Extra Arc: The Legend of The Metal Slime’s Brides’ Strength Part 4
While suppressing her feelings of anxiety, she ran through the Demon Beast Forest.
Usually, Anastasia doesn’t exercise, but in this moment, she’s true to her title as a demon noble.
Although a majority of her combat ability relies on her unique petrification ability, her speed is out of the ordinary.
At a speed of 200-300 kilometers per hour, she darted through the forest while avoiding the trees.
Once she was out of the forest, she halted.
She looked downwards to see around two-hundred demon beasts.
As Anastasia had noted, the leading figure in the crowd of demons was a giant dog beast―a Cerberus that was moving ahead of her.
His body easily surpassed five meters and weighed a little over two tons.
Something on the scale of a small village would be trampled down in a flash. Aside from dragons, he belonged to the group of the most sinister of monsters.
“You…could it be…Cero-chan…?”
The Cerberus opened his large mouth and affectionately licked Anastasia’s cheeks.
He was a watchdog she raised as a child at the mansion in the distant past.
In the past, Anastasia and the Cerberus always spent time together. Even when sleeping at night, even when eating, and even when growing flowers.
However, he had suddenly vanished from the mansion one day. This was around the time when Anastasia started raising cats.
Yes, the Cerberus was severely frightened of the cats his owner looked after. Seeing Anastasia look after the cats he was frightened of, he made a sad expression, decided to step back, left the Demon Beast Forest, and chose the path to reign over thea king’s seat.
Originally, he was only meant to be a temporary escort for a young child who did not have any combat ability, so there was no regret in his decision.
However―Anastasia did not think the same.
She was a crybaby that moped very much about the disappearance of her beloved dog, and for several weeks, tears soaked her pillow.
And now, her tears formed once again in her eye over this reunion.
“Cero-chan? Is that you, Cero-chan? Back then…why did you…”
However, the Cerberus was not one who wanted to immerse himself in the delight of a reunion too much.
Initially, Anastasia was assigned as the general supervisor of the monsters within the vicinity. She was called the witch of the Demon Beast Forest for that reason.
The demon beasts were already acutely aware of the disorder in Anastasia’s heart.
And, in the front of the battlefield―they sensed their troops.
Their instincts told them that it was impossible to go against the leader of those troops.
That’s why they stood in this place.
“…Cero-chan? Could it be that…you want to…come with me?”
Towards Anastasia’s question, all the demon beasts responded with an earth-trembling roar.
“…Hmm…I’m just going to negotiate with Sartolyn…I’m not particularly going to fight…so sorry, okay?”
Like that, Anastasia darted through the crowd.
With the crowd in behind, when she broke into a sprint, she once again heard the cries of the Cerberus.
The Cerberus made a cry towards the sky while seeming sad.
―We did not obtain our power to be without compassion. If you later judge that we have no combat potential, we will stand down then.
“No, like I said, I…”
“*whine*” “*whine*” “*whine*”
The painful cries of demon beasts were heard everywhere.
“Uu…don’t make such a sad voice…”
Anastasia was trying to move away from them, but her legs wouldn’t budge.
“I get it! I’ll bring you along!”
Anastasia, and her love of animals, couldn’t go against their painful cries.
100 years prior.
At that time, Anastasia, aged at six in human years, stole her mother’s blindfold went outside for the first time.
She was not allowed to go outside at the time, so the mansion made up her entire world.
However, as a child brimming with curiosity, that world was far too cramped for her―and it was boring as well.
She felt a presence for the first time.
They were the demon beasts of the forest, along with the many strange plants.
Although she was traveling through this world with a blindfold, it was still a fresh world that made her heart leap.
As she was exploring the forest in whatever direction her heart told her to go, she witnessed the repulsive scene of blood and death for the first time since she was born.
In an open section of the forest, hundreds of humans crowded around, and in the center was a wounded Cerberus lying down.
He was a demon dog that was weak and showed no will to fight back, yet the relentless humans continued attacking him with spears and swords.
She had heard this afterwards, but adventurers had formed an alliance were dispatched to subjugate the king of the Demon Beast Forest.
According to Anastasia’s mother, the monsters in the Demon Beast Forest did not attack humans that come from human territory.
However, the humans had set out to subjugate the Cerberus.
The reason being that a Cerberus’ pelt and fangs were materials used for top-notch armor―and above all, killing a Cerberus gives weight to one’s name afterwards.
Anastasia did not know about that reason at the time, but the moment she saw the scene, she didn’t hesitate to rush over to the Cerberus.
“Wait, please wait…doing this, doing this kind of thing is cruel.”
“Who’s this brat…?”
“That’s a child medusa, isn’t it?”
The adventurers’ expressions grew stiff with the word ‘medusa’.
There’s no reason not to know the name of the true ruler who reigns in this forest.
They had talked about not incurring wrath of the witch as a safety measure in their subjugation plans upon forming their alliance.
“He’s just a child…bullying him like this is not good…please let him go…”
She forced herself between the Cerberus and adventurers, spreading her arms out.
