Side Story: A Day in Shii’s Life
Editor(s): Speedphoenix, Joker
Shii was in such a good mood that she skipped and hummed as she wandered around the true throne room.
Her joy was almost immediately noticed by the dungeon’s other members. “Hey, Shii. Someone sure looks happy,” said her master as he raised his head from his work.
“Yup! Today was lots of fun!” she replied with an energetic smile.
“Was it? Well, good for you, I guess.” He didn’t quite seem to understand why she was so happy, but he smiled back at her before turning his head back towards the table he was fiddling with. He was too engrossed in whatever he was doing to ask any questions.
That said, the slime wouldn’t have had any real answers even if he had chosen to continue the conversation. Because today hadn’t been anything special. The true throne room looked the exact same way as usual.
Yuki was fiddling with something while the rest of the adults handled the laundry. Leila, Lyuu, and Nell worked on it with practiced hands, while Lefi struggled to make any progress. Her handiwork was much cruder than everyone else’s, and she took far more time to deal with each article of clothing. She was frustrated by her own inabilities that she groaned every time she looked at the other girls’ piles.
Lyuu had started out the same way. She too had been absolutely terrible at doing housework, but the time she had spent under the other maid’s tutelage had eventually paid off. She wore the smuggest of expressions as she showed off the skills she had worked so hard to master and brazenly gave the dragon the very same pointers she had been given in the past.
Both the other girls were well aware of Lyuu’s “capabilities.” That was why they did nothing but smile awkwardly as they watched the situation unfold.
Like the adults, all the other children were also occupied. Enne was sitting beside Yuki and watching him as he worked, while Illuna was napping in Leila and Lyuu’s bedroom. She had spent the better part of the morning playing with Shii and the wraith girls. But unlike the others, Illuna didn’t have limitless stamina. That was why she often napped after lunch in order to recharge her energy for all the fun to come in the afternoon. Leila was well aware of the vampire’s habit, which was why she had set up an extra bed for her in her room for this exact scenario.
It was perfectly normal day. And Shii loved every last bit of it.
“I did it! I finally fucking did it!” Yuki interrupted the room’s relative silence with a loud shout as he shot to his feet and raised the object he had been fiddling with above his head. This too was normal. Yuki would always shout with excitement the moment he finished any of his creations. To Shii, it seemed as if he enjoyed the act of creating things just as much, if not more than he enjoyed the process’ results.
“What is it?” Enne tilted her head in confusion as she looked at the small table he was holding in the air. The wooden construct was tiny. Both its horizontal and vertical dimensions roughly matched the length of an adult’s forearm.
“It’s a game, one I’m calling Super Paper Bros.”
“Wow…” The sword clapped a few times as for emphasis as she gave the supposed game a fixed stare. Shii knew that, though it may have looked like Enne had understood the demon lord, she, in fact, had not.
“Again?” Lefi sighed as she finished folding the last piece of laundry in her pile and walked over to observe the creation. “What sort of silly device is it this time?”
“Silly? Silly, my ass. I bet you’ll be taking that back as soon as you see what it does,” said the demon lord.
He confidently strode over to an area not covered by carpet and placed his creation onto the floor.
“Alright, so here’s how it works. First, you gotta find yourself some of these,” he said as he placed a three-dimensional paper model onto the table.
“And what, precisely, is that meant to be?” asked Lefi. “I see not but an odd-looking monster.”
“What do you mean, odd-looking monster? It clearly looks exactly like Rir,” he said in a matter-of-fact tone. “Don’t you see how bushy its tail is? What else could it possibly be?”
“It really is him,” said Enne as her eyes widened ever so slightly.
“…I fail to see the resemblance,” said Lefi. “What say you, Nell?”
“Uhm…” The hero paused for a moment to stare. “I don’t really see it either. It kind of just looks like a random monster to me.”
Unlike the demon lord’s wives, Shii had immediately recognized that the paper construct had been shaped after one of her friends, but she chose to remain silent as opposed to contributing to the conversation because she didn’t have much else to add.
“I don’t really get how you guys don’t see it, but whatever. It doesn’t matter anyway.” The slime’s master shrugged as he placed a second paper model on top of the table before tapping one of its edges. “Enne, could you do me a favour and place your hands right here?”
Enne followed his instructions and placed her hands just outside the circular ring that spanned most of the table’s surface area.
“Now channel your mana into the table and try making it flow towards Rir.”
