Upon hearing Mo Na’s question, Cinderel barked three identical “Barks~”, as if to say that important things had to be said thrice. Based on that, I could that her little tummy was empty.
Faced with these two kids and their comedic act, I could only smile with exasperation, “Alright, I’ll go get us something to eat.”
“Hehe, Mama’s the best!”
Even though having to go out foraging right after returning was a pain, I couldn’t exactly let my precious daughter go hungry either.
Scooping up the two rascals, I randomly picked ten Winged Abyssal Golems and headed towards the royal capital. Halfway down, I bumped into No.4.
He bowed, “Master.”
“Mhm.” I casually nodded back. “You’re here to see me?”
This devil of mine was tasked with guarding Mother Black Ant. If he was here and not with her, that meant he had news regarding her to report.
“Master, Mother Black Ant has successfully hatched her first batch of eggs, roughly a thousand.”
‘That fast? Hasn’t it just been two days, was she giving birth and incubating at the same time? Either way, it’s worth a visit.”
“In that case, bring us to her, I just so happen to have an idea but let’s head there first.”
With No.4 leading the way, we quickly found ourselves near the northern city gates where a black ant hole laid. Without even guessing, I knew that was Mother Black Ant’s.
Walking up to it, No.4 called out twice. Soon after, Mother Black Ant’s insect head wriggled its way out of the hole and into view. She peered around for a second and, upon noticing me standing near No.4, she quickly crawled out of her hole and past No.4.
“Master…Mother Black Ant…pays her respect.” She spoke in her awkward version of the devil’s tongue, though the tone was definitely one of respect.
Looking at her subservient behavior, I decided not to bully her this time round and cut straight to the point, “I heard from No.4 that your eggs have hatched. How’s your body holding up?”
“Mother Black Ant…is grateful…for the…Master’s concern…she’s doing…well…”
“As long as nothing’s wrong…” I nodded my head and continued, “Will your kids be able to function without you? In your current state, can you make a long trip? I have something I wish for you to try. Perhaps it might not require too much travelling, but it will require an extended period of absence.”
She lifted her ugly insectoid head to look at me. Looking at her, I could tell she was slightly surprised, even though there really wasn’t any expression to be gleaned from that so-called face of hers. “What does…the Master…wish of…Mother Black Ant…”
“I wish to unite the surrounding ant nests under your command. Based on a number of factors, including communication barriers, I felt you would be the better choice, at the very least you can talk to them.”
“Master…Mother Black Ant…wishes…wishes…to go…”
Upon hearing my suggestion, she immediately perked up, not at all weakened or fatigued as I had assumed she would be. Perhaps there really was no side effects to speak of, or perhaps she was simply used to it, seeing as queen ants like would often give birth to a whole pile of eggs everyday…
“No.4 will stay to guard the place then, I guess?” Because I was leaving, No.4 naturally had to stay behind to watch over the place in my stead. Reluctant to do so, he initially thought about protesting that decision. However, he knew very well that he couldn’t change my mind, not to mention that there had to be someone guarding the place.
“I understand, Master…”
I could tell he was disappointed, but who told me to be so short of manpower right now…
To make it up to him somewhat, I smiled and said, “I’ll bring back some souls for you on the way back.”
“Mhm, thank you, Master.”
There was no devil who didn’t like souls, yet No.4’s response was clearly muted just now. Just like No.3, I knew that he would like nothing more than to follow me around and act as my bodyguard. But what else was I to do when we were so short on manpower? It wasn’t like I wanted to leave two muscle brains behind to manage everything, especially when they themselves didn’t have enough brains to go around. This was the best solution I had out of a bunch of horrid choices. I couldn’t just leave the place unattended after all.
There wasn’t much chance of an intruder…but what if?
Hopefully, No.6 would have some usable talents for me soon…leaving these two to manage things really wasn’t the best idea I’ve ever had.
