Home Sweet Home
Editors: Speedphoenix, Joker
“I’m finally home…” I muttered a few words to no one in particular as I basked in the sunlight. It was just past noon, the time the star was shining its brightest. I couldn’t help but relish in the warmth of its rays as I regarded the ever familiar cave before me.
Not having to account for Nell meant that Rir didn’t have to show restraint. He was able to dash home at his top speed. Still, the trip had still taken longer than expected—and not because I had decided to nap on his back as he ran. Our lateness could be attributed entirely to the sudden introduction of a few necessary miscellaneous tasks. All of which stemmed from an encounter with a group of bandits.
They had attacked us on sight, so I returned the favour by wiping them out. I followed up the extermination by hitting up their base, snatching all their loot, and then burning their whole damned operation to the ground. Huh. You know, in retrospect, I almost feel like my actions were just as heinous and criminal as theirs. But hey, I did check their titles ahead of time just in case. The result? Yeah, let’s just say that their kind doesn’t deserve any pity. And I am supposedly the Demon Lord of Judgement. Convicting sinners of their crimes and punishing them accordingly is basically my job, at least according to the title. So yeah, whatever, fuck it. Not my problem. Might as well just call it karma and move on.
Although it was my first time doing anything of the sort in real life, I rather enjoyed the activity. Raiding bandit camps is fun, likely because their base of operations was an abandoned fortress. Clearing it out felt somewhat reminiscent of an old RPG. Beating up bandits was definitely worth my time. 10/10 would do it again if I had the chance. It’s a great way to grind money too. Not that I’ve got any use for money, but y’know.
Oh, wait. On second thought, I do. I can totally just feed it to the dungeon. Man, I’ve been feeding it nothing but corpses, so I totally forgot. Might as well at least try doing that then, I guess. I might even make a whole bunch of DP if I’m lucky.
Rir and I had already gone our separate ways, so I ended up getting lost in my own thoughts as I moved through the cave. I didn’t exactly feel like walking through the plains, so I switched the door’s destination to the true throne room before giving it a twist and walking right through.
“I’m home.” The first thing I did after entering was announce my presence.
“Welcome home, Yuki!” Illuna dashed towards me the moment she noticed me and greeted me with a flying tackle that made use of all her momentum.
“Welcome back, Lord.” Shii was only a single step behind her. She too pitter-pattered towards me, but instead of jumping at me, she instead opted to slow down and wrap her arms around my waist.
“Thanks. I’m glad to see you guys doing so well.”
I gave each of the two girls a few pats on the head. Man, seeing these two fills me right up with energy. Their smiles are the best medicine a weary soul could get.
“Heya Master, welcome home!”
“Welcome home, My Lord.”
“Hey Lyuu. Thanks Leila.” I responded to the maids’ greetings in turn before finally turning towards the dungeon’s final resident. “Hey, Lefi. I’m back.”
She had been looking right at me, so our eyes met the moment I directed my gaze towards her. For some odd reason, her cheeks immediately began turning a shade of crimson. She opened and closed her mouth a few times as if to say something, but she never managed to get it out. After a few tries, she gave up, and her expression ended up as one of indifference. Huh. That’s weird. What’s up with her?
“I-Indeed you are. I must admit that I would have preferred for you to return sooner.” Lefi approached me and entered my personal space, which was more or less cluttered due to the two girls that had attached themselves to me, and grabbed a hold of my shirt before she continued speaking in a bashful tone. “T-The void you left by my side was filled with naught but loneliness. I-I missed you.”
I. What. I. Huh? The dragon’s words had caught me completely off guard.
“W-what the heck’s gotten into you? Are you okay? You aren’t sick, are you?”
“O-Of course not,” Lefi stuttered. “I am simply stating that I did not anticipate that your absence would cause me to suffer so.”
“Hwauht!?” The words that came out of Lefi’s mouth were so laced in sugar they led me to scream incoherently. W-What the hell has gotten into you, Lefi!? Seriously!
The way the dragon girl was acting was so adorable I wanted to scoop her up in my arms, take her home, and ask if I could keep her. But as cute as it was, it felt… wrong. Something was off. She was acting so differently from the Lefi I knew that I almost didn’t want to think they were the same person. You know, this is almost like how animals end up acting all weird right before some sort of great calamity or something. Though in this case, Lefi herself could easily cause said great calamity, huh?
I looked around the room in order to check whether I was the only person that felt as if something was off. And apparently, the answer was yes. Lyuu was watching us while pumping one of her fists, whereas Leila had an even bigger smile on her face than usual. Wait. Did they put some weird ass idea into her head or something? Because it sure as hell looks like it.
I opened my mouth in order to question the two suspects, but Lefi interrupted me before I could speak.
“Yuki…” Her nose twitched as she sniffed me.
“Explain yourself. You bear the scent of a woman. What is the meaning of this!?”
Oh shit! She knows! She totally knows!
“B-Before you say anything, hear me out. I’m totally innocent!” I smashed the figurative not guilty button as hard as I possibly could as I stammered out an explanation. “Some kid got really attached to me so I played with her a bit. That’s all! And I mean it, she was just a kid! Barely any older than Illuna! And you can’t call someone that young a woman!”
“I see.” Lefi narrowed her eyes. “So you have once again laid hands on a child in order to appease your distorted desires.”
“That’s definitely not what I meant!”
The supreme dragon wore a smile, a terrifying, dreadful smile. I could feel my brow dampening with cold sweat as I trembled in fear. Fortunately, her anger vanished as quickly as it had appeared.
“…Very well. It matters not.” She calmed down and shook her head as she continued to speak. “Your journey must have left you exhausted. Have you had your midday meal?”
“I uh… no. Not yet.”
“Splendid. You must join us then. We were just about to start,” she smiled before turning towards the two little girls that had attached themselves to me. “I believe that is enough clinging for now. I am sure the two of you have had your fill, so let us assist in arranging the table.”
Both Illuna and Shii happily responded as they finally let go.
“Be seated, Yuki. Lunch shall soon be served.”
“Errr, sure. Alright.”
Lefi led me to the table and sat me down. She then followed the action with something that was nigh unprecedented. She went into the kitchen and grabbed a few plates in order to help set the table.
“Seriously…” I muttered as I tried to wrap my head around the odd situation. “What the hell is going on…?”