With a swipe of her left claw, she picked up the little puppy and brought her up to her nose for a quick sniff: “sniff sniff…Abbadon hellhound…sniff sniff…Gehenna demonic wolf…sniff sniff…so you’re a mutt.”
She casually threw that out with a smile on her face.
The anger overtook her reason as Violet Snow opened her jaws and spat out a ice ball, not even caring that she was currently trapped in the palms of her opponent. Clearly, the word “mutt” was a taboo word to her.
Due to her close proximity, the ice ball hit the werewolf’s face upon leaving her mouth, freezing the werewolf’s face in a layer of ice. The werewolf’s claws immediately tightened upon being attacked, crushing her petite frame.
Wait, weren’t we having a peaceful conversation just a while ago?
Upon seeing that things had fallen apart, I immediately tried to attack her but due to my lack of close ranged abilities, all I could think of was to toss the grimoire at her, turning it into a makeshift meteor hammer. The grimoire curved in an arc, slicing through the air and landing coincidentally on the frozen layer, shattering it in an instant.
“Isn’t this enough.” She tightened her left hand, forcing out a cry of pain from the puppy trapped within, the shock from the grimoire smash clearly not affecting her. Without even checking if the puppy was alive or not, she tossed her back to me as a way of ending this matter.
Just as I withdrew my grimoire, I caught sight of a fluffy ball of white fur flying towards me. I extended both my hands and caught it squarely in the palms of my hands, as I looked down, I discovered the identity of this fur ball. Isn’t this Princess Snow?
“Hey, are you alright?”
I gave her a shake with my hands, trying to rouse her. As if in response to the stimulus, her eyelids immediately twitched and slowly opened up. In a weak almost whisper-like voice, she said: “Mostly…”
You actually dared to beat up such an adorable puppy, are you even human?! I gave a pointed stare and shouted back at her, dissatisfaction clearly written on my face: “Don’t tell me you’re just here to humiliate us?”
“I’m not as free as you think I am.” The werewolf ended the conversation with a simple reply, not intending to waste anymore time as she got down to business: “I wish to borrow your subordinates.”
If she was knife right now, I would be the fish on the chopping board. Borrow? I bet it’s the kind of borrowing that doesn’t have a return date.
“You sure make it sound nice. Rather than borrowing, why don’t you just say snatching.” Towards this female werewolf, I had only one word for her, hypocrite.
My anger rose once more, not only did she bully Violet Snow, she had the gall to try and “borrow” my men.
“What if I don’t lend them to you?” I replied in a challenging tone.
“Killing you would make them submit to me anyway.” Even though she said that, her eyes weren’t focused on my men at all but instead darted to the weapons they wielded.
It was at this moment that Violet Snow finally recovered enough to speak. As she stood atop my palms, she stared at her attacker head-on and said in her usual deadpan voice: “You’re after those crafted equipment aren’t you?”
“Yes, I won’t deny that. However, it’s not because we covet them; demonic werewolves dislike relying on external aids like these, instead we put more faith in our own claws.” As she said this, she flashed out her own razor sharp claws as if to show off the strength of her innate weapon. At the same time, it was a veiled threat at us.
“Demonic werewolves do not use these…hindrances as they will lower our combat effectiveness instead. My true aim is for you guys to help defend against the attacks of the medusas. Those lowly creatures are truly an annoyance with their long ranged attacks.”
“If we agree to help you, what would we get in return?”
While her immense strength terrified me, this was also an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. As long as I’m able to get them on our side, attacking the Prison’s exit would be much easier. In fact, her immense strength makes it that much better for me.
“If you obey our orders well in the coming battle, I’ll promise not to kill you all and will even provide food.”
…as if I couldn’t hunt for food with an army of my own. A few patrols of undead is all it takes to fill our bellies and besides, food isn’t what I’m after.
“All these aren’t the main issues, I would like to ask you a question.”
“Do you all wish to leave the Prison of the Dead?”
Even though she’s a werewolf, it seems her ears aren’t working too well and so I had to repeat myself once more: “Prison of the Dead, in other words, this maze, do you wish to leave this place?”
The moment she heard me say this, her initial reaction was even more exaggerated than Violet Snow’s. She continuously shook her head and stared at me as if she was looking at an idiot.
“Impossible! With your current level of strength, there’s no way you can leave this place. Unless you guys can evolve into four-stars, there’s no other way you can leave this place.”
“Four-star? That will take a long time and I can’t afford to wait that long. I must leave now!”
“Honestly, I wish to leave this place as well but I just can’t leave my kinsman alone. Unless I can bring them along with me, there’s no way I’m leaving this place. However, the guards at the exit do not allow for lower level creatures to leave. With their overwhelming power, there’s no way for us to resist their commands either.”
She said with a sympathetic tone. However, that sympathy only lasted a moment before it took a more oppressive tone. “If you can’t alter your terms, then there’s no choice. I just have to say sorry to you.”
Heading back to the western human realms is my ultimate goal. If I’m unable to do so in the short term…don’t tell me I have to wait up to ten over years? Do I really have to wait till Nicole’s kids are old enough to listen in before I’m able to see her? Don’t f*** with me! There’s no way I’ll allow that to happen!
