164 . REWARDS AND EVOLUTION III
Well then, let us now get to Adalman’s team, the last of the Labyrinth group .
Adalman had large reserves of magic, but was weak against melee combat .
However, he was a genius who could use Holy-Demonic Reversal .
It was strange how he was so smart, considering he was missing a brain .
It was a power involving Mathematical Circuits imbued onto the soul .
Furthermore, wielding special Skills like ‘Perfect Memory’ and ‘Soul Think’, his existence came close to that of a Spiritual Form .
All ordinary physical attacks were nullified, and only Legendary-tier and above weapons could actually harm him .
It was similar to Hinata’s Spirit Armour, and against enemies donning Legendary-tier equipment, it did not provide much defence .
Albert had been pushed back by such enemies, so it was unreasonable to blame him .
His weapon being broken, compromising the vanguard, was one of the main reasons for their defeat .
“Having been defeated, I cannot possibly accept this reward…… . ”
Adalman stated in frustration .
No, he was worrying too much .
“Don’t say that . You’ve done well .
I’m saying this, so believe me won’t you?”
To begin with, I had not expected it, but Adalman had beaten Shinji’s team . (TN: When they came as spies . )
He had obviously developed far more than I had anticipated .
His fight up with Krishna, one of the Emperor’s Personal Guard, was just a bad match up .
So I had already pardoned him, and was going to start the Ascension Ritual but……
“Even still Rimuru-sama, I cannot forgive myself .
For me to ascend to the Demon Lordship same as your highness……
I would gladly take the opportunity to become one, when I have earned it!”
He resisted my offer thus .
It was true that the Labyrinth was our last line of defence, and its defensive strength it was important .
At this point, rather than trying to protect the current capital city of Tempest, it was optimal to transfer all the important facilities into deep inside the Labyrinth .
The capital itself would then work as a place to host international dignitaries, becoming in effect, a vacation town .
On that note, the Labyrinth also had its Ten Lords .
And there was no problem with leaving its defence to Demon Lord-class individuals like Zegion or Kumara .
The Labyrinth I had built as a playground had turned into a fortress all of a sudden .
I wanted Adalman to attain Demon Lordship, but I shouldn’t ignore his personal wishes .
“I understand .
But I will hold great expectations of you .
When there is another chance, be sure to prove the worth of those expectations!”
“Of course! Your highness will surely observe my worth with your own eyes!!”
“Yes . I shall remember those words of yours .
So leaving aside your ascension to Demon Lord……
From today onwards, I bestow you with the title ‘Gehenna Lord’ .
You shall work hard so as to live up to that name!”
“As you desire your highness!!”
Fu~ . (TN: *breathes out*)
Speaking with all this dignity really tires you out .
Anyway, Adalman was now also considered among my strongest subordinates, having received a ‘-Lord’ title .
From now on, his authority would increase . That is, if he was willing exercise that privilege .
(TN: Warning, character switching like crazy . )
Well then, Adalman wasn’t the only one who had been defeated .
Albert needed to get his get his broken equipment replaced .
He was able to use average weapons and armour with the skills of a master .
Were the Legendary-tier items taken from the Empire more suited to him?
-Was my train of thought .
Who would get to use the only God-tier set?
There was a reason why I didn’t give it to Gerudo .
His skills would be suited to Legendary-tier and advancing to God-tier would be a matter of time .
Skill wasn’t the only reason, but Gerudo probably wouldn’t be able to use the God-tier set to its full potential .
At a glance, Calgurio was not a weak man .
In fact, he even had Skills and was a decent fighter .
Even so, he never could bring out the potential of his God-tier set, and only used it as a high defense armour .
A God-tier armour chose its master .
I knew this sort of secret info after much analysis . (TN: via Raphael-sensei I guess . )
Demonic Steel maturing over many years transforms into God Steel, becoming a ‘Tsukumogami’(TN: a living tool, so to say . ), and attains God-tier power .
Equipment crafted from such metals would be extremely underpowered in the hands of the unskilled .
