.

I saw empty bottles of magic black rice amazake, traditional Japanese sake, black rice refined sake, and many other products, all of which had increasingly higher alcohol content.

A person couldn’t buy this stuff even if they paid a lot of money, because it was not available on the market. It was only available in our country, so even if it wasn’t Souei who was investigating, one could easily identify the culprit.

I mean, come on…

“Uh, you mentioned that you were having a drink earlier, did you actually drink this much?”

“That’s right. It’s only natural that I was mad, right? You have to do something about them, Rimuru.”

Well, of course that would make someone angry.

“Are you kidding me?! Everyone else is working, and we’re the only ones…?”

I didn’t think I’d end up feeling sorry for Guy, but it was the boss’s job to clean up after his subordinates. I was actually surprised that Guy was so forgiving, only making them sit upright on the floor.

And yet, Raine was making excuses.

“You’re wrong. This was a necessary item for advanced psychological warfare, and we weren’t trying to have fun on our own!”

“Psychological warfare?”

“Yes, that’s right. I went through a lot of trouble to acquire these items so that Pico and Gracia would speak up. In fact, I think I deserve a pat on the back!”

This kid was incredible. Even in this situation, she was insisting that it was all her own achievements…

She’s a primordial demon, after all. Her mental strength was nothing to sniff at.

Diablo also seemed to adhere to the theory that as long as you didn’t admit defeat, you hadn’t lost, so I guess they were similar at heart.

“So, Diablo, I’m curious as well. I don’t think you would give something to Raine for free, so what kind of a deal did you make?”

I would leave it to Guy to judge Raine’s claim, and I would pursue Diablo’s involvement.

“W-Well, that’s…”

He seemed to think that he couldn’t lie to me, and was slurring his words, but that didn’t last long. After all, Souei was there, too.

“Get on with it.”

Souei’s words were enough to make Diablo give up.

He confessed that he had been supplying the items in question in return for Raine’s share of paintings.

“I see, so the unknown artist who was distributing my paintings was Raine…”

“That makes sense…”

That was why we couldn’t trace her.

But it seemed that my wild guess, that Diablo could be an accomplice to the portrait crime, was wrong. I couldn’t blame him if he was only supplying goods because it was a valid act.

However, I didn’t intend to leave my portraits unattended, so I let Souei deal with it.

“Please rest assured. I have already ordered Souka to search Diablo’s room.”

“Isn’t that a bit excessive?”

“No. It infringes upon his publicity rights and is a serious crime deserving of punishment. A search warrant has already been issued, so there are no problems.”

What quick work!

As expected, it could only be Souei.

Diablo was crumbling in shock, but I pretended not to see it.

While Souei and I were solving the mystery, Raine was finishing her explanation to Guy. It was both annoying and surprising because it was really useful information.

She told us where the enemy’s base was, and about the forces that had been gathered. Although I was not sure how much of it could be trusted, she seemed to have gleaned quite a bit of useful information.

Above all, the information she provided at the end was very important.

Even I, who had just been listening to the conversation, turned to Raine.

“—That’s how I got the information out of them! Then, it seemed that the battle was over, and Pico said, “Oh, I was contacted by Feldway. He’s leaving now,” so I ended the girls’ party—no, I mean, I ended the interrogation!”

Putting aside the fact that her true feelings were obvious, Raine’s story was too important to ignore.

It was Pico’s reaction that was important.

As a result of Michael’s complete control, Leon had fallen to the enemy. Diablo’s report also confirmed that Zalario had been taken over in the process.

And yet, Pico and Gracia were not under control. Otherwise, it would be difficult to explain why they had been enjoying the girls’ party until the very end.

This brought me to a conclusion.

Michael’s control might not be effective in ‘Isolation.’

This was very reliable information.

Perhaps, whether it was through visibility or ‘Magic Perception,’ the control was effective only when the object was recognized. In that case, if the controlled person left Michael’s sphere of control, there was a high possibility that he would not be able to recognize whether the control had been established or not.

If he periodically issued orders via ‘Telepathy Net’ and checked whether the orders were carried out properly or not, he might not have such suspicions.

However, if Leon was secretly released on the battlefield where Michael was not present, it would be possible to decide the outcome of the battle before the enemy knew about it.

I glanced at Guy, who was also looking at me.

“I think Raine’s achievements are significant.”

When I said that, Guy nodded reluctantly.

“Yeah. She’s a dumbass, and is useless during crucial times, but she also does things in ways I don’t expect. I hate to admit it, but that’s what she’s done this time.”

I didn’t like to admit it either, but there are just some people in this world who are good at what they do. Even when they look like they’re fooling around, they still end up getting results.

These were the so-called ‘genius’ types, and recognizing the work of these people would always be a test of ability to those who were in charge.

Taking away the achievements of others would be a problem, but otherwise, they should be evaluated properly.

Raine was listening to our conversation, but her eyes were moistened, as if she realized that she was going to be saved.

I could even feel her gratitude towards me.

‘That’s Rimuru-sama for you’—I could practically hear the voice of her heart.

No, she was talking about it out loud.

“After all, I knew that Rimuru-sama would understand the real me. Rimuru-sama, if there is anything you need from me in the future, please let me know!”

Even if she was saying that with such a firm expression, the moment was ruined because she was still sitting on the floor like that. That kind of thing was no good.

I realized once again that Raine was a no-good child, even if that wasn’t literally true.

“You’ll make Guy angry if you keep acting like that. You should reflect on yourself more.”

I couldn’t help but give her my sincere advice.

However, I still had to admit that an achievement was an achievement.

Raine’s actions were not praiseworthy, but she did produce results. In that case, there was no need for further punishment.

“‘Sure punishment or reward’ is what they say, so why don’t we just let her go?”

“That’s true. I guess I’ll let it go this time.”

I nodded to Guy.

Thus, Raine’s freedom was decided.

