A Change in State
“Onii-chan! Onii-chan! Get up! It’s morning already!”
A voice called out to me as I comfortably drifted in and out of sleep. Though my consciousness was hazy, I could still somehow make out the words that were being said.
“Nrrggh…” I groaned.
“Come on! Hurry up and get up already!”
The voice was that of a young girl’s. It was so pleasant to the ear that it almost sounded angelic.
“Just give five more minutes…”
“No! You have to get up now, Onii-chan! Leila’s already done making breakfast!”
In fact, it was so heavenly that I felt like it was slowly lulling me back to sleep.
My body sudden began to jerk back and forth right as I was about to drift off to dreamland.
“Okay, okay, fine. I’ll get up, so stop shaking me already.”
I groaned again before opening my eyes. Illuna’s shaking had forced me awake, regardless of whether I liked it or not.
Ugh… I’m still so sleepy…
I groggily yawned as I raised the upper half of my body off the throne room’s floor.
Wait, why’s it so warm?
There was a really comfortable patch of warmth to my left, so I looked over and tried to identify it.
“Oh. It was Lefi.”
The dragon girl was sleeping right by my side. One of her hands had made its way toward me and grabbed ahold of my shirt. The look she had on her face could only be described as innocent. Seeing it made it hard for me to think of her as anything but a girl in her early teens.
Oh yeah, she made me play with her until the crack of dawn last night.
Lefi had kept losing. She got more and more indignant with every round, so she continued challenging me throughout the night. She kept playing until she was literally too tired to continue. Neither of us had had enough energy to make our way over to our beds, so we’d passed out on the spot.
“Get up Lefi. It’s morning.”
“Come on, wake up. It’s time to eat.”
“Just… 17 more years…”
That’s an oddly specific number.
“Geez! Get up already Onee-chan! You’re gonna miss breakfast!”
Illuna realized that Lefi wasn’t listening to her, so she did to the Supreme Dragon the exact same thing she did to me. That is, she grabbed her by the shoulders and started to gently shake her back and forth.
“Ugh…” Lefi groaned. “I get it, I get it already. Stop shaking me.”
I couldn’t help but smile wryly at the fact that her reaction was more or less identical to my own.
Once Lefi let go of my shirt, I got up and started to stretch. Sleeping on the floor had not been a good idea. My body was stiff and I hurt in all sorts of places. Worst off was my shoulder, so I started to rotate it in wide arc in order to loosen it up.
God damn it Lefi. I know you hate to lose, but can’t you at least like, get better before trying to beat me? We had to keep playing all night because you couldn’t pull off a win.
“Hmmm? You’re kinda looking cooler than usual today, Onii-chan.” Illuna curiously tilted her head as she looked at me.
“Huh? I am? Well uh… thanks, I guess. You’re looking pretty cute yourself today, Illuna.”
“Ehehe.” She giggled. “Thanks!”
Illuna and I started walking towards the dining table set up in one of the throne room’s corners. Lefi was trailing a bit behind us, still half asleep. She couldn’t walk straight yet, so she kind of just ended up staggering along.
Lyuu was already sitting at the table and waiting for us. At first, she and Leila had both protested the idea of joining Lefi, Illuna and I at the table because they were our “servants,” but I eventually managed to convince them otherwise. Though they were helping us with chores and stuff, I didn’t really think of them as hired housekeepers. I felt that treating them that way was just far too cold.
“Mornin’ Master. And you too Lefi,” said Lyuu. “Wait, a sec. It is just me, Master, or do you kinda got this like different feel to you today?”
“Huh? I do?”
“For sure, but I dunno how I’m s’pposed to describe it. You’re just… kinda different.”
I didn’t really quite get what she meant.
“Good morning My Lord. Good morning Lefi.”
Like Lyuu, Leila also ended up awkwardly pausing as soon as she finished greeting us.
“Interesting,” she said, her eyes gleaming with curiosity. She put down the plates she’d carried out of the kitchen and, without warning, brought her face right up to my own.
My heart rate shot up. She was so close that I couldn’t help but smell the feminine scent wafting off her body. Though I was certain she heard me, Leila didn’t answer. She instead began to circle around me and examine me from all sorts of different angles. She remained totally silent throughout; the maid didn’t start speaking again until she was looking me over.
“Have you perhaps undergone a racial evolution, My Lord?”
