Deep underground, in a place where no natural light could reach, a man was swinging his pickaxe.
It was a dirty, shabby man, very suitable for such a dark place.
His tattered gray robe was covered with earth and dust, making him look all the more miserable. The hand lantern at his waist also looked quite aged and barely even illuminated his surroundings.
His whole body was covered with sweat, and he no longer had any strength left in his arms. And yet, he was still waving his pickaxe down as if he was possessed by something.
There was a sound as if his pickaxe hit something hard, and the wall of earth crumbled. The man’s eyes opened wide as he looked over there.
「Ah, master, so this is where you were!」
Lilu put her hands on her waist and raised her voice.
「What do you think you’re doing?! And what’s up with that getup?!」
When she waved her fingers at him, his tattered robe quickly changed into a more fitting attire.
「I just wanted to dig here with my own hands… Lilu, have you forgotten this place?」
Aur asked her, pointing at the room beyond the wall.
「There’s no way I could ever forget.」
Threading carefully, Lilu stepped into the room.
「You were the one who summoned me, after all.」
「Indeed I was.」
The man nodded to the woman’s question.
「So? What do you need me for? To suck the sperm of some poor fools? To bring eternal waking nightmares upon your enemies? Or perhaps you want me to give you a night of your life?」
「Let’s see… how about spending the rest of my life with you?」
Aur said while looking straight at Lilu, making her face bright red.
「Wha-! Aur, that’s not the answer I was hoping for! And more importantly… wait, what… geez, cut it out, not in a place like this!」
Aur reached his hands towards Lilu, who was wriggling her body and playing with her hair out of embarrassment.
Slowly, she took Aur’s hand.
「And just what might you be doing, flirting without a care in the world in a place like that?」
A voice sounded in the air and soon after Spina rose from the ground.
「It’s because we swore our eternal love to each other all those years ago!」
With a loud puff, Yunis appeared out of nowhere and clung onto Aur’s neck.
「That’s the first time I’ve ever heard of it. Anyway, the preparations above are ready, so can you please come with me, Aur?」
Spina grabbed Aur’s hand with a dissatisfied growl. For the past few years, her facial expressions became much livelier, up to the point where her face stopped looking like an emotionless mask.
The『Above』that she mentioned referred to what was outside the labyrinth: the city that up until a few years ago was known as Aur Town.
「Welcome, oh our one and only Demon Lord, it’s wonderful to see you again. The princesses are waiting for you.」
They were greeted by Keith, who stood above the town’s main gate, shouting pompous words of welcome which did not suit his character at all.
「Welcome! To Aur City!」
Indeed, the place has grown so much that you could hardly call it a town anymore. Since three years ago, when the development of the Dungeon Core was completed and the dungeon’s operations resumed, many adventurers gathered here, eventually creating such a city.
There is no treasure to be found here, and there are no more kings who would give money to Aur, but for them, the carcasses of monsters filled with immense magical power seemed to be enough of a treasure. After all, monster and adventurers were killing each other off for profit since time immemorial.
「Please, come and visit our shop next time, mister Demon Lord.」
Gnome waved her hand at him enthusiastically. She became the chief of staff at the Merchant’s Guild in town on behalf of Aur, and received 10 gold coins a week from him for her work. And she did a splendid work at that thanks to her ability, 『The Eyes of Truth』.
On their way up to the castle in the center of the city, a gigantic dragon flew down from the sky and landed in the square.
「Wolfe, try not to destroy the city, would you?」
「Silence, who do you think you’re talking to?! Of course I’m not going to do that!」
The dragon smiled loudly with his mouth filled with razor sharp teeth. It was a steel skinned body of Metus, the strongest dragon, with the soul of one of the strongest angels, Wolfe, stuffed inside of it. On his back sat a small shadow that waved happily at Aur.
「It’s good to see you, Faro. When did you get back into town?」
「Just now! After all, today’s a memorable day!」
Faro became an adventurer again and literally flew around the world, seeking adventures, and she recorded all of her travels in a journal. Wolfe became her companion, as he seemed more accustomed to the lifestyle on the road than a peaceful life filled with idle pleasures.
At that time, Aur felt something which prompted him to step back. As soon as he did, the place where he stood just a second ago was blown to bits by Zaitreed’s powerful blow. Yunis and the others also managed to get back just in time.
「How many times must I repeat myself?! Do. Not. Destroy. The. City!」
「Huh, but I still refuse to acknowledge him as your companion!」
Zaitreed yelled at Aur, to which Yunis replied with cold, scornful gaze.
This has nothing to do with you, big brother. If you’re going to spout such nonsense, then please stop talking. Permanently.」
Hearing his sister’s cold reply, Zaitreed received a critical hit. As he stood there, shocked, his wife Hilda comforted him with a 「There, there.」 and a pat on the head. She was brought back to life by Aur after being killed by Zaitreed who was controlled by an illusion magic.
She offered her apologies to Aur, and started to yell at Zaitreed for 「going after women other than her」. It seemed that she did not held a grudge against him for killing her, knowing that it was an unfortunate accident.
「Welcome back, Lord Aur.」
Mio, who was riding on top of a demonic beast, lowered her head as she welcomed her master.
「Had their numbers increased again?」
After the battle with the angels, even a battle maniac like Zaitreed stopped hunting monsters in order to kick back and relax. Instead of killing them, the inhabitants of Aur’s dungeon focused on breeding demonic beasts and increasing their numbers steadily.
「Yes, master. This is Laurel, this is Lavinia, and this one here is Lindsay.」
「No, its fine, no need to go into the details.」
Now she was at the stage of giving her pet demonic beasts names that started with L. She must’ve had quite a number of them in her collection, seeing as when she first started her training as a demon tamer, she was giving them names that started with an A.