After being released from her floor sitting, Raine was being congratulated by Misora and the others.

Mizeri, who had brought tea, spoke to Raine in a dumbfounded tone.

“I admit that you are a child capable of many things, but I wish you would change your usual attitude a little more.”

Raine was proud to hear that.

“Fufufu. How about that, Misora? Even Mizeri praised me. A capable woman like me, even when I try to hide it, my abilities can’t help but come out in full force.”

As I listened to this exchange, I thought to myself.

This kid, she’s no-good.

Guy seemed to agree.

“‘A child capable of many things’ is not a compliment, you know?”

He spat out gravely.

Until recently, I had thought she was an excellent maid from the first few times I saw her, but she really must be a big deal to make Guy feel so troubled…

While we were left feeling resigned, Raine and her subordinates were having a great time.

“Well done, Raine-sama!”

Why does this Misora girl always stir things up?

This is why Raine is always getting carried away.

I was getting a sense of déjà vu…it was that.

This was just like how Treyni-san was with Ramiris.

She must have grown up to be a no-good child because she was always being spoiled like that.

As for Raine, it seemed to be too late to correct her, even if we re-educated her from now on. So, at the very least, I decided to educate Ramiris so that she would not become like Raine.

Well, we went off on an unexpected tangent, but the discussion itself went smoothly.

And so, I will summarize what we learned about the enemy situation.

Vega, who was supposed to be one of Yuuki’s friends, seems to have gained power and become much more powerful. Ranga intervened just as Misora and the others were in danger, and somehow managed to fight him off.

However, Vega had eaten the enemy named Oria that Kumara defeated, and rapidly healed his injuries and improved his fighting ability.

The exact numbers were unknown, but if we compare only the existence values, he seems to be stronger than both Ranga and Kumara.

He apparently had a vulgar character, flattering to the strong and intimidating to the weak. However, he also seemed to have excellent survival instincts, having survived to this point and acquiring great power, despite all odds.

My impression of him was that he would be a very troublesome opponent.

Incidentally, Oria had apparently been able to create mythical-grade equipment with her own Skill. Unlike Velgrynd, Oria seems to have only materialized her weapons, but they hadn’t disappeared when she was eaten by Vega.

This was the testimony of Fran and Kizona, the Knight Captains under Leon, and I also checked with Kumara, so I believed it to be correct.

In other words, Vega must have inherited the ‘Weapon Creation’ Skill. This kind of problem was the type that became more dangerous if left unattended, so I thought that it would be better to deal with him as soon as possible.

I, myself, am a similar type of person, so this was something I felt with a real sense of reality.

The warrior whom Souei defeated by surprise was named Arios. Unfortunately, he had escaped before he could be finished off.

It was a rare mistake for Souei, but it seemed to be unavoidable after hearing his story.

After all, there was a user of ‘Instantaneous Movement’ on the enemy side.

Kahn also testified to this. It was not magic, but a Skill.

The ability to jump through space without any preliminary movement was troublesome because it was difficult to measure the strength numerically.

If she had mastered this Skill, we might be caught off guard. The fact that we had found out in advance that there was such a person on the enemy’s side was a big gain.

The girl’s name was Mai Furuki, and it seems that we would have to rethink our strategy to take her skill into account.

So far, those four people were the weakest of the enemies, but they still had given us a lot of trouble.

Some of them, like Raine’s drinking buddies Pico and Gracia, had been reluctant to follow, but it seems that Michael’s “Ultimate Dominion” had turned them into our enemies.

Well, I’m sure Ciel-san would be able to something about it, but that would require a certain procedure. There was still the possibility that the control could be broken by one’s own will, so we would have to carefully assess the enemy.

And then there were the serious enemies.

Velzard, Zalario, and Feldway.

There was no other word to use for them but threatening.

I had actually fought Feldway, so I understood how strong he was. He didn’t seem like he was serious about it, so I really thought it would be best to leave it to Diablo.

And so, I would postpone my talk about Feldway for later.

“By the way, Guy-san, is Velzard-san going to be okay?”

“Bastard, you didn’t even come to help. You’re talking as if you’re somebody else…”

“No, no, no, that was more of a lovers’ quarrel, and I didn’t think a third party was needed.”

“Quit screwing around!”

You know what they say, ‘not even a dog will bite into a lovers’ quarrel!’

If I say this out loud, he might get seriously angry, so I told him so in my mind.

When I asked him what he really thought about everything, he replied as if he was fed up with it all.

“Well, you’re not completely out of your mind. It feels like she’s full of pent-up resentment, and her main goal is to harass me.”

It seems that Guy had been desperately trying not to let this country disappear.

“Normally, I’d create an ‘alternate space’ and fight there, but even I can’t control Velzard. It doesn’t matter if she agrees to it, it’s impossible for me to impose something of my own convenience onto her.”

Indeed, I didn’t think that the ‘Barrier’ used at Walpurgis was going to be able to control Velzard. I’m sure there were more powerful techniques, but Guy seems to have decided that it was still too difficult.

“Well then, I guess Guy-san’s role will be a tough one.”

“Hey, wait—”

“It’s too much for us to handle, so for this, we’ll let Guy-san show us what he’s made of!”

Guy was about to say something, but I ignored him and went on with the conversation. My instincts told me that if I didn’t, I would surely be caught in the middle of it all.

It was worth it, because Guy seemed to be convinced, although he was glaring at me resentfully. I was relieved to see that and switched my thoughts to the next enemy.

“So, Diablo. How did it go with Zalario?”

“Kufufu, to be honest, Zalario is a strong opponent. If we compare on simple strength alone, he might even be better than Feldway.”

“Seriously?”

“Yes. Feldway will come to you if you encourage him, but Zalario is a cold-hearted warrior. Psychological warfare does not work on him. He’s a very uninteresting opponent, but that is why we have to play to our strengths.”

Guy agreed with this.