Though she’d phrased it like a question, her tone was conclusive. She seemed fairly confident that she’d hit the mark.
“Huh? Racial evolution? What’s that?”
Leila explained to me that monsters, demihumans, and demons would go through a sort of metamorphosis after obtaining a certain amount of experience. In other words, leveling up enough would lead an individual ascending a step up their own evolutionary chain.
So it basically works the same way it does in P*kemon?
Monsters were the quickest to evolve. Demihumans and demons tended to require much more experience, so they almost never evolved until they were relatively high level.
With that knowledge in mind, I checked my stat page.
Race: Demon Lord
Class: Demon Lord of Judgement
Skill Points: 6
Martial Arts IV
Primordial Magic IV
Enemy Search IV
Sword Arts I
Weapon Creation III
Endow Magic II
Art of Trapping I
Demon Lord from Another World
Supreme Dragon’s Owner
One Who Judges
One Hostile to Humanity
“Huh. You’re right. I did undergo a racial evolution.”
My class had changed from just Demon Lord to Demon Lord of Judgement. I was quite happy with the change, as my new class sounded much more badass. My race had switched from Archdemon to Demon Lord.
But why’d this suddenly happen? Oh, wait, duh… It must’ve been been all the people I killed last night.
I’d wiped out so many humans that I’d even got a title for it, but because I didn’t personally end any of their lives, I didn’t actually end up gaining any experience. My level hadn’t changed. My stats, however, had. Most of them had been boosted drastically. My MP had even shot all the way past the ten thousand mark. The only stat that didn’t change was my luck.
But again, that didn’t make sense. It wasn’t me that’d done the killing. It was the dungeon.
Wait! That’s it! The dungeon must’ve leveled up!
Humans were weak. Their deaths barely generated any DP. The dungeon didn’t gain too much from absorbing a human’s corpse either. But that said, there’d been a whole 400 of them. Added together, the humans had provided a significant boost to my DP, as evidenced by the fact that I was currently holding on to the most I’d ever had at any given point in time.
The dungeon had always been passively gaining DP because Lefi and many of the Wicked Forest’s more powerful monsters were within its bounds. The DP gained last night must have finally pushed the total over some sort of threshold and caused the dungeon to grow. And since the dungeon and I were linked, I’d grown as well.
It made perfect sense.
I made a mental note to check to see if the dungeon had gained any new features once I was done with my meal.
“I see,” Leila nodded. “I presume that means Demon Lords evolve quickly, which likens them more to monsters than demihumans and demons. But wait, what if the demon lord was but a part of the dungeon and its systems? If I were to think along those lines, then…”
Leila rambled under her breath as she looked at me as she would a lab rat.
“H-Hey Leila…? The way you’re staring me down is kinda freaky.”
“Sorry, I do apologize. The phenomenon was so interesting that I forgot myself.”
So she thinks I’m an interesting phenomenon…? That’s uh… discomforting.
I felt as if I was starting to see a whole new side to Leila.
“R-Right, no problem,” I said. “Anyway, I’m surprised you guys could tell. I didn’t even notice it myself.”
“It’s because you’re you, Onii-chan! It’s super easy to tell!” said Illuna.
“Us beastkin have got sharp senses, so it was real easy for me to notice that you were seemin’ a bit different,” added Lyuu.
I looked at the full-length mirrors I had propped up nearby and quickly examined my body. I didn’t really know what they meant. I still didn’t see it.
Maybe it’s just something that’s obvious to everyone but the person that it happens to.
“Oh well, whatever. Nevermind that, let’s have ourselves some breakfast.”
We all sat down at the table and got ready to eat, but Lefi nodded off before we actually got around it. She’d somehow managed to retain a near perfect posture despite no longer being awake. The only thing that looked off was the position of her head, which’d dipped a bit in the forward direction.
“God damn it, Lefi…” I sighed.
“Oh come on Onee-chan! I told you it’s time for breakfast!”
Illuna promptly shook her awake yet again.
“Ugh… Can I not just sleep? It is not as if we had anything planned for the day.”
“You can’t! You’ll end up getting as fat as a cow if you keep lazing around!”
Seeing Lefi get scolded by a girl far younger than her brought a smile to my face. And apparently, I wasn’t the only one. Lyuu smiled wryly, while Leila allowed herself to adopt a bit of a grin.
And that was how the five us began yet another average day.