For a short-lived human, gaining a mastery required for such treasures would be but a distant dream .
But even becoming a ghost with an unlimited lifespan, he was a soul who had not lost his talents as a Holy Knight .
Possibly being even better than Hakurou at swordsmanship, was Albert really not worthy of such equipment?
After all, most of the candidates to evolve into Demon Lordship had no need of new armours as they could make them on their own .
For example, Demons like Diablo could make their own clothes through a type of materialization power .
It was a very strong, perhaps even Legendary-tier attire .
But those clothes were only meant to be insurance .
It was a backup if the force field they put up was to be broken .
Honestly, I considered granting the armour to Benimaru or Souei, but that decision might be better considered after they were evolved .
In the first place, ‘Nullify Physical Attacks’ would cause most armours to be useless .
Furthermore, with time, it may be possible to improve Legendary-tier to God-tier, so it was alright not to worry about their gear right now .
Shion’s Ōdachi, the ‘Improved • Hercules’ Edge’, had somehow even turned into a weapon of Legendary-tier destructive power .
Kurobee’s armours could be good candidates for evolution .
And there was also a matter of compatibility with the armour .
Anyway, Wisdom Lord Raphael-san had already determined Albert to be worthy .
In that case, Albert’s reward would be the God-tier armour confiscated from Calgurio .
It was a Full-plate Armour that came with a Long Sword and Kite Shield in a set .
“Albert, your sword skills are truly masterful .
Continue helping Adalman with those unwavering hands!”
Speaking thus, I handed Albert his reward .
Having to receive it directly from my hands left him shaking with tension . (TN: lolicon)
He worried way too much .
Recognizing the power of what he now held, Albert let out a voice of astonishment .
It was understandable .
These items were legacies from the age of gods, even their existence was debated .
For a knight, having permission to use them was the greatest honor .
“Can you make use of it?”
I won’t let him refuse .
Grasping the strength of my intensions,
“Yes sir! I will make the best use of it, to repay you for this honor!!”
Albert replied loudly .
In this way, I safely handed over the set to Albert, and he was easily recognized as the armour’s master .
But I had made one miscalculation .
The true power of the fully released God-tier armour was beyond my imagination .
Hey no one told me this! The analysis didn’t show this!!
Wisdom Lord Raphael, hmm? I finally understood the reason for my overreaction .
She knew didn’t she . (TN: I call Raphael-san a she because of certain spoilers . ) That was why she advocated for Albert and not Benimaru .
‘Turn a body of flesh into that of a Spirit Form for a certain amount of time’
That was the hidden power of God-tier armour .
A Spirit Form, in other words, a God-like Being .
Veldora was like that, and speaking of which, I was too .
I didn’t pay much attention, but it was certainly a state close to being immortal .
Eternal youth was guaranteed, along with a strong degree of immortality .
I couldn’t die unless there was a Core Break or Energy Roast successfully performed on me .
Although temporary, to be able to grant an existence of that scale, this armour was fearsome .
But for this reason, it was not suited to half-Spirit Forms like Benimaru, and even less for true Spirit Forms like Demons .
The armour had gone to where it belonged .
Now, that was all of the Ten Lords done with, but we shouldn’t forget Adalman’s pet dragon .
That’s right, the Death Dragon also did well .
I wonder what could be a good reward .
I walked past the 4 Dragon Kings (TN: The bosses of floors 96+) and arrived at Death Dragon’s feet .
Sensing my arrival, the Death Dragon bowed its head nervously .
Its fearsome appearance aside, it was pretty cute to be honest .
“I want to give you something too . It is a ‘name’ .
From today you are the ‘Gehennic Dragon King’ Wenti!”
I named it thus in front of everyone .
And a dramatic transformation resulted .
The 20m long beast shrunk in front of our eyes and transformed into a beauty garbed in black . (TN: ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°))
This time I wasn’t so surprised .
With monsters, anything was possible . Having experienced this so many times, I wouldn’t get worked up so easily .
I didn’t have any complaints this time, its only natural! This was my character now .
