The Visitor — Part 3
Editor(s): Sebas Tian, Speedphoenix, Joker
Soooo… I think I’m starting to see what Lefi meant when she said the dude is basically just a ball of light. ‘Cause uh… that’s uhhh… basically exactly what he is. In fact, the way she described him is pretty much perfectly spot-on. The creature that “stood” before me was… a robe, specifically, a robe the size of a child with a staff floating around in front of it. It was positioned in such a way that I almost wanted to think he was holding it with some sort of invisible hand.
When I described him as a robe, I meant it. He wasn’t someone in a robe, but rather, the robe itself. He was kind of just floating around. He seemed to be draped over something roughly human-shaped, but he wasn’t. There wasn’t anything under the cloth that I assumed constituted his form aside from a single fist-sized orb of light, which could clearly be seen where his head would have been if he was anything even remotely close to human.
As he lacked a face, or vocal chords for that matter, it wasn’t possible for him to actually speak in the traditional sense. His words seemed to be projecting themselves straight into my mind, and his voice, if you could call it that, almost seemed to sound as inorganic and synthetic as a machine’s.
Having come face to face with him, however, I found that his appearance was in fact not the most notable part of him. That instead belonged to his aura, the overbearing sense of pure power that radiated off his being. Standing in his vicinity was already more than enough to make me feel the weight, the gravity of his existence. Yuuup. He’s Lefi tier alright.
The most awe-inspiring part was that I felt his aura course through every last pore in spite of the fact that he was actively suppressing it. His sheer strength allowed me to pinpoint his precise location even in spite of his lack of a body.
“…Nice to meet you too, Spirit Lord. I’m Yuki, and as you’re already aware, I’m a Demon Lord,” I said. “So I know you said something about moving on, but before we do, you mind elaborating on that whole dragon sovereign thing? What’s up with that?”
“The title of Dragonlord is one that passes from the fallen to the triumphant. As the quietus that has brought upon your antecedent’s death, the crown has passed to you,” he said in a soft, inexpressive tone, as a scholar would a known fact.
Oh yeah… now that he mentions it, I did get that weird ass dragon/demon lord title after I killed that one fucker, didn’t I? The title’s description mentioned that I had become the king of dragons, so I’d asked Lefi for clarification. At the time, she’d waved it off as something not worth mentioning, let alone worrying about. As nothing seemed to have come out of it, I took her word for it and dismissed my supposedly nonexistent crown without so much as a second thought.
“I now espy the impetus from which descended the state of pandemonium the draconic village has befallen. Its crown has been spirited away and bestowed upon a parvenu unknown.”
His words prompted me to glance at Lefi, who promptly turned her face to avoid my gaze.
“Did you know?” I asked.
“O-of course not,” she said with feigned indifference. “T-the thought never crossed my mind.”
As we were both well aware that she’d told a bold-faced lie, a few moments of side-eye was all that was needed to crack her facade. She soon grumbled out a slow, reluctant explanation.
“…I knew that, with Gyogarr as king, there was little chance that the village had not descended into a state of anarchy,” she said, with her gaze still averted. “And I was also well aware it could only have gotten worse after his death.”
“Then why didn’t you tell me earlier?”
“My departure from the village was accompanied by a destructive rampage, so I have found it too difficult to approach ever since,” she said. “I did not tell you the truth because I have no intention of ever returning.”
“Wait, so does that mean all the other dragons see you as hostile?”
“They do not. I would say that the opposite is closer to the truth…”
She was beating around the bush instead of actually giving me a proper explanation, so the Spirit Lord stepped in and offered one in her stead.
“The dragon to whom you are bound is the one that reigns supreme over all of creation. She is exalted by her kin and apotheosized as an idol under which dragonkind must gather. Those who coveted a life under her dominion beseeched her to seize the position you now bear. But it was to no avail. Their constant pestering failed to incite her to lay claim to the vocation of Dragonlord and delivered her into a state of fury and displeasure. In a rage, she sought herself liberation through ruination. The flames of her wrath rendered the village an illustration of dilapidation with half of its habitants so wounded that they remained incapable of motion for a full lunar cycle.”
