The Devil's Evolution Catalog Chapter 151: Epic Evolution
"Do the both of you yield?"
With enchanted blade in hand, Numila swept her smug eyes over her half-kneeling foes.
"How could you suddenly become so strong?" Eugenia slowly climbed to her feet. She had barely suffered any damage, instead it was the shock of her complete loss that inflicted the most damage on her. Until now, she still couldn't accept that their foe had trounced them so thoroughly.
"Hah, you want to know why?" A trace of elation could be heard within her voice. Having gained such a treasure, she naturally wanted to show it off; thus, without giving it much thought, she shoved me right into the spotlight and said: "Naturally, it's because of my dear fiance!"
"Impossible," Elena chimed in abruptly in a rare break from her usual silence, her eyes casting a doubting pall over the bragging witch, until finally, her eyes settled on the blade in her hands. "That blade!"
"That's right, that's the gift my fiance gave me! It's precisely because of this blade that I was able to get so strong!" As if to prove her point and leave a deeper impression on them, she activated the magic engraved onto the blade, despite never being taught how to do so. In an instant, over ten flame arrows fanned out in a row, spanning from side to side in an orderly fashion. Yet, instead of firing off like what she had intended, they actually combined together into a never-before seen form: a pair of wings made of actual flames.
While these were only wings in appearance, the fact that it broke free from Numila's control was still astonishing.
A shocking amount of heat radiated from the wings the very next instant, at the same time sucking in the fire mana within Numila like a voracious beast. Immediately, the wings began to grow from the infusion of mana until finally it wrapped around the entire blade. This looks...it's almost like a cocoon.
"What's going on? What is it doing it? It...it seems to be absorbing my mana…" She immediately tried to toss away the blade, but it stuck to her hands as if it had taken root. No matter how much she shook her hands, the blade refused to budge and even began to rapidly wrap her hands in flames. At this rate, it would only take a few more seconds before it completely swallowed her whole in its fiery maw.
This was too much of a shock for the harpy witch who threw me a panicked look as if looking for help: "Dearest...the blade...there's something wrong with it…"
Truth be told, I was just as shocked by this turn of events as she was. Even though her feathers still weren't something I could digest, she was, in the end, my fiance. If she were to be burnt to death like this...wait, a flame harpy witch like her being burnt to death? That's not even a funny joke.
"Oh yea, it's burning! It's burning!" Not too far away, Mimiya, the little devil who couldn't wait for the world to crash and burn, was already beside herself in excitement as she pumped her fist into the air and cheered. Looking at her jump up and down like an excited child, she almost looked like a jester invited by a monkey.
"Hahaha, let's see how you brag while on fire." Seeing her foe in danger, Eugenia couldn't be any happier as she guffawed. "Burn faster! Burn that witch to death!"
Next to her, Elena was just as entranced by the strange sight of a flame harpy being burnt as her companion. She shook her head emotionlessly and with the radiant sight of Numila burning still reflected in her white pupils, she softly declared: "It's useless."
Did she mean that struggling was pointless, or was she talking about something else?
Not willing to stand by idly anymore as her fiance, I promptly rushed forward to save her from this predicament. Yet just as I took the first step forward, Habona's claws grabbed onto my shoulders: "Wait, observe the situation carefully for a moment."
"But Numila's in grave danger right now!"
"I already said to wait, just have a proper look."
"..." I was still as confused as ever by her words but their calmness did have an effect on me. I squinted my eyes and peered at the burning mess.
She wasn't burning! Was it safe to assume that those flames weren't harmful to her then?
Slightly befuddled by this strange sight, I tried asking Numila about this: "Numila, do you feel any pain?"
"Oh...now that you mention it, I feel nothing except that my mana is still being drained…" Hearing my question, she seemed to have calmed down as well and noticed that this out-of-control fire wasn't actually trying to harm her. Realizing this, she lowered her head slightly in embarrassment as she apologized: "Dearest...because this one suddenly lost control of her flames...she got scared and…you know..."
Though she didn't finish that sentence, I roughly got the gist of it. In her defense, this whole incident must've been a great shock to her. Being a flame harpy witch, she was born with an innate ability to control flames. Flames were basically like a friend to her, a friend that would never hurt her and would listened to her whims. Having such a friend suddenly "turn on" her, it wasn't hard to imagine why she would show such a panicked side.
Seeing that she finally calmed herself down, I breathed a sigh of relief as well. "Just as you were then, oh right, how much mana do you have left?"
"Over half of my mana...but this one has this feeling that the blade hasn't eaten its fill yet…"
Hasn't eaten its fill...meaning it still required more mana? I guess it was rather common to see magical implements draining their owner's mana once they ran out of charges but the fact that this wasn't planned was concerning. Would she even have enough mana?
Most of the time, such mana charging was done with ample preparations since a person's mana pool had its limits after all. In the past, there were cases of mages being turned into a dry husk by some exceptionally powerful magical arrays. Once a person's mana was used up, any further attempt to drain his or her mana would forcefully convert their lifeforce into mana. In other words, the mage was playing with their life when they pushed past their mana limits.
Want to experience the sensation of growing old in a day? All you needed to do was sign up over here right now, just place your hand right on top of this magical tool!
