Chapter 73
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Puzzled, Dreu checked his prompt window.

< Lv 5 Demon Worm (Zog): 

   Description: This caterpillar-like creature enjoys eating and playing. The creature’s good nature makes it an ideal playmate for demonic children. As a creature at the bottom of the food chain, the creature is known to be timid in battle and boasts little to no combat capabilities. If given a chance to engage in combat, the creature can level up rapidly and unlock evolutions.

   Recommendations: Avoid combat if alone. In group combat, give opportunity to support. 

   Evolution: Demon worms are capable of evolving once they gain enough experience. Evolution is unheard of for these creatures as they are never put in combat situations. Even if engaged in combat, demon worms generally do poorly and are easily defeated. Therefore, there have been no known cases for demon worm evolutions. With the lack of past history, the evolution tree of demon worms is completely unknown and can only be explored through trial and error. To evolve, the demon worm must reach level 7 and be fed a lesser demonic crystal.

  Status: +5% attack and defense from veterancy. >

“Lesser demonic crystal?” muttered Dreu.

“What did you say?” asked Tragthan.

“Lesser demonic crystal. The Emperor Class mentioned it but I’m not sure what it is.”

“Odd it would mention the crystal,” replied the demon. “Demonic crystals are considered useless because they hold no special properties. For centuries, we have yet to find a purpose for them. Given their abundance, you can get many from the Demon Realm. We might even find some here underground if you’re willing to dig a little.”

Dreu checked his window prompt again. It provided no additional information on the evolution of Zog. He was also pleasantly surprised upon seeing his demon worm leveling to level 5.

Must be from participating in combat earlier?

Zog returned a nod at the question.

It’s a good thing you can understand me.

Dreu thought back to talking to Bayard. He enjoyed the footman’s company because they could communicate with one another. He wished he could converse with Zog but he had yet to understand a thing with his new companion. Aggich also stayed quiet all the time making him wonder if they shared the same language. When he returned his attention to the river, the bubble was already slowing. He saw a shore up ahead and, with his two companions, jumped onto land as soon as they got close enough.

“What now?” Dreu asked.

“We’re joining the others at the exit. Then, we head deeper into the Demon Realm.”

“Deeper?”

“Yes, the demon settlements are built along the outskirts where it’s safer. Unless you’re as strong as me or Eglallin, you have no hope of surviving in the true wilderness of the Demon Realm.”

“Why wasn’t the wilderness tamed?”

“Demon and humans are different. We see no use of taming the wilderness when we can simply coexist with it. We leave it mostly alone and hunt the creatures for their skins, bones and other valuable body parts. It’s not all that different from how you humans and monsters interact with one another.”

Dreu nodded. He could see the value of having monsters to hunt in a controlled region. When he looked up, Tragthan made progress and he hastily followed. He was about to ask about the lesser demonic crystals when he was blinded by the light coming through the cave entrance.

“I’ve removed your dark vision. You should adjust to the light much easier.”

Once his eyes adjusted, Dreu headed outside to join the other demons. In addition to the group of demonic children, there were several large demons standing around the perimeter. One of them was Jonoxod while another one was the demon he encountered in the tunnel below Berkton. The demon, upon spotting him, walked over.

“We meet again.”

Dreu wasn’t sure how he should greet the demon so he merely nodded.

“You have nothing to fear. We’re on the same side this time. However, don’t give me a reason to mark you as an enemy.”

Dreu was unsure how he felt with his reunions. Jonoxod said little and generally stayed in the shadows. The other demon made him tremble violently simply by standing before him.

Did Bayard give the demon a hard time due to his immunity to fear?

Unlike the other demons, this demon made Dreu want to avoid its presence. Then, he felt something tapping his feet. He lifted Zog and Aggich before holding them tight. He feared they would struggle but they simply snuggled against him.

I wish Alvoroz was still here. That demon hound would be a great addition to our team.

When he caught sight of the demon worms who served as playmates earlier to the demonic children, the creatures gathered around a small rock. No one paid them any attention. Taking a deep breath, Dreu walked over to one of the demons.

“What’s going to happen to those demon worms?”

The demon stared down at him with a puzzled look.

“They’ll be abandoned. They are a bunch of useless creatures who will only slow us down.” The demon then noticed Zog in Dreu’s arms. “If you collect trash, none of us will stop you.”

Without another word, Dreu walked over to the demon worms. The group cowered at their approach but they calmed down once Zog approached them.

Let them know I’ll accept them as my summoned creatures.

With a nod, Zog turned to its kind and started waving its tiny claws wildly. If it was saying anything, Dreu couldn’t make out any discernible sounds. Once Zog finished, the other demon worms swarmed around Dreu’s feet.

< Congratulations! Seven demon worms have joined your roster. >

I know the other demons look down at these guys. If I can evolve them, they may change their minds.

Just as Dreu was about to give all of the demon worms a hug, a scream came from nearby. Everyone turned to see Jonoxod ambushing a Holy Knight with his claws through the man’s throat. As more Holy Knights poured onto the scene, the other demons also engaged in combat. Tragthan stopped beside Dreu.

“Flee with the children! We’ll hold them off as long as we can!”

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