The Demon Fire Salamander, with its left leg a bloody mess, crawled along with utmost difficulty. With each step it took, a trail of blood would be left in its wake.
“Master, that was the salamander fighting against the Warhorses.” Big 4 stared at the salamander and gave a confident nod of his head. “I don’t think there’s even a lava lake within miles of this region so what is it even doing here?”
As a relatively flat region, there weren’t that many lava lakes to be found here. To be exact, those nearby were more like tiny streams than anything else. The salamander could still fit in them, that much was certain, but that was the extent of all the streams could do. There was just no way a tiny body of lava like that could sustain such a huge Demon Fire Salamander for long.
‘Like what Big 4 said, what was a large salamander doing here?’
‘In a sense, it’s kind of like a shark somehow making it into a river from the ocean…there’s no way it can sustain itself so why even make the trip?’
‘Maybe it’s looking for something…kinda reminds me of how I met Sasani and Sinmosa. Ah, seems just like yesterday when I ended up gaining their help after Sinmosa was injured by the Warhorses while looking for Flamegrass…to be honest, that couple probably wouldn’t even have been in so much trouble had it not been for their baby who born with an abnormality thanks to their close relation…’
‘Wait…don’t tell me that salamander is another Yosuga no Sora…’
(TL: Anime about a brother and sister.)
“Master, be careful, I think it spotted us…”
Roughly the same time as we saw it, it saw us as well. It immediately, albeit painfully, swiveled its body around to face us, bloodshot eyes staring right into Sinmosa and Sasani. Without even wasting any time, it was instantly able to tell who was the bigger threat here. Assuming that we fought, of course.
“What now, Master?” Concerned that the salamander might attack us at any moment, my two trusty bodyguards, No.3 and Big 4, reflexively shielded me from the salamander and quietly awaited my orders. Having been with me for so long, they were used to not acting without my direct instructions.
Seeing like that, the salamander stopped as well, abandoning its original intention of finding a lava lake to recuperate in.
From within its eyes, I could feel an undisguised level of enmity and yet it didn’t attack right away. Was it because its injuries were too severe? Or was it simply because it was sizing us up as potential nourishment, just in case we were too powerful for it to handle alone…either way, there were too many possibilities for me to go through one by one.
Roar~~~!” In the midst of our tense silence, the salamander suddenly roared, having realized that we had no intention of retreating.
“Mama, that lizard is scary.” Unable to take the sheer pressure of its roar, Mo Na instinctively hid behind me.
I gently ruffled her hair and in a gentle voice, placated her: “Don’t worry Sweetie, even though that roar might sound terrifying, it is actually the opposite, that roar is a show of weakness.”
“Mama, that’s it showing weakness? Why does it sound like its trying to posture itself instead?”
Still at a tender age, she only knew how to see things on a surface level. As the saying went, a dog that barked, didn’t bite. Often, the truly dangerous dogs were those that were silently glaring at you. The only reason dogs growled so loudly were because they were afraid of us.
For a beast, if they truly wanted to attack you, they would have done so from the start where they still had the initiative.
Using my finger to flick her lightly on the nose bridge, I laughed while saying: “Haha, it was telling us not to come close or it would cry.”
“Mama, you actually know how to speak the language of the salamander?! Mama’s amazing!” Not caring in the least bit if my translation was actually correct, she gave me a fervent look of worship.
Seeing that, I wanted to brag a little more but before I could even speak another word, a coarse voice interrupted me: “I was clearly trying to threaten you just now, if you don’t leave this instant, don’t blame me for being rough. I’ll eat you, I swear! Also, I wasn’t begging for mercy!”
‘Eh??? It can talk? But that salamander we met last time couldn’t speak in the tongue of the devil at all so I thought that their race was a little…I even remember it asking that Fire Elemental for help in translating…ahem…well…’
“So you can speak in the language of the devils, that makes things a lot easier then.” I shrugged my shoulders and with a radiant smile, expressed our lack of enmity.
