“Is that so?” I solemnly nodded my head and flashed Sinmosa a smile: “That’s great then!”
“It should us thanking you instead.”
With the Hellhound family settled, all that was left was Nola. I turned to the salamander in question and asked, fully intending to strike while the iron was hot: “Do you have any other plans, Nola?”
“I’m only here in order to help you reach your destination. Since you’ve done so, it’s time for me to leave as well.” She firmly stated as such, her mind clearly made up long ago. “I can roughly sense the presence of a lava lake nearby, approximately 300 Li away. I’ll enter the lake and rejoin my clan there. If you all plan to set up residence here, feel free to visit that lake for sustenance.”
“So there’s a lake 300 Li away, huh. That’s perfect. With a lava lake nearby, our food problem is basically solved.”
While 300 Li might have sounded like an awfully long walk, it wasn’t so for No.3, Big 4 or the Hellhounds. Given their speed, they could probably make a round trip in two to three hours which honestly wasn’t all that long.
“Nola, are you really leaving us?”
Sinmosa seemed eager to have her remain yet Nola paid no attention to that at all and merely shook her head: “That’s right. I can’t stand being too far away from a lava lake. For us salamanders, there’s nothing worse than being denied a nice soak in a lava lake.”
Since she’ve made it so clear, we really couldn’t say much anymore. In light of that, we merely made the offer to see her off and procure some food at the same time.
As stated before, Big 4 would be left behind to guard Mother Black Ant as she set up her hive. Before leaving, I handed over one of the Black Stones of Authority to him so as to facilitate his management of the golems, just in case someone wanted to invade the palace while we were gone.
Naturally, I wasn’t saying that someone would even try to do so, but it never hurt to be safe on a basic level.
“Master, please hurry back.” As he stood there at the northern city gate, the expression he had on was one of an abandoned kitty. “Big 4 will be here waiting for your return…”
“Don’t worry, with me around, the Master will be perfectly fine.” No.3 proudly smacked his chest and even raised his head slightly like a victor would. “Big 4, you just stay here and be a good bodyguard for Mother Black Ant. Hopefully we can see the first few ants being born once we return.”
“…” Big 4’s teeth gnashing was practically audible from a mile away as he glared at No.3. The Devil in question however, paid no attention to that at all. He was still drunk in the delight of having received his master’s favor.
With regards to this little rivalry between the two of them, I had zero intention of interfering at all.
The purpose of this trip was to send Nola off and procure some food. With that in mind, all of us departed post-haste, barring Big 4 and Mother Black Ant of course.
Because I honestly didn’t expect much danger along the way, I merely called for ten elite Abyssal Golems to follow us as guards while we went on our merry way.
Strictly speaking, Nola hadn’t actually been with us for long. But had it not been for her, we would have never made it to the palace. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that she was the person or Devil who helped us the most.
Just because she was a humongous mountain of a salamander, that didn’t mean that she was terrifying. On the contrary, her personality was rather likeable and she treated us very well. She was just a little hasty, that’s all, and also a little obstinate. That was why when she said that she was going to leave the team, I knew that words were pointless at that point. She was truly of a one-track mind; just look at how our first encounter ended up…
I tenderly placed Mo Na and Cinderel onto her wide back and began trying to fly beside them with a flap of my purple wings. In a sense, that was flying practise for me.
If I had to describe flying in a word, it would have to be difficult. After all, I wasn’t a natural born Fallen Angel, thus I needed to consciously consider a whole lot more things than would be otherwise needed. When I first started, the initial problem I faced was how to get off the ground.
I tried multiple times in the past to fly and each time ended up with me falling to the ground after taking off for a couple of meters. The reason was my lack of balance in flight. Thankfully, I was well prepared for that so I managed to soften my landing.
“Master, flying isn’t just something you can rush, how about we start off slowly.” Worried that I would become despondent from my repeated failures, No.3 hurriedly came in with a few consoling words while imparting his own experience as well.
“When flying, wind direction needs to be considered as well. Flying with the winds and against the winds require a different set of motions. Also, using mana while flying can help with lightening the load on the body…oh, when we Flame Devils use mana, our bodies will turn into elements…I’m not sure if Master can employ such a method as well, also…”
Just like that, our journey proceeded uneventfully. Nola continued leading us along with Sinmosa and Sasani by her side. As for me, I was riding atop an Abyssal Golem while listening to No.3’s lessons. Even while he was continuously imparting his valuable experience onto me, he made sure to watch his manners. No matter what happened, he ensured that he was always a step behind me as a sign of respect.
This peacefulness continued until, finally, we spotted the signature red glow of a lava lake in the distance. What was an empty field just moments ago suddenly changed with a flash of red light. An instant later, a large group of red-skinned monsters appeared before us…no, those are Devils!
The amount that appeared was staggering, going so far as to resemble a giant sea of packed red dots. If my estimates were right, there had to be at least a thousand of them standing right before us now. From time to time, the leader-esque Devils in front would spout some flames from their bodies to signify their own special status. Not only that, their bodies were significantly taller than the other Imps and their horns would curve backwards. Their triangled tails would flick around without much care as they stood there. The next thing that I noticed was that they had no wings at all, and also that their eyes seemed a little confused at the moment.
‘Flame Devil Child!”
‘So those leaders are actually Four-stars! I thought the ongoing theme was that there were no Devils in Sable Radiance?! Oh wait, didn’t they just appear after that flash of red…don’t tell me they came from the Blood Sea? Lucifer’s clone did mention something along those lines but isn’t this just a little too quick?!’
Because all this had happened all too suddenly, both of our parties were too stunned to react momentarily. All we did was to stare blankly in each other, brains unable to process what was going on.
No.3, whom I had taken the liberty to pass on temporary control rights to a short while ago, was the first to react. He immediately rushed in front of me and had the elite Abyssal Golems form a protective circle around me.
Eyes fixed at the other Devils, he asked: “Master, what are Devils doing here?”