Few days later, Ardis and Rona accompanied Sera to the deepest part of the Canobis Mountain Range. After flying for about six hours, they landed at a place near the edge of the forest in the mountains.
「We will have to walk from here. 」
「Eeeh――, why? 」
Rona complained at Sera who acted as the leader.
「There’s the Demon Beast King’s barrier in the sky. Since we are going to have a talk, it’s better we don’t make a bad impression by breaking it, right? 」
「……So cumbersome. 」
Rona seemed reluctant as they started walking. According to her words, it seems like the Demon Beast King has a barrier to keep out the demonic being from its resting place.
Though, it wasn’t that strong and can be intruded easily, but naturally, doing so will break the barrier. Leaving aside if it was an enemy, it’s something they shouldn’t do if they’re seeking for a talk.
「So, is this place the Demon Beast King or what is living at? 」
A stone cliff that stood straight up. There was an entrance to a large cave there, as Ardis asked.
「It’s the entrance. There’s still half a day of walking to go. Naturally, there’re demonic beings inside, so we will have to be careful. 」
Sera who was leading illuminated the area with a mana light floating in the air, as Ardis and Rona both followed behind Sera.
「It’s larger than I expected. 」
The interior of the cave illuminated by the magical light was wider than expected considering the entrance. The height and the width too, both of them seemed like they can easily encompass the entire Litte Business Association’s building in Reiten.
Ardis’s mutter reverberated in the darkness. Ardis and Rona both made lights of their own as well just in case, the three lights floated in the air as they proceeded.
「The mana is quite thin here. With this much, there shouldn’t be…… demonic beings. 」
As if responding to Rona’s words, there appeared groups of mana signatures in their range. What emerged from the darkness was demonic beings like leeches.
Their body is over seventy centimeters. Despite being a demonic being, their mana signatures were weak, it wouldn’t pose any issues for the three but, the problem was with the number.
Noise of countless wriggles echoed. With one appearing after another in the range of the magical light’s luminance, they moved together like a wave.
「Remember to not use fire. 」
「I know. 」
Ardis who frowned warned Sera.
「Then――, what about this? 」
It was Rona that moved first. With his triangular ears twitching, more than ten invisible blades formed in the air, and all of them shot out as he tapped his front paws.
The wind blades that flew through the air sliced through the leeches, cutting them into pieces. One volley killed about thirty of them, causing bodily fluids to splatter everywhere, releasing a pungent smell.
「Uheeee, so smelly――. Al, it’s up to you now――. 」
Rona who had a sharper sense of smell couldn’t endure it as his face cringed, before retiring early from the battle and retreating behind Ardis.
「It would’ve been all fine if you froze them in the first place. 」
After sending a cold gaze to Rona, Ardis froze the ground along with the waves of leeches.
「There’re still more. 」
While constantly applying wind and ice magic, the three advanced deeper slowly.
「It’s sickening. 」
The demonic beings like leeches that attacked without pauses weren’t threats at all. However, the number that appeared could only make Rona sigh depressingly.
「It’s not really anything much though? Other than being bothersome. 」
「How many more are there? 」
「Actually, if there’re lesser of them, it’s even more troublesome. 」
「What do you mean? 」
Just as Ardis barged into Rona and Sera’s conversation, there was a change in the leeches’ movements. The leeches that were trying to bury the three whole seemed like they were moving to avoid something.
Sensing a strong mana signature in the middle of the leeches, Ardis’s raised his guard. He pulled out the red sword from his waist and held it with both hands.
Sending a magical light towards the center of where the leeches are crawling away from, they finally caught a glimpse.
「Waa, so huge. 」
A childish description came from Rona. The first thing that filled their eyes is the color red. The hard-looking skin stacked like boards together, reminiscent of plate mails.
Its body was about eight meters. The demonic being that stood on its two thick hind legs balanced itself while swinging its powerful tail left and right.
Its smaller front legs were moving in the air seemingly trying to find something, as its upper body twisted swiftly, its sharp chin picked up of a leech that was late to escape.
The leech was captured disappeared in its mouth. Then another, and another, the leeches that couldn’t escape it were eaten.
「Hey, Al. Could that be? 」
「Yeah. Probably that Dragon Shell Beast or something. My first time seeing one though……」
It’s a gigantic reptile, with tusks growing out of both sides of its mouth and three pairs of creepily glowing red eyes. An extremely dangerous demonic being with the name of Dragon Shell Beast.
「Will it come? 」
The Dragon Shell Beast that swallowed the fifth leech looked around for more preys but couldn’t find any, then its gaze landed on the three.
「Thought so. 」
The three pairs of red eyes were glowing creepily. It seems like it’s going to treat the three as preys.
「It’s coming! 」
With Sera’s voice, the three spread apart. On the other hand, the Dragon Shell Beast seemed like it was approaching while trying to gauge the situation.
Rona created wind blades like he did against the leeches. The invisible blades that were created surrounded the golden body and drew an arc, flying towards the Dragon Shell Beast.
However, the wind blades that can easily dice a Grinder into pieces had little to no effect on the Dragon Shell Beast’s armor.
