Chapter 265, Negotiations
Immediately after confirming the presence of Shi’shichou, I spread out a curtain of my arcane energy over the whole area.
If my history is true, then the rest of them must be here on this battlefield.
Just like that Shi’shichou, staring at me from that cliff over there…!
“…! Found them!”
These arcane energy signatures are different from all I know — not Shi’shichou, not Weldhun, not the Apostles of Despair.
Their auras are neither evil nor righteous — they’re made up of pure pride.
One is hidden in the forest at the foot of a nearby cliff.
One is in the sky, flying higher than even Chappie.
One is around the mountain range to my right.
Okay, that’s all five of the Sacred Beasts accounted for… I guess.
Their power levels truly live up to their title.
…Do I have no choice but to call them over
With my arcane energy manipulation techniques, I could specifically provoke the Heavenly Beasts to come over here… but whether or not they will actually respond, I have no idea!
Dammit, standing around here won’t accomplish anything! I just gotta try!
“HNG–! ……Did that work”
The pulse of arcane energy rang sharply like a bell.
That must’ve reached them… Hmm
They’re… not moving.
Waiting to see what happens next, huh
“Yeah, yeah, playing hard to get! Typical! Well, I’ve got the perfect thing for cowards like you!”
I really DON’T want to do this.
But if I don’t get them to fight for our side, our formation will collapse sooner or later.
We ABSOLUTELY need their powers to ensure that we gain the advantage going forward.
Okay, aiming at the locations of the biggest reactions within my arcane energy curtain…
“–Fire Lance: Count 3!”
The spell split into three as soon as it was launched.
They flew away, and were supposed to reach their targets… but they didn’t.
They just suddenly disappeared.
Those were obviously shots fired at them beasts, after all.
Now they should be– Aha, there they are!
The earth started quaking, shook by something super heavy.
The adventurers and monsters in the area staggered.
There’s our first beast, now in front of Sodom’s south gate.
That’s right — one is already here.
It’s the gigantic tortoise with a jet black shell.
Even its body surface is black, and it has only a single blue, brightly shining eye.
Its thick legs trampled over monster after monster as it walked.
I see… so this is what Kokki the Black Tortoise looks like.
“…A mere youngling I expected someone more impressive.”
It shook the town’s southern walls just by speaking.
And here comes the second one.
To the east of Sodom’s south gate, a long, golden creature appeared from the sky, coiling around the towers.
And by long, I mean LONG.
Probably long enough to make a whole loop around the whole town of Sodom.
Its body surface is dazzling as if it was constantly radiating light, and its pressuring aura is starting to get to me.
Its eyes stand out quite a bit from its glowing body, what with them having long vertical-split pupils.
And it’s staring me down all the while.
This is Kohryu, the Yellow Dragon.
“I see now…”
Its voice sounds so… mystical.
And subtly hostile.
Is it angry because of what I just did, or has it always been that way
There’s the third and last beast.
If I had only a single word to describe this creature as it landed softly to my right, I would pick ‘majestic’.
Its body is gray, with white tiger stripes.
Its size is about the same as Pochi’s gigantified form.
That super hostile look in its golden eyes, though… I probably never would see Pochi doing that, even if I were to fight her.
Wait, no, maybe that’s happened that one time
If I remember correctly… when our endless cycle of revenge neared its breaking point, I ate all of her preserved foods.
Which broke the cycle, and a whole lot of other stuff.
Man, now I’m getting nostalgic.
She was raging AND crying at the same time.
What a flexible dog she is.
“He has the gall to grin in front of us.
I can tell that he’s not normal.”
Here’s Haiko the Ashen Tiger, its voice a strange echo.
And that thing about grinning… yeah, that’s just me chucking at a funny past incident.
It turned out to be helpful, though, so that’s fine.
The youngling’s arcane energy is… something he’s not supposed to have.”
“His energy is quite refined, enabling him to get the message across to us — that he’s picking a fight.”
“None of us had expected the attack, however… Mind explaining yourself, Wielder of a Thousand Tricks”
Kokki, Kohryu, and Haiko talked among one another to assess the situation, then posed their question.
From the looks of them, this era’s Shi’shichou might have fallen behind its peers.
All three of them are over level 200 — strong enough to take on Belial.
And that’s why I want their help.
Their powers’ help.
What I must do now is get them on our side… so that they’d get us out of this hopeless disadvantage.
I shouldn’t forget my MAIN work!
“Rise, A-rise, All Up: Count 10 & Remote Control! Rise, High Cure Adjust: Count 10 & Remote Control!”
I cast some support spells for my allies.
The effects had been applied to all adventurers, of course, but if I were to buff them all up at the same time, they would wear off at the same time as well — and I wouldn’t want that to happen in a critical moment.
So to avoid that, I cast the spells for different groups at regular intervals.
…And now that the Heavenly Beasts saw where those spells were going, they turned back to me and resumed their glaring.
Could this be the first-ever time in history when a human got stared down by three Heavenly Beasts
Oh, wait, Shi’shichou is watching from over that way, too.
