Seaside Barbecue — Part 2
Editor(s): Speedphoenix, Joker
“The dungeon’s startin’ to get real big, Master,” said Lyuu. The warwolf’s hands were preoccupied peeling some of the shrimp that had just come off the grill, but as the task was rather mundane, her mind had started to wander, and her gaze with it. “I’m startin’ to think this dungeon might be in the runnin’ for bein’ one of the biggest in the world, now that you’ve got all these ships under your control.”
“I think so,” she said. “It sure seems like it seein’ how much of the forest you own. Throw in the sea ‘round here, and I think it’s a done deal. Right, Leila?”
“Hmmmm…” The other maid brought a finger to her chin and frowned, as if to recall a distant memory. “Our Lord’s dungeon is much younger than both the Isle of Solitude and Flamerock Vault. Adventurers have been attempting to capture the former for four hundred years, and the latter predates all written records. But, even so, I do think you’re right. This dungeon is certainly amongst the largest, even in spite of its lack of history.”
“Huh… that’s a pleasant surprise.”
As I had always focused on growth first, the dungeon had ended up growing fairly large over the course of my reign. I basically had full control over the Wicked Forest’s southern district, alongside half the northern and eastern ones. I’d only just started encroaching my way into the western region, but even so, the amount of territory I held was enormous. I guess I’m not just some small time upstart demon lord anymore, huh? My dungeon’s gotten ridiculous enough for me to play in the majors with the big boys.
“The scale isn’t the only factor to consider,” said Leila, who directed her gaze towards a certain silver-haired maiden as she spoke. “All things considered, I believe it’s safe to say that this dungeon is more difficult to conquer than any other.”
The dragon that had led Leila to her conclusion was in the middle of a display that didn’t exactly do her argument any wonders. Said dragon was walking around with a slightly taller girl atop her shoulders, which made for an interesting sight to say the least.
“Do not loosen your grip, Nell. You will fall.”
“T-That’s only because you’re moving around too much!” squealed the makeshift dragon rider.
“Awwww, I want a piggyback ride too!” said Illuna.
“Piggyback!” echoed Shii.
“…That’s silly.” said Enne.
The five were currently enjoying a sort of ball game next to the entrance to the ship’s cabin. The first team, which was composed of the three kids, had to try to hit the ball against the wall, while the other team, which consisted of Lefi and Nell, had to try to stop them.
“Behold, children, our brilliant tactic! There are no more openings to be had, for we have covered them all!”
The dragon puffed up her chest with pride as she cackled, which in turn led her to lose her balance, trip, and fall. Naturally, the individual mounted on top of her shoulders also ended up suffering the same fate.
“Nwargh!?” shouted the dragon.
“Waaah!?” screamed Nell.
It turned out that Enne was right. Their so-called tactic did more harm than good.
“Uhm… Are you two okay?” asked Illuna.
“O-of course we are. Don’t worry.” Nell smiled awkwardly as she tried to reorient herself, before frowning at her mount. “Geez, Lefi… You scared the heck out of me!”
“Ughh…” The dragon brought a hand to her face and groaned. “I apologize. I did not foresee such a mishap.”
Yeah uhhh… yeah. Iunno what to say, really. That one’s totally on you.
“I think so too,” I said, replying to Leila’s earlier comment, “Having her around pretty much makes this dungeon the safest one there is. Though uh… looking at her the way she is right now is kinda making her seem like not that big of a deal. And that just kinda trivializes literally everything to do with dungeons and demon lords, seeing as how she could probably destroy any dungeon she wants on a whim.”
“Well uhm… at least she’s reliable when the goin’ gets tough, right?” said Lyuu, with an awkward laugh.
Leila didn’t offer any sort of verbal reply, but instead just flashed a smile. Yup. Looks like all three of us are pretty much on the same page. Lefi can complain all she wants, but it’s her fault for being so derpy.
