Chapter 21: What lies beyond despair…
“Rozelitte, assemble them into squads and send them in one after the other!”
I issued instructions via telepathy to my most trusted monster, the angelic monster, Rozelitte.
Everything was for the conquest of this Dungeon.
“At once, Stolas-sama.”
The attack that instantly killed its foe the moment the foe entered the Dungeon was certainly astonishing.
But I was also certain that such an ultra-high powered and ultra-high-ranged magic couldn’t be used often.
Even the Unique Skills of us Demon Lords had limitations, after all.
A magic of this magnitude probably couldn’t be used continuously and should have a usage limit overall. Its magic consumption should also be great.
Pessimistically speaking, the most it could be used again should only be two more times.
If that was really so, then my plan would be to make my monsters rush the enemy one after another and in the instant that the attack stopped, they would shorten the distance and kill!
The only enemy monsters here were just two Mithril Golems after all.
“Stolas-sama, we’re ready. At your command.”
“Rozelitte, give them defensive enhancements as much as possible. The monsters that have defensive skills, use them all without reserve! All troops, charge!”
With this plan, we should be able to break through this nightmare!
I was sure of it.
Twenty minutes later, I laughed a dry laugh.
Due to my foolish assumptions, I lost nearly a hundred important monsters.
I thought of stopping halfway through but the thought of letting everyone die in vain made it impossible to do so. Soon, the attacks will soon reach its limits. The more the casualties there were, the harder it got to pull back, and thus this mess.
There was one child that managed to push through the halfway mark, using the corpses of its fallen allies as its shield but the moment that that one stepped on something in the ground, it exploded and lost its life. Instantly.
I suspected there would be more of those things as we approach the Golems.
We’ve sacrificed 80 monsters and yet we’ve only made it halfway.
The 2Km distance of the Golems seemed endless.
The enemy never stopped its attacks.
No, not really. It did pause but several seconds later, it resumed.
Whenever a strange belt was attached to the iron pipes, it was then able to attack again.
Sending in more monsters to assault would only increase the casualties.
When I calmly examined it, I realized that the attack didn’t have any magic power in it. It wasn’t a magic attack. But then, what the hell was it?
It was baffling.
But there were some things I did get after seeing my monsters die one after the other.
Such were that it was an attack that had the same destructive power as a full-power attack from someone higher than A rank; that it traveled at three times the speed of sound; and that it fired 10 times in a second.
It could continue such an onslaught for a straight ten or so seconds… after which it takes a 20-second rest, only to resume the onslaught all over again.
Breaking through was impossible. The Golems were just too far. The whole room was within its range. There was nothing inside to neither hide in nor use as cover. Just what the heck should we do?
No, actually, there was one thing we could do.
But that was…
As I thought of such, voices spoke in my mind.
<We’ll do it, Stolas-sama. There’s no way we’ll let things end like this.>
<We can do it.>
<We’ll show them!>
They were my [Monsters of the Covenant] whom I have a deep connection with. My thoughts must have flowed into them because of that connection.
“Stop. I just thought that the copies from [Omnipresence] alone wouldn’t be able to do it but that plan will put your real selves at risk. No, death won’t even be just a probability, it will be a certainty.”
<We understand that, Stolas-sama.>
<But we have to do it, Stolas-sama. Rozelitte, we’ll be borrowing your copy. But your real self should stay behind. Our defense will fall apart without you there.>
<Understood. Fortunes of war be upon you.>
And so, two of my original [Monsters of the Covenant] left my Dungeon and headed here.
My children knew their chances were awfully slim but for the sake of my honor, they were willing to challenge this impregnable Dungeon.
Such children were really to be loved.
This was the first of his three rooms.
But there’s no mistaking it, this is that man’s trump card.
He must have had used up all his resources to be able to make something this.
If we managed to break through here, victory would be certain.
Then, wouldn’t it be worth it to bet it all on my beloved [Monsters of the Covenant]?
We’ll risk it all to clear this room, and then, achieve absolute victory!
I went outside for a moment to meet my prized [Monsters of the Covenant].
A Rathgrith which was an A rank Angel-type monster… Rozelitte.
A Scissor Wind which was a B rank Kamaitachi-type monster… Masamune.
A Pegasus which was a B rank Flying Horse-type monster… Phobos
Each one of them were strong, reliable, and kind children that I could be proud of.
In terms of just pure combat performance, there was one other child that was better but in terms of overall abilities, these children were the best.
“Stolas-sama, all of your [Monsters of the Covenant] are here. Only I am a copy.”
The angel-type monster Rozelitte smiled lightly.
“Let’s tear the place down quickly.”
“Yeah, so much of their fighting force are concentrated on that first room, we’ll be able to do take it easy after we’ve cleared it.”
Masamune the Kamaitachi expressed such confidently while Phobos the Pegasus was calm.
Until a while ago, I had even considered giving up but now, I felt lighter.
I was truly glad I made them.
These children were so positive. Just how could I face them with such a gloomy face?!
“My [Monsters of the Covenant]! From here on, we will be breaking through the foul traps that lies ahead! I believe you can do this! I believe in you!”
There was no way they couldn’t do it.
And thus, the monsters I believed in dove into the Dungeon.
