A Discussion En Route
Editor(s): Speedphoenix, Joker
“…It is far too bright out here.” Lefi groaned as she waltzed out of the cave the dungeon was located within and found herself exposed to the sun’s light. She glared at it from between the fingers she was using to filter out its rays, her face twisted into an annoyed scowl.
“When was the last time you went outside anyway?”
“I don’t quite recall,” she said. “Very few of my recent memories entail exiting the living room, and those that do involve only remaining within the grasslands that lay outside the castle.”
“I’m guessing that’s only ‘cause the girls keep asking you to play with them, right?”
“Thought so. You’ve been getting pretty damn good at looking after them recently.”
“I concur.” She giggled before breaking into a boastful, toothy grin. “But I suppose it is to be expected. Entertaining a mere child or two is a simple task for one as great as I.”
“Well, that is why they call you the Supreme Dragon, isn’t it?” I chuckled. “Thanks for always looking after everyone when I’m out. Really appreciate it.”
“If you have truly come to understand my value, then it would do you well to pay me more respect,” she says. “To begin, you must offer me a seat upon your shoulders.”
“Whatever you say, your majesty, whatever you say.”
I ducked down, stuck my head between her beautiful, dainty legs and hoisted her up onto my shoulders as I stood back up.
“Riding upon your shoulders never fails to disappoint,” she said. “It provides a wonderful perspective, one that allows me to gaze upon the earth from above.”
“I mean, yeah, sure, but you can fly. Isn’t that literally the same thing but better?”
“Flight certainly does bear many a merit,” she said. “But seating myself atop your shoulders allows me to feel as if I am still connected. Both to the world beneath me, and to you.”
“Connected, huh…?” I smiled.
“It allows me to bask in both the sensation of your touch and feel every step you take. It is pleasant, calming even, and bears a stark distinction from the almost lonely sensation that accompanies the act of treading the earth myself.”
For a moment, I was shocked into silence. I didn’t know what I was supposed to say to the profession of her loneliness, nor how I was supposed to cure it. The right words didn’t seem to pop into my mind no matter how hard I thought. That was why I decided to stop trying and just be myself.
“Well, feel free to come crying to me if you ever feel lonely then. I’ll do this for you anytime,” I smirked as I spoke in a mischievous tone. “You are my precious little wifey after all. I don’t mind sweeping you up in my arms if it means making you happy.”
“Hmph,” she snorted in an attempt to shake off her embarrassment. Though I couldn’t see her face, I was sure it had been dyed a shade of scarlet. “You never do seem to get sick of teasing me, do you?”
What followed her retort was a whine. Not from her, but rather from the wolf two steps behind me. I sensed exasperation in his voice; it was almost like he was begging us to get a room, but as usual, I chose to ignore his complaints.
“Why did you choose not to have Lyuu’s people remain within the dungeon if your finances were in such a dire state?” asked Lefi.
“I thought about it, and it just doesn’t seem like something that would work. Lyuu’s old man only brought the tribe’s warriors with him, so about two thirds of their men. They’ve still got lots of family back home, and having an entire village suddenly move in sounds like a trainwreck waiting to happen.”
There was also the fact that I wasn’t all that fond of living with a bunch of random people. I was more than willing to call Lyuu’s father an in-law given that I had ended up turning his daughter into one of my wives. But that was more of a formality than it was anything else. He was family, in name but I didn’t truly think of him that way. I had only known him for a grand total of three days, after all.
Physical proximity wasn’t even the issue. We had plenty of space. I just didn’t want to deal with them. Naturally, I was planning on lending a hand if anything ever happened to them, but that was it. Living with them was something I wanted to avoid. I just knew that it was going to be much more trouble than it was worth. Because moving them in would change how I lived my life. And that was something I had absolutely no intention of doing.
“I certainly see your point,” said Lefi. “And that is not even to mention their lack of strength. They were so frail that they would have perished before reaching the dungeon if you had not chosen to lend them your aid.”