“Yeah. Zalario’s always been strong, unlike Cornu and the others. He was quite useful in the fight against the “World-destroying Dragon” Ivarage.”

I see. So, he’s a solid opponent who is hard to upset. No matter the world, I guess it’s common knowledge that the strongest are those whose minds can remain undisturbed.

If an opponent runs away as soon as they are about to lose a battle, they are not a threat no matter how strong they are. On the other hand, an opponent who does not give up no matter how difficult the situation is troublesome because you cannot let your guard down against them until the very end.

In that sense, Cornu was the former, and Zalario was the latter.

Especially in the case of Cornu, he had a good lieutenant whom Guy paid more attention to than Cornu.

Now that Cornu and his team had been wiped out, there was no point in talking about them here.

In any case, it’s clear that Zalario was a threat.

Then, Diablo started saying something interesting.

“However, right after Feldway reappeared, his movements became monotonous. Something must have happened to him.”

Diablo was suspicious and had kept a watchful eye on him. As a result, he concluded that it was not a trap but some kind of anomaly.

What was interesting was the fact that it was just after Feldway’s move.

What was Feldway’s purpose in the first place?

“He didn’t participate in Kagali and the others’ battle, right?”

“Yes, that’s correct. As soon as I saw Feldway, I was put under Michael’s control, but Feldway himself kept a watchful eye on me.”

Hearing this, Benimaru and I looked at each other.

If Feldway had entered the battle earlier, we would not have made it in time and Kagali would have been killed.

If that had happened, Silvia-san would have been in danger.

It was unnatural that he didn’t make a move, and unless he had no intention of doing anything, there was no need to go to the place where Kagali and the others were fighting…

So then, why did he need to move?

“There must have been a purpose, right?”

“I suppose so. I mean—”

“Hmm. One possibility is that our speculation was correct.”

As soon as I thought of it, Guy nodded, looking convinced.

I hated to admit it, but that was the only explanation I could think of.

“I suppose we should assume that Feldway can also use the Ultimate Dominion.”

It was Diablo who said this.

Guy was not happy, as if Diablo had said it before he could.

“What do you mean?”

It was Silvia-san who asked, but Kagali seemed to be thinking about it as if she had something in mind. After pondering for a while, she opened her mouth.

“Um, I don’t expect for you to believe my opinion, but…”

Kagali seemed to understand that she was in a delicate position and started the conversation in that way.

However, Guy denied it outright.

“I believe you, Kazalim. So don’t hold back.”

Guy seemed to have recognized Kagali as the ex-demon lord Kazalim at first glance. And yet, he was ready to listen to her without a care in the world.

In a way, this was the moment when I realized that Guy was a big deal.

“You’re still as confident as ever, Guy. I’m not a demon lord anymore. So, I’ll just be Kagali.”

With a small smile, Kagali began to speak her thoughts.

To summarize Kagali’s story, she had free will before Feldway’s arrival, and she had made plans to betray him after consulting with Leon in secret.

After walking a tightrope of a battle, Feldway showed up just as she was about to jump into the “magic transfer circle.” Immediately after that, she was taken over without even being allowed to resist.

The timing was so bad that it could only be described as bad luck.

Yuuki had apparently regained his self-awareness, so it would have been a perfectly happy ending if they could have escaped to our country. However, it was meaningless to talk about that now, as it was a hypothetical story.

In any case, there was no doubt that there was a close relationship between Feldway and the domination.

In other words, the credibility of Diablo’s reasoning had increased, but I didn’t like to admit that, so I presented a negative possibility.

“The problem is the condition for triggering the Ultimate Dominion. Michael seems to be able to transfer certain powers, and it may be possible to activate it from a distance as long as someone can see you.”

In my case, I was able to exert a certain amount of power over the area I could see through the Argus spell. This was one of the secret techniques that I wanted to keep secret as much as possible, since it allowed me to take people by surprise from a great distance.

However, I should have realized that what I could do, others could do as well.

That’s what I was thinking, but Guy denied it.

“Hmm. It’s possible, but if it’s a spatial power, or even a power that affects the mind, I think the conditions for activating it would be more severe.”

I was convinced that was the case.

As I had said many times, ‘Spatial Transportation’ required one to know the positional coordinates of the destination. If you could get that information, then you could influence the area around the coordinates as an application.

Or, if you know the positional coordinates, it is easy to activate the spell. When I think about it, it makes me feel vain that I was so happy when I said it was a secret technique.

In the first place, Feldway was not the only one who was Michael’s “eye,” and it was strange that Kagali was free when Michael gave her the power.

In other words, it is probably because of Obera’s betrayal that Michael became more cautious.

If he had been able to activate the “Ultimate Dominion” when he became more alert, he would not have needed to rely on Feldway. But since that was not the case, there must be a reason why Feldway was Michael’s “eye.”

Then…was Feldway given the Ultimate Dominion, as Diablo said?

Or—


«This is a speculation, but Michael has taken in Velgrynd’s dragon factor. If so, it would not be surprising if he was able to utilize her ‘Parallel Existence’ ability.»


Ah, so that’s a possibility.

I had thought that a certain level of control could be lent to him, but I hadn’t expected him to have duplicated all of the abilities. Nevertheless, I could not ignore Ciel-san’s opinion, and now it really felt as if I was dealing with Michael.

In that light, it certainly explained why he could use the Ultimate Dominion. On the contrary, he could even use Castle Guard, so it was no wonder that my attacks were completely unsuccessful.

He had been bluffing when he blocked my sword, and he actually hadn’t even needed to defend himself. I was really relieved that I didn’t show off my secret techniques.

“What Guy says is correct, but if Feldway can use the same powers as Michael, doesn’t that explain what happened?”

“Huh? So Michael was ceding his power to Feldway?”

“No, not that. I’m saying, as much as I hate to admit it, that both of them can utilize the same powers.”

“What? What the hell are you talking about—no, so it’s that! Velgrynd’s ‘Parallel Existence?!’”

