Changes in Zaien
Editors: Sebas Tian, Speedphoenix, Joker
“Ughh… what a pain.” I groaned as I watched the furfag’s corpse turn into DP.
Painful was the only possible way I could describe the experience that Rir and I had just shared. Dealing with people and creatures that enjoyed battle just wasn’t up my alley. Ughhhhhhh. I’m so tired.
“Seriously man… I mean like, if you wanna fight that badly, can’t you just pick a fight with someone else that likes fighting? What the hell, right Rir?”
The wolf responded with a silent, reproachful stare.
“Oh come on… Don’t look at me like that. I do not like fighting. I’m a hardcore pacifist and you know it.”
The wolf responded with yet another silent, reproachful stare. The reason behind it was obvious. He was mad because I had made everything harder by pissing off our dear friend the sociopathic manticore.
“Okay, okay, fine. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have let the blood get to my head,” I said. “Come here. I’ll make it up to you by fixing your fur, alright?”
I changed the topic in order to distract him from his dissatisfaction, then grabbed a potion and sprinkled it all over his fur. The parts of his coat that had been frizzled and burnt by the explosion soon returned to normal and regained their sheen.
Of course, aesthetics and the like weren’t our priority. We had obviously already healed all our deeper wounds ahead of time. Recalling the act of healing made me grimace. I hadn’t had much of a good time. Removing the stone spears wedged in me was already bad enough. But it wasn’t even anywhere close to being as painful as getting the shrapnel out. I had to use a knife to literally gouge each and every last piece out of my flesh. The process had hurt so much that it had caused me to scream profanities and curse the stupid manticore to no end. Fuck manticores. I swear, the moment I get strong enough to beat them with ease, I’m going to go back and commit a god damn genocide. Fuck the wildlife conservation act. Laws don’t apply to demon lords. I don’t care what anyone says, I’m going to hunt those fuckers to extinction.
One thing I learned from today’s experience was that potent and powerful as they were, potions didn’t do all that much in the way of restoring lost blood. Rir hadn’t been all that injured, so he was fine in that regard. I, on the other hand, had lost so much vital fluid that I had dyed Rir’s back in crimson. Oh man. I’m feeling kinda lightheaded. I should probably make sure I eat something that’ll help boost my energy levels when I get back. Like meat. Or meat. Or more meat. Yay meat. But in the meantime, I guess I’ll probably use Rir as a pillow or something now that his fur is back to its usual nice and fluffy state.
With that in mind, I approached my pet and gave it an order.
“Let’s go home.”
After returning home, I found that Lefi was the only person in the true throne room, which meant that Illuna and Shii were most likely playing out in the grasslands while the maids were probably attending to some sort of housework.
“I’m back.” I greeted the dragon girl as I moved over to one of the drawers in the room’s corner.
“I am pleased to see that you have returned. Welcome home, Yuki,” said Lefi. “Your clothes appear rather torn, and your scent carries with it a hint of ash.”
“Yeah, a lot happened. I even got stalked by a manticore,” I replied to her as I grabbed a change of clothes from the drawer. I kicked off everything I was currently wearing and chucked it in the trash. The inferno that accompanied the explosion had happened to render them a bit too worn. I approached the throne after changing, sat on top of it, crossed my legs, leaned back, and took a deep breath. “Ughhhhh… I’m so friggen’ tired…”
For some odd reason, sitting on the throne filled me with a sense of comfort. It was almost as if the seat was somehow warming me up from the inside out. Apparently, I was the only one that felt that way. I was the only one of the dungeon’s residents that its soothing effect extended to. Must be because I’m a demon lord or something.
“I must admit I find manticores rather obnoxious. I dislike both their obstinance and their propensity to play with their prey,” said Lefi with a frown. “And though I have encountered many, I’ve not ever heard of one that could make use of fire.”
“Oh, yeah, the one I fought couldn’t use fire or anything like that either. The reason I got all burned and stuff is ‘cause I killed it with one of the dungeon’s traps. It was the kind that makes explosions and stuff, and I kinda got caught up in the blast. Wasn’t just me either. Rir did too. It made his fur all frizzly and stuff. You remember the spaghetti Lyuu burnt that one time? How it was all curly and singed and stuff?”
“I do. It was quite the incident,” chuckled Lefi.
“Yeah, that was basically how Rir’s fur looked.”
“How unfortunate.” Again, the dragon laughed.
Likewise, I also snickered a bit while pulling Zaien out of my inventory.
My most recent encounter had led the blade to suffer a good bit of abuse, so I made sure to carefully inspect it for damage. I figured I was probably going to have to take it to a human blacksmith if it got bent or chipped since I wasn’t sure how else I was supposed to have it repaired.
“Huh…” Carefully looking over the blade caused me to tilt my head in confusion. “Something about you seems a bit different.”
The red that decorated its still unblemished blade had gotten darker. And for some odd reason, I even got the impression that it was the opposite of damaged. Zaien seemed even sharper than usual. Maybe I’ll go cut a bunch of random stuff later to try testing it out. I don’t think I’m just imagining things.
“Really?” The blade responded to my statement by channelling its will through its grip.
Wait a second.
“Could I always hear your thoughts this clearly…?” I asked. I could have sworn that the blade had never conveyed anything more to me than just vague emotions. I recalled it feeling happy, angry, or even resentful at times, but that was all. That, however, was no longer the case. Although it couldn’t speak, I felt as if I could understand it just as well as I could Rir or Shii in her slime form. It was conveying its thoughts to me in something akin to but different from words.
“I think so…” replied the blade. Uhhh… I’m pretty sure you replying like that already makes it a straight up hard no.
Thinking back, I recalled that Zaien’s stat page had said something about it being able to grow. I guess this is what that meant? Yeah uh, definitely not what I was expecting.
“Yuki…” Lefi flashed me a suspicious gaze. “I am aware that your weapon bears a consciousness. However, I must advise that you reserve speaking to it for when you remain in its presence and its presence alone. I believe that the action would be interpreted by many as but evidence of insanity.”
“Right, yeah. Good point,” I said. “I’ll save it for later.”
I opened up my item box and opted to put Zaien back inside, but the blade promptly complained.
“Let me be with you… a little longer,” it said. Its thoughts almost seemed to resemble a cry of loneliness.
“I-I’ll make sure I equip you again soon, alright?”
“Okay…” For some odd reason, hearing the weapon’s thoughts led me to envision a child that was trying their hardest to endure a crushing sense of solitude.
I almost wanted to let it have its way, but I didn’t think that having the blade sit around in the open was exactly what I would call the safest blade in the world. I hadn’t even made it a sheath.
“It’ll be alright. You’re my main weapon. I promise I’ll use you again soon, so you don’t have to be so sad, okay?” I tried to soothe the blade after coming to the conclusion that I would simply have to put it away for the time being.
“See you later…” replied Zaien.
I heaved a sigh after placing the blade in my inventory. Don’t get me wrong. I’m happy that the weapon I made has grown so much. But… how do I put this… Man, that was real rough. I feel so guilty right now…