I am pretty cool, if I do say so myself .
“Ah, benevolent and cherished God!
To give my lowly self such a blessing, I am ecstatic!”
Ah, yeah .
By blessing she means name .
“Ohh, good for you, Death ―― I mean, Wenti!”
“Ah, master, God had not forgotten me ――”
“Indeed, this is also for our growth . ”
Such a nice master-pet love . (TN: ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°))
Yeah, good for them . I feel a bit like a third wheel .
Well, they seem happy, so it’s all good .
Actually, my power didn’t drain with this naming .
I had used 5000 souls for the process .
Wisdom Lord Raphael-san’s analyses has determined this to be possible, and conversion to Energy was possible with Gluttony King Beelzebub .
Clearly, there was a risk considering the amount of Energy possibly necessary to name an elite monster of Dragon-class .
I had named the Demon Dukes before using the Energy that Beelzebub had slowly accumulated .
It would be a problem if I went to Sleep Mode, from using up my internal stock .
The total amount of Energy had increased, and it was impossible to know how long it would take to recover if used up .
It was not ok to do get drained like that especially now that we were at war .
I had finally realized why the other Demon Lords didn’t go around naming their Devil class subordinates .
At the very least, it was imperative to stop naming things during a war period .
This time, using souls as an alternative, my burden was nil .
Much thanks to Wisdom Lord Raphael .
There were no problems since 9 of them had already ascended to Demon Lordship .
Getting a human form would be surprising, but a dragon changing to human was a well known cliché .
It was not surprising at all .
Anyway, with that, the commendations and rewards for the Labyrinth group had ended .
On a side note, the 4 Dragon Kings were under Ramiris’ command .
So they were excluded from my list, but actually, I had something for them too .
There was a total of 940,000 souls collected, and to revive 700,000 of the Imperial troops, around 10,000 were used .
Well, some of them seemed to require a very high amount of Spirit Energy so, the total cost was a bit higher than expected .
And then I tried to divide up the 930,000 remaining souls between me and Ramiris but,
“Yeah, I don’t have any way to use souls so no thanks, ‘kay?”
She told me .
So then, I resurrected Michelle and Raymond as her assistants .
It was not a partial revival, but a full-blown resurrection .
With their Nucleic Hearts intact, complete soul revival was possible, and they were still able to use their Skills .
I felt that that wasn’t enough to thank Ramiris, so I granted names to the 4 Dragon Kings in a similar way to Wenti .
After all, they were worked to the bone in recent events and even died a few times, rewarding them was a matter of course .
Dragons who were said to be potentially stronger than Arch Demons, but their natural evolution had limits .
With that in mind, I provided each with 5000 souls and had Ramiris name them .
I was again using souls as an alternate to Energy .
The results were splendid and the Dragon Kings had now become true ‘Dragon Kings’ .
‘Fire Hell Dragon King’ Zephyrus .
‘Ice Hell Dragon King’ Boreas .
‘Lightning Dragon King’ Notos .
‘Tremor Dragon King’ Euros
They were named according to the floors they governed .
I thought up the names, but had Ramiris do the actual naming .
They all attained beautiful humanoid forms .
Their evolution was a success, and they had gained a huge boost in Energy along with their human forms .
To be precise, it was only a humanoid form, and they hadn’t become Dragonoids like Milim .
Dragoniods were actually Spirit Forms who dwelled in flesh, so they were an Irregular existence .
Even if they were powerful Dragon Lords, as they were held in flesh, their power was lower than the ‘Dragons’, a true Spirit Form species .
The souls used for naming on this occasion was undeniably less than the amount needed to ascend to Demon Lordship .
But, their strength was said to be equivalent .
Demon Lords and Dragon Kings were inherently different, and more importantly, monsters weren’t bound by many forms of logic .
If you think too hard, you lose .
And so, the process of evolving the Dragon Kings to give thanks to Ramiris went along smoothly .
By the way, the Ten Lords of the Labyrinth were fairly equal in Energy, but there were large differences in actual fighting power .