Huh… So Lefi caused a bunch of trouble and ran away from home? I never knew she used to be such a tomboy.
“Isn’t it a bit late for you to be suddenly gaining new character traits?” I said.
“I-I do not know what you are referring to by character traits, but whatever the case, the situation that occurred in the village was not my fault! They refused to listen to my objections!” She seemed to be equal parts indignant and uncomfortable. It was easy to tell that she felt awkward about all the havok she’d wreaked.
On second thought, I’m kinda wrong, aren’t I? Further consideration led me to realize that Lefi hadn’t suddenly gained the tomboy trait out of nowhere. Her actions had instead stemmed from a part of her that I was very well familiar with: her stubbornness to follow through on only her own decisions. She was getting along with all the dungeon’s other residents just fine nowadays, but her original temperament was one of vanity. Actually, that’s not quite it either. It’s more like she had never taken any interest in anyone but herself.
It was a trait I understood. Because I shared it, at least to some extent. Just as my world had started off revolving around me, hers had started off revolving around her. Neither of us found much joy in having others interfere with our everyday lives.
“Whatever the case, there is no point in standing around any longer,” she said after an obviously fake cough. “You are welcome to enter our home and have a seat so that we can continue this conversation in a more comfortable environment.”
“Yeah, I’ve got a good few things to ask you, so you might as well come in.” I agreed.
After talking to him, I came to the conclusion that he didn’t seem hostile. Keyword: seem. Him being a literal ball of light made it rather difficult for me to really make out his expressions or intentions. My decision was mostly based on Lefi’s behaviour, which served to indicate that she wasn’t even the slightest bit on guard.
Besides, he’s her friend. I should at least try giving him the benefit of the doubt, right?
“I am much obliged.”
And so, Lefi and I lead the visitor into the dungeon’s depths.
“Is that you, Guru!?”
Much to my surprise, the first to be addressed upon our return was neither Lefi nor I, but the Spirit Lord. The oddest part of it all was that Illuna, of all people, had been the one to call out to him. She was frozen stiff in shock with her eyes open as wide as they would go.
“Guru…? You guys know each other?”
“We are acquainted,” said the spirit. “It warms me to make the observation that her good health has endured.”
He sighed in relief—or at least weaved his words in a way that gave off the impression that he had meant to.
“So it was you who blessed her?” asked Lefi. “I was unable to examine the blessing’s details, but I had long suspected that it was your doing.”
“Scarcely ever does even the most infinitesimal of details escape your gaze, old friend,” the hooded figure’s head bobbed ever so slightly, as if to nod.
“Blessing? What blessing?” I asked while cocking a brow.
The spirit lord took the question as an opportunity to segue into an explanation of the circumstances that led to his visit. Apparently, the supposed life form was one that spent his time wandering the world. Several years ago, his journey led him to a small but beautiful village. The people that lived within it had not claimed the land from the natural world, but rather lived in harmony with it. As spirits were creatures that were effectively as one with nature, their king found himself unable to feel anything but appreciation for their—the vampires’—way of life.
As his appearance was by no means within the norm, the villagers were startled by him at first. But as spirits were, in some regions, worshipped as the gods of the land, they welcomed him with open arms regardless. He stayed with them for a period. And it was during this visitation that he met Illuna. Coming into contact with her led him to realize that she had the affinities required to manipulate spirits. And so, he gave her his blessing.
“To establish oneself as a medium compulsates a dyad of requisites, purity of the heart and an unbiased regard for all of creation,” explained the spirit lord. “Those that qualify are scarce. The duty to effectuate the transfer of wisdom falls to me each time one is discovered.”
When he said rare, he really meant it. Illuna was apparently the first person he’d blessed in several hundred years.
A fair amount of time had passed since he blessed her, so he returned to her village, only to find it in ruins.
“So what you’re saying is that you’re basically here to check up on her?”
“Her people received me with utmost amiability and manifested boundless generosity. I am only obliged to ratify the safety of the child whom the village adjudged its own.”
