No.3 gingerly asked me: “Master, aren’t we killing it?”
Big 4, plucking up the courage to speak as well: “The soul of a Six-stars is definitely going to be a feast…”
Sinmosa shook her head: “A high level prey like this doesn’t come along all too often.”
Sasani, still unable to speak in the devil language, merely nodded in agreement.
“Exactly, Mo Na thinks Mama is being wasteful as well.” As she rode on my shoulders, she folded her arms like a little adult and expressed her dissatisfaction: “Mama is just too willful.”
“Woof woof.” Cinderel barked as well, seemingly agreeing with Mo Na.
Just like that, a schism was formed on how we were to handle this salamander…fine, it was just me versus everyone else.
Naturally, my stance was that we should let her go while the others wanted her dead, pregnant or not. After all, this was Purgatory, and they were devils, not some kind of hot blooded warrior with a sense of honor. Survival of the fittest, by consuming the weak, one became strong. Kill or be killed, and all that stuff…
Still, while the others were a little puzzled by my show of mercy, they accepted my decision in the end since I was the one making the decisions in this team.
“Well, it was No.3 and Big 4 who brought her down in the first place, so I’ll leave the decision up to you.” Sinmosa said as such after exchanging a glance with her husband; this was her way of saying that they wouldn’t interfere.
“We’ll listen to the Master’s wishes.” No.3 and Big 4 said in unison while acting like the loyal bodyguards that they were.
“Mo Na will listen to Mama as well.” There was still a clear look of reluctance in her eyes but this adorable daughter of mine clearly had no intention of defying me.
“Woof woof~~~!” Came Cinderel’s barks, seemingly as a way to show her existence in the group. Naturally, I still had no way of telling what she meant by those barks but most likely they were barks of support.
Thus, with everyone’s support, the salamander was set free.
On the other side, the salamander was already on its merry way eastward, as if it had never noticed us trying to decide its fate at all.
“Exactly what is it in the east that has her attention so captured?”
“Master, there so happens to be a body of lava large enough to fit that salamander just three li away from here. She’s probably heading there.” Having scouted this area from the air before, No.3 was the one who gave me that answer: “She’s probably trying to replenish her strength there.”
“Three Li? That’s pretty close, in that case, let’s be on our way then. That salamander should be able to reach that herself.”
As I said that however, her left leg suddenly caved in and with a loud bang, her body soon followed after.All around her, the ground trembled and the dust flew about, displaced by her massive body’s crash. With injuries so severe, her body finally couldn’t take the strain anymore and collapsed…
‘This…you’re kidding me…’
“I’ll go take a look.” Seeing my face darken, Big 4 volunteered to check up on the salamander even without me asking, returning mere moments later with this report: “Master, I don’t think she will last long.”
“…” Even without looking, I could tell how black my face was at the moment.
“So what should we do, Master?” Noticing that I hadn’t spoken in a while, Big 4 asked as such in a perplexed voice: “Should we just be on our way?”
“Should we eat it then?” No.3 pointed at the weakened salamander who was breathing raggedly at this moment, and then made a eating gesture.
‘What now…I swear, could my luck have been any worse? I already let the big fellow go and yet who would’ve thought that she would drop the ball so soon after. We hadn’t even left yet and she had already collapsed…well…should we kill her or save her?’
“She’s most probably about to give birth.” Having had experience with this, Sinmosa was able to provide this precise assessment with just a mere glance at the salamander. “The previous battle must have triggered the womb and brought the birth forward.”
Hearing the word ‘birth’, I immediately asked: “Will she be able to give birth safely?”
‘What do you mean probably not, it is clearly a no. After being wounded so badly by the Warhorses, and after being bullied by No.3 and Big 4, how would she even have the energy to give birth…she’s clearly about to die!’
“Can we save her?”
“It will be hard.” Sinmosa then paused for a couple of seconds before sighing: “Unless we have a Fire Elemental Core, Flamegrass or some other treasure at the level of those giants’ blood…well…”
‘I did have two cores, but they were all used up by Cinderel and Sinmosa. As for the blood, that was gone too. I have never even seen a Flamegrass before too…’
“I still want to save her…” Had she not been pregnant, I would have never tried to save her, male or female; neither would I ever let her go like that. But once it concerned a pregnant creature…I simply couldn’t ignore her plight. Standing idly by now wasn’t something a human would do at all…though I technically was a devil now. Still, my heart was that of a human’s. This was something I refused to budge on; there was just no way I would ever give up this benevolent heart of mine!
