In the valley, there was a soot colored reptile sleeping in the sunshine. The enormous body moved in accordance to its breathing, a proof that it is indeed a living creature.
It had probably noticed them way before they arrived. Opening its mouth that is so big that it can swallow an entire carriage, a displeased voice resounded.
「What is your business here? 」
The mouth that opened slightly revealed the sharp teeth within. Two thick hind limbs, a pair of bat-like wings, and then sharp claws on the forelimbs.
If the legendary creature known as dragon really existed, then it would have this appearance without doubt. Unlike the dragon-like Dragon Shell Beast, it’s evidently different in the essence.
「Ara, just a greeting though? 」
「I don’t recall asking you. 」
Unlike Sera’s courteousness, the Demon Beast King’s words were expectedly rude. Despite so, Sera who seemed like she was used to it replied casually.
「Isn’t it fine to occasionally visit a nearby neighbor? 」
「Quickly state your business. It’s a waste of time. 」
「Saying that even though you have so much time to even start rotting. 」
Sera had a stupefied face looking at the Demon Beast King that looked like it was sighing while complaining.
However, it’s only but a short time. Sera who regained herself entered the main topic.
「It’s a simple story. You know the village in my barrier near the foot of the mountain right? 」
「Yeah, impressive that you can continue without getting bored. 」
「Those words, I will return them to you as is but, let’s leave that aside first. It’s about the village. Recently, there had been more villagers, and probably more will come at a later date. But if that happens, the land now wouldn’t be enough. That’s why I want to expand the barrier a little. 」
The Demon Beast King that heard the story changed its expression suddenly. After glaring at Sera for a bit, it narrowed its eyes and asked.
「Are you going against the ancient covenant? 」
「Who would. 」
While receiving pressure that would’ve made normal people run in panic, Sera who brushed it off with a smile isn’t a normal being.
「This is still the land of Canobis as long as you live here anyways, and it doesn’t change the fact that you’re its legitimate guardian. 」
「Then as per the covenant――」
Sera continued knowingly covering the Demon Beast King’s words.
「It wouldn’t be a violation to make a new covenant right? 」
The enormous eyes looked surprised for a moment. However, those returned to its original state immediately, jabbing at Sera again.
「Servant of Eternal, you have no rights to form a new covenant. 」
「I know that without you telling. By the way, you’re no longer under my protection. I could’ve just expanded without minding you but, consider it my sincerity to be bothered coming all this way here. 」
「What insolence. 」
「Likewise. Arrogant, timid and benevolent keeper of the earth and sky. If you’re still considering yourself a friend of the kind-hearted Demon King, then you won’t deny the challengers representing the village a chance right? 」
Sera retaliated with her challenging gaze. Eventually, the Demon Beast King spoke again after a period of silence.
「……So? Are these brats going to be my opponents? 」
「Their capability? 」
「Acknowledged by a Practitioner’s daughter, I suppose you would get an idea if I say so, right? 」
「Hou. Fine then. 」
It seems like the brats referred to themselves, Ardis who understood nothing else other than that frowned.
「Oi, I don’t get it at all. What the heck are you two talking about? 」
Ardis’s question was met with Sera’s answer which is as expected, not straightforward at all.
「It’s fine. The negotiation is successful as long as you show your power. 」
「Eh? Was that negotiating just now? 」
It was Rona’s unintentional mutter but, there was no one to answer that.
「Now then little brats, don’t disappoint me. Come at me with the golden one too. 」
The Demon Beast King stood up ignoring the people that were getting dragged in.
The unpleasant word, 『Come at me』 spurred Ardis’s suspicions.
「I don’t like how it’s going. 」
「Huh? I’m counted as well? 」
「Well, the rest is up to you two. 」
Turning around to Ardis and Rona who are confused, Sera waved her hand and took her distance.
「Now, shall we start! 」
Ardis was trying to stop what was going on but, the Demon Beast King paid it no mind and took a stance.
Even without words, it’s obvious that his opponent is eager for a fight.
「So this was your aim for bringing me along! 」
Ardis is someone used to fighting after many years. It’s not like it’s his first or second time getting thrown into a death match without a good reason.
Judging that he should rather defend against the approaching threat than complaining at Sera, he immediately put up a five-fold magic barrier.
The Demon Beast King howled. Five balls of flame appeared above Ardis, and immediately fell down from the sky.
Every one of them had the power of 『Ferno ・ Resta ・ Ganov (Flames of Purgatory) 』 casted by an elite magician but, Ardis’s barrier still managed to block it despite three layers were broken.
Although the same appearance, its power was totally different.
「Good guard. It would have been a downer if that much was enough. 」
The Demon Beast King whose mouth distorted in joy moved onto its next hand. Countless spear shaped from transparent crystals were created, all of it shot towards Ardis.
