Side Story: The Wives’ Conference
Editor(s): Speedphoenix, Joker
The conference took place in the Japanese-styled inn situated in the castle’s shadow. There were three participants, all of which were wed—or to be wed—to the master of the house.
“Now that we have all arrived, let the Fifth Wives’ Conference begin,” said the conference’s host, a young-looking girl with a head of silver, as the final attendant took a seat.
Both the other participants responded to her announcement with a few light claps of the hand. Neither was aware as to exactly why they were applauding. In fact, they saw no reason to applaud at all. It was an action that they’d intuitively done out of habit. All it truly served to do was prove that Yuki’s influence ran deep; he often put his hands together in situations much like the one that the ladies currently faced.
“Lyuu, I believe I have yet to explain to you the purpose of today’s conference. So let us begin with that.” The acting chairman turned to face her bushy-tailed associate. “The intention is to allow Nell to elaborate on the deeds that the fool we call our husband has accomplished during his stay amongst the humans.”
“Great! I’ve been wantin’ to hear ‘bout all master’s exploits.”
Under normal circumstances, Lefi, Lyuu, and Nell would not have been the conference’s only participants. It was, despite its name, open to everyone other than Yuki himself and even those not a part of the board were encouraged to give their opinions. As such, Enne, Illuna, and Shii almost always participated. The guest was the only reason today was any different—and not because she was to be excluded. The presence of a new friend, or several, in Iryll’s case, had led the girls to burn all their energy playing the day away. All four were now happily tucked away in dreamland.
Leila was also a face that was sometimes seen amongst those at the table, but only if asked to function as a consultant. She would never go out of her way to participate. At first, Lefi had found this strange. The dragon knew that it was not as if Leila was not fond of Yuki, but she almost immediately came to realize that it was because the demon was far too caught up in the pursuit of knowledge to involve herself in romance.
“Let us begin by addressing the child. Why is it that she is so attached to him?”
“Did Yuki ever tell you two about the incident he resolved the last time he visited the capital?”
Nell had no idea where to begin. There was no telling exactly how much the other two girls knew. While the demon lord did often enjoy bringing up his own title, he only did so as to excuse his own ridiculous antics. He wasn’t actually one to boast aloud, so his achievements remained largely unknown to those that lived with him.
“I was made aware that he foiled a plot involving a prince under the influence of a demon,” said Lefi. “And that the very same prince was made, through necromancy, into a puppet under the demon’s control.”
“He told me the same thing,” said Lyuu. “I felt real bad for the poor prince when Master first brought ‘im up. It didn’t even sound like it was really his fault.”
“Then I guess I can keep it short,” said Nell. “Both the king and the princess were captured and thrown into the castle’s dungeon. Yuki was the one who rescued them.”
“So she is like you?” Lefi asked. “You too found yourself smitten when he showed up as would a knight in shining armour, did you not?”
“M-mhm, b-basically.” She momentarily turned her eyes downwards as she stuttered out a reply. “Iryll was really happy to see him when he visited the castle. She quickly became friends with Enne, and we’re pretty close too, having her come over to play seemed like the natural flow of things. That said, I think Yuki was the one to suggest it.”
“But ain’t she a princess? You sure her dad’s okay with her bein’ here? Mine woulda tried real hard to keep me home.”
Lyuu heaved a fed up sigh as she thought back on her own family situation.
“His Maj—er, the king knows that, as the Wicked Forest’s demon lord, Yuki is very strong,” said Nell. “Because of that, and his understanding of Yuki’s personality, he seems to think that having Iryll around him is even safer than having her around the castle. He also told me that he would rather have her make friends her age than keep her locked up at home”
“A bold man, this king of yours is.” Lefi chuckled. “I take it he is on good terms with our husband? Yuki is often quick to trust those who are able to make decisive judgements.”
“Mhm. Yuki really seems to like him. He even gave him some elixirs and warp crystals.”
“So he has finally made a male friend? That is quite the pleasant surprise.”
Lefi smiled. Normally, her grins were arrogant and fearless, but this one was far softer. It was gentle, kind, and almost motherly.
“I was thinking the same thing!” said Nell. “The only other guy friend Yuki has is Rir, and Rir’s not even a member of the races.”