That’s Guy for you. He understood what I was trying to say so easily.

Guy and I both frowned at that unpleasant speculation.

I was hoping to be mistaken, but that was also why I definitely thought it to be the case.

“It looks like they weren’t all taken over at the same time, so that’s fortuitous.”

The fact that the effects of control did not occur at the same time was obvious from the fact that there was a time lag between Zalario’s domination and the domination over Leon and Kagali.

In addition, the extent of the influence of control was also limited. This was evidenced not only by the difference between the inside and outside of the castle, but also by the fact that Pico and Gracia, who had been in Isolation from the outside world with the igloo, were not taken over until later.

Leaving aside the pros and cons of the ‘igloo,’ this information was valuable. That was because it confirmed that domination could not be achieved unless it was recognized by some means.

“Ah. Raine and the others slacked off, but it was still a worthwhile achievement. It proves once and for all that you must be able to recognize your opponent in order to dominate them.”

Guy seemed to agree with me and said so in a dissatisfied tone. The reevaluation of Raine certainly seemed to be a touchy subject.

But, well, this allowed us to correctly evaluate the enemy.

“Um, I can’t keep up with this conversation at all…”

I briefly explained to Silvia-san, who raised her hand in a reserved manner.

El-tan was terrifyingly sharp, but Silvia-san didn’t seem to be the same way. Or perhaps I was comparing her to the wrong people. Leon’s knight captains didn’t seem to be able to follow our conversation either.

To begin with, Leon’s subordinates were a different story.

It didn’t matter how smart they were.

In the first place, without an Ultimate Skill, it would be impossible for one to understand this conversation.

As one could see from the fact that El-tan had founded a country as the celestial emperor, it meant that Silvia-san’s daughter had a certain savvy over her.

In fact, while Silvia-san is said to be stronger than El-tan in terms of strength, El-tan is said to be more insightful and adaptable. It went without saying that El-tan had the political strength, so they were able to share their roles properly.

And so, while explaining the situation to Silvia-san and others, I tried to sort out the situation in my own way.

It was likely that Michael was duplicating his powers and giving them to Feldway. So, in effect, Feldway could not be defeated without breaking through the ‘Castle Guard.’

And because he could probably utilize not only the Ultimate Dominion but also the control system, it was impossible for anyone but an Ultimate Skill user to defeat him. In that case, the number of people who could take on Feldway and Michael would be limited.

“Well, it’s not all bad.”

“Oh?”

“My attacks didn’t work at all against Feldway, but I feel better now that I understand why. Moreover, Velgrynd told me that the ability is fueled by loyalty to the master. When Rudra used it, he was invincible as long as there were Imperial subjects, but that has nothing to do with Feldway. His subjects are probably Phantoms, so it makes me feel a little less guilty.”

Killing innocent people in the Empire was honestly too much for me.

Well, actually, if that was really the only way, I guess I had to accept that the happiness of the many would come from the sacrifice of the few…I thought I was prepared to do it, but I wasn’t completely sure if I would. I think I may have just been bluffing with Michael, but I didn’t think I could have actually done it.

The Phantoms are invaders, so they must be prepared to die. Therefore, it would be polite for me to resist with all my might, and my conscience would not be hurt.

When I expressed my feelings straightforwardly, Guy was taken aback.

“Ha! Are you still talking so naively? Well, it’s true, but if you overthink things, you’ll be the one who dies.”

I even got some friendly advice from him, but I thought that Guy was surprisingly lenient to his people.

Now that we had discussed the main enemies, there was still one left.

“So, who is this Jahil?”

“That’s the guy I had been dealing with. To be honest, I thought I had gotten pretty strong, but that guy was surprisingly powerful. I barely survived because we shared the same attributes.”

When I brought up the question, Benimaru took a stab at it.

He has always had a cool personality, yet he was praising Jahil, his enemy. Well, he wasn’t’ praising him exactly, he was just accurately analyzing the enemy’s strength…

“It’s rare for Benimaru to honestly admit defeat.”

“No, I didn’t lose though? It’s just that I can’t easily say that I’ll win the next time.”

I wondered about that, but was relieved to see that Benimaru’s confidence was still intact.

However, if there was more than a fourfold difference in the estimated existence value, a slight difference in ability will not be enough to overturn it. Benimaru had gone through a lot of training to reach his current level of skill, so it was unlikely that he would grow rapidly from here…


«……»


Well, as long as he didn’t lose heart, he could stand up and face them.

On the other hand, I had to be careful not to let Benimaru do anything rash.

Guy, for example, seemed to like Benimaru, and said, “That’s the spirit!” Then, as if remembering something, he suddenly muttered.

“Hm? Come to think of it, what was the name of the bastard who summoned me?”

This was answered by Mizeri and Raine.

“It was a lowlife bastard who called himself the Great Magician Jahil, the head of state of the Great Magic Empire.”

“That ba—he was a high human created by the Divine Ancestor. I think even the Divine Ancestor considered him a failure because of his mental problems.”

It’s said that he was killed after summoning Guy a long time ago, and he was mentioned in various grimoires and history books.

The books I saw in Ingracia didn’t mention him by name, but his reckless misfortune made him quite famous as a fool who unleashed the worst demon onto the world.

That demon was the primordial—that is, demons like Guy and Diablo and the others, so it was understandable that El-tan and Gazel were wary of them.

But now, it was no use worrying about them.

The worst of them, Guy-san, has become one of us.

Also, the said fool’s name was Jahil, which couldn’t be a coincidence.

While I was pondering over this, Kagali said something surprising.

“It can’t be…that Jahil, he was definitely my father.”

She said that Feldway had protected Jahil, who had lost his body and had become a wandering soul and had incarnated him in Footman. According to her conversation with Jahil, there was no doubt that he was Kagali’s father.

However, Silvia-san objected to this.