Lefi and Nell made for a really good pair of friends. Their personalities were incredibly compatible, to say the least. Lefi would always take the lead and pull all sorts of silly bullshit, while Nell “reluctantly” tagged along, smiling all the while. As their husband, I was glad to see them getting on so well.
“Speaking of Lefi and demon lords reminds me of something I’ve been meaning to ask,” said Leila. “One legend speaks of an incredibly powerful demon lord known as The Deathlord, who waged countless wars and conquered countless countries. He was practically considered a living calamity, just like her. When the comparison reached his ears, The Deathlord challenged her to a duel, only to be defeated in an instant. Would you happen to know if it’s true?”
“No idea,” I said, “When it comes to stuff like this, we might as well ask the person in question.” I waved at the dragon, who had yet to recover from falling over. “Hey, Lefi, you got a moment?”
“Whatever for?” she asked, as she finally got back to her feet.
“You ever beat the shit out of some dude named The Deathlord?”
“The Deathlord?” She furrowed her brows. “…Oh, that idiot. I do recall him. He angered me by destroying my nest whilst I was away. I retaliated in kind by setting fire to his lands and burning them all to ashes. As he failed to confront me afterwards, I suspect he likely perished in the process.”
“That’s interesting, very interesting in fact,” said Leila, as she pulled out her notebook. “I suppose that means he didn’t challenge you to a duel, or at least not in the traditional sense of the term.”
“Wow, uh, wow. Poor guy. It sounded like he had a legacy going for him ‘till he tried his luck,” I said. “Why the hell do people keep challenging you anyway?”
I can’t tell if they’re stupid, just want to be deemed the strongest, or both. Probably both.
“That is a question the answer to which you should know well,” said Lefi. “You have challenged me a great many more times than any other.”
“I mean, kinda, but also not really. That’s just my way of expressing affection. Unlike them, I’m not actively trying to get myself killed.”
“Expressing affection?” she huffed. “How absurd. Challenging me is far from an ideal method of expressing your affection.”
“Huh? Why’re you actin’ so tough, Lefi? I coulda sworn that you were just tellin’ us how much you loved it when Master messed with you just the other day.”
“L-Lyuu!? T-that w-w-w-was not a fact that you were ever meant to disclose to him!”
The dragon’s face turned as red as a tomato. She was so embarrassed that she was having trouble speaking.
“Well well well, what do we have here?” I began grinning from ear to ear. “So you really do like it when I mess with you after all, huh? How… intriguing.”
“W-wipe that smirk off your face immediately!” she shouted indignantly as she whipped the ball lying by her feet straight at me.
“Woah! Careful there! I’m still trying to eat, goddammit! At least wait until I’m done!”
I had to struggle to keep my plate steady as I twisted my hips and evaded the attack. The only reason I’d been able to dodge it was because I’d predicted that she would react in that exact fashion. Whew. Thank god for hard reads.
“It is your own fault, imbecile!”
She screamed one more insult, a parting shot, before turning around and stomping back over to her position near the wall so that she could continue playing with the kids instead of dealing with me. In the end, however, she never did end up denying Lyuu’s words.
“Lefi’s always reactin’ in the cutest ways,” said the wolf girl.
“I know, right?” I agreed. “Good job on the info leak, by the way. I’ll make sure to cover for you if she tries getting back at you for it later.”
“Really? Thanks Master! I’ll be countin’ on ya if she tries pickin’ on me then! But I ain’t so worried. I’ve got a lot more dirt on her than she’s got on me, so I can just start firin’ right back!”
“Do you now…?” A sinister grin appeared on my face as I adopted the sort of tone that would be used by a second rate Italian mobster. “Then I gots a proposal. Whaddya say, wise guy, I scrub your back, you scrub mine? All I wants is a bitta watcha know. It’s a good deal, eh?”
“I’m all in, Master.” Lyuu laughed in a vulgar, thug-like fashion. “What’s it you wanna know?”
“Oh you two…” Leila sighed. “Here we go again…”