“Hey, what do we do…?”
“That medusa’s parents would probably come out…”
The adventurers exchanged glances with each other while having downcast expressions.
At that moment, one of them muttered,
“I wonder how much we would get…if we sell materials from a medusa’s body…wouldn’t their eyeballs sell for an insanely high price?”
They had never heard about materials from a demon noble.
And in front of them was a little girl―they felt that they could kill her if they really wanted to.
“They’ve probably…got an astronomical price attached to them.”
“We could quickly finish her and run off before her parents come out…”
“Whoa wait, are you serious? No matter how you look at it, the risk is too high…”
“Even if we can’t estimate how much she’s worth, subjugating a demon noble would be a historical achievement. Everyone’s guild ranking would probably increase as well.”
“…Should we go for it?”
Starting with those words, a man at the forefront slashed at Anastasia’s left arm with a buster sword.
Even though it was a direct hit, due to the effects of the Spiritual Body skill, the wound was only at the degree of a light scratch.
However―there indeed was blood coming out from Anastasia’s skin.
“There’s blood coming out…we can really kill her―Kill! Kill her!”
Dozens of swords and spears attacked Anastasia one by one, carving countless small scratches onto her body.
While trembling, she huddled up on the spot like a turtle, showing no resistance.
If she took off the blindfold, she probably would have been able to escape this dilemma.
However, even as a young child, she knew the magnitude of what petrifying a living creature meant.
In addition, she was too underdeveloped in hand-to-hand combat, as she had no way to stop the adventurers without hurting them.
In the end, Anastasia’s mother had immediately arrive at the scene.
The moment her mother was able to inference what had happened, she had a sorrowful expression and intentionally petrified living beings for the first time.
The total―was 124 people.
Afterward, the Cerberus, who received medical treatment, became a watchdog and had a role as Anastasia’s guard and overseer.
Now back to the present.
It was night, and if one raised their head up into the sky, there would be stars shining.
There was the strong scent of greenery, as it was the end of summer, where the wind blew down grass and sent its fragrance under one’s nose.
In the middle of a meadow that spread across the horizon, Anastasia set up a fire and bed while demon beasts crowded around her.
Among them, she had used the belly of the curled-up Cerberus as a pillow, and while on the border of being half-asleep, she asked a question,
“Like I said, you all…seem to be misunderstanding. I’m not fighting anyone, okay?”
―Master. We know. We will just blow away our own enemies without causing a burden on you.
The Cerberus answered her using his eyes, which were brimming with a sense of duty.
“No…like I said…”
There, Anastasia reached the limits of her sleepiness and fell asleep.
The demon dog gazed at her hand.
They were almost imperceptible―but there were several scars visible from back then, defiling her soft and fair skin.
The Cerberus gently licked her cheek while she had the peaceful sleeping breaths of an angel, and slowly departed from her.
―The difference in power between master and I is too big. However…I do not want to remain useless.
The Cerberus ran about ten kilometers south to the top of a small hill.
Then, it turned towards the night sky and began to howl.
Here and there in the distance, there were faint howls in response to the call.
Right now, what he’s doing is quite simple.
As a Demon Beast King, he was calling for his comrades from all over the continent.
He does not know what his master is up against.
If it’s a fight between fellow demon nobles, then she will not have any combat power when fighting alone.
His master was doing something rash again, just like that time from back then. Yes, just like that time when she rescued him.
So, he went to call out with the best of his power.
While remembering Anastasia from when she was still young, he continued to call out furthermore.
She was kind all the time, she was lovely all the time, a bit of a clumsy girl too―he felt as if she was younger sister that had grown, and now, she was his true master.
―If I can’t be helpful alone, then I will gain strength in numbers.
No, I don’t want to be unhelpful.
We will―protect master as a meat shield if our opponent sends daggers. During that time back then―master took on the humans’ blades for me.
―The more I call, the less blades that will reach master. So I will keep howling. Up until my voice gets hoarse and my throat ceases to work.
And like that―the Cerberus kept calling with a do-or-die spirit until sunrise.
It was now the next morning.
With a drowsy look, Anastasia was speechless.
The scent of beasts filled the place. Furthermore, there were black animals for as far as they eye could see―or rather, they were demon beasts.
Their numbers, based on an eyeing it―were over 30,000.
As she rose from her bed, they made a roar that literally trembled the earth as if they had waited to do so.
“Wait, wait, what’s happening? Cero-chan?”
The Cerberus feebly sat and puffed out his chest, as if prideful about something.
“…Did you gather them here…?”
While dumbfounded, she made a look of amazement at the beasts that spread for as far as the eye can see.
“…At this rate if we arrive at the Lindahl Empire…it would look like we’re threatening the humans, wouldn’t it? That’s not good…”
The demon beasts continued to increase. The troops, who had come from all over the continent, amounted to 100,000 now.
It was now two days after the day where the outer walls of Lindahl’s capital city had been surrounded.
It seems the role of the stopper will have a most flashy entrance.