“I dunno about countin’ Rir,” said Lyuu. “Sure, he’s a guy, but Master seems to think of him as a pet, so treatin’ him as one of the few friends Master has almost makes him seem kinda pathetic.”
“That’s… a good point.”
The two took a moment to exchange a pair of bitter smiles.
“What of Yuki? Have you discovered anything of him worth sharing?” Lefi took the brief moment of silence to move the conversation along.
“Mhm. I’ve found something I’m sure you’ll both want to know.” Nell nodded energetically. “Yuki’s really bad at dancing.”
“Dancing? How unexpected.” Lefi cocked a brow.
“Yup!” Nell giggled as she recalled the clumsy manner in which the demon lord had carried himself. “I had to help him practice because we were slated to attend a ball, and it was the cutest thing! He kept stumbling all over his own feet.”
“…That certainly is a sight I am able to picture.”
“He somehow managed to get the movements down by using his demon lord powers to get the dance skill, but he was still really awkward because he couldn’t get a grasp of the rhythm. He kept groaning and grumbling because of it. I feel bad for him for saying this, but I enjoyed every moment of it.”
“That sounds real cute,” said Lyuu. “I wish I coulda been there. Y’think Master’ll show me if I ask him to?”
“Probably not. He’s aware of how bad he is at it, and I heard him muttering under his breath about how he was never going to do it ever again.”
“That is another sight that I am able to picture, and quite easily.”
Lefi was not, by any means, the only one capable of seeing Yuki in such a situation. And as such, all three ended up exchanging a series of laughs at their husband’s expense.
The topic was followed by several other heated discussions. They excitedly talked about both his accomplishments and misadventures without even the slightest bit of restraint. But as time was limited, Nell eventually brought the casual conversation to an end with a more serious topic.
“Uhm… Yuki and I have talked, and I’m going to keep doing my job as the hero,” she said, hesitantly. “This will always be my home, and I’ll make sure to visit from time to time, but I can’t stay here forever, not while my country still needs me.”
“W-wait, you’re gonna go back to livin’ with all the other humans?” Lyuu’s ears began to droop as she spoke.
“I’m sorry, Lyuu, but my motherland is in a state of chaos right now. I can’t just leave it,” Nell gave one of her own hands a bit of a squeeze. “But I promise I’ll come back. I’ll hand my position off to someone else as soon as the dust settles and Allysia stops needing me.”
“Did you come to that decision of your own accord?” asked Lefi.
“Mhm. I did.”
“And you say that Yuki has agreed to it?”
“He did. In fact, he gave me the push I needed to make up my mind. I wouldn’t have been able to come to the conclusion I did without him.”
“Then I have only one thing to say.” The dragon looked the human in the eyes—“Never forget, Nell.”—and smiled. “Never forget that you are one of us. Never forget to do your utmost to return, and never forget that I am ready to offer you my aid should you ever desire it. Do not hesitate to ask for it. It is as Yuki always says, for we… we are family.”
“Thanks, Lefi.” Nell smiled.
“T-that’s right! You won’t hear us voicin’ any complaints ‘bout you not bein’ here! You’re the one who has it the hardest!” said Lyuu. “I know I ain’t like Lefi or Master and that my help really ain’t worth much, but just say the word ‘n I’ll do whatever I can!”
“That’s not true at all, Lyuu. You’re so full of energy that being around you is enough to fill me with it.”
“R-really?” asked a happy yet embarrassed warwolf. “Then I’ll make sure to give you all the energy I’ve got!”
The maid pointed her palms in the other girl’s direction and started to groan, as if to demonstrate that she was exerting herself.
“Thanks Lyuu.” This silly action was so silly it caused Nell to giggle. In a sense, it really had served to invigorate her. “Make sure you take care of Yuki while I’m gone, okay? I won’t be around most of the time, so it’ll be up to you two to pick him up whenever he gets down.”
“You may leave knowing that he remains in good hands,” said Lefi. “I am not so incompetent as to cause you worry whilst you are unable to remain by his side.”
“Don’t worry, Nell! Just leave it to us! We’ll make sure nothing ever happens to him!”
And so, with Nell’s future discussed and agreed upon, the three returned to gossiping about their husband and his antics.