A Dinnertime Reunion — Part 1
Editor(s): Joker, Speedphoenix
We napped the afternoon away in an overly extravagant guest room. It was hard to believe that they’d actually prepared something so fancy in such short order. They’d even stationed a maid right outside of it.
“Good evening, honoured guests.” She greeted us the moment we opened the door. “Please right this way,” she gestured for us to follow her. “The finest elven cuisine we were able to prepare awaits.”
Lefi, Enne, and I followed her through a large corridor inside of a massive tree. As the maid had mentioned, it was already evening. We could see the pale orange light of the setting sun shining through a window carved into the building’s trunk.
Unfortunately, we’d woken up at an odd time of day. And as long as we stayed, our sleep schedules were sure to suffer.
In all honesty, we very well could have gone straight home. Our part was done. However, I learned that Nell wasn’t leaving immediately either, so we decided to stay to hang out with her for a bit. Staying unfortunately meant that we wouldn’t be able to laze around and get up whenever the hell we wanted, like we normally did at home. We would have to wake up at a regular time, even though we very clearly weren’t going to be able to get to sleep until it was way past our usual bedtimes. Lefi and I would be fine, but it was probably going to be hard on Enne, given that she was still just a child. Maybe an hour long nap around lunchtime tomorrow’ll do the trick.
“Sorry for messing up your sleep schedule, Enne.”
“It’s okay. We can all stay up late. Together.”
“Indeed we shall, and we shall enjoy ourselves” said Lefi. “I know well that Yuki is always in possession of board games.”
“Mhm. Let’s play shogi.”
“An excellent idea. I shall entertain that re—”
“No thanks. You suck. At shogi. I’ll play with Master.”
“Hah! Sucks to suck,” I laughed. “You’re right, Enne. Lefi still needs to git gud, so we’ll have to play without her.”
I continued to laugh for a bit, only to be silenced by a less-than-entertained Lefi kicking me in the leg. Oh man, gotta love how brutally honest kids are sometimes.
After walking around for a bit, we found ourselves greeted by somebody who wasn’t an elf.
“Good morning everyone. Sleep well?” asked Nell, with a bright smile.
“Mornin’. Hell yeah, we slept well. The bed was unbelievably soft,” I said. “How was your day anyway? Honestly, I have no idea what you were up to at all.”
“I was helping everyone fix the village. I’m sure you noticed already, but there’s been a lot of damage.”
Yeah, didn’t exactly seem like it was the type that you could patch up overnight either. Hmm… if Nell’s helping, then I guess I might as well help out too. Tomorrow, that is.
“Good job. You did lots. And worked hard.”
The sword girl got on her tiptoes and did her best to pat Nell on the head. The hero tried to make it easier for her by leaning over, but just a bit as to not let her notice. How sweet is that?
“Are you heading off to join the other VIPs for dinner?”
“Yeah, we were having a maid show us the way there. You wanna come?” I froze for a second, then turned to the maid. “Errr, actually, is it okay if she joins us?”
“Of course,” she said with a smile. “There’s no reason for us to refuse. We consider Lady Nell to be our saviour.”
“Saviour?” I cocked a brow.
“She saved the village and healed her majesty’s arm. And I was told that it was you, the members of her family, that dealt with the undead dragon for us. As one of the many who live in this village, all of you have my heartfelt gratitude.”
The maid bowed deeply.
“Uhm… you’re welcome, I guess,” I said as I uncomfortably cast a glance at the brunette. “Looks like you’ve been doing this whole hero thing pretty well, Nell.”
“I’m doing my best, but it’s not just me,” she said, “I’ve got plenty of support from all my colleagues, and the items you gave me helped lots too! But enough of that, let’s save the chitchat for later. I’m starving!”
We were taken to a room that seemed much more like a conference hall than a dining room. In fact, I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what it is, considering the huge round table and the monarchs sitting at it.
“Heya Yuki. Long time no see,” said Phynar. “I’m glad you seem to be doing so well.” The demonic ruler was wearing his usual suspicious looking smile.
“Yeah, same. Looks like I’m not the only one in top form either. You still seem just as shady as hell.”
Like, seriously. Fuck, I cannot get a read on the guy for the life of me.
The next person at the table I greeted was Reiyd.
“Hey, Kingpin. Wasn’t expecting to run into you here.”
“The feeling is mutual, Yuki,” he said with a chuckle. “It is good to see you. And you as well, Zaien.”
“Mhm. Good to see you,” she said, with a light wave.
The king was looking at her as a grandfather would a grandchild. Oh right, now that I think about it, they actually know each other decently well with the whole throwing shade at Nell thing that happened. Enne sure knows a lot of important people, doesn’t she?
After he was done with a greeting the two of us that he knew, he turned to the one that he didn’t.
“And I suppose that the silver-haired young lady is the Leficios that I have been hearing so much of?”
“Indeed, Leficios is I,” said Lefi.
“Iryll, my daughter, has brought you up on several occasions. She mentioned you treated her exceedingly well during her stay, and for that, I thank you.”
“So you are the king of the humans? Your child, she was sweet and well behaved.” Lefi crossed her arms. “And as for your gratitude, I shall offer my own in kind, for you have treated ours with the same kindness during the time they spent within your domain.”
It was, if anything, a neighbourly exchange, one that left even Phynar somewhat visibly bamboozled.