“Oh yeah, that reminds me. Why are the monsters around here so strong anyway? I never actually realized it until I saw a bit more of the world, but everything that lives in this forest is straight up overpowered, at least compared to what you see everywhere else.”
“I believe the answer to that question can be found through an inspection of the differences between this land and any other. This forest houses a concentration of magical particles far greater than the norm. As the creatures that reside within go about their lives, they consume the forest’s bounty and breathe in its air. In doing so, they concentrate within themselves vast quantities of magical particles. As their bodies acclimate to the surplus of magic, they become more adaptable and less resistant to drastic changes in their physical forms. The cycle only continues as the strong consume the weak and take their magical energies for themselves.”
Ohhh… So basically more magic = more OP. That actually makes a lot of sense.
“Alright, I get that, but that then begs another question. Why does this place have so many magical particles to begin with?”
“A good question. That is not something I have ever thought about myself.” Lefi paused for a moment to think. “But I do recall a tale told to me long ago by one of the older ancient dragons.”
“Hmm… Sounds interesting. Do tell.”
Wait, Lefi’s been alive for a helluva long time, right? So exactly how long ago is long ago? Like, are we talking a few hundred years? Maybe a thousand?
“He predicated it by stating that it was a tale that he had heard from his parents before they passed,” she said. “He told me that a god had once walked this land. And that this is where he perished. The magical energy within this so-called god dispersed throughout the land upon his death and came to form the forest we see around us.”
Wait. So this is where GOD died? Holy shit. That’s an important plot point if I’ve ever heard one. Seriously, talk about hitting all the fantasy buttons.
“Wait, didn’t you say you’ve never seen any gods before? And that they probably didn’t actually exist?
“Yes, Yuki, but the world is vast. While I do consider myself rather knowledgeable, there is still much that I have not yet heard of, let alone seen for myself,” she said. “Still, I doubt that the creature that perished here was a true god, but rather, a monster so long-lived that it was revered as one.”
“A monster revered as a god, huh? That’s an interesting thought.”
Everyone pretty much thinks of monsters as harmful creatures that need to be removed. Going from that to something everyone worships is one helluva promotion if I’ve ever heard of one.
“Names and titles are often subject to change. I, for example, was born as Leficios and feared as the Supreme Dragon for generations. But now, I simply go by Lefi, the name you gave me. Given my own experiences, I certainly do think it possible for a monster to be considered a god.” She leaned over to look me in the face as she smiled. “Those with shorter lives, creatures who take on forms like yours, remember creatures like us as legends. The simple act of living out our lives causes our names to be etched into history’s annals. And our deaths are no different. For they too bear great meaning to those who come after us. It certainly is a bizarre phenomenon. Life is quite a wonder, isn’t it?”
Carving your name into history by becoming a legend, huh? That’s a grandiose thought if I’ve ever heard one. But I mean, she is right. Life really does seem both weird and incredible if you think about it like that. Yeah. A wonderful life indeed.
“Well, if a long life and a lot of magic is all it takes to become a god, I’d say you’re well on your way.” I grinned at her. “Give it another couple thousand years, and everyone will probably start worshipping you too.”
“I suppose that would make you the man that stole God’s heart. That certainly does sound like a much more impressive title than ‘Demon Lord,’ doesn’t it?”
“Yeah, sounds like one I wouldn’t mind growing into. Carving out this world’s mythos by your side and leaving proof that we were here, living our lives, sounds like something I’d enjoy,” I laughed. “But if I want to be worth my salt, I’d better start working my way up the ladder, huh? Right now, I haven’t got much of a name to me. I’m just like any other insignificant demon lord in the middle of nowhere. But just you watch. Soon I’ll be the biggest baddie around.”
“Good. Then I shall ascend to godhood as I wait for you to accomplish that exact feat.”
After exchanging another pair of laughs, the two of us smiled at each other and continued on our journey.