That makes four.
Man, this is giving me stage fright…
“Quite a busy job you have, isn’t it, youngling”
“Think of what will happen next — Simply hold on to your sanity then, and you will be deserving of praise.”
Kokki and Kohryu commented.
What will happen next… huh.
So they know.
Despite them doubting it, they know by instinct what they’re in for — and that helping me out is mandatory.
But exactly because of that, they’re trying to get a read on me.
Whether that stemmed from their solitary nature as Heavenly Beasts, or just plain old survival instincts, they’re not about to just get friendly.
“As violent as he was, the idea of calling us here — and even forcing us over, was the correct choice, for the most part.
Our arrival has caused the monster army to falter, and gave the humans a boost of morale.
Or… perhaps it is just HIM that got more violent”
Haiko briefly looked to its south.
Oh, so it was talking about the hot-blooded Rostbraten– I mean, Weldhun the Crimson King Ox.
Makes sense that every one of them would know one another, considering how there are very few creatures who would live as long as they do.
And I can tell just by standing in front of them — Weldhun from last year wouldn’t stand a chance against these three.
All five of them are on about the same power level now, though… Aha, I see, I see.
This does give me some interesting insights into Weldhun’s past.
“There he goes, chuckling again…”
“Youngling, you have not spoken a word for a few minutes now… You aren’t too intimidated by us, are you”
First of all, negotiations… right
“…Please help us out.”
“Oh, talking big when you’re at a clear disadvantage Are you sure you’d like to go that route”
Haiko said, sounding quite condescending.
Still, I DO think it’s better to talk big here.
I mean, they’re Heavenly Beasts.
They knew from the moment they were born that they’re in a much higher position than humans.
That’s why I have to double down.
Same eye level, same importance — gotta try to be their equals.
“If we lose, all of you won’t have anywhere to live, too.
This is humanity’s last stand — now is our only chance.
I know our interests are aligned here.”
“It does NOT change the fact that the negotiations at play are overwhelmingly in your favor.
What do you think”
Kohryu turned to Kokki.
“I understand very well what the youngling means.
After all, I did not waste my long life idling around.
HOWEVER, I am quite sure that I can protect myself — if only myself.
The world is far from small.
Saying I would not have anywhere to live is… quite an exaggeration, don’t you think Are you underestimating us”
“Bah, I’ll say it straight out now! You all aren’t taking the Devil King seriously enough!”
“There’s no way you didn’t notice Devil King Lucifer’s escalating strength, from his fetal stage to the resurrection.
The battle between us and him is an inevitability.
Isn’t that why you all have come here, to this battlefield! Okay, fine, let’s just say you’re here just to see how it goes.
But since Lucifer hasn’t completed his resurrection just yet, now’s our chance to strike at his army! Do you really think you can stay safe from him once he’s at full power!”
Kokki and Kohryu fell silent.
No rebuttal, but no progress, either.
There are other reasons that the Heavenly Beasts came here.
But if I were to say them out loud, they’d probably leave.
I gotta find some way, any way, to provoke them to keep talking!
Just as I started thinking, Haiko suddenly let out a hearty laugh.
“You actually can run your mouth, Wielder of a Thousand Tricks.
You have heart, passion — all that is emotionally influential.
But it will not work on us.”
I knew it.
“Survival of the fittest has always been the rule we lived by — the way of the world since ancient times.
Forget winning us over by mere words; even your single, little body isn’t about to make us listen.”
I knew it!
“As Haiko says, youngling.
Unless you have the strength to back your words up, you won’t convince anyone.”
“Simply put, you are… not quite worthy.”
“I already know that!”
I’ve always known why the Heavenly Beasts are actually here.
I’ve always known why they wouldn’t keep talking the actual talk.
Everyone — all of us and them — everyone has their doubts.
Sure, they’re the five Sacred Beasts — sure, they’ve got their solitary nature — but they’re sapient creatures.
They’re all scared of the Devil King.
Unlike other beasts, they aren’t able to run him.
The Heavenly Beasts’ unusual egos have created a strange place for them in the world, causing them to prevent themselves from ever escaping from anything.
For them to cooperate, I must deal a shattering blow to their egos.
BUT I can’t say that out loud.
Because they’re Heavenly Beasts — the proudest of beasts I’ve ever known.
“I know! I know that all too well! That’s why I’m begging you all here! Help us out, damn it! Please!”
“…What are you even on about, youngling”
Kokki seemed confused, while Kohryu looked at me, seeming to have understood.
“Begging us for help, he says…”
“No, look at his eyes.
What that look and his ‘damn it’ say is much different from ‘please.’ You lured us into this battlefield to leverage your side of the negotiations, didn’t you, youngling”
“Look, I’m just making use of the tricks I learned from my Familiar.
She invokes ‘survival of the fittest’ so hard, she’d always steal MY food as well!”
Kokki and Kohryu chuckled and started releasing their arcane energy.
Haiko, who had been silently glaring at me while standing to my right, uttered a few words,
“…What a fool you are.”
And then it grinned.
“Good God, you’re scary.”