Side Story: Playing Pretend
Editors: Joker, Speedphoenix
“Mwahahahahahaha! It is impossible for you pitiful demon lords to defeat I, the hero that serves as an avatar of evil itself!” I cackled before speaking in what could only be described as an over-exaggerated, sinister-sounding tone.
“That’s not true at all!” The demon lord named Illuna raised her voice in protest. “We’ve got the power of friendship! All we have to do to beat you is work together!”
Her words served as a cue to prompt all six demon lords to line up next to each other.
“Then try it. Try it, and I shall prove you wrong!” I said. “Come, Leficios! Your master beckons!”
“Mwahahahaha! You cannot defeat me, children.” Though she was trying her best, Lefi wasn’t exactly what one could call accustomed to role play. As such, she ended up speaking her line in a monotone fashion as she unfolded her wings and took to the skies.
“Oh come on Lefi! Flying isn’t fair!” said Illuna.
“I see not the reason for your complaint. Honour is of little relevance in the face of victory,” she said. “Or are you perhaps simply so weak willed and undeserving of your titles that a mere winged creature is enough to bring you to your knees?”
“A point well made, minion,” I said. “Now destroy them! Destroy them as they wallow in hopelessness and despair!”
“…Was I not acting the part of a hero’s subordinate? I am quite certain that such a feat would serve to contradict my role.”
“Don’t sweat the details. The hero’s evil, so this is pretty much normal.”
Our momentary exchange proved to be a fatal opening. The demon lords managed to come up with a plan as we conversed.
“It’s okay girls, I’ve figured it out! I know Lefi’s, erm, the hero’s minion’s weakness!” shouted Illuna! “Rui, it’s all up to you! You know what you need to do!”
Her words led one of the wraith sisters to nod whilst wearing her usual, determined expression. She began to wield her greatest weapon, her illusion magic, and launched an attack on Lefi.
“I-I cannot believe my eyes!” said the dragon. “Could that be the fabled kast-ellah?”
You know, I never did figure out why Lefi thinks Castella is the stuff of myths. Oh well, whatever. The illusory sponge cake slowly drifted towards the silver-haired maiden, who involuntarily began reaching towards it despite the fact that she knew it was an illusion.
“Rei! Lowe! Now!”
Lefi was immediately assaulted by two additional sets of magic. Rei used psychokinesis to bind her body in place while Lowe used mind magic to mess with her sense of direction. The combination of the two effects caused her to rapidly lose altitude. It didn’t take long for her to spiral face first into the true throne room’s carpet.
“Curses!” shouted the dragon. As the most powerful creature in the world, Lefi could have nullified both spells with minimal effort. That, however, happened to be against the rules, which stated that anyone caught off guard by any sort of magic must bear the full brunt of its effects.
“Let’s go, everyone! Tickle the heck out of her!”
Lefi immediately tried to get back up, but found herself underneath a pile of little girls before she could, with all of them taking part in the tickle-based assault. Even the wraiths took part by manipulating the dolls that they had possessed.
“C-Cease this immediately!” She managed to squeeze out a few words between laughs and gasps, but to no avail. They didn’t stop until she was done for.
She was completely out of breath when they finally got off of her. The dragon lay on the ground with her arms and legs spread wide, her clothes disheveled, and her breaths laced with heavy pants. The sight was so indecent that I judged it improper to stare.
“D-Dude, please…er, I mean, I see that it has taken you little effort to defeat my minion. I suppose I shall offer you the tip of a hat.”
“Master, what does a tip of a hat mean?”
“It means I’m acknowledging you guys,” I said. “Anyways, where was I? Oh yeah. Very well, I shall deal with you personally. Unlike that imbecile, I am not to be trifled with.”
“H-how dare you!” panted Lefi, indignantly. “I am no imbecile!”
Suuuuuuure. You know, I’d totally be willing to believe that if it wasn’t coming from the idiot that ended up getting beat up ‘cause she lost to her own sweet tooth.
“Rei! Rui! Lowe!”
All three responded to Illuna’s call and immediately began casting their best spells—but my magic eye allowed me to grasp them ahead of time, so I dodged them with ease.
“A meaningless attempt! You are too naive, demon lords. Your strategy will not work, for I am the most powerful hero that has ever been!”
“Hmrghh…” groaned Illuna. “He’s really strong. We’re all going to need to work together if we want to beat him up! Shii, Enne, you two know what to do!”
Both girls immediately nodded in acknowledgement and jumped right at me.
“Woah! Come on girls, be more careful. That’s pretty dangerous!”
Neither showed much in the way of restraint with regards to their lunges, nor did they bother thinking as to what might happen if they missed. The only choice I had was to catch them.
