At the depths of the dungeon――――
「Well then, Ann and Tres, get ready. Be careful not to get caught up in the mess, or you’ll be in trouble, okay?」
「Lady Elibel, I will also go now.」
Ann and Tres, who had been healed by the magic stones, began to move to their designated positions.
Berg also received instructions from Elibel.
The three of them were in charge of on-site command and supporting Elibel on each floor.
I asked Ann and the others if they were okay since they had just recovered, but they replied as if it was not a problem.
They’re really amazing.
「Oh, Ann, Tres, make sure to think about the ‘matter we discussed’ as well, okay?」
「Yeah! We’ll do our best to think about it!」
Saying that, Ann and the rest went to the upper floor.
「What’s the matter?」
『Before they left, it seemed like the three you were having a lively conversation. What were you talking about?』
Before parting ways with Ann and the others, Elibel was talking with them, apart from me.
It was an exchange of thought transmission, but it looked quite intense.
The battle plan had been discussed in advance, so I wondered if there was something else they needed to convey.
She already introduced herself to Ann, so what were they talking about?
「Oh, about that? I’ll tell you everything after everything is done. Properly, where everyone is present. It’s not relevant now, so don’t think too much about it.」
『Oh, I see.』
I wonder what it could have been?
And now, only Elibel and I remained in the depths.
Well then, shall we begin?
With that thought in mind, I looked towards Elibel.
「Oh, right, Jiryuu. There’s something I want to ask you before we begin.」
『Hm, what is it?』
「Can you also give me a ‘name’?」
Why is she suddenly bringing this up?
If it’s about a name, you already have one, right?
Elibel understood my question and answered before I could speak.
「It’s not like it matters if you continue to call me Elibel as before, but bestowing a name is a formal ceremony to turn me into your subordinate. If we do that, there will be a proper magical corridor connecting between us. You will be able to supply me with magical power. Even for me, it’s difficult to give instructions to the others without formally becoming your subordinate.」
I see. That’s how it is.
『I understand. But is it alright?』
「What do you mean?」
『It may be a bit late to bring this up, but we’re monsters and you were originally a human, right? Why are you so cooperative with the monsters’ side?』
Even though I’m saying this, Elibel was originally a human too.
Yet, ever since her resurrection, she has been unusually cooperative with us.
Even if she was interested in us, as someone who was originally human, shouldn’t she have some resistance?
Although I usually sought Elibel’s advice and cooperation as an advisor, I never asked her to become my subordinate.
「Oh, that… it’s not a big reason, really…」
Then, Elibel scratched her hairless, pure white head.
And in a small voice, almost like the buzzing of a mosquito, she spoke.
「…I had a dream, you know. I had been dreaming it all the time, before I was resurrected. All the time when I couldn’t achieve immortality.」
When I repeated her words, Elibel suddenly looked at me as if she had just realized something.
「Yes… it was a wretched dream. I couldn’t wake up from it, and it made me feel awful. But then, suddenly, you appeared…」
At that moment, Elibel had a startled expression and looked at me.
「…Ah, forget what I just said. Anyway, hurry up and give me a name, won’t you? I can’t stand this damp, serious atmosphere! Come on, do it quickly, won’t you?」
『Y-Yeah. Then, once again… Nice to meet you, ‘Elibel’.』
「Yes, nice to meet you too, Nameless Earth Dragon.」
In the next instant, I felt a sensation as if a large amount of magical power was flowing from me.
It was proof that Elibel had officially become my subordinate.
…By the way, it seems that I usually thought of this phenomenon as a recoil from unfamiliar conversations with others…
That’s not true.
『Well then, let’s start the operation again! Is everyone ready!? Let’s begin the operation!』
Elibel sent the thought transmission.
There was an immediate response from everyone.
「Alright! Then, let’s begin!」
As for me, I just needed to consume magic stones until I was ready.
Elibel placed her hand on my head and gave instructions.
『Second floor, Ant Unit 2, retreat after three melds――
『Third and fourth units, move down to the first floor, Monkey and Snake, continue to lure the enemy units――
『Rats, continue advancing. Birds, once you advance another thirty melds, there’s a collapsed hole from which you can move to the upper floors――
『Yes, draw the knights closer without getting too close―――
『Rhino, keep charging forward. Lion and Knight Golems――――
『Those not involved in combat, begin moving immediately―――
『Along with the movement, provide support to the injured――――
It was simply astonishing.
Elibel was using multiple thought transmission simultaneously to give instructions to each floor.