“He moved!” Enne’s eyes went wide as she realized that her magical energy had caused the paper model to react. Though she had yet to be prompted to do so, she began experimenting with it by manipulating the flow of her mana. The model reacted accordingly and performed a different action each time she tried something new.
“And what, precisely, is this item’s purpose?” asked Lefi, skeptically.
“To let you move things around with magic, of course. Does it look like it does anything else?”
“…Is that it?”
The dragon stared blankly in stunned silence, but Yuki paid her no mind as he went back to showing off his latest invention. “This thing was a huge pain in the ass to make.” He sat down opposite Enne and put his hands on the table as he once again started to speak. “I had to fiddle with a few of the magic circuits and make them function like electrical circuits without screwing them up. Now, they’re capable of carrying magical energy throughout the table. Then I had to set up the models so they’d be able to have magic transferred to them through induction so that they’d actually move properly when you put mana into the table, and that required a whole slew of workarounds.” The demon lord tapped one of the paper figures on the head. “But it was worth it. These things have some pretty well tuned controls now. Using these things to face off against each other’ll put playing with action figures to shame.”
“It is moments like this one that make it difficult for me to evaluate whether you are too intelligent or idiotic for me to understand,” said Lefi.
“Well, I’m glad you’re finally recognizing me for the genius I am,” said Yuki. “You see, my skills may be geared towards making weapons, but I’m not a blacksmith. I can do much more than just that.” He smirked before turning towards his sword. “Alright Enne, you and me, let’s do this. The first person to knock the other’s Rir out of bounds wins.”
“…I won’t lose.”
“Yeah, right. Come on, Rir, let’s show this noob what we can do!”
“My Rir is stronger.”
“Heh, you think you can beat me? Hell no. We’re on my turf. I made this game. I know it better than everyone else here combined, and we’re using the same character, which means pure skill is all that matters. I’m totally going to kick your sorry a—what the hell!?” Yuki’s jaw dropped. “What kind of Witch Time perfect dodge bullshit was that!? That totally should’ve hit!”
“Too easy,” said Enne.
“Jokes on you, it’s not over yet! The best part of this game is how much higher the skill cap is than anything else we’ve got. Now watch this! My Rir’s totally going to ki—get rekt!? What kind of kung fu flying kick bullshit was that!?”
“Too. Easy,” repeated the sword maiden.
It didn’t take long for the demon lord’s character to get sent flying off the edge of the table.
“I can’t believe it… I can’t believe I just lost to a total beginner…”
Enne stood up from the table, made a peace sign with one of her hands, and pointed it at her opponent. Like his weapon, the demon lord had also stood up, but only to demonstrate the extent of his shame by falling onto his hands and knees in despair.
“That seems really fun for something so simple,” said Nell. “Can I give it a try?”
“Go for it,” said Yuki in a quiet, disheartened tone. “Losers like me ain’t got jack to say. The only thing we can do is hang our heads in silence and take our leave.”
“Get good. Then try again,” said Enne.
“You two sure are always on the same page when it comes to things like this.” Nell smiled awkwardly as she took Yuki’s place at the table. She immediately began pouring her magical energy into the device, only to panic as she realized that controlling her character was much more difficult than she had imagined. “H-huh!? Why isn’t it moving the way I want it to!?”
The most she could get it to use splash. But nothing happened.
“…Easy,” said Enne.”
“Aw… I lost. This a lot harder than it looks, but it’s still really fun.”
“Right?” said Yuki.
“…Is it really that difficult?” asked Lefi, doubtfully.
“Well, how about you take it for a spin and find out? I bet you’re bad,” said the demon lord. “In fact, I bet you’re so bad even I could kick your ass, let alone little Ms. Grandmaster over there.”
“You dare challenge me?” The dragon narrowed her eyes into a glare. “Very well. I shall put you in your place.”
Enne and Nell swapped places with Yuki and Lefi.
“Alright, Rir, let’s kick their asses!” said Yuki.
“Hah!” huffed Lefi. “A more absurd declaration I’ve never heard! Now behold as I crush you in your very own gam—what!?” Lefi’s eyes opened wide as soon as she sat down and attempted to take control of the paper wolf. “Why is it refusing to obey my commands!?”