There was a time when one of the demons asked her whether she remembered all of their names, to which she replied with 「Of course!」.
「The day when she reaches Z is not far off. She might even become a serious threat to the Demon Lord with her army of pets.」
Wolfe said that while roaring with an earth-shattering laughter. It caused a small commotion which ended only when Yunis yelled 「Father, shut the hell up!」 at him. Taking advantage of that situation, Aur passed them and headed inside the castle.
「What do you think my lord? Isn’t this boar right here splendid?」
Inside Aur met with Ellen and Ceres who were just finishing settling down with the game they have caught. They settled in the forest which was situated closely to Aur City, and even if it took some time, they finally managed to settle in just fine. The boars that they hunted down must be the main dish for today’s feast.
「No no, Aur, I think our moose are more delicious.」
Ellen lifted her eyebrow, and Ceres smiled in a very unnatural manner.
「Our boars are the most delicious, no questions asked.」
「My oh my, is everything alright with that head of yours? Our moose are way tastier.」
Sparks started flying between the two as they begun to argue. This was the norm when the two of them were in the same room, so Aur decided to just ignore them and go forward. But before that.
「That reminds me, Mio came back.」
「Really? Then we must hurry and prepare the feast as soon as possible. We absolutely cannot waste even a drop of blood or a piece of meat, lest we want the wrath of the Queen of Demonic Beasts to befall us!」
「The preparations are already underway, Ma’am.」
One of Ellen’s man assured her.
Despite being a monster tamer, Mio has nothing against eating beasts. But if even a shread of meat was to be wasted then hoo boy, hell hath no fury like hers. Because of that, some of the city’s residents are more afraid of her than they are afraid of Aur.
「Just get it done then. We don’t want any heads to fly.」
Leaving the two of them behind, Aur proceeded forward.
「We have been waiting for you, Lord Aur.」
As he entered the castle, he was greeted by Olivia and her daughters. This year Olivia should turn forty, but despite that she still looked like she was in her twenties. She really was a most welcomed sight for Aur’s eyes.
Patricia, the elder daughter, should be twenty four. She was blooming most splendidly into a sophisticated lady akin to a beautiful rose.
Priscilla, on the other hand, was like a twenty years old fresh lily, not yet in full bloom, but alluring nonetheless.
Logan stood behind them, surrounded by their daughters and little sisters. He also carried a child in each of his four arms. He was looking after twelve children in total, ranging in age from young children to newborn babies.
「Hey there, my lord! Hurry up and make more kids, so this wonderful harem of little girls could grow even bigger!」
「If you try to touch master with that degenerate hands of yours I swear I’m going to cut them off.」
「Whoa there ladies, why so serious? I’m always following the gentleman’s code: loli’s: YES, touching them in a weird way: Big no no!」
「Maybe we should just kill him after all.」
Spina muttered, piercing Logan with a disgusted expression.
「Everything is ready, Lord Aur.」
「All residents have been evacuated.」
「We’ve also did a triple check of the magic circuits, and there’s no problems.」
Nadia, Wikia and Sharl reported to Aur as he sat down on the throne in the throne room. Technically they were all retired adventurers, but they were seen doing some mercenary or bodyguard work from time to time.
「It’s finally time to start.」
「It’s been eight years since then… quite a while, but it felt so short.」
Two beautiful girls clad in white dresses appeared before Aur. The twins Mary and Mari, identical like two droplets of water, only with different hair color. They looked to be fourteen, but in reality they were more than a thousand years old.
「Well then, let’s get started.」
Aur raised his hand and said:
「Star Core, activate, my labyrinth, let is soar!」
The so called Star Core was located high above the ground, floating around the ceiling.
The biggest disadvantage to the previous dungeon was that when it was transformed into a giant, it was cut off from the dragon pulse of the earth, thus being unable to replenish its magical power. But this time there will be no such flaw. This will be Aur’s new labyrinthine dungeon.
Just like Mari and Mary, the dungeon on the ground and this floating one are connected by their cores in a pseudo-twin relationship. The power recovered on the ground would be send here to Aur City, and vice versa. Star power and magic, angels and demons. By combining the two into one, a new power that cannot be rivaled by anything or anyone was born.
This is the culmination of the eight years of research, his ultimate achievement.
「Now begins the reign of Aur the Demon Lord.」
Satisfied, Mary clung onto Aur.
「Mari, I’ll be going first, okay?」
「But I was supposed to be first, Mary!」
Out of the two, Mary seemed to be the dominant one. Today the dungeon will take off into the sky, and the two of them will offer themselves up to Aur.
「Demon Lord, huh? Well certainly, the battle from eight years ago is sure bound to go down in history books.」
With the labyrinth gone, some of the kingdoms are sure to independent again. It might not be a bad idea to attack them again, just to be on the safe side.
「Would you like to write a book about your life as the Demon Lord?」
Spina asked, smiling gently.
「I think that a book that starts with digging up a hole would only serve to frustrate some people.」
Yunis laughed in response to Spina’s suggestion.
「That’s fine with me. As for the title, hmm…. How about 『How to Start Up as the Demon Lord』?」
Reminiscing about all that has happened, Lilu seemed genuinely happy.
「It might not be such a bad idea, especially if it would serve as a means of creating a future better than the past.」
Aur looked at the sky, and then at the map he has drawn and completed during the last eight years. But it was just a fraction when compared to the whole world spanning across the horizon.
There are still countries and continents worthy of being conquered out there.
「Next time, maybe we should challenge the God himself?」
Entertained by his own idea, Aur embraced his wives and smiled.