After dangerous sounds reverberated, several wounds were carved onto its red outer skin.
「That’s too hard――! 」
It seems like its skin is considerably hard, as Rona’s magic only managed to deal shallow wounds.
「Then, what about this? 」
Ardis who understood the toughness of the outer skin thanks to Rona’s attack released a light-based arts. The light compressed to its limit landed a direct hit on the Dragon Shell Beast’s tail.
「……Doesn’t seem like it’s effective. 」
The light were deflected at an angle thanks to the scales on its tough skin, and hit the ground in the cave. Since it was bleeding at the spot where it hit, in a sense it was better than Rona’s wind blades but, it’s still not effective at all.
Despite an attack that can easily pierce through the usual demonic beings, the Dragon Shell Beast could stand against it with its high defense.
「It’s going your way, Al! 」
Rona warned. The Dragon Shell Beast that had been standing still till now spat out something in a straight line.
It was like a pole stretching out from its mouth. That thin pole landed in front of Ardis by two meters, shaving off the land, ―― or rather, dissected.
Something that the Dragon Shell Beast spat out cut the ground into two pieces. As if a knife cutting fruits, the thin blade assaulted Ardis.
While clicking his tongue, Ardis deployed triple-fold magic barrier. However, even his tough barrier formed cracks just as the attack impacted.
With a sound of glass shattering, the first layer broke down. The something that the Dragon Shell Beast released pushed back at Ardis.
Knowing that the second layer will be broken soon, Ardis was about to layer more, but before that can happen, a new barrier had already covered himself.
The Dragon Shell Beast’s attack was blocked, passing beside Ardis, before disappearing above his head.
「You’ll need at least five-folds if you want to defend against that, you know? 」
It seems like it was Sera’s follow up.
「My mistake. 」
Honestly acknowledging his mistake, Ardis glanced at the score on the ground by the Dragon Shell Beast’s attack. There were black-colored powder scattered around the score in the ground.
「Iron…… dust? 」
It’s probably iron shrapnels being spat out at a high speed. An iron sand breath or something.
「Should I take care of it? 」
「No, I will do it. 」
Having seen the attack once, it’s no longer a threat. Ardis pulled over ten swords from the 『Gate』, and released them towards the Dragon Shell Beast.
The flying swords that came from four directions cut at once. However, leaving aside 『Skies of Myriad Colors』, 『Springtime Mist』, or 『Moon’s Blizzard』, swords that are just made of Heavy Iron couldn’t do anything.
After all, even the three swords that had Lesha powder in it could barely do anything.
「I must slice it myself huh. 」
Seeing few Heavy Iron swords blown away by the iron sand breath, Ardis took a deep breath and charged in with the red sword. While the Dragon Shell Beast was occupied by the flying swords, Ardis dashed in.
Although it managed to notice Ardis and turned around, Ardis was already at its throat.
「With this――! 」
It’s inevitable, as Ardis drew a straight line with the red sword. Unlike the flying swords that were apart from his hands, it was the sword swung by Ardis’s strength.
On top of that, although having tough skin, as expected, the defense around its throat was thinner. The Dragon Shell Beast’s neck was cut open, and huge amount of blood spewed out.
It was the attack that decided the match. Ardis delivered two more attacks at the already deeply wounded Dragon Shell Beast.
Ardis continued to attack until the Dragon Shell Beast finally fell on the ground, before taking distance and sighing.
「It’s really a troublesome opponent. 」
「Someone that has been spectating don’t complain. 」
Retorting Rona who complained as if he was the one that did it, the three once again started moving deeper inside the cave. After a few more encounters with other demonic beings and another three kilometers walked gauged by feeling, a bright light appeared at the end of their vision.
「It seems like the exit is finally he――」
Rona who saw the sunlight from the exit hastened his pace. But just as he walked another ten steps or so, he visibly twitched, before jumping back and freezing in place.
「What happened, Rona? 」
Ardis asked seeing his strange behavior but, there wasn’t a response from Rona. Eventually, Rona didn’t reply Ardis but threw a question to Sera.
「Is that the guy? 」
「That’s right. 」
Even though Ardis was tilting his head at their exchange, after walking about five more minutes, his question was solved.
About five hundred meters ahead, at the maximum range where Ardis’s mana detection reaches, there was an unbelievably enormous creature.
He was transported into this world for about eight years already. It was the first time he had encountered such a huge signature.
「……It was, about this huh. 」
Ardis barely managed to squeeze out his comment. He couldn’t blame Rona for being speechless.
「Well, let’s go. 」
Unlike Ardis who froze, Sera casually continued walking. Seeing that it’s meaningless even if they stood there, Ardis and Rona both advanced following the black clothing ahead in silence.
Eventually, the sunlight filled more of their vision. After thirty more minutes when they finally got through the cave, Ardis saw the open space and widened his eyes with his words missing.
A valley hidden by the tall mountains on all side. There was an enormous creature standing there looking up. Without asking Sera, he knew what was it.
『Canobis’s Demon Beast King』
The overwhelming strength holder was staring at Ardis with a cold gaze.