The Final Hurdle
(Core No. 564’s Point of View)
Incomprehensible, incomprehensible, incomprehensible…! This is absolutely impossible! — is effectively what Core No. 564 shouted.
His prided [Gate of Wisdom] (Question Number 52) was solved through the use of a mere two squirrels that wound up dying to his pitfall trap of needle hell. Similarly stressing and incomprehensible events had happened with the Four Kings as well.
[Tonde the Joyful]. An Evil Minotaur that mimicked a black minotaur and would only show its true colors when delighting himself on weak enemies. A demonic bovine that gleefully mowed down his enemies with his herculean strength. However, soon after making his appearance, his throat was stuffed full of squirrels before he’d had a chance to shed his disguise and display his strength.
[Hinille the Wrathful]. A Berserk Ghost that could pass through walls, never allowing an invader to escape. However, she allowed herself to grow too angered by the squirrels and chased them out of the Boss Room, leaving it vacant.
[Natsuno the Sorrowful]. A High Succubus that would sew internal discord by charming half of a party’s members. She would cause the charmed adventurers to come back to themselves and see the aftermath they had wrought, having them feel sorrow. She straight out refused to fight and revolted.
And then there was the last bastion of the Four Kings, [Mushi of Comfort]. A Demonic Vampire that held the strength of both a demon and a vampire and should easily defeat any opponent with his special ability.
However, although he was able to avoid that blasted squirrel asphyxiation by splitting into a swarm of bats, he’d been immediately overtaken by the swarm of squirrels. Bats that had been captured apart from each other could not be merged back together. Although he would be able to split into bats, it was just a swarm of ordinary bats, ones that held none of his vampiric or demonic advantages. He would surely die soon…
“Dammit! Each and every one of them, done in by squirrels… worthless…!”
How had these small fry managed to do this just by using large numbers?
Even if it was a swarm of squirrels, they shouldn’t have lost. That much was obvious. That’s what should have happened.
“Now that it’s come to this, there’s no choice but for My Glorious Self to do it personally…!”
Core No. 564 stood up powerfully.
He’d originally placed his two Arch Demons aides in the Boss Room on the tenth floor.
They had been Greater Demons until recently before evolving from having DP invested into them.
They were strong enough to defeat any invaders that could somehow manage to defeat his Four Kings—
—but he couldn’t trust that, now that it had come to this.
My Glorious Self has no choice but to go out personally, he thought to himself.
“Careless, Reckless! You two will act as bodyguards as My Glorious Self intercepts these intruders as the boss!”
“” Sir…! “”
Calling out to the red Arch Demon, Careless, and the yellow Arch Demon, Reckless, Core No. 564 waited in the Boss Room.
Waiting a few minutes for Mushi to be killed, he knew that the ninth floor had been completed. More and more of those blasted squirrels were making their way into the tenth floor.
The brown fur of their tails were as fluffy as ever.
This seemingly adorable miniature army amounting to approximately sixty strong made its way to the Boss Room. At their number, it was as if a carpet was moving across the floor.
The two Arch Demons activated their magic at the same time. They were trap-like in nature, inflicting damage upon being touched.
Thanks to the timing he’d put in place beforehand, it blocked their path just as they were rushing into the room from the entrance. That alone managed to deal with twenty of the critters. The peculiar smell of burnt meat filled the boss room as Core No. 564’s mouth warped into a satisfied grin.
“Kuhahaha! Hope you enjoyed the welcome!”
Core No. 564 made his appearance from behind the two walls.
“You are mere rodents. You exist only to fall by My Glorious Self’s ingenuity… Now, die!”
“■■■■■, ■■■■■, ■■■■■■■■—[Fire Pillar]!”
“■■■■■, ■■■■■, ■■■■■■■■—[Thunder Pillar]!”
The Arch Demons each cast magic. Although the squirrels scattered in order to suppress their losses, the fire spread and the lightning arced, each killing the squirrels one by one.
“Haaahahahaha! You can do nothing! This is the true difference in power between us!”
Core No. 564 gloated.
It was true, after. Critters such as squirrels were naturally weak and were vastly inferior to him in strength.
It was already strange that the squirrel army had even managed to make it this far by relying on clever tricks.
“Now. Careless, Reckless, go. Invade them back!”
“” Sir! “”
Following that, Core No. 564 had the two Arch Demons move out in order to erase the disgrace he’d suffered. They would use a secret path to go directly to the outside. From there, they would use the gate.
A smile settling on his lips, he figured that there were few enough squirrels that he alone would suffice.
“… Seriously, I’m late for the dance party.”
Just then, he heard Core No. 666’s voice.
“Rokuko’s pace was too quick! She almost finished it all before I got a chance—right. The ones at fault are those weak bosses. I’m not blaming you, you know? It’s praise! Me giving praise is rare, so you should be feeling honored about now.”
She seemed to want to talk, apparently. Not that Core No. 564 was paying attention, though.
He didn’t like it.
As for what he didn’t like, that would be how she was ignoring him. She was managing to entirely disregard the thick killing intent broiling off of him, convercing with him as if it wasn’t even worth noticing.
“You seem confident, No. 666. Even though you must defeat My Glorious Self to advance.”
“Oh? If memory serves, I wasn’t the one to run away. That said, watching you have speak so proudly in front of those squirrels was incredibly amusing. You could make for a famous clown.”
Core No. 666 unsheathed her Doppelganger sword.
“Kukuku, for you to think you are suited to fight My Glorious Self… you will make for perfect decoration for My Glorious Self’s room once your arms and legs are chopped off!”
“Well then, I guess I’ll just have to strive to make this a good fight?”
—With that, the decisive battle began.
By the way, as for the Arch Demons, they’d gathered the Lesser Demons still left in the dungeon and casually guided them to their destination. The moment they’d turned up in the rabbits’ area, though, they’d apparently been knocked senseless by Wataru.