Nell’s Predicament — Part 1
Editor(s): Speedphoenix, Joker
“Heya Yuki, it’s been a while,” said a certain, very annoying twink. “How’ve you been doing?”
“Mind explaining why I’m talking to you?”
I had rushed all the way back into the dungeon and over to my workbench only to find myself greeted by a voice belonging to someone who was very much not Nell. Much to my dismay, I recognized the person in question. It was Phynar, the king of the demon realm.
“Well you see, I really wanted to sit down and have a little chat with you, and the hero was nice enough to let me borrow one of her items to do just that.”
His explanation was followed by a much more familiar and less irritating voice confirming the claim.
“Hey Yuki. I’m sorry about how sudden this is, but we really need your help,” said Nell. “Would you mind talking to the Demon King for just a little? He’s much better than me when it comes to spelling out the details.”
“If you insist…” I grumbled.
“Wow, you two are so cute together! I always did find your relationship to be a bit of an odd one. It isn’t everyday that you hear about a hero marrying a demon lord, after all,” said Phynar. “I’m glad to see you’re every bit as dedicated as she says you are.”
“I’m hanging up if you don’t shut it.”
“Oh, you silly thing, it was just a joke,” chuckled Phynar. “Now, I think I better get to telling you about our current circumstances. You see, I’m with the King Reiyd of Allysia, and Queen Napholahz of the Elves right now. We’re all together, having ourselves a nice little chat in the elven lands, but then the big bad fiends attacked us. I’m sure you know them, after all those scuffles you’ve had with them, over the past year or so.”
A certain obnoxious, red-headed demon came to mind almost immediately.
“As much as it pains me to say this, they’ve gotten the better of us,” he said, regretfully. “We’ve succeeded in holding them off so far, but now, they’ve managed to put us in check.”
Huh. I guess this is what Nell meant when she mentioned the expedition she had to go on.
“And how, exactly, did they do that?”
“Well, you see, they happened to unleash an incredibly powerful monster just outside the city we’re in,” Phynar said.
“Get to the point.”
“It’s an undead dragon.”
The comment drew the attention of the fair lady standing next to me. The way she furrowed her brow demonstrated that she was everything but pleased to hear the news.
“I’m guessing that’s exactly what it sounds like, right?”
“Yup! They dug up a dragon’s corpse and brought it back to life as a member of the undead. It’s not as strong as it was when it was alive, but if we were to try poking at it, it’d burn the whole forest down, along with everyone in it. And we can’t have that.”
Of course the fiends are still desecrating corpses. What else is new?
While a politician may have found the idea of an undead army to be nothing short of ideal, I thought of it as blasphemy, a sin even worse than shitting all over the graves of those used in its creation. Even as someone with no real stakes in any sort of religion, the act of pure evil repulsed me. I used to like zombie movies back when I lived in Japan, and I’m pretty sure I still do, but that’s only because I know they’re works of fiction. Real zombies are just… wrong.
“I believe you’ve killed an adult dragon before, so would you mind lending us a hand? We’d really like to avoid as many casualties as possible, and naturally, we’ll be paying you a king’s ransom, given that three monarchs’ lives are at stake.”
“…Okay, I think I see what the issue is. You mind letting me talk to Nell for a bit?”
“Of course not,” said Phynar, in a sing songy voice. “Nell, he’s calling for you.”
I had a hard time imagining that he was really in dire straits given how cheerful and stress free he sounded.
“What is it, Yuki?”
“Phynar said something about you guys being attacked. Are you hurt anywhere?”
“Nope, I’m just fine! As a demon lord’s wife, there’s no way I could possibly get hurt when the only thing they’ve done is come at us half-heartedly.”
Given how full of energy she sounded, I was rather inclined to believe that she wasn’t just trying not to make me worry.
“Alright. You can let Phynar know that I’ll be heading over immediately.”
“Okay. And uhm… I’m really sorry about getting you involved.”
“Don’t worry about it. Doing an extra chore or two to get my precious little wifey out of a tough spot is no concern of mine at all.”
That’s what it means to be family.
“I more or less know where you guys are because of the orb’s tracking function, but I’ve never actually gone there before. How long do you think it’ll take me if I fly?”
“Uhm… The village is just a bit south of the demon realm, so I think it’ll probably be two or three days.”
“Alright, see you in two then. Take care of yourself. Don’t do anything risky, okay?”