『Berg! Don’t stop at that floor! Move up one more floor―――
『Pururu, focus on repairing the designated areas only, floors ten, twelve, and thirteen―――
『Ant Units 7 and 9, begin moving to the outer rim. Otherwise, you’ll get caught up―――
Honestly, I had underestimated the power of a sage.
It was incredible.
…Do they even need me for this?
The golems and ants, who had been at a disadvantage just moments ago, quickly turned the tide of battle under Elibel’s precise instructions.
Elibel received information from me about the map and the general positions of traps and knights from my subordinate on each floor. She instantly comprehended everything.
『It’s Ann! We’ve reached the middle layer, eighth floor! From here―――』
『It’s Tres! I’m moving together with Gonzo―――』
『Miss Elibel! It’s me. I’ve spotted new enemy presence near the crevice on the seventeenth floor―――』
『Puru-puru!』 (I’ve successfully caused the designated area to collapse, as instructed.)
Ann and the others join the front line one after another.
With the impressive performance of the golems, ant units, intentional collapses caused by traps and Pururu, the knights lose their way and are gradually gathered towards the center.
In no time, they have successfully guided the knights to the designated points.
『…Hey, Elibel. Honestly, if we continue to turn the tide like this, do we really need to use ‘that’?』
I couldn’t help but ask, even in the midst of giving instructions.
The reason being, the knights are moving exactly as Elibel wanted, as if it’s all a fascinating game.
It seems like we could win even without resorting to “that” if things continue like this.
「As I mentioned before, didn’t I? Certainly, we might be able to ‘repel’ them without using it. But ‘repelling’ alone is not enough. It’s not just about making them think they lost normally.」
『Ann, head to the surface―――
『Tres and Rhino, turn right at the next corner―――
『Berg, after confirming the number, lure them to the room with traps―――
Elibel uses telepathic communication to give instructions while having a verbal conversation with me, performing an extraordinary feat.
「What we need is not just to drive the enemy to a ‘simple defeat,’ but to corner them into an ‘incomprehensible situation.’ Otherwise, the enemy will quickly reorganize their units and come back again, speculating on their own, saying ‘If only we had done this’ or ‘We could have won if we had done that.’」
So, says Elibel.
「Not allowing the enemy to understand is the true victory for us. We have to lead them into a maze of thoughts, making them wonder, ‘What’s happening?’ ‘I don’t understand’ ‘How can we come up with countermeasures?’ We need to prevent them from attacking us directly. Otherwise, we won’t have enough time to buy after this battle is over.」
『Ant Units 9 and 13, stay on standby in your current position―――
『Golem Units on the 12th floor, move to the next floor―――”
『Tres, activate the traps―――
In other words, we have to thoroughly break the opponent’s spirit.
It also serves as post-battle cleanup.
『So, it leads to ‘Dungeon Destruction’ where we destroy everything, right?』
「Yes. And we want to involve as many knights as possible in it.」
That’s right, the strategy is quite simple.
We will use “Dungeon Destruction” to sweep away the enemies within the dungeon.
However, the psychological impact it will have on the enemy will be tremendous.
After all, most knights will be annihilated without even understanding what’s happening.
…This is essentially a mass slaughter. I hope I’ll be okay when I regain my sanity…
「Many knights and adventurers have gathered in the center… Everyone else has almost completed their movement to the outskirts. Well then, Jiryuu, it’s time for the finishing blow.」
The golems and ants within the dungeon have already evacuated to the outskirts.
Only the invading knights remain in the central area.
I focus my magical power in my mouth.
Come to think of it, it’s been a while since I used my full power for a breath attack.
No, it’s been a while since I used it at all, ever since I released my breath attack on the surface.
『Alright…. Here we go.』
I activate the power of the sacred sword.
Breath Enhancement… Magical Power Amplification… Attack Power Augmentation… and the bestowal of “Dungeon Destruction Ability.”
「I will handle the range and calculations. You just focus on unleashing the breath attack at full power.」
『Yes, I understand.』
「Then, let’s connect.」
Elibel once again places her hand on my head.
At the same time, an immense amount of information appears and flows through.
She concentrates on modifying the abilities of Dungeon Destruction.
『’Requesting connection to the magical corridor from subordinate Elibel… Completed’』
『’Modification of breath enhancement range… Adjusting… Adding… Adjusting…’』
『’Identifying areas of destruction by ‘Dungeon Destruction’ ability… Completed.’』
『’Adjusting operating time… Adding… Expanding the magical corridor from other subordinates… Adjusting… Adjusting…’』
Muttering to herself, Elibel’s thought transmission resonates in my mind.
