The insides of the Demonic Fire Igneous Giants could only be described as vast and also hollow, as if their body was actually just a rocky container for the lava that used to flow within. As for how much energy I actually absorbed, I had no way of knowing, but the fact that Ferti’nier was even able to wake up as a result of that, made it a rather profitable trade. At the end of the day, this former Devil King knew a lot more than me and as we Chinese liked to say, ‘having an elder in your home was like having a treasure.’
Experience and wisdom was something you had to accumulate with time…ahem, that was basically all I had to say.
Having climbed out, the first thing I saw was Sinmosa and the Hellhound family standing not too far in the distance. Beside them were two lanky devils whom I had never seen before.
To be exact, I had never seen such a form before. Both of them had a head that resembled a bull’s with a pair of goat horns that curved towards the back. Their bodies were lean, muscular, beautiful even, if one were to discount the bull head on their shoulders and the goat hooves below. Their tail was slender like a bull’s as well.
Even though this was the first time I had seen such a form, the words Infant Flame Demon instantly came to mind.
“No.3, Big 4?” Although I had basically guessed the identity of these devils by now, I still couldn’t believe my eyes and had to confirm it once more. “You guys, evolved?”
“Master, we’ve evolved!” Upon seeing me climb out of the giant’s chest, the first thing the two of them did was to wave furiously at me while excitedly calling out to me as I walked towards them. Once I reached them, they suddenly fell to their knees and said with utter reverence: “Many thanks to Master…had it not been for Master, we would have died…”
“There’s no need for that, your loyalty is something I’m fully aware of. No matter what, the blood you shed won’t be in vain.” Seeing them in their new evolved forms, an indescribable sense of elation filled me. ‘This was the result I achieved after risking life and limb —not a bad result at all, if I had to say.’
Honestly, I wouldn’t have been half as excited about them evolving had it not been for Ferti’nier awakening. After all, I was still a Three-stars at the end of the day…having them outlevel me so much was disconcerting… Naturally, I knew that the two of them probably wouldn’t betray me, but the same could be said for One-eye as well…
To me, Sinmosa and Sasani were mostly trustworthy since we were complete strangers back when we met; I doubt they thought about betraying or using me then. Even if Sasani was thinking about betraying me, that sister of his would fix him right up. In fact, it would be more accurate to say I trusted Sinmosa, rather than Sasani.
Truly, trust was a scary thing…even now, I couldn’t believe that One-eye would play me out like that…well, that was all in the past now, what mattered was the future.
“The energy in that giant is gone but Mo Na and you…I can’t see any changes in the both of you at all…” Having chatted a while with No.3 and Big 4, it was then that Sinmosa trotted up to me and gasped with a look of disbelief in all six of her eyes. After giving me another look, she half-stated as such, in a voice dripping with curiosity: “You aren’t an ordinary devil are you?”
‘What should I say now..I still can’t bring up the matter of Ferti’nier, but the fact that an entire Five-stars giant was consumed and nothing had happened in Mo Na and I was also strange.’
“Forget it, everyone has their own secrets, I was just a little curious, that’s all. I didn’t intend to pry too deeply…you can always tell me when you’re ready.” Seeing that torn expression on my face, she chose not to ask any further, instead casually glossing over this subject with another. “Cinderel has restored quite a bit of her energy already. Because she’s still young, she didn’t evolve yet. Sasani and I, on the other hand, received quite a few benefits. It won’t be long before we can evolve into Six-stars.”
“That quick?!” For the two of them to evolve now was clearly good news for me given our current situation. Thus I said: “Well then, I’ll have to congratulate you two in advance. Oh right, when exactly will you two evolve?”
Sinmosa paused for a second and then gave me an answer that I didn’t know whether to laugh about or cry about. “Roughly five years.”
“…well that’s…pretty quick…”
“I know, it was supposed to be 20 years too.” She didn’t detect that slight bit of awkwardness in my voice and instead followed up with my comment as if everything was right in the world: “After all, Sasani and I are…well…you get it…”
‘I get it, totally. It’s that, isn’t it? German Orthopaedics, Yos*ga no Sora, and if Kyosuke actually did it with Kirino, I can add in Oreimo to the list as well…honestly, I had really had to hand it to that dog…’
(TL: German Orthopaedics: Some story in China where it was reported that a brother and sister did it each other and were found out by their father. The father broke the legs of the brother after which the brother flew off to Germany to get it fixed. The rest are all anime references.)
To be honest, before finding out about their ‘unique’ relationship’, I had assumed that incest was a taboo only amongst humans, to think the Hellhounds had such a rule as well.