“I knew you would do that, Yuk-, er, hero! We’ve got you now! Rei, Rui, Lowe! Do it!”
The wraith girls joined the fray by clinging to me in order to restrain me.
“Now take this!”
Finally, the demon lord known as Illuna lunged right at my torso. I couldn’t really move anymore due to the sheer number of little girls I was covered in, so the attack ended up knocking me over.
“We win now, right?” asked Illuna.
“Right?” echoed Shii.
“Victory.” While the first two girls spoke with voices filled with energy, Enne spoke in a much more neutral tone. However, that wasn’t to say she was inexpressive. She made sure to supplement her lack of vocalization by holding up a pair of peace signs.
“Kh… Very well. I admit my loss. You are powerful,” I said. “But this is not over. I shall now show you my true power, my second form!”
Although I made mention of a second form, I didn’t bother actually transforming or anything. I just ended up standing back up even while decked with little girls before starting to spin around.
“Wheeeeee!” shouted Illuna. “This is fun! Go faster! Faster!”
“Faster!” said Shii.
Unlike the girls, the wraiths weren’t able to scream to express their excitement, but the way they were responding made it obvious that they were enjoying the experience nonetheless.
“Make sure you hang on tight!” I said with a cackle.
I spun around for a good bit, slowly ramping up my speed as I went. Naturally, I couldn’t keep it up forever, so I ended up plopping back down onto the carpet once I hit my limit.
“Oh man, that’s enough of that. My eyes are spinning,” I said. “Everyone still okay?”
“Yup! That was really fun, so I’m totally okay!” said Illuna.
“…Mhm.” nodded Enne.
“You should join us too, Lefi! It’s fun!” said Shii.
The girl that the slime smiled at heaved an exaggerated, exasperated sigh. She had finally recovered from the tickle-based assault she had been subjected to.
“That’s a solid idea,” I said. “Well Lefi, your beloved husband just so happens to have an arm free, just for you, so how about you get over here?”
“Hmph,” she snorted. “Very funny.”
Despite ridiculing the offer, she briskly walked over and sat down nearby regardless.
“Oh, would you look at that! Looks like someone’s being a lot less shy than usual. Why the change?” I raised an eyebrow in suspicion as Lefi suddenly glomped me, her lips twisted into a playful grin.
“Demon lords, I have provided you an opportunity! Assault him immediately! I shall keep him restrained!”
“Huh? Wait! Nonononono! Ahahaharhrahgahra!?”
With Lefi as their newfound leader, the girls went all out and began tickling me with everything they had. Their tiny hands crawled all over my body and prompted me to exhaust myself with laughter. I wanted to escape, but I couldn’t. Lefi demonstrated that her title wasn’t just for show by ensuring that I remained unable to move a muscle.
“H-hold on! Time out! Time! Out! Seriously, wait! Wait, wait wait! Just one second!”
“We shan’t,” said Lefi. “You did not wait when it was I that played victim. You watched as I had no choice but to bear being tickled to the point of exhaustion. And now it has come time for just retribution. Demon lords, do not hold back! Continue to assault him with all you have!”
“I-I’m definitely getting you back for this, Lefi!” I shouted. I managed to scream a few words at her between stifled giggles, but I ended up breaking into an all out laugh before I could really give her a piece of my mind.
“I suppose I too shall participate. I am certain I know precisely where you would love to be attacked.”
She took her arms, which she had been using to hold me down, off of me, and began using her legs to fulfill the role instead. Her newly freed forelimbs were then immediately joined in on the tickling.
“Dammit, weren’t you supposed to be my minion!? The hell happened to that, you traitor!?”
“These young demon lords have shown me the err of my ways, and my defeat has provided me with a change of heart. I understand now that it is none other than my purpose in life to cull you, to bring this world’s greatest evil to its knees!”
“Wow uh, is it just me, or are you being a bit too disloyal?”
Like, come on… It’s not like you lost ‘cause something hit you in the feels or something either. All they did was make you hallucinate about some sort of stupid cake!
“Fine. If you want me to play my trump card that bad, then I’ll just go ahead and do it,” I said with a click of the tongue. “What do you girls want for dinner tonight?”
“W-What is the matter, young demon lords? Why do you pause?”
Lefi aside, everyone had frozen in place the moment I brought up our evening meal.
“Demon lords. I offer you an alliance. Let us join hands to punish this traitorous fool! I shall provide you with a dish of your choice should you choose to lend me your power! As for those of you that sustain yourselves with mana, I shall provide you with as much as you could possibly consume.”
“Yay! I want chocolate cornets!” said Illuna.
“…Donuts,” said Enne.
“I want mana!” said Shii.