As a countermeasure, Ardis called swords over the 『Gate』. They numbered in the hundreds.
It was the limit where any more than that, Ardis would only be able to control them with simple movements. Although it’s already impossible to reproduce his own sword skills on them, it’s more than enough to intercept the spears flying in a straight line.
All hundred of them moved as if holding a will on their own, and struck down the transparent spears one after another.
「Hou, interesting! 」
The Demon Beast King sounded really pleased. Of course, Ardis is not sitting there quietly.
Despite not his intentions but was forced into a fight, it’s still a bad idea to stay passive. The flying swords that finished intercepting them moved in offense.
A hundred flying swords surrounded the Demon Beast King like bees swarming on foreign enemies and slashed one after another.
「Hakhakhak! As if it can work! 」
「Something like that is obvious to me! 」
The Heavy Iron made flying swords didn’t even work against the Dragon Shell Beast, Ardis didn’t think for a second that it would work against the creature named Demon Beast King.
It’s enough that the Demon Beast King diverts its attention for a split second. Ardis immediately dived below the Demon Beast King, and pulled the red magic sword from his waist.
Swinging with his full power towards the Demon Beast King’s abdomen, the magic sword easily shattered the thick physical barrier, and left a slashing wound right in its body.
「That sword……! 」
Rather than its defense broken, the Demon Beast King was more surprised seeing the sword in Ardis’s hands.
「The Salvation Demons huh! Again with the unnecessary meddling! 」
For some reason the Demon Beast King hatefully cried before counterattacking.
The claws that could easily cover Ardis’s entire body swung down.
「So quick!? 」
The sharp claws had agility unbelievable for its size, as Ardis three swords, 『Skies of Myriad Colors』, 『Springtime Mist』 and 『Moon’s Blizzard』 formed a shield together.
The sharp claws that came at Ardis was stripped of its momentum by the three swords for only a moment.
With that tiny frame of time, Ardis managed to retreat backwards, and as a parting gift, Ardis shot out ice magic.
「It will not work! 」
Ardis’s magic that has decimated many demonic beings couldn’t do anything to the Demon Beast King.
Just as Ardis tried to keep the distance, the Demon Beast King came with a tail swipe.
Faster than his thoughts, Ardis created mana footholds, and jumped upwards into the air. The carbon colored tail passed by just in front of him.
「Not yet! 」
The Demon Beast King still had another hand as its wings started to beat.
The raging wind like tornado assaulted Ardis but, something on that level isn’t going to make a difference.
However, the wind contained sand created from mana, degrading Ardis’s visuals.
「Blinding attack―― above huh! 」
He read the Demon Beast King’s intentions by the flow of mana. A gigantic ball of flame appeared in the sky burning stronger than the sun.
Ardis looked up at a ball burning in bluish white flames. That color reminded of him his nemesis.
Although his body froze for a moment, Ardis abandoned offense and immediately devoted all his magic to defense while taking evasive action.
Creating eight-folds of reinforced magic barrier and facing them towards the sky only for the purpose of defending against the blue flames.
The gigantic bluish flames full of destructive power dropped on Ardis like an arrow. His field of vision which had been obscured by the flying sand immediately cleared under the pressure of the blue flames.
At the same time, Ardis’s barrier immediately depleted by five layers. Another layer gone, even while its momentum degraded, the powerful blue flames continued to break apart the barriers.
Although Ardis’s barrier was giving its best fighting the blue flames, another broke unable to endure its power.
The last one had cracks in it. But finally the blue flames lost its power.
「Hou, you can even defend that! I see, as expected of someone with the Practitioner’s acknowledgement! 」
「To think of hiding your big body, you’re unexpectedly tactical. 」
「Fighting with brain. Say it cowardice or whatever. It doesn’t bother me at all. 」
「That expression with composure, don’t think you can keep that up forever. 」
「Being energetic is good! Come at me with your full power! 」
「I would without you saying! 」
Once again Ardis switched into offense. Releasing condensed light with the most mana he can inject, it flew towards the Demon Beast King’s foot in a straight thin line.
Of course, the Demon Beast King defends against it with several folds of magic barrier.
However, Ardis’s attack probably had more power than the Demon Beast King expected.
Rather than defending against it frontally, it changed the angle of the barrier into deflecting.
Because of that, the Demon Beast King was distracted for a moment. As if waiting for that moment, the golden colored partner that was hiding its presence till now jumped out from its blind spot.
「Did you forgot about me? 」
Along with powerful mana converging, Rona unleashed his specialty magic. Five or so crescent shaped blades flew out.
Despite sounding surprised, the Demon Beast King that defended it leisurely suddenly changed in expression.
The crescent shaped blades hit its barrier, and splattered into viscous paste, blocking the Demon Beast King’s vision.