“Hold on, hold on! You’ve got it all wrong!”
“Give it up, demon lord! We know your villainy! Your lies will not work on us!” Lyuu’s father shouted angrily.
My villainy? What? I don’t remember ever doing anything bad enough to earn me that much notoriety. At least not among the warwolves. Whatever people have been feeding him, it’s gotta be pretty bad.
Actually, I did mess up that one human town pretty badly the first time I visited it, didn’t I? Riiiiight… I totally forgot. Alright, yeah, I can kinda see where they might’ve got the idea.
For a moment, I regretted not having Rir accompany me, but I soon came to the conclusion that I would have preferred the status quo over any lost opportunity cost. Because to the warwolves, Fenrirs were gods.
And Rir, Fluffrir, was collared.
In my defense, giving him a collar had been my way of showing the world that I saw him as a pet, a member of my family. But a moment of thought led me to understand that the warwolves would likely have seen the notion as blasphemy. To them, the choker would have looked much more like a chain, a fetter by which the one thing they worshiped was bound. Yeaaaahhh… That could have turned out pretty damn poorly. Good job, me.
“Dude, calm down. Your daughter is fine. I was actually just about to bring you right to her.”
“Another lie! Say no more, demon lord! I won’t fall for your nonsense!”
“…Look, you’re going to get wiped out at this rate. Your only two choices are to let it happen or to gamble on me actually helping you. Just trust me man, it’s your only shot at making it outta here in one piece.”
“Trusting you would be no different from stabbing ourselves through the heart. We’ve been ready to lay down our lives since the moment we set out on this journey. But if we are to die, then we will die not as fools, but as warriors! We will make our stand, and we will take your head! Even if it costs us every last one of our lives!”
Seriously… ? Fucking hell… After heaving a weary sigh, I once again tried to pacify the beastkin. “I don’t know who told you about me or what they said, but it was probably just over-exaggerated bullshit. Now, how about we calm down, be civil, and talk this out like men? Picking a fight with me really isn’t going to do you any goo—”
My attempt at cordiality ended in total failure. Lyuu’s father dashed up to me and kicked me before I even finished speaking. I hadn’t been on guard, let alone watching him closely enough to evade the sudden strike, so his foot landed square in the middle of my chest.
“Stand! Stand and fight like a man!” shouted the warwolf.
“Oh, for fuck’s sake! Fine!”
The kick hadn’t dealt much in the way of damage. In fact, I’d barely felt it. But I was annoyed. Very, very annoyed. That was why I decided to employ the tool that any respectable gentleman in my position would: violence.
I grabbed the dull, wooden great sword I typically used for practice out of my inventory and propped myself back up as I narrowed my eyes. You know what? I don’t even care if you’re Lyuu’s dad or whatever anymore. If you’re not feeling like acting like a sensible adult, then I’m going to beat you over the head until you are. And just for the record, you did literally ask for it.
“Yuki! You’re back!” The ball of energy I called Illuna ran up to me as soon as she spotted me.
“I see that you have returned.” Likewise, Lefi also approached, but not for the same reason. “…And what, precisely, is that?”
“Don’t ask,” I grumbled.
The dragon’s gaze had been directed to the pile of bodies stacked up behind me, one that I had struggled to transport. Oh, man… rolling them into a huge ball and trying to shove all of them through the door at once was definitely not my brightest idea. I almost can’t believe I managed it, even with all my pets’ help. Note to self: Don’t follow through on violent impulses. Lugging unconscious people around is a huge pain in the ass.
“Rise and shine, bossman.” After heaving the day’s nth sigh, I gave Lyuu’s dad’s a few light taps on the cheek with the back of my hand. Surely enough, he eventually began to stir.
“W-where am I…?” he groaned as he blinked his eyes into focus.
“My place. I had you brought over while you were playing sleeping beauty.”
Hearing my voice seemed to lead him to realize that he was still in danger. His sleepy-looking eyes snapped open and he immediately began to shout.
“You bastard! How dare you kill all my men!?”
“Dude, seriously, you need to stop jumping to conclusions,” I complained in a fed-up, exasperated tone. “Your men are fine. All I did was knock them out.”
The flustered warwolf looked around in a panic. His second round of observation was far less clouded than his first. This time, he realized that I was telling the truth.
“W-what happened? They’re all… healed! Even the ones with more serious wounds!”
“Seriously? You still don’t get it?” I griped. “I healed them.”
I made sure that everyone with a major injury was given a potion before being shipped off.
“It’s true, boss.” A man that had been missing an arm spoke up. Unlike many of his buddies, he had been too injured to fight, so he had escaped the wrath of my wooden blade. “The demon lord healed every last one of us, but only after he ruthlessly knocked out everyone that tried to challenge him.”
“I don’t understand… Why would you…” The chief of the warwolves remained in a state of confusion. It was a state he likely would have retained for much longer had his daughter not entered the scene at that exact moment.
“Here you are, Lefi! I got the snacks you were askin’ f—what the heck!?”
For better or for worse, Lyuu waltzed right out of the door connected to the throne room, tray in hand.
“Lyuu!? Is that really you!?”
“D-Dad!? Ughhhhhhhh… Why are you here…?”
The maid was so shocked that she dropped the tray she had brought with her. Fortunately, Lefi saved it before it fell to the floor. Lyuu, please… Isn’t he supposed to be your dad? You groaning like that is almost making me feel bad for him. I mean, just look at how worried he is.
“I can’t believe it! You’re okay!” The warwolf chief was so overcome with emotion that he ended up running up to the maid and catching her in a hug.
“K-knock it off already, dad! You’re embarassin’ me! Everyone’s watchin’!”
“I thought… I thought you were dead.”
“That’s horrible! Why’d you ever think something like that!? Wait! What the heck!? What’s everyone else doin’ here!? And why’re they knocked out!?”
“Yeah uhhh… My bad. That’s my fault.”
“Oh… Yeah, I can kinda see that happenin’. You’re real strong, Master.” Lyuu paused for a moment to think. “But that still doesn’t really answer my question. Why’s everyone here anyway?”
Lyuu, p l s.
“I… am sorry,” said Lyuu’s father, who had finally regained his cool. “It appears that I’ve had a great misunderstanding.”
“Yeah, dude. You did. You really did,” I said with a shrug. Looks like he’s finally willing to talk. God fucking damn it, that was such a pain in the ass. And it took forever. I almost want to hold a grudge, but I won’t. I’ve already beat the shit out of him—and everyone else—so I might as well forgive him. He is a part of Lyuu’s family, after all.
Really makes me think though. This world doesn’t really seem to take all that kindly to demon lords, and I’m willing to bet it’s because of their behaviour. Really does beg the question of what the local demon lords have been up to. I mean, it’s obviously something. That much is evident. But what…?