Side Story: An Event in the Throne Room
Editors: Speedphoenix, Joker
Lefi heard a pair of familiar voices declare their return as she did the usual and lounged around the living room. Technically speaking, the room wasn’t really a living room at all. It was more of a throne room. Functionally speaking, however, describing it as a living room was more than apt; it was a comfortable room in which the dungeon’s residents enjoyed various types of entertainment.
The silver-haired dragon directed her gaze towards one of the room’s doors and regarded both the man and the girl that entered through it. The man was the one she had recently declared her mate, a demon lord by the name of Yuki. And riding on his back was a young girl. Zaien, often referred to as Enne, was a blade that fell into a category she knew little about, a so-called katana. Though she was capable of bearing a human form, it housed not her soul. That part of her resided in the weapon that Yuki had in one of his hands.
Despite her long life, Lefi had never once heard of a weapon so outrageous. Equally as absurd was her reaction to such a being. Knowing that Yuki was its smith allowed Lefi to accept Enne’s presence as just another normal part of her life despite being a literal walking anomaly. The weapon was not the first bizarre product of Yuki’s actions and she would surely not be the last. Knowing this dulled Lefi’s senses; spending her days around her husband and his eccentricities had desensitized the dragon to the abnormal.
He was an odd man, but that too was, at least in her eyes, a part of his charm. She felt as if his peculiarities had played a large role in drawing her to him, for she had never even considered the possibility of taking a mate prior to his arrival in spite of the length of her life.
The days she had spent without him were dull, boring, and lifeless. But now, each and every single day was bursting with colour, filled to the brim with excitement and joy she had never before known. He had changed her world. He had shown her how much she hadn’t known, just how fun life could be.
If she had never met him, then she would still be up on that mountain of hers, quietly idling her days away. The wonderful things that she now experienced each day would have remained forever unknown. It was a terrifying thought, one that sent shivers down her spine. Lefi knew that she had been spoiled. It was no longer possible for her to go back to living the way she had before. Such a life was far too dull for her now that she had grown to know a taste other than monotony.
“Welcome home.” She set her thoughts aside as she spoke to the black haired pair in a tone of voice that contained a hint of amazement. “I must ask you this, Yuki, why is it that you have yet again returned in such a ragged state?”
Though he was just a fraction of Lefi’s age, Yuki’s form appeared to indicate that he was an adult, but he returned in a state in which one would only expect of a child. His clothes were torn, he was covered in mud, and there was even a trace of an odd scent on him. It was almost as if he had been burnt. The girl on his shoulders was completely untouched, a fact that only made his messy state stand out all the more.
She would have understood if it happened to be the result of engaging monsters in combat, but that was not the only scenario in which Yuki would return in such a state. The same would often happen if he were to accompany the children on some sort of outing. Thus, she came to the conclusion that Yuki himself just happened to be rather childish.
Thinking about his lack of maturity eventually led Lefi to recall that he had only been born rather recently. He had mentioned that he had only become a demon lord almost immediately prior to their first encounter. In other words, he was less than a year old, which meant it only made sense for him to be childish. However, no matter how she looked, Lefi could only come to the conclusion that his body was as mature as that of any adult’s. The stark contrast prompted a thought, I understand not the biology of a demon lord. How strange their life cycles are.
“Y-Yeah, uh, you know, things happened…” said Yuki.
“Master had fun with a new type of magic.”
“Enne, please! You can’t just rat me out like that!”
Yuki had tried to play the reason for his current state off as something outside his control, but the expressionless girl revealed the truth before he had much of a chance to hide it. The sword’s explanation made everything click. Lefi could easily imagine the demon lord enjoying himself as he attempted to fiddle with his new “toy.” She didn’t have much to say about the situation, and it showed on her face; the scene that played out in her head caused her to put on an expression containing a mix of amusement and exasperation.
“Welcome home, My Lord,” said Leila. The sheep-horned demon had noticed that the master of the house had returned, so she stuck her head out from the kitchen in order to greet him.
“Thanks Leila,” said Yuki with a cough. “Is dinner ready yet?”
“It won’t be too long now, My Lord,” said Leila. She took a good look at him and confirmed that he was covered from head to toe with dirt before speaking up again. “Might I suggest you take a bath while you wait? There should be enough time for you to get in and out before dinner is ready.”
“Might as well.” He paused for a moment to look at Zaien, who had gotten off his shoulders and started tugging on the hem of his shirt. She wasn’t saying anything, but Yuki immediately seemed to understand what she wanted. “What about you, Enne? You want to get in too?”
“Well, that’s that settled. Where are the rest of the girls, Leila?”
“They should be coming back from the castle soon. I’m fairly certain that they will also be covered in mud, so they will probably end up joining you soon.”
“Aye aye, Captain.”
Yuki waved Lefi and Leila goodbye, spun the doorknob a few times, and left alongside the girl he had returned with. It appeared that he had chosen to head towards the larger bath he had constructed in the plains as opposed to the smaller one in the throne room because he knew that the girls would be joining him.
The door he used was an item that manipulated spacetime through the use of magic in order to connect different areas, and its knob functioned as the controller that specified which.
“I must admit, he is quite skilled with regards to the handling of children,” said Lefi.
“A wonderful trait for a husband to have, isn’t it?” chuckled Leila.
The maid’s words made Lefi flush. Hearing someone else call Yuki her husband really made their newfound status as a couple hit home. Though some time had passed since the change, thinking about it still brought a blush to Lefi’s cheeks.
“Gentlemen that are good at looking after the needs of others are quite difficult to come by, and he also appears to be rather strong.” said Leila. “I think that you have caught yourself a good man, Lefi.”
Though Leila was far detached from the stereotypical demon, she still possessed some of their values. Thus, to her, strength was an important aspect that could drastically add or detract from a man’s appeal.
“I have no intention of yielding him to you,” said Lefi, narrowing her gaze.
“I’m well aware,” replied Leila with another chuckle.
The pair’s conversation came to an abrupt end as a panicked, distressed voice suddenly came from within the kitchen.
“L-Leila, I think somethin’s wrong! The pot’s foamin’ and lookin’ real bad!”
“Well, Lefi, it looks like I have to get back to work,” sighed Leila. “Dinner will be ready in about half an hour. Please do your best not to fall asleep again before we start.”
“That I shall,” said Lefi. “And I ask that you seek my help should the need arise, for Yuki will be quite angry should I merely continue to laze about.”
“Then I suppose I’ll be taking you up on that offer shortly,” said Leila with a smile before heading back into the kitchen while muttering under her breath. “Geez. What is it this time, Lyuu? All I asked you to do was watch the pot…”
And then, the living room was filled with silence, a silence that would only last until everyone returned. Lefi knew that her surroundings would soon be bustling with noise. In fact, she could very easily picture the exact scene and sequence of events. Yuki would return with the children in tow, Lyuu would act as flustered as usual while setting the table while Leila quickly put the final touches on the meal from right beside her. Once everything was in place, everyone would put their hands together and say grace in a manner introduced by Yuki before noisily discussing the day’s events.
The canvas she laid out in her mind caused her to chuckle and think to herself that she finally knew fortune. She would soon be surrounded by laughter, joy, and warmth. She would soon be surrounded by the very elements that composed the beauty of life.
A small smile appeared on Lefi’s lips. For though she was alone now, she would soon be surrounded by those that she loved.