The sensation of an immense flow of information coursing through my head.
If I weren’t under the drug influence right now, the amount of information would surely have driven me mad.
The ‘Dungeon Destruction’ ability is undoubtedly unfair, but it is difficult to determine the specifics of how the destruction occurs. In fact, it’s nearly impossible.
Under normal circumstances, that is.
However, Elibel intervenes in the ability through the hilt of the sacred sword, making precise adjustments to errors and the range of effect.
She performs “modifications to the ability” while ensuring that allies are not affected, yet maximizing the damage inflicted on the enemy.
The Sage is amazing.
『’Range fixed… Completed.’』
『’Intensity adjustment… Completed.’』
『’Identifying collision positions… Fixing… Completed.’』
『’Modifying damage areas… Completed.’』
『’Calculating damage from breath attack on allies… Zero.’』
『’Calculating damage to targets within the dungeon… Approximately 83%.’』
『’Additional modification… Adjusting collapse range due to destruction… Completed.’』
『’Adding additional damage to targets due to secondary effects… 12.2% additional adjustment.’』
And then, Elibel exhales deeply.
「Phew… Preparation… completed. Jiryuu…」
「—Unleash it with all your might!!」
I take a deep breath.
With a roar, I unleash the breath attack with all my might.
My magical power rapidly depletes within my body.
The released breath transforms into a swirling vortex of light that envelops the dungeon.
A deafening roar reverberates through the dungeon.
Simultaneously, a tremendous cloud of dust billows, obscuring my vision.
The breath attack, empowered by the “Dungeon Destruction” ability, bursts through the walls of the dungeon and reaches the surface with incredible force.
However, it remains suspended in place like a swirling vortex without ascending any further.
One could describe it as a vortex of light.
The “Dungeon Destruction” ability is literally effective only within dungeons.
The same applies to the breath attack.
The subsequent secondary damage is a different matter, but my breath attack itself does not possess the ability to harm the knights… at least, not under normal circumstances.
However, Elibel modified the ability, altering it to inflict damage not only through Dungeon Destruction but also through the original power of the breath attack.
My breath attack continues to wreak havoc, engulfing only the central part of the dungeon and the knights present there.
Simply put, it is an incredibly convenient breath attack that can be used exclusively within dungeons.
While the “Dungeon Destruction” ability cannot be used for another hundred years in its sacred sword state, as someone who has absorbed its power, I can reset its usage count and employ it in a completely pristine state.
A limited edition breath attack that can only be unleashed once every hundred years.
Savor it to your heart’s content.
The presence of magical energy from the knights in the central area gradually fades away.
I survey the floor and spot a mortar created by Tres.
…Perhaps I should take another taste of the white powder.
Not because it tasted good or for any such reason.
The intense battles, the mass slaughter caused by my breath, the destruction of my home, and the overwhelming stress are terrifying.
Although I can still maintain my composure for now…
Honestly, I’m scared of the backlash. I don’t want to go back to that state.
If I were to return, the mental overload might kill me, seriously.
I genuinely thought so.
And after a while, my vision finally cleared up.
My breath continued engulfing the dungeon and the knights for several minutes.
「Wow, it’s so bright.」
Above me, a massive sinkhole had formed.
Even though it was only in the central area, its diameter was likely several hundred meters or more.
I could clearly see two suns directly overhead.
It was dazzling.
『Report the situation from each floor… Yes… Yes, understood… Next…』
For a while, only Elibel’s voice responding echoed in the depths.
But the outcome was already evident.
The presence of the remaining knights gradually diminished, one after another.
There were a few survivors.
But they were most likely retreating scattered from the dungeon.
On the surface, there was undoubtedly a state of panic as well.
After all, from their perspective, a sudden vortex of light had appeared right before them.
『Ann, please confirm the situation on the surface regarding whether the military has retreated or not. I think it should be fine.』
After a while, a report came from Ann.
『Jiryuu-sama. It’s a report from the antlings. The enemy forces on the surface have also begun their retreat.』
『I see… That’s good to hear. Well done, Ann, and everyone, thank you.』
『N-No, it’s an unworthy statement! After leaving the monitoring antlings on the surface, I will make my way there.』
Signals were also sent from the others.
We managed to make it through.
I let out a deep sigh.
Elibel handed me a magic stone.
「You did well.」
The battle was over.