“No, no, that can’t be right, can it? He admitted that he and I are colleagues. He was the first highborn brother of the Divine Ancestor, and I was the third. By the way, Luminas-chan was the second.”

Jahil is the ancestor of the high humans created by the Divine Ancestor. And naturally, the true ancestor of the vampires is Luminas.

So, the ancestor of the high elves is Silvia-san, I guess?

It’s said that there were other highborns, but they are not known to exist now. They are said to have disappeared into history like Jahil.

Incidentally, Gazel’s grandfather, Gran Dwargo, the first Hero King of the dwarf race, was a kind of ancestor who inherited the blood of the High Dwarf and was a close friend of Silvia-san.

For long-lived species, even historical figures were acquaintances. Silvia-san and Guy were like living witnesses of such history. I didn’t think it was wrong to say that.

“Eh? My father was definitely a high elf…”

Kagali was puzzled, but she understood that her perception was more unreliable. She was trying to figure out why there was such a discrepancy.

And the conclusion arrived at the same time.

“My father, by Jahil was—”

“He was taken over by Jahil, then.”

“Well, what can I say, that guy was a lowlife bastard. It’s no wonder Raine and Mizeri couldn’t get rid of him, but that seems to have caused a problem.”

That is what Kagali, me, and Guy had to say about it.

With the three of us in agreement, Jahil’s identity had been confirmed.

“So then, my father is…”

Kagali muttered, leaning back in her chair.

Unsure of what to say to her, we decided to leave the room quietly.

And then, it was night.

Guy and I moved to another place to have a drink together.

By the way, the drinks being served were the ones I kept in my ‘Stomach.’ It was the result of Guy’s forceful insistence that I prepare the same drinks that Raine and the others had been enjoying.

I wanted to tell him to shove it, but I was a sucker for things that would last.

It was too tedious and tiring for me to defend myself against Guy, so I decided to give in and sell him the favor.

Diablo, Benimaru, Souei, Raine and Mizeri were also present at the party.

Another person, Silvia-san, was also present, and the secret late-night meeting proceeded quietly.

What would we do with this country now that Leon was gone?

That was the content of this secret discussion.

Since we had been able to ascertain the enemy’s strength during the daytime meeting, we were now reconfirming our future plan.

The damage to the town was not too bad, but Leon’s castle was badly damaged, and there were people who had nowhere to go. It was a problem that there was no place to receive the refugees.

The general consensus of the knight captains was to stay in the country and rebuild the town and castle, but if the Aggressors were to target this place, it would be difficult to deal with it. They would not be able to stop them from overrunning the place because they did not have enough forces to fight them.

Now that Leon was gone, the probability of this place being targeted was low, but even so, I didn’t think we should do nothing about it.

“If they’re going to stay, why don’t we just let them do what they want?”

That was Guy’s opinion.

I’m the one who was against it because it was dangerous.

“But you know, there’s no point in just talking about ideals, right? You can ask El-chan, but I don’t think Sarion will accept them, either.”

The total population of Leon’s country was less than 20 million. It would be impossible to prepare enough food to feed such a large number of people.

Well, they could endure for a few days, but if they didn’t know for how long, there was nothing they could do.

The people of the Golden Land El Dorado would be psychologically disheartened if they were to be sheltered without working. To be away from one’s work for a long period of time was enough to make one feel uneasy.

The idea of evacuating to another country was unrealistic, as was pointed out earlier.

On the other hand, having someone stay behind to guard them was also…

“By the way, Guy, you won’t be staying here, right?”

“Well, I guess it’s fine.”

“I guess it’s no good. As I thou—eh?”

“What, it’s not like we have a choice. This place is of little importance anyway, but even so, there’s always the possibility that they’ll take it out on them.”

No way, is this a joke?!
 
I hadn’t expected Guy to agree so openly, so I was at a loss as to how to respond.

“I’m surprised…I didn’t expect the terribly ruthless and cruel Red King (Rouge) to be such an understanding demon…”

The peoples’ rumors sure were unreliable, Silvia-san was surprised.

I agreed with her.

“Are you bastards trying to pick a fight?”

“No way! There’s no way I’m going to pick a fight I can’t win!”

“Of course not, I’m counting on you, Guy-san!”

“……”

His eyes were glaring.

Silvia-san and I exchanged glances and tried to cover it up with a friendly smile.

Well, it was agreed that Guy would defend Leon’s territory.

Then, Ms. Kagali arrived.

“Oh, Kagali-san. Have you settled down yet?”

“Yes, it was so long ago that I don’t even remember the details now. There is no point in getting oversentimental about it.”

Kagali replied as such, but it was clear that she was trying to be tough.

Mizeri had thoughtfully prepared a seat for Kagali. Kagali thanked her and sat down.

“So, is there something you wanted to talk about?”

It was Guy who asked directly.

I think that was one of Guy’s strengths.

Perhaps Kagali felt the same way, and she opened her mouth with a wry smile.

“I just thought I’d tell you everything I know.”

Looking at Kagali’s refreshed expression, I thought to myself.

This is going to be a long story.

Although I had listened roughly to the discussion during the day, I felt that what I was about to hear would include Kagali’s private life.

So, I wanted to first ask for confirmation.

“Are you sure it’s okay for us to hear about this?”

“Yes. I am grateful to Rimuru-dono, so if you don’t mind, I would love to do so.”

If she was putting it that way, then there was no reason to refuse.

We listened to Kagali’s story in silence.

………
……

It was a personal story.

It summed up Kagali’s long life as a princess of a great nation.

The guilt she felt towards Milim, the fear she felt towards Guy.

Her resentment towards Leon and its sublimation.

Listening to Kagali’s story, I almost felt guilty for having killed Clayman.

After all, the Clayman in Kagali’s story was a kind and caring man.

I could tell from Kagali’s tone of voice that he was loved by his friends.

However, he had been distorted by his role as demon lord, and in the end, he was used by Lieutenant Kondou. As a result, he became the cause of many misfortunes, and was abandoned by demon lords, particularly Guy.

