Right away, No.3 got about to his task of counting the number of surrendered Imps. Because the battlefield was still guarded by Winged Abyssal Golems, those Devils could only sit there obediently while the counting went on. Naturally, there were those who tried to escape at first, but after the first few ended up as Devil pancakes, the rest quickly fell in line…
The Abyssal Golems, being magical constructs, were foreign to the word compassion. Thus over the course of the entire battle, they had racked up quite a number of kills, resulting in a veritable mountain of corpses beside them.
With regards to the actual task of counting the numbers, it was bound to be a time consuming task so I decided to leave No.3 behind while the rest of us continued onwards to our destination. This way, we would save a lot more time.
As a precaution however, I left No.3 with the control rights to five of the Winged Abyssal Golems. After all, you could never be too sure that none of the more paranoid Devils wouldn’t try and make a run for it while the bulk of us were gone.
Even though we still didn’t have an exact count of how many Devils there were, but based on my rough estimate, there had to be at least 500 of them. That amount wasn’t something No.3 could handle alone especially if one of them decided to start a rebellion. As such, it was even more important that those Winged Abyssal Golems stayed behind.
The moment I told him I was going to leave him behind, he tried to object but stopped midway, instead choosing to give the look of an abandoned pet. Even without asking, I knew he wanted to follow us. But with the situation as it was, that wasn’t practical. These new Devils were a lot slower than us and harder to manage as well. The optimum solution would be to have him stay behind while we sent Nola off.
“That’s enough, I know what you’re thinking right now. But even if the lava lake is nearby, we can’t just leave those Devils behind without anyone to watch over them.” I knew his frustration wouldn’t be satisfied just like that so I gave him one more carrot to nibble on.
“You’re my most trusted subordinate and the only one I would entrust these Winged Abyssal Golems to. I need you to finish taking stock of our new recruits before I get back, got it? It won’t be long.”
“…alright, Master…No.3 will wait here for your return.”
Having said all that to him, if he chose not to listen still, I would’ve really been disappointed in him. Thankfully, not only were his concerns swept away by my simple praise, I could even detect a certain skip in his steps as he happily went about his task.
As we continued onwards to the nearby lava lake, we were hit with that familiar sensation of active FIre Elements. Elements of such a nature were a lot easier to absorb as compared to their inert cousins. In a sense, it was kind of like how an extroverted kid found it easier to make friends than an introvert.
Elements were the same as well; the more active they were, the easier they were to absorb.
“I’ve…finally come home…”
At about the time that we reached the lava lake, Nola pushed for the two kids sitting on her back to quickly dismount. Once that was done, she hurriedly dove into the over 100 meter wide lake. Based on a rough estimate, that lake had to be at least 500 meters deep –truly a first for me to see such a huge lake.
As the size of the lake grew, the more abundant it was as a food source; it was most likely this reason that the capital of Sable Radiance was built so close by. In that sense, some reasonings could be said to hold true across worlds. Back on Earth, it was common to find capitals close to a water source. Clearly that held true, not only for humans, but for Devils as well. After all, the most stable source of food in Purgatory was a lava lake.
For a city with such a large population, it definitely wasn’t viable for the inhabitants to survive by feeding on each other constantly. Thus, a large food source like this was needed.
Nola flipped and flopped about in the lava for a good long while before finally popping out from under the lava surface to address us, lips curled into a wide grin: “My apologies, I got a little excited there…ahem…”
Given how long it had been since she had last taken a soak in a lava lake, I couldn’t blame her for acting as such. Yet just as she finished saying that, she suddenly dove into the lake once more without saying another word. Furthermore, right after her body disappeared into the lake, we heard a strange, elongated cry bubble out from underneath the lake surface. If that wasn’t some kind of prank on her part, it would definitely have to mean trouble.
While we were still mulling over whether or not she was joking around, the lake suddenly started to violently bubble at which point countless Demon Fire Worms started wiggling out from beneath. Each and every one of them had their grotesque mouths wide open and screaming that weird cry.
Since we didn’t know their language, we had no way of discerning what they were trying to say. In fact, there was no time to do so anyway. Barely a second after that happened, a thunderous boom erupted from lake. A towering wave instantly loomed over us as Nola’s gigantic body came bursting out at the same time as if she was a giant whale who had summoned the waves.
Thanks to her mountainous body size, the surrounding molten rocks and lava were thrown violently into the air and sent flying all over like a hailstorm. Being right next to the lake, we were unfortunately the targets of said storm…
“Mo Na, Cinderel, get behind me quick!” Faced with that onslaught of rocks and lava, my furiously working mind immediately came to the conclusion that avoiding it was impossible. Thus, with both arms raised up high, I started channelling my mana into a makeshift shield formed of Nether Flames, spanning roughly 5 meters wide. Thankfully, despite its ordinary appearance, this hastily erected shield managed to block all the incoming molten rocks.
As for the kids, Mo Na, the clever little girl that she was, had already made the executive decision to scoop up Cinderel and rush her to my back while the shield was forming.
Sinmosa and Sasani, on the other hand, weren’t affected by the sudden storm of lava and rocks at all. If they wanted to, they could’ve joined Nola in her little lava bath. Not Cinderel however. She was still young and thus couldn’t take their scorching temperatures yet.
A second after Nola resurfaced, another gigantic silhouette came bursting out of the lava lake, stirring up another storm in the process. In the meantime, I still had my shield erected for the second wave which came so soon that I couldn’t have dropped my shield in time even if I wanted to.