Didn't that mean that Numila was in grave danger right now? Heavens only knew what that blade was planning to do with all that mana! Was it storing it in a bank somewhere or was it snacking on it?
"It's definitely an evolution, there's no mistaking it." Unlike my pointless tsukkomis, Habona's observations yielded a much more useful conclusion of 'evolution'.
"Evolution? What evolution?"
Throwing me a placid look for a second, she turned back to the harpy who was engulfed in flames from the neck down and waist up: "The blade you gave to her is about to evolve."
"Ah!" That straight blade was going to evolve?! It's already a high-grade enchanted blade so did that mean it was going to become an epic blade now? Wasn't that the same level as Shadowfang then!?
One had to know that when an epic weapon was wielded by an owner that it had an extremely high compatibility with, the increase in strength wasn't just a simple one plus one equal two kind of thing.
I don't remember it acting strange when I used it, so why did it suddenly evolve the moment Numila wielded it? Man, she has all the luck.
Just as I was lamenting about her main character halo, Habona chimed in with another sentence that squarely slapped me back to reality.
"You'd better think of something quick, her own mana might not even be enough for the blade to evolve. If it doesn't get what it wants, it's highly likely that Numila will be turned into a dry husk."
"..." What the f*ck, I take back all those words of envy, this wasn't some main character halo, it's a damned death flag!
It was then that a Numila who was beginning to feel her mana pool empty, turned towards me and pleaded for help: "Dearest...my mana is about to run dry...what should I do…"
"I...don't you feed on souls as well, then you should also know how to convert souls into mana...you do know how to do that, right?"
"I do, I do, get me some souls quick...dearest, I'm about to run dry…"
"I got it..." I hurriedly turned towards No.3 and instructed him: "Quick, send over all the souls we collected on the way here. Big.4, I want you to go and hunt for more souls, wipe out all the non-friendly life forms you saw on the way here. Harvest their souls as fast as possible and get back here quick!"
On the way here, we had collected a substantial amount of souls from the undead, and while they mostly went to me, the grimoire, Mimiya and Violet Snow, I had set aside some of the souls as a gift, knowing that Numila fed on souls as well.
Having been attacked by those two harpy witches shortly after arriving, I naturally forgot about this matter entirely, but there was no better time than now to remember it.
Upon acknowledging my command, Big 4 immediately led his team away to hunt for more souls. No.3 immediately got down to work as well, commanding the devils to fetch the twenty over two-star undead soul fires with a wave of his hand. The souls were dumped in the vicinity of Numila seeing as she was still encased in flames.
While the enchanted blade had no intention of harming her with those flames, that didn't mean that the flames were completely harmless to everyone else as well.
Clearly frightened by the scorching heat, my subordinates hurriedly chucked the souls onto the ground before scampering off. Even so, there were still some poor souls who got caught in the flames and began burning...such a fearsome fire, even the flame resistant devils were afraid of it.
As for Numila's harpies, they knew to start hunting for souls even without her command, leaving only Elena, Eugenia and their respective subordinates left on site.
"Hey you...do you need us to help?" Eugenia pointed at the blazing Numila and asked: "We can't just stand here and watch her die, can we?"
"Move." Elena was even more direct with her words and simply threw down a "move" before taking to the air and leading her subordinates away.
"Aren't you a fast one…" Eugenia shaked her head helplessly and led her subordinates away as well.
Were they planning to chip in as well?
"Dearest...the mana absorption seems to be gentler, hm? No, it's slowing down? I think it is worried about me…"
Huh? Did she mean that the blade was worried about her? Wasn't it just an object? How could it worry about its owner...unless...this bit of consciousness was part of being an epic equipment?
With the advantage of flight, the harpies' speed meant that they were the first ones to return with souls. In just a short span of 3 minutes, the first batch of soul fires was delivered to Numila. It wasn't much, roughly several dozen souls. Thankfully, with those 20 two-star souls we gave her just now, she was still able to hold on. At the very least, the blade wasn't consuming her lifeforce.
As time passed, more and more hunting parties came back with souls and brought them before Numila and her evolving blade.
Seeing her quietly endure the mana drain amongst the roaring flames, every second I stood there truly felt like a year. There was no feelings between us, yet when push came to shove, I couldn't help but be concerned about her thanks to this bit of connection we shared.
It was difficult to put my finger on what kind of feeling it was. Perhaps it was simply my possessiveness at work here? After all, setting up a harem was my end-goal, so recruiting every girl I liked, was in a sense, my current goal. Dang, when did I turn into some main character of a harem novel?
Time dragged on painfully until finally, at the one hour mark, the enchanted straight blade was finally satiated. Its metallic body began to melt slowly, turning into a rounded shape right at the end which looked a glowing ball of flames that was almost 10 centimeters wide.
The glowing ball of flames began flying around autonomously, leaving behind a brilliant trail of flames like a jet propelled plane would as it flew about. However, unlike a jet plane, what it left behind was pure fire elements that sparkled for over ten seconds before finally disappearing.
The ball of flames slowly circled around Numila as if it was celebrating its own birth.
With the flames gone, a fatigued Numila breathed a heavy sigh before saying: "Phew...the baby's finally out."
What do you mean it's finally out...
Special thanks to Steve Granger, and Kaung Thant Win Naing!!