And I was the one who had killed Clayman.

“About Clayman, well…”

“Oh, there is no need to apologize. It was I who devised the plan, and Rimuru-dono was just better than I was. After all, this is a world of survival of the fittest, and there is no need to show mercy to the loser.”

That was also true.

In the first place, Clayman had been completely evil from our point of view, and if I hadn’t eliminated him, we would have suffered a great deal. Even if you say that there was another side to him, it can only be said to be true.

However, there were some things that I should think about regarding the fact that he was probably being manipulated, and I might have even developed some sympathy for him in an unorthodox way.

That’s why I decided to tell Kagali something that I had been holding back, wondering whether I should tell her or not.

“Actually, I wanted to talk to you about Teare—”

Teare was another one of the Moderate Clown Troupe members who had been giving us trouble. She wasn’t as bad as Clayman or Footman, but that didn’t change the fact that she had been a nasty enemy.

But now that we have an agreement, we were no longer enemies. It was natural for us to help her as an ally, if not as a friend.

That’s why I rescued Teare when she was about to be killed by Jahil, but she had been seriously injured while protecting Kagali. She was still resting in her hospital room, but Ciel-san was helping her.


«‘Isolation’ of the “information particles” that constituted Clayman’s ‘heart’ has been completed. Would you like to combine them together to make up for Teare’s missing components?»


When I was asked this question, I agreed to do so.

Looking back on it, I had swallowed Clayman’s end whole. I thought I had absorbed all of him as energy, but it seems that the residue had been placed in ‘Isolation.’

I didn’t want to leave such a thing behind, and I thought Clayman would be happier to return to his friends rather than to remain in my body.

Perhaps, Ciel-san could have revived Clayman completely. It seemed to me that the success rate would have been reasonably high if the Emulated Soul had been inhabited by the information particle residue and given a temporary body.

But I never heard the answer.

Clayman was dead.

That is why I wanted to help him as a part of Teare from now on.

This was completely my own decision and ego, and I had not been sure if I should tell Kagali and the others. But now, I thought I should tell them.

“Is that so…that kid, with Teare…thank you.”

Kagali muttered and smiled wistfully.

I thought I was just doing it for my own self-satisfaction, but I’m glad Kagali seemed to be happy too.

It would have been better if the conversation had ended there—

“By the way, Rimuru-kun, I’ve been listening to you, and I think you’re being too selfish.”

“Indeed…even the Divine Ancestor didn’t do such a crazy thing as collecting the residues of the dead and transplanting them into others!”

I forgot these guys were here.

It would have been better if I had just ignored them, but I took the bait.

“When did you guys become such good friends?”

“Huh? We don’t really get along. It’s not bad though.”

“Yeah, that’s right! From my point of view, I’d say you’re the one who’s incomprehensible when you just casually chat with the Lord of Darkness, who is synonymous with fear!”

It doesn’t matter even if you say something like that, you know?

After all, Guy was a little more open-minded than I initially thought.

He didn’t get angry over trivial things, so as long as you kept in mind the things you should pay attention to, he was easier to get along with than you might think.

“I knew Rimuru-kun was strange. Even more so than what El-chan told me. To begin with, I thought Guy Crimson there was a horrible demon who became a demon lord after killing my brother Jahil in seconds. If it were that easy to get along with him, no one would have any trouble, right?”

I didn’t have the chance to interrupt her as she rambled on.

Seeing us like that, the person in question spoke with a laugh.

“I think it’s quite brazen of you to say that in front of me.”

Ah, Silvia-san seems to have taken a liking to Guy.

Guy has a tendency to give respect to those who don’t fear him. This seemed like a nice start to a good relationship for the future.

In any case, I thought I had gotten away from the subject, but that was not the case.

“So, Rimuru. What did you do with the Clayman residue?”

Unfortunately, Guy hadn’t forgotten, so I had no choice but to explain.

“No, no, it just sort of happened, you know? It really was just a coincidence when I was saving them from Jahil’s attack—”

I just let it slip out of my mouth.

It’s a little sad that I had gotten used to this, but telling the truth was out of the question. I had no intention of revealing my abilities, and if the situation arose, I intended to keep silent.

“That’s suspicious…are you hiding something?”

“Talk to him more. He always keeps his mouth shut about the important things.”

“Sh-Shut up, you guys! There’s a lot of things I don’t understand, and I don’t know why it happened this time either!”

Actually, it was Ciel-san who did it, right?

I don’t know anything about it.

So, I don’t want others to get involved in it either…

Rather, Guy and Silvia-san had never met before, yet somehow, they were in perfect harmony. Today was the first time we had met too, but Silvia-san looked just like El-tan, so it didn’t feel like it was the first time.

And so, unexpectedly, the late-night secret meeting became friendly and lively.

Following the flow of the conversation, Silvia-san broke the ice.

“By the way. Kagali-san, I wasn’t sure if I should ask this, but I was wondering if you could tell me about your friends?”

There was no mockery in her manner, but rather an air of determination.

“Eh?”

Kagali, who responded, was also puzzled to see Silvia-san like that.

But then, as if remembering something, she opened her mouth.

“I have an idea of what you want to ask me, so it’s fine. Also, you don’t have to address me with ‘san,’ so you can just drop the honorifics.”

“Thank you. Then you can call me Silvia as well. Now, I know it may seem sudden, but—”

“It’s about Laplace, right?”

“Yeah. You heard about it?”

“Yes. Laplace was reacting to your voice when you called him Sarion. Sarion…if the Sarion from the Sorcerer’s Dynasty is Laplace’s real name, then I’ve got a hell of a person on my side…”

Their conversation continued.

I had no idea what they were talking about, but they seemed to be talking about Laplace’s true identity.

—Or rather…

“Eh? Laplace is an ex-Chosen Hero?!”