So, the 4 Dragon Kings also had equal stores of Energy, but were weaker in fighting prowess .
This was mainly due to overall fighting experience; their levels were just lower .
They seemed to be fairly frustrated with being defeated multiple times recently, so the Dragons had decided to undergo training .
They had attained humanoid forms, and were also interested in combat styles in their new bodies .
Without relying solely on Elemental attacks or physical attacks using their fangs and talons, they would learn and incorporated Magic .
And by learning to fight as humanoids, they would later prove their might in battle .
This would work so well, that their new found strength would grow tremendously, but that was something I’d get to see a lot later .
Now then, the only ones left are the triad of Demon Dukes .
what I should do, was the question .
Of the 930,000 souls, I had used up a majority on ascending some to Demon Lordship, and on naming some, and in the end the amount remaining was 210,000 .
I could ascend 2 more but……
Was it alright to evolve Carrera as Gerudo suggested?
If I did, then there was still Testa and Ul . Which one of them should I choose?
These 3 were almost equal to Diablo in strength in the first place .
In my view, Diablo was a step ahead, but originally their powers were equivalent .
Diablo had to first beat them, and then scout them as my subordinates, so he had to be stronger .
Therefore, wouldn’t there be a problem in creating a power misbalance among them?
Frankly, it was dangerous .
If they were not all treated equally, there would definitely be hurt feelings .
If it was just Carrera, I don’t think there would be any complaints, but making the strongest one of them even stronger seemed wrong .
Sort of like, uncontrollable power would lead to her own demise .
After all, if she hadn’t stopped her ―― Gravity Collapse ―― in the nick of time, the resulting mini-supernova tier blast would have decimated Gerudo’s troops along with all of the capital .
She was probably aware that she could stop it, but that choice of magic in that situation and place seemed like a red flag .
I decided to observe whether the ones who had already evolved could control their power before thinking of granting ascension to those girls .
On that note, as if reading my mind, Diablo would always take appropriate measures .
He was able to bring his new power fully under control, and was an all around dependable guy .
“Testarossa, Ultima, Carrera .
You 3 have worked well as Intelligence gatherers in the recent battles .
However, your ascension shall be granted at a more appropriate time .
I have considered Gerudo’s thoughts on evolving Carrera, but I believe that doing so now would be a premature action .
You may be dissatisfied, but please understand . ”
“Rimuru-sama, please do not lower you head! We have not the slightest reason to be dissatisfied!”
“Exactly . ” (TN: -desuwa)
“It is a non-issue . We are already very strong as it is . ”
The three denied any and all possibility of dissatisfaction .
They were indeed correct in saying that they possessed much strength .
And they were probably stronger than the evolved Gabil even at present .
There was no need to rush their development, or create needless bitterness .
Its probably better to handle these 3 together .
“I am glad to hear that .
I feel like we truly understand each other .
But I cannot let you go without any reward……
I will have you 3 be part of my executives .
‘Killer Lord’ Testarossa . (TN: Kira(Killer) like in Death Note . )
‘Pain Lord’ Ultima .
‘Menace Lord’ Carrera .
On this day, I bestow you with these titles .
You are still new to the country of Tempest, but I will entrust its future to you as my loyal confidants!”
“As you desire, my liege!!”
They lowered their heads in unison .
They seemed to like their titles .
With that, I now had 12 ‘-Lords’ under my wing .
They had been called ‘The Four Heavenly Kings’ or ‘The Ten Lords of the Labyrinth’, but my 12 lords would be known as ‘Rimuru’s Twelve Patrons’ .
Well, I’m not too finicky about the name, but it should give off a ‘strongest team’ feel .
At this point, Gobuta, being one of them became increasingly bizarre .
My power to reward people was actually quite fun .
As I gazed at the Patrons lined up in front of me, I bemused such thoughts .
With this, the Rewards and Evolution Ceremony had finally come to an end .
Perhaps influenced by today’s events, I would later be known as ‘Chaos Creator’ Rimuru .