The three girls capable of vocalization cheered while the three that weren’t floated around blissfully. Unlike regular creatures, the dungeon’s monsters sustained themselves on magical energy. And mine was effectively their favourite dish. Under normal circumstances, giving one’s magic to another was extremely difficult. The person doing the giving would have to modify the nature of their magic and tune it to match that of the receiver. Fortunately, providing my monsters with mana came with exactly none of that hassle.
Like me, my monsters were born of the dungeon’s essence. Their mana was ultimately sourced from the same place as mine, which made their wavelengths incredibly similar to my own. I could feed them as much as I wished without any of the hassle that would have normally accompanied it.
“How unethical! Foul play at its finest!” cried Lefi.
“Mwahahahahaha! Take that, traitor! He who controls the most little girls controls the flow of this battle,” I cackled. “It appears that your endgame is weak. Victory is mine!”
The situation at hand underwent a perfect 180; it was my turn to be on offence. There wasn’t a moment to lose. I immediately pushed the girl that had been sitting on top of me down and joined my newfound companions in a vicious assault on her dainty frame.
“C-Cease this at once! S-Stop it! I am sorry! No more! I beg of you!”
“Do not think that your prattling will provide any merit,” I said. “You betrayed me in the face of all my sinister charm! And for that, you will pay!”
With an evil laugh as my cue, I immediately went for one of the most ticklish spots on Lefi’s body.
“N-No! Not the tail! Do not tickle my tail!!” She managed to scream a few words of resistance, but it was to no avail.
“Making an enemy of me was but a fool’s errand, Leficios! For I know all of your weaknesses!”
To reiterate, Lefi could have easily shaken me off. But she wasn’t able to resist. She couldn’t. Shaking me off would mean shaking the girls off as well, and she didn’t want to hurt them. The dragon had no choice but to sit tight as we did whatever we pleased. Heh. You see this? This is called strategy. ‘Cause you know, there’s more to strength than just brute force.
Yeah, and I know what you’re thinking. This whole thing might seem a little… suggestive. I kinda pushed a girl down, got on top of her, and started touching her literally wherever I wanted without her consent. But uhhh… you see, officer, I’m totally innocent. Perversion? What’s that? Never heard of it in my life, sir, I swear. Anyway, where was I again? Oh yeah. Heh. Suffer, Lefi! Suffer and sink into the depths of despair! Mwahahahahaha!
A few minutes was all it took to turn Lefi into a bedraggled mess. She lay collapsed on the ground with drool oozing from the side of her mouth. Her breathing was ragged and her clothes were as disorderly as they could have possibly been. She shivered each time I poked her side. To be completely honest, the only term that came to mind as I looked upon her was “erotic.” Like, seriously. Goddamn, that’s hot as hell.
“Lunch is ready!” Lyuu poked her head out of the kitchen and announced it was mealtime the same way she usually did, only to get an eye full of lewd. “W-wait a second, what’s goin’ on here!? A-Are you okay, Lefi? You’re breathin’ real weird!”
“Eh, no need to concern yourself with her,” I said. “This is just what happens to traitors.”
“We’ve triumphed over evil!” declared Illuna!
“Yup! We beat a baddy!” said Shii.
The two raised their arms energetically as they summed up the results of our game of make-believe. Is it just me, or is what they’re saying kinda different from what I’m saying? Oh well, whatever.
“W-Well, alright…” said Lyuu, taken aback. “A-anyway, I just wanted to tell everyone that it’s ‘bout time for lunch ‘cause we’ve just about everythin’ done.”
“Got it,” I said. “Alright girls, how about we go get ready for lunch.”
“Okay!” said Illuna and Shii in sync.
“…Mmk,” nodded Enne.
The girls ran off to help set the table and left me alone with the victim of all our tickling.
“Come on Lefi, get up. It’s time for food.”
“H-How dare you remain so unconcerned after such an assault on my body. I shall see to—”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah, enough of that,” I said. “All that’s doing is making me wanna mess with you even more.”
I poked her in the side as I spoke, which prompted her to twitch and squeal before turning towards me with an adorable, teary look in her eyes.
“V-Very well. I understand,” she said. “I shall obey, so do not continue to poke me.”
Again, Lefi squealed. “I-I have already sworn that I would obey! Why is it that you do not cease!?”
“Sorry. Seeing you act like that is just making me really want to bully you some more.”
“H-How terrible! I cannot see you as anything but a lawless monster!”
“My bad, my bad,” I chuckled as I extended my hand to her. “Anyway, let’s get going before lunch gets cold, alright?”
“How little integrity you have. It is simply abnormal for one to go from tormenting another to offering them a hand in a matter of moments.”
Though she spoke in a reproachful tone and flashed me a bitter glare, the dragon girl took my hand nonetheless.
All I did in response was flash my usual shit-eating grin as I pulled her to her feet.