“Yes, that’s right. And by the way, he’s my husband, and El-chan’s papa.”

“…Seriously?”

“Dead serious.”

I looked at Kagali in astonishment, and she nodded back calmly.

She seemed to have already sorted things out in her mind.

And the same could be said for Silvia-san, I guess.

It must have been a long time ago, but she didn’t show any sign of resentment towards Kagali, even though she should have resented her more for the fact that her husband, who she thought was dead, had been turned into an undead elf.

“I’m sorry. I don’t blame you for hating me, but I’m still glad that I met Laplace.”

“I’m happy to hear that, too. It makes me believe that he didn’t change his character even after he died. The way he defended you at the end made me realize that the man I loved is gone—”

According to Silvia-san, Laplace could have escaped if he had wanted to. But he didn’t do so, perhaps because he was proud to be a member of the Moderate Clown Troupe.

Well, there was no way of knowing the truth now…

“Well, that’s not necessarily true.”

I didn’t mean to comfort her, but those words came out of my mouth.

It was selfish of me, but I couldn’t give up hope.

Ciel-san had told me that the chances of them being alive were not zero. That’s why I decided to believe that Yuuki and Laplace were still alive.

In the first place, Yuuki had always given me a lot of trouble, but as he was also Japanese, and a disciple of Shizu-san, I expected to be more shocked at his death.

The reason why I did not feel sad was because I suspected that his death was a lie.

No, it’s true that he had disappeared right before my eyes without a trace, but I couldn’t trust him.

Because I had been deceived by him many times.

That’s why he’s alive.

As long as I thought that, there was no need to be sad.

“You’re right. The boss is really stubborn.”

“Yeah. Sarion has been alive all this time and hasn’t even contacted me, so he really is a no-good person. He just reincarnated as an undead elf and lost his memory, leaving me alone. It’s no use worrying about such a no-good guy, so I’ll change my mindset!”

Apparently, my words were not in vain.

I was worried that my words might have been inappropriate, but if I could lighten Kagali’s and Silvia-san’s feelings even a little, then I had done a good job.

And so, the late-night conversations continued.

Overcoming today’s sorrows to win tomorrow’s battles.

----

Notes:

Argos: Also referred to as ‘Argos’ in previous translations

The next option: Another way to put it is the ‘runner-up.’

I leave the rest to you: This sentence is spoken with Kansai dialect, so I’m pretty sure it’s Laplace.

The sure-kill technique: Another translation can be ‘special move,’ but I am sticking with ‘sure-kill technique’ from here on out due to consistency, and because I think it is a more accurate translation than ‘special move.’ If there are any One Piece fans out there, the kanji is actually quite similar to Usopp’s ‘sure-kill’ shots which is partly why I went with that translation.

Oboro-Hyakka Ryouran: Oboro (朧) means haziness/dreaminess, so I like to translate it to Haze (I might be wrong, but I think this was even used in the anime). Hyakka Ryouran is a Japanese idiom that translates to “Countless (or a hundred) Flowers Blooming in Profusion.” It’s wordy, but I guess if I had to give a translation for the technique, it would be something like ‘Haze – One Hundred Flowers Blooming Madly’

Oboro-Kokuen Hyakka Ryouran: The Kanji that was used in this technique is the same as the ‘Oboro – Hyakka Ryouran’ except for the added “Kokuen” part which means ‘Black Flames.’ Very fitting for a Benimaru technique.

Broken: Broken as in it has a cheat-like foul play.

One-hit kill effect: I think that this part is like a better version of Hinata’s Dead End Rainbow attack that has the 7-hit kill effect.

Golden rule: Another translation for this can be ‘promise’ or ‘trope’ or ‘tradition.’

Endless repetition of moves: The Japanese phrase was that they would end up in a “Sennichite (千日手)” which literally translates as “moves for a thousand days.” It’s actually a phrase for ‘repetition draws’ used in Shogi where if the same game position occurs four times with the same player to move and the same pieces in both sides, then the game ends as sennichite. Rimuru uses this phrase here to explain that the fight would end up as a pointless number of actions with no conclusive winner. An ongoing draw.

Indefinite battle: “Sennichite” is used here once again. See footnote #21 for more explanation.

Ten million: I rechecked the numbers multiple times because it seemed so unbelievably high, but 10 million is definitely correct. Wow.

Indefinite draw: “Sennichite” is used here once again. See footnote #21 for more explanation.

El-tan: El-tan is Rimuru’s nickname for Empress Elmesia

Ultimate Skills: I think this is referring to the fact that they share the same system. Silvia’s Ultimate Skill ‘Thunder King (Indra)’ is the ultimate power of nature, and Leon’s Ultimate Skill ‘Purity King (Metatron)’ is the ultimate power of the holy attribute. They are very similar by nature/lineage.

Indefinite draw: “Sennichite” once again. See footnote #21 if you haven’t already.

El-chan: Referring to her daughter Empress Elmesia

I shall take your suggestions back with me and consider them seriously: It should be noted that Rimuru speaks more formal/robotically in this sentence. It kind of implies that he is just saying all the right words just to be polite.

Owner: It doesn’t come through in English, but the word used for ‘owner’ in Japanese here is “Kainushi (飼い主)” which is closer to a “dog owner” or “shepherd.” It makes it way more hilarious because Feldway is making Diablo seem like Rimuru’s naughty pet dog (which, let’s be honest, is kinda true).

Cheeky one: Other translations could be ‘saucy’ or ‘impudent.’

Tightrope: They’ve been fighting a tense/difficult battle.

Imitation slime: Or a pseudo-artificial viscous body.

Magical wind:  “Makaze (魔風)” can mean magical wind or demonic wind, so please don’t be too confused if you see either one.

