Side Story: Yggdrasil’s Departure
Editor(s): Joker, Speedphoenix
“The blessed child has secured for herself an innocuous haven in which she will remain inviolable.” The spirit lord spoke to no one in particular as he continued his solitary journey through the Wicked Forest. As he thought about the girl whose safety he had confirmed, his mind naturally drifted to the people around her, which in turn led a slow, content chuckle to escape him. “How truly beguiling. It has been a great many years since I have found my soul so stirred.”
He found the individuals that he had just finished interacting with nothing short of truly entertaining. They were a colourful bunch, with individuals stemming from all sorts of different backgrounds. Every one of the dungeon’s residents had grabbed his attention in one way or another, but the two that had left the greatest impressions on the ancient creature were his old friend and the man she had wed, for one had changed greatly, while the other appeared to be the reason that such interracial harmony was possible. He had met individuals stemming from seven distinct races and was informed that there was even an eighth resident in the form of a human hero. As far as he could tell, there was no discord to be had, even in spite of their differences.
As a concept, interracial harmony was one that the old spirit found greatly appealing. It was an ideal that he himself strived for. But he had always thought it impossible. Every attempt he knew of had succeeded only on paper. Each race had its own habits and quirks. They ate at different times, interpreted different truths, and placed value on different virtues and aspects of life. These differences were often miniscule, but the few that were incredibly pronounced made it near impossible for individuals stemming from different backgrounds to enjoy each other’s company in the long term.
Every country that had attempted to execute a policy based around interracial cooperation had failed. They were all ultimately destroyed from the inside out; they were unable to hold before the immense internal pressures that plagued them. Not even smaller-scaled attempts had truly succeeded. The closest he knew of were tiny hamlets and villages in which a small handful of races lived whilst tolerating one another’s presence. All of the most successful towns were demon-run, as the demonic races had always been many to begin with. They were bound to intermingle within any larger city. But even so, most demons preferred to live amongst other members of their subspecies and stuck to remaining with the tribes of their origin.
As history had shown time and time again, it was nigh impossible to live in accordance to one’s wishes whilst also respecting the abnormalities that other races brought into one’s everyday life. Still, the manner in which the residents respected each other’s differences somehow did not leave as great of an impression on the ancient being as the Supreme Dragon’s current state. The changes in his old friend were so incredibly pronounced that he found them almost difficult to believe.
When he first met her, several centuries ago, he thought of her as an individual with no interest in anything but herself. Her most prominent trait had been the stone cold manner in which she treated all who approached her. But now, her icy shell was gone, replaced by love and affection for those that existed around her. Her face had shifted from ever-bored to multifaceted and vibrant. It was as if she had finally begun considering herself as an individual, a woman, as opposed to an all-powerful entity. And as he witnessed her joy, he shared it. He was as happy for her as she was for herself.
And he knew, from the brief instant that he had spent in his company, that the demon lord was the one who had changed her. It was not just Leficios that had received his influence. His interactions with those around him had clearly conveyed to him that they too had been affected by his way of life.
“I believe he declared himself as Yuki…” muttered the spirit lord. “That is a name that I would do well to carve into the annals of my mind.”
Yggdrasil knew that demon lords were not uniform in nature. Each had its own unique quirks. But Yuki remained bizarre even when taking that into consideration. He was almost completely unlike any other of his kind. He had none of the pride or haughtiness that typically came as a result of receiving the overwhelming power that dungeon’s offered their guardians. He was rational, intelligent even.
But above all, there were his values.
The manner in which he judged others and the factors that drove his decision making were clearly distinct from not only every other demon lord, but every other individual in the world. He was by far the most bizarre of the dungeon’s inhabitants, even after taking the Supreme Dragon herself into consideration.
Because he was a foreign entity. In the most literal sense of the term.
“I have always known that this world existed not in solus, but confabulating with a demon lord arising from one was truly an adventitious occurrence.” He chuckled as he recalled not only his exchanges with the demon lord, but also the manner in which the world traveler interacted with the silver dragon.
It was clear as day that the two shared a special bond. They trusted each other. Loved each other. Existed for each other.
Each was in equal need of the other.
Without him, she would have never been able to change. She would have never known warmth or true joy.
At first, Yggdrasil had been filled with surprise to learn that someone had somehow managed to teach the Supreme Dragon what it meant to love. But upon meeting the individual in question, all of his bewilderment immediately faded away.
Because he complimented her perfectly. Just as she did to him.
“I pray that they may revel in many ages of joviality,” he said. “For I derive no delectation from the internecine notion of dueling a friend to the death.”
The spirit lord knew that, as this world’s guardian, he had no choice but to attempt to stop Leficios if she were to ever go on a rampage.
And that, in all likelihood, he would fail.
He could only think of a select few comparable to her in terms of strength. But none could stand against her alone. Every single individual would need to assault her at once to tilt the scales in their favour.
That was just how absurd the Supreme Dragon was. She simply stood at a level above every other living creature.
And even if she was defeated, the battle’s after-effects would surely lead to the decline of civilization; it was sure to regress several ages.
In the past, the fear of such an event had plagued Yggdrasil’s mind with worry. It had seemed likely, perhaps even sure to happen. But no longer. He could no longer imagine it happening after seeing her in her current state.
That was why he wished, prayed, for them to spend their days in bliss.
“It was a stimulating encounter.” Again, Yggdrasil chuckled to himself as he made his way through the trees. “This world truly remains one thronged with wondrous escapades to be unearthed at every turn.”
Yuki’s dungeon was likely one of the most well developed in the world, and it was one that would only continue to grow. Time would make it a place well worth revisiting. And the Spirit Lord had every intention of one day doing just that.