He went on to explain vampire society. The bloodsuckers’ settlement was one that was isolated from the rest of the demon realm. It was home to only a few dozen, and children were only born once every few years. Their scarcity led them to be beloved by all and they were raised not only by their parents. Every member of the community considered her their own daughter. I guess that’s why she’s such a good girl.
“Still, her current habitation is unforeseen. What fate befell the wrongdoers that nobbled her from her once domicile?”
“It’s a bit of a long story, but it basically went about as you’d expect,” I said. “Her kidnappers are already six feet under. I’ve thoroughly destroyed them, and there’s not much revenge left for you. Sorry I stole your thunder.”
“How… bodacious.” The spirit lord met my sarcastic shrug with gratitude. “I am beholden to you, for you have enacted their comeuppance in my stead.”
“Eh… I only did what was natural,” I said. “I know Illuna’s important to you and all that. Same goes over here. She’s pretty much a sister to me.”
I didn’t feel like it was necessary for him to thank me, by any account. None of the murder I committed that day was for anyone else’s sake. Not even Illuna’s. Everyone I killed, I killed for myself. Nothing more, nothing less.
“It occurs to me now, oh dragon of silver, that the alteration in your expressibility stems primarily from him.”
“…I would have liked for that to remain a secret, but I suppose it cannot be helped given the length of our acquaintance,” she sighed, bitterly.
“You were analogous to a drawn blade,” he said with a light chuckle. “None could retain your attention. This alteration is one that brings me exultation. I find it propitious to know that you are now capable of making expressions so heterogeneous.”
“I am not like you,” the dragon spat, bitterly. “I cannot forever remain unchanged.”
Though she wasn’t exactly entertained by our guest, I certainly was. His presence had led her to make expressions that not even I had ever seen.
“I suppose not. Still, Supreme Dragon, there are none in this world who would have ever dared to fathom that you would take a mate. It is a fact so stupefying that the proliferation of its facticity is capable of upturning the very world itself.”
“That is an exaggeration,” said Lefi.
“That is an assertion of a veracity I must demur.”
His phrasing and choice of words led me to believe that he had likely used Analyze to read her title’s description. Speaking of, so I know you might be wondering, why the hell didn’t I know about Illuna’s blessing if I’ve got Analyze? The answer is that the Spirit Lord was the one that hid it, and he’s too much stronger than me for me to be able to see through his spell.
“I’m sorry. I should have told you about the spirits.” The individual that our conversation had initially been centered around joined it with a timid apology. Her eyes were moistening up, and it seemed like she was genuinely feeling terrible about not telling us everything.
For a moment, I wasn’t really sure how I was supposed to react, but after a moment of internal deliberation, I ended up opting to blink in mock surprise.
“Huh? Why are you apologizing?”
“Huh?” The vampire blinked back at me.
“I mean it’s not like you needed to tell us. Besides, you know what they say. Secrets are part of a woman’s charm,” I said with a grin.
“Yuki is correct. There is no reason for you to apologize. You were forced by an enigma of a man to accept a blessing that is dubious at best. Any apologies should stem not from you, but him,” said Lefi, backing me up.
“You are the only entity that would ever construe my blessing to be deleterious,” scoffed the spirit lord.
“If that is so, then I shall speak loudly enough to account for the voices of all the poor fools you have deceived.”
“I have no alternative but to entreat that you enact a degree of reticence.”
“You know, now that I think about it, this is pretty much the only time I’ve really seen anyone treat Lefi like a kid,” I thought out loud.
“Hmph,” she snorted. “He is at such an age that we are all children in his eyes, regardless of the length of our lives.”
“Is it just me, or did the timescale just totally get blown out of proportion? ‘Cause a thousand years seems pretty long to me. If you’re still just a kid compared to him, then uh… oh man…”
“Thanks Yuki! Thanks Lefi! You’re the best!” After seeing that we genuinely weren’t concerned with her not telling us about all her secrets right off the bat, Illuna ran up to us and gave us a big hug each.