After settling matters with No.4, I left the royal capital heading westwards with the ten Winged Abyssal Golems, Mother Black Ant, Mo Na and Cinderel.
Truth be told, it really didn’t matter whether it was westward or eastward. Either way, the plan was to subjugate the surrounding ant nests and grab a quick snack on the way. Depending on our luck, we might just encounter some roaming Abyssal Golems. Damaged though they might be, the royal capital had more than enough spare parts which I’m confident could be employed soon to repair them.
Another matter worth mentioning was that Mother Black Ant was the one leading our merry little band. To her, finding ant nests was a simple matter, at which point we simply had to dig out those nasty little insects.
Yet just when I thought I had everything figured out, something unexpected happened -we stumbled upon several Zero-Stars devils!
‘How can there be devils here? Shouldn’t that teleportation point be…hold on, did I miss out something?’
‘Back when we were teleported to the Kingdom of Sable Radiance, it wasn’t near some lava lake but was somewhere else instead. So there’s two of them?! No, there’s three now. After all, I doubt these devils came from my planned recruitment area, that was over three hundred li away. Plus there’s just too many obstacles preventing them from reaching here, like those roaming golems.’
At the same time that we spotted those devils, there was a damaged golem chasing them around. It was an ordinary Abyssal Golem that was missing its left palm. Standing at over five meters tall, it looked extremely unwieldy, though its running speed was anything but.
Naturally, whether or not their speed was fast was relative to their opponents. When compared to the Hellhounds, their running speed could only be counted as manageable. But when compared to those devils… It would be hard for them to shake off that golem, not to mention that the golem wasn’t alive so it had no stamina issues to speak of. In contrast, those devils would tire out sooner or later.
“Look at that big fella over there, Mama! Mo Na’s gonna capture it!” Without even waiting for me to answer, she took off the Gem of Authority from my neck and sped off.
However, I wasn’t all that worried about her decision. She was able to fly unlike that golem ,and that put her at a decisive advantage. I merely hugged Cinderel tighter.
Rubbing her little head and fur, I whispered, “Don’t run off, Cinderel. Mo Na will be fine on her own.”
She reluctantly barked a couple of times then slowly leaned in on my chest, mood a little unhappy.
“Don’t be unhappy, little fella.” I tapped her lightly on her noggin. “Safety’s number one.”
Mo Na had wings of her own, so she was clearly safe. Cinderel, on the other hand, was different. Not only was she not able to fly, she was a newborn Hellhound as well. She was clearly more likely to get into danger than my baby so how I could let her go running off like that? Especially not when Sinmosa entrusted her into my care.
The five devils being chased by the golem soon came up to me in the midst of their frantic escape. Upon noticing me, their first instinct wasn’t to attack but rather to turn tail and run. Understandable, really. There were, after all, ten Winged Abyssal Golems standing behind me right now. Given how similar they must have looked to those devils, I wouldn’t be surprised if they thought I was in cahoots with that golem.
However, I only had a single word for those simple fools who thought they could escape like that -naive!
Shadow Demon Guardian.
I immediately activated my guardian which I had on permanent standby. Its shadowy body swiftly darted towards one of the scattered devils, closing the gap of a hundred meters in what felt like a split second. The Shadow Demon Guardian easily knocked it unconscious. Flapping its shadowy wings, it promptly sped off towards another fleeing imp.
Just like that, the five imps were secured within the short span of two minutes. With its immeasurably lightweight body, being weightless and all, and its ability to fly, those five lowly devils never stood a chance.
As for Mo Na, her side was sorted out quickly too. With the power of the Gem of Authority, there was no way it would take her more than two minutes to settle one golem, even if she was intent on toying with it.
Without waiting for her to bring that golem back to me, I had my Shadow Demon Guardian drag the five imps to me.
TL: If anyone is interested in this novel, feel free to just start translating it. I’m unable to copy the raws so you would have to purchase them yourself. They accept PayPal.