‘Either way, since everyone is accounted for, it’s time for us to set off once more.’
In order to save time, Sinmosa offered to give us a ride on her while the two of them galloped northward. Naturally, it wasn’t that we had not thought about doing that before, but based on their speed, it would have been impossible for No.3 and Big 4 to keep up with their galloping speed. Now that the two of them had evolved however, their flying speeds were now significantly higher and their wings, significantly more agile. Thanks to that, the two of them had no problem keeping up with Sinmosa and husband all throughout.
If I had to make a comparison between their current and past forms…it would be the difference between a World War One plane and a World War Two plane…hmmm, sounds about right.
Along the way, I took the time to inquire about No.3 and BIg 4’s newfound abilities. They were, after all, devils with a clan now, their abilities had to have increased. If I had to be perfectly honest however, I assumed that Infant Flame Demons were like Ragn*ros from World of W*rcraft, essentially devils in the form of elementals. Clearly my assumption was wrong.
Within my inherited memories, they clearly stated that Flame Demons were borne of the flames, that was true, however, that didn’t mean that they were entirely formed of flames either. With regards to these flame devils, in particular the Infant Flame Demons, there wasn’t much information about them at all. Or rather, the information was sealed up, waiting for me to level up even further before unlocking. After all, allowing access to such skills wasn’t necessary a good thing unless one had the required level to use them. In a sense, it was like magic. Trying to cast a spell above one’s mana capabilities ran the risk of causing a backlash or worse.
While the majority of a Flame Devil’s abilities were still locked up, No.3 and Big 4 still managed to pick up quite a few abilities this time around. For example, they were now able to control flames as if they were a part of their body. Unlike the past where their control of flames was still a little unnatural, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that the flames were now their limbs.
In fact, as if to demonstrate that ability, when Big 4 had No.3 cut off his left hand with a crafted bone knife, something miraculous happened. Where his severed arm once laid, we saw a bundle flames that Big 4 calmly picked and reconnected to his stump of a wrist. Under our shocked eyes, that bundle of flames began to take on a hand shape before finally reconnecting and turning back into a hand flawlessly.
I gave the new appendage a careful look through and found, to my astonishment, no difference at all between his previous hand and his new one…
“Turning one’s body into flames is just a basic ability, there’s no need for Little Brother to make such a big fuss about a parlor trick. That’s just embarrassing.” As usual, Ferti’nier chimed in with her teasing amidst my shock and awe.
‘Embarrassing? How so? At least their evolutionary branch is strong…why can’t us Lust Demons be as powerful as that?’
“Hey, we’re really strong!”
‘Why do I feel so weak then? If it wasn’t for Shadowfang, I don’t think I can even defeat Violet Snow.’
In my mind, that was nothing but a little gripe on my part, who would’ve thought that it would instead garner such a reaction from Ferti’nier: “The fact that you can’t even beat a little white puppy is because you’re weak, don’t lump us together with your weakness!”
‘Really? Lust Demons are strong? If they are so strong, why are there so many sub-branches, carnal, combat and whatnot?”
“Well…it’s a female only branch…so they feel a need to compensate for that…”
‘Sounds so true that I can’t even think of a counter to that…’
Thanks to our internal squabbles, time passed rather quickly for me. Because we were still in the territory of the Warhorses, we encountered quite a number of roaming Warhorses during our jaunt northward. For the most part, they knew to steer clear of us. That’s right, they were avoiding us…even though they were the masters of territory, they were avoiding us…no matter how I looked at it, we seemed more like unwelcome intruders more than anything.
The fact that they were acting in such a manner was probably because of Shade. Perhaps they even thought that I was some kind of Devil King reincarnated…speaking of which, that whole incident was rather interesting in of itself. For a powerful Nightmare Steed like Shade to fear me like that…even fear wasn’t enough to describe the expression he had on then.
“It’s normal to fear this one, don’t cha know…” Came Ferti’nier’s usual snideness.
“Still, to think that this is the Remnants of Sable Radiance, this one clearly remembered that this whole region was sealed off a long time ago. So it was actually linked to the Prison of the Dead…how secretive…since it’s in a sealed off state, that passage to Abaddon shouldn’t work as well. Little Brother, are you sure the answer is really in that palace?”
‘I’m not too sure either, it was a Shadowcat Princess who told me that.’
“Shadowcats huh, the race that can Dreamwalk? I like those little kitties, I remember keeping a few kitties myself in my home, they’re really fun to play with.”
‘…I never knew you were a cat lady.’