The deaths of the several monsters thus far weren’t in vain.
Thanks to them, we were able to notice some of the enemies’ weak points.
That Golem’s attacks, once it veered upwards, its accuracy would drop considerably.
In other words, if we flew close to the ceiling and at a really high speed, the danger we faced would drop quickly.
We would be safer but by no means were we truly safe.
Therefore, we formed rows.
[Omnipresence] Kamaitachi, Kamaitachi, [Omnipresence] Pegasus, Pegasus, and Rathgrith formed a line.
Rathgrith raised everyone’s overall capabilities and Kamaitachi, excelling at wind defensive barriers, deployed a protective wall. We should be able to endure any enemy attacks until the end.
And then, after we were through with all the enemy’s defenses, Pegasus, the fastest, would dash forward.
Such was our plan. We could only try this once.
I, still in a spiritual body, clung onto the original Pegasus.
The time of reckoning was drawing near. Our first and last suicide mission have now begun.
We were flying in the air at a high speed.
We were making monsters from outside rush at the enemy to serve as decoys to buy us some time.
The monsters made by [Omnipresence] were already almost annihilated so we were now also deploying the monsters that were originally supposed to be on defense in my Dungeon.
Several seconds later, the monsters were turned into slabs of meat but we had progressed only a quarter of the way.
The Golems, finished with the monsters on the ground, aimed their iron pipes upwards.
To the best of his abilities, Kamaitachi erected a wall of wind.
The iron projectiles rapidly drew closer and closer.
And then, finally, it hit.
With only one of those iron projectiles, the wall of wind was penetrated.
However, precisely because of that wall, the impact was dampened and thanks to Rathgrith’s enhancements as well, it didn’t deal any fatal wound.
The Kamaitachi copy withstood two projectiles but by the third one, it turned into blue particles and then vanished.
There was still half of the distance left.
The closer we got, the more accurate the attacks became. The real Kamaitachi, stronger than its copy, held on and endured.
But, he soon reached his limits.
Without anyone to maintain a protective wall, the other monsters took on direct hits and died instantly.
But, there was just a third of the distance left now!
I regained some hope.
The [Omnipresence] Pegasus, in the lead after Kamaitachi’s demise, was suddenly and violently in pain.
No! Was it poison!?
The air near the Golems was engulfed in poison. How underhanded.
However, the Pegasus born from [Omnipresence], even as he was suffering from the poison, smiled and, using the last of his energy, blew a gust of wind that dispersed the poison.
Only the original Pegasus and the [Omnipresence] Rathgrith remained.
The Mithril Golems then aimed at the Pegasus. My experience thus far told me so. We wouldn’t be able to avoid it. To have come this far…
As I was losing all hope, Rathgrith smiled.
She overtook Pegasus and stood in front of him. She then opened her arms wide open and took several iron projectiles.
Blue particles were rising up; the sign of death.
“I’m leaving it all up to you now. May the fortunes of war be upon you, Stolas-sama.”
She had decided her role in this conquest and thus used herself as a shield in her last moments.
In fear she might disappear at any time now, she pushed Pegasus’s back, *pon*, and used her last remaining strength to blow a gust of wind.
Pegasus rode the wind and accelerated further. He was now over the heads of the Mithril Golems.
I looked back and saw Rathgrith smiling in one moment and gone in the next.
I held back my tears.
I had come this far thanks to the sacrifice everyone had made. I won’t let it go to waste, no matter what.
Pegasus felt the same but still flapped his wings.
And then, at last….
“We got out!”
We got out of that nightmarish room!
After so much, we’ve reached the second room. Those Golems’ attacks won’t reach us anymore.
“We did it! We did it, Phobos!”
I spoke the Pegasus’s name and then hugged his head.
Pegasus proudly neighed.
The price we paid for was a lot but, at last, we had cleared that foul trap.
The courage of my [Monsters of the Covenant] had surpassed that man’s wickedness! My monsters were the best!
Although we had cleared the hardest part, we still couldn’t afford to let our guards down.
He might had concentrated his fighting force here but the fact that there were still two rooms left remained.
Pegasus was a monster I was proud of he was but one. Getting to the last room would probably be hard but I was sure we could do it.
Pegasus and I looked on ahead.
What lied there was…
“…This… this… this cannot be. This is absolutely outrageous!”
It was almost two kilometers long; a straight path.
In the far end was a Mithril Golem. And before it was the iron pipe of nightmares.
It was set up exactly the same as the one we just cleared.
We had only made here by stepping on the corpses of our fallen allies.
I thought that what lied ahead of despair was hope but, in truth, what lied beyond it was only more despair.
Tears fell on my face and a dry laugh was swelling up from within.
I had no allies left. For what happened before to also happen here…
“Just what the hell. Just for what was everyone’s sacrifice for!?”
My shout was heard by no one.
The iron pipe installed in front of the Golem fired and in the next moment, Pegasus was turned into minced meat.
As my tears fell, I listened to the sound of my heart breaking apart.
Note: In case you haven’t realized yet, Kamaitachi is the wind weasel Procell mentioned before. Kamaitachi (鎌鼬) uses the characters for sickle (鎌) and weasel (鼬). Here’s a wikipedia en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kamaitachi link for the creature in japanese folklore.