Alright, the dungeon’s defense preparations have started.
Even so, the tasks are pretty much the same as usual, just more of them.
Mass-producing golems and increasing the number of traps in the middle layers.
Of course, with more power. I’m pouring magic into them without holding back.
As for the top floor, it’s staying the same.
The real deal is the middle layer of the dungeon. It’s key for defense, and I’m boosting its strength.
If this layer is breached, only the deep layer remains.
Naturally, I’m placing powerful golems in the deep layer too.
The new golems I’ve been working on are also positioned there. I’m hoping they won’t have to make their debut.
I asked Gijie to create all the traps and golems Elibel, and everyone else could think of and place them in the middle layer. It took a decent chunk of magic, but that’s no problem. I’ll recover after a good sleep. My body’s built that way. Seems like the usual me didn’t realize that.
Next, I head to Elibel’s lab.
She bombarded me with questions about the current situation.
Of course, I told her everything honestly.
The current me and the usual me are both the same Earth, and I have no intentions of doing anything to the usual me. I explained that clearly.
By the way, in all the battles and during the times in the capital, it felt like the usual me and I were sharing control half-and-half.
We share memories, and there’s no thought of forcibly excluding one of us.
When I explain this, Elibel looks really conflicted.
She doesn’t know how to react to how different I am now.
Well, I can’t deny that the usual me is a bit clueless.
She asked why I decided to come forward this time.
『Because it was necessary.』
This situation is too much for the usual me. Even being halfway out is tough.
It’s clumsy if I’m not the one out all the time.
…The usual me is too soft. That’s all.
After this is over, I’ll retreat again, and the usual me will return.
When I tell her this, Elibel seems relieved.
The usual me is pretty well thought of by everyone.
He could stand to be a bit more aware of that.
Well, considering where he started, it’s understandable.
And I can’t really talk. After all, I’m just what’s left over.
I also asked Elibel about the progress on the task I had previously requested.
Apparently, she’s managed to complete two of them.
That’s more than enough.
The repair status of the Earth Dragon model is also going well.
It’ll be operational in a few days.
I also suggested a few ideas I had for the Earth Dragon model.
I want to strengthen it a bit more.
Looks like we’ll be ready in time.
Then we discussed how the Demon Army might attack and talked about various countermeasures before leaving the lab.
Probably, Elibel’s strategy is the right one. It’s the most likely.
The situation kicked into gear the next day.
Agil appeared in the Holy City.
Watching from the surveillance room, there’s a figure of a small boy floating in the sky, with Spenta, the first division leader, by his side.
…Same old, same old.
After declaring something, Agil launched an attack on the Holy Land and the Holy City.
Huge fireballs shot out from a massive magical circle.
―――Soul King-class fire element magic.
The peak of magic, only reached by humans like Elibel.
It seemed like he intended to burn down both the Holy City and the Holy Land.
But it didn’t happen.
No, it went as expected.
The Holy City and the Holy Land were unscathed, shielded by a massive barrier.
It was the Holy Dragon Harsha’s unique technique, “Holy Barrier,” that had activated.
Concluding that it was impossible to continue the attack, Agil and his forces vanished using teleportation.
Well, they probably never planned to settle things here in the first place.
The attack was merely to force Harsha to use the “Holy Barrier.”
And now, it’s certain the Demon Army will come for our dungeon.
We need to hurry with the preparations.
The next day, Elja returned from the Holy Land with her followers in tow.
She had gone back to the Holy Land after that meeting for a reason: to bolster our forces.
「I’ve brought everyone who can be mobilized from the Holy Land, Master Earth. Please use them for the dungeon’s defense.」
The arrivals included Pororo, one of the four Holy Dragons, and her eight Luminous Dragon followers, which are a subspecies of the Holy Dragons.
Their average strength is around that of King-class.
Pororo looked a bit sheepish, but he was serious about contributing to the defense.
Just in case, I had Elibel and Ann check for any brainwashing or spies.
The results were clear. No problems there.
Plus, they were all too intimidated by Ann’s murderous aura.
So, they’re just ordinary Holy Dragons.
Huh? What’s “ordinary” again…?
I heard the barrier’s interior is in quite a turmoil. According to Una and her sources, even the Holy City is in a bit of a panic. Well, of course, if a Demon King suddenly shows up and attacks, that’s bound to happen.