Death Storm: 黒雷嵐(デスストーム)🡪 Black Lightning Storm (Death Storm)

Apocalypse: 終末の雷鳴(アポカリプス)🡪 Doomsday Thunder/End of Thunder (Apocalypse)

Apocalypse Howling: 終末魔狼演舞(アポカリプス ハウリング)🡪 Doomsday Demon Wolf Dance (Apocalypse Howling)

Stubbornness: Tenacity, persistence, or robustness.

Morning star: A medieval club-like weapon consisting of a shaft connected to a round spiked ball. Similar to a mace.

Eight Legions: She calls them the “Hachibushū (八部衆) which are known in Indian and Hindu mythology as eight deities who guard Buddhism. They are officially called the ‘Eight Legions’ in real life which is why I went with the same translation.

Fox Djinn: Could also be translated to called a Fox God [神 (ジン) 狐 (コ)]. Officially, she is a Nine Tales, Greater Chaos Spirit: Earth Spirit Beast according to the character sheets from V16.

The bastard sword: I brought this up in V18, but for a refresher, a “bastard sword” is actually a type of longsword (somewhere in between a two-hand and one-hand sword and between the length of a short or longsword) from the 15th-16th century. It comes from the French word “épée bâtarde” and had the general feel of ‘an irregular sword’ or ‘a sword of unknown origin.’

Assassinate: 暗死の一撃(アサシネイト)🡪 Dark Death Blow (Assassinate)

Yōten (Heavenly Demon/Spirit): This was also brought up in V18. 妖(よう) 天 (てん) 🡪 The word is pronounced “Yōten.” The Chinese character “妖” can mean many things from spirit, to demon/devil, to ghost, etc. and the Chinese character “天” means heaven/sky. Because we still don’t have an official translation for this, and because I am not fluent in Japanese, I will temporarily be translating it as “Heavenly Demon/Spirit,” until something more official is chosen.

Thousand-Hand Shadow Kill: 千 (せん) 手 (じゅ) 影 (えい) 殺 (さつ) 🡪 I read this as something like ‘senjū eisatsu’ or ‘one thousand hands shadow killings.’ So for now, “Thousand-Hand Shadow Kill” is what I’ll call this until an official translation is decided.

Conversational implicature: The word used here was a Japanese concept of interpersonal communication known as “Haragei (腹芸).” It literally translates to “stomach art” and refers to an exchange of thoughts/feelings that is implied in conversation. Basically, it’s form of rhetoric meant to communicate real intention/meaning through implication. The closest English phrase I could think of for this was “conversational implicature” which is an indirect/implicit act of speech. By the way, the raw MTL of this was hilarious—“belly tricks” or “abdominal arts,” lmao.

He misunderstood by a spoonful or two: A Japanese idiomatic phrase was used here. Sajikagen (さじかげん) 🡪 making adjustments based on experience, feeling, skill, or knack. It’s also a phrase for making adjustments in seasoning or medication.

Yōten: See footnote #44 for more info.

Divine power: Can also be translated as spiritual power/energy

Vega: It should be noted that Vega refers to himself as “Ore-sama” which is a really arrogant/pompous way of doing so. It’s kind of like saying “the great me” instead of just “I.”

Souei wondered if his facade would slip away: Actually, the translation was “Souei thought his expression would fall off,” but I changed it to make more sense in context.

‘It-never-happened’ Skill: The translation was “Through Skill (スルーSkill)” which I think was referring to something like a “Pass right through” or even a “see through” Skill, but I wasn’t completely sure. That’s why I went with the “It-never-happened (as in, it went right through him)” skill translation. It made sense to me in context.

On the floor: To be more clear, they are being forced to sit in a seiza-style (which is like kneeling on the floor with a formal posture) like in a form of repentance.

Rimuru-sama: He actually says “Rimuru-sama” twice in the same sentence, even though it sounds repetitive.

Amazake: Amazake is a sweet fermented Japanese rice drink (sometimes called sweet sake). But this time, instead of normal white/black rice being used to make it, this version is made with the magic black rice from Tempest.

Black rice refined sake: “Seishu” is a refined/clear sake. The traditional Japanese sake is form of this as well.

Sure punishment or reward: The phrase used here was Shin-shō-hitsu-batsu (信賞必罰) which was a pretty confusing term for me until I did some research. It literally translates to ‘sure punishment or reward’ and basically means to be sure to strictly reward those who have done well and punish those who have committed crimes. To strictly reward and punish.

Quit screwing around: He says “Fuzakenna!” which basically means he is swearing at Rimuru. This phrase can mean a bunch of things from ‘quit screwing/fucking around’ to ‘stop bullshitting me’ to ‘you’re fucking kidding me’—feel free to take your pick.

Not even a dog will bite into a lovers’ quarrel!: 夫婦喧嘩は犬も食わない 🡪 This is a Japanese idiom that basically means that one should never interfere with lover’s quarrels. I might not have translated the ‘dog’ part perfectly, but I think I came pretty close after doing some research.

Kazalim: Was also referred to as ‘Kazaream’ in previous translations.

Big deal: Can also translate to ‘big shot’ or an amazing important person.

Dragon factor: The dragon factor. It was explained a bit in V18.

Great Magician Jahil: “魔導大帝” 🡪 The Great Magician. I used this same translation in V18, so I’m sticking with it until an official translation comes out.

Great Magic Empire: “Chō madō teikoku (超魔導帝国)” 🡪 Great Magic Empire.

That ba—: I’m actually not positive about what was going to be said here, but it might have been an insult that was cutoff before finishing. The Japanese just says “Ano ba— (That ba—)” and then stops.

Divine Ancestor: He was sometimes referred to as just the “Ancestor,” but “Divine Ancestor” is more appropriate. “Shinso (神祖)” = divine ancestor where the “神” refers to god/divine, and the “祖” refers to the ancestor/progenitor.

Ms. Kagali: She was actually called ‘Ms. Kagali’ here, and not the usual ‘Kagali-san.’

Thank you: She says ‘Kansha shimasu’ here, which is a more formal way of thanks. I also means ‘I appreciate it.’



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