“Okay! Thanks Yuki, I love you!”
With that, the crystal faded, and all sound from the other side cut off.
“Alright girls, you heard her. I’m going to go get my stuff ready and head out.”
“I shall accompany you,” said Lefi. “It is best that I am present if there is a dragon, even should it be a mere raised corpse.”
“Thanks,” I said, quietly, before turning to Leila and Lyuu. “Keep an eye on the house for me, alright?”
“There ain’t nothin’ to worry ’bout, Master! As a family, we’ve gotta help each other out when we’re in trouble, and I’m ready to get my part goin’! Ain’t that right, Leila?” said Lyuu, with her fists pumped.
“Of course,” said the more reliable maid. “We should be fine on our own, but we’ll get in touch if anything happens.”
After nodding in thanks, I used farspeak to instruct my pets to head back to the grasslands and got my preparations underway.
“And I believe that, my friends, means we have our tickets out of this mess,” said Phynar, with an ever friendly smile.
“I had no idea he was a demon lord…” muttered Carlotta.
“Really? I thought the two of you had met. And more than once, at that,” said Phynar, his eyes open wide in surprise.
“We have, but I was never made aware of his identity, and we refrained from probing,” said the paladin. “We saw no point in it. He’s a valuable ally, and earning his ire would be no different from spearing ourselves in the foot.”
“That certainly does explain that,” said the king with a chuckle.
“Uhm… Carlotta, I uhmmm…”
A rather nervous Nell did her best to try to find the right words to say to her superior, but it was to no avail.
“Don’t worry about it,” Carlotta sighed. “I understand why you didn’t say anything, and I knew he had every intention of hiding his identity, given his frequent use of masks. I have no particular comments to make given the extent to which he’s helped us. And I’m fairly confident in my deduction that His Majesty was already well aware.”
“I was,” admitted Reiyd. “I’m sorry for not telling you earlier. It would have been rather… inconvenient if his identity was leaked, given that he was and still is the man who saved our country.”
“That, I certainly agree with. I’m not fond of the idea of another major political conflict so soon after we resolved the last,” said Carlotta. “I’ll do us all a favour and pretend I never heard anything that was said today.”
“Thank you, Carlotta,” said Reiyd.
“Thanks Carlotta!” echoed Nell.
“…I have to admit, that was one of the biggest surprises I’ve had in quite a while.” The paladin smiled awkwardly. “Though, it would certainly explain how absurdly powerful he is.”
Once Carlotta was done talking, Queen Napholahz approached Nell with a brief curtsy.
“We thank you, hero,” she said. “With Our arm missing, the elven military would have lost much of its potential. We must show you Our gratitude by repaying this debt in full.”
Her comment came as a result of one of Nell’s actions. The brunette had used one of the many high grade potions Yuki had given to her to restore the monarch’s lost limb.
“There’s no need for you to repay me, Your Majesty,” said Nell. “All I’d like is for our people to get along better in the future.”
“We understand.” Napholahz nodded, then turned to Reiyd. “It appears that you possess a rather potent ally, King of Allysia, and now, a significant advantage at the table of negotiations.”
“To be honest with you, Napholahz, I am struggling to come up with a suitable reward for her myself. The potion she administered was her own property.”
“A struggle We empathize with. It is certainly no simple task given the item’s value. Shall We provide you with an article of Our own?”
“If I am to be honest, I would rather refrain,” said Reyid with a troubled smile. “To request that of you would be to give up a notable advantage.”
“It appears that Our ploy has been uncovered. Whatever shall We do now?”
Napholahz laughed heartily, then turned to the third monarch at the table.
“Phynar, We wish to know more of the blade that Our assailant employed. What of its properties are you aware?”
“We don’t know everything just yet, but we’re fairly certain that it’s Tortund Ruin, a cursed weapon that may as well be a calamity in and of itself. It’s been a long time since it last showed up in the records. The crown’s changed hands four times since then.”
“Four? Then these records of yours, they tell tales of a time one thousand, seven hundred years past?” asked the elven queen.
Her words led Nell to realize that the tale was one even older than Lefi.
“Yup, you’ve got the time frame just about right,” confirmed Phynar. “The greatsword sucks up all the blood and resentment of everyone it cuts and uses it to grow even stronger. That part isn’t all that strange. Most cursed weapons are more or less the same.” He frowned. “The problem with Tortund Ruin is that it puts all the others to shame.”