With that settled on, I gave Sinmosa a resolute look as I said this: “Tell me how I can save her.”
“Are you sure? She was our enemy just a while ago too…letting her go was already merciful enough…”
“I’m sure.” I nodded my head and said so once more without any hesitation: “I want to try and save her, no matter what, I want to give it a shot.”
“Alright then…I understand.” Sinmosa resigned herself to following my whims once more. At the very least however, the face she had on told me that she understood the salamander’s plight somewhat. After all, she used to be in the same position as well. Thus she knew how painful it was to be unable to protect one’s own child. For a mom, like Sinmosa and that salamander, the most tragic thing wouldn’t be that they died but rather that their death wasn’t even able to ensure the survival of their own child…
Truth be told, I could vaguely tell that it wasn’t only me who wanted to save that salamander, Sinmosa probably did as well, else she could have just kept silent.
“Even though I never seen a salamander give birth before, I know that they will seek out a lava lake when it’s time, and lay their egg in that lake…” Sinmosa then pointed eastward: “It would be best if we placed her in that lava lake in the east.”
“I don’t think that’s possible…” I stretched out my arms in order to illustrate my point. Just thinking about how huge that salamander was could give me a headache. “Besides, with her current condition, moving her might just achieve the opposite effect, unless we are strong enough to easily lift her up…”
“Then we’ll just have to create the right environment here.” Having said that, Sinmosa turned her head to face Sasani, who was standing beside her idly all this while in a daze: “There should be some Flamegrass nearby, Big Brother, how about you go find some. They should be in the west if I’m not mistaken.”
“Woof.” Sasani nodded his head before galloping towards the west.
“How do you know that there are Flamegrasses there?”
“Normally, one would escape in the direction from which they came. Thankfully, the terrain around this region isn’t complicated, with not much obstacles to speak of. Because of that, those who are travelling with a purpose would choose to take a straight line. Adding these two bits together, the fact that she was fleeing towards the east probably meant that she was heading towards the west previously…” She calmly laid out her deductions but upon realizing how much time it took her to do so, she stopped midway and turned to No.3 and Big 4 instead. “Since we can’t bring her to the lake, we just have to bring a lake to her.”
“We’re creating our own?”
‘I just wanted to save a lizard…how did this whole affair suddenly become so huge…’
“Based on what I saw from the previous battle, and the fact that they are both Infant Flame Devils, their superb control over flame should allow them to sense flame energies easily. There are countless underground lava lakes running through Purgatory. All we have to do is find one nearby…”
‘Kinda like how people used to dig for underground water…so what she’s saying is that she wants the two of them to dig for one…like a hot spring!’
As reality would soon prove, she was right. Not long after I sent the two of them away, they actually found one such underground lake with their senses. It just so happened that the lake was a mere two meters away from where that salamander was.
“Master, we detected the energy signatures of a lava lake here, roughly less than 10 meters below the ground.” No.3 pointed at the blackened ground beneath him and said so, chest puffed out. “This is the spot, there’s no mistaking it.”
“That’s right, it’s here.” Standing just beside No.3, Big 4 proceeded to give the ground a solid punch, creating a pothole in the process. “It’s rather hard too…”
“Well, let’s get started then, try to create a hole that can fit her.”
“One that’s just enough to fit her?” Big 4 scratched his head. “The ground is pretty hard…”
“Of course bigger would be better.” I glared at Big 4 for his silly question. “Start digging then you two, that salamander might just start giving birth any moment now…”
“Understood, Master!” Upon receiving my command, the two of them immediately got down to punching the earth. Fist after fist, they pounded into the earth and in just one short minute, they managed to dig a meter deep into the earth…though the width of their hole was a little lacking…rather than digging a lake, it was more like we were digging a well…
“I’ll help too.” Sinmosa gave Cinderel a tender look as she said that. “Speaking of which, had I not met you then…I might have just…this salamander is truly fortunate to have met you.”
“Then I’ll join in as well.” Since Sinmosa was going to help as well, there was no reason for me not to.
“Mo Na too!”