“Told you you’d suck!” Yuki laughed as he immediately made use of her predicament to secure victory. His wolf lowered its head and used the flat top of its muzzle to shove its foe off the stage. The way its limbs moved was so natural that an unknowing onlooker might have come to the assumption that the paper creature had gained a life of its own. “Well well well, what do we have here? You was going on about all dat good shit about puttin’ me in my place, but you got owned, son! Welcome to the real world! Time to learn, you gon’ learn today!”
The smile on her master’s face was one Shii knew well. He smiled a lot, but the one he had on now was his happiest. And it was reserved only for the silver-haired dragon. She was able to bring out much more of his joy than anyone else, regardless of the activity. Shii was happy for the both of them. But she was also a bit jealous. Because she knew that it meant Lefi was more important to him than everyone else, herself included.
“…You did not achieve victory,” said Lefi in an indignant tone. “You were given it. I only lost because I, the Supreme Dragon, allowed you a handicap and refused to use the full extent of my power. But now, I have warmed up. You shan’t win again!”
“Bullshit!” Unfortunately for her, the dragon’s excuses fell on deaf ears; her husband wasn’t having any of it. “If that’s not a lie, I don’t know what is. I know you’re bad at this kind of shit. The only thing you know how to do is smash things with brute force! Precision and control are way outside your skillset! Sure, you may be the strongest thing ever, but that doesn’t mean you’re better at literally everything. Us normal people have our strengths too, and as you can see, we can totally use them to whoop your ass into next week!”
“Uhm… Yuki?” Nell smiled awkwardly as she joined in the conversation. “I’d just like to point out that you’re about as far from being a normal person as far can be. Your mana pool is ridiculous, and your spells are so over the top that I think seeing them would make most normal people faint from shock.”
“You say that, but Lefi’s so much stronger than me she makes me look like any other Tom, Dick, or Harry. Compared to her, I might as well be normal.”
Lefi, who was clearly vexed by the result of her first battle, began to practice as the other two conversed. “This is nothing before my might! I simply need to inject more of my power and force it to abide by my will!”
She did exactly as she had described and began to pour her energies into the table.
Only to stop as her character’s head exploded.
“…I believe I may have made a slight error.”
“What the hell!?” Yuki, who had turned to the side to face his conversation partner, spun around the moment he heard the pop. “Lefi…? Why were you pouring so much mana into Rir…?”
“I-I did nothing of the sort. I put in only a fraction of my power.”
“And blew our poor pet’s head off. Seriously, what the hell did you expect to happen?”
“I-it is not my fault. It is yours. You should not have made him so fragile.” she declared, indignantly. “Were you not supposed to be the ‘Demon Lord of Creativity?’ I see no reason for you to be deserving of such a title if you remain incapable of constructing a vessel capable of handling the full extent of my power.”
“So first you break it, then you blame me? Talk about shameless,” Yuki rolled his eyes. “You know what? Fine. Challenge accepted. Now follow me, we’re going over there.” He pointed towards the desk he had been sitting at prior to declaring his project complete.
“And why would I have to do that!?”
“Because you literally just asked me to make something for you. If you want it to work, someone’s going to have to test it. And guess what? The only person with as much mana as you is you.”
“Curses…” muttered Lefi, under her breath. “I did not think my statement would rile him to this extent…”
The dragon didn’t seem all too keen on following through with the demon lord’s suggestion, so he grabbed her by the scruff of the neck and dragged her over to his desk before she could escape. It took very little time for them to get to work; their minds had ventured into the realm of magical engineering the moment they sat down. The transition was so sudden that it led Shii to giggle.
The noise caused Nell to turn towards her in realization. “I’m sorry I didn’t ask earlier, but would you like a turn, Shii?”
“You can take my spot,” offered Enne.
“Nope! I just wanna watch,” smiled the slime.
“Are you sure? I really don’t mind,” said Nell.
“Yup! I like watching!”
Watching was what Shii liked best. She enjoyed joining the others in having fun, but not if it meant taking someone else’s place. Because to her, watching was just as fun as playing. And sometimes, even more.
“Ok. Then let’s go again, Enne!” said Nell.
“I’ll go easy on you.” Enne handed Nell the undamaged paper Fenrir. “You can have this one. I’ll take the one missing a head.”
“You’re definitely going to regret that,” said the hero. “Because I’m going to kick your butt this time!”
Shii spent the rest of the day observing the many games that the dungeon’s other residents indulged in. Though she had many chances to join in on the action, she chose to pass them off so that she could continue to bask in the joy that was her family’s happiness.