The clergy of the Holy God are trying to calm the citizens’ confusion. But that’s not going to affect the big picture. That’s something for Harsha and the remaining Holy Dragons to deal with, not us.
The same degraded version of the Sacred Sword Leviathan I made for Ann before.
The usual me made these as a hobby, and now I’m passing them out to the queen species, Ann’s daughters.
This should boost their inherent abilities.
And the antlings have increased to the point of overflowing the dungeon.
I can’t make weapons for all the worker ants, but I managed to distribute them to the main.
This should significantly increase our combat power.
But, the usual me…
Making weapons and then letting them rot without use, what was he thinking…?
Despite having a considerable stockpile, he left them piled up like it was a clearance sale.
I shudder anew at the thought of the usual me.
And then, the next day.
There was movement within the Hà Giang Empire as well.
It was information from the rat-type golem homunculi hiding in the imperial capital.
Apparently, someone had tried to assassinate the Emperor.
Moreover, the magical sword he owned was stolen.
The culprit is unknown.
The upper echelons seem desperate to keep it hushed.
I can guess who the culprit might be.
Demons—more precisely, someone like Harlot from the third division, skilled in infiltration and assassination.
She can easily disguise herself as a human and has considerable personal strength.
The failure suggests the Emperor was just that strong.
Or maybe not.
Perhaps it’s the stolen magical sword that was the real target.
After all, that sword, Gram, has Elibel’s “Dungeon Destruction Spell” built into it.
There’s already counter-magic set up in the middle layer against the “Dungeon Destruction Spell,” but it doesn’t hurt to be cautious.
Moreover, there’s one more dungeon-destroying weapon out there, whose whereabouts are unknown.
Considering the possibilities, it’s best to assume it’s in their hands and act accordingly.
I’ll pass this on to Elibel and Gijie.
They got moving right away.
Now, what else should be done?
Perhaps I should select a candidate for that thing Elibel made, just in case.
Who would be a good choice…?
As we strengthen the dungeon’s defenses, I also keep an eye on the surface world’s movements.
It seems that monster activity is increasing, especially in the Hà Giang Empire, the Magic City, and the Borhelic Kingdomm.
In these three nations, monster appearances have become more frequent.
The reason is clear.
It’s Agil’s doing.
He’s probably releasing monsters onto the surface—those he can afford to lose as part of his forces.
His dungeon lies across the sea, on the neighboring continent.
He must have set up a teleportation gate somewhere, using it to funnel monsters onto the surface.
This is likely to prevent any unwanted human interference.
For us, it’s an ideal situation.
I’d rather not have power players like those damned dragon slayer or strong adventurers like Beldi interfering.
If they’re preoccupied on the surface, all the better for us.
So, I’ll leave the surface be.
I’ll keep it to the bare minimum surveillance.
It would be nice to locate their teleportation gate, but that’s probably asking too much.
There are likely multiple entrances and too many monsters to pinpoint their origin.
Finding even one would be a stroke of luck.
And speaking of the surface, there’s the matter of the Eld Desert.
Once again, we’ve managed to secure cooperation from the White Wyvern and Accurate Crow.
However, it’s agreed they will only deal with the demons and monsters that appear on the surface, and leave the dungeon for us to handle.
That’s probably for the best.
We each exterminate any invaders in our respective domains.
It’s better than clumsy coordination.
Still, since we’re the ones asking for help, I’ve given them magic stones and food supplies.
Heleb was like, “I don’t need your charity!” but it seems he was persuaded to accept by the others. We’re used to such high-purity magic stones, but they’re rare otherwise. By the way, Ann was always specified for the handover of magic stones and food. Yeah, those two are pretty close, all things considered.
As for Gwyve, he’s currently recuperating.
He’s in a deep slumber, protected within a barrier set by his followers.
Well, he was almost reduced to a head in the imperial capital, so it’s understandable.
I wanted to ask him a few things, but that’ll have to wait for another time.
Alright, that seems to be about it for now.
What else is there?
Let’s make sure we’ve done everything we can…
And then, five days later.
It finally happened.
『Emergency alert! Emergency alert! Intruders detected in the outer layer of the dungeon! Magic patterns identify them as demons! I repeat! Intruders detected in the outer layer of the dungeon!』
Gijie’s announcement echoes through the deep layers.
Looks like they’ve arrived.
So, it’s time for war.
Let’s go without letting our guard down.
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