In the face of this principal question, I had no intention of backing down as I rebutted: “In that case, I’m sorry as well. Helping us leave is my bottom line. If this isn’t a part of the terms, there’s no way I’ll help you. Perhaps you might be able to kill me but once I die, you will never get what you wish for.”
Having said that, I was fully ready for the firestorm ahead.
Violet Snow threw me a strange look as she took in my words. She definitely didn’t expect me to be so stubborn about this matter. To her, rising to four-star was only a matter of time, there was really no need to risk our lives for this matter. However, the issue still remained for me, exactly how long will that take?
Regarding this matter, I had done some calculations in the past. For some unknown reason, my levelling speed was slower than a normal devil by more than a hundredfold.
In our past battles, all the souls were handed over to me and so just taking into account the time it took for me to rise from zero to one-star, I’ve consumed at least a thousand souls of similar level.
Just as a comparison, that amount is enough to evolve a normal devil from zero to two-star.
“You have no say in this matter, if you really wish to hold onto this term to the bitter end, I can grant your wish right now.” She reached out and gave my neck a warning grip before continuing with a smile on her lips that didn’t feel like one, “Don’t think that we will lose to the medusas just because you chose not to help us…”
Hmph, scare tactics are useless against me, there’s no way I’ll change this condition, not even if you kill me! Each time I think about Nicole cozying up with Sares, a dagger was driven right into my heart.
Who gave you the right to snatch Nicole away from me! What have I done to deserve this punishment! Is it really so hard to see her one more time!? No matter what, I must return…right now, I am a dead pig that isn’t afraid of hot water. (nothing to lose)
“Habona, you need to be more courteous with our guests.” An old wizened voice echoed from the werewolf’s back. Unbeknownst to us, a weather-beaten old wolf had begun approaching us from a distance. His back was hunched, his fur slightly ruffled. The senior werewolf was significantly shorter than her, coming in at roughly 2.5meters.
The silver furred werewolf turned around with a slightly startled look on her face. Upon discovering that it was that wizened old werewolf, she exclaimed in an astonished tone: “Grandpa! What are you doing here? I can handle things here, that side requires your attention more.”
“I’ve already settled that matter for today, I’m just here to check up on the situation.” The old werewolf slowly walked up to us and with a gaze, signalled for the silver furred werewolf to loosen her grip on me.
He turned to me with a wide amiable grin on his face as he evaluated me. Unfortunately for him, what might’ve been a friendly smile merely made him look like a strange beast in my eyes. Instead of reassuring me, it instead made me more nervous.
“While we were the ones who attacked first, your timing was extremely unfortunate. Since both sides have suffered some losses, let’s put aside this matter for now.”
While I wasn’t happy about him trying to suppress that matter, it was also a fact that I couldn’t beat them so getting angry wasn’t going to help either.
Upon noticing my silence, the old werewolf must’ve guessed that I was still silently angry and so he continued: “I heard that you wish to leave the Prison of the Dead?”
“Who doesn’t wish to leave this damned place?” Seeing that the discussion had taken a turn in my favor, I knew that I had carry on this train of conversation.
“Truth be told, it’s not that we aren’t willing to help but it’s that the guards are simply too strong. Except for the four-stars, there are very few creatures who are able to leave this place.”
The old werewolf then sighed: “If we were able to leave this prison so easily, why would we stinge on providing this aid?”
“…” The old werewolf’s sincerity was extremely clear to me. Naturally, I knew of this as well. After all, who would choose to suffer in this place if they had the option to leave.
Seeing me ponder, the old werewolf knew that I had taken the bait and so with a slight smile, asked me: “If, we are willing to help, what do you plan on doing?”
“You’re willing to help us?”
The old werewolf didn’t agree to this immediately but merely threw out a non-committal response: “First, you have to tell me your plans, assuming you have one.”
“I do, definitely…we had just recently climbed up from the Blood Sea…” I gave him a brief summary of our story up till now as well as my future plans. My goal was to create a large army while searching for the exit. Once we had done so, we would scout out their strength while accumulating our own and then push through the exit in one go.
The old werewolf remained silent after hearing my plans. He looked at me, then at Violet Snow and finally the half-orcs, all the while not saying a word.
Instead, it was the silver furred werewolf who spoke up. She had remained silent ever since the old werewolf showed up but upon hearing my plan, she felt the need to cut in once more.
In a disdainful tone, she said: “You actually think that you can lead the various races? Little weakling, don’t kid yourself, who would agree to having a weakling as their leader?”
“Whether or not I can accomplish that is one matter, attempting to do it is another matter. If you don’t even try, you will never succeed.” Even though, my various attempts at hard work had ended in failure on Earth, this didn’t mean that I would give up here as well. No matter what, I won’t lose the courage to work, to move forward!
What kind of person am I if I were to give up right after encountering adversity? No matter the task, even if I had to break my back while doing so, I still wanted an outcome. Even if that outcome is a bad one, I will still accept it.
If I didn’t even have this basic realization, then what’s the point of me reincarnating? I might as well just kill myself!
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