“It seems you’re all acquainted with each other already,” said Phynar. “Yuki, would you mind introducing me to the lovely ladies standing next to you?”
“Sure. The one with the horns is Leficios, my wife. The super fucking cute one is my daughter, Zaien. And there’s probably no need for me to introduce you to Nell, but she’s also my wife.”
“The manner in which you have described me is lacking, Yuki. I am not merely ‘the one with horns.’”
Lefi gave me a bit of a miffed stare, while Enne smiled, silently but happily.
“Yup, and I’m the hero that married a demon lord!” said Nell, with a big smile. Yup, definitely gotten more bold and cheeky lately. I mean, I guess it’s a good thing… but like… you know…
“And I believe Naffy said that Lady Leficios is the Supreme Dragon. Is that correct?” asked Phynar.
It was the first time I’d ever seen him address someone politely instead of speaking in his usual boyish, almost degrading tone.
“It is so,” said Lefi with a dignified nod. “I am the Supreme Dragon, Leficios.”
“So it’s true…” He took a deep breath. “I am very grateful that someone as powerful as you would bother with helping us.”
“Nell is an important member of my family. It is natural to protect one’s own. I have provided you aid in doing so, but I must be clear. It was not my intention. Aiding you was but happenstance. If you wish to express gratitude, then you would do well to direct it to Nell.”
“Thanks Lefi. You’re the best.”
After giggling shyly, Nell glomped Lefi from behind.
“I-I would prefer if you refrained.”
Though she was acting like she didn’t like it, I found it fairly obvious that she was just feigning discomfort. I love seeing the two of them act like this. Just makes me happy.
“You really are completely out of the ordinary, Yuki,” said Phynar.
“Uhhh… you sure you didn’t mean to say that to Lefi?”
“The statement applies to her, of course, but it also applies to you. It seems like you don’t particularly mind, but even someone like me, who is rather poor at deducing an individual’s relative strength, can tell that she’s incredible.”
Well I mean, she’s kinda THE Supreme Dragon. Whaddya expect?
“I’m nothing compared to her,” he said. “If my men and I were to be considered to be on the level of a meadow at the bottom of a valley, you would be a famous mountain. It’s clear that you’re way above anything within the meadow, but at the very least, it’s possible for us to see your summit. But she’s different. She’s like an infinite mountain range with every one of its peaks shooting far up above the clouds. We have no idea how high up the mountains go, or if there even is a peak at all. Being near her is making me feel like passing out.”
A mountain range? That’s a pretty apt comparison, honestly. She’d be like a beautiful mountain range that no climber had ever managed to surmount, or even return from.
“Really? You seem just fine to me.”
“Well, you see, I’m just good at hiding it. The guards will be able to give you a more honest reaction.”
I followed his finger and confirmed that, while most of the human guards were perfectly fine, the demons and elves alike were clearly under a certain level of stress. Their faces were stiff, seemingly cramped up, and almost constantly twitching. I guess humans just aren’t sensitive to stuff like this. Maybe that’s why Reiyd was able to talk to Lefi like it was no big deal either. I’m not really bothered by her aura at all either since I’m used to it, but it’s totally making the other guys shit their pants, isn’t it?
“The part that makes me think you’re totally out of the ordinary is that she’s here as your wife, Yuki,” said Phynar. “Your second wife is the hero, and I think I’ve heard you’ve even got a third. I know this might sound a teensy bit rude, but I wouldn’t be surprised no matter how terrifying that third wife of yours ends up being.”
Oh shit, Lyuu. Look at that. You’ve got a literal king treating you like some sort of OP secret boss.
“Eh, don’t worry about it. You’re kinda right, in a way,” I said with a smile. “My last wife is watching the house right now, and she’s more or less on Lefi’s level.”
“Indeed… it can be claimed that we are similar, in a way.”
“I thought so,” said Phynar. “I would love to meet her, but I’m also a bit too scared to go through with it.”
Only because you have no idea what we really mean.
Nell, who did, of course, understand what we were talking about smiled wryly, fully aware that we were having a bit of fun at the king’s expense.
“Anyway, Lefi, you mind holding back your aura a bit? It seems kinda like you’re freaking everyone out.”
“Then I suppose I shall.”
The pressure coming off of her suddenly lessened following her reply. She suppressed it to the same extent that she did whenever we went hunting together, which meant it was at least suppressed enough to stop everything in the Wicked Forest from turning tail and running the moment she got near.
“Thank you for your consideration, milady,” said Phynar, with a bow.
“Times like these truly illustrate the differences between our races,” said Reiyd. “There are only a few humans capable of sensing the auras of others. Most of us share in my inability.”
“That’s just how it is. We demons have some things you humans don’t, and likewise, you humans have some things we demons don’t,” said Phynar. “I hope you’ll forgive me for saying this, but we wouldn’t be in this situation if that weren’t the case. One of us would’ve conquered the other.”
He had a point. Humans and demons had spent a long time at war. If one group was truly superior to the other, then it likely would have emerged victorious by now.
After we spent a bit of time chatting, the doors to the conference room swung open. A cart was pushed through, alongside the queen and another elf, who I presumed to be a cook.
“We thank you for waiting. As host, We have prepared the best dishes within the Elven realm. We would be pleased if you enjoyed them.”