“You seem really wounded right now. I bet you’re at least a Six-stars in your peak period else that Warhorse elder wouldn’t have brought so many Warhorses to try and attack you. We don’t wish to fight you so how about we just pretend that we never saw each other and just be on our own merry ways, okay?”
“Hmph, a devil’s words can’t be trusted.”
“If you can’t trust them, why are you even talking to me then?”
“I just couldn’t stand you spewing all that nonsense.”
‘Don’t you know how to hold a conversation here…I was just teasing you, that’s all…forget it…since we’ve come this far, I doubt we can leave without a fight anyway.’
“Master, there’s no need to waste your precious time on such a stubborn lizard, let Big 4 and I take care of it.”
“Master, let us fight, now’s the perfect time to test our new strength anyway.” As he said that, Big shot the salamander, that was as big as a tiny hill, an aggressive look. “We haven’t had the chance to fight since we evolved.”
‘Now that he mentioned it…the two of them really hadn’t had a chance to duke it out since they’ve evolved. A test would be useful. Besides, that salamander was clearly trying to make me look bad, if I don’t give it some trouble, that itch in me just won’t subside.’
“In that case, take care you two.”
Having gotten my permission, the two of them excitedly smiled as they shouted: “Understood, Master!”
Seeing them act like that, was it simply because of some kind of newfound confidence from having just evolved? Either way, now that the order was given out, they immediately spread their fleshy wings and with a violent gust of wind, took to the skies. By the time I noticed that they were airborne, they were already high above me.
“Flames!” The two of them shouted in unison. Instantly, their bodies burst into flames but unlike the flames on the Warhorses, which were mostly on the surface only, their bodies actually turned into flames.
“Mama, how did the two of them turn into Fire Elementals?” Mo Na asked with eyes as wide as saucers.
“That’s probably their innate Flame Devil ability. Remember how No.3 had his arm turn into flames not too long ago?” I answered though with a slightly unsure tone. This was, after all, their first fight after evolving and Ferti’nier wasn’t here to answer my questions as well.
“Their opponent is strong, is it really alright for just the two of them to attack?” Sinmosa asked out of concern. While the two of them might have evolved into Infant Flame Devils, they were still weak to the eyes of Sinmosa, even though of them were technically at the same Stars level.
“Let’s just watch for now. I’m not entirely sure what kind of abilities they have but they should have some kind of defensive ability to rely on should things turn bad.” I confidently stated, the source of said confidence stemming from the fact that the salamander wasn’t able to fly, and that the two of them had entered an elemental state. Besides, the two of them had an impressive level of flying skills, comparable only to each other.
For elementals, physical attacks were ineffective on them. While No.3 and Big 4 weren’t completely in an elemental state right now, their physical resistance wasn’t something to scoff at either. As for the salamander’s elemental attack…the two of them were basically borne of flames, its attack would only feed them.
Just looking at the salamander, I could tell it was seriously injured. There was a stump on its head where a second horn once stood and its left leg was completely mangled. Not only that, there were over a dozen cuts on it that were still bleeding as we spoke.
‘Cuts? I thought the Warhorses only used charging attacks, biting attacks, ramming attacks and also elemental attacks? They don’t have any claws like the Hellhounds, nor did they have arms to use any cutting implements like humans…so where did all those cuts come from? They looked like blade or sword cuts even.’
“Sinmosa, aren’t the wounds on that salamander a little strange?” In terms of knowledge about the Warhorses, I was clearly inferior to Sinmosa so the first thing I did was to seek her opinion. “Those wounds, they seem like cuts. Just look at the entry wounds, they are thin and show no sign of tearing…exactly how did those Warhorses cause such injuries?”
“Newborn Warhorses are sometimes blessed with a rare innate skill called Sound Blades. Those who have this ability can create a slicing effect with just sound. If I’m not mistaken, that salamander must have met some Warhorse with such an ability.”
‘As expected of the Hellhound’s No.1 Beauty, she really knew a ton of things…’
“A genius like that would definitely enjoy an elevated status no matter which clan they came from. Judging from the depth of the cuts, that Warhorse shouldn’t be higher than Six-stars.”